Sunday, June 28, 2015

Meet Olivia

We welcomed sweet little Olivia to the family almost two weeks ago. Ok. So technically she is not ours, but Suzi's little puppy. Suzi adopted this little 2.1 pound, jet black, itty bitty fur ball. She is absolutely adorable and so so tiny. She is soft and so darn cute. 

Miss Olivia is about as opinionated as I have seen, she is only 2 pounds but every ounce is crammed with determination and feistiness. She is cuddly and sweet yet energetic and playful so cute. We love and adore her. 

We are so lucky to get to watch her some. Hayden worked the best part time job out of watching her. Suzi spends the night on Mondays night so she can leave Miss Olivia with Hayden while she volunteers at the temple and goes to class. Then on Wednesdaynwe get her in the evening while Suzi attends more classes. Then, we beg for her, of course. We are thrilled to watch her anytime and anywhere. 

Hayden thinks she is the greatest and I think she bonded with him first out of anyone. Hayden walks in the room and Olivia is his. But, she wants to kiss him and then right back to playing. 

Max and Maya love her and teach her new tricks. Maya looks huge and is becoming a little mama to Olivia. They couldn't have adapted better to her. They adore her. 

Thomas and I love the little fur ball. We put her on our bed and she found a pillow she loves to cuddle up on. She is already a huge fan of Thomas' back rubs and cuddles with me and plays so much. She is so much fun. We just utterly love and adore her. 

Welcome to the family, Olivia. We love you!


My friend posted this on Instagram and my heart beat out of control as I read these precious words of truth. "We always find that those who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear he greatest trials." 

Always in life, those who have stood for the Savior have received greater trials and have had to overcome great things. 

I'm not sure where the thought came about that it we are doing what is right, our lives should be easy because we will be blessed. It simply is not true. Satan's plan was the easy one not our Savior's. We were not sent here to earth to find temporary and fleeting happiness. We were sent here to prove ourselves worthy to return with our loving Father in Heaven. We were sent here to be tested with all things to see if we would remain worthy. We were sent here to gain the necessary characteristics that will seal our hearts to our Savior and help us to put Him first over all else. To see if we would remain faithful and endure to the end. 

Those words, the doing words, are so key in these requirements. Prove, gain, tested, tried, remain, return, and endure are not simply bystander words. They require action and hard work on our part. It requires us to gain key understanding and figure out how to do what is needed to return again to Him. 

We are sitting in college here. We are learning. We are growing. We are expanding our minds and helping to enlighten our minds to grasp and capture greater understanding. We are to sacrifice what we think we want in the moment for long term deep joy. 

Hayden, as you walk thru life. If you are battling and fighting and youmfeed like your road is an uphill battle, then my dear boy, you are doing it right! Doing what is right will never keep us from trials and heartache in all things but it WILL give you the ability to overcome whatever is in front of you. The task may seem unbearable but it can be done. 

If you rememeber these two simple rules when facing trials,or hard things in your life. 1) if you have faith and stay faithful to our Savior, He will strengthen you, guide us and help you through life's storms. 2) When eating an elephant or conquering problems, you do it one bite at a time, a piece here and a bite there. You focus on the goals at hand while keeping in mind you main objectives. And possibly a third. Your mom loves you always. You are my precious boy. I will always be near to guide you, support you, be your soft place to fall and love you to the moon and back a million times over. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Life - trials and blessings

My sweet friend, Jenna, came and visited me the other day. I loved having her here. She got me thinking. She is so young and just starting out on her journey. She and her husband have their lives ahead. They have their first foster son. They are trying to figure out how to be first time parents and dealing with emotions of not knowing if this precious boy that they love and adore and call son will be theirs for much longer. It breaks their hearts to think about giving him back. He has stolen their hearts and they love and adore him. 

We talked of the joy and pain. We talked of the hope and the future. We talked of trials and overcoming adversity. We talked of listening to the spirit. We talked of coming closer to our Savior. Of trusting. And remembering the bigger picture.

Life shouldn't be measured starting at birth and ending at death. This life is just part of the plan. One stage. We lived before we came to earth with our Savior. We learned at His feet. We walked with Him. We were taught by. Him. The truths we so desperately need to navigate this earth life, we learned before we came here. As we discover truths and learn about our Savior, we remember what we already knew. And death doesn't stop our progression. We move on to the next phase or again living with our precious Savior. What we do with our time here matters. 

As. Jenna and I talked and cried and laughed. I'm grateful for all those that walk in my door and sit and visit with me. I am grateful for the reminder that we are here to navigate this life and come closer to Christ. Whether we are just starting out on our journey or whether we have come close to the end of this life. Each of us learns different things at different times and to differing degrees. We need to be more patient, more kind, more understanding and more forgiving. We need to rememeber we are each here trying to do the best we can in differing circumstances. We each are trying to work our our own eternal salvation. 

As each friend and loved one or new acquaintance enters my home, I love the Spirit that comes, the learning, the enlightenment of minds and the sweet encouragement of friends. 

