Friday, December 30, 2011

My Choice

I have a friend who's life, unfortunately, parallels mine in many ways.  Her husband passed away a few months before Krista and she has a couple of children still at home she needs to raise on her own.  Because of this and many other reasons, she is someone that totally "gets" my situation.  We've had many discussions about our trials and how we've dealt with them and I've learned a lot from her as she has been one step ahead of me in her journey.

Yesterday we started talking about whether or not we would have chosen this life if we had known our spouses would pass away while still raising children at a relatively young age (yes, 46 is still young).  We discussed this for a while and I couldn't decide one way or another.  I've had a wonderful life with Krista, she's been my best friend for decades and I still love her with all my heart.  But, the pain of her loss, the aching to feel her near and the longing to be with her again has been much more than I could have imagined.  I accept that there's a reason for her passing and I know it's for the best but that doesn't help me like it or want it if I had the choice.

Early this morning before I woke up for the day I had a dream.  Typically I don't remember much of what I dream about but I remember this one in detail.  I had traveled back in time to when we were in high school (yes I even have geeky dreams).  It was when Krista and I had been dating for a while and our love was just beginning to grow.  Krista was there and was so happy to see me and I was amazed at how beautiful she was. She looked just like she did back then and the love that radiated through her smile was just the same as it had always been.  Yet, she didn't know that I was from our future.  I looked at her and realized that she didn't know how our story would unfold, our trials and struggles and ultimately her returning to our Heavenly Father much sooner than hoped for.  I also knew that if I told her it would affect her decision to marry me and I could potentially lose all of the good times, the hard times and those tender times when all we could do was to cry on each others shoulder for comfort.  I knew if I told her she would want to spare me of the pain and heartache I have experienced by her death.

Here was my time to choose.  Would I tell her and jeopardize the decades of joy with her and the eternities to come or would I keep quite and accept our lives as I knew they would unfold?  Instantly I knew what my choice was.  This was my sweetheart, I would walk through hell and back for her.  I would endure all that would be asked of me including being without her for a while for the hope of eternity with her.  Yes, this is the path I would choose.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One, or a Breath of Fresh Air

I know I haven't posted much lately.  For me that's a good thing.  I tend to post more often when things are getting harder.  Lately I have found comfort and peace in the support of others that as we say "get it".  Before Krista passed away I thought I had an idea of how painful it would be to lose her.  We had been through many trials together including losing our only biological child a couple of months after he was conceived.  It was a painful time and we felt a real sense of loss.  Despite what I thought, I had no idea just how deep the pain can be and how sharp the longing to be with her would become.  And to make matter worse there were few people I knew that fully understood.

A couple of months ago I found and joined a group of LDS widows and widowers on Facebook.  I immediately found relief and comfort in sharing my feelings with those who "got it".  They could empathize with my pain and I with theirs.  We had the same fears, worries and desires for our future and the future of our children.  It was as if I had spent the last 10 months holding my breath and now I was finally able to breathe.  I wish I would have found them sooner.  It has helped me better understand the charge we are given to "mourn with those that mourn... and comfort those that stand in need of comfort".  That has led me to think about our trials and how it would be a shame to waste them by wallowing in the depths of despair rather than using them to empathize with others who have been asked to walk the same path.

Yesterday was one year since Krista passed away.  To avoid it being a day of sorrow I filled it with activities for me and the kids that would help us remember Krista the way she would want us to and to make it a day we enjoyed.  We started the day with going to Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, I know it's not the healthiest choice but I knew Jake and Emma would love it.  After that we went to the Dallas Temple and checked out the walking tour book.  That's a book that tells about the Temple, how it was built, what it's for and it's importance in our lives.  You take it with you as you walk around the Temple grounds and at certain places you read from the book.  It worked out well as Jake and Em were able to run and jump and play as we learned about the Temple.  They were much more involved in it than if they had to sit still and just listen.  When we finished the book we were at the fountains at the front of the Temple.  This is where we have taken pictures of the family each year on both Jacob's and Emma's sealing days.  As we sat there I told Jacob and Emma how important the Temple was to our family.  It's because of the ordinances performed in the Temple that we will be with mom again.   As I was telling them this the distinct impression hit me that Krista was there with us.  I started to cry, not out of sorrow but happy tears.  I told Jacob and Emma that mom was there with us and they both confirmed that they felt her presence also.  I know she was there with us on this important day and was happy with us and how we were doing.

Then we went to the LDS bookstore.  Lately Emma has been reading during our family scripture study so we needed to get her a set of scriptures.  Emma happily picked out the scriptures she wanted and a nice purple case to keep them in.  While we were at the bookstore painting artist J. Kirk Richards was there embellishing a print of his work and signing his prints.  I had wanted a new picture for our Christmas decorations for a while so I looked at a few of his works.  He has different styles of painting from realistic to more stylized work.  One of his prints grabbed my attention.  It was titled "Song of the Heart".  It was a painting of a choir of Angels.  I knew right where I would hang it.  Krista loved nativity sets and her favorite one is a Willow Tree version that we have had for a few years and have added pieces to it each year.  It has sat in a nook off of our entryway for over a year now as I couldn't bring myself to take it down after Christmas last year.  I realized that picture would be perfect hanging above it.  So I bought it and had the artist autograph it "In memory of Krista".  I just need to get it framed now.

After that I took the kids to Amazing Jake's.  It's like a Chuck E. Cheese on steroids.  It took over both floors of a defunct department store at a mall near us.  They have food, games, rides, go carts, bumper cars, laser tag, mini-golf, rock climbing and more.  It's the kids favorite place to celebrate. We were there for a couple of hours and the kids had a ball.  It was fun watching them have so much fun on a day that could have been spent mourning our loss.

Before we finished the day with Christmas light sight seeing, we went to an Evening Song concert.  Krista and I sang with them for 8 years before Emma was born.  After Emma we became too busy to do it any more.  The choir was also part of Krista's funeral and sang many of her favorite songs.   Ever since we stopped singing with them we started a tradition of making it to one of their Christmas concerts every year.  It just happened to be in our favorite venue this day.  It was nice to see our old friends and hear them sing some of the songs we sang with them and also many new ones.  During one of the songs we had sung with them many times (Dormi Jesu) I could hear Krista's voice singing with the choir.  It was wonderful to hear her voice again.  I didn't tell anyone about it, just kept it to myself figuring it was a blessing just for me. But then after the concert, one of the altos that had sung with Krista for many years came to me, with tears in her eyes, and told me that she could hear Krista singing with them during the concert.  It was nice to receive a second witness to what I experienced so I wouldn't have to wonder if it was just me being crazy.

