Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Wiles of the Devil

I'm not sure how to begin this entry ... I've been spending a lot of time thinking recently about what really matters in my life. If everything was gone, what could I not live without?

In the multi-stake conference we just had that involved all of New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, President Uchtdorf spoke just for a moment about the idols we have. How those idols are the materialistic and greedy presence in our lives. We all have them. To be honest, the "castle" we went to last week for the RS activity took my breathe away. I couldn't think straight for the first hour and a half and it wasn't until the last half hour that I could see around the horrible green monster that had been blocking my view that night. I was literally filled with misery as I saw the opulence of what others had and I didn't.

But then I remembered how I had been ruminating on the important matters, and it dawned on me that those with more, end up having to give up more in the end. I need to be grateful for what I have and be prepared to give it all up if the Lord asks me to. Maybe I would be selfish enough not be able to give up my "idols" if they were more expensive and opulent. And why should I want more when what I have is more than enough? Too much in some manners.

When it comes right down to it, I have the most important things in life which are my family and the gospel. If the prophet said today that we needed to drop everything and go to "x" place in the morning, I know that I could do it. And gladly.

So this is the gist of my entry, I am blessed indeed! I have a family that is sealed for all eternity that I adore. I have a sure knowledge of my Heavenly Father's love for me individually. I've learned through trial and error that whatever mistakes I may make, He continues to love me and prays for my safety and return. (And yes, I believe He prays just as I pray to Him.) I've been blessed with the peace giving knowledge of the eternal plan and that makes these mortal days livable. I'm nowhere near perfect and don't expect to be in this lifetime, but through His help, I see progress in myself. And I can physically see my growth when I involve the Lord in my concerns and problems specifically. Most importantly, I know that if I am loved this much (and I really know that I am), then so are the rest of the people around me and that motivates me to love them also, no matter our differences. We are each children of a loving God and if I could remember prior to the veil, I know my love for those around me would be just as much as my mortal love for my family, if not more as my capacity would probably be greater.

Yes, I am blessed!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fire Horror

I have never written of the experience we went through when Landon fell into the camping coals. I chose not to write about it for a number of reasons, but now it's time. I won't go into the details of the recovery. First, because it would take up a novel and second, because I'm not sure I'm ready to relive it all again. But if you only have a moment to read, skip down to the last five paragraphs. Those are the most important ones. They are my testimony.

We had a group of friends from our stake in Fort Worth that would go camping quite regularly. We participated in several of these camp outs and the accident happened on one of these trips. Scott wasn't able to go on this particular camp out because of his work schedule, but I was in charge of the camp out this weekend so I packed up the boys and set out feeling confident that between me and our friends, all would be well.

We were located in a large grassy area next to a river that led into a lake that the kids were able to go canoeing on. We got there early with two other families and had a wonderful afternoon setting up camp. We were joined by several other families before dinner. We cooked dinner using a dutch oven underneath white hot coals and after the meal, the adults stayed near the coal pit and sang songs as the kids ran and played around the campsite.

It happened so fast. I don't know how he got there or how it happened, but suddenly Landon was inside the coal pit. I don't remember pulling him out, but I was told by the Seaman's that it was indeed me that did. I just remember running with him in my arms looking for the closest water. I just kept repeating the words "no, God, not him" in my head. I held my baby in my arms as I watched what looked like candles melting at warp speed where his hands should have been.

My very first impulse was for him to receive a blessing. Someone had oil and a blessing was given within moments of the accident. The blessing went along as normal as most, but 3/4 of the way through, he paused ... he said, "your hands will heal, and your mother will know what to do." There was another pause ... then the blessing finished normally.

The friends camping with us were all in the medical field. Some going through medical school, some already nursing, some finishing further medical training. They assured me that they could do anything that the hospital would do but that it was my decision as to whether to take Landon 45 minutes to the nearest hospital. I was pulled in two directions. My instinct was to take him immediately to the hospital, but I trusted my friends and knew they only wanted the best for us. It was as I remembered the words of his blessing that I knew I needed to follow my first instinct and take him to the hospital.

Colbey stayed at the camp site with the other families while I drove Landon and one of the nurses there camping with us to Cooks Childrens Hospital. The moment we ran into the emergency room, they hurried us back and took charge of Landon. I was so grateful that they didn't make us wait to fill out paperwork, or sign-in, or anything else like that. We ran in the door yelling burns and we were swept right in.

His burns were more severe than the hospital could handle and they informed us that Landon needed to be taken to Parkland Hospital. It is one of the premiere burn hospitals in the western region. I rode in the ambulance with Landon and Scott followed as we moved to the new hospital.

Once there, Landon was taken into ICU and we were not allowed to see him. We had done the worst thing possible for a burn. When it happened, we wrapped his hands up in ice and so he went from one extreme to the other extreme. They weren't sure he would keep his hands.

Those days were some of the blackest in my memory. How is it that when your world is falling apart, the rest of the world keeps on going? While we were dealing with this horror, we still had to deal with life. We had to shuffle schedules, take care of Colbey, find replacements for obligations made previously. Maybe it was having to take care of real life that helped us make it through the hell of that time.

Landon spent his second birthday in the hospital.

As time passed, they told us he would keep his hands but that he would need multiple surgeries and skin grafts. We lived at the hospital for months during therapy. We had to learn how to change and bandage a burn victim. We had to be the ones to hold him down as they stripped more and more of his burned flesh off of him. We had to learn how to do the therapy at home. We had to help him adapt to not having the use of his hands. They told us he would regress a year and indeed we saw it. He reverted back to being carried everywhere again. Instead of using a sippy cup or cup, he went back to using a bottle. As he grew older, we could also see that mentally he was about a year behind his age group.

I had nightmares of this time for years after and still occasionally wake up in a cold sweat as they return. But here is where the hand of God touched our lives. When we were leaving for the last time from the hospital, the doctors and therapists stopped us and said, "We don't normally tell this to our patients, but you have been a miracle case. Landon should not have kept his hands. When it became apparent that he would, he should have had surgery after surgery and he hasn't had a single one. We don't understand it. It doesn't make any sense."

Well, I understand it. We were blessed by the Lord. He held Landon in his hands and healed him. The power of the priesthood is real. It was wielded by righteous men in Landon's behalf and it created a miracle. And those miracles continue today. Time after time, the Lord has blessed Landon in his recovery so much so that most people don't even notice his burns.

I know the Lord lives, and I know without a doubt that He loves each of us. I know that He knows us individually and that He cries with us in joy and in pain. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ as was revealed to Joseph Smith is the only true plan back to our Heavenly Father. I know that with all the bad that surrounded this time, there was good also. I know that Heavenly Father always creates a way for us to triumph and all we need to do is look for it.

I am grateful for the family and friends that supported us through that time. I am supremely grateful for Scott and the support I felt from him. As we traveled through that time, we met many who suffered similar and worse afflictions and I am grateful for the strength that Scott brought to it so that we drew closer together and were not torn apart by it. I am grateful for Colbey, for his patience at being set to the side while we needed to focus our attention on Landon.

I am more grateful than I can express for the teachings I learned growing up in the gospel. I thank you, Mom and Dad, for instilling the knowledge of the truth in me. Even when I falter, it burns strong and pulls me back.

Indeed, I have felt the hand of the Lord in my life.