Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wheat and the Tares

Last Thursday I had the second treatment in the Taxol regime. The substance that is used to liquefy this chemotherapy drug can cause an allergic reaction so patients are prepared for the reaction by going over the possible signs; they include, nausea, a rush of blood to the head, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and sharp pains in the back. This allergic reaction can happen at any time during the four rounds, so I was not out of the woods just because I did not have a reaction with the first round.

Justin, Denise, and I were all talking and laughing when Justin got a call from work and he left the room. Denise and I were sharing quotes out of the book, The Alchemist (a phenomenal book by the way) when I got instantly sick to my stomach. I asked her to go and get Lisa, the wonder nurse. By the time Denise got to the office (30 steps away), I felt like I could not breathe, blood must have rushed to my head, as it felt like my ears and lips were going to literally blow off from my face, and my heart was beating out of my chest. I knew that I was having an allergic reaction and tried to get up to relieve the excruciating pain in my back, but saw stars and knew that I was about to pass out, so I quickly sat back down. I was really scared and it didn’t help that Lisa was actually running in the chemo room, bringing an oxygen tank and mask, and rushing about to turn the Taxol off and pump another bag of Benadryl into my body.

I don’t know how long the reaction occurred in real time, but it felt like forever and it made me reflect on eternity itself. I think this life, which is preparatory to eternal life, will always have a mixture of good and bad. Without the bad things that spring up in life, we cannot savor the truly great things (2 Nephi 2:11) and it is in this opposition that we are really blessed beyond measure, for we see ourselves in a true light (Doctrine and Covenants 78:19). It reminds me of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares that Christ taught in Matthew chapter 13:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed atares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to cburn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

The “tares” that are present in all of our lives are allowed to grow up among our “wheat” because it is a proving ground. Will we, despite the opposition that is inherent in all of our lives, grow and develop into the people God knows we are. Heavenly Father already knows how we will respond, for He is omniscient, so the test is not to “show Him” how we will respond, it is for us to become who He already knows we are.

Yesterday was a brilliant example of the unbelievable good that can happen in this life. The doorbell rang and there stood Jeany and Gavin Campbell. Gavin looked a little shy…in opposition to Jeany’s obvious pride for her twelve year old son. In his hands he held a Ziploc bag full of money and would have been perfectly happy just to hand it to me and run, but in my dumbfoundedness I eked out, “How did you do this?”

At the cajoling of his mom, he related that he had been involved in an activity with some other young men and women and they have been given a roll of quarters and given the charge to increase their profit (an activity having to do with the Parable of the Talents). This humble, sweet twelve year old boy who could have been involved in a myriad of other activities, looked at his group members and told them about what was happening with me and they all decided to purchase some supplies and with the help of their moms they made baked goods and sold them in the neighborhood. The plastic bag represented all of the work, love, and compassion that went into this act of kindness.

Gavin put the bag into my hands and much like my reaction to the Taxol, I felt my heart pounding out of my chest and I could not breathe. I could not believe that he had used his life and resources to make life better for me. I was completely incapable of expressing my sincere gratitude; I was so overwhelmed by the act itself that I just simply said, “Thank you!” and closed the door with my heart full of love.

I was shocked! Just like the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, I know these kids have negative things in their midst that they could be choosing. They could be fulfilling their own wishes or worse destroying the well-being of another…and some do… but they didn’t! They chose to do something truly wonderful! They used their light to brighten the way for another. I can really appreciate that the “tares” in their lives were quieted by the power of their “wheat” and isn’t that the rub…What will we do when faced with life defining circumstances? I am thankful for the powerful lesson from a sweet and unassuming twelve year old (Matthew 5:14-16).

Heavenly Father loves us and knows that this life can at times be quite difficult, so just like Lisa prepared me for the reaction to the Taxol, He has prepared us by helping us to recognize the spirit in our lives. When something is good and positive we can recognize it:

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance…

Once we are able to recognize the good and positive things in our lives, the “tares” are no so scary anymore.

