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Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Safest Place in the World - A Vivid Reality

I’ve had this thought running through my mind for quite sometime.  Being pregnant has pushed the barriers of my mind and heart.  Mentally, there is no way to comprehend what the body can do.  Create a baby?  Really?  The miracle of birth and the love for your new baby completely changes the world.

We all arrive here on this planet the same way.  It is through our mother.  Some mothers keep their baby, others may adopt them out, some mothers abandon their baby and then there is the mother who terminates her pregnancy through abortion.  No human being has ever arrived on earth another way but through her mother.  What does this say about our role as woman?  As mothers?  What does it say about our own life and the idea that our mother placed our birth as a priority?  In all the powers of the universe, it appears the womb of a mother is one of the most productive, creative and miraculous places ever in existence.  But is it the safest?  

About a year before becoming pregnant with this 6th baby, the counselor and I researched an international adoption; specifically from India.  My heart is drawn through dreams, prayer and visions to a little brown-skinned brown-eyed girl.  I know her and love her.  Adoptions from India are difficult, expensive and can take many years to process.  Some websites say you have to live in the country for months before becoming eligible.  Another website says India has nearly stopped adopting out girls because many girls have been turned into slaves or sold.  Sexual abuse is rampant.  More research told me adoption was only open to families with three or less children and another said the counselor and I were too old.  A personal dilemma I have is the fear of flying.  India is very far away.  Yes, adopting from India seemed like an impossible climb.  Then, I became pregnant.  I know I am getting the baby God intended me to have, but what about this beautiful little girl I loved and desired.  Could it be my desire to save any girl - all these little girls!  I think it might be.  My heart aches to comfort even one of them.

I have done research on the customs and cultural practices in India, China and other countries.  These countries are beautiful in many ways through cultural and tradition, but there is a dark side.  The desire to have male children puts many unborn and newborn baby girls at risk of abortion, gendercide and infanticideFemale feticide is the act of aborting a fetus because it is female. I remember when I first heard these terms, wondering if they were real.  Was there really such a thing as infanticide – the crime of killing a child within a year of birth?  I have a college degree and stay current with world news.  I follow child development issues and world health.  Why had I never heard of such things?  I hear of racial tension and homophobic accusations, terrorism and political unrest.  There’s a group fighting capitalism on Wall Street, but where are those demonstrating the injustice of millions of baby girls being killed each year?  I've had to dig for information about this as it is not in the mainstream media.  According to International Business Research:

“Across South Asia, untold numbers of infant girls have been murdered by their own families throughout the centuries. In the modern world, the phenomenon of ultrasounds and gender-selective abortion has introduced a new method of perpetuating this ancient killing machine.
Baby girls are considered a curse and a financial burden, especially to poor, rural families who must cough up expensive dowries upon their marriages, while boys are usually counted upon to take care of their parents during their old age.
Human rights activists in both India and Pakistan have long expressed their outrage over biases against infant females, to little avail.”
Another source says  “Many pregnant women abort their unborn child as soon as they find out it is a girl. According to a study, up to 8 million unborn females may have been killed during the last ten years.  Human rights organizations are accusing the government of not doing enough to stop the abortion of girls. Abortion is legal in India up to the 12th week of pregnancy but the sex of a child can be determined only much later. In the past clinics that can determine the sex of a baby through ultrasound examinations have emerged. Some of them offer package prices for tests and immediate abortions if they show that a girl is on the way.”
I’ve been reviewing/editing with my mom author Sarah Hinze the 15th anniversary edition of her best-selling book The Castaways – Real-life Accounts of Aborted Souls.  
The stories she’s collected for almost 30 years provides real evidence that unborn children can warn, protect and enlighten us from another plane of existence. But what about abortion?  If a soul lives in a state of existence before it’s born, what happens when his/her attempt to come to earth is terminated through abortion?  Does this soul live on?  The research says yes!  The term “castaway” was coined and now in many ways, my mom is honored to share their stories.  Never political or religious, my mom simply shares stories of dreams, memories or experiences from those who remember their own abortion.  In some cases, these castaways have been re-assigned to a new family.  There are mothers and fathers who have seen in dreams, memories or experiences those facing, experienced or been reassigned to another family because of abortion.  Such experiences bring much needed healing and awareness to those who have been emotionally/spiritually/physically hurt through abortion.  Like my mom, my feelings about abortion are not political - they are spiritual.

