Monday, September 4, 2017

Please read this story, please!

On Thursday afternoon I received an unexpected phone call informing me that a woman in the hospital had given my name as the one who could make decisions for her, and then she was intubated and placed under a medically induced comma. She was then moved to the part of ICU where most people do not leave alive.
Yuma Regional Medical Center in  Yuma, AZ Every staff member and medical professional here who helped my friend deserves a big hug, a good foot rub and a plate of chocolate chip cookies.
 I think I can take care of 2 of those things on the list!
I immediately drove up to the hospital to see my friend. I could see it in her face - death. I could feel it in the air - death. It was only a matter of time, a short time, she was on her way out.

My heart ached.

She is alone. This woman in her mid-sixties is alone. Her family is her little dog Charlie. Other than that, either everyone is dead, or unknown I suppose. She is alone. She has no one. No. One.

On top of that ... I don't know how to write this in a politically correct manner and please, don't be offended by what I'm gong to write, sometimes the facts are not easy to say, but they are the facts ... she is not someone anyone really wants to be around. She smells like cigarettes, moldy food growing old on stacks of dishes, no bathing, old coffee, a dog who does his business in the house, and clothes that just sit in a pile on the floor until they are worn again, among other odors.

On top of that ... I don't know how to write this in a politically correct manner either ... she is grouchy and stubborn and ornery and she looks it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though she doesn't have any family, she also doesn't have very many friends because being her friend is not easy. It is not for impatient people or the faint of heart or someone who has a queasy stomach or a heart that finds it hard to love, even if that love is not always returned.

But I sat there next to her hospital bed, knowing the end was near and I suddenly felt great sadness that her story would never be known. I don't know every part of her story, I don't even know most of her story. But I know enough to know that her story needs to be told.

I whispered to my friend, "I will tell your story. I promise."
We'll call my friend Jane.

Jane was born on a hot July day on the eastern side of the U.S., back in the early 1950's. As soon as she could, Jane's mother left the hospital ... WITHOUT Jane. Yes, without.

The hospital was able to track down Jane's mother's parents. As it was told to Jane later in her life, her grandparents very reluctantly went to the hospital and took her home. Their plans were never to keep her so there was never an effort to buy a crib, or clothes, or supplies, just the bare necessities. She slept on the couch in their trailer until she moved out in her later teens. Birthdays were rarely ever celebrated with more than just a nod in her direction and a whispered "Happy Birthday" from her grandmother.

Jane's grandfather smoked, a lot. She would sit in their trailer and watch him roll his cigarettes and hear him say the same two phrases over and over, "Don't ever start smoking!" "Don't ever turn out like your mother!"

At age 10, those words from her grandfather about smoking didn't phase her when a cigarette was offered to her. She smoked that cigarette and has been smoking ever since. She also did give birth to a baby in her teens, just as her mother had. But instead of abandoning her baby, as her mother had abandoned her, Jane chose to let a loving family adopt that baby. It is the one decision in her life that makes her feel that she did something right.

Jane does have some happy memories from her childhood. Her grandparents had a summer home by a lake. Every summer, they would make the long drive from their home state to the lake house state. Jane loved those days by the lake; days where she could leave in the morning and go exploring until nightfall and no one bothered her.

But once she graduated from high school, she left home and was never able to go to the lake house again.

Somewhere in her late teens or early 20's, Jane married a guy that made her feel so happy. Someone loved her and she felt like things were going to be okay. Until one day, three weeks (did you read that? 3 weeks!) after they were married, a woman came up to her at a bar and said, "I'm going home with your husband. He's done with you." When she discovered that the woman was telling the truth, Jane left, and never went back.

From then on, she wandered and explored. She learned how to make glass in a glass factory and loved the feeling of working hard and earning her own money and taking care of herself. But that factory closed and so, not knowing where else to go, she joined a Carnival company.
She traveled around the country with this company setting up rides, taking down rides, running carnival games, helping in every aspect of the Carnivals. She was a Carnie and indulged in every stereotypical behavior attributed to Carnies that anyone has ever heard.

She actually loved that life. She had friends, work to do, a place to sleep, food to eat, money in her pocket, opportunities to travel. It seemed to be the happiest that she had ever been.

