Friday, April 22, 2011

"Tangled" Times Six

So I liked Tangled the first time I saw—ok seriously more like loved it!  And I was kind of excited to read on sub plans that we would be watching it in class on Tuesday.  But now, at the end of the week, I have seen the beginning two-thirds of the movie SIX times.  With three of those times being in Spanish and having to read the English subtitles to follow along.  To be honest, I’m kind of beginning to get sick of it.  I think I need a “Tangled” break.

Even after watching it so many times, it is a still must own movie!  I don’t think this movie was written to be LDS but holy cow is it ever.  Think about it.  A girl is born to Royal Parents but then has to leave their presence.  And she forgets that she is a princess.  Her agency (free will) is taken away.  But her Royal Parents send Floating Lanterns to remind her who she is—even though they can’t be with her.  The whole movie is about remembering who you are and where we came from.  Each of us is truly royal by birth—children of Heavenly Parents.  But as we left their presence and came to Earth, it is easy to forget who we are or where we can return to.  At the times when remembering I am a Princess is the most difficult, that is when Heavenly Father will send gentle floating lanterns to remind me.

I love knowing that I am a Real Princess—royal by birth.  Because my Heavenly Father is the King.  And that means that I am married to my Prince Charming.  
Life really is a fairy tale! :)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Talk of Prom

Prom is on Saturday—at least at the school I was subbing at today.  I want to go!  I want to relive being asked to the prom with a HUGE bag of peanuts, dumping them on the living room floor, and having to crack them open to find single letters and then solve the puzzle.  I want to relive decorating Casey’s room—like full out to answer him back.  (Then again maybe I don’t want this so much anymore because that means I would be “decorating” my own room aka putting ribbon and confetti and streamers and posters and colored cellophane and balloons and etc everywhere.  And I don’t really want to have to clean up that giant mess.)  I want to relive the first time I held Casey’s hand.  Ok, so our hand holding connection was for less than a minute and by force so we don’t really count it as our first time holding hands but… whatever!  (See our hand hold—love that it was captured by photograph... forget that it was forced by the photographer!)
I want to relive wearing my pale yellow prom dress and Casey wearing a matching yellow shirt.  We still have both of them.  Maybe we should wear them again, just for fun.  I want to relive getting a wrist corsage.  I wish I could say I still had that one but unfortunately, it got thrown away.  I want to relive eating dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory and passing salt sneakily around the table with our group and laughing about nothing.  I (don’t) want to relive Casey’s car having problems getting there and forgetting the tickets.  I would be ok if we never have car problems again… LoL!  I want to relive dancing in the barn and stumbling over each other’s feet and staring into his eyes thinking my life was perfect.  I want to relive hearing him tell me I’m beautiful and thanking me for dressing modestly.  I want to relive “Making Memories of Us!”

And then I realize, I do get to relive prom—practically every day of my life.  At least parts of it! :D  Casey still asks me on dates and sometimes he does something cute!  I get to decorate our room (with simple) love notes—and I do so occasionally.  I leave him love notes in other places too (and so does he).  We hold hands EVERY where we go—and even at home.  It is magical and wonderful.  My hand is never lonely anymore. ;)  (Here is a picture to prove our constant holding hands.  Neither of us had any idea this picture was being taken.  But it shows how much we love being together!)  
We match a lot—especially at church and I love it!!  Casey has given me other flowers!  Some of them that last forever and so we don’t have to worry about it getting thrown out! :D  We have gone back to The Old Spaghetti Factory often to celebrate huge events—our engagement, our wedding breakfast, milestone anniversaries, just for fun.  Unfortunately, Casey’s car has the check engine light on right now.  We have gone to other dances, still stumbled over each other’s feet, and stared into each other’s eyes knowing our lives are perfect.  He tells me I’m cute daily, thinks I am absolutely gorgeous and constantly thanks me for dressing modestly and setting a good example for others (including our future children).  And so I live each and every day of my life, “Making Memories of Us!”

