Thursday, August 28, 2014

Job-one of my heroes

“I do not know of anything that members of the Church need more than they need the conviction and perseverance of Job.”—Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Job and family
Detail from Job and His Family, by Greg K. Olsen
I was known as a man who feared God and avoided evil. The Lord blessed me with seven sons and three daughters, and He granted me great material wealth, including “seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred [donkeys], and a very great household.”
Satan believed that I would cease to be righteous and that I would curse the Lord if I no longer prospered temporally. The Lord allowed Satan to test me but would not allow him to harm me physically. Satan caused my livestock to be stolen or destroyed and sent a strong wind to knock down my house, killing my 10 children inside. Rather than cursing the Lord, I “rent [my] mantle, and shaved [my] head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped” the Lord.
When Satan saw that I would not curse God, he wanted to test me with physical trials. The Lord allowed Satan to do so but would not allow him to take my life. Satan afflicted me with “sore boils from the sole of [my feet] unto [my] crown." Still I retained my integrity, refusing to curse the Lord. My friends mourned with me.
My friends told me that my suffering was caused by my own wickedness and that I must repent, but I knew that I was a righteous man. The Lord later commanded my friends to repent. They were told to make a burnt offering and to have me pray for them.
After seeing my faithfulness, the Lord caused my great suffering to cease, and He blessed me with “twice as much as [I] had before.” I now had “fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand [donkeys],” as well as seven more sons and three more daughters. The Lord truly rewarded me richly for my faith and patience.
I have seen the hand of the Lord in my life, both in my afflictions and in my prosperity. I boldly testified: “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”
Although Job was not a prophet, his life, testimony, and endurance during trials can be an inspiration to us.

Job has been one of my heroes for many years. I've always used his life as, mine could be worse... My favorite scripture is D&C 121:7-10. Joseph Smith is in Liberty Jail and is crying out for help and comfort. He is begging God to take swords and slay his enemies, pleading to hide and protect him. And desperately seeking comfort. 
The answer to Joseph from the Savior is one I have pictured the Savior saying to me over and over. "My son, (or my daughter), peace be unto thy soul... Thine afflictions shall be but a small moment, but if thou endure it well, I will exhault thee on high. Your friends stand beside are not yet as Job."
I have used that verse and when the Savior continues with, "the Son of Man has descended below all. Are he greater than he?"
As I struggle, as I face my own trials, adversities, afflictions and heartache, I am assured that there are three men than I love and admire that have walked a much rougher and rockier path. If I am struggling,  I am in great company. And, in time, my suffering, will also end. 
Joseph Smith, Job and Jesus Christ are definitely three of my greatest heroes. They give me examples of how to walk my struggles. They give me strength and hope to keep walking and keep enduring. I know that I will never be asked to endure as much as they have. And if. I face my trials as they did, I too will conquer and overcome. 
Someday, when these earthly trials are over, my Savior will take me in His arms and whisper, "Well done. Welcome home." And in that moment, all of the suffering and trials, all of my heartache and struggles, will seem minimal to the great reward I will receive of standing in the presence of my Savior. Peace will fill my heart and soul. I will be home. Free from all the pain and earthly cares. Safe in the arms of my Savior. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Appointment

The visit with the psychologist, was rough. I laughed at first as I was asked crazy questions. Name? Jerlyn Murphy Year? 2014 Where are you? A drs office. What type of building? A brick one. What floor? First. What day of week? Thursday. What is the date? (Oops. Date. What is today. I just asked Thomas at least three times when filling out paperwork. Hmmm. It's August. My birthday was the 8th.  What day of the week was that. Crap. I'll guess) August 20? I can tell I'm wrong. Ok. Shake it off. People get dates wrong. He continues.... Who is the pResidet? Obama. Remember these three words. (I can't remember what they were.) I repeated them. He asked more questions. Asked me to point to a triangle. Asked me to point to the number three. Ok. I have not totally lost my mind. I know what a 3 looks like. He then asked me to repeat the words he gave me earlier. Uh oh. What were they. I remembered one and with help the second. For the life of me, the third never came to mind again. 

Then the crazy questions came. Do you have any super powers? No. Can I fly? Um no. Can I see thru walls? No. (Thinking the guy is crazy.... What is this?) do they really think I am crazy instead of sick? I reassure myself to stay calm. It's ok. 

The crazy questions continue. Have you ever bought 100 pens, just because? I say no. Then remember Jodi and I bought a case. Yes. A case of spiral notebooks a couple of years back and I am still using them. I almost laugh out loud. But I listen as he continues... Have you ever bought 10 of the exact same shirt, same size, just because? No. Why would I? Same shirt, two different colors, absolutely, if I find a shirt that looks good, why not. I tell myself to concentrate. What did he just ask? Those words again. I have no idea what they are? Hmmm. I explain that the strokes have taken out my short term memory. 

He asks me how I am handling my illness? Why I am not going to counseling? Why am I not attending a support group? Why? Why? 

I explain that I have an amazing support system. Amazing family. Incredible friends. A great church family. Tons of help and surrounded by love. He asks about hope and faith. I tell him that my Savior has walked this journey with me. He has strengthened me and supported me. The psychologist stares at me. He then asks me a question that floors me. Do you really think that the Savior can help you more than a physchologist? Yes. I do. I can tell he is not liking my responses. However. They are true. He asks about how often I attend the temple. I fight back tears. As I try to explain that I have had seizures and passed out in the temple during sessions. That right now, I am not able to attend. He asks if it is physical or if I'm worthy to go in. I assur him I have a current temple recommend, that I am living the covenants I made but am not able to physically endure the time it takes to attend. He asks about church. I tell him that although I long to be there, I only maybe make it every other week at best and can only stay one hour, not all three. I long for the day I can again go regularly and stay for the entire duration. But not yet. 

He asks questions like when you cook, can you smell the food? I tell him I cannot cook. I faint. He says that isn't the question. He asks a lot of double ended and tricky questions. I do my best. He tries to mess me up. He records and changes small things to see if I will notice. He won't accept any answer that deals with a physical ability. If I say well I can't because I get sick or pass out or whatever. He wants me to answer from a mental not physical standpoint. How do I do that? 

Needless to say, it was a fiasco. 

I cried when I got out. I felt like they were saying that my only issue was I didn't want to be well. Really?! I've fought and fought and tried and endured so much in order to try to overcome and fight this illness. I've given all I had and then another thousand percent. I've given well beyond my ability. I've endured more than I ever thought possible. I have suffered what I didn't think was humanly possible.

 I felt peace overcome me. I felt a gentle reassurance. "I am here. I know the truth. I know the real you. I know your struggles. I know your efforts. I know it all because I suffered it all for you. Peace be unto you. You are mine. And I love you."

The fear and frustration melted away. I was encompassed in the Savior's love and peace. Man could not harm me because I was firm in my Savior's hands. I no longer cared. My Savior has walked me thru this journey. He has led me, guided me, strengthened me, helped me, and loved me. He would not leave me alone now. It didn't matter. My Savior would protect me no matter the outcome. In His hands, I am safe. 