As she grew older though, she remembered her grandmother always wanting her to be a religious girl. Jane started reading the Bible and realized she needed to change her life. She gives credit to God and the power of His word for helping her to stop the drug addictions she had picked up with her Carnie family. She started back to church and began changing her life.

She realized the Carnie life wasn't what she wanted to do anymore. With nowhere else to go, she began wandering again and eventually, she found herself living in Yuma, AZ. Well, not really. She was living along the Colorado River near Yuma. She and her little dog Charlie lived in a tent out in the desert. She did not consider herself homeless. She was very happy to be out under the stars each night and free from bills and people who hurt and the worries of day to day city life. She knew it was illegal to do what she was doing without paying or even being in an official camping spot. Whenever the Ranger would come tell her to move, she would, until he would tell her to move again. She didn't mind.
All of this happened before a hot morning in August of 2013 when I was driving down the road and I saw this little lady sitting on the side of the road and I felt a voice say, "Help her." I didn't stop, but gratefully, the voice didn't give up on me. The voice said again, "Turn around and help her."

I did.

I will be eternally grateful for that moment when I first met this daughter of God. I was nearly overwhelmed with the odor of her daily life as I helped her into my car, but my heart was also overwhelmed with a love for her that could only come from God.

There are many aspects of this woman's life that would either make people want to fix her life, or stay away. I struggled at first with exactly how to help her. I didn't want to enable unwise behavior, but I also didn't want to just walk away and ignore her (which would have been very easy to do at times.) I finally realized that all I really felt in my heart was God saying, "Just love her. Please, just love her."

As I began to hear her story, I knew why the instruction from God was to just love her ... no one ever had. No one had ever loved her just because. Love had never been freely given to her. When I think about Jane's life, I can imagine how often our Savior sat with her and walked with her and wished so much one of us mortals would see the brilliant spirit that lives within that rough exterior.

As I sat there by her hospital bed and was told that her heart was very week and was giving out, I knew exactly why. She was dying of a broken heart, literally.

Jane was born into loneliness and she was about to die in loneliness.

I called my husband who came up to the hospital to give her a Priesthood blessing and as he put his hands on her head , he felt these words to say to her, "If it is time for you to leave this mortal life, know that you will be surrounded by love and it will not be scary. But if there are still things in this life the Lord has for you to do, your body will know what to do and you will be able to continue this mortal life."
I could not find the artist of this painting. If anyone knows, please tell me so I can give credit where credit is due.

Tears poured down my cheeks as I thought of Jane's spirit leaving her body and entering the next adventure after this life. I thought of our Savior's arms wrapping around her and how He would hold her and love her and tell her that everything was going to be okay. I actually felt so happy that she was finally going to feel freedom from this earth life that has been so hard for her.
But then, the next morning, she opened her eyes and she began to get stronger and healthier and by Saturday she was moved out of ICU to another floor and she was quickly back to her grouchy, hard to love self. She is still in the hospital and is a little disgruntled that she can't find "Bonanza" on the tv.

I have to admit something that is hard to admit ... I was kind of sad about that. I was looking forward to her leaving this sad world and finding some peace. But those words told to her in a Priesthood blessing as she teetered between this life and the next kept returning to me, "...if there are still things in this life the Lord has for you to do, your body will know..."

What is it she still has to accomplish? I don't know. She can barely walk. She sits alone all day long in her chair watching tv. She lives off of a ridiculously low amount of money and food stamps. The last couple weeks of the month she eats bologna sandwiches for all three meals. She is fiercely independent and will not allow anyone to help her adjust and make some healthful changes that would help her in so many ways. She is still very sick and her habits aren't going to change. It is likely she will end right back in the ICU very soon. I asked the Lord if He would help me understand what it is she still needs to accomplish.

Do you know what He told me?

He told me that she still has some lessons to TEACH. Yes TEACH.

So, learn I will.

