Wednesday, August 19, 2015

chapter 8 words of wisdom

Throughout my life here on earth I've learned many important lessons.  The past 20 years living with a pervasive trial I have gained true knowledge and wisdom while struggling to continue the fight over ALS. I just want to share a few of my words of wisdom.  

Children of God
We are all children of Heavenly Parents.  Yes, we have a Heavenly Mother.  Before we came to earth we lived with them as their spirit children.  They know us individually by name and know our strengths and weaknesses.  As children of divine parents each of us has our own divine qualities and characteristics that come from our Heavenly Parents.  It is our mission here on earth to discover and cultivate these characteristics.  Our Heavenly Parents love us so very much that they provided a way for us to return to them.  Jesus Christ is the only way through which we can return to live with them again.  Our lord and savior Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and died for us because he loves us.  The atonement was so much more than Christ taking upon our sins.  He took upon himself all our illnesses, sorrows, fears, temptations, and depression.  My savior has strengthened me through each of these tribulations.  For example, one day I fell and fears began to overwhelm my thoughts.  This led to a deep depression. I remember laying in my bed pleading with my Heavenly Father to let me go back home to Him.  All of a sudden a blanket of peace and love was wrapped around me and I knew that my savior was beside me.  My burdens were lightened and I had the strength to face the progression of my ALS head on. Isaiah 53:4-5  
Satan is for real and he wants us to be miserable like himself.  He and his followers are destroying souls by the thousands each day.  Satan hates the fact that he does not have a body and we do.  When you feel like you're of no worth, that is him.  Right now he is targeting families because he knows that families are the building blocks of society.  We see evidence that he is tearing down the importance of both a father and mother and life itself. The devil is cunning he pulls you from the right path little by little until he has you in his grasp. Even the elect can be fooled into letting go of truths which they've received through the Holy Ghost.
I remember when I was first diagnosed with ALS I thought there is no way I could handle this.  Now I look back and I think that was a piece of cake compared to what I deal with now.  How grateful I am that my Heavenly Father chose me to carry such a heavy burden. ALS is one of my greatest blessings.  My heart has learned to trust in the lord which has strengthened my faith more than I ever could have imagined.  I have come to know my Heavenly Father and savior Jesus Christ personally.  I know their manner of speaking and when they want me to bear testimony of them.  The faith that I have is because they have never left me alone in my times of need.  I'm not saying I've never had a trial of my faith because I have.  It is important that we all at some point in our lives face a trial of our faith.  This life is a test and we need to prove ourselves worthy of the blessings God has in store for us.  I had pneumonia i the fall of 2014.  As a result lost my voice. Tim told me that maybe this was my new normal, but I knew that the Lord wanted me to be a witness for him.  How could I testify of the goodness of God if I didn't have my voice?  Months went by and I began to doubt and faith cannot exist where there is fear.  So I put it in the hands of the Lord knowing that He would heal my voice if it was his will.  Right before spring my voice returned and I promised him that I would do and say whatever he asked of me.  Doubt your doubts before you give up on truths you have received from your faith. 1Peter 1:7
Tender Mercies
Miracles are all around us everyday of our lives.  It is up to us to be in tune with the spirit to see them.  These little miracles are called tender mercies.  It is the Lord's way of letting us know he loves us and we receive this knowledge through th Holy Ghost.  My life is filled with tender mercies.  One I will never forget was when we were driving to my grandma Sanchez' funeral.  I looked out the window of the car and there was a white dove flying right beside us.  It flew near us for about 3 minutes which was interesting because the song we were listening to was about returning to live with Father in Heaven again.  Now whenever I see a dove I think that my grandma is just wanting to say hi.  Songs coming on the radio just when I need to hear them is a regular ocurance.  Music has always been a tool that the Lord uses so I can feel his love.   
Charity is the true love of Christ.  We here on earth have an innate desire to help one another.  It is our divine nature to serve each other.  With my limited abilities my opportunities to serve the way that I wanted to was impossible. This became a real struggle for me.  I felt like my purpose in life was through.  I even had trouble asking for help because I didn't want to burden anyone.  The Lord taught me through the Holy Ghost that I was denying people blessings by not allowing people to serve me.  We learn in the parable of the sheep and the goats that when we serve others we are serving God (Matt. 25:31-46). I have learned small ways that I can serve people with a simple smile or a listening ear.  I always accept church assignments and callings because I know that the Lord is shaping me to be the best I can be. 
Prayer is how we communicate with our Father in Heaven. It's one of the easiest ways to increase our faith.  Even though He already knows what we want and need before we ask, it is important to ask and not expect him to give us blessings freely. By asking we are putting our trust and faith in God which strengthens our testimony of the love that he has for us.  Every night I pray to be healed of ALS and I know that prayer will be answered someday. Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. It might not be in the way we want him to answer and not in our time frame but he always answers. I have learned to trust in the lord through my prayers because He has never left me alone. When Jesse was 3 he lost a toy and was crying. I told him that if he said a prayer to Heavenly Father he would be able to find his toy. After the prayer Jesse went into our pantry and found his toy. Then he said another prayer thanking God for helping him find his toy. It is never too early to teach our children the importance of prayer. (Matt 7:7-8)
Life here on earth is  test to see if we can follow and obey the commandments of the Lord.  Each of us has our own purpose and destiny that was given to us before we came to earth.  I know I chose to have the trial of ALS.  Our Heavenly Father would never give us a trial that we could not handle.  God wants us to be happy through out our lives.  That's why he gave us a savior.  The ultimate lesson I have learned in my life is that I am a daughter of Heavenly Parents that love me and want me to return home to them.  Right now my life is great.  I have the greatest husband and best friend who has sacrificed his life to take care of me full-time. I am truly blessed to  know that I will have Tim by my side through out all eternity.  He is the love of my life and Jesse is the joy of my life.  My analogy of life is --Life is like a song and we are all in this grand choir.  Everyone has their own part to sing. Our Heavenly Father is the conductor.  Sometimes we loose the notes to sing or where we are in the song.  Jesus Christ is at the organ and he will play our part when we get lost and help us get on key again.  This book is my life and my song. 

