As is tradition at this time of year I've been thinking about things that I'm thankful for. Not to downplay how thankful I am for Nate and my beautiful baby boys or anything, but right now I am SO thankful for the church. I am so thankful for that peaceful feeling that only comes while reading the scriptures. I'm unbelievably thankful for an unwavering testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I've always loved to read, but lately my only interest has been in reading church related materials. This has been a massive blessing for me. It's easy to get weighed down with all the negativity that this world has to offer and when I'm feeling my worst all I have to do is pick up the scriptures, or any of these other amazing books and all my worries go away. Usually it's only a temporary relief, but it's so worth it. It's worth it because it's a reminder that I'm not alone. Even with all the things going on in California right now I've never been more aware of the Lord's presence in my life. I consider it a huge blessing that I get to be with Nate and the boys every day and know that the possibilities are endless for us. I can't imagine living life without the blessings of the temple. Well, actually I can imagine it. It hasn't even been a year since Nate and I went to the temple with Jackson and Payton and were sealed together as a family.
Having faith and having a true testimony of Christ's teachings truly does change you. Anyone who knew me 5 years ago or even 10 years ago would tell you that I'm a completely different person now. Back then I didn't deny what I knew to be true, I just tried to pretend that it didn't matter to me. Luckily the Lord never gave up on me. All of my bad decisions led up to one monumentally amazing blessing.........Jackson. Although the change didn't come quickly, I grew to understand the gospel more through Jackson because I could finally understand what it felt like to really love someone else more than I loved myself. I grew to understand, and am still trying to understand the huge responsibility it is to be a mother.
The decisions that I made after having Jackson led me to Nate, and now I have little Payton too. Things haven't been simple for our little family. We have had many struggles in the almost three years since we've been married. But the Lord's hand has been in our lives.
I never thought that Nate would be able to adopt Jackson, I hoped for it, but I was doubtful that his "birth donor" would ever agree to it. I just prayed and prayed for it, and one day I just knew that the time was right. I made the phone call and he just agreed. I called around to find a lawyer and found out that this would cost us at least $1000. A few days later I happened to be at the gym riding a bike. A girl who was acquainted with my parents (and I had only briefly met her once) came up and started talking to me. We just made small talk for a while and then her job came up. She said that she worked for a lawyer. He practiced some type of corporate law. I jokingly said, "Hey, ask him if he wants to do a free adoption!" I didn't think anything of it until my mom called me three weeks later and said, "Colleen talked to her boss and he said he'd do the adoption."
It took about 7 months for the whole process to be done. Jackson was officially adopted by Nate on March 29th, 2007. Two weeks before Payton was born. Then on December 28th, 2007 we went to the temple while Nate was home for Christmas Exodus.
When I look at those experiences I know that those blessings came from the Lord. I know that he has looked over us and protected us and I hope that I will always be worthy of those blessings.