Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Loving It!

I’ve received a lot of questions about the short-term memory loss the doctor told me to expect. The main question is how I can keep writing. Yes, I am experiencing short-term memory loss—but not as much as was expected. It is very strange. I think of something to ask the person I’m talking to and by the time they quit talking, I can’t remember the question. I do get up to do something and can’t remember what I am doing. I have to write down when I take my pills because there is no way I can remember that fact.

BUT. . . writing is recording the thought the moment it occurs so it is like writing down where I am going when I think of it so I can execute the instruction after I’ve forgotten the intent. I also have the help of spell checker because I often come to a word and can’t spell it. (But amazingly my fingers can type it even though I can’t tell you how to spell it until I see it!) It is all very perplexing, but I am so thankful I can still write. I’m also constantly amazed at what these bodies are capable of doing!

Today I visited the ophthalmologist (thank goodness for spell checker!) and when he saw I was reading he shook his head and said, “You are a miracle! At the beginning of this, if I had to bet my home on you being able to read at this point, I would have bet against you.”

My hair is prickly. The swelling is almost gone. The black eye went away quickly. The only problem now is that all this sleeping sitting up has caused major pain in my sciatic nerve that shoots all the way done my right leg. Ouch! But I’m not complaining. Come what may, and love it!! The pain means I’m still alive and feeling it!!! You’ve got to love that.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Growing Faith

All 34 staples came out nicely!

One of the many lessons I’ve learned through this trial is the power of united prayer. After the crucifixion of the Savior, the disciples gather together and “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14). In our own dispensation the Lord instructed, “And, as it is written--Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith, being united in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive” (D&C 29:6).

I’ve read and heard these things all my life and thought it was all about petitioning God in prayer and that the more praying the more influence it had for good. But during this experience, I literally felt the prayers sustaining me. It is not just about petitioning. It is about the faith of one person being exercised in behalf of another person and that faith empowering the one in need. I wish I had the words to explain it, but I can testify that it is very real.

Growing up in the faith, I’ve often encountered people who approach a trial and try to keep it secret. They don’t want to bother others or they worry about others bothering them. For some reason, they want to go it alone. There may be some valid concerns, but after what has happened in my behalf I can’t even begin to express how much we need each other. We weren’t meant to go it alone. We need the Savior. We need family. We need friends. I think this is one reason the Lord has put us in assigned wards so that we are close enough to know of each other’s needs and so we can learn to take care of each other. Everything in the Church points to that fact: home teaching, visiting teaching, serving each other, teaching each other in the organizations of the Church, and priesthood blessings to name just a few. We are meant to be an intimate ward family and an extended stake family.

But some of us are so afraid of opening up and being vulnerable that we shut out the very help we need. I know with my whole heart that I would not have the vision in my left eye without the faith and prayers of others. That faith guided the doctors and sustained me. Faith isn’t meant to be a lone, silent endeavor. Faith is meant to be shared and the more we share it and experience it the more it grows.

As I watch my hair slowly grow back, I'm going to consider it to be symbolic of the growth this experience has been to my faith!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Squeaky New Life!

Things are coming along well! I’m not in much pain, but I have a head that squeaks and drips. I’ll turn suddenly and something uncorks and inside my head there will be a drip, drip, drip. Or I’ll lay my head on a pillow and it squishes on the inside like a sponge expelling water. Very strange! But the best part is the giant “C” for Christmas that I have on the top of my head. In order to keep from frightening all the grandchildren, I call it my “zipper”. Some of the grandkids like it a lot and others don’t so my hats are coming in handy. The staples will come out Monday. (I try not to think about that!)

The most beautiful part of all this has been to watch my family take over. My daughters, all nine of them plus my daughter-in-law, have been here at some point over the holiday and helped to take care of me. My daughter who is a nurse stayed with me in the hospital and tended to my every need. They cooked an amazing sit down dinner for 37 people on Christmas day and we celebrated the birth of the Savior. After dinner the children performed the nativity punctuated with Christmas songs that we all sang together. Carl and I gave them our gifts and then we sat around for a long time talking about the Christmas’s we remembered best. There was something more there that night than just celebration. Everything anyone of us did or said was underscored by the fact that we had been the recipients a series of miracles from the very Savior whose birth we celebrated. The doctor can’t look at me without shaking his head and saying, “I’ve seen tumors much smaller than this cause blindness. There’s no way I can explain how you can see!”

