November 7th, 2011 I had just sent a couple of my boys off to school and chose to lay back down in bed and be lazy for just a little longer before getting the rest of the boys ready for school. Around 7:30 a.m. I got a phone call from my sister telling me that my dad had a cardiac arrest and all I really remember feeling is that we had lost him - that he was gone. They had taken him to the hospital and we were all meeting over at the hospital.
I couldn’t leave my house without showering so I hurried and showered and found myself walking around the house saying I just need to have perfect faith. If I have perfect faith then somehow my dad will make it. We raced to the hospital and when we all got there we found that they had finally gotten my dad breathing and had started the process of freezing him to stop the damage.
There are a ton of details to this experience, but a few days into the process I was driving to the hospital to spend another long and emotional day at the hospital. I had the words come to me clearly that I didn’t need to have perfect faith, it was alright to feel nervous, scared, emotional and worried, but to have faith, do all I could and the Lord would take care of the rest. That the atonement applies in all of our lives in many different ways. We don’t have to be perfect, that’s not what this life is all about.
I had the words come to me clearly that I didn’t need to have perfect faith, it was alright to feel nervous, scared, emotional and worried, but to have faith, do all I could and the Lord would take care of the rest.
We witnessed many miracles and on November 30th my dad returned home. There wasn’t anyone that thought he would return home by November 30th, the damage to his brain was significant.
We were in St. George for a baseball tournament this weekend and Tanner took his favorite baseball hat. On Saturday morning Tanner realized that he hadn’t seen it and couldn’t find it. We searched the hotel room before leaving and searched the van as much as we could. Before we left the baseball field to return home we tore apart pretty much everything. This was a hat we had gotten from another tournament earlier in the year and so we even looked into purchasing a new hat for him, but they were sold out of that specific hat. On the way home we stopped by each spot that we had stopped on our way to St. George hoping that we could be able to find his hat.
Internally I was sad and wondered if we would be able to find his hat. In a way I was losing hope that we would find it, but I was trying to be optimistic, have faith and give him some hope that somehow things would work out. There was a point at one of our stops and Tanner was frustrated and said we are not going to find my hat. I smiled and said I had faith that we would find it. After all of the stops we didn’t find his hat so we headed home.
We searched the house, unloaded everything and checked all of the luggage and went to bed feeling there really wasn’t anywhere else to look. Deep down I had faith that it would turn up. Tanner was irritated and as he went to bed I said to him, “Let’s not give up hope. We will find it.” In his frustration as he headed to bed he said, “No mom. It’s gone. We won’t find it.”
I woke up this morning thinking about it and told Rick that I just felt we were going to find it. I had faith. Not perfect faith, but just felt that we would. As Tanner got ready for church he came in our room smiling big and holding HIS HAT!!! Of course I had to remind him what I said last night, but we laughed together and we were all excited that his hat was found. He had unpacked his suitcase and the hat was scrunched up in one of his pieces of clothing, which is crazy, because he takes very good care of his hats.
As I’ve pondered these different experiences I’ve thought a lot about faith and timing and the things we have the opportunity to learn from our life experiences. Life’s not about having things go perfectly. In fact, quite often things don’t go as planned at all. Sometimes things get really hard and we grow weary. We give up hope. We find ourselves thinking we know how things are going to turn out.
With my dad the doctor would come in and tell us often that he had significant damage and he wouldn’t be healed. He would tell us that if he made it he would be a vegetable. The scans showed the damage and my dad couldn’t communicate with us. He couldn’t walk for awhile. The facts as we know them here on earth definitely painted a grim picture. Just like with Tanner’s hat that meant alot to him. We had searched, the facts were showing that the hat was gone.
Over this last year as I’ve gone through counseling and faced extremely difficult experiences and times on this journey I’ve struggled to want to keep moving forward. There have been days I’ve given up faith. I’ve listed all of the facts, the reasons things wouldn’t work out. Then through priesthood blessings, power of prayer, important people in my life have come through, digging down deep and recognizing my inner strength and at times telling myself to take one more step I’ve moved forward - sometimes still hurting deeply, but moving forward.
As I’ve moved forward, sometimes gingerly and feeling like I needed a sign that said handle with care, I’ve been blessed over and over with strength and growth and miracles and healing. Little by little, step by step, we can all find blessings and find that things turn out much greater than we could ever dream.
