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Showing posts from December, 2015

12 Tiny Truths of 2015

Tonight, I'm staying up, not to ring in the new year, just to make sure 2015 actually ends and shuts the door behind it on the way out.  I am going to use this post, just to review some of the tiny truths I have learned the past 12 months.

 I am not going to use this post to say how much I am looking forward to a new year...yadda, yadda, yadda!  Not going to say it because...Well, let's just get to the truths for this year, shall we?

Tiny truth #1: Life is hard...really hard.  When you think you know what hard is, just wait, it's about to get harder.

Tiny truth #2: Trials adhere to the old adage; line upon line.  This means that each trial builds upon the last.  We learn valuable truths from one trial to apply to the next.  The level of skill required to take on our trials increases so you better have learned it right the first time...just sayin'.

Tiny truth #3:  The skill level of our trials is right up there around expert but our skill set seems to be stuck at 'dum…

On the edge

2015 is almost a wrap and here we sit on the edge of it's final hours, watching a new year roll in.

It's been an incredible year and by incredible, I mean hard! It's been a year I won't ever forget.  When I look back on this year, I can't say I've been happy with it but it hasn't been short of lessons learned.

Most days, we don't really notice the toll the year has taken on us.  We get up, we do what needs to be done and we repeat that pattern, day after day.  Every so often, the underlying angst breaks through and it stings.  Clearly, we are different.  All of us are just a little weary.

Last night, Shelbie came home to get her clothes packed for her trip to California tonight and had a little nervous breakdown.  She has been at odds with things for two weeks, just on edge about everything.  As it turns out, a new year makes her anxious.  She worries about what is coming next.  She worries that it's another year of struggling...and on and on it go…

The Currency of Christmas

So, this is Christmas!  The big day is here!  Earlier this week, it struck me that this is Spencer's first Christmas home in 2 years and Sam's last Christmas home for 2 years.  He is eligible to turn in his mission papers in one month!!  One month.  I can hardly even believe it!  It makes this Christmas, extra tender.

This year, the kids are with their dad for Christmas and throughout the weekend, so it's been rather quiet around here.  I spent the majority of the day working.


Wednesday will go down as the best day of the year, next to the day when Spencer got home from his mission.

It all started back in October, the weekend before Spencer got really sick with Salmonella.  He was home for the weekend and I really wanted a family picture since it had been two years.  What is it about family pictures that makes everyone cranky?  We are four adults and no one can ever muster a smile for 30 min.  It's horrible.  I would rather have teeth pulled than do family…


Today was an interesting day...

I had determined early in November that I wasn't going to be doing as much as I usually do at Christmas.  I just needed to cut back emotionally and physically and keep the holiday simple.

I did however, decide to take some treats in to one of our doctors, the one who I can't live without.  It was still not what I usually do.  I also saved a few for my neighbor who has always been there for us.  Even when they were in India last month, they sent me a message when Spencer was in the hospital to let me know they were thinking of us.  It really had an impact on me.

So, in between things to do, I ran down to drop off the treats.  She was telling me, in an emotional way, how sad she was that our Santa had passed away and we would be missing him.  She was worried about us.   She went on to tell us about a card and some cookies that they received anonymously last week.  It had a picture of Santa on the front and a beautiful sentiment inside.  She was …

And ever o'er its babel sounds

Today is Sunday.

Yesterday, good things were suppose to happen.  I can't say that it was a day much out of the ordinary for us.  Every day has something good in it.   Every day has something bad.

Yet, ever o'er the chatter of the world, we feel heaven's watch! However, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to hear it, find it, feel it.

This weekend, has been an interesting one in my head.  The struggles with finances, insurance, doctor's and continued illness is ever present.  We have had a houseful of company in the mix as well. Spencer came home early Saturday morning with an Elder friend he served with on his mission.  They are buddies now in Utah.  He had to come here to help pack up his sister and move her things into our basement for storage and then Spencer was taking them back to Salt Lake so they can fly out to their home in Pittsburgh.  It was fun to meet both kids and they seem awesome.  We also have a family from Colorado that Spencer baptized, here f…

The sounding joy.

Every Saturday, I play the organ in the temple.  This month, I've been playing the classic Christmas tunes and as I play, these songs over and over, reading each verse as I go along, I have gotten much more from the songs than usual.  I get so lost in the words and what deep meaning they hold for me this year, I almost forget to move on.

