Scary words.

There are lots of scary words in this world: death, divorce, unemployed, miscarriage, infertility, chronic, sick, rejection… The list goes on and on. I heard a few scary words yesterday that applied to me: Biopsy. Carcinoma. Procedure. I guess I should back up to the beginning of the story. *There are pictures in this post that aren’t the most appealing to the eyes. You have been warned!*

A few weeks ago, a weird rash broke out on my face. Because life is stressful, I kinda just blamed it on stress. One night, it got itchy and I scratched it in my sleep. I woke up and it was about 10x worse. I didn’t really think much of it. I was planning on giving it about a week before I called my doctor – just in case it was actually just stress related. Almost a week went by and it was actually spreading. I had new spots on my face and down my neck. I couldn’t put make up on to cover it up without making it look worse. I was really self-conscious about it. I didn’t want to go anywhere because I looked the way I did. It was rough.

I had spent the weekend with my mom (I’ll do a separate post about that trip) and she was asking what my plans were for my face. I told her Wednesday would be a week and then I was going to call my dermatologist. We took pictures to send to my uncle who’s a doctor. He “diagnosed” me through the pictures but suggested that I actually go in and get it checked.

I called the next day (Monday) to set up an appointment. The next day, I went in. The nurse looked at my face, sent in the med student who looked, then in came the doctor. We discussed what was happening and then he left the room for a few minutes. When he came back, I just started laughing. I knew exactly what he was going to say. He kinda smiled at my spontaneous laughter before he said, “I have no clue! There are spots that look like impetigo it’s too isolated to be that. You have no other symptoms so it’s not staff or anything. It’s all really weird.” I just laughed some more and replied, “Story of my life. Either I don’t do things easy or no one has any idea what’s wrong!” We joked about that for a second before he asked me if I’d be willing to let him take a biopsy of one of the spots for future reference if anyone comes in with this again. Obviously, I said yes. I love helping progress the medical world. Haha! He did that and told me his office would call me when the results came back. He also gave me a cream to put on the sores to help heal them right up.

Two days after using the cream, it looked sooo much better. The doctor had told me that I could continue with my regular routine…so that meant makeup again!! Yay! I hadn’t worn make up for about four days to help not irritate it more.

Here’s pictures a week and a half after that (this morning to be specific).  I did have a little foundation on but not much.

So, yesterday I got the call I had been waiting for….and to be honest, kind of had forgotten about. Being a transplant recipient means being on lots of inmunosupresant meds for the rest of my life. I’m on them so my body doesn’t reject my heart. Further out you are from transplant, the less you worry about rejection and more about cancer. The biopsy from a few weeks ago came back with traces of carcinoma. Carcinoma is skin cancer. Although I’m overly cautious with sunscreen, I’m still at risk because my immune system is not really there. It’s sounds really easy to treat though. I’ve got an appointment later this month to do an ED&C. It’s a 20ish minute procedure that he’ll do in the clinic. I’ll keep you all updated on how things go!

I woke this morning with the prompting to ask Brad for a blessing. He immediately responded with eagerness. While I waited, I read my patriarchal blessing and said a prayer. I’m scared… Cancer is a scary word. I’m okay though. I’ve got a great support from family and my friends are amazing too. I miss my family and would love to be with them but all my friends have become my family.  I’m okay with being in Utah during all of this because of them. Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan. I’ve made it through all my heart stuff, a broken heart, moving away and going to school (twice)… I can make it through this too!

Burning Buildings, Weakness, and Faith. Oh my!

Given how much I see His hand in my life I know it shouldn’t but it surprises me sometimes how involved Heavenly Father is with my life. It seems whenever I’m struggling with something or even just having a conversation with someone, the next several days everything I read or see has to do with the topic! Sometimes I’ll go looking for gospel material related to the topic but most of the time it just pops up. My friend told me a few weeks ago that, “no matter how insignificant our worries/trials may be, He is still involved down to the last little thing.” It’s totally true too. We are His sons and daughters and He cares about us!! I just love knowing it!! This was the latest  reoccurring topic.

A few weeks ago, I went to Provo with Heidi and Brad to drop Brad off at EFY…again. We got there a little early so we went to the temple and sat on the grass and talked. (I just have to say how much I love my friends! I don’t know what I’d do without them.) Heidi, Brad, and I are all about the same age so we are all going through the same things…relatively. We had an awesome discussion about our Father’s love, faith, and relying on Him in everything. We all shared some really personal things and encouraging stories to help the other realize just how much our Heavenly Father loves us.  Brad texted us later to tell us that his staff meeting that night was “literally all about how God loves each of us….”

The next day in English, we read a BYU devotional called For when I Am Weak, Then Am I Strong given by Gerald Causse. Heavenly Father loves us. He knows us and because of that, he also knows our potential. We sometimes  know how much we mean to Him and think highly of ourselves. There are also times where we are in a pit of “not being good enough.: Either way, Heavenly Father will send a trial our way to test us. Through my experiences, I have learned that’s the best time to remember to rely on the Lord. He loves me. He loves you. We need to constantly remember that we are sons and daughters of God. When we remember that Heavenly Father has the grand eternal perspective of things, it becomes easier to know just how special and amazing we are. I texted Heidi and Brad the article, because it just flowed PERFECTLY into our conversation from the previous day. Of course they responded with gratitude and more insight.

That night, in my scripture study, I read President Eyring’s talk entitled Mountains to Climb from April 2012 General Conference. “Trouble itself can be your way to strengthened and finally gain unshakable faith.” I’ve learned it doesn’t matter what kind of trouble. A heart transplant and/or rejection, loosing a loved one, moving away from home, heartbreak, loneliness, stress… It doesn’t matter. Whatever bad thing happens, that’s when faith is the most crucial.

Okay, now fast forward about a week. I was talking to a friend the other day about just life in general. She told me this amazing analogy her mom had told her recently.

Yes. This really cute baby is me.

“Look at this picture of a baby, you’re probably thinking it’s really cute. 

Now what if I told you that the parents of this baby tossed it out the window of a 2 story building… I can imagine the horror on your face right now. You’re probably thinking “these are terrible parents!”

Now let me add in some crucial details to this situation. The parents tossed this baby out the window to land on a trampoline below, the house was on fire and they were trying save their baby. Now what do you think about these parents?”

Sometimes don’t want to be thrown out the window. We are comfortable in the situation we’re in, or maybe we are hesitant for change that could be coming.  Other times we are certain that the flames will just calm down in time and that we’ll be fine. There are also the times where we don’t even know the building we’re in is on fire until it’s too late. I have experienced all of those things. As I have grown up I’ve learned that being chucked out of a burning building is usually the best way to go.

The next morning, I ran across this scripture in my studying: Doctrine and Covenants 58:3 &4 says, “Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day commeth that ye shall be crowned with much glory’ the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.” Obviously we don’t know what is going to happen. One moment we’re perfectly happy and the next, the building is on fire and we have to get out.

And the a day or two after that, I read a talk from April 2017 General Conference called Confide in God Unwaveringly. In his talk, Elder Ullisses Soares explains that no matter what happens in life, we must look to God in all things. He knows the grand plan and the reasoning behind why things may happen. We must exercise the faith in Him to be able to understand and move on. “Without faith, we will end up losing the capacity to appreciate those designs of our God regarding the things that will happen later in our life.”

Last night’s study took me to Alma 32:6. It says, “…their afflictions had truly humbled the, and that they were in preparation to hear the word.” That cross-reverenced to several other scriptures. Ether 12:27. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” Jacob 4:7 says, “Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by His grace, and His great condensations unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.” And then Doctrine and Covenants 1:29, “And insasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.” Sometimes we have to go through really hard things in order to become humble so we may learn to listen to the Spirit and become better.

See? It all connects. We must have faith in our Father in everything. We must have faith that if the “building” we are in catches on fire, that we’ll be safely chucked out the window. We must have faith that after we are removed from the burning building, everything will be okay. I say this a lot, but I know it’s true: Heavenly Father has a plan. We do have our agency but ultimately, we need to follow Him. With our mortal imperfections we sometimes get off the path He has laid out. That’s okay though. Through recognition, humility, repentance, and faith we are able to find that plan again.  I am so grateful for the blessing of faith. Life is hard. Some days are better than others but there are times I feel like I won’t make it. If I rely on my Father in faith with all I have, He will help me to overcome anything!!

 

So. Many. Pictures.

Guys! It’s July and I’m actually doing pretty good with keeping my “new year, new me” thingy. I’m taking tons pictures of EVERYTHING! I’m amazed that I still have friends that like me. Haha.

