Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lessons learned.

As I have reflected back on this past year, I have realized that I have learned many lessons.  I will mention just 12.

1.  "How are you?"... Doesn't mean you need to reflect on how you are...but it means they care about you.
2.  "I'm sorry"...also means "I care"...not:  feel sorry for yourself.
3.  Just because they don't talk to you about what you're going through...doesn't mean they don't care.  Most of the time it means they don't know what to say.
4.  What God has in store for you is very rarely what you had in mind.  Trust Him!
5.  You will never know how it really feels until you go through it yourself...But Christ knows how you feel.
6.  Tender Mercies come in the most unusual and surprising packages.
7.  No matter how much you love your own children...God loves them more!
8.  Sometimes, Faith and Trust in God is not the easy road...just the best road.
9.  Just because things didn't turn out the way you hoped, doesn't mean they didn't turn out the way they were suppose to.
10.  You will not be spared experiences that you consider a waste of time when they don't bring the desired outcome.  To all things there is a purpose.
11.  There is so much more to your life than just you!
12.  When you live through heart break, don't forget to look up or beyond yourself to see the sweet love and peace that goes with it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rose Buds!

I have my racquetball/gym buddies (I call them Rose Buds) over for breakfast occasionally...but always for Christmas.  It used to only be racquetball, but since I started lifting weights in March I've made many more friends at the gym (cuz I'm so shy!).



This is Barbie and Skipper (Barbie is on the right) haha, or I call them Peggy and Cheryl (Peggy is on the left).  These ladies are the most fit mom's I've ever seen.  They run everyday and they lift weights on Tuesday and Thursday.  I taught them the game of racquetball and got them so sore they could hardly walk...and they promised to kick my butt in abs this week!  They basically came and cooked all the food, plus they brought homemade muffins...that were a little too fabulous!  They also bought me a pink work out shirt because that is the color they always wear...so now I can be on their team!  They're keepers!


This is Leon and Jim.  Leon is the one trying to build a bridge across Utah Lake and Jim is an animator and has done work for Disney and other animated movies.  We all played racquetball this morning at 7 and then came over to my house for breakfast.  A few people I didn't catch pics of before they left were an older couple, Lloyd and Linda Laycock and Doug and Julie Ahlstrom.  Doug is an attorney for Draper City and had to go to work. 


The older guy in blue is Dave.  He has trophies at home for racquetball tournements he has won.  He is fun to play.  With the guitar is my good friend, Wendy.  We have played racquetball and done breakfast for about 3 years now and this was the first time I have heard her play.  She lives just west of me and teaches guitar lessons.  She is awesome!


This is our friend...other Doug.  He got hit in the leg with a racquetball a few months ago and developed a blood clot all up and down his leg (WASN'T ME!!!).  He was hospitalized a couple of times and took weeks to recover.  He has to wear long pants to play now and wears something on his leg to protect him from getting bruised again.  He still plays pretty awesome!  He has a shirt that says: Yes Dear is my indian name.

Dave (my Dave) was playing hooky from work to be here so I can't post a picture of him.  A bunch of other people couldn't make it because they had to work or went on vacation...stuff like that...but they are all awesome!

video
This is the tale end of Wendy's beautiful song.  (Sorry, that's all I got!)

video
This is how we rock it at my parties!

This video is my friend Ed and Wendy hittin the strings.  Ed plays in a band...several bands.  I think most of his boys play in a band with him and he's got a band in California.  I think most everyone of my racquetball buddies have a beautiful voice...cept Dave H....but somebody has to play the part of the audience!  Good job Dave!  Oh, if you're Dave's boss and you're reading this...Dave is really at work working hard(ly)!

We had a great time!  Good food, Good friends, great memories!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Zack's MS!

Zack has an official MS (Main Squeeze)!  Her name is Caitlin and we all love her...even Mike!  I don't mind not being his best girl anymore...I'll always be his favorite mom!  Caitlin is the oldest of 5 girls!  She loves music and plays the piano really well!  They met at work and attend the same college!

It's so different having girls in the house!  My first clue is the giggling!  Spence hasn't brought any girls home yet (Thank goodness!) but the other boys bring them...(thank goodness!)!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tomato Basil Soup

3 (14 oz) cans crushed/diced tomatoes        1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth                      1 c. half and half cream
1-2 t. basil (to taste)                                    6 T butter (optional, I don't use this)

I like to put the tomatoes in a chopper and puree them a bit with some chunks left.
In a large sauce pan bring the tomatoes and broth to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add sugar if you are going to, then slowly add cream (and butter if you are adding it).  When the butter is melted it's ready.

I don't know why, but the combined flavor of chicken broth and tomatoes is fabulous!  I think I tried it with 2 can tomato/1 chicken broth ratio, which was even better!

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and modified it.  It calls for 1/2 cup of butter and 18 fresh basil leaves, minced and 2 (28 oz.) cans of tomatoes...fyi

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Moving on...



Strange how you feel after losing a close loved one.  No one can prepare you for this time...even when you know it's coming.  I often think of those who have no warning that a loved one is leaving this life...no more time to say the words you wished you had said or to make the memories you wished you had taken time to make.  Some people feel guilt for memories they wished they hadn't made...yet others choose to just live in the sadness and unfairness of it all.

I guess the strange feeling is that I don't know what to do with the love I have for Jake.  I have all this love and support and service stored inside me that was suppose to last a much longer lifetime.  Each child has their never ending allotment...I just don't know what to do with Jake's!

He has somehow found ways to extend his love to us...many times we have received a sweet service from someone and they would not let us pay them..each of them have said "It's a gift from Jake!"  Is it possible to have someone who has already passed, to give Jake his "mommy hugs", stand by him when he needs strength, laugh and joke with him, give him motherly advice when he's trying to make hard choices, take turns praying with him, be his biggest fan as he lives his life, serve him and love him unconditionally...and tell him it's a gift from his mom?

The boys are finding ways to move on...they all have jobs and are going to school (or ready to go to school).  I still count heads at prayer time and dinner time to make sure everyone is there.  Sometimes we have spares...but it's never going to be the same...no matter how many heads I count.  We will always be one short.

Addendum:  The moment I posted this, the song Going Home by Kenneth Cope, the one that was sung at Jake's funeral, came on my speakers....I cried.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New York Visit


Last March I had the opportunity to book a trip back east to see my dad.  I thought that Jake would be over his cancer by then (which he is) and it's the best time to go...price-wise.  Usually the fall colors are phenomenal, but they were pretty subdued this year.  It's pretty wet...it's been their wettest year on record.  The riverbeds that are normally dry this year are full and flowing.  No one is looking forward to where the water will go next year.

I was hoping to keep working out while I was here.  We were able to find a gym that would give me a free one week membership.  They had all the equipment I needed to do the workout regimen my trainer had given me...well, as well as I could remember it.  I was grateful my dad was willing to make the 35 min. drive to Glens Falls every other day...and then he would either find something to do or sit in the parking lot and read until I was ready...very sweet!


 This is my step-bro., Will.  We fixed dad's snow blower.  Of course, I was a huge help!

If you follow BYU basketball, you will remember this guy...Jimmer Fredette's dad.  Jimmer's dad, met my dad!  We go to the same ward as Jimmer's family...while in New York.  He remembered us from prior visits.  There is another family that has been in the ward since I lived here...50 years ago!...the Kabrickies (sp?)!  They always come talk with us and catch up when we come.  Their daughter works in the temple with my mom...in Utah.  Al (Fredette) said he was at the mascot bowl at Lehi High School a few weeks ago...just down the street.  I told him to call next time he was in town!  Nice, nice guy!  We visited for about a 1/2 hour or so.  He definitely loves his family!

The blue lady on the left was my old neighbor, Jean Parker.  Her older girls used to babysit us sometimes when we lived in Glens Falls.  The blue lady on the right is my Aunt Dorothy.  She will be turning 85 tomorrow!  She lives by herself and she is the one that helps everyone...you could say, if she were LDS, she would be the RS pres. in her ward/branch.  Happy birthday Aunt Dot!


This is my daddy!  He hasn't changed much in the past 40 years...except he's more wrinkly, bigger tummy and less hair.  He's just as loud, still talks to himself, loves to laugh and tell stories...but I think he gets sweeter as he gets older.  His training is coming along well!  hehe

Tomorrow, we celebrate Aunt Dorothy's b-day, then up early for 6 AM flight home.  It's been a nice break, but I need to get back to real life...the whole family does.
Here's to figuring out what that is...and living it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dear Jake...

I felt you let go of my heart a few nights ago...I was wondering if it would break too, but it didn't.  It was beating strong...no cracks or leaks.  Even the leak in my eyes is getting better...it was close today though!  I listened to Hillary Weeks new song "This Is Not Your Home"...a song about sadness...and not wanting it to let it live in your heart...just passing through, ya know? 

Sometimes I wonder if there will come a day when the reality of your passing will hit me over the head and I will break down and cry uncontrollably...inconsolable.  But that is not the way I feel today.  I feel at peace, surprisingly...a little annoyed that my treasured visits with you, Uncle Jack, Uncle Phil, Uncle Jayson...all are taken from me..this year! 

I'm going to see grandpa Sweet soon.  Somehow I knew that it was ok not to cancel that trip...yet it will be different.  Part of my trips to New York were to visit with all my family...but now you can meet them...or you already have!

I hope someday...we can feel the physical hugs we have for each other...as much as we feel the love.  Thanks for not just taking off and leaving me so fast.  I know it's so awesome where you are...help me remember that!

I'm loving you....again...still!
Mom

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dear Jake....

