Madeline has a very complex medical condition. It is never going to go away. In fact, it is quite serious.
Why would we willingly take such a baby? Because we received personal revelation from Heavenly Father that we should.
We are now at the hospital, far away from home, waiting to hear what steps the doctors are planning to take to correct some of her complications. Surgery is most likely going to happen within the next few days. Though not unexpected for us, it has happened sooner than we anticipated.
We thought long and hard, prayed heavily and sincerely, and weighed many options before bringing Maddie into our family. Despite understanding that the path would be unknown we felt very peaceful deciding to adopt her.
Truly, we love her already. She is a part of our family. No matter what happens–how the path may turn– we are grateful that we felt impressed to care for this child. It is comforting to know that we received that answer to bring her into our lives from our loving and all-knowing Father.
The Relief Society General President, Julie Beck, came to our Stake Center to speak to 4 different Stakes in our area. What an amazing woman she is! I left there feeling inspired to be a better mom, a better servant of the Lord, and a better person all around.
Of the many words of counsel that left an impression on me, her charge to us, as mothers, to conserve our energy and time for the afternoon made me rethink my current game plan. If we think of our “work schedule” in normal terms (day shift, swing shift, graveyard shift) then the most important shift, the time (especially as children get older) of greatest influence is in the afternoon. She said how critical it is to use those moments for teaching and nurturing, where we might otherwise be too busy or worn out to handle it. Thankfully, she acknowledged that we just can’t be “on” during all of the shifts– we need breaks! But as much as we can, go to bed earlier, manage time better, and otherwise stick to the essentials so that we can be available when our families need us the most.
Since December 1st, we’ve been doing a story and scripture advent, along with the traditional chocolate kind. Colin’s mom sent us a book, right after Thanksgiving, which contains many family-cherished Christmas tales and recipes.
Every night we read a scripture about the life of Jesus, a story from the collection, and eat a chocolate from our gingerbread house advent calendar.
We have loved this nightly focus on the Lord to remind us why we celebrate the season. It’s been a special way to come together with carols, tree lights, and beautiful stories.
We are thankful for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ– for his life, ministry, sacrifice, and atonement.
Some time this summer I had the idea to present the production of Women at the Well to our ward, which later became to our stake. What was I thinking? Right before Christmas?!
Yes, it was crazy, and yes, I didn’t get my Christmas cards out in a timely manner but this production accomplished what I had hoped for way back in the summer: I felt the spirit of Christmas, and I think everyone else did, too.
What an amazing amount of talent we have in our midst. I love all of these women! Many, MANY thanks to all that were involved in making this event a spiritual experience. It was beautiful because of you.
Many of you are aware of this initiative that we will be voting on in November. Proposition 8 states, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
For months we have been struggling with the social and legal complexities of this issue. Please don’t misunderstand, there was never any question in our minds about which way we would vote. But we struggled with how to talk about it with friends who don’t share our convictions. We’ve gone over the arguments for and against keeping the original meaning of the word marriage many times with family and friends. We have watched people polarize on this issue. Even people who we greatly respect vehemently oppose Proposition 8. We’ve seen our beliefs and religion criticized. We’ve worried deeply about what friends might be thinking about our stance or how they might respond to our vote.
There are many friends and colleagues—some whom we hold dear—who we know will completely disagree with our decision. We hope our relationship can remain unharmed despite our differences.
When it comes down to it, there is no reconciling our personal knowledge with the social arguments. So, we base our vote on the following statements of principle and belief, in Colin’s words, which are mine as well:
I know there is a God. It is a fact to me. I know that he is our father, and that he loves all of us. I know that he justly holds us accountable for our level of understanding of him and his laws. I know 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” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World). Therefore, I stand accountable to God to live by this principle; no matter how much the collective intellect of society, including my most trusted and respected friends, disagrees.
Lately, I’ve been focusing on the negative things– politics, in particular. I wanted to be informed and stay on top of the issues.
It was starting to weigh me down. It was permeating my whole demeanor.
“Without question, we need to be informed of the happenings of the world. But modern communication brings into our homes a drowning cascade of the violence and misery of the worldwide human race. There comes a time when we need to find some peaceful spiritual renewal. “I acknowledge with great gratitude the peace and contentment we can find for ourselves in the spiritual cocoons of our homes, our sacrament meetings, and our holy temples. In these peaceful environments, our souls are rested. We have the feeling of having come home.”
–James E. Faust, “Gratitude As a Saving Principle,” Ensign, May 1990, 86
Yes, though I should be informed, I cannot let it become a burden. Despite what the world may conjur, I can decided what I allow into my life. I need to put aside the world and seek after that feeling of peace more often.
We’ve been counseled by church leaders for as long as I can remember to prepare in all ways and to be provident in our living. Food storage is just one area. It’s taken us this long but we’ve finally established a supply that I feel really good about. This summer we were challenged by our Stake Presidency to live as if “Someday” were “Today.” Try to eat only from your food storage supply… don’t buy any gas for the week… use a limited amount of electricity… spend only the cash you have on hand, if any at all. For the first time ever, I felt prepared. After this exercise and the experience with the Gap Fire during July, I can definitely say that I have developed a testimony of following the commandment to “prepare every needful thing” (D&C 109:8).
Despite the popular belief that meals made mostly or entirely from food storage items can be less than appealing, I have found a recipe that begs to differ. I stumbled upon this little winner purely by accident. And I certainly wasn’t searching for food storage recipes, per se. But there it was– on Epicurious, no less!– calling out for me to try it.
Well, it seemed inevitable. Literally, everyone I know has a blog with fun updates and thoughtful insights. I enjoy reading the changes and happenings in the lives of my dear family and friends. And it’s not that I didn’t want to start one. It’s just that I didn’t want to start one. Chalk it up to laziness, I suppose. I didn’t want to commit to another project I would procrastinate doing.
But then two things happened: 1) I was incredibly inspired by our recent Stake Conference where we were admonished to work harder at strengthening our families and 2) I read a powerful article by Sheri Dew called, “Awake, Arise, and Come Unto Christ,” wherein she challenges us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ more fervently. I think the two concepts go hand in hand.
And so I thought I’d start keeping a better record of the wonderful things about our family and sharing my testimony of The Savior more often. What better way to accomplish these goals than by using this handy, dandy modern technology?
(Just one of the many experiences we have yet to record…)
The goal is to write down things as they happen and thoughts as they come to mind. I imagine that we’ll be super diligent, at first, but will ultimately teeter off as time goes on. At the very least we’ll plan to post once a week. Baby steps, of course.