A place to share struggles and triumphs, a place to bless and serve - but never a place to murmur or complain. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

When you suffer...

On Monday night, my daughter wasn't feeling well. She said that her stomach hurt and so we monitored the pain for a while. It seemed to be moving, and wasn't unbearable for her. Her dinner didn't stay down much longer, but then she felt a little better. My best guess as a nurse (and mom) was, from the way it came on and her symptoms, it was a virus. She stayed home from school on Tuesday and rested the entire day. She still wasn't feeling great Tuesday night but she thought she was doing a bit better. I prepared for work the next day, and we headed for bed. At four a.m. she was sitting at my bedside. "Mom," she said. "It hurts so much. I can't sleep, I can't lay down, I can't sit up, it hurts to walk." My gut moved much quicker than my brain did at that point. There was only one thing to do and I was sure: "Get your shoes on sweetie. I'm getting dressed and we are going to the Emergency Room." She looked a little dazed. She told me later that she had thought I would give her some ibuprofen for the pain. I'm grateful that didn't cross my mind. I let her dad know we were on our way to the hospital.
It took 6 hours in the ER before we knew what was happening inside my beautiful baby girl. Bloodwork and a urine analysis told us that she had a high white blood cell count and so, infection but not in the bladder. Ultrasound couldn't see the appendix, but did show a pocket of fluid on the lower right side. Nothing abnormal with the Pelvic Ultrasound. The Radiologist mentioned that with someone of her age, CT was the last resort, but might be necessary. Not long afterward, she was drinking the oral contrast and knew that she would have IV contrast as well. The CT was fast and before we were back in our room a surgeon had been contacted. It was her appendix. Within 12 hours from the time she was at my bedside at four a.m., she was in recovery following her emergency appendectomy. The surgeon came out with photos taken during the surgery. It had ruptured, but was contained. He said a few times with pause, "It was a very good catch." The surgeon wanted her to stay overnight in the hospital for one more round of IV antibiotics, and so it was.
There is a first for everything. In twenty years this was the first surgery and overnight hospital stay for any of our five children. My ex-husband and I are friends, and our love for these children binds us to each other though our separate lives are well developed. I was glad to know, when I knew surgery was coming, that he was on his way. He mentioned in the next phone call that his husband was going to come, too. I cringed inside. Something in me knew it would leave me alone, and it did. It was painful to me in such an odd way; I recognized the pain and pushed it away. I stayed in Nurse-Mode. I've been there before. My instincts have made life-saving care available to many. It was a place of emotional safety; I recognized it and stayed there. With no one to hug me and hold my hand through the trauma of what was happening to my child, I couldn't be anything but detached. I stayed detached through the hospital stay, focusing on the hour to hour needs of my daughter and the others at home. After a night at home, my daughter went to her dad's for their regular weekend and I went to work. I recounted the story to as many of my co-workers as were interested. On the way home from work, however, a dam broke in me.
Almost out of nowhere, tears started to flow, forcefully. They've been with me on and off all night and into today. There is catharsis in it, recognizing and feeling the pain, this pain and others I've pushed away necessarily. Acknowledging the fear, the panic, the understanding that my child was in danger. Coping with the knowledge that to heal she needed to be cut further, and the danger I understood in anesthesia. Remembering the anesthesiologist assessing her in the hallway as we spoke, starting her first round of medication right there a few seconds before taking her away with the surgeon. It all brings me to frame shaking tears. I've been in an operating room, I've seen surgeries. It's hard to think of her there. There is a lot of gratitude as well. Gratitude that she came through it without complications and that she won't have more than a few small scars and memories of pain that is gone. I'm grateful that I understood what needed to happen, and what was happening to her. Gratitude for education which makes all of these things possible, and of careful serious professionals who cared for her earnestly. Gratitude eases pain.
She's doing well now, still sore and moving slowly. I'm doing well, too. For me, I'm glad everything bubbled to the surface, that it flowed over and out. I'll need to think a little more about everything. I have seen first hand this week the painful truth, how a mother holds her worry close and is strong for her child. I've seen the struggle of being alone through something like this. We had enormous support from family and community, and yet, at the core, I was still alone. It was more painful than I imagined and that is something I need to learn from, and not forget. It has heightened my compassion for others in similar or far more difficult circumstances. It will allow me to attend to others more effectively in my everyday work, as well as grow in other ways, I believe. There is much worth cultivating and learning from in this experience. It feels like a door, and it will be interesting to see where it leads.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Five Years

