Monday, December 31, 2012

Negotiations With the Lord

Are we allowed to negotiate with God?  I'm a little fearful of this question, but still want to know.  I remember being 14 years old and begging Heavenly Father during a prayer I was having to please get me out of this situation I was in, and I,  in return, would try my hardest to be good person.  HE DID.

I also pleaded with the Lord when I was diagnosed with cancer,  to please let me live long enough to see my son come home from his mission. HE DID.

Once Blake got home,  I asked again to please let me live long enough to see Haleigh find the love of her life and get married in the Temple, she's engaged to be married in March.

When Eric's mother was alive she told me that she was given a blessing when she was diagnosed with breast cancer,  all she asked was that she please be allowed to see her boys return from missions.  She went into a remission for approximately 14 years, when Kurt,  the youngest boy came home from his mission her cancer came back within a few months and she passed away.

It's been 3 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and 3 years since my 1st negotiations started.  I have a feeling negotiations are going to come to an end.  I promised my family I would make some decisions about moving forward with health issues after the Holidays, and the "Holidays" are coming and going too soon, I'm not ready. However, I did put it on my calendar to make an appointment with my pain doctor at Mayo Clinic --which means its on my calendar to call them, and I will.

I'm making some progress as we wind down this year, and start into 2013.  I have an appointment at the Mayo Clinic on Friday January 4th with my new endocrinologist Dr. Roust. I saw Dr. Magitbay (my gyno oncologist) a couple of weeks ago and he said things look good.  I know it's baby steps towards some answers, but I'm making them.  I also have some tests on the calendar--YAY--can you hear the sarcasm?  My family will be happy.

This time of year brings on a lot of emotions for me,  and has for years.  It used to be because I was not with my mom and sharing the holidays with her, knowing she would be alone, and that she chose to not soften her heart.  Now, I appreciate the Holidays, I love the spirit it brings into my heart.  3 years ago my friends and family put up all my Christmas decorations while I threw up and felt the pain of chemo raging through my body.  I don't think I have given enough attention or appreciation for what Eric and the rest of my family was going through at that time.

 I often times talk to the caregivers where I volunteer,  one common thread that I have noticed is that they feel helpless, often times feeling angry but not exactly knowing who to be angry with or why they are angry.  Recently I received an email from one of our patients caregivers, she wanted to know if it was "normal" to feel the anger she was feeling after the loss of her friend, she wanted to know what she could of done to better serve her friend.  There is no NORMAL to life when you are struck with a diagnosis of cancer.  I have learned from volunteering that more often then not people who are going through this journey, process it completely different than their caregivers.    I'm so grateful I have the opportunity to volunteer, so many people have said to me "why would you want to be around that environment, after all you've been through?" to those people I always smile and say "why wouldn't I?" I'm learning more about myself and my sweet husband (the caregiver) from volunteering then I would of ever learned anywhere else.  I am so thankful for Eric, he was the best caregiver I could of ever had during my treatments, and he continues to be strong and the best cheerleader for me as I visit Mayo Clinic.

So as I ask the question "are we allowed to negotiate with the Lord?" my conclusion is and always has been, we are not in control of our lives, we can make promises and I believe the Lord will keep his promises to us, but life happens, all around us are people who need our attention and need our love, we may not understand why some trials come into our lives, I sure don't,  but I do believe at least for me,  I have learned so much about myself these past few years, I don't want to go back there, however, the experience has softened my heart and helped me to be a more compassionate person, and if you know me well you know this is a great accomplishment for me.  

2013--bring it on--even with that number 13 I detest--

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's a wonderful life



Believe it or not I have never seen the movie "It's a wonderful life" my sister Sonya has always watched it every year and encourage me to do the same, but until this year I never took her up on that challenge.  We went to the Cinemark  movie theater in Tempe as a family to watch it on the big screen.    WOW, what a fantastic old movie, even in black and white I was mesmerized by the story and truly enjoyed it.

