Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bearing One Another's Burdens

Today in church we discussed one of my most favorite parts of the Book Of Mormon.  This is what we covenant when we are baptized.  It's in Mosiah 18:8-9

"And it came to pass that he said unto them:  Behold, here are the waters of Mormon and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; yea and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life."

In our discussion at church, I had the opportunity to share how my burden of cancer seems so much lighter than it should because of the amazing support system that I have here in my amazing ward in Phoenix and throughout the country.  I'm so incredibly blessed to have people who love me, support me, pray for me, mourn with me and take care of me.  I can't even begin to imagine my life and going through this trial and other trials without the loads of people in Terah's Army.

Tonight I had a phone call from one of my dear friends Steve who I met when I moved to Charlotte.  At the end of our conversation he told me that he was sure that people always said this to me, but he really meant it.  He told me that I was an inspiration to him as I've taken this trial and dealt with it with such grace.  He is right I hear this so often.  My reply to him as tears streamed down my cheeks because of his kind words where exactly what I said in church.  This trial, which should feel so burdensome, feels lighter because of the amazing people in my life.  

So to each of you I say Thank You for bearing my burden with me, I Love You and together we'll get through this.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer Reading

School is out here in Phoenix, which means its officially Summer, even though it feels like Summer 9 months out of the year.  But it's the spirit of Summer that I love.  As mentioned every Summer for the past however many years I've been blogging, I love my Summer Reading Program.  One of my most favorite memories of my childhood is going to the library with Grandma Betty and signing up for their Summer Reading Program and then going each week to pick out novels that I could get lost in during the lazy days of Summer.  This hasn't changed.  I still love going to the library and having a stack or two of books to pick from.  I believe in reading several books at the same time, depending on what mood I'm in.  However sometimes I can't help but read the same book for several days in a row if it has my attention.  I love sitting at the beach or the pool with a book in my hand and the sun on my body; a little wind never bothers me either.
Today I spent 2 hours burning my white skin at the pool with Becoming Lady Lockwood in my hand.  A book that I started a few days ago and will finish in a day or so.  And then I'll be on to the next book!  For some reason people think that if you live in Phoenix you are naturally tan and spend every day at the pool; wrong my friends.

I will admit, I'm super bummed about not going to Martha's Vineyard this Summer.  I'd hoped to visit the end of the Summer, but now that HM is in my life, I'd much rather be visiting him!  Hopefully next Summer the cancer will be gone and I can resume my Summers in MVY!

And so for the next 3-4 months I'll be enjoying Summer with a book in my hand, a lemonade at my side (because I have jars of frozen, fresh squeezed lemon juice in my freezer) and all the fun Summer has in store (even amongst a little chemo).

Side Note:  My friend Pamela sent me this picture.  She had gone to her child's school and saw that he had done this for me.  Thank You Bayden.  I'm so very blessed.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Super, Duper Sunday Happenings

1.  Last Friday before Jenny's wedding reception I went with mom and dad to visit my Grandpa Swensen's brother Leonard.  Uncle Leonard is an amazing man, whom we all love dearly.  A few weeks ago he had surgery for colon cancer.  Two days later he suffered a stroke and then developed pneumonia.  When we entered the room I immediately grabbed his hand.  His eyes lit up and he smiled a half smile.  My Aunt Ruby said it was the most reaction he had given them in the past 2 days.  I'm so happy we were able to visit him since he passed away this past week.  We will miss him, but I'm ever grateful for Eternal Families.  This past week as I sat in the Temple I had a small glance of the reunion he is having with his parents and brothers.  He had recently voiced that he missed his brothers.
2.  Saturday we had pedicures and then I visited my sweet friend Shelley and her family.  I love this friend of mine.  She has such adorable kids.  I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father directed us both to Charlotte so that we could develop this friendship. Shelley's family got a baby goat.  It was pretty cute, especially when it was dancing.  Shelley's daughter and Tanner's girlfriend took turns feeding it.
4.  Last Sunday I flew to Seattle.  Aubrey picked me up and then we went to church.  After church we had dinner guests!  We had great fun chatting and the kids enjoyed playing.  
5.  Monday my dinner guest, lets call him HM (handsome man) picked me up after dropping his adorable 4 and 6 year old off at school and we drove to the beach.  Might I remind you of my love for the beach, any beach will do.  It was a beautiful day.  I enjoyed so much our conversations and walking on the beach.  
6.  Tuesday was another beautiful Seattle day.  After Aubrey made me some delicious eggs, we got ready for the day and headed out for a little shopping.  We went to downtown Kirkland to this cute little boutique where I got 2 dresses, one which I will save for the fall and a summer dress, which I'm sure I will put to good use.  We of course had to take a few selfies.   
She then took me to TJ Maxx my favorite store where I spent money on clothes I really didn't need, but really wanted.  From there we had lunch and then watched her adorable boys in their track meet. It was such a lovely day spent with this fabulous friend of mine.  We determined we've known each other for 17 years.  
7.  Tuesday evening HM took me to a lovely place for dinner, we went on a walk on a beautiful green belt and then sat on a bench off the path where it took all of the courage I had to tell him that I have cancer.  The look on his face was exactly how he felt; shock.  But he handled it so well and told me that he didn't feel any differently towards me.  It was such a relief to me, because I like him and I think we could quite possibly have great potential together.  After breaking my news, we met Jack and Aubrey for a yogurt and Aubrey had her dream come true of driving his Tesla.  She so funny.
8.  Wednesday Aubrey and I went on a most enjoyable morning walk.   HM picked me up around 1 and we went to his house, to dinner and then I had to say goodbye.  It's always a bummer when vacations are over.  The plan is to see HM again on my return trip after having chemo in Idaho in June.  That just seems so long, but I'm a girl whose developed a lot of patience along the years.  
9.  When I was in SLC I saw these poppies. Oh how I love them.
10.  Becky sent this picture of Stella and Graham this week.  They are so cute.  I mentioned that Stella's hair is getting long.  She said Stella thinks her hair is like Repunzel's.  So funny.
PS.  I'm sure you are wondering about HM.  We met in early March when he was in Phoenix for Spring Training.  Our first date was over Shaved Ice.  He is pretty incredible.  To Be Continued....

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Klara Mae

I have a new niece!  She was born to Tyler and Danielle on May 3, weighing in at 7.8 pounds.  She is just perfect.  I am so happy for them and their new little bundle of joy.  I hear she even looks a little like her auntie Terah, if that is so she must be a beauty!   I have yet to meet this sweet gift, but I can hardly wait until fathers day to meet her.  However our sweet Uncle Leonard passed away this morning, so I might meet her next at his funeral.
Here she is at 2 weeks old!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Jenny Gets Married

My best friend Jenny got married last week!  We have been waiting for this day since we were kids.  I'm sure we talked about this day while playing the game LIFE in her basement, which we played a lot.

I flew to SLC last Wednesday.  She came over to Tenielle's when I arrived and I did her makeup to make sure she liked it.  It was fun to just be girls and giggle before her big day.  Thursday morning I went to her house and did her makeup.  I so much enjoyed being together; just the two of us before she became a wife.  The day couldn't have been more beautiful and she looked amazing.
Friday was her reception and again I did her makeup.  The reception was beautifully done, the food was delicious and the bride was beautiful.  I'm not going to lie, I am a little sad that she is no longer single, but couldn't be happier for her.  We have decided we will still travel and do girls trips, including our 40th birthday trip coming this fall.

I did catch the bouquet, or maybe it was thrown directly to me.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Lauren Visits

Last week my friend Lauren, left her 4 boys and husband behind in NC and came clear out here to Phoenix to visit me.  We had us a wonderful time together.  The time went way too fast and before it, 6 days had come and gone and it was time for her to go home.  We did accomplish a whole lot while she was here, but not as much as I'd hoped.  I guess she will just have to come out again to finish up all that I have on my to-do-list.

I finally got my countertops put it!   I love them.  It is so nice to be able to wash my hands and brush my teeth in the sink.  Oh, the things you take for granted.  The kitchen is still a work in progress, but it will be finished soon.
Here are some of the things we accomplished:

The main bathroom:  This included a new shower head, changing the toilet thingy which took some major muscles, adorning the room, painting the bathroom...the paint was suppose to be gray, but on the walls it looks blue.  I like it though.  It reminds me of the ocean, which you can see if the theme of the bathroom.  It needs a matching mirror, but for now this one will work.  I feel like this room is pretty much put together.
The guest room:  I remembered I had this great beachy bedspread.  Lauren has a great idea to put up a long bookshelf and adorn it with great beach reads.  That's going on the to-do-list.

