Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Marriage Decision over Mission Decision


Sometimes the unexpected happens.  When we are least looking for something, it pops in, and surprises us all. This happened with my daughter Aubrey.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Stroke Story


On Thanksgiving Night (2014) about 8:00 p.m. Completely unexpected, and definitely unplanned, I had a dense and rather severe Ishemic Stroke.
 I am here to tell you of the power of prayer.  We believe it was the faithful and heartfelt prayers of MANY that helped me to survive this stroke.  Miracles do exist.
I am 47 years old and in my opinion...way too young to be having a stroke!  Many  people agree with me.  I am way way too young.  How did it happen? 

The doctors are still trying to figure that out. They told me I was a complex, complicated patient in that my symptoms did not match what they usually see. Because my recovery was so quick, they originally believed it was a migraine cluster headache, that can mimic a stroke many times. They no longer believe that was the case.  I have never had a migraine head-ache in my life and don't suffer from a lot of bad headaches.  My original stroke symptoms were very severe but it wasn't until the first MRI came back that they saw that I did indeed have a dense severe Ishemic stroke. 

The confusion for the doctors and for us is that  I have zero risk factors that we know of yet.  I have very low blood pressure, low cholesterol, I am not diabetic, do not smoke, and exercise fairly regularly.

 Not quite a full week later, I am doing good for the most part. I can tell my brain is still healing and not 100% back to normal, but hoping I will make a full recovery.

*Disclaimer:  Please excuse any weird typos you might bump into while reading this.  In some cases you might have to read between the lines.

 It is very therapeutic for my to write what happened to me, and many people including family members are still asking questions of what my stroke was like.  Since Thanksgiving, I have been reading other stroke stories, and I haven't found any stroke stories that were just like mine.

 My Story

 It still seems very surreal to me, as if I am writing this about someone else.  Since having the stroke, I am just now beginning  to realize it actually happened to me. Yet, I am still not in full acceptance.  It still feels like a weird dream I had.

 I am going into full detail as I tell this as you will see all the moments that my stroke could have hit, but didn't.  Skim past the details if it is too long for you. 
Thanksgiving Day (2014)  was as normal as Thanksgiving Days can be.  I started the morning running a 5K with my daughter Aubrey(20)  and sister-in-law Amber for a dear friend who is recovering from breast cancer.  I am definitely not an avid runner, but I do run once or twice a week on the treadmill, and run about 2 5Ks a year. I probably exerted myself a little more than I should have, but after the race was over, it felt great and my recovery was really easy. What I am trying to say is, I have had harder 5Ks.  We all kind of want to attribute the stroke to the 5K, but at this point that is not a cause for my stroke. The doctors said,  I would have had my stroke during the race, during the exertion period if that was the cause, not later that night. 
After the race we went home and prepared our portion of the Thanksgiving Dinner. About 1:00 pm, we went down to my in-laws house for the big feast.  I remember eating normal serving sizes and not over-eating like I can do at Thanksgiving.    After that we hung out, played games, and I was feeling a little weird from the run, just kind of exhausted. My lungs felt kind of stripped from the cold air we ran in and  I had this deep urge, to just go to sleep. I tried sleeping sitting up on the couch, but I was super uncomfortable, and in pain. My whole body just felt uncomfortable. I kind of withdrew from the family activities, as I felt so worn out and so exhausted. I couldn't seem to recover from it.  I remember telling my husband, I just need to sleep.  Which I did. I went and found a quiet room in  the house and layed on the floor and had a great cat-nap.

About 4:00pm, I had this weird desire to just go back home and take out my contacts and put my glasses on.   I look at this as a little prep that was going on for what was about to happen later. 

About 6:00 pm that night we went Black Friday shopping with some family members.  I have been Black Friday shopping many times, and this was the one year I absolutely did not want to go. I just didn't care !   Out of tradition, kinda, we went.  This is one of those annoying sales when one sale starts at 6:00pm , and the other at 8:00pm.  At one point we were planning on staying for the 8:00pm sale, but the things we wanted were already taken by having to havea  special ticket which we didn't have. Like I said earlier, we just weren't into it, and decided to just go home. (blessings and miracles!!)

We got home about 7:45 pm. As soon as I walk in the doors at my in-laws house, my two youngest girls 9 and 11 years old wanted me to drive them home to get their pajamas so they could sleep over at Grandmas.  Normally I would procrastinate since I just got home....but I thought...let's go now!  So I drove 3 little girls to our house and was back home at the in-laws in 10 minutes.

