Thursday, June 19, 2014

Questions and Answers in the LDS Church

I think this is an important thing for any member of the Church of Hesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to read:

And since I am sharing it, I'll share my thoughts:

Do you wanna know a secret last week I was murmuring a bit. I was frustrated regarding the youths invitation to attend the Saturday adult session of conference. It meant  that if there were youth willing to serve and babysit for free for the meeting, that they would no longer be available. I didn't understand and didn't like it. I went to The Lord in prayer for a number of things and during the adult session that evening with all the youth in attendance I was able to sit and listen to an explanation of why the youth were there. 

It was a quick kick in the butt, I got my answers. Was Elder Gifford Nielsen going to talk about it anyway, probably. But did my prayer help me get an answer and a confirmation from The Lord of that answer? Absolutely. 

Questions themselves are not the problem in the church. We are always counseled to seek answers for ourselves. But when your answers contradict that of the prophet we sustain, and you begin to open and publicly rebel that prophet then the seeds of apostasy are planted in your hearts and fester and grow til you find yourself no longer within the gospel and leading others astray as well. And if you are no longer in line with the gospel and prophets, and leading others away from it- then you shouldn't be a member of the church, why would you want too. Except to lead more away under the guise of membership... 

That is when the problem occurs. Not the questions itself. So go to The Lord, ask your questions, ask him to confirm the teachings you are being given. If you go with real intent, having faith and an open heat and mind, your answers will come (Book of Mormon Moroni 10:3-5), and they will be in line with the teachings of the prophet. 

I got my answers. I hope you will take your questions to The Lord and find yours. 

Now I'll get back off the soapbox. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Out of the mouths of children

Last night we celebrated our kids grand-daddy, Paul A Clayton, II. It was his birthday. He passed away about 2 1/2 years ago and we miss him dearly. Justin is out of town and unable to celebrate with us. But I decided to take the kids out for ice cream and celebrate anyway. We always celebrate the birthdays of our loved ones who are gone. It is are way to keep their memories alive and well and celebrate who they are to each of us. 

I love being able to carry on our memories in such a fun way. It is fun to enjoy a special dessert night and talk about our favorite memories. As we finished our celebration and getting ready to put kids to bed, I stopped the kids and together we all sang happy birthday to grand-daddy. But before we did, Collin asked if we could FaceTime him to sing it. And that nearly made me cry... 

If only we had a way to FaceTime our lost loved ones. Technology hasn't really reached the celestial realm. I remember not long after my mom passed away, my girls brought me their toy phone and said look mommy we are talking to grandma. (Note we have always differentiated between grandma - my mom, and gram- Justin's mom). 

These little minds are so precious and I love how much they love even those they never knew. Timothy was only a 6 week pregnancy when we went to the Paul's funeral. Collin wasn't born when my mom died. Felicity was only 9 months when my mom passed away. Clearly they don't KNOW them. Yet we have successfully managed to create these memories WITH their lost loved ones. Timothy can identify pictures of both his grandma and grand-daddy. He knows them even though he never interacted with him on earth. 

I will always treasure my loved ones and I am so glad my children do as well! 

So once again, happy birthday grand-daddy. We love you, we miss you, and we are so happy we got to have you in our lives for any bit of time. You truly changed us for the better.  We thoroughly enjoyed a cup of frozen custard from Freddy's just for you! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mountains to Climb

I love the mountains.  Having grown up in Chicago, obviously, I didn't see a ton of them on a day to day basis. We visited family in Utah every year or so. And we enjoyed playing in the mountains when we were there.  In 1994, we moved from Chicago to Las Vegas, NV.  Surrounded by mountains, I quickly grew to love their beauty.  College and our early married life in Utah only intensified that.  The mountains are amazing.  Beautiful, full of so many adventures and majestic (isn't that the word used to describe them? If not just forget that last word).  So, know that I love mountains. 

