Thursday, December 31, 2015

Davis Christmas

I always look forward to our Davis Christmas Day. Jodi and the kids come over and we talk and exchange gifts. Usually Mexican food is eaten as well.

It was so fun this year. Jodi had made me a cupcake plate. I was so touched. They gave Hayden a combined birthday and Christmas gift and spoiled him absolutely rotten. A box filled with $1 bills taped together. He was one hugely happy buy. They definitely spoiled him to death. 

My favorite is always just being together and laughing and having fun. 

Jodi's kids loved stuffed animals and suzi did not disappoint. She brought them awesome ones. Brooklyn liked her purse and wallet and apron and cookie making kit. She is growing up so incredibly fast.
Talmage loved his load bear from suzi. Brigham and talmage got walks talkies and TMNT planes from us. They were happy campers. Oh how I love these three kids.
Love my plate Jodi made. Thomas is hanging a shelf in my room and this treasure is going on it. I simply love it. 

Below: Hayden wrapped in his one dollar bills. Can you say spoiled?

Etherington Christmas Party

We love the Etherington's. We love them living on our street. We love the joy they bring. We love having family so close. Christmas Eve with the Etherington's came early as Robert was headed in to open heart surgery on December 22nd. So the 20th became their official Christmas Eve.

We ate dinner and played the grinch game. Before that we had a bug huge ball filled with prizes such as ring pops and partially used gift cards and a bag of pennies and chocolate and farting pads and crazy weird stuff. You had to put on two gloves and try to unwrap as much of the ball as you could while the person next to you tried to roll doubles. You got to keep whatever you rescued from the Saran Wrap. But watch out. Not all are treats. Some things have you prancing like Rudolph or choosing whether to have a permanent red nose like Rudolph or pointy ears like the elves or Santa's big fat belly or answering trivia questions. Such a fun game. 

It was a fun night. I sure love this group of amazing loved ones.
Jesse & Katie, Hayden and me
Hayden received great grinch gifts
Me opening the best present of the night... cereal with $40... of course it was taken.

So sick

Hayden got so sick right before Christmas. I hadn't seen him his sick in years. I was reminded of him being a little boy and staying up with him all night to comfort him and make sure he was okay. 

He was feeling awful. He couldn't sleep. He felt terrible. He couldn't even lay in bed. I helped him into our chair in our room so I could sleep and still look out for him. 

I woke up to this scene. My son, so very sick, sitting and reading. My heart warmed as I remembered the countless sleepless nights that I read to him to comfort him. As I walked over to check on him, I saw what he was reading, the scriptures. My son was finding solace in the story of our Savior's birth. We sat and talked of our Savior, his birth, this special time of year and all the events surrounding the birth of our dear Christchild. 

One of my favorite moments of the season happened unexpectedly in the middle of the night while trying to care for my sick son. The time we spend talking of Christ is precious to me. The peace of knowing my son loves his Savior and wants to grow closer to Him, brings insurmountable peace and joy to my heart! 

I'm learning there really are incredible blessings even in the midst of trials, if we will just seek them. 

Happy 14th birthday

Happy birthday to my amazing boy!

12-12-15 and you turn 14 years old!!!!

You are extremely bright, you can solve problems, think out of the box, you analyze and process, take your time to see the options, respond in your own time, you think deeply about I,portent topics, you care, serve, love, find joy in all things, find the glass completely full and refillable, have a positive attitude, are happy and content in all situations, you want to please, you are obedient, kind, see the best in others, quick to forgive, slow to judge, and have so many more amazing qualities. You are one of a kind. And I am beyond grateful to be your mother. Your Heavenly Father has great plans for you. You will do great things in this life. I love you! Happy birthday!
You never ask for much. Only one or two things. This year, Battlefront Star Wars was your number one go to gift.
What do you want to do on your birthday? Play video games with Chad, of course.
Lisa laughed that you wanted a Breakfast sandwich maker but got you one. You laughed and laughed and thought that was so funny.
Your party consisted of Gavin Backus and Matthew Foushee coming over and playing video games. We told you we would get you any type food you wanted. You opted for Little Ceaser's cheese pizzas, Cheetos, Doritos, Red Vines, a hot chocolate bar and glazed donuts. Crazy kid!
Suzi bought you your own power tools for your birthday. I am not sure if you were more excited or your dad.

