Saturday, January 29, 2011

Motherhood - Chapter 3 - Buckets

Becoming a mother to many children, I expected to be busy. I expected to have schedules to coordinate and chores to do, lessons to help with and diapers to change. But the more children I have had and the older they have grown I am finding new challenges far more taxing than the "chores" of motherhood. it is these unexpected burdens that make me wonder how women with 9 or 10 children or more do it.

I have always said that everyone has their own bucket in life. This bucket holds all your trials and troubles. I have even said that I wouldn't necessarily want to trade buckets with very many people. I prefer to keep my own, even with the doozy of losing Camille in it. It still seems lighter to me than so many other possible buckets I see other people carrying.

Maybe I would trade individual trials in my bucket for individual trials in another bucket, but that is not the way buckets are weighed. Not that we can trade buckets or trial anyway. But each person's bucket must be taken as a whole. And if one person's bucket seems empty to you, you probably just can't see the big thing in their bucket because they keep it secret. Or if you feel you bucket seems empty ... just wait. No one gets through life with an empty bucket.

What I hadn't really connected before having many children who are growing up right and left is how each child has a bucket and how that affects their mother. I guess, until just recently I hadn't realized that each mother carries a bucket within her bucket for each of her children. And in each child's bucket is all the problems and worries and trials that child has to go through in life that the mother knows about or worries about.

Sometimes the mother's bucket for a child may be more burdensome than the child's own bucket is for him or herself. Because sometimes we as mothers can see dangers our children can't and thus we worry more and their bucket is heavier on us than it is on them. Sometimes, when we can't do anything to help our child and he or she is severely hurting, it is the heaviest kind of burden of all.

Multiply that by the number of children you have ... well I guess I have just been thinking I hope that God makes sure my children's trials are spread out so I can bear the burdens of their buckets plus my own through all the rest of the days of my life.

On the flip side, these buckets also contain all the joys and happiness in ones life. So the mother of many may have more joy and happiness at certain times than others if all her children are well and happy. Her joy is multiplied by the joy of her children.

I imagine having all your family together in the temple for a wedding would be one of those most outpourings of joy most keenly felt by a mother (and I guess father too). I remember my brother Darren's wedding felt exceptionally joy filled.

Darren was the last of my siblings to get married. The other 4 of us got married within 16 months of each other in the years 1999 and 2000. Darren had about 7 years as the only single sibling in our family and got married in Oct. of 2007 at the age of 30. We were thrilled that Darren was getting married. It was kind of like getting a brother back since he had been living such a different life as a single adult than we were all living for those years in between.

He married my wonderful sister in law Nikki. She is one of 11 children and was the last of her siblings to be married as well. She was 29 I think when they married. All of us in our family fell in love with her and were so excited to have her join our family. Plus we knew she would be great for Darren too. :)

In the temple at their wedding, all of her siblings and their spouses were present and all of my siblings and our spouses were present. My parents were there and Nikki's dad was there. Her mother, who passed away years before, brought with her the hosts of heaven to attend. I have been to many weddings, but none felt quite as whole and full as this one did. I can only imagine how it must have felt for my mother and even more so for Nikki's mother, with her heavenly perspective.

So I guess when the buckets feel heavy we must cling to the memories of the joys and the hopes of joys to come. And remember and rely on He who carries all our buckets with us. For His yoke is easy and His burden is light.


Yesterday I read the novel Gifted by Karey White. It was an interesting read. I has had me thinking today. The story line kept me turning the pages as I became more and more familiar with the characters in the book. It told the story of a gift with unusual gifts. At first I didn't think her "gifts" were so dramatic or profound. But as the story developed the application of her gifts and the effects they had on those around her made me think.

Mostly, I think the story made me think about what a blessing it is to have opposition in all things. It made me appreciate how our desire to know both the bitter and the sweet could have been keen in that life before this. It also made me think about how difficult it would be go from living a life with no trials to suddenly having lots of trials.

I have often wondered before when I have a newborn that cries for seemingly no reason if perhaps that baby is just having a hard time adjusting to life and physical discomforts. Certainly our tolerance for pain increases as we become more accustomed to it.

In any case, it was fun to have a bit of a book vacation for a day.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cure to a Hard Day

Yesterday was a hard, pregnant day. It started off fine. The kids and I got up and picked up the whole house. It wasn't that messy so this didn't take too long. Then instead of taking the kids to school I took them all to the dentist. They love going to the dentist. If you are looking for a good pediatric dentist in the Las Vegas area check out Jeff Cox. My kids ask all year when they get to go to see the dentist again. I love it.

The dentist went well for the girls. For me it was an hour and a half of wrestling Noble on my severely diminished lap. I took all the kids to the school and carried Noble in to check them in for the day. An hour later I returned to pick up Lauren from Kindergarten. By this time I was exhausted. I fed Noble and Lauren lunch and then put Noble down for a nap. Lauren and I fell asleep in the family room for a bit.

After Noble woke up it was time to pick the kids up from school and take them straight to their violin and viola lessons. Normally my mom takes care of Noble and Lauren for me while I go with the girls to their lesson. Suzuki lessons encourage parents to attend lessons so you can help the kids practice during the week. But this week my mom is out of town. So I took the kids with me to the lesson. This is no problem with Lauren. She had fun doing crafty things with the teacher's daughter who is Annie's age.

For me this meant another hour long wrestling match with Noble. He loves new places and just wants to go explore. His normal entertainments are no comparison with new places to explore. I ended up with lots of lip gloss all over my face as I let him put it on me. He ended up with lots of hand sanitizer rubbed into his hands drop by drop. At the end I carried Noble and the music books and my purse out to the car. Did I mention I am 7 months pregnant? Yeah.

We raced home to change in to Sunday clothes and eat a quick dinner (luckily my dinner group takes care of bringing me dinner on Wed. and Thus. so I didn't have to cook). Then I called Jon to see if he was on his way home to come with us to the special program at the church to recognize Sabrina's work on her goals and introduce Ann Marie as a new member of the girls activity group for girls aged 8-11. He answered the phone sounding frazzled and overwhelmed and told me he wouldn't be home till after the store closed. Too many employees are out sick and they were getting slammed before closing.

So I got all the kids back in the car and took them to the church for the program. I asked the girls to help me out as this was not going to be easy for me. I was in for another wrestling match with Noble. By now I was in pregnancy belly pain and having contractions and my little baby inside was stretching out to see what new yoga positions he could master. About 20 minutes into my wrestling match with Lauren tired and needing more attention than she was getting, Annie's tummy started to hurt.

Annie laid down on some chairs and then fell off them and hit her head on a leg of the table at which we were sitting. Mind you this is all during a program. So I gave Noble to Sabrina and tried to pick Annie up from off the floor and under the table. This was less than successful with the basketball sized belly in front of me. I finally managed to get her up. She was crying and trying hard not to. That usually means she is really hurt. So I picked her up and took her out of the room.

I spent 5 minutes calming her down and loving her in the foyer till she had her eyes dried and felt better. Then we went back into the program to try to get my other kids to sit down and take over Noble who was squirming. All the while Lauren is doing whatever little disobedient thing she can to get attention. How can an hour be so dang long? Somehow this hour seemed eternal. I would have just packed the kids up and left except that I didn't want Sabrina and Annie to miss their parts on the program which were last.

As soon as the "Amen" was said for the closing prayer I grabbed my kids and we headed out of there. I was barely holding it together. I hurt.

Once I got the kids settled at home (homework done, piano practiced, reading time done, punishment doled out for disobedience during the program, Noble freshly diapered and put to bed) I sat in my recliner with barely enough energy to get up and get a drink. All I really wanted was homemade cookie dough. But I didn't have the energy to make it. So I had a bowl of Life cereal instead.  Jon was finally home and so we watched a bit of TV and then went to bed.

Today I woke up refreshed in my wonderful bed that makes me almost forget I am pregnant after a good night's sleep. I had a really good talk with Lauren about how important it is to learn to be obedient when you are 5 so it will be easier to do when you are 15 and it really matters. I was able to explain how my punishments now are given because I love her so much and want her to learn this important principle now while she is young and it is easier. It was a really good talk and one I needed to have with her.

After I got the kids ready for school I realized my cravings for cookie dough had not gone away with my sleep.  So... I did a little mixing and got this:
 The extra to go into the fridge to eat in times of future cravings.

 The mini sized cookies waiting to go in the oven.

 The big cookies baking.

 The mini cookies cooling.

The big cookies on a platter. 

All the cookies. 

I like my chocolate chip cookies. They are seriously the best. I have fine tuned the recipe from an old one I used to use - "the Scott Porter" recipe, and a secret recipe my friend Britt shared with me and my own tweaks here and there. I would share it but I can't reveal the "secret" ingredient from Britt's secret recipe. But, to me at least, they are ... the best. Today they are helping to make it all okay. Along with a plenty of rest, they may possibly be the cure for a really hard day.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Motherhood - Chapter 2 - Superpowers

When you become a mother, people don't usually tell you that you automatically acquire superpowers. But you do - at least to the little person or people who call you Mom. Mothers around the world are super finders, super comforters, and super creators.

I remember as a little girl how astonished I was at my mother's ability to find all my lost things. I was even more astonished when I became a mother myself and found that I this super finding power. Of course I also realized why I had this power. My home is my office, my domain, my everyday. I am the one who most often puts things away. I am the one who organizes the drawers and cabinets and even the clothes and toys and shoes. So I guess it makes sense that most of the time, I know better than anyone where things are.

Of course this super power comes with the duty of maintaining it by keeping things organized and using it by helping family members find whatever they seek. I wonder if super heroes feel like saving the world is sometimes a lot of work?

This weekend I have been using my super power of comfort. I am no doctor or nurse but I have a healing power no one else possesses - at least to my children. Every mother does. I have had a couple of sick tummies to tend this weekend. Tummy aches are hard to nurse back to health because there isn't always so much you can do. Especially when you aren't sure why the tummy hurts. Sometimes the only reliable help is to have your mom next to you.

I have spent many, many hours this weekend laying in bed with tummy aching girls. Sometimes I read to them. Sometimes I stroke their hair or hold their hand. Sometimes I snuggle them. It is the only medicine I can give them but it does have power. I know that they feel better just having me there. I know because I feel the same way when I am sick or hurting. When nothing else can help, just having your mom next to you helps.

As mothers we also are super creators. I am not talking about crafts and culinary delights. We can be the creators of things far greater than this. We can be the creators of self esteem and confidence. We have the power to create or destroy the self concept of our children. How important it is for us to keep on the side of super heroes, lighting up when we see our children and letting them know how incredible they are as Children of God! It is so easy to lose sight of this super power that we carry almost unknowingly every minute of every day.

Super powers certainly come with great responsibility. But when you feel overwhelmed by everyone's needs that only you can help, remember if you are a mother, you really are a super hero!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Science Project

Tell me I am not alone here. How many of us parents dread the "family projects" and homework that is sent home with our children that is really homework for the parents? I really don't mind helping my kids with their normal homework. Actually sometimes I even enjoy it. I enjoy teaching my children things they didn't quite understand fully in class or showing them different ways to look at a homework problem.

But I am not crafty. I don't like projects. I didn't like them when I was young. I think my mom, who is artsy and crafty, helped make anything I took to school look presentable. And now that I am grown I am seeing how much more I dislike them as they are multiplied by the number of children I have. Projects!!! AHHH! I have one waiting for me to do currently to make something out of 3D shapes for Lauren to take to school.

But this post is not about that. It is about how about 2 weeks ago Sabrina mentioned in the car on the way home that I needed to write her a note to tell her teacher we couldn't do a Science Project. This was the first time I had heard her say anything about any Science anything. She got out some papers from her backpack about a Science Fair and Project including a time line for turning things in. The papers were dated Dec. 10th. It was Jan. 7th. We had missed several lab check deadlines already.

I wondered if perhaps this was an optional thing. So I emailed the teacher that night (it was Friday.) I heard back from her Monday morning that the Science Project was in fact required and that she was shocked I had not heard about it from Sabrina as they had been talking about it lots in class. The final lab book check was due Wednesday according to the paper Sabrina had given me. The teacher said in her email that we should just do the best we could but that Sabrina probably wouldn't be eligible to go to UNLV with her project because she hadn't had a lab book check.

So I had Jon pick up a lab book on his way home from work that night. Sabrina and I brainstormed about what she could do as an experiment. She came up with trying to dissolve packing peanuts with common household chemicals. She got this idea from a friends birthday party that featured a "Mad Scientist." It sounded easy enough to me and not too messy.

So Jon brought home some packing peanuts and that night we got 5 household cleaning agents and wrote up all the steps to the Scientific Method in her lab book and performed the experiment. I must say that the actual experiment part was kinda fun. We enjoyed watching the packing peanuts dissolve in acetone nail polish remover and turn into a goo. And at least she had her lab work done for the final lab book check.

The part I really dreaded was making the display board. That means lots of typing and printing for mom and dad. The final project was due on the 18th. The 17th was Ann Marie's birthday and I had sick kids to take care of and take to doctor's appointments all weekend. It was a crazy weekend.

We did manage to type out all of Sabrina's lab book work and print it out big and put it on the Science Project board I had Jon and Sabrina go buy. I left the pictures for Monday. Tuesday morning about 15 minutes before school I remembered we hadn't gotten to the pictures. I didn't even have them printed out. Luckily I had a spare ink cartridge and could print them out quick at home. Then we quickly used all the rest of the glue in our house to apply them to the board.

We got to school with the completed project just a minute or two before the tardy bell rang. Whatever. I was just glad we got it done and it was out of our house. Whew!

Imagine my surprise yesterday when Sabrina told me she won 4th place in the school's science fair and her project would be going to UNLV to compete in the city wide competition! I was shocked. I was happy for my little girl who was very excited to win a ribbon. Apparently she tells me they judged it based on how well they liked the idea and the experiment and not on how pretty the board looked. Hallelujah.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My Noble has not been a little man of many English words thus far in his life. He talks, in Noblese. But I have been anxious for him to learn some English and start using words to tell us what he thinks and wants and feels.

Actually he is pretty good at letting us know what he wants without words. Maybe he hasn't seen too much need for language yet. If he wants milk he just goes and gets a bottle and brings it to me. If he has a stinky diaper he brings me the wipes. If he is hungry he heads to the pantry to seek out something to eat (or he climbs on a chair to see if anyone has left their food on the table.)

But just recently he has started saying a few more words and I am tickled every time he gets a new one to sound just right. Right now he has the following list down pretty well, "Annie, Nana, Lala, Mama, Dada, Car, Ball, Hi, Bye, Go and UhOh."

Words he is working on but that aren't entirely clear yet are: "Bus, Van, Truck, Brina, Bottle, All the animal names and sounds on Peek a Boo Barn and Peek a Boo Wild, Out, Shoes, and More."

Tonight I was asking him to clean up his cars before he went to bed. He looked right at me and with one definite shake of his head said, "No." It was clear as a bell. No is not one of the words he says regularly. Usually it is "uh uh." I was so pleased that his defiance didn't bother me one bit. I kept asking him to pick up his cars and he kept doing the single head shake and saying, "No." It was beautiful to my ears.

About ten minutes later I got down of the floor and together we picked up his cars and put them away before I took him up to get ready for bed. As I was giving him a bath I made some bubbles in the sink for him to play with. I am not sure he has ever had a real bubble bath and this time the soap made more bubbles that normal. He was thrilled. He held up his hand with bubbles on it in wonder and looked at me. "Yes you got some bubbles," I said.

He put his little hand back down in the water and pulled it up again and clear as a bell said "Bubble." Then he kept doing that over and over and each time saying Bubble. It is lovely to hear him starting to speak and hear his little voice form familiar words. I just love this age and I love my little guy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pregnancy Thoughts

As I approach the 30 week mark of my pregnancy, the very small window of "this isn't so bad" feeling that is usually in the middle of my pregnancy has officially closed. My inner dialog is rather whiney. I feel bad that my family has to live with me when I am grumpy and whimpy and can only do about an hour's worth of physical activity a day before I am hurting so bad I need to sit and let my body rest.

On the other hand, even though it is still 10 weeks off I am able to see a bit of the light at the end of the tunnel. I just have to make it through February and March. January is going to be over before we know it. I know it should go fast. But then time somehow seems so much longer at the end of a pregnancy. And I do feel a bit like a kid waiting for Christmas.

I am excited and anxious to meet this new baby and get to know him. I am excited to see what he looks like and give him a solid name. I am anxious to see how life changes taking care of 5 children. I am excited for the delivery and the closeness to the Spirit that there is welcoming a new life into the world. These are the things I have to remind myself of when my back hurts and my pelvis feels like it is coming apart. These are the thoughts that keep me going.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Motherhood - Chapter 1- Failure

I want to start off this series of Motherhood posts with a bit of honesty and truth. But there is some tricky truth to mothering. So allow me to lay down the ground floor here with some notes on failure. 

Every mother, and I do mean EVERY mother, will at some point in her mothering career feel that she has failed. Maybe this has been on my mind this week because I have had a few of those points this last week. The reason every mother feels this is really quite simple. We judge our success (whether consciously or not) on how well our children do in life. And since no child or person is perfect and at some point each of us fails, so then each mother of each child also feels she has failed. 

The real trick to conquering this feeling of failure (which I am sure is sent from the Enemy of all things good) is to recognize that our success as a mother is not based on our child's choices. Kids are supposed to mess up. That doesn't mean we are failing, it means we have opportunities to succeed by helping them learn to do better next time. And the longer it takes to help them overcome their weaknesses or shortcomings, the greater the eventual success right?

So whether your child gets in trouble at school, or acts inappropriately at some social function, or hits someone, or lies, or steals something, or develops a drug problem ... whatever the extent of your child's failure, we must realize that there is only so much a mother can do. Even the perfect Mother and Father have had murderers and dictators and rebellious spirits as children. For every person has to make their own choices and in the end they will be responsible for their own actions. 

Our job as mothers and our success in that job ought to be measured on how well we have applied the knowledge we have available to us based on our current abilities at any given time. Perhaps an example or two will illustrate. 

A mother now would be considered unfit for piling all of her young children and babies into a car without any car seats and taking them out on a busy city street. 35 years ago, people did not have the same knowledge, laws, or baby gear and this was the normal course of behavior. Is my mother's generation a generation of failures because they didn't use car seats? No. 

A mother who is sick and in her bed knows that she ought to go help her child to be obedient when she gives a command. But if her body is not able to get up and go help the child learn this lesson, is she a failure as a mother? No. 

We do the best we can with the knowledge and abilities we have. That is how we ought to measure our success. 

And you know what? Even then we will still sometimes fail. Because we too are human and we mess up. Sometimes we get tired or angry and we say or do things we know we ought not to say or do. Sometimes we neglect to do things we know are important because we forget or get too busy with less important things. It happens to us all. And all too often we beat ourselves up about it.

But even that self beating is coming for an Enemy source. Because the Truth is that a Way has been provided to help us be better and perfect our efforts. When we repent of our mistakes, apologize to our child or children and to God, and make our best efforts to change and do better next time, the Atonement of our Savior can heal the wounds of our mistakes and make up for our failings. 

As one who has felt like the ultimate failure and has felt the deep wounds of her own mistakes, I am a witness to the power of the Atonement to heal our hearts and make us whole. We may always have to live with the physical consequences of our failings, but the Atonement can heal our heart if we so desire. 

"God made our hands washable for a reason," my mother always said as she would clean up icky messes of childhood. And I would add that God made the love between a mother and child nearly unbreakable for the same reason. So that when we make messes in our mothering, the Love between us and our children can help us clean up the mess and forgive each other with hearts cleansed by the Savior. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Tonight Annie got to go spend some birthday money at Target. She picked the Shrek Movies. I told her as we walked to the register how I don't really like those movies. She asked why. I told her it was because they are crude and have lots of potty humor in them. She asked what I meant. I said they make lots of jokes about things like toots and the like.

She noted that her dad also thinks toots are funny. It is true. I told her I just don't like that kind of humor. She said, "Well Mom, Shrek is an ogre. What can you expect?" Point taken. So then I asked, "Well Annie, what about your dad? Is he an ogre then too?"

Her reply -- "Well, maybe half an ogre. He doesn't look like one but ..."

I just had to laugh. This girl's mind just makes me smile.


Only my dad would pick up 5 Chinese guys at Walmart who needed a cab and take them 20 minutes out of his way to their China town drop off. Only my dad would make such good friends of them on the drive in all their broken English that they would invite him and my mother to join them for dinner. Only my dad would accept take my mom in the restaurant with them at 9 p.m. for a spontaneous dinner. And who else would afterward pile all 5 of these Chinese men plus one of their friends into his car and drive them to their hotel.

When my mom married my dad she knew one thing for sure ... life with him would never be boring. And I think it is safe to say that at 74 he is anything but boring.

I am grateful the Chinese men were good people. I am sure they are glad my dad isn't a psycho too. I guess these guys come every year for the CES convention. They swapped contact info with my dad to get together next year and invited him to come to China for the best tour ever. :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Noble Heart

I wish I had a picture or better yet a video to show you what I am writing about today. Since I have neither, I am left trying to capture a sweet moment with words alone. I promise to keep it under 1000 :) and hope I can still capture it in my own mind at least as vividly as a photograph could.

Ann Marie was having a hard morning. You have to understand that she is ... dramatic. She can make herself cry at the drop of a hat and uses that ability to get what she wants. I actually know she is really upset when she is trying not to cry but failing. So in any case, she was pouting and crying on our way to church. And then she was pouting and crying as church started. I knew her issue wasn't anything too major, so I wasn't worried about her. I just was giving her extra love and trying to keep her sisters from bothering her.

This year our church time starts at Noble's nap time. He is one tired boy at church. So he is often all over the place and hard to keep in the pew. Such was the case today. At least until he saw Annie with her tears. He struggled free of everyone else's grasp and stood up on the pew next to her facing the row behind us. Then he swung one leg over her lap and sat down. He wrapped his little arms tight around her neck and laid his head down on her shoulder.

She wrapped her arms around him and rocked him as she cried. He laid on her like that for quite some time - far longer than I expected or was normal. I don't think anyone could have comforted her better at that moment. He did this two or three times during the beginning of our church meeting until Dad took him out to the foyer to get him to sleep. It just touched my heart to see it.

There is a bit of magic in the touch of this toddler. I am not sure how to describe it. Losing Camille has frozen her at that age in all our hearts and minds. Having Noble here with us as this toddler doesn't replace her in anyway but he is like a surrogate carrier of the loves we would have been able to get and give to her in some way. I am not sure that even makes sense but it just melted my heart to see him loving on Annie today and in church and knowing that that toddler love that she has missed out on has in  some small measure been restored by the sweet and tender heart of her her brother.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Motherhood - Introduction

Two and a half years ago, this is about the last post I ever thought I would be writing. And I am sheepish to write it now. I don't like self promotion. I am not comfortable with it. However, when I am passionate about something, I like to share and support it. And one thing I am passionate about is the importance and beauty of motherhood. 

I was passionate enough to give up my law career to spend every waking minute with my babies ( I was fortunate to be able to have that choice.) I have been trying desperately these last 9.5 years to be the best mother I can to each of my 5.5 children. I fail somedays. Or maybe I should say I fail in SOME way almost everyday. But I also have seen so many joyous successes as I have watched my children grown and learn and become better despite my mistakes. 

I am not one to spend too much time beating myself up about my short comings. But I fully recognize how many I have. So can you imagine my shock when I recently got a phone call from our State American Mothers representative informing me that I had been selected as Nevada's Young Mother of the Year for the 2011 year? 

I have spent the weeks since that phone call trying to make sense of this honor and trying to learn how that happened and what that means exactly. I had heard of "Mother of the Year" before because I knew a friend of mine's mother got that. 

In my investigation I have learned more about the American Mothers organization and how it promotes and supports motherhood. You can learn more about them HERE. I feel good about supporting their cause by serving as this year's Nevada Young Mother of the Year. I hope to bring a bit of attention to their cause. And so this year I will be doing a weekly post on some aspect of Motherhood. I hope you will enjoy this series of posts and that it will help us all remember how important motherhood is and the sacred trust we have been given to take part in it.

If any of you would like to show your support for the American Mother's organization or help sponsor me as their 2011 Young Mother for Nevada you can email me at 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Finding Lost Things

As a small child one of the first prayers I ever recognized as being answered was a petition to the Lord to help me find a lost thing. I remember one Sunday searching for a lost shoe to go to church. I was very young and we were late. I prayed and prayed and searched. I finally found it in some obscure cupboard.  I think finding a lost thing may have been a common first answered prayer for many of us.

Later in my teenage life, I had some very significant answers to prayers regarding finding lost things. I found an earring I had lost months earlier, an expensive ring I lost at the beach at night, and the same ring I lost in a huge field in a sudden rain storm. Finding each of this items was a miraculous answer to prayer for me. These experiences helped build my testimony that there is a God in heaven who does love us enough to answer our prayers, even when our prayers are not for something of eternal worth.

When Camille was in the hospital and I was praying for her to be made well, I thought back on all these answered prayers over little things. I wondered why the Lord would answer so many little prayers for me and not answer this most fervent and important prayer. I had never wanted something so much. I knew He could heal her. I knew He could raise her from the dead if he would just say the word. Why would He not? And yet He didn't. When I changed my prayers to asking for strength to accept Him will concerning her, only then did I feel the peace that only He can bring. 

Those days weeks and months following Camille's accident, I felt lost. When my brother told me he was worried about me, I told him I was worried about me too. How could I ever find wholeness again? How would I find joy and happiness in life? How would I find myself when part of me was buried in the grave?

The month of December 2010 seemed to me to be a month of finding lost things. I shared earlier on this blog that I finally found the video tape of Camille's first 8 months of life. What a gift this was. It is a treasure and by far the best gift we received this season. But I also was able to find many other little insignificant things all month long. 

I found the lost bag of pajamas I bought at the store and left there thanks to an honest stranger. I found an earring back for Sabrina that no one else could find in a thick shag carpet. I found a doll dress for Lauren that we had searched for over and over. I found Sabrina's glasses for her. I found a lost medicine that I had been searching for in a place I had already looked several times. I found Jon's lost keys in the food cupboard behind the baking items. I could go on and on.

Now I know that I have become a better "finder" since becoming a mother. I think mothers just know more of where everything is. But this month has been different. In each case, I have searched and used all my "Mother" finding ability without success. And then I have offered a prayer and tried to follow my feelings about where to look. In each case I have found the item. 

Sometimes it has been immediate. With the earring back I was sure it was lost. I felt all over that shag carpet. I asked Sabrina where she was when she lost it. All the cousins and Aunts and Uncles had already looked for it already and not found it. I came down from a nap to look as well. I was not finding it. I said a quick prayer in my head. Still I could not feel it in the thick shag. I sat up and told Sabrina we would have to go get another one. I looked down to my right and there it was sitting on the carpet right next to me.

Other times it has taken some time. Jon had been missing his keys for over a month. I had prayed several times trying to find them. No luck. Then one day in mid December I went to look for something else in the pantry and found them some baking things. It took a bit longer than the earring back, but my prayers to find this lost thing were answered. The keys were found.

And how many times did I pray to find that Camille video? Countless times. How many times had a searched? Countless. And yes at long last that prayer too was answered and the video was found. 

All this finding in December got me thinking about how the Lord can and does find Lost Things. He finds lost keys and toys and shoes. And He also finds the lost and weary soul. Talking to Jenny Nygard on the phone a few days before Christmas brought back to my mind how I felt in those early days - how lost I was. In the days after that conversation I have seen just how "found" I have become in knowing once more who I am and how richly I have been blessed. 

And so I wanted to offer to any who read this (especially my own children someday) my testimony of the Lord's ability to find lost things both small and large. If you feel lost or out of touch with your Heavenly Father or forgotten by Him, I say to you that He has not forgotten you. I know this with a surety that words cannot convey. You are not lost to Him. And if you turn to Him in humility - not having to understand all His reasons and methods - just in humility to accept His will for you, He will get in touch with you. He will help you become Found. It may take time, years even, but He will make you Found.