I had Thomas bring me home. I curled up in bed. I took my Q96. And I slept. I don't think my bed has ever felt so good. The blankets wrapped me in love. As my sweet husband bent down and kissed my forehead, I knew I was home and safe. For today, I didn't have to endure any more. I just had to sleep. I could rest knowing Thomas was home. My Savior would go before me and fight my battles. All I had to do was sleep. I slept. And peace engulfed my entire body and soul. 

Friday, August 22, 2014


The road to disability has been long and hard. For the first year of my illness, I kept thinking I could just "beat this disease", as I had conquered and achieved any other goals I and set my mind to. The second year, I didn't qualify because my diagnosis didn't fit into a pretty little package and was complicated with an unnamed diagnosis. A little over a year ago, the rules were changed and a lawyer took my case. For the last year, I have bent over backwards, jumped thru hoops and did everything the doctors and lawyers said. 

Today was one of the hardest things I have done. 

I had a dr appointment today for the disability doctors to prove if  I am telling the truth. Of course I am. I do not lie. In order to go, I had to go off all meds that were not on my original medication list without a doctor letter of explanation. Q96 was not on the list. So last Friday, were the last doses I took until this afternoon. 

Saturday, after dose one that I skipped, I felt uneasy. I wanted to take Q96. I wanted the relief that came with the relief and help Q96 offered. I plead for peace. By Saturday evening, I was miserable and in tears. Sunday brought more tears, more pain, more symptoms and more frustrations. 

I also found out the evaluation they were doing, was not a medical or physical exam but a mental exam. Really. I can't walk. I have seizures. I have almost died on multiple occasions and they are more concerned about my mental health instead of my physical health. 

I lost it. I cried. I cried more. I laid in bed and had a complete and utter breakdown. Why? Why can't they see what this is? Why because I don't have cancer or leukemia, Parkinson's or Multiple sclerosis, do they not believe I am sick? 

I was given multiple diagnosis. Dysautanomia. Peripheral neuropathy. Autonomic neuropathy. General autoimmune disorders. Neurocardiogenic syncope. And a disease that mimicks Parkinson's, ms and lupus at the same time. I cannot drive a vehicle, and haven't been able to in over 3 years. I can't work. I can't cook. I can't take care of Hayden in the way I want. I can no longer run the toy drive. I can no longer be an advocate for autism. I can't play and do what I used to do. I can't go to activities. I struggle to go to the movies once every three or more months. I cannot cook dinner for my family. Bathrooms must be cleaned by others. I cannot walk the dogs. 

I have been told on multiple occasions that death is imminent. That this disease is a life sentence. Death is imminent. I was told this in incurable. They call me "the one who refuses to die". Not, the one who lies. 

Yet, they are going to test if I am lying or just mentally struggling. 

After talking to the attorney and Jodi, I felt better. I guess the disability doctors have just volumes md stacks of medical records on me. They have facts, test results, prognosis, events, and all of the true hard facts of the physical reality that is my life. What they are missing, is how I am coping with this. 

Can I work? Ummm.  I can't walk hardly or drive and even sitting in church for 3 hours is completely out of the question even on my very best days. Even on the rare days I can go to church, one hour and I am dying. If I make it just a little overan hour, I'm flat in bed for days. Exhausted. Miserable. 

Yet, the state is more concerned with why I don't need counseling to mKe it through? They don't understand why I don't need a support group? How I can emotionally be ok. 

Truth is hard. Incredibly hard. But my Savior doesn't leave me alone. He sends loved ones and friends and ward members to comfort and uplift me. I have my own personal support group. I am strong because my Savior has strength not because I do. I am ok because I know I do not walk alone. I know that my Savior walked before me and carries my burden. 

As the attorney told me. "Just tell the truth", I calmed down. I can do that. I can be truthful and honest. That is all I know how to do. So I will mellow out and relax and endure. I will take the tests. I will let th test my short term memory. 

I will be grateful when I can again take Q96. Until then, I will try to endure. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Déjàvu. Am I reliving yesterday all over again? The evening was so similar, yet almost more intense, with the second night of a row dealing with a doozie of a seizure followed by multiple smaller ones. The itching and intense pain from the aftermath of the seizures are common symptoms for me. So for two days in a row, I have endured similar symptoms that have taken me to my knees and caused me to just sit in a ball and rock back in forth in unbearable pain.

I have prayed for strength. Pleaded for comfort. Begged for any sort of relief. And hoped that sleep would overtake my body and bring a much needed break from the intense itching, throbbing migraine and jerking bolts of shocking nerve attacks. 

What I did find for relief in the very early hours this morning was an Epsom salt and oatmeal baths. It didn't completely take away the pain, itching and jerking movements, it did take the edge off. So, tonight, I have lived in the bath. I have soaked in the heavenly relief of those Epsom salts, I was grateful for each moment I felt any relief at all. 

The painfully miserable days that all I can do is just endure, makes me so grateful for the good days. The days when our dear Savior grants me relief. The days when my body relaxes and settles in. The moments when I can sit and just enjoy the small stuff and delight in the time with my family. 

This week has been rough. It has brought more gratitude and appreciation for the good days. So I will continue to endure.  I will continue to hope that the days ahead bring more days of relief and less seizures. But whatever the road is, filled with bumps and rough terrain or a gentle climb, I am grateful for the chance to get to walk it. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


After a massive seizure tonight, I realized how irritating the aftermath of a seizure is....and how long it takes me to recover. 

Thomas,  Hayden and I were sitting on the couch talking. Hayden was explaining and teaching his dad, The Plan of Salvation, in greater detail. I had just asked Hayden, "what is the Savior's work and glory?" He was explaining it to Thomas.... "The Savior's work is to being immortality and His glory and joy is to being to pass eternal life." We went on. Hayden explaining and Thomas listening, with me clarifying and helping when Hayden stumbled. Overall, I was way impressed with Hayden's knowledge. I love that we have the opportunity to study at such a deeper level and I get to really help him understand the gospel and how it relates to his current life experiences. 

As Hayden began explaining to his dad why earth life is similar to college. I heard him say that we needed to move away and learn to have faith and practice what we had learned while loving with our Heavenly Father. Hayden's voice started to feel distant. I felt like I was being pulled away from my boys. I desperately fought to try to stay with them. My vision left and their words were muffled but I could make out a few here and there. I tried to reach out and pull myself back. However, I felt like I was in a tunnel. Racing and spiraling downward. My thoughts were no longer connecting. I would black out and barely come back. 

All of a sudden, there was an awful tasting substance in my mouth. What was in my mouth. Burning. Unpleasant. Oh, my head. Wait. There is something really heavy on my head.  Pressure. Hurting my neck. I try to move it but feel resistance. Words. I hear Thomas speaking. I cannot get the pressure against my head to move. I'm trapped. I feel anxiety rush through my veins. What is happening? I try again to speak. No longer, is the tunnel surrounding me. It's all black. More time passes. 

I again feel the extreme pressure on my head. Thomas? Is that you? Why are you putting all of your weight onto my head.... It much pressure. Confusion gives way to words. Thomas is talking. What is he staying. Darkness. I must have blacked out agin. Then Peace. I feel the dog on my lap and hands on my head. Oh. Thomas is giving me a blessing. What happened? The awful taste in my mouth....must be frankincense. I try to utter a word. No words come. I try to open my eyes. Dizziness. Sheer dizziness. Nauseau. Uneasy feelings return. 

