I am in such a place of GRATITUDE for this path I have chosen for this life. The more I learn and grow, the more I hear the word of my God and what I should be doing with my life. I believe in personal mission. We ALL have one. Our goal while here should be to find it. In finding it, we CHANGE ourselves. In changing ourselves, we CHANGE the world.

When I was young, I did all the things I thought would bring me happiness. In this process, I realized my mistakes changed my eyes and how I saw myself. I understood that by making mistakes I knew what I did or didn’t want in life, what did or didn’t bring me joy and PEACE. I learned life was about PROGRESSION. How I saw myself, others and the world was MY reality. I have been given the free agency to see it how ever I desired.

In the beginning of my teaching, I read a book called Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. This book opened my eyes to understanding that I could see my reality how ever I choose to see it. With this new knowledge, I understood that I can shape my life into whatever I want. I have the power of creation through how I perceive the world. Even when bad things happen, I can choose how to understand them. I can see them as good. I can learn and grow from the things that may seem bad. I can find gratitude and meaning in it all.

In May 2001, I was hospitilized with a bowel torsion. My small intestine had twisted on top of itself. I had severe pain for several days along with vomiting. I spent 10 days in the hospital with an NG tube

down my nose. I wasn’t able to eat or drink. My 3 children, including my 4 month old little girl were given to others to be taken care of. I was still breastfeeding my daughter, only to be told after surgery that my mother was going to be taking care of her and she would be given a bottle. My world instantly collapsed. I vowed this would never happen again.

Eight months after this first surgery, bowel pain became a common recurrence. Chris and I were inspired on how to deal with it and what to do. Several times we ended up back in the emergency room only to learn they really could not help.

On the 28th of November 2004, the pain started once again. Thanksgiving had just ended. My husband had recently returned home from 3 months of traveling while I was living at my in-laws. During this time I had read SO MANY wonderful books that aided in my understanding of what God wanted for me. I was gaining so much spiritual insight. I was learning to hear the voice of my Savior.

When the pain hit again, we waited as we had done before, for it to stop. We waited 5 days. I think I had every alternative healing method to deal with the pain. These methods aided in some relief but ultimately the pain would return.

Finally, it was time. I HATE the hospital. Let me rephrase that. I DESPISE the hospital. Of course, I saw it as a place that my life could be spared but I felt I would lose my free agency in the process. I went. Chris carried me because I could not walk. I was malnourished and severely dehydrated.

I entered the hospital and went through the administrative routine. I met with the doctor and went in for x-rays. The x-ray technician happened to be a friend of my husband. When he finished, I asked him if it was bad. The last thing I remember for the next week and a half of my life was his response, “Let me just say, you are a very sick girl.”

I awoke, in the ICU, a week and a half later to my family crying and loving me. I could not remember what had happened. They proceeded to tell me of the 2 surgeries. I was told there was 48 hours where they questioned if I would live.

After I awoke, I spent the next two weeks having every test known to man. I had two lung taps. I had tube placed in between my uterus and bladder to look for infection. Finally I was able to go home two days before Christmas with a fever, a walker and oxygen.

I went two months only seeing my children twice. My arms ached to hold them and love them and caress them. I ached to be a mother again and function normally. I wanted so badly to be able to take a shower by myself. I look back on this experience and it puts everyday decisions into perspective for me. Everything else pales in comparison to this. God saved me. He gave me tools that aided me in being able to save my life. This is when I chose the name livingmom.

This all sounds really awful, doesn’t it? I’m sure plenty of other people have been through something like this. This changed my life forever. I tell people, jokingly, if they are struggling to hear the word of God, all they need to do is almost die. It works.

I would NEVER take back this experience. I am honored that I could have it. This experience may be the worst one, but I have had several that have changed my life in similar ways. I am grateful for each and every one. I always will be.

From this experience and others I have had, I choose to live in a place of gratitude and peace. I choose to see the world in a reality of joy. That once I have found my path, once I understand the teachings for my life, once I hear the words of my God speaking to me about my mission and his plans for me, I can always find the good in my reality. This comes, for me, from my prayer of constant gratitude. My hope is ALL of us can find this place. It is inside all of us waiting to be found. It has a name. It is called PEACE.