My experience of tragedy, trials, and triumphs!
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Friday, January 10, 2014

"My name is Julie"...originally posted Nov. 7, 2012 went viral Jan. 12, 2014


My name is Julie and I married my first true love.


When I was 18 years old, in January 1996, I went on a first date with Jake Jorgensen, the man I would marry, and the love of my life.  We fell in love instantly and had a great life.  In the first 7 years of our marriage we experienced many ups and downs.  We had 3 young boys who were all sweet and amazing.  We moved several times, but built our dream house in 2002.  Jake ran a cattle ranch that he loved, and I lived my dream as a stay at home mom.  Jake worked as a mechanic in a coal mine in addition to the ranch to make that possible.  We also experienced a devastating miscarriage, the loss of Jake’s job a few different times, and a [potentially life-threatening] health scare with our 4 year old that had him in the hospital for over a week with Kawasaki’s disease.  


We truly loved each other and made it through all the ups and downs together.


In January 2004, I found myself over-scheduled and stressed- never saying no to anyone or anything.  Jake was our wards Young Mens President and I was the Primary President (church leadership).  Additionally, I was the PTA Vice-president, volunteering at the school to read with the kids, room mother, teaching a tumbling class for little boys, and oh yeah, being a wife and mother.  

On Thursday January 22, I called my Mom to complain about all my problems and at the end of the conversation she said, “I hope your weekend gets better.”  My response, “I don’t know how it could get worse!”.  

That night my husband left for work at 9:00 at night.  He worked graveyards at a coal mine in Price, Ut.  As he walked out the door, I called him back to give me a kiss goodbye.  We shared a passionate kiss in the middle of the stair case and I gave him my usual goodbye, “I love you, have a good night, and make sure you come home to me in the morning :).”

Around midnight there was a knock on my door.  

My best friend, my former bishop (released the week before), and our new bishop and his wife were standing on my porch.  I thought for a second they were coming to get me to go help someone in our ward.  They asked if they could come in...(no this isn’t happening to me, don’t let them in).  I must have let them in though, and they made me sit down. (Don’t say it, don’t listen, make them leave)  I hear my old Bishop say, “There’s been an accident at the mine and... (this isn’t happening, this is not my life!!!)  and Jake didn’t make it”Now my thoughts became screams as I sobbed uncontrollably.  “No!  Where is he?  Take me to him right now!  There has to be a chance!  He has to be ok!  I know he is alive!  Just take me to him and he’ll be alive.  PLEASE PLEASE take me to him!”  They didn’t have any details or know where he was... they just knew he was dead.  


My name is Julie and I am a widow.

I spent the night sobbing, waiting for my family to make the 2 hour drive to get to me. Then spent the next day sitting my 6, 3, and 1 year old sons on my lap, telling them their daddy died, and that he was never coming home.  I then went and picked out a casket for my amazing, adoring husband.  And OH YEAH, I took the pregnancy test I had bought the day before with such hope and excitement in my heart.

The test was POSITIVE. 

In the midst of the most horrible event I could imagine, I had a MIRACLE. This baby was a BLESSING. It was a piece of my sweet Jake still living inside of me. That little baby saved me.

There I was... 26 years old, a pregnant widow, and a single mom of soon-to-be 4 sons. 


No words can describe the feelings of a grieving wife whose husband was torn from her in a tragic accident.  I envied every story I heard of someone getting terminal cancer.  I imagined my car crashing into cement walls.  I wanted Jake.  I wanted to die so that I would be with him again and feel like I was alive.  The truth is when Jake died, so did I.  I felt like everything good and happy about me was drained out, and I was filled up with pain.  Everything was ripped from me, except my kids.  Our life, our dreams, and our plans no longer mattered, without him they were dead too.  How could I live without him?  How could I make plans, or have dreams ever again?  I remember sitting in a room filled with people and feeling completely alone.  The thought “Jake is dead, how is he dead, how is this my life?  This is NOT my life!” ran through my head 95% of the time. Grief is something that is dark and horrible and eventually can be sweet and peaceful.

Having my 3 boys, as well as knowing that I was pregnant, kept me from doing anything crazy.  But, my family never left me alone either.  They were there for me from the night he died and still, to this day, remain close to help and serve me.  They were a blessing and a huge reason I was able to go on.  We decided that I would buy my parents house and they would build next door to us so they could help me raise the boys.  

I had made the first plan in my future without Jake. 

Eight months after Jake died, I gave birth to my sweet Jacob Jr.


He began the healing in my heart.  He was an angel from the start and has remained one ever since.  He just turned 8 years old.  He is so much like his Daddy it is crazy.  I’m thankful everyday to my Heavenly Father for giving him to me.  He is my miracle!

To be honest the first 2 years after Jake died are a blur.  It was so hard and exhausting.  But there were so many tender mercies along the way as well.  I began making a new life for me and the kids.  We started grief therapy, and new traditions that would ensure we would always remember Jake.  Slowly, we began to accept that he wasn’t coming back.  This was our new reality.




When Jake first died, I was offended by anyone even suggesting I remarry.  I remember my mom suggesting that I start dating after it had been a year.  My response, “Should I ask the guy to bring me home in the middle of the date to breast feed the baby (3 months old) or should I just take him along and breast feed him during dinner?”.  That gave us a little bit of a laugh.  After a year or so though, I started realizing that I was so young and it would be a very long, lonely life if I stayed single.

I started dating after it had been about 2 years.  It was awful, scary, hilarious and sometimes even fun.  In April 2006 a man named Curtis asked me out and with a little divine intervention I eventually said yes.  It was hard at first but, within a short time we fell in love and I KNEW I was supposed to marry him. He had 4 sons as well, all the same ages as my kids.  I was thrilled to feel happiness again.  I was going to make plans and have dreams again!  Curtis was great about accepting Jake’s presence in our home, our lives, and my heart.  This made it easier for me to allow myself to fall in love with him.

It was amazing and romantic and perfect... until we got married and then it was all of those things, and also very, very hard.  Second marriages have so many problems that first marriages don’t have (and first marriages have plenty of problems).  I’m still not sure why I thought starting a marriage with 8 boys under 8 would be easy? ;)





It took time for me to deal with feelings of betrayal once I remarried.  I struggled feeling like I was betraying Jake, and in time I began feeling like I was betraying Curtis, as well.  Being in love with 2 men is a strange thing.  I didn’t want to hurt either one of them.  Gradually however, with the love and understanding of Curtis, and the peaceful feelings that I get from Jake, I have been able to let that go.  I can be deeply in love with both of them and that is OK.  I even feel the love that Curtis and Jake have for each other.  It might not be a typical family unit, but it’s mine and I love it.

My name is Julie and I am in love with 2 men.

Curtis and I have had years of ups and downs.  Times that I was sure I was going to leave him and times that I have never felt happier, but we work hard at our marriage and are thriving and happy... (most of the time:).  

In the first months after Jake died I read a book about grief.  In it was a line that I keep close to my heart and have tried to live by.  “You can’t choose your trials in life, but you can choose how you deal with them.  You can choose to become better or bitter.”  I have tried hard to become better.  My kids are amazing people because of what they have been through.  I feel blessed to have two men who love me and accept each other being in my heart.  I feel happiness and joy everyday.  I think of Jake everyday.  He stays in my heart and we talk about him regularly.  Everyday that I was married to Jake I prayed for his safety.  I had faith and knew that God would protect him.  At the same time, everyday I also prayed to be able to accept God’s will in my life.  I also have faith in this.  I used to think that if I had faith God would protect me from anything bad happening to me.  Now I know that if I have faith God will help me survive anything.  

People say that “time heals all wounds”.  I beg to differ.  Time doesn’t heal, if anything it makes it worse.  It’s been longer since I have seen Jake, and heard his voice.  Longer since I’ve felt the love and strength in his embrace.  But what time does, is helps us learn how to deal with it better and how to cope with our new reality.  Time give us the chance to grow into the person we were meant to be.  I said before that grief can become sweet and peaceful, and that is because of time.  To think of Jake, see pictures of him, and take time to remember him brings a sweet, peaceful feeling.

