Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy.

~ Mother Teresa

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Waiting for life to start...

My head and emotions/heart have started to connect quite a bit more the last week or so. I don't feel the waves of sorrow in the same magnitude that I was before. I think the fog of depression/mourning from my stroke are lifting... soon to hopefully be blown gently away forever by the winds of a new beginning, the introduction into the next chapter in our lives, and promise of spring.

This morning, as I am home for yet another Sunday with sick kids, I have had an epiphany. It's pretty obvious, actually; but now that I am aware of it... the challenge becomes what to do with it.

I have been "waiting for life to begin again".

We don't go out and do much, mostly because we can't afford it, but also because my mobility has been problematic. There have been whole weeks where we, as a family, have barely left the house because there was no where to go that didn't cost money either when we got there, or in fuel to get there.
School. Home. Church. That is the kids life.
Home. Doctors/Therapists. Grocery store once a week. Church. That is my life.
There have been times I realized I had not even walked outside my own front door for 3-4 days!
Jes does all these places with a few more thrown in for good measure. (I think that has helped him keep somewhat sane).

But our life has been so much more stagnant than normal "winter" life! Agh!

And we have been "waiting to L.I.V.E." outside our home...
Waiting until our income improves.
Waiting for my healing.
Waiting for a job.
Waiting to know if we are moving.
Waiting until spring.
Waiting until the bankruptcy is complete to know what to do.
Waiting until the bank says we can stay to work on our home improvement projects.
Waiting until

And why?

What can I do about all of this??

This is my pondering today.

Some things I know we cannot change...yet. I accept that... but this mental attitude is not the one I want to keep!

We can wait
and we can wait patiently
... but we don't have to emotionally!

We don't have to feel held back in every other aspect of life!

I want to feel engaged in my own life!
I am tired of my big blue chair.
I am tired of my limits.
I am tired of these "four walls" feeling more like a prison.

And I realize I can change these feelings... by finding more things to be joyful about. By finding the deep part of myself that feels grateful for every little thing.

It won't necessarily fix the road blocks we face. But we CAN *live* right now... just by our attitude!

I shared this quote a few days ago on facebook, and it has been penetrating my heart ever since:

‎"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, & creates vision for tomorrow."
~Melody Beattie

A new day tomorrow.
A new start.
But in my heart tonight?
... I am not "waiting" anymore!!

Again? or still?

Last night my little Cam went from feeling almost all better except some residual coughing... to this:
He said he was having some aching in his throat, bigger coughs,
and today his fever is back! :(
His asthma has jumped on into the mix and oh! 
My poor little boy!!

It's going to be a loooong night...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chore Chart that worked! :)

After over 13 years of parenthood, and lots of attempts, we finally succeeded in finding the method that works best for our family when it comes to house cleaning and motivation! :)

I found an idea in an old parenting magazine to pay your kids in pebbles for jobs that need done around the house.
 I liked it, and so last summer I stopped at the Dollar Store to find them each a "jar" to keep them in. I could find nothing that I liked, until I gave up the idea of glass (which really? as a mom of 4 children... why was I considering getting glass containers again? I digress). I wandered into their craft section, and found some little wooden boxes with hinged lids. I think they are supposed to be jewelery boxes?
Anyway... there have been perfect!
 Our "treasure boxes" are working wonders!
I pulled out the toll paint, and scrapbook stickers, and let the kids personalize away!
Didn't they turn out cute??
They stack perfectly to limit counter space needed, and the little lids have a small magnet to hold them closed better.
Taped to the inside of one of our kitchen cupboards we keep the wheel and the pay scale.
The wheel tells the kids which room they are responsible for that week. To take care of their room, they need to keep it picked up each night, it needs dusted really well, and the floors done. They are also liable if no one does some of the extra jobs, earning pebbles, in their room...and must complete them on Saturday.  
 I picked up 3 different sizes of "fish rocks" at the Dollar Store that same day and put them in cute glass jars (*grin*)... Large, medium and small. Each job is valued accordingly.
For example, washing all the door knobs and light switches in the house earns you S3 - which is 3 small pebbles. Taking out the trash (when full of course! yes... we had to specify LOL) earns you M1 - or 1 medium. Etc...

And there is no nagging allowed.
I can say to "anyone in particular" that a certain job needs done, and the first one to take it on, earns the pebbles.

We have had a couple of lessons about how we are a family, we all live here, and there is much that needs done to keep our family functioning efficiently, and they are needed. We have said they may (or may not) earn some bonus pebbles if they just notice that something needs done and does it without Dad or Mom mentioning it (handled at parent's discretion).
It has worked wonders! I cannot believe it!

There is a couple of ways you may loose pebbles, but they are reserved for only actions related to doing chores. If you steal someone else's pebbles, or from the jar, you loose all your pebbles.
If you lie about doing a job you loose 5 pebbles, etc.

I was worried about adding something negative to something so positive, but it has really worked for us, because it has made them think before they whine that someone beat them to a certain job. More than once, my kids plotted and split the offered pebbles by working together! LOL
And the reward for filling your "treasure box" full??
For every time you fill your little box, you can choose between $5 or a short "date" with Dad or Mom. We have made library runs, Sonic drinks runs, and handed over cold hard cash just in time for a birthday party gift or movie trip. During the summer, 1 small bucket of weeds pulled earned you 2 medium pebbles, so you could earn $5 in a day if you need to (especially with our yard! LOL) ... :) and they like it!

