Wednesday, April 29, 2009

At Last A Plan!

This is a Cyberknife.

I was on the telephone all afternoon with doctors, but at last we have a plan of attack! It has been determined that Grizelda is a cavernous lymphangioma and not a hemangioma. With this determination and several other things I won't bore you with it was determined that we can go forward with the radiation. Friday they will do all of the preliminary work necessary to program the cyberknife and then Tues., Wed., and Thurs. of next week the cyberknife will do its work and hopefully we will be rid of Grizelda forever!

Thanks so much for your prayers and letters, emails, comments and all the concern and love. It has meant so very much to me. You are all wonderful!

Words vs. Heart

I’ve heard people who are going through trials complain about the things people say to them. But I’ve learned that it isn’t the words people say, it’s the heart they say it with. It doesn’t matter if the words are trite or even insensitive. Most people just want to help and they are helping in the best way they know how. That is what counts. So I listen with my heart to what their heart is trying to say and I am edified.

If I were to complain or criticize or condemn their efforts, I would take on a poisonous negative energy. The people making the remarks wouldn’t hurt me, but I would hurt myself because of my reaction to what they say.

We aren’t all gifted with silver tongues that say just the right thing at the right time. We don’t all have the same perspective on life that allows us to know exactly what should be said. But we all have a heart that wants to love, and what we should recognize is that others are only trying to help—no matter what they say or do!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tulips and Waiting

Today my sister, a daughter, and a grandson and I visited the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. Thousands and thousands of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other colorful flowers I can't even name amazed us. I loved the company, the beauty, and the delight of a five year old at simple things like purple pansies, making wishes in the wishing pond, and feeding fish. Life is good.

After my trip to the gardens, I finally heard from the radiologist. He has only heard from one other doctor, a doctor in Germany whose advice was to use surgery. Since the other doctors haven’t responded to the Internet call for help, the radiologist is going to call them and ask them for an opinion. So we are waiting still.

Patience. I am learning Patience. I must need lots of patience!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A New Tool--Distraction

As soon as we finished the radiologist appointment on Friday we went to St George for a funeral. A very good friend (whom I can’t thank enough) let us use her home in St George so we stayed over the weekend. It was a much needed get-away. The past week drained us both physically and emotionally. The trip gave us time to think—time to regroup and relax, time to get energized and meditate and pray to be ready for whatever is in front of us.

During this time I noticed several things that happened. First, on the trip down just observing the beauty of this wonderful world was rejuvenating. It invigorated and kept me positive. Turning my thoughts from me to the world filled me with gratitude and wonder. Certainly if God can create and run this amazing world, He can take care of me! Another thing that I noticed was that a change in environment helped me forget about myself and my problems. I didn’t realize how much things around my own house remind me of the predicament I’m in, but in a different house with no associations, I forgot all about my problems and relaxed and enjoyed. The third thing I realized is that of all the tools we’ve talked about for helping us Live in Truth I’ve never realized how much of a tool a simple thing like distraction can be. Distraction gives us a little distance, which gives us a new perspective. Whether we take a walk, a trip, read a book, watch a good movie sometimes all we need is a little distraction to help us keep positive and walk in Light and Truth.

So add Distraction to the tools. Take a break from your problems and come back to them with new perspective!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Learning Patience!

The night before my craniotomy last December, I was given a beautiful blessing in which I was told that I would eventually be made completely whole but that I needed to be patient. Four or five times in that blessing I was reminded that patience was very important. So after the surgery when the healing seemed so fast and miraculous, I was puzzled. Many times the thought went through my head, “Why was I admonished to be patient? This took very little patience.” And then a gnawing feeling that the ordeal wasn’t really over would spread through me. Well, now I know why I was told to be patient! As a matter of fact, I am learning all kinds of lessons about patience.

I’ve never been good about patience. Growing up I always searched and found my Christmas presents before Christmas. (I hope Mom doesn’t read this!) In Primary when they had us plant seed of "faith" in a cup and take them home to watch them grow, I'd dig them up every day to see if they were growing. (Needless to say, they didn't!) I loved to read, but I’d make it to about the middle of a novel and then impatiently turn to the end of the book to see what was going to happen. (That ruined the rest of the read.) I’d force a situation by jumping to conclusions too soon or trying to manipulate events. (That over anxiousness always caused more problems than I want to recount.) In short, I’ve never been good about waiting which I now realize is really that I’ve never been good about letting God unfold events in His time. I also now realize that letting God unfold events in His time is what it means to trust Him.

I used to think believing in Christ was the same as trusting Him. But I now know differently. Everything happens for a reason, and by trying to force or manipulate life myself I was refusing to trust. I thought I knew better than God what was best for me! So this time I am determined to be patient. Grizelda is with me again for a reason, and whatever the reason it is important for my growth and development. So my greatest concern right now is that I learn the lessons God wants me to learn. He knows what I need and He loves me. Whatever happens is for my best good. I just need to be patient and trust in Him.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Visit With the Radiologist

I just returned home from the consultation with the radiologist, Dr. Reilly. What I have in my left orbit according to the pathology report is a cavernous hemangioma. These are not uncommon in the brain, but are very uncommon in the orbit. In and of themselves they are usually quite harmless. It is only when they appear in certain positions that they are a problem, and Grizelda is in the worst possible position.

There are a few mysteries here. One is that a hemangioma isn’t supposed to grow, but Grizelda seems to be growing. There are also a few problems here. Radiologists have discovered that when they treat a cavernous hemangioma in the brain with the cyberknife, it causes more harm than good. So they either remove them surgically or leave them alone. Dr. Reilly looked in the radiology journals and could find no precedent for a cavernous hemangioma in the orbit and so he is unsure what to do. He is now going to contact some other doctors who use the cyberknife and see if any of them has dealt with this type of situation before. After consulting with them, we will make a decision whether to go ahead and try the cyberknife or whether we will need to go in surgically again. If they have to go in surgically it will be more invasive than last time.

This is beginning to sound like a soap opera, isn’t it! Stay tuned! Sometime next week we hope to have some answers! In the meantime, keep praying for me. I know that prayers work! Thanks to you all for your love and concern. It really helps at a time like this!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This verse of scripture was part of my scripture study yesterday. “And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted” (Alma 15:10). As I read, these words seemed to come alive. They danced off the page and wrapped themselves around my heart and comforted me with peace and joy. And I didn’t even know yet that I needed to be comforted!

The words and the spirit that accompanied them warmed, calmed, and empowered me, but most important the feelings stayed with me all day so that when the doctor gave me the news I was fine. I wish I could give you the feeling instead of just trying to explain it because these poor words don’t even begin to describe what happened. But my testimony of the power of scripture to guide, heal, comfort, and bring joy is increased.

All of us face some sort of Grizelda, but whatever your trial the scriptures can bring you the same power to deal with the problem.

Tomorrow will be another of those in-need-of-comfort days, as I move into the treatment part of this adventure. But I’m not worried because I know He will comfort me through that, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Here We Go Again. . .

Today I found out that Grizelda is back. On April 10th I had a follow-up MRI to see if everything had healed all right. Today I was told that Grizelda had grown back and that she is already about 2/3 the size she was before. In other words, she is growing fast. This presents the same problems as before: painful pressure at the back of my eye and the fact that if left untreated I will lose the vision in that eye.

The good news is that since they already know that she is a hemangeoma, instead of going in surgically this time to remove her, they are going to try to shrink her with radiation. If that doesn’t work (but I’m counting on it working!) they will go in surgically again. So Friday I go in for the first consultation with the radiologist.

I guess there is more for me to learn! I’m off on another adventure.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More On Revision

I’ve been practicing Revision and noticed that a simple way to revise our negative stories is to change the negative words to positive words. “She doesn’t like me,” simply changes to “She likes me.” “I’m the world’s worst mom,” changes to “I’m the world’s best mom.” “I’m never going to be able to do this,” becomes, “I’m going to do this.”

At first this may seem like some kind of reality distortion. But remember, we create our own reality. It isn’t distortion. It is reality formation. You are forming your reality. What has happened in the past does not predict the future. Instead you format your own future by what you think.

Sure you might have had a bad mothering moment. But that moment is gone now and a clean slate of time is spread before you. Do you want to enter the next moment dragging along an “I’m a bad mother!” attitude? Or do you want to shape the next moment with an “I’m a great mother who just made a mistake that I’ve now learned from and am ready to move on” attitude?

What we think, determines what we do. And any negative story we have can be Revised.Just quickly change your thought from, "I hate cleaning out the toilet!" to "I love cleaning out the toilet!" and watch what it does for your day. As Elder Wirthlin said, “Come what may, and love it!”

Monday, April 20, 2009

Using Our Call Button

I am home now! We had a wonderful vacation and it was so fun to see three of my daughters and ten of my grandchildren! The best part is that we completely missed the huge snow storm. Today the sun is brightly shining on a colorful spring world. Who could ask for anything more?While we were gone one of my two Utah grandchildren, five-year-old Eli, became very sick and was hospitalized because he was so dehydrated. His nurse explained to him that if there was anything he needed all he had to do was push the button with the nurse emblem on it and she would help him.

