Thursday, October 29, 2009

In the Lord's Time with Angels All Along

It has been a rough couple of days in my house, though the hard times are always accompanied by good experiences, great friends and ministering angels. My cousin's wife, Leah Ketchum sent me the kindest email the other day. As I reflected on that email, I looked back over the short period of time of my frustrations and thought to myself, "It will all be well in the Lord's time". I know that is so very true. Tolan reminds me of this every day. The Lord's will is being done, I am learning and growing, despite the hardships. I am often reminded of hardships faced by one of our modern-day prophets, Joseph Smith, who was promised that his trials and afflictions (though difficult and drawn out) would be but a short moment, and if he endured them well, he would be exalted in the hereafter. So the Lord helps us learn from our experiences, then blesses us for trudging through. A promise doesn't get better than that, does it?

This morning I saw on the news that Elizabeth Smart, now 7 years after her kidnapping. She talked about her trials and how she knew there were angels with her everyday. She said you need to push on, despite your struggles, and not let them hold you back. Well said, Ms. Smart.

So, with many many wonderful angels still around me (Els, Tamron, Andee, Belinda, Amber, Mom, Dad, Tolan...) I will keep going, this day and always. Thank you all for your kind comments and emails. You inspire me, especially on the tough days!

On a personal note, a very Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister, Tami. She is so amazing to me and I love her dearly. She has been, and continues to be a huge support and a wonderful friend. God truly made us sisters for a reason. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Down But Not Out

Just a quick update to let everyone know that although I am still sick, I am "OK", too. I went to the doctor today and found out that I have strep throat (hooray, not the flu!). He said my body isn't strong enough to fight off infections right now, so I am prone to whatever is out there. Today my glands were swollen to the size of grapefruits (or at least golf balls :) so that was a big clue. The good news is, at least strep can be effectively treated! So, I got a big shot in my bum, and the recovery should begin within 24 hours.

Another bit of info the Dr. gave me today...he said with my recent "history", I should go straight to the Dr. or ER if I have a fever of any kind. Hmm, good piece of info for the future. He also had me do a blood test while I was there, to test my iron. He thinks I may be anemic, which could be attributing to some of my many issues. I am truly grateful to know that despite feeling like crap, I am going to be feeling better soon and some of my infirmities may get slightly better if I go on iron supplements. That is good news!

Oh, and best of all, a surprise visit from my Mom today! That always makes me feel better! Thanks to the great friends for the wonderful meals (Cathy and Els, you are awesome and inspired!). Expect yet another recovery on the way!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sick but Grateful

After a generally good, productive day yesterday, I hit another small snag today. I woke up with a terrible sore throat and a fever of near 102 degrees, which has stayed with me all day. I have slept for 5-7 of my normally "waking" hours and I am getting ready to go back to bed again.

I think my body is just too worn down to fight off infection right now. Still, despite being down all day (which eerily reminded me of my days in the hospital, unable to do anything), I am feeling very grateful.

Today my sweet Tolan and darling Trenden took care of everything. Tolan had the kids for the whole days, by himself, with none of the normal entertainment options because of the Sabbath day. He took them for a drive and a "Picnic", which ended up being in the car since it wa only 30 degrees at the top of Monte Cristo. He made lunch, dinner, brownies and took them on a 1.5+ hours long walk to the river and back. WOW! He is truly amazing! He had a positive attitude the whole day and only now declared he needs to be "off duty". My love!

Trenden made me lunch while Dad was gone on the picnic with the other kids. He made me chicken noodle soup and brought it to me, in bed, on a tray, complete with crackers, water and a straw! What an inspirational and in-touch boy I have been blessed with.

Heading back to bed now in hopes of filling better in the morning. Still can't get warm, despite the jammies, sweatshirt, and 2 extra blankets on my bed. I owe a few emails and calls to friends, so give me a few days and I will hopefully be "back on the horse". Know that I love you, so stay away so you don't get sick! :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sleep Brings New Perspective

After a very difficult day yesterday, I am doing much better this morning! Tolan convinced me to call it quits for the day around 9pm, so he got me some pain killer and a valium (which I almost never take, but seemed like a good option to help me get some rest) and I went to bed around 9:30pm. Thanks to my sweetie for making me slow down! Well, today I feel sooo much better about life, even though I am still in a lot of pain. Funny how sleep can change everything!