Love to you all,


‘Mom’s Heart’ moment: On Saturday morning we had a late start and everyone was just sort of dragging their feet and not super motivated to get ready. I jumped in the shower and asked Eli to go and get himself dressed. I finished with the shower and was trying to cover some of my new wrinkles when the doorbell rang. I heard rustling at the door and with excitement Eli let our guests in…HE WAS COMPLETELY NAKED! I guess he had missed the prompt to get himself dressed. Welcome to our home; the gifts just keep giving!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I can’t believe it! The event came, SO HAPPENED, and is now over except for a few loose ends. It was an absolutely incredible evening full of family and friends, and some of the most overwhelming feelings that I have ever felt. I would like to share some of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences from the evening.

Denise, Brenda, and all of their organizing committee’s were able to get into the Union Station at 10am, which they did with a vengeance. By the time I got there, they had the lay out complete, tables up, and were bringing to life the event of a lifetime.
I walked through the doors and was immediately swept away with emotion and nostalgia; it felt like I was walking into a second wedding reception…except for a few details…it was bigger than our original reception, it was decorated in pink, and I had (have) no HAIR! But, like our wedding day, it was bursting over with loved ones, high emotion, and a captivating air of change and transformation.

I continued my stroll down memory lane as I looked at the structure of the Union Station itself, with the old rail cars parked just outside the front door and the new Front Runner train thundering through just outside the back door. I wondered about the memories that were housed within this building, realizing that it was formerly the JUNCTION of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads and has been serving as a meeting place since 1869. My mind was caught up in the word JUNCTION (a place or point where things meet or converge) and had very little idea at that point how much this destination would serve as a JUNCTION between my current and former life.

There were four main areas of the Union Station that would serve as the backdrop of my life’s convergence: The Browning Theater, the Theater Annex, the Breezeway, and the kitchen. At 11am these four areas were buzzing with activity. The decorating committee was the first that I bumped into in the Breezeway and the Browning Theater. It was the most amazing thing to see! They were creating beautiful groupings of family photos with thought provoking quotes, unique and extraordinary center pieces, and magnificent special effects; all splashed with pink. I couldn’t believe the talent and selflessness of my friends and family and it served as the first JUNCTION between my past and current life as I watched good friends from high school working side-by-side with good friends from my present neighborhood. I took a deep breath in and thanked Heavenly Father for their goodness.
I walked from the Browning Theater into the Breezeway and was absolutely blown away! The auction committee had been busy indeed…There were tables set up beside tables, and it seemed to go on forever and ever with the accompanying baskets, jewelry, bird houses, quilts, and goodies. They had set up command central and were still making even more baskets and writing even more bid sheets. It was craziness! There again, the coming together of new friends with old and dear friends, all feverishly working alongside each other, laughing and smiling, filling the room with warmth and love. I felt so blessed.

This is where I first saw Brenda and Denise. They had determination etched on their faces and were in their element as they organized what had been in their hearts and minds for several months of time. I recognized that they were both PAST and PRESENT for me…they had created this JUNCTION; they had been there and would be there. I wanted to hug them both tightly and share the insight, but was well aware that they were busy beyond the mark.

The morning and afternoon continued to move forward and so did the preparations. The infamous “Kid’s Korner” arrived in all its glory with paint, and toys, and games, all housed in the undeniable allure of popcorn and cotton candy. My family manned this post and it became symbolic of all of the love, comfort, and relief that they have given throughout this journey. They are incredible blessings in my life and I will be forever grateful for their love.

Who could forget about the kitchen committee? Their planning and preparation began to unfold in the heat of the kitchen and I was overwhelmed as I saw a special and unique JUNCTION occurring from my life. Working beside each other, laughing, problem solving, and getting burns :)…were three women who have impacted my life at different times and different seasons, they were my sweet mom, Denise’s mom, Valerie, and Brenda’s mother-in-law, Jacci. They have all nurtured and loved me for many years; some of those years intersecting and some independent of the others, but on this special day they had all come together (with many other hands) to produce love and support in the form of a spaghetti dinner. Their quiet service will be burned (no pun intended!) into my heart and mind forever.