If you live in Yuma and you know this woman personally, maybe she has some lessons to teach you as well. If you think she might, here are some facts about Jane that will help you to "just love her" as I have felt the Savior tell me to do on so many occasions:

She loves to come over for Sunday dinners. She loves to play board games. She loves to just sit and be a part of a family. We made her very first birthday cake 3 years ago, she was teary eyed as she blew out the candles. She loves to have her fingernails painted. The air conditioner in her trailer isn't made for the desert summer heat. She loves soft comfy socks. She loves to go to the movies. She loves to go out to restaurants and eat greasy hamburgers and ice cream. She loves "Bonanza" and any old western tv show out there. It is not easy for her to walk to her trailer park's laundry mat and she sometimes doesn't have the money to do the laundry anyway. She loves "Wheel of Fortune". She likes frog figurines and coloring those black felt marker pictures. She loves talking and visiting and she loves jokes. She loves her little dog Charlie; he is her whole world. She can't always walk all the way to the big garbage bin in her trailer park and so her garbage just piles up and up. She likes to crochet and do crafts. She loves steak but her dentures deteriorated long ago and are unusable so she can't chew the meat. But she will cut it up into very small pieces and be perfectly happy. Jane loves to laugh.

She has been an amazing teacher for my children! She loves them. Sometimes after paying all of her bills and getting the few things she needs, she will have $1 or $2 left over and do you know what she does? She will buy my son a little toy car or my daughter a treat. They don't know right now all that she has helped them to learn, but someday they will and I have a feeling they may look back and see her as one of their greatest teachers.

I had thought this post would be about someone who has passed on to the next life. I started writing it in my head as I sat there by Jane's ICU bed that long awful night.

Instead, this is a post about someone who is ALIVE. We don't have to read this and think "Oh I should have ..." We can read this and think, "I am going to ..."

I invite you to let Jane into your home and into your heart.
I invite you to not let this lonely woman die lonely.
I invite you to entertain an angel (who doesn't always seem like an angel ;) )

Inside of that rough exterior is a golden daughter of God and one day we will all see her for who she really is and we will feel honored to have had such a powerful teacher in our midst.

If you don't live in Yuma, or having closer personal contact with Jane is a bit much for you right now, I guess I just want you to know that Jane is not the only Jane in this world. Maybe you won't see your Jane sitting on the side of the road and hear a voice tell you to help her. Maybe your Jane will come to you in a whole different way.

I titled this post "Please read this story, please!" because of the message I felt the Savior tell me about Jane, "Just love her. Please, just love her." I truly felt the "please" come from Him.

He'll take care of all of the rest, the bad habits and the ways that she acts out of her heartaches and He will fix it all, He just needs someone to ... please ... love her.

Do you know one of the greatest lessons I have learned from Jane?
I have realized that we place a high importance on "being wise" when what we are really feeling is fear. We think we need to be so careful about the strangers we meet on the street, or how we help others etc. etc. etc. (and we do, don't misunderstand me) but I've learned and am continuing to learn that sometimes instead of "wisdom" we are feeling FEAR. When we can learn to decipher between the two, a whole new world of love opens up and it is amazing ... that is when you will meet your teacher Jane.

Maybe, just maybe, that is one of the greatest lessons that Jane can teach the world. It is an important lesson. How wonderful that she is here to teach it to us. Her soul is of infinite worth!!

Hebrews 13:2 "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

  1. If you want to read more of the story of how I met Jane, go to this link
P.S. I feel a great need to add something else here. As I wrote the words about Jane's mother, grandparents, ex-husband etc., I did not intend to vilify them. I am keenly aware that they have their own stories and their own reasons for doing what they did, we all do. That doesn't mean that everything these people did (or we do) is okay. It just means that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is that we are hurting, or confused, or ... well, stupid. ;) But its still a reason.
That is why I am so very, very, very grateful our Savior, Jesus Christ has reserved the right to judge for Himself and not for us. He knows, truly, He KNOWS. He will take everything into account and His judgements will be made out of more love than any of us can even comprehend.

So many have asked for updates on this situation so ... 
Jane was moved to a skilled nursing facility today. Going home to her dog was her greatest desire, but her health is not ready for that yet. She is happy to have a bigger tv with more channels, such as whatever channel it is that has "Bonanza", "Gun Smoke" etc. She was happy to get out of that awful hospital gown and into her favorite outfit - men's basketball shorts and a comfy t-shirt. The staff at this care facility were wonderful and I could see that Jane found a place in their hearts immediately. Jane's exemplary Visiting Teacher is taking care of Jane's little dog. The care center agreed that if he gets his shots and a good bath and cut, he can go visit her. We'll get that taken care of. 
I am so touched by how many have shared this story. I hope it will continue to be shared. I have also been touched by those who have asked how they can help. I am even more touched by those who are choosing to learn from Jane and act on the lessons she has to teach about forgiveness, courage, kindness, and love. 
Honestly, this whole experience of how she is teaching so many is yet one more learning opportunity I have been blessed with when it comes to being Jane's friend. I have learned so much watching so many of you learn as well.
That whole "Angels in disguise" thing ... I think it's real!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Keeping Promises

