It’s Not As Bad As You Think!

I’ve been having some doubts and fears creeping into my life of late.  I let those doubts convince me that I was not as strong, or courageous, as I wanted to be.

Then I had a very interesting, and enlightening, conversation with a friend.

We talked about some of my thoughts and she was able to shed new light on them.  I had been misreading some things that happened because I was not aware of the full story.  She was able to fill in some missing pieces and I discovered that I have been strong, and had been doing much better than I thought I was doing!

You may be able to imagine what that knowledge did for me.  I felt like a new person!  Where there had been doubt, there was now faith.  Where there had been weakness, there was now strength (and lots of it).  Where there had been disappointment, there was now encouragement.  And where there had been sadness, there was now joy and happiness!

It was not a big thing.  But I had let stray thoughts get in the way and let them get me down.  It was not as bad as I’d thought.

Isn’t that the way it usually is?  You build something up in your own mind.  And when you talk with someone who knows, or better yet with the person who is involved, you find out that it’s not as bad as you think.

And, it’s much easier to move on.

How Gentle God’s Commands

1. How gentle God’s commands!
How kind his precepts are!
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord
And trust his constant care.

2. Beneath his watchful eye,
His Saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard his children well.

3. Why should this anxious load
Press down your weary mind?
Haste to your Heav’nly Father’s throne
And sweet refreshment find.

4. His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day;
I’ll drop my burden at his feet
And bear a song away.

Text: Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751 Music: Hans Georg Nägeli, 1773-1836; arr. by Lowell Mason, 1792-1872

We sang this beautiful hymn in Sacrament Meeting today.  (Actually it was Fast and Testimony meeting since next week will be General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

This hymn has a lot of meaning for me:

  • First and foremost, the words are full of meaning and give hope and cheer to the struggling, the disillusioned, the downtrodden, even the sinner.  We are all human beings and suffer pain and affliction and adversity of all kinds.  But they don’t have to drag us down!  We can turn to God, our Heavenly Father.  He stands ready to help and bless us.  He can strengthen and sustain us.  He guides and directs us so that we can overcome all things.  He comforts us and lifts us up.
  • When I was young, learning to play the piano, this was the first hymn that my teacher had me learn to play.  I was not familiar with it at that time.  Even now we don’t sing it very often in church.  But with its comforting words and simple melody, it fast became a beloved hymn, providing inspiration and peace throughout my tumultuous teenage years.
  • Not too many years ago I was given the calling at church to be the music leader in Sacrament meeting.  I did not have much experience leading, usually I was the one playing the piano or even during my mission a small pump organ.  As I looked at the music that had already been selected by the previous music leader, I found I was totally unfamiliar with the closing song.  I was nervous anyway about leading such a large congregation, so I chose to change the hymn.  But what to choose?  “How Gentle God’s Commands” came to mind.  Perfect!  I knew it so could concentrate on leading it correctly, the organist did well, the congregation was not so familiar with it but struggled through it.  Later one member of the congregation mentioned this experience when she spoke in church.  She was unfamiliar with this hymn, but it touched her heart and inspired her that day.

Enjoy this meaningful hymn!

If you’d like to hear it, go to



Bariatric + 1 Month

It’s been a month since his bariatric surgery.  How’s it going?

The surgery has healed well and is not bothering him at all.  He’s lost 10% of his body weight, which is very typical.  But now it will slow down by half over the next 2 months.  Again, totally normal.

He still has diabetes, but doesn’t need as much insulin as he did previously.  It is still kind of all over the place, up and down, but I think that will stabilize more as he gets on a more normal diet.

He’s moving around better, though the arthritis pain is still an issue.  He does get a bit cranky now and then.  I think it’s the pain, not being able to do everything he’d like to, and a severely limited diet.  But he is more active, and starting to perk up!  And he is sleeping better at night.