My name is Julie and I am choosing to become better.

In 2008 Curtis and I had our first child together.  I was so excited to find out what it was, obviously hoping for a girl to add to our family of 8 boys.  I have to admit that I was devastated to find out it was another boy!  It took several weeks to accept this reality.  Cameron was born in July.  He was so sweet and he had my heart from the minute I saw him.  I wouldn’t have traded him for any girl in the world.  I knew he was meant to be my son.  He helped bond our blended family into a family.  Everyone adored him.  He brought so much happiness and love to our home.

Things were looking up.  Curtis and I moved into a new home that fit our extremely large family.  Curtis was blessed to be very successful in his career so we had more than enough for our needs.  The kids were all doing great.  Cameron was a little delayed on a few things, but overall we were doing really well.  I was sure that all my trials were in the past.  We still deal with the loss of Jake daily and he remains a huge presence in our house.  But, surely my life had been so hard that I wouldn’t have anymore trials.  At least, no more big lifelong trials.  Right!?!

 In the fall of 2009 my 3rd son Jordy was really struggling to learn in school.  He had been very delayed in his toddler years but because he was only 1 when his Dad died they felt that explained his delays.  I felt like he eventually caught up by preschool.  He had a quirky personality, but that was just what made him Jordy.  When he was in first grade things started spiraling downward fast.  I was reading everything I could find and came across, The Out-Of-Sync Child.  This was a game changer for us.  It took almost 9 months to go through all the diagnosing, Doctor appointments and therapist to find out he was PDD-NOS (mildly autistic) with severe Sensory Processing Disorder, and had learning disabilities.

My name is Julie and I am a special needs Mom.



I was devastated and couldn’t believe that I was going through yet another trial.  It took several months to come to grips with my anger over it. I felt betrayed by God somehow.  Like we had an agreement that I would endure my trial with the understanding that he would prevent anything else bad from happening.  I battled depression (again), and gained weight from all the stress.  But in time, with a lot of prayer, God helped heal my heart.  Instead of feeling picked on I decided to focus on helping my son.  I found my strong personality again and became a mom with a cause.  Sometimes, moms of Autistic kids have to fight harder than other disabilities.  Maybe we are bad parents, or our kids are just bad kids that don’t listen and won’t follow directions.  There is no medical “proof” that our kids have a disability.  It’s just some Doctors opinion.  We have to fight for our kids in the school system, the medical world, in our neighborhoods, in our families, in every public place that we take our kids, and even at times in our homes with the other siblings.  Watching my son struggle with PDD is heart breaking at times and yet, he is so funny and great to be around.  He is happy almost all the time, and tries so hard.  My priorities changed from making sure I made it to the gym every morning, to making sure Jordy had his occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavior training, and tutoring lined up and taken care of each day.  I tried hard to “fix” him.  I have learned in the past couple years that instead of trying to fix him, I need to help him.  Help him reach his highest potential no matter what that is.  Help him deal with his sensory issues, by fixing his environment rather than him.  Helping his anxiety with coping techniques.  Helping him find the best ways he learns and convincing his teachers to accommodate the systems we find.  As time has gone by somethings have improved a little and some have gotten much worse.  We take each day as it comes and continue to navigate through all his struggles.  Little did I know that this experience was preparing me for even more.

My name is Julie and I will fight for my kids!

 Cameron was easy from the beginning.  I teased my older kids that he was happy just to be along for the ride.  Sitting in the car seat silently accepting his fate as a passenger to their lives of football, baseball, and everything else they were involved in.  It was kind of a joke until I realized that my soon to be 2 year old sweet baby boy that never cried or caused a problem, also never really made a sound.  He had several delays along the way, but when I asked the Doctor about them I was always brushed off as the worried mom (whose husband died so she’s too paranoid).  Being told, “He is the youngest of 9 kids, he will catch up.” and “You need to stop worrying so much, he is fine, happy and healthy.  He will smile, sit, crawl, walk (the list goes on) in his own time.”  



Finally when Cameron turned 2, with almost no words or sounds they started early intervention.  With a normal hearing test we began speech therapy.  During that time I found out that I was (quite surprisingly) pregnant again.  God really knows me, and knows to give me babies when things are going to get ugly;).  I was thrilled and hoped and prayed for a daughter.  Living with 9 sons was fun...but come on, throw a girl a bone and give me a baby girl! 

 Cameron was having speech therapy weekly and after 4 months had made no progress.  They diagnosed him with speech apraxia (the inability to make your mouth say what your thinking) which lead to an MRI four days before Christmas in 2010.  The Doctor called that day with more words I never wanted to hear. “The MRI was AB-normal.”  I was crushed.  Cameron was diagnosed in the following weeks with Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia, (PVNH).  I told the Neuro he would need to write that down.  It is a brain abnormality where some of the grey brain matter doesn’t migrate out during the development process.  It interrupts good brain waves being sent out and almost always sends out misfires and causes an almost untreatable form of epilepsy. They said he may never speak and to teach him sign language in hopes his brain would make new connections to his speech center.  He would need intense speech therapy and an EEG to test for seizures.  The EEG was normal, so we continued in his speech therapy, upping it to 2 times a week. 

On January 19, 2011 the 15 year anniversary of Jake and I’s first date I found out I was pregnant with a GIRL!!  The timing was divine.  It brought a spark of happiness and excitement in a time that I was so overwhelmed and heart broken about Cameron. Finally after 14 years of longing for a daughter, my prayer was answered.

 Even with this joyous news, my focus stayed on Cam.  Luckily I learned sign language in high school so I began teaching Cam.  He loved it and in a short time was signing so many words.  I eventually taught him to pray in sign language.  I challenge anyone to find something as cute as a 2 yr old signing a prayer!  After months of signing and therapy he slowly began to say a few words and finally put 2 words together, “ball in”.  With that little phrase we worked on for months, something clicked, and by the time he was 3 he was putting 3 and 4 words together.  Hearing my little guy say “love you mama” brought unimaginable joy to me.

 In July, Curtis and I welcomed to our family our baby girl.  Decorating her nursery, and buying her clothes brought so much happiness in a tough time.  But, holding her in my arms was priceless.  My heart was so full, and our family was complete.

My name is Julie and I FINALLY have a daughter!!!



I was thrilled with Cameron’s progress but something still wasn’t right.  Cameron seemed sick all the time.  He was tired and sluggish.  He would sleep for hours and hours during the day and 12 hours at night.  He had rashes all the time all over his body.  He was having issues that didn’t add up to being just PVNH.  He started declining in Sept. of 2011 to the point of me demanding an appt. with a Cardiologist.  I can’t explain it, but I just knew something was wrong and I had to fix it fast!  They found nothing.  The feeling only got worse.  After years of being ignored by my pediatrician I finally got a new Doctor in November of 2011.  She researched PVNH and decided we should be scheduled with a genetic specialist.  Usually it takes months to be seen but we were a “high priority case” because we already had our first diagnosis.  They scheduled an appt. just 3 weeks away.  Unfortunately, the next week Curtis was informed that his great successful job had an expiration date.  He had about a year left before he would need to find another job.  This was a shock and quite devastating, but we were so grateful for the year we would have so that our insurance would see us through solving Cam’s puzzle.

We went to our appointment with genetics.  The doctor ordered a special blood test and a week later, this time 3 days before Christmas we were told “Cameron has a genetic disorder called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome” (also known as DiGeorge Syndrome).  This is a syndrome where part of the 22nd chromosome is deleted.  It is what caused the PVNH and explained all the other issues he was having.  In the next several weeks we learned that Cameron has 3 minor heart defects, 1 being potentially fatal that we will monitor his entire life.  He was born with only one kidney, that is smaller than the Doctor would like and has a couple issues, that will also be monitored.  Low immunity, over-all low tone, chronic fatigue, chronic rashes, and possible learning disorders.  PVNH usually causes dyslexia and 22q causes issues with numbers and problem solving, so he is taking a hit from both sides.  There is a 90% chance he will eventually develop a seizure disorder.  His most recent EEG came back normal again though:).  Cam had to have a sleep study done and they found he had sleep apnea.  We removed his adenoids and tonsils to hopefully help his chronic fatigue.  The surgery went well, but I’m sad to say the fatigue remains a big issue for him.  It is likely that he will continue to have new issues come up through out his life.



