Friday, September 26, 2014


I like uphill. Not battles per se but when life is looking up. I like the road to recovery. I enjoy the process of working towards and accomplishing a goal. I like crossing things off my to do list. I like the feeling of achieving and seeing the fruits of my labor. I prefer to look up.

Lately, I have felt the sting of downward progress. I feel my lungs beginning to close up again. I am starting to suffer with blood clots more frequently. The intensity of the seizures are coming back. And the loss of consciousness is begin to be a routine again. I battle being able to keep any food down and medications. I feel I live in the bathroom. It's not fun spiraling into the depths of deeper illness. 

As I have been praying what to do and where to go for help. What should we try? What should we do? Who can help? 

I'm not sure of the answers as we are still in the praying and humbling ourselves for help stage. We are exploring options and calling in doctors. Trying to find any help or hope while keeping the Q96 going for as much help as possible. 

Lately, I feel I may need another transplant. A month ago, there is no way. I would not have done it. Too painful. Too scary. They make me so sick. I fight for my life. I brush death. I hit coma stats. They struggle to find veins and get iv's in. It hurts. I'm so sick. I battle to just stay in be and get to the bathroom. Oh how they are miserable. However, I swore after the first one, I would never endure another. I said that again after the second. Her I contemplate a third. 

As I feel myself slipping and praying. A transplant enters my mind. Then why is it so difficult for me to call the doctor? One, the doctor battle continues as they wonder why I keep fighting to live. They are unclear of why anyone would choose to prolong such a painful and horrible life. Then comes the insurance battle. Only if I am within a month of death will they spend the money on such an expensive procedure.  If I meet these criteria then comes the emotional roller-coaster I face while trying to muster strength for the ordeal. 

However. First transplant I almost died. I did. But came back. I fought coma and misery. Sickness that I had never experienced before and brushed death for months as I battled meningitis and pneumonia, severe pain and exhaustion. The second was better. I had help from Dr Shiflet and all natural remedies to ease my body thru. This time, if it works out, I will probably fare even better. I have Dr Shiflet, all natural remedies and Q96. When they wipe my immune system, I will have the building blocks to put it back together. I am hopeful. 

So I begin the journey again. One of paperwork and doctors and insurance battles and deductibles. And try to plead with my Savior and Father I. Heaven for direction and help. I will plead with them to spare my life. To help me to overcome. And to help me to beat this. 

Prayers would be appreciated as we walk this road to figure out what my Savior has in store for me. I am grateful for so many who help me and make my life better. I believe in the power of prayer. I have been the recipient so many times. 

Dana and Q96

Last Friday night, Thomas and I had an amazing opportunity to meet with Dana Sreingham of Q Sciences and Q96. His father in law invented Q96 for his wife. So he has been on the journey with Q96 and these vitamins for over 18 years. He has seen Q96 he so many people and change so many lives. 

We went to the meeting early to talk with him and get his suggestions on any additional health benefits for me. He answered some of our questions. He helped us understand how it worked. He told me I need more amino acids, the building blocks, to help the Q96 work better for me. He also helped me to hopefully ween off some more meds. 

I loved hearing from him. I'm not sure what it is. I meet some people and feel drawn to them. Feel as if I have known them before or have a connection. Maybe they are just great people and I love being in their presence. Regardless, Dana was one of these people. I learned a lot from him in three hours. 

Most of all, it gave me hope. Hope in the future. Hope for a better life.  Hope for all that is possible when our bodies are given what they need. 

I was also able to talk with others and share my story and how Q96 is helping me. I realize some close to me see that I am still sick and still fighting to be here. However, I know I wouldn't still be fighting without the Q96. 

I thought back to May. A week before I was given Q96, Thomas and I spoke of life without me here. How to help Hayden.  The things that were most important to me. How to help Hayden thru. What things Thomas would need to do to help Hayden with doctors and learning and overcoming. We talked of a special code that Hayden and I could have to assure him I was still close. Things for Thomas to remind Hayden of. And most importantly, to always reassure Hayden of my love and my love for his dad and for my Savior. 

We talked of our life together. We talked of our trials and struggles hat brought us closer together and sealed us to one another. We talked of our love. Our ups and downs and adventures and experiences. We talked of the miracles we have been witness to. We praised our Savior for His goodness in our lives. 

I knew that unless something changed drastically and rather quickly, I was walking my final days on this earth. Breathing was a struggle and my body was slipping. I've felt it so many times so I understand. 

When Q96 started working, we were thrilled. Elated. Joy and hope came back in our lives. My conversations with Hayden switched from explaining how my mom has helped me from the other side in the Spirit World to the future. I felt the gift of life. A true gift. I felt alive inside again and felt things I haven't felt in years. We had a great summer together. We made memories. It was a gift from God. A present wrapped for me to live and make cherished memories. There was nothing greater that I would have wished for. 

Hope is a beautiful thing. It helps me to dig deeper, try harder, find the good, seek for opportunities, see my Savior and experience life to the fullest. Anything less robs me of today. Q96 gave us hope back. Hope gave us our lives. 

I am on the road of life. I still struggle. I still hurt. I still pass out. I still struggle to breathe. I still struggle to even get out of bed. I struggle and fight to keep awake and focused. People see me and ask the difference Q96 has made. Everything. It changed everything. Yes. It is still difficult today. Nearly impossible most days. But that is the difference. Prior to starting Q96, it was IMPOSSIBLE most days to get out of bed, to breathe with ease, to walk, to move, to leave the house and to just survive. Although it is now, difficult, oh so difficult, it is POSSIBLE. If I muster all the energy I have and conserve for when I know I will need it. I CAN get out of the house and do something small a couple of times a week. It has given me the ability to make memories. Maybe small. Maybe every day moments to some. But for me. It gave me hope and brightness of each day. With the ability to actually make an occasional memory with my family. And that to me is priceless.


The saying "Laughter is the best medicine" certainly has it's place in life. There is something so therapeutic about a deep belly laugh. Laughing until you cry and then laughing a little more. Especially with those you love and cherish. And when the laughs and joy bring you a deeper appreciation for those around you. 

Lisa invited all of us over for dinner, games and desert on Saturday. Lisa is trying new biggest loser dishes and this chicken, broccoli, fruit salad and funeral potatoes was delicious. We all stuffed ourselves. Even Hayden absolutely loved it and asked for the recipe. 

