Saturday, December 28, 2013

Not so subtle satan

I am a bit slower than what I used to be, for the better,I hope, I noticed this past Thanksgiving how Black Friday is the day after the day we show gratitude for all that we have?! I am glad to have learned that after 'Cyber-Monday,' it is National 'Giving-Tuesday. Calm down Curtis and take your chill pill.
I am scared at the way things are going, but was reminded of President Packers remarks about him seeing the future as positive in the last LDS General Conference by one of Lex and my friends from high school Antoinette France. I am comforted that we are blessed by a loving Heavenly Father with Prophets to help us fortify our families and communities against the not so subtle attacks on us.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


'Tis the season to be thinking about them, using them as motivation for our kids, "You better watch out . . . ." Believe me being home all day with my kiddos, I am able to see the leverage of having an elf on the shelf not just during this time of year, but all year long. Something about "I need a little Christmas right this very moment. . . . "
C.S. Lewis writes as the senior devil in The Screwtape Letters to Wormwood the  devil in training about the 'present,' "We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow's end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered to them in the present." I have so much to be happy for right now in my life. I tell my therapists when I am struggling with a task as easy as bending over to pick something off the floor, that I can do this TBI because I get to see my kids run and play unhindered as kids should be. I have a life full of loving people who make me CHAMPION in there eyes for being a miracle that I have no credit in taking credit for. It is only through my Savor Jesus Christ and his cleansing and enabling atonement that I am able to find the courage to continue to make my best effort to fight the good fight
.With that in mind I have given my over-worked wheelchair the next two weeks off,since Lex is home for Christmas break, I have no excuse of being worried that I will fall and get stuck on the floor. I have used that as a crutch to keep in my wheelchair at home, so that my kids won't have that added trauma in their life. I have found that after going to church and having so many friends come and tell me that I looked great and that they were amazed, I probably should have done this a while ago.
The other day. Lex and I got some Christmas shopping done and were both apologetic at the unglamourisness of the gifts that we have for each other. It made me realize how I had missed the 'present' part of Christmas. Yes, we want to get our loved ones gifts that say, "I love you and am grateful for you in my life," but how do I put a price tag on a picture from my kids, or my neighbors knocking on my door when it is 10 degrees outside to sing me a Christmas Carol?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Return with honor: Mission Memoirs#6

Over a year on my mission and I was still a Jr. comp. I was frustrated and yet scared to become a senior companion. I am a complex person of often opposing emotions, not alone but lonely at times. So it was with excitement and a healthy dose of humility, being humble and not humiliated was written to be in a letter by my Pa at some point in my mission, that I was called to be senior companion to Elder Goodman from California in a mining town that was settled originally by Europeans and was in the shape of a Roman Helmet. The center being the main plaza and church with the major business and government agencies surrounding that,then layers of residential cookie-cut houses. It was a cultural experience, a two hour bus ride from the zone's central city of Chenarral.
Elder Goodman confided in me,telling me that he was mad at first to be called as my Jr. companion and was planning on giving me a hard time about it until he met me and found out that I was a "nice guy, just doing my best." It was rewarding to have won him over and to have had my prayers answered about my petty concerns of being an agreeable companion, as a Jr. myself all my Seniors were not only agreeable hard-workers, they were all in leadership positions too.
After two weeks of knocking on doors and trying my best to be the senior comp who wasn't all about the numbers. I got a call from my mission President Call asking me how the work was going. He laughed and reminded me that in the nearest town the Elders were the branch presidents of their area, that the work I was to do in El Salvador was a bit different than what I had been doing. It was yet another answer to my prayers of wanting desperately to know what in the world I was doing. A feeling of being lost gave way to losing myself in working with the branch members.I was surprised and excited to stay in El Salvador to be Senior companion to Elder Ardilles, my first native companion.He was very pacient with me, the skinny gringo.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Chill pill

There is a new reality that I deal with post TBI, One of these changes in the new reality for me is that I have a shorter fuse and am more prone to fly off the handle.I brought this up to my neurodoc, Dr. Speed. He has me medicated for anxiety and depression, so I was medicated for his safety and mine when he told me that this was common in TBI patients and a medication that they use for seizures and epilepsy has helped, I am a few weeks in on taking my 'chill pill' and have not strangled any of my kids, no promises for the future, but so far so good.This is how I now deal with not having all the answers right now, something about praying for patience but expecting it right now.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Isn't this suppose to be getting easier?

