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. 

Bringing Back the Kids

Of course Barry always wantd to run the camera but here are most of us getting ready for our hike.

Kerri playing at the top

Working our way - myself a little extra slow

Not sure what he was saying at this point but hey we made it!

We made it all the way to the top!!!

Ammon running around - he climbed up and down about 4 times while we were still hiking

Cassidy waiting for us - in typical teenager style she thought the whole thing was kind of dumb - but still humored us and hiked to the top too.

Girls waiting for us - after they walked and rand and climbed all over for quite a while

Kerri and Rachel following Ammon down the "hard way"

What a beautiful place - and worth the hike!
This July when we got the kids back from their Dad's house we made a trip down to Albuquerque to pick them up.  We stopped at an arch in Moab Utah that was about a half a mile from the road.  It was a nice break from driving and what made it even nicer was it had just stopped rainning there (we hadn't seen any rain however) and so it wasn't super dusty.  At first I thought we'd just send the kids up and Barry and I would watch them from the car but then I realized that I really wanted to make the hike myself.  I wasn't sure in the beginning if I could make it.  Some areas were quite steep.  For both Barry and I and incline or slope is still hard to walk up or down.  Barry showed me that if I walk backwards or sideways it is easier.  I'm sure we looked a little silly but it worked.  It was so fun to make it to the top.  The kids climbed up and down and all over while the waited for Barry and I to make it but in the end we did make it.  It felt like an accomplishment.  I'm glad i didn't just wait in the car.  We can do hard things!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Overcoming my Fears

     While I was on the rehab floor at the hospital I was supposed to learn all sorts of things.  Things like getting myself dressed again or getting myself into or out of the tub.  I had to learn how to get into and out of the bath and all sorts of things like that.  One day as I struggled to learn to stand on one leg and swivel myself out of the bed and into my wheelchair the therapist commented that by biggest holdup was my fear of falling.  I said yeah because I think it would really hurt to fall.  I had imagined falling on my already broken body and feared what that might feel like.  I don't have any memory of the time during and after the accident.  Even though I was awake and aware enough to talk to those surrounding me and things like that I can't remember it.  I would imagine however that much of that time before surgery was quite painful.  Before the accident I had never broken a bone and thought of what that might feel like - I don't like pain.  I don't like hurting.  I don't want to cause myself pain.  So yes falling was a fear.  The therapists told me this was something I needed to overcome.  They said in all likely hood I would indeed fall at some point and I needed to know that I could take care of things if it happened.  In fact one day we spent over an hour working on that very thing.  They decided it would help if I knew what to do after I fell so they decided to let me learn to get myself up off the floor.  My therapist lowered me carefully to the floor - even carefully it was pretty painful. And then said figure out how to get up.  Keep in mind that my left leg was broken - 3 places in the pelvis, broken knee, broken tibia and fibula, and a broken ankle.  I had pins and plates and screws throughout my entire leg, including 8 screws in my knee alone.  I had a large brace holding my leg in position that went from my thigh to my ankle.  I had also broken my right femur and although it was supposed to be my strong leg I had recently learned that the reason I was unable to bear weight on it was because all the bones in my knee were very bruised and actually as painful as anything else - in fact I still have quite a bit of pain in that right knee.  Anyway to say the least attempting to get up off that floor was intimidating and painful.  We were out in the sitting area of the rehab floor.  So many people walked by and most stopped to watch for a few minutes and comment on what might or might not help.  Even the pain team came up (like 6 people) and talked to me about what I should try next.  It was a little bit unnerving to feel like you had to perform and live up to the expectations of all these people.