Sometimes, we all get down on ourselves and forget to recognize the good we do, even the little things can change a life.  I have often thought "what if, and should I have done this different, or why did I do that?"  I have not always believed that people come into our lives for a reason or that some of the trials or even joys we have in our lives are meant to be, they just happen.  I no longer believe this to be true, of course we have agency to choose good or bad choices, but they always come with a consequence. Agency is never FREE.  I have a feeling if any of us were to be in the same position as George (It's a wonderful Life) and we were given the opportunity to see what the world would of been like if we were never born, we would all be surprised at the little things we do on a daily basis that has changed someones life.  Our lives do matter not only to us and our families but to the everyday person we pass on the street or see in the store.  Maybe a smile or a simple "hello can I help you" would and could change a life.

Christmas Eve, we had all of our children and spouses over for dinner, the only instructions I gave them was to be prepared to share a story of Christmas or one of their most memorable Christmas's.  I opened by reading "The Christmas Train" by Thomas S. Monson. Then I shared a few of my favorite Christmas memories, one being from when I was a child, I remember my mother gave me a white Holy Bible with my name inscripted  on the front, I thought I was never going to stop smiling, I still have that Bible. One other story was about when Eric and I were dating, his mom bought me a gift but could not find where she had put it, she searched and searched and felt so badly thinking she had thrown it out with the garbage on accident.  I never cared about that gift, but I did care about that fact that I knew she loved me, she always showed me love and genuine compassion, to me that alone was worth more than anything she could of bought from a store.  The last story I told was when Blake was on his mission, that very 1st Christmas, I was going through my chemo treatments, oh how I missed him and honestly was not feeling well, not knowing if I would ever see him again made my heart hurt, but hearing his voice on Christmas day I think was the best Christmas gift I have ever been given.

Haleigh, my youngest daughter just got engaged a few days before Christmas to Scott Bigalow.  He told a story about his father dying when he was only 8 years old, before that time his dad was always the one who provided the mountain bikes and fun gifts for the boys, but the year he died was Christmas he said he would never forget.  They had no money and I'm sure his mom was  worried about how she would pay for food and utilities, in other words Christmas gifts were probably not on the top of the list of things to do.  One night his family was home and they heard noises outside, they all ran to see what was going on, it was Brad Wardrop hanging Christmas lights on their home.  He was a neighbor and close friend of the family. As tears ran down Scott's face I wondered if Brad even knew what an impact he had made on this kid.

Blake told stories from his mission, tears filled his eyes when he talked about those two Christmas's away from his home, but one in particular that really left a lasting impression on him. He said it was a Christmas he will never forget, the best Christmas he has ever had and surprisingly it had nothing to do with gifts he received, but service he was able to give.

My son in law Brian, never cries in 4 years Kaitlyn said she has only cried once, when his grandmother passed away.  I was impressed with his ability to see past all of the "fun" in Christmas. The 1st words out of his mouth were "my heart hurts tonight for all of the mothers and fathers who will have a hard time going to  sleep not knowing how they will provide a memorable Christmas for their children" I immediately put a blanket over my face as not to look at him while he cried, he could hardly speak, and I was weeping underneath my blanket, saying a prayer,  one for all of those families, and two telling Heavenly Father thank you for my family, we are truly blessed, I am blessed to have such wonderful son in laws and a beautiful daughter in law who also lost her mother in December of 2009.

They all shared stories and thoughts, by the end of the night there were no dry eyes, we made a family goal for 2013 said a family prayer and ate cheesecake.

I truly do have a wonderful life.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where was God?


As our country is mourning the loss of 20 kindergarten children who were so tragically gunned downed and killed in their classroom, the question has come up "Where was God?" One of the most ignorant things I think I have ever heard came out of the mouth of Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association:

"Where was God when all this went down? and here's the bottom line: God is not gonna go where he is not wanted....We've kicked God out of our public schools system, and I think God would say, "Hey I'll be glad to protect your children, but you've gotta invite me back into your world first, I'm not gonna go where I'm not wanted, I'm a gentleman"

This quote broke my heart to hear, I believe God has never left me behind during any tragedy I have been through, and he did not leave that school because a mad young man made a choice to take the lives of innocent children.  I also believe we are here on earth to prove ourselves worthy to live with him again, we were all given agency to choose right from wrong when we came to this earth to live. If that agency was taken away every time a tragedy was about to happen, there would be no growing or learning on our parts, there would be no progression. LIVE LEARN AND GROW

