Category Archives: Life in General

Life Moment #11 – Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion….Applied Where?

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Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion

—Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Yes, it says motion.

However, after some contemplation, this law applies to interaction between human beings, otherwise known as karma or pay it forward or ‘what comes around goes around.’

Is there any truth in it?

Does it mean if person A does this then it will result in this or that happening to person B?

Who knows?

What I do know or somewhat certain about is this: if we practice acts of kindness, it may very well be the difference in someone’s life….a life that potentially ended with self-harm.

What is tbe ultimate sacrifice?

— To give one’s life for another.

We see it with our polupo officers and our soldiers every day.

The world is full of theory….this theory or that theory and on it goes.

However, generally speaking, we get out of life what we put into it.

So, what does that mean?

One example – treatment of others. What is going to happen to those you livl most if you treat them poorly. Tbey will, in all probability, leave…go away from you.

We makw chouces every day to walj away from things that bring us down. We may decide at a later time that forgiveness is necessary and try rebuilding the relationship.

Unfortunayely, some choose a more drastic approach because their pain is just to much to bear and felt there was no other way out of the darkness that surrounds them.

Friends —

Think long and hard about your actions and words toward the people you love. Hardness of heart is the true evil as it stunts the growth of your relationships. Beware of the evil. Practice kindness, selflessness, humility, and love.

In the end, we are accountable for the ugliness in our hearts. We are accountable for OUR actions and OUR words. We can ONLY control ourselves. We cannot control others. Mind your tendency to control.

 

 

 

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Life Moment #10 – To My Son in Heaven

Grief is a process that may never end…..

My heart has never been as broke as it was when I heard the news that you were gone. And with each day that goes by, it breaks a little more.

These days, I feel like I am in a dark hole, trying to claw my way out. My fingers digging in, getting torn to shreds as I try with all my might to get up out of the darkness.

I can’t breath.

I can’t think.

I can’t sleep.

The tears flow so easily, almost uncontrollably.

It takes everything I have to contain myself throughout the day.

Darren, when you died, you took a piece of my heart with you, a piece that can never be replaced so I will forever walk around with this gaping hole in my heart.

The feelings, the grief, the anger just seem to be getting worse as time moves along. I still have so many questions about what happened, questions that may never get answered.

Some days, I feel like I am okay, that I can function but then a memory surfaces, or a place, or a person, that reminds me of you and that great big hole in my heart opens up again.

Other days, days such as this one – June 14, 2018 – nothing makes sense. The hole stays open all day. The world around me is going and going while I feel like I am standing in the middle of it all, seeing, hearing, maybe even speaking, but not really there. I can’t focus on anything long enough to really know what’s going on, I am just going through the motions, most of which I do not remember. The noise is deafening to my ears, and everything is just noise.

I have yet to go through your things. I am scared, Darren, scared of the finality of that time. I know you are not longer here on this earth with me. I know I will not see you again until my times comes….

but…..

Going through your things will be so final.

I can’t even bear to think about it.

When does the pain end, Darren?

When will my heart be okay?

When will I be able to walk down the street, talk to your siblings, or make a phone call without dropping on the floor in a complete mess of tears?

If the pain I feel right now, at this moment, is anywhere near the pain you felt, I can definitely understand your actions.

I wish you had made a different choice. I wish you had talked to me or to your dad or to someone. I wish people had listened. I wish people had paid attention.

I wish, I wish, I wish…..

Through all of this, through all the pain and heartbreak, through all my memories of you, I hope you know one thing….

I hope you know how much I love you. I told you every day, so I hope you remember.

My heart breaks daily because I want you here with me, with us, but I know you are happy now. I know that your pain is gone. I know you walk with angels.

I love you, son.

I loved you from the moment I knew of you in my womb and I will continue to love you to the end of my time on this earth. I love you.

Be happy now and smile at the beauty that surrounds you. I know you are in heaven and one day, I hope to see you there.

Love Mom

He Was…..

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To you…..

He was a nothing, a nobody.

To me…..

