Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas 2014

In case you missed our Christmas letter for this year... here it is.  I couldn't think of anything happy to write about that happened in 2014, so Shane and I decided to write something a little different. Be warned, this letter was written with Shane and I laughing to the point of tears sitting around the dinner table composing the exact opposite of a brag letter... hope you can laugh with us. ;D

 2014…. Yep
This year started with Morgan and the kids moving to Highland, Utah perfecting the art of being snowbirds during Shane and Morgan’s trial separation of 9 months. Shane practiced being a celibate bachelor, kept the house clean (thankfully!) and faithfully paid his alimony and child support, face-timed the kids and enjoyed his once a month, supervised, 4-hour visit with his children.  With her alimony, Morgan bought her own set of wheels and heated seats and is very happy with Pearl (the Jeep Grand Cherokee). The kids and Morgan quickly discovered that the cold isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and have permanently returned to Saint George to thaw out. Shane and Morgan remain busy passing each other like ships in the night. Shane continues to work at CAL Ranch as a manager for his second year and is trying to enjoy crazy retail life, while Morgan is busy with her new calling as Beehive advisor, but is learning to enjoy the wild youth.
Lexie (5) is trying to break through Hollywood as a “One-man-do-it-yourself-flash-mob” member.  Lexie spends most of her spare time: choreographing, directing, filming, acting, singing and dancing to her own original songs. Her unique interpretation and wardrobe choices are sure to bring a smile to your face.  Rehearsals are held spontaneously with a good musical beat, anytime, anywhere- space is not an issue for Lexie, and even practicing in mom’s closet will do. Performances are done nightly, you must have a free ticket and intermission and popcorn is included.  If you ask nicely, Lexie would be tickled to show you hours of her self-filmed and dizzying footage on the iPod. (I dare you not to go crossed-eyed watching!)
Linkin (2) is battling chronic multiple-personalities. One minute, we’re spooked by a shadow in the hallway and with his best Christian Bale impersonation, “I’m Batman!” Or we’re chasing down the naked blur otherwise known as The Flash to put on his superhero undies (the potty-trained expert). Or we’re playing knight in shining armor searching for “bad guys” to defend the Dewey castle and resident Princess.   Shane and Morgan giggle seeing Linkin seemingly growing like a weed overnight as our Iron Man stretches his suit to new limits and busting the seams- we add it looks rather uncomfortable.
The year 2014 has too many downs and a few ups, but we are trying to find good moments from this year to smile about.  Our family has been blessed through the love and support of two wards (Highland and St. George) by our friends (near and far) and family. Words can never adequately thank those that have reached out to our Widmer family and this family in our time of need, but thank you! This year our family has been forced to focus on what matters most and to look at life’s challenges with an eternal perspective especially with Morgan losing her mother.  April will be greatly missed, but our testimony on fasting, praying with a purpose and especially trusting the Lord with our all our hearts has grown by leaps and bounds. We are thankful for the gospel’s knowledge that families are forever and we will eventually be with each other again.  This Christmas we are thankful for so many things, but for our family, for the reason for the season, our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. 
May you find this Christmas in good spirits and great health!
Shane and Morgan, the happily married couple, the Hollywood hopeful, and Batman

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Moment of Mourning

I'll admit it- I'm struggling big time. It's been about two weeks. Two weeks since my best friend passed away and I can't get a warm hug, hear soft motherly wisdom spoken, and just laugh and talk with her everyday like I used too. I'm having a hard time keeping it all together over here.
They say time heals all wounds, but it seems like every place, person, song, event, EVERYTHING triggers a memory of my mother which then leads to buckets and buckets of tears. You could say I'm exhausted since I wear so many responsibility hats around my parent's house and mothering all 5 monkeys.

  I'm also trying to deal with my emotions and helping everyone else in the family cope in their own way. Physically I should be going to bed earlier, emotionally I can't handle one more day of comforting someone else tears, and spiritually- I'm constantly baring my testimony to my little sisters about the love our Heavenly Father still has for us although difficult to explain to a child that just lost a mother. I'm trying to be an example of faith instead of bitterness. Trying to be brave for everyone's emotional needs. Trying to remind my family of the great times we had instead of the time we were denied. But to be frank, I'm tired. I'm tired of keeping everything and everyone together.