The good news?  Cam has beat the odds in many ways and his speech continues to improve.  The mortality rate for 22q kids is extremely high in the first year, and a lot of 22q pregnancies result in miscarriage.  He is the happiest, sweetest little boy I know.  I can’t get enough of him.  I am grateful everyday that he is alive.  When Jake died I remember envying people that had trials of illness.  That sounds crazy, but death is so final.  There is no room for hope, prayer, miracles, and doing everything in your power to fix it.  This gives me perspective, knowing full well that my Cam could have died.  He could have spent his entire life in the NICU until he finally died.  He didn’t, he is alive, he is happy, sweet, and playful.  He is a miracle, and I get to have hope, and do everything in my power to fix him.  

My name is Julie and I see the miracles in my life.

 Most people would say having two special needs kids is a really hard trial.  Well, even just having one child with special needs is.  This is a true statement.  However, as a Mom of two amazing special needs kids, I realize that it’s not MY trial.  Their special needs are their trial.  They are two of my most cherished blessings.  I have the honor of raising, loving, and helping them through all of the challenges they will have to face in their life.  They are strong and will reach their full potential, whatever that may be.  It won’t be easy for them or for me, but we will get through all of it together. Watching Cam go through several medical tests over and over kills me.  He will have a lifetime of Dr. visits and stops at the hospital. It breaks my heart for him.  I will go through all of it though, if I get to be the one he snuggles up to and kisses everyday.

I started realizing I could break under the pressure of being a widow, in a second marriage with 10 kids, not knowing what our employment situation will be or how we will get a new insurance to cover Cam or Jordy, and having two kids with special needs, on top of every other “normal” problem that most of us face everyday.  OR, I could look for every blessing, every miracle, and every ounce of help I receive from God and my loved ones.  Sometimes I have to really search and sometimes it is abundantly clear, but I can find blessings in every single day.  I focus on what I can do to improve our situation and do it.  I try not to beat myself up for not being perfect at everything.  I do the best I can and accept that as good enough.  I am thankful for all the amazing things I have in my life.  I have "typical" kids that are amazing and helpful and lift my burden everyday.  Curtis and I have grown very close as we have faced each new challenge. I may have had harder trials than most, but I could argue that I may have had more miracles than most, as well.  I love my life, I try to become better everyday, I look for the positive and don’t focus on the negative, and I choose to feel happiness everyday.  I’m not perfect in this and have plenty of room to improve.  I have times I feel down, or even days that I feel down.  The important thing is that I don’t let myself have weeks or months that I feel down.  



People often ask me how I handle so many trials.  I usually respond with something like, “I didn’t know I had any other option”.  The truth is though, the only way I can handle any of it is through the help and love of my Savior and his atoning sacrifice.  I rely heavily on the words of my beloved church leader Thomas S. Monson, “Remember, whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.”  My life is a testimony of that statement.

My name is Julie and I love my crazy, tragic, stressful, difficult, wonderful life. 






Edit: A couple of people have asked about my Husband's new company.  www.qpquo.com

Here is its facebook page.

Prompted by many of your messages I started a facebook page.  You can follow me or send me a private message at:
My name is Julie and I love my crazy, tragic, wonderful life.

My name is Julie post was originally posted on a blog for a My name is... series about women overcoming difficult challenges. The blog is called My Name is Jacy you can find other inspiring stories on this blog.  http://www.mynameisjacy.com/p/blog-page_9.html

When I get stressed...I bake...check out my cakes!  www.julie-juliescakes.blogspot.com

278 comments:

  1. Amazing story! I could not put my phone down. Had to read it all in one sitting. Very inspirational yo read about real trials another person has gone through, but yet your faith keeps increasing. Beautiful story and beautiful family!

    Blessings,
    Leigh

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    1. Wow! Just when I thought I had it bad, I got this story just in the nick of time. Thank you Julie. Thank you cousin Shelly for sending it to my Facebook. Thank you God for making it ALL possible. I am truly blessed!

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    2. Thank you so much for your family story, Julie. It is an inspired story to make us think and thank God daily for our blessings. We must endure to the end, and you are doing it. Don't know how, but with God's help, all can be accomplished. Carol N

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  2. Blessings to you and your wonderful family. Thank you for sharing your story. Thanks. Steve Hardison

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  3. Julie, I look at all my trials as gifts from the Lord, I feel blessed that I was chosen by the Lord to be used to reach others & myself. I do get emotional at times but that comes & goes. May the good Lord continue to use you & bless you & others.

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    1. Thanks Sandra, our trials help us grow and become the people we are meant to be. It isn't always easy and I'm glad you choose to see it that way! Thanks for your comments.

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  4. Wow! What a journey you have had. May you always find joy in that journey, even though it is filled with ups and downs, and may the Lord be ever mindful of you and your family.

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    1. Thank you Patti, may the Lord bless your family as well.

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  5. Amazing Family..I also have loved my Heavenly Father's love for me thru so many trials....I lost my 34 yr old son recently, I lost all 8 of my fingers from staph /septic...I have lost a husband to the ways of the World...had over 42 surgeries and this past year cancer....I am strong, determined, sassy, spunky and love the gospel of Jesus Christ...I AM A MORMON with purpose in my life and love knowing I will see my son again and be whole again...hugs Deb

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    1. Wow, That is a lot to go through. My prayers will be with you Deb. Thank you!

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  6. I ran across your blog through a friend's FB post. What an incredible story! I will never complain about my life again!! (My mom was killed in a car accident two years ago and my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 2, but we are doing just great. No complaints here.) I appreciate your testimony of the Savior. I add my witness that He is there to lighten our burdens as it says in Mosiah 24:14. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

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    1. Aimee I am sorry for the loss of you Mom. I hope your little girl is doing well. That is so scary! Thank you for your kind words!

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  7. Hi, my name is LaNae and I wanted to tell you that your story was shared with me because I have an eerily similar situation. I did not get widowed, but the man I loved and was married to for 8 years was overcome with multiple mental illnesses that turned my home into a place a danger. I eventually begged for guidance from God after fighting to get through it for 3 years and was told to leave. We have four children together. Three girls, one boy. My third little girl was born with VCFS and Partial DiGeorge and as of yesterday, my beautiful second girl was diagnosed with PDD-NOS after a year and a half of searching for answers with professionals in therapy and childhood psychiatry. I am currently a single mother with two of my four children going through so many identical struggles as you have described. I am now engaged to a wonderful man and about to start my own second marriage and his son will be my addition to the kids I have. Thank you for giving me hope because now I know I am not completely alone in the trials and blessings I am given and that my incredible children live with daily as well.

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    1. LeNae...that is eerily similar!!! Does your daughter have the 22q deletion? VCFS and DiGeorge are usually the same deletion on the 22 chromosome. Good luck with the new diagnosis. I do feel like knowledge is power. It hurts to find out something is "wrong" with your child...but when you "KNOW" something is wrong it helps to know what it is. I wish you the best of luck with everything! Thanks for your kind words.

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    2. Yeah, VCFS is what the deletion is called just by itself, but when heart, immune, or hypocalcemia are also taking place, they call it DiGeorge is what I was taught lol. My daughter with it was spared the heart conditions and calcium issues, but her thymus is in her neck and doesn't work anywhere near well enough so she is sick A LOT. My daughter with the PDD-NOS has been a trip for me because I have been going through a huge battle with her school to take her issues seriously and they have pushed against me so hard. But I am going to keep pushing back because I am her voice, just like with my other daughter. I actually blogged a lot about what happened too. It is so healing to share :). I am seeing your blog all over my facebook wall so I know what you have shared is making a huge positive impact for so many people!