He was everything, very much a somebody.

To you…..

He was just someone to be controlled.

To me…..

He was an individual with his own ideas.

To you…..

He was just a little punk.

To me…..

He was a little boy who needed to be loved.

To you…..

He was only a problem to be disgusted with and handled all the time.

To me…..

He was a life, someone to be treasured and nurtured.

To you…..

He was just another person for you to make feel small, unwanted.

To me…..

He was a person to be encouraged and who could love others.

To you…..

He was someone to belittle, to take your anger and resentment out on.

To me…..

He was a beautiful light in a dark world, a beautiful soul with a big heart.

To you…..

He was someone who you couldn’t mold into the same hateful person so common in society.

To me…..

He was my little boy, someone who I love with my whole heart, someone you took from me until you finally took his life.

Hate. Greed. Control. Manipulation – that’s how you finally took my little boy. He wasn’t these things, but you were.

I will love you forever Darren Jacob Wallace.

Life Moment #9 – One Question After Another

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When I was a CNA, we learned through the CNA training that there are five stages of grief:

  • denial and isolation
  • anger
  • bargaining
  • depression and
  • acceptance.

Well, I am definitely grieving the loss of my precious son. My mind just keeps going over and over his life: when what he was feeling began, why wouldn’t he talk about it, who he turned to for help, his relationships, the people he blamed for things in his short life, those who loved him, those who didn’t, his opinion of himself, his last thoughts, he first thoughts of that fateful day, did he plan or was it spur of moment, and why…why wouldn’t he let anyone help him?

I also keep going over the day he took his life: where was he, what were his last thoughts, doubts, lots and lots of doubts about everything, what happened, what time he died, did he wait for someone to come to him, his last words, the note he left…..

So. Many. Questions.

I’ve been thinking about the last time I saw him, his mood that day, what he said, what I said….

And then the questions like: Did he know how much I loved him? Did he know how much I though about him while he was at his dads? And why one particular girl wouldn’t retract her claws from him? And why he couldn’t get this girl out of his head?

I keep rethinking all the conversations I had with him and with her. I keep thinking of when I heard the news and how long he had been dead before I was notified. Just about everything surrounding his death is one BIG mystery to me.

I want to know!

And I want to know details surrounding that day that I do not know, and probably will never know because his dad refuses to talk to me.

He wouldn’t plan the funeral with me.

At the last minute, that side of our son’s family cut out of the luncheon following the burial – without notifying us of their withdrawal – leaving us with a lot of leftover food.

My son has been gone two weeks. Just losing him was hard enough, but with all the added complications of his dad’s side of his family, it has just been harder. His dad has answers I do not have, but he refuses to share with me.

The whole mess is just that.

One. BIG. Mess!

Through all of that, I am also remembering all of my good memories with him: his birth, his toddler years and teen years, time talking to him, goofing off with him, his sporting events, watching him interact with his siblings and his cousins/aunts/uncles/grandparents, family vacations, these last days, being with him through his troubles…..

It’s all their, clamoring up my mind, interrupting my sleep, making me sad, and quite frankly, making me crabby!

It’s going to be a looooonnnggg summer.

Please continue to pray for our family.

Peace be with you always ♥♥

I Love You, Son

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Our last picture as a family. The girl holding Zephaniah is Dylan’s girlfriend. They are expecting in late November.

Darren Jacob Wallace

Birth: January 11, 2001

Death: May 17, 2018

To my son,

I’ll like you for always, I’ll Love you forever. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

Darren, I know you are gone. My heart knows, but it doesn’t seem real. I am urgently fighting to awaken myself from this nightmare. Losing you has to be the most difficult trial I’ve ever had to face. When I received the news that fateful morning, my life was forever changed. The place in my heart designated especially for you shattered. I know it will heal one day, but for now, it’s a mess.

