Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cozumel Part 2

Cozumel, Mexico: stop 3 on our cruise. My Dad, Jake and Josh rented a catamaran for the family to relax on, go snorkeling, lay out, go on a boat ride and eat a picnic on a beautiful Mexican beach. The thought of going absolutely terrified me. The entire time that everyone talked of this excursion, I thought it best if I stayed on the boat, safe and sound, out of the sun and heat. Jake booked a two story catamaran so I would be safe and have some place to nap. He even ordered diet coke's for the boat, in honor of me. Fear still swept over me. How could I do it? What if something happened? The every present worry, encircled my heart and mind. "What ifs" abounded all around.

I was encouraged to go, by everyone. I am glad I went and was relatively problem free until the boat began to stop.  I started getting a little off when we took the family picture and I faced against opposite of the direction the boat was moving. I immediately sat trying to regain my balance and bearings.

As we moved from open waters and cool breezes to the dock, the wind quit blowing and the sun seemed to penetrate extra hot. I needed to get the cool rag out of my bag and find shade quickly. The boat came to a stop and everyone started getting off. The ramp from the boat to dock was too narrow to fit my wheelchair, so I needed to walk across. As i got up, the world felt hot and then burning smell. I was trying to balance across the wood and one of the guys grabbed me and steadied me. I continued to move forward desperately searching for Thomas, Hayden or Jodi...someone that might see or recognize my distress look. My vision started to go like my voice already had. I could see myself falling on the dock and falling between the boat and dock into the ocean. I prayed for vision, for the seizure to dissipate, for help, anything.

The symptoms grew worse and the pain intensified. That is the last thing I remember.The next I remember is talking to Josh, as I was sitting in a taxi with Thomas and Hayden.

Jodi said that Josh tried talking to me during the seizure. i didn't respond. I didn't even hear him or realize it. I guess Jake quickly got us a taxi to head straight back to the cruise ship. Everyone else that saw was concerned. First time most had seen me go into a seizure.

I felt awful. I cried on the way back to the cruise ship. I sobbed. I hated that everyone saw that. It is so embarrassing. Plus, not sure if they thought it was a show. It wasn't. I try so hard to hide my world from everyone. There are so few that see me and my life. I conceal so much.

I was too sick to leave my room that evening. The scorching hot sun, which in reality was only in the 80's, just took me out.

Room service and a nice long sleep was exactly what I needed to put the days events behind me.

I was grateful it was over. I was grateful for the protection. I was grateful for those that tried to protect me from my body. I am grateful I wasn't alone. I know my Savior protected me because when that seizure started, it was as if, I could see what would have happened without divine intervention. Long prayers of gratitude were given because things could have turned out much worse. I saw what would have happened without my Savior's help.


Cozumel was a wonderful port! Prior to the cruise, Jake arranged for a private catamaran boat that held 75 people, to be ours for the entire day. Grandpa paid so we all could go. Instead of being crammed on a ship with people we didn't know, we were able to all just hang out together.

The weather was perfect.... windy and a cool and gentle breeze felt amazing on us.

