seven weeks of sleeplessness

Sep 23, 2014 by

The last seven weeks I have been dealing with many sleepless nights and gut-wrenching dreams stemming from abuse situations in my childhood. At times I have felt so fragile, it has seemed possible that if someone touched me, I would shatter in a million pieces. At other times, I have felt strong and able to face this new layer of necessary healing with faith and courage. At other times, I have been simply exhausted and unable to even think.

It has been tough.

I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about healing.

But not enough yet. There is still much for me to learn.

I have learned that quiet, peaceful moments with my children have come to mean immensely more than I ever knew they could. These precious moments of love and trust and connection are full of life-giving-light, they are sacred.

I have learned (or relearned) that Richard’s arms erase the fear and pain stored deep down in my soul.

I have learned how incredibly painful it is to go through life, doing all the things that life requires, while behaving on the outside like I am not dying on the inside.

I have learned that I absolutely cannot separate my physical body from my emotional body. I know this, yet it still surprises me. My emotions are screaming to come out and it seems they scream at me best through my physical body. Remember my 10th miscarriage hair debacle? My lungs are full of fluid – pneumonia has got the best of me, and the emotion for the lungs is grieving. I can think of no other emotion for what my spirit is experiencing than grief. I have been in bed since Wednesday night, coughing and hacking and gagging on the piles of mucous that need to come out of me. In the midst of the coughing and hacking, my kidneys woke me up screaming in pain several nights in a row. The emotion for kidneys is fear. I try to honor my spirit, to listen my emotions, to be in tune with myself, and (laughably given my many failures in this department) I actually think I do a really good job at it…and yet, my body pretty much never gets sick from a germ. Everyone around me can be sick and I won’t get sick. I get sick from my emotions. When I was pregnant with Fisher I made my whole body sick because I was so afraid of having a boy who would grow up and hurt others. No amount of talking or crying or gnashing my teeth could heal me. God was the only one then and He is the only one now who has the power to heal me.

However, I am doing some things to help the healing process. I am trying to be really open and honest…to say “I am not okay” when I’m really not, when I’m really suffering. I am spending time in deep, heartfelt prayer. I am looking at little girls and seeing how small and innocent they are and allowing myself to let go of the responsibility I have felt for so long for somehow not preventing these older, stronger, intimidating boys from touching me. I am crying. A lot. I have never cried this much in my life. Tears pour out of me nearly every day…and I am letting them flow.

There was a time in my life from about age 12 to age 22 where I did not cry. I would not allow myself to “lose control” like that. I held it all in and became super girl, getting straight A’s, being a teaching assistant for the math teacher and the principal, running every organization I was part of, working at our family’s grocery store, befriending the elderly people of our town, taking care of my young siblings, protecting my little brother from my stepfather’s rage, and keeping a smile on my face from sun-up to sundown. I actually believed I was okay. I didn’t know I was a hot mess on the inside. I was so effective in stuffing all the pain deep down inside that I didn’t even know it was there.

But sometimes it would explode out of me. Like when a Young Women’s leader at church would give a lesson about listening to our (future) husbands. Angry words would burst out of me (as I had decided that not only would I never, ever have a husband, but if by some terrible, unfortunate accident I ended up with one, I would never, ever be bossed by him.) about how men are not the boss of us and why should we listen to them! All they do is hurt us! And I would run out of the room and collapse in the bathroom or gym and every once in a while a few minutes of tears would come.

But then, I would calm down and put on my happy face and go home and take care of everything. And believe I was okay.

After we were married, I fell apart. Really fell apart. Richard was so safe and stable, I no longer had to hold it all in. Together we worked really hard on healing…he had the much harder road here because I was nearly impossible to live with. One day I would be loving and warm and safe. The next day (or minute!) I would be a raging lunatic begging for a divorce or stomping out of the house or demanding he leave me alone forever. It was so, so hard. But he loved me. Deeply loved me, scabs and scars and rage and all. And slowly, through his great love and patience with me, the bloody wounds healed and my heart calmed down to a much more even keel.

From the time we were engaged, we have talked about my abuse. We have dealt with it again and again and again. I have let God heal it again and again and again (and He has.) I have seen counselors, Bishops, and others. Up until a few months ago, I would say I was healed. And yet, here is another layer to deal with. Another stage of healing that we get to traverse together. And we are. We are talking and holding and praying and loving and helping this black slime come out of me.

We have decided it is time for me to see a counselor again, it has been about 19 years since my last set of counseling appointments. We are praying these appointments help me sort out the dreams and hasten the healing power of the atonement. I know God can heal me.

I feel a need to be fairly open about my journey on this current path. Since the morning I woke up with the awful, awful dream over a week ago, I have felt the need to write, to share, to bless. I think abuse is often spoken of in whispers or downright prohibited from being spoken of at all. There are a lot of people hurting in this world and my journey may help one of them know they are not alone in being abused or full of rage or feeling crazy, that abuse does not sentence you to a life of misery, that God can and does and will heal your deepest sorrows, and that it is okay to talk about.

So, if you see me, know I am hurting, know I am fragile, know I am doing everything I can to make it through each day with love and trust and hope in my heart. And be gentle.

And I will try to stay in a place of real.

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happy “us” day

Oct 15, 2013 by

I’d say yes all over again.

In fact this time I’d say YES!!!

Twenty years ago at this very moment I was saying yes over the altar of the Salt Lake Temple. I had no idea how good of a man I was marrying. I had no idea how much he would teach me about love and patience and serving and loving. I had no idea he would teach me about the love of our Heavenly Father. I had no idea how much fun he would be. I had no idea how much I would love bringing our babies into the world together. I had no idea what a wonderful father he would be and how he would balance out all my mothering weaknesses. I had no idea we would be sent down the paths of homebirthing or homeschooling. I had no idea our house would burn down seven weeks after our wedding. I had no idea we would move 13 times in the first 8 years of our marriage. I had no idea I would fall apart emotionally and spiritually and that all my fears and issues of trusting men would spill over like a toxic oil spill onto the one I loved most. I had no idea he would know how to put the pieces of me back together again. I had no idea we would go through the heartbreak of miscarriage ten times. I had no idea the challenges my body would put us both through and how he would love me and serve me and stand by me firmly planted in devotion to us. I had no idea he would know me inside and out, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, AND STILL ADORE ME.

I didn’t know.

But now I do.

And words will never be sufficient to express my gratitude.

Yes, Yes, YES. Forever and for always I will choose you.

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broken bones are everywhere

Oct 13, 2013 by

My little Fisher broke his arm on Friday at gym. He is in a lot of pain, not horrendous amounts, but a lot nonetheless. We were quite the sight at the doctor’s office with my big ‘ol robot looking boot, my hip that won’t allow me to sit, and his limp arm.

He was given a priesthood blessing by some of the fathers at gym before I took him in for x-rays and after the blessing he said, “I heard the most important part.” I asked him what that was and he replied “God loves me and I am not going to be scared.”

Tears from mama.

Isn’t that we all want for our children? For them to know that God loves them and is with them always so they don’t need to be scared.

He has been so, so brave. He is a trooper. I am so proud of him and his simple trust in his Heavenly Father. He is such a kind, loving boy who desires to do good and be good. I think his arm will heal quickly and he will back to normal in no time at all, but he will be at a new normal where he will have more compassion for those who are hurting. His prayers and those of his sisters have been so tender the past couple of nights as they have prayed for God to heal his arm. Somehow his broken arm is a lot more impactful on all of them than my broken foot – I guess they kind of view mine as par for the course!

Meanwhile I am trying to not feel guilty about the state of his bones. I know I did not nourish him well in the womb as he has always been deficient in calcium. I had just been through five miscarriages and was terribly ill his entire pregnancy. Survival was the name of the game. I did not eat well and my body was seriously lacking in mineral stores from the repeated miscarriages. I just need to focus on gratitude for his presence in my life and let the guilt for not building a perfect body for him go.

The good and bad – he is especially loving his inability to unload the dishwasher and especially not loving the inability he has to play with legos.

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Sep 15, 2012 by

Last Saturday I posted about being done with mothering. Well, it has been a week since that horrible night and I have been thinking deeply about my mothering. I have had some pretty powerful insights, which I will attempt to share, but they may or may not be powerful for you.

In Kisses From Katie (which you MUST read. Really. It will transform your heart…I promise), Katie says:

“Remember, God will never give you more than you can handle.” People repeat this frequently; I heard it growing up and I hear it now. It is meant to be a source of encouragement, and it would be if I believed it were true. But I don’t. I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.

When I read those words last week, I was changed. Impacted deeply. Taught. Opened. My heart was literally opened to more dependence on the Lord.

In the past year and a half, I have learned that I can’t fix the lump in my breast. I can’t fix this hip. I can’t change many of the things about my life. But God can. God will. God is. I remember the day I miraculously received approval for the lumpectomy. I still have the voicemail on my phone and I listen to it often so I can remember the workings of God in my life. I remember the day back in March when I had the MRI when I was completely opposed to it and could see no way to make it happen. I remember falling apart afterwards in body-shaking sobs because the miracles of that day meant God knew me and loved me – I felt like an itty-bitty baby in God’s hands and knew my every breath came from Him.

But sometimes I forget those lessons. Sometimes I am just so dang competent in my own life that I forget to be dependent on the Lord. I’m a smart girl. I can get a lot done. I can talk to anyone, anywhere and usually connect with their heart. I can type fast, scrub a toilet, lift a gazillion pounds, do a back flip, and hatch crazy ideas. I can help a mama give birth, massage a baby, make food from scratch, put on huge events, and gobs of other things that make the world go round (ha-ha).

So I forget. I forget how utterly dependent I am on Him. I forget that He is helping me each step of the way. I forget that without Him I can do nothing.

And I have done that with mothering.

I have taught parenting classes for years. I know all the “right” answers in my head. I have studied and researched and written and pondered mothering for the past sixteen years.

And there was a time I was doing most of it right. I was loving and patient and nurturing and focused and dedicated.

And then things changed. More children came to our home. I began having health problems. I began our miscarriage journey. I had Fisher and went through a year of hell recovering from his birth. After two more miscarriages and many broken hearts, our business was closed, our income cut by two-thirds, our Annesley was born and our life was changed dramatically. No more lunches with my sweetie, no more evenings to play together, no more Saturdays to work in the yard, just lots and lots of hours of him working hard to support our family. Then, when we finally adjusted the best we could to this new way of life, I discovered the breast lump and went through months of pain and fear (and growth!). Then, we were hit with the hip injury that has caused me such pain, incapacitation, and frustration for the past seven months.