     At the risk of disappointing any of those people who may read this blog I was unable after more then an hour to get myself up off the floor.  I tried - and believe me I tried but was simply incapable of getting myself up.  I did figure out how to get across the floor - albeit slowly. I put my right leg over my left and used the plastic brace to slide across the floor.  The therapist commented that he had never seen anyone do that.  We tried and retried pulling myself up on the couch, the chair, the wheelchair, and even the end tables but to no avail.  I was so tired.  Eventually they sort of laughed and suggested that I keep my cellphone with me for if I fell at home.  Because of the nerve damage to my left leg and foot it is difficult to lift my foot correctly.  Which is actually better then it was when I first came home - at that point it might as well have been nailed to the floor. I can now lift it about 11/2 - 2 inches off the floor but don't have a whole lot of strength in that leg.  And really no strength at all in that foot.  I have a brace that I am supposed to wear which helps keep me from scuffing and tripping over my toes.  It slows me down though and I'm sure there is even some pride involved in not wearing it.  I have tripped over my toes on countless occasions - but haven't fallen.  Not long after we got out of our wheelchairs - that first week I think.  I was walking across the living room floor and tripped either on something left on the floor or my own foot I'm not sure.  You know that feeling when you trip and you do sort of a hoppy dance trying to to fall?  Well I was there and it scared me so so bad.  My heart was beating so hard.  A few hours later when Barry came home I started crying as I told him about it and my heart felt as if I was reliving that fear of falling.  I was surprised to realize how truly afraid of falling I really was.  Well like I said I have tripped numerous times and have learned to pay attention to walking - to be aware of my feet and what they are doing.  This is not generally a part of a persons day.  I think once we learn to walk its sort of like learning to drive a stick shift and at some point the movements become automatic and you just don't think about them anymore.  I have gotten pretty good at multi tasking and can pay attention to my walking while still carrying on as if I wasn't.
     Until today apparently.  I was in a hurry at work and was talking to my manager when I turned around to scurry down the hall and quickly found myself on my hands and knees on the floor.  It happened so fast I didn't even have time to think about it or stop myself.  It hurt my knees but mostly it scared me so much.  My heart was beating full speed and I could feel my eyes welling up with tears.  Like I said it did hurt, quite a bit actually and I could feel the inflammation and swelling all day but more then the physical pain was the fear.  I had actually fallen.  I'm not sure why I was so embarrassed everyone was so nice and my manager was super quick to help me up.  Everyone was asking if I was ok but I really just wanted to be by myself and not think about it.  After a while i was glad that that first time was over.  Now I don't have to be afraid.  Although I did have help getting up I have learned to get myself up off the floor.  I usually need to be close to something and use it to pull myself up and it is super awkward and way harder then I think it should be but I can do it.  So maybe I won't have to worry about it so much now.  I have fallen and I got up and I survived.  I was thinking that I have lots of fears that I need to overcome.  I have overcome other fears in my life.  Fear of divorce and being on my own, fear of returning to school, fear of getting remarried.  Fear of not doing well at my job fear at not being good enough - at anything.  But there are still so many. I have always been afraid.  Barry has helped me overcome many of my fears and taught me that a little bit of fear sometimes makes things more fun.  I love white water rafting but it scares the daylights out of me and I love it.  Maybe this will help me continue to learn to overcome my fears and be willing to try new things because so far I have survived everything I've tried!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Kerri Gets Baptized

