Life Goes On

My home has been my address for about twenty days, and I thought it would be sheer bliss. But I must admit it has been a learning process and utter chaos. It feels like our home has been transformed into Grand Central Station! Various aides come in three times a day to help me. I have had to train a new batch! Then you add in construction workers with annoying drilling, sawing, and pounding. (I’m not complaining, it’s just a little headache inducing. We are nearing the end of remodel. “After pictures” coming soon.) My writing time has been heavily impaired. (But I love it!) I live out in the sticks, so I have rarely had this many visitors!

New schedules, new faces, new challenges face me daily.

Me and my hubby traveled down to St. George this past weekend to settle his mother’s estate and generally clean out. I spent a lot of time waiting on him sitting in the front seat. (Gas stations, hotels, quick trips inside when he wouldn’t want to go through the process of getting me out.) I watched a lot of people rushing in and out, and I came to a personally significant conclusion.

Life goes on.

No matter what your history previously entailed, the sun keeps rising and setting, the world keeps spinning, and the people keep on moving. They continue on with their lives in autopilot. Like ants constantly scurrying about through the anthill, making things happen. Busy, busy busy. No time for complicated drama. No time for illness. No time for silly inconveniences.

I wondered if I’d be in the same rat race if I didn’t experience my change of life.  (I dislike the term “my stroke.” You can tell most people see me and wonder how they would handle my predicament. Some have even verbalized it! I’m evidence of an uncomfortable reality.)

One’s perspective is really altered when you endure a hardship. You see things with new eyes.

After going through my sweet mother-in-laws home, the “life goes on” outlook was solidified. We work so relentlessly hard all our lives for stuff. Our homes are overflowing with stuff. The accumulation of stuff might seem important and pivotal to our lives, but it’s plain and simple: we can’t take it with us when we leave this dimension. I admit some items carry timeless memories, and must be kept. (That’s what I continuously told the dump-happy men.) The memories of love, our accumulated education, and our mutually shared experiences are what we take with us. We split up the temporally needed and sentimentally wanted stuff that remained, said goodbye to her loving walls, and our lives went on.

The moral to my story: 

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Life continues even if you have earth scattering hardships.

Live life to the fullest.

Coming Home

The day has finally arrived. After over sixteen long months in many hospitals and care facilities, I am going home. (I asked my husband how long it had been, and told me instantly to the minute! 16 months, 10 days, 18 hours, and 37 minutes!) It is a bittersweet time in my life. So many friends were made along the road. They have brightened my dreary facility existence, and I will treasure their kindness. This experience has strengthened my faith in the goodness of mankind as so many great and small acts of love have been directed towards me and my family. (Wow! Seriously, it’s incredibly humbling and overwhelming!) My family have been troopers through all this, they have defined hard work and loyalty.

I can’t say it’s been all peaches and cream, this is not a life experience I would wish on my worst enemy! (Come to think of it, I don’t have any enemies!) Being alone is not so fun, obviously. I’m used to the quiet now. My pain level has been astonishingly low. My only complaint would be occasional headaches, body weakness, frequent motion sickness, and the general waiting for help from others to do mundane everyday things.

My goals for the future include, well yeah, finishing the addition to the house, well at least supervising (IE: nagging.) After the completion of the flooring, tile, and countertops, it will be quite a process to move back in. My husband and kids (along with a few professionals) have worked very hard, and I appreciate all they do! (What a sacrifice, for little old me!) Apart from living in construction for awhile, we’re living in a hoarder’s nightmare. (Just kidding, it’s not that bad! No varmits or trash, my family works hard to avoid that! Don’t call child services on us, we have a few livable rooms in our house!) It’s hard to move out of a bunch of rooms while you renovate, but I carry a magnificent picture in my mind of a sparkling, new, complete bedroom, bathroom, closet, laundry, and office. When I (we) have moved everything back in, I want to get a table vise and begin creating jewelry again. (We’ll see how that goes!) I also think I can take over the laundry with help of a few tools. Bookkeeping could also be on the horizon. I have become a very proficient one hand typist.

