Monday, December 26, 2011

I am grateful for this 1998 BYUI devotional.

Yesterday I was told that one of my dear high school friends is dying.  I am very sad, but I receive great comfort from Elder Holland's Christmas talk. Listen here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I am grateful for music.

In an instant, music can turn a troubled day around.  Click here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I am grateful for a funny moment.

I walked downstairs to find my 7 year old and 9 year old boys watching ESPN. 
I was a little surprised and said, "Why are you watching this?" 
My 9 year old looked at me and said, "We're men now."

Monday, December 19, 2011

I am grateful for one on one time with the kids.

My husband and I, several years ago, worked out a rotating schedule so that each child goes on a "date" with me or my husband every couple of weeks.  Last week my little girl and I went to IHOP together while my husband and my second oldest son went to KFC. 

This hasn't been an easy tradition to work into our already crazy Saturdays, but it is an essential tradition.  I cherish these moments to attentively focus and listen to each individual child's concerns and interests.  At the end of each "date" (my kids hate it when I call it that), I tell them how much I love them, and how grateful I am to have them in my home.  I ask them if there is anything I can do to help them, and if there is anything we should be doing differently as a family. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I am grateful for the sun.

Have you ever craved the warmth of the sun on your face?  I have ... and I got my wish this week.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I am grateful for sleepless nights.

I haven't been sleeping well lately, which is a combination of a lot of things.  At first I viewed these restless twilight hours with frustration and even desperation, but now they have turned into the most beautiful quiet time I have to reflect on our Savior's great love and mercy.  I have been reading Jacob's teachings in 2 Nephi, and I can't get over how much our Savior loves us.  How He overcame physical and spiritual death by living a perfect life, by suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, and by allowing men to crucify Him ... all for us.  I am humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude for the sermons He gave, the love that He shared, the forgiveness that He bestowed, and the miracles that He performed and still performs to this day.  I am grateful for the Spirit that testifies to me, in the middle of the night, that our Savior is real and that His redeeming love is for all who come unto Him, and that "His hand is stretched out still."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I am grateful for paint.

It is astounding what a little bit of white paint can do.


(the light box will be coming down soon)

Monday, November 21, 2011

I am grateful for a weekend away with my sweetheart.

Last week my husband and I went to Disneyland together ... without the kids.  Aren't we crazy?!  Yes, but we LOVED every minute of it!  Here are the highlights:

Thunder Mountain during the fireworks!  
(Simply breathtaking)

Splash Mountain with a rain jacket.  
(I actually enjoyed the ride for the first time)

Clam chowder bread bowl at The Royal Street Veranda in New Orleans Square. 
(I want to go back just for this) 

Screaming my head off on the Tower of Terror.  

Watching the laser show in Electronica.
(Ohhhhh I wanted to dance sooooooooo bad)

A corn dog at no other place than The Corn Dog truck.  
(Guilty pleasure)

The Aladdin show.
(It was like seeing a show on Broadway)

Fast Passes.
(The park was packed, but we went on every ride without a hitch thanks to the Fast Pass system)

Matterhorn at night.
(Way more fun in the dark)

Nightmare Before Christmas haunted house.
(The giant gingerbread house is real and smells delicious)

And last of all, but certainly not least...  snuggling and holding hands on the rides with my sweetheart!!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I am grateful for this quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

"The best antidote for worry is work.  The best medicine for despair is service.  
The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is more tired."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I am grateful for a few of the lessons my trials have taught me.

I have learned that our Heavenly Father truly knows us, and He is so anxious to bless us.

I have learned that it is important to keep ourselves as clean and worthy as possible to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The process of constant daily repentance is key.  I heard someone say recently that saints are just sinners that keep on trying.

I have learned that we can feel the arms of our Savior's love wrapped around us in our darkest hour as we turn to Him.

I have learned that praying morning and night on bended knee, as well as truly seeking to have the Holy Ghost guide our prayers is beautiful and essential.

I have learned that scripture study every morning, coupled with prayer, is the most powerful boost to begin your day.  It will guide and strengthen you throughout your day.  It will help you accomplish what you need to do that day and it will help focus your energy so you can truly be a powerful servant for our Heavenly Father.

I have learned that laughter is healing.

I have learned that we all have a light within, it is our choice to share it.

