Sunday, September 8, 2013

The puzzles pieces

I rarely like to share such personal experiences in such a public forum but I have felt prompted to multiple times so here goes.  As many people know Jerry is in the process of being laid off from his job.  It is not the end of the world but it has definitely strained our spirits a bit and definitely left us wondering what's next.  For now, he is finishing up at Belle Foods and I am working full time hours at a per Diem job in Birmingham.  We have been a bit stressed but we have also been blessed in numerous ways.  One of those ways has been in the peace that we both feel.  We know that we are in Birmingham for a reason and while we don't know exactly what that reason is, we feel like it is all part of the Lord's plan for us. I am very grateful for the Spirit of peace that we have right now and don't know how we would get through the trials of this life without it.  In speaking of the Spirit I would like to be able to say that my most spiritual experiences happen at church or in the temple, but in reality most of them happen at work.  Working in the Intensive Care Unit I see a lot of people in their most vulnerable state and I see many at the end of their lives.  The veil between this life and the next is very thin and the experiences at both birth and death tend to be very spiritual for me.  Last week I just happened to have one of those days.

It was Tuesday, I arrived at work (not a scheduled shift) and got report on my assignment.  One of my patients was very stable and expected to transfer out of the unit.  The other was extremely unstable and not showing any signs that she would improve.  I started in the room of the unstable patient and spoke to the family.  She was a Full Code which means we would resuscitate her if and when she her heart stopped.  Given her condition I knew we would be coding her during my shift and I also knew that coding her would not change the outcome of the situation but merely prolong the inevitable.  Her husband and daughter were at the bedside.  I introduced myself and updated them on her condition.  In the first few minutes of being with the family I knew that they didn't want the patient to suffer and that they had a strong faith so I approached them about her code status.  Long story short, the family made her a Do Not Resuscitate and she died very quickly into my shift.  I was the nurse more for the family than the patient and that was OK. My other patient transferred out of the unit and by noon I was patient less but expecting another very unstable patient from the ER.  I got report and went to have a quick lunch.  In the 20 minutes I was off the unit for lunch I got a call that the patient had been emergently dialyzed in the ER and had improved so much that she was going to a regular floor but that I would be receiving another patient.  I got report and the patient arrived.  In admitting him I came to find out that we share the same faith.  He too is Mormon.  He immediately perked up and thanked God for this small gift.  For him it was a reminder that God was aware of him and his needs at that very moment.  As I sat at my desk to chart I started to think about how chance could have played NO part in our meeting.  For starters I wasn't scheduled to work on Tuesday.  If it weren't for a last minute need, I would not have even been at work.  Secondly, I started the shift with two patients and most days finish with the same two. And lastly, the first admission from the ER miraculously improved and had her orders downgraded.  (This NEVER happens)  Usually even if they improve they come to the unit first and we transfer them out.  As I thought about all of the days events, it struck me that only one being could have manipulated all of those pieces so strategically, and that is our Heavenly Father.  And then the aha moment......He is doing the very same thing in ALL of our lives.  We just can't see it.  And at that moment I knew with the utmost assurance that we are going to be fine.  That God is in total control of our lives right now and that he is manipulating the puzzle pieces of our lives in just the same way he had for my patient.  We just need to continue to exercise faith in His plan. 

I want to share my testimony.  I know that God lives.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that they are aware of each and every one of us.  That they know our needs even before we do.  I know that they want us to have joy in our lives and that the trials we face are for our benefit.  They make us stronger and better and I am grateful for the chance to improve.  I am grateful for my Savior who has provided a way for me to return to the Father despite all my imperfections.  I am even more grateful for their influence in my life and for the plan they have for me.  And I leave this with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Marriage.....10 years and counting

I have been asked a lot of the years what the secret to being in a happy marriage is.  I have to say I always chuckle just a little bit when asked because I in no way proclaim to be an expert in the field.  But given that today we are celebrating 10 years of pure wedded bliss ;) I figured why not put my thoughts into words.  Jerry and I have been together 15 years today and have been married for 10.  It seems crazy to even type this.  And while most of it has been fabulous, some of it has been really hard.  Especially those early years.  I know, I know, believe it or not I'm not always the easiest most lovable person in the world and Jerry is well...Jerry.  We love each other like crazy and honestly we do rarely fight but when we do....well we do.  I personally think it's healthy.

So what have I learned in 15 years?  Well the one thing I have definitely learned after being together 15 years is that men do not read minds well.  Let's face it, they don't read minds at all.  So if you want them to know something, you'd better just tell them.  It's a whole lot easier than hoping they'll figure it out on their own and takes a whole lot less emotional energy.

