We love to hear how The Power of Moms is lifting mothers worldwide, and this is where we’ll collect and publish the stories from our community of deliberate mothers:
A Complete Transformation
April and Saren,
I just need to tell you how much you have helped change my life. (I’ll explain a little more about my background later in my email.)
This past year has been AMAZING in so many ways. I lost 60 pounds, I won 5th place in the NATION for Gold’s Gym total transformation, we paid off $25,500 of debt in 15 months using Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Make Over. I ‘m going on my third knee surgery (which turned out to be three of seven) this year alone. I have learned to love being a mom.
But words can’t describe the misery and torment it was for me to be a mom. There were times I didn’t think I could go on.
Last September (2009), I started really focusing on how I could figure out this motherhood and be a good influence on my sweet daughters. Amazing things happened–especially the Power of Moms Retreat and Shawni’s book, Motherhood Book of Secrets.
I’ve been pleading with the Lord ever since before I had kids to be able to do this right. When I had my first daughter, it was nothing like I had imagined; it was mostly horrible.
She was sick a lot, she screamed, she wouldn’t let us hold her, she always had to be in the same room . . . basically we were not reading her love language correctly, and she was (and is) this super wise/smart spirit trapped in this little body, not knowing how to communicate with us. Her only saving grace her first year was that she slept.
Since then it has gotten better, a lot better. Since the Retreat, my motherhood experience has done a complete 360. I can’t believe how different everything in my life is.
**point of this email***
But today was the test of all tests. I cried because it was such a miracle. My daughter had come into the living room, and I was right behind her with my crutches-can’t move too fast.
She had taken our food envelope for the month which had $360 and had put it in the paper shredder. Five months ago I would have flipped a lid. Today I tried not to cry in front of her, and she knew something was wrong by the look in my eyes. I took her to her room and explained the situation. She cried for 20 minutes telling me she was sorry.
It was all my fault because I had used the shredder earlier today and had forgotten to turn it off. Also, leaving the leftover money in my file cupboard . . . not a good idea. But, hey, we learn the hard way sometimes.
I am still in shock, but I’m so proud of myself for how I reacted. If you only would have known me a year ago . . . actually I’m really glad you didn’t know me then.
I just can’t thank you both enough for what you have done for me. Feel free to pass this story along. You guys are changing the world, one mom at a time. I’m living proof of it.
I start my Learning Circle Tuesday the 14th. So excited–we’ve got nine moms coming. It should be a blast!
After publishing a few articles on the Power of Moms website last fall, I heard about their Learning Circles. After doing a bit of research, I thought it would be fabulous to start a group in my area. I started gathering a list of women I thought would be interested in reading and discussing an article a month on how to be better Women and Mothers. As I began compiling the list, I was amazed how guided I felt. I would add a name or two and would feel uneasy and than after mixing it up a bit, I felt peace. I wasn’t expecting this. This was a discussion group, for goodness sakes! And yet, when the list was finalized, I was not surprised to find that nearly every one of them was not only interested but ecstatic! Some even considered it an answer to prayer. What a win/win.
So January came. We decided to meet for the first time Tuesday, January 18th. The article for the month – “Defying Gravity.” Everyone came at 7 for appetizers/dessert and talking time and then we moved onto the article discussion at about 7:45. I was happily surprised how well everyone mixed and mingled. Like they had always been friends. God’s hand was in this Learning Circle. I knew it.
By the time we got to the article discussion, friendships were budding and trust was building and so others felt comfortable sharing their “gravity defying” life experiences. The discussion was incredible. It lifted my soul and encouraged me to step outside my box, dream big, believe in God and myself and soar. We all committed to having a gravity defying experience in the next month that we would report on in February. We left stoked and ready to take on ANY challenge that came our way. We. Were. Invincible.
Friday night, three days later, I put my Bennett to bed after having a Family Game Night. We walked up the stairs cuddling as we sang his “Bennett Song” (sung to the tune “The Farmer in the Dell”).
I love you, Bennett Boy
You are my Pride and Joy
I love you, Little Bennett
I love my Bennett Boy!
That week, he had just started singing the last word of each phrase with me (Boy, Joy, Boy). He was so proud of himself.
After laying him down on his little boppy, smothering him with kisses and pulling up his blanket to his chin, he rested his sweet, small hands atop the fuzzy blankie. Then – as always – he waved his little hand while saying”nigh nigh. nigh nigh.” This continued as he visually followed me out of the room and even after I closed the door in the hallway. His little voice warmed my heart and I remember thinking that Heaven must be like this moment.
The next morning we learned that Bennett had peacefully passed away during the night in his sleep.
That Saturday, I experienced the most gravity inducing moment of my life. It felt as if my entire world was crashing down on me. I couldn’t believe this was happening to us. Not Bennett! Not OUR baby! How could I live with this pain I was feeling? How could I breathe? How was I to tell his remaining three siblings that Bennett wouldn’t be coming back? I didn’t know you could hurt this much and still be alive.
And yet, I was. And now, I am.
I have learned much about Defying Gravity the last 8 weeks. I have learned that Defying Gravity can mean something different each day. Sometimes that means getting out of bed and taking a shower. Other days, it may be picking out a headstone for your child. On better days, it may be having a good cry with a friend over lunch or laughing with your sister until your sides hurt. And – most often – it probably is playing cars with my 3 year old, since he lost his best friend and playmate. To do lists fall by the wayside. Projects become secondary. And mealtimes may consist of cold cereal and fruit (for those who don’t know me, I am a foodie that typically LOVES experimenting in the kitchen but that is currently on the backburner). But that’s okay. Our reality has been redefined and everyday is full of “firsts.” And so – for a time – Life may have to wait while we. just. breathe.
Last friday evening, I had a full circle moment. Heather – one of my dearest friends and a member of our Learning Circle – was in a Broadway concert at a nearby concert hall. After our January challenge, she decided to do something that was hard for her. One of those things was trying out for a solo with the performing group she is a part of. A few weeks ago, she learned that she was given the “Defying Gravity” solo. How ironic is that? So Friday evening, I went with my sister to watch my friend experience her own “Defying Gravity” moment. It. Was. Magical.
Today, I’m going to have another Defying Gravity moment. I’m taking my 3 year old on a full grocery shopping trip for the first time since Bennett’s death. And we are going to choose the grocery cart with the 2-kid car on the front. We haven’t used that cart in more than 8 weeks but we are going to use it today. Yes, I will notice that it is 1/2 empty and Yes, it will bring back tender memories of the last time I went grocery shopping with my two boys. But we are doing it. We are doing it. And in doing hard things, I am becoming stronger and stronger every day. I will never “get over” Bennett. You never outgrow your love or need for your children. But we will go forward. We will. And in going forward, we will honor Bennett and our quest to be a “happy eternal family.” We WILL laugh. We WILL live. We WILL love. And we WILL do hard things.
And – in doing so – we WILL Defy Gravity.
Learning to Bloom
I found The Power of Moms just when my mother heart needed it. Then the Bloom Game helped put my heart in motion.
For a long time, I had felt somewhat dissatisfied with life. The piles of laundry and dishes mocked me; I felt disconnected from my four little ones and was generally irritated. I had been writing fitness articles on the side, trying to keep a connection to the adult world. On one particular day I wrote a post on “mom butt,” or how to keep your backside from heading south. At a dear friend’s house later that day I just shook my head. “Heidi, I feel like I have stooped to an all-time low. I am not a superficial person…and mom butt is superficial! There has to be more out there. I know I have something of meaning to offer.”
“Well, I know a website dedicated to supporting mothers,” she said. “You should check it out. The article today is on ways to strengthen motherhood and change the world. (Three Ways to Strengthen Motherhood and Change the World) Changing the world?! If that isn’t a lofty goal, then I don’t know what is!” she finished.
I went right home, saw the site, and maybe like you, knew my soul’s cry had been heard. After basking in the heart and wisdom of the articles, I knew I wanted to try Bloom.
The assessments were eye-opening; I didn’t realize, for example, that although summertime, I was spending no time outside. Setting that one little goal to be outdoors for 20 minutes ended up being the key to serendipity and summer’s cherished memories. I scooped my children up one late morning and spun them around the yard. They squealed with delight, wondering who this fun, free woman was. Later that week I lept around in a light rain fall with my oldest, my heart doing most of the dancing. My listlessness was evaporating and motherhood began to take on purpose and hope again. Bloom was changing my life.
I am Dawn Wessman, a Blooming mother of four littles, ages seven and under. I am ten years married to my husband-still-boyfriend Rob, who gives me wings to fly. I didn’t grow up around kids, so this ride called motherhood is wild and exciting one for me. It surprised me how passionately I love and enjoy my children. (And some of the enjoyment is in retrospect when my three year-old gives me ample material to write about.) Nurturing children is challenging and pushes me to change at an incredible rate; this brings me both great satisfaction and circles under my eyes.
I lead cycling, weight lifting, bootcamp, yoga, and pilates classes around the Salt Lake Valley on the side — and mothering is as hard and exciting on my soul as any great workout would be on the body. My greatest challenge in mothering is aligning my actions with my knowledge. I’m so grateful that Power of Moms is helping me become the mother I really want to be.
Yours in Motherhood,
– Dawn Wessman