I am grateful for these amazing people. I am grateful for all they have taught me and done for me. I love each person here and love the cherished moments we have spent together. Each is simply amazing with incredible qualities. The fact that I get to call them family is just an incredible blessing.
Austin, Casen, Bryson, Tanner, Talmage, Grandpa, Brinley, Braden and Coby- all just hanging out in the shade and catching the cool breeze.
My sweet family getting ready for an adventure on the boat.
The two story, shaded boat was wonderful. Not only that but we had free drinks, different sweet breads, fruit and sandwiches. It was incredible.
Me and my incredible lounge chair. I loved it. I absolutely loved the freedom I felt with the wind blowing in my face. It has been so long since I felt so alive and so free.
Me, Rosie and Jodi on the lounge chairs. Loved all the cousins looking over board. I loved listening to Jake and JD talk and laugh. Jake did a fabulous job on finding this boat and the crew.
Grandpa with Josh and family up top of the catamaran. We passed our cruise ship and it was huge compared to the others in the port. I couldn't believe it.
All of us soaking in all the fun and beautiful weather - simply heavenly.
Tanner, Hayden, Brigham, Bryson, Katelyn, Kiley and Brinley looking at the ocean.
Love my crazy looking snorkeling boy. He loved snorkeling this time. Absolutely loved it.
Thomas absolutely loves snorkeling. He loves fish and aquariums and loves sharing his love of all fish with his son. I love the joy they have together.
Father and computer buddies....favorite gun shooting friends.
Momma and her cherished son. Love this boy with all my heart.
Oh how I love my brigham boy and all that he is. He is so handsome, even when exhausted and ready to be back on the cruise ship.
All the kids loved parking and spending time at a beautiful beach.
Hayden and Katelyn- closest cousins in age and great friends.
Our family headed back to the shore. We loved ever moment of the amazing excursion.
My handsome boy- loving all the beauty, all the fun, all the people and called it a perfect day.
Hayden loves and adores his Uncle Troy. He thinks the world of him. He loves to talk to him about computers and work. I love how much time Troy takes to engage Hayden and help him to understand.
Grandpa and a huge Grandpa's boy! Hayden loves everything about his grandpa. He loves spending time with him. He always asks for time with Grandpa for his birthday. Hayden loved having the day with him.
And I love this amazing group of people more than I can express in words. They are my connection to the past, my hope in the future, the parents of my beloved nieces and nephews, my siblings and their amazing spouses, my dad and of course my own family. We may not always agree or be in constant contact but love does exist deeply between us all. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Cousins Rock

Everything in life is better when shared with a cousin. Cousins hold the similarities of their parents. Getting together with cousins is one of Hayden's favorite things to do. So many of his cousins are some of his dearest friends. Some are more like siblings. But the joy when together, is priceless and precious.

Whether just hanging out or having fun adventures, cousins join a comrade that can't be beat.  Bryson, Tanner, Brooklyn and Hayden, all with huge smiles on their faces as they are excitedly anticipating the beach time just moments ahead of them.
I love that age doesn't matter with cousins. The older ones take care of the younger ones and the little ones adore their big cousins and want to be just like them.

Hayden, Talmage, Kaylee and Coby all hanging out. Talmage can get any of the cousins to do absolutely anything for him.
Brooklyn and Jodi- I love their cute matching outfits and the mother/daughter duo that are almost identical twins and the same height.
Kaylee and Talmage- He is so funny. And I love Kaylee's smile and how it lights up her entire face. She was my first niece, and my beloved little Kaylee, I have loved and cherished her from the moments I saw her being born. I cannot believe she is driving and dating and is deciding where to go to college. Life goes by so fast. Stay little Talmage. Don't grow up too fast. It will come all too soon. Stay little. Stay funny. Please oh please- please stay my little buddy forever.
Coby, Kaylee and Kiley hanging out and waiting for the fun to start.
Hayden, Talmage, Coby, Brigham, Brinley, Katelyn and Kaylee - ready for a fun adventure.
Our little Miss Ashlyn so excited to see the Madagascar characters. She sure loves them.
Brinley and Brooklyn taking in the incredible water shows.
The younger boys... Talmage, Coby, Tanner and Brigham. They are all such cuties. Oh, I could just love and squeeze them all.
Cousins....simply the greatest gift given. Cousins on a cruise ship, exploring, having amazing adventure together, simply a childhood dream. These sure are a bunch of lucky Kiddos. Thanks Grandpa and Grandma Simonton for the magical moments and exciting adventures.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas 2015! Oh how I love this magical time of year. I love the peace that comes when I listen to Christmas carols and hear the sweet selfless acts of goodwill and remember the birth of our dear Savior.

2015 has brought many miracles into our lives, we experienced challenges and triumphs and experienced much joy. Most of all, we have grown closer to our Savior as a family as we have turned to him through our trials and extraordinary moments. We have been blessed to see his loving guidance and hands in our lives each and every day. Our greatest joys have come from recognizing the tender mercies that he sends and watch how he can open doors and windows in our lives that we never thought possible. 

