some leave, mine is staying put

May 21, 2014 by

A few weeks ago, one of the moms at gymnastics asked if her grandchild could start attending gym as she would be living with her for the next while. I readily assured her that we would love to have her granddaughter join us for the last few weeks of class.

At some point in the day, I asked her how long they would be living with her, figuring it was a temporary moving/house building/in between jobs situation. She started crying and said, “I don’t know, maybe forever. My daughter’s husband has decided he doesn’t want to take care of a sick wife anymore. He says he didn’t sign up for that and after three years, he is done. So our daughter and her children are coming to live with us and we will take care of her and our grandchildren and try to give all of them the love and security they need while trying to help her get better.”

Oh my.

My heart nearly stopped.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I didn’t want to believe it. To face the fact that a so-called Christian man who had made sacred covenants to God and his wife was walking away from those covenants, his wife and their children because her body had stopped working properly was far too painful for me to believe. I burst into tears.

This mama gave me a big hug and said “Your husband is so wonderful, be so grateful for him.”

Oh my.

Yes.

My heart welled up with love and gratitude and fierce devotion to this man I have been blessed with. He has always had a hard road to travel as my husband – I am loud and crazy and spontaneous and emotional and stubborn and opinionated and not very good at wifehood or housekeeping or cooking or matching socks or sticking to a plan or even making a plan. He is calm and stable and methodical and patient and forgiving.

And now my poor body takes so much of our time and money and brain cells. He works two jobs, is gone long, long hours six days a week, comes home and cooks and cleans and plays Monopoly and tries to do a little bit in the yard. He does almost all the grocery shopping. He is ready to come to me when I pass out. He rubs my sore muscles and listens to me complain. He doesn’t balk when I need another new brace or shoes or tape or protein powder or anything. He tells me I am beautiful when I have gained 30 pounds, don’t fit into most of my clothes, and hardly ever do my hair. He sees me as loving and patient and courageous and fun when I see myself as grumpy and weak and pretty miserable to be around. He has yet to be frustrated with me for being so broken.

He is amazing. Absolutely and completely amazing. And I am blessed to have him walk this journey with me.

I wish I could clone him and give him to every suffering woman in the world. I think it would change everything.

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new calling

May 5, 2014 by

Last week I received a new church calling. In our church we receive callings from a member of our local ward (geographic area of about 400 – 800 members) Bishop or from our Stake Presidency if it is a stake (group of 8-10 wards) I am now serving the Stake Primary Presidency as the secretary. The Primary is our organization for children up to age 12.

It is a tad (okay, a LOT) overwhelming to think of adding anything more to my life. I feel great peace about the calling and feel strongly that the Lord is asking me to serve His children in this way at this time. In spite of the peace, I also know that I am at my limit and my family is at their limit. Something or several things need to be let go to free up time, mental energy, physical strength, and spiritual guidance for this calling. It is going to require much of me and frankly, I don’t have much to give. Some hard choices need to be made and I don’t want to make them. I want to do EVERYTHING I want to do and I cannot. I am going to be spending the next while pondering and praying and getting really clear on what God wants me to do right now. My list is long: wifing (is that how you spell the act of being a good wife?), mothering, homeschooling, taking care of my body’s fairly complex needs with nutrition, supplements, exercise, rest, therapy, and careful planning, personal education, personal spiritual work, genealogy, iFamily Board duties, mentoring, gymnastics, colloquia, Swim Camp, other homeschool events that I love to plan, philanthropy, cooking, cleaning, friends, and church responsibilities. This is not a random list to see how long I can get it, this is a list of things I am anxiously engaged in right now, care about deeply, and spend much time and energy on. I know God will strengthen me and help me to accomplish His purposes, but I also know I need to make some difficult decisions.

I am pondering the words from my priesthood blessing yesterday and spending time listening to the impressions of the Spirit. My prayer is that God will teach me His will and then strengthen me to do what He asks.

Serving and loving and nurturing children is one of my very favorite things to do – I am excited to be an instrument in His hands in bringing children to drink from His well of living water, to help them feel safe and wanted and fed by the Spirit.

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wired for joy

Apr 21, 2014 by

Today is the day! I ordered Wired For Joy a few months ago and today I finally have some reading time to open it up and dig in. This gem of a book is going to teach me how to calm down my nervous system response and reprogram my brain for well-being instead of the stress response.

I’ll let you know my progress and results as I progress through the book and start implementing the techniques and tools.

I am thinking about a few other things to incorporate into myu life as part of my healing journey…water therapy, working diligently on taking my supplements and proper nutrients, spending focused time with the Lord each day, and living with my whole heart once again. I feel like I have been working so hard to protect my body from getting injured that I have somehow closed off my heart from loving deeply…as if protecting myself from all hurts is the answer! Not so, my friends. I am passionate and loud and spontaneous and giving and loving and I must find some way to incorporate these parts of my personality into this life of careful body care or I may shrivel up and die. I have felt like I am dying for months…that the real parts of me are withering away and all that is left is an empty shell of a person that I don’t want to be.

I am also working on developing a new business called Raise Your Joys. I can’t put much time into it until iFamily and Keziah’s play are over, but be watching for some big announcements soon.

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full to the brim

Apr 20, 2014 by

Have you ever felt full to the brim with gratitude? With joy? Right in this moment I am…and I want to savor it and soak it in like those warm August days of summer that we like to take into our souls to get us through the long months of winter cold and dreariness.

Right this moment, the sun is shining through my window, casting a warm, yellow glow through the trees of our yard. The sky is a beautiful deep blue. My children are happily talking and laughing with one another while they hold the squeaking puppies.

Yesterday I was blessed to make a dream come true for my oldest daughters. Two years ago when Hale Centre Theatre announced they were doing Les Miserables in 2014 I promised them I would take them. Of course we had no idea what these two years would be like and didn’t know how hard of a promise it would be to keep. We especially didn’t know that nine weeks ago my foot would be so badly injured and make it very difficult for me to drive or do much of anything. But yesterday the blessings poured down upon me and I was able to take my girls and two of their friends on a lovely adventure. We had so much fun laughing and singing and loving together. My girls have been taking care of me for the past two years, but especially the last two months and it has been really, really taxing on their spirits. They see me as the taskmaster bossing them around from my bedroom which has been pretty challenging for our relationships. We haven’t had any girl fun for quite a while and it was wonderful for all of us to get away from laundry and dishes and schoolwork and broken bodies for awhile.

The girls and their friends were able to explore Gardner Village, chase snakes at the pond, ride the Ferris wheel at Scheels, eat lots of cookies, eat a delicious meal at our favorite place, Old Spaghetti Factory, get some awesome ballons from Matthew the Balloon Guy, AND thoroughly enjoy Les Mis. I was the chaffeur for the day and though my foot was throbbing by the time I pulled in to our driveway at 1:00 a.m., it was totally worth it to have such a memorable day with my daughters and their friends.

While we were gone, a friend snuck into our home and left a check for a month of physical therapy for me. Oh my, there is so much goodness in this world! This foot injury has set me back so far and I have worried and wondered how to make my Moola For Muscles funds stretch far enough to make it through this year that is supposed to be focused on muscle building, not foot healing. God keeps sending angels to help me keep going to therapy and getting put back together.

This morning I took some time to write a letter to each of our children a letter about Jesus, His death and resurrection, and shared some of my thoughts about their lives. We have never done Easter baskets or egg hunts or anything like that, but yesterday I felt prompted to get each of them a little present to help them in their spiritual walk with Christ. Then I called them into my room individually and had a resurrection talk with each of them with lots of hugs and kisses and gave them their present.

Today at church we sang “Christ The Lord is Risen Today” two times! It is my favorite Easter hymn and I love to belt it out at the top of my lungs. I felt sorry for the young couple sitting in front of us! I don’t have a very good singing voice and when I sing lying down in my zero gravity chair it is even worse, but I couldn’t restrain my joy at singing those words I love so much. Charles Wesley, the son of Susannah Annesley, wrote those words and everytime I sing it I fall in love with Miss Susannah all over again.

Life is full of bounteous blessings – good people surround me, rich experiences teach and sustain me, and my precious family is always here for me. Most of all, God lives with His arm outstretched to me in love and because of His love I can be both resurrected and redeemed. And so can you.

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it’s not all showers

Apr 16, 2014 by

Lest you think my life is full of dreariness and tears, it is not. It is full of frienships and hugs and laughter and learning and blessings and joy AND injury and pain and frustration.

Today in Annesley’s “I Have Character” class, she was transformed into a clown complete with blue eyebrows, white cheeks, red nose, and juggling balls. She LOVED it. I so wish I had my camera with me because she was the cutest clown I have ever seen. They read Tomie de Paulo’s The Clown of God and learned about love.

Meanwhile, Fisher carried around his bugs in his giant pretzel bin and guarded them with his life. Since spring-like weather has hit the past few days, he is back to constant bug finding mode. He cracks me up with how much he loves his little grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders.

I was able to teach my WUBA students about six keys of personal influence: example, service, oral persuasion, written persuasion, prayer, and the arts. We had a beautiful discussion and I realized once again how much I love teaching and touching the souls of these youth.

My life is rich beyond measure. I am surrounded by an amazing community of families, heaps and heaps of love, my four precious children, and a deeply compassionate husband who strives each day to lighten my heart.

I am grateful for all of these things and am grateful to be in this situation of learning and growth. God is with me. He loves me and is teaching me beautiful lessons.

p.s. I am hatching up some big 40th birthday celebrations!

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two years of genealogy

Mar 27, 2014 by

Today is the day I have been waiting for – the two year anniversary of my priesthood blessing when God asked me to do the ordinance work for my ancestors. Blessed day!

I will spend today in the temple with friends and family. Together we will serve my ancestors and provide a way for hundreds of them to be family units forever. Oh, the joy!

My heart is bursting with love and peace and gratitude. I am so grateful my Heavenly Father has asked me to participate in the work of redemption of my ancestors. I have been thinking a lot about redemption lately…about the atonement of Jesus Christ, the breaking of chains, the humbling of hearts, the transformation of souls. The power of Christ to save us, to bring God’s children out of captivity and into light and hope, takes my breath away.

Last night I attended Les Miserables at Hale Centre Theatre with my sweetie. It was our birthday celebration (we like to celebrate our birthdays on April 6, the midpoint of our two birthdays, but yesterday was the only day we could get tickets, so I made peace with the lopsided mathematical equation) and we were able to spend the whole day together! Throughout the play, the word redemption played on the screen of my mind. Poor Javert believes in serving God and enacting justice, but he doesn’t grasp the majesty of God’s love to change lives. I know God changes lives. He has changed mine. He changed Valjean’s. He changed Moses’, Abraham’s, Paul’s, Alma’s, Corrie ten Boom’s, and millions more. I passionately believe in a God of miracles who can help His children find lost contacts and keys, bring wonderful people into our lives, guide us to truth, heal our bodies, inspire us to serve and bless and love one another and a million other delightful acts of love. But more important than all of those wonderful, life-changing acts, I believe he can and will and does redeem His children from sin, pain, death, and fear through the atonement of His son. He releases us from the chains that bind each one of us. Chains of addiction, fear, hate, indifference, hopelessness, loneliness, and revenge are all able to be removed by our Savior. He is THE way. THE truth. THE light.

And not only does God pour out the miracle of the atonement in my life, I have the blessed privilege of helping my ancestors develop faith in the atonement for them as well. Many, many times I am prompted to pray for one of them and often the message is one of hope and trust and faith in the atonement. Our lives can be transformed if we will allow Christ’s love for us to break our chains.