Obviously he still can’t, and never will, eat a lot at one time, and the down side is that his diet is still mainly liquids and soft foods.  But now he does get to add more protein: ground beef, thinly sliced luncheon meat, even one hot dog at a meal.  And the nutritionist was correct, he likes plenty of flavor in his food.

Once again, I have to point out that this was a drastic step to take.  But in this case, I think it was the right decision, and in the end it will give him a better quality of life.

A Little Yellow Flower

I saw my first flower today.  A little yellow tulip.  Not so little, actually.  Just on a short stem.  The bloom itself was a nice-sized one.

The first sign of spring.  I don’t usually care much for spring because to me it means yardwork will soon start.

I do like green lawns, well-manicured trees and bushes, and beautiful flowers.

I’m just not an avid gardener, not one of those who finds enjoyment and fulfillment working in the dirt.  It is a duty to me.  Plain and simple.  And all too soon it also gets hot, too hot to work in the yard, too hot to be outside.

I’m more of an inside person.  Nice air-conditioning, no bugs to bother me, Queen of my domain!

All this from a little yellow flower.  :)

Bariatric Results

He’s been back to the surgeon for the bariatric follow-up appointment.  Results?

Surgery itself is healing properly and well.  As a matter of fact, it no longer causes pain.  Yea!

Diabetes practically gone (not quite), swelling in feet gone, weight-loss over 20 lbs – these are going well.

Other side of the coin: nausea a bit, tired some, arthritis pain intensified.  :(  Hoping that physical therapy at a multi-disciplinary location will decrease the stiffness in the back, which is locking up a little more (and causing more pain) each day without the benefit of anti-inflammatories.  That is the greatest concern.  It has nothing to do with the surgery, other than having to stop the ibuprofen, and was the thing he was most concerned about before surgery.  Hopefully weight-loss will also help, but it’s not guaranteed.

It’s a drastic step to take, but can be the best choice for some.  It is a lifestyle change.

In this case, we hope it will increase the quality of life.  I think it will.  :)

Clothes Shopping

I recently pulled out a shirt that I was going to wear.  I loved it when I was at the store and found it.  It looked really good on me.

But as I put it on and looked in the mirror, I was surprised by what I saw!

This was not the same image that looked back at me that day in the store.  Why had it seemed so right then?

What’s the problem?  I haven’t changed since then.  It wasn’t that long ago.  So why does it seem to be a totally different shirt than what I tried on in the store?

I’ve given this a lot of thought because this is not the first time this has happened.  Here’s what I believe the answer to be:

In the store I try on so many clothes, most of which make me look so horrible, that when I finally find one that isn’t horrible, or perhaps even makes me look pretty good, I’m happy and snap it up.  Then later, without all the horrible clothes to compare it to, I see it in its “true colors”.  I see that it really isn’t that good afterall.  :(

I really have to be more careful when shopping!

Have you had similar experiences?


Bariatric Surgery

He opted for bariatric surgery.  I remember the first time I heard about it, it scared me to death.

I heard about it many, many years ago.  Some news show talked about the very basics of it.  Cut the stomach, cut the intestines, sew the 2 together.  Done.  You lose weight.

I wondered why they left the cut off pieces in there, what about long-term effects, are they nuts?!

But, with his decision to do it, I learned a LOT more about it.  Amazingly, the more I learned, the more comfortable I became with it – no leftover cut-off pieces, just digestion in a slightly different order than before.  And people are living good lives because of it, you don’t gain it all back if you keep up the new eating habits you learn.  And it should give them a much better quality of life.

Less than a week before his surgery, I met a woman who had had the same procedure several years ago.  I ran into her quite by accident (we know there’s no such thing, right?)  She had complications at the time, but recovered and was glad she did it.

And later I met another woman whose husband had it done more recently.  She said the first 4 hours are the worst, after that it gets better.  She was so right!

It’s still a long road, but for him I think it was a good idea.  I look forward to the blessing this will be for him.  The journey has begun.