Shrinking Our Fears

Is it possible to not have fear?

Can our faith really be so strong that we feel great hope and peace in the face of deep trials or pain?

I've been thinking a lot about this question lately.

Neal A. Maxwell once said,

"If our love of God is sufficiently deep, then we will be sufficiently assured of His enveloping loving-kindness. With this perspective, our fears can shrink. Dread can dissolve. Additionally, there need be no ultimate fear for mankind's future solely because of proximate circumstances, vexing and besetting as the latter may be."

Our fears can shrink?

What an image. I picture fear as a cancer. And the medicine is whatever causes it to shrink. So just what is this medicine? ... So powerful to cause fear to shrink?

The answer that comes right to mind is the word faith. But this can be such a broad term in my mind. What exactly does this mean? According to the above quote it is according to the depth of our love of God.

The wise Neal A. Maxwell again said,

"We are to "look to God and live" (Alma 37:47). Peter advised that we are also to cast our cares upon God, because He cares for us (see 1 Peter 5:7). Why not do the same with our fears?"

Okay. So, to shrink our fears we must cast our cares upon God. How exactly is this done?

Neal A. Maxwell:

"Yet, hesitantly, we poise on the brink of real submission. But since God has given us life and all else we have, anyway, how can we really withhold ourselves, our attitudes, or our substance from His shaping love? Our degree of submissiveness thus becomes a true reflection of the degree of the consecration and love we have developed for Him.

Similarly, the dimensions of our fears expose the degree to which our love for Him remains yet to be developed."

I had to re-read this last quote over and over. It really hit something with me. The answer lies in our "deep" love for God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Will our fears ever shrink?

Perhaps if I surrender to Him more. Acknowledge His grace. And more fully trust that He loves me too.

Maybe shrinking our fears is something that takes a lifetime.

I've had many moments of calm that have come to me in my times of great worry. Most often my worry is strongest within the imaginations of my mind. The "what ifs" that could turn bad. It is usually in the moments I turn to Him humbly that He speaks peace to my soul. And my fear starts to shrink.

So, I guess the real question to my first question is,

How do I deepen my love for God?

Meet Tatonka

I find it difficult to introduce myself in a post but here we go... I love people, I believe honesty is courageous, I want to understand the world in other perceptions besides my own, humor is my saving grace, I know love to be the most beautiful gift/emotion, and my most important role is being a faithful being a daughter of God. These concepts of myself has taken 32 years of trial and error and more years to come I'm sure. I'm constantly refining who I am and someday I hope, I hope, I hope to be have it all together.

Okay down to be meat/demographics of who I am; sex: female, age: 32, race and ethnicity: Native American, tribe: Navajo, martial status: single, occupation: Mental Health Therapist, political views: Democrat, astrological sign: virgo, and blood type: O-.

I'm looking forward to reading and sharing the sweet and bitter experiences of life with you beautiful ladies.

Disasters Happen

We have a morning routine at my house. Get up. Change Logan's diaper. Get him into the tub or into the shower with Daddy. Breakfast. I start my chores while Logan watches a bit of morning TV.

This routine has been relatively steady for the past 6 months or so. Occasionally a bit of stirring will occur if we have a doctor's appointment or other prearranged early morning happenings. But, all in all, our mornings have been quite dependable.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. The culprit? I guess we could blame it on wrist development...

Logan can now open the door.

Now, Logan's newly developed motor skill hasn't completely ruined my morning routine for all time. Let's just say it made for a very interesting Thursday.

Thursday morning. Quite routine. I'm busily cleaning up breakfast, enjoying the sun and the smell of the cut grass. I can hear the lawn crew at work around our condo making things lovely and fresh. Then I take a quick break to go to the restroom. I usually keep the door open but I just wanted a few minutes to be alone sans watchful eyes of my two year old.

I can hear him outside the door begging to come in then just the sounds of the television. Business finished I open the door and turn into the kitchen not taking the quick second I usually take to check on Logan's whereabouts.

Then an urgent knock on the door followed by a series of rings (bad combo in my opinion). As I cross the family room my heart jumps when I realize Logan isn't where I put him. I open the door and see an familiar neighbor with Logan and behind him one of the lawn crew.