chapter 6 miracle on 34th street

Every little girl dreams of being a mother when she grows up. I was no different.  My testmony of motherhood was strong.  I knew that I would be a mother, whether it be in this life or the next. just like girls wanting to be mothers my husband Tim wanted to be a father.  We discussed having kids many times but I would always turn him down because my parents thought I wouldn't survive childbirth.  Easter 2008 came and the discussion of having kids came up once again.   This time I fully trusted in the Lord.  I knew that if it was the Lord's will for me to have a child I would. My heart was convinced that I would not get pregnant, but I had to try to show Tim that I truly loved him and would sacrifice everything to make him a father.

On mother's day I went to church and remember our bishop speaking about motherhood and said that if you're not a mother in this life you'll be a mother in the next life.  His eyes were filled with tears and the light reflected off a tear drop running down his cheek and like a laser beam shot at me.  It gave me hope that this would be my last mother's day without a child.  Later that week we went to visit my parents to let them know our good news. I did not expect their negative reaction.  I tried to reassure them that the Lord would protect me if I was meant to have a baby.

The night before memorial day Tim was brushing my teeth before bed when all of a sudden I heard a voice whisper you're pregnant.  I started laughing. Tim wondered what was so funny.  I told him what I heard and he went out and bought two pregnancy tests.  In the morning I waited on pins and needles for the results.  We were pregnant!!!! After visiting the doctor I realized I was pregnant on mother's day and that's what that laser beam meant. Telling our parents evoked two opposite reactions. Tim's parents took us out to dinner and celebrated by buying us our first baby gift. My parents reacted to the news by saying you better not be pregnant. 

Being pregnant was one of the best times of my life. I only had morning sickness for four weeks which was a miracle in itself.  At 16 weeks Tim's parents took us to find out the sex of the baby. We were surprised to find out we were having a boy because we always imagined that our first child would be a girl.  We even had a name picked out for her. Faith Ann Waite. After the ultrasound Tim's mom took me out to shop for baby clothes and bought our first blanket, a blue one.  We had so much to do to prepare for this little guy to come home.

We knew that we would need a nanny to help out with the new baby.  Many friends came to my mind but I had not received an answer from the Lord yet. One of my friends, named Amie, I had known since she was a young girl. We had reconnected in 2006 when Tim started working with his father in Bakersfield. One afternoon Tim and I had lunch with Amie and all of a sudden Tim asked her to be our nanny. I was in shock because we had not discussed this before hand.  Amie got me alone and asked f I knew that Tim was going to offer her the job.  I told her no.  She let me know that she had been praying for a job that would allow her to spend more time with her daughter, Leora.  Right then I knew that Heavenly Father was answering both of our prayers.  Amie and her daughter moved into our house in December. By this time I was miserable. The baby was always kicking me in my ribs and it was hard to breathe. 

On January 5th 2009 I could not handle being pregnant anymore. Tim drove me to the hospital which happened to be on 34th street and I was checked in.  The doctor scheduled a C-section for the next day.  My parents drove in from out of town.  I was surprisingly very calm until the anesthesiologist told me that I would be put under to have the baby not just a spinal. I wanted o be awake to hear my baby's first cry.  This also meant that Tim could not be in the delivery room which was disappointing to him.  As they rolled me out of the room I said my good byes and I love yous to all that were there. 

Before I went under I looked at the clock it was 2:25 p.m.  When I awoke it was 4:10 p.m. I thought to myself, wow I was asleep a lot longer than they said I would be. The doctor asked me to take  deep breath. I tried but I couldn't and then I began to panic. They rolled me up to the ICU.  Questions filled my mind.  Where's my baby? Where's Tim? Why can't I breathe on my own? What went wrong?  The doctor informed Tim around 3 o'clock that thy were having difficulty bringing me out of the anesthesia.  

This was Tim's experience.  He was waiting right outside the operating room by the nursery.  At 2:31 pm he heard the baby's first cry. The nurses brought out the baby and brought him to Tim for the first time.  He posed for some pictures with the baby taken by my parents and Tim's who were in  a separate room parted  by a big glass window. The nurses then took the baby and weighed him and measured him and did all the normal things. The nurses determined that he was healthy and gave him back to Tim to hold. 

After I was moved to the ICU the doctor pulled Tim aside and asked him how I was before surgery.  When Tim told the doctor that I was able to breathe on my own and able to walk and talk He was a little confused.  This doctor was the on call doctor and had only seen me like this. He gave Tim the grim news that I could be on a ventilator for the rest of my life.  Tim now was dealing with his feelings of anger that I might never be the same and pure joy of being a father. Instead of being together s a family for the first night I was alone in the ICU.  At least Tim was able to care for Jesse through the night. 

My parents visited me in the ICU. I knew what my dad was thinking even though he never said word.  He sat in a chair crying and I know he felt his fears of losing me were coming true.  My mom was the strong one.  She told me all about Jesse and how I needed to fight so I would be able to see him.  We prayed together which really gave me comfort.  I did not sleep that night.  The spirit was strong and I got the distinct impression that I had a choice to make.  I could choose to live and help raise my son or I could finally rest from this mortal body to be with my Heavenly Father again.

All the prayers from my family and friends worked.  The next day I was taken off the ventilator which meant I would finally be able to see my son.  He was absolutely beautiful!  My first memory of being a mom was when I said, "Jesse it's mommy."  He opened his eyes and looked into mine because he recognized my voice.  We named Jesse after Tim's great-grandpas. It was a bonus to find out that Jesse meant gift from God because he truly was. There were many miracles on 34th street that we all witnessed.

chapter 5 messages in music

Since I was a child I used music as an outlet for my emotions.  After I learned to play the piano, I could sit down and play and sing for hours and all my troubles would disappear.  Music has a great power.  I believe that's why they call music the universal language.  Music holds memories and emotions that can never be erased.  For example, every couple has "their song."  When Tim and I hear Madonna's Crazy for you, it brings back memories of dancing in the moonlight. Whenever I hear the song The Prayer,  it makes me feel like my grandma is watching over me from heaven.  Even Heavenly Father uses music to send us messages. 

Sometimes my trial of living in a body that is a prison gets overwhelming. Tim will turn on Pandora and bam! A song will come on that brings peace to my heart and soul and my burden is lightened.  I know this isn't by chance.  The Lord sends me love and peace through music.  These are called tender mercies.  The Lord can even manifest truth in songs.  I was singing Joseph Smith's first prayer and my spirit was transported into that sacred grove.  The spirit of God overwhelmed my body and I knew then that Joseph truly saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in that grove of trees.  I have received much wisdom of the gospel of Jesus Christ through hymns and other inspirational songs.