Thomas must have just given me a. Priesthood blessing. I search for words or thoughts or rememberance. None come. Burning. Itching. Oh how I despise the itching. Intense. Deep. The blood running through my vein itches. There is no way to relieve the itching and discomfort. I endure. 

I come back to. I try to speak. I can tell from Thomas' response to Hayden that I must be really out of it still and not making any sense. Although I can't quite make out the words, I can tell he is telling Hayden it will be ok. 

Thomas sits with me and rubs my hand and tries to gently pull me out of the seizure. Remembering is the worst. I'm not as scared when I "wake up" to his voice. His touch. Hayden's tenderness or laughter. Although my vision has not yet returned and confusion encompasses me completely, I feel safe with them. They are my rocks. My strength and my comfort. They are my safe place. Vision or no vision. They would never allow anything to happen to me. I can feel their attentiveness. 

I start coming back. Thomas asks me questions. He is lovingly and gently trying to bring me back to him and Hayden. 

The itching. The itching is now covering my full body. My head. Chest. Legs. Arms. Back. It all itches like crazy. I beg. Thomas to make it stop. He scratches saying this is the best he can get. He slowly helps me up. He steadies me. He helps me endure the walk to my bed. 

I struggle. I know this one was a doozie. My walking is forced and unsteady. My balance atrocious. I reach for the buffet to steady myself. Thomas grips me closer and tighter. I ask for a chair. He tells me I can keep going. "Not much further," he gently speaks, "I've got you. ". He pulls me a little tighter and bears more of my weight. I stumble. I grab for anything to help steady myself. 

The itching is making me crazy. I try to hug. Hayden goodnight. This one was bad. It has taken so much from me. I struggle for simple words, I struggle and settle with a simple, "I love you, Bubba!"

I pause against the bed to have Thomas scratch me. More. More. Deeper. Deeper. The intensity of it is literally making me crazy at this point. I know there is nothing I can do, but it makes me crazy anyways. I need help to the bathroom. I feel the urge to go. Why after hundreds and thousands of seizures, I still insist in going in to the bathroom afterwards, is beyond me. No matter how much pressure. No matter the urge to go. It doesn't happen. My urinary track is paralyzed. And although the burn and urgency feelings will remain I cannot go. My urinary tract is paralyzed. After each seizure. Each episode. The paralysis remains for 6 to 12 hours.  So I am only more annoyed with my body's lack of response. 

I settle in for bed. I realize that Max has stuck to me like glue. He's a good puppy. I'm so grateful for him. He knows when I am ill and stays right by me. Hayden calls to get him to come sleep with him. Max looks at me. He can see the confusion and frustration on my face and tension in my body. Max won't be leaving my side tonight...that is for sure. 

Four hours later and I still sit here, more alert, but itching. I doze on and off. The seizure takes it out of me. Tiredness is prevalent. But my body is so uptight and itching so bad, and so tense that sleep will not come. I'm adjitated beyond belief but sleep is evasive. I try. But the itching is too intense. My body cannot relax and get comfortable. So I play games. I doze. I pace. 

These seizures are awful. Miserable. Painful. Mess with my memory. Cause itching. Deep pain. Adjitation and miserableness. 

I also am reminded of the sweet priesthood blessing given to me. Although out of it and not with it, I pray to get the tender feelings back from the priesthood blessing. Thomas told me I was promised protection, peace, comfort and love. I cling to that. 

I will welcome the day when this body is no longer tormented with seizures. I long for the day they will only be a bad reminder of the past. Until then, I'm grateful for my boys that lovingly help me. 

I will try again to pray for sleep. I hope for healing.... And a dream to someday be seizure free. 



Hayden went on a campout and canoeing trip this weekend. 

Thomas received a text on argues day night from Hayden, "Dad, there is a scout campout on Friday night. I really want to go. Is that ok?" Thomas and I were shocked. He hasn't been a big fan of camp outs lately and we didn't think he would go. He was talking all about it and so excited. Brother Turley called and asked what we had done to Hayden. He was happy and excited to go. We laughed and said Q96. He even told Brother Turkey he wanted to try canoeing. 

He came home all excited and wanting to go. His excitement actually grew over the week. Nervousness and apprehension and anxiety never kicked in. 

This was Hayden right before he left, happy, smiling and in anticipation of a great weekend. 

He came home just as happy. He loved the trip. He made friends. He loved canoeing, even the tipping of the canoes. He was thrilled. He enjoyed it. He loved it. 

I love seeing him embracing life, experiencing new things and loving life. I love how the "Q" is helping him. He's amazing. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Enrichment night speaker

As I walked into the enrichment night for visiting teaching on Thursday, I grew nervous. There were so many people. So many people I did not know at all. Our ward has grown and changed. We are having new families move in like crazy. Each month for the past six months or so, has brought at least 8 new families a month. We are bursting at the seams. 

So, to face so many new people with such a personal story was a little intimidating. Thoughts raced thru my mind as I prayed fervently to just be able to survive. I started to sweat. As I looked around, with more than double of sisters expected, I noticed everyone was getting hot. Great. The number one thing to take me out, and the quickest, heat. My hands started to sweat just as my body felt hot. My throat grew dry and I needed a Kleenex. I found it hard to concentrate on the skit as I was just pleading for strength to survive and the courage to tell my story. 

As I stood, I began to wobble and shake. I tried to steady myself but the room began to sway. Oh no. Not now, I thought. You can do this, Jerlyn. The Savior will walk you thru this. He has never left you nor forsaken you. 

Luckily, Kim saw my unsteadiness. She offered a chair to sit in. I was grateful. The jerking stopped. I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and started. As I looked out among so many sisters that have sacrificed for us, who have made meals, taken Hayden places, taught him, driven me to appointments, fasted for me, prayed for me and showered me with love, my heart was so touched. 

As I spoke, the words came easily, as did my overwhelming emotion of gratitude and love. As I spoke, I saw the hand of my Savior so clearly. I fought to keep the tears at bay. Tears of gratitude, appreciation, long hard days fought with persistence and love for my ward family and Savior. 

We laughed together and cried together. We worshiped and gave thanks for the kindness and mercifulness of our Savior. We longed for peace and healing. We were wrapped in the Holy Ghost. He tenderly touched our hearts that evening. 

All eyes were wet with tears, as the spirit was too strong to deny or hold back from. His love was all encompassing. The Kleenex box passed down each row, then circled the room again. Here were no dry eyes. There was no denying the Spirit present or the love shown by our Savior. We all basked in His love. 

As I finished, I felt the Savior's gentle reassurance, "well done". 

Christy Layton gave the closing prayer. In it, she thanked the Savior for showing us that our efforts to love and care for one another, do actually matter. She thanked Him for allowing her to know that what she did, actually made a difference. That the promptings she received weren't just silly thoughts of her mind by put actually answers to prayers and promptings from the Holy Ghost. I was touched. Isn't that what we all desire? To know our efforts matter and they are enough? 

As the meeting ended, I was hugged by so many people in the room. I was given love. I was given encouragement. I was given gratitude and again showered in love. I felt so much love. 

I reacquainted with old friends, expressed individual appreciation to so many or my ward family and friends. And I was lucky enough to be able to meet so many new people. New sisters. New friends. 