Another thing that changes everything is perspective. Just ask my friends Jackie, Jason, Heather, and my Mom and Dad. :) They all helped me yesterday by giving me a little perspective on life. Jackie Dillard helped me realize (again) that it is OK to be frustrated, and it helps to talk to someone who knows what you are going through. Thanks for the call, Jackie. Jason reaffirmed that despite our bodies being in less-than-stellar conditions, they are still blessings to us, as they are the gift we have been given to get through this life (even if we feel like our bodies are older than our minds). Heather Doutre, well, she helped me so much, by seeing my need, taking Casen for the afternoon and then bringing in a much-needed and wonderful dinner! Mom is great to remind me that I can make things better by taking the time to rest (even when it seems impossible to do!) And my Dad shared with me stories of heart-breaking tragedies that others are facing, which reminded me, that although my life isn't perfect, I AM STILL ALIVE and KICKING and that is a huge blessing in itself.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support and love. Now, I am attempting to have a positive, get things done day...but if not, that is OK, too!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Struggling and Repeating Repeating Myself

It has been only hours since my last post, but I am having a very hard time and I just need to vent. Mentally I often feel like I am doing very well, like I am conquering this challenge, one day at a time. Physically, however, I feel differently. I feel like I am in the body of an 80-year-old, struggling to do the things I once could.

The process of lying in the hospital bed on my side for nearly 5 weeks have wreaked havoc on my back, neck, shoulders and hips. I already had problems with those areas, but now I am much worse. For weeks now I have been in constant pain and been unable to sleep. Last night I slept with a seat massage pad in my bed so I could get relief if things got too bad. Well, I used the massager multiple times in the night, but I didn't sleep much and I am a total mess. I physically hurt so much, my muscles are in knots and I am in pain. Mentally, I cannot overcome this one until I can get some relief.

I have been awake for hours and I am just trying to figure out how to tackle this challenge. It is not greater than the other challenges I have faced, but it is causing me a lot of pain and anquish right now. I will be making some phone calls soon to see what solutions are available.

Last night Tolan also brought up an issue which I am struggling with. He told me that since my surgeries, he has noticed that I repeat myself, telling the same thing multiple times to a single person. I was not aware of this, but I am aware of other "little" things that frustrate me, including forgetting words, names, etc. Medically speaking, these things should not be happening, they should not be effects from my suregeries. And yet, they are happening.

Throughout all these personal frustrations, I have become yet more appreciative of life and love. I know these challenges are mine right now for very specific reasons and I pray that I will be able to overcome and learn lessons that will help me down the road.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Analogies for Life

Not long ago, I posted about my life being "under construction". This continues to be more true than I could have anticipated in the moment the analogy first came into my mind. Tonight, for example, I was reminded that I cannot drive in the dark (of course, it wasn't dark when I left the house, but the night seems to be coming earlier these days!). So, as I drove home, the path was full of orange cones, flag men and slow-down signs, which in reality means blurry vision, poor eyesight and fluid draining from my eyes. The funny thing is, my eye was good all day, until I attempted to drive. :) (Don't worry, my friends, I stayed within my 5-mile limit!)

One thing my mother-in-law, Kay, mentioned about the construction analogy is that construction projects always take more time than anticipated. This one is hard for me. People ask me constantly how I am doing. The truth is, in comparison to 4 months ago, I am doing remarkably well and I am a totally different physical person! However, in comparison to the person I would like to be, well, I still have a long way to go. A few good friends keep reminding me, I did just have a few MAJOR BRAIN SURGERIES!! Of course it should take time to recover, it is just longer than I'd like. :)

It is funny to think about now, but when I was in the hospital, the facial paralysis, hearing, sight, headaches, etc. didn't really bother me. Now, that is not to say I wasn't in pain, because I was often in nearly unbearable pain, but the idea of the paralysis didn't bother me. It wasn't until I got home and tried to become "normal" again that I realized how hard it would be for me to adjust in the real world. The hospital is anything but the real world, it is a bubble away from the world.

