Saturday, July 02, 2022

Grandma Time!!

 Sunday July 18 2021, I became a Grandma!

Well, really I was already a grandma, to George's grandchildren, whom I love, but this new one is a little more special to me! 

Back in December of 2020, we finally got all our kids and grandkids together to take a family picture.  We flew Mallory up from Arizona, Jessica and Ross were here from England, Brennan and Liberty came down from the Ogden area.  Mike, Kaylee and Christian came from Lindon, Angela and Trev from Payson, and Richard, Marianne and her 5 kids from Lindon also (they were married on Dec 18!).  On the 5th of Dec, we gathered at a spot in North Provo, and a friend of George's took our big family photo. After pictures, my kids asked me to meet them at the car to give me my Christmas present!  They bought me a big Minky Couture blanket - I've been wanting one - so I was excited about that! Then Brennan and Liberty said they had one other thing, and gave me a small box to unwrap! It was a small box, a Vans shoe box, and had a pair of white infant shoes in it! They were announcing to us that Liberty was pregnant and they were expecting a baby!  I don't think they had a due date at the time, but sometime in the summer!  Yippee!  As I said, I am certainly happy to be Grandma Amy to the Hickman kids, but knowing that I had a biological grandbaby coming, it put me over the moon!

Fast Forward.. Liberty's due date was July 24!  She'd been having lots of contractions for the last month or so, and she wasn't expecting she'd go all the way to her due date!  On July 8, her mom and sisters had a Birthing Way or Blessing Way event for her at Mandy's house in Huntsville.  This is a Native American tradition that celebrates the maiden becoming a mother! We had a nice dinner prepared by her sisters, and then all the women gathered in a circle to share wisdom, quotes or advice with Liberty.  Of course I just cried when I shared - I had been thinking alot that my sweet Mark may have been holding this sweet little baby before sending him down to this family.  We were all "linked" together with a string around our wrists, and tied those strings on , to be taken off after the baby was born, to keep Lib in our thoughts. It was a great evening, I had also taken a few bags of baby clothes and blankets and stuff that I had gathered for them. It was almost a two hour drive for me to get there, but I am so glad I went! ( I had been scheduled to go to the temple with George at 4 pm, but I had someone else go in my place.)  

Mallory flew to Utah on July 14 with her friend Alyssa. They came just to get away, and we went to Lagoon on the 15th. We met up with Liberty and Brennan for dinner at the end of the day.  Liberty was progressing a bit, having more contractions, and we joked (and hoped) that maybe the baby would be born before they flew home on Saturday evening the 17th.  I took Mallory and Alyssa to the airport for a late afternoon flight, and then went home.  George had to prepare a talk for church the next day, so he stayed up later, and I went to bed before midnight. I looked at the clock around 2 am when he finally came to bed, I'd had a little bit of sleep. 

At 2:42 am, my phone buzzing woke me up!  Brennan was calling - he told me I should come, that things were progressing and Baby Brown Bear was coming!  I asked if I had time for a shower... said I'd be on the road soon. I showered quickly and threw some things in a bag, and got on the road by 3:15 am.  Listened to a podcast on the way to keep me company, it's a 104 mile drive to their place, about 90 minutes!   At 3:54, Brennan called again, asking how far away I was, which was not quite halfway, and he told me that the baby had already arrived!  He didn't wait for me!  I was a little sad for that, but glad that all had gone well and he was here!  I continued on my drive north - there wasn't much traffic at 4 am on a Sunday morning. 

The door was cracked open when I arrived, I dropped my bag at the bottom of the stairs, and someone, I think Lib's sister Em, told me he was upstairs.  I went upstairs and found them - Liberty was holding the baby and nursing him, Brennan gave me a hug.  Lib's mom Marie is a Doula, and the midwife Chris was also there.  Mandy was also there helping out, videotaping, and giving advice.  Baby Graham was weighed after I got there, they asked Liberty what her guess was - 7 lbs 2 ounces, and she was correct. Then Marie measured him , 19.5 inches long, and his head, chest and tummy were all around 13 inches. Mandy guided Brennan in putting his first diaper on, so as not to have the tabs rubbing his legs.  I don't remember when I first got to hold him, but it was wonderful - so sweet to have this brand new baby boy in my arms - straight from heaven!  I like to think that Mark was snuggling on him and giving him advice before sending him down... Mark would be so overjoyed to have been here to love this baby!  I know he would be so proud of our kids and the grown ups they are becoming!  I sure miss him!  

