Sunday, July 13, 2008

First Aid

I teach the 14 and 15 year old girls at church. This week the assigned lesson is on overcoming sorrow, opposition, and disappointment. I know. How timely huh? The teacher usually gets more out of any lesson than the students so this one is well timed for me. 

In the lesson there are suggestions for overcoming sorrow and disappointment taken from a talk by Elder Benson in Oct. 1974. He lists 12 tactics one can use to help overcome sorrow. In the lesson, we are suggested to remind the girls that "many problems may require only one or two of these solutions."

As a visual for my lesson, I am likening emotional pain and sorrow to physical injury. I have taken a first aid kit I have at home and labeled the contents with the 12 tactics. The tools correspond in some way to their label. For instance, "Friends" are on the band aids because good ones stick to you and they come in a variety with different friends being better for different kinds of injury. Here is a photo of some of the contents of my first aid kit.
As I was labeling last night, I thought how I had used ALL of these tactics recently. Many of them I have to use over and over and over again. Some wounds are more severe than even a fully stocked first aid kit can cure but when it is all you have ... At least many of these like service, fasting, prayer, work, and friends provide temporary relief while the body heals itself.

This has been a difficult weekend.  Since that last interview I have not been doing well at living in the present. My mind has been going too much to the past. I need to be more strict with my mind about that. There is no good that can come from dwelling on the painful events of the past. 

I was talking to Jon last night about whether we are out of the "vaseline" stage yet (where it feels like you are living your life in a giant tub of vaseline). We both agreed we are out of the vaseline but still in a thick fog. Sometimes the fog is thicker than other times. Sometimes it even clears up for a bit. But it still returns to cloud our minds and make us feel far away.

I was thinking last night in the Temple that the veil of forgetfulness we have when we come to this world is such a blessing because I am sure if we could remember just how much we love our Heavenly parents and our older brother Jesus Christ, we would not be able to be here. It would hurt too much to be separated from them in any degree.


Megan Dougherty said...

I heard the best quotation on a Women's Conference address this week on BYUTV. "Joys shared are multiplied; Sorrows shared are divided". Thanks again for sharing your sorrows. I hope that by sharing them they have been divided and at times easier to handle.

Anny said...

This week I have been staying at my sisters house in Montana. A friend informed us of your story and e-mailed me your blog address. Last night we sat in her living room reading your entire story on our own laptops. Silence was in the air. What a sweet girl, what a sweet angel! I could hardly sleep last night as I thought about what it would be like to loose one of my own five children. About what my mother went through when her fifth child drowned in their swimming pool 5 years before I was born. What another sister of mine must still be going through 2 1/2 years after her 6 month old son passed away from a rare genetic disease. I was able to be with my sister when she lost her son and I cannot deny the strong spirit that was in her home and the angels that surrounded us, especially her. This morning I woke up to my crying, poopy 15 month old and just hugged her. As I walked around the church grounds today, following my pre-nursery daughter during Sunday School, I thought about how I have moved on. Life has become such a habit. Your story has opened up my sprirt again, as a reminder of what is really important and that His love is so strong. Thank you for sharing your story Stephanie. You truly have a talent to write and you have touched so many lives. Please know that one more person is praying for your sweet little family.

Bethany C. said...


I am a friend of a girl named Cairen in your ward. We were discussing how amazing your story is and how many people you have helped. My husband and I are currently working on a website that promotes families in their real experiences and I would love to take a few of your blog entries and post them as articles. We are still in the beginning/gathering stages, but you can view the site at

Please contact me and let me know if it would be ok to post some of your blog entries (there are 2 in particular). Please let me know if it would be ok, and if so, would you like me to include a link to your blog?

I have been so touched by your writing and would love to include pieces of it in this new project we feel so strongly about. You can reach me at

I hope to hear from you, and again, thank you for your thoughts. I am a better mother from reading your experiences.


Bethany Cory

LKHarris-Kolp said...