 Yes, I believe in miracles and I think they happen everyday, and yes, I believe our Heavenly Father can prevent some tragedies from happening and more than likely he has done this more times than we know, however, to make a comment that God is too much of a gentleman to prevent those children from being killed is absolutely ignorant.  God is not a proud man, he is meek and humble.  I think it is sad some Americans have decided to take God out of our school system, but those are just words removed from an allegiance we made as a country, no one can take God out of our hearts, we feel him, we know of his love for us and all of his children, he will never leave us.  These are things that should be taught in the home, not in a school.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

O-r-a-n-g-e


video


I never thought the word Orange would have such a wonderful impact on me.  My
grandson, Recker, has autism, today is his 3rd birthday.    He is non verbal-yet I enjoy every second I have with him. There are times he takes me by the hand leads me into a room and expects me to know what he wants, sometimes I'm smart enough to figure out he wants a cookie or sucker (and of course I give it to him) shhh don't tell Kayla, other times I am clueless and feel helpless.

Kayla was able to enroll Recker in a preschool, he started a couple of weeks ago.  The 1st day was rough on mom and Recker, tears filled my eyes as she relived the moment she dropped him off, the fear and terror on his face must of been difficult for her to leave him.  Those couple of weeks have proven to be one of the most important decisions of her and Jeremy's life.  Recker now knows how to point to what he needs, he brought an orange to Kayla, she pointed to it and said the word "orange" then the most wonderful word I have ever heard out of a child's mouth came the the word "o r a n g e"  we shouted for joy and cried all at the same time--he did it, he finally said his first word and we got it on video.

Everyday is a great day with Recker, but this day was even more special.
Learning how to rip open a gift

John Deere Trucks from Aunt Kaitlyn and Uncle Brian
every boys dream
Dinner at Spinatos, Canoli for the Birthday Boy

And what's a Canoli without
Lightening McQueen?

Three years ago when Recker was born I never imagined what happiness this little guy could bring to my life, he makes me want to be a better wife, mother and friend.  He is most definitely my motivation in life to take another step forward.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What is your love Language? Viola.

Besides one other time while I was going through my chemo treatments have I felt the spirit of Eric's mom so strongly as I did last night when I attended the Temple.  My favorite women of all time was sitting in the chair smiling so big from ear to ear, she looked me in the eyes nodded her head as if to say with those big blue eyes piercing through my soul "I love you, you will make the right decisions, I'm here for you" I looked back after slowly walking by, not wanting this moment to end and she was gone, it was just another cute lady sitting there greeting people.



Dang it I miss her, I know without a doubt when I pass through the veil to the other side (hopefully Heaven since I know that is where she is) Vi will be the 1st to embrace me, then her eternal companion, my father in law Ray Williams--I love them so dearly and have often had to humble myself knowing I would never want to disappoint them.

I had another incredible spiritual experience last night as I attended the Temple, one in which I will have to record in another journal that is not so public.  I'm grateful for the knowledge that Families can live together forever in Eternity together.

Another realization came this week, when I had lunch with a friend.  It was mentioned to me that we all "love differently" I have never thought about it the way it was so humbly explained.  Each of us are taught to love as the Savior did, unconditional right?  There has only been one person in my life I have ever met who has been able to successfully do this Viola Williams, I literally never heard a sore word about another come out of her mouth, she was constantly serving others as the Savior did, and in the end she died quietly in pain with breast cancer, leaving a legacy of complete understanding of our Saviors plan for her family to carry on.  I want, no I need to be more like her example.

The fact is my friend is correct we all do love differently, think about the people around you, the in your family, church groups, workout groups are they all the same? No, we all show our love in a different way, some are comfortable hugging and saying "I Love You" (that is me) some may care and love for you but not want to be touched or hugged, some show love by giving gifts, some by words of affirmation and appreciation, some want to hold on to their children and never let them experience the circle of life (this would be Eric)  AT the end of the day when we all understand how we love it is so much easier to accept and truly love the ones around us, just as the Savior did.  Thank you my friend for teaching me this principle.

Monday, November 26, 2012

CHANGE

 What did I learn this year?  Change is inevitable!  Sometimes I love it and most times I'm uncomfortable with it.  I'm sitting on my bed thinking about all that has changed in my life the past year, how much I can control and what I could not.

