Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"52 Weeks To Fortify Your Family - 5-Minute Messages" Blog Tour!

I was very happy to be asked to join this blog tour and review this wonderful book; "52 Weeks To Fortify Your Family - 5 Minute Messages" by Nicole Carpenter. 
When raising my  own children I would have wanted this book. I think this is a timely book for parents, grandparents and really anyone out there that would like to have a weekly challenge to learn and think about various gospel subjects that they would like to incorporate into their lives. 
With all of the technology and media that is available 24/7 to families; this book may just help you break away from it all, and learn new concepts on a day to day basis. I can envision mothers transporting their children to various activities and taking those precious moments to teach their children a "value" or "gospel lesson". I was impressed with the "Thoughtful Questions" within each chapter. They are an effective tool for initiating a dialog with your children. 
I love to study gospel principles I have decided that I would like to start using this book to begin a daily devotional with my husband. Each week for Family Home Evening, we can discuss the thoughtful questions and quotations, and read the Conference Message together as provided for that week of study. I like the flexibility to choose which subject to study. I also think the Holiday lessons will broaden our awareness during those special seasons. We often have some of our children with us during certain holidays and this may be ideal for some of our family programs. 
I trust that all that read this review have a like desire to fortify your families and consider obtaining a copy of this book as an aid to your constant efforts. 
Thank you Nicole for bringing this great book to to us. 

Here are the links where you can read more about 
this book launch and purchase this book.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Just Trust In The Lord & Peace Will Come ~

When life throws a curve ball I have found that the above scripture has helped me so many times. I memorized it many years ago during a difficult time and it has helped me through the years. We received many tender mercies from the Lord during following experience we had this past week. 
Last Thursday, I was enjoying a productive day of getting my study organized. It was a good day. My dear husband was out of town on a business trip to Pittsburgh. He was scheduled to be home on Friday. Around 4:20 pm. My world came tumbling down when I received a text from him say: "I am having a heart attack". Of course, I almost had one myself right there. I immediately called him and he was having difficulty breathing and heaviness in the chest. He had called the manager of the hotel and they had called 911. I had him stay on the phone with me. I reminded him that he had a priesthood blessing on Sunday due to being very stressed over this trip. I just kept talking to him and tried to reassure him that all would be well. He was promised in that blessing many encouraging thoughts.  
Soon I could hear the paramedics in the background as they came in. I heard his blood pressure which wasn't too bad; but his pulse was rapid and irregular. I could hear them say Atrial Fibrillation. I knew this was very serious. Soon one of the paramedics came on the line and told me they were transporting him to St. Margaret's Hospital due to his rapid pulse and other vital signs. I said good-by and told my dearest love to keep the phone with him. 
Of course, as soon as we hung up; I dropped to my knees and prayed and cried. I was totally overcome. Then came the most incredible peace. It was just there. I didn't have the usual gut wrenching discomfort and inner worried feelings. Deep down inside of me; I knew he would be OK. I just knew. This was the kind of peace that only comes from a loving Heavenly Father.  
Over the next 5 hours I received most of my information from my husband per cell phone. I tried to contact the ER but couldn't find out anything because of patient privacy. This was so weird to me; I am his wife; I needed to know what was happening. 
I knew that I needed to get there to be with him as rapidly as possible. I sent a group text out to all of my children. My daughter Jenni and her husband Michael  called to see what they could do for me. They started researching plane tickets. They also started looking for a Bishop from our church for that area; so my husband could receive a priesthood blessing.
Meanwhile, I received phone calls and texts back and forth from my dear children. My sweet daughter Jenni's mother in law Irene showed up at my doorstep; what a gift she was to me. She was there to calm me as I tried to figure out what to do next. She also volunteered to house sit and take care of our little dog Sammy. All of these things were such a blessing to me. 
Most of the communication with my sweet husband were through texts and short calls.He would let me know his B/P, Pulse, and 02 levels and what ever else they would tell him or he could overhear. His pulse continued to be in Atrial Fibrillation; ranging from 140-180 beats per minute .They had started an IV medication to try and get the pulse back down. 
They did an x-ray and C-scan. Finally, results came back that he pulmonary emboli. One larger blood clot in the left  main pulmonary artery and multiple small clots in both lungs. There was evidence of right heart strain.This was a concern to them since he had a heart attack in 1991 followed by a double by-pass. At this point he was started on a heparin drip a blood thinner protocol for blood clots.
Meanwhile, my son in law Michael talked with a Bishop in an adjoining area and he gave him the number for a Bishop in the area around the hospital. This Bishop ended up being a physician at St. Margaret's Hospital. He immediately called and talked with the ER Physician. Their heart and lung specialists had decided to have dear husband taken by life flight to University Pittsburgh Medical Center. This Bishop said he would arrange for some Elders to come to that hospital to give him a blessings after he arrived.
During this period of time my daughter Jenni found some flight tickets and Irene helped me to get them over the internet. Then Irene had to leave for work. I then had about an hour and a half to pack and leave to be to the airport for a 12:30 am. flight to Pittsburgh. 
Before leaving my Bishop came over and gave me a really comforting Priesthood blessing where I was reassured that all would be well. Again, that precious loving spirit enveloped me. 
My dear nephew, Chance text me that he would be a happy to take me to the airport. At first I planned to drive but realized it would be best to have him take me. 
At the airport I received the word from my husband that he had arrived to UPMC per helicopter. About 10 minutes before he left his Atrial Fibrillation converted over to normal rhythm and he started to feel better. Once settled into the ICU he was taken for an Echo cardiogram. They also did a Doppler test on his legs and no clots were found,  which was a huge relief. At this point the medical team was trying to determine if they should be more aggressive with doing a more invasive procedure to break up the clots. 
My air flights went well and I arrived in Pittsburgh at 9:30 am. and took a taxi to the hospital. I found my husband in the Medical ICU and our reunion was so sweet. Elder and Sister Butler from the Pittsburgh mission along with two Elder missionaries came to give my husband a Priesthood blessing. Elder Butler gave the blessing and the spirit was so strong and the words were said; my husband would be healed. From that moment on everything just seemed to just get better and better. His vital signs were normal and he was taken off of O2. Due to his stable physical state it was decided not to do the more invasive procedure.
I was able to take a cab to his hotel  and pack his suitcase and get his rental car taken care of which he had been worried about. 
I was so fortunate to find a place to stay in McKee Family housing. There was a shuttle that took me too and from this place to the hospital. 
Early on Saturday morning my husband was moved out of the ICU on to a step down unit and he continued to do well. He was miraculously released on Sunday evening and we were able to fly home,Tuesday. 
During this experience many friends and loved ones prayed for him, our family fasted and his name was put on temple rolls. Our prayers were heard and answered. 
Trust in the Lord and Faith preceded this Miracle; I know that to be totally true. I felt the peace that can only be found through the Savior. 
There were many tender mercies from the Lord through all of these days such as: 
Irene showing up on my doorstep-
A ticket for a quick airplane flight -
Irene volunteering to house sit and be with our cherished pet, Sammy.
A blessing by my Bishop -
My nephew volunteering to take me to the airport -
Finding a Bishop that was a Physician at St. Margaret's Hospital; who proceeded to give assistance -
Being able to easily take care of Roger's luggage at his hotel and the rental car -
Having the missionaries in that area come and give my husband a priesthood blessing and then visited us again. Plus they took me to church on Sunday where I met the first Bishop that was called.
Roger's condition changing quickly so he could be discharged for home - 
Given permission to fly home with this kind of diagnosis. Usually, they don't allow one to fly home for at least a week to two weeks. Since he had no clots in his legs; he was found able to fly. 
Elder and Sister Butler taking me to church on Sunday and taking us to the hotel after discharge -
Most important of all were the prayers and faith of others in our behalf. We truly felt the power of those prayers - Thank you to all that prayed for us; we feel so blessed.  
Here is a link for wining a ticket to the Roots Tech event. There are some great speakers. Just thought I would add this on. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Quest For Joy~

I think we all find ourselves surrounded by negative influences. We watch the news which is full of stories of violence, political upheavals, adverse weather, terrorist attacks, and overall negativity. I would dare say that there is not one person that doesn't have some kind of struggle in their personal lives right now. 
Where do we find the peace and joy that we seek? I would guess this is an universal question. Perhaps it depends on what we choose each day to think about and do. Are we seeking positive news, positive goals and positive actions. 
A very great man who was our Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley often spoke about finding joy and happiness in our lives. I thought today my quest for more joy that I might share with you some of his priceless thoughts on happiness. 

 1. “In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” 
 2. “Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others...By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves.”
 3. “Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.” 
 4.  “Don’t be gloomy. Do not dwell on unkind things. Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. Even if you are not happy, put a smile on your face. ‘Accentuate the positive.’ Look a little deeper for the good. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, with great and strong purpose in your heart. Love life.”
 5. “Be believing, be happy, don't get discouraged. Things will work out.” 
 6. “Let us be happy people. The Lord's plan is a plan of happiness. The way will be lighter, the worries will be fewer, the confrontations will be less difficult if we cultivate a spirit of happiness.”
 7.  “You can be smart and happy or stupid and miserable. . . it's your choice”  I have to add that this is one of my favorite quotes from him. It is our choice. 
 8. "Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way.” 
 9.  “God bless you, my beloved sisters, who stand as the queens in your home, that you may be happy with that happiness which comes of the knowledge that you are loved and honored and treasured.” 
10. “We've got to have a little humor in our lives. You had better take seriously that which should be taken seriously but, at the same time, we can bring in a touch of humor now and again. If the time ever comes when we can’t smile at ourselves, it will be a sad time.”  
11. “In my ninety-plus years, I have learned a secret. I have learned that when good men and good women face challenges with optimism, things will always work out! Truly, things always work out! Despite how difficult circumstances may look at the moment, those who have faith and move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.”  
12.  “Go forward in life with a smile on your face, a sparkle in your eyes, and with great and strong purpose in your heart. The best things in life are the people in your life, the moments we live, and memories we made along the way.” 
13. “The way of the Lord is the way of happiness. ‘Wickedness never was happiness’. Transgression never was happiness. Sin never was happiness. Disobedience never was happiness. The way of happiness is following the way of the Lord. I believe this with all my heart.” 
14. “The gospel is a thing of joy. It provides us with a reason for gladness. Of course there is sorrow. Of course there are hours of concern and anxiety. We all worry. But the Lord has told us to lift our hearts and rejoice.”  

 In ending these thoughts is a final quote from this beloved Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley: 

“What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: “Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.” 

I am challenging myself and those of you that read this to look for joy everyday. Seek out the sunshine and leave the clouds behind.  A favorite scripture of mine is found in the Book of Mormon; 2 Nephi 2:25: ".....men are, that they might have joy."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Joy In 2015 - Our New Year Joyous Moments~

Yes, you can never have too much Joy. I love the word Joy, so that is my word for the year 2015. I will reach for more joy in my life. 
Over the New Year we were blessed to be with our family. We had two of our son's families here and one of our daughter's family here. We had many wonderful moments of pure joy. My children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are some of my greatest joys. 
My son James, Amber and their children arrived to celebrate New Year's Eve with us. 
Here are pictures of some very happy joyful moments. 
 Sammy in the upper left hand corner brings joy into our everyday life. He is always happily wagging his tail and wanting to play. 
 Upper middle picture is my granddaughter's Taylor and Averi. Both play the piano which brings me tremendous joy. Upper right is Amber, who is  such a joy to have around. She brightens my life with her humorous personality. She is my daughter in law and I love her as a true daughter as I do all my daughter and son in laws. 
 The middle left is a picture of my grandson, Christian, my granddaughter Taylor Jo, my sweet husband and Sammy. In the background is my son, James. 
Middle picture is when the clock struck 12:00; we set off our fireworks to bring in the New Year of 2015. 
Bottom left picture is my grandson Christian playing the guitar. Bottom middle picture is my daughter, Christina and my granddaughter's Sariah, Abbey and Faith. They are living in warm Australia. They had just got out of the swimming pool so we Skyped them to share our New Year moments. We were able to talk with the whole family which was awesome. 
Bottom right picture is my son James playing the guitar. 
New Year's Day was beautiful. We spent the day with James and his family. Our daughter Jenni was traveling here from Arizona and they finally arrived around 8:30 pm. 
On Friday we enjoyed both families. They also spent some time shopping and going to visit family and friends. 
Upper left picture are my grandchildren, Christian, Taylor, with cousins, Emma and Alyssa. 
Upper right, my dear husband, middle my daughter Jenni with her husband Michael and James' dog, Bandit. 
Bottom left picture is Taylor, Emma, and Alyssa playing the piano. Taylor was giving piano lessons to her cousins, Emma and Alyssa. 
Bottom middle picture is my Ben and Emma  swinging in the snow. 
Bottom right picture is Averi and me. How I love my sweet Averi. She is blind and mentally challenged. She is always happy which brings sweet joy to me. 

My Granddaughter Emma was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, January 3rd, 2015. I had a heart filled with joy during that special hour . I was asked to give a talk on baptism and enjoyed that experience. 
Upper left picture is our precious Emma - Upper right picture is both of Emma's two sides of family. 
Middle left is Michael and Emma just before the baptism. Middle center picture is my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Middle right picture is my daughter Jenni and sweet Emma. 
Bottom left picture is a mix of the two families. Bottom right is my grandchildren and  Mary our daughter in law and son Sean. 
Here are  joyous pictures of our celebration after the baptism. 
Upper left is a table decoration for Emma's day. Upper right picture is Emma with her brother Ben and sister Alyssa. 
Second right picture is Roger, Emma and myself. 
Third picture is James and Amber with their children Taylor, Averi and Christian. 
Bottom left is adorable Emma. Bottom Second is Jenni, Michael with little Emma. Bottom third picture is Grandma Irene with our precious Emma. 
Bottom right is Emma with a favorite doll. The doll's name is Spoiled Rotten. 
My goal this year is to Live With Joy~


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