Friday, March 7, 2014


I am always amazed at how much time has passed when I look at my  blog/journal and realize how long it's been since I have written.  A few weeks ago we had New Beginnings and we were each asked to write down goals that would help us grow closer to Christ over the next year.  Our goals were then placed in sealed envelopes and they put them up until Young Women in Excellence when they will give them back to us so we can see if we have made progress.  One of my goals was to write in my journal weekly.  So far that has been an epic failure but I am going to try and do better. 
The last few months, probably since just before Thanksgiving my heart has been overwhelmed with, hmm what's the best word.  Awe - I don't know but just overwhelmed with the amount of trials that some are called to go thru.  I have had my heart and mind drawn continually to "trials of faith".  It is simply amazing to see the many heartbreaking examples of adversity all around me.  I have seen women lose their husbands to death, and perhaps just as painful wives who feel that they've lost their spouse to pornography addiction, I've seen mothers who have had to bury children, watched as couples see their children fall away from the gospel, families battle chronic illness, individuals and families deal with chronic pain, I've seen women who want so badly to be mothers struggle with infertility while they see the teenage neighbor cry because she is expecting a baby she didn't plan. And the older I get the more I am amazed at the different sides there are to every single trial.  There is always more then one person involved and more then one person's heart who is breaking in a different way over the very same thing.  For a personal example - almost 10 years ago I made the very painful decision to get a divorce.  I can honestly say it was the hardest decision I have ever made and one that I spend more time on my knees and counseling with bishop/stake president's/counselors then I ever had before.  It was a choice that I had never imagined myself making and yet also one that I knew was necessary for my own spiritual survival.  I knew that I had the blessing of the Lord as I made that choice and I knew that it would bring with it life long consequences.  I didn't know however that at some point my children would chose to live somewhere besides my own home.  That choice is heartbreaking to me as a mother and yet as I watch Barry wish that his children lived closer to us - I know that for their dad this is a great thing.  I know that I don't understand how the Lord can turn things to our good or for the good of somebody else but I do know that it is possible.  Just a week or so ago I learned of a family in Pocatello who lost almost their entire family in one night, while the two oldest children are serving missions.  A few days ago I heard of a sweet family in my own town who lost their father and husband.  My heart aches so much for these families.  I have good friend who lives with almost soul wrenching depression and I only wish I had an idea of how to reach out to her.  Everywhere I turn their are heart aches and trials.
  I've watched as my own husband struggles with not being able to financially support our family and even though I assure him over and over that this is the Lord's plan for my life he still struggles with how to cope with the trials that life has handed us. 
Before you think that this whole entry is full of sadness I also must say that at the same time I am amazed at the miracles, large and small, I see all around me every day.  I have watched over the past year as a patient I know who has been handed some of the hardest of life's trials is overcoming them. She is rising up and in the process she is setting and example and raising the bar for her children so that their lives will forever be better for her choices.  I have watched as women who thought they would never get to hold a baby in their arms, are told that they will very soon see their very own infant in a few short months.  I have seen in my own life financial blessings that seemed impossible.  A short memory of that goes like this.  One day while I was a single mom and very much struggling each day with just making ends meet I had a strong desire to attend the temple.  I called and ask my mom if she could take me.  She apologized but said she couldn't leave the elderly gentleman that she cared for in her home.  I didn't have enough gas to drive myself to the temple or even to drive myself to work the next week.  I did not know what to do and I wanted the peace that is felt in the temple so badly.  A few hours later as I sat wondering how I would get my laundry done with out any quarters that week and feeling rather sorry for myself in my quiet apartment (my children were with their father for the weekend) I got a call from my mother.  She said that my little brother Joseph had volunteered to watch Mr. Ricks (the elderly man my mom cared for) this was in and of itself a small miracle because this was not a task that either of my little brothers relished.  Anyway my mom told me that she and my dad would drive me and attend the temple with me.  I was so glad.  After we had left the temple my dad gave me a $20 bill and told me he wished it were a hundred and that he loved me.  They also gave me a roll of quarters from my little brother Joe.  I did not understand what was happening.  Not only did I get to go to the temple but I had money for gas and quarters to do my laundry with.  The Lord had truly provided for me.  To me it was a miracle.  I have great faith in the Lord and know that He can turn all things.  Even sickness and heartache and death to something that works for our good. Even though I don't understand how or when.  This week my nephew Christopher, who is a missionary posted this as his face book status:
Elder Russell M. Nelson:
We’ve all had that experience. We’ve prayed for something to happen, and it didn’t happen.I think we need to learn a lesson from the Lord Himself who taught us how to pray. In the Lord’s Prayer He said: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9–10...). If we can train ourselves to pray to God that we might conform to His will rather than have Him conform to our will, that problem will disappear. It’s a matter of learning who is the Father and who is the son or the daughter. You pray to be consonant with the will of God and to let your life be consonant with His will and direction for you. Maybe that means you have to suffer through a death or an illness in the family in order to get the growth and the experience that will be to your eternal advantage. Remember who you are when you pray and to whom you’re praying.
I want to learn this faith.  I want to learn how to pray for God's will and make that become my own.  I want to learn to trust so that no matter what happens in my life or those around me that I do not lose my faith.  I want to draw closer to my Savior and closer to my Father in Heaven. That is my desire for the coming year.  This is my goal.  - Karin