I gasped. Stunned I grab Logan with a hug and repeatedly say, "Thank You!" The neighbor who I've seen around but never talked with said very sweetly, "This gentlemen found him down the street. But don't worry, he [Logan] knew right where to take me when I asked him where his mommy was!" I could have kissed her for her kindness. The lawn man, however, not so compassionate. In his broken English he scolded, "You should watch him! He was behind the truck!"

I had no defense. I simply said thank you again, shut the door and hugged Logan who was completely unaware of the situation.

Being programmed into the day's routine we were off to our next errand on the list. Grocery shopping. As I was driving I was trying to push out the thoughts I was having. My mind kept wandering to "what might have happened!" I was pushing back tears trying to tell myself it's a new behavior for us all. We'll be more careful.

At the stoplight I pull up behind a truck that says in bold letters, "Disasters Happen." I cried. Oh, boy did I cry. I allowed myself five minutes to mourn my mistake. My human state. Those words of the lawn man burned into my brain, "You need to watch him!" I wanted to say, "I do! I do! I watch him all the time! I try to anticipate, to prevent, to teach. I set boundaries and repeat them over and over. I would strap him to my back until he's 30 years old if I could but I can't!"

Then my mind shifted to the neighbor. Her words of encouragement. Her pride in telling me that he knew the way back home. Then I prayed in gratitude. I'm so grateful that the lawn man saw him and brought him to the neighbor. I'm so grateful that their lawn truck was there to distract him from going onto a busier street. I'm so grateful for that wise neighbor who smiled and told me not to worry. I'm grateful that Logan knew his way back home.

It makes me realize that this feeling of helplessness will never go away. It has begun. Knowing his personality, Logan will often open doors on his own. And I hope he does. The only thing I can do is prepare him then pray that angels will surround him to keep him safe. I pray that human kindness will pull through. That whoever he meets will treat him with love and respect. But when they don't and he finds himself in need that he will come home.

This experience has been a tender one for me. I tend to gather little bits of what I learn on this journey of motherhood. This is a good bit. No matter how painful.

Given More


The other day I had a conversation with someone who said to me,

"I could never give up a baby."

And let me add, this was said while my daughter was standing right next to me. What kind of message is this sending to my daughter? And even more what kind of spurious ideas are there about the realities and beautiful miracles that occur in adoption?

This question left me fuming. After a good night's rest, I'm not so upset. Her question is real. And indicative of a view point that is innocent from not knowing, experiencing or hearing about the positive and unimaginable joy that comes through adoption for all parties involved. So today, I am going to answer this common statement, from my heart. Knowing that for every negative story on adoption that swarms the media, there are thousands of miraculous ones.

My children were brought to us through the miracle of adoption. And when I say miracle, I mean it. Part of this miracle involved our beautiful Birthparents. Who by no means whatsoever "gave up" their sweet child.

It takes an incredible amount of love to do what they did. It takes more than love.

I have never witnessed such love. Nothing reminds me more of this love and sacrifice then the Savior's atonement for each one of us.

There is such a misconception about this part of adoption. Pictures of Birthmoms' extremely young or strung out on drugs are often the thing people assume were our children's birthparents circumstances that led them to choose an adoption plan.

Nothing could be farther from the truth in our case and in a majority of domestic adoptions. Our birthparents’ chose adoption. Our birthparents’ consisted of mothers and fathers who are well-educated, spiritual and come from families who have over 30 years of marriage experience. They didn't choose adoption because it was an easier choice or an easy way out! And they most definitely, unequivocally, did not choose it because they were "giving up" this precious life they created.

This is a choice that created much pain and grieving in their own hearts. Not a day goes by that they don't think of us.

They love their child so much that they wanted something better for them. In spite of the pain that they will naturally have to face because of it.

No doubt they found themselves in an "unplanned" circumstance. But never did they treat or feel that their child was not "wanted" or desired.

As a mom, I never had to wonder about the kind of care my children received in the womb. My daughter's Birthmom was so careful to eat only the healthiest of foods, get great pre-natal care and read much literature about the needs of this special child growing in her. My son’s Birthmom continued going to church and school during her pregnancy despite the judgments made on her. It is because of their great love that they wanted something more for the child growing in their belly. Something that would involve many sacrifices.

