Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hospital testing (3 of 3)

Tuesday morning, I awoke to Thomas dragging me out of bed, telling me I must get up to go to the hospital. I cannot remember another night prior to big tests and procedures that I slept so deep and sound. I awoke only wanting sleep, not concerned with the testing. I was completely and 100% at peace.

I slowly got ready and could not help but be overwhelmed with the peace that consumed my entire body and presence. I knew that no matter the outcome today,  that the doctors would be guided by our Savior and ultimately he was in charge. I was not worried about the risks or side effects or even the possibility of death that had been placed ever so presently at the center of this testing.

As we arrived at the hospital, the peace continued.

I was taken and given an echo cardiogram where not only did the tech do a fabulous job but also gave me the name of a doctor for Hayden to see. We spoke of the different types of stress tests, as I was still unsure at how Thomas and I were to proceed but knew the answers would come as I needed to make decisions.

Dr. Shah came out and talked to Thomas and I about the testing, what tests were going to be run and what her feelings were on the different tests. She assured us she would be right with us and take all necessary precautions to do her best at keeping me safe.

The stress test was next. Different testing methods were on the table depending on my level of response to medications and breathing. EKG's were run. IV's started. Still unsure as to what testing I should do, I was relying heavily and completely on when I had to chose that the Lord would guide me, as I was promised. I recalled President Smith's words, when talking of my condition and testing. He said that I would be guided by the Savior but I may have to walk in faith right until the decision had to be made. Thomas was asked to leave and I was left alone with me and a team of seven doctors and nurses to go through this testing alone.

After the EKG was looked at by the doctors, another EKG was ran and then another. I then overheard the doctor call her office and ask her staff to make sure they had faxed the correct EKG for me. When that was re-faxed, the latest EKG ran at the hospital was pulled up. Another EKG was ran on me. I overheard my doctor tell another one present, I don't know what has happened and with anyone else besides her, I wouldn't believe it but she has escaped death many times and accredited all to her God. So, I guess her God has stepped in again and healed her. My abnormal EKG's had improved, which is medically impossible.

At that precise moment, I knew I could do the stress test and I would be given the strength necessary to walk the treadmill. Once attached, there was so big burly guy that held onto me to help me stand. The test was fast, as my heart rate jumps so quickly these days and it hit 153 in 2 minutes. The nuclear medicine was given and I was able to finish the stress test. A miracle in and of itself.

When done, the doctor scheduled more tests which required nuclear medicine and pictures of the heart in increments of an hour then wait then again. At one point during the test, I had one minute to go and then it felt like forever. The doctor ordered more pictures while inside. My heart swell and I knew she was being guided to answers.

Dr. Shah walked in and said she thought she might have figured out the problem and better yet had an idea of how to fix it. Her staff was in awe! Telling me later that they have never heard her make such a promise.

Now bottom line of my understanding: I have taken approximately 10 major blood clots to the brain resulting in 10 strokes in the past year and a half (rough guess possibly many more). I have taken blood clots to the heart damaging the heart. I have taken them to the lungs. Blood clots have messed up my kidneys, liver, etc. etc. I was told that the next six months plus were going to be intense and filled with all kinds of treatment. I would have long term damage from so many strokes. But, she thought that with intense therapies, she could help me live again.

I know the road ahead is going to be a climb and I will have to fight to get there.

But, I am so grateful that I get this chance to fight. To get to live again.

On the way home, I looked over at Thomas. He was smiling. I asked what he was thinking and feeling. He summed up our lives best as he said, "I feel like a thousand pounds has been lifted off my shoulders. And, I feel like I can dream again."

As we talked, we both realized that we have lived the last year in survival mode. Living from minute to minute or hour to hour and rarely day to day. We have tried to sustain life. Now, we get to go fight with all we have and conquer this illness. Then, we will be able to dream again. Do all the things on our bucket list. Grow old together and raise our son. Serve a mission together and testify of the greatness of our Savior. Our dreams are big. The ability to dream is priceless.

I go to the doctor next week to get a game plan. Whatever the plan, whatever is required, we are willing to do it. We know the Savior will walk with us, hand in hand, carrying me if he needs to and will help us on our journey. Once again, my heart is singing the song, I know that my Redeemer lives. As the words proclaim, Oh the joy this sentence gives. I know that my Redeemer lives! He lives! I too, testify of the divinity and reality of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As you invite him into your home and lives he will bless you and guide you and take the impossibilities and make them very real. I love my Savior and I know he loves me. The peace this brings is without measure.

Miracles Granted (2 of 3)

Sunday night came and Bishop Smith, President Smith, Bishop Call and his wife Ann and daughter Toni, all came over to talk with me and Thomas about the fast and receive counsel from our church leaders. These leaders have been called and have stewardship over our family as they are called by the Savior to lead and guide and counsel the ward members under their charge.

These are good men that have been called of God. They walk uprightly before him. They serve and love and give with expecting nothing in return. Our Savior has asked for their service and they have willingly given.

