Friday, October 5, 2012

My Journey

In a few weeks, I will be attending a retreat sponsored by Deseret Book. This is a wonderful two day event, that always inspires, uplifts, and encourages me. They have some of my favorite authors speaking this time. In addition, they are offering the chance to have lunch with the presenters, if you submit a story about a journey you have taken. It had to be under 700 words. I think mine is 699. I have been wanting to share my conversion story on here for awhile now, but can't seem to find the time to type it all out. So, I will post this short version here. It is based on the one I just submitted to

Growing up, I can remember always wondering if there was a God. We were not raised with any religion in our home. I used to envy my friends who went to church, and took classes during the week. I always knew I wanted to belong to a church when I grew up. This desire to know about God, eventually led me to the Restored Gospel.
As I began searching in earnest, I happened to attend Church with friends along with my husband and two year old son. That Sunday, the Young Women were sharing their testimonies. One after another, they spoke about their faith in God, and how it affected their lives. I was very touched, and impressed that these girls could have such solid faith, when at 21 I was still unsure what I believed. I knew at that moment though, that I wanted my children to be brought up with faith, and renewed my efforts to find a church to join. I continued to attend the different churches in my town, but nothing ever felt right.
Having not grown up with, or in, a faith, I had created my own picture of what Church should be like. I always thought when you went to Church, you belonged to it. It was a part of your life. You knew everyone, they knew you. You loved and served each other, and it was a big part of your life. It was not a Sunday only thing. Most of all, it should bring into your life a strong faith, that you built your life upon. After I had attended the local churches a few times, I was bothered that I still wasn't sure if there really was a God. Was He really there? Did He really care about me? Feeling kind of awkward to ask someone such a personal question, I kept it to myself for a few months.
One night however, while talking to the neighbors I had attended Church with month’s earlier, the opportunity to ask 'how do you have faith?' came up. I mentioned those girls I had seen as an example. How did they know? How did my neighbor's know? After a great discussion, they sent me home to read a few verses in the Book of Mormon, which talked about how faith is like a seed. I read about how you need to plant the seed by desiring, and then about how it grows as you act upon it. I read not only those verses, but the entire Book of Mormon over the next 5 days. That was the beginning of my testimony that God lives, He loves us, and He restored His Gospel to us. I found the faith I was seeking, and the Church I had always envisioned. I was baptized four weeks later.
 Though not interested at first, my husband slowly gained a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was baptized on Father’s day, almost two years later. We were sealed in the Temple a year later while expecting our third child. That was 17 years ago. We are now the parents of nine children – ages 19 down to 8 months. We remain the only members in our family on both sides.
Since joining, we have tried to be as active as possible, and pass on our faith to our children. They are the first generation to be brought up in the gospel. We struggle sometimes, in raising them completely different from the way that we were raised – to incorporate the scriptures into teaching moments, to remember to have family prayer, and how best to engage the children in scripture study. We have fun introducing and building what will hopefully be family traditions – Family home Evenings, General Conference weekends, having the Missionaries over for “breakfast for dinner” nights.  We enjoy tender moments as my husband is able to give the children blessings for their health, and for comfort.
One especially touching moment was a few weeks ago, when I was able to listen to my daughter, age 16, bear her testimony in Sacrament along with all the other Young Women. In that moment, it felt like a circle had been completed.

Monday, July 23, 2012

FHE on "Samuel the Lamanite"

Tonight we had our Family Home Evening with another family in our Stake. We have seen each other at many stake events, been friends on Facebook for awhile, but never really gotten to know each other in person before. So, we got together for FHE. They provided the pool, fruit salad, a fire pit and s'mores, and we provided the cookies, and the lesson.

I told the story of Samuel the Lamanite, from the Book of Mormon. We talked about him climbing on the wall to give the news of the coming of Jesus' birth, and about the new star, and how they needed to repent or face destruction. We talked about how some people believed, but most did not, and some even tried to kill him with the bows and arrows. We then discussed how they could not hit him, as the Lord was protecting him. I made the point that the Lord is always with us when we do as He commands. He will watch over us, help us, and even spare our life if that is necessary for us to carry out His will. (As I was sharing a recap with my oldest son later on, he remarked that it was the same lesson we learn from Nephi. "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.")

Afterwards, we had the kids make little bows and arrows that they could keep to remind them that the Lord is always there for them as they strive to follow and serve Him. They were made out of popsicle sticks, dental floss, and q-tips. We got the idea from The Brooding Hen ( They really did work!!! The kids had a blast shooting each other with them. I ended up making an extra one for my husband for his desk at Church. I think I will find a really nice scripture to go with it, and make a nice little display for him to have.

Overall, I think it was a great night! It is so much fun to fellowship with other members, and get to know them in thier homes. We also got to pass on our secret to making awesome s'mores. (Use chocolate chip cookies instead of graham cookies!!). Hope you had a good FHE too!!! Now I need to find another great idea for one in a few weeks with a few families at our house.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"I Know that My Redeemer Lives"

While on a family vacation (details and pic's to follow), I had an opportunity to spend an hour or so alone with Eric, my five month old son. We had enjoyed a nap together earlier that day, so it was a nice suprise, when the opportunity arose again so soon. While Dad took the kids swimming again, Eric and I nursed, and rocked, and then he started to drift off to sleep. As I walked around the room, I decided it would be nice to have some music. Since we had no Wi-fi, and I had already listened to my regular playlist in the car over and over again, I decided to put on the EFY list I had created. (Especially for Youth - week long retreats for Young adults put on by BYU - Brigham Young University - and they always have music as a focus, so every year they put out a CD with the songs on it.)

As we slow danced around the room, one of my favorite songs came on. "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". This has always been one of my favorite hymns. As I sang along, I started to feel my heart grow very tender, and my eyes starting to water. I could really feel the Spirit, and I was reminded of how much I really do love the Savior. With nine kids, homeschooling, and a husband that is Bishop, we have a pretty busy household. Even though I read scriptures daily (well, pretty close anyways), and say a multitude of prayers everyday (family, meals, in my head as I go through the day, with kids at bedtime, etc), I have gotten distracted. My testimony has always been, and continues to be strong. However, when I study lately, I have only been studying for a purpose. I am usually preparing a lesson of some kind - seminary, RS, Primary, FHE, etc. I do learn while studying, and I do feel the Spirit while teaching, but it is not the same as studying and praying just to do it. Just to draw close, just to feel the Spirit, just to learn more about Him.

I love doing those things!! I always have, and I hope I always will. But let's face it. Life happens. You get into a routine, or a rut, and you find yourself, just trying to survive the day. You find yourself doing those things, because they are important to you, because you need to, because you are supposed to, and even a little because you know they bring you joy - but you forget to feel it. I mean REALLY feel it. To take a few minutes to really feel how important this knowledge is to you, to really feel what the Savior did for you, to really feel how special it is that you can talk to him through prayer, to really feel how amazing it is, that you were able to find the Church, and gain a testimony, to really feel just how much you love Him, and really feel how much He loves you.

But for those few moments, I REALLY felt it. It came back to me. Why I do every thing I do. Why I teach my children the things I do, why I support my husband in his callings, and pray for my son to serve a mission. Why I read my scriptures, and say my prayers. I know all these things, and I hope you do too. For a few moments as I stood there with my little man snuggling on my shoulder, swaying and singing to him, I could feel why I do those things. I am grateful for the reminder, and I am going to make that a priority - to gain and keep that feeling. To stop being so distracted. To enjoy the Gospel a little more. To enjoy my scripture study, and look forward to and enjoy praying. And I hope you will too!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

FHE - Murmuring

For Family Home Evening tonight, I taught a lesson on "murmuring". (To be honest, I got part of the idea from the "Work and the Glory"). We have had a big problem in our home lately, with murmuring. It seems that everytime someone is asked to do something they complain. If someone else does something that they don't like, they complain. If anything comes up, that they weren't planning on, they complain. Even treats, and special occasions, were starting to be subject to complaining. Worse yet, as parents, we complained that they were complaining!!

