Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I am thankful for grandchildren!

Meet Isla Grace Garner! She belongs to Ben and Kindle Garner. She is our sixth grandchild. Don and I are so blessed to have such wonderful children and grandchildren. Life just keeps getting better and better!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I am thankful for life!

Wow, sometimes I just can't express how happy I am to be alive! There is so much joy in each new day. We are so blessed to be on Earth surrounded by so much beauty. So many of God's creations to enjoy, especially each other. I love nature. The detail and variety of plants, animals, landscape, and of course people still amazes me. I am in awe when I think about God and His infinite love for us. He not only gives us daily life, but He continues to send us His spirit. His guidance and love surround us all. It makes me remember that I am His daughter!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I am thankful for my husband!

Don is the love of my life. How can it be that we have been together now for 16 years and my heart still skips a beat when I know he is coming home? What first attracted me was his love for me. What keeps me wanting more is my ever-growing love for him. I love his face and long to see it when he is away. I feel like I fall in love with him over and over again-each time reaching a deeper level of trust and devotion. His smile melts me. I want to be my very best self because doing so only improves our relationship. He notices every effort and cheers every success. His humility still attracts me. His honesty and fidelity only make me love and respect him more. He is the hardest working person I know. His work ethic is unsurpassed. He doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit". I think that is why we are still together. With 11 children and 5 grandchildren between us, he never gives up on any of us. His love for God and His commandments drives his actions. I am so lucky to be with a man that cares enough to forgive and try again and again. Happy 60th birthday, Sweetheart! I'm so glad you're mine!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I am thankful for a forgiving body!

Since July 1, 2009, I have been kind to my body. I am just so thankful that my body has been forgiving and kind back. I have the energy of a 20-year old and want to move all the time! My muscles are showing a definition I don't ever remember seeing. I can run over two miles even after a strenuous workout. I look forward to waking up each morning, jumping on the scale to measure my progress, and then heading for the gym. What an exciting process to transform one's outer self in under five months so completely that some people don't even recognize me. My closet and drawers tell it all. They are barren of almost every piece of clothing I previously owned. Only pictures document the journey from July 'til now.

Over the last twelve years, I have neglected my body. I ate whatever I wanted and kept exercise and physical activity to an all-time minimum. I have never touch alcohol, tobacco, coffee and only had caffeinated soda a few times. But foods high in sugar, fat, and salt, were my downfall. I stayed busy with work (teaching) and mothering activities. Stress was my constant companion. It seemed like I experienced stress and anxiety at an increasing rate as the day went along. This unhealthy lifestyle eventually brought severe back pain that lasted over six months. I was also at risk for type-two diabetes and a variety of other health problems including sleep apnea. Not one doctor ever suggested that I lose weight and start exercising and see what happened. But I knew I could not continue gaining weight and stay healthy forever.

The pounds just kept adding up. So at 210 pounds and after a painful foot surgery, I finally decided I was tired of gaining weight and decided to see if I could reverse the bad decisions of over a decade. I woke up on July 1, 2009 committed to giving up the foods that made me gain those unwanted pounds. My new mindset would be to only choose to eat and drink those things that would help me lose weight and turn my body into a fat-burning machine! I started studying. I learned how important a low-fat, high-fiber diet was to weight loss and increasing my metabolism. I learned that I must also feed my body protein and calcium. Water was the fluid that would make the difference. Keeping my body hydrated would help curb my appetite and flush away the pounds of the past.

After a few days, I realized just how difficult it was to reverse habits and found myself craving sugar and fat! It was so hard, and I found myself thinking about food all the time. I felt sorry for myself. It was then that I realized just how addicted to unhealthy food I had become. I started exercising in earnest focusing on cardio activities (30-minutes a day) and reps on the machines to build strength for about an hour. Working out for 1 1/2 hours per day made me even more hungry, but I was committed like never before. I immediately started seeing results.

After losing the first seven pounds I made an appointment with my doctor. I shared my weight loss goal of 70 pounds to achieve a healthy body mass index (BMI). My goal was to lose the 70 pounds by my 47th birthday on April 12, 2010. She complimented my efforts and prescribed an appetite suppressant called "merida" to give me a little boost. About an hour after taking the drug, I lost my appetite. It was gone. Totally gone! Unfortunately, I was very dizzy and started getting migraine headaches and suffered from other side effects. After a few weeks on the medicine I had lost more weight, but I was miserable. I called my doctor and she cut the dosage in half. At this dosage, she doubted it would be effective. I decided to try. Maybe it would have a placebo effect. Well, it did! I continued for a few months on the lowest dose and saw results. With my confidence building and my self-control in check, I finally eliminated the medicine all together. The cravings were gone and I had adjusted to my new lifestyle and diet.

I have lost 10 pounds a month consistently for almost five months now. I keep track of my progress on my white board at school and report on Facebook. My family, friends, and students are all part of my support team. They help me celebrate every pound gone. Now I spend my spare time giving away my old clothes and shopping for new ones. I am still thinking this must all be a dream. Maybe I will wake up in my old body? Well, it is real. With God's strength, I have pulled it off. The weight is coming off and my spirit and body are soaring! I have an increased testimony of the Word of Wisdom given to the prophet Joseph Smith by God for the benefit of all of us. Our body is a temple that houses our spirit. If we respect our body and follow sound gospel principles and basic nutritional guidelines, our spirit is happier. Now I am wondering what the Lord would have me do with my new-found energy, good health, and happy countenance. Maybe work on my other failings. With God, nothing is impossible! I have learned that you can reach any worthy goal if you are committed and follow God's will. I am so thankful for my body! I love it and appreciate the fact that it has forgiven me, and I have a second chance to treat it with respect! I feel joy each day to a greater measure than ever before. I am getting healthier and happier at the same time. Thanks to everyone who has noticed and cheered me on my way.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I am thankful for the support from my corner!

