Tag: Christian Mama

37 Weeks!! …………………………………….Postpartum

37 Weeks!

That’s right, if I were pregnant, I’d like to think my baby would be knocking down my uterus door but she wouldn’t be and I’m not. My baby would probably want to hang out for another month in my apparently very comfortable uterus. And while I may not be 37 weeks pregnant, I am 37 weeks postpartum. Check out my baby bump.

37 weeks postpartum

 

My Baby Bump

It’s true. There is no actual baby inside of it. But it’s still a baby bump because it was home to two babies at different points. It stretched and ballooned up, and like a balloon, it just didn’t return to it’s pre-blown up state.

Balloon Blown up and released and new

I didn’t pop. The air, or baby and all of the gory, juicy things that came with it, went out of me. And what was left was my used balloon. I blew it up again. My mom blew hers up 5 times. I have a friend who’s mom blew it up 18 times. Each time, the balloon sustained some wear and tear, but weren’t the prizes worth the slightly damaged shell?

My Badge of Honor

I am still trying to lose weight and get in shape. I want to be healthy so, I’m eating healthier and working out. But even with all of my efforts to change, I don’t think I will ever go back to the pre-blown up balloon. My skin might be a little looser, I may not be able to jump on a trampoline and I can probably write off modeling as a future career option.

my little creations

But look what I helped to create! My body sacrificed and I paid the price to have these beautiful little humans in our family. I never want to go back to the pre-blown up balloon, because that me-balloon hadn’t experienced the strongest love that can only be brought about by the greatest sacrifice.

I am 37 weeks postpartum and my heart has never been more full.

37 weeks postpartum with my two babies
Grayson looks angry, but he is really just extremely focused on splashing.

 

Read my son’s birth story for a riveting tale of endurance, or my daughter’s birth story for an adventure of even more endurance.

Keeping Your Toddler in Bed – The SECRET!!!

Keeping your toddler in bed is no easy feat. I am no expert. In fact, as I sit here and type this out, I am literally sitting in my daughter’s room waiting for sleep to overcome her while she repeatedly asks me, “wha-doin’?” I have been doing bedtime battles since we moved the baby monitor out of her room. Unfortunately, baby brother needed more monitoring for safety reasons and now Siena thinks she rules the roost.

 

But, WE FIGURED IT OUT! I mean, I hesitate to even say such a thing, for fear of jinxing ourselves, but I really think we know how keeping your toddler in bed can be the easiest thing ever.

*You should know… this worked for about a month.

Our First Mistake

Our bedtime battles began when we thought, “we must be genius parents. We’re going to transition our daughter into a twin bed at the age of 18 months. That way we don’t have to pay for a toddler bed and our son can have the crib.”

Well, we ended up buying another crib anyways, because Siena’s was a piece of junk. Needless to say, she was a big girl now in a big bed.

And for the first 6 months, this was working out great. Not a problem at all. In fact, we still would pat ourselves on the back every now and again. “Geniuses I say!!”

Our Second Mistake

At some point, Grayson finally transitioned to his own room. Along with Grayson into his room went the video baby monitor. We loved the monitor for Siena and now that she was a big girl, we could use it for Grayson.

She had other plans. We underestimated her intelligence. She was very quickly aware that the monitor was gone and now we did not have eyes on her at all times. Within a matter of days, she was getting out of bed constantly, repeatedly, every night without fail.

 

Our First Attempt

Keeping your toddler in bed with threats perhaps? We decided to take away some of the toys that she insisted sleeping with every time she got out of bed. It worked for a couple of months. Again, we patted ourselves on the back. GENIUSES!

Of course there was always tears when we would take the toys away, but then that was the consequence, right?

Unfortunately, she must have started emotionally detaching herself from her stuffed animals. Inside of her little toddler brain, she must have been smart enough to realize, ‘if I don’t care about my baby, or the animals or my blankie, my parents have no power over me anymore’.

I would not have believed that such advanced rationale was possible for a toddler, until she really stopped caring about her toys. We’d take one away and she’d get right back up again. We could strip her whole room of happiness (we did on many occasions) and she would still get out of bed until we wanted to throw our own heads against the wall in frustration.

Something had stopped working.

Our Second Attempt

Maybe a combination of bribery and a threat to keeping your toddler in bed? Perhaps she needs some incentive?

Our next tactic was to tell her we would be doing something fun the next day and if she got out of bed we wouldn’t be able to do it. But if she stayed in bed, we would.

We thought we were geniuses with this one, until we tried it. She didn’t care at all. She acted like she cared when we told her but two minutes later she was up and at it again.

Broken

I didn’t know what to do at this point. Our toddler had broken us. We were pathetic shells of parents who had been defeated by a two and a half year old. We would just let her play in her room until she collapsed and then deal with the collateral the next day.

Obviously my husband liked this idea because he got to leave in the morning and I handled the aftermath.

It was at this rock bottom of keeping your toddler in bed battle that I had my breakthrough. And maybe not all toddlers are alike, and maybe this won’t work for all, but I thought, just maybe… this will work for Siena.

 

The Secret to Keeping Your Toddler in Bed

I tried putting myself in Siena’s shoes. If I kept getting out of bed again and again and again, there had to be a reason, right?

keeping your toddler in bed when they have a twin

 

The Problem

Then I realized how frustrating and depressing it would be to constantly be in trouble at bed time. At the beginning, toddler is not in trouble, but she is probably sad because she has to stop playing with mom and dad.

If your family is like ours, dad just got home from work not too long ago and now he gets to stay up with mommy.

So, what does she do? She gets out of bed. Playing sounds way more fun then sleeping at this point. Unfortunately, as she is getting out of bed, or playing in her room Mom and dad are upset and scolding her. She still wants to play, but now maybe she wants some validation too. The need to feel love is compounded with the want to play.

Suddenly it becomes this vicious cycle of mom and dad are getting more and more frustrated, toddler is feeling less and less love and no one is getting any sleep!

How to Fix it

I added a new phase to our bedtime routine. Prior to this discovery, the routine ended after prayers, lights out, kiss goodnight and toddler was safe in bed. But, the magical key to success for us was the first ten minutes after the toddler was in bed.

Step 1

Wait outside the door for about 30 seconds to a minute. It can be a little longer, but ideally you want things to be just the same as when you put them to bed.

Step 2

Open the door and peak in. Hopefully your toddler is still in bed. If they are, praise them for staying in bed. Ours usually sounds like this:

“Wow! Siena, you stayed in bed! Thank you so much for staying in your bed. You are so obedient and well behaved. I love you. Night-night, Sweetheart.”

If she did not stay in bed

“Uh-oh. You need to get back in bed. It’s time to go night-night.”

It is very important to catch your toddler IN bed. Even if keeping your toddler in bed was not successful for 30 seconds, wait another 30 seconds (or less, depending on your child), open the door again and try again. Do this until your child has done what you asked successfully for any length of time.

Step 3

After the first successful praising. Wait a little longer. We usually give it a couple of minutes and open the door again. Since we started doing this we have not had her get out of bed after the first praising. Every time, she has been laying in bed, sometimes playing, reading or just laying there. And we lay on the praise again.

