Friday, September 25, 2015

The True Meaning of a Marriage


Our wedding was magical.

Now, we are LDS and we were married (also known as being "sealed") in one of the Church's magnificent Temples. While there is a great significance in a sealing that I will probably write about later, it was still the beginning to our lives together. It was our legal and lawful wedding.

The whole day we greeted guests that came from all around the United States, took loads of pictures, held a luncheon, a ring ceremony (more details later), and the final reception. We danced, we shook hands, we ate delicious cookies, we awed at the decorations that our family came up with, etc. etc. And honestly, I don't remember a thing looking back on it. If it wasn't for our pictures, I don't think I would remember much at all.

Ever since, we have been living as "husband and wife". And it hasn't even been two years yet. However, one of my best friends from college is getting married next week! Also, one of my sisters-in-law is at the point of her relationship where they are trying to decide to get married or call it off. I remember that point... it was taxing. As I thought more about these important people in my life and their big choices coming up, it had me reminiscing on all the things I have learned about marriage.

It is not always a storybook ending.
It is not always joy and butterflies and getting lost in each others' eyes.
It is not always easy.

Here are a few things I have learned from my wonderful husband and our life together.

1. You will continue to learn things about each other. Something about us it that we did not live together until our wedding night. We did not engage in sexual intimacy until our wedding night. There's a saying I heard once that goes something like, "A man marries a woman expecting her not to change, a woman marries a man expecting him to change. What they discover is that the man doesn't change and that the woman does change." While this is humorous to me, I don't think it's true.  I have learned a lot about my dear husband. For example, he comes from a big family and when he gets his cereal in the morning he leaves the box out, thinking someone else in the family will get it and take care of it. Well, it's just me now and I usually eat before him. Also, I learned that I am a slob compared to him. Basically, be prepared to learn both good and not so good things about your new spouse for the rest of your life.

2. It is not the end, it is simply the beginning. When I was dating, I was so anxious to find Mr. Right and start my new life with him. I have since discovered that really, everything I was doing up until my wedding day, we preparing me for the rest of my life. I believe it is part of our purpose in life to get married, have a family, and teach them to follow God. Everything I did before was preparing me for that: the other relationships I was in, the major I was studying, the jobs I took, the friends I had, the way I handled struggles and rejection and choices. I was preparing to be the best wife I could, and that made all the difference because my wedding day was the beginning of the rest of my life.

3. You will have to communicate and make sacrifices. The wife is not always right. Both parties need to be heard and appreciated. I quickly learned that when I hurt Josh, it took him an hour or so to communicate with me what happened and that drove me nuts. He was more passive that I thought he was. I also had to learn what I did that hurt my dear husband in order for me to communicate and not be hurtful. There were some angry nights in the first year of our marriage simply because we had to learn how each other communicated. Not just, "how did your day go?" but "how does it make you feel when I do this? Honestly?". I have also sacrificed screen time right before bed because we made the decision to go to bed together every night. Sometimes that means one of us stays up later waiting for the other to get home (within reason, of course) or if one of us doesn't work the next day, we go to bed with them anyway. It's done wonders.

4. There is no such thing as a "soulmate". Some of you may not agree with me on this one, and that's okay. I was taught this before I got married and honestly, there is truth in it. In reality, you could marry anyone and make it work if you both are willing to work at it. Not ideal, but it's possible. Now, I do believe that there are better matches for us than others, absolutely. But when I started dating a guy and it was going well, I started asking myself if I could see myself with him and if I would be willing to work with him, sacrifice for him, and serve him everyday. Granted, Josh was everything I ever wanted but it is still work, and it is the greatest work.

5. The "lovey-dovey" stuff might fade, . Your infatuation, the butterflies, the excitement, it will might disappear. Do not fear! Some people believe that when that stops, you don't feel like this is the person for you. I'm here to say that is simply not true. Ask your parents, ask another couple that has been married for several years and I bet they will tell you something similar. Honestly, there have been days where I have not been Josh's favorite person and he has not been mine. But we still love each other. We make that choice every day. Love isn't a feeling, it is an action.

