Friday, October 02, 2015

"You Changed the Melody Every Time"

There are moments that the words don’t reach.
There is suffering to terrible to name.
You hold your child as tight as you can
and push away the unimaginable.
The moments when you’re in so deep
It feels easier to just swim down...
and learn to live with the unimaginable.

If you see her in the street, walking by herself, talking to herself, have pity.
She is working through the unimaginable.

--completely jacked-to-the-feminine version of It’s Quiet Uptown from Hamilton

So much of being a mom is diversion. From the time your kids are little you distract them from pain. A bump, or a scrape, or a shot at the doctor’s office, at least in my case, meant putting on a show, however big or small, so their focus could be elsewhere; meanwhile, I’d take up that pain, or deal with it, or direct someone else to deal with it, always putting my own emotion about the situation aside. I’m not a martyr, it’s just what moms do.

It was during Taylor week last year when I first said, out loud, “I want a divorce.” I had known it, but the words danced around me. It didn’t contaminate the week; I was in Georgia and had been talking through things with my brother. On a Saturday night, I looked up at the moon, turned to James, and said it.

Just in the last two weeks I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for the musical Hamilton and it is so, so good; I hear something new every day. Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Eliza, teaches their son, Philip, to play piano, and we hear them sing together in the song Take A Break. Later, in Stay Alive (Reprise), Eliza has arrived at a hospital (presumably; I’ve only listened, I haven’t seen the show) where Philip is about to die from an infection from a gunshot at a duel. It’s a short song, and she only sings for about 50 seconds, and it is the absolute most gut-wrenching yet accurately beautiful minute of the entire soundtrack for me. It perfectly encapsulates what a mother does: at first she wants to know what happened, and she’s angry; then she resigns to being with and comforting her son. He is apologizing for forgetting what she taught him, and she keeps the conversation light, begins to sing what they used to sing together during piano lessons. They sing together until he is no longer alive and she is left, still singing, still holding on to whatever she can. (And she’ll hold on to it forever.)

Being Brave has been pervasive for me, especially in the last year-plus. So has Being Lonely, though it takes different forms. Now, wearing Single Mom all over the place, I’m out of my mind with working. No one wants to hear how busy someone is, I get it. But my reality, my life, is that I work every day, MOST of every day. And Being Brave and Working both take up energy (and Being Lonely doesn’t replenish any of that energy). My life is interestingly more fractured and more complete at the same time. I’ve had to learn to let things go and admit I forget things and say I’m sorry and forgive—including forgiving myself—a whole lot. What’s interesting is how this process has alleviated fear which used to be so prevalent. I’m not afraid to be wrong, I know I’m going to be. I’m working on standing up for myself, and it’s coming along, especially during times when I realize no one else will stand up for me (not because someone wouldn’t, but because I’m the one who has to do it).

One of my biggest fears came to light a month or so ago; when I realized what had happened I worried I was slipping. I worried I was beginning to forget. When you lose a child you have only so much to hold on to; memories, maybe a song you sang together. In my case, I have dates (October 1st through October 6th), and the words I use when I speak about my kids. Forgetting is something you worry others will do (and they will), but not something you think you’ll do.

I was telling someone about Taylor. I said he’d be turning 14, which is false. He’d be turning 15 this year.

As anxiety began to attempt tighten its grip I relaxed; I wasn’t forgetting. I hadn’t forgotten. It’s okay. (I barely know how old I am.) It’s acceptable to want to say, “I’m sorry, Taylor,” and also give myself a break.

This isn’t going away. Losing Taylor was the most major fracture of my life, and the ripples began immediately and are still felt; they’ll always be there. I’ve worked through the complication of answering how many kids I have, but it’s still there. I saw soon and clearly how it is possible to be completely alone in the presence of others who should be your main support; I’ve worked that out, but it can apply to other situations, I suppose, and there’s a benefit to learning to rely upon yourself.

But sometimes I’m weary. I’m allowed to be weary. And I continue to allow that for myself during this week. There’s a unique isolation that comes with being divorced, and a devastating seclusion with having had a child pass away. The similarities between the two are heartbreaking.

As I stood in front of the flowers at Costco today, just staring blankly, arms at my sides, tears threatening to fall—bringing flowers to his grave isn’t going away, either—a woman who worked in that department approached me. I removed one of my earbuds to hear her ask, “Do you need anything?”

