Friday, July 30, 2010
I have noticed that as I have prayed on behalf of my daughter I consider the life she will lead. I am very much a tough love type of person. Perhaps it is the educator coming out in me, perhaps it is because I know the value of pain, but sometimes my prayers go something like this:
"bless her beautiful mind and body to grow strong, bless her that she will be able to make the right kind of mistakes and that she will learn to get back on the path quickly. Bless her to know the pain that others can cause so that she will not cause others pain, bless her to know joy and happiness."
Sometimes the words just come out of me. I don't want my daughter to have everything she wants. I've seen kids that have everything they want and they aren't happy. They may have fun but they do not have joy in the long run. I want my daughter to be an influence for good in peoples lives. I want her to be a tool for good in God's hands and I believe that children can only do this by experience.
There was an article in the New York Times about a mother who gave her son a map and some money and dropped him off at a Subway station with a few instructions. She then told him to find his way home. I think he was about 6 years old. What a lesson in self reliance.
Personally I would never leave my 6 year old to find her way home but in a lot of ways that is what this life is about. We are trying to find our way home and we need to have many kinds of experiences in order for that to happen.
I love my child more than anything in this world and I will hurt when she hurts, I worry for her happiness and safety, more than that I worry about her happiness and safety when she has left the security of our home. More than anything I pray for the ability to lead her to straight and narrow paths so that she can find her own way home. I pray to be able to give her the tools to succeed, rather than simply praying for her success.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
>Meet Tera: Wife, Momma, Homemaker extraordinaire (!)
I am married to a wonderful man, David Merrill Nelson. Just recently within this last year, I left the workforce to become a stay at home mother to my five beautiful children – Autumn (7), Joy (6), Virginia aka Gini (4), Kaitlynn aka Kaity (4), and Jackson. I love life and the career change! This is definitely a brief introduction. It is hard to briefly introduce me and my family, without telling our story of how we came to be…
The story –
My name is Tera Nelson. I got married at the young age of 20 in the Mesa Arizona temple. I was faced with many hardships almost immediately – my father was diagnosed with cancer, my father-in-law was killed in a car accident, my husband and myself were in a car accident, my husband fell into deep depression and fell away from the church, my husband became unmotivated in life beginning and quitting school and work, I suffered 4 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy which almost took my life, I had to undergo several female surgeries ultimately leading to the removal of ½ my female parts, and for the kicker my husband became verbally and physically abusive. These hardships led to a divorce ending my marriage of 4 ½ years and I found myself re-entering the world of SINGLES.
Early in my first marriage, we lived at BYU-ID where we met a couple by the name of Dave and Jessica. We became the closest of couple friends. We did everything together! We were even there when they had their first child – a little girl, Autumn Lynn. It wasn’t until after we started experiencing hardships in our life and marriage that we moved away and lost contact with our best friends. Little did I know that we would meet again.
After my divorce, I had a few relationships here and there. But after awhile, a friend suggested that I join Facebook. So I did. It checked all my email contacts for friends who had Facebook accounts. Out of all my contacts only one did – Jessica. I immediately added her as a friend and shot an email out to her asking what she and Dave and their little family were up to. She told me that she and Dave had another little girl shortly after Autumn and then waited a few years and had twin girls. She also told me that shortly after the birth of her twins she left the church, left Dave, and at that time, was getting ready to have her internet-found boyfriend move in with her. I WAS SHOCKED! Never did I expect that this could happen. She explained that she and Dave were good friends now and suggested that I add Dave as a friend too. So I did.
As fate would have it, Dave just happened to be coming to Arizona, where I lived at the time, for a business trip. We thought it might be nice to get together and catch up on our lives and what had changed from the 5 years we last left each other as friends. We had no idea what was about to happen – we instantly fell in LOVE! After dating for about 2 months, Dave proposed and we began the clearance process to get married in the temple. Our clearance came through after 4 months and we were married August 16th 2008 in the California Oakland Temple. It was wonderful! I married the most remarkable and loving man and gained four beautiful daughters – Autumn (5), Joy (4), Gini (2) and Kaity (2).
Shortly after our marriage we were blessed with a career change for me that helped move us from Oregon to California where are daughters primarily resided with their mother. Because of this, Dave was able to request a relocation transfer within Intel moving him to Folsom, CA. Then, also to our surprise, we found out we were pregnant! Something which doctors had told me would be nearly impossible due to my previous complications and surgeries. 9 months later, Jackson Merrill Nelson was born.
