Friday, December 30, 2011

Sorry Nana!

What do you get when you add holiday packaging peanuts and kids?

"Oops.... a few got away from me Nana ....sorry!"

Carter Wayne.... love that little boy "too" much!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Don't believe everything you hear...

I was told by someone that Christmas Day was the best day to fly.
("So quite....hardly anyone in the airports.")
So...I booked my Christmas trip and decided to fly home on Christmas Day.
Wrong... it was nuts!
Crying children, loud people that want you to overhear how wonderful their life is,
cranky flight attendants, long lines and not so "Merry" travelers.

OK.... now the blessings of my trip.
I wasn't home alone this Christmas without my sweetheart.
My friend Sherral took me to the airport, babysat my car, and picked me up again.
I got to see eight of my sweet grandchildren that live in California!
I stayed with Angela & John.
Took John to lunch for his birthday.
Sat at the beach and soaked up sunshine and Vitamin D, 
while watching grandchildren run and play and discover a half eaten shark...
We traveled to see new sweet baby Ellery.  (One week old)
We visited with Amanda's parents in El Centro.
Ate our traditional Christmas Eve Dinner...
ham, twice baked potatoes, Aunt Shawna's Yummy Salad, peas & rolls!
Witnessed the magic of Christmas through a child's eyes...
Was spoiled by my daughters...
Visited with my friend Kelly at her home after landing.
Michelle and Judson drove from Park City to see me at Kelly's.
Talked or heard from all our kids!
Drove home safely.
(Sleep in my own bed!)

Once again, the blessings outweighed the craziness!

My feelings about the loss of Alain 
have begun to feel very personal.
I'm not sure how much I will blog of my struggles, heartaches, triumphs,
challenges, fears, hopes and disbelief in the upcoming year.
I will continue to move forward, but again,
grief  is an individual and private struggle in so many ways.
I don't know if I will ever feel whole again.
but I don't know.
Alain was a wonderful, wonderful person.
So loving and giving and kind.
So humble and willing to do whatever he could to bless my life.
Wish I could be as strong as he would want me to be.
Very, very grateful for friends and family who have hung in there with me
and touched and blessed my life in ways that I am still astonished by.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

May you feel his tremendous love....

What will you give for Christmas this year?
The Saviors life provides a perfect pattern for each of us to follow.
He gave freely, lovingly, and without any expectation of receiving.
As a result, the lame could walk, the deaf could hear, the blind could see, 
the infirm were made whole,
and even the lifeless were given breath.
But ultimately, Jesus Christ gave his life for each of us.

 In return for the redeemers thremendous love,
let us give to him the only gifts that are truly ours to give,
lives of service, obedience, love, forgiveness, faith, and gratitude.
In doing so we will be blessed, receiving yet another gift from the Lord. 
                                                                                          (Rolling Hills Ward Bishopric 2010)

Merry Christmas 2011

Thanks to all of you who truly have touched my life for good!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Announcing 11 in 11...

This is our newest granddaughter Ellery Christine.
She is number 11 in 2011! 
She is the sweet little daughter of Amanda & Brandon.  
She makes #5 in their family!  
Looks like heaven ran out of baby eyes again, and she got those beautiful, 
big brown eyes like her brother Joshua!  
What a sweetheart.  
(Perhaps her Papa got to send her off from heaven with a big hug and kiss!)

Welcome Ellery!
I'm coming to see you next week...

 Christmastime has been a little difficult for me...
Everything about this season represent family and love.
I  don't know of a better person than Alain, who cared so much about both.

I am so grateful he touched my life with all that is good.
(And I'm trusting that he knows how much I love and miss him!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Food for Thought....

It would have been Alain's 51st birthday last week. 

I heard a story about a family that lost their husband and father in a car accident.
They decided to remember him each year on his birthday
by eating his favorite foods.  

The kinds of foods we love can sometimes define us in a way.... 

I remember stories about one of my grandmothers. 
Her homemade bread and roast dinners on Sundays were some of the most precious memories
her family had of her.  
I just read last night that my other grandmother was beloved for her homemade ice cream....
...we're talking the 1930's and 40's.  
They would go get ice from Bear Lake when it was frozen over,
haul it home and store it in a root cellar 
so they could have homemade ice cream on the 4th and 24th of July. 
One time she made it for a church social and my uncle went to get his...
and it was thin and runny.  
He spoke up to the ladies and said, "I don't want this...  I WANT MY MOM'S ICE CREAM!"
He felt like the women were trying to pawn off the not so good stuff on the kids,
and he wasn't going to have any of it..
He had chopped through the ice, drug it to the root cellar and put saw dust all around it
so he could have
"His" mom's ice cream.  
Precious story!

I decided to try the idea this year.  
Again I use the expression bitter/sweet! 
Alain's mom and his two sisters Chantal and Joce and their families came over, 
along with my daughter Jamie, Aaron and grand kids, 
my sister Tam and the Cook family.  
We had an evening of eating BBQ chicken and many, many of his favorite snacks.
Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, Black licorice, cashews, sunflower seeds,
Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Turtles, Oatmeal Cake,
Frito Boats, Symphony Toffee Bars, and Homemade Caramels!
Each food had its own time and its own story.

