Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's Off To Work I Go ...

It's off to work I go!
Hi Ho the derry-oh,
It's off to work I go!

Yes, yes, I got a job!


Oh man, I got a job :(

I don't know whether I'm happy or sad over this. I'm very conflicted.

On the one hand, I got a good job (inbound sales for banks and credit unions calling in to purchase banking products) at a good rate of pay and benefits will be available for a reasonable price after just thirty days. Can't beat that. After six weeks of training, I will be able to work a shift that will allow me to be home for the boys every day after school. The atmosphere at this place seems fun and up beat and a friend who works there confirms it really is a great place to work. So ... YAY for me. Right?

But then again ... I'm scared to death! Wah. I have to get up in the morning at like 4:00 or something like that to be to work by 6:00 A.M. !!!!! I have to tell you that I am NOT a morning person. I've been very grateful my whole motherhood-life that my boys are quiet in the morning and happy to be by themselves for a bit because I like to sleep! See the things I do for my boys? I am going to get up super-dee-duperty early so that I can be there for them when they need me. Also, it's just a job and not at all what I want to be doing.

OK, I said it and now I'm done with the complaining. I swear! I am very happy that I got a good job so quickly and that I was able to get a shift that will disrupt my family as little possible. Plus, it really is only temporary until David gets a job.

Which, by the way, is looking very promising. He has had three interviews so far, many calls from recruiters and potential employers and even, today, a job offer from a military contractor contingent upon that contractor winning a bid for the military. We won't know on that for another month or so, but it was a feel-good thing and gives David a major boost in his confidence. IF the employer wins the contract than David will be the lead for the project which would be great for his career. We are definitely being blessed and I truly don't believe he will be out of work for long.

Today David told me that the reason why he feels so happy, even though, is because he has faith in Heavenly Father's promises. His comment prompted my blog on today - come check it out! I can't tell you how wonderful it is, how comforting it is, to know my husband is faithfully seeking Father's help and diligently living and behaving in a manner that would ensure his worthiness of future blessings.

That is a blessing to me and our children and I am very grateful for it! I am also thankful for all your prayers on our behalf. Thank you for thinking of us and for all your words of encouragement! I'll keep you posted on how things progress.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Testimony of a Prophet

I wasn't going to write about President Hinckley today. What could I say that hasn't already been said by many others, and much better than I could to boot. Yet ... I wanted to share something I experienced last night.

I was up very, very (very) late last night trying to lend some moral support to David who was working on a program for a potential new job. While he was working I watched a special report on the life of President Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who passed away last night at the age of 97. (Come check out what I wrote about the Prophet's passing at my blog at

Toward the end of the show, they played a clip of President Hinckley bearing his testimony. For any of you who might not know, Mormons have a tradition of standing and saying out loud the feelings of their heart about the Church, their Savior and their Heavenly Father. Such testimony bearing can be a powerful and sweet experience for the speaker, but also for the one listening. Sometimes, you can feel a warmth spread through you, a lightness of heart, or a thought come clearly to your mind, when you hear a sincere and heart-felt testimony. That is the Spirit of the Lord witnessing to you of the truth of what you are hearing, and the way you feel (or don't feel it) is unique to every individual.

Well, last night I was feeling a little tense, a little worried, over all the issues facing my family right now. I almost didn't even realize how stressed I was feeling until I heard President Hinckley bearing his testimony. Almost immediately his words penetrated my heart and my mind, my worries dissipated and I was left feeling so warm, loved, and at peace. I felt as though he had given me a gift, a blessing of some sort, and I suppose in a way, he did.

With his powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, President Hinckley's words opened up my heart to the comfort of the Spirit. There truly is something special about the testimony of a prophet; it has the power not only to teach, to convert, but to bless and to heal as well.

I couldn't find the exact clip I heard last night, but this one is equally beautiful. Especially at the end, when he looks directly into the camera and bears his testimony. He was a prophet of the Lord, and the power of his words is unmistakable.

Enjoy, and God bless!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fun Read

Recently I went to the library to find something to drown my sorrows in. No, I did not turn to the Whitney Award Finalists to fill this need. Instead I picked up something light, silly and totally new. I got Karma Girl by first-timer Jennifer Estep.

