Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dear Husband

My dearest husband,

As I lay here in our bed, wide awake, I can't help but look over at your sleeping body and fall more in love with you every breath you take.

I know you aren't very good at remembering dates, especially since I have so many important ones for you to remember. So, I am writing this for you to remind you of one of the happiest days of my life.... The day you asked me to be your wife.

It was August 18, 2012. We had been dating for 7 months, and you said you had a special day planned for us. We took my brothers and your sister to the zoo with us, then we stopped by the Salt Lake temple. I remember you asking if we could take a picture in front of the temple, and I was taken aback. You hate getting your picture taken.

For the past couple of weeks, before that day, you had been writing me the sweetest letters about how much you love me and how much I mean to you. You had been hinting for weeks that you wanted to marry me, but boy was I surprised when you got down on your knee!

That moment really was a dream come true.

Now, here we are, almost two years of marriage under our belts, nearing our two year anniversary of that wonderful engagement day. Oh, how I have loved every single moment of being yours.

As I lay here next to you, I can't help but wonder what my life would have been like if I had met you sooner. I wish I could get back every moment I spent with some other guy who was bound to break my heart and give those days to you. But, I know that all the heartache was meant to prepare me for real love, and that I had to learn through failed relationships what it really takes to make a marriage work.

You amaze me. Do you know that?

Call me crazy, but the day I met you (almost three years ago now. Holy cow) I knew I was going to marry you. You probably didn't feel that way about me right when we met, and that's okay. You feel it now.

You have amazed me since day one. Never have I met someone so kind, generous, friendly, outgoing, and loving.

I remember watching you ask the girls who stood alone against the wall at stake dances to dance with you, because you knew they hadn't been asked yet. I remember you reaching out to the boy in our ward who had no friends, and you even loaned him your Nintendo 64 game. I remember praying to the Lord after a very difficult day and begging Him to send me a friend.... The next day I met you.

Since that day, I have been the most blessed woman in the world.

My love, you never cease to amaze me. You immediately became my best friend, and I quickly fell in love with you. How could I not? You are everything I have ever wanted, all I ever needed, and much more. I am completely smitten by you.

Words cannot perfectly describe my love for you. I only hope you can feel it. I don't know what I would do without you! You are my anchor, my protector, my Prince Charming. You are my best friend amd my most favorite person in the world. How in the world did I get so lucky?

As we approach the two year anniversary of our engagement my heart is full of gratitude. All I can think to say is thank you.

Thank you for all the bouquets of flowers when I have had a rough day. Thank you for the tight hugs, the long kisses, and the gentle touches just to let me know you're thinking of me. Thank you for the times I've come home from work to a clean house and all the laundry done. Thank you for all the times you've brought me a diet coke or my chapstick to work. Thank you for all those beautiful priesthood blessings, and for being willing to wake up at 3:00 AM to give them to me. Thank you for meeting me at the gym after work, despite how exhausted you are, because you know I don't like to exercise alone. Thank you for the times you've made me tea or hot chocolate when I have had a cold, or just craving it. Thank you for all the laughter, jokes, and teasing. Thank you for telling me I am sexy even when I feel like a chubby blob, and for helping me see how beautiful I really am. Thank you for making me feel like the most important person in the room when we're with a group. Thank you for the romance. Thank you for always holding my hand whenever we're in public, and even when we're just watching TV at home. Thank you for always rushing over to me when you get home from work and planting a giant kiss on my lips. Thank you for helping me finish the Book of Mormon for the first time this year. Thank you for making our temple trips a priority. Thank you for wiping my tears away. Thank you for giving me the best advice in every situation. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The list goes on and on.... but most importantly, thank you for choosing me to be your wife.

I love you, to infinity and beyond. I cannot wait to see how my life with you unfolds, and look forward to sharing many more crazy adventures with you.

Here's to us, baby.

Eternally yours,

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Happiness is Like...

Disneyland. Happiness is like Disneyland.

Here's why: You just made it to Disneyland and you've been so excited to go on your favorite ride. Let's say that's Big Thunder Mountain, like mine. You rush over to the ride, hoping to beat the other tourists to the line. When you get there, the Wait Time sign says 50 minutes. The park has only been open for ten.

There are two ways you can handle this situation. You can either become really angry, start complaining, maybe mutter a few cuss words, and leave the line. The rest of your day probably won't be so magical now.


You can shrug it off, tell yourself you got there as fast as you could and you have no control over the situation, and patiently wait in line. While you're at it, you can smile and realize that you are at the Happiest Place on Earth, and pump yourself up for your favorite ride! Don't let one line ruin your experience.

This is a lot like happiness in our daily lives. WE are in control of our happiness. Not our friends or family, not crappy situations, and not even our hormones (ladies).

Spencer W. Kimball said, "Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you react."

We can either choose to sulk when something unfair happens to us, or we can look at our blessings and find a reason to smile and be happy.

I am sure it's easier said than done. I am generally a very happy person. My motto in life is, "If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, water your grass more." I'm an optimist. I feel like we are all in control of our happiness. However, there are days when I am super cranky. There are days I don't feel like being happy. Sometimes there is a trial that pushes me to the end of my rope and I am tempted to let go.