Kerri and Grandma Rice - with the cute dress Grandma made her.

Kerri and Dr. Hopkin - just before baptism

Kerri and most of the men who helped confirm her - one or two had already snuck off!

Kerri and Barry

Kerri and me!!
Kerri Lois Rice turned 8 years old on May 21st.   She was baptized on the first Saturday of August.  I am so glad for this blessing.  I am so glad she is on the right path to eternity.  I love the blessings of baptism and have been thinking of them since this wonderful event.   I am grateful for the promises we are allowed to make at baptism and even more thankful for the promises made to us.  I pray that I can live worthy of the promises God makes to us. 

A New Calling

This morning I got a call asking me to meet with the bishop for just a few minutes before church.  I agreed and went to his office.  He has been periodically checking up on Barry and I and part of me assumed that this is what the meeting would be about.  In my heart though I feared that I was going to be released from my calling of teaching the 12 year old sunday school class.  Just the week before our accident I was called to serve in this calling.  I was so excited.  I love primary and I have spent my adult life fulfilling callings in primary.  In fact since becoming an adult I had only had one calling that was something other then in the primary organization and that was when I was a nanny in New York in 2004!  I have loved serving in the primary and have genuinely loved the callings I have had there.  I developed friendships with the women I served with that I will be forever thankful for.  When I received the call to teach the 12 year olds I was nervous but really excited.  I had been sustained but not yet set apart when our accident happened.  When the bishop came to see me in the hospital he told me that they were not releasing me but they had arranged for someone else to teach until I was well enough to do it myself.  That was the end of November and in the beginning of January I felt ready to teach my class. I was going to be Ammon and Treyton's teacher and Hayden had decided to come to the class also.  I loved it even more then I imagined I would and it quickly became one of my favorite callings.  Barry came and helped me teach due to the large size of the class - most Sunday's we had between 10-13 kids.  The 12 year olds have a different manual than other sunday school classes.  While most everyone is reading and studying the Book of Mormon this year they are learning from the book "The Blessings of Exaltation".  I have been amazed at the lessons taught in this manual - always things I needed way more then the kids in my class it seemed.  I have loved the young men and young women in my class.  They have taught me so much and I have felt the prayers they have offered in Barry and my behalf.  I love these guys so much. 
So this morning as I sat waiting for the bishop I knew in my heart that I would be released.  When the bishop confirmed that indeed I was being released I had to squeeze my eyes closed for a moment in order not to cry.  He then said they were asking me to be the Young Women's Secretary and I was so surprised.  I have not been in young women's since I was a young woman and of course I said yes to the call.  I was set apart today after Sacrament meeting and in the blessing I was told I need to "heed" the whisperings of the Holy Ghost and that the miracles that I have experienced in my life would be an inspiration to the girls and help them with their testimonies.  As sad as I am to leave my Sunday school class I am excited to be a part of young women's again.  It will be fun to serve with Cassidy and get to know the young girls in our ward.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Happy 5th Wedding Day!

Barry and I celebrated our 5th anniversary this past weekend.  It was so fun.  Honestly I can't believe we've been married for 5 years already.  Well let me rephrase that some days it seems like we've been married forever and other days it seems like hardly any time at all.  I've been thinking lately about our dating and engagement.  It was so easy to fall in love with him.  That first night we met it was so interesting to visit with him and see him as a dad.  I loved talking with him that night - we talked about so many things.  We sat and visited thru like 2 movies and I didn't end up going home until like 1am.  When Barry walked me out to my minivan we talked thru the window for like 20 more minutes - I hate to admit it but I really wanted him to kiss me!  I went home that night and prayed that if nothing was going to come of our meeting then i didn't want him to call me again.  I was happily surprised when he called me the  very next day!  I had not yet introduced anyone that I had dated to my children and only dated when the were with their dad for the weekend.  Barry wanted to come over that evening and I hesitated because my kids had come home - he reminded me that I had already met his children - so I welcomed him into my home.  I loved watching him with my kids.  That evening as I walked him to his car he turned and gave me the quickest kiss I have ever received and literally ran to his car.  Our sweet little neighbor grandma was outside of her apartment and she laughingly asked if that "young man and just kissed me" - I told her yes I thought he had.  The next day he came to see me at school to eat lunch with me.  I was taking a math class at the time and several people in our class just happened to wander by so they could see this guy I had been out with.  I had no idea till months later how much sleep he lost those first few weeks when he was working nights and trying to find time together.  I think we found at least a few moments everyday for a long time.  I loved that he wanted to see me as much as I wanted to see him. 
I was a student and was stressed over trying to keep up with homework  and he was so supportive of me.  He made me feel smart and capable and I appreciated that so much.  It was so nice it made such a difference in my confidence level.  I'm not sure I could have done it without him and his encouragement. 
I remember the first time he came to church with me.  He had suggested a couple of times that he might just show up one day. So the kids and I were sitting in Sacrament Meeting and I looked up to see this good-looking guy looking at me from the end of the bench - he had on a black leather jacket and I melted clear to my toes - he was so cute!  I loved being his girlfriend - I loved being his fiance and I love love love being his wife!  He makes me happy and I love spending time with him - whether it be out on a date, sitting by his side at church, spending time with our multiple children, or just snuggling on the couch watching "Lost" - I love this man with all my heart and can't wait for the next 5, 10, 50 years and all eternity.  I am excited for what our future holds and am anxious to find out what the Lord's plan for us is.  I love you Barry Holman!

July 21st 2007

Our crazy family

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thoughts, ponderings, questions,...