It's been a year now that I have been volunteering , this experience has brought great joy to me.  Interacting with patients who, as we read this are agonizing over burned skin,  bald heads, and medicines they can't even pronounce, trying with all their heart to survive and enjoy another holiday season with the people who mean the most to them, family and close friends.  I have tried to learn from those people who have entered and exited my life this past year, some survivors and some not so blessed.  The most important lesson I've learned from these wonderful people is that life is precious, not meant to be taken lightly.  Every person who I have met this past year has dealt with their journey differently, some have embraced it and some have turned themselves into angry not pleasant people, however, even those people I love and have learned great lessons from.  I also love all the men and women that I work with at the cancer center, they are caring and compassionate, exactly what I would of wanted when I was going through my radiation treatment.

Another change in my life came when I realized it was time to give up holding on to the thought of ever running a marathon--I am not going to ever be able to fulfill that dream of mine--but I have come to grips with that reality and now I embrace  those who I can watch run, I can cheer them on from the sidelines with a smile on my face, I can close my eyes and envision myself crossing the finish line when I see friends do it for me.  I loved watching the Olympics this year, while being engrossed in the gymnastics, soccer, cycling, and  swimming, my favorite was track and field I was sad when it all came to an end, when some of these athletes were finished for the final time.  I was touched by Michael Phelps, he has grown up so much, he announced he will not be competing in an Olympic event again, tears filled my eyes, he was encouraging to his team mates as he passed on the torch.  Somethings just have to come to an end, as sad as it can be life goes on.

We added a daughter in law to our Williams family journey--we love Chloe she brings out the best in Blake.  I've always thought he would be a great husband and father, with Chloe I know he can be himself, they will be wonderful parents. (someday, not making any announcements)

Changes with my  children have been difficult to live through, it's difficult being a parent when you want happiness for every one of your children, you know exactly how they can accomplish it, however, they don't see it exactly the way you do.  If I had my way they would all live at home with us, if Eric had his way they would all move out and be on their own, I guess that is just a maternal thing Heavenly Father has cursed and blessed me with.  I get so lonely without my children around, I was extremely sad when Katilyn and Brian moved out and Haleigh moved to Utah--I miss hearing them come in the house and yell "mom?" changes are hard on me.

When Mitt Romney lost the election I mourned for a couple of days, I fear for what is going to happen to our country.  I really thought Romney was going to win, I don't lose well.  The night of the election I went to my room, while the rest of the family waited and paced the floors downstairs, I was in my room watching a recorded session of General Conference, I could not watch the election.  I said my prayers went to bed and found out in the morning.  This is one change I really wanted to happen.

 Friday,  Eric and I got home after spending some time together and all my children were here except for Hales.  I got a text from Kaitlyn asking when we were going to be home, and that my favorite person was there waiting to see me, I knew it must be Recker, or it could of been Kaitlyn Brian, Kayla, Jeremy, Blake, Chloe, surprise to me it was all of the above.  They decided they wanted to have a little intervention with me, there were some tears and emotions were high as they told me their feelings about me moving forward and dealing with my health.  I had no idea they even knew I was struggling with this, I know they don't read my blog and I am not good at communicating to them because I don't want to worry them any more than they already have been.

 I got tears in my eyes when Blake said "mom, you can't give up you have to fight, Heavenly Father wants you to fight, we want you to fight"  Then Chloe told us about when her mom was sick with cancer, she kept things from Chloe, not wanting to worry her.  She continued, telling us as tears rolled down her cheeks she wished her mother had shared more of what was happening so she could of been  a part of her life while she was still alive.    I reassured them all that I am NOT dying, well at least not today ha ha, but that I would appreciate them letting me have until after the Holidays to talk about what I plan to do moving forward.  Then Eric, Jeremy, Brian and Blake gave me a special blessing.  I will never forget the words of my son as he lay his hands on my head and ask the Lord to help me feel peace and comfort.

Change comes in many forms, and is truly inevitable in our life.  As much as I want life to be normal, I understand "normal" is CHANGE.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Visit with Doctor Peter Kreymerman AGAIN

I have stayed away from my blog for a few weeks, I consider my personal thoughts here on this blog to be sacred, I simply have had nothing to say.

