Friday, February 28, 2014

My Immediate Fam:

Lex's family  blog is named 'Fudge'  because of a saying that she found:
 "Families are like fudge, mostly sweet, with lots of nuts!"

Pa: Being my best friend, He told me that when he got to the hospital after the accident, he had to pray and make sure that before he gave me a blessing  that his will of getting me back was the right thing to bless me with, because he knew that he wanted me back.

Momsy: I am not surprised and find it symbolic, yes this is me attempting to make sense of everything in my life, that my first memory of waking up after the accident is seeing my Mom sitting over me smiling, I excitedly said, “Hi, Mom!” she cried of course. One of my sacred memories with my Mom sums up our relationship: Years ago, I was confused and mad, both an understatement, I grabbed my phone on her kitchen counter to leave. She stopped me, taking my phone and asking me, “Curtis, where are you going? Everyone who loves you is here.”

Dr. Neal: I did not have a great relationship with my older brother growing up, something about me being a taddeltail, it is nice to have that in the past tense, would have been better not to have it at all, but life happens. I have been amazed at how much we have both changed. He is one of my best examples as a father, loving and spending time with his kids. He gets down on the floor and plays with them, I love seeing that.

Hermano Matt: His name means, 'gift of God' and he is that for me. People ask me what it is like to be a twin? I respond with my own question, what is it like not being a twin? I have already mentioned how hard of a worker that he is. I was able to see him in his 'element' last month and again recently, when he did a probono eye exam for me up at the Moran. He is my ‘keeper’ and continually checks in on me, as well as puts up with me calling him at least every other day.

Kevy: The cool kid, yes it was me who stole your clothes when you left on your mission.I cannot help to laugh when people ask me if I am Kevin's brother.

Amyers: The sibling that I wish was living next door, of course to appreciate that feeling of longing she is currently living in Chicago and I am here in Utah.

Lacers: My "Person" in my fam, we just get each other.

we have a close-knit extended family on both sides, I claim many others as family, friends from school, my mission and neighborhood, as well as my in-laws, they each deserve their own post. This is just a start. I love you all and am CHAMPION  because of you and your love.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Looking back

I broke my phone that had the Evernote app on it, which I used to keep notes for these posts.I am still trying to figure out my new phone, It is hard when your phone is smarter than you are. It was comforting to have this app for the times when I woke up with a brilliant idea and did not want to forget it.
I am amazed at the hope that has replaced fear, It has not been easy, but I have had the greatest motivation of a loving family and a commitment to being as CHAMPION as they deserve. I never thought that there would be a time when I would be able to say: I remember when . . .
I was afraid to walk around the block
 Coleman was in diapers
I couldn't get upstairs to sleep in my bed
My Abby was afraid to swim
'Sundowning' was not just some Psych term, but a daily personal mental battle
I couldn't shower by myself
I thought that I couldn't read
I would miss running("People run for fun?"-Back tot he Future)
That I used to feel exhausted all the time
It is important for me to see how far I have come, as I have a tendency to only look at how far I have yet to go.The view just keeps getting better and better, do to the increase in ability,the price paid for it knowing that I am not alone, and the enabling power of the atonement. My twin brother Matt text me this quote from Elder Maxwell, "The perks of discipleship are such that if we see a stretch limousine pulling up we know it is not for us. God's plan is not the plan of pleasure, it is the plan of happiness.(Oct. 200)" I add my humble testimony to his.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mission Memoirs: Return with honor #7

With the experience of having my first native companion under my belt, I was transferred to Antofagasta to be companions with elder Manzano from Columbia.We worked hard to be an example companionship to the other Elders we lived with and that were in our district. We had a great ward to work with and some families invited us to teach their friends. The zone leader there kept teasing me that in the next transfer I was headed to replace on of the zone leaders on his way out. I passed it off as him trying to keep me motivated to work hard and didn't think much of it until transfers came, all too soon, and I was called to be the zone leader in Tocapilla, a town on the coast that existed because of it's power plant that supplied the power to the inland mines. I was terrified again, but knew that as President Thomas S. Monson promised, “When we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.(Duty Calls, May Ensign 1996)” "I also knew that “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise: and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Cor. 1:27.)

A warning for all of us who feel weak:He will use us, as long as we are willing. I learned love as I have never experienced in my service.This is why I write about my mission; The growth I experienced there serves me everyday as a foundation for continued growth in service. It is something that I own, apart from anyone else. It was my two years to give.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Did you ever wonder how your dog feels when . . . .

you get home?
 you take him/her for a walk?
or even go for a drive?
Oh, the things I can relate to now. I am a dog person, nothing against cats, other than Lex is allergic to them.
I am more of a homebody than I ever have been, yes it's TBI related. So, when someone I like comes home, rarely is there anybody who I do not like coming home to my home, I get as excited as a puppy to see them. The same comparison goes for getting me out for a stroll around the block or to the park, as well as ridding in the car. I try to notice everything that has changed since the last time I was out. My attention is focused on everything and therefore nothing, going from one thing to the next so excitedly and rapidly a dog would have a hard time keeping up.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Don't hit a dead skunk

On our way to and from therapy on Thursday my Pa said that he knows that spring is coming because he passed several dead skunks on his way out to pick me up. On our way home we were chatting about my blog and he suggested that this would make a good post as a life lesson, "The only one that gets hurt when you hit a dead skunk is you, it's not like the skunk cares." Ah, how the trivial takes on timeless wisdom when you look for it. Having eyes to see, ears to hear and a nose to smell, phew, stinky.
I am reminded of a story that Micheal Wilcox shares about a landfill in Idaho that now has an airport and a park where it used to be, not only that but because of the landfill these places now exist. He asks how people would feel if he, knowing that some of the garbage in the landfill was his, went to the park or the airport and started to dig looking for it.And so it is he emphasizes with our sins that we have repended of, don't go digging around for something our Savior has already taken care of.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Just for Today . . ."

I found this in Dale Carnegie's How to Stop Worrying and Start Living He gives credit to Sibyl F. Partrige. I found this online to cut copy and paste on," a site I will be returning to:
  1. I will be happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that "most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Happiness is from within. It is not a matter of externals.
  2.  I will try to adjust to myself to what is and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business,  and my luck as they come and fit myself to them
  3. will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse or neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.
  4. I will try to strengthen my mind. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought, and concentration.
  5.  I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do someone a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two chores I don't want to do, as William James suggests, just for exercise.
  6. I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, speak diplomatically, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, nor find fault with anything, and not try to regulate or improve anyone.
  7. I will try to live through this day only, not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.
  8. I will have a program. I will write down what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will eliminate two pests: hurrying and indecision.
  9. I will have a quiet half hour by myself and relax. In this half hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.   
  10. I will be unafraid. Particularly, I will be unafraid to be happy; to enjoy what is beautiful; to love; and to believe that those I love, love me."  
Making it mine: 
  1. 1  My CHAMPION effort. My friend and lead therapist at Neuroworx Jan Black gives me a hard time when, no matter the day or who is asking me, I respond that I am doing CHAMPION. She tells me that, "Not everyday can be CHAMPION Curtis!" I am working on the rest of her staff to help me teach her that CHAMPION isn't what happens to you, but what you do with the day.
  2.  My choice/will is the only thing that I have power over, it is my ability to respond; my responsibility to give it my best.
  3. Do what you can with what you got. Every morning I am grateful for the ability I have to breath on my own, see, hear, and taste/eat, as well as the mobility that I have and thanks to Neuroworx's help and motto "Pushing for More."
  4. I love that I can read,loose myself in a story or connect in a way I never thought was possible with others. Lex had an in-service a few moths ago by an founder of the Jeffersonian thought of education  he mentioned to the staff that they should read multiple books on a variety of subjects at the same time. she said that she could not help to think of me.
  5.  I get to do good turns all day as Mr. Mom. I also love writing notes to people who impress me during the week.I have a love/hate relationship with cleaning, I love to clean, there is something therapeutic in it for me, but I also tend to be a product of my environment, if things are not just so, and with any amount of kiddos running around that's part of life, I tend to be anxious.
  6. If there is one so far that I see myself needing the most work, It is here. I wheel myself around the house correcting my boys at every chance.We even have a song that I sing, "I am the meanest dad EVER!"
  7.  Something about 49 to 50 . . . . 
  8.  Strike two, this is going to take much more work than I thought, nothing new here. I am reminded that we are creatures of habit post and talking with my Pa about having a schedule to help get Cole-Cole bilingual, while I am home with him. Why not?
  9.  How many strikes do I get again? 7 out of 9 isn't too bad, considering I do take at least 20 mins to do this from right before I get out of bed in the morning and just before bed at night, good bookends, but I can do better 
  10.   I'm out. Certain that there is room for improvement especially here.
So, How'd you fair?Life's not a spectator sport after all