As we sat and talked, I expressed to them how my week had been progressing both on what the doctors were communicating and what I was feeling when I prayed.

I have been struggling with what to write here. How many details to share. What to express. My feelings are that so many of you have prayed with us, fasted in my behalf, kept up on this blog because you deeply care. I want you to know the story, but do not want to just put very sacred and spiritual experiences out for any reason besides to add my witness that our Savior does care for us. He preforms miracles today just as he did when he walked this earth. He walks with us, as he walked with his disciples. He knows us. He loves us. He guides us and shows us the way, if we are willing to listen to his voice. Because I feel the need to add my testimony and add my witness to that of so many others, I will share what I feel is appropriate on such a public forum. I am happy to talk with anyone one on one if you would like more clarification or understanding as to how our Father in Heaven communicates with us and lets us know his will.

With that disclaimer, I will share according to the Spirit of our Savior the events that so miraculously took place in our home on Sunday evening.

We all spoke of the events leading up to that moment. Most importantly I expressed my feelings regarding my post, I Know that My Redeemer Lives. I expressed how that led me to feelings that what my will was, to live, was not with the Savior's, which was to go back home.

We read scriptures and talked of faith. How faith and fear cannot be present at the same time. We talked of Abraham and Isaac and I was praying that my feelings were only like unto Abraham. I had to be willing to walk the road of the Savior, willing to give me all, even my life for him. But was hopeful that like with Isaac, if I laid my life on the alter, that would be sufficient enough for the Lord's needs and show where I stand, and that I would not have to go through with my sacrifice, just as Abraham was allowed to spare the life of his beloved son, Isaac. We read Hebrews chapter 11 together and discussed faith.

We talked of my testimony and I bore witness that I know my Savior lives. I know miracles are as prevalent today as in the days that the Savior walked this earth. He is in charge. If we give our hearts and souls and lives to him, he will mold us into the person he knows that we can become. When we give our lives to him, we gain it all. I know that Savior has walked this road with me. His arm has protected me, guided me and kept me alive. He has eased my breathing, he has stopped seizures, he has removed blood clots, he has comforted my soul, he has spared my life. I testify of his goodness and know that he can do all things that are expedient to his will.

After much discussion, my dear Bishop Smith laid his hands on my head and anointed me with consecrated oil for the healing of the sick. Then, with the Bishop and Stake President at his side, my dear husband proceeded to give me a blessing of healing. We wept together. We cried. We rejoiced. We praised our God.

I was promised that this incurable disease would be made known unto the doctor. The doctor would be led and guided to finding a cure. I would be made whole. Through my faith and all those faith that fasted with me, that collectively the Lord had heard our cries and was granting our desires.

Words are not expressible as to the feelings of my heart. Gratitude, appreciation, awe in my Savior, thanksgiving, humility and so many others.

Because of all those that fasted and prayed and sent up requests of healing to our Savior, the Savior is graciously, and miraculously going to heal my body.

Going forward, I dedicate my life unto the Savior. I will do his will. I will say what he wants to be say. I will stand as a witness of his power, his miraculous healing and his infinite love for each of his sons and daughters here on this earth.

My life is a living testament to Him. I stand today because the Lord is good.  Thinking back to Alma and where I read that God grants us the desires of our hearts. Once again He has delivered on his promise and he has granted me healing so I can fulfill my desire to live.

Blessed be His name. He is our Savior. He lives. He loves us. He is so good.

The hard reality (1 of 3)

As the past week went on, my hopes and expectations of the cure, deteriorated quickly. The sicker I got, the more hopeless I felt. That compiled with the fact that the doctors were assuring me that this disease was incurable and they were not sure my body, in its weakened state, could survive the testing required to figure it out.

My feelings began switching from survival to doctors assuring me that Thomas needed to know all of my passwords. The doctors sent me with a list of things that needed to be taken care of before my procedures on Tuesday including a living will, power of attorney signed over to Thomas, will signed and notarized, any last wishes spelled out. My world was spinning. How do I say goodbye to my eleven year old son? To the love of my life and beloved husband? To my sweet sister that would be left without a mother or me? To say goodbye to all of those too numerous to begin listing.

My heart was broken. My Savior was guiding me home not leading me here.

By the time Saturday night rolled around and our fasting began. We joined in with family, friends, and our ward family in a time of fasting, prayer, and pleading for the Savior to again step in and spare my life. The overwhelming response was unbelievable. The numbers that joined in to bring the healing powers to earth and help me to live, were without number. I was so touched. So in awe. So grateful. I felt the arms of so many trying to sustain me and comfort me.

Sunday morning we awoke but the peace did not come. I felt the prayers and sacrifice of so many but the peace and reassurance of being protected during these tests did not come. I was broken hearted.

In faith, I mustered up all energy I could gather and we went to church. When we arrived, I was struggling so hard to breathe I could barely talk. Thomas gave updates to the ward members as I muffled my love and thanks to my ward family.