     I often wonder if I am doing what my Father in Heaven would like me to be doing.  I have learned and had to relearn that when my will is aligned with His will then things go better in my life.  That doesn't mean that life is easy or perfect when that happens it just seems that even when challenges come it is easier to deal with them.  The last few years when my kids get home from visiting their dad it seems they always have something to tell me that I struggle to know how to deal with.  A couple years ago it was Cassidy telling us that her dad told her she shouldn't get married in the temple and that having a goal to marry a return missionary is not good because it narrows her options too much.  For me that was difficult to respond to for several reasons. (and maybe herein lies my problem - perhaps I over think everything)  My first reaction was to just be irritated or even angry but you have to be careful how you react especially with teens and preteens so that they will be willing to ask the next time they have a question.  Also with divorce situations you are not supposed to "talk bad or negatively" about the other parent (man thats hard sometimes!).  Anyhow - one of Cassidy's questions at that time was "why" would her dad say something like that.  My answer to this was the only thing I could imagine and that if things continue how they are going her dad will not be able to be in attendance at the temple when she goes.  For me this was the only logical answer I could come up with - still not an acceptable comment in my opinion but that's not the point.  We also talked to her about her goal of marrying a return missionary - which in my opinion is a good one.   However we told her she shouldn't rule out someone who for one reason or another has not served a mission.  We talked to her about looking at the whole person and making an overall judgement after all serving a mission does not automatically make one a good husband and not serving does not equal a bad man.  We talked about looking at things like how he treats his mother and other women in his life, looking at his goals for the future, how he reacts to stressful situations, is he honest, does he honor his priesthood and other questions.  Hopefully when the time comes for Cass to get married she will look at the examples around her (both good and bad) and make a good choice for her future mate.  I am more amazed all the time at what an important and life altering decision that choice is. 
     Back to my current dilemma however.  This time on the way home Ammon was telling us that his dad told him it was ok to drink "a little" alcohol as long as you are responsible about it.  He said Jerry told him there isn't anything wrong with drinking as long as you don't drink too much.  Honestly it is so hard when stuff like this happens because for just a minute you just want to scream.  It's not that I never imagined I wouldn't have to deal with questions about the word of wisdom or the church being true I just never really thought the seeds of doubt would be planted by their father.  Barry and I talked  to him about how "just a little" can still be a bad thing - like you wouldn't want to drink a glass of water with "just a little" urine mixed in.  I'm sure in the beginning we sort of jumped on his case "just a little"!  Poor kid he was just asking or telling or something like that.  We talked to him about the word of wisdom and the promises that go along with it.  We told him that the lady that hit us had just "a little" alcohol in her system when she was tested.  Its true that she probably had quite a bit more at the time of the accident but even that little bit clouded her judgement. 
     It was a hard conversation to have with at 13 year old.  Especially because he has done nothing wrong.  I get so afraid sometimes.  Afraid of what the future holds.  I don't know how to deal with stuff like this.  I have considered talking to Jerry's mom and dad and maybe get some backup that way.  Not that I want them to talk to him - that won't do any good but just some support to let the kids know that this isn't just their mom - its also how their dad was raised.  I was reading in the Book of Mormon on the way home from Albuquerque in Alma chapter 24 and verse 30 jumped out at me.  (go ahead and say it I might just be the most judgemental person alive)
"And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things."
I don't know how to bear testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel to my children and not appear to be trashing their dad.  When they are in Texas they go to church with Jerry and his wife Jamaica - they go to a christian church - very similar from what I can gather to the Calvary Chapel in Idaho Falls.  It is a good christian religion but are also quite anti-Mormon.  When the kids go there they hear good christian beliefs and also things that aren't true that go against the teachings of our church.  I struggle on some level because its not like I just decided one day to live this life and stand in condemnation of a life we lived.  This is the life we were supposed to teach our children together.  This is the life that Jerry was raised with.  This is the life that all the rest of his family leads.  This is the right way to live.  I have a strong and powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have had experiences that have taught me beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is true.  Does that mean I don't have questions about life is sometimes the way it is? No Does it mean that I struggle to understand certain aspects of the Gospel that are way over my head? No Does it mean that i don't struggle and ask God for answers? No But I do know that the truths taught in the scriptures including the Book of Mormon are true.  I know that I get closer to my Heavenly Father by reading its words and i know it is true scripture.  I feel like the Book of Mormon is a part of me - a friend that I can turn to in all things.  I know that we are not supposed to judge.  I don't know how to deal with my ex-husband and the things that he teaches our children in his home.  I can't talk to him about it - I have been there and done that and it does no good - makes it worse in fact.  I don't know who to talk to about this.  Barry and I have gone round and round and still don't know the best thing to do.  I want to be a good example to my children.  I want them to grow up with strong testimonies and a desire to be happy.  I know that following the principles of the Gospel does not guarantee that we won't have trials or difficulties in life.  But I also know that they will make life better.  I was listening to a talk recently and it talked about how the end has already been decided.  Christ will reign and Satan will be defeated and bound for eternity.  The only thing that hasn't been decided is where we will be individually.  Whose side will we chose?  Satan knows that he canno win in the end but he also knows that he can take as many of us down with him as we allow.  I don't want what he offers.  I know which side I am choosing.  And yet is seems that little things get in the way and I don't know how to keep it from happening.  I have such angry feelings towards my ex-husband.  I have worked on this a great deal.  I have turned things over to the Lord on multiple occasions.  And I suppose this is what I need to do again.  I cannot control what happens in his home.  I cannot control what my children are exposed to - I can ask their Father in Heaven to watch over them and protect them at all times.  I can ask for His help everyday to  be the best parent I can be.  I can ask Him to tell me the words that I should say to my children.  I can ask Him to send peace and comfort to my soul.  Can I ask Him to convince Jerry of the error of his ways?  I don't know the answer to that.  Sometimes I just have to talk my way thru things and sometimes that means talking to myself - I doubt any of this even makes sense to anybody else.  But somehow I do feel better having talked thru it a little. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Engagement Pictures/Now