Happy Birthday, my easy-going, sweet, kind and loving boy. Thank you for all the joy you bring to our lives. We are eternally grateful for you.

Grandma- computer monitor

Hayden decided having a birthday right before Christmas wasn't so bad when combined presents mean much bigger and wanted gifts. Grandma Julie gave Hayden the computer monitor of his dreams for his birthday and Christmas. He was just a little excited. He is counting the days until his computer is finished being built and up and running.

Family fun

I used to think Family Fun meant traveling and exploring, movies and dinner, goofy golfing and bowling and activities galore. I tried to make traditions memorable and all holidays filled with fun.

Now family fun is laughing at home, watching Thomas and Hayden have pillow fights, iPad games, reading together, talking, watching new series, playing games and being together at home. 

I sure love my family. I'm so grateful for the moments that bind us together. Even if it's only,laughing and having Hayden being a goofball while trying to take pictures prior to heading to scouts. Oh how I love these two.

Love our sweet family. Couldn't imagine anything out there better than what we have.

Ordained to a teacher

My sweet son. He was ordained as a Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood. I am so incredibly proud of him. He works so hard. He gives his all. He is kind. He is smart. He is caring. He loves his Savior with all his heart. He loves doing what is right. He perfectly strives to be obedient in all things. Whether it is fasting, attending his meetings, obeying his parents, reading scriptures, making sure prayers are always given with much gratitude, and doing his best.

Grandpa and Grandma Simonton, Grandma Joyce, Grandma Julie, Aunt Suzi, Lisa and Robert and of course your parents, all came to support you in this new milestone of your life. we are proud of who you are and the good decisions you are making in your life. 

I am so proud of who he is becoming. Hayden is simply a wonderful teenager and an incredible son. I am so blessed to be his mom.

Snowball fight.

Snowball fight- Arizona style. 
I bought fake snowballs from Hallmark. I blind folded the boys. I stood them in the hall and set the snowballs in the middle. I said ready. Set. Go. Blindfolds flew off. And the snowball fight began. They had so much fun. They laughed. They joked. The had so much fun. Spontaneous fun filled moments are the best. 

Dad turns 69!

We went to Josh's house to celebrate Dad's 69th birthday! Because I am not able to do much, with JD and gang in town, we opted for Wednesday and Sunday night to help me recover in between. I am glad that I mustered the energy and made it to Josh's house. We all sat in the family room as dad talked of life and regrets and wishes and do overs. He talked of it eventually being too late. He wished he would have expressed love more. He wished he would have focused on the positive instead of pointing out faults. He made us realize the importance of speaking up now. He talked of how short life is. He brought clarity to life. He brought joy and hope and the rememberence of living a good life filled with love and joy.  Expressing love and kindness.

It was so cold. But it was so great to sit as a family and talk. After we ate, grandpa talked of all going to do something together prior to it being too late. One last hoorah! Maybe a cruise or trip. I love time with my siblings and dad. I love my sweet nieces and nephews. And I love watching my son interact with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. I love when my siblings or dad talk to Thomas and reassure him that he is a good guy. 

I have so much to be grateful for. A loving father that taught me of truth and hard work and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for all he has done to shape and mold my life. Happy birthday, Dad! I hope 69 treats you well. 
Brooklyn and Ashlyn

Brooklyn, Brinley, Katelyn, Bryson and Kiley- love these kids!

Even during the celebrating, the boys all had to catch the game.

Happy birthday Grandpa

Hayden found this old timers cane with prescription bottle, horn, a sign for watching for falling, and other joking things. Hayden was so very proud of himself for finding this fun gift for his Grandpa. 

I'm not sure Grandpa liked it as well. He did but gave Hayden a hard time for buying it for him. They both laughed and laughed. And teased one another. I love when they laugh and joke with one another. I grateful Hayden has his Grandpa that loves him so much. Happy 69th birthday, dad!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I know I'm way out of order here. And I'm skipping around while still trying to document our journey of healing, coping, learning, mourning, laughing, thriving, simply living, loving and enduring. Our journey is unique to us but has so many common threads and parts of our lives weaved perfectly with so many others. Yet I digress.