I have learned that when we serve, we open up a joy and love that we cannot obtain on our own.

I have learned that it is important to remember that the commandment to love God, and to love our fellow men are the greatest commandments to keep. 

I have learned that listening to the programs on is life changing (especially the Conversations and Enduring it Well programs).

I have learned that if I do any good in this world it is because the Lord has allowed me to be an instrument in His hands.

I have learned that I don't have to be called on a mission to be a missionary.

I have learned that to be of good cheer is a commandment.

I have learned that the Lord will guide you to answers if you are quiet enough to listen.

I have learned that prayer with my husband should not to be forgotten.

I have learned that my job as a mother to these 6 wonderful children is the greatest responsibility I have been given on this earth.  I must not get distracted.

I have learned that "... perfect love casteth out fear."  1 John 4:18

I have learned that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

I have learned that I am my strongest when I am bending down to lift another.  "Pause to help and lift another, finding strength beyond my own."  Hymn #220

I have learned that going to the temple is more rejuvenating than going to the spa. :)  It has become one of my favorite places to be.

I have learned that judging is not only harmful to the person I am judging, but it is destroying me.  "Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly?  In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see." Hymn #220

I have learned that "God [will] grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son." Alma 33:23

I have learned that I do not fear death.

I have learned that I do not fear life

Monday, November 14, 2011

I am grateful for this quote by Joseph F. Smith.


"If you wish your children to be taught in the principles of the gospel, if you wish them to love the truth and understand it, if you wish them to be obedient to and united with you, love them! ... You can't do it any other way.  You can't do it by unkindness; you cannot do it by driving. ... You can coax them; you can lead them, by holding out inducements to them, and by speaking kindly to them, but you can't drive them; they won't be driven. ... You can't force your boys, nor your girls into heaven.  You may force them to hell, by using harsh words in the efforts to make them good, when you yourselves are not as good as you should be. ... You can only correct your children by love, in kindness, by love unfeigned, by persuasion, and reason.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I am grateful for angels.

I believe in angels.  Angels out-of-the-blue knock on your front door to bring you dinner or a treat.  Angels listen to you cry or complain.  Angels are prompted to contact you via email or facebook on the really hard days.  Angels give you a gift certificate for a free massage.  Angels chat with you every week about spiritual insights and send you thoughtful things in the mail.  Angels let your children play at their house for hours and hours.  Angels forgive you when you are a brat.  Angels don't care that you are using their hard earned savings for something they can't even enjoy.  Angels give you tickets to go to the symphony, and then take your kids for a sleepover.  Angels drop all their plans in the summer to come help you for a week.  Angels call just to find out how you are doing.  ANGELS LIFT UP THE HANDS THAT HANG DOWN AND STRENGTHEN THE FEEBLE KNEES.  I love my angels!  Thank you ANGELS, you know who you are!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I am grateful for a new pet in our home.

My second oldest son earned his new pet and called him Redge.  Redge is an albino leopard gecko and lacks the cuteness of his chameleon, but makes up for it in awesomeness.  We are convinced that Redge can shoot lasers out of his red eyes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I am grateful for the love my children possess for one of God's beautiful creations.

I found Collin the Chameleon pale green and standing at the bottom of his cage.  Chameleons never touch the bottom of their cage so I knew something was terribly wrong.  I ran him down to a local pet store and asked the reptile specialist if there was any hope for Collin's survival.  He relayed the sad news that Collin showed signs of only having 12 hours left to live.  I don't think I expected to be so emotional, but I began to tear up.  The reptile expert recommended that we put Collin in the freezer.  I was mortified!  There was NO WAY I was going to do that, so he said the next best thing was to make a mini ICU for Collin and force feed him with a dropper.  So that is what we did.  It was so tender and beautiful to watch my boys love, pray for and nurture Collin.  Their increased efforts helped Collin live for an extra 48 hours.  When Collin passed away many tears were shed by members of our family and by my boy's wonderful and supportive friends.  Their friends even helped on Monday night with an impressive and spiritual funeral for Collin.  These kids possess a lot of 
compassion and heart.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I am grateful for personal scripture study.