Lastly, but certainly not least was the ‘Alpine Army’ that descended upon the Union Station. This was an incredible coming together of my heart’s work from the past, with my present. I worked for Utah Youth Village for a decade and during my tenure was asked to help head up a Private Residential Treatment center for girls all over the nation (Alpine Academy). This endeavor occupied my mind and heart for the better part of five years and when I saw and hugged many of my old friends, who had brought these sweet and endearing girls from Alpine, I thought my heart would burst! I feel so thankful for the love and sacrifice of my Village family and recognize their service and love as a powerful JUNCTION between the past and present!

It is difficult to put into words the healing hugs, intimate conversations, and life altering acts of kindness that were rendered at the event. Please do not read the lack of written word as a lack of sentiment…Justin and I will be forever grateful for all the small and large acts and will hold them forever in our souls!

So as to not overwhelm, I will be sharing different experiences over the next couple of weeks. Here is the first: The Live Auction had started and I was looking around the room packed full of people and a buzz of excitement had filled the room. Kevin, the auctioneer, then announced that we would be bidding on the children’s art pieces.

Memories of the night the art was created came to my mind and I specifically remembered my duty to help the three 4 year olds (Eli, Jaxon, and Nick) with the painting that would later be titled, “Healing Hands”. Ironically, my hands had been burning and incredibly painful that entire week and I remember smiling to see my baby, and nephews move their hands through the cool paint making beautiful and unique imagines, which ran from one canvas to the other forming a JUNCTION between the three paintings. It made me forget about the pain for a while and I was so thankful.

These pleasant memories were soon replaced with the fact that I would quite possibly never see the painting again; I felt sad as the bidding started. Denise and Scott must have had similar thoughts and feelings and they started to bid on the piece. Every time Scott would put a bid in, a young man at the back of the room would bid higher and it went back and forth until the man at the back of the room was not even sitting down any more and took the bid from $800 to $1000. Scott knew he was defeated.

Incredibly, my heart sank and soared at the same time and I couldn’t believe the generosity of the supposed stranger at the back of the room. Then it happened! The powerful JUNCTION between events in my past and the present all culminating when a larger than life figure arose from the young man’s table and I finally recognized him as the father of an extraordinary young women that I had worked with a few years ago. He walked to the front of the room to pay for the painting. Tears were already coming down his face when he arrived at the table and he took me in his arms and simply said, “We want you to have it. Thank you for all you’ve done for our family.”

My heart dropped right into my stomach and tears sprung from my eyes and I just hugged him as tight as I possibly could. I needed him to feel my thankfulness. Could he feel it through a simple hug? How could he have known how much that painting meant to me? My body was shaking with overwhelming emotion. How could he know the magnitude of joy it would bring to my heart? I will treasure this incredible gesture for the rest of my life and count myself blessed.

I believe that Heavenly Father creates JUNCTIONS: places or points where things meet or converge in all of our lives because he loves us, and it may not come in the form of a 1,000 people coming together at one time, in one place, for one event, but it may take the form of one person, at one time, following through on one prompt…it could be a letter to a dear friend from long ago, a chance meeting on a hard day, or a simple smile. Whatever the form or circumstance, Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to progress, He recognizes the powerful memories housed in the “old rail cars” parked in our minds and sees the potential in us all to create the necessary forward motion of the “Front Runner”; both the old and the new forming a JUNCTION to a bigger and brighter potential for us all.

I will NEVER forget April 17th, 2010…its convergence changed my mind and my heart forever. I hope and pray that ‘Anything for a Friend’ will be like that Front Runner train rumbling on bringing this type of relief to many families in need. Thank you all. May God bless you for your goodness and sacrifice.

Love Forever,


'Mom's Heart' Moment:  Isaac had been enjoying the festivities of the evening and was completely spent.  He ended up falling asleep and was placed on one of the auction tables...There was a bid sheet placed by him...the bids started at 2 million!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Baskets of Love!

It has been a week full of crazy activity by a lot of dedicated and incredible people. I have been in awe to see the enormity of this event in its unfolding. On Wednesday a group of about ten women met together at Melissa Brenkman’s home to put the baskets together for the silent auction. Their efforts started at about 10 am and the last ones were leaving around 5:30 pm.

When I first walked into Melissa’s home I was greeted by her warm and loving smile and walked up the stairs to find the entire upstairs of her home engulfed in wicker baskets, raffia, bows, cellophane, and tissue paper. Amidst all of the paraphernalia, I saw the faces of people I had know almost my entire life and women I would be meeting for the first time that day. It was indeed another day on this journey where my heart changed! I was overcome with gratitude and a little confusion that there really were this many people that wanted to step forward and do anything they could for my family and I. It really was powerful to see love in action!

To give you an idea of the situation, Melissa’s kitchen and dining room was the BASKET assembly headquarters and was under the direction of none other than Brenda and manned for the entire day by Mindy, Melissa, Chris, and Lisa.

Just off the kitchen, in her living room, Diane, Jesse, Kambri, Sabra, Sandy, Jan and her daughter were in charge of taking the assembled BASKETS and wrapping them. They made everything look so beautiful and it happened fast. In fact, things were so nutty in this room…the highlighter was even wrapped into one of the BASKETS! Everyone paused to laugh and problem solve about how to retrieve the highlighter without hurting the BASKET  ;>

Once the BASKETS  were formed, numbered, and beautified they were taken down into the garage on a big blue tarp; and that gigantic blue tarp just kept getting smaller and smaller as the hours were passing on.

These were not the only rooms occupied in Melissa home; Denise was busy in Hannah’s room writing all of the descriptions for the items in the Live Auction, which were covering the sweet little girl’s bed and floor. Not even the master bedroom and bath were exempt from the onslaught, as hands were being painted, impressions preserved, and clean-up was happening. It was crazy and so fun!

My emotions were right on the surface as I watched them so skillfully take all of the beautiful donations and organize them into incredible BASKETS. It was truly unbelievable and reminded me of a miracle talked about in the New Testament! You remember! Christ had just heard of John the Baptist’s beheading and left the city for a little peace. The people of the city saw him leaving and ran along the shoreline to be taught. Christ had compassion on them, though the other disciples wanted him to tell them to go back into the Village and get their own food, Christ told the disciples to feed them. He then asked how many loaves they had and how many fishes they had. They told the Savior that there were five loaves and two fishes. The Savior took these loaves and fishes and blessed and broke them into twelve BASKETS…these five loaves and two fishes fed 5,000 people (Mark 6:30-44).

I couldn’t help but consider these miraculous BASKETS that were taken to feed the five thousand, as I watched the love and compassion of the women in Melissa’s home transform and multiple what had been given. At the end of this astonishing scene, there were over 150 baskets and as I think about the Savior’s loving example, I couldn’t have felt closer to Him than being surrounded by my friends that day. They were His hands on this earth and have been a huge part in bringing about something really astonishing at the ‘Anything for a Friend’ event. I am so grateful for the many, many selfless acts of charity that have brought this event together. The BASKETS themselves are symbolic of the weaving together of incalculable lives to form something of beauty and function. I feel like that has happened for my family and I and we are held within the BASKET of your love. Thank you. I am really excited to see all of you and hug and thank you all.

Love to you,


President Thomas S. Monson: “My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Angels Among Us!

A good friend played me the old Alabama song, “Angels Among us” the other day and it really got my mind thinking about the angels that have come out in droves during our time of need. I wanted to take a little bit of time to reflect on you!

When I allow myself to just be and just plain listen, I realize that not only was I born into a family of angels, I married into a family of angels who have been so loving, caring, and supportive. That has healed us!