 Before I go on any further, let it be mentioned I'm not doing all of this on my own. I have Jasmine and Savannah and of course my father is home half the week, we have the support of our extended family too and let's not forget the things our AMAZING ward is still doing for our family. Seriously- they are amazing, and that doesn’t even antiquity describe this ward! (We are getting so much help, so much that I will never be able to repay, but instead pay-forward to someone in the future. My testimony of Relief Society and the capacity of a ward family is ginormous because of my experience these last months- it's truly touching).

It's when I sit in bed at midnight reflecting on my exhausting day-that  I feel lonely, like no one could possibly know what I'm going through and feeling like my heart is missing. Like- How do people function with their heart outside of their body? I'm tired of dealing with everything and everyone. 

I need a break, a happy vacation (perhaps by myself?) and I'm going to get it! But not now. I will continue to pray for understanding and hope that one day I'll know why our loving Heavenly Father would take my mother and pray that the comfort will come sooner than later.

I know this current hardship, this trial is all about faith and trust. To continue to rely on my core faith and trust that although I don't understand it now, that Heavenly Father loves me, somehow prepared me and us for this trial and trust that He knows what He's doing regardless of how it feels today.

Have I mentioned the last 9 months have been the hardest months of my life? And I thought dealing with colic Linkin was hard! Watching and caring for my mother and her failing health, keeping it together for my family, father and dealing with everything I have felt inwardly yet still: meeting with the mortician after she passed, writing her obituary (included below), putting together the funeral program (which came together beautifully!), creating the slide-show of mom’s life, picking out her funeral flowers...
(They were tropical Fiji-feeling flowers because this is the biggest trip Mom’s ever been on! The casket spray was just from dad- the ribbon says "My Sweet Lovie". The other floral piece is called  "Generational".  There were 2 star gazing lilies representing my parents (which were actually in her wedding bouquet. Then 6 pink roses from the daughters and 2 orange roses from Lexie and Linkin. And then I asked them to incorporate mom's song, "Could I Have Been an Angel Singing?"  sheet music somehow. I'm very happy with this piece. Long rant over...)
I also put together mom’s viewing and funeral displays showcasing all of her many incredible talents in art, composing, music, wedding pictures and all the center piece pictures… the list goes on and on and it’s been excruciating seemingly doing it on my own like a robot. 

Just getting things done for the funeral in a couple of days because someone has to function and make things presentable while the rest of the adults fall to pieces at different times… this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my 28 years of life- and I’ve been through a lot of hard things but I really didn’t do these things alone, mom was holding my hand the whole time. And this time wasn’t any different.

 Before the mortician took my mother, I removed her wedding ring and placed it on my right hand where it stayed until yesterday. She and I had the same ring size, identical hands and similar taste in rings (go figure!) and she stayed with me during this crazyness, holding my hand, almost literally being my right hand. Mom was with me picking out her flowers, inspiring the florist of her favorite flowers before I had a chance to bring it up. (The florist felt mom said my mother had quite the opinion- which is totally like her!). I could feel the gentle touch of my mother’s arm around my shoulders while I cried making decisions a child should never have to make for their mother (especially at my age!) Mom has never truly left me.

I am soooo grateful that I was able to be with my mother the last six months on a regular basis. Although she wasn’t up to doing much except sitting in her bed, making me laugh and planning trips, we talked and I have wonderful memories spending that time with her in her last months (thanks to my amazing and completely understanding husband).  I have few regrets of our last 5 ½ yr cancer journey, the biggest one- was that Shane and I couldn’t afford to go on Mom’s last trip to Canada last summer (we had no idea what a year later would look like- and that fact breaks my heart). And lastly I’m beyond devastated that there was nothing I could do to take away my mother’s pain and suffering.

Our mother was a warrior, a saint, educator, teacher and student, caregiver, singer, actor, musician, my best friend, full of life, explorer, tourist, adventure seeker, and now our advocate on the other side, our guardian angel. She is with our sweet relatives that have passed before, keeping busy writing music with all the greats and is kneeling at our Savior’s feet fulfilling her thirst for knowledge.  That fact I know.

Today I spotted this large hibiscus in our flower garden and immediately thought of our family adventures to Hawaii, Caribbean and Florida. Mom was all about trips, all about adventures and making this one life we have amazing. “Make a big splash” she would say. I miss my role-model, my one truest of true best friend. But I know she is always near, my guardian angel. Since her passing, there have been a series of miracles throughout our family and I know my mom has been pulling some strings- no cords!- in many people's behalf. Mom's influence for our good is now limitless.  