When people come up and tell me what an inspiration I am to them, I feel like a fake.  People always see me smiling, but what they don't realize is that I even have my bad days and sometimes weeks.  Some years ago, I was in a depression for months. I continued to pray to the Lord to let me go home to him.  I did not want to live in this body for one more second.  One morning I was awakened by the Lord saying, "Why do you resign yourself to death when you know I keep my promises?" I remember getting up and having a song repeat in my mind over and over, "take a look through my eyes."  It was a song that I didn't know but I knew where I could find it because my nephews played the brother Bear soundtrack repeatedly while we were camping that past summer.  So I went online and looked up Phil Collins Look Through My Eyes.

This is what I found:

There are things in life you learn
And oh in time you'll see
It's out there somewhere
It's all waiting
If you keep believing

There will be times on this journey
All you'll see is darkness
But out there somewhere
Daylight finds you
If you keep believing
So don't run
Don't hide
It will be alright
You'll see
Trust me
I'll be there watching over you

Just take a look through my eyes
There's a better place somewhere out there
Just take a look through my eyes
Everything changes
You'll be amazed what you find
(There's a better place)
If you look through my eyes.

All the things that you can change
There's a meaning in everything
And you will find all you need
There's so much to understand
Take a look through my eyes
You'll be amazed what you find if you look through my eyes

I knew I had to make a change in my life.  My attitude went from negative thinking to looking for the positive things in my life.  With all the trials that I overcame I realized that I'm stronger than I thought and that my relationship with the Lord grew.  I truly began to trust in the Lord and gave my life over to him. 

Mother's day was always a hard time for me.  I would start feeling sorry for myself.  Even though I believed every woman would have the chance to be a mom.  Whether it be this life or the next.  One Sunday morning I walked into church feeling sad that I didn't have a child to hold.  So many girls that I taught in young women's had children on their laps.  We began to sing the hymn i believe in Christ. Our voices filled the air with this joyous hymn.  As I sang the last verse the words sank into my heart.

I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I'll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voce is heard: "Ye Shall Obtain."

I heard his voice say "Ye shall obtain."  The Lord reassured me that my dream of being a mother would be realized.  All I needed to do was trust in him and look through his eyes.

chapter 4 Angels among us

since i was a child I've believed in angels. my mother  told me of encounters she had with angels. she was visited by her grandfather the night he passed away. in the morning and  she got the phone call that he had died, she already knew. one night when my baby brother Christopher was sick my mom looked over at his crib and saw three heavenly beings watching over him. then there was my great uncle earl collinsworth who had a great change of heart because of an angel that visited with him on many occasions. this angel wore clothes that you might see in jesus's  time, even the leather sandals. this angel taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ and told him the book of Mormon was true. my great aunt vela who was married to earl was a member of the  church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints and had high moral standards. however, my uncle earl cussed like a sailor and loved his alcohol. my aunt vela gave him an ultimatum that he needed to change his ways or she would take the kids and leave. he began to pray and asked for help with his addictions and that's when the angel started to visit him. his conversion and change of heart led to many in my family to return to church.

i believe that angels are around us everyday. some are heavenly messengers while others are evil angels that try to tempt us to do wrong and doubt your self-worth. the angels that I come into contact with on a daily basis are friends and family that serve me with a willing heart. one day when i was at church this man who ive never met  knelt down by my wheelchair and looked directly in my eyes. he told me that Jesus loved me and that my trial would be a long one. i wanted to say no i'm going to be healed soon, but then i realized this was a  message from my savior. my uncle earl had a unique relationship with me and my family. he was more like  a grandfather to me. he always wanted me to sing for him. every time we said goodbye he would take my face in his hands and look into my eyes and say i love you. at his funeral a friend of his whom i had never met before stopped me as i was leaving. he took my face in his hands just like my uncle earl did. looking into my eyes he told me he loved me. this stranger gave me a message from my uncle earl.

it's hard to deal with a body that will not do what  you want it to. for this reason I've suffered with depression and low self-esteem. Satan knows my weaknesses and he preys on that. one day i was watching my family playing together outside with my dog Toby while i was inside stuck on a couch. i longed to be outside ith them. as i was wishing for a body that worked i distinctly heard the words, 'you're a waste of space.'  Satan continually tries to make me feel inadequate and  of little worth. i try to go to the temple to gain strength to endure, and  peace to know that my heavenly father loves me. even then Satan and his angels try to keep me from going to the temple. he makes me full of anxiety which makes me feel sick. he has even sent evil angels to surround me. one morning i was in bed resting because we were going to the temple that evening.   i opened my eyes and saw five grey figures crawling on the walls towards me. they looked like smeigl from lord of the rings. i tried to scream for my mom but i couldn't, i couldn't even move. suddenly my mom entered the room or so i thought. this being sat on the side of the bed and when it looked at me it had  a demonic face. i began to feel unbearable pressure on my chest that made me gasp for air. i prayed calling on my savior to rescue me. then these evil angels were gone. i called for my mom and told her what happened and she told me Satan was trying to keep me from going to the temple. i believe her words are true. Satan will do all he can to prevent us from entering the house of the lord.

i have prayed for guardian angels to protect me and angels to carry my burdens. heavenly father sends me many in the form of friends and family. i remember many Sundays sitting alone in relief society. everyone knew me in this ward and yet no one would sit by me. i was angered by this and i told the lord that if no one sat by me the next Sunday i was going to change wards. Sunday came and a women i did not know came up and asked if someone was sitting next to me. i told her you are. we became very good friends. later i learned that she had prayed  to know who needed her friendship in the ward and the lord sent her to me. time and time again the lord has sent me angels here on earth to love and support me. the greatest angel i know is my husband Tim. he quit working to stay  home and take care of me full-time. i thought I loved him when we were married but now i realize that was just the tip of the iceberg. my love for him grows each day.  he cooks, cleans, does laundry, and  takes care of all my personal needs. many times i get compliments on my hair or make up and i tell them Tim did it , he's the pro. he  has been by my side through thick and thin and makes the necessary changes as my disease progresses.

Even I have been called an angel.  I don't consider myself an angel but I do know that the Lord uses people around us as instruments in his hands. Once when I was at the temple I had a loving sister sit by me.  She helped me with everything I needed to do which was different because usually a temple worker would help me.  Before I left that day she came up to me and said, "I prayed that I would see an angel today and when I saw you I knew my prayer was answered."  This example shows that each  one of us can be angels to people around us. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Chapter 2 My trial begins

The summer of 1992 my Grandma Christopherson's siblings started a family reunion at Lake Siskyou in Mt Shasta city California. It was a great way to get to know my great aunts and uncles and their families. We spent late nights playing scrabble and yahtzee and long days at the lake. Tim joined us midweek. One of the first adventures Tim and I had was renting a paddle boat. We paddled to a nice cove and jumped off to take a nice swim. We were both good swimmers because we both grew up with pools. When it came time to return the paddle boat I wasn't able to lift my body back onto the boat. Tim had to pull me out of the water.

The next day my siblings chipped in and rented this floating island. I was the only one who could not pull themselves onto the island. I couldn't believe it,  even my little sister and brother could pull themselves up. What was wrong with me?  My sister Laura who was married and lived in Utah only saw me once a year.  She asked me why are you walking funny. I just answered I'm not. Later she pointed out my walking to my mom and from then on my mom was worried about me.  She said she prayed that night and knew that a big trial was coming our way.

When we returned home from the family reunion my mom immediately made an appointment with the family doctor. My mom explained that I was walking funny and how my balance was off. The doctor started to ask questions about what was going on in my life.  When I told him that my boyfriend of three years was leaving to Japan on a mission he said it was probably just stress and not to worry about it. Before I left his office he wanted to check my reflexes. So he hit the bottom of my knee and my leg went so high and so fast that I almost kicked him in the gut. Immediately I started crying because I had never seen my body react like that. This began my journey to find out what was wrong with me.  He referred me to a neurologist which was the first of three I would see. The MRI, spinal tap, EMG and multiple blood test came back normal. They could not find anything wrong with me. While all this was going on I said good bye to Tim for two years. Finally they sent me to Los Angeles to the USC neuroscience department.  After examining me the doctor decided to do a muscle biopsy the next morning. Leaving the office we gathered all the pamphlets on all the neuromuscular diseases.  My mom actually read them all. She was so scared for my life. She prayed hoping to find an answer. The name Sarah came to her mind. She knew right where to look in the bible. It was the story when Abraham was told by an angel that Sarah would deliver a son and when she heard this she laughed.  Then Sarah was told is anything too hard for the Lord.  This brought peace of mind to my mom and when she recounted this story to me I knew everything would be fine. When my muscle biopsy results came back the doctor at USC told me I had ALS commonly known as Lou Gerhig's disease.  He explained that on average the life span was three to five years with ALS. I did not fit the mold for an ALS patient because most people with ALS are men over 45. I was only 20. He explained how that eventually I would be a quadrapalegic and only be able to blink my eyes. It sounded so scary I began to cry. How could the Lord save me from this? I tried to not think about my diagnosis and just go on living. Tim received the news in a letter and he reassured me that he still wanted to marry me even if we only had 5 years together.

