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lightning

Apr 17, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’m part shrieking with joy and part welling up with tears.

You guys!!! I just played Lightning with Fisher and Annes! I don’t think I’ve ever played basketball with them. They were 4 and 7 when I was injured and really 3 and 6 when I stopped being the fun, active mom my older children knew because I had a lump in my breast the year before I was injured and with the treatments and surgery, I couldn’t do hardly anything fun that year.

I was working. Annes came in and asked, “Mom, do you think you could play Lightning with us? I thought about it, wondering if my body really could do it or not. I knew I could slip and roll my ankle or injure my knee or dislocate my shoulder by shooting, but I checked in with my body and decided, yes, I think I can handle it. Then I had to check in with my heart. A big part of me wanted to keep working and finish what I was doing. And then this other part of me yelled, “Get up and go play with your kids! They are asking you and this is a beautiful opportunity to be WITH them. Do it!”

When I said, “Yes,” she screamed, “Really? Really? You’ll play????”

So I did. And we laughed and ran and shot and breathed hard and I even won once! At one point I made three free throws in a row!

SO FUN!

I hope we do it more often. Maybe a nightly ritual? Surely at least weekly. And I hope they always remember this joyous moment in time of this first game. Day by day, they are getting more light in their eyes and joy in their hearts as they see their mama and papa getting stronger and healthier and more capable. They pretty much gave up all their hope last year when Richard was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was just too much for them to face their mama having EDS with years of injuries and passing out and then their papa to face such an unknown future. But every little bit of progress we make lifts their spirits and helps them see life is full of hope and miracles.

one year since carl’s eviction

Feb 27, 2021 in carl the schwannoma | Comments Off on one year since carl’s eviction

One year ago today we walked into the University of Utah hospital to evict Carl, the vestibular schwannoma that invaded Richard’s brain and was compressing his cerebellum and brain stem. This type of brain tumor happens in .001% of the population. Such crazy odds that this would ever happen to anyone and yet, our lives seem to be full of extremely rare happenings, so this probably shouldn’t have shocked us so thoroughly!

This year has been dang hard and deliciously sweet. We have learned powerful lessons of deliverance, poured our hearts out to God, been carried by our friends and family, fallen in love more deeply, laughed hard, cried hard, hurt more than we ever imagined, spent more time together than we ever have before, and are slowly figuring out our new life.

That day was full of trepidation, fear, and a whole lot of faith. This day is full of awe and gratitude.

That day we couldn’t see how God’s promises could possibly be fulfilled. This day we stand as witnesses that He is mighty to save – that He can and does work miracles of deliverance in our lives.

That day we didn’t know if Richard would be able to walk again. This day we are thrilled that he can walk and ride his trike and cast his fishing line into a stream.

That day we had no idea how we would pay our bills. This day we cry tears of gratitude at the generosity of so many who reached out and rescued us. We are so grateful for the Go Fund Me and many private donations that paid our living expenses for several months and removed that burden and worry from our minds.

That day we didn’t know if Richard would ever be able to work again. This day we rejoice that while his abilities have changed and his endurance is much lower, he is able to work.

That day we didn’t know what work I would be able to do to provide for our family. This day we are amazed at how God has worked out all those details and shown me how to help people with their gut health, change their lives for the better, AND stay home with our children.

That day we didn’t know how our children would handle the stress of their father having brain surgery. This day we know they are strong and brave and while it has been an incredibly hard road for them, we are so, so grateful they have each navigated through big emotions and come out the other side with a deeper knowing of who they are and who He is.

That day we didn’t know if our hearts would ever recover from losing Saylor and Stella. This day we still don’t know and we hold each other tightly and cry on a regular basis for our precious babies.

That day we had no idea how many people in our lives would have brain tumors. This day we are full to the brim with gratitude that we have been able to reach out and help so many others on their own brain tumor paths.

That day I felt like I might die under the weight of what I was carrying. This day I’m better able to give that weight to God…still learning.

