dear compassionate friends, what a great experience for me to be invited to come and speak at your group. Compassionate Friends is a support group for parents who have lost children. It was held at the McKay Dee Hospital. I was not exactly sure what to expect, but I left feeling very happy for the opportunity. I spoke about my own experiences with Tyson and how it affected me and how I dealt with the loss. I mostly focused on the fact that we can't control our circumstances or what life throws at us, but we can control how we will react to it. I tried to emphasize that no matter what cards we are dealt, we can still be happy because happiness is a choice. It's a daily choice, and sometimes even an hourly choice, but it is a choice. I talked about how Tyson was given a tough hand in life but he never used that as a crutch to be miserable. He lived life to the fullest even when he didn't feel well, which was pretty much every day of his life. He was a great example to everyone that life is short and so be happy and cherish the moments...no. matter. what. I explained how after he passed away that I had a choice to make; I could be a mother that lost her son and be miserable, or I could be a mother that lost her son and be happy. I chose to be happy. I tried to end my talk a few times, but Donna, (the director) kept telling me to please continue and so I did. After I told her I had no more, she asked if anyone had any questions for me which they did and we continued on with a pretty lengthy discussion. Many of them needed to talk about their own experiences. Donna is an amazing moderator and she keeps the atmosphere very positive and upbeat which would be quite a challenge. The meeting then ended. Well, kind of. Most of the attendees continued on talking out in the hall about their own heartaches. I was so happy my mom was able to come with me. Her and Donna are good friends. She told me I did a great job and I was happy to hear that because it's always hard to know if your message was well received or not. There was one lady that was kind of a naysayer about an article that I had mentioned about "getting off the anniversary train". But between Donna and I, I think we handled her pretty well. ☺ The rest of the group had some pretty tough struggles and it was really interesting to see how each one was dealing with them. Even though not one of us there wanted to be a member of this group, we unfortunately are and so helping one another is very healing. I do however doubt any of us would trade places with one another even though our own struggles are difficult. I enjoyed being able to share mine with them and I hope and pray I was able to really make a difference in at least one of their lives. And gratefully a few of them came up and told me I really helped them a lot.
A few of the things I displayed...
At first, I wasn't sure anyone was going to come, but there ended up being 14 in attendance total, including a facebook friend that I went to high school with who has lost two sons. She's not in any of these photos unfortunately.
Haha...I told my Mom that I HAD to take this photo. I'm sure her frame is much smaller than this one! She is a good sport!
They gave me a bouquet of gorgeous purple carnations! How does everyone know I love purple? ☺
dear dawn, holy cow you never cease to amaze me! I was happy to get your text saying you had a little something for me and so it was so fun to meet you for lunch. I do appreciate you coming into my neck of the woods this time since I was a little over scheduled already this week. The "little something" you had for me was a Marathon Goody Bag! You said you felt bad you had told me you were going to come and cheer for me at the finish line for my marathon but now you are no longer able to since you will be on a cruise (poor little thing!) and so to make up for your absence you brought me all of the essentials that I will need after! Chocolate being the most important of all. ☺ I will be looking forward to all these little goodies while I am trying to endure those 26.2 miles. I am very sad you won't be there at the end because there is nothing like knowing you have a cheering squad waiting at the finish to help you through. But, I will picture you in my mind yelling and cheering for me in your superwoman costume. ☺ I just know that will help me! It was super fun having some one on one time to just chat. I'm so glad I have a great sista like you! I hope you are having a lot of fun in Alaska. Don't feel bad, the weather here is pretty much the same as yours right now!
dear wisteria tree, you are absolutely gorgeous! I wish you would bloom all summer long! This year you are winding down the wrong side of the yard where I have to take a walk to even see you. But it's worth it. I really need one of you where I can see you through my kitchen window so I can enjoy you to the fullest. I just L O V E spring! There is just no season like it. It brings me so much joy.
