Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Golden Miracle in the Switchback Staircase

My heart is so full of joy and awe today. God is a God of miracles. He always has been and always will be. And He graciously enlists our help and the help of angels in His work. And let me just tell you - the wages of God do not disappoint! Today, our family was blessed to be witnesses to and participants in a small miracle.


It all started out, mundanely enough, picking out an outfit for Atley to wear to church. My good friend Amanda passed on a great dress to us that her daughter had worn and has now outgrown. It is fitted in the bodice and it has a full poofy skirt. It definitely fits the bill for a Christmas Sunday wardrobe choice. Well, Christmas is gone now, but I thought Atley would enjoy wearing it, so I pulled it out for her to wear last night in preparation for the Sabbath. I didn't realize that Squire had already picked out an outfit for Atley. I almost put the poofey dress back, but decided to keep it out as it didn't need to be ironed like the other outfit and it would save us time in our preparation for church. I chose Atley's silver sandals with silver flowers to go with the dress. After fixing Atley's hair and getting her dressed this morning, I had the thought that she should wear her pearl necklace with the golden bow. This necessitated a change to black shoes (to avoid the gold/silver clash), which I had to request Squire get down from a tote in the garage. This final point reveals my OCD with matching clothes and probably a little vanity. It is also a testament that Atley's choice of outfit was indeed guided by the spirit. The work that went into getting her dressed today - definitely an increase from the normal routine - was noticeable.

We got into the car to drive to church. It was foggy (weird for Tucson, right?) and pretty cold. I thought, "I should have put her in the outfit Squire chose! She'll be cold today in her short sleeves!" But a voice in my head said, "No. This was the right choice."

On the other side of Wilmot road, another family dressed their sweet little girl, Atley's age, in a ruffly neon pink dress. This little gal is in Atley's same nursery class. Today, her mom explained, that she insisted on wearing a gold flower in her hair. Though it didn't match, she indulged her daughter's request for the gold flower anyway. (This is the healthy way to feel about clothing, people!) ;)

Fast forward to the end of church. We were in our classroom with our little 3-4 year old students waiting for their parents to come pick them up. Squire said, "I'll go get Atley from nursey." "Sounds good." When he brought her back, I noticed that she had a new accessory in her hair - a golden poinsettiaish flower. It looked great with the gold bow on her pearl necklace and Christmas dress, but it wasn't ours. I informed Squire it wasn't, and he left Atley with me and ran back to the classroom in order to make sure the golden accessory got back to its rightful owner. 

On his way back up the stairs (our primary classes are upstairs), a gaggle of children made their way down the steps, delaying his ascent. "Good luck!" a friend said, noting the flow of little bodies making their way down the crowded staircase. Squire waited a few moments and made his way up the stairs. He was the only one going up. Just as he came around the corner to the middle landing, he saw a little girl falling face first down the steps (about 10 steps total). She plunged from the top step and was about to land face first three steps up from from the landing! And!!! . . . Squire caught her with one arm, and then supported her with the other. She was a bit shaken up, but otherwise unharmed.

I have one last detail to add - that for the last few weeks, Jocelyn has been nursing during both the first and third hour of church. Because I nurse her at the end, I have been the one to get Atley from nursery. This Sunday though, Jocelyn slept right on through that third hour. If I had been the one to get Atley from her class, I would have recognized the flower wasn't hers immediately and no second trip up the stairs would have been made.

I testify that this was a miracle. To think what would have happened to that little girls' face or head had I decided to put Atley in the other dress, which would have required a different necklace! With no gold to make her nursery leaders think that that fallen accessory was hers, and thereby cutting out Squire's second trip to the other side of the chapel and return up the stairs at no less and no more than the exactly perfect time and step to be able to catch her! I testify again that a miracle happened today!

Albeit . . . a small miracle. There are even greater miracles than this. So much greater!

Today in primary singing time, we learned a new song that filled my whole soul with the Spirit I feel when I know I am hearing truth undefiled. 


The message of the song is most poignant in its beautiful, swelling chorus:

"Jesus is a God of miracles. Nothing is at all impossible to Him. But I know this, of all His miracles, the most incredible must be, the miracle that rescues me."

I testify that Jesus is a God of miracles. I love my Savior for all that He has done for me, and for the life He lived. I love Him for the miracles that He performed in person for others during His life and ministry, and for the miracles I have seen Him direct in my life and lives of others. I love Him for letting me witness and participate in these things. And I testify that whosover will put their faith in and follow Him, will be rescued and be granted Eternal life - life with Him and with our Heavenly Father. It is troubling at times, how the world is darkening at an ever-increasing pace. I testify that the number of miracles we see will continue to grow and increase in greater measure than the darkness. There will be no limit to the miraculous happenings we will experience in coming years. And all of them, as incredible as they are and will be - even in all their breathtaking detail - will pale in comparison to the incredible miracle of the atonement that our Savior Jesus Christ offered in Gethsemane, on the cross and out of the tomb. As we dedicate ourselves to Him, we too will have eyes to see and ears to hear the miracles that are already happening all around us. These things I know are true. I share this in love and Gratitude for my Savior, Jesus Christ - who has miraculously rescued both you and me.

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015 Update: Stuff I Want to Remember about Life Right Now

I started to write a witty little facebook status about some cute things the kids have done lately. Three paragraphs into the construction of the status update, I decided it was best to just write those things here on the blog. I'm not sure how witty this hodge-podge blog post is going to be, but these things are important to me. They are the things I want to remember about my little family and our lives together - today. 

Lincoln: He is such a goofy, hilarious, observant little boy! He read his first word on Tuesday, January 6th: "mat." He was so excited he jumped up and hugged me. He was laughing with delight at learning a new skill. He feels silly when he works on writing letters and they look, "a little wonky." I do my best to introduce him to all kinds of music (Jazz, Classical, Symphonic, International, etc.) and his favorite station on Pandora is?. . . Weird Al Yankovic. While I was boiling pasta for mac and cheese (deceptively delicious style) he said, "The noodles are dancing in the bubbles!" Also, he requests for Atley to nurse his bunny, and gets upset if/when she refuses to, "But he's hungry! My bunny needs to eat!!" He loves to be read to. The other day I read Shel Silverstein's The Missing Piece to the kids before nap time. Lincoln was walking around the house later that day singing, "Oh, I'm looking for my missing piece, I'm looking for my missing piece. High-dee-ho, here I go, I'm looking for my missing piece!" He's getting schooled in the ways of old school cartoons by his dad: on Saturday mornings he gets to watch one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Spiderman, and eat a bowl of sugar cereal. (Sugar cereal from his Dad's Christmas stash - the poor man requested Peanut Butter Crunch as a gift this year, as I've been depriving him for about a year, now. ;) ) He started attending Sunbeams on Sunday. I think he was both excited and shell-shocked by the transition. He ran to hug his dad when he saw him in singing time. (We team teach the other Sunbeam class together in our ward.) I'm looking forward to seeing him warm up to the whole experience and really start singing in singing time because he has a great ear and voice for music.  He'll be four in February.