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased" -Ralph Waldo Emerson I found this in a General Conference talk titled The Power of Self-Mastery by President Faust in April 2000. I believe that this is true and see it in my life everywhere especially in my physical progress.
As I have always done with life's questions, I tend to over think things, Dr. Jeff Robinson once told me that, "you are very introspective, but that did not mean that you are any good at it!" So, I like to look at both sides of things for better or worse. The other side to self -mastery and therapy in life is that life's therapy gets more and more challenging the more we are able to do, take my Abby girl learning in second grade now to read chapter books, instead of picture books and in math adding and subtracting up to the thousands place.
On a moral/spiritual plain, in a talk by Brad Wilcox he describes the world on a downward escalator morally, so to even keep in a stagnant or stable position, one has to be actively working. In a sense our life is always an uphill climb, 'both ways as it is snowing on the way to school.' such is the price of growth.
I recently text this quote to everyone in my contacts on my phone, so if you got it thinking you were special, you are! This comes from 'The Gospel of Second Chances,' "If you have problems in your life,don't assume there is something wrong with you. Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life's purpose.As we draw closer to God, He will show us our weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger. If you are seeing more of your weaknesses that just might mean you are drawing closer to God and not further away"-Bruce C. Haven
In one of my many discouraged moments, I reached out to my Bishop, Jeremy Sorensen and asked him this same question of expecting my trials more manageable. He text me back that, "You are not a fool. You are a child of God and entitled to His blessings. To become as He is requires great struggle. It won't get easier, but your trust in the enabling power of the atonement will strengthen you.I have loads to learn about this enabling power."I read today in Some Miracles Take Time by Art E. Berg, "My dreams are being fulfilled, not in spite of my struggles, but because of them." I have always wanted to help others and now I have an opportunity to show my Heavenly Father's power in my own life. A dear friend Elise Christensen wrote me a letter with the saying,"I am not the man I want to be, but I am not the man I was yesterday." That is the miracle that I have in my own glacerly slow progress. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Musical moments of learning

A month of musicals:
Lex did her school's production of 'Bye, bye Birdie' and I loved seeing most of her students find themselves on stage and loving the thrill of preforming as she does. "Gifts are given to be given away"-The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Thank you Babe for shinning in your own performances and transfering that to your students as their director.  Brilantcy strikes again!
Lex and I went and saw HTC's production of 'Brigadoon.' Here are some of my moments that caused me to reflect on my own life:When the male lead discovers that he only appreciates something when it is gone, the fact that not everything in his life makes sense, and that love is the most important take home lesson.
Our Abby girl was in her school's production of 'HONK,' thanks to the family members who came and helped this not so shy girl's stage fright and longing to follow in her mom's footsteps to "break a leg" on stage. I loved Ugly's Different, the bullfrog's Warts and All, and Drake's Joys of Motherhood reprise, some how I could relate to all three of these.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


No, I really don't think so . . . ."()Another shout out to any country music lovers out there to help me source this.
Lex sang this at my grandparent's wedding anniversary and I heard it again at my sister-in-law's wedding. It made me think about a conversation I had with my PT Amy at Neuroworx about what 'normal' really is?Amy is a fellow undergrad in Psych, so she humors me at how smart I think I am in my text book spouting terminology, again, I have them all well trained to feed into my narcissism, but that is an ordinary/normal thing for me to humbly do.