Five years ago, I wrote this: Where will you be five years from today?

And now, it's been a little longer than five years but I am here to report on my progress.

I graduated from the University of Utah with my BSN in August of 2014. I have been working as a nurse for a year now. My brain now functions in completely new and different realms; I understand the human body and it's functioning. I can watch over vulnerable, fragile life. I can make a difference for them. It has taken that year-plus since graduation to really feel that I understand what I'm doing, but now I DO! I am a nurse.
It is surreal, most days, to look back and realize where I've been and what I've accomplished with a great deal of heavenly and earthly help. What started as a well conceived but not even partially understood goal has gone from seed to flower and is now my life. I am so grateful to have the opportunities that I do, to go where I go for work and do the things I do. What I knew five years ago was that I hadn't stretched quite enough. I hadn't pushed my potential. I knew I wanted more from my life, my brain and my soul. Even better, five years ago, I didn't know any of the hows yet, just that I wanted a Bachelors of Nursing Science. I had begun to consider where I could seek the education I needed but it was another full year before I sorted through the possibilities and applied. Honestly, there was some desperate prayer, some answers and some inspiriation, which led to a few small steps, and then others and finally I was on a road. Six months after starting the applications, I started classes and 27 months of straight schooling after that, I graduated.
Now, finally, I'm started to integrate the early parts of me back in. My five year old post was pretty grandiose. Goals in so many areas, that was the answer. These were the areas. I'll take stock of what's happened in them.

Spiritual—My education was a gift to my Spiritual self. As I considered the unknowable depths of the intricacies of the human body, the depth of my reverence for my Creater deepened. I sobbed in Anatomy as I learned about the structure of bones. (Honestly.) I took my first Pharmacology exam 3 days after under-going surgery, and had the highest score in the class... knowing full well that my mind had been quickened far beyond my natural ability. I saw the hand of God in my life time after time and I understood that in walking that road I was doing his will and his work. It was a beautiful time. Now, I feel opportunities daily to reach out in comfort and compassion, and they are the best parts of my day.
Family—My children and I have made a number of transitions and recently moved back into our original home. One has graduated and is working full time in a field he enjoys and the rest are doing well in school, thriving. We've all grown. They are proud of their Mama. I am proud of them. We are stronger, still learning about ourselves and what we are made of. We are enjoying being 'home'.
Career—Nursing has begun in me. There is a lot more I'd like to do, but there is much I can do, already. I found a niche I think, a good place for me, which has allowed me to learn about a broad range of things, quickly. 
Health—I could be much healthier... mostly because I know all the things I'm up against now. This is one area which will need some focused goals if I'm going to be able to keep growing in my career and education areas.
Financial—Oh, ok. Well that just makes me laugh. Let's just call this my opportunity area, shall we? 
Education—See the beginning of the post... But for future goals, I'd like to complete a Doctorate.
Recreation—Goals for recreation. Hmmm. We went Ice Skating? We watched movies, mostly on Netflix or Redbox. Sometimes in theaters. I think photography, sewing and hobbieswould fit here... Those have started to sprout again and I'm thrilled to see where some of my ideas are going to take me. It's wonderful to begin to unearth the fun parts of me.
Charitable—I give to local charities and tithe. I have started a Non-Profit Organization to benefit families affected by cancer, and hope to be able to dedicate more time to developing that in the future.
Adventure—For me, adventure lately has been in writing... I have a novel in my head which has been piecing itself together for a while. It's starting to become a more cohesive, understood commodity and I'm getting ready to pour some love and time into it. It's also my therapy.
Travel—We went to a cabin by a lake every year with my parents, sisters and thier families. I went on a carribbean cruise. I took my children on a little trip two summers ago. We need a vacation. I still want to go to the beach. I still want to go back to Jackson.
Romance—The grand failure in the last five years has been romance, for me. Not that I didn't try, just that the romances failed. The most promising wove through about the last three years. We got married last almost exactly a year ago. It seemed to be an amazing fit while we were dating. He loved my children, they loved him, we all loved each other and so after over a year dating we decided to give it a permanent go... What neither of us understood was that he was struggling with emotional demons which would tear us apart. It was at it's core an attachement disorder and the short of it was, he couldn't bond and coudn't trust. He has moved on, we are picking up the pieces now.
Relationships—I have new friends and old friends. I have wonderful neighbors who've made this holiday season unreasonably beautiful for me. Relationships is a lovely garden in my life, one I hope to cultivate with more care and love.

So, this is my report. I'm glad I finally figured out how to log into my blogs again... It might take me all night to catch up with my former self but it will be worth it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

You're On Santa's Team Now

My grandma taught me everything about Christmas. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

"No Santa Claus!" she snorted."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough; but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat.

I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a blue one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. I didn't see a price tag, but ten dollars ought to buy anything. I put the coat and my ten-dollar bill on the counter and pushed them toward the lady behind it. She looked at the coat, the money, and me. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" she asked kindly. "Yes," I replied shyly. "It's... for Bobbie. He's in my class, and he doesn't have a coat." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Suddenly, Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell twice and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie. He looked down, looked around, picked up his present, took it inside and closed the door.

Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: Ridiculous! Santa was alive and well... AND WE WERE ON HIS TEAM!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

I have love.

I have love in my life. I am blessed. I have my children and my parents and my sisters and my friends. I am so very blessed. So very very blessed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Good Thought to Remember

The difficulties of life are meant to make us better, not bitter...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where I want to be. . .

So, I have all these plans and they are great plans. I live in a beautiful place, truly enviable in it's beauty. It's a good place, where I am in my life—and it's where I want to be almost all the time. Today, however, is overcast and quite chilly. Today, I am experiencing a little wanderlust—ok fine, more than a little.
Last year we went to Grand Teton and Yellowstone in August. That was smashing fun! This morning, I was craving a little jaunt to Jackson. I had that "I'd rather be in Jackson" sticker on my virtual forehead. I moved on with my day, thinking about the mountains and meadows and lakes in the Grand Teton area. . . so lovely. My five year old needed some snuggle time, so I left my work and sat with her a while. I was thinking about, and telling her about when I was a child. I spent some of my formative years in San Diego, also a very beautiful place. No sooner had that thought passed through my mind than I was craving a little time at the beach. It's been a long time since I had some time at the beach and she has not been to the beach. . . such a shame! I really do miss the sound of the water and the waves washing up over my feet as I walked along the coast. I enjoy my evening beach memories most. I loved going with friends. The light of the moon reflected on the ocean and the feel of the sand. Ah yes. . . so lovely. . . and I moved on with my day.
I have some plans for a little travel in September—to a fun cabin by a lake. I want to work in some day trips with the kids when we have holiday time this summer. My ten year old really wants to visit her cousins and we've been trying to work that out for a year. I think it's about time we just make the trip, even if I can only get one extra day off work and we only have one full day there—for her, I think it will be worth it.
I suppose it's a good thing that I can't just go anywhere I please at any moment. Commitments and reality are demanding. I think it's important though, to listen to what your heart longs for. You could allow reality never to include pauses for beautiful journeys, but then what would you have to look back on for inspiration and joy on cloudy days? I could say that there just isn't time for a visit to the cousins, but then the memories we might have made won't be able to warm my daughter's heart when she is grown. Good memories are riches, and they are worth the treasure hunting and adventure necessary to make them.

Monday, March 28, 2011

You, who they call Lord

You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.
When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.
You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.
Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.
I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.
Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.
Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Inexpressible Comfort

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

George Eliot

My friend posted this on a blog today, and I got to thinking. . . isn't this the perfect description of prayer, in a relationship with Our Father in Heaven where we allow him to truly be a Father and a Friend to us? I have felt this way a lot recently as I poured my heart out to Him, and I have felt his encouraging loving comfort in my heart, assuring me that He wanted to hear how I truly felt. (Let's be honest: It isn't as though he doesn't already know.) As we share our feelings with him honestly—He can teach, guide and direct us. He can help us to see our feelings and experiences in His light and through His eyes. He can impress upon our hearts how much he loves us, cherishes our growing times, feels for our pain and rejoices with us when we are joyous. 
This is why I love Father so much. He never fails to assure me of His love, regardless of how lovable or worthy of His love I may feel.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Some Photos and Some Quotes.

Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction. —Al Bernstein

Penicillin, X-rays, rubber, even Silly Putty and Post-It Notes
were all fortuitous by-products of looking for something else.
—Hirsch Goldberg.

Every exit is an entry somewhere else.
Remember that Columbus was looking for India
when he found America.
—Tom Stoppard

In every problem or set back there is the see of an equivalent
or greater benefit—if you will only stop and look for it.
—Bob Moawad

quotes from the book think big. . . compendium incorporated

Monday, March 14, 2011


For or Against? I am for. Here is why. . .

A while back I was feeling low. Life was so challenging, I felt as though I was struggling through each day. I decided to go back and read through some of my journals from 2005 to 2008. I was dumbfounded. As I read over those words, my words, it was as though I was standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking down into its depths. I was astonished at how deep my pain had been. I was sobered by those memories.
With that perspective, I recognized the simple joy of NOT BEING THERE ANYMORE! My challenges are different now, to be sure. I am living a LIFE. It is confusing sometimes. At times, it hurts—even now. Truly, though. . . life is good. I was so grateful to have my journals, to be able to reflect and truly see how far I've come. The pains are different up here on the canyon overlook. They are not nearly so overwhelming. I have so much more hope for happiness now and in the future. I am so grateful to be where I am now.

Keep a journal. You may need it someday. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In their Prosperous Circumstances.

I think this is the way to be. When I read the first four words, I was fairly sure this was a verse describing how weak and prideful we humans can be sometimes. . . but I was pleasantly surprised. If you Must have wealth, how wonderful would it be to share that with those who were in need. Their hearts were not set upon their riches. They were liberal with all. I hope I can do this someday, and for now, I'll do what I can.

Alma 1:30
And thus, in their aprosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were bnaked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon criches; therefore they were dliberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no erespect to persons as to those who stood in need.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nauvoo Temple

I love that this Temple was rebuilt after it was lost. For me (and for so many others I think, as well) after very traumatic events and the complete loss of what I understood to be "my life," it gives me great hope to see something so beautiful standing where not so many years ago there was just a grassy area and a protective fence. It is a symbol of renewal, of resurrection, of faith, vision and of love.
They rebuilt the Temple exactly as it once was (on the exterior). My life, as I rebuild, will look much different from the way it did before—more beautiful, stronger. I'm building with a very different perspective and understanding of myself this time around. I truly believe that I made the right choices the first time around, the same as I believe the Saints of Nauvoo did the right thing when they built and dedicated their Temple. The fact that it was destroyed doesn't for one minute negate the value it had for them or the struggles they labored through to build it. I'm glad that I knew the grassy hill, and I'm grateful for the beautiful House of God that stands there now; It is a monument to them, and a beacon to us. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God… and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulations, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.

