Monday, June 17, 2013

Change your Thoughts... Change your World!!

I took the title from a cardboard sign hanging from the ceiling in "Steamroller Copies" Store.
"Change your thoughts....change your world"

I want to tell you how this has affected me for good.

On Mondays, I am privileged to be able to attend a Meditation Class for Cancer Survivors.
We spend about 20 minutes meditating and filling our minds with positive "thoughts".

I know it works. It continually changes my world.

For years, Dale (the educated social worker that he is), has been TRYING to teach me about my thoughts and how powerful they are for good or for not.

Before I always thought, " but how do I change my THOUGHTS"? "Aren't they always JUST THERE, don't they just HAPPEN?"
Interesting to me, that ME, who has a strong desire to control everybody and every thing, did not see how I could CONTROL my thoughts.

Cancer has been my best teacher, as far as mortality goes.

(Heavenly Father is the Master Teacher behind the cancer)

I did a lot of soul searching during that time and I found that every time I saw a "thought-provoking thought" , I wanted it. I purchased wooden boards with thoughts on them and then of course, I found the wonderful world of VINYL lettering........:)

One day, I was laying in my bed, and realized that I have now SURROUNDED myself with
great thoughts, that do change my feelings about life and in turn, it has changed my world..

I open my eyes to see on one wall, "Be Grateful, Be Smart, Be Clean, Be True, Be Humble, Be Prayerful".
That's on one wall, to the right of that it says "PRAYER" and over the top of that in "glow in the dark" vinyl lettering, it says, "Did you think to pray?" (so cool that it lights up when I go to bed at night). Next wall says in large letters carved in wood. "RELAX", with a picture of the St George Temple at night. Next wall, "Miracles happen to those who believe", (pics of  my six kids under that).
Last wall says"FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS", over pics of Jesus, my family, and some friends.
All these thoughts got me through my cancer year, and are forever sealed into my heart.

When I look elsewhere in the house, I find things like "Lord, put your arm over my shoulder and hand over my mouth". (a good reminder daily), or "Always pretend you are wearing an invisible crown".

In the kitchen area, one of my favorites is "May this house always be too small to hold all our family and friends" and "Gratitude makes what we have... enough",  and another one at the end of the hall  "Love grows best in little houses...." These thoughts keep me grounded and grateful that I EVEN HAVE a house, even though it is not that lovely or large.

Probably the one that helps me the most is in the front room when you first come in. "Be Of Good Cheer, It Is I, Be Not Afraid" That is right above a picture of Jesus Christ, my Savior, and he even has a smile on his face.

There is so much in this world that scares me , and I have a tendency to be afraid of everything.
Today, at meditation, we heard some soft music and the words "I have deep peace". Those words were repeated over and over for 20 minutes. It went deep down in to my heart. I could see an image of Jesus in my mind.
That's where the REAL PEACE is found.

I am so thankful for the knowledge that I HAVE CONTROL OVER MY THOUGHTS, and if I have to write them on the walls of my home, I will!!!

My world is going to stay changed

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm in School Full Time

Sometimes I have asked myself, "What do you do with your time Karen?"
For about 30 years, I could easily answer that.

I'm the mom.

I remember once talking with a friend who also was a mom but spent MUCH of her time doing other things. I didn't know how she did it. I was exhausted just working at home. I didn't feel like I could afford much time doing other things because my house and family would suffer if I did.
Sometimes I felt like a failure, that didn't contribute much to the world.

I only went to two years of college and didn't even graduate with ANY degree.

As I was watching this friend go to and fro, and feeling exhausted for HER, trying to do all that a family requires and still take on a lot of projects and always on the go, I remember thinking and then telling her, 'I just need to KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING"
 I felt such conviction in saying that. I KNEW in my heart that that was EXACTLY what the Lord wanted me to do, and I felt a confirmation from the spirit that this was the MOST important thing anyone could be doing that was in my shoes.
If I couldn't keep life AT HOME together, nothing else mattered.

