Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Ride

Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high, keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. Live like you ain't afraid to die, and don't be scared- just enjoy your ride.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Repost from August 2006


The Importance of Men

Too often lately the importance of men in our lives seems to be marginalized. Yes, it is possible to support yourself and raise children without the presence of a husband, but it's not ideal. It's not ideal for you and it's not ideal for your children.

My father died when I was very young. My mother didn't have a choice when it came to being a single parent. She made good sound choices regarding her personal life before she planned on becoming a parent (yes, I was planned.... scary thought isn't it?). The hand Fate dealt her changed her options. Once my father was gone she had to think very carefully before choosing to introduce new men into my life.

I am thankful every day for my husband. It scares me sometimes to think how little control I have over whether he will live to be an old man and share my entire life with me. He is not home for very many of the boys' waking hours during the week since he leaves early every morning to work and support us in the grand manner we've become accustomed to (hard to convince little boys they don't want to eat). On the weekends it's hard to get him to leave the house. Sometimes this is a little frustrating since I'm here at home the entire flipping week. Wouldn't it be more fun to leave home and go somewhere? Anywhere? Maybe watch paint peel on the old downtown buildings? Seriously though, aren't I lucky he wants to spend as much of his time as he can with his family?

Sam is so upset these days if Dave leaves for work before Sam wakes up. How dare Daddy leave him all alone with this chopped liver person he calls Mommy? His little eyes just light up when Dave's home weekend mornings and all the kids pile into bed with us. Chris waits to tell me everything that happened at school until his dad gets home. It doesn't matter how many questions I ask, there's always something he's held back specially to tell Dad. Jake will lay across my lap while I'm trying to nurse him (after he's followed me around the house for 10 minutes making "feed me" noises) and watch his father (while biting me!) if Dave walks into the house before I'm finished nursing the little booger.

As for myself, I would go insane if I were all alone raising 3 boys without the love and support (and midnight baby wrangling) I get from my husband. I can't imagine why anyone would choose to become a single parent. What deluded soul would imagine that childrearing, so intensive for those of us in a strong relationship, would be such an easy thing to manage all alone and around full time employment. There wouldn't even be someone taking turns cooking dinner or picking children up from daycare. I understand the strong feeling of need that comes when you want a baby. I think children feel that same level of need when it comes having two parents.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Oh, God is good to me...

One of the things that makes me maddest, of all the stupid things people say, is the belief that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. A former friend of ours was heard to say, "Well, what did you expect?" when he heard the news. We're not good enough for him. He went back to the LDS church, Dave did not. Tonight on Brandy's blog a well meaning commenter said a few things that I'd like to take issue with.

What many of you don't know about me is that when I began college I was firmly on the fence between being an agnostic and an atheist. Some of the doubts raised by this commenter were doubts I lived with on a daily basis.

My father died when I was 22 months old. I've carried a lot of bitterness and many questions for a lot of years. My children are 7, 5, and 3. Their dad was 39. I don't carry those doubts anymore.

When I was young I wrestled with the idea of the Trinity. One of my aunts explained it like this:

She took three matches and held them in her hand, one for each member of the trinity- the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. She lit each match and held the three together. Then she explained that fire is one element that increases as it is spread out- rather than becoming depleted it actually gains strength the farther you stretch it. But you have to feed it.

One of my neighbors explained the Holy Spirit as God's love living inside each one of us.

Genaura (my old roommate) was such a blessing. She never preached, didn't quote scriptures at me, didn't tell me how she was righteous or her faith was right where others were wrong. She just lived her life.

I think there's a light inside each and every one of us. When I arrived at the University my light was like a pilot light on a gas stove. It was still there but it was so small I didn't even register it's existence.

Genaura was filled with a glow so large it spilled out from her and touched those around her. Without doing anything more than living her life- she filled me. My light fed from her light. Through the years that light has gained in strength and intensity. If you feed it it will grow.

There are things I have done this year that I knew at the time were unusual for me and our family. When the apricot tree bloomed early I believed that, just like the past 5 years, we would not have an apricot crop this year. When it froze (and it did freeze more than once after the tree bloomed) I prayed, "Lord, please save the apricots. Please let us have an apricot crop this year." Every time it frosted, "Lord, please let my family enjoy apricots this year."