Atley: She is one sweet, independent little gal as evidenced by her insistence that she do everything "self!!" But she isn't so independent that she doesn't love to snuggle close to me in bed each morning and whisper, "Love you, Mama. Love you." She is often wearing several dress-ups and accessories at the same time. This little woman has style! She LOVES pink so much that it is a rare day (and very precariously discussed) that I can get her to wear anything else. She got a play food set for her second birthday - the kind that slices apart. She brought me a piece of bread with a strawberry attached at the velcro and said it was bread with jam. We recently fought (and won!) the  "like it!" (Translation: "I don't like it!") food battle with her and she is feeling pretty proud to be eating food on her plate, "Self!" She has the cutest little nasally voice. She loves her baby "Jothelyn" and helps me by bringing me dipes and wipes for her. She also helps me put away the dishes from the dishwashing machine each morning. She is quick to be a helper and listener which is wonderful for her mama! Sometimes, she whispers her answers to questions I ask her. I have no idea why she does this, but it makes me laugh. Squire has been away for interviews a lot lately, and Atley always insists we pray for "Daddeeeeee! or "Daddy-O."

Jocelyn: She is very observant and alert. She is really cooing and baby talking now which I adore as much as her bright smile that can be found in both her mouth and sweet round blue eyes - these often go together - double win! She is keeping her baby hair so far *fingers crossed we bypass the old man hair-do.* It is still light brown, but auburnish in the right light. She has one longer patch of hair on the crown of her head that curls straight up. I call her my little cockatoo because of this. She is calm in nature, but very active and strong. She loves being worn in my Sakura ring sling - she requests with some squawking to face out to see the world these days. She is delighted by the toys that hang from the bar in her bouncer and coos at them with joy. She nurses great and sleeps a manageable amount. I'm not a total zombie! ;)  She is gaining weight and her double chin is growing, but she has a less chunky baby body than Atley did so her g cloth diapers fit just right. 

Squire: Squire has been interviewing at residency programs all over the Western part of the United States (Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada) for the last couple of months which has kept him away from home quite a bit. He just finished an independent study and wrote a research paper on Obesity and ways to treat it with lifestyle and medicine. He is almost done with medical school at the U of A and will graduate this May!!! I'm not sure which one of us is more excited. Our 3 1/2 years in Tucson have gone by in the blink of eye. He loves to listen to Dave Ramsey while helping around the house or wood-working, and he is excited to start making money so that we can pay off our debt. He doesn't care that we have a lot of money, he just wants to be able to care for his family's needs and do that with a career he has felt led to do by God. I'm so proud of all he has accomplished, and the good, loving man that he is. He has the most unique dance moves I've ever seen - those get busted out regularly for Hepworth family only dance parties. ;) He is always reading a novel of some kind to the kids. This past year he read the first couple of books from the Little House on the Prairie series, and is currently reading Charlotte's Web to them. He is so loved by our kidlets. They like to ride him like a cow. Not a horse. A cow.  We just read Christmas Jars together - a tear-jerker that inspired us to implement a new family tradition in our home.
   
Me: I am feeling overwhelmed . . . with joy and peace! I love my life and my little family! I never divulged much on this blog, but last year for several months (really, much of the year before I got pregnant with Jocelyn) I had a lot of struggles with my physical and emotional health. I suspect I was struggling with adrenal fatigue and some postpartum depression. It was hard. Really hard. There was a lot of time when I didn't know how to keep going when all I felt like doing was curling up in a corner to sleep or disappear, but I am pleased to report that I am fully back to my own self in mind and body now, and I am cherishing this wonderful time by sucking the marrow out of life. Having Jocelyn has been a gift in our home. I'm enjoying my kids and homemaking more fully than I ever have. I get a kick out of doing Zumba and other video workouts with my little rugrats these days. It's hilarious - and also kind of difficult to not step on them with their excited frenzies about it all. I'm currently reading a lot because nursing forces me to sit quite a bit. Right now I'm working my way through Approaching Zion by: Hugh Nibley and pondering on the topic of preparing my family and associates for the Second coming of Jesus Christ. ("What does Zion look like? How can I create that in my home? How can I foster that in my relationships with others?") I pressure-canned chicken for the first time in November with my family and Misty's help, and am getting ready to pressure can beans, and to learn to sprout. I'm feeling really motivated to add a slew of new, healthy recipes to our repertoire, particularly dietician approved and low-meat or vegetarian dishes. (If you have any you love, I'd love if you'd send them along!!) :) I am looking forward to see where God is going to lead our family for residency - we find out in March. I'm excited about all the possibilities and know that wherever we go, it will be just the right place for us.

2015 is starting out as a beautiful and exciting year for our family. Life is good. I hope things are going just as well in your corner of the world! Thanks for caring enough to read about our lives. That means a lot to me.

Sincerely,

Jami

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Goodbye Processed Cereal! Hellooooo Homemade Granola!

Do I have a recipe for you! This granola recipe will make kicking processed cereal to the curb a breeze. Give it a taste and see if you don't agree! :)


Jami's Classic Granola

(This is great over yogurt or with milk as a cold cereal.)
  • 7.5 cups of old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 2.5 cups unsweetened coconut (I buy "wide slice" and "thread" from my local Sprouts store and do half and half)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  • 1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil (heated in the microwave until liquid, about 30 seconds)
  • 3/4 cup high-quality honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350* Farenheit.
2. Mix well all the ingredients but the coconut oil, honey and vanilla.
3. In a small, separate bowl mix the coconut oil, honey and vanilla together and pour over the granola mixture. Mix until well incorporated.
4.  Spread mixture out on two rimmed baking sheets (half sheet pans) lined with parchment paper or silpat liners.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring mixture on each pan and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until a light golden brown. Be careful to watch the granola: it will quickly turn from golden to burnt and will continue to cook as it cools when you take it out of the oven. Mixture will be moist when it comes out of the oven but will crisp and clump as it cools. Keeps for 1-2 weeks in an airtight container.