Yeah I know I should be wearing purple in this photo with the Wisteria background, but Dave told me to get in the flowers and took some spur of the moment shots. I kind of like the contrasting colors anyway.
dear jen, thank you for the AWESOME shirt! You know how much I love hills (haha) and so this shirt says it all. And it's even purple! I'm glad (I think) that we have decided to work on hills this summer and once and for all embrace them! After all, hills ARE our friends! Right?
dear drug rep, thank you for dropping off such delicious treats at the clinic so my husband could bring them home to me to inhale! The round one is the best! Okay, I only ate half of the round one and only a bite or two of the others. I held back and saved some for the rest of the fam. I know Mother's Day is coming up and I have to be on my best behavior in case someone gives a talk on all the sacrifices mother's make for their family. That was mine... ☺
dear last long run...even though you were only a 9 miler, we still considered you a long run since it's taper time. I can't believe I made it to taper week! That is so exciting! This run could be a post of it's own. What a run! We started at the top of Sardine Canyon and we were looking forward to a great downhill run. Our only worry was getting drenched. Luckily we avoided that for the most part. We did start out with rain but then that rain morphed into BRUTAL headwinds! What we didn't expect was the insane wind! Though I guess we should have because every canyon run this training we have had it, but today was insane! We estimated the wind was steady at about 25-30 mph. We felt like we weren't even moving forward but being pushed backwards. It was a huge effort to even push through. I just knew our time was going to be the worst ever. But we decided to just have fun and get through it because we really had no choice since we left my car at the top of the canyon and hers was at her home. So push through we did. I felt so beat up! We lost our hats at least 10 times from gusts that came up or when a semi would speed past. I finally just let my visor rest around my neck because I was sick of holding it on and chasing it.
It was really tough when we hit the uphills. It felt like we were not progressing at all, but we made it up them all without stopping. We got back to Jen's house and looked at our time and splits and we were both in total shock! We ran at an 8:47 pace! WHAT? Are you kidding me? There is NO way! None of our runs have been that fast even when we weren't fighting the wind! We were very surprised and almost in disbelief. In fact, I still am! Our splits were even crazier. We had a couple miles of running 8:02 or 8:04! It honestly felt like we were doing 10 or 11 minute miles. I was so happy! It was redemption from our last 20 miler and exactly what we needed to restore our confidence for the marathon! I just hope our bodies have time to recover from this brutal run before D day! At least it made us feel pretty hard core! So what did we do the next morning after this "beat us up" run? Run a 5K race. Yeah, why not. haha Keep reading for more on that. ☺ Anyway, Jen drove us back up to the sheds so I could get my car and as soon as I got out of the car, a huge downpour hit us. HUGE! We somehow managed to choose the perfect time for our run in about the only window of the day where it wasn't raining. If we would have had to deal with a downpour AND that brutal wind, I am pretty sure we would have had to hitch hike home! On second thought, we are pretty crazy and adventurous and I bet we would have just ran through it since all that crazy wind made us feel so hard core! haha
dear date night, what better way to spend a date night than at a viewing? Luckily the line wait was less than an hour and so we had time to go out to dinner as well. The viewing was for my sister in laws grandpa Blaine Jensen and we all loved him and so we wanted to go and support her and my brother. It was in Plain City (my old stomping grounds as a kid) and so it was fun driving past so many things that brought back memories to me. We saw Jake and Blanks house who were my brother's imaginary friends...yes I remembered where they lived. haha I kept thinking I saw my great grandparents red brick house and the canal out front of it where me and my brother used to pick asparagus, but I could never tell for sure which red brick house it was. Dave was starting to wonder about my memory every time that I would say, "No that's it!" after about five different times. We even went to the cemetery where I used to go every Memorial Day to place peonies on my relatives graves, but we couldn't find the graves. It was fun. What's not fun about grave hopping on a date? After that, we headed to dinner at Roosters to carb load for my 5K. Okay, technically you don't have to carb load for a 5K, but I will use any excuse I can find. It was yummy food and we got the caramel bread pudding for dessert...even though it wasn't near as good as Union Grills. We went to Union Grill first but the wait was too long. Caramel bread pudding is always a really fun way to carb load! While we waited for our table I took this shot of Dave (below) reading the menu and holding onto the jug. Somehow, it just cracked me up. Rooster's is a brewery after all. I also saw a poster advertizing the Ogden Marathon. It made me excited but also very nervous! The nerves are definitely starting to set in. Fun night!