Well, Jake...how was it? I woke up this morning feeling the stiffness in my hands and legs and the tightness of my back and thought...Jake doesn't have to feel this stuff anymore! He can walk and not be weary, he can run and not faint.
Was it as cool as I told you it would be? I know it is awesome where you are at. We will be missing you for a long, long time. I'm sitting in your room...listening to the silly fountain the guys got you. You're right...it is kinda calming.

I put a fresh pillow case on your pillow...the one Sylvia made you, and your golf quilt on the bed...the ones my friends came over and help make for you last Christmas. I look at the picture of Jesus and remember how you asked me if that was Zack...an honor for Zack that you would hallucinate that he and Christ were one in the same.

I know you were quick to forgive the pain I would cause you in trying to care for you...the shots, the chemo, the moving of the legs. I thought it the cruelest thing for a mother to have to do for her child...inflict the pain she so wanted to take away...but I promised you and God that I would take care of you. I promised I would help you through this last challenge. You were AWESOME buddy! You have touched so many hearts along the way...you and I will probably never know the extent of the ripples...but they are there bud!

You lived your short life...nothing was unfair about it. I am so sorry the last part was so painful for you...but God told me everything was going exactly the way He had planned for you and not to worry about a thing. I can't think of a more capable, awesome being to have in charge...and so I give it to Him...along with my broken heart...a heart only He can fix.

Be awesome, Jake! We will do our best to be awesome too! Thank you for being you, thank you for your love and the hugs you gave me every night. Thank you for wiping off...I mean, rubbing in my kisses. This hard journey has brought us closer...and I have no doubt that you know my love for you runs deeper into your soul...you will never be without it.
I'm missing you already!  I'm looking at so many pictures of your past...it doesn't seem like you are gone...and perhaps my heart and mind just haven't wrapped around the fact that you are really gone...This part really, really hurts!

Monday, September 19, 2011

In case you were wondering...



I know some of you are wondering if we made the right choice to let Jake choose if he got chemo or not.  He's 20 now...so...yes!

Fact:  The doctor said if it were her child, she would not force him to have any more chemo treatments.  At this point, he was not curable.  Chemo treatments would perhaps prolonged his life, but a miserable life it would be.

My thoughts:  Just because Jake's life did not turn out the way I had dreamed...doesn't mean he did not live the life he was meant to live.  Making Jake suffer any longer than necessary is just inhumane!  I won't do it!

I love every minute I have with Jake.  Sometimes I just sit next to him and listen to him breathe...because I know I will not even have that soon.  We still joke...when I feel he's up to it, and if I can make him smile...through the pain, there is where I find my heart smile.

Although I do not spend the same kind of time with the rest of my boys right now...I still love them just as much.  They are very understanding of the time I have to give Jake in his care.  They are always willing to help and I know their hearts are breaking as they watch their brother deteriorate every day.  They miss the old Jake!  We all do!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Family Pics!

Some sweet friends took these pics of our family at Christopherson Creek...here in Lehi.  It's Jake's favorite place to hang out and just chill.

Jake Man

My Bencer


Mike and Dad



Really...John?



Born a minute apart...best buds forever!


Zack attack!

Just me and my honey


Holladay Boys!


Me and my boys!


We had a lot of fun shooting these!
Good times!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Who made me laugh?

My niece and nephew, Logan and Nadia brought their 2 y.o., Joseph yesterday.  They wanted to stop and see Jake and make a donation to the family trip.  I was so happy to see them.  Joseph is a very active 2 year old...they didn't want to bring him in the house, but every little kid loves Aunt Rose!  Right?  There was nothing in my aunt or grandma arsenal that worked on Joseph! ...not the dog, not a fruit snack, not even a toy car would convince him!  He just wanted to go sit in the car and push buttons!  He got down from his father's arms and started for the car, fully expecting his parents to follow.  When they didn't follow right away, he came back to the door, gave them "the look", turned himself around and headed for the car again...it's like he was saying, "I thought I had you guys trained better that this!  When I turn and walk towards the car, you two are to follow me out!"  He did this about 4-5 times!  It was hilarious!

Church is kinda hard for me...It's kinda a mixed bag.  So many people there wanting to give their love and support, yet a constant reminder of the challenges I face.  Always lots of comforting hugs...sometimes tears (who am I kidding...always tears)!  I haven't been to church without shedding tears since...I can't remember when.  It's the only place some people have an opportunity to see us...so they come with their kind words and well wishes...and often, mine is not the only broken heart. 

The kindness and tender mercies keep pouring in.  One of my dear friend's family is taking Spencer school shopping tomorrow!  It will be all about Spencer!  How awesome is that!  What a thoughtful gesture!  Poor guy has been put on the back burner for the past year.  Tomorrow...it's all about him!

One of my other nieces bought Jake an Xbox 360 and his favorite game!  We have had generous annonymous gifts of cash to help us take a family trip.  The bad part for me is I can't look at those people and know of their generous love for us.  The angels who haven't remained annonymous, I can look at them and remember the sweet acts of service and love they have done for Jake and our family.  Well, God knows who you are...and I am praying for sweet blessings to be poured out upon your head in your time of need! 