It has also been amazing to watch my husband take over and tend to my every need. I’ve always been the care giver. He was bishop of a huge ward for five years and then mayor of a small city for eight years. In between he went back to school for an MPA from BYU. But to watch now as he carefully puts on my slippers for me, washes and medicates the Big “C” in my head, and thinks ahead to determine my every need has been so touching.

And I can’t even begin to thank all of you for your kindness, concern, prayers and love. This is truly a Christmas I will never forget.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It is late Christmas Eve and my heart is full. There is no way to put into words all that I am feeling. Not being able to do much, I’ve been able to ponder the incredible miracles that have come into my life this week. I now have a beautiful, big scar on my head that will serve as a life-long reminder of the birth so long ago that changed the world: A birth that allowed miracles to occur. That first time I opened my eyes after the surgery, I glanced around the room then closed my eyes again. It was a moment before the thought occurred to me, “I saw everything! I’m not blind!” And then I fell back into a peaceful sleep. It was awhile later that I came to and the extent of the miracles began to unfold.

I do not know why some prayers are answered so miraculously and some are not. But what I do know is that the baby born to Mary makes everything all right. It might not be in the exact way we want or wish, but it is always right. Jesus Christ takes our sorrows, our griefs, our pains, all of our hurt and changes it into something wonderful. I don’t know how. I only know He does it. This Christmas Eve I am more sure of that fact than of anything else in the world. He gives love, light, and life to all who will follow Him. My prayer this Christmas Eve is that all will see His light. It shines so very brightly whenever we open our eyes.

Home for Christmas

Mom came home on Monday afternoon. She is loving recuperating in the comfort of her own home. We, of course, are thrilled to have her home for Christmas.

We sincerely thank you again for being a part of this miracle.

May your Christmas be merry and new year full of happy adventures.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


That's really the only thing that comes to mind as I think of what to say. Mom is doing great. She has amazed us and the doctors alike with the progress she's making. Today they moved her out of the ICU and she's now on the regular floor. She even took a walk around the floor a couple of times.

We're so thankful for your continued prayers and know she is feeling them as she heals. She was also thrilled and thankful when I told her so many have commented on her blog. So keep saying hello and granting good wishes.

We love you all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our hearts are happy

It felt like my heart started beating for the first time today when I got the call late this evening. Everything went very well. Grizelda is gone & she was not cancerous. No radiation or chemotherapy is in Mom's future. In the doctor's words it's a miracle that with the size that she (Grizelda, not my mom) was she didn't cause blindness. We feel so blessed that it was discovered when it was. He also explained that the optic nerve fell back into place after the intruder was removed (take that, big G). We'll continue to pray for a full recovery and for no obstacles along the way.

I can't wait to get my mom back (minus Grizelda of course).

If I could kiss your feet through the internet I would. I feel so much love for all of you. Thank you for loving my mom. Thank you for your faith in praying for the miracle we received today. Thank you for being you.

By the way, I'm Mariah & as my mom explained I'll be updating this while she's recuperating. I also blog at this is our tale if you want more nitty-gritty on who I really am.

Today's the Day. . .

I’ve been reading the Old Testament this last year and this very morning finished. I’ve read many of the books in the Old Testament numerous times, but this is only the second time in my life I’ve read it cover to cover. This verse in the last chapter of the Bible captures everything: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Micah 4:2).

I have no idea what today will bring, but I trust in my Savior. I am in his hands. He cares for me like a farmer cares for the calves in his stall. He feeds, he protects, he grooms, he tends to my every need! I place myself in his tender care knowing that whatever the outcome, he will help me and that it will be for my best good.

Many, many thanks to all of you who are praying for me and who have kept me laughing and hoping and smiling. Thank you for the flowers, chocolate, hats, slippers, angels, but mostly for your love! I can’t even begin to tell you what it has meant to me. I love you all!

My daughter, Mariah, will be updating this blog daily with news. As soon as I can, I’ll be back, but remember I may repeat myself and who knows what else! Until then, please know that whatever happens, I know that Jesus is the Christ and that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God who leads and guides Christ’s Church on the earth today. That knowledge is an anchor to my soul and is what allows me to face this storm with such peace.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hair Today; Gone Tomorrow!

My son ended up cutting my hair! I can't believe all the changes Grizelda has brought into my life!

