Sunday, May 31, 2009

Steering By Kindled Light

Martha’s comment the other day reminded me of the rich symbolism in the story of the Jaredites as they make their way to the Promised Land. I’ll write more about that tomorrow, but wanted to share this quote with you from Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen’s book My Grandfather’s Blessings. In the Epilogue of the book she says:

"In the Book of Mormon, there is another version of the Exodus story. In it, the Jaredites, forced from their homes by conditions that stifle their freedom, set out across great uncharted waters to reach the land of promise in boats sealed up tightly against the sea. Jared speaks to God about the difficulty in steering these boats in total darkness. He is told that if he brings stones with him, God will touch them and they will shine forth light.

The voyage is long and difficult in the extreme; there are mighty storms, and the boats are plunged deep beneath the water over and over again. But their seal holds, and the stones, touched by God, continue to shine. According to Jung, the stone is one of the two archetypal symbols for the soul. This image of a people sailing through heavy seas in search of freedom, steering only by the light that the touch of God kindles in their souls, is a particularly beautiful one for me."[My Grandfather's Blessings, P. 375]

This symbolism is especially beautiful for me also. And there is so much more!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sidetracked By Guilt

The last few days have been very interesting. When we live in truth we accept what is, the verity of a situation, and then do what needs to be done. But it is amazing the subtle ways the adversary uses to tempt us away from the truth.

As we found out about our grandson yesterday the immediate reaction was toward worry or fear. But I Anchored myself and let the peace wash over me and began to move forward. Then a strange feeling of guilt came over me. The thought that I must not love my grandson or I’d be worried and fearful swelled in me. It was a very odd feeling which at first seemed logical and right. But as I stopped to ponder it, I realized that worry and/or fear would not help my grandson. The thought was a lie. There is no way that my worry or fear would or could heal him. Worry and fear aren't part of love. All worry and fear would do is make me miserable. They would also consume me with so much negative thought that it would make it very difficult to hear any promptings or receive any comfort from the Spirit.

Living in Truth is living in peace. But the adversary doesn’t want us to have peace. He wants us to be miserable. As we consistently examine the thoughts and feelings that pull us away from peace, we learn to recognize the lies that hold us bondage in the realm of Illusion. We learn more and more about what the Savior meant when he said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Good News!

This is what he looks like. Although the pictures don't capture how bad it was.

We just returned from the hospital and it was determined that my grandson doesn't have the terrible disease they first thought. It is something else that isn't as serious!!! All is well.

When It Rains, It Pours

We've had another set back around here. My one-year-old grandson, Josh's son, was just taken to Primary Children's Hospital. He's had a terrible rash and fever for several days. The doctors suspect a very rare disease and 7 of 10 people who contract it die from it. I'm asking for your prayers again. Prayer works!

I am so thankful for the things I've learned about living in Truth or I wouldn't be making it right now. I'm staying Anchored and feel at peace.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Be Happy!

Today I visited a care center where I learned from some wonderful women. We held Relief Society with them and then stayed to visit with them individually. I met a wonderful woman named Helen who is 97 years old and has a much better memory than I do. She astounded me! She is surrounded by people who can no longer carry on intelligent conversations. I'm sure it is a challenge for her and yet she gracefully helped those around her.

I also talked to Jean, who had the most beautiful pure white hair. Jean was in a wheel chair and told me she was from Nebraska and didn’t have much family around here. She wasn’t quite sure how she ended up in Utah.

As we spoke another woman walked by and said to me, “Ask Jean why she is always so happy.” So I did. Jean smiled at me with a twinkle in her eyes and said, “Because I will it so.” Now there is a woman who lives in truth. Jean is a woman who understands that happiness is a choice not a situation.

I’m going to remember Helen and Jean and on days when I’m tempted to feel unhappy, I’m going to think of them and choose to be happy.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Today is Memorial Day, a time many people honor their ancestors who have passed on. In is also the birthday of my father who passed away two years ago. Between the two days, I’ve been thinking about Dad a lot today.