Thanks for loving us!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Well...

I have finally gotten past that old plateu and lost 40 lbs!  I may not be able to control everything that is happening around me...but I can control this part...mostly.

I'm going to visit my dad in New York in a couple months.  I will laugh if he doesn't recognize me!  I look forward to buying some new jeans for the trip.  I truly hate wearing clothes that are too big for me...especially pants!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Here's the scoop...

Jake started chemo last Thursday.  The regimen was 2 chemo's at the hospital, one once a day at home (yes, I am officially a cancer nurse!)  I never thought I could stomach watching another person throw up...but I can.  After 3 days of this chemo that made him so sick to his stomach, Jake declared that he did not want to finish.  We convinced him to at least finish the 2 more we had in the fridge.

This was my quiet spot (Coast of Oregon)
When the tumors first appeared, I was a little freaked out!  I have to admit that I found a place away from others and cried until the tears were temporarily out of order.  My mother heart was broken into pieces and I asked God to hold it for a while, until He healed it.  My heart literally ached, not from despair, but from sorrow.  The sobs heard from my throat, came from my heart...from my soul...from depths I never knew existed.

I was not hopeless.
I was not lost.
I was not without love.
I was not forgotten.
I was fallen, like a heap of clay on the sand.

I felt the warmth of loving arms envelop me and all my worries and fears and broken heart...
Crying time was over...my heart was healing...
I can sympathize with those who care for loved ones
...and perhaps I can help them through what seems to them...the hardest part of their journey.

God told me it would be hard...and it is...

I look forward to the day when I can feel joy again!
I'm on my way!
"Awesome and Fabulous" are part of my vocabulary again.

We shall not live in cancer!
We shall live in hope and love and peace.
Let sadness fall by the wayside.
Let broken hearts mend...
Let them be full of gratitude.
May we fill our lives with service to others.
...and when Joy finds her way back to my door
May I hear her knock, open my arms wide and embrace her!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm crying...

I'm crying inside.
Although I feel
  this is a test of my faith
An Abraham test
Yet I cry for Jake
I am sad
  that we are not as close
  to the end as I hoped.
But I do hope...
I do believe...
I'm trying not to fear.
...and I'm crying inside.



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thank you!


Thank You!
You pulled more than weeds
-You pulled some stress out of my life
You did more than rearrange my special rocks
-You reminded me that I have friends that care
You did more than trim the deadness out of the flowers
-You gave more life to my heart
You did more than refresh the soil in this small flower patch
-You refreshed my spirit.
Thank you for this great gift of service and love
-I love you…because you did more!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Feelings buried alive...


I have a book:  Feelings Buried Alive Never Die. 
I feel like I need to grieve.
I am sad because we are not closer to the end of this cancer journey.
I'm sad because Jake has to have more treatments.
I grieve the loss of hope of being finished soon and being cancer free.
I'm feeling swallowed up by the everyday chores and tasks that still await my attention.

I was thrilled at the dinner brought in by friends today! 
I've not seen the boys so giddy about getting dinner!  (Pier 49 Pizza!)
I'm grateful for the boys willingness to pitch in and share in the care of Jake.
I feel peace that we will...eventually...have a good outcome.
Perhaps not the road we thought we would take, but ending up in the same place...eventually.

...and perhaps...this is a little taste of what it means to endure to the end...sometimes tormenting...sometimes filled with surprises that are nice and...unexpected. 
The strength,...that was unexpected.  But still...I have to acknowledge the pain.

As one hope leaves us, it makes room for new hope...therefore, hope is not lost.
I like to think of it as being Flexible!  If Plan A doesn't work, then we go with Plan B.  If Plan B isn't successful, then go with Plan C...all the while learning and trusting, praying and hoping, accepting and loving, appreciating and giving back when you can.

Sometimes...you just have to put your hand in God's and let Him walk you through this.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sweet Family Campout

Zack helping Jake to the tent
Sam, my youngest bro, was in charge of the Sweet Family Camp out this year.  We ended up going up American Fork Canyon (just a few minutes away from our house) this year.  We stayed 2 of the three nights.  It was great to see all my siblings (and mom) with whatever family members they could gather there.

This is the group that hike up to Timpanogos Cave!

Sam had a heart attack moment when his 3 year old son squeezed through the fence (because he was bored) and nearly went over the edge.  That's the kind of excitement we don't need!
This is me and my niece Chelsie!  She was trying to teach me some of her hip hop moves...lets just say she wasn't too impressed, nor was she afraid I would take over the world of dance with my awesome hip hop moves!
There's one in every family, right?
There was a lively game of kick ball in the parking lot.