Our year started with some incredible once in a lifetime vacations. My Dad, Jake, Jodi, Troy, Thomas and I were able to go see JD and Cassie and their sweet family in Minnesota. We loved being apart of Tanner's baptism, Ashlyn's baby blessing and see JD put in the bishopric of the singles ward. We cherished being together in JD's home and visiting with them. We miss them dearly since they live so far away. And my sweet little niece, Ashlyn is a sweetheart. Oh how I loved cuddling with a newborn. 

Soon after we came back from this vacation, Suzi had given our family a trip of a lifetime to the Western Caribbean. Our highlight was swimming with dolphins in Honduras. Thomas' dream came true by snorkeling in the beautiful coral reefs of Belize. Hayden loved the hammocks on the sandy beach after swimming with sting rays in Cozumel. Another highlight was visiting the Mayan ruins in Monterrey Mexico. It was an adventure trying to navigate the old trials in a wheelchair but the moments were simply priceless. My favorite was simply being together. I loved laying in the room and watching the waves rock us to sleep. I cherished watching Hayden explore the ship with new friends. I am so grateful for the gift Suzi gave us to make cherished memories to hold onto tightly. 

Our annual highlight is also the incredible couple of weeks we get to spend in Oceanside with the entire Simonton group. We love being in the perfect ocean weather, sitting on the beach watching the cousins all interact and play together while the adults sit and talk. I love talking with each of my nieces and nephews and seeing Hayden connect with so many loved ones. I love the unity and strong bonds that are formed. Hayden's highlight was being able to go on the teenage night out to Ruby's and hanging with no adults. I sure do love my family and cherish each and every moment laughing and talking with them. 

Thomas continues to work for CBIZ. He is in his ninth year and they love him more than ever. He is such a hard worker and gives his all to whatever he does. His kindness and willingness to help others makes him an outstanding employee. He is constantly being recognized by his boss for his willingness to go above and beyond. He enjoys being the ward membership clerk at church and stays busy with all the new move ins with us being he fastest growing ward in Queen Creek.  Most of all, Thomas spends his time loving and serving Hayden and me. He works hard, comes home and grocery shops, cleans, runs errands and makes dinner. I am the absolutely the luckiest to be married to him. He brings me breakfast in bed every single day! He loves spending time with Hayden and their favorite past times are playing video games, watching Flash and Shield, and playing with our sweet dogs, Max and Maya. 

Hayden is growing up way too fast. He just turned 14 years old and has grown over 4 inches in the past 4 months. He is being home schooled and has learned more facts and is constantly watching documentaries and then spending more time researching topics in his own. He loves American History and I think Einstein, Tesla, Edison, Ford and Carnegie are his heroes.  He finishes his classes as fast as he can so he can spend as much time on Java coding as possible. He is hoping for a server class for Christmas to continue his learning more about computer programming. Lucky for Hayden, his homeschooling includes cooking lessons with Grandma Joyce, art lessons and computer classes with Julie. He earned and saved money to build his own computer and is loving all things electronic. He loves to build anything and everything from Lego's to steampunk guns to his own inventions. Most of all, he loves the Savior. He received his patriarchal blessing after finishing reading the scriptures. Hayden is honest, compassionate, caring, generous, thoughtful, spiritual, loving, full of life, really loud, tons of fun, a huge tease, smart, creative, and a complete joy. He is always happy and content no matter what he is doing. 

As for me, life has been a crazy ride. I was blessed to be referred to the greatest neurologist in February and he has put together an amazing team of doctors to help me to better manage and fight this disease. I am grateful for him and his expertise and the entire team. They have helped me to be able to enjoy life more, better manage the symptoms and spend more quality time with those I love. Living with multiple diseases has brought some interesting experiences to our lives. I appreciate the great support group that I have who selflessly takes me to doctor appointments, provides transportation, helps keep our home running, provides meals, and most importantly stop by to visit and keep me connected to the outside world. This is my second year homeschooling Hayden and the joy it brings me in life is indescribable. I enjoy teaching and learning with Hayden but most of all I cherish each gentle moment where we laugh, discuss great gospel truths or play a game together. Spending such precious time with him has been one of my most precious blessings. He has become one of my best friends. I love being a wife and mother, it is my life's dream come true. I have been blessed to spend countless hours gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for the birth, life, atonement and death of our dear Savior. My testimony has increased exponentially. I have seen my Savior work miracles in our lives. He has walked this journey with me, carried me when the road has been too hard to walk alone and silenced my fears and tears. He has become my dearest friend. 