I’m grateful for this year. We have spent more time together as a family than we ever have before. We have laughed and played and loved and cried and prayed. We have learned more about suffering and more about joy. We have been tutored by the God of the Universe. We have been loved deeply and well by hundreds. We have been carried.

Thank you for walking this journey with us. You have no idea how much your love has done to lift our hearts and fuel us with courage to keep moving forward.

thankful thursdays 2/18

Feb 18, 2021 in thankful thursdays, the hip | Comments Off on thankful thursdays 2/18

Today is a good day. A tender day. A day my mind is drawn back to nine years ago on February 17th, 2012 when I was able to run and do back handsprings and had no idea what was coming in the next few days. Today my heart is full of gratitude for all of it. I know I have some amnesia regarding the pain and the anger and the sheer hardness of it all, but my heart is full of gratitude nonetheless.

  • I’m grateful for the opportunity to experience exquisite pain and see that it’s possible to come out the other side. Many times I didn’t know if that was possible. But now I do and that knowledge will strengthen me forever.
  • I’m grateful for the love that has been showered down upon us regularly. I cannot adequately describe how much the notes and hugs and meals and money and smiles and encouragement have done to carry us through.
  • I’m grateful for stem cells – what a gift these have been in my life. They have helped my body heal from so-called unhealable injuries and given me hope of having functional life again.
  • I’m grateful for Tami, who has taken me to Mexico fifteen times. I would not have been able to go without her. Her sacrifice for me can never be repaid. Every time you see me living and doing think of her and how she took care of me trip after trip.
  • I’m grateful for Plexus. These supplements have helped my body feel like me again. Priceless!
  • I’m grateful for the utter desperation that drove me to God because I had no where else to turn. My relationship with Him is sweet and soul-filling and completely worth the hard.
  • I’m grateful for my friends and family who have been there for us each step of this journey. So many times I had nothing more to give to this fight and someone would show up with a hug or a smile or a plate of cookies or a meal or money for treatments and my courage would be refueled. Thank you, thank you, thank you to each of you who have lifted and loved us along this journey.
  • I’m so grateful for our children. They have had to do hard things, face big fears, and carry a big part of the workload. They are each remarkable humans and I’m so grateful for their courage and tenacity and love and patience. May they always know how dearly I love them.
  • Last of all, I’m grateful for Richard. This man, oh, there are no words to describe how good and strong and kind he is. He has loved me without frustration and served without even a hint of complaint…and instead serves me with joy. He has cried with me, held me, cheered me on, and helped me stay sane. He is my superhero and my dearest friend. Oh, I love him!

Tomorrow I’m thinking of trying to do a back handspring at gym to commemorate the day. I just don’t know if I dare.

thankful thursdays 2/4

Feb 4, 2021 in thankful thursdays | Comments Off on thankful thursdays 2/4

Today is gloomy: overcast, cold, and full of a big to-do list. I don’t love to-do lists. They feel restrictive for this carpe-diem loving soul of mine. I got on here to update the Swim Camp Registration page and read through a few posts and remembered how dear this space is to me. I’d like to rekindle it and I think I’ll start by focusing on Thankful Thursdays once again.

  • I reread Charlotte’s Web this week for the umpteenth time. Oh, my goodness, I love this book. The simple days in the barn, tranquil days of childhood, Wilbur’s pure soul, and Charlotte’s rescue of his life always bring me joy. Last night as I finished the last little bit and Charlotte died and her children were born and then flew away, I cried and cried. I’m so grateful for this beautiful story of friendship, childhood, and wonder.
  • I’ve been rereading a biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe for a while now for my WUBA class. Oh, how I love this woman! Her courage, tenacity, and faith inspire me to live more fully and with more dedication. Her book changed the course of America and I’m forever grateful for her writing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
  • Speaking of WUBA, oh, it’s such a privilege to mentor my students! They blow me away with their humor, goodness, and determination to learn and grow as scholars.
  • Today I’m really grateful for a warm home, food, and working vehicles. One of our vehicles broke down today and while I’m hoping it isn’t a huge deal, I’m just so grateful to have other vehicles that are working.
  • I’m grateful for the everyday moments with our children. Fisher asking me to help him with something, writing papers with Annesley, hearing them laugh, or Annes coming in for morning snuggles, oh, I love these little moments of connection. I’m so grateful for each of our children and as they grow, I feel like every moment gets more precious.
  • We gave Annesley a ukulele for her birthday in November. She plays and plays and plays. Our home is full of music again! Ever since Blythe moved out, I have been missing her music. It is so wonderful to hear Annesley create magic with her voice and strumming!
  • Back in October I started reading to my mom most nights. I’m so grateful for the nightly check-in and that she wants me to share our family read-aloud time with her.
  • Today is World Cancer Day. My mom was diagnosed with bladder cancer on September 30. A few weeks later we found out it was high-grade. It gutted me. She has completed her first round of treatment and is doing really well. Soon we will find out how her body responded and if the cells are still multiplying rapidly or if her body is winning the battle. I’m so grateful she is thriving spiritually and emotionally and nourishing her body physically – giving it all sorts of fantastic stuff to kick cancer to the curb.

