Hello Everyone,

It has been a little while since I have posted anything.  We have been busy getting back to life and trying to build a "new normal".  The concept of a "new normal" is something our family has become very accustomed to over the past few years.  We had to do it when Amber was diagnosed with cancer, during her original rounds of treatment, when she was off aggressive treatment for six months, when the cancer started to rear its ugly head again, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, when she went back on aggressive chemotherapy, each time she had to try a new chemotherapy because the old one wasn't working, when she went on hospice care, when she began to decline so much she could not leave the house, and finally with a tremendous hole where Amber used to be.  Building a "new normal" usually involves gaining a full understanding of how the change effects each aspect of our lives, feeling a little out of control, wondering how in the world we are going to do it, realizing there is no way "in the world" we can, refocusing our faith in Jesus to encompass the new challenge in front of us, and finally exercising our faith by moving forward with His help. 

We have found that an important key to effectively refocusing your faith lies in the bible reference where Jesus is walking to his apostles on the water and Jesus wants to walk out on the water to him.  Jesus told him to come unto Him.  Full of focused faith, Peter climbed over the side of the boat and with his faith fixed on the Savior he began walking on the water to Him.  As long as Peter had his eyes fixed on the Savior he walked safely toward Jesus.  But as he walked the winds began to whip around him, the waves began to get more unruly, and these new challenges began to distract Peter's faith and made him avert his eyes from the source of his faith, and help.  As soon as he looked away he began to sink in the water and his faith began to waiver.  Now terrified that he may drown he cried out to Jesus, "save me"!  A little saddened, but understanding, Jesus reached out and caught his beloved apostle and saved him.  At least some wind and waves were probably there when Peter first exited the boat and was walking safely toward the Savior but he paid them no mind and kept his focus on Jesus.  When Peter lost his focus and looked away from the Savior was when he had problems.  We are the same as Peter. When we come unto Him, which is His constant invitation, and don't let the distractions or problems of this life shake our faith and trust in Him, his power and strength is upon us, and we can do endure anything put in front of us well.  This is the key no matter what you or I are facing in this life. 

I am not sure where we are in the process of building a new normal but I know three things.  First, our eyes are locked on the Savior and we are trying the best we know how to continue together coming to Him.  Second, I still don't think we fully understand all of the challeges associated with Amber not being here so we have a ways to go in building our new normal.  Third, I know we are probably not going to get a sabbatical from life's trial and challenges just because we think we have had our share.  For this reason and many others I am going to do everything I can to help me and my family fix our faith and focus on Jesus and his sustaining, and saving grace. 

On Sunday night we had Amber's viewing and the mortuary was very busy.  The mortuary did a wonderful job preparing Amber and she looked as good as someone can without their spirit in their body.  She truly looked much like herself and looked peaceful like she was asleep.  The viewing was to be from 6:00-8:00PM.  We decided to have family members come early so they would have the first opportunity to be there.  By 5:15PM our friends that were more experienced viewing goers started showing up to see if they could get in.  They were very respectful in making sure the family was done before approaching.  I kind of planned on this happening because I knew how many people loved Amber and continue to love her family.  The last visitor left the viewing at around 9:00PM.  In between I experienced the most amazing out pouring of love and caring I could ever have imagined as hundreds of people filed past Amber's casket to pay their respects and show their love.  I am truly amazed but I am not ungrateful.  Thank you for love and support and for braving the long lines at the mortuary!.

The funeral on Monday was an absolute spiritual feast for our family.  The tributes paid by Amber's mother and siblings truly touched our hearts and helped us remember again and again what made Amber so wonderful.  My children took a couple of minutes to share somethings they will always remember about their mother and then testify and declare their own sweet, simple, faith in God's plan, the Savior's grace, and in being able to be with their mother again.  The best part of each tribute by my children is that the words, feelings, sentiments, and faith was their own.  I was so proud of them!  I was able to share Amber's own words about faith and hope from her blog posts in the fall of 2008.  Another thing I shared was my gratitude to Amber for patiently teaching me how to enjoy my children "the Amber way".  I was grateful that I did not just get up and blubber.  The funeral services were ended by two of our beloved local church leaders President Reeder and President Tams sharing thoughts about making sense of the things that happen in life, exercising our faith in Christ, and assuring our children that Amber would be able to "parent through the veil", or from heaven.  What sweet and comforting words they shared and how grateful we are for our special relationship with these two spiritual giants. 

The kids and I are trying to get back to normal schedules and things that are important to us.  Bekah and Abby even went to school part of the day on the day of the funeral.  They wanted to so I allowed it.  All of the kids went to school Tuesday-Friday and I believe they did pretty well.  The classes, accomplishing work and assignments, and being with understanding and loving classmates helped them immensely.  I went back to work on Wednesday.  Ammon and especially Caleb thought that I would become a stay at home dad or at very least just work part time for a long time.  As much as I would love to do this, it is just not possible.  Amber's mother and my mother have lovingly agreed to watch Ammon at our house for a while until Caleb feels secure about the current situation and sees that everything is OK.  So far all of the kids seem to be handling the transitions just fine.  My co-workers have been so awesome and took over my cases and other work while I was gone.  I think they were surprised I came back just two days after the funeral.  I have a lot of great friends at work so following the advise I gave to my children and getting back to normal things has helped me a lot. 

