Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beautifully Different

So, I looked on Google Analytics and saw how many people have been looking at my blog. I don't know what to say, it was a lot. I couldn't see who specifically but I could see the amount of people who looked on a particular day. I saw the number had spiked at the mention of us loosing our son, Max, and continued to hold a steady amount each post. I was actually embarrassed and self conscious knowing that many people were reading each post and I wondered what strangers thought of my life and my family.
I just want everyone to know I am in no way perfect. I make mistakes all the time, grammatically and in life. I do my best not to judge people and I hope people will do the same for me and my family.
After the funeral we were able to escape to Australia and begin the healing process as a family. We are also able to pack our belongings in boxes and memories in our hearts and search for a home to live in and fill with happiness. We are very humble and grateful that we have these options and opportunities but have also learned from Max and life, that things are given to us and that things can also be taken away. I grew up poor and loved every minute of it. It gave me character and it gave me insight. My older sister was taken away from my family by a car accident at the age of 19. The experience gave me a chance to question and receive answers about life and death. I learned the importance of enjoying the time you are given. Each one of us has our own life experiences that create the person we are today. We are all beautifully different. So when I post something, it's not to show off, receive pity or to get amazing feedback. It's just me, being me, posting.
.....

We are a family determined to live life! It may not always be perfect or it may not be the way other people think we should live it but it's our life and heck, whether it be small or big, simple or complex, short or long we are going to live it!


stay tuned for more living

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not personally know you but I have been reading your blog for a while now. This post was humbling and honestly beautiful.

Your grace inspires me to find my own.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

i also want to say how much you and your cute family inspire me:) i kinda do feel funny pulling up someones blog that i don't even know. im so sorry for your loss , its not just the fact that you make me appriciate every day its how amazing you are and what you have done w/this tragic loss that inspires me so much. you can tell that you appriciate the little things & your family is lucky to have you in there lives. i hope your not bothered by stragers reading. thank you

Meghann said...

I would peek in on you guys every once in a while from Aunt Ann's blog, but have followed more closely lately. I really enjoy the way you go about living your life and it's such a great reminder to me to do the same. I'm always reminding myself to think "What do I think of myself?" instead of, "What do others think of me?" I'm always so much happier if I do things my own imperfect way. I love reading your blog... always have! Thanks for sharing!

The Leeds Family said...

You don't know me, but I am Brooke Blackham and Darren Jensen's sister. I live in NM with my husband and 3 daughters and my other sister lives out here with her family. Brooke called me when she found out about Max and I had tears streaming down my face when she told me of the news. I don't know you, but was so touched. The same week I found out about two other tragic accidents with a 18 month old drowning in a canal and a 14 month old drowning in her backyard pool. I pray for each of your families everyday. You ALL have shown amazing strength and faith. I can NOT imagine the depth of your grief, but I am thankful to you and your beautiful family for showing me a glimpse into your life. :) What an amazing blessing that you will be reunited with your sweet Max again! You are an amazingly strong family! You are in our thoughts and prayers!!
Love, The Leeds Family.
P.S. We have a Charly in our family too. ;)

Team Biddle said...

We too are strangers, I live in Seattle, but a good friend of a friend, from from the OC loves your blog, so I started reading it. I will simply say..thank you for sharing your story and reminding me to keep living.

Kimberly said...

I was looking at your blog a couple of days ago thinking "I wonder how many people have read this?" I don't see how anyone could come away without being totally inspired to live life to the fullest. I'm so grateful you've blogged about your journey...before and after Max's death. It makes us feel closer to your family when we're so far away.

Oh, and see you tomorrow!! =)

Nat's blog said...

I too have been reading your blog lately. I am Alan and Elke Ek's sister. I am so sorry for your loss, there have been many times I have wanted to comment but felt weird doing so even though your posts had either inspired me or touched my heart and brought me to tears. I figured today would be a good time to comment and no longer be one of those people you are wondering about. I often find myself thinking as i look at blogs, "i wonder what the Harris family is doing today" your blog is truly inspiring and I love that you say "stay tuned for more living" what a wonderful positive attitude and a great example to all who read your blog.

Ann said...

What a perfectly beautiful post. You are right...none of us are perfect but honestly Leanne I've known you for over 15 years and have yet to identify your flaws. Max was a lot like his mom. Your blog has been a gift to me (and I know many others) that has allowed me to celebrate Max's life, accept his return to Heavenly Father and begin to heal my own broken heart. You teach me how to live and I will be forever grateful.

Anonymous said...

THANKS for your blog. You may not mean to seek compassion/pity, praise, or show off but really-- I am so so inspired by you. I wish I could be as rich, beautiful, maternal, spiritual, and inspiring as you. Thank you for your example.

Anonymous said...