The other thing I've learned is that if I'm unhappy with the way things are going I need to work on myself.  Even if I think the problem is Jerry or it's easier to say the problem is Jerry (which of course it usually is) I need to work on myself.  It's been a hard pill to swallow but no one can truly make us happy but ourselves.  When we are happy with ourselves it's easier to be happy with the ones we are with.  These things being said, neither is in any way the secret.  The secret, at least for us, has been our faith in God and our perspective on eternity. Jerry and I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints together almost 9 years ago.  As Mormons we believe that we can be sealed to our families forever.  When I first learned this I was terrified of the prospect of being with Jerry forever but loved the fact that I could be with my children (or at that time child) forever.  Over the years that fear has flip flopped.  Now I can't image being without Jerry and shiver at the fact that I will be with my kids forever.  ;)  All kidding aside it is by far for me the biggest blessing.  Our marriage isn't until death do us part but will live on for eternity.  So I figure I can stick with Jerry and hope and pray with God's help he can molded into the perfect eternal companion or I can give up now and we can go to eternity with all our current baggage and problems.  Yes problems.  All marriages have them.  The secret is never ignoring them and knowing that no marriage is perfect.  Even the ones that look perfect.  I will tell you this and while this shouldn't be a secret, too many of us don't know this.  People only put their BEST stuff out there for the world to see.  Most people only post to Facebook and their blogs the perfect pictures, from the perfect outings, in their perfect outfits.  As women and sometimes men, we look at these things and immediately look at our own lives.  The messy house, the loud kids in mismatched clothes, the lack of family time we've had that week, whatever.  We look at the worst in our own lives and compare it to other people's best.  It's totally unfair and not real.  So let me be real.  Stop doing it!  We are all struggling.  Some of us our willing to share that fact and some are not.  But you do not have the market cornered on cRaZy.  Most weeks I do!  If you don't believe me, ask Jerry.

Back to that eternity thing.  About 6 years ago, just after Jerry and I were sealed in the temple, I was asked to give a talk on eternal marriage.  In preparing for that talk I came across something that has been engraved in my soul and for me has totally changed the way I look at all relationships, not just marriage. It was a talk given by F. Burton Howard.  In it he recounts what he learned from his companion, exemplified by a set of silverware.  The story went something like this.  We started out as two poor law students with little money to spare.  On occasion though, my wife would work as a part time election judge or someone would giver her a few dollars for her birthday, and instead of spending it, she would quietly set it aside.  When she had enough she would go into town to buy a piece of silverware.  Of course it took several years to accumulate enough pieces to use them, but when we finally had service for four, we began to invite some of our friends for dinner.  Before they came we would always discuss which utensil to use, the battered and mismatched stainless or the special silverware?  In those early days I would often vote for the stainless.  It was easier.  You could just throw it in the dishwasher after a meal, and it took care of itself.  The silver on the other hand, was a lot of work.  My wife insisted that I buy a tarnish free cloth to wrap it in, each piece in a separate pocket.  When the silver was used, it had to be hand washed and dried so that it would not spot, and put back in the pockets so it would not tarnish.  If any tarnish was discovered, I was sent to buy silver polish and together we carefully rubbed the stains away.  Over the years we added to the set and I watched with amazement at how she cared for it.  For years I thought she was just a little bit eccentric, and then one day I realized that she had known for a long time something I was just beginning to understand.  If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently.  You shield it and protect it.  You never abuse it.  You don't expose it to the elements.  You don't make it common or ordinary.  If it ever becomes tarnished, you loving polish it until it gleams like new.  It become special because you have made it so and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.  Marriage, like the silverware is a lot of hard work, but if you want it to last forever it needs to be treated like the priceless gift that it is. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

My smartphone

So I am loving my new technology.  This morning the kiddos had a 2 hour delay and I was able to lay in bed and read my scriptures and ensign on my phone.  I can even highlight!!  I love that scripture references are just a finger tap away too!!  Technology is amazing.  I am hoping it will help me to keep my resolution to do a better job at daily scripture study.  So far so good!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

9 months

Avery is 9 months old today.  She is still a super baby and has even been amazing through this trip and multiple time changes.  She sleeps like a champ and is finally eating like one.  Well real food that is.  She is not a fan of baby food and despite never having taught her the first baby sign, she signs all done whenever I try to give it to her.  She loved Easter and all of the amazing food it brought, especially mom's steamed artichokes.  She ate her weight in them.  I love how big she opens her mouth when we are feeding her something she likes.  And how she yells when we don't shovel it in fast enough.  Pizza, eggs, green beans, potatoes and cheerios have all been added to the list just this week.  She is pulling up on everything and even cruising a little if she wants something out of reach badly enough.  She has thankfully learned to sit as well because, well, that game in the crib at night was getting a bit old.  She loves to be outside and is fascinated with her sisters.  She is not a big fan of the formula now that I am home full time and will rarely take it.  She is quickly turning into a mommy's girl as well, much to daddy's hurt and heartache.  She still has no teeth but the top two look awfully close.  She is super smart and making a ton of new sounds.  Still not saying mama.  Just dadda and nanna and what sort of sounds like huuh?  She is just a beautiful addition to our family both inside and out.  She is our HAPPY BABY!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

Today I am grateful.  I am grateful for many things.  For my amazing husband and beautiful children, for my family who I love tremendously and was able to spend Easter with, for the opportunities that lie ahead, for amazing friendships, for a few days of work to help pay the bills, and for those few days to be over ;).  But most of all I am grateful for the atoning sacrifice of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and for the knowledge that because of His amazing sacrifice I will never in my life endure anything that he cannot comprehend and that because of that I will never be alone. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