We then played Loaded Questions. I'm not sure who is funnier to play with... Hayden or Josh or Chad or Katie. Lisa is pretty transparent. I can always tell Lisa's answers although I was probably the next most transparent. Lisa's involved Dunkin Donuts for Heaven and reading the biggest loser for latest books. Katie's best was saying she wish she could be Nephi's wife. Josh and Katie said that a reason for not going on a date...diarrhea and pooping. Yep. Chad could peg me every time and Hayden actually threw us off. He is growing up and stayed right with us. We all shed tears of laughing so hard on multiple occasions. Especially Lisa trying to figure out what Katie, Josh, Chad and Hayden's answers meant. Hilarious. 

Ice cream brownie sundaes provided more laughter and joking around. 

It was pretty much a perfect night. We love the Etherington's living just a few doors down from us. They are always up for laughs and fun, games and treats, laughing and pranks. And when Chad and Josh are Hayden's true life heroes and idols. They are so good to him and I am so grateful. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My boy

This is my boy, my joy, my heart, my reason to smile and my greatest accomplishment. 

I am so proud of him. We have been doing brain mapping and have just started neurofeedback. Wow! You sure learn a lot about someone by brain mapping. They hooked Hayden up to an EEG and tested his brain waves, areas of delta, beta, alpha and theta. Like his momma, he has high levels of theta (electricity) and low beta (blood flow). We both have severe brain trauma but from different events. Both of us went without oxygen and blood and both of our brains reacted on similar areas. 

This boy of mine is dealing with so much. I knew he was a survivor and a conquerer. I knew he tried hard but I had no idea how much he has truly overcome and how many obstacles still lie in front of him. 

Hayden has severe auditory processing issues, along with autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, ADHD, anxiety disorder, sensory processing and integration disorder and severe brain trauma to the learning centers of the brain. 

As the brain mapping was complete and areas of concern were identified, the doctor was very somber as he spoke of the outlook for Bubba. However, as Hayden started his neurofeedback sessions the past two days, the doctors opinion of Hayden changed. He was in awe of my boy he said that for how severe Hayden's disabilities and trauma are, he is performing at a much higher level than he should be. He watched Hayden try to conquer the neurofeedback and control his brain. He told me that he was in awe of Hayden and his work ethic. He said that whT he is asking Hayden to do is extremely hard, very tiring and difficult to figure out. He warned me that with the severity of his ailments, he would be miserable and complain at the difficulty level. He said we would have to encourage and bribe him to get him to do what needed to be done. But he hadn't met Hayden. Instead, Hayden faced the challenges head on. He was positive. He asked what this would do to help him. The doctor explained the possibilities for improvement. Hayden bought in. He asked the doctor to give him the highest level of difficulty that he could do. He would give his all. 

As promised, Hayden was positive and gave his all. He was optimistic. He tried hard. He didn't complain. He focused beyond his ability and gave his all. The dr was in awe. He aid that Hayden had every reason to complain. But he chose to thank the doctor instead. He was polite and kind. He gave his all and just looked at this as a trial to overcome not an obstacle to hold him back. The doctor asked how we instilled such a great attitude and work ethic in him. 

I thought about it. Hayden has had many trials and challenges to overcome in his life. From open heart surgeries to seizures and illness and my illness and struggles. He has learned that trials do not define us. We have the ability to define and chose for ourselves. Life happens. Trials come. Attitude is a choice. 

So proud of my boy and the way he chooses to live his life and overcome challenges. He is definitely one of my heroes. 

Workday or Saturday

Saturday was the ultimate of work day's for Thomas. He called Chad early in the morning to see if he could get his help. Chad came down and helped Thomas all day. They hung storage racks in the garage on the ceiling. Then they moved into my laundry room creating extra shelving for food storage. They worked from sun up to sun down. And finished about half of the laundry room, as well as the garage. 

After they were beat for the day, Robert and Josh came down for games. We laughed hilariously at how the three boys are predictable but so different in their game play. Josh just wants a good laugh. He is random and chooses what makes him laugh. Chad is so logical and his precision in meaning is very methodical in the cards he chooses. And Hayden, well if it says Master Chief or Superhoeroes or is something he finds applicable to his life, that is the card he chooses. Robert goes for funny and Thomas is just random in his selections. 

Josh laughed that I was killing them with cards and ended up taking them all. He asked if I just had great cards. Yes. I had good cards. However, I played more to the person choosing the card than worrying about the actually card itself. I think I won every single round when Hayden was selecting. I know how that boy thinks. (Biggest scandal:Microsoft he's worried about his precious Minecraft being messed with. Smartest: Einstein, his hero. Virtuous:telling the truth. Greatest invention: Kaiju from Pacific Rim. Coolest animal: black mamba snake. And always, his response is Obama for phony or misrepresentation. And best invention: video games) 

I love watching Hayden interact and seeing how he responds in real life situations and how that brain of his works. He thinks. He lives in his own world he has created in his head. I love when I can get inside his head and get a glimpse of how his gears and mechanisms turn. And how I can be  a spectator of his thoughts. 

After they all left, Thomas, Hayden and I all cuddled up on the couch with the pups on our laps. I love snuggling my guys. I love my family. I love just soaking in all the love and joy that we have when we stop and just be together. It makes me smile. It warms my heart. 

And before going to bed, yep, I walked outside and in the laundry room and admired my new shelves and storage so lovingly put up by my husband and Chad. I'm grateful.. I am so blessed. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Game night

We absolutely LOVE the Etherington's living right down the street. 

Sunday morning, before church, we eat breakfast together, rotating between our homes. We make different foods but always have bacon and sausages for the boys. This week we had waffles and pancakes and cinnamon rolls to go with the meat. We then play games. This week we played Apples to Apples but usually it is Mexican Train with dominoes. But, it was Hayden's turn to pick. Robert was out of town but Lisa, Katie, Josh and Chad came. We had a great time. 

Tuesday, Chad came over to help Hayden with homeschooling. He stayed and talked with me while Suzi took Hayden to the dentist. He stayed for a yummy dinner that Suzi brought back from Olive Garden. So yummy! Then we played games. I love playing Apples to Apples. Especially with these boys. They are hilarious and laugh and giggle at the random answers they pick. I love it. 

