Friday, May 16, 2014

My Testimony of Trials

It has been a while since I have written an entry in the blog! There has been so much that has been going on. Shay and I both graduated from Weber State. He still works at America First and I will be starting a first grade position at a charter school in Clinton come August! Plus we bought a home and added a fury friend to our family. A cream colored Cocker Spaniel named Teddy. 

However, the reason I am writing this journal entry is because the other day as I was reading an Ensign article called "Beyond the Bubblegum Machine" in the April issue, I felt prompted to share an experience Shay and I had about five months ago. Instead of rewriting the experience, I have decided to just share the exact journal entry. Please know I am not posting this for attention or sympathy. I am simply posting this in hopes that my testimony and the experience I had will be able to help strengthen or uplift someone who is struggling.

            I am writing this journal entry because I know I have to, not because I want to. I believe that I must write this journal entry in order to fully move on from what has happened these past couple of weeks. As was mentioned in the last journal entry, Shay and I found out we were expecting on November 18th, 2013. We had planned on telling our families on December 24th. We were very excited and could not wait to share the exciting news. I finished school the first week of December and had my first prenatal appointment on December 9th at 4pm. I was very anxious the day of the appointment and had several emotions. I was excited, nervous, scared, anxious, happy, etc. When the time for the appointment came, Shay left work early and came home so we could go to the hospital together. We met with our doctor, she asked me questions about family history and then performed a vaginal ultrasound. She said we should be able to see little webbed hands and feet and that it might even be swimming around. However, when she brought the picture up on the screen, all that was visible was a yolk sack. She removed the ultrasound and took a deep breath. She then informed us that our pregnancy was not going to be neither easy nor normal. My heart literally dropped to my stomach and I felt sick. It was not the news I was expecting neither was it the news I wanted to hear. I had been so worried about being able to get pregnant, especially with everything my sisters had been through. As the appointment went on the doctor concluded that the results could be one of two things. I was either having a miscarriage or the embryo was just not as far along as we originally thought. She advised us to have some blood work done, which would determine whether the hormone HCG was still rising or not. If it wasn’t then I was having a miscarriage, if it was rising then I just wasn’t as far along as we thought. Before we left, we had the test performed and went home feeling depressed and heart-broken. That week was probably one of the hardest I have ever been through. I was trying to remain positive, but couldn’t help feel in my heart that I was going to loose the baby. I had been so preoccupied with simply becoming pregnant that I had never dreamed I would be at risk for a miscarriage. I know they are very common and that 1 in 4 woman have one, but it still had never crossed my mind. When I went back in three days later to have the test repeated I was still hopeful that our little baby was strong and healthy and that there was nothing to worry about.  I also knew that no matter what happened all would be well. I had received several blessings from Shay and had prayed for peace not matter the outcome. When they finally received the results of the test we were informed my levels were still rising. I was overcome with joy and could not contain my excitement. However, I was still concerned because the day after we had received the news of our possible miscarriage I began to have light bleeding. Sometimes it was more than others and sometimes it was dark blood and sometimes it was a bright red. Shay and I researched often to determine what it could be. I called the nurse and told her my symptoms. I was lightly bleeding, but I was not having any severe pain. Therefore, even though the news we received was a huge relief I was still worried that I might be having a miscarriage due to the bleeding. On the night of December 17th, by fears were reaffirmed as I started having intense back pain and cramps. By the morning of December 18th I lost the sweet baby in the emergency room at McKay Dee Hospital. I cannot tell you the heartache and sadness I felt. I have never been in so much pain, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I desire nothing more than to be a mother, to hold an infant in my arms and to know that my husband and I created it. Being able to have children is the greatest gift God has given men. I do not know why Shay and I had to experience this trial and I may never know, but I do know that it was necessary. I have a greater appreciation for life and have more sympathy for those who have experienced what I have. I understand loss more than I have ever before in my life and have greater compassion for my sister Summerly who is unable to have children. This experience, although difficult, has taught me so much. I understand the atonement and its purpose more fully. I understand why Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. I also thought it to be for those who needed to repent, but I now realize that the atonement is not just for sinners but also for all. It is because of the atonement that I can have peace in knowing Heavenly Father has felt what I have felt. His sympathy and understanding for the trials we face is deeper than any around us and greater than we can ever comprehend. That is why I feel peace. I know that His arms were wrapped around me constantly, even when I was filled with anger and betrayal at what had happened and even when I felt it unfair and unjust that I lost that baby. Although I was only about 8-9 weeks along, that baby had become apart of me. I didn’t eat, move, drink, or sleep without constantly thinking about the effects my actions would have on it. To suddenly have that taken away was a huge blow and one that I felt was totally undeserved. However, instead of being consumed with hate and anger, I was consumed with love and peace. It has been promised that Shay and I will bring choice spirits into this world and it has been promised that we will be able to raise them in the Gospel. Heavenly Father knows all and knows our circumstances better than we do ourselves. Shay and I had to go through this trial and although we will have a family, it is not at this moment. I have a testimony of prayer and of Heavenly Father’s timing. I know that He lives and that He loves us. If I did not have that testimony then I would not have been able to make it through this trial. I know that the Priesthood is real and so are the blessings that come from it. I am so grateful for Shay and for his support. He never left my side as I cried about the loss of our baby and he never once told me to stop grieving. I know it has been hard for him too and yet he always put my needs first. I am so blessed and know that I will continue to be blessed as I remain faithful and true to the covenants I have made, to my husband, and with my Heavenly Father. "

