Awakened by Death

As we are approaching the Easter season,  I have somehow volunteered myself to teach the Easter lesson on Sunday. My mind and heart seem to be fluttering all around me and full of thoughts, deep emotion I may or may not want to release, and above all love and complete gratitude.

3 ½ years ago I thought I knew my Father in Heaven and my brother Jesus Christ. I knew of them, I read of them, I believed in them. I prayed daily to them multiple times and offered prayers of thanks to them regularly.

But then my life changed in an instant. In literally minutes what I thought I knew, what I thought I understood, what I thought was a strong relationship with them completely changed when my first born son Miles passed through the veil and was welcomed home by them and so many others who had gone before.

I found myself stripped down to my core. It was so raw. I had no strength, no will, no desire left within me. At times I still don’t. Things that seemed to matter to me before, I no longer gave a second thought to anymore. My desires, my appetite and my love for so many things that I had loved previously vanished in an instant. So many loving and kind people offered, and continue to offer, kindness in their words and actions. Each one trying to lift me. Yet I felt more alone than ever in my life, and again at times I still do. No one really knew the thoughts, feelings and complete despair I felt. I barely could understand it myself.

But I knew that my Eternal Father knew. He too gave his first born, his eldest’s, his beloved son to die for each one of us. He willingly sent him down to this mortal world to be mocked, scorned and sacrificed in his name so that each one of us may return to live with him again. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been for him to witness all that our Savior suffered in his life. Yet he loved each one of us enough to allow him to go through so much pain and ridicule because he knew the bigger plan.

Then there is our brother Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind. What love he has for each of us. The fact that he lead such a perfect life and literally gave all that he had, even his very own life so that we may return to live in the presence of him and our Eternal Father as an eternal family. To say that I love him and am eternally grateful to him feels so miniscule at his love and sacrifice for me.

It has been through trials, big and small, that I have gained faith, grown in faith, and been changed by faith in my life. But losing my son rocked me to my core. And it was there that I not only found my faith, but it lifted me when I couldn’t lift myself. My faith was tested more than ever before. But it was and is solid. It has literally saved me and continues to save me daily. I have found that while I thought I knew my Savior and my Eternal Father I had only known them like a distant admirer. It was through losing my son, through Miles’ death that I was truly awakened. Yes I was Awakened by Death. No only do I see clearer, but I listened clearer and I know and understand more clearly.
I know that we have an Eternal Father. That he loves each one of us more than we will ever comprehend. I know we that wants us to return to his presence and be an eternal family in celestial glory with him. I know that our beloved brother Jesus Christ is our Savior. That he gave all he had, literally, for each one of us because of his love and devotion for each of us personally. I know that it because of him that we can be forgiven of our short comings and can be encircled by the glorious embrace of our loved ones again and live with them in eternal splendor. And for that I am forever grateful and indebted to them!!!

So Easter is such a special holiday for me. It’s a holiday of love, gratitude, joy and hope. It’s what I cling to daily as I await to hold Miles again in my arms. 3 ½ years ago I would have told you that I lost everything. That nothing mattered anymore. But it was through losing my everything that I gained more than I ever thought. Miles gave me and continues to give me more than I ever realized I had or even knew. Miles gave me and continues to give me more love, gratitude, joy and hope than I ever realized possible. His death woke me from a slumber I didn’t realize I was in and he brought me to KNOW my Savior and Eternal Father in a way I may never had before. And I love him even more for it!!!


Memories Are The True Treasures

About a month ago I found myself cleaning out every cupboard, drawer, closet and even storage totes in my house. (Yes we have only lived here about 6 months and yes I was already deep cleaning again.) I am a stress purger. I think it drives my husband crazy. After Miles passed I often found myself getting rid of anything and everything I could, expect for anything of his. I couldn't get rid of a single thing of his. But I would daily get rid of my clothes, Vivian's and so much more. It feels good for me to release and I also feel good about all the donations I give that will help others. I look at it as a win/win.