I said no, and thanked her, then later realized what I wanted my answer to be.

“Yeah. If you could get some of my friends in here to distract me from this, that would be great. I need a diversion from this pain.”

Not that they wouldn’t…but, really, they don’t have to, it's not their job. I just like having them by my side. This, the absorbing/facing, in place of diversion, is what I do this week. I’m the mom.

Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf…
Sept, huit neuf…
Sept, huit…

Taylor week:

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Of Nothing In Particular

“Online it looks like you’re having a lot of fun,” people say.

I smile, I nod. “Thank you, yes. Things are great.”

Just in the last two weekends, among other things, I:

~ hiked to Stewart Falls, but ended up running the trail because I like to go faster than just walking. Beautiful scenery, I love discovering so many new places in Utah, and I love working out.

~ attended a fundraising event for United Way of Utah County, put on by Provo’s mayor John Curtis. Held at the rec center it included a dinner and a ton of activities, including a poolside screening of JAWS, how cool!

~ did one of my MOST FAVORITE THINGS EVER, the full moon lift ride at Sundance. Oh, there is nothing like it, nothing at all. No words to even describe.

~ got my hair cut and colored.

~ got called up on stage to co-lead a song with Kass —she’s world-famous and I love that I get to learn from her locally, and that it’s recorded!

~ went to the Provo Rooftop Concert Series, which I haven’t done for years. Kaskade performed, can you believe it?! World-famous Kaskade has ties to Provo, I live in the best city in the world.

~ attended the Beehive Bazaar and the Pocket Film Fest. I love supporting my friends in their endeavors which are legit cool and deserve all the success.

~ attended a live performance and recording of Music and the Spoken Word in the tabernacle on Temple Square. The choir performed one of my top 3 lifelong favorite songs, The Road Not Taken, and it was amazing! I went over to the Visitors’ Center and saw a picture of myself from when I was an extra in the New Testament films—so cool!

Last week my brother and my sister each advanced their careers. In our group text, in addition to congratulations (and because I don't want a new job, I love the jobs I've got) I looked around to offer some good news of my own, and the best I could come up with was, ‘My utilities haven’t been shut off—so glad the 11th is next week!’

My mom & stepdad are spending the weekend visiting my sister in DC. They attended church in the Arlington 2nd ward and met my friends the Sherinians. What I wouldn’t have given to be there with them all.

Talked with my dad today, like I do every Sunday. He’s in Lake Orion with his brothers for a few days, they’re going to AC/DC on Tuesday in Detroit. At the end of our conversation, my dad surprised me with some words of counsel and love, completely unprompted by anything I had said: “Jen, you’re doing good. You look good—you look great. You’re doing a great job. Believe me, I know more than anyone else what it’s like to be the third wheel, but hang in there, okay? And when the shit hits the fan? Pray. Pray, that’s what’ll do it. You’ll be fine, Jen. You’ll be okay. Things will be okay. You’ll be great.”

“Online it looks like you’re having a lot of fun,” people say. Usually they say it suspiciously, sometimes it’s kind of a question. I know they want me to say something, I just don’t know what. Of course that’s what it looks like online. That’s on purpose. My kids are online. I’ve never been a dirty laundry-airer, that’s not going to change because I’m divorced. I need a freaking break from people who think my opinions and life choices will magically begin to be valid again once I've been divorced for a year.

I smile, I nod. “Thank you, yes. Things are great.” They’re great in moments, but overall they’re super crappy. Those can co-exist, and they do. I’m not going to say that I’m lonely because I don’t want those words to be mistaken for an idea that I regret my divorce because I do not. But I am The Lonliest. I'm also tired of being accused of stuff, or the suggestions that I should or should not be doing this or that in my life now, so I'll just keep this conversation superficial.

Just in the last two weekends, among other things, I: because this is weekend 2 out of 3 in a row I am without my kids, a time during which I do my best to fill with enriching activities, despite the fact that doing so makes me behind in the work I have to get done, but if I don’t do them I feel like I will shrivel up and die. How I long to be invited to do something with someone—yes, a date--  and not be the one doing the inviting and being ignored … it’s exhausting. Getting out the door at all often requires literal hours of concentration because of having to fight off an inclination to just be a hermit, something that would make me further shrivel.