Growing up I idolized my dad. Because of him I love to read. Most of all it was from him I gained my love for the scriptures.

I have a lot of memories that are flooding back today. Whenever we went anyplace in the car at night, I’d fall asleep and when we got home Dad would gently gather me in his strong arms and carry me to my bed and tuck me in. I loved it! Dad would always listen when I was sad and he always had a story to illustrate his points. When I needed encouragement, he’d leave just the right book on my bed for me to read.

One day while I was in college, he had business in Provo and stopped by to see me. I opened the door in my old, worn robe. “Don’t you have anything better than that?” he asked. When I told him I didn’t, he took me downtown and bought me a new robe.

I could go on, but you get the point. I love my dad and miss him. He was the kind of person my post yesterday was about. He lifted and encouraged anyone who came in contact with him—especially me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

You Do Make A Difference!

Have you ever walked into a room and from all appearances the people in the room are happy but you feel a tension or negative energy and just know that they were arguing or upset with each other before you came in? Or have you been around people that after they leave you feel like they’ve somehow sapped all the energy out of you?

The opposite can happen also. Have you ever walked into a room and been bathed in warmth and light? Or have you been around people that after they leave you feel lifted and encouraged not by what they said but just by being in their presence?

We sometimes don’t stop to realize the effect others have on us or the effect we have on others. Therefore, when we read, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19), we tend to think that we need some extraordinary talent in order to edify others. But we all give off either a positive or a negative "energy" that others can feel. That means that just by being we influence others, and when we choose to live in Truth that influence will be edifying. We can make a difference! Our positive attitudes and feelings help us, but they also encourage others.

Friday, May 22, 2009

No Worries!

At one point during the Sermon on the Mount the Savior tells the people, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Matthew 6:25). At first reading this seems strange. Aren’t we supposed to plan ahead? What about storing food in case of emergency? How does what the Savior say go with that?

The answer is once more found in the Greek. The word translated thought in this verse is merimnao which means, “to be anxious; to be troubled with cares.” The Savior isn’t instructing us not to plan. Instead the Savior is teaching us not to worry. If we are keeping the commandments and doing what we are instructed to do, we have no need to worry or fret about the future.

That is part of what it means to live in Truth. We don’t have to worry or fear. When we live in Truth, we deal with what is presently in front of us and leave the rest in God’s hands. We aren’t anxious. We aren’t troubled with cares. Instead we trust that God will lead us to the things we need to do and the experiences we need to have when they are supposed to happen.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

When Others Disappoint Us

One of the things that keeps us from living in Truth and one of the most difficult things to deal with in life is when other people disappoint us. We want our children to do well in school. We want our neighbors to be honest with us. We want to be able to trust the people we do business with. But everyone has their own agency and sometimes they make mistakes intentionally deceive and those things can be very disappointing or even painful for us.

It is at these times that we have to remember that the Savior loves those who are disappointing us just as He loves us. It is also helpful to remember that we accomplish nothing by letting ourselves get upset or angry or by seeking revenge in these situations. Our negative feelings don't change the situation. They don't heal anything. All negative feelings do is make us miserable. All they do is increase our pain. And that pain is UNNECESSARY pain because we don’t have to feel it. We bring it upon ourselves by our thinking. If instead of fretting, getting angry or hurt we think about the Savior and know that we can leave all the worry, anger, and hurt with Him, we can live in peace. And peace is a much better place to live in!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So Far So Good!

I went to the ophthalmologist Monday and my eye sight is very good. At this point there is no damage to the optical nerve from the radiation that we know of, and every day that passes makes it more and more unlikely that there will be any. I am still very, very tired, but I’m functioning and I’m stronger than last week. That’s good! Each day gets a little better.

The doctors told me they have to wait 3 to 6 months to do the follow-up MRI to see if Grizelda is gone, but the pressure in my head is so much less that I know something is happening already.

