Friday, April 26, 2013

Another Doctor Report

We had a visit with the oncologist and are continuing the same course as was determined last visit.
- Though they are still low, Terry's blood counts are better than they have been for awhile so he continues to hold (or does not take) the oral chemo, Revlimid. This is what I was hoping for.
- SCCA will continue the search for un-related donor. He had some blood drawn for "typing" (to help find a match). We don't know how long it will take to find a match, but we do know that we don't plan on heading to SCCA for transplant until after this year's harvest is complete.
- Take medication to help get over the cold he has (again).  An illness always changes blood counts, so it's hard to know for sure what they would be without the cold. 
Here is the lab report with the last four appointments -
You'll see that the white blood counts and neutrophils are better this time.
The counts I usually report are listed here
Platelet Count
Absolute Neutrophils
(You might also like to take note of the Neutrophils, as they have improved too.)
We've been trying to watch the calcium and potassium, and are pleased with those counts, however he has been having some awful muscle cramps the last few days.  I'm blaming it on the long and hard hours he has been working this spring.  It's just becoming too much for him.  We look forward to slowing down soon.   
There is a second page with a few more counts, but I didn't scan it - things look good there.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I Love My Family!

It was great to have Skyler and Lisa and Claire with us for a few days.  We love them and will miss them as they embark on their new adventure ..., so far away in Oklahoma ..., but we are excited for them. 
Here are a couple pictures we got (clear and viewable) to share.
Akleigh just loved Claire and kept kissing her head. 
Fun Fact:
 Akleigh found a chocolate kiss (she is very much like her grandma in that respect and just had to eat it) it didn't take long for us to find Claire's head dotted with "chocolate kisses" from Akleigh.  We should have taken a picture of her chocolate lipstick stains. ;)

We got a couple other photos that didn't turn out so well, and now realize that more time should have been spent trying to document that visit.
I loved the time we had to visit, and I was able to do quite a bit of it, but for much of the time my hands were occupied (and some of my thoughts too I guess). 
Here is a peek at what was keeping my hands so busy.
But, you'll have to wait for the completed project.  I finished the necessary things last night at about 10:20 pm, but now I'm working on a few things that will just help it feel better - trimming it up.... (my fingers are sore and tender right now!  Ouch! and parts of the house are laden with trails of glitter.)
I'll post more about it when the time is right!  ;)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Bitter Heart

A Bitter Heart   (a personal experience)

For a while now I have given thought to a certain time in my life when my heart was bitter about my circumstances and conditions.   Each time I have thought about it I have also felt inspired to share my story here.  I have attempted to write it several times, but have also hesitated each time knowing that it would incriminate me. I really am embarrassed by it.  Listening to General Conference prodded me, so once again I attempted to complete this story but didn't succeed.  Attending Skyler's college graduation was the final prod I needed, and I am sitting to complete it for the final attempt.  This experience isn't something that I am proud of or pleased with, aside from the fact that I am grateful to have been able to recognize and overcome the evil within. 

I want to start out by saying that I love my children - each and every one of them.  This story in no way should, nor is intended to make any statement contrary to that fact. 

My story is about hearts.  They are our very life.  But this story isn't about the beating of a heart in a physical sense, but about the spiritual part of the heart, which in many ways is just as important.  Our hearts are what help us feel ..., really feel.  Therefore we need to keep them happy and never harbor hatred or bitterness.  For hatred and bitterness are destroyers of happiness and joy and peace.

Okay, enough preface, on with my story -

After having a few boys added to our family I really wanted a girl. At one point I was feeling rather bitter about things and wondering why Heavenly Father wasn't answering what I thought was a righteous desire and request.  
Don't get me wrong - I loved (and still love) my boys, each one of them, and wouldn't trade any of them for anyone or any thing else. But that love didn't stop me from wanting a girl too. I know that there are others out there who at the same time would have given anything for a child - girl or boy, so why should I complain?  (I might add, that I have felt that feeling for a short time in my life too.)  I also saw at the same time that there were young girls out there who shouldn't even be having children, getting pregnant and having a girl.  What was up with that?  Are you sensing the bitterness I was feeling?  I'm just trying to paint this picture as it really was - telling it like it is type of thing.

I'm not sure how many boys I had before I began feeling so bitter about it, and I'm sure it was a gradual thing, but I can especially remember one experience (and can vividly envision it in my mind as I think back on it today) when I wept bitterly and felt almost angry against the Lord for not granting me this blessing.  I was telling my visiting teachers about my desire and while doing so I was able to feel my body tremble and a coldness overcome me.  I remember recognizing that I was "out of control" ..., this was not what I wanted to feel.  I was not who I wanted to be.  I didn't like that bitter feeling inside of me.  The Lord's Spirit had left me.  These sweet sisters listened lovingly, and surely wondered what to say or do that could console me.  I'm sure the Lord was inspiring them because they said and did exactly what I needed at the time.  Even though I don't remember their exact words, I do remember the love they expressed to me and the hope they gave me as they shared their love for me and their love for the Lord.   I wish I could remember their words, but do recognize that what I felt may have come from more than spoken words.   I knew then that I needed to pray for forgiveness and come to terms with the fact that I did not have a daughter.  I had to remember to trust in the Lord, to love Him.  Possibly most importantly,  I knew that my prayers needed to change from "please give me a daughter" to "please give me peace".   I had to stop dwelling on my discouragement and start dwelling on something that would take my heart to a happy place.  Christ would be that happy place.