A couple of serving ideas:
Mash a banana up with some plain Greek yogurt, and sprinkle this deliciousness on top.
Serve with milk (we do whole around here!) and a handful of fresh raspberries or blueberries.

Thanks to Mel at Mel's Kitchen Cafe for the inspiration recipe, which can be found at this link:
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/classic-granola-and-french-chocolate-granola/

Friday, January 2, 2015

Here's a New Year's Resolution: Get Rid of Stupid Guilt


(**This post is written unabashedly from a Christian, LDS, perspective. I don't know how to authentically and fully share this post in any other way as so much of what I have found helpful on this topic is so rooted in True Gospel principles. I hope that whatever you believe and however you live your life, you find something of value, here.  Also - there are NO affiliate links in this post.**)

I've been pondering what to write about this topic for several months, now. With only about 30 seconds of focused effort on the subject, my mind was able to conjure up at least 9 specific friends who have mentioned feelings of guilt in private, recent conversations with me. These friends of mine (all women) are wonderful, good people, who are accomplishing great things in their families and communities. And yet they are guilt-ridden. They are trying to do their best in all the areas of life that matter to them, and they feel they come up short every time. They feel bad for their inadequacies. They criticize what they do accomplish. Then (and this is the worst part, isn't it?), they know they should be feeling grateful and happy and that others have it worse off than they do and . . . they feel bad for complaining and feeling guilty.

It's a vicious cycle. And I have a massive, undeniable, grotesque hunch weighing me down (figuratively speaking, for now anyways) that my 9 personal friends aren't the only ones in the universe who need some loving advice and encouragement in this area.  
  
Before we tackle this topic, though, I must mention that there are two kinds of guilt in life: helpful, God-given guilt and what I like to call stupid guilt. The scriptures back me up, here:

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." (2 Corinthians 7:10)

God-given guilt (godly sorrow) is a gift from a loving Father in Heaven who wants more than anything else for us to live with Him again. To live with Him again though, we must be perfect. ". . . no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence. . ." (Moses 6:57) God has given us the gift of His guilt so that we will want to repent, or change, through the grace of His Son, so that we might qualify to live with Him again. This guilt often starts with a stinging realization of our nothingness, and our unworthiness. It is sometimes the most painful kind of guilt. The culmination of this kind of guilt though, should fill us with hope: hope in our Savior, hope that we can change through Him, and a clear path of action. God's purpose in giving us guilt is to inspire us to change. He doesn't shock us with guilt just so we will just sit paralyzed in fear and shame about what we've done and hate everything about who we are. If your guilt is paralyzing, or leading you to hate yourself, you can be pretty certain that guilt is inspired of an evil source. This is stupid guilt.  

Stupid guilt (sorrow of the world) often comes from our own (foolish) expectations. It is inspired by Old Scratch and his minions. It causes us to feel bad, but doesn't inspire us with a way to get out of the hole it traps us in. It blinds us to the good things we are accomplishing with God. It fosters enmity within us for others. Honestly, it is downright depressing!
Me, myself and I? We have all had our fair share of stupid guilt. We have also found out through trial, error and Heavenly guidance, how to generally eradicate the stuff. ("Enough of the plural third person, please. It was amusing in the first sentence, but by the second it was getting old." Ok. Point taken.) I really don't suffer much from stupid guilt. I am pretty comfortable with who I am, who I am becoming, and I trust the One who is helping me accomplish all of that. Over the years, He has instructed me how to trust Him more, and as I have done that, I have found more confidence. Some of the things I am sharing are broader principles, and some are specific behaviors. They are all things I have felt were inspired, inspiring, and life-changing for me in getting rid of stupid guilt. Tune in to the Spirit as you read and see if there isn't a message here for you. 

Use the atonement, not only in dramatic circumstances, but all the time. Are we not all beggars? We are! God gives us every breath we breathe. He gives us our health, all that we materially possess, and all our skills and talents. We are indebted to Him for everything we have and are. In the words of Hugh Nibley, "Work we must, but the lunch is free." The sooner we realize where our lunch comes from, the less attention we have to focus on working for a lunch that has already been gifted to us. The grace of Jesus Christ's atonement not only helps us when we make mistakes, but it also enables us to accomplish and become so much more than we could with our natural capacities. We have nothing to prove, no one to compete with - only one master to serve in love and humility. And in doing so? We will feel His love more deeply and be blessed even more boundlessly.

In ditching stupid guilt, throw out the temptation to stop trying. That will only compound the problem. No offense to you, me and everybody on this Earth, but you really aren't perfect just the way you are. This is a pernicious lie from Old Scratch being perpetuated in myriad ways by his lapdogs, the popular media, meant to sedate you to mediocrity. Everyone has room for improvement. Of course you should try! That you always strive is your essential contribution. As you do, just remember who gives you your lunch.

Pray to see yourself as God sees you. Whenever I feel really down about myself, I remember the advice my mom gave to me in my struggling teen years, "Pray to see yourself as God sees you." His perfect love has never failed to lift my spirits to see the potential I possess, even amidst mistakes and outright failure. And that really makes His love for us all the more inspiring, doesn't it?

Less stuff is more freedom. Sometimes people feel like they have too much on their plate to manage, because they literally have too many plates, and toys, and clothes, and stuff, and stuff, and stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff! The more things you can get rid of that you don't absolutely need, the less time and effort you will spend worrying about things that absolutely don't matter, to impress people who absolutely don't care. Minimalism is a pretty awesome movement. It goes beyond getting rid of physical stuff, too. I recommend you join the party and ditch the stupid guilt you carry because you simply have too much stuff to manage.

Tune out of social media and generally competitive people. How many articles must we read like this, and this, and this before we learn that excessive Pinterest/facebook/pretty much all social media time, is bad for our mental and emotional health? If you're getting depressed about your lack of craftiness, rock hard bottom, or perfectly coiffed couch pillows, maybe an assessment is in order. Track how much time (and energy) you are devoting to social media. Less just might be the prescription for less stupid guilt. OR - a change in how you use the sites? Only you can determine that for yourself. Think about it and proceed with a plan. Online and in person, there are people who are a drag with their one-upedness. If there is someone in your life who always has to compete and compare themselves with you, limit your time with them and your stupid guilt will diminish correspondingly.  

Throw out spiritual checklists, and tune in to the Spirit. This one is huge. MASSIVE I TELL YOU!!!! Did you hear me shouting, there? Why is this so big?!?!?! When our spiritual things find their way onto our checklist of things to accomplish, we have really missed the whole point, haven't we? The point of reading scriptures every day, praying every day/all the time, doing FHE once a week, church meetings every Sunday, going to the temple X number of times a year, doing visiting/home teaching once a month, feeding the missionaries twice a month, listening to Mormon Tabernacle choir every morning, doing a secret act of service each day . . . is to come closer to God. If we are closer to God, we feel more loved, more inspired to do good, and to be better. When we robotize (is that a word?) or sterilize our spirituality by trying to spell it out as a specific formula, we shouldn't be surprised when those things stop being uplifting. I'm not undercutting the importance of doing those things and if you are successfully managing them, this is not an encouragement to drop excellent habits. I'm just saying that we have to always keep in mind the purpose of why we do those things in our minds. We should be careful to not offer or accept righteous routines as the actual Gospel principles/truths they espouse - or to think that a righteous routine in place, excuses us from giving more of ourselves, or time or talents, when prompted. When we focus on structured religious behaviors instead of the principles behind them - and the voice of the Spirit instructing how We might live them - we will discover an abundance of stupid guilt. So, do the opposite: focus on true principles and how the spirit instructs you to incorporate righteous habits in your life. It is so much more effective, and much less guilty-making. I highly recommend John Pontius' book, Following the Light of Christ Into His Presence, on this topic.  
Speaking of routines . . . ;)

Keep a simple household routine. I know it is kind of in vogue to brag about how filthy our houses get as stay-at-home moms these days. We all know the Law of Entropy is alive and well in all houses - especially those with toddlers. But, let's talk about how to overcome (or at least manage) that, shall we? Having a decently tidy space helps keep everyone feeling happier, less guilt-ridden, and more productive. Here a few things I do each day that make all the difference in managing my household with three very young children. I wake up, make my bed and get down on my knees to pray. Then, I throw a load of laundry into my washing machine and go empty the dishwasher. I fold the load when it is done (and usually start one more, too). I load dishes at each meal. I make my kids tidy up their toys/books in the proper places before they go down for nap/quiet time each day (or else they lose the toys they leave out for a day). I make sure I have started a load in my dishwasher before my head hits the bed at night. By doing these things every day, my house stays generally under control. We don't have to deal with mess crises. Figure out a systematic routine for managing your household, and your stupid guilt load will come out clean. I highly recommend Daryl Hoole's, The Ultimate Career, on this topic. I recently read it, and got so many amazing ideas for household management.
  
Do something that will last, every day. Daryl talks about this in her book, and I have thought this myself, too. So much of the things we do are never-ending chores: laundry and dishes, specifically. If we can spend a little time each day doing something that isn't one of the those never-ending chores it will help us feel more accomplished. Write a blog post. Sew something. Do some family history research. Go on a hike. Read a book for 30 minutes. Organize a closet. You get the idea. Doing this will give you a boost and help reduce stupid guilt. 

Read words of life. What is your favorite scripture? Do you have a positive mantra you like to say to yourself? Put it up where you can read it and think of it often. On my microwave, I currently have this scripture posted:

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:20)
 
Perhaps a positive phrase or scripture, oft-seen, will help you internalize a more Eternal perspective, and keep your stupid guilt at bay.

Take accountability with your words. My midwife, Sharon - came to my house at my 6-week postpartum visit. She made a comment, "Where's the popcorn for your tree?" I have a naturally-decorated tree. To feel bad about not having strung popcorn on my tree would be stupid guilt. To apologize for this would be encouraging stupid guilt. I said something sort of like this, "I decided not to this year. I have in years past, and I love the way it looks, but this year our time was more limited with Jocelyn arriving and all. I decided to snuggle with her instead." Then, I let it go. We only have so much time. We have to choose our priorities. When we have chosen what is most important to us, we should own it, and ignore any nagging stupid guilt, to do otherwise would just be stupid.

Throw out the scale - or weigh yourself less. Truly make it about taking care of your body - not a number. If you must weigh yourself, let it be only once a week. Look to principles of healthy self-care and incorporate those into your daily living - not as a fad or diet, but as a way of life. Things like consuming more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods or soda, and incorporating consistent physical activity into your routine that is enjoyable to you. As you focus on those sustainable principles for healthy living, your energy will increase, your muscles with strengthen, you will feel better in your own skin, and the stupid guilt will melt away.

Write stuff down. Don't waste time worrying about things you might forget. Don't waste time feeling guilty about things you forgot. Write it in a journal, or notebook, or sticky notes on the fridge, or in your phone. Whatever. Just write it down.

Watch less TV and spend more time doing things that will truly enrich your life. If you feel guilty for how much time you watch TV (and yes, Netflix counts as TV), it is almost certainly for good reason. TV is generally a waste of precious, God-given time. We all know it. That is why we feel bad when we sit in a mindless stupor in front of the stupid box, which feeds us commercials which also contribute to stupid guilt that we don't own stupid things. Watch less TV and substitute reading of wholesome, uplifting literature. Substitute focused time spent with your family. Substitute more time worshipping and serving. More time developing talents. Do this, and your stupid guilt will diminish. 

Recognize the efforts you put forth each night, and Thank God for His contribution, too. Learn to be content with whatever it was that you accomplished. Thank God for giving you whatever resources He did to make that happen: time, health, physical resources, children, skills/talents, etc.

Spend time with people who love you. Oftentimes, we spend too much time with those people who are trying to compete with us, and too little time with those who really love us and make us feel happy to be alive. Spend more time with the latter. They are the ones who will let you know if the guilt you are feeling is worthwhile, or if it should be ground up in the garbage disposal. Talk with them. Spend time with them. Become - with God's grace - the kind of person who uplifts others and helps them want to be better, too.