Since I am on an analogy kick, another one I think about often is pregnancy. From the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, her every thought is somehow influenced by the little life inside her. What she eats, when she goes to bed, how/when/if she exercises, how she feels, all of these things are influenced by the fact that she knows she is pregnant. "I won't eat that cake because it isn't good for the baby..." Then, once the child is born, all decisions are influenced by the child that has joined the family. This is very much how I have felt, as well. Every day, in each thing I do, the "tumor" (and its effects) are somewhere in the back of my mind. Sometimes it is because of things I cannot do, other times it is because of gratitude, other times I am still in shock that it was really "inside of me" causing all those complications.

Today, for example, Trenden and I were talking about what an excellent public speaker he is, especially for a 10-year old! We recalled the day of his cousin's baptism, when Trenden gave the main talk and blew us all away with his wit, charm and understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Well, it happened to be April 11, 2009, the day after my diagnosis. When I mentioned this to Trenden, he said, "Is that the day you and dad were crying all the time?" Yes, it was the day, or days, or weeks... I started to cry tonight, yet again, when I recalled how it felt when we were told I had an "inoperable brain tumor" on my brain stem. Oh, the emotions. And, yes, since that time, I have been pregnant with a tumor.

So, tonight as I am totally exhausted, yet rarely able to sleep well, I cannot help but think of all my analogies for life and simply hope that tonight's path will be free of debris and mom and the "baby" will have a good night. Hope you do, too!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Third Person Perspective and Life Events

Every Monday night, we shun the world and spend time together as a family: Family Home Evening (FHE), is what it is called. Our church has recommended this for years, and we have done it since I was a little girl, so I am glad Tolan and I have continued the tradition. So, last night for our FHE, we wrote Thank You cards for all my doctors, nurses and staff of the Neuro Care Units. Yes, it has been a while since I have been out of the hospital, but I think it is almost better for me to thank them now that I have a little more perspective on life, that is my past, present and future lives. :) It was surprisingly emotional for me to write down my feelings about the people who invested so much time and energy into helping me. I shed a few tears of thanksgiving.

I read through the blog posts to remember names of some of my nurses, so I could thank them by name. As I did this, I once again, got caught up in reading "my story" as it happened from one minute or one day to the next. Now, many people would want to forget such a challenge. Some would say I am crazy for reading about it or looking at all the pictures...but I don't feel that way at all. It is eery when I read it, because I feel like it is not me, but like I am reading a book from a 3rd person perspective. Does that seem strange?

As you think back on your life, do you think of each individual day? No, of course not. There is too much. What we think about are "events" or things that are particularly memorable for some reason. That is how I think about my experiences of the last year. There was "pre-diagnosis", "tumor diagnosis", "fear and waiting", "surgery #1", "spinal fluid leak and paralysis", "surgery #2", "near-death experiences", "surgery #3", "homecoming", "surgery #4", etc., etc. These are the "Events" that comprise my memories. When I read the day-to-day posts, I find myself wondering "what will happen next?". Then I read it, and all the memories come flooding back, but in my mind, I don't think of my life the way I do when I read about it in the posts.

I read all the way through June 1, 2009, before stopping for the evening. I sobbed, yet again, as I read and remembered... I cried when I read about Trenden fasting for me, day after day. I cried when I saw pictures of my family, giving me hugs. I cried when I thought of my dad, there by my side every day. I cried when I thought of my mom, taking care of my kids. I cried when I saw my sweet Tolan, the rock of my life, staring at his wife in a hosital bed. I cried when I read the posts from YOU when you expressed your love, concern and offering of prayers and help. I cried when I remembered the specific details of tiny moments that could be forgotten, were it not for the words captured on the posts of the blog.

Tolan and I talked about it last night and decided I need to get the blog put into book form as soon as I can. This is my life and my history. You are part of it. You have kept me going on hard days (like today when my eye doesn't want to work, so Mary Ann is picking up Lindi from dance, since I can't see). You have encouraged me, uplifted me, inspired me and motivated me. Yes, this is my life and my history and you are definitely part of it! Thank you!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tolan's Birthday and Wise Words

Yesterday was Tolan's birthday. He is now 38 years old. He jokes that 37 was the year he started falling apart (knee surgery, tennis elbow, etc) which is scary because this has also been my "falling apart" year and I am only 33! :) We had some fun celebrations with our dear friends, the Rhoads, and with my Mom and his parents. Oh, and with lots of pies!