Time to get to work on taxes and laundry and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I really need to leave my house and run errands today, but it’s so dreary, I think I’ll just keep working on my big to-do list here at home.

can and do are two different things

Jan 30, 2021 in family, humorous, my life as me | Comments Off on can and do are two different things

Laughing SO hard right now.

Richard: (comes in with a sheepish look on his face) I’m wondering about this mystical grocery list Annesley says you have????

Me: (giggling) What is that look on your face?

Richard: Well, Annesley told me you have a list, but I just can’t imagine that is true and I don’t want to make you feel bad by asking about it.

Me: (full blown laughter) I DO! Here it is!

Richard: WHAT? You actually made a list?

Me: Yes! Here you go!

Richard: (completely dumbfounded) Wow, this is some serious organization.

i feel good, nananananana

Jan 30, 2021 in the hip | Comments Off on i feel good, nananananana

Yesterday I played at gym. Like really, really played for a solid two minutes! I jumped around while playing beanbag catch with Hannah, one of my gymnastics teachers. We laughed so hard. And it felt sooooooo good. I think it might be the first time I have felt the freedom in my body to actually let loose and let the old me out to play.

I love the new me. I miss the old me. I’m feeling a merging of the two coming. And boy, howdy, it feels good. Can you hear James Brown singing in the background?

tender times

Jul 17, 2020 in family, mothering | Comments Off on tender times

Our Keziah-girl is getting married in 48 days. The emotions are big in all the ways. Joy, grief, longing, happiness, all the things. We are going to miss her fiercely. Her impact in our home is huge. She is loud, hilarious, determined and her presence is always known. She knows just what to say to bring a smile to Fisher’s face or to encourage him to keep trying when life is hard. She can get him to do what no one else can. She pulls her siblings together for games, adventures, and giant work projects – they would cheerfully follow her to the ends of the earth if she asked them to.

And so we cry. And laugh. And savor every moment we get with her. Everything feels precious. Every conversation. Every game. Every meal. Every story. Every prayer. We have about 25 nights left that she will sleep in our home because she will be gone a lot over the next 7 weeks. I want to spend those nights snuggled in bed with her, hearing her breathe, but she would never allow that, so I spend my nights snuggled up with Richard with tears running down my face.

This parenting thing is hard. We give our hearts so completely to these little babies, then we pour ourselves into them, teaching them, loving them, preparing them for adulthood. And then they grow up and leave and a giant hole is left.

I’m so grateful. So deeply grateful to have been granted the privilege of being a mother. Mothering our children has sculpted my soul, enlarged my view, and grown my heart. Reading to them, teaching them day after day after day, helping them discover the world around them, helping them see who they are, how God works in their lives, and who He created them to be has been an exquisite journey. Two of our children have flown the nest, two of our children are still here, finding their wings. And two of our children are still trying to come to our home and may or may not ever make it into our arms.

