Sunday, November 2, 2014


I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I was eight years old in Everett, Washington.  I can’t remember all of the details, but I certainly remember some.  I remember that my grandma came from out of state, I received my first copy of the Book of Mormon signed by my bishop, my family went out to eat at Round Table Pizza afterwards, my dad went to church the next day, my mom had written a song about Baptism and sang it with the other mom whose daughter was baptized that day; I remember that when I received my first set up scriptures I opened them up to the very page that had the verse that was on my baptism program.  At the time, that was special to me.  Most of all, I remember how I felt so happy on that spring day in 1986.

We believe in baptism by immersion, fully immersing our bodies under the water.  This symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  In the Bible we learn this is how John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Through baptism, we receive a remission of sins, we gain membership into the Church and we make it possible for us to return to live with God.  Baptism is the first saving ordinance.  An ordinance is a sacred, formal act performed by someone who has authority from God.  When we are baptized, a covenant is made.  A covenant is a promise made with God.  At baptism, we promise to keep His commandments, always remember Him and take His name upon us.  He promises to forgive our sins and He allows the Spirit to always be with us.

I have had the privilege of witnessing three of my own little 8 year olds take this giant step in their lives.  With each one, I have wondered if they were old enough to understand the implications of the covenant they were making with God.  I certainly didn’t want them to take this step because I was forcing them to do it.  I wanted it to be from their own free will and choice.  The past several months we have been preparing our son, Luke, for baptism.  We’ve tried to teach him the importance, what it means, and how it can bless his life.  On Friday night, I found some alone time with Luke and I sat him down and told him, “Luke, you know you don’t have to be baptized tomorrow.”  He looked at me like “who are you and what have you done with my mom?” I told him this was an important decision that he was old enough to make on his own, but if he didn’t want to do it, it would be okay.  He said in return, “I want to be baptized. I want to live with Jesus again.”

His baptism was yesterday.  He was so happy.  He felt special all day long.  Many people came to support him.  I’m not sure what he’ll remember of it when he’s my age, but I hope he remembers how he felt, because I know he felt so much happiness and love. These feelings are such a testament to why I believe as I do.

This morning, I was reading in my bed and Luke came running into my room and jumped on my bed.  He said, “Mom, when do I get to make my second covenant?”

He felt so good with the first promise he made to Heavenly Father, he can hardly wait for the next.  My own heart was filled with joy.

Because I am a Mormon, I believe in baptism by immersion by the proper authority.  It is sacred.  It is a reminder of a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. And now, for Luke, he has his own reminder.  I hope he never forgets.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My Miracle

Today is Easter. I awoke this morning and had so many thoughts running
through my mind, I wanted to try and make sense of them and the best way
for me to do that is to write.

In our family we have been praying for a miracle since early February.
I had severe nerve damage to my inner ear and suddenly, my hearing and
vestibular system were shot. My body didn't know which way was forward,
backward, up or down. In a second, my life changed. Of course, at the
time, I thought all of this was temporary. I was told it was an
infection that would clear up in 7-10 days. But time came and went and I
was still left with no hearing in my left ear and was wheelchair bound.
I've also experienced a relentless tinnitus who knows no quitting, and
it has frustrated me beyond anything I have ever experienced in my
life. There was no calm, no solace. After some testing, it was
determined this was not caused by an infection or virus, but rather my
nerves were damaged and my condition was likely permanent. And the
prayers increased. Countless people have been praying for me, and I am
so grateful. I've exercised my faith greater than ever before in my
life, but no hearing has been restored. No miracle.

Or, some may think.

When something knocks you down, like this did for me, all of a sudden, I
started recognizing others' perceptions. People said, "You are a good
person, God will heal you." Or, "If you have faith, you will be
healed." Or, "I told God I would do this or that if He would heal me and
He did." Or, "Be obedient and stay strong, and you will be healed."
Or pertaining to others' miracles, "she was healed because her faith was
so great, how could He not heal her?" Well, I happen to have learned
from other life experiences, that none of these statements are entirely

What about my faith? My obedience?

