Saturday, July 25, 2015

Lots to Learn

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1) That Kevin was able to Barrow's Neurological Rehabilitation Center!  They are totally amazing!  As Kevin said, "There are so many people here advocating for my success here!"  They are incredible!  Thank you. 

2) That my Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.  I know it has been through those tender mercies my Heavenly Father has given me that I am blessed to still have my husband with me, and that is a wonderful thing.


From the Camera:

Check out all the bruises on Kevin's arms.  This was just from the IV sticks he received, and this is just one arm.  The vampire got him good, don't you think?  




From the Craft Room and Other Cool Things:

Aren't these wreaths super cute!
They are made from antique Slinky toys.
How cool is that????



From the Spirit and Heart:

The Balm of Gilead by: Boyd K Packard
October 1977 General Conference

My message is an appeal to those who are worried or restless or anxious, a plea to those who are not at peace. If your life is touched with disappointment, grief, or bitterness; if you struggle constantly with worry, frustration, with shame or anxiety, I speak to you.
The Bible records that in ancient times there came from Gilead, beyond the Jordan, a substance used to heal and soothe. It came, perhaps, from a tree or shrub, and was a major commodity of trade in the ancient world. It was known as the Balm of Gilead. That name became symbolic for the power to soothe and heal.
The lyrics of a song record:
There is a Balm in Gilead,
To make the wounded whole,
There is a Balm in Gilead,
To heal the sin sick soul.
I recently asked a doctor of family medicine how much of his time was devoted purely to correcting physical disorders. He has a large practice, and after thoughtfully considering, he answered, “Not more than 20 percent. The rest of the time I seem to be working on problems that very much affect the physical well-being of my patients but do not originate in the body.
“These physical disorders,” the doctor concluded, “are merely symptoms of some other kind of trouble.”
In recent generations one after another of the major diseases has yielded to control or cure. Some very major ones still remain, but we now seem able to do something about most of them.
There is another part of us, not so tangible, but quite as real as our physical body. This intangible part of us is described as mind, emotion, intellect, temperament, and many other things. Very seldom is it described as spiritual.
But there is a spirit in man; to ignore it is to ignore reality. There are spiritual disorders, too, and spiritual diseases that can cause intense suffering.
The body and the spirit of man are bound together. Often, very often, when there are disorders, it is very difficult to tell which is which.
There are basic rules of physical health that have to do with rest, nourishment, exercise, and with abstaining from those things which damage the body. Those who violate the rules one day pay for their foolishness.
There are also rules of spiritual health, simple rules that cannot be ignored, for if they are we will reap sorrow by and by.
All of us experience some temporary physical sickness. All of us now and again may be spiritually ill as well. Too many of us, however, are chronically spiritually sick.
We don’t need to stay that way. We can learn to avoid spiritual infections and maintain good spiritual health. Even though we have a serious physical ailment, we can be spiritually healthy.
If you suffer from worry, from grief or shame, from jealousy, disappointment, or envy, I have something to tell you.
Somewhere near your home there is a vacant corner lot. Although adjoining yards may be well tended, a vacant corner lot somehow is always full of weeds.
There is a footpath across it, a bicycle trail, and ordinarily it is a collecting place for junk. First someone threw a few lawn clippings there. They would not hurt anything. Someone added a few sticks and limbs from a nearby yard. Then came a few papers and a plastic bag, and finally some tin cans and old bottles were included.
And there it was—a junkyard.
The neighbors did not intend it to be that. But little contributions from here and there made it so.
This corner lot is like, so very much like, the minds of many of us. We leave our minds vacant and empty and open to trespass by anyone. Whatever is dumped there we keep.
We would not consciously permit anyone to dump junk into our minds, not old cans and bottles. But after lawn clippings and papers, the other things just don’t seem all that much worse.
Our minds can become veritable junk heaps with dirty, cast-off ideas that accumulate there little by little.
Years ago I put up some signs in my mind. They are very clearly printed and simply read: “No trespassing.” “No dumping allowed.” On occasions it has been necessary to show them very plainly to others.
I do not want anything coming into my mind that does not have some useful purpose or some value that makes it worth keeping. I have enough trouble keeping the weeds down that sprout there on their own without permitting someone else to clutter my mind with things that do not edify.
I’ve hauled a few of these away in my lifetime. Occasionally I’ve tossed these thoughts back over the fence where they came from, when it could be done in a friendly manner.
I’ve had to evict some thoughts a hundred times before they would stay out. I have never been successful until I have put something edifying in their place.
I do not want my mind to be a dumping place for shabby ideas or thoughts, for disappointments, bitterness, envy, shame, hatred, worry, grief, or jealousy.
If you are fretting over such things, it’s time to clean the yard. Get rid of all that junk! Get rid of it!
Put up a “no trespassing” sign, a “no dumping” sign, and take control of yourself. Don’t keep anything that will not edify you.
The first thing a doctor does with a wound is to clean it out. He gets rid of all foreign matter and drains off infection—however much it hurts.
Once you do that spiritually, you will have a different perspective. You will have much less to worry about. It is easy to get all mixed up about worry.
Somewhere there is a message in the protest of a man who said: “You can’t tell me worry doesn’t help. The things I worry about never happen.”
Many years ago I was taught a lesson by a man I admired very much. He was as saintly a man as I have ever known. He was steady and serene, with a deep spiritual strength that many drew upon.
He knew just how to minister to others who were suffering. On a number of occasions I was present when he gave blessings to those who were sick or otherwise afflicted.
His life had been a life of service, both in the Church and in the community.
He had presided over one of the missions of the Church and looked forward to the annual missionary reunion. When he was older he was not able to drive at night, and I offered to take him to the reunions.
This modest gesture was repaid a thousandfold.
On one occasion when we were alone and the spirit was right, he gave me a lesson for my life from an experience in his. Although I thought I had known him, he told me things I would not have supposed.
He grew up in a little community. Somehow in his youth he had a desire to make something of himself and struggled successfully to get an education.
He married a lovely young woman, and presently everything in his life was just right. He was well employed, with a bright future. They were deeply in love, and she was expecting their first child.
The night the baby was to be born there were complications. The only doctor was somewhere in the countryside tending to the sick. They were not able to find him. After many hours of labor the condition of the mother-to-be became desperate.
Finally the doctor arrived. He sensed the emergency, acted quickly, and soon had things in order. The baby was born and the crisis, it appeared, was over.
Some days later the young mother died from the very infection that the doctor had been treating at the other home that night.
My friend’s world was shattered. Everything was not right now; everything was all wrong. He had lost his wife, his sweetheart. He had no way to take care of a tiny baby and at once tend to his work.
As the weeks wore on his grief festered. “That doctor should not be allowed to practice,” he would say. “He brought that infection to my wife; if he had been careful she would be alive today.” He thought of little else, and in his bitterness he became threatening.
Then one night a knock came at his door. A little youngster said, simply, “Daddy wants you to come over. He wants to talk to you.”
“Daddy” was the stake president. A grieving, heartbroken young man went to see his spiritual leader. This spiritual shepherd had been watching his flock and had something to say to him.
The counsel from this wise servant was simply: “John, leave it alone. Nothing you do about it will bring her back. Anything you do will make it worse. John, leave it alone.”
My friend told me then that this had been his trial, his Gethsemane.
How could he leave it alone? Right was right! A terrible wrong had been committed, and somebody must pay for it.
He struggled in agony to get hold of himself. It did not happen at once. Finally he determined that whatever else the issues were, he should be obedient.
Obedience is a powerful spiritual medicine. It comes close to being a cure-all.
He determined to follow the counsel of that wise spiritual leader. He would leave it alone.
Then he told me, “I was an old man before I finally understood. It was not until I was an old man that I could finally see a poor country doctor—overworked, underpaid, run ragged from patient to patient, with little proper medicine, no hospital, few instruments. He struggled to save lives, and succeeded for the most part.
“He had come in a moment of crisis when two lives hung in the balance and had acted without delay.
“I was an old man,” he repeated, “before finally I understood. I would have ruined my life,” he said, “and the lives of others.”
Many times he had thanked the Lord on his knees for a wise spiritual leader who counseled simply, “John, leave it alone.”
And that is my counsel to you. If you have festering sores, a grudge, some bitterness, disappointment, or jealousy, get hold of yourself. You may not be able to control things out there with others, but you can control things here, inside of you.
I say, therefore: John, leave it alone. Mary, leave it alone.
You may need a transfusion of spiritual strength to be able to do this. Then just ask for it. We call that prayer. Prayer is powerful, spiritual medicine. The instructions for its use are found in the scriptures.
One of our sacred hymns carries this message:
Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray? …
When your soul was full of sorrow,
Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?
O how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day;
So when life gets dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.
All of us carry excess baggage around from time to time, but the wisest ones among us don’t carry it for very long. They get rid of it.
Some of it you have to get rid of without really solving the problem. Some things that ought to be put in order are not put in order because you can’t control them.
Often, however, the things we carry are petty, even stupid. If you are still upset after all these years because Aunt Clara didn’t come to your wedding reception, why don’t you grow up? Forget it.
If you brood constantly over some past mistake, settle it—look ahead.
If the bishop didn’t call you right—or release you right—forget it.
If you resent someone for something he has done—or failed to do—forget it.
We call that forgiveness. It is powerful, spiritual medicine. The instructions for its use are found in the scriptures.
I repeat: John, leave it alone. Mary, leave it alone. Purge and cleanse and soothe your soul and your heart and your mind.
It will then be as though a cloudy, dirty film has been erased from the world around you; and though the problem may remain, the sun will come out. The beam will have been lifted from your eyes. There will come a peace that surpasseth understanding.
A great significant message of the gospel of Jesus Christis exemplified by the title given to Him: the Prince of Peace. If we follow Him, we can have that individually and collectively.
He has said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.)
If you, my brother or sister, are troubled, there is at hand, not just in Gilead, a soothing, healing balm.
Consider this:
“If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:14–18.)
I bear witness of Him who is the Great Comforter and as one authorized to bear that witness testify that He lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen
From the Kitchen:

Maple Caramel Bacon Crack

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time:  25 minutes
Total time:  40 minutes
Serves:  6-8 people

Highly addictive, sweet, smoky, and so easy, this Maple Caramel Bacon Crack is your one-way ticket to flavor town!  The four simple ingredients are probably in your pantry right now!  Once you go bacon crack, you can't go back.  LOL!

Ingredients:
1 pound bacon
1 package Pillsbury crescent rolls
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar

Instructions:
1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and liberally grease the foil with cooking spray.  Unroll the crescent rolls into one single plane of dough and pinch any perforations together to seal.  Stretch the dough out a little with your hands so it's even.  Prick the dough with a fork all over.  Set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, cook your bacon.  I like cooking mine in a skillet, but you can bake it--whichever you prefer.  Cook it until it's technically safe enough to eat and just about done, but still lighter in color and not quite crispy.  You don't want it fully cooked and crispy as it will continue to cook in the oven.  I pulled mine out of the pan right when they were a medium-pink color.

3.  Drizzle 1/4 cup of the maple syrup over the crescent roll dough.  Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the brown sugar.  Top with torn pieces of the cooked bacon.  Drizzle the remaining maple syrup on top of the bacon pieces, and top with the remaining brown sugar.

4.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until bubbling and caramelized.  Remove from the oven and allow the pan to come to room temperature or warm to the touch before cutting or breaking into pieces.  You can serve this at room temperature or slightly warmed.  It tastes best the day of, but can be eaten the next day if stored airtight. 


From the Schmidt's:

A lot as happened in our lives over the past 2 1/2 weeks.
Things we never would have dreamed could happen.
I was reading an article and watching a movie about a woman with ALS when it just hit me and I burst into tears.
It hit me like a ton of bricks and, as you can imagine, all kinds of thoughts were running through my mind.  Thankfully Danielle was on her way over to our house and we talked about a few things.  The one and only thing that got us to calm down was the knowledge that even though it is hard seeing Kevin not be able to move anything from his waist down, we still have so much to be thankful for.  We still have Kevin and we are not dealing with something that will take him away from us.  Sure, we will have to learn to deal with other things that could complicate his life, but all-in-all, we are very blessed!  Yes, Kevin most likely will have to learn to live out his remaining days in a wheelchair.  Yes, Kevin may never walk again.  Yes, Kevin will have to learn certain life sustaining skills over the course of the next several weeks.  Yes, we will have to make adjustments around the house.  Yes, we will have to install a ramp to get into the front door.  A very specific kind of ramp too.  Yes, the hospital has ordered a new wheelchair.  Yes, I will have to measure all the doors and areas Kevin will need to get in and out of.  Yes, we may have to devote one bathroom just to Kevin and all of his things.  Yes, it could take months, years, or not at all, for Kevin to begin to use his legs again.  Time will tell.

But this we do know....
Yes, this may be life changing, but it is not life ending!  We are still together on this earth as a family.  I think the Rehabilitation Center is wise to put strict limits on visitors over the next week to week and a half.  And then, still very limited visitations.  I think they do this because this is life changing.  Not only for the person going through this, but for their spouse and children too, and we need time to come to grips with all of this together before anyone else comes around.  Honestly, it's going to take a lot longer than a week or two for all of us.  

Tonight it hit Kevin too.  We talked a little bit while the girls were in the room, but we had them go and sit in the waiting area while Kevin and I discussed a couple of things.  Kevin just broke down, which caused me to break down too.  Kevin said that there were some things that he learned today that are really opening his eyes to what we will be learning to deal with and it was getting to him. 

I mentioned before that I was watching the tail end of a movie about a woman that developed ALS after she was married.  This women met another woman who also had ALS and they became fast friends.  One day, this new friend became ill and eventually passed away.  When the husband spoke at his wife's funeral he mentioned that he and his departed wife were not sad that she had developed ALS because it had opened so many doors for his wife.  He said she was able to break down barriers because she had ALS.  He also said that they had a closer relationship as husband and wife because of ALS and he said, do not be sad that his wife had ALS, because we are not sad.  ALS was a blessing that allowed them to have 44 wonderful years of marriage together.  Now, how awesome is that??!!!  So, I shared this story with Kevin, because I do not want him to think that this spinal cord injury or paralysis will become a barrier for him or us.  I want him to remember our friends Ron and Pamela Courteau who both are such examples to everyone around us that physical limitations are not an excuse to not live life to the fullest.  I sit and look at both of them and I am so grateful for their example and friendship.  They have been friends for a long time now and we love them.  I am so grateful that we have them in our lives to use as a pattern for what our new beginning could be like.  

I'm sure Kevin and I will have good and bad days.  We are still learning, growing and trying.  It's going to take us some time to get use to this.  But we will.  We will and we will be stronger for it and closer too.  That I know!  

I mentioned before that I had a Grandfather that lost both of his legs at a fairly young adult age.  There isn't a childhood memory that I have of my Grandfather that did not include him sitting in his wheelchair or him letting me ride and play in it.  I remember thinking this set of Grandparent's not being as well off as the other set of Grandparent's, and I was totally amazed when they offered to fly me from Arizona to California all by myself  when I was in about 4th grade to spend a week with them.  We went to Disneyland, the Queen Mary, the Spruce Goose, and countless other places together.  Each time we got into the car, my Grandfather drove.  I was totally amazed by that and I will never forget their example.  Nothing stopped him!  If there was something he wanted to do, he did it!  My Grandfather passed away some time before I married Kevin, but I will never forget his example.

It's interesting how life works, don't you think?  I am constantly amazed how some people come into your life so you can learn from them, and other come into your life for you to teach them something.  I know that it was designed to work that way.  We certainly are here to learn to help one another. Sometimes it just takes some time figure that out.  

Well, this has been quite the day.  Lots to take in.
I have several things to do.  I was given a packet of homework to fill out and return to the hospital so they can determine if Kevin will be able to get around when he is here at home.  I have errands to run, cleaning to do, and of course, a hospital visit on the agenda for tomorrow.  Kevin went for a wheelchair ride around the hospital today.  We are hoping to do it again tomorrow too.  They are working on building Kevin's upper body strength to help him be able to move around on his own.  He will eventually have to learn to catheterize himself too.  Not exactly something he is looking forward to, since he cannot feel his lower body he cannot sense when he needs to go, so they have to work around all of that.  Lots of retraining and things.  Not exactly fun, that is for sure!

Well, I should go.  Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.

From the Missionary:

Check out these great photos of Curtis and the gang when they just got off the plane in New York!  









Quote of the Day:

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