Someone asked Liberty if she was hungry - I had brought some homemade bread that I'd baked on Saturday - she said a piece of bread with butter and honey sounded great. I went downstairs and sliced it, warmed it up in the microwave a moment, and buttered and put some honey on it. She said it just hit the spot!

Everyone eventually left, and it was time to get some sleep - maybe around 6 am??  There was a twin bed in the spare room, so I laid down there and tried to rest - the AC was on and I was a little cool, but got some sleep.  Brennan came in later and said he was going to make breakfast so we all went downstairs - he handed me Graham - I held him as long as possible before handing him over to Liberty. It was so wonderful to see his eyes, look at his fingers and toes - they are all there!  He has a fair amount of brown hair - he is just perfect. Lib thinks he has Brennan's nose.  Brennan made some wheat waffles - I asked him for the recipe... 

Later, Liberty's sister Eden and her husband came by to see him and hold him. I went up for a nap before they left.  George finished his church meetings and said he'd ride his motorcycle up to come and meet him.  When I woke from my nap, Mandy and Jarrod and their kids were all there - taking turns holding Graham.  George arrived just before they were leaving, maybe around 3 pm.  I had to leave to go back to Payson for a 6 pm meeting by 4:30, so George got a little time holding Graham also. 

Graham Anders Brown, born 7/18/2021, 3:20 am. 7 lbs 2 ounces, 19.5 inches long. This little guy came quick, Liberty started having some pains around midnight, after they'd been up to Mandy's for dinner.   She got in the tub to see if contractions would stop, but soon realized things were going.  Marie was there about 45 min before he was born, so she help Lib through the birth.  Brennan got in the tub with her to support her (a blow up tub for birthing) and after only a couple of pushes, Graham arrived. The umbilical cord was around his neck, Marie quickly removed it, and there were no problems.  Liberty had planned to have him at home - Marie's daughters have all had home births, and she has been there for all of them. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Faith not Fear

I recently had to write a paper for my Pathway English class.. "I Believe In.... " something.  Here is what I wrote..

Faith Not Fear
Have you ever been taught something that you didn’t realize you were being taught? Or did you think that you knew something completely, but then you learned more?   I recently learned that I was being taught about faith, without even knowing it.   I believe in faith more now, than I ever thought I did.
I grew up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  One of the first principles of the Gospel that I was taught as a child was faith.  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We learned that “faith was the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)  I surely did not have a problem with that, and I had many experiences with faith throughout my life.  My faith was not tested too severely, though, and I lived a relatively easy life.
I served a mission for the church in England, came home and at the age of 25 married my sweetheart, Mark, in the Mesa Arizona Temple.  

We soon were the parents of three sweet children, a boy and two girls, and we settled in to our home to learn and to grow.  Mark worked hard to support our family, and we were happy.

