Monday, September 14, 2015

Good ole' San Antonio

Well we have been here for almost two months now! It is crazy how fast time flies! It was so so sad to say goodbye to my family back in Utah. The Green's had a family reunion a couple weeks before we left and it was so fun being with everyone before we left!

Marshall had roseola so he looked so sad with his rash!



It was so hard to keep this boy clean when we were up in the canyon. He is definitely a boy!

Trying to clean Marshall up afterwards.

So glad we were able to get family pictures done! Sad to think that everyone to the right of my parents are living in different states now.

The week after the reunion my little brother headed off on his mission to Wisconsin. My family had a testimony meeting after he was set apart and it was an experience I still cherish. We have received several emails from him now and he is doing great things. He is such an amazing example and has an amazing testimony.




And a few days later my little family was off to new adventures! Sadly we did not take any pictures of the moving experience. I wish we got a picture of our truck, and most importantly with Jake's parents. They drove down with us in the truck and they were extremely helpful! I don't know if we would have been able to do it without them. We split the trip into three days and the first day we ended up taking a wrong turn and drove through the mountains of Colorado. Don't get me wrong, the mountains were gorgeous! But when you are driving through them on a narrow road with a moving truck going at much slower speeds, it was less than ideal. 

The next day was actually great! The day after that (the last day) was harder though. We went to fill up our gas at a Costco in Lubbock, TX and the moving truck was having a hard time filling up. We had to keep pumping the gas and so it took forever! Our car filled up fine, but then when we went to turn it on, it would not start. Luckily, someone was kind enough to offer to jump us, but we were scared to turn off our car the entire day. Once we arrived in San Antonio we got a new battery and it has worked fine ever since.

It was super sad to say goodbye to Jake's parents when we dropped them off at the airport. And again I am so sad we did not get any pictures with them. We love them very much!

**********

Now that we are here we are trying our best to adjust to our new life style. Jake is very busy with school. He is taking 22 credits and so he comes home for dinner and then gets back to studying once Marshall goes to bed. It is definitely an adjustment for him as he has never had to study this much before! We just keep praying every day that he can get through the next day and then hopefully make it through to the end of this semester. Baby steps. Baby steps.

You're a real doctor when you get your own stethoscope right? Wish it was that easy! 


Speaking of baby steps. Marshall is now walking! He started walking the day we dropped Jake's parents off at the airport. It is amazing how much babies learn within just a short time frame. He is learning new things every day and I can tell that he understands us more. Just today I asked him to go grab a book so that I could read to him, and he actually grabbed a book and brought it back. He is also learning a few signs like "more" and "all done". He also likes saying "no" before he does something bad. Doggies are his favorite now as we have a lot of new neighbors with dogs!

It's fun being here living on our own without family close by. Don't get me wrong, I miss them like crazy and it does get hard and lonely sometimes. But this is so good for us! I am learning to make new friends all over again. I know that might sound silly, but I guess I just was too comfortable with my family and friends back in Utah that I forgot what it was like to make new friends. 

Some other random things:
- I love how diverse the culture is here. Sometimes I feel like white people are the minority. In our apartment complex I feel like we are surrounded by Indians.
- There really is only one grocery store chain here: HEB. But I love them! They have pretty good deals, and good produce. I do get confused sometimes though because most of the food labels read both English and Spanish.Everyone is so friendly at the grocery store too. Maybe that's just because I have an adorable baby. But they definitely feel free to touch him without asking. haha. 
- I love the ward here as well. It just feels different than Utah wards. It feels like family, and I feel a greater need to be a member missionary.
- There are a million interstates here. Okay probably not a million, but it sure seems like it to me. I never know which direction I am going.
- I am learning that the swimming pool is a mans best friend. August was the hottest month down here and the pool just makes the heat and humidity go away.


When it gets hard, we just remember the confirmation we got our first week of being here that this is where we need to be and what we need to be doing. That makes moving forward much easier.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Do my beliefs make me a bad person?

This past week the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal and available nationwide in the United States. This has been a heated topic over the past few years, and now many people who have wanted to see equality for all couples straight or gay have been celebrating this historic event.