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Today Last Year

This is kind of a strange week, thinking about the upcoming anniversary of our accident.  Today - not the date - but the day - does that make sense?  Anyway this day last year was the last day I went to work for almost 4 months.  Of course I didn't know that it would be the last day.  If I had known I would have left my desk less of a mess!  I am in a strange mood today.  Almost giddy. I am just so excited for this weekend with our kids.  I'm excited for the holidays to feel like holidays.  I have so much to be thankful for and i am feeling it today.
I am so thankful for the husband that I have.  I am so glad to be married to my best friend.  I love our relationship.

I am so thankful for our children.  I am grateful for the gift of motherhood.  I always always wanted to be a mother and loved (well maybe not in the moment - but still) giving birth to my 4 children.  I love having them in my life.  My sister-in-law told me the other day that step-kids are "bonus kids" - I love that.  They truly are a bonus.  I love my  bonus children! 

I love the family that I grew up in.  I am so blessed with the parents that I was sent too.  I love my siblings. We didn't always get along when we were growing up but now I have a great deal of love for them.  I just learned this morning that instead of buying sibling gifts for each other last year they gave money to us - I could cry.  So sweet.

I love the family that I am married to.  Last night  for Cassidy's play we had two entire rows of the auditorium filled for her.  How great is that.  They love me and my children and I love them  for it.  They were also so amazing last year.  I can't even beleive how amazing they were in our time of need.

I love the family that I was once married in.  That may sound strange  but it is true.  I loved the Rice family and still do.  I love that my children have so many sets of grandparents to look up to.  I love the examples that they see in the their aunts and uncles.

I love my job.  I love that Heavenly Father helped me with school and helped me pass that crazy nursing board so that I could have the job that I have now.  I love my office and the people that I work with so much.  I feel like they are part of my family. I am so thankful for the love and support they have always shown me but especially this past year - they have given so much of their time and love and hours and everything else.

I love my calling at church.  I have never helped in young women's before and  I love being a part of this organization for girls. 

I love my life.  It is so incredibly hard some days and yet it is so good.  I allow myself to get so frustrated sometimes.  There are so many things that are hard and so many hard things around us.  And scary time ahead - I know this.  And my life is so far from perfect.  I am so far from perfect and yet my Father in Heaven is so good to me.  I love reading the scriptures and have a deep love for the Book of Mormon.  I have been paying attention this year to passages that say something about being a highly favored people of the Lord.  Watch for them - their lives are never easy and almost always filled with war and yet they talk about being highly favored.  I have been thinking alot about that this past year about what it means to be highly favored.  I know that I have been blessed and I am so grateful for the life I have and the blessings that I have received.  My life has not been easy (not as hard as some but hard for me) but I have also seen many miracles and I love my life.  I am happy. - and I know it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

