Saturday, December 24, 2011

My favorite Christmas thought...

“This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.”
~Howard W. Hunter

I have posted this before, but I challenge myself to try each of these things through the preparations for the holidays.  Doing this helps make my Christmas more meaningful.  I feel SO grateful to be home and with my family this Christmas.  As you know, I  was recently told there is no more chemo available to me to help fight my cancer at this time.  The silver lining of that is that I get to have a chemo/hospital free Christmas.  We are having a wonderful time together.  We have talked of our Savior and studied the scriptures about his birth.  We have enjoyed doing service and sung carols to proclaim his birth.  The tree is lit and the presents are wrapped.  I need nothing Christmas is complete!  I am so grateful for this time to reflect again on my blessings~  Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas~ 2011~

Braithwaite’s Top “Eleven” of 2011:
11. Our family is SO excited to be at home and together for this holiday season.  NO hospitals…
10. Speaking of TEN… Larry and Shanda celebrated 10 years of marriage and took a fantastic cruise!
9. Addie (4 ½) got darling glasses and “wonders why everyone always asks her if she sees better now.”
8.  Shanda is on medical leave from tennis, but has a new passion...whitewater kayaking.  An amazing cancer retreat gave her a chance to face new fears other than cancer…and CONQUER them.  She’s hooked!
7.  Aana (8 ½) was baptized and met her goal of finishing the Book of Mormon beforehand.  She is also learning to sew and made an entire quilt by herself.  She dreams of designing her own clothing line.
6.  Larry has traveled the country learning new dental tricks and continues to root for his Cougars!!
5.  Addie learned to read this year, but really enjoys writing and illustrating her own books.  By next Christmas, she wants to see them at Barnes and Noble.   
4. Shanda is looking for a doctor that will install a zipper in her abdomen.  She’s a trooper and is healing from her 12th surgery.  They removed more cancer…and we pray that was the last of it.  
3.  With flashcards and practice, Aana “mastered” pig latin…only to find out it didn’t really count as a foreign language.  It crushed her dreams of being a pig latin teacher when she “grows up.” 
2.  For the 2nd year in a row, Larry earned “Most Handsome Mr. Mom.”  His passion for juggling has paid off and allowed him to keep working and keep the house running. (thx to all those that have helped as well!)
1. WE SURVIVED…and also THRIVED!       

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Has it been that long?

I am here...and am doing well.  I can't believe how much time has passed since I blogged.  Life has been wonderfully busy.  I am grateful that my energy is increasing so that I can actually be BUSY.  What a welcome contrast from being stuck in a hospital or in bed!

Thanksgiving was wonderful...but we did it a bit different.  I didn't have the energy to put on a huge dinner here, so we left town so that my kids could have a fun memory.  We went to an indoor waterpark/fun center.  It was perfect because there was NO ONE there...and I could sit on the side and watch while the kids had a blast.  They needed to just have FUN...with no reserves...and THEY DID!  They laughed, swam, played laser tag, bowled, rock climbed, mined for gems, mini golfed... and didn't miss turkey at all.  I was so content to participate where I could but watch them and just soak it all in.  The chance to spend time with my family is what I was most grateful for...and I got it!!  I was so busy watching that I didn't really take pictures. 

On a separate note: I am HEALING...and can tell a huge difference in my energy level.  I can go all day without having to lay in bed from pain.  I am even awake now when my husband gets home from work.  I didn't last that long before.  I am daily returning to my normal tasks and routines more and more and I can't tell you how amazing that feels.  I REJOICE in laundry, carpooling, and the daily grind.   I count my blessings that I can do them.  For so long these past two years...I couldn't!