I am sure many of us have those days. But instead of letting go, isn't tying a knot at the bottom of the rope easier? Sometimes it may not be. Sometimes it may seem harder to hold on for dear life instead of letting go and escaping the situation. I can promise you one thing, though. If you tie a knot and hold on for a little while longer, happiness comes a whole lot easier. You will make it through the trial and be able to take a deep breath and move on to happier things. If you let go for now, you'll carry the burden along with you in your heart, and it'll never truly be "over" until you go back to it and face it.

At least, that's my opinion.

Another favorite quote of mine is, "Why remember and be sad, when you can forget and be happy?" -Unknown

I'm not saying you should forget everything bad that happens to you in your lifetime and only remember the happy moments. Remembering bad/sad moments can be a good thing if you learn from them, and lock the lessons away in your brain. Keep it in your brain, tucked away in a box, until you need to pull out the information when you face a similar situation. But please, DON'T DWELL ON IT!

Recently I wrote about losing a dear friend. The quote above is a good piece of wisdom to apply to my current situation. I can either sit at home and dwell on all my hurt feelings, anger, confusion, and how unfair the whole thing was.


I can forgive and FORGET, and be happy.

I choose the latter. I choose to be like princess Elsa, and "turn away and slam the door." Why dwell on the hurt and sadness if it hurts me more? Surely, dwelling on the situation doesn't make anything better! So, I'm letting go. I'm choosing happiness over sadness. I'm choosing to count my blessings (which includes many dear friends who have stood by me during this difficult time). I'm choosing to enjoy my time in Disneyland and not let the long line bring me down. Metaphorically, of course.

I had a friend a few years back who focused so much of their attention on dating, and why no one was asking them out on dates. They turned bitter about it, and soon became pretty unpleasant to be around. I finally told them, "Seriously, just move on. The more you dwell on it the more bitter you become. Who would want to be around that? Show everyone how fun and happy you are, and I'm sure you'll go out again."

This friend chose the other route. They let others determine their happiness.  Sadly, they lost many of their friends, even some family members, and became a very dark, unhappy, bitter person.

Before I met Nic, I didn't go on many dates either. In fact, I think I only went out with two other guys in my single's ward, on a date or two with each, and that was it. In high school I didn't date much, as well. At first I started to get really self conscious and thought there must be something wrong with me. I thought maybe boys didn't think I was pretty, or I was too fat, or that I wasn't fun to be around. I started to turn into a not-so-fun person to be around, and then one day I had a wake up call. My mom said, "Mace, there isn't anything wrong with you. Boys are lame. If you want to date, ask someone out yourself."

She was right! I changed my way of thinking and chose to take control of the situation. I asked out a few guys, and after gaining self confidence I was able to get up the courage to talk to Nic and let him know I liked him.

That's another story (;

Moral is, I chose to be happy instead of letting my situation get to me.

There are a lot of things going on in my life that could make me unhappy. My husband being in school full time, and working full time, means he doesn't have much time for the two of us. I can either be unhappy about that (and to be honest, sometimes I am).


I can be happy that my husband is working so hard to provide for us, and working so hard in school to provide for us in the future. Thanks to him, I won't have to work once we become parents. Oh, AND I can be happy that he has chosen a very successful career choice, so we will hopefully never have to worry about finances in the future. What's not to be happy about?

So, my friends, take control of your happiness. Rid your life of toxic relationships, forget feelings of anger or hurt, forgive those you don't think deserve it, and don't live in regret. Don't get into the habit of dwelling on things you can't control. You deserve to be happy. Let your happiness be determined by YOU.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

{LIFE} You Just Go With It

I know, I know, I'm really bad at keeping up on my blog. The thing is, I just don't feel like writing if I don't have anything interesting (or, perhaps inspiring) to say. However, something has been on my mind the past, oh I don't know, five or so months now, and I think I have finally figured out how to put my thoughts into words. So, here goes nothing.

Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Love is hard.

No, really. They all are. I used to believe in "happily ever after, love always wins, etc,"  but lately I have come to realize that Dieter F. Uchtdorf was exactly right when he said, "Sandwiched between their 'once upon a time' and 'happily ever after,' they all had to experience great adversity." He then went on to ask, "Why must all experience sadness and tragedy? Why could we not simply live in bliss and peace, each day filled with wonder, joy, and love?"

His answer: "In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy." (Liahona, May 2010)

His inspired words are exactly what I needed to hear. Am I really not the only one who feels like giving up sometimes? That the trials I go through are too hard? Do other people feel weak in the midst of a personal challenge, too?

I probably sound like Laman and Lemuel, and the Lord is probably wanting to rip His hair out because I question so much. And, sometimes my questioning leads to murmuring. Horrible habit, I know.

My wonderful husband and I are so blessed. We really, truly are. Our Heavenly Father watches over us and guides us so perfectly. We may not see it in the moment, but at the end of it all it's easy to see His hand in things.