This Week

All our kids will be home this week for Thanksgiving/Christmas!  I am so excited.  We are having our Christmas celebration this year on the 21st since it isn't our year for Christmas.  Seriously i feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve -  CANNOT wait! I won't post what we got for them since there is the slight chance that they might read our blog - I doubt it but you never know. 
Anyway I can't beleive how excited I am for Wednesday to come.  We are going to spend the day together and Suzy is taking our pictures that afternoon.  We are even going up to my mom's for a pie party.  Last year was supposed to be the first annual pie event at the Brown's house.  But last year didn't work our so great - since that was the day of our car accident.  This year we are staying put at home!

I can't wait to see all the kids. Christmas just wasn't the  same last year and won't be this year either since we won't have any kids on Christmas Eve or Christmas day but I am just thrilled to see them this week.  It is amazing how much you miss the kids when they are gone.  We get to have Stetson and Amanda here this year!  And Justin is coming too - everyone!  It will be crazy and noisy and losts of fun at our house on Wednesday and I can't wait!  Pictures will come soon!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Prayer and Blessings.

I’ve been thinking about prayer and blessings lately. Not just priesthood blessings but learning to recognize blessings in my own life.  I have been trying to be more aware of what they are and how often I am given tender mercies by our Father in Heaven.  At bedtime when we are laying waiting for sleep to come Barry and I have discussed this topic on multiple occasions the last few weeks.  I have noticed that somedays it is much harder to recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives.  I have also noticed that this happens on days when I am struggling.  So I have been working on recognizing and being thankful for these mercies on a more regular basis.  This has been a hard week.  There are some personal family issues that I have been struggling with and as always I struggle to turn things over to the Lord.  This is a concept that I learn over and over.  Only I must not always learn it because I find myself in the same place again and again.  I have not found time to read my scriptures this week like I should, both for myself and for family scripture time.  Life often gets in the way but I know how much it helps to keep up that habit.  I have also been thinking of prayers and the kinds of prayers I pray and what I ask for.  I am trying to align my will with the will of my Father.  Sometimes that is much easier said than done.   Sometimes I'm not too sure that I want to know what my Father in Heaven wants me to do.  I'm not often certain that I am capable of what He wants me to be capable of. I pray for health and peace and blessings and they don't always happen the way i want them too.  I try to make my prayers reasonable and possible to answer and yet they are often answered in a different way.  I love to listen to music that uplifts my soul.  One of those songs is Blessings in Disguise.  I love this song.  The words are so beautiful.  I love the message.  Sometimes what it seems my Father in Heaven sees as best is NOT what I want.  
However I have seen enough trials end as blessings that I know that my view is not always accurate.  I don't like to watch my loved ones struggle.  I don't like seeing those I love and care about make choices that will bring pain before they bring peace.  There is so much of that going around.  There are so many in pain and anquish.  It breaks my heart.  At work I have a sweet little patient who has just wormed her way into my heart and I love to see her come in.  It's sad though the trial she is going thru may very well end her life here on earth.  I'm not sure any one has ever touched me the way she has.  She is like a little shaft of light, I feel stronger by being around her and yet she is going thru something so unimaginably difficult that she probably feels darkness all the time and yet somehow she blesses my life.  I see others losing family memembers to death or bad choices.  I see parents and family members struggle to know how to help their loved ones.  It seems so often that our hands are tied and there is nothing we can do to help.  So I turn to prayer and pray that Heavenly Father will be there as He always has been even in my very darkest hour to help pour out peace when no peace should be found.  I have seen what I thought was the trial that would end my faith be the trial that built my faith and brought me closer to my Father in Heaven then I knew I could be.  I have seen those same trials be the blessing that strengthened me enough to deal with the next difficulty I am asked to pass thru.  And I have found this song Beautiful Heartache to help pull me thru also. 
I am so grateful for the blessing of feeling the spirit in difficult moments.  I am grateful for the arms of my husband around me when I can no longer hold in the tears.  I am grateful for a husband who is doing something that requires all the faith he can muster and yet he continues to put in the effort everyday and still manages to help me at the same time.  I pray I am as much a blessing in his life as he is in mine.  I am grateful for children who are willing to give me a hug and quick to say, "I love you mom"!.  I am grateful for a job when so many are wishing they had one.  I am so grateful for small blessings that we see everyday.  Little reminders that God knows who we are, we have NOT been forgotten and although we are required to do hard things - there are blessings in store.   