As soon as I walked in the door this time, Amber (23), my oldest daughter started telling me the shirts she just barely bought at a Black Friday sale,  did not fit good and she wanted to return them.  She planned on just going the next day, but I told her, no...go now! (I have no idea why I said that, in reality the next day would have been a much better idea to avoid the crowds. It turned out that her going shopping and returning at a crucial moment,  was a  great tender mercy)  So she took her sister Rebekah (14) to the store to return her shirts.

Everyone started eating left-overs and pie and we were getting ready for a improve skit game downstairs.  I ate a little bit, then decided I would go to the bathroom.  I took my tablet in there so I could read my emails. (TMI?)

Keep in mind that physically I feel fine, except for the weird exhaustion from the run.  I have a mild-medium headache, and I don't feel any different at all.

The Stroke Hits
 The entire family went downstairs to do skits, while I was upstairs  in the bathroom.  My stroke hit while I was in the bathroom.  I remember standing up to button my pants, and then the next thing I remember is being in a different far away place mentally, and not remembering HOW to zip up my pants.  I stood there, frozen physically, and mentally.... in a DAZE. I could not remember how to zip, and I was going in and out of sub-consciousness. 

While I was going in and out of consciousness, I remember I had a goofy grin on my face. Now I know, that goofy grin was in reality my paralyzed right side of my face.  I also could not get my ride side of my body to do anything it was supposed to do. Anything that it does automatically (zip...) no   longer was responding.  I think I eventually zipped my pants with my left hand, after a very long time of standing there zoning out.

I did not have any pain, I didnt' fall over and collapse, nor was I was  aware I was  having a stroke. I remember feeling dizzy, confused, some double-vision, couldn't talk, and my face drooping.
My stroke hit the left side of my brain, and so my whole right side was effected. I think my brain was trying to send messages for my right side, but it couldn't  respond. .
After the momentous task of zipping my pants was over, I made my way to the bathroom door, (which is about 2 steps away)  and once again was completely stuck in my subconscious state. I was far, far, far, away, and getting father every second.  Everything was very foggy and not really there.   It was like being in a deep deep sleep and someone is trying to wake you, and you just can't wake up, although your eyes are still open.  I stood there trying to figure out to open the bathroom door.  I kept bumping the door knob but didnt' know how to turn it.  I was in this place for a while, going in and out of awareness and kept coming back to the door knob.  My left side of my brain was saying open the door, and my right side was completely not there.

{Our brains are opposite. Our left side of our brain, controls our right side, and our right side of our brain  controls our left side of our body. Since my stroke hit on the left side of my brain, my whole right side of my body was effected.}
My nephew (10 years old) came upstairs and was on the other side of the door as I was messing with the lock and the door knob. I don't know still, if I got myself out, or if I just loosened the lock enough and he was on the other side and pushed the door open.   Somehow he was in the right place at the right time and helped me get out.
I miraculously made it out of the bathroom with a locked door.  I was now sinking deeper and deeper into a place where I couldn't communicate or come out of.  I made my way to the front room couch. That was the last place I could go on my own during my stroke.  I remember walking lopsided and loopy. I slumped down on a cushion, and I was  completely unaware of really anything at all.  No one knew I was there, and I just sat there, slumped over, going farther and farther into my stroke.

 My new problem was that my tablet was on my lap I was trying to figure out how to get it off my lap and into my bag. I tried to lift it a few times, but my brain couldn't figure out how to get it off my lap.  I tried lifting one corner-end of my tablet, and I just couldn't do it. I would look at the bag where I wanted it to go, look at my tablet, try to lift it, but couldn't get it off my lap.  I then,  officially,  went into a far away foggy place where I could no longer connect with the outside world. I could sometimes hear, and see in a loopy foggy way, but I couldn't speak or move my body. All sounds and visuals were coming from a tunnel, that came in and out of reality.
Sometime later....( maybe 5 minutes?)  my daughters Amber(23)  and Rebekah (14)  came home from shopping.  Amber saw me on the couch and in her bubbly personality says excitedly, "Hi MOM!!"  She wanted to show me what she just bought at the store. I was vaguely aware of her. I felt like I should acknowledge her and respond, but I couldn't connect at all.  I heard her say my name, and knew she was next to me, but I couldn't speak, move, or connect to her.   She told me later how she could tell I was trying to tell her something, and a few times I tried to stand up, but couldn't. She also told me how I kept  showing her my tablet, but she didn't know what I was trying to do. 
She tried a few times to talk to me, and when she figured out something was wrong with me, she told Rebekah to go get Dad and tell him that Mom is not responding.  Beckah went downstairs,  and in that time Amber noticed my face was  drooping, and she knew I was not alright.
She then ran downstairs and said, " Dad! Mom is not OK!  Her face is drooping and we keep trying to talk to her and she is not responding." This was a private conversation that no one else heard in the room.  Than my husband, Richard, ran up the stairs and as soon as he saw me, he  knew I was having a stroke. I vaguely remember him kneeling down in front of me.  He said, "Susan, Susan!" "You are having a stroke!"  "I am going to take care of you!!"  "We are taking you to the hospital!"  Then he instructed  Amber to go and get Kyle (future son-in-law).  So Amber runs back to the stairs and yelled for Kyle and no one listened. They responded with, why are you yelling?   Then Amber said, "My mom is not OK. I think she is having a stroke! "  Then Kyle first, then all the uncles sprint up the stairs to get me into the car. 

