A face without freckles is like a night without stars...

Starr is me, I am her, and she is I. She is so much more than she thinks she is. If you asked her, she would say she is just a mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. However, she has been told many times, that she is more than that. Her loving Heavenly Father reminds her all the time, that she has gifts and talents to share with the world, and that like unto her name, she should let them so shine before others, that they may light the day, like the stars light the night. She is passionate, loyal, and gentle all at the same time.

Often when people see her they don't see a gentle, quiet and fragile woman; however, they are wrong. Deep down inside that's who she is, and only those who are truly looking, will see who she really is. If you happen to make it through her exosphere, consider yourself to be a blessed individual. Not many make it there, but when they do, they have a permanent place. Her caring ways, allow her to see things in the world a bit differently than others, unique to a fault.

She truly sees through a darkened glass, and can see beyond the darkness, and find hope throughout the world. Beyond her large, thick exterior are gems within her that are priceless, that are only valued on a spiritual level. Buried within the layers of her atmosphere are different pieces of her puzzle, and even she has yet to put all of the pieces into place. May you enjoy each piece she writes; they truly are the picture into her puzzle.

My Children

I am the mama of two all encompassing children, who own every ounce of my heart and soul, even the part their dad holds onto gets kicked out at times when one of the two does something magical to melt my heart. LillyRose is our precious big girl now, who is a whopping 6 years old! From the moment she wakes in the morning until her head hits the pillow at night in one way or another she reminds us that she holds a status the rest of us don't: Miss Diva Wildfire. Her independent nature, and natural ability to question the world around her has given her the actual gift of life, as every family member knew when she was born at 2lbs 6oz, a fighter since the day she was born.

Our son Abraham Jr. is our love bug. He has eyes that melt every inch of any woman's soul, Look out Ladies! At 5 years old, he is such a smarty pants and I LOVE it! His father recently said he had a genius on his hands, I didn't dispute him or his shining pride I felt emanating from his smile. My son is like the coals beneath a beautiful fire, and often times these parts of his personality help me through my days and "ignite my own fires within myself." Like his sister he too came into this world a fighter at 3lbs 6oz, and his tantrums prove to us that life wouldn't be as interesting without him.

My Children "run" the show, even though we would never admit that to them! That would result in utter defeat in our battle of parenthood. Our days revolve around their schedules, routines, likes, dislikes and even the amount of dishes in the sink when mommy has friends over! My oh my! ;) Together they make up the valves within our hearts, and are the blood circulating through our veins. We are extremely blessed to be their parents and though parenthood has tested us in ways we never imagined, I know we'd be lost without it.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Living with Chronic Kidney Disease

As I sit in bed next to my son watching endless YouTube videos of kids playing with toys, I can't help but feel like I am somehow not being a "good" mom. My expectation of who I would be as a mother vs. Reality sometimes sends tears down my cheeks. Yet, there is this small voice within me at the same time that says: "How are YOU even going to get out of bed today, Starr?" The pain is overwhelming, and the thought of beginning my daily routine, overwhelms me to the point, I almost have a panic attack, almost every single day. Yet, I get up and I do what needs to be done, because I have these amazing people in my life who depend on me. My CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) has been a consistent companion in my life from the time I was seven years old. The trauma of having lived with a life debilitating disease most of my life has taught me so much about compassion, persistence and hope. Each morning that I wake up, it's a reminder that I have purpose in my life. The day always begins with medication, and it takes everything I have to even take the medication that will get me through my day. My bones ache. My insides ache. My mind feels slower than ever. At 35 years old, it's difficult to even get the house clean, laundry washed, dried and folded, shower, dress; Let alone put my makeup and do my hair. Which happens to be a rare occasion lately, and I think I am coming to accept that, though it's difficult. Everything I do requires energy that feels like I don't have.

Before I go any further, I would like to give a brief overview of what symptoms CKD might include.
According to the National Kidney Foundation:

What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?

Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

What are the symptoms of CKD?