I was in awe of the number of people who were praying and fasting for me. The love and compassion shown is not expressive in words.

My heart cannot express the gratitude and love I feel for my beloved family here on this earth. It is far reaching beyond my immediate family and friends to the numerous loved ones that come each week and worship our Savior with me. My feelings intense and my heart is touched and full at my love for each of my loved ones.

Sacrament was special and tugged at my heart. The songs meant to ease my soul. The weight of the world and the inescapable path that must soon be walked weighed heavily on my mind. The deep anguish I felt is indescribable. I couldn't bear to look around and make eye contact for fear of the tears becoming uncontrollable because of my deep love for my brothers and sisters in that room.

I looked over and saw the sadness in Thomas' eyes. I saw Hayden's confusion and uncertainty. I was breaking my family's heart and was incapable of changing the circumstances.

As the talks went on, testimonies were born, my heart rang true with the truths being taught. My love for my Savior so intense that I would walk his will first, even at the expense of those I cherish most.

The closing hymn was "Each life that touches ours for good". I lost it. I looked around. Those I love surrounding me. My heart was overcome with grief and love and appreciation all mixed in. As the closing prayer given and the ward family began moving from the chapel to the rooms, one by one, a line was formed to hug and comfort me. The words expressed will always hold a dear and special place in my heart.

In tears, Thomas drove me home, exhausted. He had Hayden stay with me while he went back to church to his priesthood meetings.

The new bishop, Bishop Smith and outgoing bishop, Bishop Call were meeting and called Thomas over. They spoke. Hands were laid on my precious husband's head and a servant of The Lord proceeded to give Thomas a blessing of hope and comfort and peace.

As these great men cried together, a member of the stake presidency walked in and began speaking. President Smith is also a doctor and asked if he could come over to discuss the upcoming procedures and tests.

Arrangements were made for all three to come to he home that evening.

As Thomas relayed the events to me, I was so grateful for the support system that Thomas would have when I was gone. Hayden's primary teacher called offering his support and love. Dinner was brought in. Phone calls and texts and well wishes and prayers were without number.

My heart was so grateful for all the good people I have been blessed to walk this life with ......

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Family moments savored

Lately our evenings have consisted of a lot of cuddle time all snuggled up on the bed reading and talking. As I look at these pictures, I am grateful beyond words for my sweet son and precious husband. These two are my world. They are the joy that I carry in my heart each day. They are my happy place. They are my security and unconditional love.

These two are amazing. Words cannot express my love and gratitude for these two amazing guys in my life.

Thomas is the love of my life. He has been my rock during this entire experience.

He has awoken prior to 5am each and every morning. He got ready. He has woken up Hayden and helped him get ready for the day. He has awoken me with my medications and helped me to the couch and has then helped me get ready for the day. After which, he would make me and Hayden breakfast. He'd take care of the dogs, take out the trash, get Hayden ready for school, throw in a load of laundry, ran to Circle K to get me a diet coke and made sure morning prayers were said. He would drop Hayden off at school, go to work all day, run errands at lunch, go back to work and pick me up another diet coke on the way home. He would then make dinner (when the ward hadn't brought it in), completed homework with Hayden, did laundry, cleaned the house, paid bills, figured out a schedule for taking care of me and picking up Hayden for the week. He would make sure scriptures were read, prayers were said, he would rub my feet, put me and Hayden to bed, go grocery shopping, and anything else required of running a household.

Not only that, he would stay up with me at night, when I was having seizures, struggling to breathe and in pain. He would lay is hands upon my head and pronounce a blessing, utilizing his priesthood and calling down the powers of heaven. He would spend all night by my side easing the pain and comforting my heart.

Words do not do justice to the great and loving man he is. He is a valiant servant of our Father in Heaven. He is good and kind and does all in his power to serve our Savior. He loves me and Hayden with all of his heart. I am so lucky he is mine.

Hayden is a joy beyond words. He is tenderhearted. He is kind. He takes good care of his mom. He is my happy place. He is my smile. He is the tender mercy that brings light and joy to my heart. He has a testimony of the Savior and shares his love and reassurance that our Savior is in charge whenever things get rocky or scary. He relies on the Holy Ghost. He knows his Savior. He loves his Savior. He loves with all of his heart. He brings me joy. He brings me happiness. He makes me smile. He is my light each morning and each afternoon. My will and strength to live. My world.

I have a precious family. I have been so blessed. I've been given a great life. Life with these precious sons of God by my side, my life is absolutely priceless!

Jodi day

Monday morning I received a text from Jodi saying that her and Talmage were headed over for a diet coke, donuts, movie, yummy lunch and ice cream day. She was so scared!

When she came over in the morning, I relayed the events of the night before. We cried. We laughed. We rejoiced. We talked of the miracles. We were just so grateful to not have to figure out how to say goodbye to one another.

I realized that day how grateful I have been for the past six months. Yes. I have been sick. Really sick. But I also have been able to sit and talk and spend time with those I love. I've had the time to really sit and think. Time to express feelings. Time to love with all of my heart.

Jodi and I have become so close during this trial. She has walked it and lived it with me. She has been my strength and my sanity throughout this journey. She has made me still feel important and needed.

She has put her heart and soul into helping me get well. Keeping me entertained.

I'm so grateful for he extra time. Each moment feels like a precious gift.

I'm so grateful for a sister that puts my needs above her own. I love her with all of my heart.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fall or spring decor

Hayden walked from my bedroom to the family room back to the bedroom and then settled in on the couch next to me. He said, "Mom, your room doesn't match the rest of our house. Most of our house is like November and and your bedroom looks like May." I asked what he was talking about and he explained that most the house is decorated in dark wood with fall colors and my room is bright yellow and turquoise. I laughed.

Hayden proceeded to walk thru the family room explaining the pieces we could change out to make it more colorful and more spring like. I laughed and told him we didn't have money to redecorate and I was perfectly happy with a fall house.

"We'll when I get my own house, it is definitely going to be decorated bright and cheerful like springtime!" I laughed at my boy and his definite opinions.

That's my boy!

Hayden and "the girls"

Hayden and the girls!

Hayden 11, Katelyn 11, Kierra 11 (Katelyn's friend) and Kiley 10

Crazy goofy wild adorable fun kids

Love my cute nieces! Love how much fun my Bubba has with his cute cousins.

Puppy Love

Hayden wants a puppy so bad. I almost gave in. I don't like training them but have high expectations that Hayden's own dog could provide him with much needed confidence to conquer some of his fears. And could provide me and Thomas with some much needed assistance in helping Hayden to become more self reliant.

We are looking into getting Hayden an assistance or companionship dogs. I believe he qualifies and I need to research it further. The more I research them, the more I see the benefits.

Hayden would love a little one to care for, clean up after, sleep with him and move from room to room with him. If I was guaranteed that Hayden would/could sleep in his own room, the dog would be worth it's weight in gold.

I know a guide dog could help Hayden conquer his fears, give him confidence, and help him become more independent.

It looks like real soon we will have to put our dog down. Wouldn't the timing be great if I could get a training dog to ease the pain of losing Princess.

If anyone know how to go about obtaining or qualifying for an assistance dog for Hayden, please let me know. I guess I would be up for a little buddy for my boy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Perfect Day

Some days are just picture perfect.

You wake up and from the moment your eyes completely focus until they close again in deep slumber, it is all magical.

I awoke to the sound of laughter. Hayden absolutely cracking up at something Jackson or Gunter had done. Boys laughing and noise and messy chaos filled the walls of our house. But the love and happiness and joy that was contained within the walls surpassed any need for worldly perfection.

I smiled. I took a deep breath and soaked it all in. I want this day to register in my long term memory.

There wasn't anything special per se. The moments so ordinary that they could have been mistaken as a regular day and dismissed with a glance.

I realized from the first laugh that it was destined to be magical!

We watched movies. We talked. We played a couple of rounds of Clue. We laughed. We taught Hayden how to play Chinese checkers and checkers. We watched more movies. We cuddled on the couch. We talked. We teased one another. We snuggled. We read scriptures. We started our fast. We loved each other with all of our hearts.

That's what this life is about.... Holding onto each other tight, cherishing one another, recognizing the magical moments intertwined in the middle of the everyday grind, laughing, talking, cuddling, finding the joy, worshipping our Savior, and loving one another with all our hearts. Life really is amazing and wonderful and something to be cherished not just endured.

After all, it's those that you surround yourself with that make life wonderful and amazing and definitely worth living.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Clue night

The boys were having so much fun coming up with theories from their fire that we decided to carry the theme throughout the night.

The boys played Clue. Then apples to apples. While I made up clues for them to search for around the house. We had our own "Clue Treasure Hunt".

The clues were cheesy but the boys didn't care. They thought it was an amazing game and had a great time!

"I'm grey with white stripes and usually tied. I may even be a little stinky inside." To "Letters, a screen, and even a mouse. Look around and you'll find it in the house." And the boys favorite was, "there's a blanket on me but I'm not a bed. I'm leather. I'm brown. You can rest your head."

After the clue treasure hunt, we all watched the movie clue. Then closed out the night with some Psych episodes. It's easy to spot the clues when you've already seen the episodes. It made it that much more fun for the boys.

I had the best night. I love spending time listening to Hayden's laughter. I loved watching how my son thinks. I love seeing his face light up with happiness. I love that he has such great friends. I love that he is so amazing. I want to just soak each and every moment in.

All in all it was a perfect night!

Fire fighters

Hayden and his two buddies, Jackson and Gunter were jumping on the trampoline yesterday after school. They came running in yelling that they could see smoke and smelled fire in the wash. Luckily, Grandma Julie was over and headed out down the wash to explore the smell.

Of course the boys were not happy to stay back with me while Grandma searched for the fire. They convinced me to walk down the wash to let the find clues. Ok. Picture me is sweats and oversized t-shirt with slippers. Freezing cold. The boys started running down the trail and then were going to hike down into the wash. Hayden handed me a huge stick for a cane and held on to me while helping me down.