As for me, I cannot say that I wanted it, but I also cannot say that I did not want it. Yes, I am a Mormon. I do believe in traditional marriage and family. I do believe that men and women were created to have distinct divine rolls that help unify each other and their family.  I do not believe that acting on same-sex attraction is morally right. Do those beliefs make me a bad person?

Say I supported the opinion that "love is love" and every one should have the right to marry who they choose. Again, I cannot say that I do not want this or support this. I think it's great that same-sex couples now can have the benefits that straight couples have. They are no longer deprived of those rights, and I am very happy for them. While I do not agree or believe the same way that they do, I am happy for them.

Now this blog post is not meant to offend anyone or cause some sort of storm and uproar. It is not meant for people to tell me that I am wrong, and list all of the reasons why. It is simply to advise people to do just the opposite.

Countless times this week I have seen someone post their opinion or belief on social media. I can almost guarantee that in the comments there are people opposing their post, and degrading said person. Most people comment or post because they want to convince the other person that they are wrong or that their beliefs are false. Most people who post on social media on heated issues, have strong opinions for or against the issue. Do you think that they can be convinced that their strong opinion or belief is false? Someone with said strong opinion is going to defend their opinion no matter what you say.

I am not saying that no one should express their opinions or views. We all have the freedom of speech. What I am saying is that we should respect other's opinions or views, even if they are different than our own. So what if you believe that same-sex couples should or should not marry? Traditional marriages are still taking place. Same-sex marriages will start to more abundantly take place. Anything that we say is not going to change that. We all now have the same rights, despite our difference in beliefs. We are all able to live in this country that has given us the right to believe differently and reap the benefits. I believe the founding fathers wanted us to respect each others beliefs. They gave us the right to believe what we wanted, and still live in the same country and be neighbors. Isn't that wonderful to live with such a diverse group of people?

Here is the thing - there is no way that the population of the earth will ever agree. We need to celebrate our differences and love each other despite our differences. Why do we have to express so much hate for someone and their beliefs? The only thing that we are accomplishing here is anger, hatred, and disgust. 

I have not only seen this through the past week, but I have seen it for years and am speaking up now because it is getting a little too intense. We are definitely living in the "age of debates" as it has become so easy to express our opinions for the world to see. Sadly, I think these opinions are doing more harm than good. I am sure that there are plenty of people out there that are scared to share their beliefs and opinions because of the negativity that they are going to receive in return. It is almost inevitable. Can we just celebrate our differences? Can we be able to share our opinions and beliefs and receive the respect back that we deserve? I think everyone wants respect, but how can we expect it when we are not respecting others in return.

Mormon children sing the following short song and it's a simple, but strong statement.
"Jesus said love everyone; Treat them kindly too.
When your heart is filled with love, Others will love you."

Whether you are a Christian or not, I am sure we can all agree that we should love and treat others kindly. Yes, I am Mormon. Yes, I believe in traditional marriage. Yes, I may believe differently than you. Does that make me a bad person? Can we all just get along?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Moving day is upon us!

Jacob and I have now been married for three years and we have got quite comfortable with our little basement apartment. I have always thought that it would be hard for me once I married to call someplace else home. Luckily for me I only had to move a block away from where I grew up. We have been so blessed with our little place - a place where Jake's parents have spoiled us with rent, cookies, meals, a back yard, babysitting, and lots of love. Not to mention only living a block away from my parents, where they spoiled us with their love and support as well. It may take us a lifetime to repay all of them for their generosity.

In less than two months we will be moving. Moving far away from the place that Jacob and I grew up. Is it possible that we could ever call someplace else home?


* * * * *


At the beginning of May, Jake graduated from Utah Valley University. I knew that graduation was in his future, I just did not know that it would sneak up on us so quickly.


Jake and his parents

So proud of this guy!


* * * * *


A week after graduation we headed off to San Antonio to search for possible apartments. Our trip was pretty short, yet we were excited to come back home to Utah. We spent a lot of time in our hotel room because Marshall and Jake were throwing up. We still had fun, but it was a less than ideal vacation.

We went to the river walk when Marshall started to feel better and before Jake felt sick. It was super pretty and it made San Antoio feel a little cooler.
                                                                       


Marshall normally does not like to cuddle. We felt pretty spoiled that he would actually cuddle with us while he was sick.


The San Antonio Temple was beautiful. I loved all of the unique plants around the city. I almost felt like we were in a forest of some kind. It is very green and there are a lot of unique birds.


After the temple, a big thunder storm blew in. We drove back to the hotel and watched the storm from our window.

* * * * *

Just yesterday we found out that we were approved for an apartment and got an official moving day! It is becoming more real and exciting, yet scary.

I will miss having our close support system of family. I will miss the mountains. I will miss Utah weather - however unpredictable it may be. I will miss our church building. I will miss our neighbors. I will miss the Mormon culture. I will miss all of the memories that I have built here over the years. 

Yet there are many great things in our future and things that we can look forward to. I am excited to move out into the 'mission field'. I am excited to meet new people and make new friends. I am excited for a walk-in closet, and more bathroom space. I am excited to have a pool in my back yard. I am excited for Jake and the start of his optometry school program. He is excited to start learning about topics more applicable to his future career. 

Also, there is one more thing that I find comfort in. That is that wherever I go I can take the Lord, and my faith, with me. I know that while family and friends will be far away, the Lord is still there. I will still be able to talk to him, and he will be able to give me comfort when I need it. I am so glad He will come along with us for the ride!


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"Take Time to Be Holy"

When I was in high school I learned the importance of scripture study and almost always made time for it every day. This is one of the first things that I had found I had a true testimony of. When I read my scriptures, I had a better and happier day. When I did not read my scriptures my day was usually not that great. I believe it also helped me to withstand the temptations that were around me at that age. I remember uncomfortably sitting in a car with fellow students my age during ranging to get our drivers licenses. Theses students talked about serious sins that they had committed like they were no big deal. I remember them also saying in one form or another that they were Mormon. I feel like I had no desire to do those things that these students were doing and I believe that was because I took the time every day to read my scriptures and become closer with my Heavenly Father. That does not mean that I was not tempted in other ways because I did make mistakes, some more serious than others. I do know that I was able to overcome these trials and mistakes by continuously reading the scriptures.


Take Time to Be Holy 

"Take Time to Be Holy" is a beautiful song. I encourage everyone to listen and try to understand the words. 


Take time to be Holy, speak oft with thy Lord.
Abide with Him always and feed on His word.
Make friends with God's children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on.
spend much time in secret with Jesus alone;
By looking to Jesus like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide
And run not before Him whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow still follow thy Lord,
And looking to Jesus trust in,
Trust in the Lord.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul.
Each thought and each motive beneath His control;
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shall be fitted for service above.
Thou soon shall be fitted for service above.

This song illustrates several ways that we can take time to be holy. I believe there are three main aspects of  holiness in which we need to make time for.

Speak oft with the Lord

This obviously means that we need to take the time to pray. Our Heavenly Father knows us more than we know ourselves. We can ask him to help us, protect us, and understand His will for us. This phrase not only says to pray, but it says to pray often. We need to be in constant communication with our Heavenly Father in order to receive the fullness of His blessings.


Feed on His Word


This means to read our scriptures and study the words of the prophets. This also means that when He impresses us we should obey. How blessed we are to have the scriptures and modern day revelation! Without these tools we would not know what we need to do in this life, or what is expected of us. His word is the key for us to one day return to live with him.

I am constantly reminded of this scripture,
"Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." - 2 Nephi 32:3

This means that we have a surefire way of knowing the steps we need to take to become like God. Isn't that our ultimate goal? Of course we should study all that we can to get there.

Make Friends with God's Children, Help Those Who are Weak

We need to make lasting friendships and help our friends in time of need.

Sister Kathleen H. Hughes, former member of the General Relief Society Presidency, relates in a General Conference address,
"As a Relief Society presidency, we sometimes hear women say that they don't feel the love of the Lord. But perhaps they would feel more of His love if they looked for His hand in the actions of those who care for them. It may be a member of their branch or ward, a neighbor, or even a stranger who blesses them and manifests Christ's love."
(What Greater Goodness Can We Know: Christlike Friends)

We are indeed making time to be holy when we make time for God's children.

Missed Spiritual Opportunities

David O. McKay, former president of the LDS Church, tells the following story after discussing with The Quorum of The Twelve Apostles the importance of meditation. This story is told from,  Teachings of Presidents of the Church - Harold B. Lee manual, pg. 182.

"The President then took occasion to relate an experience in the life of Bishop John Wells, formerly a member of the Presiding Bishopric. A son of Bishop Wells was killed in Emigration Canyon on a railroad track. ... His boy was run over by a freight train. Sister Wells was inconsolable. She mourned during the three days prior to the funeral, received no comfort at the funeral, and was in a rather serious state of mind. One day soon after the funeral services, while she was lying on her bed relaxed, still mourning, she claims that her son appeared to her and said, 'Mother, do not mourn. Do not cry. I am all right.' He told her that she did not understand how the accident happened. He explained that he had given a signal to the engineer to move on and then made the usual effort to catch the railings on the freight train, but as he attempted to do so his food caught in a root and he failed to catch the hand rail and his body fell under the train. It was clearly and accident. He said that as soon as he realized that he was in another environment he tried to see his father but he could not reach him. His father was so busy with the duties in the office that he could not respond to his call; therefore, he had come to his mother and he said to her, 'You tell Father that all is well with me. I want you to not mourn anymore.'"


Wow. Re-read the story again if you have to. The Bishop in the story missed out on an amazing spiritual experience because he was too busy to be reached. How many times have we missed out on spiritual experiences because we were too busy to listen?

Vicki F. Mastsumori, former counselor in the Primary General Presidency states,
"Because the Spirit is often described as a still, small voice, it is also important to have a time of quiet in our lives as well. The Lord has counseled us to "be still, and know that I am God." If we provide a still and quiet time each day when we are not bombarded by television, computer, video games, or personal electronic devices, we allow that still, small voice an opportunity to provide personal revelation and to whisper sweet guidance, reassurance, and comfort to us." 

Yes, we are busy. But are we too busy for our Heavenly Father? When I have a quiet moment, I like to turn on the TV or look at my phone. Some noise or screen always has to be running it seems like. I think the problem is that when we do have that little time to relax, we spend that time doing other things.We do not set the Lord as our first priority.

We are missing spiritual opportunities.

Our Ultimate Goal

Isn't our ultimate goal to become like Gods and Goddesses? How will we get there if we are not counseling with our God consistently? Our Heavenly Father went through the same trials that we went through and made it! He knows how to get us there. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our potential. He can be our mentor if we let him.

I believe that the last few verses of the song illustrate that when we "take time to be holy" we will more readily become like Jesus by trusting in Him. In return, He will trust us because he knows where our hearts are.

I am not writing this because I am good at these things. In fact, I am actually rather poor at them now. Since high school, my life has changed and different responsibilities came. I have not made the Lord a priority nearly as much. I am writing this because I heard the choir sing this song at my stake conference. I felt the spirit strongly suggest that this is the most important thing that I can do and if I do this then I can reach my ultimate goal and become like my Heavenly Father. 

I encourage everyone to set a goal. Make a sacrifice of your time. I have a testimony of this because I know that when I have made that time, I feel my Heavenly Father more present with me throughout my day. Feel His spirit. Feel his love. Feel closer to God.

"And so I beg of you ... to live each day so that you might receive from the fountain of light [the] nourishment and strength sufficient to every day's need. Take time to be holy each day of your lives."
-President Harold B. Lee

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Remember the Alamo

So it has been a while since I have last blogged. A lot has happened in these few seemingly short months.

Marshall Update:

Marshall is now 9 months old and is such a fun little boy! He has learned so many things in the past few months. It is hard to believe that I am going to have a 1 year old in just a few months.

For Halloween we decided to dress Marshall up as a marshmallow. A few people started to call him Marshall-Mallow, so we decided that would fit well for a costume. We decided to dress up with him and were the s'more family.