Our family has grown closer together as we have studied the sacred scriptures and read the words the prophets have spoken. We are grateful for the life and atonement of our dear Savior. We are grateful for the tender mercies he sends to our lives daily from little gestures reminding us we do not walk alone to lifesaving priesthood blessings that allow us to continue to walk this life together. We so thankful for this time of year when we get to remember that it all began with a little baby, born in the humblest of circumstances in a manger. We know our Redeemer lives. We know he loves each of us beyond any love we can comprehend. He stands waiting for us to let him in. Just as the wise men of old followed the star to find the Savior, we too must seek to follow Him. As we have walked the path with our Savior, our burden have become lighter, the path is clearer and our joys have multiplied. 

Our hearts are filled with peace, hope, love and joy this beautiful Christmas season. We are grateful for you, our dear friends. Thank you for being such a beautiful part of our lives. We pray that magic, peace and love will fill your hearts this beautiful Christmas season. 

Merry Christmas! 
Thomas, Jerlyn and Hayden Murphy

Cruisin' at Sea

As we set sail on the amazing ship, we knew the possibilities of things to do were endless. I was thrilled when Jodi and I found chairs and stools, in the shade, with the wind blowing a cool breeze. We sat and talked and just enjoyed time together. I have been blessed with the world's greatest sister. She is simply amazing. She has been one of most cherished blessings since the day she was born. I love just spending time with Jodi. Anywhere, anytime, anyplace, I take every chance I get to spend time with her.
The boys all hung in the hot tub. I laugh that they all ate ice cream cones the entire time they were in there. Talmage won the contest for eating the most cones. He had 19 at one time, while in the hot tub. After about 10 ice cream cones, the older cousins were all cheering him on. When Talmage was asked why he ate so many, he replied, "Cause they are Fffrrrrreeeeee! Why not?" Crazy boy.

Hayden, Thomas, Troy, Talmage, Coby, Braden, Kaylee, Brinley and others all spent tons of time in the hot tub on our first sea day.
Poor Coby... the teen club was ages 12-17 - that took in Austin (17), Kaylee (16), Casen (15), Katelyn (15), Hayden (14), Braden (13), Kiley (13), Bryson (12), Brooklyn (12).

Coby at 11, just missed the cut off. They wouldn't let him in. Worse yet, the next group was all in the 9 year old group. (Brigham, Brinley and Tanner are all 9 years old). And Talmage (6) was in the youngest group. With Ashlyn (1) not headed to any kid clubs.

