Monday, December 24, 2012

Let it Snow!

I find that the older I get, the harder it seems for me to focus on what really matters.  Their are so many distractions now a days!  Tyler is constantly having to tell me to put my phone away and 'be here', and I am having to restrain myself to work during the day since I am working from home.  It has been a hard adjustment, but one that I am grateful for as it has given me the opportunity to serve a lot more than I usually do.

I have especially found this Christmas season, that I haven't done a whole lot of focusing on the 'reason for the season'.  I did all of my Christmas shopping in one day, and it was a bit of an awful day and by the end, the last thing I wanted to do was go anywhere near a store for at least 6 months.  I purchased things to purchase them, and not because they were well thought out gifts that I had been planning or things that I had been making.  Shopping for TWO families was extra stressful and when it was all over, even though I love this time of year, I felt more like a grinch than anything else.

Then something funny happened.

Last week I was being way to connected (aka I was cruising Facebook for the um-teenth time) and I saw a post by an elder from my MTC group about a song he had written with a friend.  I have listened to other stuff he has posted, so I thought, what the hey and I listened to this song:

Awesome right?  Well the weird thing is, that though I was listening to the song, I found myself hearing it through a set of ears that I haven't used for awhile.  I was missionary me, I was sitting in the MTC and I was watching this same Elder hit that point.  You know the point, the one where you realize the magnitude of what you are doing, and you realize how important it really is to you.  I remember the experience pretty clearly.  We had just finished up at a weekly devotional, and Elder Williams was asked to say what had impressed him, and he just started to cry.  I had never seen him cry before, so I remember the room getting very quite.  He then told us the story of his mom.  On a regular day the spring before he had been prompted to go home and hang out with his mom in stead of going out with his friends.  He told us how it wasn't anything special, but that he had just spent time with her.  The next day, her vehicle was involved in a car accident and she passed away.  I sat there mesmerized as this Elder, this boy, bore a testimony so strong of the atonement and the plan of salvation and how grateful he was that he was able to spend that day with her.  He expressed his gratitude for the knowledge that he would see her again and for the opportunity to share this knowledge with the people of Chile.

As I stood in my kitchen, listening to this song and having this moment, I could not stop the tears.  In this time when all I could do was think about what I needed to do, what I needed to purchase, what still needed to be done, I was so grateful for this reminder.  This season has meant a lot of different things to me over the years.  I am glad that this year, it no longer means the end of another lonely year, but the start of a new year that is more filled with love than ever be for.  It means gathering with my team, and separating ourselves a little bit from the world.  It means knowing that my eternal family has become a little bit more eternal, and a little bit closer to that heaven I hope to be headed to.

I know that I have a Savior who has shown me the way home. I am so grateful for that knowledge, for that home, and for the opportunity that I have to feel a little closer to it every year.  I think that is what the Christmas season is all about.  We all feel a little brighter, a little merrier and a little closer to that God who gave us life.  

And that to me is home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I said WHAT?!?

Guys, I say a lot of stupid things...

Like when I accidentally told a perfect stranger I loved them as they got of my tour bus, or when I told an entire room full of Young Women ages 12-17 that glitter was the herpes of craft supplies, or that time in Chile when I told a person who had given a talk in sacrament meeting that I liked his speakers...I say a lot of dumb things.

When Tyler and I were 'dating' (aka when Tyler and I Skype'd each other before we decided we were in love and got married) he had started calling me Tex, which I was not okay with so he asked me what he could call me and I told him Sister Best...Which is funny now, but at the time I was completely mortified by my lack of a filter.

So it comes as no surprise that last month, I got up and bore my testimony and I said a lot of stupid things, or things that, after leaving my mouth I felt were stupid.  At the time the things I was saying were very true to me, but after I sat down, I felt like I had said more than I should have, and that I had strayed away from what a real testimony should have been like. I have honestly spent the last month avoiding a few women in the ward because I thought I had probably offended them with my comments (which weren't bad, I didn't swear or anything!) and I felt awful about it.  While I may not always think before I say (or blog) things, I really don't ever have any intention of ever hurting anyone's feelings, so I was beating myself up pretty badly about it. Of course I did this all internally because, well, bruises make people ask questions, and since Tyler and I already like to pinch the inside of each other's arms when the other person is doing something in public we don't approve of, (its weird, I know) I don't want people to think I am masochistic or that Tyler beats me!