We are trying to encourage our children to read their scriptures on their own, so we set up a little reward system. Every time they read their scriptures for 5 minutes they fill in a square on our family scripture chart. They can only fill in one square a day. Once all the blocks are filled in, which usually takes a few weeks, we do a fun activity as a family to celebrate. This time we went skating, and it was a blast!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

I am grateful for ward choir.

I have decided that ward choir is like therapy for me. It is a piece of the week entirely devoted to one of my favorite things in life ... music! Today we sang This is the Christ, lyrics by Elder James E. Faust. The message of this song is so powerful and humbling that I could barely sing. I was filled with an immense feeling of gratitude for my Savior, who knows me and loves me perfectly, even when I am not perfect. And He willingly suffered for me, so that I can return to my Father in Heaven.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I am grateful for Heavenly Father's gift of sunsets.

A constant reminder that life isn't just meant for hardship, but for joy and beauty.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I am grateful that I was able to speak in Young Women's.

I spoke on finding joy now! I love that topic. I spoke about four different areas.

First, to be grateful.

Second, to forgive and laugh.  I shared the experience of when my oldest son, when he was two years old, threw a huge pot of dirt on my mom's living room floor, and instead of getting mad, she laughed and had me run and get the camera.

Third, to forgive yourself and remember that the Savior atoned for our sins and sorrows.  I told the story of how I was too busy to listen to the spirit which whispered to me softly not to leave a hot iron to answer the phone. My oldest son will forever carry the scars of my lapse of judgement when the hot iron fell squarely on the top of his left hand. I have learned from that experience that we all make mistakes and the Lord knew we would, and that is why we need the atonement.

Fourth, not to compare ourselves to others.

It was a great experience, and the Young Women seemed to really appreciate my comments. The spirit was very strong.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I am grateful for Meg Johnson and her lesson about laughter.

Meg Johnson is a quadriplegic, and she is AWESOME!  I don't even know her personally, but I would love to.  Here is her story:

"Three days before Christmas, on Wednesday, December 22, my husband, Whit, was loading my silver Subaru Baja with boxes of Christmas gifts for our friends and neighbors. It was very cold outside so he started the car and turned the heater on high – warming it up for me because, after breaking my neck almost seven years ago in a hiking accident, I have lost the ability to control my body temperature.

As Whit loaded the car, he noticed two people walking up the street. He made three trips with boxes of gifts to the car, and with each trip he noticed the people getting closer and closer…

On his last trip inside, Whit closed the front door, almost all the way, but stayed in the entry and called for me to come. He had just grabbed the last gift off the entry table when he heard screeching tires…

Whit peeked through the blinds then suddenly threw open the door in time to see our car – gifts and all – driving away!

Time seemed to slow down as Whit shouted to me from the front door to call the police. After I hung up the phone, we both stayed at the front door, part hoping it was a mistake – or a joke – and our car would come driving back up the street at any moment.

But, as hard as we hoped, our car didn’t come back.

Away went my “independence” with its modified controls – the only car I can drive.  And it is expensive. Older, but expensive. So expensive.  And, most of all, I need it!

As we looked on from the front porch in the bitter December winds, we huddled together and did the only thing we could think of: we laughed.

We laughed because we were surprised.

We laughed because we were confused.

We laughed because, if we didn’t, we’d cry.

I stopped laughing long enough to worry about the neighbors’ gifts. “What are we going to do now? What should we give them instead?” I asked.

Whit shrugged and answered: “This year ‘the thought that counts’ will have to do”.  And then we laughed some more.

Joseph B. Wirthlin said that “the next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.”

Thanks to the diligent help of the Ogden City Police, my car was returned just after midnight on Christmas day with just minor damages. All the gifts and treats were gone and we wondered if the thieves had enjoyed them – then we laughed some more.

We laughed when we found a squished marshmallow between the seats.

We laughed when we found brass knuckles on the floor.

We laughed when we started the car and rap music shook the speakers.

And our laughter shrunk this horse-pill tragedy into a sweet Skittle experience.

Of all the real-life thieves who don’t ask before they take, Life is the worst one. Life sneaks in and takes what it wants – when it wants – without even asking if you need it.

Life drives off with your health, your home, or your job.  It drives off with your schedule, your clean house, your efforts.  And it feels unfair. And frustrating. And no police search can recover your loss.

