Friday, August 5, 2011

Thirty Four Years Ago Today

Thirty Four years ago today, August 5th 1977, I got the greatest gift in the world. My parents. This is the anniversary of my adoption, and it was always celebrated and honored as a special day, just like my birthday. My parents had tried for 7 long years to have their own children, but were unable to. After two years on the adoption waiting list, they lost out on a child and were told it would be another year or so before another one would become available. My parents were devastated. This was in June of 1977. On August 3rd my mother received a phone call from the Elizabeth Lund Home Adoption Agency telling her that in two days she was to come to the agency and pick up her daughter. She was completely taken by surprise. She immediately called my dad at work to tell him. They cried together on the phone. My mother then called the doctor's office she worked for and quit on spot! She spent the next two days frantically cleaning and shopping. And then at 9:00 am, the morning of August 5th, she and my father met with their case worker and we were introduced for the first time. They fought over who would hold me first. My mother won :) She had waited for almost a decade to be a mother, and now she was.

I am so beyond grateful for the parents I was blessed with. I had two loving parents, a home, and a happy childhood. I couldn't have asked for a better mom and dad, and if I had to go back and chose my parents, they would be my choice over and over and over again. They loved me, supported me, cared for me, encouraged me, and were my biggest fans no matter what!

I have a mother that loved me so much she moved all the way across the country to be near to me and her grandchildren. And even though my father still lives in Vermont, and I don't get to see him that often, I talk to him every week, and hearing his voice is like going home again. I love my parents more than I can say. And so, today I give thanks and celebrate the day we became a family!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fifteen years ago...

On August 4th 1996, I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It's hard to believe that fifteen years has passed since that day. And it is to the decision that I made that day, I owe all the other good decisions that followed. The boy in the picture, Kyle, was one of my best friends at the time, and he not only introduced me to the church, but baptized me as well. I owe a lot to him, his family, and so many others from my branch in Rutland.

July 1998. Here I am at the Washington D.C. Temple with Kyle's family and a few ward friends. I received my endowments this day in preparation for my mission.

Good old MTC in Provo Utah. I entered on August 4th 1998 (interestingly enough on the same day I was baptized) and was there until October, learning Spanish and preparing to serve in the California Ventura Mission. I briefly met my husband (although I didn't know he would become my husband at the time) here in October before my district left. Ryan Swiss, an Elder from my district was a friend of Matthew Carpenter's, who was also in the MTC at the same time. We met and spoke on a few occasions.

Sister Shepard, me, Sister Jenkins.

My companionship after a devotional that was given by President Thomas S. Monson. Then an Apostle of the church, now it's prophet. I was in the choir that day an we sang We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet. I still get chills thinking about it!

One my favorite companions Kori Lyman (now Hatch.) She, to this day, remains one of my dearest friends and was a bridesmaid at my wedding.

Weekly planning... in the morning on our bikes! I loved being a bike sister!

Companionship study. This is another one of my favorite companions, Aracely De Llana.

Heather Hull and I. We were never comps, but lived in the same apartment for 7 months. She spent the last half of her mission in Oxnard, and so did I.

Best district/Zone I ever had! This is Paxton, Ross, Bernhisel (with the guitar) Hulet, De La Llana, me, and Hull after a baptism in the church parking lot. Missing from zone 6--Davis, Peay, and Toone. Some of the best Elders there were!

The infamous Glennwood apartments. This was my favorite group of roommates from my college years. We are making "special" cupcakes for Matthew's apartment :)

And here he is, as I remember him, with a full head of hair, a goofy expression, and always insisting on driving, even my car!


Every decision I made, from serving a mission, to making and keeping covenants in the Temple, to moving to Utah, and to marrying Matthew in the Temple, all started with that first decision fifteen years ago to take a leap of faith, follow my heart and be baptized. I am so incredibly grateful everyday for the life I lead now and the blessings that have been mine because of the choice I made at the age of nineteen. The gospel has brought such joy, peace, and comfort into my life and I couldn't imagine my life without the church in it. Whatever else I acquire in this life, it will never be more precious or valuable to me than my testimony.