I miss my wife so much and long to be with her and talk to her.  I do pretty well most of the day but at night when the kids are in bed it's more difficult.  I miss telling her about the things that are going on, talking to her about the kids, counseling with her about difficult things that naturally occur in life, and holding her hand.  Luckily I am not a night person so by the time I finish doing necessary things after the children are in bed, and lay down in bed, I fall asleep rather quickly.  I am so grateful for the constant outpouring of love, visits, cards, and prayers.  You have truly "mourned with those that mourn, and comforted those that stand in need of comfort".  In short you have done what the Savior would do if He were in your place.  We love you, thank you, and esteem you as our dear friends. 
I am so sorry that I did not put the information about Amber's funeral up last night.  I was running on 6 hours of sleep in 72 hours and not thinking clearly. 

Amber's viewing will be held on Sunday, October 18, 2009 from 6:00-8:00pm at:
Myer's Mortuary
205 S. 100 E.
Brigham City, UT 
(435) 723-8484

Funeral Services for Amber will be Monday, October 19, 2009 at 2:00pm.  There will be a viewing from 12:30-1:40pm at the same location
Perry Utah LDS Stake Center
685 W. 2250 S.
Perry, UT

Many have asked for a place to send flowers for the funeral, I am totally inexperienced at this but apparently those can be sent to the mortuary and they will handle getting them to the viewing and funeral.  WHAT A RELIEF!  I thought I was going to have to find a flower ferry. 

Some have asked how they can help with the funeral or donate to the kids kind of like a trust account.  I have heard about these when other younger mom's or dad's have died or seen these on other obituaries but I haven't really thought about it in our case.  The tough guy side of me says to tell those who have asked that I have it all under control and I'll be just fine.  The part of me that has leaned a great deal over the last couple of years about the depths of people's kindness and generosity and who has experienced the joy of doing kind thing for others on occasions says I need to allow people who want to help to do so.  Any donations will be used to help with the funeral costs with any left over to benefit Amber's children.

Donations can be made to the following account:

Amber Chase Cancer Fund (Account Title)
America First Credit Union
P.O. Box 9199
Ogden, UT  84409

We have been doing pretty well considering.  I feel as if I personally have been spared some of the pain at this point by a loving Savior who knows what I can handle and has poured out his mercy upon me.  The kids are doing well.  Blake told me that so far it has not hurt as bad as he imagined it would.  We all know that tougher days are ahead.  We also know that turning to the Savior and trusting him for your strength and the healing of your heart is the answer whether you are fighting a disease, pleading for a loved one who is suffering, or dealing with the greatest loss and pain.  He is still the answer!  He is the way, the truth, and the life!

A special and heartfelt thank you for the many who have reached out to our family in word, deed, or prayer since Amber's passing.  Your loving kindness is soothing salve to the suffering soul.  You are truly showing us the Savior's love.
Our sweet Amber valiantly fought the battle daily against cancer and most days won.  She never let cancer choke out her faith and love of others or her love of life's most important things.  She had a virtue, serenity, faith, and peace about her that caught the attention of many.  Ultimately she became a shining example to all of His power to save and heal our broken heart if we turn to him in faith. 

On Wednesday, October 14th at 11:15pm she completely vanquished the cancer and entered into our Heavenly Father's rest.  She endured to the end in faith.  She sealed her example and testimony of Jesus Christ with her very life. 

Our family will pray for all of our friends and family members who know Amber and will find this news difficult to bear.  Just know that you can face this how we all learned to face hard things from our exemplar Amber.

Funeral services will be formally announced tomorrow evening on this website.  We believe they will be this Monday at the Perry Utah Stake Center. 

Dear Family & Friends,

I just wanted to give a report to all who are concerned and believe me I know there are many.  Amber has been mostly in a restful state where she cannot wake up or talk since early Friday morning (about the time I posted the last blog post).  After the struggles of Tuesday-Thursday we very grateful that she is resting.  She is mostly not able to open her eyes or even answer.  The hospice nurse assures us that she can still hear what we say to her and feel our touch.  So we spending a lot of time holding her hand and talking to her.  She has been able to answer a few times with an "I love you", but for the most part she does not have the energy or ability to say more.  I guess it is only fitting that the last words Amber may be able to formulate in this life be "I love you".  I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't also the first.  Amber and I have always tried to make those words the most important in our home.  We never leave the house, hang up the phone, or go to bed with saying "I love you".  Our children have adopted that also. 

This morning I told Amber as she was sleeping that the Sabbath Day, which she has always honored and kept, would be a wonderful day to rest from all her cares and struggles and since she can't go to church to worship she could go to His presence and worship Him there.  We are as ready as we can be to have her leave us and go there.  Even the kids see that as the better option now.  So we now wait.  As we wait I think I have alternated between heavy heart and full heart.  I am so thankful that my heart is filled and strengthened.  I know many people are praying for our peace, especially Amber's, as she prepares to leave this life and enter the rest that the Savior has promised.  "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)  This is the peace we are hoping and praying for for Amber and ourselves.  We are trying to obtain it in His way. 

Dear Friends & Family,

Amber took a sudden step in her seemingly slow walk toward ultimately winning the battle over cancer and overcoming this world.  She had quite a struggle physically on Tuesday and Wednesday but is now comfortable.  Her hospice nurse told me she has maybe a couple of days.  Her path to this point has been marked by many miracles great and small.  Please join our family in praying for one more that takes her peacefully and wrapped in the loving arms of the Savior, from this life without further struggle.   I believe she has truly fought the good fight, has finished her course, and has kept the faith.  What more can be said for a life well lived, used to its fullest, and devoted to the Lord?  I do not believe that Amber's will be a life lost, for I believe that a life lost is one lived without ever having truly loved others, and without loving the Savior.  We love you and appreciate your continued prayers for her peace and ultimate victory.