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I am a 47-year-old mother who finds joy in my children. My life has never been busier, but never been so rewarding, either. I have four daughters and a son, and now, a new granddaughter. In the last year, my third daughter, who was just turning 19, left an abusive marriage and came back to live with us when she was three months pregnant. In December she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, our first grandchild. She left an unhealthy relationship--where her husband was homeless, jobless and addicted to drugs. It was hard to see her struggle and yet to turn away from the foundation of family and church with which she had been raised. Eventually she realized that her family loved her no matter what and that she could change her life around and have a new start with the people who cared most about her. Finances have never been tighter for our family, paying for a lawyer, a restraining order, etc... but we couldn't be more happy to have our family intact and have the joy of a sweet baby sent to our home directly from heaven.
I come from a family of nine kids and I am the youngest. I have always been a people watcher. Seeing my older siblings grow up and make choices, I saw direct consequences for those choices. I decided at the age of 12 that I could make my own decisions and that I should find out for myself if the things my parents taught me were true. In this way, I could base my own choices on proven principles that would help me to succeed in life. That is when I read the Book of Mormon by myself for the first time. When I was done reading, I knelt beside my bed and asked my Father in Heaven if it was true. My answer didn't come as a single answer. It came as an overwhelming feeling of warmth that I recognized as a feeling I had felt the whole time I had read the book. I knew the Book of Mormon was true. And, because I knew the Book of Mormon was true, I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet.
The Holy Ghost helps me every single day. I pray for its presence in my life with every prayer I utter. I know that if I have the companionship of the Holy Ghost it is like having a burst of sunshine and the best GPS I can have. In raising my children it is important to me to know that I can have answers a whisper away as my children seek guidance from me and as I offer them advice. It is a good feeling to know that I am important enough to my Heavenly Father not to be left alone - that I can have His Spirit to be with me. What a blessing this is! I hope I never underestimate this power I have in my life.
At the end of the New Testament, in Malachi, a scripture inspires us as Latter-day Saints. It is that "the hearts of the children will turn to their fathers." I have always had a strong sense of family. As the youngest of nine children, my identity has always been linked not just to my awesome siblings, but to 21 aunts and uncles, to grandparents who gave us a rich heritage and to pioneers who settled the West. Most of my ancestors who immigrated to the United States came from Denmark. My grandmother knew Danish well and spoke it in the home. My aunt served a mission in Denmark and took pictures of the places from which our ancestors immigrated. She researched their birth places and important dates. These people are real to me. We all have a story that is unique and amazing. Because of my love of storytelling, I want to connect myself to these interesting personalities and find out more, not just about them, but in turn, about each of their lives. I want to try to understand myself better. These are the people who have created me. I want to see myself in them and connect myself to them in meaningful ways. We all go back to Adam and Eve, to Noah, to Abraham. What about the missing people in those chains? I want to fill in the blanks and know that I am just as divine and full of possibilities as they were. All of us come from a loving God who has revealed that the family links we enjoy in this life can continue in the next life. To me that is a very beautiful thing which I hope to do my part in making a future reality. I know that a God who so intricately created this beautiful earth and everything on it desires His children, his greatest creations, to have joy and can make families eternal. Joy comes to greatest fruition within the family unit and can continue into the eternities. Since my father's death on April 19, 1995 and my mother's death on December 18, 2011, there is nothing more beautiful than that thought to me.
I strive to live my faith in all areas of my life. I am a wife and mother first and foremost. My husband and I have been married for 24 years and we find joy in our children, community, jobs, and our faith. I am a substitute teacher and I especially love working with students in a special needs environment. Right now I am a permanent substitute in a resource classroom. I have approximately 55 students to whom I teach U.S. History, Government, World Civilization and Language Arts. I also serve as an Sunday School teacher for adults every other Sunday, where we are currently focusing on study of the Old Testament. I have a journalism degree and I hope return to college for a master's degree in English Literature in the near future. I am a frequent correspondent for my local city newspaper, covering city council meetings and feature stories. I love being involved in book clubs and was recently participated as a founding member of a Friends of the Library group for a past community in which I lived. I have two children still in school, one at the high school level and one at the junior high. I see them off to school and I am at home, waiting for them when they return from school. My husband and I make time for family meals and discussions about how our days went and we look for opportunities to serve others around us. I love serving the Lord while using the talents He has blessed me with. He has blessed me with so much. Who am I not to share His love?