The next comment this person said to me was,

"If my child found herself in a teenage pregnancy, I would watch or raise the child for her, so she could go to college, finish school, carry on with her life, etc."

This way of thinking is very common in society and most often is the norm!

Adoption is "out there." And this is the norm!

I didn't find what this person was saying to be noble. I didn't view this as true love. I didn't think to myself, "Wow this individual must really love their child to do this for her."

Quite the opposite actually.

The question that comes to my mind time and again is this,

What about the child?

One thing my son’s birthfather said to us before his birth was,

“This child is a gift from God.”

I found this an extremely profound statement from a boy in an extremely difficult situation. And yet, his statement is not a politically correct or popular one. Because if our children are a gift from God, shouldn’t we be making choices for them accordingly? Shouldn’t their needs be at the very top of our agenda despite the sacrifices involved?

Our children are a gift from God. This is not just our child. It is first and foremost God’s. And as such, we have such a responsibility to them.

I’m not saying every unplanned pregnancy should result in adoption. Obviously, I am an advocate for adoption because I have personally witnessed the beauty of it. I just wish and hope wholeheartedly that the myths surrounding this beautiful act could be properly understood.

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world. Things happen. Unavoidable things. Avoidable things. And it is during these moments that we choose to make the very best choices because we know our lives are also a gift. And we hopefully want to make the choice that will please our Heavenly Father and create the most benefits.

The problem is, too many choices are often self-serving and often reflect what will make us more comfortable.

We live in a world today that treats children as commodities. Having a child is more about "your" wants instead of the child’s. Daycares are the norm. Fathers are not necessary. And as of today’s propaganda…families aren’t even necessary! Children are starting competitive sports before they are eight and are enrolled in every class imaginable to ensure they will get into their Ivy League schools. Preschools are turning as competitive as universities! Are we really doing these things for our children or our own pride as a parent?

This has hit such a nerve with me lately. Maybe it's because of the comments I keep getting about me not pursuing my career by "just" staying home. Or maybe it's a combination of the many comments I get about my children being "unwanted" or "given up" from their birthparents. As if our birthparents did the easy thing by not trying to raise the life they created.

Our Birthparent’s love their child so much that they are willing to go through any amount of pain so that their child doesn't have to feel it throughout their life. They want them to have a life with two parents. They want them to have a stable home life. They want them to know the innocence of childhood.

Lets not mince words. It isn't easy for a child to grow up without a father or a mother. It isn't easy for a child's main source of parenting to come from a daycare provider. How sad is it that many children's first words, first steps are witnessed by someone who will never be around to share those moments with them. Yet, we make these choices, because they benefit us! We, as parents can still go to work! Further our careers! Wear the latest clothes, drive the nicest cars and buy the biggest homes. And we think this is success. And the adults who choose to "stay home" or "give up" are doing so because they are lazy or have no talents, intelligence or drive.

Is there not a correlation between this false perception on adoption and the “me” mentality that is saturating our families in today’s world?

I know in saying this, I am leaving a large portion of parents who work really hard and do so for their children out of the equation. I am also deeply aware of parents who are both working or single parenting out of circumstances not of their choosing. Life happens. Difficult things happen. I get that. Believe me, I do!

I am speaking up for myself, my children and our courageous birthparents. I can't imagine how hard it must be for them to hear the callus words "given up" and "I could never do that." As if it is an easy thing. As if the person who "could never give up a child" is saying something noble. It would be a much easier thing for our birthparents to have raised their baby. But they weren't just thinking of themselves when they made their choice. And THAT takes more love, more courage, more pain than any love I have seen a parent give their child in raising them!

It is this love that reminds me how lucky I am to raise my kids. It is this love that makes me love my children’s birthparents so much. It is for this reason that our birthparent's are honored in our home. It is this love that I hope my children will feel so abundantly as they grow. It is this love that makes an open adoption indescribable.

Our birthparents wanted more for their child. A child, who was wanted from the moment they were conceived. A child whose future was agonized over, prepared for, prayed for and sacrificed for. Even before they would ever breath their first breaths of life.

Yes, this child may have been unplanned but never “unwanted.” This child was given more. Not given up.

Not Forgotten

It's been awhile since I've looked at this beautiful blog. I re-read some of the remarkable experiences that have been shared and realize the value of a blog like this.

