Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Flag Of Love

Christmas 2008, brought many emotions, one being gratitude and love. Tiffany made me a flag with several stripes and colors. Each strip and color having a significant meaning for my journey to Africa and my trek on Mt. Kilimanjaro. The gift made me cry, as each member of the family had put their hand print on it, written a message, and signed it. I LOVED IT! It gives me hope and encouragement that everyone is behind my African quest. Along with the flag, which I will carry with me and proudly fly while on the mountain, was a card explaining each color and meaning: Tiffany has always had a way with words, however this time the words mean so, so much to me. The meaning of my one of a kind flag are:

First: each persons hand print means:
I'll have my families helping hands should I need them.

Second the meaning of the colors are:

Grey: FRIENDSHIP (friends forever Tiff)

Green: LIFE

Yellow: LOVE



It is hard for me to believe that I encompass any of the above, but hopefully by the time I get back from Africa, my name and the above words go hand in hand.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fulfilling A Dream, Is Like A River

After graduating from nursing school in 1975, a humanitarian mission was one of my goals as a nurse, a goal I set thirty-three years ago. In November of 1975, Buck and I moved to Preston, Idaho, so he could do a lineman apprenticeship for UP&L. January 1976 I found myself working on the Orthopedic Unit at the old Logan Hospital I was there that I that I became best friends with a CNA, by the name of Mabel. Mabel, was from West Africa, here in the United States going to school. Mabel and I were the out casts of the unit as she was very black and I very non Mormon. Though were were treated rude by racial patients and arrogant staff, we had each other and we were just fine with it all. Thirty-three years ago I expressed to Mabel, my desire to see Africa. Mabel and I visited each shift about her home land. I know she would be amazed to hear I am going to East Africa, I can see here smiling at fulfilling my dream. Here's to you my old African friend, here's to you Mabel!
I suppose a dream is like a river, ever changing as it goes, and finally both dreams are becoming a reality. A reality that I often wondered about, but held on to the dream!!
While listening to the radio the other day and thinking about my upcoming journey,"The River" by Garth Brooks came on, it says it all. I'll sail my vessel, 'til the river runs dry! Not only iwth my upcoming trip, but with life itself.

You know a dream is like a river
Ever changin' as it flows
And a dreamer's just a vessel
That must follow where it goes
Trying to learn from what's behind you
And never knowing what's in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores...
And I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
Til the river runs dry
Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away'
Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide...yes
I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
There's bound to be rough waters
And I know I'll take some falls
But with the good Lord as my captain
I can make it through them all...yes
I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Yes, I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
'Til the river runs dry

Monday, December 1, 2008

Off I Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder

My ticket is bought, my bags are getting is off I go into the wild blue yonder. I will be leaving Salt Lake on the 27th of January. Bitter cold here, but summer in Africa. The rest of the departing flights and returning flights look like this:

Reservation code: KJRONZ
E-ticket number:
0127386073374 - NW/KL
0317386073349 - Precision Air

Tue, Jan 27
Departs: 8:30am To: MINNEAPOLIS ST PL, MN (MSP) Arrives: 12:30-- 15A Mileage: 990

Departs: 3:15pm Tue, Jan 27 To: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS (AMS)
Arrives: 6:30am Wed, Jan 28 Duration: 8 hour(s) and 15 minute(s)
Mileage: 4155

Wed, Jan 28
Departs: 10:10am To:TANZANIA (JRO) Arrives: 8:35pm Duration: 8 hour(s) and 25 minute(s) Mileage: 4288

Wed, Feb 4
Arrives: 8:30pm Duration: 50 minute(s) Mileage:147

Tue, Feb 17
Departs: 10:50pm Tue, Feb 17 To: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS (AMS)
Arrives: 5:30am Wed, Feb 18 Duration: 8:40 hours Mileage: 4147

Wed, Feb 18
Departs: 10:20am To: MINNEAPOLIS ST PL, MN (MSP) Arrives: 12:30pm Duration: 9 hours

To: SALT LAKE CITY, UT (SLC) Arrives: 4:08pm Duration: 2 hour(s) and 48 minute(s)

Oh Boy looks like fun....really the scariest part for me are the airports adn making sure Bryson ( my guide) is there to pick me up. Thank goodness I have long lay overs so I can find where I need to be, find it, sit and wait for the next leg of the LONG flight. I was given two MP3 players for my birthday. My plan is to put music on one and movies and books on tape on the other. I think I'll pack me a lunch along with a Phenergan or two ( it makes me really sleepy) for the eighteen plus hours into Africa. Sure hope they have Diet Pepsi on this airline!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Look Out Africa, Here I Come!

Last night I attended the first of three meetings for my upcoming trip. It was nice to meet everyone and get all the needed information for my life changing journey. In introducing myself, I am the one of the oldest team members, but the way I look at it we can teach those kids a thing or two. Being the planner that I am, I have ask a million and one questions, therefore they have nicknamed me,"Million & One" All I can say is how do you know if you don't ask.

The dates have been confirmed for the expedition for February 1-17, however I will be going a week earlier so I can climb the mountain and do a safari. Sorry, I won't be kicking Valentines, so keep and eye out for Buck.

An added bonus for the group is we can, for a little added money have a lay over in Amsterdam. Not Switzerland, but close.

I am so excited to do something for those who need help so desperately. I hope my family, especially Tiffany & TJ see me as a mentor, a hero and a positive influence. I can only hope they to on day go far beyond what they every thought they could.

As for me all I can say is LOOK OUT AFRICA HERE I COME!!!!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


If I Had My Life to Live Over....
If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more,
laugh and cried less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would have invited friends over for dinner even if the carpet was stained,
the sofa faded and dinner was nothing more than tuna casserole.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the "good' living room and worried much less
about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandmother ramble about
her youth, hoping one day my granddaughter might do the same.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a fresh
spring day, because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in
storage and I'd allowed my family to use those “decorative towels” in the bathroom.
I would have played on the lawn with my children, not worrying
about grass stains, nor the laundry that wasn’t being done.
I would have shared more of the responsibilities carried by
my husband, and hoped he would have done the same for me.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the
earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical,
or on sale, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have
cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing
inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said,
"Later now go get washed up for dinner, or its past your bedtime!"
I would cherish each and every moment spent with my family,
my children, and my grandchildren, knowing one day could be my last.
I'd live by the advise of an old friend, "never judge others
by their actions while judging yourself by your intentions."
There would have been many, many, more
"I love you's".. and just as many, "I'm sorrys"...
I would have never wasted time, I'd realized time is the
greatest gift of all, a gift that comes your way only once.
I’d never live my life so my choices, actions,
and reactions hurt no one, including myself.
I would live my life not only to be human, but humane,
giving as much as I could to the humanity of mankind.
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would embrace every minute...
look at it and really see it ... live it...and never, never give it back...........
I found this poem in a box of my Moms. As I read it, it seemed to grab me as if parts of it was written for me. Yes, I have changed a few words and added several lines that I hope I can live by. As it seems very appropriate not only for my upcoming humanitarian trip, but the person I hope I can be for my friends, my family and myself.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Mother's Blessing

Needless to say Mom, is not really thrilled about me going to Africa. From the day I was chosen as a team member for the upcoming January-February expedition she has tried to be enthusiastic, but she is extremely nervous about me traveling to a foreign country. Mom is also not happy about my decision to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or to go on a photography safari. I'm not really sure if she is worried about me, or herself and not having me close by for a month. I have tried to ease her fears, by getting myself in good shape, learn the culture and a little of the language, but she is a nervous wreck about the whole idea. However, I know I will go with her blessings for a rewarding, safe trip.

Little does she know Mom, has been an amazing teacher and I admire her so much. Mom has been the rock of our family for so many years and has taught all of us right from wrong, kindness, compassionate, and to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. So without a doubt when I go to serve the women and children of Kenya, a big part of Mom will go with me. All I can say it thanks Mom for all you have done for me and your unconditional love. As a Mother, myself I have some pretty big shoes to fill. I love you, Mom!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Life is like a grinding stone. Whether it grinds you down or
polishes you up, simply depends on what you're made of...
The curves life throws can sometimes be disheartening not once, but twice. It seems the 2002 pulmonary problems I had are weighing heavy on my decision as whether to climb or attempt to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I recently chose to get Dr. Alward, my pulmonaligist's opinion on climbing THE mountain. After reviewing my medical records his initial opinion was he wondered is it was a good idea, stating it could be the life or death decision. However, I will undergo a CT scan, chest x-ray, and pulmonary function tests to confirm or disclaim his opinion. After nine months of mental and physical training, the big question is; will my quest to try reach the Roof of Africa all come down to the dark days of February 2002, and the damage done? I have also chosen not to let my Heptaligist know I am going to Africa, as he too I am sure will not think it is a good idea. In other words, I have to go with my gut feeling about whether this trip is good for me.
I have my trip almost half paid for and I am reaching my personal goal of collecting 100 each of crochet hooks, reading glasses, packages of colored pencils, crayons, notebooks, pens, pencils, yarn and rag dolls. My excitement continues to grow for the lives I will touch, and the lives that will not doubt touch mine.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Africa here I come! I recently received a letter of information concerning my upcoming expedition, a letter to give me a heads up of my role. Many folks know I am a "planner" and I like all my ducks in a role, as one of my biggest pet-peeves is being unorganized. The letter gave me a list of items and supplies I could work on now, of which I am grateful for. Though the timing will probably be better the last of January through the first of February, is also right after Christmas.
So all in one I am trying to take care of Mom, work as much as I can to pay for my trip, pay for supplies to take and buy and make Christmas gifts. So days all I can think is what would I do if I had nothing to do. Maybe have a nap would a dandy idea, but I have little time to waste.
On my list is school supplies, yarn, fabric, glasses, kids books, rag dolls, and several other things. It also ask if I had something specific I would like to take or teach. Though I haven't come up with to many ideas, I would like to possibly put together some "Compassion Kits" for those women who have AIDS. These woman have been shunned from society and have very little if not nothing. I have thought about how we women all like to smell nice, look nice, and feel nice. I thought a kit with nail polish, lotion, perfume, face cream, etc would be nice. So with that in mind along with several other things I will donate, I will try to donate kits to make so woman I don't know feel better about herself, if only for a little while.
I continue to train to climb the mountain, also I see the Pulmonaligist on September 8th, to get his advice about this crazy idea at my age, and with my past medical history. I've tried to think about what I will do if he says it could be a life threatening idea, possibly climb as high as I can and applaud my efforts, for at least I tried. I have always told Tiff & TJ, finish what you start, and just do the best you can. After all that is all you or anyone else can ask of you or you can ask of yourself.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

King's Peak--Courage or Crazy--Courage In Women Is Often Mistaken For Insanity!

A couple of weeks ago Karen Boothe, my friend from work invited me, to go on a back packing trip to the Unitas, to hike Kings Peak. I jumped at the chance as this would be great training for hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro. As Kings Peak is the highest mountain in Utah at 13,528. After all I had been hiking, walking, running, swimming, and lifting weights, but I soon learned backpacking brings a whole new meaning to the word exercising. With great enthusiasm I spent $150.00 on a cute mint green, backpack especially for women. The first thing I added to my cute green pack was three small notes Tiff, TJ and Brykn had written to me. Both Tiff's & TJ's had been written several years ago, Tiff always said the "Love Notes" would keep me safe where ever I went. I have carried them with me for 18 years, and I wasn't about to leave them home. Then I proceeded to pack what I would need to be comfortable for four days in the wilderness. Comfort soon went out the window, as I had a hard time even picking up the 45 pound backpack, let alone hiking with it for four days. Several of the comforts of home stayed home as I rearrange the pack five times. I finally had the backpack weight down so I could at least get in on myself, and it was off to met my all women packing party in Salem

Day 1--5:00 a.m.
It was off to Henry's Fork in the high Unitas Mountains, enthusiasm and anticipation in tow. After a long ride we arrived at the trail head, packs on at about noon. Everyone was so excited to get going, including me, as I really didn't know what was in store of me. It was five miles of hiking a steep trail, until we found a place by the river in order to set up camp. I, myself didn't really care about being by the river, all I could think was let's just sit down!!! The tent was soon set up and then it was off to the river to filter some water to drink. My thinking was, oh those poor pioneer ancestors who pushed, pulled, and hike their way across mountain after mountain with far more than a 45 pound user friendly backpack. Dinner was a "freeze dried" meal, filling, but no T-bone steak dinner. Soon it was off to bed on my handy little Therma-Rest Pro-lite 4-mattress, and my 20 below, $200.00 down filled mummy sleeping bag. Well I'm here to tell you the mattress is no pillow top, I have bruises on my butt from the rocks under it. However, I did get my money's worth on the bag as I died of the heat. Needless, to say I slept about three hours and then it was time to get up and start up the mountain, with my inner voice loudly proclaiming OH HELL!!

Day 2--6:00 a.m.
The elevation 10,000 feet, the thick timber and ground brush made hiking difficult. Then add all the rocks, boulders, creeks, plus the mud and life soon got a bit harder. The trail, and I, use that term lightly was narrow and hard to navigate at time. All I could think when coming to a difficult area was T.J. saying “Just step and go Mom, you can do it." Why I even amazed myself at how good I got at balancing on rocks covered with moss, and I repeat not falling ONE time. Lunch was a welcome relief as I inhaled my bagel and tuna, then it was off for the last five miles of our ten mile day. At about six miles the black thunder clouds rolled in and it poured for three hours. I have become a fan of hiking, however hiking in the rain, not so much. This day we were not only putting up the tent, but putting up the tent in the cold rain. Oh HELL, what was I thinking, and where is my trailer. Truthfully, I was thinking if I had cell phone service and I knew how to tell Buck & T.J. where I was, I'd tell them to come get me. Yes, it really did cross my mind for a split second, and then it was time to get all my wet clothes off and get warm. The trick was trying to find my dry clothes in that damn green backpack. The weather cleared and dinner and a fire was enjoyed by all, or should I say the fire was used as a clothes dryer. Cindy dried her bra, and Dianna dried her socks, and Joy hung her garments over the fires heat. Soon it was bed time again; I dreaded that sucky Pro-lite air mattress, which was more like a thin ground cover mat, and my hot goose down sleeping bag. I now know why those geese fly north in the summer, all that goose down is a bit much! I again only slept about four hours, as it rained all night and my back and hips were killing me.

Day 3--6:00 a.m.
Elevation 11,100, today it was off with the backpacks, on with the fanny pack and a nine mile hike to the summit of King's Peak. I felt really good and was so glad not to have the stupid green pack on my back. Hiking to Gun-Sight Pass was really pretty easy and a gorgeous view. The problem is you get to the top of the pass and then you drop back down again, so you end up hiking the same distance twice. Finally King's Peak was in sight, majestically reaching toward the sky. Hiking was difficult as we were hiking straight up over massive boulders, snow, ice, and water. Then suddenly out of no where a huge lighting storm settled in. All I could think was too huddled under a boulder until passed. By now we are at 12,117 feet it was snowing-sleeting and cold. I was exhausted, not to mention the altitude was getting to me. My toes and fingers, were tingling and numb and my lips were blue, I was nauseated and dizzy. I got to all but 1417 feet to the top and that was good enough for me. After all for someone who had never hiked, or had been athletic, I was pleased with my hike. The storm passed after about two hours and it was back down the mountain. Karen and I took our time, enjoying the wild flowers and the beauty of the King of the Utah mountains. That evening I was more than ready for bed, even if it was like sleeping on cement. I remembered I had packed a Phenergan pill for nausea; however they make me really tired, thank God. I slept really well on my handy dandy paper thin pro-lite mattress, and my fluffy, warm sleeping bag.

Day 4--8:00 a.m. All I could think was I did all right and now it was time to head for the car. Little did I know it was going to be a nine mile hike down. We had started at the Henry's Fork made a complete circle, taking the scenic route and now we were making our way back. On our way back I heard someone or something hiking behind me, as I turned around it was a group of boy scouts and their leaders. This group also had ten goats that are used for hiking in the Unitas, complete with fifty pound packs. All I could think was for $50.00 a day I could have had two goats and no blasted green backpack. If I ever go again, me and the “Rent A Goat” business will be friends. Though hiking back down was easier on my lungs and my beastly pack was lighter, hiking down hill was killing on my toes and the balls of my feet. As we started the day the sun was shining, the birds sings, and I was pickin' em up, and puttin' em down. Then one more massive rain/hail storm hit. The trail soon ended up being a river running down the mountain and we couldn't really tell where to go. The forest suddenly took on the feeling of the Wizard of Oz, when the Cowardly Lion and the Tin-Man were in the haunted forest. The lighting suddenly struck about half mile in front of me and lite up the dark dense woods. I was cold, soaking wet and starving, what else could I go through. The lighting didn’t really faze me much, my thoughts were, Lord, if you’re going to strike me died now you’re going to have to do it on the run, because I'm damn sure am not stopping. With all the rain and bad weather I wonder if maybe the hiking God's were trying to tell me something. At any rate I was never so glad to see a parking lot in my life. I found myself some dry clothes and shoes, not to mention a dry, stale, half eaten Pop-Tart I had left in the car. Karen and the other hikers cheered and praised my hike saying I'd done totally awesome. Karen said she had never taken a first time backpacker on a thirty-five mile hike in the Unitas. Oh and by the way if one looks on there will be a damn ugly green backpack, only used once for sale.
I really did have a pretty good time, it was without a doubt the most physically challenging thing I have ever done. I learn a great deal about myself and adversity, plus like Dad always said, "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!" I was happy with my achievement and looking back to six years ago, with clots in both lungs, who would have thought I would have been able to do what I did? Certainly not me. I have thought a lot about what I learned from this trip. Today, I will contact Dr. Alward, my Pulmonaligist and will have more pulmonary tests done to see to it is really physically possible for me to hike Kilimanjaro. After all I sure don't want to die in Africa at 19,340 feet. Then Kelli would be right they would have to rename the mountain, Mt. Kili-My-Aunt-Lauri!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Change In Plans

A week ago I got a call from Sana, one of the founders of Africa Is Life Changing. The organization has decided for several good reasons, to changed the expedition dates to January and July. What a disappointment for me and I'm sure several others as we were to be leaving in October. For several days I considered bagging the idea, however, first of all I'm not really a quitter, and second it will give me an extra three months to prepare and earn more money to pay for this crusade I've been on. So, I will continue to move forward to fulfill a dream. Besides going in January I won't miss Jeannie's Halloween party, going to Gardiner Village with Tiffany for Witch's Night Out, the scrapbooking weekend in Birdseye with my friends, I'll be home on my 55th B-day, and I won't miss the births of the TWO new additions to our family, (Chad & Kelli's twins). Though I will continue to train to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro I will shift gears a little and not do as much running, my knees will be happier. Now I'm looking at some weight lifting classes and I have joined Curves simply to keep me going so I don't lose interest, but there are days when I wonder if I have lost my mind.
Thanks Tiff for the extra encouragement and reminding me of a poem I gave you years ago, while in college, entitled "Don't Quit!" I will keep plugging along and your right three more months is simply a small speck of time in the big picture of life.
Don't Quit
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you're trudging seems all up hill.
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
and you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with it's twists and turns,
as everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about,
when he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
you may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
the silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
it's when things seem worse,
that you must not quit....Edgar A. Guest

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Every Cloud Has A SILVER Lining

On June 22nd Jeannie had a grand idea to hike to Silver Lake, up American Fork Canyon. I was game along with Lynn, and Buck. The weather was a bit warm so we got an early start at 8am. Jeannie & Lynn had been there before on horses, but had never hiked it a foot. Needless, to say we were in for a pretty good hike. The trail was good, with the exception of a couple of creeks we had to do a balancing act to get across. The area was absolutely beautiful and we could see Timp from the back side. Everything was bright green with several different species of wild flowers that almost looked fake. There was also tons, and I mean tons of large granite boulders, that sparkled in the sun light all the way to the top of the mountain. At about 8500 feet both Jeannie and I started to get a bit of a headache and fatigue. I soon realized it was altitude illness, something that has worried me all along in hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro. After a short rest the four of us kept hiking until we reached the top of the back side of Lone-Peak. What a breath taking sight Silver Lake was, with the snow coming right down to the edges of the water and the reflection of the mountain in the lake. It was a long, steep hike, but well worth it. That old saying every cloud has a silver lining was so true, as we all soon forgot how tired our legs were when we seen Silver Lake. The day was so fun, we seen a couple of moose, caught a couple fish, had a picnic, and tested my water filter. Thanks to Jeannine for suggesting the hike and Buck and Lynn for going with me. Hopefully, I will be more prepared for the 50 mile hike in Africa, thanks to every ones willingness to join the fun.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Sign From Above

Today, even though my legs and back were so stiff and sore from the 5K yesterday, Buck and I hiked to the Cindakut Mine, a six hour hike up Dry Mountain in Santaquin. At the start of the hike I was once again wondering, what I am thinking? However, I decided that once in Africa even if my entire body is sore and says, STOP, I have to keep going. So up the mountain I went. It was such a beautiful day and the wild flowers and the fragrant wild roses were just as beautiful. Each Spring the mountain wild flowers remind me so much of Dad, he loved the mountains and especially loved Indian Paintbrush's, Wild Larkspurs, and those little orange flowers. As I hiked I thought a lot of him, laughed at his little quotes, and cried because he wasn't here to encourage me in my journey. In preparing for my upcoming trip I've often wondered what he would think and would he be supportive of my decisions? Today, as I was hiking the abundance of wild flowers on each ridge seemed to be a sign from Dad. But, the real sign for me was the gracious eagle that soar above me for an hour. This eagle soared in the wind in the crystal blue sky, as if he were sky writing a message to me, a message of encouragement and good luck. I really think Dad would be tickled with my strength and courage so far, and in my mind I can hear him say, "that's is my daughter." Dad always loved bragging about his kids and grandkids to any one who would listen. I'm sure my humanitarian efforts would give him cause to brag. On the other hand, Donny, Steve, & Doug wonder why I want to go to Africa. Doug is convinced I have lost my marbles for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, while Donny is sure I'm going to be eaten by a lion! However, they all three agree that out of the six of us, I probably have the best chance of making it to the Roof of Africa, due to the fact that I inherited Dad's so called "strong bull-headedness." Really, I call it nothing more than a very deep determination, not knowing the meaning of NO, and an attitude of don't tell me I can't do it because I'll prove you wrong..............

What Was I Thinking

"What was I thinking," played over and over again in my mind during and after the Art City Day's 5K run in Springville on May 7, 2008. I have been trying so hard to get into the very best shape I can be in, to go to Africa, including running short distances. So with encouragement from my co-workers Tiff, myself and several other for MVH entered the Art City Fun Run. I really felt good about the race before hand, after all I had finished the Race For A Cure just a few weeks earlier in pretty good fashion. However, Saturday morning brought cold temperatures, rain and wind, not prime weather for runners or Tiff and I. As we prepared to go to the race we both thought we were totally nuts for running in the rain. The minute we got out of the car, I got a little chilled and when the gun fired it all went down hill. Only two blocks into the race I got a pain in my lungs and had to walk a block or so. I tried to regain my stamina and stride, but this poor old out of shape body surely didn't want to cooperate with my, your still young, you can do it mind. I felt so, so bad for Tiff, as I had to keep stopping to power walk. I told her several times to go ahead of me, but she wouldn't. I suppose all those years of "I'll stand by you through thick and thin," Motherly Love, has now turned around into Daughterly Love.
As we rounded the corner Springville High School was insight, as we pushed to the finish line in 39:88, not a great finish by no means, but a finish. I was so upset with my performance, my time, and most of all for letting Tiff down. However, as I think about it I have never in my life been athletic and never before ran any kind of race. So all in all I suppose it wasn't to bad and far better that a year ago, not to mention a total miracle from five years ago when the odds were against menot once, but twice not to even be here. I am not one to wallow in self pity or stew about my failures, but rather move on and just keep telling myself I can succeed. Tiff, is thinking about running the West 5K in July and wanted me to come, I will go, but I want her to run at her speed and my at my slower speed. One thing is for sure between now and then I will be doing a whole lot of running and endurance training. As far as this past race, sorry Tiff, thanks for running and sticking with me, we'll do better next time.

Friday, May 30, 2008


What a gorgeous day for a hike, a bit breezy, but the perfect temperature for hiking. Plus the mountain aroma going up to Timpanogos Cave was so refreshing. Jeannie has agreed to hike a mountain every couple of weeks or so with me so we started with a groomed trail hike. I am hoping by the time I leave for Africa in October, I'll be in great shape and possibly have everyone else in great shape too, just in time for the deer hunt. The morning was just fun and relaxing as we didn't push it up the mountain, but rather we "Pole-Poley," Swahili for "Slow-Slower" up the mountain. The wild flowers were blooming and the smell of pine was like a breathe of fresh spring air. It was simply a really fun morning, plus it is funny how a good hike sure makes you sleep like a rock at night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Getting Closer

Well I just received news on my upcoming trip to Africa and my reservation confirmation to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro....or in Kelli's words, Mt. Kila-My-Aunt-Lauri. Though I don't know the exact date of departure the trip it is set for the third week in October. Oh, boy it is getting closer!!! Sorry Jeannie, it sounds like I will miss the annual Halloween party, maybe you all can dress up like Africans, with a bone in your nose and one in your hair in my honor! The other good news is there are two or three others who also want to climb the mountain, a little moral support would be nice while on the mountain. But if they back out I am still going to give it my best shot. I am working each payday on getting more of the necessities for my trip. I had no idea a good sleeping bag cost $300.00 and hiking boots another $230.00. All I can say is all this money is one more incentive for me to make it to the top!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hiking Y Mountain

All my co-workers, old and young have been curious about how the training is progressing for my up-coming trip to Africa. Many are skeptical about me climbing Mt. Kilimajaro, and many are just asking WHY? So in an effort to have fresh hiking buddies, I have orginaized a Mountain View Hosptial ER/ICU hiking trip each week. Though we had planned to go several times before it seemed like something came up or the weather didn't cooperate. However, today five of us hiked Y Mountain, just for fun. Though I had never been up there before, Karen Boothe had and took the lead. Orville and I brought up the rear, while Jen Thomas actually ran up the mountain. It was a 45 minute hike each way, with an amazing view of the entire county from the top. It was great fun on a beautiful spring day, next week it's either Timp or Sundance.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Save the TAW-TAW'S Has Gone Country!

Save the Taw-Taw's went country, cuz we were Tough Enough To Wear Pink! May 11, 2008 what an inspiring day as several of us ran the 5K Race for a Cure. In trying to get myself in shape for Africa, power walking and jogging has become a ritual 3 to 4 times a week. And in an effort to prove to myself I have the strength mentally and physically I joined the band wagon with Chad, Kelli and Jeannie in running the Breast Cancer 5K. It was so inspiring just to see the amazing support for a cure, that stemmed from one sister's promise to her dying sister to do all she could to find a cure for breast cancer.

We started the race at the Gateway ran 3.2 miles and ended back at the Gateway. I was excited about the race until I got sick the night before, as I vomited all night and got very little sleep. Laying on the couch so tired and nauseated, I thought of all the countless women who go through chemo and are deathly sick for weeks. I gathered myself up put my shoes on and headed for Salt Lake and in the end was so thankful I did. We all pretty much started the race together, but soon ended up in pairs, except for Chad, he took off like a bullet. (Though in his words he had a little help from a very special angel.) Kelli and Heath ran as a pair, Natalie and Tiffany were the middle pair, with Jeannie and I brought up the rear finishing in 42:10, not to bad for a couple of old gals! The best part about being last was everyone was there cheering for us as we crossed the finish line, which brought tears to our eyes. Cheering the loudest for me was Tiff as she ran along with me the last hundred feet, and at the finish line there was Brykn with flowers. My Little Buddy was so cute and seemed so proud as he hugged me and said, "Great Job Mam-Maw.... All I could think at the time was I got the chance to finish, which was a lot more than one in four women get the chance to do, because of breast cancer.

I was focused at the time, but looking back at the entire day, I am humbled by the effects of breast cancer. There was a gentleman in front of us wearing a sign in honor of his wife. The sign read; I run in honor of my STRONG, COURAGEOUS, BEAUTIFUL...WIFE! His wife who was also running was completely bald, very thin, and extremely pale from the chemo.
Then the survivors parade was also very touching, as women from all ages marched in honor or their beating the disease. Though I'm sure some are still not out of the woods. I will never forget the one woman who proudly, and ecstatically jumped up and down as she waved to her family.
I have thought a lot about the power of one woman and I truly needed to do more for humanity. One thing is for sure I will be back next year running proudly with and for not only myself but, my mother, my sisters, my daughter, my future granddaughters, my nieces, and my girlfriends, all running hand in hand and side by side. Not just running, but running for a cure!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Great Family Support

I have been so inspired by all the family support in my quest to reach Africa. I really had no idea how many people would be cheering me on, encouraging and helping me fulfill a dream. I got the nicest card yesterday from Aunt Betty and her family along with $100.00. I have chosen to buy shoes for orphaned children once in Africa, which I am sure will bring a smile to my face, the children's, and Aunt Betty's. From one nurse to another, Thanks A Bunch, I love you guys and I am honored to carry a little piece of you all with me when I go in October.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A "Redneck" Gym

People ask me all the time what gym I go to. My reply is, "The Redneck Gym." Being the thrifty person I am, I am not about to pay to walk or run on a tread mill, lift weights or use all that fancy gym equipment. Nor, do I want to listen all those other out of shape folks huff and puff, moan and groan as they work out. And the last thing I want to do is smell all those sweaty bodies, as most gyms smell like a mens locker room. With all these things in mind I have found my OWN gym, a gym free of charge. I like to walk or run in the outdoors, most often around the Bend Lane, for this country girl it is the best treadmill there is. I also use the exempt railroad tracks to stretch out my legs. I usually go 2-3 miles on the track skipping every other one railraod tie. As far as weights are concerned I simply pick up two heavy rocks, one for each hand and I'll lift them as I walk. I try to hike somewhere that there is a gate, and climb over it ten times, sort of a hillbilly obstacle course. Then again there are a variety of mountains around so I can take my pick as how high I am willing to go each day. The smell of cut grass, fresh rain, and wild flowers sure does beat sweaty bodies. The sights and sounds of my gym are amazing, each day I hear the crickets and frogs in the swamps. The sand hill cranes, geese,and ducks, calling for their mates as they fly off the water. Not to mention the cows bellering for their calves, the horses snorting at me, and the sheep baaing, at what to me sound like "Ba-Ba Black Sheep." There are so many sights to see and enjoy every day. Simple things such as a butterfly flying from flower to flower, a lizard scurrying under a rock, Lily pads drifting in the pond or a herd of deer running up the mountain. Sights and sounds that in this fast pace world are nice to simply take the time and enjoy each day. I suppose only a redneck-country girl would think all this is far better than a state of the art gym, but I say try it you might like it too.....

Saturday, April 12, 2008

If You Go Up, You Gotta Come Down

Hiking is a must to get in good enough shape to go to Africa. Though just thinking about it each weekend can in it's self be tiring. I really enjoy the hiking and the outdoors once I get off the couch. Although as I stand at the bottom of a mountain in the Goshen Valley it really doesn't look that high, but half way up it suddenly looks huge. Though I go up the mountain pretty good, it that coming down that is a little rough. T.J. likes to think of himself as my hiking instructor. He tells me, "just step and go," or "Mom you hike like a girl." Well, I suppose I do, as I take dainty little steps, trying to place my feet just right so I don't tumble to the bottom. T.J. on the other hand goes like crazy up and down the mountain, not paying any attention to where he is stepping. He makes it look sooooo...easy, maybe it is the thirty-five year difference in our ages. However, together we have a great time hiking and talking and giving each other a bad time. For T.J. one of the best things is we usually see a herd or two of deer. I am not sure if he is likes the hiking, or if he is scouting a 'Big Buck" for the fall hunt. Whatever it is it okay, as I suppose we are killing two birds with one stone.
It is funny how life does an about-face. For the past fifteen years T.J. has always brought me back a "PRUDDY" rock from his hunting trips, (of which I still have all of them) now I have guaranteed him I will bring him back a pretty rock from the highest free standing mountain in the world, "The Roof of Africa."

Monday, April 7, 2008

1,2,3 Pull, I'm Getting Better

I've been going to water aerobics for the past seven weeks now, and I really enjoy the class. Tiffany, our instructor is young, fit, has a great shape and is a lot of fun. I try to go early and work a little on my own, either in the pool or on some of the equipment in the PT Department. When I started seven weeks ago just for fun I wanted to see if I could do a pull up using the bar. That night I was only able to do 10 pull-up's before my arms felt like rubber bands. However, tonight I am up to fifty and plan on adding five each time I go, until I am able to do hundred each class. I'm not sure if all this will help my Lunch Lady arms, but I am up to the challenge. After all I might be glad once I start up Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Training Torture

I wouldn't really call training torture, as I have really begun to love the way all this exercise makes me feel. However, I have come to the conclussion there is a difference in the way the mind feels and the way the body feel, especially at the age of 54. There are days my mind is raring to go, and my body is say are you nuts. In my training schedule have tried to add several different aspects of torture. Three days a week I run/walk for 4-7 miles, one day a week I hike up and down the sand hill for 2 hours. Then it's water aerobics two days a week for 1 1/2 hours, and one day a week WE (me and a partner, who ever feels up to it), hike a mountain in the valley. The hiking is fun, but tiring, as it usually encompasses 5-6 hours of noodlely legs. When someone at works asks me why I have lost weight? I tell them what exercise I am doing and they question my sanity. Maybe I have lost it, but it sure makes me feel good. I guess this lesson in life has taught me that age is all relevant. As I will continue to lace up my shoes to hit the pavement, the water, or a mountain. After all how does one run a mile, one stride at a time, how does one climb a mountain, one step at a time!

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Bucket List

In the past five years I have thought a lot about the things I would like to see or do before I "Kick the Bucket." However, I never really thought of writing it down and putting an honest effort towards my list, until we saw the movie "The Bucket List." In the last few months it is very important for me to check each item off my list. As one day I don't want to say to myself, "if only I'd have taken the time, or I wish I had." My "Bucket List" really goes in no order, I'll just check them off as I get to them.

Bucket List

1. See the Green Bay Packers play at Lambeau Field, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, giving a loud cheer for the GREAT Bart Starr.
2. Go the the Kentucky Derby, for the Run for the Roses.
3. Stand in honor at the bottom the Statue of Liberty.
4. Do humanitarian medical mission to Africa. ***Fulfilled mission to Africa with AILC February 2009.
5. Walk/Run a 5K for a good cause. ***HOORAY I did it! May 11 2008 I ran and finished the Race for a Cure 5K for Breast Cancer. I joined the band wagon with Kellie and Jeannie in honor of Judy Taylor, Lari Downs, Jane Jex and countless others. It was so inspiring and I finished the race in 42:10 not bad for an "old lady"
6. Catch a Blue Marlin off the coast of California.
7. Fly with a Medical Helicopter service *** After giving up my dream of flying with a Medi-Vac unit during the Vietnam War, I was able to fly with Air-Med three different times, it was totally AWESOME!
8. Restore an old car preferably a 1955-56 Mustang
9. Continue to live my life, so as when my name is mentioned people think of kindness, compassion, integrity, fun loving, hard working, and creative.
10. Visit all 50 states as adult *** Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, California, Arizona, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, Missouri, Washington D.C. Alaska, (15 down, 35 to go)
11. Attend the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.
12. Inspire someone to go beyond what they ever thought they possibly could. *** Hopefully, I inspired someone out there, after I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro!!!
13. Honor my heritage by passing it on to future generations*** ( My scrapbooks have been done on my maternal side, a book on my Mom's life, I am starting my fraternal side soon.)
14. Make it known to everyone I meet, that my deepest love, my best friends, and my greatest contribution to the world have always been and will always be my children.

15. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, after all it's only a mountain. ***YES, YES, YES!!!! I did it January 28, 2009. Yes, it is only a mountain, but one hell of a long hard hike!!!

16. Go Parachuting on my 60th B.-Day.

17. See Disney World through the eyes of children, my grandchildren.

18. Make a profound difference in someones life. *** Several years ago I was able to arrange to have a Hispanic child's "Crossed Eyes" surgically repaired. The surgery was done free of charge to the parents thanks several who happyly accepted my request and choose to get involved. The surgery and all the efforts including my own were broadcast on Channel 2 with myself and Dr. Linton speaking. Six weeks after the surgery, Edwardo Garica could see things he had never been able to focus on before. His overall health improved greatly and today Edwardo Garcia is a 13 year old, doing very well and has perfect 20/20 vision and loves to read.

19. Tour Europe, seeing Switzerland, Greenland, England and more!

20. Take a photography class.. Something I have always been interested in.

*** (done or somewhat complete)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Great News

In the past three years I have had my blood drawn each month to track how my Auto Immune Hepatitis is doing. I have pretty much gotten use to elevated levels, and don't pay to much attention to the results. My philosophy is what will be, will be.... and just live life to the fullest. However, on the 22 of March I got GREAT NEWS, all levels were completely normal! This is something I haven't seen in three years. Why, even my liver enzymes were in the low-normal range. The Hepatitis Panel still shows the Auto Immune, but at much less than in the past three years. Hooray, it is still in remission. SOOOOO.....that means I am going to keep training and giving the 5K in May and Africa in October all I have. The best part is I have the support of all my family, as everyone seems as excited as I am, or maybe they are just pacifying me. Either way I am thrilled everyone is supporting me in this life changing journey.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Mentor

After all these years of wanting to do a humanitarian mission of some sort, but not knowing where to begin, it was Karen Boothe, an EMT at MV Hospital, who pointed me in the right direction. Karen, who has been to Africa on four missions has been so helpful and sort of a mentor for me. Karen who was born in Australia, went to boarding school in New Zealand and college in Hawaii has seen the world on many occasions. Karen, has also done several "Iron Man" competitions, need less to say she is in great shape. She is also sharing a huge amount of knowledge with me about the mission plus, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, which she has done twice. With her advice in preparing I, and a partner most often Buck, and last weekend Tiff, are climbing a mountain around Goshen once a week. I can now go like hell up the mountain, but I walk like an old lady coming down. Buck keeps telling me I can't just hike to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro and then call him to come get me down, so I'll keep at it. Hiking is something I have found a new love for and I really enjoy it, although I not sure if my poor partners love it.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Just a few days ago I received a phone call from Sana, one of the directors of Africa Is Life Changing, I am the first team member chosen for the October 2008 expedition to Africa. It is not yet known, however, if we will go to Kenya or Tanzania. I am thrilled and honored to chosen and will continue to walk, hike, and run to get in the best shape I can be this upcoming for trip. It's hard to believe, me, Lauri Wall a nurse at MVH headed for Africa. YE-HAW, YE-HAW!!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Application

Africa is Life Changing is the non-profit organization that I am hoping to be accepted as a team member for a mission in October of 2008. The organization is a team of 15-30 women of all ages and education and professions. The team goes to Kenya to aid women and children with HIV and other health issues. When I was first told of the organization, by co-worker Karen Boothe, I knew I would fit in with the groups thinking and mission statement. I promptly, with the help of my personal writer ( Tiffany) sent my application in. Along with some personal information this is what we wrote.
The skills, talents, and hobbies that encompass my life are, thirty-four years nursing experience in many different aspects of nursing. Currently and for the past eighteen years an ER nurse. I am ACLS, PALS, and BLS Certified, as well as CCRN Level 2. Have taken classes to be a Certified Diabetic Instructor. I am an excellent seamstress, novice quilter, crocheter and needle worker. Avid scrap-booker, as well as a novice genealogist. I especially love to shop, (til I drop with my daughter.) Have "Grandma Days" with my Lil' Buddy, and go 4-wheeling with my son. I enjoy gardening, hiking, camping, fishing, and spending time with family. I love kids, the elderly and am very much a people person.

The reason I want to go to Africa: As a little girl, I dreamed of being a nurse I was amazed at every aspect of the profession--from the stark white uniforms and crisp caps, to the prospect of "healing the unhealable." As I grew older, my fascination with nurses and my desire to be one didn't wane. And, after a lot of hard work and dedication, my dreams of becoming a nurse were a reality. That was thirty-four years ago. Thirty-four years ago, I promised to do everything I could to help those who were sick, listen to family members who were concerned, and devote my professional life to helping others. And, while I quickly learned sometimes there is no such thing as "healing the unhealable," I also learned I found great satisfaction in caring for and about others. Over the past thirty-four years I have learned so much. But, through it all, probably the most important lesson I have learned is there are two types of caring--caring for the human body, and caring for the human spirit. I have a passion for and am committed to both.

Going on a humanitarian expedition is something I have always dreamed of doing. I truly want to make a difference in the lives of others and I know that being a member of your elite team is something that will be life changing. I want to experience it all, from helping with illnesses, to teaching young mothers, assisting women of all ages, to help build or repair homes and schools. Every aspect of this journey is something I want to be a part of.

I encourage you to accept me into your volunteer organization. My talents are broad and my desire to be part of your you mission is strong. I am not afraid of hard work, and I certainly don't complain when there is hard work to be done. Your organization will not be sorry if you should chose me as a member of your team. I know that if given this opportunity, I will give 100% of myself to this mission and it's goals. Even better, I know that if I am chose, I will cherish this opportunity forever.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The First Leg of my Journey

From the time I was twelve, I knew I wanted to be a nurse, an ER Nurse. Over the past thirty-four years there have also been other professional goals I have wanted to experience. Though I have experienced all aspects of the poem titled "Being a Nurse" in a prior blog, there has been one aspect of my career I had not yet experienced. That being able to do a humanitarian mission. For several years I thought possibly this goal would not be obtainable, then this past January, MVH hired some new EMT's to work in the ER. One of those EMT's just happened to be Karen Boothe, from Salem. On a swing shift several weeks ago she began talking about the four humanitarian missions she had gone to Africa on. After speaking with her, watching the video of one of her trips, I was hooked and determined to go to Africa. First to help, second to fulfill a dream. Next step contact Africa Is Life Changing for acceptance.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Being a Nurse

You will never be bored.

You will always be frustrated.

You will be surrounded by challenges.

So much to do and so little time to do it all.

You will carry immense responsibility and very little authority.

You will step into people's lives and you will make a difference.

Some will bless you,...some will curse you.

You will see people at their worst; and at their best.

You will never cease to be amazed at others capacity for love, courage and endurance.

You will see life begin........and you will see it end.

You will experience resounding triumphs and devastating failures.

You will cry a lot and you will laugh a lot.

You will know what it is to be human, and what it is to be humane.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Year Ago

What a difference a year makes. A year ago as I was leaving work after a long and demanding shift, I was extremely exhausted as I drug myself to the time clock. I remember saying to myself, "Something has got to change!" With tears streaming down my face, I repeated this phrase out loud over and over again. It was that night I chose not to throw in the towel, or my stethoscope so to speak, but to take control of what I could in my life. I joined Weight Watchers, and have since lost 70 pounds. Though it has taken me a long ten months, I feel better than I have in years. In the past five years I have dealt with several health issues,and I never know when my Auto Immune Hepatitis will come out of remission. That means I plan to give life everything I can. For me that means that my "Bucket List" is going to get a lot of my spare time. I am going to go like hell for as long as I can and not live in self pity, First on my list was to lose weight, only 20 more pounds to go, then run/walk a 5K, as Brykn says "RUN, RUN, RUN Mam-maw! Then it is off to Africa on a humanitarian mission for three weeks, plus giving it all I have to try to climb Mount Kilimanjaro!