Sunday, August 19, 2012

A funny story from Kaci

Tonight's story is inspired by our late night trip to Walmart:

I had completely forgotten about this fun memory until we walked by the vat of awesome DVDs at Walmart.  This night had to have been around Thanksgiving week when we were all together.  We had so many late, late nights with all sorts of fun activities.  One night we all decided that we had to go to Walmart to buy something urgent.  I remember I wanted to buy mom a crochet needle--what?!  We wandered through the aisles looking for the something we just couldn't live without.  I believe we were on our way to another family night of volleyball, so we did have some sort of deadline.  We finally made our way back up to the front of the store.  While somebody was buying their purchases, CJ started looking through the giant vat of DVDs.  It was filled with lots of old, old Christmas movies and tons of other random, cheap flicks.  He was having fun, so we all decided to join him on his search.  He decided that we should make it a game!  Everyone had to plunge their hand into the vat of DVDs without looking and pull out one DVD that we thought would be the best.  To most people that game would sound so lame, but not to us!  We love lame, funny games!!  I remember that CJ "won" once with some collection of like 7 old western films.  He won because we decided that it was the best deal in that draw.   We were on our 4th or 5th turn when the game suddenly came to a halt.  We kept digging our hands in deeper and deeper hoping to come up with a true gem.  As CJ and I plunged our hands into the movies on that final round, we both felt something squishy and slightly warm at the bottom of the bin.  We both immediately pulled our hands out of the movies and were totally grossed out!   We couldn't stop laughing or guessing what disgusting item we had touched down in that Walmart bin of movies.  It's a silly memory, but I hadn't thought about it until tonight :)

I love CJ because he fit right in with all of our craziness!  All of my memories of him play in my mind to the soundtrack of laughter.  I feel like all we did was play, laugh, and have fun--nothing but love!

I had to write this one down before I forgot it again.  I'm just going to write them down as they come.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Toni- My Sister

Every time I sit down to write a memory of CJ I stop….I have so many memories. All surrounded with family, fun, competition, food, and most importantly his love for his crazy wife Keri. While all these memories are great, I am saddened that I do not have more memories to share. I feel blessed to have Keri and CJ live so close to us for a short amount of time. Aaron and I would always talk about how cool it was that we actually had friends…my sister and CJ living so close. We actually had someone to double date with, cook Sunday dinners with, run with, do nothing with, and plan vacations with. I still believe that we will get to do all the things we planned with you two crazies. I keep reading the quote by Samuel Smiles that says "Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards, casts a shadow of our burden behind us... Hope sweetens the memory of experiences well loved, It tempers our troubles to our growth and our strength. It lends promise to the future and purpose to the past. It turns discouragement to determination." I have hope.

So, my memories…I know every time I have a 3 course meal (too often), I imagine CJ saying “atta girl” or “dunch.” Every time I eat a bag of chips or eat at the del or that place we shall not name I hear CJ just laughing or saying the all too common phrase “naughty naughty.” Every time I play Mario cart I am thankful because without CJ Aaron and I would have never leveled up so fast. One time we went to a BYU vs. UCI volleyball game and you went inside to pick up a pizza after the game. I was in the car with CJ talking and he saw you running with a pizza through the street. He stopped the conversation we were having and started laughing saying “that’s my baby with the pizza” and “look at my wife, she’s nuts.” He said the same things while he was watching Keri perform a solo dance off at our house… “that’s my babe.” So many small things remind me of CJ. We always had the best of times together!

I truly believe that I knew you were going to get married from the moment I spoke to CJ. It was not in person, but on the phone. You wanted me to talk to him and make sure he was not getting you anything “too big” for your b-day. Because, technically, you were just starting to “like each other a lot” and gifts were just beginning. He called me and said he wanted to share some ideas he had for your birthday presents. I was totally on board… A few minutes later I had my computer in front of me and I was looking at 3 different Electric bike models. He was not sure which one or color you would like. I looked at them, and gave him my reviews. I chose a black one with a brown seat...I loved it when about 30 minutes later I get a call from CJ telling me he went with the teal bike. He said something about Keri needing a bright color to match her crazy personality. He was right on, because you loved your bike! And I could tell from that phone call that he was just so excited to make you one happy girl.

