Welcome to the Family Life and Friendship Network (FLFN), a community website for families and friends, hosted by Stout Hosting LLC. Registered members can post pages and blog for free. Members can also post content and make it only visible to other registered members of the same family or friendship group.
Navigate this site with the menu at the left, or click the title of a recent blog listed below. You can also visit my new gallery for some great pictures.
I posted this on Facebook a long time ago, and now I'd like to add it to my blog:
This is probably my favorite scene in all the Star Trek movies and episodes. It's in Star Trek Insurrection. Picard spends his life traveling billions of miles to find meaning in the Universe. He's talking to Anij, a woman who has spent hundreds of years in one spot, finding meaning only there, and in small moments of time:
Let’s rewind life a little. Let the days turn into weeks, months, then years. In 1985-86, I was in seventh grade. Chrystal was in fourth. I didn’t meet her yet. She and my sister became friends then. Fast forward to a few years. Six years. I was graduating high school, and Chrystal was in 9th grade. I wanted the translation of El Shaddai for my mission farewell, and I knew 9th grade seminary teacher Brother Brown could translate it. I showed up after school to Brother Browns tiny little office.
Last year was an amazing year, and a difficult year. I learned a lot, and gained a lot, and fortunately, lost little. Early in the year I took a little break from dating. 2010 was my first full year without Julie. My grief was still fresh and new as the year began. Dating sometimes helped me with the idea of moving on, but it also reminded me of how much I hated dating, and how much I was thankful to Julie for saving me from it. In March, I went to the first LDS Widows and Widowers conference.
Friends and family,
I’m excited to announce that I’m finally headed toward the degree I’ve aspired for all my life in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), and I’m a year ahead of schedule! My plans were to work a lot and earn a lot to prepare for the next year. While working, I planned to do these things:
Argosy University has an MFT program, and that they don’t require the GRE because they are not research oriented like USU and BYU are. I found these things out the weekend before the new semester started, went in the first day and set a new record for fastest applicant by getting the entire process done in one day. Now finally, after losing my greatest dream to serve my wife all my life, I’m on my way to accomplishing my next-greatest dream. Very soon, I'll be helping other people and families like I've always wanted to do!
With Argosy, I can work while getting my degree. It takes the same amount of time as other degree programs, so it's not easier, but I think I've found a way to make it work with an employment opportunity I'll write about later. It's something that will build on my future, and yet takes advantage of my past, and couldn't be a better fit!
Some of you ask how dating is going. I’m mostly withdrawing from the game, but I'll still meet people, and who knows what will happen. I don't have much time, and I have little to offer, but soon I'll have much to offer. Meeting people just wont be a priority. Providing for my family, time with my children, and fulfilling my ambitions are my priority. When I can provide better, maybe dating will take a greater priority. It'll be lonely and hard, but it'll be worth it. My married friends: love your spouses, and make the best of your relationship while you still can. A good marriage is worth more than all the riches in the world, including the cost of therapy.
Let me say a bit on prayer. I pray several times a day, always on my knees (except when driving or biking). I almost forgot to have the family kneel once, and Benjamin remembered! I’m happy my children are catching the spirit of praying right. For a while, I've said every nighttime family prayer. I always ask God to bless Julie and help her on the other side, to bring her our love, to allow her near us frequently, and to help us feel her near. I have the children alternate for the morning prayers. My goal is to teach by example real, thoughtful, reverent prayer until they catch on and do it themselves. I hoped they would catch on with just my example. It seems to be working. I’ve noticed more reverence and thoughtfulness from them lately.
I’ll close with my current life plans. After one year, I'll start supervised practice. In another year, I'll have my MS in MFT. A couple years later I can practice on my own. While working those two years, I’ll probably go for the doctorate degree so I can do more (like teach at a University) and charge more. After all that, if I've found and married someone, I'll work on fulfilling her dreams. If not, I might go back to a dream Julie had and make it come true. She wanted to live in another country. Perhaps that's just what we'll do.
James will be in school by then, and my kids older and more capable. Maybe I’ll move to Brazil, where she served her mission, and immerse my family in the culture there, where I'll gain some valuable culturally diverse practice experience. Maybe I'll try Europe, or Iceland, another place Julie wanted to live. The possibilities are endless. Somewhere along the line, I'll get a new house I'll call my own. Wherever I am, if I'm married, the house will be all hers to decorate, (and all mine to do the work!). If not I’ll decorate it the way Julie did in our first apartment: lots of greenery, dark furniture, flowers (especially sunflowers, tulips, and daffodils), family pictures, temples, and pictures of the Savior, some with children. After that, who knows. Life's adventure will continue.
On mother's day we celebrated our memories of Julie with a visit to her grave where we left notes, and we visited the Jordan River temple grounds, where we talked about Julie's new mission. Hiram made an insightful comment on how important it is to do temple work because if we didn't, the work Julie does doesn't mean much. Her work depends on our work, and vice versa.
I recently attended a fireside with Richard and Linda Eyre, who have co-authored several popular books, including "Teaching Your Children Values", "Teaching Your Children Responsibility", "Teaching Your Children Joy", and "Three Steps to a Strong Family". He talked about Serendipity and started out with some commonly understood definitions of the word. One definition people commonly use is "dumb luck" or encountering random fortunate events. Later in the fireside, Richard gave a better definition. I'll also give it later as well.
Let me share some guidelines I use when making decisions. Though I will use the New Testament as a groundwork, most religions and even some agnostics may agree to some of these ideas. Herein I'll discuss the groundwork for making decisions and three types of decisions: day-to-day more trivial decisions, minor but important decisions, and major life-changing decisions, and give some guidelines I follow and the reasoning behind them.
I've divided my notes from two separate presentations given by Kent Allen, LMFT into sections called Spiritual Grief and Temporal Grief because one was what we might consider more on the spiritual side, and the other more on the temporal. Keep in mind that actually, all things are spiritual, so the division is just a way of thinking about things.
I've finally gone through my old guitar music that I typed up several years ago (1993 or so) and reformatted it with a fixed-width font so the chords and text line up. I also organized the music so that it's alphabetized into sections. The favorites section is the stuff people ask me to play the most often. I have a few favorites that are not there but maybe I'll move them there later. I've added a couple songs to this version, fixed some spelling errors, lined up the verses like lines of poetry, and done a few other minor improvements. I'll just call it version 2.
Friends and Family,
I'm writing my 2009 newsletter late this year because I wanted to include the holidays at the end of the year. As all of you know, 2009 was a year filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows of my life. There isn't a whole lot new that I can say beyond what's already on my blog. This newsletter and blog post will bring together those posts, and add a little more.
Since the last time I wrote, we've celebrated the three major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. We also celebrated two birthday's: Julie's and Benjamin's. Julie loved planning for these holidays, and I followed along, happy that she wanted to do the planning. This year it was all in my hands to make sure the holidays were still wonderful. A part of me wanted to hide in a corner and wait for them to pass by. I can understand why the bereaved sometimes do just that.
I am grateful that so many people are looking out for me still. I've had a growing number of people asking me how I'm doing lately and thought maybe I'll take a moment and say how I am doing. I'm doing ok, I think, considering all things, but I'm also hurting more than I thought I would. I endured watching Julie's health fail, and got by alright because I was serving her and, honestly, because she was still there. Now she's physically gone and I don't have her to put all my focus on.
Friends and family,
One of Julie's dear friends, Susie, sent me this priceless email that Julie sent around about herself nearly 3 years ago. This thoughtful email was only months before we found Julie's tumor. She sent this the day after her birthday. I hope some of you enjoy this as much as I do every time I read it again. I remember her showing this to me before she sent it. So here it is, a letter from Julie Johnson Stout.
Most people seem to agree with my perspective that I should not just take any job for the sake of having at least something. There are a few who don't understand why. This blog is to help anyone who wonders about this understand why.
Gold's Gym offers a lot, but the cost is too great. I'm not talking about money, the financial cost alone isn't all that much. I'm talking about supporting a company that doesn't care about people. Let me clarify here that I'm talking about the corporate offices, not the employees you meet at the gym. Unfortunately, it's the corporate offices that represent the company to me, and that's why I must do my civic duty and encourage anyone I can not to join Gold's Gym. I'll tell a little story, my story, to elaborate.
An audio recording of Julie's funeral.
I'd like to thank my sisters for the hours of work they put into making this transcript of Julie's funeral. I'll be posting the audio files when they are available. The pdf file attached to this post is the transcript. If anyone sees any errors, please let me know.
This obituary is in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, and The Daily Herald:
I've just learned that our old friend--and my wife's old missionary room mate--has passed away. I'm filled with mixed feelings. Although I'm happy that Julie is now truly at peace, and free from sickness beyond the mortal realms, I greatly miss her, your warm smile, and the good times we had with her and her family.
My dear wife Julie passed away Sunday, July 19th at 13:00. I stayed home from church to care for Julie, and my mom stayed home with me. I was preparing to move Julie to the hospital bed so she would be ready for guests through the day, and stopped to send an email. She passed away in the few minutes I was not sitting at her side. When I returned to her, she was gone. She went without a sound. Her long awaited freedom has come. She stands free from the shackles of the cancer that so changed her life over 2 years ago.
Julie has lost most of what and who she is. One of the only things left to her is her smile, but I have to ask for it to get it. Even then, she doesn't always respond. Another thing remains of her old self - her eyes still have the intensity they had. Julie speaks even less than the last update, and sometimes she doesn't even respond to yes or no questions. When she does speak, it's often nonsense words. She usually remembers my name, and given time, she usually remembers the names of her children. I'm happy that our names were some of the last words to leave her vocabulary.
As expected, Julie's health continues to decline. She has stopped talking most of the time now. I took her for a ride the other day and it was very odd how quite things were with her sitting beside me since she usually talks so much I miss turns and have to double back. She is eating less. I have to support most of her weight now whenever I move her to or from her wheelchair. A couple months ago, I could usually figure out what she wanted to say. Now, when she does speak, I often can't figure out what she wants to say, and when I do, it often takes much longer.
This was an article on the bake sale my sisters AngeLena Anderson and Amberleah Stucky planned to help our family:
This was an article about our family featured in both the Magna Times and the West Valley City News:
Cyprus High classmates rally with others to lend a hand to Julie Johnson Stout and her family
Classmates and others pitch in to give Julie the beautiful yard she always wanted.
By Troy Miller
(West Valley City, Ut.)—Former Cyprus High students showed their school spirit on May 1, 2009, when they helped a former classmate who is dying of a brain tumor.
I've been wanting to post something on how Julie's doing for a while, and now it shows that it's been a while since I'm getting more and more inquiries about her health all the time. I'll back up a bit to cover since the day we were on KSL together.
My parents, my children, Julie and I, and other friends and family were on KSL today to show the world that at times of trial and need, friends and family can still make amaz
I've written a letter to ask for help. It's intended for sources that can provide longer-term assistance, local business that hopefully will help me fund a non-profit organization that can provide the same help later on for others after helping us out. It's not intended as much for individuals and families that this blog mostly reaches, but you can help by circulating this letter to it's intended audience. I'll put the contents of the letter here, but I'll likely revise it over time, and probably won't revise it on this page each time, though I may update it here occasionally.
After Julie's biopsy a year and a half ago, we learned that Julie has an Anaplastic Astrocytoma. I've learned recently that her astrocytoma has a gliomatosis cerebri growth pattern. They might have known about that from the start, but it's new to me. Either one of these have a grim prognosis, and Julie has both. Some of you who have not had a chance to talk to her wonder what I mean when I try to explain how it is difficult for her to communicate. People who suffer from strokes that damage the left side of the brain often develop aphasia.
Monday's scan results did not show as much cancer cell growth as the previous scan. Here are two points directly from the MRI Brain scan report:
We finally were able to meet with a doctor about Julie's last MRI brain scan, which was done just over a month ago. It was delayed because Julie's former doctor did not receive the scans over the network the day we had our appointment (the same day as the scan). He did call us after about a week, and I've already blogged about the phone call. We got an appointment with Julie's former doctor a week after the call (2 weeks after the scan), but he was not there. He took a leave of absence for personal reasons that very day, with no indication if or when he would return.
Dr. Glantz called me today with the results. He said the difference is so minor that not all doctors agree, but he (the chief chemotherapy neuro-oncologist) and Dr. Fultz (the Chief nero-surgeon) both think it looks a little worse. He discussed a couple more treatments we might try, and one of them is a new treatment they are testing. We didn't decide on anything because we both prefer to make the decision in a physical meeting rather than over the phone. I'll be setting up an appointment sometime today when they call me back.
I started out 2008 working for Linux Networx, a company I had only started working for 3 months before the year began. The investors, those who owned the company, had a strange sense of humor since they decided to give the whole company a very unique Valentine's day present. I came in to work that day, and went home a short time later with the information from HR on how to continue benefits since the company no longer existed. I quickly found another job with Treeline Group, starting the beginning of March. Treeline Group's the smallest company I've worked for yet.
I've been asked by a few friends why I don't support same gender marriage. I'll give a few reasons here in my blog. It has nothing to do with equal rights. It has everything to do with what is right for our country, and for children everywhere. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a Christian, and as a scientist, I must say marriage is for a man and a woman.
An article in Reporter-Times, a newspaper for Martinsville and Morgan County in Indiana, reported the capture of a bank robber. My cousin Joe Stout helped them catch the bank robber. Since newspaper articles don't stay on the web, I'm putting the contents on my web site. I've already sited the original reference, and I'll provide a link to the original article for as long as the article remains online.
I got to met with Julie's doctor last week to discuss pending changes in Julie's treatment plan. She is finally done with her Temodar treatment, but the battle isn't over yet. Julie still has some cancer cells that resist Temodar. The new cancer cells are all developing very close to the top of her spinal column, but still in her brain. The new spots are very small, and Doctor Glantz is confident we can successfully treat them. The new treatment plan will begin in a couple weeks, with two different forms of chemotherapy.
We finally bought a house! Julie and I have lived in Utah County for all of our marriage, but given our circumstances, we decided it was time to move back to West Valley City. We ended up buying a house one street over from where I grew up. I went to the ward I grew up in for one week after we moved, then they changed the boundaries, and I'm in a new ward. I'll post some pictures of the house soon, as well as several other overdue pictures.
Jaron is moving to Arizona for his education in drug dealing. This may be the last chance we have to see him for a long time. In addition, I'm moving. Julie and I finally have a house. My parents sold their house, and they will live with us. Please come to a combined Open House/Farewell celebration May 31 from 14:00 to whenever. If this time doesn't work for some of you, let me know, we can probably change the time.
In my young teenage years, when youth sought popularity and all things awesome, I started listening to the radio. Naturally, I looked for the most awesome radio station. I started with 'Power 99', but I quickly decided KISN 97 was better. Most other teens wanted music, not talk, but for me, the DJ made the difference. Thus, I woke up and spent my early morning with Fisher and Todd (or 'Fish-Face and Toad') through my teens until my mission. I can still recall some of the words of the early morning wake-up call they played.
I saw an interesting Amazon.com ad the other day. It said "Buy Microsoft, Get Up to $75 Back". What a deal! If I spend billions of dollars to buy Microsoft Corporation, I get $75 back! Bill Gates here I come! Oh, and by the way, what made you choose to sell your company through Amazon?
Genealogical and Biographical Histories of the Cox-Stout Families
By Wayne D. Stout
Printed in the United States of America
By L. Frank Baum
Folklore, legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly unreal. The winged fairies of Grimm and Andersen have brought more happiness to childish hearts than all other human creations.
Since I last wrote about Julie, I have seen amazing progress. She can now pick up her right arm and move her fingers. A month ago, she could barely walk, even with assistance. Now she can walk with a cane. All this while she undergoes radiation and chemotherapy. Of course the therapies make her feel ill and break down her immune system, but she gains strength anyway. Today Julie walked several steps without touching the cane to the ground!
Our baby, James Andreas Stout, will be blessed the first Sunday of October. He is named after my mom's dad - James Merril Dunster. Andreas comes from my mom's mom's dad - Alma Andreas Burgener. Alma Andreas went by Andrew, the Americanized version of Andreas, but I chose the Swiss version. This stands for a marriage between England and Switzerland - the marriage of my mom's parents.
Julie started radiation therapy and concurrent chemotherapy today. She will undergo 30 radiation therapy treatments, Monday through Friday, and 44 days of chemotherapy (which is a pill she takes, called Temodar, every day including weekends and holidays). She has up and down days. Some days she barely moves, and others she seems to make progress. The other day she walked with a cane with only a little assistance from a nurse. I'll provide Julie's room phone to anyone, but call me first - we'll want to talk first, trust me.
Today a remarkable thing happened. A capstone to a series of fortunate events - one that will make all the difference in the world for me. I'll start with a statistic. When you apply for a job, if you know someone there, you have a better chance of getting the job. This doesn't mean that you will get it, just that your chances go up. I imagine the chances go up a bit more if the person you know likes you, or if the person you know does the hiring, but the studies I've read didn't account for those factors. Now I'll set a candle on a hill.
Today I received a call at work. She had waited 17 minutes to get through - an unusual thing for any Verio customer. She commented on this at the end of the call. I said "yep, it looks like a higher-than-average number of calls came in tonight". She said "it's probably because of the eclipse on Tuesday". I decided to take the joke a step further and said: "yes, and it probably has something to do with the alignment of the planets, too". An awkward silence ensued. Only then did I realize she was serious about the eclipse causing long handle times...