Sunday, September 16, 2012

An Update

Often people will ask how we are doing or how things are going.  I thought I'd take a minute and do a quick update. 
     Stetson -
          Stetson 18 and is in Moscow attending University of Idaho.  He has been there just a month and a half.  He came down last weekend for a wedding and it was good to see he and Amanda (his girlfriend).  It's fun to see him growing up and kind of scary to have him out on his own.  I'm excited for this chapter in his life though, and hope he enjoys as many moments of it as he can.  It would be nice if he was closer though so we could enjoy more of those moments with him.  He will be home at Christmas but I'm not sure about Thanksgiving - its a long drive.
     Justin -
          Justin is almost 17 and is a Junior in High School this year - crazy that before long he'll be off in the world like Stetson.  He of course will be wrestling later on this year but has recently been playing Soccer. was fun to go and watch him a couple of weeks ago.  We don't get to see as much of Justin as we would like but it's fun when he does come down.  A week or so ago he brought a cute girl to dinner and it was fun to see his aunts and uncles pick on him a little bit. I'm not sure either Stetson or Justin know how much we enjoy it when they come to visit.
     Cassidy -
          Cassidy is getting close to 15 and likes to remind me that next year she will be 16.  She is a Freshman in high school and seems to really be enjoying it although she claims to not like weight training.  Its been fun this week to see her dress up each day for homecoming week and see how cute she can be even on ugly day!  She is growing up faster then I would like her too but it is fun to have a grown up daughter.
     Hayden -
          Hayden is 13 and is in the 8th grade.  Like Justin we don't seem him nearly as often as we would prefer.  I absolutely loved it when Hayden lived at our house.  As crazy as it may sound (and somedays it really was crazy) I loved sitting at the dining room table and working on homework with Hayden.  I love the way his mind works and its fun to listen to him tell details about what he learned at school.  I gained alot of respect for him while watching him read with dyslexia - he acts like it isn't even a challenge, I would probably have given up a long time ago.
     Ammon -
          Ammon is also 13 and in the 7th grade. Crazy that he is in junior high.  Ammon has never really been one to love school but one thing I know he likes is not having to worry about spelling tests this year.  It's been funny to hear his voice change recently and he even has a little bit of hair on his upper lip - don't worry he's not about to shave it off.  It's strange to see my little boy becoming a man but I am excited to see the man he will become.  I am glad you only have to be a teenager once though because I don't think you could pay me enough to do it again.
     Treyton -
           Treyton is 121/2 and also in the 7th grade.  Treyton lives with his mom in Ucon and like the other boys we see way less of him then we would like.  I don't think any of those boys have any idea how much their dad misses them and wants to have them visit.  Last year Treyton, Hayden, and Savannah took dance.  It was amazing to see the talent that he has in this area.  Singing is another talent that Treyton has and he does it often without even thinking about it.  It will be fun to see him do things with these talents - I can easily see him in drama or something like that. 
     Rachel -
          Rachel just turned 11 about a week ago and is in 5th grade.  Scary that she will be in Young Women's next year.  As she has since I can remember Rachel loves animals.  She got a ant farm for her birthday this year and is excited to see them tunnel and things like that.  Rachel has always loved school and enjoys learning.  Its been fun to see her growing and maturing the last few months and although I sometimes wish they could stay little forever.  We had a little birthday party for Rachel and each one that came said something they liked about her.  I was impressed when they all said similar things about her being nice to everyone and everyone's friend - this is a talent that she has always had and one I hope she will always keep.
     Savannah -
          Savannah is 10 and is also in the 5th grade.  We get to have Savannah live with us this year and that has been really great.  She is in the same grade as Rachel but they aren't in the same class. I've been amazed at how different their homework has been.  It has been really fun to have Savannah in our home on a regular basis and be able to get to know her even better.  I have fallen in love with each of my step-children and Savannah is no different.  She has a fun personality and is about as boycrazy a 10 year old as I have ever seen.  He dad has promised that if she makes it through high school without being he kissed he will take her to Hawaii (sure hope i get to come too!)