 I would just like to share a few paragraphs from the article I read in the Ensign that brought me a sense of peace and understanding: 

It says: 

Having trials of faith is uncomfortable and frustrating and stretches me outside my comfort zone. But I know that trials of our faith are the only way to receive the witness Moroni talks about: “I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6).
The blessings I hold most dear are the ones that didn’t come easily; they are the ones I had to fight the hardest for—the ones that came after a trial of my faith.

I know this church is true and that our Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us. He knows personally what we go through and is quick to provide comfort when needed if we but ask. I know that I will be able to have a family one day according to the Lord's timing. In the mean time, I know that it is my duty to prepare the best I can to be a mother of Heavenly Father's choice spirit children. 

I am so grateful that I have a wonderful husband by my side and honestly don't know what I would do without him. He has been my strength through every trial I have faced. I am grateful he has and is worthy to exercise the priesthood. I know it is because of that sacred authority we are able to be closer to each other and our Heavenly Father. 

"Faith is not about everything turning out ok.
It's about being ok, no matter how things turn out."

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gobble Gobble!

This year my family came over to Shay and I's house for Thanksgiving. It was great! I cleaned the house and prepared everything on Wednesday, then got up early on Thursday and finished preparing everything else. We went and did a charity walk (5k) at Ogden Regional Hospital. This is a yearly tradition my family and I do each year. It is always way fun and this year it wasn't even that cold, which was really nice! After the run my mom came over and she helped me prepare the Turkey. I was really nervous since this way my first time EVER cooking a turkey. However, it turned out great and we pretty much demolished the turkey. Seriously though.....haha. Next year we will be heading to Shay's grandmas for Thanksgiving, but it was a wonderful blessing to be able to host it this year. I am so grateful for my family and for my amazing husband who supports me in everything and even helped me set up for Thanksgiving. Couldn't have done it without him!


Monday, October 21, 2013

San Francisco - Warning - Extremely long!

So I know this post is super late, but better late than never right? For Shay and I's one year anniversary we packed our bags and headed to San Francisco, California for a week. It was a much needed vacation for both of us. Shay was almost done with the summer semester and I had just taken the Praxis exam for my teaching license. Four hours of tearing my hair out haha. Although I didn't pass the Math part, I am going to retake it this December and will hopefully be able to put that behind me for a while.

Shay and I were both so excited to go to San Francisco. We had been planning it since last March and had a whole week planned out. The first day there we just took in our surroundings, checked out the hotel, and got to know our way around the city. Although we had gotten a rental car, it was a lot easier to walk to places nearby rather than drive, since the streets were SO small and cramped.

Bay Bridge. We flew into Oakland, then drove into San Fran

This was the view from our hotel room. So many buildings!

