Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Amazing Temple Friends & The Lessons They've Taught

For the past 2  years and 2 months, I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve as a temple worker. It is rewarding just to be there consistently and feel of the spirit and know of God's love for us and the work that take place in the temple. Amazing!!!

I know I use this picture a lot, but it's a favorite!!!

One of the best parts is getting to know the incredible people there. We are divided up in groups of workers and I can honestly tell you that the people I work with are such great people and amazing examples. I can truly call them friends and have created friendships that will be lifelong. Some are no longer in my group, others have moved, but the impact they have made can still be felt. I learn so much from these amazing people. I wanted to share with you some of the things these incredible workers have taught me. These are not all through words, but by actions and examples as well.


It is amazing to me how much time these wonderful men and women dedicate to serving. I wish I could do as much as they do. Many of these workers not only work their weekly shift, but will substitute for others on their days and times off and still make time for their own personal temple worship. One lady shared that she and her husband go to the temple for a session one day, do initiatories one day, and work one day. Though I cannot dedicate as much time as they do, I have learned what true, dedicated service looks like and have a resolve to serve that way when I can.


One week, I was put as the sister in the session who is at the front of the room. As we entered the room, I realized that the man at the front of the room, was the husband of the sister. They are one of the cutest couples ever! That day, they were celebrating their anniversary. As soon as she walked in and saw him up front, she and I exchanged glances and we switched spots. The little looks they gave each other and the smiles show true and eternal love. I've watched this couple a few times and then genuine concern they show when one is sick, the joy they find in being with each other and the true happiness that have in their marriage. Just a few lessons from them.


My group coordinator has been so supportive of me, especially the past couple months. She was talking to me a few weeks ago and mentioned that couldn't imagine going through what I was going through. Here is a woman who has had two surgeries in the past year and yet she thinks my lot is hard. At one point she told me that "He must have something incredible for me" coming because of this trial. I gave her my hopefully sign and didn't think much of it. She said it again this week, except this time she said that she knew he had something incredible for me. She continued to show how, even though I can't do a ton at the temple, what I can do and have done has been perfect. A new position had been created (that works with my trial) and I have been able to train many people on the position. She has taught me faith and hope and the importance of instilling that in others, even when our life isn't ideal.


I have so many favorites right now at the temple. They are wonderful. One of my favorites is a cute lady who is happy and goofy and fun. She has told me that she doesn't always feel like she can do the position she has been called to, but she still does it and does it and does it fantastically, I might add. She does it with a smile on her face and a joke or two. She constantly has such a positive attitude and great disposition. I have learned from her, that no matter how inadequate we feel, the Lord qualifies those he calls. Also, the power of positivity and the influence it has on those around you.


There was one day where a good friend and I were asked to stay late and help the next group with a session because they had a few people not show up. We both said we would. Before heading in to the session, they gave us a brief break, so we headed down to the cafeteria. As we sat down there, we talked about life and although I don't remember the exact particulars of our conversation, what I do remember is how what she said was exactly what I needed to hear and help me as we went in to the session to really focus on the peace that can be obtained in the temple.


I had the awesome opportunity to train a girl, who became an instant friend. She was so sweet, kind and full of charity and love. I wanted to be like her in so many ways and am so blessed that we got to spend so much time together.


My group was blessed to have many younger workers helping out. Some of them were married and some were single. Each brings or brought their own special feel to our group. Most of them are/were students and are/were working as well. I've learned from these great friends the art of balance. Life is busy as a young adult (married or single), but making time for the temple is truly the greatest help to make sure that you are putting the Lord first. These friends (because all of them have become friends to me) showed me this time and time again. Thank you all!


It's been hard saying goodbye to some of these wonderful workers. When the Brigham City temple was built and dedicated, some of our workers lived in those boundaries, so they were no longer able to serve on our group. That was a hard day. Others have moved for jobs or missions. Some have changed groups. You get to know these wonderful people who become an important part of your life, and then they are gone. Thank goodness there are still ways to keep in contact. I cannot begin to tell you the impact each of these incredible people have had on me.


I wish I could list all of the names and lessons that I have learned from my temple friends (including the patrons who become like part of your family), but that would make this long post even longer. Just know, if you are reading this right now and you are one them, you mean the world to me and I miss you if you are gone. If you are still there, I am grateful and glad for that. Know that I love you all and treasure the lessons and spirit and kindness and love that you have brought in to my life.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vocal Therapy Q&A

Let me start of by saying "I Know!". I feel it too. It seems like all I write or blog about is my voice, or lack thereof, and the joys of getting it back. Maybe it is because my life is so completely boring that it is the only thing going on. Nope. Not that. It is because it plays such a huge role in my life and is probably one of the most important things to get figured out. Many people have asked me questions. Writing is my way to explain what exactly is going on and answer questions. Plus, it is easier for me to write the answers to the questions that I am getting asked than to say them. That would take an entire week or more at this point. I started therapy this past week. Some of the questions I have been asked are: What exactly is  wrong? What is vocal therapy? What does it consist of? How long will it take? Where is it at? What can you do for it? Of course, I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I want to focus on.

What exactly is wrong?

As I stated in a previous post, I have been diagnosed with Muscle Tension Dysphonia. There are some different causes of the condition. It is basically a vocal injury. When a runner sprains his or her ankle, and keeps running on it, the damage becomes worse. That is what has happened with the vocal cords. There were injured and I kept talking, which made this worse. Basically it means I cannot talk. I could whisper, but have been told not too. It's not that I don't try either. The voice just doesn't exist. It is a completely curable condition, but it requires therapy.

What is vocal therapy?

Vocal therapy is like physical therapy, except through speech and noises. The therapy serves the purpose of helping one to regain their voice using proper speech methods and avoiding further damage and injury.

What does it consist of?

Good question! I had no clue what to expect when I got there. We started with some massages and stretches to help relieve the tension. We also worked on proper breathing techniques. Then I was asked to start making noises and forming words. The main difference in the speaking is the technique. I am learning how to speak from my diaphragm, rather than how I've been doing it all along. To make it work, my breathing has to be controlled and steady. I have used straws and sighs to get that going. We started on "M" words, like mark, mild, meek, map, men, etc. The next session we work on those words again, but added another syllable so it would be words like money, market, machine, mango, matchbox, etc. The next session I was chanting a little and speaking in small simple sentences, though not very well at all. I still have a long way to go. I also did buzzes and trills with my lips. All of this is coming from the diaphragm.

My diaphragm is not used to working this much and it has affected my stomach. The second day of therapy was hard because my stomach was having issues and not thrilled at all.

How long will it take?

The honest answer is I really don't know. The first week was three sessions. Next week will be three sessions as well. After that, I'm not sure. She (the therapist) did say it could take longer if my stomach has issues, because it takes more time and effort to get words out of me. It could be a couple weeks or months. I wish I knew exactly, but I really don't.

Where is it at?

My therapy is taking place on the campus of the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake. They have a special clinic there. There is not a vocal specialist where I live or where my parents are, so the decision of where to do therapy was an easy one. It has been nice because I have family and friends down there that I can stay with overnight, which allows me not to have to drive back and forth every day.

What can be done for it?

The biggest thing is therapy. That is going to be the biggest help. Through therapy, I have been given assignments, exercises, stretches and massages to help me regain the voice more efficiently. As I write this, I have a heat pack around my neck to loosen the muscles and release tension. Then I will start with my breathing exercises, using the diaphragm. After the breathing, I will do some stretches and massages to loosen the area. Then I will start making noises and work on my lists of words to learn to say. I'll start with one-syllable words, then two-syllable words, and then I will work on the short sentences and chants, if my voice is not too tired by then. To end, I will stretch and massage the throat area. Then I will do the arm and back stretches to release the tension in those areas as well. It will come back with time.

First, I want to apologize to those who it seem that I have ignored or not given the attention you deserve. It has been difficult to be social or to want to communicate with others, when I am so limited. Also, I want to thank you all for your patience with me. It is so evident to me how difficult it is for others to deal with this. . Thank you for your continued support and prayers. Both are truly needed and felt. One day, I will get to be social again and it will be grand! I look forward to that and paying forward the love and prayers that I have received.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Life is Like A Movie

While driving home from Girl's Camp, a few leaders, a girl and I had some pretty fun conversations. A question was asked and I shared a story or two or five with them. It was actually probably only one or two, but the five got you more interested. Admit it! Ha Ha. Anyway, after sharing a story, someone spoke up and said something to the affect of not to step on your hurt or anything, but your life sounds like a movie. She went on to explain that it sounded like a specific one, but she could not remember the name of it. I got a good laugh out of that and life went on.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in Sunday School (shortly after my diagnosis) and one of my friends was talking to me and I was writing responses. She told me I was like Ariel on The Little Mermaid. It made me chuckle. Even more humorous was later that day, I was with some friends and once again, my life was compared to The Little Mermaid. This time they said that Ursula had stolen my voice and I needed to practice my body language and find my Prince Eric, then my voice would come back beautifully. This made me laugh. Two Little Mermaid references in one day. Seriously! What could be better?

(Photo Courtesy of

In some ways, I can see my life as a movie and in other ways, I think that it if it is a movie, it is the most boring movie ever. Yet, it got me thinking, if my life really were a movie, what genre would it be. A comedy? An animated film? A tragedy? A drama? An action? What? Okay, so maybe not an action because there is no high-speed chases with fighting and guns and such, but that's beside the point.

It wouldn't be so bad having a life like a movie. In a hour and a half, there is usually some sort of problem, a conflict, a resolution and a happily ever after, though not true in all films. I could completely handle that if my trials only last that long. I understand that movies only last that long, but are made to span days, weeks, or months at a time and this is just my wishful thinking.

Not sure why, but I had a dream one night. It was not the normal dream that is foggy when you wake up. I remember it so vividly that it truly could be a movie and I would be the star. What did it have to deal with, you ask? Well, how about a Disney Princesses Party, where one princess kidnaps a party guest, while another guest searches and seeks to find the kidnapping victim. It was kind of intense and strange at the same time. It really showed me what life could be like if I lived in a movie. Kind of strange, but kind of exciting too!

I chalk this dream up, in part, to a conversation that had happened earlier that day about what Disney Princess one would be and why. All the girls questioned answered Ariel. Hhhhmmmm....... I thought that was me. Ha Ha. Not sure why all of the other parts came up though.

Maybe this is a sign that I should start scripting my life and create a movie from that. I could make it however I wanted, because I would be the writer, the director, and the lead (who else could play me but me). Maybe not the lead, I'm really not that great of an actress, I promise. What would I want put in my movie? Where would the plot take you? What areas of my life would I focus on? Where would it be filmed?

Now I can't help think about it everywhere and anywhere I go. What movie would this relate to? Which movie is this situation like? In fact something happened just the other that I had heard about in TV shows or movies, that I thought never really happened in real life. It was actually quite interesting, somewhat funny, and completely unexpected. My face may have been priceless. Yet, I am so naïve that I had no idea how to properly respond to the situation. No regrets right? Just hopes! Some scenes in my life really are like a movie.

Guess I should just keeping living my life one day and a time and letting it turn into the movie that it wants to be. Maybe from there, more intriguing story lines and situations would come up and there would be more adventures to add. My life may be like a movie. It may appear to be like The Little Mermaid right now. All and all though, having a life like a movie sure keeps things interesting.

So here is some interesting questions. 1) What movie is your life most like? 2) What movie would you say my life is most like? I am kind of, wait, really interested in your responses. :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Whitney's Whisperings:Part II (Or Non-Whisperings Now)

This is a continuation of the previous post, because let's face it, some crazy stuff has happened since then and I'm sure you are all on the edge of you seat wanting to know more about my wacky world. With that said, let's begin.


Yup. That's right. I finally have a diagnose. I have Muscle Tension Dysphonia. The Padres (who are so amazing) came down for the appointment. It was nice to have them there. After multiple stretches, massages and me attempting to make noise and say words (which at one point actually came out semi-normal), along with the stroboscopy, I was given the diagnosis and the treatment plan. Therapy. I will be going to Salt Lake for that and am hoping to start it very soon. The voice will come back. I have to admit, I laughed during the appointment because I could not even fathom the idea of being able to make the noises and sounds. One time, I even laughed at what she was having me say. Oops!

I was also told in the appointment that I am no longer supposed to talk or whisper (which is why I added the "non-whisperings" to the title). Instead, I now carry around a whiteboard or notebook, depending on where I am. Do you know how hard that is? Try it out some time. Go for a couple hours without talking or whispering and writing all your thoughts on a whiteboard or in a notebook. I never realized how much I took my voice for granted.


I started working at the Logan temple in June of 2011. It has been a wonderful blessing in my life and I have met so many wonderful people through it. I cannot even begin to explain how going there and working after a rough weeks, seems to make life a little better. The ladies I work with or have worked with are amazing. They are such great examples to me.

When I got called, I was told it was a 2-year calling. So June came and went, and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to keep going or not, because no one had said anything. I kept going though. Last week, right after being told I cannot talk, I was asked to go speak with a member of the temple presidency. I was a little nervous that it was going to end because of the voice. However, the re-issued my call for another 2 years! So excited! I could not survive with the wonderful people and experiences.


No, I'm not moving apartments. I'm just switching rooms. My roommate bought a house and moved out this week. Up until a few weeks ago, I had someone who was going to move in and was wanting to move in. What a relief. However, my neighbor came over one day and told me that the girl who was going to move in just had gotten engaged which meant that she wasn't going to move in. Aaahhhh!!!!! Throughout this week, as my roommate packed up her stuff, it started to sink in that I was going to be all alone in the apartment. We cleaned out everything. The pantry, fridge and freezer and pretty bare. Guess I really don't buy that much food.

While I was helping her yesterday, I had a thought to text one of my old roommates. Everything worked out and she will be moving in with me later this month. Thank goodness! I like being alone, don't get me wrong, but having someone there to share the bills, for company when needed, and more is a huge blessing.


A little while ago, my computer broke. It has not been easy trying to communicate with people without one. I can't talk for goodness sakes. Now I can't write emails or use Facebook or update my blog, because my computer is dead. Needless to say, it meant that I had to go and buy a computer. I struggled with this because: 1. I don't like to spend money. 2. I could not communicate with the people at the stores to ask questions. 3. By the end of the day, I had no motivation.4. Did I mention I don't like to spend money.

I enlisted a friend and wrote out a few questions that I had for the store. I entered that store armed with my friend, a notebook, a pen, a whiteboard, and a marker, but it was still hard. We were able to get everything communicated and in the end, I got the computer that I wanted and not the one they were trying to sell me. Go me! I arranged for them to transfer data and install a few things. Apparently, that was an issue. I got a call saying it was ready but that they would have a 10 minute install to do when I was there. I got there and 1 hour 40 minutes later, I walked out of the store with my new computer. Wow! What a long wait!


I have the best Visiting Teacher in the world. She has become a very dear friend to me and am so grateful for everything she does. She has texted me a few times since my diagnosis. One time, she invited me over to her place to watch a movie and eat treats so I could do something fun, without using my voice. And we got to wear our pajamas! Before I went over that night, she texted me and said she was going to the store and asked if there was anything that I needed. What an angel! She is so fun to be around. It was a good time! Bet you wish you had a visiting teacher like mine!


Last Sunday marked the 2 month mark of not having a voice. Hard day? You betcha! It is so strange to be driving in car with someone as a passenger and not be able to carry on a conversation because you can not write while driving. I've discovered some people are really good at reading lips. Throughout all of this, I've been reminded a couple times that this is a time for me to let people serve and for people to learn service. I'm kind of prideful and don't let people serve me very often because I think that I am able to do everything. In a blessing I was told that I have had my time to serve and help others and have made that a priority. Now, it is a time for me to ask for and accept service. That's hard! But I'm trying. When people ask what they can do to help me, I take them seriously.


I worked at day care facility for a while. One of my favorite classes to be in was the After-School/Summer Kids program. These were school-aged kids and it was a blast to play with them and watch them grow. We would award them points for good things that they did. Once a month, we would have a Treasure Box day, where the kids could use those points to buy prizes. I decided to use that idea with my Young Women.

Throughout the month of July, they were asked to work on their Personal Progress. On the night of mutual, they talked with the leaders about what they had done and what they had learned. They were given tickets based on how much they had done. At the end of the night, they were able to use those tickets to buy some really fun stuff. It turned out really well and got the girls excited to do their Personal Progress. We even have one who is really close to finishing now.

This ends this installment of Whitney's Whisperings, or lack thereof. :) Thanks for reading and in a way, communicating with me. Love "talking" to you all like this. :D