Category Archives: Uncategorized

Quote ideas

25 characters or less

Trust Him

brave

brave & kind

live in hope

I have everything I need

extend grace

love always wins

true love is a big deal

choose happy

blessed

protect your peace

trust your story

namaste

angels will bear you up

seek

shine

radiate joy

practice gratitude

listen

there you are

I’m the lucky one

I’m in love with an angel

you are brave

hope lives here

you are a bright shiny miracle

my hope is anchored in christ

loved

believe there is good

humble & kind

fly

you shine

loved

choose the light

i love us

beauty for ashes

ask in faith

you are brave enough

happily grateful

becoming

live the miracle

see the miracle

don’t miss the miracle

expect miracles

gone but not taken

creating eternity

you are a light

carry the light

live in the light

can’t imagine life without friends

lift

be still

you are stronger

soar

press forward

rise up

courage is contagious

rise strong

He is mighty to save

be happy

wonder

gratitude brings joy

everyday on purpose

you can fly

with brave wings she flies

he carries me

brand new day to believe

all you need is love

my story, my ending

my future is certain

i am….

be still and know

our love story is my favorite

live like it’s spring

choose christ

laugh & be joyful

just label it FUN

live

a heart wide open

simplify

hold onto hope

fairy tales are more than true

your happily ever after

do less

choose to be changed

20 seconds of insane courage

brightness of hope

what faith can do

live your life on purpose

beauty is a light in the heart

i decide

go and do

choose to shine

Every day I love you

you + me = awesome

look up

it’s better to look up

ordinary miracles

create

remember

it is well with my soul

look at the stars

kissed by angels

the best is yet to come

have courage and be kind

doubt your doubts

it will all work out

grow miracles

smiling’s my favorite

love is an open door

happiness is an inside job

be yourself

you are my happy place

forget not to be happy now

fall in love, stay in love

lengthy & longwinded over 30 characters

in christ alone my hope is….

what shall we give in return for so much?

Love is the beginning, middle, & the end of our journey

I have been changed for the good

some people are worth melting for

I am completely uninterested in a life without you

she knew she was part of something beautiful

wherever you go, go with all your heart

I believe in Christ

delight yourself in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart

and I think to myself what a wonderful world

our story will always read LOVE

there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings -uchtdorf

be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer Romans 12:2

choose christ, choose to be changed

out of difficulties grow miracles

I know the plans I have for you… Jeremiah 29:11-13

I have always known it was you

be the change you wish to see in the world

things are just falling into place

moments are molecules that make up eternity -neal a maxwell

this is the part where you find out who you are

you must become the rock the river cannot wash away

If you want light to come into your life, you need to stand where it is shining

I hate to spoil the ending for you, but it will all work out

the day I decided that my life was magical, there was suddenly magic all around me

sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage

and with that love she is never alone

true love stories never have endings

hope is the only thing stronger than…

speak your truth, own your story, always remember you are amazingly brave and oh….

hope means that we must trust & wait for what is still unseen

faith & trust & a little bit of pixie dust

once you choose hope, anything is possible

I have so much of you in my heart

I have found the one whom my soul loves song of solomon 3:4

sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith

there are no shortcuts to any place worth going

I am not afraid I was born to do this

she believed she could, so she did

I loved you at your darkest Romans 5:8

may my heart be kind, my mind fierce & my spirit brave

we must be different in order to make a difference

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light -Helen Keller

the best & most beautiful things in the world must be felt with the heart

you have my whole heart for my whole life

all of my journey have been roads home to you

lo, and behold we have left all and followed thee (mission)

What I am looking for is not out there. It is in me -Helen Keller

A bend in the road is not the end of the road

we are eternal beings… endings are not in our destiny -elder uchdorf

what’s meant for you won’t pass you by

perfect love is perfectly patient -neal a maxwell

sunshine mixed with a little hurricane

be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire

you will forever be my always

strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.

so many of my smiles being with you

you is kind, you is smart, you is important

when you can’t look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark

she is clothed in strength & dignity & she laughs without fear of the future Proverbs 31:25

I hate waiting. But if waiting means being able to be with you, I’ll wait for as long as forever to be with you

she turned her can’t into cans and her dreams into plans

your once upon a time is now

what feels like the end is often the beginning

 

If you are looking for more quote ideas, I have been collecting them for years. They are all pinned on these 3 Pinterest boards.

Click below and go check them out for more inspiration.

– Brad (love inspired)

 -Words are Powerful

 – Sign

 

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If you are wondering what Operation Serve to Heal is all about you can find all the general information here

This year, because we have a few extra days,  we wanted to do some things that would be more like a service project, and not only random acts of kindness. I wanted to let you know about a few different things we will be doing for Operation Serve to Heal. You are welcome to join us!

We printed up some fun little plastic bracelets with my cute husbands’ name on them, as well as some temporary tattoos that depict the Operation Serve to Heal logo {colored by my beautiful little girls}

We will be trading these for a donation in any amount.

100% of the proceeds from these items will go to

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The Shamba Foundation.

The Shamba Foundation is a charity providing care and schooling to the children of Kenya. This foundation was started by a good friend who had visited Kenya, met the children and knew that she needed to do something.  

Steven, the man who runs the orphanage and school came to my daughters’ school to share his wood carvings. They met him and watched videos of “his” children. When we talked about earning money to donate, they wanted to give any money we earned to them.  You can find out more about the foundation and meet their beautiful children here.

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We will also be doing a drive to collect items for Family Welcome Kits at Lantern House (St. Anne’s) homeless shelter.

Each welcome kit needs to contain the following:

4 bath towels

2 hand towels

2 wash cloths

1 family size shampoo

1 family size conditioner (optional)

2 bars of soap

1 family size lotion

1 deodorant

1 family size toothpaste

4 tooth brushes

1 roll toilet paper

1 laundry basket

4 refillable water bottles

All the items need to be NEW. (per Lantern House requirements)

If you would like to donate an item to go in the welcome kits you can just drop it by our home – { you can email me at jenrfunk@comcast.net  if you need more information about this}  We will be delivering these kits at the end of Operation Serve to Heal.

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I also want to share this wonderful project that was recently started by my cousin.

 Hearts Tied Together is a child refugee fleece blanket project. 12973206_223069974731610_4514008692605923581_o You can read more about it here.

 

You are welcome to participate in these projects with us!  But please don’t feel like you HAVE to in order to participate in Operation Serve to Heal. You can also find your own projects, or just do something nice for someone.   The purpose of our day of service really is very simple –

remember {or maybe discover} how powerful service can be.

We will be serving in honor of our hero.

Join with us and Serve in honor of someone YOU love… and see what happens.

We want to hear your story. Who you chose to serve for and how that service impacted your life.