Tolan and his parents celebrating his birthday. Love you, hon!

Me and my eternal companion.

The truth is, I am totally, insanely, completely crazy in love with my husband. He has shown me so much love over the last almost 13 years of marriage, but saved special strength, love and support for this difficult year. The intensity of his prayers for me amazes me. The depth of his love amazes me. The level of selfless dedication amazes me. The amount of patience he has amazes me. The time he dedicates to our children amazes me. HE amazes me every day.

Allow me to share just a tiny example. When I was in the hospital, Tolan got up early every morning and went to work, taking care to try and stay on top of things at work (though he admits it was hard to concentrate at times). Then he would leave work and come to the hospital to be with me. There he would stay for hours at a time, sometimes going back and forth to work as needed throughout the day. When he finally left, sometime between 5-10pm (depending on what was going on at home), he would return to our family, try to help relieve my Mom, and spend time with the kids. After they went to bed, he often stayed up for hours, doing research on "Spinal Fluid Leak" forums, trying to help the doctors figure out how to seal my leak. He also researched each of my surgeries and "chatted" with people who had experiences to share. He spent countless hours trying to help me, even when he wasn't with me. And that doesn't even include his hours of prayers. On weekends, he was "on his own" and took care of the kids (often assisted by his parents, thank goodness!) while my Mom was in Orem. He took them to practices, games and brought them to the hospital nearly every week. He took them to the zoo, Lagoon and on outings to help keep their lives fun and normal, even though nothing was normal about life! AMAZING!

This man is my true match and the love of my life in every way! I am so grateful that God has allowed us to be sealed in the temple for time AND all eternity! I get to be with my best friend, forever...kinda gives a new meaning to "BFF". :) I love you, Tolan, today, tomorrow, always and forever.

Yesterday our three oldest kids all had soccer games. It made the birthday morning a bit hectic, but each of the kids scored at least 1 goal in their games! (Lindi scored 2 and Trenden was on his way to a 2nd when the opposing team flat out pushed him down because they knew he couldn't otherwise be stopped!) Our children are so wonderful and fun. They wear us out, but they are also amazing, I guess they get that from their dad! Daven is the cutest potty-training boy I have ever seen. He runs around naked most of the time singing, "I did it! I did it! I need a chocate! (chocolate)" It doesn't get any better than that...

This week I received an email from my wonderful friend and partner in suffering, Jodi Carlson. Some of you may remember my stories of Jodi C. (see my earlier post in April) who had a stroke 2 weeks after giving birth to her 3rd child. She continues to be a source of strength to me as we separately, but together, navigate our new worlds. With her permission, I am going to share a bit of an email she sent to me at 3:45 am Friday.

"When I have a bad day like today I have to remind myself there were bad days before the stroke so now should be no exception. And I always get upset because I think my kids are missing out. But a) I am here to be their mom, and b) they are healthy for now maybe because we can't handle more, and c) they are learning and gaining more than they are losing. I am so thankful that I didn't die that horrible night. I really am soooo happy to be here every day. I love my life, I really do. It is just very hard some days. And on those days the Lord seems to send others to help. Help. Not totally take it away because we still need to learn."

Wow! Jodi C. amazes me, too. Her words summed it up for me. We all have bad days, now should be no exception. And, the Lord always does send help, but He doesn't take away our struggles, He allows us to learn and grow from them...even experience horrible things so we can have miracles! Thanks, Jodi C. for the wise words and wonderful reminders. Love you. Jodi's stroke was almost 2 years ago (2 years on Nov 29, I think...) so they don't update her blog as often these days. But, it was her blog that I followed faithfully, every day for months and months and months that gave me the idea for my family to do this blog for me. To read Jodi's story, go to: and go back to the oldest posts to see the real history of her miracles.

