Monthly Archives: December 2013

What half a decade looks like

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Well… I’ve officially been married for five years. That’s half a decade and almost a full 1/5 of my life (for those of you who are good at math, yes, that makes me about 25 and yes, that means I got married young).

In some ways five years feels like a very short period of time, which it is, and also feel like a eternity, which it can be.

In the last five years, we have: lived in four different apartments in three cities, held a collective 10 different jobs, attended three different schools, gotten 2 degrees (and DH is almost done with another), owned at least six different cell phones and three computers, bought a house and three cars, paid off about $10,000 of debt, driven over 10,000 miles in vacation road trips, made dozens of trips between Idaho Falls and Salt Lake and had a baby. We have had incredible ups and downs, easy and tough times. We’ve done for richer and for poorer and for practically broke. We’ve seen each other through all sorts of things.

Marriage has been both my biggest trial and my biggest blessing, second only to parenthood.

Five years ago, I married my sweetheart after a whirlwind romance. He was sweet and respectful and honest and dang persistent. He invested in me and invested in my family. He was not my “type”, he was not what I thought I wanted at all but he was good and somehow he stole my heart. I was smart and beautiful and engaging and ambitious and he was not intimidated by me (or if he was, he didn’t let that scare him off).

We’d dated before, for nearly a year in high school, but I never thought I’d marry him (and said as much when someone asked me). I was in high school for crying out loud and honestly, when we dated in high school I planned on not getting married (although I do remember thinking he was the kind of guy who could change my mind).

I don’t think we were each others’ “soul mates”. But that was ok. We chose each other. We were blissfully naive and we thought we loved each other.

After we got married all of the differences that make us compliment each other so well now caused us to clash horribly. We struggled and learned how to work together, how to argue without fighting and how to rely on the strength of the Atonement and our temple covenants. Sometimes just by sheer stubbornness we have gotten through things I hope to never repeat but I would never wish didn’t happen.

In the last five years I have learned to be softer, to be kinder, to serve more willingly, to be more forgiving and less judgmental. I have learned that love and patience makes it easier to change than rejection and nagging. I have learned that there are many qualities that makes someone deserve respect. I have learned that God is the best ally in a marriage and that no marriage can succeed without strength borrowed from Heaven. I have learned that sometimes appreciating differences is more important than sharing similarities. I have found that not all pushing is overt and that sometimes a good example is the most powerful motivator.

Five years ago, across an altar in an LDS temple, we committed ourselves to each other and to God for time and all eternity with as much certainty and devotion as two 21 year old kids can. After five years, I can’t believe how much I have learned about what love really means and how much more I love my husband. I’m sure after 10 years, 50 years and 500 years I will feel the same about today and I do now about our wedding day.

To me, celebrating an anniversary isn’t about celebrating the day you got married. It’s about celebrating the life you’ve created in the time since and it’s about celebrating who you’ve become together.

Five years ago, on a very snowy, cold Idaho winter day, I married one of the best men I knew. Today he is still one of the best men I know. I’m so thankful for him and the five years behind us and the eternity before us. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead as I walk, hand in hand with my eternal companion.

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Returning to God as we celebrate the holidays

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There is much I hate about this time of year. I hate the snow. I hate the wind. I hate that the days are short and the sky is dark long before I leave work. I hate the traffic. Oh how I hate the traffic. And driving in the snow. And how in Utah drivers don’t slow down which causes accidents and makes bad roads extremely dangerous. I hate the cold. I hate that I can run the heat for hours and still feel cold. I hate the consumerism and how Christmas shopping is so important that Thanksgiving has been washed away. I could go on, as there is much I hate about this time of year.

But there is also much that I love about this time of year. I love the holidays. I love the bustle of the season. I love Christmas Trees and Weihnachtspyramides and Nativities and Christmas lights. I love the shopping and the decorating and the thinking of others. I love brewed cocoa and homemade English toffee and peppermint bark.

And I love how my thoughts, and much of the world surrounding me, pivots, however slightly, towards God.

You see, I feel like there is something special about the time between the end of November and the middle or so of April. Yes, the days are dark and cold, they are not necessarily bleak (except perhaps in late January and February… We should fix that!)

I think these dark days are kind of a blessing. It’s like the cliche The darker the night, the brighter the stars. Christmas is a bright spot in the year, but for me I think it would be lost a little bit in the warmth and business of summer. In fact, it is in the summer that I find the distance between me and Deity grows. There is something about this time of year, and perhaps it is in fact the very cold and dark I so dislike, that pulls me and so many others back towards Heaven.

One of the things I love about my LDS faith is that it teaches than anything that is good comes from God (See Moroni 7:16). So regardless of whether you believe in God or not and regardless of your denomination the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year holiday quadrumvirate often causes us to look outside of ourselves and when we look beyond ourselves we look to God.

When we look to God, even when we are not consciously doing it, the world changes, the darkness lifts and the forces of evil are diminished. I think we all can agree that we need more light in our world.