Feeding Tube

Kyrie has not eaten in three or four  days. She’s not moving or playing, and only cries and sleeps.  It’s very scary and very sad.

Our pediatrician is out of town, Cincinnati hasn’t emailed back, and the pulm and ENT in Tulsa haven’t called back.  So I contacted our nurse practioner, who knows Kyrie so well, and talked to her.

She sent us to the ER for some fluids for this little girl.

She got a bag of fluids, and also an ng feeding tube.

They were anxious about putting it in, so I told them I would do it myself if they would do an X-ray to confirm placement. 

I nailed it.

I’m really glad Cinci trained me on that last year, and today it saved her life.

They just need to be sure she is getting fluids and enough calories.

She still can eat real table food if she wants.

The doctor there told me she needed a trach, because she is using all her calories to breathe.

I said that we knew that, and he was welcome to give her one.

He said he didn’t think he could do it, but we should definitely have it done.

I will, I said, when we drive up to the trach drive through.

I didn’t really say that. But it makes me crazy because everyone keeps telling me that, but no one doing it. It’s not like a special bandaid I can buy on Amazon.  I really don’t know how to get it done or what I am supposed to say when doctors tell me she needs it so we should get it done.

We are on it, is what I say, because I don’t know what else to say.

Both the doctor and the nurse practioner said she could have died, and that we did the right thing, and the nurse practioner is trying so hard to connect our Utah ENT to local people to get something done.

We will see.

In the meantime, this girl is about worn out by trying to stay alive, and sometimes it scares me that she’s starting to give up.  We are both weary, I know, but our story isn’t finished yet.

#LDSConf – Mosiah 29

CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 29.

This chapter is the end of an era.  It has Mosiah’s final words of caution, urging the people to avoid bad kings by using judges instead.  Both Mosiah and Alma (the Elder) pass away.  It’s a hundred years before Christ is born, and the stage is set.

The king problem came up because all of Mosiah’s sons have converted and gone off on missions, so they do not want to be king, specifically Aaron (verses 1-3).  So King Mosiah has to ask them again (verses 4-6), pointing out that such political changes could cause contention “and destroy the souls of many people” (verse 7).   He urges the people to appoint judges who will reign according to the commandments of God, rather than kings that will cause contention (verse 11).

“Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just” (verse 12).

King Mosiah is teaching them that a judge ruling based on principles from Scripture will be just because he is focused on God’s ways; however, a king focused on his best interest in the kingdom will not always rule justly.

Kings would be fine, he says, if you could always be sure it would be a good king – like his father, King Benjamin (verse 13).   And even King Mosiah himself “labored with all the power and faculties… to teach you the commandments of God, and to establish peace throughout the land, that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity…” (verse 14).

So yes, the people have had good kings in their recent past.

But King Mosiah reminds them that this was not always the case.  A few generations back, and the people were in a terrible bondage because of a bad king.  He warns them not to repeat this, and says that kings are not the best way because they are not always good.  Specifically, he reminds them of King Noah, “his wickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and abominations of his people.  Behold what great destruction did come upon them; and also because of their iniquities they were brought into bondage” (verse 18).

It was not the King that saved them from bondage, but the “all-wise Creator, and this because of their sincere repentance” (verse 19).

And this deliverance did not come because of how good the people were, but “because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him… and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him” (verse 20).

This is how King Mosiah reminds the people of their experiences, and encourages them to remember the lessons they have learned.  He reminds them also that if they should fall into the hands of a bad king, it is not easy to get rid of him (verse 21).

“For behold, he has his friends in iniquity, and he keepeth his guards about him; and he teareth up the laws of those who have reigned in righteousness before him; and he trampleth under his feet the commandments of God; and he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he causeth to be destroyed…” (verses 22-23).

It’s too risky, he says.

Instead of lifting one higher than the rest, and hoping for the best, King Mosiah teaches it is best for all to be at the same level and for judges to rule by the principles (commandments) of God.

“Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord” (verse 25).

Usually, he says, the people will together make good choices, and so deciding by majority will usually keep the people safe and on the right track.

But when the time comes, he warns, that the majority choose evil instead of right, then “the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction…” (verse 27).

This cross-references to the second to the last paragraph of the Family Proclamation:

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

King Mosiah then tells the people to be judged as they are organized: the small groups watched over by leaders watching over a larger area, and those watched over by a larger area.  This is the same ward-stake-area system we use today.   This, he says, is what will protect the people’s freedom and what will continue to lead them in righteousness.

“And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike…” (verse 32).  This is establishing Zion, the at-one-ment of people, the people organized unitedly, the United Order.

