Saturday, July 3, 2010

Scout Camp

Jacob just returned home from Scout Camp. He had a great time! He's exhausted but still too excited to rest. :) I thought you all might enjoy some pictures of his adventures. Thanks, to his Scout Master, Mark Slabaugh, for all the pictures. Dwight & I hope you survived the week as well.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Last Round

This last round of chemo has been a little tougher than others. The nausea and headache came on much earlier than in the past and has not responded well to medicines. The spots that were treated with radiation back in December & January became dark red. That was really odd. Normally, they are hardly noticeable. It was odd to see them respond that way to chemo. On Tuesday afternoon I broke out in dark red patches, which by Wednesday mid-day just looked like one solid patch.

The good news though is that this is the last Chemo! Hopefully, within a few days the trend will start moving upwards and life can become a new normal.

But for today, I'm going to rest and enjoy the beautiful rain!

Monday, June 28, 2010


You know the scripture in Matthew 11:28-30:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:

and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I have been thinking a lot about these scripture versus for a few days and want to share some of my thoughts with you.

Let's set up the scenario.

Just before this scripture, we read that Jesus had been "commanding" his 12 disciples and then left to go preach in their cities. He is approached by 2 of the disciples of John the Baptist who ask if he is The one that was prophesied to come. Jesus told them to go back and tell John of the blind receiving their sight, the lame walking, the lepers be cleansed, and many other miracles. When they departed, Jesus talks to the multitudes about John. He tells them that "This is he [meaning John] of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." After he speaks to them about John the Baptist, he chastises the cities where the forementioned miracles took place for not repenting. Then he counsels us with the great counsel found in chapter 11 versus 28-30.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,"

Here's the command: "Come unto me. "

This command or plea seems to be repeated throughout the scriptures:
"Come follow me. "
"Follow me."
"Come unto me."

If you think of the times in which He lived, he walked, and walked ... and walked. He frequently encouraged those who were interested to follow him. Why? Quite literally so they could walk and talk. They couldn't text or Facebook after meeting. So, if they followed him ... walked with him ... they could talk. And, as they talked, they could learn of Him, see His works, and go where He would go. (Wouldn't it be cool to be able to go for a literal walk with Jesus?)

This command or plea still applies to us. "Come unto me." He is pleading that we trust in Him and follow Him. In the beginning, this may be just leaving room in one's heart to believe in a Savior. Hoping. As time progresses, it may be seen as simple desires of our hearts to do the right thing at the right time. Exercising faith ... even if our faith be the size of a mustard seed. As we progress in our faith, coming unto Him will include changing and repenting, allowing Him a permanent place in our Hearts, and enjoying the walk with Him.

Then he says who the command is directed: "all that labour and are heavy laden."

Isn't that all of us? Don't we all struggle to carry our loads? Thankfully, the loads aren't always super heavy, but we all labour and have heavy loads at times.

Then comes my favorite part, the promise: "and I will give you rest."

I am confident there is not a soul on earth that could not benefit from this promised rest.

Next he gives us the directions on HOW we can come unto Him and receive the much needed and desired rest: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart;"

At first, this instruction seems like a two-step process. It is, but it is also related. We learn of him as we take His yoke upon us.

Well, to really talk about this part we must know what a yoke is. When I was young, the word yoke always sounded like to me to be something heavy, which is one definition of the word: servitude or bondage. (Merriam-Webster follows the servitude or bondage listing with "especially: Marriage." That made me laugh!) Yet, another meaning of the word is "a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (such as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together; an arched device formerly laid on the neck of a defeated person; a frame fitted to a person's shoulders to carry a load in two equal portions."

You can see an example of a yoke in the picture below.

One of my heroes, Neal Maxwell termed it "the atoning yoke." He explained how Jesus willingly "took upon Himself the heavy, atoning yoke in order to redeem all mankind by paying the agonizing price for our sins.... Jesus also volunteered to take upon Himself additional agony in order that He might experience and thus know certain things according to the flesh, namely human sicknesses and infirmities and human griefs, including those not associated with sin. Therefore, as a result of His great Atonement, Jesus was filled with unique empathy and with perfect mercy."