Truth be told, I am worn out. My emotional reserves are gone. I have a wonderful life, I know this and I am so, so grateful for it. But, these last twelve years of physical, emotional, and financial stress have pretty much done me in. If everything is running smoothly and children are cheerful, obedient, and helpful, I can hold it together, but the second that changes, I fall apart. And really, when does it it all run smoothly? You know how you feel after you have been up for 36 straight hours and you are exhausted and hungry and can’t think straight? That is pretty much where I am living now. I am still functioning, still doing good things, still smiling, but my face is creased with the grimace of pain and my heart is struggling to stay in a place of love.

And I think I am finally learning that I must rely on the Lord.


I no longer have any of my own strength or my own brainpower or my own willpower. I have given everything I have and there is nothing left of myself to buoy me up.

It is oh, so evident in my mothering. My well of patience is about one inch deep. My well of love is perhaps a little deeper, but it is also harder to find. My well of nurturing is covered over with cement and needs to be unearthed.

And I have finally realized I cannot rely on myself and my knowledge and my dedication to mothering. It is not enough. I must rely on the Lord. I must receive sustenance from Him if I am to mother these precious souls in the way I desire.

Katie continues with:

I have learned to accept it, even ask for it, this “more than I can handle.” Because in these times, God shows himself victorious. he reminds me that all of this life requires more of Him and less of me. God does give us more than we can handle. Not maliciously, but intentionally, in love, that His glory may be displayed, that we may have no doubt of who is in control, that people may see His grace and faithfulness shining through our lives. And as I surrender these situations to Him, watch Him take over and do the impossible, I am filled with joy and peace – so much more than I can handle.

I want that peace. I know He is working miracles in my life on a continual basis. I know He is guiding me and loving me and teaching me. Now I need to give me to Him completely and let Him be my reservoir, let Him nurture me and them, let Him be my everything instead of thinking I am my anything.

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the gift of giving life

Jun 13, 2012 by

I am lying here in bed feeling my ovary working hard to ovulate and while my initial and most common reaction is to cry out in pain and writhe around in misery, today I am trying something different. Today I am trying to send a message of gratitude to my ovaries. I am grateful they (at least the right one since it is the only one that ovulates) are able to ripen an egg and release it every month in the hopes of forming a new baby.

Why the change in my attitude today?

I have been reading a glorious book, The Gift of Giving Life, that is hot off the presses. My friend, Robyn Allgood, is one of the authors and asked me to take part in a Virtual Book Tour that is running from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day and I am one of the last stops. The other tour stops have been food for my soul and I bet they will be for yours as well.

This book is a compilation of essays, birth stories, and articles about the divine nature of pregnancy and childbirth by women who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am SO in love with this book. I wish I had written it! In an amazing feat of literary genius, the authors have created a lovely blend of childbirth information, personal stories, and scriptural insights, all with the nurturing tone of a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. One of the many wonderful aspects of this offering is that there is a wide variety of perspectives on both the spiritual and physical elements of birth. This is not a one-size fits all approach. Rather, it is a ‘step into my heart and let me share some of my deepest thoughts regarding my experiences as a woman’ type of book. There are stories about conception, labor, breastfeeding, adoption, miscarriage, abuse, service, abandonment, faith, courage, submission, and most of all, love. Each time I read a new essay, I am left with a feeling of love…love for the woman who shared herself through her writing, love for my Heavenly Parents, love for myself as a mother, and love for womanhood. It is a daily gift I give to myself…one story a day to soothe my soul, awaken my mind, and expand my heart (though I usually can’t stop with just one!).

When I was reading Felice Austin’s essay, “The Decision to Have Your Baby”, and Meghan Rayne-Matthews’ essay, “Healing Through Motherhood”, I was taken back to my unexpected first pregnancy and the difficult decision we made to keep our baby. I had been told by two surgeons that my abdominal wall and pelvic ligaments would not survive a pregnancy and that we needed to adopt. When we became pregnant with Blythe, we were scared of the very real possibility that I may die. After endless amounts of research in between the round-the-clock nausea, multiple priesthood blessings, temple trips, and many prayers, we decided to trust the Lord and the feeling of peace we were given. We decided to allow the pregnancy to continue and accept the consequences, whatever they might be. Thankfully, the surgeons were wrong and my abdominal wall held up just fine (my pelvic ligaments are another story!) and now we have been blessed to give birth to four babies.

When I read “Waiting for Ashleigh” my heart was overcome with love for my unborn babies, the ten we have miscarried and the others who we are waiting for. The father in this story hears and sees his daughter, Ashleigh, several times, including once when he was about to break-up with his future wife. When they do marry, they think Ashleigh will be their first child born, but she isn’t. A little boy arrives instead. Each time they become pregnant they think it is her, but it isn’t. Three little boys and one little girl later, they are thrilled to finally be pregnant with the girl they have waited so long for. And then they miscarry. Matthew, the author, beautifully writes of pain, faith, and hope as they realize that once again they are waiting for Ashleigh.

I have recently embarked on a family history project that is changing my entire being and while reading “The Family Tree of Knowledge” by Felice Austin my heart was opened to my ancestors even more deeply. She writes, “When I was a few months into my pregnancy and feeling pretty alone, I came across this quote by Harriet Lerner:

We are never the first in our family to wrestle with a problem, although it may feel that way…learning how other family members have handled their problems similar to our own down through the generations, is one of the most effective routes to lowering reactivity and heightening self-clarity.

She continues with “I thought, ‘Yeah, right. Who does this happen to? No one else in my family has been abandoned three months into a planned pregnancy.’ I kept reading…”

If we do not know about our own family history, we are more likely to repeat past patterns or mindlessly rebel against them, without much clarity about who we really are, how we are similar to and different from other family members, and how we might proceed in our life.

She explains that she researched her line and found a great-grandmother on her mother’s side who had been abandoned by her husband while pregnant with their fourth child and a third great-grandmother on her father’s side who had been a slave and had somehow escaped slavery and raised her white master’s child all alone, in freedom. These two stories gave Felice strength to continue in her own struggles and powerful connections to bolster her up when loneliness tried to tear her down.

My mother’s family tree is rich with stories of courage, sacrifice, and faith. They have filled me with great reservoirs of determination to do what is right, to serve well, and to love passionately. I am right in the midst of discovering my father’s family tree. Lerner’s quote flipped a switch in my heart and encouraged me to go deeper, to search for their stories, and to learn from them. Through various experiences in my life I have learned I am strongly connected emotionally to my ancestors and I carry their energy patterns with me. I have an opportunity to learn from them, heal the mistakes of the past, and create a better future for my posterity. The Spirit of Elijah is real, incredibly real, and is drawing my heart to my family members before, with, and after me. This book has played a pivotal role in that heart-opening process.

One last thing this book has done for me is it has reminded me I am not alone in my walk as a daughter of God, nor as a birthing mother striving to make conscious, God-led choices for my family. I am not crazy or misled for feeling the spirits of my unborn children. Sometimes, if I am spending too much time in surface relationships, I can forget there are women who care deeply about procreation, about their divine roles as women, and about the gift that birth can be to each of us as we grow in to the beings God created us to be. The Gift of Giving Life is a gentle, yet powerful testimony to the sisterhood of women and the strength we can be to one another as we fulfill our personal missions as daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends.

Other favorite essays: “We Are Each Eve”, “The Spirit of Elijah”, “Puah and Shiphrah: Delivering the Deliver”, “Two Veils”, “Blood, Breastmilk, and Living Water”, “Finding My Motherly Intuition”, and “Healing From Sexual Abuse”, “Unity With Our Sisters”, and “Sixteen Pregnancies”.

Doesn’t it sound marvelous? Trust me…it is. I wish I had a frillion copies to give to every woman I know. I don’t have a frillion, but I do have one copy to gift to one lucky reader. Please post a comment and you will be entered into the pool of hopeful winners. A winner will be selected bright and early Saturday morning. If you don’t win or you want to buy a frillion copies for all the women in your life, I have a coupon for 10% off The Gift of Giving Life. Click here and then after you add the book to your cart use coupon code GWFWXR3F. This coupon is only good until Father’s Day 2012…so you only have a few days to take advantage of it.

Visit The Gift of Giving Life site to sign up for their newsletter and to receive a free Meditation MP3 as well as tips to help increase spirituality in your pregnancy and birth.

If you would like to read more of my birth experiences (I think they are pretty amazing stories!), here are our birth stories and here is our journey through miscarriage.

I hope you have enjoyed this stop on the Virtual Book Tour. Be sure to check out Segullah’s post on Sunday. I for one can’t wait to read it!

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thankful thursdays 2/16

Feb 18, 2012 by

Yes, it is Saturday afternoon and I am writing my Thankful Thursdays post now. I didn’t have time on Thursday and I never have time on Friday to write, so now that my Adult Worldviews class is over and my babies have been loved on, I have a few minutes to put fingers to keyboard and record my gratitude for the week.

  • I was able to attend a homeschool conference last Saturday. It was wonderful to see old friends and give & get lots of hugs. It was a recharge to my heart to keep on keeping on and to focus on the educational goals we have created for our family. The drive down was squishy, but it was so, so fun to talk with seven other women for six hours while we drove. I love being with other women! I always learn and grow and come home invigorated!
  • I am so grateful for my friend Jennifer. We are serving on a Board of Directors together and have grown to trust one another and love one another. At the homeschool conference, I was ogling an American History book all day long, but forced myself not to buy it (all spending money for the next several months has gone into my new running shoes). On the drive home, Jen gave it to me as a gift! I love it and can’t wait to read the stories in it to my children…and the artwork, ahhhhh! Thanks Jen! For all you are and all you do, thank you.
  • Two ladies from my church stopped by this week with some yummy caramel popcorn and a sweet little note. So sweet! They weren’t assigned to or anything, they just did it and it totally made my day! Thank you Josie and Ali!
  • I just finished up my monthly class with my Worldviews group. We had a wonderful discussion on sociology, what elements should be in the “ideal” society and which should not, the role of agency, the purpose of education, the value of marriage, the sovereignty of family, the nature of man, and so much more. Every month before class, I wonder if I can keep studying and teaching and inspiring and every month after class, I am so grateful I am blessed to have this life, to have these women as friends, and to have a thirst for knowledge so strong that it pushes me into situations that bring me growth. Today three ladies brought food and it was oh, so yummy!!!! Thank you!
  • Yesterday the sun was beautiful!!! Even though I was teaching gymnastics for most of the day, the minute it was over, I strapped on my running shoes and did my training workout in the sunshine. What a treat to run with the sun shining down on me and the cool-ish hour not letting me overheat!
  • On Thursday I was able to watch my niece, Andie, run in the Simplot Games. She loves running…which rubbed off on Keziah…and is now rubbing off on me (Is it rubbing off on me? Will I start loving it? Probably not, but the fact that I am doing it is pretty shocking in and of itself!) so it was super fun to see her compete in the thing she loves.
  • On Thursday, I was also able to see my long-time (16 years!) friend, Robin, while our children played at the park for a little bit. We hugged and talked and laughed and shared our struggles with estrogen and miscarriage and faith and health. I love being with her and don’t get to see her anywhere near often enough…I wish she could be my next door neighbor!
  • As I think about all the varied events of this week and all the different conversations, situations, readings, classes and responsibilities I have been involved in just the past few days, I am grateful for truth. I am grateful for the desire to learn truth. I am grateful to believe truth exists and that we can discover it. I am grateful to have the goal of finding truth in my life and to let that search guide me. I am grateful for those around me who are committed to truth and are humbly seeking it.
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all the mamas

Jan 21, 2012 by

A few months ago I shared a little bit of my miscarriage history during a lesson at church. I was hoping to communicate how healing the Spirit of God is and how even in the midst of my grief, I was able to be comforted.

Afterwards, a woman whom I dearly love came and gave me a hug and asked me if it would help me to know that she has never been able to have any children.

I looked at her so confused and shocked at the question. If I took the question at face-value, then the answer would have to be an emphatic NO! How could knowing that she has never been granted the desire of her heart make me feel better? It just brings more sorrow to my heart that she has never experienced motherhood. It hurts my heart that bringing babies here has to be so hard. In so many ways, it is so, so hard. Hard to conceive them, hard to carry them, hard to birth them, hard to raise them. It is hard and knowing that she hasn’t ever been able to give birth to or adopt one of her own babies just breaks my heart.

If I don’t take the question at face-value and try to read beneath the stated words, I think she might have been saying (in a kind and trying to be helpful way) that I shouldn’t be sad for my lost babies, that I shouldn’t grieve for them, and I shouldn’t talk about miscarriage because there are people who have never even been able to get pregnant at all. I shouldn’t feel badly because, for heaven’s sake, I have four living, breathing, beautiful children who I get to hold in my arms every single day.

I don’t know that that is how she meant it. I know she was trying to help me feel better. But it doesn’t make me feel better to know others suffer also and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with sharing my story, sharing my pain with others so that they might know they have someone to talk to, someone that acknowledges that miscarriage is real and can be painful and heartbreaking. I don’t want any miscarrying mama to feel alone and it breaks my heart that so many do. I want to somehow give babies to all the mamas who want them and have all the miscarriages for the miscarrying mamas so they don’t have to hurt as I have hurt. I want to relieve the pain and suffering of the world.

But I can’t.

We each have to walk our own path and learn our own lessons.

And so this night, I pay tribute to the mamas of the world. The mamas who have yearned and prayed and cried and hollered and pleaded and accepted and learned and doubted and loved and lost. All the mamas who have ever lived.

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surely death is better than this?

Nov 29, 2011 by

Or maybe just a morphine drip?

It all started in the wee hours of Saturday morning with Keziah hobbling to the bathroom and throwing up. She proceeded to throw up for many hours after and through a brilliant plan of laying on the bathroom floor in a heap, she hit the toilet every time. In between puking episodes, she would moan and whimper and we would try to help her as best we could, but she is a pretty self-sufficient sick person so she didn’t need much, just her water bottle refilled and her ice pack switched out.

The moaning continued through Sunday morning and we all breathed a sigh of relief when that afternoon she walked for the first time in 36 hours. The relief-sigh played double-duty as we were all grateful no one else in the house of 14 people had shown signs of illness. We piled into the suburban and made it home without any more vomit escaping her lips.

That night as we knelt down for family prayer, Fisher threw up a two foot pile of black sludge right in the middle of our circle.

So gross.

He proceeded to throw up all night long and unfortunately, he only hit the toilet once.

Again, so gross.

I quickly made other arrangements for my friends who were coming to visit to stay with some other friends…didn’t want anyone else to have to deal with this!

By 11 a.m. Fisher was back to feeling pretty well and playing with Annesley.

Again, I breathed a sigh of relief that no one else was sick.

Then Blythe got the chills and started whimpering while she camped out on the couch. No throw up though, which, of course, merited another sigh of relief.

On Monday evening, after getting home from a pawn shop search for a sub-woofer for Keziah’s science experiment, the relief-sighs stopped.

That is when it hit Richard and me.

A home in which the oldest child, a girl-child no less, is non-functioning AND both parents are non-functioning is not a pretty place. It is not a place I could recommend, in fact, I would advise avoiding it at all costs.

Thus began 12 hours of the three oldest members of our famly moaning, writhing, and crawling on the floor. Poor Richard slept (although I don’t think much sleep actually occured!) in the bathroom and lost a multitude of fluids out of multiple orifices. After several hours of puking and other unmentionables, he felt a lot better and somehow managed to go to work today.

My night was a different story. Unfortunately, my body can no longer throw up and so my pain did not decrease. For approximately six hours I felt as if I were spread eagle on an operating table with a boxer pummeling my abdomen. Hard.

Fifteen hours later I feel like little gnomes are running around inside me, jumping up and down and having a jolly good time, but at least the pummeling has stopped.

Blythe is now curled up in bed with me and we are both still hurting. Hopefully Keziah can take care of the little ones today, conduct her science experiment, and wait on us hand and foot.

Wondering why I can’t throw up? Well, here’s the deal: I threw up for 40+ weeks with each of my full-term pregnancies and with my ten miscarriages, I threw up as well. Within 24 hours of conception I was puking my guts out. I think my body is done with the whole hunching over a toilet thing. Last summer, we all had food poisoning. The other five people in this home threw up a few times and felt better once all the toxins were eradicated from their systems. Me? I was sick for three whole days because my throw up mechanism is turned off. It is not a good way to live. Trust me.

Last night I wondered if I would survive the pummeling. Thank goodness I did. I’m sure Annesley will start puking today and she will need her mama.

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Nov 13, 2011 by


I’m Tracy, a forty-something wife of one, mother of six, who loves to read, think, and laugh…hard. I am learning how to love homemaking, appreciate afflictions, and go to bed at a decent hour. I adore my husband, cherish my children, delight in my friends, and treasure my books.

My husband and I teach our children at home and yes, we love it. Learning and growing together as a family is an adventure I feel blessed to be a part of. My children are growing up and finding their own ways in the world. We only have two children left at home that I am homeschooling. Our oldest two are now married and we currently have two grandchildren.

Each week you will find me in the gym, teaching children to trust their bodies, develop their courage, and grow their muscles. I have been teaching gymnastics for almost all of my adult life and currently have about 80 homeschooled students. My muscle strength and flexibility are no where near what they used to be before I was injured with a labral tear in 2012 and have since had major injuries to my feet, knees, ribs, hands, shoulders, neck, and jaw as a result of my faulty collagen. I spent much of  the 2012-2018 years in a wheelchair, having seizures, lying in bed, in a wide variety of braces, fighting pain, and refusing to give in to despair. My official diagnosis is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and while I must find ways to live with my body and its limitations, I am also determined to live with joy and purpose. Through my dear family, amazing community of friends, and miracles from God, I am living with hope and passion. Stem cells treatments in Mexico have played a huge role in giving my body a shot at normalcy and I cannot say thank you enough to those who make it possible for me to receive them. I also take wonderful plant-based supplements that have enabled me to make mountains of progress.

In 2020, my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, a vestibular schwannoma. He had it removed two weeks before the world shut down due to Covid. It has changed our lives – deepened our love, strengthened our faith, and given us new limitations with stronger determination to live fully.

Mentoring children, youth, and adults is a huge part of my life and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities this provides me to build relationships, study hard, and invest in others growth. My adult colloquia (book discussion) group has been a pivotal part of my education and I love helping others figure out how to start one in their own communities. If you would like my booklist, contact me and I will send it to you. I teach a variety of classes on statesmanship, worldviews, mindset, and falling in love with writing and math. I previously served on the Board of Directors of iFamily Leadership Academy and Midwives College of Utah.

I am an ardent book lover and dream of owning a delightful children’s bookstore with a daily storytime by moi. Maybe when I am 80 I will make that dream come true? For now, I read to my family every chance I can get and speak at conferences and to other audiences about The Magic of Family Read-Alouds.

I have been incredibly blessed in my life and am committed to passing on the goodness that has been shown to me. Each fall, our family does a big service project and throughout the year, we do other smaller projects. You can read about them at Save The World Projects and we always LOVE help, so please consider joining us in making a difference in the world.

Laundry, dishes, schedules, and order are big challenges in my life, but little by little I am conquering them. Sometimes I am even able to walk through my room without injury! I enjoy singing at the top of my lungs, screaming with delight, giving (& getting) bear hugs, camping, hiking, sleeping, playing games, doing back flips, and riding my Elliptigo. A midnight bowl of ice cream or a giant bowl of popcorn (olive oil and REAL Salt) along with an hour to savor a book with no interruptions is a welcome addition to any day.

Need to know more?

You know how a favorite book calls your name to be read again and again. That’s how it is with these posts…I love rereading them.

Maybe you will too.

Connect With Me Elsewhere

  • Pinterest: You can follow my boards here.
  • Fix The Connection: My husband’s super cool energy healing and behavioral therapy work. Check it out here.
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Favorite Posts

Nov 8, 2011 by

If you want to get inside my head and heart, these posts will take you there. You can see who I am, where I’ve been and where I am going and perhaps be blessed in your own life by my experiences.

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pregnancy and infant loss

Oct 15, 2011 by

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I never knew that until this week.

It is also our anniversary.

Kind of ironic, don’t you think?

Richard and I have lost ten of our babies through miscarriage.

The experience of creating children and then losing them before we hold them has been a large part of the past ten years of our lives. When we miscarried our twins back in October of 2001, we had no idea that we would live that experience over and over in the coming years. We had no idea we would be going through the bleeding, cramping, crying, and raging at the heavens repeatedly. We had no idea we would be able to listen to and support others who are experiencing the same thing. We had no idea how prevalent miscarriage is and how silent our world is about it.

Miscarriage is a taboo subject. People talk about it in whispers. People poo-poo the pain of it and hope it isn’t brought up in pleasant conversation again.

Well, folks, miscarriage is real. It happens every day to families in all walks of life and it hurts, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Miscarriage led me down a path of grief, pain, and despair. I railed at God and begged Him to never ever let me get pregnant again if I wasn’t going to be able to mother. I withheld my heart from the joy of life in an effort to protect myself. I turned to anger as a shield. I gave up hope of ever having another child. And then after five miscarriages in the almost two years between October 2001 and July 2003, I turned my uterus over to Him and decided to embrace life and my ability to create life with Richard. I decided to let go of the anger, the judgment, the pain, and to just be.

And then I miscarried again in December and could not understand why. I thought to myself “I have been down the spiritual path. I have let God heal my heart. I have experienced the grieving process and come out the other side with more faith, more submission, more hope, so now what am I to learn?”

I think I needed to learn it for real. To see if I would hold to those lessons I had learned when it happened again. Through the grace of God I did. His grace sustained me and made me whole.

Now we have added two more children to our clan and four more miscarriages.

