30 August 2012

Thankful for Life's Daily Miracles!

"There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as thought nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle."
     ---Albert Einstein


My family is alive, well, healthy, and other than worn out, HAPPY!

We were given our daily bread, and then some!

We have enough money at the end of the month to cover bills.

The sun came up in the morning!

The Utes are up 7!!!  (No surprise, really! GO UTES!)

We all had clean underwear to put on this morning. (YAY!)

If my daughter did swallow a penny, it doesn't seem to be bothering her.

My son didn't fall out of the shopping cart and break his head! (And it really did look like he was going to!)

I survived a really trying situation this morning.

I think I'll get all the fruit sitting in the kitchen canned.

I have time and opportunity to sit and write this!

We got our daily scripture study done---my favorite part of the day!

My son went to bed early! Bless his heart.

We all had baths today.

Can a little child like me
Thank the Father fittingly?
Yes! Oh Yes! Be good and true!

Patient, Kind in all you do.
Love the Lord and do your part,
Learn to say with all your heart:
Father, we thank Thee!
Father, we thank Thee!
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee!

For the fruit upon the trees,
For the birds that sing of Thee!
For the sunshine warm and bright,
For the day and for the night!
For the joyful work and true
That a little child may do,

14 August 2012

Stay cheerful!

Well, all I can find for the source of this quote is some blog and a BYU-I devotional talk where the woman says that "this quote was given at church last Sunday and attributed to Hyrum Smith." So---however likely/unlikely it is that he actually is the one who said it, I don't know.  But I came across this quote today, and I really like it!  No matter who said it, it is truth!

Be not discouraged, neither allow the spirit of doubt or gloom or despondency to come into thy life, for these are tricks of the evil one to destroy thy faith and thy usefulness. But look upon the bright side of life, be cheerful, humble, prayerful, and in pure devotion, and in thy habits, and the Lord will remember thee in mercy. His power and blessings will be upon thee. therefore, look unto the Lord in humility, and thou shalt be comforted in the answers to thy prayers and be guided in the path of thy duty, day and night.

12 August 2012

Sound effects

One day I pulled up to my parent's house to a laughing mom.  She told me to go listen at the bathroom door.  Well, you only had to be in the same house to hear what was happening in the bathroom.  My Dad was making this sound like he was having some major emergency health problem or something. When my Mom heard this noise coming from the bathroom she ran up to see if he was having a heart attack.

He was just hanging out having a good old time in the shower, making his own sound effects!  Luckily he was a good sport and let me snag a little footage of it later on. :-)


Tonight I called my husband's aunt and the tone of her voice reminded me of what I was feeling when I couldn't stop crying while my Dad was in a coma.

I remember standing over his bed and looking down at him.  "Dad, are you in there?" I asked.  Feeling helpless.  Feeling sad.  Feeling like "I know this will be alright, but when will I look back at this and say  'yeah, it did end up alright.'"


My husband Matt has a cousin.  His cousin is Chris.  Chris in on an LDS mission right now and has been gone two out of 24 months so far.  Tonight we heard that his mother got a phone call from the president of the mission's wife.  The mission president's wife told Chris's mother (you with me?) that Chris can't read.  He began having trouble focusing his eyes, then he completely lost the ability.  He went to two eye doctors and the general consensus is that Chris has damaged his eyes beyond repair, and they will never be able to focus.

Chris is 19.  NINETEEN!  That's it!

The next step for him is to see a really REALLY special specialist doctor to find out if there is something to be done for him. The doctor told him whatever happened to his eyes was seriously traumatic, that you don't get that kind of scars and damage without major trauma. They are wondering if the irresistibly of looking at the solar eclipse is the culprit. He may be the reason everyone on TV was warning everyone else: DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT MADE-FOR-ECLIPSE-GLASSES!

When everything was so uncertain with my Dad I used to pray "If there is a miracle in this day, please let it be for my Dad!"  The Lord surely did bless our family with many many many miracles!!! I know that the Lord has a plan, just for each one of us.  I pray Chris and all of us will learn what we are supposed to from this experience, and that his life and eyesight will be blessed with many miracles!!!

I just can't help but think what a different life it will be for him if he can't read.  What will he do for work?  Will he ever get married or have a family?  Now that everything for Chris is so uncertain, I am praying as often as I think of it (which so far is about three times per minute) that his eye sight will all be restored and that Chris will be very blessed for all his efforts to serve the Lord in whatever way he is asked to.

I know Heavenly Father is in total control of this and every situation and I pray that the reassurance of His love and his involvement in our lives will cover and comfort us all, no matter what our sorrows and cares may be!

02 August 2012

God will see us through!

Tonight, driving home from my cousin's daughter's first birthday party, I plugged in the headphones on my iPod while my children listened to books on tape in the back.  I listened to this local show run by (hilarious and sarcastic) men who asked everyone to text their worst "first world problems" to be read on air.  Minutes later, to the tune of Kenny G, they started reading the texts.

I'm going to Hawaii and I don't know which clothes I should pack.

My wife was with a church group tonight and I have to eat left-overs.

The lowest setting on my car's air conditioner doesn't work.

My AC is drying my eyes out.

