Monday, January 2, 2012


Who are those "youngsters?"
Many years ago JoLynne and I had a bit of a role reversal.  I had just finished my first year of dental school and JoLynne only needed one more semester of college to graduate.   We had a brand new baby, Shanelle, so it seemed the perfect arrangement.  I would stay home for the summer and take care of our baby while JoLynne finished her last semester of college.  I distinctly remember the night before my first turn as "Mr. Mom".  I had so many things I was going to get done.  I had everything planned, I would get JoLynne off to school in the morning,  lay Shanelle down for a nap and then the morning would be mine to get done a dozen things that I had been putting off way too long.  I remember before laying down to bed that night  carefully checking my list of "things to get done."  I was excited for morning.   The next day everything went fine up to the part where I saw JoLynne off to school.   After that it just didn't happen the way that I had envisioned.  Shanelle wouldn't stay asleep, people kept bugging me, one thing after another.  At the end of the day I found that I had only crossed off a miserable number of my "to do" list items.  I was discouraged and determined that it just required better planning on my part.  So, I laid out my list again and went to bed, confident that the next day would be a success.  At the time we were staying at my parents house so we were a little out of our element.  The next day arrived and everything went well again until JoLynne left.  Again, Shanelle was fussy.  Nothing I did seemed to make her happy unless I was personally holding her and playing with her 100% of the time.  I remember watching as my list was again being neglected.  At one point she was especially unhappy, just then the phone rang.  I ran to get the phone but in the process stepped on a sewing pin that was hiding in my parents long shag carpet.  (Sewing pins in the carpet were the bane of my existence).  I hopped to the phone to find it was a wrong number then the doorbell rang.  I was hopping on one foot towards the door, with Shanelle cradled in my arm crying when I landed right in a pile of dog pooh which was laying on the floor.  (Okay, I have no idea how this got in the entry.   I would like to blame it on our old incontinent dog but he was long gone but then.  I really have no idea how it got there, but there it was)  I now had a crying baby in one arm, a sewing pin wound in my left foot and dog pooh on my right foot.  The door was some guy wanting to sell me something.  I remember after shutting the door sitting down on the floor and crying with Shanelle.  How could I be such a failure as "Mr. Mom?"  I remember pouring out my woeful story to JoLynne when she came home from school.  She listened patiently, like always, and then told me, "Your problem is your list.  If you start out planning on getting nothing done but taking care of Shanelle then you will probably exceed your expectation.  If you start out with this long list you will always end up disappointed."  She was right, of course,

When I began this process of chemotherapy I had visions of what what would happen.  I knew that I wouldn't feel well at times but even then I imagined I could do things that didn't' require physical strength I was going to teach myself to play the piano, do my genealogy, finally get serious about learning French, and a dozen other things.  Needless to say, things haven't worked out exactly like I planned.  Today for instance, wasn't a good day.  I didn't have a lot I wanted to get done but there was a leaky valve under our toilet that had to have a bucket under it.  That, I thought was an easy job.  All I need is a part and about 20 minutes.  Surely I can do that.  Well, I managed enough energy to get to the store and get the part.  I turned off the water to the house and took off the valve.  That's when my strength left me.  I was so tired I could barely stand up.  Then I realized that I had bought the wrong part.  Arghh!  I tried to get up to get to the car but I wasn't doing well.  Sweet JoLynne to the rescue.  She stepped right in and said "I can get a part, how hard can it be" and off she went.  Not long later back she came with the right part and with her help we finally got the toilet fixed.  I was exhausted when it was done.  To be honest, I laid in bed and cried a bit feeling sorry for myself and my lack of ability.  Tears of self pity are not the sweetest tears to shed.  I am feeling a little better now,  (well enough to write a blog) but still weak.  I find that the trait I lack most is patience.

Yesterday I felt better than today and was able to go to a Stake Presidency meeting.  In the opening prayer to the meeting the other counselor plead with Heavenly Father for my my health.  More than half of the prayer was for me.  The closing prayer was much the same.  It made a profound impression upon me.  I need to remember how many people care about me and are praying for me and I need to patiently wait upon the Lord.  He knows best.  This too will pass and in the meantime, I think I will quit making "to do" lists.


  1. What a great post Eric! You are a wonderful writer. And look, you found the time to dig out that photo of your young sweet family. That exceeds my to do list any day! I am proud of you and the great lessons you are learning through all of this. Hang in there brother!

    BTW Eliza has been after me to make Reindeer Food for Uncle Eric. So maybe I will put that on my to do list... we shall see if it gets done : )

  2. I was excited to see a post on here! That has got to be frustrating, not having the strength you want/need. But you are truly an amazing example of endurance. I love the phrase 'This too will pass'. It's so true. Sometimes, that's the only little fragment of hope we have during our trials, knowing that eventually it will pass and we will be stronger for it. You're still in my thoughts and prayers. You're awesome!! Keep on keepin on :)

  3. Dr. Vogel, thank you for blogging. You are right; a lot of people are praying for you.

  4. I have thought about you often, and am glad that you wrote a post. We too have been and will continue to pray for you and your family. I have hard days sometimes too, and I just think of you and your will to go on, and that helps me with being a mom, exercising, and being a loving person. I am not perfect or where I would like to be, but you have given me hope, and our Heavenly Father gives us hope and strength.
    I am glad you shared your "mom" moments, loved it, it is just too true!!
    Keep your head up, you are doing just great. We sure love and appreciate you and your family.
    Palmer family

  5. Thank you for sharing all your thoughts and experiences. It helps to be able to know what specifically you need us to pray for. Your life is a great inspiration. I agree with losing the lists, or you can try my Mom's trick of making the list AFTER the day is done, to mark all the things you have done - even if it includes showering as an accomplishment. Which it is.

  6. I love hearing other parent stories... it makes me feel like I am not such a bad mom when I know that other people can't get all of their "to-do's" done either! :)

  7. I think we are twins. Staying at home with my one year old daughter once in a while to take care of her, having a wife in school, being in my first year of dental school, NOT getting anything accomplished, lol. I guess it's the Lord's way of telling guys like us that our wives are amazing. Take care. You're in our prayers.

  8. Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives....I know that my redeemer lives!
    he is watching over you during your entire fight! God bless


  9. Don't you know a plumber that can help you with that. I hear he makes family house calls for free. We love you. Trish Seamons