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  8. All I can say to you is that you are truly Christ like. May the Lord continue to bless you and your beautiful family.

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  9. Thank you for your story. It helps me realize I need to look at things differently in my life. I have some similar trials but not all. I was not widowed, but having a husband leave can have just as hard of feelings to face, especially on your worth and self esteem. I had 4 children from that marriage 2 being mildly special needs, the other two needing some help but worked through their speech challenges, one was apraxia. Then married a man with a daughter that ended up being mildly special need, very similar to my oldest child, we nowhave two children one with behavioral issues and one again showing speech and language delays. On top of that, blending a family and a couple of different cultures. Yes I decided to make life fun. It had been so hard and I wanted to give up so many times. My older daughters have not been able to bond with my new husband and I see one of my sons who is now 11 that is following this same path, I'm scared for his teen years. Nit having this bond had created a lot of grief and having a husband that doesn't understand mental disabilities makes it a little harder.
    In reading your story I see that I need to look for more positive, I try sometimes but it is hard, I often find myself not able to smile, I am getting help for that. It is good to know I am not alone, thank you.

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    1. Wow, that is a lot to deal with Jeana. Second marriages are a lot of work! They bring a lot of joy too. I hope you will find the peace and happiness you are looking for!

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    2. Thank you so much, I appreciate that. Such a sweet thing that you took to respond to each of these. This only continues to show what a sweet genuine person you are.

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  10. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is inspiring. Prayers for you and your family.

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  11. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. I have three special children, one with 22q duplication, not deletion, that caused him to be born with a cleft palate. Each child has his/her own challenge, and it does make being a mom very difficult, but we manage somehow. Thank goodness for the gospel! I'm going to save your blog!

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    1. Thank you! The gospel brings strength that you can't find anywhere else!

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  12. You are famous on facebook now! Thank you for writing you story. I don't know how you managed to do it. I'm a widow with five sons, remarried, had three more. It's been eight years now, and I can't bring myself to write about it all yet. Thanks for sharing... makes me feel less alone. God bless you!

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    1. I am not sure how this went viral...I wrote it over a year ago. I feel really humbled by it. It was hard to write, but was very healing as well, and it's nice to know that some good has come of my trials. Thank you for your comments, let me know when you write your story!

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  13. Your post has inspired me and made me look at my small trials much differently. I want to pull out a few quotes from your blog but the credit will be given to you. Your thoughts and expressions were so inspiring and well said. Many will benefit from your faith, your candidness, your truthful admissions and your inspiring testimony. Thank you for sharing your story with so many of us who get bogged down in our own life stories.

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    1. Thanks Launa....I'm curious now of what quotes you liked;) We all have trials, some bigger than others...but they are all trials!

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  14. A friend posted a link to this on her Facebook, and it was just what I needed to read. The past 2 years have been the hardest in my life. It all boils down to me having twin boys 3 months early, which resulted in them both having special needs (one more severe than the other), and then 7 months ago my almost 3 year old son passed away from a drowning accident. The comments you made about grieving for your husband mirror my thoughts exactly. But, I have 2 special needs babies (18 months old now) and 3 other kids who need me, so I get up every day and do what needs to be done. Thank you for sharing your story. You can see more about my story on my son's Facebook page, Praying for Zachary Gordon.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear that. The pain of losing a loved one is unlike anything in the world. I will look up your sons page. Good luck with everything. My prayers will be with you and your family!

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  15. Thank you for sharing your amazing life story. You are an inspiration to anyone struggling. I appreciate your perspective on life and acknowleding Heavenly Father's blessings through it all. My heart has been touched. Hugs to you my dear...

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  16. My name is Brooke and you are a great example to me. Thank you!

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  17. I lost my husband one year ago in a tragic home accident and never thought anybody would understand the way I feel but you described it exactly. I still feel like I am living somebody else's life but your blog gives me hope. Thank you.

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    1. I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad I could help even if it's just a little bit. Thanks for your kind words.

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  18. Julie, I don't know if you will see this but I hope you do. My mom has a non-profit company in UT!! It is called Soul-R-Eclipse. She does a river rafting trip with females only and every year she does one for Mothers with Autistic children!!! It is such and amazing thing please visit her website at soulreclipse.com your story is so amazing and it sounds like you give so much, but here is something to give back to you!!! You just have to apply and the details are on her website. or visit her on fb at soulreclipse and like her page, I would love for you to meet my mom and I truly want you to get something back for all the love you are putting out to your lovely family. I hope you see this post soon and please know its not a hoax!!! thank you!!! oh my moms name is Yvette Campbell and she is also a labor and delivery nurse at Ogden regional.

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    1. That is awesome! Thank you so much. I love river rafting! I really want to look into this. You are very sweet:)

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  19. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story and allowing me to read it. We all need reminders to be positive and look for our blessings.

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  20. Julie thank you for telling your story. You are such an inspiration to those of us who are struggling with our trials. (Me in particular) Reading your story has truly been an answer to my prayers. Thank you for showing others that it is possible to make it through the difficult trials we are faced with and that we can swim above the surface... My heart has truly been touched. My prayers go with you and your family to continue your strength in facing your trials with the courage and faith that you need. Thank you so much again,
    Erin

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    1. Erin, Thank you for your kind words. I am overcome by the response of everyone. I am glad that reading this has helped people.

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  21. Prayers for you and your family. Puts my trials in perspective and strengthens my resolve to look at the blessings instead of the trials. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  23. I was living in Price and married to a mining engineer when this happened. It was such a tragedy. I am so sorry for your loss. It is amazing the trials we are given and able to overcome. Best wishes in your future.

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    1. 10 years on the 22 of January. It's crazy how the time has passed by. Thank you for your words, and thank you for remembering that it was a tragedy. It truly was.

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  24. Thank you so much for sharing your life, so far, with us (with me). My testimony of my Savior & of his plan for us has been strengthened. I have a firm faith that whatever comes, you will make it thru & be stronger. Please continue to share.

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  25. Julie, Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and testimony. I don't know if you remember, but Jake and my husband Travus were friends growing up. He still talks about what a neat person and friend he was. What a beautiful family you have! Congratulations on finally getting your girl! Take care. Kathy Dye

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    1. Of course I remember you guys. I am doing a 10 memorial service for Jake next week on Sat. I would love it if you guys came so my boys could meet Travus and hear his memories of growing up with Jake!!!

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  26. What a great attitude you have. You are amazing.

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  27. May Heavenly Father and our Savior be very close to you every day and bless your precious family. Angels are helping you. Your story brings strength to many. Everyone has tests. Thank you for sharing.

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  28. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.

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  29. Julie, you and I have much in common! I desperately needed the "shot in the arm" your story provided me with today. Thank you, THANK YOU for sharing. May the Lord continue to bless and strengthen you and your beautiful family. Much love to you.

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    1. I don't really know how this went viral...but I'm glad it found you:)

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  30. Whew! Thank you for your story. May God continue to bless you and yours.

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  31. Wow, your strength and courage is inspiring! Keep the faith, the Lord knows we can make it through if we put our trust in him.

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  32. Julie, I have always admired and looked up to you. You are such a strong woman. The things you have gone through would have been too much for me.
    I remember having a huge crush on Jake in junior high and considered him a friend throughout high school. When he passed away it affected the whole community. I remember thinking shortly after that that Jake had married such a wonderful person to raise his sons. When I heard you and Curtis were getting married I was so happy for you. I just knew that Jake must have had a hand in it.
    As I have heard of the other struggles you have faced I have been amazed at your strength. But then I think, of course she is strong she has help from a wonderful man on the other side as well as the love and help of a wonderful family here on earth.
    I am so grateful you have shared your story. It reminds me that I can get through the trials that I face in my life. It is a great reminder too, that there is someone who knows those trials and has payed the price if we rely on Him, He will help us through.
    God bless you and your family. Continue to be a strong woman and great example to everyone.
    Love, Jennifer Gardner

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    1. Jennifer, Thank you for that. I know that Jake is helping us along the way! Your words mean a lot to me.