I'm the mom.

I have LOVED being the mom, and with all of it's ups and downs, I wouldn't trade it for ANY OTHER CAREER.

Well, now, all my children are "raised", so to speak.
My baby is 18, she is away at college.

My days seem to be busier than ever, but I find myself questioning,"What is it that you DO all the time Karen?"

The answer came to me the other day while driving. It was pure inspiration.

                              "I am in school FULL TIME"
I hear a lot of women now days saying just that, or some have gone back to school part time.

I have NEVER had the desire to do that, and now I see why
I am already doing it.

I thought this through. This is my WEEK.

On Monday morning at 9 am, I have a Zumba class to start off my week,
I then, rush off to a Meditation class as a stress buster to get  THROUGH the week.
Then I have a Cancer Support class to keep positive about living with cancer. Not that I have it anymore, but my world is full of people who do., and that is a very important SKILL to learn, how to live in this world with the challenge of cancer.

Then I have a break for lunch. :)
Monday afternoons, I spend 3 hrs in a Service class called Relief Society Presidency meeting.
I learn TONS in this class about helping others and at the same time helping myself.
There are about 160 women in this organization that have needs and most of them have families that have needs, and I am in the leadership of this group to help meet three of those needs.
Faith, Family, and Relief.  I spend several hours each week in a "Lab" for this class. I go with one or two other women to meet these 160 women in their homes in a personal setting.

Monday night, I have a Family Class with my husband and daughter and 5 grandchildren. We learn about living the gospel and we help teach each other basic Christian principles.

Tuesday, I have the day off.
I use this day for Re-grouping and catching up on all the things that get neglected the rest of the week. I try to keep this day JUST FOR ME.
If I feel like sleeping in, I do it.
If I feel like reading, writing, cleaning house, or whatever my heart desires, I do it
It's my "Fill my Pitcher' day.
I do, on occasion,spend the evening  going to my "LAB" for the Relief Society class, making visits.

Wednesday, classes start early as I have a 5:30 am Temple Class,
They repeat it at 6:00, and 6:40 if for some reason I can't make the first one.
At 9:15, I have my exercise class again, but instead of Zumba, it's Step Aerobics this time.
I run home and shower and then hurry off to an Addiction Recovery class.
I have someone that I love dearly that has a Pornography addiction, and I need to learn about addictions to help me love him in spite of his problems, and come to understand that the strained relationship is not because he doesn't love me, but because he has an addiction that controls him.
I take a lunch break after that, then I have the afternoon off to catch my breath.
I am in charge of dinner on Wednesdays, so I take care of that. ( for my grandchildren)
At 7:00 pm, I am off again to a Religion Class.
This year we are studying the Book of Mormon in detail.
I get home from that about 9:30 pm.

On Thursday, I have to work, but I am lucky enough to start off my day at 6:30am with a Yoga class.
With the economy the way it is, we have been a little tighter than usual with money, so I have to help bring in a little bit if possible, and I have a need to complete projects that feel like I have completed something. I also love the feeling that i have I helped someone out.
I clean houses.
I love to clean, and I have learned that people are willing to pay $20 an hour to have me do it.
I usually have one house I do in the morning, and one house I do in the afternoon got it....... my lunch break. :)
Thursday evenings, I once again, go to my "Lab" for my Relief Society class, and make visits to people's homes.

Friday, I have my exercise class again at 9 am
This is my slow day and I actually get a TREAT at 1 in the afternoon.
My brother is a massage therapist and INSISTS that after cancer, I need a weekly massage for 90 minutes.


What a blessing.

What do I do with my time???

I have found that if I take care of myself, I can be of GREAT SERVICE to others.

I think I am in the best classes of all right now in my life.
I am really learning A LOT, and I am growing in so many ways. ( we're not going to talk about weight)

I had to ask myself, "WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR?"
I think this year, it is "Religion"
That's great major

But , I will always be

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Thy Faith Hath Made Thee Whole"

" The WHOLE need not a physician, but he that is sick"

What does it mean to be "Whole"?

