Wednesday, March 29, 2017

some observations about this shoulder of mine

Ten things I did this past week that I haven't done since December:

  1. I drove myself to Physical Therapy...
  2. Followed by going to Sonic drive-up window all by my lonesome!
  3. I opened the Strawberry Jam jar, which is a huge accomplishment!
  4. I shaved my legs!
  5. I taught the lesson in Young Womens!
  6. I wore a bra with both straps over my shoulders.  (I won't be doing that again anytime soon though.  OUCH!)
  7. I cooked most of a meal!
  8. I did dishes!
  9. I unloaded the wet towels from the washer to the dryer!
  10. I squeezed the conditioner bottle with my right hand! (Not risking another mishap like the last one!)
Nine people who I could not thank enough for their almost daily continual watchful care.
  1. Doug
  2. Zee
  3. Grace
  4. Denise
  5. Carol
  6. Brenda
  7. Ann
  8. Joni
  9. Craig, my PT!

Eight things I have and do miss doing the most (or at least a LOT):
  1. Being able to open the hottub on my own so that I can get in anytime of the day or night, even when I'm alone.
  2. Driving anywhere I please anytime I please in any direction I please.
  3. Personal Care with both hands...everything from showering, to putting on make-up, to getting dressed to doing my own hair.  (Ever try to give yourself a pony tail with one hand?  Don't waste your time.)
  4. Being fully dressed.  (See #6 above.)  And that's something that I never dreamed I would miss!
  5. Walking casually through a store... Taipan, the grocery store, the one that I do not like at all that begins with a W. When someone else is driving you, you don't want to waste their time and get right to business and get out as quickly as possible.
  6. Sleeping on my right side or face down.
  7. Opening things by myself...from locks to jars to pill bottles.  There's been many days when I was at home alone that I wanted to ask our mailman to open a jar for me.  (Okay, I confess, once I did.)
  8. Cleaning my way.  As much as I appreciate all of the help that Doug and the girls have been, as they have helped keep things company clean 90% of the time, everyone has their own way of doing things and I miss that.
Seven things that I have learned through this experience.
  1. I'm going to put this first, but it's not the biggest lesson at all.  Truthfully, I have had six major surgeries in my life.  I gave birth to a nine pound baby naturally with no drugs.  I've had my foot damaged for life.  BUT. I have never known pain like this.  This is the most I have ever hurt in my life.  It hurts while you sleep, while you hottub, while you laugh.  It hurts all the time and it hurts a LOT.  And it hurts in different ways.  One minute, it's jolts of shocking nerves zapping through the arm, shoulder and neck.  The next it's a dull burn.  The next if feels like someone just punched you right on the worst bruise you ever had.  It pulls, it throbs, it stings.  It hurts.  All the time.  Every minute of every day and night.  So, through all of that pain, I've learned that I'm tougher than I ever dreamed.  I've tried to take as few pain meds as possible.  I've tried to work through the pain and the therapy and the aches.  And I can still smile and laugh.  I can do hard things... harder things than I thought.
  2. I have learned to appreciate little a text or a phone call to ask how I'm doing and big things like "I'll pick you up for Therapy at 8AM." (as in "I'll climb out of bed, get dressed and drive through a blizzard to help you and then 90 minutes later, I'll do it again to bring you home because I'm your friend.) I have been so darned blessed with great friends and loved ones!  I also appreciate the little things like being able to cut your own food because both hands work or butting up your own shirt. (I'm just as fast one handed now, however!)
  3. I have learned that people are incredible.  I'm still in shock that Brenda would fly across the country to surprise me and help when she just finished her own cancer treatments.  I have loved the visits and texts and calls and surprises in the mail.  It's been incredible!  People care. I can't even list all of the people who have told me that they've been praying for me every day, even twice a day!  That's humbling!
  4. I have learned and I say this with tears in my eyes, what it means "In sickness and in health."  Doug has been more incredible than I could have even wished or prayed or hoped for.  He's amazing.  He works all day and comes home and cares for me until bedtime, then cares for me until he walks back out the door...all while being Mom/Dad/chauffeur, cook, Priesthood leader in the YSA, friend, father and grandfather... and all with a smile.  I fall in love with him over and over again every day!
  5. I have learned about trusting in the Lord's timing.  I didn't ask for this challenge.  I have not liked this challenge.  BUT.  I love that Heavenly Father has given me this challenge and opened my eyes to some things that I had never seen before. I won't share them on the blog, but suffice it to say, I feel like a different person inside, as a result of it.  (And I don't mean from my Titanium new shoulder!)
  6. I have learned that there is such a thing as "too much" Diet Coke.  I actually crave water and milk a lot now.  I'm not sure if it's a healthier outlook thing or what.  But, I've actually drank less Diet Coke in the past three months than ever before.
  7. I have learned that there is something very powerful (and I already knew this, but it's been strongly reinforced) about the power of prayer. I've prayed a lot this past few months.  I've always prayed.  I pray every single day, many times. But, my prayers have been different.  Deeper.  More meaningful and I have felt carried through a lot of this experience and have been so grateful for that good spirit and also knowing that not only were my own prayers being answered through the service of others, through my body reacting to the Physical Therapy, through the love I've felt from my Savior, but the prayers of others have been felt over and over again.  (This was supposed to be a light post, but I have to express that!)
Six things I have watched while I recouped:
  1. Call the Midwife all seasons (A must watch series!  Fascinating!)
  2. The Crown every episode (LOVED it, and gained a whole new appreciation for the Royals.  Would not want to be one!)
  3. When calls the Heart. all seasons (The most sweet and tender show since Little House on the Prairie!)
  4. This is Us. every episode (The best that TV has had to offer in years.)
  5. The people VS OJ Simpson. the whole series (Totally NoT what I expected.  Much better!)
  6. More movies from our own library than I should admit, but what else can you when you don't leave the house for 36 days, followed by two months of depending on others to drive you everyplace, you can't do much more than lift a remote and you fall asleep every time you pick up a book?

