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!

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!)

The Dance

Much Beckstead history is related to this song. When I hear it, I am carried back to days gone by. We lost three important pieces of the family puzzle within about four years. My husband’s nephew, brother and father all left us prematurely. We named our son after all of them, in a way. (Riley is Ryan and Billy combined, and his middle is a family name.) This family is not strangers to loss and hard times. At each funeral the song, “The Dance,” by Garth Brooks was played.

The haunting, yet beautiful, beginning and ending measures of solitary piano notes mean love and loss to me. It is difficult to hold the water works due to the history it encompasses for me. I adore the message of this song.

The other day I heard it on the radio and back washed the memories of those beloved, but I also possess a new perspective of this song post-stroke.

I am truly happy it wasn’t sung for me in August 2016. (I can’t lie!) I have experienced loss though. Loss for my former life. Loss for what could’ve been. Loss for over a year of the everyday times I missed with my family.

What would I have done if I was aware this event was coming? How would I have prepared? What would’ve I appreciated more? Would I have cleaned the house more or spent an increased amount of time expressing my love. (Would I have ridden a bull named Fumanchu? Wrong song.) But my attention might have been elsewhere. I could have missed “the dance.” So many wonderful times I experienced before… 

I believe it’s more advantageous I didn’t comprehend what the future held. But if I could have changed it, would I have? (Well, yeah!) But looking back on the things I have learned, the actual wisdom I now possess, the awesome people I have met, the dear friends who have reached out to me and grown closer, the unbelievably kind acts of service given to me and my family, the home remodel I’ve wanted for years (a big-time honey-do,) the heartfelt “I love you’s” spoken, the incredibly loyal and capable husband I rediscovered, and the faith, hope, and sheer will I have acquired, or enhanced – I wonder. 

Did this great tragedy shape who I am now? Is this my ultimate test? (How long will it last? I am seriously over it.) But I understand I don’t get to pass go and collect two hundred dollars. I won’t receive a free pass through the pearly gates. I still must continue to endure and genuinely be a good person throughout my life.

The moral to this story – Live each day to the fullest. Be “the king,” and take charge of your life. Grab life by the horns, and hold on tight. With the sour comes the sweet. See the good in each and every one of your trials.

“I could’ve missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss – the – dance.”

Consider the Lilies – 6/20/17

As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches the people who have gathered around. In Matthew 6, He is telling them that God loves and provides for everyone in His own way. Verse 28 says, “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, (it’s a parable) how they grow; they toil not, nor do they spin.” 

There are many theories regarding this verse. But I learned spinning thread was a large task of daily life at this time, and He was referring to wildflowers in general, which are mainly purple in that region. Jesus always spoke in terms the masses would understand. He was endeavoring to teach the people of God’s unconditional love for flowers in the field, birds in the air, sheep in the meadow, and all the way up to us. He blesses those “lilies” with sunlight, nutrients in the soil, and rain from the sky. (They don’t do much, just grow.) But if He cares for such inane objects and gives them beauty (for nothing,) how much more do you think He cares for His spirit children?  

Part of the song goes: “He feeds the lambs in His fold (we are the lambs,) And He will heal those who trust him, And make their hearts as gold.” I venture to say our trials, big or small, are hard for our Heavenly Father to watch. (Just like a parent begrudgingly utilizes tough love.) But we agreed to come to earth, and be tested. (We signed up for this.) Some tests are more difficult than others. That’s how we grow, and become valuable, like gold. That’s how we prove ourselves to Him. Our Heavenly Father blesses each one of us according to our needs. We all get certain blessings and others are added based on our dedication (and trust) in Him and His Son like healing, for example.

There were early inspirational versions based on this scripture, but this song’s lyrics were written in 1980 by a gospel singer through the Spirit and out of appreciation. Roger Hoffman, the songwriter, explains his feelings toward the song, “This is the way of the Master. He tells us plainly that he has given us weakness to bring us to him. When we come unto him, he teaches, counsels, and heals us, replacing evil with good, pouring himself into us, a spiritual transfusion where his light replaces our darkness. The light he has put into us works its way through everything we know and feel and draws us to yet greater light.” (Heavy, but I believe it.) The Mormon Tabernacle choir has embraced this song and sing it often. I think it’s the best version.

I know that the wonderful blessings I am given come from God, our Heavenly Father. The lilies are blessed. The birds are blessed. And we are truly blessed. 

I have looked around myself and understand the tender mercies in my behalf, and I am humbled by the great love He has for me. (I suggest you look and see your blessings, too.)

I will always appreciate and adore this song. (And I will never gaze upon lilies the same way again!)