Do you feel like you are whole right now, or is that something you hope for in the future?

I have been studying this idea of the Savior making me (us) WHOLE.

One of my all time favorite stories is where the woman with the Issue of Blood, reaches for the Savior's robe and touches just the hem of it, and yet she is made whole. Something she had longed for for 12 years. Later in Matthew, many are brought to the Savior, and as the verse reads., "and as many as touched his garment were made whole". I wonder how the word got out. Another story that is interesting to me is the one about the ten lepers that came to be cleansed. After Jesus told them to shew themselves to the Priests, they headed off and found they were cured. ONE turned around and gave glory to God. In otherwords, one man out of ten thanked the Lord for this miracle. Jesus says to him, "You are whole". So ten CLEANSED, and only one made whole.
That sounds like something more than just a physical cure. It sounds like it could be mental and emotion, not to mention spiritually cured too.

I know we all feel so NOT whole a lot of the time. A year or two ago, I wrote a post about being "broken", and I think the same idea applies here.

We all feel broken, a little cracked, a little "messed up" at times.
I have felt  it so many times, I probably out do all of you. :)
I cannot tell you how many times  I have sat in the celestial room in the temple in one particular chair, and looking up to the chandeliers, I have said to the Heaven's.
"WHY am I so messed up?"

During my "cancer year", I LONGED to be healed and made whole physically. It was some tough times for me, not just physically but emotionally as well. Anxiety was awful for me.

Now, my body seems to have recovered somewhat, and it is almost easy for me to forget I even had cancer.
I am now working on being made "WHOLE" by the Savior, mentally, emotionally , and spiritually.

I have come to the conclusion that this is MORE than possible because of the Atonement. and that the better we understand it and appreciate it, the more likely it is that we will have multiple moments of being made whole.
I don't think , however, that we will be perfectly whole in this life. Instead, I see myself having moments of glimpses into the future, of what Heaven will be like.
As the days pass by ever so quickly, I am having experiences that are teaching me that I am already WHOLE many times each day. Even though they might not last, I believe they are coming more and more often than any time in my life.
How do I know?
I feel the "fruits" of being made whole by the Master Gardener and Master Physician.
I feel Peace
I feel Joy
I feel Love for others
I feel calmness
I feel Faith
I feel ambitious.

All of these and more are telling me that I am TOUCHING the hem of Jesus' garment.
I am "Close Enough to Touch".........figuratively speaking......... ( title of a song but I don't know who wrote it)

Jeffrey Holland said once that if we feel broken, then we have a LOT OF COMPANY!
We have scriptural accounts of Nephi, Moses, Joseph Smith and others who felt like they were less than they thought they OUGHT to be.
That is some pretty good company!

I would love some feedback on your ideas about being made WHOLE , by the Savior. I am giving a Relief Society lesson on Sept 3rd, so send me some ideas ASAP.
Love you all,
Love, Karen

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Find Your Way Home"

It's Yoga.

Nothing I would have ever given a second glance, in my younger days.
It sounded crazy and weird to me.
It appeared to have NO real "umph" to it.

Post-Cancer, I think differently.
I feel differently.
My body is different, not just from chemo, but from age.

I have always enjoyed exercise, but only the vigorous kind.
I still want to exercise as much as possible.
There are a lot more reasons to do so now.
When I was diagnosed 4 yrs ago, my chances for survival went up significantly because of exercise that I had done regularly for almost 30 years. Hurray for exercise!

Today marks the 4 yr mark for the day that I found a rather large lump that turned out 2 weeks later to be cancer.

About 6 months ago, I was invited to try a yoga class. I had/have a lot of respect and admiration for the teacher. I wanted to try it.

WOW, what I have learned is unbelievable to me.

"Find your way home" is just one of the many things that the instructor says during our class.
This exercise is so much more than just movement of the body.
Someone LONG before me figured this out.