Get to bed at a decent time and rise earlier. I'm a night owl. Always have been. Still, I know that this advice when followed in my own life has made all the difference. It seems that stupid guilt often attacks late at night when we should be sleeping. So, sleep instead. Live more life in the sun light, and the light of the Son will lift your confidence and energize you to accomplish more than you ever could without Him.

If you have read this (Thank you!) and are now feeling guilty because you don't do everything on this list, I'm here to tell you that that is stupid guilt! You and me? We're not competing with each other. We're friends. Take what is helpful, throw out the rest - and as always - let the Spirit be your guide. 

Have a Happy New Year, my friends. A happy, stupid-guilt-free year!!

How do you conquer stupid guilt in your life? Please, share in the comments section!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Traditional Tree Hunt 2014

Squire is finally getting around to a project he has prepared for and been contemplating since our very first Christmas together. He has saved a piece of trunk from each one of the Christmas trees we've had. He is slicing them into ornaments and wood-burning the year into each one. That Squire had and executed this idea all on his own is pretty romantic to me. I absolutely love these - and my husband. :) Here are the few he has finished. They just need a little twine to hang:

Christmas tree ornaments - from our previous Christmas trees!
I have photos of each one of our Christmas trees, as well as a photo of our family each year at Christmastime. I am planning to print them up and hang them with clothespins from twine. We will add a new Christmas tree ornament, and photo(s) each year.

(*Update 12/11/14 - Here is the garland!*) 

Oh, Hepworth family Christmas traditions. Speaking of those . . .

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, we went on a little trip up to the Arizona White Mountains to cut down our Christmas tree - Squire's favorite Christmas tradition. We cut our tree down from the White Mountains last year, too. A 3 hour drive 5 hour drive with kids, for Tuscon residents wanting to get their Christmas tree the right way! ;) So far, we have cut down our own tree 5 of the 6 years we've been married - the one year we didn't, understandably, was the December Atley was born. (Guys - I'll never hear the end of how dry that tree from the lot was!!) To save myself from hearing about another dry tree for the rest of my life and for a little fresh air in uncommon scenery to Arizona - even with Jocelyn just being a few weeks old - we made it happen!

Here are some photos documenting the parts of the day we want to remember most (NOT for example, the bathroom stops on the side of the road with a newly potty trained little girl, which may or may not have included a trail of little poops spaced out evenly and frequently enough to rival and outlast Hansel and Gretel's bread crumb trace. . . or the "sticker getters" that found their way into every nook and cranny of our socks, shoes and pants . . . or pictures/video of the kids crying in unison to "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" the whole last hour of the drive home. Nope. No photos to remember those things.) We do, however, have these: 

Interesting fowl on the side of the road - there were two of them - partridges?! ;) Only a pear tree would have made this better, and more delicious. Don't worry, we didn't eat the birds. And for the record, I have no clue what they really were.
Per Squire's request - Me pretending to have cut down with mammoth tree with my tiny handsaw while holding a baby. Ooooh yeah. Don't mess with THIS mama!
Lincoln with "the one!"
 

 "Yay!" Family snapshot with our tree.

Little Jocelyn - look at those little neck folds, and her pink cheeks, and her little hands! Excuse me while I go chomp on my baby girl's face for a moment. . .

K. I'm back! :) Here are the boys, hard at work, sawing down our Christmas tree.

 Atley, being her adorable little self.

Lincoln helping daddy saw. Learning how to be a man.

Sexy beast Squire proudly displaying our Christmas tree. See the tag? This was legal tree-cutting, people! (Get permits for cutting trees at your local Big 5.) 

All tied up and ready to go!

 I don't know who did this to this tree on the side of the road, but I kind of love them. Seriously. So much joy seeing that little guy right here while driving up and down the canyon.
 
 The sun setting on our time in the White Mountains. All in all - it was a fabulous way to start off our Christmas season. May there be many, many more years of this great tradition to come.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Quick Photo Dump and Update on Baby Jocelyn

I don't have much time to write, but I wanted to post these photos so we have them close to Jocelyn's birth story!

**WARNING: One photo of my placenta is in this post. If thinking about seeing that makes you squeamish, then don't read this!**

The day after Jocelyn was born, my friend Amanda texted me around 6:45am to let me know my kids were asking to come home - they wanted to see their new baby sibling! We were anxious for them to come home and meet her, too. Who wouldn't be excited to meet this sweet baby girl?! :)

Love her little face!

Sucking her thumb.
Squire ran over to pick up the kids and they met Jocelyn for the first time in our room. They were both so happy to see her - to find out that she was a girl - and to hold her. So far, there has been no animosity toward their new sibling at all, only tenderness and excitement. A true blessing.

The day they met Jocelyn was also exciting for Lincoln and Atley as they got to see mommy's placenta and have a little anatomy lesson with Misty. I love this picture for so many reasons - it's hilarious and awesome. It is also evidence of just how crunchy I have become. Though, let it be written - no placenta consumption happened in this house. More power to the mamas who make that happen, but that level of crunchy just isn't my cup of hot chocolate. If I end up getting post partum depression, the ladies who do eat their placentas have fully earned the right to scold me, albeit gently, please.

Learning about placentas.
It took us a three whole days after her birth, to pin down Jocelyn's name. We had another girl name picked out, but it didn't suit her, so we had to go back to the drawing board. After three days and much deliberation, we decided on "Jocelyn Lily Hepworth" and we were happy and relieved - as were my family members, who were getting quite impatient for baby girl to have a name! They wanted a name to which they could attach all their lovey feelings. Credit for Jocelyn's name goes to Aunt McKenzie. She shared one of her less favorite girl names with me, which turned out to be very favorite for me and for Squire, too. "Brooke" and "Amelia" were high in the running, but Jocelyn ultimately won out. We loved the sound of Jocelyn and that it is a diminutive form of "Joyce," my granny's name. Lily was my Granny Shank's mother's name.

I have to link to this in here - my brother made this cute little song and video once we named Jocelyn. :) 

In celebration of having given baby girl a name, we took a picture of our whole family together for the first time:
Our very first photo as a family of 5!

Sisters!
Love this little face!