Friday, February 14, 2014


"False Evidence of Appearing Real"- Mark Kastleman, Candeo. He goes on to explain that fear serves a purpose, foe example getting us out of our house if we smell smoke. He also discusses in detail the chemical reaction chain of stress hormones that the fight or flight response sets into motion regardless of the fear being real or just perceived.
 D$C 6:36, "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. " has always been a favorite scripture and now, I am even more impressed by it's at first simpleness and continued dimensions for applications in my life. There is also 1 John 4:18, that contrasts love and fear, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
I have got a long way to go to have perfect love, but I do know the Source of perfect love from my Heavenly Father and with Faith in Him. In Mathew 19:26 reads, "But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. "  I cannot tell you how many Doctors told me that I would never walk again, because I was in a medically induced comma when that was said to my family. I am a living testimony of these scriptures, as well as miracles.
Love on, live on

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tweet: anxiously anticipating spring & a glimps at one of my everyday's

If I were to use twitter here's my day.Usually a Wednesday & Friday proceed as follow, it is my own Groundhog Day, according to Toilet Trivia the Groundhog wakes up hungry and ready to mate:
  • wake up to one of my kiddos asking me to tickle them, yes it's going to be another CHAMPION day
  • ending up with only my Colester to wrestle with as Lex takes Max and Abby to school and heads to work.
  • Morning prayers 
  • attempting to get my leg brace on, so to be able to walk downstairs. I tell myself that once I get it on , my day gets easier, yes I use my psych degree knowledge on myself throughout the day- keeps life interesting, my mind active, and gives me a sense of accomplishment for having a degree and using it in the mundane.
  • Convincing the Coleman that it is time to get some breakfast, not just a cookie or treat
  • Morning meds: antidepressant, chill pill and a stool softener. Another It's going to be a CHAMPION day, after all moment. I have found that if my Cole-Cole is eating, he I usually entertained enough so that I can check my email and blog.
  • Reading books with Colester and catching a PBS kids show before Max gets home from kindergarten
  • When Max does get home. I have another moment, when Coleman is excited to see him and they play together, to read in my selection of 6 books i am currently reading.
  • Making lunch and indulging in a bowl of Mac&Cheese my guilty pleasure.
  • convincing Max to get his homework done. This rarely happens before Mom gets home.
  • Getting our daily dose of Wild Kratts Max's favorite PBS Kids show.
  • A scramble to do the dishes and clean up the house before Lex gets home with our Abber girl
  • attempting and failing miserably to stay out of the narrowest part of our home, where our laptop is on the counter in between the kitchen and dinning area.
  • catching up on blogging and putting Lexy's English teacher mode to my benefit, as long as my ego can take it.
  • Dinner time, Homework & reading.
  • Night meds, prayers and lights out
  • Spring will allow me to take an evening roll around the block with anyone willing to go with me, as well as time watering my garden boxes

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Everything Considered . . .

I am doing pretty darn well. I talked with Kerri, a PTA, physical Therapist Aide, at Neuroworx about my TBI. she has one of the brightest and most contagious smiles . Her cousin is recovering from a TBI and she was curious about my coping skills and any other differences I was dealing with post accident. It was nice to talk to her as I learned about her experience with her cousin as well as her work as an aide in a near by hospital with other TBI patients. I discovered that most of her interaction with them lead her to ask me  about coping skills. She said that, "they are usually disconnected and withdrawn or aggressive, irratable and not aware of normal social boundaries. But you do not seem to have problems. Do you notice a change?" Yes, I do. Considering where I could be, I am happy to be where I am at.
With my training on Candeo, I am learning about detox and how the brain deals with addictions as well as change, neuroplastisity. very kewl stuff for me, the Psych geek. Not to shrug off any of my imperfections, but to help me to have patience with myself. That may not sound profound, but to me it is. I find that as I am kinder with myself hope replaces anger and fear.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Out of the Mouth of my Babes

I remember this video that came out in the 80's. Matt and I met one of the "stars" who was grownup and an EFY counselor in San Diego.
Colester:I like "noballs"
"I Learn-ed in my Grandma nursery!"
Maxwell:I just want to be tickled. I love you too dad, JUST tickle me.
Abby:call me "Dorkalisious instead of a Dork." What if we say "Okey-Dorkey instead of okey-dokey?"
her new often repeated phrase is, "The party has arrived! Thank you very much!" When she enters a room

Friday, February 7, 2014


I took Geometry in 9th grade and was a B student, unlike Lex who took it in 8th grade and loved it with an A grade, she is still smarter than I am, a fact, that if I care to remember makes life not only better for me, but for everyone involved. I remember proofs and how backward they seemed to me. Meanwhile, Lex loved them. My life is filled with life lesson parallels.
I had three Dr. visits Friday Jan. 31st, something Matt and my Pa were excited to help me with, reminding me through the exhaustion of how far I have come, that I wouldn't have been able to even consider attempting to do this a  year ago.
My first visit was with Dr. Warner, a Neuro-optomologist at the Moran Eye Center where Matt works, he picked me up at 6:15 to have a TRAX adventure to get there. It was exciting as well as anxiety provoking, in other words, adventuresome, yes I feel old saying that. I cannot describe the comfort of being with Matt, there is nothing he would not do for me. It was so rewarding for me to see him in his element, parading me around to meet his colleagues.Because Matt had a meeting to go to,I was helped by Abraham, a man who loves his job to help others. He humored me and spoke Spanish, even exchanging some jokes having to do with the language. His whole persona radiated with kindness, having a sheen of happiness on his face as he smiled.
Dr. Warner was excited to see Matt's brother again and was so very personable, pulling up on a stool right next to me and excitedly telling me of all the options I had to help with my vision cut, also being sure to express how impressed she was with my progress in my stamina. I swelled with pride, the good pat him on the back kind when, after fitting me with a prism-sticker on my eyeglasses she told me that if I needed anything or had any questions,of course I could contact her, but  I had Matt.

Life Parallels:
  • Good and kind people make uncertainty not only bearable, but have a way of infusing confidence to me make a step forward.
  • With my prism sticker, it puts what my vision cut deletes from my vision, front and center, and not r where it would normally be if I did not have a vision cut. The reasoning being, as explained to me by Dr. Warner was to make my brain recognize the cut by the "bur under the saddle technique," -something so annoying that it cannot be missed, which in turn can help my neuroplastic brain, the ability that everyone's brain, TBI or not, has to change in order to learn and adapt. I wonder how much I do not really see, I know that the Lord looks upon the heart and His ways are not our ways. Matt has told me that he remember learning from a church talk or class, to treat everyone like they are in need or in crisis mode and more times than not you will be right.
  • With the bur under the saddle approach to  making your brain recognize what is really there. I wonder if my Heavenly Father allows annoying moments to come into our life, so that we finally wise up and learn what we are to learn?
My next trip was across a sky bridge to the University of Utah's rehab center to meet with my Neuro and physical rehab Dr. Speed. He is a stoic Dr. and I am excited to get a smile from him, which I wasn't disappointed to see. I had questions about being depressed and fatigued, telling him that, such was life and getting older. I was about to tell him about my concern with short term memory loss, when he told me that we should do a blood test to see if the depression and frustration was caused by a testosterone drop (a common thing in TBI patients) and I reminded him that we had done the test at my last appointment 6 months ago.After I reminded my Dr I decided that memory loss was not as a big of a deal as I thought it was.
I thought I had avoided a blood draw, but I had started my "Chill pill," which had the possibility to cause a sodium inbalance. So in came the phlebotomy Rachel. She was chatty and pleasant for a bloodsucker. she even joked with me that I was going to be a "challenge,"she added with a smile, " a good one" since she had trouble finding a veil. two sticks into my forearm and hand latter she was cursing and calling for help. Chris, a paramedic came in and took a look and quickly left. Travis, a nurse,  was the next attempter. All the while Rachel was problem shooting with me so they did not have to send me down to the lab, "where they will butcher you." So, after two sticks from Travis, Rachel took my advive and got the rest of the blood needed from a vein in my ankle. How much fun can a CHAMPION have on a blood draw? Throughout the process I was joking and laughing. It helps to have a sense of humor when something pleasant, but necessary is taking place.