We don't pay them allowance, except for this, unless there is a special job that needs done. They can earn as much or as little as they want, as long as they keep their "assigned room" maintained, and their bedroom maintained too. We felt like they still needed some basic cleaning jobs required of them without "pay" simply because they live here too. And we sat down as a family and let the kids choose the "worth" of these Pebble Jobs, so they are completely happy with the "pay" offered.

I have been amazed at how this positive "money" system has worked!!

My kids LOVE it... and it comes and goes in popularity depending on the day/week. And that's ok. We didn't do it at all in Dec/Jan (for obvious reasons), but they are jumping right back in as spring is in the air again.

I think I may add the opportunity to earn longer TV/Video game time this summer, with pebbles they have already earned, but a part of me wants to keep it simple and fun... and not co-mingle the two.

We shall see.

Anywho... I thought I would share... in case anyone one else's families are looking for a new idea to try. Every family is different, and I am thankful for the idea that I could modify to fit our family

Thursday, February 24, 2011

To pass the time...

While we have been sick, this has been our project. We all have randomly taken turns feeling well enough to work on it... and then we lay back down! LOL 
It has been a "brain recovery" exercise for me. :) I have been forcing my right hand to pick up the pieces and place them on the puzzle. A couple of times I didn't have to think about it too much! What a miracle! :)

And this has wrapped me in the arms of love as well! My dear friend Amy brought me this blanket she made. Her mom (whom I just love) donated some of the fabric and Amy threw it together! It is SOO cute!

(I have to admit, when these cute blankets started to become popular I was sad to think I wasn't having anymore babies to need one! LOL! They are SOO cute! I am just tickled! And it has been so comforting while I am sick! )

Fever with stroke recovery

I know that this post may sound whinny, but I wanted to document it for myself in the future so I can know if it is getting better... especially since my memory is not so hot lately! LOL

I have caught the bug. Running a fever, aching, coughing, lungs on fire, headache etc. (my poor babies!) It has not been a very fun week... but thankfully we know it won't last forever! *wink*

What I wanted to remember was how a fever makes my body react...

My left side aches like a normal fever. My right side on the other hand is a dance of nerve pain. From my leg, to my arm, to my hand, to my foot, to my cheek and more. It zings and pings and is terribly painful for up to 20 seconds each time.

My right side also has become more heavy feeling than my left. It is more painful to move than my left.

Oh the fun we have! LOL

Two days on the couch fevering is painful on the hips and makes my limbs go numb.

Happier news:
Emma is feeling much better. She never got the cough.
Caleb is slightly better, no fever, but still tires easily and coughs a ton.
Cody is a mess... and went to school anyway (*blush*) He insisted he was better. He came home and admitted he just didn't want to get more behind, and really still feels like crap. Grand. SOOO sorry all the kids with whom he may have shared his germs!
Cam was doing better last night, but today his fever is back and he has hardley gotten off the other couch. We are keeping him medicated and praying his asthma stays in check!

There's the exciting update from here... nice and whinny (sorry!) For dinner prayer gratitute for being sick was mentioned, "so we can love the well times much better". LOL That's a grasp of a truth of life dontcha think?



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Miracle of Forgiveness...

I have thought a lot about the steps that we must take to give and receive forgiveness lately. It takes courage and integrity. On both sides of the equation. I was deeply touched by the actions of a sweet woman in my life today. What courage! I admire her a lot!

I have thought a lot about how often we unintentionally hurt others in our lives, and then when we do it intentionally as well.

It got me thinking about my kids. We have had issues with the kids feeling upset that they have to apologize if they accidentally hit/hurt someone. They feel like it was an accident and so it should not require an apology, that they are not really at fault. But is that correct principles?

And then it got me thinking about we adults. Shouldn't we be more aware of those around us? I know I could be...

I wonder if that isn't the greater part of becoming like Christ? Being willing to accept responsibility for the hurt we cause others, when we are aware of it, even if it was not intentional. And that takes courage!

My heart tells me that the Savior would!
 He would be quick to seek forgiveness... after all He is quick to offer it, even when we don't deserve it.
And I am striving to be more like Him... aren't I?

I appreciate people in my life who set good examples and help me reach deeper inside myself. And for my Savior, Jesus Christ. Forgiveness really is a miracle... on SO many levels!

Just found this while reading tonight-
"Honesty and integrity are the threads that weave the fabrics of society together, and the best laboratory for learning and practicing these virtues is within the family"
~~ Sherri Dew

:) Very cool!

Finding Joy...

While Jestin is running to the store for some children's fever reducer meds, sprite and saltine crackers, I have done something that makes me smile! (Yes... it is after 1 am! LOL)
And I thought I would share! :)

I organized my desk. It had become the dumping ground for the last two weeks of every piece of paper we own. Everything is oraganized and ready for my computer work tomorrow. *GRIN*

There is joy in my soul.

A least favorite task accomplished!

