Saturday, September 13, 2014

For my cousins...

You can read this if you aren't my cousin. But this is for my cousins just so they know.

Gran came to Colorado to visit me this past week. Clark knows how much I love her and how much I have missed her since we have moved and he bought her a plane ticket for my birthday present. (He's awesome!) It was such a fun week. I had to work but we still had some great times.

Monday: We picked Gran up and had dinner, FHE, and played yahtzee (gran had the worst luck). 

Tuesday: Gran and I watched a really strange but intriguing movie from 1979 about a lady who has a deformed face and gets plastic surgery. There was also a love story and lies and all the things that make up a strange but intriguing movie in there too. 

Wednesday:  We went to Sams, WalMart, and Panda Express and then watched The Help. 

Thursday: I had the day off but I spent 3 hours at the DMV while Gran did all my laundry and cleaned my whole house (She Rocks!!). After that awful experience at the DMV, we made dinner and went on a chilly walk to Kohls then, we watched the BYU football game once Clark got home from his business trip. (Gran loved watching the game and I'm really glad they won because, wow, she was nervous!)

Friday: We went to Red Robin and played Phase 10 of course! 

Saturday: Today we dropped her off at the airport and I was really sad to see her go. 

I wanted you all to know what we did just to give you an update. 

SO this fun week sparked an idea in my head. Gran reminded me of my roots and how much I owe to my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents for the convictions I have, the goals I have met and the opportunities I have been blessed with. I want to give you a list of what Gran has taught me and I hope you have learned the same from her or will learn it from her because she really is the greatest Grandma.

Here's the list of some of the things I have learned from Gran:

1- Major and Minor. When I was really little, Gran taught me what tragedies were major and which were minor.  Major things are bleeding, death, major accidents, sin etc. Minor things are bad hair days. I still have to ask myself if something is major or minor. If it is major then you can cry and be sad and pray a lot. If it is minor you can pray to get over it because it is so silly to be frustrated about.

2- Service. Gran has had the calling of compassionate service leader in Ashton 2nd ward for the last threeish years. She may technically and officially be the compassionate service leader now but really she has always held that calling personally. Gran is so good at knowing when there is a need.  Then, she responds so quickly to those in need and always knows the right thing to do. It is easy to do service when you have seen your grandma and aunts do it so naturally without complaint.

3- Support and Love. While Gran was here I heard about each of you at least twice. I heard about what your trials were, what accomplishments you have achieved recently, who you associate with and everything you were involved in currently. Gran loves us unconditionally and she really is proud of all of you and worries about you when you are sad or scared or starting something new. She knows how to love her grandchildren. I really hope I can be better at supporting and loving all of you.

4- Wholesome Recreation. Gran knows how to have fun. We don't need grand parties, excursions or vacations to have a good time when we are together. Some of my favorite memories are playing games with Gran and Grandpa... we had so much fun. Gran enjoys a good football game, a nice chat, a game of Phase 10, a little shopping and a walk around the neighborhood. I love that we know how to have real wholesome fun because of our Gran.

5- Priorities. I have never had to question what Gran thought was most important. She loves her Savior and being a wife and mother. The gospel and her family are most important. She has taught me where my priorities should lie.

So cousins... I hope you understand just how good we have it. We are so lucky that Gran is ours. Make sure you always show her how great she is by allowing the lessons she has taught you and her example  make you better.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Remembrance Day

My family came to visit me at our new home in Loveland, Colorado. The last 24 hours have been filled with fun and I'm sure the next few days will be perfect. This morning I was speaking with my parents about memorial day. I was asking why we decorated this holiday with American flags (yes I didn't know and it's embarrassing kind of). So my dad explained that it was initially created for the veterans and it was called remembrance day. I love that name way  more than memorial day. I think the thought of remembering something is more inviting and romantic than that of memorializing something. In essence the two words are the same however, I love the word remember more. 

This weekend for me is usually filled with barbecues and family time/vacation. It usually is just a holiday that marks the beginning of Summer. This year it is different. My heart is very close to the spirit of this day and that is to remember those who have passed. I have been very blessed to have so many people that have come before me who have made my life significantly better by their actions. There are two people in particular that I wanted to remember during this special weekend. . 

I have a great grandma and her name was Lulu. I love her name. I love it enough that I want to name a child after her but I don't know how big that would go over. My grandma Lulu died when I was young. I didn't know her very well but I will be forever indebted to the person she was and the role she played in my dad's life. She was a very strong, hard-working and devout LDS woman. 

My dad came from a broken home with acholism and many divorces and remarriages. Although his home life wasn't ideal, my dad had very loving parents who let him make choices for himself and become the person that he wanted to become. I love them for allowing him to do so. Dad, at a young age, decided to move from his mother's home and live with Grandma Lulu. He told me this decision to move was agonizing and difficult but in the end he felt the best about living with his Grandma and Grandpa.  They owned a farm and worked very hard. She evidently made the best carrot cake around and my dad loved working, eating, and living there. Eventually, he moved out and when he did he had a momentary period where he quit going to church. He recounts the story by explaining that one Sunday he woke up and thought to himself, "What am I doing? Why am I not at church?" He then went to the Bishop and told him he was part of that ward and wanted to be accountable to him. He wanted to go to church every Sunday. He didn't miss after that. My dad desired to grow in the gospel. 

After he graduated, he started thinking about a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. These missions usually cost quite a bit of money... money that he (a teenage boy living on his own for the past few years) didn't have. He went to Grandma Lulu and said, "Grandma I have really thought about it and I want to serve a mission. I have no idea how I'll pay for it but I really want to go." Grandma Lulu replied, "I was hoping you would say that. I have been saving for your mission. I have all the money saved up and I will help you go on that mission." 

I cannot express how much her generosity has impacted my life. I am so grateful for a great grandma that cared so much about my father. He had a father who let him down a lot and she never did. She showed him a very good way to live. She sacrificed time, effort, and money to raise a teenage boy that needed love and support. She played a huge part in making my dad the man he is today and I really love my dad. 

I want to remember my Lulu May this remembrance day because without her I don't know what kind of life I would have had but with her I know that I have a father who received love, support and guidance at a time he needed it the most. I will forever love her for that. I cannot wait to meet her in heaven and hug her. I cannot wait to sincerely and deeply thank her for how she treated my father and the time she invested in him. I am indebted to her.

The other person I need to remember and will never forget is my Grandpa Joe. My heart aches for the day I get to see him again. My grandpa was a convert to the church. Once he decided he would be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he got baptized and never looked back. I could tell the story of his conversion or of his past. I could tell you his cool, funny and scary childhood stories but I want to tell you about the man I knew. 

One of my earliest memories of my grandpa involved church. I was visiting my Grandparents and I would be attending their church the next day. Saturday night my grandmother put together little baggies of whoppers for all the primary children. I sat there watching her.  My grandpa came in and spoke with her. I remember him listening to her advice and discussing what he would be doing the next day. I didn't really know what they were talking about or why she was assembling malt balls in ziploc bags. 

The next day in primary my grandpa (a member of the bishopric) came into the primary room to give the children a lesson. He began the story of David and Goliath. As he told the story, the malt balls were being passed out to the children. Then he stood on the table. He gave us a lesson about the difference in height of David and Goliath and with the help from God and some little stones (the size of whoppers) David was able to conquer this huge man. He ended the lesson with his testimony about the stories of the Bible and Book of Mormon. I remember vividly this statement, "The Book of Mormon is the most correct book on this Earth. It is revelation for these days. We need to read it and learn from the stories told in it." I loved my Grandpa because he could relate to me. As a child, he could help me understand the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

