Friday, April 3, 2015

Because He Lives

Jaren has been on my mind a lot lately. There hasn't been a day that's gone by that I haven't thought of him, but I've been REALLY missing him lately.  I cried myself to sleep the other night just wanting him so bad.  He passed away about 5 1/2 years ago. He only lived almost 12 months - so it really feels like FOREVER since I've seen him. I still long to hold him more than ever.  The other day my sister posted the cutest picture of her little boy zipping up his little sisters coat. It was the perfect candid shot.  And she said that he'd been calling her "sweets" lately. I literally about died, it was the sweetest thing I've ever seen.  It made me happy and it brought tears to my eyes.  I want Jaren to be Addie & Sara's big brother. And although he is, I long for it now! I crave little boy everything.  When I see a little boy his age do anything all I can think about is Jaren. And I imagine him adding lots of joy, chaos, and happiness into our home.  

I really hate getting stuck in the what might have been.  I don't really do it much, because it doesn't make anything feel better.  But I can't really express how excited I am that I can see Jaren again and hold him, wipe his dirty face, give him baths, feed him, snuggle him, read him his favorite dog book, and play peek-a-boo under his blankets.  I long for it so much!

These pictures right here are the closet thing I have of seeing what it will be like to see Jaren again. I wish Daddy wasn't behind the camera and was right there next to us. 

This is Addie meeting Sara for the first time (17 months ago to the day).   Look at her face! She's so happy!  I could stare at this picture all day.

And look at my face. I'm looking at Addie and am so happy that she's so happy.  We are a happy family!

I think we'll all be so excited to be together again. Our eternal family all together embracing each other and laughing and smiling. It will be a happy day!
If you aren't familiar with our beliefs, you might wonder how I know this.

We believe in God, and in His Son, Jesus Christ.  They have given us the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ (which you can read about here). When Christ was crucified He left His apostles to spread the Gospel, they were killed and the true church and it's doctrines were lost.  In the spring of 1820, Joseph Smith (you can read more about this in the links above) prayed to ask God which of the churches were true, God & Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him that none were true.  Joseph was called to restore the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.  In May of 1829 the ancient apostles, Peter, James and John conferred the Priesthood upon Joseph Smith & Oliver Cowdery. The Priesthood power that they had been given by Jesus Christ before He was crucified. The priesthood is God's power - and through the priesthood we can receive all the ordinances and blessings of the Gospel.

Then on April 3, 1836 (179 years ago today) Christ appeared to Jospeh & Oliver in the Kirtland temple. Moses, Elias, and Elijah also appeared and gave the priesthood keys to Joseph & Oliver.  Elijah brought the keys of the sealing power, which make it possible for families to be sealed together forever.

Here is my forever family in 2 pictures. 

I can't wait for the time when we are all together forever again. Christ's restored Gospel means everything to me. It's what blessed my life each day, and gives me so much to look forward to.   I pray that it will mean everything to you. He gave all He had for us. His life.

Because of Christ - because He loves us, he was willing to take upon Him the sins, pains, sorrows, afflictions, all that is unfair in life upon Him, he suffered the Atonement, was crucified, and then rose again like he said he would on the 3rd day, and now He lives.  He's given the gift of repentance and eternal life to us, all we have to do is follow Him. We don't have to be perfect, but we do have to give Him our best. He knows us so well and will help us find peace in this life.  We can be healed of all the sins, pains, sorrows, afflictions and unfair things that come before us through His atonement.  I'm so grateful that He did this for me.  And for you! Where would I be without it? I would be lost.

I know He lives and loves us and that He wants us to return to be with Him again.  That is my greatest hope in this world - to be able to live like Him, so I can be with Him and those I love forever.  We are so blessed to have His Gospel now and forever.

I am eternally grateful for my Savior!  And I'm also so grateful that I've been given the family I have.  I'm grateful that I have Jaren to long for, he helps keep me on the right track when I start to stray.

I'm so blessed! God is good!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Thoughts on Gratitude

Today I was reading from the January 2015 Ensign (it's a magazine put out by our church). There was an article entitled, "Heavenly Father Provided an Answer to Prayer When...." In the article several people share experiences of their personal prayers and how Heavenly Father gave them answers. 

One of the final stories talked about pouring out our gratitude to Heavenly Father during our prayers.  This one really stood out to me.  I was thinking about how these same kind of things happened soon after Jaren passed away.  I wondered why Heavenly Father was helping me so much. I was having a hard time to say the least, but I had so much peace in my life - he was really holding me up and helping me move forward.  As I read this Ensign article today - I was struck with the fact that my gratitude for the blessings of the Gospel was what was helping me so much. At this particular time I was extremely grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and for the Plan of Salvation. 