Wednesday, Lisa and Katie left for Denver and Bob hadn't come back from Denver yet. In the late afternoon, Josh and Chad came down. We talked for a little bit and then watched Godzilla. Josh hadn't seen it, so although we had watched it the night before, we watched it again. When Thomas got home, he took the guys to Dave's Original Hamburgers for dinner. Excellent burgers at a cheap price. $5 for a huge double cheeseburger and fries. So for all five of us to eat under $20, stuffed, at a restaurant, not bad. We loved having them over. 

Today, Hayden had left for a movie with Grandma Julie. I had a Q96 meeting. Chad knocked on the door at about 1pm. The people I was meeting with didn't end up showing up until after 4. Chad and I laughed and talked, made plans, talked of goals and figured out life. He is so fun to talk to. He is such a great kid. He is so good to me and Hayden and Thomas. He asked how he could help... With Hayden and homeschool or babysitting or he would help Thomas clean the garage or out up shelving. He told me he would do anything I needed. I love talking to him. He is such a great kid. 

I am so glad they moved close. I knew I would love them being here. I knew I would have fun with Lisa. I knew Thomas and Robert would be great friends. I knew how much Hayden adores Chad. I just didn't realize how much I truly would love having Lisa's kids coming down randomly. I love them so much. And I love that they are willing to just come hang out with us. They make my heart smile. 

Tomorrow- game night for Thomas and Hayden with Robert, Josh and Chad. They are starting a new game night with Munchkin and Settlers of Catan. I see many happy game nights in our future. 

Life is fun with the Etherington game. 

And we sleep

My pups are my babies. I admit it. I'm proud to admit it. 

They need me. And I am enough for them. And that is a wonderful feeling. 

For most, my illness requires work from others. Work for my husband and son. Work for loved ones. But, the pups, they benefit from my illness. I have more time to hold them. More time to cuddle them. More time to baby them. 

They love it and honestly so do I. I'm needed. I'm wanted. And that is an amazing feeling. One that I cherish. And my loving Savior knew I needed love and gave me the gifts of these sweet loving pups. 

So my cuddling them and my loving them. Yep. I'm going to continue. Yes. They are spoiled. They have a great life. And my life is wonderful because of my little babies. 


The rain came down last week. It rained and it poured. It lightening and thundered. The heavens were opened and poured out. 

Many many people had been praying and fasting and pleading for rain. Arizona was so dry. So in a drought. We desperately needed the rain. 

I awoke in the middle of night with rain. It was raining hard but I love the smell. Me and Maya went and sat on the rocking chair. We rocked and sang at 2 am in the rain. It was heavenly. We came on and went back to bed. At 4 am I was jolted out of bed by the loudest noise and a shaking home. I was freaked out. I thought for sure our house has been hit by lightening. Crazy. I was so scared. Of course, while Thomas and I bolted out of bed and the dogs were barking like crazy, Hayden continued to saw logs. He didn't even flinch. Man he is a hard core sleeper. 

The next day it continued to rain. The smell was delightful. The weather was better than a dream. It was even a but cold. Hayden and I bundled and read in the rocking chair. The rain behind me continue to just pour from the heavens. Hayden and I took full advantage and studied as much as we could outside. 

To me, rain is refreshing. It is cleansing. It soothes and renews. As I sat and rocked, I got lost in my own thoughts. I thought of my life. My life is like a good rain storm. When I pray for help and blessings, the Savior doesn't just answer my prayers with a light sprinkle. When I ask for blessings, my Savior gives me a downpour. More blessings than I need and answers so I have no question that He is in control. 

He sends his signature tender mercies. Gifts so specialized and so perfect that it's as if he signs his name to them. This rainstorm, just like the blessings in my life, had God's signature. 

When the rain finally stopped in the evening, it is like God signed his name to the sky, signing Love, God, to make sure I realized this gift of rain and comfort. 

I am his. He loves me. And today, He sent me a beautiful gift of his love. 

Puppies hideout

Their hangout: Hayden's bed. Oh how they love their boy! If his bedroom door is left open, these two make themselves at home. They sleep on his bed, cuddled on his blanket or in a ball on his pillow. Anything they can do to get close to their boy. 

Hugs from Above

It is always interesting to me to receive "news" from doctors. Doctors, new doctors, unknown appointments and testing, absolutely makes me nervous. I think I have been poked at so much in the past several years that I'm nervous of what they are going to do to me. More than the physical pain I must endure is the emotional pain some of these doctors have inflicted. Because of that, I am so hesitant for each doctor and appointment. 

To overcome my complete fear of these appointments, I have developed some coping skills. First and foremost, I pray. I specifically pray that the words spoken by doctors will not penetrate my heart and cause me to question myself and what I know is happening. The second, when huge testing or major results are involved, I receive a priesthood blessing for guidance and understanding, that the doctors will figure out and see the complications beyond their own natural abilities, that they will be led thru the Spirit to know where to turn and that I will be given strength and courage and peace to endure whatever is asked. 

For me, I could not have survived without the help I have received from above. 

The emotional toll it takes to hear all of the new diagnosis, complications, prognosis and complications is emotionally trying. No one wants to hear that it is lifelong, no possibility of recovery. Even more frustrating is when doctors cannot find the cause or problem and suggest it is mental. I have questioned myself so many times. 

Yesterday, as I have on multiple occasions, I felt wrapped in the arms of love and peace. It was as if I was receiving my own hugs from above. As the brain mapping doctor discussed complications and problems with my brain, I felt overwhelming peace and comfort. I realized how blessed I have been. How much the Savior has taken care of me and blessed me. 

Most of all, as I was told how severe these problems were and what effect they are having on my body, I felt the promises in prior blessings till my heart. "I promise protection....I give you healing....I grant you added strength.....I will spare your life...I will cause your body to realign". 

I realized how much I have been protected. How much healing I have received. I realized that without the life saving protection and intervention of my Savior, I wouldn't have survived. And I was reassured that every promise of healing and protection was received. I have received many many miracles in my behalf. 

I felt so loved. I felt heavenly hugs embrace me. 

I no longer questioned if my faith was sufficent. If I held back blessings from Heaven due to my lack of belief or faith. No. The blessings had come. Every one. Not in the way I thought it should, but they came. I am alive due to the healing and divine miracles of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He has shown me that His miracles, his healing is still very real today, as it was when He walked this earth. 