The fireplace mantle:  It's totally coming along.  We needs some greenery or something to put in the jars, but I like it.  I especially like the vase and sticks we got to cover up the weird counter space not there.
Dining Room:  We used Monkey hooks to hang this picture.
Kitchen:  We unpacked the cookbook box, because Lauren is tall enough to put them up in a cabinet that I can't reach.  I now only have 2 boxes in the kitchen that I need to unpack and then the kitchen is about put together.

While Lauren was in town we spent a day at the spa, tried out new restaurants, did a lot of shopping and had lunch with my friends Michelle and Nicole.

Lauren let me cry a lot over my CA-125 which went from 29 to 55 and having chemo side effects, given I had chemo the day after she arrived.  Boo cancer.  I just want it to go away.

A true friend paints your bathroom and puts her hands in your toilet.  Come back soon my friend, next time when I'm not having chemo.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


This week I had the distinct opportunity to hear Elder Holland from the quorum of the 12 apostles speak at a fireside for single adults 30+.  I sat in the middle of the 2nd row right in front of the pulpit. It was awesome to listen to him speak for an hour.  He looked in my eyes at least twice which was so neat.  He spoke about broken things and how we all at times feel broken.  But he also talked about how we will be made whole through the atonement and the resurrection.  My favorite quote was "endure and save yourself for days of happiness ahead."  I'm living proof that there is always happiness and better days ahead.  No time was ever worse than when I was first diagnosed with OVC, spending 15 days in the hospital with a tube in every orifice.
Today in Stake Conference our Stake Presidency each spoke on this same topic of enduring.  I felt that all of these talks were a gift from Heavenly Father to me, answers to my prayers which gave me a little more hope and faith as I head towards yet another chemo treatment on Tuesday.

I'm grateful to report that the pain I was having a month ago is gone.  This to me means the chemo must be working.  I have been extremely tired and fatigued over the past 2 weeks.  I don't have much of an appetite, feel nauseated often and have even been too tired to work out, which drives me nuts since I was doing so good with working out every day before chemo.  

The past week I've been dealing with a kidney infection, but seem to be feeling better today since the antibiotics have kicked in.  Sometimes I want to whine and complain, but that won't make this better. Last night I had a patient who was autistic and the mother told me she had 3 other children who had autistic tendencies.  She was so patient with her daughter and it helped me realize my trials are minimal in comparison to hers.  

Some of my favorite quotes from Stake Conference:

~When trials come ask, 'what can I learn from this experience,' don't ask why me.  
~The Lord expects us to press on.  After tribulations come the blessings.  Never give up the goal to press forward towards your eternal journey.  
~No one is immune from the adversaries presence.  The primary objective through our trials is to become changed.  We will be humbled as we go through our trials.
~Accept the blessings that we don't want.  Don't reject the blessings we don't want.  When blessings don't come immediately we either turn towards or away from the Lord; Turn towards Him.  Heavenly Father's blessings are a great paycheck.
~We can feel God loves us in our suffering.  He is there because we can feel him.  When prayers aren't answered as quickly remember this question, To whom will we go?
~If there was not a God, there wouldn't be hope.  
~God seeks our individual happiness.  
~We become Gods by doing Godly things.  
~To have faith in Heavenly Father, we must trust Him.  With His help we can succeed.  Trusting God will bring us great blessings.  Trust that He knows what is best for us.

Here are a few more quotes that spoke to me in different places:  

"If we will just put our faith and trust in our Lord, knowing we don't understand everything that happens in our life, and remember to thank Him for the many blessings we do have, He will show us the way.  Now, it might not happen on our timetable, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us." Sister Maynes CES Fireside

"The question is not whether we will experience seasons of adversity but how we will weather the storms."  Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

I think that say's it all.  I must whether this storm and hope and pray that it goes away soon and most of all have trust in Heavenly Father and his plan for me.  I want so badly for this cancer to  just go away, but I really am learning that I am strong and can do hard things.  There is always someone who has it harder.