Last week I had several appointments at Mayo Clinic, tests and exams continue to be a normal part of my life.  It has been really frustrating. My hip pain is back in full force, a bone test was done and the spot is still there, time for another cortisone shot.  After going to my oncologist office last week, MaryAnn told me that my blood work looks good right now, but wanted to know what I have decided as far as treatment on my thyroid.  I do not have an answer for her, however I told her my concern about the Dr. I had been seeing, she agreed if I feel the way I do that I need to change my doctor and do it asap.  I'm working on that, but want to stay at the Mayo Clinic.

Some new things going on, a few of weeks ago my right breast had a lump and it started to turn red.  I was really thinking the cancer was taking over again but decided to wait to see my oncologist so he could look at it.  MaryAnn looked at it and said it was a breast infection, and that I should see plastics.  Yesterday, I made a visit to Dr. Peter Kreymerman.  I thought I was done seeing him, and yes I still love him.  He explained to me how important it is to let them know when I have something like this going on, any time I have an infection in my body (UTI, sinus infection etc even dental procedures) it can go straight to my breast and attach itself to my implant, when and if this happens I could be back in the OR with him getting my implants out. (my thought when he told me this was "who cares?, take them out") I am now on an antibiotic hoping the infection will go away.  Like always, I learned something from Doctor Peter Kreymerman (PK) and I am reassured once again why I love Mayo Clinic, my doctors do care about my health and want me to take every precaution to prevent more appointments and surgeries than needed.  I have a great team of Doctors, and although I never thought I would be seeing Dr. PK again it was good to see him.

I know it sounds like I am skipping around the elephant in the room, but really I'm not.  I totally understand what is happening with my body, Eric and I are on the same page and we, together will decide what doctors to see and believe we will be blessed.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

Being overwhelmed with decisions about my health and what direction I should go has been heavy on my mind.  I always rely on the Lord for my answers, but also know that HE allows me a choice.  I've decided I'm not making any choices right now, I know for sure one of my doctors needs to be changed--and a 2nd opinion given.  I am so exhausted from thinking about this 24/7,  so for right now I am not going to do anything, and I am not going to have any regrets.

my view from our condo

another view from our patio

Eric and I are in Mexico, he has gone golfing and I am alone in the condo with nothing but the music and my thoughts.  When I look out the window I'm mesmerized by the waves of the ocean.   This place has been such a great retreat for me.  So many times I have received answers to prayers on this beach, there have been times when it has only been me and the waves, no other person to be seen for miles.

 I hesitated to leave "last minute" with Eric and enjoy 2 days here, I'm glad I did this has been an extremely difficult week.  Now as I look at families enjoying each other all of those worries are gone, and a smile comes to my face.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Perfect in everyway

I took my grandson Recker for a walk last week, as most know he has Autism, diagnosed moderate to severe on the spectrum when he was 16 months.

While he and I walked through the neighborhood I sang primary songs to him, it was a peaceful and relaxing time I was able to spend with him.  I began to sing the song "Called to Serve" when Recker quickly turned his head look me in the eye and shook his head as if to say "no" I'm not sure what he was trying to communicate to me.



My heart sank, at that moment I realized this sweet little boy is perfect in every way, Heavenly Father has a special place for him in Heaven.  I want to be with him, I have much to work on in my personal life if I am going to be with Recker for Eternity.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

So afraid of dying, we forget to LIVE

"For behold, I . . . have suffered these things for all, that they might not
Today while I was at Mayo Clinic I met an extraordinary person someone who I will never forget.  This special man was sharing his death experience with me.  I'm not sure why we were led down this conversational path, however I am so happy we did
I learned today that  many people are so afraid of dying they forget to live.

He taught me a great lesson about death, he actually died and could not be resuscitated.  In a humble way he explained to me his experience, he had a heart attack and the doctors pronounced him dead after working very hard to keep him alive.  While he was dead, he had every emotion run through his body, for every time he had been mean or hurt someone while he was alive he felt what that person felt when he had hurt them.  He told me he felt the sins all over again, ones he had never taken care of or apologized for while he was alive, he told of how the some of the feelings remained with him for short minutes, and some felt like months.  This led me to believe we all have a purpose in this life, we all have a meaning for being here.  Life is not a coincidence and the people we encounter are not mere coincidences.  His life has changed significantly since this experience and he values LIFE, not only his own but how he treats others now. It really was a casual conversation, but one that I will not soon forget.

