Sunday, March 30, 2008

I love to see the temple!

I Love to See the Temple.

So, for Spring Break, we took the opportunity to go to Nauvoo. As we drove into the city, I could feel the spirit testify to me that this was truly a city built on the foundation of sacrifice, faith, and dedication to the Lord.

I was delighted to see my life long girl friend, Carlie. We had the opportunity to go to the temple together. My heart was full of joy as we sat together. It felt to me, like Alma must have felt when he met up with the sons of Mosiah, and "they were still his brethren in the Lord."

When we drove up to the temple, Lincoln was beyond excitement.
As a mother, I cannot express the joy I felt as our son exclaimed, "Look Mama, look Daddy, a temple."

In our two days there, I was brought to tears many times.
This was a place deeply rooted with faith; a place that stands as a testimony of the saints who made building the kingdom of God their ultimate goal. We spent a beautiful morning walking down the Trail of Hope, also called the Trail of Tears. Of this very spot, M.Russell Ballard said,

"One of those who traveled the Mormon Trail in 1847 referred to it as the “trail of hope.” I love that title: “trail of hope.” It speaks of the universal yearning of each person to find a safe haven, a community of Saints where hearts are united and hope prevails. No matter how difficult the trail, and regardless of how heavy our load, we can take comfort in knowing that others before us have borne life’s most grievous trials and tragedies by looking to heaven for peace, comfort, and hopeful assurance." (You Have Nothing to Fear from the Journey”)

Being there gave me a wonderful opportunity to reflect on my life, and I was able to find that comfort of which Elder Ballard spoke.

Today, I would like to share three lessons that the pioneers in my life have taught me:

Sacrifice: taught by Mom.

In case you don't know or cannot tell, this is my mom. From my mom, I learned the true meaning of sacrifice. She had four kids in five years. She put her dreams on hold, and pursued a life loving her children. She NEVER missed any activity we ever did. Not one soccer game, debate competition, band concert, Choir tour, etc. She made it her priority to be available so we always could go back to one simple truth:

She loved us.
She is a pioneer.
She didn't cross the plains, but she has hurdled mountains.
I love you Mom.

Immense Faith: taught by Dad.

This is my dad. If anyone has faith in the restored gospel and a living Savior, it is my dad. Any lesson he ever taught ALWAYS started with his testimony. Everyone in the room knew right from the start that my dad knew Jesus Christ lived.

He is a pioneer.
He didn't give his life in Carthage jail.
But, he would have had he been asked.

I love you Dad.

Dedication to the Lord: taught by David

I would first like to say how grateful I am for this miracle in my life; my sweetheart. He has been the answer to every promise I have ever been given. I am eternally grateful to his parents who raised him to love the Lord and serve with all his might. I remember kneeling across the altar from my eternal companion. I had it reaffirmed to me that day that the Lord was pleased with my choice.

He has honored every covenant and promise he has made.

He is a pioneer.
He didn't cross the Mississippi River, but he crossed the street to help the neighbors move in.
He didn't leave his wife and son to serve a mission, but He shared the gospel with, and baptized a friend.
He didn't lose his house to persecution, but he has lost himself in dedication to the Lord.

I love you David.
Tons Bit.

Needless to say, I witnessed miracle after miracle during our visit.

I Love to See the Temple.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Heres to hoping:

"When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done." (Count Your Many Blessings)

Throughout the last year and a half, it has become increasingly more common for me to focus on looking at others.

With their lands of gold.

I look back and realize that I have not spent enough time focusing on my blessings and have neglected to realize what the Lord has done in my life.

So, to move forward with faith, I have been trying to recognize the Lord's hand.

So, here's to HOPING:

FIRST: In the Book of Mormon, Nephi and some of his brothers went searching for food.

His family wanted to eat.

Hunger was a major concern.

When Nephi and his brothers returned, he recounts:

"And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food."

They were hungry.

really hungry.

Nephi and his brothers did everything possible to find food. They prepared. They came up with a plan. They put the plan into action.

and yet, they still suffered for the want of food.

But, the faithful did not lose hope.


Moroni was the last prophet to write in the Book of Mormon. He spent some time alone.



He tells us:
"And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not."
He was alone. really alone.

He didn't know what was in store for him.

He looked at death as one of the most likely possibilities.

and yet,

Moroni didn't lose hope.

I know what it is like to hunger for something.
I know what loneliness feels like.


I want to be like Nephi.
I want to stand strong like Moroni.

I want to have faith.

and never lose hope.

There is wealth untold.

I have found some of it.

Until I find the rest...

I'll just be here.

Counting my blessings.



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My life as a fable:

Someday when I look back at the story of my life,

I hope each chapter ending has a moral attached.

Kind of like Aesop's Fables.

This week the morals would probably be:


David, you are my everything. You are the greatest blessing I have ever known. You make life worth living every day. I love you.

