Towers of Strength: a Call for Stories

January 28, 2015 in Adversity, Atonement, Book, Book reviews, Depression, Divine nature, Fear, Grace, Grief, joy, Lani, Miracles, Pain, Postpartum Depression

Last weekend I attended Felice’s Therapeutic Imagery Facilitator Training. It was five billion times more awesome than I ever could have imagined it would be. I’ve been guiding my daughters on imagery journeys nearly every night since, and I can’t wait to share these new skills with everyone and anyone I can. So much healing happened in that sacred space last weekend. What an honor and privilege to have been a part of it. I love these women!

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After the workshop was over, I was talking with the lovely Anna Hargadon (one of the creators of the awesome film Women of Faith). She asked me, “So what’s your next project? Do you have anything you’re working on?” Maybe it was God’s way of nudging me to get moving. One of the first things that happened after I recovered my will to live last fall was that God gave me an assignment. It’s time to write another book, He said.

So this is me acting on that prompting. Last Sunday, as I drove home from church, the book’s title came to me. It was inspired by something I learned reading Heather’s new book, Walking with the Women of the New Testament. In my review of her book, I wrote:

Heather writes, “While we don’t know the details of Mary Magdalene’s infirmity, we might deduce based on what we know of the others whom Christ healed from evil spirits that she was tormented with some sort of mental infirmity. The fact that she had seven devils cast out of her suggests that her infirmity may have been severe” (p. 77).

Heather explains that Christ called Mary “Magdalene” (meaning “tower of strength”) probably in much the same way that he called Simon “Peter” (meaning “rock”). After her healing, Mary became a devoted follower of Christ and a likely “tower of strength” to those around her, including Christ Himself. Of all the people Christ could have appeared to immediately after His resurrection, He chose Mary Magdalene.

Being a woman who struggles with “mental infirmities,” I gather peace from Mary’s remarkable recovery. If Christ can turn an infirm and darkness-plagued Mary into a “tower of strength,” maybe then there is hope for me too?

The title God gave to me for this book is inspired by Mary Magdalene, the original “Tower of Strength” and one of my heroes.

Towers of Strength: Stories of Triumph over Darkness. What do you think? This probably isn’t what the book will look like, but I had fun making a pretend cover. A quick search on Deseret Book’s website only brought up a few titles discussing mental illness, and none of them (as far as I could tell) is written from the perspective of the “mentally ill.” Mental health practitioners and caregivers certainly have valuable insights and perspectives to share, but I just feel strongly that we need to give a voice to the ones living with the illnesses. I feel like there is a sort of assumption that the mentally ill aren’t capable of speaking for themselves, but I couldn’t disagree more. Our voices need to be heard. It’s time.

So far this is what I have in mind:

  • Spiritual thoughts and stories about mental illness from the perspective of Latter-day Saints, emphasis on stories of triumph.
  • Written by those who have lived with and/or overcome mental illness.
  • Stories of all types of triumph (through counseling, medication, meditation, energy healing, temple work, prayer, priesthood, etc.)
  • Similar to The Gift of Giving Life with stories from a wide variety of people with a wide variety of challenges.
  • Intended to bring hope to those who are still struggling in darkness and their loved ones and to help doctors, counselors, and caregivers to better understand the perspective of “patients.”

If you feel impressed that you have a story to share or know someone who might, please send me an email (askbusca at gmail dot com). And please spread the word on whatever groups, forums, and facebook pages you feel might generate interest. The deadline for story submissions is May 1st. And if you know of a publisher who might be interested, please pass the word along to them too! Thank you!

**Posted today, January 28, 2015, in memory of Ashton Mayberry who suffered from depression and anxiety and took his own life on January 28, 2014.**

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He Is a God of Miracles and Blessings

December 21, 2014 in Angels, Book, Book reviews, Conversion, Divine nature, Guest Post, Lani, Miracles, Power of Words, Prayer

This morning I was reading a Christmas newsletter from my friend Sarah Hinze. I so loved a story she shared that I asked her permission to post it here. I hope you love it too.

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He Is a God of Miracles and Blessings

By Sarah Hinze

Actress and director Angelina Jolie is not known as a praying woman. Recently, due to a severe storm she, as director, was in danger of failing to complete the final scene of the inspiring film, Unbroken. With no relief in sight, it is reported that Angelina suddenly dropped to her knees in front of the entire crew and prayed for God’s help. Within moments the rain ceased, the clouds parted and the sun shown through providing the needed light for the cameras. Her prayer brought a divine and miraculous result.