In short, things are looking good. I appreciate so much your faith and prayers. I couldn’t go through all this without you! I’ve learned that in the past I’ve grossly underestimated the power I have to influence the outcome for someone else. I’ve sometimes found myself thinking, “Oh, I’m just one little person. What difference can I make?” or “What can my one prayer do?” I promise you I will never think such thoughts again. I’ve FELT your prayers and been sustained by your faith. And I know that each and every prayer added to that sustaining power. There is an amazing synergy when lots of people pray for the same thing.

It seems so inadequate. All I can say is thank you! Thank you so much and keep praying. I’ll be praying for you, also!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Faith Without Fretting

When my five-year-old grandson, Nick, watches a movie with a love scene, he closes his eyes and covers them with his hands whenever the lovers kiss. Last week my daughter asked him why he does that and he replied, “Because it's scary!”

“Scary?” Patrea exclaimed. “Why is it scary?”

“Because when a boy kisses a girl, her daddy is going to come after him.”

I have no idea how he picked up that little bit of information, and neither does Patrea. But it made me think about how many pieces of information we carry around in mortality that scare us, or worry us, or make us fret needlessly.

There used to be some things that bothered me about doctrines of the gospel. I couldn’t see how the fairness or justice in some things could possibly work out. But as my faith in a true and living God grew, I realized that I could leave all of that worry to Him because there obviously were some things about which I, like Nick, had wrong information. With other things I didn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle yet. Still with other things I couldn’t understand them in this mortal world even if God explained them to me in words. I just don’t have the mental ability to comprehend it yet.

With that discovery, I let go of the fret and worry. I still don’t understand it all. But I know that someday I will, and that when I do I will also recognize why that’s the way it had to be.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Prince of Peace

The more you study the scriptures, the more you find startling things that at first don’t seem right. You have to stop and ponder them awhile in order to understand them. One of these is the Savior’s statement in Matthew: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matt 10:34). Now, this is the man we called the Prince of Peace! What is going on here? The Prince of Peace declares that He has come with a sword?

If we back up a little this begins to make more sense. Jesus is giving his apostles instructions before he sends them out to preach the gospel and he is warning them that they are going to encounter persecution. “Expect it!” He is saying.

We see this still today. Where ever the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, the adversary fights it in any way he can. He causes parents to refuse to let their children join the Church or children to turn against parents who have decided to join. While the Savior knows that His gospel is peace, He also knows that the acceptance of that gospel is going to cause havoc. Therefore, the gospel is a sword that divides truth from error, good from evil, and light from dark. But it also can separate families, separate us from our comfort zone, or separate us from the material things we love in the world. Sometimes our peace needs to be disturbed so that we can grow!

Sometimes we mistakenly think that if we are doing what we should be doing everything will just work out happily ever after. But often when we are pursuing righteousness, the adversary will do all in his power to thwart us and we will experience times of trouble. We will feel the sword cutting into our lives. But if we hang on to truth, eventually things will work out. Truth will triumph. Peace will triumph. Jesus Christ will triumph.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Medicine

Last night my grandson, Eli, came to visit while his parents went to a meeting. I’ve been so very fatigued all week and barely able to function that I’ve found myself constantly reaching for a Truth Tool to help lift and sustain me.

When Eli came I went out on the patio and rested while I watched and listened to him and his Pops play Indiana Jones. The first thing Eli wants when he comes here is his Jones hat. My husband has two such hats and he dons one and Eli wears the other. Once the hats were on the imagining started and there were snake hunts, wrestling with the bad guys, tiptoeing through spider infestations, and every other peril you can think of. But with Eli peril is never a negative experience. It is a wondrous adventure where laughter prevails and delight rules.

I have never in my life had such wonderful medicine! Eli’s laughter was infectious and I can’t even count how many times I laughed right out loud just from hearing him laugh. I smiled for hours as I watched him and was startled by the healing and strengthening power it brought me. If it weren’t for their unpredictability, I’d say the best thing we could do for cancer patients in a cancer ward is let five year olds run loose! It was the best I’ve felt all week. When he was exhausted, we made s'mores over the fire, then cuddled up on the lounge to watch the stars and he fell asleep beside me. It was the perfect evening!