Then Maxwell continues by explaining how taking His yoke helps us to learn of Him. He says:
"So the taking of Jesus' yoke upon us constitutes serious discipleship. There is no greater calling, no greater challenge, and no greater source of joy -- both proximate joy and ultimate joy -- than that which is found in the process of discipleship. The process brings its own joys and reassurances...."
And, then here's the real key:
"Shouldering the yoke of discipleship greatly enhances both our adoration and knowledge of Jesus, because then we experience, firsthand, through our parallel but smaller-scaled experiences, a small but instructive portion of what the Savior experienced. In this precious process, the more we do what Jesus did -- allow our wills to be swallowed up in the will of the Father -- the more we learn of Jesus. This emulation directly enhances our adoration of Jesus. Simultaneously, in this same process, the more we become like Jesus, the more we come to know Him."
So in serving others, in sharing His load, we learn more of Him, and thus become more like Him. Perhaps this is a 2nd step in his counsel. The first step being, "Come unto me." The second being, "Take my yoke upon you."

Each of the counsels/commands/pleas are followed with the promise of rest: "And ye shall find rest unto your souls."

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted everything to stop so that you could rest? I have. I have had days when the fight seemed a little too hard, not because I wasn't willing, but because I was tired. I longed for REST. If only, I had really understood this principle then.

He promises, if we will take His yoke, we will find rest unto our souls.

I have experienced that great rest. While I am I nowhere near perfect in following this command, I testify that this is a true principle. During the times when I have felt like things were really hard, what gave me the most peace was service to others. I don't profess to understand how taking the time and energy to help someone else with their burdens when I already have too much on my own plate helps me, but it does! It really does.

And finally, the reassurance: "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

When we link our efforts to the strength of the Savior, and couple our energies with His, the burden is light. What might be an impossible burden for one to share on their own, will be easy with the Savior's help. I know this to be true. I have had moments of realization of the heavy, heavy burdens I was carrying. In those moments, I realized that because of so many people sharing His yoke, the "burdens" which I have been asked to carry for now have often seemed so light that I did not feel their weight at all.

Tonight as I have thought of this scripture, I imagine an image of many of your faces yoked together with the Savior's carrying my load for me. I am so grateful to each of you. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude and love for my Savior, for each of you, my family and friends, and even those of you who I have never met that have prayed for me and my family. I am thankful to know that we can have rest when we take His yoke and I am thankful for feeling that rest in my life.


Today was my very last full chemo treatment! (Yes, dear ... "for the foreseeable future.")

Isn't that great! It went well. Since they gave me Benadryl, I could barely keep my eyes open for most of the time. I love the port, but have I shown you a picture of the needle? Why do I look at it every time??? Silly me.

Anyway. It is done and now I'm off to bed. I'm a little nauseous and my head is hurting, but nothing too horrible. Thanks for everyone's support and prayers!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tonight our family was sitting around the family room talking. Dwight was sitting on the floor with his long legs straight out and Ryan was lying in between his legs near his feet. When Dwight started talking, I noticed that Ryan would get just a little bit fussy. So, one time when Ryan was fussing, I said to him, "Ryan if you want to be with Daddy, then ROLL to him." He laid there quietly for about 1-2 seconds and then I saw just a slight movement with his left leg and hip. He was trying to roll like the therapist has taught him! Then when that didn't work, he curled up and tried to roll to the other side. It didn't really work either. But, I wanted to acknowledge his attempts and his understanding of my words. So, I went over and helped him with some gentle prompts so that he could roll to Daddy. Once he made it up to Daddy, Dwight picked him up and said, "Oh, Ryan, I'm so glad you came to see me!" Then he held him on his lap. Ryan had the sweetest smile and then sat there with such a look of contentment.

Isn't it great that he understood my words? I'm SOOOO thankful!

Texas Parent to Parent Conference

Dwight and I attended a Parent to Parent Conference on Friday and Saturday. It was interesting. Some of the classes were better than other classes. Unfortunately, some of the speakers were not aware of who their audiences would be. Some thought they were speaking to parents only, when the majority of their classes were professionals, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, we ended up not feeling comfortable using the childcare available at the conference ... a story for another day. The conference is intended to help bring parents of special needs kids together and to learn from one another. I really was very focused on attending the sessions and checking on Ryan & Dwight. So, I didn't meet a lot of people.

I did meet a great couple though. They have a young daughter that they adopted when their 4 kids were all older. They shared some of the things that worked for their daughter. It sounds like Ryan and her share a lot of similar qualities. And, you know what? She walks. She started when she was about 4 1/2. Isn't that wonderful! Oh, the things we have to look forward to!