Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

My children tell me I must send out a Christmas letter so everyone knows we are okay. Well we are okay, however, if I have to get the kids together to pose for a picture, get the pics printed, buy cards, postage, send the cards etc.. then I may NOT be okay. Modern Technology will have to suffice to save my sanity.

The Dial family is moving forward and healing. There is never a day that goes by that we don't think about or talk about Rod. We are very blessed to have such great memories. We feel his presence as we recognize he watches out for us from a different place. And we believe wholeheartedly that we will be with him again someday.

Family time and travelling have been a great healer and distraction so we have taken some fun trips.

Last Thanksgiving we spent a fabulous week in Chicago with Rodney, Kylee and Kylee's family. I love that 'we' married into the Eyre family.

Last Christmas was spent in San Diego with Uncle Jerry (my little brother), Aunt Darla and their kids. Our trip included a few days in Baja California building a chain link fence at one of our favorite orphanages. In honor of Rod they had us plant a lima' tree. Very fitting if you've ever eaten out with Rod and he's asked for bowls and bowl of limes from the server to make his infamous limeade.

This Thanksgiving we went on a cruise out of New Orleans. Such a fun trip! The Eyres and Lowes accompanied us. We drove to New Orleans and spent a day exploring before boarding the ship

This Christmas we will be staying home and enjoying the new house which was finished in May.

Other trips in 2011 included:
January: I was able to return to Chicago to go to the Oprah show! Knocking something off the bucket list.
March: Nikka, Joseph and Luke spent Spring Break in Chicago and had so much fun.
May: I went to Utah over Mother’s Day weekend to visit Kyria. I returned to the best surprise! Nikka had orchestrated (with major assistance of friends and church members), our very own Extreme Home Makeover. I was all moved into my new house! It was a dream come true.
June: Rodney kept up his Dads tradition of taking the little boys to Father Son bball camp at BYU. Luke also was able to attend a week long basketball camp in Utah that month.
July: California for lots of beach time, wonderful weather and of course the annual Baja Orphanage trip. So great to keep that tradition going even without Rod to guide us.

The trips are slowing down as I'm learning how to budget (that is a bad word and I can't believe I said it). Though I do go to Utah often, its not my favorite destination spot but with 3 of my kids there - it holds half my heart. So Im there as often as possible.

Rodney and Kylee are still living in downtown Chicago...for a few more months anyways. Rodney was just accepted to Stanford Business school. He'll be getting his MBA, and starts in September. Yes he's a smart one. He's also a smart aleck; and he has yet to grow out of tormenting and teasing his younger siblings. Luckily they take it better and don't come crying to Mom quite as often. Rodney works as a marketing manager at Fenwal (ok I don't really know if thats what he does, but I DO know he works at Fenwal) he also serves as the president of the Young Men's organization at church in their downtown Chicago ward. Two weeks ago he texted me to tell me Donny Osmond was in their church.

Kylee aka; the BEST daughter in law ever! I won the jackpot when Rodney married her. And the good news is she seems to like me too. She tells me she hears others complain about their Mother in law and is very grateful she doesn't have those problems. You see why I love love love her! Anyways, she works as an event planner for Franklin Covey - the perfect job for her in my opinion. Again, I'm not sure what she does, something about planning really big events for Franklin Covey, hence 'event planner' I DO know I'd be happy to let her plan all my vacations for the rest of my life.

They are very good at taking advantage of the downtown Chicago life, I love to hear of their adventures and fantastic restaurants they find. In September they went on an Alaskan Cruise and were surprised to find they and their friends were the only people on the boat (besides the employees) who didn't have gray hair.

'Rod's girls' as they like to call themselves

Elyse (pictured in the center) is living back in Utah. She works in the corporate office for 'Kid to Kid'. 2011 found Elyse becoming a 'Yogi', not as in bear but as in Yoga. When she was still in Austin she would try and get anyone to join her in a downward dog or sun salutation. I think that was the influence of living in downtown Austin, she adopted the 'keep austin weird' mantra.