So, I have been thinking of designing a necklace for myself. I want it to say 24601 on one side and something like “Let Him break the chains and forge the links.” Then I want another piece to say “I believe in a God of miracles.” and the other side to have our children’s names or our anniversary date or their birthdates or something. Then another piece of metal to say “To love another person is to see the face of God.” I am playing around with various options, so I don’t know what I will end up with, but I feel a need to have this message of miraculous redemption made into something tangible I can look at each day. If I have it made, I will be sure to share it here.

It is time to rise and shine and get ready for a day in the House of The Lord, communing with Him, and giving more of my heart to these ancestors I have come to love so dearly. I hope my feet and my hip hold up well!

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driving!

Mar 24, 2014 by

I drove home today from PT! Big wahoo for foot healing. It has been a long 5 1/2 weeks without driving. The freedom to hop in the car and go is HUGE and being without it has been quite limiting and frustrating. So, today I am grateful for the ability of my foot to move a little bit to the left and a little bit to the right and push hard enough on the brake to make the car stop.

My foot is improving! Today the talus was in place and the ligaments were much less sore. The cuneiform was still struggling to stay in place, but it is much less sore than it has been. Today I didn’t even shriek when Jeremy put it back into place.

My shoulder has been hurting for a few weeks and today we found out the wrist, ulna, 1-5 ribs, clavicle, and ball of the shoulder joint were all skeewampus. Jeremy spent a lot of time guiding all the parts and pieces back to their correct homes and now it is feeling great.

In other good news, we have just spend a wonderful weekend in the woods with Richard’s family celebrating his parent’s upcoming 50th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed beautiful trees and mountains, cousin fun sledding down a giant hill, delicious food including a Thanksgiving-like dinner, and lots of good conversation.

My three youngest are still playing with their cousins, so I am going to listen to House of Glory and clean my bathroom/closet for a little while and see how my foot holds up.

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birds of a feather

Mar 23, 2014 by

I have just spent eight days with my father. EIGHT WHOLE DAYS! This hasn’t happened since he lived with me when I was a little girl. I learned we have some things in common.

He likes raspberry shakes, I like raspberry shakes…this one I remember from when I was little, the other similarities were new discoveries.

He doesn’t like spicy salsa, I don’t like spicy salsa.

He likes to start his morning with protein, I like to start my morning with protein.

He prefers to sleep on his side, I prefer to sleep on my side.

He stays up way too late reading, I stay up way too late reading.

He is a fast walker, I am a fast walker…when my body is working.

He was a smart cookie in school, I was a smart cookie in school.

He loves ice cream, I love ice cream.

We both jump to conclusions quickly. We both are convinced we are right…about pretty much everything.

Anyone who knows me personally knows I have numbers spilling out of me…dates, mileage, prices, phone numbers, etc. Well, my dad does too! He told me about a snow storm across Nebraska that he drove through five years ago and said there were 419 cars off the side of the road. That is data I would have in my head as well. He knows and rattles off the mileage across states on I-80 and I-90. He is a numbers guy and I am a numbers girl. Who knew?

We find the same things beautiful.

These may seem like small things, but to me they are huge. Finding commonalities with my dad is helping my heart be more connected.

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goodbye again

Mar 21, 2014 by

The tears poured out of my soul as I watched him drive away this morning. I don’t know if I can let myself feel this much pain without breaking into a million pieces.

I remember the first time he left when I was 12. I chased after him and begged him to let me come with him. I collapsed in a heap of frustration, tears, and a broken heart when he refused and made me stay in Wyoming while he drove across the country to start a new life in a place I had never been.

I kind of felt the same way today – an urge to chase after him, a deep longing for my daddy to never, ever leave me again.

But he drove off anyway, to a life I am not a part of. And I can’t stop crying at the pain, the little girl pain and the grown-up woman pain all mixed together in one big torrent of tears.

It all started three weeks ago when he called and said he was going to come visit us on his way back from a cross-country goose delivery to California. He made this same trip in January 2009 and visited us then as well, meeting our children for the first time. Last Wednesday, he called and said he was on I-80 traveling across Wyoming. When we hung up, a voice whispered to my mind, “Call him back, see if he can wait for you in SLC, and let you ride with him to California.” I quickly dismissed the idea as ludicrous. First, how would my body handle being in a vehicle for that many miles and hours. Second, what on earth would we talk about? We have only seen each other eight times in the past 28 years and one time in the past 18 years…that 2009 visit. Third, what would happen if I pass out or start shaking or my hip dislocates. Fourth, what would my family do without me for several days? Fifth, what if he doesn’t want to be with me? All these questions and many more swirled through my head and heart. I decided it was a completely ridiculous idea, but the thought wouldn’t leave my head so I finally called Richard to talk to him about it, fully expecting him to agree with my assessment of the California road trip idea. But he didn’t. He thought it was brilliant and we should do whatever it took to make it happen.

After several more phone calls to various people I was sure would talk some sense into me, I freaked out, calmed down, and finally called my dad and asked him I could join him on his drive to deliver the geese. He seemed tickled pink and we made all the arrangements to make sure his truck would work for my body.

Bright and early the next morning, Sheri picked me up, took me to physical therapy, and drove me down to SLC to start the adventure of a lifetime. The last time I was with my dad in a one-on-one situation was 1986 when I was 12 years old. I didn’t know what to expect and I was scared and overwhelmed, but also determined to find the courage to do hard things and follow the prompting I received to go with him.

We had a wonderful time. I got to see beautiful country I have never seen before, hear all about my dad’s current life with his horses, and a little bit about his growing up life with his family. I was given a better picture of who he is, what he has been through, and what makes him the man he is. We laughed and cried and got to know each other again.

It was a gift wrapped up for me from my Heavenly Father. Three whole days with the man my world revolved around when I was little. Three whole days of connection and healing and understanding. I will treasure those three days for the rest of my life.

Then we came home and spent the past five days here with my family, playing games, eating ice cream, lots of talking, and helping my children get to know their grandfather. I’m sure the chaos of busy family life was a little much for him, but he handled it really well and spent most of his time chuckling at their individual personalities. He also became my personal handyman and went to work repairing a few of the many broken things in this house.

First he tackled the dryer that stopped heating recently. Yippee for laundry capabilities at home – no more sending Blythe to the laundromat or Kat sneaking in to take my laundry over to her house to do! Then the garbage disposal was replaced and the electrical switch repaired. Third, he fixed my poor screen door that has been hanging skeewampus and missing a screen for quite some time. I had no idea the local hardware store could replace the screening material and would do so for sixteen bucks. He even rearranged the panes so the screen section is on top and the glass is in the middle – that way the cats can’t rip the screening again. He replaced the door insulation strip so we don’t have cold air blowing in or heat leaving. (FYI, it’s not that Richard can’t do these things, he can…he just doesn’t have the time to get to all the things that need fixed.)

I have gone to bed every night with tears on my cheeks. Tears of sadness and tears of joy. It is wonderfully, fiercely hard to open my heart to all the emotions of my little girl self whose heart closed up the day he left us back in 1986. My entire being feels raw, but it is a good raw, a thawing that needs to occur to find the healing I so desperately need.

And now he is gone again. And I will cry some more and bury myself in Richard’s soft chest and warm arms and hope to see him again someday.

Goodbye Dad, I hope its not such a long time before I see you again. Every girl needs a dad.

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the container

Mar 4, 2014 by

“I love you bunches,” he said as he kissed me goodbye this morning. “Really?” I replied as I nuzzled my face closer for another kiss. “Yes, I love you,” he insisted. “But I am so broken,” I murmured back in my almost still dreaming voice. With more kisses on my cheeks and lips, he tried again, “Only your ligaments,” to which I retorted “and my cartilage and my bones and my blood vessels.” And then this gem escaped his lips and entered my heart and changed me forever, “Ah, but those aren’t important, they’re not you, they are only the container that holds you. You are so much more than your body.”

This man.

He takes my breath away with his kindness and goodness and patience.

And boy, howdy, I love him.

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seven generations

Mar 3, 2014 by

Yesterday we had a special stake conference with Elder Godoy of the Quorum of the Seventy. He talked a lot about family relationships. He asked us how long our family had been in the church…what generation of church members we are. I counted back and figured out I am the seventh generation member.

Oh my.

My heart swelled up with joy at the thought of being seventh. Keziah Keturah Van Bethuysen Rollins, James Henry Rollins, James Watson Rollins, George Leon Rollins, Myrtle Easton Rollins, Dorothy (my mama), and me!

Seven is my favorite number. It is sacred and oh, so very dear to my heart. I was born on the 7th at 7:00, weighed 7 lbs. and my mom was in the delivery room for seven minutes. In Hebrew, another one of my great loves, seven/sheva means holy, complete, covenant, fulfilled, perfection and basically everything good and wonderful you could ever think of. I am so in love with seven I gave one of my children the middle name of Sheva…really Elisheva…but we call her Sheva.

I have always been in awe of my seventh generation grandma on my mom’s side, Keziah. She lived a hard life of hard work, sacrifice, and great faith. I grew up hearing of her struggles and triumphs and decided early on to be just like her. She raised brave children willing to do hard things…she is the mother of James Henry, one of the Joseph Smith’s bodyguards who was with him at Richmond jail and on the Zion’s Camp march, and the mother of Mary Elizabeth and Caroline, the girls who rescued copies of scripture from an angry, violent mob and hid for hours in a corn field while the mob searched for them. I wanted to be a mother like Keziah who would raise righteous children who loved the Lord and would do whatever He asked of them.

I have a pretty strong spiritual connection to the seventh generation mama on my dad’s side, Barbara Bortner. I feel all warm and squishy towards her and can’t wait to meet her. Her two daughters, Anna Marie and Jane are grandmas of mine on both my dad’s paternal and maternal side.

So here I am. The seventh generation of people who sacrificed all they had to follow the direction of God. My deep-thoughts-with-Tracy has me asking myself these types of questions:

  • What legacy am I giving my children?
  • What is my duty to my ancestors?
  • What stories do my children need to hear to prepare them for their futures?
  • What character traits do I want my grandchildren raised with and what can I do now to pave the way for that to happen?
  • What can I do to nurture my children’s faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ?
  • How can I strengthen our family relationships?
  • What traditions will bind our family together?
  • How can I more fully bless Richard’s life?
  • What daily practices need to change in our home?
  • Why did God place me in these family lines?
  • Why did God give our children to us?
  • What does he want us to do with this sacred gift?
  • Do my children see love in my eyes?
  • Do they feel my love in their hearts?
  • What skills do they need to raise healthy, functioning families?
  • How can I more fully involve my children in family history?
  • Are my children being guided by the Holy Ghost?

I am going to spend some time pondering these questions and any more that come to my mind. Then I am going to act on the promptings I receive. Investing in my family is high priority for me. I am done surviving. I am done getting by. It is time to thrive as a family.

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renewal

Mar 2, 2014 by

Banner weekend! So many of my posts are dismal and depressing, but here is one full of cheer!

Good thing #1: I have a comfy mattress! Wahoo!!!! For the first time in a long, long, looonnngg time, neither of my shoulders shifted out of place in the night! I can’t even tell you how incredibly thrilled I am at this turn of events in our life!

Good thing #2: My father called on Friday afternoon and said he was going to come and see me in a few weeks! Oh my stinkin’ heck. I almost died of shock and then I got all giddy. I have seen my father very few times since he left our home when I was 12 – 1986, 1987, 1992, 1992, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2009. He saw a Blythe when she was a few months old and then not again until five years ago when she was thirteen. Our other three has met just once. So this is a big deal. A huge deal. I hope, hope, hope my foot is all better by then so I can be up and doing stuff with him.