I know I'm not perfect by any means, but I have spent my lifetime
trying to be obedient and increase my faith. From the second I was sent
into a whirling cyclone of chaos, I have never questioned my Heavenly
Father's love or ability to hear my prayers. I have never questioned
His ability and power to heal me. I have always known that if it was
God's will to make me whole, that I would be healed. Yet, very humbled
by this, I have prayed that He would help my unbelief; that my faith
would increase even more; that I would have the faith required to
receive this miracle and my hearing could be restored.

It hasn't yet been restored. But here's the thing: I have received a miracle.

After living a month in this condition, I became discouraged. Accepting
this could be my life, I began to grieve and my outlook was very bleak.
Besides people, I had lost something I valued more than just
about anything else in this life: my ability to hear music. This seemed
worse than cutting off my leg or my arm. The hours I had spent at my
piano, the time and money I'd invested in voice lessons, the blessings
that had come to my life through music are too many to number. My sure
way to always obtain peace was through music. Suddenly something I
loved so much became a source of pain and intense frustration to my ear.
Chords, which at one time seemed to make everything right in the world,
were suddenly dissonant with no hope for resolve. My kids told me I was off-key when I sang along to anything.  I went to a production of my most favorite music in the whole world last month and it was probably THE most depressing day since all of this happened. I couldn't hear. I didn't want to live like this. I wanted a miracle! Why not me? If the Seattle Seahawks can win the Superbowl, surely I can have this miracle, too? (Maybe its asking for too much in the same year haha!) I kept thinking, who CAN live like this? And I was right. No one should live that miserable and hopeless. My prayers had always been for healing, but they transitioned into praying for my body to tolerate its condition, that I might live in peace and gratitude and JOY--all things I had been lacking.

This is when I began to see my miracle unfolding.

I've learned there are many others, far worse off than me. I've learned
to be so very, very, very grateful for my good ear, and my eyes and
mouth and every body part, really. I've learned compassion for those
who suffer. I've learned that even when someone appears to be fine,
they may be dealing with something very difficult and that it is best to
always be patient, gentle and kind. I've learned to be positive and to keep from spilling my sorrows to any listening ear.  I've learned my brain can compensate and my body is slowly learning a new normal.

It isn't our pain that keeps us from living the life we want most; it is our choice to suffer that kills it.

On this Easter morning, my miracle is that I can't help but feel peace, gratitude and joy beyond measure.

Jesus Christ is the Miracle.

He also prayed to the Father and asked that the bitter cup be removed,
but nevertheless, God's will be done. He willingly suffered for us,
even though He didn't want to--if it wasn't necessary. But it was
necessary. For us. Because of His suffering, we can turn to Him and He
will carry our burden. He rose from the dead, and He lives. Because
He lives, we may live again. Because He lives, I will hear again, no
question.  Why do we not turn to Him with our sins and obtain forgiveness and relief from guilt. Why do we not turn to Him when trials are too much to bear and obtain peace.

          “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” Matthew 11:28–30
Because I am a Mormon...I know He is the Son of God; that He
suffered not only for my sins, but for my pain and sadness. As easy as
He can take my sins from me, He can take my sorrow, if I turn to Him.

I know there are many who suffer from heartache much greater than
hearing loss. But I believe in Jesus Christ and His power and ability
to heal; even that we may not feel the burdens upon our back, no matter
what the suffering may be.

I can't tell you how many people have commented to me in the past month
how they are happy to see me getting better. Its funny, because my
hearing loss is as profound as it was on February 6th. Not a day has
gone by that I haven't woken up in the morning and been reminded that
the world is turning, only I seem to be going in the opposite direction! The tinnitus hasn't improved at all. I still can't sing. Or drive. But thank goodness, I no longer need a wheelchair or support when I walk. I can do nearly almost everything I did before, while dizzy. For the most part, life has become very normal again. The dizziness is just a little reminder that I need help beyond my own, and that isn't a bad thing. My body is figuring out how to work through this...

And my heart is learning, also.