Sunday, November 21, 2010

Everything That's Broken Gets Fixed :)

I started this blog 2 1/2 yrs ago, with the help and encouragement of my daughters. It was intended to be a resource for loved ones to check in and see how I was doing with my cancer treatments without having to bother me in case I was feeling sick. I loved sharing my experiences and used it as an avenue to express gratitude for so many kindnesses shown to me. I got a lot of comments that were VERY uplifting and helpful to my situation.

It's over 2 yrs later now, and I have had to ask myself,
"why do you still have a blog?"

The young moms I notice have a fun place to post their family journal, and others that care can watch each other's families grow up. It is very enjoyable for me to peek in on some of your blogs. It is almost always about all the happy things going on in someones life. I think of it as your "Gratitude Journal", which I believe is a very good thing for all of us to have, public or not.

Then I realized, this Karen the Kancer Killer is really my Gratitude Journal. I still am a cancer patient, just one in remission for now. I hope to never have active cancer again, but cancer has it's own agenda, and no one is guaranteed to be free of it forever. At least not in this life.

Since my health has returned to what some would call "normal", I notice my posts have been about lessons I have learned and continue to learn almost on a daily basis, even though I post once a month, or less.

If you are reading this, I hope you will let me know if you get anything from my posts. I really am doing it for myself, but I also feel so worthwhile if others can benefit from something I say. I get so much, (everything really) from what others say, and I usually try to let them know because almost everyone I meet makes a difference in my life. I think it is human nature to want to feel involved, included and worthwhile to society and others around them.

This lesson I want to share with you today is about a time when I felt like I was "broken". As a matter of fact, it isn't just ONE TIME I felt this. I feel it pretty much on a weekly basis at one time or another. For the last few months, feelings have been HAUNTING me about what a "Loser" I am. When I feel more positive, I think how silly it is that I could even accept such ridiculous thoughts. I am NOT A LOSER! 52 yrs of living has helped teach me the truth.

Yet, I get sucked in time after time. It seems like my own voice is the one that says these nasty things to me.
I looked for pictures in my file to post along with this blog. You might find them funny, it was HARD to find anything about feeling sad because we in this world of ours have learned to celebrate the FUN things in life with PICTURES. so yes, these pics are a little lame, but hear me out, I think I can make a point.
this is Kimmy's friend, Hannah Larsen, one of the most popular and beautiful girls at Desert Hills High School. This was a rare moment when Kimberlee caught her just thinking. The slight smile on her face says she is not really all that sad, but I am sure we all have our "thought provoking" moments.
This is our sweet's a joke of course. This pic was taken last Thanksgiving when we celebrate with "bubbly grape juice"
It did make me think of some of us when we might feel like GIVING UP, I know many who drink their cares away, only to have them return the next morning.
Ever felt like taking a drink, a strong drink?
Sometimes do we feel like nothing ever goes right? These 5 siblings were devastated to lose their mother AND father, yes it is very depressing. Most of them don't like to visit their graves, but I insisted. The fact that no one is looking is another reminder that sometimes we try our hardest to get the picture right, or the meal just right , or the kids dressed up and clean and neat, and IT JUST DOESN"T WORK, nothing seems to go right!!!!!!!!!!
This is Kimmy, it looks like she is on her phone, the closest thing I could find with Kimberlee not LAUGHING and smiling in a picture. From her file, you would think her life is NOTHING BUT FUN, and full of everything right.

What we don't document are the moments that we feel rotten. We don't take pictures of that usually.

And it is probably for the best.

Sometimes it feels that whatever I do, I can't "get it together". Then I think, well , I have a whole life time to "Learn to Get it Together"
This is the lesson I have learned. Once you have had cancer, and you know it could return at any time,...............................

Neither do you,............. we never know.................we know that.
So, I decide to do the best I can.
Cancer has taught me to ACCEPT the things I cannot change,
To change the things I can,
And Pray for the Wisdom to know the difference.

I have learned for myself, THE ONE THING I CAN CHANGE IS MY THOUGHTS

That's why it is so helpful to listen to things that others say. It goes into my mind and I think it over, and when I change my thoughts, I change how I feel.
Yep, me, all by myself.............................I CHANGE THE WAY I FEEL.

Before I give you my most recent words from other people that help, let me say,
THIS IS NOT A DESTINATION. Changing the way you feel is a CONSTANT in our life.
I am sure you have heard the only thing constant in our life is CHANGE. (It's almost perfectly true. There are other constants such as GOD'S LOVE, something I am about to address)

I heard a wonderful thought (from someone else)
It says:

"Happiness is a City, in the State of Mind"

One day when I was feeling like a loser, I came across some notes I had taken in a meeting several years ago, pre-cancer as a matter of fact.