An example of this happened not too long ago. Nic had an awful, exhausting job that made him very unhappy to go to work every morning. It killed me to see him so sad and discouraged. We prayed together throughout the first fifteen months of our marriage for him to get a new job. After much fasting, many prayers, tears, frustration, and feeling like giving up, Nic FINALLY got a new job...three months ago. Of course, we rejoiced, thanked the Lord a million times, and things were great for a week or so. I remember looking back at Nic's trial and thinking, "Wow, that was hard, but I see now why it took so long to find the right job." He and I both know that he needed to draw closer to God for strength, and to learn how to be patient with timing. No regrets about going through such a difficult trial together.

Then, my trial began.

I went to bed crying that night, and I remember asking the Lord, "Why another trial so soon? We just made it out of one. Give me some time to recuperate after those fifteen months!"

Please tell me I am not the only person who has felt this way.

My trial was losing a very dear friend. Now, everyone who knows me knows that I am terrible at good-byes, breaks ups, time apart, etc. I was always the one getting dumped by friends or boyfriends throughout high school, not the other way around. I have a really hard time letting go, even if I can see that someone isn't good for me.  I have a really hard time moving on.

I still don't know exactly how it all happened, and if I did this wouldn't be the place to post such personal content. What I do remember though is a lot of hurt, confusion, but most of all, a lot of anger.

I am not an angry person.

I had never been so angry in my life. I had never felt so betrayed, let down, given up on. Never before had I lost a friend because I am married.

Before I continue, let me make one thing very clear: I have NO regrets, and I do NOT blame my husband or our marriage for what happened.

With that said, marriage is hard. Marriage takes up all of your time. A person's marriage and spouse should be their number one priority. Your spouse should have most of your attention most of the time. This is how I feel, and how I have always felt. This is what I told my friends once I got married. All my friends knew that me being married to a full-time student with a full-time job would result in fewer girl's nights and more "Let's meet up for lunch tomorrow" or sending "I'm thinking about you and I love your guts" texts. I became a full-time wife, and I couldn't be happier.

Skip ahead to eighteen months of being married, and all of a sudden one of my best friends has decided that I am no longer a good friend, and that I should be told exactly how much I suck. Hence, the night I went to bed crying and started pleading with the Lord.

I received a very difficult answer that night. Not only from the Lord, but from my mom, my husband, and one of my other best friends. They all told me the same thing: It's time to let go.

Like I said before, I am not good at good-byes, break ups, or time apart. But I knew that this was the only way for me to be happy. I knew in order to be happy, I had to walk through Hell.

And boy, did I walk through Hell that night.

This is all I'm going to say about the details of my trial. Ending a friendship with someone I loved so much was the most painful thing I have ever had to do. But I did it, and believe it or not, I am happier.

Amazing how the Lord knows this beforehand, isn't it? It's amazing to me that I can make a decision, pray about it, receive a difficult answer, but somehow know that everything will be okay in the end. Why? Because I trusted in my Heavenly Father. He wants me to be happy, even though I have to go through adversity and suffer many afflictions.

I learned two lessons after this trial:

1. Life ebbs and flows, and friends come and go. And that's okay, as long as you just go with it. The Lord will lead you through it.
2. Happily ever after really isn't that far out of reach, as long I'm cleaving unto my husband. God gave me my husband to be my anchor, my support, my strength. I am no longer supposed to go through trials alone. I need to lean on my husband and trust in God.

Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Love is hard.

My friends, it is all worth it.

Someday, when I look back at my life and think about all the adversity and trials, I'll be sure to look for the Lord's hand in everything. I know without a doubt that before we can all reach our happily ever after we must first go through hard times, lots of heartache, and probably a little bit of pain and suffering. Before we achieve our happily ever after we must first do hard things. We will have to make hard decisions, and deal with the hard consequences. I know that once one trial ends, another will start soon after. Why? Because that is how we progress. We were put on this earth to learn and progress, not stand still. The most important thing to remember when this happens is the Lord needs us to go through it all so we can learn, grow, and become more like Him. That we must go through heartache to fully experience joy. He's cheering for us, and He reaches out whenever His children need Him.

All we have to do is take a deep breath, and take His hand.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

One Year Later

I should've written this post a month and a half ago.... If I'm honest, I should've written it the week after our wedding. I'm sure you all understand how busy newlywed life can be, though. So, here I am, after a year of being married to my Prince Charming, writing the story of our wedding day. 

January 11, 2013 I was frantically packing up the rest of my bedroom at my parent's house. One of my best friends, Juliann Wankier, was helping me. Nic showed up to help us after his bachelor party. Around 10pm that evening we finished up and dropped the last load of boxes off at mine and Nic's new home. He gave me one last kiss as my fiancé and went home to get sleep. I wished I could've done the same, but I still had to go to my aunt Lynette's house to have my last fitting of the bolero she made for my wedding dress. So, I got into Jules' car and we drove to my aunt's house.

Jules was such a saint that weekend! I can't even begin to express how grateful I am for her help. I couldn't have done any of it without her. 

