baptism de ezzy

Ezzy–we participated in your baptism this month. We are so proud of you for making the decision to follow Jesus. Lately, you are consistently the first one to remind the other kids when they have forgotten a prayer at the table. You are maturing before our eyes, physically and mentally, and we are so pleased with what we see. Your face glows with happiness and love. You take your responsibility as the oldest girl very seriously. You are almost always the first to offer assistance and to help me and the other children. We are privileged to have you in our home.


Ezzy wore my baptism dress. A splish of Oxyclean and a splash of vinegar later….a perfectly white dress that fit her perfectly. It brought me great joy to pull the dress out of my hope chest–like a dream that I never thought would be realized.

I remember standing in my grandmother’s bedroom as she and my mom dressed me for my own baptism some 25 years ago. It was my eighth birthday, and I had just gotten a perm and pierced ears as presents from grandma. Mom worked so hard to sew my dress and to have it ready for me. She also crafted a small box for my new earings. It had a rainbow design across with a blue piece of yarn that secured the box in place. I remember it as though it were yesterday–wishing desperately that Ezzy’s great-grandma was still here. The picture of Grandma Penning doing Ezzy’s hair is that much sweeter to me because of my memories.


Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend and support this special event in our daughter’s life. It is a day that will stay with her for the rest of her life, as mine has with me. These are the things that matter most to us, and we are so grateful to have such a broad circle of influence around our family.

Thanks for flying, Grandma and Grandpa Penning!

flyin’ by

Ezzy’s eighth year is going so fast. She started attending Activity Days. One of her first activities was a Daddy Daughter Dinner. How cool is it that she has a daddy to take her?


October always bring Fall Conference to our home. It is one of only two times a year that we intentionally stay home for church–glorious internet. The kids did awesome. They sat through all four sessions of conference while coloring ties and pictures of the speakers, and writing down the main themes of each talk. What a difference a year makes when it comes to communication, right?


I started exercising again today. Yeah, it was only a mile walk. But I also went out and walked with the kids later in the day too. Maybe my motivation is slowly returning. It would be really good for it to hit around the holidays. Perhaps it will stave off extreme amounts of weight gain due to even more extreme amounts of consumed peanut brittle and sugar cookies. :)

for better or worse


I am not really sure what to write. Unfamiliar territory. I always envisioned ONE temple sealing–my marriage to Adam. Although we talked about adoption very early on, even as we dated, I never considered the possibility of participating in another sealing.

Adam and I decided to go to the temple a little early so that we could have some quiet time to reflect before the event. Our assigned helpers were floored that we managed to arrive early with four children in tow. “Usually families are late, never early…” Okay, so we had a little incentive to arrive early. 1. our house was crawling with loved ones and 2. we knew we could drop the kids in the nursery and head to the cafeteria. Adam munched on a cinnamon roll while I blubbered on about our kids.

What did I feel? Joy. Humility. Wonder. Overwhelmed by the sea of loved ones who graced the sealing room. Grateful for the deepened sense of solidarity I felt between Adam and I.

What is the temple sealing all about? It is about binding families together forever. We do not believe in “until death do you part,” but instead in “time and all eternity.” It is about exactness, honor, and glory. Temple worship is also about conducting our lives in a way complementary to the Savior’s–trying our best to emulate his teachings, his example, and his goodness.


This picture is almost everyone that was able to attend. There are also many more loved ones and friends that were unable to enter the temple, but who were just as supportive and attentive to our family. We thank you all for your kindness and your support of our children. The ninos’ journey has only just begun, and I already see small miracles coming to pass.

I know that many adoptive families (not all) struggle with Doubting Thomases in their midst. I know that they struggle with the varying levels of support and concern from different family members and friends inside their circles of influence. I am not saying that our own people didn’t think we were crazy. Some did. Heck, we were among them at times! But we knew this adoption was meant to be from the moment we finally decided to go forward in October 2007–and we have felt nothing but joy and unconditional love since.

Go here for more sealing pictures.

and the gathering begins…

Our weekend of celebration with family and friends started Friday night with Daniel’s baptism. Due to scheduling issues, we held the baptism in our friends’pool. Well, actually in the hottub. (Thank you for heating it, Jeremy) Our guests were very very patient as we waited for my family’s plane to arrive. They were delayed in Seattle for 1.5 hours, which delayed the baptism until 8:30. Thank you, thank you, for being patient and flexible. We fed our guests some yumminess while we waited, which helped. :) Who says you can’t have dessert first?


The talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost were given in Spanish–thanks Uncles Robert and Seth. Adam baptized Danny (in Spanish), Grandpa McCracken and Uncle Mike were the baptismal witnesses, and Uncle Brian confirmed him. The grandmas said the opening and closing prayers. A special thanks to Mark Stewart for not only conducting the baptism, but also presiding over the children’s blessings on Sunday. My sweet girlfriends, Jaime Lynne, Jena, and Valerie, took care of the music, the program, and the delicious mini cheesecakes and other desserts that night. They outdid themselves as usual!

