Small things I am grateful for…

I‘m obviously grateful to Mark for countless things (most of all, for staying by my side & living in a way, so he can always be there for me), but as I was watching this video (, & I wanted to express gratitude to my kids for some small deeds they did the 1st year after my stroke…things they may be unaware of:

Zach: When I came home from the hospital, he gave me a card.It read, “Gary the Get Well Gorilla wants you to getwell soon!”  Inside said,  “And you better do what Gary says!”  Zach wrote, “Gary says if you exersz (exercise) you get better.”  Whenever things got tough, or I was tired, I kept going, cuz Gary (Zach) said I should!

In addition, there was a morning when I entered the kitchen, & found him at the breakfast table, studying a Sesame Street book about sign language.  I was touched when he explained that he “wanted to learn how to talk to mom.”

Jessie: every night, she’d come into my room, pull a chair over to my bedside, sit down & twirl, entertain me, & just talk my ear off!  Such a simple thing, but it meant so much!  It was the brightest part of each day!

Sophie: She was so young (only 2 years old), that she did not understand (like Zach & Jessie did), that I could do nothing when she got hurt. So she would cry for me & want to be put on my lap to “kiss her owie better.”  I could not even pucker or lift her hurt limb to my mouth, so she did it…& somehow, I still gave her “magic kisses!”

Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend!

If u haven’t seen it yet, this video is on my Facebook page that shows Jessie in my travel wheelchair.  It’s kind of freaky how much Jessie looks like me!

Well, last night, Jessie hurt her ankle, & the crutches we have are way too small—they are from when she was a little girl!  So, she has been using my travel wheelchair to get around…it’s pretty funny to have my “doppelganger” (twin) around!  Poor Cooper must feel like he has double vision!

But it’s kinda’ cool that I can help my kid out in a way that no “normal” mom can! It has been a struggle for me to accept motherhood “this way”—it certainly is not the way I anticipated my life to be!  However, as Dieter F.  Uctdorf said, “Sometimes we mistake diamonds on our path for ordinary pebbles … (but the) heat & pressure that our trials bring us can make us strong like a diamond if we remain faithful to our Heavenly Father.”

I have definitely “stubbed my toe” on what seemed to initially be the “pebbles” on my path, & later on discovered out that they were “diamonds”.  Being a “different” kind of mom is one of those “diamonds.”  Sometimes, I need  a reminder that those are “diamonds” & not “pebbles”, but if I had not been put on this path, I may have remained focused on things that I thought made the “perfect” mom, & had forgotten other ways that mattered. But this large new path has allowed me to find even the smallest “diamonds” that I may have missed if I wasn’t rolling down my path!

Speaking of finding diamonds on your path in life, here is an Easter video that I absolutely love:

& check it out the video on — There are even more videos to watch during the week leading up to Easter, as you focus on one of the eight principles on the website to learn how u too can find the diamonds on your path, and find His peace in your life.

I am “equine therapy tired!”

Years ago, my daughter returned home from a track practice, just in time for a piano lesson, & informed us that she was “athletically tired”!   Well, after a week with no horse therapy, I am “equine therapy tired!”  But, I don’t mind it, as this is one of the few things I do, where I can see myself improving, & where I do more to get my heart pumping!  It may be tiring, but it feels good!

I have always hated attending loud, busy paces, because all I hear is background noise (& since my feet are in front of me,  if we are at a table, I sit behind everyone…which only adds to the problem!)  It helped a bit when I got some stomach muscle, & could pull myself forward, but I couldn’t control how far forward I went, so I might hit my head on the table,  before I could awkwardly brace myself with my right arm!  However, we recently went on a cruise, & while at a noisy dinner, I leaned forward 45 degrees, & HELD IT THERE!

There is no doubt in my mind that that kind of abdominal muscle control is from horse (equine) therapy!

I did it!

I am so proud of myself!   When I finished dinner, no one was home.  Mark was just dropping off one of our girls, so normally, I would just push chairs in at the table, so our dog, Cooper, doesn’t get on the table & eat the leftovers,  before Mark can put them away…&, at 1st, I did just that.’’But I felt compelled to try & put it away…& I did it!  I put the food in a container in the fridge, just like a housewife!  So excited!U know, only my right arm & head move…that’s it!  It is amazing what one can still do, w/such limited movement!

It’s been 13 years!

Our family has taken a lot of trips lately.  Trips wear me out, plus I have always been a “homebody”, so, I chose to stay home when they left this week…& I’m so glad I did!

Thursday (today) marks (no pun intended) 13 years since my stroke. This week has been my 1st anxiety -free, & stress-free “vacation” in 13 years!  Until this week, I did not think it was possible for someone like me to have a “vacation”. (After all, I never get a break from myself…but those who care for me get a break from me!)  In “honor” of being home “alone”, thought I’d share my responses to these 2 questions:

How might your life be different if…

you had not married Mark?

Stroke or no stroke, I’d think I’d be divorced, & I doubt I’d be a member of the church, since when my testimony faltered (after my stroke), it was his testimony that bouyed me up, & his words that challenged my negative thinking.  If I somehow stayed as a member of the church (like if I hadn’t had a stroke), I doubt I’d be very active in my church…& since my faith is such a HUGE part of who I am,  so I’d be a VERY different person!

your kids hadn’t been born?

Assuming I still had my stroke at 30 years old, if I had chosen to work 1st, I question if my kids would have been born!  In addition, since I studied childhood development in college, I knew how critical the 1st 5 years are, so –even if the doctors had allowed me to have kids, I doubt I would have!  As it was, they were young: 6, 4, & 2 years old…& that was really tough on me having a 2 year old!

However, not having my kids would have been a great loss!  Each child has brought a unique spirit into our home–one that is missing when they are gone now, so it’d be missing if they were not born.  All the kids bring laughter, love, & music into our lives, each in their own way.  In addition, Zach brings a calm feeling & is a peacemaker.  We also currently are immeasurably blessed through his service as a missionary!  Jessie brings an excitement in the air, a zest for life, & a sense of security.  Sophie is very service-oriented, forgiving, & has a good heart (I have always been able to count on her to help me).

13 Years is a long time for my family to take care of me, & each day, I am grateful for their love, support, & service.