I continued my 3rd year of college still focusing on music but it all changed in February of 1994. Cal State Bakersfield choir had been invited to sing in Carnegie Hall.  We were all so excited,  but I knew I couldn't do it. I couldn't even hold my music or turn the pages and I had no breath control and got lightheaded just singing. The hardest phone call I ever made was to my choir director that I had to drop out of the choir. Luckily my best friend Anna was Tim's sister was still in the choir and my future in laws paid for me to go watch the choir perform in New York.

To fight off my depression from my voice being taken from me and no longer singing I focused my attention on wedding plans. I bought the dress of my dreams,  decorations and invitations all before Tim got home. ALS increased my anxiety and I remember feeling sad that I might be suffering from anxiety when I marry Tim.  I was blessed to go to Japan with Tim's parents at the conclusion of his mission.  We went to a beautiful garden at the foot of the Okayama castle and there Tim got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  It was like a fairy tale and my anxieties ceased.  The morning of January 14th 1995 I was calm and peace filled my soul while I was sealed to my eternal sweetheart.  As we exited the temple hand in hand we looked at each other and knew our vision came true.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chapter 3 Answered Prayers

After being diagnosed with Lou Gerhig's disease time seemed to slow down. I was fired from my job at Payless shoe source. I also quit pursuing my college education.  Depression over took me.  The one bright source in my life was Tim. We couldn't wait to get married after he returned from his mission.  He said he prayed every night that he could be sealed to me in the temple. I told him that he wasn't obligated to marry me since the doctors were only giving me 3 to 5 years to live. On January 14th 1995 we were sealed in the Los Angeles temple.  It was the best day of my life because not only did I marry my best friend, I married the love of my life. Tim's prayers were answered.
Married life was great. We spent a lot of time together because Tim was working part time while going to school.  I was happy in our marriage but I felt my life was stagnant.  I felt like I was simply existing,  and I wanted to grow spiritually and intellectually.  Once again I began my studies at Cal State Bakersfield,  but this time majoring in psychology and being pushed around in a wheelchair.   My anxiety was so great that I could not eat before classes.  I also made my mom sit with me through my classes.  The university provided students with disabilities help such as note takers and extra time on exams. I greatly appreciated these services.  I kept praying for my anxiety to cease, but even after a month,  I was still making my mom sit with me in class. So one night in fervent prayer I asked the Lord to take away my anxieties so I could finish this quarter because I wouldn't have the strength to complete my schooling if I continued to be sick with nerves everyday. The next morning I awoke with a calmness I had not felt in months.  I ate breakfast and told my mom to drop me off at my first class and I would get someone to push me to my next class.  It was obvious to me that the Lord prepared the way for me to graduate with honors in 1998. It was a great accomplishment to be the first in my family to graduate from a university. 
Tim and I bought our first house right before I graduated.  He got me a puppy as a graduation gift also. We named him Toby. How I loved that dog. We became best pals. Since I was still able to walk short distances, I would go out in our backyard and let him run around.  My life again felt stagnant.  Every day was the same as the day before. Watching TV and playing with Toby but no sense of purpose.  I outlived the doctor's expectations and my abilities were still intact and I wasn't bedridden but I wasn't doing anything.  I was simply there.  It was like Satan told me, I was a waste of space.  I knew Satan wanted to pull me down into a deep depression so I went to the Lord in prayer and asked what my purpose here on earth was. Heavenly Father always answers my prayers.  This one just took longer than usual.

My parents moved to Coarsegold California. I loved it up there.  It was so relaxing and beautiful to be surrounded by nature. When Tim received an opportunity to work at a bank in Oakhurst California near Coarsegold,  I knew the Lord was directing me to be with my parents. Now,  instead of sitting home alone I could be with my parents.  They drove me around to visit my grandparents and aunts and uncles.  My life was full of activity again but, I still wanted to know my purpose.  On a spring Sunday morning I was sitting in Sunday school studying Alma in the Book of Mormon when the teacher read a verse that seemed to literally pop off the page. The verse was Alma chapter 17 verse 11. Which reads:
Finally I knew what my purpose was and why my disease wasn't progressing like the doctors said it would.  I know now that I'm here to be a witness for the love our Heavenly Father has for all his children.  No matter what trials I am facing the Lord always strengthens me and lightens my burdens.  My prayers are always answered even the simple ones to find Tim's keys.  I trust in the Lord and he trusts in me. When he sends the spirit to burn in my heart I know that I need to speak up and bear testimony of him. Through prayer I've come to realize thay the more I act upon his promptings my healing will come little by little.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chapter 1 My early years