To be honest, the power of his laughter has surprised me. I can still feel it working its healing magic inside of me. If you are hurting, go where there are children and listen to them laugh. A child’s laughter is medicine to the soul.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Yearning For Hot Milk Toast

For me, one of the interesting things about passing through these health challenges is how much it makes we yearn for the days when I was little. In those days when I was sick, Mother made everything better. I don’t know what your mother did—all mother’s do their own thing—but mine would make me a bowl of hot bread and milk. To this day, I love the sight, the smell, and the taste of hot milk toast. I can close my eyes and smell the sweet savor. I can see the pieces of toasted bread bobbing as Mom puts the tray in front of me. I can see the swirls of gold from little dabs of butter melting atop the milk. And on top of it all, float tiny specks of salt and pepper. I loved the hot bread and milk. It soothed. It nurtured. It healed. And as I struggle to be strong again, I find myself wanting to be the little girl—the one whose mother brought healing comfort in the form of hot milk toast.

This yearning made me think of something else. We often discuss the reasons God lets us pass through adversity in this life. It makes us strong. It teaches us to depend on Him. It is necessary for our eternal progression. It lets us serve others. It lets others serve us. It teaches us patience and faith. All those are good reasons, but today I think one of the most important reasons God lets us experience adversity in mortality is so that we’ll be homesick for Him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Surprise Finding!

I had enough energy to clean today! I never in my life thought I’d be rejoicing about cleaning, but it felt so good to be able to do something productive. The past few days I had one thing to do each day and in order to do it, I had to rest all day long. After that I came home and collapsed. But today I made it through the day and even accomplished some things.

It was a good lesson for me. Some of the things I think of as drudgery are actually a blessing. I hope I remember this when I have all my energy back. I didn’t do anything heavy, but I enjoyed dusting and sorting and wiping and making everything look better. Wow! I still can’t believe I’m saying that!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blessings Are On Their Way!

In Alma 41:2 there is a phrase that keeps me going through dark days. In that verse Alma says, “It is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order.” The word requisite means necessary or essential and comes from the same Latin root as the word require. This means that according to the Plan of Salvation, it is necessary and essential that all things be restored to their proper order. So what is that proper order?

Throughout the scriptures we are told that God intends for us to be happy. He wants us to have joy. He wants us to have peace, love, comfort, and all that is good. Therefore, the “proper order” is the order in which all good prevails.

This means that whenever we are suffering for any reason, sickness, abuse or persecution from other people, financial difficulties, stress, or whatever our adversity, we can be assured that if we endure it well, at some point we are going to be restored to good. All we need is to do our best to endure the trial and the Lord will do the rest. He is required to do so! He will compensate us.

So instead of fretting over trials, we can experience them as times of wonder like a child waiting for Christmas. The wait is difficult, long and hard, but it is tempered by the excitement that something wonderful is on its way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Have a Good Laugh on Me!

Anyone need a good laugh to cheer up their day? Well, I'm here to give it to you. I have a couple more pictures to share with you of the treatments. The first day we took pictures I forgot to take a picture of the after effect of my cage. Enjoy and keep chuckling all day. Laughter is incredible medicine for the spirit!

Me in the cage.

Me out of the cage.

This is what I looked like for about two hours after each radiation session. No wonder everyone stared at me! I look like I'm made of fish scales.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

God's Mysterious Ways

I wish I had the words to express all I am learning from Grizelda. But I am afraid that much of what I learn comes to me without words, and I can’t always adequately express what it is I know. But one thing that stands out in this experience is what I am learning about spiritual growth.

Confronting Grizelda has been a journey through dark, troubling places. But there are patterns in nature that teach us about the value of dark, troubling places. A caterpillar makes its own dark, tight place in which it endures for awhile and then miraculously comes out a butterfly. Imagine going from crawling laboriously along the ground to suddenly being able to fly! A flower struggles for weeks or months in the dark, deep soil before finally pushing up out of the ground to blossom and bask in the sunlight. A baby gestates for nine long months in the dark, depths of a mother’s womb—crowded, tight, waiting for the painful escape.

