Sunday, November 21, 2010

Words to live by

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


When you've been given a miracle as big as your LIFE, it's hard to ask for more. I've seen my share of miracles. I've been part of miracles.

During our first year of medical school we quickly ran out of money. I was working part time at a florist while Jaymee watched Sienna while studying at home. Other days, I babysat for a very generous family in our ward. But it wasn't enough. We were broke and still had a lot of bills coming up before our next loan in January. We tallied them up and figured if we only ate ramen noodles until January, we could get by on $478. We didn't tell our family. But we did tell Heavenly Father. We told Him that we had paid our tithing our whole lives and we needed the windows of heaven to open up and dump out $478. The next day I took Sienna out to get the mail and there was a card from Jaymee's grandma Blanche. Odd, she had never written us before. I opened the card and a check for $500 fell out. The note said,"I felt like you needed this." She is not well off and had never given us money before. She's a good lady whom Heavenly Father felt he could inspire and she would respond with generosity. I cried and cried. I still do. But here's the kicker - the next day I went out to the mailbox and there was a card from my grandma Tot. With a check. For $500. And a note about how she felt we needed it. So not only were we blessed with what we needed, the Lord blessed us double. Miracle.

Which brings me to today. When I had cancer, I asked the Lord to spare my life. My prayers were answered and I have felt so humbled and grateful for the gift that I haven't felt like I could ask for more. But there was something I wanted. I felt strongly that my family was incomplete. I didn't feel like I deserved it and had already been given too much. Mami told me it was ok to ask because it was a righteous desire. So we started asking. And fasting. No one more than Sienna. She asked in every prayer. Every blessing on the food.

When I went to see my oncologist in April, I told her we had been trying but with no luck. She told me that was crazy. I already have four beautiful kids and I'M ALIVE. Wasn't that enough? And she thought the world was overpopulated anyway. I left feeling sad and wishing I could be satisfied. I really wanted to be satisfied. I felt ungrateful! But I wasn't satisfied.

Next I started seeing my OB. I told him what I wanted and he was not hopeful. I got a lot of tests and bloodwork done and he was even less hopeful. He called me with the results and offered his condolences. According to my FSH levels, I was probably out of viable eggs and would enter menopause soon because of all the intense chemo. Chemo scrambled my eggs. I was devastated. Why would I feel so strongly about something that wasn't possible. Something whispered to me that it wasn't in the doctors' hands. It might of been the Spirit, but I think it was Jaymee. He felt everything would be ok one way or another. I wanted to mourn. Sienna wanted to pray harder and fast more.

In September, I missed a period. Hooray! I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. Dang. My doctor said I was probably starting THE CHANGE. (Is that what people call it? Weird. Like we're gremlins that ate after midnight or something). Then I missed a period in October. I was crying about being fully in menopause to Mami one day. After she left I walked inside, smelled something funny and promptly puked. Wha?? I had another pregnancy test laying around and even though I wasn't hopeful, I decided to use it. Instantly positive! PREGNANT!! Miracle.

I went to my oncologist and was scared to tell her. She said it was time to schedule a scan and I said that we couldn't because... I'm pregnant. She jumped out of her chair and grabbed me and hugged and hugged. She said,"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I can't believe it! I didn't think it was possible and didn't want you to get your hopes up!" She hadn't had any patients go through as much and as intense of chemo as I did get pregnant. Miracle.

My OB was astonished, too. When I walked in he said,"Well look who it is! Miss I Get Everything I Want." I reminded him that I've had things I didn't want, too.

So $500 AND $500. I got to live AND I get to have a baby. I believe in miracles. I feel so loved and blessed.

I'm 3 months along and had another ultrasound today. Baby was sucking its fingers.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Mom

Last Monday, My mom entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT. She's serving a one-year mission for my church in Rochester, NY. I'm so proud of her that I could burst. Here is a lady that lost her husband 15 years ago when her youngest was only nine years old. She has worked so hard to provide for us and get us all safely out the door. She retired from teaching last year and her last little chicken moved out this year and so what did she do? Revel in her new-found freedom? Sleep in each day and eat bonbons? Nope. She has done service by indexing her brains out - to the tune of about 140,000 names (that's about 2300 hours of work!) . Then she submitted her mission papers and was on her way. Wow.

She has always been such a good example to me. I can't count how many times I walked into her room to find her praying or reading her scriptures. She always has. She has always served with all her might in her callings and found a way to enjoy each one - and made it so others enjoyed it, too. When she was Stake Camp Director, my house was filled with camp for almost a year. Camp crafts and shirts and bandanas and anything else she could think of. She worked on it every day. One year she and I searched for hundreds of "apache tears" for hours and days so that she could make necklaces for every girl to go along with a spiritual lesson she had come up with. The years she was at camp were the most fun ever. When she taught Gospel Doctrine, she packed the house. When she teaches, she gets so into it that she claps her hands and jumps up and down. You can't help but become passionate about the things she's passionate about.

When she used to teach school, she would do trivia with her students if they had spare time. When they got a question right, she'd put a gold star on their forehead. It was a huge trophy to walk around the high school with a sticker on your face. All her students love her. Most of the entries in my yearbooks say,"Have a great summer. Your mom is the funniest, best most awesome teacher EVER!!!!!" It didn't bother me because I felt the same way.

She has a knack for seeking out and loving the unloved. The kids who had gotten themselves into trouble with drugs or other lifestyles seemed to gravitate to her and to our house. She loved them all unconditionally and I'm sure has helped and impacted hundreds of lives for good. Some of them even lived with us from time to time until they stole all our credit cards and held up the police in our house with a BB gun. But that's not her fault. It's a small price to pay for the good she did for the others.

Last month she went with me and my family on a cruise. Some people wouldn't be able to take their mom or mother-in-law on an intimate trip like that but she was AWESOME. She was so much fun and wasn't afraid to do or try anything. My kids would run into the room and instantly look for her to tell her of their adventures. She is the most fun to tell things to. She is a gusher. Preslie is in love with her and still talks about her constantly. Having her with us made the trip 100 times better than it would have been without her.

She has only been gone a week and I have actually spoken to her and texted her a bunch, but even so, there's a void. I miss her. She is having a blast and has fallen in love with the "Preach my Gospel" manual. I don't have to miss her for long because we're going to go see her and stay with her in Brigham Young's New York home for Thanksgiving. Lucky us. I can't wait.

If you want to keep up with her on her mission, Mel has set up a blog for her:

PS She doesn't read this blog, so if you think I'm writing this stuff to kiss up to her, you'd be wrong. I have held the "favorite" position since birth and don't need to flatter my way into her good graces. So there.