I am grateful for this path. I have learned much and have been privileged to help others on this same path. I would never have wished to lose our babies, but I can see the blessings I have received through these experiences.

I know that God loves me and works for my greatest good. I know He has a plan for my babies and hope to someday understand exactly what that plan is.

To everyone who has lost babies, please know I am praying for you today. I pray for your healing of both body and spirit and that you will be able to celebrate life once again.

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it’s all coming together

Jun 8, 2011 by

I am a researcher…I crave information…so when this lump showed up I, of course, started studying everything about breasts, lumps, tests, treatment, and outcomes.

I have felt for awhile that my estrogen levels were sky high…I haven’t felt right since my miscarriage last fall. I have known for years…since my post-partum days after Keziah…that my progesterone levels were low. Back then my luteal phase was 1-2 days!

I have known my liver struggles to metabolize toxins when I am pregnant and have wanted to do a liver cleanse for years, but since I have always either been pregnant or nursing for the past fifteen years, I have put it off.

With each of my ten miscarriages, I have slowly come to see that something is terribly amiss with my body. But, I have failed to see the big picture. I have failed to understand that all of this is connected.

What I am starting to understand now is that my estrogen levels have most likely been high for years…that in turn has worn my liver right out (proof: vomiting throughout all my pregnancies, inability of my body to metabolize medicines, exhaustion, strong aversion to smells, liver coming up on every health evaluation I’ve had in the past fifteen years, blood-sugar regulation issues, and passing out) and this has made it even more difficult for my liver to metabolize the excess estrogen.

With my hormones so out-of-kilter, I have had a very hard time staying pregnant and now that I am immersed in this research I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the four children I have been able to get here…and am in awe of the miracle of it all. The downside is that each pregnancy has further burdened my liver and my estrogen imbalance has grown.

Now my breasts are full of estrogen and estrogen has a special job of stimulating cell growth…multiplication of cells. Unfortunately, estrogen can’t tell the difference between healthy cells and abnormal cells, so it directs all the cells to multiply. Read this article to get a better understanding than I can give you.

Prepare yourself for this final analysis…it’s huge and it’s real and it scares the bejeebies out of me.

A Johns Hopkins study found that premenopausal women with estrogen dominance have a 540% increase in breast cancer than women without estrogen dominance.

Pretty big number, eh?

That is me. I now know I have had estrogen dominance and a weak liver for years. I see how all these seemingly unrelated symptoms are all very related and I am ready to heal my liver, balance the hormones, and get the excess estrogen out of my breasts.

It’s time.

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Jan 25, 2011 by

I have found that just as love for other people is actually spelled T-I-M-E, love from God is often spelled T-I-M-I-N-G.

~ Emily Black

Is this not true? I can remember so many times when God gave me a blessing at the exact time I needed it. He sent Richard into my life when I was living in a home surrounded by love and the gospel and I was open to being taught that men were not the most horrid creatures to ever walk the earth. He sent me Blythe when I was mostly healed of my anger and craziness. He gave me Tami and Camille to get through my childhood. So many times, notes of love have arrived right in the midst of crises. So many times, hugs have been given when I felt I couldn’t go on. So many times, a message of hope has been given when all my hope was gone. So many times, the miracle we have prayed for has come…at just the right time.

I think back to when Keziah was little. We wanted to have another baby and we knew we had a little red-headed boy coming. I started miscarrying my babies. We didn’t know why it was happening at all and especially didn’t understand why it kept happening. We had six miscarriages in a row. We went through a long spiritual journey of anger, grief, faith, hope, more grief, more anger, and finally peace about the whole thing. Finally we became pregnant with Fisher and it turns out it was at just the right time.

When we became pregnant with Annesley, it certainly did not feel like the right time. We were in the midst of our business closing and were under a lot of stress. She turned out to be the perfect thing to keep our thoughts focused on family and hope and God and goodness when we easily could have become bitter and enraged at the situation we were in (okay, I did turn somewhat bitter and enraged, but no where near to the degree I would have had I not had a baby to focus on).

I think of God’s timing a lot. I want His timing to be my timing, but I am learning to trust Him and His greater vision for my life. I am grateful for His love for me. I am even more grateful for His knowledge of me and what I really need and when I really need it. His wisdom and goodness bless me each day.

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it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Dec 30, 2010 by

(I am reading The Tale of Two Cities…hence my title. What can I say, I am greatly influenced by the books I read and this year has certainly felt like the best and worst.)

Twenty-ten is drawing to a close. I am a tad bit surprised that we made it through. As I think back, I realize we have only made it through because of the grace of God, his army of angels, both heavenly and earthly, and a lot of hard work.

Worst of times?

  • Richard working 80-90 hours a week to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, heat the house, pay for gas, etc.
  • Tracy miscarrying for the tenth time. We really don’t know if we can continue trying to have children. We feel strongly there are more babies for us out there. We can feel the presence of a wild little boy. We feel so sure that we are not out of the baby stage yet. And yet, they don’t make it here into our arms. The heartbreak of miscarriage can be overwhelming at times. I am able to talk about it. I am able to deal with it. But, late at night, laying in my husband’s arms I cry. I sob. I break. I lose trust in God. I forget the blessings. I give up hope. I feel like a failure. I give up on my body. I scream. Ten babies…am I up to trying again?
  • The master bedroom being in utter chaos for pretty much the entire year and me not taking the time or having the emotional strength to face it.
  • Five vehicular collisions…three with other vehicles, one with a great horned owl, and one with a large rock.
  • The financial pressures we are under are almost too much to bear. I am so tired of it all. I am tired of debt and stress and the whole juggling act. I so wish we could start over. I so wish I understood then what I understand now. I so wish my bad choices weren’t the cause of this misery. I know that lots of the problems aren’t from my bad choices, but enough is that the guilt has at times felt as if it would devour me.

Best of times?

  • Richard surviving his work schedule.
  • Being blessed with food to eat and money to pay our bills at just the right moments. We have been immensely blessed by angels here on earth and by miracles that were worked out above by unseen hands. We have had food to eat every day, a warm home to sleep in, vehicles to drive, and money to use. It makes no sense to me how it has worked and it doesn’t add up on paper, but it has. God is real and He knows exactly what we need. He also has a whole force of people here on earth that have decided our welfare is their priority and they have literally loved us, fed us, and given us hope when we were completely out of hope. I put on a happy face for the world, but I toss and turn all night long wondering how to make it work, wondering how to solve our financial strains, wondering and praying and pleading with God. For those of you who have helped, thank you. Thank you from way down deep in our little toes, we couldn’t have made it without you.
  • Being surrounded by friends who give hugs, clean out chaos, share epiphanies, give rides, bless me with their sewing, share smiles, offer encouragement, are patient with my foibles, love my children, teach me truths, laugh with me, join me in my save-the-world projects, plow out my driveway, vacuum my vehicle, listen, listen, and listen some more, take my phone calls at midnight, sneak in and clean my kitchen, and most of all, surround me with love. I can’t tell you how much you mean to me. Thank you for being my friends. I love walking this mothering journey with you.
  • Attending Fiddler on the Roof!!! Our favorite play at our favorite place…once in a lifetime experience!
  • Attending MAT camp this summer and seeing my children learn and grow as musicians was a huge highlight of our year.
  • Green Canyon swim camp…super fun!
  • Camping at Green River Lakes…favorite part of my year and one I simply cannot live without.
  • Teaching 80 students gymnastics each week…what a blast it is to help children discover their amazing bodies!
  • Teaching Math Alive! each week. It has been a ton of work, but so fun to see mathematical concepts come alive in these children’s minds and hearts.
  • Reading books at Story Station each week. I love, love, love reading out loud to children!
  • Putting on the 1st Annual Homeschool Read-A-Thon and earning thousands of dollars of books for a transitional housing unit’s library.
  • Putting on Make-It-For-Maggie! What a great event. Thank you to my amazing friends for creating a miracle for Miss Maggie. You should see her now, she is preparing to start crawling!
  • Completing the great-bedroom-rearrangement-project. It was long and arduous, but totally worth it!
  • Helping my little sister give birth to Easton. What an honor to be part of her first birth. She was seven-years-old when she attended Blythe’s birth and now she is all grown up and having babies of her own. He is now three months old and about the cutest thing ever!
  • Getting to take our whole family to Lagoon! Keziah had been praying and working for a trip to Lagoon for over a year and kept insisting we were going no matter what. I kept telling her it was absolutely impossible. Her little stubborn self refused to listen and kept insisting it would happen. Well, it did! A man gave us six free passes and all the children chipped in for gas and a picnic lunch and we had a great time. It was the first time we have gone as a family and it was so much fun! Everyone loved the rides and I loved watching everyone have fun. Being together is my biggest focus right now and this day of togetherness brought joy to heart. Thank you to Heavenly Father for working out this miracle for us!
  • Blythe being in a Shakespeare production and growing as a person in so many ways. I am so grateful for her mentors and the experiences she has been able to have with our homeschooling community.
  • Being hit by flying or skidding objects five times this year is a lot of collisions and a whole lot of chances for serious injuries to have occurred. The miracle is, they didn’t. We are all okay and there is no doubt in my mind that we were protected by God’s hand. Richard could have been taken from us, the owl could have come through our windshield, the rock could have lodged in my head…any of those things could have happened, but they didn’t and I know why. I know that we have been preserved for a reason. I am humbled to my core when I think about all of these accidents and realize what might have been.
  • My extended family has spent a whole lot of time together this year…pretty miraculous. There has been a lot of distance…both physical and emotional…between us and I never dared to hope for the miracle that has happened. We have spent time camping together, almost a week together at Thanksgiving, and lots of time at Christmas. I think my Grandma is pulling some strings up above and bringing us all back together.
  • We were able to attend The Christmas Carol at Hale Centre Theatre for the first time in years. What an amazing Christmas gift! I attended this play almost every year from about 1990 to 2006. Then when we lost our business, there just wasn’t enough money to justify it. We have missed it ever since and the girls have longed to go again. This year my mom took us and we had such a marvelous day experiencing the magic of Scrooge’s transformation. Being gifted a trip to see the play that epitomizes learning to give and bring others joy was all the more special.
  • On top of all these big things, there have been a gazillion little things that aren’t little at all, they just never make the front page because they aren’t that sensational. Nevertheless, they are just as or perhaps more important than the big things. I remember times I was prompted to say something to one of my children and it has changed their heart, times they have prayed and known their prayer was answered, times when we have felt the Holy Spirit as a family, times I have been guided into a certain store to find just what we needed at a fabulous price, times when siblings have served one another, times when a phone call has come at just the right moment, times when I was prompted to read a book and it has been exactly what one of my children needed to hear, times when I was given a message in a talk or lesson that was just the principle I needed to understand, times when I have poured out my heart to the Lord and known He was listening, times when I have been able to put aside my natural ways and be a loving wife, times when I have known just how to teach something to my children and they have got it, times when I have been patient and kind, times when I have felt hopeful, times when forgiveness has been experienced. There have been times things have just worked…when they shouldn’t have. Times when it is clear God has fixed something or provided something and the only possible answer is “God did it” – it is like He is signing His hand and teaching us that He is completely aware of us, our needs AND our wants.
  • The atonement is real. Absolutely, 100%, miraculously (how many times can I use that word in this post?) real. Now I just need to learn to accept this gift in my life and to really, truly give my heart and my guilt and my pain to my Savior.
  • This year, more than any other, I have realized the sacred stewardship I have as a mother. I have seen where I am falling short…oh, so short…but I am learning to listen to God above to teach me how He wants me to nurture these children He has blessed me with. At times I wish I could go back in time and start all over again, but I can’t and so my children are just going to have to learn patience with me as I learn how to mother them. Maybe I will figure it out by the time I am a grandma.
  • I am grateful, so grateful, that my relationship with my husband is still intact. We still love each other, we still do nice things for one another, we still love to snuggle up, and he still gives me that look that tells me he adores me. With as much as he is gone from our home, I have been deeply worried that we would grow apart. It has happened a little and at times I have completely forgotten to put him first, but we are learning to spend time together, to talk during the day when he can, and to keep giving our hearts to each other. It is hard. Marriage is hard in the best of circumstances and in our situation of seeing one another very little, it has been incredibly difficult. I am proud of us and am vowing to do even better at loving this man who means everything to me. He needs me and I need him and we must keep close for there to be peace in our hearts and in our home.