Good thing #3: After days and days of being confined to the four walls of my bedroom in an effort to heal this foot quickly, my sweetie took me to the movie on Saturday night. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is laugh-out-loud hilarious with its witty lines, inspiring with its message of pursuing your dreams, and flat out brilliant. I adored it and can’t wait to see it again. Garlic fries and a peppercorn burger hit the spot after the movie and I think I am buoyed up for a few more days spent in bed.

Good thing #4: Much of Saturday was spent reading about William Wilberforce. Oh, I love that man! His courage to do what he felt called to do filled me with resolve to do what God has called me to do.

Good thing #5: Today we had a special conference for our stake and during the talks, I had a lot of thoughts about my relationship with Christ, my children, my wifehood, and the heritage of faith I want pass to my descendants. Lots of good messages and I am going to spend some time this week pondering what God would have me implement in my life.

So, a good weekend, full of light and love, fun family times and spiritual renewal. Now I can enter the next week with a cheerful heart and a lighter spirit.

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more of that miss annes

Mar 2, 2014 by

Our Annesley is growing up. I keep noticing all sorts of little things that say my baby girl is entering a new phase of her life. For one thing, she looks older. Her face is changing. I don’t really know how to describe it except to say it isn’t quite as cherubic as it used to be…thinner, a few more freckles, a look of seriousness in her eyes that never used to show up. Her body is lankier, getting longer and gosh, I don’t know, just different. Her legs seem stretched, her forehead seems bigger, and her hands are girl hands, not chubby, round hands.

She still comes in to my bed every morning and snuggles with me. It is our favorite part of the day. She tells me all about her nighttime dreams and I rub her back and clean out her eyes and smother her with kisses.

My body’s injuries have been hard on this wee one. She doesn’t really remember a time when my body wasn’t hurt. She keeps saying things like “I wwwwiiiiiiiiiiiiisssshhhh you didn’t have to be in bed all the time!” or “Why do you have to keep getting hurt? I want you to be all better and no one to ever hurt your feet again!” or “Mommy, do you think you will ever be better?” She is also very concerned for me with questions like “Mama, will that hurt your hip?” “Mommy, do you want to rub your neck?” This whole slew of injuries has sobered her. It hurts my heart for my little one’s childhood to be so different from her older siblings. No bike rides with me pulling her behind me, no hikes with her mama, no airplane rides on my legs or standing in my hands and balancing in the air. She is getting other memories and while I know I am loving her and nurturing her wondrous spirit, I sometimes wish I could wave my magic wand and give her back the last two years of her life with a functioning mama.

Annes and Fisher are best buddies, spending almost all of their time together. They love to explore our property, catch bugs and snakes, build their fort, sled all over the yard, and ride their bikes up and down our road. I am so grateful they have each other. Right now she is learning to read, loves writing her letters and playing games, dances around the house practicing her moves for her clogging class, and snuggling, snuggling, snuggling with anyone who will hold her. Her need for touch is enormous. I don’t know if it is possible to rub her enough. The other night all the children were gone to a play and Annesley was left home alone with me for the evening. We played Spot It and Battleship and she told me all sorts of stories. When it was time for bed she didn’t want to go sleep alone in the basement, so she climbed in bed with us and I held her just like when she was a baby. As I painted her face and rubbed her legs as she drifted off to sleep my heart welled up with love for this precious, precious, girl whose presence in our family is such a miracle. Sometime during that night of holding her it occured to me that there might not be many more of those kinds of nights left. There will come a day when she doesn’t need to sleep in my bed when her siblings are gone, when perhaps she won’t ask me to rub her and won’t start moving my hand across her back when I stop. And I will cry.

That night before she settled down in bed, she bounded over me to get my pills for me from my bin.

Me to Annes as she leaps precariously across my bed: Watch out for my foot!

Annes: I did! I was staring right at it!

Papa: What mama means is stay away from it, not look at it.

Annes: Oh!

She says all sorts of crazy things in the course of a day.

You are the best mama in the whole, whole, wide world.

Her phrase of choice when she doesn’t get what she wants.

You hate me!

Keziah won’t let me rub her anymore unless I pay her, so now I just have to rub myself.

I love Jesus sooooooooo much. He is my bestest friend.

Fisher says I can’t be a chicken owner if I don’t help him feed the chickens! Harumph! I don’t wwwwaaaannnnnttttt to feed them today and now he is taking my chicken back! Why can’t he just do all the work?

Mommy, I love you. I’m so glad Heavenly Father gave me to you. Your belly is sure fat, do you think he is sending us another baby? I wwwwannnnttt a baby. I will take care of the baby all day long just like I take care of Oaklynn. You can stay in bed.

Oh, how I love this girlie. She reminds me so much of my little girl self. So much confidence, so much life, so much joy.

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thankful thursdays 2/27

Feb 27, 2014 by

Gratitude is a game changer for me. It helps my brain focus on the precious, my heart enlarge with joy, and my soul to ccccaaaallllmmmm down. Thursdays are my days to think deeply about thanksgiving.

 

  • If you have read WOK for any length of time at all, you know I have richly blessed with amazing friends. Today is another example of their awesomeness. Yesterday we made a plan for me to stay completely off my foot for 36 hours so I could have the cast-like tape removed and let me skin heal a bit from being wrapped up for so long. Being untaped means no getting out of bed except to crawl to the toilet every few hours. But then at 9:55 this morning, I got my email reminder that today is chicken day – 120 lbs. of chicken were waiting for me to pick up and then do something with…can, freeze, etc. Kat, Sheri, and her daughter helped us freezer pack my huge Zaycon chicken order in about 45 minutes!!! OMSH! They are amazing! It would have taken Blythe and Keziah hours and hours to do all that work by themselves, but six pairs of hands working hard together made the process easy-peasy.
  • Last night I was blessed to attend a wonderful presentation by my friends, Bob and Tasha, on “When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade.” It was exactly what I needed – a kick-in-the-butt to try to see things from an eternal perspective and effective skills to experience peace in the moment of trial.
  • A big, sobbing, sisterhood hug.
  • Minestrone soup brought from a dear friend…so delicious and such a blessing to have delicious comfort food.
  • A big bag of venison – thank you Vanessa!
  • My Annesley was able to start taking piano lessons today. She is so, so happy! And I get to start the process of being a Suzuki mom again. Now that my girls are grown up and practice without me, I have missed those early lessons with my little ones and I am excited to start the journey again with some of the experience I have gained over the years of being a music mom. Surely I will be calmer and far more nurturing this time around, right?
  • I’m so thankful to start off each day with heaps of kale deliciousness in my Keziah-made-green smoothies. I don’t know what I would do without that girlie.
  • While it is hilarious to me that I have to be using one, my walker is a huge gift to my physical well-being. I’m sure taking the weight off my foot when I need to walk on it is helping those ligaments to heal.
  • My sweetheart’s hand to hold while I try to sleep with this walking boot on. I don’t think I could make it through the long nights of foot pain without him.
  • Having Blythe as a driver and errand girl is making staying in bed this time a lot easier. I’m so glad she finally has her license!

I am blessed beyond measure. Life is full of ups and downs and ins and outs and all sorts of cliffs and mountains and valleys and I love it. I am grateful to be able to live this life and have these gut-wrenching, awe-inducing, and soul-streching opportunities to grow and learn and most of all, to love.

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two years

Feb 20, 2014 by

February 20.

Two years.

A myriad of emotions, thoughts, worries, and gratitudes.

That day there was snow.

This day there are blue skies and sunshine.

That day there was through-the-roof-pain.

This day there is soreness.

That day I felt strong and powerful and loving. I was doing something my daughter desperately wanted to do and my body was capable of doing it.

This day I am trying to feel strong and powerful and most of all, loving, but a huge part of me feels broken and tired. Somedays I succeed at letting my love shine through to the people I love, and sometimes I really don’t feel or behave loving at all.

That day I could see Keziah and I entering a triathlon, working our butts off, having an activity we could do together for the rest of our lives.

This day I don’t know what I see. I am trying to see a strong, vibrant body doing the things I love, but it is a blurry picture.

That day was full of determination to run further and longer.

This day is full of determination to heal, endure, and believe.

That day I was blind to the journey I was about to embark on.

This day I can see and I don’t always like the view.

That day my husband had to pick me up and carry my body to bed.

This day his strength, hope, faith, rock-solid goodness, patience, and sense of humor have carried me for the past two years.

That day I didn’t know how much goodness there is in the world.

This day I know this world is full of kindness, generosity, compassion, and miracles and my heart quivers with the full-blown love I am surrounded with.

That day I didn’t know my heart needed healing.

This day I beg the Lord to take my heart.

That day my body could do anything I asked of it – a back flip, a bike ride, climbing the rope, walking the beam, twisting, turning, jumping with joy.

This day my body can do very little.

That day I didn’t know I have a genetic disorder that forms defective collagen.

This day I know that collagen effects every aspect of our bodies, my body is not held together in any sort of normal fashion, and pain and injury could make up a large part of my life.

That day a part of me died.

This day I am learning how to live.

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sacred sabbaths: always remember

Feb 16, 2014 by

A few months ago my mom sent me this adorable piece of wood. Last week I rearranged my room for my new mattress (yes, you heard me right, a better mattress is soon to be part of my life!) set-up and now as I lie in bed I can read the words over and over again.

I can hear her voice filling me with strength. I can hear my dad’s voice. Most of all, I can hear my Heavenly Father’s voice assuring me that I can keep going, that I am brave, strong, and smart. And most importantly, that I am loved by Him, by His son, by my family, and my friends.

Love has the power to change the world. I know, because it has changed my life and if it can change my life, it can change yours, and yours, and yours. And all those changed lives will transform our relationships, our decisions, and our solutions.

Today, as I celebrate this Sabbath in my bed and fully release the anger and despair that filled my soul just a few short days ago, I have made a decision to always remember I am braver than I believe, stronger than I seem, smarter than I think, and more loved than I know.

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eat your enemies

Feb 15, 2014 by

I spend quite a bit of time in bed. Even on good days…my hips just can’t handle being upright all the time. This week I have been in bed since Wednesday and have heard lots of hilarious conversations. Here is one from today.

Annesley: God said you should eat your enemies. (giggle, giggle!)

Fisher: No, God said love your enemies.

Annesley: Why should you love your enemies?

Fisher: Because that is what Jesus said.

Annesley: But that is soooooooo HHHHAAAARRRRRDDDDDD!

Fisher: Lots of people asked Jesus the same question.

Annesley: Are we going to be enemies or friends?

Fisher: We are going to play a game together and play legos and do all sorts of things.

Oh, they crack me up. Fisher is so solid in his goodness. Annesley is so full of life and silliness and adorableness. I love being their mama.

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one year of shaking, one year of miracles

Jan 8, 2014 by

Today marks the one year anniversary of the shaking/passing out episodes. It all started January 8 at my ninth round of Prolozone injections. I was terrified for that injection and didn’t know how I was going to make myself get up on the table one more time, but I did it and it wasn’t too bad…and then the shaking started and I collapsed.

I have continued to shake, have a racing heart, blue hands, crazy temperature swings, and hundreds of passing out episodes over the ensuing twelve months. When I think about it, I am amazed. Completely amazed at the crazy, embarrassing situations my body has put me through. Completely amazed at the kindness that has been poured out upon me. Completely amazed at the miracles we have been blessed with this year that have enabled me to endure.

