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Of all the trials I've ever faced, this one is by far "The Toughest".

I don't want it to sound like I'm whining or feeling sorry for myself by the title of this, 'cuz in no way was that my intention. I'm actually just fine with this trial. I only wish to bring to light some of the hardships that are attached to a TBI.

Let's begin by sharing a talk I gave in sacrament meeting on Nov. 23rd, 5 months after I was released from IMC Hospital in Murray.

BLESSINGS & GRATITUDE for them
2 weeks ago in Sunday school, Bishop Hill asked if I would speak today on BLESSINGS and GRATITUDE for them. Naturally I agreed to it without giving it much thought. Upon returning home and having more time to think about what I’d just agreed to, I got kinda mad! It is seriously a pretty general topic and due to the TBI (traumatic brain injury) that I have, narrowing things down is one of my weaknesses. I finally calmed down and decided to stick with what I’ve always said:

TALKS ARE MORE FOR THE PERSON GIVING IT, THAN THOSE RECEIVING IT.

It is more true now than ever before so this only confirmed my EXTREME amounts of pure intelligence!

This talk is for me for 3 reasons:

1. To overcome my fear of the public (as many of you know, I was blessed with the gift of gab. I was able to get on my soapbox and go off, not shutting up when required. The TBI has made it rather difficult, even scary, to even BE in public let alone speak to you.)
2. To really show off my mad speaking skills (I had to relearn how to communicate and annunciate.)
3. To finally let go of some, not all, but some of the pain resulting from my latest accident. Not the first one, but the most recent one. I was angry, not angry, confused and frustrated because no one saw what happened to me. I didn’t have any broken bones except for my forehead, very little road rash (fingers, ankles, & forearm). Preparing this talk has allowed me to LET GO of some of those feelings.

After much thought and prayer, I came up with the BEST talk I personally have ever given. Granted, the presentation may be lacking due to the fact that I had to relearn how to communicate, but the doctrine of this one is my masterpiece. So I invite you to take notes.

First, let’s focus on BLESSINGS. We can break down blessings into 3 categories:
EVERYDAY, EARTHLY, & SPIRITUAL.

EVERYDAY BLESSINGS
Sight, hear, touch, smell, taste, talk, walk, think, read, write, dexterity, balance, life, family, etc.

EARTHLY BLESSINGS
Family, life, car, $, house, Possessions or belongings

SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS
(can be subdivided into many things)
Family, life, etc.
PRIESTHOOD
Sacrament, healing, etc.

TESTIMONY
Ability to pray

Now of course there are more in each category but for my talk I’m only going to focus on testimony and priesthood in SPIRITUAL. I only have 15 minutes!

If you’ll notice, some like Family and Life, can even crossover into other categories.

Last week in Sunday school, Bro. Piacatelli taught me a concept I had never thought of, regarding EARTHLY blessings. In D&C 104:13 (read) it talks about stewardship. The Lord entrusts us with HIS possessions and ALLOWS us to take care of, use, and bless others with them.

This leads to my next topic:

GRATITUDE

Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. We should express our gratitude to God for the blessings He gives us and to others for the kind acts they do for us. Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful.


Most of all, Gratitude is RECOGNIZING that ALL of these things come from God. It’s very sad that we take those things for granted. We don’t truly realize what we have til it’s gone.
In the Ensign, Mar. ‘06 Sister Bonnie D. Parkin (R.S. Gen Pres) spoke on gratitude. She said, “Partially losing my hearing has helped me develop patience for others, especially those with disabilities. It has helped me find faith to accept affliction. It has given me clarity to realize that instant, miraculous cures are not always the Lord’s will. In fact, sometimes just the opposite is true. . . . While afflictions are never easy, all of them can give us experience and can be for our good (D&C 122:7). Pay attention to that. (Read red again) I’ll come back to it.


Sis. Parkin continues:
As we live on earth we must walk in faith, nothing doubting. When the journey becomes seemingly unbearable, we can take comfort in the word of the Lord: I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold I will heal thee (2 Kings 20:5). Some of the healing may take place in this world and some in the next. We may never know why some things happen in this life. The reason for some of our suffering is known only to the Lord.”


Let’s look at our list again:
Sister Parkin was losing her hearing so it made her look at life and her blessings differently. After the wreck, I too look at life and my blessings in a much different way. She lost her hearing. I lost:

EVERYDAY BLESSINGS
hearing in my R ear, smell, taste, balance, dexterity, mobility, had to relearn how to walk, write, communicate. Plus I can’t read as well as I used to…

EARTHLY BLESSINGS
house, car (I sold it to my sis and her hubby.), independence, and $
but here is the incredible part:

SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS
testimony, prayer, faith, priesthood (these actually increased!!!)


And while I did lose those things, remember what sis. Parkin said (read red & orange again)
It was for my good to increase my SPIRITUAL blessings. I know prayer, faith, and the priesthood saved my life. I still have a strong testimony. In fact, it’s stronger now.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it may not be only for our benefit, but for others too.

I loved my mission so much, that I extended for 1 ½ months or 1 transfer. I wanted to extend again (the 1st time was easy, I just asked pres. Alonso) but this time it was out of his hands so we sat down and wrote a letter to the 1st presidency, asking if I could. Pres. Monson wrote back and said NO and that I had GREATER things to do. I told my pres. The 3 nephite apostles got to stay forever, I just wanted 1 transfer, it wasn’t fair.

Bro. young takes me to the English class for the Hispanic ppl, and we got in a conversation about the experiences we have on missions and they are great but we can’t focus on them. We need to have equally great experiences after.

I’ve thought about that conversation a lot. I even asked, “is this trial I’m going through GREATER? We may never know why some things happen in this life. The reason for some of our suffering is known only to the Lord.

During my last interview with my mission president (now a 70) he made it very clear that in no way were his words like Patriarchal Blessing, a small disclaimer there. He asked me from what tribe I had descended. He followed that by asking me which tribe is called to preach in these last days. I said Ephraim. What tribe do you think the 12 belong to? He paused, so I will too… what is keeping you from being called as one? He said. Nothing. He told me to live my life as though I were going to be called and if that calling ever came, i'd be worthy to accept it.

I’ve tried very hard to do just that! In no way am I perfect, not even close, but I’m trying to become such.

I don’t yet know what that great thing is, but I’m getting closer! Thank you all for your prayers and faith on my behalf. I love you all.

testimony...

That talk was a great way for me to "Let Go" of some of the feelings that came following my accident. I am very grateful for the trust the Lord has in me. We are never tested above that which we can endure and overcome. It's hard to always remember that but I'm trying.

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