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