Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, it is New Year's Eve--we are not big party animals, so we are just home, watching a Suns game, and having a quiet evening at home. I am actually working on a sewing project--we are not the most exciting people out there, but we are glad to be home and to be safe...and that counts for something. I have talked to most of my kids today--they, too, don't have big plans for tonight. I just can't get my mind off what I was doing a year ago. A year ago, I was 3 days away from having surgery, and spending 18 days in the hospital. Of course, a year ago, I didn't know what that all would entail, and I am thankful I didn't know what an ordeal it would be. I am sure that my family didn't have any idea either of what it all would entail--how grateful we are to be a year later, and to have that behind us. Who knows what 2012 will bring...but we are grateful so very much for my improved health, and all the blessings that have come to us this year--the addition of a new son, and of two new grandsons, who make us so very happy. Life does go on, in spite of health issues, and challenging things, and with the help of the Lord, we are given the strength to meet the challenges that come our way.

I am so grateful for the many people who helped us through this tough year--who were there with encouraging words, or funny cards, or with a hug when we needed it. I am thankful for countless acts of kindness--for meals and for rides for my children, and for support in so many different ways. I hope that in this coming year I can be as kind to people as they have been to me. I just feel so very thankful for the gift of life, and for the blessings of my Heavenly Father to me and to my family--to help us through 2011. I am grateful for a new year and for opportunities to serve and to learn and to hopefully grow closer to my Savior, and to the way He lived His life--which was in service always to those around him. May you all be blessed with a beautiful and joyful 2012, and may you have the strength and courage to meet whatever challenges come your way. Hopefully, we'll be there for each other in the coming days and months. Much love to you all, Louise

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hello and Merry Christmas! I'm sure none of you have time today to be looking at people's blogs, but I thought I would post anyway. We are busy doing last-minute things, but unlike other years, it looks like our wrapping is pretty much done. WOW--that is amazing. We stayed up till 2:00 last night, rather than tonight--maybe some sleep on Christmas Eve. That would be a unique thing.

I have to share some feelings right now. Christmas is a very tender time for me, as it is for so many of you...and it is very tough to not have my children here. I am thankful today for my youngest, Brady, because he still basically likes to be home. It is hard to have children grow up, and get on with their own lives. I know that is reality, but it is a hard reality for me. Last night we had a lot of fun skyping with our daughter, Katie, and her husband, Cody, as they opened their Christmas presents from us. It just hit me this morning that none of them will be home for Christmas this year...and I got very emotional. I now need to go on with my day, and be grateful for all that I have. The holidays are a wonderful time, but they are also a time of sad emotions, when you can't be with ALL the people you love. I guess it's like the Christmas song says, "I'll be home for Christmas...if only in my dreams." May the Christmas spirit be with all of you, and may you know how much I love each of you, and how especially much I love each of my children and grandchildren. I hope they will feel that love over the miles. Merry Christmas to all of you! Much love always, Louise

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Real Life" Christmas

Well, my last post was the ideal...and today I hit total reality when it comes to the frustrations and stresses of the holiday season. Today I hit the wall, and realized as I do every year, that I am trying to do too much, that I have focused on the unimportant things and let them take over my life...and that I might preach about enjoying all the little things of Christmas, but I too feel the tension and high expectations...and frustrations that everyone complains about! This was my day. I got up, and started working on Christmas cards. Then, I made a trip to Mesa, because I get this meat at a great price, if I buy it in bulk. Then I needed to get home so that people who have bought the meat can come pick it up. Then, my oldest, Jodie, needed to get her hair cut, and buy Christmas presents so we can send them off to her nephews. When we went to take her back to her group home, no one was there, so she continued on errands with me. I went to one store to check out a certain present, and it was about 3 times as expensive as I wanted to I went home, found the same item on Amazon, and it was even MORE expensive there. See, talk about getting caught up in the thick of thin things--that is me totally today. Then, I snapped at my teenager, because I was tired of running everywhere, and I was frustrated that my house is a mess, and because my trees aren't decorated... and all this stuff just goes on and on. Life just hasn't stopped for me today, or maybe I haven't stopped to really live. OBVIOUSLY, I need to take a TRUE reality check, and remind myself that all these things I got hung up on today really don't matter. SIGH--it is so easy to lose perspective, even when your intentions are good. Thank goodness tomorrow is Sunday, and I won't shop and I won't be so busy, and maybe I can regain some eternal, more meaningful perspective. The problem with Christmas is we try to do our regular life things, plus add a whole bunch more on top of that--and it just doesn't work. WOW--this entry was really time of confession! I am way too human, and way too caught up with "stuff." Here's to a better tomorrow...I hope!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let's Enjoy Christmas!

Well, true to my technological genuis, I posted this great post this morning, but then I did something and lost the whole thing. Even Emily, who always helps me, coulnd't do anything because I had messed it up so badly! Anyway, I wanted to share the words of Music and the Spoken Word, that was broadcast the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I loved the counsel he gave to enjoy the season. So I'm going to share that with all of you.

The Journey to Christmas Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell
The month of December is a time of joyful anticipation. The sights, sounds, and smells of the season evoke feelings of excitement and wonder. For generations, children—and grown-ups—have used advent calendars and paper chains to count down the days. But does our focus ever become so fixed on the future that we forget to enjoy the journey to Christmas?

This year, instead of just looking forward, let’s also take pleasure in the preparations: in the little, less spectacular moments along the way, even in the spontaneous joys that may, at first, seem like interruptions to our bigger plans. In order to recognize those moments for what they could be, it sometimes helps to slow things down a bit. We may need to shop less and savor more. We might have to dim the bright lights in order to see the stars in the heavens, but if we look, we will find them.

Often it takes a child to redirect our focus. Think of how much children enjoy the present moments, the preparations, and not just the finished products. When helping to decorate the home, wrap presents, or bake Christmas treats, they usually make more of a mess than we would; they might not do it just right, but they also usually enjoy the moment more than we do! Their enthusiasm can be contagious.

A three-year-old girl, wholeheartedly living in the present, exclaimed: "It’s not tomorrow! It’s not today! It’s to-now!” When was the last time you felt "to-now”?

Yes, we are busy. But the days leading to Christmas are not just to be endured. In fact, perhaps they offer more of what the season is really about. The promise of Christmas is everywhere to behold. It’s not saved for Christmas morning. If we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to open, we truly can enjoy the journey to Christmas.

I know that December is a crazy time of year,but I like how he says "We may need to shop less and savor more." What great advice! Sometimes it is easier said than done..but I hope that I can take the counsel given, and truly enjoy the journey of Christmas, and not just the day of Christmas. I hope you are all doing well, and that you know I am very grateful for all the people who have helped me in MY journey this year towards better health. Your friendship and support and faith and prayers have been gifts to me all year long. May you be blessed at this time of year. With much love for you, Louise

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A very Thankful Thanksgiving

Well, it has now been nearly a week since Thanksgiving, but it was a great time. Thanksgiving was my mother's favorite holiday, and in many ways, I think it is mine too. I love the idea of just focusing on things you are thankful for, instead of always thinking of the things that you don't have or that you think you want. I was so thankful that all of my girls could be home for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, our son, Brian, and his family weren't able to come, but other than that, everyone else was here. It was a lot of fun. The best times were when we were doing something together and could just visit as we worked together. We made parts of Thanksgiving dinner together. Our new son-in-law, Cody, is from Idaho--so we used his expertise in making mashed potatoes. Our daughter, Emily, needed to make some things for a Young Women's program that she is in charge of so we helped her with those...both those times, it was fun to be together and working and talking together. The boys all played in a football game with our ward members, and then on Saturday, they went to play racquetball together. My kids did the crazy shopping Black Friday sales late on Thursday night. Now I have to say that having stores open on Thanksgiving made me a little bit sad. I have always loved that day and its non-commercialism, so I felt badly that people were shopping and that stores were open. By the way, I went on Saturday, and there were very small crowds, and most of the deals were still on. That's the way I like it a lot better! I just missed the doorbusters, where people literally fight for the deals. Thanks, but no thanks!! :)

I loved having my kids home. I loved this Thanksgiving as I thought of a year ago when I was just recovering from chemo and radiation...and where I was anticipating a major surgery in January. To be able to have Thanksgiving at our home, and to be able to host 32 people there was truly a blessing. My kids helped a lot, and I could eat food--and enjoy all the yummy things! Spence had me say the prayer for Thanksgiving dinner--he told me that he did that, because I had the most to be grateful for...and that is true. I will post a couple of pictures of our family. The baby is Emily's baby, SJ. Family times can be kind of crazy, but it is good to be with people whom you love and who love you back.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Great News--Still a survivor!