We are sleeping in what will be the closet until we get blinds and doors!

Aides will come into the home to help. That will be a welcomed relief for my husband! My many hours of daily rehab will continue as therapists will also visit, and we will occasionally make the trek into Aquaworks in town. I figure I will eventually thaw out, walk and use my arm again. That’s my plan. (Cross your fingers!)

I was watching Music and the Spoken Word today. The narrator said, “As the new year begins, we should take this time to evaluate this past year, make necessary adjustments, then move on with a new brightness of hope.” This new year, for me, welcomes a new chance for improvement and restarting my life as wife, mom, and grandma again. Getting back to life, a better life, is my goal. I hope this drawn out and unwelcomed experience will make me a better person. 

I know now, what life’s all about. 

Love, family, kindness, selflessness, and a positive attitude. 

I love the blue wall in the office!

My wish is that you don’t have to go through the refiner’s fire yourselves to learn those truths. (It’s hot in there!)

This is looking into the future big beautiful white marble bathroom. Pictures of the finished rooms to come, hopefully in a month!

What Christmas Really Means

Right after Thanksgiving (or earlier,) we start to be actively bombarded with the capitalist message that we’ve got to start buying or we’ll be left behind somehow. The same-old wash, rinse, repeat holiday symbols get dragged through the incessant media just for the almighty dollar. How do we defend ourselves from this annual capitalist trap? Just like it is with everything good and right, Satan tries to dirty and ruin things that are special.

We are also urged to keep Christ in Christmas on a constant basis. We try each year, but do we really succeed? 

Have we been touched in our hearts to become more Christlike? 

I am not saying scrap the whole Santa notion. That rotund jolly old generous fellow has treated me well in the past. He remains to be a beloved symbol of the giving and charity that we embrace especially at this time of year. It’s just fine to celebrate a white-bearded Santa and flying reindeer and evergreens covered with sparkly lights as long as we retain the intended spirit of the season. Have we been touched so deeply that we are kind and charitable all the time? (I have a strong testimony of the charity possessed by so many. I’ve seen it firsthand! It’s awe inspiring.) It’s okay to enjoy these yearly traditions, as long we keep our hearts turned towards Christ, and the celebration of His time on earth, and what we have received from Him. 

Do we sit through those heart touching services going over our Christmas lists like sugar plums dancing in our heads or meticulously planning the holiday menu, or do we actually give our whole attention to the beauty of the words and music and really think of Him and our true devotion as Christians. I love the depictions of Santa Claus showing love and reverence for the Christchild. They show what Christmas should be. We, including St. Nick, get much joy to give to our loved ones like Christ did (and does.)

We aren’t trying to trick anyone. (One of my daughters felt very betrayed when she discovered the Christmas secret.) Many seasoned parents can tell you that we strive with all our might (and checkbooks) to keep the magic, wonder, and awe alive. Like they said in Prancer the movie, “Christmas is the heart of childhood.” We all revisit our childhood during the holidays through food, shows, and song. That is the appeal of Christmas, even though we think it’s about the giving and getting. No matter your belief level, we all enjoy Christmas and all the cherished family traditions and celebrations that remind us of years gone by.

Family is what it’s all about. 

It is one of Christ’s main teachings. It is very important to Him. So why is it so difficult to be nice to our own family? Try harder during this holiday.

A popular saying in our home is, “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive!” So leave the doubting and humbugging behind. Endeavor to experience genuine joy this year, not stress. If you feel stressed let some less important things go.

There are multiple opinions and practices in regards to Christmas, from gift amount limiting -to- concentrating only on the nativity -to- full on Christmas “Whobalations” with all of the holiday excess and the “roast beast,” whatever that is to you! (“Maybe Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more!”) 