                                           Life Parallels:
  •  Never underestimate the power of a  sense of humor
  • Being able to laugh, even when you are hurting not only helps you, but can give others much needed, although unexpected comfort. 
A quick bite to eat, lunch on Pa for Matt and I, and it was off to Orem to see Dr. Robinson.We chatted about how I was doing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I broke down, telling him that I have been angry at God. He was good to listen and sympathize and then tell me directly that it was time to move on. I had been mad long enough.

Life parallels:
  • My Pa gave me a news paper print out of a column written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of Plain Dealer, Cleavland Ohio, emphasis added: "Originally published in The Plain Dealer on Sunday, May 28, 2006
    To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
    It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:
    1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
    2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
    3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
    4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
    5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
    6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
    7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
    8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
    9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
    10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
    11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
    12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
    13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
    14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
    15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
    16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
    17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
    18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
    19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
    20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
    21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
    22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
    23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
    24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
    25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
    26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
    27. Always choose life.
    28. Forgive everyone everything.
    29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
    30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
    31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
    32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
    33. Believe in miracles.
    34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
    35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
    36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
    37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
    38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
    39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
    40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
    41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
    42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
    43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
    44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
    45. The best is yet to come.
    46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
    47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
    48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
    49. Yield.
    50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."
    • When life starts telling you things over and over again, annoying I know, It is time to listen up, or to continue to "kick against the pricks." Only you can decide how much it will finally take to get through to you.I hope that you are not as stubborn as I am.  
    • I have learned much, I remember that there was a time that I HATED going to see Dr. Robinson, because it meant that there was something that I could not handle in my life by myself. I had told him this before and he still let me come see him. I told him this time that I felt like a little kid coming to see Santa Clause, I was so excited, but, I wouldn't sit on his lap. Ever the good sport, he laughed and gave me a hearty, Ho,Ho, Ho!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Because I knew you I have been changed for the better

People amaze me. My wife would smirkishly say that I am easily amazed and brought to tears. I wanted to highlight some people that have made me better and probably do not even know how significant their examples have been, these are they who I have had shorter contact with then close friends and family, yet their impact on me is not quantifiable, a disclaimer, the moment that I publish this post I will think of 20 more people that I should have included:
Hermana Wagnar was my first mission president's wife, she was a nurse and I remember respecting her care and concern for not only me but all of the missionaries. While I waited for my first interview with President Wagnar she waited with me and the other missionaries and studied her talk that she would be giving in our zone conference.She was nervous about her Spanish and seeing her be so left the impression on me that if she was willing to lean and grow to serve, I could do the same.We had a discussion about how she was mad at Satan for "convincing so many that all they deserved were the scraps from the table, that we should not expect anything more." I was determined not to live by satan's scraps or to let others who would listen to the Gospel message do so.

Hermana Claudina was one of those people. She was outside watering the dirt outside of her home, so that dust would not be carried into the home. Something that the gringo missionaries laughed at, no lawns growing in the driest place on earth, but watering the dirt outside your front door kept it from making a dusty mess inside. After years of doing this, there mas no mud, just a solid mass of hard earth. I remember teaching her the discussions and her excitement to learn and do what she felt was right. The members in the ward were worried about her health to be baptized, but she wouldn't let anything stop her from following her Savior's example. She was baptized and confirmed the following Sunday. The next week we came to visit with her and were surprised to be put in charge of her funeral.

Grandma Lawley was always updating me on how the Utah Jazz played their last game, and all the thing that they should have done to win. She had the most wonderful stories to tell of her nick-knacks and treasures. She was an amazing story-teller.

Grandpa Blake Schow loved me completely and was able to convey that love with a simple smile and asking me how I was doing

Great Grandma Baugh would have me sit next to her and hold her hand as she told me how great of a kid I was.

Elder Zamorano was never a companion of mine, but some people you just know you get, before even talking to them. He was a stalwart missionary who wanted to do everything he could to be his best.

Elder Jones was a 'greeny' when I got to know him, but his faith could move mountains of  self-doubt over language-barriers and awkward shyness

Elder Cardon went with me on only one split, but his zeal for calling to be a missionary left me wondering if I had ever been as excited as he was to do something so challenging

Luz was the first convert that I was privileged to work with, her name means light in Spanish and that is what she represents to me. I saw her life changed from a bleak and dreary mundane day to day survival to one beaming with joy and excitement for the present and tomorrows filled with endless possibilities.

Lori is a friend from high school who is a person so filled with light and enthusiasm that she loved you more than you could ever love her back.

Kevin Knowlton is a friend from high school as well and taught me so much about what it means to be a friend regardless of the circumstance.

John Headman was my next door neighbor when Lex and I moved into our first home, I never had to worry about who I would sit by at church, or if I had any friends living on our street

Gabe was one of Lexy's roommates up at Ricks college. I remember her having to wear her radio into a church meeting because she was on-call and the looks she got as she responded to others in need. saving lives is a cool job.
Ms. Emily is Maxwell's kindergarten teacher and was Abby's too, she had me come and speak to Abby's class about being in a wheelchair. Anytime I am at school she finds me to give me a hug. She expects so much out of her students and loves the into achieving their best.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Like a Broken Vessel"

I actually did not see this talk live, given by Elder Holland, we were getting family pictures done while he gave it. My Pa told me that in every General Conference there is one talk that he cannot help to think is given for me and everything that has happened because of the accident and this was it, this time around. Elder Holland started, "The Apostle Peter wrote that disciples of Jesus Christ are to have “compassion one of another.”1 In that spirit I wish to speak to those who suffer from some form of mental illness or emotional disorder, whether those afflictions be slight or severe, of brief duration or persistent over a lifetime. We sense the complexity of such matters when we hear professionals speak of neuroses and psychoses, of genetic predispositions and chromosome defects, of bipolarity, paranoia, and schizophrenia. However bewildering this all may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor."
so, my name is Curtis and  I have a TBI, with left side neglect and hemiprysis. I feel much better getting that off my chest.He continues,
"In striving for some peace and understanding in these difficult matters, it is crucial to remember that we are living—and chose to live—in a fallen world where for divine purposes our pursuit of godliness will be tested and tried again and again. Of greatest assurance in God’s plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer, who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials, even though the cost to do so would be unfathomable for both the Father who sent Him and the Son who came."I have so much to learn to be able to appreciate this love. Here is where I want to turn on my superhero power of memorization, if only I had one," It is only an appreciation of this divine love that will make our own lesser suffering first bearable, then understandable, and finally redemptive." It was as if he was speaking right to me, Curtis your own suffering is nothing compared to your Savior's and because of it you are enable to first bear this, then understand it, and finally it is able to lead to your redemption if you let it.It goes right along with Art Berg's book, Some Miracles Take Time, or I should say that Art goes along with Elder Jeffery R. Holland. He proceeds,

"Let me leave the extraordinary illnesses I have mentioned to concentrate on MDD—“major depressive disorder”—or, more commonly, “depression.” When I speak of this, I am not speaking of bad hair days, tax deadlines, or other discouraging moments we all have. Everyone is going to be anxious or downhearted on occasion. The Book of Mormon says Ammon and his brethren were depressed at a very difficult time,2 and so can the rest of us be. But today I am speaking of something more serious, of an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person’s ability to function fully, a crater in the mind so deep that no one can responsibly suggest it would surely go away if those victims would just square their shoulders and think more positively—though I am a vigorous advocate of square shoulders and positive thinking!" My twin Bro Matthew said that when Elder Holland spoke to them as missionaries in Germany that this approach was very much at the heart of his talk.