After my final fitting, around 11:30pm, we finally left and went to Jules' apartment. She was letting me spend the night since my room was all packed up, and her roommate was doing my hair in the morning as well. It all worked out nicely! We went to bed around midnight but, let's be honest, we all know the bride-to-be didn't sleep at all. I had wild butterflies in my stomach and my heart wouldn't stop pounding. I couldn't turn my brain off long enough to get even an hour of sleep. There were many reasons why I was nervous. I'm sure all of you can think of a million reasons why brides freak out the eve of their wedding. For me, it was sadness from knowing my parents would be absent from the sealing room as well as nerves about the following evening.... My wedding night. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't push the worries or nerves away. So instead of sleeping, I played on my phone for four hours that night. I think I was on Pinterest or something. 

My alarm rang at 4:00 in the morning on January 12. Jules let me have the first shower (what a sweet friend, right?) and due to being so exhausted I accidentally bumped one of the removable shelves in the shower which fell with a loud BANG! I was so worried that I woke up all the girls in the house but they all told me they were sound asleep. Lucky. 

At 5:00am Jules' roommate woke up and styled my hair in an updo. This is what it looked like: 

Jules and I left her apartment at 7:00 that morning. Before we got on the freeway we stopped at my parent's house so I could give my family hugs, and then she took me to McDonald's to get me some breakfast. I protested because I really wasn't hungry. However, Jules gave me the tough love I needed and said, "Mace, you ARE going to eat! If you don't, you'll end up passing out because your body doesn't have any energy or nutrients in it. I'm not going to be responsible for that. Eat the entire bagel and drink all the orange juice." I was ticked in the moment, but looking back I'm so grateful she took such good care of me. 

There was a blizzard that morning. I am so grateful Jules was brilliant enough to have the idea to leave so early to give us plenty of time to drive! Once we were on the freeway she let me have control of the music. Bless her soul, she listened to two songs on repeat the entire time: "Some Nights," by Fun and "Jamaican Dance," from Just Dance 3. Those two songs helped calm my nerves, who knows why. To this day whenever my iPod is on shuffle and those songs come up I go right back to that drive to the temple. 

About halfway to the Salt Lake temple Nic called me. I felt so stupid! Why hadn't I thought of calling my soon-to-be husband? The first thing he said when I answered was, "Mace, I don't know how to get to the temple." I looked at the clock. It was 7:30 and we were both due inside the temple at 8:30. Why in the WORLD had he saved this piece of information the morning of our wedding?! I thrust my phone to Jules and told her to give him directions. She's much better at that than I am. As she was explaining things to Nic i looked out the car window and saw his car in the lane next to us on the freeway. I laughed out loud, thanked the Lord, and took my phone back. "Baby, you're right next to our car. Get behind us and follow." 

Traffic was slow due to the weather, so we made it to the parking garage below the Conference Center ten minutes before we were expected inside. My other best friend (there are three in this story) Holly King, surprised me by showing up at the temple! She and Jules escorted Nic and I to the temple doors and gave us both hugs. Here is the picture they took of us before we went inside: 

Nic  and I rushed to the recommend desk, handed over my dress and his tux, and waited to be let inside. BEEP! Nic's recommend was denied! Once again, panic filled my mind. The temple worker had us sit in a tiny room next to the desk and told us to wait for the temple president. Nic took my hand and told me everything would be okay. "Satan must not want us to get married, huh?" I told him. Tears filled my eyes. No judgement! It was an emotional day. 

A few moments later the temple president walked in. He took a look at Nic's recommend and told us it was never activated. All the president needed to do was call our stake president and ask him to verify Nic's worthiness. As luck would have it.... The entire stake presidency and their wives were on some sort of retreat, so the only thing picking up the calls were the voicemails. I was just about to accept the fact that we weren't going to get married that day when our wonderful bishop walked in. Bishop Gray laughed when he saw us and said, "What did you two do?" He then took control of the situation and vouched for Nic. 

Finally, at 8:45am, they let us in to the temple. 

My grandma Ellingson was my escort that morning, so she stayed close by as Nic and I went into a room and the matron talked to us about the events about to occur. She changed my name on my recommend to Macey Catherine Walters then handed it back to me. She smiled, and said, "Good luck, Brother and Sister Walters. Take care of each other."

 Right then and there I knew everything was going to be okay. Comfort and peace filled my heart. I looked at that amazing man standing next to me and squeezed his hand. He smiled at me, gave me a hug, and was escorted to the men's dressing room. My grandma took my hand and led me to the women's dressing room. 

I got my very own locker that day! While Nic and I were getting dressed, Jules and Holly had a very special surprise for me.... I was under the impression that my other best friend, Melissa Ingraham, was on a plane back to Massachusetts that morning. I was heart broken that she couldn't attend my special day, but I understood. I had absolutely no idea that she had changed her flight to January 13, and showed up at the temple right after I went inside! This is the picture I found on my phone later that day (I gave my phone to Jules so she could take pictures on it when Nic and I walked out of the temple): 

After I got dressed in my temple clothing my grandma helped me adjust my veil. In doing so, my dress got lipstick on it! A big, pink stain. Luckily, grandma had worked in the laundry at the Draper temple for years so she knew the Salt Lake temple had supplies to get stains out of clothes. A kind matron helped out as well, and after a few minutes of scrubbing the lipstick came out. 