And Jestin just pulled in... off to medicate my babies once again and climb this tired old bod' of mine into bed!

What did YOU do today that brought you joy?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Princess Bride

Today has been a day of fevers, coughs, chocolate pudding, chicken noodle soup, and lots of sleeping.
The TV was barely on all day as the kids were asleep all over the room... but once Daddy got home he chose the family's favorite movie (to quote from) for our viewing enjoyment.
All the little sickies stirred themselves awake. They were so exited!
 The movie starts...
And before the Princess can even be kidnapped?
 Their Daddy fell fast asleep!!
He is happily snoring here on the floor.
SO thankful for this monday holiday to relax and recooperate.

Cody rounded out our bout of stomach flu when he threw up last night all over in his bed in his sleep. We had to shower him and scrub his bed down at midnight.
Everyone seemed over the 24 hour tummy flu this morning.
We were excited to get feeling better.
Early this afternoon all three boys started coughing and running 102+ fevers. *sigh*
On a happy note... we are doing these illnesses back to back! LOL
Better than getting better only to get sick all over again! Right?
It's been a very quiet day.
Lots of tissues, lots of laundry, lots of blowing noses, lots of temperature taking and medications.
The fun of winter months...
OH! We can't wait for spring! :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Super Fun Weekend!

It is a long weekend... so we made good use of it!
Our dear friends from Ely came to visit with us for a few days...
Sorensen's arrived late Thursday night. We stayed up talking until after 1am. LOL (oops!)
Everyone was so glad to see one another!
It's only been 3 months... but it feels like a lifetime after the life we have lived since then LOL!
The kids are getting SO big!
Amy & Austin have never been, so we headed up to the Draper Temple to do an session early Friday morning. It was a choice experience. I was gently reminded how lucky I am to have such a dear friend as Amy... and I am so thankful that Austin and Jes are good friends as well!
I struggled a bit throughout the session, including almost being knocked down by the officiator right before the prayer because he was trying to get passed me and I could not step backward! Thankfully my sweet husband had ahold of me and kept me from going down. Or almost being knocked down by the sister who walks through the rows. Amy was sweet and helpful when my body didn't do what I wanted it to do, like tying a bow, and I was not at all self conscious with her. It was a gift to me.
We all really enjoyed the quietness of that smaller Temple.
Emmalee was a sweetheart and tended kids for us, and when we got back the kids were thoroughly enjoying playing and playing and playing some more!
Such CUTE girls! :)
And this little one just melts Jes' heart! *grin*
We ate lots of yummy food!
Sammy is left handed, while Caleb is right handed... we were giggling at them as they tried to figure out how eat their cereal without bumping elbows and knocking cereal off each others spoons! bwahahaha
This is the scene that followed our temple trip... LOL.
I think it was a long drive, late night, early morning... what do you think?
The kids were kind to us... they let us all take a nap while they played and played.
Little Sam, poor thing, was not feeling so hot. He was so sad!
Saturday we ordered pizza, drank root beer, and had a game night, with lots of treats to snack on!
Followed by a birthday celebration! Cam and his best buddy Em have birthdays just days apart last month and Henry's is next week. They loved it!
We made traditional Sorensen birthday treat, chocolate cake. 
We also made Cam's new favorite, Homemade Icecream Cake.
After that kind of party and sugar rush... we needed some help chilling out for bedtime!
Amy had them all lay flat on the floor and breathe in and out slowly. She walked them through some relaxation exercises.
We were cracking up... they had a hard time figuring out what to do. After "thinking about" and flexing their calves, which we had to explain where their calves were, she then said "now focus on your knees". Half of them took their hands and grabbed their knees. We were rolling! It was so cute! Kids are the best!
This is how Jes felt about meditation! Bwahahaha!
We had grand plans of attending church together today to hear Emmalee speak in Sacrament Meeting for the first time, but Sam still wasn't feeling well... and all of the adults, and Emma too had issues with our tummys.
I spent the entire night puking and wanting to die from the stomach cramping. Everyone else just felt nauseated.
We figured we all had eaten something bad...

Emmalee showed her true colors. At first she called and left the Bishop a message saying she was sick and wasn't coming, but then her sense of responsibility kicked in and she got herself dressed last minute and went!

Our friends hit the road to head home shortly after they left for church.
Within an hour of their departure... this is what I had before me:
Caleb puked and puked and writhed on the couch for the pains in his tummy. We cried together.
Cam started with it with 30 minutes after Caleb.
Emma came home right after Sacrament Meeting and this is how she remained all day on the family room floor... sleeping and whimpering that her body hurt, and her head hurt and she didn't feel so good.
And my poor Cody started with it last...
This evening he found an empty spot on the family room floor saying his head hurt and his stomach felt sick.
Oh how we LOVE the stomach flu!?
Jes is still feels like he has a knot in his tummy, but he hasn't gotten full blown sick, thank goodness!!
He has been the go-for for all of us...
Thank heavens tomorrow is a holiday and no one has school. We are all sleepin' in! LOL
Regardless of the illnesses that we had to face this weekend... it was wonderful to be with our friends. These last few months have been really lonely as a family, and we have been quite inner focused most of the time so it was nice to "live" again like things are normal.