Or perhaps:


Lincoln, you are such a miracle. You have so much love. Even when you pushed the girl in nursery off the chair, we still can't imagine life without you. Thanks for being our good boy.

I think I will laugh a lot as I see the moral :


written time

after time

after time.

Infertility/Adoption: you take the cake on this one. No other trials in my life have been able to really cement this principle in my mind! Thanks...I think...

So, while we are waiting, I will try to remember a few things. Namely:


Hi Tears. No one wants to be the girl who just starts crying in the middle of the churck parking lot. However, I guess good friends stick together. And, we are such good friends. I like you at birthday parties, holidays, etc..(not so much when I am laying down and can no longer breathe.) You like me-- (I could go on here but, we will just stick with-- I am very likeable.)

But Tears, I hope some time in the near future; very near future, we can part with the sadness part of your job (not forever, of course)

and embark (together) upon a new, improved job; HAPPINESS.

think about it, okay? I mean, imagine your next outing with me, David, (and Lincoln) when we experience again that:


ready to be wrapped in a new,warm, plush blanket.

and needing lots of kisses and squeezes.

But, before I get ahead of myself,

i should probably just keep in mind that:

Misfortunes springing from ourselves are the hardest to bear (oh yes, the infertility)


The best intentions will not always ensure success (Dear Birthparents...)


Contentment with our lot is an element of happiness.

And my lot , is more than I could have ever hoped for.

I am blessed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Adoption throughout my life

When I was 5, I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. In 1985, that meant a shorter life span, high risk pregnancies--if you could sustain a pregnancy, which meant I would either need to adopt or I would have fewer children than I wanted. (Thankfully, research has changed....and my life span is no longer shortened!)

ADOPTION Experience #1 I made the choice...

I decided when I was very young that whatever the case was, I would adopt babies! This was a choice I got to make. (Thankfully my sweetheart has been supportive of this decision since the days of our courtship.)

Not all the adoptions in my life were choices I sought out.

Some of them found me.

Adoption started early in my life. I had three brothers, and that put us as four kids in five years. (Yes, all my dad had to do was look at my mom and she got pregnant.) Nonetheless, most of the people I hung out with were boys. I always had one good girlfriend, but for the most part, I knew boys. I remember Jeff Carson saying to me, "Brandi, we can tell you anything about the girls we like because you are one of the guys." It was official.

ADOPTION Experience # 2 found me....

I was adopted into the boys group. I was one of the guys. I liked the feeling of belonging.(except when I was 16, and all those boys called me SIS.) It was always funny to me that other girls were jealous that I really was friends with those boys.

My adoption journey did not end here; even when all those boys went on missions, got married, and moved away.

ADOPTION Experience # 3: We found each other!

As a missionary, I had the opportunity to train a beautiful and wonderful missionary from Serbia. She was the 5th missionary from her country in 20 years, and only the 2nd or 3rd to serve in the United States. She was my companion longer than she was anyone's companion. It was sad to leave her, and we shed many tears. Shortly after we parted, she requested to have her patriarchal blessing. Her native tongue was Serbian, and yet she opted to receive her blessing in English. I was invited to attend the blessing.
In it she was "adopted into the House of Israel." I remember when he said to her the words: adopted in . I felt the Spirit testify to me that all things are in the Lord's hand; even the life of a young Serbian missionary.

Recently, I read something that said this:
In the grand scheme, it doesn't matter whether you belong to the
lineage of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, or whether you are
adopted into the House of Israel.
The blessings are the same.

This brings me to adoption now...

ADOPTION experience-in-the-making #4

As history shows, either she will find us, we will find her, or we will have to find each other.

one of my favorite definitions of finding is:

come upon after searching...

So. that's where we are.

Waiting to be found.
Hoping we find each other.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Congrats Jeremi and Rebecca!

I'm related to the smartest people in the world

This article is awesome!

You guys are doing some amazing things! We are so proud of you!

We love you!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Dear Birthfather....

Dear Birthfather,

When I was growing up, I didn't face decisions that were as hard as what you are facing. The hardest decisions I had to make were things like: Where would I go to school? Would I serve a mission? Who would I marry? MY parents and friends had a lot of helpful advice, but ultimately the choices were up to me. no one else.
These choices were no where close to the difficult choice you are being asked to make. We don't envy having to make this decision. We don't know what thoughts are going through your mind. But, we want you to know that we love you.

We are pleading with you.

Begging you --
to think about the impact of your choice. We think about you. We are praying for you. People all over the world have you in their thoughts and prayers.

The decision is ultimately up to you. no one else.

You. can. do. it.

Please relinquish your rights. Please.



Hoping you don't read the newspaper.

The Johnsons

Dear Birthmother,

AS you can see,we wrote to Birthfather. We hope that someday he will be as brave as you will be. Are you still feeling brave? I know our thank-yous won't take away the tears, but look to the Lord. He will silence your fears. He will heal your heart. He lives so that we might also live. Look and live.