In this way, King Mosiah reminded the people of the advantages to having their own freedoms versus the disadvantages of being in bondage under a king (verses 35-36).

The people were “convinced of the truth of his words” (verse 37), and so let go of the demand to have a king (verse 38).

But still, it is in covenant language requiring covenant obedience.

The people don’t just get their freedom, and that’s all there is to it.

They get their freedom, and then work hard to protect it and to provide for their own families.

But then “they were exceedingly rejoiced because of the liberty which had been granted unto them” (verse 39).

And for this joy, for the good teaching of their prophet-King, they did love Mosiah as their leader because of how he led them by humble example (verse 40).

Because they loved him, they paid attention to him.

They chose judges instead of kings (verse 41).

Alma the Younger is chosen as one of those judges, after receiving the priesthood from Alma his father (verse 42).   Alma “did walk in the ways of the Lord, and he did keep his commandments, and he did judge righteous judgments; and there was continual peace through the land” (verse 43).

Alma’s father, Alma (the Elder), dies at age 82, and Mosia dies at age 63.

“And thus ended the reign of the kings over the people of Nephi; and thus ended the days of Alma, who was the founder of their church” (verse 47).

The next book, Alma, is the record of this son of Alma who was elected as judge and served amongst the people.

The Book

So the story is true, that we are writing about our experiences since getting married, and we are very exciting to be working on a project together.

I have had a publisher for several years, and done revisions until my brain hurt, but always they said it wasn’t finished.

Six sealings has finished us off, it turns out.

We were asked to put a book together of our story, and we have the content finished, but have been in structure drama for a week, and tonight finally figured it out!

We want the overall story to be what happened in Cincinnati last summer, with extubation as the climax in the middle of the story, like a chiasm in Hebrew poetry.  Each chapter will open with a piece of that story.  Then, using feminine narrative structure, each chapter will tell one aspect of our story non-linearly, fitting the circular pattern of the temple.  We will have fifteen chapters, like the leadership structure at church, and it will open will leaving on the life flight and close with landing back home in Tulsa.

We. Are. So. Excited.

Temple Names

Alex was the first one to get some of the temple work done for biological ancestors!

Many thanks to stake friends who helped us complete more than forty-five ordinances for Alex’s ancestors, including sealing 12 children to one couple who had so many in ten years. That almost feels like our family!

We have so much genealogy to do with so many kids from different families, but we really feel it is important and part of our commitment to their biological families.

Thank you!

#LDSConf – Mosiah 28

CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 28.

The sons of Mosiah also (like Alma the younger) have to, in their own way, do this work of repentance-becomes-mission.

So they go back to their father, King Mosiah, to ask permission to go on a mission (verse 1).  They want to go to the Lamanites, “that perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers’ and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred… that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God… (even becoming) friendly one to another, and that there should be no more contentions in the land” (verse 2).

Except this is important what he says in that verse, not just no more contentions in the land, but “no more contentions in the land which the Lord their God had given them” (verse 2).   This is all one land given to one people, and the mission of the sons of Mosiah is to make the people at-one.

“Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish…” (verse 3).  This is the depth of understanding they have of truth, and the vastness of the love they have for the people they want to serve.

This obedience, this love, this becoming-ness brings the blessings that help them fulfill their mission.

“And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners.  And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever” (verse 4).

The natural response to understanding what the Savior has done for us is to want to share that with others.  The natural response to true conversion is to want to serve a mission.

And so the boys did “plead with their father many days that they might go…” (verse 5).

King Mosiah prayed about the request of his sons for a mission (verse 6), and the Lord answered his prayers by telling him to let his sons go.   The Lord promises King Mosiah that they will testify of Christ, and so will have eternal life (because they have fulfilled their premortal covenant).   The Lord also promises King Mosiah that the sons (and Alma) will be safely returned home unharmed by the Lamanites (verse 7).

So Mosiah let them go (verse 8), and the boys were off on their mission (verse 9)!

In the meantime, King Mosiah did not have anyone to pass his kingdom on to because now his sons had converted and gone off on a mission, wanting to be in the ministry instead of political business (verse 10).

But before he can figure out what to do about that, he has to address the anxiety of the people regarding their wanting to know what happened to the “those people who had been destroyed” (verse 12), so he had to translate the records that King Limhi’s people had found and brought back with them (verse 11).  He translated them “by the means of two stones which were fastened into the  two rims of a bow” (verse 13).   These were handed down generation after generation, “for the purpose of interpreting languages” (verse 14), “and they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord” (verse 15) so that everyone can know the Gospel plan: what happens to the people without God, and how He can deliver them.