Before you get too excited, you must know this is a book for girls and it's probably oh, umm, "R" rated. There are about two fairly visual sex scenes - it wasn't paint-by-numbers, so I liked it :) but if that sort of thing is a joy-kill for you, then watch out! You can tell they are coming, and they are very short scenes, so just skip them.

Otherwise, the read was fun, fast, witty and, what I loved best about it, totally new and different. Fantasy mixed with reality, the book features Carmen Cole who's been jilted in love by her fiance (on her wedding day no less) and her best friend who both turn out to be superheroes and/or ubervillains. Carmen makes it her life mission to unmask each and every mask-wearing, tight-stretching poser for the benefit of all the normal people they are lying to each and every day. The tables get turned on Carmen though when one of her exposed superheroes kills himself and karma turns to bite Carmen on the behind.

Just what I needed as a little escape right now. Thank you Jennifer Estep! When I went to find the cover to put up here I discovered that while Jennifer just released Karma Girl in May of 2007, her second book, Hot Mama, was released in November - good for her! She has yet a third book in the series to come out in September of this year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Happy Family

Recently I expressed to you how much I depend on my husband, what a support and comfort he is to me. Today I went to apply for a job. I am so conflicted about this. I had the opportunity to apply for a position that could allow me to work for 30 hours a week and receive medical insurance for my family for a reasonable price. Considering the alternative, this would be a great blessing for us. BUT, I can't stand the idea of not being there for my boys.

Since I had a very special spiritual experience before I was married about the importance of motherhood, I have considered caring for my children to be THE job I was sent to earth to do.

I had spent my growing up years anticipating the career I would one day have. I was going to be a constitutional lawyer, perhaps even Prime Minister of Canada! Even after I was married, I enjoyed a lot of success in the jobs I held. I especially enjoyed a job that could have become a wonderful career in human resources; when I left the job I was the Human Resource Manager for a large locomotive manufacturer with over 1500 employees under my jurisdiction.

Yet, motherhood called, and I gave it all up to answer that call.

My children did not come easy, nor has it ever been easy for me to be a mother. Yet, I feel so strongly about it and feel immensely blessed by it.

Now, I may have to go to work to help my family bridge the gap a little bit. My dear sweet hubby does not want me to have to go to work, bless him. He feels his responsibility to provide for us as strongly as I feel to nurture this family. It would only be a temporary thing, yet I'm so worried about it! I worry that once I start working ... I'll be trapped.

David will not make me work a moment longer than I have to work. He will do all that he can in the meantime to ensure that I don't even have to start. President Hinckley said:

“I believe in the family where there is a husband who regards his companion
as his greatest asset and treats her accordingly;
where there is a wife who looks upon her husband as her anchor and strength,
her comfort and security; where there are children who look to mother and father with respect and gratitude; where there are parents who look upon those children
as blessings and find a great and serious and wonderful challenge
in their nurture and rearing"

("Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley" (1997), 205.

This is my family. David loves me and wants me to be home. He treats me like a Queen and only wants me to be happy. David is most assuredly my anchor and my strength. Together, we can weather this storm. Even if I do have to go to work.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Amazing Quote

"People grow old only by deserting their ideals, their faith. There is always the love of wonder, a childlike appetite for what is next, and the joy of your life. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear or despair.
“In the center of our heart is a recording chamber, and so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage, and faith,
so long are we young”
(Elder David B. Haight, Ensign, Nov. 1983, p. 25.)

I came across this quote while researching my article today for Isn't it lovely? I read it to my husband and he said, "wow, that's perfect for right now, isn't it?" I think it's perfect for EVERY now. I hope you like it too!

(I'm going to start a new labels for Amazing Quotes. I can't do Quote of the Day 'cuz I'm just not on the ball enough to keep up on that ... but from time to time I can definitely add an Amazing Quote or two!)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Country Music Wisdom ~ "My Wish"

About a year ago I started listening to country music. Up until that time I had vehemently detested country music for it's twang mainly, but I also thought it was all about loose women and heavy drinking.

I was painting Charlie's room and hating every moment. I so want to be a do-it-yourselfer but the truth is, I really stink at painting. To add to my misery I could only get the country music station on Charlie's little radio so I was stuck listening to it. I was rolling paint onto the ceiling, when an amazing song about a little girl knowing that Jesus was real because He had come to her and comforted her in her time of need. Next thing I knew I was crying big gut-wrenching sobs and ta da I was converted to country music.

