What helps me to endure

I have been asked what has helped me to endure the trial I’ve been given & I’ve always felt that my beliefs play a big part & that my testimony of Jesus Christ has strengthened me throughout my entire life, & especially during these 17 years post-stroke. So (as usual) I’m excited to watch general conference this weekend, but I get more excited when Easter is the same weekend!

“General conference is the worldwide gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Twice a year, during the first weekend of April and the first weekend of October, Church leaders from around the world share messages or sermons focused on the living Christ and His gospel. Viewers learn how to find peace, hope, and joy in Jesus Christ; how to strengthen families by following Jesus’s teachings; and how to receive personal guidance and inspiration from God. General conference is streamed and broadcast live in about 70 languages and is later translated into more than 100 languages. We invite everyone—of all faiths, beliefs, and backgrounds from everywhere in the world—to watch, listen, and participate.”(https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/general-conference?lang=eng)

If u want to watch with me, here are Ways to Watch or Listen to General Conference Live: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/ways-to-watch-general-conference?lang=eng

There are 4 sessions (Saturday 11-1 & 3-5, & Sunday 11-1 & 3-5, central time. U can watch 1 session, or all 4 sessions! Or, after the conference, the messages are published on ChurchofJesusChrist.organd in the Church’s Liahonamagazine.

Here’s an Apostle Testimony Montage:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2015-10-0001-apostle-testimony-montage?lang=eng

How would you describe yourself? 

In August 16, 2007, in his article “Greatness”, D. Todd Christofferson, said

“Your greatness in the things God has ordained as primary and fundamental will not come in a day or with one grand act. It will be built over time with the sort of patient, persistent effort that has brought you to the achievement that we are celebrating today.”

How would you describe yourself?  Would u describe yourself as someone’s parent, spouse, or sibling?  And/or would u include your talents, interests, hobbies?  Or maybe your personality traits? 

As my 17th year post-stroke approaches (my “stroke-aversary” is March 16), I have been reflecting a lot in who I am now.  One of the hardest things after my stroke was re-defining myself.   I actually went through a grieving process as I felt I lost part of my identity. Now, 17 years later, I see why this was SO painful: if I had been asked to describe myself, many of the ways I identified myself was by my talents & abilities that I had either been changed (mother, wife, sister, daughter), or had been lost (singer, dancer, teacher, scrapbooker, pianist, journaler).  In time, some of these things were adapted (I play piano w/1 hand now, I use a translator & speaking software to teach now, I scrapbook digitally , I’m a very different mom now—I laughed when my youngest pointed out how her friends do not potty their mom!, etc.), but it was recently pointed out how much of me did NOT change—all my personality traits are still there, & I will always be a child of God. While I knew back then that I was a child/daughter of God, I see now how I minimized what that meant.  There were so many things I had abruptly lost—it was difficult to see the solid foundation I stood on.

When President Nelson, prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited Texas in 2018, he said,  “if we truly understand who we are and why we are here, we can face God’s eternal plan – there TRULY will be another life after death”

Interestingly, as my testimony grew, this belief helped me keep going everyday, & will keep me going for years to come!

How have u been prepared?

This last week has been crazy!  Since I had a lot of time with no power, I did a lot of reading on my ipad.  I’ve been reading a book about the Children’s Songbook for primary (https://kobo.com/en-US/ebook/stories-of-the-children-s-songbook?utm_campaign=TextQuotesIOS&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=App_Acq) & read this this week:

“She (Adele Howell, who was recently widowed, & needed a “distraction” from her husband’s recent passing) was called to serve as a counselor to her friend, May Hinckley. “What a Godsend work is!” she wrote. “I’m so busy I have not time to think about myself and how lonesome I am.”

