12.28.2015

2015 Blog Review

As the year comes to an end, I thought it would be fun to provide a year in review of the blog to point out some of the blog highlights from the last year. First and foremost, I wrote 41 posts this year, the lowest production of posts from me ever. I intetionally only wrote once a week my first year of blogging and still wrote nine more posts that this year. Yikes. :)

January

- I did my annual 101 Most Shocking Moments of 2014 list. This always seems to be a crowd pleaser.

- I hosted a Black & White party, which caused mucho mas controvery. So much so, that I had to have a follow up post to clarify.


February

-  I wrote about my NEW CAR! While I am thrilled to have my new car, it was a bit of a bummer because I wasn't planning on getting one. Ha.

- I also shared a little bit about why it has been so hard to write.


March

- March marked the one year anniversary since I was first diagnosed with autoimmune failure. I gave a quick look at what autoimmune failure has looked like for the first year I have had it.

- I also wrote about a commical experience in fourth-grade when a classmate bit herself and blamed it on me and how I had to set her and the principal straight. ;)


April

- While late to the game, I finally posted about what it is really like to be a Mormon woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After some controversy in the media regarding Mormon women in the past couple of years, I wanted everyone to know the truth from my three plus decades of experience.

- After 17 years of being the head basketball coach at Utah State University, Stew Morrill retired and I wrote him an open letter of what his time at USU meant to me.

- I shared some insight on what grief looks like six months later.


May

- I received a horrific Facebook message judging my grief and my relationship with my beloved, deceased brother-in-law, Steve. I had a message for that stranger. And I wrote about it on my blog.

- I wanted to post about the unbelievable detrioation of my nose, but it was over shadowed by my gall-bladder.


June

- "You're too young to have a colonoscopy!" THANKS, I THOUGHT SO TOO. But, I thought wrong. But, hey! I don't have cancer!

- You finally got to hear about the detrioation of my septum. ;) You lucky son of a gun! ;)


July

-  I literally wrote twice. Once about throwing a frisbee {no lie!} and a second time about an empty seat in our family.


August

- August brought my MOST POPULAR BLOG POST EVER ... You can read it here. :)


September

- After a gruesome recovery from my nose surgery and the year anniversary of Steve's death, September saw one single blog post. It was about my new job and a fun new nickname. ;)


October

- I wished you a very frightening Happy Halloween. ;)

- I tried to convey why I have continued to struggle to try and write.


November

- I wrote probably one of my most well-received blog posts of all time, talking about one of my greatest heartaches, outside of our loss of Steve.

- The first Thornley wedding in 18 years!!!!!!! And then a few more of these !!!!!!!!!!!


December

- More work shenanigans.

- And the severe autoimmune pain has returned after a 19-month hiatus. :(

Please share one or two of YOUR most memorable posts of 2015 and I will find my way over to your blog to check it out! :)


___
I got this idea from the wonderful Aubrey Zaruba, but missed out on their link up, so I am over here on my own, as if I had the cheese touch. ;)

12.22.2015

Guess who's back. Back again.

That title is totes to that Eminem song. You know the one, right? I went to go search the title of it, certain it was "Guess Who's Back", "Guess Who's Back, Back Again" or at least, "Shady's Back". However, it must be said, if you thought the same as me, you'd be entirely wrong. Apparently it is called. "Without Me."

Whatevs.

This post isn't about Slim Shady nor Eminem.

It's about autoimmune failure {isn't always though??}.

While I have had crazy symptoms from the onset in March 2014, I have never had the return of the March 2014 symptoms. Ya know, the severe, excruciating pain in my body? Well, it's back. Back again. But don't worry, you don't need to tell a friend.

Fortunately, it's only in my right arm this time around {opposed to my entire body}. Unfortunately, it decided to make its grand appearance at Disneyland {Oh hey! I just went to Disneyland!} and continue during my Christmas break. Apparently my two surgeries during my summer break wasn't enough medical fun during my time off from work. :)

Here are my biggest gripes {besides the pain and the fact that no medical professional has an idea what is going on with me}in order of difficulty:

1. Drying off after a shower. Have you ever tried to dry off with one arm? I dare you to try it. Really. Let me know how it goes.

2. I can't seem to dress myself. Don't worry, Weedus {my roommate} has been a champ in helping me.

3. Pants. I have sworn off all pants except leggings through Christmas break. Please don't judge me. Just know it hurts too much to tuck my underclothing in and pull up the pantelones {that's Spanish for pants, I apologize for getting all bilingual on you}.

So, that's how my life is shaping up lately. How about yours??? :)



12.01.2015

Employment | Day 376


Whilst waiting in a classroom with five students for a meeting to begin, the teacher walked out of the room and one of the students said to me, "Whose mom are you?"

I inquired, "Whose dad are you?"

He laughed, "I am not a dad! I don't have kids!"

I smiled back, "I am not a mom! I don't have kids!"

I call this photo: "I AM NOT YOUR MOTHER!"
He then asked if I was a teacher. I told him I was not. He then asked if I worked for the school, "Like are you a secretary somewhere?"

I told him I did work for the district, but I was not a secretary. He then asked what I did. When I told him I was a behavior analyst, another child perked up and said, "Are you here for Tony?? He's mean!!"

To my faithful blog readers, I was not there for this so-called "Tony". I don't even know a Tony.

I am mostly telling you this story for two purposes. The first? I sure showed that kid for asking me whose mom I was and two, second student has got skillz! I am impressed he connected being a behavior analyst with "mean" "Tony". Most adults don't even have a clue of what my profession is when I tell them behavior analyst. 

I do suppose I could go on to tell you that a third student said to me, "So, do you like go to ALL the schools?" When I told him I did he said, "Like Spring Creek?"

I told him I did and he asked which school was newer, his or Spring Creek. I told him his was. He then asked which school was prettier. And I told him his was, IMHO. He then shouted out to the classroom of five students, "Man, I want to go to Spring Creek! Sounds like the girls are hotter there!"

I am not sure how an older, uglier school denoted hotter female students, but whatevs. It was a good day. And I guess that's all.

11.18.2015

I now know why.


This is going to be one of those posts that I get real. I am going to get real personal. I am going to get real raw. And I am going to allow myself to get real vulnerable.

Writing this has been on my mind for quite sometime. I suppose my hope in writing is, it can provide some form of comfort, even if minuscule, for maybe even one person.

I live in a culture and belong to a faith where marriage and family are a crucial and divine component of our beliefs. We believe that family relationships last forever and that one of our greatest ambitions in life is to be married and to have children.

For as long as I can remember, there is nothing I wanted more than being a wife and a mother. The absence of such a deep rooted desire has left my soul feeling nothing short of broken and wondering, "Why am I not enough?"

Dealing with that level of "rejection" for over a decade was almost unbearable at times. Why didn't someone - anyone - want me forever? 

I have dated a handful of people. And every last one of them {sans the man I am currently dating and have been for the last 2.5 years} left me ... for someone else.

Until September 30, 2014, this absence in my life was the most profound sorrow my heart and soul knew. The pain was piercing. And seemed never-ending.

At some point, I stopped asking, "Why?" I figured that once in Heaven, I would find that part out.  I figured it was part of God's grand plan and that I would have to teach myself to be "okay" with it. Plus, if I am being honest, in my mortal mind, I couldn't fathom a reason "good enough" to live without my deepest desire, so it didn't matter what it was.

And I think I have done a pretty darn good job of that. It has never been something I dwelt on. I have lived a life of joy and fulfillment. I think I have done all I could do to live a life that doesn't constantly reflect how lonely my little heart has been.

Yet, it was always hidden somewhere deep inside to come out on those hard days, or hard moments. Sometimes, it didn't feel like it was hidden too deep as I felt others' sorrow, and even sometimes pity, for the absence of these things in my life.

However, this past year, all of that has changed. 

Being as old as I am, in the culture and faith I am in, without being a mother and a wife is no longer the most profound sorrow my heart and soul knows. That is solely reserved for the absence of Steve in our lives.

My mortal mind now not only knows why I have lived a life absent of being a wife and a mother, but knows that the reason is "good enough" and more. My mortal mind now knows the reason and wouldn't change it for the world.

I have mentioned before that my sister got married at the adorable age of 18 and a mother at the age of 20. We all adored Steve and her together so much, that we never questioned it. Now we know, each year was invaluable as they would only have 17 of them together in this life. She was able to focus on making their house a home, taking care of Steve and her children.

However, when I was 18, I was off to college. I graduated and became a "career" woman. While my sister was learning "wifey" and "mom things", I was learning boring stuff like insurance, bank accounts, paying bills and stuff {things that Steve so graciously did so Tiffany didn't have to}.

It was almost comical at times how two lives that were once almost the exact same became so vastly different. But now, I know why they had to be different. 


There is no doubt in my mind that I have lived the life I have, specifically absent of a husband, so I would know how to succor my sister when she would be without hers. Knowing the cause of things so dear being withheld doesn't take away the sorrow and emptiness I have experienced over the last decade, it just makes it worth it. 

I think I wanted to share this with the world wide web because ... we are all going to face heartaches and sorrows, those deep, profound ones that make you wonder if you can go on. And I want you to know that as hard as it is, as bleak as it may appear, one day, IT WILL BE WORTH IT

So, you keep your chin up, you keep on keeping on. You may not know why you are facing such a trial or experiencing such grief. And maybe like me, it will take you a decade {or an entire lifetime} to finally know the why, but an ever-loving Father in Heaven has a plan for your pain and sorrow and IT WILL BE WORTH IT.  Trust in that, trust in His plan, trust in HIM. He is taking care of YOU and He is taking care of your loved ones in not only the best way He knows how, but the best way possible, even if you cannot yet see it. 

11.05.2015

Hello, November

"It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that make us joyful."

___

I am pretty confident that I like to decorate for holidays. However, one of the biggest problems I have with it is my severe lack of storage space. I am finding it is extremely difficult to be a celebrator of holidays via home decor when you have absolutely no place to store that home decor for the that time frame that it isn't being used {which is often times 11 months out of 12}.

However, I did find a little way around it.

And it is this bistro table, baby!

I pretty much have two goals with the bistro set. 

1. Decorate it for all the fun holidays!

And 2. Take up as little storage space as possible!

I am finding much success with pillow cases. Hobby Lobby has been a treat for this! I keep the three pillow forms and then just cover them with different pillow cases each month.

October and November are kind because I can use pumpkins for both and then just discard the pumpkins come December.

Speaking of December, my dad accidentally DI'd {read as "thrifted" my Christmas tree}! Which means, I am in search of a new one ... and I am thinking I might go a little crazy this year, you know, to match my living room decor. Here's a refresher of what that looks like! I am a tad nervous, but let's get real, red and green would NOT work with this decor. So, we will just have to wait and see what happens! Wish me luck!

___

If you want to see more of my front porch, feel free to go to Instagram and search #MindysFrontPorch :)

11.02.2015

I hear the bells!


On the second Saturday in September my baby sister got hitched!

This was the first Thornley wedding in almost 18 years.

Clearly, we can blame that delay on me. 

But I digress. :)

Before I continue, I need you to know that great lengths were taken for this post to be written. I accidentally made the mistake to download all the wedding photos while at my computer {read as turtle in peanut butter slow internet} and after I clicked on "download" it told me it would take three hours to download all the photos. But don't worry, the time increased to two days. Ha! Essentially, what I am telling you is that is takes forever and hell might freeze over and I might be married before the download was complete. ;)


















We love Jordan and how wonderful he is to our Missy. It was an almost perfect day. The only thing it lacked to meet perfection was our Stevie there in person, although we know he was there is spirit. :)

#lastone #hellreallymightfreezeoverfirst #Imnotworriedaboutit
___

Photography by Claire Elizabeth and Cali Stoddard


10.31.2015

This is Halloween. This is Halloween.

Sometimes, on Halloween, I wish I had children. So I could steal their candy. But I digress.

At my previous job, Halloween was super fun. It was super fun because some of my besties {who I just happened to work with} and I would do themed costumes ... Avengers, Wizard of Oz. I mean, as an adult, how do you beat that? Besides stealing your children's candy, that is. :)

I do find some some solace in Halloween as an adult, because there is usually a Utah State basketball game to go to. :) Such is the case tonight.

But the best I can do as far as Halloween goes this year?


Happy Halloween, ya filthy animals.

And it must be said, this wasn't taken today. No, no. Last month.

And it must be said, I didn't buy it. No, no. I just wore it in Target.

AND, as always, for your Halloween entertainment, I take you back to 2009. You are welcome.


10.15.2015

"[His] absence is like the sky, spread over everything" - C.S. Lewis



If you haven't noticed, it's been hard to write lately.

A small part has been that I was so sick and in so much pain over the summer, that it didn't even cross my mind to type away. And maybe I slid out of the habit. Another small part has been how busy I have been with work and with life.

I think the biggest part is, writing about my life has changed. The absence of Steve is like the sky, spread over everything. It is almost as if I don't know how to write about my life without it being veiled with the reality of our profound loss.

We had a wedding. The first wedding in our family since Tiffany and Steve were married almost 18 years ago. It was such a wonderful event, but how to share the almost perfection of the day when a part of all of our hearts was missing?

I have always loved the fall and October. How do I write about my love of something that now, as hard as I try to make it not be, will always be tied with when Steve returned to Heaven?

To mask any event as one that I am not aching for Steve would be a lie. And a lie is not something I can live with, in life or on this blog. I have never allowed for such in this little space of the world-wide web that is mine, and I don't intend to now.

I know Steve wanted (and still does) want me to write. I know he wants this space of mine to be what it always was - hopefully something light, entertaining and that would bring a little joy to someone's day. And I feel like if I were to write about my life truthfully, too many experiences would have at the very least that speck of grief if not immeasurable amounts more.

His absence is like the sky, spread over everything. I am not sure that will ever fade.  Our lives were better, happier, fuller, more joyful because he was here. It doesn't mean I don't experience those things. I do. We do. They are just experienced coinciding with our profound loss.

I suppose what this comes down to is, his life, his memory, his absence will always be a part of me. And as I make the attempt to write, to be true to myself, it must include him and his absence. I hope with all of my heart, it doesn't take away from what this blog was originally intended to do. Hopefully, it can show that while I will walk the remainder of my days on this earth with the abysmal sorrow, that I am still living. And I am still finding joy ... that even in our darkest days there truly is still light. And that light comes from knowing that through the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, that our Steven will be with us forever and that we will see him again.

And so, here we go. I hope you enjoy the ride. :)



9.16.2015

Employment | Day 299


I think most of you know that I had a transition in jobs about a year ago. I suppose I was pretty mum about it, but what's new? Mindy mum about certain topics? Shocking, right?

Today was Day 299 at my new place of employment. Don't get me wrong, that number is more than just a tad deceiving. After all, I don't work weekends. And I get the entire summer off {working for a school district is super cool like that}.

Today I was working with a frustrated student. At one point this student was yelling at me to answer a question {which I had previously told this student that I would answer his/her question when he/she was calm, quiet and following instructions}. 

As I continued to not answer the student warned me, "If you do not answer me in 10 seconds, I will call you Mr. Butts for the rest of the day!"

Needlessly to say, I did not comply with this student's demands. 

And true to his/her word, I was indeed called Mr. Butts for the rest of the day.

And that pretty sums up my day.

How was yours?