It was time for me to go to the Celestial Room to sit with my husband. 

The butterflies in my stomach were going crazy at this point. My grandma left to get seated in our sealing room so one of workers led me to the Celestial Room. Nic was waiting by the doors for me. My stomach did a flip. He looked so handsome, even in his temple clothing! I teared up a bit. "We're almost there, beautiful," he said. 

We sat in the Celestial Room for about thirty minutes. I looked around us at all the breathtaking beauty the pioneers so delicately created. The room was beautiful, I didn't want to leave! The carvings in the crown molding were so intricate. The mirrors were reflecting the light of the sparkling chandeliers. I felt the presence of the Spirit so strongly. 

William L. Tanner, our sealer, escorted us to the sealing room. Before we knelt at the alter he gave us some advice. I can't remember it all off the top of my head... I did write it down in my journal, though. One of the things I remember though was this, "Nic, look into your fiancée's eyes. Sometimes she's going to be cranky and moody. Sometimes she's going to drive you crazy. Macey, look into your fiance's eyes. He's going to come home from work stressed some days. He's going to have little habits that irritate you. He probably won't fold his own laundry. You're both going to fight. It happens! But I need you to promise me right now that you will remember that loving your spouse and showing love to each other is much more important than a problem completely solved. And never, EVER, go to bed angry. And if you are angry, never, EVER sleep apart. There is an emotional intimacy that sleeping beside your spouse creates that can remedy many problems." 

Brother Tanner's advice struck my heart. I realized that in a few moments I was going to be sealed to my best friend for all eternity. Loving him was all I wanted to do for the rest of my life and I was going to keep every promise we were about to make to each other. 

Finally, it was time to kneel across the alter. Nic had never held my hand so tightly before. I looked up at him and couldn't stop smiling. Neither could he. We were then pronounced husband and wife and sealed or time and all eternity. Brother Tanner told Nic that he could kiss me across the alter. Our first kiss as a married couple! It was so sweet and tender, I cried again. Nic then stood up and took me into his arms. He held me tight for a few minutes. Everyone in the room was still, allowing us to have our moment. 

We then stood by the doors and everyone in the room hugged us before leaving. Everyone's eyes were wet, and I couldn't stop my tears either. "We did it," Nic whispered to me as the line of family and friends kept coming. 

Once everyone was out of the room my grandma took me to my dressing room and Craig Walters took Nic to his. I didn't want to waste any time getting dressed when I could be with my new husband! I threw off my temple clothes, hopped into my wedding dress, touched up my make up, and fixed my hair all in ten minutes. Lynette was also in the dressing room helping me, since she was the one who did all the alterations on my gown and sewed the bolero herself. She forgot to make a bustle for the train of my dress, but I wasn't worried. The butterflies in my stomach finally calmed down. I was now Nic's wife and nothing could bring me down. Lynette and my grandma found safety pins and pinned up the train. It looked pretty good for being held up by flimsy pins! Lynette had another sealing to attend, so she gave me a hug and went her way. She brought her beautiful fur coat to let me use! I was so grateful.

I rushed out of the dressing room with my grandma following behind me. One of the matrons handed me my bouquet as I waited for Nic. It looked perfect! I sent a picture to the florist and told her I wanted the EXACT bouquet. She nailed it! 

After fifteen minutes I started to get impatient. My grandma said, "Well you're already married, so it's not like he ran off!" I laughed and so did the other newlyweds waiting for their spouses. One of the grooms looked impatient so I joked with him and said, "Maybe you and I should just walk out together. That would throw everyone for a loop." He laughed and we talked for a bit. His wife came, I told her she looked beautiful, and they left. Nic was taking forever! After about twenty-five minutes he finally found me. He looked SO handsome in his tux! He took my breath away. "I didn't have my own locker like you did, so I had to wait for the other guys. Sorry, sweetheart. You look amazing!" He said. 

With the help of my grandma we got his boutonnière pinned to his tux. He took my hand and we made our way up the stairs to outside. 

Grandma and Craig Walters held the doors open for us and everyone celebrated as we walked out. Nic pulled me into a kiss, and I threw my hand holding the bouquet into the air. We did it! 

The first person I saw as we walked down the steps was Melissa. I immediately started crying and ran right to her. We hugged and I kept smiling and laughing. "You're here! This is the best surprise ever! My day is made!" I then turned to Nic and said, "well, you're pretty great too." Everyone laughed and I gave Mel one more hug. She has no idea how much that meant to me. The day would not have been complete without her. 

The next people in line for hugs were family members, of course. My mom was in a wheel chair since she was still recovering from surgery. It meant so much to me that she braved the blizzard and showed up to support me! Her doctors urged her not to, but she went against their wishes.  She was bawling her eyes out, as was Calle. My mom whispered to me when I hugged her, "I am so proud of you for making it to the temple and for the woman you have become. You look radiant." Braden gave me a hug and told me congrats. Jax and Rhett wouldn't let go of me. I cried as I held them close and told them I loved them. My dad pulled me close next and said, "You look beautiful, sweetheart. I couldn't be more proud of you." 