About five years ago, Mark’s work environment had become toxic and he wanted to quit his job.  As a child, my parents endured several job changes and financial hardship, therefore, I was hesitant to agree to let him quit the job without another job lined up.  So, he stayed and endured a while longer.  Eventually the work situation got worse, and I could see it was detrimental to Mark’s emotional well-being and happiness.  This time we decided to trust Heavenly Father and have faith that He would provide.  We prayed and asked for help to find new employment so that our family would not go without. Our faith overcame the fear I had.  Almost immediately after quitting the job, Mark found a temporary contract job that would provide for our family’s needs.  Within 6 months, Mark had three permanent job offers.  We again trusted in God to help him choose the job that would be best for our family.  He began a job with Banner Health in January of 2012.
Mark really enjoyed the new job, and he thrived there. He had a great rapport with his staff, and was using his financial expertise to help the company.  In April of that year, Mark experienced a pain in his leg. He thought it might be a stress fracture, so he went to the ER to have it checked. Unfortunately, it was not a stress fracture, but something far more serious.  Within a short time, he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a cancer.  We were floored.  The surgeon initially told us that Mark had months, not years, left to live.  We learned not to listen to the surgeon, but to listen to the oncologist.  A chemotherapy regimen began quickly, and we realized we needed more than ever to have faith. When friends asked Mark how he was doing, he was quick to tell them his motto was “Faith, Not Fear,” because faith and fear cannot exist together.  He shared this message far and wide, in person, and on Facebook with family and friends. It buoyed him up during the awful times of chemotherapy and radiation. 

In September of 2014, Mark had been struggling to breathe.  Initially, the thought was that he had pneumonia, and he was admitted to the hospital.  By midweek, chest scans and x-rays were done and it was determined that the cancer had spread throughout his lungs.  On October 4, 2014, my sweetheart finished his earthly journey and graduated to the next life. From the fifth floor hospital room, the illuminated Gilbert Arizona Temple was visible in the dark night; a reminder that the promised blessings of the temple had sealed our family together for eternity. 
In September of 2016, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency spoke to the women of the church regarding faith. He said, “The purpose of faith is not to change God’s will but to empower us to act on God’s will. Faith is trust—trust that God sees what we cannot and that He knows what we do not. Sometimes, trusting our own vision and judgment is not enough.”  Hearing that phrase was an “a-ha” moment for me.  Mark and I had been professing “Faith Not Fear” for two and a half years, and I hadn’t fully realized what that had done for me.  When Mark died, I was not angry with my Heavenly Father.  I was not mad at the doctors that they had not done more to help Mark and find new treatments.  I did not yell and scream that I didn’t want to be a widow and raise my children on my own.

The purpose of faith is not to change God’s will, but to empower us to act on God’s will.  I think this also means to accept God’s will.  By talking about faith for so long, my acceptance of God’s will was encouraged.  Because of Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness, I know that I will see my dear husband again.  I know that my Heavenly Father is aware of me and my family, and He loves me. I know that my husband still loves me, wants me to be happy, and wants me to have joy while I am here, even while he is not.  I believe that faith and fear cannot exist together, and that the best choice is to have faith. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stand Strong and Courageous!

In my studies this week in the Book of Mormon, we covered the story of Samuel the Lamanite. 
I was reminded of a song that I first heard 25+ years ago while I was on my mission.  It was sung by a group called Afterglow- a couple of guys who started singing together in high school, They eventually presented firesides and concerts prior to serving missions for the LDS church in Japan and St Louis.  

They had an album of encouraging missionary songs, and since our choice of music was limited as missionaries ( to religious, uplifting or classical music, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the like) we often listened to the same music over and over. Therefore, almost 30 years later, I can remember the lyrics and sing along.  

Click here to hear the song  AfterGlow Go and Do ..
Here are the lyrics
Go And Do
Words and Music by Laurie Fischer
I will go, go and do what the Lord commands;
putting my trust in Him,
For I know the Lord will bless the work that I do,
and fill my basket to the brim.
Though the task seemed impossible Nephi as a lad
Said yes to the Lord and stood up tall.
He got the plates that Laban had
While his brothers stood without the wall
Be like a Nephi, Moroni and Samuel too.
Give all you've got to the work that you should do.
Hold fast to the iron rod that leads you along,
And the Lord will make you strong.
In the days of Moroni war was on the land
he called all his people out to fight;
for their homes, their God and fam'lies too,
for the brotherhood of truth and right
Samuel the Lamanite stood upon the wall
And preached to the Nephites in the town.
He knew the land must surely fall
if the people didn't turn around.

So, I was thinking about Samuel... pictured above... 