The previous night during my prayers, before I went to bed, I asked the Lord to bless me with dreams of my sweetheart.  A couple months after her passing I had two dreams of her.  They were special and sacred experiences that imparted comfort and direction to me in my time of need.  Ever since then I have wanted more.  I figured this of all nights was an appropriate time to ask to be blessed with another one.  I wasn't blessed with what I wanted, I was given much more.  In one day I felt her presence and her approval and enjoyed listening to her beautiful alto voice one more time.  I'm so thankful for the love our Heavenly Father has for us and His wisdom to not give us what we want, but to give us what we need.

Monday, November 07, 2011

A Case for Prayers

I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer.  We have been blessed for many years from countless people who have and are still praying for me and my family.  These angels' prayers have been a source of peace in our lives and I know they have contributed to the extension of Krista's life and has given us the best five years of our relationship.  Because we have received so many blessings from the prayers of others, I'm always looking for those whom I can share that same blessing with.

Sadly we have a friend, that I know have offered many prayers for us, who needs prayers for their son.  Emily and Xavier Beckham have been thrust into a world that I know all too well.  Their 10 month old son Case has just been diagnosed with a stage "three-and-a-half" neuroblastoma in his abdomen.  Though their trial has just begun they have already been through a lot.  You can follow their story on their blog at "Best Case Scenario".

Please join with me in offering prayers on their behalf, that the treatment will be effective, that Case will be able to handle the treatment well, so the doctors will know what treatment will be effective and that their family may have peace despite what they are going through with their son.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

For of Such is the Kingdom of Heaven

Every year around October we are blessed to have our Ward's Primary present a program during Sacrament Meeting.  For those of you not of our faith, Primary is like Sunday School for children ages 3 to 11.  This year's program was titled "I Know the Scriptures are True".  The program consists of children singing songs and presenting words that they have practiced over the past year.  This is always one of the best Sacrament Meetings of the whole year.  

Earlier I was asked to teach Jacob's Primary class this week.  It also meant that I would be able to sit with him on the stand and help his class with their talks.  I was more than happy to accept.  It was much better than sitting with the congregation without Emma and Jacob next to me.  It's times like that, despite being in a crowd, that I find myself feeling lonely and missing holding hands with Krista as she would lean her head on my shoulder.  With that in mind I jumped at the chance to substitute for Jacob's teacher.

Jacob's class talked about Temples.  How the Lord has commanded His people to build Temples unto Him though all dispensations of the Gospel.  They talked about Moses being commanded to build a tabernacle in the wilderness, King Solomon using the finest materials available to build a temple, and the early pioneers of the church working and sacrificing to build temples as commanded of the Lord.  Jacob had a special assignment to share his feelings about the Temple.  He has much to be thankful for when it comes to the temple, including his sealing and Emma's sealing to our family and now dealing with the death of his mom.  Here's the words he shared at church today:
"I’m thankful for the temple.  It has been an important part of my life since before my birth.  I was born on March 13th 2001 to my birth mom Jessica.  She knew it was important for me to be sealed to my parents in the Temple but she also knew she couldn’t do that for me.  She was blessed to know that I was supposed to be adopted by my mom and dad who could offer me these blessings.  On June 9th 2001 I was sealed to my mom and dad in the Dallas Temple.  I was only 3 months old so I don’t remember much about it but 4 years later I was able to watch as Emma was sealed to our family.  I remember both Emma and I were dressed in white and taken to the sealing room where my parents were waiting for us.  I remember how beautiful the room was with mirrors on the walls that made it look like you could see forever.  I saw how happy mom and dad were and I remember how warm and happy I felt.  I realize now those feelings were from the Holy Ghost telling me that Emma had just become a part of our forever family.
Since mom died the Temple has become even more special to me.  I know because we have been sealed in the Temple I will be able to live with her again, she is still my mom and always will be.  This is why I’m thankful for the Temple."
Children have a capacity to share the spirit, with innocence and sincerity, that is pure and sweet.  Seeing them come to the pulpit one at a time and share words full of faith and love helped me to understand the words of Christ as found in Matthew 19:14:
"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
We had a little taste of heaven today.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Over the last dozen or so years I’ve come to realize that trials are crossroads in life.  Though you may be powerless to change the path you have been asked to bear, you have full freedom to choose how it will affect you emotionally and spiritually.  You can either curse God and die or you can humbly submit to your Father’s will.  One path will lead to darkness, anger and isolation while the other leads to peace, comfort, a realization of the many blessing you are so graciously given and a softening of your heart to where you are more able to sympathize with others’ burdens and more desirous to help, comfort and mourn with them.  It can also give you a glimpse into the heart of our Savior and lead to greater love and charity for your fellow man and give you a greater desire to follow Him.  I'm thankful for the crossroads I've been blessed with and the paths I've chosen.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happily Ever After

Yesterday I was blessed to teach part of the Young Women's lesson at church.  This was a first for me since, obviously, I was never a young woman.  I was very impressed with how elegantly everything was done.  It was truly celestial compared to how we do things in Elders Quorum.  I had tears in my eyes before it was even my turn (that's when the water works decided to turn on full blast).

The lesson was based on President Uchtdorf's 2010 General Conference talk "Your Happily Ever After". It talks about how between life's "Once Upon a Time" and "Happily Ever After" there will be trials and adversity that will help us to gain attribute that wouldn't be possible without them. And he talks about how the Gospel is the way to our happily ever after.

The instructor invited me to talk about the trials Krista and I endured throughout our life together and how the Gospel strengthened us and helped us endure each one well.  I spent last week preparing what I wanted to share.  It was harder than I thought it would be, all of the the emotions I've been dealing with since Krista passed away came flooding back and I shed many tears while putting the words together.  Since I had invested so much effort and emotion into it I thought I would share it here.

Our “Once upon a time” started in the fall of 1980.  I had just started my ninth grade year of Junior High.  I remember the first day of school during band class; I was sitting in the trumpet section on the right hand side of the room.  As I was waiting for class to start a new girl with beautiful eyes and a gorgeous smile sitting in the clarinet section caught my attention.  The problem was the clarinets were with the woodwinds way over on the left side of the room giving me little opportunity during band to get to know her.  Add to that my overpowering fear of talking to girls and I felt like I would never have an opportunity to become friends.  Luckily the next year we both tried out for our high school clog dance team “Cloggers West” and were both selected to join their beginner group.  Finally I had my opportunity.   That year we became close friends and by the end of our junior year of high school we were inseparable.  We had many wonderful experiences together but one in particular let me know we were destined to spend our lives together.

