25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

My Dad and I went pants shopping the other day. While stopped at a light on our way home, my Dad rolled his window down and said to a man walking in the cross walk: "Hey! Butt head! Merry Christmas!"

I almost died.  Of laughter.

The other day I was thinking of how he really has always loved making people laugh.  Now he does it more than ever!  I know he was probably trying to say "Hey!  Buddy!  Merry Christmas!"  I know he likes to make contact and talk to folks and be a fun guy.  He is really great!  I sure love him and admire him for all he does.

My Dad picked out the cutest little stuffed animal for my baby Lucy.  I love the things that he does all on his own, they are always so precious to me.  He is such a sweet man.  He is really not at all the dad that I grew up with but I love him a lot still!

04 December 2011

Laughter! The BEST medicine.

“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”

-Marjorie Pay Hinckley

The first time I heard this I thought "Yes.  That has to be me.  Crying literally does give me a headache and sinus issues and I don't enjoy it at all."  I am not sure everyone thinks my laughter is always appropriate, but there are times when my Dad will do something so crazy that its either so sad and depressing how far gone he is, or it is fun to just enjoy him as he is.

A while back my son Jimmy Jim was carrying around this ceramic alligator bank that we had as kids.  The whole time my Dad was saying "careful James!" and "don't drop that James" and "he's going to drop that in a million pieces."  Apparently he was very very worried James was going to end the nostalgia connected to this coin bank. Okay.  Makes sense.  James really might drop it, or who knows, throw it down the stairs?  Well it ended up on the coffee table in the living room with James no longer interested in it, and staring at it from his seat on the couch.  My Dad walked in and saw it there and took advantage of the opportunity.  "James," he said, picking it up, "watch how easy this could break!"  Then he ripped the alligator's head off. 

It was too funny.  I laughed a good 30 minutes about that.  Then laughed more as I took the pieces to the trash.

Oh, Dad.

A merry heart doeth good like medicine.

Proverbs 17:22

Why can't I read Proverbs all day?

Liz

25 November 2011

GO UTES! (Even though you stank up the entire place today!)


My Dad at physical therapy doesn't have much to do with what I have to say!  I do love this picture of him there.  By the way, my kids and I had a great time that day at physical therapy with him, and I was "not at all" jealous when he was getting a nice shoulder rub from the aides there!

I just wanted to make it known that my Daddy-o is a trooper.  He and little brother went to the last Ute football game today and although they weren't at their best (to say the least), and it was FREEZING and windy, he stuck out the whole game AND had a great time, to boot!

Who am I sir? A Utah man am I! A Utah man, sir, and will be til I die!

Really, who would have thought 18 months ago that he would be here to have that fun day with my Dad? I always say people in Utah either love BYU or they love to hate BYU.  It might be an understatement, but John definitely loves to hate and I think he has persuaded my Dad to join him.  (Even though Dad is a BYU grad!)

Today I took my son to the store and saw this hat.  It is way so cute and reminds me of my wonderful Dad and the hats he wears.  I don't know what to call it other than a "duffer hat" but I guess its called a newsboy cap!  Both of my grandpa's wore this hat and my dad and uncle and brothers---its sort of a family thing by now!

20 November 2011

Dear Dad!

Dear Dad,

Just having had a new baby and with Thanksgiving coming up, I want to say that one thing I am VERY thankful for is my family.  I am SO thankful I get to be darling Matt's wife and a mother of such excellent children, I am so thankful for my parents, my brothers, my sister(s) in-law, and I am really thankful my Dad is here to know Lucy.


I love you Dad!  Thank you for being such a great Dad year after year!  Thank you for being such a great grandpa to my children.  Thanks for being a great example of a Christian and a Latter-day Saint!  Thanks Dad for loving me and always being nice to me.  For being the kind of Dad that has helped me understand better what it is that God feels for me.  Thanks for seeing the potential in me and helping me to find a great husband!  I am thankful for the opportunities you've given me.  Thank you Dad for making life fun!  I thought a lot of things were goofy, but those goofy things are the BEST memories I have.  I am so glad we have always been friends.


I LOVE MY DAD!  I love you as you are, even when you say embarrassing things to random people in the store, even when you are frustrated or can't express your thoughts. I love the way you describe ice as a "big messy pot of freedom fighters" or how you call catch "boomsheeba."  I love you just like you are!  I love the part about you that thinks everyone wearing perfume or chewing gum is personally trying to annoy you.  I love watching you get excited about the Utes (GO UTES) playing football.  Dad, YOU ARE GREAT!  I love how you think about things deeply.  I love my memories of all those years, waking up and seeing you studying the scriptures at your desk early in the morning.  I love my memories of things you would get excited to take us to do.  I love your inventions, like ice turbans.  I love when you look at "House" and read "Help wanted."

I don't know what I would do without you.  I am planning on not finding out for about 50+ more years.  I love you so much and whenever something is really, really bothering me I always know who I can talk to in order to feel better.  You really have helped me so much in overcoming big heart aches.  You have helped me with your words and love and example. You are really one of my very best friends and one of my favorite, favorite people to talk to and spend time with.


Now it is my turn to help you a little more than before.  I hope I will always be as good to you as you have been to me.  I continue to look to you for a lot of things and you will always be my only Dad!  Thank you for all the help and support you continue to give to me.


I wish I could show you how much you have meant to me, and continue to mean to me!  I love you so much Dad!  TBI or no TBI, you are SO important in my life!  Your contributions to my life are so wonderful and important to me!



Thanks for being such a great Dad, a great dad in-law, a great grandpa to me and to my family.  I am thankful for you!  Thanks for being you!


Love, Liz, HDC-VP, GBH extrodinaire and collector of 10 gallons of balls.  :)

Long time no post!

Hello out there!

I never understand why people complain about lack of sleep with a newborn because I get a lot more sleep with a newborn than I ever do while I'm expecting!  Our family has had a wonderful, wonderful time with our new baby!  She is such a jewel and we are so blessed by her presence and membership in our family!



I keep a journal for each of my children.  My goal is to write in it twice a month and so far I have been able to keep up with that.  I just got a journal for my newest baby, Lucy, and I really enjoyed sitting down to write yesterday.  I already have so many sweet memories with my new daughter, and one of them is my Dad!  I have treasured and loved the experience I have had of introducing my children to their Poppy.  My Dad really seems to come down to earth, and get really sober and sincere when he has held my children.  Watching him hold Lucy for the first time was a neat experience for me, and afterward he commented on what a spiritual experience it was for him to hold her.

We go over to visit (except when we have a new baby we're keeping out of the cold!) at least once a week and it is so much fun!  Lately it has cracked me up to watch my Dad my children.  The other day my brother Ammon found this little alligator bank at DI and bought it because it was just like one we had as kids.  It is this ceramic bank, the alligator is sitting and his mouth is open and happens to be where you drop your coins in, if you dare to put your hand into and open alligators mouth!  :)  My son James was toting that bank around and making my Dad nervous, he was so worried James would drop it.  In one final act of desperation, and after several lengthy explanations, my Dad decided to give James a very visual lesson. He grabbed the bank and said "James, look how easy this could break!" and with that he grabbed the head of the alligator and ripped it off.  James looked very confused as Poppy was giving this demo and I was laughing my head off!!!  Oh Dad!

Tonight my Mom (love you Mom!) and I were talking about him and she was saying how hard it is to notice his progress because she is there to watch that pot as it slowly comes to a boil.  Really though, he is doing a lot better since last Thanksgiving.  Last year he sort of felt to me like Brian Regan looks when he talks about Pluto---okay you'd have to see that---but he felt to me like someone floating around in the air with not a clue about what was going on.  This year he is still not, not, not, not, not, not at all himself, but he really has improved.  He seems to be able to follow along a little better and seems to have way more of "a clue" than he ever has before.  So even though I expect he never will be "Dad" again that he was, I hope and I pray for continued progress in his on-going and life-long recovery.

The hard thing is being reminded of the way he was.  But who am I to complain?  I am not living with a TBI so I feel silly for even saying that.  I miss my Dad a lot.  I will have him back one day, I know it.  I am really excited for that.  I love reading the scriptures and feeling how much compassion the Savior had for the sick.  I love to read how He healed them.  Each account is so miraculous and I can't help but wonder what it will be like to see my Dad's healing take place, and to wonder what it is I will write down about that. 

20 September 2011

Bring Me Sunshine

This video by The Jive Aces is probably my favorite of all time!  I love it!  It is so cheerful and happy!  I hope you have a minute to watch it.

09 September 2011

Sick James

My son is sick right now.  Yesterday I got to spend alone time with him and I realized there are a few benefits to people being sick and one of them is how things at home (my home at least) get to slow down for a while. I'm not talking about the dishes or laundry because those, in fact, pile up faster when people are sick.  I just love how the little people slow down.  They aren't running around pulling books off shelves, coloring on the carpet, flushing things down the toilet, emptying the fridge . . . I feel like this: aaaaahhhhhhh!


However, they drink their extra fluids, take peptobismal and then we're done.  It's nice to have people slow down for a day or two mostly because I know they are going to speed back up.  That's the way I prefer life.  Normal and crazy and in a home made messy by busy little children.  I believe that must be one of the many hard parts about things like a TBI.  There actually is no hope my Dad and others like him will speed back up.  There is no hope that in this life they will speed back up.  This is a done deal.  This is my Dad for the rest of his life, this is what he's like.  You know what?  I love him!  He might eat cups of butter and sour dough starter, stumble when he walks, say crazy things (i.e. we were in Costco and he turns to an Oriental man, speaking with an accent my Dad couldn't understand, and my Dad says "Hey, have you ever considered learning English?" and he said it out of sincerity to help this guy who "can't communicate" with the people he works around) but I just love him!

I was remembering the Mother's Day before his stroke, he wrote me a really nice card and gave me a gift card.  I was remembering his writing on that and how he wrote "I wish I had some Daiiiirrry Queen!" and the way we used to joke about that line from a movie we both love.  I really missed him!  In a very real way, he died the day he had that stroke.  He's just not the same.

But I am so thankful because while the reality of who he is today is painful, the reality of what he will become is glorious!  Thinking of the Savior Jesus Christ and His unmatched loved for all of us, His willingness to give His life and then to take it back is a glorious truth that gives me a lot of hope for the future.  That is the reason I can choose to laugh when he says about the guy walking by "He doesn't know it, but Stuart and I could take him out" instead of crying every time I'm reminded of how brain injured he really is.

I am so thankful for Jesus Christ.  I know what He did is REAL.  I know the Resurrection is REAL and really will happen to all of us.  I know these things!  I was raised in a Christian home, and LDS home, and I am so thankful to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my heart.  I just don't know how to survive anything without it.  I am thankful for the scriptures and I know they are true, there are great lessons to be learned there! 

I love the scriptures of the man by the pools of Bethesda who had been there years and years, only to be healed  by the mercy, love, and power of Jesus Christ.  I know I am not perfect, my body is not perfect, but I know I will be made perfect through the gift of the Resurrection.

I am very grateful that my own Dad helped me to learn these things and to know them for myself.  I hope I will do the same for my very precious children, and help them to learn to turn to Jesus Christ in all things, to pray to Heavenly Father, to love and serve others, and to repent and pray for mercy.  I know our Father in Heaven wants all of us to pray to Him and love Him.

05 September 2011

Brethren We Have Met To Worship

May I just say there are some FANTASTIC hymns out there?  I found this one not long ago and I find myself thinking about it all the time.  I like to sing to my children in my barely able to sing voice.  I figure---and I hope---that since I am their mother it is sweet to them.  This is one I am working to memorzie all the verses for the sing to my son.  I want him to be a missionary just like his dad and just like my dad!  I hope he will take the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people all over the world.  I don't know how folks get along without Jesus Christ in their lives! 

Come, let us bow down in worship.
     Psalms 95:6

BRETHREN WE HAVE MET TO WORSHIP

Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power, while we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Brethren, see poor sinners round you slumbering on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving, can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers, and our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray and holy manna will be showered all around.

Sisters, will you join and help us? Moses’ sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior, tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Is there here a trembling jailer, seeking grace, and filled with tears?
Is there here a weeping Mary, pouring forth a flood of tears?
Brethren, join your cries to help them; sisters, let your prayers abound;
Pray, Oh pray that holy manna may be scattered all around.

Let us love our God supremely, let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners, till our God makes all things new.
Then He’ll call us home to Heaven, at His table we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself and serve us with sweet manna all around.

30 August 2011

Dadness

Looking back, my Dad has always had a really funny personality.  Michelle and I were talking about a time when my Dad and my brother John were helping me move out of my college apartment two hours away from home.  After we had loaded up the truck that John was driving back home full of my stuff, my Dad pulls out a bundle of ropes and says "Hold on.  My son is not going to look like one of those idiots with their tarps flapping all around the freeway" and proceeded to tie down every square inch of the back of that truck!  In the end, I think his son did look like a different kind of idiot on the freeway.  The kind that looks like is hauling Shelob's lair around. 