The other day I was looking at various blogs. I ran across a blog that has a reputation of being popular so I clicked on it to see what all the fuss was about. It was edgy and clever. Well written. But had this underlying cynicism that left me with a very negative, heavy feeling.

Then I returned to another blog that is well viewed and read her newest post and thought, "Man, has she got an ego!" Actually, blogs really are one ego trip after another. Well, some anyway.

This morning I just kept thinking about this blog. It's been a bit neglected. Maybe the initial vision took too much time than we all could really give it. But the heartfelt posts are so beautiful. I would never want to delete it.

It may be naive of me to think about how much good we could do if we could simply give more of ourselves through talking about our experiences. I love to connect to people. To hear what they are going through. What they are learning. Who or what are their influences. I look forward to the time in any relationship when the walls come down and I get a glimpse into what's really going on with this person. I'm not encouraging people to run around spewing personal information the first time you meet them. That would be strange and altogether inappropriate. I'm just saying when prompted to share, do so, without fear. You never know just how much help you could be.

It might be time to start blogging again.


A thought came to me the other day as I was observing outside my window at the fall colors. A storm was brewing which sent the sky into this moody dark blue which actually heightened the intensity of the fall colors making this lush flavor for my eyes to savor. Words like dissonance, contrast, opposites came to mind as I sat wondering the cause of such beauty. The colors of fall are rich and warm but an approaching storm creates a cool atmosphere. Opposites.

In singing, another past time I love, often notes will clash in harmony then resolve leaving one wanting to hear more. I love to sing alto; I welcome the difference and sometimes the clash knowing the dissonance will bring depth and richness to the song. An unexpected but welcome choice.

I'm trying adopt this principle into my relationships with others. Some of my favorite people are almost my complete opposite. We do have our similar interests, don't get me wrong. One of my painting teachers had a mantra: Similarity with Variety when trying to create an interesting composition. And that's what I want my life to be like; an interesting composition of people, of talents, of attitudes, etc. I want my life to be as colorful and full of life as the colors of fall.

When I was in my early 20's I really feared or felt threatened by someone if they didn't agree with me. I felt the relationship would not hold if differences existed. As a result I'd often change my views to fit the conversation. Over time this left me incredibly empty and afraid to do or say anything without the approval of others. Now I really try to embrace differences and it really has made all the difference. I'm much more able to love others and myself when I'm more accepting.

There is not one person I've met who doesn't really love the colors of fall; especially when winter is approaching. Could God be painting something for us to think about? We are drawn outside by the diversity of color but are we really getting the message? It's a message of acceptance and love. Truly, similarity with variety makes for the best and most interesting life.

The Best Day

I have been feeling quite emotional for the last several days. Weirdest thing. These powerful surges of emotions have been occurring for several days every month, for the last while. ha ha ha. Wonder what it could be?

At any rate - this morning as I was working out with my ipod, the Taylor Swift song "The Best Day" came on.

I immediately pictured myself as the mother in this song. Here is where my daydreamin' came in. I pictured myself as a mom, now, with my little babies "hugging at my knees," tractor rides and running all day.

I then began daydreamin' of the day my beautiful little girl would be thirteen. And if she came home crying from friends being mean, how I would act towards her.

I started tearing up in my gym as I pictured myself to the words of this song.

"I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop till I forget their names"

I can only hope to be the kind of mom in this song.

Here are the lyrics, in case you are feeling emotional today too. Or maybe you'll just read them and think I'm crazy. Which isn't too far off today!

I'm five years old and it's getting cold
I've got my big coat on
I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you
I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides
Look now the sky is gold
I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home

I don't know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you're not scared of anything at all
Don't know if Snow White's house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today

I'm thirteen now and don't know how my friends could be so mean
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop till I forget their names

I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school
But I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you
Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel ok
But I know I had the best day with you today

i have an excellent father
His strength is makking me stronger
God smiles on my little brother
Inside and out he's better than I am

I grew up in a pretty house and i had space to run
And I had the best days with you

There is a video i found from back when i was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me
It's the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
Daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world

Now i know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
Staying back and watching me shine and I didn't know if you knew
So I'm taking this chance to say that i had the best day with you today