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The day after any type of emergency is always interesting. It seems impossible to have so many conflicting emotions in my body at once.
After the shock of it all, I’m filled with gratitude. Our story could have ended up a lot worse. My husband could have lost his life if the attacker had a weapon, and the attacker could have lost his life if my husband didn’t find a way to restrain him without deadly force. I’m so grateful that everyone is safe. Jon is sore and pretty banged up after physically fighting a man half his age, (and more than likely on some sort of drugs). And I have no doubt that he is also really sore. But sore heals. Death is permanent.I feel endlessly grateful that nobody in my family was harmed. If there would have been more than one burglar and they decided to fight together, I don’t know that we could have held them off. Luckily we had lots of people here that night because we were working on the basement really late, but if it had been a normal night, it would have looked a lot different. Thank heaven all of my younger kids slept right through it all! They had fallen asleep that night with music in their ears and fans turned on in their rooms so they wouldn’t be woken by the construction and accompanying people tromping through the house.
I feel sadness. I feel a deep grief for the reality of chemical substances that alter thoughts. I cry as I watch the chains of addiction rip through a human soul and tear out what is most sacred – once again. How is it possible for a drug to suck out the life from within us? Watching the tentacles of need reach around and strangle this young man’s life, was greatly disheartening. I’m sure he didn’t start out as a young boy, dreaming to become a thief one day. Most likely, he would have chosen to be a fire fighter, or a truck driver, like my little boy.
I feel proud. My husband faced another one of his biggest fears, and dealt with it in the best way he knew how. He was calm. He fought with everything he had inside of him, in defense of his family. He kept his mind and decision making skills, even in the scariest of circumstances. He listened to me when I asked him to be sure of his decision if he had to take the young man’s life. Thank goodness we had four people to restrain him or the outcome may have been different. If the man would have just ran away instead of attacking Jon, it would have been a lot more simple. I’m proud of Kinley, and that she punched the dude in the face when her dad asked her to! She is not a fighter, but she knew her dad needed her to help get control of the situation. I’m proud of Ethan and the calm way he ran to support Kinley when she screamed for him, and the way he helped Jon by putting him in a choke hold and pull him to the ground. I’m proud of Randy, our friend and business manager, that helped keep him down and remind him to stop resisting and just wait for the police to arrive.
After all of this, I’ve even felt like laughing. There seemed to be a sort of unexpected silly side of everyone that came out when everything worked out alright. We laughed that our bulldog, Marley, watched the whole thing like she was watching her favorite episode of the latest Netflix series. She didn’t raise one eyebrow to defend our family, and instead, possible moved to the left to get a better view of the drama unfolding before her wrinkles. We laughed uncontrollably at the thought of Kinley’s face when Jon held the man from behind, facing Kinley, asking for her to punch the man in the face! Kinley is endlessly caring and would never hurt anyone – and she definitely faced fears! She’s been known to even flee situations in the past that were scary, but not today!
I feel concern. I worry for Jon because it’s easy to feel as though our family isn’t as safe. In reality, there are people braking into cars and homes all the time to get their fix, but we don’t believe it will be against us. I worry about my children feeling threatened in their safe space. I worry that Jon’s back is hurt even worse and that his overall level of stress will stay higher, as he looks to find ways of ongoing safety for us. I worry because I see how fast a scary situation can shift lives. I’ve been kind of distant as I process the events that took place in our home. I worry because the man could get out of jail and come to find us again. I’m not a worrier, but these things make me worry.
More than anything, I feel peaceful. I saw my family come together and fight for our home. I believe with all of my heart, that they will continue to do this long after I am gone. My kids fight sometimes, they yell or annoy, but in the end I know they will lay down their lives to protect one another. They are a unit and they have each other to lean on during the scariest or saddest of situations. This brings me peace and happiness that my husband and I have worked for decades to build our family. This brings me peace and love – the most important of all emotions.
Jon and I started out like most young couples, without many resources. We were in business debt up to our eyeballs, stress up to our ears, and we barely managed to survive each day.
Because we are accustomed to surrounding ourselves with a high level of stress, (because of business and a large family) I’ve also gotten really great at placing things around my house to bring peace and joy. Splashes of bright-colored pillows, music that makes us dance and smile, smells that plug into the wall, and lots of pictures around the house of wonderful people and memories – are just a few of these things.
I had one postcard of Bora Bora that hung on my fridge for at least the first three years. Come to think of it, it may have even been a picture I cut out of a magazine, because I don’t know who would have sent me this postcard. Either way, this beautiful place on earth has been a bucket list item for me, for a long time. Every time I passed my fridge or got something to eat, I imagined what it would be like to stay in a hut on the Pacific Ocean. Honestly, I don’t think I could even imagine it. I still can’t.