But as we stand in the bitter winds of experience, watching the tail lights drive off with what we thought was ours – let’s turn around and take a good look at what’s not in the car.

…and laugh - we did."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I am grateful for prayers in the night.

There are a few issues that have been rattling around in my head lately.  One issue is having my oldest son enter junior high.  For me this is huge, I know it shouldn't be but it is.  So a couple of nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night with my mind racing:

"Will he find all his classes?"
"Will he remember how to use a lock with a combination?"
"Will he lose his combination?"
"Will he get along with the person he is sharing a locker with?"
"Will he be embarrassed showering after gym class?"
"Will he be teased or bullied?"
"Will he feel alone?"
"Will he make friends?"

My mind was a firestorm of worries.  So in the silence of the night I climbed onto my knees and asked the Lord to carry my concerns.  I pleaded with the Lord every silly and paranoid thought a mother could have for her child.  Then I released it to Him, and like magic I felt an overwhelming sense of peace fill me and remind me that the Lord loves my son, even more than I do, and ultimately everything will be okay.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I am grateful for your patience.

I am not a writer, so please continue to bear with me as I fumble my way through this blog.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I am grateful for the Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.

I learned so much from Corrie's story about hope, gratitude, sacrifice, faith, forgiveness, love, humility, revelation, patience and empathy. I can't help but look at life and it's challenges differently now. I love books that feature REAL stories with REAL heroes.

"Happiness isn't something that depends on our surroundings.
It's something we make inside ourselves."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I am grateful that I am able to be a stay-at-home mother.

I can't believe that I haven't written about this sooner because I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mother, and especially that my loving husband full heartily supports me in this decision. It is a decision that I have made willingly because I know my greatest work in this life is to be a mother. I take this role very seriously, and I  hopefully will be able to sit before my Father in Heaven one day and have Him say, "Well done."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I am grateful for my dish washin' husband.

Every night my husband, without fail, will get up from the kitchen table and proceed to clean up after dinner. I don't think he will ever know how much this simple act of kindness means to me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I am grateful for forehead thermometers, fever reducing medications and netflix.

We are dropping like flies around here.

For the past 9 days,
5 out of my 6 kids have been sick with fevers, sore throats
and the dreaded pink eye.

I am certainly learning the art of medicating and entertaining.

I am grateful for my mom.

I just got off the phone with her. I am so grateful for our relationship. That we are able to share spiritual thoughts, trials and triumphs. I love to talk with her about our Heavenly Father and our Savior, and the journey of this life. She has amazing insight and I love her.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am grateful for my children.

I can't put into words my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for giving me 5 of His precious sons and 1 of His beautiful daughters. Today was a day where I found myself viewing them through the lens of eternity and wondering what their Heavenly Father has in store for them. They are remarkable spirits, and I am grateful to be eternally sealed to them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I am grateful for this quote by Marjorie Hinckley.

I think of this quote often when I am cleaning greasy fingerprints off the fridge, or wiping jelly from our piano keys, or staring at myself in the mirror wondering when the last time I showered was, or ...

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed some one's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I am grateful for journal entries.

08/23/11 (Tuesday)

"Life is spinning.  School has begun.  Kids need my help and my husband is gone (traveling for business).  The answer ... turn off the phones, settle down and reconnect with the Lord, then my children." 

Going back to school is never an easy transition for ANYONE in the home.  I was beginning to wonder whether a mother needs a "back to school" blessing as well as the kids.

Every once and a while I will have a day that will throw me off my game, but I REFUSE to dwell there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Besides, who can complain when there is so much to be grateful for?!


Julie B. Beck

Friday, August 19, 2011

I am grateful for our last week to sleep in!

It has been a glorious summer and I hate to see it end!  Here are the highlights:

Enjoying slurpees, ice cream sandwiches and buttery air popped popcorn.

Watching The Cosby Show with the kids.

Late night tennis and bike riding at the park.
(My fourth son learned how to ride his bike in less than one minute)

A wonderful trip to visit my amazing Canadian family, and watch my brother's plays.
(He has the most beautiful voice!)

