(Laura on the left with good friend, Jaymie)

I am the fabulous Laura Stewart. I’m the youngest of 6 kids, and definitely unlike any of the ones before. I was raised in the same house, my parents never moved – they’re still there. I’m finding that the more I experience life, the more I realize that I had a flat out great childhood! I didn’t think so when I was in it though.

I am on my third husband. I married young, at twenty-one, and divorced two months later. I caught him doing cocaine on our kitchen table and I refused to be the woman that thinks things will change with a little love.

On to husband number two. We married in the temple, and did everything the right way. He was perfect. We loved baseball and traveled around in our bee-boppin’ Geo Metro from baseball diamond to baseball diamond. Finally, we got serious after four-and-a-half-years of marriage and had a baby boy. DJ was six months old when his father, my husband, died of cardiac arrest. DJ is now fifteen.

I’ve been married to Sam Stewart for thirteen years. I also got a two-for-one special and had twins that are now twelve years old. All boys.

I now help out in a preschool a couple of hours each day as the tech and they pay me for it! I love it. I do. When a four-year-old tells you your hair is cute, it makes your day! I’ve been doing that for ten years.

For fun, I volunteer somewhere. I spend time with my kids anxiously engaged in a good cause. It’s not the season for me to worry about what I think is fun, maybe that’ll come later, maybe not right now!

I have been the Young Women’s president, the Relief Society president and held various other callings. I LOVE nursery but love Stake Young Women Camp even more. That week away from the world is just good for the soul. It’s also absolutely and completely exhausting. I mean completely. But, it’s good.

One thing I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it has taught me to recognize the tender mercies of the Lord. And when my mind is where it needs to be, I see them all over. When I lost my husband so suddenly, I had it good: I had people right there when I needed them; I had a supportive family. Not everyone has that.

I had my testimony strengthened when I had people close to me judging me and my ability to handle my husband’s passing at a young age, and to feel the Lord gently remind me that He loves me regardless, which has stayed with me forever. To feel my love deepen with Sam when our marriage hit a real rough spot due to my insensitivity, and having to fight for it does something to cement your eternal views and what it’s all about. This relationship goes on for eternity.

I love being a Mormon woman because that title alone brings great responsibilities and joys, and I welcome both. I still don’t understand when righteous Mormon women feel like they don’t measure up. Measure up to what? To who? That whole perfection thing? Nah, for me, it’s as simple as this: What season are you in? And what do you want out of it?

For more Portraits of Mormon Women, please click here.