Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Rest of the Story

So, it's been a while since I posted. Life does take over sometimes. But today I opened my blog, reread "Spiders" and realized that I needed to tell the rest of the story...

My "spider bites" were in fact not spider bites at all, but the beginnings of a miserable case of shingles. Perhaps many of you have never heard of shingles and, hopefully, never experienced shingles. Though I was familiar with the name, I really had no understanding of the condition, the causes or symptoms. I learned the hard way.

Shingles is a skin rash caused by the chicken pox virus. After an individual has chickenpox, this virus lives dormant in the nervous system and is never fully cleared from the body. Under certain circumstances, such as immune deficiency, cancer, or emotional stress, the virus reactivates and causes shingles. In most cases of shingles, however, a cause for the reactivation of the virus is never found. Anyone who has ever had chickenpox is at risk for the development of shingles.

Shingles rash starts as small blisters on a red base (so the "spider bites"), with new blisters continuing to form for three to five days. The blisters follow the path of individual nerves in a band-like pattern on an area of skin (mine was around my middle, mostly on my back). Eventually, the blisters pop, and the area starts to ooze. The affected areas will then crust over and heal. The duration of the outbreak may take three to four weeks from start to finish.

But, before the rash is visible, the patient may notice several days of burning pain and sensitive skin. When the characteristic rash is not yet apparent, it may be difficult to determine the cause of the often severe pain. I had done quite a bit of yard work the day before I first felt pain in my back and thought I had perhaps pulled a muscle or something. The pain continued throughout the course of the rash and I even had purple bruising around the rash.

Ben (my family nurse practioner son) confirmed my diagnosis when I sent him a photo of the shingles rash and prescribed an anti-viral medication. But, even with the medication, the shingles ran their course (though it may have been shorter than it would have been without) and the pain continued and eventually, as it healed I guess, the pain became constant itching!

Several weeks later.......I was finally well again. And that is the rest of the story.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I've always thought that spiders were beautiful, fascinating creatures. I don't want to embrace them as my close friends, of course, or even keep them as pets. But I have, over the years, seen many varieties of spiders, watched them weave their incredibly complicated webs and move from place to place with such speed and grace.

How is it possible to fear a creature portrayed as so intelligent and kind and generous as Charlotte of "Charlotte's Web" fame? She did, after all, save Wilbur time and again from a violent and untimely death! She was a loving mother who carefully prepared and provided for her young. She was loved and lamented when she died.

And what about the super powers made possible by a spider to a man in "Spider man." Super heroes are an accepted part of each child's life and absolutely essential, in their eyes, to the safety of the world! And to think that a spider made it all happen...

Many people I know are afraid of spiders and, I suppose, rightfully so in some cases. Spiders can be really ugly and are often found suddenly in unexpected places, startling even those people not generally freaked out by them. Spiders can be dangerous. Some carry venom poisonous to our human bodies. A bite by some spiders can bring pain and suffering, even disfigurement--not a pleasant thought, for sure.

And that brings me to the reason why I was thinking about spiders today. I woke up with what is obviously a set of spider bites on my back.


While I can admire spiders in theory, the thought that there was one in my bed, crawling over me in the night even under my clothes, does creep me out a bit. Time to shake out the bedding and fumigate the house. Biting me is no way to increase my fascination and admiration for those arachnids in the world. It is a love only to be felt from afar!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Some thoughts from others, combined into one post...

Women have strengths that amaze men.....

They bear hardships and they carry burdens,

but they hold happiness, love and joy.

They smile when they want to scream.

They sing when they want to cry.

They cry when they are happy

and laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in..

They stand up to injustice.

They don't take "no" for an answer

when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.

They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.

They love unconditionally.

They cry when their children excel

and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about

a birth or a wedding.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.

They grieve at the loss of a family member,

yet they are strong when they

think there is no strength left.

They know that a hug and a kiss

can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you

to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what

makes the world keep turning.

They bring joy, hope and love.

They have compassion and ideas.

They give moral support to their

family and friends.

Women have vital things to say

and everything to give.



So, Here's to good women--

May we know them.

May we be them.

May we raise them.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger.

He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him!
'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.

The Moral of This Story: It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Madison Grace LITTON!

It's official. Madison is now a Litton, daughter to Brock and Melody "as if she were born to (them)."

So now they have FOUR beautiful children of their own: Braxton, Madison, Jessica and Blake.

Now all they need is employment! Anyone hiring?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

National Library Week

The calendar on my wall labels the week ahead as National Library Week. I never knew there was such a thing. But I support the designation a hundred percent. I think we should celebrate, even honor, the creation of libraries. I can't imagine my life without them.

I remember, as a child, riding my bike (or sometimes walking, though it was a long ways) to the city library. I would take a bag, usually a grocery sack, and fill it up, after spending hours reading front flaps and back covers to choose just the right ones. The trip home was complicated by the lopsided load and occasional sack breaking. But it was worth it. The rest of the day was filled with stories, histories, poems, ideas, plays and adventures found inside that bag full of library books. My favorite place to read was in our back yard, next to the creek in the shade of our many trees. Or, if the weather was bad, I might spread out on my bed or the front room floor. It didn't matter much where I read, only that I read.

I won a set of encyclopedias when I was about ten years old. I remember holding those new books in my hands, enjoying the texture of the cover and admiring the strong binding. I loved the smell and feel of the pages. For a time, it was in those encyclopedias that I searched for the answers to all my homework questions. Eventually, though, they became outdated and it was back to the library for updated information and a broader spectrum of study materials.

A library is a place of wonder, a place of information and imagination, a place of "what for" and "what if" and "why" and "how" and "where" and "when". A library holds a wealth of possibilities. No one home could hold (or possibly afford) the vast number of books, magazines, briefs, maps and other resources that are found in a library.

So take the opportunity this week to visit a library. Use this valuable gift we have been given to expand your mind, to increase your imagination, to entertain a child or answer your questions. And while you are there, thank those wonderful librarians that work tirelessly to catalog and shelve and order, making those vast resources accessible.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Life is Good

So it's Sunday
and Easter
and General Conference
and the sun in finally shining again.
It doesn't get much better than this!

Two thoughts for today:

"When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!"
(Stuart K. Hine)

"God believes you are worth loving,
even with your sins
....even with your shameful past....
Even if you were the only sinner in the world
....Jesus would have died for you alone!"

I am so blessed. I am so grateful.
Life is good.