Have you ever heard someone say, "I am in your corner"? Well, let me tell you whose in mine. I have always felt surrounded with people who love me. As a young girl growing up in Connecticut, I was loved and nurtured in a loving and supportive home. Every success was cheered and every disappointment shared. I really don't know any different. I believe any good thing that happens to me is celebrated by my corner. Experience has taught me that not everyone grows up with such an advantage nor do all individuals enjoy this comfort throughout the duration of their lives. As I have reflected on that reality time and time again, I feel a growing appreciation for those near and far that touch my life in such positive ways.

Mom and Dad stand tall in my corner. They are always a phone call away. Even now living almost 400 miles away, I feel their unconditional love and support. When there is good news to report I can't wait to tell them. In my deepest, darkest moments their love finds me and lifts me whether I speak with them or not.

My husband is my loudest cheerleader! He always notices my improvements and acknowledges my victories. Even when he is on the road, sometimes for weeks at a time, I hear his encouraging words in my ear. He always pushes me to be my best self. He reassures me of his love and challenges me to strive for excellence. His acceptance and love is a great motivation in my life.

My brothers and sisters are always there for me like a giant safety net. Their unfailing love and friendship provides comfort and reassurance in my life. They know me so well and are quick to compliment and provide wise counsel.

My extended family is like a huge fan club. I know they are concerned about my welfare. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in laws, etc. are sweet and loving. I know they care and their love penetrates time and miles.

My children are the most interesting people in my corner. I guess that is because I spend so much time sitting in their corner that I am often surprised when they enter mine. How sweet their love and concern is to me. It is like a special gift. Their words of kindness, concern, and love echo through my mind in a repetition that seems to exponentially enlarge me. It gives me an extra boost and pushes me to work harder. My love for them soars as I savor the love they give back to me.

All in all, my corner is crowded. Not only with family members but devoted friends, neighbors, church members, and tender young students. Add to that my loving Savior, I am overwhelmed at the blessings of having a supportive corner. I only hope I can reciprocate all the kindnesses I feel have been given to me. Life is not easy for any of us, but I feel like I have the advantage when I focus on the love from so many that remind me who I am and what I can accomplish. Thanks so much to all those who take the time to love me, forgive me, comfort me, and cheer me on. I am truly never alone.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I am thankful for the healing process.

Recently, I under went surgery on my left foot. When the doctor told me what was necessary, I immediately asked my parents to come down to Las Vegas the night before surgery and stay a few days until my husband returned from California. Not knowing exactly what I was in for, I knew I would need them to drive us around, fix meals, and provide support. They answered the call with enthusiasm. I didn't think the whole ordeal would be that difficult, but I had a feeling I couldn't do it on my own. Oh, how true that proved to be!

The morning of the surgery I was feeling great and ready for anything, but coming out of surgery it was a lot worse than I had anticipated. I asked my father for a priesthood blessing because I was anxious, sick, and in pain. As he blessed me, I knew I would be healed. That healing has been a process and as that process continues I am learning more and more. As we are healed, blessings can come into our lives! Let me tell you about mine.

First of all, before the surgery Don and I were asked to speak in church. My talk was on a conference address entitled, "Come What May, and Love It!" As I prepared that talk, those words echoed through my mind frequently. On the days just after the surgery, those words became an interesting comfort to me. As I hobbled to get around, I would repeat that phrase. At first, it seemed ridiculous and incongruent. I was in a great deal of discomfort and so sick to my stomach. I wasn't loving it! But then I reflected on the fact that my folks were by my side, my children were ready to assist, friends were calling and stopping by, and my Heavenly Father was near...what else could I ask for? The support was welcomed and sweet. Yes, I could endure and love it!

As the weeks have gone by, I have gradually been able to walk normally again. I'm not running yet, but that will come. The progression from bandages to shoes has been very slow and as each new improvement has come so has my appreciation for these blessings. Simply things like being able to put your foot in a shoe seems like a gift. Steps without pain are blessings. Doubts and worries have melted away and feelings of peace and confidence have replaced them.

I know that the Lord can heal our bodies. After all, He designed them with healing in mind. I also know He can heal our hearts and lives. I am so thankful for a Savior that walks with me through this life! His eternal sacrifice for me can help heal me. Whatever the challenge...I want to endure with faith and look for the sweet blessings and love them!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I am thankful for Sunday.

Around my house Sunday is celebrated as the Sabbath Day. It is a day of rest that I look forward to all week. Not only do we all have the day off from school and work, but we get to worship together. We have been attending church together since our family began. What a joy it is to have the whole family together for our three-hour block meeting schedule.

We go to church on New Forest Road in Las Vegas, Nevada. We belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are members of the Spring Valley Ward in the Lakes Stake. Being a part of a ward family brings friendship and security. We love seeing our friends and leaders each week. It is fun to share in each other's lives. I am so grateful to all the teachers and leaders that spend time preparing their lessons, talks, and music each Sunday. All of us benefit from this kind of preparation. It is impossible for me to sit through an entire church service and not feel gratitude to my Heavenly Father for all my blessings.

After our meetings our family enjoys coming home and relaxing together. Sunday dinner is always yummy, and we often visit with our extended family by telephone. Sunday is a nice break to an often busy and hectic week! Worshipping throughout the week through prayer and scripture study can make that Sunday feeling last. Sundays are something to be grateful for.