Wow. That was a good segue. 😉 Ready for a ginormous photo blast?! Obviously, I’ll give little snippets of what’s going on but it’s mostly going to be pictures!


 

BIRTHDAY:

I love birthdays, especially mine. I encouraged all my friends to love it just as much. I had a whole week of birthday celebrations. I got sung to in class a few times. I had dinner with friends, went shopping, walked around Temple Square, and watched Dr. Strange in our jammies. On my actual birthday, I got a group of friends together and we went to the zoo! It was so fun. That night, Mom and Dad drove down and took me to dinner. Before dinner they took me down to a used bookstore. I was instantly in love. I was so excited to see them. Sunday, I found out that my friend Rohini shares a birthday. Obviously we took a picture. After church, I went over to my friend’s house for games and cake. We had an epic jam session. There was a violin, a few guitars, cups at one point, and lots of singing and laughing.

 

BOOKSTORE:

Okay, if you know me, you know I am a HUGE book worm. I feel naked if I go anywhere without a book in my hand. Not even a week after my birthday I wanted to go to the bookstore again. I had to run up to the hospital to drop something off so I thought I might go on my way home. I met up with friends for lunch that day. We were talking about our day so far… People had classes or work. I had to run those errands. My friend Brad perked up at the possibility of going to a bookstore. He volunteered to come with me to the hospital so he could come to the bookstore too. We only got to be at the store for about half an hour because the hospital adventure took longer than I thought. We litterally had to drag each other out of the store! We decided to go again the next day… How dare you question that we actually did! Well, WE DID!! It was fantastic! Four hours after being there, our friends that tagged along came up to us and asked us when we could leave. Hahaha!! We’ve got plans to go again when he’s done with EFY.

 

BASEBALL:

For Family Home Evening one week, my ward went to the Bee’s game! It was my first real life baseball game. After it was over, Lydia and I walked home. We got lost trying to find the trax so we just walked. It was so fun!

 

MARSHMALLOW TEMPLES:

A few weeks ago, we talked about temples and then built temples made out of marshmallows!! It was sticky and I went home with a very full tummy from eating so many! After FHE, a group of us went to help Rachel pack so she would be ready to move. We all started getting hungry about 2ish in the morning. We walked down the street and bought food. I’ve never seen a burrito that big!!

 

 

MESSY TWISTER:

My ward is amazing. We have so many fun activities. Another FHE was nachos and messy twister. Katie totally killed it…and got covered. Chen had lost and was covered in paint. Naturally, he chased Caleb around to try and give him a hug. Caleb ran and slipped. Daniel yelled at them, which grabbed my attention. Chen caught up with him and did this cool little roll thing right where I had been. I almost died you guys!!! Caleb and Chen almost squished me! I also ate several cookies and got to know Daniel a little better!

 

90’S DANCE AND SWIMMING:

Seriously, my ward is the greatest! Last week, we had a 90’s dance. It’s a weird party theme I think… I mean, I actually remember the 90’s! It was an excuse to dress up and hang out with friends so I’m not complaining! It was super fun.

Somewhere along the line, the dance got morphed into a pool party too. I had made myself look really cute and I didn’t want to change. I had decided that I wasn’t going to swim. I tried to help Pedro get Daniel into the pool (with jeans and everything on). I was put in charge of keeping phones and wallets safe. After some hiding, I finally just said, “I’ll do it if you do it.” So, after more coaxing and lots of laughing, we got a huge group to all jump in even if they didn’t have a suit. It was fabulous….until it was time to go home. Haha! Luckily, Daniel loves me and drove me home.

 

 

ROAD TRIP:

At church on Sunday, I got invited to go on an adventure with some friends all the way to Provo! Hooray!! Brad is an EFY counselor this summer and has sessions the next two weeks there. Heidi was taking him and we just made a big ol’ party of it! We stopped at the temple for pictures…that obviously turned goofy real quick. Then drove around campus for a bit to avoid why we were there, I guess. Stopped at a gas station to go to the bathroom and instantly wished it wasn’t Sunday so we could get slushies. Finally, we got to where Brad needed to be. We piled out of Heidi’s van, gave hugs, and said goodbye. What a fun day full of silly memories.

AUTOCAD: 

School is going great too. It’s keeping me super busy. Lots of projects and homework but not so much that I don’t have time for friends.

I’m in AutoCAD this semester. I had a hard time with it but that’s because I didn’t know how to use it… Now that I’m more comfortable with it, I’ve gotten faster and actually love it!! I’m in the middle of a project for my Space Planning class and I actually said, “I’ll do it in AutoCAD. It’ll be faster than hand drawing it.” I felt insanely proud!

   


Life has gotten back to “normal.” Of course, I don’t think that word describes me very well.  I guess that’s why it’s in quotes. Things are going great. My friends make life bearable. They are my family here in Salt Lake. School is tricky and life gets stinky. If I didn’t have any one of my friends, I wouldn’t know how to handle anything. I am so grateful for ALL of them. The ones that I go to church with. The ones that are in my classes. The ones that go on adventures with me. The ones that fit in a multiple of those categories. The ones that I have back home in Idaho. Oh goodness! I am so blessed to have so many!

It hurts but I’m okay. 

My blog is basically my journal, right? In journals, we’re asked to record life experiences and the thoughts and feelings that go with them. So, here it goes: One month ago, today, my whole world got torn away from me. I didn’t know which way was up. I didn’t know how I was going to survive. I didn’t know what to do…or where to go. I just knew that I couldn’t be there anymore. I called my cousin and between sobs, I asked if she would be able to drive down and come get me. I am so blessed with such a wonderful best friend! She (and her husband) dropped everything to come pick me up. They told me that I was going to spending the weekend with them. We drove to Salt Lake to pick up some things that I might need and then we went back to their apartment where I spent a wonderful weekend with them. It worked out both ways. I wasn’t alone and they had a little extra help moving!

Here’s some thoughts that I’ve written down during the last month:

May 7, 2017 – “…When I told Mom and Dad, Dad told me to write down my thoughts and feelings during this experience. He also told me “this situation happened the way it happened because of who I am and because of my character. I am strong.” It doesn’t feel like that right now though… I’m hurt, broken, angry, confused, sad, relieved, and terribly numb.”

May 8, 2017 – This breakup hurts. It hurts like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I wouldn’t wish this heartbreak on anyone. But, as my day has gone on, I’ve been able to discover blessings that have come because of it… There’s ALWAYS blessings.

  • School hasn’t started so I’ can spend the weekend with Shannon without worrying about any responsibilities.
  • I’m starting school with no romantic attachment. 
  • I can focus on school.
  • I don’t have to feel guilty when I make guy friends…and if I enjoy being around them. 
  • I can build a stronger relationship with my roommate.
  • I was able to stay distracted. I helped Shannon and Jesse move. That helped me not sit and think about it too much.
  • I know what I want and don’t want in a relationship. I have been given a great opportunity to learn.
  • Shannon has been going through something hard too. It’s been nice to be there for her, both emotionally and physically. We make a great team when it comes to supporting each other.

May 9, 2017 – I got back to my apartment today from spending the weekend with Shannon and Jesse. Everything that I can think of (that’s here in Salt Lake with me) is in one of two boxes. One box is his stuff that is going back to him and one box of everything that belongs to me but has memories tied to it (like jewelry he’s bought for me). I’m keeping my box at my parents’ house until the sentimentality isn’t connected to the stuff anymore. I’m going to see if his cousin could give his box to him…  I had an extra jump drive that was empty so I went through my phone and computer and transferred ALL my pictures to it (no deleting). I had over 1500!!! That jump-drive is now in my box. His box is on the top shelf of the coat closet in my apartment and mine is under my bed until I can ship it back home. It’s weird going though my stuff, knowing that some of my favorites won’t be in my possession anymore (like a worn out hoodie that I borrowed from him once). I got home tonight and Charlotte was here! It was so wonderful to have her here while I did all of that. This whole thing has kind of been an “out of body” experience. I know what’s happening and I’m trying to cope, but I think I’m still in shock and will be for a while.

