Friday, June 26, 2015


I've been going to physical therapy twice a week for a while now, and each time I go, I have the privilege of catching glimpses of other peoples' stories. I see patients come into physical therapy with one leg, others shaking all over, many limping. I do not have a cast and my pain isn't very visible, but it is there. However, seeing and talking with the patients that come into physical therapy helps me to be more grateful. I have two legs that work, two eyes that see, a heart that beats. There are so many patients that I see coming into the Clinic for much more serious problems than mine.

I think in many different aspects of our lives, we forget to be grateful. In a world where we are told that what we have is not enough, it can be difficult to feel content with what we have and who we are. As a missionary, I realized how little I really needed to be happy. I didn't have a smartphone, I never went on the internet except to email my family once a week--we used beat up maps and an old phone to get around and contact people. And it was one of the happiest times of my life.

Irene--a woman we taught in Zoetermeer. 

My progress is slow, but it is still progress. Looking back to when I first came home, even, I see a big change.

I remember in high school, I was working on a big watercolor painting of a poppy. I was working on the finishing touches to make sure it was just right. My art teacher kept coming by and telling me that I was done with my painting and that it looked great, but I kept telling her that I had something else to fix still. Finally, she said "Nikki, go to the other side of the room and close your eyes." A little surprised, I did as she said. Then she told me to open my eyes. I saw my art teacher holding up a beautiful and finished painting. That experience has taught me so many lessons, and one of them is to take the time to step back and appreciate what you do have instead of always focusing on our own imperfections which we know so well.

Friday, June 19, 2015


First off, as far as medical updates go, there isn't too much to report--there is slow and steady progress, which can test one's patience a bit, but it is definitely better than no progress. We are still looking at different treatments and I'm working on my exercises and using my TENS unit each day.

Enough is a funny word--my whole life I've wondered if I did enough. Did I study enough, practice enough, try hard enough? Am I doing enough now?

A thought came to mind the other night--when is anything that we ever do truly enough? Aren't we all imperfect? There is always something we could've done better, so how can we feel at peace with the things we have done?

I had an experience on my mission that helped me feel 'enough.' It was when I was on bedrest, and I felt pretty useless. I was supposed to be helping others come closer to God, something of eternal importance, and instead I was laying on a bed. I was praying one night about how I was feeling, and a thought came--I may never be fully satisfied with what I do, but I can be fully satisfied with what the Savior can do through me.

We will always find something about ourselves or what we've done that isn't enough. We see pictures in magazines and people around us that seem to be and do 'enough.' We too often compare our worst to others' best and come to the conclusion that we are just not enough. But who's opinion of us really matters? Your followers on instagram? Or maybe the One who created you, the One who knows everything about you and loves you no matter what.

We can and are made enough through Jesus Christ; that was the plan all along. God knew that we wouldn't be enough without Him--we are imperfect people trying to return Home to live with a perfect Being. We need to be saved--and wonderfully enough there is a Savior reaching His hands out to you right now. All you need to do is take His hand. Trust Him. Work with Him. Let yourself feel how much He loves you. With Him, you are enough.

Friday, June 12, 2015


This week I started using a TENS unit, which sends little pulses wherever I put the four little patches that connect to this nice little box. It feels like a tingly vibration--and the idea is that it helps retrain the muscles and prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. Thus the title "a shock."

I think "shock" is a good word to describe a lot of the experiences I've had the past few months. I always knew that God had a specific plan for me in mind, but I have been suprised to find out the more recent parts of that plan.

I think we all are a bit shocked at different twists and turns that come into our lives. The thing is that without those twists and turns, we wouldn't learn and grow. And that's the whole point of this life--that's what I spent each day of my mission teaching people--that God has a plan for us, that trials are meant to help us learn and grow, and that He loves us and knows what's best, even if we can't understand the reasons behind the trials in our lives.

One tendency I have in trials (also just in general) is to feel guilty. In this case, I have struggled with feeling guilty that I couldn't get better faster. I felt guilty for not being able to work very much, for holding my companions back, and for going home--for not being strong enough. But looking back, all of this has helped make me stronger--not physically, but spiritually. It has brought me closer to Jesus Christ, who knows how each and every kind of pain feels. Every muscle spasm. Every headache. Every tinge of guilt. Every shock.

Friday, June 5, 2015


First of all, I want to give a big shoutout to my superwoman of a mother. She has come with me to just about all of my doctor appointments--she is, as many of you know, a wonderful human being. We all just want our moms when we are injured or sick, and I am grateful to be with her as I recover.

This week marks the second week of physical therapy. I was warned that it would get worse before it got better, and that's been true so far. We're working on muscles that haven't been working properly for about 5 months, so they're pretty sore. My physical therapist said that I "jammed up my left side pretty good," so we are focusing on my shoulder area on my left side as well as my neck and lower back.

The muscles we are focusing on right now aren't the "showy" muscles (muscles people usually see, i.e. six pack muslces). We're working on deeper stabilizing muscles.

Sometimes I wonder if we are focusing on our "showy" muscles--the things that others can see-- or our deeper stabilizing muscles--the things that truly matter. Are we focused on living a life that looks good or living a good life?

I think that we all should do ourselves a favor and stop worrying so much about what our "showy muscles" may look like, and instead, focus on our "core". Focus on what matters most. I love this quote from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf (a leader from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints):