A Year Of Changes

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

New Year’s Eve

We are staying home tonight as usual and will snack for hours on shrimp cocktail, pigs in a blanket, chicken wings, and various chips and dips. We’ll watch the ball drop in New York City and toast with our grape sparkling cider for a wonderful new year.

Let the fun begin!

New Orleans

A Cajun wedding parade

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!

The French Quarter

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.

Angels

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.

Shopping On A Scooter

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.

Broken Foot Anxiety

I went back to the doctor’s office yesterday to check on the broken bone in my foot. It’s better then it was two weeks ago, but my foot is still a little swollen and sometimes hurts. The arch in my foot has become way too flat, so she gave me an orthotic to wear when I put my feet in an athletic shoe. I remembered that I bought a special sandal with great arch support.

I’m worried about the future of my foot if the long bone can break at any given time. My anxiety about working out is high, because it seems like the more I try to fix the weaknesses in my body, new problems arise that complicate any progress that I gained with all the hard work I put in.

My faith that everything will work out in the end is still holding, but I can’t help but worry that someday I may just lose faith in my ability to take good care of my body.

I Will Not Flinch

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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.

That’s good enough for me. I will not flinch.

Broken Foot

My lovely cast.

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.

A Birthday and a Temple Sealing

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’s Wedding

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.

Love

Love is one of my favorite topics, and I want need to focus my time this week on feeling more love for my family and friends. I don’t want my chronic pain or Billy’s wedding to stress me out and cause me to have a panic attack. I have a wonderful set-up in my bedroom where I have an electric recliner to support my neck, along with a window with a view of our lake and fountain. This ensures that I can withdraw from everyone.

Though it pains me to write this, Sometimes with 8 other people living in my house (one of them is my son’s friend), I’ll often lock my door and sit down with my lap top, such as right now. Because a mom has to get a short break once in a while!

In Galatians 5:22–23: it states that, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

I need to serve my family more, and pray more, especially to feel the kind of love that the Lord has for all of us. I have experienced the pure love that the Holy Spirit gives us from our Savior, and felt the priesthood power as I receive blessings for illness or pain. Maybe I can love them deeper by spending more time with them and searching for small things that may want or need. And I can also work on developing more patience through my challenges by visioning myself living in a world where my body is strong again.