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Monday, October 3, 2016

So many things to be grateful for

In my mind so many times I have written this post. We were at a funeral and a cousin of mine reminded me of how long it had been since I wrote on my blog. You know me--consistency is not my best quality...so here I go, 4 or 5 months late. As you know from several posts on my Facebook page, at the end of May, Spence got a liver transplant. It has been an amazing year for us--and full of so many things to be grateful for. The timing of this transplant was truly one of the Lord's tender mercies to us. Because of when it was, we could participate in so many important events in our family's lives. We are so grateful for that--so even though they happened a while ago, I'm going to share pictures and tell you a little about what happened. The one thing that this transplant meant was that we had no vacation (our normal one to the beach)...but you know, that was all right. This transplant and the chance Spence has for truly a "new life" is worth any small sacrifice we had to make. When we knew that he was a liver candidate, we told our daughter, Katie, that there was a good possibility that we wouldn't be there for the birth of her second baby. But, by the time little Callie was born, it was the end of July--and it had been 2 months since he had gotten the transplant...and I was able to go and be there when that precious baby was born.
So I had the great privilege of being there when she was born--what a thrill! She continues to do well, and for any of you who are friends with Katie on Facebook, you know she is a darling baby--no bias from this grandma at all!! That was one of the great tender mercies. Then Kelsey, our 4th daughter, graduated from BYU--also something we didn't know if we would be able to attend...and BOTH of us were able to do that. What a great time--what a wonderful accomplishment and a happy time for Spence and me.  Here we are sharing that time with her:
That was another red-letter day in our lives. Spence was even able to drive her to California where she started her college program with Disneyland! Can you believe he could make that long trip? Another bonus for us this trip was Spence's chance to see baby Callie--that was awesome!
We have just been so blessed. So there's a little picture story of our last few months. But there have been so many other things that we have been able to do--it like we have a new "lease on life!!" This coming Friday we'll be going to Disneyland with some of our grandchildren and be able to see Kelsey in action as a photographer in the park! We are just amazed at how much the Lord has blessed us. And these are BIG things...but there are other smaller things which are wonderful too. We both have been able to keep working in the Church and serving there...and we're so thankful for that. We watched General Conference this past weekend, and were reminded again of how grateful we should be for big and little things. In the Lord's eyes, they are all big things! Let me name a few of those--little kindnesses that people do as part of their Church callings, or just because they are good people. I heard of one woman who has 5 fairly young children, who took breakfast into a friend of hers who wasn't feeling well. My daughters are some of my best examples--some of them call me often, just to see how I am, others serve so valiantly in their Church callings, my handicapped daughter writes notes to people who speak in Church. How nice is that? I think we all should look around a little bit more, and notice all the thoughtful, wonderful things that people do...and thank everyone more often. We all need that "attitude of gratitude." We don't do things to be noticed, but it IS nice to notice the extra mile that many people go, to make our lives just a little bit better. I have big blessings and I am very thankful for them...but I also am deeply touched and affected by those "little" things too. Happy October to all of you--may we all notice and then recognize and thank the people around us for just being the wonderful people they are.  Much love to you all, Louise

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

As usual, with my posts, I have hit a wrong button inadvertently, and lost everything I wrote earlier today. As I was saying my prayers last night, I felt impressed to write a tribute to my mother. My mother passed away in 2007, and I would like to pay tribute to her today--as well as let you all know a little bit about my mother. I have missed having a mother for several years now--even before she passed away, she wasn't able to communicate much because of a series of mini-strokes. So I have appreciated others who have mothered me over the years--my sisters, dear friends and other mother figures in my life. They have nurtured and comforted me like she did for so many years.
My mother was a very sweet and kind person. People were really drawn to her, just because she was so accepting and loving towards them all. She was not a judgmental or critical person. She was basically pretty quiet, although very warm and caring. She was a great listener--people who barely had met her would end up sharing a good deal of their life stories with her. I used to tease her that she would put anyone on her Christmas card list, because after she had met them, they were like her long-lost best friends. She taught our family a lot about how to be a friend. She was an only child, so friends became her family. She shared her friends with us--and so they became family to us also. My mother was great at keeping in touch with people.
My mom and dad loved music, especially jazz. Every year they had a great time at the Monterery Jazz festival...but they also  traveled with a guy who taught them more about jazz, and held different educational as well as music-filled conferences. Even when my mom had a hard time talking, she could still sing. She sang for years with choral groups, and some of my fondest memories of Christmas Eves was of her beautiful alto voice joining in with ours to sing Christmas carols. My mom truly gave me the gift of music.
My mother was an athlete. Learning about her high school days, she participated in a number of different sports--was never afraid to try new things. I remember ice skating with her one time, and she did amazingly well, while I just struggled to stand up!! One time we went hiking as a family in Monterey, and my mom was like a nimble goat, having no problem climbing on rocks and semi-rough terrain. She loved to be active and do many things. It was hard to watch her lose those abilities in her later years, due to a stroke that she suffered.
My mother didn't realize what a wonderful person she was, and often lacked the confidence that I wish she could have had. Still, she did not think of herself hardly at all, but did what she could to build her children and believe in us. That was an amazing gift, because each of us chose such different paths to follow. She was not perfect (that persons does not exist), but she was good and kind and loving...and I miss her.
It has been a good Mother's Day--I am thankful for my mother,and  for my wonderful mother-in-law, who was my best cheerleader ever since I married her son. I am also thankful for my children who made me a mother. Today I would also like to thank the 4 women who bore my first 4 children so that we could have a family. What a gift they gave to us, by giving us their children at a time when they couldn't take care of them. That is a double gift--from them and from our Father in Heaven. Truly I am blessed. I don't always count my blessings, but tonight I am. May you all be blessed, whoever you are--and however you "mother". You don't have to have children of your own to bless other peoples' lives. I have been so richly blessed by many who have cared for me, loved me and supported me. May this be a good year for all of us.