I want Hayden to know that his dad and his mom struggled. That life was confusing and hard and overwhelming and honestly sometimes you just guess, start walking forward, pray about it and ask if we start walking the wrong way for the Savior to help us turn our feet and face us towards our future, whatever that may be. 

Although we are parents and probably seem really old to him, we are guessing our way through while we plead for help and guidance and clarification from our Savior in which way to turn. 

As Thomas and I sat with the neurologist a couple of weeks ago, he said I was headed in the wrong direction and getting sicker instead of overcoming the issues or improving. Not what we wanted to hear although I already realized that. He said that immediate and aggressive treatments were needed to stop or slow the progress of this disease. And we don't have time to wait. 

Options: if insurance refuses to pay for more IViG infusions or plasmapheresis, then we will start genetic testing and immunosuppressant drugs. Ok. I wasn't exactly sure what those were. The doctor gave us two different drug names and asked us to research them and contract hi on January 4th and tell him which way we wanted to go. 

Ok. Odd. Doctors haven't really done that. We decided to stalk the decision making until after Christmas. This weekend/week has been me researching these medications. It isn't too when you type in the name of the medication and a huge red warning box comes up. Caution! Extremely powerful and toxic pharmaceutical medications. Do NOT take unless terminal without these medications. 

Wow. Not good. Benefit vs risk assessment vs side effects vs life adaptions. Where to start. Both medications have over a fifty percent chance of causing Lymphoma cancer. Over fifty percent chance of causing liver and kidney failure. Other high likelihood risks are pancreatitis and blood toxicity. Death. And more. I read the name of the medications again and again hoping for a different option. 

Two,drugs. Both with different by high risks for complications. Two drugs with side effects and benefits and risks. How to choose between two different medications that if I stay on these for two years have a huge likelihood of me dealing with lymphatic system cancer? I relaxed and said another prayer. 

My pleading was one for direction. As I sat with Thomas and asked for him to go through the meds with me. We started with the one with less side effects and didn't require you to be terminal before taking. Thomas said whatever the other one is, let's try it, this has too many risks involved, until I pulled up the sheet. Bright red risk warnings came up. He panicked silently. What to do. 

After spending. Hours researching. We came to a decision. I will tell the doctors we are opting for chemo immunosuppressant medications. They are administered weekly. I will feel awful for 24 hours. I will sleep and just feel awful. However, we are hopeful for some relief on the other days. We even feel at peace. Not a huge overwhelming feeling but a calmness and reassurance. 

I'm nervous. I can no longer take ibuprofen so I'm hoping the pain won't be too terribly pain. Hoping I won't get too sick from the drugs. And praying that cancer doesn't overwhelm my body. and that I can remain strong. I pray that the awful diseases will not invade my body any further and help me find relief and get stronger. 

Not only will I have to be absolutely vigilant with sicknesses and washing hands and keeping sickness away from me as I will have no I,mine system to fight anything off. Any fever over 100.3 and I am hospitalized. Any coughing or sickness and hospitalization. I cannot have live vaccines nor be around anyone after they have had live vaccines for  one to two weeks. We have to take my temperature multiple times a day. Everyone coming in our home must wash hands and wear a mask. It will definitely require some changes but I'm hopeful for the future. 

I could really use prayers as I start this new adventure. Love you all. Especially my husband and son for walking this road with me and adjusting with this new lifestyle. 

Computer building

About 17 months ago, Hayden decided he wanted a gaming computer. He knew they were way out of his price range but thought if he and his dad could build one, it would be more doable. Hayden knew we didn't have any discretionary funds for computer parts so the acquiring of the co outer karts would all be his responsibility. He received a couple of parts for Christmas 2014 and then worked all year to earn enough to purchase the rest of the parts.

He saved every dime he made, worked odd jobs, sold Legos and other items, earned money every chance he got and watched sales and garage sales for parts. It was his first Black Friday and cyber Monday scouring the sites for good deals. 

With his last bit of birthday money, he finally earned the almost $600 to purchase the rest of the parts. Putting the computer together has been a sheer joy for Dad and son. They have loved he time together and Hayden has been so excited to learn and get his computer up and running. 

