I am a Sweetheart to One and a Mommy to Four Loveable Babes, one of which is smiling down on us from Heaven. I am learning to dance in the rain. Come with me on my journey as I make the most out of Life's mud puddles.

Put on your rain boots. Great adventure lies ahead.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Getting to Know You


We are Amanda and David from Utah. We are ready to give our unconditional love to a child and expand our family through the miracle of adoption.  Thank you for taking the time to learn about our little family. 

Even though we do not know you yet, we have a great amount of respect and admiration for you.  We cannot truly understand everything you are going through but please know that we offer our sincere support and prayers.  We can only try to understand the difficulty in the decisions that lie ahead for you.  It is obvious the plan you are making is being made out of love, courage and selflessness and that you are trying to make the best decision for this child.  We hope that by looking at our photos and reading about our lives you will find comfort in knowing how much we want to share our lives with another child. 

Why we are Adopting

We have always known that we wanted a large family.  Thus, nine months and two weeks after we were married, our oldest - Emma - was born. Our joy and gratitude for her quickly led to another pregnancy, which ended prematurely in a life-threatening miscarriage for Amanda.  Heartbroken, we were told that due to the damage caused by the miscarriage, infertility may be an issue.

And so it has.

In the coming years, three siblings would miraculously join the family. A sister, Grace , and two brothers , Ashton and Bennett.  Some came easily and others took a lot of time and effort (like our four year wait for Ashton). But we are so grateful to have them, no matter the struggle.

Last January, our youngest – Bennett – passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. He would have been  20 months old the following week.  Even after an autopsy, we have no cause for his death. The last eighteen months have been grueling but we have clung to God and are holding each other close. It’s amazing what beauty and perspective can come out of ashes.

Due to continued infertility issues, we have decided to grow our family through adoption.

Our Story

David and Amanda met while attending college on the East Coast. David was on a baseball scholarship while Amanda was on a vocal scholarship. We both shared the same major and – as seniors – shared many of the same classes. After a year of studying, interacting, socializing and – eventually – dating, we found that we were a perfect fit. Not because we are alike but because our differences compliment each other so well.  We had our first kiss on the 4th of July and were married the following September. 

Best. Decision. Ever.

David and Amanda
David is a wonderful, playful and very “hands on” daddy and husband. Whether it is coaching Ashton’s t-ball team, bringing flowers to our girls after their theater or music performances or massaging Amanda’s feet at the end of the day. He is completely dedicated to being the best daddy and husband he can be. 

Before getting married, David was a gifted student and college baseball player who was a three-time captain and eventually went on to coach college baseball. He is deeply loved and respected by all who know him and can get along with just about anyone. 

After obtaining an MBA at a top business school, David has gone on to several business ventures. His passion is organizational development and training. We are blessed to have such a wonderful provider for our family so that Amanda can stay at home with our children and that we can provide the security and opportunities that we desire for our family.

Amanda is blessed to be a Homemaker and Stay-at-Home Mom. Outside of her routine mommy duties,  she enjoys writing, singing, cooking, developing new recipes, decorating, traveling and reading.  

Before getting married,  Amanda had opportunities to travel and study abroad  in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean. She loves taking the lessons she learned from her travels and sharing them with her children as they dream and plan their own adventures. She feels blessed to be married to the Man she respects and adores most and equally blessed to be a Mother.

Our Children

Effervescent Emma - Emma is ten years old and is such a blessing to our family.  She is a gifted Harpist, a budding Artist, a lover of babies, an Organizer of all things, and is one of the most  kind and thoughtful people we know. To know her is to love her.  

Giggling Grace - Grace is eight years old and brings so much Joy to our family. She loves creating beautiful music on the Piano, completing secret acts of service for others and creating handmade gifts for  those she loves. Our family would not be complete without her.

