Of Great Worth

Sunday, June 30, 2013

We were all this little once...

All so tiny...

 All indisputably precious...

Would you say that this little girl is worthless?  Of course not.  She's the exact opposite - she's priceless.  She's a miracle. 

Now think of yourself as a little child - would you say that baby is worthless?

Go Cubbies.

Do you feel like you're not worth what you were when you were little?  What changed? 

Does your worth sink once you lose that baby-perfect skin or when you put on unwanted pounds?  Does it lower when you first disappoint yourself or someone else?  It feels like that sometimes, doesn't it?

When do we forget how special we are?   It's easy to be misled, to believe that once imperfect, you're never that same precious person again.  It's not true.  We are God's children.  YOU are a child of God.  We, you and I, are of infinite worth. 

You are known.  You are loved.  Our Heavenly Parents care about you.  That's why Jesus Christ was sent, to help us return to Them after we die.  

As I've come unto Christ, I've felt peace and hope.  I see the potential I once had and still have.

Think of your baby picture the next time you're in a dark place.  If that child was grieving or lost or disappointed, would you speak to him or her the way you speak to yourself now? 

So, instead of beating yourself up or ignoring your feelings, in your mind hold that little one close, say the kind of comforting things you'd say to any dear child, be loving and remind her who she really is. 

True love on a Sunday afternoon

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This is THE most thoughtful plate of macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten.
Last Sunday afternoon, Bryce decided to make us mac and cheese (Trader Joe's GF of course).  When he brought my serving over, he presented it on the "You are special today" plate. 

I smiled and said, "What's this for?" He told me that a few weeks ago he saw the plate hidden away in a cupboard.  When he pulled it out and looked at the back, it showed that we'd documented nothing 'special' since Bryce's 25th birthday!  

He said he thought of all days since then that he has wanted to celebrate me and decided right then to surprise me with a "special plate" dinner.  It didn't seem right to serve me using food I'd prepared, so he waited patiently for the right moment. The mac n cheese gave him the opportunity.

Once I'd finished he told me to look on the back of the plate.  On the rim, he'd written three of those special days with their descriptions:

- E gives birth to Caroline
- E gives birth to Ivy
- E closes on business sale

All I could do was smile and tear up - the gesture overwhelmed me.  

I wouldn't normally share this tender moment in case my writing doesn't do it justice or in case some people minimize it.  

But it simply must be said that true love exists, that good men exist, and that, if you're lucky, you might find yourself with both while eating a plate of mac n cheese.

"Playing at Pebble Beach" -- Including special kids

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jack and Ollie at Pebble Beach - two of Jack's favorites meeting for the first time

Before having kids, I dreamed about the perks of parenthood and looked forward to two highlights:

1)  Introducing them to my favorites.  I couldn't wait to chase them around on Zuma Beach, to present them with their first slice of pizza, to snuggle together reading Little House on the Prairie and especially to watch them hug and kiss their grandparents.

2)  Reliving childhood through their eyes.  Experiencing again the simplicity and wonder of life as they do.  It would be like toward the end of You've Got Mail, where Kathleen Kelly flashes back to her mother twirling her around and around, with the music serenading them -- the simple girlish joy of spinning around in a big skirt with your mom.  That was going to be my Caroline with me, twirling away.


Unfortunately, when Caro was born, those perks seemed liked they'd have to wait.   It seems like that to many parents because it's an echo of the message we get from society:  special needs child = normal, happy life no more.

I will acknowledge that it's hard continuing with a normal life when you have special-needs children.  Here's why:

1. Often they're medically fragile. 

2. It's hard for them to communicate. 

3. Your unique family draws attention from lookie-loos when in public.  This can be uncomfortable.  (When this happens, I remind myself that people just aren't familiar with seeing kids like Caroline, so by us being out, it helps raise their comfort level and acceptance).