I love visiting her in her Salt Lake town house. Very grown up. She also just bought her first, nice, grown up car. When I pointed out to her that Dad and I needed a co signer for our first car, she said; "See! I needed someone to appreciate this accomplishment" She has grown into an amazing woman and I count her among one of my best friends and confidantes.

Kyria (right) spent spring and summer here at home with me. She was my roomie; literally we shared my bedroom. We had such a fun time! She is back at UVU majoring in Elementary Education. She is going to be an incredible 2nd grade teacher. Kyria is an Intramural star! I'm pretty sure the media are alerted whenever she has a game. Her fan club is quite large at all of her games, which include; Basketball, Football, Dodge ball, and she's just added a Triathlon intramural league (not sure how that works). She is better then any of the guys usually, which throws them off, they see her beauty and don't expect the braun behind it.

Nikka (left) was accepted to BYU!!!! And began in the fall. She is loving her college and dorm life. I think she has adjusted to moving away better then me. I miss her terribly, now that I'm the only girl in the house. Nikka also helped so much with the boys. Kyria gets her to play in the intramurals and like a good little sister she obliges.

In October I took both Kyria and Nikka to see Garth Brooks in Vegas. It was their Christmas AND Birthday present, yes its that expensive. Kyria says it was a life defining moment. It was pretty cool! And something we will never forget.

Joseph 14; aka; Josey, aka; Rods mini me. Seriously this boy looks more and more like Rod everyday. And watching him play any sport is like watching his Dad. Its uncanny and such a treat for me.

Josey started high school this year. He also made the freshmen basketball team. So fun to be going to those games again. I've missed it. I don't like it when people tell Joseph he's the 'man of the house now', I quickly remind him that NO, he gets to still be a kid. (Luckily that doesn't happen too much) However he has become quite my little right hand man. Always willing to help me with anything around the house. Together he and I have tackled many home projects I'd never thought I could do.

Josephs voice is so deep, the other day I thought a man had come in the house uninvited. I thought about looking for one of their fake airsoft guns that look real to scare away the 'intruder'. Joseph said; "You were going to shoot me?!"

Luke 11; (far right) attended the BYU / Texas game with friends. He stayed true to his siblings and parents alma mater by representing well in a sea of burnt orange. Luke began middle school. I can't believe my baby boy is in middle school! He, like Joseph is always willing to help.

Luke also hasn't grown out of and hopefully never will grow out of always being ready for a hug, kiss or snuggle. He reminds the whole family when we are together that its 'snuggle' time. He is also quite the 'baller' like his Dad and brothers. He debates often which NBA team will want him more when he graduates college.

And then there's Me! I wish I could adequately convey the depth of gratitude I feel at the love and support that has been shown to me and my kids. I told a friend today that I hope to someday be the kind of friend that he and his wife have been to our family during this past 15 months. And I feel that about many friends and family.

I have stayed busy working and have been able to provide as needed for my family. What a blessing! Thank you to all the friends and past clients for the referrals.

I'm slowly, very slowly getting back into running and exercise. The powdered sugar donuts I breathed in like air the whole year after Rod died were not kind to my health. Which is a nice way to say I gained way too much weight. Nikka and I have pinky swore to once again do the Cap Tex triathlon next year, that always gets me back into shape. I'll let you know how that commitment pans out, stay tuned...And I'll let you know if Nikka actually does it this time.

I love love love being in the new house, I designed it so its a treat to see it and live in it.

I miss having all the kids at home and get SO happy when they are all together. Its just too quiet with only the 2 boys and seems so weird. To compensate for the lack of children around; the boys and I got another little dog Jack and 6 chickens. The chickens have been keeping me and the neighbors stocked with fresh yummy eggs.

So there you go kids, the best Mom can do at a Christmas card or letter!

We hope all of our friends and family have a wonderful holiday season. We are grateful for this time of year to be reminded of our Saviors love and sacrifice for all of His children. The Dial Family has truly felt the healing balm of the Atonement in our lives.

Loves to y'all! Jennifer

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Catching up.....with Technology

Before Rod died I loved to hit the trail; nearly every day. Either a 2 mile run or a 4 mile walk depending on the day or the friends. With my crazy friends I'd do the 4 mile run! I trained for my first little triathlon on that trail.

BTW in this picture Rodney isn't checking his texts but rather getting his phone ready to take a picture of me as I crossed the finish line. He could've done this race in triple time but he stayed with me through it all. Still get choked up thinking about what my wonderful son did with me that day.

After Rod died I substituted the trail for powdered sugar donuts and coke. I know, I know bad, bad habits. Couldn't seem to help it. I physically couldn't get myself to the trail...or to exercise at all for that matter! So fascinating how different grief is for everyone. Another widow friend couldn't sit still and lost as much weight as I gained. ( She looks fabulous and I'm trying to follow her example now )

Did I avoid the trail because it's part of Brushy Creek? I don't know, maybe, probably. Did I avoid it because sometimes Rod would go there with me? Maybe, probably. Whatever reason I pretty much avoided moving at all, something I used to really enjoy.

Well I'm getting back to the trail and back to moving. And with the lapse in time their have been some cool new apps I've discovered! I <3 Radio for one! Specifically the spin cycle station. Wow! And I can listen to local morning stations, atleast some of them.

Nike gps, Double Wow! I'd been asking for a gps watch when I was actively running. Nope! Don't need one anymore. Nike gps was free and even has Lance Armstrong telling me 'good job!' even though I only did 2.22 miles at a snails pace. Lance was proud of me!

Rod almost knew Lance....well he did all his driveways so he knew his whole crew and staff. So it's almost like Rod saying he was proud of me. Not really. In fact a little too far reaching even for a crazy widow.

I know this is probably all old news to many of you. To say I've been a little out of it lately, well an understatement. So I'm pretty excited about this 'new to me' technology. Heard something very wise recently:
'The definition of discipline is remembering what you want!'
That's right! I just remembered I want to be healthy! I don't want to be a giant powdered sugar donut.