For my health history, I did struggle somewhat with over stimulation, but it seemed to be when I was trying to complete a complex task, like making a big meal, or orchestrating activities. Something new to work on. ;) My multi-tasking skills have GOT to come back! I am a mommy after all!

President Dorius

This last week has been a roller coaster of emotions and experiences.

Jestin was called as the Elder's Quorum president in our ward in Oct 2008.
He felt completely unworthy of such a calling, and often felt inadequate, but always shared the love in his heart for the men over whom he served and for Jesus Christ whom he represented.

As our lives have become more and more complicated as of late, our Bishop inquired if he "needed" to be released. Jestin's reply was that of "I do not, but if it is God's will".

That was a few weeks ago.

My heart broke to think of them releasing him. And because of the challenges my health has brought.
He is born to serve.
He finds joy in serving.
It is a deep part of who he is.

And then we had to endure what happened this week...
First, I was called in and released as the Emergency Preparedness Specialist,
with the comment that I needed to focus on being a better wife and mother right now.
Jes went to his church meetings last week, and there was an "extra" brother in the meetings.
And the other leaders seemed uncomfortable and gave Jes a bit of the "cold shoulder".
He could not figure it out, wondering what was wrong, and maybe if *he* had done something wrong.
After church, an obscure sister approached him and told him she heard that the Elder's Quorum Presidency had been released... and wondered how he felt about it.
 He replied that he had not heard that they were being released.
But he hurt inside as he put it all together, realizing that "everyone knew but him" 
and that he still had no answers.

Monday, Valentine's Day, he was distraught. He could not find peace. With some encouragement, he finally called the Bishop and met with him, asking for the truth.
Bishop was reluctant to admit it, but yes, Jes was going to be released.
And the "extra" man was his replacement, that they thought he had been extended a release already and that having this new brother at their once a month meeting would be ok.

Someone, somewhere, dropped the ball.
Jes was devastated. His heart was broken.
He felt stupid and humilitated.
He felt like he has been kicked in the teeth, like he didn't deserve to be told the truth, and that he meant very little.
He was hurt... to his very core.

And Satan played on it... a lot.

It was one of his darkest days... ever.
In all we have struggled through I have never witnessed that kind of despair in Jestin's heart and soul.

The worst part?

He had an interview/test at BYU the following day for the job we have secretly been hoping for.
He could not focus. He was so distraught.

That evening we were blessed to have our dear friends, the Throckmorton's, come down to talk with us at 9pm on their Valentine's Day.

Hal was our very 1st Home Teacher, he helped in bring us into the gospel when we were first married.
His wife, Suzie, is one of my dearest friends.

Hal and Suzie just let Jes and I talk and talk.
They listened, loved and supported.
We expressed our feelings of being "written off" by our ward family, among so many other feelings.
As Jes spoke, I could feel the anger/hurt seep out of him.
It was like pulling venom from his soul.

Hal then gave Jes and Priesthood blessing, offering comfort and peace, and wisdom and knowledge for his test the next day. He also expressed the deep love our Father in Heaven has for Jes, and His gratitude for his service. The hurt and anger was lifted and he found some peace, and some hope.

Hal and Suzie stayed until almost 1 am.

After they left, we went to bed and Jes seemed better. He fell asleep, as I sat up and read for a little bit. Within 15 minutes he sat bolt upright and ran to the bathroom to be violently sick.
I cried.
How much more heartache can we endure?

We knew in our hearts that mistakes can be made, and that busy body/untrustworthy people exist in this gospel causing hurt and contention, but the TIMING and the circumstances could NOT have been worse!
Jes did not know how he was ever going to be able to go to BYU the next day... or show his face at church again.

And Satan played on it... as much as he could.

The following morning was bleak at our house.
I had posted on Facebook about "how much hurt untrustworthy people can cause".
(we were alone in this... there was few we could talk to about it as it is sacred information)
I had a few kind responses of love and support, which I desperately needed, without disclosing anything. At one point, when peppered with questions, I simply replied that there wasn't anything anyone could do but to "just remind me that the gospel is true, even though the people sometimes aren't".
My Bishop called Jes that morning telling him that he was getting concerned phone calls that I was "loosing my testimony" and that I was "speaking ill against my leaders". Wha....??
Ugh. That kind of made things worse in my heart.
I did not mention my leaders.
I did not mention any names.
Everything I posted was vague.
Am I not important enough to warrant a phone call myself?
AM I so unapproachable?
Do I matter so little as well?
I was really hurt.
Do we have to turn this whole situation into "about Heather" to deflect the bigger problem?

Add that to the fact that my heart aches for the changes in our lives having a stroke has caused, and feeling terribly insecure and like such a burden, that for him to loose this last area in his life he feels like he can at least succeed in, because of me, I have felt devastated.
I hate hate hate having it be because of me!
And I don't want to be the reason for Jestin's pain and heartache.
I don't want to do this anymore!

Satan played on that. Big time.

Needless to say...
those three days we wrestled with Satan like we never have before, in spite of every trial we have endured. Our murmurings were hard to avoid.
These kinds of actions can cause people to turn away from the church.
They can bruise testimonies
and shake faith.


I am thankful to say... it feels like we passed "the test".