Unfortunately, a minor setback with the graphics card having to be replaced. So the computer isn't up yet but any day now he replacement part should come. 

I love all that Hayden has learned in this process. He has learned patience, long suffering, waiting, wanting to earn something, working hard for something, and realizing all the different ways to achieve your dreams. 

I can't wait until he plays his first game and reals the reward of his hard work and patience. 

Also, with him working to earn this money, he is more appreciative of all we do for him. Even paying him a little extra for washing baseboards or painting, as he has never earned allowance or paid for doing regular household chores, or working as a family, but only on extra paid duties. 

I'm so grateful we didn't help but helped provide him with options to earn money, he has grown beyond our greatest dreams. He has appreciated all gifts more and is grateful for not only money but he opportunity to earn it. What a gift. He has made me so proud. He has grown up and achieving what I only dreamed. I sure love and adore my boy!

Gingerbread houses

Some traditions continue.....

Christmas time brings decorating the tree, watching Christmas movies, reading touching Christmas stories, making goodies, yummy sugar cookies, going to the loop of lights, and so many more traditions. 

One of my favorites is watching the guys decorate gingerbread houses. I used to always help Hayden. He no longer needs help but has it covered in his own. So I make sure there are enough candies and sit and watch and talk to them. I love the conversation and watching how many treats make it to their mouths. I love the creativity. I love the comraderee. I love the laughter and smiles.
Thomas is meticulous. His rows are straight. The candies line up perfectly with details all thought out. He takes his time. He finishes long after the rest of us have moved on to cocoa and cookies. 

Hayden has turned to making creative masterpieces such as zombie apocalypse house. With zombies stuck in traps and breaking the windows. Such creativity in his own unique way. 

Most of all, I love spending. Time with these two. It doesn't matter what we are doing. It only matters that we are together. And for me, I'm grateful for every tradition we still can do together. I really do love the life I've been blessed with.

Ceiling fan

Josh changed out his light fixtures he gave me his old ones. I sold some but kept one for my house. I thought moving thr fan from my bedroom to the dining room table and putting the new one in my,bedroom was the best option. That way the two ceiling fans in the main area would match.

Better plan than actual achievable goal. 

The ceiling fan in my room went in considerably easy. But the dining fan, it took hours and hours. 

Chad ended up having to crawl through thru the ceiling and duct work as he laid plywood down in front of him. He had to create a brace and out it in place in order to put the fan in. 

Five hours later, a trip to In and Out for burgers, three trips to Home Depot, and several attempts to install, the fans were both installed. 

I'm so grateful for Robert, Chad and Thomas for helping me get fans installed. I'm grateful for their willingness to give up and Saturday to serve me. I'm grateful for the hard workers that I am surrounded with that help me every day with the things that make my life better and easier. 

Life is a great ride when there are wonderful people by your side. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Blessings and kindness

Christmas night at about 9:30 at night, the doorbell rang. I couldn't imagine who would be at my door.

I looked outside and no one was there. Thomas opened the door to find this waiting on the porch. A complete Christmas dinner along with an Amazon gift card. 

Tears filled my eyes. My heart was warmed with gratitude and joy. 

On the night of our dear Savior's birth, the most sacred and holiest night of the year, someone took the time to remember me and my dear family. We were important. We were remembered. We were not forgotten. 

I wish I could express what tokens of kindness such as this mean. Yes, I am incredibly grateful for such a generous and thoughtful and amazing gift. For the gift of food to feed my family. For the gift of a gift card to buy some needed items. The gift of love. To remind us that we are loved and remembered. 

The gift of love and remembrance is a gift unlike any other. It is a gift that reaches in and warms the heart. It is a gift that calms he soul and ignites the spirit. It is a gift that cannot be explained adequately. 

As anonymous gifts are left at the door, I can't help but add my own personal note that it is signed by my Savior. 

For the scripture always comes to mind, "If he have done it unto the least of have done it unto me." 

Thank you to whomever you are for the gift of love. I felt mymSavior's love thru you and I am truly grateful.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Miracle

We had our very own Thanksgiving miracle. This is an entry that I have tried to write many times but as I tried to write, the tears of warmth and hope would stream down my face and I would put it away for another day.