Reading over this, I must say, it is clear that God is blessing us, preserving us, and teaching us. It has been a miraculous, growth-filled year, full of blessings and full of love.

God bless us, God bless us everyone.

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the ups and downs of mothering

Dec 1, 2010 by

I don’t always enjoy mothering. This week I haven’t been the most loving mama on the planet. I figured it out though…my period started on Monday and the last three times my period has started I have been the crabbiest person ever. I don’t know what is up, but my hormones have been in a serious flux since my miscarriage in August.

On top of hormonal issues, I have a lot of decisions on my plate and not enough time to give to the decision making process. I have too much on my to-do list and have been trying to grab some “me-time” in the day and my children feel me pulling away and cling all the more fiercely to me. I have somewhat forgotten to give first and get later.

Anyway, all of this has made me think about what I like least about mothering. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Whining

2. Sulking

3. Rudeness to other people

4. Children believing they can’t do something when I know they absolutely can

5. Being late and hurrying little ones out the door

6. Siblings being mean to one another

7. Ingratitude

8. Blaming me for everything that has ever gone wrong in their whole entire lives

9. Hearing them use my not-so-great words on their siblings

10. Children not noticing the mess and so not doing anything about it

11. Children noticing the mess and still not doing anything about it

12. Losing my patience when any of the above happens

After thinking of these things in bed last night, I started thinking of all the things I love about mothering. Thank goodness it is a much longer list.

1. Kisses, even wet slobbery ones

2. Hugs

3. Hearing Keziah read Annesley and Fisher a story

4. Hearing Blythe sing hymns with all the gusto she has

5. Watching my children be helpful to others without being asked

6. Taking Blythe to the temple

7. Hearing Fisher explain his latest invention

8. Seeing the joy in Annesley’s eyes

9. Keziah finding every lost item in our home

10. Hearing Keziah sing Gethsemane

11. Preparing food for my family that they love to eat

12. Snuggling up during family read-aloud time

13. Discussing freedom with Blythe

14. Enjoying their homemade smoothies

15. Kissing them awake

16. My children’s love of animals

17. Watching Fisher ride his bike super-fast down our road

18. Giggles

19. Seeing the look on their face when they understand something for the first time

20. Seeing Fisher tenderly help Annesley

21. Hearing my children speak of Jesus

22. Hearing my children pray

23. Reading the scriptures with my children

24. Discovering the world by their side

25. Going on hikes with my children

26. Seeing the look on their faces when they catch a fish…or a bug…or a frog…or a snake…or a mouse

27. Hearing them talk kindly to one another

28. Watching them grow in skills and capabilities

29. Hearing Annesley tell stories

30. Seeing how much they love their papa

31. Helping them learn new things

32. Hearing their voices as they drift off to sleep

33. Watching them play with their friends

34. Singing together

35. Creating cute things for them

36. Hearing Fisher say “Thank You”…melts my heart every time

37. Afternoon naps

38. Eating their yummy creations

39. Working all together happily

40. Teaching them about their ancestors

41. All the kisses and hugs and love they gave my grandma

42. Taking them to plays at Hale Centre Theatre

43. Seeing everyone all dressed up and fancy at the Family Ball each spring

44. Hearing Annesley sing Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam

45. Playing in the snow

46. Riding the kick-sled

47. Passover

48. Reading Christmas stories every night for the whole month of December

49. Teaching them how to bargain-shop

50. Going on mommy-daughter and mommy-son dates

Writing that all out has already helped me get my perspective back in place. Mothering is worth it. Mothering is an investment. Mothering brings me joy.

More than that, I know it is what God has called me to do and I want to nurture with an eye single to His glory. Sometimes I get so caught up in mortality, I forget why we are really here and who I really am. I also forget who they really are.

Children of God.

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thankful thursdays – 11/25 – thanksgiving day

Nov 25, 2010 by

* My Heavenly Father and His plan for not only me, but for each of His children.
* Jesus Christ – his love for me, his atoning sacrifice that allows me to repent, his knowing of who I am and what I need, his great mercy for my many shortcomings, his example to me of goodness, and his yearning for me to take His hand and trust Him completely.
* My Richard. He is so patient with my foibles, my demands, and my ineptness. He teaches me over and over again what it really means to love someone and how you treat someone when you see them as a person and not as a tool or an object. He is the best thing in my life and I don’t treat him nearly as well as I should.
* My four beautiful children that have changed my heart, forgiven my mistakes, and taught me what kind of woman I want to be.
* Today I am grateful for my ten miscarriages (don’t get me wrong, I am not always grateful for them). Losing babies repeatedly has made me appreciate life, all forms of life, in a tender, awe-struck way. It has helped me have the knowledge and understanding to reach out to numerous families that are miscarrying and need a listening ear along with a loving heart. I am thinking of all my babies tonight for some reason and missing them. Missing being pregnant. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to carry these precious spirits inside of me and to feel of their goodness. It has changed who I am and today I am grateful for that.
* My family came for Thanksgiving and we have had a wonderful time eating, playing games, talking, sleeping, eating, laughing, and more eating. They went to the store and bought oodles of food and then mom spent all night and morning preparing a wonderful feast. We all helped, but mom was the hero of the day and orchestrated the whole process so everything was done at the same time and tasted delicious.
* I have the best friends in the world! I cannot list out the amazing things they do for me and with me, but I want each of them to know they have been more of a support than they can ever know. They have loved me, rescued me, taught me, challenged me, humored me, fed me, massaged me, cleaned with me, laughed with me, and edified me. Their love has helped me stay sane and their hugs have given me a place to cry. I am so grateful to be surrounded by amazing women who form a circle of sisterhood around me.
* A warm home. Can you imagine being out in this frigid weather? I am so grateful to be inside, warm and cozy.
* My trials. Yes, it is true, going through hard stuff does bless us and help us on our life journey. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned and the person I have become because of my past. I am grateful to God for helping me replace bitterness with understanding, hatred with love, and despair with hope. This life is exactly what we need to become who we were created to be. I know this is true, but I sometimes forget!
* My bathtub. It is so luscious to sink down into warm water and shut the world out for a few minutes. I had a lovely bath this morning and Mikelle and Easton are in there now. Big, comfortable bathtubs are such a treat for exhausted mamas!
I love Thanksgiving. I dearly miss our huge family gatherings with my Grandma and wish that tradition and her life could have continued for all my days. But it couldn’t and I am so grateful my family has come to my home to celebrate with us.

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number ten and the saga of the hair gone bonkers

Sep 2, 2010 by

I haven’t wanted to talk about this. I haven’t been willing to face it. I haven’t wanted to admit it. But now, I feel I must be open and honest about events of recent days.

I was pregnant. I wasn’t excited about it. Although I want a baby desperately and much of my life revolves around figuring out the mystery of how to help my body stay pregnant, at this moment in time I was not excited. I kept thinking, “How will I be able to support Blythe in Shakespeare if I am giving birth right during her play? How will I do gym? How will I get my children to their classes that they are so excited about? How will I teach classes at iFamily? How will I tell all 75 of my gym students I cannot teach? How will I break my contract with the gym? Will they let me or will I have to pay them rent even if I am not using it? How will I homeschool my children? How will I ever survive the months of throwing up, the constant feeling of needing to throw up, the heartburn, the pelvic pain, the possibility of my midwife not attending me, the cost of having a baby, the reality of Richard working 12 hour days, six days a week. How will I meet the needs of my other children? How, how, how?”

I was overwhelmed at first. I knew I had ovulated twice and I was doubly worried about having twins. I mean, I think twins are fun and all that, but I was full of fear that my body simply would not be able to carry twins successfully. That I literally would be unable to walk because of my pelvic issues. That I would not be able to do it. The big IT, meaning everything that every mother makes bigger than it really is when we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the hugeness of our responsibilities as mothers.

Then I started to get excited. I started thinking that because of a quite miraculous conception, a full week after my fertility signals had disappeared, that God must have intended this baby to stay. I started to be full of hope that this time, this pregnancy would not end as so many other pregnancies have ended for us, but that we would actually get to hold this baby or babies in our arms. I began making adjustments in my life to accommodate for this life inside of me. I began to embrace the idea of pregnancy.

And then, the bleeding started.

Once again, I was miscarrying one of my children.

Parts of me were relieved. Relieved that I didn’t have to make all those adjustments. Relieved that my children’s lives could go on normally. Relieved that Blythe’s Shakespeare play wouldn’t be effected.

Part of me was devastated. Devastated that I would not be seeing this child, would not be holding him in my arms. Would not be nursing him. Would not be watching him grow.

But most of me? Most of me felt guilt. Horrible, gut-wrenching, knife-stabbing, take my breath away guilt. Guilt that I had rejected a child of God. Guilt that I had put temporal worries in front of being a mother. A MOTHER. What I know I was born to be. Guilt that this child felt unwanted and so he left.

So I stuffed all of these feelings deep down inside and went on with life like nothing had happened. I told very few of my friends. I didn’t want anyone to know what I had done. I didn’t even tell my mom, who I tell everything too. I kept bleeding and I went on with life as if nothing had happened.

It was too overwhelming to face.

And then I decided to get my hair lowlighted to add in a little bit of light brown and make my hair look more natural instead of the super blond it has been all summer.

The light brown turned black, navy blue, grey, and red.

We tried to lighten the darkest parts and they turned orange. Bright orange.