During our first year of marriage we battled custody with our girls. Shortly after our first anniversary we were awarded primary custody. Soon after, I quit my job and became a stay at home mother to our 5 children.
Very many people will say they are lucky to have found their sweetheart. Me, on the other hand, I would tell you that luck doesn't even begin to describe ALL that I have found. Not only did I find my sweetheart, my most wonderful, loving eternal partner, I found 4 of the most wonderful daughters that a mother could ever ask for. My life has been blessed beyond anything that I could have possibly imagined since Dave and my girls entered into my life. And of course, I could not leave out the unexpected JOY to have Jackson join our little family.
Tell me about when you knew you were going to be a mother to Dave's children.
A: When Dave and I first met up, we just thoroughly enjoyed being with one another. He was working and living in Oregon at the time and the girls were in Jessica’s primary care in California. So, for the first part of our dating, I hadn’t met the girls. When Dave and I knew we wanted to marry one another, Dave told me that he wouldn’t propose until I met the girls and rightfully so. The girls were going to visit Dave in Oregon for his birthday, so I flew up and we all celebrated! I instantly fell in love with the girls and had no reservations at all about becoming their mother!
Was it a hard adjustment coming into a "premade" family? What were some of the adjustments and what came naturally?
A: It wasn’t a hard adjustment at all. Dave and I have always been on the same page. In regards to the raising of our girls, it has never been HIS children; it has always been OUR children. Dave and the girls welcomed me into their lives willingly and instantly we were family.
Dave had the girls for 6 weeks in the summer before we were married. I took off some work to help take care of the girls. This was my chance to really get a feel for what my life would be like when I married Dave. It was wonderful. Regardless, to any kind of change there are lots adjustments of which I had to learn to deal with. I had to learn that we had to split our time with Jessica; that they weren’t always going to be with us. Also, I had to adjust to the fact that we can’t control what goes on when they are away. I had to learn to discipline and not feel guilty. I had to learn to balance everything at home with 4 children! I would say that with a few exceptions, my adjustments were like most mothers – you learn as you go and that is just what I’ve done.
Mostly, becoming an instant mother came quite natural to me. I never thought – what am I getting into? Or man, what I am thinking marrying someone with 4 kids? Or, how do I take care of this many kids?! I have always loved children and always wanted to have a big family. Since I had so many complications in my previous marriage, it was nice to know that I was finally going to be able to experience motherhood.
When you found out you were pregnant and would be adding baby number 5 how did you feel initially? How did Dave feel?
A: I was shocked! I had so many complications before and was told that it was nearly impossible to bare children. I immediately felt concerned for the health of my baby. I had just accepted a promotion that was going to move us to Sacramento. I had to find a home in Sacramento, while Dave worked out his transfer with Intel which was expected to take several months. I was concerned that while we were apart that I would miscarry and he wouldn’t be there to help me get through it. Dave immediately offered to give me a blessing. He blessed me that I would feel peace with whatever was going to happen and that even though we will be apart, it won’t be for as long as you think. Shortly after that my OBGYN had me come in and confirmed that it was a healthy pregnancy. And within a few weeks as well, Dave’s transfer came through and we moved to Sacramento together.
Initially Dave didn’t feel much of anything because he thought that I might possibly miscarry. He didn’t want to get excited until we were sure. When the 12 weeks came and I finally entered safely into my 2nd trimester, Dave realized it was real and became really stoked! Then of course after finding out it was boy ~ Dave was even more excited to finally have another male figure in our predominately female family.
Tell me about sharing mommy duties with another mom. Is there jealousy on either end?
A: For the most part, everything is kept separate. What happens in their home is different from what happens in our home. Before hand, we just had the girls 2 weekends a month and then several weeks in the summer. It was hard because Jessica didn’t share much of what was going on in their lives. However, things changed when we were awarded primary custody of the girls. Since I knew what it was like to be in the dark, I have felt strongly to make sure she feels as little of that as possible. I email everything of importance, I save drawings that the girls make for her and give it to her when we do the exchange, I send pictures, I have the girls call when something big has happened, etc. I just constantly think about what I would want to know about if my kids were in the care of another individual and I do those things for her.
As far as jealousy, I don’t feel any on my end. Although, she hasn’t openly expressed any towards me, some of her actions would prove otherwise.
Do you have a routine with the girls? Tell me about their adjustment to you.