I share this story because I had a similar experience when filming a TV show about We Lived in Heaven a few years ago. A television producer from the show Angels and Miracles called and arranged to send a crew to interview me. The director hired a local camera crew and was scheduled to arrive at 10:00 am on a Sunday morning. I was up early, getting ready when I walked into the foyer by the front door. I stopped short. There was a baby dove on the entry table sitting calmly beneath a large painting of Christ. How?

I looked around. The front door was still locked tight from the night before. Morning doves, friendly, cooing little gray and white birds, are daily visitors to our front lawn, but how did this little creature get inside?

Carefully I picked up the tiny bird and stood quietly, completely bewildered. The bird was totally calm. Holding it seemed to bring peace to my anxious heart. It looked up at me with its tiny little eyes as if it were bringing me a message. Through this tiny creature, I felt the blessings of God would be with me as I worked on the day’s filming. Although I am always grateful to share my message, I typically have a bit of anxiety before filming.

I looked at the baby bird, this tiny creation of God, and allowed its calm energy to fill my heart. I finally walked out my front door and held the bird up to the branch of a tree. It hopped on and I whispered “Can you go find your mommy?” The little bird took off like a shot to the very top of a grandfather pine tree in our side yard.

At 10:00 am, the doorbell rang and I invited the director, the camera crew, and their miles and miles of electrical cords into my house. Everything that goes with sound, lighting and filming was promptly set up in my living room and I was invited to sit on a chair in front of the camera.

“Please introduce yourself. State your full name and then spell it,” the director requested.

I was familiar with this routine. “My name is Sarah Hinze.” Suddenly, POP, POP, POP! Every light in the room shut off.

“What’s going on?” the director asked.

“The sound is down, too,” the guy behind the camera said. “And my camera isn’t working.” They looked into the next room where the lights were still on.

This had happened to me before, so I was pretty sure I knew what was going on. I said, “I think I have an idea what has happened. There is energy with this work that sometimes affects electrical equipment.” I said no more, but could feel the force of spirit children present. They often show up when I speak on their behalf.

“This has never happened,” the director said. “What should we do?”

“I’ll pray. Will you join me?” I offered. When I didn’t hear any objections, I proceeded to ask God to help the equipment work and for all of those involved in any way to feel the love that was here with us as the angel children were present. I asked that the electricity be restored so we could conduct the interview.

Within a minute or so of praying, everything came back on. The crew was subdued and experienced greater feelings of reverence than normal. As they finished I thanked them and gave each one a copy of We Lived in Heaven.

A few weeks later one of the camera crew from that show called, “I am reading your book and I am so amazed at the message. Am I really a child of God?”

welivedinheavenThis simple message was a new idea to this man. I am always humbled when others learn this concept for the first time. We spoke for almost half an hour. I explained how there are spirits in heaven eager to come to earth, as was he before he was born. I reassured him, “Yes, you are absolutely a child of God, sent to this earth with a mission to love and serve your fellowman.”

He concluded, “The experience filming in your home, the prayer and reading your book has been life changing for me.”

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Sarah’s book We Lived in Heaven has recently been republished. She is offering a special deal for the book now. Through the month of January, you can order this book directly from her at sarah@sarahhinze.com for $10 each or two copies for $18, including shipping to anywhere in the USA. If you would like it autographed, let her know. Send her an e-mail or visit her website at www.SarahHinze.com for ordering details. We Lived in Heaven is also available on Kindle at Amazon.com.

Giveaway Winners!

May 11, 2014 in Giveaways, Lani, Virtual Book Tour

We hope you enjoyed our Virtual Book Tour 2014! And we want to tell all of you this Mother’s Day… You Are Beautiful! You Are Powerful!

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A big thank you to everyone who contributed blogposts for our Virtual Book Tour! A big thank you to everyone who participated in various ways through the giveaway entries! An extra-big thank you to those who donated prizes! And congratulations to our prize winners!

Our randomly selected Rafflecopter prize winners are….

Prize #1: Wrap-style baby carrier with tree panel…. April L.

Prize #2: Blood-Water-Spirit charm bracelet…. Jennifer H.

