Saturday, February 17, 2018

Seeing me...

The other day, I was shopping online for a new swim suit. Amanda was helping me because I tend to stick with the same (boring - according to my style. 

As we shopped, Mandy would point out suits that she thought I'd look good in. Frequently, I had to say, "No, that wouldn't work." When she asked why not, I had to explain that there are parts of my anatomy that don't fit certain kinds of suits; due to my large size tummy.

After about five or more times of having this conversation, I thought she was maybe getting frustrated with me; so I apologized for repeating myself. At that point, Amanda said something that was profound and immensely touching. She said, "Mom, I'm sorry. When I look at you, I don't see those things. I just see YOU!!" WOW!

The only other person who has truly seen me this way - into my heart - through my soul; is Kevin. I thought him loving me this way was a precious gift. Certainly one I'm not at all sure I have earned.

Now, I see that I have been given this gift twice. I can't think of one thing I've done in this life to deserve such an amazing blessing. Maybe I was REALLY good in the pre-existence. All I know is that I am grateful beyond my ability to express.

So, thank you, Amanda - even though those words seem inadequate to express what is overflowing in my heart right now. I want you to know that I "see" you, too.

I love you!

Love, Mom

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Today I am thankful. Well, to be honest, I try to live everyday with a thankful heart.  But today I am especially thankful.

I'm getting over bronchitis, and today I feel more like myself than I have in a week. So...thankful.

I was able to get over and visit a friend for an hour or so. She always lifts my spirits. So...thankful.

I did some service for a family member. So...thankful.

Last night, the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Thomas S. Monson, passed away. He has been an Apostle in full-time service of the Church for 54 years. He was 36 at the time of his initial call to the Apostleship. That is a wonderful legacy of service to God and his fellowmen. President Monson was a great example of humble, Christ-like living. So...thankful.

The organization of the leadership of the LDS Church follows the patterns dictated by Heavenly Father. There is no campaigning to become Prophet. There is no voting or popularity contest. Heavenly Father has set His Church in order and we follow His plan. The most senior Apostle steps up to fill the place of the Prophet and is ordained by the Quorum of the 12 Apostles - just as it was when Jesus established His Church when He was on the earth. The continuity and dignity of the succession of modern day prophets increases my testimony that Heavenly Father leads His Church through the Priesthood Keys held and utilized by His Ordained leaders. So...thankful.

There is peace in my heart, even as I mourn the passing of a great, but humble servant of God. Peace that comes from knowing - absolutely, without a doubt, that this life is NOT the end. That this beloved, kind, gentle man is now reunited with his sweetheart, Francis, and the Savior whom he served so well. This knowledge gives me peace and hope.  So...thankful.

Today I am thankful - especially thankful for a loving Father who provides the means, tools, and path for us to make our way home to Him. Today I am thankful...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Out with the old...

Ring in the New!!!

In April of 2011 I was preparing for major facial reconstruction surgery the following month. Basically, the doctors were going to restructure the bones in my face and jaws to allow better air-flow so I wouldn't stop breathing when I slept. Eventually, they decided to do 11 separate procedures in one surgery. To say I was scared would be an understatement.

That April I was listening to General Conference when I heard a talk about "becoming a Saint through the Atonement of Christ". Elder Kent F. Richards spoke of being a surgeon and the part that pain plays in the treatment and healing of physical injuries. Then he tied that to the part pain plays in our spiritual growth and repentance. His talk spoke directly to my fears about this surgery. I knew that the bones in my face would be deliberately broken, moved, and reset. I knew that soft tissue inside my mouth would be reshaped and changed surgically. Most of all I knew that all of these things would cause me great pain.  Elder Richard's talk gave me a lifeline. It reminded me that Jesus Christ had already walked this path of pain for me. It gave me something to hang on to during the long, dark hours I spent in the ICU - often in excruciating pain. I learned that if I was willing to allow Him in, Jesus Christ could sustain me in my trials - and that I would become better acquainted with Him because of it. I learned first hand, to "lean on Him". I felt His peace and comfort throughout that whole ordeal. When I initially heard Elder Richard's talk, I felt Heavenly Father asking me if I was willing to endure the pain that was coming my way so that I could become better acquainted with my Savior and become more like Him. Of course my answer was yes.

Little did I know that taking such a leap of faith would lead to so many other lessons in my life. I thought that accepting the challenge to become better acquainted with my Savior applied only to this particular event in my life. Silly me!  Since then I've discovered that this event was just me opening the door and allowing Father to test and try me to a level of faith I've never dreamed of. I learned that He wants my surrender. He wants me to willingly and cheerfully submit my will to His.

