Friday, December 21, 2012

A Christmas Together

John Denver and The Muppets...still my most favorite Christmas album of all time. (More for the memories than for the actual album, I think.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I hate to confess that I've now had more Christmases as an adult than I did as a child. So that also means that I've traveled more Christmases too. I've loved maintaining so many great friendships back home and Christmas has always been an exciting time for reunion. Being "stuck" in Salt Lake for Christmas this year might be one of my least favorite things about 2012...and 2012 has really given me a long list to pick from.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Breakfast

The Denneys don't really do a formal Christmas Eve or Christmas Day formal dinner, but I still count on breakfast to have the same menu each year; scrambled eggs with cheese and ham, cherry pastry, wassail, and toast. 
(Seriously mom, I still expect this...every year.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Big Reveal

For as long as we lived on Cherry Way, we saw Christmas morning exactly the same way each year. All of our bedrooms were upstairs and Brett (the youngest) would bounce between our rooms encouraging us to get out of bed. My mom and dad would go downstairs (dad to start the video camera, and mom to finish elvish touches) and we would line up, by age, on the stairs. And then, we the camera man gave us our cue, we would rush down the stairs to see what had been left for us.
It has been fun in recent years to go back and watch Christmas morning after Christmas morning as we moved through our childhood. It's hilarious to see how much we've changed...and how much we've stayed the same. We were lucky that as children, we had parents who were always able to make that day pretty magical.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Our family typically attends a big blockbuster on Christmas afternoon. I don't remember exactly which movies we've seen, but I remember piling into the car together and hitting the theater. And I don't know that my favorite Christmas movie is one that we saw together, but The Elf with Will Ferrell might always be my favorite!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Company Christmas Party

So, you know what I don't miss about being employed? Having to attend a company Christmas Party. I appreciate that a lot of thought and effort is invested in these events...but maybe I never appreciated it enough. Or maybe I just worked too many hours each week to look forward to an entire evening with the people I'd just spent 60+ hours with. Or maybe this time of the year just really makes me want to nap.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gift Wrapping

I have almost always been the official family gift wrapper. I would climb down to the basement with bags of everyone's gifts and dive into my mom's collection of paper and tissue and ribbon and tags. There were even years when my mom when deliver a stack of unmarked boxes with instruction to resist the urge to peek inside and just wrap them with my name on them. 
Even recent years have found me, in the basement with a pile of items waiting. Although I kind of like the assignment, I just wasn't feeling up to it this year. Thanks to a clearance shelf in a hobby store, I'm taking major short cuts and everything is getting wrapped in christmas deco chinese take-out containers...I may never go back.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Doorstep Surprises

I remember driving home from some practice or game or rehearsal each night leading up to Christmas and being anxious to see what treat had been left by family friends or neighbors on the doorstep. There was never a shortage of goodie plates.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Days of Christmas

Every year out family would identify at least one other family for 12 Days of Christmas. My mom deserves most of the credit, as she purchased fun gifts and wrote original limericks. We simply did the delivery/doorbell dash portion.
The final night, Christmas Eve, we'd deliver a Christmas wreath and sing a couple carols and reveal ourselves as the sneaks. There was always a lot of laughter as we discussed near catches and strategy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Up on the Housetop...

I remember a Christmas Eve night, some time after I had learned the "magic" behind Santa's feat, when I awoke in the middle of the night and heard noise on the roof. I sat up in my bed for awhile listening...and I kid you not, I heard jingle bells. I knew better than to expect any of that, and while my parents were dutiful in their part as magician assistants, they were never that dedicated. But I stand by the memory even today, and I think the desire to believe in the things that make me happy, even when there is evidence that I should cease, continues to define me in some ways.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Lights

I remember looking forward to turning onto Cherry Way to see my home lit up in red and white.

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Tires

When I have to replace the tires on my car, it always occurs sometime between my birthday and Christmas. This year was no different and as I sat in the waiting area this afternoon I remembered a Christmas Miracle. Maybe 15 years ago, when I was making pitiful money and managing it poorly, I found myself up against Christmas break with bald tires and no money to replace them. I was going to miss Christmas with my family for the first time in my life and, I confess, I was bummed.
A few days before Christmas, after Provo had emptied of my friends and family, I received a call from a tire shop in town. The man on the phone told me that tires for my car had been purchased, and that he needed to schedule an install appointment. An anonymous donor had made arrangements for me to get the tires I needed and with enough time to drive to Denver to make it home in time for the holidays. It was incredibly humbling. The shop owner refused to reveal the name of my Santa Claus, and all I could do was sit in the waiting room and write a Thank You note and hope it was sincere enough.
The past two years have been tight, but I have been blessed again to have enough to take care of the necessities. I look forward to being well soon and paying things forward.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I started lessons over 30 years ago. I'm pretty decent for a non-professional musician, but I don't pull the violin out often. However, I can always count on dusting it off for the holiday season. Usually it's a church performance, but I can't help but test my memory each year to make sure I still know Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. It is a basic piece that, quite frankly, sounds terrible on the violin...but it's a memory that has stayed with me for a lot of years. (And if you're reading this, and we took lessons from the same teacher as a kid, you totally have that screechy song stuck in your head now too! You're welcome.)

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Growing up in Denver and now living in Salt Lake means that when I close my eyes and picture Christmas, Christmas is covered in snow. So when the storm kicked in tonight to lay a few inches down over the top of the lights, I cheerfully tuned the radio to the carols and gave in to the spirit of it all.
I know that Arizona and Florida still celebrate the holiday, and talk about reindeer and snowmen...but it just can't be the same when you do it in shorts and flip flops. I like the white stuff.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Grandpa Bill

Pearl Harbor Day always causes me to remember my mom's Dad, Billy Beuford Sifford. He was a Colonel in the Air Force and completely lived up to the description of an honorable former military man.

Thinking of him led me to a Christmas memory that may have been the conclusion of the Denneys going anywhere for Christmas. The station wagon was packed tight with hidden gifts for the road trip to Vegas, and the Colorado weather was typical for winter. I remember cold and dark. The rest of this gets a little foggy...we either drove to Vegas on Christmas Eve???...or home to Denver on Christmas Day??? I don't know, it was 30 years ago!!! And speaking of 30 years ago, the holidays meant that stores were closed on those days so that everyone could spend time with family. Well, all stores except 7-11. Which is where Christmas Eve/Day? dinner came from. I guess my foodie side can be credited for the vivid memory of eating soggy gas station, pre-packaged sandwich for Christmas. It was disgusting...but 30 years later, kind of funny.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Martha McMullin is the "hostess with the mostess" and has generously included our family in a night of laughter and singing for years. None of us are outstanding vocalists, but I think we were pretty fun to have show up on your porch!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Church Christmas Parties

I have surprisingly vivid memories back to an early age of attending church Christmas parties. I don't think our family ever missed a year especially since I think my mom usually had some hand in organization and my dad almost always put away chairs and vacuumed afterward.

There is one year that really sticks out to me. It was a Saturday morning at the Stake Center, I don't think my youngest brother had been born yet. I remember a really convincing Santa and Mrs. Claus and purchasing terribly cheap presents for my family in "Santa's Shop". I also remember going home with a stocking full of unshelled peanuts. I think my siblings and I were all wearing 80's style sweat suits...weird that I remember (or think I remember) all of this.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Birthday!!

If you have a December birthday, even as early as the 4th, it becomes a Birthday/Christmas memory. But I don't mind. I'm not the greatest gift receiver and in the past Christmas has been a great way to redirect the generosity of my friends. I always host my own party (I have good reasoning for everyone to do the same...but, I'm still the only believer). I loved using my birthday as an excuse to gather my friends for a casual dinner at my home and ask them to bring the cash they might have spent on a dinner or gift to spend the evening playing elf. I would identify a family or individuals with needs and we would break into groups to purchase as much as we could then bring it back to the house for a wrapping party. I loved those years!

Today was nothing like those former birthdays. It was a whirlwind of activity and friends and I can't believe how fast it flew. I'd love to return to my old tradition soon, but today was a great day of celebration. My 30-something birthday's have had a "blech" feel to them (my own bad attitude), and I used to mourn all of my missed opportunities and failed efforts. But this year is different. This year I feel lucky to be alive. I feel fortunate to be in a situation where I can hope for a better future. I am anxious to have many more it was fun to celebrate and be celebrated!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Cookies

I may have been relegated to assistant when it came to decorating, but after a few years of sitting at the counter unwrapping mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, I worked my way up to some solo kitchen assignments. Two of my favorites made an appearance in my own kitchen tonight and I smiled through the mixing, baking, and clean-up!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I have never really decorated for the holiday. I might be decent at it, but I never really had the opportunity. My mom has great style and she knew exactly what she wanted our home to look like. However, I was a dutiful assistant. I checked and untangled lights, rehooked ornaments, held stuff. This role is so ingrained in me that when my roommate pulled out Christmas decorations, I only found myself comfortable in the assistant role. Doesn't mean I enjoy the finished product any less.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Laying Under the Tree

I made a new Christmas memory tonight with my 6 month old nephew Miles. We spent the evening chatting and laying under the Christmas tree staring up at the lights. It was pretty awesome!

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Friday, November 30, 2012

I am Grateful for: My New Ukulele

I received an early birthday present and I'm in love. I'm hoping that years of playing other instruments will translate into some smooth new tunes and that I'll soon be able to provide some sweet accompaniment to every Christmas Carol!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I am Grateful for: Silver Linings

I've been fortunate in my life to always have at least some good in every situation. I'm glad that I've learned to identify the silver linings and minimize focus on the dark clouds.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I am Grateful for: Anticipation

Tis the season, right? Birthday in a week and Christmas in a month and the tracking of deliveries...and maybe that pristine heart?! I love the excitement.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I am Grateful for: Money

The past two years without an income and with a terminal illness has not be a financial breeze. However, somehow, I've always had what I need when it really matters. I am grateful for people who have been more than generous in helping me to do what I can to provide for myself. I am grateful that I was counseled to be financially conservative and that even though things are tight, I am not suffering or being denied the things that I need. If I were to win the Powerball Lottery for aprox. $500M, I would continue to be grateful :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

I am Grateful for: Kitchen Skills

I'm pretty good in the kitchen. With or without a recipe. With or without a menu. I really surprise myself sometimes. Thanks mom! Because of what I learned as your daughter, I can whip up an amazing meal for myself and/or friends with no notice at all. It's like magic!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I am Grateful for: Inspiration

This video has been all over my Facebook feed and I am feeling motivated to do more. My doctors have outlined pretty strict limitations...but maybe I can push myself a little more:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I am Grateful for: Friends & Food

There's something awesome when you combine good friends and tasty food. It just always makes for a great night. Although, if I'm being honest, I would totally enjoy my friends even without the food.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I am Grateful for: Imagination

Right this minute I am specifically grateful for my nephew Owen's imagination. The kid is such a character and he always keeps me laughing. He is really big into superheros these days and today he decided to become Hawkeye and shoot a bow and arrow. This video is a very calm version of what he had been doing all afternoon. I love the detail he puts into selecting an arrow from his quiver:

I am also grateful for my own imagination. Man does that keep me entertained! For hours!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I am Grateful for: Belonging

It's great to have family that love me unconditionally and provide a place where I am welcome and belong no matter how much time has passed. My Uncle Roger and Aunt Janet hosted a fantastic Thanksgiving and I love knowing that I always fit in at their home.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am Grateful for: Tradition

I have no food assignment for Thanksgiving dinner this year...but I couldn't not make Grandma Effie's Green Jello Salad to take along tomorrow. It's a recipe passed down on my mom's side of the family, and a concoction I've never seen anywhere else, but it's a must have for me during holiday meals...the nostalgia for it is powerful!
My brother Brett and I might be the only ones brave enough to eat it tomorrow, but I don't mind leftovers...I'll eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
(Besides, how cool is it that I have a great grandma named Effie?!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I am Grateful for: Curiosity

I am glad that I have a curious personality and that I feel comfortable asking questions when I want to know more or understand more fully. Curiosity has helped to keep me preoccupied and has given me outrageous opportunities!

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Craig Update

Thanks for calls and texts expressing concern for my Dad and our family. I didn't mean to raise the alarms...
He was sent home today with recovery instructions, but he's in surprisingly good condition, considering the circumstances, and I think we are all feel very lucky.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

I am Grateful for: Tender Mercies

Tonight was awful!

Everything is calm now, but my dad was in a fr-reaky accident this afternoon and is now recovering in the hospital overnight. After a mysterious crash, 30 minutes into a bike ride, he spent the next 2 hours weaving his bloody way home. None of this information came from him, it came from a mapping app he uses during his rides. After the last update from my mom, he still had no recollection of his afternoon or the passcode to the garage.

After speaking with my mom shortly after he arrived home, and hearing first hand how absent he suddenly was, I was pretty ticked at God and the universe for giving my family one more stupid hurdle. Seriously, can a girl and her dad just get a break?! But it didn't take too long before I recognized how lucky we were that he made it home at all. And the CT scan came back clean and clear from any bleeds or tumors, new or old, so that's a miracle too. And I'm feeling plenty wound up, but somewhat relieved that while he may never remember the accident, he should recover fairly well.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I am Grateful for: Healthcare Workers

Seriously. I don't know how they do it! The nurses on my floor this weekend have been so kind and patient...especially with my crazy neighbors! I think I'm a pretty easy patient, but these old people on the cardiac floor are some tough characters, and the nurses just keep helping them.

There is a guy down the hall that is doing his very best work to cough up all of his internal organs and gagging on them the whole way. And the lady right next door just LOVES her call button and is giving the CNA a run for her money this morning.

I would probably earn a criminal charge on my first day, but the nurses just keep coming back for more. I feel grateful that there are individuals, who are much better people than myself, who are willing to do this hard work!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

I am Grateful for: Normal Moments

I really do appreciate the thoughts and prayers and tender moments that so many have shared with me as I've fought through the past 18 months. But it's the moments when things seem "perfectly normal" that bring the most hope.
It's an odd scenario for me to be calling anything normal. Hospital room, Friday night, three single friends drop by to help me kill some time. And we talked and laughed like everything was so normal.
Here's to hoping the normal moments keep coming!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I am Grateful for: Clean Laundry

It starts by looking a little something like this:

But when every stitch is washed, folded, and put away...down to the linens and bathroom floor mats....yeah, those are some of my most favorite moments in life!

When I was in student housing, it wasn't unusual to have to do wash at a laundry mat and it was such a pain. Now I have what I need right in the house and I think that is a blessing worth celebrating!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I am Grateful for: Optimism

Stuff doesn't go my way very often. Yet, I still manage to be surprised every time it happens. I have an active imagination, and while capable of constructing the worst possible scenarios, I tend to default to the more favorable ones.
I try to fool myself into believing that I have low expectations and consequently, I'm rarely disappointed but (shhh...this is a secret), I really do hope for the best. Pretty much all the time. I like it that way.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I am Grateful for: Warmth

It's cold in Utah and I've responded with flannel pajama pants, a hoody with the hood in use, an electric blanket, my favorite old quilt, and my favorite new quilt (lazy, point-of-view picture above (THANKS MOM!💗)).

I remember making 20 quilts for "Access Housing" as a service project when I was in High School. I imagined what it might be like for someone in poverty to be cold...I don't think I really understood. And so far in my life, I've never really known the bitterness of enduring cold, I most likely will never have to.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

I am Grateful for: Peaceful Moments

I'm curled up in bed with a cup of peppermint tea, and a public library copy of The Great Gatsby, and I am feeling quite content!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I am Grateful for: BYU Football MEMORIES

For YEARS I was the perfect BYU football fan. Ran, sleet or shine I was there before kick-off and stayed way past the final whistle. Tonight while Cougar fans drive through blizzard-ish conditions to attend an 8:15 p.m. kickoff, I'm glad that those are awesome memories and not my reality!! (Hey bros, thanks for graduating!!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

I am Grateful for: Independence

I woke up feeling sorry for myself...definitely my least favorite way to wake up. So I threw on some comfy clothes, pulled my hair into a ponytail, and hit the local movie theater for a double feature.
I feel lucky that I feel comfortable doing just about anything on my own, for me it helps minimize the number of times I feel like a victim of loneliness.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I am Grateful for: Kid Stories

That is a picture of my 5 year old nephew hocking Gatorade to High School students at $8.00/bottle. He needed to earn $8.00 to buy some toys he wanted, and he figured inflated prices would mean he only had to sell 1 bottle. He's a genius..right?! (I think he had to negotiate down to move product, but I'm looking forward to writing his biography some day and sharing this story.)

Stories from friends and family about their kids are some of my favorites to hear and repeat. Nothing is funnier or more inspiring than life from their perspective.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I am Grateful for: Modern Medicine

When I saw my first cardiologist, 24 years ago, my condition was not named or even known. Since then, not only has non-compaction been identified, but hundreds of treatments and medications have been developed to assist heart failure patients. The greatest miracle is the advancement of human heart transplant. Something that wasn't really an option for me not long ago is now the thing that gives me hope...and maybe even a shot at SCUBA someday soon!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Wish This Was a Joke...

Watching the election coverage has put me into joke. Or maybe my loser heart has just gone into A-Fib on its own, like it is wont to do. Either way, I hope it's worked itself out before my Right Heart Cath in the morning. Fingers crossed!!

I am Grateful for: Empathy


the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

I am so glad that I have been blessed with empathy. At times when I don't get my way, or I am wrong, I am usually able to eventually see another side, and find peace and hope.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I am Grateful for: External Motivators

Although I am a non-breeder, I have somehow acquired a few mom-like characteristics. One of which, is being unable to do something for myself if I can't see that it also benefits others. Often it takes an outside push to get me to do something that I should have done a long time ago. Today that thing was getting a new windshield so that I can pass Safety and new windshield is AMAZING! Thank you government regulations, for being the motivation I needed, to do something I should have done, long ago!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I am Grateful for: The Faith of Others

Ultimately, it always comes down to my own faith, but I am often strengthened by the faith that others express. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by strong, inspirational people.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I am Grateful for: The Changing Seasons

Occasionally I fantasize about a life on the beach. Tan skin and sun-bleached hair...I really like that version of myself. But the truth is, I would really miss the change in seasons. Utah has been incredibly generous this year and rather than rush through the typically short spring and fall, we have been gifted amazing weather and scenery. There are things (fashion, temps, activities) that I love about each and I would probably be sad to give it up. Probably.

Friday, November 2, 2012

I am Grateful for: Being American

Like many Americans, I am in the greatest slump of my life...and like many Americans, I still have it goo-ood!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

I am Grateful for: Good Books

This past year I have read more than maybe all previous 36 years combined. I feel fortunate to have a curiosity for things that can be found in books. I love that I have become reacquainted with the sights and smells of the public library. I am lucky to have friends who also like to read and discuss new ideas. Good books (and a few bad) have been a constant companion through this past year.