A: We have many routines. We get up, have family prayer and have breakfast. Once the girls are done they wash up, brush their teeth, make their beds and get dressed for the day. Then they come to me to get their hair done. I love doing fun things in their hair and making cute bows to match their outfits! Autumn and Joy are mostly at school, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays I do Momma School with the twins. I am teaching them letters, sounds, and how to write. When my older girls come home from school we all have snack before working on homework together. Autumn practices piano and then once a week I teach her piano lessons. When it comes time for dinner we have Family Hour. It starts when we all sit down for dinner as a family and it ends after we do an activity together. Then it’s time for showers! Autumn showers on her own now (sniff, sniff – she is so grown up!) while I shower the rest of the girls. Once everyone is ready for bed, we have family scriptures and prayer and then it’s off to bed. Many nights, depending on the time, I will tell the girls stories before they go to bed. The twins go to bed first, but Autumn and Joy have ‘Late Night with Momma’ until 8:00.
The girls adjusted really fast to me. They were very quick to open their hearts and allow me into their lives. Kaity and Gini started calling me Momma instantly. It was so cute. And by the time we were married all of our girls called me Momma. (This is very fitting because Jessica is called Mommy.)
Tell me about your own struggle to carry children with your first marriage. Were you worried at any point that it would just never happen?
A: As I briefly told in my story, I suffered 4 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy which almost took my life. Due to many complications, I also had to undergo several female surgeries ultimately leading to the removal of ½ my female parts. At one point in time, my OBGYN told me that he did not foresee me having success in getting pregnant again. This was mostly due to all my complications and scar tissue from all my surgeries.
I was never really worried. I strongly felt that I would become a mother one way or another, either through the bearing of children myself or through adoption.
What is the best part about being a mom?
A: What I love most about being a mother is that I work hard and tirelessly all day long to take care of my house and family. Just when I think that nothing I do matters, I am proved otherwise through big hugs, I-love-you’s, and little acts of thoughtfulness. That is the best part; getting those little acts of love each and every day.
Initially you were going to be a working mom and changed your mind after Jackson was born. What changed your mind and how are you feeling about being a stay at home mom?
A: It was interesting. I always thought that I would be a working mom. After returning to work from maternity leave, a series of acts just took a toll on me. Work seemed less appreciative and made unrealistic demands on me, daycare fell through, and I found myself completely miserable. After a few months of that, Dave and I came to the decision that I needed to quit. So I did! Shortly after making the decision, we were awarded primary custody. My mother-in-law came to help out for a week, while I finished my last week of work. And then, it was done. No more a career woman; now, a stay at home mother!
It really was a blessing that I had already made that choice because I was ready when things changed. It was all meant to be. I love life and I love being home to take care of my children. For me, there is no greater joy!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
And while you are at it, enter the contest they are having!
Lesson Learned – Essay Contest
Submit an essay (700 words or fewer) about a turning point in your life – it can be funny, embarrassing, sad, sarcastic, uplifting… the list goes on and on. As long as it’s about you, we want to read it.
Entries will be posted on this blog, On How to be Lovely, and there will be a vote for the winner.
Submission deadline is August 7th.
Friday, July 16, 2010
While browsing my book blogs the other day I came across THIS POST by a book blogger named Janssen, who is about to become a mother. With her permission, I'm linking her post. Please go check it out and share your thoughts.
The post is all about becoming a mother after you have already built a life around yourself and how your children will see you.
I have chosen the picture Migrant Mother by Dorthea Lange because I have looked at it often since becoming a mother. Her children cling to her for comfort but she seems to be in a whole world apart from them. A world filled with worry and defeat, which she is trying to figure out. Do her children see her struggle? Or do they cling to her for support, feeling her strength. How do these children see their mother? Do they see her fear as we do?
Janssen poses the question: "I wonder how [my children will] see me; I wonder how it will change the way I see myself."
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Bringing up a child or two of unpretentious birth...
I'd rather tuck a little child all safe and sound in bed
than twine a chain of diamonds about my [carefree] head.
I'd rather wash a smudgy face with round, bright, baby eyes
Than paint the pageantry of fame or walk among the wise.
-- Meredith Gray
Monday, July 12, 2010
Meet Kiersten: Wife, Mother, Blogger, Author.
Kiersten has just published her first novel: Paranormalcy, available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Here is her mini bio from Amazon:
Like most adults, I was once a teenager. However, I never outgrew it--literally. Standing at a daunting 4'11", I decided to write to my height peer group. Everyone knows that teenagers have more fun. Turns out writing for teenagers is more entertaining, too.