When I was at BYU for college and while Justin attended after we married, I took the chance on only 1 occasion--- sadly--- to hike up the side of the mountains above BYU to the huge Y painted into the side of the mountain.  It was a hike.. I don't remember much about the hike, but there were lots of turns, lots of uphill climbs and lots of loose rocks... But maybe I am remembering that's been a LONG time.  You hike up to the Y hang out, enjoy the view and then hike back down. To put into perspective the trail breaks off at one point. One trail goes to the top of the Y one to either the middle or bottom, I honestly don't remember.  Here's the stats on the Y "The large white Y on the side of the mountain has become the nationally recognized insignia for BYU and the reason why BYU is often called "the Y". It is made of concrete and is 380 feet high and 130 feet wide (116 by 40 m). The Y is even larger than the "Hollywood Sign" in Los Angeles." So yeah, it's a big letter and a kinda big hike.  

Also while at BYU, Justin and I met our good friend Nate Lindorf, who got us into some rock climbing.  I didn't do a ton of it, because we already had Jaicie and then at one point I was pregnant with Felicity, but we loved rock climbing.  Hitting the top of the climb and coming back down was exhilarating.  It was so much fun. I love rock climbing (with the right equipment).

I say all this, because I want you to really understand that I love the mountains before I jump into the next part... So you got it? I love mountains....

So here it goes....

I HATE mountains.  But these mountains are not the physical landscapes that we can go and play on and climb, ski down.  The mountains that I hate are the not so physical (though sometimes they are) mountains that we find ourselves having to climb.  The ones that build character, help us learn lessons, make us better, stronger people...or sometimes just tear us down and leave a shell behind.  The mountains that seem climb to the top and feel like you are finally going to hit the downhill slope only to find another mountain in your path...and then you don't even pray for a downhill slope anymore, just a plateau, a reprieve from the strenuous climb to catch your breath.  So let's be honest, you hate those mountains too right? 

We all have mountains to climb. My mountains, like my sins, are different than yours, but no more difficult for me to deal with than you to deal with yours.  So I won't go into my list of my mountains over the past few months. But I have had to climb lots of mountains.  Justin's mom recently asked him if he felt like Job yet? It was an eye opening question... Our mountains are not that big... I still get to hold all my babies in my arms whenever I want, I still have a home to live in, I still have a husband by my side, my friends stand by me and support me... Heck sometimes they even hand me a rope to help me out, or give me a push so I can reach that next hold.  Do I feel like Job? No, not even close. But does that mean that my mountains aren't hard... No it doesn't.  

I read a story yesterday about a woman and her husband who are preparing to watch their son die in the coming days from a brain tumor, days... He never even got to go to kindergarten and they have to prepare a funeral in the coming days and lay him to rest.  How completely heartbreaking. Clearly their mountain to climb. 

I spoke with someone recently who lost a baby in the early weeks of pregnancy. A very difficult mountain to climb. 

My mom, 8 years ago, died of the 3 years leading up to her death and following her diagnosis, she talked a lot about lessons she had to learn.  She told me once "there is something The Lord has that I need to learn from all of this.  When I learn it, it'll all be okay." Mom had a lot of mountains she climbed in her life, cancer, kidney failure, heart failure, and comas being only a small list of her lifetime of mountains.  She also lost a nearly full term baby who had anencephaly and lived for only 5 hours, who she never got to even see. Mom had mountains, and she climbed them with grace and dignity and she came out on top... Maybe a little further than just on top, she came out singing with the angels cause she kicked those mountains butts. 

I have thought a lot about these mountains.  My mountains, the mountains my family have and are facing, the mountains in the lives of my friends and the mountains in the world around me.  We have a lot of mountains.  Two things come to mind: first "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high..." (D&C 121:7-8)  and second: "know thou my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" (D&C 122:7-8)

Clearly, as my mom told me just days after being diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer, we have lessons to learn, and when we've learned them, it will all be okay.  So maybe instead of hating the mountains, I should embrace them and kick the mountains butt so I can come out on top... Just hopefully not with the angels anytime soon... (jk) 

One more quote for you...actually a little quoted story...

"My mother fought cancer for nearly 10 years. Treatments and surgeries and finally confinement to her bed were some of her trials.

I remember my father saying as he watched her take her last breath, “A little girl has gone home to rest.