My granddaughter Paige woke up at 6am the morning of his birthday.
It was still pitch black outside.
She was SO excited to eat 
french toast with peanut butter for breakfast.
Anna, another granddaughter, asked her mom if she got to stay home from school!

I am touched by family and friends who were kind enough
to share another "first" with me...(both here and far away)...
without him!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wow....December already?'s December already. 
I do like the sound of December. It should be a happy month... unless it reminds you of something sad.  November was always a sad month for me because my dad died in an airplane accident.
December... no matter how hard we try to make it stick around,
will always fly by.
The millions of plans and projects probably won't happen,
but that's OK.
It's good to have plans and dreams and wishes...
even if ....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

When is enough enough?

I found this quote the other day and it really spoke to me...
"Gratitude turns what we have into enough!"

Let's see...

What I have...
What I don't have...
What I have... blessings galore...
What I don't have ... my sweetheart and best friend!
Cup half full?
Cup half empty?
My eyes perceive,
my mind records,
but my heart will decide.

As Alain left this world, I know him,
and I know he would worry and wonder,
"Did I leave "enough" for Donna?"

Enough "I love you's!"
enough forgiveness,
enough examples of strength,
enough words of encouragement,
enough means and security,
enough time spent in her service,
enough honor to family,
enough counsel and wisdom,
enough good memories,
enough humor and laughter,
enough honest examples,
enough faith in her abilities.
enough evidence of his love of God,
and his testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ...

enough and so much more.

With a heart that is still heavy and missing him... 
I will try to practice Gratitude daily
remembering to turn what I do have...
into enough!

Wishing my family and friends a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!  
Grateful for YOU!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What's a Mia Maid?

I pulled up my boots straps
and went outside to tackle the lovely snow yesterday!
I shoveled a path to the front door,
part of the sidewalk,
and a path to my mailbox.
"Pretty good," I thought,
for a spoiled girl who hasn't lifted a snow shovel in six years!

Later I heard noises out front and looked out the window...
and there was "Annie"...
shoveling the remaining snow on the driveway!

Annie is one of my Mia Maids...
My calling right now in the church is serving
in the Young Women Program...
girls ages 14 to 16... hence... Mia Maids!
This calling came about 2 months after Alain died.
I just about fell off the chair when I was asked.
"I don't really think I have anything to give right now!"
Empty, frightened and just trying to keep one foot in front of the other,
I said, "Yes."

Well, truly love those you serve, 
and sometimes they love you back!
Thank you Miss Annie... you made my winter...
I will never forget your thoughtfulness and example.
I was touched!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Patiently I'll await...

I'm watching the brilliant colors of Autumn
quickly dissapear
as unwelcome flakes of winter
bury their radiance and life...
slowly erasing summers warmth and laughter
born with springs gift of life anew.

Summers promise of life continued 
gave me strength and hope
that I could carry on without you
 minus frozen tears and ice cold memories
of death.
These could be replaced with
a living, vibrant colorful existence.

I will try to hush my fears
of cold and gray and white
of long, long days without you, 
and appreciate the quiet, restful nature
 of winter and death...
its purpose and promise.
I will ponder on our pure eternal love and future
as I patiently await our spring.
I love you Alain!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Announcing Mr. & Mrs....

Today is another timeline...
Nine months.

I was touched by an email I received from a very dear friend, Sharon.
One of the things she mentioned is the following...
"Donna, I really think that a great source of keeping your heart turned outward
is your deep, abiding gratitude....

(Thank you for that PERFECT insight...
I agree 100% and I'm trying to outweigh it every day!)

The airport became more familiar again
as I flew to Augusta, Georgia
for Adam & Lauren's wedding!

The happy couple were married
October 29th
in a beautiful outdoor garden setting.

When we arrived in our hotel room
Lauren had a WELCOME basket 
for each person!
It was filled with goodies and treats and information
all about Augusta...

Alain's sister Chantal was my invited
traveling companion...
we had some great times this trip!

Many of our family were there for Adam & Lauren.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends!
Lauren has a wonderful family as well.
We all got along instantly and enjoyed getting to know one another.
(I could listen to that southern drawl all day long,
with a bonus of sitting on a rocking chair on the veranda!)


Some of the GROOMSMEN....

...another groomsman..(so dashing I might add!)

I finally got to visit Brandon and Megan 
in North Augusta, South Carolina.
Look at this beautiful home!
The surroundings were just as stunning!

This is one of their three dogs...

Brandon so graciously offered to make us all lunch.
We all tried to pitch in, but he is too fast and too good
for us to keep up with.
The inside of their home was beautiful as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Adventure to Wyoming and Kindness of Family

I drove to Star Valley, Wyoming yesterday morning.
The drive around Palisades Dam was breathtaking.
I pulled over four times to take pictures.
Pretty daring for little me!
This is when I wish I had a big fancy camera.... sigh!

I arrived at Star 6 Ranch to spend a few days with my sister and her husband!
He always jumps for joy when I come..