This post is about a promise:

When my mom was in her early 20's she lived in Alberta Canada. She had traveled all over the world in her teens and young adulthood, but Canada was different for her. She actually lived there and served people there and learned many important lessons there.

I can't even count how many times my mom said to me over the years, "Someday I want to take you to Banff National Park."

It never happened and so before she died she said to me, "Promise me, that you will get up to Banff in Canada. Promise me you will go to Lake Louise."

I promised.

Last week I kept that promise. It just kind of happened. An opportunity to go came my way, my mom's request whispered in my ear, and I jumped in with both feet.

I stood on top of Sulphur mountain and looked out at the majestic view and thought, "Okay mom. I'm here. You went all over the world, why is this the one place you made me promise to come?"
I didn't have a revelation. I didn't hear her voice, nor did I see her face.

 But I looked over at her granddaughter who was born after my mother passed away and I thought of the many gifts I want to give to my daughter simply because I know she will love them. Was that the answer? Did my mom make me promise to go just because she knew how much I would love the place? Did she know how it would fill my soul? Did she know it would bring tears to my eyes and inspire me and that I would feel like I had "come home"?

Is that okay? I mean, is it that simple? Is God that way? Does He sometimes send blessings or give us opportunities because He simply knows we will love them?

I believe the answer is yes. I believe that happens more often than we realize. I believe it happens every single day. I believe it is why He does anything that He does - simply because He loves us and it delights Him to see our joy and happiness.

I hope my mom knew I was there. I hope she felt as much joy as I did. I know that when I am able to give my children something they will love, I just might feel a little happier than even they at the realization of that dream come true. Hopefully, my mom was able to feel that as well. She deserves the happiness.

Did you make a promise to your parents before they passed away? My invitation is for you to keep that promise. Make it happen. You just might love it!

P.S. When you do keep that promise, take a better camera than I did. I just had my phone and that works for some things but when the scenery is as beautiful as Banff, my little phone just didn't cut it. I had to find photos online to do these beautiful mountains justice.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A messy toy room and the Second Coming - what they have in common

This is something I wrote about 5 years ago. It has been coming to my mind lately and so I thought I would reshare:

 My two kiddos, (ages 6 and 4) share a room so that the other room can be used as a toy room. It is not cleaned every single day. I like that I can shut the door to this room and no one can see the mess. I have also adopted the philosophy that a messy toy room is some evidence that my children were playing with their toys instead of watching tv or playing computer games. (It makes me feel better about the mess! Ha, ha!)

However, at least once a week, that toy room needs a good cleaning. This isn't pretty as my sweet, adorable children have perfected their whining techniques claiming that I have asked them to do the impossible. But I stay strong. I didn't make the mess, they did. So, I've adopted the counting system. I give them a certain task within the mess and tell them to have it done by the time I count to 10. Usually, when I get to about 8, I start slowing down and even using fractions - 9 1/4, 9 1/2, 9 3/4 and then I take an extended deep breath before I say the number 10.  Sometimes, if I have gone to another room while they are cleaning, I come down the hall toward the toy room counting very loudly so they know I am on my way and they better finish things up. Why? I want them to succeed. I want them to complete the task. I love them. (and they are still young enough that this is an effective system) :)

"What in the world does all of this have to do with Jesus Christ?" you ask.

Well, let me tell you...
There has been a lot of talk lately about predictions of the Savior's Second Coming. Some people claim to know when this is going to happen. Some people think these people are crazy. Some people feel afraid. Some people don't care a single bit.

Remember, Satan flat out lies but he often takes the truth and twists it. The truth is that Jesus Christ will come again. He WILL It has been prophesied since even before He came the first time that He would come a second time. Here's one example:

"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts." (Malachi 3:1 Old Testament)
Artist: Harry Anderson

Did that happen the first time He came? No. So it is a verse that is obviously referring to His second coming - a time when the whole world will KNOW without a doubt that Jesus was and is the Christ because He will not come as a little babe in Bethlehem. He will come as our King and He will reign in righteousness and glory and He will establish a perfect, peaceful kingdom. (I think this is a hard concept to grasp for those of us who live in an imperfect, non-peaceful world - which just happens to be all of us. But just because we can't comprehend it, doesn't mean it won't happen.)

So, yes, Jesus will come again. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. But satan still tries to spread the lie that Jesus won't come. If satan can't convince you that Jesus won't come, maybe then he twists the "when". He convinces some people that they can know the exact day and time of the Savior's second coming.Why? Who knows. he just likes to get in there and wreck havoc wherever we are vulnerable.

Jesus HIMSELF said, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36) He reissued this statement in modern day revelation: "...but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes." (Doctrine and Covenants 49:7)

Back to my kids and their toy room. They know I'm coming down the hall because I told them in the beginning that I would come when time was up. They don't know the exact moment I will come. They can guesstimate but that's it. And if they have been listening, they have heard me counting the whole time so they can know when time is almost up and they better get moving  if they are going to be finished with their tasks in time.

So, aren't we all Heavenly Father's children? Yes. Often, we are a bunch of young children who need little incentives and reminders like our Father counting to 10 to motivate us to get things done.

The thing is that He has been counting to 10 for a very long time now. Those who have ears to hear and hearts to understand have been paying attention. We know that the time of our Savior coming again is very close. How close we don't know but it is probably safe to say Heavenly Father is at the point of using fractions like 9 1/2 and 9 3/4. He's coming down the hall toward the toy room and He's counting very loudly so as to get our attention so that we can be ready.

(When you visualize this, don't see Him as a gruff, mean, Father stomping His feet, ready to point out that we didn't do what He asked. Remember He loves us so much He let His Son suffer and die for us. He did not send us here to fail. Picture Him as the loving, patient, yet wise Father He is. Pray to know that Father.)

Unfortunately, one way our Father must "count loudly" so as to get our attention is by allowing wickedness, war and turmoil. "The prophets have warned that the earth will experience great turmoil, wickedness, war and suffering. The prophet Daniel said that the time before the Second Coming would be a time of trouble such as the earth has never known (see Daniel 12:1). We can expect earthquakes, disease, famines, great storms, lightnings, and thunder and hailstorms." (Doctrine and Covenants 88:90 - 91; Matthew 24:7; Doctrine and Covenants 29:16) (Gospel Principles: Lesson 43 "Signs of the Second Coming")

Sound familiar? Watch the news lately? How many times have you heard over the past few years that a weather-related catastrophe is the worst in recorded history? Our Father is counting and warning and doing all He can to help us be ready for that day when His Son, our Savior, comes again. He doesn't do this because He likes destruction and watching us suffer. Quite the contrary! (I've had to take toys away from my children just to help them finish their task. Not because I like to see them cry, but because I know they need to know that I'm serious about what I have asked them to do.) He does this because He loves us enough to do whatever it takes to help us be ready. He knows that the sadness and anguish we will feel at the Savior's Second Coming if we are not ready, will far outweigh any anguish we might feel now. He WANTS us to succeed. He would that ALL of His children would make themselves ready. But He will never force us so He does what a perfect Father would do, all He canIt is His work and glory, remember? (Moses 1:39)

Whether the destruction around the world is happening in your town or not, it is still a message to the whole world. We must pay attention to these events. Not to make us depressed or afraid, but so that we can be ready.

While cleaning the toy room, my children often become distracted by their toys. My daughter starts setting up the doll house - claiming she is sorting through the toys. My son begins a whole train/star wars/cars saga. Similarly, satan has been very successful at getting us to distract ourselves so that we won't be ready. We can be involved in so many wonderful and worthwhile activities. But if these activities are keeping us from preparing ourselves for our Savior's second coming then something needs to be rearranged.

We can listen for the counting and make ourselves ready, or not. It is our choice - completely OUR choice.