I tried not to cry, but I really am ugly! But I will be a healthy ugly, and I will save a lot of time!

Carl and Josh both shaved their heads as a show of love! Who'd ever have thought I'd share a hairstyle with the men in my life!

I did find a silver lining! (It is amazing. . .there ALWAYS is one!) I thought that when I woke up and saw myself after my "haircut" I'd cry, but I broke out laughing. Then I found that without hair the shower spurting on my head is a delightfully different feeling. It was like getting a message! So relaxing!!!

And the great big silver lining in all of this is my family. My children, my husband, my children-in-law have all been absolutely amazing. Before the haircut, we went to the temple with those who are here already and then my husband, assisted by sons-in-law who were here, my son, my bishop, our life-long friend, and my home teacher, gave me a beautiful blessing.

There are no words to express how wonderful my large, chaotic family is. I love them more than I can begin to express. They are taking good care of me!

Calming the Storm

Last night my dear friend Sherri, brought me a picture painted by Julius Sergious Von Klever of “Christ Walking on the Water.” Since it is one of my very favorite New Testament stories, I remember it well . I remember empathizing as I read about the apostles shrinking in terror as they saw Jesus approach on the stormy sea. What could it be except some horrible monster! And they feared that even a greater harm than the storm was coming. But sensing their fear Jesus called out over the sound of the storm, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Every time I’ve glanced at the painting today those words have rung joyfully in my mind.

Then I had to put the words into practice. This afternoon they drew blood, took vitals, and banded me in preparation for tomorrow. One of the things the nurse did was to explain the measurement of pain. “They’ll be using a scale of 0 to 10,” she said, “with 0 being no pain and 10 excruciating pain. It’s best to try to keep the pain at five or under.” Then she looked down at my chart and remembered the procedure I would be going through. “Oh, but in your case we just hope we can get it down to a five. You are going to be in a really, really lot of pain.” She emphasized that last sentence by raising her eyebrows and shaking her head.

Obviously, those words failed to comfort me in any way. Instead they shifted my focus to the storm, but I knew I couldn’t go there. And so I shut my eyes and remembered the picture of my Savior walking on the water. I’m learning that if I keep myself focused on the Man who calms the storms instead of on the storm, I am instilled with good cheer despite the howling winds.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Count Down!

Of all the times of the year to be going through something like this, this is the best. Everywhere I go are reminders of my Savior. A dear friend gave me the cutest small, Mexican nativity that I have right by my bed so that it sees me safely to sleep and greets me first thing in the morning. It is so much easier to remember that "this too shall pass" when you have all these reminders of the person who makes adversity pass.

I am still laughing. It is getting a little harder, but so many people are helping me. Like my good friend Jill who brought me a picture of a Japanese invention for sleeping while sitting up. In essence it is a hard hat attached to a wall so as you sit under the hat it holds up your head while you sleep. (The picture is very funny!) And I can't even begin to list all the good people who comfort and calm--especially an amazing niece who volunteered to donate her beautiful, long, strawberry-blond hair to make me a wig. I can't believe how willing others are to sacrifice for me. I don't deserve it, but am certainly grateful.

Things start in earnest tomorrow at 2:00 when we do blood work. Tomorrow night we are going to have a family ritual and cut off all my hair. I wanted to donate it to Locks-of-love, but they won't take my chemically treated hair. (Ouch! My secret is out!) It should be a fun evening. I promise to put up a picture of me and Carl with matching hair cuts! Stay tuned!!!

Then Friday I go in at noon for another MRI (I'll soon be familiar enough with the procedure to run the machine. I wonder if those technicians get paid more than professors?) After the MRI they are going to shoot me full of a high dose of steroids to hold down the swelling. (I guess that means I won't be qualified for the New Year's Eve marathon. Shucks! And I thought this was my year to win the thing.)

The surgery will begin about 3:00. Dr. Gaufin will open up the skull, lift up the brain, and make a window into the orbital. Then Dr. Cook will find Grizelda and tell her (kindly, of course) that she needs to move on. We're not sure how she is going to take the news, but Dr. Cook is prepared for any eventuality. He may have to get a little tough on her, but if she refuses to leave we'll call in an oncologist to evict her with radiation. After Dr. Cook is through, Dr Gaufin will close me back up and everyone will go home except me. The procedure will take 3 to 5 hours depending on how stubborn Grizelda is.