~ hiked to Stewart Falls, but ended up running the trail because I like to go faster than just walking. Beautiful scenery, I love discovering so many new places in Utah, and I love working out. This particular hike/run was prompted by yet another, ‘Sorry, I can’t,’ and the experience of absorbing some negative energy I picked up from a few people which I then turned in on myself, making my emotional load nearly completely unbearable. It was during this experience that I realized I may be actually running away from some stuff I’m not too eager to face (which I know I can do, I’m strong, I’ve been through harder stuff), plus I stepped on a root and my foot has been hurting when I dance. Right after I collected my phone from that first picture I turned toward the mountain and burst into tears; I can see the self-loathing in my face in the second picture.

~ attended a fundraising event for United Way of Utah County, put on by Provo’s mayor John Curtis. Held at the rec center it included a dinner and a ton of activities, including a poolside screening of JAWS, how cool! I hate going to these things alone—I’ve been going to things alone for years, so this isn’t new. I’m so grateful Branden and Emilie sat down to spend dinner with me; I won’t ever be in the kind of relationship they’re in, it's too late for me, but I love watching them, what a dream team. After I walked with them to their car it took all my energy to go back to watch that movie, but worse would have been to resign to going home to my empty house. I sat on that chair amongst pairs of people cuddling and watching the movie together, or families enjoying their time. Friday night is family night, and date night, and I sat by myself, eating an apple and looking straight ahead.

~ did one of my MOST FAVORITE THINGS EVER, the full moon lift ride at Sundance. Oh, there is nothing like it, nothing at all. No words to even describe. I invited someone who, shoot, couldn’t make it, but I wasn’t going to miss another month’s ride so I went by myself, which I hated. This ride, in years past, provided for me a unique connection to a part of myself I knew I’d get to, and though I’ve arrived, my ache to share it remains. I both loved and hated it so, so much.

~ got my hair cut and colored. So pretty, good job, Courtney. Please, someone tell me I’m pretty. Please. But more than that. A good person. And kind. Please. "I just wanna be liked, I just wanna be funny."

~ got called up on stage to co-lead a song with Kass —she’s world-famous and I love that I get to learn from her locally, and that it’s recorded! I feel like an idiot for asking Alisa to record again, she’s not my personal camerawoman, she should dance the fun songs, too. I don’t know why I can’t get my crap together enough to finish choreographing my hour so I can sign up to sub and eventually teach. I feel like I’m letting down so many people that way, and I wish I could let Kass know I like her because she’s her, not because she’s famous and hot…I hope she knows that. And are people sick of these videos? Sheesh.

~ went to the Provo Rooftop Concert Series, which I haven’t done for years. Kaskade performed, can you believe it?! World-famous Kaskade has ties to Provo, I live in the best city in the world. There’s so much emotion tied to this I can barely touch it. My feelings are healed but I was on-edge and wary. Did I even belong at that concert? Where do I fit in? I’m almost 40, I feel like a complete loser. Oh, good—there are my friends…all on dates with each other. No one will ever adore me the way Lee seems to adore Katie, even in this, the infancy of their relationship. 

~ attended the Beehive Bazaar and the Pocket Film Fest. I love supporting my friends in their endeavors which are legit cool and deserve all the success. I’m so tired and unaccomplished and not cool. What am I doing?

~ attended a live performance and recording of Music and the Spoken Word in the tabernacle on Temple Square. The choir performed one of my top 3 lifelong favorite songs, The Road Not Taken, and it was amazing! I went over to the Visitors’ Center and saw a picture of myself from when I was an extra in the New Testament films—so cool! A friend was supposed to meet me this morning and didn’t even reply to my text messages, and I had so much anxiety about it, and it was so distracting. Tell me you can’t make it-- I get it, things come up, but please don’t ignore me, ugh, that makes me feel so completely insignificant. My favorite song? I mean, I’m a people person. I wanted to share it with someone. The only three people I knew there were in the choir, so technically they were sharing it with me, but I just…I needed to share it. Someone to be there with me. Nope, alone. And the picture in the Visitors’ Center? That’s a huge deal, I couldn’t believe it, and I…well, I shared it with a sister missionary from China. Then I looked around. Alone, again, so I shared it online instead. That’s sort of the same. I look at that picture and mainly see how much of a fool I am.

Every night I'm alone. I'm grateful for what I've got, so I share it. I need the reminder.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Thing About Divorce

...or, a thing about divorce, I guess.