2 weeks after Miles passed we found out that our hopes and fears were true, we were in fact expecting our third child. (The ball was already rolling on this one before Miles passed.) To be honest I was absolutely CRUSHED when we found out months later that it was a girl. I was mad, hurt, confused and so much more. Why would God take my son? And why wouldn't he give me another boy? Then fast forward years later to us expecting our 4th and again another girl. Again a mix of emotions even I couldn't fully sort out. But Mark and I have cherished and felt blessed by the birth of both Clara and Josie. Each one has added so much to our family and our hearts.

So for years now I have held onto each and every one of Miles' clothes. Hoping to have a little boy that would wear them again. I have let the girls wear some of his clothes. They beam when they wear them and make sure everyone knows that they are wearing their brother's clothing. It's truly sweet.

Well as I was cleaning out my house on a rampage last month I suddenly found myself cracking open Miles' totes. I had no intention of even cracking them that day, or maybe ever. But without thinking or allowing emotions to take me over I began going through them. Making piles to make quilts out of and a pile to donate. I didn't know who I would donate them to but I knew someone needed them. After hours of it, and Mark coming home in shock of what I was doing, a specific family and boy came to mind. A family dear to our hearts, who were facing tragedy and trial of loss of their dad and spouse. So I messaged my friend and asked if she would like them, or if it that would be too weird for her. She graciously accepted. So I piled Miles' clothes up and delivered them to her that night.

I won't lie Mark and I held, stoked and even hugged and smelled a few of them as we went through them. We even carefully deliberated on which ones we still wanted to keep. Some were hard to part with. But we pushed through and decided someone else needed them more than our dark totes in our basement.

After donating them we came home and realized that we needed to give more. So we went back through each item carefully and came up with another huge pile to donate again. The next day my sweet friend sent us the sweetest picture and message with her little son wearing Miles' coat and shoes. It truly made my heart beam. It was then that I realized all this time I have been holding onto his things for a reason. And I had now found that reason and person. I knew Miles would want them to go to him. I felt it in my heart and so did my friend. It was comforting.

After Miles passed I will never forget kneeling in his closet looking over each shirt, jacket, belt, hat and pair of shoes before me. I smelled each one, longing for my son. I then screamed at him and told him how it wasn't fair that he left me behind with all his thing to take care of. He just left me. He left everything. It crushed me. He left me with everything but took my heart and all my future dreams of our time together. It hurt more than anything I can even explain. It sill does actually.

When you lose someone you are faced with the stark reality of what truly matters in life. It's not the material things. It's not all the latest and greatest gadgets. It's not the labels on our clothes. It's nothing that you can physically hold. It's the memories of the mind and heart. The conversations had. The hugs, the kisses, the stroking of the cheek, the smells and the laughs. Those are the cherished things. And all those clothes Miles' left me with were just treasures of those memories made and had. Memories I cling to and never want to forget but sadly are fading with time. But those memories are truly my treasures until I hold him in my arms in again in eternity. Oh how I can't wait!!!


Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude. This word has been on my mind and heart for the last couple months. In fact I gave a lesson on it Sunday to the women in my church. It's funny, have you ever meet someone that always seems to just have bad luck? Well that's me...and maybe Mark too. So together we both sort of have a little rain cloud of trouble or bad luck that is always seeming to follow us around. I've sort of gotten use to it, but sometimes it's really exhausting. I always say with a chuckle in my voice that "We have the BEST, WORST luck ever." I mean really, if you really knew me, you would know this to be true.