Five things that I have loved about being pampered and cared for:
  1. ZJ doing my hair every other day!
  2. Doug getting me ready for bed every night...filling the diffuser with essential oils, getting my icewater, turning back the blankets and removing the comforter and 10 pillows from the bed and on and on and on.
  3. I love that Doug bought me a huge new wardrobe of jumbo jet size button up shirts so that I could be comfortable in them, lying and twisting around in the recliner each day and during Physical Therapy.
  4. The food that friends have brought in has been so wonderful, I feared that my family would hope I have to have another surgery!
  5. Again, I have felt the prayers of so many friends and family! I've heard from friends that I have not actually spoken to in years.  It's been wonderful!
Four really random acts of kindness that have meant a lot:
  1. a friend setting her phone alarm to the same times of my physical therapy each day, so that she could stop what she was doing and say a special prayer for me as I began.
  2. a friend coming to care for all of my houseplants, picking off dead leaves and checking soil
  3. a friend randomly dropping by quite the DVD library of clean, wholesome, uplifting movies
  4. Many, MANY Sonic Route44 Diet Cokes with one slice of lemon and extra ice!  (they remembered the order, which is totally awesome!)
Three things I cherish about this experience:
  1. I'm still in shock when I think of the night that I fell and how Buddy was such a champion. He held my arm, while standing, and didn't move for almost two hours. He never left my side.  He stayed until the wee hours of morning at the hospital and ran errands and made sure that I had anything I needed in the hospital.  He never complained.  He was so sensitive and caring.  He didn't have to do all that.  He had a newborn baby with jaundice and a wife who was dealing with a three year old who'd just become a sister, the jaundiced baby, post delivery woes and having her mother in the hospital.  Yet, he was there for me, like a ROCK!  I can not say enough about his compassion for his mother-in-law!
  2. I'm also still in awe that my dear friend, Brenda, would come across the country to care for me, just weeks after her own cancer treatments.  What a wonderful surprise and gift as that was just a few weeks out and my first week at home alone after the holidays.  What a gift!  And her prayers for our family and my health have meant more than anything!
  3. Doug.  Have I mentioned that he's treated me like a queen?  Even more than he's always done?  I didn't think that possible, but he's my hero!
Two observations I've made:
  1. It doesn't matter that you have a huge jumbo-jet size brace/sling on your body and pain in your eyes, people will hug you and, somehow, will always manage to put their hand on your eight inch long incision and squeeze or pat it.  It's ironic because they are trying to be so gentle and not hurt you, but they instinctively will squeeze.  It makes me laugh. (It's made me cry, too, but it makes me laugh and hey, at least they hugged!
  2. When you can't do something, you really WANT to do it!  I've wanted to iceskate and dance and ski and swim more than ever.  I don't iceskate.  I dance anyway, even though it's "armless" dancing.  I missed the best winter ever for skiing.  And I'll probably never swim the English Channel now.  Darnitall.
One thing I am certain of:
  1. No matter how much pain, or how inconvenient, or how much of an interference this has been in my life, I know it's for my good and I will continue to grow from this experience.  It's not over by a long shot. They tell me that I have, at least, another 9 months of pain and discomfort ahead of me and that the healing may never bring me back to what I was before, BUT, I know that Heavenly Father gave me this challenge for a learn and grow from. So, I may as well learn and grow because nothing is going to change it now except that!
ETA:  I wrote this before my doctor appointment.  I went into the appointment feeling like I was ready to conquer the world.  After all, I drove twice now.  I should be all better. My doctor was out of town and I saw the Physician's Assistant, who I really like. When I raised my arm forward to almost shoulder height, he informed me that I was using my back, not my shoulder and that I'm no where near where I should be by now.  He grabbed Craig, my PT, who came in and we discussed my treatment plan for the near and distant future. I left the office sobbing on Doug's shoulder.  I was sooooooooo discouraged.  I'd been feeling great and had such a positive attitude!  