4. Finally, the energy you expend including them seems to exceed what they get out the experience. 

Wait! That's not the last word.  We've found that you can introduce them to favorites and relive childhood with them if you have:

-  some strong, positive parental will (Bryce and Jack are especially talented here.  They make sure Caro and Ollie are in the action!)

-  support from family and friends -- people who understand and try to help with the points above

-  and an understanding of your child's true self (see Made Manifest)

Don't get me wrong.  If you have the above, it's still a challenge.  However...

Including your special child will bring peace and help you learn about yourself and your child.  You'll build a stronger bond with your little one. 

It's impossible to include them sometimes and other times your tank is too empty to handle the 'hard' side effects.  Do what you can, when you can.  Pray.  Try again.

Or at least that's what has worked with Caroline so far.  And now that Ollie has joined the family (see Meet Caroline under "About Caroline's Chromosomal Disorder" for more about Oliver), we watch my brother and sister-in-law being able to do this as well.  I know you can too.

Enjoy some inclusion highlights below:

Caroline's 1st Trip to the Movies

Caro likes walks.  This is us on one after I ran.  Yes, I am one of those people who gets red-faced following a workout.
Ollie visiting the Easter Bunny.  Just like many a baby before him, he's less than thrilled.
See, normally he's very happy boy.  Here he's included with the stockings.
Bryce pulls Caroline up on the couch to read to her - beautiful.

Dressing Caroline up for Halloween is a blast.  This picture makes me laugh.  Caroline looks like she's distracted by her manicure, and Ivy is protesting with a little crumple.

Caroline as one of the angels in last year's nativity

It's a dark one, but Caroline is smiling while Daddy helps her open birthday presents.

More birthday present opening.  We had a family party last year.

One year, C's bday fell on a Sunday.  If she could've, like any other kid, she'd have publicized that fact. So I made a button to share the good news.

Caroline greeting her guests at her 4th birthday party - we brought people to us that year!

C leading others in cupcake decorating.

One of the Crowd

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sometimes I feel pretty small.  I'm walking along, secure and happy with who I am and my part in the world.  Then, rocks on the path trip up the happy jaunt.  You know what I mean, what those rocks are -- they're the thoughts like "I'm insignificant" or "I'm never going to be enough."  Those thoughts are awful.

Election night crowd, Wellington, 

I think about the billions of people this globe holds and compare that with the small number of lives mine affects.  I look at how someone is more accomplished (yes, I live in the 21st century and still refer to people as 'being accomplished'), prettier, smarter, or a better writer than me (that last one has been a big rock since resuming this blog - I'm more often reminded that there are a lot of writers out there who are better than me.  Wait, why I'm telling you that?)

So, anyway...

Last night, B and I were reading Jesus the Christ about what happens prior to the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude with five loaves and two fishes.  

The book talks about how Jesus and his twelve apostles, after a long while of ministering and preaching, went to find secluded rest in a rural area outside of town.  However, the thousands who followed Jesus because of His miracles and teachings saw where they were going and tagged along.  After a short rest, Jesus and the twelve saw the multitude approaching.  

Reading about those masses, I saw myself as one of them and thought "Great, even to Jesus, I'm just a number.  One of thousands (really millions) of followers who asks for His help while He's trying to talk with the VIPs who do the important stuff.  I think I serve in important ways, but really I'm just one of the common people, the hoi polloi, the great unwashed, the rank and file."  You get the idea.

But reading more gave me relief:
"As the multitude gathered on the lower slopes, our Lord looked upon them as upon sheep without a shepherd; and, yielding to their desire and to His own emotions of divine pity [Mark 6:34 says He was "moved with compassion"], He taught them many things, healed their afflicted ones, and comforted their hearts with compassionate tenderness." Jesus the Christ, Talmage, p. 333

He cared about each one of those people.  Not only did He teach all of them, but He healed and comforted them as individuals.