Have you ever stopped to think of the real power of WORDS? We hear lots of different quotes about being KIND, think about your words before SAYING them, that the NEGATIVE sticks much longer than the POSITIVE words, etc. If you really think about it, words are really affecting a lot of things going on in our lives RIGHT NOW.
For the last 35 years I’ve had a habit that was started because of WORDS, these ones were written down.
Growing up there was a family that lived close by that was like family to us. There was a young man that was my age in that family that I respected and counted as a friend. I placed a lot of value on our conversations, his opinions and of course, there were times over the years that I would have a crush on him, but we never were in a relationship, just overall had a good friendship.
In my early teen years I was laying upstairs in the hallway, very crampy, close to the bathroom and hoping I could survive that wonderful time of the month. I didn’t want anyone to see me - I felt very ugly. One of my siblings came to me as I was curled up in a ball and said they had a note from one of my friends for me. Before I opened the letter I was thinking how nice that someone wrote me a letter when I wasn’t feeling well.
I opened up the handwritten note and it didn’t contain many words, but it read something to this effect, “You are so ugly. You should never leave your room without showering, putting make up on and doing your hair to help cover your ugliness.”
This note was from this friend that I had known for several years and highly respected. At that point I decided that I would NEVER leave my room without makeup and my hair done and would shower before I ever went downstairs, including for breakfast. That no one would see me undone in hopes of having some kind of value / beauty. I’ve kept that habit my whole life until recently.
“You are so ugly. You should never leave your room without showering, putting make up on and doing your hair to help cover your ugliness.”
Honestly, I’ve not thought about that note often, it’s just a habit at that time I committed to and it’s something that has stuck with me. There have been times friends have asked me to exercise early in the mornings and it’s been a very difficult thing for me to do and honestly I’ve generally showered, done my hair and makeup gone and exercised and then come home and gotten ready again for the day. Days of surgery I’ve gotten ready for the day to go to the hospital for surgeries.
Over the last year my boys have questioned this habit and it’s caused me to reflect on the power of words and the impact this note has had on me for over 30 years. The young man that wrote that note is someone I still know, we’ve stayed friends over the years, would visit at college and the list goes on. We’ve had many interactions over the years. I’m betting he has no idea that note had any kind of impact on me and he’s a great guy. I’m sure it was probably something funny, maybe a joke, a bad day, peer pressure - who knows, but it’s stuck with me.
As I’ve done counseling this year I’ve started to allow myself to be a little more comfortable, not too much, but getting a little better about maybe not having my hair or makeup done to go downstairs in my own home. I ALWAYS shower first thing - that’s not an option. I’m working on believing that there is beauty in me. I’m working on loving myself and seeing value within myself. It’s something I’ve never believed so it’s something I’m reprogramming my mind to believe.
On the other hand I reflect back on my life and I can also remember compliments and kind words that have been shared with me. Over the last few months the sincere, kind words have sunk much deeper and I’ve been able to feel them.
Recently we were at Salem Pond for a few hours with our family and some friends. It was quiet and peaceful and the weather was perfect. I was truly relaxed and pondering things in my life. I decided to go for a walk around the pond. One thing that I decided to do was as I walked around the pond to look at anyone that I crossed paths with or were by the lake or sitting at a picnic table in the eye and say hello and be open to a conversation. It was such a great experience. I visited with a couple of guys sitting at a picnic table and as I left I wished them a good day. A young lady was fishing and she and I had a quick visit about her catching fish and wished her the best and the list goes on. I absolutely loved it! They were smiling and I was smiling and it felt good for my heart and healing. I was grateful I could share some kind words with strangers that day.
Words are something that have always been very powerful to me - good and bad. I’m not perfect by any means, but I work at seeing the good, sharing encouraging words with others, compliments, smiling and saying hi and looking people in the eye - striving to make a positive difference in others lives. I encourage each one of you to think about the power of your words. What are you doing to share your KIND WORDS? As a friend of mine just said to me, “Words are the most powerful tools we have.”
Please watch the video below. It is one of my most favorite videos on the Power of Words.
Last Sunday I walked outside and noticed that our flower bed had more water in it than normal - it looked more puddled. I mentioned it to Rick and he said let’s keep an eye on it, maybe the sprinklers ran a little longer or something. On Monday / Tuesday it didn’t look too bad so we didn’t worry about it. On Thursday morning we noticed it was puddled again and there was water coming out the base of a gutter by our sidewalk.