So, last night, I sobbed a while, had our YW Presidency Mtg and then decided to cowboy up and deal with it. When I went to PT this morning, I told Craig about my meltdown.  He said, "Sophia, you have made tremendous progress!  I'm amazed at how far you've come!" I decided to trust Craig's positivity and encouragement.  I will begin once a week PT next week (because of insurance) and if I need more, we'll up it to twice.  Craig pushed me hard this morning and my mind is back on track.  I'm grateful that I'd written my positive thoughts before the doctor appointment, just to remind me that I have much to be thankful for, even though it may not be moving forward as fast as some would like to see.  Well... trust me... no one wants this to be history more than me!  (Well... maybe me and Doug.)

Life is good!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quayd - Week 36

Quayd's letters are much longer than this.  I edit parts of them out each week.  He blows me away, the way that he makes analogies to the gospel principles that he is teaching. Before he left, I figured we would be lucky to get three sentences a week.  I even bribed him with the promise of a package for every fourth letter he sent.  I'd forgotten that Quayd loves to write and he loves to teach the gospel. Put them together and we have very long letters! I love it.  Thanks for your prayers and good thoughts in his behalf! 

For every person... there is a time. For every purpose in life. There is a time. For every choice there is a time. Only god knows the time of all things. The mistakes and trials we face, it's all in his timing and He knows the fullfillment of our time. These are our times, where the gospel is fulfilled, where the church is restored,where the gathering of Israel has started.  And why we don't know everything? The timing of our Heavenly Father or know the timing of things to happen when we make choices and when there is a consequence to every action, to every choice?  Here's the reason. we don't and that's okay. That's why  - he expects us to live.

Life means to live. To live for the right time, at the right time, living at the right place, living the life God has given you and doing the right thing. The savior died so we could live and not only live but live in righteousness, to live a fulfilling gospel-filled life. To live with faith with repentance, with the Holy Ghost to comfort us and to endure through those trials that Christ died for us so we could transcend the trials we face in this life.

Every drop of blood, every tear He wept, it was meant to be fulfilling. Even for us to overcome our struggles, our weaknesses, our trials and challenges or the endeavors of life. Whether it is losing a loved one, or seeing a family who you've come to love leave the gospel, or hearing a rejection that could change the life of someone or just things in life.
Agonizing pain or loss of a loved one, friend or family or even a pet. Or losing every opportunity you get or depression because of the things you had or can't receive in life because of weakness or anger and even regret.  All that.... the Savior felt.

He died to fulfill the meaning of life and that is - simply to live it and find hope joy peace in the journey. Even when it's seems hard and you can’t endure, the Savior is there with his hand reaching out for you. It's just a matter of letting him lift you. How do you do that? by praying, by reading, by coming to church and feeling of his divine spirit. Even that promise, if we partake of his sacrifice or even his body of flesh and blood, His spirit would be with us.

But will we let him lift us from our burdens, trials and challenges, by reaching our hands out or are we going to continue to weep and feel lost and hopeless. I can testify that those who feel lost or hopeless, there is hope and there is joy, even true joy and you can find it in the gospel, or in the scriptures, even the Book of Mormon, that the prophet of the restoration and so many are willing to proclaim the truth, even if it means dying to seal that testimony.  This book... the Book of Mormon, is true.

I had the chance to experience it with one of our investigators. We read the chapters of 3 Nephi 11-18, where the Savior came to visit the Americas.

Personally, I have never seen so many tears coming from someone searching for the truth. I have read the Book of Mormon, over and over again in my life and I have passed the chapter a thousand times and felt nothing to give me a conclusion that this truly did happen… Unless I see my wonderful mother crying, because that's when I know that we are feeling the spirit. When I look upon her eyes and see the tears shedding from her face, that's when we say, “Man, we are feeling the spirit!” haha Love you, Mom!

But, I got the chance to read it with our investigator and had the chance to take the time to look over it. It is a blessing, it teaches the words and phrases of the Book of Mormon and the message of faith in Jesus Christ, and repentance because of his atonement. The willingness to believe him and follow him through baptism, so we can emulate him and have his Holy Spirit to be with us and help us, so that we can persevere in life and have the tenacity to live in righteousness until the very end.  It adds to my testimony.  Elder Oaks said, “Read the Book of Mormon with the spirit, with sincerity and pray.” We cannot read it like we are reading a magazine or chapter book or cook book.

The scriptures or the words of god are to be looked upon with earnest desire, to be feasted upon until our spiritual bowels are full, which I consider an unending process. It’s not to just get through a task, so you can teach a lesson in Sunday school or in Seminary, just to say “Okay, I shared that scripture thought, now I can sit down.” But, when we take the time and think about it and apply it in our very own lives, that's when we feel the spirit and when we understand the impressions of the spirit!  I have come to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is true. I have. I know it's true!!!!

I'm so grateful for the chance to see the influence and power of the Book of Mormon and not only that, but seeing and witnessing the Holy Ghost testify in the very heart of a soul, testifying to the individual that it is true.  Tears shed through honest eyes. The personification of a child of God within, wanting to radiate, wanting to burst out and testify with all the heart and faith and testifying, with all the joy in the meaning of the word, Hosanna! There is hope! This is a moment to treasure.

That hope is and has been, Jesus Christ, the Savior, redeemer, light, truth and way. That hope in his name is unimaginable and the chapters that we read explains that hope and the faith they had in the Messiah and the tears wept as they felt the prints on his hands and feet and side, tears of faith and understanding that he truly died for the sins pains and afflictions of the world. It's remarkable, a message, such as this and you can't find it, in any other book. unless it was instrumented by God.  The Book of Mormon is true and I'm grateful to have witnessed that for myself again and I'm sure I shall witness it many more times in the years of my life.

Can you imagine what it would be like, if we didn't have this knowledge and isn't it incredible that we do have this knowledge!?!? that god still loves us. that the doctrine our father gives is guidance, peace and joy in our lives.
Never underestimate the power of this book. It changes lives. It changes hearts and I'm so greatful that Jackie knows the truth of it. It's opened my eyes a little as I hope it does for all those who are listening.

Anyway enough said of that.

 I got the chance to learn a few things in zone confrence and guess who taught... PRESIDENT DIXON!!!!!! Yeah baby!!!!! Man, it was great stuff and the wisdom he shared was remarkable. I think it got the mission pumped a little... let's hope it did! so we can get a flame burning in the world of Redlands California. when I mean flame. I mean Holy Ghost and baptisms of fire!!!!

oh yeah got to love the heat!!!!! anyway here is some things I learned.

A vine what is so important about a vine? Well the way president Dixon explained it was in this way. It is Jesus Christ. He is the vine, the true vine.  President Dixon was talking about how we need to live. He brought up Uncle Larry again and his talk of living and living in abundance, but he talked about how we need to seek nourishment from the vine to live and not die. If we disconnect ourselves from the vine, we end up falling and all the fruit we bear seems to wither away . Tresident Dixon said and I quote, "they'll turn into raisins instead of grapes".

So he said to Abide in the vine. That is the way of life, relying on the true vine, having that faith that that vine is going to carry us, as long as we are holding on and abiding. Abide means to live and Permanently connected ourselves in the doctrine of Christ. Because the gospel is all about the Savior and his atonement, we have faith in his atonement, right? And if we have faith then we are repentant. Because of his atonement which leads us to want to emulate and follow him, and we can do that by receiving the Holy Ghost to connect ourselves forever by enduring the storms of Satan. But, What if we are not abiding. Well, repentance is the opportunity to live to enjoy to be renourished by the spirit and to reattach ourselves to that true vine as we bare more fruit of righteousness.

The devil may say that there is no way to reconnect ourselves. This may be what he wants us to think and, being out on a mission, I've seen a lot of that. He may say, “ It's too big. There's no way you can make it back. You've fallen and you can't reconnect yourself, when you have already fallen.” Don't fall into that advice from the devil. There's always away back up and it's steps. It's faith and repentance.  That's how we reconnect.

It's the gospel of Jesus Christ, the way, the only way!!!! There is no other way and if there is another and there is. It’s a path of madness. Satan wants us to think that it's impossible to live a life such as this... but I've seen the miracles of the gospel and abiding the precepts of Christ. Jasvinn told us Sunday that she would live the word of wisdom and give up coffee. She explained the struggle she had, but finally found a way to get away from that addiction.

She can feel the spirit more. She feels in control and she feels happier. I'm grateful she is soon to be baptized and that's the blessing of following the gospel and abiding in Christ that will come to her.

Another thing I want to share before I end this weekly report is this. I had the chance to visit Beaumont Ward!!!!  I got to see a lot of familiar faces. My companion, Elder Allen left for endowments with one of his investigators in Fontana, a great couple I love that couple so much. I was happy for my companion to go and see them be sealed for all eternity. great stuff!!!! Anyway, I got to see Brother Byers and brother Daniels and  most of the seniors in that ward.

 After that, Elder Powell, my roommate, was driving to a members home and I noticed it was close to a family that I loved so much. I said to my roommates, “Are we going to the Goodman's!?!?!?”  They thought it wouldn't be a bad idea. So we stopped by and that made my day! They answered the door and asked what we wanted... Elder Powell told them that Elder Corbridge was here and that I wanted to see them. I was a little anxious of the response. Would they be like “Elder Who???” Instead I got a different reaction, Brother Goodman happily said, “Bring him in!” Sister Goodman greeted me and I felt like I was back at home.

I love the Goodmans! They are a great family and seeing them again was a highlight!  We talked for 35 minutes and had a great time! I was just grateful that they still remembered who I was and every time I see them, they ask, “Are you back in Beaumont Ward. I wish that was the case. I love the members of this ward but that's not the timing of my Heavenly Father. He needed me here in the Oak Valley ward. It's a great ward.

The members are awesome. I love this ward.  There are 3 families that needed me at this time. I often wonder what would happen if I stayed in the Beaumont ward. Because I love that ward, but I'm grateful for the timing of God and being here to teach Jasvinn, her two boys and Jackie and her granddaughter and dale and Linda Winchell.  These people are amazing and I can't wait to see them follow the Savior through Baptism! But seeing the Goodmans returning to Beaumont ward for a day... I must say was God’s timing.

After we left the Goodman’s, we had the impression to see another family that I had met, maybe three times. They’re less active but they have a great family and are making it back to reactivity. Anyway, we walked over to the house and usually irthee dog, Annie, usually would wobble over to us, but this time it was different.  When we walked in their yard, I remember asking elder Powell if this was the house with the puppy. It was. I was excited to see their dog. We approached the door and my heart sunk. In the window, I saw Sister Tabor crying... I knew something was wrong. Brother Tabor greeted us in but his face was sunken with sadness. Sister Tabor asked if someone was alive. I was all but confused, but at the same time I knew something terrible must have happened. I saw their boy, maybe 13 years old, crying as well and then it hit me, there was no sign of the dog. No barking or the tail hitting us as she greeted us. And it hit me.  Annie was gone.

Brother taber told us that she was hit by a truck flying 50 miles per hour. My eyes watered remembering the experience that took me weeks to get over, my own dog getting hit by a car, my friend and buddy. A dog I trained, slept with. My dog hat I lost days before my mission. I remember that exact same pain that Sister Taber was feeling and I wept for their dog that was hit because I knew how hard it was and is.

I had the impression to tell what happened to my dog, but I stood there shocked just envisioning the experience that took that sweet dog away. Their dog was maybe a year old and had so much more to live. Sometimes, we don't understand the timing of all things, but that's why we have to trust in God and Jesus Christ. We have to trust that he did feel our pain like this moment. A few minutes later she asked if it was her fault, if she didn't follow a prompting. She explained that if she would have just gone outside, none of it would have happened and her kids wouldn't have to witness that horrific sudden moment of the extinguishment of life leaving that dog.

That's when I knew it was time to bear my testimony because that day where I lost my best friend was the time to realize that there is a Plan. The night before I had a dream of losing my dog. It was a nightmare but it was just a dream. So, I thought.  I had so many impressions to just play with my dog. Earlier that morning I told him to wake up and stop being lazy. Something about him was off that day and it was weird but I ignored him and decided to film or watch tv. My sisters decided to take him for a walk. I didn't even say goodbye or tell them to take the leash. I had never done so before, so why would it matter? But, I felt this unusual feeling After I was done showering, I felt that sudden pain. I got dressed started filming some more and then I heard the voices upstairs, pulsating,the words, “He's dead!”

I remember running up the stairs, tripping making it to the last step and seeing my sister with our black dog in her hands, his eyes barely open, but merely closed and I remember my heart sinking, as I wept tears and tears screaming and yelling and regretting the whole time, “Why I didn't follow the impressions that I had that day!” I told her about my sister carrying that dog that long half mile, pleading with all her heart to “Stay for your boy. Stay for your boy." But it was all too late. I remember her regretting taking him on a walk and not paying attention to him when he walked off the curb and thinking it was all her fault.  She thought that I hated her because she lost my favorite dog, but It was my fault as well.  I want to take the time and say thanks to my sister who carried that burden, rushing with that favorite dog of mine and pleading to make it home for that boy. That was not an easy thing to do. I never thought of it until that night, as I told Sister Taber my story and as I continued to cry. Then I had the impression to also testify that it wasn't her fault that for whatever reason it happened and it happened because of God’s timing. I told her the plan and told her that it would all be okay and that she would see her again, that Annie would be running instead of wobbling over.

I believe in God’s timing. I believe that for whatever reason, my time going on mission being about 8 months ago was the right time and I believe that I am at the right place at the right time, that being God’s time, and doing the right thing within this time of 2 years. I believe and know that President Dixon has called me to these three areas and that he was inspired to know what time I should serve these people of Fontana or Beaumont or Oak Valley. The people I've met, the experiences I've had and continue to see. it was the right time for me to reach them and share with a testimony that still grows in this time. I'm grateful for the gospel that was restored in these last days, our time. It's now up to us to live to that time and make the best of what time we have left.

Thank you again for your prayers. I hope all is well.

-Elder Corbridge

Monday, March 27, 2017

Happy Birthday, Doug!

I have felt such disappointment that I've not been able to go over the top for holidays this past few months.  Doug's birthday included.  He never wants over the top.  He doesn't want ANY fuss.  So, he was thrilled with his birthday... snowmobiling with his life-long and childhood best friend, Tex, a few weeks ago and then a quiet dinner at Beehive Grill for the two of us on the day of his birthhday.  I gave him a new white dress shirt and that was it.  My plan was to give him a new i-Phone, but he keeps insisting that his i-Phone 4 or 5 will last.  Realizing that that phone replaced the old Nokia flip-phone that he'd used for ten years.  He doesn't ask or want much in life... just peace and happiness.

I love this man so much and appreciate his goodness more and more every day!  The joy he finds in the simple things in life are exemplary to me and all who know him.

After dinner, since ZJ had been on a college tour at BYU-Idaho and Grace had one more performance with Bella, we kept things simple again, and went to the YSA Talent Show, which is a highlight for the school year.  Great talent and good laughs all night long!

Anyway, Happy Birthday to the greatest man I know! And here's a few pix of Doug, taken over this past year, just because...
He's a proud missionary dad!

Once a cowboy, always a cowboy!

He loves with all his heart!

He loves deeply.

He's a dog lover!

He kind of loves this little girl!  What a great gramp he is!

He's always willing to "go outside and play".

He's a faithful father and great example of being a righteous man!

He loves life.  

He's protective, but gentle.

He is surrounded by women in his life who adore him!

He is silly and makes us laugh.  A LOT.

He accepts life's challenges and finds joy in the journey!

He looks for the good in everything.

Have I mentioned his faithfulness?

He fixes things.

He talks and teaches with his hands.

He's still a kid at heart.

He is supportive of all that we do.

As Zeej puts it, "He's chill."

He's fun!

 He's a family man. 

He's the best adventure I could have ever imagined!

Happy Birthday, Babe!

Friday, March 24, 2017

More ramblings from the past two weeks...

This is the cutest picture of EdieAnn yet.  She started to giggle this weekend while she was here.  It's adorable!  I'm in love.  That's all there is to it!

This was my IG post a few days ago.... That moment when you can't squeeze the conditioner out of the bottle with your right hand, so you squeeze it INTO your right hand, BUT your right hand can't yet reach your head or hair, so you have to transfer back into the left hand, but you still have to close the lid and put the bottle back into the shower caddy that you also can't reach with your right hand, so now you have to do it with the same hand that is full of conditioner and try not to lose the conditioner that's also in the left hand but in trying to do so, you drop the now slippery bottle and it hits a vein on your right hand on it's way to the shower floor along with the already squeezed conditioner that is now going down the drain, so you have to start all over again.  #canyousayouch #shoulderreplacementwoes #yamightaswelllaughbecausecryingwontchangeathing #ifyoureadthisyouarearealfriend

I had this all set to post and my computer needed to self-update, losing half of the post!  Dangit.  Just gonna post this and start a new one.  I'm really trying to be better about blogging.  How did I go ten years and rarely miss and now I'm doing good to blog twice a week!  Yikes!

Life is good... busy, fast moving and good!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Edie Ann's blessing

March 5, 2017 ~ St. George, Utah

Although I was unable to attend EdieAnn's baby blessing, Buddy's sweet mom, Sheree took some incredible photos of the day and was kind enough to include my family in her photo shoot!  I'm so thankful for her gift of sharing a bit of that special day with me!  Here are my favorites of her shots!

EdieAnn was out!  I love this little family so much it hurts!

I think that it's safe to say that Doug is in love!!!

My mom only lives 20 minutes from Liza and Buddy, which has been a good thing for them both, I think.  Mom enjoys seeing them and I love knowing that they all are close enough to check on each other occasionally.

Oh my gosh, look at that good-looking boyfriend of mine!  I'm kind of in love with him!!!

Doug and I are firm believers in the fact that there is something good that comes out of every adversity.  I'm convinced that one of the wonderful things that came from Grace and I staying home over the weekend of the blessing was that Zeej and Liza had some time together alone to bond... and bond they did.  Having Liza here this past few days, it was so obvious that the two of them are closer than ever.  

Gosh, I have a beautiful family, if I do say so myself!

I am blessed beyond words! Life is good!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

a few other random things...

Even though my abilities are limited at the time, I'm keeping plenty busy.  Our calendar is full and are days fly by.  In the past twelve days, here's a few totally random things...

First, and most important, our sweet friend, Reed passed away last week.  His viewing was last Tuesday evening.  Doug and I went early because of Young Women and YSA commitments.  The funeral home was filled with lovely photos of Reed and his lovely wife, Betty.  Reed and Betty built our home and lived her from 1961 until she passed away and he was here until we bought the home two years ago.  Throughout our two years in this home, we have heard many stories of the love that Reed had for Betty, how he took such tender care of her in her later years of poor health and how he simply adored her.  We have felt that love in this home from the first time we walked into it and will continue to fill the home with the love of family.  I stood by his 92 year old body, still full of the most handsome head of white hair you have ever seen, and thanked him for building us a home that we can love and live in!

Quayd is doing well.  He's had a great couple of weeks, but he misses Elders Houskeeper and Bailey immensely.  I think that's been a big challenge for him.  His new companion, Elder Allen, sounds awesome and Quayd is really appreciating his temperment and great personality.  I can't believe he's been gone eight months already!  That first two months seemed like eternity but now, it's going by so quickly!  

Denise asked me to help her with some ideas for her Ward Relief Society Birthday Party.  I suggested that she have several sisters set their own tables however they wanted.  She ended up doing two tables and asked me to do them for her, so I was excited to have a project!  We worked on it for three days last week. I also came up with ten questions for each table to have table talk about Relief Society.  The questions kept the conversation going and, although I didn't go because Liza was coming, Denise said it was a wonderful evening!

A little TV talk... Survivor!  We are so excited for an All-Stars season.   We are only on Episode 1 because Liza arrived, but it looks like it will be a great season!  Our new favorite TV show is "This is Us."  It has to be my new favorite of all time series!  I love every character.  We were talking about the characters and when I was asked which is my favorite, I said, "Whoever is on the screen at the moment."  I love every single one of them!  What a beautiful story of love and devotion and family! 

This is totally TOTALLY random... but Liza and I bought a couple of bags of OREOS.  And this is what we got.  Lemon and Thin Mints.  TOTALLY crushed and smashed.  We came straight home from the store with them. No, Aylabelle didn't step on them.  They were like this off the shelf.  I've never seen anything like it, but Oreos are to be dipped in milk and these were not dippable, so they will be part of Oreo Rice Krispy Treats.

ZJ and I love to visit in the hottub.  After Physical Therapy, the hottub always calls my name.  Zee was out tanning on the trampoline and saw Doug opening it for me.  She instantly wanted to join me.  When she got in, she said, "What are we going to talk about today?"  I love that we have real heart to heart talks whenever we have that uninterrupted time.  I love, even more, that she knows it's coming and wants to get in with me.  Not too many 16 year olds, or at least not many of mine, have, at that age, asked for serious talk time.  Have I mentioned that I love this girl?  She's my hero!

Denise called me the other day and said that she was sending something over to me and that I was NOT to post it on Facebook.  She had made these delectible brownies that were like Samoa girl scout cookies only a thousand times better!  However, she warned me that they "look like dogpoop".  Denise is funny.  When I posted a trifle that Carol had brought over a few weeks ago, she said, "THAT is why I will never cook anything for you."  Throughout my recovery, she's taken me to dinner, brought Texas Roadhouse for the whole family but never cooks anything.  She says that she can't match up to my other friends in the kitchen.  So, when she sent these brownies over, which she literally took out of the oven and cut them to send a plate home with Doug, they fell apart and were a gooey chocolately heavenly mess on a plate.  She said, "I'm dishing these onto the plate, watching them all fall apart everywhere and all I could think of was that Trifle Carol made for you a few weeks ago."    We have laughed so hard at how they looked BUT oh, my, they are a must have recipe!  She's sending it to me today, so I'll post it soon!

Seriously, they were DIVINE!!!

I've just come home from physical therapy.  He took it a little easy on me today and Monday because I had a very very bad weekend, pain wise.  Friday, he'd pushed me a lot and I paid for it all weekend.  This is not an easy recovery.  I'm so NOT whining.  It's just a fact.  It's pain.  All of the time.  Literally.  Every minute of EVERY day.  And the more I push to get better, the more pain it is.  BUT, if I don't push, I won't ever recover fully and that's just not acceptable.  I haven't got time for the pain!  HEY!  Like Carly Simon!  Annnyyyyywaaaaaaaaaaaay, I digress. Each day I'm getting a little better.  It will be months more before I'm fully functioning again.  But, I'm determined!