So Coby hung with all of us some. Hayden and Coby are such great friends that if something wasn't going on wonderful in the teen club, then Hayden would find Coby. I love spending time with this sweet nephew of mine. I love all my nieces and nephews. And I would say they are all equal. But there are some that love me more and want to be with me more and hold a very tender place in my heart. Coby is one of these. He has always loved Aunt Jer and always ran to hug me, as soon as they came for a visit. I loved the moments he just wanted to be with me and Thomas or would come to our room and talk to us. This kid is going places in life. He was born to be on stage and is as funny as they come.
Little Miss Ashlyn was a riot. Oh how we all soak up every minute we can of her. She had all of us taking her on the carousel. Grandpa had tons of fun with her, too.
Coby was always up for anything fun and that would make anyone laugh. Love his live out loud personality.
Hayden, Bryson and Brooklyn at Johnny Rockets getting yummy milkshakes.
We did love the shows. I will admit, I missed most of them because I was in bed. But we did catch Mamma Mia and it did not disappoint. I loved every single moment of it. Absolutely incredible. I am still singing the songs from the musical.
Hayden and Talmage... and although Hayden spent a majority of his time with his teenage cousins, he has such a soft spot in his heart for Talmage, that Tman could get him to do almost anything. That Talmage smile is so powerful. It mesmerizes all of us. He definitely can get anything he wants out of me, Thomas and Hayden.
Our family. I love how my guys stand on each side of me and protect me. I seriously hit the jackpot with these two.
Grandpa and Grandma wanted hugs with Hayden. He wasn't so sure. And he didn't know what to do when Grandma Bonnie leaned down and kissed him. In true boy fashion, he immediately wiped it off, causing for more hugs and kisses. I love all those smiles.
Hayden idolizes his Grandpa. He loves time spent with him. He was so grateful for the cruise and time with family. Hayden, being an only child, cherishes family time, time with grandparents, time with cousins and time when we are all together. This trip was simply magical for all. The smile stretched from ear to ear on Hayden's face says it all.... it was magical and perfect.
I love my sister and her sweet family. I have a deep respect from Troy. He is so good to all of us. He loves Jodi with all his heart. He is a great dad. I think my sister is simply the best. Best sister. Best mom. Best at giving and charity and all she does. She has a magic touch. Brooklyn is my girl. I always tell her I didn't get one, so she has to be mine, too. She is hard-working and responsible and helpful and loving. Simply love her. Brigham is gentle and quieter. He is so different deep inside than he portrays on the outside. He is another that melts my heart. When he sits and talks to me, I soak in every moment. And Talmage, well, he has my heart. He has made me feel important and needed and wanted and loved. My sickness was a benefit to him. He says I always have time for him. Always time for movies and cuddles. He is joy all wrapped in a tiny and explosive package. So grateful for the gift of each of them in my life. 

Adventures of the Zipline

My boy continues to amaze me as he grows and matures. He asked if we could get up early one morning before cousins and others were around. He wanted to attempt the zip line without others watching. Poor boy. He has his moms fear of heights and apprehensive and safe personality.

So I watched in anticipation and a knot in my stomach as he put on the gear. He stood on the platform. He got himself hooked in. Then he froze. Poor boy. He looked at me, standing on the other side of the zip line. He asked the workers if there were any accidents, any chance of the cable breaking, any possibility of something tragic happening. Then, with eyes firmly fixed on Thomas, he looked so unsure. Thomas, being such an attentive and good father, was deciding between pushing him to conquer a fear or whether to reassure his son that he never had anything to prove to us or other peers. Wanting to reassure Hayden, he chose the latter. He told Hayden that it didn't matter, we looked him the same whether he was a dare devil or more conservative. It just didn't matter. Hayden decided to not take a chance. (I didn't blame him. There was no way I would do it). I was so proud of him for going so far to overcome and conquer his fears. Later we talked that fears that hold us back, we need to conquer. Some things, like zip lines are optional. He isn't any better or worse off for doing it or not doing it. Mom and Dad will never pressure you on the unimportant things. The love I have for his boy for sticking up for what he needs....and love his efforts.
Thomas was so excited to try. He got his gear on as quickly as possible, climbed onto the platform and smiled as he felt the thrill of pushing off. My husband could easily turn into an adrenaline junkie, if given the opportunity. He loves to try new things and feel the exhilaration of them all.
He said he loved the feeling of flying through the air. The quick ride just made him want to experience it again. Oh how many ways, we are so different. Hayden comes by all of his cautiousness from his momma. He is a mini me.
I loved seeing the huge smile stretched across Thomas' face as he flew by me. He loved it. His face lit up said it all.
Thomas did hate the gear. We laughed and laughed. He is a good sport. Hayden gets his content, easy-going and joy of living in the moment, from his dad. Thomas is happy. Whatever he is doing, he is happy. He finds joy in everything. I'm so grateful that Hayden got so many of those traits from his dad. And having received the cautious gene from his mom....I won't makes me worry much less. Especially when his father would love all adrenaline sports from skydiving and parasailing to zip lines and skiing.

