Friday, January 19, 2018

Drop by Drop We Fill Our Vessel



Life used to be easier, it used to be way less complicated.  When our parents and grandparents were living, things were much simpler.  Life has changed because of technology and blessings that we have been given in this day and age.  With the gifts that God has given our planet, it has also changed the way we have things available to us spiritually as well.

Scientists have made us aware of the fact that the atmosphere that surrounds this planet is changing.  We get warnings all the time to stay safe in the sun because the ozone layer is thinning.  Yes they would have us believe it is because we are all full of hot air and that we are destroying ourselves.  I have always had a difficult time accepting this fact.  Yes there is a significant number of people on this planet, but there is even a larger portion of unpopulated land mass.  It just didn’t make sense to me.

When changes that take place on the planet, there is no doubt that changes will take place with us as a human population.  Because that’s what we do…we evolve.  The way we are today is different, our innerness is changing.  There is more light that is currently making it’s way to the surface of the planet, and at the same time the knowledge that has been given to us is growing exponentially.


I was talking to Colton a while back on how different things are just in my life.  I remember watching tv and being so disappointed when one of the 3 stations that existed wasn’t working.  Today we have hundreds of stations that play non stop if you have satellite or cable tv.  Even if you don’t pay for a service, you have the ability to watch thousands of channels over your wi-fi connection with any smartphone that fits into the palm of your hand.  When I turn on my electronic obsession of choice, most of the channels go unused because they hold no interest for me.

I remember having a car that needed to be registered and at the time we were living in Seattle.  We wanted to register the car in Oregon and so one morning I got up,  showered and started my drive.  It was probably a 7 hour drive, and yes I managed to do it all without a cell phone, computer, smart watch, or an in car GPS.  I recall getting to the DMV and registering the car, calling home to let them know I was headed back and then doing just that.
A miracle in todays world.

Remember how people used to actually write letters?  You had to actually write or type on a piece of paper and put it in the mail.   Now we have the internet and anything that we want to communicate can be sent almost instantaneously.  In fact we are almost angry when things don’t happen at the speed of light.

There is a quickening in every sense that has and IS taking place.  Heavenly Father is bathing us in his light.  I have a theory that in fact the atmosphere is changing and physically allowing more light (Light of Christ) to reach us on this planet.  Because things are ramping up.  These are the last days that we are living in that have been spoken and written about for so very long. 

You can FEEL it….I CAN FEEL IT.

In Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, Lehi talks about the Large spacious building, the rod and the tree among other things.  His view of the rod follows a path that leads us through life.  Hopefully one that we hold to for guidance.  I have a slightly different view of my rod.    My rod goes straight up…towards heaven.  Heaven is where my tree of life resides.

The real interesting part of his vision is the building.  We usually  view it as the world around us and society at large that is making fun of those that are striving to be better.  I have a different view on this as well.  Usually when we think of a well built building we envision a strong foundation.  One that will resist stress and damage caused from outside sources.  A good foundation goes deep and is built with the best materials that we have access to.

The building as I see it is each one of us.  The bottom floor is our foundation.  Our tribe are the people that we first come into being with.  They help us to define our foundation.  It is our family, our church, our teachers, our friends…the people that we spend the most time with.  We need this tribe of ours to teach us right from wrong.  How to treat others, and how to work.  We need them to give us our foot hold in life.

If you have ever been in a busy city with high rises, you know that the view from the bottom floor is not always a great one.  It can be messy with garbage that has been tossed as people go about their day.  It can be very noisy with traffic and people rushing to their own destinations.  It can be downright unpleasant.  As we make our way up the stairs of the building our view changes.  The noise is a little quieter, you can’t see the garbage as well, the air is a little cleaner and you can breathe easier.

Go all the way up to the penthouse and the view is vastly different, perhaps even feeling like a different world.  Up on the top floor  the noise from the street doesn’t even find it’s way up.  There is no garbage because it is too far below to even come into view.  The air is so fresh that you open the windows and leave them open, something that would not happen on the bottom floor.  Leaving the windows open on the bottom floor leaves you vulnerable. On the top floor the sky is alive with stars.  Stars that were not even a thought on the bottom floor because of the streetlights blocking their light.

Moving from the bottom floor up is not always an easy thing to do.  The people that live with you on that bottom floor don’t want you to move.  They want you to stay with them.  Change is hard, and most people don’t like change.  When you decide to move up a level or two, they might try to talk you out of it or make you feel guilty, or try to hold you back.

When you get to even the middle floor and tell them how beautiful the view is, that there are mountains, and maybe a lake or even the ocean they may not believe you because to them it does not exist.  When you get to the top and tell them of all the stars, and that you sleep outside under them they will call you crazy, because they would never think of doing such a thing.

In the story of the Tower of Babel – their climb was external as they attempted to climb up to heaven. This is not the kind of climb that we want to make,  It is all by show and forcing our way into heaven. Our climb is different, though just as difficult because it is an inner climb.  Our climb cannot be seen by the outer world unless we allow others to see it, or they see the actions we are taking in order to accomplish our transition.

 In the Story of the Ten Virgins we know that there were 10 women waiting to go into the wedding.  When the time came, 5 found that they did not have enough oil in their lamps to join the wedding party and went to search for more.  By the time they were able to obtain more oil the doors were closed and they could not attend. Each and every one of us has our own lamp that must be filled with our own oil.  At this time in our lives, what is the “oil” that fills our lamps?

In girls camp one year, the leaders presented each girl with a small jar.  They were instructed to keep this jar with them at all times.  Each time they attended something they were given a small drop of oil.  Each time they were present for flag ceremony, each time they attended prayer, each time they were at one of the classes or going on a hike, they got a small drop of oil.  They were only there for a few short days, but the girls that were doing what they were asked to do ended up with a much larger amount of oil than some of the girls that decided to sleep in or not help with the meals.

It is by the small and simple acts that we choose to do each day that will enable us to move higher in each of our buildings.  In so doing we also put drops of oil into our lamps so that when the time comes we will not be left in the dark.  So really….as in the story, we can’t borrow oil from others.  It is an action that each of us little by little, every hour of every day, must do of our own accord.

What do some of those acts look like?  Well for one prayer.  It doesn’t really matter   what you call the one that you pray to, as long as you do it.  Give thanks to your source for all that you have been given.  Acknowledge everything in your life, the good as well as the not so good.  It is in the not so good that the growth occurs and this is where our strength comes from.  Little acts of service are also on the list.  Anything from making the bed for another, washing the dishes, giving someone a lift home, picking up a hitch hiker, raking leaves, shoveling a driveway, and just sharing a smile with someone that is down.  Keeping the promises that you have made with others is huge in my book…this one has many layers.  The list is really endless.  

One really important thing to remember, is to not get stuck on the lower levels.  This world can be a challenge to the best of us.  Each day is an opportunity to be just a little bit better.  There are many things in life that are not inherently wrong, but if we get stuck in them and don’t climb then what is the use?  In this world we need jobs.  That is just a fact.  Yet if that is what we concentrate on and make it our only focus, we may always remain on the lower floors.  Yes we might have the biggest house on the block, and die with the most toys, but in the end all you have is toys and those don't go with you.  Even hobbies such as exercising, and playing a sport can turn into addictions and keep us from taking the steps to where the fresh air is.

Personally, I don’t want to live on the bottom floor.  When you decide to move up a level, it’s going to make others uncomfortable because they will feel like they should be moving even if they don’t want to move…and that’s ok. We need to remember that there will be times when we are meant to move up to those upper floors alone.  Many times we are asked to take steps that take us away from others.  We are meant to move on our own time and at our own pace.  So if you feel the need or desire to climb those stairs, just remember that you are never alone. There are always others there helping us along our journey as we take those difficult painful stairs...even if we can't see them.  Hopefully others will see us climbing the stairs to the new level and at least want to come up and see how the view is.  Often times this will help encourage people to want to change because they see the higher view.

