September 23, 2013


i'm sitting at my computer writing this post- not trying to type it from my phone.

As I was unpacking I came across this picture...

"Zion in her heart"
Clark Kelly Price

a happy pioneer mother, holding her baby with children around her as she walks west.  The hills are blooming around this sweet family, it seems like a spring or summer trek west.  This is one of my favorite pictures.  Years ago, perhaps a different life ago, I helped to plan a girl's camp with the theme, "Trust and Be Led".  I was given this picture at the end of the week.   I remember looking at that mother and feeling like her.  My life was normal and still hard.  Normal life should be hard.  I remember really looking at that picture and really relating to the picture. 

But today as I looked, that girl seemed so different from me.  I actually felt jealous of her, because she was strong enough to carry her baby and walk down a hill.  I felt jealous of her independence and sense of purpose as she cared for her family and even had some extra to serve others.  She looked so strong and capable.  A symbol of who I used to be.

I continued unpacking and came across another pioneer picture.  (Didn't even realize they were painted by the same painter.)  This picture still has black and white polka dot tape attached to it, from where I had hung it in my hospital room.  I smiled as I saw it.  These are pioneers that I can relate to.  In this picture it is winter.  The pioneers are tired and straining to push their handcarts through a storm.  They are surrounded by angels who are helping them push. 
"When the Angels Come"
Clark Kelley Price

I was struck by the contrast in both pictures.  I love the contrast and I love how completely I have related to both pictures during different seasons of my life.  I LOVE life's seasons.  Sometimes we have springy, summer days and sometimes we have winter storms. 

All around me FALL is coming, the leaves are turning and falling and the air is getting crisp.  But inside me, I'm hoping the air is warming and I'm preparing for Spring.  Somehow I missed Summer this year... I had a long winter.  Today I'm still weak and fragile physically, but my Spirit is strong. 

As I lay in the trauma ICU following my surgery, they warned Todd that I looked pretty bad.  I was swollen to over 200 lbs and my abdomen was still open and bleeding.  They were unsure they would be able to stop my internal bleeding, repair the internal damages and save my life.  They were unsure how the hours of hemorrhaging and hundreds of units of transfusion had affected my brain. 

I had tubes everywhere keeping me alive.  Todd was unsure what to expect, but he said that upon entering my room he felt my Spirit so strong and alive.  He felt that God had blessed him so that he didn't even see my body, he saw me.  The contrast between spirit and body was so extreme that it was my spirit he clung to.  He spoke to me and squeezed my hand.  I squeezed him back, much to his surprise.  He asked if I could hear him and I squeezed his hand again.  Although I was still too swollen to open my eyes, and had breathing tubes making it impossible to speak, I began finger spelling to him.  I asked questions and he answered.  Doctors and nurses were literally jumping for joy that I was still able to communicate. 

Today I still feel that gap.  My spirit is alive and ready to jump into life.  My body is still battling with infection.  I'm caught in a spiral... without meds, I feel good but continue to get bladder infections.  Antibiotics kill the infection, but wreak havoc on my intestines which leaves me feeling weak.  My hands are a bit raw from washing them so often- I'm in the bathroom frequently.  (Public bathrooms stink.)  My muscles are weak from being so inactive since last January and I still have nerve damage that is constant but, thankfully, bearable.  I had some pretty intense damage to my vascular system.  I will continue to wear compression socks to my knees to help keep my blood circulating. 

Aside from my silly socks, I LOOK normal.  With clothes on, my scars are hidden.  There was an older lady helping us set up accounts at the bank.  She reminded me of my grandmother with her manicured nails and smoker's cough.  She looked into my eyes and asked,  "Honey, are you just tired today?"  I laughed.  I'm sure people don't know what to think about me... I feel odd.  I'm a young, cute mom who moves like an 80 year old woman.   My brother in law thought I seemed sick and fragile.  I AM SO SICK OF BEING SICK AND FRAGILE!  I'm so sick of having to sit by the elderly men, on the bench, by the grocery store check out.  I miss my strong body... and yet I am grateful for the strength I do have.  I'm grateful and impatient at the same time.

Before my surgery I was brave and strong.  I knew things could be hard and I was willing to accept the consequences, whatever they may be.  I was willing to accept death, paralysis, a colostomy.  Shouldn't I be more willing to accept weakness and infection now?  Truthfully, as my body is pushing my handcart up this mountain, it is my own spirit that is pushing beside my body. 

I refused to sit in a motorized cart at the grocery store last trip.  I'm weak and my legs started to ache halfway through.  Each step is a battle... I want to get stronger so I push myself.  My eyes are open to the struggle of others.  I see the ladies pushing walkers, I see them differently now.  I feel them.  I notice those struggling because of their weight.  I smile at the tired mothers being trailed by their children.  I wish that were me.  I noticed one cute college student who had a special shoe- one of her legs was significantly shorter than the other.  As she talked happily on her cell phone I thought-- Why not me?  Why should I be perfectly healthy when so many other people in the world are dealing with physical trials?  I can handle this trial.  Everyone has something... and this is my mountain right now.  I'm going to keep pushing this handcart and I'm going to be grateful for it.

Todd asked me to read Ether 12:27 for scripture time this morning.  Only, I couldn't read it because I was blinded by tears as I read...

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.

Today I am still very weak.
I am humble.
I am trying to be patient and faithful.
I'm grateful for the angels in my life, on both sides of the veil.
I'm grateful for my body and my spirit.
I'm grateful for life's seasons.
I trust God and I know that my life has purpose and direction.
Soon, I hope He will make my weak things strong.
Until then, I'm going to enjoy the journey.
Life is good.

