Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Slow Motion

I have been working all day. It has not been a lazy day. I did sleep late but once I got up I started cleaning and doing my "Mom" chores. Usually when I spend this much time cleaning and working, especially considering I do not have a baby to tend or toddler making messes as I clean, I can get LOTS done.

Today I did the following: about 5 loads of laundry washed and dried, 7 folded (I am making the other people in the house put the laundry away), clean and organize the nursery and all baby Noble clothes (I have already done this chore twice, but there were a few more things to put in order), cleaned our small laundry room.

Okay that may seem like alot as I write it down but when you consider that the machine does most of the laundry and I had already organized the nursery so this was just finishing the task, it really didn't feel like much. I did not get the dishes done or the kitchen cleaned like I wanted. I didn't get much of anything done downstairs other than pay a bill or two and make food.

I feel like I am moving in slow motion. Let me revise that -- I am moving in slow motion. I waddle around the house picking up here and there. Things on the ground seem impossible to reach. Small tasks, like going up the stairs, or running to grab the ringing phone are daunting. The scary part is that I have 5 weeks left and it is only going to get worse. 

I remember feeling this way with Camille. It got to the point where I just could hardly do anything. I just hurt too bad. Then came the labor. The epidural only worked on half my belly. I had to wait 20 minutes fully dilated for the doctor to show up so I could push. It felt like the pain could never go away. When I finally delivered Camille the contraction pain was immediately gone. I was amazed. It was just so intense one moment and completely gone the next. The next night as we left the hospital with our precious little girl, I told Jon I felt like going dancing. I hadn't felt that good in months.

Maybe that is kinda how life is sometimes. We move in slow motion through the painful parts forgetting how it felt to be able to move free and unhindered. Some pains let up or heal in this life. Others never do. We all finish the "labor" of our life at some point. But in the end we are delivered. We are delivered to the arms of that Father which gave us life. And I have to imagine that all the pain of life is immediately swept away in that embrace.

The thing is, knowing that this pregnancy pain is temporary, I am basking in it. I know the more acutely I feel it, the more "delivered" I will feel when I have Noble in my arms. I don't enjoy the pain, but I do not resent it either. It is simply a part of this beautiful birthing process. 

And the emotional pains of our trials are likewise a part of this beautiful living process where we gain experiences that tie us to our Savior and help us find our way to Home and Deliverance.  

Monday, March 30, 2009

Childlike Submission

I had an interesting teaching moment with my children the other day and thought I would record it on my wife's blog. I felt I needed to explain to them something essential to understanding the nature of life and God and an opportunity presented itself. I wasn't exactly sure how they would take it and how much they would truly understand. 

For background, a few months ago we found out that a family in our ward/congregation was pregnant with a baby boy. That baby, it was found, had medical problems in utero and there was at least some risk to his chances of survival after birth. We told our girls to pray for the baby and they prayed for him faithfully in our family prayers. We fasted for their family, hoped for a miracle and continued to pray for the family over a month or two. It was beautiful to hear the innocent faith of our girls as they prayed for the Gubler baby (and even funny to hear Lauren to pray for the "goog-a-ler baby." Last week, we found out that the mom gave birth to a baby boy (Dax Gubler), who lived for 12 hours and then passed away. Our hearts ached for them and we remembered our pains suffered in the confines of a sterile hospital. 

Now to the conversation: we gathered around and Stephanie and I explained to the girls what happened to the Gubler's baby. I then explained that sometimes we pray with faith and ask for something but God does not give it to us. Sometimes He has a different plan. Sometimes we ask for a miracle but He has a different plan. I asked the girls, "should we be angry?" "No," came the response. "Do we stop believing in Him?" "No."

Stephanie talked about the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane saying, "if it is possible, let this cup pass from me." In other words, Jesus wanted to know if there was some way for Him NOT to suffer. Yet He said, "nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." He ultimately said, even though this is what I want I will bend what I want to what YOU want. 

We talked about how we prayed for Camille and yet God had a different plan. We prayed for this baby, but God had a different plan. Some times, God has something special in mind that is different from our desires. My girls, somewhat surprisingly, were very understanding. They had no qualms or questions. They understood that God knows best.

Afterwards, I thought about how many adults are spiritually wounded by not having their prayers answered. How a loving God can let something so terrible happen. It is true that terrible things happen to good people--even people that are praying with true faith for deliverance from that terrible situation. And yet, that prayer goes seemingly unanswered. Sometimes terrible things happen because people with their agency to act, perform terrible acts on others. 99.9% of the time, God will not intervene and stop that agency. We retain our power to choose. Other times, such as in the cases of health, God has the power to heal. I have seen that healing power. However, when it happened it was God's will. Sometimes the pain we experience from unanswered prayers generates an unexpected strength to conquer greater tasks ahead. 

I think a child understands the concept of submission to "God's will" more readily than an adult because they are so much more subject to the whims/desires of others, such as their parents. I remembered a scripture in the Book of Mormon that states, "For the natural man is an enemy to God...and will be...unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit...and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflect upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19)

As I sat reflecting on the conversation with my girls after the fact, I thought maybe this lesson is more often for us adults than for the humble children.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Gift of Life

As part of our Easter celebration, we have been opening eggs filled with suggested activities as a sort of advent calendar. Today one of our eggs asked each person to share three blessings in their life.  Another egg we opened had us all go find a sign of spring and share our observations.

We did those activities this afternoon. This evening, after hearing another story of a woman who just lost a pregnancy and a 3 year old to drowning this week, I am feeling keenly aware of how fragile and precious life is. Whether it is the baby bird in the nest, the hanging chrysalis of a forming butterfly, the embryo in the womb, the newborn babe, or any child or person. Each life is so precious and so fragile. Each life, each breath, each moment is a gift.

At any given moment our lives can change. We simply must make the most of this moment now and fill it with all the love we can. That is what I am going to go do now. I am off to spend time reading to my children, making cookies for new neighbors, and spreading and multiplying my love as far and and much as I can.

Today I have only today. Tomorrow is only a hope. Yesterday is but a dream. I must live today to realize the hope that tomorrow's yesterday will be a pleasant dream.

Friday, March 27, 2009

10 Years Ago Today ...

I went from being engaged...

and from being Stephanie Harris
under the care of my mother ...
and father...
to being married to Jonathan Waite. 
I became Stephanie Waite.
How grateful I am for the love and care this wonderful man has given to me over the last 10 years. Over the years my love for him has grown and deepened. The last year has taken this growth and deepening to an entirely new dimension. I don't know how I could have or still would make it through this without his love and understanding.
And for all the sorrow we have seen together, 
I am so glad that, even 10 years later, 
he still makes me feel like this ...
Happy 10 year Anniversary Love!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fresh Loss

I just got an email from a friend informing us that they delivered their 3rd son yesterday and he passed away this morning. Their email briefly described their 12 hours with their son. For me, it was like being transported back in time. I could feel with freshness the emotions of holding your child as he or she passes from this life to the next. 

Tonight I cry for them tears of understanding and sorrow. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Don't You Love It When A Plan Comes Together?

For the last 3 weeks our family has been on track break. In an effort to keep our time somewhat organized, we used our first Family Home Evening night of track break updating a new chore chart. This chore chart is nice because it is laminated and I can peel off the stickers and wipe of the marker and revise it as necessary.
I gave each girl a specific chore to do in our living area. Annie got the family room. Sabrina got the breakfast area. Lauren empties the dishwasher. We also had a family chore that I chose each day. Those were chores like sorting the clothes or pruning the yard.

One other chore I started was the "Pick-a- Chore." This idea came from a friend of mine Erin Cranor. She has 4 kids all spaced the same as mine but her youngest is the age of my oldest. She has been a good "example mom" to me in many ways. 

She told me that she had her kids do a chore everyday that they just saw needed to be done and they did it. She didn't tell them which chore to do. They had to find a chore on their own that they could see needed to be done and then they just did it. She told me she was using this as a way to teach her children that in life you shouldn't have to wait to be told to do things. If you see a need and you can fill it you should. 

I loved this concept. So I explained it to my kids and added it to the chore chart that night for FHE. The next morning I was reading the scriptures to my kids as they were working on their chores. We are currently reading a Church History for Families book that pulls out quotes from the Doctrine and Covenants (a book of revelations given to Joseph Smith from the Lord) and incorporates them with information on the events surrounding the revelation. 

Sabrina was trying to pick her "pick a chore" and kept choosing things that really didn't need cleaning. She just wasn't understanding the concept. Then in my reading I came to the following verses: D&C 58: 26-28 "For behold it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.  Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward."

I read that to the kids and we stopped and discussed. I just LOVE those moments in motherhood when you know the Lord is helping you teach your children. It is like the whole plan comes together so nicely. Here we had just had that discussion and Sabrina was just struggling with the concept and I was able to say "hey, this is what we are trying to learn by doing the pick a chore. Heavenly Father wants us to do good things without having to be told to do them. If we do this we will be rewarded. If we have to be told everything we should do we will not be rewarded."

These moments don't happen often but they are the highlight of my mothering career when they do. Thank you to Him who watches over us all. I just LOVE it when His plans come together - especially when I get to play any small part in them.

Monday, March 23, 2009

9 Months

9 Months. It is the gestation period of a human life. It is an eternity of time to a pregnant woman. To a grieving mother it is like the passing of a few days at one moment and a lifetime of experience and sorrow the next. 

Last week I passed the 9 month mark since losing Camille. I have been slow in posting this record of how I am doing. I was sick when we passed the mark. I was sick with the same head cold when Camille passed. It was the first time I had been sick since Camille's accident and it took me back to dark places in my memories. 

In so many ways I do feel stronger now. Stronger than before Camille's accident. I am more confident in my ability to shoulder this heavy trial. I have stronger empathy and understanding for others and their weaknesses and sorrows. I am stronger in my faith. I have an increased appreciation for and personal understanding of the healing side of the atonement. There is more love in my home. I am more patient as a mother. I appreciate my children more. I treasure them even more - I didn't think that was possible. In many ways I am a better mother to them. I have hope again and my hope is greater than it ever has been.

Yet, there are ways I feel so much weaker now than before, or even just after Camille's passing. I am more anxious as a mother. I hate this. It is a trait I have purposely avoided since the birth of my first child. I fight it now. But even when I can control my outward reactions, my anxiety jumps into high gear at the first suggestion of potential harm to my children or other children.

I am less open and far less friendly. I feel like I have a huge wall built around myself. Grief leaves you so vulnerable. At first everyone expects you to be raw and broken. It would seem unnatural for you not to be. So it is easy to show this rawness to the world and announce your pain to the world. You are shocked if perfect strangers cannot see it just by looking at you.

As time passes, you must find ways to function. You grow stronger and some of the wounds begin healing- at least on a surface level. It is as if time adds layers of new skin. But time does not heal that core wound. I am not sure any amount of time heals that. It just becomes less visible, less exposed. 

Still some comments or questions or situations still penetrate through to the core and reinjure the wound. And that core is just as raw as it ever was. And this core still needs treatment despite the layers of skin. In waves it bursts to the surface demanding to be recognized. Pressure from the wound builds up and must be periodically released. Waves of grief. They come less frequently but they still come.

Now people expect you to be better. They expect that your faith will make the pain easier. It doesn't. The pain builds the faith as you feel supported by the Savior. But the pain is not made less. The burdens are not lessened. It is the individual that is strengthened and made strong enough to bare the burdens through faith.

So it becomes less comfortable to share the pain of the wound. The waves of grief -- those times when the wounds pressure must be released -- are suffered more silently. Only in the company of other wounded souls is there safety to expose the rawness and let the wound breathe through the wave.

And with very few experiences to reinjure the wound, a wall seems to build. The pain of reinjury is just to great. A natural defense must go up. And mine has. I don't like it. But I am less open and less extending and friendly - especially with people who didn't know me before. I am working to gain the strength to overcome this. It makes me quiet at times when I should speak - because in speaking I would expose the wound. Sometimes I just feel that I am too vulnerable to expose that to people who don't understand the nature of this wound and how deeply it runs. 

To give a quantitative analysis of how I am to the record: I feel good and strong and whole most days. Maybe all but about 2 or 3 a month. I only cry on those 2 or 3 days. I do have teary moments if something triggers the grief. Like yesterday when my mother in law shared a story of her mother's passing and she and her siblings wondering who would be the first to have met her in heaven. 

Would it be her mother and father? Then their dad said no, it would be their son who had passed away. I mean - come on - things like that are impossible for me not to feel to the point of tears. But those feelings in the moment pass in a few minutes and I am able to gather myself.

I only have the heavy crying on my closet floor moments a couple times every month or so. Some months I don't have any at all. When they come, they last a few days, maybe 3 to 5, and then gradually I get my strength back. 

I do still think of Camille's accident and the events surrounding it everyday. This is very difficult. Most times I let the thought pass and get busy doing something else. On those hard days that come every once in a while, I have a hard time pulling myself out of these thoughts. I think I will always think of Camille, but I look forward to a day when I don't think of her accident - a day I don't see the image of her in the spa in my head.

I still have periodic nightmares relating to the accident or other children drowning. I still have a really hard time laying in bed awake waiting for sleep to come and ease my spinning mind. It is hard to find the strength to direct my thoughts at night. Often I watch TV or read till I am so tired I know I will fall asleep quickly once I lay down. 

So I am doing much better in most ways. I am pleased with my progress through this thorny path of grief. There are ways I want to improve but I am not hard on myself about them. Some times I just tell the voice inside telling me to open up, "I will. But just not yet." And the voice inside understands. It keeps prodding but it understands.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I am in LOVE!

If you have been reading my blog since Camille's passing, you know that I love the show So You Think You Can Dance. I just really love dance even though I am not so talented in that area. Well last night my sisters and I went to the show LOVE at the Mirage Hotel here in Las Vegas. It is a Cirque du Soleil show set to Beatles music.

I have been to several other Cirque du Soleil shows here in Vegas. I have seen the original Cirque way back when I was in high school. I have seen Mystere, O, and La Rev too. They each had their own feel and theme. LOVE is far more "dance" heavy than any of the other Cirque shows I have seen. It still has acrobatics but they are not the focus of the show. 

I absolutely LOVED this show LOVE. It was beautiful. The dancing was exquisite. The show featured so many different styles of dance (much like my favorite TV show does). There was stomping, contemporary, hip hop, some Polynesian-like dancing and many other styles woven together.  There were also very cool stunts done by in line skaters, acrobats who bounced around the stage off trampolines and teeter totters - amazing things to watch.

All the while the show took the audience on a journey through the recording decades of the Beetles and so many of the songs they gave us. The music was amazing. I am not even a big Beetles fan but the music -- well who doesn't Love a good Beetles song?

For me the highlight of the show was the dance that accompanied the song "Something in the Way She Moves." It had one male dancer in the middle of the stage and four ladies in white coming down from the ceiling on ropes who alternated coming down and interacting with the man in his dance. He would see one doing her graceful acrobatic dance on the rope and leap over to her only to have her pulled back up just out of his read to the ceiling. Then he would dance to another and then another. He was AMAZING. I loved the music. I loved the movements. I loved the story it portrayed. I just LOVED the whole thing. It was worth every penny.

So if you are headed to Vegas anytime soon and you love dance, LOVE at the Mirage should definitely be on your itinerary if you have any room in your budget. It is a great way to sit and digest a bit of Bouchon. :) 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Easter Decisions

Thank you so much for all the great Easter ideas. I think I have come up with what we will do. I have to write it down anyway so I can remember each year so I thought I would share.

First, I must explain that I want our family's celebration to be focused on the fact that Christ is LIVING, and that because of Him everyone who dies will live again. 

So first we are reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I love how this book portrays the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his return to life and bringing life to all those previously lost. We will likely watch the movie of it too with the kids that are old enough.

Second I have taken a twist on an advent calendar and a Lent calendar sent to me by a friend. I filled the 40 Easter eggs above with various things. 12 are filled like the Resurrection eggs so many of you suggested. They are numbered 1-12 so we can open one each day the 12 days before Easter. 

Seven are filled with things we can do to remember that Camille will get her body back and we will all be able to live again in the flesh with her. These are things like going to her graveside, drawing pictures of what we think the day of her Resurrection will be like, sharing favorite memories of her etc... These are marked with the letters C A M I L L E so we can do them the week between Easter and her birthday. 

The rest of the eggs have suggestions for simple activities for every day leading up to Easter to help us understand Easter and enjoy it. These are things like planting a seed and watching it grow or going without something for a day to better understand sacrifice. Also in there are notes telling us to go buy a bunch of Roses, Lilies, Gerber Daisies and Tulips and share our favorite things about the corresponding girl that day. (Not sure how I am going to translate this tradition of ours to a boy. I think I won't know till I meet the little guy. I didn't plan the flower thing in advance. It is just how I felt about each girl. Have to wait and see what inspires me and reminds me of a son.)

Also we are going to get caterpillars and watch them turn into butterflies. We will still dye eggs and have an egg hunt and I think our Easter baskets will be more special than before - with more meaningful gifts if not more expensive. And we will eat a meal with Lamb for Easter dinner as is tradition in my family.

I think overall the kids will love what I have come up with so far and I hope to add to it as the years pass. I am so grateful for the Savior's sacrifice and the promised gift of the Resurrection. It is a true reason to celebrate knowing that He has overcome death and through Him we will live again. This is the source of hope in my life - He is the source of my hope. I look forward to all we will do to celebrate this hope He offers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Girl's Night

This month I have had 2 "girls weekends" planned. My second one is starts tomorrow with the arrival of my two California sister in laws. My mom, sister, three sister in laws and I are going to spend a weekend here in Vegas together with no husbands or kids. I am sure it will be so fun. It always is with this group. It doesn't even matter what we are doing. I just love all of them and it is fun to be together.

Planning these girls weekends got me thinking about my own little girls. So I decided to do our own "girl's nights" in between my "girls weekends." So, for the last three nights I have had a "girl's night" with each of my girls individually. 

Monday night Lauren wanted to have a bubble bath in Mom's tub. This was followed by coloring together, eating ice cream together, going out to look at the stars together and then reading together. Jonathan slept in another room so Lauren could sleep in Mom's bed with Mom and watch the city lights out of our bedroom window as we fell asleep. She insisted on sleeping on "Mom's" side of the bed. So I went to Jon's side only to have her move 3/4 of the way across our king size mattress to lay right next to me. :)

Sabrina's night was next. She planned out our night with a list. After the others were in bed, she wanted to watch a show with me, eat ice cream, color, and read more of her book. She is reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Luckily for me she was at my favorite part where Aslan delivers himself to the witch in place of Edmund. We talked about the symbolism and she figured it out without any help. I love that book. After a couple of chapters of reading, we too fell asleep looking at the city lights.

Ann Marie's date was last night. It was much the same as the others. The night started with watching a show, then coloring, star gazing, researching constellations on the internet. Then she "tested" me on my knowledge of Primary songs. She told me a song to sing. I had to sing it and if I messed up a word I had to start over. I had to learn about 6 songs perfectly. Lastly we went upstairs to go to bed. Jon's back demanded our bed back. So Annie and I went to sleep in the nursery where there is a queen size bed. 

Together, we went through some of the Camille only things and filled the cedar chest with all her things. We organized some of the other bins of baby clothes and blankets. We shared our favorite memories of Camille and then went to sleep.

Before crawling in bed we said our prayers. Unlike normal, I said my personal prayer aloud and focused my prayer on that child, how grateful I am for her, what I hope for her, and how much she is loved.

I know once our baby Noble comes out, these "alone" times will be sparse and I want each of my girls to know how individually loved they are. I enjoyed our "girl's nights" and hope to do many more in the coming years.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Done Sorting

Yesterday I went to my mom's to sort through the baby stuff. My dad had brought it out of the garage to the house for me to sort. After an hour or so with my Mom and sister in law Rachel helping, I had gone through all the boxes. It wasn't as emotionally difficult as I had anticipated. It was a little harder than doing Lauren's clothes but it helped so much to have Rachel and my mom by my side to keep me moving.

At the end of it I was sad to see that everything that was "Camille's only" fit easily into one small box. I had so many baby girl clothes. I sent 9 big bags to charity and still had about 3 really big storage bins of special baby clothes to put into quilts. Before we left, I went out to the garage to see what else there was to bring home. 

There I found more boxes my dad had not seen. I was only half done with the job. So I went back today and finished the sorting. In this load I found all the dresses I bought specifically for Camille. I filled a laundry basket of "Camille only" clothes and felt so much better. In some ways it is nice to have so little that was specifically HERS. All our baby gear is gender neutral and has been through all the kids so it won't be hard to watch another kid use it.

On the other hand, I am glad I do have a few things that were only hers. These things I can put in a hope chest and take out on the days I need to feel close to her. I can see how small she was and remember the day I bought the outfit with her in mind and the days she wore them. They become little pieces of her. It is so good to have a nice pile of little pieces of her life here with us.

Now I just have to find an organized way and place to store all these boxes. Ah another chore for tomorrow...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How Do You Feel It?

I have a reader with whom I have been communicating via comments on a post from the past. She recently ordered a Book of Mormon and has begun reading it. I hope she grows to love this book as much as I do and that it can give her all the blessings it has given to me. 

Let me quote her last comment: "I have started to read the Book of Mormon. I am really enjoying the sense of comfort and realization that it is beginning to give me. I pray every time before I start to read it, and also when I decide to put the bookmark in and pick up again later. I pray that I will be told and lead to the truth. Nothing has happened yet, but I'm praying and hoping that something will happen soon."

I want to respond to her here in a post because it is easier to type than a comment and I thought others may be interested in hearing or adding to my response by sharing their own testimony of how they felt that led them to believe the Book of Mormon.

So this is to my Anon friend and anyone else reading the Book of Mormon and wanting to know if it is true or be led to truth.

I am so happy you have started reading this wonderful book. For me to hear you are reading it is like when you have a very favorite book or treat or person and someone to whom you have recommended that thing goes to try it out. You are so excited for them to love it like you do. You know?

I am glad you are praying before and after reading it. That will certainly help you in your quest for truth. I wanted to give you some references on what you should be expecting to "happen" as you read and pray. One of my references will come from the Bible. One will come from the Book of Mormon itself. And one will come from my own experience.

First from the Book of Mormon: I will quote from the book of Alma (it is in the middle of the Book) chapter 32 verses 26 to the end of the Chapter. Here a prophet in the Ancient Americas is teaching a group of humble people. This chapter stuck out to me particularly for you because you initially wrote about wanting to find a desire to learn and build on that desire.

This chapter explains through a parable what should happen in your heart when you encounter Truth. 

26 Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.
  27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more thanadesire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
  28 Now, we will compare the word unto a aseed. Now, if ye give place, that a bseed may be planted in your cheart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your dunbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to eenlighten my funderstanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
  29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
  30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
  31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own alikeness.
  32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
  33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
  34 And now, behold, is your aknowledge bperfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your cfaith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your dmind doth begin to expand.
  35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is alight; and whatsoever is light, is bgood, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
  36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
  37 And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.
  38 But if ye aneglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
  39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your aground is bbarren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.
  40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the atree of life.
  41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with apatience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree bspringing up unto everlasting life.
  42 And because of your adiligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the bfruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
  43 Then, my brethren, ye shall areap the brewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth cfruit unto you.

So as you read the Book of Mormon you are planting and nourishing that seed of faith. You should feel it grow and swell feelings of the Spirit in your heart. To better understand what those "feelings" of the Spirit are let us turn to the Bible: In Galatians 5:22 we read "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith." 

It is these feelings that you should have when you encounter Truth. Peace is something that is a tale tale sign of the Spirit. I think when you feel the peace of the Spirit it can be subtle but it is a signature sign of the Spirit and Truth. 

Lastly, I will share my own experience. I have shared this before but it is always worth repeating. For me, I had read the Book of Mormon and loved the stories. But I was waiting for something to "happen" too. I was waiting for some great big revelation. I wasn't sure what but something. I prayed for a year waiting for this.

Then one day I was in a testimony meeting (a meeting where people stand and share their feelings about the Book of Mormon, God, Jesus Christ, Prophets, or a number of other gospel subjects) and people were up sharing their feelings. As I sat there wishing I had something "happen" that would let me KNOW the Truth, I suddenly realized that my heart was burning. I say realized because it wasn't that it started to burn. It was that I became aware that it had been burning for some time and I was just now realizing it. 

By burning I mean it felt warm. Like it was growing and radiating heat and love. I realized that the Lord had been telling me all along. I had felt the peace and known the Truth all along. Something had been "happening" in my heart the whole time but it wasn't until that moment that I realized it.

This realization brought me such incredible joy. I really cannot describe it. I stood and bore my own witness that was being given me right then. I grabbed something to write with and write on and wrote down my feelings telling myself NEVER to deny this truth I now KNEW. I was a aware that God knew I got the message and I would not ever deny it. 

Many different people feel the Spirit and recognize it in slightly different ways. But peace is pretty universal I think. It is an inner peace. I like to liken it to how you feel when you tell someone something that is true. There is no hesitation or feeling of unrest in your soul. Now think of when you tell someone something that is a lie. There is a reason lie detectors work. You body feels it is lying. 

The same feeling of peace or unrest comes to me as I learn things. This is especially true for me when I speak a truth or write it.

I would invite others to share how they felt when they came to a knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true. And to my "Anon" friend I say keep up the good work. I have faith that you will find the Truth you seek. I will keep praying for you in your efforts. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

7 Months

For personal record keeping, I want to note how I am doing with this pregnancy. I just passed the 7 month mark last week. It is likely that 2 months from now I will have a newborn. I am anxious to be there. 

I have definitely hit the 3rd trimester in full force. My joints are loosening. I waddle wherever I go.  I have contractions (the harmless Braxton hicks kind) every evening. I am hard pressed to take a deep breath. My asthma and allergies have kicked in to welcome spring. I am currently enjoying the remnants of my head cold.

I am working to maintain my pelvic alignment to avoid the pain of symphysis pubic dysfuntion (go Google that one.) I had that pretty badly with Camille's pregnancy. I was unable to walk for more than a minute or two the last month with Camille. This pregnancy has been better with it. It has come and gone off and on but at least I know what it is this time and can takes steps to make it better.

So all in all, I am feeling 7 months pregnant with my 5th child. I think that is kind of the equivalent of how I felt a week overdue with my 2nd child. 

Noble is feeling great. He is quiet most of the day and very active when sit still at night. He stretches and rolls around all evening making my belly look like a scene from some alien movie. I can feel his back and give him rubs through the thin layer of skin and tissue that divide him from the rest of us. He is growing bigger each week and I can see his growth as my belly gets tighter.

I have settled into thinking of and calling him Noble even more now that our decision is made. Sabrina is happy about the name. Lauren says she is going to call him Peanut Morgan Noble Waite. It will be fun to see what she actually ends up calling him. I love the little names toddlers make up with their cute little voices. 

Annie says it is fine that we are naming him Morgan Noble but she will be calling him Louis (pronounced the French way "Looey"). I actually have French Canadian ancestors named Louis. My grandmother had a brother by that name and I think her grandfather's name who was French was named that. I am quite sure at least one of them is as pleased as punch and getting a good giggle at my little Ann Marie.

March seems to be moving faster than February did so far. I am happy for that and glad to be busy with work, projects, and events. Hopefully the time will pass quickly and I will soon be savoring those first precious moments of life with my little man.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sorting Clothes

Lauren's second birthday. 
Clothes I had to sort through. 
Camille unhappy wearing one of the dresses I have yet to sort. 
Annie next to Lauren wearing a shirt Lauren is about to outgrow.

One of my "spring cleaning" chores is to sort through all the girls clothes. I started at the easiest job and did Sabrina and Ann Marie in one morning. The girls helped. Their sorting is pretty easy. The hardest part of it is trying to decide if it is really time to pass some of Annie's shirts on to Lauren. Honestly they almost wear the same size in shirts. 

So Annie has shirts that are size 4/5 that still fit and she loves. Some of these were purchased specifically for her in the last year for school clothes. And most of the 6/7 shirts are just too big for her yet.

The problem is that Lauren's size 3 shirts are all too small. So Annie has LOTS of shirts ranging in size from 4-6 and Lauren only has a few size 4 shirts. Anyway, that has been the hard part of sorting the older girls clothes. Today I tackled a MUCH more challenging feat - LAUREN'S CLOTHING.

This is a chore I have been putting off for a long time. She has grown out of almost all her size 3 clothes even though she won't be 4 till July. And she is picky about which clothes she will wear. She hates all jeans and won't wear them. I am hoping that will change in the next year or so because my other girls live in jeans. Most of the size 4 pants are jeans or jean like.

It took a long time and lots of whining from Lauren about trying on clothes and not liking any pants except her too small turtle leggings that she was wearing today, but we eventually made it through her dresser. We filled a trash bag up for charity. 

Then the really hard part hit. I found all the clothes I had hid away that she had already grown out of and I was saving for Camille. I went through all these 18-24 month and 2T clothes that Camille would have been wearing now. I could almost see her in them. 

Deep Breaths. Breathe through the contractions - heart contractions - soul contractions. Take a minute to let my heart feel the pain work through it. Tell myself to keep moving. Put the shirt in the charity pile. Oh this one is too special to give away. Put this one in the box to use as scraps to make quilts out of for the girls. Keep moving. It will be done soon enough. 

And then it was done and I had three large trash bags for charity and one large bin of special clothes that will make scraps for quilts for the girls. Someday I will have to hire someone to do that for me. Someday when they are older and I have enough special clothes for each of them to have a quilt. Clothes they wore in the photos with Camille. Clothes they just LOVED and would have worn everyday in their younger years. And clothes Camille wore. Each should have some scraps from Camille's clothes in their quilt. Someday.

Based on how hard today was, I can tell that Monday's chore of going through all the baby clothes is just going to be brutal. Keep moving. It has to be done and it will be done soon enough. Take the time to feel the pain of the contraction and know you are still alive - still loving - not past feeling. Then keep moving. And somehow it will be get done soon enough. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Resource

I was recently contacted by a young woman named Jami. She is a 29 year old LDS woman who became addicted to prescription drugs. She is dealing with her addiction and attending the LDS church's 12 step program classes to help her rise above the power of her addiction. 

Addiction is an isolating trial. It carries so much shame and denial. Those who suffer with addictions are often quickly judged and defined by their addictions. But this in itself is a tragedy because it is through support that addictions can be overcome and managed. 

Jami sees this and she recently started a blog to provide a place for others suffering from addictions or with loved ones suffering from addictions to go. I have had a few people email me who suffer from addictions or suffer with a loved one who is an addict. I thought this blog would be a good resource for any of us in such circumstances.

So I invite you to visit her blog and in the anonymity of your own home find a friend in Jami. Perhaps she can help others to heal through her blog as she works through her own addiction.

And to Jami -- I applaud your courage in taking this bold step and following the direction your heart has led you. May the Lord bless you in this life long journey.

Here below is Jami's self introduction to her blog:

President Boyd K. Packer said “addiction has the capacity to disconnect the human will and nullify moral agency. It can rob one of the power to decide."  Nobody wants to become an addict.  Nobody wants to lose complete control of their will and their lives.  Unfortunately, it happens.  Addiction is running rampant in the world today, and nobody is exempt from this disease.  I am a 29 year old, LDS woman who became addicted to Pain pills.  I have struggled with this addiction for years, feeling there was no way out, and feeling unworthy of my Heavenly Father’s help.  As I struggle daily with this disease I have sought the support of my loved ones, other addicts, and most importantly, my Heavenly Father.  Because addiction is an isolating disease, addicts feel very alone.  I have started this blog (www.thoughtsofanldsaddict.blogspot.com) to help those who struggle with addiction.  If we all look at ourselves and our lives, I believe we are all affected in one way or another by addiction.  Whether we struggle ourselves, or we see a loved one struggling, we are all affected.  This blog is an open book.  It is a place for people to ask questions, give advice, and feel the support of others.  It is to help both addicts and their loved ones.  It is to share experience, strength and hope, as this disease can be thwarted.  We can recover, only with the Lord’s help, one day at a time.  Please feel free to come to the site, leave comments, ask questions, or just learn.  We are not in this alone!  Thank you for your support!  Jami

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Easter Ideas Please

Camille with her Easter basket last year.

Hi everyone!

So April is a big month for me as it is Camille's birthday month and it is Easter. I was thinking about this the other day. I really really want to CELEBRATE Easter in our family. I mean, I want it to be as exciting and celebratory as Christmas.  This is the celebration that Christ overcame death. That is especially worth celebrating in our family. This is the day we celebrate that Camille will live again.

Sure it is true that we must suffer the sorrow of separation and the basket of grief feelings that go with losing a child for now. But there is hope. Christ has given us hope in the promise of the gift of resurrection. I want to celebrate this gift which is to me now more precious than ever before.

I want to make it fun and joyous for little kids. I want them to anticipate Easter and the month of April as a month of celebration. I want them to feel the happiness and joy of this great gift the Savior has given us in the resurrection. 

I do not, however, want to commercialize Easter like has been done to Christmas. I am looking for fun way to make Easter more than just a day long and more exciting and fun for kids than eggs, an easter basket, and a good meal. 

Ideas anyone?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Girls Weekend Photos

Girls Weekend was such a great break from reality. Even my body cooperated by feeling better than it has of late. My three friends drove into Las Vegas and we spent the majority of the weekend sitting around chatting either over food or just in good company. Here we are in front of the famous Las Vegas sign that my great aunt designed.

Kathryn, Ann, Stephanie, and Karsen

We also treated ourselves to a little foot care. 
I love my bright pink toes!

The highlight had to be our meal at the Bouchon. We went family style. We had 3 entrees an appetizer and a side dish. All of which were delicious. This was our second round of desserts. First we each had a "Waite" less root beer float. Then these desserts came out. There are about 7 different flavors of cotton candy, profiteroles, creme caramel, creme brulee, Bouchon brownies, lemon tart, chocolate mouse, pot de creme, and I think all of our favorite for the night was the warm custard filled beignets. Oh and a package of homemade oreos and breakfast kit of granola, yogurt and fruit and a few other treats for the road. 

Seriously, talk about being totally spoiled. The yogurt was fabulous. I wish they sold it like that in the store. Thanks a million Chris!

It was so wonderful to catch up and swap stories with such great friends. It is amazing how women like us can each have different paths and yet, having a common foundation and being made of the same cloth, we find ourselves on the same page in so many ways even after so many years. This is something we will definitely have to do more often.  Miss you guys already!

Now I am home in my pjs with a nasty head cold that came on last night. I have been very blessed to not have been sick this pregnancy (well except the Fifth's disease scare in the early days). It is miserable to be sick and pregnant because you can't take drugs to help ease the sinus pain and pressure. So I am left to homeopathic remedies. 

Oh well, better now than 2 months from now when I am about to give birth right?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Girls Weekend Number 1

I am so excited. Today 3 of my favorite college friends are making their way here for a "girls getaway." They were kind enough to come to me so I would not have to travel in my highly pregnant state. My travel time will be about 25 minutes to the Venetian hotel on the strip. We have a room for the night, reservations at Bouchon, and plans to stay up talking till the wee hours.

So I am going to be "out on vacation" this weekend. Yipee!

I have yet to hear from Angie, my "winner." The prize will be some freshly baked double chocolate Otis Spunkmeyer cookies. I broke down and called corporate headquarters to find out where I could buy a case of the frozen dough. I haven't been able to find any place in Vegas that sells them. They told me there was a distributor here in Vegas from whom I could purchase a case. 

With the cravings at their peak, I set out immediately for the industrial section of North Las Vegas to find the distribution warehouse of Otis Spunkmeyer. Lauren and I found the warehouse, purchased a case of my FAVORITE cookies and hurried home to bake some up. 

I am anxious to share some of these yummy treats with my winner. I hope to hear from her soon. 

Well I am off to get ready for my "girls getaway!" Have a great weekend everyone! 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Winner Chosen

Since nobody got 2 right and I still wanted to at least have one winner, I decided to pick one of the people who got one answer right. My favorite number is 16. So I chose the 16th person who got at least one answer right in the comments. That was "Angie." Here comment is quoted below. Angie, please email me via my email off my profile page and give me your address and I will send you your prize!


Angie said ...
I am about 100% sure I will not get even 1 of these right...but here goes:

#15: Does anyone REALLY know EXACTLY how many dates they went on before they were married?
#17: Just because the thought of it freaks me out a little:)

I was torn between #36 and #10. For some reason I seem to think I remember you mentioning something about hating to do dishes...but I could be confusing you with someone else, so....

#10 it is: you don't seem the "love to shop" type, but more the "love to find a good deal" type (and those are two TOTALLY different things;)

I'm quite sure I bombed!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lies Revealed

That was so fun for me. I loved seeing which facts about me you found most unbelievable. Now it is time to reveal the lies:

The first lie many of you got: #10 I love to shop. 

I do not love shopping. I do like buying new things, but the shopping to find them -- that I hate. I hate trying on clothes to find something I like. I hate going store to store to find a piece of furniture I think will go in my home. If I could hire a personal shopper, I would.

The second lie one person finally got after my hint update: #18 I never got anything less than a B in law school. 

You all give me too much credit. Actually, I only got one C in Constitutional Law. I went off in my essay to my very liberal professor all about how and why obscenity should not be protected by the First Amendment. I guess he didn't like my arguments very much. :) Oh well. A C worth standing for in my eyes.  (On a separate note, I did get a D in 7th grade History. I had a terrible teacher who made us sit in class and copy his notes off the board all class. Really that was all we did - sit and copy tiny notes off the board for an hour every day. Then he would give us a test. I didn't learn well that way. I got transferred out of his class the next semester.)

The third lie that one got before my hint and another after: #33 I once saw Monica Lewinsky exiting the court after she testified before the grand jury while I was walking home from work.

I did live in DC at this time and did see all the media outside the court everyday while walking to and from work, but I never saw her. (As for the other people ones - I worked for Harry Reid before he he had the big position he now has. I was a press intern for him. He knew my grandfather well. Back in those days it was common to see him in the office when Congress was in session, even for an intern like me. And when I was in law school and my grandfather passed away, I called the office to let him know and the secretary put me straight through to him. I ended up sobbing on the phone to him and he consoled me and told me how wonderful my grandfather was.)

Now for the truths lots of people thought were lies:

#15 - Nannette  (my old college roommate) was right. I did keep track of the dates I went on (the story behind that is too long for this post). I got to 100 and that next weekend Jon called and asked if he could date me. He was already on the list because we had gone on dates before, just not as more than friends. So yes, 100 guys exactly.

#2 - I sang as a street urchin in the Nevada Opera Company's production of La Boheme. I was in sixth grade. For my age I was a good singer.

#11 - I do play the piano. I took lessons for 10 years. I just don't play nearly as well as my hubby so I don't play often anymore. 

#29 - I do crochet. Not professionally, but I have made blankets for a couple of my babies.

#35 - I lived in Spain the summer between Junior and Senior years as a foreign exchange student. There the culture of teens is to hang out in bars on the weekends. So I hung out with my friends in the bars. I just drank lots of water while they drank beer. This may also explain me speaking Spanish.

#36 - I don't love any cleaning chores, but if I had to pick favorites these are it. I like that you can see a real difference and you don't have to constantly run around to do these chores.

#7 - This is for Emily - Spain, Mexico, USA and Italy. Jon and I lived in Italy while I did a semester of law school in Florence right after we got married. I studied abroad in college in Mexico and foreign exchange in Spain as I have mentioned.

Okay gotta run this morning. Enjoy knowing the truths. Since nobody won, I will figure out how to do the prize later and post later.