June 2, 2017 – It’s almost been a whole month. He told me that he wanted me to be happy and he knew that me staying with him isn’t what would make me happy. He made me promise him that I would find someone who knew how special I was and would treat me better than the way he treated me. He told me a was precious. He made me promise him that I wouldn’t fall for anyone who didn’t realize it. Right after we got engaged (a year ago) I started doubting the whole relationship. I’d pray about what to do but the answer was always, “this is what you need right now” so I just went with it. That has been the answer every time I asked… “It’s what you need right now.” About a week before I moved back to Utah, I got out of the shower and put my ring on (like always) but this time it felt weird on my hand. When I gave it back to him this wave of relief washed over me.  I know Heavenly Father allowed him to be a part of my life for that long for a reason. I miss him. I miss that friendship and companionship  and it hurts but I’m actually okay. I’ve learned lots of things because of it. I now know what I want and what I don’t want in my next relationship. It hurts sometimes but I’m busy with school and friends. They make great distractions. It hurts but I’m okay. That kinda has become my mantra. It hurts but I’m okay. I hurt because in the last two years, I had my future all planned out – with my sweetheart right beside me, but because of my faith in My Father and His plan, I know it’s going to work out, so, I’m okay. 

It hasn’t been easy. Sometimes I’ll sit too long and get stuck in my own head. It still hurts. I don’t think it’s never NOT going to hurt. I’m slowly doing better. Every day is better than the last. I know that there is someone out there for me. One day, I will meet him. He will love me and I will love him. We will become inseparable. He will take me to the temple and there, together, we will be sealed forever for all eternity. Because of those special promises, our family will be mine forever. This knowledge gives me hope. Doctrine and Covenants 24:8 says, “Be patient in afflictions for thou shalt have many but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” I’m so grateful for my Father in Heaven. I know He’s there. I know that he loves me. He knows who I’m capable of being. For me, it’s hard to figure out who that is, but I know that He knows. He knows what I need to struggle through to be the person I can be.

It hurts, but I’m okay.

Surrender Your Plan

The Lord Has a Plan for Us!! 

Elder Carlos A. Godoy 

LDS General Conference October 2014

All of us have experienced or will yet experience moments of great decision in our lives. Should I pursue this career or that one? Should I serve a mission? Is this the right person for me to marry?

These are situations in different areas of our lives in which a small change in direction can have significant future consequences. In the words of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “Through years of serving the Lord … , I have learned that the difference between happiness and misery in individuals, in marriages, and families often comes down to an error of only a few degrees” (“A Matter of a Few Degrees,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 58).

How can we avoid these small errors in calculation?

I will use a personal experience to illustrate my message.

At the end of the 1980s, our young family was made up of my wife, Mônica, two of our four children, and me. We lived in São Paulo, Brazil, I worked for a good company, I had finished my university studies, and I had recently been released as bishop of the ward where we had lived. Life was good, and everything seemed to be as it should be—until one day an old friend came to visit us.

At the conclusion of his visit, he made a comment and asked a question that unsettled my convictions. He said, “Carlos, everything seems to be going well for you, your family, your career, and your service in the Church, but—” and then came the question, “if you continue to live as you are living, will the blessings promised in your patriarchal blessing be fulfilled?”

I had never thought about my patriarchal blessing in this way. I read it from time to time but never with the intent of looking toward the blessings promised in the future and evaluating how I was living in the present.

After his visit, I turned my attention to my patriarchal blessing, wondering, “If we continue to live as we are living, will the promised blessings be fulfilled?” After some pondering, I had the feeling that some changes were necessary, particularly in relation to my education and profession.

It was not a decision between what was right and wrong but between what was good and what was better, as Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught us when he said: “As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best” (“Good, Better, Best,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 104–5).

How then can we ensure that we are making the best decision?

Here are some principles that I have learned.

Principle Number One: We Need to Consider Our Options with the End in Mind

Making decisions that can impact our lives and those we love without having the broader vision of their consequences can bring some risks. However, if we project the possible consequences of these decisions into the future, we can see with greater clarity the best path to take in the present.

Understanding who we are, why we are here, and what the Lord expects from us in this life will help give us the broader vision we need.

We can find examples in the scriptures in which having a broader vision gave clarity regarding which path to take.

Moses spoke with the Lord face-to-face, learned about the plan of salvation, and thereby better understood his role as the prophet of the gathering of Israel.

“And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty. …

“… And I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands. …

“And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son” (Moses 1:3–4, 6).

With this understanding, Moses was able to endure many years of tribulation in the desert and lead Israel back to its home.

Lehi, the great prophet of the Book of Mormon, dreamed a dream, and in his visions he learned of his mission to lead his family to a promised land.

“And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.

“… And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things” (1 Nephi 2:2, 4).

Lehi remained faithful to this vision in spite of the difficulties of travel and having to leave behind a comfortable life in Jerusalem.