It isn't always terrible.

Maybe you believe that. Or maybe you'd never, ever, ever believe that.

Here's what I mean: yes, it can be terrible. It can be difficult and draining and exhausting and terrifying.

It can also be wonderful. It can be joyous and validating and freeing and an answer to prayers. Sometimes years of prayers.

My reality as it relates to this post is this: I have wanted to talk about this in a safe space for a long time. In my head I posted a year ago with a desperate explanation of why I suddenly enrolled in school last summer, taking 6 credits in the first block of summer and 11 credits last fall. It wouldn't have-- couldn't have-- been a clear, this-is-why post, a my-marriage-is-ending post. I didn't even say the words out loud until one evening last October in Georgia, as a final and clear realization to my brother as much as to myself as the words formed themselves and left my mouth. "I want a divorce."

In my mind I've crafted and drafted and wanted to provide a clear, concise explanation to those who have read and participated in my blog for the past decade-plus. My reality is that blogging, in ways direct and indirect, has lead to me now being able to have employment, and that is no small thing, not by a stretch. Still, when something is online, it's online. And my kids, they're online, or they will be. So I've gone back-and-forth, with their protection and well-being, particularly considering their current ages, at the forefront.

I've asked friends, 'How do I talk about this on my blog?' I've drafted, I've edited, I've discarded. I've thought and thought and planned and...ultimately, not posted.

Until today.

Today, a Thursday in July, taking a brief break from my work (my office at the moment is my bed), I'm writing this out (no draft, just off the top) and I'm going to publish it. And of course there will be more to say, but here I am, and here it is. It's time.

See, I'm not in the habit of airing dirty laundry, particularly about my marriage; I never have been. So if you're looking for that, you're not going to find it here, from me. That's not who I am.

Who am I?

I'm a woman closer to 40 than 30. I'm kind and loyal and generous and thoughtful and creative. I've prioritized my children since before they were born. I'm a hard worker and talented and a good student. I feel an obligation to both follow rules AND defy authority. I have a lot of love to give. I'm easy-going and like to do things, try new things. I'm not afraid to say, 'I don't know,' and I'm not afraid to lose. I'm brave.

And last year I decided to do a really hard thing. I actually felt like I was dying. I decided I wanted to live and thrive, and be on my way to becoming my best self and being happy. So I filed for divorce.

I'm divorced.

I'm divorced.

I'm divorced. And parts have been, and are, and will be, terrible., AND. And? And I'm more happy and more myself than I've been in years. On my way to happy. Have been Feeling happy.

That's something about divorce: feeling happiness and peace and love in friendships? That's no small thing.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pampers Underjams: A True Story

Can We Talk About Bedwetting?

Like, really. I mean, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had experience with it at one point or another.

(Remember the plastic training pants from when we were little? Do parents still use those?)

Dealing with bedwetting as a parent is a chapter of its own. But what do you do when that chapter never seems to end?

All of my kids have woken up, at one point or another, soaked. I've invested in mattress pads, really heavy-duty ones, which, let’s be honest, only made more laundry for me. But one of my kids (I won’t mention their name) hasn’t completely stopped. On this kid’s bed, they’ve worn out those (expensive!) mattress pads, having gone through (read: completely shredded from washing so often) THREE.

A little over a year ago I knew I needed to do something different.

This kid is toilet trained-- they go to school and don’t have a problem during the day-- but in the morning, we were dealing with a wet bed more often than not. Reverting to diapers wasn’t an option, this kid isn’t a baby. I went to the store and found a solution in Pampers Underjams or, as they’re known in our home, Jammers.

At first my kid was hesitant, asked if I was holding diapers. I explained, nope, Jammers are for Big Kids who are doing their best to stay dry at night, even if they sometimes wake up wet. I let my kid weigh in on the decision, which I think made them feel empowered. It became a Cool Thing, that this kid got to wear Jammers at night (Jammers & Jammies). Waking up with a wet Jammer meant, “Shoot, we’ll try again tomorrow,” but also no more everyday bedding laundry! And waking up with a dry Jammer? Everybody wins.

Sometimes when I’d mention to my friends that we had a bed-wetting issue at our home, the term enuresis would come up. Enuresis is simply involuntary urination, particularly by children, during sleep. It happens more in boys than in girls.