You all continue to uplift me and make me want to be a better person. Thank you! Here are a few more recent pics!
Our little family with Great Grandpa Pringle (Grandpa "Chip" as the kids call him!) on his recent visit to Utah. He is a wonderful man and a great example to all of us!

Tolan and I with my parents before going out to a presentation on the Polynesian Cultural Center and BYUH last week.

The last 5 days have been good days for me. Thanks to all of you who helped make that happen.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Power of People

Thank you, one thousand times over, to all the friends, family and blog readers out there who reached out to me in my time of need! You are wonderful, amazing, POWERFUL people! Your strength gave me strength and turned my hard times into managable times. Thank you. I love you all.

Shortly after my last post, my sister, Tami, called me to lend a listening ear and just to chat. She reminded me that no matter how positive we are, sometimes life is just hard and we need to let it out. We wouldn't be human if we didn't. I appreciate that reminder, as I am probably hardest on myself.

Right after that call, my dear neighbor Annette called and simply said, "Jodi, can I just take you out to lunch?" She did much more than that, she listened, visited, and then took me to the grocery store, too. How blessed I feel to be surrounded by such love! Annette was amazed by the man who came up to me in the restaurant, looked at me wearing my eye patch and asked why I was already dressed for Halloween. Even after explaining this was not a costume, he continued to press the issue, not in an unkind way, but still in a probing way. I smiled and laughed it off this time, but I am still amazed that some people just don't get it. If you want to know what is wrong, just ask! I would much rather tell someone the truth than have them point, laugh, wonder, tease or try to embarrass me. It is what it is and I am what I am. Right??

The second I pulled in my driveway with Annette, my wonderful friend Satcie appeared. Now, you can't be with Stacie without smiling, because her very personality bubbles out and causes those around her to "catch" her take on life (which is a good thing!). She mysteriously brought out a big yellow chair and followed me into my house. There she proceeded to place a large target on the seat, then handed me markers and together we wrote all my frustrations on the chair (ie. back aches, headaches, metallic taste in my mouth, eye problems, hearing loss, hair loss, etc). Then she took the chair outside and handed me an aluminum baseball bat! It was a very windy day, but I managed to see well enough to smack the crud out of the chair. The more I hit it, the more I wanted to hit it! The harder I hit, the better I felt! I was both laughing and crying as I hugged Stacie and thanked her for the wonderful "gift". :) Now you can see why I love her so much.

Upon going inside, I found that wonder woman Cathy had made and delivered cookies (which is amazing, since she has a brand new baby!!). And later I visited with Cami H. who always brightens my spirits. I also talked to both my Mom and Dad, who are constantly finding ways to help ease the burdens of life. I also had messages from my sweet Brittany, my dear, dear old friend, Tom Foster, and many others. Then, my incredible online friend, Jason, sent me very powerful and uplifting messages that once again reminded me that life is all about perspective. Wow! What love! What AMAZING, WONDERFUL, POWERFUL people!!

The last three days have been very good. I have felt somewhat better and I am constantly being hugged, loved, emailed, Facebooked, and called by people that care. Imagine if everyone in need felt this kind of love at some time in their lives...the world would be a much better place, because of all of you. Thank you, for being you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Walking and Talking to Myself

I wish I knew what was "going on" right now with me, why I am having such a hard time. I seem to have part of the day when I do well, then the rest of the time when I really struggle. Yesterday was exactly like that, a good start to the day, but a terrible ending. By late evening, I seemed to have all my "issues" to deal with at once. My eye was very irritated and I was trying to hold it shut, my restless limbs were going crazy, my whole body was tight and aching, the metallic taste in my mouth was stronger than ever, my headache was "on", my mouth and hearing were "off", and to top it off, I had a horrible itchy rash all over my body. I think the rash was a reaction to weeds I had pulled in my yard earlier in the day.

So, by 9pm, I was at my worst, but my body was nowhere near sleep. So, I bundled up and went for a walk outside, by myself. I walked for about 25 minutes and cried out loud much of the time. I talked to myself in my head, wondering why I seem to be struggling so much right now. But, mostly I just cried. I thought about stopping and talking to a friend. In fact, I want all my neighbors to know that I did think about coming to you to vent it all out. I almost stopped at a dozen different homes (Annette, Cami or Cami, Nancy, Kathryn, Heidi, Cathy, Belinda, Els, Andee, Vener, etc). I love and appreciate you all, but I just didn't know what I would even say. You would have offered to help, but I wouldn't have known what to even ask you for. That is why I feel so stuck. I know people still want to help, but I don't know what will help...