The person with the authority and ability to use these is called a “seer” (verse 16).

Mosiah finished translating the records, which “gave an account of the people who were destroyed”.  Their history went back to the time of the Tower of Babel, and even all the way back to Adam (verse 17).  Because the account told of the destruction of the people, it “did cause the people of Mosiah to mourn exceedingly; yea, they were filled with sorrow…” (verse 18).

Yet, at the same time, “it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice” (verse 18).

So now we have two asides in this chapter, with the writer speaking directly to the audience.

First, he mentions that the records (history) of the mission that the sons of Mosiah (and Alma) go on will be included in the records (of the Book of Mormon).  We know this to be the next book following this one, in the book of Alma (the younger).

Secondly, he mentions that this account of the people destroyed (which we know to be the Jaredites) will be included in the records (of the Book of Mormon).  We know this to be the book of Ether.

But he emphasizes the importance of this, stating that “it is expedient that all people should know the things which are written in this account” (verse 19).

All people.  Including me.  Including you.

When all this was done being taught, King Mosiah took the records he had preserved and bestowed them upon Alma the younger (son of Alma the prophet), commanding him to “also keep a record of the people, handing them down one generation to another, even as they had been handed down from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem” (verse 20).

Air Conditioning

Our house, for some reason, has air conditioning without any filters.

Here is Nathan putting the vent back up after we cleaned it today, in hopes that we might go one summer without the air conditioning breaking down.

Kudos to the man.

Summer Homeschool

This is our summer schedule:

We go by colors so that when we are interrupted by baby crises or appointments or work, we know what activity to return to instead of worrying about what time it is.

We get through each color everyday.

Everyone is in a different place during each color time, with group recess and snack between each color.

This gives Nathan and me one on one time each day with each child, while making sure everyone gets done all they need to finish.

It also keeps them busy with homeschool all summer, without only drowning in lessons.

Reading aloud and speech is done with a parent, and everyone has different assignments so requires some prep work the night before or early in the morning before they are up.

The computer time is for math and reading fluency programs we use, as well as typing lessons.

Outside time is play time by themselves in the backyard, because there are so many of them they also need to learn to play alone and feel safe and content by themselves.

Practice and play time is violin and piano for all of them.

PACEs are the workbooks we use in our homeschool curriculum.  They do these completely independently, and we only check them for them.

Makeup work is anything missed because of appointments, or pace corrections, and then they have free time to color or paint or do play dough, but something creative.

(Jessica is my niece that often comes during the summer.)

We have done this for three years, and it’s what works best for us!

#LDSConf – Mosiah 27: Alma’s Conversion

CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 27.

Now that the people understand clearly how to join the church, the Lord now teaches them what to do in their daily lives to actually live like people of God.   They cannot just join the church and consider it finished, because it is an ongoing process of becoming – this chapter teaches them how to become His people, His consecrated and set apart people.  It applies to us as well.

Because the people are set apart, the nonbelievers began to persecute them.  These persecutions became so great that the church began to murmur, complaining to Alma, who “laid the case before their king Mosiah” (verse 1).

Mosiah ordered the persecution to stop (verse 2), in a proclamation sent to all in the land.  This strict command reminded all – both believers and non-believers – that there should be equality among them all (verse 3).

He reminded them that “they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support” (verse 4).

The people were to be humble, caring for each other, and self-reliant.

Even the teachers of the people, the priests, “should labor with their own hands for their support”, and in this obedience they “did abound in the grace of God” (verse 5).

This set the people at peace again, “and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth…” (verse 5).   The Lord blessed them, and they became a large and wealthy people (verse 7).

Sadly, the sons of King Mosiah were some of the unbelievers, as one of the sons of Alma.  This son of Alma was also named Alma, known as Alma the younger, like Alma, junior.  “… he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man.  And he was a man of many words and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities” (verse 8).  This bad behavior was not just his own I-don’t-know-better behavior outside the church, but because of his father he did know better and people knew him so that his bad behavior actually hindered the work of the church by “stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them” (verse 9).

This was not just someone being naughty who doesn’t know better.  It was not even just someone breaking his covenants instead of keeping them.  It was someone actively “going about to destroy the church of God” (verse 10), with his little buddies – the sons of Mosiah – to help him.   Their goal?

“… to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God… even the king” (verse 10).

One day they were out “rebelling against God” when an angel appeared to them (verse 11).

“So great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth” and couldn’t even understand what the angel said to them (verse 12).