On Friday, the day after thanksgiving, I received a call from my sweet sister. She asked if she could come over with JD and Josh that afternoon for a little while. My heart sank. Why? What was wrong? What had she done? Why would they come visit me, together?

I thought of the letter I had written previously to my siblings. I spoke of the paralysis, the changes in my health and bore testimony of my love for them and our dear Savior. I assured them it wasn't a goodbye letter, simply an update on my condition since we would all be together over Thanksgiving and letting them know that I would be limited in what I could do. As long as I was writing the facts of my health, I also felt the need to write the miracles and love I have been blessed with. For me, it all goes hand in hand. I cannot speak of the challenges without the blessings. And then realize that the blessings are a gift from coping with the challenges. It is a package. One cannot be separated from the other. The incredible blessings and miracles I have experienced have been a direct result of the life altering and really hard trials that we have endured. Regardless of how I look at it, the miracles and blessings have been so profound and so life changing that I wouldn't trade them, even if it meant me being able to give up the trials and challenges we face. So I testified of my love of our Savior and his great goodness and all that he does for us continually.

Jodi noticed my silence on the phone and asked what was wrong. I wondered if the letter had prompted fear or emotion or some reaction from the group. She assured me it was nothing more that her and the boys wanting to spend time together just as siblings. She expressed Jake's love and him wanting to be there but was out of town with Rosie for their anniversary. She said she had to go but would see me in a couple of hours.

I immediately hung up the phone and knelt down and prayed. I asked my Father in Heaven for me to have peace. For me to know how to answer their questions or concerns. That their hearts would be comforted if my email was too direct or too honest or too overwhelming. I prayed for peace for myself that I could answer any questions of my health without being too emotional or scaring anyone. That I might be able to be reassuring or comforting. And that we would all have an enjoyable visit, as siblings, just hanging out together. Peace flooded into my heart and mind. My body experienced the love and comfort and hope that can only come from my Savior and loving Father in Heaven through the power of the Holy Ghost. Tears were shed. Gratitude expressed. And hope and peace filled my soul.

The morning progressed quickly and soon Jodi and JD were at the door, soon to be followed by Josh. We chatted about life. Talked of our children. Spoke of fond memories. Laughed and talked and just caught up. I thought to myself that this was exactly what I needed. I needed time with my siblings just to laugh and talk and have fun. I thought of how much I loved them. What they truly meant to me, each of them individually and collectively. I thought of our childhood, our impressionable childhood years, what a great life we have had and all the incredible memories we have made. It was a perfect couple of hours. One I will always cherish.

Just as it looked like things were ready to wrap up, JD asked Jodi if they should tell me why they came. My heart sunk. Why were they here? Jodi's eyes filled with tears. I started to tear up unsure of what was going on.

Jodi reached into her pocket and handed me a piece of paper. No, not a piece of paper but a check. She spoke as I was trying to contemplate the situation. She told me that she knew that January was quickly approaching and knew that we didn't have money for my medications, any treatments or doctors appointments. She knew that I was working with doctors to try to wean off my medications so that I would not go into severe withdrawal effects of the seizure and heart and neuropathy medications.  She knew that in order for me to get the initial treatment I needed, we needed to get the money for our deductible so we could afford to continue to get treatment for my health.

I was now sobbing, as was Jodi. I have no idea what JD and Josh were doing. I pushed the check back to Jodi, and told her that somehow Thomas and I would figure it out. It wasn't her responsibility. She assured me that I had in no way asked for money or implied that I thought they needed to do anything. She then collected the checks from Josh and JD and handed me three checks. They told me of their love and Jake's love and that Jake would also be sending a check. The four of them split our deductible so that I could received treatment in 2016.

Tears streamed down my face. Gratitude filled my heart. Love was so thick in the room. I was holding three checks for $1,250 each. The complete awe I felt was overwhelming. I hugged and thanked each of them and told them my gratitude and surprise was beyond anything I could have imagined. Silently, I said a prayer thanking my Father in Heaven for figuring this medical issue out for me. For allowing me to live another year with my loved ones. The generosity was overwhelming. My gratitude beyond words.