Elder Holland clarifies, "No, this dark night of the mind and spirit is more than mere discouragement. I have seen it come to an absolutely angelic man when his beloved spouse of 50 years passed away. I have seen it in new mothers with what is euphemistically labeled “after-baby blues.” I have seen it strike anxious students, military veterans, and grandmothers worried about the well-being of their grown children."

One of the most powerful moments for me is when he includes himself in the category of someone who has felt this way at one time or another in his life, That an Apostle has delt with battling feelings of discouragement and depression again affirms that I am not alone, but in cthe company of CHAMPIONS, "And I have seen it in young fathers trying to provide for their families. In that regard I once terrifyingly saw it in myself. At one point in our married life when financial fears collided with staggering fatigue, I took a psychic blow that was as unanticipated as it was real. With the grace of God and the love of my family, I kept functioning and kept working, but even after all these years I continue to feel a deep sympathy for others more chronically or more deeply afflicted with such gloom than I was. In any case we have all taken courage from those who, in the words of the Prophet Joseph, “search[ed] … and contemplate[d] the darkest abyss”3 and persevered through it—not the least of whom were Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Elder George Albert Smith, the latter being one of the most gentle and Christlike men of our dispensation, who battled recurring depression for some years before later becoming the universally beloved eighth prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."Did someone say CHAMPIONS?

Turn on memorization power again, oh, right here's to the old fashioned way ofstaring/highlighting a part to reread over and over again. Elder Holland Asks,"So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? " Have I mentioned that I love lists?I love
 #1, "Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said to the Relief Society sisters so movingly last Saturday evening: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.”4 He then places the resposability back on us," Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart. Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.

5.In preventing illness whenever possible, watch for the stress indicators in yourself and in others you may be able to help. As with your automobile, be alert to rising temperatures, excessive speed, or a tank low on fuel. When you face “depletion depression,” make the requisite adjustments. Fatigue is the common enemy of us all—so slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. Physicians promise us that if we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill.

If things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values. Be honest with them about your history and your struggles. Prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe. If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation.

If you are the one afflicted or a caregiver to such, try not to be overwhelmed with the size of your task. Don’t assume you can fix everything, but fix what you can. If those are only small victories, be grateful for them and be patient. Dozens of times in the scriptures, the Lord commands someone to “stand still” or “be still”—and wait.
6 Patiently enduring some things is part of our mortal education.

For caregivers, in your devoted effort to assist with another’s health, do not destroy your own. In all these things be wise. Do not run faster than you have strength.7 Whatever else you may or may not be able to provide, you can offer your prayers and you can give “love unfeigned.”8 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; … [it] beareth all things, … hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth.”9

Also let us remember that through any illness or difficult challenge, there is still much in life to be hopeful about and grateful for. We are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions! Stephanie Clark Nielson and her family have been our friends for more than 30 years. On August 16, 2008, Stephanie and her husband, Christian, were in a plane crash and subsequent fire that scarred her so horrifically that only her painted toenails were recognizable when family members came to indentify the victims. There was almost no chance Stephanie could live. After three months in a sleep-induced coma, she awoke to see herself. With that, the psyche-scarring and horrendous depression came. Having four children under the age of seven, Stephanie did not want them to see her ever again. She felt it would be better not to live. “I thought it would be easier,” Stephanie once told me in my office, “if they just forgot about me and I quietly slipped out of their life.”

But to her eternal credit, and with the prayers of her husband, family, friends, four beautiful children, and a fifth born to the Nielsons just 18 months ago, Stephanie fought her way back from the abyss of self-destruction to be one of the most popular “mommy bloggers” in the nation, openly declaring to the four million who follow her blog that her “divine purpose” in life is to be a mom and to cherish every day she has been given on this beautiful earth.

Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it! Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says,10 we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.

I testify of the holy Resurrection, that unspeakable cornerstone gift in the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ! With the Apostle Paul, I testify that that which was sown in corruption will one day be raised in incorruption and that which was sown in weakness will ultimately be raised in power.11 I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally “free at last.”12 Until that hour when Christ’s consummate gift is evident to us all, may we live by faith, hold fast to hope, and show “compassion one of another,”13 I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." I had to become creative in highlighting/bolding and making things italic, because I loved all of this talk and did not want to take anything away. I testify that one day we will all be free a tlast because of a loving Savior.