“Wow! You are still in your bed. Thank you so much for staying in bed. You are so great! Night-night, Siena.”

Step 4

You are welcome to repeat step 3 if you are worried about the stickability of it. We’ve tried it up to 5 times and every time, she has been laying in bed.

keeping your toddler in bed until they fall asleep

Keeping Your Toddler in Bed

Maybe our child is an anomaly. Maybe this won’t work for you. But if keeping your toddler in bed is one of your battles, start where I started and try and put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, why does he keep getting out of bed?

If this does work for your child, you can literally do it at any time. Sometimes we forget to show love or it’s the middle of the night and you are just now finding this article while you are in the throes of a bedtime battle. But, just give it a try. Show your child some encouragement.

After all, they are just learning these things. Maybe she really just knew what was a wrong thing to do, but didn’t know what was a right thing to do. This method also gives some clarity to what bedtime is all about.

 

Good luck Mamas!

When your child is just having a hard night…

When your toddler wakes up from bad dreams…

When your baby won’t sleep through the night…

Be Happy – 10 Ideas to Boost Your Mood

It’s hard for me to choose to be happy sometimes. There are times when I really just don’t feel like doing anything, don’t want to move, don’t want to talk and don’t want to think. I must have just snapped. I was so productive a week ago. Projects got checked off my list at lightning speed and then all of a sudden… nothing.

wanting to be happy but collapsed on the couch
What I look like when I get in my funk…

Granted, we all got hit with colds and I feel like I have a balloon swelling inside of my brain. If there is anything to knock you out and put you out of your element.

 

Choosing to be Happy

Because this always seems to strike every couple of weeks to me, I wanted to compile a list of things to help me combat the blues. I want a list that will help me be happy and feel like One Helluva Homemaker again.

1. Clean Your Living Area

I know this is a hard one to do. The very thought of cleaning made me want to burrow deeper into the couch cushions and cover myself with a blanket. But beginning to organize the clutter in your life can provide a lot of clarity and at least jumpstart the process to be happy again.

2. Shower

This one is actually not too bad. Even if you feel like poop, a shower is relaxing and inviting. It also can sneak attack you with feeling refreshed to help you make a little course correction.

3. Read from the Good Book

For me, the good book is the Book of Mormon. Other Christians might find a boost from reading the Bible. And if that is not really your style, finding a book that uplifts you and inspires you can help get the endorphins going again.

4. Call Someone

If you’re stuck at home, like I was, you will discover that we have these amazing devices called ‘cell phones’. Or even a house phone! With it we can connect with someone else even if they are not physically in your presence.

Sometimes I think about my Grandma. Once a week she would walk to a payphone at a scheduled time to call her mom in Canada. I can’t imagine not being able to call my mom ANYTIME. What a blessing! My mom knows she is my go-to-gal when I need to gab to someone to help me be happy again.

5. Say a Prayer

Even if you are not religious, trying to connect with a higher power can help you be happy by just trying to connect with something greater than yourself. I pray to receive comfort and guidance. I am not always happier after I pray, but I do feel peace.

6. Set a Little Goal and Do It

It could be as simple as getting off the couch, making a snack, getting dressed. Just decide to do something and do it. Accomplishing anything will give you enough of a boost to set a new goal.

7. Talk to Someone About How You Feel

Sometimes even just sending a text to a spouse or a loved one about how crappy your feeling helps validate the way your feeling. When someone else knows, it feels better. If there is someone who understands even just a tiny bit, it opens it up to you to be happy again.

8. Make a Special Treat

Today, I made brownies. I decided that we needed a little treat to boost our spirits. Even though we had done nothing to earn a treat, except for the mere fact that we were still alive, it felt good to be reminded that we were worth making a treat for.

9. Go Outside

Even if you can only make it to your front porch, the fresh air can do wonders for just getting your happy juices going. It can clear your head and give you the energy you need to be happy again.

10. Pump up the Tunes

Music is a soul healing wonder. Turn on your favorite jams and your sure to get a little pick-me-up. If you’re feeling up for it, turn it into a dance party.

 

Now!

Now you’ve got to get off your bootay and put away your phone, tablet or computer and go and be happy! Go get some happiness!

 

Still not Feeling It?

If you’re still feeling depressed, here is a more serious article to help you fight more than just the blues.

Or if you are wanting to laugh, you can check out my battles with my baby and trying to get him to sleep.

If this didn’t help and now you want to just shop away your sorrow:

Amazon is here to help!

 

Rough Night – Healing Your Child’s Soul

I sat on the uncomfortable rocking chair around 3 in the morning after the rough night. My son arched his back as if he couldn’t get comfortable. His head lifted away from my chest. Occasionally it would bounce back, and the cool tears on his face would wet my skin. After just a minute or two, the gas slipped up out of his stomach and his neck slowly relaxed as he rested his weary head on my chest. It got heavier and heavier and so did his eyelids.

rough night with an infant, mom cradling

After 4 hours of trying to help him, he finally succumbed to sleep, trapping me with 24 lbs of squishy baby weight. And in spite of my exhaustion, I sat unmoving and just held him. My cheek pressed against his fuzzy warm head. His breathing, remnants of sobs abandoned. My precious boy nuzzled against me. It was my reward for my toil, so I enjoyed every special second. Thirty minutes of quiet snuggles on a squeaky, unyielding rocker. I watched the shadows and breathed deeply. There aren’t many moments like this. It was just me and my boy.

At 3:30 in the morning I finally slipped between my sheets and my eyelids slammed shut.

My Rough Night

The Likely Cause

That day, we had gone to his six month appointment. We found out he was off the charts for weight and pretty big in all other growth aspects. And to top it off, he has got a giant head that comes from my side of the family. If you ever wonder why some hats are so big, it’s for people like me and my son.

grayson at the doctor, cause of the rough night

He got two shots. I didn’t think anything of it. With his first couple of rounds he had been fussy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. My daughter had never had many ill effects from the shots.

I put him to bed around 7 just like any other night. He fussed a little more before he fell asleep, but soon he was breathing out Zs.

 

I just had to…

As a matter of safety, I usually take the sound machine out of his room at night after the loud noises in the house have disappeared. He has a bad habit of putting a blanket on top of his face and if I’m asleep and he’s having a hard time breathing, I want to be able to hear immediately.

beginning of the rough night, he wakes up

My daughter was in bed, my company had left and I was about to sleep as well. So, like every night, I snuck into his room and took it out. Usually he moves and then goes right back to sleep.

On this particular rough night, he moved and then woke up.

Quick Fix

All right, this wouldn’t be a problem. I’d just give him a bottle, top him off for the night and that way I made sure we all got a good night sleep.

He drank about half of it and I thought that he probably wasn’t hungry because he’s been sleeping through the night for a couple of days now.

