Saturday, October 5, 2013

A recap of Sat. morning conf session...



Ok, while it is still fresh in my mind I wanted to do a quick "fave bits" of conference today! Whose with me?
I actually got A LOT out of the sessions today. I didn't have a moment where I dozed off got distracted, I felt captivated by each speaker in their own way. I know that we all tend to have our favourite speakers who we relate to, and others who we have a tough time identifying with, but that is the awesome thing about conference, there is somebody and something for everyone. How blessed we are to have these words to remind us, twice a year, to try to better ourselves, these personal cheerleaders (hahaha! I can't help but imagine the presidency with poms! *slapping my own wrist*) to help us on the harrowing journey that is "life".
I appreciate that we have these conferences twice a year as it reassures me that none of us are perfect. If we were, or the majority of us were, we would not need these meetings. As it is, we are all learning, and are all in need of a little pep talk now and then.
So, on that note...here's my thoughts from today's morning session....I will continue throughout the week sharing my thoughts on each session/talk and hope to read other bloggers thoughts too. : )

Saturday morning session:

President Thomas S. Monson: His was just a quick introduction to the meeting, as his main talk is tomorrow, as we know, but I was struck by the couple awesome facts he stuck out there for us all to chew on. Last month we reached over 15, 000,000 members!!! Whaaaat? It's tough to believe when a lot of us attended schools where we were the only member in our year group/grade, or many like myself, the only member in the entire school. But, the one thing I am noticing is that with the growing members, the multiple projects going on for our church (eg:I'm a Mormon) and social media (which I have a love/hate relationship due to the many negative sides of it that bother me) and the fact that as a church we are slowly being more easily recognized, we are less and less being wrongly referred to as polygamists or a cult, and more and more non-members are happy to stand up for us as Christians since they've gained a better understanding of this religion that previously came across are "secret". I'm so glad that we are growing in numbers and people are starting to understand we're not so kooky afterall. It's quite simple. We are Christians, with family being the center of our church and we have one common goal, to return to live with our Heavenly Father and to remain with our families that we had here on earth.
The other fact is somewhat related, and that is the massively growing missionary army! I say army because these men and women are soldiers of God. They bravely go out into any part of the world that they might be called to and serve among people who more than often ignore them, mock them or argue with them. But for those who want to hear, have waited to hear, it is more than worth it. Since the big news of the missionary age being lowered to 18 for boys and 19 for women it has almost doubled the amount of missionaries out in the field (please say my on the spot math was correct. I'm fairly certain he mentioned something like 50,000's up to 80,000's?) That is mind blowing and in what I feel is quite a sad looking world right now, these men and women must put a smile on the Lord's face.

Robert D. Hales:

I felt this talk was a perfect choice to begin the session with as he spoke about how we should remember that these talks are inspired, and that we should use them to receive personal revelation for our own families and that immediately made me sit up straight to make sure I didn't miss a thing, as an answer to a prayer may be hidden in this or the following talks. No nap for me it appears! ; )
I love his quote that it is not about what is said, but more about what we, personally, hear or feel during the talks.
He observed that the world is moving away from the Lord faster than ever. He gave the blunt truth that we might not like hearing some of the things that the church requires of us as members, and those things might affect our social lives, our relationships, our every day habits but promised us that if we heeded the things that we are asked and acted upon them that the blessings we will receive will be far greater than the moment of pleasure we got from the worldly thing that we didn't want to give up. A couple examples of what he may have been referring to in my opinion were drinking alcohol/coffee, recreational drugs, hardcore partying, tattoos and smoking etc. To be honest, the older I get, the more  realize how these things are really not a sacrifice at all, I am more free because I avoid them, my body does not dictate how I feel because I need a substance, I have not made a decision that one day I may regret yet cannot reverse etc.
{Disclaimer: If anyone knows me, you know I would be mortified if I offend anyone, ever. So I must stress, I am in NO WAY saying to ANYONE that these things are right/correct for everyone, but i'll say again, this is MY blog and contains MY views and opinions. I am not here to judge, preach or dictate to anyone, I'm simply sharing thoughts that I had that may or may not be comforting, eye opening or even amusing to some (!!) in the hopes that even just one person needed to hear.}
He told us that conference serves the purpose for us to gather together to hear the words of the Lord, and to then return to our homes to live those words. (We believe all talks are inspired from the Lord. No one is given a topic or guidelines. They are simply asked to speak and to pray about what they should talk about....no big deal, right!?!)
With that in mind he encourages us to re-read sermons from past conferences and to find words in those to help strengthen our families, too. He reminded us to use the awesome online resources that we have. Our church is quite tech savvy and has countless resources that wonderfully are FREE and easily accessible. You can access all the old Ensign, New Era and Friend magazines, talks, guides, anything and everything. I'll even take a moment to add a resource I love having. Pandora and hopping on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir station. Brilliant! While I work, make dinner, blog etc I can lift my thoughts and feel inspired while listening to what I believe to be the worlds greatest choir and other similar music. There are lots and lots of LDS Mum blogs, even dad blogs, single parent blogs, blogs discussing emotional/medical issues etc where you can find like people and learn from each other. There is a vast majority of ugly things on the internet, but it is all too easy to find the things that are wonderful. Surround yourself with the good and the ugly will become insigificant.
If you're not feeling churchy, I suggest not going to social media as an outlet to pass your time, but go to a favourite craft site, or hop onto Pinterest, but instead of staying, find a fun activity, shut your computer and go do it, enjoy your family! This is what I took from that "use online resources to build your testimony". Not only the obvious choices, but the less obvious, the places to avoid and to know also when to switch it off. I may have gone off in a direction not intended by the speaker, but that's what conference is about....what the talks speak to you about, personally. I think it's fun to hear what others got out of it too, it can be so eye opening. : )

Ulisses Soares: (what a fun name!)

His talk reminded us to be "meek", and explained how meek is in fact a strength, and not what it is often thought of, as perhaps "weak".
He spoke about being Christlike. Being kind and controlling our tempers. To be tolerant. Having 4 young children made this talk very easy to relate to. Haha! How wonderful it is to be reminded to take a step back and rein in a temper. It is all to easy to shout or yell and use words too quickly, without thinking them through. He prompted us to put aside the pride and wait to see what comes from that. The Holy Ghost will be more likely to show approval and our prayers might be answered a little more clearly when our minds are more "quiet" and peaceful.
Those who are humble and meek are teachable. Who doesn't need to be taught? I sure do.
This is something I will work on. Being a little more likely to take a breath and not be so quick to bark at my children. If the Lord doesn't shout at us when we make mistakes that disappoint him that are a lot more serious that messing up a playroom, or answering back, who are we to shout at our children?

Carole M. Stephens:

My husband was impressed with her hair and how is stayed in place so perfectly....glad I still have a few years to master the perfect "elegant American grandma" hair thing! ; )
I loved her talk. She spoke about how we each have a divine nature and divine destiny.
She spoke about our equality as men and women in our church. This is often something very much misunderstood by people both as members and non-members. She spread light on the issue in an informative way.
I also loved how she reminded us of the importance of the Priesthood in our lives and homes. How blessed we are when we have so many Priesthood holders in our lives that are able to ensure that
when needed it is right there. There are many people that it is not so easily available. When we have it in our homes we need to respect that and help to keep the Spirit in the home to ensure that blessing remains there for our families.
 I particularly enjoyed her saying also that "Sons of God need daughters of God, and that daughters of God need sons of God." We are a team, and neither is dispensable, we are equal and must respect one another and build each other up.

Edward Dube:

He began with his fun story referring to his mother that ended with telling us a wise quotes: "Never look back. Look forward at what we still have left to do."
He continued with an eye opening and inpspirational talk. I gathered a few favourite moments and most came in quotes that I wrote down. So I will share those with you.
  •  "It is not where you serve, but how." We must never feel small in our actions, we must never feel inferior, and for that matter, superior. 
  • To refer back to the previous talk, we are equal. He referred to a quote that I believe was said by Cheryl Brown, that "out of small things proceedeth that which is great".
  • He reminded us of another great quote, this time from Jeffrey R. Holland, that reads “The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead; we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.” 
  • And lastly he urged us to keep a balanced yoke and to stand together in order to be the strongest we can be. 
I thoroughly enjoyed his talk and appreciate a good quote as they somehow stick in your head quite easily, and so those words can sometimes pop up in my head at times when I need them most.