One night during our senior year we were sitting at the top of 4th North in Lindon Utah looking out over Utah Valley watching the sun set behind the mountains on the far side of Utah Lake.  As we watched we talked about what we saw as our future together.  We discussed a mission, being sealed together and raising a large family.  Despite knowing little about how our Heavenly Father refines His children, we thought we knew how our “happily ever after” would unfold.  But what I remember most from that night was the overwhelming peace I felt as we talked.  The Holy Ghost was proclaiming to me “this is your wife to be” to be sealed to you for all time and eternity.

After graduation Krista immediately enrolled at BYU and I worked and prepared for a mission.  As we were two of the youngest in our class we had a year and a half before I left for a mission to Japan.  While I was in Japan we faithfully wrote to each other and we both grew spiritually and gained stronger testimonies of the Gospel and the importance and lasting value of the Temple ordinances.

Upon successfully serving for two years I returned home to find that in Krista’s typical fashion all the wedding plans were made and all that was left was to become officially engaged.  I gladly complied.  

On the morning of August 20th 1988 Krista and I were dressed in white sitting on a couch in the Celestial Room of the Salt Lake Temple.  I remember the anticipation and joy because we were about to be married.  I also remember the overwhelming peace I felt.  It was the same peace I felt years prior while sitting with her, overlooking Utah Valley and talking about our future together.  Then while holding hands across the alter I remember the look in her eyes and the smile on her face as we were pronounced husband and wife for time and all eternity.  There was a complete joy and peace in her countenance.  We had finally made it, we were ready for our “happily ever after”, or so we thought.

We knew we wanted a large family but didn’t know when our children would come.  We patiently waited years for children.  Finally it was apparent that things weren’t going to work out on their own and we sought professional help.  The answer we received wasn’t what we hoped for.  Because of compounding factors the only way we could possibly have kids was through the best medical science had to offer.  And with it came an appropriately outrageous price tag.  For us to even hope to have children it would cost over $10,000 each try and there was no guarantee that each time we tried it would result in a child.  This was a huge blow to us.  We were both young in our careers and didn’t have that kind of money to spend on a hope that it might work.

So we did what we had done in the past when faced with a tough decision, we went to the Lord to find out what He wanted us to do.  After pondering about this and asking our Heavenly Father we both felt like this was what we needed to do so we agreed to give it a go.  We scraped and borrowed enough money for a procedure.  We knew this was what the Lord wanted us to do and we had faith that He could make it work.  Throughout the two months the procedure took everything looked wonderful.  This wasn’t just things were progressing as normal, it was as good as it could be.  The doctor had high confidence that all would work.  That just made it more devastating when despite everything looking so good it didn’t result in a pregnancy.  We were heartbroken.  We questioned how this could be, we had confirmation from the Lord this is what we needed to do, we had faith He could do it, everything looked as good as it could, yet it didn’t work.  We forgot one piece of the puzzle.  Despite our faith and following the Lord’s direction we didn’t take into account His will and His purposes.  We thought we knew what the blessings for following Him were to be and that’s what we expected.  We forgot to humble ourselves and find the blessings even in what we considered a failure.  

Two more times we attempted the procedures without success.   Then In January of 2000 while on a break from trying to have kids, Krista miraculously became pregnant.  We were amazed and overjoyed while the doctors were baffled; this wasn’t supposed to happen on its own.  We thought this was the blessing we were waiting and working for.  Sadly eight weeks later we lost our child.  This was the hardest trial for us to deal with yet.  We couldn’t understand why after all our hard work, money, suffering and hoping, Krista would miraculously become pregnant only to lose the child.  This was a dark time for us.  We couldn’t see how this could be a blessing that we could give thanks to our Heavenly Father for.  We knew that in the Doctrine and Covenants section 59:7 we are commanded to “thank the Lord thy God in all things”, but how could this be a blessing.  Looking back, it’s much easier to see how greatly we were blessed during this trial.  We didn’t get a baby but here’s a few of the blessing we received: 
  • An opportunity to learn how faith and prayer work
  • A lesson on trusting in the Lord, even when things don’t go the way we’d hoped
  • A lesson in patience, which is something every parent needs!
  • Valuable friendships gained through helping others going through the same trial
  • Opportunities to communicate better as a couple
  • Moments where we cried together, laughed together, and expressed our love and gratitude for each other
  • Opportunities to feel the power that comes from the collective prayers and fasting of others
  • Refining experiences that strengthened our testimonies
  • “Make or break” experiences that strengthened our marriage, helping us realize that we can withstand anything together
  • Peace in knowing that the Lord loves us and knows how to bless us beyond our own imaginations
  • The realization of blessings from paying an honest tithe
  • Love and appreciation for the children who finally came, so that they would never be taken for granted
  • Opportunities to experience the “tender mercies” (1 Nephi 1:20) of the Lord
  • Humility and flexibility sufficient to change the picture of our life
  • Opposition and sorrow, so that we could fully appreciate the joy that came from the realization of promised blessings.
As you know we were eventually blessed with children.  Jacob and Emma didn’t come the way we originally planned but our past trials had taught us to savor the experience and that it didn't matter how children came into our family.  These children were ours, anticipated and loved just as much as if they were biologically ours.  After we adopted Jacob and throughout Emma’s adoption we were experiencing a season of joy.  Life seamed complete, we had endured our trials well and were finally living “happily ever after”.  

Then in November of 2005 Krista started having what we called smell nightmares.  She would wake up suddenly smelling a strong chemical smell that wasn’t there.  At first we were perplexed by it but weren’t too concerned.  When it started to happen more often we started searching for the cause of these nightmares.  As you know a tumor was found in the right temporal lobe of her brain and upon resection of the tumor it was found to be a grade 4 glioblastoma.  This is the mother of all brain cancers and on December 12th of 2005 Krista was given 14 months to live.  

As if our past trials weren’t hard enough on us this news was devastating.  This was the first time that I was truly worried about what could happen.   Many things concerned me and a few terrified me including: 
  • How would Krista be able to endure the treatment and typical course of this disease?
  • How would I take care of Jacob and Emma and raise them alone?
  • What adjustments to our standard of living would we have to make with the loss of the income from Krista’s business?
  • Would Jake and Em have to watch their mom’s health, ability to take care of herself and mental capacities deteriorate to the point where she wouldn’t even recognize them.
  • And how would I be able to go on without my sweetheart and best friend of nearly 30 years. 
These occupied my thoughts constantly to the point of despair until I found time to fall upon my knees with tears streaming down my face and plead and with my Heavenly Father to bless Krista that she would have a long and healthy life.  And if there was any way, to extend her life, just long enough so we could raise Jacob and Emma together.  As I plead with the Lord I was overcome with peace and the thought came to my mind that no matter what happened we would be taken care of.  At that moment I ceased to worry and I knew that we would be blessed to endure all that would be asked of us.  Despite that confirmation I never stopped praying for Krista to live just long enough to raise Jacob and Emma. 