That's what they wanted.  To hear universal truth and to feel personally loved. That's why they stayed in the wilderness for hours to the point where feeding them needed to be addressed.  They followed Him, and He was able to take care of their spiritual and physical needs so that "they did all eat, and were filled."(Mark 6:42)

I am one of very many and that's actually a positive thing.  I'm also me - God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ know and love me as an individual.  My worth does not boom or bust based off of how much better or worse I am than others or by how much people like me or by the money I make or what I accomplish.  I'm not a stock that's bought when it's the new, best thing around and sold when others companies look stronger or more promising.  

My worth is a constant. So is yours.

Thank goodness.

"They did all eat, and were filled."(Mark 6:42)

Education of and by Caroline

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This is a 'Made Manifest' post if there ever was one.

We're blessed to see the works of God made manifest in 
Caroline's education. 
Caroline practices using a switch to turn on her beloved stereo.

Shaking her head while trying to concentrate on the iPad

Her education is tedious, measured in micro-steps like this example of a 6 month physical therapy IEP goal: "Caroline will sit up partially assisted for a minimum of 3 minutes 50% of the time."
She found the switch
It's discouraging to watch your daughter's soul being limited by her body and mind.  We watch, work and wait for years to see what we see in a week of watching Ivy.  Yet, she does learn and grow, and with patience, we're blessed to be a part of it.

Going for it again!
We're also blessed to mingle with Caroline's CCSD Home Intervention teacher and therapists, people who understand that the worth of all souls is great.  

They're not her family and most are not of our faith, but they understand that Caroline has a potential and a personality to foster.

Caroline getting a rose at her preschool graduation last year.**
They spent so much time with her, researched techniques on their own time to help her, and cared about her well-being.  They even had expectations for her behavior.  When Caroline would look away from her desk and the lesson, her teacher would firmly but with a bit of a twinkle in his eye say "I'll wait."  C would go back to looking at the lesson.  He believed in her.

Caroline with her pre-K and K teacher - got to have him for two years!

  Work means being paid to meet job requirements; service means sacrificing to meet a person's needs.  This staff served Caroline.

C's OT keeping C from pushing the stereo off of her desk and onto little Ivy.
I hope seeing all of these pictures portrays a little glimpse into their good hearts and into C's personality.*

Postscript:  The end of the school year is a bit of a melancholy time as a parent.  You feel time pass, even a year pass, all in one day.  At the same time, it's sweet to look forward to Caro's future education.  She's going to attend a special school!  Stay tuned...

*We didn't get a picture of her speech therapist : ( . 
The switch is hidden behind the speaker.  The OT uses the toy in his R hand (which lights up) to attract C's attn back to the switch.
C put her arm on him when I said we were going to take a direct picture!  Awww.
Practicing sitting-up with her PT
What a look!

This PT really cared about Caro.
Doing so well in her Rifton chair!
Look at the happy girl!
"Thanks for telling me that I can do it."
"I'm still sitting!"
"I'm bored, Mom"

"Just kidding, sheesh"
Ivy's so happy for her sister!

That's Caro's personality - the camera just barely catches it.

**Caroline was sick and couldn't go to her Kindergarten graduation.  It surprised me how heartbroken I was.  We missed out for sure.  Caro will really miss her great teacher!

Good News! People Can Change

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blogs are like flowers near an elementary school playground...either the flowers are appreciated for the tiny beauty they add to the child's day OR they're trampled into little bits by an out-of-bounds soccer ball!

That's a little dramatic, but for real, it is scary to put myself and my family out there. Especially when it comes to spiritual and religious topics.

And especially when I'm constantly having to repent of the very insights I've shared.


If I share what I believe, but don't always live what I believe, maybe it's not okay for me to share in the first place?


Notice the word 'always'.  The idea that you have to be perfect 'always' or you're a failure leads to discouragement (and that's not from God). It's not realistic for us to 'always' do exactly the right thing.  We're fallen human beings.  