Adventurous Ashton - Ashton is four years old and is boy, boy, boy. He is passionate about all-things-wheels and prays nightly for "the monster truck show to come back to town." He loves dirt, rocks, riding his big wheel and is currently begging Mommy and Daddy for a puppy.  Above all, Ashton has a tender heart. If he thinks he has hurt someone’s feelings, his big blue eyes fill with tears as his lip starts to quiver. How we love our sweet boy.

Our Sweet Angel Bennett - Bennett is our little boy that moved to heaven one year ago. Though he is not a physical part of our home at this time, he is still very much a part of our lives and an integral component in our Eternal Family unit. We look forward to being reunited with him again. We can’t wait.

Bennett is Contentment, Joy and Peace personified. In his short 19 ¾ months on earth, he touched many lives. We believe he served his mission on earth and is now on an adventure that is beyond what we can even imagine. We are so blessed to have him in our family.

Our Family

We are a family that loves to have fun. We greatly cherish the time we spend together, whether it is just the five of us, or if we’re with our extended families. 

We both come from very large families. David has two sisters and a brother while Amanda has two sisters and four brothers. We are fortunate enough to have a large family with 11 nieces and nephews. Our family gets together often and the children all enjoy playing together.  Holidays, birthdays and special occasions are best when spent with Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.

Our Faith 

Our faith is central to where we have come from, the choices we have made, and the values that guide our decisions and perspectives. Our religion is not what we do, it's who we are.

Before getting married, both David and Amanda served full time missions for our church. Though our experiences in our prospective areas were different, the take away was the same. Each of us were left with a concrete desire to live a gospel centered life and serve others while sharing our love for God and all His children with the world. Our belief of a Loving Father and His perfect plan is the center of our Marriage, our Family and our Home. Our faith has only strengthened since Bennett's death. Any child that joins our family will inherit the Legacy of Faith that we have been given and will be taught from Day One that they are a valued, cherished and beloved Child of God.

P a r e n t i n g   &   E d u c a t i o n

We will provide a life where a child feels secure in the love and support of their family. We will raise our children with Christian values and we will promote respect for all people.

Our children will be encouraged to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.  As college graduates (Amanda – one language class away from a bachelors,  David – Masters) , we will work with our children to provide a college education and other opportunities for growth and development.  We do our best to introduce our children to new adventures ~ music lessons, swim lessons, art classes, tennis lessons, soccer, t-ball,  etc.  We believe that some of the greatest educational opportunities in life, happen outside the classroom. And so we strive to provide as many of these opportunities as possible for our children. 

We also enjoy simple things like going to the park, taking Sunday strolls around the neighborhood, going on family bike rides after dinner, visiting friends and family, visiting local attractions or simply making our favorite caramel popcorn recipe and hunkering down for a Family Movie Night. We love being together and would love the opportunity to share these experiences and all of the love that we share with a little baby.

Our Home & Community

We recently built our final home in a charming, family-oriented neighborhood that is bookended by two horse pastures. This fall, we are beginning the landscaping process that will include a white picket fence, extensive flower beds, trees, flagstone pathways, large paved patio, outdoor dining area, fire pit, sandbox, raised vegetable garden boxes, fruit trees, playhouse, memorial garden in honor of our Angel Bennett and an outdoor spa area. We can hardly wait.

We are blessed to live among strong, dedicated families who share our values. We also have many parks, hiking trails and amusements within walking and driving distance.  Our home is two stories and has 4 large bedrooms with a basement to finish as needed in the future.  Our favorite place in our home is our large kitchen that opens up to a two-story great room that overlooks our backyard and the barns and pastures that border our property. It’s truly a little piece of heaven.

Our neighborhood is full of traditions: an annual summer bbq, july fireworks/dessert night, soup and rolls before trick-or-treating on Halloween and a Christmas Party for the ladies in the neighborhood. We can’t imagine living anywhere else.