These words are from Jeffrey R. Holland, an apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
He has had bad days................he's human.............. he understands.....................
and so does Jesus Christ...............................he had more than a few bad days, and a horrific ending to his earthly life where He experienced ALL of our "BAD" days.

I got the title of this post from one of his comments.
He said,

He started off his message with a verse from a hymn, 4th verse to How Firm a Foundation.

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless
And sanctify to thee, thy deepest distress."

Some days we will feel like it's never the dawn of a new day. But when it does,..........................

think of it this way, it's the "Break of Day" that brings new light. (note the word break)

He went on to say, "God loves broken things............He made alot of them. If you feel broken, you've got a lot of company" ( I loved that............I like crowds)
God is with you and is aware of what's broken and He is capable to heal it.

Let's remember how good it is to be "Broken"

he quotes a song written by Kenneth Cope:

"Broken clouds.........give rain.........
Broken soil.............................grows grain..............
Broken storms..........yield light...............
The break of day heals night .........(I LOVE this one) Many nights have been dark to me.
Broken bread feeds man.........................
Broken walls make friends...................................

Last of all..................................Broken is a good thing...................
when we experience a "Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit"
I could never understand this phrase when I was younger.

One day I got it, someone (notice others taught me) was teaching about a
Horse being "Broken", it meant to break their rebellious attitude into a
submissive and cooperative spirit. These horses were transportation
for many that came before us, they are meant to be tame, but we
have to "break" them.
Our hearts are the same.................when it's TOUGH AND HARD and REBELLIOUS,
it's not doing what it is MEANT to do.
A broken heart is easy to mold, and work with.
I made 2 hearts out of fabric to illustrate this in a lesson once.
The one heart was CLEAR FULL of hard dirt. It was hard as a rock
You couldn't move it in any way.
The other heart was soft and pliable.

I understood... The pride is what is "Broken"................
Then, and only then........................are we

I love being taught by others, I want to be teachable
Cancer has helped me be much more teachable................

So on days, (or moments as I like to refer to them.........that way it doesn't ruin a WHOLE DAY)
when you or I feel like we are BROKEN,.....................
remember................GOD LOVES BROKEN THINGS

He made a lot of them. We are in good company.
Let's see if we can take our "Brokenness" and turn it into GOOD.

I believe we can.

Even though I don't know who is reading this right now, I feel LOVE
for you, isn't that strange?
I feel so grateful for all of you that have taught me so many lessons.
I don't come up with all these ideas by myself.
We are a team................we help each other........... I love that.

It reminds me of a verse of scripture
"Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not."

I hope to get some feedback, not because I need to be validated, but
because your words feed my soul, and teach me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why am I so lucky?

Why am I so lucky? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Why was I born in the United States of America? Why do I have a roof over my head and a soft comfy bed and air conditioning?

Why am I a cancer survivor? Some don't survive as long as I have.
There is something called SURVIVORS' GUILT, do I have it?? .......................Sometimes.
So many others don't have the same things I do.

I know there are others with much more than me, but for some reason I don't feel jealous or deprived anymore like I used to when I was young...... I feel lucky...........and blessed.

But how does this all work? How is it that I have many blessings that I do not deserve?

I go to cancer support groups weekly. I realize that I am different than anyone else there. Everyone there is different from everyone else. How does it fit together that we all have different blessings, and a multitude of different challenges?

I have thought about this before, and believe it or not, I haven't ever traveled outside the United States (with the exception of Tijuana when I was in 8th grade with my Spanish class.) I hear other people say how blessed we are to live here.
Before cancer I never appreciated it.

I was listening to a song, (I know that surprises you, ;) but I love music)

Michael McLean wrote it and it is called "One of the Lucky Ones"
As I listened,............... a flood of thoughts came to my mind.
I agreed....................................... "YES, WHY AM I ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES?

He tries to answer that question, and it is an intriguing answer to me. One I am still figuring out.
Help me if you will.

This is a map of Argentina, in the blue area is Mendoza. My son, Jonny is living there right now. It's a little less luxurious than our lovely city of St George, and state of Utah.

He saved up about $7000 before he left for this 2 yr mission, to help pay for his expenses since he won't have any income while he is there. He doesn't look too deprived, he actually looks happy, doesn't he?