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ’s birth, do it with an annual renewed sense of giving and kindness that you will retain all year long. “God bless us everyone.” “Where’s the Tylenol?”


Angels

I have been pondering the subject of angels much since we welcomed a new angel into our midst, and we have lost an earthly angel. (Now she is literally an angel!) Well yeah, also it’s Christmastime, and angels are a popular symbol of Christmas due to the visit the shepherds received from Heavenly angels over 2000 years ago when they announced the historic star and joyous birth.

I grew up with a family attitude towards angels with wings. Most of them didn’t like the depictions of angels with wings. We always poo-pooed the winged angels, they weren’t accepted. Now, I’m not saying they didn’t believe in them, just the winged versions weren’t correct. They figured it was not an accurate representation of Heavenly messengers.

As I matured and developed my own belief system, my attitude on this subject has softened. (To each their own, right?)

Angels according to Kim: The reason why angels are depicted with wings is that they are spirits that have been ‘transfigured.’ (That word perfectly describes it. “To transform into something more beautiful or elevated.”) The wings are just what some have envisioned when they behold a glowing aura surround a spirit. (I don’t actually believe that souls hit heaven and sprout wings!) I think somewhere in history someone saw an angel, and the best way they could describe the awesome light they witnessed encircling them was very luminous looking wings. And then, as time went on caricatures of angels always posessed wings.

I don’t mind the wings, they are a symbol of the calming peace of a dove. They give us comfort and assurance. (They’re an extension of the Holy Ghost.) Angels also administer to people in need and share God’s love for each of us. And like the Christmas event, they proclaim glad tiding of great joy or give warnings.

My favorite verse in the Book of Mormon is in Alma, chapter 29. (There are many great passages, but this one is a gem.)

“O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.”

Wow! Don’t we all desire world peace? But what are we doing about it?

I have experienced angels throughout my ordeal. I can’t say I have seen visions of heavenly beings, but I sure sensed them. There are also definitely angels amoung us! God works a majority of His miracles through other humans on this earth. The Holy Ghost makes God’s will known to us. 

Have you ever been inspired? 

Had a ingenious charitable thought that will be so wonderful just pop into your head? (Personally, I am not that clever. I just listen to my ‘Jiminey Cricket’ as well as I can.) 

I absolutely adore the song “Angels Amoung Us” by Alabama. (I can’t keep eyes dry whenever I listen.)

I have witnessed, on a personal level, many large and small selflessly angelic acts. Just recently, I have been efforting to get Christmas gifts for my family and friends. (Thanks Amazon!) I was praying for a miracle to help me complete my list. Not too many days after, a friend (you know who you are) brought me a belated birthday card. I thought, “That was nice,” and after she left, I opened the card. It had the money in it that I needed! I cried. The Lord knows me, loves me, and is mindful of my needs! No one but my Heavenly Father knew what I needed. He made that miracle happen through an in-tune mortal angel. I am positive she was prompted by the Holy Ghost!) I must also note, so many earth angel construction professionals have contributed to my home remodel either through  acquiring free or discounted supplies, giving complimentary services, working on their day off, or discounting their work for us. This is their livelihoods, but they have bent over backwards to bring this dream alive. I’ve said it before, but I seriously have a lot to pay forward. I’ve got to work at it for the rest of my life!

I truly believe my Heavenly Father will heal me so I can give and serve as other angels have served me! (It’s gonna be my full-time job!)

High Highs and Low Lows

December 1st will always be remembered as the ultimate rollercoster of emotions for me and my family. Our first grandchild was born. He came naturally on November 30th in the middle of the night. (My babies always wanted to come in the middle of the night!) So we hurried over the next morning, shortly after he was born, to cast our eyes on the most perfect newborn baby, with flowing red hair. (I’m a little biased. But it’s no lie, he is absolutely adorable!) As we reluctantly tore ourselves away from the happy couple and the just-hatched peanut, my husband called his mom with the exciting news.