I matter to my Savior. He knows me, Jerlyn. He knows my trials. He knows my struggles. He knows my deepest feelings, fears and heartache. He knows what I need. Most of all, He grants me the desires of my heart. I am His. And I am loved. 

I felt it. Those were not just words but true living emotions. I have been strengthened by the One on High. I an loved by the divine Son of God. My needs and actions, my weaknesses and strengths, my heartache and joy, are all known by my Savior. Because He knows me, He can comfort me like no other. His oeace is enough. His love beyond any imaginable. 

Yes, it is good to find answers and understanding. It is even more comforting to realize how protected and loved I have neem by Savior. Heavenly is my truest of tender mercies. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Brain mapping and more diagnosis

Today was a new doctor and new diagnosis. Somedays, even I am in awe of the new complications and problems I find out about. 

Back in June, I went to a new doctor and had all kinds of testing done. It was a brain mapping doctor or neurofeedback doctor. I was hooked to an EEG and had tests run. An MRI, CT scan and nuclear scan test structure of the brain and physical traits. The tests I had run were functional testing. How does my brain work compared to how it should work. 

Usually, there is an initial intake and history session. However, since Hayden was scheduled and did the intake, the doctor agreed to do my brian map and testing for half price, if I did it simultaneously with Hayden. So without any discussions, I jumped in to save money. 

We had Hayden's results last week.... More on that later. My results were today. The dr wanted me and Thomas there, together for results. Today, we sat in his office, highly anticipating what was found. With so many things being inconclusive and evasive, we have anxiously awaited anyone that could explain anything that has happened to me, why it is happening and better yet, how to fix it. 

The doctor started out explaining how the brain works, what beta, alpha, theta and delta brain waves are and how they are supposed to work in your brain. He kept repeating that with no history or background on me, he was taking his best guess as to the how's and whys. 

He started with IQ and said that anything more than a 20 point deviation was considered bad. A learning disability or a severe problem to be addressed. We started with ADHD and symptoms. Shocker there. I cannot focus anymore. At all. He said that I have a huge discrepancy between what is written and what is verbal. My written has th standard 20 point deviation showing that there are damaged areas in my brain...short term memory, focus etc. I knew this. It makes me crazy. He gave me both written and oral tests. He said where the huge concern is, is with oral. Given the same problem written vs oral or story or spelling orally or written has vastly different results. Orally, I had over a sixty point deficiency. He said that the auditory processing system has been damaged. And even more so on my left than right. (Crazy. I was told I had a tumor there. Hmmmm. Wondering if any connection). I continue to listen. He says that the auditory system had to have been taken out by a huge stroke or other major complication. I listen. 

He then moves to brain waves and what they mean, what their function is. Beta is alert and conscious. Delta is idle but recharging. Theta is in the relaxed pre-sleep times and Alpha is sleeping. Beta has a lot of blood flow. Theta is low electric. Well. My Beta is low. That is why I struggle with energy and movement and everything tries me out. There is not blood flow when there needs to be. And I have no Alpha waves. None. Which means not good sleep. And my Theta waves are off of the chart high. Tons of electricity going thru without much blood flow. It's messing things up. 

He said he wished that these massive problems were all they found. However, he ran my numbers of test results from the EEG and other tests and said that he could see brain trauma. The first data base measures trauma in one out of a thousand and I was 99.99% most severe. So he switched databases and moved to one out of 10,000, where I ranked 99.9%. He moved to a database with 100,000 and again I was 99.9% showing the worst less than 1%. He had my results for brain trauma ran thru the VA Hosptial head trauma group. He said it was the only data base with that severe of brin traumas to get an accurate assessment. My results were moderate to severe in the group of head trauma cases during war. It looked as if I had been next to a bomb that exploded and my head took the brunt of it. 

He went on. He said it is at the top of my skull and the crown of my head. Interesting side note. I cannot brush my hair in that spot as it kills to touch it and use a brush. He said worst yet, I have a brain bleed. He went on with all kinds of stats. But with my brain trauma. I can't remember it all , even with notes. 

He said that your blood in your brain should be primarily in the frontal lobes, where mine are damaged and I think at the base. I have the most blood at the top portion of my brain. Not good. Blood is where it shouldn't be and not where it should be. 

Then we talked about neurotransmitters and how they are utilized. He talked about the connectors. He said that there are some places that the connectors just are no longer connected. At all. There is a dead spot or actually disconnect. There is zero. Dopamine in my brain. My body is not producing it nor do I have the connectors to utilize that part of the system. Ummm. Problem. 

He said about the worst part of my brain and the most serious is in these factors called jewels. You have these key (can't remember what called) so jewels that your brain uses to compute, calculate, memorize, remember, organize, function, assimilate and more. It must be at a 10. He said a 9 is bad news and must be treated. He said for you to walk and function, they must be at a 10. He tried to gently tell me that my numbers were ALL in the 3 range with one right at the 4 range and one in the 2's. He was in awe with those numbers that I was even alive and functioning. (Even in my very debilitated state). 

Thomas and I explained "my story". The doctor said yes.... Artery cut, brain bleed out, wrong blood type, multiple strokes and seizures, falls and more could cause my very rare and crazy complications. 

As the doctor spoke, I was getting more help than just doctors. I felt the Spirit. You were promised health and miracles. They came. Even if they were not in the package you thought, they came. You have been healed and blessed. You have conquered and received so much strength and healing. I have never left you alone. 

I could see he Savior's hand in my life. How I had been spared. How my life, although not what I had planned is so much better than it could be. I feel so loved. So lucky. So blessed. And incredibly grateful. 

Friday, September 5, 2014


I awoke early one morning to thunder and rain. Oh how I love rain. The cool breeze, the most wonderful smell, and the fantastic storms on the sky. I sat on the rocking chair and soaked it all in. The clouds danced across the sky. The birds flew free. The rain didn't stop them. The clouds only gave them a beautiful background to fly against. They soaked in the cool fresh crisp air, just as I was. 

I looked at the storm and saw the beautiful rainbow it created. I marveled at the clouds and the serene calm they created after the storm. I loved how everything felt anew and refreshed. The world seemed more in focus and clearer. My heart rejoiced. 