You were a beautiful, mostly bald baby, Darren, full of joy almost always.  You were pretty easy to care for, with very few fussy moments. Your eyes lit up when you smiled and your smile was infectious. And, oh my, were you just a little chubbers, just like little Miss Zephaniah. As your first few days turned to weeks and then to months, your easy-going temperament, continued to flourish. You were always happy and smiling. You continued to grow and so did your personality. Your physical attributes were changing as well. Your hair soon started grow out to a blond color and began to develop those every-womans-dream curls. Oh, those curls and those big, beautiful, bright blue eyes were all you. As with any child, you began to develop in other areas as well, talking, walking and full of energy. Your stunts got more daring, scary, and heart-stopping as your grew. You were always a free spirit. In those more spirited moments, when fear took hold of my heart and I almost lost it, it was still so hard to be upset with you and your zest for life. The happiness and joy you exhibited almost always calmed my jumbled heart.

You were definitely all boy. You had no fear and would try just about anything at least once, sometimes more so. Through your school years, you played a ton of sports and you were great at them all, very athletic. I am so proud of the two seasons you broadened your horizons and took up dance lessons. I always knew that you were more of an artistic personality. You sketched all the time, from the time you were a young boy. And you were great at it! Your art was creative, detailed, and intersting. Over the last few years, your artistic expression developed into photography. You had great eye for detail and took very beautiful photos with a phone, no less! You loved sunsets, your truck, and your Harley. You actually loved your truck so much you sold your Harley to buy the truck. You were constantly fiddling with your truck trying to get it exactly how you wanted it. You were bummed when you hit the parking lot poles. After that, you talked about your truck, non-stop, until you were able to start working on it again. With your photography, you highlighted your truck as much as possible. It was constantly being photographed in different ways, different areas, and different lighting. You were able to position yourself, your phone, and your truck in order to achieve the best angles — which can be a feat! I aked you once where you put your phone to take selfies with the truck. Your response: Anywhere I can get it to stay. To furter your artistic abilities, you recently took up guitar class in school. In the short time you were in the class, you learned so much and became quite good at playing. I remember you once telling me, as you fist begin to play, how much your fingertips hurt so you sent off for some finger covers. The day they came in the mail, you were so excited because now you could play without your fingers being in pain. Soon enough, though, your fingers did get callused over so you didn’t need the finger covers any more.

But even more important than your talent, Darren, was your heart. You had a heart of gold, so gentle and sweet. I know you got angry sometimes, but most of the times, you were gentle and kind. You didn’t like to argue, and you took to heart everything that was said to you in anger. It breaks my heart knowing how much yours was broken in your short life. You didn’t talk much unless you got excited, and you hardly ever got loud. The few ‘serious’ conversations you had still didn’t include much seriousness. I could always get more from you in the words you didn’t say, your mannerisms, in your eyes, and in the way you carried yourself. I didn’t need your words. I have seen the love in your eyes, as well as in your actions. You were so gentle and loving to each one of your siblings. You loved babies and treated them so gently. You would sit and hold them, just staring at them with all the love in your heart. One of the first things you would do in the recent past months when you came through the door is pick up your baby sister or you’d squat those long legs down in front of her to talk to her and kiss her on the cheek. You were kind and patient with each of your siblings until they got old enough to start pestering you. The girls you wouldn’t fuss at too much, but your brothers and you could tie it up. However, you knew your limits and theirs. You knew not to hurt them other than a good slug on the arm every so often. And, boy, could yall wrestle! Each time you started wrestling, it sounded like a tornado tearing through my house. I was convinced the walls would soon lift from the foundation. It never happened though.  Darren, you had heart and I know you put it into the things, the people, and the places you loved most. You loved with all your heart. You played sports with all your heart. You worked hard at your talents with all your heart.

Darren, you also knew yourself well enough to know when you needed time alone. You were a thinker and could often be found in your room with your ear bud in, listening to your music. You loved country music. I didn’t want you sitting alone to long because I worried about you constantly. I’d often pop in for a minute or two, if only to tell you how much I love you. One time you told me, ‘I go from a house where nobody talks to me to a house where everyone wants to talk.’ You got exasperated with all the talking. Please understand, I talked to you so you wouldn’t sink so far into your head, but I also tried to give you your space. Like me, you were a quiet person who needed your space.

