As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Choose the Best for Christmas this Year

The holidays are always a busy time of year and this year has seemed more so for me. I don’t regret the opportunities to serve and give. And yet as Halloween disappeared with the goblin’s candy so did my reserves. One day at a time, steady as the drummers marching cadence, my bucket of strength, emotional, spiritual and physical gradually siphoned off to those around me. At first I didn’t notice and in subsequent days I reminded myself to tighten the cinch on my growing load and pick up my dragging pace to get through it. Somehow I believed that if I just ignored the lessening of my reserves they would magically regenerate or at least hold strong for the duration.

Thanksgiving arrived and with it a full house. My reserves magically held, buoyed by the adrenalin rush of youth around me. I enjoyed the frenzied pace of young love with its varied ups and downs and shielded by the love of my husband and children. The crowd retreated to their respective homes, the last moving two weeks after the holiday. Then the quiet descended . . . and with it the weight of fatigue. Quiet hours gave way to painful silence. I gathered my wilted energies and determined to move forward. Serving neighbors and friends would most certainly prove the cure for what ailed me.

I made a list of friends to serve and added what holiday treat each enjoyed, encouraging the tiring elf on my shoulder. “Hush, ‘tis the season of giving. Give more.”

As the closing credits of our family Christmas tradition rolled up on the screen before me the tiring elf on my shoulder crumbled. My tears burned at the back of my eyes and I sagged into my husband’s shoulder to hide. My children could not see these tears, tears that would prove the last drops in my proverbial bucket. I fought the tears back long enough to clean-up only to sob into my pillow. “Tomorrow . . . I’ll think about that tomorrow” . . . Silly Female.

Fatigue evolved into depression by the time daylight arrived and I knew not why. I prayed, half-heartedly at first. I opened my email account to find a note from the publisher. “Oh no . . . I can’t take a rejection right now.” I delayed until after morning family prayer. I wrapped the last of my Christmas presents wishing my husband would forgo his trip to Fred Myers. I begged my daughter not to buy me anything, threatening her that I would take it back. Her countenance crumbled, I stopped and apologized for the hurt I had caused reminding myself to “Fake it until it feels real.”

I prayed again after they left and this time an answer seemed to stare me in the face. The November Ensign with the Conference Report lay open on my desk to President Uchtdorf’s address. I procrastinated instead, opening the wrong e-mail. The editor thanked me for my submission and assured me she would see to it that it received its due attention. I sighed glancing at the Ensign.

I love President Uchtdorf. His gentle counsel never fails to warm my heart. Would his address hold the comfort I stood in need of?

Of Things That Matter Most
By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Trees and Airplanes---yes, they do have something in common. I smiled remembering the cadence of his voice, the first for several days. Then the message meant for me . . .”it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials . . .” A simple but critical lesson. One I needed to remind myself of often. I had allowed myself to move “. . .at an ever-increasing rate, regardless of the turbulence or obstacles.” My business of serving other was fast becoming a vice. I had barely turned to Heavenly Father, reading scriptures just to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, muttering words of prayer that I knew had gotten no further than the four walls. And my family? My list of whom to take the baked goodies to had become more important than the family time planned to prepare them. And the love that should have gone into each batch? I wondered if I had remembered to add that ingredient. Sure I was going through the motions, then too I was beating myself up over not working on Dark Days of Promise almost most of every daylight hour.

“The wise understand and apply the lessons of the tree rings. . . They resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush. . .”

Maybe more powerful a message for me than all the rest was a passage that reflected something I had written in Dark Days of Promise months before President Uchtdorf said it. Of course, he may have said it better than I ever will. He said, “These core doctrines and principles,” he is speaking of the gospel of Jesus Christ. “though simple enough for a child to understand, provide the answers to the most complex questions of life.”


My Heavenly Father loves me. He knows me. He hears and answers our prayers (even those we don’t dare enunciate for fear of it being counted as naught.) “The holy scriptures and the spoken word of the living prophets give emphasis to the fundamental principles and doctrines of the gospel.” And for me, when I listen, they are the instruments that sing to my soul, bring me peace, and answer my prayers.
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