As I rocked and watched the clouds dance across the sky, I thought of,the storms in my own life. How many times the lightening has raged, the thunder has wrecked havoc in my life and he rains beat down upon my back. I remember the fierce winds and wondered if the storm would ever calm. I was cold and tired, the wind caused burns and the lightening made for many frightening moments. I wondered if the storms would ever calm and the sunlight would ever shine again. 

As I sat rocking, I took it all in. 

I soaked in the calm. I rejoiced in the sound of the birds chirping. I felt refreshed and renewed. 

Life's storms sure are hard to soe times weather. They beat upon us. They force us to stand firm with our feet planted firmly on the ground. It requires us to hold tight and find steady ground. It requires effort. 

But, on the other side of the storm, there is calm and peace, strength and rejuvenation and a peace that comes only after a violent rain storm. 

Right now, I feel,the calm. I feel the peace. I feel the rejuvenation after the storm. I find myself reflecting and looking back and fully looking forward to the sunlight. 

I'm so grateful for the things that kept me planted firmly in the soul during my own storms. My Savior held me and protected me. He was my shelter during the storm. And He is my guiding light pointing me forward to a new day, whispering peace and love. And reassurance that the storm really has past. 

And in His own beautiful and wonderful ways, He assured me, just like the birds in the sky, refreshed after the storm, I am ready to fly. 


Going off Q96, I definitely had my grumpy days. My incredibly grouchy moments. And I know I said things I shouldn't have. I know it must have taken Thomas all of his will power to not just walk away from me. But even in my grouchiest and most honry moments, he still loves me. And nothing makes me happier. Even in my grouchiest moments, my husband still loves me. How lucky am I???

Korean feast

Since we were going to be home all day Saturday, Thomas went to the Asian market and bought the making for an incredible Korean feast. 

We made bulgogi, with sliced garlic, grilled onions, and lettuce wraps. We made sticky white rice. Egg drop soup with extra onions and eggs. Hayden's favorite. We had kimchi and seafood wraps. For desert...grilled apples with cinnamon and sugar. 

It was delicious. 

Jodi came back from the funeral and decided to give it a shot. She loved it. We will be making this feast for the next Simonton family party. It was delicious. 

That cute husband of mine...he is a fantastic chef. All this and then homemade banana ice cream -yummy!!!!

Settlers of Catan

Josh and Chad came down to play Settlers of Catan with Hayden.  He was in Heaven!!!! He adores his older cousins. Them spending time with him makes him just glow with joy. He is a great player and a wonderful sport. We love playing games with the Etherington's. 

Funerals, moves and babysitting

Jodi had a crazy Saturday last week. One of Brooklyn's friends, Max, died. Jodi dropped off Talmage and her and Brooklyn attended his funeral. Brooklyn and all the kids in MAx's primary class sang. His funeral was beautiful according to Jodi. Such an inspiration and reality check of what life is all about. After she dropped off Brooklyn and went to help a friend pack. 
That evening we talked some about life. Funerals, moves, life's big events and trials sure have a way of making you reflect in life. 

We certainly enjoyed having Tman and Brooklyn over. And I LOVe any chance I get to spend time with my sister. 

The boys played 007, Infinity, Skylanders and Legos. They also played with dogs, swords, and chased each other around  the house. They may be 8 years apart but I love their budding friendship. Tman idolizes Hayden just like Hayden adores his older cousins. So,sweet. 
Brooklyn and Hayden are BFF's. I love listening to them talk and laugh. They share and really like one another. I'm still in awe at what incredibly great friends they are. 

Their agenda..... What else...... Minecraft!!!!
Look how cute my Missy Brooklyn is .... She is precious. Love these two and how much laughter and joy they bring to our home. 


We love our pups. They complete our family!!! 

These are some of my favorite moments. 

The dogs always curl up and sleep on Hayden. Too cute. 
Our sweet little faces that bring joy into our home. 
Maya and her boy. Each morning, she just waits for his door to open up and she runs and attacks. She kisses him all over. And always gives him wet willies and runs. Too cute. 
Max is definitely related to me and Hayden. He thinks he needs a full body rub every night and would love if his life consisted of body rubs, treats and more scratches and rubs. 
I'm not sure Max loves kisses. He is stubborn as they come. If he is mad, watch out. He can hold a killer grudge. I will say, Max, I want kisses. He snorts and proceeds to walk over and kiss Tjomas and then kisses Hayden. He snubs me. But, when he is happy, he is the most loving little guy around. 
These dogs stand at attention when they think it's play time. Playtime, treats, walks and back rubs. And bites of human food yep. They are rotten. Max can officially spell MAX, WALK, TREAT, GO, BYE, OUT and more. Seriously. He gets so excited when I spell. 
I cannot imagine. Our lives without our pups. We love them. They are spoiled rotten. Absolutely spoiled. But, they bring lots of love and lots of joy. And we adore them so much. 

Visiting Jodi

Troy had to go out of town. So Hayden and I went to stay with these cute kids. Thomas took us over on Sunday evening and spent the night with us. My sweet sister made us chicken and dumplings for dinner. My favorite. I still call it liquid love. 

Thomas left for work the next morning and Jodi took Brooklyn and Brigham to school. Tman played on the iPad while I started Hayden on his homeschool work. I love homeschooling and the flexibility it provides. 

I loved that we got to be there for he first day of Tmans first day of preschool. Oh how I adore him and his sweet little personality. Brooklyn and Brigham and Hayden have become best buddies. I love it. 

Unfortunately, my body didn't work as well as I wanted. The seizures were rampant. My health straggling. I intended to stay until Wednesday afternoon. Instead, by Tuesday morning, I was dying. Plans quickly changed and Jodi drove me half way home so Joyce could take me the rest of the way. I spent the next couple of days in bed. 

However, I am already looking forward to our next visit. I love my sister and her sweet family. 
I love spending time with all of them. 

Scout Campout

Hayden attended young men's a few weeks back. Thomas got a text part way through. "Dad, there is a campout on Friday night. Can I go?" 

Thomas read me the text. What? My boy. Asking to go on an overnight campout with the scouts. That is a first. Absolutely. Yes. You can go. 

The previous campouts had been disastrous. He was in his tent. Alone. By 7pm. Pleading for morning to come and bring him home. He hated them. He spent the entire time away just praying to survive. 