My Dad is also looking for either a husband for Michelle or a wife for my brothers.  He apparently thinks any unmarried person of the opposite gender would be a good match for any of them.

One last random thing to throw in---speaking of dating people---John is dating a gymnast and we were all together not long ago.  While Lia (super sweet girl) was talking about gymnastics, my Dad says "You know, I'd really like to get one of those gymnastic outfits."  It was meant to be funny and it was.  We never did get out of him if he wants one with leggings, or without?

26 August 2011

BIAU

I have written a little about attending the Brain Injury Association of Utah conference last year with my mom and Dad.  It was pretty funny to say the least.  My Dad cracked me up again and again.  The last lecture was by a psychologist who spoke about dealing with depression and anxiety in people with Traumatic Brain Injuries.  At one point, the doctor said something like "success it isn't the absence of tragedy, it's moving on despite tragedy." So my Dad turns to me and says "Well that's better than pot."  It was pretty funny.  I don't know where that came but the craziest things come out of his mouth, and usually they make me laugh.  He is so funny!

Someone we heard from there was a young guy whose wife had fallen down the stairs and sustained a brain injury.  He talked about how their one year old-ish son was so sad without his mom and all the devastation their family was experiencing while they waited for answers.  I felt so sad.  It is amazing how horrible TBI's are and how fully they affect the people and families.  I have often wondered about that situation and prayed for that family.  It is so hard.  I hope wherever they are that they have found a way to "move on despite the tragedy."  That was something our family constantly felt and I think is very common---looking for answers that only time will tell.  It is a dumpy situation to be in and have to wait through.  I'm real sorry for people suffering these things.  I hope people find that there is a lot of comfort in the Atonement of Jesus Christ

I love this hymn!  It makes me feel lifted up and happy when I'm needing a boost! 

Jesus Lover of My Soul
Jesus Lover of my soul, Let me to thy bosom fly
While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O, my Savior hide, Til the storm of life is past.
Safe unto the haven guide, Oh receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none; Hangs my helpless soul on thee.
Leave, oh, leave me not alone; Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed; All my help from thee I bring.
Cover my defenseless head, With the shadow of thy wing.

I do love to think of Jesus as the "Lover of my soul" and the souls of everyone else.  I know He really did suffer for our sins, our pains, our disappointments and grief.  I also love the awareness this hymn brings to my total dependance on the Savior Jesus Christ.  I don't know how, but I feel sure that one day all these things will be made up to us. I pray for people out there affected by so many of life's tragedies and hope each individual seeking will find Jesus Christ and the comfort of the Atonement.


 

Family

We have had an unusually high (and FUN) number of family get togethers this year.  My Dad's side of the family got together this month at a great park and we all had a lot of fun!  I don't ever feel nervous about it, but I always know it will be different for people and interacting with my Daddy-o.  I do feel sorry sometimes, because I know my Dad and I know he would hate really understanding how injured his brain is. 


It is actually a lot of fun to see him talking to people and trying to come up with what it is he remembers with a particular person or event.  Most times, he will get it right in the course of his repeating it six times.  He's pretty impressive. 

Doughnuts!

I know I shouldn't laugh all the time, but I would rather do that than get real down and depressed about things!  Like the other day when we went out to do some stuff together.  We always go out for doughnuts.  I know, I know I should take him out for wheat grass juice or something but my Dad used to take us to Arctic Circle for as many twist cones as we asked for.  So my thing is doughnuts.  Anyway, he is supposed to be dieting-----sort of-----he takes a medication that puts weight on him.  I always tell him "If mom finds out she might tell us to stop and then we can't get doughnuts anymore."  It cracked me up the other day when, after our trip to the doughnut shop, he walks in and brings the doughnuts up (wink winking) in front of my mom.  Haha, I think he is enjoying doing something sneaky.  Well, I was wrong, my mom didn't tell us we had to stop at all.  I'm glad because I love an excuse to eat junk too.

12 August 2011

Happy Summer!!!

Happier for me that the end of it is getting closer!  I don't like to be a spoil sport, but, if I'm being honest---IT'S JUST TOO HOT!  Too hot for my dear old Dad and too hot for me too!  We really have had a fun summer though.  We all have done a lot of sitting around in the backyard here at "Mathilda's" and lots of water gaming.

Speaking of that, the 4th of July was TONS of fun.  My family and I came over for a little BBQ that weekend.  After dinner we were all sitting in the shade of the tree out back.  Completely unprovoked, my Dad apparently got this great idea.  He went inside and got a big bucket of water and came out.  When I knew it was meant for me, I got up to walk off and he totally drenched me.  He got me from behind!  Which I promptly informed him was against the rules of engagement!  He ran inside to get away from me, so I snuck around front.  When I opened the door to sneak inside, he was there waiting for me with another bucket of water and got me in front.  So I was soaked!  The only retaliation I managed was getting Matt to convince my Dad to look around a certain corner, which I was waiting behind with a turned on hose.  I don't need to say it, but it was FUN!  My Dad sure is fun.  I was surprised at how long he kept running around and how he out smarted me more than once.  :)

Not a great picture, but this is the result of the water fighting.



"Happy birth new baby!"


"Happy birth new baby" comes from a foreign friend.  It was such a cute little thing she said at the birth of my first baby, that I have just kept it alive!   

We have had so much this summer!  Just like every other family in the world, I daresay.  One of the best events at any time of year is a new baby!  My bestest friend and cousin Marissa had her first baby a week and a half ago.  She is SOOO cute!  My Dad and I went together to meet baby Elyse in the hospital.  He really thought it was cool to be a GREAT uncle once again.  Seeing Marissa and her new baby was a real tender thing for him, and it was real sweet to hear all the thoughts he had about it.  :O)




I've had two of my own babies, and one more on the way, so excepting my own children, I do believe baby Elyse is very likely the CUTEST baby ever born!  She looks just like her mommy.  Elyse has great, great, excellent parents and by all accounts is doing well.

21 June 2011

Happy Father's Day!

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!
That card was written by my three year-old daughter, Peach Pie.  That girl is so amazing!  She said to me eight or more months ago "Mommy it's time for me to learn my letters."  Okkkaaayyy.  Hmmmm.  Not sure how to teach them to you!  After months and months of her asking I finally thought "Hey, why don't I pray about this?" and found some good answers that have worked great for her.  Including a little dry erase tracing book and she is now a self-taught writer and alphabet pro.  She can recognize all the letters, she knows them capital and lower case, she's got all the sounds down and she is even sounding out words.  I don't need to brag any more---I'll end it here by saying WOW do I have a little smarty on my hands!  She is such a joy!
 