The girl from this article said, "The more grateful I was, the more I could recognize the blessings I received and appreciate the lessons I learned from difficulties. And the more I recognized the blessings and lessons, the more I had to be grateful for."  I love this. Gratitude truly invites the Spirit of the Lord to be more abundant in my life.  I feel that being thankful for the Gospel and it's teachings truly helps me recognize how much I have and how gracious our Heavenly Father is. He truly loves us.  The trials I have been given aren't a form of punishment, or a sign of my disobedience. But they are a tool that has helped me to understand His love for me more.  He truly loves me, He loves everyone.  And I know that as we pray we can feel His love for us more in our lives. 

Richard G Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: "Don't worry about your clumsily expressed feelings. Just talk to your Father. He hears every prayer and answers it in His way".  (From Nov 1989 Ensign, Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

5 Years

 I can hardly believe it's been 5 years since our little Jaren passed away.  It seem like forever ago!

The past 3 years we have been sharing Jaren's story with our family, friends, and neighbors for FHE for the whole month of November.  This year it has been extra special.  Each time it's gone a little differently, even though we had the same  basic outline of what we wanted to share.

This past Monday we had two couples over, they are both dear friends, and we loved having them in our home. It was special to feel the spirit in our home with them, and to tell them about Jaren.

As Steven was talking he got on the topic of what we had done before Jaren was admitted to the hospital. I hadn't taken a whole lot of time to think about this particular instance until then, but as he spoke I was reminded what an important moment this time was for me.

I'll explain some detail to help you understand what I'm trying to say.

To start, on Monday, November 9, 2009 Jaren was being really fussy, he was that way all day on the 9th and 10th. His gums were super swollen and you could tell his teeth were about to come through.  So at first this was all I thought was wrong.  On Wednesday, the 11th, he took his usual long afternoon nap. When he woke up he was super sad, so I sat in the rocking chair with him.  He immediately fell asleep on my chest.  He NEVER, and I mean NEVER slept on me, so I thought this was really strange. Even more strange because he'd just slept for several hours.  So I called the Doctor thinking this had to be more than "just teeth".  We were able to get an appointment 30 minutes later.  As we sat in the Doctor's office he fell asleep on me again.  Which again, made me wonder what could possibly be wrong, this was so unusual for him to do.

The Doctor's office checked his temperature, it was 103 degrees F.  His noise, ears and throat all looked healthy.  When he looked down his throat with a popsicle stick Jaren threw up.  This is when we was diagnosed with Gastroenteritis. We were told he'd be throwing up and having diarrhea - and that we would need to make sure he stayed hydrated.

Friday morning, his fever was 104.2 and he wouldn't eat or drink anything. We tried everything, milk, nursing, juice, water, feeding from a bottle, using a medicine syringe on the side of his mouth. He refused.  So we took him to the ER (emergency room at the hospital).  They couldn't draw blood - but were able to put an IV in him to hydrate him (let's not talk about how stupid they were here! I could rant and rant, but it doesn't make me feel any better, so please just don't ask or say anything about it, thanks!). They told us we could go home if we wanted since we couldn't get him to eat or drink there, so we did.

At this point you can imagine we were feeling a bit hopeless, they had nothing to offer.  They just sent us home with a sick boy and no answers.   That day was hard.   My mom and mother-in-law came over to help me with Jaren.  He was arching his back and really in pain.  I couldn't even hold him anymore, my arms hurt so bad. My mom came and gave me break and held him so I could try to sleep a little.  The hard day turned into a long night.  Steven, who was in school, really couldn't focus on anything else.  We didn't know what to do for Jaren.  Jaren had received a priesthood blessing on that first day I took Jaren to the Doctor.  But that night, after being worn and watching him suffer all day, I was very angry.  I hate to say this, but at the time this is how I felt.  I was angry with God. And I was venting to my husband.  Saying things like...."why isn't the blessing helping?", "I don't know what to do?", "why does he have to suffer like this?".  I was in tears. I was frustrated. I was hurting.  My baby was in pain and the ER didn't help him, and I didn't seem to be able to do anything to help him.  And God was not blessing him with health and peace from all that was going on.

My husband is the sweetest and most patient person I know.  He has always responded in love to me. He wasn't mad at me for wondering these things.  And he offered me some hope, and helped me remember to have faith, even though things aren't going the way I want them.  This is the moment I was referring to earlier.  At this moment when I was so angry, helpless and hopeless.  Steven pulled out one of the Teaching of the Prophets books, it was the teachings of Joseph Smith, chapter 19, "Stand Fast through the Storms of Life". We read about how Joseph was up one night caring for his 11 month old son (just like Jaren, 11 months), who was sick with the measles. Joseph had finally fallen asleep when the angry mob barged in and drug him out, ripped his clothes off and tarred and feathered him.  His son died 5 days later from being exposed to the cold that night while suffering with the measles.

