hope for a better world.

tonight i sang little whopper to sleep with easter songs. jesus shines brighter, jesus shines purer and brings to all the world his love. asher watched me closely through the next verses and i thought on how exactly he makes our sorrowing spirits sing.

i have not been filling this space, but i have been scratching down notes, and thoughts, and essays elsewhere… all of which are patiently waiting for my retro journal project to be complete. it has been harder than i expected. not the remembering, but the reliving. as i’ve immersed myself in certain months and years of my past, i’ve had to step away. take a break. let go of whatever pain or hurt was plaguing me then. in retro journal time i am still wading through the pain and heartache of 2010.

this past easter sunday we reflected on what we can do, because of him. i can have hope. while working on my journal tonight i remembered hope was important to me in the aftermath of that first lost pregnancy. throughout that year i had been working with my young women to complete a challenge we had given them of reading the entire book of mormon. when i concluded the book of mormon that year i found myself drawn to ether. (so much so that i may have tried to convince christian that it was a reasonable baby boy name last year). at our activity to wrap up the book of mormon challenge i spoke. these were my words:


The message of the Book of Mormon to me, is one of Hope.

A hope, that God hears our prayers and will answer and protect us. A hope, that despite how hard and long the journey, we will eventually arrive at our personal promised lands. A hope that even in our darkest hour, we are not alone. A hope, that we will be freed from our private captivities. A hope, that no matter what the mistake, our sins can be washed clean through the atonement of Christ. Ultimately, it speaks of our hope to live again. This kind of hope, along with faith, helps us overcome fear, discouragement and worry. This kind of hope leads us to peace, rejoicing and gladness.

Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul,” 2009)

The Book of Mormon tells the story of two different civilizations that both were destroyed through wickedness. The Nephites and the Jaredites should have had very different endings. They had the truth. They were followers of Christ. By the end raging wars killed off the people, leaving lone prophets to chronicle their story for us.

We recognize Ether for writing of the Brother of Jared at the time of the tower of Babel. We remember how he asked the Lord to touch stones – believing that the power of His touch could illuminate them, giving light to the barges as they crossed the ocean. Ether was the last Jaredite prophet. He devoted his whole life to the cause of the Savior. Through all the devastation – Ether writes of hope:

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God. (Ether 12:4)

Ether could have written a very different journal entry. But he chose the promise of hope, that eventually, he would see a better world.

The prophet Mormon shares a lot with Ether. After watching his people kill one another, he gives the sacred records he had kept to his son, Moroni. In one of his last letters to Moroni, he relates some of the horrors of battle. It is sad and depressing stuff. But a particular verse jumped out at me:

My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever. (Moroni 9:25)

Even when Mormon faced death, and knew his son would be left alone – he didn’t waste time complaining. What did he do? He acknowledged the hard things, but he didn’t focus on them. He asks his son to be faithful, to not wallow in grief and most importantly to hope in the glory of Christ.

Each of us has our own private battles raging. Life’s problems and dark, heavy things —— Satan uses despair to bind our hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. But we know better. We trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to us. Despite the current chapter in our lives, because of Christ’s sacrifice, the ending will exceed our expectations.

“We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness,.. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, “We Look to Christ,” 2002).

“For the love of the son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow and gladdens every heart” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Infinite Power of Hope,”  2008).

Elder Holland said that when we are confidently obedient, we are exercising our faith toward experiences in the future, the unknown. Mountain-moving faith like that of the brother of Jared precedes the miracle and the knowledge. He had to believe before God spoke. He had to act before the ability to complete that action was apparent. Faith is to agree unconditionally—and in advance—to whatever conditions God may require in both the near and distant future (Jeffrey R. Holland; Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 18–19).

We increase our hope much the same way we increase our faith, by small steps. One decision at a time. We need not fear (Luke 12:32). We need to be still (Psalms 46:10). We need to remember (D&C 90:24).

Ether concludes his writings by asking us to seek this Jesus (Ether 12:41). Moroni echoes his predecessor and invites us to come unto Christ (Moroni 10:30-32).


and here i was tonight, singing to a quickly growing boy about that very jesus.

a boy i didn’t know i would be able to have, but that i hoped for in 2010.

and 2011.

and 2012.easter 2014

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baby room.

baby room

this morning i heard his little stirrings in the next room over. it sounded like he was kicking off his blankets while he yawned. i stepped in the room, opened his curtains and looked down at his little face. his whole face lit up and he smiled at me. it is moments like that when i am stunned that there is a baby in this little crib. in this room. in my house.

ever since we moved in to this house i have called his room the baby room. even when it was empty it was the baby room.

two christmases ago i picked out a blue i loved and we painted the room while listening to flight of the conchords. it would be many months later when i’d finally feel ready to set the room up. several pieces had waited patiently over the years.

20140118-135328.jpgi bought these fantastic mr. fox prints two years ago. i especially love that the son’s name is ash.

stars story people | stained glass star | origami mobile

monsters we purchased the monsters inc. print for the room while at disneyland. i think it’s extra significant since we didn’t know i was pregnant. asher loves looking up at this print especially. he just smiles and laughs. | christian’s super hero stamp collection.

artstar art | langston hughes quote by my momprimary song by christian’s sister

when we first brought asher home i remember showing him his room. those first few nights he’d only sleep on us while in the chair. sitting in that chair, with him on my lap is one of my very favorite spots in the whole house.

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siete.

IMG_2375last night christian said he kisses asher on the head every night before bed and every morning before he leaves for work. something about those kisses, that i didn’t know about until just then, made my whole body smile.

when we left the hospital i was ready to be home. in my own bed. without people intruding on our space every half hour. i felt confident and prepared to take care of our baby. and then we stepped through our front door, and set his car seat down. for a brief second i was seized with fear. what now? we were in charge of this little person. there would be no call button. no immediate assistance or relief. it was just us and this little baby.

the fear quickly passed but not the shock at being a mom.

a few months ago while shopping i stepped away from the stroller just as the teenage clerk peered down at asher. in a voice heard throughout the store she commented on the cute baby and then asked if he was mine. yes, i said, he is mine. she then said just as loudly, you’re a mom? her surprise at my mom-ness in that moment matches my continual surprise. that he used to be inside of me. that he is here. that he is so active. that he is constantly growing. that he is ours.

we are his mom and his dad. he is our little boy.

since asher’s first night christian whispers the same things in his ear daily – we are so glad you are here. we are happy you are part of our family. we love you. when i look in his eyes i think he understands what we are telling him.

i stare at him too much. i hold him too long. but it’s because i know these moments are fleeting. i know he is constantly changing. as much as i miss the tiny new baby he was, i love the little spirit that stares back at me. that laughs with me and tries to talk to me.

things for us are different with him but i think those differences make this 7th year pretty great.

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evermore thanks.

almost a year ago i wrote about how i wasn’t very thankful.

quickly after writing that i found out i was pregnant and then just as quickly i was not. a hard december would usher in shocking news mid-january. months added upon months, filled with something i wanted so badly, and those months were hard. hard in a way the years filled with longing were hard. it took me nearly halfway through the pregnancy to feel confident in what was happening.

but there were other hard things.

growing babies is a crazy wild process. everyone says you’ll forget the hard parts once you have the baby in your arms. i waved off those claims. not me, i won’t forget! i inwardly declared. i did not conceivably think i could forget this year. at times i didn’t know if i could make it to the end of september let alone the end of another day.

and then he came. i remembered the bad still, but it seemed kind of far off.

and then i would stare at his perfect face. and the bad became a little fuzzy.

and then i would hold him and his little arms would cling to me. and the bad started to slip.

and then he’d smile or laugh. and the bad, it was the price i paid for this good.

he doesn’t look like a newborn anymore which breaks my heart a tiny bit. and i do not look like i did before him, for that, i am thankful.

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looking back.

during sunday school this week the question was posed as to why we should do our family history as well as temple work for our ancestors. for me, who i am is largely shaped by where i come from. there is power in knowing who we are and from whom we are descended.

i stopped keeping a journal after my lds mission. my reason for doing so seemed like a logical one at the time. i felt like there were things in my life, outside of my control, which were greatly impacting me and i did not want to record them. i didn’t want my children and my children’s children reading about the bad.

unfortunately my decision to cease writing meant i missed recording all the good of the past 13 years. along with all the hard as well as all the miraculous. i realized there were things i did want my children’s children to know.

my last years of college | my amazing broadcast journalism group | wonderful roommates and friends | september 11th | graduation | my years in washington dc | maryland, virginia, new york, boston, philadelphia, north carolina, tennessee | milestones in the lives of my siblings | asia’s accident | my first tv station | my dc girls | singles wards | terrible dating decisions | my first car | the dc sniper | concerts, plays & shows | christian | africa | hurricane katrina | half marathons | my second tv station | reporting | harrisonburg | peru | marriage | our seattle apartment | port angeles, hawaii, victoria, vancouver, portland, san juan islands, cancun, the dominican republic | my jobs | working with the young women | president hinckley’s death | st. johns | my grandparents deaths | niece & nephews | summers with rachel | recurrent pregnancy loss | buying a house | my sunday school kids | italy | asher

and so i’ve been writing.

filling up the pages of a new, crisp journal. writing so much that my finger aches the way it used to in school when you actually had to write everything.

in the remembering there has been pain. but there has also been joy.

i have relied on dedicated record-keeper christian to look up dates for me. specifically our meeting at a house party in 2003 and our re-meeting at a fireside with elder scott in 2004.

shockingly when he looked up september 13, 2003 my name was no where in his account of that party. maybe there is something to be said for looking back. from this perspective i can connect the dots.

i can remember how a chance meeting at a house in crystal city, with a boy in a soccer jersey, would have a lasting impact on my life.

summer 2005

summer 2005

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the dance; garth brooks

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i will possess your heart.

halloween 2012.jpgfor almost a year now, there have been three movie ticket stubs on our fridge. periodically christian tries to take them down and throw them away. each time i rescue those precious stubs and return them to the fridge.

those stubs are more than just tickets. they are more than just the movie. they are memories of last fall. they are my niece.

when we skyped months later, she would remember that i made her a little bed (i borrowed a friend’s crib mattress) and that uncle performed some pretty impressive belches in her presence.

i would remember what it was to love someone little so fiercely.

one day she asked if we could go see hotel transylvania. my sister-in-law and i were happy to oblige. on the way home we picked out some pumpkins. we spent the evening painting and carving them.

her leaving left my house, and some part of my heart, empty.

until last month.

a new little person has stolen my heart.10.17.13.jpg

even when he successfully pees on both his mom and dad in the same day, i couldn’t love him more.

and those movie tickets… they’re still making me smile each time i open the fridge.

————————–
i will possess your heart; death cab for cutie

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my little man.

during high school i was a life guard at perry pool in phoenix. perry

it was an awesome summer job. not only did you get to work on your tan but you would get countless boyfriend offers from random swimmers, young and old.

i also got to teach the infant/toddler swim lessons and coach the younger perry piranha swim team.

my pool was predominantly hispanic. for whatever reason within that community we had an issue with women attempting to sun bathe in their underwear rather than swimming suit. this probably wouldn’t have been a problem, accept their underwear was usually of the see-through white variety. on average the grown men were not the best of swimmers. they would like to congregate near the deep end guard chair. as they doggy-paddled down below, they’d ask, hey lifeguard lady, do you have a boyfriend?

our pool was sponsored by subway each summer allowing kids to swim for free, which is a bargain if you use your local swimming pool as an all day day-care. on more than one occasion we’d have to ban little, tough guy 8-year old arturo and his even smaller brother for causing trouble. but they didn’t have anywhere to go until 8pm when their dad picked them up. and so we’d relent. arturo would be back to his role as shallow-end ring leader.

we also had a lot of kids who would break the rules and wouldn’t respond to english being yelled through the megaphone. when we’d switch it up and yell, ¡no corras! instead, they would be visibly perplexed. unsure of which language to pretend they didn’t speak. they’d give us a sideways glance, and their run would turn in to more of a speed walk across the slick cement.

to get the little swimmers’ attention i’d refer to all the boys as little man

little man, don’t hang on the rope! little man, you can’t dive there! little man, slow down!

now i have my very own little man. hopefully, he’ll obey the lifeguards if we ever live somewhere hot and sunny with pools.

the last party before he arrived was so much fun. it was full of blues and greens, mustaches, taco time ice, treats, so many friends, and a photo booth. i had a blast with several of my primary kids and young women there.

many thanks to kristen, lisa, sara and tallie for such an amazing shower. and to all the other friends who helped and came to celebrate our little man.

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{pictures courtesy of kerri and kali}

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