Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy "Holy" Days!

I am absolutely overcome with emotion at the Holiness surrounding me this holiday season. I am exhausted with laughter and tears and just being plain good old fashioned tired! This Christmas I didn't care about getting anything. I could have rec'd nothing at all and my joy could not be anymore full than it already is. Never before in my life have I felt so much love for family and friends. I literally could not contain it all. I felt as if I would burst if I didn't show it and share it. It seems as though the more I gave the more I wanted to give. That feeling is with me still.

Today after cleaning my apt from all the holiday cooking, baking, sewing, wrapping and other projects I sat down for a moment and thought about yesterday, Christmas day and the day before which was Christmas eve. I became so overwhelmed with emotion that I just broke down. Not so surprising, the last 2 days has already been so full of joyful tears, I figured I was all cried out. Not so much! I was so happy and so grateful for so many people in my life and what they mean to me.

I looked up and silently asked my father in heaven:

"How is it possible to feel so blessed and have soo much love for these people, I don't fully understand it!" It was almost frightening. Where was all this love for these people coming from?
A line from my patriarchal blessing popped into my mind: ....
" may receive the blessings that are there for the just... Blessings that will be so great that you cannot even contemplate at this time.."

I can't imagine there being more joy than this I have been feeling the last couple of weeks. And there is something very contagious about feeling pure joy, when it truly immerses you, you want everyone around you to share in it, and the spirit will put into your path those gifts to share. And when you're trying to
.. live as you should the Lord will make things happy for you and those around you. The results are amazing. I've seen and heard of some incredibly amazing things happen this month:

3 weeks ago My daughter said she had a surprise for me. She gave me a red sweater and a gray & black beanie and said... wear this and a pair of jeans and boots be ready by 10 am Sunday morning, we're being picked up. I had no idea what was she was up to but I Obeyed. Sunday morning I put on my uniform that my daughter bought for me and even through on some make up. ( I don't care for makeup) And was ready by 10:am. She had arranged for a woman in the ward to pick us up and take us into the canyons and did family Christmas portraits of us. It was fun. We did some posed shots and she did some candid shots and even go us snowball fighting.

(The photos' are wonderful and I love them :)

Just the 2 of us!

Laughin at my crazy mama!

U lookin at me?

Take That!

After the photo shoot in the woods we sat speaking with my photographer about how much she wanted to do something for me and this was what they came up with. She felt that I do so much for so many others. I was so touched. I mentioned to her that I would like to do the same thing for a family very special to me. I wanted to have some professional photo's taken of the children of a friend of mine. I wanted him to have some really nice photo's of his kids. I didn't have lots of cash and I WASN'T going to do the in studio portraits at a sears or JC penny or kiddie candid. Well without any further details she immediately said she would love to. No questions asked and no charge.

2 weeks later She drove 45 minute in a snow storm with below freezing temperature on a very windy day to do this for me. It took less than 20 minutes for the whole photo shoot but there was such a spirit of fun and joy & togetherness within that 2o minutes. Her joy was doing this for me. My joy was doing this for them. It was a snowball effect and people, events and things were coming together for everything good I wanted to do this holiday season and it was all being done with an overwhelming feeling of love for anyone who jumped on board.

I woke up Christmas eve realizing I had 4 quilts to put together. I had put so much else on my plate that I found myself slacking on some important project that needed to be done in less than 24 hours. I don't sew that great. But I can design and draw very well. When it came to sewing the quilts together I ran into problem after problem with the machine. My sister and daughter we great at answering my every frustrated call when the machine would stop working for whatever reason. As I sewed quilts, they tied them. I had roped them into another of my ideas and dragged them into the pressure of time constraints. The could have been upset with me. They probably should have. I was frustrated with myself. But they turned it into so much fun and laughter. And we had so much fun. talking about the quilts and the personalities that would soon be using them! I even ran out to deliver some pkg late Christmas eve and they chose to stay behind to finish tying the 3 quilts I had made that morning. That left me with one last one to finish on Christmas day.

After I had returned home late Christmas eve, my daughter had the idea to turn the photos my photographer had done of my friend's family into a movie presentation. She had already set up some pictures into a movie format and asked me what I thought. I liked what she was doing. She thought we should put it to music. My sister, knowing more about music than just about anyone I know she asked me what kind of music I wanted. I wanted something with a "gospel music" sound. I thought of the kids in the photos and their family. They had been through a lot this year. Some sad and dark days for sure. I wanted something that would strengthen their resolve and let the world know they had not been nor would be defeated. Something that they could look to be their family "National Anthem" for this next year. She found what we thought was the perfect song. We worked on the presentation all night and into the morning. My daughter using what she knew of the kids as her inspiration worked meticulously on this. When she finished she made the copies, one for each parent of the children. I was wired all night. I watched the presentation over and over and cried each time, such was the love I have for this family. I think I fell asleep about 6:30 Christmas morning and about 10:am I woke everyone up so we could finish our quilting. We all watched the DVD movie presentation one more time and my sister said... "something is missing, it's not complete."