Born and raised in Utah, I was lucky enough to marry a native San Diegan and be adopted into the fish taco and beach culture. A stay-at-home mom and full-time writer (if you count scraping in whatever hours I can after my kids go to bed as full-time), I live with my wonderful husband and two adorable children in San Diego, CA. I'm currently twenty-six, but that's bound to change next year.
Desperate for entertainment, I started writing shortly after having my first baby and haven't stopped since. Being an author is quite literally a dream come true for a girl who spent every free childhood moment reading, and still spends most of her moments (free or otherwise) daydreaming.
Melissa:Paranormalcy is not the first novel you have written, how long have you had the dream to become a writer, and how long have you been pursuing your dream?
Melissa: You describe yourself as a stay at home mom and a full time writer. How do you balance the demands of motherhood and family life with the demands of writing, especially now that you have a contract?
Melissa: Paranormalcy is centered around a female protagonist, Evie. When you write your characters, do you strive to write strong female protagonists?
Melissa: Describe how you get into the writing mode. Do you have a method, such as a specific time frame and work space, or do you grab what time you can get?
Melissa: What is your favorite part about writing?
Melissa: What is your favorite part about being a mom?
Isn't she great? Paranormalcy comes out AUGUST 31st! Pre-order your copy on Amazon HERE. To learn more about Kiersten and Paranormalcy, you can also go to her incredibly hilarious BLOG and enter to win an advanced copy of her book!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Before I "grew up" I had an idea in my mind that I would stay home with my kids no matter what. My mom stayed home with us, she was always there at any moment, and many of the small and simple moments were molded into teaching tools. I was very firm in my decision, then I married a man who's mother went to work. He wasn't so sold on my conviction and began to plant ideas in my head and I wasn't sure what I was going to do.
My husband and I worked and planned around the assumption that I would stay home. We got out of debt, we stuck to a budget, we lived only on his income and everything that I made went to savings. It took about a year of this kind of discipline before we felt ready that I would be able to stay home with our children by sticking to this budget and careful planning and preparing.
I gave birth to my daughter three weeks before my final semester of school. Being an elementary education major, my final step to acquire my degree was full time student teaching. That meant that at three weeks I had to leave my tiny baby (happily in the care of her daddy for six weeks, and her uncle for the remaining months) and go to work. Sure I could have waited, but I'd come THIS FAR and I didn't want to wait. Who knows how long it would have taken me to get back to student teaching and to finish my degree.
I knew I was going to miss my baby but I didn't realize how much I was going to love teaching. It made me feel absolutely fulfilled, the kids brought so much joy in my life, and I was able to go home and spend many wonderful hours with my baby. Suddenly, I was filled with doubt. After all, I'd worked so hard to be at the point I was at. I was a soon to be college graduate with the potential to have my own classroom, we would be making a whole person extra salary, and I would be doing what I'd worked for and planned for before I became pregnant.
I won't go into the details, but it was a very painful process eliminating one of my options. Eventually, my decision was to stay home with my daughter. I knew that teaching would always be there, but these years with my daughter were short and precious. Even as I type this, I think of my good friends who are just completing their first year as teachers in their own classroom and feel a twinge of jealousy, but I know for my situation I made the right decision. It was not easy to make-- and at times I question it, but I know I wouldn't have it any other way.
I know for everyone it is a very personal decision. I would never judge a person on their decision to work or stay at home and I don't believe that you are a better mom for staying home with the kids, or going to work and providing financially for your family. Lets just support all moms in all situations.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
That is why, at every chance you get, you should do something extraordinary.
While on vacation, several of my cousins decided it would be fun to go bridge jumping. I do not like heights, falling, or becoming paralyzed so I decided against it. Unfortunately for me, as I stood there watching my cousins hurl themselves off the bridge into the water I began to get that "old" sinking feeling from the depths of my bowels. I had to jump. Yes it was hard, yes it took me about ten minutes of standing on the edge making others jump before me, but I jumped into the frigged water of the Snake river and came up feeling awesome. When I emerged from the water my grandpa said "there is the mother of the year right there."
Why didn't I want to take the chance in the first place? Why would I think that becoming a mom would exclude me from such ridiculousness? I was using it as an excuse to prohibit myself from reaching to places that I didn't think I could anymore.