In giving some signs of His second coming, the Savior once said, "I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear." D&C 38:30

Oh, and one more thing...I mentioned that sometimes I leave the room while my kids are cleaning. But usually, I stay right there with them, helping them clean up their mess, even though I am not the one who made the mess. Sound like Someone else we know? Yup.  Our Father and our Brother are much more involved in our lives than we know - I have no doubt.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is not a day that we need to fear. It is a day we can look forward to. It is a day to pray for and a day to prepare for.

Listen to how the Savior describes what our world will be like once He has returned:
"But, verily I say unto you that in time ye shall have no king nor ruler, for I will be your king and watch over you. Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a  free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your lawgiver, and what can stay my hand?" (Doctrine and Covenants 38:21-22)

Artist: Simon Dewey
Wowsers! I wanna be there! 

Okay, one more one more thing, it's not just destruction and doom and gloom that signifies that the Savior's Second Coming is near. There are also promises of increased righteousness, the Gospel spreading to all the earth, temples, and churches being set up as safe places to gather. If we are prepared, we don't have to fear. So, we kinda need to actually prepare.

 "Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen" 
(Doctrine and Covenants 35:27)  

This amazing painting was done by John McNaughton. Read his thoughts here and see more of his paintings:

There is so much that could be written here. I've only skimmed the surface. If you want to study more, here is a good starting place, "Preparation for the Second Coming" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Elder Oaks points out, "
"What if the day of His coming were tomorrow? If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow—through our premature death or through His unexpected coming—what would we do today? What confessions would we make? What practices would we discontinue? What accounts would we settle? What forgivenesses would we extend? What testimonies would we bear?
If we would do those things then, why not now? Why not seek peace while peace can be obtained?"

He then says, "We are surrounded by challenges on all sides (see 2 Cor. 4:8–9). But with faith in God, we trust the blessings He has promised those who keep His commandments. We have faith in the future, and we are preparing for that future. To borrow a metaphor from the familiar world of athletic competitions, we do not know when this game will end, and we do not know the final score, but we do know that when the game finally ends, our team wins. We will continue to go forward “till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540). 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Miracles do not always appear to be miracles, at first...

This is a message for all of those who have been so kind in sending messages and making calls to offer your prayers and support for our sweet Elizabeth. Some reading this post, who have stumbled here without a knowledge of what has really transpired, might be a confused about a couple of details. Please feel free to email me and I will fill you in on the details.

This is just one part of a very long, learning, faith testing journey...

We have had a absolute miracle.

On Wednesday morning, of this week, I received a phone call from a hospital 3 hours away where a Pediatric Neurologist had reviewed an MRI that was done of Lizzy's eyes and brain last week. Upon reading the findings, the doctor had told the Nurse Case Manager to call me and get Lizzy in to see him ASAP. He was concerned that if we waited for a regular appointment time, which would be about 8 weeks away, Lizzy's optic nerves and vision could be damaged and compromised if treatment was not started immediately.

I listened to my "Mommy Gut" which told me to go, so we went.
Thank you so much to all of you who helped with Ben and seminary and other duties at the last minute. I wish I could repay you with more than just a "thank you" but please know the gratitude comes straight from my heart.

It took us longer to get out of town than I had hoped and there were two accidents along the freeway toward Mesa that made our trip take longer than it should have. (That's important to the story) Once we arrived at the ER, the doctors there were very confused as to why we were there. I had been told that Lizzy's records would be made available and the ER staff would understand the situation.
They did not.
They were kind and helpful, but they were baffled.
It was weird.
Of course, there were those questions that implied I was probably a psyscho mom who had made this all up and I'm sure there were hushed conversations out of the room about how to get rid of the crazy mom.
I was asked to tell the reason why I was there again and again.
I am typically not an easily agitated person, but I remained even more calm than usual. I literally felt the Lord keeping me calm. To be truthful, I'm sure my ancestors were helping me as well.

Our Father in Heaven gave this daughter of His a great sense of humor and a bit of a crazy personality. It sure comes in hand sometimes. She and I had some good laughs in the ER together that day (and the next.)
The staff still didn't know what to do with us.
Here was a little girl in the ER with NO symptoms.
They treat symptoms.
They called the on-call Pediatric Neurologist who told them to tell me to go home. (That is important to the story - remember this part.)

"But it's a Pediatric Neurologist who told me to come. Can you call that Neurologist? I would not have come this far and on such short notice if I hadn't been told to do so by this doctor."

