Monday, April 11, 2016

INSPIRING WOMEN {Melissa Powell}

This months inspiring woman is Melissa Powell. I met Melissa at church when she was pregnant with Kiera. She was so excited to be a mother and couldn't wait to hold her baby in her arms. When Chance and I moved out of that ward we lost contact with many of the couples there. I was friends with Melissa on Facebook and loved seeing pictures of Kiera when she was just a newborn. 

I watched Kiera grow and hit mile stones on Facebook. Then one day I read a post that they had just found out that their sweet baby had a brain tumor. My heart broke for their family. It hit me rather hard because at the time I read the news I was feeling down about my situation. I was so upset that I hadn't been able to get pregnant. After reading their news I immediately started crying and became so mad at myself for not being grateful for what I have. As I followed Kiera's story I was continually blown away by Melissa's positive attitude. She was always so full of hope and strength. She bore her testimony on Facebook often and she always touched me so deeply with her words. 

I reached out to Melissa a few months ago and asked if she would be willing to share her story. I was so happy when she agreed and we were able to get together for pictures. It was so fun seeing Kiera in person, she is one happy child! I'm grateful for the opportunity to know such an amazing family! I will continue to pray for Kiera and the miracle that she is!

Here is Melissa's story....

When we first found out that our sweet fourteen-month-old daughter had a large brain tumor, I could feel my heart shatter inside of my chest. My world came crashing down around me. I was shocked. I was terrified. I couldn’t believe it. The tears came pouring out of my eyes and I couldn’t stop them. I felt physically ill. I was so scared and angry; I begged Heavenly Father not to take my daughter. It didn’t seem fair. We were in the emergency room at the hospital and Kiera was sitting on my lap. I held on to her so tightly, never wanting to let her go. 

Ten days before this time, Kiera started throwing up her milk. We thought that she had the flu, but it wasn’t going away. Then we thought maybe she had a milk allergy. We talked to her pediatrician who said that it was probably just the flu, but that if she started throwing up dark yellow bile we would need to take her to the emergency room right away. 

On the tenth day of her sickness (March 23, 2015), I woke up in the morning to the sound of Kiera gagging in her room. I went to get her and I found her lying in a puddle of dark yellow bile. I picked her up and she continued to throw up over and over again. I started to panic. I called my husband Aaron and he came and picked us up and took us straight to the emergency room. I called Kiera’s pediatrician to let her know what was going on, so she called ahead to the hospital to order a catscan. She had a feeling that there might be some pressure on Kiera’s brain. I didn’t think much of it, I just thought that we would get the catscan as a precaution, but I was sure that they wouldn’t find anything unusual in her brain, or anywhere else for that matter. The doctor came into the room with the results of the catscan. She told us that they usually don’t find anything abnormal on these scans, but in this case, they found a tumor. It was on the back of Kiera’s brain and was about the size of a golf ball. We were completely blind-sided. 

The next few days were a whirlwind. I cried myself dry, and after a while I just felt numb. I had no idea what was going to happen. I never would have imagined that something like this could ever happen to our family. Aaron was also very emotional during this time. It was difficult to see him crying so hard because he had never done that in front of me before. I was so grateful that he was there with us; I don’t think I could have faced this without him. Numerous doctors, nurses, and specialists bombarded us with information about what was going to be happening in the coming weeks. I only heard bits and pieces of what they said. I was still in shock and in denial. 

Kiera cried every time a nurse walked into the hospital room. She knew that they were going to poke her, or hold her down, or bother her in some way. We got very little sleep over the next few days. I was praying to Heavenly Father throughout this whole time, asking Him to bless Kiera, to give her strength, to help her to be safe, and to protect her throughout this hard battle she was facing. I prayed for the doctors that they would know how to best help her. I asked Him to give me strength, and to help me to accept His will. During this time I felt a strong sense of peace come over me. I got a very strong impression that Kiera was going to be alright. I knew it was true. I didn’t know what obstacles we would have to get past in order for her to get better, but I knew that she would be alright. 

The doctors told us that Kiera would have to undergo brain surgery to remove the tumor. The morning of Kiera’s brain surgery came and I was so nervous, but I still felt in my heart that she would be alright. I asked Heavenly Father to send angels to be with her and to comfort her, and I know they were there. Five hours later Kiera came out of her surgery. I was so happy and relieved that everything went well! The doctor was able to completely remove the tumor! Kiera was swollen and there were many tubes coming out of her, but she was alright. There was a massive incision on the back of her head where they performed the surgery. We later found out that the tumor was a desmoplastic nodular medulloblastoma, and it was cancerous. That meant that she would be starting chemotherapy in a few short weeks. It was so hard wrapping my mind around the fact that my baby had cancer. It just didn’t seem possible. The word cancer was so foreign to me. I didn’t let myself think about it too much at that moment though, because I needed to focus on helping Kiera get better and heal from her surgery. 

After Kiera’s brain surgery was over I began feeling a little bit better about things, although it was SO hard to see my baby in so much pain. Kiera had just been through a surgery that no child should ever have to go through, and that no parent should have to watch their child go through. She didn’t like to be moved or lifted because it caused her a lot of pain. It was a hard process every time that we wanted to hold her. We had to hold her completely still because movement caused her to get headaches. I would sit in a small chair and hold her very still for as long as I possibly could (until my limbs were completely asleep from lack of movement). It was worth it though. I love holding my beautiful baby in my arms. 

I was starting to think that the worst part was over. Kiera was recovering, and five days after her surgery she started smiling again! It brought me so much joy to see her face light up and to hear her giggle again. A few short hours after this happy moment, my world was shattered for a second time. 

A cardiologist (heart doctor) came into the room and said that one of the nurses had noticed that Kiera had some irregular heartbeats, so they were going to do an ultrasound on her heart just to make sure that everything was okay. Several of the nurses had told us that many people have an irregular heartbeat, and it probably wasn’t anything to worry about. So, I didn’t think much of it. Then the doctor went quiet. A minute later he told us that there was a mass on Kiera’s heart, and it was very worrisome. I couldn’t believe it. It was like déjà vu. Aaron and I looked at each other and then we both burst into tears. I kept thinking, “How can this be 
happening? She just underwent major brain surgery, now she will have to have heart surgery? Why was she being asked to go through so much? This DEFINITELY isn’t fair!” In a matter of minutes we were transferred to another hospital. I rode in the ambulance with Kiera and I cried the whole way. I couldn’t understand why someone so small, innocent, and perfect would be asked to go through such terrible things. The thought kept creeping into my mind, “Can she survive another surgery?” I felt like I was in Hell. 

The doctors at the hospital met with us and discussed what they were going to do. Kiera would undergo open-heart-bypass-surgery in order to remove as much of the heart tumor as possible. The doctor was optimistic, and I was so grateful for that. Kiera would first have to have surgery for her VP shunt to be put into her body. She needed it in order to drain the excess fluid from her brain that her body was producing as a result of her brain surgery. After that, she would have heart surgery. 

The shunt surgery went very well with no complications. It looks like a big bump on the side of her head. You can feel the tube travel down the side of her head, and neck, and then it goes down the side of her stomach and ends at her belly button. The doctor said that it will grow with her, and she will probably have it for the rest of her life. 

The day of the heart surgery came, and I watched as two nurses took my baby down the hall and into the operating room. By this time Kiera had already had two surgeries and numerous MRI’s and catscans, but every time I had to watch them take my baby away it ripped my insides apart. I knew that I had no choice but to let them take her. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I was so scared because I knew that the doctors would have to stop Kiera’s heart in order to perform the surgery. I paced the floor, waiting for the hours to pass. I knew that the doctors could only do so much; she was in Heavenly Father’s hands, and I knew that He would take care of her. 
After several agonizingly long hours the surgery was over, and we got to be with Kiera again. Once again, the surgery went very well! I was SO happy and relieved! Kiera was extubated and breathing completely on her own! The surgeon was only able to remove 60 percent of the tumor because if he had removed any more than that, it would have compromised the integrity of her heart. Kiera will have to have regular checkups every year for the rest of her life to make sure that the tumor doesn’t grow. He was optimistic that it wouldn’t grow anymore, and he also said that it might shrink over time. (Over time we learned that the remaining tumor did in fact shrink! There is now only a tiny bit of the tumor left on her heart! That is a miracle!) We also found out that the heart tumor was benign (non cancerous)! I was so relived! Kiera’s heart was working great, and the remaining tumor wasn’t causing any problems. I knew that we would have to keep an eye on it throughout her life, but I still felt like she would be alright. I was so grateful for all of the doctors that had been helping her. They truly are amazing people who use their talents and knowledge to help save lives. They have helped save my baby’s life multiple times, and I will never be able to adequately thank them for that. We offered up so many prayers of thanks and gratitude to our Heavenly Father for helping Kiera to pull through all that she had been asked to go through. We knew that there was still a long road ahead, but Kiera had more than proven her strength and bravery. She is a fighter, and I know that she has so much left to do here on this earth. 

About a week later Kiera had surgery for her broviac catheter to be put into her body. It was inserted on the left side of her chest, above her heart. It would be used as a port for chemotherapy, medications, and IV fluids during her treatments. Again everything went well, and the next day we were released from the hospital! It was such a wonderful feeling to be at home with my family for a few days! Spending four weeks straight at the hospital was way too much. It was crazy to think about all that had happened in the past four weeks. Our lives are forever changed. 

Throughout the previous four weeks while we were in the hospital I had a lot of time alone with my thoughts (which probably wasn’t a good thing). I felt depressed, angry, and scared, but somehow we were getting through it. Many times I felt guilty because I didn’t feel very close to my Heavenly Father. I still continued to pray to Him, and I knew that He was still there and that He loved me and my family, but I was having the hardest time accepting what was going on. I knew that there was a reason for all of these things that were happening to Kiera, but it was so hard because I couldn’t see the bigger picture. I remember one night I was standing in the hospital bathroom getting ready for bed, and I couldn’t hold my emotions in any longer. I started crying uncontrollably. It was the hardest thing in the world having to watch my baby suffer, knowing that there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I wished with all of my heart that I could take her pain away and experience it for her. I would have done it in a heartbeat. I love my baby so much and it hurt me so badly to have to watch her go through such unimaginable things. I felt so alone. I felt like there was no way that anyone could possibly understand what I was going through. 

All of the sudden I felt the impression that I was wrong. Heavenly Father knew exactly what I was going through. He sent His Son to die for us so that we can all return to Him again someday. He knew how much it hurt. He knew what it was like to watch His child suffer, knowing that He had to let Him go through it. And because of this, our Savior was able to take upon Himself all of the pains of the world. My Savior died for me so that I could receive comfort in my darkest hour. I felt very humbled in that moment. There was a reason why we were going through such a terrible trial, and I knew that I might not understand what that reason was until after this life, but that if we would endure it well, we would be blessed. I knew that I had a choice to make. I could either be angry, bitter, and let myself be overcome with despair, or I could let my Savior help me carry this load, and allow His atonement to take full effect in my life. I knew that I had to trust in my Savior. I knew that I wasn’t alone, and that He was constantly encircling me in the arms of His love. I knew that through Him, we would make it through this trial, even though it would continue to be a very hard road. I knew that He would continue to watch over and help our sweet Kiera. This knowledge helped prepare me for the long, hard months ahead. 
After spending four wonderful days at home, we were re-admitted to the hospital so that Kiera could start her chemotherapy treatments for the brain cancer. We were in and out of the hospital for the next ten months. Kiera’s treatment protocol consisted of six cycles of chemotherapy and each cycle was about 28 days long. She had to go through several types of chemotherapy in different amounts over specific periods of time. We were able to do two of her chemotherapy cycles at home because they weren’t as intense, so during those times we gave her the treatments through oral medications and shots. The other four cycles we spent all of our time in the hospital, and the chemotherapy was given intravenously through her broviac. 

Nothing can prepare you for a cancer diagnosis. Out of the blue we were just up-rooted from our normal lives and thrown into a scary world where we had to watch our baby fight for her life every single day. Our days and nights spent at the hospital were long and hard. They were filled with chemotherapy, IV fluids, antibiotics, to many medications to count, blood/platelet transfusions, scans, physical therapy, fevers, throw up, and doctor visits. We had to try to eat our meals, stay entertained, and sleep comfortably in a very confined space. It was difficult for us. Kiera’s favorite part of the day was when Aaron was able to come and be with us at the hospital after his long hours at work. He would always take her on a wagon ride down the halls of the hospital, and she absolutely LOVED it! It was so much fun seeing her find joy in such a simple thing. Getting out of the hospital room for a small moment each day was wonderful. 

The chemotherapy was really hard on Kiera. Although it did kill the cancerous cells in her body, it also killed the healthy cells. It was difficult seeing the physical effects that the chemotherapy left on her little body. Her hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows fell out. A lot of the time her eyes looked tired, and during the most intense parts of her treatments the rosiness faded from her complexion and she was very pale and sick. She threw up a lot, and that made her not want to eat at all, so she lost weight. There were so many times where I was worried sick about her. I often thought to myself, “What have I done? How could I have ever consented to this?” But I knew that this poison was ultimately going to save her life. 

We had amazing nurses and doctors taking care of Kiera the whole time we were in and out of the hospital, and we also had so much support from our family and friends. Their prayers, love, and generosity helped strengthen and sustain us. They will probably never fully understand how grateful we are to them. 

Each cycle of chemotherapy introduced new challenges. After Kiera’s third cycle of chemotherapy she endured a second heart surgery because there was some fluid buildup around her heart, and after her fourth cycle of chemotherapy she got an infection and had fevers for five days straight, reaching as high as 105 degrees. During those times I was absolutely terrified because I didn’t know what was going to happen to her. I felt completely helpless. I didn’t want to lose my baby. But no matter what she was faced with, she always pulled through, and she remained incredibly strong. Even though the chemotherapy made her tired and drained her energy, she still smiled and played throughout the entire process. Her bravery and resilience is so inspiring to me. She is my hero. 
After the sixth cycle of chemotherapy Kiera had a stem cell transplant to help recover her bone marrow that had been completely depleted as a side effect of the chemotherapy. This was a planned transplant; they used her own cells that they had harvested after her first cycle of chemotherapy. Everything went well, and slowly Kiera started to get better. We were excited to finally be finishing up her treatment! 

A few weeks after Kiera finished her last planned cycle of chemotherapy, an MRI revealed to us that there was something abnormal on the bottom of her spine. We were devastated and so worried for Kiera. That fact that something was growing all the while she was going through high dose chemotherapy was terrifying. At this point we were completely exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It seemed like her treatments were never going to end. Many nights after Kiera fell asleep, I would sneak away for a moment so that I could cry without anyone seeing me. I tried not to cry in front of her, because I didn’t want her to be scared or think that anything was wrong. I thought if I could appear strong that she would be able to draw from that, and continue to keep fighting despite the devastation that we faced. 

Because of the questionable spots on Kiera’s spine, she had to go through a seventh round of chemotherapy with another stem cell transplant. This seventh cycle of chemotherapy was the hardest on her. She was SO sick; she threw up almost every two hours for an entire week. Her nose was almost always bleeding. You could tell that she felt absolutely miserable. It broke my heart. The acid from her frequent vomiting caused her entire esophagus to be burned, so she cried out in pain whenever she tried to swallow food or liquid. She was sick for weeks, and she didn’t want to do anything except be held and lay down in her crib. We spent Christmastime in the hospital, which was very lonely and so hard. I longed for my baby to be healthy and at home, enjoying the holidays like children should do. 

After her seventh cycle of chemotherapy Kiera had another MRI. I was very anxious… but we soon learned that the images from the scans came back completely clear! It was a MIRACLE! The doctors still strongly urged us to do an eighth cycle of high dose chemotherapy with another stem cell transplant because it could lessen the chances of the cancer coming back in 
the future, but Aaron and I just didn’t feel good about it. We prayed, pondered, discussed, and read our scriptures. Aaron, Kiera, and I were all given priesthood blessings to help us feel comfort and guidance while we were trying to make our final decision of whether or not to go forward with more chemotherapy. During the blessings we were told that we would make the right decision, and that Aaron and I would both be in agreement about it. We were also told that we would need to take a “leap of faith” regarding our decision. The risks and harsh side effects of another cycle didn’t seem worth it to us. We wanted Kiera to have the best quality of life possible, and doing more chemo when it probably wasn’t necessary didn’t seem like the right thing to do. Kiera’s scans were clear, and we knew that the cancer was gone. Deciding NOT to continue chemotherapy treatments despite the doctor’s firm suggestion that we should do more, was one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. 

We know that there is always a chance that the cancer could come back, regardless of whether we were to do more chemotherapy or not. We will continue to hope and pray that it will NEVER come back. We put our complete trust and faith in our Heavenly Father. We know that He will continue to watch over Kiera and our family like He has done throughout our entire journey. We have felt peace about our decision. 

On February 24, 2016 Kiera had a four week follow up MRI, and again all the images were clear! We made the right decision! Kiera has finished her treatments and the cancer is completely gone! After 11 months, five surgeries, seven cycles of chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, and 153 days spent in the hospital, Kiera has won her battle with cancer! I am so proud of her for never giving up! Her doctors are amazed at how strong and full of life she is despite everything she has been through. We made it through a year of Hell. We could not have gotten through this without the help of our loving Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. They carried us throughout this entire trial. I will forever be grateful for them, and for the knowledge of their restored Gospel. We are so blessed. 
I can honestly say that I know more about cancer than I ever wanted to know. My eyes have been opened to the horrible reality of it, and the fact that thousands of innocent children are suffering from cancer right now. I have met so many “warrior” children and families that have been so kind and supportive to us, all the while fighting their own hard battles. I am so grateful for them and for their good examples. I hope and pray that there will one day soon be a cure for cancer, so that children and adults won’t have to suffer from it anymore. 

Today Kiera is happy and healthy and recovering wonderfully! She is an active, fun, and curious two-year-old. She brings so much love and joy into the lives of everyone that she meets. It’s been both exciting and hard trying to adjust back to “normal” life, but we are so grateful that we have made it to this point. 

Kiera was so incredibly brave throughout everything that she was asked to go through over the past year. She is an inspiration to me and she makes me want to be a better person. She has helped me learn that I should never complain, because she had every right to complain about the terrible things that she had to go through, but she never did. We will live each day to the fullest, and never take this life for granted. We are so grateful that no matter what, our family will be together forever. I am eternally grateful that I am Kiera’s mother. I love her so much. Kiera is proof that miracles happen on this earth today. She is proof that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. She is my miracle baby. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


This months inspiring woman is Corinne! She is like a breath of fresh air... What you see is what you get and she will love you for who you are! She is pretty much the best. Her story is full of struggles, triumph, love, and transparency. I'm so glad I have someone like her in my life. I haven't known her very long yet I love her! There are few people in your life that you just love from the very beginning, she's one! 

Here is her story...

My Fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.
-Jack Kerouac

How to begin with a story is always the most difficult part for me.
So, with this being said, lets start with the basics.

My name is Corinne Mosdell, I am 34 years old and reside in Cedar City, Utah.
I’m a wife to the kindest, most patient and endearing man, Cade. I am a Mother to one beautiful little 5 year old girl, named Lily, and also to a sweet tiny pup named Bear. I currently own an online shop for Women and children, named C. Lily Clothing. To add to the job and the wonderful work of being a Mother, I am also a licensed Bail Bond Agent in Iron County.

Now, you are probably thinking that is the absolute strangest mix of jobs I have ever heard of in my life. I tend to think that myself quite often too. This wasn’t exactly how I had planned my life to be when I was younger, but who’s life really turns out as they planned?

As a child I was, from the day I was born, a friendly and outgoing little girl. Whom talked her way through life fiercely. A salesman at a young age, I could hold a conversation with anyone in a room, no matter the age. I never took “No” for an answer and if I did, my feelings were rarely hurt. This talent was an incredible gift I was given, yet not everything in life was easy for me. With a sense of finding greater always, my mind was always insatiable. Inside I always felt I needed and wanted more, because of this desire and craving, I was rarely happy. When I graduated college I remember my Mother and Father telling me there were very few moments of sheer excitement that they had ever seen throughout my life, and that was one. With this gift and curse, My younger adolescent years were difficult, to say the least.

In 2000 I gave a baby up for adoption. I remember everyone telling me “What an un-selfish thing to do Corinne.” But deep down I never felt that was the reason for my doing it, it was actually for selfish reasons. I can see that as an adult now and I can accept it, yet without my family’s support I don’t know if that was something I would have done the right way. I really wanted to be a kid still, yet play adult roles. I wanted the successful job, yet healthy relationships without working toward them. The realistic side to this is, life doesn’t work that way. I chose the jobs, the money, the fun. But, they never lasted long. I had successful career paths at a young age in Telecommunications and Sales, yet my insatiable self never thought it was enough. I continued to make unhealthy choices until it led me down a road I never thought I would go down...Addiction. Now we have heard a million addiction stories, and they all end the same. Mine began differently and sadly ended differently then many others.

In 2004 I was in a car accident in the Virgin River Gorge. Ruptured Spleen, broken ribs, and lacerations in my eyes and face. Lucky to be alive, I was sent home from intensive care with multiple medications. After shortly returning to work, I stopped my medication and became severely ill. I was not sure the reasons for this and assumed I was just sick. Days went on and I was not feeling any better. Returning to my caring physicians office, I came to find out I was dependent on all the many medications I had been taking for the weeks prior. I was sent home with more pills and directions to continue taking them until I was fully recovered. It was then my addiction cycle had begun.

My family at this point had became seemingly concerned. My Father helped me get accepted to a clinic to receive help getting off the medications. But at that point it was far deeper then the pills. The lies had begun, I was undependable, constantly late, and taking more and more pain pills weekly. I started the clinic and began to come off the pills, but my mental state was still the same. This went on and on for 3 years with multiple relapses and continued drug use. The pain pills became not enough. I had moved on. I moved to Salt Lake with a better job offer and thought the change in location would help me. It didn’t. I found the same problem there and even worse it became.

Finally in 2008 I moved back to St. George with a hope to get better. I started the clinic again, yet still without counseling or real treatment. At this point I had lost or damaged all the relationships I had ever had. I was alone and broken and barely hanging on. In June of 2008 I fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked my car. I was arrested for the drugs in my vehicle and put in jail. I was offered Drug Court as a means to change my life story and make something of myself. This meant no felonies and a fresh start. I agreed very unwillingly, and began the program. Only a few weeks in I relapsed and returned to jail, with one more chance to actually work a program. I was sent to an inpatient facility in Cedar City, Utah. I fought the program, I was bitter, I was detached, and at that point didn’t care anymore. But someone did care. My family cared. The judge cared. My probation officer cared. That is all I really needed, were cheerleaders and love. Even if it was tough love. So, 3 months in, I gave in, I let go, and I started to work. After a long road, and being stubborn the majority of the time, I graduated in 2010.

Now I have left bits and pieces out as my whole story wouldn’t necessarily be that intriguing or interesting. But I wanted you each to understand the process as a whole. It was not easy. I fell down over and over and messed up over and over. But I got back up. I cried. I fought my way through it.

I returned back to college in 2009 to receive my Bachelor Degree. It took me longer then expected, and I had to fix many of the mistakes I had made previously. But I graduated. I graduated with a degree and a wonderful family I could call my own. That in itself was the greatest accomplishment after getting sober.

With a 4 year old at home and working part time doing Bail Bonds again, as I had in previous years, I began to feel that yearning again that I needed more. Something greater and bigger. Up until then I had a job, school, and a daughter to raise. But having idle time was never my friend. So after school ended I had felt empty. I needed something more and the depression returned. I had always loved fashion. It was something that my Mother had a background in and I longed to be involved in it my entire life. Dressing a little girl was so much fun, but I needed more.

Quickly, back to my brief talk about relationships, I never was so great at them. I struggled. I was selfish. Meaningful relationships were far and few and until my later 20's I had none. I was blessed enough to find some incredible humans while living in Cedar City, and they started to cheer me on. To help me find something to fill the void. A business of my own. Now I had always had that background in Sales, so in the few previous years I had dabbled in quite a few Direct Selling businesses. They never were of much interest, but the people I met along the way became my friends and loyal clients. Little did I know they would follow me along this new venture. I was building healthy relationships at this point, I just didn’t realize it. I didn’t know what that meant to even have those kind of relationships.

January 2015 I started the venture. An online Woman’s and Children’s Clothing Store. With the help of my Mother, Father, Daughter, and Husband, and my dear friends Kristina Maine, Holly Pearcy, Janice McGuire, Kassandra Appling, and Mariah Unruh, I fumbled my way through getting the business started. With very little money and no resources, each of my friends stepped in. Each of them contributing their talents to this venture. None of them received any payment or anything in return, only the love I could offer back. I had never had this amount of love and support before, except from my family. I was shocked. I still am. In March 2015 the shop opened and it was a success. We are not a huge company, but the loyal customers and friends I have gained is priceless. There isn’t enough money in the whole world that is that important. It took me 32 years to learn that. Today We have been open one year and I couldn’t even have fathomed this would be something I could do and succeed at!

As the company has grown over the last year I have stumbled and learned and grown, and most of all found my purpose. To make meaningful relationships. About 4 months ago I started a post on social media called “Tonight’s Real Post.” It was a post to ultimately help me remember who I was, and to help anyone else that feels the pressures of social media validation and life’s pressures daily. We are all human. We make mistakes. We grow. We stumble. Ultimately we learn. But over the previous few months I had seen on social media a pressure to have this “picture perfect” life. Photos that were staged to make others think that was their real life. Beautiful outfits and smiling babies, and immaculate homes adorned with items from other online retailers. I felt lost again. A hopeless feeling of pressure. To be and act and look like this perfect shop owner, mother, and wife. Then it hit me. My purpose. To stand out and make a difference and be “Real.” I had finally found my niche. In the end I get to benefit the most by outing myself and being transparent. Because Transparency is the first step to truly loving yourself. Up until then I hadn’t loved myself. The accountability I needed to be better and work harder, was fading, and I had to find a way to recreate it myself. A simple post throughout the week solved all those pressures for me. A simple post with a heart full of love and desire to touch others lives. No motives involved, no benefits secretly I was receiving, just the sense of relief and peace I felt when I started. There was my purpose, my way to make meaningful relationships, and I had finally found it.

My story isn’t meant to make you applaud me. Or praise the path I took. It’s meant to help you see that we are all human. We are all here trying to find our way and make it. Each of our stories are different. Not one is better or worse. But if we settle, if we just accept life as it is in a state we are unhappy about, we will never grow. We will never find our way and true purpose.

Today I am grateful to have found mine. Tomorrow may be trying, I may fall, I may stumble, but I will get back up and try again. Today I am sober. I am happy to have a beautiful chance at life. A daughter who teaches me daily to be kind, more sensitive, forgiving, and to love unconditionally with my whole heart. Without her I can’t imagine I would be here today telling you this story. My life as I had planned, well it is so far from that, because it is even greater than I could have imagined. We can look in life and find a lot of crap. A lot of things to complain and be miserable about, but if we set those aside, we will find that there is so much more good than there is bad.

Each day we can be better than we were the day before. If only we could teach ourselves to only compare ourselves with ourselves and not others? I wonder who we would become?


You can check Corinne's shop out HERE

Friday, February 26, 2016


This months inspiring woman is Heather!

When I first met her I was blown away by her story. She is someone that listens to promptings from the Lord, even if it is something she is confused by. She sacrificed so much for one little girl! 

Here is her story...

I’m going to be very honest in this account, so you are going to see me—warts and all. As I write this I hope that I’ve grown up a little bit. It’s also interesting for me to review how small and simple things can change our lives dramatically.

On November 27, 2011 (I remember, because it was my birthday), I received what to me was devastating news: I received a new church calling—I was to put together the ward bulletin. You know, type up the speakers, prayers, songs, and announcements and make copies to distribute on Sunday. Now this probably doesn’t seem like devastating news to anyone else, but it was to me. I was completely and totally offended. Apparently our bishopric had not received a copy of my church resume. I even went to the Lord in prayer when I came home from church and asked, “Do You not trust me anymore? Is this all You think I am capable of doing these days?”

I am sure that the Lord was laughing at me that day in the kindest way possible, but He also gave me the prompting that now was the time for me to focus on the callings that are truly most important—and don’t come with a bishop’s interview. He helped me realize that what I really needed to focus on was mothering my children in an involved and intentional way, and truly meeting the needs of those I visit teach.

At this time I was visiting teaching a family in rough circumstances. Their lives were touched with drug rehab and jail time. They also had a young baby—not quite a year old. Oh, he was so sweet! I babysat him when I could, and just wished I could keep him safe and secure while his family was getting their lives back into a good place. (Our bishop at the time worked with DCFS, and he was very familiar with the family’s situation, so I assumed that if the child had needed removal, that it would have happened.) As I considered this sweet little guy, the thought came to me, “There are hundreds of children who are in worse situations than this. You are willing to help this one because you know him, but could you help those you don’t know?”

This thought began to haunt me—I couldn’t put it out of my head. It became a matter of prayer for several months before I even mentioned it to my husband. For about 5 months, my part of the conversations with Heavenly Father usually went something like this: “Are you kidding me, Heavenly Father? You want me to do WHAT???? I can’t even mother my own 4 children the way I should. I think you’ve got the wrong girl here.” Finally I humbled myself enough to mention it to my husband, who took it very well, and we both decided to make it a matter of prayer.

In October 2012 we got our answer. We were listening to General Conference, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave the talk, “Protect the Children.” ( My husband and I were standing in the kitchen watching the conference on our computer, and the spirit just overwhelmed us both. We still didn’t know if we were capable of being foster parents, but we definitely knew that was the direction Heavenly Father wanted us to go. At times, I even hoped, “Maybe this is my Abrahamic test. Maybe I just have to show God I would be willing to do this, but maybe I’ll never really have to.”

We started the process right away with Utah Foster Care, but with the timing of everything we weren’t able to take our 32-hours for licensing until March 2013. We were licensed in May 2013, and then began the waiting game. We knew that there were many older children awaiting homes, but for us, we felt like we really needed to take children younger than our youngest—who at the time was only 3. We also knew there was a great need for people who would take sibling groups, but I only felt capable of taking one child for my first placement. So with our parameters so narrow—1 child younger than 3—we knew we may never even get the call.

But in January 2014 we did. The call came at lunchtime. Would I be willing to pick up a baby from the hospital that night? They didn't have a lot of information but they told me what they knew. Because we knew that taking a child younger than 5 years was a commitment to adopt the child if the parents lost their rights, I wanted a chance to talk to my husband and pray first, so I told them I would call them back. As I prayed, I didn't feel like I got an answer as to whether or not the baby belonged in our family forever, but I did feel like I should offer to pick the baby up from the hospital. However, by the time I called DCFS back, they had found another home for Cameron (name changed for privacy). I had such mixed emotions--relief and disappointment both. But at 3pm DCFS called back. The other family had fallen through but she had to be picked up from the hospital today. Would we pick up Cameron, even if we couldn't keep her for the long haul? Of course! So an hour later we had greeted our children home from school with the news (which brought them to tears of joy and excitement--they had awaited this day with anticipation!) and had left to another town to pick up Cameron.

It was surreal. Cameron was tinier than anything I had ever seen--I was afraid I might accidentally break her. And everything had happened so fast! There was a lot of bureaucracy to deal with before we could leave, so we finally got home at 10:30pm--tired and very overwhelmed.

But Cameron was an instant joy! She fit so well into our family, and the way all the other children rose up to contribute to our Family Team was amazing. Although we thought we were doing a service for Cameron, we had no idea ahead of time how much she would change our lives for good. The smiles Cameron had for everyone! The social nature, the intelligence, energy, inquisitiveness and curiosity! The love that came into our home that year! Without a doubt, 2014 will go into our history as a banner year for our family.

But all this time, I knew that she was supposed to go home. I wanted to love her so much that she would lack nothing, but I also knew that I was choosing to have my heart broken. I would often hear people say, “Oh, I could never be a foster parent. I would get too attached.” And I just thought, “This isn’t about me. It’s about her. So it doesn’t matter if I get too attached.” I decided that the hand she was dealt in life was hard enough. Taking some of her pain was part of my job. I was the adult. I could handle it.

But even though I knew the day was inevitable and I thought I had prepared myself, I was still surprised at how much my heart hurt when the day came in February 2015. Her returning to her biological family was good. It was right. We knew it was Cameron's mother's privilege and responsibility and blessing to be the Mom, and to have Cameron in her life. But wow, were our hearts breaking! It felt good to be gathered as a family to cry and talk and grieve and hug and pray together. And although it felt so hard right then, we were still SO GRATEFUL for that last year and for our experience with Cameron! Our lives were so much better because of that little spirit in our home--and I wouldn't have changed a thing. The joy of having her in our home even outweighed the heartbreak.
For the next several months Cameron’s parents allowed her to come visit us once in a while, and it was wonderful to see her and hold her and laugh and play with her. Sometimes I would hold her and just think, “You belong HERE,” but then I would quickly tell myself, “No. She belongs with her parents. If she belonged her, she would be here.”

In July 2015 we again got “the call”. Could Cameron come back? This time it would be forever. Again, I grieved. As painful as it was when Cameron had to leave us, I also grieved at her return. Not because she was returning to me. OF COURSE we would take her back—gladly! But we recognized the loss that came with our gain, and I grieved for the loss of potential for Cameron and her biological family.

The adventure we call life has continued on since that day. Cameron quickly fit back into our family. Two weeks ago Cameron became legally ours. Next month she becomes eternally ours. When I look at Cameron now, I can’t imagine my life without her. She is as much mine as any of my biological children. I believe she was meant to be mine from the beginning, and that rebellious thought now feels justified: “You belong HERE.”

I consider how I fought the prompting to become a foster parent, and I am horrified to consider the consequences if I had let fear get in my way from following God’s will. No Cameron? Perish the thought! Someday soon, I hope to trust God so implicitly, that I will welcome those “scary” promptings, because I know that God loves me, and that his directions will only bring me joy in the end.