In the last six years, I've had life lessons I never imagined in my wildest dreams or nightmares. I've had physical challenges, health challenges, parental challenges, and many more. I've seen family members suffer similar experiences and much worse. I've cared for family members with dementia, and others with mental illnesses I would not wish on anyone. Through all these experiences, I have drawn strength and faith from my Savior, Jesus Christ. There have been nights when all I could do was lay my burdens at His feet and beg for a modicum of peace to carry me through the next day. EVERY time, He took my burdens and gave me peace.

The year 2017 has not been without these same trials. However, I can say that I have been tutored at the feet of the Master. I can say that only through Him have I been able to endure these challenges in my life. I am so grateful for a Father-in-Heaven who loves me enough to take me by the hand and teach me through my life experiences, how to be the daughter of God He wants me to be. I wouldn't go seeking these trials and tests (who would???); but when they come, I know from "whence cometh my strength". 

So as we ring out the old...I do so with a grateful and humble heart. I am looking forward to ringing in the new with happy anticipation and  hope for joy, peace, and love for myself and all of you.  

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Peace on Earth...

...or even just in my heart...

I'm sitting here in my cozy, warm house. The washer is running, I'm almost done unloading the dish washer (I'm taking a break), the lights twinkle on my Christmas tree, and Christmas Carols are playing in the background. Outside the wind is howling as it sweeps in ahead of a winter storm that's forecast to bring snow. There is satisfaction from the work I'm doing for my family, and peace in my heart.

I was pondering this feeling I've had in my heart all day. Serenity, peace, call it what you will. It's not as if there's no struggle or strife in my life. I've learned that "hard things" are part of this mortal experience. But how, in the midst of turmoil, is it possible that I'm feeling so calm and at peace?

Part of it is this Christmas Season. However, for me, it goes deeper - while still having it's foundation in this most wonderful time of the year.  For me, it goes all the way down to why we celebrate Christmas at all. One of my favorite Hymns is "Where Can I Turn For Peace?"  I read the lyrics again today, and it truly says what's in my heart:

"Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.

He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace He finds for my beseeching.
Constant He is and kind,
Love without end..."

We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas - but why? Because "...God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life..." (John 3:16)

I love the story of the Nativity...the peace and joy of that wonderful night. The humility of the shepherds, the strength and faith of Joseph, the quiet serenity of Mary, and the joy and triumph of the Heavens singing praise. 

But I love what His birth represents.

"He is a quiet invitation
He is hope when hope is gone
He is lasting peace 
and the answer we are seeking.
He is the pathway home..." *Hilary Weeks "He Is"*

Everything I have that matters to me,can be mine because He came to earth - to a stable, in a manger - because He lived and set the example. Because when His time on earth was through, in a way I don't understand, but for which I am eternally grateful - He took upon Himself my 'wounded heart', my sins, my imperfections and paid the price so that I wouldn't have to if I willingly repent and heed His 'quiet invitation' to come unto Him.

So, because of Jesus Christ and His perfect Gospel, I am able to sit here, listening to the hum of the washer and dryer, the sweetness of Christmas music; while the storms of life rage around me; and I can be at peace.

My prayer for each of you this Christmas Season and always, my dearest family and friends; is that you too, can find that peace and solace - that 'love without end'. 

I wish Heavenly Father's blessings on each of you, and wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May you find peace, love, light and joy.

Merry Christmas with all my love,


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Living life and loving it!!!

I have a chalkboard key/hat-rack hanging in my kitchen. On it, we write messages. Sometimes silly, sometimes meaningful, often funny. This  month it looks like this...

That got Kevin and me thinking...what ARE we thankful for? 

An obvious answer for both of us was each other. Another, of course, was the Gospel in our lives. But those answers got me thinking even more. WHY????

Why am I thankful for Kevin? He's my best friend. He "sees" me - warts and all - and for some strange reason, loves me anyways. He "gets" me...(that should probably scare him a little haha). He's SUCH a good man, and always wants to do what's right. I could go on and on and on and on... Oh, and he's SOOOOO handsome!!! ♥♥♥♥

The Gospel??  Quite simply, it makes me happy. Everything I value most (especially Kevin and our children) are mine for eternity because of the Gospel.

I'm grateful for challenges. Those that come in life and those I issue to myself. They all teach me so much!

Recently, I issued myself a couple of challenges that are truly teaching me new things, and making me find joy in this journey.