A trip to California with my sister to cure my CCSVI ... AND have some fun too!
(Just in case you are wondering, I am doing great!  I still have nerve issues in my legs and some tremors that come and go, but overall my energy and memory problems are greatly improved.  I continue to rejoice in the small improvements, and ultimately I find great hope, relief and joy by turning to my Savior.  Thank you everyone for your support, especially thank you to my husband and my kids because they have had to bear the brunt of my condition and they have never once complained or got impatient with me!
I am a blessed woman.)

Sending the boys on Scout/Cub camps, and rejoicing in leaders who help my boys progress.

Dinner around the table every night at 6:00 p.m.  
(It made such a difference)

Neighborhood night games for the kids.

Front row tickets to Josh Groban.
(My husband and I celebrate our 15 year anniversary on August 24th, and this concert was our gift to each other.)

Playing Scattergories, Clue and Masterpiece.
(Our boys are learning how to handle defeat, 


The Classic Fun Center every week.
(Blast Zone, roller skating, swimming, bouncy house, jungle and dollar pizza ...
also known as a kid's paradise.) 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I am grateful for life.

In May, I had shots in my hips for bursitis.  On the way home from the appointment I began to feel extremely dizzy and weak, and then I started to have a hard time breathing.  I could barely keep my head up and I knew something from the shots was taking over my body ... and fast.  I am amazed I could drive in my condition, but I kept on praying that Heavenly Father would bless me to make it home safely.  I stumbled into the house and awkwardly ran down the hall and collapsed onto my bedroom floor.  I was struggling for air and my heart was rapidly pounding in my chest.  I was able to muster enough energy to call out to my husband and desperately inform him that I needed a blessing.  As I was about to take what felt like my last breath, my husband finished the blessing of healing and immediately I stopped gasping for air and my breathing became more normal.  I still had a hard time swallowing and my body was weak, but I knew I was going to recover.  My husband called the Dr. and he said that I must have had a systemic reaction to the lidocaine or steroid.

So after having this experience I asked myself what the Lord would have me learn from this?  This is what I came up with:

I learned, WITHOUT A DOUBT, that the priesthood power is real.  The power to heal is real, and that I am so grateful for that power and authority in my home.  I can't imagine what would have happened if my husband hadn't been there to give me a blessing ... I guess we will never know, but I like what it says in the Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom:

"There are no 'if's' in God's world. And no places that 
are safer than other places. 
The center of His will is our only safety - let us pray 
that we may always know it!"


Thursday, August 11, 2011

I am grateful for funny experiences.

On Monday we made some caramel popcorn for Family Home Evening and decided to take it to our neighbor, who broke his back a few months ago in a snowboarding accident.  The kids ran the treat over and ran back feeling a bit silly.  They quickly relayed the information that our neighbor had just gotten his wisdom teeth out that very day, and he couldn't eat popcorn for weeks.  We had a good laugh about our amazing timing.  It reminded me of the time I took a "meat lovers" pizza over to another neighbor who was recovering from an operation, only to find out she is a vegetarian.  I often chuckle at that experience too. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I am grateful for answers found in the Book of Mormon.

Is there a God?
(Alma 22)
What does Jesus Christ expect of me?
(2 Nephi 9)
How can a belief in Jesus Christ help me?
(Alma 36)
Is there life after Death?
(Alma 40)
What is the purpose of life?
(Alma 34)
Why does God allow evil and suffering to occur?
(2 Nephi 2; Alma 14:9-11; 60:13)
Does my infant need to be baptized?
(Moroni 8)
Does God know me?
(Alma 5:38, 58)
Does God answer prayers?
(Enos 1)
How can I find peace and joy?
(Mosiah 2, 4)
How can my family be happier and more united?
(Mosiah 2)
How can I balance my family and career?
(3 Nephi 13)
How can I strengthen my relationship with my spouse?
(3 Nephi 14)
How can I avoid the evils that threaten my family?
(Alma 39)
How can I avoid sin?
(Helaman 5)

Monday, August 1, 2011

I am grateful for piano recitals.

My three oldest boys spent three full weeks preparing for their big performance on Saturday. They each needed to play two pieces at the recital. They spent hours and hours mastering and memorizing their pieces. On the day of the performance I was praying that their nerves wouldn't get the best of them. We even set up a reward system that hinged on them not crying if they made a mistake (I know ... parenting magazines would be horrified). Well, it turns out all my worry was for nothing because the boys ended up performing beautifully. It sure wasn't an easy road, but ultimately the experience outweighed the sacrifice and effort.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I am grateful for 30 days of clean toilets.

