2020 will be a year of change for me and for family. My husband, kids and I will be moving to Southern Utah this summer in hopes of less inflammation for me, while my brother, Mirna and my parents are moving back to the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania area. Mirna’s family lives in Queens, NY, so Pittsburgh will be a lot closer for her to visit them.
Just the thought of moving has caused me a few anxiety attacks, and I have to remind myself that God is guiding me and will help me overcome my challenges that I know will test my patience
We explored the city of New Orleans on Saturday. As we walked to a restaurant for lunch we noticed one of the streets was blocked off. A few minutes later we heard band music and turned around and watched a couple holding fancy umbrellas march down the street. The people playing the music were dressed in a typical band outfit with guests from their wedding with them. After a Google search, I discovered that this is called a Second Line, where the newlyweds lead the band and wedding guests from the wedding to the reception hall. It was so fun!
We also strolled around the French Quarter admiring the beautiful buildings that reminded me of Europe. The food was so delicious at the Red Fish Grill that my sweet friend suggested for lunch.
I know from personal experience that angels are real and have helped me numerous times. I’ve been protected from harm once while driving across the country, and often when panic threatens to overcome me.
This year has been such a hard one for me with my health problems. My anxiety and stress have been much worse then last year, but I’ve had earthly angels help me unexpectedly, such as stopping over my house with a hot chocolate mug with delicious a mint hot chocolate packet.
Today I will attend church with a brace around my neck and a heavy boot on my right foot. But I will be there! Even as I write this post my nerves are overwhelming me, but I’m picturing heavenly angels sustaining and loving me as I do my best to move forward in faith that everything will be okay in the end because God loves me.
I went shopping today with Jim and Noah at Costco. This was the first time I used a motorized scooter there, and it was busy! I had to repeat in my head, this is only temporary, it’s not forever as I drove myself all over the store.
I used to walk faster then the scooter at its highest speed, and in a few minutes I will be going out to Walmart with my brother for Christmas gifts and pray that they have a scooter available. My boot is so heavy even when I’m sitting. I suppose this has been a very good method of humbling me as I watch everyone walking faster then my scooter travels.
I have faith that my foot will heal and that I won’t need a permanent scooter for many years to come.
I read an old blog post from many years ago tonight. Author Sherri Dew taught me wonderful concepts in her book, “No One Can Take Your Place.” The first chapter discusses how we stood by our Father and His Son in the most difficult circumstance and did not flinch, and how we will stand by Him again throughout mortality.
Flinch is defined as “to shrink from” or “to tense involuntarily in fear.” There are so many things in this world that make me flinch – deceptions, snares, and even distractions which are inspired by Satan to trap and derail me from my safe return home to heaven. He does this by unleashing his fury against all who are determined to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9). I have the challenge to stand loyally by God and not flinch now as I did in the pre-mortal life.
That’s not an easy task with all of life’s distractions, such as raising teenagers in today’s world, the internet, and my chronic pain. For guidance, I often study the lives of people who overcome similar challenges. The scriptures provide me with great examples of faithful, committed men and women who did not flinch. Moses’ encounter with Lucifer is a perfect example for me to follow. Lucifer tried to tempt and deceive Moses four times. He said: “Moses, son of man, worship me” (Moses 1:12). Because Moses already had a marvelous experience with God, he could easily distinguish between God and Satan, so he wasn’t fooled. He responded with: “Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not. I will not cease to call upon God.” (Moses, 1:16, 18).
Now that I’m older I am better able to tell when the Lord is speaking and when Satan is. The Lord prompts me to do good, while Satan tempts me to avoid doing good or placing unkind thoughts into my mind. Having a less then perfect body no longer makes me angry. Frustrated, yes. But my levels of empathy for people’s pain and struggles have increased significantly because of my years of suffering. The Atonement of Jesus Christ provides the faith I need to keep trying, realizing that He knows me. He understands me.
It’s been way too long since my last blog post. It’s been a balance of progress and setbacks in my quest to strengthen my body. Although I’ve been working with a personal trainer and going on long walks with Jim, I somehow managed to break a bone in my right foot.
My foot doctor told me that it’s a heredity issue of the long bone in my foot being too long and breaking as a result of this, and will keep breaking unless I order a customized orthotic for my foot. Hopefully when I return to the doctor on Tuesday, my x-ray will show a healed bone. It’s been another trial of faith to rest my foot when I would rather be walking and serving my family and friends.
Billy decided to take his new bride to the Houston Temple on his birthday, September 10th. It was a beautiful but hot sunny day, and I insisted on taking their wedding photos.
I was so grateful that Jim was able to take yesterday off of work and come with us, as well as our mom. I was sad that Mirna’s family couldn’t be there to witness their beautiful sealing and hear the beautiful promises that the Lord will bless them with as they remain faithful and obedient. We believe that this sealing means involving the Lord in our marriage, meaning that we make a covenant (or promise) that we will pray together, read scriptures together, treat each other with kindness, etc. It had a very different feel than their wedding a month ago. The Spirit was in the temple.
Their happiness with just being together makes my heart so grateful for them. Being a newly-wed is a sweet, tender part of married life. One month down, an eternity to go!
Billy and Mirna were married on August 10th, two weeks ago today. The wedding was short and sweet, and I sang a solo after the ceremony without a piano player. But the music from the speakers worked out!
Our family friend’s children, Georgia, and Nick, were their flower girl and ring bearer. They are sooo cute and sweet! And Nick is an amazing dancer!
I was so excited to see my friend Paula! We grew up together in our church, and the man walling behind us is the person who helped heal my brother back in 1991 when Billy suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling. His name is David Duffy, a retired doctor. We love them both!
Now we are back home in Houston, and the newlyweds are adjusting to married life.
Some of you know that I adopted a sibling group of two precious boys 14 years ago. At the time, they 4 1/2 and almost 2 years old. And both had difficult challenges to overcome.
My husband and I woke up several times a night EVERY NIGHT for 1 1/2 years, which my brain/sleep schedule has never recovered from. At my church class for women, known as Relief Society, our topic was on prayer.
I raised my hand and told the class how once I married my best friend and soul mate, we prayed for the gift of a baby. My answer was always no, and I was devastated. My mom brought up adoption to me one day when she saw an ad on the back on the yellow pages (an actual book!) that promised us to receive a new born. Anyway, it turned out that while we waited for our baby, our older son, who was 2 at the time, walked out of his house and onto a busy road and weaved through the cars. We watched it on the news and prayed that he would be saved by someone nearby.
Two years later, we receive a phone call that we were chosen out of 2 other families to have the boys move in with us. They were about to change the goal from reunification with their birth parents to being adopted by us. The second I met them, my spirit recognized their spirits, and I knew that they were mine, and we were meant to adopt them.
Then I told my class how difficult these last 5 years have been, and how my husband Jim and I have gone through a refiner’s fire to be molded into the people that the Lord knows we can be. I believe it is like this for mostly everyone, because when we come out of the fire, we are far stronger, better people as a result. I’ve learned patience, long-suffering, kindness, love, and forgiveness. There was no other way for me to learn these difficult lessons and trials.
I pray that my shoulder rotator cuff allows me to sleep tonight, because even typing this hurts.
July has flown by so fast, and I still have so much to do to help with my brother’s wedding. Things like moving bed frames around and buying my mom a new full size mattress, and prepare a new living space for my brother and his new wife.
While I’m in New York, I have to prepare to sing two solos during their ceremony, with only my phone and blue-tooth speaker to accompany me. So, this ought to be interesting! I decided to do this because most of her family only speak Spanish, and our family only speaks English, so singing the same hymn in two different languages would be awkward, assuming that they are familiar with the music. I will pray that Heavenly Father will send me angels to help me, because at this point, I just want this wedding to be over with.
Living with anxiety and preparing for a large event like this is difficult. I’m grateful though for Billy and Mirna and their beautiful love story that I will just power through it and help them as much as I can.