BIG TALL BUILDINGS.....itty bitty streets

 We were going to go walking around the first day, but because we were so tired from flying and the craziness of driving in California we decided to just walk around our hotel and explore. We went to some shops, ate at a not so yummy pizza place and then headed back to the hotel room to get some shut eye. We had a big day ahead of us and wanted to make sure we got plenty of rest.

The next day we headed to the Muir Woods National Park. We left the hotel around 745am so that we could be there around 8. We had heard the earlier you could go the better. When we got up it was so foggy and the Golden Gate Bridge was barely visible. We drove high up into the mountains and then back down. Although we could hardly see anything, it was still beautiful. The woods in California are definitely not like the ones back home.

The trees were so beautiful and because we went early we got in free!
The trees were gorgeous and there was hardly any people

Redwoods are amazing!

We could have stayed for hours

After Muir Woods we headed down to the pier and over to the Coit Tower, which is this really cool "tower of pisa" looking thing. You can see for miles. It was a little expensive and to get up to the top you had to ride in this creepy elevator thing with like 15 strangers haha with little to no wiggling room. However, once we got to the top it was worth it. 
Waiting in line
Really neat murals 

On the way back to the hotel we caught the Trolley! Super fun! 
The third day we were there was probably my most favorite, even though by this point I could feel a cold coming on and my throat was killing me. The third day, was the day of our anniversary. We got up early and headed to a bike shop by the Golden Gate Bridge. We strapped on our helmets and began our several mile journey to a little town called Sausalito on the other side of the bridge. From there we would take the ferry over to Pier 39 and then bike back to the Golden Gate Bridge. Although it was very chilly and foggy, biking the Golden Gate Bridge was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. The view was still magnificent and again, because we went earlier there wasn't that many tourists out and about. I felt like a professional biker too! Biking on the road and trying to share it with other cars was definitely exhilarating haha. Once we were across the bridge and we went down into the little town we decided to kill some time by walking around and looking at all of the shops. We bought some souvenirs for family back home and also stopped at an amazing art gallery where they had Dr. Seuss portraits displayed everywhere. They talked to us and told us how much they were and that they offered shipping if we were from out of state....we just nodded our heads and pretended we had more money than we knew what to do with haha. Looking was enough for us. After that we headed to a pastry shop that had really yummy desserts and than sat on a dock and looked out over the bay. I even saw a cute little seal who decided to pop his head up out of the water and if you know me this was a big deal.....I love seals! haha. The ferry finally came and picked us up and we headed back to the other side of the bay. From there we biked back to the bike shop, grabbed our lunch we had purchased earlier at the Walgreen's by our hotel and ate lunch on the beach with sail boats in the distance and the Golden Gate Bridge towering over us. It was the perfect way to spend the day of our one year anniversary. 

Tons of sail boats were there. They were practicing for the World Cup which was to be held in September 

Later that night we got all dressed up and headed to the Cheesecake factory where we stuffed ourselves full and had strawberry cheesecake....I'm drooling just thinking about it haha.

The Cheesecake Factory was really fancy inside! I loved the paintings on the ceilings. 
For the fourth day we went to Alcatraz. When we had bought our tickets in advance, we had originally thought we had purchased them for Saturday, but realized like a week before our trip that we accidentally had purchased them for Sunday! We were bummed, but it was too late to switch or to get a refund, so we made do with what we had. We rode the Trolley down to the pier in the morning and walked over to the ferry that would take us over. However, on the way we stopped at Pier 39 where all the Sea Lions like to hang out. It was awesome! There were so many and they were talking like crazy. I loved it. I could have stayed there all day, but we had to get going so we didn't miss our ferry.

Going to Alcatraz was amazing! I would definitely recommend it to anyone going to San Fran. It is an amazing piece of history where so much has happened. The best part was the tour was self guided. You received a pair of headphones and it was a recording that guided you all around the island. The best part was walking from cell to cell and room to room hearing about all of the different stories. About the break ins, the riots, and the prisoners. It really put things into perspective at just how awful it was. My favorite part was the recreation yard where the prisoners played baseball and other games. The recording said that this was the prisoners sanctuary and that many would stay outside even on the coldest days because it was their one piece of freedom they had.

This was solitary confinement. The rooms were pitch black!

On the fifth day we went to Golden Gate Park, which is massive and really cool! We started the day with going to the California Academy of Sciences. We weren’t sure how great it would be, but after reading reviews online thought it would be worth it. Plus we had heard they had a huge indoor rain forest! When we got there, it was right when it opened so again the tourist level was at a min, which was really nice because there was so much to see! They had a huge aquatic area with fish galore! They had sharks, stingrays, colorful fish, an albino alligator and creatures from the Amazon River! Needless to say I was in heaven. I love animals and learning new things. We also saw a movie in a dome shaped room talking about how the universe could be infinite! It was a huge testimony builder because we have read in the scriptures how Heavenly Father created multiple worlds…. worlds without end. To actually hear it in a different type of setting reaffirmed to me that the scriptures are true and that Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us.

After the movie we went through the indoor rain forest. That was really neat. They had you step into a room where they shut the door behind you and then opened the one in front of you. It was to keep the room humid I'm guessing. They had butterflies everywhere too and they kept landing on people haha. It was three levels and each level represented a different part of the rain forest. It was really neat. When we were headed up to the second floor though they had a surprise waiting for me that I did not expect. As we were walking, Shay gave me this weird look and was like don't move. I was like what? As I said that I looked over my shoulder and like 10 feet away from me just hanging out, no confinement, no cages, no nothing, were these massive orb weaving spiders in their webs! I freaked and ran up the ramp to the next level haha I could not believe they were just letting these spiders hang out in the middle of the isle! Not cool....not cool. haha

But here are some exciting pictures from our trip at the California Academy of Sciences!

This is what was hanging from the ceiling...luckily this particular one was in a cage haha

Their living roof!

Coral Reef

When we were done at the academy we headed to a bike shop and rented some more bikes so that we could get around Golden Gate Park. I told you it was massive! That was really fun. We just followed the bike route wherever and ended up at this really pretty lake in the middle of the park. It was nice to just sit and relax and take in our surroundings.  After the park we headed back to the hotel and crashed. It had been a very long day and we still had one more event planned for that night…. the San Francisco Giants MLB Game! After resting for a bit we headed to the metro…under ground! And rode it to the game. We had been told this was the way to go. What a great experience. We accidentally purchased the wrong tickets that came to a total of 20 dollars! And when we tried to get a refund we were told that was not possible. However, this sweet lady and gentlemen that worked there gave us 20 dollars and bought the tickets off of us. We could not have been more grateful! Proof that there are still good people in this world…. or at least in San Fran haha. When we finally arrived at the stadium, it was freezing! It didn’t help that I had a cold either. It sucked actually, but I made the best of it and Shay bought a sweater for me to keep me extra warm. It was really awesome to see a MLB game in person and I am so glad we made the decision to go. Definitely a must when you go to San Fran, even if you don’t like baseball the view is worth it. 

Waiting for the metro

The next day we headed home. Although we were sad to go…. we needed a vacation from our vacation haha. No going to San Francisco was amazing and we both loved every minute of it and we feel very fortunate that we were able to go. If there is anything I learned from that trip is how blessed I am to have the Gospel in my life. I was thinking about that on the plane ride home. Although San Fran is a very beautiful city there is lots of poverty. You would be on one street and just a couple blocks over people were sleeping out in front of stores in sleeping bags and just wandering.  Every other block people were smoking or yelling at others for no apparent reason. It was then I realized how much direction the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has given me. It has given me purpose and each day it helps me to understand why I am here and what I should be doing. By listening to the Spirit I have been able to make decisions that have positively affected by life. I have still had my hardships and know I will but what has changed me and my outlook on those hardships is the fact that I know that I am never alone. Even if I had not been blessed with the life I have, if I had the Gospel and the knowledge that my Heavenly Father is always with me, I know I would have been okay and that I would have made it. Knowing that a higher being than myself loves me in my entirety, mistakes and all, is comforting beyond anything on this Earth. It provides me with a happiness that cannot be satisfied by the vain things of this world and I know that with all my heart that happiness that is true and everlasting can only come from living and putting into action the principles and qualities our brother Jesus Christ exemplified. I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with all my heart. They have both given me so much and as I live my life I can only hope and pray that I am living my life in a way that pleases them. I pray for those homeless in San Fran and for those that were lost, that they will find light in their life, just as I have.