I am not sure what I said. I just know the tears wouldn't stop. I spoke of the uncertainty that Thomas and I were facing as I was in with new doctors and new diagnosis and new challenges to conquer. I spoke of praying each night for the Savior to open a door or window to a miracle that would allow me to have additional time with my dear husband and son and loved ones. I thanked each of them for the money, but also the hope that it gave, the life it saved and the continuation of me being able to spend more time here with those I love.

The spirit of God, the spirit of hope and love and kindness and generosity and the true Christmas spirit filled the room. It was a moment I will always cherish and remember.

My prayers were answered. My Savior answered my prayers by prompting my dear sister to contact my brothers and them to help us be able to continue this fight. They all willingly and lovingly and selflessly answered my prayers. My heart expanded that day as I grew to love my siblings and my Savior even more.

Words still cannot express how I feel. Gratitude encompasses my heart. I know that this gift that they gave was so much more than even financial assistance, although that was desperately needed. It was a gift of love, genuinely Christlike and brotherly love. It was a gift of hope. Hope in the days to come, hope for treatment, hope for relief, hope for doctors guiding me, hope for more time to walk this earth, hope for more happy days, hope for more precious memories with my family, and hope that I can still beat this disease.

My dear siblings gave me so many precious gifts that day. The gift of their company. The gift of knowing that I mattered. The gift of financial assistance. The gift of hope. The gift of love. The gift of family. The gift of another miracle. The gift of an answered prayer. The gift of more time. The gift of less pain. The gift of friendship. And so much more.

As I hugged each of them, tears again swelled. My love for each of them was so great. I was humbled to be blessed to receive such an amazing gift.

As I closed the door, I sobbed. I dropped to my knees right in the hallway. I said a prayer of gratitude that I was blessed to be each of these amazing people's big sister. I named all the reasons that I love and cherish them starting with Josh, then Jake and JD and Jodi. I said a prayer of gratitude for the gift of friendship and love that they gave taking time out of their busy weekends to spend time with me. I gave thanks for their love. I then offered gratitude for the gift of financial help. For the gift of additional time with those I love. My gratitude that our loving Savior still prepares a way for us to do whatever he requires of us. And lastly, I thanked our loving Savior for miracles. I thanked him for our very own Thanksgiving miracle.

We are truly blessed. Every day. We have been the recipient of so many miracles. So many more than we could every imagine or deserve or begin to even name. As we count our blessings, they are so numerous. Our blessings have no end.

I testify that the Lord, our dear Savior, answers our prayers. He works miracles on our behalf every day. Some we may recognize and clearly see and some may be harder to recognize. But we do not walk this path alone. He walks with us. He goes before us. He is at our right and at our left. He knows our needs before we do and he is already working on helping to provide us a way to do that which he hath commanded.

The scripture that came to mind was in the Book of Mormon. 1 Nephi 3:7 " I will go and do the things that my Father hath commanded. For I know that He giveth no commandment to the children of men save he should prepare a way for them to do what he hath commanded."

I was commanded to continue to fight. To struggle through and battle this disease. I was told that as I fight, I would receive heavenly and earthly help. That angels from both sides of the veil would be there to bear me up. Those that have left this earth life and gone before me would be at my side to help me to bear my burdens. And that earthly angels would be sent to lighten my load. My siblings were earthly angels. I know my mom sat with us in spirit that day. Loving that her children were helping her daughter. I was in the company of many many angels both earthly and heavenly.

It was a miracle indeed. Thank you is not enough, but all I have to offer, my sincere love.... my thanksgiving....Thank you for your kindness and hope and generosity and love. I will always and forever cherish these precious moments. I am the luckiest person to be surrounded by such love and generosity. I am truly blessed. And I will always rememeber our very special Thanksgiving miracle!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dads birthday- happy 69

We celebrated my dad's 69th birthday over Thanksgiving with all the family here. 

Before the prayer, my dad spoke words of truth he has learned in life. He said he wished he expressed his feelings more, his love more and was softer. Getting older definitely makes you realize what life is about. I listened to his words and realized that my dad, like me, and everyone is else is here to learn. Not perfect. But trying. We are all on the same path. We all have different talents and gifts. 