Yesterday was a wonderful day in my cancer journey...and it is a journey. You have to keep checking in with the doctors and having tests to see how you are doing. On Monday I had a pet scan, which is a test that shows if there is any cancer in your body. You do an MRI, and different areas "light up" if there is cancer there. It is a very easy test, in most ways. While you are waiting for the scan, you get to relax in an easy chair listening to music. They even let me listen to music as I was going through the actual scan. Yesterday we met with my cancer doctor, and the pet scan was perfectly CLEAR--no sign of cancer anywhere! We were so happy and grateful. We decided this time not to tell anyone that we were doing the test--it seems harder when other people are worrying along with you, so we figured we would just let people know the news when we knew what the news was! That makes it a year since I have been cancer-free. If any of you remember, I did not have cancer when I did my surgery in January, but needed to do the surgery just to make very sure that we had gotten it I needed the surgery so I could swallow again. I guess when you have any disease, you always have the thought lurking in your mind, "what if it comes back?" That is always a possibility, so every time we hear that it is NOT back, we are grateful for the gift of more time. It has made me feel very thankful to my Father in Heaven, and made me also very aware that He has spared my life...and that I need to do all that I can to seek to do His will, and to do those things that He would want me to. He has given me the gift of extending my life, and I need to do what I can to serve Him, and to show my thanks by the way that I live. Spence is so happy and thankful--and I owe him big time for all his love and support through this continuing challenge. I have many other people to thank too, especially my sisters, who have been so loyal and devoted and caring through all of this. For me this year, Thanksgiving has already come!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 11-11-11 to You!

I couldn't resist writing on 11-11-11, so even though I don't have anything very profound to say, I am going to write. I have thought a lot about the veterans on this day and am glad that our schools will honor them by having this day off. I didn't really do anything to honor vets today, except giving some money to a guy who was standing outside our grocery store, and was collecting money for the vets. I AM grateful, however, for all those who have served our country and cared enough about our freedoms to put their lives literally on the line for us. They certainly deserve our recognition and gratitude.

Nothing too much is happening around here. The holidays are creeping up way too fast...but at lesat this year I am going to be able to do more things, and be more involved. It is pretty amazing how feeling better can make such a difference in your life. Most of our kids are coming home for Thanksgiving, so we're very happy about that. It is hard to share the holidays with in-laws--wish I could have all my kids here all the time, but it just doesn't work that way.

One thing I am thankful for this week is a dear friend in Utah, who went out of her way to buy and bring flowers to my daughter, Kelsey, who needed a little extra sunshine this week. That was so nice of my friend, and meant so much to Kelsey. Another example--of how little things really ARE the big things.

This is a beautiful time in Arizona. we don't have fall leaves or anything like that, but the cooler temperatures and shorter days are really nice. I think that fall is my favorite time of year here in Arizona. Unfortunately, when it's spring, all I can think is that the heat is coming soon! Well, like I said, I don't have much to say...but still am feeling thankful for our country and for the freedoms that we enjoy. I am thankful for my health, and for my ability to work out several times a week...all those are very real blessings to me. Have a good weekend!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Can you believe it's already November? !!

Well, happy November! I never did write again before Halloween. Now I am home, and am done traveling for a while. 2 weeks was a while to be gone...and it feels good to be back home. I read in my journal today about what I was doing a year ago...and was feeling so grateful for the progress I've made in the last year. Then I ate some very old cheese, and thought I was experiencing the dumping syndrome again--getting hot and needing to be under a fan, and feeling pretty out of it. However, it was more what I ate than any problems with my system. never seems like your body acts just like you want it to. However, I got feeling better, and was able to go out with some friends I am doing better. Since I've been home, I have worked out at the cancer center. I have so many things to be grateful for...and my improved health is proably one of the biggest ones I have to be grateful for. I am so thankful that my Heavenly Father has healed me, and performed miracles in my behalf.

I had a good time on my trip--I loved being with my family. I got to see most of my out-of-town kids, and that was great. I loved being on BYU campus, and am so thankful that my Kelsey can go there. I loved seeing ALL of my grandsons...and especially to be able to meet our newest member, little baby Colton. What a cutie...and what a good baby. I loved being with Logan, who is my oldest grandson, and who is so cute and so smart...and such an enthusiastic little guy. Every time he leaves the room, he lets you know that he'll be "right back!" It's so cute. He loves strawberries, so we kept a good supply of them in the frig! Emily is a beautiful mother in Utah with her cute 6-month-old, SJ, who looks just like his mama. Emily is so photogenic that any picture you take of her is beautiful...even if she's in her bathrobe and hasn't washed her hair. She cut her hair and looks so cute!

I loved being with Brian and Keri. They are good parents--and are working hard to make the adjustments to being a family of 4. Brian is very good to me, and I feel very loved when I am with him. We had some really good talks.

I DID miss my boys, Spence and Brady. They did come up for the weekend before Halloween, so they could be there when Brian blessed little Colton. He did a really good job, and it was so nice that they could be there to share that with all of Keri's family.

Everywhere I went my kids took good care of me. They are still patient with me when I need to take rests, or just need to have breaks in my day. I wish I had non-stop energy but I don't...and I appreciate their awareness of that. I am thankful to be back home--even laundry and dishes seem like fun (at least for the first couple of day) when you're back in your very own home. Well, as you can see, I have much to be thankful for. I hope I will work at remembering how blessed I am...and how fortunate I am to be able to travel and share in some of the wonderful events in my family.

You can see that I have included more pictures of baby Colton. Then there is a picture of me and Kelsey at BYU. The last one is of our little SJ, Emily's baby. He is awfully cute! Well, here is the latest from me--hopefully, you are enjoying this beautiful time of year. With much love always, Louise

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hanging out with my kids!

It has been quite a while since I wrote--almost 2 weeks. It has been a crazy time, and I just haven't made the time to write in here...but I have a lot of news to tell. I am in California right now with my son, Brian, and his wife, Keri, and their TWO sons, Logan (who is 2) and Colton, who is 5 days old! He was born while I was in Utah with my two daughters, Emily and, you can see, I am getting the bonus of seeing several of my kids...and all of my grandsons! Pretty lucky, huh? It was parents' weekend at BYU, so I was there with Kelsey for that. I am including a picture of her in her brand-new warm coat that we bought while we were there. It was great to be on BYU campus--I loved going to that school, and there is a great spirit there.

Before I went down there, I spent the evening with Emily and her 5-month old, he'll be in the picture in the car seat. He looks so much like her, it's pretty unbelievable...and we had a fun evening with him, while he was trying with all his might to crawl--SOOO cute!

I got to be with my dear friend, Sharie Johnson, and all her kids and her parents on Sunday night...and that was a big treat too. I grew up with her, so her kids are like my family, and her parents like my second parents. It was wonderful to be with them all.

Then Monday (yesterday) I flew to Sacramento via Portland, and then took a shuttle to Redding, where Brian lives. This baby is so cute, so the newborn would be our brand-new Colton. He looks so much like his brother, Logan, and so far is as good a baby as Logan was--quite amazing. :) I am enjoying being with all of them, and hopefully getting to do some things to help them. Holding the baby is just a bonus if you ask me!! :) what a treat! Spence and Brady will come up on Friday, and we will have him blessed on Sunday--so it is a happy time for our family.

Oh, and one more thing. Since I wrote, Brady did his Eagle project, so I will put up a picture of him with his fellow Scouts. They are good boys, and were a great help. Brady did an awesome job of organizing the whole thing--if you can believe it, we had 41 people from our ward (our local Church congregation) come. We had so much help, and we got that house looking spotless! Great work from a lot of very nice and supportive people.

