Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Metamorphosis of Me

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I keep meaning to type out my feelings at this point in life.  However, there doesn't seem to be words adequate to express the complexity of my thoughts--not exact words that I feel comfortable putting out in public, anyway.  

In my heart is an intricate web of gratitude and awe and humility and disbelief and amazement at the path the Lord has lead me down to get to this place.  You see, I am quite a different person now than I was four years ago.  During that time, I have been pruned and cut back and given the opportunity to grow up in a better way than the way that I had planned.

And that is the beautiful thing about life, especially a life where you let your guard down, and lay your will down, and let the Lord do what he will with you.

It's not an easy thing, but it is a glorious thing.  It is a magnificent metamorphosis...one that only The Maker, our Savior, can adequately take us through (and which he'll take us through many times in this life, if we let Him.)  

It is a change that puts all events in our lives--past and present--into their proper place and perspective.  It is a change that allows us to see who we were really meant to be and causes a course correction that betters our chances of actually reaching our intended destiny...and to get there happier and wiser and more fulfilled.  

There is no self-help book, no magic word, no mind-over-matter that can bring about this kind of change.  

And there is no better travel companion on this road than Jesus Christ, the one who understands us best, who loves us completely, the only one who has really gone there before.

As I look back, I truly see Him in my life, and I recognize better now more than ever what he has done for me personally...and why.

Like I said, there just aren't words.

Maybe that is why Mary kept these things and pondered them in her heart.

Wise woman that Mary.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Being a Brother

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To be a brother is to serve...

The watchful BIG BROTHER!

to honor...

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...and to protect.

And Guy does these things very well...even better now that he has his own bow and arrow that he got today for his birthday!

Happy Birthday to the best brother around!
We love you, Guy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Honor's Homecoming

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Let me introduce you to the newest member of our eternal family:

The lovely, the beautiful, the peaceful, the cheerful

Honor Ivy Christensen
Born: November 7th, 2012 at 6:24pm
10 lbs. 5 oz.
22 inches


There is so much that I'd like to tell you about what this means to me, but I don't think words can express the gratitude that I feel to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to bring this little piece of heaven into our lives.  In all respects, it has been a true honor!

The birth was amazing.  We were blessed and watched over in every way.


She came very quickly, and we were a little surprised by her size, but more surprised when the nurse said that her length was just 20 inches...You see, all my kids were 22 inches at birth...so yesterday I remeasured her, and she's much closer to 22 than 20...so there's a little revisionist history at play here!  She's a 22 in my book! :)

For being 10 lbs, she was actually my easiest and quickest delivery.  Three and a half hours of labor and 3 (or so) minutes of pushing, and she was here, in our arms...ours forever!  What a treasure!


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I was also blessed to be surrounded by a few trusted people who also respected the sacredness of the moment!  My husband, who did a great job of helping me through the harder contractions.  My friend Sarah who is a trained doula who supported me emotionally and did a great job communicating my needs to the medical staff.  My midwife Bonnie, who mostly stayed out of the way, but who also moved quickly to release the tension of the cord which was wrapped around Honor's neck as she was coming out.  The very, very green medical student JT who was just in awe of the whole process--it being his first birth, who I'm sure never imagined a woman in labor would have so much to joke around about, and who also caught the baby.  Cindy, my labor and delivery nurse, who talked and laughed exactly like my mom's best friend, and whose laid back demeanor also allowed me to feel at ease, and just focus on the task at hand.  

(Oh, and I shouldn't forget to mention Dr. Stankiewicz, who is also a member of our ward, who saw me in the office that day and ruled that I was too far dilated to keep walking around town, so he sent us to the hospital...I was dilated to an 8 by the time we arrived!)

Now, we're getting long here, but I'll share two more sweet moments. 

Honor was so quiet for the first few minutes, probably getting over the shock of the quick delivery, as was I.  Then as I held her in my arms, she let out a cry, "Mmmmmma!"  I'll take it!  Her first word was "Ma!" :) And she did that again two more times that night...Ma! Ma!  Love it!

After a regular stay in the hospital, it was time to go home on Friday.  I dressed Honor in a "going home" outfit.  And I told her, "We get to go home now!"  Her face broke out into the biggest smile...her first smile actually.  And we got it on camera (It's the picture at the top of this post!)

