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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Finding the Light, Reflection

I have been waiting years in search of the perfect photography assistant.  Someone that I could mentor, that I could have a blast working with, that would learn and grow in life with me.  I have finally found that perfect assistant.  Ok, so maybe it could be consider child labor, but I just love my new photography intern.
Look at her work

I invited my sweet and very artistic daughter to join me on a photo session a few weeks ago to assist me with lighting.  Occasionally she has come along to wedding sessions with me to carry my bags and help hold my lighting equipment.  Idaho wind tends to pick up my umbrella and carry it like a sail, so bringing her along to hold down the tripod is very helpful.  However, she hasn't always enjoyed that job; "its boring".  So when she was excited to go with me and help this time, I was elated.  This time, she wasn't there to hold stuff, she was there to learn and actually work.

Her job assignment, "Kya, find the light from the sun, and reflect it on to their face".  I am a lighthouse fanatic; the symbolism, its sole purpose, everything about the lighthouse intrigues me and draws me near its story.  When it comes to light, I am always looking for the analogy.

As Kya is my daughter, I found this moment of teaching her to use the reflector properly, as an opportunity to teach her about life and how our influence on others around us and the universe can affect how the world goes round, and how we can find peace and love in our own life.  Find the light, and reflect it on others.

The light.  In our faith, the light we focus on is The Light of Christ.  All that He exemplifies in service and kindness, in sacrifice, in loving all people.  Finding this light in our own countenance is crucial to our own happiness.  Finding this light takes effort each day, through prayer and developing a solid and loving relationship with God our Father in Heaven, through service for others.  Often focusing our attention on other's needs over our own offers us to see others the way God and our Savior see them.  It brings empathy and honest love into our hearts, and helps to put our own "issues" or concerns into perspective.  Once you have found that light, then share it.  I like to use the word "reflect", not only because it directly relates to photography lighting, but once your light is shared, it comes back to you, if reflects.

I am a firm believer in karma.  What you put out into the world, does come back to you, twofold.  I have seen this and experienced this first hand in my life, many times.  So when I teach Kya to "find the sun's light, and reflect it onto my subject", what I am hoping she gets from this practice is to find His Light and Reflect it onto the world that surrounds her, with her own glowing countenance.

Look how she glows! She takes her work serious! And usually doesn't like when I take pictures of her unexpectedly. hee hee
She found the light.  Its tricky and takes practice to find it and then be able to hold just the right amount on the subject as not to blind them, or cast too much highlighting.  And as Kya found, when the clouds are out, its a little more difficult to find the light, but it is always there, you just have to seek it out.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Shedding the layers, embrace the present, plant seed for the future.

I am a DIYer, to a fault.  I only say that because, often I just throw things together, haphazardly, only  in hopes to move on to the next project.  However, the older I get, the more my heart wraps around each project with earnest desire and care for an honest, result with integrity and beauty.  When we first bought our "fixer upper" house, 9 years ago, the en suite bathroom was put together with a very tight budget.  Stock vanity, paint for the shower walls and a quickly as possible to ensure a move-in date was efficient, as we were anticipating the arrival of our second child, Zander, while he grew in our hearts and snuggled in Tess' belly.
Sadly, I forgot to take a before picture, I was too anxious to just get started on the project.  Here is the vanity, with its 20" girth and glory.
A few years ago, I wanted to update the bathroom a bit, but still with my "reuse, reduce, recycle" ambition, I simply created a counter top with painted MDF, set that on top of the whole sink base, cut a hole in for the water to drain and fashioned a new sink out of a upside down light fixture, found at Restore for only a few dollars.  It was genius, so I thought, very little money spent and I didn't have to do any plumbing.  While this was a great idea and worked for a few years, eventually, the sink cracked and all the water running into the original sink, was just creating a buildup of hard water and mildew....ewwww!  We were breathing this in, with our teeth brushing rituals.  YIKES!  Something had to be done.  Again, on a budget, and quite honestly, I still like to find the old and bring it new life. I did however, order a counter top sink on Amazon, about 6 months ago, with the intention to start this redo got a little in the way.

Here is where my project becomes more of a life lesson, than just a project.  I needed a base for the vanity, and with only 22" to spare, I was on the hunt.  Antique stores, Restore, DI, Salvation Army, you name it, I searched.  I certainly didn't want to just by new, and this needed to be custom made, for the space available, and for my own soul.  So I came across this darling sewing desk, just begging to for a new purpose.

Isn't she quaint?

 As I began to sand away her layers of dirt, grime and stain, her glorious natural beauty began to peek its way through.  I could feel her breath a sign of relief, of gratitude, for the ability to shed her past, to brush it away.  Her past didn't come without pain, sorrow and of course many beautiful and precious memories.  She has a wonderful story that has made her who she is, but some of her tarnish has been holding her back from her new purpose, her new story.

She's breathing, opening herself up for a new story

She even found a friend, looking for a new story as well.  They will build their story together.
With her authentic beauty exposed, she's ready and willing to accept this new story.  For her, it begins with the addition of structural support and design, adding a drawer to the bottom.  Then she dressed in a new coat of rich stain, adding a deep enhanced beauty to her physique.  And finally, a new top to support her purpose, as a bathroom vanity.  She wears her new story well. 

She's clean, and elegant and now owns her new purpose.  She will continue to share her story for years to come.
We all have a story, some desperate to burn the old, but unsure of how to create a new.  Through our infertility years, my story was messy and some days I wanted so badly for it to just go away.  In hind side I am truly grateful for the struggles, the nicks and bad stain, the spills and wear and tear.  But now, I am grateful to be writing my new story, just as our bathroom vanity has done.  A story that's been developing since the day our daughter was born.  Honestly, long before that, but just recognized then.  I love a good story, what's your new story?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Echos of being good enough in parenting

Been doing some thinking, after some frustrations with customer service issues and reading parenting thoughts by other bloggers.  Namely this mother at where she wrote THIS article.  I recently dealt with a member of our club that was upset when a membership was not cancelled on his time.  In the short of it, policies and procedures are laid out for a reason.  I am firm believer that the customer is right, and sometimes, we as business owners have to bite our tongue, suck up your pride and give in.  However, I am not a proponent of disrespect. When someone speaks to me (mind you, this someone is nearly 20 years younger than I) with profanity and swearing every other sentence telling me I am wrong, I do not take well to this.  I certainly am not perfect, and as an imperfect human, am very willing to own up to my mistakes.  However, bullying me into getting your way, disrespectfully, is not going to get you anywhere.  Ok, now that I have vented, onto my reason for this post.

As a parent, respect is a big deal in our home.  This world is losing its respect for self, for others, for mother nature, for religion, for just plain everything.  In the article mentioned above, this mother talks about how her perspective of parenting changed with one sentence.  I love her take on this view, and certainly will be considering this as a mother myself.  However, I do have some other thoughts.  I hope she would agree, but here's what I have to say.

Yes, we should be speaking to our children with respect, to get the same respect in return, and certainly getting down to their eye level.  Its important that our children don't feel they are being talked down to.  But when a child speaks to you with the same disrespect I got from the before mentioned member of our fitness club, then the tone will change, naturally.  Not because it should, it just does.  This is where we as parents have to learn self control with our own emotions.  And prayer has been the key for me in this endeavor.

Yesterday, my 8 year old son was dealing with some tough emotions.  He was reprimanded at school for "disrespect", and when I talked to him about it, asking what he had done, his immediate response, as is his usual effort to justify his actions, was to share with me how he feels the other kids were being mean to him and he was retaliating with anger.   Then shortly after, when asked to complete a chore (cleaning up dog poop from the yard), he lashed out in anger yelling at me, spewing mean words in the mix, with tears in his eyes.  Storming out of the room, he slammed the door to the outside behind him and proceeded to drag his feet while gathering the necessary tools for the job.  Admittedly, as a younger mother, I would have retaliated with similar behavior, in an effort to show him how ridiculous he was behaving.  The whole approach of mimicking, or mocking.  Either way, not a good approach.  It has not proven to be effective in our home as a quality parenting skill.  However, at times, it has brought laughs and lightened the mood.

So I sat there, wondering what to do with my heartbroken and troubled son.  Yes, he was out of line in disrespecting me in his moment of anger, after feeling attacked at school by both his peers and teacher.  I am not saying he was not at fault, but that is how he felt.  I stood up, went outside and began to help him scoop the poop.  Not only were we literally scooping our dogs poop, but we were cleaning up the mess that was made of our emotions that afternoon.  Scooping the poop from our lives.  As we quietly surveyed the lawn for Ozzie's little lawn treats, Zander began to cry.  This was a different cry than the angry cry while he yelled at me, this was a quiet whimper, where he was burying his head in his jacket.  I asked what was wrong, to which he replied, "I don't like when I hear those words at school and then say them to you".

My sweet, big heart-ed son had felt the sting of true sorrow and remorse from his actions.  He didn't need a mother to yell at him, he didn't need to feel belittled by parents he looks up to (literally), he needs to be heard, he needed to be in his thoughts and emotions, and he needed to see his mother put aside her own emotions and serve him.

I am not always so calm, but I pray each day for the effort to try to be.  In a talk given by Elder J. Devn Cornish found HERE he says,
"If we must compare, let us compare how we were in the past to how we are today—and even to how we want to be in the future. The only opinion of us that matters is what our Heavenly Father thinks of us. Please sincerely ask Him what He thinks of you. He will love and correct but never discourage us; that is Satan’s trick."

Our children deserve to be heard, they deserve to be able to express their own emotions and learn to deal with them.  They don't need to have us rub their noses in the poop, for them to understand that sometimes, it just sucks to have to deal with people and poop.  I have learned a lot in the last couple years from my children, that even though I am the mother, and my husband and I lay down the ground rules, my children still have a voice and it deserves a place in our home and our hearts.

Final quote by Elder Cornish from the same talk, 

"If you will really try and will not rationalize or rebel—repenting often and pleading for grace—you positively are going to be “good enough.”

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

I love Mother's Day, always have, always will.  I have heard many times others say they hate this day and it breaks my heart to hear that.  I wonder why they would have such ill feelings towards a holiday that we get to celebrate the joy of being able to be a mother, to be blessed to have the Lord entrust us with his most precious.  So why do I love Mother's Day, for that reason exactly.  I am a mother, and I count my blessings everyday that I get to be one. 

I am not perfect, I don't have homemade baked cookies ready for my kids after school.  I don't take them to the park everyday, and they do have to clean their rooms and do chores around the house.  I get angry and sometimes even yell.  Somedays I want to pull my hair, out of frustration because my kids don't listen.  I work a lot and just the other day decided to try for "mother of the year" by forgetting to get home in time for my kids after school, until my daughter texted me, "Where are you?".  Yikes, that was a winner mom moment for sure. 

But, I try.  I have plenty of hugs and kisses to give, I try to teach my children manners and gratitude and service for others.  I am there for them when they cry, when they laugh and when they just want to throw a fit or be defiant.  And for this, I am truly happy I get to celebrate this day.  With all my imperfections and weaknesses, I get to be the best mother for my kids.  I am who my Father in Heaven wanted for them.  And because of the unconditional love that two amazing women had for their little ones, I am a mother. 

The day before Mother's Day is Birth Mother Day!  Appropriate since they were mother's before I was able to be one.  This is also why I love Mother's Day, because of the opportunity to celebrate with my two sisters gained through adoption.  I get to celebrate them and the love I have for them. 

I love Mother's Day, always have, always will.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Precious moments

Early on in our family, when Kya was just a little girl, learning to walk and talk we had an experience of uncertainty in how our open adoption was going to work.
Sitting around the living room of Jerica's house, enjoying conversation with her parents and siblings, after stuffing our faces with a delicious meal made by Mama G (as Carl has lovingly named her), Kya was crawling around the floor playing with toy horses.  She had recently learned to say "mama" and called to me for some help with a toy.  I went to her and played with her for a moment.  The weekend went on this way, hanging out, eating good food and chatting it up. 
Jerica had graduated from high school at this time and was spending all her free time with her friends before they were leaving for college or moving on in their lives.  Leaving their small town to experience the world.  We didn't get to spend as much time with her in Kya's early years.  Surely she was doing her best to get on and cope with adoption and the openness we were blessed to have with them. 
Sunday after church, Jerica and her parents pulled us aside.  We sat around the sitting room, away from the other family members, while Kya was being watched by her aunt (Jerica's younger sister).  
I could feel the emotions in the room begin to build and it was evident that there were concerns and heavy thoughts coming from Jerica.  Mom and Dad G were also a little more somber than normal.  My heart began to pound for fear of what I felt was about to happen.  Jerica's dad began to explain, as Jerica was clearly unable to speak while tears began to well in her eyes. 
We were told that Jerica wasn't sure how to continue an open adoption.  Hearing Kya call me "mommy" was a little too much for her to handle at the time.  She didn't want to lose the closeness we had, but wasn't dealing with it as well as she had hoped.  We were told that she wanted to take some time to think about it and make a decision of how to move forward in her own journey, with or without us in it.
Communication and honesty are very important to Carl and me in our open adoption journey.  We have always said from the beginning, that if ever our children or our birthfamilies needed a break from openness then we all had to respect that right.  Adoption has always been for the best interest of our children and our birth moms and birth dads.  At this moment, Jerica's best interest was our concern.  Unfortunately we had to tell her that we would respect her wishes (as difficult as this was for me to imagine losing my "sista from anotha mista") but that she needed to also understand, that however long it took for her to come back to us, if she did, then it would be up to Kya and her best interest if she would be able to allow that open adoption in her life. 
Jerica took a few days to think, as we tried to patiently wait.  We left that weekend with heavy hearts and puffy eyes, with the thought that we may not be able to have Jerica in our lives regularly.  The next week she called and told us she didn't want to lose our family and wanted to continue on our open adoption journey with us.  I was thrilled and so grateful for her decision.  She was just struggling with  life changes, friends leaving and decision of what to do post graduation.  It was all a little overwhelming. 
8 years later, we are going strong and I count my blessings everyday for all the beautiful family we have gained through both our kids. 
I took these pictures just a few weeks ago while visiting Jerica and her husband and two little boys.  We were getting ready for the day and Jerica was doing Kya's hair.  I cherish these precious moments we share.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Tess and Zander

Lately I've been writing more about life lessons I'm learning and experiences and trials.  This crazy roller coaster ride or rather life journey we are on.  This is all good and grand as we all learn how to deal with hurdles.  But tonight I wanted to share some simple precious moments we've had lately with our open adoption journey. 

Open adoption is a daily learning opportunity.  I've never done this before, I've never had a nine and seven year old before now with seven families to love them.  We are constantly experiencing new life lessons and ways to handle how Love makes a Family, not always blood. 

It hasn't always been easy, but its always worth the lesson. 

Zander was just a few months old when we were preparing for his adoption finalization and sealing in the temple to our eternal family.  Both sets of Zander's birth grandparents had been able to come and visit and spend time with our little baby boy.  He was such a tiny little baby, and had so much personality, very early on.  From very vocal lungs, just minutes after birth to a curious spirit and animated facial expressions as a baby, he has always brought spice to our family.  During their visits from states away, I would constantly share the similarities I was seeing in Zander and our family, and especially his similarities to me.  This was hard for Tess to hear, how could I try to compare this little boy that clearly was a big part of her, to me (not a biological mother)?

As an adoptive mother, learning how to raise children I had not born, was educational.  I have always felt strongly that once these children are in my care and in my home and family, then I was going to do my best to make sure they never felt "different" or less than anything but my children and our family.  It was my (and Carl's) responsibility to bring them 100%, wholeheartedly into our family.  Once their birthmoms hand them over to me, that's my job.

We love to find the "nature vs nurture" attributes in our children.  Its almost a fun game we play, trying to pick out their quirks or unique personalities and claiming those from us or naming those to a birthparent.  I love every bit of who my children are and where they came from and I will proudly own it all. 

For example, my son has a wild and creative personality.  The imagination running through his brain is mind blowing.  He has such a free spirit about him and will do things his own way and in his own time.  He was born with blonde hair, despite his Mexican and Italian blood, and beautiful olive skin.  Many times I would hold this little one in my arms and stare into his eyes, hold his little hands and feet and try as I might to find the similarities he and I shared.  But even in this same thought, I could not see past the beauty he held in his soul of where he came from, the qualities he possessed that he shared with Tess and Jon.  He has her eyes, he has her laugh, he has his charming dimples.  He was my child to raise and love and entrusted with, but not a day goes by that I don't see Tess and Jon in him. 

Unfortunately, I did not express this as well early on.  I was learning to be a mother, and entrusted to be his mother by another.  I searched hard to find the similarities he shared with me.  My daughter is just like her father, in personality, spirit and even looks.  I was determined to see me in my son.  But how could this biologically be?  This was a concern Tess had and feared we would forget what she had done for us.

To this day, as much as Zander is my son, I don't see him, without seeing her or Jon.  And I love that about my children.  That there is evidence of all of us in them, while they both still maintain their own uniqueness and absolute greatness as human beings.  My children know they are loved in our home and family and they truly are my children, but they came with so much more.  More greatness, more family, more beauty that I get to share with the world. 

Tess shared these pictures with me, from her recent visit to our home.  She made a special 8 hour drive to help me out just days after my hysterectomy a couple months ago.  Unfortunately, not only was I recovering and mostly bed ridden, Carl and Kya decided to come down with a nasty flu/cold that also put them down.  Thankfully, Zander did not get sick and was able to spend some precious one on one time with Tess. 

Again, precious moments that I cherish.  I am so grateful for Tess, Jerica and ultimately my Father in Heaven who first and lastly brought these children to my home, family and heart and have shared, entrusted and allowed me to be their mother. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Finding Peace in the Silence

 My daughter loves horses.  Its in her blood.  At our very first "face to face" meeting with Jerica, I was in awe of her beautiful hair and then she told us that she just had an ultrasound and saw Kya's hair.  They told us Jerica has a "mane" of hair, just like a horses tail and we all hoped Kya would have the same gorgeous hair.  We like to refer to Kya as the "animal whisperer", and that definitely includes horses.  She communicates with animals better than she does with humans. 

"When can we get horses mom?", "Why can't we now?", "Can we buy a house with land, so we can have horses?", "Can I ride someone else's horse?".  The questions are never ending, she even prays that we will one day soon be able to have horses.  My answer is often, "not now", "we don't have horses for you to ride all the time", "I don't know when we will have horses".  Its endless, and I just don't know how to answer her.  In the meantime, we have tried to get her riding lessons, but that's not exactly what she wants.  What is a mother to do?  So I stop talking about it, and if she inquires, I often answer with, "sweetie, I've already given you the answer, I don't know what else to tell you, not right now, maybe someday...." 

For five years we have tried to adopt again, and have had 3 birthmoms choose another option; another family or keep and 3 other potential scams.  Needless to say, its been difficult.  We have so many supporters and I am grateful for so many words of encouragement.  Many prayers have come our way, and for that I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  However, I still have those feelings of "emptiness", and I know there are so many others out there that struggle as well. 

Just the other day, a beautiful mother of 18 children (half through adoption), reached out to me to send me words of encouragement and share a story with me from another mother.  Mama Karmel shared her miraculous story just days ago with the blessing of a little baby girl brought to her through adoption and truly angels.  Her story is fascinating and brought me to non-stop tears.  I was so touched by her story and my heart was full with the hope that she shares.  But then other feelings crept in.

Just when I start to find peace in the fact that I will probably only have two children, then thunder strikes.  A birthmom contacts us, or I read these stories and wonder why it's not happening the same way for me.  My tears of joy for Mama Karmel turned to tears of sorrow for my empty arms and feelings of being lost.  Why, when I am so blessed would I even allow the adversary to put those feelings and thoughts into my mind?  I called my husband, and I cried to him over the phone.  "If I am to only have two children, then thank you, but what else am I supposed to do?"  I know I have more to give, and I am very blessed to be a mother to the two greatest kids in the world.  But my kids are fairly easy, in that they are getting older, independent and well behaved (for the most part...wink wink).  So, what is it you would have me do, Lord?  I have love, service and time to give.  What can I do?  I know, as soon as I ask....then life gets too busy. 

My amazing husband is so calm and understanding of my silliness.  I am so blessed to have him as my sounding board...but he doesn't just listen, he knows what to say, even if I don't want to hear it.  And this is how he counseled me, he told me, 'I know you want certain things, and its great that you do, but I know that the Lord knows His plan for us and He will answer us when an answer is warranted.' 

Why does that mother get so many answers and another baby and I hear nothing?  Why does that other mother have so many kids, and I don't?  When is it my turn?  Why, Why, Why....???  I am sure the Lord is up there rolling his eyes, just as I do sometimes with my daughter when the questions just keep coming.  I've answered you, I don't know what else to tell you right now.  I don't have a horse for you right now.  Patience my dear.  Patience. 

My husband calls it, "radio silence".  "You've gotten your answer, its just not what you want to hear right now", Carl reminded me, "You can keep asking, but He doesn't have anything new right now".  My Heavenly Father is there, but he just doesn't have answer for me right now.  He's given me the answers necessary for me to move forward and be the best mother I can for my kids.  The radio silence is His patience with me.  Why can't I be patient with Him.

I know my Heavenly Father is there, and that He knows my sorrows and concerns.  I know this because He sent me comfort through another.  Post hysterectomy, a month ago, I knew that going to the gym to workout was not an option, but I had to do something to stay active and sane, so I started to walk along the Snake River Canyon Rim.  We have an amazing trail system with breathtaking views.  The sunrise in the morning is so peaceful and this seemed to be the perfect place for a refreshing walk.  One morning while walking alone and in my thoughts, I wore black pants and a black hoodie.  Not my normal attire, I am often in bright colored tops with matching shoes, and hair tied up in a high messy bun.  I must have wanted to be hidden from the world, focusing on the roller coaster I was on with our most recent birth mother experience (see previous posts for story).  A day or two after this walk, I got a call from a lady.  She said, "my name is Sue, and I met you a couple years ago while at girl's camp."  She was one of our fabulous cooks that year.  "I passed you while walking and you just didn't seem as chipper as I've seen you before.  I just felt like I needed to call you and see how you are doing".  WOW!  Someone, whom I've only met once, who had to call someone else to get my name and number, was inspired to "say hi, how are you?".  Later she tells me that while she was running past me she felt a strong impression to stop me, then and talk to me, she had other things to attend to and didn't know my name.  So she continued on her way.  Again she felt impressed to talk to me, even though she was surprised she even recognized me in my dark and mysterious appearance.  A day or two later, she called. 

This was the Lord telling me, "I hear you, I know you are there and I know your concerns, your worries, your questions.  I am here and I do hear you". 

So, how do I find peace in this "radio silence".  My husband gave me some things to think about...again.  You have to almost beat it into me.  That day I went to the temple, looking forward to being closer to my Father in Heaven, in hopes that I will find more peace.  I have prayed before, turning my heavy heart and empty, lost feelings over to Him.  Pleaing with Him to take this from me, I cannot not carry this burden anymore.  I want so badly to just have peace with this.  I've prayed, I've said it, am I really allowing Him to take this from me. 

I am still on this journey to find peace in the silence, its only been a few days of this new perspective, but as I sat in the temple and literally felt peaceful and calm with a feeling of comfort that my Heavenly Father and Lord and Savior KNOW ME.  They hear me, they let me know this with Sue. 

In Mama Karmel's story, she shares a talk from the October 2015 Conference by Russell M. Nelson, "A Plea to My Sisters".

After this "eye opening" experience with my husband and "radio silence", I went to this talk again and listened to it a few times.  Feel free to read the whole talk here, but I wanted to share a portion of it that has spoken to me during my "finding peace in the silence" journey...

My dear sisters, you who are our vital associates during this winding-up scene, the day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!6
We, your brethren, need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices. The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God!7
President Packer declared:
“We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out. …
“We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.”8
Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly."

I just love this talk, and have listened to it several time, this week alone.  As I continue to learn and grow on this journey of "finding the peace in the silence", I have learned that continuing to ask the same questions, is not necessarily going to give me the answer I want, or an answer at all right now.  There just isn't one to receive.  Just as when my kids ask me over and over for the same thing and I don't have an answer for them.  Timing and patience.  In the meantime, I can serve others and help other mother's survive their tough "mommy moments" to the best of my ability.  What kind of women am I or can I be, according to Elder Nelson's talk?  And that is my "peace" for now. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

We have a WINNER!

Yay, we have a winner for our $50 gift card.  Thank you everyone that participated in the "open adoption" survey contest.  I truly loved hearing the opinions and ideas of others views of open adoption.  Congratulations Mallory, you were our random picked winner.  Now go buy yourself something pretty.  Love a good giveaway!

As for the conclusion of our recent adoption story.  I've had a few people mention they want to hear the rest of the story.  As for Maddie, there is no more to the story, unfortunately we never did get confirmation of pregnancy from her and she has no longer contacted us. 

As for the lessons learn, there is a whole new story there.  I won't bore you with all the details, but I will share some of my insight and things I've learned.  I understand I am not the only one facing trials, we all have them and we all struggle with our own demons.  I also understand I am not the only one struggling with infertility or the desire to want more children.  Its a righteous desire and I'm sure I will always have this desire to be a mother to more children.  However, this desire does not replace and never will replace the feelings of gratitude I have for the two children I have been blessed with.  My life revolves around them and always will.  They are the reason for everything I do, everyday.  I am eternally grateful to their birthmothers, birthfathers and all our extended family we have gained through their adoptions.  My desire to be a mother again may never be fulfilled here on this earth, and I am finding peace in the fact that I am still a mother and have two amazing and beautiful children already. 

Everyone struggles, everyone has trials they sometimes wish they didn't have to deal with, but I am grateful for my trials because I often grow spiritually from them.  I have learned to look at others with a different light and try to be more understanding that they too are fighting.  I try to gain a greater understanding of my Heavenly Father's plan for me.  There is always a reason we face what we do, and as far as I understand, if we don't learn and grow from them, what is our purpose for our trials. 

I have no hard feelings towards Maddie, if anything I have a greater love for her and her reasons for contacting us in the first place that I cannot explain.  Putting ourselves out there for adoption is difficult, and sometimes can result is pain and confusion.  But it also allows for opportunities to love, it allows for eye opening experiences and ultimately offers opportunity for me to try to become more like my Savior, gaining unconditional love for all. 

Thank you for those who have read and shared.  Thank you for allowing me this outlet to "talk it out", "let it off my chest"...whatever the reason, I am grateful for my experiences.  I pray that by sharing, this can be received well with the best intentions and also portrayed for the reason of mostly learning and growing from our trials. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Giveaway contest EXTENDED

I am absolutely loving all the responses and viewpoints of open adoption. Please keep them coming. I have decided to extend the contest one more week to see other's comments. Please continue to share. Someone may need to hear all your beautiful comments.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

How "open" is "open adoption"?

I'm conducting a little survey/contest. We have a very open adoption in our family, but I have often wondered what it means to others to have an open adoption?  What is the relationship between birth family and adoptive family. I'm putting this out there as my own little research. Please leave a comment here with your knowledge or ideas of open adoption. You do not need to be a part of a birth family or adoptive family to participate.
Please share and I would love your participation. The contest part comes in here...I will choose a winner from the comments in a week. Leave a comment, tag a friend, follow and share. Winner receives a $50 Visa gift card. Wahoo...let the comments begin.