Saturday, August 30, 2014

What is a Saint ?

When I think of someone as a Saint, my mind immediately goes to Viola Williams, Eric's Mom.  In my eyes she could do no wrong, she actively would seek out the weak and weary and take them into her home for comfort from their worldly worries. Many times, the knock on the door was in the midst of the early morning, or late night, but she never turned anyone away, she loved unconditionally.  Life to her was beautiful, she was raised in humble circumstances, served a mission in Hawaii, and married the love her life Ray Williams. Ray was a postal worker, and she was an accountant.  I never saw them quarrel, they learned the art of laughter and happiness together as they struggled through life's challenges together, I miss them both dearly.   I look to Vi as my ultimate example,  and know without a doubt I will feel her loving arms around me again when I leave this life and start my new journey.

I recently had someone say to me "you are a saint" to that person I said "I am not a Saint, unless you think of a Saint as a sinner who just keeps trying to be better than they were the day before" 

Honestly, I keep tracing the steps of where I've been these past 5 years and cannot comprehend how I've been able to continue on.  I read some of my old blog posts, and I can see the Lord's hand writing those words, He has been with me every step.

With this past trial I am trying to deal with, there are times I feel very vulnerable, it's hard to speak sometimes to people, my eyes tear up.  The aching of this is so real to me, I remember not being able to get the Villain out of my head, it was a day to day struggle, fighting to stay alive.  I have poured out my heart and soul to the Lord at times feeling his loving arms around me, and at times feeling deserted and alone.  The feeling of peace, and knowing His grace remains with me,  has certainly gotten me through some unbearable times.

While talking to Doctor Northfelt, I told him it's hard for me to look in the mirror,  and be OK with what I see.  This is a change even I have to get used to seeing, and right now I am dealing with it my own way.  It's hard to feel attractive for my husband, in my head I wonder if I am sexy to him anymore. Will I be able to live with this face if I have to?  I asked Eric if he is embarrassed to walk with me or hold my hand in public, knowing already what his answer would be I still needed to ask.  This transitional period is hard, very hard.  I'm grateful for Dr. Northfelt, although not all of what I just shared here I shared with him, but he is always so good at listening.

 The people who know me, know my heart and that has not changed. I do feel a sense of loneliness sometimes, when I was going through chemo and radiation I had a support group, people I could talk to, who were either going through it themselves or had already been down that road.  We all had similar feelings and could help each other get through the bad days.  I don't have anyone to talk to, I  don't know anyone who has or is going through this life altering trauma.  I do my best to keep positive, but smiling is hard, because it looks so weird, one side smiles while the other is "normal"  Even when I am happy I catch a glimpse of what I look like when I smile and it is hideous to look at.  So this leaves me in a predicament, do I never smile or laugh again?  No, it does mean that I need to learn to smile with my eyes, and listen with my heart, knowing others who love me don't see that ugly smile they see the heart of the same ole' 'say it like it is' Monya.

 I quit trying to understand why, or how this happened.  I instead have been focusing on happiness, what does happy mean to me?  In December after my 1st ear surgery a dear friend called me, and invited me to a Nerium event, I think the 1st three times I said I'd be there but either forgot, or simply didn't want to know what it was.  I don't remember, but Shelli reminds me of it.  Finally, she invited Eric and I to the Barrett Jackson event, I really didn't want to go, but Eric wanted to get me out of the house.  I was still feeling post surgical pain, so I sat with the girls in Shelli's Nerium booth, I sat and observed (you know how I love to people watch) there were a ton of men coming up and buying this cream, at the time I thought they were probably just coming back because all of these girls are drop dead gorgeous. I observed the interaction these girls had with people, then I was approached by Liz Decker she said "so what do you know about Nerium?" I said "Nothing, but I want in, it's time for me to get out of this cancer world and I heard you mention you are all going to St Louis in April, sign me up for that too, I need a girls trip" I went to St. Louis had an incredible time watching person after person serve and help each other. It really was quite amazing, EVERYONE was so happy.  This was exactly what I needed, get out of my cancer world and start living my life with friends I had excluded because of my diagnosis.  Shortly later I had the emergency surgeries at Mayo Clinic, all those Nerium people came to visit me, that pierced my heart knowing these people are REALLY genuine. Then when I went to Cleveland Clinic for 7 weeks, they were so supportive and kept in touch with me.  I continued to share my thoughts about Nerium with people and even shared enough that I was able to sign up a partner from a bed with my computer.  I gave out Live Happy Magazines to everyone, day by day I could see and feel myself gaining confidence in who I am again.  When I came home, I was welcomed back with open arms and tearful eyes.  We took off again just where I left off, not skipping a beat, or feeling vulnerable at all with them, my face is different, I thought it would be a deterrent and was afraid to face them, this is an amazing anti aging company promoting beauty and looking younger, how in the world can I represent them?  Now that I look back on that, I can see the Lord's hand leading me and guiding me to this place I thought I could never be in again.  With that I have to say "thank you" to all my Nerium Family, who has truly loved me like family.  I may not be moving as quickly as I had originally goaled, I've learned the goal is still the same, the timing is just different, and finally I've learned that those who truly love you will never leave you, this my friends is unconditional love, so Saint I may never be, but trying to be better day by day, yes I can do that.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Botox....seriously?

Yesterday I was at work sitting at my desk, a girl walked up to me and said in a whisper "where did you get your botox done on your forehead" I whispered back with a shhh and finger over my crooked mouth as if to say "it's a secret so shhhhh, "are you kidding me? NO I DID NOT HAVE BOTOX" she said "then why doesn't your eyebrow move?" "Umm, because I have partial facial paralysis" she then said "Oh you were gone for awhile and I just assumed when I saw you that you must of had some  botox, or plastic surgery done" again I'm laughing inside, but I replied as I took of my reading glasses "look at me, I mean really look at me, does it look like I had plastic surgery? If this is the result of plastic surgery I got ripped off and jipped out"

Wednesday I had an appointment with Dr. Barr's at Mayo Clinic.  I was a little anxious to see him, and to see what his reaction to me would be.  I love him, and was worried he would be upset with me for going to Cleveland Clinic.  I couldn't of been more wrong, he came in with his big smile, arms out reached for a hug and said "as I live and breath, who is this beautiful patient?" Pleased as I could be I jumped up and hugged him back.  I told him I felt like I was HOME at Mayo Clinic, not that there was really anything I didn't like about Cleveland Clinic, but there is a reason Mayo comes in #1 every year with ratings from patients, and medical statistics.  I told him Dr. Haberkamp was great to work with, and that me leaving had nothing to do with him, it was more about the procedure the other doctor proposed at Mayo.  I was just jabbering, he shook his head and said "I was never upset or took it personal" even if that was not really how he felt, he was classy enough to make me believe him. He sat down on the chair in front of me and wanted to hear the whole Cleveland Clinic experience.  I also told him Dr. Haberkamp said he wanted us to tell Dr. Barr's his work on my ear was impeccable.
He examined my ear, and said everything looks good, but we will need to have MRI's a couple times a year on the head. Kathleen came in to visit with me, she is beautiful inside and out, and was so concerned about me, she embraced me as she left the examining room and said "I love you"

  My eye is still the biggest concern now, he agrees but I'm doing all I've been asked to do.  Cleveland Clinic is calling to schedule the next surgery, I told Erin (gastman's PA) I can't think about that right now.  That chapter needs to end, ironically enough I think it's just the beginning of the end.  This is so hard.

Today, Friday I had the privilege of seeing my oncologist Dr. Donald Northfelt.  I think for most cancer patients this is a bitter/sweet appointment to have.  I started to fret and worry last night, my mind has been so pre-occupied lately with all that has happened, I have not let my  brain think of today.  No panic attacks getting off the 3rd floor elevator today, that's progress. Maryann came in to see me, greeted me with a huge hug, we both had tears.  She is incredibly insightful, when I was in Cleveland she said a prayer with me over the phone.  We visited awhile, it felt warm and loving to be with "my" people again--I know both Mayo Clinic campus's like the back of my hand, but today being back was a feeling of reunion, rather than burden.  Anxiously waiting to see Dr. Northfelt, I am so grateful I listened to the spirit when I was led to him for my oncologist, I love him.  He went over my blood work and said it looks good right now.  For me, for right now, as in today, this is who I needed to see. Dr. Northfelt promised to be with me the entire journey and so far, he has, he gets it. Once he was done with his report and examination, he sat down looked at me, no words needed to be said, I could tell by looking in his eye's he could feel my burden was heavy. We talked a bit about the past few months, but didn't hover...we moved on to happier thoughts.  I told him about working with Nerium and how positive the atmosphere is for me.  I also explained to him about the Live Happy Movement trying to get more happiness in the world by spreading my own happy thoughts with others hoping they will also spread the word to BE HAPPY no matter what the circumstance. We had a great visit, I will never be able to articulate the feelings I have of HOPE just because he is who he is, not only a wonderful doctor but knowing he deals with people like me everyday, I always feel like I am his only patient, and that he loves me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to Work

I made the decision to go back to work, my doctors in Cleveland would of wanted me to wait a bit longer, but I can't sit around.  I look in the mirror and I am still not quite ready to accept what I see, I really thought I was.  Last week I finished my work, it was a difficult transition, my eye continues to be such bothersome issue.  Cleveland Clinic PA told me to massage the lower lid to strengthen the muscle, I have been doing that still it waters constantly to the point of not being able to see out of my right eye. Mayo Clinic says I have chronic dry eye, which is weird since it waters all the time, the are trying to fit me in this week.  Work was really hard, my foot is was so swollen by the end of each day, I have had a hard time getting my shoes on. I tried to spend the weekend elevating it, I don't have a strong education about how nerves all I know is it takes a year for things to truly heal.  If this last surgery did not work, this is what is next.  The will make an incision from my hairline, ear to ear, pull back my face and take the nerve from the left side and attach it to the nerve on the right side, then wait another year.

Being at work I felt vulnerable as I walked into the building, I usually like to smile and greet  people with a happy attitude. Problem a lot of people did not recognize me with my short hair and odd looking face.  I even had someone ask if I gained all my weight while I was gone....Yes I did...I was on 2 different steroids and ballooned up a bit.  I am now off of them and back to my normal eating habits so hopefully I can get back to my normal weight.  I know when others notice, then it must be an obvious change.

I am always amazed at what my brain can retain, and what takes time to recall.  My job at US Airways is in the International Reservations Department, there is a lot of information most people take for granted that they know how to do.  I've realized since being back, how amazing my brain is, reactivating those brain cells and muscles I have not used for a few months is slowly coming back without having to look at my notes.

Personally, I am struggling to keep my spirits up and stay positive. Some of the ways I do this is to continue to read from a good book everyday for 30 minutes...this gives me HOPE in my purpose in life. It is so easy to wonder "why" when that happens, I have to get on my knees and say "thank you for this trial,  I am trying so hard to understand, please give me guidance and strength to know what to do, now that it is done there is not much I can do to change it, but now it is time for reality and for me to live with it, I accept that, but please help me along the way, give those nudges of the spirit when I am bombarded with doubt" 

I marvel at my ignorance, I once thought I had all I could deal with as a youth, and that my Heavenly Father had given me quite a challenge to overcome, and when I finally did and was able to truly forgive and move forward I just knew that was it for me .....  I seriously thought if I could overcome that, I would be left alone for life...no more trials.  I think He really does give us what He knows we can handle, but I believe He is also trying to teach me something through all this.  I had a dream that allowed me to see and was specifically told that I have a purpose here on earth, it's just so hard to grasp what I've been asked to do and not say "why? why me?  I try to believe that I am of infinite worth and that I  should be saying  "why not" Maybe because I know all my faults and know the things I need to work on, I am not a special person, no different than anyone else, it seems the world is filled with people who are struggling.  There is a part of me that wants to negotiate my way out of this one.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Outcasts


Ok first before I start blabbering my thoughts, I have to blog about this while it is fresh on my mind or I'll forget. (Most of the time I have a note book with me to write down the weird, interesting and funny things I see) I just got home from Sprouts, got a couple bags of nuts, different kinds that I like, you know the self serve buckets? I love the brazil nuts, raw almonds, and one bag of mixed nuts for Eric.  Then I picked up a few fruits I liked and was on my way out the door.  This lady was standing by the door, she looked confused so I asked her if she needed any help.....she said "why, do you work here?" I said "no I just thought you might be looking for a cart, you can have mine if you would like it." I tried to smile, but let's face it my smile these days is not beautiful to look at, she looked at me and said "are you a weirdo or something?" I couldn't help it I started laughing, I replied "yep, I am now what do we do?" She was so flustered she didn't know what to do, I just looked at her and said "Here's a bag of mixed nuts for you, and a Live Happy Magazine.....enjoy your evening"  I got to my car, oh no she did not.....yes she followed me....she said "why did you give me this?"  I said, "because I thought you'd enjoy reading about something happy today" she threw the magazine back but kept the nuts.....???? Seriously, I think it was the best day I've had in a long time. Let's be honest, would you keep the magazine or the nuts?  I'd keep the magazine before I'd keep the nuts, because I'm weird like that, I would not take food from someone I don't know--germs--all that stuff.  That was funny.

Now on to some more serious matters.  I can't get this kid off my mind, I met him, or actually I saw him walking along the road, all alone.  I was waiting at a light that took three green lights to get through, for some reason my head was totally consumed with this kid.  He was walking with his head down, he looked so sad, his clothes were tattered and torn, I wondered  the light turned green and I moved a few inches, I noticed he was going into a Circle K. Yes, I did, I pulled into the Circle K--(something I never do) a little stalkerish, but I was so intrigued for some reason in this kid.  I keep saying kid, I think he was 17-19.  I walked into the Circle K just before him and held the door open , he quietly said "thanks"
"your welcome" I responded.  I pretended to be shopping, yeah right, like what am I going to buy at Circle K" I just watched him, 1st he went into the bathroom--oh great now I have to wait even longer and there is nothing I need from this store.  I asked the person behind the counter "do you carry those, um Troli gummy eggs?" (my son in law loves them) the clerk was very friendly he said "no we don't, sorry"  great, even more time--then I said "can I get a HUGE cup of your ice and pour water in it?" "oh yes, people do that all the time"  Just as I finished filling my cup with water, the boy came out of the bathroom.  He looked as though he had combed his hair and washed up a little. I proceeded to the counter, when I heard the boy ask "are you hiring?" the store manager looked up. gave the boy a look like he was crazy...."Uh, no we are not hiring" again the boy put his head down he looked desperate.  I was so touched by him, I have no idea why, I went and filled another cup with a cherry coke slurpy, paid for it and handed it to the boy. I just told him it was hot outside and I noticed he was walking, maybe the slurpy would help him cool off a little.  To my astonishment he looked down at me and said while looking right at my face "thank you mam" I have not stopped thinking about him, upset with myself that I didn't ask more, or do more.  I don't know why some of us are more blessed than others, but I will never let that happen again.  I feel like some of them are blown around, maybe some poor, homeless, some by choices they have made, maybe by choices out of their control.  Either way I feel like if we don't ask Heavenly Father to help them, no one will.  I believe we are all children of the same God.  I've always said I don't believe in LUCK, we are blessed, not lucky.....lucky is for Las Vegas.

I am usually not one to fear talking to people, and I was in no way scared of this young man, actually the opposite.  It reminded me of kids in school who are or were seeking for friends, but pushed away because they weren't "cool enough"  For some reason the poor and unblessed, the weak and the somewhat odd,  are miss understood and outcast from circles.  I know we are all children of God and need to watch out for each other.  Some would say I am crazy, and that I need to stay away from the outcasts, but it makes me that much more interested, I don't know if I can help or not, but I do know it's my responsibility to at least try...I may get a bag of nuts, or a magazine thrown at me, but when this feeling I'm having will not go away, I KNOW I should of done something for this boy--I left there feeling really uneasy--thinking and knowing-that our Heavenly Father created these children and I know He will never cast them out--and I know He will show them the mercy they did not get here on earth.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Scars are tattoos with better stories


My hair has been falling out in chunks, more and more everyday.  I made the decision to call Jenny
Boyton, she or her sister have been styling my hair for over 15 years.  Kara Ellingson, Jenny's sister cut my hair the 1st time, while I was going through chemo treatment. It was a tearful difficult thing to do.
 Today there were no tears, I'm grateful for the knowledge I have that my hair does not define who I am, where I am going and who I want to be.

And what about those dang scars, well they each have a story, and with those scars they give me a constant reminder of the road I have traveled, I'm moving forward. I wish I could get my smile back, and maybe I will, Dr. Haberkamp said possibly 30% which is much better than 0%.  Miracles happen everyday, and with a positive mental attitude, continuing to tell my lip to smile, or my eyebrow to move everyday it'll happen. I told that today to a random person who was asking me about my scar, her response was "I'm sorry dear, but I work with doctors all the time and if your doctor told you 30% improvement he was not wanting to hurt your feelings" I felt like saying "You mean he didn't want to hurt me like you just did?" Instead I handed her one of my Live Happy Magazines and said good-bye. She was a coo coo, as Jeff Olson says.

 Taking chances and staying strong and positive is what get me through days and helps me to embrace that day as one day closer to healing and not necessarily a physical healing, but I'm talking more about an inner healing of my soul and being happy with who I am.  I will endure 3 more surgeries within the year--something that most of you who read my blog know I said I will never do again.  Each time, I think "what if it does work this time, what example am I being to my children and grandchildren if I just give up? It's like giving up on them" Tonight I snuggled with Recker on my bed, every once in a while he would want to take a look at my scars on my ear, neck and head but the ones he loves to stare at are the ones on my ankle where they took the nerves to replace the dead one in my face.  I love to watch him when he does this, I always wonder what is he thinking?

 I've learned that the life I had planned  for myself may not be exactly what I expected, but I feel blessed that I have learned from this journey.  There have been times when I didn't want to get up and go, I had so much pain and fear of taking those steps forward.  I have  sleepless nights, where I pray He will just take it all away, but He never does. I'm pretty sure it's because I'm a hard head and need to learn even more, or I haven't been listening, I mean listening with my heart not my ears....although sometimes that happens too.  ha ha

 So my smile is crooked and may never heal much more than it has.....let's just say that is true.....I am still extremely blessed with a happy life, a life that sometimes I don't understand but I would not change it for one dang minute.  My love for my family, for friends old and new have brought me finally to a place where I believe in myself, I believe in my self worth, I will not fall, or fail in a world that is so weak at times, I feel like I have to be strong.  We are living in a world with so many people who
"will not"  and what I mean by that  is that they don't take chances, they never stand up for what they believe in, they give up when things get tough. (I call them the followers) but if I can find those who want to stand up in this world of weakness, I will not change my values or attitude, chin up--Surrounding myself with those same types of people together we can make incredible changes in the world--it can be done-and it has been confirmed to me that I am one of those people who has a responsibility to help to others feel the same way.

