Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 30, 2002: worst day of my life

Logan – Our beloved son, brother, grandson and friend, John Patrick Nolan, died unexpectedly on Monday, September 30, 2002, from natural causes. He was the fourth child and oldest son of Patrick and Renee Nolan. He was born April 18, 1980.

John was an amazing young man, who accomplished much in his short life. He graduated from Logan High in 1998, and from USU in Computational Math and Computer Science in 1999. John thoroughly enjoyed dancing with the USU Ballroom Dance Team and playing his viola and guitar. His Masters Degree in Instructional Technology at Utah State will be awarded posthumously. John was a faithful servant of his Father in Heaven. He served an LDS mission to Fresno, California and until recently served as the Elders Quorum secretary of the Summit Creek Young Single Adult Ward.

There never was a man more polite, thoughtful, kind and loving as John; he was always serving others. John possessed a great peaceable, abiding spirit. He never raised his voice or spoke unkindly of another human being. He was our hero. We all looked up to him. He will be greatly missed and always fondly remembered.

John is survived by his parents, sisters: Rachael, Rebecca, Mary and Sarah and his brother David, currently serving an LDS mission in Everett, Washington. Also: granny, Betty Henderson and grandmother, Loya Nolan. He will also be missed by his long time true friends: Richard, Sean and Dan.

Above was the obituary that ran in the paper six years ago.

Next is John's testimony, in his own words.

A statement of belief is more powerful than one of knowledge because it cannot be contradicted and it demands no proof. Therefore, I make here a statement of what I have willfully chosen to believe, often in spite of its popularity among men. I offer no evidence of my belief, only the example of my own life and how I have affected the lives of others.

I believe in the sanctity of life and in its value as a learning experience. I have no less literally spiritual parents than physical ones; I am the offspring of God, and as such I have a limitless potential of my own. I believe my performance in this life will not be judged against some cosmic rubric, but rather how I reacted to what I was given. I also believe the very act of choosing to believe that which I know not of a surety but is true makes those beliefs a reality to me.

I believe my interaction with other people defines who I am. I believe every individual has his or her own unique theology, and that I can learn something from each of these perspectives and incorporate it into my own. Who I have become internally may be in part a product of my external environment, but it also shapes the way I perceive the world around me.

Finally, I believe I have the authority to act in the name of God and that this authority was restored to the Earth in modern times through Joseph Smith. Jesus is the Christ. This book contains a true account, and was translated under divine inspiration. Let it be known to all the world that I believe these things are true.

-John Patrick Nolan

The following is an article that ran in the Herald Journal

Goodbye to a bright star 10/06/02 Arrin Brunson

It’s been dark and dreary in Cache Valley all week. The sun still comes up every morning like it always has, but it is shining somewhere else. The same is true for John Patrick Nolan, who died Monday after a short life of only 22 years. During his lifetime John’s mother, Renee Nolan, retooled the words to the well-known song, “You are my sunshine” and often told her first son, “You are my son. Shine.” I don’t know much about the details of John’s passing, except that he died of natural causes. I do know many of the details of John’s life and am dedicating this news space to him today because his extraordinary experience demands it and, because after days of trying, I still can’t write about anything else. John did shine, and his parents, siblings, extended family and friends are comforted by the belief that he is shining in a better place now, after living a life above reproach. He accomplished more in his short life than many of us will in a long lifetime. Like many of the people I interview and write about, John first touched my life as I worked on a news story about his remarkable gifts, talents and efforts back in May 1999. John learned to read when he was two years old and began writing DOS computer programs when he was in third grade. Using his chart-topping IQ, Nolan began his college education at age 15 with advanced placement classes at Logan High School and the concurrent enrollment program at USU. He earned about 40 college credits during his sophomore year of high school and convinced school officials to let him go to USU full time as a junior. John continued his concurrent studies and graduated from Logan High School while carrying a full schedule of challenging courses at the university year-round. Though a scholarship paid for John’s tuition, he bought his books and paid the other expenses by working as a dishwasher at Logan Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. John was only 19 years and 9 days old when he graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in computational mathematics. He served an LDS mission and returned to USU to earn a master’s degree, which will be awarded posthumously at graduation ceremonies in May. I’ve been told that John was headed for Stanford next year to earn his doctorate. He was a talented musician and traveled internationally playing the viola with a string quartet. He was a member of USU’s ballroom dance club and did much more than dance in this organization. He served in whatever capacity was needed, and enjoyed doing so. Although John’s genius and hard work gave him unlimited potential, in my opinion these were not his greatest qualities. I got to know him better when he returned from his mission and took a job as the Herald Journal’s webmaster at age 21, where he worked until the time he began his master’s degree. We sat across from each other and soon became friends. John’s level of intellectual functioning was planes above most of the people he met, but he never had any airs about him. He was a know-it-all who never acted like one. Physically, John was a big man, taller than most. He was polite and well mannered. He was kind. He worked the long and unusual hours the job required without complaint. I never knew until his passing that John suffered from unexplainable and debilitating migraine headaches. Amid the chaos that sometimes happens in a newsroom, seated amidst reporters, sportswriters and editors, John was a calming influence. He was easy to trust and therefore, easy to confide in. He was never judgmental and I never heard him say anything mean or negative about anyone. Outside of this job, John had close friendships with his elementary school pals who eventually became his college roommates. He was very gracious when presented with a birthday present last year — a camp chair to furnish that meager dwelling. John also enjoyed good relationships with his supportive, close-knit family members. There was never doubt about his religious convictions. This young man didn’t have to die for those who knew him to recognize his greatness. The more we knew of him, the more we knew he was exceptional. I always thought he would make a great husband and father and regret he won’t have the chance to experience these wonders of life. Although it is human nature to immortalize our loved ones after death, the good qualities attributed to John Nolan this week have not been exaggerated. One can only imagine the contributions John might’ve made had he lived longer. He did contribute much while he was here, though, and his passing is the world’s loss. Those fortunate enough to have known him were better for it and we will miss him.