And today is a special memory for us!  17 months ago, our life together began.  We really matched; I had my own bouquet; we danced and stumbled over our feet and my dress; we ate at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  It was a WONDERFUL day—even better than Prom! :D


Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Realization

Easter is finally less than a week away!!  Yipee! :)   I love Easter!  Growing up, I normally would claim Easter as my favorite--even over Christmas.  And it is not like my family would do anything huge for it.  We would normally have a nice dinner with ham and pineapple and get Easter baskets.  We would also go to Easter egg hunts the day before.  Just the normal things.  So it was almost surprising that I would love it so much.

But I did and I still do.  Easter is all about remembering Christ and coming closer to Him.  It is about the Atonement and knowing that He suffered everything so I won't have to.  It is about being Resurrected and living again and knowing that I will live again too.  Easter is a reminder that my sins have been washed away.  With all the wonderful blessings and gifts Jesus Christ gave me, is it any wonder that I love Easter so much?

As I was sitting in Sacrament yesterday, my mind was kind of wandering.  There were some announcements alerting everyone to expect change on May 1st.  Speculations are running high and I was thinking about that--wondering what will happen.

The Sacrament Hymn pulled me back into the reason I even attend church.  It is not for the building or the people we may or may not be with.  It is for me.  I go to church every Sunday because I want to take the Sacrament.  This is the most important few minutes of my entire week and I hate when I have to miss it!

"As now I take the Sacrament,  My thoughts are turned to thee,  Thou Son of God, who lived for me,  Then died on Calvary.  I contemplate thy lasting grace,  Thy boundless charity;  To me the gift of life was giv'n, For all eternity."  (As Now We Take the Sacrament)
 As I sat there, thinking and praying, and enjoying the sweet feelings of the Holy Ghost, I realized that I celebrate Easter each and every week.  The bread represents taking on myself the name of Christ and His body.  In a sense it is the Resurrection and the gift to be able to live again and to know that death is not the end.  The water represents Christ shedding blood for me.  It is the Atonement.  But more importantly, the water represents the gift I was given to be able to repent of my sins.  It is Sanctification.  This is the best part of Easter!

I am SO thankful to believe in a loving Savior who freely sacrificed not only for me but for every person that ever walked the Earth.  I know that through His Atonement, my sins can be washed away.  And also that through the Atonement all the pain, suffering, and problems I face will be made right.  He has already paid the price for my trials--I just have to give it to Him.  I also know that Christ still lives.  He was Resurrected 3 days later and I know I can be too.  I love Easter not because of the candy or bunnies or family dinners but because of what it means to me.  And I love having the opportunity to truly celebrate this wonderful holiday every week! :)

Have no idea what any of this means?  Browse and specifically the FAQ, "What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ?  Why is it necessary for Jesus Christ to sacrifice His life?" and "What are Mormon Church services like?"  Or leave a comment--I will reply! :D

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Joy of Visiting Teaching

Last night, I think I finally began to understood the true joy that comes from visiting teaching.

I have thought a lot about a talk from the Relief Society Broadcast 2010 given by Barbara Thompson.  (The words from General Conference truly become part of me when I listen to them constantly while I am exercising.)  She said, "The beauty of visiting teaching is not to see 100 percent on the monthly report; the beauty of visiting teaching is seeing lives changed, tears wiped away, testimonies growing, people loved, families strengthened, people cheered, the hungry fed, the sick visited, and those who are mourning comforted. Actually, visiting teaching is never done because we watch over and strengthen always."  Later she continues by saying other blessings that come to you personally by being a visiting teacher are you get to know and become friends with others that you may not have had the chance to otherwise meet.

We attend a married student ward and change is a constant for us.  People move in and out often--especially when the semester ends.  We rotate through callings fairly quickly just because there are holes that need to be filled.  We have attended our ward for about 15 months now and I have had 5 different callings.  Along with that visiting teaching assignments fluctuate often.  It is not uncommon to have a new companion, sisters to visit or new people visiting you every other month--sometimes even every month.