Anyways...14 months and sometimes I see glimpses of the Jennifer I used to know and love. I know with time she'll come back more and more.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I've been in a fog. Forgot about these news stories. Have I ever even seen them before? So proud of my kids on tv. What poise and grace they had. I was willing to do one news story in print, not on camera. Mostly i did it to give Nan Kinzler and Fern Hernandez a shout out. If you Ever need anything done on your house, i know the people! I'm attaching it below. Go to for all of them
(the cute picture of me didn't copy over of me ; - ))
A solid foundation
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Amy Fowler | 3
Rod and Jennifer Dial dreamed of building a home where they could raise their kids. They dreamed of playing with their grandchildren and growing old together as they poured the concrete foundation for that home.
In September, Rod took his daughter on a kayaking trip that would end in tragedy. Though her 17-year-old daughter was safe, Jennifer had to redefine her dream. Facing a future without her husband of 25 years, she had to decide whether she still wanted the home they began together.
A month after the accident, she made her decision.
“I realized that we needed to build this house,” she said. “Rod was very pragmatic, very practical. I felt like he was saying ‘OK honey, you’ve had a month. Let’s go.’
The budget for the house was already tight, family friend Denny Lowe said. He said Rod ordered used materials off Craigslist, did much of the labor himself, and did whatever else he could to keep costs down without sacrificing quality. As a general contractor, he knew all the shortcuts.
However, after the accident, Rod’s contracting business dissolved and Jennifer had to figure out how to finish the house with only her income as a part-time Realtor while facing the prospect of putting four children through college (the oldest two already graduated), two of whom planned to perform full-time missionary work.
“I need to be thinking simpler and that’s OK,” she said. “Boy, something like this happens and it makes you realize things are not really important.”
But, she wasn’t alone. She said Rod’s friends and sometimes people she didn’t even know began to approach her with offers to discount their labor and supplies.
Then a friend of the family, who Rod and Jennifer knew more on a personal level than a professional one, stepped forward.
Nan Kinzler, a local architect and builder, offered to take over the general contracting at no cost while Fern Hernandez worked to secure the specialty trade labor.
“It just was the right thing to do,” Kinzler said. “I didn’t have a second thought.”
She said looking around at the hundreds of people who came to mourn Rod at his funeral, she felt like she could feel Rod tapping her on the shoulder.
“It was that moment of, I have a choice to just go, ‘Wow this is terrible,’ and just let it move on past me or, ‘Wow this is terrible. How can I help?’” she said.
Jennifer said she knew Kinzler and Hernandez were the right people, because they had the same vision as Rod.
“I think (Nan’s) an even more attention-to-detail builder than Rod was,” she said. “He built a great house, but I think I am getting the same quality just because of them.”
Once she had a general contractor, Jennifer said everything else started to fall into place. People from throughout the construction industry offered to discount their labor or materials. Some are working for cost. Others are using materials salvaged from other jobs. In all, she said about a dozen people are helping out in one way or another.
“They all are willing to lower their price a little bit when they hear the situation,” she said.
Even people she has no connection to are moved by her story. She said she ordered a door off Craigslist and once she paid the man, he turned around and donated a portion of the payment back to the college funds at
She said she knows Rod is happy to see his family so looked after.
“I think he is very grateful,” she said. “We’ve lived here for 20 years and we’ve built some great friendships. I think he’s smiling down at just his friends who are showing so much love to us.”
And though she said her energy isn’t what it was before the accident, and she still has days where it is hard to get out of bed, she moves forward because of her children.
“The biggest thing for me is I don’t want this to cripple our children,” she said. “Our faith makes us believe that we’ll see him again and he’ll still be my husband and he’ll still be their dad. That’s what keeps me going is the idea that we’ll still be together and we’ll still be a family.”

Edgar Vargas says:
November 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm
Behind every good man, there is a great woman, I praise sister. Dial’s courage to keep going and raise her kids on her own, god will be with her as she reaches her goal to raise her kids, and she is not alone, her kids are with her and they are great kids and will give her the courage to live as if brother Dial was here, and his spirit is watching ober. May god bless her and give her all that she needs as she strives to reach all her goals.
Kristen Duke says:
November 14, 2010 at 8:13 pm
What a beautiful article…we love the Dial Family! Can’t wait to see their new home in all its beauty.
Diane Carter says:
November 16, 2010 at 7:00 pm
It’s that time of year again, Thanksgiving, and , as usual, I keep remembering Rod’s great smile as he leaned back on the couch in your living room that Thanksgiving we shared together. Rod had a teenage girl on each side of him, and he had an arm around each of them. The girls were smiling and cuddled up to Rod, with the look of little girls trusting the world and the people in it. He even made this grandmom feel joy inside because of the love that radiated from his face. It was if he was saying, “It doesn’t get any better than this–being with my family and friends.” I’m grateful I became one of the Dial’s friends, and I too will miss Rod this year, but I still have a memory of his smile, and that’s worth a lot. Diane Carter

Friday, September 9, 2011

One year

We are coming up on one year. Hard to believe it's been that long. Many have wondered what our plans are. No pomp and circumstance planned. Just really want the day to come and go. Here's the truth; every day is an anniversary for me. Another day I made it through. Maybe at a year a medal of honor should be handed out. Don't mean to be sad. Its just that I live this every day. I appreciate that others get to not think about it every day. And I'm touched that so many want to take the day to remember Rod.

Also sort of a blessing that I live it every day; still haven't forgotten his voice, his smell, his silly laugh, his guitar playing, his kindness. I know from being with him for 26 years what he'd do or say in any given situation. I realize many people never get the chance to live the great life I've lead for even one year let alone 26. I have much to be happy and grateful for. And many more years to live and enjoy my children and hopefully grandchildren some day. (Hint hint kids if you're reading this!)