Then I saw two of the most amazing women in the world. 

I had been babysitting for Kim Affleck and Karissa Gardner for several years now, and over those years I created a special bond with each of them. Both gave me advice about every problem I ever had and both taught me important lessons about being a wife and mother. They were both like moms to me, so it was important to me that they be in my endowment session and sealing. They showed up for both. I gave each of them a big hug and thanked them for supporting me. 

We then spent about an hour taking pictures. My cousins Elise, Izzy, and Elyssa were so talented! They thought of so many cute poses and Elise even brought snow boots for me (since all I had were my Toms). They thought of everything! Mel and Jules stayed throughout the entire thing to make sure my hair was in place, my dress looked good, and my make up wasn't smearing. We now have such a beautiful pictures to display in our home thanks to all of them. And to top it off... The snow on the temple grounds made everything so magical and beautiful. 

Once our fingers and toes couldn't handle the seven degree weather  any longer we concluded our photography session and changed out of our wedding clothes. 

We said good bye to our families, told them we would see them at dinner in a few hours, then headed to the Little America Hotel. When we got there we were told our room wasn't ready yet, even though Nic had called and requested early check-in. I was exhausted and wanted to take a nap and a hot bath before our wedding dinner. Discouraged, we got back in the car and wondered what to do. We were both in church clothes and it was freezing outside so we didn't want to walk around City Creek. So... We went to the Salt Lake library. Not even kidding. 

At 3:00pm we were finally able to check-in to our hotel. We were expected at our dinner at 4:30, so it didn't give me much time to fix my hair and make up or take a warm bath. 

At 4:00 we left for the Old Spaghetti Factory in Trolley Square. When we arrived everyone was waiting outside the restaurant for us. They all celebrated when we showed up and starting congratulating us. All our aunts and uncles, some cousins, our grandparents, our bishopric, and even a few friends showed up to celebrate with us. I felt so loved! 

During the dinner my nerves came back. I didn't eat any of my yummy dinner except for a few bites of bread and one bite of my pasta. Nic and I walked around to each table (we reserved the entire upper floor) and thanked everyone for coming. Every few minutes our guests would start clinking their glasses with their forks and chant, "Kiss! Kiss!" After everyone finished their dinner, Lynette brought out the beautiful cake she made for us. She said we deserved to have a cake to cut on our wedding day, too, since our reception was a month later. It was beautiful! She even added sparkly snowflakes to decorate. Perfect for such a snowy day! 

We cut the cake together, and.... I smashed it in Nic's face. I told him I wouldn't, but in the moment I changed my mind. It just looked too fun. He forgave me and said, "I'll get back at you at our reception." 

Around 7:00 people started to leave. Nic and I hung around until everyone left so we could be sure to thank everyone again. Jules and Mel were absolutely amazing! They offered to take my wedding dress for me and store it at Jules' apartment until we got home from our honeymoon. Those two did so much for me throughout our engagement and they did even more that day. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends! After giving them my dress our parents walked us down to the parking garage underneath the restaurant and we all said our good byes. Calle hadn't stopped crying all day, and Rhett joined in when he gave me one last hug before our honeymoon. It was so touching to see how much they all loved and cared about us. 

When we got back in our car Nic said, "Hey, I get to call you 'wife' now. You're my wife. And I'm the luckiest man in the world." 

Little America went all out for our stay there. When we arrived there was classical music playing, rose petals on the bed, two robes set out, chocolate covered strawberries, and a bottle of sparkling cider waiting for us. The first counselor of the stake presidency, Brother Anderson, gave us advice about our wedding night the week before. He told us to kneel down and each take a turn saying a prayer out loud expressing gratitude for our new eternal companion. We did just as he suggested. Nic's prayer was absolutely beautiful.... I cried throughout the entire thing. His words are too special and too personal to write in this post, but they are forever engrained in my heart and mind. After his prayer it was my turn. I can't remember much of what I said, however I do remember expressing how blessed I felt to be sealed to such an incredible man. I also remember crying even more. I am so glad we listened to the counsel of Brother Anderson! Those prayers really helped each of us understand how much we mean to each other. 

Now a year has gone by.... And I still can't believe how amazing that day was. I am so grateful for all the people who pitched in to make it special! Our day wouldn't have been so wonderful without the love and support of everyone there. I am forever in debt to my aunt for making our cake and doing so much for my dress; to Melissa, Jules, and Holly for throwing my bridal shower and helping me get ready for our big day; to my parents who supported my decision to get married in the temple and chose to love and accept my husband; to my new in-laws for welcoming me into the family and loving me; to my grandma who escorted me in the temple that day and made sure I was taken care of; and of course, to my amazing husband, who without I would never be this happy. 