We have also been blessed with an influx of renewed golden friendships and brand new friendships because of this situation. They have gathered around us, as if, coming right down from Heaven and we recognize that as an incredible blessing that we would never trade.

And, unbelievably we have also been the recipients of love and compassion from strangers and ‘friends of friends’. This has made our hearts almost burst with appreciation!

It is a truly amazing thing to be a part of prayers being answered because other people are listening, and I am here to say that I know many of you have truly listened and answered our prayers. We will be forever grateful. I wanted to share a couple stories with you.

The first happened Thursday at my Chemo session. I had just heard the news that the tumor was unchanged and was tucked into myself a bit when in walked Kambri (one of my new friends). It was her birthday---she was turning 10 and would be headed down to Primary Children’s on Friday for her next round of Chemo. Instead of doing what a regular 10 year old would do on her birthday, she chose to visit someone in need. She was an answer to prayer!  Thank you my dear friend.

Second, I had just been reading King Benjamin’s address in the first part of Mosiah, which states, “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17) and my mind continued to think about the truth behind that statement and how I needed to magnify myself in recognizing the needs of others. The doorbell rang and to my surprise there stood Lisa Unger (previously a stranger to me) with her arms laden with gifts. She had brought oversized coloring books for the boys and homemade treats, and then explained that she had made me some jewelry and had something to donate for the auction. At that point, I knew nothing about Lisa or her story, I was just standing there in utter amazement that someone cared enough to put forth that kind of effort for a complete stranger. What a kind and special spirit!

When I finally pulled myself together from the emotions of the moment, I realized that there was a card with the jewelry, which read ‘Judy’s Jewels’ and posted her blog spot (judysjewels7.blogspot.com). My tears started all over again when I realized that Lisa had lost her mom to cancer and instead of folding into herself and becoming bitter she listens and she brings relief to others dealing with cancer. I felt like I had just brushed up against an angel; an angel God had sent to comfort me. Thank you Lisa!

Third, on Saturday morning my hands were at the height of their burning and were so swollen and painful that I could not button my own pants or tie my own shoes (Justin, my angel, did that for me). I could do nothing but pray, so I did and in the prayer I simply acknowledged the need for pain and trial, and asked if there was anything that could be done with my hands. The day progressed, the burning did too and another knock came at the door. This time it was Shauna Frazier (a golden friend) she was bringing us dinner. As has become customary, she asked how I was doing and I told her fine and paused giving Justin just enough time to say, “Except for her hands!”

Shauna took one look at my hands and told us that she would be right back. She brought with her a prescription for firefighter’s hands (go figure!), a healing lotion, and some gel gloves. She was able, through her own life experience and listening to the spirit, to bring me relief; to answer my quiet prayer.  What an incredible angel!

These stories are but a sampling of the many, many angels that have answered our prayers. We are incredibly blessed people and through it all we recognize God’s goodness and His gentle hands intervening at appropriate times and many times that intervention has come in the form of His children serving one another. In this way, “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). Thank you all for your good souls and compassionate hearts. You are the angels among us!

“Mom’s Heart Moment”: On Sunday, I got up in testimony meeting and shared some of my thoughts and feelings. I had become quite emotional expressing my gratitude and sharing some of the things that had happened to make my heart so tender. On the way back to my seat, Isaac stood up and in a regular voice said, “Good job mom!” And, in case the congregation did not hear the first time, he repeated it several more times (progressively getting louder!) until I sat back down and he kissed me on the cheek. There were giggles and sighs going on all around us. I giggled myself knowing that was such an expression of his character.  I love my babies!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Daffodils and Rosebushes

This is my favorite time of the year! The grass starts to green, the birds start chirping again, and the beautiful spring flowers start to bloom. This year has seemed even more important, as I have anticipated the departure of the cold winter and the warmth of the inviting spring sun. It feels my heart and soul with hope.

As everyone is aware this has been a crazy April so far, full of almost every expression that Mother Nature has in her bag of tricks. With the wide swings from 70 degrees to 10 inches of snow in a 24 hour period of time, my mind has been drawn out in contemplation about the confusion that can sometimes existent for us here on this earth.

My thoughts have been focused on my daffodils and a spring storm a number of years ago. It was a typical spring in Utah (meaning there was nothing predictable about it), and our daffodils were out and beautiful. Their pretty yellow faces made me smile as they greeted the sun! These particular daffodils were growing up among the rosebushes, which inherently would not be a problem, but one night the winds came and the rain beat down. I found myself so concerned for the delicate daffodils. My concern heightened and so did the wind. The wind would bluster and blow, then pause only to pick up more speed and power; it was during the pauses that I worried and was sure that my tiny daffodils would never survive.

The next morning I assessed the carnage. To my surprise many of the flowers had sustained the harsh wind and rain and I felt blessed. As I scanned the flower beds, I noted that others had bent in the wind and were changed but unbroken; still others bowed and then snapped under the enormous pressure.

My heart dropped as my eyes focused on one daffodil. It had grown particularly close to a threatened rosebush, which meant that the rosebush had produced many thorns in defense of itself. This little flower tried to battle, but was thrown back and forth by the wind and was impelled on the thorns. The flower finally rested in the throes of the thorns.

I think we are like these daffodils! We are often caught in the storms of life and do not have the power to determine the circumstances that we are found in, but we can be incredibly resilient. We can become flexible in the midst of trial and gain strength in our core as we trust the ‘Keeper of the Garden’. Even when we have been resistant in the past and our flower has broken, there is still hope in the bulb and in the brightness of the coming spring.

Because of Christ’s gift for all of us, no matter if we stand strong through the storm, bend, or break; He is the source of all true and lasting strength, hope, and health (John 8:12). Even when I think about the daffodil that tried to be courageous and battle the wind and the rain, and still found itself in a winless situation; I know that Christ is the ‘Keeper of the Garden’ and is well aware of where we are planted (Jacob 5:21-22). God knows what experiences we will need in this life to draw strength into our souls and He loves us enough to provide these divine tutorials (Abraham 3:22-26).

For some of us it will be the knowledge that comes when we stand firm; for others of us, it will be the humility that comes when we are bent and changed forever; and for others of us still, we will be changed to the core when we are broken, possibly impelled by the dangers of this world, but He overcame all things if we but trust in Him and rely on His strength more than our own (Doctrine and Covenants 50:40-42). I am grateful for the peace that comes to me when I realize that even when life is threatening and the thorns of life are near, they can never remove my strength and determination to fight, and no matter the outcome of the battle I will be victorious because I know the true source of peace and happiness (Mosiah 2:41). Of that I am grateful!

‘Mom’s Heart’ moment: We were running some errands yesterday with my mom and dad, and I was able to sit in the back seat with my boys. Eli was holding my hand and thoughtfully said, “Mom, when are you going to be normal again?”

My mom must have anticipated how difficult that question would be for me and answered for me, saying, “It’s going to take some time before mommy’s back to normal.” Eli’s little head slumped forward and he took a deep breath in. So did I.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Could be good luck, could be bad!"

No flowery words or metaphors are coming to my mind today as I am swimming mentally and physically in the new medications from the Chemo session, but I know a lot of you are wondering about the results of the MRI scan that was taken one week ago.

As always, Dr. Stinnett was incredibly compassionate and professional in delivering the information from McKay Dee’s Radiation department (Dr. Babcook). Before he gave us the results I couldn’t help but see a look of concern flash across his face as he tried to lessen the blow. He said, “You remember from the beginning, these tumors can do one of three things, they can get better, stay the same, or get worse. Your tumor has stayed the same!”

I can’t lie, my heart sunk into my stomach and I swallowed back the tears. Dr. Stinnett went on to talk about treatment options and our shared optimism. The fact of the matter is that my tumor has not responded in a normal fashion right from the beginning. It has invasive and non-invasive cells, so in the wisdom filled words of my sweet father-in-law, “Could be good luck, could be bad!”

Thank you for your continue love, support, and prayers. I know that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. He is in charge of this process; not me, not the doctors, and certainly not the cancer itself and I know He loves me—in that way I am more than OK.

I will write more later….Love,


Monday, April 5, 2010


I have escaped most of the common side effects tied to the Chemotherapy so far and feel extremely blessed. There is, however, one not so common side effect to the Doxorubicin that has hit and sparked some thoughts for me. The side effect is burning and pain in my hands! It is difficult to describe except by saying that it feels like the Chemo is coming out through my hands and they have been burnt in the process. It feels like I have blisters in the cracks and folds of my hands, and swelling throughout. This pain has become progressively more intense, making it difficult to bend my fingers or clasp items.

As has been the case with this entire journey with cancer, my mind has been caught up in a greater meaning behind the pain. With an increase of focus on my hands, it draws my mind out to another set of hands and especially during this Easter time, I wanted to express some of my thoughts about Christ and what He chose to do with His hands.

There is a song entitled, “His Hands” by Kenneth Cope and the lyrics are perfect for the thoughts that I been forming in my mind:
                                                      His hands
                                                 Tools of creation
Stronger than nations
Power without end
And yet through them
We find our truest friend.
His hands
Sermons of kindness
Healing man’s blindness

Halting years of pain
Children waiting to be held again.
His hands
Lifting a leper
Warming a beggar
Calling back the dead

Breaking bread
Five thousand fed

His hands
Hushing contention
Pointing to Heaven

Ever free of sin
Then bidding man
To follow Him
His hands would serve His whole life through
Showing man what he might do
Giving, ever giving endlessly.
Each day was filled with selflessness
And I’ll not rest
‘Til I make of my hands what they could be
‘Til these hands become like those from Galilee
His hands
Clasp in agony
As he lay pleading
Bleeding in the garden

While just moments away
Other hands betray Him out of greed

Shameful greed
And then His hands
Are trembling
Straining to carry
The beam that they’d been nailed to
As He stumbles through the streets
Heading for the hill
On which He’d die
He would die

They take His hands
His mighty hands
Those gentle hands
And then they pierce them
They pierce them
He lets them
Because of love
From birth to death
Was selflessness
And clearly now

I see Him with His hands calling to me
And though I’m not yet as I would be
He has shown me how I could be
I will make my hands like those from Galilee.

So, at the end of the day, hands hurting or heart hurting, I am grateful for the reminder of Christ’s perfect hands and the fact that He chose to love and serve with His hands. I hope and pray that I can follow His example and serve those who are in need (Deut. 15:7-8, 11; Psalms 63:4).

I am so excited to report that the proliferation of ‘Anything for a Friend’ is at hand and it is clear that God does indeed ‘turn all things for your good’ (Doctrine and Covenants 98:3.) I am grateful to be part of something so wonderful; something that will serve and bring relief to countless families. This is an incredible blessing and I thank Heavenly Father for the insight that Brenda and Denise have received throughout this process in bringing this concept to life. They are truly powerful women in HIS HANDS (Mosiah 23:10)!

I know the pain and burning in my hands will eventually subside, but I hope to never lose the feeling that has been created and the reliance that I have formed on my Heavenly Father. It is worth all the pain because I know it is not in vain.

Mormon 5:23: Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power…?

'Mom's Heart' moment: On Saturday night we were talking with the boys about the true meaning of the Easter celebration; showing pictures of Christ and talking about what he did for us, when Eli's eyes got brighter and bigger than usual and he turned to Justin and said, "Dad, do you have Jesus' phone number?"  (The antecedent to his question being his memorization of his grandma's numbers ).

Justin smiled and said, "Yes I do!"  Eli was even more intrigued as Justin went on, "it's called prayer."

I felt grateful for the insight and the fact that Justin jumped on this teaching moment, when Eli burst into uncontrolled laughter...We'll have to continue teaching powerful concepts...over and over!