Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you, and misses you. Because one day you might wake up from your sleep and realize that you lost the moon while counting the stars.~Unknown

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dress up time

All three of these girls have been playing dress up and said, "Mom canyou take a picture of us and send it to Grandma Cyndi?" LOVE alll three of them :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Pictures for Grandma

Ty LOVES wearing princess crowns :)

Monday night

Got to spend Monday evening with my Mom. Just her and I. I really enjoyed it, but felt alot of heartache. I sat on the couch across from my mom and just watched her. She would doze off and you could just tell she felt miserable. Made me sad. Why her? She is one of the nicest people in this world.. I sat there and quietly cried. She is so strong. Put a total different prespective on life for me. I am going through a divorce, raising three kids on my own and working full time.. I struggle. And struggle some more.. I have been feeling very bad for myself lately, but after Monday night I realize there are so many people going through such hard times. The best way for me to get through my trials i have to be there for people that are going through hard times. Looking at my mom i realized how much i love her. She is amazing. She has been through so much and has had her fair share of hard times. She doesn't deserve this. I looked at her and thought, "gosh, i wish i could take her cancer away and take over the rest of the chemo and radiation" SHE DOESN'T DESERVE THIS. I admire the fact that no matter waht trials she is going through she is ALWAYS there for my siblings and I. She is my best friend and i can go to her for anything and she listens to me and understands me like no one ever has. She loves my kids more than anything and they know it. They adore her and ask about her at least 4 times a day :) I believe all this wickedness in the world; sickness, crimes, mean and scary people :), drugs, violence etc is Satan and i believe it will ALL come to an end. Its just the matter of when. I believe ALL of us can get through anything with Heavenly father by our side. I am not a very religious person but i FIRMLY believe that. Its all about PATIENCE. I love all my siblings more than they will EVER know or understand. We have had PLENTY of ups and downs, BUT they are my family and i love all of them. I strive every day to be a better sibling. I have a pretty awesome family :) I hope all this will make us all closer. Mom- All i can say is I LOVE YOU more than anything in this world, you are my best friend. I admire you and you are a huge role model to me. Thanks for ALWAYS being there for me even when i am not making the BEST choices. Thank you for all you have done and do for my kids. Thank you for accepting "me" for "me" I couldn't get through half of the stuff i have been through if it wasn't for you. Hang in there. As you always say, "YOU ARE LOVED" XOXO Mandi

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fightin the Hills

I've been working on getting my bikes replaced so with Spring just around the corner, memories of healthier days have met me on every corner. I took a drive to Brigham City today along Highway 89.  I have spent many, many hours on that road, riding for a variety of reasons.  When I purchased my first road bike, I wasn't thinking of riding in 100 mile events or the Logan to Jackson ride.  I just thought it would be fun and a good way to exercise.  I certainly didn't think that I would ever be strong enough for the things that I ultimately accomplished. Today though, I thought of the first time I ever completed the whole ride from my home in North Ogden into Brigham City.  My first long ride.  I can still remember the thrill and pride  I felt when I soared down the final hill that brought me into Brigham.  Joined with those memories are my legs feeling like jelly when I got off my bike after returning home.  I was so proud of myself and in awe that I could actually do such a thing.  That ride was the prelude to many other riding events and experiences that would cover many, many more miles than those to Brigham City.  But it was my first big accomplishment.  You never really forget those times...when
you pushed yourself harder than you thought you could acheive
and as a result, traveled further than you ever dreamed you would.

Initially, I struggled with the hills. On my first few trips, conquering a hill meant multiple stops during the climb..stopping long enough to catch my breath, take a long drink, and allow the burning in my muscles to ease.  In order to push myself, I enlisted the help of numerous strategies...counting spins, songs from my ipod, mailboxes, and landmarks. Anything to get me to the top.  Always, I rewarded myself with a rest at the top. When determination and sheer will would not allow me to stop, I zig-zagged, pedaled standing up, and continued to move at a snails pace until I reached my mark. And then, ahhhh, the exhilaration of the down hill rush pedaling faster and harder with the hopes that the momentum would carry me further up the next hill.  Another one of my strategies to move me to the top!  It was while struggling up a hill that I came to realize something that changed the way I felt about hills (and I hated hills!) and began to make the climb easier.  Looking down, trying to avoid the distance to the top, I realized that when you are looking down at the road, the ground is always flat.  It is only when you look up at the magnitude of the hill that you are riding an incline.  Granted, it is a matter of thinking but for one who hated riding hills, the change of perspective was motivating.  So, I began to keep my focus down on the road as my wheels passed over it.  Doing so also helped me to avoid the catastrophes of catching a rock, hitting a pot-hole, and all the other potential hazards on a public road.  It kept me focused, allowed me to keep a steady, sure cadence and pace myself.  And it taught me discipline.  Most important, it kept me from being distracted by the things that could knock me off course and cause me to lose focus.

As I drove and continued to think about that first ride to Brigham City, the process became more about life than the ride.  Life is hard and sometimes, presents itself as one hill after another leaving us exhausted and disillusioned with the experience.  Often, as we look ahead to what feels like an unsurmountable trial, our first instinct is to turn around, coast down to where things felt easier and abandon the ride.  In doing so, we forgo an opportunity to strengthen what is weak in us.  Even more unfortunate is that in doing so, we miss the many tender mercies and evidence of a love greater than our own that have been gently placed along the road to encourage us to move upward and in a very literal sense, heavenward.  And we miss an opportunity to experience divine support and encouragement.

Lately, my treatments and accompanying side effects have left me feeling like I used to on those uphill climbs.  I become tired, discouragement beckons me to join forces with despair, and I doubt my ability to continue the climb.  The climb is ardous and long and my muscles burn with fatigue.   I find myself zig-zagging, stopping for cool drinks and more importantly, moving at a snail's pace, and  staying in the moment so as to not become distracted by the distance to the top...alot.  Truly though, the tender mercies along the path maintain my hope and knowledge that I can in fact, complete the ride.  Most importantly, I have come to the awareness that I am not riding alone; that the prayers, love and support of others keep my wheels turning and hope alive for the exhiliration of the accomplishment.  Of that I know of a surety.  And of that, I feel eternal gratitude and love for those give so generously of their time, energy, and love to be there with me.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Kindness of Strangers

Angie received this email today from the owner of a cupcake shop that she approached about my event.  I think it is a wonderful example of the goodness that I continue to experience at the hands of strangers.  Not because of who I am but because of who they are.  It is so touching to be the recipient of the kindest examples of humanity. It is this type of goodness that supports the hope that is sustaining me.  Thank you Megan from the Sweet Tooth Fairy..Love and gratitude always...Cyndi
This is Megan from the Sweet Tooth Fairy. THANK you so much for contacting us and thinking of us. We would be HONORED to donate some treats for your mom's fundraiser. My heart goes out to her and you and the family--wow. Sounds like it has been a wild ride. Isn't life just so crazy sometimes? I hope and pray she is feeling better and that her treatment and recovery will go well!
I would love to donate some items to be auctioned off...ideally, what would you like from us? I'd also love to donate some 'free cupcake' cards to give out to the kids! Waddya think?
Thank you, again, for thinking of us. We are happy to be part of such a loving and personal cause.

Week at a Glance...

Mitch received the good news that he had been accept into the Marriot School of Business at BYU and we were all so proud and excited for him...expecially his 'ma'.  Angie, Steve, Brylee, Sophie and I took him to Texas Roadhouse to celebrate.  I am very proud of Mitch.  He is down at BYU without much support from friends and away from family during this tough time for our family.  No matter what is going on with him, he is always positive and able to encourage and support me.  He spends most of his weekends at home just in case I need something.  I love and appreciate him so much!  Go Mutchy!!
 Seriously, have you ever seen a cuter pair of little girls.  Brylee adores Sophie and Sophie is the best baby yet to come into the Tangren/Evans gang!

Angie and Steve just purchased their first home...YAHOO! and I had soooo much fun as Brylee ran through the rooms excitedly showing me the house.  I even have a 'room' there according to Brylee.  How would that be...a daily dose of Brylee.  Aaaah.

Final stop for the day was at the Sweet Tooth Fairy where they make Bylee's favorite cupcake. 
Brylee loves putting on my glasses and wearing them.
Is this the cutest, chubbiest baby you have ever seen?

  I had the special privilege of being invited to lunch on 'Someone Special Lunch' at the charter school by my nephew Burke who I adore.  His sister Morgan invited Gramma and Grandpa so we all felt pretty special.  It was St. Patricks Day and I gotta be honest and say that I struggled some with all the 'green' food but the company made up for it.  I adore my neice and nephew and love that they refer to me as 'Miss Cyndi' rather than Aunt Cyndi...definitely makes me feel special!

Anything for a Friend Meeting with Sophie....and everyone else of course but grandkids always come first!

This is my friend Dylan who is battling a deadly brain tumor at a fund raiser event for him at Sonora Grill.  Amazing how someone can capture your heart in such a powerful, meaningful way in such a short time!

 Ahhh, 'kickin it' with Jaxon, Em, and Bowen who are more savvy on the Ipad than even gramma!