I love you, Darren. I am so blessed that God let me bring you into this world and so blessed that I was with you as you went to your final home.  Thank your for the 17 wonderful years that will forever be etched in my heart.

Love Mom

Friends, as you read this, please remember Darren. Remember him for all he was. Remember his goodness and his love. Remember the fun times you had with him. Remember how he touched your life and the difference he made in it.

Praying My Way Through Grief

The hour is early……barely 5:00 a.m.. I suppose it may be a normal wake-up time for more than half of the U.S. population, but not for this little lady. My normal isn’t for another hour and a half.

So what disturbs my slumber so early on this spring morning?

I was awakened by dreams surrounding my son’s funeral.

It was a hard day yesterday, making the funeral arrangements. No parent should have to bury a child, but when someone else tries to take that right from a parent, or at the very least, just gets to be to pushy about any number of things, the whole planning process starts to decelerate, rapidly I might add.

I’ve been going over the dreadful news of my son’s death since the morning I found out, May 17, 2018 at 3:30 in the morn. Many details surrounding his death are still unclear to me. Investigation officers tell me it can take up to a month before results will be available.

How sad surviving relatives must wait so long before knowing the final results. It’s quite a conflicting state of limbo, understandable because we want the truth, but sad because we want the truth now. Right now.

I just need to remind myself that some goes months, years even maybe the better part of a lifetime without knowing. God must have special blessings for these surviving relatives.

Ahh, blessings.

During Mass this afternoon, the teachings focused on the Pentecost. As I sat through the readings with my grieving heart, I was listening to the moments of love that Jesus showed. More pointedly, one of the moments in which Jesus showed unconditional love to another and unselfish surrender to God’s will. Jesus was at last supper. Judas, the betrayer, had to leave to complete the task he had been paid to do and he was wondering how to excuse himself without drawing unwanted attentiin to himself -questions of his departure. Jesus, with his unselfish love, gave Judas the chance to exit without getting the dreaded questions of his departure. He called Judas to him and simply told him to do what he must all the while knowing what Judas was about to do. Meanwhile, the other men only believed that Jesus asked Judas to take the money bag to feed the poor.

As I sat there on the church pew and listened to such a beautiful story of love, my heart silently breaking, I wondered if I was putting more effort into being angry about my son’s death than I was putting into love and forgiveness.

In all my humanness, it occured to me that if I were doing that then I’m fine with it for now. Forgiveness may come, eventually, but right now……

right now I don’t have the strength and quite honestly, nor do I have the mind to.

Some day, but not this day.

Please continue to pray for me, my friends, pray for my ability to forgive the ones who I think are responsible. Pray for my ability to love in the midst of all my grief. Pray for my ability to give it all to the Lord so I may move forward – always remembering, but never holding a grudge.

I ask continued prayers for my family and for my son in Heaven.

God bless you all 💜💜💜

Grief

Yesterday is a blur and I am not looking forward today. I went to bed crying last, we all did. And today, I woke up crying.

As I sit here, my heart quietly continuing to break, my eyes all red and swollen, having barely slept, I am filled with……

Grief.

It’s all consuming and I don’t even know where to begin to start the healing.

I am scared I will never heal. I am scared I will be stuck in this awful, devastating place I am in at this exact moment.

Lost.

Brokenhearted.

Confused.

And yes…..Alone. However, I am not alone. I have a house full of loved ones, all pulling together in the same heartbreak, all trying to figure out….What next?

When other’s around me suffered the loss of a loved one, I would offer the same heartfelt apologies that I’ve been hearing, “I’m sorry, so sorry for your loss” among a litany of other condolences. I would watch in horror as these families tried to mourn the loss of the beloved person taken too soon, at the wrong time (we feel in our hearts anyway), unexpectedly, or maybe expectedly. Who knows? I didn’t know their circumstances, I didn’t understand their pain. All I could see in passing, is they were mourning someone. My heart always broke in those moments for what those families were suffering. In those moments of someone else’s suffering, compassion was there long enough to say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” words that roll so easily off the tongue in just the right moments. I mean, what do you say in the face of someone else’s tragedy or loss?

When my two older sons lost their step-mom, a woman who loved them dearly and devoted her life to helping create the wonderful people they have become, I opened my arms to those sweet babies of mine. Their pain at that time became my pain. I believed at that time, I couldn’t feel any worse pain than seeing my two children suffering so much.

Looking back, thinking of those moments when I offered my words of sympathy to the ones in mourning, I know I felt those words so deep within my heart. I meant those words with all my heart. I would often wonder what it must be like, how awful they might be feeling at that moment. I grieved with them through that time. In an indirect way, that loss affected me as well.

But, my day would go on. My wonder was fleeting as I had something to get back to…..anything to keep my mind from wondering to far into such an abyss. The pain at just the mere thought of such a loss was too much to handle…..Their pain, however, lasted much longer – still to this day- than mine did.

But now……I am that person.

My heart is no longer filled with compassion, a compassion that comes in and out of our lives at just the moment we need it in order to offer those words of kindness in moments of sadness.

My heart is just breaking.

Breaking because of that same loss, the death of my beloved son.

I have been told a multitude of encouraging words, words that are said because people just don’t know what to say. They want me to know I am not alone and that they care.

Trust me, I hear you.

I hear every single word of sympathy.

I hear every single word of well-meaning encouragement.

I appreciate every hug or hand-on-the-shoulder touch.

However, with this dark, luminous cloud, the feelings of question, doubt, love, and loss hovering over my head, nothing makes sense to me right now.

Everything is a blur.

I keep hoping, praying that I will wake up from this horribly bad dream to see my Darren driving into the yard or him texting me, ‘I love you mom.’

One of the last moments he was with us here at the house, I watched with joy and laughter as he and Dylan were tossing the football around with Devin. I watched, in awe, at how far they could get that ball to fly. I decided I would give it a try. The ball barely made it half the distance of his and Dylan’s throws!

What a wonderful moment!

I will cherish memories with him forever.

Please keep him and our family in your prayers over the next weeks as we stumble our way through the healing. I am not sure how long it takes. Maybe the healing process is one that never ends, but eventually it’s gets easier. Doesn’t it?

One of the most encouraging sympathies I’ve received yet is……

I love you my dear sweet niece. If I could give you anything it would be time because only God and time can heal the broken heart. You and your family are in our prayers. ~Aunt Tina

Please bare with me in the months that follow. In grief, I may respond in a way on unlike me. If I respond in a questionable way, please just pray.

I love you all. Thanks for your gente and kind words as well as your prayers. They are much needed.

 

My Dear Sweet Child

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My dear sweet child, only seventeen

Your light will shine forever.

My dear sweet child, only seventeen

Your pain is no more, for now you are blessed forevermore in the arms of our sweet Jesus.

My dear sweet child, only seventeen

your days of sadness gone.

My dear sweet child, only seventeen

Your fears and worries are now at rest

because you, my dear sweet child,

have been welcomed into open, loving arms, of the very best.

So as you walk those streets of gold with our savior Jesus Christ, I hope you look down upon us who loved you most to see us smiling back at you with grateful hearts that you are in the place we all, one day, hope to rest.

I love you my sweet dear child , only seventeen

Gone much to soon, you will be missed, but I know you are in a better place and that all your pain and sadness is gone. It doesn’t make it any easier whatsoever, but I trust that God knows better than I.

I love you my second born son. You will always be in my heart.

Love Forever and Ever

Mom

 

Apologies

So often, in fact more-often-than-not, I hear people say:

Why should I apologize for what I’ve done……..

Let me tell you why:

We apologize not for the benefit of the other person. We apologize for the benefit of God.

Friends, we cannot control what others do. We cannot control what type of person another is. We cannot control the attitudes of others. We cannot control the beliefs of others. We cannot control A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. but

OURSELVES.

My husband and I are constantly trying to get it through our children’s heads that they cannot control one another, but they can control themselves. They can control how they react in any situation. They can control the words they say and the actions they take.

In today’s self-centered world,

Nobody

is made to take responsibility for their actions. For instance, my son was being bullied in school. When he finally stood up for himself, which progressed into a physical altercation between he and the other kid, my kid is the one who got in-school detention (during school hours he had to sit in the principal’s office all day). The other kid only got reprimanded. I understand a no tolerance policy in regard to fighting, but the school also has the no tolerance policy for bullying as well. It makes no sense! After this incident, my husband and I both had conversations with the principal of the school. Please understand I am in NO WAY condoning my child’s behavior. I don’t want children who want to handle their conflicts with their fists.

But, this post isn’t about how I want my children or how we are raising our children to be, it’s about the need for apology.

The world is such an ugly place that apologizing for the wrongs we do tends to make it a little better place, at least in my opinion. The apology itself shows that one isn’t just thinking of him/herself, but is, in fact, thinking of another.

Anyone can have character when situations and circumstances are in a good place. It takes real integrity and character to act with goodness in the face of negative or evil situations/circumstances.

It’s easy to say ‘I have to revenge because said person did this or that.’

It’s in the Old Testament – Exodus 21 – in which we return behaviors based on another’s behaviors. This chapter of Exodus outlines how we treat others. Back in the days of the Old Testament an ‘eye for an eye’ was perfectly acceptable, probably even expected.

However, the new covenant is one of love and forgiveness. Jesus spread the word of love to any and all who would listen. He also teaches actions such as forgiveness.

For instance, Luke 6:29

To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.

Jesus is not implying that we should or should not react out of retaliation. He is, however, inferring that we should return love in situations in which love was not given, such as slapping one’s cheek.

As you can see, when Jesus is going through His sufferings, He never once asked God to revenge His sufferings, but rather, He offered pleading on behalf of His crucifiers,

Then Jesus said, “Fatherforgive them, they know not what they do.”  – Luke 23:34

So, the new mantra should be:

I forgive you not only because I love you, but also because I love Jesus.

In the end, an apology is just a nice thing to do, but it is also a stepping stone in Your walk with Jesus.

We apologize because……..

we were wrong for whatever the action we took or the word we said. The motivation behind what we said/did may not be wrong, but how we handle the situation can be right or wrong. For instance, my son wasn’t wrong for wanting to defend himself. He was wrong in how he defended himself.

We apologize as……….

a sign of peace. I am a person who likes peace. I don’t care for drama or fighting or upset at all. I enjoy peace. But when I am wronged, I try ( I say try because I have a long way to go) to react with God in my heart. As I said, this doesn’t always happen because I do speak and act hastily. A lot! And then it’s me offering apology (peace).

We apologize because…….

we love Jesus and Jesus is the PERFECT example of forgiveness. Did He not forgive those who wronged Him? Did He not continue to love everyone despite the evil He endured?

Walk with peace today, my friends, offer an apology where an apology is due, and offer forgiveness to those who wrong you.

Blessings to you this day.

 

 

 

 

Life Moments #8: Compassion

My husband and I with our three youngest children (5, 4, 8 mths) took a trip to Vegas and then on to Idaho where we bought a van and proceeded to visit family in Montana before arriving back home. It was a nice, busy, chaotic trip as I’m sure any parent can relate to…..three children under 7 in the vehicle for hours on top of hours. Yes, not the highlight of our trip, but enjoyable for the most part, anyway.

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However, my real story starts at the time we left. All I could think about was time with my husband – a fleeting concept with seven children in the home – as well as it being my three youngest children’s first time flying. I was excited – six out of nine have now flown! Okay, it might seem silly to some, but since I didn’t fly for the first time until I was 29/30, their first flight was exciting and went incredibly smooth for our young children.  Another exciting part is that we got to see another part of the US. We live in small North Dakota with nothing but flat lands (in our area anyway), fields of golden wheat or green corn stocks as high as I am – probably higher – and cows, sheep, horses. Nice views sometimes, but views that may not seem that exciting to young children. Anyway, we like to travel and I was excited for myself, my husband, and our children to see a change in scenery. Las Vegas was full of desert vegetation that we aren’t used to seeing, lively sparkling lights at sundown, and beautifully landscaped roadways and scenic drives into the hills/desert that contain some pretty awesome rock formations and wildlife. My husband was excited to hike into the hills and to explore the differing landscape. As we drive through the mountains in Idaho, with their winding roadways, small mountain towns, and a rushing river that switched from one side of the roadway to the other, we discovered some hotsprings and many, many beautiful, trees that stood so tall over the sides of the snow-peaked mountain tops. If you’ve never seen it in person just imagine the mountains on the Coors beer can, snow-capped mountains – at least that’s what the mountains made me think of (not the beer, I don’t drink, but the image). Absolutely stunning! But, alas, that beauty was interrupted with my bad moods and the children’s fussiness at being in the vehicle for such long periods of drive time. We tried to stop frequently to stretch our legs and take in the fresh, mountain air, but it’s never frequent enough for children!

The tail end of our trip ended with visiting family in beautiful Helena, MT. Now Helena is a place to visit that I will recommend. It definitely has its’ share of beauty and peace. The best part was just seeing our family though as I’m sure most of you can attest to. When you haven’t seen family members in over a year, possibly more, it’s fun to see the changes in their children, but also to reminisce and collaborate with the adults. To see siblings, brothers in this case, interact with one another is full of wonderful moments.  This was the best part of the trip!

However, one of the most memorable points in our trip was driving in downtown Vegas, past all the sparkling lights and casinos, away from the hustle and bustle of the strip that boasted a wedding chapel on every block and back-to-back hotels fervently calling one tourist after another. The downtown area was whole different place, yet similar to the strip. The architecture seemed to play down quite a bit, but was still full of the culture of Las Vegas, interesting to say the least. It was here, however, in which we saw what is missing in our smaller part of the US, but is a very prominent problem in bigger cities.

Homelessness.

As we drove the streets of downtown Las Vegas, we witnessed one homeless alley after the previous. We drove down one roadway in which we discovered a village of homeless people with their tents scattered about under a roadway tunnel/overpass. When I saw this, the excitement I had at the start of our trip started to wane. I no longer saw the trip as all about my husband, myself and my children. It opened up the concern in my heart that seems so easily lost in our protected, coddled state that we live in, a state in which we very seldom encounter a homeless person, let alone a village of homeless people. We might have our run-ins with jobless individuals passing through trying to get back home or boom/bust out of state workers who’ve somehow lost their earnings trying to get to the next job or their home, but as for full-fledged homeless, jobless people who are truly at the mercy of the city or town in which they homelessly reside, it’s a rare occurrence.

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Witnessing such a life really tends to opens one’s eyes to the problems of this small part of the world we call home. It’s a problem that is world-wide, but until one actually sees it, witness it with one’s own eyes, it doesn’t seem to be an immediate problem, one worth the time and effort it takes to combat it. Unfortunately, driving in this area of town was the night before our plane was leaving. At a loss as to what to do, we did what we thought would be beneficial to someone. We had bought a few groceries for an all-day scenic drive that we took earlier that day, some stuff to picnic with and munch on while driving and exploring. As we came back into town that evening, that’s when we drove through that area of downtown. The next morning, as we got ready to head to return the rental car and head to the airport, we drove back to that area of town and gave the food we had left to the first group of homeless people we encountered. We had spoken with our girls that morning and they fought us because they wanted to keep their snacks. However, after some heart-felt conversation, they finally agreed to give the food away. With heads down and frowns on their faces, they walked with their dad to give their food away. They were not happy about it, but they DID it! To me, that’s the most important part of the trip.

They learned a concept that some never learn,

to give up what they want so others may have.

My husbands’ and my heart was happy.

There is no better way to teach your children compassion than to show compassion yourself.