Tonight, as I think and ponder more about what he said, it makes me shutter to think what our dear elder brother Jesus Christ went through, the physical pain he felt as he Atoned for ALL of our sins.  Dying and coming back to earth is something I have never experienced, listening to this man made me think about my life and the people who I have hurt or judged it makes me sad, I want to take it all back and do it all over again.  What a blessing it is to know I can do just that, I can say I'm sorry,  ask for forgiveness and know that the Lord will do the rest.  Today was exactly what I needed, I have been feeling a little beaten down and defeated lately, I pray tonight I will rest easy wake up in the morning and have a new chance to become better than I was yesterday.

 His experience once again reminded me of the importance of our lives, the responsibility we have to try our hardest to be kind to others and treat them with the respect they deserve, no matter what their religious beliefs are.

 I try really hard to be respectful and listen with an open heart when it comes to other people's religious beliefs--one of the greatest beliefs of the LDS church is that we do not look down on other religions nor do we talk badly about what other religions believe.  I love that you can walk into an LDS chapel anywhere in the world on a Sunday and you will never hear them speaking badly about another religion-- in fact quite the opposite, we are encouraged to be inclusive in our circle of friends and allow others the freedom to believe and live as they see fit for their own lives.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Have You Been Born Again?


Today while at the Mayo Clinic, a man asked me "have you been born again?" It took me by surprise, since I was not even remotely having any type of conversation with him to begin with, however, I answered "why yes, yes I have and thank you for asking"

During the day I have thought about that question and wondered HAVE I BEEN BORN AGAIN?  Not being able to get my mind off of it, I decided that man asked me this question for a reason, not sure what HIS reasoning was but it sure has made me think.

I know in some religious beliefs, people are known to use the term "born again" as meaning they have given their life and self to the Lord.  If that being my belief then I would say "yes I have been born again"

For me, being "born again" means each and every time we are faced with a challenge, (and by a "challenge"  I mean a life altering challenge like being sexually abused or life threatening, divorce, death of a spouse anything that causes your life to change) instead of turning it into a negative force that destroys everything in its path with anger, including your soul, your able to step away, give it time and ask the question "what can I learn from this?" with that being said I think I have been born again several times in my life.

I have been angry, very angry with the man who abused me and the mom who walked away from me.   I have felt the fear of rage take over my whole being to the point of wanting to take my own life. I know what it feels like to have no control over what is happening to my body and to be enraged almost to the point of hatred. I have mourned the death of my brother and blamed myself for the "what ifs"

Every single time I experienced these emotions, they dug deeper and deeper into developing a person who was negative, angry and depressed, taking it all out on others including my own family. The 1st turning point for me was when I faced my fear (my dad) and confronted the abuse--this was my first "born again" moment, it was at that time I realized I cannot control anyone else, how they act, how they respond or even how they lie.  It was at that moment a light bulb went off in my head--"I am in control now, I control how I will respond, how I will learn and how I will teach my children to forgive"  The 2nd "born again" moment was when I had truly forgiven him, when the calm after the storm came, and I knew he could no longer effect me or my children, I wrote an email to him after 16 years of no contact and told him I had forgiven him and that I hoped he was living a happy life--6 months later he died, and I was at his bedside.

I was "born again" when I finally forgave myself for so many things I had done to offend others, after reaching out to them and apologizing truly letting go of my actions and words that had hurt others, I gave it to the Lord and hoped those people would forgive me too.  This included forgiving myself for the death of my brother--

When I was diagnosed with cancer--I was not quite ready to accept this new life I was going to take on, but I was "born again" when I faced it, prayed and pleaded with the Lord to forgive me and help me to be a better person, I KNOW HE DID.

Most recently I was "born again" when I went to the Dominican Republic and lived the life of my missionary son for a couple weeks--He will never know what that meant to me, and how proud I am of the work he accomplished while he was there--what a great experience I can check that one off of my bucket list, but I will never ever forget it--Oh, I love Weeyum, and now appreciate even more the son who came home a man.

All of us, have challenges in our life, and if you say you don't well get ready to have it scheduled on the calendar because the Lord will not put us here on earth without challenging us and testing us, it's just that some people have different challenges than others.

 Recently a dear friend of mine who I greatly admire and love wrote me a loving email, this is  a portion of what it said "I want you to know, Monya, that if I could take 
this on for you and bear
 it instead of you having to bear it,
 I would do it in a minute" and my response to him was "of course you would, because that's the kind of man you are, and one of the reasons I love you and your family so much " but I also said this to him "how can I complain when I'm the one who agreed to live this life?"  We all agreed to live our life, so live it, love it and learn from it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Moving Forward

Surgery was successful, all I remember is going to sleep in the OR on Wednesday and waking up on Monday ha ha.  My days are all off, I  drove all the way to Scottsdale for a doctors appointment I don't have until tomorrow.  I have to admit I loved getting out of my bed and seeing some sunlight.

Today I saw  the Dr. he took out the sutures and the nose brace, but unfortunately for me the stints have to remain up my nostrils for a couple more weeks to give the bones time to heal correctly. I have black and blue around my eyes and cheeks, I've had to control the pain with drugs but am quickly getting off of those. Now I'm dealing with keeping food down, even a few bites of anything. Kayla has been bringing me peanut butter banana smoothies, it may take all day to drink but it tastes good and stays down, so I know I'm getting some protein.

Now isn't that beautiful?
If I'm  completely honest at this very moment I'm feeling a little defeated knowing we have some  serrious decisions to make. Recently I was boo hooing and  venting to a friend, and doing a pretty good job at it too, then she reminded me  about something  my oncologist told me from the beginning.... he said he will not tell me I'm cancer free, but he will be with me until the end! My 1st thought was "until the end.? What the heck does that mean? "then she continued saying "did you ever stop to think that you are NOT here for what YOU still need to learn, but for what people can learn from you?"  I've never thought about this journey of life being for anyone but myself, what am I supposed to be learning has always been my question to myself and in my pleading prayers to the Lord.

I'm not someone with a whole lot of confidence in myself or my abilities to uplift and help others. I know some incredibly talented people, they have worked hard to become musicians, singers, athletes,   cooks,  authors, scrap bookers,  doctors, attorneys. PA's, radiation therapist (I love them)  I could go on and on, the point I'm trying to make is when she said those words to me two things went through my mind 
#1. What a bunch of crap  I have nothing to teach anyone, and if for some reason she's right, I don't want to do it anymore, find someone else to learn from. and then came # 2. Change your prayers. To my dear sweet friend thank you for giving me something new to worry about... Ha ha I love You.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Weeyum at the Beach and Waterfalls

view of the beach love the white sand

Chloe covering Blake in sand

So Fun

He loved it

the best part 

watching Weeyum finally get to play in the D.R. water

he had to take off his trunks to clean off all the sand

this was a great finish to our day on the beach

Eric and I in the Caves of the waterfalls

Eric asked Weeyum if there was anything he did not get to see or do while he was serving, and then told him we are going to do it.  We spent the day at the village in Puerto Plata and beaches, then went to the 27 waterfalls.  Eric and Blake hiked up to do 12 of them, Chloe and I stayed back and only did 7.  It was beautiful, the boys said "next time we are going to do the all 27"  Chloe and I are good with 7.
The School 
Theses guys could not wait for me to take their picture

he asked me "facebuke, right?"  (translation Facebook)

I loved these cute school kids

they were shy at first but then didn't want me to stop

coconuts

biggest and most delicious avocados EVER

not sure, don't care

Chloe and I enjoying our coconut milk on the
way to the beach

Eric and Chloe

they cut open the coconut with a machete then give
it back to you to eat

drying out the very raw meat--YUK
To sum things up with our trip to the D. R. it was the most amazing trip I have ever had.  I cannot describe the overwhelming feeling I received of our Savior's Love for ALL of his children.  This time in the D. R. reminds me how much we are all here on earth to be there for each other, no matter what the circumstances.  It was an unbelievable comfort hearing these sisters had been a mom to my son while I could not be there for him,  to be the hands of the Lord in leading him to the spirit and helping him to not only become the man he is now, but to also teach him FAITH and HOPE in a better world.  My heart was beating and my eyes overflowing with tears when I heard the stories of service and unconditional love Elder Weeyums learned while serving in the D. R.  I am convinced now more than ever before, missionaries, if obedient, are completely blessed and watched over by our Heavenly Father while they serve.

