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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Miracles 101

I’ve been schooled the last three months in babyness.  

It’s been absolutely blissful.  I honestly did not expect it to be like this.  As I mentioned in previous posts, I was certain this pregnancy and baby was more than I could handle, that I was too overwhelmed.  That’s not how I feel anymore.  Although Canyon is my sixth baby, the entire experience has felt brand new.

This is what I’ve learned since having Canyon.

1.  God will perform mighty miracles in your life when you do difficult things.  Having Canyon has allowed me to see what God can do for me with my unique personality and life experiences.  When I thought I was weak, He gave me strength.  What I thought I would just “get through best I could” has turned into one of the most tender and beautiful experiences of my life.  I have more love in my heart than I thought possible.  My faith has increased tremendously.

2.  The innocence and vulnerability of a baby has absolutely come alive for me.  When you look at a precious baby and the needs only you can meet for them are apparent, you have such a sense of worth and love for that baby while fulfilling those needs. I learned this right away.  When Canyon was born, he was placed on my chest crying.  I soothed his little back and spoke to my son “Momma’s here, Momma’s here.”  He immediately stopped crying.  Later when he cried, I again spoke to him.  I couldn’t believe how responsive he was to my voice.  Just speaking to him in a soft tone soothed him. 

3.  A baby can offer healing.  The recent abortion videos/controversy have left me in tears. Never have I felt the sting of innocent lives lost as I have since the videos release.  I have had the privilege and comfort of holding my newborn baby while working through my emotions over these horrific acts.  Some nights I will get him out of his crib and hold him because of the love and energy I feel from his little soul.  I tremble to think only months earlier he was the size of the babies who have been killed and body parts sold.

4.  Although I’ve never had an abortion, abortion affects me in many ways, especially as a mother. I have a respect for babies I’ve never had before.  In a very realistic way with 55 million abortions (fact found here), there are few survivors.  In some ethnicities, more babies are aborted every year than born.  I look at my son as a survivor.  He will bless me throughout my life.  Every baby is special.  I think there is light shining from new babies and their experience on earth should be loved and celebrated.

5.  A baby can change the tone of a home.  There is more patience, love and joy.  My two teenagers are smitten with their baby brother.  My ten year-old can’t get enough.  My daughter and 7 year-old son have to take turns because they are both so excited to hold the baby.  I feel the lessons learned about the dignity of life and purity of a baby will forever impact my children.

Being a new mom has been an extraordinary experience.  Pregnancy is difficult.  Looking back, I wish I could have had more vision of the joy that was to come.  Because of what I went through, I feel I’m more sympathetic to pregnant woman.  Seriously, if you are a pregnant woman and I cross your path I will caress you with affection and compliments.  I love pregnant woman.  Also, if you have a baby prepare to be bombarded with love and adoration.  I love babies.  It is my commitment to never forget what I’ve learned from Canyon.  

Friday, July 3, 2015

My Baby Canyon Is Born

My little prince is born.

I have a new best buddy and we are spending a lot of time together.  It took some work getting him here, but as you can imagine, it was certainly worth it.

This pregnancy was different then any of the others. 

First of all, at the age of 42 I had many concerns about my health and the baby’s.  Turns out I had a perfect pregnancy and a perfect baby, so those concerns were unmerited.  Still, I gained many wrinkle lines and gray hairs because I choose to worry instead of have faith.

Second, I was so shocked to be having a 5th son, it took some time adjusting.  In a sense, I had to say goodbye to the baby girl I’d met in my mind and reintroduce myself to a little boy.  Once I was used to the idea, I was fine.  Actually, I was more than fine.  Wrapping my mind around five sons, I mean WOW! 

Third, my energy went from feeling overwhelmed and burdened (you can read about that post here) to one of gratitude.  Once I met Canyon, I felt honored, truly humbled he choose me to be his mother. 

My experience in delivering Canyon is one I’ll never forget. 

When you’re pregnant, you think your due date will never arrive.  You watch other pregnant woman have their babies and you’re certain you will be pregnant FOREVER!  Looking back now, I can see how the weeks flew by, but at the time I thought I’d be huge and uncomfortable with swollen ankles and nausea for who knew how long? 

But, at 38 weeks I went into labor all on my own.  This is uncommon for me.  Usually I am induced near my due date, but thanks to a nice foot massage the day before, I think I got a break.  The counselor and I arrived at the hospital on May 6th at 2:00am.  I was dilated to a 3 and having regular contractions.  The contractions were strong; strong enough to scare me.  Normally, when I’m induced I have the baby in a hurry.  I was certain each contraction was pushing just as fast.  I started to panic a bit and my breathing became irregular as I moaned and cried through the pain.  After a couple hours of this, the counselor went out to use the restroom and get himself a drink.  For the first time since we’d arrived at the hospital, I was all alone.  No husband or nurse in sight.  Another contraction came and I started to cry.  It was difficult to breathe when I realized no one was there to comfort me.  No one was there to tell me everything was going to be alright.  Crying and panting alone in that hospital room, I realized how ridiculous I was acting.  This wasn’t what I wanted at all.  After a little internal pep talk, I stopped acting out and kept my emotions inside.  This was a very important transition for me as I started using my mind to manage the pain. 

By 6am I was dilated to a 6 so they went ahead and admitted me.  The nurse put an IV incorrectly in my hand and spilled blood all over the floor, but there was more coming so I couldn’t worry too much about that.  Besides, I was too caught up in my mind of controlled breathing and pain management.  What was amazing is I was really in a good place.  As each contraction came I felt myself getting stronger.  Sure, I was still scared but I knew I could do it.  “I’ve got this,” I said to myself through the pain.  “My body is working perfect, exactly how it was designed,” I said.  “What a privilege to have this beautiful baby,” and so I continued with positive self talk until finally at 10:00am and dilated to a 7 I received my epidural. 

My mom and sister Becky arrived and along with the counselor, I had my glorious birth team.  They were all smiles and radiated such love.  This was really it.  That highly-desired due date I thought would never come was really here.  Maybe I could handle being pregnant a bit longer, but no, I really had to do this.  I had to push this baby out.  No one was going to do it for me. The epidural took, but an hour after receiving it my contractions stopped.  At noon my doctor came into check on me and broke my water.  Add a little pitocin and those contractions started up just lovely again.  Problem was, the epidural decided to check out.  Not literally, I was still hooked up to it but no longer was the medicine helping ease the pain of each contraction.  Unfortunately this is also common for me.  I’m not sure about my body, but I don’t do pain medication very well.  Out of six pregnancies the epidural had only worked once and that was when I gave birth to Eden!!!

So, it was back to the internal pep talk.  “I’ve got this,” I said again through the pain.  “Each contraction is a blessing,” and I really believed it.  I knew this was how it had to be.  I could be weak or I could be strong.  My mom sat in her chair next to me and out of my peripheral vision I could see her praying.  She mouthed the words of each plea to God.  I knew she was praying with all the faith of her heart for me and my unborn son.  Becky stayed close, holding my hand and running her fingers through my hair.  Her touch gave me so much strength when I had an idea.  “Can you turn on some music,” I asked the counselor.  He brought his iphone and started playing my favorite song Overwhelmed.  Written by Big Daddy Weave, this song has literally been my fight song this year.  What started out as a negative word, I decided OVERWHELMED would be my word of the year. 

I’d never used the word overwhelmed much until I found out I was pregnant with my 6th child. I’ve always been a very positive person.  People would ask “How are you doing,” but now instead of saying the expected word “fine” or “great” I would blow out a sigh of exasperation and say “I’m overwhelmed.”  I felt burdened, discouraged, heavy!  I received a lot of encouragement, but after a while I realized how negative I sounded.  Overwhelmed?  Me?  With all my blessings?  That’s when I heard the song Overwhelmed on K-Love radio.  I asked the Lord to help me focus more on my overwhelming blessings.  HE did.  I started to play the song Overwhelmed to help me focus on my new positive attitude. 

So, when the song Overwhelmed began to play in that hospital room it was my scripture.  I knew every word and every word became alive to me.  The strength from praising God, from the mantra of that song lifted me.  Becky and I cried, holding each other and there was a moment when she looked at me with such love I could feel her energy carry me.  I knew I’d known my sister for eons of time and she would be my sister for eternity.  Her love was so pure, if she could take away my pain and take it on as her own she would do it.

It had been nearly twelve hours since I’d arrived at the hospital. There was little I could do about the pain now.  I couldn’t keep it inside my mind anymore.  I began to shiver uncontrollably and needed oxygen because I wasn’t getting enough air.  In a weak voice, I spoke out loud “I’ve got this.”  “I was made to do this.”  “I love you, Jesus.”  Yes, it was like a regular church service in that room near the end.  Christian songs playing, me shouting out praises to Jesus, my mom with her reverent prayers became more vocal “Lord, Jesus, help this girl!” 

The pressure of the baby coming was too much.  The pain was too much and I began to doubt myself.  Negative self-talk crept into my mind.  What had I gotten myself into?  Could I escape?  Where could I run?  All I could do was turn back to my Savior.  I envisioned Him in my mind when I saw a beautiful green light.  The light started out small and began filling my mind when I saw my Savior carrying a baby.  He was coming towards me.  He was bringing me my baby.  He was holding my son.  The love for my child became my focus.  I loved my baby.  I wanted him.  He was mine and I was his.

At 2:00pm the doctor came back into the room to check on me.  I heard the nurse say two things you never want to hear your nurse say when you’re having a baby.  First, she said “That is a big baby in there.”  Um, please keep that to yourself and second, “The baby hasn’t dropped yet.”  Great!  Then why was I feeling so much pressure and like I needed to push?

Well, that’s why they pay doctors the big bucks.  My doctor told me to start pushing through my next contraction.  I had to do it.  This was my marathon.  This was my moment to be the athlete I knew I was.  I was strong enough.  I remembered my sister-in-law Monique and how she’d had her baby Clementine naturally with no medication.  Even though it wasn’t my choice to have no medication, this was my reality.  I thought of Becky; how strong she'd been when she had her first son Austin.  I thought of my own mother; how she'd made the sacrifice to have me.  I thought of woman long ago who didn't have hospitals or doctors to help them.  I thought of women today in countries that don't have medical care for pregnant women.  I felt the honor, purpose and power of motherhood.  This was what my body was made for.  If I pushed as hard as I could, it would be over soon.  Pushing was the last hurtle.

And pushed I did.  At 2:30pm I had my beautiful 8 pound 10 ounce little boy.  The doctor laid him on my chest and I marveled in my prize.  He looked like he'd worked just about as hard as I did to get here.  Better than any gold medal and worth more to me than any earthly possession – my little Canyon Samuel was here.

I named him Canyon because in many ways I had to travel through my own canyon of emotional, spiritual and physical growth to get him here.  “Through the valley” as the scriptures say.  Canyon also means “beautiful, diverse, far-reaching, out-stretched.”  

Canyon is now 2 months old.  I’m getting a little sleep here and there, but I am always excited when he wakes up.  I love holding my little boyfriend.  We kiss and hug and snuggle every chance we get and I ask myself “How did I ever live without him?”

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  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.  

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