One was to dive back into reading the Book of Mormon when President Monson issued his challenge last April. Everyday when I read, I find my love for and testimony of this great book increasing.

Another was to accept the challenge by President Russell M. Nelson to study the Topical Guide entries in the scriptures under the heading "Jesus Christ".  I also decided to keep a scripture-study journal of my efforts. I've never studied the scriptures this way before. It's interesting, and I'm finding new insights that I hadn't thought of previously. My testimony that Jesus is my Savior grows each time I open the Topical Guide and start to study. I am loving how much I'm learning!

I have also decided that my journey towards physical health and fitness needed to be more of a priority. That led me to choose not to let other things get in the way of following my meal/exercise plan. What a difference that decision has made.

In the last month I've set some weekly goals or myself and met every one of them! I've pushed myself and been very disciplined about working out and eating healthy. The results are encouraging to say the least!!!  I've lost 18 pounds in the last four weeks!!!!  Just in the last two weeks, I've lost 9 pounds of fat, and put on 2 pounds of muscle!!!  I feel so much better and I am really enjoying myself. Who'd have ever thought I'd actually enjoy exercising?????  Certainly not me.

So, in answer to my chalkboard question....What AM I thankful for????

I'm thankful for this life and the opportunity to live it. To choose for myself the path I need to take. To choose to find joy in my journey through pushing myself to be the best "me" I can - spiritually and physically. To live this life with the love of my life - with all the ups and downs, funny and sad, stressful and happy things that come our way. 

I'm thankful that I get to choose to live a life of gratitude and joy!

Happy Thankful-month!!!!

What are YOU thankful for??????

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


He would be 85 years-old today. He's celebrating in Heaven with Mom. Hope they throw him a whopper of a Birthday party.

Who is he? He's my Daddy!  He was so many things...

A devoted husband...

A loving Daddy...

An Air Force Officer and a Gentleman...

A Navigator...

A Vietnam Veteran...

A missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

But to me, he was just beloved...

Happy Birthday, Daddy!!!
I love you!!!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

I believe in Miracles...

I'm beginning this post with "Once Upon a Time..." because all good happily-ever-after stories should begin with "Once Upon a Time".

Once upon a time, there was a lovely woman named Debra. She was quiet, kind, and a little shy. Life went by, and sweet-Debra met and married her sweetheart, Marc. (My big brother)

They lived and loved and had many happy moments together...

Over time, Debra started having health issues. Voices in her head, depression, anxiety grew in intensity and tortured her daily. These overshadowed other symptoms of tremors in her hands and muscle weakness.

For ten long and painful years, Marc, Debra, and I searched for help. Doctor after doctor, therapist after therapist were consulted to no avail. They focused on her mental condition and gave little attention to her physical symptoms - which also grew worse over time. Treatments came and went. Some helped for a time, but all quickly proved to be ineffectual. All the while, Debra's symptoms worsened and she suffered.

Finally, with Debra's muscle weakness causing her to fall on a daily basis, we despaired that she would survive this year. The culmination of all this came this weekend when she fell on the concrete driveway and busted open her head. Off we went to Urgent Care - no concussion, so they bandaged her and sent her home. Saturday and Sunday were punctuated with more falls, until Marc and I took her to the ER at Mountain Point Medical on Sunday night.

After some tests and being examined by the ER doc, Debra was admitted to the hospital. Enter the neurologist-extraordinaire, Dr. Reiser!  She examined Debra, ran more tests and said "This looks like Parkinson's Disease to me." She prescribed medication for that condition and within 24 hours, we started seeing improvement. Little did we know that Debra's mental condition was also a common facet of Parkinson's Disease. Those ailments have also improved with her new treatment.

Four days later - Debra's speech is less slurred. Her beautiful blue-eyes are clear and sparkling. Debra is able to walk more steadily. The muscle weakness has diminished significantly, and the tremors in her hands have lessened. In four days, it feels like Debra is coming back to us.

While we recognize that this diagnosis does not mean an easy road for Debra, it gives us hope. Her previous doctors were starting to consider that she might have ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) or MS (Multiple Sclerosis), both of which would eventually cause her death. Parkinson's is progressive, and we know her symptoms could get worse over time; but people live with this disease for years and live active, happy lives.

After TEN YEARS of searching and watching Deb suffer, it feels like she's been given a new lease on life. Seeing the improvements in her condition over the last four days renews our belief that Miracles truly happen!!! 

Once Upon a Time there was a lovely woman named Debra...and she lived happily, MIRACULOUSLY, ever after!