Monday, March 21, 2016

So thankful for the Savior

In spite of my best intentions to write in here more regularly, it just doesn't seem to happen. I guess that I practically need to be "hit over the head" with a prompting to write in here. That happened this morning. Maybe when we're asleep Heavenly Father can get through to us better--we're not listening to all the "clamor" and noise of the world at that time. Last night I went to our stake's Easter devotional. We have an amazing choir director, and some phenomenal musicians who work very hard to put on a great program. They did this again last night, and I was very thankful I could be there. But there was something more that touched me. A good friend of ours has been recently diagnosed with a very tough case of cancer. He was one of the members of this choir. As I picture him standing there, singing about the love and mission of Jesus Christ...and that He truly IS the resurrection and the Life--I felt like I was watching him sing his testimony. He knows that the Savior did live and die for each of us...and that because of Him, we have hope eternally to live forever. I felt hope and peace as I watched him sing--of course, we hope with all our hearts that his doctors will be inspired to give him the best care ever...but we know that because of what the Savior did for all of us, that he is not alone, and that he will be given comfort and strength to get through this hard test. Plus, the promise of eternal life with our Savior and our Heavenly Father is REAL and true--that is what I felt as I watched this good man sing of his love for and gratitude for a loving Savior. Easter is joyful and hopeful, and its message is one of a love beyond our understanding. The Savior came to earth and gave His life--so that we could have the hope of living eternally with our Heavenly Father. I just am so thankful for Him--and for the blessing of knowing that His mission was completely selfless because of His love for us. I pray that I will remember always the Savior--and try to follow Him. May you all be blessed to have a wonderful Easter season.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Blessings in the Fall

Last night I was really having trouble sleeping. It was one of those nights when your mind just races, and you can't do anything to calm yourself. It was then that I "wrote" (in my mind) my blog entry. I felt deeply grateful and wanted to give the credit to my Savior, Jesus Christ. Health has always been something I have kind of taken for granted--I just never was sick. Then 5 years ago I got cancer--we got through that, and now we have been facing some more health challenges as a couple. (It still always surprises me). I have felt richly blessed by the Savior, and wanted to pay tribute to Him tonight. I also want to share my thanks for the tremendous amount of people, both family and friends, who have been an incredible support for us. SO this is what happened. About 10 days ago we were going to the doctor's for Spence to have a colonoscopy. I started getting some cramps and pains in my abdomen. This has happened before to me--we have had it checked out, and nothing could be shown to be wrong...so we just take some advil and wait for a few hours...and the pain passes. Well, this time that did not happen. The pain came and wouldn't go away. We went to the doctor, who ordered a cat scan, but the pain continued. Finally, Spence said that we couldn't wait for the cat scan--that we needed to go into the emergency room, and find out exactly what was wrong. It turned out that I had a twisted bowel, and the possibility was good that it could have cut off blood to my intestine, and have a fatal effect on me. I cannot describe in words how grateful I am to Spence, for listening to the Spirit and being guided by our Father--so that my life was spared. Now I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but I KNOW that Spence was guided on that decision...and I am thankful to be married to a man who takes his relationship with his Heavenly Father seriously. I had emergency surgery on Thursday, Nov. 5th, and got out of the hospital on the 10th. I am actually doing pretty well, but I just felt like I should share this--and bear my witness of the power of prayer, of our need to be in tune with our Father's spirit...and also to keep ourselves ready at all times to be worthy of His guidance. I truly felt like I was preserved. I also felt such a kinship with my Savior last night. I know that He has suffered for all our afflictions, and our sicknesses and our sins.I felt so deeply of His love, and for His incredible compassion for me. I just felt so loved--and have felt that in the days since the surgery. It is amazing how much He has suffered to be a Savior and Redeemer for all--that is love that is impossible to comprehend...but still we can be thankful that He loves each of us so deeply. And that's all I know today--thanks to any and all of you who have helped, loved, prayed and supported. I am thankful for the many people who help to carry my burdens--you are gifts from a loving Father.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Sentiments