How Adoption has touched our Family

Adoption has always been part of our lives and has touched our hearts in so many ways. After a four year struggle with infertility, we were in the process of adopting in 2007 when we found out we were miraculously expecting our first son. We also have friends and family that have adopted children and we have been in awe as we have watched the beauty of the process. We are fortunate to have these people in our lives so we can talk with them about their roles in adoption and how it affects everyone involved.  We definitely feel it has helped us to gain a better appreciation, insight and understanding.  

In conclusion, we have so much love to share with another child and we are excited to have the opportunity to expand our family through adoption. If we are given this privilege to adopt your baby, always know we will unconditionally love and cherish your child and they will forever know the sacrifices you have made out of love. 

Thank you once again for taking the time to read our story.  We wish you all the best in everything you do, especially in the coming months when you will be faced with some tough decisions. We respect your decision to follow your heart and pray that God will give you the strength and courage to do what is best for your child.

Love and Light,
David, Amanda, Emma, Grace & Ashton

Our family while hiking at Zions National Park

The Next Chapter

This year has introduced an entirely new chapter to our lives. Different than even the last. A page has turned and it's time to start a new part of our Family Story.

For awhile now, we having been trying to have a baby. On our own, at first, and then with medical assistance. But our baby has not yet found us. And so we are setting out to find him. 

After much heartache, disappointment, pondering and prayer, we are exploring other means of bringing the baby that is MEANT for our family into our loving home. In other words, we are starting the path to adoption. 

Having had four children (with three living), adoption could be difficult for us. Some would automatically rule our family out because we HAVE children. But we believe that God has a PERFECT plan for our family.

We believe that there is a tender birth mother out there who is anxious to have her child raised in a fun, nurturing, and loving home with a devoted father and mother and three older siblings that will love, cuddle and treasure her Beloved with all their hearts. 

We need your help to find that Mother. 

We are interested in doing what is called a Designated Adoption. That means that through our network of family and friends, WE will find the birth mother. 

This is where You come in. 

We know that many far and wide have read this blog. And out there - among the nearly half million hits - we know that many are aware of difficult situations. Situations where mothers cannot give the child they are carrying or currently hold in their arms all the stability, blessings and opportunities of life.  Though their maternal love runs deep, they know there is a better situation for their precious child to be raised in. 

And that is where We come in. 

From the bottom of my heart, I plead to you - my Sunshine Promises friends - who have walked this unexpected and difficult journey with us. Please help us complete this circle of Life. We have been blessed to give Life, we have deeply mourned when Life was unexpectedly taken, we strive to live each day as if it was our last and now we are ready to experience the Miracle of Life once more. We know that God's timing is perfect. Perfect. Whether we understand it or not. But we also know that it's up to us to do the footwork to qualify for these blessings. 

My next post will contain an introduction to our family and what we can offer to a precious child. What do we ask of you, friends? Please, please, please repost this and share it. And after you share it, please keep your eyes open and your hearts tuned for situations that may be a fit for our family. Then continue to share it again and again and again. 

What are we looking for? We are looking for a child two years old or younger (we do not have a gender preference). If there is a sibling pair, we would consider adopting both but would prefer them both to be two and younger. Given our family's life experience, we do not feel comfortable with foster care right now but would consider adopting a child in the foster care system that is currently eligible for adoption.

We are also open to adopting a child with a different race than us. If that were to happen, we would probably adopt two of the same race so that they could visually associate themselves with another member of our family. We recognize a child's need to belong and will do our best for fulfill their individual needs. 

After exploring so many diverse paths to achieving babyhood, we strongly feel that this is what we are supposed to be doing at this time. Please join us in spreading the word. We believe in Happy Endings and we believe that a Loving Heavenly Father and a Precious blond, blue-eyed Boy is crafting a magnificent 'happily ever after' for us.

We can hardly wait to live the Ending and start our New Beginning.

And You will make it all possible.

Thank you, friends. Thank you. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hello Again :0)

Wow. Has it REALLY been 1.5 months since I posted? SO much going on. Wow.

What have I been doing the last six weeks? Teaching, building, sharing, creating and comforting. Since I started educating others on the power of essential oils, my schedule has been packed with appointments. My clients include those that have lost a loved one, those that have critically ill children, parents of special need babes, those that have been victims of crime, single mothers that are holding it together on their own and those that suffer from the debilitating effects of anxiety and depression.

And that's just the beginning.

If you live in the Salt Lake, Utah area, I have an opportunity for you. I am holding a class in my home this Thursday evening @ 7:30 (June 28th) to share how Essential Oils can both heal and protect individuals and families with the emotional and physical effects of Depression, Anxiety, Grief and Loss.

Spots are first come, first served. If you are interested in joining me in our home, please email me at wilkinson_fam@yahoo.com

The new blog is taking longer than anticipated to design but hopefully we'll have it up this summer. Until then, I'll return to blogging here at Sunshine Promises. I really have missed you all so much.

Happy day, friends . . . xoxo

Monday, May 7, 2012

A little more info

Dear Sweet Friends,

I can't even tell you the response I've received since posting the last message Saturday evening. Thank you to all who have messaged, texted, emailed or called me. This subject clearly hit a nerve.

I have become well aware how many struggle with the very things I have dealt with the last year. Anxiety (and its cousins) are very intrusive. They move in, unpack their junk, spread it around your abode and quickly make themselves at home in the most intimate corners of your life. Such has been the case with me.

Because it will take some time for me to respond to each of you individually, I wanted to leave some information here if you wanted to find out more about essential oils.

Here's a great video to start out with:

If you are interested in checking out what Essential Oil products are available, check out www.mydoterra.com/healinghaven. To find out what oils you need to treat what ails you, check out www.everythingessential.me. It's a FABULOUS website.

For anxiety/depression, I suggest Citrus Bliss, Serenity, Elevate, Breathe and Balance. For tension/migraine headaches, I swear by PastTense. It is a godsend.

When you find some items that you feel will bless your family, contact me and I can get can get the oils to you at wholesale.

More information coming soon! Can't wait to launch the new website.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Journey

"Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." (Albert Einstein)

A few weeks ago, I shared with you my battle with Anxiety.

And Man, has it been a battle.

I wrote that post the end of December, posted it for a few hours in January and then pulled it because I felt too exposed. After all, I really have put myself out there. To the tune of more than 250,000 hits. But sometimes I have wondered where "the line" is. What information is too much information? From one moment to the next, I vacillate with my response.

After receiving email after email from people who had read my Anxiety post and who wanted to pass it on, I began to rethink my choice. Would my authenticity bordering on self exposure help someone else? For a time, I didn't know.

But Time is a Great Healer. As I progressed on the road, I no longer felt exposed in sharing the spectrum of my Grief. It was simply part of my story. I could see that in hindsight. And I wasn't ashamed.

Enter Chapter Two to this tale. Some of you may know that we are trying for another babe. It has been a sweetly stressful experience: 1)Sweet, because we greatly anticipate having another babe in our home, and 2)Stressful, because it is not happening as quickly as we would like.

Ok. Let's be real. It stinks. Royally.

Part of this process of "trying" (I hate that term) has been the decision I've made to completely get off my anxiety meds. In the beginning, just the thought of being medically unaided in my attacks would lead to more anxiety but - because my meds were "borderline" safe - I knew it was needful. I already have enough "what if's" in my heart. I don't want another reason to worry about my baby's development and health.

And so last winter, the search began. I needed to find a long term answer. Something healthy, natural but - MOST IMPORTANT - something that worked. Wonders, preferably.

I pled. I prayed. I searched. And - in time - I was lead. Masterfully. The answer arrived camouflaged in some small brown viles. "Take it," I was told by a Woman who knew Deep Grief. "It will help. I promise."

So I did. I immediately felt a lift. But I doubted that it could heal the gaping wounds that were my mind, heart and soul. But - as an act of desperation - I proceeded. I applied the contents of the viles two, sometimes even three, times a day. What did I find? I slept. Soundly. For the first time in a year. I breathed more easy. My stomach was settled. And my mind was still.

Did you read that? My. Mind. Was. Still.

In time, my belief in the healing abilities of these contents grew. I bought more Magic Bottles. This time to heal the tension headaches/migraines that were disabling me. I discovered a Master Mix that has changed my life. When I start to feel the onset of tension, I simply apply it to my neck, temples and forehead and - if needed - repeat in 15 minutes. The Master Mix COMPLETELY shuts down my headaches. This result is nothing less than a Tender Mercy from the Divine.

Because of this blog, many often relate their own stories of loss to me. At parks, in grocery stores, via email or facebook, at church or through a loved one. What have I learned? The Road of Grief is no respecter of persons. It has emotional, mental, physical and spiritual roadblocks for EVERYONE. Some - like me - may wonder if they will EVER be able to find healing in body, mind and spirit.

But I am here to testify that you can.

As I have witnessed the miraculous power of healing for both me and my family the last six months, I have begun to sing the praises of this Healing Gift. For me, Healing has come in the form of a Loving Heavenly Father, my faith that binds me to Him, my Husband and my Children and the path he lead me down to Essential Oils.

Anointing my body with Nature's most powerfully perfect remedies has been almost a spiritual experience. I have been reminded that God created the Earth and ALL things on it for Man. Maybe - just maybe - a Tender Father in Heaven understood in the Beginning what losing Bennett would do to this Mother's body, mind and spirit. And so He - the Omniscient Creator of ALL things - designed elements that would heal ALL that was broken. He knew that Essential Oils, Water and Music could change the frequency of the body and create an environment to Heal.

And so He did.

Millons of years (or so) later, here I sit, blessed by His knowledge, compassion and tenderness. Despite all odds, Mine is a story of Hope, Healing and Happiness. I am becoming whole in body, mind and spirit.

What is the consequence of this outcome? I want to shout out my Tale of Healing to the world. I want others to know that Healing - in every sense - IS possible. I want them to know that even when drugs, doctors, homeopaths and chiropractors have failed to diagnose and treat the inflammation of your body, mind and spirit, that there ARE other options.

Soon another chapter will begin. One of many more to come, I pray. In the coming weeks, I will be launching a new website. A website that continues to follow our Family's path to healing but one that includes the secrets that I am uncovering involving the power of essential oils. I will share how we anoint our bodies to take care our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. And I will continue to document our Path to Wholeness. My goal is to have a Healer in every Home. There is still much to be accomplished and I don't know that we'll ever be "done." It's an ongoing journey. But just knowing that is half the battle. And it's a battle worth waging.

So come with me. We have traveled together - hand in hand - through some of the most harrowing moments of my life. We have put on our rain boots (so to speak) and waded through the trenches of Grief, Loss, Gratitude, Faith and Joy. And - despite it all - we are still standing. Together.

So, thank you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Grief Observed: The Mind and Body

I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

(Howard Arnold Walter)

Remember this post? I wasn't kidding when I said that that Grief and Stress can greatly affect the body.

In October, I learned of some health issues that I was experiencing that were likely brought on by the overwhelming stress caused by multiple and major Life Changes last year. So I began treatments and started to simplify my life. I thought I had everything under control.

And then November hit.

One evening, I was sitting in bed, going over the digital files for our Christmas Card before we sent them to print. I remember looking over the content with David, shaking my head that this was REALLY our card this year. I couldn't bring myself to sign our individual names and not include Bennett and so I opted for signing our surname. Who would have thought these little things would be so hard?

Awhile later, the kids were tucked in their beds, long asleep, and David had drifted off into Dreamland. I had just switched off my lamp and laid my head on the pillow when the world began to cave in on me. I started choking, I couldn't breathe, my entire body was shaking, my heart was going crazy and I felt like I was going to black out.

In short, I felt like I was dying.

In fear of passing away in my sleep without David knowing, I shook him and muttered that we needed to get to the hospital. Fast. I was dying. I could feel it. I looked at the clock. It was 1 am. I picked up the phone and called my parents. I awoke them (of course) and begged them to come and watch our kids while David took me to the emergency room.