At that point Rick went and checked the basement to see if there was water downstairs and there was. That meant we needed to shift all of our attention to figuring out what was going on. Gratefully Brayden was able to come home from the Bishop Storehouse and help Rick start digging and Rick turned off the water to our home so we wouldn’t have any more water going into our basement.
Within a few hours they felt it was a sprinkler break and we thought, yea, this will be a fairly easy fix. Not so. There was still more water deeper so they kept digging. They got to about 5 ½ feet down, but it was dark and late so it was time to go to bed without any water to our home. On Friday morning Rick turned the water on for a short time so everyone could quickly take showers and he rigged things in the basement so the water would go into towels and buckets. Then off went the water for the rest of the day.
My brother offered to come over and help Rick Friday morning to keep digging so he got down in the hole and kept digging - we hadn’t found the leak yet. After a couple of hours they got to the water main going into our home, 8 ½ feet down and widening the hole due to where the pipe was they found the leak.
At this point dishes piled, mud tracked through the house that we couldn’t clean up, laundry starting to pile up from regular daily stuff and from all of the mud and working outside. My house being a mess raises my anxiety much higher, but I was trying to relax and recognize this was out of everyone’s control. Everyone was doing their best.
Around 5:30 p.m. a very dear friend of ours came over with his son and his wife to help us. He climbed down into the hole and started working on things. He had parts, tools and we were all thinking this would go smoothly. Between sprinklers kicking on, some glitches, ways things were done in our home and needing things from different places it was around 9:30 p.m. that we finally had running water into our home. We were all very excited!
None of us had dinner at that point so we came in and all sat around eating dinner enjoying the thought that there was water and things were fixed. Around 10 p.m. one of the boys commented that there was no water coming out of the tap. They all got up and hurried outside and found that the 8 ½ foot hole was full of water, water was flooding into our basement and something had happened - we didn’t know the details quite yet. Off went the water to our home again.
Brayden threw on his swimsuit and literally was swimming in this hole with buckets trying to quickly get water out of the hole so it wouldn’t all flood into our home. The boys all jumped in and helped. Rick went to the basement and started filling buckets of water and trying to salvage what he could from the basement.
Around 10:30 p.m. we are all tired, many working hard to deal with the water and laughing outside as they work together trying to keep things in perspective. Out comes a neighbor from their home and yells, “SHUT UP!!!!”
Honestly I think for me you could take all of 2020 and pile it into this week to sum it up.
He looked at the guys working and walked back in his house. Everyone covered in mud, huge pile of mud on the lawn, some of my nicer bowls and things out of my kitchen being used to bucket the water out as fast as they could and mud throughout my house - it was a real mess. There was no way to clean up anything and no way to fix things at 10:30 p.m. due to everywhere being closed.
As I laid in bed I felt soooo much anger! Anger over the entire week. This was a week from hell. Honestly I think for me you could take all of 2020 and pile it into this week to sum it up. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t have any answers. I didn’t know when my water would be turned back on - there was hope for the next day, but really how things had gone during the week I was losing hope. I didn’t know when my house would be clean. At 1:00 a.m. I felt like the world was caving in all around me and I didn’t know if I had anymore to give for anything.
Then I thought about my neighbor who yelled “Shut Up” and could he not see we were in crisis and of course I wasn’t surprised he didn’t offer to come and help. My thoughts were pretty negative. I found myself thinking besides seeing our crisis, I sure wish he could have understood how awful of a week had been overall.
THEN, I had some other thoughts come flooding in. Friends that came over and helped and were going to continue to help us on Saturday. My brother who had come over and helped. When my brother came over on Friday he and I had an AMAZING conversation that was an answer to my prayers. Brayden had court for a ticket that he got back in February this week and the judge was truly AMAZING and so kind. The process went really well. I’ve had some amazing conversations with my boys this week and my relationships with them is growing stronger. I found myself feeling very grateful for my progress. There were many other miracles that happened this week - great miracles.
Then my thoughts went to my neighbor. I thought to myself, I have no idea what they are going through, what their week has been like, what time they have to be to work, etc. The other thought I had was he was inside his home when he heard the noise, hadn’t seen the mess, maybe didn’t know who was making the noise, opened the door, it was dark and may not have even had time to see what was going on when he yelled “Shut up.” Maybe he had other things to say, but once he saw what was going on he just went inside and didn’t say anymore.
As I thought about all of this I thought about the quote of, “Always be kind to others. You never know what they might be going through.”