I was playing on the computer tonight and found these pictures from our engagement 5 years ago.  It is amazing how much our kids have changed!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Court Date - Finally

    Monday was a very emotionally exhausting day.  We have been anticipating this day since the accident - and it has been rescheduled several different times.  We went to court in Rigby so the woman who hit us could be sentenced.  We had not seen her before then and it was kind of odd - you know how you picture someone in your mind and when you meet them in person it is usually not quite the same.  For some reason I had pictured her with blonde hair but it is really quite dark.  She had a look about her that said her life has not been an easy one.  She looked very tired.  Her story was changed from what we heard at the hospital.  Back in November we were told that she was going home from work after working all night.  They said that was why she was confused and got on the wrong side of the freeway.  Yesterday they said she was actually heading to her job, a new one in Rigby and she was unfamiliar with the area.  She missed the exit she was supposed to take so she took the next one to get back on the freeway.  They said it was very dark and the signs getting back to the highway were very very confusing.  They said she though highway 20 was a 2 lane highway.  The state attorney pretty much laughed at her.  The brought up the fact that highway 20 has been a 4 lane divided highway for the last 30 years and that she is from Idaho Falls - and the at she had just driven from Idaho Falls to Rigby and turned around and got back on the same highway she had just driven on.  The judge didn't believe her story either but his hands were tied because of what the charge was.  Our lawyer did bring up the fact that there was alcohol in her blood stream - not enough to be over the legal limit but enough so that it could have been a factor in the accident.  He also brought up that the blood test was done hours after the accident and implied that if it had been done at the scene of the accident she most likely would have been facing DUI charges.  Ultimately she plead guilty to inattentive driving.  As the judge was sentencing her he said that if she was confused when she got back on the road - and he wasn't sure that was the case - but if it was - any reasonable person would have realized they were going the wrong way. She was given 12 months of formal probation and 12 months of license suspension (although she can drive her kids to work and doctor stuff).  She also got the maxium fine for an inattentive driving charge of $300 plus court costs.   He then apologized to us saying that no matter what he did it wouldn't make our lives better - he said he wished he could rewind time and have it not happen at all.  He said he hoped there would be something good come from it eventually.  I hope so too.
     We were given the chance to talk at the trial - and tell how her actions have impacted our life.  Barry voted for me to be the one to do that.  We worked together to write it.  It was hard to read and keep my emotions under control - I was glad we had typed it up so I could just read it.  I also read it a couple of times out loud to Barry before we went - so that helped alot to be able to sound at least a little professional.  I will try to attach that those who would like to can read it  - and so others don't have to!   
     I have thought alot about Rebecca Weaver.  Not all of them have been kind or nice.  But the last few days I have been thinking about it from what her family's perspective might be.  I am sure her 3 teenage boys have been praying just as hard for the judge to have mercy on their mom as our family has been praying for things to go well for us.  When the judge said that nothing he could say or do would change things for us he was telling the truth.  If she was sent to jail or given the responsibility of all our bills it wouldn't change the way things are.  It wouldn't make the pain go away and it would probably cause great heartache for her family - probably worse emotional pain because it would be out of fear and sadness for their mom.  I am grateful for the blessing of being on the accident end of the accident - it would be harder to have been the one who caused it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I never imagined continued...