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8.03.2015

I got a nose job!


On Monday, July 20, 2015 ... I got a nose job!

Or a septum job. Whatevs, right?

When the ENT went in to fix my septum, he realized it was in way worse shape than he thought it was in. To repair it ... he grafted cartilage from my ear onto the defected septum. 

If that doesn't sound yummy, I don't know what does!

Very quickly after waking up from surgery I began to question people who get real nose jobs. For the life of me, I will never know how anyone willingly subjects themselves to such horrific-ness!

Pain, pain, pain! Throwing up. Debilitating headaches. SO MUCH PRESSURE ON MY ENTIRE FACE I asked the nurse to chop off my head. Apparently more than once. Ha. 


During the surgery they put plastic stents into your nostrils. Never mind that nothing should ever be that large in your nostril! The pressure they produced cannot be compared. I was sick EVERY single day {that was 11 of them!} until they came out. Debilitating, laying on the bed, cannot move, want to throw up, ice pack on my head sick! 

I counted down the days until they came out. And never mind that the day before I was supposed to get them out the doctor called and said he wanted to leave them in for three more days! I about broke down and sobbed. 

As soon as they came out, I began to understand why people are okay living life again. :) 

I am still not out of the clear. The first two weeks are the most crucial to ensure the septum isn't disrupted, but it isn't until about six weeks that it is pretty safe to say a slight swat to the face won't break my nose and make me repeat the entire process ... and that's if they graft takes. 

That's right, the graft might not take! But when the ENT took out my stents he said it was looking SO good. So, that's what I am still banking on! I will know more on the 21st of August when I return to Ogden to see how it it going. 

Until then ... I do smell my own nose again. BUT! I am stent-free and all seems to be going well! Fingers crossed!


8.02.2015

An ENT who NOSE.*


I've been told more than once that I haven't updated in xx amount of days.

There is good cause for this. 

And this post will begin to explain why. :)

I mentioned previously that I went to the ENTs in Logan for some answers regarding my nose. They were great for the soul purpose that they helped me stop smelling my own nose. For that, I will be eternally grateful. 

But other than that, they weren't too helpful. Things actually became so sketchy with them that I felt as I had no other option to get a second opinion outside of the valley. 

I opted to go to an ENT in Ogden. 

While there, I couldn't help but notice the irony of my t-shirt of being "home" while at yet another doctor appointment. 


This ENT was FABULOUS. He cleared up all the sketchiness from the Logan ENTs and provided a lot of answers. He discovered that my septum was deteriorating. After looking at some previous medical tests that had been done on me he determine that the vessels in my septum likely burst when my entire body became inflamed and was hospitalized.  This resulted in the deterioration of my septum and the constant nose bleeds. The deterioration of my septum likely caused an infection, which resulted in the never-ending sinus infection.

And voila! The mysteries of my 1.5-year-long nose problems were discovered!! 

This ENT also came up with a game plan to correct the deterioration of my septum through nose surgery, which would take place in 10 days from my appointment. Nervous, yet excited to finally have some answers and solutions! At least one item would be crossed off my bucket-list of autoimmune discovery! 

* Yes, I meant to be punny with my title. Thought shalt laugh. 


7.05.2015

Where's Waldo?


I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people participating in contests at basketball, football games or similar events and thought, "Not in my long-legged life would I ever participate!"


Yet, here I am, at the Freedom Fire show on the third of July participating in a dang dumb contest. 

And for why?

So that I could get early entrance into the stadium and save a handi-man* seat for my brother and the surrounding seats for my family so we could all sit together. 

Some say I am the best sister in the world. And those some would be right. ;)

It must be said, that the little four-year-old in the patriotic dress to my left beat me. And every other adult and human in our group. 

Also, some say that I look like Where's Waldo? And those some also would be right. 

___

* Handi-man is a term coined by my brother. He received all royalties earned on the use of this word. ;)

7.03.2015

The row of seats ...


Here in Logan, Utah we celebrate the the fourth of July ... on the third of July. 


Well, we have our huge firework show on the third and still do everything else on the fourth. So, it's like we celebrate for 48 hours straight, party time, chumps!

Today wasn't particularly stressful. Yet, at one point, as we prepared for the day's festivities, I broke down and cried.

I cried because there isn't anything in this world I wouldn't give to have tonight be EXACTLY like it was last third of July ... Where we sat in a Church parking lot with the fire alarms going off, eating Little Caesar's pizza and watching the fireworks from afar. 

I sat in a camping chair with my older sister and nephews by my side. And Steve too. We laughed as the fire alarm was distracting us from the fireworks and at the scene that played out with fire trucks and firemen. 

It was not an ideal situation at all, but it was just so good. And now, looking back, it was great. Because all five of us were there together and the other five not present, were safe and sound elsewhere on this earth. 

I cried because even though it was a nutty experience in celebrating the fourth, I'd give anything for that EXACT same experience today and every third of July for the rest of my life. I'd give ANYTHING to glance down a row of seats and see my Shtev. 

I wasn't able to do that today. And I'll never be able to do it again in this life. But I was able to glance down that row and see his wife and two sons smiling. And if I can't have Steve here with us, I'll take those smiles until he can be.

6.29.2015

What is the exact opposite of fun?


This is. This is the exact opposite of fun.

The good news, I don't have cancer!

The bad news, I don't have anything ... err, at least the extremely invasive surgery/procedure proved to determine what we already knew - no one has no idea what is wrong with me or why my body is falling apart. 

How can something be so good and so bad at the same time?

On the plus side, after four days of a clear liquid diet only, a saltine cracker tastes like gourmet cuisine! I had never in my long-legged life, tasted such a FABULOUS saltine cracker as I did following the procedure. 

I then followed that up with raspberry, white chocolate chip with cream cheese drizzled pancakes. And a turkey steak, fries and six Maddox rolls. Yeah, six. Oh, then, a cream cheese brownie, naturally.

Here's to the two doctor appointments outside of Cache Valley over the next two weeks to see if they have any answers! :)

6.28.2015

Textbooks without tears

One of the most difficult things in college was always the extra expense for textbooks. As if handing over your last dollar for tuition every semester wasn't enough, you have to find a way to fork out several hundred dollars more for textbooks!

And then, to top it off, when I would return my textbooks to the book store {because hey, what am I going to do with an atmosphere and weather textbook for the rest of my life???}, you get the smallest percentage of the book - IF they even take it back!

Fortunatley, the days of awful textbook purchasing and rentals are over! This is because of CampusBookRentals.com

With CampusBookRentals.com you can rent your textbook {don' worry - you can still highlight it for studying and notes} and save up to 90% off of bookstore prices! This is truly so perfect for those textbooks you don't intend to keep - but if you do - you can pay the difference of the rental price and the buying price too!

One other thing I love about this company is that they have flexible renting periods. This means, if you rent one book for fall semester, then realize you need the same book for a different class in spring semester, you can just rent it longer!

And if this isn't all wonderful enough, for every textbook rented, CampusBookRentals.com donates a portion to Operation Smile, where medical volunteers travel to third-world countries to repair cleft lips and palates of children. 


So, what are you waiting for? Rent away, friends!
___

I was compensated for this post by providing my honest and sincere opinion. 

6.12.2015

When your body wants to resign from life ...


I have been to so many doctor appointments lately and have so many scheduled for the future, that ... it kind of seems that is what my summer break has turned into. One big doctor fest. I am not saying it's horrible. Oh, wait. I am. 

I was really hoping that after a visit to the ENT and the gastroenterologist that I would have some concrete answers. My biggest fear was that I would go and there would be just more questions. And that, my friends ... that's exactly what happened. 

I have been in pain every day since May 26th. And don't get me wrong, this isn't my normal autoimmune disorder pain that comes every day ... it's in addition to that. My entire digestive system is on downward spiraling train track, waiting for its inevitable careening out of control and crash! 

On this day, if I sat down and pressed really hard where my gallbladder is, it felt okayish for a bit. 
About a week after I went into the gastroenterologist, some tests that they took came back. And they came back positive ... which, is exactly what we didn't want to happen. 

Because of these positive results I "get" to go in for an extremely pleasant procedure in two weeks. It's so "pleasant" that I am not even going to tell you what it is. You're welcome.

I am really, really hoping I pass several days prior to this procedure so I will have no recollection of it whatsoever. And don't even worry about that this type of procedure is recommended for people two decades older than myself. Whatevs. It's cool. And by cool I mean totally and completely uncool. 

And maybe ... just maybe it might provide some answers so my body doesn't end up resigning its position in life without my permission. 

Oh, and my nose? Yeah, CT scan for that and hopefully that yielded some information, which I will find out on Tuesday. Like I said, it's a party. Anyone want an invitation??

6.02.2015

This post has nothing to do with Bruce Jenner ... er... Caitlyn Jenner.


Well, my alleged gallbladder problems haven't gone away, but they haven't gotten worse. All this means is I've had to wait until my appointment with the gastroenterologist tomorrow before I can hopefully get some answers. 

What this means for you is, I can now talk about my nose. You're welcome.

I have mentioned before that ever since I came out of the hospital in March 2014 that I had nose bleeds and sinus infections. About a month ago I finally decided I ought to go see an ENT to correct this, as it was driving me batty.

The soonest the ENT could get me in was three weeks away, which was fine ... until I could feel the inside of my nose falling apart. I kid you not.

If I would press on the outside of my nose, I could feel something shift and affect the opposite side of where I was pushing on my nose. 

And this next part ... is not suitable for children {nor many adults for that matter}. I could start smelling my own nose. Fantastic, no?

As soon as I felt my nose move, I called the ENT immediately to see if I needed to get in sooner. They said nope! Just be "really careful" with my nose. I asked if I could be put on a cancellation list. They said nope! But I could call every day to see if there were any cancellations. And call I did! Twice a day! With no luck!

When my appointment date finally came ... it was a doozy! When the ENT looked into my nose she said, "This is bad. This is very bad."

Yeah, I figured as much when I started smelling my own nose.

So, a biopsy was done.

Pre-biopsy
And my nose was falling apart on the inside! 

I get a CT scan on Thursday and potential surgery later this summer.  

So, there's that. 

Oh, and they helped it so I can't smell my own nose anymore. Phew. 

Gallbladder stuff tomorrow, nose stuff Thursday. So far my summer break is filled with doctors, doctors and more doctors! It's party time, chumps. 



5.27.2015

When your nose is over shadowed by your gallbladder ...


I was going to write a post today about my nose. 

Yes, my nose.



It's been in rare form lately. Well, honestly, it's been in rare form since I returned home from the hospital with the grand and vague diagnosis of autoimmune failure. But it got in even rarer form, which I didn't think was possible, in the last month. So much so that I might need surgery {this one is supported by a medical professional known as an ENT}.

But, I am actually not going to go into that today. That's because we have to talk about my gallbladder, which unbeknownst to me, has been in rare form since August. And got in even rarer form, which I didn't think was possible, in the last day. So much so that I might need surgery {this one isn't currently supported by a medical professional because I am holding off whether to go in or not tomorrow morning}. 

Yes. this is my life. 

I've mentioned before that I haven't been able to eat food without taking medicine twice daily. The past week, even with the medicine I have been getting so, so sick with food. I went to my witch doctor and her solution was just to take more of the medicine, which I obliged {I am so obedient!}. It made it so I could eat food again and I thought life was okay-ish {considering the information I got regarding my rotting nose yesterday - yes, it is rotting}.

Yes, this is my life.

But in the wee-hours of the morning I felt a sharp pain in my upper-right abdomen. And it reminded me that I have felt this a couple times before in the last week or so. Except this time it was far more severe and lasted a lot longer. I immediately go to the world-wide web to find out what was wrong with me, and it said gallbladder problems.

I then took my concerns to my favorite physician, Dr. Green. He seconded the idea of gallbladder problems. 

I then called a local gastroenterologist {which is a very difficult word for me to say for some reason}. And then can't get me in until next week {the day before my CT scan for my nose}. And they said if it gets any worse, I should just go to the ER. 

So, while this was going to be a post about my nose, it is a post about my gallbladder. And my autoimmune failured life. 

It's party time, chumps. I will be sure to let you know how it goes, because I would love nothing more than to have surgery on my nose and gallbladder in the same month. 

That's all. 

5.10.2015

His Birthday


On the 23rd of April we celebrated Steve's 39th birthday.

It was such a beautiful day and a beautiful celebration. So many people who loved and adored him were able to be together to celebrate the life of such a great man. 

Brandon & Hillary came up from St. George. Steve's sister came in from Salt Lake and his big brother flew in from Texas. It meant so much to have everyone there who could be. 

Part of the day's celebration included a Steve Trivia game that his sons put together. We also went to dinner at restaurant he always liked. The trivia game was ... epic. :)

The most important part of the celebration to me was sending off to "Heaven" with notes to Steven. 

              







It was such a perfect day to celebrate the birthday of such a loved man. 
___

Photos by the talented Claire Utley

While we let the balloons off a the temple, I would strongly advice against it for anyone in the future. There may be more to the story that I will share in a different post. ;)

Lastly, to anyone concerned about the disintegration of the balloons, a study done by Harvard has shown that balloons disintegrate at the same rate as a Maple leaf. 

5.06.2015

IT IS MINE.


I recently received a Facebook message from a stranger.
 
In the message, this individual expressed feelings of their discomfort over something I had been doing.
 
They expressed their feelings of discomfort over MY GRIEF.
 
It was interesting, to say the least, why a complete stranger felt compelled to share this with me. After all, for this person to access expression of my grief, they had to follow me either on Instagram or this blog, or better yet, log into someone else's Facebook account {as mine is private}.
 
It was clear the entire purpose of their message was to hurt. Which, if I am to be honest, it did, initially. It stung. Not only did they judge my grief, by they judged my relationship with my deceased loved one, whom they also don't know.
 
But quickly, the hurt dissipated. It dissipated because this stranger's opinions held absolutely no weight on who I am, or how I choose to express my grief.
 
It dissipated because I suddenly was overwhelmed with great sadness for them.
 
Sadness for their explicit lack of compassion.
 
Sadness for the relationships they have with their in-laws, that clearly would not invoke such grief if they were to leave this world for another, for when there is great love, there is also great grief.
 
Sadness for their inability to understand mourning for a blood sibling's loss of their heart and soul and the loss of their very own nieces'/nephews' parent.
 
I have never once asked anyone to understand the relationships between my family members and myself. I doubt I ever will, because until you have walked in our footsteps and faced all that we 10 have faced together, I don't think anyone could possibly understand.
 
Upon reading this cruel, heartless and selfish message, I thought, "I am sorry you don't understand my grief ..."
 
But I immediately stopped, because I am not sorry.
 
Because the thing is ... THE GRIEF IS MINE.  And I pray that the sender of that message never knows the grief that greeted me and my family on that rainy September morn. And I pray that if they do, that their sacred sorrow is never judged as they judged mine.
 
And let me make this clear, I do find grief of this magnitude sacred.
 
From my very first post, I mentioned I was hesitant to write about my grief. And I will repeat what I said then ... I have shared what I have via all platforms of social media regarding my story, my grief, my loss because the man this world lost lived a life too glorious not to share. And, I want anyone else who knows a similar loss to know, that they are not alone.
 
So, I will share my story as I please. When I write the story of my life, I will hold the pen. I certainly will not let the intending cutting words of another determine what I share, what I write, and most definitely I will NOT let them choose how I grieve. Because ... that grief is mine.