I miss you John.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Birthday Lunch

We went to SLC this weekend for a yummo burpday lunch for MEEE (Oct 2 is my birthday)! Granny made her divine home-made mac-n-cheese, and we all got to visit and play!
Ella and Sarah got a hold of my camera! :)
Note the red-punch-mouth. Love it!

Lots o' babies! Tessa is about to go tippy.
Rach went to rescue, and the kiddos scattered!!! I love this shot! Benny is falling down, Lily is making a run for it, Mia is outty, and Noah is moving on to the next adventure. Ella is smiling, though!
Rach and Tessa. :)
Cute Sawa! *Note her "sisters" bracelet.
The new baby!
Ella with Tessa.
She's such a sweet little baby!
Mia-babes. How cute is this shot?! We had a GREAT time. Thanks for hosting Mach. Sorry you just gave birth and had a freakin' house-full! You're the best! Thanks to everyone for coming to hang with me for my birthday. I love you all.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A new beginning

Lance and I are going to try this again. He took me to lunch, and told me everything that I’d never dared to let myself hope he’d say. He apologized repeatedly for the things he’d said, and agreed to go to counseling. He wants to put our family back together, and is willing to do whatever it will take in order to get us there. I explained my reservations about it being such a short time –how could everything change? He replied with “you’ve never spent two weeks away from you, Rebecca”. Already he looks at me differently –already he gets the devastation of the loss of me. It goes without saying that I’ve never let go of Lance. I have loved him since I met him. Things got clouded as he disconnected, and he has told me that he knows he has a lot to make up for. I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t give it a chance. There’s too much at stake. Two little girls are going to have peace again. I never lost myself in this process and I believe I may have found what I’ve always wanted. Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Lance and I are going to be talking today about what it’s going to take to make our family whole again. There’s so much work to be done, yet, my heart is in it. My heart wasn’t ever NOT in it. As scared as I am to hope, Lance wants this family back, and will have to prove his commitment to me.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Yesterday morning Rachael gave birth to Tessa! I just confirmed the name! She was 10 lbs! Holy COW! I took the girls to SLC yesterday and we got to meet her. She’s such a precious little soul. Congratulations Rachael and Seuao!

Lance has been working his way back. God help me, I love that man. I don’t know what it’s going to take to keep our family together. I’m scared to hope. Look at how beautiful the canyon was on the drive!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

give up this fight

Turn down the lights;
Turn down the bed.
Turn down these voices
Inside my head.
Lay down with me;
Tell me no lies.
Just hold me close;
Don't patronize.

Don't patronize me.

