Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Miracle of Birth

Do you want to know what the greatest thing besides being a mother is??? 

Being a Grandma!!! 

 It is a real thing and EVERYTHING everyone has ever said about it is true!!  I just can't get enough holding, loving, and kisses! 

Birth is truly such an amazing experience!! I participated in it 7 times bringing our 8 children into this world! But it was a totally different experience not participating in the pain and  laboring through child-birth, and instead being a coach and observerer.  

Aubrey had a pretty healthy pregnancy, but then developed preeclampsia during her 37th week.  Her blood pressure, as well as protein in the urine was so high, they induced her at 37 weeks and 5 days.  (to be exact) 

We knew from ultra-sounds that they baby was fully developed and already weighing 7.5 lbs.

After 25 hours of labor, I watched our first grand-daughter come into this world.  It was so beautiful and so special!! 

Have you ever been apart of a birth?  (besides your own)

Do you remember the very special spirit you felt in the birthing room?

I remember feeling this with all my children, but noticed it especially when my daughter was giving birth and I wasn't wrapped up in the drama of pain and pressure.

Moments before the baby was born, the doctor walked in the room like a steam roller. I don't mean that in a negative way, but he came in and the business of child-birth went to a serious level that wasn't there before he came.  He put on plastic type shoe coverings, his hospital covering, layed plastic down, put drapes around my daughters legs, had nurses handing him tools, goop, all within a matter of 60 seconds. It was amazing how fast they prepped themselves, my daughter, and the room for child birth.
With him, came a spirit that he must feel at each birth.  (What a job he has!!)

If I could describe it? It almost feels like you are going to another realm. Let's call it the birth realm.  It seems to be a realm that hovers somewhere between heaven or our pre-existence, and earth.

 The mood in the room was serious, mixed with high-emotion, and  a spirit you could reach out and touch. I don't know if I have ever felt that kind of spirit in a room except for the time when my husband's grandma passed away. It is a tangible spirit as you approach the veil that separates this life and the next.

If we had spiritual eyes to see, we would see heavenly spirits there assisting and watching,  very interested in the moment.

I was amazed at the doctors tactics to get our daughter to focus and bring forth her first child. It was only a few pushes and our little grand-daughter was born. The doctor said,  "welcome to planet earth!"   Tears immediately started flowing from everyone in the room! The emotion and spirit was hard to contain!!  It was just amazing and priceless!

The family is ordained of God and birth is ordained of  God!  It truly is!!There is no other explanation!!  How we are each conceived is miraculous. Our pre-natal development is the most beautiful miracle imaginable.

We are all children of God.  He created us in the womb, and brings us forth into this earth life through the miracle of child-birth. He is our Father in heaven.

 Birth, family and life is no accident.  Instead, it has a high, beautiful, powerful purpose!!  We are each a part of an earthly family, but also a heavenly family.

Having children is such a heavenly gift.

 I am forever changed by this experience.


Friday, September 18, 2015

The Proclamation: A Clarion Call

What is a clarion? ?

Definition: The clarion was an instrument, the predecessor to the trumpet, used between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. It was quite typically used during wars to signal. As a result, a clarion call refers to a summons of sorts: one that should not/cannot be ignored, as it would have been during a medieval war
A clarion call is a powerful request for action or an irresistible mandate. It derives from the cloud of a clarion, a medieval trumpet.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World remains a clarion call to protect and strengthen families.

What a great time we live in! There is so much excitement in the air! We have The Family: A Proclamation to the World to guide us and keep us focused and grounded on what is most important: our families and our marriages.

On September 21, 1823 another clarion call was made to the world.  Moroni, the last prophet of the Book of Mormon, came to Joseph Smith, as if with a trumpet in his hand with a message for the world.  What was Moroni's message?

Among many things, he quoted Doctrine and Covenants 2:1–3:

“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

“And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.

“If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”

Sister Julie B. Beck from Teaching the Doctrine of the Family said, This scripture is talking about temple blessings—ordinances and covenants without which “the whole earth [is] utterly wasted.”

  How important was this message?  
  1.   If someone had a message for you and repeated it four times word for word, would you feel it was an important ? Moroni came three times in the same night and once more the next morning with the exact same message. 
  2.  If the same scripture was found in all four standard works, would that tell of it's importance?  "Turning the hearts to the fathers"  is the only scripture quoted in all four standard works. (Malachi 4:5-6, Luke 1:17, Matthew 17:11,  3 Nephi 25:5-6, Joseph Smith-History 1:38-39 Doctrine and Covenants 2)
  3.   The doctrine and destiny of the family was of such importance, it was revealed to Joseph Smith before he received the plates, before he translated the Book of Mormon, before he received the priesthood, and before the Church was restored.
  4. The message was of such necessity it was repeated again 172 years later as The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
President Henry B. Eyring shares the significance of  the title of the Proclamation,
“Three things about the title are worth our careful reflection. First, the subject: the family. Second, the audience, which is the whole world. And third, those proclaiming it are those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators,” he says. “All this means that the family must be of tremendous importance to us, that whatever the proclamation says could help anyone in the world, and that the proclamation fits the Lord’s promise when he said, ‘Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same’ (D&C 1:38).”
I feel great strength from the power of The Family: A Proclamation to the World and Moroni's visit to Joseph.  For me, these two clarion messages fill me with urgency and purpose in my role as a daughter of God, a mother, and a wife.

Our prophets have encouraged us to have a copy of the family proclamation in our homes, and to read the clear, simple prophetic language and compare it to the messages and voices of today.

"... because parents will be held accountable for rearing their children in love and righteousness. Parents have the responsibility to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of their children while they teach them to love, serve, and obey the commandments and the laws of the land."
“Fulfilling these obligations is the key to protecting our families in these last days,”  Elder Robert D. Hales

About 5 years after the Proclamation was given, my parents called all of their adult children and challenged us to memorize the Proclamation. They had just finished memorizing it themselves after being challenged by their Stake President in Stake Conference. To the inspiration of hundreds, a thirteen-year old girl stood and quoted it in front of their whole stake.

 I accepted my parents challenge and set off to memorize this inspired scripture.  I already knew it was true and powerful, but I didn't know it, like I came to know it through this memorizing journey.

And it was a journey...of the Proclamation becoming apart of me...  one paragraph at a time....
 I carried a copy of the proclamation around with me while I took care of my home and family.
As I  washed breakfast dishes, the Proclamation sat in the window sill and I quoted,
"We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."
"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. "
 While vacuuming, I  recited,
"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."
 ...repeating the lines  out loud over and over again
trying to instill them into my brain.

While running errands around town, I went through the Proclamation...again and again and again.  Instilling the principles and phrases into my mind and heart.
"The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan."

While  rocking babies to sleep, I had the Proclamation in my hand reading and memorizing important phrases of family doctrine...making them apart of   me.
"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations."
"The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children..." 

Within a week or two, I had memorized  one of the most important scriptures of all time, the clarion call of our day

Monday, September 14, 2015

Keeping Our Living Water-Well Full

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have felt alarmed and worried of many once strong faithful people dying spiritually.

The Lord is hastening His work and.... so is Satan

Now is not the time to give in to internet intellectualism on gospel doctrine .

It is the time for humble sincere faith, of knocking, seeking, and finding by going to the correct sources.
I loved a talk given by Elder Russell M. Ballard given at Utah South Regional Conference on September 13, 2015 in which he compared our testimonies to that of a Sequoia Tree. 
Sequoia Trees
photo source

Elder Ballard warned of practices and influences that could separate an individual from the Spirit. He shared a story about a grove of sequoia trees on the BYU campus. "Tall, resilient and able to resist damage from bugs, fungi and forest fires, it came as a surprise when one of the large sequoias on campus suddenly died last year. Surprisingly, an arborist found that the tree died from lack of water."

He continued, “To me this is a perfect analogy of what happens when stalwart Church members, the 'very elect,' who for all appearances seem to stand tall and erect in faith, die spiritually.”

"To keep members from spiritually dying from a lack of living water, we need to maintain essential, daily habits that “keep us rooted, grounded, and connected to Christ. These habits include daily prayer, fasting, studying the scriptures and the words of the living prophets, keeping the Sabbath day holy, partaking of the sacrament, worshiping in the temple often and reaching out to the needy, poor and lonely"
“When someone stops doing these simple but essential things,” Elder Ballard said, “they cut themselves from the 'well of living water' and allow Satan to muddle their thinking.”

 “Individuals who don't stay focused on the simple doctrine and gospel of Christ will eventually listen to false teachers and self-declared prophets and adopt worldly philosophies.”
Something to think about!!  Let's keep our living water well full!

Friday, September 11, 2015

My Stroke: Miracles and Blessings...9 months later

About 9 months ago, on Thanksgiving Night,  I had a stroke! It has been quite a ride!!  Since that day we have spent tens of thousands of dollars on medical procedures,
have had 2 daughters get  married,  and  are expecting our first grand-child!
I am so grateful for all the blessings and miracles that have come my way! 
If you are unfamiliar with my experience you can read about it below, and an update follows! 

Update: (9 months later)
I would say, at this  point, I am 80-90% fully recovered, although the past 9 months have been a roller-coaster ride of healing and health issues. Why I had the stroke remains a mystery, as all my tests come back perfect. At this point the theory is possibly a blood clot that got loose during my run and traveled through my heart and up to my brain.
The hardest time came of my stroke recovery came  6 weeks later. I had acute exhaustion, developed shingles, and have had cognitive issues.  But I am alive!! I survived !! I have recovered in a miraculous way from something that takes lives or leaves its victims unable to function normally. For the most part, life has gone on the same!
Acute exhaustion has been my biggest enemy! Most stroke survivors can relate to this one!! There is no medicine for it, no help for it, but time and rest.  This type of exhaustion is nothing like being sleepy, tired, or had-a-hard day. You can't sleep it off. This is acute exhaustion!! If I get stressed or over-do it, I am in bed for 3 days recovering.  From January-May I worked in the 4th grade all day as a teachers instructional aide. It was a 30 hour a week job, that I loved, but about killed me having to go everyday. I do not know how I got through it all except I loved being there! 
 My short term memory became very unreliable! Every short term memory problem I already had from being myself, was now acute!!  I would lose something, and there was no recalling or retracing my memories to find it again. That information was gone, and not coming back! I would leave the store, and have NO memory of where I parked, and no way of pulling up the memory of parking.  I had to always rely on my kids to know where we parked.  This aspect has greatly improved, but I have my moments still!
I have had cognitive issues with math.   When going to the store (I always use cash) I could not count money. It completely overwhelmed my brain to count money. I would look in my wallet, and didn't know how  to add the money up on the spot for the cashier.  It overwhelmed me cognitively.  I would just hand the cashier some money and she would always  hand me back what I didnt' need. I was like a baby and small child in many ways cognitively!!  In school where I worked with the 4th graders in a math group, I would always do the problems wrong.  I would flip numbers. If we were multiplying 9 X 9, I would write down 18, instead of 81. And the kids would let me know I got it wrong!! The math part of my brain has healed and I am able to count money now and feel back to normal again.
I have been an automatic speller my whole life! I don't have to even think of how to spell things, my brain just does it!!  Because of that I trust my spelling instincts, and if something is spelled wrong, I know it.  One day while correcting spelling tests in the 4th grade, all the words were spelled wrong and funny to me.  They were all words that ended in "le" like bottle, able, buckle, candle...In my brain these were all spelled wrong and pronounced " bottlee, ablee, bucklee, candlee...and the le should be switched. In fact I looked at those words, and it was as if someone had scrambled all the letters up. It didn't make sense at all. I went up to the teacher and told her the answer key was not right. She was pretty sure they were right and even looked it up for me....It was my brain, flipping and switching things.  That has only happened one time with spelling, but as my brain has healed, I have had moments like this more times than I want to admit. That has almost one away completely since then.
I am so grateful to be alive and that this stroke did not take my life!! Every few weeks I hear stories of other stroke victims of my age,  who did not survive, or who did not fair as well as I have.  I am blessed and know that prayers were answered on my behalf!! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Are You Like a Lighthouse?

Heceta Head lighthouse before sunset in all her beauty!!

taken in 2013 when our daughter
was entering the MTC
I  love love LOVE being a mother!

I feel so grateful to be a mother and to have such a wonderful mother that I do! {love you Mom!!} 

I take my role seriously.... and this focus that I have, can be driven right back to my own mother who set {and sets} such a great example to me of wisdom and truth, and THIS talk by President Ezra Taft Benson: (To the Mothers in Zion, given 1987.) This talk changed my life forever and how I viewed, then, my future role as a mother.  I never knew I would love it so much.

There is no other role we could have outside of our home that is more important than that of being a mother inside of our home. 

And...the mothering doesn't stop at all once they leave the home. If anything, it builds. That is when our children start connecting everything we have taught them together.

This past April,  my husband and I went on an anniversary trip to the Oregon Coast. See my previous post   My Heceta Vacation

I was mesmerized by the deep symbolism and parallel that lighthouses have to motherhood. So much, that I couldn't stop thinking about it!   Here are a few thoughts from inside my head....
Heceta Head Lighthouse

Lighthouses stand on the shores and coasts of our world, and their purpose is timeless and constant.  They know why they are there on this planet and who they are.
They are on the shores as leaders, who lead with strength, not uncertainty, and they are a guide to ships out at sea, trying to get to shore safely.

Their light shines 24/7  consistently through calm weather, or stormy, through bright sunny skies, and in the  darkness. 

Heceta Head Lighthouse
See the symbolism?!
In my lighthouse touring...(if you want to call it that)...I learned a lot! I was like a sponge soaking up all the history, work, and duties of the lighthouses and the light house keepers. and busy applying it to my role as mother. 
  • The ocean is so powerful in itself. I compare that to the world around us.  The lighthouse keepers have no control over what the sea does.  We have no control over what the world does. or other people do for that matter.  We have to stand strong in who we are and what our purpose is. We just have to be ready to weather the storms that come. We can never leave our post as mother.
  • Every lighthouse emits light from  lamps and lenses that are prism like, and used as an  aid for navigation.  Do you see the symbolism to motherhood? The lighthouse keepers main job is to make sure that lighthouse light NEVER goes out.  In the early 1900s and before, that meant carrying a container of oil (usually whale oil) up the spiral staircase to the very top. 
    During a storm, the wind can blow as high as 100 mph and rocks sometimes fly up and break the glass of the lighthouse light.Do you see the symbolism?

      What are we doing to keep our light shining 24/7?  Are we willing to sacrifice in order to keep in shining?
  • It was the job of the lighthouse worker to climb up, during the storm and repair the glass immediately.  The lighthouse light had to be working at all times so as to be a navigational aid, especially during storms.  The lighthouse keepers sacrificed a lot to keep the light going 24/7. 

  • Lighthouses come in all heights.  The reason that some are tall and some are shorter has everything to do with their purpose and nothing to do with the designer.  Every lighthouse light must be at the height of the horizon as each one spans the distance of 21 miles (at least where we were in Oregon).  The 21 miles in the distance where the earth bends and that is as far as each lighthouse light will shine.  Interesting information.   A lot of technology and math equations of gone into making each lighthouse an effective guide and light to those trying to navigate the ocean. Sometimes a lot of thinking and prayer need to go into making sure our efforts as mothers has the farthest reaching effects upon our children.
  • Last one, along the coasts of the world, there is a network of lighthouses that work together. Each lighthouse has its own Morris code of blinking lights that is specific to that lighthouse. The ships can know where they are, when they see the different patterns of light.  I really loved this information and once again made me think of a network of mothers we all have in our lives from our own mothers, to mother-in-laws, to even strong wise women who in our network of friends in our lives. All these women make a strong united front in strengthening those around us.   Love the symbolism!
Are YOU like a lighthouse?