Share on social media with hashtag

#operationservetoheal

{and feel free to tag @jenniferfunkdesigns so we will know you posted}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://heartstiedtogether.wordpress.com/

Beauty For Ashes
This quote comes from one of my most favorite and comforting scriptures ever. Isaiah 61 –
This little painting is one of my new favorites.
I’m keeping her. She’s going in my room.
Isaiah is speaking about some of the things Christ will do. “he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives….To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”
This is my reminder that when we feel like our life is in ashes…when we feel like nothing will ever be ok again…when all we can see are the ashes of our burned up hopes and dreams. – That Christ can take our ashes and turn them into something beautiful. He can make our life beautiful again.
I feel Him doing this for me.

 

And I know that He can do this for everyone.
Isaiah 61: 1-3
1.The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
 2 .To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
 3. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

 

I’ve had these exact words on a giant chalk board
in my room for the past five years.
TRUST HIM.  You can do this.  p.s. You ARE doing this.
I needed to read them every morning
and I needed to read them every night.
Half the time I was bawling when I read them,
but they still always helped.
I decided to create a painting that would be a little prettier and more permanent than my chalk board. {and I discovered a new palette that I love!}
This one is for anyone who needs to see these words daily as a reminder that they are already doing what they thought they could never do.
And that when we trust Him…
everything will always be ok.
Actually, not just ok, but good.
Even if we can’t imagine it right now.

Love Always Wins
{my widow motto}
 
Something in her eyes told you she had known unimaginable loss…
but those eyes also told you she has known unimaginable love.
Overwhelmingly beautiful, empowering love.
and love is bigger than loss.
LOVE Always WINS.
always
I wrote these words sometime in the first year after Brad died. I wanted to remember them . I needed to read them. Reading them helped me focus on the good.  I do know that love is bigger than loss, and that love will always win…  but I needed a reminder often.
When I started painting a few years ago, I painted two paintings for my daughters, and then I decided to start on a painting for me. I knew I needed to give those words a home. A place that I would see often and read and re-read on hard days. This painting was an attempt to give those words a pretty backdrop. One that would be colorful and joyful. But mostly, I just needed to get those words out of my notebook and up, because they helped me. It was like I could feel Brad right there when I read them… reminding me that he was not far away and that our love is still stronger than anything that can physically happen to us.
This painting will probably always be my favorite.
love always wins _Jen_Funk_Jennifer_Funk_Designs_Art
Something happened when I was working on this painting. There are lots of tears on her.. but many of those were happy tears. While I worked on her I discovered that painting made me unbelievably happy and that this was what I was supposed to do. This was what I needed to do. So I love this girl.
She brought a happy passion into my life that I am so grateful for.
And I also love that she talks about the love Brad and I share.
And that THAT LOVE WILL ALWAYS win.

 

This print is for anyone who knows what loss feels like…
knows the emptiness and the ache and the fear…
 and needs to be reminded that their love really can can carry them through.

THANK YOU!!!

Thank you for spreading the word about Operation Serve to Heal.
Thank you for joining in.
Thank you for your kind words on social media and for your love and support.
IMG_7402_Jen_Funk_Jennifer_Funk_Designs_Art
I wanted to give people the option of joining us on this day for a few reasons.

First, I wanted my little girls to see that people love and respect their daddy for his life and for his service to our country. I wanted them to see that people haven’t forgotten him… and that they haven’t forgotten them.  – That there are people from all over who stop on May 1st. They think of Brad and think of his family.  I know this. and I feel it.  and I am SO grateful for it.  {I wanted them to know it too.} I tell them. but this year they had a chance to SEE it on their own.

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The girls were so little when Brad was killed. So they don’t remember the outpouring of love. We no longer live near any of our Air Force friends. With the exception of family, everyone the girls know did not get the opportunity to know their Daddy.  So my hope for this day was first and foremost – these little girls. Helping them feel loved on this worst of all days.

When we did our day of service last year I was amazed at how those small little actions completely changed the way I view this day.  I realized that I don’t need to feel like this day holds me hostage. That, no matter what happened on this day… I have a choice about how it will be from now on. I get to write the story for all the rest of my May 1st’s.    That first year of service, I learned that this day could be bearable. That we could choose to focus on the blessing that Brad’s life was instead of what we all lost that day. To be honest, we always try to focus on the blessings. but somehow adding an element of service, making it NOT about us… that was what changed it.

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This year, because of all of you, we learned that not only can this day be bearable…. but it can be one of joy and gratitude.  I just want you to know that every single share and post about this day was noticed and appreciated.

The morning of May 1st I still found it a little hard to get up and face the day. I was laying in bed talking to the girls and just… revisiting in my head.  Watching the clock for the time his jet went down. the time they came and knocked on my door….telling Ty… all the heartbreaks of that day. I still don’t know how to keep those thoughts at bay…   But my phone lit up and I saw a tag on Instagram of a daring girl and her friend with their #operationservetoheal tags in hand, ready to serve.   It brought me to tears and helped me get out of bed.
Operation serve to heal logo_Jen_Funk_Jennifer_Funk_Designs_Art
That happened all day.
{the gratitude, and the tears}
Happy tears on May 1st are welcome.

My beautiful friends surprised me and cleaned and organized my kitchen {yikes! That is love!}

I got to watch my girls run happily to clean up trash in the community.  Loved ones joined in and served in honor of Brad. Others served in honor of someone they loved. Complete strangers joined in. And we were overwhelmed.

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Our beautiful Hermana Funk is experiencing the joy of service every day as she serves the people of Mexico.

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I can’t even put into words the gift you gave our family that day.

You helped us change the worst day of our lives into something with a sacred purpose.

We are so grateful.    {thank you again}
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Join us May 1st for 
Operation Serve To Heal

May 1st will mark 7 years since losing Brad.   Last year we added some small acts of service to what we normally do on this day {you can read more about that here}

We found that something special happened when we focused on serving others instead of focusing on what we lost.

We will be serving in honor of 
Major. Brad “Gyro” Funk.  
He is our Hero. {husand, father, best friend} 
He continues to be our inspiration.  

We would love to have you join us this year.
Serve in honor of someone YOU love… and see what happens.
We want to hear your story.. who you chose to serve for and how that service impacted your day.

Snap a pic of what you chose to do and add the hashtag
 #operationservetoheal

You can also tag @jenniferfunkdesigns on instagram.

This discovery of how powerful and healing service can be has been a little miracle for our family and brought us purpose and joy on a normally very difficult day.

My sweet cousin in law is helping us spread the word about our special day.
Visit her website  Landeelu.com   to see a beautiful little video of the girls explaining Operation Serve To Heal  created by @maddeeshawfilms {thanks Maddee!!!} and to download a darling printable that you can give out on Friday with an explaination of the significance of this day.

For the first time ever we are actually looking forward to May 1st. 
 We hope you will join us.

Tomorrow is my amazing sister’s birthday. I’ve been wanting to write about her for a while – and this week seemed like a fitting time.

Last August I had just started painting (or, more accurately, started daring to tell people that I was holed up in my basement playing with paint.) I told her that I was going to paint her something for her birthday -but she would get it late.  I wanted her opinion about what quote to add to it. I wanted it to be something that would make her happy every time she saw it. – So she figured out a great quote and I got to work.  But, I already knew what I wanted to put on it…. It wouldn’t really make sense for it to be front and center on the painting, I didn’t want her to have to explain it to everyone,  but I KNEW it needed to be in there somewhere. Maybe even hidden, so you had to look to find it… Maybe she would be the only one who knew it was there… but I wanted her to read it everyday….