Bowen loves my hats and I love how fun and cute he is in them. He had to have gramma's wristbands too!

 Preparing for one of the most meaningful experiences I think I have ever had.  Hearts were touched, friendships solidified and the spirit of love will stay in the hearts of my family for this special experience.  And....Amy cried!  Love you Dylan!

This has to be the cutest thing ever...Jaxon and Emory decided to make dinner for Katie and Travis.  Yummy...bologna smiley faces!  Only those two could pull something like this off!  I adore them!

Heading into another treatment tomorrow so enjoying feeling like 'me' for one last day.  It's hard to go back into cancer mode but am grateful that there is healing for my body against cancer so that I can look forward to many, many years of being 'me' and all that entails.

Gratitude and Love always...Cyndi

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For Grandma Cyndi...

My mom has told me with both my babies her favorite thing is when they find their hands. Every time Sophie is staring at her hands I think of my mom and smile. I love that that is her favorite thing. Such a small thing, but still her favorite thing.

The other day Grandma Cyndi came to visit and of course it was the highlight of Brylee's week. Brylee was tuckered from the day because she didn't get a nap. She was laying on Grandma Cyndi and making her tickle her back and armpits...Yes, armpits. The next thing we knew they were both passed out at 7:00.

Grandma brought her a hello kitty puzzle and of course within the first half hour of being there she had to do it three times. What an awesome Grandma! Even when she is super tired she still pushes herself.

I always told myself I would never buy my girls twinner clothes. Look at me. I couldn't smile bigger though because of how cute it is. I hear my moms words in my head every time I get Brylee dressed... Just let her be her and who cares if she looks like an orphan. A lot easier said than done, but mom is right...sometimes it just isn't worth the fight.

Grandma Cyndi is still super hot, even without hair! Thanks for coming down Grandma, We love you!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

But I can come to you...

Sleep won't come tonight and the tears won't seem to leave.  Not my favorite kind of nights but always, the kind of nights when I am able to remember what I know and how I came to know it.

I sat looking out my window tonight and was reminded of a night many years ago shortly after my divorce.  It had been a long, emotional week and that particularly day had felt like yet another long week all wrapped up in its 24 hours.  It was later in the evening when one of my children informed me that they had a poster due the next day and that seemed to be the straw that broke my back.  Earlier in the week I had read an Ensign article and as I crossed the street to borrow materials for the assignment, the words of the article came to me.  The sky was clear that night, much as it is tonight and heaven and its promise of peace caused my footsteps to be slow and laborious as I went to return home.  The writer of the article must have experienced the same heaviness of heart that I was that night.  After pouring out her heart to the Lord she made a simple, humble request.  "Please Father, may I just come and spend one night with you?  I know that if I could just rest one night with you, I could go on and face another day."  The Lord's response of course was to explain "If I let you come...even for just one night, you would not want to return."  And then came the words that I hold fast to and remember often " But I can come to you."

Tonight, the years blended  together and as I sat looking out my window, those same thoughts echoed through my mind as my moments of sadness whirled like desperate firefilies within me...I knew what the answer would be as I asked the question "may I just come spend one night with you?"  A gentle 'no' followed by a tender hush to my cries as peace returned to my heart.  He had come to me just as He did then and many nights in years past and as He promises to continue to do when we seek His comfort. I am grateful for His spirit and the peace it brings to me on difficult nights when fatigue weakens my defenses.

I am also grateful for the many other ways He comes to me.  Irrespective of the challenges that are a part of my treatment, life is constantly scattering reminders that He comes to me when things feel hard.  Often, they are subtle and private.  Other times, they come in the kindnesses and support of others.  Always, I feel Him in the love of my grandchildren.

All around us are tragedies leaving people with their arms stretched upward begging for releif.  I believe that tucked into the crashing waves of a Tsunami or the rumblings of an earthquake is our Heavenly Father giving evidence that He has come to us.  It is in the increased humanity and compassion in both the young and old who reach out to help strangers who are struggling to 'cross the street' back to thier home that we find the evidence that He is there. 

I am grateful that He comes to me at those times when I don't feel the strength to  hold on to the truths I know.  As I watch so many around me suffer with heartaches, disappointments and personal tragedies, I can only pray that they know that He will come to them as well.  What a blessing and a promise of comfort that knowledge can bring.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi.

Monday, March 14, 2011

To Dylan

Last night, I made a new.friend.  In one evening, a piece of my heart became his.  Dylan is nine years old and his mother Mandy spent many of her childhood days either in my home or playing with my children.  So did her siblings.  Dylan has Brain Stem Gilioma. It is inoperable and when it begins to grow with a vengeance, it will take his young life.  A once playful, out-going young person now walks with support from others as his vision blurs and his face droops.  Wednesday he begins six weeks of daily radiation at Primary Children's Hospital which will most likely only minimally improve and prolong his young life.  He has begun the fight against the instability of steroids on his emotions and senses.  And he is loved by so many people.  People whom I have loved my whole adult life as well as some I don't know.  And he is happy, and kind, and grateful.  And he possess a tenderness that exudes in his young spirit.  And in a few short minutes, he filled my heart with the sweetest love I have yet to experience from such a young person.  So, Dylan changed my life last night.  He made me realize just how precious life is and how important it is to love, accept, and forgive those you love.  In his uninhibited hugs and expressions of joy, I felt healing take place in my own life.  Dylan gave me hope, love, and light in such a few short minutes that I have not been able to stop thinking about him all day. Strangely enough though, I have not felt sadness except for the hardships he will experience as he battles his disease..  Some would say that for a young life to end too soon is tragedy.  For Dylan and his tender sweet spirit, it almost feels like the arms of a loving Father in Heaven reaching down to release him from a world that has become neglectful and abusive of tender hearts such as his.  What a tremendous blessing it will be for each of us whose lives may interact with this sweet young boy.  How proud I am of his parents Mandy and Ryan for being entrusted with this special young spirit.  How grateful I am to know them and to add Dylan to my list of cherished friends.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Chemo # 3

My third round of chemo started out just like the others.  I spent the morning sighing the heavy sighs that have accompanied the other treatments.  They start when I wake up and feel that sick feeling in the bottom of my stomach...that "I don't want to do this but know that I will" kind of anxiety that accompanies most unpleasant experiences.  I missed out on a week of feeling good due to a bout of the flu so it had only been a few days that my motivation accompanied by enthusiasm for life had surfaced.  My sweet sister Linda had flown in from Colorado to stay with me and we had enjoyed those days together.  Treatment went as usual.  I am usually the last person finished and that last hour was spent laughing and remeneiscing with the sweet friends who sat with me.  Jaycee had come and brought with her pink tulips.  Apparently prior to coming to the hospital she told a friend of hers where she was going to spending the afternoon.  Her friend left and returned with the sweetest card and bundle of pink tulips with the request that Jaycee deliver them to me.  That is the kind of love and goodness that I experience on a daily basis from friends and more touching...from strangers.  I love many types of charity and love that I am the recipient of.  Truly, my perspective has shifted and my heart has been softened and turned to the goodness of life.  I am grateful for that.
Chad brought his little family to be with me at the beginning of my treatments.  His tenderness towards me comes packaged in a unique and different way than with my other children.  We've traveled some rocky, painful roads together that at times have included paths that disconnected us.  Through my journey with Chad, I have learned some of my greatest lives lessons.  Primarily that you never give up.  No matter how hard and long the way, you never give up...not on family.  Chad has cemented in me the advice given to me on numerous occasions by my father that the best things we can do for our children is to love them and make sure that they know we love them.  It is true that at times, that feels near impossible to do.  I have found myself at those crossroads many times in life.  Ultinately though my heart has always been led to the love that I know overcomes the obstacles of disappointment and loss. I am grateful for that.  I am grateful for the areas of my heart that have been refined because I have a child who struggles.  
                                  Nicole and Hunter
Mandi also  came during the first part of treatment and I was glad she was there. It's not as easy for her to be there as it is the others sometimes so I loved the fact that she could be there.
Linda was my guardian angel this go around.  This was a hard treatment.  I came home fatigued and ready to sleep and that is all I did for the first 3 days. This was intermingled with nausea turning to episodes of vomiting.  On Monday morning, I found myself dehydrated and back at the hospital getting fluids along with my 'after chemo' shots.  Linda was the loving face I feel asleep to while they hydrated me and Amy was there when I woke up.  I know this is cliche' but honestly, as I looked at each of them through the haze of somewhat delirium, their faces glowed as if they were angels.  To me, they are of so many who love and support me.  

My treatments are always followed by meals from friends, texts messages of hope and love, and an increased sense of  feeling close to my Father in Heaven.  That is how I know that we are never left comfortless; that His promise to us of that is always fulfilled.  No matter the need or frightening the moment, He is there. I feel His spirit with me and it calms me, reassures me, and increases my desire to be more like Him.  That is my choicest blessing.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hard Blessings

It's been a bit since I wrote. Not sure why, just haven't been able to formulate the words I have wanted to write. I continue to be blessed in ways that seem unimaginable and the, the love and support continues to flow. This is a humbling time in many ways and on occasion, self doubt creeps in and stifles my thoughts. Even with that said, my heart always remains full and aware of how truly blessed I am.

Last week my sisters and Angie took me to a support group in Salt Lake. It was 2 days before my next chemo treatment and the emotions associated with it were still just playfully nipping at my heels and I hated the thought of them getting any further than that. Truthfully, I dreaded it all day long..feeling it tugging at the comfort of my denial. We arrived at the meeting house and sat in the car for a good 20 minutes as I tried to talk myself out of going in. The conversation in my head was maddening...therapist to Cyndi, each trying to win their case. Mine protected the denial I have wrapped myself in, the therapist arguing my need to accept and embrace the reality of my cancer. Interestingly, I don't have a problem accepting the treatments and side effects. It's the whole cancer thing that I am resistant to. I fought tears the whole group. Part of me wanted to let the flood gates burst and let others experience the magnitude of emotions I typically experience alone. I knew that every person in the group would understand and that I would feel comfort and support from strangers whose hearts were opening for one another. The other part of me wanted to hold on to the composure that I believed kept me separate from everyone there. Truth is, I couldn't do it. I couldn't become "one of them." I simply couldn't do it. I saw connecting to these people as inviting a sadness into my life that I just don't feel strong enough to do. At least right now. As I sat there, I thought of some of the support groups I had facilitated and truly, felt a bit like a hypocrite and wondered what the participants in those groups would have thought of me as I sat there so unable (or unwilling) to open up. Nonetheless,, I told my story as simply as I could and remained a silent witness to the tragedy that unfolded in the stories of each individual there. I've always been private. I have always preferred being alone when the flood gates burst. At least that is what tell myself...

My sisters and Angie were braver than I was and from what they were able to share with me, their tears flowed freely. As I write this I am aware of the contradiction but I am glad they cried. I am glad they opened their hearts and let their pain flow through their tears. I hope that as a result, some of their fear and their heartache became more manageable. And because as a therapist I know that heartache and pain become magnified when they are contained too securely. They take on a life of their own and come out sideways and can taint every area of life. I don't want that for anyone who loves me, particularly my family and especially, my children.

There is a cleansing and a sanctification that occurs when we allow ourselves to experience the sadness and heartaches in our lives. Sometimes, the fear of the magnitude of the pain feels overwhelming and we give in to the misnomer that if we allow it voice that it will consume us. I know of that fear and have cried until I felt I could not breathe. I have also been guilty of holding it inside and hiding behind a paper smile. Irrespective, the greatest knowledge that I have gained is that I am never alone in those experiences. I know that every person who reads this can identify with those feelings and experiences. Hurting is part of loving and the experience of mortality. What I also know is that in those moments, whether we are private or public in our expression, that we are never alone. Be it with the brightness of the sun breathing life back into our hearts or in the darkness of the night, we are never alone nor are we ever, ever, left comfortless. It is in the despair of our deepest anguish that the arms of a loving Savior reach out and wrap us in the blessings of the atonement. And it is only in His arms do we truly come to know Him in the personal and sacred way that changes our hearts and moves us closer to becoming more as He is. For that reason, I have come to call the challenges and heartaches of life my "hard blessings." And so for that reason..I am grateful for this opportunity for my family to shed their tears and allow their fears and uncertainties to flow down their cheeks.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Who wants to cry?

"You always slept on the left side of the bed
Next to the giant clock so you could see what time it read
Beside it sat what you removed each night from off your head
That covered what the doctor said would surely leave you dead

I was just a boy of seven, by brother barely four
My mother never showed her fear or shared the load she bore
You were making deals with the devil and the lord
Or anyone who would listen who could give you five years more

You said please, please, please lord knows I ask not for me
Cause I’m not scared of dying, though I love the life I lead
It’s just that if I go who will coach my sons’ baseball teams
Who will teach them how to give a woman what she needs
Stay up discussing God and science when everyone’s asleep
Tell them to move their feet on defense, use their body not their hands
Yes who will show them how to be a man

In my past life I believe I must have been a saint
To have been raised by you this time around and that you weren’t taken away
Cause now I can shoot a jump shot, hold my own in a debate
We grew up strong and humble, that you somehow cheated fate
She had the love that she deserved and the family that she made

You said please, please, please lord knows I’m asking not for me
Cause I’m not scared of dying, though I love the life I lead
It’s just if I go who will coach my sons’ baseball teams
It’s just if I go who will coach my sons’ baseball teams
It’s just if I go who will coach my sons’ baseball teams"
-Joey Ryan

PS there's a meeting tonight at Katherine's (Katie's) at 6:30pm