     I never imagined I would wake up in a hospital ICU room with no memory of what brought me to that point.  Several weeks ago Barry and I visited with the police officer who was first on the scene.  Barry and I have talked multiple times about the events that had transpired that morning.  Bryce (Barry's dad) had spoken to him many times while we were in the hospital and we had learned quite a bit about what happened.  We apparently had passed a van that was going below the speed limit.  Barry generally sets his cruise around 5 miles an hour above the speed limit.  So we were heading North on the highway.  It was such a dark night.  I remember talking to Barry at some point that morning about how dark it was - it seemed like there weren't even any stars out.  We had picked up Emma a few minutes before and we were on our way home.  The plan was to go home and I would get ready for work - some of the kids had spent the night at Bryce and Sherry's (the boys) and we had left the girls sleeping at home.  Barry was going to hang out with the kids that day, including Emma, (so Judy could go to work) and then after work we were going to head up to my parents home in New Dale to a Brown family Thanksgiving dessert party.  I had made some pies the night before.  barry loves my homemade bananna cream pie and I had made that plus a coconut cream (since I love that).  It was fun to have Breanna at the house and we talked about the trip she was making for Thanksgiving weekend.  We talked about how it wasn't going to be exactly like she had planned but that it would still be fun and she was excited about going. 
     The police officer said that just after we passed the van a Semi pulled behind us apparently intending to pass us after we pulled back into the other lane ahead of the van.  Barry remembers seeing something in the lane ahead of us, and saying to me - "thats weird that vehicle doesn't have any tail lights".  Just moments later he realized that it wasn't tail lights he was looking at it was the front of a pickup coming towards us in our lane.  He remembers trying to swerve off the road to miss the truck - but it was too late.  Thank goodness he tried to turn because that is most likely what saved our lives (that and our gaurdian angels).  If Barry hadn't swerved the two vehicles would have hit directly head on - causing them to come to a stop and the semi would then have ran right over us.  As it was, the police officer said that as our cars parted -the force now pushing them to opposite sides of the highway - the semi went right between them; with no time or space to spare.  It really is amazing that no one was killed. 
     The police officer said that as he hurried to our car he was sure there would be noone alive inside it.  He came up on the car on my side and saw that I was up out of my seat with my head partway thru the windsheild.  He said as he watched I twisted my head kind of funny, pulling it out of the windsheild and sat back down in my seat.  He said I had my legs crossed with my right leg over the left.  That didn't really surprise us because I often sit in the passenger seat - with my legs crossed - so I could lean over the seats and hold Barry's hand while he drives.  Anyway the police officer said that both Barry and I were awake - Barry was having great difficulty breathing - he had after all just bent the steering wheel with his chest.  Barry had 6 broken ribs and either the steering wheel or his ribs had made a laceration on his liver.  Barry says he remembers this and the pain that his body was in at that point.  He said he felt like he couldn't get a breath.  He remembers telling the police officer who we were and that his feet really hurt (both were horribly broken) and that he should talk to his wife.  I apparently was pretty happy to talk to the police officer.  I too told him who we were.  I knew who Emma was but couldn't remember why she would be in the car with us.  Emma was pretty much not hurt and even told the police officer that her name was "Emma Holman" - (really shes Emma Lowder).  It truly is a small world and one of the firefighters on the scene knew Emma and her family.  But in the mean time the police officer needs information on how to get ahold of someone to help with Emma since she was very much a minor.  I gave him my phone and told him how to get a hold of my mom.  He told her that he couldn't tell her much but that Barry and I had been in an accident and that we would be transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) in Idaho Falls - with broken bones.  My mom then made phone calls to both our family members and got the them all heading towards us. 
     In the meantime the police officer said I was pretty much happy to chat with him.  As I mentioned he said my legs were crossed and he could see the bone sticking out of my right femur pretty far.  Dr. Lee later said it was one of the worst compound femur fractures he had ever seen.  The police officer said that the large wound on my head as well as my femur were both bleeding pretty profusely.   He also said my right wrist was broken and dislocated.  He said it was pretty disturbing to look at.  And there I was chatting it up as if it were a traffic stop or something.  He said he knew I was pretty badly broken in other places too.  He said he really didn't have any faith that I would live.  He said that Barry although Barry was struggling to breath that he figured he would be ok with medical help. He figured he had some broken ribs and that his feet were messed up somehow but didn't think he was past saving at all.  He said the were able to get Barry out of the car fairly easily as his door swung all the way open.  My door was stuck and the had to use a crowbar to get it opened.  He said the dash was up agaisnt my legs and that I couldn't move.  They couldn't get a board in the car to get me out.  They pushed a blanket under me and like 4 of them proceeded to lift me out.  He said when the lifted me up I screamed for them to stop.  He said I told them to leave me alone - leave me in the car.  I can only imagine how much it hurt at that point.  I have always been told that a femur fracture is the most painful break to have.  I'm sure my wrist hut and besides that my pelvis was broken along with multiple fractures in my left leg.  He said he told me that they couldn't leave me in the car and since they couldn't leave me then the only choice was to get me out.  He said he was sorry and he knew that it hurt but they had to get me out.  He said I agreed and closed my eyes.  He said I didn't say anything else until they had me in the ambulance.  Where I apparently chatted my way to the hospital. 