The bottom of the wash was all sandy. I was struggling to walk. (*note: I have not been out of the house in months except to the doctor. A walk to the bathroom causes me to struggle for breath.)

Sweet Hayden stayed back with me while his friends ran ahead. He was so tender as he held onto me and helped me take each step. It was such a tender moment.

Anyways, someone had put a chair in the wash, soaked in gasoline, and set it on fire. Luckily, not only did the boys see the smoke, but so did a couple of other kids who got their parents.

Grandma Julie and the other dads put out the fire. The boys loved standing back and helping to put out the remainder of the fire once it was almost out. They had all types of theories and they all stood their pretending they were Shawn and Gus on Psych. Too funny!

After the excitement we headed back up the wash and home. My heart monitor was going crazy by the time I got home. Too funny! I collapsed on the couch and listened to the boys with all their theories and excitement and adrenaline. They were so happy!

Even though I was exhausted, it felt so good to feel like me again. Me, the mom that loved going on Hayden's adventures. Me, the mom that would follow Hayden to the moon and back. Me, the mom that could care a less about how things effect me but only care about the happiness of my son. I felt like me. Exhausted, struggling to breathe, worn out but happy happy me.

I love my son! I love him with all of my heart! I would walk to the ends of the earth and back for him! He is all of my dreams come true! I wanted to be a mom from the time I could walk and talk. The day Hayden was born, he fulfilled that dream. Every day since has brought more and more and more joy! Hayden, thanks for all of the love and joy you have brought to my life. Never forget how very much I love you!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I know that my Redeemer Lives!

As I was reading in the Book of Mormon tonight, the following verse struck me and I read it over and over. Alma 29:4-5 "I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God, for I know he granteth unto men (or women) according to the their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; ... according to their wills." And goes on to add, "it is given unto his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscious."

I found myself reading and re-reading these verses about Alma talking about the true desires of his heart which would to be like the voice of an angel declaring repentance and the teachings of Christ to all.

The more I read, the more the verses rang like questions instead of statements. What are the true desires of my heart? Do I want life or death? Do I want true joy? Joy that only comes from following the Savior or do I want my will to be done regardless of the Savior's will? I pondered on those words spoken.

I tried reading along further but couldn't read on because the questions kept ringing in my heart and mind. What is it that I truly desire? Am I refusing to die and clinging to life because of my will or His?

I do want to live. More than any desire of my heart, I truly want to keep walking this earth. The trials and pain that is involved is insignificant because my truest desires are to continue to walk here with my loved ones.

But the next question is one that has kept me up for hours pondering these inspired words and seeking the guidance of my Savior. Yes, The Lord is gracious and kind and loving and is granting me the desires of my heart. However, am I doing this for me or for him? Where do my true heartfelt deepest feelings lie? Am I doing this because I cannot bear to be separated from my loved ones? Am I doing this because of the pain that I know out of losing my mom in childhood? Are my reasons selfish because I want more time here on this earth with my husband, son and loved ones? Or, am I really trying to seek my Savior's will and be his servant, his disciple and his daughter?

The scriptures, the words of God, are such a beautiful gift. How grateful I am for this book of treasure from my Savior. I have his words, his teachings, his lessons and his guidance to walk me through this life. Not only has he given me the ability to talk with him and seek his guidance in prayer but He has also given me the precious gift of his holy scriptures where I can read of his words, his teachings and the path that leads back home to him and our Father.  

I love that any time that I am willing, that I am able to lose myself in his teachings and find the path that my Savior has prepared for me.

By reading a few simple sentences tonight, I am able to spend hours with my Savior truly seeking his will, not mine.

The desires of my heart are so clear, so deep and so strong that I too have the desire to shout from the rooftops proclaiming the Savior's love for each of us. He lives. He is real. He desires that all come to him and seek his guidance, his path, his love and his indescribable peace.

After writing the above passage, I tried to sleep but was kept awake with these thoughts and questions. No amount of tossing and turning would help me to find slumber. After wrestling with my bed, the couch and the recliner, I gave in and again picked up the scriptures realizing the Lord was trying to speak to me and I needed to figure out what he was trying to teach me. 

Often I have found in my life that when words fail, music speaks. The song I know that my Redeemer lives kept playing in my head. I switched over to YouTube and searched for songs. I located this beautiful arrangement of this song with pictures depicting the life of our Savior. As I listened, my heart was touched so deeply. My Savior is not someone that is unreachable or someone that comes to us when we are perfect and all is alright. The Lord spent his days with those that were in pain, had diseases, all types of afflictions, those that suffered unbearable circumstances, and even brought back the dead.