Honor knows what it means to be Home, and she was as happy to return to that peaceful, familiar place as we are to have her here with us.

She's a Daddy's girl...but for the record, her first word was "Mmmmma!"  And I've heard her say "Ma" three times already!  (just for the record... :) 

  Thanks to everyone for your love, support, and emails asking about our baby girl!  

All is well.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Letters to the Baby FHE



Today is my due date.

And I have been very blessed to have a wonderful pregnancy!

It is interesting, the difference that four years makes...but I'll save that for another post.

Anyway, we are so ready, and we are so excited to welcome this baby into our family!

Every day, we say, "What else can we do to get ready for her?  What else can we do to make her entrance into the world sweet and special?"

When FHE time rolled around tonight, I didn't have anything planned.  But Steve swooped in with a most beautiful idea.

He asked us each to write a letter to the baby telling her what it's like in our family and in our home.

Each child, and Steve and I, sat down and wrote out thoughts and wishes for the baby.  Autumn drew a picture of Jesus and wrote, "I love Jesus."  Scarlett wrote part of her letter in song form (and sang it for us!)  And Guy wrote just the sweetest words of love and advice that only a big brother could give.

I took a video of each of us reading our letters to the baby, and I am sharing Guy's with you, because the thoughts he shares are just so lovely.  These little women are so fortunate and blessed to have Guy as their big brother!

This baby has so much love waiting for her in our home...COME ON, BABY!!! :)  You're going to love it here!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The American Dream is Alive and Well


Here's the news, folks:

I did NOT have a baby last night.
(Despite 10 hours of contractions and a hospital stay...)

There will be no NY marathon this weekend.

And there's still no power or gasoline to be had in Brooklyn, where taxis have been lined up at gas stations for days and many have lost their homes and all of their earthly possessions.

HOWEVER: 

My dear friend Cherry still got to take her oath of citizenship in NYC yesterday!! 

They couldn't print out her certificate, but she IS A US CITIZEN!  
And I couldn't think of anyone who deserves it more...or who would appreciate it more.

Despite hardships...despite a LOT of hard work, she is living the American dream...

It's still alive, people!  

We need to cherish it and all of the many blessings that are ours only by of the grace of God.

I am so proud of you Cherry!

(What are you guys thankful for today...in spite of it all?)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

So...How's Your Food Storage?



You know, it's kind of surreal watching footage of people in the aftermath of "Superstorm Sandy" trying to get by, trying to stay warm, trying to get a charge on their cell phones so that they can get word out to their relatives.

Here in central Pennsylvania we felt the effects of the high winds and rain, however, we did not lose power.  And yet, many of my friends in Ohio are still without power.  They are suffering already...and a winter storm is forecasted for the northeast next week.

Tonight, I was struck as I watched the national news.  I saw a woman yelling at Michael Bloomberg in the street, telling him that she needs heat.  She needs food and water...begging him to send help her way.

And I wondered how long it will be until each of us are in her same position.

Desperate.  Crying out for help.  Wishing we would have been more prepared.

In an NPR story this morning, I heard an airline official reminding us that natural disasters happen around the world basically every day, and that as an industry, they are used to dealing with things like hurricanes and volcanic eruptions on a daily basis.

I thought about how many decades (or centuries) the Lord, through his prophets, has been asking us to get ready, to store food and water, to have 72-hour kits on hand, and to keep them updated.

And I thought about my own personal "emergency preparedness" to-do list.  I thought about how many  times I've said, "We need to get a generator," and didn't.  I thought about promptings I've had to get certain insurance plans that went ignored. 

One guy I heard on the radio this morning lamented that the grocery stores had food but didn't seem to want to sell it to anyone who didn't have cash in hand.  I made a mental note that cash in a crisis can be very important.  And then I started a running mental list of things that I need to take care of...before our turn to face tragedy comes around.

These stories serve as a very good testimonial to what prophets have been telling us for years

They don't ask us to prepare for emergencies to make us waste time and money or to create panic or to make us seem weird to our friends and neighbors.  Latter-day saints are asked to prepare for hard times because hard times are coming (and are here), and because there is peace in being able to take care of our families and others when disaster strikes.

You can read more about what the LDS church teaches about becoming self-reliant at the Provident Living website.