November - Gratitude 2012

Last year I accepted a challenge to take a moment, every day in November, to identify something for which I was grateful. I didn't know on November 1, that I was going to get some of the hardest personal news of my life. I never would have guessed that the challenge to be grateful would be the thing to pull me out of a very ugly funk...
My current funk isn't so ugly, but it is a funk, and I'm ready to shake it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Instagram October Photo Challenge - Oct 10

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to turn 90 minutes and $60 into 840 minutes and $430

It's really very simple. Let your well-meaning, ex-mechanic boyfriend offer to replace your timing belt for you.

Monday, September 17, 2012

YouTube...Pass it on!

Apologies to my non-mormon friends for getting all "inside joke" here...but this made my day awesome:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Oh Cougs!

Another amazing finish to a crazy rivalry game...shouldn't have bet $1.00 to the Ute equipment manger,eh?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Waiting: Day 100

It wasn't a conscience change, but it looks like (in an effort to nudge Karma?), I've moved my hospital bag nearer to the door. Surely that's all that was needed to get this show on the road, right?

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gentle Giant

I have vivid and awesome memories of my childhood...and those memories cloud my real-time perception. In my memories, my brother John is scrappy and little. When I think of him today, I see a 7 year old kid with curly hair and skinny arms, so when I see photographs like this:

well, the hair is still curly.

Comic Relief!

Oh please! Please can this group be booked as guest performers on next season's So You Think You Can Dance?! And please, please, please will they do a version of Beyonce's "Put a Ring On It"?!?!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Waiting: Day 74

When I was first told that I needed a heart transplant, I really struggled with the idea that for me to live, someone else would need to die. I think it's a common worry for transplant recipients. Most heart transplants come from younger donors who have been involved in an unexpected accident. The body is young and strong, but the neurological damage cannot be repaired.

I have spent a lot of my thoughts with my future donor. I have offered many prayers in their behalf. Somewhere out there, in a 1,000 mile radius around Salt Lake City, some generous person is living the last days of their life. That person has no idea that time is short. My hope is that they have plenty of opportunity to say "I love you", I pray that there is little unfinished business, I need their loved ones to feel peace.

I feel a responsibility to live a life worthy of such a generous gift and I intend to bring honor to my donor and everyone they have loved.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Waiting: Day 55

I am so relieved that the pager has not beeped yet. I'm still not ready. I finally put some real consideration and effort into packing my bag for the hospital, but as of today, I will be uninsured September 1 and I need more time to come up with a solution.

I have followed every bit of counsel I have been given regarding application to additional programs, but a dying girl with mountains of integrity still struggles to get approval for government assistance. I have an attorney who is confident in my case, but I have been told that best case scenario will be a 4 month wait for answers...and 4 months are way past September 1.

The past week has been a chance for me to resurrect the tough professional and play advocate for myself, but it's exhausting! Between naps, I'm adopting an "abundance" perspective and looking forward to pieces falling in place over the next few weeks. Things will totally fall into place...right?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Waiting: Day 39

I will come right out and admit it, I have been intentionally avoiding the blog. I felt crazy pressure to be accountable to the expectations of others (expectations both real, and imagined) and I wasn't feeling up to the task. The first 30 days were tough. I felt hopeless and helpless. Most of my thoughts and words were downers. I didn't know how I was feeling and the thought of answering that question for someone else seemed an impossible task. But time brings clarity, and for me it brought hope as well. So, with some gentle nudging (mom), I'm going to give this blogging thing another go. I have a lot to cover....some serious, some silly, some A-MA-ZING. But today I'll just toss out a brief update.

?How am I feeling physically?
Oddly, a tough question to answer. I guess I feel like someone who needs a new heart. I'm tired and nauseous and dizzy and can't breathe...and that's a good day. I am operating from that new normal and so when someone asks how I'm feeling, and I say "Good" or "Great" or "Fine", well, that is what I mean.
If I've gained 5+ lbs in 24 hours from water retention, if the pain in my chest is distracting or limiting, if my resting heart rate is 120+/bpm, well those are my bad days.

?How am I feeling emotionally?
Much better! Initially I was so overcome with fear that I had a hard time identifying the hope and blessing of my circumstances. Time and research and some key conversations have helped me carve out a much more hopeful perspective and I might almost be ready to do this thing.

?When can I expect a transplant?
My doctors are fantastic about providing me information and answering every question except this one. The shortest wait has been 8 days and the longest has been 5 years. There is some urgency in my case for things to happen in year one, so that is the timeline I am hoping for. (But if I'm being honest, I'd like to be transplanted, recovered, and back to work by the end of the year. Overachiever you know.)

?How do I pass my time?
I've learned that when you're really sick, time passes just fine without too much effort. I sleep a lot, maybe enough to rival my newest nephew. I read a lot. I have watched a lot of Netflix (recommendations welcome!). I completed a University Independent Study course, and got an A! I visit friends and family when I can. I have clinic appointments every 7-10 days. I drive to the pharmacy once a week. I have been down over a year now, and I honestly can not remember being bored for one moment. I guess I have been lucky.

I also want to mention that I feel loved and supported by so many. I appreciate the cards and notes and prayers in my behalf. Thank you to those who ask my family about me, it is appreciated by all of us.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Waiting: Day 12

I was in a parking lot this evening chatting with a friend when I heard something that made me want to throw up and sit down on the pavement and was only the sound of someone remotely unlocking their car, but I swear it sounded like a pager going off. The looks on my face and my friend's were a strange combination of horror and surprise. Surprise for her, and horror for me.

I was listed for heart transplant 12 days ago and I have spent as much time as possible during those 12 days in active denial. It hasn't been an easy task, since so many have wanted to offer congratulations and support and when I've been unable to escape all of the optimism, I've done my best to play along and celebrate with them (sort of).

I don't want to have a heart transplant.

Like, really, really, really don't want to have a heart transplant.

Part of being listed for transplant is sitting with a counselor to discuss and initial each of an 8 page document outlining all of the risks and side effects that come with the procedure, recovery, and medications. It's very detailed and leaves no questioning that even the best case will come with some life long challenges. I don't want to be that tough...and so I deny. But tonight's small test run has caused me to glance at my reality knowing that I'm going to have to make eye contact, then face it, sometime soon.