A lot of my life lessons come from my sweet son. He has taught me so much. He has brought me closer to my Savior. He has helped me to discover important gospel truths. 

I relayed to my friend a conversation that I had with Hayden. Sometimes the greatest learning comes from where we least expect it. After Hayden and I had discussed the possibility of me being taken from this earth,  Hayden wisely offered me these words, "we came here to get a body, to choose to follow the Savior and then to follow Him with all of our hearts.  Once we learn to do that, we are available to go back home to live with the Savior." 

Jenna and I talked about it. When you break life down to the simplest of terms and then place your adversity or struggles back into view with an eternal perspective, it makes them easier to handle. Not that the weight of the trials changed but our perspective adjusts and we see things more clearly. It's easier to try to figure it out when we clearly see the eternal perspective. 

Sure. We have to live in the here and now. We have to navigate this life while remembering our eternal goal. One of my favorite quotes is, "some blessings come now. Some blessings come late. And some don't come until the next life. But the blessings. DO come."

Trials are inevitable and as the apostles said, "If the road seems all uphill, you are on the right track". 

Following the Savior isn't always easy. It is sometimes difficult to walk the way we need to. But in overcoming hard times and in conquering our trials, we become more Christlike. We truly become His. 

As  Jenna and I talked, I was taken back to being in my early years, trying to navigate life and trials. And now, I am trying to coach someone else thru the trials they face. Looking back, it seems so clear. What I was being taught and what I was doing and how I was helped. 

I am so grateful for the relationship I have with my beloved Savior. And although the path thru life hasn't always been sure and the climb has been rocky and difficult and there are times I have only held on by my fingertips as I have climbed my own mountain, the view from the worth the rocky and thought terrain of getting here. I realize that I am just a peak. I can look back and admire the view and be grateful for,the things I have gained on my climb. I realize that I need to turn and take the first step onto my next mountain and continue up. But where I am. And where I am going. Is exactly where I want to be. 

The climb has taught me who I am. It has refined me. It has polished me. It has made me strong. It has helped me to grow and become more like my Savior. I have learned patience and diligence, while being ever grateful for repentance and forgiveness. I've grown to know my Savior in a very personal and loving way. He has been my strength, my rock, the hand that has helped pull me to higher ground, the one who has caught me when I fell and the one cheering me on up the climb. He has stayed with me and never left me. He has placed key individuals next to me to help balance me and steady me. He has given me cherished loved ones to enjoy the journey with. 

I now can say I am grateful for my trials and adversity. It shaped me. I am who I am because of them not in spite of them. Every challenge made me stronger. Each rough patch strengthened me. Each fiery time molded me and I see the wisdom in it all. My patriarchal blessing promises stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks. Oh how that was such a gift from my loving. Father in Heaven. He lovingly placed stepping stones along my path to teach me to climb higher. 

As. Jenna left, I said a prayer of gratitude. Gratitude for my life. Gratitude for the knowledge I have gained. Gratitude for the wonderful moments along the way. And a deep gratitude for the loving people that help me each and every day. My life has been good. Really good. The blessings greater than the trials and way too numerous to even count. I've had a great life. And I am grateful for those that come over to talk that help me remember just how blessed I am. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Darce- my friend

My sweet friend came and visited me on Saturday. Darce and I have known each other and been dear friends our entire lives. Our dads were mission companions. Our parents were friends at BYU. By chance, or design, they ended up both moving around the corner from one another in Arizona, after BYU and my parents living in Florida for 2 years. So we grew up in the same ward and in the same preschool class and in sunbeams together. We were at each other's baptisms and the births of our younger siblings. We were at birthday parties and recitals and family events. We spent the night together and attended classes together and more. We held high school parties together saw each other at BYU. We both went on missions at the same time and got married within a month of one another. We have always been friends. She knows my entire story. 

I love her entire family. She loves mine. We care about each other's lives and each other's children and siblings and parents. 

Darce is a cherished and beloved friend. I am so grateful to have been blessed to walk this path in life with her by my side. Our roads may have been rocky and traveled apart but they always eventually reconnected and our paths come back together. If either one of us needed the other, we are there. 

It is so wonderful to have a lifelong friend. I love Darce and am so grateful for her friendship in my life. I'm a better person because of her. 

Thanks, Darce for coming and seeing me and spending time with me. I loved our chat. I am so thankful for you. It was a wonderful couple of hours catching up. Time flew by as we talked and laughed and cried. What a friend. What a joy! What a true gift in my life!

My scout returns

My boy had a GReAt TiMe at ScOUt CaMP!!!

He SURVIVED an entire week! He had so much FUN!!! He made new FriEnDS! He gained a stronger TeStiMoNY! He gained so much cOnFiDEnCE! He came back more MaTUrE! He LeARnEd so much!!!


He hiked all of the hikes. He hiked over 15 miles in one day. He repelled. He was lowered into a river. He ratted. He jumped off a cliff. He slept in a tent alone. He made new friends. He cooked. He earned more merit badges. He gained strength. He gained confidence. He learned to rely on the Savior. He made stronger friendships. He got to know e leaders better. He came home so much more grown up than when he left. 

He was all smiles when we picked him up. He was stinky and filthy dirty but happy. So very happy. 
Brother Turley and he other leaders cakes Hayden the miracle scout. All week. They said he was their miracle. He overcame so much and kept up with his peers. He did what he didn't think would ever be possible. He was in awe of himself. He is a wonderful boy. He is a light. A joy. A strength. A sunshine. A beacon of light and hope and love. 
I'm so proud of Hayden. He did it! He accomplished his goals. And I couldn't be more proud. I love you, Bubba! Always. Forever and no matter what. Always rememeber. You can do anything. You have the ability within you to continue to learn and grow and stretch your limits. You can achieve anything with the help of our Savior. He will always be with you. Whether you are at home or on a mission or at scout camp or whoever you may wander. You can do amazing things. Absolutely amazing things. I love you!

Weeks family

Oh how I love and adore the Weeks family. I remember the first time I met Jordan and Sarah. They spoke in church and I had the strongest impression come over me. "Get to know them. You are supposed to be friends." Really. What am I supposed to say? What do we have in common? They were so young. However, I walked up and introduced myself. 

Soon thereafter, we were all out in as ward missionaries together. We grew to just adore them. They were struggling with adoption and struggling to start a family. We talked and talked. We became dear friends. 

We helped each other thru failed adoptions and illness and heartache and insurmountable joy. We saw births and struggles and good days and bad and everything in between.  I was there when each of these sweet children entered their home. I know their stories. The good and the bad. They know ours. 

Incredible friends. Friends that become family... Don't come into our lives every day. I am so grateful for the impression I felt in the chapel that day. Because I listened, I have found lifelong incredible friends. 

I have missed them so much since they moved to Utah. These sweet children have grown up so much. But they all remembered me. And I loved that so much. 

Rex and Zee and my cute twins Jet and Rudy. So precious. So sweet. So wonderful. I loved every single minute with them. I loved the hugs. I loved the sweet spirit while they were with us. Those smiles. Those eyes. Oh how I love and adore them. 

And although I didn't get pictures of their sweet parents, I love Sarah and Jordan. They are family we chose. I'm so grateful for the gospel and all of the close relationships I have gained thru the gospel. Oh these sweet faces. I miss them already. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Spinal tap and more

Tuesday I went in for a spinal tap, biopsies and blood work. Oh fun. 

Since it was a clean room of sorts, so Thomas couldn't go back in with me. Just the tech nurse and head nurse/procedure specialist and me. The tech started to explain what needed to be done after another nurse asked me if I would participate in a blind clinical trial to further research on my rare disease. All of a sudden, my head started to spin. The room started to wave. I turned gray. The heat started to build in my head and neck and out and down I went. Luckily I was on the table. 

As I came to I was so embarrassed. I felt so stupid. Really...we have only discussed the procedure and I go down. The head nurse walked in and decided to start with the biopsies laying down. We started talking and I was fine. Absolutely fine. No problem. As soon as she started to do the measurements, the lightheadedness and grayness came back. As I went into the attack and passed out again, the nurse explained what was happening and that indeed I have absolutely NO control over it. It is a damaged autonomic response uncontrollable by me. I asked multiple questions. But she continued to start on the biopsies. It stung but wasn't as horrible as I imagined. The ankle biospy stung more than the hip and thighs. However, when I went to sit up....boom. Back out. I was so embarrassed.

She decided to take my blood laying down. After 5 tries of getting needles into veins and the blood disappearing or clotting, I went out again. I had to sit up in the chair with rice heating pads on my arms. And ice packs on my head and neck. They finally got some blood and then it happened again. First the room, then the stomach and I turned gray. They caught me as I went down. Last thing I heard was something about the blood squirting and grab another tube. They helped me back on the table. 

The nurse asked if the doctor realized how sick I truly was. If I had explained how bad the passing out and complete vasovagul response dysfunction. I said I had tried. 

We then attempted the spinal tap. After the numbing agent was put in, I was headed back out. It was about 15 seconds after she pulled the needle out and about 30 seconds to a minute before the spinal tap needle went in. I was so lucky that passing out occurred during that time. I could have been in serious trouble. After that last time, the nurse packed me in ice packs and we finished the spinal tap. I blacked out afterwards but I had survived. 

The nurse talked to Thomas and I afterwards. She explained the vasovagul response and what was happenign to my body. She explained caffeine is the best way to counteract and that is why my body craves diet coke. It opens things up and helps me stay alert and conscious. I guess that is pretty important. 

I came home to deal with headaches and charley horse cramping in my spine. I ached. I am so grateful Thomas took the day off. I needed him. He calms me. He comforts me. 

It was a long day....but ....grateful for the protection and timing of when I passed out. Things could have been much more serious. I'm grateful a nurse and medical professional finally saw what happens to me. Hopefully that will help figure this out. Now to start feeling better so I can get some sleep and get out of pain. .... But I am grateful for all the miracles that continue to be mine.