Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snowshoe excursion

Yesterday we decided to head out snowshoeing at one of our favorite (nearby) State Parks.
While it was a little chilly - we had a great time.
No one cried.
No one had to be carried.
It was momentous.
And beautiful.
I can't wait to go again.




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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Joseph Smith's Birthday

Every year I think, "wow, I need to remember Joseph Smith's birthday and celebrate it with my family." Then, I forget and it gets lost in the holiday bustle.

Today I remembered!

As a tribute to this great man, I want to share what I believe about Joseph Smith.

While I grew up in as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I believed in Joseph Smith, but it took several years for me to gain my own testimony of him and his divine mission. When I was 11, my family took a road trip and we visited many religious historical sites. One of these sites was the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York.

This is where Joseph Smith went as a 14 year old boy, to pray and ask which church he should join. In answer to his prayer, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph and told him that the full gospel was not upon the earth. Joseph was subsequently called as a prophet, received the priesthood and authority to act in God's name, and restored the FULL gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth once again.

While visiting the grove was meaningful to me, while I worked as a missionary in Guatemala, I had an experience that cemented my testimony of Joseph Smith.

My companion and I had been working with an investigator named Elder. He was exploring 2 different churches along with ours at the time. He wanted to KNOW that Joseph was a prophet of God. While we'd shared our testimonies of Joseph Smith with him and read together, Elder was still struggling.

Prior to visiting Elder one particular day, we'd been studying Joseph Smith History. We read Joseph's account in JS-H 1: 24 "However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise."

After reading this, we said a prayer, and we headed to Elder's house. We read this passage with him and asked if we could pray with him together to ask Heavenly Father if Joseph Smith really did see God the Father and Jesus Christ, and if he really was a prophet of God.

As we knelt together in a circle on Elder's porch, each one of us took a turn in prayer. As my companion prayed, I had the strongest spiritual confirmation I've ever received. I was infused with joy, happiness, peace, and the knowledge that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God - how do you describe a spiritual manifestation in words? My eyes flew open to see if anyone else was experiencing what I felt and knew in my heart to be true. I KNEW from that moment that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God. I am so grateful for this confirmation and so grateful for Joseph Smith. He gave his life for what he believed.

I finish this post with one of my favorite quotes, "The world can use these words. I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it and then it's gone. But to surrender what you are and live without belief is more terrible than dying - even more terrible than dying young." Joan of Arc

Jerusalem Supper - Traditions

My favorite Christmas tradition is our Jerusalem Supper. When I was a kid, we always went to my grandma's house for the huge family party (followed the next day by another). At one point, I was maybe 10, my parents decided to begin their own tradition. At first, I was devastated to miss the family party, however after a few years, the Jerusalem supper became very meaningful to me.

More than anything, I love the simplicity of this supper. I'm not into commercialism, and I'm not a huge Santa fan or proponent. That's not what Christmas is about, nor should it be the focus. I love that this supper helps us completely shift the Christmas focus to Christ and not to Santa, and what I'm getting for Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, we gather for a very simple supper. We try to imagine what it might have been like for Joseph and Mary - what would their supper have been on the eve of Christ's birth? Not too fancy...

So, we turn out all of our lights, light a few candles and some of our clay lamps from Jerusalem, and we dine on - dates, figs, pomegranates, nuts, different cheeses, olives, crackers, (okay - so there I don't go quite so traditional...I'm not a big fan of flat bread) and possibly some roasted fish, fowl, or lamb, and grape juice.

Afterwards, we watch "Joy to the World" and then act out and read the Christmas story from Luke. We finally finish up singing Christmas carols, then our kids don their new Christmas eve p.j.s, and we all trundle off to bed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My latest project

Here's the latest project that I've been working on:

I spent all day Friday doing the stitching.


Yesterday I spent the morning with a friend who does her own matting and framing. She did this matt and frame for me.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I want for Christmas...

We are 9 days away from Christmas and we still don't know what Santa will be bringing to our house. A bit of a problem. See, our trampoline broke this spring and after reviewing our options, it was cheaper to buy a new one than try and get it repaired. So we planned to have Santa give the family a new tramp and be done with it.

However, earlier this fall, we got some REAL shelves for our garage, and although it is tight, we can actually fit both cars into the garage.

Did I mention we've been experiencing sub-arctic cold levels lately? There's just nothing that says fun like scraping a windshield in -24* weather. As such, my husband has been opting for that garage option lately.

And as such, we realized if Santa brings a trampoline, the trampoline will have to sit in the garage (where my husband's car would go) for um...5+ months.

He decided it wasn't worth it.

Now we scramble.

We told our kids that because of un-expected hospital bills Christmas will be pretty lean this year and that we need to make gifts for each other. I just realized they will be out of school after Friday and I will lose any surprise element since they will be with me 24/7 after that.

It looks like I'll be doing a lot of sewing after they are in bed next week!

So - since my husband asked, here's my Christmas list - (he keeps losing it).

*New cello case (the one from 7th grade that weighs 40 lbs and has broken straps and feet, its on it's way out)- Bam cases have wheels and are backpackable (and the best) and they are lighter than a feather - sigh...
*Machine Quilting machine and frame
*Snowshoes (since my husband broke mine last winter)

Our kitchen really wants that 6 or 7 qt. crock pot that we keep seeing at Costco (our favorite place to shop) - it has been begging for years, and a Victorio strainer for applesauce and grape juice and canning.

Regarding my gifts - I think I might've been naughty, because I know what Santa's budget looks like, and nothing on my list really fits!

However, for anybody out there looking for a tax write off/or wanting to make a charitable contribution, or for those dying to know what I really want for Christmas - there you have it.

My youngest gave me a letter for Santa. She apparently wants a scuba diving set (who wouldn't looking at where we live?).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yet another update

I took a nap today so I'm prolonging my bedtime. 10:00 now seems so late since lately I've been asleep by 9:00 if not 8:30 - silly me.

So, I've been catching up and reading everyone's blogs. On my road to recovery (I sound like I'm dealing with an addiction or something here) I am making progress. Wednesday I woke up and almost felt normal again. Thursday I woke up and realized that I felt really normal. While I still get winded going up and down the stairs and doing some things, things are definitely much better.

I went to the doctors with a schlew of questions on Wednesday. The first was, "How much blood did you take out of me?" He gave me a very scientific answer. He showed me with his hands - "about this much." It looked like 2 cups. He said it was an awful lot of blood to have just been sloshing around inside of me.

Then I asked to see pictures of my tube that they removed. He didn't have them right there in the file with him, so he drew me a picture. (He really is a fantastically competent doctor, I just thought this was funny). Actually, he drew the picture to explain to me what it should have looked like, and what they actually found. That part wasn't quite so funny or pretty.

They took more blood and I am happy to announce that my blood count is headed back up again - hooray. I somehow think this may have to do with them not taking my blood every day for tests for a week. My veins had also healed enough for them to take more blood. The nurse sadly said she could see 'tracks' on my arms from all of the blood they've been taking. (I really do sound like a recovering addict here!)

So, I got some answers from the doctor and I've got a plan - I'm focusing on healing right now. After I heal, we'll continue to figure things out. I really like my doctor. I don't even need a pep talk from my brother anymore to make me call him.
I do have to say though - I swear that I lost some brain cells during my surgery. I'll type something and then go back through and re-read it and realize that I totally put the wrong word in somewhere - and it SO won't make sense. It seems like my brain just sort of skips words and just keeps on going, or I put words together backwards. I'm not sure about that part, but just skip over any mistakes you may notice - I'm blaming them all on the surgery.

So, while I thought I was doing better, someone told me at church today that I looked peaked (pronounced peak id not peak'd). I didn't think much of it until someone else said, "How are you? Last time I saw you you really looked peaked". What is up with that? I thought I was looking hot!
Guess I was mistaken.

Anyways - last but not least, we celebrated another anniversary and still really love each other (my husband and I that is). We were thrilled to pay off our car this week and that's pretty much our anniversary and Christmas all piled in there together this year.

To celebrate we watched the first and second halves of the last episode of MONK - and loved it. We hung out and chatted about somebody's problems and how to help them. We took the family to Costco and had a fine dinner of a slice of pizza (fine dining I tell you - don't think I can handle that again!) and took the kids to a sitters while we went to the movies. While it wasn't Trinidad and Tobago - it worked. We've got a lot of hospital bills headed our way!

We've definitely had a tough couple of months, but feel like we are finally headed back up for some air (knock on wood). We've definitely been stretched and grown and changed and learned. I guess that's what we are here for. While I would REALLY like things to remain static, I am learning that it just isn't part of the cycle of life. I don't like it, but hopefully soon I'll figure out how to come to terms with that one. I guess I'll have to let you know once I get there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Miracles never cease!

After a couple of years of having her hair in her face and hiding behind it, my child asked if she could have bangs last night. Here they are with her beautiful smiling face!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My gratitude and Thanks

While we've been struggling through our difficulties (let's face it, everyone has trials and difficulties), I've been amazed at the outpouring of help I've received from so many people. THANK YOU!