He didn't just relate to me in this way. He also supported me in every other aspect of my life. My grandpa spent hours at jr. miss, dance recitals and helping me with math homework. I love my grandpa's interest in life. He loved all sporting events and knew every rule to every sport. He loved driving and looking for wildlife. He was a fisherman and I loved having fish and pancakes for breakfast after one of his good ice fishing trips. He played games with me and always won. Even when my gran and I would cheat together he would still win. During a summer when I was in middle school, I spent a week with my grandparents. Every day that week we would go on a walk and we also would watch the national spelling bee on TV while eating a bag of cherries. He put up with me dancing in front of the TV while he tried to watch sporting events. He went Black Friday shopping with us. As he got older, he became very interested in hummingbirds and watched them at a feeder placed outside his window. He was a very manly man but he found interest in the beauty of all God's creations. Ultimately, he loved his family and his role as a father was the most important to him. He raised six girls with my grandma. He and my gran made my mom the sports fanatic and gospel loving woman she is and I'm so thankful. I love my mom.

My grandpa fought kidney failure his whole life. He was sick all the time but he was strong for us. He had three kidney transplants in his lifetime and to the donors I will be eternally thankful. My freshman year of college he became more and more ill. Aunt Kristi donated her kidney to him a few years previous and now he had bone cancer and the kidney was failing. I got a call one Sunday morning before I headed to church. It was my mom. She told me that my grandpa was really sick and that he had decided to quit taking his medications and not fight the cancer. He was going to die. I remember sitting in that apartment beside myself. I asked my mom what we were going to do next. She said that we were probably going to go and say goodbye but that I needed to go to church. I took my phone to sacrament meeting and after taking the sacrament received a call from my mom. She told me to come home and we would drive as a family together to Ashton. When we arrived in Ashton. The feeling I had felt of peace and warmth and comfort at my Gran's home was now very somber. We all sat in the front room and we were called back one by one to talk to grandpa. My gran told me that it was my turn. I walked back to their room. My grandpa was laying in bed. He looked really sick and was really sick. I immediately began bawling and so did he. As we hugged, he kept saying, "Oh Brynnie, oh Brynnie I'm going to miss you so much. I love you so much." Then he gave me some council about how to live my life to the fullest. I told him how much I loved him and then I left the room. I was devastated. He died exactly one week later. My heart aches reliving that moment. What I love about the memories I have with my grandpa is that I will have more. My grandpa didn't say goodbye to me. He said that he would miss me. He knew that I would see him again and I know that too. 

This remembrance day I hope we can all remember those who have passed on before us and who have impacted our lives. I hope we can feel happy and at peace with the memories we have. Mostly, I hope we can be grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for us so we could live forever with our families again. Because of Him, we can repent and return together. Because of our Savior, I will be reunited with my grandma Lulu and my grandpa again. Lulu May and Grandpa Joe led lives that exemplified faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. I hope to leave a legacy and memories  for others like they did for me.

Grandpa Joe

Saturday, March 8, 2014


These are quotes from some of the patients that I have seen that taught me something, made me think or just inspired me to be better:

- "Well... I've decided that I can either laugh at all the problems I have or I can cry. It's okay to cry once in a while but better when you laugh." 

- "I decided to quit my mundane job that made a lot of money and do things I love like write, create art and spend A LOT of time with my kids. My kids just knew me as the man that ate dinner with them sometimes. After I quit my job, I had a real relationship with my kids and I will never regret the pay-cut I took for that."

- "Life has given me a second chance. I want to mend any relationship I've made a mess of." 

- "I think my biggest accomplishment in my life is being a mom and grandmother. I wish everyone had the chance to have children."

- "There are some moments in life you wish could just stand still but everything changes and then you realize that moment was a pretty big deal in the scheme of things." 

- "You never will know how much you miss someone until they are gone. I wish I would have cherished time with my family more." 

A lot of the patients that I have seen can't express what they are thinking... I am so happy to be in a profession where communication is the goal. I'm also so happy to learn from and help people who can tell me what they are thinking. I have been touched by each patient whether they can verbally communicate the lessons they have learned or reach out to me through the spirit that resonates in them. 