The energies on the planet are changing, and with that our view is changing.   The real question is, does the energy make you feel curious enough to see what is on the upper floor, or are you just going to stay in the noise and pollution?

Come with me up to the penthouse…I hear the view is amazing


_____________

If I could give a gift to you
It would be a gift of light
sent with God’s eternal love
to show you with perfect sight

how wondrous is his love for you
for each of us on earth
he sent us here to learn his plan
to learn of our royal birth

His light shines down upon us all
bathed in eternal love
if we but look then we will find
the wonders from above

It shines from every living thing
even from the grains of sand
scattered as a billion stars
as we journey here as mortal man



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Elaine Rudd

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Little Warriors

I love how for decades now, we have been told that the current generation is the best that has ever been, and in fact that is true.  The children that are being born today are in fact the best and have been held in reserve for this day.  Anyone that has served in the primary, or YM & YW, or who has grand children can attest to this fact.  They are being sent down with light and knowledge that past generations have not had.    I love my grandkids.  My oldest are only 3, and 2, and they are fierce and feisty and a huge handful to their parents who at times have no idea what to do with them.  

When I look at them and watch the interactions that they have with their parents, at times it makes me smile, and at time it truly breaks my heart.  I see  amazing little spitfires that heaven sent down at the last days learning how to be independent and courageous.  Learning how to stand up for themselves and make their own choices.  I also see their parents who want them to be obedient, and learn to listen, and to know that they ultimately are in charge.

I have tried to gently tell their parents how amazing they are, how much Heavenly Father is going to need their fierceness when the going really gets tough.  How Heavenly Father is going to need their independence so that they can make decisions for themselves when the adversary tries to control them.  How valiant they are going to need to be to stand for truth and righteousness.  That we truly are raising another army for the final battle between Light and Darkness.

I know that Heaven looks down at each of us with these same eyes.  Heavenly Father sees us each going through our own struggles, as we battle our own dragons trying to do the best that we can.  He wants us to be obedient for ultimately that is the cornerstone to all creation.  He wants us to learn to listen to the still small voice guiding us each moment of each day, so that later we can learn to listen to the voice of the Holy Ghost which brings us further light and knowledge into the mysteries of heaven.  And he wants us to realize that ultimately HE is in charge and knows the plan, the entire plan that only he has knowledge of.

How can we help to guide these amazingly strong independent spirits that are being sent to Earth, if we ourselves are unable to recognize our role.  We were sent before them for a reason.  We are here to help them wake up when the time is right.  Do not be deceived in thinking that the trials that we are going through are a punishment for things we have done, but see them as the refiners fire that they are.  We are ALL going through the refiners fire, the dirt and debris that is within us is being burnt away and if we are diligent we will be left with something pure and refined that the Lord can use to build his kingdom.  

Never, ever, ever give up.





Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thinking....

Tonight as I was saying my prayers, looking back on the days, weeks, and months of the past and asking for my kids and grand kids to be watched over and protected I had the sense of being such a small speck in the scheme of things.  My heart aches as I think of each member of my family, how much I would love to be able to protect each one from the pain and heartache that this world can throw our way.  That we do each face each day.  

There are those that would blame God for all the bad in the world, for all the things that we see as wrongs or injustices, but the truth is bad things just happen.  To honest people and to not so honest people.  Each day, almost each second of each day we are faced with choices, and it is by those choices that we are blessed with consequences both good and bad.  

My daughter was making a treat for her family tonight, and my beautiful grand daughter was helping her make the frosting.  She was so excited to be helping and in her excitement leaned down to give the bowl a hug and her hair got stuck in the beaters.  The resulted in her losing a large portion of hair from the side of her head.  This literally makes tears roll down my cheeks as I am typing this, thinking of both my daughter and grand daughter and the fear and sadness as this happened tears at my heart strings.  I am so very grateful that it was not worse than it is.

