I am impressed with people who have gone through tragic events which have left them disfigured in some way and who still manage to keep optimism and a positive outlook in life! I can somewhat identify with the prospect of being permanently disfigured because at one time I thought I would be disfigured for life! About 8 years ago, Greg and I were invited to go on an ATV outing with some friends to Little Sahara, located in the Sevier Desert in Western Utah. I had never been on an ATV before, but was excited to learn! We spent the first night riding around the camp slowly in a group. I enjoyed doing that and looked forward to the next day of riding in a more extensive area. The scenery was stark and beautiful at the same time, with sand dunes fanning out as far as I could see! First thing in the morning, a group was rounded up to go out and I was assigned a helmet and a big monstrosity of a vehicle. I hurriedly put on the helmet, got on my ATV and took off. I was a little tentative, being that it was my first ride out of camp and the speed was definitely faster than the night before. I found myself trying to catch up with the rest of the group. Then, they totally disappeared over a big sand dune. Not wanting to be left behind and be lost, I revved up the engine and started straight toward the large sand dune, thinking that the more speed I acquired the better chance I'd have to get over the hill. Faulty thinking on my part. Apparently, I didn't catch the steep incline right and the speed must have been waaaay too fast because I hit the rise of the dune and it lurched me forward onto the steel steering shaft. I would have been OK, if my helmet hadn't gone flying off before my face hit it. I felt a violent, sharp shooting pain and I knew that I was in trouble. I started crying and screaming in pain, and frankly, I don't know what I said or did from that time on until I was being taken in the car to the hospital and I really don't feel that I can be responsible! I know that some time after the accident a friend who was there asked me, "Did you really mean those things you said?" I told her that I did, but after considering my state of mind and my level of coherence, maybe I said some things that were uncharacteristic of myself! I just don't know.... Suffice it to say, my nose was trashed--split wide open and pretty much shattered. I remember being looked at after arriving at the hospital in Nephi, which was 100 miles away and they just said they couldn't do anything for me. They called ahead to Provo to notify the plastic surgeon on call that I would be coming in. When I was rolled into Provo, I remember that it was Dr. Hershie, who I later found out was the premier plastic surgeon in the area. As was his custom before any operation, he said a prayer over me to bless me and him as we entered into the surgery to repair my annihilated nose. He did one other thing for me--he put 3 or 4 long Q-Tips saturated with a liquid I wasn't familiar with into the wound where my nose used to be. Pretty soon, I started feeling really, really calm, even peaceful, yes, even transcendentally happy. I asked what in the world he had given me to make me feel so wonderful when only a few minutes before I had felt so distraught and in pain. He informed me that he had just given me liquid LSD! Crikey! So that's why people get hooked on drugs! Wow! Don't get me wrong, I'd never be a junkie, but to feel like that just once, at that particular time, was a gift! And so, I got through my initial nose repair. I went through one more surgery and I felt that no matter how many surgeries I had, I'd always look like a freak. I wondered how I would relate to people, how I would be able to socialize, how other people would perceive me as someone with a severely disfigured face. Fortunately, Dr. Hershie worked his magic and along with a beautiful priesthood blessing I received at the hands of my home teacher wherein I was promised that no one would be able to tell I had ever been in an accident, I never had to live the life of a person with a disfigurement. But there are those people who do and I am so amazed and in awe of them! For instance there is a woman who many people know about and who personifies the essence of inner beauty and strength--her name is NieNie! Have you heard of her? She's pretty famous around these parts. She and her husband are plane crash survivors. She is very generous and shares her story with everyone who cares to know on her blog. She teaches us all a lot about true love, family, what really matters and beauty on the inside! And I found a story that touched me so much about a 12-year-old boy from the Ukraine who was in his small home when an oil heater exploded. It killed both of his parents and left him with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 75 percent of his body. He probably should have died. But he survived. And today, he is here in the U.S. and adopted by wonderful parents and a joy to all who know him. He is so grateful. He was able to get new eyelids, a new nose and fingers from what were once his toes. Both of these stories are such great examples of the triumph of the human spirit. My hat goes off to them and I will continue to thank God for the many blessings I receive each and every day and try to be more service-oriented and compassionate to those around me.
I happened to see the opening ceremony of the NBA Finals Game in Miami, FL. It piqued my interest about who was singing the National Anthem. It was Marc Anthony, commonly known as Mr. JLo, Jennifer Lopez's husband with whom she has twins! I was absolutely blown away by his singing and his stage presence. So here is a peek for you! You agree with my critique, yes?