 I have mentally prepared myself for what is to come, the doctors have fully explained it all to me and made sure I understood, and I do.  None of this has to do with living a happy life, I take the opportunities everyday to spend alone time, read from good positive books, then I go out and put it to action.  I was so upset in the beginning, but have learned like I've said before, everything happens for a reason, and anything I have ever started has been hard in the beginning with each passing day I learn to listen with my heart, take the hard days allow myself to cry because I know that pain is so deep it will not be going away in one day, it's called a FUNKY strange day we all have them,  I have learned how to deal with those days....during those stormy days, that's when it happens, when you least expect it, when you feel like it is never going to end, but then the clouds part, and the rainbows appear. I know when that happens it's ok because He has arrived to take it all away, His love slips through the darkness and I grab on hard to it as I walk with Him into the light, and realize tomorrow is a new day.....you are never a failure, I know for me I just have to remember I do have infinate worth, and start over the next day. Touch those scars, and remember where I've been and the legacy I'm trying to leave for my posterity.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Live Happy


A couple of weeks ago my dear sweet friend Liz Decker asked me to give a testimonial at our Nerium Event, I  knew I wanted to but was not sure what to say. How could I possibly inspire or be an example ? I have done ok with Nerium and fully enjoyed meeting new friends and taking my mind off of my cancer journey, but I am surely not an example of success in the Nerium world.  I had goals written down, simple things I wanted to achieve daily, weekly then monthly when the tumor in my ear arrived and killed the nerve in my face all my goals had to be put on hold. I had 3 surgeries in one week, making it 18 surgeries within 5 years. While I was in Mayo Hospital for 3 weeks, my Nerium friends came to visit--what a surprise that was to me, I barely knew these people. That act of service was a truly heartwarming experience, I realized I really am loved by other people than my own family.  These past couple of months have been incredible as I have fought my way through thick and thin to stay alive......right now I'm a little thick because of the steroids I am on, but guess what?  I simply don't care, if those steroids can help me get to a healing place, bring on the thick.
Look at these beautiful, happy successful women

Don't go anywhere without this magazine--every nurse, doctor
and resident got one from me at Mayo and Cleveland Clinic

Liz and Danny--great leaders, great friends
Love Danny's shirt, I have it too it says
TODAY CHOOSE HAPPY

This subject of Living a Happy Life has become so dear to me over the past 12 years or so.  Being raised in a fully dysfunctional home, then meeting the man of my dreams was quite an opposition from what I was feeling in my home , hearing Eric say "I love you" it was shocking to me.  I remember going home that night at the ripe age of 19, kneeling by my bed and promising the Lord I would live worthy of this man, if He would keep His promise and get me out of this toxic environment.  Promises made were not broken, we were happily married, blessed with 3 beautiful daughters and one magnificent son--they are all married now, and we have been blessed with 2 grandsons from my oldest daughter Kayla and her husband Jeremy--oh how our family has been blessed with great son and daughter in laws--I love them all-they make me smile.




So back to this subject of really Living a Happy Life, is it possible? There was a time I did not know what love was, not to mention true happiness.  But the second my daughter was born, I was instantly in love with her, my happiness was filled to the brim, nothing could or ever would compare to this.....wait 13 months later my son came along, big 9 lbs 8 oz, Eric cried, I wasn't sure he was crying because he was blessed with a son to carry on the Williams name or if he was just happy for that special moment of being told "congratulations, he's a handsome healthy boy" All four of my children have brought such joy and happiness to my life, they lived the young life that I was never granted and I loved watching them make mistakes, figure out the problem and fix it.

When Kayla had her 1st child Recker, the doctor induced her so that I could be there for the birth, I was going through my chemo treatment and didn't want to miss the birth of our first grandchild.  He was blond, beautiful and big--with a mixture of characteristics from both Kayla and Jeremy. Talk about happiness, there is not much more that compares to the unconditional love between a father, mother and their new baby, a gift from Heavenly Father, he has entrusted in parents to take special care of these special children of His.

Although those moments and days after a baby is brought home is such a happy time of life, trials do come to all of us.  My question, even to myself is how do we maintain a happy life through sometimes what seems to be an endless amount of sadness, sorrow, anger and disappointment?  I don't have much science to back it up, but would like to give my opinion on this subject. I believe each child is born into a family with their own spirit, some of those children will be born naturally happy all the time, smiles, giggles, hugs, kisses and eating may make him happy. Seeing both of my grandchildren laugh, giggle, run and play always changes my serotonin levels  and creates a smile or two from me too. Recker our oldest grandson was diagnosed with Autism at age 16 months, I had no idea how to feel about that, should I cry or should I feel blessed that he had been sent to our family to teach and help us grow in compassion, and unconditional love? Now Recker is 4 and a half, he still does not speak, but tries hard to communicate--my daughter and son in law are amazing with him.  Many times I have wept for them, not because of the diagnosis, but because of not knowing how to react when people are rude. I love to just watch him, no words, just watch....he seems so happy, he absolutely brings happiness to me.  I'm not sure he knows he is different, he laughs and plays and hugs and kisses us--he truly is happy.  Heavenly Happy.  
Ezra visiting bonbon at Mayo--he never stops smiling

My sweet little Recker boy, dirty from doing what he loves
playing outside--gave me the #1 for the RedSox
When I was a child my family called me BonBon, I've been told because of my super white hair, the only thing I can see is a likeliness is that the ice cream bonbon's are white inside, covered in chocolate on the outside. No matter, the name stuck with me and even now when I  repeat this name for my email, or to explain why my grandchildren call me bonbon---it always brings a smile to those who hear it. So does smiling mean a person is happy? I'm not sure that qualifies as complete happiness, but it sure is a great start. I believe there is power in a positive mental attitude.