For Father's Day, we went over to my parent's house on Saturday for time honored BBQ style food that was, DELICIOUS.  After dinner, we sat out in the back yard and chit chatted for a few hours and had a great time!  My children were invited to a very fancy Toy Story birthday party earlier in the day where the activities included decorating sheriff hats.  Charity brought hers and when my Dad put it on I just laughed my head off.

It wasn't so much the purple feather or the fuzzy glued on balls or foam flowers.  It was a reminder of William Holden in one of my TOP 5 favorite movies, Stalag 17.  I just hope anyone reading this who hasn't seen that movie will do it---it is fantastic!  It's about American and Brittish POW's in WWII and it is very entertaining and pretty much perfect!  Anyway-in the end, Bill Holden's character is sneaking out of the camp with a hidden soldier the nazi's wanted to put on trial for blowing up a supply train.  When he gets the bag of civilian clothes, he pulls this Swiss looking hat out (that looks like this little brown sheriff hat and even has a feather in near the same spot) puts it on and says "I'll look pretty stupid yodeling my way across the Alps in this!"  When I told my Dad he resembled that scene he laughed a lot too. 
 
Happy Father's Day to all fathers!  Happy Father's Day to mine!  He has been a perfect Dad!



17 June 2011

Garden

At my parent's church building, there is a BIG garden lot above the parking lot.  They use it for community outreach and it is really awesome!  This summer my parents have a little spot and every time I see my Dad he wants to go up to see it.  Today my littles and I went over for a visit and I had a great time going up with my Dad to check it out!
It is doing really well!  You can see the potatoes growing in front.  They have pumpkins, tomatoes, beans, corn and probably other things I have forgotten!  It is a lot of fun and my Dad loves it! 

Their spot is in the back of the garden so it is fun to make the walk to it and check out what everyone else is doing.  One of their garden neighbors is Grant, and he has been up there for ten years. In the picture below you can see Grant's bamboo shooting up.  That man has got a professional looking garden going on!  They've got some awesome stuff up there!



05 June 2011

Boise service

 One of the good things I can think of that has come from all the tragedy of the last month is the people.  The people I've been able to meet and be around have been incredible.  My Uncle Frank died in Phoenix on April 30. On May 6 we all were in Phoenix for his funeral, then my Dad's other brother, Uncle Steve, held a memorial celebration in Boise a few weeks later.  I had the opportunity to take my Dad up and attend that.  It was really lovely.  While up there I got to meet Gary Loveland, a man I've heard a lot about and talked to on the phone but never met.
Dad and Gary Loveland before the service began
It was so good to meet him!  While my Dad was in the hospital almost a year ago, I talked to him on the phone and he told me about coaching my Dad in baseball when he was a youngster.  He told me to this day he still has only seen a few people, Dad included, throw out a runner on second base from the squatting position of pitcher.  He is such a cool guy!  When one of his sons was born, my Dad went for a visit.  Gary said when my Dad showed up he knew what his new son should be named, and he did in fact name the new baby Scott, after my Dad.


I love meeting with these great people who have nice memories to share!  In a very real sense we lost my Dad last year and now you never know if his memories from long ago are really from long ago, or if they are from last night's dream.  Although I will admit through fact checks, he gets things pretty close to right on most of the time.  It was just great to take my Dad to Boise where he was born and raised and meet some of these great people!


Another was Pieper.  Her mother was married to my Dad's uncle, although I am still hazy on whether Pieper was already born when her mother married Uncle Tim or whether Uncle Tim is her father.  (Anyone know?)  My confusion is due to my Dad's explaining her connection for 1-2 hours on the way home, each time he restarted it was a little different.  Notwithstanding, Pieper is a beautiful, wonderful person and lovely to meet.   Pieper was married a little while back and three months after she suffered a massive stroke and also has a TBI.  She talks and acts about like my Dad.  She made that whole trip worth it for my Dad, I think.  (He said after we left my Uncle Steve's house the night before, that that visit was worth the whole trip, and then again after talking to Pieper. I was so glad he had some nice visits!)  I've got to say Pieper made my whole trip worth it too, which was already worth it.  She was such a nice, sweet, lovely person!  One thing I so enjoyed was watching them as they sat and talked to each other.  It was a little bit funny because for my Dad's part, I don't think he was really following anything he or she were saying, but he was so happy!  

One of the hard parts that trip was meeting all these people who my Dad knew in Boise who were absolute jerkstores.  I remember their names and wish I had it in me to rat them out on my blog, but I don't, darn it.  I know he talks slow and is hard to follow and I just wanted to say "you know what? My Dad knows that too! Can't you just humor him for a minute?  Help him feel like the real person he is?  Not make him feel worse than he does?" because he understands still if people are rude to him.  It broke my heart to watch as this guy from his childhood sat and looked through the program (which he helped create) while my Dad was working at reminiscing.  I was also wondering what made the program important enough to look at while I was watching this whole thing happen.  Oh well, I know it is HARD to have the patience to talk to people with brain injuries.  So if you are, have been, plan to, or ever will be someone who takes a minute to talk to my Dad or anyone with a brain injury, I sincerely THANK YOU!  For that act alone, you are a hero to me!

Things that make me happy!

Easter Egg Hunting at Poppy's

My awesome Daddy-o and my incredibly loving husband, Matt

Brother Dan arranging flowers with James (I am on a different computer so I don't have a picture on this one of all my brothers!  Otherwise they'd be up!)

Uncle Steve with Sleeping Beauty


Peach Pie helping with laundry

Charity and her look-alike cousin Brecken


Playtime with Daddy!

My strong, wonderful cousins Kari, Marissa, and Juhani. They are seriously amazing!

Kristin and Jenmy
In short, one of the things that makes me most happy is my AWESOME FAMILY!!!!  I feel so blessed to belong to a family where we love and know each other.  My husband is my best friend ever!  I am thankful to have his support throughout everything.  I have wonderful parents, brothers, and cousins who really are my favorite people.  I thank the Lord for blessing us all to belong to the same family!

Sick and tired of sick and tired!