After she said it there was an anxious little spirit in the room. We all felt it, I started to tear up and get overcome with emotion and nodded in agreement.
"you know what we have to do don't you?"
I asked.

My sister and daughter nodded as well. We'd be taking a trip out a cemetery to take pictures of the other family member which had that passed away some years earlier. There was such an excitement to do this that I had a hard time focusing on the other tasks for today.

About 4 pm camera's in tow we went to the cemetery and uncovered the little resting place of the missing angel who belonged in the video/movie we had spent the night before producing. We then scurried off to another friend's house for dinner.

There, we would insert the other pictures and finish the DVD presentation to be gifted later that night. When we showed our other friends the movie we were doing and explained why, they began to give input and ideas on how to do the final editing and rearrangements. We all sat and watched the presentation a couple more times. I teared up each time I saw it all through the editing stages. It was such an uplifting thing for us me to watch. That feeling was extended once again to those around me. This feeling of giving and sharing and caring and doing was growing and extending to everyone in our paths. I'm just loving it. As I gave the special gifts we created for each person, my family and friends were standing by via cell phone/ text waiting and wanting pictures and every detailed reaction as I personally gave them gifts. As each reaction was relayed my friends and family cheered and jumped up and down and produced tears of delight. The joy was all in the giving.

This year has been Magical.

We wanted no one to be excluded right down to the pizza delivery boy.

My sisters ordered a few days before Christmas. It was a cold snowy night the roads were horrible and dangerous. About $40 worth of food was ordered. One of my sister's looked at the other and said.... "the bill came to about 48$. Should we give him $60 and tell him to keep the change.... or should we tell him THIS....( she pulled out $100 bill) and tell him to keep the change?" They both grinned at one another. When the doorbell finally rang they were like silly little girls racing to get to the door. They took the food... handed him a crisp $100 bill and said... "Keep the change!" The look on his face... PRICELESS! He looked at them both and couldn't believe... "are you sure?" he kept stammering. Oh they were sure. The tip was bigger than the bill. The delivery guy couldn't have been more than 16 years old. He probably drew the short straw to have to make a delivery on such a night! For him, it was work. For my sisters it was all about bringing Joy to someone.... anyone.... a pizza delivery boy!

I guess my turn was next!
Christmas day I was told we needed to go to my other sister's house to open presents. Sure, why not? They called and wanted to know when we'd be coming. The time was unsure but we'd make it over there soon enough. Well soon enough ended up being about 5pm Christmas night. When we got there, they were JUST sitting down for dinner. "Oh, she's here, I can't wait NO MORE said my other sister." They instructed me to go sit on the couch. "but we can do this after dinner..." I was saying as she ran upstairs. "go get the video camera!" She yelled from downstairs. I was thinking what in the WORLD is going on. My other sister had been hinting all day that my present was too big to hide in her small apt. I figured they got me new flat screen TV or some other electronic thing I didn't need. I've never been so happy to be so wrong.

So I sat there on the couch eyes closed, blanket over my head to make sure I wasn't peeking. I could hear everyone scurrying around in into position. And then finally I hear... "OK... Open your eyes!"

I pulled the blanket off my head and was looking at the back side of a large portrait. The words on the back said:

"To Karyn and Alieshia A gift out of your dream" And is was signed by Greg Olson.

They turned the portrait around, it was a beautifully framed and I couldn't believe what I was looking at:

"Hand In Hand" by Greg Olsen.

I started shaking and crying. A week ago I saw this portrait for the first time and it brought tears to my eyes. I have a daughter who will be 18 next month. I had planned on giving her up for adoption. The week she was born, basically all hell broke loose and nothing went as planned. In my frustration I had a new born that I had no plans of raising. In my frustration I called my mother who simply said to me... "when you fasted and prayed about what to do with this baby, what was your answer?" I told her I really hadn't fasted or prayed, I just planned on giving the baby up. She suggested I hit the knees and petitioned my father in heaven to find out how to handle the situation. I spent the next day in fasting and prayer and by the end of the day I had the answer of what I was supposed to do. That night I dreamed of a little girl, dressed in pink with an afro puff in her hair walking hand in hand with the savior, and he was basically telling her to be patient with this crazy lady who she would call mama and would be raising her.
The next day I phoned Social Services and told them to extend my apologies for the family that was waiting to receive my daughter because I was going to be a mommy!
It was actually a relief to my social worker. I find out later that everyone felt I should be keeping the child. Everyone knew but me.
Now you can understand my reaction to the portrait? Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever own and large canvased sized portrait of any photo, not to mention this very special one!
My sisters all crying, my daughter next to me crying... couldn't WAIT to tell the whole story!