I have discovered strength in a way I have never seen in myself before.

First off, the positions, though slow in movement, are sometimes quite difficult for my muscles to maintain. I, on occasion, break a sweat. Something I did NOT expect to ever happen.
I feel my muscles trembling with effort. I KNOW they have to be getting stronger by doing this.

Ironically though, that is not my favorite part of the class; just an extra benefit.

What I love the most is what is going on in my head while we are working through the exercises.
The terms and the words the instructor uses bring "MINDFULNESS" to me.
Mindfulness is an ancient practice that I have discovered in my cancer support groups. History shows a lot of healing that can take place, both physically and mentally when we are mindful.
In my past life, I was too busy to be mindful.

But now, I am not too busy anymore.
I am listening more and I hear things like, "Find your way home".
She is talking about our position of standing with our hands pressed together next to our "heart center". It is a passive stance, but our mind becomes aware of our "heart center", something that we refer to often. All that is good radiates from this "center".

She reminds us to "anchor" our feet deep into the earth to give us a strong foundation.
One of the stances is "exalted warrior". We stand with our hands in a worshipful position toward heaven, with our legs in a position that is ready to fight.
I felt tears welling up inside me one day while doing that. I truly felt that I DESIRE to "be" an exalted warrior for the Lord.

Who knew I could feel spiritual during an exercise class? Who knew I could have positive uplifting thoughts about life and myself at 6:30 am?

At the end of class, we take about 10 minutes to have a rest time, a very welcomed one. We lay perfectly still. This is called Shavasana. (spelling unknown)
While I was laying there during my last class, I felt the instructor move around the room (she puts eye bags over our eyes to help relax us.) I thought we were on a concrete floor and was surprised that I could feel movement by her tiny body walking around. Then I realized that even though we were in the basement level of the building, and we were indeed on a concrete floor, there was one more level beneath us; the parking garage.
Because of the "Mindfulness" that I was experiencing, my mind told me this:
"We all need to have a STRONG foundation like this concrete floor we are on, we must be strong in all we do, and YET we must also have a little give in us, a little bit of FLEXIBILITY, just like this floor that I was laying on.


That was a profound moment for me because in my PRE -CANCER days, I was anything but flexible most of the time.

I think that Heaven talks to me during yoga.

There are a lot more words that are spoken during the class that I love, but I never have a pen and paper next to me to write them down.

If you participate in yoga and have noticed some, share them with me and tell me how they have affected your life for good.
I want to make sure to get the most I can out of this class, (it is a pretty price that I pay to attend)

I want to spend the rest of my life "Finding my way heaven"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We all need Reminders!

How many of you feel something stir inside of you when you see something like this?
Why do we oooh and aaaahhh?
Is is because of the innocence of this little one?
Life hasn't turned her bitter yet? She is sweet and pure?
  • I love babies , they are a beautiful reminder of all that is GOOD in the world

  • When I look at these precious little ones, I see so much joy and peace in their eyes
  • and at the same time I am reminded of the years that have put permanent "smiling and laughter lines" in my face

Cancer has taught me many things.
One is that I need to be reminded about how good life is, and how quickly it can slip away.

I was noticing lately that I have a few PERMANENT reminders of two more important things.... love.... and sacrifice.

All moms love what they do. We go crazy with guilt because we don't do it well enough, but when all is said and done, we wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world. I don't think anyone would disagree that mothers make a LOT of sacrifices. That is the very thing that causes us to feel SO MUCH LOVE for these children. It is a natural human emotion to have pure love for something or someone that we SACRIFICE for.

  • When I look at these children of mine, mostly all grown now, I feel grateful and I feel in AWE! This is 5 of my 6 children.
My 21 yr old is in Argentina teaching people about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • The fact that Jonny is missing in this picture is a REMINDER to me of love and sacrifice.
These kids are a REMINDER of what I have spent the majority of my life doing. Raising a family. That's really all I ever wanted to do. I wanted to get married and play house.