The entrance to the Olive Garden is on the other side of the building.

Oh golly!!!  I thought of my Mom, and many others, who I think would love to have their worst problem be a broken AC!

Feeding ducks
I remember sitting with my dad in the NICU and looking out over the sunset valley of Salt Lake City, and thinking how strange it was that people were living normal lives, and everything was going on around us.  For us, life was about one thing for a while.  It was about waiting to see what in the world was going to happen with my dad.

I can't describe the emotional burden I felt.  While I was feeling it, I knew that it was not something unique to me.  I was not the only one in this world who had or would know what it was like.  It amazed me that after a good night's rest, I would wake feeling tired.

I say all this, keeping in mind the fact that I am not the one closest to the suffering.  Still as close as I am, it hurts to think of it all!
A great animal lover!
Teaching his grand's to feed ducks from their hands!
I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent His Son to die for us, to Atone for us. The miraculous and infinite Atonement is real.  It is wonderful to know that He would endure all that He did, in part to know how to "succor His people".  It is a wonderful life, when you know that Jesus Christ can relate to how you feel, and your pains and emotions and thoughts.

Some of the hardest experiences give the greatest opportunity to bring us closer to God.  I have loved the birthing experiences that I have had.  I chose to give birth, medication-free.  People think I am crazy, in fact I THINK I AM TOO!  But going through those difficult experiences truly made me cry out to God, and beg Him for immediate help and mercy, which was undoubtedly sent, and it really helped me to realize how much I need Him!  It helped me realize how I am nothing without Him, and everything with Him!  I felt so close to my Savior and so thankful that He would see me through that experience.  When it was all said and done, I felt like my life had been changed forever through the mercies of Jesus Christ, and it has!

So whether its the uncertainty of life, or life with a loved one who's brain no longer functions as it used to, or even childbirth! Trust yourself to God.  Give your life to Him!  Trust Him with your heart and your feelings.  Say it out loud! Whatever your heart or your mind or your tired body is grieving over, remember that "earth has NO sorrow that Heaven cannot heal."

01 August 2012

Scott and Medication

This is a letter I asked my mother Kim to write in response to a letter I received, in which I was asked for help and suggestions on helping people post-stroke to make improvements.

My husband Scott had a massive hemorrhagic stroke in the left occipital region of his brain, 12 cm X 12 cm, July 2010. He was in a non-medically induced coma for over two weeks, and doctors would not predict whether he would live until after he regained consciousness. In the four years previous to the stroke, Scott had undergone a failed ablation procedure with avoidable hospital error that resulted in thrombosis of the vena cava, a two week hospitalization and a six month recuperation. About two years later he was hospitalized for another ablation that resulted in pericarditis, seven minutes without brain or heart activity, and CPR that created acute respiratory distress syndrome and an 9 week hospital stay with a year of recuperation. At the end of that year, he suffered the stroke. He was left with anomial aphasia, visual deficits, and complete loss of the ability to read. (He can write from dictation but cannot read what he has written.)

Scott came home from the hospital with 10 prescription medications. We spent the first two months at 2 or 3 weekly sessions of rehab in which we mostly tried to assess his cognitive abilities but also worked on teaching him to cross the street. His therapist took him down a short hallway during every session and asked him to locate the bathroom, but time after time Scott was unable to do so. He could not tell the difference between the stove and the sink in the staff kitchen. After rehab benefits ended, we worked for three months on number and letter recognition, with Scott being completely unable to retain any recognition for more than two minutes. He could not tolerate listening to any music or recorded books. Then we started the process of daily living within the bounds of our new and unfamiliar circumstances.

After six months I began to wonder about the medications Scott was taking because we were not instructed to meet with any doctor to review which meds he needed and which he could stop taking. I began to realize that we were not being followed by any doctor, not under any doctorʼs supervision. We attended an independent seminar on traumatic brain injuries and heard a neurologist speak about specific medications that had long term side effects, and I presented him with Scottʼs meds list. He suggested that several might be interacting to create oversedation and recommended we find a doctor to supervise Scottʼs meds. I began to read about the meds and found one heart medicine he was on required a weekly blood test and was for short term use only, but Scott had been taking it for 13 weeks and we had never been advised of the need for lab tests. I phoned cardiology the next morning, and we were seen within the hour and left with an appointment to see the endocrinologist in the following hour. Over the course of the next 18 months we have taken Scott off five meds, three of which were useful during his hospital stay but unnecessary once he went home.

Scott is no longer oversedated. He must take an anti-seizure med twice a day to control the epilepsy that resulted from the stroke. We are told that is a permanent necesessity. He takes several other meds, but we have proven his need to take them by slowly reducing the dosage, under a doctorʼs supervision, till we could discern effectiveness. The result is he is more aware of reality, more involved in his surroundings, more responsive, and more able to do simple things on his own. He has been listening to music before falling asleep for several months. He has been walking our dogs by himself and chatting with neighbors. Today he began to tinker with an Apple iPod Nano on which is one audiobook and he enjoyed it very much. He cannot read letters or numbers, he cannot use a telephone or tell his address or remember his age, but he is starting to have a little more fun, and that is great!