dear fly with the flock 5K, what an adventure you were today. I've ran you one other time and all I could remember was that the terrain was really rough and uneven. You are held at the Ogden Nature Center in a very beautiful setting. I went with Jen and we thought we were going to get rained on, but luckily we missed it. We were both very sore from our crazy brutal wind fest the day before, but... we are always up for an adventure. Besides, we knew we were getting a free breakfast after the race. That always helps motivate ya! When we arrived I was very surprised how many peeps were in attendance. There must have been over 200 people. Lots of kiddos because they were having a kid race as well as a walk for adults. We didn't have a lot of time to warm up, which was good because it was pretty chilly and we just wanted to get started. We both ran in our jackets. I took mine off at mile 2, but after I was freezing!
It was a very hard trail course. I say hard in a relative term because actually the ground was anything but hard. It was however very wet, slippery, and muddy! And it was even more uneven than I remembered. About mile 1.5 I had serious thoughts about just walking it because I was worried I was going to roll my ankle. But I just took it slower and tried to be extra cautious with each step. Not exactly what you want to be thinking about in a race. The walkers were really not very respectful of the runners and when we came up behind them because the trail was so narrow, we had to yell, "Runner coming through!". It didn't really help. Most wouldn't move over. That was also very frustrating. It was a tough run. But it was worth it when I found out that I took 1st place in my age division (out of 13) and I took 6th overall woman out of 78. There were probably around 150 runners which is a pretty big race as far as numbers. I just wish they could even out the trail. Some poor guy ran into a low tree branch and nearly scalped himself. I'm just glad I didn't get injured just in time for the marathon.
We ran into Bob who is a local runner and good friend and he joined us for breakfast. We all placed first in our age divisions. So of course we had to take a photo! ☺ We were not impressed with the food. They didn't give us much fruit and the pancakes were barely lukewarm. Needless to say we didn't eat them. And no bacon! Last time they ran out of bacon before we got any, and this year they just didn't have any. It was very disappointing. At least the hot chocolate was hot and so I inhaled that. I was so cold. We stood around in our sweaty clothes forever waiting and waiting for them to do the awards, and it got really windy and cold. I couldn't wait to get home and take a long hot shower! Which is exactly what I did. I did like the shirts (not like I need another one of those), but they were cute.
dear mother's day, wow! What a great Mother's Day I had this year. It started off great because I didn't have to teach Sunday School. I do love to teach, but I was happy to not have to stress about a lesson today. Dave made me one of my favorite breakfasts. German pancakes with fresh fruit and Orange Suzette sauce. He had also picked me a bunch of lilacs and so my house smelled like spring had come inside. Then as I was pulling out of the driveway to head to church, Bryce came running out and jumped in my car! He was all dressed up in a nice shirt and tie and I asked him what was going on. He said he was coming to church for Mother's Day. I think I was in a little bit of shock, but you couldn't have wiped the smile off my face even if you tried! We went into church and sat down and I saw McKay sitting at the sacrament table to bless it, and then I read the program and his name was on it to speak! I asked Bryce if he knew about it and he said yes. I asked him if that is why he came and he said no. He said it was for me because it was Mother's Day. Pretty sure that was the best present I've ever had. McKay gave an excellent talk and he had everyone laughing because the first two speakers talked about when the Bishop called them to speak and they had some story with it, but when he stood up, he said, "The Bishop didn't call me. He just came in my room and told me I was speaking." It was pretty funny. I left Relief Society early because Taylor was supposed to be calling from Brazil at 2:00. I was so excited!
I got home and saw Taylor had sent me an email asking if we were ready yet. I wrote back and told him no because Dave and McKay weren't home yet. Bryce got the Skype all set up and as soon as they got home (I was a little miffed they didn't arrive by 2:00 since that was the plan), we connected with him. We did a three way Skype with Skyler who lives in Hawaii for a bit but then lost that connection. We only had 40 minutes and it went really fast! I felt bad we didn't have Sky on for longer, but I was happy we got the time we did. It was so good to see both of them! Sky called me a little later and so I got to chat with him on the phone for a while.
