Saturday, February 26, 2011

Help Others on Their Way

There's a story in the Book of Mormon of Ammon who baptized hundreds of people. I love this story and have ever since I served my mission. The reason why I love it isn't because Ammon was such an inspiring missionary. Though, I'd like to point out that he truly was and I always wanted to be as dedicated a missionary as he was. No - the reason why I love Ammon's story...he had Abish.

Now if you don't know this story from the Book of Mormon or need to be reminded, I highly recommend you read (even if you aren't LDS) Alma Chapter 17, Chapter 18 and most specifically, Chapter 19. I'm not here to give you a play-by-play of this account, but if you know what I'm talking about, you'll know what kind of message I'm here to give.

Ammon's job as a missionary would have been so much harder, had it not been for Abish, a member of the church, gathering her friends and neighbors together to see what miracles were happening with the king and queen. Had it not been for her faith and the effort she put forth into helping those around her, Ammon wouldn't have baptized nearly as many people.

When I was a missionary in South America, I remember feeling so much anxiety for the people I taught. Would the members befriend these people? Would they help them, love them and let them know they would always be welcome in the ward? It's a scary thing to change your life and walk into something previously unknown. It's up to the members to take that person by the hand and show them the love they need.

Last night I had a going away party for a sweet friend of mine. She was a recent convert who hadn't been coming to church lately for most of the reasons recent converts don't come to church. Her missionaries had been transferred and she wasn't quite comfortable with the members yet. She felt out of place and not really part of the "ward family."

My friend is moving to Hawaii and I thought I'd give her a send off. I emailed everyone in the ward hoping that a few would come and wish her well, even if it was only for 5 minutes. I'm sure you can already guess what happened. One person came. That one person didn't even know my friend, but she came just the same. Not one person from the Bishopric or Relief Society showed up.

I was crushed. Not for me, but for my friend. She had the courage to change her life and be baptized, but then wasn't truly welcomed into the church by her peers. I don't want to get down on my fellow ward members, because I've been there. I know how busy life gets, believe me but I did learn a valuable lesson. New converts need acceptance and guidance from us, but most of all they need love. They need to know that even though their missionaries aren't there, there is a whole group of people who are there to help them.

So, here's my challenge to you and to myself...let's not allow one person come into our wards without knowing they are loved and accepted. This is not limited only to new members, but everyone. We all need to know we have a place. I can't tell you how grateful I am that a ward embraced and loved my sister who needed them so much at the time. Let's all make our wards that kind of ward and live by the words of the primary song:

What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say? Have faith, have hope, live like His son, help others on their way.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Gift to Jesus

Image by Greg Olsen

Every year on Christmas Eve, our family gathers in the basement of my parent's home after we eat our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of fried oysters and clam chowder (which I think all of my sisters-in-law refuse to eat) and the Greed-Fest (aka opening of Christmas presents) is over.

At this point, it's time to sit down and think about the true Spirit of Christmas. The actual reason for the holiday. We sit in a circle and my dad begins by lighting his candle and giving his "Gift to Jesus," meaning something he can do for the next year that would bring him closer to the Savior. The next person in the circle lights his/her candle from dad's and gives a Gift to Jesus and so on and so on until everyone has a lit candle and has given their gift.

Last year my gift to Jesus was to sit down every night and read the Book of Mormon with my little family. I felt like there was no time like the present to get in that habit. I'm happy to say that for probably the first time since we began giving gifts to Jesus on Christmas Eve, I've a)remembered throughout the year what my gift was and b)actually followed through with what I've given. We've missed a few days here and there, but I can gladly say that we're in the habit of reading scriptures every night before J goes to bed.

When daddy begins reading him stories and it's scripture time, he comes running out to get me yelling "SKIPTOOORS, SKIPTOOORS" and of course, melts my heart in the process. With our little toddler, it's taking forever (we barely began the Book of Jacob because he can only sit through a few verses per night), but I can feel we've been blessed for our efforts.

This year I won't be with my side of the family for Christmas (I'll be in the hospital with my baby), and since I can't be there, I would like to give my Gift to Jesus a little early and make you, my blog friends, hold me to it!

This year my Gift to Jesus is:

To make personal scripture study a priority

I've really slacked in this area lately and feel so much better when I read my scriptures every day. I lost my scriptures when we moved last August and just the other day found them. I've been praying every day since August to find them and it was really a trial of my faith that it took so long, but Heavenly Father came through and showed me that prayers aren't always answered at the moment we want them answered. To show my gratitude for my answered prayer, I truly feel like this is the best payback I can give him.

I gained a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon when I was 17 and an even stronger one on my mission and hope to strengthen it even more in the coming year.

Since I'll be in the hospital having a baby for Christmas...Merry Christmas everyone! In all of the craziness of the season may you sit down and remember the true reason for why we celebrate. I cherish everyone of you and hope you have as lovely a Christmas as I know I'm going to have. I'll be holding one of my greatest gifts from heaven in my arms that day!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Be it unto me...

Last night I went to a fabulous dinner at the home of a member of our Relief Society Presidency. The topic of the night was seeing "Christmas Through Mary's Eyes," and it really got me thinking about this wonderful little man coming into our home just 2 days before we celebrate the Savior's birth.

When I realized what my due date would be (December 29th) I was dead set against having the baby before Christmas. Not because I didn't want to spend Christmas in the hospital, but because of how difficult it would be for my little man to have a birthday leading up to Christmas. I don't want him to hate his birthday his whole life...I figured the week after Christmas would be better (though not ideal) for him. Due to extenuating circumstances however, we didn't have much of a choice but to schedule our C-section for the 23rd of December. This means I'll be spending Christmas Eve and most likely Christmas Day in the hospital.

Christmas is going to be VERY different for our family this year, but you know - I'm okay with it. I'm actually looking forward to it. I'll be able to hold my baby in my arms and know that he came straight from Heaven. He'll be my greatest gift on Christmas!

Last night as I was listening to the message being given about Mary, I was struck with her image in my minds eye. I can only imagine how she was feeling as she rode along on the back of a donkey to an unfamiliar place, uncertain where she would be having her baby and in what conditions.

With all of the contractions I'm currently having, I have to be grateful I'm not riding on a donkey while having them. I get to have all the conveniences of a modern birth and she had to bring her baby to the world by the humblest of means. Maybe she dealt with scorn and ridicule from others as she became pregnant before she was even married to Joseph, who, merciful as he was wanted to "put her away privily." Thank heavens for those heavenly messengers!

I can't imagine what Mary felt, having "not known a man," but nonetheless carrying the Savior of the world in her womb. I can, however, imagine what she may have felt as she rocked her baby that first night and the love and honor she felt to be the mother of such an amazing little creature.

This Christmas I'm going to be thinking of Mary when I rock my newborn baby in my arms. Would I have said, "be it unto me according to thy word" as she did or would I have been more like Zacharias and doubted that it was at all possible? I hope I would have been more like her.

So, this Christmas I salute you Mary and hope to have as much faith during the coming year as you did when you accepted the great challenge of motherhood under such difficult, but rewarding, circumstances.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What's going to happen next?

As many of you know, a few months ago I quit the rat race and found myself in a new home and alone in said home with a crazy, screaming toddler who has reached the terrible twos quite a few months before he's arrived at the ripe old age...oh...and a growing belly full of baby-love.

Have you noticed that I don't have as much to write of said fetus (A-Rob is what I think the blogosphere will know him as), as I did with little J-Dawg? I think because everything with Little J was so new to me. Now the throwing up for the entire 9 month period, gestational diabetes, extreme fatigue etc, etc, etc seem quite normal to me and I've come to terms with the fact that none of my pregnancies are going to be "easy," not that any pregnancy really is easy (except for you b!@%(&*$ who have really easy pregnancies, I'll never like you - I'm sorry).

There are a few things that are different this time bed rest, reasonably low blood pressure (I'm doing BIG knocks on wood for those first two), actually feeling the fetus sit on my bladder (I guess bed rest had its advantages) and the constant need for little A-Rob to do 360's while I'm trying to walk. I can't tell you how many times I've almost fallen flat on my face because this kid wants to wiggle while I walk.

Also, a big difference is running around after a toddler and spending my days watching Elmo, coloring with crayons, play dates, swinging at the park and cuddling up to a nice theatrical reading of "The Cat in the Hat." We seem to be settling into this little routine called Stay-At-Home-Mommy-Hood little J and I. It wasn't easy at first - getting used to being together all the time - but it seems like J-Dawg and mommy are growing fond of each other and becoming partners in crime.

Now all I have to ask myself is...what's going to happen in approximately 8 weeks when another little man comes in and mixes up our groove? Things are going to be different and I don't know whether J-Dawg or I know what is going to hit us.

Each night J-Dawg and I have story time and singing time. As I lay my little fella down to sleep, if there is even a one second delay in songs, he emphatically demands I "SING." He even asked me to "SING" while we were shopping in the grocery store the other day. This kid melts my heart on a daily basis. Tonight while we were singing he turned and looked at me with the look only a son gives to his mommy, wrapped his arms around me and gave me the cuddliest hug I've ever gotten from him.

They say your heart expands when you have another child. I hope and pray it's true, because J-Dawg has captured mine completely and I would hate not having enough room for little A-Rob because I know he's special. I can feel his little spirit entering my heart already. It will definitely be a new challenge and a whole new way of being - but I think I'm ready.

Monday, July 19, 2010

All is well...

The words kept going through my head over and over, "And should we die before our journey's through, Happy Day! All is well..." I couldn't believe that actually just happened. As I sat in my father-in-law's van, I went over the details of that moment.

Earlier in the day we had stopped to get groceries and fill up the gas tanks in the jet skis and boat. Robbie was really anxious to get on the road and I was taking my time in the grocery store. Neither of us were very nice to each other once we got on the road and I decided that he deserved a little silent treatment. Little J was snuggled nicely in his car seat and fell right to sleep once we were on the road, which meant I was free to watch a movie on our portable DVD player.

After a about a half hour, I started to get sleepy, so I decided to get my pillow out and take a nap, I put the seat belt snugly under my arm so it wouldn't whip me in the face and I leaned into the passengers side window, still deciding whether or not I needed to be a crabby-cakes to my husband any longer.

All of a sudden I woke with a start. The boat we were towing started to fishtail again. It had done that the day before as we drove through Barstow and Robbie was a pro at getting it under control. I had confidence that he would be able to correct it one more time...but...then it started getting worse and worse. All of a sudden we were all over the road. I yelled his name, "ROBBIE!!" I heard a whoosh of air and my husband yelled..."We're losing control!"

No sooner had those words left his mouth, did we hit the soft adobe dirt and our truck began to spin out of control. All I could think of was, "My baby...what's happening to my baby? Heavenly Father please take care of my baby." Our truck hit the dirt, flipped onto its roof, back to its wheels, then to the driver's side, roof and finally landed on the passengers side.

"We then are free from toil and sorrow too; With the just we shall dwell!"

Once we were stopped the first thing I said was, "Don't worry about me, get the baby out...get the baby out!" Robbie opened the door and jumped out of the car. I couldn't tell if I was okay or not, so I sat there for a few seconds. I realized Robbie couldn't have helped us out without falling right on top of us, so I knew it was up to me to get J out.

I undid my seat belt and turned around and found the back window to be shattered. J was still in his car seat and a little confused as to what just happened. His seat ended up facing forward and was right behind my seat. His little face was covered with a zip-up drink cooler, almost as if someone placed it there to shield him from getting a face full of glass and other debris when the window shattered.

I pulled him out of the car seat and stood up. My father-in-law was there and took him from me, then pulled me out of the truck. I looked around and screamed for my baby. Robbie's sister put him in my arms. He was okay. Simply perfect. Smiling and happy to be out of that car seat.

There I sat in the van with my little boy in my arms, bleeding from a head wound and replaying the scenario over and over in my head. What if it were worse, what if I would have lost my baby? I held him tighter and thanked my Heavenly Father for sparing him. I knew then and there that I was put on this earth to be his mommy and he was here for a great purpose.

Now, I don't care what the media or anyone else has to say about the FLDS people who live in Hilldale/Colorado City, but they are the most kind and compassionate people I have ever met. They were the first on the scene and they treated us with such respect and compassion. Two women were there and as I was put on a stretcher, they took my little baby from my arms and strapped him into the car seat. They made sure he was close by the entire time. They fed him water and called him a "little darling." Once we were in the ambulance on our way back to St. George, the older woman held my hand and told me how blessed I had been.

The words kept coming back to me, "But if our lives are spared again to see the saints their rest obtain."

I couldn't stop weeping, I felt like I was in a dream surrounded by people who looked like pioneers. Once we were at the hospital the kind FLDS woman wouldn't leave my side, so I didn't have to be alone. I could have kissed her. She was an angel sent straight from heaven.

Everything turned out okay and my injuries were minor. We're nearing the 1st anniversary of the accident and as we sang that song in Sacrament last Sunday I couldn't help but be reminded of God's mercy and the kindness of Strangers.

"Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell - All is well! All is well!"

Monday, June 21, 2010


Go here if you want to hear read some excellent news!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Actual Conversation...

Em-Cat and Robbie in our younger, skinnier days...

So I'm sitting at lunch with my HOT husband today and he begins to compliment me ever so lovingly...

Robbie: "You look so pretty today."

EmC: "I do?"

Robbie: "Yes. I love your shirt. It's really a good color for you."

EmC: "Oh! You're so sweet."

Robbie: "And your hair is so beautiful and shiny."

EmC: "Stop! My head is going to explode with all of these compliments."

Robbie: "And your face? Well...It's simply glowing."

EmC: "Aw!"

Robbie: "Except for those zits on your chin. What's up with the acne lately?"


That's the sound my head made as it deflated...

Don't I just have the SWEETEST husband ever?

Friday, April 30, 2010

There is a surprising lack of writing on this blog and an even more surprising amount of youtube videos. I couldn't resist this one. Robbie, J-Dawg and I were watching Sesame Street this morning and this little segment came on and we laughed so hard our appendix burst. So, have a hernia on us!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yeah - BIG Shocker

Did anyone NOT see that coming? Because if you didn't you are BLIND.