I wish I would have had Pampers Underjams for all of my kids while they transitioned to being able to consistently stay dry at night. Underjams have night wear leakage protection that features a NightLock ultra-absorbent core. Plus, they’re made of ComfortWear, which is like cloth instead of plastic you might find on diapers, and the low waist band helps kids feel at-ease that no one will be able to see that they’re wearing them.

My dear parent friends, if you’re dealing with enuresis, know you’re not alone. And know that Pampers Underjams have helped my family, and many others, deal with the transition. 

Please join the conversation and help other parents know they're not alone in this by using @Pampers and #ConquerBedWetting. You can learn more about enuresis at


Saturday, April 04, 2015

Trader Joe's in Provo - West of the Freeway

I love living in Provo. It’s true. One of the great things about living in Provo right now is our cool Mayor, John Curtis. He gets things done, and he’s active in social media which allows his constituents to know about the things he’s getting done. Right now, the Bring Trader Joe’s To Provo movement (an extension of the long-enduring Bring Trader Joe’s to Utah movement) is in full force, and Mayor Curtis is heading it up, which is good, and a smart move. There are some diverting issues surrounding the campaign (will Orem get a Trader Joe’s first? [No.] What about Springville or American Fork? [No.]), but what will happen is that a Trader Joe’s store will end up in Provo.

This brings us to the next favorite thing people involved love to argue about: where?

Where would it go? Where could it go? Where should it go?

I’ve heard and read a lot of feedback: the Riverwoods, ShopKo’s old spot, East Bay (Kmart’s old spot), Downtown/City Center, by the Covey Center.

The correct answer is west of the freeway. I’ll explain why, and even respond to some of the feedback I’ve seen online dismissing this idea.

Why? There is no grocery store west of the freeway in Provo. I thought about contacting Dixon to ask him how I can find out the population numbers out here, and I still might, but for those who don’t know, the growth west of the freeway has been significant the last 10-20 years. Retail-wise, we’ve got a Chevron, a 7-11, another gas station I don’t know, a Subway, a laundromat, an awesome coffee/drink stand, a Great Steak, and our most recent addition, a Family Dollar. Now, if you look at the population of Provo west of the freeway you will see clearly how ridiculous this is. If we want to make a Quick Run to the store that means going to Fresh Market or Maceys, or simply driving up Geneva to Wal*Mart. In other words, there is no Quick Run to the store for a significant population of Provo.

But west of the freeway isn’t an ideal place to set up a business. No? Have you talked to Julie, the owner of Zen Drinks? Also, have you heard of Trader Joe’s? Do you really think it wouldn’t thrive wherever it was placed?

No one would go all the way out there for Trader Joe’s. Um, no. That’s not a thing. People go to Salt Lake to go to Trader Joe’s now. Before that, people went to Vegas to go to Trader Joe’s. I’m not exaggerating.

Okay, maybe people would drive to the west side, but people shouldn’t have to drive that far. You mean to get…food? You mean like west-siders have to do now? Oh. Go think about that for a minute.

Admittedly I’m not a city planner, and I don’t need to be told It’s More Complicated Than That. I understand that putting a major business anywhere is a complicated and layered, et cetera. What I’m frustrated with is that I haven’t seen any arguments as to why west of the freeway in Provo isn’t the ideal location. The talking points I’ve mentioned above are what I see most frequently and they simply don’t hold.

I’ve written to Trader Joe’s. Several times over the years I’ve sent letters. I want to be part of this campaign but I also want to be heard on this very important matter: Provo—the portion of Provo west of the freeway—needs a grocery store. Placing it on 1600+ West Center Street gives easy freeway access to those traveling from anywhere south of here (unless they want to go to Vegas instead, or pass Provo to travel far off the freeway exits in Salt Lake), and to those traveling from northern Utah County who were going to drive to Salt Lake anyway but now they’re so glad that Provo’s Trader Joe’s is closer. More business for Provo because it’s just so easy to access from the Center Street exit? Great idea.

Mayor Curtis, I hope you see this. I hope you listen. Putting it on the west side of the freeway is the best thing to do. It’s not uncommon for west-siders to feel unheard, and I know I speak for more than just myself when I say that to see a huge campaign for a grocery store to come to Provo without priority for it to be west of the freeway only adds to that frustration. I’ve carried Trader Joe’s bags in my car home to Provo from California, Washington, and Missouri. You don’t have to worry about whether or not people will be willing to travel over here to go to Trader Joe’s: they will.

