Lorinda Belnap has lived in Manhattan for the past 20 years with her husband, Brent, and their six children in a three-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side. In addition to mothering six children in a small space, Lorinda has been a mother figure to countless New Yorkers as the wife of the stake president there for ten years.
Marnie Spencer’s body has been ravaged by cancer. But in a world where women are told that beauty is an indication of their worth, this mother of seven has found a different source of confidence: her knowledge that she is a beautiful spirit in the eyes of God.
Catherine Crittenden was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1987, as the mother of three young children. With a husband engaged in international business leadership, Catherine initially felt guilty she couldn’t do all the things other moms do, but prayer, time and an understanding of the Atonement allowed her to adapt her mothering style to meet her abilities and feel a sense of self-worth in the face of her disease. Today, she is grateful for the time she has to be a grandmother — not the grandmother who swims and goes to sporting events, but the one who listens, reads and is a friend.
A student of Latin and Greek and a budding education reformer, Lia Collings is already engaged in teaching her three young daughters about these things she loves. Lia takes inspiration on how to intertwine her scholarly and motherly pursuits from the passel of mothers in her New Haven, CT, branch. She solicited and compiled a book of essays about their experiences, which she entitled Choosing Motherhood.
Melissa Puente is an Emmy-winning television editor and a mother of two sets of twin boys, ages 4 and 2. With four boys under three, Melissa felt tension in her home that didn’t reflect her gratitude at having her children safely with her. She challenged herself to read parenting books and document her responses on her own website, Learning Mommy. She now takes her education as a mother as seriously as her education as a TV editor.
Sydney Young has five children, but she has never been pregnant. In this interview, Sydney describes her journey through four open adoptions and the assumption of guardianship over one teenager. She exemplifies devoted stewardship over children who have not been birthed to her, but who have been sealed to her.
Although Nancy McNabb lost a 22-month-old daughter to SIDS, her greatest challenge has been raising her autistic son Stewart. Nancy describes her tireless work with her 19-year-old son, her secrets to staying happily married with a special needs child, the role the gospel has played in her journey, and her work at the University of Illinois in autism education.
As a graduate of Caltech with a PhD in Chemistry, Elizabeth Krider understands science. She also understands that spiritual experiences are real. Elizabeth uses her knowledge of science and her faith in God to ask questions about how the world works, and she is now passing along that skill of scientific deductive reasoning to her children so that they, too, can understand the world around them.
Always drawn to art and the artistic process, Rebecca discovered hooked rugs when the youngest of her six children was in kindergarten. In the years since then, she has produced a large collection of rugs that reflect her spiritual searchings, her love for her children and family, and the joy she finds in creating something that inspires thoughtful contemplation in her audience.
Introduced to the gospel as a teenager in her native Hungary, Ildikó had to wait four years to be baptized due to her family’s disapproval. Ildikó discusses the challenges of joining a community that is still small in Hungary, marrying another Hungarian member and raising her three children in the Church there. She expresses confidence in the Savior’s role as head of the Church, the practical and spiritual safety that comes from living by its principles, and benefits of raising her children in the gospel.
Gabrielle Blair is best known as Design Mom, the founder of one of the most popular design and motherhood blogs on the web, named as one of Time magazine’s Top Websites of 2010. In this interview, Gabrielle reveals the spiritual and personal motivations behind the blog’s origins and purpose, as well as her own philosophies about mothering her six children and developing all mothers’ innate creativity.
Catherine Humphrey was married to her first husband for 28 years. Parents of six children, Catherine and her husband served together as mission presidents in Brazil when she was 32 years old. Their marriage slowly dissolved after she learned that her husband had embezzled from clients and been disbarred. As a single mother, she went back to school, completing a master’s degree and a Ph.D. Thirteen years after marrying her second husband, he was diagnosed with an acute brain disease that has slowly robbed him of cognition and function.
Fiona Phillips of Hampshire, England, gives us a glimpse into her life as the mother of six children, ranging in ages from 21 to 6. Her dedication to motherhood and her reliance on the Lord shine through in this interview.
This dynamic mother of five grown children shares her love of travel, of reading, of science and her admiration of her own mother. Camilla serves as the Church’s Public Affairs representative in the San Francisco Bay Area, and she further contributes to her community by being a trustee of the National Public Radio foundation, the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and Clog America.
Pauline Sanchez was born in her grandmother’s hogan on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. From the age of eight until graduation from high school, Pauline spent her school years living with a white family in northern Utah as part of the church’s Indian Placement Program. Pauline describes feeling lost within different worlds and how her native language helped her understand the value of her experiences. She is on the Advisory board at The Anasazi Foundation, a wilderness treatment program for troubled teens and their families. She, with her husband Ezekiel, were honored as the 2001 Arizona Parents of the Year, and in 2002 received the National Excellence in Parenting Award.
Saren Eyre Loosli, co-founder of the Power of Moms website, talks about how her educational background and her personal challenges as a mother of five young children led her to create a website that seeks to empower moms by creating networks of support and meaningful mothering resources. She also talks candidly about her own struggle to balance mothering with a desire to make an impact in the world, and how, ultimately those two goals are intertwined.
Although promised in her patriarchal blessing that she would be married in this lifetime and be the mother of children, Genie turned 39 still single. Demonstrating exceptional patience and humility in her prayers, Genie then met and married the father of seven children. The couple has since adopted two abused teenagers as well. Genie talks about being a stepmother and the challenge of giving up one’s whole will to the Lord.
Vicki Dalia is the mother of eighteen children, eight of whom are adopted. She also runs a family business and a non-profit orphanage in Guatemala. She sees the hand of the Lord guiding her work helping children. In this interview, Vicki tells of the trials and rewards of establishing the orphanage and offers a helpful perspective on parenting and living a gospel-centered life.
As her name suggests, Ruth epitomizes wise, eternal choices: After being the only one in her family to join the church in her native Bolivia, Ruth came to the United States to pursue additional training as a dentist. The death of her first child was crushing, but she chose to endure two more pregnancies, each resulting in a healthy child although requiring months of bed rest. She is currently pregnant a fourth time. Ruth discusses how she uses her time while on bed rest, how she uses her dental skills for good, and how she appreciates being able to spend time with her children.
From 1975 to 1981, Saroeun Eav fought for her life and the lives of her children as she suffered under the rule of the Khmer Rouge in her native country of Cambodia. In this excerpt from her life history, Saroeun tells of death-defying escapes, bearing children in labor camps, and, eventually, her escape to the United States where she joined the Church and raised her children in the gospel.
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