As I was trying to comfort my daughter over her texts, trying to reassure her that she was not to blame I reminded her of a time in her past.  The day that she did a front flip on the trampoline, something that I had asked her time and time again not to do, over rotating and heading towards the springs...hands going between the springs and her mouth hitting the edge of the trampoline......it is all so clear in my mind and something I will never forget, and I still am not certain that I have forgiven myself.  As bad as it was she still has an amazing smile that lights up my world when I am near her.

It makes me wonder how heaven feels, looking down from above and seeing the world in the state that it is.  How sad must Heavenly Father and Mother be looking down from above.  Knowing how much love I have for each of my children, I can only imagine how much love they feel for all of humanity and how much it must hurt them with what we have done with our world.  How it must pain them to see how we treat our brothers and sisters.

There are those that would try to convince themselves and everyone around them that the choices that we make only effect ourselves.  The truth is that every decision, no matter how small effects us all.  I only pray that the choices I make are in some small way having positive consequences...and might help to bring a little more light into a world full of darkness.



I miss you Daddy...you gave me only light



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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Near and Dear to my heart......





This blog entry is very near and dear to my heart.  My beautiful youngest daughter Krista, has an amazing story that she would like to share.  I am so happy to be able to have a place for her to do just this.  I want her to know how impressed I am and always have been with her.  She is a joy in my life.  I am so happy that she is at a place in her life, where she feels safe enough to share this.  💖

                     _______________________________

Adoption Story

I recently  posted about my twins I placed up for adoption three years ago, and  I’ve had some requests to read my adoption story. I thought I would share here, how I decided to place the twins up for adoption and some of the miracles that followed.
                     
            In 2012 I had just graduated high school and had plans to attend BYU-Idaho. I had been enjoying my summer break in between graduation and heading out on my own. My plans changed pretty quickly after I found out I was pregnant. I was 18 years old at the time. I had been sick off and on for a while and it was not getting better, so I broke down and took a pregnancy test.  Those two little lines made it very clear why I had been so sick.

I remember calling my mom into my room, and asking her some random question about pregnancy trying to gauge her reaction to what I was about to share with her. I told her I was pregnant and we sat and cried together on the edge of my bed for a long time. She wasn’t mad or angry... she just hugged me and cried with me. We got out my patriarchal blessing and read through it together and we talked for a long time. We talked about what it might be like if I decided to stay with the boy I had been dating, and we talked about what it would be like if I decided to keep the baby without getting married, and we talked about placing the baby up for adoption. My mom told me how much she loved me, and how she would support whatever decision I made. My mom ended up sharing the news with my dad, who told the rest of the family for me. I remember the first time my dad told me he knew, he just hugged me and told me how much he loved me and supported me. I can’t begin to explain what their support meant to me throughout everything I was about to go through.

I thought a lot about my options. I could get married, but I didn’t love the father of the baby and I knew I didn’t want to be with him or even tied to him forever. I thought about what it might be like keeping the baby on my own and how hard it would be even though I knew that my family would help me. The same day I took the test and told my mom, I called him to end our relationship. I told him I didn’t want to be with him and that I knew I wasn’t meant to keep the baby. It’s hard for me to explain how I knew adoption was the right path for me because I wasn’t trying to take the easy way out. I knew at that point in my life that I wouldn’t be able to provide the baby with a family that had two parents that loved each other. More importantly, I knew that I wasn’t meant to be the mother in that situation. When I later found out I was having twins, all of these thoughts were more solidified.

           I’m not sure at that time if I really knew what everything meant or that what I was saying made sense, but one thing was clear for me from the beginning, this baby I was carrying did not belong to me. I had a strong feeling the twins had been sent here for someone else, another family struggling to have a baby of their own. That might sound weird to a lot of people, but I can’t explain how distinct and clear that feeling was. I knew this baby was sent to me for a reason and I had a responsibility to find the right parents. Now don’t get me wrong, this didn’t make me any less attached to my babies and it didn’t make any part of placing them up for adoption any easier, but I knew I had to do it.  