So fast forward to November, my birthday. My birthday is on Veterans day, so it’s kindof a doozy each year. She knows it’s always very bittersweet so that morning my sweet sister brought over a beautiful necklace with a bird on it wrapped up with a copy of this story…..
“It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie t his? Can you open this? Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England .. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .
I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make everyday, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far a s to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don’t want my child to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there.’
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.”
And at the bottom of the story she had written 
“God sees. and Brad sees.
And it was the most perfect gift.

I don’t identify with every single line of the story, and Kalani and I probably have differences in exactly what we relate to about it. But I always love the reminder that “God sees” 
Every trial we have. Every tear we have cried. Every worry. Every fear.  Every single thing we have felt. I know my Savior sees this. And not only does He see, but He has the power to lift me up and carry me and heal the broken parts of me – and of all of us.  
When I began to read the story she had given me I started to cry – because THAT was the story that I had been thinking of when I started Kalani’s painting. And that phrase – 
with admiration for the greatness 
of what you are building when no one sees.
had always reminded me of my sweet, supermom, super everything sister.
It was the phrase that I had already started to sneak into her painting. 

See, this sweet sister of mine is an unusually amazing mother. She is actually an unusually amazing everything. She somehow manages to do everything and to do it well. I know that she works so hard at all she does, but  when someone notices something amazing she did she just shrugs it off and acts like everyone does that. 
She is wise beyond her years and I am so lucky I get her as a sister and  friend.  

I dropped this off to her on Mother’s Day this year. 
(yes, it took me nine months…I’m not the fastest painter;)
Happy Birthday Kalani
(does it mean I’m a really bad sister if I don’t know how old you are??  – I would just go with 29…)
I love you. 

May 1st is my least favorite day. This year I wanted to be a little more prepared.  I can always feel it coming and I struggle  for weeks before.

This year was a little different. Tyler had been out on her mission about 6 weeks. We were all still adjusting to her being gone and missing her. I knew that this year would be hard, partly because of that.

We have little rituals that help on that day. I always go to the temple. This helps me the most. We go as a family to the cemetery and do a balloon release. This has also been a good thing. The girls love sending letters up to daddy.

This year I wanted to add a little something different. I have some amazing widow friends who I get great ideas from all the time. I had seen online that some of them had gone around and done good deeds on anniversaries of difficult days. I LOVED that idea.  So, I started working on a plan for our upcoming horrible day.

We talked as a family {Sophie and Addie and I – our little family seems so small now… – side note – the other day while setting the table Addie said, “I wish there was still five of us.” It broke my heart. But, I love that she knows that there really are five of us. That it seems like something is off because she’s setting a place for only three.  I pray that each of my girls know that there are always five of us…but that we just don’t all need a plate}

We talked about what we could do that would be special and meaningful on May 1st. We talked about how their amazing daddy went around doing good. I have saved countless emails and letters that people have sent telling stories about Brad. The common theme is that he served. He helped. He didn’t wait to be asked, he just looked around and saw what needed to be done and got to work. And he was happy doing it. I feel so blessed to have been the recipient of so much of his goodness. He taught me more than I can put in words.  I am so grateful that the girls will get to read those stories and know this about their daddy.

I pitched them my idea about doing some good deeds. They were both excited. {although Sophie did express some concerns that I was going to “give away all our money” haha} They were excited about doing it for people they didn’t know and having it be a surprise.

So we got to work. We printed up some cards that we could hand out with gift cards. For family night the girls wrote notes on the backs of those little cards.

After school on May 1st we got busy with our 
“Do a Good Deed Day” 
We went around buying food for people at the drive through and giving out gift cards… We talked about how doing something nice for someone else might help us not be so sad today. 

And I have to say 
IT WORKED.   

It really was so fun.
 {& just so you know, fun and May 1st are words I never thought could ever belong in the same sentence.}   

The girls were so excited, watching the different cars behind us, knowing that they were going to get a  little surprise. They were giddy when we were driving away. Sophie loves to “spy” She’s created her own spy club and loves being sneaky. She said this was like a “nice spy day” and she loved it. 

It sounds cliche, but choosing to do something besides think about our pain helped so much.
Other May 1st’s I’ve just let myself be swallowed up in the pain of everything that I lost on this day.
Other May 1st’s I have barely been able to function.

After reading about my widow friends doing this I knew it was something that could change this day for us.  I needed it to not be about me. It needed to be about something bigger.

Making it a day that we do good things in honor of Brad completely changed everything.

I was hesitant to post about what we did because – I don’t know- It seemed strange to write about doing something for someone else. But, If my friends who did this wouldn’t have posted about it, I probably would not have thought to do it on my own… so I decided to share.

This year our May 1st was completely different. 
There were still lots of tears shed. 
But some of those this year were happy…

Happy tears watching my girls be SO excited about giving gifts.
Happy tears knowing that Brad would be happy with what we did with this day.
Happy tears for all the family and friends who reach out and help. Our day was filled surprise treats dropped by the house, gifts on the porch and encouraging notes, texts and messages. Every note and like on facebook was noticed and appreciated. I am so grateful for people who let us know that they remember. It’s funny the way it works out. We always seem to get so much more than we give.

This year our May 1st was transformed. 
I think we have a new tradition.
In honor of Major Brad Funk
{looks like the guest of honor showed up as well}
six years closer to you my boy
We Love You

May 1st is my least favorite day. This year I wanted to be a little more prepared.  I can always feel it coming and I struggle  for weeks before.

This year was a little different. Tyler had been out on her mission about 6 weeks. We were all still adjusting to her being gone and missing her. I knew that this year would be hard, partly because of that.

We have little rituals that help on that day. I always go to the temple. This helps me the most. We go as a family to the cemetery and do a balloon release. This has also been a good thing. The girls love sending letters up to daddy.

This year I wanted to add a little something different. I have some amazing widow friends who I get great ideas from all the time. I had seen online that some of them had gone around and done good deeds on anniversaries of difficult days. I LOVED that idea.  So, I started working on a plan for our upcoming horrible day.

We talked as a family {Sophie and Addie and I – our little family seems so small now… – side note – the other day while setting the table Addie said, “I wish there was still five of us.” It broke my heart. But, I love that she knows that there really are five of us. That it seems like something is off because she’s setting a place for only three.  I pray that each of my girls know that there are always five of us…but that we just don’t all need a plate}

We talked about what we could do that would be special and meaningful on May 1st. We talked about how their amazing daddy went around doing good. I have saved countless emails and letters that people have sent telling stories about Brad. The common theme is that he served. He helped. He didn’t wait to be asked, he just looked around and saw what needed to be done and got to work. And he was happy doing it. I feel so blessed to have been the recipient of so much of his goodness. He taught me more than I can put in words.  I am so grateful that the girls will get to read those stories and know this about their daddy.

I pitched them my idea about doing some good deeds. They were both excited. {although Sophie did express some concerns that I was going to “give away all our money” haha} They were excited about doing it for people they didn’t know and having it be a surprise.

So we got to work. We printed up some cards that we could hand out with gift cards. For family night the girls wrote notes on the backs of those little cards.

After school on May 1st we got busy with our 
“Do a Good Deed Day” 
We went around buying food for people at the drive through and giving out gift cards… We talked about how doing something nice for someone else might help us not be so sad today. 

And I have to say 
IT WORKED.   

It really was so fun.
 {& just so you know, fun and May 1st are words I never thought could ever belong in the same sentence.}   

The girls were so excited, watching the different cars behind us, knowing that they were going to get a  little surprise. They were giddy when we were driving away. Sophie loves to “spy” She’s created her own spy club and loves being sneaky. She said this was like a “nice spy day” and she loved it. 

It sounds cliche, but choosing to do something besides think about our pain helped so much.
Other May 1st’s I’ve just let myself be swallowed up in the pain of everything that I lost on this day.
Other May 1st’s I have barely been able to function.

After reading about my widow friends doing this I knew it was something that could change this day for us.  I needed it to not be about me. It needed to be about something bigger.

Making it a day that we do good things in honor of Brad completely changed everything.

I was hesitant to post about what we did because – I don’t know- It seemed strange to write about doing something for someone else. But, If my friends who did this wouldn’t have posted about it, I probably would not have thought to do it on my own… so I decided to share.

This year our May 1st was completely different. 
There were still lots of tears shed. 
But some of those this year were happy…

Happy tears watching my girls be SO excited about giving gifts.
Happy tears knowing that Brad would be happy with what we did with this day.
Happy tears for all the family and friends who reach out and help. Our day was filled surprise treats dropped by the house, gifts on the porch and encouraging notes, texts and messages. Every note and like on facebook was noticed and appreciated. I am so grateful for people who let us know that they remember. It’s funny the way it works out. We always seem to get so much more than we give.

This year our May 1st was transformed. 
I think we have a new tradition.
In honor of Major Brad Funk
{looks like the guest of honor showed up as well}
six years closer to you my boy
We Love You

Six years.

Instead of focusing on the sad…. or the loss.

Focus on the LOVE. 
Because no time, no distance, nothing exhists in the world that can change OUR love.
It’s mine and Brad’s. And it’s still growing and we are both actively still giving and receiving that love.
It is part of my physical makeup now.
And the real interesting part of our story….. is not the loss too soon, or the hard parts.
The real story in my life that is worth sharing is the LOVE STORY.
And that is still being written.
Everything I do now, Brad is a part of. I can feel him cheering me on and whispering that he’s close. and that he loves me and that he’s proud. I can feel his influence in our home and with our girls. I can feel him tell me he loves me…. 
And today – that love makes me feel exactly the same as it did before Brad’s death. 
It makes me feel like I can do anything with him by my side. And my sweet husband is good at reminding me that he is still by my side. 
Tyler is a little musician. She wrote a song a few months ago that I thought would be fitting to share today. 
{and I get to brag for a minute…. because she is not here to get mad at me for doing it…}
Ty took some words that I wrote and stuck on my bathroom wall to help me remember some important things. {I shared them in this post}  She took those words. That were not a song – or poetry, or even close to it…and turned them into a beautiful song. {I still told her I get a song writing credit though 🙂 } 
She wrote the music – for guitar and piano, and all the harmonies and arranged them all… basically, she is brilliant and amazing.  I will never forgot when I got a little video text she sent from school of her playing this song for the first time… I was in awe of her and cried lots of happy tears.   One of my favorite memories of this year was going with her and getting to listen while she recorded some of her music. (this is the 2nd song she has ever written by the way…)
{I made a video so I could upload it to youtube…basically, because I didn’t know how to get just the song on here. – so enjoy some cute pics of my extra sexy husband while you listen.}

New Year.

I’ve been looking back over 2013 and realizing a few things. 2013 was a big year for our little family. We had lots of changes. {most of which I was dreading}

I remember at this time last year being overwhelmed even thinking about everything that would happen this year. Ty would graduate and go away to college. She would probably have a mission call. We were going on a trip of a lifetime to Europe. My baby would start Kindergarten. Sophie would turn 8 and get baptized. All the changes that I could think of that would happen in our family seemed even larger because of the fact that Brad would not be there for them. And every one of them brought me to tears when I thought about it. They were all good, exciting things. But the thought of doing them without Brad seemed a bit – well, unbearable.

So here is the interesting thing.  Each big huge thing came. {and I remember feeling overwhelmed a bit at the time} but each thing was a good happy thing for our little family. They weren’t horrible and they weren’t sad.

And Brad was able to let me know with each big overwhelming change,
that he was right there with me.

That he was not missing it.

and that I was not alone.

And THAT changed each big thing into a new little miracle. And a new way for me to SEE the Lords hand in my life… and to see that we were not alone, but being LED along…

So I guess the main thing that I learned this year was that no matter what seemingly overwhelming thing is going on in our life…

instead of dreading it,

I will be on the lookout for those tender mercies that show me that my sweet husband is right here with us every step of the way.

Pretty Amazing Year. 

New Year.

I’ve been looking back over 2013 and realizing a few things. 2013 was a big year for our little family. We had lots of changes. {most of which I was dreading}

I remember at this time last year being overwhelmed even thinking about everything that would happen this year. Ty would graduate and go away to college. She would probably have a mission call. We were going on a trip of a lifetime to Europe. My baby would start Kindergarten. Sophie would turn 8 and get baptized. All the changes that I could think of that would happen in our family seemed even larger because of the fact that Brad would not be there for them. And every one of them brought me to tears when I thought about it. They were all good, exciting things. But the thought of doing them without Brad seemed a bit – well, unbearable.

So here is the interesting thing.  Each big huge thing came. {and I remember feeling overwhelmed a bit at the time} but each thing was a good happy thing for our little family. They weren’t horrible and they weren’t sad.

And Brad was able to let me know with each big overwhelming change,
that he was right there with me.

That he was not missing it.

and that I was not alone.

And THAT changed each big thing into a new little miracle. And a new way for me to SEE the Lords hand in my life… and to see that we were not alone, but being LED along…

So I guess the main thing that I learned this year was that no matter what seemingly overwhelming thing is going on in our life…

instead of dreading it,

I will be on the lookout for those tender mercies that show me that my sweet husband is right here with us every step of the way.

Pretty Amazing Year. 

Today marks 5 1/2 years since Brad’s death.

It’s interesting how the passage of time changes things.
{and how it doesn’t}

I remember having a physical “flinch” on every 1st of every month. Another month without Brad. I was always counting. Hours, days, months.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’m counting years now.

I remember being really sad when it was the first new year. I did not want 2009 to come. Thinking that Brad died “last year” was something that made him seem so far away.

You also reach a time where people act like you are supposed to be ok. You are expected to move on and get over things. I’m not sure what time frame that is… or who decided that,  but I do know that no one who has lost someone significant in their life ever says that. {some days I’m extra grateful for those people who get that you don’t “move on”…}

At the beginning, I hated the passage of time.  As time passed Brad felt further away and people felt that I should be “adjusting”. I wanted time to stop all together. Because my whole world had stopped. I was literally angry and offended that the world kept spinning.

For a long time I thought that holding on to Brad meant holding on to all this pain that came with losing him. I think I held on to my grief with all my might. I clung to it. Wore it like a badge of courage. It was my little partner and I got pretty comfortable with it.

The thing that was the scariest to me – my worse nightmare, was that time would pass and Brad would start to feel far away. And that me healing meant that I would lose that connection I had with him. That I would start to look at our life together and it would feel like a dream. That it wasn’t real. I remember praying that I would remember every little detail of our life together.  For a while, clinging to my grief was how I tried to fight off the passage of time. How I tried to keep him close.

My sweet husband has always been very patient with me. {he had, “the patience of Job” my dad would say :)}  He has been patient with me while i’ve been learning some important lessons.

I remember feeling and knowing that he was so close in the days following the accident. And being terrified that that feeling would go away.  I was scared the feeling would go away when he was buried, or when we left our beautiful home we shared and moved back to Utah. I was scared that feeling would go away as time passed. And all the while, my sweet patient husband has been able to reassure me that he’s not going anywhere.

And I think he’s finally gotten a new lesson through my thick head. And that lesson is this:

That the love I feel from him {and for him} does NOT have to be accompanied by the intense pain and sadness I feel from losing him.

The love exists ON IT’S OWN.

It’s not tied to any of the pain…
so I’m working on letting that part go.

It’s a process I will probably deal with forever. But now instead of clinging to that grief and feeling that it is what makes Brad feel close. I am feeling good about letting it go.

It probably sounds simple. But it’s a big perspective shift for me.

I’m focusing on remembering that being loved by this amazing man changed me.
And that it still is.

one day closer to you.
I love you my boy.

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage
—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically,
 to say “no” to other things. 
And the way you do that is by
 having a bigger “yes” burning inside.  
Stephen R. Covey
About 4 years ago I went to a Time Out for women. I remember listening to a speaker and he was talking about dreams and goals. He asked us to make a list of things we wanted to accomplish in the next  five or ten years. So I started writing. He then said to look at our list and take off the items that are about our husband and our children. He explained that this list was supposed to be just goals for us.  I sat there and stared at my notebook and started to sob. I remember being mortified about it and trying to find a way to sneak out.
Brad had been killed less than a year earlier. I was still in survival mode. Not thinking much more than a few days ahead. That was all I could deal with. So being asked to think 5 or 10 years down the road was not just overwhelming, but heartbreaking for me.  My whole life was different than what I ever had planned or imagined. 
I kept trying to think of something to write. I could think of things that I wanted to learn, places to visit or fun things to go do… but they all seemed very superficial to me. Not worthy of a long term goal.
Brad not being physically here changed everything. See, we were supposed to have 4 or 5 kids, explore the world together and raise our little family. Teach and laugh and learn together. And someday when our kids were grown we were supposed to retire together and sit on our porch holding hands. 
Every dream, every hope I had for my life could not exist without him.
That feeling I had that day has been a hard one for me to process. I’ve been working on it for years. Coming to terms with having to change all your hopes and dreams is hard.  And trying to find new ones….
 well, for me, that was even harder. 
Obviously, my girls are my greatest joy. I feel so privileged to be their mother. They are my first and most important priority. And they always will be.  But I could see the value in having goals and dreams of my own. Because one day I would be on my own. And I needed to be able to be happy with that.  I needed to find something that I loved to do. Something that I was passionate about…. 
I kind of always knew what it was. It’s kind of always been there. This little dream. Just waiting patiently to be let out.  It was something that was never practical so I just ignored it. But when I asked myself, What would I do if I could do anything in the world?
 That little dream jumped up and yelled. 
So I knew what it was long before I dared to do anything about it. It makes me sound really wimpy, but I THOUGHT about starting on that little dream for years… but I didn’t even dare say it aloud. (because it sounds kind of goofy) and i didn’t ever dare actually START it, because, well, I hand no idea HOW to do it….
So fast forward a few years and I’m sitting at a retreat for military widows in Seattle. We are all talking and Taryn, (founder of American Widow Project) asks me what I’m passionate about. What I want to DO with my life. And I start talking about my beautiful girls…. and she says, ok, but what about YOU? What do you want to do? And you know, that little dream just spilled out. Maybe it was because I was with a bunch of people I just met, and may not see again so i wasn’t afraid of what they thought?  Maybe it was because I felt like they “got it” {other widows are really good at “getting it”}
I told them, “Someday I’m going to be an artist.”  
And you know what? they didn’t laugh –  They didn’t say well, that’s a nerdy dream.  They didn’t ask why or what is so special about that? 
But they did say one important thing, 
 WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? 
{and they didn’t buy my big plan about not being able to do it till Addie was in school all day or figuring out how to fit college into my life}
I came home inspired and signed up for my first art class in my life.
{did I add that I had zero skills to go along with this little dream?}
That was last summer. Over this past year I’ve been having fun playing with paint. And I’ve figured a few things out. The most important thing being that I LOVE doing this. I can not believe how happy it makes me. I really am feeling so grateful that I’ve found something that I love to do so much. And it has come at the perfect time in my life. I was dreading my baby starting school and I was REALLY dreading my sweet Tyler moving away to college.  It sounds dorky, but being able to go down in my little art cave has really helped me deal with all those changes. 
I used to be nervous to show my work to anyone. I thought I would be hurt if people didn’t love it. But, I’ve found that I’m not concerned about that anymore. I don’t really care if anyone else likes it, or if I ever sell a painting.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE every second spent creating these little works of art. and that, I’ve decided is what matters.
So if you can’t find me I’m probably in my basement jamming to Spotify, covered in paint. And maybe a few happy tears might be sneaking out,  because I found a new Yes. 
p.s. I’m saying no to cupcakes.
p.p.s. If you need Brad that’s where he’ll be as well.

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage
—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically,
 to say “no” to other things. 
And the way you do that is by
 having a bigger “yes” burning inside.  
Stephen R. Covey
About 4 years ago I went to a Time Out for women. I remember listening to a speaker and he was talking about dreams and goals. He asked us to make a list of things we wanted to accomplish in the next  five or ten years. So I started writing. He then said to look at our list and take off the items that are about our husband and our children. He explained that this list was supposed to be just goals for us.  I sat there and stared at my notebook and started to sob. I remember being mortified about it and trying to find a way to sneak out.
Brad had been killed less than a year earlier. I was still in survival mode. Not thinking much more than a few days ahead. That was all I could deal with. So being asked to think 5 or 10 years down the road was not just overwhelming, but heartbreaking for me.  My whole life was different than what I ever had planned or imagined. 
I kept trying to think of something to write. I could think of things that I wanted to learn, places to visit or fun things to go do… but they all seemed very superficial to me. Not worthy of a long term goal.
Brad not being physically here changed everything. See, we were supposed to have 4 or 5 kids, explore the world together and raise our little family. Teach and laugh and learn together. And someday when our kids were grown we were supposed to retire together and sit on our porch holding hands. 
Every dream, every hope I had for my life could not exist without him.
That feeling I had that day has been a hard one for me to process. I’ve been working on it for years. Coming to terms with having to change all your hopes and dreams is hard.  And trying to find new ones….
 well, for me, that was even harder. 
Obviously, my girls are my greatest joy. I feel so privileged to be their mother. They are my first and most important priority. And they always will be.  But I could see the value in having goals and dreams of my own. Because one day I would be on my own. And I needed to be able to be happy with that.  I needed to find something that I loved to do. Something that I was passionate about…. 
I kind of always knew what it was. It’s kind of always been there. This little dream. Just waiting patiently to be let out.  It was something that was never practical so I just ignored it. But when I asked myself, What would I do if I could do anything in the world?
 That little dream jumped up and yelled. 
So I knew what it was long before I dared to do anything about it. It makes me sound really wimpy, but I THOUGHT about starting on that little dream for years… but I didn’t even dare say it aloud. (because it sounds kind of goofy) and i didn’t ever dare actually START it, because, well, I hand no idea HOW to do it….
So fast forward a few years and I’m sitting at a retreat for military widows in Seattle. We are all talking and Taryn, (founder of American Widow Project) asks me what I’m passionate about. What I want to DO with my life. And I start talking about my beautiful girls…. and she says, ok, but what about YOU? What do you want to do? And you know, that little dream just spilled out. Maybe it was because I was with a bunch of people I just met, and may not see again so i wasn’t afraid of what they thought?  Maybe it was because I felt like they “got it” {other widows are really good at “getting it”}
I told them, “Someday I’m going to be an artist.”  
And you know what? they didn’t laugh –  They didn’t say well, that’s a nerdy dream.  They didn’t ask why or what is so special about that? 
But they did say one important thing, 
 WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? 
{and they didn’t buy my big plan about not being able to do it till Addie was in school all day or figuring out how to fit college into my life}
I came home inspired and signed up for my first art class in my life.
{did I add that I had zero skills to go along with this little dream?}
That was last summer. Over this past year I’ve been having fun playing with paint. And I’ve figured a few things out. The most important thing being that I LOVE doing this. I can not believe how happy it makes me. I really am feeling so grateful that I’ve found something that I love to do so much. And it has come at the perfect time in my life. I was dreading my baby starting school and I was REALLY dreading my sweet Tyler moving away to college.  It sounds dorky, but being able to go down in my little art cave has really helped me deal with all those changes. 
I used to be nervous to show my work to anyone. I thought I would be hurt if people didn’t love it. But, I’ve found that I’m not concerned about that anymore. I don’t really care if anyone else likes it, or if I ever sell a painting.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE every second spent creating these little works of art. and that, I’ve decided is what matters.
So if you can’t find me I’m probably in my basement jamming to Spotify, covered in paint. And maybe a few happy tears might be sneaking out,  because I found a new Yes. 
p.s. I’m saying no to cupcakes.
p.p.s. If you need Brad that’s where he’ll be as well.

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” – Anne Lamott
Got the broken part down. 
I am working on the dancing part.
See, dancing with Brad was just about the best thing ever.  He was a really good dancer. He knew exactly what he was doing. He would twirl me around, all I had to do was hold on tight and he took care of everything. It was easy. and a lot of fun. 
It’s amazing to me how much that reminds me of our life before.  
Now, I’m learning to try and do it on my own. But I never was as good a dancer as he was. I’m clumsy and I fall. And you, know one of the reasons for that is clear. I never was meant to be dancing alone.
Sometimes I have to step back and look at the bigger picture. I have to remind myself that I really am not doing this alone. When life gets busy and crazy and I don’t have a minute to myself … that simple fact gets harder to remember. It gets harder to feel my sweet dance partner.
I love this quote.  I love the twist of perspective. I had never thought to look at never being the same again after this loss as “the good news”.  
But it really is the good news.  I will never be the same again. And my dancing will never be as smooth and graceful.  But my sweet husband reminds me everyday in little ways that he is still here. 
So I’ll just hold on tight. 
I love you my boy. 

Today marks five years since Brad’s death. That is crazy to me. Five years sounds like a long time. And it’s weird because it seems like a lifetime ago and also just yesterday all at the same time.

I remember very vividly walking in my bed room to get Addie who was six months old at the time of Brad’s death. Probably a day or so after. (those days are all kind of a blur,  they all run together)
I remember saying to myself – “my life is over.” Just matter of fact. Not trying to be overly dramatic, but stating what was obvious.  Not only did I not want to be here without Brad, but I really didn’t believe that I would be able to exist without him. I felt like half of me was literally missing and I didn’t see how I could possible survive that way for long.

Now that I am looking back on the last five years instead of living it I’ve noticed a few things. It is interesting to see the progression.   All the different phases that you go through. I think I was in shock for about 2 years. Just attempting to function and not much else. I remember feeling like an actor in a movie. Pretending everything is fine because that was the only way I could function.  

I think in those five years I went through every phase multiple times. Feeling like I was finally getting a handle on this grief, only to be swallowed up by it the next day.  

Grief , I’ve found, is frustrating like that. Good one minute, total nut job the next.

I remember thinking, “I will never be happy again.” Sure I would smile and laugh occasionally, but I would never really be happy. Not until I am with Brad again.   And that’s not a very fun thought. Spending your life, just hoping time passes quickly so we could be together again… not much comfort in that for me. Not really a life, to be honest.

Well, one thing that has been a pleasant little surprise – is that I’ve been feeling happy lately.  It was honestly something I didn’t expect.  And it’s not really something I can explain. It’s not that the pain of losing Brad is gone… or even bearable on hard days… And I still don’t know that I will ever have a “fullness of Joy” without Brad physically by my side. But somehow, there is a calm, peaceful power that comes from being loved by my sweet husband. Somehow, knowing that he is there; and not just on the hard days or the special occasions, but Always.  That knowledge and what it means is finally sinking in. And it’s changing me. Empowering me.  And I don’t feel alone. Because I’m not alone.  And with that knowledge,  I can be happy here and now.

I am also learning that the powers of heaven are not bound by human logic. 

Elder Wirthlin gave a talk in the first General Conference after Brad’s death. In it he speaks about The principle of compensation: 
“That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”
I had never heard of (or payed attention too) the principle of compensation. It hit me like a ton of bricks while listening to this talk – that it was true. That the things our family would miss because Brad was taken would be made up for. I initially thought that meant it would be made up for in heaven – when we were all together again… but I have seen over the years the blessings pouring out upon us.
 The  powers of heaven are not bound by human logic.  If you are in a situation where it doesn’t make logical sense for you to EVER be happy, or even be ok. Where it doesn’t make sense for you to be able to heal- 
That doesn’t matter. 
Because the Lords power is not bound by what our human mind can comprehend. 
Many times I’ve felt the spirit whisper that everything will be ok. And many times I’ve felt my sweet husbands presence and he has said that it will be ok- and not just ok, but good . And that someday I will understand. And I used to argue – I’d say – well I don’t see how that can ever really be true. I don’t see how it will be ok for our kids to grow up without their wonderful daddy, and for my littlest girls to not even have an earthly memory of their father . I don’t see how that can ever be ok- and how they won’t get gipped.  and I don’t see how I will ever be ok – being here without you…
One of my biggest sadnesses was having my children grow up without the influence of their amazing father – but that is already being  compensated for. Somehow, miraculously, my little girls have memories of their daddy. They know him and have a relationship with him. All my girls recognize when he is near.  They are influenced by him and he teaches them. I know he protects us . Somehow Brad is able to provide for, comfort, teach and bless his family – from the other side of the veil.
I know we will all still continue to have things we miss out on by not having Brad physically here with us – and those things are difficult and heartbreaking at times… but I have seen a little glimpse of the way Heavenly father is miraculously compensating for this already –  and it teaches me to not despair about those sad things – but to have faith that the Lord will do what He says He can do.
 I don’t pretend to understand how it works , but I have complete faith that my girls will not be gipped out of having a daddy.  I may not see the interaction, but he influences them, protects them and helps them in many ways I can not. 
I know my Savior is there, and that I can call on him. I feel like he has been lifting me up and carrying me around and steadying me every day for the past five years. And the power you get from the atonement – it’s not just a nice idea. it’s not just a warm ,fuzzy, happy thought, that you think about . You have the ability to tap into a literal power that nothing in the universe is stronger than. Every person on this earth has the ability to use that gift – even if we don’t understand how it happens.

And THAT gift is what makes us happy…

Today marks five years since Brad’s death. That is crazy to me. Five years sounds like a long time. And it’s weird because it seems like a lifetime ago and also just yesterday all at the same time.

I remember very vividly walking in my bed room to get Addie who was six months old at the time of Brad’s death. Probably a day or so after. (those days are all kind of a blur,  they all run together)
I remember saying to myself – “my life is over.” Just matter of fact. Not trying to be overly dramatic, but stating what was obvious.  Not only did I not want to be here without Brad, but I really didn’t believe that I would be able to exist without him. I felt like half of me was literally missing and I didn’t see how I could possible survive that way for long.

Now that I am looking back on the last five years instead of living it I’ve noticed a few things. It is interesting to see the progression.   All the different phases that you go through. I think I was in shock for about 2 years. Just attempting to function and not much else. I remember feeling like an actor in a movie. Pretending everything is fine because that was the only way I could function.  

I think in those five years I went through every phase multiple times. Feeling like I was finally getting a handle on this grief, only to be swallowed up by it the next day.  

Grief , I’ve found, is frustrating like that. Good one minute, total nut job the next.

I remember thinking, “I will never be happy again.” Sure I would smile and laugh occasionally, but I would never really be happy. Not until I am with Brad again.   And that’s not a very fun thought. Spending your life, just hoping time passes quickly so we could be together again… not much comfort in that for me. Not really a life, to be honest.

Well, one thing that has been a pleasant little surprise – is that I’ve been feeling happy lately.  It was honestly something I didn’t expect.  And it’s not really something I can explain. It’s not that the pain of losing Brad is gone… or even bearable on hard days… And I still don’t know that I will ever have a “fullness of Joy” without Brad physically by my side. But somehow, there is a calm, peaceful power that comes from being loved by my sweet husband. Somehow, knowing that he is there; and not just on the hard days or the special occasions, but Always.  That knowledge and what it means is finally sinking in. And it’s changing me. Empowering me.  And I don’t feel alone. Because I’m not alone.  And with that knowledge,  I can be happy here and now.

I am also learning that the powers of heaven are not bound by human logic. 

Elder Wirthlin gave a talk in the first General Conference after Brad’s death. In it he speaks about The principle of compensation: 
“That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”
I had never heard of (or payed attention too) the principle of compensation. It hit me like a ton of bricks while listening to this talk – that it was true. That the things our family would miss because Brad was taken would be made up for. I initially thought that meant it would be made up for in heaven – when we were all together again… but I have seen over the years the blessings pouring out upon us.
 The  powers of heaven are not bound by human logic.  If you are in a situation where it doesn’t make logical sense for you to EVER be happy, or even be ok. Where it doesn’t make sense for you to be able to heal- 
That doesn’t matter. 
Because the Lords power is not bound by what our human mind can comprehend. 
Many times I’ve felt the spirit whisper that everything will be ok. And many times I’ve felt my sweet husbands presence and he has said that it will be ok- and not just ok, but good . And that someday I will understand. And I used to argue – I’d say – well I don’t see how that can ever really be true. I don’t see how it will be ok for our kids to grow up without their wonderful daddy, and for my littlest girls to not even have an earthly memory of their father . I don’t see how that can ever be ok- and how they won’t get gipped.  and I don’t see how I will ever be ok – being here without you…
One of my biggest sadnesses was having my children grow up without the influence of their amazing father – but that is already being  compensated for. Somehow, miraculously, my little girls have memories of their daddy. They know him and have a relationship with him. All my girls recognize when he is near.  They are influenced by him and he teaches them. I know he protects us . Somehow Brad is able to provide for, comfort, teach and bless his family – from the other side of the veil.
I know we will all still continue to have things we miss out on by not having Brad physically here with us – and those things are difficult and heartbreaking at times… but I have seen a little glimpse of the way Heavenly father is miraculously compensating for this already –  and it teaches me to not despair about those sad things – but to have faith that the Lord will do what He says He can do.
 I don’t pretend to understand how it works , but I have complete faith that my girls will not be gipped out of having a daddy.  I may not see the interaction, but he influences them, protects them and helps them in many ways I can not. 
I know my Savior is there, and that I can call on him. I feel like he has been lifting me up and carrying me around and steadying me every day for the past five years. And the power you get from the atonement – it’s not just a nice idea. it’s not just a warm ,fuzzy, happy thought, that you think about . You have the ability to tap into a literal power that nothing in the universe is stronger than. Every person on this earth has the ability to use that gift – even if we don’t understand how it happens.

And THAT gift is what makes us happy…

We sang while making dinner the other day. 
And I missed you. 
But it wasn’t the aching, lump in my throat missing you that I usually feel when a wave of missing you comes on…. 
It was just missing you, because I know you would have been singing right along with us and having a great time. 
And we would have laughed at your falsetto. 
It was almost a happy missing – if there can be such a thing. 
Wishing you were here but knowing that you were. 
And being happy that we were singing again. 
And knowing that makes you happy.  


Brad was a fantastic cook. He didn’t have a lot of time to cook, but we sure loved when he did. For birthday’s in our house you get to have your favorite dinner. That meant Brad was cooking for every birthday. (except his own…but I’m sure if he was honest he probably would have preferred to make that meal as well. ) 
 I remember his first birthday after we were married. He was so cute – he requested an easy meal that we had often….and I still managed to mess it up. But he just said it was great and ate it anyway.

Brad and I would make Sunday dinner together.  He was seriously the sexiest thing ever in his church shirt with the sleeves rolled up and his “manly” apron. (I would tease him about wearing an apron. He would point to the fighter pilot patches on it and declare it to be manly and ignore anything else I said.)

We would turn on some music, cook together and sing at the top of our lungs. (and if you knew Brad you know that means that the neighbors could probably hear him)  Our kids would laugh at us and look at us like we were crazy, but soon they would be singing as well. 

On regular days (when the sub par cook made the meal) he would always make a big deal about how great everything was and he was always so grateful for whatever effort I had gone too.  

Those dinner memories make me happy. But they also make it hard for me to cook dinner now. 
After we moved to Utah I don’t think I cooked dinner in my home for about 5 months. It was always something I did specifically for Brad.  I just couldn’t bring myself to set the table and make dinner knowing he wouldn’t be coming home to eat. Every part of it made me miss my husband so much that I couldn’t breathe.  
So I just didn’t do it.  

It’s almost been 5 years and I still can’t say I like making dinner. It’s a lot of work for people who would rather have cold cereal 🙂  but I know it’s important for my kids and I to sit down together so I try to make myself do it more.  And I’m trying to remember that just because I’m not making it for Brad, that doesn’t mean he’s not coming to dinner. 

So singing while making dinner is kind of a big deal at our house. 
It felt good to do that again. 

After Brad died I used to have the most horrible, crushingly sad dream. 

In the dream I had just lost Brad again.  
Throughout the whole dream I was running all over looking for him and I could never find him. 
People I would pass would say, “he just went that way.” “he just passed by.” “he’s just around the corner up ahead.”   
and I would follow the trail but he was always just out of sight up ahead. 

I would wake up sobbing. Never having found him. 

I am so grateful I no longer have that dream.
  
And I think I know why I don’t. 

Because I have finally learned how to find him again.

and he is right here with us. 

Always.

He is with us everyday.
I can feel him laughing with us and crying with us. 
I can feel him holding me up and steadying me and helping me to do this.

I am still missing him every minute. 

But I am no longer searching for him

Because he is here.  

After Brad died I used to have the most horrible, crushingly sad dream. 

In the dream I had just lost Brad again.  
Throughout the whole dream I was running all over looking for him and I could never find him. 
People I would pass would say, “he just went that way.” “he just passed by.” “he’s just around the corner up ahead.”   
and I would follow the trail but he was always just out of sight up ahead. 

I would wake up sobbing. Never having found him. 

I am so grateful I no longer have that dream.
  
And I think I know why I don’t. 

Because I have finally learned how to find him again.

and he is right here with us. 

Always.

He is with us everyday.
I can feel him laughing with us and crying with us. 
I can feel him holding me up and steadying me and helping me to do this.

I am still missing him every minute. 

But I am no longer searching for him

Because he is here.  

So it’s safe to say that Valentines day is no longer one of my favorite holidays. to be honest, it pretty much blows now. And each year it is a hard day and it seems like I miss Brad more on that day than others….(didn’t think that was possible, but I guess it is.)  

so this year I definitely wasn’t excited about valentines day approaching, but – I don’t know, I just didn’t want to hate it this year. I didn’t want to be sad and eat chocolate and buy crap I don’t need. (those are all things I have participated in QUITE A BIT on previous Valentine’s days)

So this year I decided that I would not be sad.  I really didn’t know if I could just DECIDE that, but I was going to give it the old college try.  (now, I’m not saying I can just decide not to be sad everyday – so please don’t expect that from me ;), but I just don’t want to be sad on THIS day anymore.  – tomorrow I may not get out of bed….I  still reserve that right.

I decided to try to make it all about the girls. We planned a Fancy Nancy Valentines dinner (I totally ripped that idea off from my cute sister)  We dressed up and ate all the favorites. (mac and cheese, stovetop stuffing (Addie’s favorite – she snuck half the bowl before dinner ever started 🙂 some heart pizza and about 4 desserts.   And it was crazy fun. We laughed and acted all fancy. Got out the stem glasses that I don’t believe I have used since Brad died. Grandma joined us, and that was so fun. The little girls loved it, and Ty, ever the good sport, pulled out one of her dance dresses and took dress up to a whole new level.

and sitting here tonight , it’s kindof surprising me – because I really didn’t have a harder day than normal.  It may sound dumb, but other Valentines days I have not even wanted to get out of bed, or function – so that is a big deal for me.

I’m not sure what is different this year. But I do know that I am learning a little secret. Brad is always close. He is always close when I need him. When I have rough night, or day, or month. But he is also always close when we are happy. And I know that seeing us happy makes him happy. and sometimes I can just FEEL that – him being happy.  It’s one of the greatest gifts he can give me. Today was one of those days.  I love that our little party made him happy.  And I love that I’m still learning about how much he influences us and how often he is here –  that he can be physically gone – but oh, so close at the same time. It’s kindof a miracle.

So it’s safe to say that Valentines day is no longer one of my favorite holidays. to be honest, it pretty much blows now. And each year it is a hard day and it seems like I miss Brad more on that day than others….(didn’t think that was possible, but I guess it is.)  

so this year I definitely wasn’t excited about valentines day approaching, but – I don’t know, I just didn’t want to hate it this year. I didn’t want to be sad and eat chocolate and buy crap I don’t need. (those are all things I have participated in QUITE A BIT on previous Valentine’s days)

So this year I decided that I would not be sad.  I really didn’t know if I could just DECIDE that, but I was going to give it the old college try.  (now, I’m not saying I can just decide not to be sad everyday – so please don’t expect that from me ;), but I just don’t want to be sad on THIS day anymore.  – tomorrow I may not get out of bed….I  still reserve that right.

I decided to try to make it all about the girls. We planned a Fancy Nancy Valentines dinner (I totally ripped that idea off from my cute sister)  We dressed up and ate all the favorites. (mac and cheese, stovetop stuffing (Addie’s favorite – she snuck half the bowl before dinner ever started 🙂 some heart pizza and about 4 desserts.   And it was crazy fun. We laughed and acted all fancy. Got out the stem glasses that I don’t believe I have used since Brad died. Grandma joined us, and that was so fun. The little girls loved it, and Ty, ever the good sport, pulled out one of her dance dresses and took dress up to a whole new level.

and sitting here tonight , it’s kindof surprising me – because I really didn’t have a harder day than normal.  It may sound dumb, but other Valentines days I have not even wanted to get out of bed, or function – so that is a big deal for me.

I’m not sure what is different this year. But I do know that I am learning a little secret. Brad is always close. He is always close when I need him. When I have rough night, or day, or month. But he is also always close when we are happy. And I know that seeing us happy makes him happy. and sometimes I can just FEEL that – him being happy.  It’s one of the greatest gifts he can give me. Today was one of those days.  I love that our little party made him happy.  And I love that I’m still learning about how much he influences us and how often he is here –  that he can be physically gone – but oh, so close at the same time. It’s kindof a miracle.