It was great to see everyone!  I found out how heartless my husband and brother-in-laws to can be in the game of Hearts!  I tried to explain that there was no rule saying that you have to give the queen to the only girl playing!  They wouldn't keep score...but I'm pretty sure I won!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Grateful Heart

I woke up this morning with a grateful heart!  Then, that familiar feeling of warm tears wet my pillow.

I was amazed that my plants had lived through this year.
I pondered how I could keep my house in some relative order and grateful that it added little to the chaos that is our life.
I was grateful to have a garden, small as it is...I ate fresh peas from it yesterday!
I was warmed by the thought of many, many prayers said in our behalf, especially from the children.
I was overwhelmed by the many angels put into our lives to help us through this.
I was touched by the many acts of kindness and love, even from those that did not know us well.
I was strengthened by the faith and prayers of others.
I was lifted up by the many hugs and kind words from those we love.
I was comforted by the love that I have felt from God, Jesus and many relatives that have passed to the other side of the veil.

I was shocked that my brother wrote that he loved me...twice (the boys said probably his wife wrote it!)
I am grateful we have been able to stay out of debt...so far.
I was surprised and very grateful for the generosity and kindness of strangers!
I am thankful for insurance.
I cherish the new and old friends.
I'm so happy this tumor is out of Jake!
I'm amazed at the things I have learned and the experiences I have had.
I'm glad to share this journey with you.

I've learned many lessons, but the greatest would be to trust in God.
If you understand that He knows all about what's going on
and that He wants the best for you and the person you are caring for
even though things don't always go the way you think they should
or it seems like you are having set backs...instead of progress
He knows!
He made promises to me..I have to trust that it will all work out for what is best for Jake...whatever that is.
I don't pretend to know how God is going to keep His promises...
I just trust that He will.

Someone told me that I was too optimistic about Jake's treatment outcome...I wasn't realistic enough.
Yes...sometimes I was afraid...but just as Abraham trusted God to keep His promise of a magnificent posterity...as he was taking his only son to be sacrificed, I also believe that God will do what is best for Jake. 

I know God could have removed the tumor from Jake's body, or shrink it down to a lifeless mass...but, apparently, that wasn't what was best for Jake.  Some people say that we agree to our trials before we come.  I have a hard time believing I would have signed up for this one!  Perhaps that was time time we were overly optimistic...because we didn't know any better.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thanks!

Thanks for your continued support in praying for Jake! 
Since the cancer is still active in his tumor, he is having it removed on June 29th.
 Please pray that Jake's body will release the tumor and all the cancer cells it's holding.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Some Good News!

For the first time this year, my Lilac bush had a flower on it.  It smelled so gooooood!

Spencer is turning 14 tomorrow!  I asked him what he wanted for his birthday.  His list was as follows: 
An omlet for breakfast
Grilled Cheese for lunch
Mac and Cheese for dinner
and $10.  I scored on this one!!!

I am scheduled to get my missing tooth put on July 1.  I was blessed to have an Endodontist donate the majority of the cost of an implant for one of my terrible teeth!  I get the temporary crown on the first.  I didn't mention it before because then you would notice it more.  I figured if I didn't make a big deal, no one would really notice!

I don't think my cucumbers are coming up this year.  I hope some of my neighbors will have spares!

I'm a bit nervous to find out the results of Jake's scan on Wednesday.  I stocked up on hugs from some of my friends at church today.  I hope that will hold me through the week.  A few people asked me about Jake in church today...which reminded me that he wasn't doing as well as we had hoped.  I didn't like that the doctor said it might be bad news...I guess she just wanted me to prepare my heart for whatever the results may be...good or bad.  I won't know anything until Thursday.  The doctor won't give me the "game plan" until Friday.

I'll post whatever it is...but perhaps you shouldn't call if it's bad because it would not help me to have to talk about it.  But if you could find some time to come give me a hug...that may help give me the strength to help me get through this.

My trainer put me on a strict diet this week so no birthday cake, white bread or treats for me.  I have lost about 30 lbs from January and not quite 20 lbs from my Biggest Loser Contest.  I have been meeting the goals I have set for weight loss.  It does feel good off!  I may not be able to control what goes on around me, but I can control what goes in my mouth!

I am grateful for the nicer weather we have been having!  Zack and John got the cooler running and we will be getting a new set of roof shingles soon.  The shingles are curling, which I found out was because they didn't put vents on our roof.  The first bid was $4800...cough, cough!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What else I didn't say...

I tell my friends "I'm fine...Jake's fine!", but if you want to know how we really feel, go look at my blog!

I'm very nervous about Jake right now!  Hoping that I was ready to be a support to other families going through the same experience, I looked up some blogs of other Rhabdo patients.  I guess I'm not ready.  Too much information (TMI)!  I was surprised at how many sets of twins were affected (one of the two).  I think I came across 3 other sets of twins where one twin was affected by Rhabdo.  Then I came across an article that said that adults with the same stage cancer as children have a much less chance of survival!  I didn't need to see that...did I?