Once again--my "best intentions" have gotten the better of me. I intend to do good things--to keep consistent in this blog, etc. WOW--it's amazing how I DON'T do the things I hope to do. So once again, the saddest things in life bring me back to writing in here. I am thankful for my personal journal where I record things more regularly! Yesterday a good friend from our ward, Rob Rivera, passed away. He and his family live in Utah, and have had a tremendous support system up there...but they also have a lot of fans and friends down here in Arizona. Rob was a super nice guy--very friendly, very interested in other people, and a wonderful member of our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had converted to the Church, and was one of the best Gospel Doctrine teachers we ever had. He truly believed and lived what he knew to be true...and his testimony and feelings about the Gospel touched each one of us. He was a terrific example to all who knew him--and touched many lives through his life's work as an eye doctor. He has the sweetest family--a beautiful woman (both inside and out) and 3 great kids. He will truly be missed, especially by his family...but the wonderful news of this Easter season is that he will live again. Because of what Jesus Christ did through His atonement, we will ALL live again. What a beautiful hope that gives to all of us. I am so grateful that all of us will be able to see our friend, Rob, again. I invite all who read this to go to #Because He lives, and see a beautiful video, testifying of the reality of Jesus Christ, and what He has done for us. May this message resonate with all of us--and help us to reach out to Him, and to find the peace and comfort and strength that comes through knowing Him.

In the last few months there have been many ups and downs in our family, as I'm sure there have been in yours. It is not always easy to keep the right perspective, when you or your loved ones are going through tough times. However, it seems even more obvious to me that if we trust in our Father in Heaven, and try to let Him guide our lives, we will be filled with more assurance that in the end things will be all right. That may not be "all right" according to what we initially want--however, if we seek to do the will of our Father, then we will have His spirit to guide us...and to help us choose that "better part," which is always what is right in His sight. It is hard to go through tough times, but if we can encourage each other to build our faith in Jesus Christ, He will give us strength to make it through.

My youngest child, Brady, has received his mission call for our Church. He is going to serve in the Nampa, Idaho mission. He is very excited, and so are we. We thought he might be going a little further away, but it really doesn't matter WHERE he serves--he will be serving our Father's children there, and will hopefully touch the lives of people there. He is such a good young man, and will be a blessing wherever he goes. I am super proud to be his mother.He is a great example and friend to all who know him. I love him a lot.

One last thing--last night I went to the Easter pageant, held each Easter on the temple grounds of our Mesa Arizona temple. It was a beautiful night, and there was such a powerful spirit there as they enacted the events of the life of Jesus Christ. We brought 2 of our friends, and it was so awesome to share that experience with them. I am so thankful for the Gospel--for this weekend when we can hear from inspired leaders and prophets...and for all that I've been blessed with. I truly have so much to be thankful for. Happy Easter to all of you! I send this with so much love. :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Some Thoughts for the New Year

Well, it is now the middle of February...and the last time I wrote was in December--so much for writing more in my blog. I have been inspired this week by the story of Stefanie Nielsen. She is the mother who was burned like over 80% of her body in a plane crash...and it is the story of her recovery and painful coming back to a very different style of life. She had 4 children at the time of the crash. It is heart wrenching to read of the tremendous pain she went through...and the very difficult task of trying to recover just basic skills. I haven't finished the book, but the thing that has touched me the most is her realization that there was purpose in her having this experience and that she was to share her journey with others. She has kept a blog for years, and it has been the source of inspiring MANY others. It made me realize that there is a purpose for all of us in this life...and that as we go through difficulties and personal adversity, that as we learn from those things, we can be a light to others to help them through their own personal challenges. It made me think of the great blessing that I received to be healed of cancer and to continue living. I need to be more grateful--I also need to realize that for whatever reason Heavenly Father spared my life--I need to be reminded of that often, and seek to know what He would have me do for Him to repay Him for His amazing mercy to me. How can I best serve Him? Who do I need to reach out to to bless the lives of others? It is pretty humbling to think of all I need to do to thank Him for sparing my life, and allowing me to be here with my family and many dear friends. I am able to serve in the Church, and spend time, hopefully helping others along their life paths. I am able to work out, and go on walks...and make cookies with my grandchildren. I am able to laugh and have fun...and have tender, spiritual experiences as well. Maybe we all can take a little time today, and ponder our purposes here on earth--whom we can bless, whose lives we can touch...and ponder the great gift of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and how we can best follow Him. I am thankful for this new day, and for new days every day that give me a chance to try again, to be better, and to love more deeply. I am thankful for countless people, whose faith has been a beacon for me...and whose love carries me through, when life seems too hard. Happy Day to all of us!