I love the quote by Jeffrey R. Holland who said, "there's nothing in life so bad, that whining won't make it worse." So, as I've been looking for my silver lining, I've found so many things to be thankful for. Here are a few of them:

One of my children is a thorny rose - not really a close snuggly lovey type of kid. This past week I received two spontaneous kisses on the forehead and hugs from her. She also said, "goodbye mom, I love you" as she headed out the door this morning. I can't say how long it has been since I heard something like that from her.

Children who have been happy to help - who could complain about that?

A surprise visit from my sister. She didn't find out until Friday evening that I had been in the hospital. She and her husband hopped in the car and drove 10 hours (through the night) to spend a day with me and help me with whatever I needed. While the things I had been worried about accomplishing were possibly trite and silly, she willingly jumped in and helped get them done. What a load off my mind! Aside from that, we had an opportunity to chat and deepen our relationship.

I've been overwhelmed by people's generosity. Friends and neighbors have shown up on the doorstep with food, hugs, and love.

Every experience we have allows us to change and grow. A quote by Joseph B. Wirthlin has been ringing through my mind lately, "Come what may and love it."

I am trying to love it and accept, and I see examples in others of the type of person I want to be in those who have so lovingly served my family. I truly feel my Savior's in the actions of those who have encircled us during this difficult time. THANK YOU

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bitter Sweet

Last night as my husband was puttering around with household chores that needed to be done he commented to me, "you know, you can always find something sweet in the bitter." I was surprised at his comment and didn't know exactly what he was getting at, so I asked.
His reply came, "it isn't very often that I get to take care of you, right now I do and that's pretty sweet".

I love my guy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

While you probably don't want to read this, here's the latest on my health adventure

Here's my latest installment of my little roller coaster life.

Last week before we traveled to visit family for Thanksgiving I had some blood drawn. At 5:00 pm the Dr. called and told me that while my HcG levels (the hormones present with a pregnancy) had risen slightly (instead of doubling and tripling each day), my progesterone levels had crashed. Thus, in short, we were just waiting for a mis-carriage, which would be identified by a drop in my HcG levels which we would continue to monitor once I got back into town.

We had a pleasant Thanksgiving and enjoyed the time we were able to spend with everyone, and even somehow stayed a few days later than we had originally planned.

We got back home on Sunday. Monday I ordered Christmas cards, worked on addresses, and made 2 batches of caramels with the girls as they worked on Christmas gifts for their friends. Tuesday was lined up for Christmas lotion and jelly making.

However, while chatting with a friend at 9:30 Tuesday morning, I suddenly started having cramps. I hung up and laid down and hung out for a couple of hours waiting for them to subside. They didn't.
I called the Dr. office, and was referred to the mid-wife who was available. She suggested taking some ibuprofen to ease the pain which I did. Twenty minutes later, the Dr. office called and said they'd talked to the Dr. and he wanted me to come in.

I came in and my husband met me there. The Dr. did a quick ultrasound and was surprised to see fluids sloshing around in my abdomen. He sent me to the hospital for a more definitive ultrasound, and told us there was a high probability that I would be going into surgery. I frantically began searching for help with the girls after school, and after my ultrasound, the Dr. took me to admissions and told them to get me in there, that I was going into surgery.

I was wheeled into surgery on Tuesday at 5:30 pm and was there until around 7:00. They found that I had been pregnant with a tubular pregnancy (ectopic) and while I was actually in the process of miscarrying the pregnancy, my fallopian tube had been damaged and was bleeding. I had a belly full of blood that had to be sucked out. (Yes, quite pleasant huh? - keep reading..) A D&C was also done to clean out my uterus in hopes of clearing up my additional bleeding as well.

The surgery went great (so they say) and I felt so much better once it was over. On Wednesday as I got ready to leave, we found that I couldn't keep my oxygen levels up. Throughout the day they'd take me off the oxygen and then my levels would drop. We did some chest X-rays and couldn't find anything. Later in the evening the internal medicine doctor paid a visit and discussed concerns about a blood-clot in my lungs. She sent me in for a cat-scan (very fun indeed - it makes you feel like you are wetting your pants, but you come out dry). Finally, they were able to determine that both of my lungs had collapsed at the bottom most part, which is why I wasn't able to get enough oxygen into my blood (coupled with my anemia).

Finally, at 7:30 they discharged me and my tank of oxygen. Yes, like the little old ladies who walk around dragging their air with them. That's me now!

While I could keep going, I think I'll stop here. I saw the Dr. again today, and I'm waiting to hear back on more lab tests. The Dr. is worried about bronchitis and pneumonia, so I'm taking antibiotics and just hanging around.

I guess I'm still trying to figure out whether this is an up or a down on that roller coaster ride!