If you follow me on facebook you already know that we had such an abundance of apricots that my entire freezer is filled with them. We ate and ate and ate and enjoyed the abundant apricots. I worked long, long days making jam and I smiled the whole time and while I worked I sang, "Oh God is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseeds. Oh God. Is. Good. To. Me. Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen...... amen.

I tried all summer to teach that song to my children and started using it as a blessing before meals. I had to look up the lyrics when the apricots starting ripening because I vaguely remembered the song and felt such a strong need to sing it. Whenever I tried to get my youngest to sing he would sing the song he made up about his blanket. It's titled, "Blankie, Blankie, Blankie." He never did show the slightest interest in my appleseed song.

The day Dave died several things happened that were not quite usual and customary for our family. It was October 1st. October 1st is the start of the new 4-H year. Our club meets the first Thursday of each month. October 1st is a Thursday. Sam, Chris and I went to 4-H that night. Before we left I packed their lunches for the next day and Dave helped me. We stayed longer than usual because it was our enrollment meeting and people kept waylaying me.

Usually our evening routine had me on the computer (because I very much need a little alone time now and then) and the kids playing out in the shop with Dave. Dave died while I was at 4-H. My Sam would probably have been playing in the same room at the time it happened.

Usually I'm playing on the computer or writing when it's time for the kids to go to bed. Dave handles bedtime. When the kids finish getting their stories from Grandma Chris goes out to the shop to tell his dad that it's time for good night rides.

On October 1st my dogs were driving me crazy. I thought they wanted food but when I filled their bowl they ran out of our house and towards the shop. I figured that Dave was out there watching TV and just waiting for a commercial before he came inside to see us.

Except that I kept thinking, "What if he's laying out there dead?"

But I shrugged that off until the dogs started doing their jig and running between the house and shop. At that point I saw red all over the floor of the garage. My heart stopped and I wondered if Dave had injured himself and gotten to the shop only to bleed to death. Then I realized what I was seeing was chalk all over the floor from when he cut my Styrofoam sheets for the kids to use in their bug class.

I walked out to the shop and my dogs were waiting, like sentinels, on either side of the door. At that point I knew something was wrong. I entered the building and there he was. Dave looked like he had fallen asleep. I knew.

Thursday night was the most terrible experience I've endured in my entire life. But in many ways this is also the most miraculous time of my entire existence. Things have happened for us this week that I have no explanation for. We are so surrounded by love. We were surrounded even as I found him. There are so many little things, too many to even begin listing that have to be miracles.

My God is a loving God. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. We'll never know why. It's a mystery. I'm ok with that.

You need to know that my burden is heavy. The words to Until It Sleeps say much more eloquently what is seething inside me than my words could ever convey. But every time I play that song and the grief almost overwhelms me my three year old comes running in the door singing, "Oh God is good to me..."

Always read scripture in context. Don't ever take someone else's interpretation of it. Think for yourself. With that admonishment I'd like to share Ezekiel 34:26, "I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing." We are so blessed. Our family is surrounded by the love and the light that radiated from David- and his light shone bright, oh it was so bright. That light has not dimmed even though the body that housed it is no longer with us. And on Friday morning I cried as I stood where my husband had died and I sang the appleseed song.

Today when I thought that the monster inside me was going to be very hard to fight my three year old came every time I almost gave way and he sang, "Oh God is good to me..." A few times he just kept repeating those few words until I could smile and finish the song with him.

Never doubt that God is loving and merciful. Why did he choose now to call my husband home? It's a mystery. There are many mysteries in life. We're not meant to know everything. There isn't an answer we can understand for every question we ask.

Know. Know beyond a shadow of doubt. WE ARE LOVED.

Thursday night I was sitting next to an old friend from the days when I was a 4-H member. We watched a woman working with the kids who were learning how to run a meeting. She is so happy, and goofy, and amazing. Her light spills over and feeds the light inside all of the people in our club. Within the past few years she lost a son and had her other son's wife die- leaving two little boys without a mother. Brenda never talks during the meetings. On Thursday she leaned over and whispered, "I don't know how she gets out of bed in the mornings."

