Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I was thinking about the things I did during the holiday season this year, and also thinking about the things I did not do. To be quite honest, I did not do a lot of baking this year or party attending, traveling, card writing, gift buying, or mall shopping. I did just a little bit. Enough that I didn't stress myself out, and more importantly that I wouldn't be worn out and in pain. I am still learning where to put pressure on my right leg and hip. It is still going to be a long road ahead until I am walking normally and able to bend and move without pain, a little bit of assistance, and perhaps without even thinking.

Looking back, I really enjoyed having this more simplified holiday time of year. Maybe I will try to incorporate that concept every year. I became more aware of things around me, and people around me. I felt very grateful for the things that I have been blessed with and wanted to somehow share a little in some way. One of my new personal ministries is going to be to make a difference in at least one person's life each Christmastime. The goal is to do this year-round, but don't worry I've only just begun! If I live for 5 more Christmases or 35 more Christmases, I really want to make an impact somehow and in someway. People matter more than things. And my new personal quest is to try my best to simplify my time and energy during the holidays so that I can focus on doing those things... those things that matter and are most important.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christ is Christmas

Christmas is really next week? Where has the year gone? I'm not terribly sad to see 2010 come to an end, but looking back over the year I can see the things I have learned and the miracles which have occurred. I will always remember 2010 for those experiences.

I really don't want anything for myself for Christmas this year except continued improving health. Onward and forward! However if I could have one Christmas wish it would be to find treatments and cures for cancer in 2011. There are so many bright and truly gifted people in this world. I've thought about the many scientists, medical professionals, researchers, advocates who have given so much of their time and lives, biologists, and more... I would like to take all of their knowledge, manpower, time that has been spent on projects and research, studies, trials, drugs and information about them, and all of the reports and findings of the last century or more on what has worked and what hasn't. Then I would like to have a central location for everything, so that anyone can have access to it for the sole purpose of ridding our world of this awful plague. No more pride, or greed, or long and arduous red tape to be required to go through. Everyone would have one common goal, and the clock would just be ticking to get it done.

I can only dream about that. Or maybe I should be saying that I can only keep praying for that.

I really don't want anything for Christmas though. However I had a nice memory remembering back when I was a child and I would start making my Christmas list in about June. It was always a very creative time for me, and the piece of paper had to look perfect once it was ready to hang on the closet door in my parents kitchen. I spent a great deal of energy looking through the Sunday ads and putting things on my list that I probably didn't even want that badly. Making the list was the fun part for me. I am glad that somewhere along the way, I learned what the true meaning of Christmas was all about. It is about family, about traditions, it's about laughter and love, it is about giving and receiving, children and grandparents, it is about peace and all of the things that Christ our Savior made possible for us because He lived, and died and He will come again.

Christ is Christmas.

Gabbitas Thanksgiving

As we were assembled together last month as a family, I asked everyone what they were thankful for. So in honor of our Gabbitas Thanksgiving, here is what people said.

Dad: Pie
Mom: Jesus Christ
Natalie: Good music
Alen: Good paying job
Jared: His kids
Sharolyn: Family
Jordan: Turkey
Spencer: Killer deals on black Friday
Jocelyn: Sunshine
Amberly: Nice teachers
Karsen: Life
Mitchel: His house
Brynleigh: Santa
James: Earth
Gentry: Pets

I can only assume that Sterling, Stephanie and TJ would say they were thankful for good weather. They get winters in Arizona! We can all be jealous of the warmth on bitter cold days here in Utah. But they were missed at Thanksgiving this year.

I have so much to be grateful for that I plan to make more days into days of Thanksgiving. I want to show gratitude for the things that I have and show love and kindness to as many people as I can reach. It all starts with one. Just open up and try it. I promise that it doesn't hurt. Give someone a sincere compliment, a hug, a wink, a smile, words of encouragement, a lift that will take their spirits up to a better place where they can take their life into a new direction. You could be the changing force in their life. You could mean the difference.

And you can start now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy 89th birthday!

I just got off the phone with my Grandmother who just turned 89 years old today. When she picked up the phone to say hello, the voice on the other end sounded very sleepy. I was tempted to just hang up for fear that she was just about to find out who the inconsiderate culprit was who was calling her up at 9 pm on a Wednesday night. It turns out that she had just gotten in bed, but had not fallen asleep yet. We had a nice talk about family, our health, and reaching milestones. There was no hiding the joy and excitement in her voice about reaching her 89th birthday. She even said that she never thought she would live to be so old!

As I think about the new year ahead of me and the upcoming scans, surgery, and many follow-ups with doctors, I think about the kind of people that cancer affects. Cancer can strike at any age, person, gender, and race. It is not an old person's disease. Young beautiful children get cancer. Smart intelligent young college students get cancer. Youthful looking mothers and fathers get cancer. Those getting on in years get cancer. And yes, the elderly get cancer too. Cancer does not discriminate.

Do I let everything paralyze me with fear, so that I can't live a full life? That would be easy to do since I have developed a number of anxieties over the years, and have faced cancer twice in my life. But the answer is no. We mustn't allow anything to stand in our way of a good life. But I am fairly certain that we should all give ourselves a big huge break! Nobody got to 89 years old without taking it a day at a time.

I am so grateful for my flaws, things that scare me at times, trials I have faced, trials I am facing, and trials I have yet to face, as well as all of the joys, laughter, and happiness this life has given to me. Want to know why? Because it means I'm still alive! I may not live to be as old as my Grandmother, but I'll live as long as God is willing. Meanwhile, I think I may still call people at 9 pm if the thought crosses my mind and it is their birthday, no matter how old they are! We shouldn't ever let kind deeds go undone, or withhold generous thoughts.