Likewise, enduring the worry, the stress, the pain, the unknown is a kind of dark, troubling experience that I know is changing me. Just as I can feel exercise make my body stronger, while traveling this journey I feel my spirit growing stronger. I am leaving behind old habits and old ways of negative thinking that limit and restrict me. I know I am being transformed and though I have a long, long way to go still, I am exhilarated by the knowledge that the Lord loves me enough to change me into something better. I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m bragging. That is not the intent. I'm far from what I eventually want to be. Instead I am trying to share my joy at what I am discovering about how the Lord works.

I am beginning to understand what the poet William Cowper meant when he wrote, “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.”

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm Radiated!

Today was the last of the radiation treatments! Now we just wait (months!) to see if Grizelda is gone. It has been an interesting experience, and I appreciate so much all of your prayers and love and concern. It means a lot to me.

My hair is growing back. I won't lose any more hair. I get to keep my cage as a reminder of this experience. Things should only get better from here on out! What more could I want!

Thank you everyone!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to ALL!

My mother, daughters, sisters and friends--some of the wonderful women in my life.
Unlike so many women I know, I love Mother's Day. I get to celebrate the fact that my wonderful, adorable mother put up with me for so many years! And that she still loves me even though I gave her grief! I get to rejoice in the fact that God shared ten of His children with me. Sure I messed up many times, but He sent His Son to make up for my failings and they will be compensated. But most of all, I get to smile when I hear all those stories in Church about other people's perfect mothers because I know that when I'm dead and gone my children will tell stories about how I was perfect, too.

I do know that many woman who aren't mothers and wish they were hurt. I can understand why they hurt on Mother’s Day. I can also understand how those whose children don’t love them back or who have strayed from righteousness hurt on Mother’s Day. But as we have talked about here in this blog, everyone hurts over something and this kind of pain is unnecessary pain. It is a choice!

On Mother's Day instead of hurting, there can still be rejoicing for your own mothers or for the concept of motherhood in general. You can use the Truth Tools to make Mother’s Day a day to rejoice in instead of making yourself hurt. For all who are tempted to choose hurt, you can Anchor yourself and feel the joy that surrounds you. You can Yield to the Spirit and let Him bring you peace. You can Rewrite your story. You can concentrate on the Atonement and the healing power it has for you and for your children. Through the Atonement you can be made the perfect mother! All mistakes can be eliminated because of Jesus Christ. What better thing to rejoice about?

For those who hurt because they aren’t mothers, pretend that for every rejoicing thought that you have on Mother’s Day, it means there is one more child you get to have for all the eternities. Use your imagination! Feel the arms of your adorable children around your neck. Whisper in their ear how much you love them. It really isn’t pretending. The promise from God is that every righteous woman will someday be a mother. So project yourself into the future and enjoy now instead of hurting. Wonder about them. Will they have dark hair or light? Blue eyes or brown? Use a little humor, after all the celestial diapering system has got to be better than the one we have here. Soak yourself in the delight of what will be instead of what isn’t yet! We are told that with God the past, present, and future are all one. With a little imagination, they can be one for you also.

In short, Mother’s Day can be a day of rejoicing for all women! Imagine the positive energy we could send out into the world if all of us choose to rejoice instead of regret.

So my prayer for all of you is that today you will rejoice and enjoy! Make it a Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

$131.79 For My Book--No Way!

I've had an unexpected surprise this Mother's Day. I've had people calling to find out if I still have copies of my book "Spiritually Centered Motherhood." I was a little shocked that people still wanted it, but I do have copies and was happy to oblige them. Their interest made me curious, and so I went to to see how many of my books are there and found that one of my other books, "Man, Woman, and Deity" (a book about marriage and the priesthood relationship between men and women) is being sold for $131.79! I can't explain that! That's a weeks worth of groceries!

But because of these two things, I realized that I ought to let you all know that I do have copies of both these books if anyone wants them. I don't want anyone paying $131.79 for my book!