So, that's it from here. So far my health has held up. Climbing stairs in the altitude at BYU was pretty tiring...but I made it ok. I loved seeing all the fall leaves, and enjoying that cool, crisp fall air. :)If I don't get back to writing in time, a happy Halloween to all of you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today is our 37th anniversary--we are OLD married folks!! But I am thankful for all those years, and what they mean to us. Tonight we went to the temple, and then out to dinner. Spence asked me to tell what some of our favorite trips have been. We have really been blessed to go to a lot of places and to have many fun memories. It was fun to reminisce. I just feel very fortunate to have been married to such a good man. He has been a constant through the ups and downs of life. He has been there to support me, to make me laugh, to love our children, and to be just an awfully good guy. With Spence, he has always been "genuine," ( a word that his Granddad JR Price used to call him), and what you see is what you get. There is nothing phony about him, and he is dedicated to good things-to his family, to being a good provider, to being committed in his Church responsibilities, and in his love for his Father in Heaven. He is not perfect, as he will quickly tell you, and he is a huge tease, and has lots of fun along the way. I have always admired his ability to balance the different areas of his life...and to never take himself or anyone else too seriously. He has been a fabulous example for our kids, and they all love and admire him. I am glad he is my friend--he has been a listening ear to me over the years. I am thankful that he continues to choose good things in life-- he really has his priorities straight. Being married to him is probably the best decision I ever made (besides joining the Church--the two big decisions which have made all the difference in my life!) So I am feeling thankful tonight, and wanted to let you all know that I did well in the choice of an eternal mate. He is the greatest!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good News

Spence reminded me in my excitement about General Conference that I forgot to share my latest health news. Since we went to Utah, I've had trouble swallowing again...not constantly, but at times. We went back and forth whether to do anything about it. We DID go to the GI doctor, and he was pretty reassuring about it--that my body is just getting used to the "new plumbing,"etc. However, he said that if we would feel better having an endoscopy just to check it out, that he would be happy to do that for us. We vascillated about it for a couple of weeks, and then decided to have one last Friday. I really wasn't nervous about it--figured we just needed to check it out, in case there was anything wrong. Well, it came out perfectly fine--no problems. The doctor didn't even need to do any dilating of my throat--which was a possibility. There is no scar tissue. The swallowing problem may happen just because where my old esophagus and new esophagus meet, there could be a pocket there...which might make it more difficult at times to swallow. Anyway, it was another thing to be grateful for...and we are. Every "little" thing is a victory. Have a good day!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

General Conference--a Blessing from the Lord

I just have to write today--it is GEneral Conference weekend, and we have one more session before it is over...and it has been truly inspiring and touching, and I have loved it. General Conference happens twice each year, in April and in October. It takes place in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. We feel like our leaders are inspired of the Lord, and that they are giving us messages that He would want us to hear right now...just like the prophets in the Old Testament did. I have been particularly touched by the things they have said this weekend, and so I wanted to encourage any or all of you to take the time to read or listen to what they have said. They truly testify of Jesus Christ as our Savior, and of keeping the commandments and living like He did. They share experiences and very tender feelings, and I have been brought to tears many times this weekend. I am so grateful for their counsel. Their talks (both written and audio) can be listened to and read on go to General Conference. This is one of the reasons I am so grateful to be a member of the LDS Church--because of latter-day revelation and the peace and strength and guidance it gives me. I just wanted to share that with all of you today. May the Lord bless you in all that you do. Those talks are available probably Thursday of this week.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thoughts and Feelings

Ok--I have just written a post and then totally lost it. This is when I hate my blog..or hate computers or hate anything technical...which just lets me know I am still incompetent. I started this last night, and then Spence needed the here I am, trying to make it work again. Hopefully, I won't lose everything I write this time.

Last night was our annual woman's broadcast from Salt Lake City. It is always good--about an hour and a half of talks and music. It is always inspiring. But last night's particularly touched me. Dieter Utchdorf, who is a man who serves as a counselor to the president of our church (whom we consider a prophet), spoke. He has a very good way with the women--seems to be able to relate to them and understand them. He has a gift for that. He touched my spirit so much last night...and said things that I needed to hear. He talked about the forget-me-not flower and how it has been significant to him for many years. It has 5 petals, and so he had 5 different things that he counseled us to do. Since I can hear things and think they are really important, but then forget them almost immediately after, I will share FOUR of the 5 things that I remember that he said. He talked about being compassionate with ourselves. He said we often are compassionate with others' weaknesses, but are not with our own. He counseled us not to compare ourselves with others--such a problem that I think women especially have. He told us to be happy now--to not be looking for that elusive thing that is going to make us happy, but to be happy right now. He also talked about sacrifice--and how it is good to sacrifice, but sometimes we sacrifice for the wrong things. We need to make sure that what we sacrifice for is really the "better part." He concluded by affirming that our Father in Heaven knows us, loves us and cherishes us. Tears came very easily through that talk--I know that he was the instrument of my Father to talk to me...and I'm sure to many others. Afterwords I got a text from my daughter, Kelsey, who was also deeply touched by that talk. How grateful I am for inspired leaders, who are so in tune with Father in Heaven that they can give us the message that we need right then. I truly felt the love of Heavenly Father when he spoke. Now, if I can just remember that things he said, and use them in my daily life. :) Have a good Sabbath day. With my love, Louise

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom Price!

If my wonderful mother-in-law had lived, she would be 90 years old today! She was an amazing woman and had an incredible impact on our whole family. So today I would like to pay some tribute to her and to the effect she has had on me. She was my cheerleader, and always believed in me. But that was a gift she gave to so many others, as well as me. She didn't let people feel sorry for themselves, but she encouraged them to do better and to improve themselves. She always made my children feel like they were special to her. They loved her very much. I remember one birthday for our daughter, Emily. She gave Emily 20 one-dollar bills, and with each bill that she handed her, she told Emily of a quality that she admired in her. It was such a wonderful thing to watch, and meant so much to Emily--definitely a treasured memory. She was cheerful and positive, and although I am not like her in all those qualities, I certainly can admire and appreciate them. She saw the good in people. She laughed easily, especially at herself, and she found fun in just about everything. So, today I pay tribute to her--may we all be a little more like Mom Price, a little more compassionate, less likely to judge, more inclusive of everyone, and more grateful for all the little things. She is an example for us all, even now, many years after she has passed from this life. I am thankful to be part of her eternal family, and know that for all of us, when we see her again, it will be a glorious reunion. Thanks, Mom Price, for all the memories, and for your tremendous example...and for just being YOU. Your legacy definitely lives on, and we still think of you often, and want to be more like you. With much love always, Louise and all the Price family

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fun Family Fotos!

It is now over a week after I last wrote. I have just been editing some pictures, so I thought I would share them with you...and share some of my sweetest blessings. I am thankful for my family, so I'll show you some pictures of some of them. A lot of them come from our wedding weekend. I am still blown away by the fact of all that we could do after having such a horrendous year of bad health--the wedding, a new grandchild (and one more to come in just a little more than a month), a remodel of our home--wow, we have so many things to count our blessings about. The greatest thing is to be able to be with people and do things with them, and to enjoy my family...and have life come back to normal in most ways. My daughter, Kelsey, is doing wonderfully up at school at BYU--what a great experience it is for her! Brady, our youngest, is working on his Eagle Scout project--a big undertaking, but such a great chance for him to learn about being a leader.

I am taking a quilting class--such a fun diversion for me. :) I do love making things, and I am thankful I can take this. It is a class at my sister-in-law's store, and she has beautiful fabrics and fun classes. I love making something that doesn't come undone (that's the problem with cleaning and cooking--you just have to keep doing them, and someone is always making them come undone).

Well, now for the quick explanations of the pictures--of course, the 2 boys on top are the stars of our family--Logan, who is 2, and SJ, who is 4 months. Such cute boys! Then there are pictures of me and Spence with SJ. Logan is totally in love with his Aunt Kelsey--and loves to be with her. Brady misses his buddy, Kelsey, but is still doing well with high school activities and other things. (He still has his mom to tease, and he does it ALL the time!). The picture of Michael, Emily and SJ is from the wedding--they all looked so cute, especially SJ, with his bow-tie! Then the final picture is of Katie with her two nephews. We take a lot of pictures of those 2 boys, and enjoy our time with them. Well, there is a little catch-up of what we're doing. Have a great day! Love, Louise

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Darn Dumping Problems

I really can play the glad game most of the time these days--after all, look at me--I am like a totally new person from the person I was a year ago. However, there still are some remnants of my disease that aren't my favorite things. One is the infamous "dumping syndrome" that I've told you about before. I try to be so careful in what I eat and when I eat...but I still have these moments where I go into hot flash mode, and experience dizziness or lightheadedness. I have to be where a fan can blow cool air over me, and then I must eat something or I feel very weak and vulnerable. This happened to me Sunday night, and then again tonight. On Sunday it was our monthly fast Sunday, where we fast for 2 meals. I hadn't done it for months, but Spence and I talked about it, and decided that I could at least fast breakfast, and then eat lunch before I went to church. I don't think that settled very well with my body, because that night I had my typical reactions. Spence knows to move me into one of our bedrooms, where the bed is very close to the fan, and the cool air seems to help me "heal" faster. He brings me crackers, and usually something to drink to help get my blood sugar more normal again. It takes about 20-30 minutes, and then I am feeling more myself again. It happened to me tonight--I got dizzy as I was talking to a good friend on the phone. I get kind of weird too--kind of delirious (somewhat)--my son, Brady, lets me know when I start talking a little bit weird! My reactions are usually related to something I ate--either I eat too much sugar, or I eat sugar when I'm already full...or I just plain eat too much. I do wonder when I'll really figure this out--I may go for 2 weeks with no incident, and feel like I'm all better, but then something happens, and I throw off my eating patterns...and I'm having problems again. It really is so minor compared to other things I've had to deal with, but it is something I need to get better at so i can overcome it.

I am thankful I can do so many of my old normal things. Today I helped with the luncheon for a funeral--it is so nice to be able to help in that way. But even so, I find that things like that totally exhaust me. I came home, and was resting for a good part of the afternoon. But I am able to work out several times a week, and I am definitely getting stronger. So many things to be thankful for--just need to keep working on getting used to the "new plumbing" in my body!

Friday, September 2, 2011

We're Back! Take 2

This is the second time I have done this post. I did one on August 31st, and never could get it to post--I did it on my laptop, and am hoping that doing it on my regular computer will work better. Otherwise, it will be a well-known fact that I am more than technologically challenged--I am deficient! So here goes the second time around...
Well, it is about time for me to write again. What a crazy August this has been! We spent last week in Utah getting Kelsey settled in for school. We had a lot of driving, and a lot of places to be...but we survived, and Kelsey is now in school, and hopefully learning to adjust to all the big changes in her life. Starting school is a huge transition, and our hearts and thoughts have been with her. BYU is a big campus, and there are a ton of people there. There is a lot of walking to classes, there is the adjustment of getting used to the altitude, so many things. It is an adjustment for us too--Kelsey has been such a big part of our family here in Arizona for so long, so we really miss her too. I will put some pictures in so you can see this great place where Kelsey lives.It is a dorm, but it is more like an apartment--they have a kitchen and living room, two bathrooms, and 3 bedrooms, and lots of storage. It is awesome, and it is brand-new.

We now have 3 of our 4 girls living in Utah. It was important to Kelsey and to us too for us to see the other members of our family. So on Wednesday, the day we were moving Kelsey into her dorm, we also drove to Logan (about 2 hours from Provo), to see Katie and Cody, our newlyweds. We had so much fun seeing them. They are living in a made-over barn (it is divided into 4 small apartments) which is so typical of them...but they have made it look really nice. I will also try to put a picture of them in their place. We brought them some of their wedding presents, and then we went out to Taco Bell--one of our favorite fast-food places! Then we drove to Clearfield where Emily livews--about 45 minutes form Logan. She drove down with us to Provo, so she could help Kelsey move in. Kelsey really wanted to be with her sisters--it made it a long and tiring day, but it was worth it to be with everyone. Kelsey just loves her sisters, and that was one of the reasons she wanted to go to school in Utah, so she could be closer to them. (By the way, we LOVE being with our daughters too!)

There were a lot of freshman orientation activities. We spent more time getting Kelsey settled in, and didn't get to all those activities...but she was very happy to get herself organized and settled in. She started school on Monday, and seems to be doing all right. We are thankful for phone calls, and texting, and even SKyping with her--all those things make her seem like she isn't that far away. :) During all this activity, I had some energy lapses--at those times, I would let the rest of my family bring Kelsey's stuff up to the 4th floor...and I would veg out on her couch or on her bed--I think sometimes I use my past sickness as my excuse to get out of work. My family still babies me at times...and I guess I like it, because I let them do it! :) Well, we are back home now, and are working on putting our house back together--still trying to recover after our remodel and the wedding.

OK--let me explains ome of these pictures. Spence, Cody and Katie are sitting in their living room on their brand-new couch. The LOVE wall is opposite the couch, and if you can tell, it has pictures of them on it. They have done well putting things up and displaying them in their house already. Then, the cute picture of Emily and Kelsey is in Kelsey's dorm room, in front of her closet. There are no doors on her closet--but we figure they planned it that way so maintenance wouldn't have to be fixing broken closet doors all the time. Aren't my girls so cute? I am going to put in one more picture of Kelsey's kitchen--it has so much storage and looks so modern. Anyway, now that you have plowed through this long post, you deserve to give yourself a treat, or do something fun. :) Thanks for being interested or at least for reading. Love you lots, Louise

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Too Many Good-Byes

It is very late, and I know I shouldn't be writing in here...but I wanted to make one post before I leave for Utah in a few hours. It has been a whirlwind weekend--where we flew to Salt Lake City on Friday night--then drove up to Idaho Falls on Saturday morning with our daughter, Emily, and her husband and baby. We got so into talking that we missed where we were supposed to go...and had to backtrack and get on the right road--we lost about an hour doing that--crazy! We still got there in time to have lunch and then to be there for the open house that night. All went very well, and we enjoyed getting to meet friends and family of our new son-in-law, Cody. Everyone had nothing but nice things to say about we are feeling pretty blessed to have him join our family! katie is very happy about that too. :) We drove back to Clearfield, where Emily lives, on Sunday morning...and went to Church with them, and then flew back on Sunday night. We saw some people we knew on the plane, so that made our trip even more enjoyable. BUT we are tired tonight--have been getting the car packed, and trying to get things ready to take our daughter, Kelsey, up to BYU. I say hello and good bye too often to too many of my kids...and it has put me in a pretty emotional state. Kelsey has to keep telling me not to cry...and that's not easy to do. I'm pretty emotional about her leaving. As many know, she has been my right arm for the past year, and my dear having her go is hard on me. But I am excited for her to have all these new experiences, and I hope that college is wonderful for her.

I have to say so many people have been so kind to her as she leaves,both from Church and from work. She has a lot of friends, and people see what a wonderful person she is (like many of us, SHE doesn't see how wonderful she is but the people around her do). It has been quite amazing to her when people bring her gifts or call her just to say good-by. She is a powerful influence for good, and doesn't even realize it. I am so proud to be her mother--she is a terrific person, and I love her very much. I am truly blessed as a mother.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just your average Wednesday!

It is Wednesday morning, and I really don't have anything earth-shattering to say...but thought I would write anyway. On Friday Spence and I will fly to Salt Lake City, and then drive up to Idaho Falls for Katie's open house in Idaho Falls (where Cody is from). We just found out last night that our daughter, Emily, and her family (Michael and baby SJ) are coming we'll get to spend more time with them. That is always a treat!

We were feeling so grateful that my eating and dumping problems were getting better. However, I have had some dumping problems this week. On Sunday night I was in bed for most of the evening. Can you believe that is because I had one bite of a peanut butter brownie...and darn it, it was SO good! (But I ended up really paying for it). Last night I barely ate any dinner--I am a little paranoid again about having this problem. SIGH...the learning process continues.