I have been beyond touchy and easily irritated all day. I didn’t even realize today was THE day until I came downstairs to read old posts. I thought the anniversary was tomorrow and didn’t really know how to feel about it…grateful? Sad? But now that I realize today is THE day, I think it is pretty natural for me to be feeling this way. Emotionally I am feeling much the same way my body must have felt during those injections…irritated, jumpy, attacked by foreign substances. All day long I have been feeling that way…I would be having a normal conversation with one of my children and then the smallest little thing would irritate me and prickly words full of daggers and empty of love would spew out of me. My poor children. Really. They have put up with so much gunk from their mama.

I just read all the entries from January 2013.

Whoa.

So much pain.

So much fear.

So much kindness.

So much mercy.

So much love.

So much goodness.

So much friendship.

So much tenderness.

So much.

It is a month to be remembered and cherished. I want to always remember how powerful a community of friendship can be in healing brokenness, both body and spirit. I want to always remember the tender mercies of the Lord that saved my husband from a terrible accident. I want to always remember the prayers and blessings that were given. I want to always remember my husband’s tender care. I want to always, always remember the love of my God.

Now that I have read the story of that overwhelmingly difficult month, I am no longer irritated. I am grateful and full of tears of sweetness and joy.

Thank you, dear ones. You have held me in your hands and hearts and prayers and I will forever be grateful.

And now, I will go read scriptures with my family and start our new read-aloud, The Red Keep…we are so excited for it we can’t wait until summer to read it.

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giving and receiving

Dec 25, 2013 by

Warm and fuzzy.

Peaceful.

Calm.

Joyful.

Grateful.

Filled.

Loving.

Tender.

Hopeful.

Teary.

Amazed.

Redeemed.

On this Christmas night my heart is full from top to bottom with all of these emotions. Our month has been full of Christmasy things – performances in the Messiah concert with the Youth Symphony and the Christmas Carol ballet, piano and violin recitals of Christmas music, several secret Christmas projects, caroling, visiting with friends and neighbors, Christmas stories, scripture study, yummy food, big hugs, nativities, and piles and piles AND PILES of love being poured out upon our family.

We have been on the receiving end of so much goodness and generosity this month. Moola for Muscles has raised thousands of dollars for my therapy. People have written the loveliest notes of encouragement and their love has filled my heart with courage and determination to keep trying to get my life back. Nearly 150 people invested their hard-earned cash in my Hip Recovery Plan. I can’t even think about it without tears running down my face. What a precious gift!

If the Moola for Muscles response wasn’t enough, we have been blessed with lovely presents from friends and family and had several knock-n-run experiences this week. Money, gifts, food, and, of course, piles of love have been delivered by these Secret Angels/Santas/Elves/Disciples. We have no idea who has reached out to our little family and blessed us so abundantly, but if any of you are reading this, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for being a force for good in the world and for loving us so much that you would sacrifice and serve and give and bless.

The speaker at church this Sunday, Sister Spaulding, said something like “We experience Christmas every day of our lives. We are either giving or getting Christ’s love.” When she said those words I realized something…when we give Christ’s love to others we come to more fully love Him and know Him. When we receive Christ’s love, either through His own actions or the actions of our fellowman, we also learn more of Him and become closer to Him. As we go through life and have experiences on both sides of the equation, we understand Him and His ability to love, serve, and sacrifice for the children of God. We are more able to receive His love into our hearts and accept His sacrifice for us.

This year we have learned more clearly than ever before how important it is to be on both sides of the giving and receiving circle. I love being on the giving side. I love being guided to those who need our love and money. I love organizing secret projects and big, public fundraisers or service projects. I love doing God’s work by reaching out to someone who needs a hug, a listening ear, a big box of food, or a chunk of money. It is one of my very favorite things to do and I am so grateful for the opportunities we have had as a family to make a difference in the world.

But this hip injury has forced me to the other side of the circle. I have been on the receiving end of service for the past 22 months. People have taken care of our children, given umpteen hours of service, taken me to doctor’s appointments, paid for treatments, held me as I have sobbed, given me wise counsel, encouraged me, been patient with me, tried to understand, cleaned our home, cooked meals, and so much more. People have loved. Truly loved me. Loved us. Supported us. Been God’s hands in holding us up. I had no idea there was this much goodness in the world. It is been a tender privilege to be the recipient of so much goodness and one of the greatest blessings of my life to be taught not only the meaning, but the actions of love as I have been thoroughly loved through this injury.

Being on the receiving end has taught me much about God’s abundance and the windows of heaven. To those of you who have been His hands in lifting our burdens, both physical and emotional, please know we love you, we pray for you, and we thank God for you.

May each of you feel the love of God for you at this Christmas season and throughout the coming year.

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piles of goodness

Dec 12, 2013 by

I have spent most of yesterday and all of today at the computer on my special kneeling chair getting the iFamily website ready for next semester. My back is aching, my shoulders keep popping in and out of place, and I am ready for some delicious food brought by the Lamoreaux family and some snuggle time with my children. I listened to Christmas music all day. I love Christmas music that speaks to my soul…it has to have messages of love, service, and Jesus, most of all Jesus. I don’t really like the loud, crazy Santa stuff, but give me some Jesus music and I will bawl my eyes out.

Which is exactly what I have been doing. I can’t stop these tears from running down my face and getting my collar wet and gooey. My children keep walking by and asking why I am crying. All I can say is “The goodness, there is so much goodness in this world.”

Moola For Muscles has been active for about 48 hours and there has already been $2200 donated. Oh my goodness, I am tickled pink and overwhelmed and full of warm fuzzies all at the same time.

I have heard from old friends and new friends, complete strangers, and so many dear loved ones have written me beautiful notes of encouragement. It is such a privilege to be loved this much. I wish I could have every single donator over for a delicious cup of hot chocolate and some of my favorite Christmas stories. Wouldn’t that be fun!

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This is one of my favorite sayings. I try to live by it. I try really hard to both Be The Good and Believe In The Good. You guys make it easy-peasy to believe in the good because you surround me with it every day. Thank you for all your loving kindness. May God pour blessings down upon you and your families.

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moola for muscles

Dec 11, 2013 by

Katherine, Jessica, Jennifer, and Tami have all been pushing me to allow them to do a Physical Therapy fundraiser. I have fought it and fought it, but they finally convinced me with the following arguments (all paraphrased a bit, but you’ll get the essence of what they said).

Kat – “Trace, your family needs you to function. Your husband and children need you. They have been taking care of you for the past two years and if there is a way that you can heal, you owe it to them.”

Jess – “Trace, I KNOW. I KNOW you don’t want this to happen, but it needs to. You need to let us do this.”

Tami – “What do we need to do! Let’s do it. Come on Trace! Let the hundreds of people who love you help you. Do I need to come over from Australia to do this? Come on, I’m booking a flight!”

Jen – “Tracy, I love you so much. If you need physical therapy, you need physical therapy. Let us help you. We love you.”

Kat again – “Trace, the truth of the matter is, it takes a lot of people to take care of you and it is getting more all the time. All of us are taking time away from our families to help you and we love doing it, but it is a lot. We will do WHATEVER YOU NEED FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES. But, if you can heal, then let’s make that happen.

All those arguments sunk deep in my heart and I have been pondering them for over a month. Especially Kat’s. It is true. I have asked a lot of my friends. They have driven me all over Timbuctoo, taken me to umpteen doctor’s appointments, held my hand and listened to me scream during the awful Prolozone injections, have lovingly listened to my crazy ranting when I am ready to throw in the towel and go live in a hole, and have picked me up off the floor over and over again when I collapse. They have been the best save-my-sanity-and-heal-my-hip friends a girl could ever ask for. I thought of dear Sheri who has been with me a lot lately during the passing out episodes and how many hours she has taken away from her family to sit with me while I am unconscious. I thought of how her poor body has had to pick me up and support my dead weight and how much that must have hurt her. I thought of the people at church who have carried me out of the building and loaded me up in my car while drool is running down my face and my dress is all skiwampus. I thought of my dear, dear husband who has left work repeatedly, dropped everything he is doing to come and find me in a heap on the floor. I thought of all the sleep he has lost, the worry lines that have etched themselves permanently onto his face, and how his needs have been on the back burner for oh, so long. I thought of all the money, time, and effort our family has given to get me better.

So, I finally said yes.

I need to see Dr. Jones every week and the only way for that to happen is to allow others to bless me with their hard-earned cash. If you would like to join these dear friends of mine in making a difference in my life, go check out the fundraiser at Moola For Muscles.

Thank you all. From the bottom of my heart and clear down to my little toes, thank you for serving, supporting, and loving me. Thank you for making this miracle happen.

Now to wipe the tears away and read a book to Annesley.

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seven good things

Dec 3, 2013 by

I have loads of great news today.

1. I haven’t passed out for 2 1/2 weeks! Big WAHOO!

2. I entered the Big Room at physical therapy last week. THE BIG ROOM! The room with all the exercise equipment. AND I TOUCHED THE EQUIPMENT WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS AND WORKED MY TAIL END OFF! I can’t even tell you how exciting this is! I haven’t been able to do a lick of exercise without starting to shake and then pass out for months and months and months.

3. The snow has arrived…and I as I walked through it today on a quick run to the grocery store I was nearly brought to tears of gratitude when I realized I was walking on my own two feet without a walking boot. Being in a boot in this weather would be nothing but miserable. I am so thankful to be out of it!

4. My Annesley was able to have a cavity repaired yesterday! Wahoo! I have needed to get her down to Utah to see the dentist for quite a while, but have been unable to do so because of the ridiculous unconscious episodes that keep happening. Since we were coming home from Thanksgiving through Utah, our awesome dentist worked a miracle and worked on her during his lunch break and around other patients so we don’t have to make the drive down again.

5. I can ignore the marks on the walls and the grime on the floors for an unbelievably long time and then one day I notice and clean it up…today was that day. I cleaned out my laundry room…not done, but much improved. I scrubbed walls, cleaned out the gunk in my garbage can, scrubbed the wood on my banisters, and made a big thrift store pile. There is still a TON to do, but progress was made and I feel great about it.

6. We are behind on the whole December thing. I like to have my tree up and my Christmas books out and my Advent Calendar hung by December 1, but I didn’t even get home from Thanksgiving at my mom’s until December 3, so no chance for it to be done yet. And I am okay with it. That is what I am happy with it. I am not grumpy or stressed or freaking out.

7. Tomorrow is the last day of iFamily for the semester. I LOVE iFamily to pieces, but the winter break is heavenly. I love having the time off to focus on what I want to teach my children instead of what they are doing in their classes. I love not having to go anywhere during the week. I love having my children with me more. By the end of January we are definitely ready for the interaction and intellectual stimulation of iFamily, but right now it feels glorious to have seven weeks off.

Pretty good list, eh?

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the one inch undoing

Nov 16, 2013 by

Last night was our big iFamily Fall Showcase – an opportunity for all of our members to get together for dinner, listen to our Orchestra and Choirs perform, and for students to display their projects from this semester. It is always lots of fun.

Unfortunately I missed it.