Since the books have gone out of print, the publisher Bookcraft (now Deseret Book) gave me permission to print soft cover copies myself. They are $12.00 each plus $3.00 shipping, and if you are interested in buying one or both just email me. My email address is smillsjo (@)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Me In My Cage!

I thought today I'd share some pictures of the radiation process. It is fascinating. These are the two radiation therapists, Dallas and Darren, that are evicting Grizelda. And yes, that is me in the cage under my favorite red comforter. (It gets cold in that room holding still for an hour!)

This is Darren putting on my "cage"./> He's clamping it to the table so I can't move.This is me snug as a reptile in its skin! I'm trying to decide where I'm going to go for the hour. I ended up staying in the room and letting the angels come to me! I visited with my dad, daughter, grandmothers, a good friend and a few others. Talking to people when you control both sides of the conversation is nice. You ought to try it sometime!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Report of Day Two

While being radiated yesterday, I listened to Vivaldi and I went to Galilee. I listened to the Sermon on the Mount and then watched as the Savior mingled with the people. I love the beautiful paintings of the Savior among the people, but I’ve always been disappointed that there has never been a picture of Him laughing and seldom is He even smiling. I know He laughs and smiles because when the Spirit is with me smiling and chuckling are the natural way of being.

But that is the advantage of traveling in your imagination. You can make it happen. Listening to the Sermon was wonderful, but the best part was afterward when I watched the Savior tousle the hair of a young boy, and chuckle as another young boy delighted in a bug crawling on a low-hanging, tree branch. I watched Him smile as he saw a young mother tenderly cradle her sleeping child as the father protectively guided her through the crowd. But then something strange happened. Without me directing the thoughts, I was suddenly in Nauvoo and Joseph Smith was pulling stick with a large farm hand while a crowd of young boys cheered them on. Joseph won the stick pull and then he grabbed a young boy playfully and tousled his hair. They laughed and the others laughed too.

At that point I was disappointed that the session was over. What seemed like five minutes had been an hour. They let me out of the cage and we drove to the Timpanogos temple. After I got dressed for the temple session, I happened to pass a mirror and noticed that my face still had the imprint of the mesh cage. I looked like I’d been pressed in a waffle iron—like a character you’d find in a Dr. Suess book! I’m still laughing as I wonder what anyone who saw me thought!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm Surviving Radiation!

Yesterday I had my first radiating experience. It wasn’t bad and is extremely interesting. Last Friday a very kind radiation therapist named Dallas made a cage for my head that is used in all the radiation treatments. First he put a flat piece of what looks and feels like plastic mesh in hot water. He placed that over my head, pushed the edges down so that it formed around my entire head, and waited until it became hard. Along the sides and top of this contraption is a horseshoe shaped rim of plastic that is used to screw this “mask cage” to the table. In other words, while I am on the table they put this cage over my head, bolt it to the table so I can’t move even my eyelids, and then I lie there as still as possible for about an hour while they shoot at Grizelda with radiation.

The first thing most people ask me is if they give me anything like Valium. The answer is “No!” and I am thankful they don’t. I don’t like taking pills. The tools for Living In Truth that I’ve been writing about in this blog work much better without any side effects.

They do pipe whatever music I want into the room. The machine is so loud it is often difficult to hear the music, but when I can hear I Anchor on the sound and that keeps me content. In addition, I used the tool of Distraction. I have a wonderful imagination and yesterday I just traveled in my imagination to Nephi 17 where the Savior appears to the Nephites and I watched them kiss His feet. I watched Him heal them and watched as they rejoiced in their new health. I watched Him pray over them while they wept for joy, and watched Him take them in His arms and bless them. Before I knew it the hour was up and the therapists were congratulating me on how still I had been. I didn’t dare tell them I’d left and visited the Land of Bountiful.

Today I think I’ll go to Galilee and see what I can find there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I'm on my way to be radiated! I'm hoping that means from now on I'll be radiant! Don't laugh! A person can hope, you know.

