Today is my oldest daughter Shelby’s 25th birthday. She was a beautiful baby with perfect little rosebud lips and I named her Shelby Rose. She came into this world without a fuss, and has been a blessing in all of our lives ever since. She is kind, thoughtful, loves her family, and is very determined(I think she got that from me:) After I married Chad she jumped up on his lap and said: “Well, I guess your my new dad now, you’re probably going to want to adopt me.” When she was in elementary school she came home and asked Chad if he would sponsor her to walk around the track at her school to raise money for the PTA. Chad agreed to give her a dollar per lap, and then she walked 6 miles! When it came time to pay up I think that he owed her around 50 bucks. She was a great gymnast and would jump on the trampoline for hours practicing her skills even when it snowed outside. She has always been determined to do the right things and I’ve never heard her talk bad about anyone.  She is always looking for ways to be of service. She is extremely talented, and also very organized(I know she didn’t get that from me:)

I got a message from Shelby recently asking me to call her. When I got a hold of her she said, “Guess what mom, I’m going to have a baby!” I was shocked but I don’t know why.  I told her, “Wow, that’s great news. I’m happy for you Shelbs.” But I felt kind of sad. I couldn’t shake the feeling all night and I kept thinking, “I won’t be there, I need to be there. This is my first grandchild, and I need to be there.” The next morning while I was praying I told my Father in heaven that I didn’t want to feel the way I did. I said: “I love my daughter, and I want to be happy for her and our family. Please give me strength to overcome these feelings.” Later that day I started to feel differently. I realized that this is going to be exactly what our family needs. We need to move forward, and a baby is going to be healing for all of us.  I talked to the kids, and they were all so excited. What a blessing this is going to be! Shelby is going to be an amazing mother, and I couldn’t be prouder of my beautiful daughter.

I reached out to my own mother last week. We don’t talk much, and I decided that I wanted to change that. I told her how grateful I am for the gifts and talents she passed onto me. I said: “Mom, thank you for giving me such a strong belief in myself. I’ve always believed I can do anything, and no matter how bad things get I won’t ever give up.” My mom said: “Oh no Portia, I didn’t give that to you, you were born with it. You came here with an indomitable spirit!” I got a letter from a friend recently who is active in criminal justice reform. In the letter he asked if I attributed my ability to survive prison as well as I have to divine intervention and the answer is yes! There is no doubt in my mind that I have been healed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and protected, and cared for by a loving Father in heaven. I know that it doesn’t matter what we’ve done, where we are, or what we’ve been through, if we turn to God with full purpose of heart he will heal us, and turn our suffering into joy. It won’t be easy; in fact, it will be a struggle; but we will emerge amazing people! When I was 21 years old getting ready to have my second child(Shelby). I didn’t know how things would ever work out. I made a promise to both of my children then that I would change my life; that I would find a good husband, and they would have a father who loved them. I asked God for help, and today I am a grateful grandmother to be, I have an amazing family, and I am a woman who reaches out to her Father in heaven diligently seeking to improve herself. If having an indomitable spirit means that no matter what happens you don’t ever give up then I have it:) To my sweet Shelby Rose, I love you amazing girl. Happy birthday!