Friday, August 24, 2007

Warning, this might take longer than a minute to read!

I'm sorry about the scrapbook. I finally figured out that I can post a picture like I did for the cover and if you click on the picture it will open in another screen where you can click the (+) magnifying glass over it and it becomes full size so you can read it. Therefore, I now just need to scan each page and attach them so you can view it. I promise I'll try to get it done soon. As you'll read below, I've got a lot going on, so it might take me some time. Thanks for being patient with me.

I've had one stressful, crazy, fun and busy summer. There's a lot that I want to share, but not really sure how much I can share. Sometimes it's much better to share after things are better, than in the beginning when it seems like the world is over. However, I'm still finding it hard to find the words to use. Patrick has been in an adolescent wilderness program for 10 weeks. I discovered that he was making choices that were detrimental to him and our family. It was hard to make the call, but it was the right thing to do. Last week I was able to go see him in person for the first time in 9 weeks. We had been writing to each other the entire time and had talked on the phone a few times, but seeing him was so wonderful. I spoke weekly with his therapists and received updates on Patrick's progress. I was also given assignments in the types of letters I needed to write to him. He has been working very hard, and has changed his outlook and perceptions. He is getting the help he needs to face his emotions and vulnerabilities regarding Mark's cancer and death. He will be going to a boarding school soon to help him get his GED and continue therapy. This didn't start because of Mark getting cancer and dying. Patrick's choices in life prior to cancer had led him down a path that definitely escalated when Mark was diagnosed and then continued through that time period up until it all came to a head in May. I have been seeing a therapist and working on myself while Patrick is getting intense therapy out in the wilderness. I am elated by his progress and change of heart. He wants to have a relationship with me and his siblings now. There was a time when he thought at 18 he would leave and not look back. I am so thankful for this change. I am hopeful for an amazing future. There is much work to be done on all sides of this relationship, but we are all wanting to do our part to make things better.

Whether you know or are imagining, let me tell you that this was one humongous blow to my psyche. Here I am reeling in the trials and sorrows of losing half of myself when Mark died, when WHAM, I get blindsided with another tribulation. I don't say this as a "poor me," "why me." It is what it is and I am dealing with the details the best I know how. But I'll tell you, I have struggled with blaming myself and self doubt. I have moments of despair and unrest. I wonder if I can go on. I wonder if I'm going to have a breakdown. However, I do keep going on and I haven't had a full blown breakdown (mini ones don't count.) There are times when I am amazed at this outcome. I seem dumbfounded as to how things keep moving on so well. How can this be? I've said it before, right here on this very site. I know it, and yet in my earthly human mind I have to retell myself this same truth over and over again. It is through God's love and grace and the atoning sacrifice of our elder brother Jesus Christ that I have the power and the strength to keep going. I ask myself why do I forget that so often? Why am I so amazed that I can make it through another day? I'm human and I'm imperfect and that's okay. I am coming to a better understanding that Heavenly Father in all his wisdom knows that we have to work at acknowledging His hand in all things. I'm working on it. I'm grateful, that even though it sometimes takes awhile, I do recognize Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's role in my life.

We had a partial Murdock family reunion at Bruce & Lisa's cabin at the end of June. We had a blast, but we missed those who couldn't make it. We played horse shoes, went fishing, four wheeling, tree tipping, roasted marshmallows and sat around the most amazing green, purple and orange fire. Miranda had learned this awesome technique while teaching at a summer camp.

Next we enjoyed the Fourth of July with the Clements side of our family. We started off the day at Provo's Balloon Festival, had a barbecue and water games at the Giles and finished with fireworks in Pleasant Grove. I really missed Mark that day. He loved going to watch the fireworks. We would snuggle up together or we'd snuggle up with the kids. He loved watching the reaction of the kids when they were little. He would have loved seeing Lucas just staring in wide eyed wonderment. Those are the hard things to do without him.

Next Chase went with my Sister Diane and her daughter Morgan (they were staying with us from June 28th until July 21st - YIPEE) to Lake Powell. As soon as Chase was back he turned around the next morning for Scout camp. He had been able to practice water skiing at Lake Powell which helped him earn his merit badge for water skiing at scout camp. Diane and I got some school shopping done and worked on our scrapbooks a little. We met with our sister Lynda and sister-in-law Lisa for lunch at Archibald's in Gardner Village. We had a great time catching up on each others lives AND eating there yummy fried avocados.