We were all uplifted and encouraged. We were all strengthened. We all renewed our commitment to care for one another and serve our Savior. 

I am so grateful for the gift I was given. The gift of health and strength, even if temporary, in order to accomplish something so important. To reach beyond myself and show those the impact they have had on my life and that of my family's life. 

I arrived home, exhausted, but inspired and uplifted. Grateful for the strength given to me by my Savior. Grateful,for the miracles. Grateful for the love shown. 

Do I have a testimony of visiting teaching? has changed our lives in beautiful ways. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Visiting teaching talk

I'm speaking tomorrow night at a visiting teaching conference and enrichment night. I'm excited and nervous. In awe that my story has such a reach and interest. 

Hi. My name is Jerlyn Murphy. I am married to my wonderful husband Thomas and we have an amazing 12 year old son, Hayden. Many of you probably do not know our family because of the amazing journey we have been in in the last five years. But in order to understand the miracles, my story must be somewhat understood. 

Five years ago, Thomas and I were ecstatic as my pregnancy was progressing and we would be lucky enough to add twins to our family. We were elated and it felt as if all of the heartache from the previous failed adoptions and miscarriages would be worth it as we brought these new spirits into our family.  However, Happiness quickly turned to sadness as I miscarried these precious babies. I had miscarried many times before and this was not normal. I grew sicker and felt awful.  Six months later, we would figure out I had only completely miscarried one baby. Causing huge problems, an emergency hysterectomy. The next eighteen months consisted of five surgeries and a desperate search to repair my ailing body. 

The surgery that was supposed to end this medical journey, quickly turned wrong, as my main artery was clipped in surgery, I bled out and died. I had lost three fourths the blood in my body. To complicat matters, I would have a stroke and be given the wrong blood type. From there, I started into seizures and loss of consciousness, fighting for my life and dealing with autoimmune and autonomic disorders. 

For the past three years, I have been bedridden, for the most part. I am unable to regulate body temperature causing loss of consciousness and seizures when I'm out in the sun or heat. Cold weather bring blood clots. I have endured transplants and procedures. Meningitis and a coma. Pneumonia and multiple brushes with death. And a rare autoimmune disorder that mimicks Parkinson's, MS and Lupus.  My good days consisted of sitting on the couch instead of lying in bed. 

I was unable to care for myself, much less my son. I needed help to just get up and walk to the bathroom and to bed. I needed to find rides for him, to and from school, help with homework, rides to activities. I needed people to bring in dinner, clean my house, do laundry, grocery shop and do all the things required to run a household. Life became very crazy. Depending on the day, or month, I would also require around the clock care. 

We were so lucky to have help of this amazing ward. When I had a transplant and 24/7 care was needed, the relief society arranged for sisters to come on a daily schedule to help me and be there for Hayden. When we had to move, they arranged shifts to pack, clean our home and unpack our new house. Countless meals were brought in and an abundance of love was shown. 

Sometime during that first 18 months that we were searching for answers, my sweet visiting teacher brought over a copy of a conference talk by Elder Eyring. It talked of noticing the Lords hand in our lives each and every day. Desperate to bring peace and understanding and do all we could to bring the Spirit into our lives, we took the challenge and included this in our nightly family prayer and scripture study. 

As we began to look each night for the ways The Lord had blessed our lives and sent tender mercies to our family, we realized that although we could see the Savior in each act, the kindness, the answer, the blessing and the sweet tender mercy came from others who listened to the spirit and followed promptings. 

A couple of months after I bled out, Hayden came home from school craving popcorn. He loves popcorn and ate it every afternoon. We didn't have any and it was a rare occasion that no one was there but it was just me and my boy so he had to wait. I wasn't feeling well and went to sleep. Thomas came home and a sweet sister brought in dinner. 

As our nightly routine, My husband woke me up for prayers and our nightly routine. It was our sons turn to pray. In the prayer, I hear my son say, "and thank you for the sweet church lady that brought popcorn for dessert. I know if you are going to send me popcorn when I want it, I know you know how much more I want my mom to live. So if you are going to make sure I have popcorn when u want it, I know my mom will live." Tears streamed down my face. My sons fears melted away and his prayers were answered. I will tell you, in three years with many many meals brought in, that is the only time anyone brought popcorn for dessert. It was a testament that the Savior walked with us. 

Another day, the door bell rang. I went to answer it and again a sweet sister stood at my door. She said, "I'm here. What do you need?" I smiled and said I didn't think I needed anything but I appreciate you checking on me. She said, no. What do you need? I was driving down the road I felt the spirit say, "Jerlyn needs you right now."  So, I turned my car around and came over. I wasn't sure why she had that prompting as I was ok. Within five minutes, the school called. Hayden had a half day and no one showed up to get him. Do you have anyone that can come pick him up?" The Savior knew me needs and prompted someone to answer my needs. 

When Hayden turned 10, I was especially sick. There was no possible way I could stand and make a cake or make him his favorite birthday meal. Thomas was going to pick something up on his way home from work. A sweet sister called and asked what Hayden's favorite meal was and what kind of cake he liked. She said she was making a cake and dinner and would drop it off. I assured her that we were ok. It was her daughter's birthday and she didn't need to be making two completely different meals and cakes. That was crazy. She insisted. And I was touched. That night, on his way home from work, Tjomas received a call from the hospital. His mom was not doing well and would be thrown I to emergency surgery. She needed a blessing right away. Thomas was torn. Take care of his son and wife on his sons birthday or take care of his mom. When I told him that dinner and a birthday cake was just dropped off, we were ok, the Savior had looked out for us and in doing so, let him know where he needed to be...with his mom. 

And one that will forever touch my heart, is the day of my first immune system transplant at Mayo Clinic. The procedure was risky. It was critical for any chance at my survival but only came with a 10% chance of survival. We were nervous. My sweet sister went with me. As the drugs were administered and they began to take effect on my body, my body rejected them harshly and severely. I grew deathly ill. Emergency meds were used to bring me back. My vision left. I was deathly ill and it was scary. As the doctors pulled me back, my sister and I talked. She looked so tired and emotionally drained. I asked if she was ok. She just said she wanted to go home and sit in a ball and cry and sleep. Instead, I need to go home and make dinner, and I never made it grocery shopping. I have two kids that need to be at two different games and homework to help with. 

She went home and opened the fridge trying to come up with anything. As she turned around, sitting on the counter, was a beautiful dinner brought in my another sweet sister in her ward. It was my sisters favorite meal. The Savior had not forgotten her. He knew what she needed. As she saw the food, a sweet feeling came across her. As you take care of your sister, I will help take care of you. Her prayer of how to continue and keep all the balls in the air juggling came from that meal. Later, as she asked her visiting teacher why she brought a meal over, she said that as she was putting the finally touches in dinner, she felt the Spirit say, The Davis' need this meal more than you do. So she wrapped it up, dropped it off and took her own family to Filibertos for dinner. 

I could go on for days on end of all the experiences and all the times my prayers were answered by my visiting teachers and the sweet sisters in our ward. They have strengthened my testimony and met our families temporal and spiritual needs. 

