Welcome to my digital writing journal, or mydigitalclutter. What started as a family blog almost two years ago has morphed into my writing therapy. This is where I do a lot of free writing, mostly about my life with my family and the things that catch my interest. While nowhere even close to perfect, in each post I like to see how my writing is changing with time and practice. Most posts are left unedited for this reason, so if you don't mind, take the journey with me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thank You

I am sorry that I haven't been able to post any update to my previous post, "Missing" until today. My life has been a swirl of complete and utter chaos in the past week, with Dan leaving for Oklahoma and Fort Sill to search with his family for his brother. They left last Monday afternoon and drove all night, and heard from Dan's other brother en route, that Jeremy's body had been found. They were only a couple of hours away from their destination and couldn't tell anyone about their discovery until Jeremy's daughter had been told.

There was much speculation regarding his death at first, the main one, that he had been killed in a hit and run. Because his body had been out in the heat for five days, I'm sure that there was not any indication to suspect otherwise until the autopsy had been performed. There was not trauma internally or externally, which ruled out a couple of scenarios, the hit and run being one, and suicide the other.

I had been left at home, with my two kids and a niece and nephew while Dan and the rest of his family went to Oklahoma. I am so grateful for all those who helped me when I learned the news and broke down a bit. It was difficult to be without Dan and knowing that he was hurting and I wasn't there to support him was my downfall. Members of our ward family stepped in to provide food, love, and a shoulder to cry on while we waited in limbo for what would come next.

The children and I left on Thursday morning in a rental car and drove straight through to Fort Sill when we found out that the funeral would be the following week. The Lord was with me as I had help with a driver from Oklahoma (a dancer friend of my sister-in-law) and was able to make the drive and get into Fort Sill around 7 am Friday morning. We arrived in time to make it to the military memorial, where the soldiers from Jeremy's unit paid their final respects. It was an emotional service, where Taps and a 21 gun salute were performed. Taps will forever hold a new meaning for me when I hear it now, because I am quite sure that there has never been performed a more lonely song than Taps.

We are now in a waiting pattern as we await the funeral and burial this Thursday. We are in Wichita, KS, staying with Dan's older brother Casey. There has been much laughter, tears, jokes and stories, as the family is begins to cope with the loss of a much beloved brother and son. His wife has been strong, and I can't imagine the feeling of loss that she must be feeling, or the devastation that his daughter must feel. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge I have of the Resurrection. It has comforted us while we have been on this journey of grief. I am also grateful for the Church. We were able to attend an activity of a ward in Lawton, OK on Friday, a diversion after the memorial, and were welcomed with open arms and hugs, and tears for our loss by members that didn't know us. Here in Wichita, we attended church and again were welcomed with hugs, tears, and offers of help. Not only were people saddened by our loss, but they have gone out of their way to offer support in anyway they can.

Thank you to all that have thought of us in this difficult time and those that have prayed for us and gone out of their way to offer love, support, and to watch over our home. My own parents need to know how much I appreciate all that they have done. Sometimes, words aren't enough to express how much their service to me means. I hope that I can repay in kind someday.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I've had some time to reflect on the various levels of someone missing. Yes, missing. You see, for the past couple of days, my husbands brother has been MIA, AWOL, as in vanished into thin air. He's a military man, so the above acronyms seemed fitting.

I suppose writing about such a serious family episode may not be the best thing, but as my husband is the only one who reads my blog, I feel fairly safe in expressing these views, especially since we have already expressed them to each other.

Physically Missing
Being physically missing causes more stress to loved ones than anything else I have experienced. The unknown is a veritable mountain of despair as various scenarios run across one's mind. There is no looking to the future, or past the next thirty seconds for that matter. Being a person who is constantly looking to the future in regards to goals or other such things, not knowing what the next few hours or days will bring is difficult to wrap my head around. The comfort of physical presence is no longer. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a hand to grab when I am overwhelmed or an arm to warm my shoulders while walking in the cool fall air. I have come to rely so heavily on the physical presence of those I love, it is incomprehensible doing without.

Have you even woken in the middle of the night and felt the cool bed sheet next to you and had a small panic attack because there was something not quite right about being alone? Or have you reached out when a sound startled you from a dream to feel the warm shoulder next to you, and suddenly you are relaxed and can fall back asleep? I have, and don't know what I would do if my husband were to disappear.

Emotionally Missing
I think we have all had to deal with missing someone emotionally. Either they have made themselves unapproachable by actions or attitudes, they are emotionally missing from your life. It can be a family member or long time friend that has distanced themselves from the bosom of all those that care for them. They don't have to be physically away, but you know they aren't there.

Have you sat in a room with someone you loved so much that your chest hurt, but they looked right through you? They just sat and stared at the television, and didn't even attempt to strike up a conversation or respond when you attempt to make small talk? I have. It hurts. No matter how much I want to make that person understand how their actions affect me, no amount of effort on my part will change them, that is something they must do themselves.