Orson F. Whitney, in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), 98.

Friday, November 5, 2010

All Gummed Up!

I found this on my other blog tonight. . . it's an old story (nearly 2 1/2 years) but it is so funny. I don't think I posted it here, and everybody needs a good laugh now and then—I know I do—so here you go:

The following will someday be part of a movie, I'm sure of it. Truth IS stranger than fiction after all. My son told me this story on the way home from my parents' house last night. I laughed so hard I thought I might need to pull off the road. Driving under the influence of laughter, not always a very safe proposition.

Last month, my Dad and two of my sons (ages 12 and 5) were up on my roof. There had recently been a torrential downpour which had caused some leaking. We only knew about it because there was moisture around a ceiling fan in our family room. This upset the 5 year old beyond words. (He is still quite concerned about it. More on that later.) For some reason, a few drops of water on the ceiling spelled certain destruction to him. (I can't, unfortunately, say that it spelled hunky dorry for me either but I hadn't thought of calling in the US Army Corps of Engineers yet.) The fan area is directly below an attic vent on the roof. All of us big people figured that was probably the source of the water and sure enough - it had been installed incorrectly. My Dad, being a very practical man and knowing that kids often learn best through observation, had taken two of my boys up on the roof with him to watch. The third must have been away because otherwise I'm sure he'd have been up there, too. As my Dad was laying a bead of caulk around the attic vent, his gum got a little stale and he decided to toss it over his shoulder. Q, my five year old must have been uncharacteristically quiet up until that point. He let out a wail and everyone turned quickly to see what was the matter. (They were up on the roof, you know.)
There he was, frozen in time with my Dad's discarded gum right between between his eyes. He did not understand what everyone seemed to find so funny and he continued to wail until the situation was rectified - which I'm sure was not nearly soon enough for him.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where will you be five years from today?

The following is an excerpt from the book, Where will you be five years from today? It is an amazingly inspiring workbook style book published by Compendium Incorporated. (www.live-inspired.com) Turning the pages has been like harrowing the soil of my mind. . . a fantastic experience, and I haven't yet begun the "work". . . I've just been reading. The thing I like best is that I pretty much know what I want from the next five years of my life, and it's called, "Getting a Life." I'm going back to college for a BSN. That's big, and I figured it was going to take up all my time. After just one turn through this book, I realize that I need to grow in more than just the educational way. It would be like exercising only one arm. . . I need balance. I need to have goals in the other areas of my life at the same time. What I thought was going to be a tool to focus my goals, has actually turned out to be a tool to open my mind to broader possibilities. I'm really excited about it. I'm thrilled for the next five years.

Follow your dreams, they know the way.

If you don't have a dream,
how can you have a dream come true?

Your imagination is the preview to life's coming attractions.
—Albert Einstein

So, and okay. . .
Here are the areas that the books suggests we make goals:


Now with these areas in mind, go back and read those three little things right above them. Set your imagination free. . . and enjoy the little mini-vacation from 'now'.

A little later in the book, I found this:

It's never too late
or too early.
Right now is a good time.

life is now

That's true, isn't it. Life is NOW. We need to live now, and not put off our joys or our growth until it's more convenient. We all fill many roles and wear many hats. We have more responsibilities than we care to talk about openly with others. Our first job, however, is to see to ourselves: our health and sanity. When we are healthy and sane, we have so much more to give to others. When we are inspired, we can inspire those around us. We can lift others best when we are buoyant ourselves. . . So DREAM! I'm giving you permission! Go Ahead. Who do you want to be, at your core? What would you need to do to become her? If you don't know then think about it. If you DO know, then GO GET HER!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Trust the

Alexandra Stoddard

Friday, October 1, 2010



It does not mean to be in a place

where there is no noise, trouble

or hard work. It means to be in

the midst of those things and still

be calm in your heart.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just as plants soak up water, your children need your loving words, and with them they will thrive. ~ Judy Ford