As I read this account, it is touching and encouraging to know that this didn't stop Joseph. He still had faith, he sill loved God. He didn't blame God. But he kept moving forward.  As we read and talked about this account that night, I remember feeling the spirit and my heart was softened.  I was still frantic and worried, but I knew I needed God.

By Saturday, the 14th, Jaren was in total pain, bloated belly, he couldn't open his eyes, and he was groaning.  We didn't think the gastroenteritis could be this bad.  So we went back to the ER, who had sent us home the day before with nothing.  The discussed options and finally decided to send us to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.  That day, as the Doctors there tried to figure out what was wrong, they came in after having Jaren away from us for a few hours to let us know, "they didn't know if he would make it".  Those words pierced my soul. I can't even describe what hearing those words feels like.

After telling us all that they would do to try to help him and figure out what was wrong, they let us go see him.  He was hooked up to all sorts of tubes, and machines.  His hospital room was one of the most spiritual places I've ever been.  He was so close to the other side, and we could feel the Spirit of the Lord.

My dad recalls coming to see us and seeing the nurses and doctors running about, and I was there, stroking Jaren, singing, "I am a Child of God".  We had so many people fasting and praying for Jaren and us, and we were truly lifted by that. I'm so thankful for that.  It has been what has helped us through these last 5 years. 

I'm so thankful for a husband who helped turn me in the right direction at probably the most critical moment.  Without God, without the Gospel of Jesus Christ, without my knowledge of the plan of salvation and eternal families, I would not be able to move on.  I'm sure I'd be in a very deep state of grieving and pain still.  But Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for us. God gave His son.  After losing my son in death, I can only try to imagine what it was like for God to willing let His son suffer and die for us.  He did this because He loves us.  Knowing Christ suffered for my sins, my pains, sufferings give me strength. I know He knows how I felt 5 years ago, how Jaren felt then, how I feel now. And although every day is not easy, as I turn to Him, He is always there, with loving arms to lift and help me along the way.

My pain is still there.  I miss Jaren. I long to hold him again. But I have an overwhelming sense of peace to be able to move forward, striving one day at a time to make it back to God's presence. That's where Jaren is. And that's where I want to me.  He's my little light house - helping me find my way.  I love him for that. I'm so thankful I was chosen to be his mother! I'm so blessed!  He's changed who I am.

I love you Jaren, see you soon!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

He's Always On My Mind

 Jaren was here for almost a year (he passed away 6 days shy of his first birthday).  So for each month of the year I have a few memories of him that stand out. They are what I have to hold on to.  I really cherish them so much!  October memories include some really fun things.  One of those is Halloween.  Jaren had been a really growl-y baby from about 5-6 months+.  So our decision to be a pirate family for Halloween was perfect. He had this little growl that was so funny!  He'd growl a lot! The times I remember him growling the most were at church.  We'd be sitting in sacrament meeting and he'd be standing on the bench between Steven and I and he'd be looking at the people behind us and growling. I think it was his way of being friendly and saying "hi". Here is a video of him swishing his sword like he knows what he's doing at our ward Halloween party.  The way he jumps in this video reminds me so much of our 11 month old, Sara, right now.  I love finding things similar between my kids. It's so fun!

And here is a good video to show you what his growl was all about. He was really having a lot of fun here!  This was when he was 7 months old at my Grandparents mission homecoming luncheon.

I love these fun memories we have of Jaren.

November is Jaren's birth month and the month of his passing. It's really bitter-sweet for me sometimes, and I get a bit emotional as the anniversary of his passing and his birthday come.  But we love to think of him.  And I'm so thankful he is ours eternally!  That's what gets me through.

Love that little boy of mine!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Sweet kids!

Today I walked by this picture in our house and stopped to look at if for a second.  It really brought me to tears all of the sudden. Sometimes I really miss a certain time or phase of life. This is one of those times that I miss.  First off, I was super skinny back then, I'd love to live that over (wink, wink).  And then I was just smiling through my tears at the happy look on Jaren's face.  He was such a water baby!  He was so crazy in the tub, we'd usually end up just about as soaked as he was.  I was kind of reliving this day as I looked at this picture.  We were at Bear Lake in Idaho, and Jaren was very into the water and sand. He was going crazy! We couldn't stop him from eating handfuls of sand, and he had this sweet happy look on his face as we pulled his chubby self around in the water.  He was a little tank, look at that chubb! 

I think my little Sara looks an awful lot like him.  What do you think? Here are all 3 of my kiddos in matching jammies! Sara has worn big holes in the toes. 


They all have their own look, really. But Sara and Jaren have the same cheeks!  Love these kiddos!