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  33. Time doesn't heal all wounds but the atonement does.

    Learn more about it at blog.jeremyscottpeters.com . Life is an adventure. Continue to perfect yourself in Christ!

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  34. Thank you. A simple completely heartfelt thank you.
    Exactly what I needed to hear. May you continually be blessed with the peace and faith you need.

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  35. Thank you for sharing your story. My daughter has six sons, and the last has Deletion 22. He is such a blessing. I love him dearly. He turned four last September. We are LDS and are grateful for this little blessing boy! Are you aware of the Deletion 22 support group in the Salt Lake area? And Angel's Hands has taken them into their group, too. - Anita K

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    1. Is it the one that Cassandra runs? I don't think I know about Angel's hands yet? I'd love more info!! Thanks

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    2. Yes, it is Cassandra's. I think the Angel's Hands group "adopted" Cassandra's group somehow. You could probably check with her. The Angel's Hands group provides a monthly activity for the whole family, things such as Bee's and REAL SL games, Hogle Zoo, Hollywood Connections including a movie, things like that. I will see if my daughter can get more info to you.

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  36. Oh dear!! That's a lot!
    You are such a strong woman! I am your new fan!
    God bless you!

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  37. All I can say is, "Thank You!" Your strength, testimony, and love are inspirational. Thank you for sharing. God bless you and your beautiful, eternal family.

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  38. Thank you for your strength and example, Julie. Wow.

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  39. Julie, I was touched by your strength and your story. I am blessed to work with natural medicine and have seen lives blessed, lifted and quality of life improved. I'd love to chat with you or anyone else that would like free education on how to live a healthy lifestyle. (please let me share with you. I have so many inspirations that flooded my mind as I read about your boys.) My husband teaches autistic children and I have some amazing resources to help them thrive! You can email me at " oils {at} liviadesigns.com"

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  40. Very interesting story. I am sorry for your trials and tribulations, but with the grace of God, you have and will over come. You are a very strong person. God Bless you and your family.

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  41. Thank you so much for everyone's amazing comments. It feels great that my experience can help someone else! I am really humbled by the support and love reading your stories as well.

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  42. Thank you. Your post gave me hope. I realize that our trials are meant for us to learn, but sometimes I feel like telling HF that I am done with school, give me a break! You post gives me hope.

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    1. I love that...I'm done with school...sign me up;)

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  43. Wow, Julie, you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story and your faith. May you always feel the Savior's love in your life and I hope good luck and sunshine will always be on your side. You and your family are absolutely beautiful!

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  44. Thanks for your story. I saw a link to this site off of a friend's facebook post. I am a 31 yo widow of 2 young boys. It's been 2 years. I am now dating. I feel like I am walking in the same footsteps you did. Thank you for your faith. At times, it seems as if I won't find another great man, but you did, so it's possible :) I also find my husband's presence in our home and with our children. What a wonderful blessing! The veil is so thin. He continues to give me support. I am grateful for your testimony. I can see Heavenly Father leading you along, just like He is me. We are not abandoned. Your children are beautiful! You've inspired me that happiness can come again in another family. Thank you!

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    1. I am so glad to hear this. There is always hope, and no matter how hard things are, there is always happiness too. I wish you the best of luck on the journey. We are not abandoned...not even close. Thanks for your words!

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  45. Julie, Julie, Julie! Thank you so much for writing this on my blog those 15 plus months ago! I knew your story was so very special... and I am so glad that it is reaching people far and wide! You are a beacon of hope and light! Thank you for being SO courageous! The world needs more women like you.

    If anyone is interested in reading the series that Julie's story was originally written for, follow the link below. It's called the "My Name is" series and highlights many other brave and beautiful women enduring difficult trials.

    http://www.mynameisjacy.com/search/label/MY%20NAME%20IS

    LOVE YOU JULIE! Honored to call you my friend.

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    1. I am so glad that Allie was inspired to email you about my story. It forced me to write it...and I had been wanting to for a very long time. Thanks for all you do to support women! You are amazing!!

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  46. Thanks for this post! I, like you, have had a life full of trials. Thankfully I haven't lost my husband, but I've been through more things then the normal person has to go through in a lifetime. I also have a son with special needs (Aspergers) and it is a lifetime job of being an advocate. As I face trials in my life I have had to continually look back on my life and realize that each trial has made me even stronger. I would never ask for more, but I'm grateful for who I've become because of them. I applaud you and your efforts to remain positive and to always advocate for your family. You're an amazing example to us all. God bless you!

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    1. Thank you so much Dacia, being an advocate is definitely a fulltime/lifetime job!! Good luck on your path.

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  47. So well written, which is why it resonates with so many of us. Our trials are all different, and yet the same. Your description of grieving was right on. As I read, "People say that “time heals all wounds”. I beg to differ. Time doesn’t heal, if anything it makes it worse," I was wondering if somehow you were quoting me. My first true love died in an instant, as he sat right next to me. I somehow survived the accident and was left to figure out how to find the will to live. Like you, it took me two years to start dating, and over time, you get used to being in love with two men. That was 26 years ago and I've had 23 fabulous years with my husband but it doesn't take away the loss. I still grieve what might've been.
    You are right, that time makes things worse in a way. But with 26 years of perspective, I would add that at least I have gotten better at managing it, predicting triggers, etc. Also, time (or age?) has given me a different perspective on the grief itself. It doesn't get in the way of me living a happy and busy life, so I don't need to "get over it." The grief is tangled up with the sweetness of the memories. It's part of me, part of who I am and who I will always be, in this mortal life at least. I'm ok with that. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
    Thank you for sharing your story, and may the lord continue to bless you and your beautiful family.

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    1. So glad to hear from someone 26 years out and still going strong! Thanks

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  48. Wonderful story and glad you shared it. The only thing I disagree with is "autism parents have to fight harder than other disabilities". Incorrect. Autism has about 1,000 times the publicity than my child's disability. My child does not have the ability to speak, walk, use her hands, or even sit up. I have to fight for her right to school, therapy, insurance, medical treatments... because some would like to "let her go" and say she is "too disabled" to get what she needs to survive. So... what I'm saying is: let's fight the fight for our children without diminishing the fight that another mom is going through, okay?

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    1. I added the word Sometime...before that statement. What I meant in saying that is that Autism can be an invisible disability. While it does have 1,000 times more publicity that comes with a cost of people saying, "it's over diagnosed". In the fight for Cam, people don't question me when I fight for his needs or disabilities because I have a medical test that "proves" the disability. Until Jordy had a mental breakdown with OCD last Feb. he seemed like a pretty typical kid. The OCD break actually helped me in a way even though it was probably the most heartbreaking thing I have ever witnessed one of my kids go through. Jordy just barely was able to stop the therapy for it, it took months for him to recover. But his "disability" was no longer invisible and if you spent even 1 min. with him you knew something was wrong. Before that and with a lot of high-functioning autism you are treated like you are a bad parent with a bad kid sometimes. I am sorry for your fight for your daughter. I empathize with anyone walking down this path. Good luck!

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    2. What a wonderful Inspiring Post, Thank You!! And Adrianne, I think, If YoU Really Read And Understood This Post, Then You Would know Julie Would Never Mean To Diminish The Fight Of Another. And To Accuse Her Of Such Was insulting

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    3. Big D and Nazi Wifey,
      Why in the world would you choose the word "Nazi" in your title? If you want to talk about insulting, lets talk about that! Holy moly. 6 million Jews died, mostly at the hands of (or influence of) Nazis. It's not a funny word. And it is not something to joke about. If you care so much about Julie being insulted, think about the other people that are being insulted by your "playful" (not) words. (Also, what is with you capitalizing every word in your sentences? I'm sorry to say this, but the Nazis were usually a very highly educated people. So dead give away there that you truly aren't one.)