4.30.2015

As a Mormon woman ...


Sometimes, I get tired of controversy. 

Because too often times it comes with drama. 

And I hate loathe drama. 

So, I stay out of it.

And stay out of it I have ... for months, if not years ... at least a specific drama that is been floating its dark mist in my community, culture and faith.

And I am tired of it. 

So, brace yourself. You are in for quite a ride today. ;)

My name is Mindy. And I am a Mormon.

Working as a Building Counselor for the EFY, a program ran by the Church Educational System. 
That is, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I am proud of it. Not to just be a member, but to be a woman in this remarkable faith that teaches, preaches and rejoices in Christ.

As a Mormon woman, I have had the privilege and sacred responsibility to be called and serve and lead over 150 women in my Church congregation three different times.

As a Mormon woman, I have had the privilege and sacred responsibility to be called to serve and lead over 1,500 women of eight different congregations.

As  a Mormon woman, I have taught and preached in worship services of hundreds and even thousands of men and women of our faith.

As a Mormon woman, I have taught and preached in Sunday School classes both to men and women, to young adults and to old, the gospel principles and doctrines from scripture. 

As a Mormon woman, I was hired to teach hundreds of the Church's youth. To stand in front of them day in and day out for almost two years, as my full-time profession, to teach gospel principles and doctrines from scripture.

As a Mormon woman, I was also hired to lead, direct and orchestrate the Church's biggest youth program that could rival any youth program in the world. I stood in front of tens of thousands of youth to guide them and provide an example to them. 

As a Mormon  woman, I have stood face-to-face with my male leaders and told them every opinion I have had on matters that conflicted with them and the ones that did not.

As a Mormon woman, my voice has been heard each and every time I have spoken to my male leaders. It has led to different paths being taken than if I had not spoken and to what has been seen as better outcomes. 

As a Mormon woman, I have had those male leaders take the initiative to seek me out to ask for my opinion, for my advice, on how to lead and direct in their called positions. 

That is to say, as a Mormon woman, I teach, lead and pray in worship services. That is to say, I am entirely unaware of any organization in the world has as much leadership provided by woman as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does. And this is how we, woman of the Church, have been keeping it real since 1830 {a time when women couldn't own property, vote, where any money they earned belonged to their husbands}.

So, if anyone ever questions where women stand in this Church ... now you know.

That's all.

Actually, that's not all. If you would like to know more about what we believe as Mormons, please go here or here.

____

This post was written probably well over a year ago and has sat as a draft for, like, ever. I decided I should post it. So, that's all.

4.27.2015

Is it ...



Because if it isn't, you probably shouldn't be saying it.

And if someone says it to you, you should definitely not repeat it. Dare I say, even tell them that it was unkind, unnecessary or untrue? Because you should.

You never know the damage you can do, the lives and relationships you can destroy by saying things that are unkind, unnecessary and untrue. 

And generally, what you say about others says far more about YOU than it does about them.  Trying to taint the good name of others, whether you happen to like them or not, never will bring the satisfaction or adequacy you are seeking in your own life.  

Just a thought. 

4.15.2015

An Open Letter to Stew Morrill

Dear Stew,


My name is Mindy Thornley. I am a proud Aggie alumni, former athlete and avid fan who has sat in section W, row 10, seat two for approximately the past 15+ years. {I may or may not have been the person who asked you the question about David's Collette's mustache at your last Big Blue Luncheon.} While you don't know me, I jokingly tell people we went sledding together, as we once were sledding at the same location at the same time at park on Cliffside probably over a decade ago.

But I digress.

Upon hearing your announcement of your retirement, I wanted to write you a letter to express my gratitude for the 17 years you have given Aggie Nation. To understand that gratitude, there are a couple things I need to share with you and one of those things ... I want to tell you about my older brother.

My older brother was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when he was 18-months-old, a disease that deteriorates his muscles and has confined him to a wheelchair for essentially his entire life. While this disease did not dictate our family's entire life, it did put some limitations on what we as an entire family could do. There were places we didn't all have access to, vacations that couldn't be taken and sports that couldn't be played. But watching those sports all together was something different, it was something we could do.

Hours upon hours we all sat in the Spectrum, each taking turns on who would sit next to him in the wheelchair section. But not only did we get those hours together, we got all those hours traveling together to watch our Aggies play basketball. We would spend days in Disneyland together and nights in the Anaheim Convention Center watching our Aggies tear it up in the Big West. Memories from heading to the Big Dance because of overcoming a 16 point deficit to UC Irvine to Jason Williams missing a last-second shot against UC Northridge and being eliminated only in the semis are all memories we have because of your coaching and your team.

We followed you to Reno and to Vegas {don't ask us about Las Cruces}. We were there when we beat Nevada on their home court and the time that Darrell Peterson had to play point guard for the first time so that Chris Huber could be home with his newborn baby twins.

But it doesn't end there ... My other brother, married into our family just months before you began coaching at Utah State, 17 years ago. There were a million reasons my new brother became one of my best friends, but one of them was definitely his love for Aggie basketball.:) There was nothing I loved more than sitting next to him at games, talking to him all-things Aggie, sending texts and emails throughout the day when anything and everything Aggie basketball occurred.

And just as my brother-in-law came into our lives right around the same time you came to our Aggies, he left just months before you left our Aggies. He left for Heaven, after a valiant battle to pancreatitis. Those 17 years with him are the most cherished years of my life because of what he brought to them. And some of my most fond memories with him have been sitting in those autumn-colored seats in the Spectrum in Section W, row 10, seats two and three.

When memories are all you have left of someone, those memories are treasured beyond measure. You may have thought you were just coaching young men how to play a game. But for the Thornley/Murphy family, you were giving us something so much more. You gave us time with each other and memories that we will hold close to our hearts forever that bring us joy, light and laughter to our darkest days.

So, Coach Morrill, from the bottom of my broken heart, thank you!



Sincerely,



Mindy M. Thornley



P.S. I couldn't help but notice that David didn't have that mustache the announcement of Coach Duryea's promotion. ;)

4.09.2015

#Serving4Shtev

Two weeks from today we will celebrate our Shtev's 39th birthday. 

I've given a lot of thought of what gift I could possibly give him and I knew that nothing would be more fitting than following in his footsteps by serving others. 

Between now and his birthday, I will find 39 acts of service I can perform in his name. 

But that isn't all ... I wanted to invite ANY and ALL to join me in celebrating his special day by performing one act of service for someone between now and his birthday, April 23rd.

I would love NOTHING more than to fill this world with more love and service as if our Steve was still here. So, please, friends! Serve away!

And then spread the word! Feel free to use one of the graphics below to spread the word and use the hashtag #Serving4Shtev .

Additionally, I will repost any photos, statuses, tweets, etc. with that hashtag!

Please, please celebrate his birthday with us by serving others and keep me posted! My gratitude will know no bounds!








___

For those of you who aren't aware of Steve's story, please go here

4.01.2015

Six Months



"For the rest of my life I will search for moments full of you" - Anonymous
___

This week we hit the six month mark.

We have somehow lived half a year without him.

There is so much sadness and disbelief in that sentence. 

I hate typing it, as if merely typing it is what makes it true. It's like my entire body, heart, mind and soul want to debate it as a truism, so why would I be typing such an ugly, horrific lie?

If I am to be honest, it still doesn't feel real. 

My mind races to find a logical to solution of his absence. 

My mind fills itself of visions of him every where. It fills itself with ideas of him walking into the house, driving down the street and all the other familiar places I always would see him. It aches and seeks to place him somewhere on this earth and returning to us. 

It hasn't gotten any easier. But I didn't suspect it would. I've been told by many who have sojourned down similar dark roads that it doesn't get easier, it just becomes the new normal.

There is still that moment in every single day where my mind stops dead in its tracks and thinks, "Oh, my word. He is gone." If I am being honest, it's many moments in every day.  And each one of those moments ache as if a single day hasn't passed since that heartbreaking September morning.

And our only option is to keep on keeping on and look forward to that day, with anticipation of joy, that we will be reunited with our beloved Shtev.

3.19.2015

Mindy & The Principal's Office


As a youngster, I was called to the principal's office. Twice.

And both times were in elementary school.

Apparently, I was a thug in my younger years, but fortunately, stopped those thug ways. About three years ago, I guess. ;)

The first time I went wasn't really my fault. And of course that is what an elementary school-aged thug would say, but I am sticking to it. 

The second time I was called to the principal's office wasn't really my fault either. At least, I am not 100% confident it was. 

In fifth-grade I was in Mrs. Fishburn's class.

If I am to be completely honest, she was the one teacher everyone dreaded having in fifth-grade. I am 97% positive it was because her last name was, well, Fishburn. I have never had a Mrs. BurntBagel, but I doubt she'd be popular either. I am also pretty confident that she was feared because she didn't allow cute Tenille to dot her i's with hearts. I mean, with those two things, the odds are stacking up against you!

At my elementary school, it was against the rules to throw snowballs. I wasn't confident in what the consequences of snowball throwing were, but I was pretty sure it was suspension, walking the plank or something as equally frightening. 

So, I was a good kid. And didn't throw snowballs. Most didn't. 

But then, one day, during lunch recess, Mrs. Fishburn's entire class thought it would be a brilliant idea for all of us to throw snowballs. I mean, like, what were they going to do to us? Suspend her entire class!?

Even if they did, maybe that would make Mrs. Fishburn like us better because we gave her an apparent, much-needed day off. 

So, snowball fight was held.

And ... it was enjoyable.

And when recess was over and we were lining up to go back to class, the myths of suspension and walking the plank were behind us. I mean, they didn't stop us from having the snowball fight {with "they" meaning the recess aides on duty}. So, we got away with it.

That is, until instead of leading us back to our classroom, they marched every last one of us into the principal's office. 

Hello, Mr. Sorenson. We meet again.

We clearly didn't all fit into the office. We were overflowing into the main office. 

If I am to be completely honest, I don't recall what was said to us. Except, I do remember one thing, "I have never had to have an entire class in my office at once!"

And you know what I thought? Awesome, we just broke a school record.

And with that, I was quite pleased with my day and being called into the principal's office. I mean, it isn't every day you break a school record. 

And ... that's all. 


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