The Prophet Joseph Smith is another great example. Through many revelations, beginning with the First Vision, he was able to complete his mission of restoring all things (see Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26).

And what about us? What does the Lord expect from each of us?

We do not need to see an angel to obtain understanding. We have the scriptures, the temple, living prophets, our patriarchal blessings, inspired leaders, and, above all, the right to receive personal revelation to guide our decisions.

Principle Number Two: We Need to Be Prepared for the Challenges That Will Come

The best paths in life are rarely the easiest. Often, it is exactly the opposite. We can look to the examples of the prophets I have just mentioned.

Moses, Lehi, and Joseph Smith did not have easy journeys in spite of the fact that their decisions were correct.

Are we willing to pay the price for our decisions? Are we prepared to leave our comfort zones to reach a better place?

Returning to the experience with my patriarchal blessing, I came to the conclusion at that time that I should seek additional education and apply for a scholarship from an American university. If I were selected, I would have to leave my job, sell everything we had, and come to live in the United States as a scholarship student for two years.

Tests such as the TOEFL and GMAT became the first challenges to be overcome. It took three long years of preparation, many “nos,” and some “maybes” before I was accepted at a university. I still remember the telephone call I received at the end of the third year from the person responsible for scholarships.

He said, “Carlos, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that you are among the three finalists this year.” There was only one opening at that time. “The bad news is that one of the other candidates is the son of someone important, the other is the son of someone else important, and then there is you.”

I quickly responded, “And I … I am a son of God.”

Happily, earthly parentage was not a deciding factor, and I was accepted that year, in 1992.

We are children of Almighty God. He is our Father, He loves us, and He has a plan for us. We are not here in this life just to waste our time, grow old, and die. God wants us to grow and achieve our potential.

In the words of President Thomas S. Monson: “Each of you, single or married, regardless of age, has the opportunity to learn and to grow. Expand your knowledge, both intellectual and spiritual, to the full stature of your divine potential” (“The Mighty Strength of the Relief Society,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 95).

Principle Number Three: We Need to Share This Vision with the People We Love

Lehi made more than a few attempts to help Laman and Lemuel understand the importance of the change they were making. The fact that they did not share their father’s vision caused them to murmur during the journey. Nephi, on the other hand, sought the Lord in order to see what his father had seen.

“And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, … I … was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (1 Nephi 10:17).

With this vision, Nephi was able not only to overcome the challenges of the journey but also to lead his family when it became necessary.

It is very likely that when we decide to take a certain path, the people we love will be affected, and some will even share with us the results of this choice. Ideally, they should be able to see what we see and share our same convictions. This is not always possible, but when it occurs, the journey is much easier.

In the personal experience I have used as an illustration, I undoubtedly needed the support of my wife. The children were still young and did not have much of a say, but my wife’s support was essential. I remember that, at first, Mônica and I needed to carefully discuss the change in plans until she felt comfortable and also became committed. This shared vision caused her not only to support the change but also to become an essential part in its success.

I know that the Lord has a plan for us in this life. He knows us. He knows what is best for us. Just because things are going well does not mean that we should not from time to time consider whether there might be something better. If we continue to live as we are living, will the promised blessings be fulfilled?

God lives. He is our Father. The Savior Jesus Christ lives, and I know that through His atoning sacrifice we can find the strength to overcome our daily challenges. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

We read this talk in my religion class this last week (and in my English 220 class). It was a pretty incredible reminder to me how closely Heavenly Father is paying attention to me. Heavenly Father knows everything. He knows me, loves me, and has a specific plan for me. Even with that knowledge, why do I doubt Him sometimes? I go through life knowing that I am a daughter of God and He has a plan for me but when something bad happens I go straight to “why did that happen?! Was my plan not good enough?” I had a solid idea of what my life was going to look like in the next several years. With life being what it is, my picture perfect vision was recently shattered and now I feel so lost. It’s been hard to accept the fact that it’s not the end of the world and everything is going to be okay. Heavenly Father has a plan and I need to just go with it. I’ve been able to (reluctantly) hand over my plan and allow Him to guide me in the direction I need to go to become who I am capable of being. Life doesn’t make sense when you’re in a particular moment but one of my favorite things is looking back and realizing “that’s why I had to go through that or make that decision.” It’s pretty amazing.

