Please Help

A fund has been set up through Paypal for Mark, Scarlet and the girls.

Go to Login to your Paypal account, or just click on the send money tab. You don't have to have a Paypal account to donate.

Email account required to donate:

If you have any questions or don't want to donate by Paypal, please email us at

Thank you so much for love, concern and prayers on their behalf.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Please Help Me....I'm Falllllin....

Again. He fell...again. This time it was outside on the sidewalk and I do believe I suffered a mild heart attack. He didn't see that there was one more step down, lost his balance, tried to recover, and ended up on his back. THANKFULLY he did not hit his head. I had to take a minute to compose myself in the car. He admitted that he needs to start listening to me and trusting me about what he can and can't do without my help. We have our final appointment with the neurosurgeon tomorrow and you can bet that I'll be having him lay into Mark about slowing down and staying with me and doing everything he has to to protect his head.

We had a great day, other than that. We were childless for most of it. Aunt Leigh picked up the girls and took them for a sleepover last night, so when we got up to get ready for church it was just us. No fighting to get ready, no yelling to hurry up, no threatening with timeouts if we didn't get into the car. Nice and quiet. And Stake Conference was enjoyable as I didn't have to fight with them to be quiet. When we got home I did start to miss them. It was a little too quiet. But I got into the kitchen and made some rolls and a new buttercream recipe. I topped the cupcakes I made yesterday and filled and iced a cake for dessert. Camille came out and we had a good visit. Then we were off to the Taylor's for dinner.

We picked the girls up at Leigh's. That's where the fall happened. We had a great dinner and visit with Alan and Kim. Mark shared some spiritual experiences he's had the last few weeks. We laughed, I cried, we ate good, the kids played. It was a great evening. Looking forward to many more.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

When Ye Are In The Service Of Your Fellowbeings, Ye Are Only In The Service Of Your God

Because my husband is an electrician, and he's the owner of the business, any scrap wire that comes from the job ends up at my house. Right now I have this pile of wire sitting inside my garage. And while I HATE having it there, I know it's potential value. Mark had started stripping the plastic/rubber on it in November, but hardly made a dent. Some of it is pretty thick which means it's really stiff and hard to work with. He has a heater that runs on diesel fuel that he uses to warm up the garage, and he also uses it to warm up the wire. As we do not have any income coming in right now, I wanted to get this wire stripped so we could get it recycled and get some cash.

Mark's brother Alan is the bishop of a young, single adult ward. He spoke to the Elder's Quorum president and they decided that it would be a good service project for them. So today, Alan, his son Brian, and 4 elders from his ward showed up ready to strip. Mark got dressed in his work clothes, boots and all, and headed out to the garage. He was surprised that I had already pulled the cars out and started the heater. The garage was already warm. He's so cute when he's proud of me! Anyway, he was out there in the thick of it with them. He was showing them how to run the wire in front of the heater and then how to use the knife to strip it. I was out there trying really hard not to be the bubble-wrap around Mark, but there was a lot of coiled up wire and a concrete floor. All I could envision was him getting his foot tangled and falling over and hitting his head. I know I drive him crazy, but I can't help it. He has NO idea what I went through for 4 weeks (and still), so he doesn't understand the gravity of protecting his head. I digress. They worked for an hour and a half, cleaned up and went home. I was just getting ready to make them lunch when Alan said they had to go, but they'd be back Wednesday night and again on Saturday morning. Mark asked Alan what we needed to pay them for their time. Alan said, "Nothing. This is a service project. It's good for them." Mark said, "How did you get them to volunteer for this?" Alan said, "I told them it was service or speaking in sacrament meeting. Works everytime!"

After everyone had left and things settled down a bit, Mark said, "That was a great day. I really enjoyed being out there and participating in that."

Mark and I laid in bed tonight talking about all the help we have received and continue to receive. I remember when we were first married being upset that Mark served others so much. I was selfish with him and wanted him to myself. I always told him he was "giving away the farm" because he would use whatever means necessary to help others, even if we didn't HAVE the means. He has always had that "service" heart and mind. There was ALWAYS someone he was helping in some way or another. Whether he pulled over to help someone on the side of the road (that's a cool story for another day), helped someone fix their car or wired something for free. At one time he even befriended a little girl at the end of our street who didn't see her father much. They were such good friends. He even took her to the Daddy/Daughter dance at church and later introduced her to her husband. That's my Mark. Unselfish and giving. And it's coming back to him 100 fold. I'm ashamed to admit that I was the selfish one. It's not that I NEVER served, because as I've "matured" I've become a better server. But I'm on the receiving end of this service, as well. And for ALL of it I am profoundly grateful.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

So you know that "to do list" I was talking about yesterday? Completely derailed. I was SO looking forward to having Friday at home to get some much needed chores done. Started out pretty good. Got kids up and off to school. Two loads of laundry washed before they left. Took a shower, made beds & got the kitchen taken care of. Was just getting ready to do bathrooms when Mark said he needed me to go to Costco to pick up his meds. Now, Costco is quite a ways from Salem. Some may wonder if it is worth it to drive all the way to Orem. Here's why it's worth it: I could save $35 over picking them up somewhere else closer to me. And while that's not a HUGE amount of money, it is an ENORMOUS amount of money when you have no insurance or income. So off we went. We had 3 written prescriptions and the doctor was supposed to have called in 2 others. We get there only to find out the doctor hasn't made that call. The pharmacy tech, who was AWESOME at customer service, called them and got their voicemail because they close from 12-1 for lunch. It was 12:30. She left a message and they proceeded to fill the other three. At 1:09 she called again. Voicemail. Can I just tell you that by this point I am NOT HAPPY! Oh...I forgot to add that I left my phone at home. So, we go out to the car & Mark reminds me that I have minutes left on my car phone through OnStar. So I call the doctor's office and get the nurse. She sounded a little irritated. She must have just listened to the two messages from Costco and here I was calling a third time. But I really don't care. It should have been called in the day before and here we were running around trying to get it taken care of. The nurse said she was calling it in right now. We decided to grab some lunch since we had to wait for it to be filled anyway. Mind you it is now 1:30. Off we go to McDonald's. Upon our return arrival I tell Mark to stay in the car with Avery and I'll just run in and get it. When I get to the window the WONDERFUL pharmacy tech says, "We just got it. But it's only for one. We'll get this filled right now." Mind you again, it is now 2:00. So I sit and wait. Before too long here come Mark and Avery. We sit and sit and sit. Finally another tech comes out and asks for our name. She comes back 5 minutes later and says she doesn't have enough to fill it. She has enough to get him through Sunday. Are you freaking kidding me?!!! So I tell her to call it in to Walgreens in Payson. She says she'll do it right now and tell them we're on our way. Off we go. It is now 2:30. Two hours at Costco for prescriptions?! REALLY??!!

At this point I am extremely flustered and PISSED! We arrive at Walgreen's to find out that they want $75 for the one prescription. The total for all 5 at Costco was going to be $65. Pardon my French, but WTF? I tell her there is NO WAY I'm going to pay $75 for that. She says she can scan some card and it brings it down to $42. I start laughing. There goes my $35 savings, 3 hours of my life I'll never get back, and the gas to get us to and fro. Needless to say, my good intentions to get my "to do list" done were long gone. I have heard the following saying before: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Here I come, Lucifer!

At this point I had had it with my day. We hurry over to pick the girls up from school. When everyone was in the car and we're headed up the hill to the house I said, "I want to run away." Mark and Madison said at the same time, "Can I come?" They obviously didn't understand the meaning behind my statement. So I just laughed.

After getting home I kind of needed a break. I sat down at the computer to look at cake stuff online and Mark asked me to come sit with him on the couch. I didn't want to, but I did it anyway. We sat for about 30 minutes and he decided to get up and check on Avery who was in the shower. He had been reclining on the couch. He stood up and walked down the hall. Next thing I know I hear elbows hitting the wall and see his head and shoulders come down to the floor. I haven't moved that fast since Madison fell out of a tree last summer. I stood over him as he laughed. LAUGHED!!! I know he didn't hit his head because I saw that part of his body. I pulled him up off the floor and he asked if I was okay. After all that had happened today, I burst into tears and said, "NO! I'm NOT okay!" He hugged me and apologized for falling. He said everything just went black. I think it was a combination of 3 things: he stood up too fast, he hadn't eaten anything since breakfast (didn't get any food at McDonalds), and he's on blood pressure medicine because the side effects help with brain injuries. I think his pressure may be running a little low. At this point it was safe to say that I was DONE for the day. I can only handle so much drama in any 24 hour period. I had maxed my limit and then some. In the words of Scarlett O'Hara...tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Woman's Work...

We had our last occupational therapy today. We will still have speech 3 times a week for the next month. The OT sent home some stuff we can do to continue to improve.

Tomorrow will be one month that Mark's been home. Exactly the same amount of time he was in the hospital. The rehab doc said that the first 90 days is critical and when we will see the most improvement. We're 2/3 of the way through. I hope I can push us through the last 30 to give Mark the biggest opportunity to be his best. It scares me a little to be in charge of his therapy. What the crap do I know? Pray for me. And for him, of course.

One of the first things he said to me this morning was, "I don't want to fight like we did yesterday. I hate it when we fight. It's gross. I just want to spend my day with you." So that's what we did. After therapy I had a million and one things on my "to do list". I didn't get a single one of them done. I sat next to my husband with my legs draped across his while we held hands and he rubbed my arm. I think we were watching "That 70's Show". He would doze in and out and stir when I laughed. Much better day than yesterday. Except that "to do list" is still hanging over my head. Of course, it always is. A woman's work is never done. Tomorrow will be a day full of chores and phone calls I dread making. They say knowledge is power....I say ignorance is bliss. Until tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Truth Hurts

Well....we had our first big fight today. Someone called wanting Mark to come look at some work. He talked to the girl for a few minutes, told her his brother hit him and he'd been in "jail" for a month, but he could take a look at it. He handed me the phone to give the e-mail address so she could send the information. I then proceeded to tell her that he'd suffered a severe TBI and wouldn't be working for a little while. He got SO MAD at me. He said I made it sound like he was stupid and couldn't do anything. He said he was just trying to make some money to take care of his family. He said she would never call us again to do any work. He put his jacket on and got in the car to wait to go to therapy.

I felt horrible. What was I supposed to do in this situation? I'm trying to protect him and take care of this family. I understand how it must feel to be completely sidetracked and know that he's not himself. I felt like a jerk and that I did what I needed to do, all at the same time. I apologized that he felt that way and tried to explain to him that he's just not ready yet. He didn't really understand what I was saying. This sucks really bad.

Avery didn't have a friend to hang out with today, so she went with us to therapy. I dropped a disgruntled Mark off and we ran some errands. Wayne picked Mark up and took him to lunch and to another work related meeting. This time Mark got to be a helper to one of the electricians. He was beaming when he got home. It did wonders for his mental state. We kissed and made up and Mark said, "I don't want to fight with you like that. I missed you today. Please come be with me." We snuggled and watched a little TV before he fell asleep. All's well that ends well.

I learned some things today that I didn't know otherwise. I learned that people you are supposed to be able to trust the most can be the biggest disappointment to you. I am sick. I am disgusted. I am hurt. I am angry. I feel like a fool. And while the truth may never come out in this life, I know that one day it will. And while I am required to forgive, eventually, I do not have to be friends with these people. I do not have to allow them back into our lives. I don't trust them. I don't like them. I can't stomach them. I am done with them.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Men At Work

I apologize I didn't get anything blogged yesterday. I was not in a good place.

Not a lot happened yesterday. We had speech therapy, hung out at my mom's house, I went to a job interview. Pretty uneventful.

Today we met with the detective handling our case. We got some good information and Mark was able to feel like he was involved. It is very frustrating for him as he doesn't remember much of what happened. It must be wierd to know something very horrific happened to you, to see the pictures and listen to everyone talk about it, but you can't remember any of it. I'm glad he was able to visit with the police and feel some sort of inclusion.

We talked so long with the detective that we skipped occupational therapy and went right in to speech. He is really doing so well with communicating and has come so far in just a short time. They've started giving us homework assignments and I've ordered some software that will be helpful. Now if we can just schedule some time and really stick to it to get it done. I know it will be very beneficial, but we lead a crazy life running back & forth to therapies everyday. Then there's homework, dinner, reading time, etc. It's a crazy life, but it's ours!

Mark was able to go to a work related meeting today. I know it did his ego some good. He's been really down about not working and providing for his family. This keeps him involved a little and helps ease that burden. He knows he's not physically or mentally able to work yet. But he also knows that he's not making any money....and that worries us all. Thankfully we have been very blessed, financially as well as spiritually, by those who love us and care about us. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity in both areas. We have felt and continue to feel your many prayers offered on our behalf. We are living proof that prayer works and miracles are still performed today. I would dare say we have had our own "parting of the seas" miracle here. And we couldn't have done it without all of you. We love you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nightmare on Our Street

I didn't sleep well last night. I woke up at 2 a.m. sweating, heart racing and breathing very heavy. I had had a nightmare about Mark's safety. It took me quite a while to settle down. Every little noise the house made had me checking the doors and windows. I told myself that Mocha would let me know if something was awry. I had a real fear. I went over scenarios in my head of what to do if presented with the intruder. My only concern was to protect my husband.

Lack of sleep was probably the cause of my migraine that started in sacrament meeting. I took half of one of Mark's Lortab. Didn't take long and I was feeling dizzy and disconnected. Mark asked me if he should drive home. Hmmm....which one of us would be the least safe? I laughed. Once home and I had my migraine meds, the headache subsided. Took longer for the effects of the Lortab to wear off. That was awful.

I told Mark about my dream as we lay in bed together. He knows it was just a dream but said he is concerned about our safety, as well. I don't think we'll feel any real peace until all of this is resolved. I do hope an end comes that will allow us to feel that peace. If you've never experienced that nagging base fear at the back of your mind, count yourself lucky.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dinner With Friends (definitely not Schmucks)

From left to right: Brandi & Keith, Tiffany & Mike, Kim & Alan

Today was a fun day filled with love and laughter. It was a much needed break from the realities of life. And while we talked about Mark and all that has happened to our family, we laughed, we stuffed ourselves, and we expressed our love for each other. Good, good day.

We have been scrapbooking together for over 6 years now. We have shared our lives together through our hobby. We've had babies, we've had deaths, we've had many challenges and triumphs. I truly count these ladies among my greatest blessings and I love them. We take a picture of all of us every time we meet together. Kim gave us a copy of the one we took last December. I realized last night it was taken just after my Dad died. And now we have this one, a year later, just after Mark's near death experience. I sure hope when we take the next one at the end of 2011 that it will be after a year filled with more triumphs than challenges. I honestly don't think I can take another December like the last two.

Mark has had a very busy week. He had wanted to go to Alan & Kim's after lunch, but once he got in the car he decided he wanted to pick up his girls and go home. He doesn't like being away from his girls for long periods of time. It's really sweet to witness the love he has for his babies.

As we laid in bed tonight, Mark leaned over and looked me in the eyes and said, "I really did almost die? What my brother did to me really almost killed me?" More and more everyday, the gravity of the situtation is settling in. And more and more everyday, I am so grateful to still have him with me. Dr. Cook told him on Friday that his great challenge now is to figure out what the Lord wants him to do, why He allowed him to live and stay on the earth. I can give him 4 really good reasons why.

Friday, January 21, 2011

That Soul, Though All Hell Should Endeavor To Shake, I'll Never, No Never, No Never Forsake!

Mark saw Dr. Cook, the opthomologist/facial reconstruction surgeon. The last time this doc saw Mark he was still asleep in the ICU. He was completely blown away when he walked into the room and there was Mark, sitting in the exam chair, all decked out in a suit & tie, chatting away with his wife. He shook both our hands and said, "Mark, you are a miracle man." After examining him, Dr. Cook said it's not very likely that any of his vision in his left eye will return. If Mark could see even the slightest bit of light, the doc said we could hope. But where it's completely black it just doesn't bode well for anything to return. He said every nerve in the human body has the ability to regenerate...except the optic nerve. He used a very bright light and magnifying glass to see the nerves inside Mark's eyes. He said his right optic nerve was pretty and pink. The left optic nerve was very pale. There was blood flow to both, but the left didn't look healthy and vibrant. I literally watched Mark's face fall as he accepted that he will forever be blind in one eye. And once again my heart broke into a million pieces. The doc lectured us on how important it is to take care of his good eye. He instructed Mark to use safety goggles everytime he was in a situation that could potentially cause eye injury. He also talked about how Mark was like a cat that had 9 lives and that he used every one of them coming back from this brain injury. There are no more chances to be taken. No more motorcycles or 4-wheelers, no more climbing on ladders, no more ANYTHING that could cause him to hit his head. There are NO MORE LIVES left. He would not return to us if he gets even the slightest head injury. Mark listened very carefully as I sat in the corner and cried. Then reality settled in hard with Mark. He said, "I don't get to ride motorcycles with my girls ever again." I said, "I don't care. They have their Dad to do everything else with them. That's all that matters." He said, "That's true." I know this is so very hard for him. He waited a long time to get his dirt bike and loved every second that he could spend on it. Just one more thing that has been stolen from us.

On a positive note the doc did say that he should be able to drive again. He will have to get clearance from the rehab docs and start from the very beginning: church parking lot to practice. I'm sure this will be sometime in the distant future. But I know it made Mark happy to hear that he may regain some of his independence.

This doc is the one that was in the room when Mark gave us his first thumbs-up. Dr. Cook talked about how exciting that was for him as a doctor. He talked about how doctors can only do so much and then they have to sit back and wait and see what is going to happen. He was thrilled that he was able to witness that small little miracle. He said he had a patient come in the other day that said that God doesn't exist and miracles don't happen. Dr. Cook said, "Oh, but He does exist and miracles happen everyday. I'm priveledged to witness many of them." He said he wished he could introduce that guy to Mark.

After the doctor appointment we went to the Provo Temple with Alan and Kim. My heart was full as I watched my sweet husband participate in sacred ordinances. I cried as I sat next to him in the Celestial room, relishing in the mere fact that he was able to be there with me. There was a time I didn't know if he would live, let alone be able to go to the most sacred of places here on the earth with me. I relived, but for a small moment, those first days in the ICU. The fear, the pain, the doubt....and here he was. By my side, holding my hand, wiping at my tears. I thought of the words to my favorite hymn - How Firm A Foundation.

How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea,
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials, thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Know That All These Things Are For Thy Good

Occupational therapy turned into physical therapy today. But it is much needed. Mark's muscles have atrophied due to not being used for 2 1/2 weeks. He had to do the hand bike and life some weights. It really wore him out. He'll probably be pretty sore tomorrow. He even had trouble lifting the tailgate on his truck. He's weakened significantly. Maybe we'll work on this together and we'll both get some upper body strength.

Speech went really well today. On the 4th the therapist recorded Mark trying to describe what was going on in a particular picture. Mark got to listen to that recording today. He was so surprised at how much he has improved in only 2 weeks. It was fun to see how happy he was about his progress. It's amazing how well therapies help with recovery.

Mark is healing. We are struggling with a lot. I don't know what the Lord has for us to learn from all of this, but I hope we can learn it and learn it quickly so that we can move on to better times. We need them. We can't go on like this much longer. Please continue to pray for us. We need it. Thank you all, again. We love you and appreciate you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Upon Life's Billows

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one.
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his weath untold.
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in Heaven nor your home on high.

So amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged God is over all.
Count your many blessings angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

I AM being tossed on life's billows. I AM discouraged, thinking all may be lost. I AM burdened with a load of care. The cross IS heavy I am called to bear. I DO look at others with their lands of gold. I AM amid a conflict that is GREAT. But I DO know that what the Lord has done. I DO feel my doubts fly. I DO have many blessings money cannot buy. And I HAVE been blessed by many angels attending to my comfort.

First and foremost I am grateful that my husband is alive and recovering so well. I am so grateful for his love for me and our girls. I am grateful to have my friend and lover back. I am so grateful to have 3 beautiful healthy girls that love us more than anything in the world. I am grateful for my wonderful family that has helped me and sustained me through everything in my life, including this current trial. I am grateful for wonderful friends that treat us like family and love us despite our many faults. I am grateful for a ward family that has stepped up to the plate and made up the difference at home. I am grateful for soldiers fighting in Afghanistan that don't know me from Adam, but were willing to pray for our family when we needed it most. I am SO GRATEFUL for the countless mortal ministering angels that have blessed our family over the last two months. We truly are blessed. But it still sucks.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday, Monday....So Good To Me

Really, it was just another Monday. But you should try coming up with a new title everyday. I'm not sure why they are mostly song titles.

We had speech therapy today and Mark rocked it! The student intern made some cards with names of people that we know intimately, and we went over them a lot. Naming is a huge trial for Mark. And not just people. Everything. So he was happy that he could use people's names. We're working on getting rid of "Cindy" and all of her alias' such as: Sandy, Cristy, Crispy, Candy, etc. Sorry to all who have grown attached to the names. They're on their way out!!!

They also played a barrier game. This is where Mark has to describe how he is doing something and the other person can't see what he's doing. The other person has to do what Mark is telling him to do and then they remove the barrier to see if the communication was successful. Mark did really well when he was the one communicating. Not as well on the receiving end. But it was fun to watch him communicate so well. They asked him what he did for work and he went on and on about being an electrician. Talked about wire and voltage. They were working with colored blocks and he kept calling the black one blue. Then he explained something about the two colors of wire. I didn't really understand it, but you could tell that he knew what he was talking about. It was neat to watch him be excited about something he knows.

We then went over to the Outpatient center for a final MRI. I've never had one and I don't think I ever want to. The nurse wanted me to wait in the front waiting room and Mark wouldn't have it. So I went back to the men's changing room with him while he changed and waited for him to go into the tube. She kept the door open while she loaded him up so that he would know I was there. Then I went to a patient waiting room right across the hall. He told the nurse he hasn't been anywhere without me. I think I'm now his permanent shadow. Which is fine with me. We'll see the neurosurgeon on the 31st to go over the films. They took pictures of his brain, as well as the optic nerve on his left eye. We're hoping maybe they'll tell us that the optic nerve just needs time to heal. Mark hopes, anyway. I feel like it's lost for good. We'll see.

Mark struggled today with not being able to work and provide for his family. He told me he wants to look at what's available to bid and get moving on it. He feels like he's a worthless burden on his family. He asked me again if I loved him enough to stick around through all of this. I told him if I didn't, I would have found me a boyfriend while he was sleeping in the ICU. It breaks my heart when he talks like this. I remind him that our little family is all that really matters. The house, cars, toys....they're all just things. I have him and my beautiful healthy girls. That's all I care about.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What, Do Ye Suppose That Mercy Can Rob Justice?

Alma 42

15 - And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.
16 - Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment...
17 - Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?
18 - Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man.
19 - Now, if there was no law given -- if a man murdered he should die -- would he be afraid he would die if he should murder?
20 - And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.
21 - And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?
22 - But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
23 - But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.
24 - For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
25 - What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Date Night (Day)

We had a fun day today. It started out at my nephew Parker's birthday party, for which I was asked to make a shark cake. Of course I obliged as I don't need even the slightest excuse to make a cake! The party was at Jump On It and it's a little loud in there. Mark could only stay long enough to sing happy birthday and I cut the cake. Here's a pic:

Mark had mentioned that he'd like to see the movie True Grit. So I figured it was time for us to experiment a little with his stamina. He enjoyed the movie, but I don't think he was able to understand a lot of what was going on. It was hard for me to understand Jeff Bridges, so I know Mark struggled. And sometimes you have to speak directly to him and a little slower than normal for him to understand what you're talking about. But he handled it quite well. Then we went to Red Robin for a quick bite. We did a double date with our dear friends Doug and Tanya. We haven't been out together for quite some time and it was fun to laugh again. It was really good for Mark and I to spend some FUN time together, instead of all the medical stuff we do everyday. We got a little piece of normalcy. Thank you Doug & Tanya!

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Finally Friday

I can't even tell you how nice it was to NOT have to go to Provo today. For anything! The girls were even out of school, so we got to spend a fun day at home together. I was caking, girls were Wii-ing, Mark was lounging. Good solid day.

Having said that, there isn't much to report on today. But I promised I wouldn't miss another I'm not.

Mark did express to me today his frustration with his blind eye. He's afraid he won't ever be able to drive again, or be an electrician again, or ride his dirt bike again (which I won't let him EVER do again). But I told him the same thing I've told him from day 1...if that's the worst thing to come from all of this, then so be it. We can live with it.

I left him for the first time today. I had to go to the bank and he was bound and determined to stay home with the girls. I gave Olivia strict instructions to stay right with him. Not that she could have really done anything, but she was my eyes and ears. I was gone a little longer than I said I would be and he was kind of freaking out. Know why? He is worried that his brother is going to "get to me". That hurt my heart a little. hurt it a lot. He's afraid for the safety of his family. That's really sad. Especially from a family member. I'm grateful for our justice system. It's not perfect...but it's the best one there is. And though this brother is not in jail at the time, he will be tried and hopefully be able to be accountable for his actions. In the mean time I have to reassure my sweet husband that I'll be okay. Just sad.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Just Called...To Say...I Love You

There are things I see in Mark everyday that show me he is returning to me. One of those things is laughter. He's making me laugh. Another is sarcasm. Anyone who truly knows Mark knows he is not himself without A LOT of sarcasm. Another is in the way he can counsel and comfort me. He truly is my best friend. I needed that part of him during 11 hours of brain surgery when I was worried that he might not live. I needed that part of him when he was lying in a coma. I needed that part of him when he was awake, but not coherent. I needed that part of him when I had to make business and financial decisions for our family. I desperately needed him then. I have most of him now.

Mark had a follow-up appointment with the rehab docs. It was a doctor that we had not seen yet. He said at the end of the visit that when he read the reports before he walked into the room, he was not expecting to see Mark walking, talking and making sense. Mark could answer his questions and stay in the conversation. The doc said it truly was remarkable from what he had heard and read about his injuries. Kudos Mark!

I know that I have not had anything to do with his healing. I know that it is all doctors, nurses, his own body and the Lord. But I take great pride in how well he is progressing. I love to hear the doctors and nurses tell me he is remarkable. I love to take him to the ICU to "show off" how well he has recovered. I know how remarkable he in so many other ways. It feels so good to hear it from other people.

He's worried about us financially and feels worthless as he goes to endless therapies and doctor's appointments, and can only rest between the hustle and bustle. He's worried that I may get tired of taking care of him and dealing with the stress of this new life and decide I've had enough and leave. He's worried that he'll never be able to take care of his family again, and just be a continual burden to them. He's worried that his children won't respect him because he's not "doing" anything with his life. He's worried...worried...worried. And it breaks my heart.

I can't tell you how many times he expressed his love for me today. I can't tell you how good it made me feel each and every time he did. I can't tell you how great it was to express that love back to him.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Time Keeps Ticking...Ticking...Ticking Away

Therapy went really well today. For occupational, Mark played the Wii video game Big Brain Academy. They were tasks that require certain brain functions. It was really interesting to watch. The first round through he didn't do so well. But the second round was much better. Then we tried to have him work with a bus schedule answering certain questions, and this was quite the challenge for him. Not only was his brain tired from the video game, there may have been too much information on the page for him to sort through and make sense of. Hard for me to watch him struggle with a simple task such as that. But I am so grateful for the great progress he's made.

Speech therapy went well today, too. There was only one eye-rolling incident. He even said when we got out to the car that today wasn't nearly as bad as yesterday. Here's to hoping tomorrow is even better than today.

We were laughing and joking with each other on the way to the hospital. He made me laugh out loud. It's been too long. Too long. It felt really good. Then this afternoon he was talking about how he missed Christmas morning with his girls. He wanted to know all about it and if they were sad that he wasn't there. Then he said the thing that I have said all along he was going to say: "I'm most upset by how this has affected you and the girls. Your hearts have been broken, tears have been shed, time has been taken away from us. Time and events that we can never get back."

There was a waiver hearing today. New defense counsel had to be assigned as there was a "conflict of interest with the current defense attorney in regards to one of the witnesses". There will be another waiver hearing on February 2nd. I hope some of Mark's memory about the incident has returned by then. Not likely, but I can hope. And I REALLY hope some of it has returned by the time we go to trial. Extremely frustrating process. But the longer it takes the more chance we have that he might remember something. It will be difficult for me to do this if Mark can't give his side of the story. Seems so unfair and imbalanced. Even more unfair than the awful situation already is. We did not attend the hearing but had some eyes and ears there for us. Mark just wasn't ready to go. It may have been too painful for him to face those that hurt him and his family so badly, especially when they are his OWN family. Maybe next time. Maybe not.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Memories....All Alone In the Rehab Center

A pretty quiet day. We just had both therapies and an afternoon at home together.

I do have to say, though, that occupational therapy is interesting. They have him do things that I would never even think of. Like today, they gave him a statement such as "Your cat is sick" and he had to find something in the yellow pages relative to that. He actually did pretty good. He did 7 of them and it didn't take long for him to tire. We then took a walk around the inside of the hospital. We ended up over at the ICU again. He remembered going there just before we checked out of rehab. He's making new memories. Yea!

I know now why he "JUST DOESN'T WANT TO GO TO THERAPY". He kind of doesn't like his speech therapist. Okay, not "kind of". He can't stand him. But I keep reminding him how much he's helping him and how important this part of his recovery really is. Wish you could see his eye-rolling while we're in there. It's quite comical, actually.

I think I forgot to say in yesterday's post that our primary care physician read something interesting to us out of the OR reports. Dr. Gaufin actually removed a small portion of brain tissue. It was severely bruised and filled with bone fragments, so it had to come out. Add that to the laundry list of issues and his recovery becomes even MORE remarkable!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hamburgers and Ice Cream Cones

What a great day!

We started out at Dr. Gaufin's office for a post-op appointment. In describing Mark's recovery I think the man used the word "remarkable" about a dozen times. He said Mark is healing very well. Scars look good. He told him again that it wasn't his day to die. But my favorite was this:

Me: "So on your base scale of average people, where does Mark's recovery fit in?"
Doc: "If he was the average person...he's be dead."

Of course, I cried, again. My poor husband. All he does is see me cry. But this time with a huge smile on my face! He is scheduled for one more MRI on Monday to make sure things are looking good in there. Then we'll see the doc and go over it...and that will be it with the neurosurgeon.

We then skipped speech therapy because, "I JUST DON'T WANT TO GO!"

We hung out at my mom's house for a bit as we had another doc appointment in Pleasant Grove at 3:30. About 2:00 Mark was restless and said we should go and just take out time getting there. He wanted to stop and get something...I thought he was saying he wanted to get a Smart Cookie (if you've never had one, you haven't lived). So we started out of the driveway and he was giving me turn-by-turn directions to where he wanted to go. He finally was saying that this Arctic place up on the right makes the best "hamburgers". I said, "Um, really?" So we pulled into Arctic Circle in PG and he again said he wanted a "hamburger". I pull up to the speaker and asked what kind: Ranch Burger, Cheeseburger, etc. He says, "No, just the plain white one." Ahhhh....the bell goes off. He wants an ice cream cone. This is the typical pattern for us. He says something and I try to interpret what he really means. Sometimes it's real words like "hamburger", sometimes it's made-up words like "chazzer". We did end up going to Smart Cookie in AF. They're MY favorite!

Dr. Liddle is Mark's primary care physician. He called me the day after his surgery and was very concerned about what had happened. He had read the reports and knew how serious things were. Mark didn't know this until we were sitting in the waiting room. He was a little overcome. While waiting in the exam room we had more discussion about what had happened to him. He spoke of very private personal things. And I cried, again. Everyday I am more amazed by his recovery. My Mark is reappearing more and more each day. He told me he considers Dr. Liddle a very good friend. Everyone should have that kind of relationship with their doctor.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Spirit Of God, Like A Fire Is Burning

Mark wanted to go to church today. I knew he couldn't handle all three hours, so I had a neighbor take the girls to the first two meetings and we went to Sacrament meeting. We weren't halfway through the first verse of the opening hymn and Mark was sobbing. He cried and cried and cried. Probably through at least half of the meeting. I asked him if he wanted to go home and he said he was fine. I didn't bring my church bag with me today so I had to have Madison go to the library and grab a box of tissues. After church we met with our Bishop and cried again. He said he was so overcome by the Spirit and the recognition of the Savior's love for him. I think he was feeling what I have felt all along. It was his turn to feel his Savior's arms around him and know that his Father in Heaven loves him and is blessing him and his family. It was good to watch, but hard to watch, as is much of what is happening with him lately. I'm so glad he had that experience. It's been a while.

I printed the article in the paper about the assault. He tried to read it, but he couldn't understand some of the words. I read it to him and explained it along the way. He is surprised and angry about what was reported. Quote: "I would not have done that. That is not the kind of person I am. I am not a violent person. He is. It is ridiculous to say that I would have hit him first. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard." At this point he doesn't remember anything about it. I'm hoping his memory returns before we go to trial. I would like to have his side of the story heard.

Mark is recognizing more and more that the words he is saying aren't making much sense. It frustrates him, but sometimes we can have a good laugh about it. Like when he calls the girls Cindy. We just smirk and giggle, which makes him laugh. We'll get through it. One of these days it's going to click and he'll be calling everyone by their correct name. Until then, we will ALL continue to respond to being called "Cindy".

Saturday, January 8, 2011

And I'm Free.....Free Fallin'

Mark fell today. It wasn't anything that anyone could have necessarily prevented. It was inside the house and he didn't hit his head. He didn't get the foot of the recliner pushed all the way in when he got up. So when he went back to sit down, he didn't see it (got a little blind spot with that bad eye) and down he went. I wasn't here. He laughed when he told me and said that he told my mom that I'd be freaking out. Ummm...yeah!

I had a good outing today with my Camille. We went wedding gown shopping and had lunch. It was nice to get out for a few hours. I love my Mark more than anything, and I love taking care of him, but I still need a break every once in a while. Of course, he was on my mind the entire time I was gone. My mom said he was missing me pretty badly. Before I left he kept asking me how long I was going to be gone and said, "I miss you already." That does my heart good!

He was pretty active today. He fell, took a shower, and took a walk around the block. My mom said she was ready to die by the time they got all the way around. But it was VERY good for him to do. And he complained about the cold every second of it. He's lost 30 pounds, so he has no more insulation. He keeps turning the thermostat up to 73. I walk by and turn it back down to 70. Whenever he's in the family room he turns on the fireplace. Quite the opposite from before.

Mark had a heart-to-heart with my mom and cried again. He's so worried about me having to do everything and being a burden to his family. He feels like a "loser" because he can't do anything physically and can't make sense mentally. I know my Mark is in there and is trying DESPERATELY to get out. I can't imagine how frustrating that must be. We'll just take it one painstakingly slow day at a time. Nothing else we can do.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love Ya, Tomorrow

What a difference a day can make.

Mark told me first thing this morning that he knows he can't find the right words to say. He's frustrated that he isn't making any sense. He said, "It sucks to be me. It's hard being me." My heart was breaking. But I was thrilled to know that he recognizes that his language is impaired. I couldn't wait to tell the speech therapist about this epiphany.

He did AWESOME at his speech therapy. He was very clear and alert. Didn't get all the words right, but could convey what was happening on the cards in a concise manner with getstures and descriptions. I told him he did great and he said, "I thought I sucked. It's very frustrating for me." Again, my heart was breaking. But I also know how far he has come and truly how great he did today.

Mark took a good rest this afternoon and was in top form this evening. Alan & Kim came to visit and he was talking up a storm. He talked mostly about what happened to him and how long he was in the hospital. He was shocked to hear that Alan & Kim stayed at the hospital all night during his surgery, and that they were there every day. Not that they wouldn't care about him that much, but that someone would actually do that. He's realizing just how loved he is. We kept trying to talk about other things, but he kept coming back to the assault. Again, he was asking questions about things to which none of us have any answers. It is clear that he wants justice. And rightly so.

Alan was moving my office computer upstairs and was having some trouble with the phone and ethernet lines. Mark kept telling him not to worry about was too much work...he'd take care of it tomorrow. Made us all smile. Alan needed a tool that Mark would use on the phone lines. I know he has one but it's in the low voltage kit that is missing. Mark said, "It's downstairs on the middle shelf by the punchdown block." We told him it wasn't, but he had to go down there to see for himself. It wasn't there, but he knew exactly what he was talking about. He also knew that the ethernet hadn't been punched down correctly. He then wanted to go out and look in his truck and in the white work truck. We all went out to help him and it was just so interesting to hear him talking about work stuff and remembering some things. Most of the cylinders were firing tonight and it was AWESOME to see it. For a short time he was back with us - minus the jumbled words. It was so fun to sit and talk with him.

Today's funny conversation was that he admitted that he grabbed the boob of one of the nurses. I believe it was Jasmine with the long blonde hair. He said, "It was pretty funny." Ha ha ha, Mark. Not funny.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wash, Rinse, Repeat...Repeat...Repeat

No therapies today. Mark said he didn't feel very good this morning and said, "Please respect what I'm telling you. I don't feel very good." It was hard for me to resign to not going to therapy, but I gave in. I need him to understand how important the therapies are to his recovery, but I also want him to have some sense of independence. The poor man is never alone. I even have to follow him into the bathroom.

And part of the reason he is never alone is that he does things like he did today. We had to drop the dog off at the groomer, so we all (Mark, Avery and I) loaded up in the car and headed over. I popped out to deliver the dog and while I was giving instructions to the groomer, he got out of the car. Scared me half to death. What if he slipped on the ice? What if he tripped on the curb? What if he got dizzy, lost his balance, and fell and hit his head on ANYTHING? I literally cannot leave him alone for a minute. So when it came time to go pick up the dog, he wanted nothing to do with getting out and about again. He was a lot more dizzy, wobbly and confused today than he has been for a while. So I called Cindy (Kim) and asked her to come "sit" while I picked up the dog. Thankfully she works in Springville and was relatively close.

But as the day wore on, the more coherent he became. He wanted to talk about what happened to him. So we had "the talk" again. He asked good questions and made good comments. It looked and sounded to me as if it was going to stick with him this time. He's frustrated he can't remember it. He wants to know the truth, but I don't have it for him. I have to keep reminding him that I wasn't there and I can't get anyone to tell me anything. All I have is what the responding officer told me. I can't even read the police report because it's still an open case. Extremely frustrating for both of us. I just shrug my shoulders and say, "I don't know", to a lot of his questions. But I plan to have this talk many more times as the weeks wear on. As many times as it takes.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

p.s. To Yesterday

I forgot to post about our running into Dr. Gaufin, the neurosurgeon. He was between surgeries and we saw him in the hall outside the OR. He stopped and looked at Mark, then looked at me, then looked back at Mark. I said, "Do you recognize this guy?" He said, "I sure do! You just have more hair since the last time I saw you." Looking into Mark's eyes he said, "You are amazing! I didn't think you were going to make it. That was not your day to die. The Lord has something important for you to do. Your work on this earth is not done. I can't believe what you went through and here you are walking and talking." Beaming, I said, "He's my miracle man." The doctor said, "He sure is!"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No Really....It Runneth Over

Today my husband cried. Real tears and real emotion. I almost couldn't contain my joy and sadness.

Mark had a reality check. He realized that he's not working and won't be going to work for some time. He knows this translates into some serious financial hardships for us. He is worried about me having to handle all of this on my own. He is worried about what will happen to us. He is worried about the girls and the effect it will have on them. He feels like "a piece of crap" because he's not providing for his family and the ship is sinking.

Mark had a reality check. He realized how serious his injuries were/are and was apologetic that I had to go through this nightmare alone. I informed him that I wasn't alone. But it WAS the most difficult thing I could ever deal with. And I told him I would gladly go through all of it again to have him with me forever.

Mark had a reality check. He realized there is much to do and he won't be able to be much help. He is struggling with the fact that he is mentally and physically fatigued by the smallest uses of energy. He's frustrated that he can't see out of his left eye, and therefore cannot do a lot things he used to do. He's frustrated that his mind is not clear. Just the fact that he knows his mind is not clear has me shouting for joy and mourning what we have lost.

Mark had a reality check. He realized he can't do this alone. I asked him if he needed a priesthood blessing and he said yes. I called his dad and he came out tonight and blessed him with strength to go on, the ability to be healed, and a compassion for those in his family.

My cup is still running over, especially as Mark offered our family prayer tonight. He even got about 95% of the words correct. It's running and running and running....

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

It was back to our normal routine today. Mark didn't want to go to Walmart for a walk, but he went anyway. I only picked up a few things, but by the time you make the loop in Wally World, it can be pretty taxing. He kept asking me after every item if that was all. He went and sat on the front bench while I paid. After two days of doing nothing, it caught up with him really fast.

He also didn't want to do the occupational therapy tasks I had set out for him. But again....he did them anyway. Tomorrow we head back to Provo for more speech and occupational therapy. I hope he does well because that determines how often we need to go. Although, he may be more willing to work with them than me. Who knows.

We got to sit down together as a family tonight for dinner. As I looked around at the faces of those that I love the most, my cup runneth over.

Today's conversation:
Mark: "Stay in here and take care of me."
Scarlet: "Hey...I've been by your side every minute of every day for the last 32 days."
Mark: "Did you think I wasn't going to make it?"
Scarlet: "Yes. The doctor said you might not."
Mark: "What exactly did he say?"
Scarlet: "He said, 'It's not very probable that he's going to survive.'"
Mark: "Wow...I bet that was hard."
Scarlet: Crying, " was very hard."
Mark: With a smirk on his face, "I guess it's a good thing it turned out okay."

The head neuro/psych doc spoke with us before we checked out of the hospital and told us about a police officer in Lehi that got shot in the head. The bullet went in above his left eye and out the back of his head on the left side. So, basically the same areas as Mark. The doctor said that when he left the hospital he wasn't as far along mentally as Mark is now. He couldn't speak, read or even do some tasks for himself (shave, brush teeth, etc.). That was two years ago. The officer is now pursuing his MBA. Absolutely unvelievable and such a testament to me of what is possible. I can't wait to be looking back on all of this two years from now and be able to see how far Mark has come. How far our FAMILY has come.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Did You Think To Pray?

I can't express adequately how full my heart is to have my family whole again. Just the mere fact that we were able to all be together in our home in more than a month has me reeling.

But the thing that really put me over the top was when we knelt together in family prayer. I had wanted to say it, but Mark said, "Livvy, would you like to say our prayer?" The thing that is so great about this is that I felt the patriarch of our home had returned. AND he got Livvy's name right (was Cindy, as every other female).

It is somewhat strange to have him home and his brain is not completely healed. He's somewhere in the middle. I feel like I only have half of him back. There are things I want to talk to him about or say to him that I know won't be understood or fully comprehended. I'm so grateful he's here, but long for his full return. I know my prayers have been answered, and all of yours, as well. On this Fast Sunday, I know my testimony has been strengthened 100 fold. I have witnessed miracle after miracle on his behalf. The Lord has more for him to do. And for that I am so humbly grateful. I cannot imagine trying to finish this life without him, and grateful to my Father in Heaven that I don't have to.