            It took a while to get the courage to go to that first doctor’s appointment.  I waited until I was 8 weeks pregnant before my mom went with me to the doctor. I found out I was having twins at my first appointment. We were sitting in the exam room, waiting for the doctor to come in and do an ultrasound. Right before the doctor entered I turned to my mom and said, “watch, I’m probably having twins” she responded with something like “Oh my”. Two minutes later, in walks my doctor who starts doing the ultrasound. As I was trying to figure out what was on the screen, I hear her say “wow, it looks like you’ve got two in there!” I just sat there shocked as I hear my mom mutter some swear word under her breath. Haha bless her soul.

            After telling all my immediate family I was going to place the twins up for adoption my mom and I went down to LDS Family Services. I loved my social worker and had a great experience with LDSFS. After our first appointment, my social worker gave me a log-in to look at all of the families wanting to adopt. I spent the next 3 months looking through those families without feeling any sort of attachment to any of them. One night, lying in bed I came across a family who lived in another city close by. (At this point, I thought I wanted a family in Utah so I could see the twins more often). I reached out to the family and we emailed back and forth for a while. I chose them to adopt my babies and they were really excited. Right after I told them they left to go on a cruise for 2 weeks and told me they would be in contact when they got home. Right after they got home they sent me an email telling me they found out they were pregnant, but would still be open to adopting my twins. When I heard that they were pregnant themselves, I knew they were not the family that was meant to have these two little boys, and I started the process of looking through all the profiles again. I later found out they had twin boys themselves.  By this time, it was November and I was starting to stress. My babies were due in April and I had no idea who their parents were going to be.

            My family was a great support to me throughout this time and was always keeping their ears open for families who might be the perfect fit. My brother in-law Braydon did track at BYU.  One day he was talking to the track secretary, Ann and he told her about my situation.  This was a miracle all by itself since he is very private, and rarely talks about personal things to others. Little did Braydon know, she knew a couple who lived in Kentucky who was struggling with infertility. We later found out that she talked to the couple shortly after, encouraging them not to lose hope and that I was again looking for an adoptive family. 

          When Braydon and Nicole told me about talking to Ann, I said I would be interested in talking to the family in Kentucky, but nothing really happened for a while.  I rarely wanted to journey out of the house because I was always a little afraid of who I might run into, but somehow my family talked me into going to an indoor track meet on the BYU campus. Ann hardly ever went to any of the meets, but on this day she did. Braydon had been talking to her at the track meet and introduced my mom and I to her. She told me all about her friends, Kim and Jeremy from Kentucky and how she would  trust them with any of her own kids. I remember that because that was really huge for me to hear her say that.


 A little while later after that meeting I got a random Facebook message from a lady in Kentucky. She told me who she was and wanted to learn more about me. From there we just started talking a lot. Kim wrote about their journey to adopting the twins on her blog, where I discovered some really amazing things that happened on their end. I didn’t know this but from September to December they knew about me, but had no idea who I was. 

They said they prayed for me, and the babies every night and felt really close and connected to us somehow. They had just taken out a loan that they weren’t supposed to be eligible for, that would cover the cost perfectly for their IVF treatments and on the day they were going to call the clinic, they got a call from  Jessica, Kim's sister and Ann's daughter in law.  She told them Ann had just met me and that they should get approved through LDSFS as soon as possible.  I did not know at the time, but my mom went back and talked to Ann.  She told Ann that the family I had picked out had just fallen through, and that I had to start searching for another family.  She also told Ann that she knew Braydon had been inspired to open up to her for a reason, and that Kim and Jeremy were going to be important in our lives. They were able to get approved for adoption in one month, in a process that normally takes about four months if everything goes well.  This was only possible through a handful of other miracles on their end.  If you would like to read it, here is the link to their part in this story.  http://jeremyandkimwalker.blogspot.com/2014/01/miracle-twins.html




         On my end, I had a very challenging pregnancy. I was super, super sick. My parents were angels and took care of me as I laid on the couch for 9 months straight and threw up every single thing I ate. Looking back, I can see this for the blessing that it was.  It forced me to be calm and quiet for much of my pregnancy.  I am positive that this enabled me to be able to carry them to term, and for allowing them be as big and healthy as they were.  



