Making Many Memories

Everyday we are Making Many Memories that we will treasure forever.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Talk

I am so grateful for this beautiful Easter Day that I had to share with my family. My day started out a little hectic because I had been asked to give a talk in church. I know some people find this a hard task but normally I don't mind doing it. The only fear I had today was that a lot of times people come to visit on Easter Sunday and they are usually expecting to hear something profound. So I was feeling a little inadequate for that challenge. The other problem I had with today is that because 4 other wonderful women where speaking too,  we each had about 5 minutes. For those of you who read my blog, you know that I am a very wordy person so a 5 minute limit was a huge challenge for me.

I also am a procrastinator so I waited until 9:30 p.m last night to even start my talk. I finished around 11:00 p.m. (mostly because I kept getting distracted and would check my email and Facebook). But at 12:00 a.m. I woke up with my mind racing that I would have to change my talk because it wasn't me. I had kept it brief but it wasn't really what my heart was feeling. So I arose at 6:00 a.m. (that is extremely early for me as I am NOT a morning person.), took my shower and started to rewrite my talk. I needed to be to church by 8:15 a.m. and so my adorable little girl did not get her hair done this morning. I had a choice between her hair and my hair and I was not going to get up and speak in front of a whole congregation without curling my hair.

So I am posting it here for anyone who is interested in reading it. Some of you may be able to figure out what the great oak tree was and others may wonder what I am talking about. Someday I will post what it is but for right now I will just leave the talk as is.

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters,
I am humbled to being giving a talk on Easter morning and was trying to think of what I would be able to share with you that would enrich your testimony of Easter and the Savior; or be something that you may not already know. I am not sure I would really be able to accomplish that in the 5 short minutes I am suppose to speak, but I will share with you my testimony and love for the Savior and for the Easter session.
Easter is my favorite season. I love how green and clean everything looks. I love the smells that are in the air, and I love the cool weather mixed in with some warmer days. I try and soak it all in because I know that all too soon the heat will come and everything will look brown once again.
When I think of all the events that happened in the Savior’s life I think about how Easter is the most important one and President Hunter seems to agree with me when he said this:
"Without the resurrection, the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes a litany of wise sayings and seemingly unexplainable miracles: but sayings and miracles with no ultimate triumph.  No, the ultimate triumph is in the ultimate miracle: for the first time in the history of mankind, one who was dead raised himself into living immortality.  He was the Son of God, the Son of our immortal Father in Heaven, and his triumph over physical and spiritual death is the good news every Christian tongue should speak" 
What a blessing we have in knowing that Christ conquered both physical and spiritual death. And that because of this accomplishment we can do the same and live with Him again.
Recently, I have been reading a book by Stephen E. Robinson called “Believing Christ” and I was going to base my talk on it. Until I realized that I actually already believe Christ. I already know that I am far from perfect and yet that if I give him all my pennies he will make up the difference and I may become perfected in him (from the parable of the bicycle as told in the book) . I seem to have a different problem. One that my husband summed up quite nicely for me this morning when I asked him if he was following me down the stairs. To which he replied “I’ll follow you anywhere – until I want to go a different direction.” This seems to be the story of my life.
In April Conference 2011, D. Todd Christoffson retold a story by President Hugh B. Brown. President Brown spoke of a time when he was pruning a current bush that was trying to become a berry tree. He told about how he was the gardener and how he knew what he wanted the tree to become even if it took a lot of pruning to do so. He then told about a position in the Canadian Army that he really wanted but was turned down for. At first he was upset and questioned why and then figured out that the Lord was the gardener here and that he was going to make him what he intended him to be.

Well lately, I have been on a path to become a great oak tree. At first, I was scared to start down the path. I didn’t think I could endure all that it would take to become this great oak tree. After a while, I was getting use to the idea. I was becoming surer of myself and the path that the Lord wanted me to take. Then one day the pathway was closed and I stood in the garden confused and hurt. Why did the Lord close the pathway? Why did he make me think that I could become a great oak tree if that was not what he had really intended for me.

Now I am not unfamiliar with this way of pruning. I have been pruned this way many times before and when finished have been able to look back and see what it was the Lord was trying to do. Yet, once again I fell into my old pattern of standing and screaming in the garden. Begging with the Lord to just tell me why I wasn’t supposed to be on this path any more.  Why was I not good enough to be an oak tree? And if not an oak tree, what kind of tree was I going to become? I’m the type of person who wants to know the end of the story right now.

I am now slowing learning that when the Lord closes a pathway he wants me to stand quietly and ask “Now, where would you like me to go? What would you like me to do next?.” Instead of standing there trying to get him to change his mind.

I do not know what the Lord has in store for my future. The point is that it doesn't matter what kind of tree he wants me to become. It could be that someday he will put me back on that path and I will still become a great oak tree. The thing about an oak tree is they take forever to grow. I know because we have the scrawniest looking oak tree in our front yard that doesn’t look much bigger than it did 7 years ago when it was planted. I think I was trying to grow into the oak tree too fast.