That said, we do have the capacity and the responsibility to change, to keep improving through the enabling power of the Savior's atonement. We need a power greater than ourselves to help us become who we want to be and who God needs us to be.  

If I want to seek that power, I need to be willing to continually ask for forgiveness before the Lord and sincerely strive to do better.

"Repentance means striving to change. It would mock the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for us to expect that He should transform us into angelic beings with no real effort on our part. Rather, we seek His grace to complement and reward our most diligent efforts (see 2 Nephi 25:23).
Perhaps as much as praying for mercy, we should pray for time and opportunity to work and strive and overcome. Surely the Lord smiles upon one who desires to come to judgment worthily, who resolutely labors day by day to replace weakness with strength. Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such striving.
Divine forgiveness and healing flow quite naturally to such a soul, for indeed “virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; [and] mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own” (D&C 88:40)." Elder D. Todd Christofferson

So I keep trying and trying, and I keep sharing what I feel and what I've learned.  I do that because all of us feel our imperfections yet want to change, and we can be unified in that desire.

This blog is my way of sharing that, despite built-in imperfections, minor mistakes and major mess-ups, I've felt that I'm still dear to the Savior and, that as I follow Him, I do feel his forgiveness and peace.  What He teaches really is good news.

Instagramming Great Grandma

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Here is the Kate & Albert Kidd family. The tiniest girl is Celete Laura Kidd, my Grandfather's mom - isn't she cute? She's making a face like Ivy.
I've got a treat for you today -- a guest post by my mom Teresa.   Over the last few years, I've started to understand why family history is important.  Learning the history of my family reminds me that the worth of ALL souls is great in the sight of God.  

Looking for new ways to engage in family history, I asked my mom, the family history expert, to share some ideas via a blog post.  She'll give you something to think about on Sunday.  Enjoy!:

When I was growing up we often took summer vacations to visit my grandmother in a very small town in Eastern Oregon.  I remember old fashioned picnicking near the reservoir, outings to pick huckleberries and piling the buckets to overflowing with fruit for pies and jam, Sunday dinners with platters heaped high with fried chicken and all the wonders a large vegetable garden offers up in August.  
Forever linked to these wonderful food memories are remembrances of my older relatives and the family stories they shared.  As a young girl I would quietly sit and absorb all the old-people conversations about earlier times, and relatives that were long gone.  I’ve loved learning about family history for as long as I can remember.

Little kid versions of my mom and her brother
You say you can’t relate?  I recognize that listening to old stories and old people isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, not to mention the idea of reading microfilms and studying old records in a courthouse.  But I think everyone can find  some way to actually enjoy contributing to family history.  Get creative and think of options that work with your personality.

Do you use Instagram or like taking photos?  Photographs are a great way to preserve family history.  A story from the past is instantly more interesting when there’s a photo with it to help you visualize who was involved.  Pictures also are an easy way to help people start talking about past experiences and family members long-gone.  Nothing gathers people at a get together quicker than pulling out an old photo album.  Putting photos up online to share will have a similar effect and can get family members talking back and forth.

There are many ways to share photos online: Instagram, Flicker, Facebook, as simple email attachments and so on, but there are some sites that are specifically tailored to sharing family history photos.  These are probably the best way to go when you want to share with a lot of people. has made it very easy for you to upload photos of family, heirlooms, marriage certificates, diplomas, places important to the family like old houses, etc.  You can take a picture of a picture that your parents have and get that up online.  After that you can tag the people in the photo and add a description.  It’s done in a matter of minutes, and this site has the benefit of allowing others to comment and add their stories and memories to the photo.

How much time do you spend with photographs on Facebook or Instagram? Consider spending a few minutes of that time this Sunday uploading photos of ancestors on Family Search or sending them out to your extended family.  You’ll get them talking about the people and times, and you will have made a worthwhile contribution to family history while strengthening your family ties. 

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