So I began to realize that if I needed something, my Savior provided it for me. One particular day, I was really struggling. Hayden had an event at school that I was too sick to go to. I was struggling to just survive. My heart was broken and shattered into little pieces. I was struggling to hold on. Find hope and peace and comfort. I pleaded with the Savior for help. I prayed for someone to come sit with me so I wouldn't face this broken heart alone. Every hour I prayered and each hour brought deafening silence and unanswered prayers. I pleaded for peace. Strength. Any glimmer of hope. 

That night as I knelt down in prayer, I asked the Savior why when I really needed someone, he didn't send help. The answer that came was not what I expected. I felt his words. "Jerlyn, do you know how many people I prompted to come over? How many I told to drop what they were doing and visit you? I want to answer prayers, but the way I do it is through others here on earth. He continued. Do you know how many times I have prompted you to visit someone and you said ok, I'll fit it in this week. Or, perfect. I'll make brownies tonight and take them over tomorrow. There were people that needed you, not the brownies, but I need willing saints to do my work." That conversation changed me and I began praying that I would never again postpone a prompting. That I would respond when mymSavior called. 

By the way, because this ward in amazing. The next day, we received homemade bread and brownies, cookies and flowers,  a book on hope and many hugs. The sisters did hear the prompting of the spirit and did follow through, and Hayden thought it was one of the greatest days ever. 

Visiting teaching, taking care of one another became something I studied. There is only one church calling that we take by covenant. Visiting teaching. When we are baptized, we covenant to bear one another's burden, to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. As we visit teach our sisters, we are keeping our baptismal covenants with our Savior. 

Our Savior loves us. He wants to bless us. He wants to help us and guide us and comfort us. How he d"oes that is through one another. Sure. He could miraculously give us all we need but that isn't his way. His way is prompting us to help one another. To bear one another's burdens that they may be light. I know that as we pray to listen to the spirit, the Savior will help us. He will prompt us. He will guide us. Just as the sister stopped and came over and said I am here... What can I help with? We can  be the hands that help.  As we do what the Spirit prompts, even when It doesn't make sense, we can bring popcorn to a young boy and help the Savior be a piece of the answer to a prayer. And as we heed the call, we can be apart of the miracles and tender mercies that The Lord sends each day. We can help in being reason that someone sees the hand of God in their lives. 

Sisters, my gratitude to each of you is beyond words. I am grateful for all the ways that you have blessed my life and blessed my family. I am thankful for the love and support. I could have never survived this journey without your love, meals, help and prayers. 

I have a firm testimony of this gospel. Our Savior lives. I am alive because of his love. He has spared my life time and time again. He has answered my prayers. He has prompted those to ease the burdens that were placed in my back. I testify that as we keep our baptismal covenants and take care of our sisters here, we will be blessed and our burdens will be lighter. 

This church is true. The plan of salvation is real. This life is not the end. What we do here matters. I love you. I love this gospel. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

Like many of those blogging and posting about Robin Williams death, I will miss him. He has brought much laughter and joy into our home. He has brought inspiration and joy. Hope and love. Encouragement and inspiration. 

As I heard of Robin Williams' suicide, my immediate reaction was "oh no. Too bad no one told him about Q96. It could have really helped him and helped ease his heartache and struggles."

My niece, Ann, deals with the daily struggles and frustrations of dealing with crippling bi-polar disorder. She struggled when she lived with us, but we didn't know all she faced. Why she was up and down, happy or depressed, overjoyed or lying in bed. She flipped at the drop of a pin. I didn't understand. 

In the years since she lived with us, she has been diagnosed and working on help. She has see psychologists and psychiatrists. She has been hospitalized and wondered how to live and keep going. She has accomplished much. 

I thought of her and her hero, Robin Williams. I wondered how his death and suicide would effect her. 

I wish I could shout from the roof tops. I know of something that can help with bipolar disorder, depression, both mild and severe, ADHD, autism, ODD, RAD, OCD, fibromyalgia, strokes and more. I now have the tools to effectively combat these debilitating diseases and disorders. 

I also know that most with these diseases have lost hope. They have tried so my options and treatments. They have had false hole that never materialized. They are tired of "hoping" and "trying". They want help but don't feel like anything can help anymore. 

To each of you reading this...I have found so hint that is helping many many people. From autism to ADHD. To depression and bipolar disorder. 

If you want to try. I will help you. 

I listened to a call on bipolar disorder today and heard amazing advice. 

"If your problem is micronutrient deficiencies than Q96 will help cute those deficiencies. You will see results."  Q96 will give you the ability to get up, to think more clearly, to focus, to tackle the to do list."  It will calm the storm. It will ease the suffering. 

If you suffer. Please. Call me. Email me. Message me. Something. 
My website is 
I will send info. I can get you in touch with doctors to help. I will help you. 

I hate to see suffering. My heart aches for those who feel there is no where to turn besides taking of one's own life. My heart breaks for those loved ones left behind. For those that wonder "what if?"  

Your life is worth living. Your future brighter and filled with more hope. You are a child of God and have amazing worth. You have a Father in Heaven that loves you. An older brother, that died, for you. Friends and family. Loved ones. Many who love and adore you. 

Reach out. Find the hand to hold. The person to carry you until you can walk again. The road is hard. But oh so doable. The pain can end. Your suffering can stop. Your heart and mind can heal. You can feel whole again. You can feel complete. Don't forget how truly you are loved and how much worth you have. Hold on. Make a call. Take heart. 

I know of something that can help. Let's try. Who's in with me? Let's work on your future, building it back, one day you will be free from the torment and pain. And you will be here on earth to experience the great joy that life still has to offer. I believe in you. 

I may die...

Sunday night, as I fell I to bed, the thought crossed my mind.... "I think I really may die!" 

I was exhausted. Three days of partying. Three days of leaving the house. Three days of celebrating. Three days of going and doing. 

I cannot remember the last time I felt good enough to celebrate for an hour, much less on and off doe three full days. I was in awe. 

However, I was absolutely and with all my heart EXhAUSTED!!!

I had nothing left. Not an ounce of energy. All wiped.  All gone. I hurt at every pore and every molecule of my body. I cried out of pain. 

Monday morning brought pain I have not experienced in over a month. I cried as I felt just downright awful. I asked Thomas if I had endured this much pain over the course of three years. He said yes, this and more. I forgot quickly what it was like to feel so absolutely exhausted and awful. 

I was scared that I would never recover. I was reminded that just a short time ago, I was in a very different situation. I found myself back in bed. Flat in bed. 

I know it will get better. I know I will recover eventually. But I overdid it beyond belief. I almost killed myself, literally. I overdid it and I am paying dearly. I'm back in bed. Yes, I will eventually work my way back.out of bed. 

But, for now, I will remember to take it slow and easy. I will nurse my way back to health. I will take care of this body of mine. 

But, as I do, I will smile. Because I feel loved and cared about. I was able to celebrate with my family and loved ones. I felt on top of the world. 

But for today.. I still think I may literally die from over exhaustion. Bummer. I need to learn the scripture "do not run faster than you have strength". Oops. Forgot that one. 

Seester! My seester!

Jake is funny. I received a call from him early on in the week to see what day was best to celebrate my birthday. He was so funny. As I answered the phone, I hear this, "hi seester. It's me seester's birthday. I nwt to celebrate you. When do you want to come to dinner?"