My dad has many great qualities. He taught us to work hard. That anything is possible if you dream, believe and go to work and perseverance. He is incredibly generous and gives and gives. It breaks his heart to see people without. He loves Christmas and taught us to reach out to those less fortunate. He has always provided Christmas to those in need. In a big way. Even when money was very tight. He taught us to love our Savior and Father in Heaven. He taught us to serve. I remember well not understanding why my dad paid someone to mow our lawn yet would haul the boys to mow every widow's and elderly lawn in the ward. His sacrifice taught us the value of seeing a need and fulfilling it. 

As I listened to my dad talk, I realized so much of who I am is because of that great man and what I've gained from his example. 

I'm sure when he leaves this earth life and returns to our Savior, he will be welcomed with open arms, a hug and will hear those words we all long to hear, "well done"! 

Happy birthday, Dad! We love you.  

Health update

This last couple o weeks has brought new findings, heartache, joy, relief, understanding and a huge reality check.

Recap: 2 months ago I was diagnosed with paralysis of my esophagus and esophagus tract. They mentioned it was way worse than scleraderma but wasn't really sure what that was at that point. 

Just before Thanksgiving I went to urologist and was told I had multiple issues including neurological bladder, probable tumors and/or cancerous issues and small fiber neuropathy that was possibly pulling on bladder causing it to not work properly. Again schlerderma and other issues were discussed. 

Last week I went to the dentist. I was told that all my teeth needed removed and dentures put in. However I was not healing from the last procedure a year ago so they had no idea how to do it. I was devastated. 

This last Tuesday brought Thomas and I to the neurologist to discuss all these issues and my neurological issues. The doctor was concerned that I am headed in the wrong direction much quicker than expected. We also discussed that my autoimmune disorders have now become more serious than my autonomic disorders. 

He believes that I have advanced schlerderma internally within my organs and connective tissues and ligaments. Also I have sjogrens and raynaulds disorders. All of this means my body is attacking itself more rapidly and shutting down organs and teeth and bladder. The paralysis is also from this and spreading to intestines and bladder. 

Plan is hoping and pleading with insurance for Ivig and plasmapheresis treatments along with immunosuppressant drugs and genetic testing. Hoping the rheumatologist can identify the autoimmune responsible for this latest downturn and pray something will work. 

Today, my sweet sister drove over from Glendale to take me to my appointment. I was so nervous for today and wasn't sure how I would react if indeed things were serious in the cystoscopy and biopsy. Fortunately it is not cancerous. However there is nothing that can be done for the events that are causing me to double over in pain about 5 times a week. There is no relief. So, not quite the best news at the schleraderma is causing issues there. I'm grateful I do not have to walk it alone. 

So it has brought me to my knees and caused me to use every ounce of strength to endure. But the miracle s continue. My Savior sends those to surround me and lift me. He sends tender mercies to let me know he still walks with me. He reassures me of his love. 

This isn't necessarily what we hoped for but we are praying the treatment options will go well. Thank you all for any prayers in our behalf. I feel them. We see the good they do. We are so incredibly grateful.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Enveloped in Love

The last several months have been so hard. The have absolutely taken me to the edge and made me question everything. Especially if I have what it takes to keep walking this road and if I should have given up when I had the chance.

Why is it that I must continue to learn these lessons over and over? Why is it that some days the trials of this earth life see, heavier than we can possibly bear? And why must this road we walk called life, have so many bumps and steep mountains to climb? 

As I have faced insurmountable health issues, the "bad" news continues to pour down upon us. Before we can even face one obstacle or even have time to get our heads around what the latest doctor is diagnosing, we are blindsided by another. 

Hope. Hope is something that usually is relatively easy for me to find. It is born out of being the recipient of so many tender mercies from our dear Savior. Hope comes from knowing that even though it feels like I am trapped in a room without doors or windows that somehow my Savior always pulls me out. 

This past week, not only was I sealed in this room with no escape routes but the room was on fire and I was actually being burned. Part of me prayed the flames would continue to engulf me and let me take in my,last breath and give up this fight. How easy would it be for me to slip through this life and find complete comfort and peace in the next. 

Maybe if I didn't know what was in store in the next life, I may have felt a greater desire or need to cling to this life. But I am oh so tired and in so much excruciating pain and the prognosis is growing dimmer and the health conditions continue to mount. If it weren't for those I love so dearly, I would gladly let go and release my spirit back to the presence of my Savior and my loving Father in Heaven. Oh to be by their side again. Oh to be in their embrace. Oh to hear the words I long to hear, " well done thou good and faithful servant. Well done!"  To be released from the pain and heartache and misery, what a gift. 