It’s a tender time.

thankful thursdays 4/2

Apr 2, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on thankful thursdays 4/2

I’m not really feeling very thankful tonight. Truth be told, I’m in a funk. Earlier this week I was irritable as could be and now I’m in the leftover stages of irritable, worn out from being irritable and ready to move on, but not quite there yet. So gratitude is probably what I need even I don’t feel in the gratitude groove at the moment.

  • Tonight we are five weeks out from brain surgery. Just typing those words brings the tears pouring out of my eyes and running down my cheeks. Here we are, five weeks later, and he is alive and recovering and doing so, so well. Today he cut a few pieces of wood for me and deep gratitude filled my soul that he was able to do it.
  • My nephew, Marcus, committed suicide last week. My heart absolutely aches for him and the pain he was carrying and fighting. I’m so grateful I was able to go and spend some time with his family at a park and remember the sweet, kind boy I always knew.
  • We’ve been studying the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith in preparation for the 200th anniversary of the First Vision. It has been wonderful to spend time together as a family learning more about the nine different First Vision accounts, the coming forth of The Book of Mormon, Father’s covenant plan for His children, ordinances, the messiness of the restoration process, and most of all, Jesus grace and love in the lives of Father’s children. I will always treasure this time we have had together.
  • Whenever I’m irritable, I like to rearrange. Yesterday my children helped me rearrange and clean the school room. Something about a new placement of furniture helps clear my mind and see things in a new ways.
  • My dear friend lost her baby today. My heart is aching for her and her family. This baby has been prayed for and waited for for a long, long time. Her baby’s passing is bringing up all sorts of feelings about our babies’ passing and it is hard, tender stuff. Regardless of the pain, I’m grateful we get to share and love and pray for each other. I’m grateful for her faith and courage she has shown for the past 15 weeks of her pregnancy. She has been a strength to me and I hope I have been a strength to her. Having babies that don’t make it into their mama’s arms binds hearts together in a sacred way and even though it is hard, I’m grateful we get to do this together.
  • I’m reading a beautiful, soul-filling book, The Keeper of the Bees. I haven’t been able to focus and get through a book for many months. I’m trying to use this Coronavirus quarantine time to reclaim my mind and fill my soul with good things and this book is helping me learn how to focus and read once again. It is such a wonderful story that is reminding me that God is in the details, that life is worth fighting for, and that human decency changes lives.
  • I’m really grateful we all like each other. Since we are all together much more than we ever have been, this Coronavirus situation has been a test of our relationships. And yes, there have certainly been some pull-my-hair-out moments, but for the most part, we have laughed and played games and read and worked together. It is a huge blessing in my life to genuinely enjoy spending time with Richard and our children.
  • We’ve taken the past four weeks off our morning scripture study routine. With Richard not being able to sleep at night and therefore me not sleeping either, we’ve been in survival mode and absolutely could not get up at 7:00 for family scripture reading. This week we started again. And it’s been hard. I would much rather sleep in. But it’s also been good. I love reading scriptures all together. I hope when our children grow up and move away that our morning scripture reading and evening read-alouds bring smiles to their hearts forevermore.
  • Tonight I am grateful for do-overs. Second and third and a zillionth chances. I mess up again and again and again. And because of Jesus, I get to keep trying. I get to keep learning. I get to say I’m sorry. I don’t even have something pressing on me that needs a second chance in this moment, but boy howdy, the glorious plan of redemption is filling my heart with gratitude tonight. Without it, there is no hope. With it, there is every hope.

And so, I’m going to go to bed, trusting in the hope that Jesus’ atoning sacrifice gives me power to keep trying and Father’s love gives me the desire to do so. Mortality isn’t a cakewalk, but it can be beautiful and blessed.

heartbreaks & heart rescues

Mar 8, 2020 in carl the schwannoma | Comments Off on heartbreaks & heart rescues

Such a hard and beautiful and sacred day at the same time. Hard because Richard is in so much back pain. He cried multiple times from the pain today and let me tell you, holding your big, strong man while he sobs from pain is gut-wrenching.