Taylor looked very happy. It was fun to see that cute face and hear his VERY heavy Portuguese accent! It was so funny listening to his voice now with an accent. We got to meet his roommates and a few people from the ward and they told us what a great missionary he is and how much they love him. He put on his World Cup jersey and I could tell he is very excited for that. He also informed me that he is living in the most dangerous part of the mission. He did make sure to add that no one bothers the men in white. Comforting.... Not!
The time went way too fast for me and before I knew it we were saying goodbye. I was happy that this was the first time I've said goodbye from Skyping him that I didn't lose a tear or two. It's usually such a sick feeling when he hangs up and the line goes silent. This time it wasn't as bad. I think it was because I know I will be hugging him for real in less than six months!
After we hung up, I talked to Sky and got caught up on his adventures. I really want to go visit him in the next few months. I just need to get it planned and do it. He might be coming back inland in six months. He is on the Big Island right now and really loves it there. We then ate a delicious roast dinner that Dave had made and then we took some family pictures. Usually on Mother's Day I just get a photo of me and my boys, but we did the whole fam this time. Family photos are always an adventure. The boys have a hard time sitting still for that long. Yes, it's true even though they are 17 and 23!
But somehow we managed to get a few good ones.
Really wish everyone was home to be in it...but I'm so grateful these two were.
This one is my favorite! ↓
We then headed to Dave's moms and had fun visiting with everyone there even though most of them were on their way home by the time we got there because there are four grand-kids on missions and so everyone had a different time to Skype.
Then we went to my Mom's and visited there. Luckily my brother and his family were still there. We had a total riot. My brother Jerry got telling some crazy stories, mostly about me when I was little and when we got in trouble he said how I had no fear and I would just glare at my Dad with a look of defiance as if I was saying, "Bring it! I dare ya!". He was so animated in his description and even though it was not true (not at all- haha) me, my Mom and Dad all had tears rolling down our faces because we were laughing so hard. Oh my gosh! It was hilarious. It all started because his wife Allie was asking us for parenting advice because she kept saying how respectful our boys all are and she wanted to know what it was Dave would say to them when he would sometimes give them a look that meant, "Go in the other room I want to talk to you", and they would and then come back and be perfect angels. She couldn't believe they never talked back. I started to think about that and she is right. Our boys have always been so obedient that way and have never given us any trouble when it comes to being sassy or disrespectful or ever saying anything rude at all to us. I guess I just took it for granted until she told us how they are struggling with that. I really do have great boys! I love them all so much and I have been so blessed with such hard working, respectful, kind, and fun boys. Mother's Day is such a great payday because I get to see how blessed I really am.
I have the best Mommy on the planet. Sorry, I know you thought that you did, but nope. I do! I wrote a post about her here a few months ago. If you want to see what her secret is to being a great and very loved person take a few minutes and go read it. I won the lottery when it comes to having a great mom!
There's a little bit of photo bombing going on here.
Bryce checkin' out Jerry's new Camaro
I have some amazing friends that also spoiled me today. Allie brought me over the most gorgeous hanging planter. PURPLE, of course! And Jamie brought me over a chocolate muffin because we are fellow missionary moms. Purple ribbon, of course! And Bonnie brought me an adorable high heel cupcake! Purple, of course! How I love my friends!
It was an amazing day! Dave gave me a boatload of fun stuff ranging from my favorite almond clusters from Idle Isle to a book to a Smushion to brownie brittle. I also got such nice cards from my boys and Dave. If I had to pick between gifts and a card or letter, I would choose the card and letter every time! I love letters! Today I got in the mail maybe the best letter I've ever received in my life from my son Skyler who is living in Hawaii. It brought me to tears. He wrote the sweetest and kindest words that any mother would give any thing to hear her son say. I don't know what I did to deserve that. He has such a gift and a way with words as well as a way to bring tears to my eyes. I've already read it three times now and I think I will frame it! haha It is that good! He says he wrote it while on the beach which makes me so happy just picturing that. I can almost smell the ocean and feel the breeze! I will treasure it always. Gifts will break, wear out, or get lost, but the written word will live forever and it's something I can go back and read again and again.
I am so proud of all my boys and feel so blessed to be their mother. What an amazing Mother's Day for me!
(and in case you didn't know that is Mom upside down!)