No, he is so good to me and puts up with us!
He even took us down to the river and set up chairs,
so we could just sit and hear the babbling brook go by!

Her holiday decorations are a scream!

Neil fishing in the Salt River...

I promised my sister I wouldn't put the picture in of the two of us...
bad hair day...
so here are our shoes.  

My big sis called me up the night before I left,
and said, "Neil's got everything in the truck ready to go!"
I said, "We're really going to go to Paris?
(The cemetery in Idaho).
They had dark, rich soil,
rakes, shovels, pruners and grass seed ready to go!
We drove there and worked hard and made it look so nice.
(Not sure why the cemetery people hadn't taken care of it)

This is a picture from behind Alain's headstone. 
These are the weeping birch trees my mother planted
when my dad died 45 years ago.
I just can't believe how beautiful they are.

So grateful for this mid-week adventure
and for the love and help of family.

(This picture makes me feel like this can't be real...oh how I wish it wasn't.) 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Circle of service... touching my life!

Over the weekend...
the BYU-Idaho University 5th Ward Wonderful Kids...
  dropped by for some good 
old fashioned

One of the jobs they did for me was to pick the rest of the apples from the trees...
I gave them some gallon size baggies and said to keep them to eat.
(the apples... not the baggies)!
Tonight I had to run to a friends home and left my garage door open.
When I arrived back...
there was the most beautiful, fresh, warm apple pie sitting on my steps.
These young kids were the most
kids on the face of the earth...
cream of the crop...

Gratitude isn't a big enough word for all the help I've received.
The darling couple on the left hand side of the picture are my dear friends.
(and the three girls in front of them are their adorable daughters...with one more in the very front).
Bruce and Wendy have been such a great help and support since Alain died.
Bruce was the person that got to Alain right after his accident
and was with him when he passed away.
 They have to be the cutest, most in love couple
I have ever seen.
Alain and I very much enjoyed being around them....
their example and friendship and love for life was refreshing.
Wish it could have lasted longer...
 I'm counting on it starting right where it left off ...
 when we're all together again one day!

This is a picture of the pie and the little note that was left with it.
I love the saying, 
"What goes around comes around."
Isn't it true.... good and bad?

What goes around...  service...comes around.... apples
...goes around.... service...comes around... apple pie!

I just love it... and I'm grateful to tears!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"You see, we can't stay home all our lives,
we must present ourselves to the world 
and we must look upon it as a 
                                                               Beatrix Potter

"Miss Potter" has to be my favorite movie.  Before Alain died we watched it several times.  He came home from work one day and asked me what I had done that day.  I said, "Watched Miss Potter..."  He said, "Again?"  That happened more than once.  We didn't have cable, and watching TV is one of my least favorite things to do... (life's too short)... but I did get hooked on this movie.  I loved her determination when her mother discounted her talent, spirit and her love for life and nature, I loved how she found true love in a man who understood why her parents couldn't except it (because they had never know "their" kind of love).  My heart broke for the tragic loss she experienced when Mr. Warne died suddenly, shattering her hopes and dreams for the future, but most of all I was impressed with her determination to once again move forward and make a difference in the world.

I waited for about six months before I thought I could watch it myself this time.  One Sunday afternoon after church, I decided that "this was the day".  Even before it started.... just when the music started playing, tears (with minds of their own), streamed down my cheeks.  This day, her loss was even greater because of my loss, but also my hope was increased for the fact that I can indeed "present myself to the world and look upon it as an adventure."

PS.  Anyone want to go to the Lake District some day?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

We may not always remember the people we laugh with, 
but we never forget the people we cry with.

I have been blessed with a two week reprieve
of many of the emotions that accompany loss.  
What a blessing!
  Time to catch my breath, 
look ahead,
and even feel confident that I will survive this. 
I have felt Alain reassuring me more than once
that I can do this and that he is proud of me.  
I am so grateful for the time and the experiences that we shared together... 
learning, laughing, & loving!

My voice would be that of asking my friends and family... 
are you doing the same?

Never take for granted what you have been given!

PS... Thanks for crying with me!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reaping what you sow!

I wasn't able to do a lot with our garden this year. Before the snow melted I told myself I was just going to cover the entire garden. It seemed overwhelming to even think of planting, watering, weeding, harvesting and clean up all by myself. I did cover most of it up, but I left an area  for 1 tomato plant, 1 pumpkin plant, some peas and a row of sunflowers. Truly it was mostly ignored, but what ended up happening...? The tallest sunflowers ever, the biggest juiciest tomatoes, and one big fat pumpkin still growing as we speak. These sunflowers had to be 12 feet tall.  They made me happy!

I am sad that summer is over, I am thankful for the beautiful autumn weather we've had so far, and I am bracing myself for the cold, long winter ahead. That's another post!

As I look at the years before me, without my best friend, my wish is that I will be able to continue to sow and reap, sow and reap, sow and reap.  I hope to be able to gain knowledge and experience and then in turn, use that to be able to SERVE others as Alain learned to love and do. 

Looking out my bedroom window....and smiling!