"God does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." Spencer W. Kimball
This quote was always present in each of our houses while I was growing up. I never gave much thought about it till later in life. Many people have come into my life just at the time I needed them the most. I didn't always know I needed them but I did.
In the summer of 1992 my family and I moved to Manti, Ut and we became friends with the Jackson's! I didn't know at the time just how important these people would become to me and how big of an influence they would all have on my life. I was only 11 I didn't think about much besides boys and clothes! I was entering the 8th grade at the time and I was a ball of emotions and hormones (not much as changed!). I still remember the first time I saw Coach Jackson. He and his brother came over to talk to my dad I went out to see who had come over and I saw two very nice looking gentleman. I think I used the word hot when I was telling my mom who was at the door. Oh and ya my mom told my dad what I had said and of course my dad told coach Jackson. I was mortified when I found out. Now it's common knowledge that I thought Coach Jackson was good looking. Anyways it wasn't long after that, that I meant Coach Jackson's wife, Lisa and their 3 kids Ashley, Tylan and Braden. I became a regular babysitter for the Jackson's when they went out with my parents. Being a babysitter didn't win me any popularity points with Ashley or Tylan. And I can't say I would've liked me either. Being the oldest I hated babysitters too. They pretty much didn't like me and I hate to say the feeling was mutual. Soon Austin would join their family. He was such a cute baby! And then Channing! She was adorable. I loved her the moment I saw her. Her and Austin were my favorites! I loved babysitting them. But my all time favorite Jackson was Brenan (Coach Jackson). He was like a dad to me. He listened and gave me advice, and I knew I could trust him. But most of all he put up with me. I was a bit over the top back in those days. Very flirty and very annoying. But Coach Jackson and Lisa hung in there.
I was so sad when my family decided to move away. But our families stayed friends long after we moved from Manti. They came to visit us in Washington and California. I went back to Manti a few times. After high school I even lived with them for a short time. I know that was really hard on them but they did it anyways. I really enjoyed our last family trip together, mostly because I planned everything. I love schedules and lists! But visiting Disneyland, Sea World, the Zoo and the Ocean were awesome.
Riding a ride at Sea World. One of the many places we went on the Cali trip
Coach Jackson and Lisa have been there for me through some of the toughest times of my life.
When I found out I was pregnant 6 years ago it was Coach Jackson and Lisa I called first. They were there for me without judgment. And when I was struggling with the decision to keep the baby or place the baby up for adoption they were there. I will never forget how Lisa told me I would be a great mom if that was my decision. It was her faith in me that made me realize I could be a good mom and that I didn't need to keep my baby just to prove that. She will never know how much her words affected me and my decision. I know the situation I was in couldn't help but disappoint coach Jackson but he never made me feel like a disappointment.
When my dad died almost 4 years ago Coach Jackson was there for me. He was the first person I called. He and his family came as soon as they could from Utah to California. He held my hand as I sat on the stand about to give a talk at the funeral. He also spoke at the funeral. And he was there at the graveside when we buried my dad. Coach Jackson has been there for me every day since that awful day doing his best to fill the void left by my dad. And he has done an amazing job.
Coach Jackson and I at my dad's funeral
Over the years I put Coach Jackson and Lisa through A LOT!! I pushed them away. I did my best to make it impossible for them to like me and even love me. I was annoying, needy, whinny, bitter, negative, critical...etc But they never walked away from me no matter what. They always loved me and had faith that I could become the person they saw inside of me. And recently they helped make just that happen. They introduced me to this personal effectiveness training that has helped me transform my life and be a better version of myself. There are not words enough to thank them for this gift. I am now able to around them in a healthy, non annoying way. It's wonderful! Sunday tacos is one of my favorite things. I feel like I am home when I am visiting them.
Recently I have been able to bond with their two older children Ashley and Tylan. I love them both so much. They are each remarkable people. Ashley has a family of her own which brought two new people to the family, Mavin and little Jackson. And Tylan is one of the most incredible young men I know. Each of the kids brings something to my life. They make me happy! I love each of them with all my heart and I would do anything for them.
Today I said good-bye to Tylan as he left for his mission in Oklahoma. I was doing pretty good with it till tonight. I will miss him so much. I have only recently got to know Tylan and the man that he is. He is amazing! He has taught be so much about love, faith and diligence. He has been through a lot especially in these last few months but he is now where he is supposed to be, serving the Lord. The people in Oklahoma do not know how lucky they are! He will bless so many people's lives, just as he has blessed mine.
Tylan and his family at the airport saying bye
I thank my Heavenly Father every day that the Jackson's-each one of them-came into my life. I can honestly say that I would not still be here on this earth if it wasn't for them. I don't know what I did to deserve such a blessing but whatever it was I am thankful. What President Spencer W. Kimball said is true, "God does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs."
THE JACKSON FAMILY!!! I LOVE YOU GUYS!