Jake saying "seester" makes me smile. It brings me joy. Why. I don't know. It's just I love Jake. I love how he loves me. He is such a great brother. He always remembers me. He always does nice things for me. He loves me, his big sister. He wants to make me happy. He is a great brother. 

So Sunday evening, jake and Rosie made a wonderful dinner of delicious ribs, twice baked potatoes and rolls. With yummy pineapple upside down cake and Oreo cakes for dessert. So yummy. So thoughtful. 

We talked of school and homework. Kaylee brought up boys. The kids played. We laughed. We had a great time. I loved every single minute of it. I love being with my brother and his amazing family. It was a great evening and I felt so loved. 

Birthdays galore

This week has many people we love with birthday's. 

August 7th, the day before mine was my mom's. I came during her party. In true Jerlyn fashion. I don't like to miss out, especially on family events. It would only be me to try to come on my mom's birthday, right during her party. 

August 8th, brings many great friends birthdays. Dr. Dave Shiflet, my chiropractor and friend. A great man. Two of my roommates share this day with me, Lori Palmer Percival and Rita Iberis. And my brother in law, Scott Murphy. 

August 9th brings my step sister Jodi Lewis and my cousin Debbie Simonton Brown. 

August 10th is my step sister Krystal Bair and my dear cousin Lisa Etherington. 

It's a crazy week. Especially if you add in more friends and family. 

Since Lisa moved right down the street, we were lucky enough to get to celebrate with her. Robert was out of town, so it was our family and Lisa, Chad and Heidi to celebrate. 

Thomas was wonderful and made us all breakfast at Lisa's. Eggs with cheese and hash browns, bacon, sausage, banana and blueberry muffins. And of course diet cokes to go around. 

We ate the yummy food, opened gifts and played Mexican train. So fun. 

We love that Lisa and family lives by us. We love that they are close to celebrate so many amazing days such as birthdays. 

We are so glad they moved close to us. Such a blessing and joy in our lives. 

Baby girl

Our baby girl, Maya Belle, underwent surgery and was spayed. Poor little girl, at only four pounds, she struggled with being put under.  Her little heart rate and body took the medication rough. She had to stay extra long for monitoring. 

When Thomas picked her up at about 5pm, she was still out of it. She stayed on my lap all evening and late into the night. She didn't move At ALL. Not a muscle. If I moved her, she whimpered. Poor little girl. My heart broke as I held her. She looked drugged. She looked miserable. 

It was a rough night. She didn't sleep. She cried. She whimpered. She wanted to be held. She wanted cuddles. She looked at me with those big dark eyes and they spoke volumes to me. They asked why I couldn't help her escape the pain. Why I couldn't make her feel better. Why did she hurt. It broke my heart. 

She continued to have a rough couple of days. She was miserable. She didn't wiggle. She didn't move. She didn't budge. I cuddled her. I loved on her. I tried to comfort her. 

She is definitely our baby girl. She completed our family. 

As I write this, both pups are cuddled up beside me. Baby girl in her "cone of shame" cuddling in by Max for comfort. She has to have mom right by her. She won't let me out of her sight. Max touching me and cuddled up by me. Tucked in. Probably wishing I would let him or give him a massage. 

They bring so much love and comfort to our hearts and home. They bring laughter and joy. 

Yes, our little Maya girl will continue to hurt for a couple if days. She will need cuddles and hugs. She will need extra attention and more support. But, she couldn't have a bigger spots in our hearts. We all love these sweet little puppies of ours. 

Little Miss Maya, I hope you recover quickly. I hope you get back to your spunky little self. Full of attitude and spunk. We miss that wiggle bum of yours that moves independently from the rest of your body. We miss the millions of kisses. Maybe even the wet willies and kisses. 

You are precious and we love you. 

August 9th

Because of my crazy birthday, we had decided for Thomas, Hayden and I to celebrate as a family on Saturday. 

We woke up early and took poor little Maya girl in to be spayed. Sorry sweetheart. 

After we dropped off Maya, we went to breakfast and celebrated the accomplishment of me surviving another year and all that entailed, as a family. We talked of our accomplishments, our trials, our hopes, our dreams, our challenges overcome and our journey. We laughed. We were solemn. We realized this journey, was an adventure. Long, hard, excruciating, miraculous and amazing. We walked each step together. All of it. My boys stood by me and I am forever grateful. They are my rocks. And I love them. 

We ate yummy French toast and ham and onion and cheese omelets at tC eggington's, a family favorite. We had a great time! And it was delicious! 

Afterwards, Thomas dropped me off to get a massage. Seriously one of my favorite things ever. Then, Thomas and Suzi took me to Downeast Outfitters shopping. Me. Trying on clothes. I cannot remember the last time I was able to do that. It was amazing. 

My sweet mother in law, Joyce and sister in law, Kelli came to visit. They were so sweet and I enjoyed their company. 

That night, Julie continued the celebration. She brought over Macadamia Nut chicken from Kona Grill. My favorite. Yum!!! We watched divergent on DVD. And then ate yummy homemade Lemonade cake. It was a great night. And a wonderful day. 

I felt so blessed and so loved. 

August 8th

The morning started out like most... Thomas woke me up with a Polar Pop diet coke in hand. He kissed me and told me Happy Birthday. He smiled. I knew he was so happy I was still with him to celebrate another year and another birthday. He made me an egg, so the day would go smoothly without too much sickness. He had beautiful flowers on the counter... Hot pink roses and white lilly's. And cards from him and Hayden. And my new white Sperry tennis shoes that I was so excited about. It was wonderful morning. 

Suzi showed up early with kneaders French toast, raspberry croissants, cinnamon rolls and double fudge brownies. Yummy! Heidi VanWoerkom and Lisa also came over and we all talked about Africa, since Suzi had returned the night before. We laughed, talked, shared stories and had a great time. 

Jodi, Brooklyn, Brigham, and Talmage showed up mid morning. I love the way that Talmage marched in with a grin on his face holding yummy Cupcakes. Delicious. We laughed and talked. I just soak in every minute I can get with my sister. 

Jodi and I were able to do something I haven't done in a lifetime, it feels like. We went to lunch. Just the two of us. We had planned to take the kids. But, they wanted to stay home and play Minecraft. Ok by us. A lunch alone with no kids. Perfect. We went to Kneaders and shared a sandwich. So so yummy! I loved every minute with Jodi, we have so much fun together and we definitely approach things better with both of us. 

While Jodi was there, my relief society president, Terry Mazarelli and Ann Call came and brought flowers and treats. I felt so loved. Then Heidi and Lisa came back. 

It was so much fun. They all left and I planned to lie down and rest. However, I felt so loved as more people came by and visited me. Including Donnie and my neighbors. I felt so loved. 

Thomas came home from work early! I loved him surprising me. It was great. He loves me and that means everything to me. 

We had a girls night out. First one in what felt like a lifetime. Heidi, Lisa, Suzi and I went to bJ's and sat and talked. It was fun. It was delightful. I felt so incredible. 

Of course, when I came home, I was exhausted and fulfilled. I felt over the moon. It was better than a dream. Better than anything I could have imagined. I did the impossible. And it was simply amazing. 