During Krista’s recovery from her brain surgery we were blessed in abundance.  We had legions of – as Krista would call them – "angels" attend to our every need.  We had meals, laundry, housecleaning, rides, childcare, yard work, home organizing, unpacking, cookies, caroling, presents and so many other blessings from ward members, friends, neighbors, family and many of you here that our every need was attended to physically, emotionally and spiritually.  During what could have been our darkest hour we were constantly surrounded by love and charity that it was truly a season of blessings for us.  Like with our previous trials there were many ups and downs over the next five years.  But Krista’s prognosis continued to look better and better.  I was sure that my prayers were being answered. 

Then almost a year ago Krista started to have severe back pain.  She went to several different doctors to try and find its cause.  After nothing concrete was found it was recommended that she have an MRI of her spine.  The MRI clearly showed a tumor had developed at the base of her spine right where the spinal cord divided into many nerves.  This tumor was creating a lot of pressure on these nerves causing her excessive pain.  Krista’s oncologist took this information to her hospital’s tumor board to plan a course of treatment.  The location of the tumor and how it had grown around the nerves eliminated the possibility of surgical resection.  So an aggressive round of radiation and multiple forms of chemotherapy was scheduled.  Again the blessing poured in, rides, meals, hugs and anything we were in need of were arranged and provided by many angels.  Once again Krista faithfully and happily endured months of constant radiation and chemotherapy, pain and discomfort.  Yet, I never once heard her complain about it and she would constantly encourage, help and show love to all she met, lifting their burdens while hers seemed so overwhelming.  As her treatment progressed her pain diminished and everything looked like the tumor was shrinking and dying off.  We were optimistic and anxious for her next MRI that would be on December 12th so we could celebrate the good news.  

Then on the night of December 9th 2010, after our family scripture study and prayers, Krista gave Jacob and Emma a hug and a kiss good night and went to bed early because she was tired as usual having had chemo and radiation for the last 3 months.  At a little past midnight Krista suddenly sat up in bed and told me to call 911.  Paramedics quickly arrived and rushed Krista to the emergency room.  After making arrangement for my sister-in-law to watch the kids I sped to the hospital fully expecting Krista to be taken care of and back home in a couple days.  

Shortly after I arrived at the hospital I understood the severity of Krista’s situation.  I called Bishop Moon and together we gave Krista a Priesthood blessing.  After the blessing we were escorted to a private waiting room where both the Bishop and I knelt as I offered a prayer.  Once again I plead with the Lord for Krista’s life, if there was any way possible for her to be healed.  But through my tears I told Heavenly Father that I accepted His will, whatever it may be.  As I ended the prayer an overwhelming feeling of peace came to my soul.  I knew that all was done for the Lord’s will to be done.  And if Krista were to pass away it was her time.  I knew she was ready, more so than anyone I've known, and she would be received into a state of love, peace and endless joy.  Shortly after our prayer Krista passed away.  Though I miss her and my heart aches for her, I know my Heavenly Father loves me and wants what’s best for me and all of his children.  He wouldn't take her unless it was a necessary part of His plan, to refine me and Jacob and Emma so that we can truly have a “Happily Ever After”. 
The last five years that Krista and I had together were the best that we had as this trial brought us closer to each other and closer to the Lord.   And I cherish our last three months together.  I don't know if she knew her time was coming but she had a quiet peace about her.  I remember being at the temple and while doing sealings for her family we gazed across the alter into each others' eyes.  I remember the total contentment and love I saw.   We had been through a lot together.  If we would have let it, it could have torn us apart but we drew closer together trusting the Lord’s wisdom.  He is the refiner and watches over his children as they are tried and purified so they can reach their full potential.

One of Krista’s favorite quotes is from her friend and former General Young Women’s President Ardeth Kapp, she said:
"this life experience is designed for our growth and progress. Our trials will not be more than we can handle, but they cannot be less if we are to fill the measure of our creation."
This is so true, though I still have a ways to go I know Krista has passed her mortal test and is waiting for me to finish mine.  30 years ago as we sat discussing our future lives we couldn’t have imagined what it would be like and what trials we would be blessed with, we never would have believed how much we would grow and learn to trust the Lord and accept His will in all things.  We could not have comprehended the abundant blessings to be poured out upon us despite the difficulty of the path we would be asked to follow.

Trials are necessary for us to fill the measure of our creation, they stretch us and expand us to allow us to reach our full potential.  They teach us compassion and understanding and a love for others.  They give us the ability to lift each other’s burdens, to comfort those in need of comfort and mourn with those that mourn.  And they give us a glimpse into the heart of our Savior Jesus Christ.  That we may love as He loves so that we may become even as He is.
Orson F. Whitney put it this way:
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”
I don’t know what life still has in store for me but I know if I remain faithful and trust the Lord and accept His will in all things that I will be able to return home into Krista’s waiting arms and together we will finally live “Happily Ever After”.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I remember the first time I saw Krista. It was during my 9th grade year of junior high during band class. I was on the right side of the room with the trumpet section and I noticed a new girl on the left side playing clarinet. I remember how cute she was but being painfully shy I didn't think I would ever get the chance to meet her.

Thankfully, later that year we both tried out for our high school's clogging team, Cloggers West, and were both picked to join the sophomore team and the year after were selected to join the performing team. We spent a lot of time together practicing and performing throughout Utah and neighboring states. We both became close friends not just with each other but with all of the other members of the team. But by the end of our junior year Krista and I became best friends.

Now, texting didn't exist back in the 80s but we became what we know now as BFF (best friends forever). We would walk to class together, pool our meager funds together for lunch, clog dance together as much as possible and spend every moment we could with each other. On the weekends and during the summer I would ride my bike to her house, which was a 20 mile round trip, just to spend time with her. We were inseparable.

I remember one evening during our senior year, we were sitting at the top of 4th North in Lindon talking about our future together. We talked about getting married, having children, arguing about wanting girls or boys (as if we had a choice). And what we envisioned what life would be like for us. I distinctly remember the peace I felt while talking with her and knew that I was going to marry her.

We continued our conjoined lives after high school graduation. Krista started college that summer and I worked various jobs while waiting to go on a mission for my church. Being two of the youngest in our class we waited over a year and a half before I left for a mission to Japan. Before I left we talked about what Krista should do while I was gone. I had not yet told her I knew we were going to be married so I told her I was fine with her dating and we would see how things were when I returned.