I haven't packed my overnight bag yet (a conscious act of defiance), but I'm sure going to be bummed if that pager goes off and I have to check in to the hospital without a tin of Victoria Secret lip balm, my own toothbrush, and my favorite yoga pants. So I'll make myself a promise to do something transplant-y before the end of the week...maybe purchase an extra deodorant for that overnight bag?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Big Day

This is my awesome 1980's style pager. I feel some pressure to be articulate or profound...but I have no idea how I feel about this. I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about this. I don't know if I'm ready to have a heart transplant, you know emotionally speaking, because the doctors are obviously convinced that physically it's time for me to be ready. Is a person ever really ready for something like this?

The people who love me are super enthusiastic about the news...but the people who love me best, know that this is pretty weird for me. The page could come as soon as tomorrow or as far away as four years. I just hope when it does come, I've reached some clarity to build confidence upon.

Friday, June 1, 2012


The clinic calls it the "Blue Checklist" and it has kept me very busy this week.

I was admitted to Coronary ICU on Tuesday, which was a bummer, but check out the view from my bed:

After close observation, and an insane amount of lab work, and a brutal test of my patience, we finally answered the question that has been hanging over me since the end of February, "Were my lungs healthy enough to qualify me for a heart transplant?" And the answer is yes!

The previous 90 days had moved at such a slow pace, but things went into warp speed Wednesday morning when a large team from the transplant clinic entered my room to meet me and get my paperwork started. I was discharged from the hospital Wednesday evening and sent home to get some rest and prep for the remainder of the week.

The Blue Checklist is how they keep all of the lab work and evaluations and exams organized and keep me on schedule in the right place at the right time. By the time every item is checked off, I will have a completely clean bill of health (except for the garbage heart). The team at the IMC Heart Transplant clinic have done everything possible to get my case ready for presentation to the transplant committee this coming Tuesday. Wild, right?

Clearly, what I think I know about waiting is about to be challenged, so hopefully I have learned a few things as I have moved to this point. Thank you to so many who have offered encouragement and faith and support to me, and to my family these past few months.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quick Status Update 5/24/12 (posted to FB)

I keep waiting for the happy ending so that I can write an entertaining note about how crazy the ride has been but how great it ended...we're not there yet.

I did have my second Cardiac Ablation on April 27, 2012 and I've managed to stay in normal rhythm more than I have been out of it. That allowed me to have the big procedures this morning which were originally scheduled for March. The intent of these tests were to determine if I qualified for transplant.

My parents came to town and we hit the hospital early this morning. I'll be honest, it was a rough day and required more bravery than I thought I had in me. In addition to the complications and chaos of the procedures, it turns out that although the tests were informative, they were inconclusive due to severe water retention common with Heart Failure patients. So...the short-term plan is to aggressively address the water retention over the weekend and return to the hospital Tuesday. At that point we will re-run the procedure and possibly admit me for a couple of days for additional testing and observation.

Although I don't have any definitive information, I do have a 7 day plan...and that's the best news I've had since February!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nalene Low

My sweet friend Nalene passed away unexpectedly on Friday, May 4th. I have struggled every minute since to make sense of my thoughts and feelings. I dedicated most of today to getting what I could in a letter to give to her family. I want to post it here as a reminder to myself of the pledge I have made to honor Nalene.

Nalene Low is like a mirror. And when you look into it, you see your most favorite qualities about yourself reflected back. It requires an exceptionally talented, and sincerely warm person, to hold the capacity to connect with so many, so quickly, and so permanently.

When I first became friends with Nalene, we connected immediately. She was everything I liked about myself and I immediately identified her as “my kind of girl”. Over the past few days, I’ve listened to many share stories which echo that same sentiment. It is clear that my bond with Nalene is not is the bond that Nalene has with all of those whom she loves.

Like I mentioned, I felt like I had so much in common with Nalene when I first met her. However, during this past year, as I have battled terminal illness, I have allowed some of those qualities to fade. Uncomfortable with my circumstances and my emotions, I have become more closed off than I ever have before. But with impeccable timing, Nalene was consistently supportive and unquestionably cheering.

I was incredibly fortunate to have some time to visit in my home with Nalene the night of May 3rd. I had only been home from my last hospital stay for a few days when she sent a text asking if I was up for visitors. In the “midst of ick” (Nalene’s words), I had ignored texts and emails and phone calls from others asking the same, but that afternoon I saw her text and responded. Somehow I knew I wouldn't want to pass up this opportunity to talk and visit with Nalene.

Nalene and Jana Evans stayed for a couple of hours and we chatted and laughed like friends do. There was nothing so profound in our conversation, but a profound mark was left on me. As I had the blessing that evening, to look into Nalene’s Mirror, I was reminded, and lovingly encouraged, to be “my kind of girl” again.

I have found it difficult to articulate my thoughts and feelings from the past few days.

A verse from the New Testament has stayed with me, Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” I am humbled that as she lived her life in testimony of the Savior, she thought to share that testimony with me. I am honored to step up to the challenge to live as Nalene lived, and feel lucky to have the imprint of her example so firmly stamped on my heart.

With Love,
Kimberley Denney

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's Complicated

Last Monday I thought I was so clever to write a note and refer to an old I just think it was kinda lame. Specifically because it turns out that neither taxes, nor death, seem to be my biggest concern.

The short of it is that I'm back in A-Fib and scheduled for my second Cardiac Ablation this Friday the 27th. Because of this, I had to postpone tests with the transplant team until late May.

The long of it is as follows:

Following my visit to the hospital on Monday, the 16th (the last time I posted a note update), I came home and struggled to regain any energy. While my rhythm had returned to normal, the symptoms continued to bother me. Sure enough, on Friday evening, my heart flipped back into A-Fib. I called the hospital and was counseled to wait through the night and if there was no change, to take myself to the hospital the next morning. I woke up early and traveled an hour south to the Provo ER hoping that might increase my chances of seeing my actual doc, even on a Saturday.

The ER staff was clearly freaked out by my case, but treated me well, as they replenished my potassium and prepped me for another Cardioversion. Dr. Hwang happened to be in the middle of a procedure in that hospital and, after being notified that I was there, asked that I just be kept for observation so that he could determine then administer treatment.

Dr. Hwang soon arrived, and the Cardioversion was successful after one attempt! My breathing was immediately improved, but my vitals were not rebounding as quickly as they would have liked and I was admitted for bed-rest and overnight observation.