It's true that there is a lot of twangy country music and some of it is not inspiring (ha!) BUT there are also tremendous life lessons - true wisdom.

So I'm going to start a new thread here on my blog, in part to help keep my spirits up and because, well, it's my blog and I'll write what I want to!

Check out this song, "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts. Have a listen. 'Nuff said.

I Promise ...

I will not become one of *those* places/blogs/people who is forever complaining about their tough life situations. However, in the spirit of honesty and openness, I want you to know (haha) that David got laid off today.

I know? Sucks, eh? Even if you don't like that word ... sssssuuuucccckkkkssss .... is truly the right word.

So, if you're 'in the know' and can hook my man up, by all means, email me! He's a computer security specialist, a programmer in many languages and just all 'round brilliant computer guy. He's won awards and holds patents and would be an asset to any company. I swear!

And that's all I'm gonna say on the subject.

Now ... Back to our regularly scheduled programming ...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Question of Homeschooling

Before I had children I believed I would be a homeschooling mom. Long before my children came I believed with all my heart that my job as a mom was to RAISE my children, and then included ensuring they had the possible education - FOR THEM. I did not believe children could be served personally in a public school ... not that public schools are bad, but that the individual child often gets lost in the shuffle.

I did homeschool our oldest son, Sam, for about a year and it was horrible. But, then again, Sam had reactive attachment disorder which is like a combination of oppositional defiance disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder rolled up with a super hefty lack of conscience. No wonder homeschooling didn't work.

With my twins, I again planned to homeschool them, but when push came to shove I found I was not up to the task. Xander excelled and took to it easily (this was just as little preschoolers) but Charlie wouldn't do anything - or try anything - if Xan had already tried it and done well at it. I tried having Charlie go first, but his thing is he doesn't want to try something unless he knows he can do it PERFECTLY well. Since he can't know that, he doesn't try. So I sent them to public school.

Well, now I'm revisiting the homeschool issue. I feel that both my boys are not living up to their full potential in school. It's not that I think they should be doing better in school it's something else, something less tangible. I feel that the things that made them special - their lights - are going out. I feel like school is making them NORMAL. Call me insane, bizarre or totally off my rocker, but I'd bet there's some moms out there who totally get what I'm saying.

I've talked to the boys about the possibility of homeschooling and they are hesitant about it, but generally agreeable. I'm not too worried about curriculum or such because I think there enough resources available to me and I'm still plugged in to the support groups that I'd joined way back when. I know who to call if I need help! BUT what does worry me is ... well ... ME.

Here's my thing: I am not particularly the most patient person around. I'm not horrible, but not great, either. I do enjoy my boys going to school so I can clean the house, run errands, work out, write, THINK, alone. I like being alone. I'm a bit (a bit, ha!) of a perfectionist and sort of like Charlie, if I can't do something perfectly I'm apt to not do it at all. I'm worried I would fail miserably at homeschooling. I'm worried my boys would be under my feet and I'd get mad at them. I'm worried that they would get bored - that I would get bored. I'm worried.

So, homeschooling moms out there ... will you please help me out? Please tell me what it's like - not the schooling part so much as the LIFESTYLE. What's it like for YOU? How do you cope? How do you keep your sanity? Your love for your children?

I really like the idea of homeschooling and think it could be a real answer - a real blessing - for us. I'm just well ... worried. Any words of wisdom?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

He's Home!

I'll update more later, but it's Tuesday afternoon and my honey's home! Big surprise to both of us but we didn't stick around to debate it ... they let him go and we happily went!

Off to have a nap now!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Update on David, cont'd ...

I didn't want to add on again ... just didn't. So there.

It's Monday night and David is still not home. Apparently they've seen some of the 'bad' rhythm stuff that isn't allowed so he can't go home until they've isolated that. Argh. I was so jacked up expecting him to be home that when I left the hospital empty handed I just wanted to cry. I am not a very good mommy without my man!

Isn't that a weird thing? I mean, I do all the stuff, mainly, when David is around. I cook, clean, entertain the kids, manage their crises and such. Why should it be any different when he's not around? I think it's because He is MY support. I can do a good job supporting the kids - even him - because HE is supporting ME. Without him, I'm like a rock climber without the tether. A kite without the string. A drum without a stick. Kind of useless.

He better come home soon, darn it! I'm not getting a darn thing done!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Update on David

Saturday morning Update ...