But somehow despite the constant change, I have been richly blessed to be able to be with the same companion for at least the entire school year, if not longer--I can't remember when we were first assigned to be companions.  We are so completely opposite and I don't think we ever would have met except for being assigned to go visiting teaching together.  She is from California, attends UVU majoring in community health, served a mission to Tennessee, is going to be a model for ModBod, and is addicted to Lost.  Yup... none of those things connect to me.  When we were first assigned to be companions, I didn't even know who she was.  We figured out our schedules and went, probably more out of obligation and to check it off our lists than out of love.  But slowly that obligation has transformed into love.

And last night, I witnessed that change... that love.  We were at one of our sister's home for well over an hour.  Yeah, it was a long time but we didn't realize it until we left.  We were all just laughing and talking.  And laughing some more.  We realized we have all had similar experiences, all experienced struggles, and each one of us has THE best husband ever.  I can't speak for my companion or the girl we were visiting but I know my testimony was strengthened.  My life was changed.  My heart was cheered.  And a friendship developed that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

what's forever?

I love early morning workouts and honestly enjoy getting up before the sun.  I am to just get so much done everyday.  But I especially like waking up early because that means I can see Casey before he leaves for work & school.  And hearing him say "I love you forever!"  This morning I was thinking about the song "Marry Me" by Train.
"Forever could never be long enough for me.                                            To feel like I've had long enough with you."
It is a fairly popular song right now and I hear it often on the radio.  But today, Casey took the time to explain forever.  And now I think I like this song even more! :)

Forever is not dependent on the shortcomings of man but rather the perfections of God.  Forever can't fall and break (this would be in reference to my computer yesterday--fortunately, Casey fixed it!!!).  It doesn't require the right combination of mouse clicks.  Forever is not based on the amount of coupons you find or money saved.  It does not require dinner to come out of the oven perfect (last night we got impatient and ended up eating cold enchiladas--thank you microwave!!)

Forever is an accumulation of the little things (is it any wonder we are counseled to pray, read our scriptures, go to church, etc so often).  Forever is looking past those little things that drive you crazy.  It is learning how to communicate and realizing that somethings are better off not being said.  It is constant support through the good and the bad.  Forever is where I want to be with my best friend.

I am SOOOOO grateful that on our wedding day, we never heard the words "till death do you part" (or however that phrase goes) but rather "married for time and all eternity!"  I'm thankful for my faith.  I'm love that death is not the end of life but rather a new beginning.  My favorite part is knowing we really can be together forever because we were married in the right place with the right authority.  And the Lord has promised that by our worthiness, we will be sealed together forever!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Power of Couple Prayer

For about a month, we have been experimenting with some counsel given to us at Stake Conference.  This was originally shared by Elder Randy W. Wilkinson.  He is an area 70 and was presiding at our Stake Conference.  His advice has changed our lives.  I can already see the positive effects--our love is stronger, our prayers are meaningful, our faith is increasing, our friendship is growing.  So what was the advice that is day by day strengthening our marriage?

It is simple really.  All we had to do was to change the way and what we are praying for.  Casey and I have made a goal to each say at least one of these prayers everyday.

Elder Wilkinson taught us how to pray with purpose and with love.  And now I'm going to teach you what we learned. :)  While you are praying together as a couple, explain to Heavenly Father how grateful you are for your spouse and why.  Tell Him why you need your spouse and how your spouse truly blesses your life.  Explain to Heavenly Father how deep your love is for your spouse and why you trust him/her.  Etc!!!  (So example....  While I am praying, I would include something like, "I'm so grateful for Casey working so hard at school and his job.  I know he is really busy but I appreciate his sacrifice.  His hard work really blesses our family and I know that he will continue to be able to provide for our future family.")  Your spouse needs to hear you tell Heavenly Father all of those things on a regular basis.

We had never really prayed like that before.  I guess we kind of took each other for granted in some regards but now, these prayers become some of our favorite--and longest.  I'm so excited to listen for what Casey will pray about that day and I imagine he is just as eager.  All of the sudden, I know that Casey actually appreciates all the time I spent doing the laundry, cooking a nice dinner, choosing to workout.