When Eric and I first got married he would go around the valley speaking to hundreds of people about how to have a positive mental attitude....so weird that he and I ended up being married, because I was as far from a positive person when we met----maybe that's why it took 6 years of dating---I've learned so much about having a positive outlook from him.  Imagine this, when we first got married Eric would make me stand in front of the mirror and tell myself I was beautiful, I was going to have a great day, and that I was happy. Laugh if you want, I did too, in fact I was so resistant at times he would laugh at me and tell me "if you don't believe in yourself then no one else will either, so hold your head up high and repeat after me"
yep...where it all started--Frenchy is
still my #1 fan even when I have a funk day
Positive all the time, never heard a swear word
from his mouth in over 30 years. Believes
no matter what there is always good in
people, we just need to find it and let
them know, they are important to him.
It took me years, probably until I was about 36  years old to realize the power of words, they can hurt worse than any physical pain or abuse they sting your brain and can last for years or even life, or they can lighten a room full of people,  perhaps make one of them feel empowered to change their sad life to a happy one.  I know this from an experience,   I had an experience that changed my life forever.  One day I was wallowing in my own sorrow, feeling bad for myself, actually I'll just say it I WAS VERY DEPRESSED. It had been 7 years since my mother walked away from me, I tried so hard to figure out how to "fix" it, I took on the blame and felt as if I was a failure on so many levels, maybe I should of done something different.  Why couldn't I get this emotional baggage I was carrying around and put it on a plane going far far away? I was far from a happy place.  One of my friends came by the house with her children so they could play with mine. While they played, she asked me what was wrong, and that she had noticed an obvious change in me. I was sensing my mental anguish and decided to tell her a portion of what was going on in my life. Remember at this point, the only people I had to talked to about this was my parents, Eric and my bishop.  She looked me straight in the eye and said "I hope you will understand this when I tell you, but I took psychology at BYU and learned that the percentage of people who have been abused as a child is very high that they too will abuse, so I cannot allow my children in your home anymore, in fact we need to cut our friendship and not allow our children to play anymore." She went as far as to make sure our children were not in the same primary classes together.  Now, to most people this story sounds cruel and unbelievable but for me it changed my life.  I never wanted to be "that" person.  From that day forward, I chose happiness.  Well I have to admit, not everyday since then has been "HAPPY" actually far from it, however, I've learned to find something to learn from each experience that comes into my life.  We may not all agree on the parenting skills of others, or what our passions are but I believe we can all agree living happy is far better than the opposite.

My teenage years were fun with my friends Linda and Jami, I loved them so much and always found happiness, a joy in their presence, mostly because we were girls who made good choices and lived the rules and regulations not only of our faith but also our family rules.  As I have thought about this question,"What is Happiness" the past 8 months I have deliberately made a decision to not allow negative influences impact my life.  (The loss of a family member or family excluded), I allow myself grief but with that being said, I also believe the Lord wants us to be happy while we are alive and that we are promised a life happy after death, so happiness is never taken from us in life or death.  We are the ones who make those decisions, "will I be happy today? or will I be angry or sad?" I found after putting this purposely to action when I walked or ran on the treadmill I am either reading a book or watch the TV in front of me, more than likely I listen to music on an Ipod.  I noticed the difference, when a few years a go after finishing my chemo and radiation treatments my doctor told Eric and I it was time for me to look at my bucket list and start doing them.  We first chose to go to Paris, my husband speaks fluent french and it was a place I always wanted to go.  While in Paris I found my "happy place": Porte Jaune, we were in nature riding bikes being forced to see the Lords creations, to pay attention.  I believe getting back in touch with nature provides endless abundance of happiness. We stopped and picked fresh flowers and berries, we sat and watch as an older generation of men played a game of horseshoes or chess. Children holding handing with their parents giggling so contagiously we had to see what was going on, it was a fish in the stream they were concentrating on for  what seemed to be  15 minutes. Eric and I then joined in their happiness. Every surgery I have gone through before I go into the OR Eric says, now go to your "happy place, I'll meet you there" Do you have a happy place?
the man feeding birds-so peacefully enjoying his day

MY HAPPY PLACE IN FRANCE Porte Jaune

with my favorite frenchy--selfies 
  I am a Facebook, Instagram contiributor, I enjoy hearing the good things my friends are doing, or knowing that I need to pray for a family in need, however, I too believe too much time can be spent on those things. For me, I have made it a habit to read from a good book, or listen to a positive CD or music.  I have turned my car into a NO PHONE ZONE and will always be listening to self help or inspirational stations, or CD's.  Once I have done what I need to do to feed my own soul, then I will check in on FB or IG.
On my nightstand--tried to edit out the pill bottles sorry
I loved this so much, I gave the CD and book
to all of my son in laws, my son and husband

This is the book that can change
your perspective

Something I love to do this book
is a good way to change your
attitude towards the blessings
you have in your life-and share
it with others


You're never too young to learn how to
live
a happy life
In the most recent Live Happy Magazine I read "Does Happiness Matter?"  We've all heard that success won't bring happiness. But have you ever heard that the reverse is true? Choosing happiness is not just the right thing to do--it's the smart thing to do for your health, relationships, and believe it or not your business. A Harvard study proved happiness fuels success, happier people are healthier, and live longer, they are more satisfied in their relationships, and they experience less stress.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had two different doctors ask me a series of questions one of the 1st questions asked was "did you have any childhood trauma or unneeded stress, or did anything significantly difficult happen to you as a child?" Whoa--that question threw me for a loop, I did not want to admit it, but yes I did live 25 years of total stress, and trauma,  keeping secrets, pretending to be a "Happy Family" if I didn't do that,  I would be the blame for a hurt I knew my mom could not handle, so I kept it in until I was 29. Besides a family history the only other symptom I had was stress--Letting that go and not only being true to myself, but true to my family has been a mixture of emotions--It not only opened up a huge wound, it put a lot of stress on my husband and family.  Being the optimistic, I actually thought confronting this issue was going to finally change my life for good, and we could get some family help, I was wrong.

My life from that time forward changed, it took time, I had to go through every emotion and allow myself to feel pain, hurt, anger, guilt until finally after many years I was able to forgive and feel what joy and happiness, I mean true happiness is.  I began taking my children for walks, going to the park, and being the mother I always wanted to have.  I changed, I made a difference by being involved with my children, I did not do the best job but I did OK, and I know my children are going to be even better than I am as a mother.  So the answer to the Question "Does Happiness Matter?" a huge resounding YES it does.

http://goodthinkinc.com/2012/01/harvard-business-review-positive-intelligence/

Researchers have found that "getting in touch" "earthing" "grounding" or "connecting with nature" regardless of what we call it, There is an obvious connection with a person's "we'll being, as well as our physical well being. So how do we start? One thing I have learned personally, there are like I mentioned before, some people who are naturally born with a happy positive attitude. I myself was not, I have had to work on this continually.  Many times children are born into a family that is very structured and teaches them organization, which in many associations in life and at home is very important.  I always wondered how people who taught their children at home could do it....I would of said to my kids "OK let's go to the park, or a movie, then we'll come home and do our math" In other words I am not a structured person--I love spontaneity--I look forward to doing small things for other people, I love to help people in need (which sometimes blows up in my face)  I believe a person who leads with a positive mood is contagious, I would rather surround myself with uplifting, positive, compassionate people than the person who never has a good thing to say, or is a pessimist.