At first they told me I'd be in ICU for a day. Now they tell me it will probably be 2 days and then 3 or 4 on the floor. Again, everything depends on Grizelda! But more great news, one of my daughters--the one who is a nurse--flies in tomorrow to be with me at the hospital. How blessed can one person be!

If I'm repeating myself, I have an excuse. I have a tumor in my head. That repetition thing will get worse before it gets better. The doctor warned Carl to be prepared. It seems I'll ask what's for dinner about ten times before dinner and several more times after I've eaten it. Poor Carl! As if I haven't given him enough trouble already.

Thanks again for all your help. Things are going to be fine. I appreciate how you keep reminding me of that!

Preparing to Navigate the New Life

They are preparing me for what things will be like after surgery. Surprisingly I am learning some tips that might be useful to others of you in my age category! It seems I will experience a short spell (three to six weeks) with little or no short term memory. To cope with this I am to carry around a pad of paper and the moment a thought comes to me I am to write it down.

For example: I realize that I am thirsty and need a drink of water. Before I do anything else, I write on my trusty pad of paper (Think Steve on Blue’s Clues!), “I am going to the sink to get a drink.” Then I stand up and take three steps and find myself wondering where in the world I am going. But alas, I have my trusty pad of paper and so I read, “I am going to the sink to get a drink” and I smile and take four more steps before I’m wondering anew where in the world I am going. But don’t worry about me, because I have my trusty pad of paper so I’m eventually going to make it to the sink and drink.

The more I think about this, it isn’t just good advice for people in my age category! God knew we would suffer pre-mortal memory lose once we were here on earth. He knew we wouldn’t remember where we were going or why we wanted to go back there so he gave us a “trusty pad of paper,” (better known as scriptures) on which he has written all the information we need in order to keep us going in the right direction. We take a few steps, grow weary and wonder where in the world we are going, read our scriptures, and then take a few more steps toward home. In this way we keep progressing until we reach the Fountain of Living Waters and drink deep.

God thought of everything, didn’t He!

My New Hats!

I slept very well last night! So this is going to be a good day. I just wanted you all to see my two new hats. Of course, I have hair under these, but I pushed the hair up inside the hat just to see what it would look like and without hair it is even more sophisticated! I think I might be discovering a new me.

There was a red hat at the store I really like, but I refrained and got the more practical black and gray ones so that they would match more clothes. You'd think that at a time like this I could finally shake that all-too-practical part of me, but I guess it is just too deeply ingrained. Come to think of it, I got it from my mother, so it must be a hereditary family trait!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Discovering Grizelda

I've had a number of people ask how I discovered the tumor. (I've named her Grizelda and have let her know that while I have nothing against her personally, she needs to find a new home.)

The discovery is a miracle. I had a head cold that would not go away--complete with cough, congestion, ear ache, etc. After four weeks of that I decided I must need an antibiotic and so made a doctor's appointment. I couldn't get in to the doctor for two weeks, but when the time came I still had the cold so I went. I seldom go to the doctor and so while I was there the thought came to me that I ought to ask her about these strange head aches I get. They are only in the back of my head on the left side and I only get them about every six months.

When the thought first came to tell her about them, I stopped myself thinking, "Sherrie, don't be such a hypochondriac." But again I felt like I should bring it up so I did. After I explained that I get these headaches, she said, "Only on the left side?" I answered yes, and without any more questions she responded, "I'm going to order an MRI." She didn't even ask how often the headaches occurred. I'm sure that if she had, she wouldn't have ordered an MRI!

Looking back on it, I know that the spirit was prompting me to complain and that the spirit prompted her to order the MRI. The interesting thing is that the tumor has nothing at all to do with the head aches. The tumor is in the orbital and couldn't cause a pain in the back of my head. So I am convinced the Lord sent the headache so I'd complain! The Lord works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform!!!

The miraculous thing is that we discovered Grizelda before the symptoms started to manifest. If we hadn't found her before the symptoms, there would have been irreparable damage and possibly worse than just damage.

I've also been asked which hospital I will be in and it will be the Utah Valley Regional Hospital. Please pray for the doctors that they will be guided and directed! They are Dr. Todd Cook (the ophthamologist) and Dr. Lynn Gaufin, (the neurosurgeon).

Thanks again for all your love and support!


This sleeping sitting up isn’t working. It is 5:00 am and I have been awake since 2:30. That means I’ve been thinking for 2 and 1/2 hours. I’ll try to distill my thoughts down.

Yesterday a friend asked me why God lets some things happen. He used the example of a mother of five struggling on life support after a terrible car accident. If she had reached the intersection five seconds earlier or five seconds later, she wouldn’t be near death. But across town at the very same time someone has lost their keys, prays about it and the tender mercies of the Lord lead the person to the keys. Why did God take care of the keys and not the mother?

That does seem like a perplexing problem. But I would be very, very careful about blaming God. How do we know that the Spirit didn’t say to the woman, “Slow down. You’re going too fast”? How do we know that she didn’t think, “But I’m late. I can’t slow down now.” Or maybe before she left the house the spirit said, “Call Sister Smith.” And she didn’t think, “Why should I call Sister Smith?” or “I’ll do it when I get back.” Or maybe she was so preoccupied stressing about what happened that morning with a child or fretting about all the bills that needed to be paid tomorrow that she didn’t even hear or feel the prompting. From what I know about God, it is much more likely the case that God is always prompting, always transmitting the necessary help and guidance, but that it is we who fail to tune in.

None of us like to hear that it is our fault that we have a problem. But how do I know that a few months or years ago the Spirit didn’t prompt me, “Don’t eat that!” or give me some other warning that would have kept this tumor from developing, and I either ignored or didn’t hear the prompting? I firmly believe that God is no respecter of persons. So the logical conclusion for me is that bad things don’t happen because God wills them or allows them. Bad things happen because in our mortal frailness we make mistakes.

But God knew we would not always listen. He knew we would be preoccupied or fretting and therefore make mistakes. So he provided an Atonement that not only overcomes our sins, but compensates us for all we suffer if we will just trust in Him. Now is my time to trust and to learn to listen better.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Verdict Is In

My adorable sister brought my mom down today. It was her birthday so we went to lunch to celebrate and then she took me hat shopping. My daughter who lives here came with and we had a delightful time. I bought two felt hats! Simply stunning. Maybe I'll start a new style!!! I also bought two scarves to tie around my head. Just think--next time you're trying to get your hair to do what you want it to, I'm not. I think I'm going to like not having to take care of hair.

After we found the hats, we were browsing in a game store and the phone call came. The scans where clean which means there are no more tumors which would normally be very good news. But in this case it means that instead of being able to simply biopsy a tumor in my arm pit or glands, they have to cut open my head, move back my brain, drill into the orbital, and biopsy the tumor. Not fun!

Once the pathologist pronounces the verdict, they will make a decision as to what to do with the tumor. I won't know until I wake up what they've done to me. Talk about uninformed!

The surgery will be on Friday at 3:00 pm. That's exactly the time one of my New Testament classes will be taking their final. I'd rather be there agonizing with my students who I love, but the Lord has other plans for me. So, I'll go where He wants me to go in my new black felt hat. I've even decided that the first time I wear it to Church, I'm not going to let it bother me that I'm the only woman in a hat.

The only thing I really fear is that once they expose my brain they'll discover there is nothing in there! I've done such a good job of hiding that fact all these years!

I hope you're laughing with me. It helps. But at the same time I want you to know I am still at peace. I don't know how people who have no faith get through life! The gospel is true! It really works in our lives. The Spirit is with me and I know that everything is eventually going to be all right.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Marvelous Law of Opposition

As Lehi is about to die, he gives his son Jacob some wonderful counsel. One of the many gems of wisdom he shares is this: “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Ne 2:11). Every time I’ve heard this I’ve started on the positive side of the equation and thought of the bad thing as the opposition. For example, the opposite of health is sickness. The opposite of wealth is poverty. For some reason opposition always went from good to bad for me.

But what I’m learning now is that opposition also means that dire, negative circumstances have a positive to them. When I was growing up my father used to tell me a story about a boy who wanted a pony for Christmas. Christmas morning he awoke all excited but instead of a pony he found a room full of manure. His parents braced themselves for what they thought would be terrible disappointment, but instead the boy grabbed a shovel and began digging.

“What are you doing?” his father asked.

Without stopping the boy replied excitedly, “With all this manure, there has got to be a pony in here somewhere.”

I’ve got manure right now. Lots of it. But the surprising thing is not the stink. The surprising thing is that because of this wonderful law of opposition, tied to each negative occurrence, event or finding there is a beautiful positive. I’m beginning to find myself anticipating (just like the boy shoveling the manure) the good.

Take last night for example. Yesterday for the first time I began to experience pain in my eye. It is a sharp, biting sensation that shoots through the eye as if someone had stuck a needle in it. But yesterday I also received a marvelous gift. We had tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. As we walked to the Conference Center the beautiful lights on Temple Square were brighter, livelier, richer than ever before. They shot a sensation of absolute delight through my soul that warmed and elated me. I can still feel the joy these many hours later!

Then during the concert, the choir sang “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and as they sang the thought coursed through me that one of the reasons Jesus Christ performed the Atonement was so that he would then be available to me at a time like this. Tears streamed down my cheeks as the full realization hit me. He didn't just suffer for my sins. He didn't just overcome physical death. He suffered, so that he could now succor me.

Jesus Christ is helping me every step of the way and for that I am very grateful.

"The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." Nahum 1:7

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Learning Curve

I had a scare this morning. When I woke up I couldn't see out of my left eye. I only have 20/400 vision in my right eye so I could barely see even with that eye. I sat up and within a few minutes my vision returned, but this will happen more and more until we get the tumor out.

It was a little frightening, but the most important thing I want you to know is that even in that moment I was at peace. Throughout this week as we have been going from doctor to doctor and test to test, the most amazing thing to me is the peace I've experienced. I know that my Father in Heaven is with me and that I am about the face the trial of my life, but that He is going to help me every step of the way. There is something for me to learn from this and as I do I will share the learning with you so that you can learn from me instead of going through something like this!

When I called the doctor to tell him about our latest development, he told me I can't sleep any more lying down. Well, I've never been able to sleep sitting up! So this is going to be a sleepless week. Thank goodness I have a lot of good books!

Thanks again for your comments, emails, prayers, faith, and love. It helps so much.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What a Day!

It is amazing how life changes when you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I realize none of us really do know what tomorrow will bring, but we live as if we do know. However, when you really accept the fact that you don’t know and can’t know, and that there might not even be a tomorrow you look at things differently. I found myself clinging to every little detail today. As we left early this morning I soaked in the sight of my little cul-de-sac and marveled at what wonderful neighbors I have. While waiting for the ophthalmologist, I noticed with great delight how the eyeglasses in the optical shop lined up so neatly. They made marvelous patterns like a row of dashes on a paper. And the things I am learning! Wow! Have you ever seen the inside of your own brain? Amazing! (By the way, the neurosurgeon said the rest of my brain is beautiful! I’ve been saying for years that beauty is on the inside.)
We visited doctors today and took more images. The choices of what to do are narrowing, but we won’t make a decision until Monday. The very best scenario for me right now is that the tumor is lymphoma. In this case lymphoma is actually better than a benign tumor because a lymphoma can be removed with radiation while the benign tumor will have to be cut out and there is a high possibility of blindness if they have to cut. If you had told me a few weeks ago that I’d be praying to have cancer I would have thought you were nuts.
Thanks for all your comments, prayers, and emails. I can't even tell you how much they lift and encourage and help me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Time to Practice What I Preach

Dear blog friends,

This past week I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Today we were told that the tumor is in the worst possible place it could be. It is behind my left eye and if they go in to take it out it will almost certainly cause blindness. For the same reason, they also can't do a biopsy. Because it can't be biopsied, we don't know if it is benign or malignant, but either way it has to come out because it is growing and eventually that will cause blindness.

Tomorrow I will be going through more tests and meeting with more doctors. There are four options and at this point none of them is good. Please pray for me. I trust with all my heart in my Heavenly Father. I know He is with me and that He will guide me. I also know that the prayers of many bring about miracles. I'm counting on one of those miracles. I love you all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Glad Heart

In Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith explains that in order to have faith we must know what Jesus Christ is like. I think that is one of the main reasons we are encouraged to read scripture—because that is where we get acquainted with our Savior. In scripture we come to know of his love. We read of him inviting the children to come to him (Mark 10). We read of him deciding not to leave when he knows how much the people want him to stay (3 Nephi 17). The references to his healing those in pain and sorrow are too numerous to cite and each tells us a little bit more about how very much he loves us.