One of the speakers at her funeral was President Spencer W. Kimball. Among the tributes he paid, I remember one that went something like this: “Some of you may have thought that Mildred suffered so long and so much because of something she had done wrong that required the trials.” He then said, “No, it was that God just wanted her to be polished a little more.” I remember at the time thinking, “If a woman that good needed that much polishing, what is ahead for me?” (Mountains to Climb, Henry B Eyring)

Maybe, this year, we have just needed a little more polishing...

Regardless, there will always be some sort of mountain to climb. I think more important than how we come out of them, is how we come through them.  How do we make that climb and what do we learn while doing take a minute and see if you can figure out where your mountain is taking you and what lessons you can learn. 

And love the mountains... they are pretty beautiful!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Being Mom and Felicity's Appendicitis

When I was 7, the last week of second grade, in June of 1988, I was hospitalized for appendicitis.  The weekend before I had fallen off my top bunk bed and landed on top of the bed rail that hit before me and somehow stayed standing... Don't know if that is what caused my appendicitis, but I was sick that weekend, (threw up at my sisters choir concert). And on Monday after school, I curled up in a ball on the floor.  When my sister who was babysitting, asked me to go lay down upstairs, I tried to get up and fell down and literally could not get off the floor.  She called my parents, they called a friend, she came and rushed me to the hospital where they met me from work.  At the time we lived in northwest Chicago, and they worked downtown.  I spent the next week in the hospital. I don't remember everything.  I remember my brothers and sister wanting to come visit but not being able to til Thursday. And I remember a small bear they brought me when they did come.  In fact I still have that little bear.  One thing I do remember is that my mom was always there. I don't know if she ever left my bedside.  Did she ever use the bathroom? I honestly do not know.

Mom lost her job that week.  Her boss told her taking care of me was the nurses job and she belonged at work.  Mom told them she wouldn't leave me alone at the hospital and they told her she didn't have a job to come back to. She worked for a dermatologists office.  You would think that a doctor would be more understanding, but the doctor was not, and mom gave up her job for me.  It is a memory that I have treasured.  When she passed away in March of 2006, I was asked to share a story about my mom and I.  This was the story I chose to share.  My mom loved her children and would do anything for them, even give up the job she loved to sit next to me laying in a hospital bed.  

In the ER feeling miserable.
Fast forward 26 years.  Last Wednesday, Felicity came home from school with a fever, 102.6 at the time.  She complained of some hip pain, but she had just finished a field trip running around outside, maybe she strained a muscle.  She laid down on the couch and her fever fluctuated from 103.9 to normal when medicated.   As she continued to complain about hip pain, I had her show me where and I actually pushed on her lower stomach to make sure it wasn't her appendix... It's common for me when there are stomach pains.  It didn't hurt her so I figured she was fine.  Thursday was much the same.  Fevers were up and down all day.  On Friday at 6:50 am, I got a text message from Jaicie's iPod telling me that Felicity's hip hurt so bad she couldn't even stand up.  Being married to Justin, I have it ingrained in my head... Fever and pain In A joint causing inability to bear weight could likely mean septic hip and requires immediate surgery.  So... I messaged Justin who was in meetings at the children's hospital.  After some very short discussion, I loaded felicity in the car, left the other three kids in the willing and able hands of. Justin's mom on her last morning in OKC and rushed Felicity to the hospital.  We met Justin and he immediately could tell it wasn't her hip because she was walking on it. But something clearly wasn't right.  He went and found his general surgery friend and asked him to take a look at her.  He came up and didn't think she had appendicitis but wasn't confident that she didn't.  He recommended going to the ER and getting an ultrasound done to make sure. After some labs were drawn and an ultrasound done, it was confirmed that Felicity did have appendicitis and the ultrasound tech was a little concerned that there may be some perforation on it because of some fluid floating around it, but either way she was added to the OR schedule right away and she was moved up to the floor.  

after surgery and recovery room stay. Watching cartoons in her room.
Justin left after surgery was confirmed and got his mom to the airport, and the kids clothes packed and dropped off and Timothy off with a friend.  Thankfully Jaicie and Collin were at school.  He got back to the hospital and about 20 minutes later Felicity was moved to holding to get ready to head into the OR. She was wheeled off just after 1, and by 2 she was in recovery and waking up.  From there she did awesome.  She was such a champ.  