I would dare guess that everyone you cross paths with, people we interact with, work with, serve with, even our own family are going through things that we can’t see that are difficult.
In my experience, and I would dare guess that everyone you cross paths with, people we interact with, work with, serve with, even our own family are going through things that we can’t see that are difficult. Our life challenges or things that are weighing heavy on us are often not like the big mud pile or the water that was seeping into my basement. And in reality, we don’t know how long the water had been leaking into my basement. We didn’t see the little by little damage that was happening in our basement. And then there was the moment that the water burst into our home and filled the hole quickly. Our challenges can be just like that - sometimes little by little and sometimes comes gushing in, but the big thing is most often we can’t see the damage or struggles in others. Something we do might be the straw that breaks the camels back.
I wished that my neighbor had understood what my week had been like and I’m sure he was thinking why didn’t we understand why they wanted it quiet.
Most of the time things are not as they appear. A smile or laughter doesn’t mean there isn’t a great challenge going on inside. Count your blessings and recognize the good in your life - there’s always something. Look around you and bless someone else’s life. Be the kind words. Make a positive difference. Be the friend that comes and hops in the hole and helps dig out the dirt and is willing to get muddy in making a difference and stopping the leak of pain and damage that comes in life.
The BEST WORDS I’ve heard today from my boys is, “I’m grateful we have running water.” With that comes much gratitude and miracles.
Do you have a sanctuary? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that question? Are you thinking it doesn’t really matter if I have a sanctuary, because I don’t have time to enjoy it?
Of course I have a sanctuary, that’s in my room or escaping to the restroom for a few minutes before your children find you. Maybe you have a job that you enjoy going to and feel like that’s a place you can escape to forget the problems at home?
Why would you need a sanctuary?
I went to my first counseling appointment and it was great, more get to know you type things. I was grateful for a starting place, because I wasn’t quite sure where to start. I had figured I would go to the next appointment and we would dive right into the things I had shared the previous week. I was ready to get down to business and start knocking things out so I could get better and move on with my life - wow, I was really wrong with that thought - lol.
My counselor asked me where I go for a sanctuary. I was like, um, my home, the temple? The reality is I was thinking what does this have to do with anything, but thought well, I’ll listen and see where this goes. I just wanted to get better.
I started counseling the end of December so pretty much most days the boys were heading off to school, Rick was heading to Salt Lake for work and Brayden would head off to his service mission for part of each day. I felt that my home could easily be my sanctuary with everyone gone most each day. The temple I didn’t get to very often, but definitely found peace when I went. A place to clear my mind.
He asked me to come up with other places. A place that I could get away from the things in my home, didn’t need to be somewhere spiritual that I could have 20 - 30 minutes a day to myself. I honestly couldn’t think of anywhere, because I was so busy I didn’t have time to do something like that and honestly it didn’t sound appealing to me to spend that kind of time alone, by myself, with my own thoughts. He suggested a favorite place to get a treat and just go in and sit by myself, up the canyon, a view that I could enjoy, etc. I’m very task oriented and I wanted to know what this would check off on a list.
The assignment was each day to take 20 - 30 minutes, go somewhere quiet by myself and just think, ponder, clear my thoughts, listen to music, whatever I wanted, but it was me time. Turn off the phone and be disconnected.
The assignment was each day to take 20 - 30 minutes, go somewhere quiet by myself
I left that first appointment thinking alright I’ll give this a try, but it just doesn’t make sense and my attitude was I would do it when I could fit it into my schedule, so it definitely wouldn’t be everyday. It took me a little bit, but one Saturday I was chatting a good friend of mine who had been on my counseling journey with me I was sharing that I was feeling anxious, but that I needed to be home to take care of things that my family needed, etc. My friend really pushed on me to give it a try and see what would happen. I finally said to Rick and my boys that I was going to go for a drive and I would be back in about 30 minutes. I didn’t really have a great attitude about it and I honestly couldn’t think of anywhere except for the temple grounds. I drove up there and parked the car and looked at the temple. I decided to turn on some music and see if I could figure out how to sort out my thoughts all by myself.
It took me a bit to relax and really turn inward, but there were words to songs that really struck me, that caused me to calm down. I was at the temple grounds for maybe 20 minutes, but it was calming, it was really what I needed. I came home and went back to life feeling calmer. I wasn’t consistent with taking that time away from my home, but as time went on I found that I loved my own quiet time everyday. Sometimes I would have a conversation with Heavenly Father, other times I would make notes on my phone of thoughts I was having, reviewed things from my counseling appointments, listened to music, enjoyed nature, did voice messages on my phone for friends or those that I thought of and sometimes I just close my eyes and rest.