They could not locate him. Nor could they locate the Nurse Case Manager. They had all just left for the day and could not be reached.

The ER Staff called in their best doctor who came and did a thorough exam on Lizzy. She gave her a clean bill of health and told us that was the best she could do for us.
We were told to go home.

I did not feel that was right.
You don't tell a mom in an urgent phone call that if she doesn't get her daughter to the ER ASAP that her daughter may become blind, and then expect that mom to just leave if that hasn't been addressed.

I was filled with the KNOWLEDGE that the Lord had arranged this and I was to stay put until He let me know we were done.

There was no question in my mind of what to do.

A good friend had come to the hospital to see us, so we went home with her and slept at her apartment that night.

The next morning Lizzy and I got up early so that we could be the first ones at the door when the Pediatric Neurology clinic opened. This was where the urgent phone call the day before had originated, this was where I was to go. It was a wild goose chase finding that place, but I still felt that was what we were supposed to do.

Never once did doubt enter my mind.

We found the case manager.
She was so kind.
She had no idea we had been turned away from the ER the day before.
I told her that I wasn't going to leave the hospital that day until my daughter was seen by a neurologist.
I said it with a smile on my face and a resolve in my tone and this sweet woman got a tear in her eye and told me she was supporting me 100%.
She went back and talked to the neurologist who had been so concerned.
He called the ER himself and said he was sending us over there and they were to let us in and begin a list of tests he felt she needed ASAP - CT, Spinal tap etc.

So, back we went.

Once again, the ER staff was SOOOO KIND! They ushered us in and treated us with concern and I was so grateful.

But then it started to happen again.

I could hear the doctors and nurses out in the hall saying, "But why is she here in the ER?" "Who talked to the doctor?" "What do we do with her?"

One ER doctor came into the room and asked me to tell our whole story beginning from the very first Optometry appointment in April of 2015 when the swollen optic nerves were discovered.

Then another doctor came in and asked me to share the story.
Then a nurse came in and asked me to share the story.

I very kindly, but firmly, again, said that the only reason I was there was because a pediatric neurologist had told me it was urgent. I explained that we live 3 hours away; we don't even have a working car at this time; I had to borrow a friend's car to make the trip; I have no money and now have two ER visits to pay for and why in the world would I have done that, if I hadn't been told to do it by someone I thought I could trust?

I asked them to PLEASE call the Neurologist over in the clinic.

That's when the biggest miracle happened.

The Pediatric Neurologist who had been on-call for the ER the night before, the one who had told them to tell me to go home, happened to wander into the ER. He had wanted to get Lizzy's information so that he could tell the other neurologist that he would be happy to see us on Friday (today) if we wanted to come back.

"Well," they told him, "She's back."

He wasn't very happy about that and so he thought he would just nip it in the bud and get us out of there himself.

What came next was 70 minutes of one on one care from one of the top doctors in the country, maybe the world, in the field of pediatric neurology and childhood Multiple Sclerosis.

Once he realized why I was there, and how far I had come in order to be there, he calmed down and his concern for our situation took over.

This doctor lives in Wisconsin. He comes to Arizona about once or twice a year to see his grandchildren. While he is here in AZ, this hospital has asked if he would be willing to assist at the hospital when he can. This doctor, I was told, is the one all of the other doctors call and consult with when they need more expertise. He doesn't ask them for help, they ask him.

He did a thorough exam on Lizzy, looked at the results of tests that have already been done and determined that she is a perfectly healthy little girl, who just happens to have optic nerves that are a bit swollen. He cautioned me to keep an eye out for any changes in her vision, blurred vision, double vision, seeing lights, seeing spots, seeing colors differently, sharp pain in her head or eyes etc. He also instructed us to have our doctor check on Lizzy's eyes every 6 months for the next 2 years. Other than that, he feels everything is okay. Lizzy still has the food allergies and she needs to adhere to those guidelines, which, actually will help her body continue to be strong and healthy.

My "mommy gut" felt peace. I felt that this is what we had come for and we could now return home.

I asked him why he thought I received the urgent phone call just the day before. He said that the textbook answer to swollen optic nerves is MS - every time. He was certain the other neurologist felt the need to start Lizzy down an aggressive MS treatment path - a path he does not feel she needs to go down. The other doctors are all very good doctors, I have no doubt. But Lizzy is not a textbook and she does not have MS. It appears that only a very skilled, very experienced, very intuitive doctor would have known that. The Lord arranged for us to meet with that doctor.

