Eric & Jessie's Bucket List

  • Attend a live StarCraft/DOTA Tournament
  • Take our children to Disneyland
  • See a live Ballet performance
  • Go to the Indianapolis, Indiana Temple 
  • Visit 7 countries
    • Mexico
    • Haiti
    • Jamaica
    • Cayman Islands
    • Belize
    • Honduras

  • Move to Oregon and raise a family
  • See a show on Broadway
  • See a Broadway Musical
  • Visit Vegas
  • Go Skydiving or Hang-Gliding/Para-Gliding
  • Do a live session (We were the witness couple in the Salt Lake Temple)
  • Serve a couple's mission
  • Make out in a Car Wash
  • Visit a National Park -- Jessie has never done it
  • Make out in an elevator

Letter From Heaven
Written by Jessica February 2010

My Dearest Family and Friends,

We all knew I’d be leaving soon, but no one expected it to be in quite this way. It is so beautiful here. I have to pause every once in a while to just take it all in. It is peaceful, but boy have I been busy. When God set up this missionary thing He sure knew what He was doing – and there are TONS of people to teach! We get to go on splits with past prophets, we get to teach people like Joan of Arc and Louis Armstrong, and … oh man, the list goes on and on!

I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to say good-bye, but it is such a comfort to know that we will be reunited again. So good-bye isn’t even the right word to use, I feel that we should use a Tigger phrase, “TTFN, Ta, Ta For Now.”

To my friends, I wish to say thank you – the biggest thank you that I can muster. Thank you for being a part of my life; for influencing my life. Thank you for changing me for the better. So many times through life, it is the little things that matter. The smile, the inquiry about my day, the kind note on my door step, the invitation to come watch a movie, the interest in my activities… those are what matter the most. I can’t wait for when you join me (well, I can … but uh, yeah) and we sit down together to watch the movies of our lives and you can see just how many times you made a difference and had no idea. When I can finally show you just how much you meant to me. Don’t let life get you down. Things are never as bad as they appear. Keep the faith.

To my family, I want to tell you how much I love you. I feel like saying it at the end of telephone conversations, before bed, and when I was leaving or coming home wasn’t nearly enough. The love I feel for you is SO much bigger than that! I regret not spending more time with you, for not treating you as well as you deserved. So often the knowledge that you would always be there made it “ok” for me to be upset or “alright” for me to not treat you as my family should be treated. I am so, so sorry. Please know that from the bottom of my heart, I love you. The love that I feel cannot be contained, restrained, or quantified – nor should it be.

I’m in a choir with Angels, Daddy – just like you always said I would be. Thank you for impressing upon me the importance of music; of developing all of my talents. Thank you for never letting me settle for less than I was capable of, less than I deserved. You always supported me in whatever I wanted to do; whether you agreed with it or not. I know things are hard for you right now, but you have been such an incredible example to me as I watched you stick with the things that you know to be right. It has always amazed me to see you continue with work and school and everything else that has been and is on your plate – and all of it because of love for your family, love for me. Your patience and kindness has taught me so very much. I learned an incomprehensible amount from watching you take the challenges of life and not just work through them, but conquer them. I never wanted to disappoint you Daddy, and keeping the love you have for me in the back of my mind kept me from doing so many things that could have destroyed me – I never wanted to come home and make you disappointed; I wanted to make you proud. You always made sure to step in and protect me from life’s little storms and help me in any way possible, how could I repay that with heartache? I know things are hard now, but stick with it Daddy, things will get better. Don’t lose hope.

You always took care of me Mama, even when I didn’t know I needed it yet. It always meant so much to me that you would call just to check up on me and chat (though I didn’t always seem appreciative). You paid for my groceries any chance you got and anytime someone got on my back, you were there swinging your fists till they got off. You took care of me when I was sick, when I was sad, when I was low in spirit and you never thought less of me. Try not to stress the little things Mama. You love your kids so much and you want the best for them, just remember that sometimes things don’t work out – and that’s alright. Even though we can’t see it, God has a plan and His plan is better than anything we could have ever cooked up ourselves. Oh, and those you have been doing Genealogy work for really truly appreciate it – keep it up Mama.