8 months ago my mother passed away I was not close to her and had a difficult time understanding her thinking.  I decided at that moment I was going to take the next few months and do a kind service or something nice for for someone, anyone.  What I did first was get a clicker I carried in my hand, every time a negative thought came into my mind or out of my mouth I clicked. After a week I decided to check out the clicker.....oh boy was I disappointed, there were more clicks than I wanted to have. Now what do I do? I knelt and prayed that night and asked the Lord to please help me to change those thoughts and actions.  I've always been a little bit scared to ask the Lord for these types of helps, because if you ask for help He will give you more oppositions to increase your accomplishment of mastering this trial you have. So knowing this I pondered why I wanted to do this.
I reset the clicker and started clicking all of the service and good things I had done,  good thoughts or comments I had expressed to others, unexpectedly after a week I took a look at my clicker surprising my positive thoughts and service had tripled in numbers. I bought 100 clickers and give them to all the people who want to work with my Nerium team--one week doing the negative, one week the positive, then make the adjustments,  I started writing down my goals for the day, the week and finally the month. I check it everyday and re-evaluate whether those goals are realistic, in other words I don't set myself up for failure.  Failure isn't  falling down, it;s refusing to get back up.  I've learned if I had never experienced failure, pain or hurt, I would not appreciate the great blessings I have in my life.
Without ever feeling sorrow or trials--
you would never know what success
and happiness is.

Think  Happy-Be Happy-and the success
will come--it's more important for you
to love yourself love your life and be happy
with who you are, than it is to struggle for
financial freedom, this secondary to
your living happy

Being astonished by the results of my positive week, I continued with the clicking method and I keep track of those happy thoughts and how they effected not only me but others.  When I started this experiment I was 50 years old (essentially half my life over) Imagine if the people in the world all wore happiness clickers.  I am a partner in a company called Nerium International, one of the reasons I joined was they were on the same thought pattern as myself. You may ask what types of things do I do to help others have a happy day.  I started very slowly by opening a door for an elderly person who could not reach the door handle at Mayo Clinic. One day I was at a grocery store where all the floral's that
morning were being thrown out because they had a few brown spots on them, I asked the manager if it were OK for me to take a few, his response was "take them all", and I did.  I then went to a local park and began handing them out to all the people who walked by me, I  loved this, everyone had a smile. I went one morning and picked up trash that had been blown into the field where our children play soccer, I bought groceries for a family I knew needed them and dropped them on their door step, I bought lifesavers took them to a cancer facility and gave them to all the cancer patients, I gave a man a ride who was hitching, when I drove up and picked him up, he said "why are you helping me, no blonde woman has ever given me a ride, usually I hop in the back of a workers truck" I was listening to  inspirational music, he asked me if I was scared, I said "should I be? do you have a gun or knife?" he said 'no' then I said "then you should be scared" and we both laughed BTW MY FAMILY WAS NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS ONE. I don't regret it.  Giving a smile to an unhappy person, telling someone  you love their blouse or outfit, does world of good and does not cost a thing. I remember a guy who was in chemo every time I was there, he looked so sad one week I brought him a bag of kisses, with a note, the smile on his face was priceless and we remained friends through email until one week he was not there anymore.....I cried the whole way home, but realized he is happy now, he won his battle--he gets to  continue his journey in happiness just not from earth.  I choose everyday to see happiness in others, I've found since doing this I get the rewards of contentment, no regrets, and simple joy. If you want to make the world a better place join the live happy movement today it's free to sign up and you will not believe the map you can follow of you paying forward, and then them paying forward it's global and I love it.  http://Monya.mylivehappy.com/happy-reach  go to this link and start today, it's free and so fun, when you get to the website click on join now from my website, so we can keep a count on the map of how many people we have reached.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Getting on my nerves

I am so grateful to all my friends and family who have tugged, pulled, pushed and prayed for me while I was at the Cleveland Clinic.  7 weeks I was away from my family, I missed my grandchildren so much.....my children too, but mostly Eric,  Recker and Ezra---they have  my heart.  There was no way Eric could be away from work for that long, and honestly I had no idea I would be there for so long, it took 2 weeks to get all the testing done, then another 2 weeks for all the surgeons to get there schedules  to coordinate, by the time all this was done I had a week left and made the decision to stay, I think I was so afraid of going home and not coming back.  Eric was able to be there for my surgery, I am so grateful to US Airways for offering to pay for his round trip, Eric would of never missed my surgery, he's been there for everyone of them and has been such a blessing in my life.  I have always said I work for the best company ever, US Airways.  My supervisor and manager are incredible people, with integrity and support for all who work for them. Thank you US Airways.
When I left for Cleveland Clinic I had a pic line in my arm and could not change the dressings on it nor was I able to do my own transfusions, that were needed to be done every 12 hours. For this reason I was blessed with Diana Lents to come with me, she gently took care of those things for me and having a nursing background was able to ask all the questions I didn't know to ask.  Her family is from Ohio and they were so gracious to allow me a stranger to stay in their home to save on hotel bills.

             
John and Angel     
I'm sure they were glad to see us leave, but still never was I uncomfortable or treated with such respect.  I will always be endured to them for their Christ like service in taking a stranger into their home. I miss them, Angel would always read me a scripture a day to help keep my hopes up, and my testimony of Jesus Christ alive--thank you Angel.  John, he is a true gentleman with unwavering love for his wife a true Angel in all rights of the word, and for his children and recently born twin grandchildren.  He is a full  on Yankees lover, but I won't hold that against him.  He kept his composure very well when I told him I didn't care for Derek Jeter.  

Another angel who came to visit me was PK's mother, she is such a lovely woman and I was blessed to spend some time with her. I loved talking with her and could see that she has a sincere heart,
no wonder her son is my favorite doctor ever.
Evgenya Kreymerman




I cannot explain how happy I am to be home with my family, when Recker sees me he always makes sure he looks at my ankle where my stitches are, I was afraid he was going to pull on them but he doesn't he just stares at them and then stares at my face as if to say "I'm sorry bonbon"
This is where they took nerves from
 These little stinkers are getting on my nerves, excuse the pun. When I put any body weight on that foot an electrical shock shoots through my foot and up my leg. My foot and ankle are so swollen I can't elevate it, because when I do the electrical shocks are too much for me to handle.
Nurse Diana Lents--can't thank her enough.
 We could of hired any nurse to come with me, but I was blessed to have Diana and even more blessed to have her family welcome me into their home and care for me until I could go home.
best welcome home ever I love my family
Oh how I missed my family, no one can ever replace the love a family has for one another, and when one of those special spirits are gone for any length of time, we miss them deeply and gain a new appreciation for them, I'm so glad we are eternally bound to each other, I would not want it any other way. I love you Kayla, Jeremy, Recker, Ezra, Blake and Chloe, Kaitlyn and Brian, Haleigh and Scott.
Eric I saved for last, he has a sweetheart, not too many people get to see him the way  I do.  What a blessing it is to be married to someone who you never want to be without.