I talked to Jake's doctor today and expressed my disappointment in the fact that his tumor was actually larger than when we started.  She didn't remember it being 4 cm to start, but she will check it out and get back to me tomorrow.  His swelling is worse in his foot and leg.  His skin is getting tighter on his leg! This doesn't seem like an improvement to me.  His pain is the same...not improved.

I have to say...I was hoping that after the last chemo treatment they would say..."All better!  Your life can go back to normal now!  These little set backs are like stabs in the heart...wounding my hope!  You know how you feel when you have been doing a very hard job and you think you're almost finished and someone comes and brings another load and says you can't go home until it's finished...and there might be more after that?  (Sigh!)  I'm just saying.....

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What I didn't say...

I should probably blog about the fun family bonding we had in St. George a couple weeks ago...and perhaps I'll get to that later.  But I feel to continue with the update I put on Jake's Blog

I'm a bit worried...maybe needlessly...but, it's my job and I do it well!  The MRI report came back and I was finally able to talk to the doctor about it.  She seemed to think it was good, but according to the first measurements, I believe the tumor is bigger than when it started.  We'll be doing a test to see if the tissue is living or not, and if that test turns out well, it doesn't matter if it's bigger or not.  But if not...

Dr. Wright told me not to worry about what we don't know yet.  My fear is that we put Jake through all of this chemo torture for nothing.  Well, we will have to wait and see.  I wish I could feel good about celebrating the end of this.  I hope I can soon!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Closets

Did you ever take a look in your closet and wonder why you kept all that stuff?  I have to admit, sometimes I’m a “closet stuffer”!   If I don’t want to deal with something, I stuff it in a closet. 
Recently, my friend and I cleaned out 15 years of closet stuffing.  We kept very little.  Some stuff we donated because I had so much and couldn’t pass up a good buy.  Some things my kids had out grown and mementos of the past 15 years that I thought I might need to remember my past.  Trash can after trash can full we emptied.

When we were finished, it felt freeing!  I felt more organized and free from clutter and free from stress that I had hid in my closet.

I believe that we do closet stuffing with our past and our feelings.  We hold on to things we think we might need later or continue to pester us from years and years ago.  Every so often, we need to clean out our “past” closets and let go of the stuff we don’t need.  Jeffery R. Holland suggests that we let go and leave it alone and not open old wounds.  It is true for other’s past as well.  Leave well enough alone.  Let them heal and stay that way.  Elder Holland suggests that we remember just enough to not repeat mistakes, but forgive yourself (or others) and move on.

It makes me take another look at “my closet” to see if there are any pet grievances, sorrows, bad feelings, hurt or misperceptions that I have been holding on to.  For the most part, I have been able to keep my house closets clean and organized.  But lately, I have caught myself tossing in a few things I don’t want to deal with, promising myself that I will deal with it soon…but they are still sitting there, cluttering up my clean space.  I’ve become better at keeping the house clean that people see, but if you look close or open the closets, you may find a thing or two out of place.

Such is life, isn’t it?  Some of us have a lot of cleaning to do and some just have to take care of those few things.  Isn’t it nice to know that we can always count on our Savior to help us de-junk?  The best thing is, He’ll haul it all away…if we are willing to give it up..trash can after trash can full!  It’s hard to face the daunting task by yourself, but with a little help from a friend, nothing is too hard…and anything is possible.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Birthdays and a short Spring Break!





After a successful all day chemo treatment on Tuesday, Jake and I took a ride down to St. George to see John and pick up Spencer.  They took us to Snow Canyon to play in the sand.  John let a girl use his hair for her first hair cut.  A little "Dutch boyish"...but I've seen worse.
Jake did really good to limit his time in the sun to 15 minutes.  He had fun in the sand, but his energy was lacking.



This is our new friend, Cherie.  She was awesome with the boys!  I believe she is the first adult (besides us) to take an interest in Spencer (like your coolest aunt!).  They liked to play cards and watch Netflix shows and go for hikes together.  She's a keeper!  I believe we are going to officially adopt her!

I couldn't believe what a mountain goat Spencer was!  He is the tallest rock a little to the left of the center of the picture.  He just scrambled up this mountain.  Spencer went jogging with me twice while we were down there.  He walks so fast, I had to lengthen my stride to keep up with him!  I don't think he will have any problems doing the trek the ward has planned this summer!

I know this doesn't look like much, and you may have to click on the picture to get the full details, but these are baby turtle tracks.

I had to borrow some not-so-great scissors, but I fixed John's hair.  Here are my two 20 year olds!  So weird to think I have 3 boys in their 20's!  I just had 4 teenagers 2 days ago!  Happy Birthday Munchkins!

Happy Birthday! ...ok late, but I finally finished this post!

Yes, I was born this day, 51 years ago!  I'm a bit larger, I probably cry as much, but not as loud, I've learned not to wet myself, I can bath and dress myself, and feed myself.  So as you can see, I have made great strides in my life.

 God gives me a flower for my birthday every year!  This is the one He gave me this year!

I think the Easter Bunny got frozen this year...so if you don't get any candy...don't be surprised!
This is also what I got for my birthday...the earth covered in white!  It reminded me it was time to go to the temple! :)


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Just trying to keep up!

I took some pics for a nice b-day post, but couldn't find the time or energy to post this week.  I think our lives go in cycles.  You can get yourself pumped up and ready to go do everything needful, hit all your goals for the week and feel good about yourself, but eventually you hit the dragging point...where inspiration and motivation is harder and harder to come by.  That's where I'm at...the dragging point.

On a good note, I am reading a book!  I don't like to read, but I'm making an effort to read more.  I quickly fall asleep when I read, so I have to do it short spurts.  I'm learning new stuff and hopefully, at the end of the day, I'm doing a little better than the day before.

I try not to beat myself up for having weaknesses and occasionally, I try to do better than the best I can.  I have to say, often it surprises me at what I can accomplish if I try just...a...little...bit...harder!

My husband often tells me that if I don't expect too much, I won't be disappointed.  I say, if you don't expect enough, you will never move ahead!

Tomorrow, looks good, don'tcha think?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trying to teach the boys...

I was having a conversation today with Zack and Dave on how women sometimes had a need to be validated.  Perplexity covered their faces, so I proceeded to list off some helpful comments they could use to validate their wife, when she was trying to tell how her day went  I carefully pointed out that guys just wanted to fix things and we found that annoying.  Zack dutifully said he would make a note of those things.  Dave asked, "If you don't want us to fix it, why are you telling us?"  Never mind.  I'll just call Joyce when I need to be validated.  Sheesh!

There is sunshine in my soul today...

Dear God,
Thank you for the sunshine today, it warms my soul.
Thank you for the budding flowers, they remind me that spring will be here soon.
Thank you for my friends, they always have my back!
Thank you for my family, because I live in love when I'm home.
Thank you for thy Holy House, because I always feel your warm embrace when I'm there.
Thank you for my angels, who constantly watch over an comfort me.
Thank you for my trials, for I have gained so much strength from them and they bring me closer to You.
and Thank you for thy many tender mercies, because it brings me comfort to know how much You love me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today is a better day!

The sun is shining, I got enough sleep last night, got my exercise in this morning, made it to all my appointments on time...well, within 5 minutes, and I have eaten healthy today!

Jake is very tired today, but he was up playing on the computer earlier, so he must not feel too bad.

Mike started his first official job (the kind that takes taxes out) today!  He works at Kohlers in Lehi, so look for him when you shop there!

My hair is lighter today...I like it! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some days are like this...Even in Australia!

So, we are getting closer to the third to the last long chemo.  Platelet counts were only up to 44 on Thursday, so we have been getting him detoxed as often as possible (Thank you so much, Sharon!).  He will get his blood drawn tomorrow to see where he's at.  If his platelets are not up to 75, no chemo this week.

Last night, he spiked a fever of 103!  He refused to go to the hospital.  I called the Hem/Onc doctor on call, and had her talk to him, but he still wouldn't go.  He had a detox yesterday and this afternoon.  He asked Dave and Zack for a blessing.  Between the two of them, his fever is back down to normal.  I'm grateful for that, but he said, "See mom!  Aren't you glad we didn't go to the ER?"  I'm grateful he is feeling better, but I didn't want this little miracle to feed into his teenage invincibility.  Now it will be even harder to get him to the hospital when he needs to go.  I am so looking forward to this being over!

I received a note last night that my sister-in-law's mom died of cancer yesterday.  She has had 6 bouts of cancer to battle these past years.  My uncle Jack was diagnosed with cancer and won't make it to his next birthday.  The lady down the street was diagnosed with cancer and is going through radiation therapy.  It all came to a head this morning and I just couldn't stop the tears all day.

Have you ever felt like someone peeled back the protective layers of your heart and left it laying there, vulnerable to every sad thought or touching moment?  Do you ever see someone cry and it makes you cry?  Yes, I looked in the mirror, saw myself crying and cried even more.  (I know you men can't relate to this, but the sista's have got my back on this one!)  Singing the opening hymn in church made me cry.  Thinking about the missionary leaving made me cry.  Hugging a friend made me cry.  Thinking about hugging a friend made me cry?  Thinking about trials made me cry.  Leading the music in RS made me bawl like a baby! (Extremely embarrassing!)  I hid my face for part of the song with the book.  The pages were blurred by my tears, so I just took some deep breaths, stopped trying to sing and led on...tears streaming down my face.  I didn't want to take away from the spirit of the meeting, but I had no control at that point.  I text a friend and told her my heart needed her to come sit by me.  She came...and I could feel her love envelope me and bear me up through the rest of the meeting.

I don't ever remember feeling this vulnerable in my life, or sad!  I'm glad I'm feeling better now...stronger, somehow.  I apologize to my RS sisters who had to witness this emotional meltdown, but I am grateful that I was surrounded by their love, when it happened.  I'm not saying this is the worse day of my life, just a very emotional one.  Serving my family will help me get out of this funk, so I'm going to go make their favorite dinner.

As Alexander's mom said....Some days are like this...even in Australia!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Biggest Loser part I





So this is my latest endeavor!  I have joined the AF Fitness Center's (that's where we play racquetball) Biggest Loser contest!  The weigh in isn't until the 17th, but I have already started losing weight.  I have lost 18 lbs since last Christmas!  I just barely got past the ever-frustrating plateau block that has been my constant companion for many years!  Unfortunately, I don't get credit for the weight I lose before Thursday, but it still feels good!  I'm imagining how good my knees are going to feel without the extra weight!

Jake's counts are up, chemo went well, and...this is just the best day I have had in a long, long time!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Uncle Jack!

Uncle Jack was just diagnosed with cancer, so this will be the last birthday I get to spend with him.
It's so far advanced, they only give him 2 weeks-2 months.  As a tradition, I make him a nice homemade meal and go visit him on his birthday.  This year was no different.  My dear friend, Sylvia, made and sent some super delicious homemade bread, like Aunt Enid used to make.  It was a big hit!  Love in every bite!
Aunt Belva took this pic.  She kept putting her finger over the lens!

This is me and Uncle Jake on his 84th birthday, today!  I've nearly worn out the shirt I'm wearing.  Uncle Jack bought it for me.  It was the second one he got me, so I told him it was tradition and we had to do it every year!  They all have Moroni, Utah on them...his home town.  Uncle Jack has been my stand-in dad since I got married.  He gave me away on my wedding day and was my witness at my temple sealing.

I would often visit them in Moroni when I was younger.  I always loved it when he stood at the top of the stairs and yelled down every child's name to wake them up.  I would lay there, silently anticipating my name.  He never left me out!

We love to tease each other, as he does all of the nieces and nephews.  We spent many an adventure 4-wheeling up in Maple Canyon, admiring the beauty of the canyon and often sitting and having long talks together.  He would take me on forgotten trials that had big logs across them.  He would go right over top of them...and I would follow whooping and laughing at my "old" uncle's adventurous character (This was only a couple years ago!).  He liked to go very slow.  At first I didn't like the snail pace, but he taught me to not be in such a hurry and enjoy the ride.  However, when we got towards the bottom of the canyon, or on the road to Jerusalem, he would often surprise me and race off!  When I finally caught up with him, he'd be just a giggling!  The evenings would usually include a game of Kings on the Corner.  I'd always catch him cheating...usually he'd put the wrong color cards or wrong number and then pretend he didn't notice anything wrong.  He quacks me up!

This is my cousin, Cindy and her hubby, Andy.  She is one amazing woman!  She cares for her brother, J.L., who had a stroke 6 years ago.  She tirelessly attends to his needs and helps him through physical therapy.  Without her, I think he would still be lying in bed, paralyzed.  I so admire the love and patience she has for her brother.  She gives the best hugs!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A little D&C...(Dusting and Cleaning)

No, this isn't a post about how I got my spring cleaning done (though I wouldn't mind if it were true!).  I posted on another blog that my stress level was minimal.  But the more I pondered on that thought, I found that there were several things that were bothering me, and creating stress that I was ignoring.  This weekend, I had a little talk with each of those people to clear up my misperceptions.  I was surprised at the emotion attached to those stress creators!  I was able to get those feelings validated, my perceptions corrected or aligned with the right person, opened the front door and let those worries, concerns and stress scurry out of my life!  Man that felt good!

BaBye!  I won't miss you!

Next!  :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chemo: Week 31

Update on forethesakeofjake.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tune in next week...

 My boys are taking part in a Ward Missionary Challenge this week.  They challenged the parents to also participate.  This will be interesting!  Actually, the only thing I think will be very challenging for me is the "no electronics".  I'll do my best!  It's a good thing couple missionaries can blog!

Jake and I went to my girlfriend-in-law's and had a detox done.  It's a procedure where you put your feet in water and electrical currents pulls the toxic crap out of your body and into the water.





This one was mine.  She put crystal clear water in it and after 45 min. it looked like this!  Kinda gross huh!

This is Jake's.  His was a bit darker than mine, but mine was like this on Thursday.  Mine had flecks of black in it...metals I heard.  It's amazing to me that this crap is floating around in our bodies!  Surprisingly, I feel much less wiped out at night and I have way more energy during the morning.  We are hoping this helps Jake and his platelets.  Tomorrow, he will have another blood draw to see if his platelets are high enough to get chemo on Tuesday.  I get to have a little minor surgery so I'm looking forward to a nice long nap!  I guess I'll have to get up a little before 6 a.m. to eat breakfast!  Hey, since we are pretending to be missionaries, someone should invite us to dinner!!! JK

Well, wish us luck!  We will try hard to be good member missionaries!