Though you may not see it, you are gorgeous, Laura. You have such a unique and sensitive spirit that is unlike any other. Treat yourself with the respect you deserve. You are the best older sister and I could not have asked for more. You protected me at school and helped me at home. Remember that time you chased away the kid who threatened me with a knife? I have always respected you for that. You’re fearless. You could conquer the world if you wanted … why are you sitting at home? Reach for the stars – they aren’t as far away as they sometimes seem. O’ be wise, what can I say more? Laura, things may be hard right now, but you can do it – you can make it through. You have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met, but remember that you can show your love in ways that don’t include money. There are five different love languages – pick one that fits, that works, that best shows your love. Stay close with your family; don’t be afraid to lean on them when you need help. They are ALWAYS there for you. Treat them as you would treat Christ if He came in the room because they are His children just as much as your friends are. They love you so much and want to help you, so let them.

You have the most innocent, sensitive spirit of anyone I have ever met, Melissa. Don’t let go of that, ever. No matter what profession you go into, what challenges life throws you, stay the sweet, gentle Melissa that I grew up with. God made you just the way you are for a reason. You are beautiful, loving, and kind. You have always been so kind and taken under your wing anyone who was struggling. You took care of not just your younger siblings, but me as well. You never cared if someone was considered “weird” or “uncool,” you were their friend no matter what and you stood by them even when times got tough. Keep that. Continue to make friends and spend time with them; no one can ever have too many friends. But never give up on the 3 Musketeers, the 7 Dwarves (or any of the other crazy things we have called ourselves in the past) either – stay close to the family. Don’t let yourself drift.

I miss your sense of humor, Thomas. Not that people up here aren’t funny, but Thomas Jefferson is pretty dry compared to Thomas Wilkinson. And no, I don’t have wings but that’s ok because my spirit is huge! I can reach anything I want here; no step stools needed in heaven. :D Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for your desire to size up any boy that was interested in me, for wanting to take down anyone that made me cry, and for allowing me to share my woes. Stay your cooky, crazy self. Pick what you want to do and then work your hardest for it. Don’t ever think something is out of reach. Saying you can’t do something is like saying that a fish can’t swim… You can do anything you want with a bit of work and a lot of determination. Remember how important the Priesthood is. Always keep yourself worthy to hold it - to use the power endowed to you from God to act in His name. Keep your personality and keep your heart until you find the right girl to give it to. When you find her, you won’t know what hit you.

You are such a beautiful young lady, Mikayla. You have your own sense of style and your own flair that you add to everything that you do. You have unique interests that you excel in. Don’t EVER let anyone put you down. You don’t have to be like anyone else; you don’t have to do what everyone else does… find your own thing! Do what makes YOU happy. Don’t ever let someone break you. You are stronger than you think and you can tackle so much. Please don’t settle for less than you deserve. You always were so kind. You stood by me when I cried, gave me hugs when I needed them, provided frosting for cake fights, and took care of your sisters. Work hard for what you want. Remember, return is based on the effort that went in. You can’t put in a little and expect a lot. Don’t give up when things get tough – if you know it is right then stay with it. Fight for it.

You are going to grow up and I’m going to miss it Kestra and Anna. You are going to find who you are and decide who you want to be. Make those decisions wisely. Don’t let other people choose for you who you will be. YOU decide. Be the best person you can be. Do your best in school and make lots of friends. Continue to love your family. It always warmed my heart when I came home to know that as soon as I walked in the door I was going to be bombarded with hugs and shouts of joy. Thank you for always being glad to see me, for always making me feel welcome, for helping me to smile even when I was sad. Keep doing that. Keep smiling, keep working hard, keep becoming more and more like Christ. Life is going to get tough, tougher than you ever thought possible, but you can do it. If you let it, life will be happy, happier than you ever thought possible.