What a sweet blog entry. Again, amazing.

paula said...

I haven't seen you since you were a little girl in Idaho and I'm sure you don't remember me. I was friends with Matt and then later Clint. I read about your son on Emily's blog right after it happened and have been checking in on you ever since. I love reading about you living life. I think you have a beautiful way of seeing the world and saying things. I hope you and your family find comfort in knowing that many "strangers" think of you and your loss often and send thoughts of comfort and love your way.

The Hatch's said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Hatch's said...

I'm cousins with Katie Thompson and heard of your loss threw her and follow your blog and peek in on you. We are a family of six in Sierra Vista AZ and think about your family often. You are truly and inspiration to all of us. Keep up the entries I'm sure it not only helps you but ALL of us. Your are the definition of strength! Thank you soooo much. What would we do without the knowlege that we have threw being members of the church? We'll be staying tuned for more living. :)

Emily said...

You are fantastic and for as young as you are, you are one wise woman!! Love you tons!

Meredith said...

Leanne, your blog posts are beautiful and articulate. I love reading them because you aren't writing for anyone but yourself. Since Max's death I have been inspired by your ability to take moments of overwhelming sadness and turn them into valuable lessons of growth. I am a better mom because of what you have written. Every time I start getting impatient with my child I remember something you have said and everything snaps back into perspective. Tyson and I think about and pray for you and your family every day.

Kristen said...

I too have been reading your blog and have received so much inspiration from it. You are an amazing person! I want to be more like you :)

Erin said...

I too am a fan! I check in often to witness strength and healing. Your family is darling!

Maureen Anne Arthur Olsen said...

Leanne, I told Steve a few weeks back that your blogs are so healing. I cannot believe the strength you carry. I know from talking to your dad that times are often difficult, and that goes without saying. However, I can tell you are Shirley Hauritz granddaughter. Your writing reminds me so much of Grandma Shirley. Our family checks with me often to see how you all are doing. I love you Leanne and thanks for being such an inspiration to so many. You know what sweety, you need to write. You really do. I believe you have a message for the world and your style of writing is so unique you need to share this blessing of talent you have. Love you, Maureen

Anonymous said...

I think you are so beautiful and strong. We are friends of friends, you know how those connections are. I just needed you to know how much our family has learned from reading your blog. We're from Las Vegas and now live in Cali. and have a similar family to yours. Thank you for having so much faith and teaching us all so much! We pray for you and can't imagine what this has been like for your family. But the understanding you have has strengthened so many already. Thank you.

Julianne said...

I LOVE your blog postings! Adam and I try every day to live and I love to read your stories of living too! Love to your whole family!

Anonymous said...

I find myself thinking about how I would ever carry on in your situation. Would I learn anything the Lord needed me to learn. Would I find strength in my faith, would that faith suffer? Would I crumble? You are not expected to be perfect or to get through this with ease or to be strong all the time. All you need to do is be exactly who you are, doing the best you can with the hand you are holding.
I know you are helping others learn some valuable lessons. You are allowing others to see that you can heal & hurt at the very same time. I am grateful for your willingness to put the pain and the beauty of lifes experiences out there for us to see and learn from. It brings strength to my life and gives me perspective.
Any material blessing that you and your family enjoy are completely irrelevant. Your faith & love do not come from those things. Those things are not "you" but simply things. It would be unfair for anyone to think of those blessings in any other way. You seem to be a family that works hard, plays hard and loves very deeply. What a blessing that you were able to take some time away with your husband and your girls as you "fight for your family" and happiness. Time away to unify and deal with some things is a blessing that I am so glad your family could have.
Please know that you have touched some hearts. You have found ways to put our feelings into words and say things we needed to hear. I guess that we love the hope your blog provides. To see that, even with the pain, there is hope and love and laughter and life. There is promise of a happy ending and joy along the way. I know there must be pain and anger and mistakes and days and moments that you keep all to yourself. You don't give the impression of pure perfection and you don't seem as if you are trying to give that impression. You seem like a Mommy whose heart has been broken who still knows that it will be okay even when it feels like it won't. A Mommy who loves her family and will keep moving forward because she knows that is what her little boy would want, her Father in Heaven would want, her family needs and what she she must/wants to do too. You do not have to blog the imperfect pieces of yourself. Everyone has them, that goes witout saying. What a wonderful gift you are creating for your girls as they grow and yourself to be able to look back at these blogs as time goes by and to feel these better parts of the pain and the testimony that is woven witin the moments. What a beautiful gift to share with us. The gift of seeing the "life" that goes on. Of feeling the healing mercy of our Father in Heaven. Of laughter and smiles through our tears. The gift of hope and perspective. Of your testimony and faith.
I follow simply because it feels a space in my heart. It touches a place in me that wants to know how anyone would ever be able to live after such a loss. You are (without even trying to be) an example. You do not need to be perfect. There is comfort in the knowledge that you, imperfections and all, can still see the Lord in your life and can still find the strength to seek him and keep fighting for your family. You have found some amazing perspective and shared it with us. You will NEVER know the lives you have touched, the souls you have lifted, the families you have inspired and the hearts you have saved. You have taught me some beautiful, bitter-sweet truths. You have lifted my testimony, shown me a part of the world I will probably never see and even (on one occassion) written the very words that were an answer to a prayer.
So,strange as it must seem, I keep checking back because I care about what happens to you and your family. I am rooting for you. I want you to be okay. I want that for you, but I want it for me too. I want to know that even after the very worst has happened, it can still be okay again. Your life and your situation have taught me a lot and helped me to believe everything's going to be okay.
Thank you.

Ali said...

Leanne, you do an amazing job being you!! You are strong, inspiring and wonderful person. We love you and Ryan. WE think and pray for you often!!
love ya

Anonymous said...

I think it's incredible you can see the amount of people that have been following your journey these past few months. While your sister-in-law is one of my friends, we have never met and so I too fall into the stranger category and have hesitated to comment before now. I also escaped to New Zealand and Australia for a few months to experience life and recover from a different type of heart break. I wish I could explain all that your blog has meant to me, but it is hard to put into words. I have cried, smiled, and laughed along with your thoughts and stories. I have been reminded how to look life in the face and live it despite how bad I think things are. I think we have all fallen in love with you, your family, and your blog because we too have needed what you have had to say in some way or another to heal our own hurts. You see the world through some amazing eyes and we are all lucky to hear your point of view. Thank you for having the courage to share your life with us... you truly are a blessing to me and I'm quite certain all of the people that continue to stay tuned for your updates.

Anonymous said...

I have gained inspiration and wisdom from you that has actually had a part of shaping who I am as a mother.

You have a gift for articulating what you have experienced, but I would not have been abruptly stopped in my tracks to look around and appreciate the people around me, specifically my children, had it not been for a beautiful, golden boy named Max.

I never knew him, but he literally altered my path in life.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

-Lisa Chavez-Barlow

Anonymous said...

Another stranger checking in. I heard of your story through a mutual friend on Facebook, and now check in now and then to see how you are doing. Such a beautiful family. It is inspiring to watch someone go on after such a tragedy. Thank you for sharing.

Christina said...

I totally understand exactly your thoughts. Emailing coming your way!

JJ Levanger Family said...

Leanne -- Another sort of stranger - relatives through my step-dad- But I too keep checking back. I want you to know how much I pray for your family. I don't believe that anyone could judge you for what is written here since we are peering into your personal life and it is so honest:-) But I want you to know how much you have taught me and made me think. You cross my mind often and I pray for you and your family. If you read this and get the chance there is a song by Hillary Weeks called "He'll Carry You" It always makes me think of you--the lyrics are at this site.

http://www.lyricstime.com/hilary-weeks-he-ll-carry-you-lyrics.html

Please know that you are in our prayers always and know that your blog has made a difference to so many of us. (I wish I could express my feelings as beautifully as you do)

Anonymous said...

I just saw your Beautifully Different post, and I must say that I became a reader sometime around the end of July. I find myself checking in on you and your family almost daily both because your kids, all three of them, are so darn adorable, and because of the recent tragedy in my own world. My friend’s daughter went to be with Jesus at the beginning of September. She battled a 10 week bout with cancer, and losing a child that was not mine but that I saw almost every day and cared for just as I would my own, has rocked my world. It’s not the same as losing your own child, I know. And I cannot wrap my head around how you must miss Max and how difficult it is for both you and my friend. I love knowing that you and your family are making your way. It makes the days that I feel like I can’t breathe alittle bit easier. It also has tremendously helped me to think about how to care for my dear friend. And while I know it may not be your intention to write for anyone else, I must say that reading your words feels like you are speaking to my broken heart on how to go on. I will forever be grateful for your honesty and example. I think about Max when I think about my friend’s daughter. I pray for him as I pray for her and I’m counting on them having a blast together in paradise. Know that his earthly life and his heavenly life are always making a difference to someone somewhere. Thanks for taking the time to write…. And I will stay tuned for more living… if that’s alright with you!

Maurine Lee said...

I am a friend of Matt's and started following your blog after Max's death. Your attitude and posts help keep life in perspective and make me appreciate all my blessings in life.

Keep on living!

hoopesfam4 said...

Although we have been terrible at keeping touch as we've moved from city to city, I just want you to know that you have ALWAYS been a source of inspiration, humility, and strength...that example has only grown since Max's accident. You are wonderful, your family is beautiful, and we are all so blessed to know you.

Thank you for being you.