Yesterday they called and said that I will need five days of radiation instead of three so the treatments will last until next Monday. On line I found several cases of lymphangioma that had been cured with the Cyberknife and that was comforting!

At any rate, if you see a shining woman with little hair walking down the street say hello--it's me!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ministering Love

Whenever a person goes through something like what I am they hear stories. Many people tell you about their friend or family member who had a similar problem. Most of the time these stories convince me that my problems are very small compared to others. Everyone has trials. Everyone’s life is filled with adversity. No one makes it through life without many, many challenges. Some of those challenges are obvious—health challenges, accidents, disasters. But most of the time we experience private challenges that no one sees and so no one talks about them. Often we have no idea of the burden others carry around.

This has made me realize that we should approach everyone as if they are in some way hurting. In that way we can minister love, concern, and hope to others. We are more ready to forgive and refuse to take offense because we attribute what they say or do to the fact that they are hurting. If by some slim chance they aren’t hurting, they can still benefit from a little love, concern, and hope and we benefit from being compassionate!

Realizing that everyone has some challenge to bear even if we can’t see it also makes us less self-centered. This journey of life is filled with pain for everyone, but helping each other through the pain is one sure way to make our own pain more bearable.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Today the sun appears, begins to warm everything up, then disappears again. It made me think about the words of a song, “There is hope smiling brightly before me.” The reason it reminded me of those words is because the sun today acts a lot like hope. Hope, like the sun, is shining even if clouds temporarily hide it.

It’s like taking off in an airplane on a cold, cloudy, winter’s day. For a few minutes you fly under the dreariness of the clouds looking down at a drab, dull world when suddenly things get worse. You enter the clouds and everything becomes all the more depressing. You can’t see anything! There isn’t even a drab, dull world to behold only thick oppressive clouds that hide your way. But suddenly the plane breaks through the clouds and bright, bright sunlight glistens on the wings and shines into the plane, and warms your very soul with delight.

Even though we can’t always see or feel the sun, it is shining. And even though we can’t always feel or see how things are going to turn out, hope is waiting. Hope is always brightly shining somewhere behind the dreariness. We just need to rise through the clouds and find it!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Grizelda Update

I have been asked a lot of questions so I thought I'd answer them here. First, What is a lymphangioma? Answer: "A large soft tissue tumor composed of cavernous lymphatic spaces. This condition is rare." (I've always been a very generic person, but now I have claim to being one in a million!)

The second question concerns treatment. There are four options:
(1) Do nothing and hope it will go away. In my case, since this occurred in adulthood and not at birth and since it is growing so fast and recurred after being surgically removed doing nothing would mean certain loss of vision in that eye.
(2) Treat with steroids. This would mean long, long term usage of steroids which would not be good for me because of all the side effects, and there is no guarantee that it would shrink the tumor.
(3) Surgery again. This would mean going deeper and being more invasive which would be extremely dangerous and would almost certainly cause blindness.
(4) Radiation with the CyberKnife. Of all the options this is the one most likely to preserve my sight. There are risks with this also, the main one being swelling that would cause the same problems as the tumor. However, they are going to treat for the swelling while doing the radiation and when they went in surgically last December they left a hole from the brain into the orbit which will allow for a little room for swelling.

The last question is whether I have sought a second opinion. I have five opinions. Four of the five concluded that it is lymphangioma instead of hemangioma and say radiation is my only choice to possibly save the vision. The fifth gave an opinion that applied to the hemangioma. In addition, since this condition is so rare one of the doctors sought out other opinions from his colleagues on the Internet.

This has been a very interesting experience. Many people have lovingly offered advice and suggestions. I appreciate it so much. It has made me feel so loved and cared for that at times it brings me to tears. Thank you.

I have been given a blessing that more miracles are on the way, so I am still at peace, and to be truthful, I am enjoying all I am learning. It is amazing what modern science can do. The CyberKnife was only invented in 1990 and has been refined several times over the years. It is a fascinating instrument.

Now, as we begin the radiation, please pray that it will work with no side effect! That is the miracle we are seeking!