I know what Rod would say about the day; "Might as well use that day to party and remember the good times"

So here's the plan:
Rodney and Kylee will just be returning from a fabulous Alaskan cruise. Those lucky ducks. Still not sure why they didn't take their Moms with them!

Joseph and Luke will be playing basketball with their friends and Rods friends who want to get together and play one in remembrance of Rod.

I will be flying to Utah to visit my girls. We may go to Rods favorite restaurant in Utah; Zupas and eat too much and tell Dad's dumb jokes and laugh instead of cry.

I will also spend some time in the temple. Remembering the promises made there.

One year has come and gone. We've made it through all the 'firsts'. We've seen the depth of compassion and service of so many. Truly amazing the love that has been shown.

I try to keep life going on just as it would if Dad were here. That seems to work best. We are good. Little miracles and blessings are manifest on a regular basis to remind me that while I may be alone, A loving Heavenly Father has not forgotten myself or my children.
Thanks y'all for everything,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Facebook info when I first joined

I put this on my info when I first joined facebook. So funny at the time. Its time to update my facebook profile, but I couldn't just delete it. So I'm reposting here:
Rod's mantra when something is broke:
The mice ate it.
Steering doesn't work in the boat,
the mice ate the cable
Rope broke, mice ate it
Rear light on the boat out,
guess what he told the lake
The mice ate it!
Instead of peeing my pants,
I just jumped in the water.
Too bad he hates cats so much, it would solve the problem - or does he want it solved? Maybe thats why he doesn't want a barn cat, then he'd have no excuse. Hmmm...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

His eyes

At some point I realized my phone had over 100 text messages, my voicemail was full. I gave my phone to Jessica, was I required to answer these right now? At 4:00 AM my phone rang, it woke Jessica. It was the eye bank , they wanted Rods eyes. Jessica told them I'd just gone to sleep at 2:00 and she needed to let me sleep. Could they call back? They called again at 5:00, again could they call back? They called again at 6:00 and explained time was of the essence. Jessica decided to wake Rodney, Rodney said yes. Eye bank said they'd need to talk to me to have final verification but that was enough to get the process started. At 7:00 Jess woke me and told me that the eye bank needed to talk to me.

I got on the phone and listened to her; 'very sorry for your loss, sorry to call so early, time is of the essence, this donation would help not one but two people receive their site. It's anonymous but I would get a certificate. I could opt to have my name put on there so if the recipient ever wanted to contact me....'

I listened, I knew the answer but I couldn't answer her. Rod always said I could be empathetic to a fault. Instead I said; "I'm sorry for you! This is the worst job in the world! You have to wake grieving widows in the middle of the night and ask for body parts! How'd you get this job?" She gave me a speech about it was a worthy cause, blah blah I replied again; " I hate making phone calls, this would be a nightmare of a job for me"

Yes of course you can have his eyes, his beautiful, smiling eyes. Should I have told her he needed his reading glasses for everything these days? He even put reading glasses in his sunglasses. Should I have opened his eyes one more time to see them? No not necessary. I realized when I went in the hospital room to say goodbye to his lifeless body, there was nothing I needed to memorize. I knew everything about him.

Rod would've loved to donate every organ, every fiber of his body to help someone else live. Unfortunately they couldn't use anything else. When they were getting out of the kayak, it tipped and he hit his head and was knocked unconscious. He drowned while unconscious. He didn't suffer. It took rescue crews atleast an hour to find him. His body had been without oxygen for too long, no other organs were viable.

Some have said; "With all the crazy adventurous stunts Rod pulled, why was it something so simple that killed him?" I don't know, but it was merciful and painless, that's what matters to me.

It goes without saying that then, when they were asking for his eyes, as now my constant thought is; "Is this really happening? Am I really living this?"

Let me finish this on a lighter note, this is from yesterday;
Luke: "Mom I'm not sad anymore. And there is no way I could cry"

He needed some assurance that this was okay.