Thank you mom. I miss you terribly more than words will ever do justice, but I'm watching for your pennies and often holding still to feel your presence. Xoxoxo

For those interested, I have included the Obituary that I wrote about my mother....

Obituary for April Widmer
 April Horman Widmer was the mother of six daughters, two grandkids and was married to Siegfried for 29 years. In her home in Highland, April returned to the arms of her loving Heavenly Father on August 16th 2014 and was too young to leave us at the age of 50, but we recognize the Savior must have needed her more. April was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 2nd 1964 to Hermine and Phares Horman Jr. and was the youngest of seven children. She attended Skyline High School, Dixie College, Salt Lake Community College receiving her Associates in Arts and most recently Utah Valley University where she was completing her Bachelors in Composition and Digital Media.

April was an accomplished musician and excelled in performance and teaching piano, violin, voice and harp. She continuously wrote masterpiece orchestrations, instrumental, choir and piano pieces, some of which she recorded and produced CD’s of, and published her work for family and church use. Within the last three years, April completed a four-hour musical pageant depicting the Savior’s life that was published and performed in her ward. April’s music is her legacy, forever bearing witness of her strong testimony and love for our Savior and her dedication to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.

The love of April’s life was of course, her husband Siegfried and six daughters. They enjoyed traveling together, camping, gardening and singing around the piano. The Widmer home has always been a place of many recitals, choir practices, performances as well as classes on: emergency home preparedness, organic gardening, nutritional eating and hobby farming. In spite of her healthy life-style, cancer is a strong genetic trait in April's family and this was her fifth year of battling cancer. She fought valiantly, shared her gifts and talents selflessly and taught and cared for those around her even in her final hours of life. April will be greatly missed by all those that had the opportunity to meet her and her family: Siegfried, Morgan (Shane, Lexie and Linkin), Jasmine, Savannah (Steven), Brooklyn, Paris, and Liberty. We know she is out of pain, reunited with her family, singing and dancing and rubbing shoulders with her music and church idols. Until we meet again our angel mother, your legacy will forever ring in our hearts!

Funeral Services will be held Friday, August 22, 2014 at 11:00 am at the Highland South Stake Center, 9626 North 6800 West, Highland, Utah. Viewings will also be held at the church on Thursday evening from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm and prior to services on Friday from 9:30 am to 10:30 am. Interment in Highland City Cemetery.

Monday, September 16, 2013

All is Well

When I moved away from home for the first time Fall of 2004 I would call home often- okay- a lot. And when I spoke with my mom and asked her how she was- she would always say, “all is well”.  That could have been true, but with all the crazy, terrible and hard things that were going on at home- I knew, “all is well” wasn’t the case, and for whatever reason she had- my mom would say “all is well” anyway.

You know- life is made to be hard. We are meant to be tried and tested. I feel like the last three Sunday’s have been filled with the inspirational messages to carry on regardless of it all, but more importantly to find joy in the journey. That the whole reason we go through our trials is to test us, to make us a stronger person after the trial than we were before. To be a bush that is constantly cut down and pruned to later in the spring have fruitful blossoms. I can say with conviction that this last year has changed us and thankfully- for the better- isn’t the Lord smart?
A year ago around today we were unemployed, then right before Halloween- Shane got a job- but we still hugely crippled financially, add on top- we still had a colicky baby (that lasted for 9 months), and all other “joys” that came along—in other words- this year was Hell.  There have been multiple times when I have looked up to the sky and screamed- “Why?” And have thought, “When is this trial over?” or “When, oh when- can I start enjoying my baby?” “Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?” And things continued to get worse- to even more worse- and then in June- we finally got a shred of light in our hardship of a year.

 If you’ve read this far- I’m impressed. I’ll try to keep this short. :D

We had no money, no savings, nothing. Rent was going up substantially at the end of the month, maxed out credit card and we had to move- but to where? Shane and I literally sat down one night and wrote out 4 options: 1- The kids and I move to SLC while Shane works for the summer and we asses after that. 2- We all move into Shane’s parents guest room (in S.G) and share one room with our baby that can’t sleep with any noise (the joy!) 3- We move in with Shane’s grandma (also in S.G) but had more room for our family. Or 4- Expect a miracle. In this category we wrote what we required: 3 bed, 2 bath, backyard, a park or pool nearby (with Shane always taking the car-this is essential) and a garage would be nice.