My "frequent flyer" miles on the Cardiology floor won me a corner suite and I really do get the royalty treatment from the staff! (Although, I'd rather be nobody at home, than royalty in the hospital.) After an uneventful night, and 24 hours in a hospital bed, I was thrilled to be discharged and back in my own bed by 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

All of that relief disappeared in an instant when at 6:30 p.m., Sunday evening, just 34 hours after the last Cardioversion, I WAS BACK IN A-FIB!!!!!!!!!!

Since Sunday evening I've had changes to my medications, and a cardiac MRI, and Dr. Hwang has scheduled my second Cardiac Ablation for this Friday evening. I remember that I didn't love recovery from the procedure back in September, but the specifics are hazy against today's discomfort. It's funny what we're sometimes willing to "forget" for a little relief.

Through all of this chaos, my greatest disappointment is that the Heart Failure clinic has determined that the testing and transplant list placement must be put on hold...again. And I'm suspicious that this won't be the last time that I have to adjust my expectations and timelines. In my clinic visit today I was told no less than a dozen times that my case is really really, really complicated. I don't have a medical degree, but I think that translates to "nobody is sure what is going on".

The only thing that I am sure of is that for nearly every person who has a transplanted heart, there is a story of delay and discouragement before the happy ending. I guess I am in that part of my story.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Death and Taxes

Oh...the irony!

Yesterday, with today's deadline looming, I finally got around to completing my 2011 taxes. How fitting then, that I also spent a portion of the day at the hospital casually flirting with death.

Late Sunday night, my heart slammed out of rhythm...again. It was a restless night spent convincing myself that it was probably just a minor set-back, maybe something that could be treated with medication?

Given recent conversations about a possible transplant, I'd begun to think of the Heart Failure Clinic as my one-stop shop to all things Cardiovascular...I was wrong. When I called them first thing Monday morning, I was surprised to be quickly dismissed to Dr. Chun Hwang.

Disappointed, but driven, I called Dr. Hwang's office determined to do anything necessary to end the feeling of an elephant resting on my chest. Dr. Hwang was in surgery all was Dr. David Cragun...but the clinic down south agreed to squeeze me in with Cragun's PA in the afternoon, and I began internal chants of the "you can do this!" sort.

When I arrived, an awkward nursing student performed an awkward EKG, and after a couple of attempts, they had the information they needed...I was back in Atrial Fibrillation. I was certain that they were wrong. I had my Ablation September 15th and everything I understood about the results told me that if I went 6 months without another event I was in the clear and Sunday marked 7 months exactly so I COULDN'T POSSIBLY BE IN A-FIB AGAIN?!?!

The PA and I discussed possible medication adjustments that might improve things over a week's time, but I wasn't feeling that patient and I pushed for another Cardioversion. Truth is, I think the procedure is kind of creepy. But it worked 3 months ago and I craved the immediate relief it could bring. The PA obliged, contacted Dr. Cragun, and got me into the admit queue at the hospital.

I should probably speak with a professional about the cavalier attitude I've developed about being admitted to the hospital. It really shouldn't feel as common as running to the store for a gallon of milk. But there I was assisting the little admission lady and helping her realize to which tower and floor I was to report. And a few minutes later I was informing the nurses that I had something in the crock-pot and somewhere I wanted to be at 7:00 p.m,. and that we needed to make this quick.

The staff was most accommodating! I was hooked up and ready to go within minutes and Dr. Cragun appeared before I had a chance to send an update text to family. I don't think I'll ever get over how quickly they knock me out and run the procedure, but I will always be grateful for how quickly I feel the relief.

I was even the lucky recipient of a drop-in from Dr. Hwang who had recognized my name on the patient list. He was very kind and seemed as disappointed as I was that the Ablation back in September wasn't sufficient. He and I will follow-up in a couple of weeks to discuss another procedure if I don't qualify for transplant next week.

All totaled, I was only in the hospital for 2 hours so maybe it was a little dramatic for me to say I flirted with death yesterday...I did have an army of doctors, and I did receive the very best care, and I woke up this morning with a constant resting heart rate of 62 (down from 130).

2012 taxes are due an entire year from now...I think I can cheat any run-ins with fatality for at least as long.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Big Dollar Dreams

The Mega Millions Lottery has been the topic of a lot of conversation this week. Fortunately for me, Utah doesn't participate and I didn't have to battle my own logic to decide if I was going to buy tickets...but it doesn't mean that I didn't spend a little of my time imagining what I might do with $462M.
Truth is, I don't know if I'm capable of spending that much I'm sure that there would be a lot of things to consider regarding the bigger picture, but these are the things I would do immediately:
- I would pay off any debt that my parents or siblings might have (car or house payments, etc.)
- I would set up $1M trust funds for each niece and nephew
- I would plan an amazing series of deluxe family vacations (The World cruise, Disneyworld, Lake Powell with a houseboat for each family, an island or beach vacation, a ski week in Switzerland, a tour of Israel)
- I would indulge my vanity with hair extensions and spa treatments and beautiful clothes and fabulous shoes and every funky accessory I laid my eyes on
- I would attend culinary arts school
- I would buy a home perfect for entertaining and fill a room with musical instruments all for which I would immediately begin lessons
- I would buy my dad a golf course
- I would open a Nordstrom expense account for my mom
- I would do some things for some friends who never seem to catch the financial breaks they deserve
...and all of that might get me to $20M??? I guess I need to start dreaming a little bigger???

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I Got Shy

My childhood memories are all spotlight moments. And all of those spotlight moments are positive. I would perform, or speak, or storytell, or volunteer...anything to delight an audience. I loved me some attention...and as a grown-up, I continue to love me some attention. But I only like the positive kind of attention. The kind of attention that comes when I've delighted an audience. So, when this blog received unexpected attention because I am sick, and my daily visitors shot up from it's previous 15/day, I got shy.

I got shy because being sick doesn't feel like positive attention. Being sick isn't how I want to be known. Being sick is boring and depressing. Being sick is what I'm consumed with...and I didn't know how to blog something honest and still consider it, I just kind of shut-up.

But a stranger reached out today because she read something in one of my "being sick" posts that might be helpful to her family. It's motivated me to post again. Maybe I can still write useful things as I figure out who I am now? And maybe the sick me can still entertain? And maybe the pressure to find something blog-worthy in my day can help my days from bleeding into one another? And maybe I knew this all along, but have been avoiding it?