It doesn't appear that "things" are making him happy. I know his food budget is about $25 a week, and he probably would love to have more food to eat, but he doesn't seem to notice that.

I actually think he is enjoying sharing his message of Eternal Families, and teaching the people there how to accomplish that. He is teaching them about Jesus Christ, and giving them hope.
Not comfy beds, or air conditioning, but HOPE!

These sweet little precious kids are 4 of my grandkids. They have no idea how lucky they are. I think I heard my parents, mostly my mom, say that to me a few times. She was right. I had no idea how lucky I was.

They have a terrific mother and father, they have all the food and clothes they need, and lots of good lovin', and then they get to live 10 minutes from this beautiful temple. They sing a sweet song, "I love to see the temple , I am going there someday".
Childhood is precious. They are lucky!

when I see the face of this sweet thing, I am reminded of priceless relationships. She reminds me of all that is good. So pure and sweet. She represents all 10 of my grandchildren, that I am privileged to have and to get to be around several times a year, sometimes more. I have a car and money for gas to go see them, and

Here are the words to the song that really got me thinking,


I am a lucky one,............ one of the lucky ones.

Watching a photograph of a terrible loss

nobody seems to be sure how much damage was done

or how much it will cost

Oh why am I one of the lucky ones?

Why can I fly when so many cannot run?

Why does a stranger who’s dreams were denied

have me wondering why I’m one of the lucky ones

I am a lucky one, don’t know how this could be fair

to be one of the lucky ones

Could have been me who could have been there

I can hear voices unspoken, they’re calling my name

and the eyes of those who’ve been broken

keep on staring at me begging me to explain

Why am I one of the lucky ones?

Why can I fly when so many cannot run?

And why does a stranger who’s dreams were denied

have me wondering why I’m one of the lucky ones?

This yearning I feel..... it won’t go quietly

The answer I seek is somewhere inside of me

Oh why am I one of the lucky ones?...................................

Now I know why ...................................

... I know why I can fly when so many cannot run!

..........A stranger’s misfortune brings a promise tonight

that I’ll do what’s right,

and feel someone’s plight

and help them take flight

like one of the lucky ones.…

(could I help to...........) Bless the unlucky ones?

Maybe like Jonny is??

Could we do more to help others? Could it be possible that all of our blessings are in reality a RESPONSIBILITY to help. What do we learn from all of us being "Different"?

Does everyone play a different part?

Is there any good in the world that I could do today?

Cancer has really changed the things I think about, and I am

SO LUCKY to be one of the lucky ones.

I think I will go find some good to do today!!

All my love to you, .............Karen

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fixing My Heart Condition

Before I talk about my heart condition, I would like to clarify something about my last post.
I had a few people mention that it was hard to figure out, and understand it.
I was trying to be discreet, but my point was,
that I have tried so hard to let cancer make me a better person.
I thought there for a while that I was going to be better. Well, ok, I will be totally honest, it has made me a better person. I just wanted it so badly to be permanent, and MAJOR, so that I would be able to put my "out of control" self behind me forever!!

I have had moments of being "out of control" since I was about 2 yrs old.
I have enough energy to REALLY get in a rage if I let myself. It is a challenge to keep it in check, but I had been steadily, since becoming an adult, getting better. Since cancer and all that went with it, I have not had a meltdown with anger at all. I wanted it to stay that way, thus after my episode, I felt horrible.
I was very disappointed in myself that I got upset and lost control of my emotions.
My point? if I will just "REMEMBER" all of my blessings, especially my Savior that already took my "outbursts" upon him, then I can stay more calm, and let more things roll off my back.
I was telling myself, as well as all of you, that REMEMBERING is hard to do, but crucial to our emotional , well my emotional, well-being!

BTW, the person I had the falling out with was a family member, and the person that I felt like "threw me under the bus" was also a family member, just in case your mind was imagining otherwise.

I thought I would have a "little" heart procedure to help my heart stop racing (at 200 beats a minute) but it ended up to be slightly more than a "little".

25 years ago, I had my first episode of tachycardia. The Dr. assured me that it was not serious, and all I needed to do was tighten up and do some vaso-constriction, like coughing or sneezing, or grunting, and it would stop.
Well, it worked. It stopped. Then it happened again, about 6 mos. later. For the next few years, it only happened a few times. It was no big deal, maybe 3 or 4 times a year, and each time I could get it stopped after only a minute or two of racing.
I figured it was my "racing" personality.
(The doctors say that has nothing to do with it, but do you buy that?)
After many years, it happened a little bit more often, maybe 4 or 5 times a year. A couple of times, it wouldn't stop with the vaso-constriction and I had to lie flat on the floor, and that seemed to work after about 3 or 4 minutes.
There was no rhyme or reason to WHAT would make it start. Sitting still sometimes would trigger it, Eating a LOT of food sometimes triggered it. Bending over often triggered it.

