Friday, August 22, 2014


What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no or negative. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment–"No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region.
As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look "thinner" as muscle tissue atrophies.
The body has many kinds of nerves. There are those involved in the process of thinking, memory, and of detecting sensations (such as hot/cold, sharp/dull), and others for vision, hearing, and other bodily functions. The nerves that are affected when you have ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle power. Examples of voluntary movements are your making the effort to reach for the phone or step off a curb; these actions are controlled by the muscles in the arms and legs.

The heart and the digestive system are also made of muscle but a different kind, and their movements are not under voluntary control. When your heart beats or a meal is digested, it all happens automatically. Therefore, the heart and digestive system are not involved in ALS. Breathing also may seem to be involuntary. Remember, though, while you cannot stop your heart, you can hold your breath - so be aware that ALS may eventually have an impact on breathing.

12 years ago this dear Father-In-Law died from ALS. It is so hard to watch someone as they struggle with ALS. Watching Glenn as he lost so much weight, as he stuggled just to get out of a chair, even eat or do every day things that in his head, he knew he could do, but his body wouldn't let him.

I watch as people call out each other to do the "Ice Bucket". I love that attention is being brought to this AWFUL disease. I love that money is being brought to a very worth cause. But will dropping a very quick bucket of ice water really show your support? Here is my challange..

I challange you to get a small plastic tub/pool...fill it with ice and water..mostly sit in it. Cover your body up in the ice water. For every second you can sit in it, donate $1. For one minute, $60. (Then use the water to feed your plants...don't waste it..we are in a drought after all!)
Then, go spend some time with a family living with ALS...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Judgement vs. Responsibility

When I was growing up, to be a "good" member of the church, it was believed that you must be able to sew clothes for all of your 15 children and yourself and matching ties for all the men in your family, out of one bolt of cloth. You should be able to grind your own wheat and make homemade bread not to mention all the jars of food and jams that you canned yourself while keeping your house immaculate. You read your scriptures and go jogging 5 miles with your family every morning before sitting down to a healthy bowl of cracked wheat cereal. As I look back on these days, I can not find ANYWHERE where it says this is a must to be a member of the church. Nope, not one handbook, not one scripture, not even a book written by one the heads of the church.
As I have become a mother myself, I have seen the unwritten standard for mothers to be: Plan all 15 of your children's birthday parties with a theme, with all home made food and decorations, not to mention the invitations. You will perform your callings with fluff and stuff and handouts to the ultimate. You will look absolutely stunning while doing it! You will get up early to run 10 miles before coming home to make yourself a green shake full of kale and vegetables before making your children a healthy breakfast before sending them off to school, where you will help with the PTA, carnivals and yes, help with crossing the street! Again, it is an unwritten expectation. But who put that expectation on us? We did! I am included in that group. All the while, feeling that some how I have failed as a mother. Maybe I didn't give my children enough one on one time. Maybe I didn't read the right books to goes on and on.

Well, this past year, after spending time with my family and having long talks...I have come to the realization. PHOOY! There is not a set of rules written that make a person a "Good" member of the church or a "Good" person.

I understand that we have been counseled to seek after good thing. I fully believe in that counsel. The problem that I see is that in seeking after the good things, we have "judged" everything else as "evil" and if you do those are evil. Instead, why are we not teaching "responsibility"? Let me give an example. When growing up, we did not drink caffeinated soda. I truly believed for the longest time that I would go to hell for drinking a Pepsi. Rootbeer was good. We made it ourselves at home a few times. It was fun. So what made Pepsi evil and Rootbeer good? Caffeine? As I have become an adult I am finding that caffeine is not evil. In fact, it helps with my migraines. But with my choice to use it comes....RESPONSIBILITY! I don't feel we teach enough about responsibility. Along with responsibility is acceptance of consequences. I think it is easier to just teach good vs evil.

Guns are not evil. What you do with a gun can be good or bad. To kill animals to feed your family-good. *To kill others-bad. But BOTH have responsibilities and consequences. To have a gun you have a responsibility to learn how to use it properly-good. The consequences of not learning how to care for and use it improperly can be bad. Does this make any sense? Am I just rambling? (* to kill someone trying to hurt you or your family-responsibility and consequences!)
But then it is even worse for us to judge people for the choice to be responsible. Not to mention that if you make a choice to do something, and it has a bad consequence, and you learn from it...GOOD! If you don't learn from it and keep doing it...Bad!
Let me explain that last part. I do not think drinking alcohol is good or bad. I think there are responsibilities that go with it. I choose not to drink. That does not make me good or bad. I know that I would make bad choices and be unhappy with the responsibilities that go along with drinking. Now if I had made the choice to drink and had a bad experience and made some bad choices, and I LEARNED from that choice, I would hate for people to judge me forever for that choice and not allow me to grow from it. If I did not learn from it and kept making bad choices, then yes, judge me! But lumping all people together for their choice to drink and say they are evil is wrong.

Ok, lets look at it from another perspective. If I want a new car, there are things I need to do to get the new car. I have to work hard to earn the money. I have to have a drivers licence. I have to have insurance. These are responsibilities that go along with having a car. Its not good or bad. Once I get the car I still have responsibilities. If I don't check the oil, put gas in it, change the tires...I will loose the privileges that goes along with having a car. This is how I feel about my temple recommend. I don't HAVE to have a new car. I don't HAVE to have a temple recommend. But if I do want it, I have responsibilities. I can't judge because someone else chooses to ride the bus and not have the responsibilities of a new car.