     My little brother Jason was the first person to reach EIRMC and he said he came in the ER and asked the front desk about us. I heard him, recognized his voice, and said - "I'm back here Jason". Kind of crazy that I don't have any memory of that at all. Jason said I talked to him and would ask him the same few questions over and over again. I would ask about Barry and Emma and then ask him to "make my leg straight". He would tell me he was sorry he couldn't do that and I would look at him with a sad face and say, "please brother just make it straight." It makes me cry to think of how hard that much have been for him. When they took me away to surgery he went over and held Barry's hand until other family got there. Sherry (Barry's mom) said it is a sweet memory for her when she walked into the ER and came over to Barry's bed and Jason took Barry's hand and placed it into hers. Barry also remembers being in the ER and having to wait and wait until I was out of surgery to be taken care of. I don't have any memory of this time at all - except a fuzzy one of calling Jason's name to the ER - but I'm not sure if that is a memory or just what I have been told happened. It amazes me that our minds are so powerful. How could I go thru something like that - be consious - and not remember any of it? Its a strange thing to have a gap in my memory like that - although I would guess Barry sometimes wishes he could forget.
    The hospital is a pretty bitter/sweet memory for me.  I have such precious memories of my husband coming in my room and holding my hand when my pain was out of control.  I have sweet memories of friends and family putting their lives on hold so we would be taken care of.  I loved having company - it gives you something to think about other then your body hurting.  I have memories of my sisters/brothers and friends spending nights with me - I didn't like being alone at night.  I have not so sweet memories of hurting.  Even less sweet memories of my husband hurting.  Barry is a pretty tough person and when he has tears coming out of his eyes because of pain I know hes hurting pretty bad.  One evening we had lots of visitors.  My room was full, and the hallway was full.  There were several from Barry's work and family and friends from the ward.  Barry had been out in the hallway visiting and I was visiting in my room.  Up to this point i really had pretty much no feeling of or ability to move my left leg.  After a while the coworks left and Barry goes into his room with his parents, after getting him settled on the bed they come and close the door.  I could tell when he went in that he was hurting but I did not like it when they closed that door.  In my mind that meant something was wrong and I didn't like it.  Those in my room tried to take my mind off of it.  I remember asking to be helped out of the bed and let me get in his room.  I wanted to know what was going on and I wanted to offer Barry some of the same comfort that he had offered to me on many occasions already -  but I couldn't.  Eventually his mom and dad came out and said that Barry's abdomen was really hurting - as a result of his body trying to reabsorb the blood that had spilled into his belly from his liver.  Barry has said many times that his pain was more painful then anything else, more painful then his broken ribs or his broken feet.  My heart still aches when I think about the amount of pain he endured and how much he still endures due to his feet today.