Me: "That's great buddy! Dad is proud of you for not being sad. He would be sad if you were still sad."

Luke: "But you're still sad sometimes. Why?"

Me: "Well....I've been with your Daddy since I was Nikka's age. Some day you're going to leave and go have a family of your own. I had planned to stay with Dad for the rest of my life."

Luke: "Well there are lots of wars and rumours of wars and earthquakes and tornados, maybe the Second Coming is coming soon and you won't have too wait long"

That kid has been paying attention in church!

Monday, April 11, 2011

208 Days

Somehow the Dial family is moving forward and we are doing well! We are committed to honoring Rods memory by being happy. The kids are WAY better at that then me. But their infectious happiness is contagious and I can’t contain myself.

Happy that I have my six kids. SO happy I got married at 17 and had those six kids so fast so that Rod and I had the time we did together, and with them. To all of those who didn’t approve of the 17 year old and the 25 year old so many years ago...well now we see why it happened the way it did.

While we are good and moving on, there are still sad parts Im going to share, Im not going to pretend its all sugar and spice. So if you want sugar and spice, stop now! Plus this is really long and you may get really bored.

Friends have played a HUGE roll in our moving forward. They invite and cheer and visit and serve in a way that is amazing. The boys have had some fun experiences and friends make sure they stay busy on the weekends. Rod lived for his weekends, the water and sports just packing it full was a successful weekend. Others have taken that job over for me. Thank heavens!

The boys are good; I think they know Rod made it without a Dad from age 7 on and look how great he turned out. They can do it too. Its easier for them to not deal, I like to talk about Dad. It just makes them sad. They have their moments but for the most part life goes on as normal and we lead our lives how Dad would want us to. Uncle Jerry said it best; “You and Rod have done a great job! Just stay on cruise control and you’ll be fine” Thats what I try to do with the boys.

Nikka got into BYU!!!!! We all knew she would. Everyone seems most concerned about her. She is good. She understands Heavenly Fathers plan, she was a true hero in trying to save her Dad. But she couldn’t interfere with Heavenly Fathers Will. No amount of heroism could’ve changed the outcome. Instead she relishes that she got to spend the last few hours with him. And they had such a great time. And some great conversations.

The first two weeks were SO WEIRD! So sad, so shocked and yet we were having fun because we were all together. If only everyone could’ve been in the car from the funeral to the gravesite. We were laughing and making jokes and talking about how mad Rod was going to be at me for the open casket viewing. He hated those. And frankly he looked bad. He looked like he had gained 40 pounds and had that look on his face right before he was about to bust out laughing, not a great look. In my defense, they tell me 1000 people came through that line and needed to say goodbye. My proud moment, I made sure and greeted everyone of those people.

2 weeks was the longest I’d ever been away from him. I didn’t want 2 weeks to come. Then at 3 weeks I wanted time to stand still. I couldn’t imagine another moment with him not in it. And yet I didn’t, I was so torn! The longer he was gone the harder it was and yet the more opportunities for seconds where I would forget and try and be normal. Seconds became minutes, minutes became an hour. Never more then an hour goes by though that I don’t think of him.

One month after; I decided to continue the construction of the new house. With the help from some amazing builder friends, I call them my angel builders, we commenced. Looks like we will be moving in within a month.

We stayed busy through the holidays; Chicago for Thanksgiving. California for Christmas. Christmas Eve we visited the Los Angeles Temple. We sat on the back steps where Rod and I came out after we were married. We shared some stories. We shared some sacred moments where we were reminded that our family IS eternal and the veil is thin. A quick trip to the orphanages to do a small service project right after Christmas. I was numb in Mexico, that was our place. We discovered it while dating, we honeymooned there. I couldn’t work, just stood around. I’m hoping to be more productive this summer on our trip. We planted a limon’ tree in Rods honor at one of his favorite orphanages.