To be honest, I didn't know if I'd be coming back. I felt Life slipping from me. I have never been so scared in my Life.

Actually, I take that back. January 22nd takes the cake.

Now, a little clarification here. I am not afraid of Death. Quite the contrary. In a healthy way, I quite look forward to the Next Life. But right now, my family is in a vulnerable position. My kids need their Mommy and my Honey needs his Sweetheart. I knew that. And so - for their sake - I knew that it couldn't be my time to go. It just couldn't.

As my parents spoke to me on the phone, David pulled out the lap top. We started typing my symptoms into google. The results were not promising. A heart attack, Aneurysm, or Acute Anxiety Attack. The symptoms were hauntingly the same.

Ugh. Options, not good.

My Mom and Dad told me to get in the bathtub and see if if the symptoms subsided. If it was an anxiety attack, they would gradually diminish. If not, I probably should get to the hospital. Stat.

So I did.

Over the next hour, the symptoms DID subside. Eventually, I drifted off to sleep in my husband's arms, promising that I would get to the doctor sometime that week.

Well, that was #1 out of 4 attacks that occurred in the next 7 days. Each episode happened at different times, triggered by the unknown. Nothing overly emotional, upsetting or troubling preceding each one. They arrived unannounced, paralyzing me without a moment's notice. It. Was. Hell.

By the end of the week, I knew I had to see a Doctor. And fast. I made an appointment for that morning and was soon sitting knee to knee with our family practioner. As I discussed my symptoms, he asked me a series of questions surrounding my current Life Situation. When I gave him the Readers Digest version of this year's happenings, I thought he was going to fall off his chair. He just stared at me wide eyed.

And then we began to discuss options.

Side Note - At Bennett's viewing/funeral, I had multiple people recommend that we get on medication to help "numb the pain." I thought that was crazy. I felt it important that - as a family - we all be on the same page in our Grief. If we were going to walk this path, we were going to walk it together. That was my opinion.

That is, until the attacks began.

So my Doctor told me that a few things were necessary.
1 - I had to simplify. Everything. And I. Mean. EVERYTHING. That calling that I had just accepted to Chair our Congregation's Christmas Party? It was a no go. Wow. For Little Miss "Sign me up for it", this was going to be hard.
2 - I had to learn how to relax my mind, body and spirit. My Doctor suggested Meditation. I prefer prayer. I needed to find a way to take my mind to a Peaceful Place when I could feel Anxiety coming on. Hmmm . . . this was going to take practice.
3 - Medication WAS necessary. This would take care of itself in time but - until then - I had to be functioning. For Myself, for my Children and for my Sweetheart.

And so it goes. I've been on anxiety meds for two months now and I am happy to say that I am fully functioning and coherent. I am not numb and I completely feel the ups and downs of Life and Grief along with my family. The difference? I am not paralyzed with Anxiety and Fear. We have had to make changes and I have had to develop skills. Skills that I will use for the rest of my life. I don't know what triggered the attacks 10 months into our experience. It was probably more of "the straw that broke the camel's back" scenerio. But it is what it is. And we're dealing with it. Together.

Is my battle with Anxiety over? Hardly. I know I will deal with anxiety - to one extent or another - for the rest of my life. Especially when I have another babe. But I am not willing to let Fear get in the way of the greatest Joys in life. I will not. I will choose to Love. I will choose to have Hope. I will choose to keep Believing. And I will continue to Live.

The moral of the story? There are many things in life that you have no control over. And - at times - that sucks. But what you CAN control is the way that you deal with it. And taking care of yourself is the LEAST selfish thing you can do.

That's what I know for sure.

Guess Where I'm Headed?

To the Olympic Trials in Iowa to see my brother - Ben Kjar - vie for a place on the 
United States Olympic Wrestling Team. 

I'm thinking London in August sounds pretty good. :0)