After chemotherapy, it was much different. Now it was happening several times A WEEK! I couldn't get it stopped when it did happen. One day it happened 7 times!! One time it happened at a lecture I was listening to and I had to go out in the lobby and lay on the floor.
The amount of time was increasing to 10 -15 minutes each time, aaaaaahhhhhhh.

More recently, I was sitting in the temple and after 15-20 minutes of it happening, I was starting to get a head ache, and feeling nauseous. I had to leave the temple session and lay on the floor out in the hall, while everyone in the room waited for me. Embarrassing.!!
I knew it was time to do something. I LOVE to get anesthesia anyway, cuz I come out feeling SOO SOO GOOD!! Eric caught these pictures on his phone after surgery, and I was being quite silly, he said. I know I do feel good, and relaxed, and I love everybody, and that includes all the employees at the hospital!! I said lots of funny stuff. ( they tell me)

The Heart Doctor told me that he could do a procedure called "Ablation", where they could go in to my heart with instruments, going through the femoral veins, and find the electrical "short", and just fix it with radio-frequency waves, or something like that.
He made it sound like no big deal. Going into my heart sounded like a big deal, but I was SICK AND TIRED of laying on the floor everywhere I went. Laying on a public bathroom floor next to cockroaches really set me off, and made me decide to have the surgery, this was ridiculous.

After wearing a monitor for 2 weeks, they discovered the exact problem, and said I could take medication, or have the surgery. Since I have no patience, and love anesthesia, I said, "LET"S FIX IT NOW"
So we did.

When I woke up 4 hours later, I kinda freaked out when I felt this big bandaid on my neck and found out they also went through my "JUGULAR" vein to make a "triangle" in my heart to fix it. I guess they gave me meds to make my heart "race" while I was on the table, then he zapped some places that were misbehaving, and then gave the meds again, and my heart didn't race,

"voila", I was fixed!!!
I think I was in surgery about 2 hours and in recovery about an hour. The tough part was that they made me keep "still" for 7 more hours.
I guess the jugular vein needs to start to heal before you get up and run around, which you all know I would do!! :)
The only after effect I had was a headache if I bent over for the next 3 days, so I didn't bend over, and then there was a LARGE bruise on my neck that I had to explain to everyone.

I thought it was funny if I said, "well, I just talk too much, and Dale had finally had it", but pretty much everyone thought that wasn't funny. Too much abuse now days to be kidding around about it. I thought a "hicky" was a good excuse, although that story made me look like I had know................a little ...................promiscuous, and I didn't like that.
Most everyone thought I had been in a car accident and the seat belt was across my neck. That was the most believable story.

I am happy to say that I am "FIXED" now.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if Everything was that easy??

Actually, isn't is AMAZING what they can do now days to fix people up. I think we have wonderful health care, and I am a little afraid of what the medical world will be like 10 yrs from now, but for today, I am grateful................ so very grateful.................. for smart doctors and health insurance!! They have literally saved my life, more than once.

Oh BTW, since having my heart fixed,
I think I am getting more blood flow to my brain, and I am smarter..............
.tee hee...........................I haven't had any more meltdowns,
or outbursts of anger.............................

so see, I really am FIXED!!!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Natural Man is back: REMEMBERING is the Antidote

Well, it was an interesting week last week. This week is better.

I want to stay "Afloat", like I talked about 2 posts ago. But alas, that is not possible to ALWAYS stay in that mode.

A profound thought came to me on Memorial Day when a Christian group was fighting us for our reserved spot at the park. Some of them were acting very UNKIND.

When I found out that they were a Christian group, I laughed, but these words came out of my mouth without any pre thought.

"Well, it's hard to be HUMAN and a CHRISTIAN at the same time.......................
I KNOW, I have tried it!!"

I surprised myself. That was such a true statement, but honestly, I had NEVER had that thought before. Yes, I thought, that is why I have trouble sometimes, because I am human.