We tried to darken the orange parts and they turned dark brown and so not a lovely color of dark brown. At this stage, I also had a two inch white streak in the front of my hair with crayola marker red mixed in. Bimbo-city is what my hair was screaming to the world.

I was completely befuddled. What on earth was going on with my hair? Why was it not turning the right colors or even the right tones? What did I need to do to fix it?

I called my good friend Melissa, who is a cosmetologist and does foot zoning, and explained the whole hair situation to her. She immediately asked what was going on in my life. I told her “nothing, nothing out of the ordinary. Just the usual amount of busyness, getting ready for gym, iFamily, etc.” She probed deeper and asked “what is going on hormonally.” Again, I said “nothing.” Then, I finally admitted that I had just miscarried. She jumped on that idea and said “Tracy, those hormones are making your hair do this. I am sensing you are not dealing well with the miscarriage, that you don’t want to admit it, that you don’t want to face it and now your body is calling to you to notice what is going on, to acknowledge the pregnancy and the loss of the pregnancy.”

Immediately, I knew she was right. I thought of the day before when Amy had kindly said “We need to get you another bead for your miscarriage necklace and I reacted so strongly and said “NO, no, I don’t want another bead. I don’t want anyone to know. I don’t want to have a tenth bead hanging on my neck.” I thought of how I hadn’t told even my mother. I thought of how I was just moving on with life as if nothing had happened.

So, now we knew why my hair was behaving so erraticlly, but we still didn’t know what to do about it. Every person we consulted with said we needed to stop processing it. Stop adding chemicals to it or it would all fall out. I thought “We can’t stop now! Not at this bimbo stage. No hair must be better than bimbo hair. I cannot go out in public and portray myself as a Latter-Day Saint woman and mother of four with hair like this. I simply cannot. Shaving it all off would be a better option.”

So we decided to consult with lots more people, getting different opinions from each one. We finally decided to fill the white parts with a copper color and then to dye the whole thing brown.

It worked…kind of…it went much darker red than we thought and it went much darker brown than it should have. But it is all the same color…mostly…and I don’t look like a bimbo. So it worked, right?

Brown Hair

This has been a big lesson for me to learn. My body and my emotions cannot be separated. I cannot ignore what is going on with me at the deepest levels and expect my body to be okay with that. I cannot hide from it, for it will come out in some way.

It is pretty interesting that I was not willing to face the miscarriage and now I have to look in the mirror and face it everyday.

Our bodies are amazing creations. They speak to us even when we are not listening. They present lessons to us even when we don’t want to learn.

I will now admit it.

I have lost ten babies. Ten. TEN. It is overwhelming to me to think of it.

But now, I also feel surrounded by love. The love of all those children. The love of a Heavenly Father that has allowed me to be a co-creator with Him for fourteen babies and that somehow, somehow, I have four that have come to earth and are spending their days learning with me.

I no longer believe I drove this baby away. I believe he loved me enough to come again when it will work better for our family. For his family.

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missing children

Feb 21, 2010 by

Today at church someone said “Aren’t you missing one of your children?” I tried to hide the shock I felt and stuff down the tears that were emerging and responded “Nope, they are all here.” He said, “Really? Just four – I thought you had more.” “Nope, just four.” said with as big of a smile as I could muster.

Then he said “Are you done?”

Whoooaaaahh. I tried to act relaxed and like it wasn’t cutting me to the core. I said “I don’t know, we are waiting to see what God says about that.” It’s the best I could do – I certainly wasn’t going to explain anything to this man standing in the foyer with me, but I wanted to be truthful without being emotional, flippant, or bitter. I tried to answer the questions simply without any fanfare. I think I succeeded, but I don’t know for sure.

Because yeah, there are some missing. And these questions were just too close to home.

I think of the twins we miscarried back in 2001. Little girls with curly blond hair and blue eyes. After we lost the first twin, I believed I was okay emotionally because I thought, “At least I am still pregnant with this one. Something must have been wrong with that baby, but at least I will get to keep this one.” Then we miscarried the second twin on Keziah’s first birthday at the exact same time as her birth. It was the same length as her labor and was just as intense. These were our first two miscarriages and I was in shock. Total shock. I remember crying my eyes out with my friend Delinda and wondering how I would ever make it through this. I remember her wise counsel to take time to grieve and to let my grieving be as intense or as mild, as long or as short as it needed to be. I remember being grateful when it was all over because now I could move on and have another baby…because of course it would never happen again. How little I knew.

I think of the baby the next July, then November, then another the next July, then again in December. I think of the two babies we lost after Fisher. Those were quite the surprise because all the luteal phase issues were fixed. Didn’t matter – babies were still not making it into our arms.

I think of the baby this last October and the sobering reality that hit me that this is who I am. A mother who miscarries babies over and over and over. A mother that can’t stay pregnant even when there is nothing obviously wrong with her. A mother to nine babies that didn’t join her family on earth.

I know this man wasn’t trying to hurt me, he was just commenting that we seemed to be missing someone and the truth is we are.

Will there ever be more to fill our little family or are we done?

I don’t know, I really don’t know.

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annesley aliyah

Nov 26, 2009 by

I asked for a miracle
I got one!
It was not what I asked for,
but it was exactly what I needed.

I remember so clearly the week that Annesley’s life began. Maybe it is because she is my youngest child and it wasn’t all that long ago – but maybe it is because God wants me to remember exactly who is guiding me.

I remember being told by our business partners that our business was going to close in two weeks. I remember being shocked, angry, in fact, even furious. I remember the helplessness I felt to solve this problem…and I remember praying to my Heavenly Father to please give us a miracle. Please help there be SOME other answer. Please don’t take away what we have worked so hard for nearly 5 years to build. Please, please, please.

I remember reading a book that week called A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris, a homeschooling mother of ten. There is a chapter in that book about letting God plan your family and not using birth control. We had been opposed to birth control for years and I had been teaching Natural Family Planning classes to interested couples for a long time, so I thought, hmmm, this sounds like something I already agree with, I’ll just skim it a little while I fall asleep. Something in Vickie’s words pricked my heart and made me realize I was not being completely willing to let God plan our family. I realized I had been telling Him I was not ready to try again to have a baby after numerous miscarriages. I was not ready to let my heart be broken again. I was not ready to throw up repeatedly day after day. I was not ready to deal with a baby again. I was not ready to bring a child into the world when our business was falling apart.

I read Richard some of the chapter and told him I thought we needed to really leave this in the Lord’s hands…and even though I was not entirely convinced myself…we told God He could send us a baby if He felt that this was the right time, knowing everything that was going on in our lives and the fragility of my wounded heart. Well, less than 24 hours later I was throwing up (yes, supposedly this is impossible, but it happens to me every time!) and craving Johnny Carino’s Caesar salad.

That Friday afternoon at ice skating, I remember thinking, this is NOT even funny. How can I be nauseated already? How will we make it through this pregnancy with our last check coming in two weeks? How will my children survive mom being sick, exhausted, and in pain? How will my pelvis hold up? What is the status of my uterine ligaments and for that matter, my uterus itself? See, I had been told after Fisher’s birth that my pelvis and ligaments were so damaged in the car accident I had at 40 weeks pregnant with him that I shouldn’t have more children. I really, really knew that I could not endure another birth and recovery like I had had with Fisher and was scared to death that that might happen. I didn’t really know if I could even carry this pregnancy to term because I had just had 2 miscarriages in a row. I was full to the brim with fear, worry, and a definite lack of faith.

I also remember being a little giddy thinking of a new little baby and if this one could possibly make it into my arms since he/she was so obviously an answer from God. I remember laughing and joking with my friend and talking about having a November baby.

By eight weeks I was in maternity clothes and I started to believe maybe this baby would make it. By twelve weeks I was showing a ton and getting pretty sure this baby would make it. I remember hearing her heartbeat and being ecstatic. At fifteen weeks we went camping for a week for swim camp and I made chocolate peanut butter smoothies for all the pregnant moms each morning. The weeks went by, I grew, the baby grew, and all my energies were focused on being a pregnant mama and overcoming the debilitating fear I had stored in my body from Fisher’s birth. Soon, November arrived along with lots of contractions. For some reason, I always thought I would have this baby before Thanksgiving. I thought that having Fisher at 40 weeks meant I no longer had to go days and days and days past 40 weeks. We made Thanksgiving plans, knowing I would have a 1 or 2 week old baby. But, no. I am destined to have long pregnancies, just like my mother and grandmother and four days AFTER Thanksgiving our little girlie arrived.

I remember being on the phone the night of the 25th with my sister-in-law, Sandy, working on Mom & Dad’s Christmas present that she was making. I needed to send her family photos and for some reason Richard’s computer was not making it easy for me to get these photos to her. I remember her asking me about the baby and me basically saying that I didn’t feel like the birth was going to be anytime soon. I was feeling nothing and figured I could easily go another week. Then I talked to my dear friend and doula who was leaving at 9 a.m. the next morning for a ten day trip to Washington. We cried together because we both knew she would not be able to attend my birth and both our hearts were broken at this turn of events. She tried hard to give me a pep talk about that God knew I could give birth without her because He wasn’t sending this baby yet and that maybe I needed this experience, that it would be a new and different experience that I would learn great things from. I really didn’t want to hear any of it. I wanted to have given birth two weeks before so that none of this was an issue. I wanted to look into her eyes as I labored and to feel the strength of her faith fill my soul.

Next, I talked to my midwife and she tried to give me the same pep talk that my doula gave me. Again, I wanted to hear none of it and went to bed devastated that my dear friend would not be there. See, I have attended all her births and she has attended all of mine but Blythe’s. We have shared miscarriages, worry, prayer, hope, tears, hugs, 2 hour phone calls, and everything in between. I could not imagine giving birth without her…and I knew now that it was 10 p.m. on the night before she was leaving that I had to somehow wrap myself around this new plan. I didn’t want to do it. I was so, so frustrated.

Around 3 a.m. I woke up to labor! What a delightful surprise! I could not believe it was really happening and quickly called my mom to get her on her way and then called my doula and midwife. Everyone started on their way, Richard started filling the tub, and I rocked through contractions. Soon, I needed Richard to be right with me, pushing on my sacrum once again. Around 5 a.m. my doula slipped into my bedroom and right into place next to me on my bed. I was still laughing and talking in between contractions at this point, but they quickly changed into “this is serious business, do not distract me by talking about miscellaneous topics” contractions. After multiple visits to the restroom to empty my bowels and my stomach (Do you know what an out of control experience it is to have volumes of fluid coming out your mouth, nose, and bottom all at the same time? Let me tell you, it is NOT enjoyable!) I slipped into the birth pool and was enveloped by its warmth and support.

Laboring in water is HEAVEN!

My pelvis was really hurting by this time and I was feeling a lot like I did during Fisher’s birth physically, but emotionally it was all different. I knew I was okay. I knew I was going to make it. I knew God wanted me to have this baby. That He had given her to us and that somehow He had healed my body enough for me to make it through this pregnancy. Because of this, I knew He had a plan for this birth.