In Helaman 16, we learn about Samuel, a Lamanite who was sent to warn the Nephites of their utter destruction, if they did not repent and change their ways.  Of course, for anyone, it is hard to hear that we are doing something wrong.. .  Well, the Nephites were none too thrilled to hear what he had to say.. There were a few who hearkened to his words and believed and were baptized, but.. those who did NOT believe him wanted to stop his preaching. They began to shoot arrows and throw stones to try to hit him, but because he had the Spirit of the Lord with him, they could not hit him. 

Therefore, when they saw that they could not, there were many more who did believe on his words, insomuch that they went away unto Nephi to be baptized.  (Helaman 16:4)

However there were still many who became angry that they could not hit him with their arrows and stones, and they called upon their captains to capture him, and bind him.  But as they went to do so, Samuel cast himself down from the wall and fled from their lands - and went to his own land to preach and prophesy among his own people. (Helaman 16:7.)

Looking back to the words of the song, encouraging us to be like Samuel, am I expected to stand up on a wall and preach??  No.. not so much. 

Samuel stood firm and courageous in his beliefs.  He was not afraid to share the gospel, and speak the truth.  That is what I believe our Heavenly Father expects me to do.

On Friday at work, there was only two of us in the office for the day, and my coworker is Catholic - ( I work for a school tuition organization that provides scholarships for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Phoenix.  )  As we discussed a man in Colorado who is a self proclaimed prophet, I was able to share with my coworker my belief in a modern day prophet. I explained that The Family - A Proclamation to The World, that was given in 1995. 

The Proclamation was given, defining our beliefs in families, and regarding gender roles, and the characteristics of what mothers and fathers should be.  I believe that my friend and her Catholic faith have many of the same beliefs and I suggested that I could share a copy of the Proclamation with her. So, that is on my list of things to do - I will commit to getting her a copy of the Proclamation within the next week or two. 

To be like Nephi, Moroni, and Samuel, we must stand strong and courageous, and we will be blessed for our efforts in doing so...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mothers Who Know

In 1983, Janice Kapp Perry, a prominent LDS composer, wrote a song called We'll Bring the World His Truth (Army of Helaman).  It was likely introduced to the Primary aged children (ages 3-12) at that time, but I was 16 years old then, so past the time I would have learned it in church. I probably became familiar with it later on, after I was married, and serving in the church as a chorister to those Primary children.

The words are as follows:

  1. 1. We have been born, as Nephi of old,
    To goodly parents who love the Lord.
    We have been taught, and we understand,
    That we must do as the Lord commands.
  2. 2. We have been saved for these latter days
    To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
    We hear the words our prophet declares:
    "Let each who's worthy go forth and share."
  3. 3. We know his plan, and we will prepare,
    Increase our knowledge through study and prayer.
    Daily we'll learn until we are called
    To take the gospel to all the world.
  4. Chorus
    We are as the army of Helaman.
    We have been taught in our youth.
    And we will be the Lord's missionaries
    To bring the world his truth.
At that time, I was a new mother to a handsome baby boy... 
And I was certainly feeling the responsibility of teaching him his true worth as a child of our Heavenly Father. I had a great example in my own mother, (pictured) so I felt I had some good resources to call upon. 

As Brennan got older, and his sisters joined our family, we tried often to get in the habit of reading the scriptures together, usually The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. We have been counseled by our church leaders to do this, and it was a blessing to our family. Our children became familiar with the accounts of ancient people in the book, but the practice of reading aloud together made them excellent reading students at school.  