I'm partially frustrated because the plan keeps changing, but this morning's plan makes sense and is a lot less invasive, which is good. NOW the doctors are thinking he has pneumonia and so they are going to treat him for that. The blood around his heart is, they think, simply that collection that occurs during a heart surgery and though his was four years ago, they say this is normal. That fluid never does get reabsorbed by the body and unless it becomes infected is not typically problematic.

The coughing, weight loss, general feeling of 'unwellness' and such can all be attributed to pneumonia. The speeding heart rate, wild arythmias can mostly be attributed to his extremely low potassium levels.

So for now, they are scrapping the idea of the chest cavity aspiration scheduled for Monday and instead administering antibiotics and potassium to treat the possible pneumonia and mineral levels.

David is starting to feel like a trapped bird and wants nothing more than to get out of there. I, however, am very grateful that they are treating him and looking for causes for all his concerns. I'll be excited is pneumonia is all it is, he can be treated and home without any more scary surgeries.

Thanks for your hugs and words of encouragement!


Some of my friends know that David has been in declining health for the last few months and that things reached something of a crisis level this week. Today he went in for some tests, a follow-up from an ER visit on Monday. He just called to let me know they are admitting him to UofU Hospital.

I'm going to feed the boys, then take them to a friends for the night and I'm heading up to the hospital. Please say a prayer for my dear husband.

very early Friday morning ...

When I finally got the boys shipped out and the dog squared away and headed up to the hospital I heard more from David ... he was going to have surgery first thing in the morning to repair his heart valve. I have to admit, I was freaking scared driving up there. I thought he made it through that surgery once, but could he do it again?

But once at the hospital (they have him in the medical critical care unit - a sort of step down from ICU but not on the regular floor either), I was able to talk with his surgeon and doctor (who is the Director of Cardio Thoracic Surgery at the University of Utah so he's the top dog, doesn't get any better than him) and he has decided to hold off on surgery just yet.

First, they are starting him on a course of antibiotics to see if it's an infection in his chest cavity. IF it's an infection, either the antibiotics will begin to take effect OR they'll need to operate to remove the source of infection AND/OR they will insert a syringe type thing to drain the fluid.

If it's not an infection, the course of action becomes a bit more vague. Though blood work has denied the possibility of endocarditis (infection of the heart) all symptoms point to that - a result, likely, of the infected tooth root from September. IF it's that, he may need another heart valve replacement and/or aortic root repair. Doc seems to think endocarditis is still a possibility regardless of blood work - the infection could be hiding. OR it could not exist at all.

Turns out he's lost close to fifteen pounds since September. So they are very concerned about that coupled with his symptoms. They are planning on keeping him for a 'few days' and running any number of tests on him to determine once, and for all what the heck is going on. Like I said, our possible options for courses of actions range from something as benign as IV antibiotics to open heart surgery again to repair/replace his valve and such.

I don't know what the heck is going on or what is going to happen. I was going to spend the night with him (boys are farmed out), but after hearing they were not going to operate David was a bit more relaxed and we decided I should come home and get some rest because we don't know what the next few days may hold for us. Guess I should try and get some of that rest now, eh?

I'll post as soon as I know anything worth telling.

Beautiful Bodacious Babbling Blogging Babes

Today we had our third meeting of the Beautiful Bodacious Babbling Blogging Babes. We missed a ton of people, who I was sorry were not there, but Julia, Donna, Karlene, Heather, Tristi and of course Candace (our fearless leader) were there. I enjoyed the smaller group as I tend to get a bit intimidated in large-group gatherings. I got to actually exchange words with every single woman, though not nearly enough. I am probably the epitome of 'babbling' and would like to have a serious sit-down, face-to-face with each one of these 'bodacious' women.

Today we learned about Donna and her daughter Julia and I was thoroughly impressed. What amazing women they are! I'm dumbfounded why beautiful Julia is not held tight in some knight-in-shining armor's arms though; she's a catch!

So, on the drive home (about 50 minutes) I was thinking about the name of our little group and how it sort of embarasses me. When I got the restaurant I was the first one there and when I had to name our group, I said, "Umm, Candace Salima?" Hoping she would have put it under her name. The girl at the counter consulted her magic book and said, "You mean, Blogging Babes?" I'm sure I blushed when I admitted that yes, that was the group.

