Because of my trials and my attitude and faith, I was asked a couple of weeks ago speak for 10-12 minutes in Stake Conference.  (Stake Conference is a church meeting of all of the different wards, or congregations, in the area)  I studied and prayed and read, and prayed some more to prepare ths talk.  I was so nervous to speak in front  of so many people.  I don't mind communicating by written word, but I get quite nervous speaking in front of large groups.   
     Well, I was the last speaker except for the Stake President, and the meeting had run long.  According to the agenda, I had no time to speak.  The Stake Pres. leaned over and asked me to be brief.  So after all this preparation, I ended up only speaking for about 2 minutes, and basically shared a scripture, a quote, and my testimony.  I was told by a lot of people how wonderful I did, but I felt a little sad that I wasn't abble to give more of my talk.  Therefore, for all of you who were there and only got to hear a small portion of my talk, and for all of you who weren't there, I am posting my entire talk here on my blog.  Thank you for reading!!!  I learned so much more prearting this talk than I anyone else could possibly learn from hearing/reading it.
In the pre-existence when Heavenly Father presented the plan of salvation, the scriptures tell us that we "shouted for joy."  We were told that this mortal life would be a time of learning and growth, and that we would experience trials and adversity, but also happiness and joy.

M. Russell Ballard said:
We mortals have a limited view of life from the eternal perspective. But if we know and understand Heavenly Father’s plan, we realize that dealing with adversity is one of the chief ways we are tested. Our faith in our Heavenly Father and his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, is the source of inner strength. Through faith we can find peace, comfort, and the courage to endure. As we trust in God and his plan for our happiness with all our hearts and lean not unto our own understanding (see Prov. 3:5), hope is born. Hope grows out of faith and gives meaning and purpose to all we do. It can give us comfort in the face of adversity, strength in times of trial, and peace when we have reason for doubt or anguish.

As part of Heavenly Father's plan, all people experience adversity during their lifetime. Trials, disappointments, sadness, sickness, and heartache are a difficult part of life, but with the help of the Lord they can lead to spiritual growth, refinement, and progress.

 Each person's success and happiness, both now and in the eternities, depend largely on his or her responses to the difficulties of life.

Adversity comes from different sources. Trials may come as a consequence of sins. These trials can be avoided through righteous living. Other trials are simply a natural part of life and may come at times when people are living righteously. For example, people may experience trials in times of sickness or at the death of loved ones. Adversity may sometimes come because of others' poor choices and hurtful words and actions. Suffering may also come through a loving Heavenly Father as a tutoring experience.

When some people face adversity, they complain and become bitter. They ask questions like "Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to deserve this?" Such questions can deprive them of the experiences the Lord wants them to receive. Rather than responding in this way, people should consider asking questions such as, "What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial?"

In May of 2007 I was diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive breast cancer.  It was stage 4, which is almost always terminal.  It was treatable, but not curable.  Prior to this our lives were very comfortable.  I enjoyed a very lovable strong marriage, 5 wonderful kids, we had a nice home, secure employment.  We were trying our best to do all the right things, going to church, paying tithing, serving in callings, going to the temple, doing family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening.  Even though we were doing these things, it didn't make us immune from this big trial. However, because we were trying to do what is right, and living close to the spirit, we were able to be spiritually prepared and strengthened as well as comforted and lifted up during it.  I was able to endure things I never would have thought I could endure. I received so much strength and peace even during the hardest times.
People say to me all the time:  How do you do it?  I couldn't do what you are doing? 
The answer is I can't do it, at least not alone.  I rely on my Savior.  We are told about the Savior in  Alma 7:11-12

11.  And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
  12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Jesus has suffered all things so he can help us through our trials.  However, we need to remember his invitation:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light"
(Matthew 11:28–30)

Note that this doesn't say come unto me, and I will do it for you.  He is inviting us to share our burden with him, and he will help us carry it. 

A favorite scripture story that has brought me and my family great comfort. through our battle with cancer is the people of Alma, who were in bondage to wicked people.  They prayed to be set free, but the answer they got from the Lord was that he would eventually deliver them, but in the meantime he would ease their burdens so they couldn't feel them upon their backs. 
     In our life while I have been battling cancer, this has been evident in our life.  The Lord has not seen fit to free me from my oppressor, but he has made it so we have not even felt the burden.  We have received countless hours of kindness and serving, help with our kids, meals brought in, house cleaning, yard work, gifts, and treats, that it has lifted our burden, where we have not even been able to feel it upon our backs.  How grateful we are for all of the selfless service we have received, where needs that have been met when we haven't even asked for help.  If we didn't receive all of this service, the burden would have been unbearable. 

   Sometimes in our lives, we become comfortable in our trials.  We think we have it all figured out, and maybe we aren't relying on our Savior as much as we should be.  I found myself a little guilty of this during the last summer.  I had finished all of my aggressive cancer treatments in February, and was just on every 3 week maintenance  cancer therapy.  My cancer was stable, and I believed the Doctor when he said that I may be able to stay stable for years.  He had also warned us that because my cancer was such an aggressive form that it could come back as fast as it shrunk.  I received a blessing in April and I was told that I would have a season of stable disease, even a remission, and to use that time to enjoy my family and children.  In my mind I was hoping that it would be "season" as measured by the lord's time or a really long time, and not just a literal "season" like summer.   In this blessing I was also told to be patient because I still had things to learn, and also that sometimes we have trials so others can learn from them. 
     I had myself convinced that like the woman in the new testament who had an issue of blood, that she was able to be healed just by touching the hem of Jesus' robe.  Her faith had made her whole.  I wanted to be like this woman, and have enough faith so I could be healed, and not have a reoccurance of my cancer.
     We enjoyed a fun summer, going on vacations, and spending precious time together as a family.  Imagine my distress when towards the end of July, I had a blood test that had bad news.  It looked like my cancer was growing again.  I had scans that confirmed that the cancer was actively growing, and that I had new tumors growing.  If that wasn't bad enough, I had a brain MRI in early August where a brain tumor was found.  Needless to say, my family and I were devastated.  I would have to begin weekly chemotherapy again, as well as radiation for the brain tumor. 
    For a while, I felt lost, I didn't know what to do.  I didn't know how to refocus my faith.  I had put my faith in being healed, and I was a little discouraged.  One day when I was feeling very sad the words of the hymn "Come come ye saints" came powerfully in my mind:
Why should we mourn and think our lot is hard?
Tis not so, all is right
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take,
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell
All is well!  All is well!

How grateful I was for this tender mercy from the Lord.  I knew that Heavenly Father was aware of me, He knew I was struggling, and these words of this hymn was just what I needed at that point to help me continue to be faithful. 

Just this last week I experienced another tender mercy.  I mentioned earlier how I struggled with trying to be like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment, and her faith made her whole.  I faulted myself for not having enough faith to be healed.  While I was preparing this talk, I came upon the answer to why my faith has not made me whole or healed me.  I found a quote by Dallin H. Oaks that gave me so much comfort.  I think this quote could bring comfort and peace to any of us that have trials or burdens.  He said,  "Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best.  Sometimes a healing cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are healed by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us."

We can find many examples of people being faithful through adversity.  Christ is the ultimate example, Joseph Smith, Pioneers, numerous examples in the scriptures, and examples all around us every day.  Robert D Hales told us, "Often we do not know what we can endure until after a trial of our faith.  We are also taught by the Lord that we will never be tested beyond that which we can endure."

A few weeks ago, i was struggling a little bit with my faith and endurance. I was fearful of my cancer, scared of dying and of leaving my family.   The chemotherapy that I have been on was not working, and I was fearful of trying to decide which chemo to do next, I was researching different chemo agents, and the success rate of different chemo combos was very discouraging.  My dear husband had me read a talk by Dalin H Oaks called "He heals the heavy laden"  In this talk he recounted the following scripture story in Mark 4:37-40 and the hymn "master the tempest is raging"

7 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
  38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
  39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, aPeace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great bcalm.
  40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so afearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

I was reminded after reading this that we can't have faith and fear at the same time.  If we put our faith in Jesus, there is no need to fear. 
Elder Oaks also made a beautiful promise.  He said, "The Healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ-whether it removes our burdens or strengthens us to endure and live with them is available for every affliction in mortality."

I am so grateful for the gospel, and for the knowledge I have of my Savior.  I know I would not be able to bear my trials without him.  Whenever I struggle it is because I have not relied on the Savior as much as I should have.  I testify that if we follow the counsel of our church leaders, and put our faith in our Savior and his promises, that we can endure any adversity that we may have in our lives. I testify that our Savior lives, and that he loves us. 


Okay, so time doesn't exactly fly while you're having chemo, but the week in between chemo treatments certainly flies by.  It seems just like I was just at the hospital yesterday getting chemo, and here it is another week has past, and it is chemo time again.  The days seem to crawl by, but time really is flying by. 

I didn't have chemo on Tuesday this week, because I changed my appointment so I take Bekah to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE ON TOUR.  It was SO FUN!!!  The dancers were all so amazing, and it was just awesome to see them dance live. Plus the dialog between numbers, and the interaction between the dancers was so entertaining.  I took tons of pictures, and hope to get some posted over on the pictures link. 

I also still need to do a detailed post on the brain radiation treatment, plus a bunch of other things.  I plan on bringing my laptop to the hospital with me so I can maybe work on uploading pictures etc. while i am getting chemo.  My goal is to bring things with me to #1 be productive while I am there and #2 do things to help the time pass quicker.  This chemo treatment will be #5 of #18.  I will be almost 1/3 the way done.  Yippeee!!!!


    I am big.  I am bald.  I sure don't feel beautiful, though.........
I was listening to my ipod while I was at chemo on Tuesday.  I have the soundtrack to Hairspray on it.  I was laughing inside when I heard the song that Queen Latifah sings on it called "Big, Blond, and Beautiful"  I thought that sounds just like me, except I am big BALD and beautiful. 
       Because of the steroids I have been on to prevent brain swelling from the tumor and brain radiation, I have gained 23 pounds in 3 weeks.  That is so depressing.  I took my last dose of steroids yesterday, so I hope that I stop gaining weight, and the weight I gained goes away quickly.  What is even more depressing is that I have gained that weight, and I haven't even been eating very much because I feel so crappy from the chemo.  You would think that if I have to go through all of these cancer treatments and be sick, at least I would loose weight.  Oh well. 
      I didn't want to be bald for my 30th birthday, so I prayed that my hair would last until then.  I trimmed my hair really short when it started falling out like crazy on Sept. 3rd.  The last few days I just put gel in my hair, and lots of hairspray so my hair was all stuck together.  Otherwise I was shedding hair EVERYWHERE.  SO messy.  I had to wear a soft knit cap when I slept because so much hair fell out while I slept.  Poor Dan kept on getting hair in his mouth at night.
    So, Monday in the middle of the night, I couldn't sleep.  I had taken a shower before bed, and when I washed my hair, I tried to rinse the shampoo out, and my hair just kept falling out, and falling out, and falling out.  I didn't want to shave my head ON my actual birthday (too traumatic).  So I went to bed, but couldn't go to sleep.  I finally got out of bed about 3:00 in the morning, and decided I was just going to shave my head.  But when I got out of bed, I tripped and fell and woke Dan up.  He helped me shave my head, and when I looked in the mirror and started to bawl, he just held me and cried with me.  This time loosing my hair has been a lot more traumatic. 
    Here are the kids responses to my "NEW NO-HAIR-DO"
Blake:  He just rubbed my head and said, FUZZY.
Bekah and Abby just gave me a big hug, and both told me they still thought I was pretty.
Caleb:  Mom, with your hair like that, you look just like Daddy's twin, and it is SO cool.
Ammon:  When I took my turban off and showed him my bald head for the first time (He was too young to remember about me being bald a year ago) he said "On Mom, put it on Mom."  and took the turban from me and tried to put it back on me.  I tried to have him rub my fuzzy head, (because he really likes rubbing Daddy's fuzzy head).  But Ammon won't even touch mine.  I think he will get used to it. 
   I will be brave and post a bald picture of me later, I just haven't had any taken of me yet. Maybe once I loose some of my steroid weight.  But here is a picture of my beautiful curls.  Maybe next time when my hair grows back in it will be pink and frizzy.  At least I know it will grow back.  And I ordered a couple more cute wigs.  I think I will just have to cover up the mirrors in the house so I don't have to look at myself.


I was sitting up feeling sorry for myself late last night.  I was frustrated and somewhat discouraged because I have to go to battle against my cancer again.  I thought, haven't I already done this!???  Why do I have to do it again???!!?!?  This is just so hard, and some people just seem to have it so easy.  

Suddenly the words to a favorite hymn of mine "Come, Come, ye Saints" came forcefully into my mind

"Why should we mourn, and think our lot is hard?
Tis not so!  All is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward,
If we now shun the fight"

Gird up your loins; fresh courage take;
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell'
All is well!  All is well!!

I felt like Heavenly Father was telling me to gather my courage, pick myself up by my bootstraps and do what I need to do.  He will never forsake me, or leave me alone.  He will be there every step of the way to give me strength, courage, comfort and hope!!!!   My Savior, Jesus Christ, has suffered all so He can succor me through my challenges, illness, and heartaches.  

 I think of the pioneers and early saints and all of their sufferings and challenges.  They were persecuted, and had to walk hundreds and hundreds of miles.  I am so grateful that we have their diaries and records of what they endured.  It brings me so much comfort to know of their faith and their testimony building trials.  I hope as I share my "tale to tell" that I give some comfort to those who are journeying with me this cancer journey, and to my children if I am not here, and to others who may journey this path later on.

I also was reflecting on the last verse of this hymn:
"And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day!  all is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!"

Is death really such a bad thing"  It is certainly a sad time.  I know I miss my loved ones who have died.  The closest relative I have lost is grandfather, but I have lost a couple of dear friends.  My heart aches with loss, but my heart is also filled with gratitude, because I KNOW that they are in a better place, and they are free from suffering, and sorrow.  I know that I will see them again.  This life is such a short time.  This life is not the end.  I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I will be with my family forever.  And if I should die, I will still be here, not in body, but in spirit.  I will still be there to comfort and guide my children and family.  My actions and words in this life, and in this blog, can help them if I am not here to speak to them.  I am working on scrapbooks full of my memories and advice for them.  And I know that when I die, I will be reunited with many loved ones who have missed me as I have missed them.  

Okay, I know that is a lot of focus on death, but I just needed to let everyone know how I stand on the subject of death.  I am not afraid to die.  The thought of not being here for my husband, children, and family breaks my heart.  But I take great peace in the scriptures and at church, that all will be made right,  Jesus promised that he would not leave us comfortless.  

So, I am gonna gird up my loins, take some fresh courage, God will never forsake me, and All is well!!!  All is well!!!


I have been listening to some uplifting, encouraging, faith building songs lately in hopes of keeping my spirits up.  One of my favorite feel good songs is Martina McBrides song Anyway.  The message is so true.  No matter what your problems are, if you put your faith in God, all will turn out for good.  Life may not be perfect, it may not be what you had planned, but it is still good.  So, whenever I need a little mood-booster, attitude lifter I listen to some inspiration music.

One of Dan's favorite cancer songs, if you will, is Tough by Craig Morgan.  It made me cry the first time I heard it.  Anyone who has gone through cancer knows that this song says it how it is. 

I had some links to some youtube videos of these songs, but the videos are no longer available on you tube.  You can listen to the songs on