It was a great moment together. And I love how Thomas put his arm around Hayden and told him how proud he was of him for following his heart and not giving in to pressure. What a dad!

Our Family Moments

I love my entire extended family so much and enjoy getting together and sharing our lives. But my true joy and world revolves around my guys. They make my world go around. They are my reason to smile, reason to fight this awful disease, my reason for enduring and pushing through unbelievable pain, the reason my heart swells with pride and joy and the place I go when can no longer do it on my own. 
So the moments I cherish the most are with them. This boy of mine... There are truly no words magnificent enough to describe him. He is honest, kind, hard-working, caring, considerate, self-sacrificing, empathetic, giving, a philanthropist, a disciple of Christ, humble, fun, funny, crazy, loud, loving, full of life, content in all places, optimistic, helpful, a tease, and filled with joy.
My husband is my rock, my world, my joy and my safe place. He holds my heart so gently and protects me and it fiercely. He is my most cherished gift and blessing in life. He is my reason to hold on and my strength when I can no longer go on. He is my provider and my strength. He is my biggest fan, greatest cheerleader, strongest support and gentlest with my heart. He loves me with a perfect love. One that only is topped by my Savior. He protects me and guides me and helps me when I can no longer walk another step. He knows my medications and my health ever bit as well as I do and is my biggest advocate.

What girl gets breakfast in bed every morning of her life, like I do? What husband has watched YouTube videos so he can help blow dry, straighten and put my hair in a pony tail? What guy coordinates all my medication refills with doctors and insurance and Walgreen's and fills my daily pill bottles and then sets reminders on my phone so I will take them. He is at every neurologist and dental appointment with me as he knows my unreasonable fear of dental work and that there is no way for me to take in all the neurologist says without him. He goes to every new doctor with me and is at every results appointment. He works all day, grocery shops, runs errands, makes dinner, is Hayden's best friend, he deals with my medical, does everything I need, cleans the house, does the dishes and the laundry, works in the yard, pays bills, organizes the chaos, and will do anything in the world for me or Hayden. He still does his church callings and takes all the overtime he can get at work. He works with so many that are struggling in areas whether it be personal issues or help finding comfort or solace. He is the most humble man I know and is always talking of the good others do. He finds joy in the simplest of things and always finds the glass full.

 He is positive and tells me "we will figure it out. The Lord has always been there for us. He isn't going to abandon us now." When I come back with tears or fear or uncertainty, his response is always he same. He walks over, wraps his arms around me and gently puts his hand under my chin, looks in my eyes and says, "I love you. Don't worry. I will figure it out. It will be okay." Then his hand moves from under my chin and he puts my hand in his as he helps me to my knees. Then and there, kneeling humbly before our loving Father in Heaven, he pours his heart out in pray. Each prayer acknowledges our dependency on him, our willingness to walk whatever path he sees fit, our desire to draw closer to him, seeks comfort and peace to come over me, and to help guide us to answers that we need. He then gently takes me into a hug and tells me, "it's in the Lord's hands now. He will figure out a way."

The love he leads our home with, the millions of sacrifices he makes, the joy he brings to my life and the way he knows how to love me how I need to be loved is simply amazing. He is everything I dreamed of and more. I am so grateful for him. 
I am often asked how I continue to keep going and fighting this illness when the prognosis is terminal and the daily fight is so difficult. The answer is simple. I do not walk alone. My Savior, my husband and my son help to carry me every single day. There has not been one day that I have walked alone. My Savior knew the path I walk would require more effort, more strength and more determination than I could ever possess. So he found the most loyal and loving man in heaven and allowed me to be his wife. Then he looked at all the boys there. He knew that I needed a son that was obedient, quick to help, eager to please and willing to do whatever needed for his mom.  He allowed me to be this tender souls' mom. He knew that what I could not accomplish alone that the four of us could, together. 

My love for my husband and son grows deeper each day. As I watch these two sacrifice for me, my heart swells with gratitude. I am seriously the most blessed mom and wife that has ever lived. I am so grateful for my sweet family. I cherish every single moment with them. I love you, my boys. Always have. Always will. Forever and beyond.