Of course, the scripture came to mind, Mosiah 3:19

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

Well, the next week, I was having some hurt feelings from someone that I care about and respect. I thought I would take my feelings to them in private and work it out in kindness and love.
My plan was foiled.
I was unexpectedly put into a situation where this person wanted to hear what my issues were and we were in the presence of others.
I did my best to stay calm and express my concerns.
I didn't get the response I had hoped for.
I wanted something like this, "Oh, Karen, no, honey, I didn't mean any of that to hurt you, I AM SO SORRY! , I will explain how all this happened and you will see how much I love you and how all those things that hurt you were MIS understood!, Oh please forgive me, I really am sorry, I will fix everything and make it all better and you will feel better"

That is not what happened.

This someone thought I was nuts to create such crazy things in my mind. I was
"analyzing" too much. (I knew that was true to some extent)
There was no apology, because I was the one wrong, not them.

I tried my hardest to help this person understand why I could have gotten mixed

Then, much to my chagrin, the people that were listening in, who were others I loved,
started agreeing,(one of them did anyway), and that is when I started to feel :

Then I started to feel ANGRY, kinda like a natural man would.! :)

After two people left, I LOST IT with the one who had thrown me under the bus.


All of my previous negative behaviors came out. I can't believe I am telling my blog about this.

There is a method to my madness however.

Once upon a time, I saw someone in Relief Society take a paper lunch sack, and blow into it, and then punch it, and pop it.
She related it to we as women who "BLOW UP".
She then said, " Now what do you have?"
We looked at the bag, all torn up and no longer usable.

I got the picture!

I saw myself looking just like that bag about an hour after my anger gave way to depression.

I was very disappointed in myself.
I haven't done that in a LONG LONG time.

How could this be? I was feeling so tolerant, and compassionate, and not easily offended.
I thought I was understanding of others now days. I knew that when someone was unkind , it was just because THEY were hurting somewhere in a hidden place.

I felt sorry and said the words more than once, " I am so sorry", (to my bus thrower)

That wasn't enough for me, I knew that. I have made too much progress to just let this go with a simple I am sorry.
I did an evaluation ( well that's what I do )
I will call it ANALYZING..............:)


AHA, there was an antidote to my "natural man"
I knew it then, and I have known it all along, for A LONG time.

It is a simple thing to say but not TO DO:


Remember what ? you might ask.
There are so many things to remember, which one is it now?

YOU ARE RIGHT, there is SO MUCH to remember, and I can't do it without a notepad and paper for sure.

THIS one does need physical reminders for me.
I have them everywhere, but I still forget.

Let me start with D and C 20: 77
.............that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee,................and always remember him..................... ALWAYS????

next verse 79 remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them;.............that they do always remember him..................... ALWAYS??

President Kimball said the most important word in the English language is "REMEMBER"

Remember Jesus, I have been taught, and remember the commandments, and remember the GOOD that the Lord has done for me.
At this stage, I have MUCH to remember................MY CANCER YEAR FOR ONE THING....

Karen, how can you forget all the blessings you have been given, and continue to be given on a daily basis?

How can you forget all those sweet feelings you had about LOVE for others, kindness, and peaceful calmness that you felt ALL through your chemo days.

I was SO humble during chemo. Do I want to go through that again just so I can learn how to be calm and kind, and keep my temper under control. Actually I thought my temper was gone, but it wasn't. I am sad about that.

Let me tell you some things that I have done to help me REMEMBER lately. Even though I lost it, Dale reminded me about relapses..........

That's what I had.................a relapse................anyone ever had one?

Dale said it's like a flat tire.
We prepare for flat tires by always carrying a spare. We don't necessarily EXPECT to have a flat tire, but sometimes it happens. We can do our best to make sure our tires are in good shape and take care of them, but sometimes things happen.
When they do, we don't give up on the journey, wherever it was that we were going., Do we? We might feel a little frustrated, but getting mad at the tire is not going to fix it.
WE are going to fix it, by using our spare.
We will continue on our journey, even if we had a bit of a problem getting there.
We will then get another spare to make sure we are always prepared, and we will do our best to avoid another one, but sometimes we CAN'T!
It just happens.

I will try again.

I have a picture of Jesus coming out of the tomb as He was resurrected on my dashboard of my car, I think of Him often and REMEMBER HIM. He offers His help, and His understanding.

Most recently, about six weeks ago, I set out to do the impossible for me: memorize a declaration called , "The Living Christ".

I am not good at memorizing. (especially when I tell myself that I can't ..............hhhmmmmm)

I have repeated over and over words and thoughts about the SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, things about His life and His goodness.

I love that. It helps me to "REMEMBER".