6. Marriage is making a choice, every single day. Which leads me to this final point. Marriage isn't about falling in love and living happily ever after. Marriage is a relationship that requires work like any other. It requires you to work with your chosen companion. It requires you that through the good times and the bad, to put your spouse first, over work, over friends, over hobbies, even over the family you left, because this relationship is now the most important one you have now. If you can choose your spouse first every day, you will have a happy, blissful marriage and the years will get sweeter with time.


________________________________________


I want to tell a story. It is about my husband and how he understands how a marriage works.
Josh is an intern at a successful engineering firm. He has a lot of projects that he has to get done daily and works late hours after school every week day to get them done. He is also the most frugal person you will ever meet. He is not cheap, but when there is time to save some hard-earned cash, he will do it.

The other day, my previous employer basically fired me. There is a long story behind that, and I feel like it was unfair of them for several reasons, but for the point of this story I will leave it at that. It was noon, and Josh's work was 10 minutes away. I drove over there just sobbing and told him what had happened. He comforted me, stayed with me as long as I needed, despite having piles of projects on his desk. Once I felt okay to drive home, he walked back inside and I was expecting him around 6 that night. Not even 20 minutes after I walked into our home, he walked right in behind me. He decided to come home to be with me. He chose ME over his WORK. All day, he did things I wanted to do, or just sat there in silence when I had nothing to say. I didn't feel like cooking, so he took me out to my favorite restaurant and let me get whatever I wanted. He chose ME over his FRUGALITY. So some these things may be small, but to me that meant everything. Josh knows what a marriage is all about. And he figured it out at 24 years old.

________________________________________


What does your marriage mean to you? What other things have you learned from being married?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Believe to Achieve


“I believe in myself. I do not mean to say this with egotism. But I believe in my capacity and in your capacity to do good, to make some contribution to the society of which we are a part, and to grow and develop. I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world, be it ever so small."

 –President Gordon B. Hinckley



Truth.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesday





American Fork Canyon, Utah

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread


It is officially the first day of Autumn 2015! Since I am in a week of limbo when it comes to working, Tucker and I made our way up the canyon, I picked up my schedule for my new work, and I baked my first ever pumpkin bread! I was a little nervous because the closest things I've ever baked from scratch are cookies and brownies not to mention, you know, that stuff in a box where you add water that no one should be able to mess up. My cookies and brownies from scratch are pretty popular in this house but bread was a whole new world. Fall is just everywhere online though and I wanted to celebrate it with some chocolate chip pumpkin bread!

I just googled "Pumpkin Bread" and this recipe was the 2nd to come up. It seemed easy enough; I had almost all the ingredients (had to grab a couple spices from good ol' Wal-Mart). After a trip to Wal-Mart, and feeding my wonderful husband, I got down to business!

*This recipe was tested and perfected by onceuponachef.com. All credit goes to them, I simply enjoyed her recipe!*

By Jennifer Segal

Servings: 2 loaves
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 65 minutes (My oven is so hot it took 50 minutes for me)
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour (level off measuring cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (I used salted because that's what I had; it still tastes great to me!)
2 large eggs
1 15-oz can 100% pure pumpkin (I used Libby's)
1 10-oz bag of chocolate chips (I used Nestle's dark chocolate morsals)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease two loaf pans (approx. 8.5 x 4.5 inches)

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a bowl; mix well and set aside.

In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar until blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until very light and fluffy texture, or a few minutes. Beat in pumpkin.

At low speed, beat flour mixture until combined.

At this point, add chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate morsals; they are a bit larger) and mix well.

Turn batter into prepared pans dividing the batter evenly and bake for about 65 minutes or until the center comes out clean (butter knife, toothpick, etc.). Let loaves cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.

________________________________________


I was so thrilled with this recipe! After they cooled about 10 minutes we dove right into them. The crust is crispy and the center is so soft. Because I didn't wait, when I sliced them (serrated knife) they sort of fell apart. Worth it!

Visit Once Upon A Chef for Nutrition information if you so desire! Pumpkin Bread

Would I do this again, absolutely!


Monday, September 21, 2015

USANA Country Concert: Crushin' It World Tour

Friday night Josh got a call from our neighbor, asking if we wanted to go to the Brad Paisley concert the next night. Um, heck yes! Josh is not a big country fan, really at all, but he graciously agreed knowing how much I love country music. I seriously married the best man ever.

These photos are awful because they are just off of my phone, but it was amazing! We were back on the grass but still had a great view. Mickey Guyton opened, followed by Justin Moore and finally Brad Paisley. Such a fun concert! I'm a old woman though because I was falling asleep at the end of Justin Moore's performance!










Pornography: What to do when it finds you

If you are around social media, there is a movement going around with statements like"Porn Kills Love" and the like. The pornography epidemic is serious and has gotten worse in recent years. Porn kills love, yes, but more specifically it kills relationships, families, children, marriages; everything that builds our communities. As we destroy these sacred relationships, we are destroying our community. It's a horrible, vicious cycle!

The porn industry makes over $13 billion per year; that is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. 90% of children first viewed porn as 8-16 years old, mostly while doing homework! The average age children first view porn is 11. ELEVEN. This is a serious issue.

It is no secret that I am a member of the LDS Church. I absolutely love my faith and embrace its teachings. The Church recently released this video:

video

It is fantastic! It is geared towards children, but we really should embrace it ourselves as adults! It gives the following advice in order to avoid the evils of pornography:

1. Call it what it is.

A lot of times we won't recognize fully what we are seeing. We can lie to ourselves and say a pornographic image is justified because it's human, it's a part of a movie and I don't want to miss any part of the plot, or even "it makes me feel good, and I am still a good person after watching it. Why should I change when I'm stronger than that?" In reality, yes, we have our free will to act for ourselves and to control our actions and even our thoughts. However, the truth is we are always affected by our surroundings regardless of how "strong" we are. When we learn to call pornography exactly what it is, we are that much closer to beating it.

2. Turn it off or turn away.

Like the children in the video describe, these images can make us curious, even if we know it is bad. We are human, simple as that. It takes a lot of courage to shut our laptops down, turn off our phones, turn off the TV, and walk away. The faster you decide to do this, the easier it will get for you. Make the decision before it even happens to close out and walk away. Go as far as deleting apps that frequently give you pornographic images or blocking certain websites.

3. Talk to a trusted adult (spouse, friend, parent, Church leader like your Bishop)

This might seem silly to adults. Maybe we feel ashamed that we were put in that situation. Maybe we even think we are fine because we did the first steps. Josh and I make a point to avoid pornography in every sense of the word. We have turned off movies before because of a sex scene or even a scene that eludes to something inappropriate. It's so important to us as a couple to be pure and faithful to each other that we don't take this lightly. If you are married, talk to your spouse about a plan and what actions you will take to avoid these situations. If you're not married, make a list and commit to yourself what you will do when that time comes.


I can't emphasize enough how important it is to kill pornography before it kills us from the inside out. You may think it's nothing to be concerned about, but it is real, it is scary, and we need to take control of our lives.

What else can we do to avoid allowing porn into our lives?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday at the Pond

Tucker and I ventured outside of the apartment today and headed to one of our favorite swimming spots. When we first got there, I threw his tennis ball into a nearby clearing. All of a sudden I turn around and see another large red dog by the water with a bunch of people. I thought Tuck had made himself at home and I had to go save the people from my overly friendly dog! As I make my way over, Tucker comes bounding over the hill and I think to myself, "two Tuckers?!"


We made some new friends including the 2 year old Golden, "Duke". They look and act so similarly it was uncanny! From far away I couldn't tell them apart! We had a blast wearing the dog out.




That sweet face! So determined!

Happy Saturday! We're on our way to the Brad Paisley concert tonight. Hopefully some pictures of that tonight!