Why does the name embarrass me? Is it the 'babe" part? So I decided to help myself, and inform all of you, by breaking it down and examining why Beautiful Bodacious Babbling Blogging Babes is a name to be proud of.

Beautiful: If I hadn't sounded redundant and insincere, I would have told every one of those women I was with today how beautiful they looked to me. It's in their eyes. They fairly radiate and it's lovely.

Bodacious: Originally this word referred to a full-figured woman but now (perhaps thanks to Bill and Ted and their Excellent Adventure?) it's a form of high praise or 'most excellentness'. I think that the women in this group are all worthy of high praise indeed.

Babbling: I always think of a happily running stream when I think of this word. It actually paints a picture in mind. I love words like that. The word 'babbling' mainly means noncoherent streams of syllables but buried deep in the subtext of the defnition is the word 'chatter' which I'm sure Candace was thinking of when she dubbed us. So, I'll go with chatter. We like to talk. We have lots to talk about. As writers, we have lots of opinions about the world and like share those opinions.

Blogging: That's obvious, isn't it?

Babes: This is the word that hangs me up the most, I think. What is a babe? Is it rude or egotistical of me to refer to myself as a 'babe'. I have to admit, I have never, ever thought of myself as a babe. But maybe 'babe' has more to do with our affinity for one another, like how we'd call a dear friend or sister 'babe', rather than our stunning good looks (after all we already covered that one in 'beautiful'.) You know, my mom called me Babe. She'd say "I love you, Babe," with a sort of love in her voice that was tangible and sing to my heart and make it hum. I can still recall the feeling those words evoked in me. I was her babe. Perhaps, then, I am a babe after all.

After meeting these girls today, seeing our new logo (look to Candace to unveil that soon, I hope!) and getting to know the other ladies a teensy bit, I think I ought to be proud to be associated with them, whatever we call ourselves. But Beautiful Bodacious Babbling Blogging Babes is as good a name as any, right? Though don't be surprised if I tend to refer to us as the BB's or something like anyway :)

To all of our sister BB's out there who did not make it to todays lunch - you were missed! There were many empty chairs reserved just for you. I hope you can make it next time!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Living Christ

In November of 2006 the Young Women of the Church were given a challenge to memorize The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Twelve Apostles. In late December I was called as the secretary in our Young Women's presidency and we were casually told "Oh and you're supposed to memorize this." We did not catch the spirit of that challenge, nor did any of us believe we had it in us to do it. One of our counsilors - Tammy (go Tammy!) memorized the first paragraph - but the rest of us didn't even really try. At a special Young Women in Excellence meeting for our stake this past November, in which Elaine S. Tanner, the Young Women General President spoke to us, all the young women and their leaders were to stand and recite together The Living Christ.

I was ashamed because I had not set a good example and did not know it. Thankfully, I was not the only one and it turned out they didn't expect us to recite by memory - they put the words up on a screen along with a beautiful and touching video.

During the course of the meeting Sister Tanner and her husband explained why memorizing important scripture and documents is a worthwhile endeavor. Brother Tanner spoke of the scriptures that reference 'eating the word' and said he believed this meant memorizing. That when we memorize something we take into ourselves, make it a part of ourselves; the word nourishes us from the inside out and can be recalled easily.

I have never been able to memorize words. I have memorized songs and I have had some success memorizing lines in a play but never have I been able to memorize a scripture or anything beyond a line or two. Previously my biggest achievement in this area was memorizing Proverbs 3:5 which is my favorite scripture.

So I decided to belatedly accept Sister Tanners challenge to memorize The Living Christ. I began about a week ago (New Year's Eve, actually) and today I have it entirely memorized.

I've been amazed at how quickly and easily it came when I prayed for help and applied myself diligently to the task. It's been a wondrous experience. When my mind has strayed to negative thoughts, I've found the words to The Living Christ have been there to take those bad thoughts place. As I sat in Testimony meeting today, I found my thoughts consumed by The Living Christ, for IT has become my testimony. In Young Womens today we referred to a scripture and a girl read it out loud: I discovered I knew that scripture and could recite it in my mind along with her. It was Doctrine & Covenants 76:22-24: "For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that He was the Only Begotten Son of the Father. That by him, through and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughers unto God." I have eaten the words of the Apostles and they are a part of me. They have nourished me and filled me and made me a better person.