My heart swelled with emotion and I again remembered that not only is Jesus my Savior, he is my older brother and my best friend. He hurts more than anyone at watching me deal with this pain. He aches for each of my heartaches, each desire unfulfilled, each fearful moment and picks me up and carries me when the pain becomes too much to humanly bear. This is my Savior that atoned in the Gethsemane for me. He took upon himself not only my sins and shortcomings but my pain, my heartache, my unfulfilled desires and human frailties. He has experienced my trial and therefore is able to help me walk through it like no other.

I felt swallowed up in his love. I knew I literally was not alone. The one who walks this path with me has been there before me. If I trust him, follow him, I will find the path prepared for me.

I know that my Redeemer lives. YouTube Video-I Know that My Redeemer Lives

With peace surrounding me, I knew that I would locate answers to my deepest questions and desires and sought further guidance and instruction. 

I was lead to this talk from our beloved President Thomas S. Monson from general conference 2007, titled, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". YouTube Video link to President Monson's talk.

As I listened to this precious talk on life and death and the reasons why some die, I was brought to tears. Tears fall so easily these days. My heart is so close to my Savior. I do not know what the near future holds. The next weeks hold some very frightening events. It is all out of my control and all I can do is turn my life, my will and my desires over to my Savior. He truly does know the deepest desires of my heart. I pray that his will and mine are the same and that it is still his will, as it is mine, to continue to walk this path here with my loved ones.

If my Savior has other plans, I will trust him into death even as I have trusted him in life. I am his. I know whatever his will is is the path I need to walk. And although I cannot bear the thought of leaving my loved ones behind, I know we will all be reunited again. Because of our Savior. Because of his atonement, we will live again. For this knowledge. For this reassurance. I am eternally grateful.

He lives! I add my testimony with all those that have gone before. I Know that my Redeemer lives!

Please join my ward family, family, friends and loved ones as a special fast is being held this Saturday evening and beautiful Sabbath morning in my behalf. I feel so humbled and so grateful at the outpouring of love and compassion that has been shown to me and my family. I appreciate each of your prayers and know that each prayer is heard. Thank you. Your love and friendship has made my life beautiful with many many incredible moments and heartwarming memories. I am forever grateful. My love goes out to each of you. God bless.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Meningitis Round 2

I don't think I have ever gotten so sick so quickly, as I did last night. Yesterday morning I was fine. Tired but no worse than normal. By 2 AM, my neck was stiffer and headache as bad as last August when I had meningitis. By morning, I could not move my neck, I could barely open my eyes and knew I was quickly digressing.

Thomas took me in to urgent care first thing this morning. And although the doctor would have preferred me in the hospital, we negotiated for 48 hours at home. Come Monday, if the strep throat is not significantly improved and the meningitis breaking up, then I will give in and be hospitalized.

I am grateful for modern medicine. I am grateful for all natural medicines. I am grateful for good doctors that really do their best to try to help me heal.

My body is weak but my will is strong.

I would sincerely appreciate any prayers right now. I know my Father in Heaven hears each prayer. I know He knows each of us personally. He loves us and wants to answer our prayers. When His faithful children gather together in prayer, He listens and answers their prayers.

I know this because I have been the recipient of His healing powers, His love and His mercy.

Without knowing the latest development, our Bishop called and asked if the ward could hold a ward fast for me prior to my upcoming tests.

Thomas gave him the latest update with my health. They talked about my upcoming tests.

Bishop is asking the ward to join in on a fast that the doctors will be guided to find answers, that I will be healthy enough to undergo the tests, and that I will be strong enough to go through the tests without any major complications.

I feel so loved. So blessed. So cared about. I know that the Lord's will will be done. I am placing myself in His hands. With the prayers of so many, I know I will be ok.

In the meantime, I am hoping this meningitis breaks up quickly and the strep throat heals. I am growing weary of these illnesses invading my body. But know that I am not done here, so I know The Lord will help heal this tired body of mine and bring relief.

Thank you for the prayers on my behalf. I am so very touched.

Valentine Cupcakes for a Cure

Valentine's Day Cupcakes for a Cure was a miracle in and of itself. The orders were so numerous that Jodi had to enlist a couple of friends to help bake the batter she made up.  Jodi made 1,152 cupcakes on February 13, 2013. That is absolutely unbelievable. 96 dozen cupcakes.

I am amazed and in awe on so many levels that I don't even know where to start or how to express myself.

I am in awe of the number of generous and loving friends, family, acquaintances and people I don't even know that ordered cupcakes. The generosity of those around me just astounds me.

The sacrifice and love of my sister, Jodi, is beyond words. Her love for me is endless and eternal. She is definitely the world's greatest sister. What would I do without her? Where would I be without her?

I can't help but recall sitting at Jodi's counter, in tears, not knowing what to do or where to turn. My life seemed over. If the money wasn't raised and raised quickly, I would not be able to receive any more care or more treatments. I wasn't even sure how we were going to pay for my heart and seizure medications, much less anything else. Jodi talked of Cupcakes for a Cure. We ran the numbers. I told Jodi, we would have to sell a thousand cupcakes to make a dent. I thought it was impossible. Who would buy them? How would Jodi make that many?