Dr. Haberkamp--so happy all the time

Dr. Gastman--energizer bunny

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beauty is from within

I'm not sure where to start.  It's difficult for me to type, but I know I need to record what has happened this past week. I was so happy when Eric came for my surgery, he makes everything better, we have never been apart for this long and it has been hard on both of us. 7 weeks of waiting is a difficult road to ride.  I read my new Live Happy Magazine over and over Knowing I Can Make A
Difference--figuring out how was the hard part.

On July 3rd I arrived at the Cleveland Clinic around 5:30 am, Eric and Diana were with me.  As I paced the floor not wanting anyone to talk to me or touch me, I realized I was having a panic attack and prayed to Heavenly Father to take this pain and anxiety away. He did, and I was soon off to the OR, to get dressed in the hospital gown--It doesn't matter what hospital you're in, the robes are all the same.
Before Eric came back to see me off to surgery, I said several quick prayers asking Heavenly Father to watch over the surgeons hands, and if it be His will that he would allow me to heal from this odd, unexpected trial I was facing.  I wanted to put my head under the pillow and hold it down so I can scream, cry and forge through this quickly.

Frenchy sending me off to surgery

Ready for Surgery with Diana Lents
Eric gave me a kiss on the forehead as they wheeled me into the OR, it was difficult to maintain my composure, tears flowed from my eyes and onto my pillow. Down the hallways of Cleveland Clinic I saw a wall that had 30-50 white coats hanging on hooks, I started to cry again.  Those coats belong to doctors, doctors who will come to the hospital,  take their white coat off the hook and go to work. The tears continued to flow as nurses came up to me asking what they could do for me--I shook my head back and forth,  and watched them walk away not knowing what to do.  I just wanted them to put me out and get going on this surgery. I always look forward to going to my Happy Place in Paris Port Jaune, Eric and I pick wild flowers, ride bikes and have a picnic, leaving the rest of the world and worries behind.  I'm ready to move on with the surgery and hopefully put this chapter to rest,

This picture still brings me to tears, Eric is the
most positive person I know--thank you Frenchie
I woke up in recovery with a lot of pain, I was trying to process where the pain was coming from, as the Nurse said "Mrs. Williams time to wake up, do you know where you are?" "how many fingers am I holding up?" It was then that I realized the surgery was over, my immediate response was to touch my head, to see what damage had been done. It was an 11 hour surgery, lots of anesthesia, blood, and what's this? a neck brace--I'm confused--Eric and Diana came into recovery, Eric told me I was beautiful. I thought  him saying I was beautiful was so sweet. I knew it wasn't true, how can I be beautiful with blood all over me, a swollen head and staples making their way down my skull like a train track?
Just out of surgery

So happy to be with this guy
a kiss from Frenchy

Going back to my room I kept going in and out of consciousness, not only does Cleveland have bumpy roads, the driver taking me back to the room was bumping into walls and doors.  He also asked me what I would like him to sing for me, really? He wanted to sing, I said OK Luther would be good, so he starting singing  Luther Vandross 'Here and Now' I told him it was beautiful, but not to quit his day job. He put his pointer finger to his mouth as if to shhh me.  We arrived at my room, I had a few minutes before Eric and Diana arrived so I cried a little.  When Eric walked in my room I was overwhelmed with immediate love and peace.  With Eric I don't have to say a word and he knows what I'm thinking sure don't want to disappoint him, He has been my rock and my best friend through all of this nonsense.

 On day 2 at the hospital it was a Holiday..the 4th of July..The doctors on my team sent their residents to visit me.  One resident told me he was there in place of my pain doctor and he would put in orders for  my pain medicine.  Within a half hour my pain was slowly rising to a 6, I beeped for the nurse and asked her for pain medicine.  She said she would get it right away, within a few more minutes my pain rose to a level 7, I beeped for the nurse again asking for pain medicine she then told me the resident did not put any orders in for pain medicine.....WHAT??.. by now I was at a level 8 going on 9....the pain was so bad  I started to cry, then I asked the nurse to please call my husband, I just wanted him there. From this point on, I tried to process happy thoughts, happy moments, sometimes it worked sometimes it just didn't.  I stared at the clock not only waiting for the meds but also wanting Eric to be with me, he always seems to make things better.  I was out of breath and crying so hard trying to catch any breath I can the sweet nurse rubbed my arms and legs trying to help, but she too was crying so we were not getting too far.  I tried to sing "Be still my soul" through the gulps of air, then I sang "Come thou fount" trying to tune my heart to HIM.  I sang "I feel my Saviors Love"
All of the patients in the area I was in had chronic pain.  My room was right in front of the nurses desk so they could watch me and monitor my pain levels. I was staring at the clock and whimpering loudly, out of control.  I was on my own, I felt deserted, left alone, scared and crying the hardest I ever had in my life.  I was yelling in between cries, "why have you ignored my pleas and prayers?" I literally felt this was going to be my last day on earth and I would not be able to say good-bye to Eric. I was inspired before I went into this long surgery to write a letter to give to Eric if needed.
I paged the nurse and asked her if she had gotten in touch with Eric, she said no,  I asked her to please give him this letter in case I didn't make it.
 The other patients in the area where I was were complaining, telling the nurses to get my doctor or move them so they wouldn't have to hear me--I tried so hard to stop crying, the nurses were coming in saying how sorry they were but they couldn't do anything until they heard from the doctor.  I could hear nurses at the station outside of my room, they were laughing and joking with each other.  The cackling of laughter I heard I will never forget.  My desperate cry for help was falling on deaf ears.   After an hour and fifteen minutes the resident came into my room, asking me what pain level I was at..... looking back on that question I say "are you kidding me?" I didn't respond except with a cry and loud scream "please help me" finally the pain medicine was surging through my veins  with purpose and strength. I handed him my Live Happy Magazine and asked him to read this book with a humble heart.  When I could finally speak without a pause, I didn't want to, I just wanted Eric.  I had been waling and gnashing from side to side for an hour and 15 minutes, it took every bit of energy I had,  my heart was racing but my blood pressure was low.  When Eric arrived all was calm, he had no idea except he asked me "sweetheart have you been crying?"  Uh--just a bit, and I could see the hurt in his eyes as I told him,  He said no one ever called him, which now in retrospect it is probably better I've not really seen him get mad, but I'm pretty sure this was not going to be acceptable behavior, and I know he would of gone crazy seeing me in that much pain.