I will memorize other things now and I encourage you to take up the challenge too, if you too have not yet caught the spirit of eating the words of the good words of scripture. I testify that they are delicious and very desirable.

Here's The Living Christ in case you have not yet read it:



Flourish image for decoration

As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to "become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His "other sheep" (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised "dispensation of the fulness of times" (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

"I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father" (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

"For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

"That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God" (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—"built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

Image of the signatures of the First Presidency
Image of the signatures of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Each Life That Touches Ours For Good

Yesterday I had a conversation with another mom at karate and the things she said have been a real blessing to me. I am still kind of trying to take it all in. She has been through a real struggle over the past year and in the course of trying to survive her challenges she learned some new things. It was these new things she was telling me about. One of them was the value of positive self-talk.

Now, I don't currently do any 'mantras' but I have and I do believe that talking positively to yourself does work. I've seen it work in my own life. However, I haven't stuck with it. I am aware enough to know that the yucky talk that bombards me nearly non-stop (no one likes you, you have no talent, you're fat, ugly, dumb ...) come from the adversary and have no place in my life, I haven't really made a conscious connection to positive self-talk being a divine thing.

But this girl said something really revelatory to me. She said that she didn't really think of saying positive things to herself as 'self-talk' she thought of it as an exercise in faith. God created her with divine potential, He created her with all the possibility of a daughter of God. So when she says nice things to herself, she is only giving voice to the divine within.

Isn't that amazing? Life-altering, even?

For me, I think it might be. My number one resolution this year was to be more kind to myself, to appreciate my achievements despite my shortcomings. So far, I'm off to a rather lousy start on all of my other goals - and in fact, I started to list for you where I have fallen short! But I deleted it because the point I am trying to make is that today is a new day, I am a daughter of God and today I can do better. I will do better.

Heavenly Father loves me and my conversation with this girl reminded me that He would want me to be saying nice things to myself - perhaps in doing so I would be giving voice to the whisperings of the Spirit, direct communication from a loving Father.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Life and Death Perspective

David (my husband) had a heart valve replacement and ascending and descending aortic route replacement in January of 2003. Seems like just yesterday and at the same time it was eons ago. Recently he wrote about his experience - our experience - on a heart valve replacement support group board. Since he gave some credit to what I was experiencing I, naturally, took great interest in what he wrote. Not know what any of you are going through right now in your own families, I thought perhaps this might interest you. What he wrote applies to any life threatening illness. Here's David ...

When I was nearing surgery my wife mentioned the "D" word for the first time in our marriage. (14 years at that point) We rarely ever fight but for a while we fought quite a bit. I've been thinking about it a lot and thought others probably experience similar things so I thought I'd try to explain what it was in our case that caused this. I don't mean to trivialize it by putting it in bullet points but for me to remember anything I need to itemize it...

She thought:
1) my wife was VERY afraid and thought I was giving up or just waiting to die (her mother and father died young)
2) she didn't understand why for a long time I hadn't been exercising or trying to get fit before things got really bad
3) she thought she'd rather the boys not see me "give up" and that she'd rather they were'nt around me when I was allowing myself to die.
4) she was upset and frightened of losing me and was trying to make sure I didn't like hearing me complain because deep down it increased her fear

I thought:
1) I was more afraid of the surgery and possibilities than actually dying
2) I was in shock and wasn't thinking rationally
3) (subconsciously) I was depressed and it was easy to think of #1
4) I complained a lot because I was scared
5) I kept fantasizing that there was a way out, or that surgery could be postponed

In retrospect I don't blame my wife at all and rather in fact I'm sort of glad she smaked me in the face a bit. I'm still not happy we had those moments which were pretty bad... I was depressed and could have taken the low road and pushed things to the brink because of my feeling sorry for myself. <<>> I hope you can talk about these things before it gets to the point of confontation.

The solution for us seemed to be:
1) (COMMUNICATION) I explained my massive phobia to her and she explained where she was coming from. To really communicate one person has to listen until the other is completely done without interjecting, then the other says their piece. Any other variation has a chance to end up in an argument... at least it was that way for us.
2) I tried to complain less
3) I tried to make plans for after surgery and scheduled holidays away with the family in advance
4) Tried to keep any "just-in-case" planning stuff under the radar or at least not talk about it much
5) She promised to be more understanding of my fear
6) When she did catch me complaining she'd give me a hug because she knew I was feeling scared
7) She came to my doctor appt and talked to my doctor and he helped her realize I had been much sicker than either of us knew which was kind of a wakeup for both of us.
* 8) She logged in here and asked some questions (that was the real turning point) -THAT WAS A HUGE HELP!!-

After surgery things weren't done. I was on cloud 9 for a while as my recovery was going well but later I found myself moderately depressed... My Doc said everyone gets depressed at some point after surgery except those who are 90 or older. Then he joked about that it was probably because they were just so glad to be alive. I was certain I wouldn't get depressed but later I found out he was right about the depression.