Every time my kids ask for a pet, I remind them that they hold all the power.  All they have to do to earn a pet is clean one toilet per day for 30 days (excluding Sundays).  I actually thought my idea was quite clever, thinking that no child would actually complete this requirement.

I was wrong!!!   Two of my kids earned the prize. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I am grateful for my CCSVI diagnosis.

The anatomy of normal jugular veins.


The anatomy of abnormal jugular veins.
The picture directly above shows dye being pumped through the veins of my neck.  The arrows are pointing at my jugular veins.  If you look closely at the red arrows, you will notice that there is "banding" or lines on these veins, this is the sign of back flowing blood.  Blood is trying to empty from my head to my heart through my jugulars, but because of the narrowing of my jugulars (notice the blue arrows), the blood has to backtrack to smaller supporting veins.  Dr. Hewett in California said this is "Classic CCSVI" (Chronic Cerebral Spinal Venous Insufficiency).

So on July 20, 2011 in Costa Mesa, California, Dr. Arata performed a balloon angioplasty of both my jugular veins to hopefully break the membranous valves in the narrowed areas which will encourage better blood flow.  During surgery, he was able to see that I also had an abnormal valve in my Azygos vein (a vein running up the right side of the thoracic vertebral column) and so he was able to angioplasty and break the valve in that vein as well.  YAHOO!  That only made sense to me because that is exactly where this entire journey began; pain and tingling in the center of my back. 

I am hopeful and happy!  I am grateful for the technology that even allows this knowledge and treatment to be possible.  I am grateful that there are doctors who are willing to perform such a cutting edge procedure.  I am grateful for the encouragement of friends and family.  I am grateful for the tender promptings of the Holy Ghost.

The only worry I have is that my veins will restenose (which is a real possibility).  But as I was reading my scriptures this morning my fears were replaced by faith with this one simple verse found in Mosiah:

But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, 
and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his 
own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage."

That is all the reassurance I need.

UPDATE ****  Dec 7, 2011

 I am grateful for improvements.  I am sitting here feeling immense gratitude.  I have had major improvements in my health that leave me often weeping with joy.  The CCSVI procedure has increased my energy, my memory, my ability to handle heat, and reduced my paresthesia (pins and needles sensations).  

The pins and needles sensations along my spine are almost gone.  Most of the time I only feel
pressure, which I hope will leave in the future.

I increasingly remember dates, phone number, highway exit numbers, birthdays and doctor names 
that were plaguing me.  My thoughts were becoming like loose sand 
falling between my fingers.

When I get out of the shower, I feel great.  No fatigue after.

I can make a meal and not have my back completely 
go into spasms and knots within 5 minutes.

I can do multiple activities in the day.  I used to only be able to do 
one thing and then I became extremely exhausted.


I wake up in the morning and actually feel like I slept.

I rejoice!!!

I still have chronic muscles spasms and nerve firings in my legs, but they are less intense and usually go away after laying flat on my back for several minutes.  I still get mini headaches daily, and sore muscles (especially in my back), and tingling in my hands and feet when I exercise and when I wake up in the morning ... but everything is at a manageable  level now, so I feel grateful and blessed!  

I do have to mention that all my symptoms worsen for a special time of the month, so the mental roller coaster still continues a little but I am learning to expect certain retrogressions and not let them upset me.  There is no doubt that I have had amazing improvements. I am not cured, but I am healthier, faster, stronger, sharper, and ultimately I am a better mom and wife! And I look forward to more improvements in the future. If something happens to me down the road, oh well, I will enjoy the ride while it lasts!!!
UPDATE **** Feb 28, 2012
 I am grateful for my CCSVI free body that allows me to be crazy busy.  Sometimes I have flashbacks of what my body was like when I was the music director for our elementary school play last year.  I remember clearly how I could hardly make it through a practice because my legs and back ached, my feet and back would tingle and numb, my muscles would spasm and vibrate, my head wouldn't process simple information, and my entire body would feel like I was walking in boots made out of cement.  Now ... I go to my play practices and I have oodles of energy to spare.  At the end of the day I fall into bed tired, but a good tired.  And I wake up refreshed!  Amazing!!!  Thank you Heavenly Father for leading me to relief!  Thank you for giving me my endurance back!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I am grateful for my little girl's comment.