But it doesn't matter what kind of tree I become because the willow tree and the oak tree are both allowed into the Lord’s kingdom. All I have to do is study my scriptures, say my prayers and keep the commandments and the Lord will help me become whatever it is he has planned for me.

The gospel is the good news that Christ atoned for our sins and was resurrected. Easter is a time of great joy. It is my testimony that Christ does live and that he does love each of us enough to prune us down and help us become all he wants us to be. But it would be a lot easier it we didn’t fight it. We need to believe in him enough to trust that he knows what he is doing and to follow him anywhere – even places we may not want to go. And be prepared to change our course when he wants us to.

I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and for all my Savior has done for me. It is my prayer that I will continue to grow through my experiences and be able to become all he wants me to become. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Wished for You

My Dearest Nevaeh,

I can't believe it has been a year already. One whole year of relief. One whole year of knowing that you are our forever daughter. One whole year of not having to worry about if you are staying with us or leaving to live somewhere else. I can't believe it has been one whole year of pure bliss.

April 22nd, your Adoption Day, will always hold a special place in my heart. 

You have brought so much joy and happiness into our lives since the day you came and your little personality has blossomed so much over this last year.  You have a way of making all of us laugh  - the way you stand on a chair and wave your hands around like you are the ring leader of a circus. And then how you tell us to clap for you and you take a bow. Of course this is all happening while we are suppose to be doing family scripture study. You definitely have us all wrapped around your little finger.

Recently I purchased a bunch of adoption books for you. The day they came in the mail I was on my way to do some grocery shopping. I sat in the parking lot and started reading them. As I sat and read "I Wished For You" tears streamed down my face. You are still too young to really understand the book but we sit and read it together anyway. I change the name of the bear to your name because you always get a kick out of stories if I put your name in.

I Wished for You by Marianne Richmond

"Mama, Tell me again how I'm your wish come true"

"A long time ago, a wish started growing in my heart. At first, it was a quiet wish that nobody knew. Then it became an out-loud wish that grew and grew and grew. Until one day, my wish came true."

"Why did you wish for me, Mama?"

"Because, I had an empty place in my heart that I wanted to fill with love for a special child like you."

"Oh. What about the mama who grew me in her tummy? Didn't she wish for me, too?"

"Sometimes, Nevaeh, a mama will grow a baby in her belly, and for all kinds of reasons, she'll decide she cannot be the very best mama she wants to be. The mama who grew you loved you enough to make a different wish- a wish for a family who would love her little one with a total and adoring love. The kind of love I have for you."

"Mama, Did you wish for me by name?"

"When I first wished my wish, I didn't know your name. But that didn't stop my wishing. I asked God to look around and find the child who would be the perfect one for me."

"Nevaeh, of all the children in the whole wide world, God picked you for me."

"Did you wish for me all day, Mama? Or only when the stars were out?"

"All the time. I wished for you with my morning coffee, and when I made my bed. I couldn't get my wish for you out from in my head."

"Did you ever think, that your wish might not come true?"

"Oh yes...I wished for you through many phone calls and through mountains of paperwork. I wished for you while I waited and waited and waited. "

"Sometimes, I didn't hear any news about your for weeks or months. But I held onto my wish tightly - like the string on a balloon."

"One day... One glorious, special, wonderful day, I found out my wish was coming true."

"What did you do?"

"I shouted for joy! And I cried happy tears. I told all my friends... and they hugged me and cried, too. Everyone knew how much I had been wishing for you."

""Do wishes always come true?"

"No, not all of our wishes come true. But don't ever stop wishing for the hopes of your heart."

"I won't".

"But I came true."

"Yes, you did, Nevaeh. I wished for you , and you are always and forever my wish come true."

Thank you, Nevaeh, for bringing us so much love and laughter. Thank you for helping us to learn to have faith and rely on God when all hope seems lost. Thank you for being my wish come true.


Your Forever Momma

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Time 4 Learning Review/Egg Hunt

Now that Nevaeh is 3 1/2 I have decided that I really need to start working with her on school work. One of the problems of having older children and then starting over again is that there seems to be even less time in the day to work with her. I am either trying to help Joshua with his school work, or I am driving Jared and Jacob around town.

So I decided to give Time 4 Learning a try. It is something that Nevaeh and I can do together before nap time. We curl up on the bed together and just log in on my laptop. She enjoys interacting with the animated characters and I am grateful to not have to come up with something creative to do.

Some of the activities that we have done include having a book read to her and then answering questions to see if she understood the story; working on recognizing patterns and matching games. The program also has a playground of just silly games you can play once you have completed your lessons for the day; but Nevaeh is really not interested in them and she enjoys just doing the lessons.

I wish that they had worksheet for me to print off that went along with the lessons though. One of the things that we need to work on is Nevaeh's fine motor skills. Unfortunately, the worksheets are not introduced until they start doing 1st grade work.

I signed up because the were offering a $4.99 introduction price. It normally cost $19.99 a month and I am not sure I think it is worth it for the preschool level. They do offer a lot more for older children and maybe that price would be worth it if she was doing more than 15 minutes a day of work and it include worksheets to be printed off.

I do have my oldest son, Joshua, signed up for Time 4 Writing and we love using that program. I hate having to assign writing assignments and I especially hate having to grade them, so this is a great program for us. He logs into the computer daily and has assignments to complete. Then once a week he has a written paper to turn into an on-line teacher who gives him feedback about what he needs to improve on.

If you are struggling to teach your child how to write,I highly recommend the Time 4 Writing program. I would like to be able to say that I recommend the other program for preschool age students but the cost seems a little much to me for their age. If you have school age children that you would like to keep busy during the summer I would give the $4.99 trial a go and see how they like it. It might be a good way to keep them from saying "Mom, I'm bored" and help you keep your sanity during the summer.

Time4Learning is an online education program that can be used as a homeschooling curriculum, an afterschool tutorial or for summer learning. As a member, I've been given the opportunity to share my experiences. The content in this review was not written by Time4Learning. While I was compensated, the opinion is entirely my own.

Nevaeh and I went to an egg hunt today put on by one of the ladies in our church. They meet weekly for a little preschool group but Nevaeh doesn't do well learning in a larger group setting so we only go to the parties. She wasn't really interested in participating in the games or craft. She was more interested in hunting for eggs and getting candy.

Thinking about sharing candy with her doll

Snack Time

I finally got her to sit still long enough to take a picture with her new doll.
She had the doll with blonde hair that was given to her by her social worker
but when I saw this one with her golden brown hair I just had to get it.
Of course, Nevaeh really could have cared less. She was more interest in 
getting candy and running around. I on the other hand really enjoy finding
matching outfits and bows for both of them. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

One Woman's Dream

Have you ever had a dream - a dream so big - that you thought there was no possible way you would ever be able achieve it?

I often wonder if that is how Andrea Roberts felt when she set out to change the world by saving one orphan at a time. Did she think to herself, I am just one woman, what could I possibly do to help all these children? Well here she is 5 years later and she has helped to find homes for almost 500 orphans.

In the March 1, 2010 addition of People Magazine Andrea was named "A Hero Among US". I was so glad to see a real life hero listed in People Magazine. A mom, an everyday ordinary person, doing extra-ordinary things. It made me think that if this one woman could do so much to help change the world, that maybe, just maybe I could do something too.

Of course Andrea herself would tell you that she has not done this all alone. She has a whole army of moms and dads who feel the same way I do about these beautiful children. But the fact remains that she was able to organize this incredible venture and make so many people want to join and follow.

Just recently she has added to her ranks of followers, Patrica Heaton, who donated $10,000 to Reece's Rainbow when their Twitter account reached 10,000 followers. The Reece's Rainbow website was so busy during this time the team who works on the site had to shut it down for a while and rework things to handle all the extra traffic.

I know that God's hand is in this marvelous cause and feel like I am really a part of His army lead by Andrea on earth. I am so grateful that this woman dared to dream and believed in God and herself enough to follow through with it.

So the next time you have a dream and think to yourself, I am only one person, what can I do to help change the world, remember Andrea and that with God nothing is impossible.

And while you are at it, stop by and take a look at these sweet faces who so desperately want to belong to a family. Could you be that family?

This little guy is Vilis and he will be 5 on April 12th. This will not be a happy birthday for him because 5 is not  a good age to be when you are in an orphanage and so this little guy really needs a home soon. Most of the time money is a big obstacle when it comes to adopting a foreign child but this child already has over $8,000 in his grant account. Please take the time to go and read about Vilis and see if you could be his mommy or daddy.

 This is Marat and he will be 13 in June. The only reason he sits in an orphanage is because he is HIV positive. Time is running out for Marat and he knows it. He is a very smart child with a high IQ and will never have the opportunity to do any good with it if he is not adopted. He will be turned out into the streets and most likely never hired for a job because of his HIV status. He wants a family so badly. So if you know of anyone who might want this super cute, smart boy as a son please forward them this information. Remember, HIV is not as scary as you think. We need to stop living in the 80's and be more informed about how hard it really is to catch this disease and the normal life these children can live.

This is Pryce and he just turned 7. Pryce has CP and is not walking yet but he is an intelligent friendly little boy who needs a mommy and dad to help him be all he can be. He qualifies for the older grant too. Unfortunately, the boy who is adopted first is the one who will get the grant money. So if you can't adopt, would you be willing to donate to the older children's fund so that someone else might be able to give these sweet boys a home.

And last, of course I have a family I would love for you to help out. Patti, over at A Perfect Lily, has done so much for the Reece's Rainbow children by helping to raise money for them. But now Patti's family needs our help. You see, her DIL is unable to have children and they are getting ready to watch the precious little foster babies they have been taking care of return home. So her son and DIL have decided to try and adopt. Unfortunately, even domestic adoptions are not cheap. This young couple is having an awesome giveaway that is worth looking into. Hop on over here to see if you might be able to contribute a few dollars to their cause.

And I would love for you all to share my blog with your friends on Facebook. Remember, you never know whose children these are and you just might be the person who leads them to their forever family.