The other thing I found was that the baseball field was a place of sanctuary for me so often I would go to the ballpark for my sanctuary.
At first it seemed like an interesting way to start out my counseling / healing journey, but honestly it’s been an anchor and foundation for my healing process. I’m extremely grateful that I started learning this before Covid 19 shut everything down. It’s been a very difficult time, but learning to take time for myself, doesn’t have to be a lot of time, has been life changing.
Regardless of what you’re going through, I encourage each of you to take time for yourselves, find yourself a sanctuary each day. It will truly make a positive difference in your life.
I wanted to share something light and fun today - a success from the last 9 months. Throughout this year it’s been nice to have each of the boys go into counseling. We’ve all had the same counselor and it’s been a family affair. I’ve loved that it’s been an opportunity for our family to do this together and when we are just sitting around or chatting with each other we have great conversations with each other using terms and experiences we’ve all learned in counseling. It’s opened up a whole new world of conversation in our home.
As many know over the years I’ve been heavily involved with a lot of things and often made commitments that the only way they could be accomplished was as a whole family. I’ve had high expectations and honestly expected a level of perfection. There wasn’t time for processing how everyone was feeling or for attitudes. My boys have been amazing to go along with everything, have been very supportive and loved the experiences, but there was a cost to their mom being so busy, task oriented and my expectations.
On Sunday I was excited to share with the boys that 27 years ago that evening I was set apart as a full time missionary and my life’s never been the same. I commented that was the end of some of the harder things I had been through in relationships. Tanner asked me a question specifically about that time in my life and I answered him. He was nervous and timid at first, but then I told him he was welcome to ask any questions and I would be happy to answer anything he wanted to know. We had an AMAZING conversation and it strengthened our relationship so much.
He made the comment that for the longest time he didn’t know what I had been through and then as some things have come up he didn’t feel he could ask any questions, which was a true statement. I wasn’t open to talking about things from my past and how I felt then or even over the years. He thanked me for being open and sharing with him. He loves that he feels safe to ask anything or talk about anything with me and knows that things will be fine and we can have great, open conversations. No judgement and now he knows his mom’s not perfect, which is a great thing.
After I answered all of his questions he shared with me that he felt bad about some of the things he had written about me during the Fall that he had on his phone. He shared that he didn’t understand what I had been through and he had a greater appreciation for my struggles and what I was going through. I asked him to share with me the things he had written and he said that he felt so bad and didn’t want to hurt me.
In a very loving way he opened up and shared with me the things he had written. It was very eye opening to me and helped me see into things he was experiencing and feeling from my expectations and how I handled things in our home. Honestly, many of his feelings mirrored things that I have felt for 48 years.
I used to be so calendared, busy, no time to stop and seize the opportunities that were the most important.
I encouraged him to share those things in counseling yesterday and to talk through how he felt and how he’s feeling now. I had the opportunity to go in the session with him and it was such an amazing experience to talk about the changes that have come in our home through the last 9 months and how much healthier we have all become. It’s been a long road, but so rewarding.
After counseling he asked if we could stop at Baskin Robbins. I’ve not been to Baskin Robbins in at least 10 years. Without question of what else we had going on for the day we went to Baskin Robbins. We put on our masks, went in and got waffle cones and ice cream. There wasn’t seating inside due to Covid-19 so we went out to the van and sat and ate our ice cream. Not only did we enjoy our ice cream, but we made a mess with it dripping all over and we laughed and talked and came up with the story we would tell Rick as to why we were an hour late getting home - lol.
I used to be so calendared, busy, no time to stop and seize the opportunities that were the most important. I didn’t know how to have healthy, fun conversations with my boys. I was very much task oriented and the conversations were about school work, what did they need to get done, the house being cleaned and the list goes on. I would have never imagined being calm about ice cream melting all over and making a mess. I even got ice cream on my nose and we laughed together about it.
I’ve loved connecting with my boys on a whole different level and having a much deeper understanding of each other’s emotions and the real things in life that matter. This has only come because together we have worked hard at changing most everything about our family dynamics through counseling and we’ve all been willing to change - a true conversion to a happier, more sincere, connected life.
One day at a time or as a dear friend says, one hour at a time.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 1 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity