Friday, April 29, 2011


In August 2005 President Hinckley asked the members of the church to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. That year was the first time that I had cancer and more importantly for this challenge, chemo brain. It was arduous, but I did it. There were many reasons, but one was that it was a rare opportunity.

On December 1, the day after my first chemotherapy treatment, the R.S. President in my ward encouraged the sisters to memorize the Living Christ before Easter. I did not attend that meeting, but I heard about it. The first thought to cross my mind was, "Oh no again, why is it only when I have chemo brain that there are these sort of challenges." I decided that I would try, but really had no hope that I would be able to. I still thought there would be value in becoming better acquainted with that document even if I did not memorize it.

It was too overwhelming to even look at it all at once for me. I knew it was a Faith Value project so I looked for aids online. There were some memorization cards to print out, so I did. I talked to the R.S. President again (when you have cancer the R.S. President calls you often to check on you) and she told me about her memorization process. After talking with her I thought how great it was that she was able to memorize it. Then I went to see the oncologist again. As I was driving home I realized that I fully expected that the Lord would help me through cancer, I could also pray and ask for His help to memorize the Living Christ.

Thus began my next arduous journey. I looked at the cards (12 in all) that I had printed out and slowly began to memorize. Every time I had chemotherapy I would get behind of course, but not as much as I expected. I put the cards in my diaper bag and would look at them when I was waiting (for the kids after school, at the doctor, and so on).

One of my friends taught me about eighth notes. After she taught me about them I saw them everywhere. I could not believe that those things I had only vaguely understood to be related to music, had names, and a purpose, and were all over the page when I sang hymns or other songs. The same thing happened when I started memorizing the Living Christ. Everything seemed to be related to one sentence or another of the Living Christ. Those phrases ran through my head all the time. My experience and other blessings that came from memorizing far exceeded my expectations.

The last sentence in the Living Christ is "God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine son." As I approached Easter I felt the truth of those words.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fashionable Scarves

C had some baseball games last week. Each parent on his team is supposed to take a turn in the Snack Shack. I volunteered for this last Saturday. Another mom who is a very experienced volunteer said she would do it with me. The team mom also had her teenage daughter come in and help during the busy times. Perhaps this is because they know I am still recovering from chemotherapy and need all the help I can get in the fast paced Snack Shack environment. The people we were relieving showed me where items were stored and so on. The teenage girl in the earlier shift told me she thought my headscarf was cute.

My clothes are mainly utilitarian, not fashionable or trendy, just comfortable and not show too many stains. My daughter L is getting a much better eye for fashion than I ever had. I do try to coordinate my headscarves to my clothes, but not much beyond that.

I have found the secret way to get people, even fashionable teenage girls, to compliment me all the time. That is to lose my hair and wear head scarves. Everyday some nice kind person compliments my scarf. Sometimes Baby and I will be wearing the same color head covering, since I like pink and that just multiples the number of times people will compliment.

Also on Saturday I found out one of the other moms is named Jennifer. I thought that was interesting until I thought it all the way through. A woman who has two children the same age as my two older children has the same name as I do. She is probably close to my age, and spent her childhood in classes known as one of the many Jennifers, perhaps the most common name of our age group. It would be more surprising if one of the other moms was not named Jennifer.

One of my favorite Jennifer songs

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences Part II

As I talked to the kids' teachers they had questions about our family. C has apparently discussed every letter or item he received during the cancer treatments with his class.

The conversation with his teacher went something like this:
C mentioned an aunt sent a box of stuff
Which stuff
This and that
That was my cousin, but she is like an aunt to my kids
Oh I thought C said his aunt sent this, that, and the other thing
This was sent my aunt, that was sent by my cousin, the other thing was sent by my sister-in-law
It is nice you have a supportive family. C did say one of his aunts had something with cancer, so it is great they understand
(Then I try to explain the myriad of ways cancer has affected all my aunts, my cousin, and other members of my family. She refused my offer of the family medical spreadsheet I compiled - Just kidding)

C also mentioned the letters as well. Both kids would tell their teachers and others at the school when grandma came and when grandma left. L also talked to her teachers is a more private way about the support she was receiving from her aunts.

Based on my conversations with them, I am sure both teachers would give the various Aunts and grandmas an A+++ this school year in terms of support. I know that I would as well.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Every year the youth (and their support people) in our ward do a fundraiser to earn money for Scout and Girls' Camp. They thatch and aerate lawns for homes in our ward boundaries on a Friday night and Saturday all day. More than 2/3 are friends and neighbors of members. It is a very physically demanding fundraiser. I have helped in the past, but this year due to my recovering health, Baby, (L & C wanted to go help), and my husband working an insane amount of time, my involvement was limited to phone calls.

They went out this last chilly weekend. It had already been postponed once, so the weather bar was lowered to - snow is okay as long as it does not stick. Beforehand one of the others in YW had suggested the girls wearing matching bandanas while they work. I thought it was a unifying idea so I told her where to get cheap bandanas.

I found out after church on Sunday that the other leaders had gotten pink bandanas for the girls and gave them pink ribbons to wear while they worked in my honor. They had more ribbons than they needed and so they gave the rest to the YM to wear as well. There was a little miscommunication, everyone thought someone else had told me ahead of time.

I was surprised and humbled when I heard. It amazed me that they would even think to do that since there a million different little parts that have to be addressed to help the fundraiser go smoothly.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences

My children have done pretty well at school in the past. Their last parent teacher conference was right after the mastectomy. I can't really remember anything from it except that C's teacher held Baby the whole time during his. Then she walked us over to L's and made Baby giggle, and then L's teacher tried and Baby got mad.

For this one I only took Baby, and C and L were partying with their friends. (After the conferences the party moved to our house and then another house until 10:30pm.)

C's teacher appreciated his sensitivity, and his ability to rise to academic challenges. He still has problems rushing through his work. She said C has been very open about his hard days and the class has been sort of his support group.

L's teacher talked about how well she does academically, and some advice for getting prepared for junior high. L did some amazing things this year, more amazing to me considering all that was going on at home.