Friday, March 9, 2012


I'm pretty sure that heaven smells like a newborn baby fresh from a bath. In fact, I'm positive!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Colorado Blvd is my Memory Lane

Colorado Blvd is the main vein to my childhood. I pretty much operated within a mile east and west between 120th and 144th for 18 years (then another year in 94/95) (then another year 2005/06). So many of my memories really just sit here in this small little square. As I drove the distance this afternoon, I thought of my job at McDonalds for 2 weeks, the dairy cows on the corner of 128th, my job at Yogurt Delite for 2 years, filling up my car for $10 at Bradley's station, ditching school to go to Taco Bell, dragging the Blvd with friends on the weekends, friends who lived up and down that stretch of road, driving with my learner's permit, driving by myself for the first time, farm land that is now packed with homes and retail...and on...and on...and on.

My world was so big back then...those 20 square blocks were all I ever thought I'd need. I cherish the memories and I adore the friends and family who still live inside these boundaries...but I am so glad that I have been able to learn that the world is much bigger than the tiny stretch along Colorado Blvd that I know so well.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rocky Mountain High

Growing up in Colorado I used to think it was so strange that people would come to visit and get so, so sick. I still think it's strange, but now I also feel it...and that's even stranger!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I have a couple of days to recover from the SLC to DEN drive before John's family arrives, and I'll need so that I can keep up with the niece and nephews!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 5, 2012

Guilty Pleasure

It's disgusting. I know it. I hate myself a little bit for it, but...I can't stop watching The Bachelor.

Sassy and I decided that our addiction is fueled by the self-esteem boost we get every time we watch! I mean, I'm lousy at relationships, but I've never been as hot a mess as the girls on that show. Seriously, I feel better about myself after every episode.

Dirty, filthy habit. Gross.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What I Learned in Church Today: I am Loved!

The congregations where I attended church as I was growing up, and the congregation where I attend church now, were all asked to fast and pray in my behalf today. Accepting the generosity of so many people has been more difficult than I had expected.

I have so much. I have been blessed with so many things. It seems almost greedy to ask family, friends, and even strangers to exercise their faith in my behalf for even more blessings and advantages.

I often have a difficult time accepting assistance to carry something from my car to my home, and that habit is hard to break...but I really need a miracle and I am so fortunate to have literally thousands of loved ones who are willing to do whatever they can to help me get that miracle.

In an email sent to many of my friends and family, my mom referenced scripture from the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 24:12-14:
I know that hearts were poured out in prayer. I know that I have felt a surge of comfort today. I know that my parents have also felt an increased peace (and that has been my greatest prayer). This burden has felt lighter than what makes sense. I don't have the understanding or faith of a perfect disciple, but I can stand as a witness that I do have a testimony. That I have not been left alone in my afflictions, and that I have been visited by my God in the form of earthly angels and increased peace.

In so many ways, I am loved.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Beat the Ambien????

I took an Ambien without thinking it through. The effects are coming on too quick for me to blog a complete thought. ah....sweet slumber....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Single Trial

I've never made a secret of wanting a husband and children. Aside from a few moments of doubt, mostly in myself, I've mostly always wanted them. I've wanted them so much that I've reserved love for them in my heart and my imagination. And this past year I have been so glad that they only ever existed in my imagination.
As I have watched how hard my trials have been on those who love me, particularly my parents, I have been relieved that I am not forcing that worry and fear onto a partner, or our children. And a great deal of that relief is selfish...I know I would feel terrible to be the source of any pain for them. I know that I would spend all of my energy and emotion trying to make things better or easier for them. And right now I really need to focus on making things better for me.
And although I have that longing for a family, I have a happy and exciting single I guess that makes it even easier to be relieved that I'm not dragging a family through this dark patch. But it doesn't eliminate some really lonely moments.
Those lonely moments have seemed to pop up unexpectedly. And they're terrible because there's nothing to be done about them. I have dozens of friends who would be willing to hold my hand or rub my back so that I don't have to cry alone, but that isn't the kind of comfort I'm craving. In those very worst moments I need the companionship, of a companion. Someone who has shared my laughter, and my learning, and my conversations so that when they have to share my fear and my doubt they "get" where it's coming from. So that I feel that they're concern is sincere. And hopefully, so that my shame in needing them is minimized.
Fortunately I have been able to work through those moments by having a good cry in a hot shower. But dangit if I can't make them stop from coming at all.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another Good Thing...

The days following "the news" from the doctors, my dad and I would continually think out loud as we thought of blessings surrounding this nightmare. Sometimes we'd be sitting in silence (because the shock from the news hung around for awhile and because sometimes there just wasn't anything to say) and then someone would say, "Another good thing...".
Well one of those good things is that circumstances like these can bring about reunions with great friends. Sure, the circumstances aren't the most fun, but knowing that their support trumps relationship neglect is pretty awesome.
I have spent the past two evenings visiting with friends that I haven't seen or spoken with in far too long and I feel lucky to have those friends. I always look forward to catching up with friends, even when circumstances could be better.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I know I live a very envious life!

Truth is, I'm fighting this a little bit. I don't want the placards because, I don't want to be so sick that I need them. I had a few stops today and I refused to pull one of these babies out. But I know that come church on Sunday, or Temple during the week, I'm going to be very happy to have them.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

He's Baaa-aaack!

Remember this guy from July 2011...?

Well, he's back. Except this time instead of 14 days, he's sticking around for 30. And instead of needing a battery change every 3-4 days, I get to use two rechargeable batteries and swap them out every 12ish we know that something similar to this is inevitable. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 27, 2012

SYTYCD Auditions

My friends are so good to constantly ask what they can do for me while I'm working through these crazy health issues and I often answer is that I need distractions. An invitation to go and see or listen to something unique is really perfect. So, I was thrilled to be invited to the So You Think You Can Dance audition taping in Salt Lake last Saturday.

Remember Brittany Starr and her dad "Ringo"? They were there!

And what about the lovely and talented Courtney Galiano? She was there!

And, be still my soul, what about Robert Roldan? He was soooooo there!

And Nigel Lithgow, and Mary Murphy, and Adam Shankman? Yep, they were all there!!!

If I am a really good girl in this life, I know that I'll get to back in my next life as a dancer...I just know it!