Wow it's been a long time.  Not for lack or something to write but for lack of opportunity.  May 2011 . . . a MONTH that will live on in infamy! It has been CRAZY!  Truly I hope my grandma Nonie's superstition is correct, because if it is (things come in three's) then we ought to be done!  So here I am with a lot to say, and hopefully I can get it all out.  On top of the events, we've all been sick, some of us sick and pregnant, and it has been that way for over a month!  Craziness, but really I get annoyed with myself listing all the things that are have been hard because I don't like feeling a pessimistic!  And actually, things are hard for everyone.  I am glad if lending a listening ear to the down trodden can help them, but for me, complaining often makes me feel worse.  As Elder Holland said "No misfortune is so bad that whining about it can't make it worse." (From April 2007 General Conference)

I try, sometimes with no success, to follow the advice I sing to my littles "No one likes a frowny face, change it for a smile! Make the world a better place by smiling all the while!"

20 May 2011

Good-bye Aunt Wendy! We love you and miss you!


Hallelujah! Hallelujah, hallelujah!  She fought a valiant fight and her suffering is done.  My Aunt Wendy is one of my Mom's two siblings and her only sister.  About seven or eight years ago she was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma (LMS) which is a rare form of cancer.  She had been in pain longer than that and looking for answers.  Yesterday, May 19, she died in her home around her two daughters, her husband and brother.

Aunt Wendy is such an awesome lady.  My parents were able to spend some days in Georgia with her right before she died.  On one of those days I called my Mom's cell phone, and she put me on speaker.  "How are you doing?" I asked.  "Great!  We're doing great and having a lot of fun together!" she said from the couch.  She was always positive and upbeat and brave.  I will miss her a lot!  She is such a beautiful, well mannered, and awesome person and anyone who met here was saying that within seconds. 


She came out in December with my Uncle Neil (their brother) and stayed for a few days.  It was so much fun to see her!  She was in pain, but she carried on cheerfully and took part in everything, including doing a great job being our BINGO caller, and the traditional paper crowns, which come from the Christmas Crackers.  Aunt Wendy just always kept going, only staying down when her tired body literally would not let her move anymore.  She is such a genuinely beautiful person and I will miss her.  I love her!  I love my family so much.  Each person really means a lot to me and I am thankful the Lord has placed us all in the same family tree.

What a blessing is family!

My cousin on the other side, Jenny, said "try explaining your uncle and aunt dying within two weeks of each other to your boss!"  I am glad I don't have a boss to explain that to, but it really has been a month of some difficulty!  Two years ago this month my Aunt Kirsti died, after her valiant, valiant 23 year fight with cancer.  So if things come in three's then we ought to be done with this for a while.

It is interesting just to experience different things in life and have new opportunities for learning and growth.  I have a real firm testimony about death and about the Plan of Salvation and so I have felt peaceful about these happenings.  However, these are people whom I loved my associations with and I am a little melancholy thinking that for this life, that association is over.  But I do believe we will all be reunited one day and be able to pick up those associations once again and continue our progression.

I am thankful for so many wonderful people in my life!  Love to you all and God be with you!

08 May 2011

The Frankinator, love you, miss you.

It is so great to belong to the big family of God.  One thing we have in common with everyone is suffering!  Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said "A few individuals may appear to have no trials at all, which, if it were so, would be a trial in itself.  Indeed, if, as do trees, our souls had rings to measure the years of greatest personal growth, the wide rings would likely reflect the years of greatest moisture-but from tears, not rainfall."  He says this in an article titled "Thanks Be To God."  He says that while the Lord has described His great plan of happiness, not one of us is likely to be a stranger to sorrow.

I am just sitting here thinking of all the people I know who endure hard things and do them so well.  This past week we spent in Phoenix where my Uncle "Frankinator" died.  Almost two years ago we were there for the funeral of his wife, my Aunt Kirsti.  Although a sad occasion, it would so nice to be together with my cousins.  All of the suffering they have experienced and witnessed in their young lives and into adulthood!  My Aunt Kirsti was diagnosed with cancer 23ish years before she died from it and had been through as many surgeries. She was amazing at appearing cheerful even when you knew she was in pain.  She was beautiful that way, like my Aunt Wendy who is going through the same thing now.  My uncle and aunt in Phoenix did an inspiring job at carrying on despite the challenges with her health and continued to teach their children good things.  I am so grateful for their lives and examples, and grateful for the lives and examples of their three children, whom I love so much.  I really, really do.  Their sufferings, their lives, their interests and their concerns are all important to me, and I always find myself wishing I was better at really showing others the way I care so much.

When I witness or experience suffering, I pray for the opportunity and blessing of helping other people feel of God's love.  As Elder Maxwell says, Heavenly Father does indeed have a wonderful plan of happiness, but that does not mean we will not experience sorrow.  Joseph Smith was reminded that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, descended below all things.  He was taught that "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."  I am thankful for that knowledge that somehow these things that seem so sad or that devastate us are somehow designed to make us something better.

I am thankful for my Mom today on Mother's Day and always!  I am thankful for how she is converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and her example of not running away or turning angry and bitter about her challenges with my Dad---and the other ones too!  It is amazing to hear her say, she whose life has been thrown in a whirlwind of hard changes, that she knows these things are the things she needs to experience in order to become what she needs to become.  In short, she is awesome to me!

And finally, to end I want to say that I LOVE being a mother.  Oddly enough, nothing sounds more fun to me than being the "Mommy!" these little people cry for in the middle of the night---or the middle of the store.  I really feel so blessed with the opportunity to hav my own children, and to raise them, to take care of them, and teach them.  Being a wife and mother are the best two things that have happened to me.  I am really thankful I get these experiences, and grateful to enjoy them so much.  Love to all of you, wherever you are and a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to women EVERYWHERE!

19 April 2011

Sofie

Today I am thinking about how my Dad really has always been nuts over his Boston Terrier Sofie.  Every time I see him, he will, at some point, sit watching Sofie and will inevitably shake his head and say "That is the best dog in the whole world.  Look at her." 

This morning slicing some bread I made reminded me of how I got that bread knife.  About a year ago my Dad came over with Sofie to visit.  He came in and stayed a while, talked a while about Sofie, we offered him some bread (which he politely turned down) and then left.  Minutes after leaving he called and said "How about I get you a good bread knife and bring it over, then you give me a piece of your bread?"  I told him he could have bread without bringing me a knife but that sounded great!  When he came over with the bread he told us that he pulled up into the parking lot of Target.  He knew he couldn't bring Sofie inside the store.  Positive someone would steal her from his locked, alarm equipped car during the three minutes he was inside, he said he looked around and waited for people to go inside.  When all the people were out of the parking lot, he wrapped her in a blanket so no one would see her, opened the trunk, put her inside, took her out of the blanket and then shut it.  We laughed so hard at him for that!  I can honestly say that as cute and perfect as a dog may be, I have never thought of stealing one from anywhere, let alone a locked car with a set alarm.  I still think he probably looked more suspicious doing that than any of the dog nappers in the area that night.  He really knows he has the most perfect dog ever born!