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    4. Sorry, My Blog Title Is Just A Weightloss Competition. My Husband Is Trying To Lose 150 Pounds And He Told Me I Could Be His "Nazi" Trainer And Whip Him Back Into Shape. Knowing Now That It Is Offensive, I Will Indeed Change It. And.... Something Is Wrong With My Phone, It Won't Let Me Type Without The Weird Capitals.

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  49. All I can say is WOW!!! We share the same name and we both have had trials (very different and very similar). Thanks for sharing.

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  50. thank you for sharing your story. you have a beautiful family and you have been blessed with marriages with men who you love and they likewise. Many aren't even fortunate enough to have that once in their lives. 9 boys!! Oh my.. I am glad you were blessed with your little girl.

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  51. Thanks for your story of courage and faith. I'm preparing the Priesthood lesson for today and realized for the first time that Joseph Fielding Smith witnessed the death of his beloved spouse three times. I've also lost my wife. Kudos for you and for all of us who face this great challenge and continue in faith. In fact, turning to the Lord in such times of trial renews our faith.

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  52. You're an inspiration, but most importantly, you're not afraid to spill the "ugly" truth. I whole-heatedly agree that you can become Bitter or Better...I haven't faced the obstacles you have, but try to be better in mine. May The Lord continue to bless you and your beautiful family!
    www.marycolovich.blogspot.com
    ~Mary

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    1. I am just glad...my "ugly" truth was received well by people;) I never thought it would go viral, so I'm glad it's gone over well. Thanks

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  53. Wow. Julie your testimony is so helpful to me and so many others. I am always terrified of losing my husband but in a way it's comforting to know that it wouldn't be the end of my life. I have my own trials that I've been considering writing about. You are a great motivation to do it. God bless u and u r family.

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    1. Go for it!!! It was really healing to do.

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  54. This is awesome. <3

    And your daughter is adorable. :)

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  55. Julie, it's nice to finally meet someone whose in the same "boat" as I am I to married the love of my life, I to had 3 boys, I to became a widow at the age of 26, I to am a special needs mom, my children have a genetic disease called Neurofibromatosis or NF1 for short. my husband passed it on to our boys yet I didn't find out until after he was passed that he died from this disease. (we never knew my husband had NF1) my children have a lot health problem, learning issues, my middle son is severely autistic (diagnosed at age 2) my youngest son has 9 tumors that we know about & 3 masses in his brain, 1 tumor plexiform neurofibroma is incurable & will continue to grow his whole life. I to remarried & had a little girl. a little over a year I ago the Lord basically told the best course of action was to start homeschooling (never thought i'd ever homeschool) we live in a good school district but lack of funding, lack of teachers, etc they just could give my children what they needed to learn & grow. My name is Elizabeth and I love my crazy, tragic, stressful, difficult, wonderful life! thank your for sharing your story I was starting to think I was the only one! Very lonely feeling so thank you

    I am so happy that you were finally blessed with a girl

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    1. Wow...that is really similar! I hope things go well for you. Good luck with the homeschooling for sure!

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  56. Wow Elizabeth, thank you for sharing that. I am so sorry to hear about all that. I am glad you found this post...and now I too don't feel alone in my trials:) Good luck with everything that you are dealing with and I am so glad you found some happiness!

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  57. i'm redww6 If you wish to contact me I am on facebook
    Elizabeth Roti-Wunderlich
    thanks again for sharing your story

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  58. Julie, what a beautiful story. I am so grateful for people who can stand in Holy places when the world is faltering around them. I have been divorced with 6 children, (lost a son) and learned that the Lord walks with each of us in life. I have been remarried together we have 14 children, all unique and we are going on 26 years. Blending two families is a lot of work and not easy... We have 7 girls and 7 boys. We have one in Heaven waiting for us all. Life is not easy but we learn that we live with the trials and challenges we are given. We have adopted the last two children both fetal alcohol drug children. They have their own trials and we have learned each day brings new things to us. Thank you for your example. Remember you are never alone and those mercies of God come when we least expect it. Be strong each day!

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    1. So to hear of you loss, and I love hearing of other big families. Good luck with yours, I'm sure you are blessed for taking so much on!

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  59. My name is Julie and I admire your amazing courage. Thank you for sharing your story. Hugs!!

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  60. Wow. You are amazing!! I loved reading your story and am so inspired by your reliance on the Savior and your ability to handle so much. Wow. Thanks for sharing!!!!

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  61. Julie, could I ask what the name of the book was that you got the quote about becoming better, not bitter? My family was involved in a fatal car wreck and I really think that book would help us.

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    1. It was 10 years ago...so I can't even remember...I have read a lot of books on this stuff;) But I will try to find it and post it here if I can!!

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    2. I found it...I think....it's Finding your way after your spouse dies. by Marta Felber

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  62. Julie . . .Thank you for sharing your story!! So personal and so sacred yet so inspiring for the rest of us.

    I thought of the scripture Alma 17:11 after reading this. You have become an instrument in the Lord's hands because of your long suffering and patience, of your faith, belief, testimony and ENDURING through your tests and trials and CHOOSING to be better. What a strength. I read this after reading your story and was again strengthened by the knowledge we have of the great PLAN OF HAPPINESS.

    Sometimes bad things happen–even when we make good choices.
    We get sick. Loved ones die. We lose our job or home. Our spouse is unfaithful. It’s hard not to ask why God allows us to suffer so much. Know that while God takes no pleasure in your suffering, your difficulties, regardless of their cause, can bring you closer to Him and even make you stronger if you endure faithfully (2 Nephi 2:2, Revelation 3:19).

    It’s comforting to know that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, suffered all things. He understands your pain and can help you through your trials. When you have faith in God and His plan, you can be assured that there’s a purpose to all that happens to you here on earth. Our time here is short compared to our eternal life. As the Lord told Joseph Smith during a period of intense suffering:

    "Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-8).
    Coping with calamities can strengthen you and make you more compassionate. It can help you learn, grow and want to serve others. Dealing with adversity is one of the chief ways you’re tested and tutored in your life here on Earth. Our loving Heavenly Father has the ability to compensate us for any injustices we may be called upon to endure in this mortal life. If we endure faithfully He will reward us beyond our ability to comprehend in the life to come (1 Corinthians 2:9). Amazingly, with God’s help you can experience joy even in times of trial, and face life’s challenges with a spirit of peace.

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    1. Thank you so much for your words. You have quoted many of the scriptures that have helped me get through this life. You words brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate all that you said and shared. It is so humbling to feel like I have touched even a couple of people. I am overwhelmed at the response my little story has received. Thank you!

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  63. Can I ask you a technical, personal question. Completely feel free obviously not to answer and I won't be offended, its just something I have always thought about if something happened to my husband. When a woman has her husband pass away and she wants to get sealed to a new husband some time later, how does that all work out in the temple? did you have to choose?

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    1. Kati,
      You can't. You would have to get a temple divorce from your first husband in order to be sealed to another.

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    2. A woman can only be sealed to one man while living. Once she has passed on and all of her husband's are dead as well she can be sealed to more. It is a very touchy subject for widows and takes a man of truly great faith to marry one of us. It's one of the things that makes Curtis so amazing. I am very blessed to have a man with enough faith to allow Heavenly Father to work out the mystery of the eternities.

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  64. You are a better woman then I am and may never be. Thank you for sharing!

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  65. Thank you for sharing this with the world your story is amazing touching and has forever changed my outlook on life thank you

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  66. Wowsers. Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful family you are! Happy New Year.

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  67. Oh my gosh, this story truly hit my heart strings. I cried while I read this, and I applaud you for your courageous decisions and your inspiring example.

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  68. Julie, thanks for sharing this! My heart broke, surged, and cheered for you through this entire post and I am touched. You are amazing and inspirational.

