We Can Do Hard Things: Michelle Mower


  We Can Do Hard Things (2) how to help someone who lost a parent

When Michelle was 21 weeks pregnant with their first child, her dad was involved in a hunting accident.  After being pinned under a four wheeler for nearly 32 hours, her father passed away a week later from complications from the accident. For four years now Michelle has been trying to make sense of what it means to live in this world without her dad. 

how to help someone who lost a parent

Q: What were some of the most helpful things friends or family did for you?

A: “When someone dies, not only does school, work, church, and friends go on the back burner, but you are so overwhelmed with emotion and uncertainty that you forget that most basic level of functioning, to eat.  I found it helpful when people brought meals so that I could focus my energy on other things.  That being said, I do feel like a lot of food was wasted because of the outpouring of meals brought to us in such a concentrated amount of time.  To avoid this, when I bring someone a meal, I bring it in one of those gray oven/freezer safe containers.  If it is not needed that day, they can freeze it and have it a month later when the reality of their loss has sunk in. Another good idea was a gift card to a restaurant. We didn't use it for quite a while, but when we did it was because we needed a change and to get out of the house.”    

“Another one of my friends invited me to come to the gym with her each day.  At the end, we would sit in the ab area pretending to workout and she would ask questions and help me process what I was experiencing.  Looking back, there were few times that I allowed us to talk in depth. I would always end up crying and tell her I wanted to change the subject.  She always made me feel like that was okay, and then wasn’t scared to ask me about it later, which I did want.  I was able to discover my limits in a safe environment, without feeling like I was burdening my family.”    

“A friend of my husband gave me and my siblings journals to dedicate only thoughts and impressions we had related to our dad.  In the front, she glued in the following Poem by Leah Hendrie, This journal gave me a positive place to write my emotions.  Because I lost my dad in such a traumatic way, there are often things I think about but feel I can’t say because if my family is not already thinking it, I don’t want to make them sad.  Writing down those thoughts in a journal allowed me to have a release from those emotions.  I knew they were there if I needed to refer to them, but for the time being, I could let them go.”
Leah Hendrie Poem In memory of my dad

(Poem available to download below)

Q: Though people usually have good intentions, is there anything people say that is more hurtful than helpful?

A: “To this day, only my three siblings and my mother are able to say, “your dad would have wanted…” without me turning into Hulk in two seconds flat.  About a month ago my husband jokingly made a comment about how the reason my dad didn’t like us to drive his truck was because of how messy my car was.  Although he was joking, I burst into tears and told him he had no right to tell me what my dad may have thought.  Portraying what you think someone's deceased parent may have thought is not only confusing, but it is a reminder that their parent isn’t there to speak for themselves.  It can also cause conflicting emotions.  I was already overwhelmed trying to do everything I thought my dad would have wanted, trying to manage conflicting input from others only made it worse.  I felt I couldn’t ignore the advice, "just in case,” after all, I wanted to honor my dad.”

how to help someone who lost a parent Q: After we lost our daughter, many of our relationships with friends and family changed. Did you experience anything similar?

A: “I watched people crawl out of hidden places to express their love for me and my dad.  Previous to my dad’s accident, if you had asked me to identify my support system, it would have looked completely different than it did after his funeral.  Stand up and be accounted for.  If you want to be part of that person's support system, tell them.  EVERY SINGLE relationship that I had before I lost my dad changed in a week.  Meer acquaintances became best friends, father figures shriveled up and hid, and best friends became family.  Remember that by not doing anything, you are doing something.”

“I will live the remainder of my life without a father, and I can’t change that.  What I can do is help others in similar situations.  With each person I help I feel my dads spirit grow stronger in my life.  If I can help with your situation, please feel free to contact me at bryansdaughter.com.  My family took on the motto: "Love, Service, and Endurance." As we love and serve one another, we will have the strength to endure with grace the trials that come our way.”

Website: Michelle blogs {here}

Gift Ideas:

  • Freezer meals. (It’s awesome if it can be delivered in a pan that doesn’t need to be returned!)
  • Journal, you can buy one {here}. Print the poem below. Click the arrow in top right corner to download. Once the document is open, resize printable to fit inside the journal cover. Glue the poem inside the front cover.

*Note: This person’s experience is their own, and doesn’t always represent someone in a similar situation. Please be kind.

Wondering what this post is all about? Click {here} for the intro post.

Thankful For Sweet Friends Like You!


We can do hard things

I recently arranged to drop by a friend’s house who has went above and beyond for our family after we lost our daughter, Preslee. With November being a month people seem to focus on things which they are thankful for, I wanted to let my friend know she is indeed someone I’m grateful for.

carmel apple dip 
After eating a caramel apple at our neighbors house, I went with an easier version and put this simple little gift together. I loved that it only took me about ten minutes to do so, (No dipping apples!) It was quick and easy, and I felt the gift tag, “I’m thankful for sweet friends like you!” finished it off perfectly.

Before I delivered it, my kids helped me test it. Let’s just say the caramel was a hit in our home. And I personally liked this version more than a standard caramel apple. I could control how much caramel I wanted with each slice…which was usually a lot :)
Thankful for sweet friends 

And the best part about the printable is you can pair it with any sweet treat.
Which makes creating a gift incredibly easy.

   caramel apple dip giftHappy gifting!

Gift Idea:

Apple + Caramel Dip

  • Click {here} to download the easy caramel recipe.
  • I found my jars in the dollar section at Target, but these {here} or {here} are similar.
  • Baker's Twine
  • Download the free printable below.

Halloween 2015


We loved Halloween this year! This post is a little late, due to a two year old stealing and losing my SD card right out of the computer (Not sure which one) but luckily I found they had been uploaded to Dropbox!
I was so happy that I didn’t lose our pictures!