44, you are going to be a great year....I can just feel it! Happy BirthDaY to Me! 

Birthday week

I realize it is a birthDAY but for some reason...mine always turns into a birthday WEEK. 

Jodi was laughing as she told me what Troy said. "Jerlyn somehow always celebrates for an entire week instead of a day. Now, I can see why she did last year. All of us were certain it would be her last birthday." 

True statement. I didn't think I would make it to this birthday. Some are bothered by getting another year older. Me, I am so grateful I made it to see my 44 th birthday. Even at the beginning of June, Thomas and I talked of how to handle my birthday with Hayden, with me no longer being here. I had become so ill, we both thought death was inevitable. 

So, to make it to August 8th, and to get to celebrate another birthday, was a dream, wish and prayer come true. We decided to celebrate the joy of more memories, more hope, more moments together and more love to share. I was definitely showered with love of all kinds. 

My birthday kicked off on August 6th. My Dad and Bonnie took Thomas, Hayden and me to a great new restaurant, Ryu. It is Japanese Teppanyaki. My favorite. So yummy. I love the fried rice, stir fried vegetables and shrimp with filet mignon. Yummy! 

We talked, we laughed and had a great time. We talked of home schooling, Q96, vitamins and minerals, Brogan and heart surgeries, and of hope and joy and the future. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed myself so much with them. It was great to just feel like me again. To relax and have fun. 

The celebration continued throughout the week. I was showered with love and kindness. I'm grateful for all those that celebrated with me. 

And 44.... No one has ever been so excited, as I am to be another year older and have survived the last year of my life. I didn't think I would get to see this day and celebrate it. To do beyond words. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Support systems

I'm so blessed!

I have a wonderful family....
I have great friends...
I have an amazing ward family....

Yesterday, a dear friend came and visited me. We talked. We laughed. I found myself so grateful for friends who understand this journey of mine. 

We talked of miracles, our Savior's love, the purpose of earth life and how to help one another through this journey. We laughed. We celebrated. We spoke honest truths and testified of our Savior. 

We talked of the long road that I have walked. This journey, has taken me to the edge and beyond. There are days I have felt like I was sliding off the side of the mountain and there was a chain of people, hands clasped together, all holding me so I wouldn't lose grip and fall down the mountain. 

As I pictured this scenario, something happened. First, I saw my picture. Thomas holding my hand, in both of his, him clasping and holding on to me with every bit of strength he had. Hayden stood anchoring my other arm. Desperate to keep his mom on this earth with him. There were so many others.... Pulling me up the cliff and holding on. There were many others holding tight to Thomas and Hayden to steady them. Jodi, Suzi, Julie, Joyce, Lisa and my family. Ward members and many many friends. Even doctors and care givers, chiropractors and church leaders, young and old alike held on to me. It felt as if my human chain went forever of all those holding on to steady and balance me and my care givers. Gratitude swept as I pictured the scene. 

Then, in a blink, the picture changed. All of a sudden, I was seeing the scene differently. It was as if my eyes were opened. Now, I saw the same individuals and more. I saw my Savior and angels. The scene grew clearer. As I saw myself, I was wrapped in my Savior's arms. As I pictured my Savior holding me,the scene that was frightening, just moments prior, became peaceful.  I was never in real danger because I was wrapped in my Savior's arms. Always protected. Always safe. Securely anchored and wrapped in the arms of my loving Savior. 

Thomas was held up by two angels. Strong and supportive. My guess was one was his father who had passed away just before we met. The other, another relative of his. Maybe a grandfather. What I am sure of was his guardian angels, were protecting him, strengthening him, helping him on this journey as he was helping me. 

I saw my son. My dear precious Hayden. He was surrounded by angels. He had so many with him. My mom,my grandparents, and other surrounded my boy. He was wrapped in so many layers of angels. He has been so protected during this trial. He has been sheltered. He has been taken care of by so many. I've been so worried about him yet he has been shielded from the harsh realities of the situation. He has had his heart protected by angels and our Savior. He too, has been wrapped in the arms of his loving Savior. 

I saw Jodi, she was wrapped in my mother's arms. She was held by many angels who were helping her. 

As I looked around, I saw all the key people in my life. All being strengthened by unseen angels. All protected. All surrounded by protection, peace and love. All being helped as the helped me. 

The scene changed from one of hopelessness and fear to peace and undeniable love. 

So many moments were brought back to my memory. I felt undeniable and overwhelming love and peace. 

As quickly as the scene changed and my eyes were opened to the realities of my situation, gratitude and peace swept over my heart and soul. I was never in real danger. Sure, my mortal existence was hanging on by a thread, my mortal body weak and overcome with disease and illness and my physical body was struggling to survive. However, from a very real and spiritual realm, I was safe. The giver of life, the one who rules the earth and skies, held me safe in his loving arms. I was safe. 

I have known that I have not walked this journey alone. I have felt my Savior at every turn, every fork in the road and when the pain of this illness was too much to bear. I have been strengthened by angels, ministered by my Savior and received life saving miracles. I have always testified that we do not walk alone and that our Savior stands with open arms. I have been the recipient of His love each and every day. 

As this scene unfolded, I felt my Savior again whisper truths into my heart. "My dear daughter.... You need to open your eyes...see with your spiritual eyes, not just your mortal eyes. You need to look harder, see more and realize all that has been given to you. You have been blessed. I have walked with you. I have strengthened and carried you. All those around you have been safely in my care, being strengthened and protected and ministered to by angels. As they have helped you, my angels have blessed them. You need to look harder...try more intently to are so mortal in your insight."  

My Savior again witnessed to me that I am His. Because if Him... Everything in my life is ok. I will continue to have trials. I will continue to struggle. I will continue to have good days and bad days and I will see with my mortal eyes. But, because of Him, I will look closer, try to see as my Savior sees, try to open my eyes and see the beautiful help I am being given. I will try to take in all that is good and wonderful. I will try to see the spiritual and angelic blessings that are mine. 

It is amazing to me that my Savior, with one flash of a scene, can change my perspective so much. With His perfect guidance, all is possible. "For I have come to overcome the world!" He did come. He has walked our path so he can walk with us. He overcame the world and so can we. 

As I commit to try harder, see more clearly and trust more, I too, can overcome my mortal blindness and see with perfect light and faith what really is. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

Today was the day. Hayden woke up. We asked him if he could do anything, what would it be. He responded just how I expected. "Go to the movies and see Guardians of the Galaxy."  I smiled as I said, "Go get dressed. Let's go!"  "Really?!" He questioned, excitedly. "Yes. Go get ready. Let's go right now." He rushed to get ready with a smile across his face. 

It was so great to say yes. We can. Not sorry bud, I wish I could. His smile priceless. My goal: say yes as often as possible. Not to things but to requests. To doing things together. To his wants and needs. 

As we watched guardians of the galaxy movie today, I thought of Hayden. Hayden is a guardian of people. He tries to make the world a better place. 

Hayden's dilemma this to help more people and how to do it all. 

He is involved and runs Hayden's toy drive, collecting new and unused toys for Phoenix Children's hospital, an organization that he dreamed up and started at just four years old. 