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  69. I LOVED reading your story, Thank you opening up and sharing it. I am also a special needs mom to 2 boys one with High Functioning Autism, SPD, ODD and ADHD. and another with developmental delays and seizure disoders, I've found that through the years all the stuff they throw at you only makes your stronger. you have a beautiful family, I hope you receive many blessing this year

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  70. Julie, thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you will receive the blessings you need. You are a great example to me. All the best to you and your beautiful family! Greetings from Albania,
    Arjona

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  71. This is Beautiful. You are blessed in so many ways, I hope I am as strong as you if ever a trial as hard as yours ever happens. You are Strong, Beautiful, Blessed, and are loved, not only by your family and friends but everyone you have touched. Your Family is Beautiful and I can only smile with what your daughter will go through as a young lady with so many older brothers :)

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  72. Dear Julie,
    I have to thank you for blogging this, I am dealing right now with a death of a love one, and this is helping me with my trial.
    thank you
    -aimee

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  73. Thank you for sharing this. I cried when I read your story. I am in a different kind of boat... The single life, but I still have hopes of miracles.

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  74. Julie, what a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. I love that wrote this down for us all to read; you are truly beautiful.

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  75. Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. We lost our baby girl a few months ago. She had some developmental issues. I was really feeling sorry for myself today, but reading your blog has given me some strength today.

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  76. HI Julie, I love your story. Thank you for sharing it. You are incredibly strong and have a beautiful family. We also have one son with PDD-NOS. He is 22. Our 13 year old has DeGeorge syndrome. I would love to share what you have learned about this syndrome. The Lord has great faith in you and your husband to have these sweet spirits. Have a wonderful day!!!! Diane

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  77. Thank You Julie. I have a daughter with 22.q. I sure appreciated reading everything you wrote about.
    Tara

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  78. You are so inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to write this.

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  79. Thank you for sharing such an incredible life story! Truly your experiences will help all your children to excel! I love all the photos you shared of your family to date!

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  80. What an amazing, strong, inspiring lady you are! Thank you for sharing your story and testimony!

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  81. Thank you for sharing your story and for being so real about facing the challenges of your past, present and future. I do not wish to compare, because comparing is never valid, but I would like to share a symbolism that the Spirit taught me that helps me understand how the Lord supports us individually when we turn to him and rely on His strength, (which does not take trial away, but I know that I am supported and not on my own).

    A few years ago, in a physics class, I learned about a force called the “normal force” or “perpendicular force”. This force is a real force that supports everything, keeping everything stable and not falling through a surface due to mass and gravity. The strength of this “normal force” depends on the amount of burden placed on the surface. When I learned of this force, it struck me very clearly, that this force is symbolic of how the Lord supports us in our trials and our burdens. When the weight of our burdens increase, if we turn to the Lord (PRAY. . . A LOT), proceed on our path in faith, He is there to support us and we come out okay. Our burdens are still hard and very heavy, but we do not fall, if we rely on our “Normal Force”. The support is real and He is there. I have felt it again and again. I am a mother of 7. 5 years ago, when my baby was 1, I went back to school to get a second ed/math degree (tough degree). People ask me how I did it and I always say, “I always pray, a lot”. I knew it was my path, and I knew I could not do the mothering and diligent student thing under my own power. I was not alone; I was supported all the time. This I know. The Lord is my “Normal Force”. This is beautiful to understand.

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  82. Wow. I needed this! thank you for your faith. we really can do anything w god at our side. I needed that reminder.

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  83. Thank you Julie for sharing this with the world. It is easy sometimes to think you are the only one in the world going through the trials you face. My wife and I have had three sets of twins, 8 girls and 1 boy. Our little boy has Downs Syndrome and many of the challenges associated with that condition. He also has more love in his heart than any person I have met. He is quick with a smile and adoring with his love and laughter. I can't imagine life without him. Again thank you for sharing your experiences, you uplifted my day.

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  84. What an amazing post. You are an inspiration. Our daughter is a Kawasaki Disease survivor also. She is also our special needs child. Best wishes and luck to you and your family :)

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  85. Thank you for being so uplifting! I am going to start tomorrow to choose to feel happiness!

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  86. Thank you for this, you amaze me with your strength and you faith. You are an inspiration.

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  87. WOW Julie. My name is Wendi...and my life is remarkably similar to yours!!!! I was divorced with 4 kids, then widowed, and now remarried to my first love (actually!) and he had 4 kids. We now have one together and he turned our blended family into a family. I have special needs kids as well and our little guy is starting the process of sorting out what is wrong. Crazy rashes, belly pain, slow growth. Sensory processing problems and doc thinks he has high functioning autism. We are trying to sort through it all...but counting every blessing through every trial. THANK YOU for sharing your story. It makes me feel.....well not so crazy! :)

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  88. Julie, thank you for this story. I can't tell you how much I needed to hear your words tonight. Heavenly Father reached me through your words. I cried. And was so touched. You changed the course of my night and I wrote a response to your post on my blog : http://thestandingovationjourney.blogspot.com/ . Thank you for going through all of these trials and sharing your faith. I am so grateful. Sincerely, Rachel

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  89. Thank you for your amazing story about your life and trials. Your family is beautiful! I know the feeling of losing a loved one. Lost my dad 7 years ago from lymphoma cancer. At the time of his loss I struggled big time because is the parent I was closest to. Still don't have the best relationship with my mom. It's hard because all I grew up with her was negativeness. I thought I let that all go until I turned 30 years old last year and all my bad memories are all coming back. Tried to push them to the back of my mind for the longest time but now it seems the age of women we go through the stage of reliving through our life. It's really hard but I really enjoyed your life story. Your positiveness, hope, love, strength, compassion and joy you bring to your family and all of us is amazing. Most of all you thank Heavenly Father for His help and know He's there watching over you. Truly Amazing! Thank you so much and big hugs to you!

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  90. You have got to be the most incredible woman alive. Bless you, bless you. Your heavenly mansion is going to be breathtakingly beautiful in every way and full of your healthy, lovely children. You are an inspiration to this mama of 5 littles who is feeling stretched in my own ways even with way fewer trials on my plate. You are amazing!

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  91. Oh my goodness. Thank you for sharing! :)

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  92. You are in inspiration Julie! Thanks so much for sharing and writing out your story...I was shocked with I got to the 22q part because my daughter has that too! (VCFS/DiGeorge). She almost died at birth because of her heart defect, but she is alive and well now. She has immunity issues, ear/hearing issues, and she had a stroke too. But she is so wonderful and such an inspiration to me! My favorite quote you had here was you had more trials than most, but more miracles than most. I couldn't agree more! Blessings to you and yours!

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  93. Good heavens! What an amazing woman you are. Thank you for sharing your incredible story. I'm so sorry for all the trouble you've endured, but I'm grateful to have read this - it will inspire me to do better. Hugs!

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  94. Wow! Just WOW! You are an amazing woman! Could not stop reading your story and glad I didn't. You are amazing!! Know that :D

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  95. Hi Julie,
    Thank you for your story. May I send you a private message? If so, what's your email?
    Thanks,
    Marianne

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  96. Very touched by this. My name is Britney I too am a widow...I don't think I have ever said that. I am 29 years old with 4 kids. My family was in a car accident in June of 2013 my husband was thrown out of the car and didnt make it. I can relate to many of your feelings as you were describing your feelings as you were told about your husband. I am only 7 months into this trail and can see blessings. I might not understand and don't think I ever will in this life I know I can make it if I take it one day at a time. Thanks for sharing I wish your family the best. Britney

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  97. Fantastic. You are such a great example. I know someone who has 2 special needs children and it sent her apostate. I loved your honest and real post! Thanks for sharing.

    Is your husband a descendent of John Toone? Surprised to see the name!

    Thanks again!

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  98. You are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing. The trials I am currently facing have been made lighter by your wise words. I will follow your advice and look for the blessings!

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  99. Thank you so much for sharing your very powerful testimony. I could not stop reading your story, you are a truly amazing and wonderful lady. I lost my dad when I was 24 years old, though I was not a widow I had and continue to have a lot of the same struggles and emotions that you describe. I agree time does not heal or make it any easier but you do learn to live with it. The church is true!