For the next while he eagerly eyed that “magic” button but refrained from pushing it. Then, while his mother was on the telephone, he reached over and pushed it. “What can I do for you?” a voice asked, and Eli replied, “Would you please bring me a surprise.” So she did. She brought him a little, silver car to play with.

I laughed about that when I first heard it, but since then I’ve thought more seriously about it. There’s a lesson in there for me. Our Father in Heaven has repeatedly instructed us that “whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matt 21:22). We always have a “button” that we can “push” and ask for whatever we need even if it is as trivial as a “surprise.” The Lord loves us and nothing is too menial or trivial to take to Him. We don’t even need to wait until we need something to pray for. Some of the most empowering prayers occur when we simply express our thanks to God for the things He has given and done for us or when we talk over the experiences of our day with Him as we would a good friend.

Prayer connects us to God just as the hospital button connected Eli to the nurse, and God hears and answers our prayers just as the nurse heard and responded to Eli.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I am now in Hanford, California, just south of Fresno. Instead of lemon trees in the yard, Talena has orange trees. It is like being in a foreign land! I love it.

On the way down here we watched the movie Phantom of the Opera and I was struck anew with the symbolism of light and dark. The theme is the same as what we have been discussing--Living in Truth. So much pain in life is unnecessary pain that comes about because we choose it. It is so sad that we suffer so much when all we need to do is let go of the pain and live in truth.

What other plays or artistic works have inspired you that use this theme of light vs.dark or truth vs. illusion? Without thinking too hard, I can come up with several. It is a major theme in literature and art. How have these works touched or inspired you?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This Good Earth!

I am looking out the front window of Kirsha’s house at a lemon hanging from a branch on a lemon tree. It is almost fully yellow—a bright sunny yellow—with just a touch of green on the bottom. The fronds of a palm tree across the street branch out in amazing symmetry and every where I look there is a different shade of green. I called home and heard that there is snow on the ground in Utah. A cold, white world back home. A temperate, green world here. But it is all beautiful!

This trip has reminded me how beautiful this world is and that I need to slow down and let the beauty sink in. Stopping to look and enjoy the sight, like I am now, I actually feel a surge of enthusiasm and joy trickle through me. It fills me with super-powers!

Besides that, it is almost like I can hear my Father in Heaven chuckling as He says, “Yes, Sherrie, I created this for you. So enjoy! Enjoy!”

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

I’m in California this week visiting with three of my daughters. Today we went to Muir Woods and wandered under Redwood trees that are hundreds of years old. Standing underneath them you can’t even see to the top and the trunks are huge. Moss padded the side of the trees and green foliage covered the ground. People crowded along the walkway, many of them speaking French or Spanish, but all amazed at the wonders.

After the walk through the woods, we went to Muir Beach Overlook to eat lunch. The cold wind made it difficult to eat, but the view, hundreds of feet above the ocean, was spectacular.

While we walked and climbed, I mainly listened to the chatter of my grandchildren. They grumbled, laughed, teased, and made jokes. But the best came from the two oldest boys who kept finding depressions or hollowed out trees and shouting, “Hey, look! A hobo could live here.” I was so busy listening that I think my daughters thought I wasn’t paying attention. But I was. I watched as the teenager carried his one-year-old cousin on his shoulders. I listen to the girls talk about their children. I watched them mother. (They are wonderful mothers!) And I thought about how blessed I am. There is nothing as wonderful as having so many things to be grateful for all in the same place and time—family and nature. Who could ask for anything more?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Today is the most joyous day of the entire year! This day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior--which means that we too will be resurrected and live again. But it is so much more than that. Because He lived, suffered, and died for us we can change.

If Jesus Christ had never performed the Atonement,we would be stuck for eternity in a place where there could be not change, no growth. Think about that for a moment. Think of how awful you feel when you have done something wrong. Think of the pain you feel when a loved one dies and you are separated. Think of how miserable you are when overcome with the discouragement, dismay, and sadness that are part of a telestial world. All of those negative feelings would be the state you would live in eternally if it had not been for Jesus Christ.

But because of Christ, we can have joy and happiness and love and peace and ALL that is good. Because of Jesus Christ we can live eternally with God and escape all the negative, evil, miserable situations and feelings that are part of mortal life.