I sure am thankful that I have the blessing of being the mother to these sweet kids. It isn't always easy - but it's worth it! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Missing Him

The other night before going to bed I was thinking about how school is starting around here.  If Jaren were here still he'd be starting Kindergarten tomorrow. And I started crying. As I've been going to the store lately I keep passing the little boys section and wanting to buy some boy clothes.  If Jaren were here, I'd be doing that.  I want that. I want him. I miss having my little boy here.  I really long to hold him and have our family all be together again. 

I often find myself imagining what it would be like if Addie and Sara had their older brother here to play with them and probably make them cry sometimes too. I'm sure there would be a little more drama then we have right now with 2.  Sometimes I feel I can hardly stand the drama of Addie and Sara.  But I long for Jaren and the reality of what it would be like if he were here.

When I was expecting Addie just 3 months after Jaren passed away, I was so excited to be pregnant again.  I was excited that we'd have another little person to care for.  I also had feelings of fear, like, am I replacing him?  But I talked myself out of those thoughts because I knew I really wasn't.  Addie and Sara have brought the joy of parenting back into our home and I'm thankful.  With Jaren absent for now - I find myself thinking of him in the moments when I struggle with the frustrations that can come with motherhood.  He helps me remember to be more patient.  

Most of the time I find myself perfectly content with my life. I know where Jaren is - he's in heaven and he's doing Heavenly Father's work.  I know he's where he's supposed to be - and I've become a stronger person since becoming his mother. But sometimes I just feel jipped, I need him, and I want him, and I want him now.  Sometimes it just doesn't seem fair.  But when I stop crying and stop and think. It really is fine - God blessed me with an eternal family and I have the opportunity to be with Jaren again.  And not only that, I get to start right where we left off. When he is resurrected at Christ's second coming, he will still be 6 days shy of being one year old.  And I will still get to teach him and take care of him and do all those things that I long to do now.  If I look at it that way then him not being here is only a blessing. I'm not really jipped of anything. I have something to look forward to, to work toward and to live up to.  If I don't keep the promises I've made with God to have my eternal family then I won't be able to have that. There is nothing I want more. Jaren has given me even more reason to stay true, to keep enduring and living to my fullest potential here.  I'm thankful for that.  He's my little angel.  

All you Mom's with boys starting kindergarten this year, please give them a big squeeze and a kiss for me.  And hold on a little tighter! They are so sweet and we are so lucky to be their mothers!  

I love you little man! 


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Motherly Thoughts

[Mom & Jaren - Fall 2009]

Last night I had one of those guilt moments about what I didn't do for Jaren that I wished I could have done.  I won't go into the details, cause I know most of my thoughts are Satan trying to make me feel awful and that I'm not a good enough mother. It's hard to break out of that slump of thinking sometimes, but I've learned that I really have the power to cast all of those thoughts out. I know Heavenly Father doesn't feel that way and neither does Jaren.  

Anyhow, I kind of started thinking about Jaren as I thought of my sweet little 5 month old, Sara.  She reminds me so much of Jaren in so many ways.  Which is a tender mercy from my Heavenly Father. I'm thankful to be reminded of him in anyway. 

I sent myself an email of what I was thinking about when I couldn't helped calm my heart as I thought about it all. 

Here were some of my thoughts:
I can't stop thinking about Jaren tonight. It all started  when I was thinking about how much Sara reminds me of him. Her round face, her kinky chubby wrists and beefy chest and arms, her beady little wide open eyes. Her light colored hair with a big thick pile of hair right on top! So sweet! Love these little babes!

I feel so frustrated with myself sometimes for getting impatient with Addie and Sara. How can I be so impatient with them when I know how fragile life is? 

Then I was thinking about Kaia (my cute little one year old niece) and Sara and how they are both little like Jaren was when he passed away. It's hard work to take care of these little ones! Then I got thinking about how I took for granted how good I had it when Jaren was a babe.  And then all of the sudden, literally, he was gone. He was fine and then got sick - we had a short, crazy week in the hospital and he was gone from this life. Our lives were immediately changed. And I miss him. I miss him so much. I often think about what life would be like if he were here with his two little sisters. I'd have a 5 1/2 year old!!! I can't even fathom that!

Right now Jaren is helping me remember to hug and hold on to my little ones. They are only little once. They'll only need me like they do now once. One day they'll be grown and might not even think of me in a single day. I want to make the most of the time I have with them now. I want too create a relationship with them that is important to us both and that is strong. I want them to know that I love them and would do anything for them.

Jaren changed who I am. And he's still very much a part of my life. He's still changing and influencing me for the better. He didn't really need me. I needed him. That's probably why he's gone and I'm here. God  has a perfect plan. And I'm glad He knows me well enough to give me the trails I need to bring me closer to Him. Jaren had brought me closer to Him. I'm so thankful for that!  Love my little angel children!

[Addie & Sara - my two little rays of sunshine! Aren't they sweet holding hands?]