She was not in good shape due to metastatic cancer and kidney failure, and she was currently under at-home hospice care. (The home was my sister in-law’s. I appreciate her patience, love, and the unwavering care she and her family showed my mother in-law.) Even though his mother was weak, she congratulated us. Just about ten minutes later we got a call back from his sister. She told us immediately after his mother received the glorious news of the baby’s arrival, she passed away. Heart hitting the floor. We went from a top-of-the-world high to a bottom-of-the-sea low in under an half an hour! (Chills)

I’ve been to a professional basketball game that was a buzzer beater. The excited crowd instantaneously lost all their energy when their team lost at the final bell. It was a lot like that.

But worse.

What do you do when all air goes out of your balloon?

You eat. 

My husband and I were hungry and torn, so we went to a deafeningly quiet Chinese lunch. We did finally talk about the baby, Christmas, the house, and tried to avoid the heartbreaking elephant in the room that we didn’t want to discuss. (There was no sad elephant in the restaurant. It’s only an expression!)

She was like my second mother. (I lucked out in the mother in-law department.) 

I believe, without our faith we could have been two piles of mush. But we both know, even though we will miss her, she has graduated on to a better place. Christ made it possible for us to see her again. Little baby Asher posesses a new guardian angel. Heaven was at maximum capacity, so they traded places. (Who knows, I could be right?)

We need to celebrate. 

Celebrate a wonderful life that was lived, and a new life yet to be lived. We must find a way to celebrate in spite of what life throws our way. That is how I am making sense of it. 

Just celebrate. No matter what.

What a wonderful daughter to care for her in her last days!

Thankful for my Life

I turned the big 4-9 the other day. I don’t feel that old! It’s my last year in the forties! With a birthday, an expecting daughter (any day now, she hopes!) and a mother-in-law teetering on the edge of this world (She will be missed, it’s so unbelievably sad!) I have been thinking a lot about this fragile thing called life. We are given such a short time on this earth to prove ourselves and enjoy the amazing beauty. To God, it’s just a moment, and yet I’m sure He is acutely aware of our every movement. He really does have the greatest concern for us and our unending happiness. We might be dragged through the refiner’s fire, to make us better, but contemplate the circumstances around your great and small trials. He always displays His love by sprinkling tender mercies on your hardship. Little bits of love are in there somewhere. 

I survived the unthinkable, but I can perceive the undeniable blessings and love I have been bestowed. 

How can I not be grateful? (I would have to be incredibly oblivious!) 

Many times our blessings are given through mortal angels (so many!) and sometimes the abundant blessings are heaven sent. When times are good we must take on the angel role, and sometimes we must be the receiver. (For someone to give, there must be a receiver.) We must really work hard to see our silver linings. (That’s the assignment this Thanksgiving.) We might think we are experiencing the worst trial ever, but the blessings are there. It is easy to observe them in hindsight. The challenge is to clearly see the blessings while we’re in the thick of them. (Don’t we wish it wasn’t so thick?)

I am personally truly grateful for my mortal angels and to my Heavely Father! (I am overflowing with gratitude!)

Plateau

They warned me it would happen. When you are improving, getting closer to your goals, and showing great strides, there comes a time when you just get stuck. (I know, thanks.) No matter how hard you work, you feel like you’re on a treadmill going nowhere!

I am there. I am on the plateau. I haven’t really progressed lately. I need a ‘new trick.’ That’s what I’m experiencing. Up until now, when I greeted people I had a ‘new trick’ to show them. Now I’m stranded out there on a tall monolithic mountain with nowhere to go.

It’s not as exciting, that’s for sure! I understand the need for resignation (that means hanging in there with a driven purpose,) especially at this juncture in my rehabilitation. Endurance is the keyword in anything we are working towards. Don’t quit. We really might be advancing, but we just can’t see it. Just keep swinging. (I gotta say to all of you sitting on the plateau, “Hang in there.” But I’m really speaking to myself!)