Doesn't she have the most beautiful thick brown hair?
Awkward photo shoot with 3 day old Jocelyn.
A photo with Aunt McKenzie.
Sneaking in a little kiss. Love this sweet babe!
Lincoln's first picture with Jocelyn.
Popeye.
Aunt Riley with Jocelyn.
Sweet baby Jocelyn.
Baby girl seems gets very concerned looks on her face quite often. (I promise she hasn't been wearing the same dress for two weeks . . .):

Jocelyn, 2 weeks old
She weighed 8 lbs. 8 oz. at her two week appointment - nursing is going very well. So well in fact, that two days ago she decided it would make for an exciting day to nurse from 9am to 1am (No, that wasn't a typo.), with no breaks exceeding 30 minutes. Whew! That one was a doozey!

She is very alert when she is awake. Jocelyn, 2 weeks.
When Jocelyn was one week old, we did a family photo shoot with Picture People.With Squire being gone so much for interviews the next few months, we figured it was now or not until a lot much later than I wanted a nice family photo. I was very pleased with how they turned out:











I purchased the girls' dress pattern off of Etsy. Very simple and quick to make.

 
It was really great and all to get fancy and pretty for our photo shoot, but in all reality - THIS is a more honest depiction of how we are dressing and looking around here these days. Caring for three babies is pretty tiring. Stretchy yoga pants and "Crusty's Pest Control" T-Shirts are required for the job sometimes.

  
Girly goo is 3 weeks and 4 days old today. We love seeing her many faces and snuggling with her every day. She is a very cuddly little babe. She is a very easy-going baby to care for. She only really cries when she is hungry or needs a diaper change. Though she is quite an active baby, too. She loves to move her arms and legs. She lifts her head impressively well for a newborn and will even push up on her legs sometimes, too. We are loving getting to know this little one. We love the spirit she brings to our home. We are grateful for all the help we have received (from my family - and friends, too!) that has made this special time of getting to know her, so comfortable and enjoyable for us. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On Making Breadcrumbs (or Parenting Three Kids)

My mom and two sisters left this afternoon. They left me with dinner cooking in a crock-pot. They left me with a freshly cleaned house in perfect order, and with two children in their rooms for their nap/quiet time. They left my little girl, potty-trained when she wasn't before. They left my little boy with words of love, and admonishment to be a helper, a listener. They left my baby with a kiss on her soft cheeks, each of them. And me - crying - rather pitifully, asking if they weren't absolutely sure they couldn't stay just one more day?

I made a batch of my multi-grain sandwich bread this morning, in an effort to get one last cooking project in before they were gone, and to teach my Sister, McKenzie, a thing or two about making bread before she left. I've done this recipe literally dozens of times now. And . . . my loaves turned out like this:


Flat, heavy, golden brown loaves. Great as doorstops, or bread crumbs. I'm thinking LOTS of bread crumbs. Maybe even bread pieces for stuffing next week? Trying to look on the bright side, here.

I just realized that having to make breadcrumbs out of my tried and true sandwich bread recipe, is a perfect metaphor for how I'm feeling about parenting three littlies right about now.

I've done this before. Given birth, and nursed and cared for babies through their toddler years. Now, I have another one. (A sweet, calm, easy little baby at that. *Fingers crossed she keeps it up.*)

But, I've also watched my mom, two sisters and I all run around all day to care for these children and this home of mine for the last two weeks. And now they are gone. And it's just me. . .

Plus, when I walked back in the house after my family drove off, I heard Lincoln yelling for me to wipe his poopy bum, Jocelyn crying for me to change her poopy diaper, and Atley - who was much too-quietly sitting in her bed - rubbing a whole pump bottle of shower gel all over her hair, her bedding and stuffed frog. All at the same time.

And I cried some more.

My midwife told me about a family who is about ready to welcome their fourth baby, all 4 years and under. The husband's sage advice to his wife was, "All you have to do is keep them alive, honey." I like that advice.

I have a feeling that we'll be eating lots of breadcrumbs - literally and metaphorically - for the next few months. Healthy, happy, multi-grain, heavy, golden brown bread crumbs, made with all the love and effort I can muster while short on sleep. 

And so it begins!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Jocelyn's Hypnobabies Homebirth Story (Jami's Perspective)



Baby Jocelyn, 1 day old
Reader's Digest Version:

  • Jocelyn Lily Hepworth was born at 11:46pm on Monday, November 3rd, 2014. 
  • 7lbs. 14 oz. and 21 inches long 
  • This was the most comfortable birth I've had - dare I say - pain free?!* 
  • It was a home, water birth. I caught my baby and placenta myself. 
  • We now have a sweet, calm, healthy baby GIRL!!

*Pain-free didn't mean it was a numb experience. It was still filled with lots of feelings of pressure, movement and varying levels of intensity, but it was completely manageable. I was always in control, and nothing stood out as being excessively uncomfortable or stinging. Pretty amazing! Thank you, Hypnobabies!

And now - the **TMI** version with all the details I assume you want to hear, since you clicked to read a birth story. . . ;)

Leading up to "Go" Time:

The two weeks leading up to baby's birth, I had been having lots of pressure waves (Hypnobabies lingo for contractions), some that were pretty intense. I thought I was having baby at 37 weeks 5 days, because things were getting so strong and uncomfortable while I was out grocery shopping. I even called my midwife to come to my home thinking that things were really happening. I felt slightly embarrassed when things calmed down when we were all home. I'm a veteran mom and a childbirth educator - you'd think I'd know by now when it was really "go" time! My midwife assured me that I wasn't the first. "Those third babies - I've seen them throw off childbirth educators, midwives-in-training, all kinds of mamas. One mom called us on three different occasions before her birth time started. No worries! This is what we do!" 

I was very relieved that our baby didn't come that day. My home wasn't clean and ready, I wasn't done with all my errands or cooking prep, I wasn't yet on the maintenance program for my Hypnobabies, and I wasn't ready emotionally for a new little one to arrive. I wanted things in order at home, I wanted a few more days to just enjoy my kids in a calm, clean space before we welcomed another. Plus, my mom and sisters weren't coming for another week and a half. 

That experience really pushed Squire and I to get everything prepared. We even had that week to just enjoy our other two kidlets. I wondered if my mom and sisters would make it in time for baby's birth, but I knew that at least WE were ready.

My mom was going to come on the Monday before baby's "due" date (November 6th), but she decided to push through and drive 13 hours straight to our house so she could be here Sunday, November 2nd, just in case baby decided to come that night.

