They were amazing and so sweet and kind to me. I tried to keep saying thanks to them, because they are the reason I study, pray and try so hard to do my very best to motivate them, to bring a smile to their face and maybe some hope, and maybe even get them to laugh once or twice.
Many of the ladies I knew but hadn't seen in years, some of my dear friends I invited came to, which was so great. Jeff was with me as always and my daughter Amy came too, so it was indeed a wonderful night.
The ladies who asked me to speak were so sweet and even gave me some flowers and then this beautiful framed quote. It is part of the words to one of my favorite hymns. It talkes about asking the Lord to stay or abide with you, until you get over and through the tough times. How appropriate ...as a reminder for me. The whole experience was a true blessing for me!
Many of the ladies asked if I had copies of my talk. I told them that I always post them after I speak. So here is my talk I gave tonight.
Good Night dear friends!
18 years ago I fractured my back in two places and herniated 2 discs. I was in a wheelchair for a year and the only up time I had was going to Physical Therapy. Near the end of that year, my Physical Therapist asked me if I knew how to swim, I said sorta...I can dog paddle. No he said, you need to do swim like the crawl stroke " I then asked if that meant my face needed to be down in the water? " His reply "Yes, that is the only way that you can get your back and core strong" I knew after my core was weak after having 4 C-sections Swimming was probably the only sport that would get me exercise and strength without hurting my joints and so..... I went to the pool.
I forgot to mention to the therapist that I almost drowned in an over crowed public pool when I was in Jr High. Still I knew I probably didn't have much of a choice so.... I decided that I would Aqua Jog . With Aqua jogging you put a floatation belt around your waist and you just run underwater ( in the deep end of course). So there I was every day aqua jogging and watching all the swimmers. I studied everything there was about them, what position their hand was in when it entered the water, how many strokes did they do before they turned to swim? I asked what the different strokes were called. How many strokes they did before they took a breath? Do you turn and breath or both sides or just one? Yes, every day I watched intently to see what I was going to have to do to become a swimmer some day.
One day I came home and asked Jeff if he could get me a SWIM CAP ( I wasn't driving at this point yet )? His response was " I thought you didn't put your head under the water because you are aqua jogging? Well I said, if I am going to be a swimmer some day, I am going to have to have a Swim Cap, all the swimmers have them. Plus the Swim Cap keeps your hair out of your face when you swim and protects your hair from turning GREEN. And so he got me a Swim Cap. Proudly I wore my new Swim Cap the next morning as I aqua jogged and continued to study the swimmers.
A month or so later, I asked Jeff when he picked me up from the pool, if he would buy me some Goggles? Again he gave me that same questionable look and said " Now Lynn, why do you need Goggles, if you never put your head down in the water? Well, Jeff everyone wears them, they have them sitting right here on top of your head, and if I am going to be a swimmer some day, then I am going to have to have Goggles. Plus, the goggles do help you see under the water and helps you to swim straight so you don't wander over into another swimmers lane, and they protect your eyes from all the chlorine.
Thank goodness he had pity on me and got me some Goggles. So you see I looked like a swimmer much sooner than I became one. I don't remember the time line exactly, but I continued like that for quite some time. Someone asked me once, why I didn't take lessons simply put, my medical bills were causing our money to be tight enough. And so I continued to jog and observe.
Finally the day came where I thought I would try and swim. I put my goggles over my eyes and tried to do the crawl stroke, face down in the water. I was scared to death but I shouldn't have been... because I left on the Aqua Jogging Belt, so there was no way that I was going to drown. I swam like that until I felt like maybe I could do it myself ( I won't tell you how many months that was ).
When I actually took the belt off, I was shocked at how much breath it takes to swim just one lap. Not sure that my lungs could take it, and worse is that when I got almost to the end of the pool ( which is the deepest part) I would look down (through my nice goggles ) and realize that I might not make it. It seemed that my body was not straight and aligned in the water like the other swimmers. I felt like I was swimming this way______________at an angle and that my legs were just too heavy. I thought maybe it's because my calves are so big? Everyone always teased me about them all my life, maybe that was it. Then I thought well there are others swimmers who had calves bigger than mine ( ok, well there was at least one man who had calves bigger than mine but still...he could swim just fine.