Prize #3: Mini-maternity portrait session…. Janice M.

Prize #4: Tree of life pendant necklace…. Brittany H.

Prize #5: Early-bird access to our spiritual childbirth education webinar series….

Melissa G.

Accalia H.

Shelly L.

Watch for an email from me so we can arrange to have your prizes delivered to you!

Healing Heartbreak

May 8, 2014 in Adversity, Book reviews, Fertility, Grief, Lani, Loss, miscarriage, Pregnancy, Virtual Book Tour

Today’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from Brittney at Notes from a Been-There Mom. Brittney has shared some of her journey on our blog before–the birth story of her fourth baby, born with a cleft palate. Since that birth, she has experienced multiple heart-breaking miscarriages. Those losses have inspired her to partner with me in creating a book for moms mourning miscarriages: Light in the Mourning. You can read more about that project and how to submit stories HERE.

Three weeks before Brittney's first miscarriage

Three weeks before Brittney’s first miscarriage

Here’s an excerpt from Brittney’s beautiful post today:

Day after day, I walked past a copy of The Gift of Giving Life on my dresser. I felt a pull toward it. The book felt like a warm spot it a cold world. But I couldn’t pick it up. The last thing I wanted to read about was the joy of all those moms with beautiful round bellies birthing their healthy babies. (Clearly it had been a while since I’d visited those pages.)

Finally the book won. I decided I’d read all the ribbon stories I’d always skipped but that was it. (Stories mentioning loss are marked with a ribbon to protect the faint of heart like me.) My heart broke as I read stories of mothers suffering; mothers who endured trials I would have thought unendurable. I felt the greatness, strength and beauty of the authors through their words and suddenly found myself in the best of company. I wanted to change their stories, breathe life into their babies and hold them up. Instead, in their respective times of darkness, these women found peace. They found light. I kept reading.

Brittney’s post brought me to tears. I so appreciate her willingness to share her courageous journey. You can read the rest of her post HERE.

 

Transforming Ideas, Changing the World

May 1, 2014 in Book, Book reviews, Divine nature, Jesus Christ, Lani, Motherhood, Pregnancy, Virtual Book Tour

IMG_5455e_thumb[1]Today’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from Bonnie at Whisk ’em. Bonnie is a “homeschooling mom of 6 with a passion for fashion. And food. And sewing. And fitness. And like a hundred other things.” I met Bonnie online before I met her in person at a Gift of Giving Life Party last year, and I was totally stoked for her when she gave birth to her twins as she had hoped (vaginally). Some of my favorite quotes from Bonnie’s book review:

  • “I believe that this book’s potential to transform our ideas and conceptions about birth is unimaginable!”
  • “If I had all the money in the world, I would buy a copy of this book for every mother and woman I know.”
  • “I couldn’t possible be able to choose my favorite chapter or story in this book but I can say that The Gift of Giving Life completely changed the way that I see and process everything about motherhood.”
  • “I know that the role of Mother is so important and so sacred, that every part of it has a spiritual aspect. . . . As mothers, we are guardians of the gateway between heaven and earth. We have been given both the power and the inclination to create life, with husbands and God as our partners. We can come to know the special connection mothers have with Jesus Christ as we give a portion of our bodies and our blood to bring new life into this world. If we could communicate the importance and sanctity of these truths to the next generation, we could undoubtedly change the world.”
  • “It’s my favorite baby shower gift!

You can read the rest of Bonnie’s post HERE. And check out her Etsy shop HERE.

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Comfort for Birth Trauma

April 29, 2014 in Adversity, Attachment, Birth Stories, Book reviews, Depression, Fear, Giveaways, Lani, Traumatic Birth, Virtual Book Tour

*Today’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from the wonderful Kylie of Satisfied by Sunshine. Kylie is a beautiful soul. As with so many beautiful souls, Kylie has seen the bitter despair of darkness and found her way back into the light of joy. (You can read about her inspiring climb out of anxiety/depression HERE.) For our Virtual Book Tour, Kylie has shared how our book helped her come to peace with unexpected and traumatic changes in her first birth experience. Here’s an excerpt:

And here I realized that the suffering I was experiencing wasn’t because anything I had ‘done wrong’, or should have planned better for in giving birth, but that I was attached to the idea that if birth isn’t peaceful, relaxed, and done a certain way, then it was not what I wanted. . . . And when I let go of what I thought was the best type of birth, what I wanted, and expected I found a well of healing within. It was okay that events did not follow my desired birth plan, but actually were far from it. I did my best to work towards what I thought was best, and in the end God wanted to teach me something better. A lesson of trusting Him. A lesson of letting go of my plan and embracing His, and that lesson was powerful. It prepared me to be willing after all I could do to . . . embrace what was, what is and find joy, and healing in my continued endeavor of motherhood. It allowed me to see the beauty in every birth, every type and every situation. These were the lessons I learned through my own experience and found within the pages of the Gift of Giving Life. Birth is beautiful and spiritual, even when unexpected turns occur in how you wanted your birth experience to be.

You can read the rest of Kylie’s Virtual Book Tour post HERE.

Kylie has generously donated one of the prizes for our Virtual Book Tour giveaways… a gorgeous tree of life pendant necklace. Find out how you can enter to win it by visiting our Virtual Book Tour page.

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Kylie has lots of other beautiful necklaces available through her Etsy shop The Sister Tree. I want them all!

Cherie Burton Book Review

April 28, 2014 in Adoption, Adversity, Book reviews, Depression, Fertility, Grief, Lani, Loss, miscarriage, Personal Revelation, Virtual Book Tour, Waiting

150602_426562187424709_1846303491_nToday’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from Cherie Burton. Cherie is an amazing, powerful woman and mentor/coach of other strong women. Because of her family’s history with depression and suicide, she is passionate about helping others achieve health and emotional balance. Cherie was also Utah County’s Young Mother of the Year in 2011 and considers being a wife and mother her greatest calling.

I loved meeting Cherie last summer. After she contacted me to set up a meeting, I spent some time on her blog reading about the miraculous and beautiful adoption of her Elijah. It struck a strong chord with me for a number of reasons. One being that I began having spiritual experiences with my own unborn son (also named Elijah) almost as soon as my fourth baby was born. I felt his presence among my children often, I dreamed about him, I saw him in vision. Reading about Cherie finding her Elijah stirred my own heart’s assurance that my Elijah wasn’t a figment of my imagination.

I love Cherie’s post about The Gift of Giving Life. Here’s an excerpt:

the-gift-of-giving-life-book-review-1I read The Gift of Giving Life in 2012, shortly after the miraculous private adoption of our magnificent son, Eli. I wept with the women who detailed their experiences with loss, grief and divine compensation. I felt a rising empowerment, a blazing second witness that women are in a very real partnership with The Creator of All as they sacrifice and bear down and descend. And then nobly and beautifully ascend. The Atonement of Christ is demonstrated more mightily through the sacrificial practice of mothering than through any other practice on Earth.

The Gift of Giving Life is a book about power. Woven into each chapter are stories that affirm the massive spiritual powers of wisdom, love and creation embodied in the Feminine. I love that this book addresses so many women’s experiences, from so many walks of life, who have the same underlying belief: That God knows our hearts and our needs as women and will mold a perfect plan that, through birth and rebirth, will take our souls and bodies to heights and depths we could never before fathom. I have learned that it is not just the experience of giving birth physically that empowers a woman to call herself mother. It is the praying, the losing, the weeping, the waiting. The pouring of her heart and soul into a vision and promise that only she and her Creator can hold form for.

You can read the rest of Cherie’s beautiful post HERE.

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Mrs. Tips and 20% off!

April 24, 2014 in Birth Stories, Book reviews, Giveaways, Grief, Lani, Loss, Virtual Book Tour

the-gift-of-giving-life-book-review-1Today’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from Yvonne at Mrs. Tips. A little bit about Yvonne from her “About” page: “I’m a 31 year old SAHM who sometimes WAHM making fun things for my etsy store I have with my two sisters (SwedishSisters.etsy.com). I am enthusiastic to be alive and I love life!” I’ve only met Yvonne once in person at our new moon gathering in January, but I have to say that if anyone could be called a “sunbeam,” it’s Yvonne. She’s a ray of light and joy!