Over the years, he has organized a shoe drive for kids in need. He has collected canned food for the food bank. He has collected toys for tOys for Tots. He has wanted to organize a blood drive for those kids at the hospital in need. He is constantly seeing needs and trying to figure out how he can help to fill them.  

This past week, with Suzi and Katie being on a service mission in Ghana, Hayden is seeing the need of the children there and trying to figure out how he can help. What he can do to make a difference for these children that have so much need. 

Katie wrote home about a problem facing the students in Ghana. They go to school, from 8 am to 5pm daily. At the beginning of the term, the parents are supposed to send 20 pounds of corn meal to the school so they can eat porridge at lunch. If your parents don't send in corn meal, you go hungry. Regardless, they always run out of food no the kids literally are starving. 

Hayden heard of their plight. He said let's raise money to send them food. We discussed the principle of "give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime."

We discussed options. Options that Katie and Suzi had thought of. They were going to meet with the school and tribe leaders to see about purchasing chickens and having the students raise them. Then selling the eggs for corn meal and rice. We were discussing it taking about 2-3 chickens per student and raising them, should create a cycle. They sell eggs and garden. The money goes to buying corn meal and they grow the rest.  Katie was thinking the cost would be about $6 per chicken. So a total of $500-$800 would need to be raised in order to make a huge impact on these students lives. 

When hearing this, Hayden went and looked. He said, "well, I know where the first $60 is coming from. They can have all of my money. They need it way more than anything I could possible want or need." He then started making a list of those he could call and get them to buy 3-4 chickens each. He figured that if each person he called would donate between $25 and $50, we could raise money quickly and get the funds to Suzi and Katie before they leave. It would leave a lasting impact and the children would soon have full bellies and a future of hope. 

I looked at my son. He is twelve years old. He truly cares about the plight of others. He looked distraught. I asked him why. He said, "I'm just thinking, Mom. Our problems here are not as big as being starving. I thought by doing the toy drive, I was helping and making a difference. But, a toy seems so unimportant when other children don't have food to eat or shoes to wear. We really have so so much. Our problems don't seem nearly as big as theirs."  

We talked of toy drives and how a toy DOES make a difference when a child is sick or struggling. We talked of food and how it DOES make a difference to a child or adult that is hungry. We talked of shoes and the gift that a pair of shoes brings for one who doesn't have any. 

I asked my son what all these had in common. 

Hope. Caring. Joy. Concern. Love. 

In the end, yes, food is critical to survival. But each of these gifts, done in the right spirit gives so much that is the same. A toy for a scared and sick child bring hope. Shoes for a child without brings peace knowing someone cares. For one who is hungry, a bowl of corn porridge is a gift of love and hope and gratitude. Regardless of how we help, I reminded him of one of my very favorite scriptures. "And verily if ye have done it u to the least or these, ye have done it unto me." Whether we give shoes or toys, money or chickens, food or clothing, when we serve our brothers and sisters here, we have served our Savior. We have thought beyond our wants and needs. We have given and loved and served our Savior. 

I'm grateful for my own Guardian of the Galaxy. For a son who constantly looks beyond his own needs to those of others. He has a gift. A gift to see need and have the kind heart and generous spirit to follow his instincts and find a way to help. He never says it's too much or I possible or I'm only a child. He finds a way to make a difference and jumps in with both feet and makes a difference. 

Because of Hayden, this world will be a better place. Because of his love and service, he will leave this world a better place than he found it. He will make a positive mark on the world. He will do good and influence others to do good. 

I'm proud of my boy. He has a heart of gold. Oh Hayden, I am so proud of you. Your selfless heart and caring ways not only bring joy to my heart, but to our Savior's. Your joy in the next life will be great because here, you have learned to love and serve and give of your self. You have given hope to the hopeless and joy to the sad. You have lifted the arms that hang down and strengthened feeble knees. You are a wonderful disciple of Christ. A true son of God. And a very precious Guardian of the Galaxy. Keep serving. Keep protecting. Keep loving. And this world WILL be a better place because of you!

Friday, August 1, 2014


Jodi called on Monday and said she was coming Tuesday. What a great surprise. What a great thing to look forward to. 

Tuesday, after I endured another dentist appointment, Jodi and her precious children showed up. We talked. We laughed. The kids played Minecraft. They enjoyed one another. I loved watching the boys with the pups. I loved the cuddles. The laughs. The noise. The fun. The love. 

Jodi and I talked. We caught up. We talked of church callings. Of kids. Of challenges. Of successes. Of the future. Of goals. We talked and talked. I could talk to my sister every day forever. She is such a blessing in my life. 

She was giving a fireside on the Holy Ghost that night and Troy was talking of challenges. I loved talking of spiritual matters. Of experiences and how those moments change us. How they help us develop into the people the Savior would have us become. Jodi is strong. She is a fighter. She is one of our Savior's strongest and most valiant daughters. She is a strength and grouding force in my life. 

Troy and Jodi were getting were eating ... Thomas and I were making dinner....  Kids were hungry ....we were listening to the Q96 call..... They wanted us to answer questions....I was vomiting .... Trying to talk.... Trying to fulfil my duty to others in was cRAZY to say the least. But I loved it! I loved the joy! The craziness! 

I always thought my home would be crazy and chaotic. Filled with noise and chaos and children and church callings. Our nights filled with laughter and family nights. Children giggling. Talking amongst each other. Noisy and messy. But filled with love. 

My home is usually not these things. It is usually quiet and calm. Clean and organized. Filled with love. But quieter than I imagined. 

I love my,life mi really do. And I see all the great things about it. And I love what I've been given and know it is a gift from my Savior. My journey here. 

But, when Jodi comes, my heart smiles as this is the life I pictured. And I love it too. Both different lives. But both great and wonderful in their own light. I'm glad I get the opportunity to experience both. It makes me appreciate what I have. It helps me to appreciate that The Lord gives me a glimpse of both. 

Soon after Jodi left and the kids ate. Life calmed down. We watched America's Got Talent. We laughed. We talked. We ate ice cream. We loved having a house full of love and kids and giddiness. 

When Jodi came back, they decided to spend the night. We were all thrilled! Another night of joy and fun and laughter. Another night of cousins and laughter and joy for Hayden. Another day with Brooklyn and Brigham and Talmage. Another day with hugs and noise. And another precious day with my sister. 

We went to bed in peace knowing I had another day with those I loved. 

The next day was more fun. More laughter. More joy. More noise. More mess. More of the life I dreamed of. The joy I felt indescribable. The peace. Amazing. 

I loved waking up and laying in bed and cuddling with my nephews and talking with my sister. 

I can honestly say it is one of the greatest joys in my life. It is one of the greatest things that refills my bucket. It helps to lift me and strengthen me. 

It gave me the strength to keep enduring. Jodi helps me to reach my,potential. She encourages me. She sees the best in me. She believes in me. That is what I needed. I needed my sister. 

It was a wonderful two days. Thanks, Jodi for coming. I needed you. And your sweet family. I felt stronger when they left. I felt strengthened to do the things we needed to do. To become. To become better and do more good. 

(Yes. We had a great night together. Filled with ice cream and Fruit bars. Joy. Laughter. As I watched these four precious kids at the counter. I thought of the amazing childhood they are having. Life is good. It is so so so good.)