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Friday, October 2, 2015

Chevron Dresser

The counselor brought home a beast of a dresser a few weeks ago.  It was a dark wood midcentury thing with four wicker cabinet doors.  Problem was, the wicker on one of the doors was torn and damaged.  With a little help from a very sharp pocket knife, the wicker on each cabinet was cut out.  Behind the four cabinet doors was very sturdy panel wood. One thing you’ve got to love about old furniture is it’s built incredibly well.  About 100 staples held each wood panel in place.  Once I realized how it was all put together I had an idea.  I wanted each panel removed so I could paint a chevron pattern.


Lots of work, but totally worth it.

I loved the gray and cream look so much, I painted a French dresser in the same colors.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Terrifying Lesson of Pain

Canyon was born weighing 8 pounds 10 ounces.  

The first 24 hours he was perfect.  He ate well, slept and cried when he was ready to eat again.  We were discharged from the hospital and I arrived home in the evening around 7:00pm.  It was busy; the kids each wanted there turn with him and I was anxious to get things situated for the long night ahead.  I’m an experience mother.  Canyon was my 6th baby.  I knew he would nurse every few hours throughout the night.  I started to do the math and was a little concerned he hadn’t nursed much since mid-morning.  He had latched on only to fall asleep.  His diapers had been wet so when I mentioned it to the nurse before we left, she reassured me to keep nursing, that I was only producing colostrum and if necessary, supplement with a bottle. 

Come 10:00pm.  The kids were all in bed and I tried to wake the baby to get him to start nursing. After all, his last serious meal had been around noon.  He kept falling asleep, but certainly any moment he would wake crying and eat again.  But nothing.  He didn’t want to latch on or suck on a bottle.  He was passed out, exhausted from the whole “just being born” he’d experienced.  Around 2:00am I called the hospital a bit frantic. 

“My baby isn’t eating.  He’s not even 48 hours old,” I said.  “What should I do?”  Again, the nurse on call asked if his diapers were wet, which they were.  She said I should keep trying and call my pediatrician in the morning if the baby still wasn’t eating.

I was up all night holding my precious son.  I rocked him in the rocking chair, holding him close, watching for him to wake up in need of food.  He would wake up groggy, latch on and than fall back asleep. 

Nothing.  He hadn’t eaten anything.
Tears poured out of my eyes and I cried in desperation.  “Please, baby eat.” 

Come 8:00am.  I called my doctor’s office, crying so I could barely speak and explained quite ineffectively what was happening.  The receptionist was sorry, but there wasn’t an opening to see the doctor for several days.  She reassured me the baby would eat when he was hungry but this didn’t bring me any comfort.  I had tried and tried and tried. With the news I couldn’t get in to see my pediatrician, I did my best to remain calm, checked his diapers, still wet and hoped he would eventually latch on or take a bottle.  I called my friend Alison who had just had a baby and asked her how soon my milk should come in.  She suggested I use a breast pump and had another friend Summer bring a pump over for me to borrow. 

At 11:00am I called the hospital again and explained the situation.  I was almost hysterical now.  Once again, there wasn’t too much concern from the nurse on call.  I asked if I should bring the baby back to labor and delivery.  Could I see the lactation consultant?  The pediatrician in the labor ward? 
“No, you can’t bring him back.  There’s nothing we can do for him here,” she said. 

Due to the difficult pregnancy I’d had and all the emotional support I needed from my mom, I was happy to finally give her some time off from worrying about me.  She’d been with me at the hospital when I’d delivered Canyon and probably felt relieved life was back to normal but I was in full panic mode.  It was now 2:00 pm, my baby hadn’t eaten for over 24 hours.  That was it.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I was going to the emergency room when my phone rang.  Caller ID said it was my mom and I couldn’t hold back the tears.  I answered the phone in full hysteria, desperate for her to come offer me any help she could think off.   Was there still time to try something from home?  I could tell he was weak and his deep sleep scared me. 

Let me back track for a moment to my state of mind when I found out I was pregnant. 

Scared, overwhelmed, uncertain; I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be pregnant.  When I found out I was having another boy I cried for three months.  Let’s just say I didn’t handle my pregnancy very well and because of that I carried a lot of guilt.  I knew I was blessed, I knew my baby was a blessing but why did everything about having a baby have to be so darn hard.

So with this energy I delivered my baby with anxiety and uncertainty. I prayed for love and understanding, but I was still apprehensive.  I knew I could do it, I just didn’t know if being a new mom was exactly what I wanted to be doing with my life.  Well let’s just say having a new baby that wasn’t eating sure forced me to consider how much I wanted my baby.  Now I was fighting for my baby.  Oh, did I want this baby to be strong and healthy and perfect.

My mom arrived and I was a barrage of questions. 
“Will the hospital give him a feeding tube?” I cried.
“What’s wrong with him?” I asked.
“What did I do wrong?” and I felt the guilt of all the complaining and supplication I’d put myself through.

My mom calmed me down and suggested we try giving the baby a bath.  “We need to really wake him up,” she suggested.  So we stripped him down and put him in a nice warm bath.  He cried a little, not much really, but he did wake up.  After his bath I gave him a little body massage.  Each precious moment touching him, feeling his warm skin on my fingertips; I was bonding with every breath.  My baby was beautiful.  He was what I wanted.  Was it too late to convince God to give me another chance? 

Just at that moment my beautiful neighbor Kristin knocked on the door and my kids motioned her down to my bedroom where I was working with the baby.  I had tried so many times to get my baby to take a bottle, I was certain he wouldn’t latch on when Kristin asked if she could feed him.  I gently handed my baby over and Kristin put the bottle in his mouth.  With the faintest little suck, he latched on and we all cried out in joy. His beautiful little lips hugged the nipple and his tiny neck pulsed as he took each little swallow.   He drank ½ an ounce before falling back to sleep.  Relief rushed through my body and I cried like a little girl who’d just dropped her popsicle.  I cried and cried and cried.  Kristin handed my back my baby and it was all I wanted to love and nurture him.  Nothing was more important.  It wasn’t a sacrifice, but a privilege.  About an hour later, I bathed and massaged him again.  Would you believe he drank almost a full ounce.  Within the next 48 hours, his strength came back. He still didn’t want to nurse, but the bottle provided fast nourishment for his still weak body.  When I did get in to see my pediatrician, four days later, Canyon had dropped the 10 ounces and weighed 8 pounds even.  

Canyon is almost 5 months old. He is a strong healthy 16 pounds.  

He eats and nurses and I love every minute.  

I’ve asked myself why?  Why did he go through that?  Why did I have to go through the not knowing when/if he would eat or if he would be ok?  Why the pain? The uncertainty?  Strangely, it was the pain that turned my heart.  The pain of losing him was unbearable.  The pain taught me a terrible lesson and for that, I am grateful.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Golden Ticket

I knew Ben Carson was coming to town and wanted to hear him speak.  I have a lot of respect for the man; he’s an overcomer and I’m greatly inspired by his story of boy living in poverty to becoming one of the top neurosurgeons in the nation so I made it a priority. It was 6:30pm.  I woke my 3 month-old baby Canyon from his late, late afternoon nap and started the drive into Phoenix during the end of rush hour.   I left 15 minutes late so I was already stressed for time.  I drove into Phoenix just as it was getting dark and started to look for parking. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going.  Downtown has a lot of one way streets and is unfamiliar to me.  I found a parking garage near the Phoenix Convention Center and it was $12 to park.  I reached into my wallet and handed the attendant my credit card.  

“Cash only,” he said.  

That morning I had given the last of my cash to my kids for lunch money.  

“There is an ATM over on Third St.,” he said.  

I backed my large SUV into reverse and slowly moved out of the parking garage, careful not to hit the line of cars already forming behind me.  I wasn’t sure which way to go when I say another parking garage advertising $5 to park.  I knew I had enough change at the bottom of my purse so I pulled into the lane.  The cashier patiently waited as I grabbed change from my purse and the glove compartment of the car.  I was like a squirrel looking for acorns at this point, searching under the floor mats and in any nook and cranny I could find.  I produced a handful of coins, mostly pennies.  The cashier patiently counted out my money.  I knew I was short but hoped if I didn’t say anything she might come up with a different amount.  In the mean time, my baby was starting to fuss. I’d already been in the car for over ½ an hour.  

“You only have $3.85,” the clerk said, jolting me out of my stressed state of mind.  

I would blame my irrational behavior on hormones, but I’m a horrible liar.  Truth is I was frustrated. For some reason, I felt like I might cry and just like that, I was crying in this sort of pity cry. Great!  I felt sorry for my self.  

“I don’t mean to cry,” I said to the clerk.  “but I have a new baby in the car, I don’t know where an ATM is and I’m late to hear Dr. Carson speak.”  She peered inside the back window and looked at my fussy baby.  Her face turned compassionate and she motioned toward the garage.  

“Just go on in, it’s all good.”  

I never intended asking her for a favor and quite honestly felt like a great big loser, but I took her kind gesture and thanked her profusely as I rolled up the window.  I drive a large SUV and there was a part of me that wasn’t even certain my car would fit, but I drove down into that parking garage and tears swelled in my eyes even more than before.   Part of it was my pride as I knew I'd taken advantage of the clerk.  Seriously, she was just a college student and because of my pity party which was now at the price tag of a indebted whopping $1.15 she’d broken some sort of parking attendant "code of conduct".  This whole night was turning out to be a giant mistake.  Still, I found a parking spot and turned off the car.  Now what?  My baby was crying and I still didn’t know where I was going.  It was dark outside but even darker in the belly of the parking garage. I opened my door as two men walked by.  I mustered up my courage and grabbed the only weapon I had; my diaper bag.  Why hadn’t I invited anyone to come with me?  Coming alone was not smart.  I walked around to the other side of the car and opened the back door.  Inside, my darling baby had stopped crying and was curiously watching me.  His innocent expression filled me with such love.  All he wanted was me.  Suddenly, I didn’t feel alone.  I had Canyon.  I was so overcome with gratitude for his companionship I started crying all over again. 

“Come here little guy,” I said as I took him into my arms.  “I’m so glad you’re here,” and I hugged his little body into mine.  

His familiar smell, the gentle way his hands reached into my hair and the closeness to which I held him was so comforting.  I literally cried on his tiny shoulder and thanked him for being there with me.  Once I started feeling better I positioned him into my baby Bjorn and took the stairs out of the parking garage onto the city streets of Phoenix.  A man walked by and stopped to comment on and look at the baby.  

“Do you know where the convention center is?” I asked after I'd answered his questions of the baby's age and name.  

“Sure, I was walking there to see Dr. Carson,” he said.  

So, we walked together as the light rail whizzed past us.  I thanked him as I entered the over-sized convention room holding 12,000plus people.   

The energy was amazing and immediately all the efforts I’d made to attend were worth it.  Dr. Carson’s heartfelt speech was beautiful.  His speech lasted another 25 minutes when he ended with a few Q&A’s.  The crowd started to disperse, but I was just getting started. Are you kidding?  Getting me downtown was like getting a race boat off the dock and into the water just to let it idle.  I had so much more to offer than turning around and driving back home.  I was energized.  While most people were leaving, I noticed a small line forming near the stage.  Was it possible to meet Dr. Carson?  I had to find out.  
I’m not sure how but many in the crowd of 1,000 people or so made way so the baby and I could be near the front and suddenly Ms. Carson reached over to me so she could see the baby.  

“He’s adorable,” she said.  “I miss my grand kids,” and she reached in to hug on my little boy.  I asked for a photo and I kissed her on the cheek.  I literally felt a transfer of energy.  Candy Carson is absolutely beautiful inside and out and I could feel her vivacity immensely.  I could barely believe what had happened and finally turned to head back to the parking garage. The baby slept the entire ride home, making the journey home much less eventful then my earlier experience.  

My baby had been my golden ticket to an incredible experience.  Because of him I'd been able to park, find the convention center and meet Candy Carson but most important was when he offered me his companionship when I felt all alone.  He is my little person.  He needs me and I need him.  He’s coming everywhere with me forever and I’ve already told him he’s not allowed to ever grow up.  
We’ll see if he follows that little rule or not.

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.  

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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.
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