So I got on the computer and looked up what swimmers did that had trouble with keeping their legs up and level with their bodies. I found that one thing you could do was to use training flippers ...they were called Zoomers. I wanted to them immediately, if it could help me get to one end of the pool to the other a little faster and more efficient .. I was all for that. And so Jeff bought me.....Zoomers and they worked...I swam a bit faster, with much more efficient kicks and it helped also strengthen my lower back and my core. A year from my pool experience, I began to swim a mile a day. I did that for almost 3 years and then I fell and hurt my neck.
Then years later after having cancer twice and a couple of small car accidents my new Physical Therapist suggested that I learn to swim. She was nice to listen to the whole story of what I accomplished so many years ago. Still once again...I knew I didn't have any choice,
so I bought all of those 3 important items AGAIN ...plus one more ...I had to purchased a swimming prosthetic. This time getting in the pool was not only painful because it had been so many years, but because my body had changed in so many ways since my .mastectomy surgery and my age ... I was really struggling with how I looked in a suit but still I knew I needed to do it.
At that time my youngest daughter Lauren was home then from college at the time doing her internship. She became buddy at the pool plus... she is a swimmer. So for the first week she came with me for moral support and promised that...no matter what, she would swim down and get my prosthetic if by chance it fell out (it's a bit heavy ). Why would it fall out? Now the money for Aqua Mandie was pretty expensive and to buy the special suit with a pocket... was very expensive so I just decided to use it in my regular suit, they are tight any way so it would probably stay. However after the first lap, I found my prosthetic down near my belly button, so I went and got different new suit Costco... and so far so good, I have never had Mandie fall out!
Now you are probably wondering what swimming has to do with anything that.I am going to talk to you about tonight?
Well, remember that I told you that I watched and studied swimmers every day because that is what I wanted to become right? That is also true in my life as a Mom, Wife, Sister and Friend. Since I was a little girl, I have always admired, looked up to and wanted to be like so many people in life, particularly those in the world who are Happy, Overcomers, Survivors, Helpers, those people who are half full and ones that have such great JOY and HAPPINESS in their lives even though life has thrown them many tough situations.
I have my whole life studied, observed, watched and prayed to see what makes these people the way they are.
Robertson Davies in a quote explained what these people are like...
"Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it"
Where do you find these people? Well, they are everywhere. We can read about them in the news, we can read about them in the scriptures, we know people in our family or in our neighborhoods. Probably many of you in this room... are one of those people!
If we really want to be like them...we need to put forth the effort to see what makes them do what they do?
It is a Secret? Some people think it is...
Many people have spent their whole life looking for it,
others have spent $1000s of dollars trying to obtain it
and yet others have sacrificed things of great importance... just to find it.
I certainly don't think it is a secret. I think the Lord has told us over and over again how to find it.
I believe, it comes down to few things that these extraordinary people have, maybe in varying degrees,
but I would say that most of them have these things, and because they have them... then they have HAPPINESS, the type of Joy and Happiness that everyone wishes they had. So let's talk about what a few of these things are.
1st is FAITH
Gerald Lund describes it this way ...
"To strengthen our faith and deepen our testimony to the point that we can successfully endure to the end, we must know for ourselves with a surety that:
God is our Heavenly Father, and we are His literal children.
He and His Beloved Son want us to be happy and eventually come to a fullness of Joy.
They know us intimately,... and love us infinitely
They want to bless us, and they actually take great joy in doing so
So, is it possible to strengthen our faith and deepen our testimony to the point that we can endure whatever life holds in store for us and come out stronger than before?
Yes, it is! " Close quote
As a young missionary ( some 35 or so years ago ) I remembered one of my favorite things to teach others about our church was The Plan of Salvation,
it was in this lesson that we taught them the answers to the questions Where did I come from? Why am I here ? And where am I going after this life?
We had them read in their Bible in the book of James 1:5-6
Where it says..."If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in Faith nothing wavering..."
When they asked and prayed for themselves, and got their own answers...their lives began to change for the better.
~James E. Faust
“The Spirit of the Holy Ghost is the greatest guarantor of inward peace in an unstable world…it will calm nerves; it will breath peace to our souls…it can enhance our natural senses so that we can see more clearly, hear more keenly and remember what we should remember. It is a way of maximizing our happiness."
" But we need to remember Faith is a principle of action, we need to do something to obtain it" .
Gordon B. Hinckley said...."We know not what lies ahead of us. We know not what the coming days will bring. We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith." .
My earliest memory was at the age of 5, and I remember with such clarity being abused by my grandfather.The sexual abuse continued until I was 11 years old, the verbal and emotional abuse went on until I was married and moved away. I have spoken many times in my MOTIVATIONAL blog about being a Survivor, and what that means...in hopes that anyone else out there who has been abused will realize it is not their fault, and that they too can survive horrible and tragic experiences. Better than that, they can some day be happy, strong and a better person because what they have overcome.
But now ...with many years, counseling, tears, and prayers later, I realize that I can do all that I can do and then ask my Heavenly Father to do the rest. I don't have to carry that unbelievable burden alone, I realized that I never had really been alone, even when I thought no one would ever find out that I was being abused, I never hesitated to pray and ask for strength and courage. He has always made me EQUAL to the TASK ! Hopefully for many more years to come, I will continue to tell my story, share my testimony and remind others that you never have to be truly Alone ...unless you choose to be
I try to follow the example of this Mother who was dealing with Cancer...she said...
"I KNEW WE HAD ROUGH DAYS AHEAD, BUT I ALSO KNEW THAT MY FAITH WOULD ALWAYS BE MORE CONTAGIOUS THAN ANY DISEASE THAT COULD STRIKE OUR FAMILY. I WOULD KEEP IT IN MY HEART AND I WOULD DISPLAY IT MY MY ACTIONS. EVIDENCE FOR GOD-AND EVERYONE -TO SEE." ---------Jeanette Doyle Parr
Second is Hope
FAITH PROCEEDS HOPE, AND OPTIMISM IS THE OUTGROWTH OF HOPE!"
What is Hope really?
Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.
The things we hope in... sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us... through trials, temptations, and sorrow. Everyone has experienced discouragement and difficulty. Indeed, there are times when the darkness may seem unbearable. It is in these times divine principles we hope in... can uphold us and carry us until, once again, we walk in the light.
"As long as we have hope,
we have direction,
the energy to move,
and the map to move by.
We have a hundred alternatives,
a thousand paths and infinity of dreams.
Hopeful, we are halfway to where we want to go;
Hopeless, we are lost forever.
Hope is one of the prime differences between successful people and those who can only see failure. Successful people have hope because they can clearly see their goals. People who only see failure, have no hope because they see no light, they set no goals, and they see nothing accomplished.
Successful people see alternatives and are willing to try different ways. People who only see failure, are unable to see another way and give up to easily. With hope you are halfway to where you want to go; by setting your goals, and taking the action to achieve them, you will see your hope turn into your reality! "
When I was first diagnosed with Cancer, I put this poem up on the cabinet so.my family and I could read it and remember to have HOPE!
What Cancer Cannot Do
Cancer is so limited
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life, and...
It cannot conquer the spirit.
"Man can live forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope"
3rd is Perspective
I once heard a great story that helps bring this .topic to life...
"One day a teenaged boy went into a Candy store. He approached the Proprietor and asked for 3 boxes of chocolates 1 one-pound of chocolates, 1 2lb box of chocolates, and 1 3lb box of chocolates.
The owner complied and began to fill the young man’s order and asked, “may I ask you why need 3 boxes of chocolates”?
The young man said:
“I am going to a dance with a girl that I don’t know very well but I like her a lot. If we go to the dance and she is shy and quite, and perhaps we dance a few dances I will give her that 1-pound box of chocolates.
If we go to the dance and she is fun and we dance a lot and she holds my hand, I will give here that 2-pound box of chocolates.
If we go to the dance and we dance close all night long, hold hands and as the end of the night she gives me a kiss, I will give her the 3-pound box of chocolates.
The owner smiled, wished him good luck and rang the young man up for his order.
The night of the dance arrived and the young man went to the house to retrieve his date for the evening. Her parents invited him inside and they waited for her to come downstairs. When she was finally ready she came down and said she was ready to leave.
The young man said:
“Do you mind if we read some scriptures together with your parents before we go”?
She thought this was a strange request but allowed it.
After completing some verses she again resounded she was ready to leave.
The young man said:
“Before we go can we kneel down together and have a family prayer”?
She again thought this to be strange but figured it would help her to get to the dance sooner, she allowed it.
After the prayer, she asked the young man again if they could leave, and he finally agreed.
They said goodbye to the parents and left.
As they were walking to his car the young woman said”
I have to be honest with you… I had no idea you were so spiritual”
The young man replied:
“I have to be honest with you… I had no idea your father owned a Candy Store”.
The moral of the story:
"A change in understanding... can lead to a change in behavior"
There have been many days in my life that I felt my perspective was Half Empty, full of darkness and fear
One of these days that I wrote about those feeling in my blog, it was just months after having been diagnosed with Cancer for the 2nd time, and not long after my mastectomy. I had to work hard to try and stop all the negative thoughts that seemed to bombarred me
I wrote on ...
SUNDAY, JANUARY 25, 2009
Tough day... part 2!
I just entered my last post a minute or so ago. I felt sad that it was such a tough day, but before I shut down my computer for the night, I remembered a story that someone dear sent to me a while ago and it gave me great strength and insight. Obviously I needed to remember it again today to help change my perspective and I will put it as part 2 of my post for today.
"Some time ago, a few ladies met to study the scriptures. While reading the third chapter of Malachi, they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse:
"And He (God) shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" ( Malachi 3:3 ).
One lady decided to visit a silversmith to learn about the process of refining silver. After the silver smith had described it to her, she asked, "But Sir, do you sit while the work of the refining is going on?"
"Oh yes, Mam," replied the silversmith; " I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."
The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
God sees it needful to put His children into a furnace; His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for us. Our trials do not come at random, and He will not let us be tested beyond what we can endure.
Before she left, the lady asked one final question, "When do you know the process is complete?"
"Why that is quite simple," replied the silversmith. "When I can see my own image in the silver, the refining process is finished."
How grateful I am, that almost 6 years exactly from that day, I am here sharing my testimony with you that life is Good, there is much to be Happy and Hopeful about and that I know more than ever now that I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything, because it is those exact experiences.. that have helped me become well acquainted with my Heavenly Father and with my Savior Jesus Christ. I don't know what the future will bring but I do I know that They are always there and accessible if I but ask and have faith in them. I try to always keep things in my home as reminders to me of what I have learned. One of those things is
( put up Poster on the Table )
a photo that my daughter Lauren did of Christ holding a little childs hand. Why is that Children believe and trust so easily? We are told over and over again in the scriptures what we should become humble and teachable as little children . This photo is just one of the things in my home, that reminds me of that simple principle.
4th is Humor
After my mastectomy and Radiation treatments probably was the hardest time for me to find my humor, or find humor in anything that was happening to me. I am sure it was because I was in so much pain and yes...scared to death.
But that all changed the day that I was fitted for a prosthetic. I was impressed to find out that the new prosthetics you don't have to put in a pocket inside your clothes, but these new ones actually stick to you. Thus helping it feel a bit normal. It was the day that I got my first one that I decided I should name her, so I named her Sally. Actually Sally and I didn't get along so I got rid of her and got a better fitting one which I lovingly call Mandie with an ie...thought that sounded more feminine and trust me that is something that I was having trouble feeling about myself at this point. Every 2 years you get to get a new prosthetic unless something happens to your existing one.
That happened to me in Feb 2013...here is what I wrote in my blog that day...
"Funny how the smallest things can make you smile. On Friday I went to where I get my prostetics, and I had to bring back Mandie the 4th back ( because she was defective), literally she kept falling off. Not really impressive if your body parts start falling off! :) Anyway, I was wearing my older prosthetic Mandie the 3rd and had Mandie the 4th in her box. Ok, are you still with me?
Anyway, as I walked in the receptionist said hi and how can I help you? My reply was " I am getting a new prosthetic and bringing back the old one. I guess it's not every day that you have someone comes in to trade you body parts, is it?" She looked right at me with a smile and said " actually, we do around here!" It made me laugh and it made me feel good some how that I am not the only one to be swapping body parts. I laughed to, to think what people would say ( that passed by me ) if they knew what I had in the box.
Still I was grateful for the way it made me feel. A little over 4 years ago, there was nothing that I thought would ever make me feel good after my mastectomy, or having to wear a prosthetic for the rest of my life. Naming the prosthetic, did help. I was grateful for it and how I felt ( more normal ) when I had her on.
Then one day after getting Madie the 4th, I decided to pack the other Mandies away ( because you never know when you might need a spare )and before I did that I needed to wash them all again. I laid them on my bed to dry and I had my door shut. But on this day Amy and the girls were over to visit. Jenny, who was only 3-4 at the time walked in ( without knocking ) and saw all the Mandies laying on the bed. She got this weird look on her face, put her hands to her little face and said " Oh Nana, that's a whole lot of body parts! "
I had to just laugh, Amy who came in later and saw what happened didn't quite see the humor in it as much as I did.
I actually have a whole lot of funny Mandie stories, but you will just have to read about them on my blog.
But for now my favorite quote to remember is...
"Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts - it's what you do with what you have left." ~Hubert Humphrey
5th is Judgements
If you are as human as I, you often make judgments regarding a person’s character without full knowledge of the facts. This can, on occasion, lead to some incorrect assumptions about an individual and the way we interact with them.
The Savior, in responding to a lawyer’s question of “who is my neighbor” said:
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment”
Many times we label individuals according to our first impressions of them. A person who has their children doing tasks around the home, that seems like it should be done by an adult... may be someone who is suffering with a physical ailment and is in need of extra help. A young child or young adult who is acting rebellious or angry against authority ....may be someone who is being abused. And a person who doesn’t believe in God, is angry all the time, distant, or has a hard time forming relationships... may be someone who has lost a loved one and doesn’t know how to deal with that loss, or has had someone they trusted hurt them, and therefore have real TRUST issues.
This poem explains this subject well...
A woman was waiting at the airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shop,
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book, but happened to see,
That the man beside her, as bold as could be,
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
She read, munched cookie, and watched the clock,
As the gutsy “cookie thief” diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I’d blacken his eye!”
With each cookie she took, he took one too.
When only one was left, she wondered what he’d do.
With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, and he ate the other.
She snatched it from him and thought, “Oh brother,
This guy has some nerve, and he’s also so rude,
Why, he didn’t even show any gratitude!”
She had never known when she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate,
Refusing to look at the “thieving ingrate”.
She boarded the plane and sank in her seat,
Then sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise.
There were her bag of cookies in front of her eyes!
“If mine are here,” she moaned with despair,
“Then the others were his and he tried to share!”
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief!!!
We need to remember that everyone has a story. Everyone is fighting a battle of their own...that we may know about. As we encounter these individuals, we must remember to keep our hearts and minds open to what hardships they may be experiencing and not be the “cookie thief” who judges someone before you know all the facts.
6th (Last but not least) is Service
I like the way Mr. Roger's Mom tried to explained it to him ...
"When I was a child and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.''
That is my ultimate goal in life...to be a Helper.
I love the story in the book of John, chapter 5 verses 1-9. In Jerusalem there by the sheep market was a pool which was called (in the Hebrew language) Bethesda. This pool (like a hot springs or mineral springs) was known for it's healing powers at certain times. When the water was moving( troubled ), then the first person who got in, was to be made whole from their disease. Great multitudes of people with various problems waited by the pool, to be the first one in. The story goes on to tell about a invalid man who lived in Jerusalem and had suffered with his disease for 38 years. Jesus saw him at the pool and knowing he had been in that condition for a long time said unto him "Wilt thou be made whole?" The impotent man answered him, 'Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool; but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me' Jesus saith to him 'Rise, take up thy bed, and walk'. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked.
I love this story of the Savior's compassion for this man, and for His many miracles that He performed on a daily basis.
But I also thought about what this man must have felt like. Everyone was pushing and walking over or ahead of him to help themselves. How many times do we rush by in life and not see, someone who is in need of help. That takes time and patience. That takes.... really looking outside of ourselves and a great lesson for us all ...to slow down and personally get involved with other people's lives. It not only will bless them, but our lives will be better too. Service does that to you!
I have heard my whole life that if you are hurting, frustrated or depressed...the best thing you can do is serve someone else. In doing so we forget (for maybe only a minute or so) our problems, pains and frustrations. .
Christ asks us to give of ourselves, to help lift others around us, share with those in need, to strengthen and gladden, to help them come unto Him. If we do so then we can truly be called disciples of Christ.
~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf said..."Disciples of Christ throughout all ages of the world have been distinguished by their compassion. . . . In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers"
I love the scriptures in the book of Psalms 91:11-12 which says " For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands"
I do believe in angels, I have felt on more than one occassion in my life the help of strength beyond my own. I have also witnessed many angels here on earth, who have been here for me and my family. I will be forever grateful for those Angels of mine.
Sisters, I promise you that if you just give a smile to someone in need, a hug to someone who is suffering, a card to someone who is lonely and even a prayer for those in need...that there is where the miracle of service comes in. That is where we can make a difference in other's lives and in our own lives.
I hope we can try and have more faith, hope for better things, keep a better perspective, use more Humor to soften life's troubles, to judge less often and try to Serve others like the Savior did.
I would like to close with a quote by Dieter F. Uchtdor which says...
"There may be times when we must make a courageous decision to hope even when everything around us contradicts this hope.
Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us."