Most people may not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. However, you may notice that you:
  • feel more tired and have less energy
  • have trouble concentrating
  • have a poor appetite
  • have trouble sleeping
  • have muscle cramping at night
  • have swollen feet and ankles
  • have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
  • have dry, itchy skin
  • need to urinate more often, especially at night.
There are five stages of CKD, and I am at Stage four. My life is altered by my disease in many ways. The ability to care for myself sometimes feels overwhelming, and caring for two small children who depend upon me each and every day is a joy, pleasure and blessing; Yet, it also takes everything I have. When people ask how I'm doing; it's a question I can't answer properly. The pain never ends, the tiredness never ends, HOWEVER, My hope never ends either! My hope in the ability to make it through my day one moment at a time never fails me. I KNOW the reason I have hope is because of my faith in Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. I have been lifted up during really hard times, in ways that are only explained as miracles. I have been given strength during moments of weakness that feel to threaten my sanity. Another reason I have hope is because of the service people have given me and my family. Countless times, I've been served, assisted, loved, and helped. My heart fills with gratitude at the faces that fill my mind with their hands of mercy, love and service. I've truly been blessed with people around me in the last four years, as my disease has progressed to Kidney Failure, that have been the hands of Jesus Christ. 

Living with a slow progressing disease is life for me. It's frustrating. I lose confidence. Scary. Painful. As much as I try not to let it run my life; I accept it, finally. I own my CKD now more than I ever have. I realize that I have limitations, yet, I try not to let those limitations hold me back from creating happiness for me and my family. I won't lie, some days are harder than others. My children watch more TV than I had ever "expected," Yet, it's been a blessing to have a way to entertain my children when all I can do it lay on the couch and watch with them. I always have viewed my life as if I'm in a boxing ring. I have my gloves on, my head gear, I've trained with a coach, I have him at my side encouraging me (Christ) and my opponent is life. I want to make it through this life, I may take some punches, I may take a lot, yet at the end of the day when I win the fight, though I may look bloody, bruised and beat up; I know My Father in Heaven will take me in his arms when my time comes to leave this earth, my pain and disease will be swallowed up in his power to heal. His love with shine around me, and because I tried my best to fight life in way that is acceptable to him; He will say to me: "You've done it, your trials are complete." 

If you ask me "How are you doing?" Just know that every day is a battle. Some days involve more punches than others. Most of the time, I'm just holding my hands up trying to block the punches; and when I throw a few, it takes most of the energy I have to do so. That doesn't mean stop asking, it just means that I have more hard days than good days right now. I felt the need to get this off my chest today, and that's okay. 

Thanks for reading my loves. 

One Love, 
Image result for quotes about life being like kidney stones

Monday, November 7, 2016

The mind-body disconnect and what happens between.

We live in a world of disconnect, where we don't know our neighbors names, or the location in which our food was grown, nor do we actually go out of our way to find these things out. The "whole" person is taught in classes, found in massage parlor's, and seems to be distant relative of who human being's once were. I am truly a person of "what's the meaning of life, where do we come from and where are we going?" I am a woman who values human interaction, the bright side of colors, and beautiful songs in all their varieties. I am an artist, writer and poet who thinks to much, ponders every experience or thought possible. Yet, I too am disconnected. What caused this disconnect, and how do I find my connection to life again? One moment, breath, and thought at a time. I must be aware of what I am thinking and what I am allowing into my mind.

Each day that I am more aware of this connection, will be one day closer to the mind-body connection I know that can be had for myself. To tap into the origin of one's own disconnect leads down a path self reflection and awareness. In my own life, it was a traumatic experience as a child that prompted the mind-body disconnect. My mind needed to be somewhere my body wasn't in order to make in through the life experience I was given. At that time, it served it's purpose, however, I am realizing now that it's purpose has been served and I can once again reintroduce my mind to my body to create the whole person, I want to become.

To admit to oneself and to others, that your mind is disconnected from your own body; feels overwhelming at first, as well as "weird." However, this is my reality and has been my reality for quite some time. My first session with Guided Yoga taught me quite a bit about this disconnect that was going on. Because my mind was open to this fact, and my heart was ready to grow, I was able to recognize where my mind was in relation to my body.

The session that I took was a gentle and loving hour of keeping my mind aware of what my body was feeling. At first glace, I thought to myself, "what am I REALLY going to get out of this?" However, by the end of the night, I realized two important things about myself. First, my mind was "far away" from my physical body; and second, I wanted that connection to feel closer to one another. The only way that this connection would be reestablished was through healing, openness and establishing a daily connection between the two. None of this process has felt emotionally "great" for me, however, it has felt needed, and the more I connect, the easier it becomes. The more I let go of, the closer I feel to being whole. I have to be kind to myself, have patience and love for my own life experiences.

Finding peace amid the chaos is a talent I haven't mastered, but I hope to one day. For now, I just hope I can just be and be happy with me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Blended Bright Colors

 Looking through the window of glass
 I see greens, yellows, reds and browns
Blended between 
The clear drops of tears
Or is it just rain upon the window pain, 
Unsure you see; of the grey between
 Reality and fantasy
Even within the clouds of grey
White puffs of pansies 
In forms of prisms
Peek through the caves of mountains 
Masquerading as
Clouds of hope upon
The top of actual tear drops
Are the colors she sees; a picture of reality
Or does the green, yellow, red and brown
Represent the fall that's all around 
As this season comes to pass
The blended colors of the fall, transfigure
Into light puffs of white prisms, pretending to be 
Gentle, sweet and ever so perfectly neat
 Unique needles coming down all around
Form dimensions of actual reality 
Which paint pretty pictures
 Of three dimensional actors 
The placement of each prism
Like strings on a puppet, each play their part
Know their lines and have perfectly perfected
The layer upon the snow in which they lie
Layer upon layer, the stellar dendrites add 
Each to another, when at last all around 
Green, yellow red and brown
Fade from memory, and fall to the ground
Sinking into the cycle; that is life
Forgotten colors in bright perfect pictures
Surpassed by whiteness that pretends to be snow
And has convoluted layers; only the soul's
 Microscope can see
Whether or not it's her reality. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Gems of my Soul....

It's been a little while since I've updated the blog, and much has happened in the time since then. the last time I update was February of this year, can't believe I haven't written anything in that long! No wonder so much is on my mind today, as I put fingers to keyboard!  So I'll Summarize:

March- Our sweet Little Princess LillyRose turned the big 5!!!! There are moments in time, that I still can't believe that she's my little girl, and even more so, that she's now a Kindergartner! She is learning to read, and can write her letters, and is well behaved in school! I just came from her Parent/Teacher Conference this morning, and her Teacher Miss Labrum, is absolutely amazing! So compassionate, understanding and loving towards LillyRose! We are so blessed this year!

April- The hardest month of all, a month that shook me to my very core. My sweet "nephew" Antonio left this mortal Earth, and lost his battle with Depression and took his own life. Even writing those words now, is hard. There is such stigma associated with his passing, and I refuse not to acknowledge the "elephant in my heart," because how he passed away is as crucial as the fact that he's not with us anymore. Rushing home to Washington to be with my Cousin, my physical body and spirit ached. I couldn't get to her fast enough in my mind. Time was moving in slow motion, and in many ways, still is. Her and I, are more like sisters than cousins, and watching her go through the pain of losing her child, broke/brakes my heart in many ways.  As I watch her go through the hardest time of her life, I see her strength, her weakness, and willingness to do so, and her resilience. She makes me be a better woman, mama and friend. I've always looked up to her, and I do even more so now. In her brokenness, she has shown an incredible amount of tenacity, in her trial.