I am back to taking Jodie (my oldest) to doctor's appointments again. It is better that I do it, since she missed at least 2 while I was recuperating. She has several, and it keeps me hopping to keep it all organized.

Next Tuesday we will leave for Utah to take our daughter, Kelsey, up to school. I am quite emotional about that whole thing. She has been such a friend to me, and SO incredibly helpful during my illness. I will miss her terribly. But I am excited for the experiences that she will have there. On Monday we went with her good friend, Erin Allred (and Erin's mother, who is MY good friend) to breakfast. We had a great time being together.

We are trying to put our house back together...but I am like ADD when it comes to working on the house. I can't focus on anything long enough to really get something done...and I need to. I can do things for a little while, then I'm bored...and on to something else. Well, here's to a more productive day! Happy days to you all, Louise

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Some random thoughts

It is Sunday morning. In just a few hours I will be giving a talk in our sacrament meeting about the importance of early-morning seminary (the class our high school students go to before they go to school). I am reading some talks from General Conference, and just wanted to share a quote from one of those talks.

It says, "If we place our confidence in the Lord, we will be sustained in all of our difficulties, our trials, and our afflictions. This promise from the Lord to His Saints does not imply that we will be exempt from sufferings or trials but that we will be sustained through them and that we will know that it is the Lord who has sustained us." What a blessing to know that the Lord will sustain us--support us through difficult times. Those times will not be taken away from us, but He will give us the strength to get through them. How thankful I am for that principle and for the reality of those words. I hope we all will feel the strength of the Lord in our lives, for He truly is the source of strength, comfort and hope. Happy Sabbath to all of you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Woo Hoo--what a wedding!

I have really been a slacker when it comes to writing on this blog--it is now becoming just a once a week event...hopefully I can improve on that. The wedding was fabulous--just about every detail worked out perfectly, and it was such a happy time with Katie. She was a beautiful and radiant bride--sounds corny, but that girl can really light up a room! She is so happy with Cody, and we are thrilled to have him in our family--he is such a nice guy. He comes from a very nice family, who all have tender hearts like he does. We had lots of family come from far away, and that meant a lot. The temple was a beautiful experience--Spence's dad, who is just months away from being 90, was able to perform the marriage...and that was so special. He is a great man, and has been a wonderful grandfather to our children. He has always has a special interest in Katie, because he is the one who discovered her amazing singing ability--he is very proud of that fact!

We had a luncheon after the temple ceremony and then a reception that night. As I get more pictures, I will probably post more of all the fun events of that day. My two sisters, Laura and Kathy, were here--and that always makes it special for me. Spence's two sisters who live out of town, Nancy and Rosemary, were also we really had a celebration with both sides of our families.

Friday night we had a reception--there were so many people there, and that made us very happy. We had dancing, a chocolate fountain, and a photo booth...which was the hit of the night. So, all in all, we just had a wonderful time with everyone. Again, I just marvel that I just hit my one-year anniversary on August 9th of discovering that I had cancer...and here we were a year later...and able to do all that. Truly we have witnessed a miracle. I was blessed with lots of energy. What a blessing--and how happy we are for Katie and Cody!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sleepless Nights--Wedding Worries!

Hello everyone! Since I still have not downloaded any pictures from our trip to the beach or our preparations for the wedding, you will have to read a picture-less entry! As you can tell from the time I posted, I can't sleep. I have too many thoughts running through my head--to dos for before the big day (wedding on Friday), places I need to go, things I need to get done. My mind was just churning as I lay there, so I thought I could kill two birds with one stone--can't sleep, might as well blog! :)

We have had a few wedding mishaps in the past few days--very typical for this time of your life. Katie and Cody went through the temple last night--this was Katie's first time, and it truly was a delightful experience. She seemed to do very well, and was very into listening and learning. She was very happy to have the people there who could come...and it was such a sweet experience for her and me--truly one of those precious moments with a loved one. The temple workers who helped her were so sweet, and some of them were long-time dear friends. I'm so glad we could be there.

That was not an example of a mishap...but this was. On Monday night I went with Katie and Cody to have their wedding pictures taken--not a good idea to do on their wedding day, since it will be the middle of the day and very hot. I stopped on the way home to put gas in my car. As I was throwing away garbage from my car, I inadvertently threw away my charge card later that evening Spence drove back to Mesa to look through the garbage and find my card...which miraculously he DID! He found it on the ground. We felt very blessed. He brought it home, put it on the kitchen counter, and lo and behold, we couldn't find it later. I spent a lot of time looking for that dumb card, but then our cleaning ladies found it...and so all was well...until I lose the next thing or forget some important detail (that I think is so important, but really isn't in the big scheme of things!)

The thing that is so amazing about this August, is that it was exactly a year ago (I think on the 9th) that I found out I had cancer. Isn't it amazing how well I feel just a year later? I am cancer-free,I can work out,I can do just about anything, as long as I take a few well-placed rests(!), and I can eat. WOW--I have been so blessed, so I guess some minor wedding mishaps are bound to happen...and really don't matter nearly as much as the fact that I am here to enjoy them and to experience them. I am truly a blessed person.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wow--it's been quite a while since I wrote! I am posting a picture of Jodie getting her award, and also a picture of me and my girls at the shower that was given for Katie, who gets married in just over a week. I should post pictures of us at the beach--that's where we are right now, but once I get those downloaded, I will do that. It is WONDERFUL to be here at the beach--it is cool and relaxing. If you lived in San Clemente, you would never need to go on vacation--life is pretty much perfect right here! We have most of our kids here--but not our son, Brian, and his wife, Keri, and their son, we are having a lot of fun being together. We spend as much time as possible at the beach--and read, and play games. Last night we watched the movie, "Little Rascals," and really enjoyed that. :)Cody, who is marrying our Katie, is fitting in well--and especially makes our youngest, Brady, happy, because he is always willing to play games. (A definite plus in Brady's book!)

I felt prompted to write in here again--I guess I've been on vacation mode, and haven't done many of my normal things. I was just reading the blog of friends of ours who are mission president in Sendai, Japan. It is very heart wrenching to read of their experiences and to see the devastation that happened with the tsunami and earthquake. I am thankful they are keeping such a good record, and sharing that with the rest of us. They (the missionaries) are giving a lot of service to the people, and that amounts to a lot of work with the fisherman, trying to untangle their nets, which is the source of their livelihood. And here I sit, basking in the sun and playing in the ocean--it is pretty humbling when you get a glimpse of what people have gone through.

Take care, and I'll write again sooner this time. :) Love to all, Louise

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What an Evening!

What a fun night this was--I just need to share it. Actually I wrote this on Friday night, but couldn't get it to post until this morning (Saturday). Tonight was Jodie's spring formal--can't quite figure out why it is spring in the middle of summer? But oh well. It was supposed to be a 50's theme, and all the handicapped adults that are involved in different programs were there. I love to watch them at a party--they are so uninhibited, and so full of joy--they just have a great time! If they feel like dancing, they just get up and dance--they might have a partner, but they also might not. It is like watching people with pure joy--they are just having a good time! They gave out some awards. Jodie is part of a work enclave, where several of mentally challenged adults (I guess I can use the politically correct term!) work at a certain job site. For Jodie, her enclave works at the local hospital, and their main job is to shred papers. For this year Jodie was chosen as employee of the year, mostly from her work at our local grocery store, Fry's, but also for how she has been at the hospital. We were told about it beforehand--it was a suprise to her, so my daughter, Kelsey, and I went to the dance. We didn't want her to know we were there, so if she looked our way, we would look down or away...just so she wouldn't see us! It was fun to do that with Kelse. We waited about an hour for Jodie to get there, but finally she got her award. It was the cutest thing to see her get that--she was surprised and so pleased, and she couldn't stop smiling. She was thrilled that I was there, and even more thrilled to see Kelsey. We stayed after she got the award, and danced to "Rocking Robin" with her--she couldn't have been happier. It was fun to be there, to see her honored, and just to see how happy those people are. What a lesson we could learn from all of them--to just enjoy life in the moment, and dance with pure joy! Happy Saturday to you all!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crazy Summer Days

Summer can be such a crazy time! Your time is so fragmented, and there are non-stop interruptions. It's hard to get any kind of schedule going...and then to add on top of that, a wedding and a remodel, and it's kind of "over the top!" I decided this morning that I am definitely in "the thick of thin things"--spending a lot of time and energy on things that are really pretty unimportant in the "grand scheme" of things. I worry about the color of my couch, or if my new hardwood floor is getting scratched, or if the envelopes for the wedding look just right---very much so the "thick of thin things." I get frustrated about things that really don't I hope that today I can focus on more meaningful things, but that may not happen.

I was just naming my blessings, when my computer decided to blot everything out that I have written. No wonder I feel frustrated these days--it seems like if something is going to go wrong, it DOES! I AM thankful we have the means to do this remodel...even if not being able to find a pan to cook in, or beaters for our hand mixer, keeps me from doing fairly "normal" things. I am thankful that all our children will be here for our upcoming wedding. I am especially thankful today for my sisters, who show me constant love and support, even when I'm stressing about unimportant things.

I am thankful for my health--when I think of where I was a year ago, and see how far I've come, I have MUCH to be thankful for. It is good to be able to eat, and to swallow, and to exercise, and to be able to do things again. I have always been able to swim easily, and this summer it has been a challenge. I am still trying to get stronger, and I saw that my weak arms really affected my ability to swim. However, that is getting better too...and I am swimming more.So I DO have much to be grateful for--things that matter a whole lot more than some of the other things that seem to be preoccupying my mind so much lately. So that's just a short update today on what is happening. I hope you can have good days too--much love, Louise

Friday, July 8, 2011

We love our Granddad!!

We are still in the middle of a mess--wow, remodels are incredibly crazy, and you certainly feel totally disorganized. I just wanted to express my thanks for Spence, who has done so much--it has not been easy for him, and the stress is taking its toll on all of us. And yet, whenever he says a prayer with me, he reminds me of how thankful we should be for my miraculous recovery, and all the blessings of health that I've had in the last year. He seems to try to help me to regain perspective, and to not get caught up in the "thick of thin things"--an easy thing to do when you're dealing with STUFF. So today we get carpet...and I need to get off this computer. However, I am going to try to post a few pictures...and then call it a day, as far as posting goes. No matter what goes on in our life, it is so easy to get caught up in things that really don't matter, and forget those things that really DO matter.

The pictures I am going to try to post are of my father-in-law, Reed Price, who is a real favorite of my kids. They love him, and when we were in Utah for my nephew's wedding, all my girls wanted to be sure to get a picture of them with Granddad. What a legacy and example he has set for all of them! The top picture is of Emily, who wanted a 4-generation picture--she has always been a real favorite of her Granddad's. The next picture is of Kelsey, who is so cute with her granddad, and always makes a definite point of making him feel special. The last one is of Katie. Her granddad takes special pride in the fact that he "discovered" Katie's musical talent, and encouraged us and her to improve upon it. He is probably the biggest fan of her singing. They all feel very special towards their wonderful granddad. What a blessing our families can be!! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July Update

Hello everyone.
My internet is not working on my laptop, and that's where most of my pictures are. I will try again to import a picture--but my luck hasn't been so great lately! How are you? And how was your 4th of July? We are pretty much into picking up, putting away, and throwing away we didn't play much on the 4th. However, we did have a fun evening--a late dinner, that was super traditional--hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, fruit salad, corn, chips and pop. It was delicious. Then we went swimming, and watched fireworks from the wall by our pool. It was great not to have to go anywhere--it is such a pain to wait in a parking lot forever after watching fireworks...which we don't have to do when we watch from home. We usually watch from our roof, but could see just fine from the wall. Our pool is pretty warm (Phoenix in the summer), but still it was refreshing to be outside, and to have gone swimming. I am easing back into the swimming scene. I have always been able to swim lots of laps fairly easily. WIth the soreness in my arms, it has been more of an adjustment this year to swimming...but I am trying to build up strength again.

I have had some dumping problems lately, and that has been frustrating to me. Still, it is a learning process. First of all, I just can't eat too much. Then I need to lie down after I eat, and let everything settle before it heads for my intestines. I also tasted some of the yummiest ever ice cream on Saturday nigth. I loved it, and had just a spoonful...but loved it so much that I asked for another spoonful. I paid for that for the rest of the night, and felt light-headed and like I was having a diabetic attack. Both Spence and Brady took super good care of me, and helped me get through it all. SIGH...I just can't eat those sweets, or just in very tiny increments.

I am also sure that I have ADD. I can't focus on anything for a long period of time. I have to "mix things up," or I go stir crazy. With the wedding and the remodel, I find myself pulled in several directions at once. I have to change things up, just so that one thing doesn't drive me crazy! :)Anyway, that's an update from here. Hopefully next time, there will be a picture.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Crazy into this remodel!

I am giving myself a break today, since this remodel stuff is driving me crazy!! It is the hardest thing to try to sort through all the stuff you've accumulated for years and years...and try to discard things that you've kept forever. At the same time, I am also working on updating names on the wedding list for my daughter, Katie--and trying to get a hold of people and find out the address changes is another cause for stress. My study has been the stuffing place for everything you can think of...and it's amazing how incredibly messy a place can become.

It is also a very nostalgic time for me.I get quite emotional having to part with things. Surprising to me, the most emotional part for me has been throwing away all the materials I accumulated when I was an early-morning seminary teacher for the high school kids in my church. I did it for 3 years about 3 years ago. I would teach every day about 10-15 teenage kids before they went to high school--so anywhere between 6 and 7 in the morning. It took a lot of preparation, and it was always a challenge, since the kids would have rather been home, asleep. But as I went through those materials, I found myself tearing up quickly, for it brought back so many tender memories...and when you invest yourself in something that time-consuming, it becomes a very big and important part of your life. It was wrenching for me to throw those things away, and I hope that someday I might get the chance to teach like that again. How grateful I am for the opportunities that I've had in my life to teach people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the principles that I hold so dear to me. So, in spite of some of the headaches that this remodel is causing, it is also a reminder of some of my most favorite memories.

I am enclosing a picture of me with my baby, SJ--someone requested that I put a picture of me with him onto my blog. I haven't done that for a while. Have a happy Sunday, and a wonderful 4th of July. With lots of love, Louise Well, next time will have to have a picture--I can't make it work this time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fabulous Doctors' Reports!

Hello everyone...or anyone who is still reading. You can spend tons of time reading blogs, and never getting anything else I totally understand if you don't even read this. However, I did want to report that I went to my GI doctor and to the surgeon this week...and both were so happy to report that I am doing GREAT! It was the last appointment we'll have with the surgeon...unless more surgery comes up sometime in the future (you never know what the future will bring!), and he was just so pleased with the way everything went. Basically, it all started when the radiation and chemo took care of that tumor. The surgery also went really well, and from the pet scan and the endoscopy, things are looking clear and good. Both said it couldn't have gone better. So I am extremely thankful to be where I am today...and not where I was a year ago--not knowing what was going on, but wondering why I couldn't swallow anything. Thank heavens for modern medicine, for competent doctors, for the great power of faith and prayer, and for priesthood blessings--all of them worked together to make me well, and I am very grateful.

I am also able to do better at exercising. I have been a little more consistent with taking my dog on walks...and I have been pretty faithful in working out at the cancer center practically every day. For quite a while, my arm really hurt--we couldn't figure out why, but now think that it had atrophied while I was recovering. After working out and working specifically on that arm, it has definitely improved. I can move it without it hurting, and I am getting stronger. So, another reason to be thankful!