Richard  and Kyle carried me out to the car. I have a very vague recollection of this.  I was thinking how silly it was that they were fussing over me, I could vaguely sense the sheer panic of the moment. I was like a baby, not understanding the seriousness of the moment.  I thought if I just stopped acting like this, they would know I was OK.  I felt no pain whatsoever, and was not afraid of anything.  The place of my sub-conscious I was in, was a peaceful, place of no worries.  Kyle sat behind my seat in our suburban, holding on to my shoulders as I could not hold myself up, and my husband whipped around corners and down the 3 streets to the hospital.  My sweet future son-in-law, told me during this, "Mom it is going to be OK. God knows that we still need you"

We get inside the hospital and they literally get me into a wheel chair and zoom me back into the ER room. I barely   remember any of this. I was going in and out of consciousness. I have bits and pieces of seeing events, people, etc. I could sense the panic in everyone: my husband, son-in-law, mother-in-law, and all the doctors.  I was literally just losing it....peacefully, but very fast. 

 I lay on the ER table, the doctors and nurses began ripping my shirt off as fast as they could and connecting things to my chest.  They threw a hospital gown on me. Still had my pants on the whole time. After doing a few tests like, "grip my fingers,  Susan!Susan!.. talk to me!!... they got me on a table and ran me down to get a CT scan." My daughter Aubrey said they went right past her, and I didn't see  her. She said I had a glazed look and just kept staring straight through everyone. 

Prayers going UP

While all of this was happening, my family began calling and texting everyone they thought should know. Social media was alive and well. Prayers began going up to heaven really fast.  At home, at my in-laws house, they all knelt down and had a family prayers when they whisked me off the to ER.  Richard called my parents, who in turn called my 6 brothers, who in turn called all of their children. Everyone stopped what they were doing and had a family prayers. Some of then who are in a different time zone had already gone to bed, woke up and joined the family prayers. One of my brothers was Skyping with children, and they stopped the Skpe and prayed. Amber texted her best friends at college and they stopped what they were doing and knelt and had prayer, and we are still hearing experiences like this of prayer from family, friends, acquaintances, and people who don't know me at all, but know members of my family.  Thank-you to ALL of you.  I believe it was the sincere heartfelt prayers that helped me to recover in a miraculous way.

Prayer is real!! God is reall! He hears and answers our prayers!!!!

 A lot of things happened in the ER that I am totally unaware of.  For an hour and a half I was in this peaceful place in my subconscious where every once in a while I would get a glimpse of what was happening around me, but I had no power whatsoever to connect or speak. And, everything was in a far far away foggy place and not real.  I think I moved my eyes from side to side, and maybe my head.


While I was unconscious or where ever I was, I had glimpses of my surroundings, but then would go quickly back to be unconscious state. 

 I remember once, coming to, and seeing my husband kneeling down next to my hospital bed stroking my hand and telling me I had the most beautiful hands he had ever seen. He turned to his mom who was standing in the corner of the room, and said, "Mom, don't you think she has the most beautiful hands you have ever seen!!

 Another time I remember seeing him gripping his head in a desperate way, pacing the room,  and crying into his hands. 

Another time, I remember seeing my beautiful caring sister-in-law Amber sitting in the corner of my room in a chair. I saw her sitting there, then I was gone again.

These are glimpses I will never forget. 

The place I was in as so peaceful, so free of worries, or cares, a part of me was completely fine staying there. I didn't know if I wanted to leave that state of mind. 

I was somewhat aware that there was panic and worry in the room, but I had not connection to it whatsoever. It was like "oh that's too bad" in a really non-chalant, unfeeling way. It was not an out of body experience, but it was in a way too. I felt bad that they were suffering, but didn't feel I had anything to do with controlling it, nor did I feel responsible for it. This is NOT my personality at all. I am a people -pleaser to a fault, and don't like to see others hurt, embarrassed, or suffering and not try to help. It was kind of a nice vacation from that part of my life.

The Miracle happened at precisely the right moment

I was in this condition for an hour and a half.  At this point, the doctors were ready to take it to the next level. They had medicine they were ready to inject into me,  Salt Lake was ready to receive me, and the life-flight helicopter was ready to go. The doctors had the paperwork drawn up for it, and were ready to send me to Salt Lake.

Then I turned to my husband and wanted to talk, and then I was able to speak and ask him what was happening. 

Richard shouted...."she talked!  she talked!!"  Then everyone rushed to my side of the bed. Although everything was very sluggish, I was talking and that made everyone extremely happy.  The first thing I noticed was an IV in my right arm. I have zero memory of that being inserted. I talked to the doctor, my husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law, Amber, Aubrey, and Kyle. All one at a time as only two people could be in the room.   I called my mom, called my daughters who were at home, and had this miraculous amazing turn around recovery.  Everyone was thrilled to hear my voice. 
I then was talking via satellite to a University of Utah Stroke specialist, or neurologist. She was asking me questions about what I had experienced and how I was feeling.  Twice they had me read first grade words on a paper, and identify simple pictures, and tell them what was happening in each picture.

Our neurologist came next and began talking with me as he was trying to understand how I had a stroke and what might have caused it.  During this conversation, I felt my right side of my face, mainly my mouth droop and I could not control it or stop it. This concerned everyone all over again, and I had another CT scan injecting different fluids in me to see other things.
I spent the rest of the night in the hospital in ICU and had an MRI scheduled the next morning.  Richard slept by me on a fold-down chair, holding my hand all night. Sleeping in the ICU is an experience that neither me or my husband have ever experienced. (not a lot of quality sleep) They have an important job to do there, and I am grateful for all the care I received.
The MRI test results came back and confirmed I did have a dense Ischemic stroke. I have learned that WHERE a stroke hits determines the damage and  disability.  If our brain and all the veins were like a tree with all of its branches, my stroke hit in the tips of the branches. That made my recovery so much better than most. If it hits in the trunk or father down the tree, than the results are not as kind. 

Thank-you all for your prayers and thoughts and concerns.  I just pray that the doctors will find out what caused it. I have wonderful doctors who are trying to figure out why a person with no stroke risk factors, no family history of it, still had a stroke.  I am recovering really well, and my only symptoms now that I am aware of, are dizziness and some memory lapses.  I am positive I will have a complete recovery as my brain heals.

THANK-YOU ALL for your prayers!!!  Even if they were just silent prayers of worry or concern from your heart. They were heard and I have been blessed because of it!!!


THE WARNING Signs of Stroke-click this link


More info on Ischemic Stroke: click this link.



About 9 months ago, on Thanksgiving Night,  I had a stroke! It has been quite a ride!!  Since that day we have spent tens of thousands of dollars on medical procedures,
have had 2 daughters get  married,  and  are expecting our first grand-child!
I am so grateful for all the blessings and miracles that have come my way! 

 (9 months later)
I would say, at this  point, I am 80-90% fully recovered, although the past 9 months have been a roller-coaster ride of healing and health issues. Why I had the stroke remains a mystery, as all my tests come back perfect. At this point the theory is possibly a blood clot that got loose during my run and traveled through my heart and up to my brain.
The hardest time came of my stroke recovery came  6 weeks later. I had acute exhaustion, developed shingles, and have had cognitive issues.  But I am alive!! I survived !! I have recovered in a miraculous way from something that takes lives or leaves its victims unable to function normally. For the most part, life has gone on the same!
Acute exhaustion has been my biggest enemy! Most stroke survivors can relate to this one!! There is no medicine for it, no help for it, but time and rest.  This type of exhaustion is nothing like being sleepy, tired, or had-a-hard day. You can't sleep it off. This is acute exhaustion!! If I get stressed or over-do it, I am in bed for 3 days recovering.  From January-May I worked in the 4th grade all day as a teachers instructional aide. It was a 30 hour a week job, that I loved, but about killed me having to go everyday. I do not know how I got through it all except I loved being there! 
 My short term memory became very unreliable! Every short term memory problem I already had from being myself, was now acute!!  I would lose something, and there was no recalling or retracing my memories to find it again. That information was gone, and not coming back! I would leave the store, and have NO memory of where I parked, and no way of pulling up the memory of parking.  I had to always rely on my kids to know where we parked.  This aspect has greatly improved, but I have my moments still!
I have had cognitive issues with math.   When going to the store (I always use cash) I could not count money. It completely overwhelmed my brain to count money. I would look in my wallet, and didn't know how  to add the money up on the spot for the cashier.  It overwhelmed me cognitively.  I would just hand the cashier some money and she would always  hand me back what I didnt' need. I was like a baby and small child in many ways cognitively!!  In school where I worked with the 4th graders in a math group, I would always do the problems wrong.  I would flip numbers. If we were multiplying 9 X 9, I would write down 18, instead of 81. And the kids would let me know I got it wrong!! The math part of my brain has healed and I am able to count money now and feel back to normal again.
I have been an automatic speller my whole life! I don't have to even think of how to spell things, my brain just does it!!  Because of that I trust my spelling instincts, and if something is spelled wrong, I know it.  One day while correcting spelling tests in the 4th grade, all the words were spelled wrong and funny to me.  They were all words that ended in "le" like bottle, able, buckle, candle...In my brain these were all spelled wrong and pronounced " bottlee, ablee, bucklee, candlee...and the le should be switched. In fact I looked at those words, and it was as if someone had scrambled all the letters up. It didn't make sense at all. I went up to the teacher and told her the answer key was not right. She was pretty sure they were right and even looked it up for me....It was my brain, flipping and switching things.  That has only happened one time with spelling, but as my brain has healed, I have had moments like this more times than I want to admit. That has almost one away completely since then.
I am so grateful to be alive and that this stroke did not take my life!! Every few weeks I hear stories of other stroke victims of my age,  who did not survive, or who did not fair as well as I have.  I am blessed and know that prayers were answered on my behalf!! 
We found a cause for my stroke!

The doctors were finally able to find a cause for my stroke almost a year later! I would encourage anyone who has had a stroke for no apparent reason, like I did, to look into getting this procedure!!  It is an echo-cardiogram with a bubble study test. I had two echo-cardiograms which only showed how strong my heart is with all four chambers functioning properly and with regular rhythmic beats. It is a pretty amazing organ...the heart!   When I had the bubble study test done with the echo-cardiogram,  it showed that I have a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO for short) or another term is Atrial Septum Defect. It is a hole in your heart that didn't close properly at birth.  In is fairly common (25% of all births). I am close to  50 years old and I never knew I had this septum defect. 

Closing the hole is fairly controversial. Does the procedure out weigh the risks involved?  Does keeping a patient on blood thinner do the trick the same as closing the hole with a device? Does the fact that a patient has had a stroke at a young age (under 50) for no apparent reason (remember I had *low blood pressure*low cholesterol*don't smoke*don't drink*and exercise regularly*no family history of stroke) give reason to close the septum? 

These are all questions the cardiologists and neurologists  were trying to determine.  They decided it wasn't worth the risk involved, and decided to keep me on blood thinners. 

I have to say, I am thrilled with that decision. I know it is routine, but it was a procedure that involved my heart, so that is high risk in my opinion. I am happy to be  done with this!!!!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Instilling Testimonies in Children

our family in 2011

I am the mother of eight children who all happen to be daughters.  A unique situation I am most proud of more than any other thing I have accomplished or achieved in my life. I most proud of being a mother. 

Instilling testimonies in our children at a very young age is what our divine role of mothers is all about.  Whether our children take the seeds that we plant in them, is their choice. It doesn't, however, take away from  our divine role to teach our children about the Savior and their purpose here on earth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Testimonies of our Living Prophets-Thomas S. Monson

We are led today by prophets....seers....and true revelators.
They are true prophets in every sense of the word.  They have been called of God. They are holy and pure and speak by the power and authority of God. They testify of our Savior.

  They prophesy, they  reveal God's will and word to us, and they can see around corners and know what is coming.  They are keenly aware of everything that is happening in the world.

They are some of the smartest men to have ever walked the earth.

They are prophets!
As Conference is approaching, I want to remember and remind myself what our prophets said to us in our last conference in April. 
Our Stake President has taught us that if we are not studying the words of the prophets between conference sessions, then we are not following the prophets.
So let's study what was spoken to us and try to prepare our selves to receive more.

This post today will focus on the words of our prophet President Thomas S. Monson.
*all italicized quotes are from the leader highlighted
*all image sources are lds.org/media library

President Thomas S. Monson

 Be Strong and of a Good Courage (Priesthood Session)
Principle: True courage is living  what we believe.
"Inasmuch as the trend in society today is rapidly moving away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, we will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which we believe. Will we have the courage to do so?"

His usage of the word "trend" reminds me of how important it is that we don't follow every trend that crosses society's path.  This is not church doctrine, this is just my doctrine for my life, but I feel there is some danger or at least some caution should be implemented in following trends. Even if they seem harmless.  Society likes to take trends to the extreme, and if we are not careful we are in that stream and can easily be taken away. The spirituality of our family suffers. We have to be careful. Trends can take us quickly away from the values and principles the Lord has given us.  I guess what I am saying  is... "I agree!! President Monson!"  If we do get swept away momentarily do we have the courage to stop and to defend what we believe? 

“If you ever find yourself where you shouldn’t ought to be, get out!”
The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. Every day of our lives courage is needed—not just for the momentous events but more often as we make decisions or respond to circumstances around us."

"Said Scottish poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson: “Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.”  
When we have true courage it is usually from within and very few know the courage we muster up each day. 
"... inner courage also includes doing the right thing even though we may be afraid, defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed, and maintaining those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of social status. He who stands steadfastly for that which is right must risk becoming at times disapproved and unpopular."
"We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. 
May each one leave here tonight with the determination and the courage to say, with Job of old, “While my breath is in me, … I will not remove mine integrity from me.” That this may be so is my humble prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, amen. 

(Sunday morning session)
Principle:  As we come to understand the love God has for us and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our capacity to love others increases.
"We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey. Likewise, we cannot fully love our fellowmen if we do not love God, the Father of us all"
"Every day of our lives we are given opportunities to show love and kindness to those around us. Said President Spencer W. Kimball: “We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the general brotherhood of mankind if we cannot regard those who are all around us as our brothers and sisters.” 

Testimony and Admonition of a Prophet
  • "Brothers and sisters, some of our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. Love should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not. There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights, too many tears. Lamented President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Why is it that the [ones] we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our harsh words? Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick?”The answers to these questions may be different for each of us, and yet the bottom line is that the reasons do not matter. If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with kindness and respect."
  • " I would hope that we would strive always to be considerate and to be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings and circumstances of those around us. Let us not demean or belittle. Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging. We must be careful that we do not destroy another person’s confidence through careless words or actions."
  • Beyond comprehension, my brothers and sisters, is the love of God for us. Because of this love, He sent His Son, who loved us enough to give His life for us, that we might have eternal life. As we come to understand this incomparable gift, our hearts will be filled with love for our Eternal Father, for our Savior, and for all mankind. That such may be so is my earnest prayer "

Until We Meet Again ( Sunday Afternoon Session)
"I bear testimony that this work is true, that our Savior lives, and that He guides and directs His Church here upon the earth. I leave with you my witness and my testimony that God our Eternal Father lives and loves us. He is indeed our Father, and He is personal and real. May we realize how close to us He is willing to come, how far He is willing to go to help us, and how much He loves us. "


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Marriage vs. Divorce

"Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God"

I am learning ever learning, and what I am learning right now is HOW important the marriage covenant is.  My husband and I just recently celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary and I feel that is a great accomplishment in life!  Even with all those years behind us, we still don't know it all and we are always learning how to love each other more and how to strengthen our marriage.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

We Are Mothers

A little venting is in order today.....but I have to get some things out.

I am seriously hurt when I see people I know and love purposely turn their backs on trying their hardest to be good mothers. I guess it is the time and age we live in.

" Men's (and mother's and wife's) hearts will fail them." 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Being an LDS Woman

My dear friends

My feelings of being a mother, wife, and daughter of God run very deep and it is hard to put my feelings on paper of what it means to me to be a literal daughter of God.  He is our Father.  He loves us more than we can understand. Our purpose and plan for being women is deeper and more complex and TRUE than we can possibly understand.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day of Grace

lds.org media library
Mormon was the great Nephite  prophet, military general, and record keeper of
The Book of Mormon. (311-385 A.D.)

Mormon was  instructed to prepare himself to take charge of the records and record keeping.  At the time Mormon was 10 years old. Ammaron, the one who was keeping the records and preserving the records at that time, noticed that Mormon was" a sober, and quick to observe" child.  He told him that when he reached the age of 24, he was to go to the specific hill that he had hid all the records, and go there and engrave the things he observes with the people.  After recording the history of his own lifetime, Mormon abridged the large plates of Nephi on the plates of Mormon. He later turned this sacred record over to his son Moroni. These plates were part of the record from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon (See also: Introduction to the Book of Mormon) )

Mormon lived during a very violent, corrupt, and evil stricken time of Book of Mormon history. Horrible scenes  were their everyday life, and can only be placed at the end of a civilization . (Mormon 1)
But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people. 
 And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief. 
 And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus. 
And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them;
 At what we would consider now a days, a very young age, Mormon was called to lead the Nephite army. He was 15.  The people looked to Mormon as a savior.  To save them.  They looked to him as if he were their last and only hope of survival. Yet, it was without  hope because they would not listen to Mormon, and would not repent of their sins and come unto Christ so that HE could save them. 

Mormon went to great lengths and personal sorrow, to teach them to repent and come unto Christ. At times, he was hopeful that their sorrows would turn them to Christ. But it was not to be.

 Their Day of Grace had passed.
"And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives" Mormon 2:14
"And it came to pass that my sorrow did return unto me again, and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually; for I saw thousands of them hewn down in open rebellion against their God, and heaped up as dung upon the face of the land. And thus three hundred and forty and four years had passed away" Mormon 2:15 
Their day of grace had passed. Their day of grace had passed both temporally and spiritually.    I found that to be a powerful statement.

Did you know that there was a grace period with the Lord?

We have grace periods in our temporal everyday lives when it comes to the law. 

This definition of grace period can be thought of in a spiritual way with the Lord in mind.

Definition: A grace period is a time past the deadline for an obligation during which a late penalty that would have been imposed is waived. Grace periods, which can range from a number of minutes to a number of days or longer, depending on the context, can apply in various situations, including arrival at a job, paying a bill, for meeting a government or legal requirement, or in many other situations.

So with that definition, I learn that the Lord's Day of Grace is FILLED with mercy.  He has forgiven, He has given and shown mercy when mercy wasn't expected or deserved. He has gone on- and -on with waiting, showing mercy, forgiving, when the time was WAY past for change and repentance. Yet He still forgave and gave mercy.  It sounds to me as if HE the Lord, determines the time period of our day of grace and when it is passed.  Each specific and extremely personal to each one of His children.

The Bible Dictionary explanation of GRACE:
The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by His atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.
Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the Fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). It is truly the grace of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible.
The Day of Grace passed for the Nephite people because they did not put forth any works of righteousness. Grace applies AFTER we have "expended our own best efforts"  "total effort on the part of the recipient"  "after all we can do"

If we give up, don't care, quit trying, and live a life of wickedness-grace cannot be applied towards us. At least that is how I understand it.

It is a gift given to us as we do our part.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mothering a Young Adult

Halceta Lighthouse taken on our Oregon family vacation

Mothering  a young adult is a lot different than mothering  a child through the infant, toddler, school-age, and teenager ages.  In the young adult age, we really have to practice some restraint in not saying what might be on our minds and what we really want to say! It is this interesting mix of them still being children and needing guidance from their parents, but being adults and needing to make their own decisions.  We have given them hopefully the right tools to make correct decisions, then we have to hang back a little and let them make the decisions.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fortifying My Home

I am on a personal mission to spiritually fortify my home and family.
 We live in times, much like the days of the Stripling Warriors. Are we not symbols in many ways of those Anti-Nephi-Lehi parents as we send our children out on missions at such a time as this?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Red Brick Store & the Relief Society~ Church History Tour

lds.org/media library

I am super behind on sharing our latest Church History Tour.  We were apart of a CES tour for Seminary and Institute teachers and spouses. This leg of the tour covered the church history sites between Kansas City Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska.

It was SUCH an incredible week we had living and experiencing special moments  from our LDS church history.  It was truly inspiring and truly once-in-a-life time amazing.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Building Fortifications: The Power of a Mother Who STUDIES SCRIPTURE

My first introduction to the scriptures came when I was in grade school. For Family Home Evening many times we would find our favorite scripture and share what it meant to us.  The only scripture I remember sharing back then was
1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
I still love that power-packed scripture which testifies of deliverance and hope.  The experience of sharing favorite scriptures introduced me to the books I have come to love today.

A few years later, I decided I wanted to be able to read the scriptures more, and began reading them on my own although I understood really nothing.  That really didn't matter to me, because what happened was, I FELT a power of the Spirit enter my everyday life.  THAT  kept me reading although I didn't understand a lot of the storyline.

A scripture that changed my life

A few years later, I was a seminary student and I was part of a consecutive club to see how many days in a row we could read the scriptures.  A powerful scripture became a part of my life back then, that still governs my life today is:

Matthew 6:33   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I put this scripture to the test as a high school student to see if I really did put the Lord first, if He really would bless me.  Every morning I would read my scriptures as part of my morning routine. I wanted to know if I put the Lord first in my day, if "all these things would be added unto me". 

Would He bless me?
Would I notice a difference?

  I became aware of  a power  that was directly related to my scripture study. When I read my scriptures my day went well. It was as simple as that.   I did well in school, I was happy, I was directed by the Spirit, etc. The Lord did bless me, and  I did notice a difference. 

 I still live by this today because I learned of it's impact and truth way back then.

Young Motherhood and becoming "too busy"

When I became a young mother and had many demands on me, I knew the power of scripture, but let it slip.  If the Lord isn't first in our lives, HE becomes last.  I reached the low point when the Lord became last. 

I had some great excuses!  I had 4 children at this time and they were all really little. I had a 3 yr. old, a 2 yr. old, and newborn twins.  I was constantly running in million directions...around the clock. Even in the middle of the night! I was SO overwhelmed, and just getting through each day seemed like a great event.   I wanted to read my scriptures,  but was really struggling with fitting it in. I just didn't seem to have time for it.  Here is the secret:  You don't ever find the time to " fit it in" when it comes to scripture reading.  You have to "make the time", and you  make the choice to read your scriptures. 

When I did, it was just like the scripture tells us in Mosiah 2:24 ..., he doth immediately bless you;
The Lord immediately blessed me, and that which seemed overwhelming and almost impossible, became easy and joyful.  

Creating a habit

One of the best things you can literally do is to create a habit and routine in your life as the mother, of readying and studying your scriptures.  You will be a better mother. You will be happier. You will have the spirit as your companion. 

Find a time, that works for you, but also a time, when your children  see you reading, so they know that their mother reads the scriptures. It will make a difference in their lives.  That will teach them more about the importance of reading, than any lecture you could give them.

One of my daughters was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting as part of the graduating high school students in our ward.  She was talking about the power of the scriptures in her life, and she mentioned that what helped her to read her scriptures was to see her mom up early in the morning reading her scriptures.    I honestly didn't even know she noticed.  Beside making me want to cry! That made me realize the impact that  my habits can have in the home. 

There is power and influence in motherhood!

Here is a great talk by Julie B. Beck  My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures where she compares the  habit of scripture study with learning how to make rolls, and how the aroma of the rolls fills her house, much like the spirit fills her home when she reads the scriptures.  ENJOY!

Spiritual Fortification Series:

Strong Families
Building Fortifications for our Families

Monday, February 24, 2014

Building Fortifications: STRONG FAMILIES

You are reading the very first post in a series of posts about spiritually strengthening our homes and families by building up  strong fortifications in our lives.

This morning in our family scripture study we were reading Alma 49 and it is ALL about FORTIFICATIONS as well as the chapter following it.  So appropriate for what I am personally studying. 

"...and they had cast up dirt round about to shield them from the arrows and the stones ..."
"...the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance. .."
"...they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known ..." 
"...to their astonishment, the city of Noah, which had hitherto been a weak place, had now, by the means of Moroni, become strong..."

I love these references to building up fortifications to strengthen and protect.  If we want to have strong families, we have to build up fortifications. 

One observation I have is that over-use of technology weakens people.  It takes down our abilities to receive revelation.  It weakens who we are.

Too much Internet, TV, games, endless texting, etc. takes up our valuable time, and weakens us as people and families. We become so busy, with nothing.  It is like we are spinning around in a hamster wheel, not getting anywhere, or gaining anything positive from it. 

In order to strengthen our families and ourselves, let's look at how much, sometimes pointless, technology we are letting in.  There is a pay-off.  The time we give to pointless technology time, is less time we have developing who we need to be. It dulls our senses, makes it hard to feel the spirit, or takes away the desire to even want to.

Mothers  we need to get off the computer and pay attention to our families.  Less Face book, Twitter, Snap-chat, blogging, texting, etc.

Julie B. Beck said,
"A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important. A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.

The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. Qualifying for the Lord’s Spirit begins with a desire for that Spirit and implies a certain degree of worthiness. Keeping the commandments, repenting, and renewing covenants made at baptism lead to the blessing of always having the Lord’s Spirit with us.      Making and keeping temple covenants also adds spiritual strength and power to a woman’s life. Many answers to difficult questions are found by reading the scriptures because the scriptures are an aid to revelation.    Insight found in scripture accumulates over time, so it is important to spend some time in the scriptures every day. Daily prayer is also essential to having the Lord’s Spirit with us. 4 Those who earnestly seek help through prayer and scripture study often have a paper and pencil nearby to write questions and record impressions and ideas.

Revelation can come hour by hour and moment by moment as we do the right things. When women nurture as Christ nurtured, a power and peace can descend to guide when help is needed. For instance, mothers can feel help from the Spirit even when tired, noisy children are clamoring for attention, but they can be distanced from the Spirit if they lose their temper with children. Being in the right places allows us to receive guidance. It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the Spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks. " And Upon the Handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit

Build up your Fortifications! 
Strengthen your family


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Building Fortifications for our families

In the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and throughout history people have built
 to protect themselves from the enemy.

DEFINITION: Fortification/a defensive wall or other reinforcement built to strengthen a place against attack.

Physical Fortifications

Rock Wall covered in vegetation used as a border
marker built by ancient Mayans  

Today we need spiritual fortifications....like never before.
Following the Prophet

Scripture Study

Faith in the Atonement and the life and mission of Jesus Christ
Strong Marriages
Strong Families
Faith in Jesus Christ
Attending the temple and
Striving to be worthy of the temple
Family Home Evening
Family Meals Together
Family Prayer

Over the next few posts, I am going to be writing about building spiritual fortifications for our families.

I hope you stay tuned!