In a book I was reading last night, I read a line that hit me. It was talking about Mary and Martha in the New Testament and how Jesus told them that Mary had chosen "one needful thing". The author went on to talk about what that needful thing is;

She said it's the Savior and His gospel, she said................

.............."We need HIM"

I know that.
I believe that.

Imagine what would have happened if I hadn't had these REMINDERS in my life.

What would my "Natural Man" outburst have been like, I shudder at the thought.

I want you all to know that I am far from perfect. But then again, perfect people don't need a SAVIOR, do they?
I need him.
I want to encourage myself, by writing this, to KEEP REMEMBERING!!
It is worth it.
I want to remind myself to keep picking myself up, and keep on my journey.
Relapses happen. I will do my best to say I AM SORRY, and try again.



Monday, May 10, 2010

To Know Her is to Love Her

This is not Karen- it's Heather, daughter #2. I didn't get the chance to REALLY tell my mother how much I love her, how much I admire her, and how much I hope to be like her. And I don't want Mother's Day to come and go without her knowing. So, surprise mom. Happy Mothers Day.

I'm writing tonight to tell you about one of the greatest mothers on the planet. Yes, that would be my mother. I know, I know, you also have an amazing mother too. But I have to brag about my wonderful mom. She is incredible. She is worth emulating. I am going to post this on both my blog and here, so that LOTS AND LOTS OF PEOPLE CAN READ IT! Because all the world should know that Karen Esplin is LOVED and CHERISHED. Well, the world probably already knows it, because to know her is to love her, but I want to make sure SHE KNOWS IT!!!
Here's my beautiful mother, and her beautiful mother. I know she is missing her today too. So this is partly for her as well, since that beautiful mother raised MY beautiful mother! Have I confused you yet? Let's get started.
20 reasons why my mom is the most amazing mom in the world:
1. She is full of charity. I have grown up watching her give service for my entire life. She cared for my great-grandma, fully stricken with Alzheimers, in our home, for years. Here's the best part. Sometimes my great-grandma would stay with other members of the family, but when she stayed with my mom, she thrived. My mom would not only feed her, change her diapers, bathe her, and wipe her bottom, but she would paint her nails, dress her up nice, and put her hair in rollers, like they do at the salon. She made her beautiful. She would sing hymns with her late at night. My grandma couldn't even remember our names anymore, but she remembered her hymns, and my mom would sing them with her. We were very impatient with Grandma Great sometimes (us kids)-- she would ask us 852 times per day, "What's your name? What am I supposed to be doing today." (It breaks my hurt just to remember it, and how many times I would just simply ignore her, because I was tired of answering.) But my mom, she loved that lady so much, and showed us, by her example, the way we should treat others, especially the elderly. It wasn't even her blood relative, yet she loved her and served her with a pure, Christlike love That's just the kind of person my mom is.

You know what else is a good example of her charity? When all 6 of us were finally in school, and she finally had time to relax at home alone, she started seeking out young mothers with lots of small children, and then she would tell these mothers that she was going to take all of their kids, for several hours, every single week, just so they could have time to themselves. I admired it then, but now, being one of those young mothers (who would kill for a few hours a week all to myself) I just love her so much more, for being that kind of example to me- of how to serve others.