My oldest boy came home from school with a large poster displaying beautiful art he had created. He placed it onto our kitchen table, and then left the room. My littlest boy crept up to the kitchen table and proceeded to tear the poster apart. I ran to save the poster, at the same time shouting at my oldest that he better get into the kitchen and save his project before it was ruined. Let's just say that my tone was neither kind nor patient. My little girl heard me, actually I'm surprised the neighbors didn't hear me, and she skipped into the room and in the most gentle tone said, "When I am a mom, I will never talk like that." I was humbled. Her words reminded me of Sister Beck's recent talk where she said, "Mothers can feel help from the Spirit even when tired, noisy children are clamoring for attention, but they can be distanced from the Spirit if they lose their temper with children." I have a lot to learn in this life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I am grateful for our pillowcase monster named Mr. Gobbles.

On Sunday a couple of ladies shared how to achieve a clean house every night.  Are you ready for this miraculous revelation?!  So here it is.  You take a regular pillowcase and decorate it to look like a monster.  You give the children a time limit to tidy up their toys around the house, and then after the time is up, the pillowcase monster arrives to gobble up any left over toys.  In order for Mr. Gobbles to "regurgitate" the toys, the kids must do extra chores.

Hallelujah!  We have done it every night this week, and I can't tell you how good it feels to wake up to a tidy house.  It makes tackling dishes, dusting, washing walls, cleaning toilets or folding laundry not seem so insurmountable.  I love mothering tricks! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

I am grateful for my pay day.

The other day my three year old put his arm around my shoulders and tenderly declared, "You are my best friend."  I haven't ever heard him use those words before, so they particularly touched my heart.  He rightfully earned a smothering of kisses after that statement.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I am grateful for the opportunity to do my little girl's hair.

I only have one girl ... and five boys!  So I treasure every little girly thing we do in our home.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I am grateful for the promptings to read my "junk mail."

This Wednesday as I flipped through my mail and sorted the bills from the junk I had a prompting that I should actually read through a Shriner's hospital newsletter/donation pamphlet instead of throwing it away.  So I sat down and proceeded to read it's contents, and within moments I found myself inspired and humbled by Dan Caro's amazing story of tragedy, survival and triumph. (You can go to to learn more)

What impressed me the most was his attitude. 

He says:

"I don't look at anything as negative. 
It's fun and exciting to work through anything. 
I wouldn't trade a second of my life. 
I was designed to experience and share joy."

 I am grateful that the Lord reminds me often through his wonderful servants on earth that happiness comes within and that it is not at all dependant on our surroundings or condition.  Happiness is indeed a choice, and life is a gift. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

I am grateful for sleepless nights.

I haven't been sleeping well lately, which is a combination of a lot of things.  At first I viewed these restless twilight hours with frustration and even desperation, but now they have turned into the most beautiful quiet time I have to reflect on our Savior's great love and mercy.  I have been reading Jacob's teachings in 2 Nephi, and I can't get over how much our Savior loves us.  How He overcame physical and spiritual death by living a perfect life, by suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, and by allowing men to crucify Him ... all for us.  I am humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude for the sermons He gave, the love that He shared, the forgiveness that He bestowed, and the miracles that He performed and still performs to this day.  I am grateful for the Spirit that testifies to me, in the middle of the night, that our Savior is real and that His redeeming love is for all who come unto Him, and that "His hand is stretched out still."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I am grateful for my son's questions.

"What is the difference between a flail and a mace?"

"I don't know.  Ask your dad, he is into fantasy." 

 My son looked at me with disappointment and said,

"Mom, it's medieval, not fantasy."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I am grateful for Mindy Gledhill's beautiful music and voice.

Her music fills my soul, and my home, with such an overwhelming 
reverence for all of God's great mercies.      

Friday, July 1, 2011

I am grateful for summers in Cardston, Alberta Canada.

I was contemplating this question :  "While growing up, what did we do in our little town of Cardston during the summer?"  We didn't have activity camps or sports camps, water parks, zoos, amusement parks or large play centers (roller rinks, bounce houses etc.).  How did we survive?  This is how:

We walked!!!  
We walked to the creek (and waded in it for hours), we walked to the Red Rooster for Canadian slurpees (American slurpees don't even come close), we walked to Ken's for ice cream cones and penny candies, and we walked around the temple and the Cardston Fitness Trail.