So yesterday, we were sitting in Sunday School and the teacher (who I LOVE!) asked everyone to think of a moment in Sacrament meeting when someone said something that was an 'Aha!' moment for them.  I was pondering on a few and how I would explain/share it when a woman raised her hand and talked about my testimony, and a prayer I had given a few weeks later, and how it had really helped her to see some situations in her life in a different light.  I of course started to tear up.

As I walked in to Young Women's, one of the other advisers gave me a hug and an 'attaboy' kind of comment for what the other sister had said about my testimony and I confessed to her that I had felt awful about it.  Then she said to me, 'You know, sometimes we follow the spirit, and then spend a long time doubting that it was the right decision until something like that happens.  Don't ever feel badly for following the spirit!'.  And there it was.

How often do we do what we feel is right and then spend weeks, months, even YEARS kicking ourselves for it?  I can look back at A LOT of hard decisions, that I prayed about, that I felt were right decisions at the time that I was making them, that I then doubted and maybe even regretted a little.  What is funny about those decisions is that as I look back at them, I KNOW that they were the right decisions, and that had I made any other decision than the one I ended up making, it would have been the wrong choice.

Trust in the Lord!  HE really is looking out for you, and trust that if you are doing all you can, you will be led to the decisions, and yes, even words that are needed.

But maybe don't compare glitter to herpes when you are supposed to be setting an example. :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Count your many blessings name them one by one thousand

I know what you're thinking.  Yeah yeah, you got married.  Don't blab about it all over the internet.  And I have tried to...I really have.  Kind of.  But today (yesterday, but today is the only time I have had to sit down and blog in forever) to sit down and talk about it.
Look how cute he is!  This is one of my favorites overall.

Tyler and I got married July 14, 2012.  It has been a whirlwind of change and growth and realizing that I am not as perfect as I always thought I was.  Not that Tyler would ever tell me something like that-he's pretty much perfect in every way (Except that he snores...pretty loud too.)  and tells me how awesome he thinks I am on a pretty much hourly basis and it never gets old. NEVER.

We were showing off our...assets.

 We moved to Oregon about a month after we got married.  It has been a roller coaster of finding a job/place to live/making friends. (Couples dating is so hard! But a subject for another post)  We moved in to a ward that is pretty student friendly, most are students in dental school and our bishoprich is pretty much the best ever.  It is a super musical ward (they have an open mic night every 5th friday at the stake center with bands and the like. RADICAL!).  All in all things have been pretty awesome.  About a month ago I got called to be in the Young Women's program which has been my life long dream about as long as I can remember.  I always said the second I got married, the first thing I wanted to do was get called into Young Women's and be like my leaders from church.  I have such fond memories of doing make-up at Sister Dee's, dancing in the bathroom with Sister Weggland and Ma Newman to 'Going to the temple' (sung to the tune of 'Going to the Chapel') and of course the skits at girls camp and putting my cousin Tammy's underware up the flag pole.  I have such a testimony of the Young Women's program and the values that I learned there.  Again, another post for another day.

First dance.  Nobody ever tells you how absolutely awkward this moment of your reception is.  Everyone is STARING at you!

My first week in Young Women's, we stood to say the Young Women's theme.  I was a little nervous because I knew that they had added a line in somewhere since my day so I was trying really hard to concentrate on not messing up at all.  I got through the values, and I even remembered the added line about virtue.  As we got to finishing off the theme, my lip started to quiver. 'As we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.'  It was at that moment I started crying and really let it out.

My whole life-from the time I could date I guess is more accurate, I have looked for someone who could love me in the way that the Lord had set, who could take me to the temple and who would be the celestial partner and parent to our children.  When I graduated from high school, I had no clue what that looked like (sorry YW leaders...I didn't listen as well as I should.)  When I left on my mission, I thought I knew what it was, but again, I was so wrong.  When I got back from my mission I had a new perspective, but nothing seemed to work out.  I went through years of praying and fasting for a worthy priesthood holder, someone who could be what I needed.  It was a hard couple of years.  Years that I cried a lot in.  Countless phone calls to sisters and parents and trying my faith and testing my patience.  Years that I wouldn't take back for anything because, well, they paid off.

How cute is he?

I could never have been ready for my life with Tyler had I not lived through the hard times.  I wouldn't have been me, and I wouldn't have been what he needed.  I thank God for those times of trial.  I am so grateful for those hard times, those difficulties and for the chance I have now to cherish and be grateful for him every day for the rest of forever.

I am also glad that nobody noticed me crying in the back of that Young Women's room.