2. She is diligent. She is so dedicated to what she knows is right. For as long as I can remember, she would get up at 5:30 a.m. EVERY WEDNESDAY so that she could go to an early morning session at the temple. Dad helped do our hair on those mornings, and got us off to school. My mom still goes to the temple more than anyone I know besides the 12 Apostles (who also go weekly). In fact, a few years ago, she started doing "back to back" endowment sessions-- one session to clear her mind, and then a second session to really focus and learn. Come on! How amazing is that!!
3. She is a convert- she got baptized at age 14 (before her parents even) and after an awesome BYU experience, she became one of the most faithful Latter Day Saint women I have ever seen.
4. She is a super-cleaner! She is happiest when her house is clean, and she knows all kinds of tricks to make things spic and span. She cleaned other people's vacation rentals and condos for a few years, and the word-of-mouth business got her so busy that she eventually quit it all- she didn't want to sacrifice her time with her family (and she didn't want to have to pay self-employed taxes for heavens sake!)
5. She is supportive of me and what I go through- I am a lot like her. Probably the most like her of any of her children. And it sure is nice to be able to call her up and get her perspective on things. She was once right in my shoes- young and married, with two little girls 14 months apart. Struggling to make it work, to accept that perfection wasn't possible, and trying to be a good mother. She has kept such detailed accounts of her life (through her 18 (? exact amount, not sure) journals, and I have learned so many great things by reading some of the things she's shared with me.
6. She has always chosen to be a stay at home mom. Our family never had money for fancy cars or big vacations. But I had a mom who was always home, and it has meant the world to me. I will never forget one day as a freshman that I was surprised with a visit from my Aunt Flow. I called my mom and she rushed to the high school and brought me a change of clothes in a brown paper bag. My baby sis, Kimmy, asked what they were taking me, and my mom just said, "Her lunch!" I'm sure there were many times I forgot my lunch, or my homework, and she'd bring me those too. Having a mom at home has blessed my life in ways I can't even put words into. Thank you mom, for staying home.
7. She has more faith than anyone I know. When Kalia's nerve was severed, and I called my mom, bawling, to tell her the horrible news, there was a 2 second pause, and then my mom said, "The Savior can heal that." She continued for the next few days to pour out her testimony and faith to us- and it helped us have the faith we need to have. And as you know, that is exactly what happened. Kalia has never suffered the tiniest side effect of a severed nerve. There's no medical explanation how that could be- but my mom's faith during all of that was unmoving, like a rock, and it has blessed my life countless times. And now it has blessed my daughter's life too.
8. As most of you know, she is a breast-cancer survivor. You may know not how awesome that is unless you've watched someone go through it. It's sort of like going through hell and back. But not only did she go through it, she went through it with the attitude of, "What am I supposed to learn from this, and what can I do to be closer to the Savior and my Heavenly Father?" Here she is during one of her chemo treatments.
9. She came out of that better and stronger than ever. My goodness, I'm worried that lady is going to be translated any day now!! Just go read her blog (or maybe you're reading this now on her blog, look at her last post, and YOU'LL SEE EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! She's amazing!)
10. She doesn't watch Rated R movies. Or PG-13 movies. Or PG movies. Maybe...if it's a Disney movie. (She did see the Hannah Montana movie, and she loved it!).
11. She is the best grandma. She will even take her grandkids on rides on the "Wiggle Cars" around the island in her kitchen. She will let them stay up as late as they want, and let them eat as much candy as they want. They adore her.
12. She is the best question-asker of all time. She can get anything out of anybody. You can't keep it from her! She thinks of questions no one else can even think of. (This was especially handy when I would talk to the doctors each day, in the hospital with Kalia. They would always ask, "Do you have any questions for me?" And I'd say, "No, but here's a list from my mom." :)
13. She talks fast and I LOVE IT! I'm never bored when I talk to her, and I don't have to prod her along.
14. She was our #1 fan in all my extracurricular activities. She came to all my choir concerts, track meets, volleyball and basketball games. And one season, she made special Pink Frosted sugar cookies for the whole basketball team. She had to do it for every single game, because we went on a winning streak after that; we were convinced it was our good luck charm, so she wasn't allowed to jinx us by not making them. (That's a lot of sugar cookies to roll out and frost every week!!)
15. All of our friends love her. I can name at least a dozen who still go by the house now to see her, even though we don't live there anymore. (Most of these friends are guys, now that I think about it.)
16. She is a champion baker, and has famous cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls. Consider yourself LUCKY if you've ever tasted them!
17. She decorates the house for every holiday, and I mean, she really makes the house come alive with the holiday spirit (even the 4th of July, Halloween, Father's Day, etc). Even more importantly, she has decorated every room and hallway with pictures of the Savior, temples, the First Vision, etc. Everyone who enters our house knows where our family stands when it comes to the Gospel.
18. She taught us responsibility from early on- she taught us to do our own laundry, starting around age 10. She taught us to work hard, and we had to earn our own money for most everything we wanted or needed (besides socks, underwear, toothpaste, you know, stuff like that.) And we had chores to do every day, especially on Saturdays, before we could play; she would make us fun little charts to help Saturday cleaning be more fun. I still remember the laminated clown poster. He was holding a bunch of strings (to balloons) but the balloons had different chores on them- we'd draw them out of a hat, and when they were done, we got to tape them up on the strings. I think I'll make one of those for my kids someday.
19. She was voted Most Friendly when she went to Dixie College, because she was so nice to everyone, including the people that were considered "slow" or "handicapped." Many of those people are still in St. George and still love her and remember her today. That influenced me all throughout high school, as I realized that everyone needs a friend. Everyone deserves kindness. I tried to say hi or smile at every single person I saw in the hall in between classes. That was her influence bringing that out of me.
20. She laminates thoughts and scriptures and has them up on the walls of her shower, where she can see them every day. It's such a great idea. Whenever I am home visiting, I love to shower in her bathroom, so I can have a daily mini-devotional.Lately she has been taking an institute class on the Old Testament. I LOVE talking to her on the phone about all the amazing things she is learning in that class. We could talk for hours about the neat things we are learning in the Gospel. And she applies it to life so well. Just tonight we talked for almost two hours, about how returning to THE BASICS in the Gospel can help pull us through any trial. I think it was just what I need to hear. I love how she shares her testimony without even trying.