Fast forward twenty-plus years, and my butt will be sitting in this hut THIS FRIDAY! I am over-the-moon excited! We don’t have the time to be here – but we are making the time for our twenty-first anniversary. Our business paid for it with our C4 (Corporate Alliance) membership, and we have some sky miles saved up from the business cards, and so we are going to make it happen! I’ve been packed for a week and I can barely wait! I’m a bit worried about my Math class, but I’ll even practice the quadratic formula on the hut, if it means that we’ll be able to go!
My message for you today, is that we need to never give up on our dreams! Cut them out. Tape them to mirrors or your fridge. Believe in your goals and WORK HARD. Nothing comes without the dream, or the struggle. The victory will eventually manifest itself – in one way or another. Sometimes it doesn’t look like the picture we hang, but blessings do come from having true intent. Visualizing happiness, breeds happiness. I’m not saying that life will be perfect, because it’s not meant to be – but I am saying that good things happen to the people who take time to recognize them.
Take the time to find your own personal BORA BORA – and never give up until you achieve it!
Kinley is engaged to be married to Mr. Ethan Brown on May 6th, 2017.
I’m pretty sure she was just born and so my timing must be off, somewhere.
On New Years Eve, 2016, we went bridal gown shopping with all of the girls (minus Sydney because she’s living in Florida) and let me tell you, I battled the thought of having six daughters for so long but when occasions like this come up, I’m always a bit overwhelmed with emotions.
“Come one girls, get in the car! We are going to be late!”
“In the back.”
“Right here Mom, you’re talking to me.”
“Oh, right, where is Whitney and Brighton….and our bride?”
When we were all in the car I turned around and said, “Girls….(“Here Mom goes again…”) This is a day we will all remember! Look how much fun we are going to have shopping for wedding dresses! I feel so blessed to be with you all on this special day.”
And with that, I slowly backed out of the garage while one of them got our music going. You see, we can’t drive anywhere without music. We have our favorite play lists and I’ve always prided myself on raising kids that appreciate the best hits from all generations. We decided which order we’d stop at the bridal stores, and we were off!
I’m not going to tell you that every dress was perfect or that the kids never got annoyed with one another, but I will say that it was a perfect day. We laughed and I was a little teary just coming to grips with the realization about what was happening. It was like her first day of Kindergarten, all over again, but in her woman body. I remember being excited that she was starting school because she was SO positively ready to take that next step in her life. And as we prepare for her big wedding day, it feels pretty much the same way.
Kinley is sure in her choice of husband. Ethan is going to be a wonderful addition to our family and I’m so proud of them both. Together they are building a unit that I believe will last through all of the crazy experiences this world can throw at a married couple. They will be wonderful parents someday and I couldn’t be more excited for them! They dance and sing together, they enjoy many of the same things, they are patient and kind with one another, and I’m most impressed by the time they take to genuinely tell one another that the love each other and do small acts of kindness, everyday. Of course they drive each other crazy at times (let’s be honest, who doesn’t) but they find ways to work through their problems. As a mother, I couldn’t ask for more.
Kinley tried on a ton of different dress styles, and by the end of the day she was determined to have someone make her dress. Honestly this stressed me out a bit because the woman she chose lived in St. George, and I kept having thoughts of a box showing up with her dress … that she didn’t like. I would rather her find a dress that she could try on right from the beginning so she could see if it was absolutely perfect. Well, we didn’t find that, but we had a great time trying!
That night we rang in the new year in a pretty chill way because some of us have been sick. Jon bought cazoos, party hats, and confetti guns – along with lots of food. We played scategories and toasted in 2017 with a little dancing, our traditional running in the snow without shoes or socks on, and watching the ball drop.
Well now here we are on January 5th already! Jon has been struggling with his back going out – even to the point that we took him to the emergency room to check for kidney stones. After many hours and tests, it came back negative. Although this may seem like a relief, we were very surprised and now I’m more worried about him because back problems have always been a struggle for him. He’s visited the chiropractor now and set up tests for an MRI to get more information.
Yesterday Kinley, Brighton and I went to another dress store. She wanted to try on more styles to see what dress cuts would work the best for her so she could begin the process of getting her dress made. To be honest, when I saw the dress shop that she made an appointment with, I was scared. It was beautiful…. too beautiful for words. But let me try.
The bridal store is in Salt Lake City and it looks like a boutique for wedding dresses. It was an old vintage house that had been remodeled for the bridal store. There were lots of windows around the outside walls, and beautiful dresses hanging on racks around the perfectly staged room. There were dressing rooms in the center of the big open area and to separate sitting areas where the bride could come out and stand in front of you on a beautiful stand, surrounded by mirrors. They interviewed Kinley about the type of dress that she was looking for and we were shocked to hear that they had an almost exact replica of the dress on Pinterest that she’s been wanting made! They brought us water, and the show began.
The first dress they brought out was the one from Pinterest and I could hardly relax as she tried it on because I was scared of the price tag. It was beautiful, to be sure. She was beautiful. As she spun around, asking for our feedback each time she tried on a new dress, I kept picturing her doing the same thing in her white baptism dress and holding her in her white baby blessing dress. Times flies…
And then it happened. Kinley walked out in a dress that settled the busy room into a hush. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at my baby girl in the most beautiful gown that seemed to be made for her. Every bridal dress is beautiful for someone, but this was Kinley’s dress. It was simple and elegant. It fit her body perfectly in all the right places and it was easy to imagine her wearing, perfectly.