Spiritually Missing
When we have gone missing spiritually, that is the hardest to come back from. Don't we all have peaks and valleys in our spiritual quest to return to our Heavenly Father? What happens to us when we have once been spiritually there and then no longer are? I think that those who are spiritually missing, have the largest hole in which to fill. They may be present both physically and emotionally to those around them, but because of the void of spirituality, they are not whole.

The person who we are missing is really missing in all areas. It started as a spiritual hiatus that perhaps had long lasting and far reaching effects. It has turned into an emotional wasteland and now something physical. The family has been affected by the actions of an individual that for some reason, has gone so far down the road of depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he served in Iraq), we wonder if he will ever make it back. What are the ramifications for his wife, his child, his parents? What about his sibling, my husband? Will he ever recover if in fact his brother doesn't return? It is a path this family has gone down before. His grandfather was killed in World War II and was listed as missing for many years before his body was found in Holland when my husband was a young child. Is this what this family has to look forward to?

I suppose that airing my laundry has helped me deal with some of the issues that we are facing in our family. This enormous trial will bring our family closer together, and we are all praying for a resolution that will mean the reunion of a husband to his wife, father to his daughter, son to his parent. The Lord has not stopped doing miracles, and this is one where I pray one will be witnessed.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What am I? A Hamster?

As I sit here, late on a Saturday night, I am reflecting on the past few weeks and am amazed that we have our wits about us! It has been extremely busy and I feel as though I have neglected relationships with friends and family.

Have you ever just been so busy in life that when you are forced to take a breath, you realize that while you have been running on the hamster wheel of life, everyone else is taking a leisurely stroll, and making more progress than you? That is how I've been feeling lately. Today, I took some time to work on my horrible housekeeping skills (i.e. cleaning the sadly neglected bathroom) and it gave me time to think and reflect. I need to slow down! Is there a reason I need to feel like if I don't write a thousand words a day, I am not making progress towards anything related to writing? Is there a reason why I can't take a minute to jot down a few ideas and call it good?

What a conundrum. All I can say is that I have friends and family going through a lot right now and I haven't been as attentive as I should, because my "dreams" are filling up more space than they ought. One of my "dreams" is to have balance. So, how ironic is it that another of my dreams is causing that one to shift precariously to the side?

So, today my bathroom is clean, most of my laundry is done, and I've even managed to do some scrapbooking on my computer. All the writing I'm doing, is a very quick blog post, and I'm calling it good. Feels a little weird, but at least I wrote something!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Tender Mercy

Have you ever had one of those experiences that when over, you sit back and see the Lord's hand in it? Yesterday I had one and have to share it with you my bloggy friends.

Let me give a bit of a background to my weekend. Friday my children spent with Grandpa and Grandma and I spent a bit of a time alone, and then with my dear husband at lunch. I wrote a bit on my laptop at Dan's office while I waited for him to finish up before we headed to Provo to camp out for the evening. I got a little frustrated because I had several ideas spinning through my head, but I wasn't able to narrow anything down. I closed the laptop and spent the rest of the evening with my characters trying out several activities in my head.

We love to attend the Scottish games anywhere we can. These games were in Payson, just south of Provo, so we headed down early in the morning. The first on our agenda was to meet up with the Highland dance teacher that will be working with Abbie and watch some of her students compete. We were all enthralled with the dancing and really enjoyed all the events there. After walking through the booths, we passed a book booth that had an author doing a book signing. Her name is Amanda Scott, a romance novelist, that has more than 50 books to her name. We talked for about 20 minutes about her craft and the writing that I am inspired to do. She gave me wonderful advice and about three books to look into to help me with my own writing.

As I finished talking with her and she signed a book for me encouraging me to write. Amanda Scott writes mostly Historical Romance, a genre, within the Romance genre, but she really believes in reading everything because one must pull from the classics and mythology. I am a romantic at heart, and any story that I write will have to have that element to it.

So here is the tender mercy....I was at a point where I didn't know where I wanted my characters to go, and what I wanted to do at this point. Amanda Scott said something that really hit me, "There is not such thing as writer's block, only failure to do homework." Wow! I need to do some research! She told me that I should go back to the mythology and fables and use them to help me. I just couldn't believe that the Lord, who knows the deepest desires of my heart, knew what I needed to move to the next level, to keep up my writing. How interesting that I gleaned more from this twenty minute encounter than I have in two weeks of writing class. I was seriously near tears when I was done, because I had learned so much and felt like the Lord was watching and blessing me with what I needed. What a fortuitous turn of events. I'll let you know how the books are....I'm looking forward to reading them after talking to the author!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mamarrazi Swap-Red, White, & Blue!!

Thanks so much to The Life of a PTSD's Spouse for my amazing box of goodies! I LOVE everything in it! My kids are all agog with the Texas shaped ice cubes and I'm can't wait to plant some of the Texas Bluebells seeds she sent and bake the cake with a divine sounding recipe. Thanks so much! I hope you (The Caretaker) enjoy the box, slowly wending it's way there now...(So sorry for the delay, but we won't go into that now.) Make sure you pamper yourself!!!
Have a wonderful 4th of July!!!!!
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