While I was in Japan we faithfully wrote letters to each other every week. I knew what was going on in her life and she knew about mine. Krista did date several boys while I was gone and even had one of them propose to her telling her that I would return from my mission and want to marry a Japanese girl. Thankfully she said no.

When I returned from my two year mission Krista was waiting at the airport with my family ready to "see how things were". Needless to say, we already knew. I came home to carefully laid out wedding plans. We knew the date, the temple we were to be married in, where the reception would be and she even had her wedding dress ordered. All she needed was a fiance. I wasted no time and within two weeks from returning I proposed to her. At that point it was more of a formality than anything but it was important and we were officially engaged.

Then, on August 20th 1988 early in the morning we entered the Salt Lake City Temple together to not just be married for time but sealed for all eternity. There was a whirlwind of activity that morning as they had over 100 marriages to perform. But I never felt rushed or not given the attention this sacred moment deserved. I remember after dressing in white being led to the Celestial room with Krista's hand in mine. We were seated on a couch to wait until it was our turn. We didn't say much while sitting there, holding hands with her head on my shoulder, we just enjoyed feeling the total peace that was there. Then it was our turn, we were lead to the sealing room and knelt across the alter. The ordinance wasn't lengthy but with it and the authority it was performed by we were pronounced husband and wife. Thankfully not till death do us part but forever.

Little did I know back then how life would unfold. Together we experienced a lot. A lot of joy, a lot of pain, a lot of growing and a lot of learning to trust the Lord. Now I'm without her for a time. I don't know how long it will be and what is ahead, but I do know that she is patiently waiting for me, watching me and praying for me. I look forward to when this trial is over and I can once again hold her in my arms, for I know that it was on August 20th 1988 that we truly became inseparable.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

To all the women who have used their divine traits of motherhood to help me and my family. To the many angels who have donated countless hours of selfless service to us. To those who drove Krista to her various treatments, brought us meals, cleaned our home, sang carols to us, watched Jacob and Emma, provided gifts, cookies and candy. To those women who shared words of love and support and countless comforting hugs. And to those who offered help no matter what the need may be. Thank you and happy Mother's Day.

Children isn't what makes a woman a mother. It's the selfless love unique to them that they share with others that counts. So many women have touched our lives with this love and have uplifted our spirits and brought joy and peace to our hearts. Though I'm not directly related to most of you I consider you all like a mother to me and my family. I wish you all a wonderful Mother's Day.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


"A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn't easy. You may ask 'Why do we stay up there if it's so dangerous?' Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: tradition!"
As many of you know we've developed a lot of traditions in our family. Holidays, birthdays, adoption days, sealing days and many more. Like in the quote above from Tevye, the main character in "Fiddler on the Roof", that's one way we keep our balance.

Last month started what we fondly call "the season of Jacob". It starts on March 13th with his birthday and ends with his sealing day on June 9th. In between those days we also celebrate his homecoming day and his adoption day. And as if that's not enough Krista and I celebrated our kiss-aversary on May 17th, the day Krista and I first kissed (that will have to be another blog post).

So last month's celebrations started with Jacob's birthday. Krista had it planned out many months ago. Jake was turning 10 so we would have a bowling party. 10 pins for 10 years. And keeping with tradition this also meant one more picture to add to our cake madness album. I know this tradition meant a lot to her and I made sure all went to plan. Having the party outside our home made it a lot easier than in years past. Jacob loved the party, he has always enjoyed bowling but I think what he liked best was that all his friends that came were girls. Despite adoption the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree with this one.

In past years Krista and I would make the cake together but now I had to do it myself. We hadn't agreed on what the cake would be. We talked about several different options but never decided what we were going to make. Ideas ranged from a single pin to a whole bowling lane complete with a ball and cupcake pins. The thought crossed my mind several times to just order it from a bakery and not worry about it but I didn't want to give in to changing what has been our tradition for 10 years now. So after a lot of worrying about it I decided to make a bowling ball cake. I didn't know how to do it but that had never stopped us in the past. Luckily, while looking for things to make Emma's bat habitat at Hobby Lobby I stumbled across a ball cake pan. It came with two hemispherical pans that each made half of the ball. All you had to do is make each half of the cake and put them together with frosting. How hard could it be? I also decided to have a base the ball would sit on making it look somewhat like a trophy. It looked quite simple, at least at first. I must have spend about 5 hours working on the cake before I was happy with it. It shouldn't have surprised me since most of the cakes have taken that long with both Krista and I working on them. It's a small price to pay to keep the tradition going.

Our next celebration was Jacob's homecoming day. We brought Jake home from the hospital two days after he was born. Ever since then we would get a family portrait to celebrate his addition to our family. I didn't want Krista to not be in the pictures. She is still a part of our family and will always be. So I decided to bring a portrait of her for us to hold in the pictures. The photographer was very understanding especially when she heard our story. The pictures turned out great, despite my unphotogenic nature. I just missed Krista being there. We always enjoyed our family picture days and it was hard to not have her there in person.

The season of Jacob will continue with his adoption day and end with his sealing day. This is our favorite part of the season. It's the day we celebrate him being sealed to our family for time and all eternity. With the sealing power we will enjoy our family relationships throughout the eternities, never to be separated again. I look forward to the day when I'm called home to my maker. To wrap my arms around my sweetheart and together kneel at our Savior's feet and thank him for all he has done for us.

Traditions are important, but it's more important that they teach us eternal truths and strengthen our will to do all we can to follow our Savior's example so that we can return to Him.

Now I just need to figure out what to do for Emma's birthday...

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Someone to Watch Over Me

On Valentine's Day 2008 I received a CD from my sweetheart with several songs she had recorded. One of them was the song above "Someone to Watch Over Me". I have heard Krista sing this many times over the past several years. I still remember the look in her eyes as she would sing it to me. The love she expressed through this song was more than any words could describe. I felt honored and humbled that she would trust me to be the one to watch over her.

Lately I have felt as if the roles have reversed and she is watching over me and our family. I know Krista continues to have a role my life even though she has left this mortal existence. A week ago we had a close call with a drunk driver who narrowly missed hitting us head on as we were driving home. At the last moment he swerved and just brushed our car with his bumper. I posted about this on Facebook shortly after it happened. Upon seeing this post an old high school friend commented with the following: "It is a good thing you have God and a beautiful angel watching over you and the children...". I have to agree. I have a beautiful angel watching over me and our children.