We were challenged by Elder Wilkinson to pray on a regular basis following the pattern he just taught.  So will you?  I know it brings countless blessings and fills our home with love.  It constantly invites the spirit to join us.  It helps me remember how blessed I am to have such an amazing companion--one whom I am privileged to spend the rest of my life but more importantly all of eternity with.
P.S.  I already shared some great counsel from our Stake President called "Things to Nourish."  And honestly, his advice fits hand in hand with Elder Wilkinson's.  A marriage really does need expressions of gratitude to make it even better.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Preparing for Easter

So I was thinking about Easter coming up.  I have always LOVED Easter--seriously probably one of my very favorite holidays.  This Easter is going to be different though.  I have changed.  Physically.  I choose to change and I am going to stick with it because I know I am worth it!  Anyway... that is not about what this post is about.
And honestly, that is not was Easter is about either.  Easter is really about the best gift ever given, the Atonement and Jesus Christ sacrificing so freely and giving so much for me... for everyone.  So instead of looking forward to baskets filled with chocolate, jelly beans, peeps... calories!  I am going to look forward to coming closer to the Savior.

I have realized that I am committed to being better physically.  I am proving that one healthy choice, one sweaty workout, one day at a time.  So now it is time to prove I am committed to being better spiritually.  One meaningful prayer, one personal scripture study, one family scripture study, one day at a time.

So here is the challenge.  Everyday between now and Easter, I am going to (1) study the scriptures by myself, (2) with my sweetheart, and (3) have a thought provoking and time required prayer.  I want to improve!  I have been doing fairly decent in the past but would occasionally miss days for whatever reason or not get as much out of it as I could.  This Easter season, I am going to be focusing on the reason for the holiday instead of the sugar packed hopping bunny.  And I know this goal is going to help me become who I truly want to be--absolutely beautiful, inside and out. :D

I hope you will join me as we all prepare to celebrate Easter!  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Inspired by Pres. Packer

Yesterday afternoon in between the morning and afternoon general conference sessions, I was working on adding a tag that identified us as being Mormon.  I googled "I am a Mormon tag" and then found one that I liked.  I edited the tag in Gimp (I am finally beginning to understand how to use this!!) because I wanted the background to be transparent but more importantly, I wanted the tag to say "We are Mormon."  This blog is not just I or me but rather us and we.  Right before the afternoon session began, I finished and uploaded our "We are Mormon" tag.

Well... look to the right.  (It is below our Dream Life Buddies.)  It no longer says, "We are Mormon."  Pres. Boyd K. Packer was the first speaker in afternoon session.  He began his talk by identifying the name and why we call it The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is because this really is Christ's church and because of that we are called after His name.  He then said (not exact quote--just what I remember) that it is one thing for others to call us the Mormons but it is entirely different for us to call ourselves the Mormons.  This is not Mormon's church and so the name should not be credited to him.

Needless to say, I changed our tag.  It now says, "We are members of."  I know this isn't a huge deal but I figured it was an easy way for me to support what our modern day leaders are saying.
I found many other tiny gems while I was listening yesterday and am eager to listen again today.  I know my life is blessed when I obey the teachings of the Living Prophets and Apostles.  Before I can follow their teachings, I first have to know what they are saying and what the expectations are.

Also, please note:  for those of you that are reading this post and don't really understand what any of this means, please click on the tag to the right in the sidebar.  It will take you to (actual church sponsored website--kind of funny about the name now...) and you can explore our beliefs.  My faith really is everything in my life.  Because of it, I know that Heavenly Father lives and loves me personally.  I know He hears my prayers and answers every single one of them.  I know Jesus Christ suffered and died for my sins so I can be clean.  And I also know that because of the gift of the Atonement, I can live forever.  I am very blessed though because I won't just be living forever, I will be living forever with my best friend.  We are married for time and all eternity--not just till death do us part.  Really, our faith doesn't just mean everything in our lives, it IS our life.