Today I had my post op appointments with the surgeons, they told me my ear looks great and everything is healing perfectly, still I am in a lot of pain and I just want to go home.
I was told I can go home, and that I will need to see the doctor once a week for the next few weeks, then at 2 months we will see how the nerve in my face has regenerated. The doctors told me this type of major surgery with nerves takes at least 6-8 months to see results, so patience is going to be my middle name.  Tonight I am exhausted from the appointments, I am grateful for my doctors and I am looking forward to seeing my family.  The happiness I feel in my heart far out weighs the horrible experience I had at the hospital.  I'm going to live happy with the results of my surgery no matter what.
Happiness comes from within and is found in the present moment  by making peace with the past and looking forward to the future.  I believe Eric was right when he said "you are beautiful" I'm learning that beauty is from within us, I choose to be happy and not let the new look define who I am.


I think I look terrible here, but my sister
said, "well you have no wrinkles, Nerium
is working"  




I was able to send those beautiful nurses who took such great care of me the Live Happy Magazine, with a note telling them how grateful I was for them during such a difficult time.








Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I feel my Savior's Love

 Rainbows, always show up when I need a sign from Heavenly Father
that he here's me.  They are magnificent to me.

Well, I'm here again the night before a major surgery hoping and praying this time I've been away from my family, will prove to be worth it.  Making decisions without Eric or the kids to help me has really been hard to do.  I feel like every hour I need to say a silent prayer to the Lord to bless me with a light, something that can feed my brain with knowledge.  Then I ask to help me be still enough, to hear what He is trying to teach me. 
 I know change, and fears of change, have been clearly on my mind.  I've been walking around with a patch on my right eye, I hope the drops I've put in it night and day along with the patch 22/7 was enough to not have to have a cornea transplant.  The time I've spent here alone has given me time to really reach down and ask some gut wrenching questions. One is, can I live a quality life with my face the way it is right now? Am I confident enough to live the rest of my life having people stare, to here children say to their parents "what is wrong with that ladies face, or eye?" I've had a few even ask me themselves, I just tell them I have a boo boo. 
These past 5 weeks in Cleveland I've gotten inner strength I never thought I had.  I wish I could understand His plan for me.  I've read my scriptures, and Preach My Gospel chapter 6, everyday trying to be lead to a place I need to be, asking and begging Him to teach me what I need to do, so that I can return and live with Him one day. I'm not sure how I'm doing in that area, this is just so darn hard. I know I need to hold on to everything I know to be true and not let go.  Those things I know are so precious to me and can never be taken from me. I've had many spiritual experiences since my 1st surgery at Mayo.  The Lord loves me enough to give me a glimpse into my future, it is beautiful, every time I wake up, I want to go back, but I'm always told "It's not your time, you must return and finish your journey" 
I received a text from a friend today, (I don't want to reveal her name she knows who she is) she said she had been thinking of me but didn't quite know the right words to say. She then said I hope you are able to get the answers your looking for, if it is the Lord's will.  When I read that part, I have not been able to get it off my mind....what is the Lord's will for me? Even I don't know the answer to that. She brought up the fact she has been the caregiver of 2 sons who have been struggling with health issues, she said something else that has stuck in my head...she said she would gladly take their pain on herself so these boys would not have to feel it.  This reminded me of the feelings our Heavenly Father must have when He sees his children struggling, He easily could take our pain away, but for some reason He never does, why is that?  I believe He wants us to learn to rely on Him fully, give Him all we have then sit back and have FAITH, have enough HOPE in Him to make miracles happen, or be strong enough to accept what is being presented to us, and find a way to live a happy life in whatever circumstances we are faced with.

I also received a text from my sweet Haleigh Bear:
H: "mom when are you coming home.?
M:"Good question, it all depends on how well the surgery goes. I'm praying it'll all go great so I can go home this weekend. I'm really scared.
H: We miss you so much, I pray for you every morning and night and I have faith that the surgery will go well. Don't be scared Heavenly Father is always looking over you, and dad will be there.
M; yes I'm looking forward to seeing him, this is the longest we have ever been away from each other.  He's the only one who knows how to calm me when I get those anxiety attacks while I'm waiting for surgery, I just don't want to ever feel that extreme pain from the nerve, ever again"

I wonder if I have kept my promises to Him.  When I was about 14 I promised the Lord if He would get me out of the situation I was in, I would promise to live a life of pure intent, I would share His
Gospel with others, I would study and share with others how to live a happy life, no matter what. I don't think these past 5 years is exactly what I had in mind.  When I look in the mirror, I don't see what He sees.  I know He see's the heart inside me, and He knows how much strength I have, He has shown me I can handle any trial that I face.  He's always been there right beside me, I know when I kneel down to pray to Him, He always answers back, it's not always the answer I want, or the timing is not always when I want it to be.  I truly believe in Miracles, and He is the only one who can make those happen.
Going into this surgery, I feel all alone, even though Eric is here, I feel like I am in a negotiation with the Lord for my life.  The anxiety I am feeling for this surgery is different from what I have felt with other surgeries.  I'm far away from home, and I just have to keep remembering no matter where I am, He is always there just one prayer away.  I feel like this road is getting longer and longer, harder and harder to maintain calm.  My heart is beating in my chest, I don't know if I can ask Him to take that away.  I realize my life is forever changed, and I will never be the same again, I hope I can be a better version of myself, even with my face disfigured, I know who I am, and I know the kind of person I want to be.  As a person who has witnessed what Heaven feels like, I cannot deny what I know to be true.  I know the Lord has a plan for me, I just need to figure out what that is.
Tonight as I lie down to sleep: I feel my Savior's love,  His gentleness enfolds me, and when I kneel to pray my heart is filled with peace, He knows I will follow Him, give all my life to Him,  I feel my Savior's love, the love He freely gives me.