Now he wants to go and is excited. When Thomas went to pick him up from scouts, his leaders pulled Thomas aside and asked what we had done to Hayden. They said he was a different kid. Sure. He was Hayden and polite and good but he wanted to go on the campout. He also asked the leaders if he could go canoeing with the rest of the boys. And he was excited about it. The leaders were in awe in the change in him. 

When he got home he told me, and mom, I volunteered to bring ketchup and mustard. Is that ok? 

There is a first time for everything. First of all,  Hayden never volunteers. Not his style. Then to remember to tell me that he did, absolutely astounding. 

Thomas told his leaders about Q96 and all of the positive changes we were seeing in him. Several asked what it was. They were in awe of Hayden and the changes and self esteem they were seeing. 

The weekend grew closer. The anticipation and excitement grew. Hayden was so excited to go canoeing. He helped Thomas pack for the big adventure. He talked a million miles a minute and wanted to learn all about canoeing. 

Friday afternoon came. His excitement was over the moon. He got dressed, grabbed his stuff and was ready to take off. Smiles and said, "don't forget the ketchup and mustard". Are you serious?! This boy just remembered an item he volunteered for. 

I didn't know whether to jump for joy or shed tears of gratitude. 

Hayden attended the campout. He hung with the other boys. He enjoyed the trip. He went canoeing. They flipped their boat. He loved it and was all smiles the entire time, according to the leaders. 

Hayden talked nonstop of the experience. We received an update of the entire 24 hour adventure. He had a great time and was already wanting to know when he could go again. 

I smiled in joy. Q96 is helping Hayden become who he is destined to be.  Hayden is embracing life and all the joys with being a scout. It makes my momma heart happy. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Homeschooling -Vikings and Learning

I think I know what I want to do with homeschooling. Maybe I don't. Maybe today was just a good day. But. When Hayden kept saying it was the best day ever....I know I am on the right track. 

With being sick, my energy is at zero and my stamina at next to nothing. I'm coughing and scared I am headed back into bronchitis and hopefully not pneumonia. And I took a 3 hour nap. 

But, even with it, I think I found my groove. 

We backed up today. I realized that the gaps in Hayden's schooling are huge. I just need to teach him what I want him to know. If I touch on what he already has studied, it will be a good reminder. 

So for American History, I decided to start at the beginning. Vikings. 

Our day started with study of the Doctrines & Covenants and Joseph Smith History. I realized how much more we got our of scripture study since we had just studied Thomas Jefferson. Joseph Smith was born right after Thomas. Jefferson preached religion freedom and religious tolerance. We talked of our founding fathers and how they opened the doors to the restoration of the gospel. 

We hit math and reading comprehension. I'm not sure if Hayden dislikes it more or if I do. 

Then we started with the Vikings. We watched YouTube videos of the ships, the weaponry, the sailors and how they functioned. We talked of the trade embargo between Christians and Pagans. We then studied. Leif Erickson and his voyages. We played If I were an Explorer.... We made pros/cons lists... Hayden wrote a letter home about the new land he discovered. He drew the weapons, Viking hats, armour and Vikings. He built a Viking ship in Minecraft. 

We made lunch. Hayden did his laundry. He vacuumed. He made his bed and cleaned his room and game room. He fed dogs and played with them. 

This afternoon he came up with a plan for a business to earn money for his mission. And I think it is a fabulous idea. It is a service people need. It is something he could do with his dad in the evenings. It is a relatively small start up costs. And I think he could make money at it and enjoy it. He is currently designing a logo and working on creating his business. I have to admit. I think he is on to something.

I laughed my guts out when he came up to me and said when he gets older he wants to start a company and call it, "the other leading brand" so that no one can use it in commercials. He laughed about walking into a store and seeing a generic, "other leading brand" sitting next to all of the real brands. He designed a logo and oh how we laughed. 

Just now, as he was working on his online Minecraft class,  Hayden problem shot the issues, why the server wasn't working and how the instructor needed to fix it. I am a proud momma. He is learning from his dad.

We may not be perfect. We may not do it all. But I LOVE my time with my son. I LOVE being his mother. I LOVE that I get to see his personality develop and grow. I love watching him learn. And I love all that he teaches me each day. 

This journey may not always go as well as today but the one's that do, I will cherish and love. Hopefully, on the days that do no, I can read this and see that some days, I do get it right. And that, is a good feeling. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I'm going for it!

For the last several years and months, each blessing and each answer to my prayers contained the following: someday, because of this journey, many will be brought to me. 

Then the blessings started adding more details.... In your story, people will find faith to keep going. People will know that miracles still exist today. My children will know that I do not leave them in their trials but walk with them each day. 

As I started Q96, and my body has begun to heal, the answers have come more quickly. I have had the privilege of the Savior helping to "piece together" the blessings and lessons for me. I've been instructed in what I am to do. 

I made an agreement with my Savior long ago. If He allowed me to stay on this earth and be a mom to Hayden and a wife to Thomas, I would do His will. My life would be turned over to Him. Technically, I am living on borrowed time. My life should have ended three years ago, with a bleed out and my heart stopping. I shouldn't have survived it. I didn't. But our Savior is so kind. And free agency is real. I begged to be able to do the work I needed to do here instead of in the Spirit World. 

Because my Savior loves me and knows the true intent of my heart, He allowed me to remain on this earth with those I love and cherish. However, I knew the journey would not be easy. I knew my Savior could not take my physical pains and ailments away. I understood it was apart of His plan. I knew He was helping me and in doing so, this life was no longer my own but one that would be dedicated to our Savior and furthering His work. I was told the journey would be very difficult. The road I would walk would be one He would never ask me to. It would take me to my breaking point. It would be excrutiatingly painful. It would be harder than I had any idea. He said as his child, it would break His heart to watch me walk such a difficult and hard path. But, it was my choice. 

I didn't care. I wanted to raise my son. I had so much I still wanted to teach him. 

My loving Savior let me return. To fight each day to live. To struggle. To hurt. To walk each day of this life with a disabled and very mortal body. 

Each day since, I have been tutored by Him. As I have fought to breathe, to walk, to survive, I have not done it alone. My Savior has surrounded me with earthly angels disguised as friends and family, acquaintances and my ward family, all willing to help me along my journey. He also sent heavenly help. He has sent hosts of Heaven to buoy me up, strengthen me, teach me and comfort me. I have not walked this journey alone. When all of these angels were not enough to sustain my life and comfort my soul, my precious Savior stepped in. He carried me and walked this ever so difficult path with me. 