It was shortly after this phone conversation that I realized CJ and I had the same birthday. Well, I actually think Keri made him a facebook profile. She believed in having open communication and love via all forms of technology.  A common topic of discussion was when and what we were going to do for our next birthday party. We always had a “party” planned. Something big! I missed out this year because he left for Chicago on his B-day. But, I am so happy that Keri got to spend those times with him in the big windy city.

Gifts…oh the gifts…. Your first Christmas together still makes me laugh. We were at the parent’s house and I was super annoying CJ about what he was going to get you for Christmas. He refused. Just like he refused to tell us the honeymoon spot. I was persistent. He just really didn’t think us Miller girls could keep a secret… Finally, when Keri was in the other room one night he took me into the computer room. He sat on the love sack and I sat on the computer chair as he began to list all the things he got you. It was not the things that impressed me the most during this conversation (but they were impressive), it was the smile from ear to ear he had as he told me he wanted to keep on getting things. The laugh he had when he said he was over budget. And the ideas he had about “if you want it, get it.” We laughed so hard as he told me about the $100.00 to i-tunes gift. We both knew that it was for him, but he mentioned needing to make his wife have good beats. You both went over budget on that Christmas. I just loved it though. Any time we were shopping both of you just found more and more things you wanted to give each other, because why not? Material things are not my favorite part of this memory…it was just the funny crazy love you two had for each other.

Most of my memories are about CJ’s generosity. And I am sorry I am writing such long thoughts, but I just want to share every detail. The memory that will always be my favorite is our Vegas trip together… We had SO MUCH fun together on this trip. Keri just got her tonsils taken out so she was a trooper, and CJ had not seen Keri in a while so he was pumped to be on a vacay with his lady. I was responsible for buying the tickets to the Circ De Sole show Elvis.  I got them a month in advance and spent a pretty penny on them. We got all dressed up to go to the show, took pics., laughed all the way to the front of the line when we learned the now funny, almost embarrassing moment of the trip. I had bought tickets on the WRONG DATE. Not just a day or two off, but an entire week. There was NOTHING they could do about it. I spent hours on the phone and just thought that I ruined the entire trip and wasted everyone’s money…I was devastated. As we all got into a taxi to go back to the room, CJ kept trying to pump me up. He was so worried about me crying, so I tried to play it off like I was OK and wanted to have fun. Later in the evening, before we had our sneaky dinner and CJ won big gambling, we went shopping. While we were shopping and hanging out CJ, Keri, and Aaron planned a surprise for me. Aaron took me on a decoy to get a watch for graduating and Keri and CJ left to go get something. They returned with nothing…The next night we all ate the most delicious meal ever. CJ, or course gave his card the waiter before the meal even began and paid for all of us. They then wanted to go take pictures by the Elvis to “pretend” we went to the show. I really did not want to go over to where the show was playing. I was super embarrassed. They were very persistent and wanted to take pictures, so I went along with it. We took sad face pictures next to the Elvis statue, posed, tried to laugh about it (too soon), and then CJ told me to come to the entrance to have a peek in the door. I thought to myself “why would I want to do that, CJ that’s not very nice.” When I walked over there with CJ, Keri and Aaron following behind, CJ pulled out 4 tickets to the show and said “lets go in and watch the show! With the biggest smile on his face!). I was shocked…and tears came to my eyes knowing that this is the guy my sister is marrying. I was so happy! The show…well it was not the best, but I loved that CJ went behind my back to surprise me. He always believed in having a good time. He let nothing spoil the fun. This story still is a little embarrassing for me, but it is one of those moments I knew CJ’s true character.

I can write on and on about the great qualities CJ had. All the funny moments we shared together. Whether it is the time you babysat my shorty to times we spent at each other’s houses making pazookies. I love you both so much, and I know that CJ lived life to the fullest. I am thankful that families are together forever, and that we will have the opportunity to play volleyball and laugh again one day.  More importantly, I am thankful for witnessing such a powerful and contagious love you and CJ had for each other. You two were slightly crazy, and I loved it. Instead of dwelling on the sad, I find myself smiling at such an awesome eternal companion you chose Keri Mae. Smiling, because I know that is what CJ would want.