Danny was ecstatic about the evening!!!


Daniel, we are so proud of you. You are clever and warm-hearted. You are amiable and sensitive. You try your best at everything you do, and your sweet smile melts my heart. Right now, your favorite things are climbing, baseball, and scouts. Oh, and how can we forget the Wii. Thank you for giving us the chance to be your parents, and to teach you about the Savior.

easter tidings

It is the beautiful Easter season, and I feel compelled to share this beautiful video. It reminds me of our Savior’s sacrifice, and helps me remember that Jesus has been by my side through every fertility struggle, every lonely moment, and every difficult decision. I am grateful for his sacrifice in death. And I am even more grateful for the hope and glory his resurrection provides.

If there are any among you who are confused as to what we believe, or who doubt our devotion to the Lord Jesus, please take this as a small testimony of our faith, of our belief in his divinity, and of his power to heal our hearts.


In the next two posts we will be sharing our son’s (Danny) baptism, and our family trip to the temple. I am excited to share it with our family and friends who live far away. I also can’t wait to share our special weekend with those of you who we have never met, yet think of as friends, regardless of our different religious backgrounds.

thank you is a good place to start

It has been an impressive, emotional, unforgettable week here at the McCracken home. It will take a few days for me to sort through all of the pictures and events. For those who didn’t make it this weekend, be prepared for a barrage of pictures and text. So much happened in so little time–I can’t wait to document it all. There might even be some tears on your end. Heaven knows there were many happy tears on ours.

Knowing that sorting pics might take awhile, I don’t want too much time to go by without thanking everyone who did make the effort to attend. From the bottom of our hearts we thank each of you for your participation, support, and hard work. Whether you prepared food, provided supplies, donated time, or simply arranged your schedule to be in attendance….we thank you. We appreciate you. We honor each of your efforts in gracing our family.

Our children feel so much love. I see your patience, your caring and your kindness healing their little wounded hearts. It is unbelievable to me, eight months into this journey, how much gratitude I feel for each person who has stayed the course along side Adam and me. Our love for each of you continues to grow. We know you continue to invest in our children and in us. Sometimes that is not an easy thing. And yet, you continue on. That is why we care so deeply for each of you. That is why sharing this weekend with our close family and friends meant so much to us.

Whether you came from across the street, across town, or across a few states, we are grateful for your investment in our family. Whether you are of our Faith or not, we are grateful for your support. Whether you have known us for decades, or for a few short months, we feel gratitude for your service on our behalf. We would not change our situation for anything in the world. Thank You!!!

brookie’s baptism


Our little Brookie was baptized last month. Look how grown up she is. The ninos and I made our way up to Logan, UT for the festivities. That meant that Adam and I spent Valentine’s Day apart. But small sacrifices are worth the big difference it makes in a little girl’s life.

While we were in Logan the children were able to play in the snow. And play they did. In fact, I didn’t see them most of the weekend. Uncle Brian brought down snow clothes from the lake, which made their second snow experience much more enjoyable. They played from sun-up to sun-down, and then hottubbed with Sponge Bob until bed. For me, it was the easiest single parent weekend I could have asked for. I was able to play games with the adults most of the time. Yeah!

The best part of the kids’ snow play was watching Danny on the snowboard. Brian and Jaimee’s house is surrounded by massive hills so Danny got a lot of practice in. And since I am snowboard illiterate, Danny was left to teach himself. Here’s a video of his efforts:


There’s no holding this boy back. He totally has first child syndrome! Needless to say, we had a blast in Logan, as usual. We are super proud of Brookie and her decision to be baptized. We can’t wait for Danny’s baptism at the end of this month.



Yes, that is Juan P. in a pink coat. But it is the only one that fit him. I can’t wait to post this picture at his wedding reception. :)


Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says (Anglican) Bishop

Here’s a great story I read on Time a few days ago. It is from an interview with N.T. “Tom” Wright, the Bishop of Durham (fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England) regarding the false idea that heaven is a place to play harps and hop across clouds.

In the Bible we are told that you die, and enter an intermediate state. St. Paul is very clear that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead already, but that nobody else has yet. Secondly, our physical state. The New Testament says that when Christ does return, the dead will experience a whole new life: not just our soul, but our bodies. And finally, the location. At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, “Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven.” It says that Christ is coming here, to join together the heavens and the Earth in an act of new creation.

Now, read Alma 40 (from the Book of Mormon)


What the New Testament really says is God wants you to be a renewed human being helping him to renew his creation, and his resurrection was the opening bell. And when he returns to fulfil the plan, you won’t be going up there to him, he’ll be coming down here.

Hmm, sounds an awful lot like this:

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

While these are things we in the LDS Church are taught from a very young age, it’s good to see that others who read the scriptures closely come away with the same ideas. I’m glad that heaven is a place where we can be actively involved in good things. Seems it would be kind of boring after an eternity or two otherwise. :)