So yesterday was a trying day.  We met with the loan officer and found out that because we have to push our closing back again we will definitely lose our 3.85 interest rate.  A definite bummer as it will add almost 60 dollars a month to our monthly mortgage.  And with no definite end in site, we can in no way even lock in at today's rate.  So I guess it will mean another month in an outrageously expensive corporate housing and no paycheck.  I am trying to have faith in all that is happening.  But as of yesterday all I could see was debt piling up and no way to combat it.  I have always been the only one with the ability to fend off financial problems because I have a job that allows for it.  I would just pick up a shift.  In this instance I feel like I am hog tied and smothering and I am just trying to be patient without losing my mind.  So today as I sat in the ridiculously expensive corporate housing waiting to go and see my new home, angry that the Realtor has pushed the time back an hour cutting into my already tight scheduled trip to Atlanta, I found  myself trying to breathe and to remember that I am exactly where the Lord wants me to be.  I made one last trip to the mailbox to see if the package I desperately needed by today had arrived, it had not..... and I got into the car.  It was on the way out that I got one of many slap in the face confirmations I have had to receive in my life from the Lord.  (He knows me and this is the kind of revelation I do best with.)  As I was pulling out of the complex I noticed a UPS truck in front of another building.  I passed it not giving it a second thought and than it occurred to me that my package was being shipped UPS.  I quickly turned around and parked beside the truck waiting for the driver.  When he came out I asked him if he might possibly have a package for apt 1217.  He did and that is when my attitude changed.  Not because of the package per say but because once again the Lord had reminded me that he knows me personally and that he has a hand in EVERYTHING, including me receiving my package before my week long trip to Atlanta.  If my Realtor hadn't been running late I would have never had the opportunity to see the truck and receive my shipment.  So if things aren't happening exactly as we had hoped or expected I am OK with that.  Because I know that someone much greater than I knows exactly what is best for me.  He loves me and as long as I am in tune to his whisperings (that is if I can keep my grumbling down) he will bless me.  And I am so very grateful for that gift.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What is that SMELL??

So Tuesday was Jerry's official last day on campus.  After putting the girls on the bus and Avery down for nap (I took a short one too ;) I began cleaning.  I don't mean surface cleaning.  I mean the kind of cleaning that I haven't had the time or energy to do in, well, lets just say, a LONG time.  It was gorgeous so the windows were open and it just felt clean.  I somehow even managed to prepare what I thought was a nice dinner.  It was at the point that I was thinking, hmmm maybe I CAN do this, that Jerry got home from school.  Unfortunately he was not as excited as I was about my productive day, as his first words were, "Man it really stinks in here!"  I have to say I was a little upset and the terror from last week crept back into my brain.  I couldn't smell a thing and I had been cleaning all day, so what could he be smelling?  Jerry suggested we take the girls for a walk and play at the park, which we did and then we came home and had dinner.  After dinner we went out for some free Rita's Italian ice.  After all he has to butter them up with all the goodies before he leaves them with mean ole mommy. ;)  We came home and crashed, never to think of the smell again.

Well, that is until the next morning.  Headed to the laundry room in the basement with the dirty clothes I opened the basement door and was slammed in the face with a HORRIBLE, HORRENDOUS smell!!  I can only guess it was what Jerry smelled yesterday.  It was beyond description and for an ICU nurse, well that's BAD!  My neighbor Dan, the maintenance man Ed, no one had words for it.  It literally smelled like a dead carcass.  So Jerry and I began tearing up the playroom to try and find the smell.  A smell that has the ability to come and go.  After two days of this on and off again odor I finally figured out it was the deep freezer.  I say I because Jerry has since escaped the smell by moving to Alabama.  Not inside the freezer but outside, the backside and it was BAD.  I called Sears and the earliest a repairman could come out was Saturday afternoon.  UGGG.  It got so bad on Friday that you could smell it outside the apartment but then Friday night it was gone again.  I have to say it got so bad that I was tempted to have my neighbor put it outside.  But today we finally have resolution.  Darrell the repairman took one whiff of the not so bad today smell and said it's rotten food.  Unfortunately I wish it were that easy.  The inside of the freezer was odor free and food free.  Sooooo, the problem is that during our 8 days without power, (who could forget all that fun) something with blood thawed just enough to get down the drain and into a catch basin that can neither be replaced or removed for cleaning and the reason the smell was on again, off again was because each time the freezer was cooling and the motor was running it was heating the catch basin of bloody residue.  (This I guess is how any liquid is cleared, it evaporates. It's been quite the educational experience.) I speak of the smell as was not because it is completely gone, but because it is so much better, that I can actually breathe down there.  Because now when the motor on the freezer runs I can smell a faint odor, but mostly I smell the bleach that he had me pour down the spout.  Hears to hoping it works 100% because if not my nearly new freezer will be going to the dumpster.  The smell was that BAD and I'm not moving it with me to Alabama!!