And while you’re over here, stop by and say hello. If you give me a heads-up I can have scotcharoos ready (if you didn’t stop by Sodalicious and get one on your way over). 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


As I write this, it’s Christmas Eve, not yet 5:pm. With so much reflecting which naturally takes place this season, this time of year, plus what has been happening around these parts anyway, I feel bursting with things to say, while also cautious and hesitant, so I hope whatever comes out is accurate and well-taken.

When there are so many things to say, where can I even begin?

I think the thing I’m feeling most right now is gratitude. Overwhelming gratitude. In a time and place in life with the potential to feel alienation, I feel surrounded, even when I’m lonely. Even in a time in my life when I know I face losing friends for one reason or another, I feel supported.

Friends have reached out with words-- messages of encouragement, of concern, of love. There have been so many questions (asked and, I’m certain, unasked), and I’m glad to have had them directed my way, even though sometimes I don’t have answers.

Friends have also reached out with strength-- their efforts have provided sustenance in every way. They have fed my mind and body and spirit, reminding me of my value and capacity when I am unsteady.

And I haven’t even mentioned what they’ve done for my kids. When friends have stepped in to help my kids, especially in ways I haven’t been able to? That’s when my heart has been the most full.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about what Christmas means, this holiday we celebrate. The birth of Jesus Christ. I don’t talk about this a lot, as my feelings are very strong and I tend to hold them close, but as I write this out, I hope what I say is accurate and well-taken.

When it comes to stories of Jesus, I usually find myself thinking of Mary, his mother. In many moments I’ve felt an affinity with Mary, a kinship of reverence and adoration that quickly overcomes me. In works of art, in study of scripture, and in reenacting for film, my esteem for her continues to grow.

Just a few days ago in church I was in a class where we talked about Jesus’ life, about Mary (and even a little about Jesus’ siblings, a likelihood…I mean, right? He was Mary’s firstborn, so…). My mind was taken back to a day of filming for Young Jesus Teaches in the Temple. I will never forget thinking about Mary that day, looking for her lost son in a busy marketplace and finding him in the women’s court of the temple. The mixture of relief at having found him (and is there a better place to have found your child than at the temple?), and frustration (probably?) of having to have looked for him for so long: a conglomeration of feelings with which any mother is well-acquainted. I think of Mary’s life a lot.

Right now, though, I’m moved with the impression to talk about Jesus, about my relationship with my Savior. It’s Christmas. Even though these are ideas to which some of my friends might not subscribe, I feel strongly I should share.

I love my Savior. This year I have learned to lean on Him more than ever before. In ways mostly private, I have felt an unspeakable support and love. When I’ve had questions, it’s through Him I’ve received direction.

By living the way He taught, by living His gospel, I’ve come to know more about myself, and about my life, been strengthened and reminded of my value and capacity. Any time in my life, but perhaps this year more than ever, when I’ve found myself afraid and confused, I am and have been steadied by my Savior.

At the core of everything I do is my children. I have felt the influence of the Savior as I’ve worked at being the best mom I can be for my children as individuals and as an ever-developing dynamic. When I see my kids come to know their Savior in their own personal ways, it fills my heart to overflowing.

Maybe when you think of Jesus you think of an adult on a cross, or a 12-year old boy, or an 8 lb. 6 oz. baby. Maybe you think of a carpenter, or a prophet, or a really nice guy with good ideas on how to live and treat people. Tonight, I want you to know that I love Jesus Christ. I know that when I live His gospel I’m happier and more at-peace, and more myself. I love Him. Through Him, I become better—over and over and over again, it’s a gift I don’t know what I’d do without.

In a very real way I’ve felt my Savior’s love through the acts of service I’ve witnessed in the past weeks. There are some who I’ve thanked, some who I have yet to thank, and some who I cannot thank because I don’t know who they are. The kindness of friends, even in the form of strangers, has brought to me the peace of the Christmas season because it’s brought me closer to my Savior. Whether or not that was the intention, it was the result.

Thank you to my friends, known and unknown, for what you’ve done this season and beyond. It will not be forgotten, and gratitude fills my heart. It reminds me of what the Savior does for me regularly, in ways I’m recognizing more and more as time goes on.

Merry Christmas. 

Nativity by Brian Kershisnik