Friday, February 29, 2008

sometimes i get frustrated

Ok, so I need to point out that I don't have half an inch of hair. Jaymee says it's more like a quarter at most. Lately it seems like it's not growing at all. People are all very nice and say that it's so great and I "look great with velcro for hair!" That's all good and fine, but lately I've been a little frustrated. It was so much easier to deal with the no hair thing when I had cancer. Because I had cancer. That's why I look like this. Cancer. But now, I don't have cancer anymore. So I don't want to look like this anymore. I feel like such a loser complaining because I'm not sick anymore and I have my energy back and I'm getting my strength back and life is good. SO why am I so vain? WHy do I care about these dumb leftover cosmetic effects? Whenever I start caring too much about my appearance I want to beat myself up. But I'm too wimpy and I might lose. I really feel like I don't care, but here I am caring. My brain knows it's ridiculous and a HUGE waste of time. It's even more unattractive than being unattractive. I'll stop now. I promise. I'm happy to be healthy. Really. Just wanted to vent.

Today is the last day of our "No Sugar February". Stupid leap year. I could be eating Chicks and Rabbits TODAY. The girls were awesome. They made it the whole month. They took Valentine's Day off, but other than that they were perfect. I'm so proud of them. They are proud of themselves, too. It was a good thing... and I'm glad it's over. Jaymeson lost seven pounds. Jerk. I didn't lose any. Lamebot. I don't really know what else I can do. Anybody out there have Nike+ and want to race me? Brittany is too good. Oh well. The good news is that I am getting stronger. I like that. I'm feeling human again.When I was in the midst of my treatments I was a BooBah. Have you seen that horrible show? That is what I looked and felt like.

Wah wah wah.

Love to you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A new house!

So we bought a new house. It is awesome... well, it will be. The lot is the great part. It's on 6 wooded acres and has a lake and a creek running through it. It also has a pool. This is so great and so hard at the same time. I'm working full-time again (in theory) and I somehow still have four kids, an absent husband and now a house to sell. . . or set on fire. All too often my house looks like somebody picked it up and shook it real hard. That's not really what buyers are looking for, but what do I know? I've never sold a house before. Last time we moved, we ran as fast as we could out of our nasty gov't-built apartment yelling, "keep the deposit, you filthy animal!" Ah, the good ol' days.

I am attached to 1% of the junk in my house, so you'd think it would be easier to go through it and get rid of stuff. Piles, piles, piles. One thing about this blog is that I feel like through it I have found my voice. I thought someday I might write a book about my life or at least a short story. Unfortunately, however, it has already been written. It's Mason's favorite book. It's called "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" and it is how I function - or disfunction. I was trying to organize and clean my mudroom yesterday (and trying even harder not to set it on fire) when I found a bunch of our painting supplies shoved under the table. I thought, "before i put these away I should repaint that wall in the office that i started painting a different color before something distracted me..." So I go in there to paint. Before I could paint, though, I needed to move the couch. Boy was it dusty under there. I should sweep. The hall needs sweeping, too. Why are Camryn's shoes in the hall? Do these shoes even fit her anymore? I should give them to our friend Hailey. What else should I give to Hailey? I bet Camryn has lots of clothes in her closet that don't fit anymore. Wow. This closet is a mess... This is why Jaymeson comes home to a house that looks worse than when he left it and why I have to drag him around to see the 10% of 100 jobs that I completed so he knows he didn't marry a complete disaster. Or did he?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Front of the Line, Baby!

I totally recommend cancer. You might have a few "side effects", but did you know you could go to the front of the line at all of the rides at Disneyland? It's true. Just don't run. That makes people mad at you. I went to Disneyland with my sister and my friend Lisa last weekend. I had a conference in Anaheim, so I just went out a day early. Such a fun day. No kids! I was really tired and didn't feel great by the end of the day, but who does? Eat a lot of churros and then spin spin spin and I'll tell you what: it isn't cancer that's making you sick. Melanie told the guest services people that I was 10 days post-cancer and we were there to celebrate ("Shelby Stroud, you just beat cancer. What are you going to do next??"). So they gave us "honorary citizens of Disneyland" buttons and we had high hopes that we would get to sleep in Cinderella's castle. Unfortunately, that's not how it works according to our friend Erin of the Disney Dream Squad. So instead we decided to make one of HER dreams come true by letting her pick out anyone on which she wanted Melanie and Lisa to perform a "honorary citizen's arrest". She picked a scary dude. They did it, though, and we felt pretty good about being able to turn the tables like that.

I feel great. I almost have all of my energy back. I'm pretty wimpy but I'm working on that, too. I have about half an inch of hair now and it is black. Weird. I look like a pretty mean chick. It's great for playing Guitar Hero but I pretty much still wear my wig when I go out. Maybe I'll post a picture, I just fear attracting the wrong kinda girl...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thank you, Mel

Thank you, Mel. You have been a great example to me my whole life. Your testimony and love of the scriptures is so beautiful. I have a deep love and gratitude for fasting, too. It is powerful. It is yet another way we give up a tiny bit and the Lord dumps blessings all over us. I have spent the last fiveish months being the recipient of the power of fasting. This week I was finally able to give back a little. I know its power and I will take every opportunity I get for the rest of my life to fast for anyone who needs it. Call me. I'll fast for you.