Finding Kim and Jeremy was a huge relief for me and an answer to my thousands of prayers. It’s hard for me to explain how I knew that they were the right ones but I did. Everything with them fell perfectly into place. They lived far away, which at first I was worried about, but ended up being a big blessing in helping me heal. I told them that I wanted them to adopt the babies over facetime sometime in the middle of January.  We were all very happy. They were able to meet me and my family shortly after at my house in Utah. As we were talking we realized that our great grandfathers on both my father’s and Kim’s father’s sides were siblings, making Kim and I third cousins. We are also more distantly related through Jeremy’s side of the family. Before they came to see me, they had names chosen for the boys. Cade’s middle name Burr is my grandfather’s middle name and McKay’s middle name Holmes comes from the family connection on Jeremy’s side. That gave me a lot of peace knowing that when they were sealed to Kim and Jeremy, they would also be distantly sealed to me and that we are all blood related. 

I had the twins on March 28th, 2014. I had a scheduled C-Section on a Friday morning.  This was probably the hardest day of the whole pregnancy for me because I knew my time with my babies was over, and I now had to share them with the rest of the world. Everything went good with the delivery. They came out healthy as could be. Two beautiful little boys weighing over 5 pounds each.  Kim and Jeremy had flown in from Kentucky and came into the room a couple hours after delivery to meet the boys. They were the cutest babies I had ever seen. 



I had told Kim and Jeremy they could come meet the boys on Friday, but that I wanted Saturday to spend with them and my family. That Saturday flew by for me and I got all the snuggles I could. My mom spent the first night in the hospital, my dad joined the second night and I chose to keep the babies in the room with us both nights. I don’t think any of us got much sleep those two nights.













           On Sunday, everyone was ready to leave the hospital. The babies were healthy, I was cleared to go home, and Kim and Jeremy were headed to stay with her sister down in the valley for a couple weeks before the babies would be old enough to fly home. Sunday morning, I also had to sign the adoption papers. I did this with my mom and dad in the room as well as all the other officials who had to be there. I do not remember everything that was read to me, except that I signed away my rights through tears. To be honest, looking back I do not know how I did it. It was definitely through the Grace of God that I was able to sign those papers and walk out of that hospital empty handed. That day I went home and sobbed in bed between my mom and dad for hours. It was a very hard day and a feeling I will never forget.



            Right before Kim and Jeremy flew home, when the boys were two weeks old I got all ready for the first time and drove with my mom down to see them. I loved on them and said my final goodbye’s before they flew home to Kentucky. I could feel the love they were surrounded by, and this gave me a lot of peace and comfort. 




          I know I had an ideal situation with the strong support that my family gave me. Especially my mom and dad. They were both perfect for me during this whole situation, showering me in love and always supporting me. I was able to keep my head up by going and seeing friends I hadn’t seen for the past year and trying to have fun again. I delivered the babies in March, and in May I met a wonderful young man that is now my husband. He has been a huge part in my healing and really helped me look to the future.

          Placing a baby up for adoption is no easy task and I don’t think anyone really understands how it feels until they have to go through it. I now have a huge appreciation for all birth moms and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis. I am also so grateful for the twins’ parents, Kim & Jeremy, who have always given them so much love. I have seen the twins four times since placing them and every time it gets better! They are the biggest sweet hearts. I know choosing Kim and Jeremy to be their parents was no coincidence and Heavenly Father lead me to them for a reason. The twins look a lot like them and people tell them so all the time. Adoption is an amazing gift and I am so grateful it was part of my plan here on earth.