Author of The Gift of Giving Life 
Lani Axman says “. . . I had never heard of “castaways.” I didn’t know anyone who talked about them. Finding and meeting pre-birth expert Sarah Hinze in 2010-2012 was surely no coincidence. Sarah has been a sort of lone voice in the wilderness for the past few decades, sharing her growing pool of case histories about previously-aborted children. She herself was highly skeptical at first. A couple of years ago, Sarah handed me a story that had clearly been typed decades ago and said, “I think this was the first abortion story I ever received.” She shook her head, saying, “I couldn’t believe it was true.” So she had put it away in a file, feeling sure it was an anomaly among pre-birth accounts. But then she received others, and that pushed-aside file started to grow.”

Since meeting my mom, Lani has meet “many people who have discovered a “castaway” in their family. I knew that the ranks of previously-aborted children coming to earth were growing, but I was still unprepared for the outpouring of witnesses I received.  Though the idea (of aborted souls being given second chances at life) is still far from mainstream, more and more stories are coming out of the woodwork.” 

(Lani with her baby)
Lani continues “As more and more of these brave and valiant spirits try to make their way to earth again, the powers of darkness are heightening their efforts at preventing their entrance. Personally, I believe that many of these spirits are God’s strongest “warriors.” Satan doesn’t want them here, and he certainly doesn’t want people acknowledging their existence. Revelation chapter 12 takes on new meaning as we consider the vast number of previously-aborted spirits seeking entrance into mortality: “And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (vs. 4).

I think of the safe place my unborn child is growing.  I think of the tender way my doctor has cared for me.  I think of the concern of others and well wishes and consider in another circumstance, his life could be terminated for no reason but he isn’t wanted.  He isn't considered human while in the womb.  He doesn't have the same rights I have even though he is created the same way I was.  For if we all are given life the same way, to block one child’s life is to block our own.  And then to consider 8 million little girls aborted in India is more than my heart can bear.  I’m not sure what my role is in helping these little girls.  And what my little India princess? 

Since 1973 when Roe vs. Wade was passed there have been nearly 57 million abortions.  My heart is so tender to those precious ones who have been aborted.  If my path to existence was not blocked, why should others?  Shouldn’t they have the same rights as those of us living?  It leads me back to my question “What is the safest place on earth?”

Shouldn’t it be a mother’s womb? 

You think of the far reaches of the universe and the chaos of shooting stars, moving milky ways and comets stretching from one end to another, yet here we are on earth we call home.  You think of the chaos of wars, natural disasters, calamities, terrorism and genocide.  So much of life is out of our control, but what about the sacred place our unborn children grow?  Yet, it is not.  With all the rights of woman, especially in America (knowing they are very limited in other parts of the world), when does a woman compromise on the rights of her body?  Her child?  Think of what a woman will do to save/protect her child.  She will run in front of a moving train, lift a car and even give her own life.  So what about a developing child?  Why is it so difficult to visualize a real child in our womb? 

More wars for life are fought in a mother’s womb than any where else in the world.  Where is that documentary?  Who will arm our unborn children?  Who will fight for the rights and freedoms of those little girls of India?  If God will show me the way, I will. 

I think of my own little girl whose life is celebrated because she is a girl.  She is surrounded by 4 big brothers and a little brother due in 3 weeks.  Her beautiful feminine spirit fills our home.  My big boys nurture her in such beautiful ways.  They are tender and gentle to her.  The love I feel for her seems to nurture my own feminine spirit.  She truly is our princess.

I am so proud of my mom for doing her part to protect our children.  
(My mom with Eden)
Someday she feels small; she is just one voice for millions who have none.  If you have a story you’d like to share, you can contact Sarah Hinze at sarah@sarahinze.com.  The 15th anniversary of The Castaways is scheduled to be published by the end of this year.  I will keep you posted.

My mom and I have authored a book together called The Memory Catcher (2012).  It is the story of her life and how she became the world's leading researcher on prebirth experiences.  Orders can be placed by clicking here.  

Linking up to:
Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The day I stepped on an elephant scale

So, a few weeks ago the counselor and I took our 5 ½ kids to Tucson for spring break.  We go to Tucson because this is where the counselor likes to brainwash our kids that the University of Arizona is literally the most amazing place on earth.  For the most part, the kids are buying it.  They loved running around campus, checking out the book store and dreaming of the day they can attend U of A.  As a sun devil (Arizona State University graduate), I just yawned and ate ice cream.

We did our usual stuff in Tucson; hiked a bit.
( here we are in Madera Canyon)

We ate too much and watched too much cable.  We spent lots of time in the pool and shopped a few thrift stores.  One day, we decided to go to the zoo.

Yes, almost 8 months pregnant and I agreed to go to the zoo in record breaking March heat.  It was actually pretty nice.  Eden and Reef loved it, but so did the older boys.  
(This photo was taken before the tragedy)

It was a great family outing until . . .

I stepped on an elephant scale.

Here’s how this went down.  We were at the elephant area/display; a huge section at the back of the zoo.  


There were all sorts of displays, statues, even African bongos.  Eden ran off to look at an elephant skeleton and Reef was right behind her to check out . . .  well I wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to check out so I followed him.  We turned a corner and Eden was busy right beside us when the counselor gasped and shouted out a 3-digit number.  I wasn’t sure what he was getting at, when under his breath he said it again. 

Wait, what!!!

And that’s when I realized in this large open area with all sorts of people all around, I was standing on one of the interactive elephant displays - an elephant scale!

How many people does it take to weigh as much as an elephant?” the sign read.

There was a huge metal scale, probably could hold about ten people, but it appeared I was the only one standing on it.  My weight flashed on a computerized screen in red numbers above me, let alone the counselor and his verbal announcement of how much his pregnant wife weighed (who if he said my weight one more time out loud was going to be socked in the face by yours truly!)!  According to the display, I weight almost as much as an elephant leg!

Why would anyone want to know how much of an elephant they weighed!  What was amusing or the slightest bit entertaining about this!  

I was horrified.  In my emotional/hormonal/sleep-deprived state I was more than horrified.  I was humiliated.  As fast as I could, I jumped off that demon-maker of a scale.  Thank heavens I was wearing shades.  I pulled my hat a bit lower over my face.  In an instant the counselor had his arms around me, somewhat amused at my overreaction to an innocent mistake on his part and mine.  I was just trying to get away as fast as I possibly could.  Where was the nearest airport!

“I don’t care how much you weigh,” he tried reassuring me, but I wasn’t buying it for a second. 

I pouted, I cried, I walked away.  It was a little more than this pregnant girl could handle. 


I did eventually get over it, in a way, not really, ok, I’m really just as ticked off!  

Friday, March 27, 2015

What Color Should I Paint A Dresser?

Six more weeks until I have a baby and I’m trying to keep up with all I have/think/needs to be done around here.

What makes it difficult is I can’t bend.
Or walk very well.
And did I mention I’m still nauseous most days.

I’m surrounded by so many loving people.  My kids are keeping up and going the extra mile.  The counselor does most of the runs to the store and keeps up with literally bringing home the bacon.

My boys and the counselor are keeping up with “the family business” (that’s what we’re calling it around here now).  Mayer takes off and puts back on fixtures.  Payson does the sanding.  Chandler helps with painting.  The counselor does all the shopping, lifting and delivery to Antique Plaza and Merchant Square.  I’m mainly in charge of the "make-up" of a piece, meaning distressing, staining and waxing.  For the most part, we've been able to use oops paint on my pieces, but great paint colors in oops paint are hard to find these days.

So, I'm using the paint we currently have and keep painting many of the dressers the same color.

Tiffany blue

And gray.


Over and over again.


 Because I mix my own paint, the shades very slightly.

End tables and armoires included.


Seems like Tiffany blue and gray are the famous colors right now.   


Which works out great if those are the few paint colors you currently have.

I try to throw in the occasional white and black piece too.


White and black are great sellers too.




What's been most fun is I'm finally using my Christmas gift - the counselor got me a drill!

I love this drill.  I was a little intimated, but thanks to my 9 year-old son Mayer who loves working with tools, he figured it out and taught me how to use it.

Now, I'm making all sorts of things out of my dad's old barn wood (many of which sold before I was able to take photos).



Seriously, I dream in Tiffany blue and gray and power drills these days.
Linking up to:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I didn't think I could do this, but I'm doing this!

I had my fifth child Eden when I was 37.  The counselor and I always wanted six kids and I wanted to be pregnant with our last baby before I turned 40.  We never had a problem getting pregnant before, but pregnancy didn’t happen at 39 or 40.  This was a very difficult time for me.  I tried to move forward with goals – both personal and for our family, but every time I did I felt stuck.  In some ways I felt guilty for not being able to have another baby.  Was it something I was doing wrong?  That’s when I started down a somewhat destructive path.  I assumed I wasn’t having another baby because my loving Father in Heaven, who knows all, didn’t think I could handle it.

I remembered nights of getting up with sick children or days of trying to make our family budget work.  Yes, this is why we were not meant to have another child.  I had health issues and struggles with helping my kids keep up with school work and activities.  I’m horribly unorganized with scouts (something all my boys participate in), it was difficult keeping the house clean and we’d need a bigger car.  Were these the reasons I wasn’t getting pregnant?  

I did my best to trust in God.  Was this what He wanted?  I started looking at other times in my life when something good I wanted didn’t come easy.  I remembered when I came home from my mission.  I had little money and no car.  I wanted to start my junior year at ASU, but circumstances seemed to say “No.” With the odds against me, I could have said “Well, since God hasn’t provided the resources, I guess I can’t go to school.”  Instead, I took out a student loan and rode the city bus to campus.  I worked as a nanny for a family with a newborn and was able to keep up with my studies while earning a decent salary.  By the end of my first semester, I was offered a full-ride academic scholarship.  My dad purchased a $300 car from a friend who owned a golf course and gave it to me.  This little Nissan hatchback had a section of the floor cut out to attach the handle of a rake-like device used to pick up golf balls on the shooting range.  The roof had a hole in it for a sky light so golf balls could be seen and collected at night.  (Man, I wish I had a picture of this car!)  The air-conditioner didn’t work, nor did the radio.  The stick shift had been put in backwards, so reverse was where 1st gear should be and 1st gear was stuck in the reverse position.  I drove this car back and forth from Mesa to Tempe that entire year.  True, I had to stop most commutes to add water to the radiator because of overheating, but it was my car.  I learned to love that car and nicknamed it 'The Cadillac'. I think back on that experience time and time again.  What if discouragement and difficult circumstances would have kept me from obtaining a college degree! 


So, I couldn’t give up on what my heart was telling me about this next child.  Deep down I knew – I just knew there was one more baby.  At times I buckled under the pressure and discouragement set it.  I learned the difficult lesson that even when we have good desires and intentions, we may not have the opportunity to follow through with them.  Some things are out of our control.

I bounced around from gratitude to discouragement.  Grateful for my five beautiful children – their health and strong minds, their goodness and unique talents.  Wow!  I had five amazing and really fun (sometimes crazy) children.  
Why wasn’t that enough for me?  Enter discouragement.  Why was I not meant to have this one more baby I desired?  Was I ready to have all my children in school?  Was this phase of toddlers and preschoolers really over? Did I just need to grow up?

After I turned 41, I started accepting our family might be complete.  We had an amazing summer.  I ran and played on the beach.  

I loved my ability to move my body, free of baby weight from the past.  I played tennis with my boys, we hiked and took family bike rides.  Maybe this wasn’t so bad.  My children were growing up and with Eden at the age of three, then four we had so much independence.  

No longer was a stroller needed, diaper bags and bottles.  We could all participate in adventures. 

I didn’t need to stay back with a napping child.  This could work.  I still had the ache in the back of my mind, but there was nothing more I could do about it.  Life was too beautiful.

It was at this content place of no more questioning, no more worrying and acceptance that I found out I was pregnant.  How ironic is that!  Interesting - something I’d wanted for so long just didn’t quite fit into my busy life anymore.  I’ve had to do some self-evaluating.  I’ve had to rearrange certain priorities for others.  In some ways, I’ve been tested/blessed on both ends of the spectrum.  Heartache of years while trying to get pregnant only to reshuffle and question my life path to make room for one more.

As women, we all make sacrifices.  Mothering certainly isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but by far the most meaningful.  I never knew my heart had such capacity to love and experience joy.  As woman we do all we can to fulfill our purpose to love and nurture others.  Some of us have children while others do not.  Some of us want for children we cannot have while others struggle with an unwanted pregnancy.  I think what I’ve learned is it’s all in how we handle what comes our way and how we treat others.  There are always children (and adults) out their in need of love and mothering.  When I struggled, I looked around at all the children in my life I love.  I made a commitment to love and nurture my beautiful nieces and nephews and the children of my friends I hold dear.  
These tender relationships have grown by leaps and bounds and I love when they wrap their little arms around my body.   


So, I’m having a baby and there are many emotions wrapped around this event.  I’ve learned hard lessons and witnessed beautiful miracles.  I’ve felt overwhelmed only to be carried by loving arms.  I worry and remind myself to give it to God.  This is my path and here I stand tall, only because I’m leaning on so many loved ones who support me and stand by my side.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Overwhelmed - My Word of the Year

Last week, I turned into the driveway and parked the car.  In the back seat, Eden unbuckled her self from her booster seat and I jumped out to open her door.  Not sure how it happened, but her booster scooted too close to the door and when that door opened, her booster seat tilted and shot Eden out onto the cement driveway. 

I screamed. 

I froze.

I watched my daughter fall head first out of my large and tall SUV and land like a rag doll on the cement.

Nearly 7 months pregnant, I bent down and scooped her four year-old body into my arms.  My boys ran to our aid.  Chandler took her out of my arms and we rushed her inside.  She was crying.  I was crying.  We took her straight to my room.  Laying her down on my bed, I started the inspection that all mothers do when their child is injured.  Scanning for blood, bruises, scratches, looking into her eyes, asking her questions.
“I’m alright, Mommy,” she said, just wanting to be held again. 
Five minutes later, she stopped crying and wanted to go play.
I, on the other hand, cried for over an hour.  Full on panic attack, uncontrollable crying, terrified, overwhelmed and it was Eden, along with my boys, who comforted me.

I don’t know how she wasn’t seriously injured.  I think an angel must have caught her.  When we talk about it now, she says “Mommy, you cried more than me.!” 


Yeah, I’m not proud of that.

So, I have realized my ability to handle stressful situations right now is a bit off kilter.  When I’m pregnant I’m very aware of my mortality and the mortality of my children.  The vulnerability of the entire experience, hoping and praying everything goes well, yet there is very little I have control over is well . . . vulnerable.  Pregnancy requires being submissive, giving into God’s will, feeling the tug-of-war from one life experience to the next. 

Several of my friends, including my sister have chosen a word of the year.  I’ve thought and thought about a word that could inspire me, keep me on track and define me.

There’s a word that keeps coming to me.  So far, it hasn’t been positive.  The word is overwhelmed.  When close friends ask how I’m feeling, I sigh somewhat defeated and say “Overwhelmed.”

Well, while reading my scriptures I read the following verse:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

My heart was touched and all of a sudden my perspective changed.  I was overwhelmed by all the blessings in my life.  This feeling of being overwhelmed, all along I felt it was a weakness, but I know God.  I’ve seen him turn my weaknesses into strengths before. 


As a young girl and teenager, I had a lisp that prevented me from articulating the letter S.  I couldn’t say words like “thought” or “think” without them sounding like “sought” or “sink.”  At the age of 22, I was called as a missionary for the Mormon Church to serve on Temple Square as a public speaker and tour guide.  This volunteer opportunity would for 18 months.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it.  Especially under stressful situations, my lisp became more pronounced.  However, I memorized all 11 scripts (some 10 pages or more) and prayed the Lord would help me.  Slowly, I learned to articulate and pronounce words much clearer than I would have otherwise.  Sure, I still had set backs but making the mistake allowed me to practice with more focus and effort.  I felt guided by the Spirit, even healed.  Near the end of my mission, I loved when I had groups of 50 or 60 people on my tours.  I was called to direct/instruct the huge tour buses that brought hundreds and thousands of people who came to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  No longer did I have to focus to say words properly as my new speech patterns had turned into habits.  Later, my degree at ASU required advanced public speaking classes.  The blessing of my mission helped me gain confidence in my abilities to public speak and I never had a problem with my lisp.  Many times I’ve been on the news and had to public speak in stressful situations, all the while feeling secure in my ability to speak without a lisp.  The counselor teases me because when I’m excited, my lisp still comes out.  So, when I'm really happy, especially sharing something wonderful that has happened to me or a dream/goal I hope to accomplish, I find myself reverting to that young girl with a lisp.  I'm not sure why, but my hubby loves it (which I think is ironic!)


Over and over again, the Lord has turned my weaknesses into strengths.  Could He take this feeling of being overwhelmed and do the same thing?  Overwhelmed at the love and joy, the happiness and health and with this feeling came the desire to pick my word of the year:

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed by Him.
(artist Akiane Kramarik  - link found here)

Overwhelmed at all God has done for me.

Overwhelmed God knows me better than I know myself.

Overwhelmed I have such a beautiful family.

Overwhelmed I live in a neighborhood, town, and a country where so much goodness abounds.

Overwhelmed I had a kind and loving husband who is just as committed to this family as I am.

 Overwhelmed the Lord trusts me to be the mother of another one of His beautiful children.


I realize now the reason I was so upset when Eden fell out of the car is because I have such an overwhelming love for her.  It was painful watching her fall, but would I give up the love to not feel the pain when she hurts?  This type of love resonates with all my children.  That's why I hurt when they struggle and fall, but that's why I feel elated when they strive and accomplish.  Yes, I feel overwhelmed and with God’s influence I choose to focus on my blessings, for truly there is such abundance how can I not help but feel overwhelmed.




Linking up to:
Jenny Matlock

Friday, January 30, 2015

Staging or Not

There are so many things I love about re-doing/refinishing furniture.  


I love the blank slate.

How it begs to be reinterpreted.  

I love the finished product.



I love interpreting each piece.



But lately, well, things have been flying off the shelf and just out of sheer time, I've left one little thing out of the process.
Staging.



Staging has left the building.

I love staging - pulling out unique finds to accent a certain piece.  
The master of staging is Miss Mustard Seed.
Her staging is amazing.
(photo found here)

But lately, staging just isn't happening.
We're too busy.
The counselor delivers a piece to either Antique Plaza or Merchant Square before I get any staging done.


Bless his heart, he tries for a bit of staging, but it's just not the same.


Sometimes the photo looks really professional, fingers and all.

That's it.
And they still seem to fly.
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