Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Gratitude Challenge

In this months issue of the Ensign, there is a challenge to the youth to write 100 things they are thankful for. It is broken up into 10 different categories. I decided it would be good for me to take the challenge also. Here it goes...

1. Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
*My hair
*Being able to move without pain
*The ability to talk clearly
*10 fingers and 10 toes
*Being able to have children
*Being able to use my brain
*The ability to take care of my children

2. Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
*My cello
*My car
*The internet
*Good movies
*My computer
*My Anita Stansfield collection
*My cell phone
*My clothes
*OPI polish

3. Write 10 living people you are grateful for.
*Chad & Leah (Their married, so they count as one, right?)

4. Write 10 deceased people you are grateful for.
*Jesus Christ
*Grandma Bennett
*Grandpa Bennett
*Grandma Bateman
*Kallie Ann
*Jeremy (Josh's little brother)
*Gordon B. Hinckley
*Joseph Smith
*Emma Smith

5. Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
*Snow (within reason)
*Falling leaves
*The moon
*White roses
*Animals (except snakes)

6. Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.
*Relief Society tonight :)
*I get to play my cello
*Braxton made it to the bus on time.
*My kids woke up happy
*There are only 12 days until Christmas.
*The ability to exercise
*Getting to make music with friends.
*Taking a shower
*Putting on make-up :)

7. Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
*The Columbia River Temple
*Malad, ID
*Burbank, WA
*Pasco, WA
*Rexburg, ID
*Brigham City, UT
*Holden, UT
*Australia (I'm gonna go there...someday)
*My home
*The Bountiful Temple

8. Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for.
*Cell phones
*The internet
*Portable DVD players
*GPS in my car
*Air conditioners
*Digital scrapbooking
*Washing machines

9. Write 10 foods you are grateful for.
*Boneless chicken wings
*Minestrone soup, salad and bread sticks from the Olive Garden.
*Marianne's homemade chicken noodle soup
*BBQ chicken
*Homemade salsa
*Daddy's shrimp dip
*Chicken fajita salad

10. Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for.
*Eternal families
*Christs birth
*The Atonement
*General conference
*Relief Society
*The scriptures
*Modern revelation
*Modern prophets
*Missionary work

Some categories were much easier to come up with than others, but I love having a physical list of the things I am grateful for. I encourage you to take the challenge! Some of your answers may surprise you. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Lord Is My Shepherd

I play my grandmother's cello in an orchestra named "String Harmony". Currently we are practicing for an Easter program at the Coyote Ridge Correctional Facility. One of the numbers we are rehearsing is Todd McCabe and April Moriarty's version of "The Lord Is My Shepherd". I have played this before with my mother and older sister. It is my mom's favorite hymn. As I was practicing tonight, I thought of my mom and all the amazing qualities she has that she has passed on to me. She has an undeniable testimony and love of the Savior that radiates in everything she does. She taught me how to gain a testimony of my own and to trust in the Lord and let Him guide me through life. She has a passion for music which she (and my dad) passed onto all their children. Most have carried it into their adult lives. My mom let me take Grandma Bateman's cello to BYU-Idaho with me and even paid for me to take private lessons. Since then, this cello has gone everywhere I have. It is one of my most prized possessions and I will always be grateful to have music in my blood. I am grateful for my mom. I hope she knows I love her and is proud of who I have become. Whenever I hear or play "The Lord Is My Shepherd" I think of my mom and know that I have a place for her in my heart, and take her wherever I go.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm Not Feeling The Itch

Two days ago, Josh and I celebrated our 7th anniversary. I've heard the expression "7 year itch", meaning that after 7 years people tend to re-evaluate their relationship. To be honest I've been afraid of this anniversary. I was afraid feelings would change, minds would be changed, and our eternal family would change. I am very happy to report that the only change I feel for my sweet, loving husband is a deeper respect and a love more meaningful than anything I could have ever hoped for. Josh is my soul-mate, my eternal companion. He makes me want to be better, to keep myself worthy to be his wife forever. When we were sealed, I remember thinking that I couldn't possibly love him more. Throughout the challenges we've faced and overcome I have found a love greater than I imagined existed. I know that our trials are far from over. But I also know that we make a great team and will continue to deal with life - together.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Biggest Trial (so far)