When we put that blind faith in His plan, we show Heavenly Father that we are willing to follow Him anywhere. The Savior was like that. He didn’t necessarily have “blind” faith but it was faith that everything would work out. You know what…? No. The phrase “blind faith” bothers me. I mean, our faith is blind because we sometimes can’t see where we’re going but when we put our whole heart and soul into Heavenly Father, we aren’t blind anymore, right? Okay, let me rephrase my original statement then. When we trust in Heavenly Father, with everything we have, we are showing Him that we truly love Him and know that He knows exactly what we need when we need it. He knows exactly where we need to be when we need to be there.

Heavenly Father knows that life is hard but He knows the whole plan. It’s like a when you do a puzzle (kind of…?) Sure, why not? You’ve got the box with the picture of what it’s all supposed to look like but you also have all these pieces that look like a mess.

Each individual piece might not make any sense  but I know that Heavenly Father is saying, “Yes. That piece goes right there. Keep going. This is a beautiful picture when it’s finished!” Heavenly Father loves me. Even though my plan didn’t work out, it’s okay. He’s got an even better one heading my way. I just need to trust.

200th Post! What?!

GUYS! THIS POST IS NUMBER 200! CRAZY….! *celebratory dance* <— Be warned. There’s a lot of this kind of dancing in this post. 😉

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Whew… okay. Finally taking some time to breathe for a minute. Man, it’s been a busy week.

“It’s actually happening! I’m all packed and ready to go back to Salt Lake. I’ve loved the time I’ve spent home the last six months and will miss my family like crazy but I’m so excited to be out on my own again!”

Last week I was getting all ready to move back to school. I love learning and I love school – especially when it’s at LDSBC. I am about half way done with my program. I’m very excited to be back! I did get to have my roommate back and one of my friends is home from her mission (and literally lives two doors away). I’ve become really great friends with her and her roommate. I am constantly over in their room hanging out with them.

Classes are going great so far. It’s going to be a busy semester. 11 credit hours are a lot more work than I was expecting. I’ve only got about 20ish credits left, so I’m hoping that I’ll be done with school by the end of the year! How crazy would that be?! *insert another celebratory dance*

Tradition: first day of school picture

I’ve also been trying to find a job, but on top of that, I filed my financial aid before the semester started. I got an email this week saying that I qualified for a grant that paid all of my $1400 tuition! Yay! (Church schools are so great. The spirit is always there, you’re encouraged to share your testimony even in math class, and tuition’s pretty easy to pay for. ) *yep another celebratory dance*

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Thursday and Friday were my annual biopsy/dr. appointments.

For the annuals, the have to check everything in all of the heart. The technical term is a Left/Right Heart Cath and Biopsy. Just like my regular heart caths and biopsies, the doctors went through the artery in my neck. They stick a needle (like an iv) in and just follow those veins to my heart. From there, they are able to use the tube from the iv to access everything they need. They will measure pressures and take teeny tiny samples of my heart to check for any rejection. It’s pretty cool. I wish there was I way I could see what they’re seeing instead of staring at the wall across the room. Haha!

Something additional for the annual check, is the fact that the do it a little more in depth. Not only do they go through the neck, but through the artery in the groin too. They do that so they can have access to different angles, I think. I’m not really sure… I should ask about that. Anyway, they aren’t so fun. Recovery last anywhere from 6-8 hours. You have to lay flat (to minimize the risk of bleeding) for about 6 hours and then you can slowly start to sit up. It’s almost as exhausting as the actual procedure! When I got all checked in, one of the Docs that would be working on me asked about my wrist. Apparently, there’s this thing that if you’re pulse is strong enough in your wrist, they can go through that artery instead of the one in the leg!! Plus, recovery is only an hour!! So that happened too! Whew…. It was so much easier. *another celebratory dance here too*

After recovery, we went to Lehi to stay with Gma and Gpa Brown for the night. The next morning started bright and early. My doctors were all very impressed with how things looked. This was the great news I shared with my family and friends after it was all done: “Today, I had my appointment with my doctors to go over the results from my biopsy. The outcome couldn’t have been better! All my levels, pressures, and everything were just perfect!! No med changes and NO BIOPSY UNTIL NEXT APRIL!!!! It’s too good to be true… Someone pinch me!”

It’s kind of scary. One whole year….?! Wow. *one more celebratory dance*


Crazy how life just happens sometimes. Gotta love it! I know that Heavenly Father loves me. He has blessed me in ways that I can’t even comprehend. Have a happy Tuesday!