Fast forward only a month later and Jodi has made more dozens that I can count but approximately 225 dozen. That is 2,700 cupcakes in total.

Amazed, in awe, there are no words for my gratitude. My appreciation. My love.

My admiration goes out of course to Jodi and all those that have helped with making or purchasing cupcakes. The generosity of so many. My Savior for helping this to all unfold.

Jodi dropped off the money raised from the cupcakes. She was so worn exhausted....she had given her all. I walked out to the car to get the money. As she sat and counted it out, I was speechless. I fought back tears. I said a silent prayer.

As Jodi and I talked, we were in awe with the entire Cupcakes for a Cure operation. How it came about, how many people responded and the generosity and love of those we are surrounded by.

We have officially met my minimum deductible required for me to start back into treatments. I cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for that. Also for the Lord holding on to me and keeping me safe until the money could be raised.

I know the road ahead is long. Copays and medicines and treatments denied by insurance are still ahead. Experimental treatments that are not covered, all natural doctors that are helping and so many other costs are involved, but I can move forward with the next round of testing and treatment that I need and so desperately require.

The road ahead for an unknown disease is long. Cures seem impossible, at best. But I have hope. I have the faith I need to walk this road.

I firmly believe that if I were not supposed to live and fight this fight, the Lord would not have helped us to raise the money for the next experimental treatment. Cupcakes for a Cure not only is financially providing me with a vehicle for money to come in, it is also providing the strength to keep going, keep fighting this fight, keep moving forward. With the love of countless people donating, providing hope and love, I must keep fighting to live. Others have too much invested in me. The Lord has too much invested in me. Thomas, Hayden, Jodi, and so many others have too much time and love invested in me for me to give up this fight.

In return for all the generosity that has been poured onto me, I promise to make each dollar count, each kind gesture, each act of service and love, repayable by my finding a cure. And as they find a cure for me, I am hopeful that thousands of others that come along will not be given a four month maximum for life, but they will have the lifesaving treatments, cures, and knowledge to save those that walk this path after me.

I am grateful for each and every one that has helped to pave the way for me to continue this fight. My gratitude, love and appreciation is beyond any words. Thank you.

Cupcakes for a Cure has definitely healed my heart.... thank you for joining with me and my loved ones to find a cure for me and so many others.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine Treasure Hunt

I wanted to do something really special for Hayden on Valentine's Day. Cause there is no way in the world to describe the love I have for my precious boy.

We woke him up earlier than normal and led him to the front room to this first note telling him to unravel his way to the treasure.
He looked down the hallway and in sheer Hayden fashion said, "What the heck! What happened!" He was trying to process where to go and how to not get tangled in the string.
He started his find by climbing under and then over different strings to maneuver his way thru the maze.
When he realized there were treasures along the way, and woke up a little bit, he was having so much fun. He loved locating the first treasure with a note that said, "You Rock our World" attached to Pop Rocks.
He went back and forth thru the hallways, entry way, his bedroom, toy room and office. Finding little treasures along the way. "We Cereously LOVE you!" attached to his favorite Froot Loops. A package of Oreo's with "You are the best CREAM FILLING ever!" (We have always called him "our little cream filling", the best part of the Oreo, sandwiched in between me and Thomas)
The game closet revealed a bag of powdered donuts with "Donut forget we LOVE you!"
Leading him to his final and most adored Valentine gift a box of Creator Legos. "We will never LEGO of you!"
Hayden was thrilled with his huge Valentine Treasure Hunt score.
Thomas, being the amazing dad and husband that he is, proceeded to make us a wonderful Valentine's breakfast of egg, bacon and cheese burritos, our favorite. I love the smile stretched across his face as he threw his arms around both Thomas and I and exclaimed that this was his best Valentine's Day EVER! Success! If any child deserves a great one, it is my sweet Bubba! Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Love

Hayden came home on Valentine's Day to see the garage all decorated for him with cute hearts and sayings. His cute Grandma Joyce came and decorated the garage door for him and also made us a wonderful yummy Valentine's night treat of baked cinnamon apples.

How lucky is Hayden to have such an incredible Grandma? She drove clear out to our house to make sure that Hayden had a wonderful day and knew how very much he was loved. He was embarrased but loved it. He loved it MUCH more when he realized it was from Grandma Joyce not a girl.

