Saturday, January 14, 2012

Difference and Purpose

I love this picture, because it makes me think of my children. They were severely mentally impaired, blind, deaf, unable to walk, or run, jump or play without assistance, but they were so special and they were mine.
Being different in this world is not something that is accepted readily.  Unless you are outwardly beautiful, talented in some astonishing way, or wealthy and can show it, there is little welcome in this world for you, unless you can get people to look past your differences, to find out who you are.
For someone who is handicapped or disabled, it is very hard to find acceptance.  You discover that most people feel a lot of fear, and awkwardness when meeting people who are different.  You find out who your friends are, you discover who can handle your new life an the challenges, struggles, heart breaks, setbacks, and sorrows that are now a part of your every day.
Through those struggles though, I came to understand how special my son and daughter were. By taking on the responsibility of caring for them everyday, rooting for them when they worked so hard to perform the basic tasks that we take for granted, and loving them when they slept so peacefully in my arms, I came to see them for the gift that they were.
They taught me more in their short lives about compassion, unconditional love, and about myself than anyone could ever have.
I was saddened by the fact that few had the courage, or took the time to get to know them better.  They had such sweet spirits.  They were full of love and simple appreciation for those who loved them and shared the day with them.
Music provided so much joy to them.  The right tune soothe them, or made them want to dance and play.  They loved being sung to, and the hymns played on Sunday morning made them so peaceful.
Silliness was the order of the day and being around them made you want to be silly.  They made you feel like you could be yourself.  They only wanted your time, your laughter, your attention.  The simplest things made them laugh and smile.  A silly noise, the laughter of others, music and dancing around the living room, all of those things made for such happy memories.  Anthony love it when Tony would "play" wrestle with him and Tia on the floor.  He loved taking walks and feeling a breeze on his face.  His absolute favorite thing to do though, was to stand (holding onto the window sill) and feel the sunshine on his face.  His favorite spot to sit was in the section of sunshine that would shine down through the window creating a wide, warm rectangle of light on the floor.  He would sit there for so long, just basking in the warmth an beauty.  I loved to watch him, quietly from the other side of the room.
To have someone need you so much, to love you so unconditionally, to need you in ways that no one else could, was such a blessing.
Kyra was my snuggle bug.  She could not do as much as her brother, which was very little, but what she could not do, she made up for in love.  She loved to snuggle and listen as I read her stories, or sang her songs.  The hymn "I am a child of God" was a song that I sang to her every night while she fell asleep in my arms. Those are the moments that I remember with longing the most.
The other memories I have caused me to suffer from depression, and post traumatic stress, but if I am being honest, I would be willing to do it again, if God asked me too.
I understand the crucifixion now so much more now, and in such a personal way.  I understand the sorrow that our Heavenly Father must have felt knowing what his son, our savior Jesus Christ, was going to have to go through.  I understand the helplessness he must have felt knowing that nothing could be done to change his fate.  He was meant to suffer for our sake.  I know that helplessness. My son and daughter went through so much that I could only observe.  I could offer them support, love and comfort, but there was so much that was out of control.  How often does our Heavenly Father watch helplessly, only able to offer us the love and comfort when we suffer, or when we face situations that are necessary for our growth.
However there are times when we make choices, going against all we know, and against our better judgement, to fit in, or to escape, but are not necessarily prepared for the consequences that come with it.  Many people believe that God causes bad things to happen to us, but that is not true.  Often he has to allow the bad to happen, for our growth.  Often he has to allow us to suffer the consequences of our actions, decisions, and choices.  The question for us is, do we trust that he knows us better than we know ourselves?  Do we trust that he has a plan for us?  Do we allow him to teach us those things that he feels we need to learn.  Do we trust that he knows what we are capable of, or that he knows our potential.
Not all of us are born with superior intelligence, the ability to draw, sing, tell a story, create, or understand, but it does not mean that we are not worth knowing that we are not worth the time, effort, friendship, love, or time of those around us?
My children were not able to do the normal things that most children could do.  They could not see, they could not hear properly, they could not speak, run, jump, walk, or express themselves, but there is not one moment that I shared with them, that I would trade for the world.  They were a joy to behold, and those who did get the chance to know them better, came away with so much love and appreciation for them.
How often do we ignore those meeker members of society, or in our lives.  How often do we take the time to understand to know, support and love those around us that we take for granted.  How often do we offer friendship to those who may not be in our everyday social circle?  How often do we attend to the needs of those around us, without expecting something in return?  How often do we offer a kind word, a smile, a simple act of love, without needing a holiday as an excuse?
Are we loving those who are around us, the way that our savior taught us to?
It is just something to consider.