 When I saw the circumstances in which Elder Weeyums lived it made my heart hurt for him, I could not believe the sacrifice he made, leaving a safe environment of a home with running water and air conditioning, modern conveniences that most of us take for granted, he learned to appreciate.  He left the comfort of home knowing his mother was  going to be in a battle for her life,  I'm not quite sure how he did that. If I had seen the circumstances he was going to be living in I would of never let him go, however, I know there is a time and season to all things and I was prepared my entire life to have FAITH, when he left I had complete FAITH he would return to us a better man.  If you were to ask most return missionaries if they would do it again, I think if they are honest most would say it was the greatest 2 years of their life, but would not want to go through it again. 

 President Greer gave Blake a blessing before he left for his mission, and in that blessing he told him if he was obedient his mother would be here when he got home, those words helped him get through the rough days and the people in the D. R. taught him more than anything I could of ever taught him if he had stayed home.    So many nights when he was out serving I would go into his room and kneel to pray, now after visiting the D. R. I wonder if those nights were the times he was burdened with more than he thought he could handle, if those were the times he sought comfort from the women who listened to his fears, and wiped away his tears.  I will forever be grateful to those families who led him and guided him and helped him return to us safely.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Puerto Plata

Leaving La Vega was difficult, I kinda thought Puerto Plata would be a little less dangerous--NOT. There were times we were smooshed into vans like sardines--in a 12 passenger van we had 26 people at one time.  The sliding door remained open for fast and easy access on and off, and also for the fact that there was no a/c.   There were people sitting on other people's laps, people they didn't even know--for 50 Dominican Pesos (approx $1.25) to travel  20-25 miles, with stinky sweaty people, this is their life, while I found it amusing and interesting they all loaded and unloaded each time starting conversations with the people they sat next to.  I love that !!  American's could use some training in that area--how many times have you gotten on an elevator and no one talks to each-other?  Try it next time, you may be missing out on opportunities to help someone in need, or at least cheer someone up including yourself.


On this particular bus the driver was quite professional and efficient at his job, a woman got on with her grocery bag (very small grocery bag) he took it from her threw it in his small trunk and off we went.  When she arrived at her destination, he jumped out grabbed her groceries and left them lying there on the ground before she could even get out of the van. The passengers also know exactly what to do GET OUT OF HIS WAY ASAP.  Blake said "mom imagine doing these rides for 3 or 5 hours with no a/c and in a white shirt and tie, transfers were just like that"  Right before Blake got home I sent him a new white shirt and was surprised when he wore his dirty, perspired shirt home--the neck was filthy--now I know why--he wore it home because he is a Dominican now, and he did not want others to think he thought he was better than them.  I hope he kept that shirt, it means more to me now.
The Bus To Haiti

Beautiful View in Puerto Plata

Missionaries are not allowed to swim

I carved WEEYUM in the rock--he left his mark in the D. R.

Dominican Republic Flag

The Villages and places he served were worse than I ever imagined them to be, he never told us in emails, all we ever heard from him was that he was doing great and working hard.  None of the homes have air conditioning, something we in Arizona would not live without.  Their homes were the size of my bedroom, the floors were dirt, no yards, the homes are built on top of each other with very small walk ways between homes.  There is no  privacy.
Rice Truck

Local Views

Local View

One night Eric, Blake and Chloe went to visit a family Blake knew who had invited us over for rice pudding.  I was not feeling well and decided to stay at the hotel.  Chloe and Blake got on a motorcycle, and Eric on another.  Blake and Chloe were ahead of Eric.  Eric, is a funny man, he wants to know spanish so badly and he does his best to communicate, but dang it he really does not know what he is saying ( I call his language FrenchSpanlish) the driver of Blake and Chloe's motorcycle took off, far ahead of Eric.  The motorcycle driver for Eric said he needed gas as he turned down a very dark road, Eric jumped off and started running down the street towards where he thought Blake and Chloe would be--he said it was really dark and he ran for 10-15 minutes.  Probably a good thing I was not there, I would of freaked out and had an anxiety attack for sure.  Blake and Chloe were in the middle of the road waiting for him.  Chloe told me later that she and Blake were really afraid for Eric.  Luckily the Lord was watching over Eric and all was well as they arrived at the members home.

Homemade Rice Pudding


Blake & Chloe with one of his favorite members