Our remodel is a MESS! I've got to do something today to pick things up--it's just where do you put them when you pick them up? We now have tile in our bathrooms, pantry and utility room. We are totally into paper goods, since we have no dishwasher and only one bathroom with a sink in it. It makes you be creative...or just give up and go out to eat! It is also very HOT right now in Arizona--but we did get new air conditioning units...and we are certainly using them! Well, that is an update on me and on us. Things are looking good, and we are grateful for all the good results and positive reports. Thanks for your friendships--they mean the world to me! Love, Louise

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there! I hope you have a great Sunday. I will add some pictures of some of our kids--the latest ones I don't have downloaded, and those would actually be more appropriate for Father's Day, but you'll just have to wait until the next entry, after I have downloaded and edited them. we just got back late this afternoon from Utah (AGAIN!) where my nephew, Jamey Price, was married. What a wonderful time we had--it was so fun to be with Jamey and his terrific family. I was so impressed by all of them--they are the greatest combinations of fun and spirituality. You laugh almost constantly while you are with them, but they are darn good people too. I'm so thankful to be related to them. It was so fun to see other members of Spence's big extended Price family also. We were with his dad and Marge, his wife--and we had a good time being with them too.

We also got early Father's Day celebrations with our kids up there--Emily and Michael, and their baby, SJ, and with Katie and Kelsey. Brady got home from Scout camp today, and he's told us a lot about that. Our kids really love their dad and appreciate the good man he is--we had an early Father's Day breakfast this morning in Utah with Emily and Kelsey--SOOO fun! (again, pictures will come soon!)

Traveling isn't always easy for me, but I am amazed at my increase of energy...and am very grateful. I still have my moments, but I can go for longer periods of time, and do more. I was with my niece, Shelby, who is also a cancer survivor--and it made me very grateful to be with her and with her 5 kids--another one of the Lord's tender mercies to both of us.

Writing in journals or blogs is not Spence's thing, but on this Father's Day Eve, I would say he is very grateful for the family he has. He is so cute with this new baby, SJ, and he misses seeing his other grandson, Logan. He loves his kids, and has been so patient and loving with them over the years--they are very lucky to have him for their dad. He is very supportive of our whole family. So I'll include a few pictures, and tell you who they are. Ok--this is the rundown. The top picture is of 3 of my 4 girls--Emily, Kelsey and katie. They were checking out pictures that had been taken of Katie and her fiance, Cody. Then there is a picture of Brady, who turns 14 on Father's Day, and Baby SJ. Then the last one is of Spence and SJ--that's the info on the pictures.

Make sure you tell all the fathers in your lives how much you love them, and how thankful you are for their examples in your lives. (it may not be your own father, but many men are like fathers to many of us--how grateful we should be for them too!)Hooray for fathers, and for beautiful weddings and for families! :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Loneliness is no fun!

I had an experience this weekend that gave me just a small taste of how it feels to be alone...and it is NO FUN! My husband took our son to Scout camp, and my daughter is up in Utah with her Saturday I was all by myself. I was so bored--life is a lot more fun when you have someone to share it with. I thought I would get so much done, and be super productive, but I was just LONELY. It was hard not to have anyone here, and instead of feeling motivated, I just missed my people. It was good for me to realize how many lonely people there are in the world--who are alone every night and who face an empty house every day. My heart really went out to the many friends I have who are widows or have gone through divorces, and who face those empty moments so often. It is hard. I was very glad when my husband got home last night, and when my older daughter, Jodie, came to go to Church with me. I hope that I will be more mindful of people who are alone, and who have those feelings often. It made me grateful for my family, and for the majority of time when I am not alone. So may our Father bless all of you who may be lonely, and may He help all of us to be aware of the lonely people in our lives. Have a good one.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Update from home

It's been nearly a week since I wrote in here. We had a very nice time in Utah, although we only had maybe 2 days of pretty decent weather. It's still fairly cool up there, but it is so much fun to be with our kids. The blessing for baby SJ went really well. Our son-in-law, Michael, did a great job on giving the blessing. Michael is an amazing person, and one of my all-time favorites. :) Katie and her fiance, Cody, came down and spent Sunday with us too. It was great to have so many of us together. It was hard for Brady, our youngest, to come home--he enjoys being with his older siblings so much...and he loves playing basketball with Michael.

We came home to our torn-up house. Even though everything is out of place, we are excited about how it's going to look. We have raised the ceiling in our kitchen, and that makes everything seem roomier. The tile has also been torn out, and will be replaced mostly by wood floors. We are getting new appliances, and got a great deal on a new oven, microwave, and refrigerator. We feel so lucky to be getting all these things.

Meanwhile, we are trying to get things ready for Katie's wedding. It is hard to do a wedding long-distance, but we've got an amazing friend, Terri Flaherty, who is helping us with the wedding and our house--she is fabulous! I hope we can pull all of this together before the beginning of August.

Some of you have commented on the amount of traveling I am doing--it is pretty amazing. (and sometimes is hard with some of my ongoing health issues). On the whole, I am doing well...but I still have to be careful. I still have problems with the dumping syndrome--I've got to watch the consumption of sweets, and also be careful about not eating too much period. We went out to dinner at a great place in Utah, but I ate too much, and then I had to lay down. Otherwise, I get hot, delirious, faint and kind of crazy--like I am so disoriented. One night at Emily's, I had an "episode" where I wasn't even sure where I was. Spence stayed right by my side, and got me up into her hallway, where a fan could blow on me. With the help of some Gatorade and crackers, I was able to get feeling better in about a half hour.It's almost like I have a diabetic reaction. I just need to rest after eating, and try to listen to my body before it gets to that point. I have decided that I have those episodes more when Spence is around--he is so attentive, and I know I'll get total care if he's around. He is very reassuring to me when I'm going through that. It doesn't happen often, but it is kind of unnerving when it DOES happen. We are going back to Utah in a week for the wedding of our nephew. Then I'm home until we go to the beach at the end of July. Anyway, that is the latest update. I hope you all are doing well. With all my love, Louise

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hanging out in Utah

Spence and I are up here in Utah with Emily. We also have Brady and Kelsey with us. We are here for the baby's blessing which will take place on Sunday. While we are here, they are going to have a baby shower for Emily tomorrow, and we are going to watch as another daughter, Kelsey, takes pictures for the wedding invitations for Katie. It's a busy family time. I know it is hectic for Emily to have family here, and to have to take care of her brand-new baby--she and Michael are nice to let us come invade. It is still chilly up here--pretty sunny days, but still kind of cool. Of course, we come from our hot desert, so practically anything would seem cool to us. :)

We had a tragic thing happen to a friend of ours yesterday. Jerry Shelley, who is a member of our LDS ward, was shot in Yuma. He was a divorce lawyer, and was shot by a man whose divorce he (Jerry) had worked on a few years ago. The man who shot him went on a shooting spree where he killed 6 people, including himself. Jerry and his wife were teachers for our son when he was still in the Church's childrens' organization (ends when the children turn 12), and Brady just loved him. He was a kind, good man, and it is such a loss to have had this happened. It is so senseless, and so random, and such a horrible tragedy. It is things like this that are so hard to understand. We are praying for his good wife, Nancy, and for their children. What a terrible loss. Life is so fragile, especially when there are people like this killer who harbor such hate and revenge. Life is so crazy at times. Again, another reminder that we need to treasure each day we have with loved ones.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In a Mess!

I am on my way back up to Utah. Our little baby boy, SJ, is getting blessed this Sunday, and we are going up for it. Brady and Kelsey are coming too...and then Kelsey is staying for the month of June to help Emily with SJ. We ar excited to go--however, the weather is STILL cold up there. When is summer actually going to come to Utah? Katie, who is in Logan, said it snowed there a couple of days ago--crazy!

It has been a hectic couple of days for us. We are getting ready to do some remodeling, and it has forced us to empty cupboards and drawers. We need to do this more often--we have accumulated SO MUCH junk! It has been a full-time job, plus there have been errands to run--dentist appointments, basketball camp, etc. I am worn out. Kelsey, who has always been the best about watching out for me, makes sure that I take rests, and don't try to keep going. It gets to be a lot. The demolition on our kitchen starts tomorrow--so things should look pretty different when we get back. To add to the craziness, our dog has been acting strangely--like he is going through some trauma. i can identify--tonight I couldn't find any potholders so I dropped a bunch of the casserole on the floor of the oven. I fell apart when I did that. How am I supposed to cook when I can't find pans, or towels or potholders? I know what you're all thinking--perfect excuse to eat out every night! Anyway, somehow we'll get this all done...and we'll be ready, and our house will be a disaster...and hopefully all this work will be done before the wedding.