Well, that's the story of our wedding day. I guess I could be cliché and end with, "And they lived happily ever after." I truly do feel like I am living a fairy tale. However, we haven't reached our "ever after" just yet. Before anyone can reach their "ever after" life has to happen first.  Marriage takes a lot of hard work, unconditional love, infinite dedication, and forgiveness. Neither of us are perfect, and our marriage is nowhere near perfection either. To this day we still read the wise words of our sealer and reflect on the promises we made to each other and apply them to the tests and trials we face. Marriage isn't 50-50. It's both of us giving 100% of everything we have every single day. I'm no marriage professional, this is all just my personal opinion. I don't believe in the "happily ever after" as much as I believe in "happily going through the struggles in life as a team and working toward ever after." I'm so blessed that I married my best friend. A man who loves me for who I am, takes care of me, works hard at work and school and our marriage, who forgives me when I am in the wrong and appreciates me when I'm in the right. I know I am the luckiest girl in the world. 

I am so excited to see how the rest of our story unfolds. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

God Be With You {Til We Meet Again}

Well.... He's gone. My family and I dropped Elder Braden Ellingson off at the MTC at 12:45pm on Wednesday, February 5. It was such an emotional day for me, and honestly one of the hardest days of my life. I guess on a positive note I finally figured out what "bittersweet" REALLY means, and I had the chance to visit the beautiful Provo temple for the first time. 

From the moment Braden received his mission call last October I knew it would be hard letting him go. He and I have been close ever since he was born on my third birthday. Growing up together created so many special memories that I hold dear to my heart now that he is away. He was always my confidante, my birthday buddy, my playmate. As the years have gone by he is still my favorite birthday present in the whole world, and he has always been there for me when I needed him.

 I remember calling him, in tears, a few months ago asking him for advice. It had been a rough day and when I knelt down to pray I had a feeling I should call my brother. Braden was able to calm me down and council me using the Spirit. He has always been my unofficial "older brother" because he has always had my back and has always protected me. 
Over the past year we have grown even closer, and I consider him one of my best friends. I don't know what I would do without him! 

I am going to miss him terribly. I have been crying since Tuesday evening when he was set apart as an Elder for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I cried even more when he walked away from our car on Wednesday and entered the MTC. I am going to miss his silly snapchats and his posts on Instagram. I'm going to miss hearing the guitar music coming from his room as he tries to teach himself how to play. I'm going to miss playing weird games of Apples to Apples and laughing nonstop. I'm going to miss sharing our birthday celebration. Nobody tells you that driving away from the MTC feels like you're leaving a funeral! However, I know without a doubt that he is where the Lord needs him. I couldn't be more proud of him and the decision he made to serve Heavenly Father for two years. He has grown so much while preparing for his mission and I know that will only continue. 

But now.... What? I just need to find a way to keep myself busy. He did tell me to have a baby while he's gone.... Maybe I'll get on that in a few months? (; But for now, what the heck do I do to stop the tears from flowing? My poor husband is probably fed up with my moodiness and I don't blame him! My heart is in Provo. I feel like when we dropped him off we left part of me there. 

I know the Lord will watch over him and protect him. I know he will be blessed immensely for dedicating two years of his life to serving. I know that our family will be blessed as well. All this knowledge doesn't make missing him any easier though! I'm at a loss of what to do.

 I suppose I can start by following his example and dedicate the next two years of my life to the Lord as well. I can send care packages and letters. I can take care of my family. I can serve the people around me and try harder at my church callings. I can re-read the Book of Mormom. I can love and forgive more. I can enjoy life and do my best everyday. 

 I can become more like Braden. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What I Really Want for Christmas

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas and what it really means to me. I won't lie, I'm always thrilled to see the brightly colored presents perfectly wrapped and topped with a bow. However, I always have trouble answering the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" Quite honestly, many things come to my mind. Problem is that a majority of the things that I want only one person can give me- my Heavenly Father. Not only that, but I truly love giving more than receiving. Sure, I loved picking out my new Toms and showing my husband which clothes I would love to wear. I'm excited to see the surprises he has in store for me! But if I could hand the Lord a Christmas list this is what it would look like: 

1. The knowledge that mine and Nic's future is a good one, and that we will always have the money we need and the health to keep us going for many years to come. 
2. Pregnancy happening a lot easier next year. 
3. The comfort that I will get pregnant and when I do, the baby will be healthy and my body will function correctly. 
4. The security of Nic having a great job with the money and benefits we desire.  
5. Finding the perfect balance between spending time with my husband, working, sleeping, going to the temple, upholding my church callings, and seeing friends. 
6. Finding confidence in myself and loving ME for who I am. 
7. Daily opportunities to share the gospel. 
8. The knowledge that somehow, someday, I will make a difference. 
9. A sneak peek into my future just so I can have the assurance that I will be happy and a good mom. 
10. My family always being close to me and living long, healthy, happy lives. 

As I have been pondering this list of mine I have asked myself, "Why can't I ask for some of these things?" Obviously a few of them are things that won't ever happen, like me having a sneak peek into my future. But I can always ask for comfort knowing that my future is in good, loving hands....the Lord's hands. Right?