The root of my depression after surgery seemed to be:
1) lots of attention before, during and after surgery until people think you're ok then NOTHING
2) reality/work hits again with no additional respect or considerations
3) you feel loved when people serve you, suddenly when you can do pretty much everything again you don't get that feeling any more
4) STUPID PAIN KILLERS (wonderful but nasty things... painkillers sometimes connect you to bad thoughts and things you'd otherwise not contemplate) When i gave these up I felt MUCH happier... of course sleep is important too so pace yourself on weaning off the heavy duty painkillers.
5) Work and other things you thought were important before suddenly don't seem to matter. After surgery and time off work there is a tremendous desire to live in the moment. Work suddently does not satisfy you in this instance. It's difficult to commit yourself fully to work when you really would rather be planning a day on the lake or a trip around the world. For those who's work is their identity this is a hard transition and it's painful at times to go back to working.

How I got over depression:
1) stopping the pain killers
2) EXERCISE! (made a world of difference)
3) getting over my new need for being special and just being happy with trying to live in the moment more often

Well, that's my attempt at playing armchair-psychologist... I don't know if it will help anyone else but I feel that I should put it out there. People are human and we get big feelings happening when lives are on the line. I honestly realize now that all of it was infinitely harder on my wife than on me. And as usual she was right about most things... I was being a wuss but had to get over that before I could really commit myself to healing. When all was said and done the surgery wasn't that bad and once I committed myself to being strong I had a good recovery.

I hope this information MIGHT help you avoid similar issues if you take the path that I took and perhaps it will help you having your eyes open in advance.

God bless you and your families!

David C

He's right that I was ready to divorce him over this. Might seem weird, but seriously, if he didn't love me - us - enough to work hard at sticking around, why wait around for it to happen? To my mind his lack of action on behalf of his health was akin to him killing himself. I've often worried a little over my actions back then as they were not very supportive. It was definitely a 'tough love' sort of thing. I'm glad, reading this, that he has forgiven me (there haven't been any lingering problems or anything - it was just a little nibbling doubt in the back of my mind), and that he's even been able to understand some of what I was feeling.

Hugs to any of you are going through or have been through something like this - a life and death struggle of a loved one, or yourself. There is life on the other side and you will never forget the new life you've been given. I'm so grateful for my husband and can't imagine what my life would have been like without him these past few years or the zillions of years we will have together in the future. He is MY life and the love of my life. It just wouldn't be as much fun without him.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 ... It's gonna be GREAT!!!

Kind of cliche, I know but ... hey ... it works, right? And it WILL be great!

Like Shanna, I wanted to write down my goals here, for the world to see, so ya'll can be my watchtowers, okay? So, here we go!

  • I will be kind to myself. I will be happy for any progress I make despite my shortcomings.
  • I will lose 25 lbs. by increasing the amount and intensity of my exercise and by recommitting myself to the low-carb lifestyle.
  • I will finish my books and start submitting those suckers!
I really want to focus on two principles I recently read in a talk by David A. Bednar "Clean Hands and a Pure Heart" ...

  1. In his talk, Elder Bednar says “The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better"

  2. “We will not attain a state of perfection in this life, but we can and should press forward with faith in Christ along the strait and narrow path and make steady progress toward our eternal destiny. The Lord’s pattern for spiritual development is “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Nephi 28:30) Small, steady, incremental spiritual improvements are the steps the Lord would have us take. Preparing to walk guiltless before God is one of the primary purposes of mortality and the pursuit of a lifetime; it does not result from sporadic spurts of intense spiritual activity.”
While these are spiritual principles, they are also life principles. I will be satisfied with being good and doing better, rather than always expecting perfection from myself. And I will only ask a slow and steady pace of myself, not everything all at once. I can do this! With the Lord's help, I KNOW I can do this.