Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wyoming Easter!

This was Easter Weekend!
Angela was able to fly in from Seal Beach, CA to spend a few days!
(Michelle had just left at the beginning of the week)

My sister invited us over to the ranch for the weekend!
This picture is
Angela, me, my sister Tam, Mikan & Keri
(her adorable daughters,and friends in tears !)
I am SO grateful for family at this time.
The message of Easter was ever poignant for me this year!
I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ.

I have a secret friend....

Really wish I knew who you were!

Since the first week Alain died, I started receiving letters in the mail.
Several a week.
No name and no return address.
A small heart in the left top corner of the envelope.

They have been so delightful.
Uplifting messages and stories.

They are coming about once a week now.
I wish I could thank them at let them know that this has been such
an uplifting and thoughtful way to help someone
going through a loss.

Thank you.....thank you....
( just in case you read my blog!)

...another life has touched mine today!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Going back to college

Wow... how many years has it been since I attended college?

OK... it was in the 70's!

I felt very directed while on my trip to Italy, to come back home and
start school.
This is something I've always wanted to do... have a degree,
now I have this opportunity and I'm going to take advantage of it.

Below is one of my very good friends, Marilyn, and we are on this journey together.
We laughed as we went to the student advisory center and the girls helping us
could be our own daughters.
They were VERY nice and helpful.

Anyway, we started last week and I think it is a giant blessing in my life at this time!
Oh how I miss my sweetheart! I think he would be very proud of me.
The hurt and pain are ever present, but I am so very blessed by
so many kind people
who are making this loss a little more bearable.

Go Class of 2020!
(That is probably how long it will take me.)
Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Christlike friends who show the way... Bishop Brown

As I have mentioned in a previous post, it was my Bishop
and his dear wife Mary
who rang the doorbell on the evening of February 4th,
who sat down on the couch across from me,
and delivered the news about my sweetheart Alain.

Again, the words "eternally grateful" are the only words to describe
the feelings I will always have for the tender love exhibited by
he and Mary that night.

Immediately following the news of Alain's accident, he was there
encouraging me,
offering counsel,
and assuring me that my ward family would be there for me.

Bishop Brown is humble, caring, and wise. A spiritual giant
who always see's the bigger picture.
He makes you feel loved and valued.

He called Alain to serve with him in the bishopric
on the campus of BYU-Idaho in the fall of 2007.
Together with Brad Nielson,
they became the bishopric of the newly formed 86th Ward,
of the BYU-Idaho 1st Stake.
There grew a bond of respect and love between them all.
Alain blossomed in this calling.

I liked to remind Alain how shy he was at the beginning of that calling,
and how one night I literally pushed him... (strong nudge) to go out and meet the kids
and shake their hands.
He did! He jumped in and within a matter of a few short weeks
memorized most, if not all, of the students names.
He would get up early and go to his computer
where the students pictures and names were,
and he spent hours memorizing them,
and then...
he would give me a sheet with their pictures on it,
and I would quiz him until he knew them all.

Bishop Brown was released as a student bishop and called to be
bishop of our home ward in 2009.
In August of 2010, he called Alain as the ward Young Men's President!
Alain was thrilled to serve with him again.

Bishop Brown has many, if not all of the qualities that Alain admired
in an individual that he would like to be "more like."
He valued his friendship and advice very much.

I am so thankful for a kind, caring bishop whom by example and deed
is showing me the way and has touched my life for good!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Healing my "Heart" in Cinque Terra, Italy! Part 12

To my Sweetheart Alain...

This morning we are in Cinque Terre, in Italy. It is a remote chunk of the Italian Rivera. It is divided into five villages. We are in Riomaggiore. History tells of marauding pirates who were a persistent problem for the people here until the 1400's. Many locals were kidnapped and sold as slaves. As the threat of pirates faded, the villages prospered catching fish and growing grapes.

This morning we walked on the "Pathway of Love"

Via Dell Amore.

We've been excited about this part of our trip because of the history and traditions.
Carol bought three padlocks... one for she and Shawno, one for Michelle and Judson,
and one for me (and you).
If you lived in one of the five hillside communities of Cinque Terra,
you usually married someone from your community.
Around 1920, a railway and pathway connected some of these towns.
Young people would meet on the path and the tradition started of it being
a pathway of love.
Later people came and brought padlocks with their names written or etched on them
and they were locked onto the railings, etc. along the path symbolizing the
"locking of their love."
I was amazed at the hundreds and hundreds we saw as we walked the path.

The weather was "drizzly" and as we were walking along, Michelle said, "Oh mom look... there is a heart leaf on the ground." Sure enough there it was, red and wet and shaped like a heart. I picked it up (after taking a picture of course), and decided to put our padlock at that very spot.

This is the view looking back at the area where I put the padlock. Gorgeous isn't it?

Then.... as we were continuing on down the pathway, I looked up to the hillside and couldn't believe my eyes... there was a plant that was covered with leaves shaped liked hearts! Here are the pictures for proof!

In the center of the pathway,
we came upon a railing that was literally covered with padlocks!

There was also a lot of "love graffiti" all along the way! Most of it was in Italian of course!

This had to be one of the most unique parts of our trip.
Oh how I miss you. A huge part of me is missing.
I do know where you are and I will always be
eternally grateful
that we were "best friends"....
learning and growing each day we had together.
Your selfless love, service and kindness
will forever be a part of me!
I'll love you forever!


End of My Trip.... Healing my "Heart" Part 13

Dear Alain,

As we are driving along the freeways of France, back to Italy today, (and so
far away from my home...our home),
I've run across a talk by Neal A. Maxwell.
He speaks of being content in whatever is allotted to us in this life.
Wow... I suppose then, that my gift to you, and to myself,
is to accept what has happened and learn to be content.
He said, "Being content means acceptance without self-pity!
A friend of mine recently said she thinks there is a fine, fine line between
grieving and self-pity.
I don't know.... I'm still so new at this.
I think the key for me, will be to "count my blessings," (which are many!)

"Blessing brighten when you count them!"
(Love that!)

Elder Maxwell states, "Our response to what is allotted us is what matters."
I've tried to respond to losing you by having faith and trust...
He continues,
"there is so much to do within what has been allotted us.
Performance is what matters,

not the size of the stage."

My sphere of influence is somewhat small honey, but I will
continue to learn from your example,
living the gospel by being kind and helpful to all those I come in contact with.

One final thought I ran across said,
"when spiritually aligned, a poise can come, even when
we do not know the meaning of all things."

Love Donna

La Magnolia Bread & Breakfast
Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a remote chunk of the Italian Rivera.

It was exciting to be home and felt very welcomed by Jamie & kids!

Our last lunch together before we head back to Naples.

What a wonderful trip of a lifetime.
When I look back it is almost magical!
My grateful thanks
go to Shawno and Carol who treated me with such tender care and gave me space
to ~heal my heart!~