We fasted and prayed like crazy for weeks asking questions and seeking direction for our cloudy future. In the end- we knew we needed to stay in St. George, but didn’t know how anything would come to pass-and we waited for answers- that eventually came in one irritating and frustrating phrase: “Just wait and see”.  Continuing to seek inspiration from the Spirit, I felt impressed to apply for housing that exceeded all of our requirements, that was affordable, but almost had a year long waiting list. A week after dropping off the paper work and two weeks before we had to move out of our apartment, I was called by our current rental place on Friday and they asked if we could move in on Monday. I immediately said yes, hung up the phone and balled buckets of tears. The Lord provided for us in a big way, not only were we getting option #4 to live on our own and to have a place of our own, but rent was also extremely affordable. And several months after this little miracle, and two weeks ago today- Shane was promoted to a salary position at his current job! The Lord knew what we needed and came through for us in all aspects of the word. It is an incredible feeling to be the recipient of such a life- changing miracle. To know, we did everything in my power to make something come to pass, and the Lord made up the difference.
There’s a scripture somewhere that says something to the effect of…. You shall receive your blessings, after the trial of your faith— I know it to be true. I know that our faith and especially trust in the Lord’s timetable has been a HUGE struggle for me. And yet, I have learned, when I put my life, or my problem in the Lord’s hands, ask for help and have faith that he will help me - I know it will come to pass. When the Lord orchestrates our lives according to His will- things miraculously fall into place and it’s incredible!

We’re not completely out of the hole- our dang washer died this week (cha-ching) our utility bill is outrageous this month (cha-cha-ching) and car registration is due (cha-ching) and among all the other things that make up what we call life…it’s going to be tight for awhile. In the end, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that our needs are going to be met. That everything will work out the best way that it should. And when we submit to the Lord’s will- he will take care of us- better even than we thought we needed.

So yeah- I guess you could say-“All is Well” at our house too.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Best Money We Ever Spent….

  Let me be honest, after a year of soooo much stress and hardship and- well- Hell. Shane and I decided it was time for a break, a much needed reprieve.

We recieved a substantial amount of tax return money, so we took a bit and bought a fantastic vacation package: 4 day, 3 nights hotel with a 2 day, 1 park ticket for the four of us to Disneyland! And I can honestly say, I have not been happier in the last 10 months than I was las tmonth while at Disneyland. Here are just a few of the 200 some-odd- pictures from our incredible trip!

We decided not to tell Lexie about our trip until we got there and just hop in the car after work Monday night and drive to Cali. The next morning we got on a shuttle to Disneyland and everyone was dressed in Disney attire and Lexie was really confused since we were going to the "beach". It didn't dawn on her unitl we picked up our tickets and got to this point-- where we were. But really, she didn't know what Disneyland entailed until she met the princesses and it was priceless trip!
Lexie's showing off her "First Time" badge
First visit was to the Princess Fantasy Faire- it was adorable filled with three princesses for one line. (Awesome!) Our first princess of the day was Cinderella, it was perfect. And suddenly my talkitive, confident little girl became bashful in front of her idols. It was adorable!  We walked through the Sleeping Beauty Castle and she begged to do it again.
First ride of the day- Snow white-and it was scary. :( We were warned it was a scary ride, but weren't convinced- hmmm yeah- it was scary. Lexie bawled in the middle until the end- super sad!

After getting over the scary ride we took her to the tea cups- and she was exstatic to go for a ride.

Seeing Tangled
 Meeting Mickey and Minnie for the first time. She was super excited and kissed Mickey! Took us by surprise so we missed a pic. :( But, it was darling.. As we were left Mickey's house Lexie said, "Mom why doesn't Mickey talk?" ha ha.