That's right, there's more.
3 days after I showed them the portrait online, they are out shopping. They decide to go to a Costco store. They started going to one Costco and for some reason ended up at a totally different Costco. They walked into the store and turned a corner and one of them saw a sign that said.. "Greg Olsen." And there was a line.
The sister's looked at each other in disbelief. And the plan had already been formed in both of their minds. They were suddenly on the same wave length. One sister went in search of the portrait.
The other sister actually cut to the front of the line, excused her self to the next person and approached Brother Olsen:
"I just have to know what was your inspiration for this portrait?"
He said it was always something he wanted to do but wasn't quite sure how to bring it to pass. Then My sister said...
" I have a story for you..."
and proceeded to tell him how 18 years earlier I had this struggle with giving a child up for adoption and the minute I decided to keep the baby, the dream i had of a little girl walking hand and hand with savior and him explaining to her about this crazy mother she was being sent to.
He said my story brought him chills and he wanted to meet me. My sister's bought 2 photo's that day said she needed 2 more. They got the 2 autographed and Brother Olsen's son called another store and they were holding them for my sister and she had only a couple hours to get them. Brother Olsen then proceeded to give them his home phone number and email so I could contact him! My sister mentioned that I'm the program director for the LDS Genesis Group and we'd love to have him speak. I'm to contact him and set up a time we could come over and have him autograph the other 2 portraits and discuss him doing a fireside for me.

I went back today and read the poem that goes along with this portrait. It reminds me maybe of how my daughter might of felt, waiting for me to make the right decision on her life:

Like a child in the woods I lost my way,
Alone and afraid I stopped to pray.
"Father in Heaven" I cried in my need,
"Please guide me home, I'll go where you lead."
Like a light in the forest he sent down his son,
My heart became warm, and new hope had begun.
"Take my hand and I'll lead you", I heard him say, "
Stay by my side for I know the way".
Now a child in the woods all filled with delight,
The journey is joyous as I walk in his light.
No longer alone in a shadow filled land,
He leads me home as we walk hand in hand.
- Greg Olsen

I truly have a firm testimony that when we are doing all we can to live righteously and are headed in a direction other than what God The Father has planned for us, we will not allow us to make major mistakes. I believe he will put people and events into place to help us recognize a that we may need to reconsider our current course. It's so important to live in a way that we can recognize and hear those tender promptings of the spirit. Prayer works. I have a new respect for the saying... " move heaven and earth..." because I have seen this happen so many times in the passed couple weeks.

Back to this "Holy" Day Season. I never gave much attention to the words.. "over joyed."

I am so in love with the people in my world. I never knew I could feel this abundance of love for those around me. It feels as if it is never ending and ever replenished. I don't want this feeling to ever end. I want to make this feeling contagious to everyone I care about because having this feeling every day makes life so much more meaningful. I can't find the proper words to express what this is.

My message to everyone is simple: BE LOVE and you will be loved.


Kipluck said...

Oh my gosh. That is just... Awesome. AWESOME!!!!

Danielle said...

You always know how to make me cry. I love the pictures of you and Ali. And I can't believe the story about the painting!! I am so happy for you that you got that amazing gift. I know how much it means to you.

nava_jo said...

I love the Pics of your and Ali. You two are just beautiful, and I can't belive it's almost Ali's turn to fly the coop!
Where did time go?

ShaBANG said...

we miss you, Jo. It's like our 3rd roomate left one day and never came back!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the part towards the end when you wrote about the portrait and how it related to an earlier time in your life. As my son often says, "It's all good." By the way, the photos of you and your daughter are awesome.

ShaBANG said...

Thank you Marlajayne! There were so many other aspect to the poem and the painting that I was able to discuss with Brother Olsen when we went to his home a couple of weeks ago. I was in awe of his being in awe of my story. Crazy, huh?

Diane said...

I know you posted this a while ago but I just read it today. What a truly amazing story and you must be an amazing person. I would love to meet you someday. Thank you. I don't know how to tell you how touched I am.

Sandra said...

Oh, I love this story. My baby is adopted, bi-racial and the only non white child in our home, but her story of coming to us starts 15 year before she was born. I searched for her for so long I was beginning to think I would never find her. This portrait also represents the dream I had telling me about her those 15 years before she was born. Thank you for sharing it with us.

ShaBANG said...

Diane and Sandra I don't get to this post very often. I apologize for the long delays in my responding. I am happy and honored you feel blessed by my story. Thank You for taking the time to stop by and let me know you were touched, it really does mean so much!

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments
Hand in Hand


I earned some temporary wings!