I was a miracle baby. My mother was on birth control when I was conceived because my brother Mark was only 8 months old and she was ready to have 3 children under the age of 5.  When my mom found out she was pregnant she was not happy.  So my dad told her this baby is mine and he was right. I was a daddy's girl from the beginning. My mom said my eyes were wide open looking at everything.  I was ready for life to begin here on earth.  My earliest memories were on a little farm in San Martin California next to a dairy.  We had a horse, chickens, ducks, and of course cats and a dog.  This is where my love of animals began.  I am a middle child with an older sister and brother and a younger sister and brother.  My parents called me the peacemaker of our home.  Our favorite pastime was going camping.  There are many nights we gathered around a campfire to sing. This is where my love for music began.  Until I was 8 we lived in California close to all my extended family. Then my father was transfered to Tucson Arizona with IBM.  We had absolutely no family around us so our church members became like family. 

Life in Tucson was better than I thought it could be.  It helped having a brother that was one grade ahead of me.  We had a lot of the same friends and hung out together.  Music was a love for both of us and we were in many choirs together.  My first solo came in 4th grade in the play Free to be you and me. This solo gave me the confidence I needed to pursue performing.  One of my favorite choirs was in junior high.  We were called Pioneers of music.  My self-esteem grew as I developed my talent of singing.  It seems like those years in Tucson flew by.  I guess the adage is true, time flies when you're having fun.  In the middle of my sophomore year my dad announced that we were moving back to California.   

In the summer of 1989 I was going to my first especially for youth conference.  I was super excited because I was meeting up with my good friends from Tucson. Six months earlier my father was transferred from Tucson Arizona to Bakersfield California.  The move brought me great sorrow.  Especially for youth is a fun filled week where teenagers enjoy games, lectures by motivational speakers and dances. I remember one specific talk when Lehi told his family that Jerusalem would be destroyed and his family would have to leave the city.  His son Nephi believed in his father but Laman and Lemuel murmured and called their dad a visionary man.  I tried to put myself in their shoes. It was easy for me to because I had just left my friends and home to come to a city where I knew no one. And I murmured.  I wish I could say I was like Nephi having faith, being faithful,  and trusting the Lord. The changes in my life were just beginning. 

My heartache for Tucson lightened my junior year. My main focus in high school was music. I was in two plays and hoped to be a singer in the future.  Choir was so fun. It was a time I could let loose and be myself.  There is a special bond you create with the other singers in choir. It is similar to a family bond. I guess it grows through lifting up your voices together to make beautiful music.  Music has always been a powerful tool in my life. I could express my feelings through song. If I needed to get away from the world I could sit at my piano and play for hours.  Most importantly music could lift my spirit or calm my soul.  A boy caught my eye in choir. He was so funny and I couldn't help but flirt with him.  He would call me a tease and Brenda bows because I liked to wear bows in my hair. The more he pushed me away the harder I tried to get his attention.  My flirtatations worked. We Started dating November 12, 1989. I'll never forget that telephone conversation. It went like this: I asked, "So are we an item?" And he answered,  "Sure." The boy's name was Tim. He had officially become my boyfriend.  Years later he admitted to me that after that phone call he did a fist pump and celebration dance.

In the spring of 1990 a stake musical was being put together by Tim's mother Liz Waite. I received one of the leads and Tim was in the chorus.  We practiced for many months. The musical was called Going Home. During dress rehearsals we would wear all white. It was at a dress rehearsal that something incredible happened.  As Tim and I held hands to walk off stage a vision opened up to our minds and we both saw ourselves dressed in white outside the Los Angeles temple on our wedding day. The spirit was so strong and we were filled with joy.  Now I knew how Lehi felt. With this vision I had no doubt that Tim would be my eternal companion.

We graduated high school in 1991 and both started college in the fall. Of course I majored in music. College was much easier than I thought and a lot of fun. After our first year of college Tim received his mission call to Okayama Japan.  We made many memories that summer of 1992 before Tim left in November.