When I was growing up, I wasn't aware of Jesus Christ, and HIS sacrifices, but by age 18 I was learning all about it. It has only been since I was diagnosed with cancer that I have taken the whole matter very seriously and studied the Life of Jesus and am starting to comprehend somewhat all that He means to me.

A few weeks ago, I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand. I had already had the left hand done in June and my hand felt so good, I figured I should do the other hand since it went numb on a daily basis too. After the surgery,
  • I realized what an incredible REMINDER these scars are on my hands.
There is a scripture in Isaiah that comes to mind when I look at my hands,
Isa. 49:16 "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands..."
It hurt to have my hands cut in to, but wow what a thought it was to think that Jesus had his hands cut ALL THE WAY through to the other side...
  • I love my scars now, they are the best reminder ever that someone paid a great price so that I could have freedom....... freedom from permanent pain.

One of the downfalls of being pregnant, is that the body takes on an extra load and sometimes it leaves behind permanent reminders of what it went through. I have 2 c section scars that I won't show you and I can't believe I am showing you the leg here, but my legs started suffering about my 3rd pregnancy. The veins broke and have never repaired themselves. I sometimes want to hate my legs, but as I am putting this all into perspective. I am seeing that these ugly veins are some battle wounds and
  • a reminder to me that I was blessed to be able to CARRY 6 children. Not everyone gets that privilege.

I have come to love Jesus so much more than I ever knew possible and this picture is not a really popular one, but to me it is special. While I was going through chemotherapy, I did a lot more praying than normal. One day when I was especially somber, I had the most incredible experience while looking at this picture, it is so sacred I can't share it here, but I
  • LOVE this reminder

I feel like I could go on and on about the reminders we have around us of LOVE and SACRIFICE and so many other good things about life.

What do you see around YOU?

Please share with me your thoughts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Water Washes Everything

I heard another statement that made my ears perk up.

"Water is so Cleansing"

I love to do housework, I know, not everyone does, but I do.
I love to clean things, even and especially bathrooms.
I feel great to see things fresh and clean and sparkly.
I have always been this way.

For a few years, I got paid to CLEAN other people's houses.
I loved it.
Sometimes I like my house to get messy
just so I can clean it.
Opposition in all things comes in very handy in my life. :)

I have noticed how helpful WATER is.

Sometimes I do crazy things as a GRANDMA.
This might have been one of them.
I was babysitting, and they needed something to do.
I needed a wall painted.
and that kind of paint washes off easily with WATER (grin)

If my water is turned off, I go a little crazy.
I like to wash my hands A. LOT.

The other day I came across a light switch that was COVERED
with spaghetti sauce.
Thank goodness for water to wash it clean.

I am thankful for water to flush the toilet, I like a very clean toilet bowl.

I remember a class once on cleaning and the presenter said that
anything can be cleaned if you will drench it, and let it sit
and soak for a while. I think about that all the time.
I might be wiping off the kitchen counter and food is stuck,
I remember, and just put a wet washcloth on it
and leave it and come back later,
only to find it wipes right off easily.
True of stuff stuck to the floor, or ANYWHERE.

When the microwave gets really yucky,
I take a really wet washcloth and put it in there on high for about 2 minutes,
then let it sit. A few minutes later, I can take any rag
and EASILY wash out the whole microwave in a matter of seconds.

I love water.

I haven't always loved the rain but as I get older, I have come to appreciate it.

It does wash a lot of things clean.

It smells good too.

After a busy day of exercise and cleaning and running around,
I like to get in the shower and get
cleaned off and wash my hair. It is very renewing for my spirit.

Brushing my teeth , WITH WATER is very helpful. :)

All these thoughts have led me to think about something more.

I had an awesome experience one day when I was pondering about my heart.
It sometimes feels a little broken because of circumstances around me.

This one day, I saw in my mind, like a dream, if you will,
a large heart drawn in the sand on a beach.
It appeared to be about 7 or 8 feet in diameter.
I realized that this heart was representative of MY HEART.

