Friday, November 21, 2014

what makes our marriage work for us.

Photos from April 2013.

"Obviously the Lord has created us with different personalities, as well as differing degrees of energy, interest, health, talent, and opportunity. So long as we are committed to righteousness and living a life of faithful devotion, we should celebrate these divine differences, knowing they are a gift from God."

This quote comes from a talk given by Sister Patricia Holland in 1987, which you can find here. Although the talk addresses womanhood, sisterhood, and developing greater faith in Christ both individually and collectively, I like to think that this quote applies just as well to all relationships. Particularly marriage.

I had a conversation recently with a lady from church who asked me what it is, in my opinion, that makes a marriage work. I immediately thought about how Ben and I are so different. We like different types of music, we get enthusiastic over different things, we have different hobbies, we choose to spend our allowance on different things, and even our own personal idea of the "perfect vacation" differs.

With that being said, I think the word "different" gets a bad rep most of the time. I love that Ben and I are so different! When we drive together I get to hear music I haven't heard before, I'm exposed to new and fun genres of movies, our vacations range from relaxing weekends to going to sporting events. However, we're in sync when it comes down to the big and important things in life. The greatest thing that makes us similar though, and makes our marriage work, is our commitment to the gospel and our love for Christ, and it's something we work at every single day.

Sometimes it isn't necessarily convenient to take a few hours out of our week to do the things we need to do (or coordinate our crazy schedules!), but they're the most rewarding hours by far. An afternoon spent at the temple, or learning new gospel truths through scripture reading, taking turns saying prayers in the morning and at night, conversations about the Savior, listening to General Conference talks on Monday nights, Sundays spent serving where needed, and so on. There's a unity that grows and develops between the two of us when we do those things, and that's pretty invaluable.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


I had quite a bit of time to kill the other day while I was stuck waiting at an eye appointment, and since I had forgotten to bring a book, I quickly got bored. After doing some app hopping (you know, going through all of your apps and spending a minute or two in each), I landed on Facebook. The thought popped in my mind to find out what my very first picture on Facebook was, so I did some scrolling and finally got to the very, very bottom. Behold, my first picture on Facebook:
There are so many great things going on in this picture.

1 // let's acknowledge the fact that I have Satan eyes.
2 // how cool is it that my date was able to find a tie that matched my dress exactly?
3 // I look like a baby. A 16-year old baby, that is.
4 // there is a real gazebo over our heads (one of the legs is right behind me). The kid whose mom put the dinner together went to great measures.
5 // my posture is atrocious.
What's your first picture on Facebook? :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

snow, Christmas decor, and ramblings.

// It snowed! It snowed! There's just something about the first snowfall that makes me giddy and even more excited about the upcoming holidays. Plus, giant steaming cups of hot chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon? I'm sold.
// Ben has been in New York City for the past couple of days, so I've been left to my own devices - which usually results in a lot of chick flicks, Honey Bunches of Oats for dinner, and crafts that involve glitter. This past weekend I dragged some of our Christmas stuff up from the basement (gasp - before Thanksgiving!) and got to work. It's a work in progress, but a start's a start. If only I could haul that Christmas tree up two flights of stairs...

// Yesterday I decided it was high time I put on my big girl pants and get myself over to Home Depot to buy some window insulation kits. These are the kinds of things I usually leave for Ben to do, but with him gone for a few more days and the apartment being a drafty 67 degrees on a good day, I took matters into my own frozen hands. I'm happy to announce that I can now insulate a window all by myself and it doesn't even look half bad! Feeling kind of invincible--and warm--right now.

// I'm sure most, if not all, of you have heard about the Ferguson happenings over the past couple of months. (Ferguson is 9 miles from our place.) Basically, it's the Trayvon Martin case all over again. The grand jury is supposed to announce in the next week whether or not the officer who shot Michael Brown is guilty, and regardless of the decision, major rioting and violence is expected throughout the city. If you're the praying type, would you mind saying a few prayers for the police officers and National Guard members that will be responding to the events, and maybe St. Louis in general as well? Thank you, thank you! Also, if you have any great 72 hour kit tips feel send them my way as I put ours together in the next day or two.