Beautiful because we are surrounded with so much love. A friend was able to come and do a house call and give Richard a chiropractic adjustment to help his back. Two other friends came and gave him a priesthood blessing. Other friends brought dinner and caught Richard at his best moments of the day and were able to have a good visit with him. And another friend brought muffins and fellowship. We are so grateful for the love of God being made manifest in our lives through each of you. Thank you for being His hands and lifting us in mighty ways.

Sacred because I was able to sit in sacred spaces and feel God’s love for me, for us, for each of His children. One, partaking of the sacrament with my ward family after my son said the sacrament prayer felt like an enormous privilege. Two, sitting in my bedroom while Richard was given a beautiful priesthood blessing of healing. And, three, tonight Fisher was given permission to administer the sacrament to his father. There are not words to describe the joy and gratitude of having this young man put on a suit and tie at 9:45 at night, prepare the bread and water for his father, and then kneel down at the foot of our bed and say the sacred words of the sacrament prayers.

Today brought home the message that every single person is important to God. Richard’s pain and heartache and struggle matter to the God of heaven and earth and even though the pain was nearly unbearable today, we were not left comfortless, we were not left alone. He is walking this path with us.

thankful thursdays 3/5

Mar 5, 2020 in carl the schwannoma, thankful thursdays | Comments Off on thankful thursdays 3/5

We have survived the first week since Richard’s brain tumor removal on February 27. It has been rough. And wonderful. And exhausting. And tender. And everything in between. Today is also his 50th birthday and there is something about birthdays, especially big, round numbers like fifty that bring on the introspection, at least for me.

  • I’m so grateful he is alive, that he made it through surgery and we were able to bring him home! This surgery doesn’t generally cause death, but thoughts of him dying have been quite present in my mind since his diagnosis.
  • This time with him is a gift to both of us. We haven’t been able to spend a lot of time together for a long, long time because of his working hours. Sitting with him, reading to him, laughing with him, and just watching him have been so wonderful. We love being together and spending time together is comfortable and soothing to both of us. It’s really nice to know we actually, factually like being together.
  • My heart is full to bursting with the good in this world. So many people have reached out to us with donations of money, food, words of encouragement, gift cards, hugs, and many other kindnesses. Piles and piles of goodness!
  • I’m so grateful to be a wife and mother. These were not roles I wanted to have, but oh, the soul-filling richness of loving these people is such a gift! I’m so thrilled God gave me this privilege even though I didn’t know enough to want it.
  • A few days ago, my friend, Jodie, came to the hospital with all sorts of yummy goodies and yes, that chocolate has gotten me through many a hard moment in the past few days, but more importantly, she brought her heart. She let me cry and talk about our babies. She listened while I tried to sort out the past few months in my mind. She gave Richard a hand & arm massage and me a foot massage and it was heavenly. HEAVENLY. She inspired me to show up to someone’s hospital room and give them a foot massage. Someday soon I will do just that.
  • Prayers. I’m so grateful to know people are praying for my husband and for our family. I’m grateful to hear our children’s prayers. I’m grateful to be able to pray and pour my heart out to God.
  • Orchids. I’m not really a flower person and I’ve never successfully kept a plant alive. My friend, Lisa, brought over two orchids for our babies we miscarried a few weeks ago and I gave Keziah the task of keeping them alive (and she has!). Coming home from the torture chamber of the hospital was a strange experience. It was as if everything in our lives had changed and that an entire lifetime had been experienced while we were gone. I didn’t know how to recalibrate to our new lives. Seeing the orchids on my kitchen windowsill brought me back to center. Somehow they helped me reintegrate this new post-surgery family with our pre-surgery family, my new role as caretaker of my husband with my old role as pregnant mama of twins and mother of young adults and teenagers. Somehow they helped me remember who I am and that these babies are ours forever even though it feels like a lifetime ago that we lost them instead of four short weeks.
  • I’m grateful for sunshine. We aren’t getting out in it much, but it sure is nice to see it shine through the windows and start melting the mounds of snow in our yard. It reminds me that the new growth is coming and we won’t be living in the cold, hardness of this winter forever. We will regrow as a family and figure out our new normal.

My heart is full. And broken. And growing. And aching. But mostly full of gratitude.