17 April 2011

Dad and Ammon

A couple of growling nerds!

Thanks to Our Father

Thanks to our Father, we will bring
For He gives us everything!
Eyes and ears and hands and feet,
Clothes to wear and food to eat.
Father, mother, baby small,
Heavenly Father gives us all.

-Robert Louis Steveson

"I'm Scott . . ."

There is a man in my ward who had a hemorrhagic stroke three days after my Dad did.  Today at church I was talking to him about his whole ordeal and it is amazing how these things change life for the affected individuals and family members.  My heart really aches for these people and their loved ones.  It really is strange to think of my Dad on July 5, the day before his stroke, and the phone conversations we had and the advice he was giving me.  Then the next day my Dad was in brain surgery.  I am just thankful for every day I have with my family and at the end of each one I hope and pray for another day together of health and strength, of safety and happiness and protection.  I know all these things happen as the Lord sees fit and that He sees the end of everything from before the beginning.  I also know there will be healing of the physical kind!  Actually of every kind but I really look forward to the day when my Dad and this nice man at church will enjoy the use of their brains and bodies again.

Speaking of the man at church with my Dad, he said he would like to talk to him.  I said "Yes, it's helpful to know other people who are in the same situation as you are."  He said "That is the best statement so far on why I want to meet him.  I just want to meet this guy and say 'Look, my name is Scott.  I'm 40 years old (he is really 56) and I have . . . 4-6 kids' and just talk."  It was pretty funny-my Dad actually has five kids plus one son in-law and one daughter in-law, a granddaughter and a grandson.  So I am really not sure why he came up with that range but it was pretty funny.  I am always glad when he realizes what he is saying and can laugh about it too.  He's great!

Who got the milkcow now?

Today I got a fun phone call from my Dad.  He wanted me to help him figure something out that my Mom could not, according to him, figure out at all.  He said "I have this song stuck in my head, Mom says it doesn't exist.  Okay, tell me what this is: (singing) Who got the milkcow now?  Who got the milkcow now?"  I don't know if this could possibly come across in writing as funny as it was on the phone.  But it was really, really funny.  He really insists there is a song with a line in it "Who got the milkcow now?"  So my Madre thinks he is singing "Who Wrote the Book of Love" with the wrong lyrics and I suggested maybe he is thinking of Eric Clapton's "Milkcow Calf Blues."  I don't know if he will ever agree to either one, but the fun of it all has made for a Sunday afternoon treat!






P.S Maybe he is thinking my son "got the milkcow now." 

Lack of Computer! Arrg!

I have not received complaints on my lack of online activity from anyone but me, but boy it is sure different not having a computer around!  We have a P of J (piece of junk) old Dell Laptop from Matt's time at BYU that we keep around from some unknown reason.  Sitting in front of it is something that I only do out of desparation and if I have the time to wait three hours while it loads my e-mail.  Matt is now doing his MBA and the program directors want every student on the same machine.  Really sad when we received word it was . . . ANOTHER DELL!  In an effort not to offend anyone in the universe I will say it may be us (but I doubt it) and the way we use computers (we don't) but we have never liked Dells!  Sad sad sad.  So for once, the computer and I are together at home and all at the same time!  I have had a lot of things I have wanted to sit and write about but no computer to write it on!  Ahhh it's good to be online for a few minutes!

01 April 2011

Jeffrey R. Holland-"None Were With Him"

Twice a year we tune into General Conference of the LDS Church.  We get to hear from the leaders of our church both Saturday and Sunday.  It is such a wonderful time when saints all throughout the world gather together to listen to the word of the Lord spoken by His Prophets and Apostles.

I know it is not Easter quite yet, but being in April sure puts me in the mood for it!  Two years ago, Jeffrey R. Holland gave, what I consider, the most soul stirring and heavenly talk on Jesus Christ, his Atonement and Resurrection.  I love it so much, I immediately instigated a family tradition for us each Easter Sunday, which is to gather around and watch this together.  It is entitled "None Were With Him" and was given at the General Conference in April of 2009.  Here are links to it, and I really, really hope anyone reading this will have the time to listen to at least a portion of it.  It is so marvelous, so uplifting, so beautiful and reverent, it moves me to tears every single time I listen to it.  It is the perfect Easter message for everyone, and it is such a comfort to anyone who has suffered in any kind of way.  I consider this talk a gift from Heavenly Father!

To watch:
http://lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/none-were-with-him?lang=eng&media=video

To read and/or:
http://lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/none-were-with-him?lang=eng&media=audio

Any talk can be downloaded to an MP3 player free!

I Feel My Savior's Love

I Feel My Savior's Love, in all the world around me
His Spirit warms my soul through everything I see

I feel my Savior’s love its gentleness enfolds me
And when I kneel to pray my heart is filled with peace

I feel my Savior’s love and know that He will bless me
I offer Him my heart; my shepherd He will be

I’ll share my Savior’s love by serving others freely,
In serving I am blessed, in giving I receive

He knows I will follow Him, give all my life to Him
I feel my Savior’s love, the love He freely gives me.

Sweater trouble and its no April fool's day joke

No idea why this past week got too busy for me to sit down and write the things I have been wanting to! 

First of all I want to say the Webb family is in my prayers and on my mind.  I was so sorry to hear of another huge event in the lives of the health of their family.  I have always admired my Mom's good friend Pat and her unwavering positive attitude and faith!  I hope and pray for a speedy recovery there!

A couple days ago I went to see my Dad.  I sent him off to get out of his PJ's so we could go check out a house my brother is planning to buy.  Got to say it was hilarious when he came in looking like this:


 This is a zip up hoodie and he couldn't figure out how to get it on.  I did tell him to pose for the picture.  The face he actually had when he came to say he needed sweater help was a big smile.  He thought it was funny too, thank goodness!  He was wearing it with his PJ's when he went off to get dressed so I guess he must have pulled it off right over his head!  I love my Dad!  He is so adorable!