On another note, the world is making it so difficult to bring the true spirit of Christmas into homes. It's all about gifts, food, traveling....basically just spending money. What happened to the Christ in Christmas? I'll admit that I have struggled with applying what Christmas is really about. I love spoiling my husband and I have gotten caught up in purchasing the perfect gifts for him. I have loved decking the halls of our home with the cutest decorations. In some ways I have allowed the world to cloud the spiritual part of my brain and heart, and have forgotten how to invite the real Christmas spirit into my home. 

I wish Christmas lasted all year long. Not so much the gifts and spending money... but people do seem to be more jolly. I wish the world could keep that spirit alive the other eleven months of the year. It would make the world a much better place to live. If only the people who benefit from the Sub for Santa could be taken care of all year long. If only charity was important to everyone all the time. 

Anyway. Venting session is over now. I apologize for the jumbled thoughts and sloppy presentation. 

So, in response to the popular my question... What I really want for Christmas is the spirit to reside in my home and my loving husband by my side for the rest of eternity. That's it. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Need Thee Every Hour

This past week I have learned a very special lesson....I truly need my Father in Heaven every hour. The hymn has been stuck in my head for a few days now and quite honestly those comforting words have been the only thing giving me enough courge to get through the day. Nic and I have been going through a trial for quite some time now and this week I have felt like giving up. I hate admitting this, but I felt cheated. Nic served a full time mission, we married in the temple, we fulfill our calling, attend church weekly, pay tithing every paycheck, go to the temple as often as possible, pray every morning and night, read scriptures...pretty much everything the Lord has commanded His children to do. We are faithful servants and love Him with all of our hearts. So why haven't we been blessed with what we have been asking for since we're clearly doing everything right? That has been the question on my mind and heart for quite some time now. I had finally reached the point where I could no longer muster up the strength to keep my thoughts to myself. I poured my heart out to the Lord and begged Him to have mercy on my husband and I. To please bless us with a new job for Nic. I told Him I have done everything in my power to do what's right and feel like I have received nothing in return. I can't believe how selfish I was. As I was taking a drive to cool down and change my attitude before Nic got home from work the words of "I Need Thee Every Hour" ran trough my head once more: 
"I need Thee evr'y hour, 
Most gracious Lord. 
No tender voice like thine 
Can peace afford. 
I need thee, 
Oh I need thee!  
Evr'y hour I need thee. 
Oh, bless me now my Savior 
I come to thee. 
I need thee evr'y hour 
Stand thou nearby. 
Temptations lose their power 
When thou art nigh. 
I need thee ev'ry hour, 
In joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.
I need thee ev'ry hour,
Most holy One.
Oh, make me thine indeed,
Thou blessed Son!" 
I pulled over to the side of the road and all I could say to my Lord was, "I'm sorry," over and over. Again, I can't believe how selfish I was. Earlier I said I learned a special lesson...this is what I learned: 
As children of God we do what's right because it's the right thing to do. We shouldn't do the right thing because we expect blessings in return. Of course the Lord will bless us- we're His children and He loves us! However, the blessings may not always come in the way we want or expect them to. He is a wise parent and knows what we need, when we need it. He blesses us when we need it most. If we are doing what's right then the blessings come more often than not. If we aren't doing what's right the blessings slow down. It may not be the same for everyone, and I'm not trying to write doctrine or anything, but that's how it works for me. It has taken me 21 years of living and 10 months of marriage to learn this lesson. I need to do what He has asked me to do because I love Him, NOT because I want something in return. Not a day goes by where I don't need my Father in Heaven and my Savior. Like the hymn says, I need them every hour. I'm not perfect, and I never will be. As a human being I'll always have doubts and fears, and at times I will question my Father. I know there will be a mountain even more difficult to climb than the one Nic and I have been facing for a while now, and when we reach that mountain I will need to cling to the Lord with all my might. I need to trust Him. On that note, I need to trust my husband as well. Don't get me wrong- I DO trust him. Sometimes though I like to make decisions on my own because I think I know what's best for me and I can receive answers from God on my own, thanks very much. This is also very selfish of me. The Lord has blessed me with an absolutely incredible eternal companion! A companion who promised to stay loyal to me, promised to keep me safe throughout the rest of my life, promised to comfort me when times are tough, and promised to share the weight of the world with me. I no longer need to feel like I have to fend for myself. I no longer need to carry burdens on my own. I've gotta tell you...my husband is the most wonderful blessing I will ever receive. I'm not going to lie, things are really tough for us right now. We have been struggling with this job hunt and with Nic's schooling for so long.... The stress of it all is weighing us down. We can't do it alone, heaven's no! But with the help and love from our Heavenly Father we will reach the top of the mountain. I am so grateful for my husband and his determination to climb this mountain with everything he's got. He never ceases to amaze me! I have never met someone with so much courage and motivation. On top of that, he has the biggest heart in the universe and always shows kindness toward others. I can only dream of being as amazing as him. We may not be getting the "break" we need right now... but we do have each other. I know  the Lord is watching over us and is mindful of the things we desire and the things we need. I am incredibly blessed.