Well lately it has seemed overwhelming and it's really brought a negative feeling into our lives and home. I'm well aware that we all have trials and struggles. Many often, in fact most often, unseen to others. But we are all battling something...it's life. Life is all about trials. Trials are what mold and shape us into who we are. But I'm learning that we have to allow those trials, as hard as they may be, to mold us. We have to be malleable so that those trials can refine us and shape us into who our maker wants us and foresees us to be.  Now believe me, it's not always easy!!! I know! In fact, it's easier said than done I have found. When you have or are going through something that has rocked you to your core and stripped you of everything it's hard to see that you can or will be shaped into anything. But I am here to attest to you that there is a master plan. One we may not understand. One that we may question. But one that is given to us, in fact entrusted to us and only us. Not "because God won't give you more than you can't handle," (which by the way is not found ANYWHERE in scripture thank you, I have looked), but because God knows what you can become if you allow the refiner's fire to test you, even though you may not think you can withstand the heat. It is these tests, the burns, the scalding and so forth from the fire of trials that will help us to change and always remember that change. The change for the better I pray.

Even I have been tested, and put through the refiner's fire I have seen, experienced and been blessed with so much that I have truly been grateful for! To deny that there have been blessings even through the hardest of times would be betraying the good, the righteous, the beauty and ultimately God.

So as we start this new year I am going to try and have an attitude of gratitude. Give more gratitude, even when times are hard. Verbalize my gratitude in the present to those I love more often so that I won't live with regret when it's not possible any longer. To try and laugh a little more even when it seems my little rain cloud is pouring down on me.

It is said that "Gratitude is the memory of the heart." I love this! It's so true. Those things that you are truly grateful for are ingrained in your heart and can never be forgetten as they are the memory of the heart.

So I am starting a Gratitude journal and I will extent the invitation to you as well. It's something that you can write in daily, for just 2-5 minutes. Or you can write in it weekly. But be sure to write at the top "I am grateful for....". I have read how this is life changing, and I'm ready for that positive change in my life! So here's to a grateful year!!!


Blessing of Josie

Last Sunday Mark blessed Josie, giving her a name and a blessing in our church. Mark gave her a very beautiful blessing! Oh how my children are blessed to have such a wonderful dad, who loves them and blesses them with wonderful blessings! It was a wonderful day celebrating this sweet girl with family we love so much!
To say that I have been smitten with this little one is a bit of an understatment.
Having her has not only given my arms something to hold, but has brought a little ray of sunshine into my heart and soul that has been missing for longer than I think I even understand.
But this sunshine in my heart not only comes from Josie, but Vivian and Clara too.
To say I am blessed is an understatement! I mean look at those beautiful girls. BLESSED!
Oh how I long for Miles to be here. To have his sweet influence here in our home...physically.
But his influence is here. He is with each of these sweet girls! He is with ALL of us! 
It's crazy to me that we have three little girls with us now. Three sweet girls and one really incredible boy, make our family. Although it's hard to not have Miles in our pictures anymore, he is in our hearts and that is huge. I will always think of him, remember him, speak of him and long for him. I can't wait for the day he will be in our pictures again!! Family of SIX we are. It's crazy and wonderful!


Welcome Josie Mae

 October 20, 2015 We welcomed this sweet little one into the world and our family.
Josie Mae Kelly
7 lbs. 5 oz. 20" long

To say the girls were excited was an understatement.

I still can't believe we have three little girls running around this house now.

Clara LOVES to tell us that she isn't little. She's a big sister! 
And she couldn't be more proud of that fact.
(In fact she thinks she's my big sister. I can't seem to win that argument, so I gladly agree now.)

And Vivian, well she's kind of a baby hog. She wakes up super early asking to hold Josie. 
Who knew she would be such a great helper for me. It's been wonderful having her around to hold Josie so I can fill sippy cups, make lunch, etc.

We have LOVED having Josie Mae in our home! She is very sweet. So far she sleeps really good. (Fingers crossed. I'm just waiting for it to turn, because we have never had such a calm baby before.)
I won't lie we have also had some growing pains within the family, trying to find our new places in life. But it's been so wonderful bringing her sweet spirit into our home and family.

Now the real question. What color hair and eyes will she have? So far she has Miles coloring. 
But time will tell. It's always a surprise around here.


Please Help the Bell Family

Last week was a hard week. But it has been almost a harder weekend. A friend of mine needs your help more than ever. Friday morning after we spent Thursday as a family remembering Miles I logged back onto Facebook and the first thing I saw on my feed was that my friend's husband had experienced both a stroke and an aneurysm. He was life flighted to Utah to special receive care and surgery.