I'd also like to wish a Happy Mothers Day to my two wonderful grandmas- one still living (Grandma Ruth Esplin in St. George)
and one busy working in the Spirit World, Grandma Loy, (who I think might just be making little visits to my daughters, but more on that another time.) I miss you and hope you get to read blogs from the Spirit World.

Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful women who have influenced me and my family, especially to my own mother who has spent her entire life in self-sacrifice for me and my siblings. I hope I can become a woman like you someday. I will forever be grateful to have been sent to our family, to be your daughter. See, here we are, your 4 daughters, and you, jumping for joy that we are together forever, with all the posterity to come. You have taught us well, mom. Thank you.I love you!

Monday, May 3, 2010

I am IMMERSING myself in order to stay AFLOAT

Immersing To Stay Afloat

Does that sound like an oxymoron?
I think it does
but it is helping me to visualize it

The world around me sometimes scares me
I see unhappiness
I see struggles and wonder
could they have been avoided?

I know myself
I have a desire to control
everyTHING around me
and everyONE around me

I have a temper
I have determination
I have energy that can be used
for good or for bad

Lately I have seen others
sinking in despair
Sometimes I feel like I am "sinking"

I want to use my energy to

I was in the audience once when I heard Jeffrey Holland say,
"When you are in a storm, DON'T BAIL OUT, STAY IN THE BOAT,
it will get calm"

I have thought a lot about this
It has been a constant concern of mine,
ever since my CANCER diagnosis
What does that mean, "Don't bail out, stay in the boat" ?

What do you think it means?
I think I am going to stay with
The SAVIOR during my storms

I've thought about what I've
been doing with my life
since my "recovery" process
has begun (about 18 mos ago)

  • First I listed my priorities.
  • Second, I asked how much time I was spending on these "priorities".
  • Third, I made a specific plan to "immerse" myself.
  • Fourth, I kept (and keep) working on it.
  • Fifth, I envision myself "immersing, then STAYING AFLOAT"

My priorities: I listed what was most important to my well being. I figured I needed
  1. To take care of myself Spiritually
  2. To take care of myself Physically
  3. To take care of myself Emotionallly
  4. To take care of my family and home, Dale first, kids 2nd, house last.

If I take care of my spiritual life first, I will feel better and other things will fall into place. This comes from such a strong belief in God the Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ. THEY will take care of me, if I take care of myself Spiritually, I feel confident of this.
This would include the following:
Temple worship
Family Home Evening
Institute class
Church meetings
Uplifting Music

Physical Care would have:
Proper food
Dr s visits

Emotional Care would need:
Walks outside in good weather
Social Outlets

I knew that if I could take care of myself, I would feel good.
When I feel good, I treat others better around me.
I feel the Spirit, which allows me innumerable choices.
I can make whatever time I have left worthwhile to myself and those around me.

I wrote up a literal schedule of daily hours in a week and filled in the blanks of WHAT I was
going to do each hour that was congruent with my PRIORITIES.

Spiritually, if I IMMERSE myself, I am seeing more assurances. I feel like I can stay AFLOAT of so much DESPAIR that surrounds us.

I feel the temptations weakening and lessening as I STRENGTHEN myself.

I am no longer doing a lot of things that I DON"T WANT TO DO,
I WANT to do the things that build my STRENGTH,
  • Spiritually
  • Physically
  • Emotionally
  • with my Eternal Family
I am far from perfect, but I keep reminding myself how far this cancer journey has brought me. I acknowledge to myself that OVERALL, I am doing better than I have in the past.
I keep picking myself up, at least once a week, and then I try again the next day.

I see myself in a LARGE, WARM tub of water. I immerse myself up to my face. I want to surround myself with good uplifting things as much as I can. I try to let the upsetting things around me GO.....if at all possible. If it is NOT happening directly to me, I let compassion replace judgement, but I remind myself that it is not happening to me, and feel GRATITUDE.

Gratitude helps keep me AFLOAT.

Immersing myself in What I NEED is keeping me Afloat from the "sinking" despair of the World