Love you and miss you CJ,


Six Months

Today, the 14th, a Tuesday, it has been Six months. Six months I have had this pit in my stomach and broken heart, missing my CJ ever SECOND or EVERY DAY.  The life that I had with CJ was so happy and so, and it changed so fast. It has been the longest  and slowest couple months.. But it also seems like yesterday we were lying in bed watching Downton Abbey.  I still go to my phone to call him when something happens and I want to tell him first… and then my heart drops every time, it HURTS. I have really low days… and I thought that I would feel that low every day the rest of my life… I could.. but I have felt so much love and I have so much love for CJ that I get up.. and I keep trying. I know that there is hope… and I know that CJ would want me to get up and go; To try and keep my head up. I know he hurts seeing me so sad, but I also know his heart hurts too but I know he is watching me and always will. One thing that I KNOW and I am so grateful for is being sealed to CJ in the temple. Being sealed for TIME AND ALL ETERNITY, there is more to this earthly life, and I will ALWAYS be his wife and he will ALWAYS be my husband. Over the last couple months I have had a lot of time to think, to cry, to pray, go to the temple, and read. I have been trying to find peace and comfort in this nightmare.  Sleeping is hard… and waking up is even harder, I just want him to be next to me.

When I am sad… the only thing that gets me out is when I think and I feel the love that we have for each other. It is a bitter sweet… The way CJ made me feel and the way he loved me will never be replaced.  The memories I have with him I write in a journal. I write a lot in my journal, it is the only way I can get it all out of my head.  But my memory journal is my happier writing… every memory I can see CJ’s big smile and I can hear his laugh and I can FEEL the love we have… things I miss the most. I miss laughing and being truly happy… CJ is my happy. CJ and I did more in 18th months than some couples do in their lifetime… and I am so grateful for our trips and for our time together. Our pre- honeymoon to Cancun. I still laugh that we went away for a week to cancun before we were even engaged… we were just dating.  Later in life a couple of our friends actually went on their honeymoon and stayed where we stayed. Our trips to Vegas. Our real honeymoon to Turks and Caicos, it was so beautiful and amazing. CJ knew how to plan trips.. and he loved showing me the “real” way to travel. Our latest two and a half week adventure to the east coast was the BEST time in my life. We went to Washington DC, Boston, and New York with a road trip over to Canada to Niagara Falls. We were with each other 24/7 and wanted more if it were possible. CJ and I lived for each other and would count down the hours till we were off work.. and the daily count down for the weekend was voiced on Monday… We lived for the “freaking weekend” just to be together ALL DAY. I know that sounds cheesy… but it is the truth, we did.

I cant even explain the love that I have for CJ in words and I also cant even explain the pain I feel and hurt without him here. One thing through all of this… things are EASIER SAID THAN DONE… I know we are sealed.. but it is so hard when I feel like this. Patience… blah!  Time heals… blah! The truth is that… they are all the true and I just need to pray for strength. I have never prayed so hard or studied the scriptures more in my life… the comfort and peace that I feel is undeniable. When I go to the temple on Tuesdays, it is so hard, but I do feel peace and I know that it will get eaiser.

CJ made me a better person. He taught me how to live life. His love for life radiated. But his true glow was his love for the gospel and His love for his Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. His testimony  and strength he had was what I loved most. He always said if he could be a missionary the rest of his life, he would. There is no doubt in my mind that is what he is doing now… doing what he loved most, being a missionary. I remember when we were friends… back in 2007, we had a class together. We were taking our final together at my apartment… and the next thing I know I am over the toilet throwing up and CJ had to finish taking my final. I got a better score thanks to him. Right after the final I remember CJ giving me a blessing… and I felt his love and strength so much, the spirit testified that to me. I wrote in my jounal CJ is the man I want to marry. He honored his priesthood, he was worthy to give me a blessing, and continued to throughout our marriage too. My testimony and relationship I have with my Heavenly Father  has grown so strong. I pour my heart out in prayer and I know that he knows my broken heart and will help me every step of the way… until the day I go home to my CJ. We will get our happily ever after… some day.  That is the hope that I have. CJ is at the end of my road… and I am going to do everything in my power to be worthy to go home to him. I don’t know how… but I know I will.