'Cause I can't make you love me
If you don't.
You can't make your heart feel
Something it won't.
Here in the dark
In these final hours,
I will lay down my heart
And I'll feel the power;
But you won't.
No, you won't.
'Cause I can't make you love me
If you don't.

I'll close my eyes,
Then I won't see
The love you don't feel
When you're holding me.
Morning will come,
And I'll do what's right;
Just give me till then
To give up this fight.

And I will give up this fight.

-Bonnie Raitt

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Recently it was my gorgeous sister-in-law Alexis’s birthday. She is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met –both physically, and more importantly, inside. Lex has been through so much in her life. It’s impossible to even fathom some of the things she’s seen, and they’re only her stories to tell. What I do know about her is that I’ve never seen a person come out the other side of such exposure so innocent. Lex is the angel sent to Dave –the only woman who could keep up with him and his ambition and energy. She’s really the angel sent to our whole family, as we have taken her in as much a sister/ daughter as one of our own. She has tons of energy and a hilarious sense of humor. Lexie is always up for a fun time, and loves deeply. She’s Noah’s mom. She’s Dave’s bride. She’s my sister and friend. Happy birthday, Lex, I love you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The beebee


Monday, September 15, 2008

Noah is 1!

Noah John's birthday party was this weekend! He's just like Dave, it's hilarious! Dave and Lexie have already had some freak accidents with this baby -he's just fearless! He's tiny -in the 3rd percentile for weight, but he's all energy! Noah likes to climb, and is getting used to walking. He's got the biggest hazle eyes and is finally getting some hair! I've never seen a baby come out so perfectly! What a doll!
Happy Birthday Baby Noah, we love you!

Friday, September 12, 2008


On Monday when I came home from running around trying to put some of my life back together, my three sisters were in the kitchen waiting for me (up from SLC). I walked in the door and was completely overwhelmed with the love that can only come from my family. I burst into tears (wasn’t uncommon at the time) and hugged each of them so tightly. They cried with me, and shared their love and support. They also brought be some bright and fun flowers and gave me this gorgeous bracelet –it says “sisters”.
My Mom and Dad have been nothing short of amazing. They have been protective and welcoming as I made the transition into their home. My dad quietly telling me it would all be alright spoke so much louder than I thought possible. Mom told me this morning that she missed me the morning I was out with the kids before she woke up… :)
My friends have been so wonderful. They have done so much to help me move, and to reassure me of their love and support as well. I’ve been blessed so much during this process. A humble thank you to all of your kind words, your messages, your emails, and your prayers.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Worst.

You know when worse becomes normal, and you don't acknowledge that there could be a worst coming? It did. To take a step back, Lance is a functional alcoholic. I knew this about him when I married him. I had made a very firm decision in my mind that after my history with marriage, there was no way I would make this commitment again unless I dove in head-first with all of my heart and soul. And I did. Everyone who knows me could see it on my face, my joy was so full.
Something changed.
A distance has been building for some time, and I couldn't love enough for the both of us. Have you ever loved more than you were loved? It's the most damning place I know.
It seemed to be my choice for a while; Do I remove the girls from a home with a mom and a dad for my selfish need to be adored? The choice was no longer mine when I saw that Lance had moved on. He let me know in no uncertain terms that I didn't meet his physical standard, nor his mothering standard. Granted, he told me while blind drunk, but the physical number saved on his phone (“hott blonde chick”) made it too real to ignore.
I moved out in one day. I have friends and my mom recruited some strong men who came through for me- in such a beautiful and enlightening way. I'm loved.
As the girls nestled into bed with me last night in the house I grew up in, and my tenderheart Mia whined, knowing something was wrong, something told me I did the right thing.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. -Aristotle

My friends are so very dear and important to me. I can’t imagine going through this life without the love and support of my dear girlfriends. To each of you, thank you so much for being my sounding boards, for being my confidants, and for holding such a huge piece of my heart. Thank you for choosing me. I love you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Over the weekend we went to see Rachael and my other siblings in SLC. I headed out on Sunday afternoon with the girls. They’re both excellent little travelers. On the 215, Ella really needed to go to the potty, so I gave her the camera to snap a few pictures in order to take her mind off of things. Here are a few of her shots! Rachael and I spent some time organizing a few things for the new baby –scheduled to arrive in the next month. Hopefully what we accomplished was helpful and the transition with the baby will be smooth…
Here are some of the cutest shots from the weekend: