Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Stephani

I’m at Women’s Conference today at BYU, but I wanted you to meet Stephani (who is only one “e” short of being as cool as me 🙂 ).  Thank you so much to all of you who chimed in on my post about Natalie.  You have given me some great things to think about and look into, and more importantly, you made me feel understood and hopeful.  Thank you.

Can I just say that the more I do this Find-A-Friend Friday feature, the more my faith is restored in humanity in general?  I love discovering an army of able, righteous, strong women fighting the same battle along side me.  Ladies and gentleman, meet Stephani:

(p.s.  I know this post has some trouble with some of the spacing, but I’m too tired to find all the coding errors, so please forgive me.)

Hello! My name is Stephani and I am delighted to have this chance to share a little bit about myself! I am 33 years old and just last Friday my husband (Corey) and I celebrated our 11th anniversary. We have two wonderful children – our son is 9 and our daughter is 7. After six very long years we are blessed to now have twins (a boy and a girl) on the way. We have lived in Houston, Texas for the past eight years but will only be Texans for two more months. In June we are headed up to Ann Arbor, Michigan and we are excited!

I am the oldest of eight children, seven girls and one boy. Nope, the boy isn’t at the end. He’s smack dab in the middle. My mother decided one little bundle of energy was enough for her! Though I was born in Colorado, I spent most of my growing up years in Wisconsin and Minnesota. I headed off to BYU in 1996 and graduated a few months after I was married with a degree in American Studies. I went on to teach second grade until our son was born in 2001. My husband graduated from BYU in 2002 and we headed off to med school in Houston. He just graduated in 2010 with an MD/PhD and we are thrilled to, at last, be done with school. He has almost completed his first year of residency here in Houston and will complete his last four years of residency in Ann Arbor.

What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
I LOVE reading to my kiddos. I think it’s more of an addiction really. I’m not always the best at dress up or lego creating – but I feel very connected with my munchkins as we are snuggled together reading. Our family reading habits have created a family reading culture of sorts. We have all kinds of fun traditions that we’ve started associated with our reading that have brought us closer together.
What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?
Does it count if I’ve already subcontracted them out? J I really do not enjoy laundry or toilet cleaning. However, my husband has insisted on doing the laundry from start to finish (yep, even the folding and putting away) since the first year of our marriage. I just love him for it! I’ve also recently, as my kids have gotten older, realized the joy of teaching children the value of work. Not only are they learning important life skills, it also means that I don’t have to clean the toilet!
 Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.”  (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)
I would love to travel through Europe. My husband served his mission in Berlin and is in love with Europe. It’s a passion I would like to share with him.

I want to take my kids to Israel. My husband and I, in 2007, had the blessing of visiting Israel. It was a life changing experience that I would like give to my children.

What are you loving lately?
I am loving that I am feeling my energy return after five physically challenging months. It’s so nice to feel like my brain has actually returned from vacation.
Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

“Righteous sorrow and suffering carve cavities in the soul that will become later reservoirs of joy” Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“Everything will work out” President Gordon B. Hinckley

“We owe everything to the Lord. We are so blessed to be involved in a faith based work, a work in which we can create families, support families, defend families, teach families, and prepare them for the blessings of eternal life—and love them, love them, love them.” Sister Julie B. Beck

Each of these have offered their comfort and direction at various times, as I’m sure they will continue to do.

Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).
Consistency, consistency, consistency. My kids function best when they know what to expect, not just with routines but rules as well. If there is a clear consequence outlined before hand, the learning from the mistake seems to come easier. Of course there are those times when I find myself thinking, “You did WHAT?” for which we have no outlined consequence. Those are always fun. J

I have also found that revelation flows the most swiftly when my children are involved. I am quite certain that this is due to the fact that the Lord knows I would seriously mess them up if He didn’t send revelation on their behalf rapidly. It has been such a blessing to be able to turn to Him for anything and receive the guidance my kiddos need.

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?
I am most sure of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This reality has been engraved on my heart in a very personal way, which I am so grateful for.
Desert Island Question.  If you were stranded on a desert island (most moms would actually crave this) and could only take 3 items with you, what would they be?
1. My husband
2. A library
3. A resort with a comfy bed and delicious food
What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?
I really enjoy cooking. I’m by no means spectacular, as I’m sure many would attest, but I derive tremendous satisfaction from putting a dinner my family loves on the table.

What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?

After our first two children were born, we were unable to have any more children. It was a devastating blow. We spent years and more money than we thought possible pursuing fertility treatments to no avail. It was a dark time as I grappled with depression and feelings of worthlessness. But I wouldn’t trade those six years for the world. The Lord knew that there were things I needed to learn that, for me, couldn’t be learned any other way – despite my protests. My faith, trust and understanding of my loving Father in Heaven grew in a way that I didn’t think possible. I learned about true compassion, about what it means to minister as the Savior ministers. Those awful six years are now sacred to me, my Liberty Jail of sorts. I realized that everyone has their ‘Liberty Jail’. And most of the time you can’t see from the outside what ‘Liberty Jail’ they are enduring. But we all have them at various times throughout our lives – and the Savior has commissioned us to love each other as we struggle, not condemn that which only the person and the Savior can understand. But most of all, I learned that the Savior never leaves us. He carries us when we are too weak to go on and holds us always in His encircling arms.

We have experienced many miracles over the last few months which have resulted in two sweet babies on the way. We couldn’t be more blessed.

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?
I really enjoy all the planning that goes into making a welcoming home for my family, from the look, to the smells, to the yummy food ready to be eaten when they arrive home. I’m not sure if I’m great at it – but it is something I enjoy doing.

If you could make a pie chart (graph) of your thoughts during the last week or so, what would take up most of the space?

Oh my – looking into my brain can be a scary thing!

30% – I have a total of five onesies and two burp clothes for the twins (we gave away every last baby item during our years of infertility). How in the world am I going to come up with everything I need for two?
20% – How in the world are we going to get our family and all of our stuff to Michigan?
10% – I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how handle my son’s latest development of complete inability to follow through with any given task
10% – How do I help my daughter deal with elementary school drama?
10% – How can I better show my appreciation for my husband?
10% – Is this going to be a throwing up day?
10% – General business of the day

Tell us about your blog:

In the last few months I started a personal blog, separate from our family blog, entitled ‘Becoming’. It’s a place where I can share some thoughts and experiences (the good and not so good!) on my personal journey to become more like the Savior. I am hoping for the blog to function as forum for all to share ideas and insights along our very different roads that are all leading us back to Him. I would love it if you hopped on over!