Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks 37 years since I married this guy. It is no secret that it hasn't always been an easy journey, but there is a saying that captures it well. "I never said it would be easy, I just said it would be worth it."

I have learned volumes through my experience in marriage. I have learned to be more understanding and forgiving and have had to dig deep to experience the kind of unconditional love that my Heavenly Father offers to me. I have learned to be more dependent on the Spirit and to transcend my personal desire to be angry, bitter, and act as a judge to punish in an effort to get revenge. I have learned not to take someone's choices personally as an intentional sin against me, and to look beyond the here and now and to see the long-term possibilities. It is realizing that people don't usually make painful choices in defiance but out of some aspect of pain. It is up to all of us to resist judging the choices and look underneath and have compassion on the pain.

The most important lessons I have learned, however, has been about my own faults and imperfections and my personal need for the Atonement. Some of us are gifted to be rule followers and others are gifted to love and have compassion at a deeper level. Someone like me that it comes easy to follow the rules might look down on and judge people that have to learn from their painful experience in bending or even breaking the rules because of my personal focus on rule following instead of just loving. Don't get me wrong, commandments are always important, but the greatest commandment is to love.

Being married to Kev has taught me so much about having more compassion and understanding because of his pure heart and love for others, maybe not just in spite of his aversion to "rule following," but possibly because of it. Those that break the rules seem to develop more love and compassion than those of us who are more Pharisee-like don't achieve as easily, and Kev's example to me has been life changing. I am learning that all the rules are just to help us love--first God, ourselves, and then others.

I have learned that the greatest lessons and growth come from great adversity; but in this marriage, I have also had great experiences of joy. Being married to Kev has been such a blessing. I have been able to be a full-time mother and homemaker and have had many rich and wonderful opportunities and experiences because of his hard work and abilities.

We have had such joy together raising six children and appreciating our grandchildren and establishing wonderful traditions that can last a life time and into eternity. It has been an exciting adventure to learn to communicate, understand, and appreciate each other at a deeper level. I know that I have learned lessons that I couldn't have learned being married to anyone else besides this great man. I am not only glad I stayed with him but grateful that he has hung in there with me as well.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What a Week

This has been a week filled with incredible highs and lows. A couple of days before Christmas, our neighbors lost their son and daughter in law in a tragic death and then my nephew lost their baby girl to a sudden meningitis infection. Along with the sadness came an increase appreciation for the meaning of Christmas and all that the Savior's birth brought to us.

Although we felt the pain of our neighbors and family, we had a wonderful Christmas Day and found more appreciation for family. All of our kids were here for Christmas and my Mom spent part of the day with us along with Kev's parents.

In the days prior to Christmas we had joy in hosting a grand children's sleepover, going out to dinner with friends, having our traditional prime rib dinner the Sunday before Christmas, hosting another dinner for Kev's parents and siblings, hosting a Christmas Eve brunch for my extended family, another gathering with our kids Christmas Eve, and then Christmas day brunch with our kids and my Mom. It was a lot of work all week but it was so joyful and rewarding.

After Christmas, I took my Mom up to Mantua to visit her only living sister and my deceased uncle's wife. It was great to walk down memory lane with them and see the pictures of their families. We also attended the viewings and yesterday were only able to only attend little Ridley's funeral because it was at the same as our neighbor's children's funeral. The funeral was amazing. So comforting and sweet.

Since the funeral was out in Roy, my mom, sister in law, and I went to visit my Dad's only living sibling, Uncle Arlo and his wife Carol Mae. How fun to visit and reminiscence with them about the many summers going to Bear Lake with their family. I am grateful for the example of my mom. She is so good to stay in touch with relatives and go visit them.

One of the sweetest endings of any day was the opportunity I had to go to the temple last night and witness the sealing of sweet baby Ridley to her parents in the Bountiful temple. Because she was adopted and didn't live long enough for the adoption to be final and the sealing to have taken place, they still needed that ordinance done. They were able to get permission to have that done only hours after the funeral and it was so sweet to watch as Ridley's birth mother was the proxy for the baby. I decided that every funeral should end at the temple. It made for a very comforting place to be.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Living what I love

I haven't posted for a couple of months. That is because I have been living what I love to do and haven't been just writing about it. Sometimes living what I love to do is just simply giving myself permission to do that which I am drawn to and then boldly stepping out of comfort zones and making it happen. It is simply noticing what makes my heart sing even if it is just humming in a little whisper, and realizing that I wasn't meant to hold back but I am meant to take advantage of opportunities and savor them completely. For me, it is embracing that there really isn't an award for sacrificing what I love to do. The reward is in sacrificing what hurts or brings me pain and denying myself joy.