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  100. Julie,
    As I read this, my heart broke and swelled for you. Though my trials are very small in comparison, you make it easy to look at my challenges with a new light. A friend of mine is battling all the battles that come with a child with Autism, and I just know that she will relate to this post, and will take comfort in the knowledge that she is not alone, and that it is a very real diagnosis.

    I also wanted to let you know that as I read this, all I could think about was how special and close to the Lord you must be. He made it possible for you to raise not one, but TWO special needs children. Some may say that they are the ones that the closest to the Spirit, and I can only imagine the spirit that is kept in your home. Though your trials and tribulations are great, I just know that the Lord chose you - maybe for being an example to mothers all over.

    Thank you for being so willing to share your story, and opening your wounds for all of us to cherish and appreciate. As said in previous comments, you truly are an inspiration, and I know that you will have eternal blessings unmeasured!

    Prayers and thoughts send to you and your phenomenally beautiful family!
    -Danielle

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  101. My name is Julie, and I am grateful that you have shared this with so many of us who find truth and inspiration in your life story. I am the mother of 3 special needs children. One severely autistic, non-verbal and self-abusive, one with PDD-NOS with mild depression, and one with chronic migraines, general anxiety disorder, etc.

    This has been a rough year for my family. Just after Christmas of last year my mom was diagnosed with cancer. (She is now in what we believe are her final days here on earth.) She lives 2,300 miles away from me, so I flew out to visit her last January. While I was visiting her, and my dad (who is suffering from Alzheimer's), my husband took time off of work to stay home and take care of our kids. He started having some weird symptoms so he went to the emergency room and they diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer. We have been lucky thus far in that he was able to have surgery in September, and the cancer hadn't spread to his lymph nodes. He now has a 20% chance of making it to the 5 year mark ... which is lots better than the 4-6% chance that he had without the surgery.

    I really don't know how you do it. I feel so completely overwhelmed at times, and here you are dealing with so much more. I know it is only through my faith in my Savior, and the many people that have provided love and support to our family, that I have made it through this year. Your post has helped me feel less alone in my struggles, and has shown me that I need to look harder for the good things in life. Thank you for that. May the Lord bless you and your family.

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  102. Thank you for sharing your story. My daughter was diagnosed with the deletion of chromosome 22 aka velocardiofacial syndrome, di george, back in 2003. Long journey for my husband and I as well. She will be turning 16 this Thursday, the 16th of January. She is an angel and a miracle, and fiesty and AMAZING!. She has had 10 surgeries.

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  103. You are an inspiration to all. Thanks for reminding me to become better, not bitter, and that we can CHOOSE happiness. You are amazing!! :) xo

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  104. Julie, thank you for sharing your life with us. Please know that you're an example to all of us. I was really touched and inspired..I'm sure many others moms,here in Brazil, were also influenced by your story. So I speak for all of them when I say, Thank you! May the Lord be with you and your wonderful family.

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  105. I have been through many learning experiences in my life and my way through has been with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, also. Without them and the knowledge of the gospel it would have been so much harder. Right now, my only challenge is with being on disability and living far way from my family without the financial means to visit them. It is different being 62yo, on a limited income, financially strapped, and away from those I love. But, I know that I am where the Lord wants me for now. It is a different lonely life but it is also rewarding. I live in a beautiful place, in a fantastic spiritual ward and I still have my husband with me. I have and have had MANY blessings in my life. Your story has reminded me of what I have experienced, which is nothing like what you have, and what I have learned. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for all of it and I am blessed. My love to you and your family and my prayers are for you and them also. Isn't Facebook wonderful how it connects us to people who are so uplifting?!!

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  106. Thank you for sharing your journey and your testimony! Your life is an inspiration to all of us as we climb our own mountains. I pray for your family to be blessed for how you are blessing others by your example.

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  107. Wow. I'm so glad you decided to share you story. Thank you.

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  108. I am a product of your situation. My dad died when I was 13 years old in an accident. Watched my mom go through extreme grief of losing her true love. A few years later she married a widower with five of his own children. After a year of marriage, they added one more, giving us a total of 12 kids. A lot of rough years for them raising so many teenagers with our own different kinds of special needs.
    Years down the road now, married and with my own family, and now our own trials, I am so grateful for all my parents did for all of us and all the craziness they helped us through.
    What you are doing is incredible, and making such a difference for your kids in their lives down the road. So from them, a big huge thank you for the investment you are making in their future.

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  109. I am in complete awe of all of your wonderful comments. Thank you so much for all the love. I feel overcome with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for allowing my words to spread throughout the world. I want to respond to all of you personally, but am still have to take care of my family to. So it may take me a while to respond to everyone. Please know how much it means to me that you have all opened your hearts to me and are sharing such personal stories with me as well. Thank you so much. I feel so blessed right now. The 10 year anniversary of Jake's death is next Wed. and this has been such a tender mercy. January in normally very hard for me to get through. But, this January I will never forget! Thank you all so much!

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  110. Blessings to you and thank you for sharing your story! I read it through tears.. and yet, it was so uplifting to read of the good that has come through all of the tough times! I hope this January will be one full of peace and comfort for you.. and many blessings to come!

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  111. You are a dear gal to write your story. Thanks for sharing. I needed to read this and be reminded of "bitter and better". Life is full of challenges and you are a great example of goodness. Thanks for being the person you are. I hope you are continually blessed throughout your life with the peace and love that you possess.

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  112. A well written and amazing story. I'd like to share it on my blog, UnitingCaregivers.com. Please email me at Barbara@UnitingCaregivers.com. Best wishes to you and your family.

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  113. Thank you for sharing your life. I've been feeling overwhelmed with the things on my plate, and your story helped me gain perspective. God bless you and your family.

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  114. I couldn't leave without saying thank you for your wonderful story. It's amazing how trials change us, and it seems like the refiners fire is deep with you. Thanks for sharing.

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  115. What an amazing lady you are and a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing this. Truly touched me. I pray for the health of your family and for many years of happiness together and I pray you will be blessed to see all of your beautiful children to grow and have children of their own some day. Keep smiling x

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  116. Reading your story was absolutely beautiful and touching. You were meant to tell your story to the world. Thank you.

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  117. One of the things that breaks my heart the most is to hear people say, "I hate my life." They really don't realize what they're saying. It's just a social norm to "hate your life" when you're just going through a hard day, month, or year. I'm so grateful that through all of your (and your children's) trials, that you can proudly say that you love your life. Thank you for sharing your story. I want to click the link back to "My name is Jacy" but I'm afraid I would sit here all day, and my children would be begging me to pay attention to them :) You truly are inspirational.

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  118. Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for sharing your life! WOW! I suffer from depression, never could have children of my own, married a divorced man in the military with a 12 year old daughter and a 15 year old son, both of which lived with us twice each. It has been a difficult 13 years, but NOTHING in comparison to your trials! You are amazing! I hope to someday find the strength you have and the faith! Thank you again!

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  119. http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/kidney4amy/106958

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  120. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for the faith with which you have lived you life; I feel more inspired to do the same! Stephen Merrell

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  121. I appreciate your honesty more than you will know. This is life for you and you have been so open and honest about it it. It inspires me to endure my trials, gives me the strength to feel validated in knowing others go through many of the same feelings and emotions I do. Some days when the light at the end of the tunnel is just flickering and I feel alone...I will remember this blog. It is moving. Thank you again for your honesty.

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  122. hi my name is mishel from the philippines, i so love your story!it's really amazing to know you have endured all these things! i admire your determination!God bless u more!

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  123. Julie, Thank you so much for sharing your story. My husband died in August of 2009 of Sudden Cardiac Death. My two daughters were then barely 18 and almost 16 at the time of his death. Reading all that you have gone through has given me an added strength as I continue to adjust to changes in my life, especially now that my girls are off on their own, for the most part, and this time of an empty nester is missing my eternal companion. I appreciate your testimony and wish you and your family all the best. I believe we are both part of the LDS Widow/Widower group. Thanks again for sharing.

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  124. Thank you for this. It was beautiful, heart wrenching and so inspirational. Heavenly father must have known i needed to read this. You are my blessing today.

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