I'm very excited to see how the 5 hours we watched is edited down to a single episode. A boy named Dare is the only one who I think has a shot of making it past Vegas week...and I'm not sure if it was his talent or his abs that convinced me he'd go far. I don't think I was caught on camera, but if you want to play a fun game when the season airs this summer, look for me in the crowds!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What I Learned in Church Today: Support

I am learning so much everyday...about myself, about others, about my faith. Most of the time I lack the ability to turn those those thoughts into words...I hope I will be able to overcome that obstacle with time.

It's lovely to imagine myself surrounded by heavenly angels, but this last week I have felt support by many angels on earth. Those feelings were emphasized at church today. This afternoon my bishop asked our congregation to dedicate their fast this Sunday to me and my circumstances. It feels strange to be the subject of prayer and fasting for so many, but I feel so much encouragement from their enthusiasm to be part of it.

I am fiercely independent and like to think of myself as a fighter, but I'm learning a lot about not fighting alone. And I am incredibly blessed to have an army to fight with.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Change of Heart

(Posted to Facebook Notes 2.25.12)

As my parents drove me to the hospital Tuesday, February 21, my greatest fear was being told that I would need a heart transplant. After hours of testing and waiting, everything changed when I was told that I needed a new heart, but was too sick to receive one.

My mind is a great big fog. And that feels like a gift. I keep thinking that "when my head clears, I'll sit down and send an email or post a blog or make phone calls", but I'm not sure my head will clear anytime soon. Many of you have given me your love and support and although somewhat impersonal, this seems the best way to update.

I had been told last Thursday that my tests indicated that I might need a heart transplant. Although I have seen a cardiologist since my early teens, I never thought that a transplant would be in my future. I was shocked and afraid, but suspected that this could be a false diagnosis like so many I have received over the past year. A Right Heart Cath was scheduled for this past Tuesday to confirm the situation, and I began praying that they would find a functional heart.

I received great counsel Sunday afternoon and although the words spoken were not what I had hoped to hear, I left the meeting with a sense of peace. While speaking with my parents late Sunday night, they decided to drive from Denver on Monday to be with me on Tuesday. I am grateful for many reasons that they were with me that day.

I was conscious for the procedure, and could sense that there was some uncertainty regarding the results they were seeing. I kept reflecting back on the words from Sunday's counsel, suggesting that no mysteries would be left undiscovered, and I offered up a prayer that the technicians would have sufficient discernment to move through the procedure. Although a bit chaotic, we were able to complete a thorough test. The technicians and nurses were all very vague regarding the results, so my parents and I used it as an opportunity to stay optimistic and hope for good news. Consequently, we were floored when they informed me that I did need a heart transplant, but that I was currently too sick to receive one. In just a few hours, our prayers had changed from wanting to avoid a transplant to now hoping that I would soon be well enough to qualify for one.

I was born with a birth defect only recently understood as Non-Compaction of the left and right ventricles. Over the course of my life, my heart has become so diseased that it has caused high pressures in my lungs (Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension). If I were to receive a new heart in my current condition, my lungs would quickly blow out the new organ, so I cannot be listed until those pressures are controlled. I am receiving pulmonary drug therapy at home for the next month, and the doctors seem hopeful that if it can be reversed, we will know soon.

As I first mentioned, I am definitely in shock, but feel that the shock is a blessing in itself. I also feel a great deal of peace as I reflect on words spoken to me, and impressions I have felt, these past few days. There is little to be done now beyond waiting and praying, and I feel blessed to have the support of so many friends, family, and even strangers. I will do my best to maintain updates and welcome calls and emails from all of you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Online Gem

If you haven't been entertained by Kid History yet, check it out here:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mr. Clooney

I haven't been getting enough attention from my real life crushes lately...consequently I've found myself going through a George Clooney phase.

Isn't he lovely?

Monday, January 30, 2012

So...About That "Joy" Stuff...

Remember just 24 hours ago when I was all full of hope and optimism? Turns out that's harder to maintain than I had anticipated. Those really joyful people must put in a lot of hours of practice. Looks like it's going to be more difficult than I'd wanted.

I guess I'll start again tomorrow.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What I Learned in Church Today: The Pursuit of Joy

In the past few months I have been compelled to seriously consider my mortality. I have spent many days searching for the right understanding or motivation to want to fight a difficult battle. I read the stories of so many survivors who faced unimaginable challenges and found a way to do the impossible. In each situation the hero would confess that thoughts and desires of being with their spouse and/or children was the ONLY thing that got them through.

As an eternal bachelorette, and a non-breeder, those stories weren't entirely helpful. In fact, I might have even found them discouraging at times. I really wanted someone with my social circumstances to have fought the fight and be able to share something that would motivate me.

Today I listened to a speaker whose words have helped me to begin looking at my situation differently. The speaker started by sharing 2 Nephi 2:25,
"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."
And then the speaker put emphasis on a word in that verse that I have always skimmed over..."might". I am here, and sacrifices have been made, so that I "might" feel joy. It is the freedom to pursue happiness that is a basic human right, but having joy isn't a guarantee...I am only promised that it "might" happen. I don't think this means that it is a crapshoot, who does or does not get to have joy, I think it implies that there is work to be done if I want to experience the joy. And I'm beginning to understand that the joy might be delayed if it's in my best interest.

And that is the place where I have found myself paralyzed. I've wanted to be happy. I've recognized my responsibility to make that happen, but I was still disappointed that joy wasn't just happening to me. I had felt that I should have qualified for immediate and immeasurable piles of joy. I had lost focus and understanding.

The speaker then went on to share some of the things he had learned from a co-worker who had become a quadraplegic, but still managed to live his life with an abundance of joy:

- Focus on what I can do and minimize what I cannot do
- Focus on what the Lord has blessed me with, and not what He has not given me or on what has been taken away

- Focus on what the future has in store for me, not on what it does not

- Don't waste time or effort worrying about things I cannot control

- Live up to the fullest extent of my gifts and talents. Improve upon and add to those talents

- Don't look back

The reality is that I've been so devastated about the loss of my imaginary future that I have failed to see the hope and goodness that still remained in my life. I get it tonight in the quiet of my room, but I will forget, and this will remain a process for me. Especially since I know that I will continue to be influenced by what the doctors have to say about my prognosis. But at least for now, I have some guidance for identifying my purpose and my reason to fight...regardless of the specifics of my challenges.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Sherrie Burt + Jeremy Willey
January 28, 2012