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


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.