Well, I didn’t miss all of it. I was present, but I didn’t see any of the performances or get to visit with friends or take any pictures of my cute kiddos. Minutes after I got there, I twisted my ankle (my right ankle so my hip rolled out as well, drat it all!) on a teesy-weensy, itty-bitty ramp and fell to the floor. I kid you not, this incline is the tiniest thing ever and yet it still threw me off kilter. It seems I have little ability to stay upright once I get off-balance these days. Then the stupid sympathetic nervous system response started. The racing heart, the shaking, the passing out. I tried to fight it and even tried to stand up by crawling up the wall, but I could tell it was a no-go and I wasn’t going to stay conscious. My body was already in freak out mode. I called out in a whisper for someone to get Sheri and amazingly enough, Sheri was already right behind me ready to help. Thank goodness! She is an absolute pro at dealing with my body when I am unconscious. She took care of me for the next several hours. I am so, so grateful for her loving, expert care.

The whole debacle happened at the doorway into the gym right before the event got underway, so all our attendees had to walk past me and see me lying there with my limbs shaking, drool on my face, and clothing all skewampus. Not a pretty sight for anyone and especially not for all my little friends in the ten and under crowd. I hope none of them are too scared from the whole thing.

I missed hearing most of the Orchestra performance, but was able to hear quite a bit of the Choir while I laid in the hallway covered in ice packs and blankets. Then, my Annesley sang her heart out for Sheri’s “We Are Amazing” choir and I could hear her voice loud and clear.

This morning my ankle is pretty sore, my hip is really sore and my plan is to stay in bed and read all day long. The five batches of laundry I needed to get done today can wait, right?

I really, really, REALLY wish this would stop happening. It is starting to impact so much of my life. I never know when it is going to happen or how long it will last or who will be with me when I go down. It is absolutely amazing to me that every single time it has happened wonderful, caring, knowledgeable people have been with me. I have never been left alone to shake by myself. I think God keeps sending the right people at the right time to be by my side. Sometimes I desperately want Him to stop it from happening when what I really need to focus on is how He is taking care of me when it does.

A big thanks to everyone who took care of me last night. Lots of different people kneeled down and rubbed the charley-horses out of my neck, arms, and thighs. Others took care of my children. Others helped Richard get me out to the car. I’m sure many people prayed for me.

I am surrounded by goodness. Heaps of it.

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enough

Nov 11, 2013 by

I spoke in Sacrament meeting yesterday on Doctrine and Covenants 104:17.

For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

I had a thoughtful, inspired week preparing my thoughts and am grateful for the experience of pondering the concept of enough. I came to some pretty strong conclusions. There is enough food. There is enough water. There is enough God. There is enough healing. There is enough love. There are enough trials and learning opportunities to become who He created us to be.

There is enough. God created this earth to be exactly what we needed. He didn’t send us somewhere that didn’t have enough.

Our perceptions of lack create fear in us that there isn’t enough. There isn’t enough money. There isn’t enough friendship. There isn’t enough time. There isn’t enough food. There isn’t enough healing.

But lack is not reality. The earth is full. Full of goodness. Full of food. Full of producers. Full of potential friends. Full of courage. Our perception of lack is reality. Our fear based on that perception is reality. The lack is not reality.

When I am most scared, most overwhelmed, most confused, it is because I start believing in lack. I start believing there is not enough money, not enough time, not enough anything.

Those are lies. There is enough. With God all things are possible. Remember Gideon and his army of 300? Remember how it felt to repent and be cleansed by the atonement of Christ? Remember how a child was healed? Remember the peace that has flooded your soul? Remember the money that showed up in your life? All of these things and millions more testify that there is enough. God is bigger than all of the fear, all the tragedy, all the pain. He is enough. And because He is enough, there is enough.

Well, somehow these muddy thoughts came together in a talk and I hope my congregation got something out of the tangled mess. I was a tad concerned about passing out at the pulpit and asked for everyone’s prayers at the beginning. I got through just fine, but my hip started hurting from muscle spasms and I had to finish a bit earlier than planned. Throughout the rest of the meetings, the spasms got stronger and stronger and I really should have gone home, but I love church and I wanted to make it through all the meetings.

I ended up collapsing to the floor near the end of the last meeting. My hip dislocated and when I came back to the land of consciousness, I found myself crying from the pain. Once again a team of super amazing helpers converged by my side to rub out the charley-horses, calm me down, and get me home. Two of the men did their darndest to get my hip back into the socket. It had to have been rather awkward for them, but I wouldn’t have been able to put any weight on that leg if they hadn’t worked to hold me together.

I am so grateful to have had this experience. Coming face to face with pain and dependence on others AND not being healed just after testifying that there is enough healing could have made me doubt my words. But I know God can heal me. I know His power is big enough to heal me. I know He loves me. Even though the healing hasn’t come in the way I want it to, I know He is guiding me, supporting me, placing people in my life to help me, and loving me. He is giving me enough to get through this.

After a long day in bed and lots of ice packs and heat packs to get the muscles spasms to calm down, I am ready to face another day with my chin up. Its time to read with my little ones and start another week of adventure.

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this world is full of suffering

Nov 9, 2013 by

There is a whole lot of pain in the world. Piles and piles of pain I can’t even begin to imagine. Today my heart strings are being pulled out to all those who are suffering.

Hunger for food, hunger for love, hunger for acceptance.

Regret.

Rejection.

Unfulfilled dreams.

Fear.

Loss.

Heartbreak.

Divorce.

Anger.

War.

Rape.

Abuse in all its many twisted forms.

Exhaustion.

Wayward children.

Hopelessness.

Guilt.

Shame.

Terror.

Confusion.

Loneliness.

Physical pain.

Deception.

Lack of trust.

Sorrow.

My heart fills with heartache at the pain people are going through. The person next to you at the grocery store has a story of pain and suffering. That cute little family next to you at church has a different story. That child whimpering with hunger pains in a back alley of Ecuador has a story all their own. And yet, every story is hard. Every person needs our love. My love.

Through this injury I have come to see the world through different eyes. Eyes of more compassion…not always, but more than I used to. I am coming to see that my very public injury, my very public showings of weakness and pain are visual demonstrations of the human condition. We are all weak. We are all hurting in some way. We all have secrets in our closet we don’t want anyone to uncover. This injury puts my pain front and center in people’s minds and yet, I still try to cover it. I still try to reassure people that I am okay. I still try to carry on my normal life and grin and bear it. We all do. And there is value in that, don’t get me wrong. We need people to work and love and serve and fight for the truth and live for God. But we also need to be real. We need to let our weaknesses show and share our pain so that others won’t feel alone in theirs. We need to allow our humanness to connect with others’ humanness and build relationships built on the realness of me and the realness of you and not some sideshow we put out there as the truth of our lives.

Every time I collapse in public and need to be rescued I am learning lessons. Lessons of being real, of allowing others to serve me, of being completely dependent on the person next to me to take care of me while I am unconscious. It is scary, but it is also valuable. I am learning it is okay to be weak. It is okay to need help. It is okay.

I want to wave my magic wand and erase all the pain in the world. I want to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heal the broken hearts, but I can’t take it all away. The suffering in this world is bigger than any of us can hold, any of us can comprehend. The only antidote is Christ. He is enough. His love is enough. And some day, the healing will come. Until then, let’s be His hands and let’s be real.

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tapestry

Nov 7, 2013 by

When I think back on my life and the weaving that has already been done, I am filled with gratitude. I am so grateful for the bright yellow threads of family get-togethers at my grandparent’s home. Playing hide-n-seek for hours, running all over the yard and up and down trees, jumping over the rhubarb patch, climbing the metal pole on the back porch and then swinging around it on the way back down, then being called in by grandma for a delicious family dinner with far more choices of what to eat than I ever had at home, kneeling down for morning prayers around the breakfast table and at the couch in the evening for nightly prayers, watching my grandmother work in the kitchen from sun-up to sun-down and then reading her scriptures late at night at her metal kitchen table – these rich experiences of family life were gifts of immeasurable consequence.

The angry red threads of parents’ fighting, the black threads of hopelessness, the purple threads of being taught I am a child of God and choosing to really believe it, and the green threads of becoming a mother and growing into that role are all in my tapestry as well. There are turquoise threads of fun times, lots and lots of brown threads that represent the healthy soil God has surrounded me in to help me grow into the daughter He created me to be, and pink threads full of laughter and joy.

So many colors. So many experiences. I am grateful for them all. Especially the threads being woven right now. I am learning so much about Him, about me, about how very, very flawed I am and how much I need Him to teach me, to rescue me, to love me.

Life is But a Weaving
Corrie Ten Boom (The Tapestry Poem)

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

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fall has arrived in my kitchen

Oct 29, 2013 by

You never know what will happen after getting out of a walking boot you have been in for months! Tonight I felt so good, I ventured into the Land of The Unseen, otherwise known as the kitchen and whipped out something delicious for my family! I was reading King Arthur with Fisher when I started thinking about the cans of pumpkin in the pantry and all the yummy fall treats we have been missing out on.

It has been so, so long since I have had a day without mega foot pain and/or mega hip pain and/or passing out. Today I had no foot pain AND no hip pain and no sign of passing out, so I decided right then and there it was high time to get on my feet and get to work.

So, I made two tried and tested favorites. My mother-in-laws Zucchini Soup and the Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies Kat helped me develop a few years ago.

We are swimming in yumminess tonight!

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a few good things

Oct 22, 2013 by

I don’t have a lot of time to post tonight because iFamily is in the morning and I still have a lot to do to get ready since I had physical therapy this afternoon, but I wanted to record a few great things so I can have a bit of cheer in the midst of all my depressing posts.

  • My bedroom is clean! Wahoo! Even better than that, it is looking cuter and cuter all the time. Several years ago I made a decision to turn our bedroom into a calm, peaceful, clutter free zone. It didn’t happen then, but it is happening ever so slowly. I wrote that goal down and it sits in my scriptures where I revisit it often. Many months ago…I think it was February…I saw a turquoise and red bedroom and fell head over heals in love with it. Since then I have been plotting how to transform my room into those colors. It is a slow, slow process. I only have a few pennies to spend on it at a time, so we are using the tortoise approach to the room renovation. Now, progress is definitely being made. I sent Richard on an Ikea trip the other day when he was in Utah and he brought me home two small Expedits and  16 loads of turquoise Drona bins. They are all set up and looking great! I am so pleased with my progress so far…and have even made my bed first thing in the morning the last few days. I deserve gold stars for that one, baby!
  • I had physical therapy today and for the first time in all my appointments, my femoral nerve glided back and forth instead of being stuck in all the fascia. This is super exciting! I still had a small sympathetic nervous system reaction, but nothing huge and was able to walk out of the office. Major progress!
  • I am feeling more like my cheerful, bouncy self from before this injury. I am smiling more often and feeling my heart open up to the world again.
  • I have been more patient with my children this week. More nurturing. More me. It feels so good to have a little bit of me back.

These may seem like small things, but they are pretty darn big to me and now they are recorded so if I have a big ol’ grumpy day next week I can reread and remind myself that rainbows and unicorns are out there somewhere.

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i fell in love with you and you fell in love with me

Oct 19, 2013 by

“Oh No! I fell in love with you and you fell in love me, what shall we do?” These are the opening lines from one of my favorite new songs from Mindy Gledhill’s new album, Pocketful of Poetry.

I attended one of Mindy Gledhill’s concerts for my 37th birthday back in 2011. It was the week I found out about the breast lump and my emotions were raw. I soaked up Mindy’s goodness and let it work its way deep into my heart. Her music and style and flair and lyrics and sense of pizazz are so fun! She is the perfect combination of whimsy, tenderness, and unique craziness and she connects right with my heart.

AND NOW RICHARD TOOK ME TO HER LATEST CONCERT!