Through the scriptures we also learn of his amazing attributes of justness, kindness, power, and mercy. There is no doubt that he is wonderful. But I used to find myself wanting more. I'd never seen an artist's depiction of the Savior with a full-on smile, and yet in my heart I felt certain that he smiles. I wanted to know if he laughs at jokes or if he playfully teases a child just a little. I wanted to know if he winks or if he sings when he is happy. Does he dance? Does he hug? Does he express delight at good food? What does he enjoy?

Then one day I found this quote that answered my questions. Heber C. Kimball said, “I am perfectly satisfied that my Father and my God is a cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good-natured Being. Why? Because I am cheerful, pleasant, lively and good-natured when I have His Spirit. That is one reason why I know; and another is—the Lord said through Joseph Smith, ‘I delight in a glad heart and a cheerful countenance’ (D&C 59: 15).” (JD 4:222.)

Since reading that quote, I've paid close attention to what I think, feel and am when the spirit is with me, and by so doing I’ve come to better know my Savior. Yes, he sings! Yes, he laughs! And I’m positive that at appropriate times he winks to expresses his joy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Love of God

In my four-year-old grandson's Primary, the children were shown a picture of Joseph and Mary riding a donkey to Bethlehem. The children were asked if they knew who the people in the picture were. No one knew, but Eli raised his hand and said, "I don't know who they are, but why is a pregnant lady going camping?"

Since my daughter told me that story, I can't quit thinking about it. Why would a pregnant woman travel the 90+ miles to Bethlehem? Why would she leave her mother at the time she was about to deliver her first child? From that point there is no stopping the questions that tumble forth. Why would that child grow to be such a selfless man? Why would He suffer for us? Why were we so important to Him? Why?

There is only one answer to all the questions; Because of the love of God which resided in both of them. They loved God; therefore, they obeyed Him. Love is a powerful enabler and when the love of God resides in us, we too can do all that we are called upon to do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Sometimes life closes in on us and we feel as if we were in a cage desperately trying to find a way out. We bang against the cage bars until we are bruised and we shout for help but no one comes to aid us. In those claustrophobic times, life seems so dismal, but the problem is not so much the cage but the fact that getting out of the cage is all we let ourselves think about.

During those times, I’ve found that if I stop fighting the bars that entrap me and step into the center of the cage—as far from the bars as I can—and then do anything except fight against the cage, things change. After all, even though the cage surrounds me, I can still sing! I can dance! I can commune with my Father in Heaven and let His love and light flood through me. I can love others. I can enjoy the sights beyond the cage. I can breathe in the wonderful aromas that waft through the cage. I can. . . well you get the picture. Despite the cage there is so much to still enjoy.

But the most amazing thing about doing this is that when I step back and concentrate on finding ways to “enjoy” the situation in the cage instead of fighting against it, I suddenly notice that someone has been standing there all along holding open the door. All I needed was to turn around and walk through it.

I hope cage doors open for you today!

Monday, December 1, 2008


I’ll never forget the day several years ago when I was working in the kitchen doing all the normal things you do like wiping down the cupboards and cleaning out the microwave when suddenly while wringing out the dishcloth in the sink a shock went through me. The hands wringing water out of the cloth weren’t mine! They were my mother’s. How had her hands become attached to the end of my arms? It was a strange moment of discovery that I was aging, but more than that it was a moment of realization that I was becoming my mother. Genetically I had been programmed to have her hands.

Since that day I can’t look at my hands without thinking about my mother which means that I think about her about a hundred times a day. (Try to count how many times a day you see your hands!)And whenever I see her hands, I know what mine will be like in 20 years.

It is easy for most of us to look in a mirror and see the things about us that we inherited from our parents. But what isn’t as easy is identifying what we inherited from our Heavenly Parents. For some reason we let a false sense of humility keep us from acknowledging traits we inherited from Them. But that isn’t humility at all.
As Christmas approaches, I challenge you to identify at least two characteristics you inherited from your Heavenly Father and then to concentrate on those two things throughout the month. Of course, they won't be perfected like His traits are, but you will have those traits in a lesser form. Make it your Christmas gift to God to enhance them and to be grateful for them.

I’m in the middle of parents and children now, and I also know how delightful it is to notice myself in my children—especially my good qualities. Seeing your good characteristics in them is a true source of joy, and I’m sure that our Father in Heaven also experiences joy when we recognize and acknowledge ways we are like Him. After all He gave us those traits and as He said, “What doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive [acknowledges] not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift” (D&C 88:33).