I know that Christ lives and that He has opened the doors to eternal happiness and has shown me what I must do to pass through those doors. He is my Savior. He is Life, and Light, and Truth. But most of all, He offers all of that to me because He is also Love.

Friday, April 10, 2009


After the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Christian Church began to attract more and more converts. It also began to attract more persecution. One of the vigilant persecutors was a man named Saul who diligently sought to kill and punish Christians. But on his way to Damascus to further persecute the Church, a great light overpowered Saul and he fell to the ground as a voice cried out, “Saul, Saul why persecutes thou me?” (Acts 9:4).

Saul answered, “Who art thou, Lord?”

And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Acts 4:5).

For Saul this was a call to repentance and a time of intense learning. One of the first things he learned is that what he thought about God before was wrong. God didn’t want him killing and condemning. God was a God of compassion and love. God doesn’t seek out sinners so he can punish them and make them sorry. Instead God seeks out sinners so he can make them good and happy.

If we remember that one thing, it makes it easier to turn to God in the very moments we feel least worthy to turn to Him. He loves us and is always there ready to help—not condemn us. If we just lift our eyes and look to the light, we, like Saul, will be changed.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Easter is coming and I have been reading the final events of the Savior’s life. I am deeply touched every time I read these stories and am again impressed with how very much He loves us.

In Mark’s account of the events in Gethsemane (a word which means Oil Press), he tells us that as Jesus began to take upon himself the sins of the world He “began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy” (Mark 14:33). A closer look at the Greek words tells us that a better translation of “sore amazed” would be “terrified surprise or astonishment.”

The Savior knew he would suffer for all of our sins, but being sinless He had never ever tasted the consequences of sin. While he knew intellectually what He was about, He—even with His extraordinary ability—had no idea how horrendous this would be and it surprised Him with its intensity and terror. But despite the terror, despite the horrendous surprise Jesus persisted so that you and I could escape that very terror. He took on the terror of our sins—He became like us, so that we could become like Him. In those horrendous hours in Gethsemane our sins were transferred to Him and His perfections was transferred to us.

He paid a tremendous price to save us. If we now remember that we are His, that we are bought with a price, we can be perfected in Him. It is difficult to even comprehend the love that would motivate such an act. But it is real and it is ours.

Picture: "Gethsemane" by James Christiansen

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Laugh And the World Laughs

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of humor again. It really is amazing how a good laugh can not only dispel negative feelings and thoughts, but can literally melt away tense situations.
Many years ago my father served as mayor of a small town, Centerville, Utah, during the time it was changing from rural to suburban. One night he was conducting a town meeting to discuss the need to put curb and gutter along Main Street. Several of the farmers who had land on Main Street were very upset about the cost of this project. As the meeting went on many of them grew angry and were very vocal about their feelings. Finally in a rage one old farmer stood and yelled at my father, “Mayor Mills, you can go to hell!”
The city lawyer, Keith Stahle, was sitting next to my father and without missing a beat he said loud and clear, “Mayor Mills, I’ve researched the books, and you don’t need to go unless you want to.”
At those words the entire room broke out in laughter and the mood changed so that a positive discussion could take place. When used in the right way, humor can be powerful. Humor can change a mood. It can change an attitude. It can change dark, negative thoughts into bright, cheerful ones.
If you have stories like the one about my dad in which humor changed you or others, leave a comment and tell us about it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


During the last decade science has taken gigantic leaps at understanding what goes on in the brain. Many things are still a mystery, but new imaging techniques have allowed scientists to see what chemical reactions happen when someone laughs or cries or lies or any number of things that originate in the brain. One of the things now recognized is that every thought a person has sends electrical signals through the brain. What this means is that every thought has very real physical properties that have significant impact on every cell in a person’s body. Negative thoughts don’t just influence attitudes; they negatively impact the entire body. Positive thoughts have positive impact—on every cell of the body.

This is very interesting in light of what we are taught in Doctrine and Covenants 88:28-31 about the resurrection. There we are told that “They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened. Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness. And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness. And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.”

According to this instruction from the Lord, at any given moment we are responding to a power or influence that “quickens” or makes alive our bodies. As we respond to celestial influences we are quickens by celestial glory and our bodies are changed to celestial bodies so that eventually we will be restored to a fullness of celestial glory.

When we understand this concept, we realize that every decision we make has eternal consequences. When we live in truth we are slowly being changed into celestial beings. Decision at a time, line upon line, we are changing and becoming!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Living in Peace

Each day I learn a little more about what it means to live in truth. I am grateful for that. Whenever I find myself spinning negative stories, I learn a little more about how to stop the storytelling and make my life freer. I’m discovering that it isn’t just the big situations that cause me to write negative stories. It seems to be more a habit I’ve developed over the years of writing negative stories about everything.