I can tell you that my prayers did change and my heart changed also.  In time, I recognized that I had come a long way.  After my seventh son I was feeling a great peace and even felt comfortable with being done with our family of seven boys. There was no bitterness left in me.  I felt good inside.  I felt peace and love from above.  I was content.  I was happy.  It was a great feeling and I was grateful for it.

My story doesn't end there, but it could have and life would have been great because I had found a happy place.  I find it interesting that it was only after this peace came to me that I was given a daughter. Child number eight, that I wasn't sure I was even going to have, was a surprise package ready to be dressed in pink (at least for a few years).   And to prove His love for me, the Lord then sent us one more son, child number nine, to complete our family.  

There is much more to this story that I left unsaid, but I am grateful for the change of heart that took place, and for those two sisters who truly were inspired to encourage and love and inspire me to be a better person.  Their hearts were where they needed to be when I needed them.  I am so grateful for that.   One of those sisters has since past away, but I will remember her always because of the love shared from her heart to mine that day.  The other sister remains my friend and without even knowing, continues to touch my heart in numerous ways.  They each hold a special place in my heart.

I have learned that true joy comes from what Christ sends us, whatever that is.  It does not always come from our desires, though sometimes we are lucky enough that those two things are the same.  It's how we handle what He sends us that makes us who we are and guides us to a happy place.

I love this quote - it fits perfectly for my story - I must remember this for all areas of my life!

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” 
― Maya Angelou

Because the quotes I heard at Skyler's graduation are still recent enough for me to remember, I am adding them here. You'll probably see why they prompted me to continue writing my story.   As usual, I will enjoy reading the conference messages to remind myself of those great words, and maybe I'll share some of those thoughts as I come to them.

Quotes from April 2013 BYU-I  graduation: (FYI - these were each from different speakers)
- "In all thy getting get understanding" and "lean not unto thine own understanding but trust in the Lord" (two scriptures that fit so well together)
- "This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it" (quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- "How we react to our failures can be more important than how we react to our successes"

I thought I was going to close here, but another thought keeps coming to my mind - it's a phrase in a children's book, and maybe even the title of it - Better Move On Frog!  
(I don't remember the story of that book, but the title is what fits here.)
When we find our hearts becoming hardened or bitter we'd better move on to a happier place, and we'd better recognize that the happier place is closer to Christ and His teachings.  That's all there is to it.  Forget and forgive and move on.

and lastly - a Japanese Proverb

image from here

This was first posted at

Thinking of MY Missionaries!

Connor is serving in Titusville right now.
He has met a missionary from Brandon and Megan's ward (from Yucaipa California) - Elder Durham,
and a missionary from Bryan and Sherri's ward (Terry's sister in Idaho Falls, who's husband this elder refers to as Bishop Larson) - Elder Lovejoy.  It's so fun!
If I understand correctly, there are 3 elder companionships in Connor's district, and one of the elders in each of those companionships has a connection - Elder Hebdon would be one of those three.
It's so fun to meet someone who knows someone you know!   
Here is the site for Connor's mission -  Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission
It looks like they post once a month.  (but I often have problems getting into it)
Connor sent a photo with his email yesterday, taken by an eight year old boy preparing for baptism -

by the way - Connor just celebrated his 19th birthday on his mission.
I wish I had a recent photo of Chase, but don't, sorry!
He seems to be doing a lot of service while in Battle Mountain, and construction seems to be the theme for that service right now.
He and his companion have been helping a man with some home improvements - breaking out concrete and pouring more and building an awning, etc.  (It sounds like there may even be french doors to be installed sometime in the future.)
The ward mission leader had a birthday party for Chase - he just celebrated his 21st birthday.
Chase told us he got a package from a family here in Royal and enjoyed the surprise.  It was a balloon - blown up ..., with some great cookies inside.  Thanks for thinking of him!

You know how every once in a while we see or hear something that reminds us of something or someone we love?  Chase has had that happen recently.  Anyone who has been to Keith and Idris' home may remember a picture they had hanging in their kitchen of two little boys wearing overalls, walking down the road, and written on that picture were the words, "You been farming long?"  Someone there in Battle Mountain has one of those, and it has brought back loving memories for him.

I googled that picture and found it here.