My heart was broken. All our thoughts, emotions and feelings from just three long, yet short years ago of our stay in the hospital with Miles flooded over both Mark and I. We found ourselves constantly checking Facebook for updates from her on his condition.

Today our friend said goodbye to her best friend, love of her life and eternal companion. 

Mark and I know loss of a child and it's devastating! We don't know what it is like to lose a spouse, but my heart tells me that in some ways it may be even harder. Our hearts are beyond broken for Monica and her three sweet children. Through our trial Mark and I have had each other to rely on. Monica comes home to an emptiness we don't know, but can't stop thinking about.

I do know that medical bills, funeral costs and then living costs (as she is stay at home mom to those precious three children) is huge. So if ever there was a time to help someone out, even just a little, I ask you to please help this sweet, loving and amazing family. They need it more than ever!!! I know how helpful it was of strangers, many of whom we will never know, that gave to funds for us. So if you can I ask you to please help the Bell Family out at this most difficult time in their lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!


Beautiful Heartbreak

I still can't believe it's been three years ago that I last held my son in my arms as he took his last breath of life. If you would have told me that I would have this trial in my life, I would have never believed you. Losing a child was not anything I ever even considered. I had personally not known anyone, or I didn't think I did, that had faced that trial. But now I know that I did know mothers of angels, I just didn't know it. Oh how my world has been opened up in the last three years to others trials.

I was the person who had life all mapped out. A course ahead, a game plan, and a solution to each bump in the road that did or even may come up. Life was great and when it wasn't it was all going to be okay. There wasn't anything we or I couldn't take on with some good hard work and a good attitude. Life was generally good.

Well life threw me the biggest curve ball and it smacked me right in the face and shattered every fiber in me. At least that's how it has felt at times. Yet, even when I felt, and do feel, the most lost, the most shattered and the most darkness I have ever felt I also feel the most love, light and renew sense of hope that I have ever felt. It's the most peculiar, sacred and beautiful thing that I can barely even put into words.

This song described it best! I often have this song on constant repeat and full blast in my house. I love it so much and it truly strengths me! She truly captured my heart in this song!

In the past three years I have fought though things I never thought I could even take on. I may not always win, but I always come out stronger. To say that I am a different person today than I was three years ago is an understatement. Am I completely different? I like to think I still had love, compassion, sympathy and a giving nature, but boy have those things been multiplied a hundred fold!!! My outlook on life has been refocused. My love deeper. My conviction to help so much stronger. My desire to serve others and help lift others is full of determination. I have fought to become this person, and I continue to fight each and every day. I may always have this battle. So am I brokenhearted? YES! Of course I am. How could a mother not be, when she unexpectedly has to say goodbye to her child and expected to continue to live without piece of her, and piece of her heart? But as she sings in this song, it's a beautiful heartbreak. I'm not sure that I'm at the top of my trial yet, but the view I do see from where I am now is so exponentially expanded from where I was before losing Miles. I have not only Miles but both my Savior Jesus Christ and My Eternal Father in Heaven to thank for helping me climb this mountain and see this view. And not just see but see with clearer vision and an open heart that was literally opened more fully by shattering it into pieces.

 (When we left Miles after he took his last breath and we said our goodbyes, we turned around one last time and found him giving us a thumbs up. We always did that as a family. It truly touched our hearts!!!)

So as I continue up this mountain, with both smooth trails and rocky trails, I have faith that my view from the top is going to be more grand than I can imagine. But I know that it's work to get that point, and sometimes painful work. But I'm here now, I'm not giving up, and I'm up for the hike. Besides I have one of the cutest, loving and tender angels that I know by name, Miles, giving me a thumbs up and so much more as I journey ahead. I truly love you more than you know Buddy!!! I'm holding on until Eternity and when I see you again, I'm NEVER letting go!!!