Baby did not come Sunday, which was very nice as my family was exhausted. So they had one more day to recoup, and to settle in. My mom and sister, Riley, were even able to visit a good friend of Riley's who is serving a mission for our church in Mesa. They took her out to lunch Monday afternoon and had time to come back to Tucson without missing any action.

Mom (a.k.a. "Mimi") offered to take us to dinner Monday night. We excitedly took her up on her offer and chose one of our favorite Tucson restaurants - Zemam's, Ethiopian Cuisine. Amazing ethnic comfort food. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the restaurant to eat, we discovered that they were closed on Monday nights. So we decided to head to Guadalajara Grill. We missed the news that the restaurant had caught fire at the end of July and was now closed. Very sad news. Plus, we were getting hungry. Third time's a charm, right? We headed over to Macayo's - a Mexican restaurant we passed on the way to Guadalajara that looked busy.

Starting with a splash:

We pulled in the parking lot around 6:30pm. I felt a strong pressure wave begin as I stood up out of the car. Then - *gush* - SURPRISE! "Umm, my water just broke!" Seemed to me that in the darkness, my mom and Squire didn't realized how wet I was because they were saying, "Let's just go in and get some dinner real quick." "No way! I'm not going in there!" I turned around to show them how my whole rear-side was soaked with amniotic fluid. We had driven in separate cars as we didn't have room for everyone in one. So, we made a plan for Squire to take me and Atley home and to get set up there, and for my mom, sisters and Lincoln to order some take-out from Macayo's to bring back home. Mom graciously let me borrow the quilt in her car to sit on as we drove back home. :)

On the drive home, I called my midwife Misty to let her know that things were definitely happening. With my history of short birthing times she headed right over. I called my friend Amanda and made plans to drop Lincoln and Atley off at her house for the night. Squire and I said a prayer together for the baby and birth as we drove home.

We got home and started tackling last minute preparations. Squire finished filling up the birth tub with air and was tidying up and getting other things in order. 

I snapped one last photo of my pregnant belly and a pic with Atley (before the camera died and I had to plug it into the charger!) I tested my wet pants with pH paper to confirm it was actually amniotic fluid and not the contents of a weak bladder. Blue! It was. :) Then I threw a load of towels in the washing machine we would need for the birth, and changed into more comfortable clothing.
39 weeks, 4 days - Time to meet baby!
Selfie with Atley before she became a big sister. Sorry I couldn't get another picture with your eyes more open, girly goo. The camera died.
I knew baby was still posterior, so I alternated between hands and knees positions on the rug and leaning over my birth ball for most of the pressure waves while rocking my hips from side to side which felt great. Turn baby, turn! 

Misty arrived at our house before my family did. She took my blood pressure, listened to baby and got settled in. Misty commented that I looked gorgeous as only moms in their birthing time can look. I was feeling great - this was the night to meet my baby! My family arrived back home around 7:30pm. In between birth waves, I gratefully and ravenously ate the massive chicken, cheese and veggie stuffed quesadilla while leaning over my birth ball.

Family Home Evening:

Once the kids were fed, dressed for bed, and their teeth were brushed I insisted we do a little FHE (Family Home Evening). I had the idea for the lesson come to me earlier in the day and I wasn't going to let a few waves get in the way of a great teaching opportunity for my kids. We sang "I Lived in Heaven" and I read Jeremiah 1:4-5

"Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."

I taught them that just like Jeremiah, Heavenly Father knew and loved all of us in heaven before we came to Earth. And the little baby who was growing my belly was coming from heaven. I taught that baby and every one of us is given something special to do while on Earth, we just have to find out what that is! We had a short object lesson with a glove to illustrate the relationship of their spirit to their body. "We need our bodies to do the special things Heavenly Father has for us to do. This new baby, just like each one of us, is growing in Mommy's womb or uterus and getting a body so he or she could do what Heavenly Father wanted him or her to do! And this little baby, who had just been with Heavenly Father, is going to be here with us by morning time! This is a special time, and this is a special baby. Heavenly Father loves the baby and each one of us. Our bodies are special and help us become more like Heavenly Father." 

We finished with a prayer, and my mom brought Lincoln and Atley to Amanda's.

Getting down to business:

Up until this time I had been using my Hypnobabies Fingerdrop to go to instant deep self-hypnosis through the pressure waves, and had been using my "Peace" cue to direct my mental anesthesia where I needed it. All along, my sisters McKenzie and Riley, mom, Misty, Squire and I were talking and laughing in between pressure waves.



Riley being a silly Minnie Mouse in her awesome jammies.
Me making a face at something Kenzie was saying.
I drank my Sprouts Coconut water to stay hydrated. A more natural alternative to Gatorade. Good times.


About 9:30pm, my pressure waves were increasing in intensity and closeness. I wanted to know how dilated and effaced I was. A perfect opportunity for Squire to practice the skills he had learned from his OB/GYN rotation. He checked me and then Misty did and she gave him some helpful tips on how to get more accurate assessments. They concluded I was 6cm dilated (the new "active labor") and about 90% effaced. 

Things were picking up so I set up my Hypnobabies birth guide CD and started to play the "Easy First Stage" track so I could focus a bit better. I leaned on my kids' Learning Tower while sitting on my birth ball as Squire, Mom and Misty started to fill the birth tub.

Are you noticing our birth pool fail? I'll explain more later.
Connecting the hose to the sink.
Speeding up the process a bit with buckets.
Me using my "Peace" cue to direct anesthesia to my belly as my midwife listens to baby through a complete pressure wave.
Water for birth - a fantastic thing:

I loved getting into the birth tub full of warm water. It gave me a renewed focus on my Hypnosis so I could relax even more through the pressure waves that were coming almost constantly at that point. 

Misty taking my temperature right before I got into the birth tub.
Listening to my hypnosis birth guide tracks in the tub. Using the "Release" cue to shut off completely through a pressure wave.
Snuggling in the water through the pressure waves.
Waiting, waiting and more waiting - and relaxing with Kerry Tuschoff's help.
Us laughing at the birth fail - the liner . . .
Yeah, so while we're talking about the magic of birth tubs, I have to mention that somehow the liner was put in, folded in half and we didn't make the realization until about the last 30 minutes of the birth time. But we had used duct tape to help secure it. It didn't really work. Kind of hilarious. When Kenzie pointed out the open corner to me I immediately said, "Birth fail!" We are all still kind of laughing about that one.

