Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Family fun at our retreat!

Time for an Update

My goodness how the time seems to just fly by, which is good from my perspective. I used to wish that time would stand still for just a few minutes because it was constantly on the go and I had problems trying to keep up with it. Now that I'm here without my sweetheart, I look forward to time moving forward so I can be with him as soon as possible. It's funny how your perspective can change so quickly when your life is turned upside down and everything is different from what you're used to. You do learn to adapt even when you're sure you won't. Father helps you to work through each stage and gives you the coping mechanisms you need to press forward. That is a big lesson I have realized since I lost Ford. Okay, so what have I been up to for the last 7 months? (Yes, it's been 7 months since I last blogged! I should be horse-whipped! Uh, not really though!) Some exciting news is that 2 of my grandsons are preparing to serve missions. They are the sons of my two daughters. Both enter the MTC in September, a week apart. One is going to New York, New York South, speaking Haitian Creole, and the other one is headed to New Mexico, Farmington and will more than likely be serving among the native Americans there. Both will be very interesting and difficult missions, but my grandsons are up to the challenge and will be awesome missionaries! My grandson serving in Georgia is loving it and having some wonderful experiences. From the sound of his emails, his testimony is growing stronger along with his love of the gospel and our Savior, Jesus Christ. He has such a positive attitude about everything, even when things don't go the way they should or he is faced with difficult challenges, he isn't negative about them, but just the opposite. I love that about him. He is setting a good example for me by the way he handles his adversities. I have made several mini trips to see my daughters and their families who live away from me. They have also journeyed here several times to visit me. My oldest son who lived in Twin Falls, has just moved closer and is living in Pleasant View, UT which is about 40 minutes away. That has been wonderful to have his dear family closer now. I have been able to see more of them and I love that! Their baby daughter is growing up so quickly and is so much fun to take care of. I have enjoyed my time spent with her and her brothers--such fun grandkids! My second son(child #4) and his wife had their first baby in March, the 21st. Their sweet little daughter joined our family and has also been a delight! We're thankful to have her here. She is my 16th grandchild and all of them are very special and precious to me! They help me make it through the hard days by just being around me and reminding me how blessed I am to have this incredible family. Her parents adore their little girl, as do the rest of us. The two little guys of my youngest son and his wife are growing and continue to be such happy boys. I love to observe how they look at their little world and are so eager to explore it and figure out new things. Life is very carefree and exciting for them at this stage of their existence and I love that! They are a joy to be around. We just had a family retreat that my second son and his wife spearheaded for all of us. We stayed at a very nice cabin near Jackson Hole, WY and rafted down the Snake River. That was exhilarating to say the least. We all had a fun time and just enjoyed our time together. We've done this since Ford died so we could look forward to bringing the family together at least once a year and reconnect with one another. Each year we have gone someplace different which adds to the adventure of our retreat. Thanksgiving is also a time for most of the family to be together and we look forward to this holiday for that reason. It's a good time to usher in the Christmas season while we are gathered together at my home. I stay busy continuing my work in the temple which I dearly love, babysitting my precious grandchildren every opportunity I get, staying active in church and serving in the Primary Presidency right now, which I am thoroughly enjoying. These children are such a blessing in our lives and I'm so grateful to be surrounded by them. I also enjoy doing fun things with my friends who still rally around me and thoughtfully include me in their plans. My life is full and for now I'm content with where I'm at and what I'm accomplishing. Father has been here to guide and direct me so I wouldn't get lost or confused with what I needed to be doing when Ford was called home. There were definitely days I felt lost, confused, and alone, but as my grief subsided, I felt the presence of Father and of my Savior ever near urging me forward and letting me know I could do this. This experience is part of my earthly test as I maneuver through these uncharted paths on my own, to gain the experience needed to succeed in this life and return home more confident with my abilities to handle difficult situations. This life certainly provides plenty of those situations! I'm happy with who I'm becoming and still have a long way to go to become the person I want and need to be. The important thing is that I'm on the right path and I have many people helping me along the way, both here and on the other side of the veil. I'm grateful for all I'm learning in this process and for the love I receive from family and friends. Life can be crazy and uncertain, but thank heavens for the gospel and family ties that keep me grounded so I can find joy in the journey!

