Saturday, September 20, 2014


I had a "friend" tell me a few months ago that getting married and having children so young had made it so that I was in a cookie cutter mold of a life and that I hadn't really lived. It's taken me some time to come up with a response to this. Because of my strong feelings. And here is what I have to say... You are dead wrong. I have lived. I have never known more love for a person then my time spent as a mother and a wife. I have held a newborn in my arms and have become irrevocably in love. I have learned the true meaning of sacrifice. And the untold rewards of it. I weep more often now because my heart is in my hands. I am softer and kinder and not as selfish or worried about what others see me as. I have learned to give. And expect nothing. Marrying when I did has helped me live in a way that nothing else has. By experiencing everyday with the man I adore. Good, bad or in between we are together. What does it matter if I go travel the world. But have no one to see or tell about it. What does it matter if I "live " in your sense of the meaning but never find the meaning of life. You may think that I have wasted my life away by making these decisions but I am telling you I have not. Because I am full of life. My heart aches when my children are hurt. I feel everything they go through. I can empathize or sympathize with a complete stranger. You say I'm in a mold of a life. Every step planned out. But everyday for me is an adventure. I learn. I grow.  I rejoice in my family. In the end it won't matter what I've seen or where I have been what will matter is if I lived. And being a mother and a wife I have done that. I am doing that. Because living how I am has changed me. Life is bigger. Life is beautiful and wonderful. I see the world and I am enthralled by it. But I only became so because I had people to share it with. Telling my daughter about animals and seeing the joy in her eyes when she saw a panda for the first time made my heart burst. To you I say I am wide awake and full of life. Because I have children. I want them to see the beauty of the world. And I have the privelege of teaching them about it.  I have passion and love in my life that don't come by my hand alone. I have my husband. So if I am a cookie cutter of a mold and I haven't truly lived why am I so ALIVE. Answer me that. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Merrick's one year.

I cannot believe a whole year has gone by. Time has FLOWN.  We had Merricks birthday party, ice cream themed. It was really cute, thanks to my bestie Jessica. She has so much talent its ridiculous. We also were able to get one year photos done by another friend named Traci, They came out amazing!!

Take a look:
Merrick Lewis McGowen

Look at that face! So sweet.

Finley was so excited to jump in the photos.

I love the happiness on her face. Its so vibrant.

My little one walking before hitting the one year mark.

You can see how much he looks like Mike in this photo.

Momma's boy. 
Adorable right?! But through the planning of the party, and the trips to Utah. I took so many moments to sit and watch my little boy. How much he has grown from giving birth to him. I remember when he was born and he wasn't breathing right away. I was so scared, for him. I didn't want to loose him. And when he went in for observation for a day because he was having respiratory issues, my heart went into my throat, and I couldn't help but worry. Even though he had just come into this world. I loved him so deeply. It was irrefutable how much I adored him. He's always been a momma's boy and a snuggler, Finley was different. As Merrick turned one year old. I couldn't help but think of what was in store for my little boy. He is so much like his dad. Sweet, patient, loving, calm. He is such a joy.

I wrote a poem for my children, but I think I'll share it here. Its not much but I'm hoping to improve. 

Never Have I Loved Another:
I watch you grow, 
I see you learn.
And I fly.

You give me meaning, 
I have hope, unwavering hope.
It will last forever.
Never have I loved another.

Your joy is my joy.
Your pain is mine.
Never have I loved another.

I see you,
All of you...
And it is beautiful.
You are stunning.
Beaming like starlight in my hands.

You are stirring, caught up in movement
Yet, you stand so still.
you are rushing water, but a stagnant stream.
You stop and think.
And you soar.
All in the same moment.

Never stray to far for me, for I fear I would break.
My love is yours forever.
Never have I loved another as deeply as I love you.

From before the womb, I knew you. 
As I hold you in my arms, I treasure you.
I hold on to the stillness that is you.
I ache while you grow. 
Longing for you,
But I am like a sail with full wind 
I ascend with you.
All in an instant. 

Your eyes hold so much wonder, 
your heart is full of love. 
No matter where you go,
I will be there.
In heart..
In mind.
Never have I loved another so meaningful as you.
Never have I loved another so willingly till you...

Happy birthday to my little one.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Days

These last few weeks have been very hectic in the McGowen household. Michael's new job keeps him busy and he loves the challenge. I have had the opportunity to take the kids to Utah for a week and we did a family reunion for my family in Shaver CA. Mike was able to come to the reunion but not for the wedding in Utah. While in Utah I helped my cousin as her maid of honor.  While at Shaver lake we went on the pontoon boat, swam in the lake and stayed in a cabin. It was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast. They were exhausted!! Finley loved being in the lake and swimming in the pool.
Here are some photos of our trips... ENJOY!
Me and the Beautiful Bride!