I love words.  I especially love words that are poetic and reach my heart.

Here are some of my favorites...

"Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay."

"Love me, I pray."

"Fit us for Heaven"

"Above it's sad and lowly plains they bend on hovering wing, and ever o'er its babel sounds, the blessed angels sing."

"The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."

"Where meek souls will receive him, still, The dear Christ enters in."

"And in despair, I bowed my head."

Good things are happening today

Well, I don't know that for sure, but here's the story.

Back in February, we went to a Chinese food joint for dinner.  They brought the customary fortune cookies, the only cookie in the world that everyone wants but no one eats.  When they bring that plate, we all wave our hand over the cookies until we 'feel' the fortune for us.

My fortune, back then, was "Good things will happen on December 19th."  I put a lot of hope in this fortune so, I opened my calendar on my phone and entered on the 19th of December, "Good things are happening today."  I even put a reminder notice for the 18th.

Yesterday, I got that reminder about today.  I had no idea what it meant.  I wracked my brain all afternoon about what was going to happen that I had forgotten about. Then it hit me!  The fortune cookie.

So...I'm all excited about the possibilities for today.

Not really.  It kind of freaked me out actually.  I told Shelbie about it and she just laughed..."Y…

To err is human...

To really screw things up requires Obamacare!

Today was just not a good day.  I had to laugh, I have a new visiting teacher who came this afternoon with the regular lady who comes.  I'm not sure she was primed as to what she was getting into.  She is new in our ward too.  She gave the lesson on compassion.  It was a good lesson but then she said, "Trials come every now and again..."  The phrase just struck me as a big joke.  I couldn't contain my laughter and I don't think she really appreciated my irreverence.  I looked at my visiting teacher who has been coming for the past couple of years and she was laughing too and then said, "Or, the trials just come one on top of the other."

Cue awkward moment....and...we're moving on.  Poor lady, I'm sure she will be headed straight to the powers that be and find a sweet, lovely, young mother to visit.

So, I've been getting an onslaught of medical bills lately; no surprise there.  But...the bills ar…

Full Tilt

On Friday, I was tired.
On Saturday, I was getting sick.
On Sunday, I was stuck in bed...full blown, thought I might rather die, Lupus attack.  My hair hurt.  I felt sorry for myself and began to wonder why?  Why now?  Why the week before Christmas when I have already wasted so much time in getting ready for Christmas?

And then...I thought...Why not?  I spent part of October, all of November and parts of December running ragged.  Nursing my fatigue with obscene amounts of chilled caffeine on ice and Lindor truffles.  I figured the sugar and chocolate and sugar would sustain me enough to make it through and I did...make it through.  Sadly, I'm still learning about the world of Lupus and learned the hard way that it will always win in times of stress, fatigue and poor diet.  So...Sunday I paid for my undoings.

On Monday, I resigned myself to being a sick person.  I dragged myself out of bed at the very last moment to show up to a house cleaning job.  From there I dragged myself to t…

Holding Space

Have you heard of the latest catch phrase 'holding space'?

A woman by the name of Heather Plett, describes it this way,

 "It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control."

I have been thinking about the past week.  It's actually been a really hard one.  Living the chronic life brings interesting dynamics with it.  When a crisis hits, as a mom, my initial response is somewhat manic.  I show up emotionally, suited up for a fight.  I'm ready to carry the emotions of the child, the emotions of me, the dynamics we find with doctors and nurses, whoever crosses our path, I'm on my 'A' game.   I manage a hundred different things at once.  I do what needs to be done.  There are rare moments…

Getting it together

It's been an interesting week of sorts.  Busy as usual.

Tuesday, we went back to the homeless shelter to drop off gifts to our new friend Carla.  I had called her just to remind her that we were coming.  She asked if we could meet her somewhere else instead so we met in a parking lot a few blocks away.  She was so happy but I have a feeling she is one of those people who just manages to smile regardless of the burdens she carries.

She had asked us to come to her apartment for tea after her class at the battered women's shelter but since I work nights, we had to decline.  We packed her car up with presents and gave her and the littles a hug.

As we drove off, both of my kids said, "Do you get the feeling she has her life together more than we do?"

