Monday, December 19, 2011

Fun with my Little One

I never imagined how excited I would get over ever little stage of development with her!

First, she smiles all the time now. I can't help but feel elated when I am the one who can get her to smile most. She will smile and then turn her head as if she is shy it is so cute. She likes to stick her tongue out when she smiles too its adorable and so goofy. I love it.

She has an IRRESISTIBLE pouty face. Before she cries she will just stick out her lower lip and look at me with pleading eyes for a minute. It is SO cute and I keep trying to get a picture of it but I can't quiet capture the cuteness of it.
I can never catch it when she sticks out her lip but it is so cute.

She has discovered her voice! She like to talk to me now and it is so fun because she seems like she is telling a detailed story as she changes her face expressions and eyebrows as she is talking to me. Sometimes I swear she is saying hi back to really sounds like it. It is so much fun.
Talking to me

She has learned a lot more control over her hands. It is fascinating to watch her deliberately reach out and bat at toys to make them move or grab something and put it to her mouth.
Sucking her fists

She is such a joy and I absolutely love watching her grow!
Mommy and baby :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I could not ask for more: Brina's Birth

I had it all planned out.

I would go into labor naturally on my own and have a beautiful un-medicated labor and birth. I would calmly breath my way through contractions and feel that rush of endorphins when it was all over with and my sweet baby was in my arms.

Then, once we returned home I would work with my baby and we'd have a perfect, predictable eating sleeping playing schedule and get her sleeping through the night as soon as possible.

I read all the books, took classes, did my Kegels and whatever else I was suppose to do. I read books about newborns and breastfeeding and I had it all planned out. Labor and having a newborn would be wonderful.


Pretty much everything I had planned out in my silly little head did not happen. In fact, all the opposite things happened. And here is the story....

Ten days past my due date I went to see my midwife. They ran some test and Brina did not pass. They were not seeing enough movement and couldn't find a breathing pattern. I was freaked out! I kept asking everyone "is my baby okay?!" and I couldn't seem to get a straight answer, which only freaked me out more. Then all I got from my midwife's little speech she gave me were the words "induce" and "stillbirth". I think she was trying to tell me they wanted to induce me so it wouldn't lead to a still birth but the very mention of the word made me nauseous. I was told to go to the hospital immediately. So my mom took me and we met my husband there. I was trying so hard to keep smiling ... I was going to have my baby! But I was bitterly disappointed that I would be induced and terrified something was wrong with my little girl. I remember joking with my mom and Brad trying to be happy. But inside I wanted to sit down by myself and cry.

I had heard horror stories of the dreaded pitocin, but I still wanted to try to use the least amount of drugs possible. Being induced meant putting drugs in my body which ruined my hope for an un-medicated birth. But I still wanted to try and do it without the epidural because I had heard of problems with pitocin and the epidural. ( watch the business of being born and you'll see what I mean.)

I started out ok. Soon I got in the jacuzzi and that helped immensely. I was able to relax through the contractions with Brad helping me and talking me through them and pouring cold water on me which felt SO good for some reason. I was doing ok I think for awhile until BAM I completely lost control. I think it happened when I lost focus when the midwife suggested I change positions. One lesson leaned : in labor  ignore everyone else and do what you want. After that I started screaming like a crazy woman. There was barely a brake between contractions and they were coming hard and fast. I had the midwife check me and I was only at a four!!!!!!! Then I remembered her saying earlier it would take all night. And that was it. I asked for an epidural. I was shaking so bad I wasn't sure how they were going to get it in, but they did. I made it to a seven before they did. I remember groaning through contractions as they got me ready and thinking how much it helped... when before I thought it was silly. I also remember when they said I had progressed so quick to a seven I wanted to tell them never mind I'm almost there! But I couldn't really talk or think straight at that point.

Once the epidural kicked in things were much easier of course. What I didn't know was that my baby's heart
rate had dropped and stayed dangerously low. If I would have known that would happen I would have stuck it out. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think I almost could have lost her.

Pushing took forever. I kept trying to smile through my oxygen mask because I was excited to meet my baby. But inside I was still scared, especially as I saw the looks on the faces of my midwife and nurses and heard my midwife mutter "this isn't working."

FINALLY Brina decided to make her entrance into the world. They placed her purple little body on me for a few seconds. Just as I was about to reach out and cuddle her someone yelled "She need resuscitation!!" and yanked her away from me. I was so terrified and kept praying and praying that everything would be okay.

And it was.

Soon enough she was all wrapped up and in my arms, everyone left but my husband and mom and all was peaceful. We had made it.

She was born with a full head of hair (which is mostly gone now) and was 8lbs 5 oz and 21 in long. She is the most beautiful thing in the world to me.

The whole experience was rather traumatic. Yet, I would go through it all over again for my little girl. I never knew I could love someone and want to give my life to someone so quickly.

So yes, it was nothing like I expected. But it doesn't really matter does it? She is safe and sound in my arms, and I could not ask for more.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happily Endure...40 Weeks and Counting

"Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." -James 5:11

Here I am... 40 weeks pregnant!

 I never thought I would be SO disappointed that I haven't had her by now. But I am! I know the "due date" isn't some magical day but I couldn't help but think that for sure I'd be holding my little girl by now. But the wait really has been short, so far, and it's taught me a lot. The scripture above I read today in my study and made me decided that however long it takes I need to be happy as I wait and remember the Lord is merciful and has His reasons. So as part of the enduring happily part...I going to make a list of what I have loved about being pregnant....

1. LIFE INSIDE ME. I love the feeling of life inside me. Even now, she moves around like crazy and it is so incredible to me. It gives me peace that she is doing alright in there, and it is a miracle that I can carry her and my body can sustain her and help her grow. To hear her heartbeat and feel her move throughout my pregnancy has been such a joy.

2. RELAXING. While I did not enjoy having such horrible morning sickness, I am grateful for it. It helped me slow down and not try so hard to be super woman. It helped me relax and depend on others more, especially my husband.

3. HEALTHIER THAN EVER. Being responsible for another persons well being, especially my own child has changed me in many ways. One of which being the way I eat. Granted, these last few weeks I've slipped back into giving into my sweet tooth, however these nine months over all I have eaten healthier and strove to exercise more than ever. I try harder to get enough sleep and not over exert myself.  Over all it has made me feel better about my self and my life, and the little being inside me.

4. INSTA-FRIENDS. Another fun thing about being pregnant is that everyone wants to talk to me! And for some reason it seems like having a big belly makes it really easy for them to talk to me. Where ever I am, in the grocery story, eating out, walking down the street, people love to see my belly and ask me questions and chat and joke with me. I love it! Every where I go I meet friendly people who are excited for me, even though we barely met. I love that.

5. GREATER EMPATHY. All of a sudden I can relate to thousands of other women! I now understand what it means to be pregnant. This has helped me connect with so many other moms and always gives us lots to talk about. It helps me understand other women and the joys and hardships of pregnancy and be able to relate and give advice when asked for it. It has helped me gain new friendships and stregthen old ones.

6. LOVE MY BODY. This may seem kind of weird. But pregnancy really has helped me love my body more than ever. Before being pregnant, I fell too often into the trap of worrying about my body size, shape, and overall look. Once I got pregnant, well...who cares? There is no way I will fit into the model type body ideal with a huge belly. So I let go of my vanity. And the amazing thing is, as I let go of it, I came to appreciate my body even more. I love my body and what it can do. I am grateful for this gift and I hope that once I am no longer pregnanr I will continue to love this gift God has given me of a beautiful, capable body.

7. LOVE FOR MY HUSBAND. This has been the best thing throughout my pregnancy. Now I am definitly not saying that you should ever, ever, just try to get pregnant to save a failing relationship because it doesn't work that way. Our relationshp was healthy, and being pregnant has just brought more love and tenderness into the mix. My love for my husband has grown leaps and bounds as he went out to get me a Wendy's baked potato when I was craving it or rubbed my back as I was hurting from carrying the baby all day. My heart melts as he has brought home every baby thing he could find that we could use and as he puts in extra hours at work so he can take time off when Brina comes. I have come to appreciate him and love him more than ever throughought this pregnancy, and this is definitly the best blessing of all in being pregnant.

Pregnancy has definitly not been easy. But over all I really have loved it. And I still am enjoying it. Especially when she moves and lets me know everything is okay in there. I know it won't last forever (though sometimes it feels like it) and soon I will be holding our little girl. In the meantime, I plan to count my blessings and joy in the privilage of being pregnant!

Monday, August 8, 2011

In pursuit of perfection, through the daily grace of Christ!

 “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father, who is in heaven is perfect.” -3 Nephi 12:38, the Book of Mormon
                This verse has often perplexed me. It is a command we cannot ignore; it comes straight from Our Savior’s mouth as He is teaching the Nephites in America after His resurrection. We know through revelation that the word “perfect” in this sense means “complete, finished, and fully developed.” (See footnote Matt. 5:48).  When I read that I think, “Oh, this is Christ’s command to us to make it back to Him. It doesn’t have to happen now.”
                So then I tend to put aside that commandment and think that it is something that will happen through time and eventually at judgment day I will know if I followed this command well enough.
                It’s like the bicycle story. The little girl in the story works as hard as she can to earn money for the perfect bike. Yet, being young she can only scrounge up a few measly dollars, which pale in comparison to the huge price of the bike. Her father then steps in, takes her dollars, and pays the rest of the price for her, at the end (see Believing Christ).
                For a long time this is how I viewed grace. We work our tails off trying to become perfect and be the best we can, coming up short all throughout life. Then finally, when it comes down to being judged, Christ’s grace will come through and justify us. It will raise us up from where we are and if we’ve done our best to save a few measly dollars, so to speak, His grace will take the rest of the price and we will be saved.
                I believe this is a true concept of grace, to a point. However, something is missing here. It makes His grace seem like something that won’t come until down the road. It makes the command to be perfect seem the same way.  It all seems like such a far away concept and until we reach salvation we are here trying our best, trudging through life the best we can.
                I think I started to think of perfection differently when a friend of mine brought it up. He mentioned to me that he thought we could be perfect every day of our lives. Why would God give us a commandment we couldn’t complete? (1 Nephi 3:7). At the time, I blew him off thinking he was thinking too deeply. Being perfect everyday was an impossible venture in my head at that time.
                However, the deeper I study the doctrine of grace, I realize my friend was on to something. Grace, according to the bible dictionary is “enabling power.” This not only means enabling power in the sense that at the end of our lives, it will enable us to be saved. It is enabling power that is meant for you and me every single day of our lives! It is enabling power to be perfected, not on our own, but through Christ, not just at the end of this life but every single day of our lives! This does not mean that we have to stress out about being perfect. In fact, it means that we CAN be perfect and we DON’T have to stress because His grace is sufficient! What a beautiful doctrine! It makes the Atonement so much more meaningful to me to know that His grace is available to me to help me in EVERYTHING, from helping my tired body wake up in the morning to giving me the desire to read my scriptures daily, to giving me the energy I need to serve in the capacities I need to serve.  His grace is available to me to help me raise the child that soon will be born to us, to strengthen my body in the time of labor, in every single aspect of my life.
                This is so empowering to me. For someone like me, who wants so desperately to be perfect and do the right things, to realize that I can be everything he wants be to be even now. Granted, the standard he holds for me will be different today than from tomorrow, than from ten years down the road. However, I am not alone. Each and every day he can enable me to live the life he knows I am made for.
                This should not be something that is stressful. I know some might think “wait, what? I have to be perfect every day?” And yes that is a stressful thought if you are thinking you have to do it alone. But you don’t. His grace is for you every day to help enable you in every aspect of your life to make it. To be completed each day.   
                The doctrine of Grace is the doctrine of hope. We don’t have to struggle through life only to come up short every single day until the end, when finally the grace takes over. When you feel overwhelmed by the challenges that daily life brings to your door, you can remember that His graces is sufficient. His grace is enough. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Phil 4:13). You can feel completed and whole every day as you access His powerful grace.
                This thought has helped me as I am in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Alone, I am tired, weak, moody, and afraid of what labor may bring. But with the grace of Christ I can find peace because I know He can give me the energy I need in the morning to get up, exercise and read my scriptures. His grace can enable my body to be strong and handle whatever this pregnancy and labor may bring. His grace can help me be the mother He wants me to be for this child. And it doesn’t come at the end of my life after I’ve tried so hard. It comes every single day in every aspect of my life.
His grace is sufficient.  For me. For you. For all of us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This is my I who I want to be?

This recording inspires me...along with all of her other amazing thoughts...

I love this!

I want to be focused on Christ. I want so much to put aside my selfishness and self concern and my pride, and make my Savior the center of my life. I want to give Him my life. I want to surrender.

But how? Where do I start? I get so weighed down by the cares of the world or the tasks of the day. There are always dishes to wash.  I'm addicted to facebook. I get distracted by everything. I get to the end of the day and feel like...I've accomplished next to nothing even though I have been so busy.

I want desperately to be a woman of Christ. I don't want to live in this complacency I've fallen into. I want to change my life. I want to commit. I want to be brave and bold and speak out for Christ, rather than step back in timidness because I know the world will mock me or the devil will fight me for standing up for truth and speaking out against what is wrong. I want to fight for a cause...there are so many things I am concerned about in the world that I want to reach out and help in one way or another. BUT WHAT DO I END UP DOING EVERY DAY? Work, dinner, facebook, errands, TV, bed. I don't want to live this passionless life anymore. I know I was born for more than this. We all are.

I have this deep feelings, this intense desire to "arouse my faculties and awaken my soul," I want to shake of this apathy I've fallen into ...but I don't know where to start. I want to surrender. I want life abandonment to the Lord and His children. But where do I start?

I guess it is with the simple things.

Praying. I mean, I pray all the time, but rarely do I really pray, rarely do I really talk to God, and sincerely listen. I need to make truly praying and pouring out my soul and listening to God a bigger part of my life. Then will I know His will for me, what path I should take, what causes I should fight for and how, and how I can put aside my constant selfishness and pride.

Scriptures. Once again, I read daily. At least a verse. But I think I need my scriptures time to be more fulfilling. I need to ponder, meditate, study. Rather than just read. I need to be awake when I am doing it and I need to give myself time to think and open my heart to what God would have me do.

Eliminate and multitask. This is not a primary answer but in thinking about what I need to do I am realizing what I need to stop doing. TV is basically a huge waste of time. There is so many greater things in the world, so many more important causes to fight can I waste my life sitting on a couch? Facebook is a waste of time too...a good way to communicate but when five minutes turns into an hour... a waste.
Some things I can't eliminate. Cooking, cleaning, going to work...those are kind of essential. However, in stead of just going to work, I can go to work with the attitude of  "who would God have me serve today?". This way I am doing more to center myself on Christ while carrying out the task I need to carry out daily.

I'll start there. I know there are a million more things I need to work on, but I will take baby steps. I will pray. I will study and ponder. I will eliminate and multitask.

And I will draw upon the Grace of Christ, which I need more than anything.

And I will grow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Own Nothingness

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I sat on my rump in the parking lot. I glared at ice through my tears as if it was its fault I slipped on the it, shattered my CD, bruised my tailbone, and was made late for work.
            I don’t normally cry like that when I fall on the ice. I mean, I’ve done it enough times; I’m not really embarrassed anymore. Usually I just laugh at myself. But on this particular day, I think the reason I was so disheartened was because I felt that in my life currently I’ve slipped and fell right on my rump, emotionally speaking that is.
            Falling on the ice can be a humbling experience. But falling emotionally is even more so. It always comes during the times I think I’m doing pretty dang good and then BAM, I’m on my rear end.
            I’m in one of those “BAM” times right now. But I’m learning a lot from it. No, it doesn’t feel good to be humbled, but some how it just wouldn’t be as effective I don’t think if it was fun.
            I love being married. It really is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I honestly had no idea that it would be as amazing as it is. I also honestly had no idea how revealing it would be. And I’m not talking about revealing of who my husband really is. I’m talking about how revealing marriage has been for me, about me. Make sense?
            Before I was married I always thought I was a catch. I mean, I didn’t consciously walk around thinking “Oh my gosh, I am AMAZING!” But looking back I realize I did think quiet a bit of myself in the back of my mind. I felt like I was very loving, unselfish, humble (ironically), easy going, never angry, and not like other super emotional easily offended girls. Writing this now makes me a little bit ashamed at my pride; I didn’t really realize I thought so much of myself but I did.
            Now that I’m married I have come to the rude awakening that I am exactly the girl I never wanted to be. Exactly the girl I thought I was much better than. I get angry, offended, prideful, emotional, and all the like. When I first started to realize that I started to panic. WHO AM I REALLY? WHAT’S GOING ON? I’d ask myself. It’s like hearing all about a movie and really building it up in your head and then when you see it, your like “Shoot that was no good.” I did that to myself. Because of the perfect creation I had in my mind, when I came face to face with myself, I was horrified. Then this quote I found as I was pondering al this gave me some comfort:
            "The pressures of life in a family will mean that we shall be known as we are, that our frailties will be exposed and, hopefully, we shall then work on them. … It is an encounter with raw selfishness, with the need for civility and taking turns, of being hurt and yet forgiving, of being at the mercy of others’ moods and yet understanding, in part, why we sometimes inflict pain on each other. … The home gives us a great chance to align our public and private behavior, to reduce the hypocrisy in our lives, to be more congruent with Christ.”
            So I’m not crazy. This is one reason why marriage is so wonderful. It tests me at a deeper level than I’m tested at with friends and roommates. It allows me to see myself for who I really am. And then, once I gather up enough courage to face the woman I see in the mirror, the real me, then I can start to “reduce the hypocrisy” in my life and truly become the woman of Christ I’ve always wanted to become.
            But facing myself is a daunting task. As I do, I come to realize “my own nothingness” as King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon states. I come to realize this amazing girl I thought I was is really nothing but dust. But wait, that seems so…depressing. Am I really nothing? Is this really what God wants me to think? Yes, and no, I come to find out. Yes, we are to always remember we are nothing. We are weak. Yet, I don’t think that is all King Benjamin wanted us to get out of his sermon. The reason I have to remember I am nothing, is so that I can humbly, unreservedly, lean on my Savior. I am not capable of being anything on my own. I need Him. This is what humility is. Not only thinking we are nothing, but remembering we are so that we can continually rely on our Savior. I am nothing, but He can make me something. He can help my pride melt away, temperance enter into my heart, understanding flow into my mind, and unselfishness overcome. I need Him desperately though to be this kind of person, this kind of wife and mother. I cannot do it on my own. None of us can.
            And though we are told to work as hard as we can, we cannot ever let ourselves forget that we cannot work our own selves through it. Another quote that touched my heart “I have found the Lord is willing to aid my feeblest effort if I sincerely ask him to do so. He wants an honest effort. Not a perfect one.”
            So when I am faced with that monster of myself in the mirror, rather than getting discouraged and wanting to hide, I can turn my mind and heart to the Prince of Peace. I can beg for His grace. I can pray and beg for Him to melt away the me that I despise. I can ask Him to fashion me into the woman He knows I can be, and only He can turn me into. I do not have to despair.
            One last quote that sums up my experience “When we turn to Christ in humility, exercise faith in him, repent, and seek his spirit, we no longer see ourselves as helpless victims whose only alternatives are to let our feelings out or suffer in silence. We began to see that the Lord is with us and that we can truly improve our lives and our relationships.”
            Now I know I don’t have to sit in despair. I can stand up on my own two feet, and with the help of the Lord, be the woman I’ve always wanted to be.

May we all turn to Christ and let Him fashion us into who He wants.

All quotes from a talk called “No room for Pride” on LDS.ORG

Monday, January 31, 2011

Less is More

Another lesson from my kindergartners...

For awhile I was obsessive compulsive about the pencils in our classroom. Every day at the end of the day I would sharpen them and make sure everyone had a nice eraser. I figured if I did this the kids would have less to complain about. Boy was I wrong.

First it was the erasers. Everyone wanted a specific color. "I WANT PINK!!" "BUT I WANT PINK TOO!" I heard all day...about all different colors. If it wasn't the colors, then it was fighting over the sharpest pencils. Finally, after a few weeks of this drama, I gave up on the pencils and stopped sharping and putting on nice erasers.

A surprising thing happened. My kids stopped fighting. They just accepted the awful pencils I left them. If they needed to erase, they would ask someone who had a tiny bit of eraser left and they'd willingly let them borrow it. I thought for sure more contention would arise from my lack of diligence with the pencils, but instead, they were calm. They had less to fight about.

This incident made me think of another one that happened with my cousin when he was very young. His family at the time was extremely poor. Christmas rolled around and there was one little package under the tree for little Michael. When he excitedly ripped open the paper, he found what any normal kid (and some adults) would deem disappointing: socks. Yet, Michael was ECSTATIC. He ran around showing everyone excitedly his socks and was nothing but thrilled.

This is why I have come to the conclusion that less, is really more. The more we have, the more we can find to complain about. My cell phone is giving me problems. My new house doesn't have nice enough carpet. My job is boring. However, it seems like those who have less have learned to be happy with what they have, because they are so excited to have something!

I know I'm guilty of complaining about my blessings. We probably all have our moments. But in those times we start to wish we had more, or better, think of those who have none, and remember, less is more.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Year of LOVE 2011

I love setting new years resolutions but this is the first year I have decided to set a theme for the year. I got the idea from a book called "The Happiness Project" where the author dedicates a year to improving her already happy life. I like the idea, and set decided to set up my own project, but instead of focusing on happiness I want to focus on love. Making it public what I want to do and writing it all down will help me stick to it better, hopefully, than I have stuck to past resolutions.
First, I broke the months up in to focus points:

January: Back to Basics
If I am going to be more loving and serving, then I need to get back to the basics of my life so that I will be a "sharper instrument" in the had of God in loving others. I need to exercise daily, study my scriptures daily, attend the temple often and say my prayers. In doing these things I will be more at peace with myself and therefore better able to love and serve others.

February: Attitude of Gratitude
Gratitude seems to be the source of all other virtues. As my gratitude increases towards God and others, my heart will be filled with more love.

March: Marriage
I am very happily married but I know I can be a better spouse. Besides God of course, my husband is my first priority and therefore I want to focus on showing more love to him and being a better wife.

April: True Charity: Words
"The Tongue of Angels", an excellent talk by Elder Holland, was my inspiration for this month's focus. I want to watch my words an be sure that every word that leaves my mouth has no taint of evil or jealousy, only love. True love.

May: True Charity: Thoughts
Once I get my words in order I want to work on my thoughts. I love the quote by Elder Ashton that says "True Charity is giving the benefit of the doubt." I want to work on not even thinking negatively about others and striving my best not to misjudge them one bit. I don't want to even let myself think envious, bitter, or degrading thoughts towards anyone.

June: True Charity: Actions towards family
Close, extended, and my ancestors! I want to build better relationships with my brothers and sisters and extended family. I want to start working on family history work and better getting to know my ancestors. I also want to prepare to have a little one (since by this point, one will be in the next month or two. ;)

July: True Charity: Actions towards friends
I want to be a better friend! I want to reach out more and put aside my insecurities. I want to serve an show love. I want to reach out to people I don't know and help them feel loved as well. I want everyone in my "circle of influence" to feel loved.

August: True Charity: WORLD
I want to start a project or be a part of something that gives service to the world.

September: Love of the Word
I want to dive in deep to God's word. "A love affair with the scriptures" as stated by one of my friends is what I want to have.

October: Missionary Work
"True love is missionary work in action!"

November: Love for His Leaders
I want to study the words of  God's apostles and prophets, come to know them and love them.

December: Love for Christ
Charity is the pure Love of Christ, love for Him, from Him, and like Him. I want to give myself as a gift to the Lord, focus on him, and strive to do His will with love like His and love for him.

I also came up with seven maxims to help me with the things I know I'll struggle with....

Chellie's Seven Maxims
1. I need His grace
2. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me
3. Love is the motive
4. Baby steps, baby steps
5. Consistency is the key
6. Discouragement is not of God
7. ENJOY to the End

So here begins my year of love!!