So, here it is, another morning, and sure enough, the sun came out again this morning and I am feeling good, for now. The tears have dried up, the itchiness has subsided, but many of the issues remain...because they are part of me for now.

Perhaps I am just coveting my old life, one where I could give instead of receive, play without hurting and have endless energy and strength. But, that is not where I am now, I am here. So, my challenge for today, and everyday, is to love myself, just as I am, challenges and all. I will definitely need God's help, but I know He is there for me, as He has been for me every day of my life!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blips and Blessings

What to say, what to say? Many friends and neighbors have asked me in the last few days how I am doing. Right now I am not quite sure what to say. Am I getting better, yes, I am still getting better. But do I feel well? Hmm, not so much right now.

This week I have been plagued by terrible headaches all week. They have made it difficult for me to get "good" rest and my whole body is achy and in knots. Not fun. My wonderful hubby, Tolan, is giving me back massages daily, to try and release the tension in my body. Thank heavens for Tolan, he is my ideal man, in so many ways. He will always do whatever he can to help me, from massage, to putting me to bed early and taking care of the kids, to insisting I get in the hot tub and relax (which I always enjoy). So, without my amazing spouse, I am sure I would be feeling much worse. As it I am now, I am doing OK, but not as good as I'd like.

Friday was my hardest day in months. Part of the day was very good, and I had a great lunch visit from my dear friend, Noellee. We ate, chatted and reminisced. We will be friends forever, I just know it. :) In the afternoon, my parents came to visit, in town from Hawaii. I so looked forward to their visit, but I just didn't feel as well as I had hoped. We still had a good time together, but they could both tell I was suffering. Dad's magic hands worked on my back for a long time, and mom insisted I take a rest while she watched the kids. All of this definitely helped.

That evening Tolan and I were lucky enough to go with mom and dad to a dinner about the Polynesian Cultural Center and BYUH. It was a wonderful evening, at a wonderful couples' home. Everyone who spoke did a fantastic job and we could truly feel the Spirit of God in the room. BYUH and the PCC are truly "blessed" places, where the Lord is able to touch His children's hearts and minds. We were so glad to have been there. Sadly, I felt terrible the whole evening. It was my worst night in about 3 months. I hate to take heavy pain meds, but didn't have much choice that night, though they made me feel dizzy and "spinning" all night, without relieving much of the pain.

So, where does that leave me now? Well, I need to find some way to relax my body and get the rest I need so I can continue my recovery. My parents have a theory that a massage chair will help, so I am checking into that option. In the meantime, I am trying to go to bed early (trying being the key word) and praying for deep, restful sleep that will allow my body to heal.

Still, I am not upset, depressed or anything of the sort. I am blessed and my life is miraculous on a regular basis. So, though I may be having a rough spell, I still know that life is wonderful and I constantly feel surrounded by love. As my good friend Jason ( always says, "It is all about perspective" and I have been through enough to know that this is but a small blip on a wonderful, adventurous journey!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cloudy and Cold

Today was not one of my best days. I had a horrible "recovery" headache when I went to bed last night and I didn't sleep well at all. (I am hoping for a different scenario tonight.) When I got up this morning to get the kids off to school, it was cloudy and overcast outside. Somehow, it felt as though the clouds crept into me, darkening my day, as well.

I have such a hard time getting around these days that when I am able to see to drive, or get someone to take me out, I try to accomplish many things in one trip. Today was no different. My last stop of the morning errands was to grab a bite of food before getting Casen to preschool. Without going into all the details, a group of grown men were across the room, staring me down during my entire time there. I don't know why they were staring, but as I attempted to eat (and with the facial paralysis that can be tricky and embarrassing for me at times) I could feel their stares and laughter coming right at me. Their cruel looks and taunting eyes even followed me to my car as I loaded kids into their carseats. The stares and laughter were so hurtful I wanted to cry.

As I drove home, the cold invaded my body and all I could think about was how I wanted to be normal again, or at least be "me" again (some would say I have never been "normal" :). Usually I laugh these things off, join in the "joke" and don't let them bother me, but today, it hurt.

Luckily, I have caring and loving friends and family who help me remember that those moments are less about me and more about the sad people doing the taunting. Thanks Scott, Jason, Dorothea and my hubby Tolan, for getting me through that short, cold storm.

The good thing about storms is that they clear the air and make way for the sun to shine again. So, that is my hope for tomorrow, a brighter, sunnier day. Happily, my little Daven is running around the house playing games with his daddy, and those sounds are sure to chase away any clouds that might be lingering in the air. My sweet family is truly a blessing in my crazy life!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Random Patches & Pies

My daughter, Lindi, came up to me yesterday and said, "I'm happy as a pumpkin pie!" I laughed and asked what that meant and she told me that it was just a random statement. One of the "Tween" shows my kids watch apparently has a running joke about how "random" things are. They will "randomly" make funny, nonsensical or out of this world comments and then say "how random". Well, today, that is my post, it is random bits of information about my world. :)

Random Patches: Sunday I had the chance to go to General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had to wear one of my very fashionable eye patches because of the weather and air flow within the Conference Center. As I walked into the building, a man came up to me and asked where I got my patch. He said his wife has been looking for one and didn't know where to get one. I told him I got it at the hospital, but I happened to have an extra with me. (Truth is, I have 3 in my purse at all times.) They are, of course, bedazzled and stylin', but I offered him one. He seemed surprised and said, "You have one here?" I pulled one out, full of jewels, and handed it to him. He asked how much he owed me for it; I just laughed and told him my insurance had paid for it 1000 times over. :) The funny thing is, the nurses gave me many patches, thinking it would be fun for each of the kids to have one, as well as a couple for me. When we got our hospital bill, we were charged $20 each, including all the extras they threw in for the kids! So, I am glad someone else will get some use out of them!

Random Pie: I was in the car today and the song "American Pie" came on the radio. I couldn't help it as the music and beat caught me in their webs and soon I was singing right along, "Bye, bye miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry. And good ol' boys were drinking whisky and rye, singing this'll be the day that I die..." It was one of those perfect moments, with the music turned up, and the kids swaying to the beat in the back seat. Just a few seconds, now frozen in time in my mind, but it was good, fun and very "real" to me today. It was just me, being me. :)

Random Cutie Pie: My little Daven is the sweetest boy! His 2 big things in life right now are: 1) Getting potty trained, and 2) Trying new things. The potty training wasn't really my idea (yet). We have been working on it a bit for a while, but I haven't been ready to really dedicate myself to the task. :) But, he has decided he doesn't want to wear diapers anymore, so that is that. Here we go on what is hopefully a very small adventure. As for trying new things, well, I love it. He is absolutely great and so fun to watch. His favorite phrase right now is "Did you see 'dat, Mom? Did you see 'dat?" He wants me to watch every single thing he does, whether it is jumping off the deck (which no longer worries me, he's got that one down to a science), or wearing his brother's sunglasses. He wants an audience and he wants to know he has my approval.

I realized that in many ways, that is what we all want, just a little approval from the people we care about most. For me, I want my husband, children, parents, siblings and family to feel like I am trying hard enough ... for them. I want them to know that they do motivate me, and in many ways, they are the reason I am still here. Most of all, I want my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ to know that I am trying my hardest to do what I should. I am grateful that I feel that approval and know that they love me, inadequacies, idiosyncrasies and all!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Construction Zone

Tonight I figured out the perfect analogy for my current life. I am currently “under construction”. For anyone who lives here in the great state of Utah, the word construction may bring bad memories and feelings to mind, as much of the state has been under construction for years (the freeways, all of downtown SLC, etc). A "construction zone" is an interesting situation to be in, as it is a temporary state, on the way to creating something much better, however, it can be very difficult to navigate through while it is happening.