On the way home from Utah. They are so happy to be out of the car.

Ready for the boat ride.

Merrick and Great-Grandpa

Playing at the beach.

Ma, I don't want a photo.

Eaten cheetos, and wind blowing in her hair.

She's so cute.

Dad driving the boat.

My happy Girl!

Merrick was so tired.

All the boating left the bottom of the lake all churned up, ignore the brown water.

Captain Merrick! (Thanks Aunt Rachel)

It was gorgeous. Tall Trees everywhere and blue lake water! 

Love taking photos with this cutie!

Finley is reading her Book of Mormon. Apparently daddy is like Nephi. hahaha 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sitting in the Silence

12:33 in the morning. And not a sound to be heard. Except the clicking of the keys as I write this. Man, silence is not very common in my life anymore. I often yearn for time to pick up a book and get lost in it. Or to even go to the bathroom, without my 2 children and the dog following me in.

Now in my life, silence is not needed. When I hear my children; an unexplainable joy comes over me. I love being their mother. And although it can be stressful. I am so grateful that I have two wonderful souls that depend on me and love me so much.

My children are constantly needing me, and its never ending. I wouldn't trade this life for the world. Some are traveling the world. I have my world right here.

I am so amazed at how I can see the love that my children have for me in their eyes. Its unconditional, and it is so infectious. One look in their eyes and any frustration, anger melts away. And I am whole again.

My children are my heart and soul. And I am so blessed to be a mother. To have that privilege from Heavenly Father.

I am so grateful.

My children have given me more meaning, I want to be better, to teach them correctly, to bring them up to be the best self they can be. And more than anything, I am learning. I am growing. My children teach me everyday, my love for them is stronger every moment. Even in times of frustration.

I am so blessed to know my children, to see their sweet and beautiful spirits. I am in love with them.

Being their mother has helped me strengthen my testimony of God and all that I believe in. His little blessing and miracles I can see throughout the day. Being their mother has made me better. And to be completely honest. I don't miss the silence too often. I often miss they're sweet voices and laughter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I am sound.

My husband and I had a pretty interesting talk today. We spoke in depth about The Lord and his plan. And with Mike being a Return Missionary. He was able to provide a unique perspective. I was having some questions on church doctrine. More out of curiosity. And providing a better understanding. I guess you could say it stemmed from the ordination of women movement. And the medias attention of that. Makes me think of the statement it's very easy to focus on the bad then the good. I was wondering about these women. I feel personally that I would not want to be ordained. I have enough on my plate. I think that this whole issue is taking away from all that the church stands for and all the good things that members accomplish. They want to protest in temple square suring the priesthood session, why? Why take away the peace of the spirit from other members why; create disharmony when everything is supposed to be focusing on the Savior. I do not know everything God has planned but I have faith that He has a way. It is HIS way that will lead us to salvation. Not what we think is politically correct. Why must this sacred work be twisted into something that it is not. The gospel is not something that can be changed by our hand. It saddens me to think that these women are taking away from the importance of the work. And more over that they are speaking for women of the church. I do not want them to speak for me. I am sound in my faith. You will not shake me. I know my purpose. 
Anyway rant over. Sorry. 
My husband and I were speaking of this issue. And I was struggling with how these women are able to say they are strong faithful LDS women. We got on the subject of Satan. And what we talked about was that anything not of God, is twisted by Satan. I'm not saying everything is evil. I'm saying Satan is around us everyday. He is watching us, waiting for us to slip up. Waiting for us to doubt. He might not be able to read our minds but he knows us from our premortal life. He can tell when we struggle. This is why we must be extra diligent. We need to protect ourselves with the armour of God. Buoy one another up. Help those around us. And to know that there is a perfect plan that we may return. Because we are spiritual beings having a worldly experience. Not the other way around. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Church is a safe place.

I've been really hesitant to post this. But I feel like it must be said. I recently watched a church video on anti bullying and then read a mothers blog about how her daughter was bullied in school and in church and how the mother suffered through bullying as well.

I hated high school. And I'm not afraid to admit it, when I was in high school I hated every minute of it.  But it wasn't just high school that I struggled with, I struggled with church.

I was in a ward where I couldn't be myself, not that it stopped me. But I had a friend, who wasn't all that active and was a trouble-maker I'm going to call her M. My mi-maid advisor at the time, pulled me into a presidency meeting and told me I needed to decide on which side of the line I was on. I could be on the right side, or the wrong side. She wanted me to choose a different friend. Her daughter and I were really close, and my other friend wasn't very nice to her. But I always stood up for my friends, thats just how I was. I didn't care if you were my friend, if I thought you were wrong, I straight up told you. I wasn't into the cliques or trying to be popular, (Thank you childhood trauma.)

I remember coming home after that "meeting" in tears, I was so confused; didn't the gospel say to take in every soul. Weren't we supposed to be helping everyone we could. How could I choose the right, by leaving my friend out in the cold. And thats when the bullying started. We had an amazing woman for our YW's president. But there was one councilor that didn't see eye to eye with M. And M wasn't very nice to her daughter, but her daughter wasn't very nice either. So it was just a very intense situation. Anyway this YW's president worked very hard with M at this time to get her active; and she started working on her personal progress; and M grew and blossomed and she was so in love with the gospel and I really felt she was starting to gain her own testimony. She had completely changed but there was still major tension between some of the girls and her.

When the bullying started it was just against her, and then pretty soon; everyone that was in the mi-maid class started ganging up on M. Even though she had gone through an amazing transformation. I over heard one of the councilors saying that M wouldn't remain active at all; after her high school years.

I was 15 at the time, and I was so appalled by these councilors treatment of M, not only was the bullying coming from the YW but the YW leaders. Eventually the YW councilor became the YWs president and thats when all hell broke loose.

Every little thing was out in the open. The girls were mean and vicious; but so were the leaders. There was not a moment when M wasn't harassed by them. And at the same time, we're are being taught to love one another, and to accept another even with their faults.

Apparently when you call out a leader and tell them that their actions are different than from what they are teaching. That gets you on their radar. Now the bullying started on me and M. It was so bad that I started to go to primary where my mom was the pianist. And I'd sit and listen to these little children sing  through my tears. I would leave mutual every week crying, because of the relentless taunting from the others and their parents. I was so hurt, I was friends with these girls, I stood up for them. And now I was treated like dirt because I did the same thing again for another. I stopped going. I hated going to church and I did over half a years worth of make up work for seminary because I refused to go. And then I started going to go to my grandparents ward. I actually got to see how the YW's was supposed to be run, I got to see love and acceptance. And it was beautiful.

When we received notice that our ward was getting dissolved and that the boundary would be split. I was so excited. But then the YW's president for my "new" ward was released and our old one was called in. I was horrified. Here I had all this hope, and for nothing. But then my Laurels advisor was such an amazing woman. And I grew to love her. (So much that I ended up marrying her son.) ;P

Luckily for me I was called to stake youth committee, probably because I wasn't active in my ward. but ehh, it ended up working out. bullying is a very big deal. And its not just within the youth. Leaders can certainly be the cause of it, even just by singling out a youth. Its like a bunch of wolves circling the herd and looking for the weak link. Its unacceptable and it shouldn't be tolerated.

I have seen it in my life, and in the life of those around me. The girl, M is fully active and was sealed in the Temple. We cannot know another's heart nor why they make the decisions that they do. But our youth and our primary are moldable souls. And we need to build them up and nurture them. Not break them down. No matter if they're "troublemakers" or "rambunctious" we need to find the love that our Father has for them, because he still accepts every single one of us even with our faults. We are ALL Gods children. And we should buoy one another up.

Find the good, there is always good in an individual. You just have to try and find it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Best days of my life.

Having two children is crazy. It's draining and half the time I'm lucky to remember to put on the right pair of shoes. I know moms with more than 2, are eye rolling about now. But for me it truly is a roller coaster. I love my children more than anything in this world. And I love being a mother. But even then... I have my moments. But need less to say, these days are the best days of my life. My two year old daughter will never need me as much as she does today. Tomorrow she will have gained a little bit more independence and asserted herself more. She will also be smarter and stronger. Same with my 7 month old. As I sit here and watch my amazing little boy pull himself up, fall and struggle to do it all again. I am reminded that I will never have this moment with him ever again. And it makes me cherish it a little bit more. 
Merrick is a momma's boy through and through. If dad is holding him; he screams. Mom comes and a minute later he's asleep. Although he will always be my little boy. He will never need me as much as today. From the time my babies were born they've been growing strong both physically and mentally. It's exciting and wonderful to be a part of. But it makes me miss all those little moments. In a way, I wish they knew of how much they have accomplished in their short time on earth. 
How much they have taught me. My children have taught me so many things: 
1. How to love
2. How to see the good. 
3. To never give up. 
4. It's ok to not understand. 
5. The best thing is laughter. 

My babies taught me so many things. And even though they learn new skills everyday. I have learned that as a mother you're never too old to be taught by your children. 

They really have taught me how to laugh. Today for instance, Finley comes to me with a big cup filled with ice water. And she pours it all over my leg and my foot. And I'm screaming cause it's so cold. I yell Finley! And she says with a big grin. I got you mommy. I just about died from laughing I said yes you did baby. Good job. 

Sometimes you just have to laugh it off. Because you will never have this moment again.