When Marshall was 6 months old I started to notice that we have a really curious boy on our hands. He studies people, and looks around at his environment. It looks like he is trying to figure out how things work and what this life is all about. Luckily he still has not figured out how to crawl yet, but I believe I will have my hands full when he does.

I also started to feed Marshall real food at six months, and he loves it and I cannot catch up with him. Sometimes I feel like he eats more food than I do.


Marshall also took his very first trip up to Idaho to see my extended family. He did so good in the car and was overall content the whole trip!


By 7 months old Marshall learned how to clap and start saying words like da-da. He also learned how to sit up on his own. He also started to more consistently sleep through the night. 
Marshall also had a very good Christmas. Jake's family had a party a couple nights before Christmas and it was Jake's turn to dress up like Santa Claus. I don't think Marshall was fooled though, he just stared at "Santa" wondering why his dad was dressed up like that. Marshall was so cute Christmas morning. I could not get him to stop smiling. 

 

 

By 8 months old Marshall started to get pretty good at backing himself into corners and saying other words such as ma-ma and uh-oh. This was kind of a hard month for the both of us because Marshall got a few teeth and was just more fussy. There was one night where he was up SUPER late. It reminded me of when he was a newborn. But we survived and now he is sleeping great again!

 

Marshall had his very first cold just a few weeks ago, when he turned 9 months old. That was kind of a hard time too because he got mommy and daddy sick as well. It seemed like our colds were never going to go away, but thankfully they eventually did. I feel super blessed that he had not been sick until this point, and that he is overall a very healthy child. 


Jacob Update:

Jake, my adorable husband, did not have much of  a Christmas break from school. It was actually rather stressful for the both of us. Jake had turned in his optometry school applications earlier that month, but he still had to take his Optometry Admissions Test, which he scheduled to take at the end of December. He constantly studied while I constantly tried to stay out of his way and not distract him in our small apartment. I think the hardest part was trying to keep Marshall quiet and entertained. Luckily, once Jake took the test we did not have to worry about it anymore because he got a good score!

 

Soon after that, optometry schools started inviting Jake to come interview at their schools. We were a bit overwhelmed because we did not think that all of the schools that Jake applied to would ask him to come interview. With optometry schools, when they invite a student to come interview, they most likely will accept you. Jake went to his first interview at the end of January to the University of the Incarnate Word - Rosenberg School of Optometry in San Antonio. He was able to stay with a friend there who is now attending that school. That friend definitely spoiled him by showing him around town and treating him to a nice stay. Jake loved the school and the area. Jake then had two more interviews two weeks after that, one in Houston and one in St. Louis. But you probably guessed by the title of my blog where we decided to go - SAN ANTONIO! The fall semester starts mid-August. It is weird to think that in a few months we will be leaving Utah and be starting this new adventure. 



Jacob is also such a wonderful daddy! I sure do love the time he takes out of his busy schedule to take care of us!


Michelle Update:

I continue to stay busy being a mom and a wife to two amazing boys. But for the new year I have decided to set a few more goals and gain some hobbies.
1. I am striving to read and complete the Book of Mormon this year! I have read the Book of Mormon quite a bit, just not so much cover to cover. It is easy for me to sometimes get into tangents while reading, even though there is nothing wrong with that. 
2. I am striving to limit my use of technology. Sometimes it is easy for me to turn on the TV or look at my phone while tending to Marshall. I realize that those are not the best of habits, and I want to teach Marshall that technology should not always be our go to. There are many other things that we can do. That being said, I am striving to set more time during the day to just play and give my undivided attention to Marshall. I have also started to do some family history work and I am really enjoying it! 
3. I am striving to become more service oriented. This is the hardest goal for me and my introverted personality. I mainly am praying that I can look outside of myself and remember to not be so selfish. I can go out of my way to make sure others are happy and being taken care of.
4. Lastly, I am striving to develop a stronger relationship with my Heavenly Father. Prayer is a constant battle for me. Sometimes while I am praying my mind gets completely distracted from the prayer and I tend to start repeating the same phrases over and over. I am striving to say my prayers out loud, and write them down so that I can really focus on what I want to convey.