See the seam that we missed?! Completely open, the (ineffective) duct tape would have been completely unnecessary. Oh well. You live and you learn.
I think it was about 10:30pm when I got in the water. I made several trips out of the tub to use the restroom, my mom assisting me in and out each time. The second to last restroom break my body was starting to get a little shaky. I knew that these powerful waves were bringing my baby and soon. When I started to bear down a bit the last time on the toilet, my mom said, "You need to get back in the water or you're going to have this baby in the toilet." I agreed wholeheartedly, in my mind. I was very focused on what was going on within my body at this time and wasn't very interactive at that point. I just needed to focus on what was going on inside.

Misty and Sharon, looking over notes together during the birth. Love these ladies!!

Pushing or "Ahhhhing" Baby out: 

I got back in the tub. Squire wasn't in the water with me at this point. He got out to take a break. I was on my hands and knees in the water, breathing heavily with heaving sighs at this point. My open mouth helped to open me up even more. Then I felt big shifts and some involuntary pushes slide baby down my birth canal. I remembered what Misty and her partner, Sharon, taught me about holding my own perineum to help ease baby out. "It will give you more control and help you know better how to push in the most comfortable way." I wondered briefly what everyone was doing around me but I didn't want to focus on that - I needed to keep my attention on my baby. I felt a couple more buckets of warm water being poured in to the tub. I assumed that everyone was watching and knew just how imminent this baby's arrival really was. 

I reached down and felt baby's head crown. I felt a twinge of worry and nervousness hit me at this point. I felt the tight ring of the edge of my cervix around baby's head. I didn't want to tear, and I wanted to push baby out in comfort but I didn't see how that could happen with how tight things felt. I had a moment of panic and wondered whether I ought to just push really hard and get it over with? In answer to my worry I heard in my mind, "Just wait." And with that, I felt a couple of waves come but I fought the urge to push with them and waited as I had been instructed. When the waves passed, in the calm moment, I told myself, "Open, open, open" and with a little nudge of pushing effort my baby slid out - head, shoulders and body - in one smooth glide. I pulled baby up to my chest and laughed a cried with joy. Little did I know - with how calm I was - no one realized what was happening until I was pulling baby out of the water to my chest! Baby felt much skinnier and lighter to me than my other babies, but baby's cry was as strong as any of theirs.






Anatomy Lesson and Placenta Pulling:

As I have mentioned on this blog before, we didn't know baby's gender but we very much expected baby to be a boy. After baby was on my chest for a minute, I heard Squire(?) ask me to check baby's gender. I looked down and saw what looked like a little uncircumcised penis. "It's a boy!" Squire stood behind me in the birth tub and we looked at our new sweet baby and listened to "his" cry. "He even looks like a boy," Squire said. With the way baby's nose was flattened, "he" sure did! We noted the thick head of brown baby hair. I was thinking how one of our baby boy names would fit better with this dark-haired baby over the other. After trying to get baby to latch unsuccessfully in the water to help with the placenta detachment we had a few things to do. Misty clamped the cord which had stopped pulsing, and Squire cut the cord. I gave baby to Squire and focused on pushing out the placenta which wasn't coming on its own. Misty explained to me how she wrapped the cord around her fingers to give a light pull but the tug she gave was a little uncomfortable. "I'll do it," I said. Misty directed me to hold my lower abdomen to protect my uterus from flipping inside out. I did that and I wrapped the umbilical cord around my fingers a few times and gave a light pull. Within seconds I felt my pushing urge come back and my placenta slid out with ease, perfectly intact. Pretty neat!

SURPRISE!!! 

Misty and Sharon helped me onto our futon which had towels and chux pads to protect it. They were doing some checks on me when Squire, holding the baby, looked over at me and said, "This baby isn't a boy - it's a girl!" "Really? Are you joking?!" "Really! She's a girl!" Apparently, my deep expectation that this baby was going to be a boy helped me lazily pass off baby's belly button - which was pulled out by the cord in a little tube an inch or two long - as a penis. I did notice the skin color of the belly button and the blue cord beneath, now that I think about it, but the power of expectation helped me dismiss what was weird and just see a baby boy. Will I ever live that one down? Probably not! Haha! Squire passed me our baby GIRL who I inspected with fresh eyes. We all laughed as I helped baby to get a great latch. Squire gave me a brownie to eat and said even though I got the gender wrong, my good work for this birth deserved some brownie points.
The tricky belly button . . . ;)

Delicious fudgey brownies made by Kenzie - gluten-free, for Sharon and Riley. Still enjoyed by all.
After the Birth Care:

Misty had prepared a great little herb bath for me that I soaked in while I nursed baby girl some more. When I was ready, I got out, got dressed in my nursing gown jammies. Misty and Sharon checked me for any tears, swelling or excess bleeding - there were NONE. Truly amazing news after having experienced an Episiotomy with the first birth and quite a bit of tearing with the second. I then got into my own bed where we weighed and measured baby girl. We all took our guesses. Squire and I tied in the guessing competition. I guessed 7lb. 11oz. and he guessed, "7lb. 17oz." ;). She was 7lb. 14oz. She got a little shot of Vitamin K for which she let out one strong cry but quickly settled with a comforting boob. Sharon packed up, thanked me for the "cushy" birth, congratulated us, and headed home.  

Riley holding baby girl for the first time.
Mimi holding baby girl while she watches something or other.
Squire helping Misty weigh Jocelyn.
A prayer of Thanksgiving:

We all sat on my bed - Squire, my mom, sisters and our new baby girl. Misty asked us if we would like a prayer of Thanksgiving. We would! She offered up the most beautiful prayer to the Lord in behalf of our family and especially our new baby girl. She prayed for our girl and dedicated her to the Lord. Very few eyes were left dry at the close of that powerful heartfelt prayer. We hugged, said our goodbyes and Misty made her way home around 3:30am. We snapped a few photos and went to sleep around 4am. 


 
We love you baby girl!!
It was an incredible night. Filled with sass and laughter, as well as quiet, still moments. There were surprises on surprises, as well as spiritual guidance and blessings. An abundant, heavenly experience - a gift from God - was what baby girl's birth was for me. If this birth serves as guide for what this girl's life will be like, it will be truly incredible. Welcome to the world, baby Jocelyn! We love you!! 

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