Hayden is so not into to girls, but so loves his Grandma. When he found out it was done by her, he was much more willing to take a picture. I guess it is okay if Grandma does something like this... but definitely NOT ready for girls. I love it!
I laughed so hard that Grandma called the morning freaking out that she had spelled Hayden's name wrong. She said she was in a hurry and left it off. Oops. Too funny. But that was what threw Hayden off that it wasn't someone that new him well, making him think Aunt Suzi teasing him, could be possible.
I made a bag for Thomas to take to work. "I am still NUTS about you after all these years", "You may be NUTTY but you are mine", "I wouldn't CHEWS anyone besides you", and others. He loved it! I need to do an entire post just on this great husband of mine.
I made a simple but thank you for my drivers, support team and those that daily have tasks at helping us out. What would I do without this group that so willingly supports and loves me and Thomas. They give and give and give. Jodi, Suzi, Julie and gratitude is beyond words. We love you so much! You continue to be lifesavers in helping us to get through each day.
They love we were shown was incredible. Jodi brought me my own dozen of vanilla cherry chunk cupcakes, my favorite. When she was making a thousand cupcakes, I am so grateful for the extra time these took and that she remembered me. Suzi brought over the funniest journal that talked about holding on. Each day is encouragement of being able to make it. I laughed and laughed. My visiting teachers remembered us, a Valentine meal was brought in, a friend dropped off sugar cookies, with icing and decorations for Hayden to decorate so I wouldn't feel bad about not doing cookies with Hayden. Our yard was decorated, notes were sent and we felt unbelievable love.

I vow to say I am one of the most fortunate people on the earth. The love of those around me is incredible. No words can express the feeling of legions of earthly angels surrounding us with their love and service. It is amazing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Party

While Jodi was making cupcakes for Cupcakes for a Cure, Jodi's kids came over to our house for a Valentine's Day party after school.

We had pizza, donuts, brownies and chocolate milk (thanks to Aunt Suzi). The kids opened their Valentine's day and then we watched Hotel Transylvania DVD.

The kids were all thrilled with their Valentine treats. Hayden gave the necklace he made to Brooklyn and then gave Brigham and Talmage hot wheels that said, "I 'Wheelie' love you". Brigham and Talmage loved them.
I love these boys. Really, I do! My heart delights in this picture of the three boys. It breaks my heart that Hayden doesn't have siblings. Although, Brigham and Talmage are his brothers. He treats them just like little brothers including teasing and teaching them and protecting them. He does love them with all of his heart. I pray they always stay close. I do love Jodi's kids like they were my own, so to me, this picture is all three of my boys!
Suzi bought each of the kids a box of cereal that said, " I cerealously love you"! These kids are so lucky to have Aunt Suzi in their lives. She spoils them rotten and loves them with all of her heart!
Talmage and Brigham loved their "We DIG you!" bags filled with a shovel and candy! Brooklyn also loved her "We HEART you" bracelet!
The kids settled down with their Valentine's presents from Grandma Julie, legos, motorcycles and fingernail polish, and watched Hotel Transylvania. They loved it! And loved that I let them put down blankets and eat their pizza and treats in the family room.
It really isn't a scary movie, although this scene apparently is. I loved sitting on the couch and relishing the moment of these four kids that I cherish and love.
It was perfect! Not only that, but had a perfect ending. When Thomas came home, he had the kids go outside to see that someone had "Heart attacked" us while the kids were partying inside. They loved running out to see the yard.
 We do not know who did this incredible kind gesture for us, but do know that it is someone in our ward. Our ward is amazing and we have the best families to all our friends and ward family.
What a beautiful day! What a perfect way to celebrate the love and joy that we share with so many.

Hayden's first Valentine (besides me)

Hayden has watched Thomas making necklaces and jewelery for me and others. One night as Thomas was making a necklace, Hayden asked if he could make one for someone. Thomas said sure, and Hayden told him he really wanted to do something special for Brooklyn because she is his best friend that is a girl.

Hayden took out all the beads, lined them up and spent probably 30 minutes putting the beads in different combinations, carefully designing the perfect necklace for Brooklyn.

He spent the next couple of hours perfecting his creation, stringing beads and creating his masterpiece.

When Thomas added on the clasp on the end for Hayden, he stepped back and admired his work. He even tried it on to make sure it would fit Brooklyn perfectly.

Then, like most, who create something, he started questioning if she would like it. We assured him and he couldn't wait for Valentine's Day to roll around to give it to her.

A month went by so slowly, as almost each day, Hayden asked if it could be a "just because" present instead. He couldn't wait.

We made him hold out.
Valentine's Day rolled around and on Wednesday, February 13th we had a Valentine's Party for Jodi's kids while she was making cupcakes. Hayden was so excited but nervous at the same time.

As Hayden gave it to her and explained that he made it, a huge smile came across Brooklyn's face! He then added, I figured you should be my valentine because you are more like my sister and best friend than anyone. Her smile spread further across her face as she admired it and let Hayden's words soak in.
She immediately put it on and commented, that it was perfect to wear with anything. Hayden's smile grew, too. Both were happy and thrilled with the outcome.
I love these two so much. I love that Hayden has Brooklyn, Brigham and Talmage. No, they aren't siblings. But they are incredible cousins and best buds. They act like brother and sister. They are either the best of friends or worst of enemies. Lately, however, they spend about 90% of their time just being best friends.
I pray that they always stay close. I always wanted a big brother to protect me. Brooklyn has that in Hayden if she wants it. Hayden adores her. He loves her with all the love in his heart. She really is his Valentine. Someday he will find the "love of his life". But right now, I couldn't be happier that he recognizes that she truly is his Valentine.