Eric. My Sweetheart. My Darling. I didn’t want to leave you. I wish that I could be there to help you and to hold you… as hard as it may be now, remember that God has a hand in all things. Not just in this, but in every aspect of your life. You may not realize it now but have the courage to keep going no matter how tough it gets. Don’t ever think little of yourself. You are the kindest, sweetest, most loving person ever to have graced this earth. You are brilliant, funny, athletic, and extremely Christ-like. The little things you did for me meant so much. Even just asking if there was anything else you could do made my whole life brighter. Please, don’t stop. Continue making a difference in people’s lives. Continue in your service to others. Continue in your schooling – get a degree that you know you’ll love. I wish I could describe how you make me feel; how just thinking about you places me above the clouds. I will miss sitting with you and doing homework, talking to you, making dinner, our water fights, frosting fights, ice cube fights and marker fights, our deep conversations, early morning scripture study, night time prayers, playing at the park, dancing with you in the kitchen, … the list could go on and on – I guess the bottom line is that I will miss you; your smile, your laugh, your joy. I am so grateful for the gospel, for the knowledge that though we are apart now, I will see you again, we will be together, and that nothing can break down the love that we have built. I love you with every fiber of my being. Thank you for being a part of my life; a life that doesn’t end at death.

I want all of you to know that you have something to offer to the world. Your potential is limitless – you can do or become anything you want. Don’t get caught up in life. Be still. Take time to notice the flowers, to see the stars, and to let God give you guidance. You never know when He will be trying to direct you to help someone else but He can’t reach you because you’ve shut yourself off. Keep in mind that NOTHING is more important than people. Never let something trivial get in the way of someone who needs your help. Your time on Earth is too precious to squander on petty things – things that don’t matter. Too much of my life was wasted being angry, upset, unhappy… I wish I could take those back. Don’t let yourself get caught in that trap. Let – things – go. Don’t hold on to anger, to hate, to disappointment. If you are upset, do something about it. Pity parties don’t get you anywhere. Would you invite Jesus to a pity party? Do you think He would ever have one? No. Does that mean he was happy all the time? Heaven forbid! Even the scriptures say that Jesus wept. The things of life can be hard and everyone needs a turn to cry, but if you let it consume you and let it take over your life then what use is your life? You are here to learn, to grow, to come closer to the Savior, and to further the work of our Lord. How can you do that if you let yourself get down and not bother trying to come back up? Your Heavenly Father, your parents, your friends, your family, your ward members, your ecclesiastical leaders – they are here for you… let them help you back out.

Love to your fullest. Yes, love can bring pain but please believe me when I say it is better to have loved deeply and lost deeply than to have loved on a superficial level and lost nothing. Place your trust in people – in mankind. Who knows? They may surprise you. The only thing you get more of by giving it away is love. Give out as much love as you can and you’ll find only love in return. Show your love and speak your love. Actions speak louder than words, but when actions and words are put together – mountains can move, hearts can be changed, and people are loved. Take the opportunity you have to give hugs, to ask how someone is doing, to smile at a stranger – you could be the one who changes their day or their life.

Always remember that goals are wishes with an action plan. Don’t just sit around wishing something would happen… take charge and get yourself where you need to go. Don’t just sit back and watch the world fly by with you on the sidelines – join the dance! Dance like no one is watching – put your whole heart into everything you do.

I’m afraid I have to go now. I need to get back to the work I’ve been assigned here. Know that I’ll be watching and keeping tabs on you. I am not so terribly far away. Make me proud. Everything I have said in this letter is from my heart – it is said in love. I’ll love all of you for forever and ever.

I’ll be holding the door for you when you’re ready.

Please, don’t forget me.

With the purest love,


♦ The only person you are in competition with is yourself and the person you could become
~ Martha Graham

♦ Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them.

♦ Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
~Albert Schweitzer

♦ Vision without effort is daydreaming, effort without vision is drudgery; but vision, coupled with effort, will obtain the prize.
~ President Monson

♦ Nullum Magnum Ingenium Sine Mixtura Dementia Fuit

♦ No one can make you feel inferior with out your consent.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

♦ Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is... If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am."
~ C.S. Lewis

♦"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

♦ I believe that if we will walk in obedience to the commandments of God ... He will open a way even when there appears to be no way!
~ President Gordon B. Hinckley.

♦ Surely he [Nephi] must have said at least once, “Hit me one more time. I can still hear you.” Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living—no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse.
~ Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

♦ “...We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. ... We are all meant to shine, as children do..."
~Marianne Williamson 

♦ There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is

♦ Music is an outburst of the soul - Frederick Delius

Music cleanses the understanding and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself - Henry Ward Beacher

  When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before, you see more in you than was there before.

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it - James Bryce 

  It is what you read when you don't have to that determines who you will be when you can't help it.