 My friend, Katie, had her mom, Karla, visiting her this past week.  Karla is my age.  She was riding a bike around the block, fell and broke her shoulder in two places and her hip on Monday.  Karla had emergency hip surgery on Monday evening and today is having shoulder surgery.  I can only imagine what she is going to have to experience.  She will have much more pain to deal with than I have.  My heart goes out to her and my prayers are for her.  

This getting better when you aren't 29 anymore isn't as fun or easy as you would think.  Even so, life is good and full of so much joy and so many wonderful things!  Blessings all around us, if we just look for them!  Keep looking!  Enough said!


This cute girl, my baby, is sixteen years old!!!  How did that happen!?!?  She's as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out!  She has literally been my right arm for the past few months, as well as, much of the past few years.  She knows where everything in the house is.  She knows how to do anything that I can do in the kitchen, in the laundry room, in the craft room.  She's amazing!  She's got a strong testimony and a strong will!  Don't mess with ZJ!!  She'll tell you how it really is!  She has courage or hutzpah to stand for truth and righteousness!  Seriously, she will not be bullied and won't let others around her be bullied.  She takes a stand when it's needed!

She's loud and fun and friendly and just plain Zeej!  Everyone loves being around her because she is the life of the party.  Yet when she wants or it's the right time, she can be very reserved and "appropriate".  I've been so proud of her in Young Womens because she makes sure that everyone feels included and important.  If she sees something that's of interest, she goes for it!  She's currently taking a pottery class and learning guitar.We couldn't be more proud of this girl!

For her birthday, we went to breakfast, her choice, at Angie's Restaurant.  Grace was at Bella rehearsals and missed most of the fun that day, but it was a great day... even though there was a void of Grace and Quayd.

Doug and Zee took a bike hike across the Bonneville Trail and down to first dam.  We drove to the dam with the babes and waited for them to come down the mountain, which Aylabelle thought was pretty cool!

These two kind of like each other.  Aylabelle can't get enough of Aunt Zee!

When Grace got home, we had her gift opening.  No treasure hunt.  Zeej is not a fan of birthdays.  She hates the attention to be focused on her, very much like her dad. (Doug HATES anyone to sing Happy Birthday to him!  So does Zeej.)

When Grace turned sixteen, she got her first solo plane trip to Arizona and a week with Liza, who killed the fatted calf and even set her up on a blind date with a boy in her ward. Zee is more of a homebody and didn't want to fly.  She's not a fan of birthdays either, which made it even harder.  (Hence, no birthday interviews for the past few years, by the way.) So, I had to come up with something else for her birthday.  SO... 

We had sixteen gifts for her sixteenth birthday.  Zeej loves hair and makeup and fashion.  So, we bought her a very cute make-up organizer (Farmhouse style like her bedroom), make-up brushes, make-up, new awesome sandals, snazzy summer jammies, a belt, a fancy water bottle (I can't remember the brand but it's a thermos type and apparently, pretty cool) and more.

One thing that I knew she would not expect was a stuffed sloth.   EEWWW!  She's wanted this sloth for two years, every single time we go into Hobby Lobby. She puts it into my cart or carries it around.  I finally decided to get it for her, more as a joke.  She laughed so hard!

Grace and I hate the sloth!  It's UGLY!  But, she will be able to say she has it now, just like the sock monkey that she begged for for years!  Then she forgot that we'd given it to her.  So the sloth has been a constant reminder of the sock monkey that she still insists she never got, but we all remember - except her! 

 There was some serious teasing here!

 Her final gift was a pizza box with $50 and change, that was folded in wedges to look like a pizza with pepperoni.  She was so happy with that!

Aylabelle and Zee wanted to make the cake together, so she made her own birthday cake, which had a strawberry extract in it and was very tasty!  

We're allowed to sing Happy Birthday at home, but NEVER in a restaurant!

Zeej really is not a big fan of birthdays, but she told us that this was her best and she might could start to like them now.  We laughed.  She only has one left and then it's just fast cash for her gift each year.  I guess I had better make next year's pretty special too!

Zeej had wanted a birthday sushi and since not everyone is up for that, Doug and I took her to Black Pearl for all the sushi she could eat this afternoon.  She was in heaven!  We came home and played a new game, Roll for It, for a bit before she left for Young Womens Activity Night.  Grace, again, is at Bella.  Her last three months of high school are keeping her pretty busy!

Seriously, I could not love this girl more!  She's incredible.  She's amazing.  She's wonderful!  She's my girl!  And like I said, she's my right arm, these days!  I also could not be more thankful for her!