Ya, I kind of did.  In fact, I was trying not to cry because in so many ways, she seemed much better off than us.  In a lot of ways, we are still clamoring to get our feet back under us.  At the end of the day, the image stu…

Creating Christmas

Is it already December 8th?  It doesn't even feel like we are embarking upon the Christmas Season.  Last night, I heard an Evangelist Pastor give a sermon on Christ and Christmas and he said, "Christmas is coming at us fast!  Where is your spirit?"

His name was Elon.  He was addressing a room full of 30 or more homeless, almost homeless men and 3 or 4 women, a couple of small children, me, my kids and our new friend who has been struggling with loneliness and isolation.

Gosh...where was my spirit at?  It was a string of meaningful words.  He cautioned them that it is easy to get down when your situation is hard but they needed to lift themselves up in the redeeming spirit of Christ.  His sermon was about 15 minutes long, just before dinner was served to this hungry crowd.

I had had this family home evening activity planned for a few weeks.  We made a bunch of cookies and packaged them up and took them down to hand out to the men and women being served dinner at one of …

Our Prison

I saw this video posted a million times on FB over the past week and since it was about prison, I didn't watch it because I didn't think it was relevant to me. I did, however, end up watching it just because I really like the song.  It's not a popular Christmas song that makes no sense at all, like grandma getting run over by reindeer but it's one of my favorites and makes the most sense of all the Christmas songs out there!

I was actually moved when I watched this.  It was relevant!  I've never spent a day in prison but in some ways, I've spent an awful lot of time behind prison bars others have built for me and some time behind bars I placed myself.

I have had the privilege of spending more time than usual with my dear, sweet friend May.  If you want to read how we met 18 years ago...go HERE

The day before Thanksgiving, when the boys and I went over to try to get her van started, she was very hesitant about letting us take it to a shop to get repaired.  She …


C-Diff is officially back.  That cultured out positive again today so here's to another $1200 in medication.  The cost of a food borne illness is pretty impressive.  The bills have started rolling in from our Utah adventures.  We saw so many doctors before anyone told us it was out of network.  This is my first year on Obamacare so I just assumed that since I am with the same plan I had, with basically the same company, Utah was covered like it use to be.  I was pretty much wrong.  Live and learn.

Here's a rough breakdown:
Medication: $3500
Doctors: $1700
Laboratory: $1800
3 ER visits, unnecessary scans: $3000
Hospital Stay: $4000

All this added to our $13,000+ bills for Shelbie in the month of November and it was a spendy month. It gives me great anxiety to open these bills and wait to hear what is going to be covered and what will not.  Obamacare has definitely complicated my life in so many ways. Just to put this in perspective, our medical bills in one month were more than…

Santa lives on

This year, we said goodbye to a lot of special people.  I would confidently say that this was a year of losses;  my grandma, my aunt and so many friends I had become close to.  One of our greatest losses was that of Santa...AKA Mike.

There will never be another man like Mike.  He was the town Santa but more importantly, he was our personal Santa.  He has been coming to our family for 20 years!  The kids believed in Santa much longer than the average kid, it was almost embarrassing.  Mike brought the spirit of Christ into our home year after year.  When the kids were in the hospital, Mike was there and sometimes, even dressed in his Santa suit.  

The past few weeks I have really been missing him.   This is first year, he won't be bounding through the front door with his jolly laugh and sparkly eyes.  I will admit, I found myself a little emotional a couple of weeks ago when I was looking ahead to December and what events we had planned.

Tonight, after dinner, Shelbie announced th…

It's Back...

C- Diff is back.  Not officially but today was Spencer's last day on antibiotics for Salmonella and all the GI bleeding, nausea, vomiting and other unmentionables came back with a vengeance.  I will check in with our trusty Infectious Disease doc in the morning and see what we do next.

I have a feeling I will be taking another trip to Utah.  Spencer left his Vancomycin here because we thought we were done and at $1200 for a two week prescription, I'm not about to get a refill.  We still have a week's worth left.  With our luck, the doc will change the medication to Dificid which is even more money than Vanco.  Whatever...

Spencer is so funny...he never just calls and comes out with the news.  He warms up to bad news.

So, it went something like this..."Hey mom!  How was your day?"
"Pretty good.  How about your day?"
"It was good.  Just got done with my classes for the night and I"m headed back to my apartment."
"That's good!  Wh…