22 March 2011

Poem by Mom

To Get Knowledge and Wisdom 

To get knowledge and wisdom
is suffering, which to mortality
seems a bitter cost
We have heard, and we believe,
the price is worthy
We have watched our Good Shepherd King
suffer for us and
we know He has arisen after all
mortality could combine
So we suspend our perceptions,
believing there is other than
what flesh can measure or comprehend,
what flesh can calculate,
and wait, flickering on the thin rim
of silence, sensing
all is well
 
Kim W Smith

18 March 2011

Party time!

Back in February we had a great time with my Dad's family!  We got together at a church, ate dinner and played BINGO.  Our beginnings with BINGO go way back!  My family has Thanksgiving with my Aunt Susan's family every year and we started the BINGO tradition I think about 23 years ago.  We load up on dollar store and DI prizes and have a great, great time playing.  I don't know if I look forward more to the food at Thanksgiving or the BINGO.  My Dad has been our traditional caller, but last year was the first time someone else (ended up being me) had to do it.  He used to buy tons of Kit-Kats and stack them up like a pyramind and throw them out during the rounds of BINGO.  It is such a fun memory! 

Anyway, here are a few of the pictures I have from that party.  My cousin Jane e-mailed them (thanks Jane!) and I was so sorry to realize I didn't bring my own camera. 

It is great to be around your family.  I always think of it as a gift to be with the people I love and to be together under happy (and delicious) circumstances.  Great food, great games, and great people!  It is the best!  I know when Heavenly Father set up the family unit He was giving us the best thing to be part of on this earth.  I am so thankful to belong to a family of people who all love each other.



13 March 2011

"Come Unto Me"

An excerpt from a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled "Come Unto Me"
 
Consider the Savior's benediction upon his disciples even as he moved toward the pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary. On that very night, the night of the greatest suffering the world has ever known or ever will know, he said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
 
I submit to you that may be one of the Savior's commandments that is almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord's merciful heart. I can tell you this as a parent: As concerned as I would be if somewhere in their lives one of my children were seriously troubled or unhappy or disobedient, nevertheless I would be infinitely more devastated if I felt that at such a time that child could not trust me to help, or should feel his or her interest were unimportant to me or unsafe in my care. In that same spirit, I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands or trust in his commandments.

There is peace for troubled hearts

This is my Dad.  I feel so proud of him!  This man has been through so much! He was hit by a drunk driver about 21ish years ago and has suffered through permanent consuquences.  Two failed ablations, both of which resulted in more permanent health consequences.  He has gone through ARDS which again was brought on not by himself.  Then a massive hemorrhagic stroke. And epilepsy.  And----well that list is bad enough.  But tonight as I was visiting with my Dad, I was really struck by how incredible it is that even after all that, he can still sit and laugh at jokes, he will still go out and talk to people, he still does things!  I am amazed! 

We were talking tonight how believers in Christ will see something happen and hopefully will recognize it as a miracle while those who aren't believers will see a miracle and may only call it a coincedence.  I am so thankful to have a testimony of Jesus Christ and I am grateful for the daily miracles in all our lives!  I am thankful to belong to parents who recognize that He blesses us with those daily miracles.  I am absolutely certain it is impossible for me in my mortal state to recognize completely all He does, but I know and I testify of His involvement in our everyday lives.  I firmly believe there is eternal consuqeunce and relevance in our every-day lives.  I know the choices I make today are important for my future, but I also know that I am not expected to be perfect.  But our perfect Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ provided a perfect plan for each individual with the opportunity to repent. 

I know my Dad's life does matter to Heavenly Father and it certainly matters to me!  Even though my Dad can't do what he used to do I know there is purpose and happiness and joy to be felt in his life.  As I look at my blog and see the google search terms that lead some people to it, I feel a little like crying for some of them!  One person who visited several pages on my blog found it by typing "People who have watched loved ones suffer hemorrhagic stroke".  I don't know who that is, of course, but I pray for you!  I don't understand strokes, I don't understand why we can send rockets to Mars but we can't fix a brain.  I know that our Lord knows all the answers and does have the power to heal, and that we have to figure out how to get through each day, and hopefully with cheer, while we wait.

I want to tell you that you are not alone in your suffering.  Your Father in Heaven hears your prayers and He knows the thoughts and intents of your heart.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ--the only Begotten!--to Atone for the pains of mortality.  It is hard and it is shattering sometimes, but it is worth it to press on and trust in the Lord.  The comfort available through trust on the Lord is incredible.  His yoke is easy, and His burden is light!  He calls "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest".  I believe that is true.  Please call on the name of Jesus Christ in your trials, in your suffering.  He will heal the wounded soul.  He truly can!
I am thankful I get to keep this blog.  Really even if it is only so that I will sit down once in a while and write out my testimony of the Savior then it is worth it for me.  I do love Jesus Christ, I am thankful to be a Christian and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I am thankful I was able to gain my testimony by sincerely praying and asking and that is the way for anyone who wants to know to find out for themselves.

Thanks for reading!  A lot of love to you all and good night!

08 March 2011

Great music

I am thankful for the hymns!  I love them so much.  I am not a real musician, I taught myself to play piano as a personal progress goal when I was young.  I am so thankful I did that because I learned all the hymns and really learned to love them.  There is so much comfort and solace offered to us through the words and music.  I know the Lord loves to hear us sing good songs!  This verse has been on my mind today from Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer.

Precious Savior, dear Redeemer, Thou wilt bind the broken heart.
Let not sorrow overwhelm us; Dry the bitter tears that start.
Curb the winds and calm the billows; Bid the angry tempest cease.
Precious Savior, dear Redeemer, Grant us everlasting peace.

I know that we can receive "everlasting peace" through Jesus Christ.  I am so thankful that His Atonement is for our burdens and sorrows as well as for our sins.  He is the matchless gift!

HDC & GBH

My Dad is tons of fun!  There are a couple of great traditional things he and I did together when I was growing up.  The first is Hot Dog Club!  About once a week, maybe more, in the spring and summer, and sometimes in the fall, and winter, I would take Trax downtown and meet him at the corner of 200 South and Main Street where we would "commence shoveling" on the most delicious hot dogs Salt Lake City has to offer.  We really both just loved the experience of a city hot dog, eaten in muggy outdoors of downtown while hundreds of cars passed by.  Mmmm.  I hope Hamza and his hot dog stand will be there this summer.

The other great thing my Dad and I did together for many summers was golf ball hunting!  We would head out on the old motorcycle and drive around the outskirts of the U of U golf course to check for stray balls.  We would find them down the hill and across the road in trees and up by the Olympic village and the hospitals.  It is amazing how far off some of those golfers were.  We had our own code and lingo for finding and picking up the balls.  We stored them on the back porch and in one summer collected a 6-gallon bucket of stray balls.  (Which mysteriously disappeared, we assumed due to some mischief of the boys in the family.)  We were golf ball picky, and never picked up a stray ball marked with three lines, signifying it belonged to the course.  We really had so, so, so much fun doing that!  We never came home without finding at least one ball.  After ARDS, my Dad put the bike away for good.  It was okay though, because they closed the golf course right around that time. We figure they must have closed the golf course because we stopped coming.

Dorktastic

My brother John says one of his favorite things is to watch my Dad walk into the kitchen every morning with his hat clipped under his head.  I think my Dad would die if he knew I was posting this picture!  He constantly asks me, and probably everyone, if his hat really is cool looking or if he looks like a dork.  I always tell him that it is cool, which is true because my Dad has always been the head dork.

For a while there was this greeting card at the grocery store.  It had these four super, super nerdy looking guys on the front.  Inside it said "The geek squad wishes their leader a Happy Birthday."  It really cracked me up, and so my Dad and I gave each other that birthday card for a couple years.  He's definitely a nerd!!!

01 March 2011

Dad and Chi

Today my Dad was playing with my daughter.  He would hide around a corner, jump out and scare her, and then throw her in the air.  She asked an obviously tired Poppy "Will you do it again?"  He answered "I will heebajunnatragahyemnilktra" or something like that and then walked off!  It was so funny and Charity was so confused by his answer.  When he started mumble jumbling, I was worried about what the slurred speech meant!  Then I realized what he was doing, and I laughed so hard I cried.

This is when I realized he can probably get out of anything he doesn't want to do for the rest of his life.  All he has to do is say "ahsumstrumalobatofytofee" and he's good!  :)  Well, if anyone deserves to do whatever they want, I'd easily say it's him.

28 February 2011

Quote

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

Millie

When I turned 12, my Dad picked me up from school on his motorcycle.  We drove to somewhere in Salt Lake where he told me we were buying a helmet for his motorcycle.  When we got there, he went in alone and came out with the "helmet guy" who was holding a little tiny black tea-cup poodle.  This man, Frank, handed me the dog and said "Happy birthday!"  I about jumped out of my skin, I was so excited!  Minutes later my brothers and Mom showed up in the van to see the dog.  That was the day I got my dog-best-friend, Millie.  My Dad was a hero in my eyes!  He always has been too.  I thought that my Dad just knew what I wanted to badly for my birthday and he gave it to me.


Years later, my Dad revealed the real reason he got Millie for me.  I had better set this up by saying I laughing while relating this story.  One day my Dad wanted me to do something for him that I wasn't excited about doing.  Maybe he was trying to talk me into rubbing his feet?  Anyway, he was trying to talk me into doing something so he summoned up any and everything he could possibly guilt trip me with.  That didn't work.  So he brought out the big guns and he said "Lizzie, WHO got you Millie when you had NO friends?"  Then went into elaborate and hilarious detail about how sad he felt that I had no friends and that practically forced him into finding the most perfectly suited dog for me on the planet.  That turned into "Why don't you have friends? Now, take Mr. Leopard here.  He has friends, he's popular, everyone likes him!"  (My little brother John had been elected "Mr. Leopard" his senior year at East High School and co-starred in two musicals, was president of Madrigals and served on seminary council.  No way I was half as popular to accomplish any of that!)
The popular Mr. Leopard himself
My Dad really has always been such a fun guy, even while poking fun at us.  Of course we poke lots of fun back!

20 February 2011

New Testament Thoughts

This morning I was studying the New Testament in preparation for our Sunday School lesson.  The New Testament really is so beautiful, is it not?  To read the actual words of the Savior fills me with grattitude and amazement.  I actually feel like it is something that lifts me to another place!  I have always loved John 5:39; Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 

Now I know every person has their own way of interpreting scripture so you may think I am way off.  But I have always loved to comapre this to the way I feel so happy and elated when I am really searching and pondering the scriptures.  When I read them, I do think I have eternal life!  When I am really reading, I feel God's love for me, and I feel His love for others through me.  I realize all over again the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true!  I know faith is something I must work at everyday.  I believe that is true for everyone.  I believe every spirit has need of constant nourishment.  I really can testify the scriptures are true!  And that any man who reads and asks in sincerity of heart may know by the Holy Ghost that they are true.  God speaks to us through them and there are so many excellent things to learn!

I love this story in Mark 1:40-42 where the lepor kneels and begs the Savior.  He says "if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean."  One lesson I have learned from this is about the faith this man shows.  He essentially is saying "If it is Thy will, I know Thou canst make me clean."  The Savior says "I will; Be thou clean."  Those words are so touching to me, "I will."  I learn from this that many blessings the Lord is waiting to give us, and they depend upon our asking in faith.  I know we are individuals in the sight of God.  I know "the worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God."  Also I believe we are taught the importance of praying for God's will.  Pray is the act of the will of the Father and the will of the child becoming the same, His will becoming ours.  For His ways are not our ways and just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His thoughts higher than ours.  Even Jesus Christ prayed "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done."   

As I have thought of these things today I thought about my Dad!  I have been and continue to be affected by the hemorrhagic stroke and the traumatic brain injury he now has.  I recognize there are others (namely my parents) more affected by this than I am.  But still it is painful for me.  I am grateful for the scriptures which teach us, and the Holy Ghost which tells us the truth of all things.  Because of that, I can know that whatever the reasons, this is God's will and I am happy with that!  I also know that my Dad can be healed and will in fact be healed one day and be able to enjoy the full and proper use of his body.

I testify that Jesus is the Christ!  That He atoned for our sins, that His sweat was as "great drops of blood" and He suffered, and that He took upon Himself the sins of the world in order to redeem us and fulfill the will of the Father.  I know that God has spoken and does speak to us on earth.  I am so thankful that I have found my love for trying to live a gospel-centered life.  That is what brings me joy and happiness.  I am not even close to perfect by any measurement, but yet God has allowed me to have such joy for believing on His name and for trying to follow the commandments and repenting when I make mistakes.  I believe and I know Joseph Smith is a prophet who did, in fact, "commune with Jehovah."  I believe that if any man will ask, showing real intent and faith in Jesus Christ that he may know the truth of all things!  My religion is what makes me feel that life is worth all the headache on a bad day, that happiness is possible and worth working for.  I am thankful for my God, I know He loves me, I know He loves my children and family and I know He loves you!  We are all individuals in His sight and He does indeed hear all our prayers.

Thank you for reading and I will close all this in the name of Jesus Christ and an amen!