Happy Heart Birthday #4!!

 

As I climb into bed tonight, I ponder everything that has happened in the last four years: I moved out and moved back home to move out again. I’ve had three very wonderful jobs with amazing bosses. I’ve made lots of new friends. I started college and plan on graduating by next May. I met, fell in love, and got engaged to my soul mate. I’ve been accepted and loved by a new family that I adore. I strengthened my relationship with my own parents, my siblings, and my Heavenly Father. I’ve gone through joy and heartbreak. I grew up and became someone I’m proud to be.
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I also lay here and think of the family that lost their special person that same day four years ago. I know nothing about them or the family. However, I do know that I am forever grateful for them. Without the selfless decision to help save a stranger’s life, I might not be here today. For that I am humbled and so very thankful.
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I hope I live my life in a way that shows my heart angel that I’m not going to take my second chance for granted and live life to the fullest! #sarahssecondchance #donatelife

Pay It Foward 2017

Four years ago tomorrow (April 21, 2013), I received one of the most precious gifts that could ever be given. A family lost a love one and gave me my second chance. As a silent tribute to that special family, every year, my family tries to do an act of service to pay it forward. I invite you to do some little something to help us pay it forward!

 

Back to School

Guys, it’s happening. I’m going back to school. I am so excited! I can not wait for May to come. Wait…I never posted about moving back home. Sorry. Quick background. I was having a really hard time last summer. I had been at school in Utah for a year and a half. That doesn’t sound very long but for me it was. That’s the longest I’ve been away from my parents or siblings. Anyway, I had a great job, wonderful friends, and a fantastic college experience. When Mayish (of 2016) rolled around, I wasn’t feeling it anymore. I loved my life but I just felt like I needed a break. I have a good support team (my parents, my sweetheart, and my Heavenly Father) and was encouraged to do what I felt like I needed to do. After lots of prayers, talks, fasting, and tears I knew that I should get ready to move back home for a little bit. I have been home for six months. With everything that I’ve experienced I had learned that it was the perfect decision. I’m glad that I listened to the Spirit and came home. I feel like that I’m in a better place now. I’ve missed the friends that I had made before I left but I have made some magnificent friends while I’ve been home. I’ve been blessed with a great job that has allowed me to save money up for the full semester that’s ahead of me. I have registers for my classes (11 credits guys!!!), my roommate wants me back, and it’s happening! I am super happy. It’ll be a different experience this time though. I know how to live on my own. I know how to handle myself. I know where to find relief. I know what to expect. I’m anxious/excited/nervous for May 10th! I don’t know if I want time to slow down or move faster… 🙂

It’s St. Patty’s Day (a few weeks late)!

Mom dyed the butter on the rolls so they would be green.

My mom is amazing! I want to be just like her when I grow up! Ever since I was little, we’ve had green eggs and ham for breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day. I already had plans that night and because my family loves me, they postponed the annual corned beef with cabbage dinner until the next night I’d be free (that next Sunday). The dinner I missed was salad bar. Mom made green jello jigglers and dyed the butter for the rolls. I had left overs for lunch the next day. Haha.

Sunday we had our St. Patrick’s Day dinner. I helped Mom make it. (Oh, my gosh… I’m going to miss that time we have together when I go back to school. I really enjoy it. Everyone else is preoccupied so it’s just Mom and me in the kitchen, usually. I’ve learned to make a few things that I hadn’t before. I’ll post pictures and an entry about that later.) Since we had rolls with salad, we were debating wither or not we should make green rolls again or something else. We decided against the rolls and opened one of her cook books. We laughed, took a deep breath, and tried something totally new. It was a a success!! I can now say that I know how to make Irish Soda Bread…from scratch!!! It reminded me of the constancy of corn bread.


I got home from work on Friday (the 17th) and Mom was making cookies – another reason that my mom is amazing! Haha. Of course, the cookies had to have some kind of green to them. She makes me laugh.

 

Like I said, I want to be just like her when I grow up. She is loving, patient, and selfless. She is such a wonderful example of Christlike love. I look up to her so much. She has been there for me in every aspect in my life. We have had so many late night talks. She’s there if I need to cry, laugh, or even just talk. We have spent countless hours laughing at silly things. We have shared many great memories. She is an incredible person. I’m going to miss her when I move back to school. I’m sure glad we will be able to call and talk to each other! <3