How Great Thou Art – Tunes Tuesday 5/2/17


This song has been a favorite mine for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those songs that transcends religion. It speaks to all Christians, “with shout of acclamation.” Carrie Underwood sings it beautifully, and I truly believe her rendition. The wonderful melody brings the Spirit, and reminds of the incomparable love our God has for us. We all personally know what God has blessed us with and our own tender mercies. I think (gospel according to Kim) that we sang this song in the pre-existence.  When we hear it, we are deeply, even unconsciously, reminiscent of our time before earth, Then sings my soul..” He is our great King and loving Heavenly Father. Our love for Him comes through “in humble adoration” with this song as a vehicle. “I in awesome wonder” am cogniscent and grateful for the countless blessings I have, astonishly, been the recipient. “How great thou art!”

Love is Faith

Love Challenge – Love is Faith. 

Like that little seed. We plant that seed, and have faith and hope it will grow into something amazing. We must take that leap of faith. Believing that what we put our everything into will develop or is something unseen. Sometimes your faith in something will make it be. Those have love, also have faith that it will culminate with success. My husband Darin is the eternal optimist. That means he has faith and love for me. He has kept me going and looks on the bright side of everything. (Which is hard after you’ve had a stroke!) He has me in three hours of therapy a day, because he knows I’ll be whole again. (Phew!) Because he has faith in me, I have faith. His goal is total rehab in a year from the stroke date. It might be a little longer, but we hope for the best! “You gotta have faith-a,faith-a, faith…”

Love is Happy

Love Challenge – Love is Happy. 

Someone who serves and loves must do it freely and happily, not begrudgingly. (I had to google that word!) Like with home and visiting teaching, do we make friends and visit early in the month to make sure our neighbor is alright? Or do we go at end of the month just to fulfill a duty? (I am guilty. I am just a procrastinator.) But it truly shows the person how much you really care. Like when we get a prompting to serve someone, do we do it right away or put it low on our mental list and forget? (Guilty) We want to help one another, but at our own convenience.

There have been many happy acts of love to us. We are immensely thankful, even if it’s just a visit and a smile. Your show of love is enough.

Love Does Not Judge – Love is… #1

I am taking the 28 day love challenge this February. Because of all the love shown to me in the last 5 months after my stroke. I am sharing my outlooks. 

Love Challenge – Love does not judge. 

Some people show love despite who is it toward. True love and service does not judge you. There are some incredible people out there. When you become deeply in need they are indifferent to if your clothes are stylish, or if you drive a fancy car, or if you’re keeping up with the Jones. Genuine service is done with an attitude of love no matter who you happen to be. They travel many miles or sacrifice a day just to show their concern. They make countless meals for a family in need. (A working, single-ish dad can only cook so much.)  They actually listen to you and respond with unconditional acceptance. They manifest charity no matter the extent or sacrifice and show concern for those who have been dealt a crappy card. They pray for you. They are appreciated.

Love is Patient

Love Challenge – Love is patient. 

I have seriously learned patience during the long, slow recuperation from this stroke (except with wheelchair, I like to go fast. Get out of my way!) Everything takes time and it is not a speedy thing. There have been times I’ve had to wait and wait on my help and myself. (Try eating with your non-dominant hand!) My recovery is going to take time. Patience seems like a trait only the saints have. But patience can be acquired by anyone. It only takes understanding. You must understand the other person and what they are experiencing. Patience is not thinking of yourself. How you act and what you do while you’re waiting defines you. Do you huff and puff and growl under your breath while you wait? Or do you just do something else to kill time (multi-task) and show some simple understanding? (That’s what smart phones are for!) I know there may be times that your schedule is crunched, and your patience is pushed to the limit. This is the time you need to re-evaluate your habits, or perhaps wake up earlier. There are emergencies that are unforeseeable (last-minute projects or reset alarm clocks,) but usually those times that increase your blood pressure can be avoided with a little planning and preparation. Patience can additionally be shown to those in need through love with long suffering. Lending a helping hand is not usually a quick notion. Those who give me love and service are so incredibly patient. I appreciate it so much! 

Love is Integrity


Love Challenge – Love is Integrity. 

You know, doing what you unequivocally know is right. It’s my favorite Young Women’s value. What do you think the world would be like if everyone one loved and acted with integrity and good ethics? (Way different!) I hope my kids act with integrity at home and all around. I know they will, because I have awesome children! I was taught great integrity by my parents. Now it’s up to us to teach and live with integrity. We are an example. (Someone is always watching!) It takes more courage to do things just because they are easy. It doesn’t mean they’re right. Don’t make your choices because they might be fun, or more time saving, or much less trouble. Integrity is not convenient. But when you live with integrity it has a great consequence, no guilt! (That would be wonderful!) We make difficult choices that align with our internal values. We can stand out in the crowd as we break our comfort zone, and be the one who chooses the right. President Monson wisely told us, ‘Always choose the harder right over the easier wrong.” Acts of love and integrity are constantly shown to me and my family through abounding good works and service. “Choose the right way, and be happy…”