There was one moment when I got to sit and share my story of my mom and my experience with appendicitis.  Felicity looked at me while we were sitting in the ER waiting to go up for surgery, knowing she would be staying overnight at least.  She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "but I don't want to be alone." She thought that I would have to leave her at the hospital over night all alone.  I told her all about my mom and how she gave up her job to sit with me.  And I said felicity I will not leave your side except when you are in the OR. 

Feeling a lot better on Saturday morning.
Once she knew she wasn't going to be alone, she was perfectly calm and ready for surgery.  She was wheeled off to the OR.  The surgery went well.  There was no perforation or rupture. They got the appendix out and it went smoothly.  We were grateful to have friends in the OR.  Grateful that Justin knew the attending physician, and the residents and surgical techs.  He knew that Felicity was in great hands.  They were able to finish everything laparoscopically and now felicity has her very own battle scars, 3 of them.  She is healing and recovering wonderfully and even got up when the storms started this morning and walked in all on her own to my bedroom. She's doing awesome. 

It was an interesting experience for me.  There are few opportunities when I can specifically tie my mothering into my mothers.  I see a lot of my mom in the way I mother.  But for me to sit by my daughters bed while she was suffering and recovering from appendicitis was eye opening for me.  My mom loved that job, as I recall.  I only spent 2 days in the hospital with Felicity, but I would have spent more and I would gladly give up any job to do so.  It is kinda fun being my mom.  I am glad I have this sweet, sweet memory with my mother to tie into my experience as a mother.
Pretty sure Mom was with Felicity during surgery, just like she
was her first week of life, and just like she was with me.
My mom, my girls and I August 2005

Monday, April 14, 2014

Match results

Well, if you live under a rock, you may not have heard my kids screaming from the rooftops as they heard the match results.  It's been a crazy time around here and I am still not sure how it could possibly be the 14 already.  Match day was April 1... 2 weeks ago.  It was all over Facebook, but I case you didn't see it, Justin matched to the foot and ankle fellowship at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA.  We are all thrilled with the results.  Our kids wanted to go there because of the chocolate. I wanted to go there because of the access to history sites for us to visit. Justin loved the program. And let's be honest now, chocolate, HersheyLand, hersheyWorld, chocolate...really there is a ton to see and do out there.  I have started a bucket list for Hershey on Pinterest.  It is all the places that I hope to visit while we are living in Hershey.  It is 1 year, 52 weekends, to see and do all that the northeast has to offer.  And I feel sure that we will miss a lot!
We, thanks to Felicity's teacher, discovered that she will be in 5th grade while we are there. 5th grade is when they learn so much of the US history stuff, the constitution, wars, everything. And we will be there and can go experience some of these places with her. So excited!

Also, we get to go to Broadway.  I am deciding that now.  I need to see something on Broadway.  And I want to go see Niagara Falls and Amish country...there is just so much, and I am so excited! 

What do you think I should add to my Pinterest Bucket List?--

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fellowship and moving...

It is hard for me to believe that we are in the midst of the Match process all over again...I thought I had a post about the whole match process in my old blog, but I don't see it anywhere.  So a very very quick run down of the process for you... 
-Justin submits applications.  
-Justin gets invited for interviews. 
-Justin goes on interviews.  
-Any place justin interviews at goes onto a list.  
-Any residents that get interviewed by programs go on a list.  
-Each resident takes every program they interviewed at and creates a rank list.  If they are willing to go to a program they put it in a list called the rank list. The list is ordered from most preferred to least preferred.  (If you absolutely positively would not go to a program, you don't rank it) 
-Each program takes their list of residents they interviewed and creates a rank list.  Their list is of applicants they want in their program.  They rank them from most preferred to least preferred. 
-Both residents and programs submit their rank lists to the Match System, in this case the San Francisco Match. 
-The match system takes a very complicated algorithm and magically figures out where everyone goes based on those rank lists.  Ideally everyone matches, but that isn't the case.  Some match, some don't.  Some get in at their first choice some get in at their last choice.  