I can tell you how she gets out of bed in the morning. WE ARE LOVED.

This week people keep telling me, "You are the strongest woman I know." I'm not strong. I am weak. The beast stirs inside me. I feel it under my skin. And it hates you. Don't ask this week how I'm doing. I might tell you. You will be scarred. Because the beast stirs. But whenever the beast stirs my three year old comes running.

Oh God is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun, and the rain and the appleseeds. Oh God is good to me.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

One of the topics I rarely blog about is my husband. There's a reason for that. I never wanted to say something that I would regret later or anything that might embarrass him. Our relationship was still very new and very basic. There rarely was much to say that didn't directly relate to the intimacy of our marriage. Sometimes any information is too much information so I rarely shared much about Dave in this forum.

When people would talk about difficulties in their marriage I would listen and then wonder how people got themselves to this point in their relationships. Then I would remind myself that we're still relatively newlyweds and that maybe with a few more years and miles under our belts there would be more discord in our marriage too. We've only been married since the fourth day of November in 2000.

I cannot quite wrap my mind around the fact that I'm writing this in past tense. My husband, my love, passed away very unexpectedly the night before last. He always warned me that he would not be here forever- that the men in his family are not long lived. I believed him. I did not believe that I would be a widow before I turned thirty-five. I did not believe that there would be a day when I would be raising my young sons without their father.

This morning when I woke up there was no one there. I was alone in my bed. During the course of our marriage it was very rare to ever spend a night away from each other. Some years we didn't. Even in years that Dave worked out of town we rarely spent more than 10 nights in a year apart. Most years we were separated at night for one night when Chris and I would go to a rabbit show in Kennewick and stay over.

Having consciously chosen to keep my husband (for the most part) out of my blog means that most who read here don't know much of anything about him. Let's change that.

David Larry Anderson was born in Boise, ID on June 6th in 1970 to Larry and Patricia Anderson. He grew up in the town of Nampa and attended Nampa schools, graduating from Nampa High School in 1988. He was active in Boy Scouts and even spent a few summers working at the Boy Scout Camp (need to look up where). David was always interested in being outside and spent many happy weeks camping, fishing, hiking, and shooting. His favorite activity was shooting black powder revolvers.

On Nov. 4th, 2000 David married Janet Loucks in Nampa. They welcomed their first child, Christian, on Nov. 1st, 2001. Sam joined the family in 2004, and Jake was born in 2005. David lived for his family. There was nothing he would rather do than spend time with his wife and children. He was an amazing father and husband who was always actively involved in raising and caring for his family.

Nowhere on Earth was there a kinder, gentler, man than David.

He is survived by his parents; his wife Janet; his sons Chris, Sam, and Jake; his sister and brother in law Pam and Ciro Gaona and their children Ciro and Miranda, his brother and sister-in-law Andrew Anderson and Veronica Garcia and their son Noe, His sister Katie and brother-in-law David Tuft and their children Sophia and James.

At some point this morning I need to finish the obituary for the paper. He was so vital, and warm, and so large a part of our family that I am not sure how to consolidate all that he was into a few paragraphs that his friends and family can read in the newspaper. He is and always will be my love, and my husband, and he'll always carry a very large part of my heart with him.

I have talked with the pastor about some of my wishes for a funeral. All summer I've wondered why it was I felt so driven to write about Uncle K's funeral. This week I can approach funeral arrangements having already thought out what seems to provide the most comfort for our family.

There are three main points I'd like everyone to remember while mourning the passing of our friend and loved one: We are saved through grace, God has promised us life everlasting with him, and love endures. Even when we are no longer together here on Earth- love endures.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

But where there are prophesies, they will cease; where there are tongues they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor. 13:4-13).

Everything I know of Dave boils down to love. He loved deeply, completely, without reservation, and forever. There is no doubt in my mind that his whole heart was given to loving his family and friends, the wild outdoors areas, and freedom. Never have I doubted his love, once given it is eternal. Love endures where the physical body cannot. Even now, I feel him around us- loving us.

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room