Our 18-year-old friend Alex has a brain tumor and is at the end of his six-year struggle now and our ward united to fast for him to be able to go peacefully. As you can imagine, I struggle to see him go. Why do I get to live and he doesn't? Luckily, being around him and speaking with his mom brings so much comfort. He is at peace with it and so we can't not be. He has his "peace blanket" that I mentioned in the beginning of my struggle and I can sit outside of it and wonder why and cry or I can grab an edge and climb under it and feel the warmth that comes from knowing Heavenly Father loves each of us so much and will find a way to make us so much happier than we can ever make ourselves if we let Him.

When my dad died almost 13 years ago, my family snuggled under the peace blanket for a long time. I was happy and the testimony that families are forever was handed to me to help me get through it. Sooner or later, however, I climbed out from under the blanket and began to feel ripped-off. It was a choice I made to leave that peace behind and feel sorry for myself, for my mom, for my younger brothers and sister who didn't get to know him as well as I did. For how much of him I never got to know. I got mad that he wouldn't meet my husband or play on the floor with my kids. Now, having just been through something that really was in the Lord's hands as to which way it would go - I understand better His love for me - for each of us. I know that when "bad" things happen, it's usually to bring about something even better. Every member of my family has been through the temple. All of my brothers have served missions. We are married with great kids. We love each other so much. My mom has shown her strength and proven herself and her capacity to endure. Maybe those things would have happened otherwise, who knows? What I do know is that the path the Lord put us on by taking my father when we were as young as we were has strengthened all of us and we are all very happy. We have sad times for sure, but I think we'll be surprised to know how much my dad has remained a part of our lives all along. Our blanket is always there for us to use if we want to feel that.
It's part of me now. I take it wherever I go. If you ever feel sad, come cuddle with me.

I'm so sorry for the pain that Alex and his family must still endure. My very favorite story of Christ is when He wept when Lazarus had died. He understood the plan better than anyone ever could and He still felt pain and sadness at that time. His compassion is overwhelming. He will cry with you, too. And so will I.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Gratitude fast

(This is Melanie)
Since this is Shelby's blog and there is no real reason for me to get on here anymore , I just wanted to depart with my love and gratitude. Today was Fast Sunday at church. Often, we fast and pray asking the Lord for the things we NEED or WANT. Sometimes there is something about ourselves that we need help in changing. Sometimes our loved ones are sick or in harms way or having some kind of trouble and we fast for them. We fast for the Lord to know we are serious about what we are praying for. When I was serving a mission in Japan many years ago and was struggling with the language and with trying to find anyone who wanted to hear our message, my whole family fasted for me. Even my little brother Jamey who was only 5 or 6 at the time fasted. The Lord listened and blessed me and my mission. I have learned that fasting is powerful. Every fast Sunday since Shelby got cancer my heart has been filled with the desire for the Lord to spare her; to heal her; to bless her with strength and courage. But today was different. Today I didn't fast FOR anything. Today I fasted out of gratitude.

In the Book of Mormon we read about the people of Nephi in Alma 45:1 "Behold, now it came to pass that the people of Nephi were exceedingly rejoiced, because the Lord had again delivered them . . . therefore they gave thanks unto the Lord their God; yea, and they did fast much and pray much, and they did worship God with exceedingly great joy." This is what I did today. I fasted today to let my Heavenly Father know how grateful I am that Shelby was made whole. I fasted today for the "time" she has left with all of us and for how important a part of my life she is. I was just grateful. I felt like I was "worshiping God with exceedingly great joy." And you know, I wasn't hungry. I was happy. Maybe we need to fast out of gratitude more. It was a very sweet, beautiful thing for me. Marvin J. Ashton once said that "a grateful heart sits at a continual feast." So it was for me today. I was not only grateful for Shelby's miracle but as the day progressed I was more and more thankful for President Hinckley and his life and his example. I was thankful for my family and my home and at dinner time, for my double oven :) I was thankful for the beautiful weather in Arizona in the winter and for the progress my sweet Lizzy has made just in the last few weeks. I could go on and on but I won't. This isn't my blog. But I just want all of you to know how much I love this gospel and am grateful for the miracles that I have seen throughout my life. I am thankful for the Book of Mormon that gave me the idea to fast out of gratitude. If you haven't had a gratitude fast before - try it next month. I am still choked up about how it made me feel all day.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Snow Day

Well, we had a snow day yesterday. All the kids got to stay home from school and spend the day within five feet of me at all times. There's a lot to love about a snow day. Inevitably, the giant plastic bin of snow clothes will throw up all over my living room and I will get to spend at least six hours bundling my kids up for the spectacular five minutes they will spend outside.Then I get to make five kinds of "hot food (we're freezing)" for lunch and then mop up all the melted snow and wash all the mildew snow clothes. Ahh, a snow day. Lovely.

I've decided I'm going to keep this blog going long after all this cancer drama is over. I love all of you too much and I don't want to lose touch with you. Your comments mean so much to me. I just hope without cancer I can still find something of interest to say. Also, I'm right in the middle of America, so if you're ever near St. Louis - call me. We'll go to lunch. You're my best friend.