I decided that it needed to be addressed, but in a more creative way than complaining! So, we started in the Old Testament, where the Lord is telling the Israelites that they were not going to be allowed into the Promised Land. He uses some very strong imagery in pointing out that though thier children will be allowed to inherit it, they will not see it themselves. We then talked about what they thought they Israelites could have possibly done to recieve this harsh rebuke. After discussing it, we went back and reread it, and I did not leave out what they had done this time. Then we talked about all the times they murmured and what the Lord had done for them.

We then talked about how the Lord needs servants and leaders that will have faith in Him, and trust Him, and not murmur about everything. That led to a discussion about Zion's camp, and we watched the video off of Youtube. We then ended with our testimony about having gratitude for our blessings, and trusting in Him. I also pointed out, that the Lord gives many commandments that we are asked to follow, and sometimes we think we know why a commandment was given. That reason can sometimes make it easier to follow the commandment, but we need to always remember, that the 'reason' is 'our' thought, not necessarily the Lord's. If what we thought turns out not to be right, we need to not get angry, or confused, or lose faith, but just trust that there is better reasoning behind it. Even the leaders may not know all the reasons, and sometimes the Lord himself only shares line upon line, about why we are to do/not do certain things.

Hopefully, this helps with our murmuring problem. We will be referring back to the lesson as the days go by, when we need to correct the children (and I am sure ourselves sometimes). I will post back later on how it goes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Prayers Answered

On Monday, Eric had his doctor's appointment in Boston at Children's Hospital. He had to undergo a VCUG test to find out if he had backflow from his bladder into his kidney. This is a very common problem in boys that have a UTI very early in thier life, like Eric had.

The actual procedure lasted about 12 minutes - though it felt much longer. It only hurts as they put it in, but after a baby is hurt, they want to be picked up - but once the catheter is in, you can't pick them up. So you try your best to comfort them, but they are upset you are not holding them, then they are upset that they are being restrained. The nurses and person performing the procedure were very kind and gentle, and nice as can be. They just had to hold his legs and arms gently out of the way so they didn't get in the way of the xrays they were taking. I was allowed to be right there, helping and attempting to calm him with his binky, and talking/singing to him. None of it helped though, the poor thing cried the whole time. Finally, he was done. He had peed when they needed him not to, then he wouldn't pee when it was time - so it took a couple minutes longer than it usually does - actually, he had peed all over the lady in the beginning!

After they were done, we picked him up, calmed him down, then put a diaper on him, and wrapped him up in his blanket, and he snuggled right in. We headed up to his doctor's appt. and we nursed while waiting, and he drifted off to sleep. The doctor came in and looked at all the test results from both the VCUG and the ultrasound he had during his hospital stay. He said that it is very rare to have a UTI that early in life, and not have backflow, but that from what he could see, Eric was fine!! He was given a clear bill of health. We had to give him his medicine a couple more times, just to make sure he didn't end up with an infection from the procedure, but other than that, he was all set.

I am extremely grateful for all the prayers for Eric. Our whole ward, and quite a few friends from other wards, were praying for him. The doctor was amazed that he didn't have backflow. I am sure that it was due to all those prayers, and the health blessing that he recieved. I honestly don't know how people make it through this world without faith. It has sustained me, blessed me, calmed me, reassured me, and given me strength that I alone did not have - not just this time, but countless times. I truly am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven that watches over us.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Lord is with thee....

Two weeks ago, our brand new baby, Eric, was hospitalized due to a kidney infection. He had woken up with a fever that ended up reaching 103.5! His pediatrician admitted us to the hospital, so she could have some tests run to find out what was wrong. 

Originally, he was to have an iv put in automatically, and a catheter put in for a urine test. Having had many children (and pregnancies), I have learned over the years, that a lot of the 'routine' stuff they do, is not necessary all the time. As a result of this, I am constantly questioning why they have to do things. The IV was to prevent dehydration. Since he was still nursing really well, and having wet diapers, he was allowed to skip the IV. She also did a preliminary test on uring collected in a bag, rather than doing the catheter. I tried to have the blood work delayed as well, but they had to get that started right away, just in case it wasn't the urine. 

The preliminary urine test came back looking like that was the cause of the fever, so he had to have a catheter sample taken. His blood was also drawn. This of course, was really tough to watch, but knowing that there were no other options, made it bearable. Later that night, it was determined that it was a UTI, and that he needed IV antibiotics for two nights. This meant an IV after all, but they had a wonderful lab tech that was able to get it in first shot. However, I was told that due to thier small veins, IV's tend to not last on newborns very long. So, I was still glad he hadn't had it earlier, as this gave us more of a chance to not have to do it twice.

That night, we had friends come visit us, and the husband assisted mine in giving Eric a priesthood blessing. The entire ward was also praying for us, as an email was sent out to everyone letting them know what was going on. By the next morning, his fever had broken, and he was feeling much better. I am so grateful for blessings and prayers.

The next day, we went for an ultrasound to find out where the infection was. Turns out, as I mentioned in the beginning, that it was a kidney infection. That night, we were all done with the tests and all the procedures, and were just there to get the second dose of the nightly IV medicine, so we were both able to sleep. He slept almost the whole night!

Due to barely nursing the entire night, he had lost four ounces. Since he already had an IV in anyways, we agreed to giving him a few ounces of fluids, just so he could rest better, without having to wake him up to nurse. The day before, he had nursed a ton, as they kept waking him up all the time to do tests, and vitals, and just check on him. After a day of constantly being interrupted sleeping, he was wiped out. He slept most of Friday till we left around 2pm. 

The nurses there were amazing! They were so helpful, and empathetic. One of them even left the room when they were doing the bloodwork, as she started getting teary eyed, when they couldn't find the vein the first time. They always tried to do everything as minimally invasive as they could. They did most vitals while he slept or nursed. After the first day (when I wouldn't let anyone hold him - including my mom who met us there), they even held him so I could eat, or freshen up. They even stopped me on the way to the kitchen, and would insist that they get whatever I wanted. 

We left on Friday afternoon, and he was on an antibiotic for ten days four times a day. Then he switched to a very low dose antibiotic to keep him infection free till we go to Childrens hospital to find out what caused the kidney infection. 

The amazing part of this whole thing was that I was extremely blessed to know that everything would work out okay. I never panicked. I was very protective of him, hence my not letting anyone hold him till they were all done with the invasive tests, but I was not a wreck. I never felt like his life was in danger. I am very grateful for the support that the Lord gave me. I cannot imagine going through something like this alone - without His help and support. I truly felt uplifted and strengthened, and comforted

Friday, February 3, 2012

Birth Story

Here is the full birth story for Eric. I included some things that happened leading up to when my labor started. I am not sure if I needed to or not, but since they played into the birth story - I included them.

Last Monday, I ended up getting a stomach bug that completely wiped me out. I was in bed from Sunday night, until Tuesday morning. I felt better when I woke up Tuesday morning and spent the day eating small meals and resting and trying to get back my energy level back up. Wednesday morning, I decided we were all going to follow the schedule and get some work done! The week before I thought I was in labor, and so we hadn't really done any homeschool, thinking that I was having the baby 'any day' now. Anyways, I got the kids all up and working on thier school. As the morning progressed I noticed I was having some pressure waves. Just for fun, like I always do, we started writing them down on the white board in the kitchen. I would let the kids know, and they would write them down for me. They were averaging about an hour apart, and were very mild.

As the day wore on, they got a little closer together, but still mild. My husband took the older kids to their Church Activities on Wed night, but left his cell phone at home by accident, so he kept calling me to check on me. (I think he had a 'feeling'). By the time he called around 8:30, I told him that he didnt need to rush home, but that he should delay any errands on the way home, just in case - as he didnt have his cell phone with him. They were averaging about 20 minutes at that point, but still mild. (I keep pointing out that the waves were 'averaging' a certain time, as I would have one, then another one would be ten minutes later, then another one would be a half hour later, then a few would actually be twenty minutes apart. This is how it went all day, I would have a few spaced evenly mixed in with some half the time and some double the time - which led to the perpetual question "is this it?")

My husband got home around 9:30, and we stayed up and chatted for awhile, eventually going to sleep around 11:30. I fell asleep, but think I was worried about waking up so far into labor that we would have another 'almost parking lot' baby, so I woke up around 1:30 am. It took about 15 minutes to have one wave, but then they were averaging about 9 minutes apart. I chatted online with a doula friend of mine, and as we chatted they dropped down to about 6 minutes. They were getting a little stronger, so as we chatted we decided that it would be good to call my midwife and let her know that something might be up. I still wasnt sure that it was it, but I called. (The week before I had been sick, I had had about an hours worth of 5 minutes apart, called my hubby home from work, and then they stopped - so I was nervous about another false alarm.) I talked with the midwife, and let her know that we might be coming in. She said to call her back when we decided to head in, and she would meet us there. After I hung up the phone, they increased in intensity, and I needed to stop and focus. At this point, I decided it really was time, and called the midwife back less than twenty minutes later, and said we were heading in.

As we got ready to leave, they were getting stronger so I grabbed my ipod and turned on the tracks.(I had taken a homestudy course from Hypnobabies and it came with several CD's with different tracks on them). I am not sure if this is how you are supposed to do it or not, but I would pop the ear buds in my ear during the pressure waves (contractions) to help me focus, and then when it was over, I would pull them out, and resume getting ready to leave. We woke up the older kids to let them know we were leaving. We headed out to the hospital which was about a 12 minute drive. I had a few on the way, but they were completely manageable. It was a much more relaxing ride than last time. Not wanting the walk into the hospital to get things going faster like last time, my hubby parked right outside the ER ( where you check in) and brought me right in. A nurse met us and said the midwife had called ahead, and due to my last delivery being so fast when I got there, I was not allowed to walk anywhere, that they had strict instructions to put me in a wheelchair and bring me right up to maternity!! LOL!!! :-)

So they brought me up, while my hubby parked the car, and got me a room. I got hooked up to the monitors for about 15 minutes while they did all thier questions. The waves were getting more intense, so I would answer in between, but then, as I had at home, I would pop the ear bud in, and listen to the Birthing affirmations while I was in the middle of the waves, and then when they ended, I would go back to answering questions. It didn't bother me to switch back and forth, or I could have had hubby answer them for me. At that point I think I was at about 4 to 5 minutes apart. The midwife came in, and took the monitors off, and then checked me. I was curious, as I am familiar with how I usually progress so I wanted to know, about where I was. I was dilated to about a 6. (I usually go from 7 to 10 in one fell 5 minute swoop, so a 6 meant it would not be long!!!! 

The tub had been filled for me, and was waiting. It was a tad bit on the warm side, but it was SO relaxing. I turned the jets on, and angled myself so that they hit right where I needed them too. As I sat in the tub, I put on the easy first stage, and at that point kept it on. I no longer took them out, but fully turned myself over to it. I would grab my hubbys hand when I had a wave, but other than that, there was no sign that I was even in labor! I just laid in the tub, listening and focusing on the words in the track. As the easy first stage track ended, I felt prompted to put on the Creating Anesthesia track. This helped immensely!! As the waves progressed, I was starting to feel more pressure than I was comfortable with, but after putting the Creating Anesthesia on, I was able to handle it no problem. I noticed while listening to the track that my waves were now a couple of minutes apart, lasting a minute and a half or so. Toward the end of the track, I started getting  to the point, that although I was handiling it, I was getting nervous if I would be able to continue to handle it. I switched over to the Pushing Track  (or whatever the name is of the one that comes after First Stage). and started listening to that. It helped, but I was still feeling slightly edgy, and I did not want that negativity to enter into what so far was an amazing experience, so I diffused it by talking back to the track. I know this is probably not the ideal thing to do, but it helped me, and the humor it created as my hubby laughed at me talking back to the track, was enough to help me refocus. At this point, my husband recommended me getting out of the tub so I could get to the bed. (At the hospital we go to, the tubs are only for labor, not for birthing), I told him okay, and that I would get out, I just needed to get through one more wave. 

All of a sudden, in the middle of that contraction, my water exploded. Not just broke, exploded. I was in the tub, and this forceful wave of water shot out!! The next thing I knew, I had sat all the way up, and turned around, and was on my knees. My hubby pulled the red cord that they have in case you need them, and the midwife and like 5 nurses all came running in, The midwife tried to tell me to breath through it, and we would get to the bed, but the head had already started coming out. Realizing this, she said, "You are not breathing through it!!" Then I pushed again, and he was born!!! Since I was on my knees, he was kind of born behind me, so they had to spin me around, and hold him while I walked to the bed, where he was laid on top of me. Then we were left alone for the next hour, before they even asked if we wanted to weigh him and measure him. My hospital stay was great, as they changed everything to in room, rather than half in the room, and half in the nursery. They also would come back if the baby, or I were sleeping, so they didnt bother us. This is all 'policy' too, so I didnt have to argue for any of this!!!! 

I also want to add, that I bought this course to try to get through the last few minutes of labor without 'losing it' like I usually do - saying "I cant do this anymore", etc. However, when I got the course, around 22 weeks or so, I dove into it, but then lost focus. I had so much time, to get into it, I procrastinated. I listened to the go to sleep one every night to go to bed, but didnt listen to the cd's like I was supposed to. As I got closer, I started listening, but I found myself at beditme, not knowing which one to listen to, so I would guess and listen to a variety of them. When I got to about 30 weeks I finally got all the tracks put on a ipod, so I listened more than I did when I had to have my earphones hooked up to my laptop. At one point, I wrote a list of what I should be listening to, but lost the list. At week 34 or so, I started getting nervous that I was going to blow this whole thing, and I tried really hard every night to listen to a different track so that I would get a chance to listen to all of them. So every night I would listen to them as I put my little girls to bed. I would get interrupted, fall asleep, etc. I really was worried it wouldn't work. But you know what?? It did. I never practiced my finger drop with much success either, but it worked in labor anyways!!!

 I didn't realize this in labor, but the next day as I thought about it -  with the Hypnobabies, I was able to relax enough and to tell the difference between pain and pressure. In past births, I would get the two confused, so I had no idea where in labor I was. I would get near the end, and not knowing it was, I would get freaked out and think there was no way I could make it much longer. This time though, there was no pain. I knew what the pressure was. I knew it was the baby moving down. I knew that labor was near the end, and that when the pressure got to a certain point, I would be pushing. I welcomed it, and I imagined opening like it said. The water jets helped soften up the area, along with the water being really warm. I think I needed the Creating Anesthesia track since I hadn't practiced enough, but just listening to it, reminded me enough that it worked for me!!! I did not tear, or rip, or anything. When my water broke, and the pressure follwing was really intense, my body instinctively took over and knew it was time to push - I did not need to be told!!!

Anyways, sorry this was so long. IT was a great experience!!! 

P.S. If you have read this, and are interested in the program I mentioned, it is available at

Eric is here!!

I would like to announce the birth of our ninth child, Baby Boy Spearin. He was born on Thursday, January 26th, 2012 at 4:38 in the morning. I will post the birth story later on in a seperate post. He arrived healthy, and with no complications - for him or I. It was an amazing experience!!