It was our first Halloween away from home, and though I was little homesick for family parties, we really did have an incredibly fun night. Our boys loved every second of it.

TMNT halloween costumeWe were TMNT (surprise, surprise :) Ledger-Michelangelo, Cannon - Donatello, Cruiz - Raphael, Patrick - Leonardo, and I was April O’Neal.

We started the day off with painting/carving pumpkins. We cut it pretty close this year, but gratefully our boys had no idea!

painting pumpkinspainting pumpkins painting pumpkins
Ledger, Cruiz
painting pumpkins
carving pumpkins carving pumpkinspainting pumpkins

Painting was a hit! I’ll for sure do this again, it kept our boys busy, and didn’t make Pat and I do all the work.

We invited our neighbors over for festive Halloween Dinner. The witches brew was a big hit with the kids.

witches brewmummy pizzaTMNT halloween costume frozen halloween costumes

Once we finished eating dinner, it was trick-or-treating time! Oh my goodness, it was so much fun this year! I wish I caught Cannon’s face on video when we went to the first door and a stranger handed him candy. Haha! It was literally too good to be true! He would leave his bucket up from the minute he stepped foot in front of the doorway, and until the person shut the door. Since he never moved it, I think people must have put more than one piece of candy in, because when we got home he had double what both of his brothers’ had.

trick or treat TMNTTMNT  TMNT    

The highlights of the night were:

  • Visiting a house with a huge blow up dragon that growled and blew (fake) fire. The kids thought it was real. Underneath the dragon was treasure, and if the kids were brave enough, they could grab a coin.
  • Hearing Cannon and Cruiz say, “Tank ew” “Candy!” “Pwease.” “Go!” over and over again.
  • Ledger thinking people truly thought he was Michelangelo. And his ninja moves.
  • Spending the night with friends and eating great food.

Our boys are at such a fun age and each year I’m so grateful we have kids to celebrate with.
Here’s to hoping we don’t forget anything.

Baby it’s Cold Outside


Dear Boys,

On Tuesday, our world was turned white here in UT. Big white snowflakes fell from the gray foggy sky and left us with a surprising amount of snow. It made for an extremely exciting day as I sat on the couch curled up in a blanket and watched all three of you stand in front of a window. You oohed and aahed over the snowflakes that fell on top of the mountains.

I’ll admit I killed the moment when I was forced to explain to Ledger that no, Santa wasn’t coming that night :)














After lunch, Ledger begged to go outside, and Cannon and Cruiz, the two of you followed. So we grabbed what little snow gear we could find, (most of it was packed away in boxes) and headed out into the cold.

Ledger made snow angels and threw snowballs at the fence.

Cruiz spent most of the afternoon looking out the window at his brothers from inside the house.

And Cannon
…the kid who refuses to wear pants, went outside in shorts after we fought about it for way too long :) Your sock obsession came in handy as we only had one pair of gloves, and you ended the day with three pairs of socks on your feet, and two on your hands. (The socks on the hands is a daily occurrence in our house)

grief blog child death  Child death  Grief Blog

There’s something incredibly magical about watching your children experience your own favorite memories. I instantly realized Cannon and Cruiz didn’t remember the snow, so I couldn’t help but smile as I watched the two of you discover it all over again. And Cannon’s grin after tasting it was adorable.

When your dad came home, all three of you couldn’t wait to show him the white blanket that covered our back lawn, thinking the snow had only fell in our backyard.

I became overwhelmed with gratitude while the three of you played that day. I strongly remember taking your sister outside the first day it snowed when she was a year old, after we both watched the snow in silence, she grabbed my face, and said, “Momma.” I also remember the next winter when she was gone and there was nobody there to call me, “Momma.” The silence was deafening. Last Tuesday was one of those moments when I had to pinch myself to make sure this was really my life, because I remember a time when I thought happiness would never fully return. But this week I was proved wrong, because I was left with more happiness than I knew what to do with every time I heard one of you call out, “Momma.”

God is good, please never forget that.
I love each and every one of you.


P.S. Buying snow clothes is officially the next thing on my to-do list.

Gratitude Journal


Hard things title
When experiencing different trials in my life, it has often been difficult for me not to let the experience consume me. For example, the stress when Pat couldn’t find a job, or the gaping hole in my heart after losing Preslee. And once I’m thinking about a specific trial, my thoughts tend to become quite negative, which never helps anyone during hard times.

gratitude journal
One of the gifts I have appreciated the most is a Gratitude Journal. After reading Elder Eyring’s inspiring words {here} I’ve been inspired to write in it daily, but I always make it a point to write when grief takes over. Just taking a few minutes before bed to review my day and think about what I have been blessed with often changes my attitude towards life and helps me realize that a loving Heavenly Father is still present in my life. It helps me focus on what I have, rather than what is missing. Elder Wirthlin once stated, “Thinking of things we are grateful for is a healing balm.” I can honestly say my gratitude journal has become a healing balm.Gratitude Journal Free PrintableGift Idea: A gratitude journal, along with Elder Eyring’s talk is often one of my go to gifts to drop off to anyone struggling in any situation. You can print the quote from up above which I’ve made into a free printable to place in the inside the front cover of a journal. (Below, just click the arrow in the top right corner to download)

Tips: Any type of journal will work. In the past, I’ve found some really cute inexpensive ones at TJ Maxx, or I’ve ordered This leather one (which is adorable!) or this Gratitude Journal (I love that it doesn’t have specified dates) from Amazon.

Additional Inspiration: Read Joseph B. Wirthlins words {Here}
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