Loving Arizona and Missing Hawaii

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's a wonderful life.

It's been seven months today since the nightmare began.  I was hesitant to go.  I could sense something was wrong but had no idea just how bad it was.  Larry encouraged me to head to the airport and fly out to CA.  I really wanted to see my sister and hear family. I was coming up on 2 1/2 years since I had last seen them. 

I can think about it now and talk about it without shaking and my blood pressure spiking.  It's still hard tho.  I think when we find ourselves in a situation where we just have to survive, our body goes into shock but our mind has a way of dealing with the memory of it by fogging it over most of the time so that it seems more like a dream.  It's not possible to have been that bad... I must have been exaggerating... Right?  No.  The fog clears for a few moments from time to time.  It was real.  Horrific.

There have been a lot of challenges for our family this year.  It hasn't been a year for the faint hearted, that's for sure.  But at the same time (though I wouldn't ever want to do this all again) it has been one of the best years we've ever had.  I'll tell you why but first I want to give you a little background. Coming up on 10 years ago, we lost our first baby.  A boy.  He would be turning 9 this November.  We then lost 2 more babies.  It was a very dark year for me.  I was confused and hurt and I didn't know how to ask for or receive help. There isn't a lot of light in my minds eye when I allow myself to ponder upon those memories.  Almost exactly a year an a half after the loss of our first baby, I gave birth to our oldest daughter.  I still remember walking into our tiny apartment, sitting down in the rocking chair and cradling our fragile (but strong) 5 pound 1 ounce miracle on a pillow on my lap.  It was Thanksgiving Day.  I've never been so thankful in my entire life.  I looked up at the art that I had hanging on the wall of our bedroom.  A painting of Mary holding baby Jesus.  I wept.  My heart overflowed with love and gratitude that I actually got to hold and keep my baby.  The walls I had thrown up to protect my broken heart from ever being torn apart again began to crumble.  Piece by piece they came down and my heart began to heal. 

Over the ensuing years, I was able to comfort other women as they faced similar loss and suffering.  Some I was able to up-lift, some lifted me.  I recognized the difference between the mourning and suffering of some of these women as compared to mine in that first year.  The light I mentioned before... the light that is missing from my memories seemed ever so bright in the lives of some of these dear women.  Even amidst their suffering.  It is the light that comes from our Savior.  He can shine through the darkest night. It was years after the loss of my first baby when I recognized that the reason I had been in such a dark despair was because I had turned away from my Savior in my time of need.  I felt so alone and abandoned at the time, but now, looking back, I can see His tender mercies.  I didn't recognize them at the time.  I rejected them and allowed myself to be consumed by the darkness.  He never forsook me though.  My husband never gave up on me through the countless times I pushed him away.  He stood by my side and loved me unconditionally.  I am forever grateful that he never gave up on me.

This year has been the first time I have truly been tried and tested again in a different experience but similar intensity.  This time I turned to my Savior.  I don't want to imply that it was a simple change of heart and focus.  It was a daily, hourly, minute to minute struggle to keep my mind and heart centered on my Savior.  The adversary worked hard on me.  He hit me while I was weakest and most vulnerable in unbearable pain and did not let up.   But I didn't let up either.  I held to the rod.  I prayed. I sang hymns over and over in my mind.  I read the scriptures. Answers came in the scriptures I would open to.  Blessings came through the Priesthood, through family, through friends, through the Spirit.  I found "strength beyond my own." Nights were tortuously long and dark but in my memories... LIGHT.  This entire year is filled with light.  Some of the hardest trials I have ever faced and yet... I'm grateful.  It has been a wonderful year.  I am alive.  I've been given a second chance at life.  My children and husband are alive and well.  Though far apart in miles, we have grown closer and stronger in spirit.  We have learned to pull together.  I'll never take a day for granted.  My heart has been changed.  I'll never be the same.

So I learned the difference between turning to the Lord in our tribulations, our suffering and affliction and turning away from Him.  On the one hand we allow the trial to move through us while we stand firmly on the rock of Christ.  He mends up our broken hearts and comforts us in our suffering.  He molds us into who He knows we can become.  On the other hand, we succumb to the darkness.  Despair overcomes us and we fall captive to the suffering and anguish of the Adversary. The one is full of light, the other is complete, hopeless darkness. 

This is the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that there is HOPE.  As we choose Faith in Jesus Christ, we put our trust in Him and allow His atonement to bind up our broken hearts.  He knows our suffering and His light can shine through our darkest hour.

How grateful I am that even with a year as hard as this one has been and continues to be, I have chosen to walk in His light.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happy Tips for TIred Mommies

Do you sometimes fall asleep mid-sentence, while standing up?  Chances are, you're a mother. 

Demands are high and rest time is low but I know the aching and yearning you feel in your heart that you just don't want to miss a single opportunity to enjoy your child(ren).  I've had a lot of opportunities to learn how to "turn lemons into lemonade" and so I thought I'd share some of my tips with all you amazing mothers out there...

Tip #1... When you've graduated from a "junk drawer" to a "cluttered office" to "the one peaceful clean room in the house... and then THAT too is taken over by life and children...When you think there's no haven left... NOT ONE CLEAN ROOM in the entire house to escape to when you need a moment to refuel... and it's 115 degrees outside so you can't escape there either...!!!  CURL UP with the most BEAUTIFUL creation you'll ever make... your son or daughter.. get lost in the beauty of their eyelashes and the serenity of their face as they sleep.  Your cares and worries will melt away and 10 years from now you won't care that you didn't have the perfectly decorated house; you'll be grateful that time with your child was more important to you.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I had such a naive, skewed vision of motherhood when I was a child, babysitting other people's children, dreaming of the day that I would one day have my own 10 kids... live in my mansion with my own personal gymnastics gym in the basement and everything would be flowers and sunshine.  Everyone would love each other and smile, be polite and get along, because, of course, that was due to proper mothering...right?  All the other moms just didn't know...but I did....hehehehe.

Seven and a half years ago I gave birth to my oldest daughter....

since then I have birthed two sons and another daughter....

I have a new vision and opinion of motherhood...

*Staying awake all night to soothe and calm a crying baby.
*Packing 3 children into a tiny room and being excited for them because it's like a "slumber party." You know, the kind you don't experience in mansions where you don't even know if everyone's home or not because it might take half the day to find them. 
*Washing vomit off of little feverish, shaking bodies and not even noticing the smell because your heart is bursting with love and concern for their well being.
*Then once they're calm and sleeping again, washing countless loads of laundry, scrubbing the furniture and carpet.
*Praying through your sobs and tears that Heavenly Father will spare the life of your child.
*Accepting it and letting go when He doesn't.
*Holding a screaming, flailing child while you wait for the ambulance to arrive.
*Praying again through sobs and tears that He will spare the life of another one of your children.
*Holding that child for hours and hours, never wanting to leave their side...truly recognizing the miracle and gift that they're still alive.  

The list could go on and on...  The things that no parent wishes for or looks forward to... the things we all hope will quickly pass and be few and far between... the hard, laborious, exhausting and heartbreaking things... The things that I would never wish for again but am grateful for because they are the things that were powerful enough to change my heart...

MOTHERHOOD has changed my heart in ways I never thought possible.  It makes me more grateful for the small things and patient with the mundane.  I don't mind the screaming and fighting, the messes and never-ending laundry and dishes, the toothpaste on the counter and hand prints on the mirrors and windows....and the list could go on and on...

I have a new vision and opinion of motherhood...

And it's not so much anymore about what I am going to have but what I'm able to give... no sacrifice is too great, no task too demanding, no pain too excruciating, no night too exhausting for a mother's love.

I am a mother.

My children surround me.

My heart is full.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Kids say the funniest things!

So SO much has been happening the last couple of years!  I can't seem to find a second to write about it. Something about having the 4th child... all my leisure and even not so leisure, FLEW OUT THE WINDOW!

Wouldn't it be great to have a window into our children's minds?  I love when the comments they make give me a little glimpse into what's been going on in there!  The other night we were watching videos from the PCC and Ethan commented about a dance from the New Zealand village: Aotearoa, "The guy in the middle looks kinda like...Alma the Younger."  That was a really great, memorable section of our family scripture study.

Then tonight he was telling me why he loves being 5 so much... because E is the 5th letter in the alphabet and there are 5 letters in his name.  I remember when he was so torn up about turning 4 because he wanted to stay 3 for all of his birthdays.  That's probably because he had the coolest Peter Pan 3rd birthday party ever!

I sure love my Ethan!  He may fool you with his All-star skills and dashing charm but he really is quite the gentle heart and sharp thinker!