Jestin put his best foot forward, in spite of the turmoil in his soul, and faced the test/interview at BYU. He prayed HARD for the Lord's help, and learned in a very profound way how much God really loves him, and even in the midst of burdens we feel we cannot bear, He does not leave us alone, if we ask.

We both have prayed hard for each other, and for ourselves, to be able to look past the worldly perspective on this, and all our other current craziness, to see things with eternal eyes.
To feel with the Lord's love and compassion.

Wednesday the Stake President finally called us in to issue Jestin's release. He was so kind, so thoughtful, so lead by the Spirit. He issued Jes a formal apology, not only for them not releasing his Presidency before they called a new one, but for the thoughtless actions by people who have no right/authority to be sharing sacred information and causing such hurt. He worded his apology in such a way that he was extending the sense of sorrow and remorse almost as if from our Savior himself through the keys of the Priesthood he holds.
It was a powerful moment on our lives.
It was an eye opening moment.

It brings to mind, for me, the Savior's atonement.

Jes and I had been trying with all our might and strength to be humble, meek, submissive, and not to be offended. Satan kept stirring up the hurt, playing on our insecurities, and placing thoughts in our minds to fan the flames of anger.

But we were doing ALL THAT WE COULD to make it stop.
And there were times that we were not succeeding. Truly.

And, after 3 excruciating days of this, through His called and set apart servant, He took from us the last little ounce of hurt, anger and pain.

Just like the Atonement.... "after all we can do" He makes up the rest. What an amazing thing!

He expressed that the Savior loves Jes,
and He is proud of Jes for all he has done in his service as Elder's Quorum President.
And you could feel the certainty of these words.

I felt encouraged as the Stake President spoke to me, inquiring about the recovery process, and commenting on how able bodied I appear. He seemed almost surprised to see me walk into his office with barely a limp... I think he must have expected something much worse. That comforted my heart. (dumb as it sounds) Deep down I felt validated in my confusion as to why Jes needs released NOW because of me, verses 2 months ago. I am so much more capable than I was, and it hurt to be the "reason".

 The Stake President spoke about his impression that this change is called of God.
He then extended to Jes a profound new calling. He formally called him, as his Stake President, to turn his focus to our little family, to securing the right job to take care of our family, and to "preserving our home".
I got chills and Jes teared up.

He also promised that this "break" will be brief, that we BOTH have much work to still do in God's kingdom. He wanted Jes to know that he felt like this whole situation had a purpose in it's cause.

We left feeling much better... and the burden of hurt removed.

Today Jes was formally released in Priesthood, and the new President called and set apart. Jes expressed how he knew the new presidency was called of God. He received a witness of it and he is completely at peace about it.
He is joyful actually today.
The burden, of sorts, has been lifted.
He seems full of light today.

So... that is why my posting was halted.
I could not speak about any of this until it was over.

And likely it was a blessing I could not, because it is resolved, and now made right.

Great lessons have been had, and embraced.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ IS true.

The people are flawed...
we all are.
That is why we are here in the first place... to make mistakes and learn.

I still struggle with some of my other feelings, but I think they too will heal with time.
I have pushed myself hard this week to take back much of my former responsibilities and duties... and they have helped me to cope.
It has been hard, I have completely over done, but the next day I am a little stronger.
And that is encouraging. :)
The close of yet another chapter in our life.

And so... what will the next chapter have for us?
Let's turn the page already alright??!

(hee hee...isn't he so cute??)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sharin' the Love 2011

Special Night Light my Ma gave me for Valentine's Day last year! I love it!
Jestin took the kids to school this morning, and on his "way back" he stopped and picked me up some flowers and card. He brought them to me in bed. It was really sweet!
They are so pretty!
I feel guilt because we can't afford them... but they sure do make me smile!
I am so lucky to have such a sweet man in my life!
Today I wanted to do something special for my kids....
So, even though it took me ALL day... They get to come home to this!
The cookies are peanutbutter, a favorite, but rare treat at our house because of Cam's nut allergy... 
So I also made chocolate chip just for him!
I picked up the strawberries a few days ago...
and Emmalee has been begging to eat them!
I kept telling her no. I think she will be very happy when she gets home!  
Now... I know it is a silly thing... but I must admit:
Seeing the cookie jar full of cookies makes me feel like
I am a good mom.
Why the cookie jar has such an effect?
I am not sure.
But I totally smile inside when they come home from school
and are excited to see new cookies in the jar.

Today I was "a good mom"... and that makes me so happy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Heart Attack!

Here it is...just like I promised... 

Caleb's Hearts are everywhere! :)
We just love him so much!
And an example of the heart border he has decorated the house with... :)

And he even was eco-friendly and added the papers he used to decorate a little!
(tee hee)

My Ma came over and saw them all and was telling him how great they were. She told him she didn't have any Valentine's decorations up yet this year... Caleb quickly ran upstairs and made her a stack of hearts to take for her home and work. :) He is finding great joy in these hearts!
He and Cameron made this number for the office/library room. It is huge!

And, speaking of heart attacks... my mind almost had one today!! LOL
I was helping Jestin with cleaning up the garage. Seems innocent enough right? I mean, it was a LOVELY day today... first real sunny T-shirt day of the new year (it was a balmy 43 degrees).
So... innocently I am helping Jes in the garage. I pull on this extension cord the boys used to vacuum the stairs the day before and didn't roll back up. I am perfectly capable of coiling up this cord for Jes. It's light. I can do it.
As I am pulling... all of a sudden this piece of metal breaks loose. It is a thick square tube of steel. It heads directly for my right foot, of course, the foot I lost use of from my stroke.
In my mind it is like one of those bad dreams...
I am screaming at the top of lungs and nothing is coming out!
That is what it felt like!
I could see this metal was going to hit me on the foot. It was not falling super fast. My mind was screaming inside it's self telling my foot to step backward.... to not get hit!
My foot does not move.
This piece of steel lands directly on the top of my bad foot... and there was nothing I could do about it.
I swore.
(I did! It hurt!)
Tears came to my eyes.
Oh how I was irritated that I had had a stroke!

I had an indent on my sock where the edge of the metal struck.
Jes looked like he wanted to cry for me!

Needless to say, I was not a ton of help in the garage after that.
Oh the fun I have!

(I am not one to bruise super easy as my circulation is so poor, but the swelling and the red/purple mark are the casualties.)
And I was SOO looking forward to showing off how I can walk without a limp tomorrow at church!!
(((insert rolling eyes)))
For the love...

Update from Physical Therapist & Pain

I went to see Brad this week. He is really pleased about my improvement on strength. Good feelings I wish I could bottle for bad days of treadmill/exercise flowed into my heart. It is nice to get outside perspective from someone who knows really how far I have come. Warms my heart.

I could do all my squats, toe lifts, leg lifts, marching, etc really well. So... he, as always, showed me what I "can't do yet" next.


They are hard! I can step forward, no problem, but once I put weight on either leg, my balance is out the window, and on the right side I have no strength to pull back up from them. So there was my first new exercise. Small lunges, working  into deeper steps. Fun!

Next, he wanted me to walk heel to toe, as if I was taking a sobriety test. Alrighty folks... this must be the reason! I have found it! I am not allowed to drive yet, because if I get pulled over... I will be arrested for drunk driving! (bwahahaha) I cannot (yet) walk heel to toe in a straight line (hmmm... for that matter... with how my memory has been... I am not sure I could recite the alphabet backwards either! I am in trouble!) New exercise number 2.

To follow up that fun activity, he then held onto my britches, and Jes held on to my arm, and we walked my body sideways: left foot in front and across my right, then left foot; then right foot in back and across my right, then left foot. He called it "the grapevine". I call it torture! My silly brain could not compute the crossing and untangling of my limbs. I went across the room one way, and back again, and had to sit down for 5-10 minutes just to rest my brain! It was extreme exhaustion, similar to when I was first recovering! Nothing has been so hard until then. He kept apologizing, saying he knew it was going to tax my mind. He let me rest while he tended to another patient. I put my head between my knees and pondered this new pathway and its difficulty. I realized why it was particularly difficult. I could not close my eyes. (when I did I would loose my balance) I had to process not only the exercise, which is naturally difficult for a stroke victim, but the visual as well. I realized that I mostly close my eyes for my exercises! LOL I had not realized that before!

Brad came back and apologized again, because he was adding one more exercise to my list. (oh boy!) This one would be especially taxing as well.

The clock/lunge.

Jes held onto my britches from behind, and Brad explained the procedure. As he called a number on the clock, and which foot to use to reach it, I was to lightly step-lunge in that direction - as if I was were standing in the middle of a clock. On Brad's command we began. I was a mess! 3 o'clock/right foot! 9 o'clock/left foot! Oh how it befuddled my brain! Brad left Jes to to 10-15 more. I was able to find a spot on the floor to focus on, and my response time improved. Funny thing? Jes asked if I was bored by his help because I was so zoned. I laughed, lost my balance, and told him he can't talk to me while we are working! Bwahahaha!

Therapy kicked my butt yet again. I left shaking and exhausted. Yea me! He told me not to come back for about 2 weeks, that it will likely take that long to master these ones. He also gave me a strict lecture about where I am physically and mentally.

He reminded me that I am a stroke survivor. There will not be big improvements almost daily anymore. My window has closed. Now each and every improvement will come with a price = hard work. He reminded me to not let myself get discouraged - that evenings will be harder for a while (I hadn't mentioned that they were... so it was balm to my heart) and that I will always notice a return of some symptoms when I am tired or fatigued for the rest of my life. He also talked about my memory some and said that it will start to come back (YEA!)

We asked him about a funny thing that happened...

The night before I was opening the console between our seats in the Expedition to get some gum. Right as I did, Jes climbed in and using his elbow he leaned on it to scoot himself in. My pointer finger was smashed under the lid. It hurt so much! Within 20 minutes, as it throbbed and complained, my right pointer finger started throbbing and complaining just exactly the same! He smiled and said that that is completely normal for a stroke victim. My mind isn't sure which side hurts. STRANGE!!! He said I would have phantom pain like that for a while on and off and that it is normal.