As I work at writing positive stories for the little situations in life I find that more and more the big things take care of themselves. For example: a telephone call takes longer that I thought and makes me late for an appointment. A little thing! But I used to spin a negative story, turn grumpy, stressed and uptight. Those feelings then “poisoned” everything else I did the rest of the day. But now I spin a positive story—“It doesn’t matter.” “I needed to make that call, and it was time well spent”—I stay calm, in a good mood, no “poison” and I’ve practiced spinning positive stories so that in the next big crisis, I’m better able to write a positive story and handle the situation without making myself upset. It is a great way to live!

Maybe this is why truth and peace are so often associated in the scriptures. As Zechariah says, “Love the truth and peace” (Zechariah 8:19). When we live in truth, we live in peace.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thank God For Prophets

President David O. McKay

The sun came out today! Not just in the sky, but in my heart. Conference always brings it into my heart. Hearing the words of the prophet and listening to the counsel given in such love by the Church leaders can’t help but make the sun shine within you. I love it!

Many years ago when I was a girl, I met President David O. McKay. My family and a few of my parent’s friends had gone on an outing that day to the monastery in Huntsville. On the way back home we drove by President McKay’s boyhood farm and home so my parents could show it to us children. We weren’t expecting anyone to be there, but lo and behold the McKay family was holding a family reunion and as we got there Pres. McKay was just getting out of his car. We didn’t stop, but as we passed he waved at us children in the back seat and almost touched the car window. I was so overwhelmed to see a prophet of God that I broke out in tears. I have never forgotten that moment.

Since that time I have met or been that close to all the prophets of the Church except for President Hinckley. I met President Monson years ago when our family performed at a meeting he was attending. Every time I’ve been in their presence, I’ve felt the power of God working through them. You cannot be near them and not know they are very special men. God works through them to minister His gospel to His children on the earth. Of that I am certain!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

On Their Shoulders. . .

What I wrote yesterday, made me think of others who have impacted my life. I realized that It isn’t just the people I’ve associated with and met in my life that have influenced me. There are many who I never have known that gave me so much. I am a sixth generation Mormon on every line of my family except one and on that one I am a seventh generation Mormon. My ancestors were driven out of Nauvoo. They gave up homes; lost family members to death from sickness and persecution. They walked barefoot across the plains so that their posterity, me, could have a place to live our religion without persecution. I’ve read many of their stories and heard how they suffered starvation, cold, and hardship.

Remembering what so many have gone through so that I could live my religion in this wonderful place, makes me so grateful. Someday I’ll meet them and be able to thank them. In the meantime all I can do is try my best to carry on the heritage they so magnificently gave me. I am so blessed because of them.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Where Would I Be Without Them?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the many people who have influenced my life for good. As I’ve thought about it, I've realized that very few of them have even an inkling as to how much they have influenced me. Some taught me much from afar. I didn’t even interact with them, but I saw what they did and how happy it made them and so I wanted those same things.

Other people actually taught me. One man in particular would answer my gospel questions any time I called him. But even he doesn’t know how very much he taught me or how much that teaching and his example and wisdom have meant to me. Others have loved me when I didn’t deserve to be loved—several Young Women leaders fall into this category. Some befriended me and despite all my faults have been there when I needed them.

I am who I am because of many, many people who have loved, guided, directed, taught, and patiently put up with me. I am so very grateful for all of those people. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to thank them in some adequate way. Until then I'll carry thoughts of them around in my heart, because words will never be enough to thank them.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Refreshed and Restored

In the Old Testament the Lord calls a city to repentance and explains what He will do for them if they will repent. He says, “Behold, I will bring [the city] health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth” (Jeremiah 33:6). This is the same promise He offers to each one of us if we will repent and turn to Him. We’ve all heard that we should repent. We all know we should keep the commandments. But sometimes we don’t stop to think about the “health” and “cure” that comes to us through repentance.

Repentance is one of the gospel principles that help us live in truth. When we do something wrong, our conscience bothers us. We are in pain—unnecessary pain. But by repenting our conscience can be healed and we are cured of the unnecessary pain. It is interesting that one of the Hebrew words that is translated as repent (shub) means “to turn back, return” or “to restore, refresh, repair.”

That is what repentance is all about—turning back to God, restoring, refreshing, repairing us. Repentance is all about getting rid of unnecessary pain and being healed and restored to God.