I noticed it had rough edges.

I watched the waves of WATER gently wash over the sand, and the roughly drawn heart.

I suddenly realized the water was symbolic of GOD'S LOVE.
It was VERY gently washing over my heart and healing it.
One little wave at a time.

It smoothed it right out.

I was stunned.

I knew God was telling me that no matter what the condition of my heart,
He would send His love in constant waves
and that my heart BREAK, or roughness , as it was,
was built on a sandy foundation.
It wasn't going to last.
His love was going to cure it. Heal it.

what hope this gave me in a powerful way.

My thoughts continue
as I think about water
and what it does for me personally.

The water of baptism.
It CLEANSED my soul.
I long to do it again.

Until I realize, I do that EVERY WEEK.
with the water at the Sacrament table.

What a blessing.
I get to be WASHED clean every week.
(if I choose it)

"I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain"

I am thankful for WATER.

I know there is a Heavenly Father and I know there is a LIVING Christ.

Everything in this mortal life POINTS to them.



Thursday, August 4, 2011

At Our Fingertips!!

What kind of things can we do with this?
Cook on it, bake in it?
With the a few clicks of our fingers, we can tell this appliance what time and what temperature to cook our food at, and then tell it when to shut off. Amazing, we just push buttons.

I am taking an Institute (religious) class on Wednesday nights.
I think I mention it every now and again.

Every time the teacher ends the class, he bears his personal testimony of the things he has been teaching for the last hour and a half.

Last Wednesday, we had been talking about Abraham, the father of Isaac.
That was a LONG time ago.
He was saying in his closing remarks how different it is for us and how much ease we have in our lives. I heard the words "at our fingertips" as he was talking and for some reason my ears perked up, and I realized he was saying how lucky/blessed we are to have so much that comes so easy to us to help make our lives so comfortable. I couldn't get those words out of my mind. I came home and kept thinking of ALL the things that are so readily available to me and "at my fingertips"

Here are a few that I thought of:

Electricity........literally ..........AT OUR

Right now during this hot summer, I am feeling appreciative of ice and ice cold water :)

Then there are lights, by which we can see by.

Running water always comes in handy, I notice it especially when the water needs to be turned off for a repair or something, it is a must for me!!

Oh, where would I be without AIR CONDITIONING??............and there are the controls...............right at MY's almost too easy............

Here are a few more that I thought of:

Washing machine for our clothes
Dryer too!

Microwave for instant cooking

Toilets that flush completely clean with the flick of our fingers.

Cell phones that call people and find them wherever they are, no matter what state or city they are in.

Answering machines that record messages and play them back as many times as we want to hear them, all with the push of a button by our fingers.

How about music, how hard is that to acquire?

A car key...........a vehicle to carry us wherever we want to go.

Expanding my imagination, I see something I love very much.

The Temple
Now that might not be something you think of because it is so large and really not at our fingertips at all, but when I see it in perspective, I realize WHAT A BLESSING!!
I can go to our LDS Temple and attend almost anytime I want to.
It takes me about 11 minutes to drive there.
I can be back home within 2 hrs easy.
There are many temples in the world, over 125 now, but there are a lot more cities than 125......and I am blessed/lucky to have one so close to me. It is one of my favorite things to do, to spend time in the very beautiful, and peaceful temple.

Grocery Stores, to get all the food we can eat.

Here's another one:
our sacrament easy is that for us to have something remind us of THE GREAT ATONING SACRIFICE.............we have little to do to make this possible, just show up to church on Sunday, and there again, at our fingertips, is the ordinance that WASHES away our sins for the week, and we are clean again.

The computer and the Keyboard are right at our fingertips, and in reality, we pretty much have THE WORLD at our beck and call.
Almost ANYTHING we easily attainable with our fingers.

WOW, I am feeling grateful for my life.
I am thankful for so many things that are within my reach,
and RIGHT at