Archive for February, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

I have thought a lot this past week of trials and hardships. I have watched people I love going through difficult things and have felt so much sorrow for them.  I know that same empathy and love has been felt and shown to my family and me so much over the last nine months (yes, last Wednesday marked the nine month mark!)  It’s been so interesting to see how people handle the tests the Lord gives to them.  So many are so humble and valiant…knowing that none of us are getting out of this life without experiencing the Refiner’s fire.  I have also seen others face trial with bitterness and anger.  This makes me so sad, because I know it’s easy to do…it’s our natural tendency.  But when I feel my ‘human’ side of me start to wonder why, or feel angry that Tyler has to go through this, I remember that this attitude isn’t going to change one thing. It only makes what we’re going through feel even worse.  Being angry about it isn’t going to make it go away faster, nor is it going to make the outcome better.  It could, in fact, make the outcome even worse.  As far as health issues go, there is plenty of research that shows that attitude makes a huge difference in our physical health.  We all have to know Tyler has that going for him.  He was recently interviewed for a teenage magazine (I’ve forgotten the name) but I wasn’t with him for the interview and they just sent me the proof to make sure I was okay with what was said.  I couldn’t believe what I read.  Here are just a few questions and answers:

Q:  “How is your life different now than it was before you had cancer?  How so?”

Tyler:  “The things that I care about the most are different – before cancer I cared a lot about sports, being popular…stuff like that.  Now I care more about my relationships with my family and my friends.”

Q: “People are constantly complaining about one thing or another.  How do you always seem so upbeat and positive despite your current situation?”

Tyler:  “Well, I could complain, but it wouldn’t change my situation…so I decided to just not talk about it.  I can either be happy and feel sick, or just feel sick.  I choose to be happy.”

Q:  “What do you want people to know about you?”

Tyler:  “That I’m always happy and I’m trying to make the best of a hard situation.”

Q:  “Finally, what message he would like to leave the reader with?”

Tyler: “We all have to go through hard things, whether we like it or not.  The way we choose to handle them determines our character and also helps us to get through them better.  If I can help someone who is going through something hard to find the positive in the situation, then I feel better about going through what I’m going through.”

Wow…a lesson for his mother, again.  I wasn’t there for the interview…no one coached him on what to say.  These are Tyler’s own words and feelings.  I feel so honored and blessed to be his mother.  Actually, I feel that way about all of my kids!  They are all so much wiser and stronger than I am.  I am sure they were sent to me because Heavenly Father knew I was going to need a lot of help down here!

Okay, quote time!  :) A friend put this quote on Facebook and I loved it.  Thanks Dirk!  Not sure it really goes with what I wrote about today, but it is a great answer for making each day more enjoyable!

“The best antidote I know for worry is work.  The best medicine for despair is service.  The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired.” – Gordon B. Hinckley

He is my favorite…I have quotes from him taped all over my house and look to them when I feel sadness and discouragement creep into my life.  I am grateful that there is one who knows my sorrows.  Christ knows me personally and has atoned for my sadness and fear. There is no grief, no pain, and no sickness that His Atonement and His Love cannot heal.  When it feels like too much, I always know that His arms are wrapped around our family and He is there to comfort us.  Of that, I cannot ever deny.  I hope whatever heartache you may be feeling, you can receive this witness as well.  He is there for all.

The Giving Tree

The ´Giving Tree Kids´ Tyler, Josh, Brandon and Maddie

Last week, our awesome cancer fightin´ kids met another awesome fighter to give the ´Giving Tree´ to.  Josh has been fighting osteosarcoma for about four years now, and is another one of the bravest kids I know.  Brandon, Maddie, Tyler, and a couple of us ´moms´ loaded the truck up with the tree and drove up to Morgan to find our new friend.  It has been so fun to watch these kids..as soon as they get together, they are instantly friends.  It felt like we all had known each other for years.  The kids sat on the couch at Josh´s house and talked and laughed and compared chemo stories…so fun for us to listen to!  We will forever be indebted to and will miss Dylan for his unselfish gift of the tree.  His gift has brought joy to five other cancer fighters, and given these kids another friend to share things that they probably wouldn´t and couldn´t share with their other friends.  We love you Shaw Family!

Tyler has been feeling pretty well this last week or so.  He has some good and bad days, but generally more good than bad…We are enjoying the good ones, and just putting one foot in front of the other on the ´not so good´ ones.

Last night I went to Tyler´s SEOP..where the ninth-graders register for high school.  When I walked in, they handed me a packet of school work and tests Tyler had done in the last year.  There were a bunch of papers from eighth grade when they all participated in ´Reality Town´, a day where they get to choose a career, and basically live an adult life for the day.  They get a job, salary, wife and kids, and oh yeah, the bills, and have to make choices for their life.  It´s a great reality check for these kids.  I read something Tyler had filled out called ´My Life Path´.  As I sat in that room and read what he wrote that his ´life path´was, according to him as an eight-grader, I could feel palpable sadness overwhelming me.  I thought I was going to need to leave the room.  Luckily, Tyler wasn´t with me in that meeting.  I thought of what he, along with our family was thinking about and doing when ´Reality Town´was happening last year.  I think they had this about two weeks before Tyler was diagnosed.  We were all just going along with our lives, hustling and hurrying to the next stop along the way.  The things that were so important, to Tyler and to us, seem so unimportant now.  Interesting how life changes…the rest of the papers in the file were not completed, because Tyler had missed the rest of the school year.  My emotions were so close to the surface as I sat through the rest of that presentation.  I was glad I didn´t know anyone in there, and that no one wanted to talk to me!!!

When it came time to actually register, in walks Tyler, all smiles as usual.  He shuffled through the papers that I had, completely unphased.  I realized at that point, that if it isn´t going to affect Tyler in a negative way, I cannot let it get to me like that.  My sweet friend Megan, who is an amazingly positive person, AND a stage four cancer survivor, shared this quote yesterday.  I loved it, and wanted to share it here.

¨Happiness is an attitude.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.  The amount of work is the same.¨- Francesca Reigler

Isn´t that so true…the amount of work is the same.  Sometimes I feel like it´s a lot of work to make myself happy, but it´s also a lot of work to stay miserable all of the time.  I think, like Tyler, the choice to use that much work might as well be made to make me happy.  Isn´t that what it´s all about?