We also asked him about my hand. It hurts every night. The joint where my thumb connects to my hand just aches and aches, and so does the spot where my two middle fingers attach to my hand do as well. He did some bending, twisting and strength stuff, to make sure it wasn't a carple tunnel problem. It isn't. He said it is more than likely part of the stroke healing, and it will just take time to go away. He was sad he couldn't offer a better solution. I also mentioned that my foot often feels the same ache and he nodded saying that some stroke patients have pain like that and it is nerve pathway related.

So... I am still on the up and up. I am moving forward and taking my life back, one day at a time. Last week I didn't have to take a nap 3 of the 7 days. Progress to be celebrated!

He warned me ahead of time though... next time I will have to learn hop-scotch type exercise!

Oh my! I am looking forward to it... not. :P

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It is almost 1 am...

and I can't sleep.

I was being mindless for a little while, playing Farmville on Facebook, hoping that would make me sleepy. But instead, after all my "harvesting", oragnizing and "gift giving"... I am still wide awake! Ack!

Jestin is sound asleep, snoring, here next to me on the bed. He has been feeling "off" today. He slept a good portion of yesterday after his surgery, though I did drag him to Emmalee's New Beginnings program for her youth group at church that night. (which BTW Emma sang this beautiful song with 2 other girls as part of it... I am so proud of her! She has an amazing voice! *grin*). Today he has been generally grumpy, and his head, cheek and ear have hurt. I have encouraged ibuprofen, as often as he can take it, and will likely make him call the Eye Dr. if it isn't better tomorrow.

Tonight he pushed forward though, and took me to Ward Temple Night. We were so thankful to be able to attend the Temple. It is such a gift! Our friends, the Vincents, came and got us and we rode together. I am so thankful for good friends too. It's nice to laugh... even when you don't feel like it. Jes' mood was greatly enhanced just by being with friends.

Emmalee is really having a rough go of things lately. She missed almost an entire week of school with her strep throat, and now is paying the price. Her homework pile has kept her busy from the minute she gets home! She has shed a few (ok lots) of tears over it. She hates being behind, and even more she hates deadlines. They freak/stress her out! Add to this some friends going though some tough times, and her personality like her Daddy and Gram of taking on others emotions and pain, and she is a mess. Her ability to have empathy is phenominal, just like theirs, but she is not practiced at deflecting it yet. She and Jes had a long talk about that tonight, and I think she was pleased to know she has traits like the people that she loves, and that she is understood. We keep teasing her she needs to figure out how to *breathe*... that her life is not as stressful as she makes it out to be! (even though I think it probably is... somehow she's gotta find the joy in the journey! oh... wait... I have needed that advice myself lately! bwahahaha... pot calling the kettle  black and all that! :) ugh. )

Cody is Cody. He is quiet and reserved. He has a "girlfriend" at school, they have just been friends for a while, but now they are talking about more "liking" each other type stuff. Wigs me out a little! He blushes a deep shade of red if you even mention her name, or even mention anything remotely close to girl related. Don't talk to him at all about recess, because that is when they walk around the playground and talk, and he can barely stand the embarrassment of it! It's cute... and spooky. My little man is starting the crush phase! ACK! He already could use a shave (HE'S 11!!!) and his voice is deeper than Jes'. He is changing fast... almost by the minute it seems. He is such a good kid though! I appreciate him so much!

Cameron is moving forward with his busy little life. He loves to hang out with his friends, play on his DS (or any other electronic device) and invent things and do magic tricks. He has taken a real enjoyment out of comic books lately, Garfield being a fav. He is excelling at school and LOVES his teacher! (which I do too! I couldn't have asked for a better fit for Cam this year! His teacher is one of the best we have ever had!) He is looking forward to Valentine's Day... but not nearly so much as his little brother!

Caleb is really struggling lately. He has been acting out at school (his teacher told me she didn't find out about the stroke until 3 weeks after, but she could have guessed the date almost if she could use his behavior in class as a guide). He is acting like the class clown, he won't focus, he quit trying to learn to read, and generally has taken multiple steps back. It has been heartbreaking for me... as I feel completely at fault since I am the trigger, but we are working with him to try and get him to talk about how he is feeling and his worries. This last week, he has all of a sudden taken a great interest into something though... hearts! If you could drive by my house, you would see hearts. He is WAY excited about Valentine's Day... and he learned how to make paper hearts by folding a piece of paper in half. My bedroom windows are so covered you can barely see out! We have hearts on all the walls downstairs and almost every single piece of pink paper we own has been folded and cut. (I will try to take pictures to add tomorrow) It is sweet! He took one to his little friend Audrey's house. We teased that he better be careful! Her daddy is military and he might not like a little boy giving his baby girl hearts! Tee hee! He seems to be a little less teary and withdrawn this week. I am trying to capitilize on his interest in V-day... we have been doing things together and "planning" and tomorrow we are going to go see if we can check out some books about it - and encourage some sight words! We also have sugar cookies in the planner... and he cannot wait!

This whole life of ours has been tough to take lately...I know... surprising huh? But I think that is what is keeping me awake tonight. There has been so much for me to work on, to help ME recover, that now, as I can step back and slow down a little and focus outward, I see that there is still MUCH to heal.

We have tried to keep our children close, answer their questions and be open and honest with them (when appropriate of course). They begged to stay at the hospital with me, as they were scared and uncertain. It was a huge balm to cuddle together and be a family over those 2 days. I know that is what they needed. But as I came home and "life" had to keep going... it quickly became obvious that their mom really wasn't ok. And they have had to deal with that. And it isn't always easy.

And now, as I am stronger and more involved everyday, it is an adjustment all over again. They are giving back some of what they took on while I was down, and that is tough at times as well. They don't want me to over do. They worry something will happen to me while they are at school. There have been many fears discussed and faced. Living in the moment lessons are being learned at a young age, that we can't live worrying about what tomorrow can bring because then we ruin our only TODAY. This whole experience has grown us and stretched us as a family beyond anything we ever could have imagined.

Add to it the financial/housing crisis... and well? Talk about pulling together! Emma wants to babysit to make some money for the family. Caleb keeps bringing me his belongings, saying he doesn't need them anymore, couldn't we sell them to help us to not have to move? He also keeps saying we should just sell some rocks! (bwahahahaha) Cody is careful to wear his clothes twice before putting them in the wash, and PJ's he wears more than that (*shudder*). He is a frugal little thing! Cam prays every night for Jes to get the right job... he never forgets!

We have a climb ahead of us. It's a "rocky ridge" of sorts (a Pioneer story) and our "handcart" is heavy laden. But we are SO blessed! We know we have angels pushing from behind. We know as long as we keep holding out faithful that God will not allow us to walk it alone. We will recover from the trials we are given.

And then we will be given new ones.
It's a process this thing called life.
And it's a gift.

Recovery here we come! Ready or NOT! ;)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

Today I am grateful for:

  • Jestin's eye surgery is done. He is asleep on the couch and it looks like it all went well.
  • For food to eat
  • For clothes to wear
  • For clean water to drink (I know I always say this one... but I love water! And yucky water is not so fun!)
  • An organized pantry - it took me all day yesterday, but it makes me so happy to see! :)
  • Our adopted "Grandpa" Rod, who lives next door, and his willingness to drive us for Jes' surgery. We are blessed!
  • For my new curling iron Jes' family gave me for Christmas. It works so much faster than my old one did... I feel pretty today. :)
  • Warm sunshine through the windows... hints of spring to come.
  • Our chickens... anyone need some eggs?? LOL
  • Music to lift my soul. I realize I have listened to very little of it since my stroke... and regret that now.
  • Jes' cleaned suit from the cleaners. It may have been a sacrifice to have done, but it looks SO nice! :)
  • No more ward cookbooks to worry about selling. The remaining ones are now the ward's to do with as they please, and the bill is paid in full. That feels good! A completed project :)
  • Clean bedding.
  • Chocolate Chip cookies... thanks Em!
  • Warm blankets to cuddle in.
  • My scriptures.. and the comfort they bring.
  • Melting snow
  • The Temple - and Ward Temple Night to help us get there
  • The happiness I can feel again. I have missed feeling joy...
My heart is full of gratitude this day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jestin's Final Surgery

Tomorrow Jes goes in for his final eye surgery. We are SO looking forward to it being done, he especially! It has been a long time coming, but today I am reminded of the miracle that it is. Just 6 months ago we were contemplating how we were going to meet the needs of our family as he started noticing the black spots, and his other eye was basically blind. WHAT A MIRACLE!! Here he is, getting one last touch up on his cataract and will then have 20/20 vision in his blind eye ~ and the bleeding in his other eye from the retinopathy is stopped and will likely have no more problems for 8-10 years!! :O God really IS a God of Miracles! We saw NO way to meet his eye care needs, with no income/employment and we were in complete despair.

Our gratitude is so deep and profound today as we have talked about this last year we have endured. Our lives have been walking miracles and answers to prayers. Despite the horrific moments of fear, despair and anguish, we can honestly say looking back, that the Lord has never left us alone. Never. Even when we felt alone, in our most darkest moments, in hind sight we can see His presence and expressions of love.

I have been studying the D&C - sections 6-8. They fill my heart with peace and love. Our Father in Heaven really does know us each individually and knows what we need. And we are not alone.

Today I feel stronger emotionally. I feel like all the burden laid upon our shoulders is bearable and that I can emotionally give it to the Savior now, and mean it/do it. All in all I have had 2 bad days this last week to 5 good days - emotionally/mentally. That is very encouraging to me.

I still struggle with extra un-necesary contention and expectations. I just can't seem to do it, or have the heart to deal with it. Our life is so all consuming mentally and emotioanlly for me right now, added to my physical healing still, that reaching out beyond day to day seems excruciating quite often. And so... I follow Pres. Uchtdorf's counsel and my new quote from Mother Theressa "God doesn't require that I succeed, only that I do what I can do". This is my peace. This is balm to my soul.

There ARE miracles at work here. I have received revalation in my own heart as to the way I should respond and react to what is going on around me, and I am thankful that there are days I can only do a minute at a time, instead of an hour or even a day at a time, because EVERY minute can be precious, and can make a difference.

And so... tomorrow... we are taking our morning one minute at a time. We are surrounded by people who want to help and love us. We are not alone. And these trials are creating miracles from God... why should I think I am a better artist for my life than He?