Being primary president is Godsend work for me as well…I’m so busy that I, too, don’t have a chance to think about my own issues, either.  I think of others instead of me & my quiet house.  I had planned on serving a couples mission with my husband (for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) when my kids were grown, but since that is not a possibility now, I see this as one way I can bring the gospel to others.  But what is so amazing to me  are the multiple ways I’ve been prepared to be a primary president!

Lately, I have been thinking about how the Lord prepares me for the challenges of life & the trials I must face, either through resources, knowledge, or experiences. Sometimes I’m prepared in small ways, like just charging all my electronics & my wheelchair before a power outage, or by filling my 32 ounce waterbottle w/water prior to my pipes freezing.  Other times He prepares me in bigger ways (like marrying a man who’d stay by my side, & help me pull through some of the darkest times in my life), & there have also been things I have learned throughout my entire life whether from a variety of experiences (from school, college, dance/singing classes) or just from being raised in my family & in the gospel..  These experiences have prepared me for things I’ve faced as an adult, as a parent, & even now. I’m just so grateful to be watched over, protected, & to feel so loved.

When my 1st child was born, I felt such an overwhelming responsibility, because God was entrusting me w/1 of His children. Now that all my kids are away, I’ve struggled to know my new definition for “mom.”  Knowing that I, too, am a child of God, to see how He has continued to help me (even when I’m “away from home”) is pretty eye opening! I know that just because my kids aren’t in my home, it doesn’t mean “I’m done” or anything (once a parent, always a parent!). But looking at how He “parents” from a distance, helps me to see how I should be.

Where have I been?

It has been too long since I posted.  I think I’ve over-extended myself. When I do, the 1st thing to go is taking care of myself, so I’m re-gaining all the weight I lost the last 3 months, I’m doing less therapy, etc.  The 2nd thing I do is put my church calling (a volunteer job) before my friends & family … hence, I rarely text or call my kids, I isolate myself a lot, & as u have noticed, I haven’t been posting. Sometimes I realize it & spend time w/Mark, or text one of my kids.

In my last post, I mentioned how I liked being an empty nester, & over Christmas, my youngest, Sophia, mentioned how when she hears how we like being empty nesters, & she feels like we are saying that we are glad she is gone — but that simply is not true!  With the birth of EACH child, my marriage has changed—not in a bad way, but Mark had to share the spotlight. & I had to give up parts of me…& when I had my stroke, I lost a LOT of me—all but the “mom part”.  So, I’m getting to know “the new me”, & that spotlight is back to Mark.   I like having the chance to get to know me, & re-acquaint w/Mark (prior to my stroke, I prided myself on my multi-tasking abilities, & it made me so proud to know that when I was in the hospital, it took 5 women to do what I did alone…but now, I can only focus on one thing at a time, & finally that one thing is Mark!)   

So that’s what I’ve been doing.  There’s no feeling of “oh, good…he/she/the kids are gone”.  I will always love & miss my kids, but it’s a nice change to have more time for myself & Mark!

Through the years I’ve re-gained parts (like having a church calling), so the time I spend for myself has been devoted a lot to my church calling.  Our church has a program called “primary”.  The church handbook describes it as: “a home-centered, Church-supported (children’s) organization. It is for children ages 18 months to 11 years. At home, parents teach children the gospel. At church, Primary leaders and teachers support parents through lessons, music, and activities.”  The last few years I have voluntarily served as the primary secretary.  Recently, I was asked to be the Primary President…yes, me!  It was exciting & simultaneously scary in so many ways! 

So, lately I spend a lot of time being a primary president. I love doing it & having more time to be with Mark!  I just need to find a better balance!

I am grateful…

President Nelson (from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) shared a wonderful message about gratitude on Friday:

One quote from his message was:

“Counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems. No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a unique, fast-acting, and long-lasting spiritual prescription.” —President Russell M. Nelson

I think it is well-established here, that I have found gratitude very healing in my own life.  If u follow me on Facebook or Instagram, for the next 7 days (starting today), I will be posting things I am grateful for, & I wanted to invite u to join me!