We rode our bikes around town for hours.  Now that is what I call FREEDOM!

We golfed. Driving the golf cart was my favorite part.

We swam at the public pool.

We cruised around back alleyways on motorbikes.  The biggest THRILL indeed!

We spent hours with our cousins who came to visit from the big city. 

We ice blocked down Redford Park.

We watched a lot of VHS movies, played Nintendo and attended the local movie theater.

We drove to Waterton Park to hike, eat ice cream, canoe, fish and play in the lake. 

We painted our toenails and "puff painted" shirts.

We scavenged through our grandparents' amazing garden.  Raspberries, peas, carrots, and 
strawberries were my favorites.

We ran around our house spraying the water hoses.

We played kick-the-can, hide-and-seek, anti-i-over and sardines with the neighborhood kids.

We set up the tent in the backyard.

And we basically lazed around!


This is why I love going home to Cardston every summer, so my kids get a taste of the good life!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I am grateful for love.

"Mom, I only love you this much,"  My little girl stated a couple of weeks ago while she placed her hands out in front of her and then put them close together.  Then she added, "I DON'T love you this much," and proceeded to stretch her arms wide apart.  So, basically she was saying, "I don't love you very much, only a little!" 

After conveying this depressing news she casually walked out of the room leaving me completely and utterly devastated.  So, I fell under my covers and began to weep ... and then cry ... and then uncontrollably sob.  As I lay there in such a pitiful state I began contemplating what my reaction to this news should be.  I first thought of becoming angry.  I could show her what a mother truly undeserving of a child's love really looks like.  Or maybe I should stay silent.  If she couldn't understand what I did everyday that demonstrated my love for her, then why try.  Or maybe I should lecture her.  I could give her a laundry list of all the times I had cared for her and served her.  My last option was to love her.  I could wipe away my tears of self pity and decide that her statement about her love FOR me was really a reflection of the lack of love she felt FROM me.  Whether her feelings were justified or not, that is how she felt and I had to validate it. 

And loving her is what I decided to do.  I walked into her room where she was laying in her bed and gave her a big hug and a kiss, read her some stories, and then cradled her as she fell asleep.  I would like to say that immediately she melted into my arms and everything was all better, but it wasn't.  For some reason my poor little girl was feeling distant from her mother, and it would take a fair amount of love, kindness and concern on my part to repair what had slowly developed. 

Gratefully time has passed, and I am happy to report that after weeks of careful and compassionate parenting, my little girl is once again happy to be in the company (and in the arms) of her mother, and let me tell you ... the feeling is more than mutual.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I am grateful for angels.

I believe in angels.  Angels out-of-the-blue knock on your front door to bring you dinner or a treat.  Angels listen to you cry or complain.  Angels are prompted to contact you via email or facebook on the really hard days.  Angels give you a gift certificate for a free massage.  Angels chat with you every week about spiritual insights and send you thoughtful things in the mail.  Angels let your children play at their house for hours and hours.  Angels forgive you when you are a brat.  Angels don't care that you are using their hard earned savings for something they can't even enjoy.  Angels give you tickets to go to the symphony, and then take your kids for a sleepover.  Angels drop all their plans in the summer to come help you for a week.  Angels call just to find out how you are doing.  ANGELS LIFT UP THE HANDS THAT HANG DOWN AND STRENGTHEN THE FEEBLE KNEES.  I love my angels!  Thank you ANGELS!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am grateful for before and afters.

Looks like a tornado hit my little girl's room. 

Ahhhh ... much better!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I am grateful for my Savior.

I feel an overwhelming amount of love for my Savior, my Heavenly Father, my family, my friends, and my trials.  I want to shout from the rooftops that I love my Savior, and that He has atoned for me.  He has brought me out of the depths of sorrow and filled me with such joy and peace.  He has blessed me with perspective, and has granted me with the Holy Ghost which has purified my soul.  I know that my Redeemer lives, and that His balm is the only healing power on earth to save.  He is everything, and He suffered willingly so that we can return to our Heavenly Father.  What greater blessing is there in our lives?