1. If my friend had not called me the other day to say that she felt impressed to let us use her old van for as long as we needed to, I would not have had a reliable car to make the quick journey.

2. If I had not received the urgent phone call telling me my daughter might go blind if I don't go ASAP, I would never have gone in the first place.

3. If we had arrived a few minutes earlier, the first doctor and the case manager would have been available and they would have called the shots.

4. If the ER staff had the correct information, they would have started the tests the first doctor had ordered.

5. If I had gone home that night, I would have still thought Lizzy needed to see a neurologist and whomever I took her to, probably would have started the MS treatments.

6. If I had not gone back the next day, we never would have been able to meet with the great doctor who helped us so much. Who also happens to be leaving AZ tomorrow.

Basically, what the Lord did was orchestrate the most amazing plan to help us know that everything is okay.

Isn't that wonderful?!

My whole life, I've been telling myself "Everything is going to be okay." as a way of calming my fears and sadness because of the constant challenges that have been given to me. It has become the norm for me in the past few years to think in my mind "Everything is going to be okay after this life." because it seemed to me that was when I was going to need to wait for the "okay" to happen.

On the 3-hour drive home, I imagined the Savior sitting in the passenger seat next to me.

Him: "Did you get my message today?"
Me: "That Lizzy is okay? Yes, thank you so much!"
Him: "Well, yes, that is one of the messages. Did you get the other message?"
Me: "Um, that you love us and you will take care of us. Yes, thank you so much!"
Him: "Well, yes, those were also messages I sent. Did you get any other messages?"
Me: "Um, well...."
Him: "Why did I orchestrate all of this?"
Me: "To help me know that everything is going to be okay."
Him: "Going to be okay? or ..."
Me: "Oh, wait, I see, often we think you are just there when something is wrong so that we can take care of it and to comfort us. We think of you healing the wrongs and the hurts and that you are there to fix things."
Him: "Yes, keep going."
Me: "But this time, you showed me that you also rush in to tell us when life is okay. Truly okay. This time, you didn't rush in to fix a problem or heal my daughter's eyes. You rushed in to tell me that they didn't need healing."
Him: "Yes. I wanted you to not only feel that everything is going to be okay, but that there are some parts of earth life that are okay right now. I know I have allowed you, and continue to allow you, to go through a lot of hard, hard experiences in your life. You have felt great amounts of heartache. You know that I've always been there, right next to you, holding you and loving you. You have learned so much and I'm so proud of you.  I just wanted you to know that not everything is hard and that I have not forgotten you."
Me: "You're not supposed to make me cry while I drive!  But thank you. Thank you so much. I love you."
Him: "I know. I love you too."
Me: "I know."
Him: "Now, dry your tears so you don't get in an accident. Then things won't be okay." (With a wink and a smile - He does have a sense of humor you know!)

So, there you go! There's the story.
So many prayers have been said and so many prayers have been answered.

I believe that these experiences happen to us more than we know and realize.
I believe that our Father in Heaven and the Savior and all those interested in our success and happiness are very, very involved in our day to day earth life.
I believe that the more we believe that, the more we will recognize their help and the more it will be offered.

We do not have to travel through this life alone.
Wait, let me rephrase that.
We do not travel through this life alone.
We just don't always recognize the Heavenly help that is always there.

Thank you, each of you, for your generous help and prayers. Prayer is more powerful than we know. I mean it when I say that I felt stronger from the prayers that were being said.
I hope you all see God's Hand in your life today. Somehow, somewhere, in some way, He will send you a message and it will most likely be, "I love you."

Love to you all!

P.S As the good doctor was leaving the ER exam room, he turned and said, "I apologize again for not coming in to see you on Wednesday night. My two grandchildren are severely autistic. I had told my daughter and her husband to go out and enjoy themselves before I leave on Saturday while I took care of the kids. It ended up being a challenging night with both of the kids and I just couldn't leave them." The tears filled his eyes and I said, "No need to apologize. You were right where you were supposed to be."

And with that we see that the Lord is truly in charge. His timing and His methods we do not always understand, but they are always right. Our trust in Him can be absolute!
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