 The lines were super short for the characters and every ride we went.  At 7- an hour before closing, we walked right on Pirates of the Caribeen and stayed on for a second ride because no one was there. The kids loved the water ride and it was nice to give our legs a break. Then we ran over to ride Winnie the Poo and I noticed there was no line for Splash Mountain AND Lexie was tall enough to go! So- Shane and I both took her (Different times cuz Link was too small) walking right on the ride. It was awesome. :D So Link went on the Poo ride 3 times that night. ha ha.
 Best princess of the day! Spent tons of time talking, playing hide and seek with the mechanical bear brothers with Lexie. After 15 minutes- Merida asked us to bring Lexie back so she could walk Merida "home". Total wish come true for Lexie and for me (I wanted her to have a moment like this too!) Again, brough tme to tears how incredible this day was!
It was a fantastic first day. Lexie was incredibly cute with all of the princess. Talking to all of them, singing songs, playing hide and seek, pinkie promises. And the kids did wonderfully too. Awww- such an incredible first day!
On our second day Lexie was bouncing off the walls at breakfast, and on the shuttle to go back to visit the princesses and their castle and this time- I remembered her princess dress. (yea for me. :D) Oh- the excitement when we met up with Arora first thing and they had matching dresses. And then Ariel played hide and seek with Lexie! Literally left her area and hid- the video is adorable! And Cinderella- it was fantastic.  
 While we waited for the Tangled short theatre show (totally recomment going!) to start Lexie and I went searching for Jasmine and Aladdin and they weren't there. :( And then we spotted him walking- Lexie screamed running after him and he whipped around for a picture. Made her incrediblly happy- as you can see...
 Can't tell you how many times we went on this ride over two days.
 Lexie now knows the song by heart- Darling!
 "Mom, I need all these babies!"
 Surprisingly, one of Lexie's favorite ride- Dumbo. I think it was because they gave us a feather?
 While we ate our picnic dinner, Lexie played in this dumbo for quite some time...
We saw sooooo many character before noon!
 She loves the teacup ride- as do we. :D
 Zapped! We planned ahead and took the baby carrier and Link slept for 2 hours while we stood in line for Tink and other characters. Totally saved our arms-Yippee!
 Naturally, when you go to Disneyland, you get something to remind you of your trip. And I wanted the kids suvienors to be something we could only buy at Disneyland. Therefore- we got them their first Minnie and Mickey. And yes, yet again, I cried after I purchased them and gave these to them. I mean- look at their faces! I tear up, just remebering this time. Ahh so blessed to have been able to go!
 The parade was pretty cool, and Lexie waved like crazy trying to get the princesses to smile and wave at her. And then- Ariel waved at her! Look at her expression- brought me to tears. Such an incredibly happy time for all of us.
 Finally, parade through we had 40 minutes before the park closed for the night. We knew from the night before that there would be no wait for Splash Mountian (my fav ride) and asked Lexie which ride she would like to go on for the last time. "Do you want to go on the log ride or Winnie the Poo?" Without even hesitating Lexie shouted, "I want to get soaking wet!" We dashed to the back of the park and we all went on the ride one last time. Although the pic is terrible- Lexie wasn't scared-she loved every minute and has that song memorized too.
Lexie actually went on Splash Mountain 4 times and Tea cups at least 5 times and never went on Winnie the Poo the entire 2 days! ha ha. We seriously went to Disneyland at the perfect time!
The other reason we went on our trip-

 Happy 7 year anniversary to us! Wish we would have taken better pictures of us...
Tuckered out after our day 2 of Disneyland.

Our last day in California- we went to Hunington Beach for the day- it was freezing and the kiddies did not like the cold water- Link sobbed.  We did however, make a sandcastle for each Princess Lexie met because she promised them she would. :D

 Seriously they best trip ever! It was too short, glad we did two days in Disneyland, but next time we'll have to make it a week long trip! Seriously, we can't wait to go again!

With the stresses of life constantly hanging over our head it is hard to find joy in our trial we are going through, but when we went to Disneyland there were sooo many times where I had tears streaming down my face out of gratitude to be where we were. ( I know, I'm a bit of a baby) But,  I honestly feel like this trip was a gift from my Father in Heaven saying, "I know what you're going through. You can make it a bit longer, hang in there!" Times are still stressful at our house, but when we get down we then start talking about our trip.

The memories come flooding back and Lexie will squeal and start jabbering about one of her many memories that usually takes Shane and I by surprise. (The details she remembers!!) And I don't write this post to brag, or to convince anyone to spend money they don't have. What we did was selfish, perhaps even reckless, however we still believe it was the best money we've ever spent.