      Kerri -
          Kerri is 8 and in the 2nd grade.  She was baptized this past month and it was fun to see her so excited about it.  She asked if Dr. Hopkin could baptize her and although he certainly wasn't the first person i thought she would ask it was sweet.  Kerri also enjoys school and I love having her read to me.  I love to read and its been awesome to see each of my children learn to read- although not all of them love it as much as me.  Ever since our accident Kerri has been extra affectionate, I can't get out of the house with out several kisses and hugs from her.  As I tell her often she is my favorite Kerri in the whole world. 
     Barry and I -
          I would say that Barry and I are doing pretty well.  We each have our good and bad days.  I can definitely see progress in both of us.  There are days when I think if anyone had told me in the hospital that this far out I would still have days when i wanted to cry from pain i would have been severely depressed.  Its a struggle for me to watch Barry struggle.  Being on his feet for extended periods is not easy for him and often causes him great pain.  It saddens me to see this man who has some much talent with balance and sports have to simply watch from the sidelines. His right ankle bothers him the most (the one with the compound fracture) and causes him a lot of pain on a daily basis.  He hides it pretty well most of the time and I think because of this people assume he is completely healed.  I hope this happens in time but for now just realize he is trying to be strong for all of us and rarely has a night where he can simply sleep - pain keeps him awake.  We are both aware however of how things could have, should have, might have been and are extremely mindful of the blessings we have been given.  Each time I see him shuffle across the floor - especially on bad days - I remind myself how blessed we are that he even has a foot to stand on.  His left foot (shattered heel) also bothers him but as I have said for the most part he just carries on and does what needs to be done.  It has been nice to have him home with the kids and I think for the most part (chores and stuff aren't as fun when a parent is there to insist you do it right) they have also enjoyed having him available more.  As most everyone knows Barry lost his job out at the site as a result of the accident so he hasn't been able to work since last November.  That's a long time for a man especially one as active as Barry to be at home.  He has started a couple of projects to keep himself busy.  One is a set of log dressers (he does beautiful work) and will be selling them when he is done - so if anyone knows anyone who is interested in amazing log furniture let us know.  Barry has also been accepted at BYU-I and will be attending full-time starting in January.  Just this past week however he started two online classes to help get him into the swing of things.  He is a little (ok alot) anxious about school and worries about his ability to do all that is required in college.  He doesn't see how amazing he is though and although I know it won't be easy I also know that he is fully capable and I can't wait to see his success. 
         I returned to work a few months ago and am currently working about 31/2 days of the week.  It seems my body is not quite ready for full-time yet. I still have quite a lot of pain in each area that was broken but like I said I see alot of progress and have faith that we will see even more.  I have gained a great deal of empathy for my patients who deal with chronic pain and know that this experience will work for my good in my job as a nurse.  I love my job and have enjoyed being with my patients and coworkers again - although I must admit there are days when i am downright jealous that Barry gets to stay at home and then i remember that its the same for him - he would love for me to be the one staying at home and him working. 
        As well as things are going I one of the struggles we have is finances.  Going from two good paying jobs to only one that isn't quite full-time has definitely made a strain on our budget.  We have been so grateful for the money donated to us by the community and have been using that fund to make ends meet each month.  We know it won't last forever and try to have faith instead of fear of the future of our finances.  There are days when I just remind myself that it is in the Lord's hands and leave it at that.  We have been so blessed during this trial and daily I am reminded that there are so many harder trials that we could be experiencing.  We have been granted miracles and so we don't desire to complain.  We are thankful for each prayer that is offered in our behalf and know that the faith of others is often what keeps us going.