I loved reading about her third birth experience and how The Gift of Giving Life helped her through the hardest part: a shoulder dystocia. And I also loved reading about how the book gave her the sensitivity to help a friend as she grieved the loss of her baby. Here’s an excerpt:

As I continued to read the book after Cassie’s birth, I was able to share with Krystal chapters that I felt would help her through her grieving process. I asked her later if I was remiss for just e-mailing her a chapter I had read (I scanned it and e-mailed it to her as a pdf) without knowing if she really felt up to reading anything like that in the moment, and she told me that what I had sent her was perfect. She needed to know that it was okay for her to feel the full range of emotions she was feeling.

I learned from those grief chapters what NOT to say to a grieving parent and what to DO for a grieving mother. I think the sensitivity I gained from this book has helped strengthen our friendship. I felt more confidence in mentioning Kale in our conversations rather than being afraid to talk about him in an effort to protect her emotions as I may have done before reading the chapters in this book that dealt with mourning the loss of a child. He is not a taboo subject when we are together.

Robyn’s essay on grief is one I myself have shared with friends grieving losses. It’s a wonderful resource.

Click HERE to read the rest of Yvonne’s post. And then head over to our Virtual Book Tour page to see how you can enter to win some awesome prizes.

We’d also like to announce that we’re making it even easier for you to get loads of entries

The Gift of Giving Life will be 20% off from now until Mother’s Day on Amazon!

A friend of mine gave copies of the book to her mother, mother-in-law, and grandmothers for Mother’s Day last year. Think of all the wonderful mothers you know whose hearts would be warmed by The Gift of Giving Life. Buying the book earns you four entries into each of our prize giveaways and one entry to our spiritual childbirth education class giveaway! Head over to Amazon and take advantage of this super deal.

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The Errand of Angels

April 22, 2014 in Adversity, Angels, Birth Stories, blessingway, Book, Book reviews, Giveaways, Lani, Loss, Mother Blessing, mother-centered baby shower, VBAC, Virtual Book Tour

Today’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from Meg of Naturally Meg. I had the honor of meeting Meg last summer at a Gift of Giving Life Party I hosted at my parents’ house. Robyn and I are on the right. Rachelle, one of Meg’s “angels” for her last pregnancy and birth, is on the left. Meg’s the one with the beautiful baby belly:

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So it warmed my heart to read in Meg’s post today about the support and love she received as she brought that baby into this world. Meg is a beautiful soul. And she also happens to be a cancer survivor. Her journey of battling and overcoming cancer is so inspiring. You can read about it HERE.

I love Meg’s post for our Virtual Book Tour. It’s all about the angels who have aided her in her motherhood journey. Here’s an excerpt:

The errand of angels is given to women.

In my experience of having babies, losing babies, bed rest, infertility, and postpartum recovery I have been so very, very blessed by many angels. Sometimes it’s been friends who are near and dear to me and other times it’s been women who have come out of the woodwork and been absolute miracles in my life. There have also been some very sacred times where it has been women spirits who I can not see but I have felt their calming influence as I’ve gone on my own journey of womanhood and motherhood.

You can read the rest of Meg’s beautiful post HERE. Then head over to our Virtual Book Tour page and enter to win some of our awesome giveaway prizes!

Start Telling Your Stories

April 17, 2014 in Adversity, Birth Stories, Book reviews, Grief, Lani, Loss, Virtual Book Tour

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“Read the book and start telling your stories.” -Ashlee Miller

2014-04-17 08.47.28 amToday’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from Ashlee Miller. Besides being a personal development trainer, Ashlee is a:

  • Vibrant mom of two fantastic boys and one beautiful girl who teach her how to love and live.
  • Happy wife to her husband (and business partner) of almost 15 years.
  • Teacher of faith-based results, natural healing, inner peace and prosperity
  • Student of the scriptures and other good works
  • Lover of delicious food, any kind of of travel, reading, and the beach!

Ashlee’s post is about stories and journeys, coming to terms with loss, and transformation and rebirth. Here’s an excerpt:

The thing about birth, is rarely do our stories just involve those last few hours of pregnancy and then the delivery of a brand new baby.  For most of us, our stories begin long before that as we overcome our excuses, our fears, our false beliefs about birth and ourselves.  We each are set on a path with different experiences and no story can be the same. Every story has triumph and conflict and there are both sad and happy endings.

My story includes more miscarriages than I can remember and three beautiful births.

Read the rest of her post HERE! Then share Ashlee’s post on facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to earn entries toward our awesome Virtual Book Tour prizes!

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