I think I'm finally ready to put my thoughts into blog form. Although I am still struggling with some aspects of this, I really think that getting this out of my system will be therapeutic for me.
I was admitted into Kadlec Medical Center on January 2 due to pre-eclampsia. The symptoms came much earlier with this pregnancy than with my first. Originally Josh and I went to the hospital because I was having severe pain in my stomach that was shooting to my right shoulder. I usually don't google symptoms, but I needed something to get my mind off the pain while I waited for Josh and Marianne to get to home. I thought it was gall stones. When the doctor told me how high my blood pressure was, and that the pre-ecalmpsia had now become severe and I was being admitted with the probability of delivering within the next 24 to 48 hours, I was in shock. I was not prepared for that kind of diagnosis, let alone the thought of delivering 7 1/2 weeks early. The words of the blessing our stake president gave me went through my mind, and for a moment I felt that I had been lied to. He said everything would turn out ok, that this pregnancy would go the way we wanted it to. At the time of the blessing I thought the pregnancy and delivery would go as smoothly as Emily's had. I realized I had to redefine "ok" and decide what I really wanted. "Ok" meant we would survive, and I really wanted to live. Josh gave me another blessing before I was officially admitted, and he blessed Natalie and myself that we would be fine and all would be well. It was a long day. I experienced so many emotions and thought of every possible scenario. I was put on magnesium, which meant I was stuck in my bed with nothing to do but think. I thought about my kids, and wondered how this would affect them. Who would take care of them during the day? How would Braxton get to school? Would they understand why their mom wasn't there with them? I thought about my husband. How would he handle work and playing single dad? Would he be able to pay the bills, help Braxton with his homework and get the kids to bed on time? Most of all, I thought about Natalie. When all was said and done, would she still be with us? How long would she have to be in the NICU? Would there be any long term effects?
Monday, January 3rd, went about the same. I slept a lot. My blood pressure was still high, but was staying consistent. My labs weren't getting worse. I had the second steroid shot to help Natalie's lungs develop in case she needed to be delivered early. Tuesday went much better. I felt so much better. My doctor said they would take me off the magnesium, and if things stayed the same they would keep me until I was 34 weeks, send me home and let whatever happens happen. He really didn't see that as a realistic goal, but that was the plan. I was so optimistic. I was almost 33 weeks, so I would only have to stay in the hospital for another 9 days. That night the nurses moved me from the labor/delivery room I was currently in, to a recovery room. Early Wednesday morning, my body took a turn for the worse. The pain came back in my stomach and shoulder. My blood pressure was threw the roof. I couldn't breath...I could barely think. I finally called Josh around 3:30 a.m. and told him I needed him to be there. He arrived an hour later, and I just kept going downhill. I started throwing up every so often, even though I didn't have anything left after a while. I couldn't control my bodily fluids. At 5:30 a.m., it was decided that I was going to have to be delivered. The NICU nurse came in around 6 a.m. to explain what would be done and how they would take care of Natalie, and I could only sob. I think Josh half listened to what she was saying, but I know he was very concerned for me. Finally around 7:30 a.m. my nurse was able to give me something to help with the pain. I was able to lay back and rest. It wore off much quicker that it should've, and I ended up getting 3 doses in an hour and a half. They were only suppose to give me one dose every hour at the earliest. Dr. Smith came in to explain to Josh why I was going to be delivered, and I realized how serious this pain was. Because of where the pain was, they were afraid of my liver exploding, in which case both Natalie and myself would probably die. They wheeled me into the operating room just after 9 in the morning. The pain was coming back pretty strong by this time, and I was ready for it to be over. I am very grateful to have had a C-Section. I knew what to expect and I could relax. I started to cry when I heard Natalie cry. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. She sounded so normal and healthy. The greatest blessing I received throughout this process is that Natalie was never in jeopardy. Her heart rate never dropped or accelerated. She was perfectly safe, to which I will always be grateful. Josh got to hold her and I got to kiss her face before she was taken to the NICU. I was stapled up and sent back to my room. Physically, I continued to improve. I was put back on the magnesium for a couple days to help regulate my blood pressure. I was sent home Saturday January 8th. It wasn't hard to leave Natalie in the hospital. As I healed and got feeling better, it became harder and harder to leave her there. I was ready to take care of her, and hated that I couldn't yet.
Emotionally I am still trying to heal. It's been very difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that it was MY fault Natalie came early. I hate that I had no control over that. I'm trying very hard to be grateful for the beautiful children we have, but sometimes I cry for the children I thought we would be able to have. I wasn't ready to be done, especially when I wasn't able to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy with Natalie. But, physically I know my body can't handle it. I hate knowing that I came very close to not being able to raise my children, and not having any control over it. I prayed desperately to be granted the opportunity to grow old with my husband and watch our family grow together.
I am so grateful that my time here on earth is not over, that I still have a purpose here. I am SO grateful that my precious little daughter was born a fighter, and she has thrived in her short month on this earth. I will be eternally indebted to those who eagerly volunteered to help my family, and continued to do so even after Natalie and I came home. I am grateful to a loving Father in Heaven who loves me and understands my concerns, my needs and my wants and does what is best for me. I may have questions at times as to why things happen the way they do, but I do not doubt that He knows and loves me and only has my best interests in mind.
I do not think the issues I am struggling with will go away quickly, but being able to write about it has helped immensely. If nothing else, it has helped me see the miracles that occured while I was sick, and appreciate the fact that I am better. "My (daughter), peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” D&C 121:7-8