So, even the quick run down is a long list... Ugh!  It's an annoying process.  It would be wonderful to go back to the you have been accepted and have 10 days to accept...  But really I see the logic in this process and it probably is easier on all of us and them to do it this way, allbeit horribly stressful!  

It's been a fun process for us this time around.  Their are fewer fellowship programs than residency programs.  In all we applied to 19 programs.  And I say we because I did lots of leg work on the applications and even though I am not going into the program, I still get to go through it all.  Justin ended up with 10 interviews, possibly 11, we are still waiting on an email back from one.  And it is quite a list of places.  From Baltimore to Seattle.  

So what are the prospects? First... Justin is applying to the Foot and Ankle Orthopedic fellowship.  It is a one year specialty training where he will focus everything on the foot and ankle.  He will get lots of experience doing foot and ankle surguries and hopefully become an expert and ready to be the foot and ankle doc for the entire Fort Smith Arkansas area... :) 

Here's our list:
Rochester, NY
Hershey, PA
Baltimore, MD (x2)
St Louis, MO
Galveston, TX
Dallas, TX
Redwood City, CA
Seattle, WA
Milwaukee, WI
Cleveland, OH

See check out that list!  (Incidentally, they are listed in a circle going around geographically from the northeast and back) How amazing are these places.  It's for 1 year and we could experience some amazing things.  There are draws to each of the different areas.  I have my favorites, Justin has his.  It will be amazing and awesome no matter where we end up. Think about these places... 

Rochester, NY...close to Palmyra, Niagara Falls, in NY, northeast, (allbeit, very cold winters)
Hershey,, Hershey? Need I say more... But also, close to Phili, Baltimore, DC, northeast.
Baltimore, MD...big city, harbor, coast, 7 hours from my sister history lesson in living, northeast, proximity, etc...
St Louis, Dallas and Galveston are all close proximity to family, friends and Fort Smith, makes house shopping easier and keeps us in the Midwest which we have grown to love.
Redwood City, CA... CAlifornia...closer to Vegas, fun town, San Francisco, 
Seattle, WA...beautiful Seattle. It's gorgeous up there.  I love the green even if it does rain a lot! 
Milwaukee, WI... So close to Chicago where I grew up. 
Cleveland, OH... Fun town, adventure for a year.  

I mean, really I can find something in all of these places.  But I do may have my favorites.  On April 1 we will find out by email where Justin matched too...  It's a big buildup to such a small little email, but it will be so exciting.  Fortunately, we find out in April where we will move in July of 2015, so we have a year to prepare, instead of just a couple months like the med school to residency transition.  It will be one year to learn and grow and experience brand new things.  I can't wait to find out where the next step in our adventure leads us.  It will be so fun to see where we are going!  

Do you have a vote? Where do you think we will end up?  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Timothy-18 Months

18 months... It is just a little hard to believe that my little baby is actually 18 months old. He is growing so much. He talks like crazy. Climbs like a pro. And has already been moved up to a twin bed. How in the world has this happened!?!? 

At the doctor today he did great. Got 2 shots and was a champ. He is growing and staying right along his growth curve that he has always been on. He is healthy and growing well. 

Aside from the doctor appt. he is doing great. He is nearly always happy. He wakes up everyday at 6am most days and very cutely calls momma while knocking on the door. He likes to play ball and play with his cars and little people. He loves dogs and loves feeding them. He exudes happiness in all he does. I have rarely seen a child so happy so much of the time. Yes I'm bragging. I have been spoiled with this guy. He is a momma's boy most of the time, unless his dad gets him out of bed. He loves his siblings and wants to always be with them. He eats just about anything. He naps nearly 3 hours a day. I am so glad that Timothy is a part of our family and couldn't imagine it without him. 

Happy 18 months Timothy!  Keep growing, learning and making us all smile. Love you little man!