But then I know that what I truly desire is more time. More time to stand by my dear husband and be protected by him. More time to talk and laugh and cry. More time to tuck my teenage son into bed. More time to teach him that Christ and his gospel are all that truly matters. More time to watch him become a disciple of Christ. More time to laugh with him. More time to be a mom, his mom. More time to be a sister and daughter and friend. More time to love my loved ones. More time to cherish them. I pray daily for more time. 

This morning was so hard. I had been pleading with my Savior to be able to go to church. To attend sacrament meeting and commune with my Savior. To be able to feel my Savior's love in a ward family, together with the spirit of our Lord testifying to my heart, as well as others of the divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ. To feel the companionship the gospel brings. I begged. I pleaded. 

However, today, I could not get my feet to walk. Thomas helped me out of bed. He held me tight as I tried to lift my legs to take steps to the bathroom. Tears fell as the pain was so intense, I questioned whether or not I must keep walking. As Thomas helped lift me back into bed, the tears fell freely. The hope of goon and the pleadings of my heart would not be realized today. I knew that the task was beyond my ability. Instead I prayed. I pleaded. For Hope. For understanding. For strength. For peace. 

I closed my eyes and prayed. "Father, do you hear me? Do you know my desire to go to church today is so strong? I am asking for a worthwhile request, to worship you. To feel the belonging that worshiping together brings. I want to do what is right. I want to keep thy commandments. I desire to do all I can to draw closer to Thee. Please help me. Please give me the strength and ability to go to church. Please." 

Silence fell. I felt still and calm. I knew that today would not bring the miracle I was so pleading for. The hoping and pleading would have to be for another day. Today. I was to be still. 

My prayer changed. "Father, am I doing enough? Am I enough? Does thou know that my heart desires to be with Thee?  To worship Thee? To do thy will? Although I feel I am doing my best, what can I change to do differently? Do I need more faith and then u could go today? Does Thou know that what I desire most is to please Thee?"

Peace encircled me. Love enfolded me. I was swept up and wrapped in the arms of my loving Savior. He held me tight for a very long time. He reassured me that my offering was enough. It may only be the widow's mite but it is enough. My sincere desire to partake of the sacrament and worship Him was all he required. My hearts sincere desire to follow my Savior was all he required of me. He understood. He reassured me. He held me so tight. He allowed my tender heart to break. He put he pieces back together. He assured me that I am enough. 

As I relished in this beautiful moment, I asked him how I could continue this fight. He assured me that I am not alone. he sends angels, both heavenly and earthly to help me beat my burdens. He sends peace when peace cannot be found. He sends his love. 

While I knew that the days and weeks ahead would try to shred me, I was reassured that I do not walk alone. With his loving arms around me, he whispered peace to my heart and mind. I no longer felt I would crumble under this trial but that with him and only with him, I could endure. Most of all, I held tight to my Savior. I begged for him to continue to walk me through the upcoming days and to not leave ,u side. He hugged me. He wrapped me in his love. 

As I write these words, I am assured he will be with me. I am reminded that I am his. I am at peace.  I feel wrapped in a blanket of love. I don't know what the future holds. All I know is my faith and help relies on him, my Redeemer. And although this week requires me to do the impossible, it is only impossible for me. My Savior is capable and can accomplish all.  I'm turning this load to him. I can no longer bear it. It has become too heavy. Instead. I am giving it completely to him. My life. My hopes. My dreams. The outcome. The pain. The tolerance. It all. And I feel at peace knowing He can handle it and it will all turn out OK

I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives. He lives. He lives who once was dead. He lives. He lives to grant me daily breath. He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to hear my souls complaint. He lives and while he lives I'll sing. He lives my mansion to prepare. He lives to bring me safely there. 

Of this I testify. My Savior, my Redeemer, the babe that was born in Bethlehem, has risen and He Lives! This is the good new of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love my Savior. He is aware of each of us. The trials we face. The heartache we endure. And he stands waiting to help if only we will invite him in.