Which is why three days later I found myself standing on a rock in Yellowstone National Park absolutely naked.
After the jump, I found a desire to go beyond my comfort zone and try things that I'd always wanted to do, but decided I was too afraid. My sister and cousins invited me to Mystic falls to go skinny dipping. I'll spare you the details but know that I absolutely did it and I have never felt better doing something illegal in my whole life. Sure, I was afraid I would get swept up in the currant and my naked body would go over the waterfall, sure I was afraid that someone would steal my clothes, or I would get partially eaten by a bear, but I thought to myself, "someday I want my daughter to know that her mom wasn't afraid to take risks, to do something new."
So there you have it, two things I thought I'd never do were done in the period of a week. It was dangerous, it was glorious.
What would you do if you weren't afraid?
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Meet Margie: Homemaker, Wife, Warrior.
Margie became a mother almost 25 years ago when she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl...but enough about me =). She sacrificed more than most to bring babies into her family. Due to a medical "malfunction," her body had a hard time carrying children beyond a certain point. Margie went through four incredibly painful miscarriages. These miscarriages all occurred beyond 18 weeks after going through much excitement and horrible morning sickness. Her desire to increase her family, and incredible faith gave her the courage to continue to try.
The majority of the miscarriages happened between my brother Sean and I who are four years apart. My mom tells me that after one miscarriage, she was too discouraged to answer the phone so she would have her two year old answer and tell the person that "mommy couldn't come to the phone." She believes her difficulty to carry these babies helped her appreciate motherhood in a different way. Through all her heartbreak she carried on like a warrior.
Margie has always put faith and family first. She does not distinguish between the two, creating an environment of peace and harmony within her home. She has always been a motivator for good. When she met my dad, he had little ambition (what 15 year old boy does?) but she motivated him to serve a mission for our church, graduate from college and become a CPA (instead of a D.J. or Forrest Ranger...which were his previous desired professions). N0t only did she help mold him into a great man, she was supportive of his decisions.
Margie has always been a homemaker. Although she graduated from college and worked in the health profession, her desire was to stay at home and raise her children. Coming from a home with a working mother, I don't know when she decided this, but she knew that her home was where she was supposed to be. About 10 years ago however, with all her children in school, she decided to enter the public school system and become an elementary school substitute teacher. She enjoyed doing this, especially when she was able to be in a class with my brother or sister. When they asked her if she would mind substituting for the Jr. High she shirked away. After all, she already had to deal with one crabby teenager, why would she want to deal with hundreds of them. After much coaxing on my part, I convinced her that she would be fine in the Jr. High/ High school scene and she has spent the better part of those years in the upper grade levels. My mom is a Weber Warrior. She knows all the cheers and the school hymn, attends the football games, chaperons the dances, hob nobs with the teachers, flirts relentlessly with the students, and even uses her cell phone during class. Margie has become a fixture in the halls of Weber, and has even been offered a full time teaching position, which she may someday take.
My mom is a spiritual warrior. I would consider my dad a scriptural scholar. He has a vast knowledge and a strong testimony of Christ but my mom has all the faith. She never budges one inch from what she believes. Although at times it was difficult and a pain as a teenager desiring to push moral limits with a mother who would not bend, I can see now that she did so as a protection for me and my siblings. My brother is serving a mission for our church, and has often introduced investigators (through e-mail and facebook) to my mom, asking her to share her testimony. To date, my mom has been an instrument in two of his baptisms. I teased him, because you aren't supposed to take your mommy on your mission...but they can see her goodness shine through.
Some random facts you might want to know if you ever meet Margie: she does the worst foreign accents in the entire universe. It is possibly the most entertaining thing at parties. Ask her to do one for you and you will get about 6 dialects in one short sentence. She loves lemon water and loves putting sugar on the rims of glasses (it is a Sunday tradition). She likes adding special touches to parties, outfits, and meals to give it that extra umph. She takes charge in almost every situation, especially around her extended family. She loves gardening and digging around in dirt. She loves the little girls of the neighborhood and will call them over for princess parties where they dress up and come over to have fun with her. She makes the most gourmet sandwiches you can imagine. People open up to her and tell her their life story. She should have been a psychiatrist. My daughter PREFERS her to me. I don't know what she does but when we are around her, Hannah dives for Grandma and screams when I take her away, trying to wriggle out of my arms back into hers.
She is a great mom which is why she is featured on this blog! I hope to emulate her someday!