Death isn't and end, it's a new beginning and through the ordinances of the Temple and the Priesthood of God we can enjoy the same family bonds that are created in this life. I know this to be true and am thankful for the peace this knowledge brings to me at this time. I look forward to the day that I'm with my sweetheart again, to walk hand in hand and enjoy the same love we had for each other in this life. I am very thankful for a beautiful angel that watches over me.

Monday, February 28, 2011


About 12 years ago I was a primary teacher in the Plano 3rd Ward. If I remember correctly the children in the class were about 11 years old. What I do remember is one of the boys whose name was Edgar. He always impressed me with his bright countenance and constant smile and every time I think of him a smile comes to my face.

A few years ago, shortly after Krista's diagnosis I ran into him at church. He was in his late teens at the time but could only walk with the assistance of crutches. He had been diagnosed with the same cancer as Krista was but it was closer to his brain stem and had already affected his motor functions. Despite this he still had that ever present smile on his face.

Krista and I kept in touch with him and his mother Liliana over the next few years. We would find comfort in each other knowing we all shared the same trial. A couple of years ago we ran into them at the Dallas temple. Krista and I had just finished an endowment session and were walking to our car. Edgar and his mother were about to leave the temple themselves. Edgar was in a wheel chair now and had lost almost all control of his body. Yet he was beaming with joy. Not only was he able to receive his own endowments but he had just done his father's temple work so that they could be together in the eternities. It seemed as if his trial didn't matter anymore. He had the blessing of the temple for himself and his family and whatever happened next was fine, he knew he was ready. That was the last time we saw him.

Edgar passed away on September 22, 2009. He was a good friend and we were saddened that his life was shorter than expected. But we were happy for him to finish this trial and return back to his Father in Heaven and his earthly father that had passed on before him. I can just imagine how joyous that reunion must have been.

After Krista's memorial services, when we just arrived at the cemetery to dedicate her grave, Liniana pulled me aside and whispered to me that her son, Edgar, was buried in the same cemetery, just yards from where Krista was to be buried. I was filled with joy to know this. Krista's body was laid to rest just yards from our friend who had passed away just a little over a year earlier. They were friend in this life and I'm sure that friendship continues even now.

Yesterday, in Sunday School, we were studying Christ's Sermon on the Mount. As we were reading the Beatitudes I was asked to share with the class how the Gospel has comforted me while mourning the loss of my wife and best friend. I shared the experiences, the help and comfort that I was blessed with. When I finished others in the class shared their thoughts and experiences of comfort during times of mourning. As I listened I looked around the room and noticed so many in that room who blessed me and my family with comfort during the last couple of months. As I was gratefully pondering this my eyes fell upon Sister Win Marsh, a wonderful friend and truly an angel. She and her husband had lost several of their children and knew what it meant to mourn. Shortly after Krista's death Win sought me out to talk to me, to share with me their experiences with the loss of a loved one and to let me know what to expect and what was perfectly normal at a time like this. She also happened to be the Relief Society Compassionate Service Leader or as Krista would call it "Captain of the Angels". What a blessing she was in this capacity at this time. She knew what I was going through, what I was feeling and what help I would need without even asking. Many times she would recommend areas of service for my family that I hadn't thought of. She was a great blessing for us when we needed her.

For the last few weeks, while driving in the car, I've been listening to President Thomas S. Monson's biography "To The Rescue". Chapter 26 of his book is titled "There Are No Coincidences". It talks about how people are put in the path of other people's lives for a reason. It not just haphazard or coincidental that certain people have been a part of our lives. I know many people that have been a blessing to me and my family. I'm thankful that I live where I do, that I'm in the ward I'm in, that Jacob and Emma go to the school they go to and that I've been blessed by so many good people. I know they have been put there by the Lord's hand to help us in our time of need. I hope and pray that some day I may return the favor to Him and be of help and comfort to others when the Lord has need of me.

We all have the ability to help, comfort and uplift our fellow men. We each have unique abilities and talents that can bless the lives of others. We need to be ready to seek out those in need so that we may "succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees" D&C 81:5. If we diligently seek out those in need and listen to the promptings of the Spirit we can be instruments in the Lord's hands to bring comfort to those that stand in need of comfort and further His work here upon the earth.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Valentine

I remember one day when Krista and I were first dating in High School. We were standing in the lunch line together and just talking. I kept noticing a funny look on Krista's face, it was as though she was trying to redirect my attention away from her to something on the other side of the room. I looked around and didn't notice anything odd so I looked back at her with an inquisitive look. She then looked up at the top of the wall eyes gleaming with pride. I turned and looked at the top of the wall. Right next to the ceiling I saw a sign written on butcher paper that went from one side of the lunch room all the way to the other. I started to read what was a beautiful letter expressing ones love to another. I continued to read admiring the time and effort that went into it. When I got to the end I read the words "Happy Valentine's Day Jared". Suddenly I felt very small. I forgot it was Valentine's Day and didn't have a gift or even a card for Krista. She had, in typical Krista fashion, gone all out to make sure there was no doubt in anyones mind where her affections were.

It's been 27 years since then and I haven't missed another Valentine's Day. Gifts to her have ranged from simple paper roses to hand inscribed Tiffany's jewelry. But no matter what the gift was I always made sure she knew of my undying love for her. She has been my sweetheart for almost 3 decades. I don't know of a day that I haven't let her know that I love her.

I have a picture of her in her wedding dress on the wall next to my side of the bed. Each night, before I fall asleep, I turn to her picture and blow her a kiss followed by the words "I love you". Tho tears follow most nights I have peace and joy in my soul knowing that we are bound together forever. And If I'm faithful to the end there is nothing that man can do to separate us.

Happy Valentine's Day Krista.

Love Eternally,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two Down, How Many to Go?

Today marks two months since Krista's passing. It's been a time for use to figure out our routine as a family of three. Jacob and Emma have been a great help. Emma is so willing to do anything around the house that is needed. And Jacob has willingly accepted new responsibilities. I used to affectionately call him my little man, but he has been such a help around the house that I now call Jacob my big man. It's cute to see the pride in his face when I call him this.

We have been determined to maintain the routine and traditions that were so important to Krista and I. We have continued our family prayers morning and night, daily scripture study and Family Home Evening every Monday night. At first it felt weird without Krista there to participate but as we acclimated to our new situation we have felt the Spirit of the Lord attend us.

It is good to have the Gospel as a constant in our lives. It is our anchor and compass especially in times of trial. It is the one thing that doesn't change and will always point us back to our Heavenly Father and to our ultimate exaltation. And it is the one way we will be back in the arms of our mother, companion, wife and friend.