" I dreamt of heaven the other night, an the pearly gates swung wide.  An angel with halo bright ushered me inside.  And there to my astonishment stood folks I'd judged and labeled as quite "unfit" of "little worth", and spiritually disabled." Indignant words rose to my lips, but NEVER were set free, for EVERY face showed stunned surprise, not ONE expected ME!"  -Unknown

I love you Anthony, Kyra, an Gabriel.  I miss you, but I am so grateful for the lives you live on our behalf.
I can't wait to see you again. -mom

Thursday, January 12, 2012


What would this world be without our dreams?  Where would our hope begin?
Every invention, painting, story, creation begins with a dream, or inspiration.
It is so important for us to dream, not just for the guide of it, but because we grow with every dream we have.
What do you dream about? What is your greatest wish?  What is it that you hope to become, create, or do?
I have so many dreams that it is difficult to focus on one.  I have so many stories, rushing around in my mind that my fingers cannot write them fast enough.  I cannot make them type any faster than they are capable, but still I dream.
What are you going to do, to make those dreams come true?
Every wonder of this world begins with a dream.
Don't be afraid to dream.

"Keep your heart open to dreams.  For as long as there are dreams there is hope and if there is hope there is joy in living" -Anonymous

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

As wives and mothers, even "men" we sometimes get so busy with our responsibilities, our jobs, our many roles that we have to play everyday to so many people that we forget that we are valuable for so many other reasons.  We forget that we are individuals with needs, wants, dreams, etc...
We all think about our resolutions with the advent of the new year, but how many of us follow through?
We all have ideas about what is expected of us.  What neighbors, friends, and family expect of us, but sometimes we lose sight of what we should expect from ourselves. Are we being the best we can be?
We are miraculous, marvelous creatures who are capable of great things.
We are capable of learning, developing, and changing in such amazing ways.
We are individuals who have value, much more than we sometimes know.
However, we forget that our happiness is just as important as the happiness we try to provide for of those around us.
Now, I do not mean that we need to neglect our responsibilities, or roles, but we do need to remember that we have needs of our own.
We are talented.
We are smart.
We are industrious.
And some of you (like me) are a little mad with creativity waiting to burst out.
Not all of our talents and interests appeal to everyone, but who cares.
I learned very early in life that if no one understands you, or wants to play with you, it does not have to mean the end of the world has arrived.  It only means that you have to get creative, and you have to be yourself, and you have to (and this is important), you have to be okay with being alone.
I spent quite a bit of my childhood in the attic, up a tree, dreaming in the garden, or a small corner of the garage, or a closet that was just big enough to curl up with a notepad, pencil, crayons, and such.  In fact I still find myself longing for those quiet moments, without distraction, or onlookers.
But my point is, that you have to find what it is that defines you, and be okay with that.
You are an individual who is precious, talented, funny, wise, creative, loving, and full of a life, but we may be limited by your environment, the people you associate with and other things like not enough time in the day,  but what is worse is that we are limited the most by our own feelings of inadequacy.
Why would we try, if we don't feel like it matters, or that we matter?
I know that I have a truck load of issues of my own, but one of my goals, my resolutions, is to try to stop feeling that way.  It won't be easy, but if I want to feel better, I have to give it a try.  However, my husband reminds me all the time that "you can't try, you have to do".  He is good at that, but opposites do attract and I am not so good at that.
I have always struggled with my self-esteem.  I have never felt valued or valuable, but as I said I am working on it, and I guess that is what is important about resolutions.  We cannot put a time limit on "all" of them.  We cannot be too hard on ourselves for failing.  We cannot put too much pressure on ourselves.  We can involve others in our resolutions when it comes to the need for support, but change can only come from within.  We have to do the changing, and no one can do it for us.
So what do we do now.  What do we do with our resolutions?
Well, we think about what it is that "WE" need.  What is it that would help us to grow in those wonderful ways that God knows we can?  What is it that we have always wanted for ourselves?  I don't mean material things.  I am talking about what talent have you always wanted to develop, or was put aside for the responsibilities that have taken up our time?
What are you good at?
What have you suppressed, because you think that there is no time for it?
What are you wishing you could do that is positive and good for us?
That is the type of things that are most important to our growth.  It is not about the brand of clothing that you wear, what role you play in the PTA, what kind of trip you take, car you drive, or status you have in the community.  Those things may be important to you, and that is your choice, but what I am talking about is what it is that makes up your core self.  You are special, individual, unique, and loved by someone who knows what you are capable of, our Heavenly Father.  We just have to be willing to discover it ourselves, by whatever route you must take.
Of course I also have the goal of weight loss.  Of course I would love to find a great haircut, or hair dye that covers my grey really well, and of course getting out my p.j. pants and slouchy clothes, but one thing at a time.
My goals have to be met in baby steps.  I have to work on them slowly, and at MY pace.  I have to do it that way, to make it a part of my everyday life, or IT WILL NOT WORK!  I know that about myself.
I want to encourage you to make those changes and take those steps that will make your quality of self and life better, but try to be patient with yourself.  Change takes time, but there can be change.
Good luck and I'll let you know how I am coming along.  Wish me luck too.

"Dwelling in the world is part of our mortal test. The challenge is to live in the world yet not partake of the world's temptations which will lead us away from our spiritual goals."Robert D. Hales - Oct. Gen. Conf. 2002