May & June- This was a really busy month for our Family! Cameron was graduating from his Funeral Directing Degree at Salt Lake Community College and was deciding how to proceed with his education! It was a time of feeling anxious, unsure and unstable! Those feelings alone, are hard to deal with, and uncomfortable! We decided to go with University of Utah, because moving our whole family by June to Logan and going to University of Utah seemed unachievable, however, that is what we really wanted to do! However, we choose the other path, and went to UVU. Cameron started Summer classes in May, and from the very beginning, I could see how unhappy he was with how things with school were going. He was driving an hour each way to night classes, then working almost full time at Target, coming home at 11pm at night after classes ended at 10pm. I could see how tired he was becoming, and how much he was struggling. Cameron had worked and went to school for Three years straight, including summers, without any breaks in between! Finally, after a trip to the Emergency Room for a Fainting episode, we made the decision (and an inspired one at that) to take a summer break from school, and have Cameron just work over the summer! It took much stress off of him, and we were lead to USU in Logan through that choice. Cameron worked his Soul off at Target, and earned enough money to move us into a cute little home in Smithfield, and was to start classes at the end of August!

July- The month of July just flew by so quickly! Abraham celebrated his 4th Birthday on the 13th! He is such an energetic, happy, and shy little boy (unless you know him!) We had his Birthday Party at the local Splash Pad, and there was such a good turn out of friends and family and it made his whole month to have his "big" cousins there, he got such a kick out of it! We had such a good "summer" month in July! Though we were packing up our home, living out of boxes, cleaning, and trying our best to transmission our children from a Home, Ward and Friends they had known their whole lives, we knew we had done what we were meant to! Everything just happened so quickly, and how it all "happenstance" together, was just a confirmation to me that it was the path we were to follow! My heart ached during this month, a little more each day, the closer we got to leaving. We had gained friends who were like family in our church ward, neighborhood and schools! I was depressed that we were leaving them "behind!" I was afraid of losing the amazing support system that had enveloped me in love, encouragement and true support! I was afraid of leaving behind a Bishop (Church Leader) who I had learned to trust, and depend upon to guide our family. People in our Ward, new exactly what we had been through, loved us anyways, didn't judge us and accepted us for who we were! How was I ever going to find that again?! I was extremely sad, excited and nervous all at the same time! And saying "goodbye" to all of that did break my heart.

August- The big change! The month that changed our whole lives! We couldn't be more excited that we found such a beautiful, charming little house, in a small town, close to the University, that was lower in cost than our apartment! Not to mention; our landlords were understanding, caring and worked with our circumstances! It was small things like all of these, that confirmed, we had made the right choices! We moved in and got the house settled fairly quickly, the kids and Cameron enrolled in their respective Schools, and before I knew it, September was upon us, then October!

September- A month full of waking up early, getting kids to bed early, getting kids off to school, doing homework, making new friends: In general, it was a month of learning the routines of school, getting to know our new ward members, making new acquaintances and friends, and dealing with all the weird changes that moving comes with! We are still feeling the "weirdness" of those changes. The kids will still ask to go "home" and I will have to remind them that "this" is our home now. They will often ask to go to Charlie & Alices House, or ask if Aabel and Anthoni can come and play. They speak of those they love often, and how much they miss them. They too, made some really close friends, lifelong friends. Before I knew it, the leaves started to Fall, the air was more crisp than usual, and the word "snow" was being thrown around! Snow in October! What in the world!

And we're CURRENT! Internally Laughing at myself for not writing all this time!

This month is bringing a Rainbow Girl, Ninja Skeleton, Red Crayon and a shooting Star! All of us are excited for Fall, Halloween, Pumpkins, Hot Chocolate, Cozy Fires (In our beautiful Wood Stove) and cuddling as a family watching movies together! Fall is my Favorite Season of the Year, and October is also representative of six months since my sweet Antonio went to the other side, where my eyes won't see him again for many years, but my heart feels his presence all the time. Life has passed by quickly in these last six months, and at times, too quickly. Grieving, while trying to still live, be a mom, wife and friend to my cousin was challenging. I thought that maybe my grief shouldn't be that big of a deal- He wasn't "my son," so why was it so hard, and why did I feel the sadness I did? Often times, I hid my sadness, grief and anger from those around me, but deep down inside, it was there, I was thinking about Antonio's choice, and battle with depression. Why was his life taken, why was he so Young, Why, Why, Why....

Those were the internal thoughts, I often wrestled with, taking my questions to my Father in Heaven and feeling Anger towards him, and wondering how could this be his will? How could he know this would happen and yet not prevent anything from happening. How could I know what would happen and not prevent it from Happening? I love Antonio, I'll never forget his birth, the night she brought him home and I was staying with her. I held his big butt newborn self, and at that very moment in my 16 year old mind, said my most honest and fervent prayer: "Please let me have something this perfect, let me be a good mom to something this perfect and let me feel the same Joy I feel holding this perfect little boy, with my own perfect little baby." It was a prayer of a Young Girl, who didn't come from a perfect family, who came from a broken family, who wanted a perfect Love, and I found that "revelation" in holding Antonio, in the dim light of a basement Apartment of my cousin's. From the moment he was born, Tonio, held a sliver of his older cousins heart he never knew about, and now that he's gone, I wish I would have told him so.

So, this month, my favorite month of the year, I took my sadness, and lived. I went Camping, sat in front of a fire late at night, stared at the stars and thought of the life Antonio should be living. I thought about the depth of Soul. What Soul (Spirit) is, and what does my own tell me to be, do and say? I lived for him. I touched the hearts of my precious children, and remembered all those years ago, the prayer a young girl said, while holding his precious soul next to my heart. God gave me those precious children I asked for, The unconditional Love I wanted in a child of my own. The promise I made then, to be the best mom I could, to whatever Child God gave me. Antonio, and No one, actually knew, that moment between my God, a little baby boy and me happened all those years ago, and that's why losing Antonio feels so hard for me. God answered my prayer in his timing, trusted me with HIS child, and knows the allotted time on earth, and how much I'll be with HIS child. However, I sure am grateful, for that night with Tonio's sweet baby self, because holding him, helped me hold my own kids so much better now. Tonio didn't even know all the gifts he gave others around him, he was an amazing kid. Every month since is death, I choose to live, and touch the hearts of my children, and others in honor and memory of him and it helps me cope with feelings that I don't understand all the time.

Thanks for taking the time to read, it's a lost art these days.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Can I have Ice Cream for breakfast?

"Motherhood is by far, one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I've ever had." I know I've heard this line more times than I can count, uttered by various females throughout the history of my life, however, until I became a parent to children of my own, I didn't really grasp the reality of this statement. Motherhood is precious, beautiful and eternal. It's a privilege to nurture, protect and love my children. I've always wanted to be a mom, and my  intense desire to do so, seemed impossible after several miscarriages and diagnoses from specialists that I would never be able to carry a baby to full term. Beyond my closest family and friends, many don't know the struggles I faced prior to the birth of my daughter and son. I assumed, now that I have beautiful children, that my heart wouldn't ache for the loss I experienced in my "past." I guess I had just "forgotten" how painful going through all of that had been and last month, my Father in Heaven sent a reminder of that scar.

When does being a "mother" begin? When does a woman start to love the child she just learned was within her? When does the desire to dream about that child's life start? When does she wonder if it's a boy or a girl? For this woman, it started with those little pink lines. The thoughts start to race by about all the possibilities of what may become of that little life within your body.

When those possibilities are shattered, and that life within you dies, it takes a little piece of yourself with it to the other side of Heaven, and your left behind on earth, wondering what life "would of" been like had you not lost your dream. After years of losing my dream, I succumbed to "reality" of life that I just wasn't meant to have a child of my own "blood," but I knew I would have children that my heart loved just as much anyway, so I decided that I needed to let that dream go.

Then I joined this church. I met this man. We fell in love. And I had to tell him I'd never be able to give him a child of his own "blood." This wonderful man said to me: "All my children will be "CHOICE" children." Meaning, he knew he would adopt children some day. Imagine the anxiety, fear and hope I felt the first time I got pregnant right after we were married.

All those questions came back. I pushed them away, NO, not this time, I won't get attached to a baby that I will never hold. I warned my ecstatic husband, so full of HOPE and excitement not to love this child yet, not to DREAM yet. Then, a missionary came and gave me a blessing. As he laid his hands upon my head and used his priesthood to speak the words of God, for the first time ever, I knew my child would come to earth, and I would hold it within my own arms. Even though I heard the still small voice whisper in my ear, the truthfulness of my dreams coming true, I found myself doubting a long the way. What if something happened? What if I didn't hear what I thought I heard? Or what if the feelings I felt were a lie, and my dream died again? Even my own family couldn't be excited for us, because they too had experienced all that pain with me, they went through it all with me, and felt all that loss with me. They had walked with me in my "past." My husband kept me hopeful, and faithful for our child, our little baby girl.

I'll never forget, the first time I felt her move. I was talking on the phone with my dad, and I was laying in bed, and she started kicking me hard, her little feet saying to me, "I'm here mama, I'm here and I'm not going anywhere." I had to hang up with my dad and cry, because I knew I had "heard" her voice from heaven and I could no longer doubt her arrival. Was it easy to bring her  to earth on my own physical body? No. But it was worth every single thing I went through, because when she says to me at night time, "I missed you while I was at school today mom," it makes my heart increase with love for this little person before me.

Imagine my surprise when eight months later, I find out I'm pregnant again. I'll never forget, after I missed my monthly cycle, having a nagging feeling that I needed to take a pregnancy test. I thought to myself, "NO WAY" I'm on birth control and nursing my little girl, I CANT be pregnant already! I can't go through that scary ordeal AGAIN! I remember seeing those two blues lines and bursting into tears, my husband is once again ecstatic at the expectant arrival of another child, and deep down the only thing I can think of is: The doctor said not to get pregnant for at least five years. My body hadn't even had time to recover yet, I was still nursing. To say the least, I was terrified to DREAM at all this time. There was NO WAY, that this second baby would actually come to fill my arms and rest upon my breasts. Even after having experienced a miracle in my little girl, I once again doubted the power of Heavenly Father's will for my life.

The day I found out I was having a boy, was the day that I found hope in the dream of my second child. He was worth everything I went through all over again, the moment I felt his skin upon my cheek, I knew it was worth everything my body endured. However, the pressure from my dad about not having anymore children weighed heavy on my mind and heart. I knew I needed to be around to raise them and let my body heal, so with prayer and his pleadings, I tied my tubes and knew my son would be the last baby my body would ever bear. As my doctor asked me the question as I lay on the table cut open after delivering my son, I cried. Even after having two beautiful children, I felt like I was losing something so important. I felt I had lost so much already.  Those children, that I loved and never held has placed so much weight in my heart, and though I've healed most of the way from their loss, every now and then, I'm reminded of that pain I felt so long ago before my life in Christ began.

The gift I've been given, it's an adventure I've begged to have. But it's also a scary one. What if I mess up? What if it's hard? What if I doubt my abilities? What if I get to tired? What if? What if? What if? There are a million what if's. This adventure called motherhood is difficult, and it's supposed to be. Every choice you make has consequences. Is it okay to give ice cream for breakfast? :)  Are they getting enough vegetables?  Does ketchup count as a fruit if they eat chicken nuggets with it? Did I raise my voice too loud, too often today? How many times did I tell them NO today, versus yes? Do I give them enough room to be creative? Am I breaking the cycle of my own family? Is he too young to watch ninja turtles? Will they choose Christ when they are older? Did I give them choices? How will we pay for college? Will I ever go to the bathroom alone again?

I want and accept every challenge and blessing that comes with motherhood. Some times, I struggle more than other times, and that's okay. When I examine that layers that Starr is made of, I am giving my children the best mom I can. And when scars begin to ache, I feel that ache for a moment, and remember the love I had for my children that I haven't held yet, and know that God will help me understand it all when I meet him, I know that he helps me every single day with my children.

Speaking of children, I have one trying to wrestle me right now. -Starr