 

The 4 Hours

The rest of the four hours that made up my rough night are a little hazy. It all blurs together now. I know that some things happened during that time. Here is a list of all courses of action in no particular order:

  • Gave him Tylenol.
  • Rocked him.
  • Held him.
  • Sang “I am a child of God”
  • Left his room about 15 times.
  • Entered his room about 15 times.
  • Sang “I like to look for Rainbows”
  • Sat on the floor by his crib and held his hand while he tried to settle down.

  • Let him play with my face.
  • Sat on the couch and the living room while he looked at the lights.
  • Let him lay in mommy’s bed. (Austin was out of town.)
  • Burped him. And again and again and again. So many burps.
  • So much spit up.
  • Bottle attempts 1, 2 and 3.
  • Wrapped him in a semi-swaddle

  • Pacifier.
  • Reached under the bed for all of the pacifiers he had chucked by the wall.
  • Wiped his tears.
  • Gave him Ibuprofen.
  • Caressed his head.
  • Tried to let him ‘cry it out’. (I can only last about 15 minutes at the most.)
  • Bounced him.
  • Sang “Down in the River” over and over and over again.
  • Prayed for any possible relief about every 10 minutes.

There might be more. I don’t know. It was a rough night.

 

The Unexpected Reward

I know I am not alone in the ‘rough night’ department. Most parents get to experience this joy at some point or another. Most of the time, you are only rewarded with an hour or two of much needed sleep.

But sometimes, the world stands still and all is quiet as your little one finally falls asleep in your arms. The whimpers subside and you get a small glimpse at how much your baby must love you. His face is pressed against you, cheek smashed against your skin. The deeper he falls into sleep, the more his breathing levels out.

Only you could heal his whole soul. Not only have you labored to help his little body feel better, but you also kept his spirit full. He knows that you are there for him and that you love him and have taken the time to understand him.

You heal his whole soul regardless of whether or not he falls asleep on you. But if you are lucky enough to feel your trusting little one nuzzle in, you can take the time to pat yourself on the back. Because you did it. Even if it took you until 3 or 6 in the morning, you did it. You healed your baby’s soul.

 

More Rough Nights to Come

So I hope I can remember when I have another rough night and many more, that every time I choose their needs over mine I heal their soul. I heal their physical hurts and I show them for the rest of their life, that they are worth me climbing out of my bed.

And in the quiet moments when I have evidence in my arms of how much my children appreciate it, I hope I can remember that I am doing okay. I healed my baby’s soul and I think I healed mine too.

 

I’ve had many a rough night with my toddler too.

Baby Girl Birth Story – My Sweet, Bright Eyed Siena

Having a baby girl is hard enough. As a new mom, you have to worry about the last trimester, the delivery, after the baby is born and everything else that goes into having a baby.

However, throw in ‘move across the world’ and you have a whole new mess of problems to add to the list of ‘Things to Solve’.

 

Uterus Urgency

Austin got his masters at Duke University. We loved being in North Carolina, and the second half of his program was in Kunshan, China. Well, I was due to have a baby just 5 weeks before we were supposed to be leaving. Yep. You could have called us insane and you would have been correct. We didn’t even know how insane we were.

waiting in waiting room
When we first arrived in the waiting room.

We naively thought, “what perfect timing!” We’ll have the baby in December and then hop on a plane in January. However, aside from other aspects of our naivety, like being first time parents, we failed to realize that we wouldn’t be able to get her passport, visa or plane tickets until she was actually born.

Austin had to be in school in China on a certain day and as her due date approached we realized the timing might not be so ideal after all. We started panicking. It takes 6 weeks to get a passport… We have to get the Visa after that… So, there isn’t enough time. Fortunately there is an expediting option, which almost wasn’t fast enough.

The Study

Then, a tender mercy. Duke University happened to be doing a research study where they would induce your labor at 39 weeks. The purpose of the study was to determine if delivering at 39 weeks was actually more beneficial for both the baby and the mom. After 39 weeks the baby is fully developed, and history seemed to suggest that the mom’s health would decline after 39 weeks.

Unfortunately there was no way to guarantee we would be in the induction group. Because the study needed a control group, only 50% of the women in the study would be induced. But we decided to try our luck with the lottery. And another miracle, we were selected to be a part of the induction group. Hooray! Our induction was scheduled for December 9th.

 

No Surprises

Because we had a set day, it was very easy now for both of our moms to fly out to see the birth.

me and my sweet moms
I love our moms.

The ninth was a Tuesday so both of them flew in on Sunday. Austin took all of his finals on Monday and we were all set for our little girl to join us.

Tuesday morning I got up early and put on some make up, curled my hair: the works. I was in a rare situation where I could plan to look cute for semi-spontaneous event. Why would I not take advantage of such a thing? Obviously we were going to take pictures!

 

Excited Grandmas!

We arrived at the hospital at 7:15 in the morning and park in the parking garage (no valet parking if your birth is not an emergency…understandable). We took the elevator up to the tunnel, where Lori, Austin’s mom excitedly announced to the whole elevator. “I’m going to be a grandma today!”

The ladies on the elevator squealed with excitement. I smiled too. My baby girl would be here soon! Clearly I had no idea what was in store for me.

 

Waiting Room

We got to the maternity floor and were told to wait. So we waited… and we waited… and we waited…

waiting in waiting room
Growing a little impatient…

The thing about being induced, is it is not as exciting for everyone else. They can just put you on the back burner while all of the actual labors take precedence, which again, makes sense. My induction was scheduled for 8:00 am. We didn’t even get out of the waiting room until noon.

bored waiting in waiting room
BORED OUT OF MY MIND…

 

Waiting in the Delivery Room

Finally, it was my turn. Then the excitement rose again. All right baby girl, that was a long wait, but now… now we’re on our way.

get this induction going
It’s go time!

I donned my nice hospital get-up and the nurses came in and do their thing. Soon, Doctor Nieves came in. Yay! We finally get to know where I’m at and what the next steps are. So, he checks out how things are going. I’m dilated to a 2 and was like 80% effaced. And I’m thinking, ‘wow, 80%. I’m doing pretty good.’

last pic before baby girl is born
We’re both excited!

Then I found out he’s going to stick in a miso pill. Basically it is supposed to help get things going. So, he put in the pill and then we waited some more. The nurses tell us to get up and walk around to help get the labor going. We did. We walked and walked and walked.

walking to get baby girl out
I went through a lot of those waters.
through the fish tank walking around
We thought this giant fish tank was pretty cool.
talking with husband
Love of my Life

And then we started the “badger dance” (video to come). And pretty soon, we’re laughing and being silly until around 6:00 in the evening.

laughing with austin
He always makes me laugh.

At this point, Austin decided it would be funny if he laid on the bed. So, he laid there, my mom laid on the couch and his mom took the nice chair and I sat on the little fold out chair. We thought it would be funny to get our nurses reaction if I was on the hard chair and Austin had taken over the hospital bed. Well, it was also around this time that I could feel my labor actually start to kick in.

our funny joke
Our funny, funny, funny joke…

 

Labor Contractions

Now I was feeling contractions. At first they were just uncomfortable. And the nurse had said she would be back just a minute prior to our hilarious prank we were going to pull. So, we waited in those positions. And we waited… and we waited… She didn’t come back for about an hour.

And I was sitting on this hard chair and felt like I was dying a little more each minute that passed. Where on earth had the nurse disappeared to? Someone better be having a baby!

And by 7:00, she finally came through the door. We did get the reaction we wanted and caught it on video. But, by then, I was really feeling the contractions. She started checking on things. I tell her I want an epidural. I know… I’m a baby. The doctor came in and checked me out. I was dilated to a 3 and fully effaced. A 3?! That’s it! This is what a 3 feels like? But, my labor was in full swing. I was having regular contractions.

They let the anesthesiologist know that I am ready for an epidural and about an hour later, I get one. It was a little scary getting one, but the relief it provided was unparalleled. They had to readjust it a little bit because it was only working on one side at first. I’m glad I asked when I did, because the time from when you ask for an epidural to when you actually get one is quite awhile.

sleeping before baby girl is born

Water Breaking

After that, I felt great. In fact it was so great that it surprised me when I felt our baby girl kick rather violently and suddenly there was a gushing. Stuff was coming out!

I couldn’t stop it. It was a force that stopped for nothing. Once I thought the gushing was over, it gushed some more. My water broke. I was glad they didn’t have to break it for me. It was cool having it just happen.

That was exciting. Now we were all pumped up again! This happened around 10:00 pm.

 

Nausea

The epidural was still working, until I started feeling nauseous. Really nauseous. I woke up and couldn’t move from the bed, but I knew something will be coming up and out of me quickly.

I told Austin I have to throw up and was panicking because I had nothing to catch it with. BLEH… all over the left side of the bed and the floor. I looked over at Austin and he had a trashcan or something that I could have used if he had grabbed it ten seconds earlier.

I let the nurse know. She got me all cleaned up and then informed me they had drugs for that too. Really? Awesome! I did not want to spend the whole labor throwing up. I had done enough of that during my pregnancy. She warned me that it would make me sleepy. Double bonus! That meant I’d be able to sleep better.

 

No More Juice!

Not necessarily double bonus. Sometime in the early morning I woke up in agony. I could feel my contractions completely. We pushed the button for the nurse. I was pushing my pain button like nobody’s business trying to get more of the epidural juice into my body, but to no avail.

resting before baby girl

Thirty minutes later the anesthesiologist came in and said that the epidural had run out. He refills it and I am soon feeling much better again. Now despite the fact that I am sleepy, I am insistent on remembering to push the button, because I know I don’t want to feel that EVER again.

 

Mini Date

That night, Austin and I watched Pitch Perfect and Here Comes the Boom when I couldn’t sleep. It was fun just being with him. Our moms had gone to sleep upstairs somewhere. And we got to just hang out me and him before we got one more added to our family.

At some point, he had to help lift me up higher in the bed because my legs were completely useless and I had slipped and was very uncomfortable. And you would think that I could lift my body with my little arms, but my body was the biggest body it’s ever been. It was like trying to move a dead dinosaur.

 

Pushing Time!

Then around noon on the 10th, (yeah we thought we were going to have her on the 9th… laughable now) I was told that I was dilated to a 9 and we should get to start pushing soon. So exciting!

I was thinking, well, my mom’s whole labor with me lasted 5 hours and she only pushed for like half an hour. We’re going to meet our baby girl soon! So, the doctor, who is now a different doctor and for the life of me I can’t remember her name, starts getting things ready for the pushing part of the journey.

I started pushing around 12:45. The doctor told me that I could be pushing for anywhere between a half an hour to three hours. Three hours? I thought my baby girl would just come out. I started pushing and pushing and pushing.

It was so exhausting. I pushed and pushed and every time it felt like something incredible should be happening but I was seeing no fruits for my labors. I was so tired.

pushing out baby girl
You know that feeling when you want to cry, but even that is too much…

At some point the doctor said that I could take a break. I didn’t even know you could take a break in the middle of pushing. Wouldn’t baby girl suffocate in the birth canal? But then I remember that’s what the umbilical cord is for. And in retrospect, she probably hadn’t moved much at all. I wasn’t making a whole lot of progress.

 

Come on Baby Girl!

All right, it was time to start again. I pushed some more. Then I started feeling severe pain. *Contractions so intense that it felt like lightening zapping through my uterus and culminating right between my hips. Bearing down intensified the pain and then they wanted me to hold it there while the pain ripped through me.

I kept pushing my pain button but nothing was coming and nothing was helping. At some point, I accepted that the epidural was not going to help me through it. And then I also had to accept that the only way to get the baby out was to greet the pain instead of escape it. So, I focused on bearing down in a way that intensified the pain the most and those were the pushes that everyone shouted, “that’s such a good push!” “You’re doing so great!” “Keep doing them like that one.”

I did it again and again and again. And two and a half hours from the time we started pushing, at 3:19 pm, our little Siena was finally born. As soon as she was out, I remember collapsing on the bed with the most relief I think it is possible for the human body to experience.

baby girl brand new!

*I have since learned that they most likely turned off my epidural so that I could ‘feel the contractions’. NEVER AGAIN.

 

Scary Reality

We found out after she was born that her umbilical cord had been in a knot. If it would have tightened at all during the pregnancy, we could have lost our sweet baby girl. I am forever grateful that she was protected and watched over so that she could be in our family. She lights up our life.

 

Baby Girl, My Sweet Siena

My little baby girl was laid on my chest and I got to see her bright, big, beautiful eyes for the first time. At first she didn’t cry. She just looked around. She was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe she had been inside my body for the last nine months.

baby girl
Look how big her eyes are!
holding baby girl
I couldn’t believe my baby girl was already here… 30 hours later.

She had such long fingers, which as I held her I remembered them moving around by my hips when I was pregnant. She was chubbier than I thought she would be, especially at 39 weeks. But she came out at a healthy 8 lbs 8 oz and 19 inches long.

family pic with baby girl

looking at our creation

She weighed more than any of my mom’s kids had been. No wonder I had pushed for 2 1/2 hours! If I would’ve waited for her to come out on her own I might not have been able to push her out. I was really grateful that we had been a part of the study. A C-section could have really affected our trip out to China. So, grand total: 32 hours in the hospital, 20 hours of labor and 2 1/2 hours of pushing.

holding my baby girl

Me snuggling my baby girl

Afterthoughts

I remember being so tired, so shocked, so amazed, so out of it, and so grateful that it was all over. It was almost the feeling of, now what? I had been preparing to have a baby girl, but I wasn’t sure what to do with her now that I had her.

She was beautiful, but I didn’t know how to be a mom! I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know how any of this was going to work. But it did.

I believe that Heavenly Father has been helping us throughout every step of the process. He loves His children and He would show me how to raise His child the right way, even though I am imperfect.

Cute Pictures Below:

first time daddy holding his baby girl
First time daddy holding his baby girl.
family pic with baby girl
Family Picture!
baby girl in daddy's arms
So cute in daddy’s arms
Grammy with baby girl
Grammy was in love with little Siena.
grandma with baby girl
Grandma loves Siena too!
cute baby girl
Look at her eyes!

baby girl

hearing test for baby girl
Hearing test
baby girl in daddy's Christmas stocking
Austin was born in December too and he was sent home from the hospital in this hospital, so obviously we had to put her in it and get a picture of her in his stocking. Our little December babies!
beautiful baby girl
This is seriously one of my favorite pictures of her.
first family picture with baby girl
Another Family Pic!

 

You can also check out my Son’s Birth Story.

It’s amazing how different they are!

Decorating Eggs for Easter with a Toddler & Baby

I wasn’t sure how decorating eggs would go. After all, Siena is only two years old and I was sure that Grayson would want to be involved, even though he couldn’t sit up all the way on his own yet. Imagine my surprise when decorating eggs turned out to be a blast!

decorating eggs
Don’t they look like they had fun?

 

Something’s Up

Grayson knew immediately from the living room that something was going on in the kitchen. As I was setting things up, Siena had joined me by sitting on her booster chair at the kitchen table. Grayson made loud grunts and yells from the living room as he strained to see what we were doing, so I had to quickly get him and let him join in the fun.

Ready for decorating eggs
Look how excited he is!

Decorating Eggs

We put Siena and Grayson at the end of the table so that everything was close and easily accessible. Then, I put some yogurt drops on Grayson’s tray so that he had something to do while the egg decorating began.

Grayson reaching for yogurt drops
Yogurt Drops!

Siena loved how the eggs changed colors.

decorating eggs and Siena holds up the first colored egg
“Wow!” This was the first egg that we colored.

She was excited to pick which colors she wanted us to dip the eggs into. We were happy to oblige. When they came out all colorful, she squealed with excitement and we got to let her sticker them up.

decorating the eggs with stickers
“Focused Face”

And if you can believe it, all 9 eggs survived! Not one cracked egg.

 

Giggle Fest

We got all of the eggs painted and then the real fun began.

He makes me laugh just as much as I make him laugh. He is SERIOUSLY the HAPPIEST baby in the world.

For some reason, I was the funniest person on the planet today to my son. He just kept laughing at me. And of course, my little girl was trying to copy me and get him to laugh too, so we got a video of his giggles and her sweet attempts to be like her mommy.

Daddy Time

decorating eggs with daddy

Even if it is something simple and silly, we love being able to spend time with daddy. Decorating Eggs may not be the most exciting thing for adults, but it was so much more fun with him. Siena loved showing off for her daddy and Grayson loved being a part of the whole family gathering.

 

Happy Easter!

We can’t wait until the Easter Bunny shows up tomorrow and to talk to our babies about the true meaning of Easter. Hopefully we can start to introduce what it means that Christ lived and died for us and and lived for us again.

More pics below!

I just had to include this adorable picture of my chubby cheeked boy!
Siena decorating eggs and poking her tongue out
My girl is just the coolest.

More Simple Things for Family Fun!

Fun Uncle Coco & Cool Aunt Nai – 10 Benefits to Having Family Visit

Everyone needs a fun uncle and cool aunt and we are happy to report that our kids have many. This last weekend we got to hang out with Austin’s brother (fun uncle) and his cute wife (cool aunt). It was their first time coming out here to Michigan and we loved having them.

fun uncle coco reading book to Siena

Siena and Grayson loved having some cool new friends. And after they visited, we have decided that a fun uncle and cool aunt are so great for our kids! In fact, I might even say they are necessary. So if you don’t have a candidate for cool aunt or fun uncle, they don’t necessarily have to be blood related. Just make some!

 

Benefits of a Fun Uncle & Cool Aunt

1. Someone else to entertain the Littles

It didn’t take long for Siena to latch onto her fun uncle and fun aunt. She called Colton, “Coco” and Natalie was “Nai” (rhymes with spy). She loved climbing and playing with both of them. Grayson was thrilled to have someone else paying attention to him all of the time.

littles sitting on the couch

2. Someone Else to Reinforce Mom and Dad’s Rules besides Mom and Dad

As obedient as Siena is, sometimes it is so nice for her to see that even fun Uncle Coco and cool Aunt Nai aren’t eating in the living room either. (at least while Siena is awake…) It helps her learn that it’s not just boring Mom and Dad who make such rules.

And, for the record, she has been doing great with that rule since they left!

 

3. Fun Outings we wouldn’t have taken otherwise

We got to explore all over downtown Detroit! We could do that anyways, but having visitors always seems to motivate us to get out of the house. With visitors, we have to show off our great city! Siena and Grayson loved being taken all over in the stroller like big kids.

fun uncle and cool aunt in front of comerica park

We also finally got to eat at a restaurant we’ve been dying to try.

 

Grayson asleep at the restaurant after being out WAY past his nap time.

4. A Break from Changing Diapers

Cool Aunt Nai was so excited to be helping with the ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ stuff that this Mom and Dad got some much appreciated breaks. This time, I wasn’t the only one who got to experience soft serve poops while changing his diaper. I seriously think he likes to show off his bowel movements because he will only ever do it when someone is actually in the process of changing his diaper.

For the record, fun Uncle Coco was not cool with the Coco colored soft serve and stayed FAR FAR AWAY.

 

5. A Break from Constant Feedings

As much as I love to spoon feed my son and look into his eyes while I feed him a bottle, that kid can eat! Do you know how much time I spend shoveling food into him? I can’t keep up most days. So it was awesome being able to tag team with Cool Aunt Nai.

 

6. A Break from being the Focus of All Attention

Usually my kids want to be the center of my attention at all times. If I look at one, the other one gets upset. If I check my phone, suddenly I am the climbing gym. Eating is a rarity, going to the bathroom alone doesn’t really happen and sleeping uninterrupted for longer than 4 hours will probably never happen again.

Imagine my relief when I could play with one and the other one had another adult to play with. Fun Uncle Coco was the new climbing gym and I got a little bit of free time. Still not much sleep though… we were too busy talking after the kids went to bed.

 

7. Great Influence the Kiddos can Trust when they get Older

I can’t help but think about how great it will be to have other role models around. They will have so many aunts and uncles that can be exemplary examples when they are teenagers. Suddenly our opinion may not be worth as much as a fun uncle or a cool aunt’s.

fun uncle coco and cool aunt nai

 

8. Someone to Play Games with After Bedtime

Once the babes are in bed, we have the fun uncle and cool aunt all to ourselves. We get to play games with them and have adult conversations. It was so fun to kick back, relax and get to know Austin’s brother and sister-in-law better. We love our games and play them all the time. I included links to some of our favorites in case you need new ideas.

9. More Daddy Time!

Because Austin doesn’t want to miss out on all the fun, he takes time off of work and we get more daddy time! We got to go on all of these adventures with him. In fact after they left, Siena couldn’t understand why Dada had to work. She loved having him around more.

daddy time out and about

10. Pictures for a Lifetime

And every time family comes to visit, we get to take a bunch of pictures because they’re not around all of the time. So, we had a blast taking pictures of the babes, of all of us and having fun with the family. Now we’ll be able to remember it forever.

PICTURE OVERLOAD ALERT!

More photos from the rest of their trip:

Standing outside the Red Wings Game waiting to go inside and get out of the rain.

 

The Red Wings have a tradition of throwing an octopus on the ice during the Playoffs. They didn’t make the Playoffs this year, but it was one of the last games in the Joe Louis Arena, so we saw many Octopus carcasses splayed on the ice.
Great game to see with some great family!
Fun Uncle Coco & Cool Aunt Nai
Fun Uncle Coco & Cool Aunt Nai
We got to go to this fun game because our awesome friends watched our kids that night!
I love it when he grabs his toes!
fun uncle with dada on their devices
Sometimes they were real lively. Here I think they were both creating some roller coasters… the story of their trip.
Just have to include any cute pictures of them ever taken.
Our animals or theirs?
Fun at the Farm
She loves her ‘tows’! (cows)

To read about more fun at the farm when I took the kids by myself, click here.

Patience – 3 Different Kinds – Which one do you struggle with?

Patience is always a Christlike attribute that I have struggled with. But I haven’t figured out what EXACTLY it is with patience. There are a lot of connotations and meanings of the word and as I was floundering in my spirituality recently, I think I have sorted out in my mind some of the different aspects of patience and why the trait seems to be so elusive to me.

So, if patience is something that you have questions about, hopefully this will answer some of your questions.

patience watching the clock tick

Connotations of Patience

For me, a whole list of thoughts or ideas comes to mind when I think of the word, patience. Here are some of the thoughts I have.

  • Waiting in a waiting room.
  • Trying not to get frustrated with those who make me wait.
  • Not getting a reward immediately.
  • My children having to wait for a treat.
  • Trying to bite my tongue when my husband is taking longer than I had decided he should take to complete something.
  • Watching someone struggle with something and having to teach them the same thing over and over again… aka children.

All of these can be frustrating if you are a person of little patience, like me. Not all of them are frustrating to me, but some are definite triggers.

But, I think there is a much more concrete way of looking at this word and dividing it, so that I can focus on one area where I struggle. I struggle with all of the aspects of patience, but there is one in particular that seems to get me down again and again.

1. Patience with Others

This aspect of the attribute is one that I seem to do okay with. While I may have impatience at the start, I usually notice and try to reign in my frustrations. After all, I am imperfect too.

Having patience with others is something that I think most people will find they are better at doing. We know we need to be charitable and we know we shouldn’t judge. We get those lectures all the time.

Impatience with Others

Usually, having impatience with others is a series of instances where a person does not measure up to your expectations.

Let’s break that down even further. This means that first, there is someone or something in your life with which you consistently interact. If you didn’t have this kind of interaction, there would be no need to have patience with them. Their offense would be fleeting and the impatience experienced with them would not force you to practice this attribute.

Second, you have unfairly imposed your expectations on someone else. For example:

  • I can’t understand why my child can’t read yet. I was reading by the time I went to Kindergarten.
  • Why is he always so slow getting out the door? It would have taken me 15 minutes to do this.
  • Why does she insist on making fun of me every time we hang out?
  • Does he have to keep tapping his foot in that annoying manner? Is anyone else tapping their foot?!
  • He should know how I’m feeling. I shouldn’t have to spell it out for him.

Does any of this sound familiar? This is like the story of my life. I have thoughts like these frequently and have to work extra hard to exercise a little patience. I’m sure some of you reading this, are professional patience practitioners and are shocked that people like me even exist. We do. And we are probably impatient with you at times.

patience with your spouse

Overcoming Impatience with Others

Now that we understand how we can offend the divine attribute of patience in this manner, there are ways that we can overcome it as well. I have listed a couple of steps that help me.

  1. Identify what is making you angry. (Usually impatience leads to anger and that is when we recognize the emotion.)
  2. Let it Go OR
  3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go
  4. Forgive Self

I will list them all again, but go into further detail.

Steps to Overcome Impatience with Others

1. Identifying the Cause of Anger

Evaluate the situation and reflect on how it made you feel. Try to identify what particular action triggered that emotion.

2. Let it Go

Sometimes, you don’t need to understand why someone is behaving in a way that irritates you to your core. Maybe the foot tapper has a nervous twitch that flares up when he feels uncomfortable. Take the opportunity to try and be grateful that you don’t feel anxiety when you are surrounded by other people.

With this step, I usually need divine help to actually let it go. I say a prayer and I ask Heavenly Father to take away my frustration and be able to focus on whatever it is I need to do. I have always felt peace when I ask for His help. He knows the other person who is frustrating you and will always want you to have more love for them too.

3. Address the Issue

This one is the hardest to do. It requires a lot of love, a lot of listening and a lot of love. Yep, love twice. Don’t even try to do this unless you take the time to love the person first.

Child Learning to Read

In the example with the child who is having a hard time reading. You could try something like this.

“Kayla, I want to talk to you about something. We have been trying to read for a while now, and I can’t help but notice that you don’t seem to enjoy it. Why is that?”

Then, you have to just listen. Listen until you can’t listen any more. Chances are, your child wants to read just as desperately as you want them to.

patience with children learning to read

Spouse is taking too Long

I wanted to use another example where the priorities of the two individuals may not be aligned.

You are trying to go somewhere and your spouse just doesn’t seem to take the hint that you want to go NOW. You watch as they dilly dally, take their time finding their favorite jacket, don’t help get the kids ready or whatever it is that keeps them from getting in that car.

Now it is important to address the issue by communicating your feelings. And just start with a blanket statement of how you feel. It should literally be only 3 words. ONLY THREE.

I feel (feeling word). Here are some examples:

I feel frustrated.

I feel annoyed.

I feel upset.

I feel angry.

I feel ignored.

I feel forgotten.

Don’t say, “I feel like you…” That’s just another way of accusing them of doing something.

They will probably ask why you feel that way and you can then explain by saying something like this.

trying to be patient with spouse getting ready

“It’s been very important to me to get to Carl’s gymnastics on time. The teacher has already talked to me about it before and so when we arrive late, I feel embarrassed.”

Notice that you are still not accusing your spouse of anything. If you accuse your spouse, they will feel defensive because they might have been trying to get ready fast too. Or maybe they feel embarrassed because they took longer than they thought they would.

4. Forgive

Once you have either let it go or you have addressed the issue with the person and then let it go, it is time to forgive them and move on. If you are not ready to do this step, you have not adequately done steps 2 and 3. Go back, and try it again.

 

Here is another example of when I lost my patience with my daughter.

 

Patience with Self

This kind of patience requires you to recognize that you are imperfect and be okay with your imperfections. Obviously you want to become better. That is part of human nature. Of course we want to grow and progress, but a lot of times our growth is not dependent on our own time table.

Let me share with you a personal example that I am sure many people can relate to.

Getting Back in Shape

I am 6 months postpartum. At 3 months, was New Years! And guess who made some awesome New Years Resolutions. Some of those resolutions centered around losing weight.

I decided I was going to do a work out program that was supposed to take 3 months and then BAM! I would have my fit body ready to show off to the world. If anyone watched my Beauty and the Beast – Mom Parody you will know that that did not happen. There is evidence in the video of that.

scale and tape measure

I lost a little weight, but nothing like I had planned. In a fit of embarrassment and shame I cried as I thought about all of my great plans. I was going to get a new swimsuit, fit into my old clothes again and basically be a babe. Summer was just around the corner and this was the year that I was going to be ready for it.

Confusion and despair threatened to overwhelm me. I had done everything I was supposed to do and when I had done this 10 years ago, I had lost the weight super fast!

But, I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. I have to have patience with myself and my body and it’s imperfections. That just means that I have to wait longer to get what I want. So, here is to the next 70 years of my life eating healthy and working out. I guess it will never end. What a great practice of patience.

stretching girl
This is what I will look like for the rest of my life I guess.

Overcoming Impatience with Self

The Steps in this one are the same as they are with overcoming impatience with others.

  1. Identify the cause of the anger.
  2. Let it Go OR
  3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go
  4. Forgive Self

This is a heart to heart with yourself. It’s easy for a lot of people to not worry about being patient with themselves. But this is so important. You are just as important as those other people you have impatience with. You have unfairly placed expectations on yourself that maybe you couldn’t meet.

 

Steps to Overcome Impatience with Self

1. Identify the Cause

Sometimes I just feel Meh as people describe it now. I don’t want to do anything or I just feel “off”. If I am feeling this way, it is usually because I am being impatient with myself. Some expectation wasn’t met and now I need to deal with it before I can feel like myself again. When I am feeling this way, I might just feel like laying on the floor with my cheek pressed against the carpet. Maybe I just can’t sit still. Or sometimes I am just depressed.

2. Let it Go

I only recommend this option if you have already taken the time to address the issue with yourself. If you already know why you are feeling this way and have taken the time to do an inventory with yourself, then you can start with Letting it Go. Again, this usually requires some divine help.

3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go

If you haven’t taken the time to identify how you are feeling and why, it’s time to dig deep. Sometimes it is helpful to talk to someone about it, write it down, pray about it, draw, scream or express yourself in some way. Find a way to work through those feelings and do it.

Once you have sorted out the cause of your impatience, say a prayer like mentioned before and ask Heavenly Father to take the feeling of impatience with yourself from you.

4. Forgive Yourself

Accept yourself for who you are. For me, I have to accept that I can’t lose weight as fast as I would like to. I did everything I could for 3 months and still lost the pounds at a snail’s pace.

But, I’ll be the tortoise in the Tortoise and the Hare. I just have to keep going, keep trying to be better even though I may not be able to see the results that it is yielding immediately.

 

Here is another example of when I lost patience with myself.

 

Patience with God

This is the one that I struggle with the most. When I follow commandments or do something good, I expect that all of my troubles and trials will be taken away. I expect to be rewarded for all that I am doing and I get frustrated when God does not do things in my timetable. Doesn’t He see how hard I’m working? Do my efforts not make any difference?

I am sure they do, that’s where faith comes in. But He does them in His own timetable.

He knows what we want before we ask Him and we may ask and not receive it, or maybe not receive it right away.

That can be SO frustrating.

 

Theatre

I have always loved performing, being in plays and showing off. That’s just in my nature. You might never guess from meeting me because I don’t have a very loud personality.

juliet's balcony
This is the balcony in Verona, Italy referred to as Juliet’s Balcony.

When I was 14, there was an audition for Romeo & Juliet. I was so excited because duh! Juliet was 14 in the play. I was the perfect age and thought that I could surely get the part. After memorizing and memorizing, praying and pleading I went to the audition. I was nervous, but I had done what I needed to to prepare.

Guess what happened. TOTAL FLOP. I couldn’t seem to remember the lines, got nervous and basically just froze. I left knowing I wouldn’t get it. What a terrible, embarrassing feeling. I wanted to crawl into a hole inside of a cave and die.

And the embarrassment led to anger. Hadn’t I been doing everything right? Didn’t I practice and work hard? Why hadn’t I received help? If my audition had at least gone smoothly, I could have been happy with that even if I didn’t get the part, but it was a disaster!

We’ll come back to this story.

Overcoming Impatience with God

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the steps with this one are the pretty much the same as the ones in the other two impatience categories.

  1. Identify the cause of the anger.
  2. Let it Go OR
  3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go
  4. Try to Align your Will with His

This type of impatience is a lot harder for me to overcome. I usually don’t want to let it go. I want to just stay mad, bitter and insulted. Real mature, right?

 

Steps to Overcome Impatience with God

1. Identify the cause of the anger.

A lot of times this springs from feeling entitled. We felt like maybe we deserved more blessings. Or maybe we had an expectation of God that He didn’t fulfill, even though He never agreed to it.

2. Let it Go

This is not the same as ignore it. You definitely don’t want to build up frustration with God. You need to figure out what is going on, recognize that you had an expectation of Him that He didn’t necessarily agree to and accept that.

3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go

He will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS talk to you about anything because He loves you. Say a prayer and let Him know you are disappointed or frustrated so that you can start to reconnect with Him. Don’t you think He wants to know how you are feeling? You can tell Him you’re angry. He will even listen if you are angry with Him. He’s not going to get defensive or offended. He is the perfect listener and loves you and wants you to come to Him, even though you may feel like that is the last thing you want to do.

4. Try to Align your Will with His.

This is different than forgive Him, because there is nothing to forgive. He is perfect, therefore we know that He did not make the error. Now, we need to do the hardest thing and let go of what we want and try to see what He wants for us. I promise it is always better.

Romeo & Juliet

I was disappointed for a long time and even more devastated when I found out that the ENTIRE freshman class was going to go and see Romeo and Juliet because they were reading the play that year.

That could have been me! Everyone could have seen me perform. I don’t remember why, but for some reason, I couldn’t go. I think I had a doctor appointment or something, which was too bad because I wanted to go.

Then, the next day, I heard the reviews. “It was terrible!” “The worst play ever.” “All they did was make out the whole time.” “Disgusting.”

Imagine my relief when I realized, that could have been me. That night I said a prayer of gratitude that I didn’t get the part. First of all, I would have been extremely uncomfortable with making out with some boy I didn’t know at 14 years old, when I had never kissed anyone. And I would have been embarrassed that everyone in my whole freshman class would have seen me ‘making out the whole time’ in ‘the worst play ever’.

I think God’s will for me was much better than my will for me.

 

Here is another example of when I lost patience with God.

 

Patience

It is hard for me to trust God’s timing. When I want things, I usually want them right away because that’s just how I am. I want to check things off my list, quit stressing and move on, but God doesn’t work the same way as me. He knows what will shape me and help me become the person I am supposed to be so I guess I can trust him.

Answer My Prayer – When it Feels Like You’re Not Listening

I am sure I am not the only one who has sat alone in my room and looked up, wondering if He really loves me. Am I the only one who wonders if He cares? Does He really know me? Will He answer my prayer?

Reassurance of a Parent

I have often wondered why, when I am feeling this way, when I really want to feel the love of my Father in Heaven, do I not immediately receive heavenly help? Wouldn’t my Heavenly Father want to remind me that I am loved, that I am not alone? Wouldn’t he want to reassure me that He is there?

answer my prayer the way I answer my daughter's request for a hug

Sometimes when I have prayed in anger at my lack of answers, I have told him that if my child needed to know that they were loved I would never hesitate to tell them. I would never hesitate to show them. If He was in fact my Heavenly Father, why would He not want me to know just as immediately.

Where are my guardian angels? Why can’t I feel the warmth in my chest? Is it too much to ask for a heavenly hug?

I wrestled with this question for months. Why wouldn’t He just reassure me of His love? Deep down, I was pretty sure that He did, but I felt like I needed to be reminded.

Unexpected

My answer came after much studying of the scriptures and General Conference talks. It came after praying and pleading with my Heavenly Father to just show me His love for me.

If I knew He loved me, I didn’t have to feel alone. When everything else felt like it was falling apart, I would at least know that He was with me.

After much praying, studying and crying, I finally stumbled across this talk. It was by Elder David A. Bednar, and He talked about ways that we can receive revelation from God. I wasn’t necessarily trying to find the answer to my prayers in this talk, I was just trying to draw closer to the Lord.

He used two examples during his discourse.

Example 1

When you walk into a dark room and find a light switch, you turn it on and immediately the room is illuminated with light. Suddenly you can see more clearly. Everything is shown to you at once.

answer my prayer like lightbulbs being turned on in a dark room

This type of revelation is infrequent and rare. It is most commonly used when you are in dire need of a course correction in your life, Elder Bednar says. This is one of the ways that we can receive revelation.

When this has happened to me, I have looked around me in shock that no one else seemed to feel what I was feeling. It felt so tangible and real. It also came when I really needed the assurance of God’s love. I have only felt this kind of revelation once or twice in my life that I can remember.

And to be honest, this is the kind of heartwarming, bosom burning answer from God that I was looking for. Elder Bednar goes on to say that while powerful, this kind of revelation is not necessary for receiving a testimony.

Example 2

Imagine you are  facing the east and watching the sun rise. First you would see evidences of the rising sun. The darkness would begin to lift and more and more of the surrounding wilderness would be revealed to you.

sunrise as an answer to prayer

In fact, you might not notice it was even happening unless you were watching for it.

Even though the source of this light is the most powerful source of light in our world, sometimes we do not even notice that we are using it.

This type of revelation, the kind that comes quietly is much more common and frequent. We can receive answers to prayers like this all the time.

 

Answer My Prayer

Suddenly I realized that He had been answering my prayer all along. He didn’t need to show me with trumpets and a burning bush. He was guiding me little by little in my life. My Heavenly Father could answer my prayer, simply by showing me that He was with me by BEING with me.

Just because He wasn’t answering my prayer the way I wanted Him to, doesn’t mean that He wasn’t answering it.

 

To Recognize When God Wants to Answer My Prayer

As I went through this experience, I realized something especially important. I wasn’t hearing the answer because I wasn’t actively listening. I was doing what I was supposed to; going to church, saying prayers and reading my one chapter a day.

praying to God to answer my prayer

But I wasn’t doing everything I could to discover what I wanted to know. In a way, I think I expected Him to answer my prayer without having to put in any effort. But when I didn’t go to Him, how could I hear his gentle whisper?

 

What I know

I know that God loves me. He loves all of us. I am constantly amazed at the evidences that He knows us each individually and wants us to return to Him. I know that He is always with us, always wanting to help us. We just have to draw close to Him and ask. As we are near Him, we will always hear His answer.

answer my prayer like a sunrise so it lasts longer

I am so grateful He answered my simple prayer with a simple answer. I learned way more about how to be close to Him than I ever would have if He would have just obliged my demands. He certainly knows me better than I know myself.

 

I have had God answer my prayer on many occasions. I am sure that I will write more, because His love constantly amazes me. General Conference is always something that inspires me and during this last one I received an answer to my prayers about loving everyone.

Love Everyone – Knocking Down Pedestals is Essential

Pedestal PicThere has been a lot of talk about stopping the hate. I hear all the time about how I need to love everyone and I absolutely agree. We do need to learn how to interact with more love. My only hope with this article, is to break down one of the stumbling blocks to the admonition to love everyone. What is holding us back?

My theory is that people are having a hard time with the idea to love everyone, because they don’t recognize how many pedestals they have set up in their minds. Everyone has heard the phrase “being put on a pedestal”. This is usually applied to people who are admired or looked up to. We set them up to be our idols, for better or worse.

 

Putting Yourself on a Pedestal

It should be obvious why this one can make it hard for you to love everyone. But, let’s go over it. If you are placing yourself on a pedestal, it really makes it impossible to love anyone. You are so much better than everyone.

Maybe you think you are better because you have more money. Maybe you are more in shape than everyone else. Are you lifting yourself up because you are a superior writer. Perhaps you’re smarter. Maybe you are a more beautiful specimen. Perhaps you think you are a better parent. Maybe you are willing to forgive someone who isn’t willing to forgive you back.Perhaps someone has offended you, hurt you or disappointed you and you would never do that.

Whatever the reason, you are putting distance between yourself and someone else.

 

Putting Someone Else on a Pedestal

Wedding pic of us on a pedestal
Austin & I literally on a pedestal.

This is something that most people will not immediately view as a hinderance towards the mandate to love everyone. After all, if you are looking at someone’s great attributes you must love, respect and admire them.

And while you may respect and admire them, the love you have for them is more of your idea of them. You assume that they are above or are more talented at something. There is the conjecture that if they are talented at one thing, or have more money than you or thinner than you, their life must be better than yours. There is no way they can possibly understand how you are feeling.

An even more dangerous strain of thought is when you start hypothesizing about how they got there. They must be naturally good at that. He probably inherited all of his money. She must have great genetics. We frequently assume that if someone has something we do not, they don’t have to work for it.

By putting someone else on a pedestal, we choose to distance ourselves from them and believe that they are different from us. We usually assume they don’t have to work as hard, don’t have as many troubles as we do and the next logical conclusion to draw is that they also view themselves on the pedestal. They must think they are better than everyone else.

 

How to Love Everyone without Pedestals

One of the hardest things to do is to love everyone and the one thing that will single handedly help the most is to knock down all of the pedestals you have built up in your mind. Knock down the one you are standing on. Knock down the ones that you have placed your friends or acquaintances on.

And when you’re standing in a field of broken pedestals with everyone else, you will start to see the most amazing thing.

We are all human, we all struggle, we all want to be better. At times we all doubt ourselves and are scared of being alone. We want to make connections with those around us. You will suddenly see everyone as they really are and not as you imagine them.

Try knocking down a pedestal and watch what happens to your relationship with that person. It might not be immediate, but I promise it will be different. (Also, you may have to knock down the pedestal many times. Sometimes we struggle to remember.)

 

I’ve even put myself on a pedestal over my daughter before.