So despite my cooking (it's getting better) we've made it two months. It doesn't seem much compared to what we see ahead. But I know if we continue to cling to the Gospel of Christ we can make it no matter how long it may be.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

If ye are prepared...

Monday night I had to run to the store to get paper lunch bags for a school project that Emma was turning in the next day. When I arrived at the store I was surprise by the hoard of shoppers I had to wade through just to buy some lunch bags. I didn't realize what was going on until I started talking to the lady ahead of me in the checkout line. We were expecting a big ice storm to hit that night and everyone was stocking up on food and water to last through the storm. This was a new experience for me. We have always had enough food, water and needed supplies stored in our home to last far beyond what any storm could last. I was thankful that we were prepared for such an emergency and didn't have to endure masses of frantic shoppers to make sure we could weather the storm. And what a storm it was this time.

Usually when it snows here in Plano it starts with freezing rain and sleet and by the time the snow hits the roads are covered in ice making it quite treacherous to drive anywhere. Schools and business shut their doors and people hide out in their homes until the ice thaws. Usually it only lasts a day or two. This time we had to wait four days before the roads thawed and life could return to normal. During that time, thanks to having a set of snow chains, we were able to get out of the house now and then. We had a great time checking up on friends, spending time with family and making it to one of the few good sledding hills in the area. Many times while we were out we ended up helping someone else get their car out of a snow bank or off the shoulder of the road. Being prepared for this situation made all the difference. Not only for us but others we were able to help because we were prepared.

A week before Krista passed away she was talking with her father about what was going on with her life. She recently finished her radiation and chemotherapy for the metastatic tumor that was on her spine. She had regained much of the mobility in her legs that was lost because of the pressure the tumor was placing on her nerves and the pain associated with that pressure was mostly gone. We were anxiously waiting her follow-up MRI and her oncologist appointment to see how effective the treatment was. All signs were pointing to the possibility of good news. But as she was talking to her father she mentioned that no matter what the outcome was or whatever happened all would be well. If she were to die it would be okay because she was ready and knew that the Lord would take care of her and her family. Krista had been preparing for this for years. It brings immense peace to me knowing that she was ready to leave this life and return to her Father in Heaven. Again, being prepared made all the difference. Definitely for her, but also for us and all those who love her.

We don't know what tomorrow will bring. Hopefully we can say the same thing whatever may happen, that all will be well. To have that peace is a great blessing. For the Lord has said "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear" Doctrine and Covenants 38:30

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Passing the Baton

One thing I always admired about Krista was that she was always engaged in a good cause. She had too many things to do to not be. Today in church she was released from her callings as the Ward Music Specialist, Ward Choir Director, Cub Scout Bear Den Leader and Relief Society Instructor. It’s hard to remember a time when she didn’t have multiple callings at church. She was always happy to serve wherever and whenever she was needed.

Since Krista’s passing I have felt the weight of her responsibilities fall upon my shoulders. No longer do I have her to share the workload of cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework, shopping, paying bill and raising Jacob and Emma. And the list seems to grow daily. There have been other needs that exist because her death was so sudden and unexpected like figuring out what to do with her consulting business, her support group and website, her children’s book that is close to being published, her blog and many other little details that I have discovered over the last few weeks. These are the many things that give me little time to sit and worry about how things are going to turn out because I’m too busy trying to get everything done.

Today I’ve gladly accepted one more of Krista’s old responsibilities. I have been called to be the Ward Music Director. I’m responsible for selecting and leading the congressional hymns and arranging the special musical numbers for our weekly sacrament meetings. Though it’s only a little of what Krista did I’m glad to do it. I have learned from her to serve wherever the Lord needs me. No calling is too small, nothing we do for others is insignificant in the sight of the lord. As it says in Matthew:
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - St Matthew 25:40
I hope to continue Krista's legacy and always be engaged in a good cause and serve the Lord wherever and whenever He needs me. To serve the Lord we must serve others and it is in serving others that we forget ourselves and find joy and peace.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Month One

Those of you that regularly follow Krista's blog know that we keep track of many dates and loved to find reasons to celebrate. Every 20th of the month was our "month-a-versary" (it was always fun to see who would remember it first). We have the season of Jacob and the season of Emma which included their birthdays, homecoming days, adoption days and sealing days. We even celebrated the 12th of each month since her diagnosis as another month she outlived her prognosis.

Today marks one month since her passing. A lot has happened in that month. There has been a lot of pain, a lot of tears and a lot of heartache. On the other hand there have been many angels that have blessed my family through countless acts of service. There has been a lot of comfort given through friends and family. There has been a lot of thoughts and prayers for me and my family. And there has been a lot of tears of joy for the outpouring of blessings that we have received.

I have said many times that life is messy. If it weren't so we wouldn't learn and grow and reach the divine potential that is in all of us. The Lord wants us to trust Him in all things. During times of trial it is of utmost importance to trust in Him and rely on Him. If we do He will strengthen us to endure the trials that shall be placed upon our backs. And He will pour out His blessings upon us so that our burdens will be light. I have felt His love many times this past month. When the pain and sorrow seemed too much to bear I would fall upon my knees and plead with my Father in Heaven for the help and strength to endure. Every time He has blessed me with his love and peace and I knew that all would be well.

I know my Heavenly Father knows me and loves me more than I can comprehend. He has been patient we me and has lead me step by step to become what I am today. There is much more that I need to learn but I know with His help all things are possible.

Looking back at this month there is much to celebrate and be happy for. Most of all it is the "month-a-versary" of my dear wife's successful completion of her mortal trial. No longer does she need to endure countless MRIs, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, injections, blood tests, pain and sickness. She is in our Heavenly Father's hands now. And it is one less month till we are together, never to be separated again.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Lead, Kindly Light

When I was very young my mom endeavored to teach me to play the piano. I remember countless hours practicing while I wished I was doing something else a bit more entertaining. Whenever I would complain about it my mom would tell me that someday when I was a missionary I would be in an area where I would be the only person that could play the hymns for church. At that point I would just roll my eyes and get back to practicing still wishing I was elsewhere. Needless to say, my mom's prediction came true.

While I was serving a mission in Japan there was rarely an area I was in that had someone who could play the piano. I was able to provide the accompaniment to the congregational hymns for most of the two years of my mission. I'm thankful for a mother that had the foresight to not give up on a young boy knowing that the benefit greatly outweighed anything I lost. I never became a great pianist but I learned enough to play hymns (which was my mom's goal) and compose some simple arrangements and original songs.