Richard pushed on my pelvis, Delinda looked in my eyes, Keziah fed me homemade popsicles (you’ve got to try the R.W. Knudson Morning Blend juice to make your labor popsicles with…they are, hands down, the best), and Blythe was helpful in every way. Everything I needed she did with a gentleness that astounded me. She nurtured me that day in a way that hasn’t happened since she was a little girl and still thought I was the most amazing mom ever. My midwife arrived, my mom arrived, and everyone was thrilled that I was giving birth after such a journey to get to that point.

We could not figure out how to relieve the pressure on my pubic bone. It was hurting so much and I could not get any relief from numerous position changes. We tried using a hot water bottle, but it was not pliable enough to bend and fit how I needed it to. Someone had the brilliant idea to use a camelback…PERFECTION! It was plenty squishy and conformed to my body fabulously well.

A huge contraction came, my water broke, and out came Annesley into the hands of our midwife around 8:30 in the morning! What JOY! She laid on my chest for awhile, snuggled up and looking into my eyes. The depth of spirit that a brand new baby shows in her eyes is breathtaking. It is like looking straight into the essence of creation. I can always see that this soul has understanding that we don’t have. Their eyes are giant pools of wisdom, love, and truth.

That is exactly how Annesely’s eyes were that day. I remember feeling her great love for me. Her patience with me. And most of all, her joyful confidence that everything would be okay.

My doula left shortly afterwards so she could make it on her trip and we rejoiced together at the perfect timing of the Lord that enabled her to attend our birth.

Snuggling up with her in my bed that day healed so much of the pain of Fisher’s birth. I was not injured. I was not incapacitated. I was living proof that God CAN and DOES work miracles today. I was told my uterine ligaments would never heal…and yet, her birth, was proof that through His power they were healed. What a gift to be given from a loving Father…to be a miracle…and to have a child.

Annesely is now turning two years old. She is full of love, full of joy, and most of all, full of peace. Her eyes are bright and communicate the message that “it’s okay, it’s all gonna be okay.” I love this little girl so much. She has changed me and helped me to remember the joy of life and what is really most important.

You see, God knew that what we needed to get through our financial disaster was a little bundle of happiness and adorableness all wrapped up into one blue-eyed girlie who brings us joy everyday.

Happy Birthday Goo! We all love you!

Two days old

Two weeks old

Six weeks old







With her signature white hat made by Amy


Remember my post about the ranch dressing and yellow paint disaster? Here is the proof…





Look at her eyes in all these pictures. See how they are full of joy and love? Doesn’t it fill you with happiness just to see her?

Thank you for coming when you did my girlie, you are exactly what I needed then and your smiles help get me through every single day.

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Nov 2, 2009 by

I love the fall. Love it. I love the colors, the weather with warmth in the day and crispness at night. I love the smells of harvest. I love taking walks and swinging my feet through piles of leaves. I love thinking about what I want to make as Christmas presents for loved ones.

One early fall day back in 2003, I was visiting with my friend Delinda and I said “This is a perfect day. It is a perfect day to have a baby. I would love to be giving birth on a day like today.” Now, when I said this I had just had my fifth miscarriage in a row and didn’t think I would ever be giving birth again. But as we walked around my yard, I kept telling her how perfect that September day was for giving birth.

And then by a miracle of God, I DID give birth the next September, on a perfect fall day to have a baby and Fisher joined my life and wrapped himself around my heart in a way that I can’t even explain.

I have had 3 of my children born in the fall, and although I have always said I want a springtime baby (You know, don’t you, that it is the ideal time to have baby, right? Have you heard my three summer plan for why springtime babies are best? See note below if you have somehow missed my lecture on this important aspect of childbearing, haha!) I think fall babies are pretty wonderful as well.

Now fall is almost over. We are into November! How did this happen? How did the glorious month of October get away from me without a single hike to the hills? How did I miss taking pictures of the leaves in my yard?

We had meal-in-a-pumpkin tonight for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Talk about a fabulous fall supper. It took me right outside into the leaves, smells, and beauty of fall.

Enjoy these last few weeks (please tell me there are weeks, not days left) of fall and I will try my darndest to get out on a nice fall hike!

***The Three Summer Plan For Why Springtime Babies Are Ideal***
If you get pregnant in July, you can still wear your bathing suit, shorts, and hiking clothes all summer long. You can even still go backpacking. When Christmas rolls around and it is time for all those holiday parties, you will be a nice 6 months pregnant and be looking adorably round without feeling like you are beached whale. You will still have enough energy to make and shop for Christmas presents. You will have a built in heater to keep you warm through those frigid days and nights. You can wear maternity sweaters, long sleeves to hide saggy upper arms, and there is no reason you need to don a swimming suit when you aren’t feeling your most svelte self. The holiday season always flies by and that will help your second trimester fly by as well. Then, you just get to hibernate and enjoy the rest of winter and the coming of spring without a lot of time commitments or parties to dress up for. Then, the days start getting warmer just in time for you to give birth in April. You have a glorious birth in the springtime sunshine along with the baby chicks, calves, ducklings, and sheep. You don’t have to bundle your baby up in 10 million layers to keep them warm when you go out, it is warm! You will have April and May to get back into your summer clothes and by the time summer is full blown, your baby will be a great nurser and you will have adjusted to motherhood. Your baby will be big enough to carry around in a mei-tai all summer long and they will not be scrambling to get out and crawl around in the dirt. They will be content to be carried. By the time Christmas rolls around, your baby will still be in the crawling stage and will not try to climb the Christmas tree (unless they take after Keziah!). They will not have hit the famous 9-12 month stranger anxiety stage and grandparents and aunts and uncles will love holding your adorable baby. By the time the next summer arrives, your baby will be a quite competent walker and you will not have to endure a summer camping season digging dirt, twigs, and rocks out of your baby’s mouth. They will be able to toddle around camp like a pro. They will be over stranger anxiety just in time for all the family reunions.

So there you go, the 48 reasons why I have always said spring is the ideal time to have a baby. For some reason, all my babies conceived in June-August haven’t made it into my arms. My babies like me to endure the heat of summer while I am hugely pregnant and to give birth in the fall. So I guess fall is the ideal time for me to have a baby.

And that is perfectly okay with me because I get to hold them in my arms everyday.

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two weeks out

Oct 19, 2009 by

It has been two weeks since the first sign of spotting. It is both disturbing and comforting to see that life goes on. It just keeps going on as normal for the rest of the world and even for me in many ways. Children need fed, dishes need washed, classes need taught, books need read, friends need nurtured, and the endless list of commitments doesn’t let up. It is almost as if this little life that was inside of me has been gone for ages. As I was contemplating this thought this weekend, I was depressed about it. I thought “It has only been 12 days and I don’t want life to just go on, I want to memorialize this baby, this journey. I want to shout it from the rooftops that my babies have lived and died.”

Another part of me does want life to go on. It is familiar. It is what I do. It is busy and distracting and fulfilling and a myriad of other things. I know life cannot stop because I had a miscarriage. I know many people don’t view it the same as the death of an already born human being. I know, I know, I know. I have done this over and over and I totally get that people have no idea what to say, people are too busy to even think of it after a few days, and life just goes on. It does. I get that and yet…I needed to do something to mark this passage of my life. I didn’t know what to do. I was at a loss. I wanted a way to remember.

In walks a miracle.

My friend, Jessica, gave me the most perfect gift ever. She had an etsy seller make me a miscarriage necklace that is simply precious.

I love it.

I mean, I really, really love it.

I am not a jewelry person, but lately I have been drawn to jewelry that speaks to my soul. My mother gave me a Crowning Necklace for my birthday last year and I treasure it. I wear it often and make sure I have it on when I want to be more me. It helps me feel more alive, more hopeful, and more grounded. I am stronger and surer when I wear it.

The necklace Jessica gave me is perfect. It has nine shimmery crystals on it for each of our nine babies that have come into my womb and never made it into our arms. I don’t want to take it off. It is the exact thing I would have chosen if I had had the presence of mind to be able to figure out what I needed; it is a symbol of their souls, it is exquisitely beautiful, and it allows me to share my story or not depending on my mood and current emotional state.

I know, absolutely know, she was guided by God to have this gift made for me, because He knew exactly what I needed to move forward with peace in my heart.

Miscarriage Necklace

Thank you Jessica – thanks for listening.

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sixteen years

Oct 15, 2009 by

Today is our sixteenth wedding anniversary. We have been through fires, broken bones, job losses, deaths of loved ones, huge changes in philosophies, broken-down vehicles, despicable dinners, car rides full of puking, fourteen moves, sleepless nights, and lots of joy along the way.

When I think of the man I married, I am humbled to my core. Richard is good. Just plain good. He is kind, patient, loving, self-sacrificing, hard-working, easy-to-please, smart, creative, spiritual, understanding, funny, nurturing, a great listener, dedicated to our marriage and our children, forgiving, long-suffering, and laid-back. He thinks he is boring. I think he is stable. He thinks he is unattractive. I think he is the most adorable thing ever.

He is the best thing that ever happened to me.

By a long ways.

He loves me more than I ever dreamed possible.

He takes care of me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually (not that he can do my spiritual work for me, just that he supports me in it and helps me to see the truth of God’s power, love, and plan).

He always puts my needs and my wants first.

He has taught me what love means and what I need to do to be loving.

He forgives me for all my faults and helps me to overcome them…not by pointing them out, correcting me, nagging me, or getting frustrated with me, but by loving me and helping me see his vision of me and God’s vision of me. Of us.

We are united in our decisions of how we raise our family. This means the world to me. I have some pretty out-of-the-mainstream ideas and we get educated on them together and push forward together.

He trusts me.

He likes my family.

He makes popcorn for me late at night and doesn’t complain when I eat it in bed curled up with a good book.

He walks the path of creating babies with me. He doesn’t see pregnancy as something I should do alone, but as something we get to do together. He is there with me every step of the way, as I throw up day after day and have pains and cramps and sheer exhaustion and cravings and insanities and back labor and mastitis and a damaged body and tears and you get the point, right? He has been with me through nine miscarriages and all the anger, frustration, sadness, grief, denial, treatments, hopes, and heartaches that have accompanied them. He has been my number one support during our home births and pushes on my back for hours while filling my ears with love and encouragement. He believes in my ability to grow and birth our babies. In spite of the fact we were told we would never be able to have children and have lost lots of them; somehow he continues to believe we have more babies that we will figure out a way to get here. He is always ready for more little ones and is the best “papa” ever.

He thinks I am cute. In fact, he thinks I am beautiful. He even says he loves my body – how amazing is that? I mean, I have a mirror I can look at it and see that it’s not so great, but he really, really loves every single inch of me.

He is always trying to improve himself.