I told Him I couldn't do it, He assured me He could. I told Him I lacked the strength. He showed me He could move mountains. He did what I couldn't do for myself. 

My journey has been rocky, but I have come to know my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know who He is. I know He will always be with me. I know that I am His and I am loved. 

The journey that has taken place and unfolded over the past three years has been simply amazing. 
And now, I am ready to document this amazing adventure. 

I'm writing my story, my book and my journey.  

My goal is in writing. My date is set. I have 300 days to complete the challenge. I can do it. I know it will be an adventure in and of itself, but I have learned when my Savior asks me to do something,  I do it. And just as. He has walked the last three years with me, carrying me and strengthening me, teaching me and encouraging me, I know this book will be no different. I know my Savior will walk with me and help me as I go. 

Here if walk into the next chapter of my life.....

(Thank you, Laurel for the challenge and including me in your 300 days challenge. I'm excited to work with such amazingly talented and motivated people.)

My teaching style

There are so many different approaches to homeschooling. 

Charlotte Mason approach- natural learning for kids. 
Unit teaching-immersing in a topic and incorporate all to Egypt or cooking. 
Traditional and Home at school and standard school room approach. 
Then there is eclectic-taking parts of each or different subjects taught each way. 
And now "Unschooling" when I first heard that term, I thought it meant doing nothing. 

Unschooling is so much more. Oats allowing the kids to learn and provide life learning opportunities. Learn math by doubling or halving recipes, finding the area of your home, cooking, cleaning, reading, learning by do in and a very hands on approach. There is s ton of reading. 

I'm an eclectic homeschooling mom. I take some of all approach. We definitely have school time where I teach math, reading comprehension, writing skills, history, social studies and the gospel. We work on a topic. But then we explore. 

Oh how I love exploring with Hayden. Yesterday we did math, reading comprehension, gospel study and writing. He worked on assignments while I worked on the Q96 business. We then learned life skills of cooking lunch, planning dinner, cleaning/pickup house and the much needed laundry folding lesson. 

Afterwards, the fun began. Hayden and snuggled up on the couch with Max and Maya cuddling on Hayden. Hayden ate lunch while we began our American Heritage class study. I want Hayden to know how to learn, how to think, how to notice truth vs lies, how to solve problems and how to learn. 

We picked out four very different history books from the library. One a textbook. All the facts. Very few stories. Another very heavy in how history effects today. Another with year by year highlights of each presidents and the fourth is stories and crazy facts and just plain little known facts and nicknames. 

We started with the revolutionary war and decided we were going to do an overview and then go back and go into much more detail. We started with George Washington and his days in continental congress and general days. We studied for five hours thru Jefferson. We talked of the Loiuisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the wars, slavery, Hamilton vs Jefferson philosophies, that both Adams and Jefferson died on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and more. 

I was in awe of how much Hayden was able to relate to other points on history both old world times and modern, secular and philosphical and how it related to the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was in awe at what he knew and his deductive reasoning skills. 

As we talked and laughed, discussed ideas and principles, I was so grateful we chose to homeschool Hayden. 

It isn't the traditional day. Many days, if I am sick and in bed, Thomas is the night teacher. He learns computer programming with his dad. He is starting Java script. He is learning to make Minecraft mods, he wants to build a computer, he is doing an online Mineschool class. Thomas teaches him about serves and pumping gas, resetting breakers and hunts with black lights for scorpions. Instead of "homework" at night, learning continues with big smiles and eager anticipation for dad time of learning and teaching. 

It's not a perfect system. I have so much help. Grandma Joyce is his ceramics teacher. Grandma Julie is science and outdoor survival. Chad helps with history and facts. Suzi helps with Scouts and reading. She also wants to do field trips. 

The possibilities are endless. And I love that I have time to teach him when the situation arises. There are no deadlines. So we are free to teach. We can teach him adaptation skills. How to be flexible. How to be conquer daily tasks, deal with interruptions, balance learning and life and work and play. 

I love it. I love him being home. I love that when I am sick that I have help. That documentaries and good books can fill in for me. That he can build and be creative. That he can practice art or building Legos and guitar and read. That he can work on OT and PT. That he has bins that can be pulled out and contain prewritten instructions for help. 

What a blessing this is for us. I love having the time and ability to slow down and just learn together. There are ao many resources. So many free resources. So many options. Life is learning. I see the value of Unschooling. Life is a classroom. A huge one. 

I honestly think I am learning as much as he is. Most of all....I am soaking in each moment, each question, each teaching moment, each smile, each hug and each shrill of joy when he accomplishes a new task or masters something he has struggled with.  I am so grateful to be this kids momma. (And the naps. Oh how I love my naps)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day

We had a great Labor Day filled with family and fun. 

I am so so lucky. Not only do I have a wonderful husband and son to celebrate special says with, I have an amazing family. My brother and his sweet wife had us over for BBQ, swimming and fun. My amazing sister and her family came, along with Suzi Q and Lisa and gang. (We did miss JD and. Josh and their families that were out of town). 

We ate and talked, laughed and teased. Most everyone went swimming while I took a long nap due to still fighting another infection. Bummer. However, it was great falling asleep and awakening to the sound of familiar voices and a gentle tenderness knowing I was surrounded in love. 

We ate a yummy lunch of hamburgers and yummy sides. Thomas made the day complete by whipping up three batches of homemade ice cream.. Mixed berries, Oreo and my favorite, banana. 

We even taught Josh and Chad how to play spades. Beginners luck....they beat us. Haha. 

Days like this mKe life worth living. They combat the hard days and out all into perspective. 

These people that I get to call "my family" are simply amazing. I'm surrounded by love with hugs and loves from four year olds on up. 

Life is good. I'm grateful for a day to rejuvenate my spirit and keep me going. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Life is hard

Life is hard. 

I know this. 

But some days it has a way of sweeping you off of your feet and knocking you down....
It makes you look at things differently than you ever have....
It throws reason and routine and all rationale away and just slams hard. 
It feels as if it's all spiraling.. Spinning....crazily out of control...

Somehow...some way...just when it feels as if nothing will ever make sense again...the Savior has a way of making things ok. 