 As I looked at that picture and read how it came to be, my mind went back to some earlier days reminding me of a cute photo I have of my two boys serving missions right now.  It is just a random photo I took while they were playing.

Here it is -

Connor and Chase - August 1997
This was not a pre-planned pose - and I couldn't have planned it better.  The smiles are sweet and the colors are perfect together ..., but no, I don't know why they thought they should put the wagon up on the steps in front of the door.  I'm sure it kept them busy though.

And, while I was searching for that photo, I came across this one that I just had to post - my two missionaries (see their ties) happily sharing their ties with some old friends.  Now they are out sharing the gospel with new found friends (who may soon be wearing ties if they are not now). 

Connor and Chase - July 1997

Here is another couple pictures that shows how Connor and Chase played very nicely together when they were younger.

Chase and Connor - December 1995
Yes, they played nicely together, even in the puddles!  But at least they came in the mudroom door.

Chase and Connor - September 1996

They had a lot of fun times, but sometimes their fun got them into mischief as this next photo proves (like we needed proof, right!).

Oh the joys of childhood!  (or do I really mean parenthood? - Yes, I did find joy, I suppose that's why there is a photo of this mess.  Can you see and feel the joy?  I'm smiling, are you?)

Thanks for sharing this little trip down memory lane with me.  I really had a great trip, and hope you enjoyed it too.  Maybe we'll do it again sometime. 


Monday, April 15, 2013


Skyler graduated from BYU-I this last weekend.
His major was in chemistry.
Terry and I were able to attend, but after making sure I took my camera with me on the trip, I left it in the motel.  There was just so much going on ... Oh Bother!
However, I did steal a few photos from Skyler and Lisa's blog
(where you will find a few more)
Here he is receiving his diploma cover! 
Don't ya just love how they receive only the cover at graduations!  ;)  It was really cute how they made it a fun moment at this departments Convocation Ceremony, as they announced how exciting it was going to be for each of these students who had spent 4 to 6 or even 7 years to arrive at this special moment of receiving their diploma cover.   (Diplomas will be mailed of course.)
Here is Skyler and his sweetheart, Lisa
Now, Skyler and his parents ..., us!
Graduations always seem long to me, and when there is a Commencement and a Convocation ceremony on the same evening it makes for a long evening.  But, there were wonderful messages given and beautiful musical presentations that have touched our hearts and minds.
I'll share a very shortened version with you as I highlight a few of my favorite parts.  They were excellent messages, but I will not expound on them.  Part of what makes a message so special is how each one receives it, so hopefully you can each receive something personal as you read these short quotes.
- "In all thy getting get understanding" and "lean not unto thine own understanding but trust in the Lord"   (two scriptures that fit so well together)
- "This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it" (quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- "How we react to our failures can be more important than how we react to our successes"
There was a beautiful musical number that touched my heart so deeply.  It was "Come thou Fount", sung by a friend of Skyler's, Parker Crandall (also in chemistry), accompanied on the piano by Lindsey Pruden (also in chemistry) and another special addition of a cellist (I don't have his name) - it was amazingly beautiful. Very well done - couldn't have been better ..., well, unless I'd have taped it.  The next photo (from Lisa) is of this trio (the three most left persons on the stage).
Now, here comes the news that really gives me mixed emotions. 
I love that Skyler is following his dream and desire, going on to grad school and furthering his education ..., I should stop there, because that is really great,
..., but it's so far away! 
They will be heading out to the University of Oklahoma sometime the middle of next month. They are looking forward to it with great excitement. 
My excitement is wavering - sometimes I'm very excited for them and other times I get overpowered with selfish feelings and wish they could be closer.  I guess those are the times when I will "lean not unto mine own understanding, but trust in the Lord".  I am so grateful for the Lord, and that He allows us, even invites us, to lean on Him!
Lucky for us they are here in Royal and Moses Lake visiting for the week.  We'll post pictures sometime this week when we get them (I did bring my camera home).
We know Skyler will do great with his ongoing schooling, and are proud of his accomplishments thus far.  Oh, I'd better mention - he got an award at their Chemistry dpt luncheon for most Outstanding Overall Performance.  There were a couple other awards given and the professors had a hard time choosing who to give those to, but when it came to this award, there was no question who should receive it.  (just a little Proud Parent Moment!)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Break

Spring Break came and went too fast around here.  I personally didn't get enough time out of that week.  When I look at all I wanted to do and all I did, I'm kinda thinking I saw one day out of those 7+.  So where did the other 6 go?  I'm sure it wasn't that bad, but I wish I could have crossed more off my list.  However, the garage did get straightened up - and BJo and I did it ourselves!
Anthony spent most of his waking hours helping his dad and brother put together a circle.  Awesome huh!
They are still working on it (without Anthony now) and will be pleased when it is all up and going.  I wish I had a close up of the pivot, which they made themselves a few weeks ago.  It's pretty awesome.  My guy is like that you know!  ;)