The angel had to repeat his message, telling Alma to stand and answer why he is persecuting the church!(verse 13)  The angel says that the Lord has heard the prayers of Alma’s father (Alma the prophet) and the prayers of the people these bad boys are persecuting.  The angel says that Alma “has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth”, and for this purpose the angel has come to teach them of the power and authority of God (priesthood).  This, the angel says, is in answer to the prayers of the faithful (not because of anything these guys have earned) (verse 14).

The angel says:

“And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God?  For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth?  And can ye not also behold me before you?  And I am sent from God” (verse 15).

The angel then reminds them of the history of their people, when they were in bondage, and how the Lord delivered them (verse 16).

He is telling Alma not to repeat history, not to lead the people back into bondage since now they have been delivered.

This applies also Alma on a personal level, that he would not put himself into bondage and cast off (because he needs deliverance but has rejected the one who can deliver him).

When the angel left (verse 17), Alma and the other guys fell to the earth “for great was their astonishment; for with their own eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord…” (verse 18).

“… the astonishment of Alma was so great” that he couldn’t speak or move, and so he was “carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father” (verse 19).  The guys told Alma the prophet all that had happened to his son Alma the younger and themselves, and Alma the prophet “rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God” (verse 20).

Alma the prophet got the people to gather around, so that they could witness what the Lord had done for his son and the sons of Mosiah (verse 21).  He and the priests began to fast for the strength of Alma the younger, so that he could speak (testify!) and move again ” – that the eyes of the people might be opened to see and know of the goodness and glory of God” (verse 22).

After two days of fasting, Alma began to recover his strength. He stood up and spoke to them, “bidding them to be of good comfort” (verse 23).

“For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold, I am born of the Spirit” (verse 24).  Then he goes on to explain and teach what he himself has just learned:  “… all mankind… must be born again… (and) changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; and thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (verses 25-26).

He points out some significant things in that speech.  It’s not enough to just get baptized.  We must also do the work of becoming the people of God.  We must exchange what is not of God (our sins and transgressions) for His righteousness; this is what sanctifies us and prepares us to be able to re-enter His presence.

Without that, we cannot.

“… unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off” (verse 27).

This is part of repentance, acknowledging the awful state we would be in without the Savior.

But it is in the Savior that we have hope:

“Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting night unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God” (verse 28).

Part of being born of God – of being a new creature – is again, understanding clearly what an awful state we were in or would be in without Him.   This is part of our faith process, part of our faith becoming knowledge, part of faith becoming testimony.   This is faith: knowing what the Savior has done for us.

“My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity.  I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God.  My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more” (verse 29).

Part of understanding this is acknowledging what we have done, and what He has done for us.

“I rejected my Redeemer… but now (I know) he remembereth every creature of his creating, (and) he will make himself manifest unto all” (verse 30).

This brings us to an understanding of who He is!

“Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him… then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, (even those) who live without God…” (verse 31).

This was Alma-the-younger’s testimony of his repentance and what the Lord had taught him, and from this time on he began to teach the people.  His companions were those sons of Mosiah who were with him when the angel appeared.   This was a great sacrifice to them, as they were now believers being persecuted just as they had done the persecuting of others before (verse 32).

Regardless, “they did impart much consolation to the church, confirming their faith, and exhorting them with long-suffering and much travail to keep the commandments of God” (verse 33).

This is their “fruit of the Spirit”, their evidence of true conversion: that not only were their lives changed, but they testified of what the Savior had done for them.

The sons of Mosiah that went with Alma the younger were Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni (verse 34).  They traveled through all the lands of Zarahemla, “zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church, confessing their sins, and publishing all the things which they had seen, and explaining the prophecies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them” (verse 35).

This was the restitution part of their repentance, but as they did this work it became their mission.

As they testified of what the Savior had done for them, they were changed.

This is their keeping the premortal covenant: knowing that the Savior had kept His promise in atoning for them, they are now testifying of that atonement.

“And thus were they instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer” (verse 36).

“And how blessed are they! For they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth” (verse 37).

This is what we promised premortally to do:  to declare good tidings of good.

Good tidings of good: that’s some seriously good good-news.

Awards Assembly

Nathan and I have just endured our first awards assembly as parents!

It was actually pretty rough because I have been asleep for two days after some rough nights of severe bone pain with fevers and chills.  I was so glad Sarah was here to help, still, as she leaves next week for a different job she got closer to her fiancé.  But we were there to be supportive, and so proud of our first graders becoming second graders!

Kirk got the award for citizenship, for being such a sweet kid and so good and such a helper.  He is a comfort to me, when some of the other kids are so hard in other ways.  He has overcome so much! We were delighted to see him so proud of himself!