I am so very grateful for CJ for taking care of me. For working so hard for our family we were planning on having. We will have our family… some day! Once again.. easier said than done.. it is hard to wrap my head around everything.. but we will and I am so grateful for that. CJ was so good with kids. I loved watching him play with all of our nieces and nephews…  it melted my heart seeing how much they love him…and how they always wanted to play with CJ.

I do know that my life will never be the same without CJ. I know that I want to make him proud… doing what??? I am still working on that. I don’t know. I know that if I am left here on earth without him I want to be able to help others… the way other widows have helped me. Their strength is amazing and gives me hope. I want to be that for someone too. I want to keep doing things that CJ and I loved… I haven’t yet… but one day I will. I have to live my life how CJ would want me to.  I am going to try and golf… something he loved!! I am one day going to play tennis… and I am going to win for him! (maybe I will join a league… one day) I am going try to be a better person every day. I am going to share my testimony with complete strangers… like CJ did… but I am going to do that one for me. I am going to travel… I am going to travel the “real” way. I am going to go see the things CJ wanted to show me… and I know he will be with me. Once again… this is all eaiser said than done.  I am here… I have to CHOOSE to have faith and CHOOSE to keep going. I am going to start my bucket list… and I am going to do the best I can.

Without the gospel, family, and friends… I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have the best support. I feel so much love. I have two amazing families… and I am so happy that families can be together forever… but we all have to work hard to get there. My friends… who are also my family… have been with me every step of the way too. Strangers have reached out to me… widows have given me the strength I need. I know that people are put in our paths for a reason here in this life… and I am so grateful for that. There will never be enough good to outweigh the loss of my CJ, of our CJ. He was and is the most amazing husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend anyone could ask for… and we will see him again. That is what I love most… We WILL! It will be the best reunion… I get anxious… but I know that if I try my best, I will receive help from people around me, from my CJ, and my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. I never thought I would be where I am now… six months ago.

Our life.. our blog is our story… but just a scratch of the surface. I want people to know I LOVE CJ. I want to shout it from the roof… I want everyone to know what a wonderful man he was… and still is. To those who know CJ… who met or haven’t met CJ… I hope that our love can rub off… and that you can know we were the happiest!! Life is so very fragile… I have never felt this pain… I never knew how it felt to lose someone you love… my heart breaks for everyone who has or that is going through this trial in life… and I never truly felt that before. Make sure you tell the ones you love that you love them… every morning and every night… I am so thankful for those words… I LOVE YOU.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jeff Rhineer- CJ's Life Sketch

Christian James Rhineer, CJ passed away February 14th, 2012 in Irvine, California.

            He was born in Provo, Utah on December 18th, 1983 to John and Jean Rhineer.  He went to school at Granview Elementery, Dixion Junior High, and Provo High School where he was an All-State golfer.

            He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Leeds, England.  We all knew he was a great missionary, but we didn’t truly understand how many lives he touch until after his death, when his Facebook page was flooded by those he met while serving the Lord.  My mom and I were extremely touched when he read those comments while we sat by his side at the hospital.

            He is proceeded in death by his father, John.

            He is survived by his mother, Jean.  They had an incredible relationship, but it was one that was sometimes hard to understand.  They shared unconditional love, but at times they bickered like an old married couple.  You could come home and find them in a warm embrace, or you could find him standing outside the kitchen closet with a scared look on his face after locking her inside after a disagreement.

            He is survived by 5 brothers and 1 sister.  David. Greg and his wife Julie.  Gina and her husband Mike Van Buren.  Jeff and my wife Melanie.  Matt and his wife Stacey.  And Nick and his wife Lori.  As well as 17 nieces and nephews.  Jamie, Seth, Jack, Nate, Tyson, Lily, Abbie, Grace, Mia, Maximus, Talia, Katie, Lizzy, Will, Matthew, Milo, and Stella who arrived this past week.

            He is survived by his wife, Keri.  He fell madly in love with her, and charished the time they spent together.