I will post another picture--I have been taking so many lately, that I need to share them. This is one (maybe two) of Kelsey and Brady at their graduations. They are cute kids, and really have been great helps with all this chaos going on here. How am I going to survive June without Kelsey to help out? :)I'm not sure I can let her go to college in the fall either. She is my right hand--helps with everything!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thanks for Memorial Day

This morning I watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir do their weekly broadcast. It was about Memorial Day, and the gratitude we should feel for those who have sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedom. I was touched by the words spoken and the music sung, and need to express my thankfulness for the many men and women who have given their all so I can enjoy the freedoms that I do have.

I also wanted to give a health update--I have been so busy talking about babies and graduations, that I need to let you know my progress health-wise also. :) I went to my oncologist this week. He was thrilled about my positive pet scan and blood work...and I have now graduated to seeing him every TWO months rather than every month. It will be nice to have one less doctor's appointment each month. I don't even have to see him until after Katie's wedding in August! I am able to eat more, although today I ate TWO cookies and could feel the effects for a while afterwards. (I have to be very careful about the amount of refined sugar that I eat) I have been working out at the cancer work-out center, and I am glad to do that. I am going to try to walk my dog more often--for the exercise, but also so my dog gets out once in a while!

I will post a couple of pictures of Kelsey's graduation from high school.The one picture of our family shows her brother, Brady, and her oldest sister, Jodie, and, of course, her dad! Kelsey was a darling graduate, and had a great time at her all-night party. I am proud of her for graduating and also for getting accepted to BYU, where she will start in the fall. She's done great, and I know she will do many good things in the future--she is a great girl, and I love her very much. Have a happy and thankful Memorial Day!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Celebrating Sharie

I still have pictures to post of graduation and the celebrations that went with it...but today is my dear friend, Sharie Johnson's birthday...and I wanted to pay tribute to her. She got me through one of the toughest weeks of my treatments in the fall...and then came and celebrated life with me this spring. She has been my friend since FOURTH grade!! That's pretty unbelievable, and she has been the best friend ever. She is not one to give a lot of advice, so when she DOES give some advice, you sit up and listen--she is very wise. It is her birthday today, and because I am such a slacker, I haven't even sent her a card or a present I wanted to dedicate my blog to her. People come and go in our lives, and then there are some that make all the difference in our worlds. Sharie is that person to me. She is kind and gentle and very Christ-like in all that she does. She touches peoples' lives and makes all who know her want to be better. I always come away from being with her, hoping that I can be that much better and sweeter. She is accepting of everyone, and finds the good in people. She has been a supporter of me all my life, and was the one who brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to me. How grateful I am for her, and for the powerful influence she is in my life. My children call her "Aunt Sharie," and rightfully so--she has always loved and cared for them too. I hope on this day, HER day, I can be that kinder and gentler person. Thank you, Sharie, for all you are, and for the shining light you are in my life. I love you so very much. I am including pictures of Sharie and me--she just radiates goodness! Love to all, Louise

Monday, May 23, 2011

The End of School

This is an entry about my daughter, Kelsey. She does not like to have too much attention drawn to her, but she is ending her high school career, and it is a time of much nostalgia for me--she is ready to be "outta there," but I am having more tender feelings.

Last night we went to her seminary graduation. High schoolers in our church go to a church class every day of the school year. It's called seminary. When there aren't many LDS kids in the school, the kids go to early-morning seminary, where they are taught for about 45 minutes each morning before school starts. Kelsey did this for all 4 years of high school, and it would start about 6:30 or 7:00 each day. (depending on when school starts). They studied a different book of scripture every year. Her first year I was her seminary teacher, and maybe that is why seminary graduation was extra tender for me. The music got to me, and the fact that several of her Church friends also graduated just made it very meaningful to me. I love many of them, and the thought that they will all be taking off for school, and then going on missions and different things that are coming up for them, really got to me...and made me quite emotional. Even though high school has lots of ups and downs with friends, I still get quite attached to my kids' friends. Last night was particularly touching to me. Again, the words of a song come to my mind: "Each life that touches ours for good Reflects Thine own great mercy, Lord." How thankful I am for my dear friends and for people who have been my children's friends. There isn't much joy in life without the love and caring of good people. I am glad that my children's friends can be MY friends as well. It was a tender night for me. I am putting some pictures in of that event. ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Going Home

I just wrote a whole post, and then lost it. I still deal with technological challenges. I will try to recreate what I just wrote. As you can tell from my title, I am going home today. I need to go back to the "real world," and not just play grandma. It has been such a wonderful experience to be here with Emily, Michael and their precious baby boy. He is just so sweet, and really does well. He does cry (he is a baby after all), but can be calmed down quite easily...and mostly just cries if he is hungry or has a messy diaper. He is very alert, and is just SOOO cute! He reminds me so much of Emily as a baby--and everyone who sees him thinks he looks like her. It has been such a great experience to be here in their home--there is such a sweet and loving spirit in here, and I am constantly learning from their examples. I have enjoyed helping out--even doing dishes in someone else's kitchen is fun! Last night SJ sat in his swing and watched me do the dishes while his mom took a little nap--how fun was that! Michael is a very attentive and loving husband and father--mixed in with his sense of fun also. I have just been so impressed with what a sweet family this is. They have had several visitors, and this baby is certainly not lacking for cute boy outfits! I have called this my "baby slumber party". We stay up late with the baby, and then sleep in--it's been so much fun. I hate to leave, but we will see him and them in a few weeks when we come back for his blessing. I am so proud of Emily and the wonderful, caring mother she is. She has always loved babies, but to see her with her own baby is a very sweet and touching thing. I am so grateful that I could feel well enough to be here, and to do a few things to help. When I heard they were expecting, I was in the middle of all my cancer treatments--and wondered if I would be able to come and help. So I feel very blessed to be here, and to have shared in these first days of little SJ's life. Truly again Heavenly Father has blessed me. I am going to include a few pictures, just because I am so biased about this baby, and this family whom I love so much.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Truly a Day of Thanks

Hello, It has been a while since i wrote. What an eventful week this has been! I am posting some pictures of our new baby, Spencer Christopher, who will be known as SJ! What a darling, sweet little baby he is. How thankful I am that I can be up here in Utah with him, Emily and Michael. I could post forever about all the cute, sweet things we have experienced...but let me just say how thankful I am for him, and for my daughter, Emily, who has just been a trooper through all of this. She had a difficult labor and has been pretty sore this week. But her love for this baby just shines through...and it is a privilege to be here with her and Michael. I love them all, and am so proud of them. They will be terrific parents--this baby is very lucky to come into this home.

In all the hoopla of having SJ arrive, I have been a little less expressive about my great thanks for the blessings of my Father to me, health-wise. It is humbling to know that I am totally clear of any cancer right now--what a tribute to the faith and prayers of so many of you. I am thankful for the mercy of a loving Father to me, and for the power of the priesthood which has blessed me incredibly through this. My healing has truly been one of the "tender mercies" of the Lord. The power of my own prayers and those of my family have been a strength beyond measure. My son, Brady, has always been incredibly positive about how things would turn out. How thankful I am for his ever-cheerful and encouraging attitude. He just KNEW I would get better. My sister, Laura, has a friend who has been battling cancer for years. Her attitude is what mine needs to be (and in fact, would be good for all of us)--where she lives life to the fullest, and makes every day count. When I found out that Emily was pregnant, I just hoped with all my heart that I would be well enough to come be with her and hopefully offer some help. I feel ever so grateful that my Father in heaven has granted me that blessing.

I want to share a couple of pictures with you. There is one with Emily and her cousin, Katherine Allen Mitchell. They have been friends all their this picture is particularly poignant to me. (In fact, I cried when I took it). My heart is filled with gratitude this morning. This day is a gift--may it be that way for all of you too. I love you very much, Louise