In Utah, you may drive downtown, only to find out that today you can’t turn left on this road. Or, you get on the freeway expecting your commute to be 45 minutes, like it always is, only to realize that because of the construction, it takes double the time. Perhaps your usual route is totally closed to traffic and now your only option is the train. Your travel to the hospital may stop, only miles short of your destination, due to a truck blocking the road, making you late for your appointment to see the doctor. You notice new lines on the road and struggle to follow the new "traffic pattern" which will likely be new again, tomorrow. Then the giant "cones" are put up, which narrow the lanes of travel and even the slightest movement on the road could send you crashing into concrete barriers. Ahh, the joys of construction.

Well, this is very much like my life. I don’t know what to expect from day to day, there are speed bumps, “slow down” signs, and broken roads all over the place. Some days it is a headache, other day it is the loss of strength and energy that derail my plans. Yet on other days, my sight and depth perception keep me from completing my tasks. Sometimes it is the hearing, or the taste, the paralysis or hair loss and itchy head, and sadly, sometimes, all the roads are closed and everything shuts down at once. Most of the time, I can navigate around these issues, but sometimes I get stuck on a road that just doesn’t go where I want it to. My roads have been closed a lot lately, and I am trying to figure out a "new route" for my daily life.

The wonderful thing is, construction always means something new and improved is on the way. I feel like that is true for me, too. I may not be new, but perhaps recycled into an improved state is more like it. I am not the same person, though it may appear that I look and act the same on the outside. I am different on the inside. I am more whole on the inside than the outside. I have a new lease on life and a new strength that only comes from facing challenges head on. I know when my re-construction is complete, I will have safe, solid roads to drive on for years to come. Sure, they will still get potholes, but the construction crew has been retained for years of maintenance, so as to avoid major delays or mishaps in the future.

So, what is the point of this whole analogy? Well, today was a wonderful day and I feel inspired by the leaders of my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, see for more info) who spoke to us and gave us revelation on how to lead our lives. Their words made me want to become a better person, a better version of me. Today, the construction crews were off for the Sabbath and the travel was light and good. Tomorrow may not be the same, but at least I know that when the big project is complete, my life will again be navigable, with smoother sailing and blue skies ahead! So, bring on the orange cones, to me, they are a sign of progress and innovation!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Good, Better, Best

Some time ago, one of our LDS Church leaders gave a talk entitled, "Good, Better, Best" talking about the fact that there are so many ways we can spend our time these days that we need to separate our activities to make sure we are getting the BEST use of our time. There are many good things we can do. There are better things we can do, and there are the BEST things we can do with our time. This message is one I have taught to the youth at church over and over again. Now it is time I apply it in my unusual circumstance.

Truly, I feel I am doing at least good things with my time, but my strength is so limited these days, I am realizing I can't do all these things, even though they may be good. I need to limit myself to doing only the things that are the BEST use of my time, so I can preserve myself for the things that really matter.

I am having trouble doing this, because my nature is one that I want to do all the good things because I care deeply about others and everyone has done so much for me lately. I really want to repay all the kindnesses that have been shown to my family. But, I cannot. I cannot write the 500 thank you letters that need to be written. I cannot make bread, cookies, and dinner for all the families in need, especially those who have helped us this year. I cannot meet with every friend or talk to every young woman at church that I'd like to.

I am saying all of this more for myself than anything. This is a constant battle for me. For many, it is easy to say "Just take it easy and stop doing so much." But I challenge any of you to come to my house and tell me what to stop doing, making breakfast for the kids, doing laundry, making dinner?? What do I stop? Well, sadly, I am going to have to stop doing so many of the "good" things I love doing, because I simply don't have the strength and energy.

Still, I know this is not a bad thing, it is just hard for me because I am a "go-er" and a "do-er". The wonderful thing about life is that I have so many good things to choose from, that I could fill all my time doing good things. I feel like that means that my life is blessed. The challenge for me is to become a person who can tell the difference between the "good, better and best" options in life and do accordingly. So, if I do not answer every email, phone call or card, please know that I still love you dearly and I am thinking of you, but I only have a little energy and strength these days, so I am limited in what I can do. My "best" may not be perfect, but what I have goes to my dear husband and my sweet, wonderful children!

Thanks for your continued support and love. Without all of you, there would be many more tears and fewer smiles. You keep me going and keep my family going with your love and help!