He is so incredibly patient with my foibles, my idiosyncracies, my poor housekeeping, my lack of organization, my temper, my clutter, my love of books, my passions, my life as a doula, my sins, and my sorrows.

His eyes change when he looks at me. They become softer, deeper, and more alive. I love that about him. I can instantly tell if he is “with” me or not by how his eyes respond when he looks my way.

He believes in my dreams and makes them his own. He does everything he can to make my dreams come true.

He is a great fisherman.

He writes me love letters…like this one. And lots of others that are far too wonderful to be published to the world.

He is a fabulous cook and creates things with bizarre ingredients that turn out delicious.

He cooks most of the important meals in our home…like Christmas Eve, Valentine’s Day, our anniversary, and every single Sunday dinner.

He doesn’t get mad at me when I lock myself out of my car…again and again and yes, again.

He sacrifices a LOT so I can serve families as a doula. He completely supports me in this calling and knows it is more than what I do, it is who I am. He brings our babies to me to nurse in the middle of the night. Our dates are often interrupted. Our vacations, weekends, daily schedule, EVERYTHING we do and everything I am needed for is up in the air when I am on call for a birth. My mind and heart are often so involved in a family’s pregnancy that it is hard for me to emotionally have anything left for him…and yet, he is patient. He knows I will return. He knows I will put him first as soon as I can and that truly, he is first in my life and heart.

He builds cool things for our children…like the kick sled I wanted, but couldn’t afford, a toolbench for Keziah, an awesome loft bed for Blythe, and a bow and arrow for Fisher. He can usually come up with some way to make me what I want for them.

He leads our home in righteousness.

He teaches family home evening.

He reads the scriptures to us and teaches us the doctrines of the gospel.

He gives us blessings.

He takes the garbage out.

He stays up late and listens to me even when he is exhausted.

He takes me to the temple.

He is easy to cook for and compliments anything I make.

He snuggles with our children.

He goes swimming with us even though he hates to swim.

He reads books to our children.

He lets me fall asleep in his arms even though it makes him hot and uncomfortable.

He buys me ice cream.

He likes to chop wood.

He likes learning.

He gives me wonderful full-body massages.

He dreams of being a physicist.

He cleans out the fridge of all the disgusting leftovers we have forgotten about and now I can’t bear to look at them and definitely can’t open the containers to throw them away without puking…so he does it for me. Amazing, isn’t he?

He rocks our babies at night.

He doesn’t give up on me.

He is a fabulous kisser…and his hugs, ahhhh, they are THE best.

He doesn’t make fun of me – even when I make a fool of myself.

He makes me laugh. Humor is one of the most important things in a marriage and he brings me smiles and laughter day after day.

He is my yoke-mate.

I am so grateful to be his. He took a big risk in marrying me. I was determined to be a working girl and to get my PhD. I wanted to do “important” things with my life and that didn’t really include spending my days with children. In addition, I was pretty messed up psychologically after my parent’s divorce and didn’t trust men at all. I couldn’t cook, sew, create a home, nurture a baby, or any of those other skills it is helpful to have in a wife. And yet…he knew. He knew we were supposed to be together and that it would all work out in the end. He trusted that feeling and let God work a miracle in changing my heart to become the woman he knew was buried down deep inside of me. I am so grateful he gave me a chance, well, LOTS of chances.

To give my heart to him fully and to have him entrust his heart to me is the greatest blessing of my life. There is no other place I would rather be than by his side, working our way through this life together.

Happy Anniversary – I love you.

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and now there are nine

Oct 8, 2009 by

Nine babies have come into our lives and left before we could hold them in our arms. Of course, that doesn’t mean we didn’t hold them in our hearts. I can tell you from experience that it takes approximately one second to go from not knowing you are pregnant, to knowing you are pregnant, to falling in love with your child and seeing the rest of your life holding, nursing, singing, carrying, pushing on the swing, teaching them how to ride a bike, going on walks, and reading books together.

It happens that fast.

We have been through this now nine times. Nine heartbreaking losses.

When I started spotting Monday night, I hoped it was something else. I had no cramping and I was still nauseous, so I went to bed hoping I was imagining those little brown streaks on the toilet paper. Tuesday morning, there were more brown streaks. Enough now that I really couldn’t convince myself that they didn’t exist. I went out and ran some errands around Salt Lake and then the cramping began. Not menstrual level cramping, but strong, “I need someone to hold me” cramping. The blood was flowing out of me and I had nothing to contain it. I went into Wal-mart and bought some pads and then stayed in the bathroom and cried for a long time. I called Richard and sobbed. I am sure the people at the store thought I was bonkers.

That night I attended the graduation ceremonies of the Midwives’ College of Utah. It was a wonderful experience and it was wonderful to be surrounded by midwives and those studying to be midwives. Great energy was flowing. I held it together and had a smile on my face, but inside I was dying. I went to bed that night hoping for some much needed rest, but ended up staying up all night with cramps on par with early labor. I wanted to be wrapped up in my husband’s arms. I wanted to sob into his chest and hear his words of love. I needed his hands to push on my back. But I was alone with Annesley and she needed me to hold her.


I really don’t like that word.

It is a loss. A loss of a baby. A loss of a dream. A loss of a family member.

My emotions are raw as I type this, but I had to get it out there this morning. This blog of mine has become my place to chronicle my life, the good and the bad, and I don’t want to forget the events of this week. I wish I had written about my other eight babies and the feelings surrounding their conceptions and passings.

Today I am a mother with four living children. I am going to snuggle up with my children who are here and give them all the love I can. They need me and I need them.

Goodbye little one.

I love you.

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fisher eli turns 5

Sep 18, 2009 by

Today my little boy, my only boy, my “big boy” as he likes to remind me often, is turning 5. Five. FIVE years old! How did that happen I ask you? As I think back on his life I am filled with emotions of love and gratitude for his life.

His pregnancy was incredibly difficult. I wanted him so desperately. So achingly. So much. We had been through six miscarriages since Keziah’s birth and I wanted this baby to stay alive. I needed this baby to stay alive. And yet, I was struggling.

You see, I knew in my heart that this child growing inside me was a boy-child. I was terrified of having a boy. I did not want a boy. I did not want to raise a boy that might grow up and hurt others. I could not face that reality, for that is what I saw it as, a reality, not just a possibility. I wanted this boy so much and yet I was terrified of having a boy.

I made myself sick over this. I had an ear infection. Then a spleen infection. Then a liver infection. Then a kidney infection. I was making myself SICK because I didn’t know how to handle the fact that I was having a boy. After months of this nonsense, my Heavenly Father gave me the answer that I needed to have peace. Then all the fear was gone. All the craziness disappeared just. like. that. In an instant.

At 40 weeks pregnant, I was in a car accident which damaged my already very weakened pelvis. I was in a huge amount of pain, could not walk and did not know if this precious baby was okay or not. After determining that the baby was in fact okay and that I was in fact not okay, we decided to hold off on making any decisions about the birth for a few days. Since my babies are always born around 42 weeks we figured I had a couple of weeks before the birth. Then labor started – on the one day of the month of September that my doula could not be there and my mother could not be there. I immediately went into denial and said I was not in labor. In fact, I kept chanting those words during those early contractions, “I am not in labor, these will stop. I am not in labor, I am not in labor. I can’t be in labor.” I could hardly move because of the pelvic injuries and believed that my birth team would be missing two critical members. My doula rearranged her life and did come. My mother turned the manning of an entire volleyball tournament over to others and started on her way. Meanwhile, I was in the most gut-wrenching, bone-jarring pain of my life. I believed I might die from the pain. I couldn’t focus on the contractions at all as the pain in my pelvis felt earth shattering. I continued to labor trying to hold my pelvis together as best as I could. My yoke-mate, eternal companion, and best friend, Richard, pushed on my back for hours as I moaned and screamed in the water of the birth pool. He never left my side and believed in me the entire time. My doula looked in my eyes and told me I was strong. Her eyes were deep pools of strength that got me through each moment of that labor. My midwife nurtured me with her words, her touch, and her abiding faith in me, my baby, and birth. I was surrounded by strength and yet, I felt all alone. It is only now after all these years that I can look at it objectively and know that I was not alone. I was encompassed by these mighty women and their knowledge that I would make it through. At the time I had no faith of my own that I would survive.

Eventually, my waters burst out of me and this boy came swishing right out with it. In that moment, he was the most precious thing I had ever laid eyes on. He was here. In my arms. He had red fuzzy hair, just like my dream from years before of a little curly-haired, red-headed two year old running around kicking a ball. I was so happy that he was out! I was overjoyed that after years of waiting for him he had finally arrived.

I was still in a lot of pain. Overwhelming pain. The aftermath of his birth was difficult, painful, and seemed to be never ending. I was in a serious amount of pain for months. I was emotionally damaged. I was depressed. I was beaten down. I felt like a failure. And I was in love with this boy. Deeply. His spirit was full of gentleness, love, forgiveness, and faith. I talked to him about his pregnancy and birth. I apologized for all the conflicting emotions. I reassured him that none of it was his fault and that he was not responsible for any of my pain or heartache. I told him everyday, repeatedly how much I loved him. I held him, and nursed him, and sang to him, and carried him, and slept with him.

And now he is five.

I have made peace with his pregnancy and birth. I view it as a blessing now, for I learned much about God, about healing, about faith, and about myself. I learned the power of emotions to alter our body’s state of health or dis-ease. I learned that miracles happen. I learned that my husband is completely in love with me regardless of my body’s ability to function. I learned that little boys are a gift from God and that they are full of sweetness that can melt my heart in a different way than girls can. I learned that this shy little red-headed boy can bring me joy – and does so everyday of his life.

He loves airplanes, trains, tractors, fishing, Larry-boy, books, riding his bike, worms, a “tiss and a hug” (as he calls them), cars, tools, swimming, balls, “Annsey-goo-head,” his papa, and the color green. A few days ago I said “I love you Fisher Eli” and he said “I love you to the sun and back to the ground and to the moon and back to the ground and to the sky and back to the ground!”

That is a lot of love.

And that is a miracle. I thank my Father in Heaven for this precious boy whom I adore and who loves me more than I can even comprehend. He is my boy.

Enjoy some adorable pictures of my little red-headed wonder:

Baby Fisher and the girls

Baby Fisher & Keziah


Fisher and Papa 1st Birthday

Fisher & Family Christmas 2005

Fisher in the tub

Fisher & Grandma in Hammock

Fisher's 3rd Birthday

Fisher's curls

Fisher in his suit outside

Fisher jumping off the GRL bridge

Red Shirt Cousin's Club

Smiling Fisher in his suit

Fisher and a fish

Fisher and Pirate Annesley

Ice cream at Mikelle's for Keziah's 8th Birthday

Grandma GG and Fisher and Annesley

Fisher & Annesley GRL 2008

Fisher & Annesley

Fisher and Bessie Boo


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