Kinley’s face flushed red and she became teary… and Brighton and I began oooooing and ahhhhhing…. I saw for one moment that Kinley saw her own beauty. This world is so harsh on women and their self-esteem, but for that special place in time, I saw that she saw what I see every time I look at her. She looked pleased, excited, and at peace. I wish I could bottle that feeling up and give all of my girls a dose of it each morning before school. A mother’s prayer is that their daughters feel confident in their own skin, knowing what they know, that they are truly beautiful.
And then I had to ask the inevitable…. “So, what does the dress cost?” and when she told me, I wasn’t surprised. We deserved it. That’s what you get when you find a dress that was hand beaded in Israel. And so we talked for a moment about how much she’d budgeted and saved in other areas. Our venue will be an on old park with huge trees and cobblestone walkways, and it was really cheap – SO we decided that since she saved money there, we’d better spend it here 🙂 but I really didn’t want to say yes to a more expensive dress unless she was absolutely, positively sure that THIS was the one. When she agreed that she was sure, she tried on her other dress options again. When she walked back out in the dress of her choice, we all felt magical again, and so it was done.
The cute girls helping us said, “Kinley, do you say yes to the dress!?” and so I quick got out my cell phone and video recorded her… “Wait!” I said, “Start again!”
“Kinley, do you say YES to the DRESS?!”
And so, with a huge smile and spinning on the top of the platform, she exclaimed, “YES!”
Maybe someday I can post that video, but not yet 😉
The rapid changes in technology make my head spin and I fear it’s making me dumb(er).
I can barely remember phone numbers now that my friends are in my contacts. I don’t remember very well how to find physical addresses because the GPS tells me where and when to turn. I’m losing my ability to write full sentences because I text more than I write. I often forget my schedule unless I have notifications pinging me. My beautiful camera has been replaced by phone selfies, and I rarely read REAL books or use a REAL calculator anymore. It’s pretty rare I visit the actual store anymore, and it feels like it doesn’t count when I exercise if I don’t enter it into my phone. I don’t remember what it’s like to deposit checks at the bank and get a free sucker for my kids, because now I can take a picture of a check with my phone and deposit it from my home.
Really, it’s crazy. My kids won’t have many of the same experiences I have had in my life because the world around us is changing so fast. I have never made my butter or candles, washed my clothes on a washing board, or fed the farm animals before I could eat. My younger kids don’t know what a rotary phone is when they see one. The list could go on and on! I can only imagine what the next twenty, thirty, forty… years will bring. Bigger and faster change. We will become so used to advancements and updates that we won’t question any of it.
Why then, are we so hard on the people around us when they say they have a desire to change or update? Why don’t we believe them when they say they have? And when we hear good advice, read a good book or see a fantastic self-help program, why do we think of the people in our life that REALLY NEED it, instead of thinking about ourselves?
We believe in our New Years resolutions list for 2017 and we often take pride in how far we’ve come over the years, so why not lend the same courtesy? How can the people around us change if we don’t let them. Updates are good and change is good, so let’s give people a chance.
Believing in our own future while tirelessly working to leave others in the past, holds everyone back.
Believing that others can transform, allows our spirits to do the same.
Happy New Year my Friends. I can hardly believe how much Brighton has changed since this picture was taken!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I’m going to count on that for this post! I spent so much time editing the photos that I’m all out of words… other than to say…. OUR HARRY POTTER PARTY WAS EPIC!
We had our family come earlier so all the little kid games were done first – and then, when the sun went down, the DJ, black lights, big speakers, and blow up movie screen for the back yard, came up! We had a Hogwarts scavenger hunt, lots of yummy food – soups, baked potato bar, and whatever yummy things my family brought.
And now, all of my planning has shifted to what I want our house to be like in the front for Halloween night! I couldn’t have done any of this without our nanny, Kenzie. If you want to get a hold of her for any party or wedding planning, you can find her on instagram @kenziesevents. As long as you don’t steal her away from me! The whole process of making the wands, making the chocolate wands, making the potions, making the golden snitches, and everything else…. was SO fun, and we will use the decorations over and over again. If there weren’t enough pictures in this post, you can find a few more in the post just before this one…. and I’m sure this won’t be the last year I go all crazy on Halloween! We are even talking about keeping some of it up for a Hogwarts Christmas!
Oh, and if you’re wondering who I was… I was Dumbledore, of course!
The best part of the night was having my family there (Scott, Camille, Janae, Dave, and Dan is in his invisibility cloak!) I also wish I had a big pictures of the whole group! Why didn’t I do that?….
My only regret is that I didn’t have someone taking pictures once the party started. I was too wrapped up in everything going on to get enough pictures of the guests. Well, there is always next year!