I continue to make regular trip to see Kyria or she comes here, always so much fun to hang out with her. Often I keep it a secret when I’m in Utah so I can just be with her. In January; favorite daughter in law got us tickets to Oprah. She got them without even playing the ‘widow card’ just her cute self. So a quick trip to Chicago for that and to stay in Rodney and Kylee’s amazing downtown apartment.

Elyse is here, lives in downtown Austin so we see her as often as possible. Love having her here.

At 6 months it felt like a tour of duty. People send their spouses off to war for six months and then they come home. But he wasn’t coming home. At 6 months I was helping Luke find a shirt in his closet and got a very small urge to clean the closet. Somehow I forgot how to clean closets and do dishes and make dinner. I’m having to re learn how to do all that with the efficiency that I used to.

Heres what I didn’t know about grief; its exhausting!! I need sleep, lots of sleep. With each passing day, I need less sleep. And I’m not depressed! Though my Dad loves to tell me I’m depressed. But the therapist says I’m not depressed, I’m grieving. Grief and depression are often confused.

The therapist also told me after one visit that I didn’t need to come back. She said my grief was normal, not complicated. Complicated grief comes from complicated relationships. Ours was not complicated. The therapist said; “There is no pathology here” Thank you, I think. But I know what she meant. After 25 years we had figured out our relationship and it was good and it wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t perfect and I’m not glorifying it. We fought, we got on each others nerves once in a while. But we had figured it out. I see old couples now fighting and I get SO mad; they don’t even want to be together and yet we did want to be together and can’t. Or when I hear people say they’ve been married a gazillion years I want to say; “I would’ve been married that long too if given the chance”

I’ve been able to attend an LDS widows conference in Utah that was so great! I also got to have a ladies night out with a bunch of LDS widows. Other widow/widowers are the company I crave. They get it.

I also got a new little dog, who I named Faith. She is 9 months old and still weighs 4 pounds. She is the best widow dog. Cuddly and calm. I'm also getting some goats; "Stan and Ollie" and some chickens. Thanks Grandpa for building the coop. These are all things Rod wanted no part of. He is glad he isn't around for the animal chaos.

Lessons I’ve learned so far:

Our Heavenly Fathers plan is real. The world where we live and the spirit world are very close. We should get our stuff in order because we never know when we will be called to that other world.

Powdered Sugar donuts really do make me feel better. Exercise doesn’t. Now I’m paying for those decisions. Metabolism should be rewarded when someone suffers a loss like we have. No such luck! And that makes me want to curse!

NEVER tell someone time heals. (Even though it seems like it does) In actuality you learn how to deal over time with the pain that is still there, still real.

NEVER judge how long someone should have meals brought in or their house cleaned. In some ways it really felt like I forgot how to do everything. And so cereal is always a good option for dinner. Or thank heavens for subway $5 foot longs. Or the nice lady who still brings me dinner weekly. She says it is so I can watch her kids, which Im really planning on doing when she asks me to. A good trade in my book.

Church is the hardest! My testimony hasn’t waivered, church is just hard.

I was the biggest judge when I felt a widow or widower dated or remarried too soon. I will NEVER do that again. Noone knows how it feels. Rod used to tell me that he would remarry because he loved being married, he wouldn’t know how to live. Plus he watched his Mom be alone for way too many years. I used to think he was just saying that (I thought angrily ‘what a player’ you would be) I also would tell him two things; make sure the kids wear clean underwear and IF you do remarry wait atleast two years to pretend like you’ve missed me. He never had any instructions for me, darnit!

Above is not a disclaimer; there are no plans in my future. I’m just saying until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes you don’t know what you would do. In fact I will probably stay happily alone and busy cleaning out Rods barn and all his tools (tools I think are useless and then I put them on Craigslist and shazam I make some good $$$) and tending to my dogs, goats (Stan and Ollie) and chickens. If I can just train those goats to take me out on a friday night, my life will be fine. Stan seems to be more cuddly then Ollie, so I'll choose Stan for the romantic dates.

Again I’m so grateful for the love and charity of so many through this time.