We laughed and smiled and held hands and cried, well, okay, I think I was the only one who cried. My heart welled up with love for this man who really sees me with all my crazy idiosyncracies, annoying behaviors, big dreams, save the world ideas, lack of planning, and zest for living and believes I can fly. He has given me the gift of letting me be me without his judgement or disapproval or consternation. When Mindy sang this song, I sat their holding his hand and rubbing his arm in just the way he likes while the tears streamed down my cheeks.

I don’t mind your odd behavior
It’s the very thing I savor
If you were an ice cream flavor
You would be my favorite one

My imagination sees you
Like a painting by Van Gogh
Starry nights and bright sunflowers
Follow you where you may go

Oh, I´ve loved you from the start
In every single way
And more each passing day
You are brighter than the stars
Believe me when I say
It’s not about your scars
It’s all about your heart

You´re a butterfly held captive
Small and safe in your cocoon
Go on you can take your time
Time is said to heal all wounds

Oh, I´ve loved you from the start
In every single way
And more each passing day
You are brighter than the stars
Believe me when I say
It’s not about your scars
It’s all about your heart

Like a lock without a key
Like a mystery without a clue
There is no me if I cannot have you

Oh, I´ve loved you from the start
In every single way
And more each passing day
You are brighter than the stars
Believe me when I say
It’s not about your scars
It’s all about your heart

That is how he feels about me. He believes I am strong and smart and beautiful and capable and funny and dedicated. Somehow he sees beyond all the times I am weak and not-so-smart and look like a mac truck ran over me and am completely incapable and not at all humorous and can’t finish a job to save my life. He overlooks the baskets of laundry that need folded, the meals that aren’t prepared, the times I lock myself out of the car, the hurtful things I say and sees the good. He sees the little diamonds buried deep under all my stuff and helps me see them too. His vision of how wonderful I am helps me pick up all the broken, little shards of me and put them back together so I can grow into the person I so want to be.

Afterwards we took Blythe and Aliysa…our double dates for the night…to Red Robin for heaps of garlic fries.

Such a fun night smooching with the one I love best, listening to our old favorite songs, and falling in love with her new ones. Check out Oh No!, Pocketful of Poetry, I Take Flight, and Picture Show from her new album. They are full of win!

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happy “us” day

Oct 15, 2013 by

I’d say yes all over again.

In fact this time I’d say YES!!!

Twenty years ago at this very moment I was saying yes over the altar of the Salt Lake Temple. I had no idea how good of a man I was marrying. I had no idea how much he would teach me about love and patience and serving and loving. I had no idea he would teach me about the love of our Heavenly Father. I had no idea how much fun he would be. I had no idea how much I would love bringing our babies into the world together. I had no idea what a wonderful father he would be and how he would balance out all my mothering weaknesses. I had no idea we would be sent down the paths of homebirthing or homeschooling. I had no idea our house would burn down seven weeks after our wedding. I had no idea we would move 13 times in the first 8 years of our marriage. I had no idea I would fall apart emotionally and spiritually and that all my fears and issues of trusting men would spill over like a toxic oil spill onto the one I loved most. I had no idea he would know how to put the pieces of me back together again. I had no idea we would go through the heartbreak of miscarriage ten times. I had no idea the challenges my body would put us both through and how he would love me and serve me and stand by me firmly planted in devotion to us. I had no idea he would know me inside and out, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, AND STILL ADORE ME.

I didn’t know.

But now I do.

And words will never be sufficient to express my gratitude.

Yes, Yes, YES. Forever and for always I will choose you.

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popcorn is back

Oct 13, 2013 by

Oh, I love me some popcorn. I have a big 22 qt. pan that we use as our popcorn pan and we fill it up and eat it many an afternoon to get through study time. I have been out of popcorn for weeks due to no grocery budget for the past month or so. Richard finally got paid (no check from the school district since June and our set aside funds have been running very low) so we went grocery shopping! Wahoo! Popcorn for me again. This afternoon Keziah popped me up a big pan and I settled in to do some genealogy with my buttery & salty mess of deliciousness.

My favorite ways of eating:

  • butter and REAL salt
  • olive oil and REAL salt
  • coconut oil, butter, and Dr. Bronner’s magic (is that what it is Tasha?)

Lots of times our friends, the Lamoreaux family, will bring me over a big bag of their popcorn just to tell me they love me. Their version is the third one up there and trust me, it is heaven!

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what we ask for and what we get

Oct 8, 2013 by

Google has given me a clean bill of health, so I get to share my thoughts with all of you again. Yippee-kie-aye! I thought maybe my site was back up last week, but it wasn’t clean for realsies. But now, it is actually up and running and I can talk with all of you again. I have missed you. I have missed Liz’s lovely, encouraging, faith-filled comments. I miss the comradery we share when something I say resonates with your heart. I have missed sharing our homeschool days and hoping my words will reach out and bless your family. I have missed being strengthened and loved and commiserated with.

So, here is the deal. A lot has happened since 9/13 when my site went down. We have two birthdays, lots of cross-country meets, a symphony, several passing out episodes, lots of books discovered and enjoyed, and get this, WE DEEP-CLEANED THE SCHOOL ROOM! All of this has not been blogged about and probably won’t be blogged about. I have teensy-tinsy bits of time to write my thoughts down and I know I will not be able to catch up if I try to go back almost a month.

So, we will start fresh. Hmmmm. Do I even have any thoughts to share? The excitement of having my little home on the interwebs back is all I can think of at the moment. Hmmm, what could I share that would bless someone?

Ah, yes, this quote from this weekend’s General Conference spoke to me…maybe it will speak to you as well?

Sometimes when we plead for relief, we are given resolve and endurance.

When Elder Bednar spoke those words, my heart welled up with gratitude because I know, deep down in the marrow of my bones know, that they are true. I cannot tell you the number of times I have cried out to the God I love and begged for relief from the pain in my hip. Many, many times He has sent relief. Many times He has helped me sleep. Many, many times the pain has lessened. But just as often, the pain has stayed and the perspective has shifted and I have been blessed with the strength to endure.

I know right now that I have nothing left within me to endure. I have been consistently grumpy for almost two months. I have been exasperated with life for weeks on end. I have been rude to grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, and pharmacists. I have been so, so incredibly impossible to live with. I have almost given up the idea that I will ever be out of pain. The passing out is getting more frequent, the dislocations are spreading to more joints, my nerves are getting more irritated, and many times, it is almost overwhelming. But somehow, I keep going. Somehow I keep trying. And that somehow isn’t me. It is God. I have nothing left. When left to my own devices I am cantankerous, impatient, and out of hope. But in God’s hands, I feel cherished. Blessed. Endowed with His light. His goodness and His mercy and His eternal perspective are all that are getting me through.

Tomorrow marks the fourteenth week of my broken foot and this is the twentieth month of my hip injury. As of tomorrow, I have been passing out for ten months. God’s strength is all I have left.

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tender mercies = hope

Sep 16, 2013 by

I went to church yesterday – three weeks in a row for me which is super exciting. One of the worst parts of this whole injury adventure has been missing church so often. There have been many, many weeks where my body is not able to make it through the whole three hours.

Anyway, while I was sitting in Sunday School in my magic chair my sympathetic nervous system response was triggered and my limbs started going numb, heart was racing, and my brain felt so strange. I don’t really know what triggered it. My hip was hurting quite a bit more than normal. It dislocated last Tuesday and hasn’t felt very well since then, but I thought I would be fine sitting in my chair.

Well, after a while I thought I was fine and had Richard move my stuff to my next meeting, Relief Society. I continued to feel a little weird, but not too bad, so I really thought I was okay, but I wasn’t. When he came back to get me I passed out in his arms. He held me for a while until I thought I was okay again and Blythe brought the car over to the side of the building we were on. I took a few steps out to the hallway and collapsed right in the middle of a group of people – clear to the floor. I am sure my dress was skewampus and my underwear was probably showing and drool was probably running out my mouth. Oh my. I hate it when that happens. I am an extrovert extreme and I don’t mind attention being showered on me, but I REALLY don’t like this kind of attention. I hate frightening people and I hate causing a scene and I hate being so completely incapable of getting myself where I want to go. I was told three men got me out to the car and Blythe and Richard got me into bed where I stayed for the rest of the day with numb arms and legs.

I am so, so tired of this whole body falling apart thing, but even in the midst of this experience, my heart is overwhelmed with the reality of my blessings. There have been numerous blessings, far too many to count, that have come because of this injury. Here is a tender mercy from last night.

One of the men who got me to the car brought over warm Snickerdoodle cookies last night. I felt super loved and want to shower them with streamers and confetti. It is amazing to me how many thoughtful people there are in the world. That little bit of cookie magic did much to wipe away my children’s fears and bring some laughter and hope into their lives. It has to be incredibly scary for my children, even my big girls, to watch their mother collapse right in front of their eyes time and time again. They have seen me seize, pass out, be unable to walk, sob in pain, have endless doctor’s appointments, seen Richard cry for me and with me, heard public prayers for me, and so much more. As much as I try to protect them from the whole thing, they know their mother is not the bastion of strength and fortitude they used to think she was. Don’t all children think their parents are invincible? Don’t we all want to believe our parents can do anything and protect us from all foes. Well, I think a large part of that has been erased for my children and I weep for that part of childhood being whisked away. But last night, after a long day of fears, they were given a bit of magic. They know they are loved and that our family is in God’s hands. They know we are prayed for. They know their mother will keep smiling and keep reading to them and keep playing games with them, even when she is in pain. They know that their church community will reach out to them. They know their father will do everything he can for them. They haven’t lost hope, that powerful belief that changes everything, yet…and I intend to do everything I can to help them always have it.

And the cookies are part of that…thank you to the Hansen family…you guys are gems!

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sacred sabbaths: abide with me

Sep 1, 2013 by

Today was the first time I was able to partake of the sacrament in many weeks. As the bread sunk into mouth, a prayer filled my heart and I started talking to God in earnest. I expressed how sorry I am for my petulance. I told Him how grateful I am for His son’s sacrifice for me. I asked Him to forgive me for my grumpiness and to fill me with His peace.

And He did.

Then in Relief Society (our meeting for women) we sang this song and started crying because this is my life right now…I need Him to abide with me. Other helpers are lovely, but they are not sufficient to give me the peace I need.

Abide with me! fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens. Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!

Thank you Father. I am so grateful to be thy daughter and to be able to be blessed by your comforting presence.

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love notes

Aug 31, 2013 by

Remember the one year anniversary of my hip injury? A few of my friends had a gator bites party to celebrate survival and friendship and laughter and service and sisterhood. They made me this poster, full of words of love and encouragement, which has been leaning on the wall up above my bed for months.

IMG_0037

Well, now I am cleaning…ahem, DEEP cleaning my room. It is taking me many, many days to do it because I can’t be up on my foot for very long, but I am doing it. We have already moved out the 34 buckets of wheat that were behind my bed in the corner and rearranged the bed to be at 90 degree angles with the walls instead of the 45 degrees it has been at since 2007. We have cleaned out everything under the bed and made a new rule that nothing, nada, zilch can be under the bed. I have scrubbed walls and baseboards and windows. I have found a pillow at TJMaxx that I love and redesigned a whole new bedding ensemble around it with Kohl’s gift cards. I am on the final day of cleaning…the part I hate most…the putting away of the things that were under the bed that have no place to go, no home of their own (which is why they were stuffed under the bed in the first place)…and it is time to put the love note poster somewhere else.

But I don’t ever want to lose these words. I don’t ever want to not have them to buoy me up. So, I will record them here…then I can reread them even when the poster is buried in the storage room behind brown rice and nine-grain cereal.

I love you Tracy! Keep your head up! Hope you get functioning fully soon! Call me if you need some Deep Blue or anything else! Nicolett

LOVE YOU! LOVE YOU! LOVE YOU! Thank you for everything that YOU do for ME! I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for you. You are such a great friend. Love you again! Love, Kari

You are such an inspiration for all of us! Your trial has built the built the faith of this whole community you have helped to create with endless hours. God loves you, as many of us do! He is building and creating the beautiful you that He sees! Love, Renee

Tracy! You can do anything! You are a great example! We love you!!!!! Love, Joy

We love you SO much!! Love, Annette, Emily, and Rachel

Miss Tracy, I love you so. I admire you so. You are always in my heart. I think you are amazing and even though you often don’t think so, you have handled things with such grace. I am blessed to call you friend. Love, Amy Dawn

Tracy, my dear-larger-than-life-friend, thank you for the celebration! You know how to create joy and enlightenment wherever and however you land. I love you. Sherry

Thank you for supporting me after my mother’s death. In an odd way, loving on you was exactly what I needed to get me through my sad time. xoxoxo Sarah

p.s. Jill says “Are we going to visit Miss Tracy?”

Tracy, SO love you! Thank you so much for your spirit that is so full of light that you share with all of us even though you are in pain. Thank you for not giving up. We all need you. Love, Keri

I can’t believe I am dressed up in public with others who are also dressed up IN PUBLIC! It must be because I love & adore you. Happy Hippie Party hot stuff. xoxo Jessica

Tracy My Love, I am so so proud of you. This past couple of years have been so full of growth and stretching, but keep stretching like taffy! I love you. I am so grateful for everything you are and all that you stand for. You teach me so much. I love you, I love you, I love you! Katherine

I have amazing friends. They are a huge blessing to me and give me strength in so many ways. There are many, many others whose messages aren’t written on this board, but are written on my heart. Friends who have hugged me, loved on my children, brought in meals, cleaned my home, held my hand through prolozone injections, listened to me cry, rant, and rave, prayed for me, sent me emails that brightened my day, supported my efforts to make a difference in the world with Make It For Maggie and other service projects, paid for doctor’s appointments, held me while my body passes out, smile at me across the room, and so much more. Friends have made such an enormous difference during this injury and I want them each to know what a life-line you have been to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I love all of you.

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grumpfest is over

Aug 17, 2013 by

You can all breathe a sigh of relief. My grumpiness is gone. Today I am focused on gratitude and love and contentment and hope and truth and God.

Fisher, Annes, Sadie, Richard, and I all had a sleepover in the dining room. Listening to all their breathing sounds all night long and waking up to see their calm, beautiful faces chased all the grumpiness right out of my heart.

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grumpfest

Aug 16, 2013 by

I am in a bad mood. I am grumpy as can be and have been since 7:00 this morning. I hate when I get like this. I have a long list of things I am choosing to be grumpy about.

  • I am frustrated with myself for being so incredibly aggravated at Richard this morning.
  • I am so tired of being in pain, of thinking about pain, of paying for pain-relief through physical therapy.
  • I am ready to throw my hands up and scream at my broken body…and then after screaming collapse into oceans of tears that my ligaments are inept at holding me together.
  • I am tired of talking about it. I don’t want to answer questions about my body because I don’t have anything positive to say and I hate being a downer who no one wants to listen to.
  • I hate that my toilet doesn’t flush without buckets of water being poured into it.
  • I hate that my sink is endlessly clogged.
  • I hate that my grass is dead.
  • I hate that my dishwasher is broken. Again.
  • I am tired of cleaning.
  • I am tired of not being able to clean because my foot hurts too much.
  • ARGH! My foot appointment was supposed to be $75…what they quoted me on the phone, but when I got the bill yesterday it was $166. I called and asked a frillion questions and got it reduced to $145. I hate our medical system. I want prices posted clearly so patients know upfront exactly what they are getting and exactly what they are paying. The whole payment system is a crock.
  • I am tired of sleeping on the floor in the dining room because my bedroom is in the middle of being cleaned. I want to put everything away properly and that takes time. Time I don’t have to give because I can’t be on my foot for the length of time it takes to do it. My bed is covered with every piece of paper from my desk and armoire when I had to empty them at the beginning of the week to find the girls’ birth certificates. They got stuffed away somewhere when Liz straightened up my room during the January seizure incident. After hours of searching, I finally found them (thank goodness – they leave for Canada in just a few days), but my room has been completely taken apart and it is going to take me many days to get it put back together.
  • I could scream at our Subaru. Something is wrong with it. It barely made it to GRL and barely made it home. Whatever is wrong costs money and time and effort and I don’t want to give any of those things to a car we thought was a good choice and has turned out not to be and the car we knew was a great choice got hit one day into ownership.
  • I am frustrated that I am this frustrated when I know 90% of it is hormone related and I should just curl up with a good book and a hot pack on my cramps and call it a day.
  • I am ready to scream at the lack of time my husband has to work on this house. I need him to do something to save the rotting deck, fix the dishwasher, fix the toilet, fix the drain, build a bed, move Annesley into Keziah’s room, plant some grass seeds, pull out the stinky floor in the bathroom and replace it with new subfloor and cute linoleum that actually lays flat and meets the wall, clean the storage room, and fix my car. But all of that takes time and all of it takes money and none of those are in high quantities at our house. I want him to work all day tomorrow on some of those projects, but I don’t think its going to happen.

So, instead of staying in this miserable place, I am going to try to focus on gratitude.

  • I am grateful I have a husband.
  • I am grateful he loves me.
  • I am grateful to have a body.
  • I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn the lessons of having a body.
  • I am grateful to be in less pain than I used to be.
  • I am grateful to have been guided to find my physical therapist. He is doing wonderful things to help my hip.
  • I am grateful for my children.
  • I am grateful to have a home.
  • I am grateful to have running water that comes right into my home and allows me to wash dishes with relative ease.
  • I am grateful to have a toilet.
  • I am grateful to have vehicles to get us where we want to go.
  • I am grateful to still be able to drive. If my right foot was broken, I don’t think I could manage it.
  • I am grateful for a camping mattress to sleep on and that it is actually far more comfortable than my bed…just small and offers no privacy when out in the dining room.
  • I am grateful for a husband that works very hard day in and day out to provide for our family and that he values motherhood so much he wants me to stay home with our children.
  • I am grateful for the zucchini my neighbor brought to us. I will freeze it 7 C. portions and make my delicious zucchini soup all winter long.
  • I am grateful to be a woman and have an intact uterus even when it is cramping.
  • I am grateful to have outdoor loving children who played outside for several hours today while I wallowed in misery.
  • I am grateful for the cheapness of potatoes.
  • I am grateful Richard wrapped my foot up today before he went to work. Yesterday was awful with out the bandages.
  • I am grateful for Jesus.
  • I am grateful for covenants.
  • I am grateful for priesthood blessings.
  • I am grateful for tears that can be shed.
  • I am grateful to have a husband with a sense of humor.
  • I am grateful that even after today he will still laugh with me and love me.
  • I am grateful to Fisher for making lunch today. He cooked brown rice all by himself.
  • I am grateful to Annesley for making breakfast…yogurt and berries.
  • I am grateful to be reading Nothing To Envy…so, so grateful I don’t live in North Korea.
  • I am grateful for my mom’s efforts to cheer me up. It didn’t work, but I love that she tried.
  • I am grateful for refrigeration.
  • I am grateful for all the love that is in my life.
  • I am grateful for the gospel of hope. Without it I think these kinds of days would come quite frequently and boy, howdy, that would be miserable.
  • I am grateful for my cute Fiesta dishes…at least when they are piled up on the counter they are cute to look at.
  • I am grateful to be able to teach my children at home.
  • I am grateful for duct tape that is holding my vacuum together.
  • I am grateful for mechanical pencils.
  • I am grateful for water bottles.
  • I am grateful for dear friends.
  • I am grateful for the power of gratitude to buoy me up. Now I can tackle another day.
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god of miracles

Jul 21, 2013 by

I believe in a God of miracles. This is one of the deepest beliefs I hold. I have said it to countless doctors who say I can’t be healed. I remember after the car accident seeing an OB for a two-hour pelvic exam and being told all my uterine ligaments were torn and that I needed to have a hysterectomy because I could not bear another child. I looked him right in the eye and said “You may be right, but I believe in a God of miracles and I will not take the opportunity of healing away from God by removing my uterus. He can heal me enough to have another baby and I am going to pray in faith for that to happen.” He argued with me and said faith is one thing, but science is another and in this situation I needed to listen to science. I responded “You may be right. These ligaments may never heal. I may never give birth to another child, but I WILL NOT take the opportunity for a miracle away from God.”

Well, God DID work a miracle and we have our precious Annesley Aliyah. Yes, my pelvis is a big ball of problems and yes, my ligaments are really, really messed up, and yes, I have been living with a labral tear in my right hip socket for eighteen long months…but we have Annesley and really, that is what is important. That is what matters. She is a shining example of God’s miracles.

Today my dear friend, Heather, has been poured out a blessing from the God of miracles. Do you remember when I shared her son’s music video. Go watch it again and fall in love with Josh. He is a remarkable young man.

Yesterday Josh, Elder Burton right now, was in an accident in Guatemala. The truck he was riding in on the way to a service project rolled and he was critically injured, breaking his back in multiple places, losing all sensation in his legs, and many other injuries. People around the world started praying and fasting for Elder Burton immediately. My girls are fasting for him today and our family continues to kneel in prayer for him, his medical team, and his family. Last night he had surgery on his back and I’m sure thousands of prayers were poured out on his behalf throughout the surgery. This morning Elder Burton has been given a miracle. Here is the post from his mama, Heather.

NEWS!

Josh underwent delicate surgery last night to shore up his very broken back. The surgery was successful; he has eight pins in his spinal column to hold things together while he heals and while the swelling and deep bruising subside.

Our first call today was from Josh’s kind and deeply concerned mission president, President Curtis. He carefully broke the news the surgeon had given after the surgery last night. We were devastated. For about 30 minutes this morning, we were wrestling with what to tell people – the bald facts being that Josh has a 1 – 3% chance of walking again…that his recovery will take up to a year and a half…that he can’t be moved for two weeks at least. It was surreal. All we could do was sit in stunned thought…Josh’s love of the outdoors, his joie de vivre, his aspirations with music – wondering how anyone could tell him it might all be different now. We wondered about saying that, despite those odds, all of those dear missionaries and leaders in Guatemala and in the Church, are in deep, thoughtful fasting for our son’s recovery, in addition to the prayers, thoughts and hopes here and around the world. That we were still holding hope for a miracle.

Then Dr. Cameron called us. He is the medical liaison for the LDS Church, our link to the medical professionals in Guatemala. He had just attended the post-op medical examination of Josh after the surgery. He was crying. JOSH CAN LIFT AND BEND AND MOVE HIS LEGS. He said he has never seen anything like this in his 38 years of practise. (He has seen miraculous healing, he mentioned, but not neurological, and not to this extent so soon after a devastating accident.) The surgeon couldn’t believe it. He just kept shaking and shaking Josh’s hand, congratulating him. We are all SO, SO, SO GRATEFUL.

Thank you, dear Father in Heaven. Thank you for this gift for Josh. Thank you to everyone for loving care, thoughts, prayers, faith and fasting. We are just so overcome with gratitude.

We are SO GRATEFUL. There are no words for this. But there are tears and dances in the kitchen!