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy 2013

I have made it through another year--unbelievable! Time has a way of running off without you and before you know it, another year is behind you. I often ask myself if I used that time wisely and had a productive year as a result of what I did. Honestly, I am guilty of wasting a lot of the precious time we're given to progress and grow. I know I should do better than I have. Hopefully this year I'll buckle down and do things right! I realize a lot of us fall into this same category, not meaning to waste time but it happens. I hope I can accomplish more this year and learn the lessons I need to so I can keep moving forward. There really is so much to learn, both spiritually and temporally. I start my work at the temple again, tomorrow morning, and I'm so excited about that! I had to be put on a 90 day hold because of my health problem--not being able to walk due to an extreme lack of energy. After multiple tests and lots of money spent to figure out what was wrong, I'm still not any closer to finding a diagnosis. That was disheartening, but at least I know what I don't have and I DO know that rest and patience are key anti-dotes to helping me get back on my feet. So I'll have to be content with that and pray it doesn't come back, at least not for a long while. I learned,once more,some valuable lessons this time around,and the number one lesson was to allow Father to be in charge when I've done all I can do. Let Him take the reins and guide me. I found that when I finally gave in and said, "Ok, Thy will be done and I'll be happy with whatever that is," things started falling into place for me and my walking actually improved. I was so grateful for my children who were here to watch over me, help me out, to call people to come check on me, and a daughter who had me come and stay with them for a week because she wanted to help with my situation. It made me realize how much they really do love and care about me. My friends and neighbors were also incredible to bring in meals, stop by to see how I was doing, bring me reading material, and the list goes on. I have the best friends and neighbors on the planet!! I also felt the watchful care of my dear Ford, staying nearby to make sure I was okay. The last time I went through this problem was 25 years ago and we were living in Oklahoma. It hit me much worse and I was down for a very long time. Ford was my main caregiver and he sacrificed a lot to be able to be with me and take care of my needs. I realized then, just how much he loved me because of the loving care he gave me and never complained. This bout only lasted 2 months, so I feel I got off pretty lucky, actually I was very blessed! The holidays were good. I spent Christmas in St. George with my daughter, Natalie, and her cute family. It was good to be part of their family Christmas traditions. They spoiled me with the gifts each of them gave me and it even snowed the day after Christmas while Natalie, Amber, and I were out doing some after Christmas shopping. It was great! I felt Ford had sent the snow for me because I was missing a white Christmas. Salt Lake area certainly had a very white Christmas and I had missed out on it. It was pretty cold in St. George, so we might as well have some snow to go with it to make it worthwhile! I spent New Year's Eve with both my sons and their families who live close to me. I spent the day with Justin, Ashley, and their 2 boys, then Jeff and Tami invited me over for dinner and a Christmas Hallmark movie I had wanted to see. I made it home by 9:00 pm and called it a night, after doing a few things around the house before I went to bed. Ford and I always struggled to stay up and ring in the new year when he was alive, so I decided I didn't need to break our New Year's Eve tradition. I was asleep when the new year arrived. One of my goals for this year is to make better use of my time and be more productive. I want to reach out and serve more in different situations, inching out of my comfort zone to do so if need be. I hope to promote my new book and find those who would benefit from my experiences. I'll see what lies in store for me with that. I'm so grateful for my many blessings; for the love I feel from my Heavenly Father and His tender mercies in my life, and for all those dear family and friends who continue to give me their love, time, and support. I couldn't make it without you!! I love and appreciate each one of you more than you know! I wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and PRODUCTIVE New Year!! May God smile down on you and shower you with His blessings! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Changes-A new book-Life

It will soon be two years since my eternal companion returned home. There have been many changes in my life with his passing. I have learned much, grown from the experiences that have come my way, and continue to keep moving forward. I still miss him and my love for him is ever constant! I have a deeper understanding of why he had to go home when he did and I know he is very happy, which makes me happy for him. We have a new addition to our family. Justin and Ashley had their second little son, Sam, born on Aug.31, 2012. He is a cutie and big brother, Max, absolutely adores him! We also have two more little ones soon to arrive in the Reeder family. Jason and Kassy are due in December with a little daughter to add to their three sons, so we are all excited for them. Jeff and Tami are also due in March with their first baby. We
have yet to find out what gender they will be having, but we are equally happy for them! Our family continues to grow and our lives are made richer for the changes and growth we are encountering. I have finished writing another book, "Life after Loss" which tells my story of how I've dealt with my loss, the lessons I've learned, going through the different stages of grief, and advice I would give to someone going through a similar challenge. It has been very helpful for me to see the progress I have made since Ford died. It will be published soon and posted on my website, www.reederjourneyofhope.com, along with my first book, "Our Journey of Hope" which I wrote and self-published just before Ford died. I am happy with the end result of this book and hope it will be beneficial to those who read it. That is my main purpose in writing this book--to help others who are struggling in some way. I want them to know they are not alone and the feelings they are experiencing are very normal, especially those who are going through the loss of a loved one. I'm excited to share this book with others and hope they will share their feelings and thoughts about "Life after Loss" with me on my website. Life truly is a journey and it's all about the choices we make that mold us into the person we become. I'm learning that if I choose to follow my Savior, Jesus Christ, and do my best to emulate His example, I will be happy and have a more meaningful life. Yes, there will still be trials and struggles, that is also part of life, but with His help, I will be able to overcome them, be strengthened, learn from them, and be more fit for the kingdom of God, here and throughout eternity. I'm grateful for my experiences and the lessons I've learned and realize there is still much more to learn. Life is hard but the reward is sweet if we endure it well!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New year and new growth

I decided it was time to share some of the things I have learned since my sweetheart was called home a little over a year ago. In some ways I feel I have been without him for so long, and then I realize the amount of time that has gone by and think,"Wow, I can't believe it's been over a year already." Time does soften the blow of loss, even when you don't want to hear those words, when it's still so fresh and raw. Nothing is comforting to you at that stage.

I have learned, firsthand, just how much my Heavenly Father loves me and is mindful of me. He has brought me along, a step at a time, and helped boost my self-confidence in my own abilities to do things. He has sent angels, mortal and immortal, to comfort me and lift me up when I was feeling so lost, alone, and wanting to hide from the pain I was feeling. I'm finding out I can do more than I thought I could. I have a saying posted in my kitchen which reads: "I'm STRONG, I'm SMART, I can do HARD things!" That's my new motto--to remind me I can do those things I thought may be impossible for me to tackle. With the help of the Lord and exercising faith, I can do what I need to do. We all can!
I've also learned that the veil is very thin and I have been blessed to feel Ford with me often. I feel very connected to him and know he is watching over me and his family. We were and still are, very important to him and he is nearby making sure we're doing well. We feel him at those special family moments and events when something significant happens to a child or grandchild. We know he's with us and celebrating with us. It's a wonderful thing to have this relationship with him beyond the veil.
I've been called to work as an ordinance worker in the Jordan River Temple and that has been very healing for me. I feel the spirit so strong when I'm there, and I've been promised I would also feel Ford with me, and I have! I have gained strength, insight, and knowledge with the things of eternity, just helping me realize I can and must go on. I am being prepared to be a worthy companion to my sweetheart so we can accomplish great and marvelous things together on the other side, when I finally get to be reunited with him. That definitely helps me stay focused and keep moving forward! My love for him continues to grow and I truly appreciate him and all he went through while here, to be able to stay just a little longer with his family & other loved ones. He is an amazing man! I feel so blessed to be his wife, not only for this life, but for all eternity!
I've learned what awesome children we have raised! They continue to inspire me, love me, care about me, advise me, listen to me, and just be there for me. The Lord has sent us the best of the best when it comes to our children! My love for them also continues to grow and I'm eternally grateful for their unyielding love and support of their mother. They have helped to make this transition without my husband, easier to manage. They can't take the pain away, but they help to ease the burden by their unconditional love and understanding.
My grandchildren have the ability to make me smile through my tears and make me feel so loved by them. I don't know what I'd do without them. They have been my salvation on many occasions. I'm sure they are not even aware when they have come to my rescue by showing me love, giving me a hug, sending me a letter, a text, an email, or giving me a call for whatever the reason may be, but during some of those incidents, I really needed to hear from them or to feel loved by them and they were there!
This journey is long and hard, but also enriching and spiritual. I've learned much and have much more to learn, but will continue doing the best I can because the reward at the end of this mortal life is worth all the pain and struggles I have endured. Being with the ones you love for eternity is the best reward of all! The saying,"I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it!" is true indeed!
For now I'm content with where I'm at and what I'm doing with my life. I love and treasure time spent with my family, making memories together, I absolutely love working in the temple, and I so appreciate and love my friends who keep their loving arms around me as well. I am being watched over by those who are the most important to me; my Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ, my wonderful family, dear friends, and my eteranl companion, Ford! What more could I ask for, I'm truly blessed!

Monday, February 28, 2011

My life without Ford

It has been well over a year since I last posted on my blog. I started this blog to keep people updated on the health status of my husband, Ford. I obviously haven't been very good at doing this.
Ford's health took a turn for the worse in 2010. Towards the end of May our chemotherapy doctor determined that chemo was no longer helping keep the cancer at bay but was causing him more health issues. He was constantly in pain and very ill most of the time. We stopped chemo and he continued to sprial downward. It was very hard to watch him slowly lose momentum and decline in not only his health, but his physical body as well. The cancer was eating him away to nothing.
I wrote a book about his battle with cancer these past 11 years entitled, "Our Journey of Hope." I was able to finish it and get it printed for him to see the finished product and read it before he left us. I'm grateful for that experience and that I have his story written for our posterity and anyone else who may benefit from reading our book. I have a website that tells about the book, comments from some who have read it, and also a place to purchase it if one desires. My website is www.reederjourneyofhope.com for anyone who reads this and is interested in learning more. It was a labor of love and our whole family participated by sharing with the reader important lessons they have learned with their father and grandfather's cancer.

Ford went home on October 25, 2010 around 11:25 pm. All of his children were surrounding his bed and I was next to him. It was heartbreaking for each of us, yet, there came a calm feeling in our bedroom after we had sobbed our hearts out for our great loss. We could feel the spirit so strong and knew we were not alone, but had angels, family members from the other side, there to comfort us in our time of need. It was a very sacred experience and one none of us will ever forget. Our children really stepped up to the plate to help take care of things after his passing and lovingly watch over me to make sure I was doing okay. I know Ford was so pleased with each one of them! I certainly was! His funeral was on the 29th and again, our children stepped up and did a marvelous job. Each one of them participated in some way as well as our "other" children, their spouses. It was a very beautiful and fitting tribute to a "Man among Men" who lived a good life and meant so much to so many! He has touched more lives than even he can imagine. We all miss him dearly and I struggle every day to try and move on without him by my side. This is a very new and uncomfortable situation I find myself in now, but I know I want to be with him again. I will strive to be the very best person I can be so I will be worthy of that celestial blessing. I know he is close and is watching over his family. I have felt his sweet spirit at different times which brings peace and comfort to my soul. I'm grateful for the good days I can get through without a lot of tears and sadness. When the bad days come, I just have to give myself permission to grieve and then pray for the light of a better day to follow. The Lord has been very mindful of me and blessed me in so many ways. I feel His love for me and know He is carrying me at this time. I love Him, I love my family and many friends who are helping me get through this one day at a time. Without them I couldn't do it, not with much success anyway. You definitely need a strong support group to be there for you when you go through a major loss such as this. I'm extremely grateful for mine and love them very much!

So now I try to keep moving forward, baby steps right now, but hopefully even that will improve and I'll be able to take larger steps in the near future. I'm thankful for the gospel and the reassurance it brings that our family is eternal and this life is not the end. We have eternity to enjoy with each other, never to be separated again! I look forward to that time when my sweetheart and love of my life and I will be reunited. What a glorious day that will be! For now I'll just keep on keeping on because that is what Ford would want me to do. He has made me a better person with the life we have shared in mortality and I know there is much more for me to learn and be taught here and in the next life. Ford gets a headstart so he can teach me the things I need to know there when I join him. Thank you Ford, for being the wonderful husband, father, and grandfather you have been in this life. Keep watching over us and guiding us so we can all make it back home and be together throughout all eternity. My heart is yours and my love is forever!