I am looking at people differently now. Yes, I do have standards of what is right and wrong. Good and Evil. I do expect people to be RESPONSIBLE for their actions and choices. But just because I am doing it one way does not make it THE way. I am catching myself more often when I am judging. Instead of Judgment, I am looking at Responsibility.

Other people's ideas of what makes me a good person or a good member of the church are just that, their ideas.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


The past few weeks has been full of "First". We are stepping out of the comfort box here folks. For seven years I have stretched and grown working at a High School/Middle School as a signing aide. My title never did truly explain everything I did there. But I truly worked with the best people ever. I loved my job. I was approached by a company saying they could offer me more than the school was offering. I took a leap! Where I am working now is a total "First" for me. It has been a huge struggle to learn SOOOO much! The gal that is training me is 24 years old and AMAZING! (Nothing like the young trying to teach the old a new trick!) Jeff also has a new job. He is doing a "First" also. He is totally in a different environment. For over 28 years he has been working outdoors. Now he is working in an office. He is learning so much also. With all the brain stress of our new jobs, Jeff did something else that is a total "First". He planned a trip for the two of us! AWAY! Now we have gone away on trips before, but it always had a reason for our destination be it a reunion, a funeral, girls camp or something that we didn't plan for just down time. Where did we go?

Hearst Castle! What a fun escape! We had a horrible hotel, but it was right at the ocean. A place my sweetheart knows I truly love. So fun to go see how the ultra rich live.
I will make this a "Second" for sure!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

MY Birthday

It is amazing how 20 different people can be in the same room where something happens and you will have 20 different stories of that event.
I write this since I seem to be repeating myself and it hurts every time I have to explain it again..
For my own personal reasons, I do not like the day I was given as my birthday.  It has too many hurt feelings and memories attached to it.  But I learned from a VERY WISE WOMAN (love you Aunt Carole Mercer!) that I can have what ever day I want to celebrate my birthday.

I need things to be positive in my life.  I know this day has happy memories for others...again, 20 different people-20 different view points...

Last year on July 24 something wonderful happened.  I had a double mastectomy and started on a path to healing.  I found that I need to be healthy not only in body but in mind and spirit as well.  July 24th represents this for me!  I love this day!  I love everything about it!  Also not to forget, as I was reminded by my friend Jen Bohn today, that if I visit Utah on July 24th there will be fireworks to help celebrate my day!  AWESOME!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spring Break

So by the looks at my last post... I have been busy! First I have to say I SOOOO appreciate the cards and letters of support I am still receiving from all over! To go to the mail box and get a letter of love, it just warms my heart! Thank you!!!!!

Spring break this year was a new adventure (pause for the effect..) IN SPOKANE WASHINGTON!

I flew into Seattle

(I waved at my brother and his family while in the air) and then jumped into this...

that took me to Spokane to be helped by the best helper with my bags ever.

Prepare for Grandma OVERLOAD...

What a flirt! He was fine to talk to me at a distance, but finally warmed up.

He took me shopping to the best place ever!

All was fine and dandy until this blond showed up!

We went to see the sights of the town...

We did some coloring...

Spent some time feeding ducks...

and even tried to keep some popcorn for himself....(Good stuff! His Dad made it!)

and figured out fast that if you just kiss Mom, you can get just about anything you want...

I guess I stayed too long for when we tried talking while his shows were on, he would try to stop me with his mind powers!

But then... he knows how to get his way...

A big part of me was left in Spokane with this little family!

I love my family!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Savior, may I learn to love thee, walk the path that thou hast shown, pause to help and lift another, finding strength beyond my own. Savior, may I learn to love thee-Lord, I would follow thee. Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly? In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see, Who am I to judge another? Lord, I would follow thee. I would be my brother's keeper; I would learn the healer's art, to the wounded and the weary I would show a gentle heart. I would be my brother's keeper- Lord, I would follow thee. Savior, may I love my brother as I know thou lov-est me, find in thee my strength, my beacon, for thy servant I would be, Savior, may I love my brother-Lord, I would follow thee. This is the song that closed the Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. It was our last time as members of the Mt. View Ward for the next two years. (Yes I bawled!) I love this song and it has taken on an entire different meaning to me now. Jeff and I have been called to serve in the Peach Wood Ward for the next two years to serve the Deaf and Deaf/Blind who have also been moved to the Peach Wood Ward. ...Walk the path that thou hast shown, pause to help and lift another, finding strength beyond my own....I struggle with sign language. I pray often to have Heavenly Father help me to better serve. How better than to be in the same ward with my Deaf/Deaf-Blind brothers and sisters. In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see...this was shown to me several times this last year. When I shared my story of struggle with cancer with my sisters, several sisters shared quietly with me of their own struggles that no one else knew about. I hurt that these sisters have been struggling on their own! I find that I am softer at times since I know we are ALL going through something, we just don't all show it. I LOVE Mt. View Ward! I feel as though the people there are family. I have been served and loved GREATLY there. I have to admit that it is hard for me to change wards. I am trying to keep an open heart and mind to this new adventure. I see the wisdom in the move. It is going to be bumpy for the first few weeks, months...BUT I have seen arms open as brothers and sisters have already expressed the desire to get to know us and to try to communicate with the Deaf on their own. HURRAY! The support has been AMAZING! I haven't moved, I am in the same house, same street..So I know I will still see by brothers and sisters from Mt.View ward. I now have opportunity to meet new friends!...May I love my brother as I know thou lovest me. Find in thee my strength my beacon, for thy servant I would be! Savior, may I love my brother! Lord, I would follow thee!

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