Hallelujah! I know God is a God of miracles. I know He works miracles in the lives of His children every day. I am so, so grateful for this miracle. Because of experiences like this, I know, absolutely know God can heal me. Because I know He can and is not healing me in a quick, overnight sort of way, I know He is choosing to let me have a different experience. I know this experience of pain and dependency and slowness and frustration is for my good and is what I need at this time. My constant prayer is one of trust…please, please help me trust you, please help me continue to love you when the miracle is not fast, please teach me and comfort me and help me get through the pain.

And He does.

Because He is a God of miracles, a God of love, a God of compassion.

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girl’s retreat

Jul 19, 2013 by

girl’s retreat

I am back from ten days away from home and swimming in laundry up to my eyeballs! I got home late last night with Fisher and Annes and then Kez and Blythe arrived home from Girls’ Camp this afternoon. After an early morning physical therapy appointment, I hurried home to start on the piles of laundry and have been sorting through Annesley’s too-small clothes (somehow she has grown some more!) and am hoping to empty my closet of clothing that no longer speaks to my soul. It is one of those days…those work-in-the-house days that I don’t really enjoy, but have to be tackled nonetheless.

Before I bore you to death with anymore laundry and clothing posts…I mean, they bore me to death and I own the stuff, I can’t imagine how painfully boring it is to read about someone else’s clothing issues…here are some pics from our Girls’ Retreat in beautiful Park City. The whole point of this retreat was to fill Tami up with enough love from her stateside friends to get her through the next eight months she has left in Australia. I hope we accomplished that goal! I can’t even imagine how much love I would need to fill my bucket if I was going to be gone from my friends for an extended period of time.

Katherine was our gourmet chef for the week. She brought baskets and boxes and coolers of food and with her magic kitchen skills whipped up three delicious meals for us each day of the week. She is so gifted in the kitchen she was even able to accomodate some new food restrictions Jennifer and I are implementing, but that she had no idea about till the day of (neither did we – we had appointments with Tami’s dad, my favorite chiropractor and he asked us both to stop eating all grains, sugars, starches, and legumes for a few weeks). We had delicious green salads, dips, swiss chard (a first for me, but boy, howdy was it delicious!), kale, yogurt cups she somehow made delicious without any sweeteners, and many, many other delicious entries that made my whole week scrumptious.

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More yummy food along with a Heather and Kat squeeze.

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I love this picture of Kat…so much joy in that girl! She was in the middle of preparing another delicious meal while I was snapping pictures from my horizontal chair and she wouldn’t stop chopping to pose for us. Finally I made Boo and Jen jump up next to her and she looked up in surprise at just the right moment.

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We went to IKEA where I almost passed out, but was already in a wheelchair, so it was all good. I was able to find Blythe some turquoise boxes for her Expedit shelves and some handy-dandy travel bottles for all the children’s shampoos and soaps. I walked rode out of there having spent only $17! That may be an IKEA record!

Tami, Boo, Jen, and Mikelle rented some paddleboards and had races all over the teensy-tiny lake that was across from our condo. You know I would have been right there with them if my hip hadn’t freaked out on Saturday (well, okay, if I could rewind my life 18 months and not have a hip injury or a broken foot, I would have been on those boards!). Instead I stayed in bed and watched Oaklyn so her mama could go play in the water.

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Heather, one of Tami’s friends from Colorado, is turning 40 this weekend, so we celebrated it early with Kat’s delicious chocolate cups (which Jen and I couldn’t eat, but Kat made us a substitute dessert that helped us not feel completely left out of the fun), massages, a movie, and eyebrow waxing by the super-talented Mikelle.

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The massage table – it was heavenly for everyone else, but it seems my ligaments are too loose for massage now. I ended up with several vertebrae shifted out of place and my whole rib cage torqued, so I guess this was my last massage night until some brilliant scientist invents a ligament-fixer-upper!

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Heather loved on Oaklyn all week long. She is the most thoughtful person I have ever met. Over and over and OVER she did nice things for all of us ladies. I could learn a few lessons from her.

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Kris, another of Tami’s good friends from Colorado, brought her Turbo Fire DVD’s and did a workout with everyone in the mornings (again, not me, I stayed in bed and snoozed every single day…if I can’t join the fun, I might as well catch up on my ZZZ’s, right?). She has nine children and looks like she is still 22. Here she is holding Oaklyn.

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Jen, who always looks adorable in pictures, decided to take her posing skills to the next level and have people hold her up in all sorts of whacky positions.

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Finally she decided to rocket-launch herself into the air and lucky for her, I caught a picture of it!

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We decided Jen should pick up Tami as well, but Tami was scared petite Jen would drop her, so she couldn’t make herself lift up both legs.

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Attempting, but still too scared.

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Mikelle taught Boo, who often sports a ponytail, how to curl her hair into ringlets and it turned out fabulouso.

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Mikelle spent lots of her time cutting and coloring hair. She is a superstar hair dresser and maybe when she is out of the little children stage of life she will make gazillions of dollars helping people look their best.

I am not photogenic at all…I turn into a blob of mush when a camera is pointed in my direction, but I tried super hard to get a picture with Tami…it took about twenty tries, but we finally ended up with one that I can live with – I still don’t like it, but it will have to do.

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Here is one of the laughter-on-the-way-to-mush pics.

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I had the hardest time getting a good pic of these three. None of them would look at me and smile at the same time.

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This one CRACKS me up. Tami was posed for so long because Boo wouldn’t look at the camera…she was messing around trying to get Jen to laugh and break her perfect pose…that her smile had become a little stale. I hollered at her to smile for real and show some life and this is what I got…that is some life!

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We went and had pedicures done and now my calloused Hobbit feet look amazing. The jets in the foot bath about killed my sore foot, but it was worth it to have pretty toes. This picture however is awful. I can’t lean forward because of my hip injury and Boo couldn’t see me in the picture so she kept saying “Lean forward, Trac! More, more!” Finally, I strained my neck as far as I could and she snapped a pic…and now I am immortalized as the woman with the twelve-inch-giraffe-neck. Oh my goodness, it is awful.

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We had so, so much fun. It was wonderful to spend three days with my sister and little Oaklyn. Tami, who was more like a sister than a cousin when we were growing up, is buried so deep in my heart that I can’t imagine life without her, is going back to Australia now. I am so grateful I was able to be with her without any distractions and see her face full of happiness for a few short days. I loved meeting Kris and Heather. They are exemplary women and I learned much about living with trials and hardship from them. They both inspired me to live and love more fully. Boo is full of fun and depth and music and can-do attitude. Her friendship has been such a gift to Tami and I am so glad they have each other as besties. Jen and Kat light up my world. The Idaho contingent at the retreat was missing Jessica, but it was still so fun for the three of us to hangout together.

Somehow we never got a picture of all of us together! What were we thinking?!?

Now it is back to reality…laundry, children, unpacking and packing for the next adventure, finalizing my class plans for iFamily this fall, dejunking my bedroom, working on the yard, finding the fox that is eating Fisher’s chickens, loving on the kittens, planning out our homeschool adventure for the coming year, getting gymnastics classes organized, healing my foot, and figuring out what to eat now that Kat isn’t cooking for me three times a day.

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the shakes came back

Jul 14, 2013 by

I have spent the past four days at LEMI training getting instruction on teaching two different Scholar Phase classes at iFamily this fall. It was an incredible experience and my brain is chock-full of information and ideas to make my class an amazing learning adventure for my students.

The four ladies I attended with took excellent care of me. Jen hauled my enormous zero-gravity chair everywhere it needed to go and got me set up in it every morning. She moved my table so I could get out of the chair every time I needed to go potty or get some food. Heather wrapped my sore foot up every morning, Emily drove us all over the place, and the other Jen checked on me often and gave me lots of encouragement. They all laughed with me, shared stories, and were delightful to be with.

AND I MADE IT THROUGH! With all that help I made it through!

That is until the last ten minutes of training. All 150(ish) of the students at the classes were together for the last two hours of training, but there wasn’t room for my special chair so I stood in the back of the room. Eventually, my sore foot couldn’t take any more weight on it and I quickly shifted off of it and torqued my hip. Immediately my femoral nerve sent a zing of lightening down my leg and my heart rate shot up to 140, then the shaking started. I made it out to a table and lay down on it, then tried to call out to someone to help me, but I was so weak by that point that no one could hear me. By this point I was scared to death because I couldn’t move and I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t get my heart rate to slow down.

Eventually, class was over and people started coming out to the hallway where they found me on the table shaking. A whole slew of people came to my rescue. Ice packs, pillows, hand-holding, and charley-horse massaging were given to me immediately. A complete stranger started zoning my right foot, someone else called Richard, and a third person started doing energy work on my head. Soon two men came to give me a blessing and delivered a precious, confirming message from my Heavenly Father about the purpose of this injury. I want to remember those words and that feeling forever…I wish I could pack it up in a bottle and let it out whenever I need it.

After a while I felt well enough to try standing up. When that went well, we decided I could walk out to the car. I did really well until we got to the elevator. Something about the drop freaked my body out and I passed out on the way down. Something akin to complete chaos must have ensued because when I returned to consciousness I could hear lots of loud voices swirling around me and feel my body being lifted out of the elevator by lots of lots of hands. They must have moved me to the lobby of the college and then worked on me some more to get everything settled back down. I was in and out of lucidity and every time I was in lucidity I could hear what seemed like a hundred voices shouting directions and trying to fix me (I think there were only about ten or fifteen people with me, it just felt like one hundred). It was a tad crazy. Eventually my body systems calmed down again and I felt strong enough to walk to my car, but no one would let me. I could hear them debating all sorts of various plans and the one they settled on was my riding out to the car on a rolling office chair with two men pushing me. Because of the hip injury I could only kneel on the chair while leaning on the back rest. I am SURE I looked like an absolute nut case coming out of the college and traveling down 400 South in Salt Lake City on a rolling office chair. I made it about forty feet before I felt the all-too familiar sensation take over my heart again and collapsed into the arms of Emily, Jeff, and hmmm, I actually don’t know who else, I was unconscious by that point.

I don’t really know what happened after that, but somehow they got me into the car. When I regained consciousness this time, I realized I had to use the bathroom immediately. Of course no one could fathom letting me try walking again, so instead my dear friends drove me to the grocery store, bought a plastic tote turned bedpan, and helped me pee while I lay in the passenger seat of the car.

Oh my good heck. How embarrassing is that! I mean really, can a girl not have even a tidbit of dignity?

About two hours later I was good as new (ha-ha, my good as new isn’t that hot, now is it?) and could talk and use my arms and laugh and even walk very, very, very slowly if someone was holding me up. My friends delivered me to Tami, who took care of me all night long, and now I am doing quite well again.

I am so, so grateful to God. He loves me. He knows me. He sent people to take care of me. He sent me messages of peace that I needed. He has a purpose for all of this suffering and I must learn to trust Him and His plan for my life. It doesn’t look like I am going to have anything close to the life I thought I would have, but His purposes are pretty amazing and I am so, so grateful to be able to take part in them.

I am also so grateful to all the people who helped me yesterday. I don’t have any idea who most of them were or what they did, but they were God’s hands for several hours and I love them for it. I am grateful to have had four dear friends with me to take care of me and fill me up with their love.

It is really, really hard to be so dependent on others. It is really, really hard to not have control of my body. It is really, really hard to be a spectacle and have all sorts of strangers see my body do all sorts of bizarre things. It is all so hard.

But I am willing. If this suffering is what God wants for me, then I am willing.

God, here am I, send me.

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