Chase came home from scout camp and we all left the next morning for California July 21st. I had been planning to hit Disneyland one more time with the annual passes we bought last year when we went for the last time with Mark. Diane had bought annual passes when her family had gone earlier in the year, so she was going to try and go again too. So we made the plan to go there together. We spent about 4 days there. My brother Chad was able to come join us for some fun at the park. Our kids love their Uncle Chad. They fight to hang on him and ride the rides with him. He's an awesome sport. We drove down to San Diego and spent one day at Sea World. It's too hot to go ther in the summer. We still had a fun day though. We tried to spend a day at the beach, but that didn't work out so well. The pool at the hotel was a much better option with Lucas. He just changes the dynamics of how easily things can or can't be done. Oh yeah, Lucas broke his arm right before we left for Disneyland, so he had a cast on for three weeks. He was such a trooper and it healed great.

So we left California July 28th and headed to Diane & Jim's. The kids and I stayed there for a little over a week. We would go out for a swim everyday. Lucas had been taking swimming lessons before we left Utah and he was a wild animal in the pool. He had a waterproof cast. He would say "choo, choo, choo!" and then jump in. Choo=two. That was the only number he could say and sometimes he'd say it more than just three times. It was a hoot. He loved the water.

I headed back home on August 7th. Diane and I had basically been together for six weeks. It was great. I had a day and a half to do laundry, take care of bills and say quick hellos to neighbors before we packed back up and headed to Idaho for the Clements family reunion. We have been going up there since 1995. How awesome is that! We did and always have had the best time getting together.

I had about 24 hours after returning from Idaho before we headed to my parents in Beaver, Utah where I left the kids so I could drive out very early the next morning to spend the day and night with Patrick out in the field. I told about that above.

We came home from that and I was supposed to leave the next day for a girlfriends weekend in St. George. Tess got sick, so I thought the plan was going to be cancelled. My kids are so great. Both Chase and Tessa said they'd be just fine and they wanted me to go. Tess had started to feel much better. They are so good to me. I was able to go and had a fabulous time. We laughed, we cried, we shopped, we ate (yummy) and we read. It was the funniest thing. Almost everyone there was reading either "twilight," "new moon" or "eclipse" from the author Stephanie Meyer. They are really good books. It seemed like there was always someone reading somewhere in the house in one of the three books. I was reading the most recently released book (eclipse) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So, now I'm home. School's about to start. I can settle into my favorite season ever, or so I thought. Suddenly I'm flying out next week for the day to check out a school for Patrick. I'm praying (simply put) that they want Patrick, they like me and I like them. If that's the case, I won't have to fly anywhere else to find a school for Patrick.

It's a stressful and anxious time in our family, but there is hope and right alongside hope is FAITH! I have faith that everything will be okay. We have an amazing extended family. Our ward/neighborhood is so loving and caring. Our friends near and far never let us feel forgotten. When I look at my life, and I hope and pray my children can see it the same way, I see blessings everywhere I look. We are so blessed to have all your love. We are blessed to have each other. There are so many blessings. I've decided to copy my sister-in-law Stacie and start making a daily journal listing of my blessings. I could be miserable if I wanted too, but I don't want too. If I can be aware daily of my blessings and the things and people I'm grateful for, I think it would be very hard to be miserable.

Thank you everyone, even those we have never met. Each and everyone of you are important in our lives. Love ya!

I posted this and then remembered that I just have to put this in for Mark. I've cried many tears thinking about the upcoming BYU Cougar Football season. This was a huge part of our life. I don't even have tickets to go this year, and I don't know if I ever will. I just can't imagine sitting in that stadium without Mark. I will however shout out a big

Go Cougars!


I hope that they have an enormously successful season.

Monday, August 06, 2007

I'm still here - Sorry it's been so long.

- Thanks for asking T. Nelson, please remind me who you are.
- Life has been more than crazy since my last post.
- I've sat down a number of times to update, but couldn't put down in words what was happening.
- I still can't yet, but I will.
- It's been a busy, crazy and fun summer, and there's more busy, crazy and fun to go.
- I want to put it all down so I don't forget it, but I can't tonight.
- We are all okay, some better than others, but I have faith. I still know, without a doubt, that my Heavenly Father loves me/us. I know that if I was not hopeful and full of faith then I would be ungrateful for the gift of the atonement. Jesus Christ has already suffered not only for the sins but for the pains of our souls as well. If I don't lay my burdens at his feet and let him carry them for me, then I am not living the gospel the way I should. It's not easy all the time to think this way, but I am determined with my entire being to never give up or "JUST KEEP SWIMMING" as Dori from "Finding Nemo" would say. No matter what comes into my life, nothing will deter me from my goal.

- My goal: To be worthy to live again with my Father in Heaven, so I can be reunited with Mark.