I love the field I have chosen.

The take-home message my patient have given me is: 

- Family is the most important thing. 
- Treating others kindly is equally as important. 
- Laughing through trials is always the best way to handle it even when crying is an option. 
- In the end the little moments will be the big moments. Cherish them. 

Thank you to the patients at IMC. I have been truly blessed to be part of your recovery and life. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I began my internship at the IMC in Murray. Wow... is it crazy busy. I usually get there by 7:30 and I'm  done at maybe 4:00. I get to see help patients with a wide range of disabilities caused by strokes, TBI, illness and disease. My therapy consists of  swallowing, cognition and language. I would never trade the experience I am getting now for anything and I'm a little hesitant to say this and put it in writing but I think I have found my niche. I hesitate because I don't want to be bound to one part of this profession quite yet. That is the beauty of my profession, I can work with infants, toddlers, school age children, teenagers, adults and the elderly. I have loved it all minus school age children. They are the best but I don't love the school as much as the other places I have been.  

Anyway (I ramble a lot), this internship has made me think in so many many ways. On a day-to-day basis I see people in grief, people thankful they are alive, people looking at the positive, people dwelling on the negative, people whose family don't show up to help them, people whose family show up and are extremely supportive etc. 

I see lots of families and people from all walks of life with one common goal: RECOVERY. 

It is amazing the people I have met and the stories I have been able to hear. I receive life advice and counsel daily from my patients and I love it. So.... as I said this internship, in the 2 weeks I have been there, has made my mind go places it never has. I have had to stretch my knowledge of medical terms and therapy, as well as think about life as a whole and why I'm here and all of the sudden life has become so much more precious and the people in my life have become even more important. 

I know on my blog I share some deep thoughts rolling in my head and I want anyone who reads this to know that these thoughts are my own. They are not meant to offend nor will they ever be. This is not a disclaimer for the rest of the passage but something I needed to say to ensure that no one will ever be upset by something I write. What I write is deeply personal and real. I love when others share personal lessons they have learned or gratitude they have felt or testimony they have developed, I want to do the same.

Back to the hospital, (my mind is a jumbled mess today) I have been thinking about how I am going to remember these sweet people whom I have gotten to know so well in the past weeks. I have decided I want to write a lesson I have learned from each one of my patients. I will never include names or identifying information so this isn't violating any laws, but it is going to help me remember the life lessons I have learned, promptings I have received and advice I have been given.

I emailed JD the other day and told him how my internship was going and I told him I loved it so much because I felt so close to my Savior. 

I had an impression the first day that I never want to forget. In my head I had the distinct thought, "Brynne these are your brothers and sisters that you are helping to function in everyday life. Isn't it a blessing you get to hold such a role in their lives?" I have never understood until that moment why people say, "my career is so fulfilling". 

I never went on a mission for my church which is fine but I love sharing the message of the gospel. One thing I love most about sharing the gospel is conveying to others how much their Savior, Jesus Christ, loves them and how through Him we will be eternal families. I know I can't preach my religion in a hospital but I can live it. I feel so lucky to hold a place in these patients lives... for a short time I get to help them recover, help them feel valued despite their circumstances but mostly help them feel cared for and loved. I get to learn to be more like my Savior. He heals. He listens. He comforts. He watched over. He wants the best for all of us. I am not saying I am these patients Savior but I am saying that I feel so close to my Savior by helping these people. I have never cared so much for people I didn't know and it is because the thought of helping my heavenly brothers and sisters became so real to me that day I received that impression. This career is so fulfilling. I love it so much. I never thought I would be able to say that about any career/livelihood (except motherhood) but I truly can now.

So for the next eight weeks while I miss my husband while he is working in Logan and I am here. I am going to write about lessons I have learned from those I have gotten to work with. These people are amazing and have touched my life more than they ever will know.