The parent becomes the student and the child the teacher. 

Tonight was one of those nights. 

As I laid in bed sobbing and broken, my sweet precious son slid up next to me. He put my arm over his head and rested it on my shoulder. 

He pulled out his phone. He started reading me the scriptures. Verses on peace and hope. Some of my most favorite. Some of those that build my strength when I have none left. 

He then sang ever so sweetly...I am a Child of God. 

I asked why? 

He said that when he can't focus, when he struggles, when he is scared or tempted or frightened, the words comfort him. His mind cannot wander. The darkness is shut out. There are no distractions that are powerful enough to take away the truth and strength of those words...I am a child of God. 

He was so sweet as he said that sometimes he gets to the second verse and only remembers. "I am a child of God and so my needs are great". His inspired words continued as he said, "Mom, we allNEED the Savior. Sometimes we all feel like His little child and our needs are so great. It's ok. He knows we need Him. That's why He came. For the hard times. Just take a deep breath. The Savior KNOWS how you feel. He experienced this moment for you. He loves you. He believes in you. And so do I."  

By this moment, I knew how precious my son truly is. He is no longer just my little boy but is a spiritual giant. He knows who he is and who's he is. He knows where to turn for peace and answers, comfort and hope. 

I asked why he pulled out the scriptures. He replied in a way that touched my heart deeply and made me feel like I am enough. "You taught me that when we want to talk to our Father in Heaven we pray. But when we need answers and to hear His voice, we read the scriptures. You need to hear from Him. So we need to read." 

I may not be the mom that can go and do. I may not have it all together. I may be feisty and stubborn and hard headed. I may get frustrated beyond belief with my lot on life, at times. But even in my lowest moments, when I feel as if I'll never be enough. When I feel as if the world would be better, my family would be better off without me in it.  My Savior has a way of showing me what I do do right. The ways which I have succeeded. The areas in which I am enough. 

I'm so far from perfect. I make so many mistakes. I get mad and I yell. I struggle to find where I belong. I fight to try and have the life I want and once had. But in the end, I am always humbled. I am taught  that it doesn't matter. I'm given what I need. I'm given the tools I need to be the mom and daughter that I need to be. That I was born to become. 

I'm grateful for a loving Father in Heaven that forgives me. That looks past my insecurities and shortcomings, that knows how to turn my weaknesses into strengths. That knows when I need a gentle reminder to listen to the lessons I've taught many times and to become the learner again. And when I just need my sweet son to be my teacher and exemplar. 

Because no matter what life throws at Savior knows...when my precious sons slides up to me and wraps himself in my arms, there is no amount of pride that can keep me from melting. And when this precious boy then takes my teachings that I have so diligently taught him and he turns those teachings into life's lessons and teaches them back to Savior knows I will stop and truly listen. 

And when I listen and decide to stop, I find my Savior's way, I find peace. Peace in the moment. Peace and hope. Peace to be still. Peace in knowing that although nothing at the moment makes sense. In time, all things will be made right. I am wrapped in His love and peace. 

And although nothing has changed...everything has changed. 

Yes. Life is hard. 

But I will be ok. 

Applying the lesson

We are back in homeschooling mode here. Man sakes alive is it harder and more time consuming and all encompassing, than I would have ever guessed. Last year, we just kept schooling. His year, I'm doing it my own way, trying to really give Hayden the love for learning and a heart filled with hope. 

Most of this week was a total flop. I was oh so sick and down. Wednesday, I didn't even wake up until after lunch time. And I feel like Hayden has been semi schooling himself this week with a very sick and sleeping mom. It has really frustrated me. 

But today, was the day that I realize why I am doing this. No, we didn't do all his assignments. We didn't study all subjects. We didn't even make it thru the schedule as things came up and pushed the schedule back. But, there are some moments that are just worth it. And today was one of those. 

Each morning we start with a morning family devotional. Family prayer, scripture study, planning the day and gospel learning. Thomas is around for as long as he can. At least scriptures and prayers. And breakfast. 

We have been studying the Doctrine and Covenants. I am using the high school seminary manual to teach from as I love all the learning that can be attained thru its usage. 

This morning we were discussing how to really apply the scriptures to our lives. We read different passages. We re-read them with the questions changed, circumstances changed, and talked of how it changed or clarified the meaning. Then we talked of personalizing the scriptures and how to better do that. 

We read in D&C 121:1-10 for study purposes. This is one of my favorite passages, as my hero, Joseph Smith is pleading for help and for relief. I have read he words over and over "My son, peace be unto thy soul....thine afflictions shall be but a small moment...if thou endure it well. I will exhault thee on high." I told Hayden that I read it, "my daughter, Jerlyn". 

We then read it with my daughter, Jerlyn and then my son, Hayden, peace be unto thy soul. We talked of wh the Savior,could be saying that to him or me. He brought up current challenges we are facing. My health declining again, Q96 restart, our move, my struggle for the last years being sick and the fear it has brought onto Hayden, Hayden's heart surgeries, his health issues, and current brain trauma and new diagnosis and challenges for Hayden. 

We talked of how if we read the verses, using our current situation, as if we were asking the Savior for understanding and help in our current situation, how would the answer and scriptures seem different with specific questions in mind. We then again read, "My son, Hayden. Peace be unto thy soul." As those eight words were read, something happened. It felt as if the Savior stretched out His loving arms and embraced us in a blanket of love and hope. The peace and comfort was tangible. We could feel it so clearly. 

Both of us sat in awe. Hayden spoke. He said, Mom, do you feel like the Savior just wrapped us in a blanket of peace and love? I confirmed what he was feeling. 

We both sat there. No words needed to be said. We both just allowed the beautiful feelings of peace and hope and love to wrap around us. We basked in His love. We cherished and tried to hold on tight to that experience. Etching it on our hearts and in our minds forever. 

I hugged my son. He then asked me different answers I had received while reading the scriptures. We discussed hope and love, answers to prayers. How reading with questions in mind and with a purpose, brought deeper and more meaningful experiences. 

Yes. We may not have done all the math assignments. English may have slipped thru my fingers. But we talked of Christ, we rejoiced in Christ, and we have taught our children, so they will know where to look for a remission of their sins. 

Today, our testimonies were strengthened.  We both knew this is our Savior's plan. With him, homeschooling will be the best thing I have ever done for my son.