One of the wonderful stories in The Book of Mormon is that of Helaman and his 2000 Stripling Warriors.
In October 2007, Julie B. Beck, the Relief Society General President, said the following, "In The Book of Mormon we read about 2000 exemplary young men who were exceedingly valiant, courageous and strong. 'Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God,  and to walk uprightly before him.' (Alma 53:21)  These faithful young men paid tribute to their mothers. They said ,  'Our mothers knew it.' (Alma 56:48)  I would suspect that the mothers of Captain Moroni, Mosiah, Mormon and other great leaders knew. "

Sister Beck continued on to say that Mothers Who Know do the following :
***Bear Children
***Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants
***Are Nurturers
***Are Leaders
***Are Teachers
***Do Less
***Stand Immovable and Strong

At the time of Sister Beck's Talk, in 2007, my children were ages 12, 10 and 6, and still fairly impressionable.  We regularly attended church as a family, and taught our children in the home to follow the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Needless to say, there are likely times in every mother's life that she feels that she is not doing enough, or she has failed in teaching her children.  Sister Beck's talk was encouraging to mothers around the world, to remind us to remember how important it is to KNOW - how to be an influence for good on the lives of our children, and also the world.
You Can read her full talk  Here  .  

My children are now 21, 19, and 15, and they are not too old to be taught.  I worry still with some of the choices they make, but hope that they will always return to the things that we have taught them throughout their lives. The world today is in turmoil, and there are fiery darts of the adversary being tossed at them from every turn.  

I have enjoyed reading the account of the Stripling Warriors, and being reminded how great of a responsibility it is to continue teaching my family. I feel the weight of it a little more as a single parent now, but I know that with the help of my Heavenly Father, and diligence in following the commandments, I can try to make sure that my children know that I am a Mother Who Knows..

    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    May Our Hearts Be Drawn Out in Prayer Continually

    In our Pathway class this week, we discussed chapters 30-35 in the Book of Alma, in The Book of Mormon.  In Chapter 31, we learn about the Zoramites, an apostate group of people in a land called Antionum.  They were dissenters from the Nephites, having been taught the word of God, but failing to keep His commandments.

    They had taken up the habit of public prayer - had built a tower upon which only one person could be admitted.  While upon the tower, whoever desired to worship must stretch his hands toward heaven, and recite a given prayer...

     15 Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast aspirit,  and that thou art spirit, and that thou wilt be spirit forever.
     16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hastaelected us to be thy bholy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that cthere shall be dno Christ.
     17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever;and thou hast aelected us that we shall be saved, whilst allaround us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell;for the which holiness, God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bbind them down to belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.
     18 And again we thank thee, God, that we are chosen and holy people. Amen.
    The Zoramites were certainly a self-righteous people, full of pride, for after each man would offer this selfsame prayer, they would go to their homes and never speak of God again, until they assembled again.  (Alma 31:23)
    After hearing the Zoramites pray, and observing their habits, Alma and those who were with him were astonished. Alma saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride. (Alma 31:25)  He then proceeded to pour his heart out to God that he and his brethren might have success in bringing the wicked Zoramites unto Christ, because they believed there was NO Christ. His heartfelt pleading asked for blessings upon himself and his brethren, as well upon those whom they would teach. 
    Following this event in the Book of Mormon, Alma goes on to teach the poor whose afflictions had humbled them. I imagine that Alma and his brethren had their hearts continually drawn out in prayer for the people they taught and hoped to teach. In Chapter 33, Alma reminds us that Zenos, a prophet of old, taught that men should pray and worship in all times and places. 
    A modern day apostle, Henry B. Eyring, has said  When God has commanded us to pray, He has used words like ‘pray unceasingly’ and ‘pray always’ and ‘mighty prayer.’
    “Those commands do not require using many words. In fact, the Savior has told us that we need not multiply words when we pray. The diligence in prayer which God requires does not take flowery speech nor long hours of solitude. …
    “Our hearts can be drawn out to God only when they are filled with love for Him and trust in His goodness” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, )
     This is some thing that I need to work on - which I think requires a little more humility on my part. Most of the time, I remember to pray morning and night, and if a special occasion where I need a little extra help arises, but I often just go through my day doing my own thing, and don't always remember my Heavenly Father. I need to remember more often, that for all I have, and all that I am, I am indebted to my Him.  As I remember to thank Him for all that is good, and ask for help in all that I do, I will become more reliant on Him to guide and direct me in my life.
    If we can ALL try to be a little more prayerful in our live, and personally speak with our Father in Heaven, what a better and kinder place this world would be.