// Since I can't end this post on such a somber note, I have to share this video on how to lose a million dollars (and a car!) in a matter of seconds. Bless him.

Monday, November 10, 2014

5 really great things.

1. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie made its way into my life this weekend and I'm a changed woman.
2. Our ward had the opportunity on Saturday to winterize homes for the elderly, disabled, and some low income families. It was awesome learning some new skills, and the BBQ food after wasn't too shabby either. ;)
3. The Primary Program was a success and I'm thrilled it's over! (Have you ever experienced the craziness that is Sharing Time after a Primary Program? It's horrific, ha.)
4. My stress levels will be going back down to normal after I take my test tomorrow. Maybe my face will clear up again.
5. 17 days until Thanksgiving. 39 days until we head to Denver. 44 days until Christmas!

Monday, November 3, 2014

we basically skipped Halloween this year and went on a trip instead.

A month ago some friends asked us if we'd be interested in trekking across some of Kentucky and Tennessee with them to go to BYU football game over Halloween weekend. Since we love BYU football (Ben especially!), we love spending time with friends, and we don't really love Halloween, it was a no-brainer to tag along.
I think I've mentioned before that every major city around St. Louis is almost exactly 4 or 5 hours away, and in every direction. (A benefit of being smack dab in the middle of the US?) I hit up Memphis with some girlfriends earlier this year and really enjoyed Tennessee, but I've been dying to visit Nashville for the longest time. Good BBQ, country music, and southern accents? Too much for me to handle. Fun fact: I've always wanted a southern accent, but since that won't be happening, I want to convince Ben to find a job in the south so our kids can pick up one. "Yes, ma'am" and "no, sir" all day long? Too cute. Anyway, moving on.

Friday night we stopped in Kentucky for some southern comfort food - mashed potatoes and cornbread muffins galore! - before continuing on to Nashville. We spent the night just outside of the city, and explored downtown Nashville the next morning. (Did you know Nashville's Music City Center is 2.1 million square feet and takes up 16 acres downtown?! It's probably the longest building I've ever seen.) After a tour of the city, we headed to the BYU tailgate for some food and entertainment.

By 11 am it was still only 42 degrees and pretty windy, so within 5 minutes of being outside, Ben and I were absolutely frozen because we had only packed some sweatshirts and thin socks (my fault - I packed and didn't anticipate how cold it would be). I'm sure you can imagine how fun the tailgate was. ;) At least the free BYU stuff, pulled pork and baked beans, and live country music made up for it. Free stuff can make up for almost anything, right? However, before the game started we made a run to Walmart for scarves, gloves, blankets, hand warmers, etc.
The BYU vs. MTSU game was a good one for the following reasons:
1) Watching football in person is better than watching it on the TV.
2) They were selling hot chocolate (at a ridiculous price, but at that point I would have sold my firstborn for something warm) and it was delicious.
4) Believe it or not, BYU had more fans there than MTSU and trust me when I say they came from all over. We saw California, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Oregon, and Maine license plates. Even a mini van from Utah!
5) The guy sitting behind was uttering hilarious comments under his breath throughout the game.
7) The halftime entertainment was priceless.
8) We high-fived all of the players after the game and I think Ben was in heaven.
10) And we got a picture with Cosmo before the game. Crossed that off the bucket list.
That evening we discovered that Nashville has the best authentic Mexican food ever. Even Ben, who served a Spanish speaking mission and is highly critical of tacos at Mexican restaurants, deemed their tacos as authentic and amazing. Just stop for a minute and picture the restaurant. Blacked out windows in a little strip mall store that looks too ghetto to offer much, entering to find that every single seat is taken and people are crowding around the bar, a huge projector in the front of the restaurant showing a soccer game between two South American teams, and people going crazy every time someone almost scored a goal. I think in between stuffing my face with chips and salsa, I tried to convince Ben to do a postdoc at Vanderbilt University so I can become a regular at the restaurant. It was that delicious. (Cafe Rio sweet pork, however, is still my favorite food of all time.)

We hit the road, got home super late, and somehow made it to church on time. Life is good and I want to move to Nashville.

The end.