Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still trying to figure out LIFE

I am on some heavy drugs here, I had just barely woken up from the anesthesia, and I'll tell you, the first thing I thought of when I saw this picture was, "Oh my gosh, I look HORRIBLE" My next thought was, "I am SO VAIN", and of course that led to ," I am so not humble after all". Why do I lead my thoughts right down the path of despair?Thank you for your thoughts about humility, I am still looking for more advice, so please comment on the humility one, or here, it's making for a very good Sunday School lesson for me!!

This sign is made the old fashioned way of wood burning, anybody remember those days? A couple of years ago, I was with a friend at a gift shop, and we laughed so hard when we read this, and I said "I have to have that, that is so me!!!" I want the Lord to lead my pathways , but I talk ENTIRELY too much, and say things that I should not say. Now that I have had this shoulder surgery, I had to let you see a picture of it because it applies more than ever now.

For instance, just Friday I went to see the cancer Dr. to check on my lab work, etc. and after I asked how I was doing,(referring to the blood work results), he said , "You're like Mary Poppins",and my mouth said, "why, do you think I am a phony?", he laughed and said, 'NO, remember when she measures the kids and herself, and she is "practically perfect in every way"...............oh my heck, I am such a ding dong, why did I call Mary Poppins a phony? What's up with that?" He is trying to say something positive and nice, and I say a stupid thing like that. A few years ago, my mouth was getting out of control, and I started praying at the beginning of each day that the Holy Ghost would warn me when I was about to say something stupid, and help me not to say it, and it worked. Obviously I need to start praying for that again.

This is after I woke up and got dressed one day, which WAS NOT easy, but you can see my hair is starting to grow even thicker and curlier now, but my VAIN side cannot stand it, the little Jay Leno gray thing in the middle, and the DARK salt and PEPPER haircolor. I am disappointed in myself that I even care, I am so thankful to have no cancer, and any hair at all, I need to be more grateful. That was one of my bits of advice last post, and I love it. Focus on what you DO have, instead of what you DON"T.

We have to have a quick peek at Kenya, now 6 1/2 months old. We found this darling dress at the Dickens Festival and gave it to her for Christmas, but this is the first day she wore it.....she is a dream baby, another "Mary Poppins" if I do say so myself.

I have been called to teach Primary and I had to show you some fun things (so I could cheer myself up). The kids are 6 turning 7, and just darling, I already love them so much. I have had to have Dale and Heather help me since the surgery, but today I did it all by myself. Heather gave me some good ideas on getting their attention, and they turned out so cute, you have to see them. One funny story I have to tell you first is the first week the lesson was on the war in heaven and how we all fit into this plan, I was explaining to the kids about voting for Jesus, and how we know that because we have a body, and the ones that voted for Lucifer didn't get a body. One of the children (who will remain anonymous) insisted that one of their parents had voted for Lucifer. I tried my hardest to convince them that wasn't possible because they were here on the earth. The child continued to tell everyone in the class that their parent HAD to have voted for Lucifer because that parent drinks alcohol, takes drugs, and smokes "smoke sticks". I could just see this child going home telling this parent that they learned in Primary about the vote in heaven and who voted for Satan. aaaahhhh! I did my best to convince the child that their parent indeed to vote to follow Jesus, but they forgot, and maybe that child could pray for that parent. "WHEW" This could be a tough class.

One of the next lessons was on the boyhood of Joseph Smith, and Heather suggested that I show them how his family had to clear the land, and then built a log cabin when he was a boy, so she and I made little trees out of large pretzels and broccoli, and we let the kids stick them in green styrofoam, and then we let them knock them over and pull them out to 'Clear the Land". Then we built a log cabin with precut pretzels, supposedly from the trees they knocked down, and then I gave them some farm items (from the grandkids toybox) and they turned that place into a "FARM" They loved it. If there was enough time, I was supposed to tell the story of how Joseph almost lost his leg at age 7, but I didn't want to scare them, so Heather suggested we play "Pin the leg on Joseph Smith", emphasizing that he DID NOT LOSE his leg, it just was a little handicapped. Dale could NOT BELIEVE we would think of such a thing and practically forbid me to do that. Oh well, we were just joking. But it would have kept their attention, don't you think?

OK, now on a more serious note, I wanted to show you something and tell you another neat story. The whole last year, (I found the lump in Feb of last I have been wearing a necklace with the word, "Trust" printed on it 3 times. We had purchased them for Young Women birthday gifts the year before. We told them that they could remember the 3 times meant, "Trust the Father, Trust His Son, and Trust the Holy Ghost" Well, once I started my journey of trials, it was a perfect reminder to me, so I wore it pretty faithfully. Recently, I went to my jewelery box and went to get it out and put it on. I saw the silver circle and grabbed it, but much to my surprise it didn't say "trust", it said "Remember". I felt chills down my spine, Nothing could have been more appropriate. I have gone through so much, yes, but I have learned so much more, and the ONLY way that this experience will benefit ANY of us, is if we "REMEMBER"..................remember what we've learned, I especially need to remember all of the feelings I have had, and the awesome spiritual experiences, and the love I have been shown. I knew this is what I am supposed to wear around my neck now, when I go to put on any jewelery.
I believe it was a message from Heaven. I "remember" now where that circle came from; a YW activity with the stake, but I had put in in my jewelery box and hadn't noticed it for over a year.

Now , the last item of business for today. I want to go to lunch and celebrate my "Mary Poppins" lab report. I will have a PET scan (an 11,000 dollar test) to look for any cancerous tumors in the body, but that is not until April 15th, and I feel that it will show that I am clear for this year, so................where do you want to go? I love the Fairway Grille because it's a slower pace restaurant, and we can go in the back of it, and I feel relaxed enough to be able to sit a while and talk. If there are no objections to that, then we need to pick a day. Heather will be here next Tuesday to help pay tribute to her basketball coach from High School, we're hoping to get Krystal here too. That would be Feb 10th, if not then, possibly the end of the month when I could get K & H here together. Tell me what you think. LOVE YOU ALL, Karen

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How do you know if you have humility?

As you know, I had my shoulder surgery on the 15th, about 10 days ago and I am doing fine. I understand that I came out of anesthesia waving Hi to everyone and laughing..................,yeay for Dr. Arnie Graff!!!
Tara will help me add pictures in a couple days, but for tonight I have something on my mind. The last year I feel has truly humbled me. Recently, I felt annoyed at a large bulky sling on my right arm and hand and suddenly realized I am not humble at all. I am a spoiled brat.
I was irritable at my precious family.
So. how do I know when I have truly become HUMBLE? I thought I was doing so good, so if you THINK you are doing good, does that mean you are really not humble at all.? I have SO MUCH to be grateful for. Especially now, this arm thing is temporary and not life threatening, My last lab report looked very good, and I am feeling less frightened all the time about the future. My family has been awesome and helpful and I feel VERY loved. So just for this blog entry, I am asking for some advice....spiritual advice..... how can I become humble and stay that way and know it at the same time? Is it possible?
By the way, I did have about 48 hrs of memory loss and extreme pain right after surgery, that may have started my irritability,but this is the very thing I want to overcome, as Joseph B. Wirthlin said recently, "Come what may, and Love it" ................Help me, I love you all 4-ever, Karen

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Blog Book

Hi everyone, this is Heather. My mom asked me to answer some of your questions about the book I made her for Christmas. If you'd like to turn your blog into a book, you can check out BLURB.COM, which is the website I used. It has some software that you download to your computer (free of course) and then it will take your blog and "slurp" it into a book. It gives you the option to customize it (add pictures, change spelling, text, etc) and it also lets you choose what background colors and themes you want, how you want the pictures to lay out, etc. It wasn't hard at all, but it was a bit time consuming, mainly because it does NOT automatically take the comments from your blog (which are sometimes the best part!) I had to copy and paste them all in. (Which by the way, YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!! All those comments were just amazing and so uplifting. Thanks for being such wonderful friends to my mom. And don't worry, all spelling bloopers were corrected!!)

There are other websites that offer a similar thing, but this one worked the best for me, and I'd heard from other people that the books turn out great, and that proved to be true.

A few hints: If you use blogger and want BLURB to find your blog, it asks you to sign in. It asks for your username, but if you do not add "" at the end, it will tell you it can't do it. So make sure you put

Also, it gives you a warning about your pictures being "low resolution". I had several pictures come up saying that, but I could see in the preview that they looked okay. I went ahead and published the book anyway, and they looked fine. If you have sharper, higher resolution pictures on your computer, definitely use them, but if the blog pictures are all you've got, use them. If they are blurry in the preview, they will be blurry in the final published book as well, so just keep that in mind as you choose pictures.

If you have any other questions or need any help, feel free to e-mail me at heatheresplin AT yahoo DOT com.

Finally, my mom is having surgery on her (torn) rotator cuff on Thursday of this week. We will do a post after that to let you know how it went.

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's a New Year

Guess what I got for Christmas? ...................My blog.....................Made into a BOOK!!

Heather spent a lot of time and a little bit of money (about $50) taking everything I had put into my blog over the last 9-10 months, including pictures and comments from all of you and had it made into a book. I LOVE IT. It will remain a treasure to me. I never want to forget all the things I have learned while I was "cleaning out my closet". And most of all, I never want to forget the encouragement that so many of you gave me............. which was a priceless gift.

Then to round out the holidaze, just like many of you here in St. George, we got snow in December!! It's rare, and our kids had school cancelled one day because of it. This is on our trampoline in the front yard. It has become a favorite for ALL ages, ANY time of the year. The frame is falling apart, so I asked for a new one for Christmas (the old one being 20 yrs old), but these kids are on the old one, and you can see we'll need to put up the new one pretty soon.

These next few pictures are of 3 of my granddaughters. The three youngest before Annaliese was born in November. KYLA, 18 mos (Krystal's youngest), KENYA, 5 mos, (Tara's youngest), and KALIA,16 mos (Heather's oldest)
One of my favorite roommates from Dixie College over 30 years ago, Ann Mitchell is a HUGE Jazz fan, and she bought these cute baby Jazz outfits , and we gave them to the girls for Christmas.

OK, now it's time to talk about the NEW YEAR. I think we are all wondering what we are in for with our country, and with our economy. When someone has health problems such as I have had in the past year, that really isn't my first concern. Health is the wealth I want. I am continuing to get positive test results from Doctors, but those will continue to bring me concern and fear for several years to come. I am truly trying to live up to the commitments I have made to the Lord Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. I want to truly have made a LIFE CHANGE, not just an insincere gesture. On the days when I feel normal strength returning, I immediately can see how easy it is to forget the humility I have felt since last March. I am determined to NOT let those feelings last for long. I am giving up some of the things I used to spend my time doing, and replace them with more fulfilling things that will be of value to me eternally. My husband being number one, my family, my scripture study, my temple attendance, my patience and tolerance, my understanding and forgiveness of others are all among the ones that are going to get more of my energy and attention.

I will have surgery in the next two weeks to repair my torn rotater cuff in my right shoulder, and I will have my arm and hand in a sling for 6 weeks. I think the Lord wants me to SLOW down and keep learning at His feet.

Dale has requested that I use whatever energy I have to heal my body so that I will have more energy later to give to this family. Sometimes I get a little out of focus and use my energy on things of less importance. 6 weeks should give me some more time to SLOW down, don't you think? Driving isn't going to be happening for several weeks, neither will much housework get done with my left hand. I am going to join the ward choir, sign up for an institute class, and I am now an official Primary teacher to 4 six year olds. I will focus on that. I was set apart yesterday by a member of the bishopric and given a blessing. I was told that I had much more work on this earth that I need to do, and he blessed me with increasing good health. I was elated!! Today, I saw the Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Ray Richards, and when I told him that, he said "Yeah, but you do things so fast, you'll probably get them all done really quick" I laughed, but I thought, wow, I really do want to SLOW down.

When I went to sign up for the Institute class, the sweet Sister asked me how old I was, I thought that was kind of odd, but when I told her I was 50, she said "We can't accomodate people your age here in our institute anymore". I thought she was kidding, but she wasn't. We older people have to take religion classes elsewhere now. I found one at night over at the Snow Canyon Seminary that is about the Gospels in the New Testament. Perfect for my quest of learning about the Savior.

As for this last picture, I had to save it for last because it makes me cry. 25 years ago, I wanted a night out with some young moms like me once a month, so I created "Club" I invited 5 others to join me to play "Rook", which I think we have done twice in 25 years, but we have invited more to be part of the club so we could "Spread our wings", and really do some fun and interesting things. Now, 25 yrs later, we have a VERY bonded group. We even have a group checking account that we use for wedding gifts, etc.

From left to right is" Front Row:

Me, with no hat, Kim Esplin, Brenda Graff, and Iona Syphus.

back row L to R: Elizabeth Adams, Kristine Gardener, Darla Lyman, Sheri Feller, Lori Hafen, and Shauna Stout (Oliver now)

We have shared everything from having babies, to learning how to raise righteous children, sending some on missions, losing our parents, and even losing one spouse (Shauna's husband Orvil). Five years ago, we faced our first fear of cancer. Kristine was diagnosed with Leukemia. Miraculously they found a drug (pill) that she could take and she has been in remission for 5 years or so. This last year of course we face a new cancer with my breast cancer and chemo. The day this picture was taken (the 12th of Dec) we had gotten together to strengthen Kristine because she has new diagnosis. Stage 3 lung cancer. We fasted together and prayed together. She started chemo right after this and will probably do radiation at the same time because it has metastsized between the lungs and lymph nodes. I have CRIED A LOT. The statistics of survival are about 16 %. We love each other very much, and these experiences are just bringing us closer together. Please pray for Kristine. She has 7 children, the youngest being 12 yrs old.

I have shared many thoughts and feelings with her about my experience, but all of a sudden mine pales in comparison.
Once again, I thank you for taking the time to read this blog, and send me encouragement through your comments/

I do want to give thanks to all of you for helping me when I needed it so badly. Here is my first chance to "Pay it Forward"

Love you all, Karen