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." This prayer helps me everyday. I hope it will help you too! I am praying for you and your family.

katherine lewis said...

It will be two years ago this September that My baby girl passed away in a drowning accident. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her or thank Heavenly Father for her. I know that with this being such a fresh wound it is hard to breath and with the miriad of emotions that comes with the grief process it is hard to figure out the reasons behind such a tragedy but I have been trully amazed by the comfort of Heavenly Father. I hope that you may find the comfort that you need. My prayers are with you. I know you do not know me nor I you, But I know your grief. Take care of yourself and your family.

JaNae said...

I again want to thank you for sharing your feelings. I can feel of the Spirit so strong every time I read your blog, and I know I will continue to come for "my daily scoop", of inspiration. You have made me once again, want to try to be a better person. Think of how nice this world would be if everybody was always thinking of what good they could do for somebody else. Tomorrow will be six years since our family lost my brother in an accident. It is a lot easier now, then it was in the first couple years, but it is never the same. There is still always someone missing. I always have so many people ask if my parents/family are have gotten over "it", and to me that is just a hard question to try to answer or explain. The only way I can ever try to explain it to someone who hasn't experienced it, is that it has gotten easier (i.e. you can think about them without bursting into tears or having it be too painful to just talk about or remember them), but then their is the part that every time you are together as family, it will always feel like someone is missing. So again, like I said, it is hard thing to try to explain to somebody.

Just me! said...

Thank you for your comment in the last paragraph! So beautifully said! Those words bring comfort to my soul as I trudge through my days and try to keep my head up. There is truly a purpose to this crazy adventure and we are not alone.

Beth said...

Brilliant use of the First Aid kit! I may take your lead on that one-thanks.
Please, be gentle to yourselves. It has only been a moment in time since the accident. Keep sharing and we'll keep praying. Hugs and blessings....

Anonymous said...

I ran into Lesli at Panguitch church this morning and she told me about Camille and your blog. I am SO sorry. I have read your whole blg and am just devastated for you. You are always so good at seeing God's will for you in things and seeing the bright side of things. Your sad story has reminded me that I need to show more patience to my kids. I just had baby #4 and I am completely overwhelmed with 4. It is nice to be reminded that there are some things more important than me time.
My prayers are with you.

Hammond Family said...

I came across your blog just last week, your experience has really touched my life and made me appreciate my children more. I am amazed at the strength and faith that you have exercised throughout your difficult almost unbareable trail. Your are truly an example to me and to everyone who reads your words. THANK YOU for your example, your testimony, and your faithfulness. You have strenghtened and uplifted me in so may ways. Even though I don't know you please know you are in my prayers and thoughts. I love the quote, "You may be only one person in the world, but you may be the world to one person" I know that through your influence and example your are that one person to alot of different people. Thank you! Heather

Carolyn said...

Great thought, Stephanie. Your YW girls are so lucky to have you as their teacher! I wish I could be in your yw class! I love you guys and we pray for you in all of our prayers. You are constantly on our minds.

P.S. peanut butter is great for getting out vaseline! said...

My sister emailed me the link to your blog and I have spent the last hour with tear-filled eyes reading your blog. I will hold my little ones a little closer tonight and thank my Heavenly Father for the gift that they are. What an example of faith and courage you are. May the peace and Love of the Lord sustain you and your family.

Kathryn said...

Wow, Steph, I never thought of the veil in that way before. I have wondered about it so many times. I love the first aid kit object lesson. It's incredible to me that you are still thinking about how to help your class understand the Gospel when your life is so "slippery." Just shows how amazing you are. I'm praying for you. I'm sorry about the interview with CPS. It seems like it has added to your pain. Please know that you are loved! Kathryn

karsen said...