David A. Bednar:

His talk was about Tithing. It was wonderfully informative and inspiring. I appreciated this talk in the way that I felt it was helpful to me as he worded it in a way that I would be happy to share this with my non-member friends. He explained tithing and why we do it and how it works perfectly. So many of my friends, in the past, have asked why on earth we pay 10% of our earnings to the church. Yes, this is on top of tax etc. No, it does not and has never bothered me. I understand tithing, why we do it, why it is needed, how it may someday help me and that the Lord blesses my family because we are tithe payers. I got some main points from this talk and the best way for me to share these are to list them. It's less of a "discussy" kind of talk and more straight forward, lay it all out there, kind of thing...so here's what I came away with...
  • He discusses the "significant but subtle blessings" that we receive by paying our tithing, and how easily we might overlook these blessings. To notice these blessings we need to be more "spiritually observant and attentive". 
  • The spiritual gift of gratitude helps us to be aware of what we have and thus less caught up with what we want. 
  • Change our circumstances instead of waiting for someone to change it for us. Obvious, right? But I can pretty much guarantee we've all be there, and whined while we waited....(no show of hands...but i'm fairly certain i'm not alone here...)
  •  To keep in mind we may get answers in ways we don't expect.
  • The more spiritually observant and assertive we are the more we will see. 
  • Conveniently the financial program of our church is explained in the Doctrine and Convenants section 119 and 120. This is pretty awesome as it backs up the fact that our church does not change. We do things according, quite literally, to the book. It is how the Lord planned it, and his plans are pretty perfect, it's safe to say.
  • The funds that are raised from our tithes are used in Authorized dispersements, and so brilliantly organized. It is intended in our church that no one is left in need. The funds are used to spiritually bless us via our Temples, churches that built with that money, missions that are paid for, geneology centers that are open to the public so bless non-members too, and all the other wonderful resources that the church provides for us. We have a wonderful relief service out there too that is at every disaster to provide help/relief to those suffering, it's simply just not done with bells and whistles.
  • The church lives within it's means and does not spend a penny over than what it recieves. What a great lesson for us all.
  • He stressed that it is not how much you give, but by offering what you are able is greater than anything. If we pay our tithing, do not procrastinate or complain, we will be blessed. 
  • The simplicity of the Lords way provides patterns that will continue to bless us throughout our lives.
What a helpful reminder to us as to why we pay our tithing, and a good way to explain to those who wonder. 

The last speaker of the morning, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

He spoke about how, as a church, we perform our callings and duties for free. He openly admits that the church does require a lot of its members, with no pay, but explains that we feel we are paid in blessings and experience. I whole heartedly agree. I've never gotten out of a calling that I was given and looked back and thought I hadn't grown from it or gained strength from it.
We perform the ministry ourselves each Sunday. We are required to understand our religion and to be able to teach about what we believe, using experience and scripture to back us up. In our church, we "either volunteer or are volunteered"! ; ) 
He discussed the subject of people leaving our church. Whether it be from having taken offense, perhaps too lazy to do what is required, felt too sinful to be within the congregation, but whatever it is/was, he taught us that it is never as simple as we might think, and that many people struggle for years with their thoughts.
Something I really appreciated his mentioning was that whatever our thoughts may be, we MUST honour others right to worship in whichever way they wish. It is OUR right to do so. How relevant a thing to say in my view. Many people are quick to judge and to decide whether or not someone is a good person due to their faith, or lack of faith. It is NOT something we have to right to judge and I appreciated his gentle reminder of that. I consider myself a tolerant and open person and am happy to have friends of all different faiths, backgrounds, view, political places...it simply does not matter to me. I am a strong enough person to live my faith, share my faith, yet not take offense when people disagree. I am grateful that my right to be a Latter Day Saint is not attacked, or dictated, and pray that others have the same respect given to them also.
He discussed how history of our church will always bring up questions. He comforted us in the knowledge that when the entire truth is revealed by our Lord, our answers will come in their entirety. He admitted that some leaders int he past have made mistakes, but helped us understand that again, these leaders are just men, or women, and that we are all not perfect. We must however condemn not the things of God. We must not stumble because of mistakes made by men, but judge the church on God and the things we know to be true and of God.
He said that of course it is natural to have questions, and that there are few members who have not wrestled with doubt and uncertainty, but he followed this up with what my husband I just loved...
"Please, doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."
What wise words. It is all to easy to throw it all away. After all, what is faith if it is not challenged?
He urged that we may not all "fit in" and feel like we belong in our wards, but he urged that that is all the more reason to try a little harder and to go to church and find your place, to keep the commandments and do what you're supposed to be doing until it fits and feels right.
For those who refer to church goers as hypocrites, because they claim to believe one thing, but act another way, or simply don't live up to the church perfectly....no-one (or at least no-one should) claim to be perfect, since we are not.  
As a church we tend to attract kind, caring and industrious type of people. People who want to better themselves and their families, have a relationship with the Lord and who don't mind working for those thing. If you expect to find perfect people there you will no doubt be disappointed. But if you seek pure doctrine of Christ, the word of God, the Holy Ghost, this is where you will find them. It is up to you what you make of your time in the church. 
President Uchtdorf asked those who left to "Come back, stay a little longer and to join in with us." 

His words rang true to me for so many reasons, as did all the other speakers.
I pray that me sharing what I normally just keep written down in a journal somewhere may have helped shed some light onto the content of one of our conferences to those how have never heard/seen one, and perhaps helped those who have heard it but haven't come back in a while...maybe now if you come back with a fresh view you might take something away for your life? I am not asking everyone to join our church, I'm just saying these conferences can be such great tools in our lives and I think there's something to take away for everyone. If ever you guys have snippets of something that you think might touch my, or my families life, i'd LOVE to hear it.

If you got through this whole post, well done! I can't believe I wrote so much myself, but I just felt it was something I needed to share and not keep cooped up in a journal this time. I believe our world needs a little positivity right now, especially in the internet world....

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, and remember, you can still tune in yourself, tomorrow, for the two remaining sessions. ; )

~With love, xoxo 



Friday, October 4, 2013

Kids and conference!

It's that time of year again, if you're Mormon, you know what i'm talking about! ; )
It's our bi-annual LDS/Mormon conference where we hear awesome messages from our Prophet and other General Authorities. If you are not Mormon, please don't stop reading...and by this I do not mean to sound like your typical preachy neighbour, I am not trying to convert you, haha! I just mean to tell you that these messages are often simply relevant to today and now. They are messages about life, and ideas on how to improve on family life, our relationships with friends, our relationship with God. Take it for what it is, and if anything take a minute to be nosy and learn a little about what your friend Jessica believes in!
So anyways, this conference weekend can be l-o-n-g when you have children. There are 4 main sessions for everyone. 2 for 2 hours each on saturday and 2 for 2 hours each on Sunday. They are on the BYU channel or online at which you can view by clicking on the link i've posted on the right hand side of this page. I suggest Sunday if you are non Mormon, as this is the best day to hear talks that are relevant to you. Saturday is a lot of church business, sustaining our leaders and news etc. The Prophet's talk is on Sunday, too. But feel free to listen to all if you want! See, we're not and never have been a secret church, we're happy to share what we believe in and have no secrets. This conference has always be open to all! :)

It really is worth a listen/watch, even if it's just one session.

I came prepared this time after finding some inspiration from here and here, and put together these little tubs for the four littles.

A quick breakdown of what's in each tub:

  • 1 magic colouring book (we are doing this on our carpet, so no real markers!!)
  • Shared out magic markers.
  • A set of conference related fun pages to fill in for the older three that I found on the first link I gave you that will help them concentrate even if for a moment. It includes fun things like colouring President Monson's tie, drawing how big their hand is this conference (a keepsake for mama!) & getting to know the apostles etc.
  • Beads and pipe cleaners to string them on to. (so no need for tying knots that will distract mummy or daddy! -genius, right?)
  • A large paper cutout person for them to draw themselves (a child of God), or the Prophet or someone they particularly liked in conference.
  • Lots of paper and stickers, regular and foam for them to decorate to their hearts content.
  • Not pictured are snacks I will pop into the empty little pot in the morning. I pictured a few of our favourite snacks in this house, I really mean just snacks, these are not things we whip out everyday. Keep in mind my passion for feeding our children in the healthiest way possible. No GM's, pesticides, artificial hormones etc....I always try to stick with organic when it comes to my children. I can't always afford the whole 9 yards but as far as we can we stick with organic. Their little bodies are too precious to me to fill with the nasty things they hide in their pretty packaging and appearances. :(
  • Obviously, the older the child, the more relevant these boxes can be. It can be something they look forward to and a reason for them to be excited for each conference. What's not to like!? A new set of colouring pens/pencils, some new fun things, bringing comforters down to the living room, snacks/popcorn/pizza. I suggest breaking up the day with a walk in the garden or a kick of a ball around the yard to stretch the legs, too! Who knew conference weekend could be SUCH fun! Take a look on Deseret Bookstore or other church stores to find church related goodies to fill the box too. I was on a bit of a budget this month, so we stuck to simple, but children at this age appreciate basically anything! : ) Go for it Mamas!






 Well, I hope this helped you with some ideas. I appreciate all these awesome bloggers out there that I can bounce ideas off of and hope my littles are inspired by their creative boxes tomorrow so Mummy and Daddy can enjoy some of conference and get something out of it. It's SO hard being parents to four very little ones with minds that are go! go! go! all the time but I will constantly endeavor to make things like this a lesson for us all to improve and grow together.
Wish us luck tomorrow, I'm sure sending it out to all the other families who will be in their jammies all weekend long, in front of the tv with snacks around and colouring pages galore. Oh, and remember, if you miss it we are blessed to have DVR features now (woopwoop!) so can go back and re-watch, or do what I do and pull it up online and plug in the speakers and listen while you load the dishwasher, or do the dusting. I know I sound like some 50's housewife, but this is MY life, I'm REAL and i'm PROUD of being a mummy, wife and ENJOY it. In no time at all my children will be grown and I have plenty of time to be a busy out-of-the-house working mum who brings in a buck or two, but for now i'm quite content doing what I do best; organizing and running a family.

Happy Conference weekend, friends.
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stuffed marrow, or is it zucchini!?

We have a lovely set of neighbours in our sweet little neighbourhood, and they often do kind things for us, like wedding soup when we're poorly, made an amazing Easter cake for the children, hand out cookies when we pass by on our walks around the neighbourhood and even decorate their yard especially for our children, since our circle is private and there is no reason traffic passes through unless you live here.

So anyways, they always have a super impressive garden full of delicious veggies and some fruits, but their zucchinis are the bomb. They are unbelieveably good, and did I mention HUGE!? 
When we got on the other day I decided to do a throw back to my childhood when my mum would make stuffed marrows for us. It's such a rustic, yummy dish, and so inoffensive, you have to like it. It also does not have to be meat either, so it's a vegetarian option too! Yay veggies!!
Ok, so to answer a question that i've been asking ever since I realised Americans claim to not have "marrows",  and our little lost in translation moment between zucchini and courgette. I did a little research. In fact, it IS what I thought.
The term zucchini comes from Italian, "zucchino" and you guys changed it up a bit. They are usually harvested around 15cm (5-6inches) long. The term courgette comes from the French, "courgette" (at least we didn't change ours by one letter! What's that about!?) They are more of the "baby" of the bunch, and are harvested "young" and about 14cm. BOTH come from the same plant, they are the essentially SAME thing.
Now for the term marrow. I have had many a discussion about this and been told i'm wrong countless times, but now after research I KNOW i'm right. Ah, the feeling of knowing your right. Bliss.
Marrow IS from the zucchini/courgette plant. It IS the same. It is simply a different stage of growth. Marrows are the semi-mature fruits which have reached full size. Meaning, they are as big as they'll get, but could stay on the plant longer, they just probably wouldn't taste too good.
Marrows are the BEST for stuffing as there is more vegetable to use. A full grown can be upwards of 38cm (that's 15inches!!!)
Ours was actually about 15 inches long, and here is the recipe I made up to use it!

Stuffed Marrow/Zucchini 

One large marrow (you could use zuc. but it might be a bit more fiddly!)
A jar of Home-made or store bought tomato basil sauce
1lb of organic minced beef/lamb or sausage meat
Vegetarian: Use any meat substitute (quorn etc), in a minced/diced style
One medium onion, diced
One chopped yellow pepper diced
Fresh chopped garlic
Your favourite herb mix. I love organic all-purpose from Krogers
salt and pepper to taste
Feta cheese (or your favourite type of cheese)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Put a large pot filled with water on boil.
2. Slice the zucchini in half and dig out the insides till about 3/4 inch depth is left. DO NOT THROW THE INSIDES AWAY!! Take the insides and dice as well as you can, it can be a little mushy, but that is fine. Set those aside.
3. Once water has boiled take the zucchinis and dunk them for about a minute. I turned mine after a minute as they would not fully immerse since they were so big. While they are softening, get your large baking dish (mine is the white one in the pictures) and pour in enough sauce to cover the bottom of the dish and then place your zucchini halves in there and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. In a sauce pan saute the onions, peppers and garlic along with the inside of the zucchini that you had set aside and then brown the meat or whatever vegetarian sub. you are using.
5. Add the remainder of the tomato basil sauce to the meat and veggie mix. Add your herb mix here, to however you like the taste. Salt and pepper to taste too! Remember seasoning is important, but it's also down to taste! Just don't over salt, there is no need!!
6. Take the sauce you have just made and stuff into the softened zucchinis. Once stuffed sprinkle with your choice of cheese and feel free to add a smattering of worcestershire sauce on top if you like that little punch of flavour!
7. Place in oven, covered with tin foil, for around 20-30 minutes. Since all marrows are different in size you should keep an eye on yours to make sure they don't overcook. Cook just until browned on top. If you prefer it a little crispy, then pop the broiler on for a last blast under the flames.
 The voila!! You are done! It is AMAZING. A lot of people don't like to add the insides, and i'm truly not sure why. It's amaaazing! No need for eggs and bread crumbs etc. Those are unnecessary heavy ingredients!
{Excuse the cell phone pics, I was feeling a little lazy!}


Thank you Shirley and Phil Prosperi for your donations to our big family. You have NO idea how much it helps, and you helped inspire a new favourite meal for us all now.
They really are the sweetest people and they are the type of people who restore your faith in genuinely kind and good people. We just adore them!

Bon Appetit, my friends!
:)

Monday, September 9, 2013

When plans change keep in mind His plan...

Well, this is going to prove to be one of the hardest posts I've ever written. I've battled with whether to write it, or not, but the more I think about it the more I wonder if my experience happened to help me be able to comfort someone else, a friend, a stranger etc. I also feel, as a woman, it's not something I should feel alone with.
So, do you all remember my last post about my surgery? If not. You should probably read that one first for this to make much sense.
The craziest thing happened that day.
We had been at the pool all day, and as usual I had been in pain, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. I'm in pain all the time. I'm so used to it that i'm at the point where I conceal how I feel so well that people don't notice/realize that I'm not well. I never let the crippling pain I feel in my abdomen show on my face. I wait till i'm safe in my home to cry about the stabbing, burning feelings that I get and the constant cramping that goes on where my uterus is. (Please remember, i'm not an overshary person, I'm sharing because I hope that I can help someone else who is feeling this. I suffer from endometriosis and adenomyosis combined. It is crippling.)
Well, at the end of this particular day I had been feeling odd. My pain wasn't as bad as normal, but I felt strange. I suddenly had the feeling I needed to take a pregnancy test. So, Clyde stopped off at Rite Aid before we got home and grabbed one. I fed the kiddos when we got in, and in between sweeping the floors I took the test and left it in the bathroom to decide yes or no while I finished the floors. I had forgotten about it after getting back to my chore, until I heard the door squeek and Clyde came out to me saying "No freakin' way!!!".... I remember staring at him and immediately feeling angry, I told him to quit messing and this was one thing that his sense of hillarious humour was NOT welcomed in. He grabbed me by my shoulders held me and looked in my eyes. His eyes were full of excitement and gleaming. He told me, "You are pregnant Jessie!" .....
What??
I felt my knees go weak and Clyde had to physically hold me up. I broke down and asked how this could happen? {I don't mean HOW....obviously I know HOW, but more in a how can this happen to us when i'm getting a hysterectomy in 2 weeks, kind of "how"}
This is where I am so aware that I married the most amazing man. He is the strongest man I know, while also being the sweetest man I know. He held me and not for a minute did he falter. He gave me the pep talk I needed and reminded me how strong our family is, how strong I am, and that Heavenly Father may just be a little more in-the-know about our family than I am, and to trust in His plan.
So, after maybe 5 minutes of sheer panic, fear and confusion, I allowed myself to feel the excitement that was hiding beneath the other stuff. I couldn't believe I was pregnant.
It was NOT planned, not even a little bit, but after convincing myself for the past few months to go ahead with the hysterectomy it reminded me how we are not in control. It reminded me to be able to run with the punches sometimes.
So, for the last few weeks I've busied myself with choosing prenatal vitamins, wondering if it would be a boy or a girl, thinking of where we would fit this little one in our house, who would share rooms etc. We talked about how we felt old, but aren't really. I think having 4 children in 30 months sure made us feel older than we are really. Hahaha! Keep reminding myself i'm still in my 20's, and not my 40's!!
I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant and after all the fear washed away, I couldn't have been happier. We couldn't have been happier.
Well, the day before what would have been the day my surgery was supposed to take place, I started feeling unwell. I knew something was wrong.
I was in so much pain that I ended up at the ER. After tests and lots of confusion and miscommunication between Drs and nurses etc., they had to tell me that I was getting ready to lose the baby.
On the day of my previously scheduled surgery I miscarried.
I couldn't believe the timing on top of everything else. It was hands down one of the most emotionally painful things I have ever experienced. It felt so cruel.
This is not something I could normally ever share with anyone. But despite how painful this is to write about, after a few weeks of healing and praying about how I feel, I felt prompted to share my voice with other women. I know that I would have appreciated hearing from other women to help comfort me, so I'm praying that this comforts even at least one other person.
I know that the pain we all might feel will be different, as not only is each case different, but each woman deals with life trials differently. All I can do is say how I personally coped.
Without going into too much personal experiences that I just prefer to keep sacred to myself, I wanted to share the basic things that comforted me at this time.
While I went through the miscarriage we stayed up in Pittsburgh at a hotel. We were blessed to know that my mummy happened to be in town for what was supposed to be my surgery recovery period where she was going to watch the children so I could lay in bed. Turns out it wasn't so different after all. We knew the children would not only be safe, but be having a blast being entertained by Nama who just adores them. This time was ours to heal, together.
I drank A LOT of tea, which calmed my anxiety and tummy. I tried all types of herbal tea and settled on a few of my favourites which I will share another time. {I literally could do a series of posts on herbal and fruit teas!}
I cried, a lot. I tell you this because I feel it is important. When we were still waiting in the ER for the results of the hormone levels I remember chewing on my mouth to hold back the tears, I could feel them stinging behind my eyes but I wanted to feel strong and like I could handle it no matter what the answer was. I was rehearsing how I would react to each possible result when she told me. But when they walked in the room, they didn't need to tell me, I could tell from the look in her eyes. It was pity, but for some reason, I was glad of her empathy at that time. She put her hand on my leg and just nodded that the results were not good. I literally collapsed and let the tears go, and I immediately felt relief. Letting go of those tears was important and with something like this, it's good to rememebr that no one expects you to be strong. It was ok for me to cry, and I sure did. I cried it out, said over dramatic things and questioned everything, then I waited for my husband to sweetly tell me I was talking absolute nonsense and to pull myself together. Which I did.
It's quite simple really, I learned that it's best to cry it out, say all the silly things that are in your head, and let the person who is with you, husband, mummy, sister, best friend, whoever it is, bring you back to reality. I knew he was hurting too, but he knew that I needed him to lean on and to be my rock.
I know some may believe that having an earlier miscarriage is not so bad, and maybe I would have thought so before it happened to me, but I couldn't have been more wrong if that was the case.
Within the two weeks of us knowing that I was pregnant we had whittled down our boy and girl names to about 4-6 each, discussed nursery colour/theme ideas because they would have to share, we had decided to sell our collection of strollers and buy a new one, I had changed my diet and started taking vitamins because I cared about making sure this little one knew their mummy cared from the minute she knew they were in there. So, quite simply, I was attached, and felt like this little one was a part of our family already. We had told the children and they were SO excited to have this big secret JUST for our family and would put their hands on my belly all the time and ask how big the baby had grown pretty much every hour. We were all so excited.
Despite all that, I know that my Heavenly Father has a plan for our family, and He knew that this pain that we all went through was something that we needed to experience. It felt so unfair that it happened on the day that my surgery had been scheduled. The day my life had been supposed to be taking a huge step towards finally feeling normal, pain-free. The complete opposite happened, and I felt like i'd never been in more pain. But the lessons I learned from that day are priceless and I wouldn't give them back for the world. I grew closer to my family as we clung to eachother for support. My mum held me so tight, she admitted she had no words and I appreciated her honesty, and that fact that she didn't try to string words together and just let her arms do that instead. My brothers both reached out in the simplest of ways that meant so much to me. If anyone knows my brothers, discussing anything like this is the utmost awkward subject yet both had a couple words that comforted me in ways they probably never knew. My dad sent me a text that was so perfect that I saved and will always keep. Clyde's mum spoke with me and comforted me with encouraging words and reminded me that I was a strong mummy who could handle this. I slowly realized that this experience led me to have these close moments with my family and to see sides of them that I admired and may not have experienced otherwise. Clyde reminded me of what our church teaches about these sweet little spirits that don't make it to live on earth with us and again, that was something that I needed to hear and made me grateful that I married this man in the temple and am sealed to him. My husband knows the Gospel so well and he knows when to bring it up to me if he thinks it's something I need to hear. I know that I will meet this child someday, and so once I had come to terms with all this, and almost healed I made myself a plan.
1. Heal. Emotionally and physically. So we stayed a couple more nights in the hotel and talked, talked and talked, ate macarons, watched movies and drank tea.
2. Get back to my beautiful, healthy children at home and squeeze them all real tight. Then explain to them what happened, and take this awesome opportunity to explain how loving our Heavenly Father is and how blessed we are to be an Eternal Family and to teach them about heaven and that they can pray about all this if they have questions. What an amazing teach opportunity this was. I am thinking about doing a post about how we spoke to the children about this as it was a really touching experience that might be helpful to other parents in this position.
3. Pick myself up, dust myself off, get back to our life and trust that there is a great plan for our family and that each of these life experiences happen for a reason and that someday they will make more and more sense.

A few weeks have passed now and my healing is better and better. I appreciate that it happened to me for a few personal reasons, but i'm still trying to figure it all out. There are a lot of unanswered questions that I will continue to pray about, but my faith has not waivered. I am stronger for it. I have a better understanding toward women now, and if ever this is something someone else needs comforting for, I now feel like I am equipped with experience and hope that the lessons I learned may help someone, sometime.

I hope that no-one misunderstands this post and finds it distasteful. I passed it by my husband and mummy to check that it wasn't an overshare, but both agreed that after what I went through, the fact that I was looking for something good to come out of it, that this might be part of that. I am aware that early stage miscarriage is more common than we think, and so there must be women out there who wish they could relate with someone or find someone who understands their pain. I do. (I do not intend this post for someone suffering a late term miscarriage, as in my opinion, that is entirely different and I know is not something I could have coped with in the ways I suggest in this post. Please note this.) We are a blessed family, and never for a second do I doubt Heavenly Father's plan for us. I know there are great things to come, I just hope we're ready for them! <3

As many of you know, we are coming off of facebook this week and so this blog will be my main place for family updates etc. Please feel free to subscribe, or put us on your reading list. My email address is anameriglishhome@gmail.com so feel free to email me whenever about whatever. I love to hear from people! I hope not to lose touch with people as a result of leaving facebook, but I felt that facebook was making me lose touch with my daily life and it's time for me to take back those hours lost and put them to better use during my day.

Thanks for reading the blog, leave a comment if you read it as it's always nice to hear feedback, and specially with this being such a personal blog today, i'd love to know if it meant anything to anyone that I shared it.

Love to you all and again, email me to stay in touch!

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