September 17, 2013

Schedules and Stuff


I have a lot of stuff.
And, I have a lot of kids.

Moving is busy... I think we've figured out a spot for all the books and then we find another box.
We have a lot of books and shoes and clothes and art supplies and blankets and... Stuff.

Resuming life is grand.
Baby Benny, as Eve calls him, is giggling.
He is a darling, patient, funny little guy.
He feels more and more mine as I become more and more full time in his life.  

My kids are beginning to thaw.
Boy, I can feel everyone's tension has been tight and on edge.  As peace, security and routine returns, I can feel my children settling in.  I've missed them and they need me.

All is well here.
I still have angel in-laws and my mom here unpacking and cooking and caring for me.  What a blessing.
I still have lots of appointments as I continue to heal.

Todd was called into the Bishopric in our new ward, last Sunday.  This means he will be spending more time serving at church.  I feel so grateful that God thinks I can handle him being gone more... I know I will be strengthened as Todd serves.  And, I'm excited to feel the enabling power of grace working in our lives.  Heal on little body of mine!!

Every day I'm grateful to be alive and doing just what I want to be doing.
I feel honored to be a wife and mother.
Life is good.
(We get Internet installed today.  Pictures coming soon.)

September 09, 2013


I am discharged from the hospital and the sun is shining!
My in-laws arrived last night and my husband is closing on our house as we speak.
(He made it so I didn't have to be there- in case I was still incarcerated.)

Tully, NY is so beautiful.
I walked through our new house just moments ago.  The house itself is bigger than I thought it would be.  It is spotlessly clean and everything is well cared for.  It isn't brand new (almost every home I've lived in so far has been brand new) and I'm excited to decorate and update over time.  I think this house will be perfect for us.

The barn makes me giddy with anticipation.  The yard and fields are picture perfect.  Eve played for 30 minutes, by herself, on the fenced in swing set.

Honestly, my heart is full of gratitude towards the sweet couple who cared for this land the past 20 years.  They created a beautiful home, they built a place that will shape and mold me and mine.  You can feel their touch throughout the whole property, and these people were good.  I'm so grateful for them.  I'm grateful to be here.  I'm grateful for the family that is taking such good care of us.

Yes, over the past three (!!) months I have lost much.  But, I'm beginning to see how much I've gained.  My baby is precious.  3 months is such a sweet age, he coos and smiles anytime you look at him.  He is darling.  Our life here will be good.  Good schools, good people, good land, a good job, we're closer to our east coast family... This is a great place to raise my children.   I am still healing, my doctors say I should wear compression socks the rest of my life, but I am alive and very blessed.

The end of my speech... And the beginning of my new life.
Life is good!

September 07, 2013

Weird and sick-ish.

I thought it would be fun to get to know some New York nurses.
They're adorable- love their accents.
You pay for tv here. $5/day.
I am back in the hospital and I really don't want anyone to know about it.
I don't want to be sick still, so let's just pretend that I'm not.  Ok?  I know I'm weird.

Really, I'm fine.
My aunt took me to her OB and he is great.  The funniest New Yorker ever.  He was thrilled to meet me at 5pm on a Friday afternoon.  Poor guy.  He's been a blessing- it's nice to have a dr I can trust while I'm desperately missing the doctors that I already trust.

I have another infection and some abdominal abscesses (pools of fluid they are not happy about). 
My nurse says if it were serious I would be in more pain.
Except last time I had a very serious kidney infection, that was septic, and I wasn't in excruciating pain.
I think I'm just really used to abdominal pain.

For the first day I was completely quarantine.  They thought I had c-diff (a pretty contagious bug).  They made everyone wear gowns and gloves around me.  I felt like a weirdo.  I knew I didn't have that anyway, because my Oregon dr just tested me.  My tests were negative, both times.

Really, I'm just bored laying here watching tv for a few days.  It's not too bad.  They pump me full of saline, antibiotics, and ct scan dye.  So, I potty often.

My mom, my husband, my aunt and uncle are all caring for my kids.  I'm afraid they are all exhausted and I think my mom is getting sick.  It is great laying here watching stupid tv while they are all juggling my life.

Guess what else?
We have two cars- and Todd's is broken.  It has been in the shop since we've been here.  We finally got it back and it's still dumping antifreeze.  Lovely.
Then, on Thursday night Jakob pushed our van window closed and it shattered.  
So, two cars were down to none and I was being sent to the hospital.  
Our house closing was supposed to be Friday but got moved to Monday.
AND, the hotel we were staying at was overbooked for the weekend, so we packed everything up and moved in with my aunt.
Crazy, crazy!!

I'm grateful to be alive.
Grateful we caught this infection earlier than the last one.
I know I'll be fine, but it will just take some more time.
Next year, this year will be a really crazy story to tell.
Today, I just want to pretend I'm normal.

So, although I'm very thankful for your prayers, please leave me comments about, um, some cute quilt I made in a former life.  Or, pretend my blog shows some fun thing I'm doing with my kids.  Ok?  We're pretending I'm fine. 

Miss you!
Hope you were grateful that YOU got to put your kids to bed tonight.
Life is good!

"Oh, the ordinary day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me be grateful while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall fall upon my knees, or bury my face in the pillow, or lie among the sick, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return." 
Mary Jean Iron

September 02, 2013


Guess what I did today?

I cooked dinner,
almost by myself, 
at my aunt's house.

It was the first dinner I have made in almost eight months!!
(Best ever BBQ chicken salad from
I felt normal-ish and it was so good!

It's coming...
LIFE is good!!
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