I was inspired by a quote I read from Elder Holland in the 2008 World Wide Training meeting and I thought of you and clinging to the doctrines that keep you going each day:

"And it seems to me that if we’ll cling to the doctrine of the Church—again I keep coming back to our idea that we started this conversation around, the idea of a plan and counsel that our Father in Heaven gave us before we ever came here—if we can cling to the doctrine, we’ll get through, we’ll have answers to our prayers, and we’ll stay founded on true principles.

I’ve often thought, and I’ve said to my own children, that those parents who kept going past Chimney Rock and past Martin’s Cove (and sometimes didn’t get farther than that) and those little graves that are dotted all across the historic landscape of this Church—they didn’t do that for a program, they didn’t do it for a social, they did it because the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ was in their soul, it was in the marrow of their bones. That’s the only way those mothers could bury that baby in a breadbox and move on and say, “The promised land is out there somewhere. We’re going to make it to the valley.”

Well, that’s because of covenants and doctrine and faith and revelation and spirit. If we can keep that in our families and in the Church, maybe a lot of other things start to take care of themselves. Maybe a lot of other things sort of fall off the wagon. I’m told those handcarts could only take so much. They had to choose what they took. And maybe the 21st century will drive us to decide, “What can we put on this handcart?” It’s the substance of our soul; it’s the stuff right down in the marrow of our bones. We’ll have blessed family and Church if we can cling to the revelations."

Love you!

Sarah S. said...

Dear Stephanie,
Everyone has been posting such beautiful, poignant quotes for you here. I also have a quote I would like to share with you, but it isn't nearly as eloquent as everyone else's. It is simple and from my favorite children's book, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. It goes like this: You can't keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.

I hope you can shake those birds most of the time.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog last week. I don't know you, but I have wept many tears the past few days just thinking of the pain you must feel. Your baby girl is beautiful and I can just feel the void in your family missing her so much. I have prayed nightly that you can continue to be carried on by our Father in Heaven as well as your sweet baby girl. A friend who recently lost her husband to cancer was saying how she and her kids think Heaven is all around us so that our loved ones can always be with us. As wonderful as that is, I'm sure it's difficult to wake up every morning knowing your sweet girl is not here with you physically. I just can't imagine how that must feel. May the Lord bless you and your family as you cling to your faith!!! So many are thinking and praying for you even though we don't know you.

The Confer Family said...

I found your blog on a friend's blog. I found it while I was preparing the YW lesson on oppostion. I felt that it was truly inspriation that led me to your blog. I shared your story of loss with the girls and then I used experiences you have related on your blog to illustrate Pres. Benson's steps. The girls were silent the entire lesson. Several came up afterwards and thanked me. One even asked for a copy of my lesson for a friend. She later told me how inspired she felt the lesson had been for her. I truly feel that you are an inspiration. As a mother, I can't imagine handling your situation as well as you have. I really feel God prepared you for this challenge. It sounds like you had experience in your life that equipped you with the tools that have helped you with this challenge. Thank you for inspiring so many. My young women also appreciate your strength.

Darren and Nikki said...

Your comment about the veil reminded me of something my Dad said yesterday. I called to see how he was doing and he told me, "I'm fine, we shouted for joy for the ability to come down and live on earth." I asked him about the ways some of us go and he said that he didn't think it mattered. We were just happy for the chance to come down and get bodies, regardless of the way we had to come home.
That hit home with me.
Love you,


Anonymous said...

Dear Stephanie:

Again, you've given me pause for thought.

I had never heard the term "Heavenly Parents" before nor of hearing Jesus Christ referred to as our "brother". While I know He is the child of God, as am I, I was taught the Trinity.

Also, although the Bible says that God knew us before we were born, I had never thought of actually having a Heavenly life before my mortal existance.

All good things to think about. I visited the web link you gave but wasn't able to find answers to those specific questions. Therefore, I will be contacting the local Elders of your Church to pay us a visit to discuss those issues and a few others that you have mentioned in some previous posts.

I thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

I am a friends of Carolyns. I too read your blog frequently. I have not posted yet, but have wanted to for some time. You are truly an amazing woman, a sweet spirit with a wonderful testimony of the gospal. Thank you for your words, I read them more than I do anyone elses blog now, because I feel more motivated to be a better mom. I want you to know your family has been in our prayers every night.

Natalie Tingey

Camille said...

I have read your blog often lately, but paused to comment because of my name also being Camille, but realized that is all the more reason I should-
I want you to know that your posts about your Camille, make me want to be a better Camille- I am so much older than your babe, but her little life has already spread more good in this world than I can only hope mine does. I am amazed at your ability to gracefully share your testimony with the world. The experiences your family has been through make me want my family to become better- to be able to say, "Yes, I am doing all that I can." IE: family scriptures, FHE,etc.
Thank you a million times for your courage and humility to show when you lack courage. Really, truly, I hope that I can live up to the name "Camille."

Jan Bishop said...

It is truly amazing how the Lord blesses us and teaches us. It is sometime easier to see than other times. Stephanie, you are doing a great job trying to focus on what you are learning & how you are growing! Thanks for sharing your testimony and thoughts. Thanks for your example! It has been very touching! I would love to lend "first-aid" in any way I can.

munyer jerk chicken said...

how do you come up with these visuals steph? i will never forget the one you did in long beach about the thorns (not the roses). those mia maids are blessed to have received that lesson from you.

Sleepless In St. George said...

"Each of us will have our own Fridays--
those days when the universe itself seems shattered
and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces.
We all will experience those broken times
when it seems we can never be put together again.
We will all have our Fridays.

"But I testify to you
in the name of the One who conquered death--
Sunday will come.
In the darkness of our sorrow,
Sunday will come.

"No matter our desperation, no matter our grief,
Sunday will come.
In this life or the next,
Sunday will come."

Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Sunday Will Come," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 30

I am thinking I need to put "Sunday Will Come" on one of my walls!

Ericksons said...

You don't know me but I have been reading your blog for over a week now and have been amazed at your strength and perspective! You have inspired me to be a better mother and wife. You have strengthen my testimony in eternal families and the plan of salvation! I came across this the other day while preparing for a talk and thought of you.
"Each of us will have our own Fridays (referencing that darkest of Friday's when the Savior was humiliated, bruised, and lifted upon the cross) —those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come." Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Sunday Will Come,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 28–30

Thank you for sharing all that you do with everyone please know that are little family will be praying for yours!

Loquacious Leslie said...

I just finished reading your blog and wiping my eyes. Your strength and testimony have touched my spirit. I have never had a child die and can't imagine anything more difficult. My youngest child has downs syndrome; at the time I grieved and thought that it would be a difficult trial. I have learned so much from him and from the great outpouring of love I also felt from those around me. There is great healing in that. My little Jared has turned out to be a great blessing and joy in my life and those around me. I know these hard experiences we go through are tutoring us; helping us to become more like our Savior and more able to help us bear one anothers burdens. Thank you for sharing your trial, but also your lessons learned and strength garnished. Know that your family will be added to our family prayers.

AnnEE said...

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now- I didn't know if I would ever comment, but I suppose I can "out" myself along with so many others who have done it on this post alone. You are such an incredible woman- even if you hadn't lost Camille and gone through this refiner's fire, the way you write about your love for your kids gives us all such an example on what it is to be a fabulous mother. Thank you for being so honest. Thank you for inviting us to REALLY be grateful for what we have through your example. There have been many nights that I've included your family in my prayers, and asked Heavenly Father to help me be more patient, more loving, more grateful for the blessings I've had- so much because of what I've learned from you. Thank you so much- I'll probably never meet you, but I'll still be reading, and cheering you on.

chanel said...

i taught the same lesson Sunday. I used you and your faith as an example. your & camille's work goes so much further than this blog. THANK YOU for your example, for your endurance, and for your honesty.

Lynnae said...

Stephanie, Again, I simply want to say to you, "THANKS!!!!" I feel honored to have been able to serve with you. Love, Lynnae