Many times when I find myself alone with my thoughts and the pains of mortality I turn to the piano for comfort. Sometimes it's much easier to express my emotions through the piano then verbally. Today was one of those days. While flipping through the hymn book I came across "Lead, Kindly Light". This brought back a flood of memories and emotions. A few years ago Krista used the first verse in her post titled "One Step Enough For Me". She compared it with our experience of adopting our Emma. Showing that sometimes we just need to trust the Lord. Knowing that he has a plan for us should be enough. We don't need to know the outcome we just need to take that next step and put our trust in Him and let Him lead us to where He wants us to be.

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

As I sat at the piano reading the lyrics I got to the third verse with tears streaming down my face I read:

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

I have lost my angel. Thankfully it's only for "awhile". I look forward to the day that we meet again, to once again see her smiling face and walk hand in hand. I know, with the Lord, we are never lost. He is the good shepherd and He knows his sheep. We must put our faith in Him and trust that He will lead through this trial, for there is no way around it. And if we are faithful we will reach the end of our journey and look upon His face and hear the words "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.. enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:21.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Magical Tender Mercies

Since October Krista and I have been planning a surprise trip to Disney World as a Christmas present for Jacob and Emma. After Krista passed away I thought about what to do and realized that Krista wouldn't want anything to get in the way of our plans for the kids. So after the last present was opened on Christmas morning I told the kids where were going the following Monday. Words can't describe the excitement expressed by Jake and Em.
The following Monday at 4:20am I woke the kids, packed the car and left for the airport.

We arrived at our hotel, Jambo House at the Disney World Animal Kingdom Lodge. Our room overlooked the "Savannah" where you could see zebra, impala, giraffe, antelope, wildebeest and many other animals roaming around.

Despite the cold and the parks being crowded nearly to capacity we had an wonder time. We saw shows, rode rides and ate more good food than we should have. The parks were lit up for Christmas with Cinderella's Castle covered in lights shining like a beautiful ice castle.

The highlight of the trip for Emma was a tossup between meeting "Prince Stitch" and the Princess Storybook Dinner at Epcot Center.

When we first arrived at Epcot center we saw Stitch signing autographs and taking picture. So we quickly got in line and waited. When it was our turn to meet Stitch he noticed the shirt that Emma was wearing that said "Someday My Prince Will Come" and indicated that he was her prince. He even signed her signature book as "Prince Stitch" and kissed her hand just as a prince would. Emma was smitten to say the least and even insisted on getting a Stitch stuffed animal before we left.

Later that day at the Princess Storybook Dinner she was able to meet Cinderella, Ariel, Princess Aurora, and Mary Poppins. But her favorite by far was Belle who signed her book "To: Emma Love, Belle" and even kissed her book leaving a lipstick kiss on the page.

Jacob loved the Stitch's Great Escape! Even though he was nervous while waiting in line and was scared a couple of times during the ride. But the biggest scare came early Friday morning.

When we were going to bed Thursday night Jacob was complaining that his stomach hurt. I thought it was just all of the food we had eaten that day and sent him to bed hoping he would feel better in the morning. But things just got worse. At about 2:00am Friday morning I was startled awake with Jacob crying and throwing up all over his bed and the floor. I quickly got up, cleaned him and the floor and took the bedding off of his bed and called housekeeping to bring new bedding and to further clean the floor. It took about an hour and three more calls before they came to the room with new linens and cleaned the floor. In the meantime Jacob vomited a couple more times and was complaining that his stomach was hurting. He didn't have a fever so I was hoping it was just bad food that needed to work itself out. I bought a Sprite for him to sip on in hopes of it settling his stomach. Nothing helped him feel better and he kept vomiting every hour or so until all that was coming out was saliva and mucus. I realized this was getting dangerous for Jake and called the front desk to see what medical options were available. they recommended a visiting doctor that I could make an appointment with. I called the doctor and after talking to him about Jake's symptoms he recommended that I take him to the ER. The hotel's concierge arranged for a cab to pick us up and take us to the local hospital's ER. They even gave us a voucher for the cab ride to and from the ER.

Once at the hospital they immediately hooked Jacob up to an IV and started giving him fluids to help with the dehydration caused by the vomiting. They also gave him a dose of Zofran to help settle his stomach. They then gave him an bottle of apple juice to sip on to see if he could keep it down. But after drinking only half of the apple juice Jacob started to complain and cry about how bad his stomach hurt. Shortly after that Jacob quickly sat up from the hospital bed and projectile vomited so hard it hit the wall 8 feet from where he was. We were quite scared at this point. I also realized that it was three weeks to the day from when I was with Krista in the ER when she passed away. I was worried about losing Jacob also and didn't know what to do. The doctor decided Jake needed a CAT scan of his abdomen in hopes of diagnosing the problem. The CAT scan showed that Jacob was constipated and other tests showed he was fighting a viral infection. The two together created a dangerous situation keeping Jake from being able to eat or drink anything. At about 3pm the doctor told us she wasn't comfortable releasing Jacob and wanted to admit him to the hospital for another 24 hours. I explained that our flight home was the next day and if he was admitted we would miss our flight and have to deal with the hassle and cost of rescheduling our flight. She finally agreed that if Jacob could keep down a popsicle for an hour or so she would be willing to release him. As soon as she left to order the popsicle we knelt down by Jacob's bed and prayed to Heavenly Father, acknowledging our faith in His ability to heal, and asking Him to heal Jake so he would be able to once again eat and drink and that we would be able to return home as scheduled. Things turned around rather quickly after that. Jacob ate the popsicle without any problems and kept it down. His stomach quit hurting and he was able to use the restroom. By the time the doctor came back to check on him he was smiling and cheerful. The doctor commented that it was the first time she saw him smile and that his complexion looked much better. After having him walk around the ER and pressing on his stomach she agreed to release him. At just after 5:30pm we left the hospital headed back for our hotel room. Needless to say we decided to forgo any New Year celebrations that night and go directly to bed.

I'm thankful for a Heavenly Father who loves us, who knows us and is concerned about our well being. I'm thankful for the power of prayer for I know that if we have faith for that which is right we shall receive it just as it is stated in 3 Nephi 18:20:
"And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you."
I also like the words from Ezra Taft Benson's Last General Conference Talk as LDS Church President:
"He wants to help you because He loves you, and He will help you if you pray to Him and ask Him for His help."
I know this to be true. I know God loves each and every one of us. He wants us to be happy in this life as well as in the next. If we will just follow his Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ He will give us peace and joy greater than anything we can imagine. And if we ask Him for that which is right, having faith in Him and His Son, he will give us what we ask for.

I'm thankful the the many tender mercies that the Lord has shown to me and my family, especially in this time of need.