            He also loved the Miller family.  When I first asked him about Keri’s family, he light up and said, “They love me, they’re golfers!”

            He was beloved by Terry and Kathy Miller.  Kyle and his wife Samantha.  Kaci and husband Brian Bronson.  Tera.  Toni her husband Aaron Thomas.  And Ty.  Along with 4 nieces and 1 nephew.  Kate, Owen, Joshlyn, Baily, and Brooklynn.

            CJ worked extremely hard to graduate from the University of Utah while he worked at Fidelity Investments in Salt Lake City.  He worked there for a number of years, getting jobs for many of his friends and a brother along the way.  He was surprised by how many going-away lunches he had before he left.  He said “I didn’t even know if they liked me.”  After talking to his co-workers yesterday, it’s clear he was not only liked, but loved. 

He moved to Irvine, California at the end of last year after his boss told the manager in Irvine he would be idiot not to hire CJ.  He thrived at his job.  His intellegence and people skills helped him become very successful.

            He worked hard and played hard.  His career was a means to do amazing things with Kari.  And it was their relationship that inspired his colleagues in Irvine.  Kari brought him lunch just about every day, and they ate together at a picnic table outside his office building.  His loving gestures to his wife inspired one of his co-workers to say CJ made him want to be a better husband.

            Christian James Rhineer.  Little Brother.  Obedient son.  Loving Husband.  Caring uncle.  Loyal friend.  Trusted companion.  A man of integrity.  A man of honor.  A man of faith.  A man of God.

Megan Gill


I thought of another small memory that makes me smile everytime I think about it. 
One day the girls at work and me were talking about our husbands and Christian being my pod mate got roped into the conversation. We were discussing whether or not if we had top sheets on our beds because of our husbands no being able to keep them in place. Christian was giving us the husbands view point and said he hates them with a passion. He said "feet don't go horizontal so why do you want a sheet splitting your feet sideways." Then he continued to tell us anytime he got in a bed with a top sheet he would kick his legs wildly to untuck the sheets. So now anytime I get in a bed with tucked in top sheets I can't help but laugh at picturing Christian kicking around like crazy to free his feet. :D

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Richelle McGuire

Dear Keri,
I am sorry that it has taken me so long to write this. Truth be told, I have started writing it a few different times and everytime quit in frustration because I couldn’t find the words to express what is in my heart. 

The most significant memories I have with CJ happened last summer. It was a really difficult time for me and I spent a few different days with you and CJ.....just the three of us. It was then that I felt I really got to know him and your relationship with him. As I spent time with you two,I understood what a marriage can and should be. You truly live for each other and each other’s love. I found that after spending just a couple days around CJ it quickly became apparent that he is a special individual. He radiates love. Love for the gospel, love for life and just an incredibly obvious love for YOU. After a summer of feeling sorry for myself and all my woes I found inspiration through his example. I wanted to be different and better. It’s amazing how he does that to people. His influence is so powerful. 

What I truly think about when I think of memories of him is you. I think of how CJ affected your life. All of your wonderful qualities were magnified when CJ came into your life. Your love for the gospel among many other things became more and more apparent. When I think of what we are taught our whole lives about finding an eternal companion, I think of how we are told to find someone that brings out the best version of ourselves.I don’t think I really understood that principle until I saw that you and CJ are perfect examples of it. I admire you two for that and I aspire to do the same in my own marriage. 

A few months ago I was praying to find some words of comfort or to understand how to be the best friend and support for you that I could be. I was praying for the right words or for an experience that could help you in some way. On a Sunday night right after my prayers and before I went to bed, I started scrolling through my phone at all my past text messages. I stumbled upon the name “CJ” and my heart dropped. I opened the text conversation from months previous that I didn’t even know existed and all it said was “Let Keri know that I am home would you.” I felt overwhelmed by the spirit. I felt so much peace, I just wanted to transfer everything that I felt in that moment to you. The confirmation was undeniable. I know that CJ wants you to know he is home and he is waiting for you and I know that you know that.

Your strength inspires me. I am always here for you. Love you and Love CJ. 

Thank you for what you both have taught me.

Love Shell.