Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our Little Christmas Tree

I wanted to say thanks to my mom for getting us this awesome mini tree. It is perfect for us since we have such little space in our apartment. I still had a hard time figuring out where to put it but I think my solution was marginally creative. As you can see in the picture the gifts are technically "under" the tree :)
But what is more important than a silly tree on a chair and fancy bows is to remember that Heavenly Father send his son as a gift to us and that and the atonement are the two greatest gifts ever given. Merry Christmas everyone. Be safe and happy.


Friday, August 12, 2011

I love being married!!!

Michael drew this picture for me a few nights ago while I was stressing for a big final. He wanted so badly to find a way to cheer me up and this made me laugh out loud. It's me riding on a camel with 3 humps with my backpack behind me. I have recently discovered a new found love for camels. They are my new favorite animal. Did you know racing camels can run as fast as 40 mph? If they run 8 mph they can go for 17 hours! Camels are very strong and resourceful. I am trying to be more like a camel, trudging through the hot winds of temptation armed with my filled testimony on my "back" :) Anyway, enough about camels.
Before I left for school the other day, Michael made me a sandwich and packed it with a kiss in my backpack. "Save that for later" he said (referring to the kiss.)
I love my husband and I love being married. I am so lucky to have Michael and to go through our trials together. These are happy times for us.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Having Respect for your Spouse

Before we got married, I was never worried about being able to show enough respect for Michael. Its true that he isn't the hardest worker I've ever met, but I knew that he wanted to support our future family and he was just so amazing at making me laugh and love myself. However, seven months after the wedding I discovered that my patience for him had dwindled and my hopes for a happily ever after felt shattered. Yet, I didn't really think that there was a problem with my behavior. I felt sometimes that i had accidentally married the wrong person who wouldn't change into the right one even after what was, on my part, rigorous husband-training. My mom called me after Sunday dinner at my grandparents with some concerns. She had seen the way I treated Michael at the table, slapping him in the face with criticism and coldness. My mom felt like she hadn't taught me how to be respectful towards my future spouse. What she said really made me change the way I act toward Michael and even when he's not around. What I learned is that men in general need to be respected in the same way that women need to feel loved. It is a very strong, basic emotional need. Men who don't get the respect they feel they deserve they can sometimes become emotionally compromised. I've noticed this a lot in Michael. I would criticize him, hoping that when he learned what he was doing wrong he would change his behavior. Instead, his self esteem crumbled and the desire to try again vanished, leading to more criticism from me for not trying.
I'm not perfect at this, I just barely learned that I need to do it, but instead of tearing Michael apart I strive to build him up with positive remarks so he feels capable and happy about himself. Marriage is not an easy thing, but I know it is worth it. I think of how far I have progressed with Michael as my companion and I am so grateful that I don't have to go through all of it on my own. I wouldn't have turned out to be such a happy flower if I didn't have him to nurture and care for me emotionally. For that and all of the other many things he does for me, I am grateful.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Toilets and Tribulations

Yesterday I brought Trevor home with me after my trip to Salt Lake City to visit Carl. We got home at about 2 pm. At 9 pm there was an inch of toilet water mixed with poop covering our bathroom floor and soaking the carpet in the hallway. The toilet didn't look plugged up and it didn't seem like anything was wrong with it, so I flushed it to see what would happen. The toilet water came bubbling up quickly through one of the bolts on the side that secures the toilet to the floor. My first reaction was to be frustrated and upset. To have raw sewage dumped on my feet after a long, tiring trip was very aggravating. After we called the management and left a message I called my dad and asked him for advice. I was almost in tears after we talked. It sounded like it was a more serious problem than we thought. The toilet would probably need to be re-sealed or there could be a serious clog farther down the line. But then I remembered something important. God wanted me to have this experience. He was allowing it to happen. It is important for me to go through this trial because there is something that I need to learn.
It gave me peace to remember that God knows what is happening to me and that He has the power to fix it but even though He didn't intervene, He still gave me the peace that I needed.
Trevor and I walked about mile to get to and from a public restroom in a nearby park. A plumber came by when we got home and said the problem was beyond his ability to fix it. There were at least three more people in the complex having the same problem because the sewage system is interconnected. The water has seeped from the bathroom out through the carpet. We tried to keep it from getting out of the bathroom until all of our towels were soaked in the toilet water. It traveled about 8 feet and made it to the carpet that leads into the kitchen. This is one of the reasons I'm glad we don't own the place. It won't be our responsibility to pay the plumber or to replace the carpet. We called to let the manager know the carpet was soaked and she sent a person to test the moisture in the carpet. He told us that we should find somewhere else to sleep because it is a health hazard to sleep with all of the gray water everywhere so I asked grandma if we could spend the night at her house. I guess if we stayed here it would be like sleeping in a carpeted sewer. The apartment smelled terrible, especially the bathroom.
The story does have a happy ending, however :)
Last night a carpet guy came over and disinfected the carpet that had grey water and and then tore it out. He also mopped the bathroom for us. The sewage system had been fixed somewhere down the line and everything works well except for a tiny leak in the seal on the base of the toilet. The apartment manager is going to give us rent credit so maybe this is actually a blessing in disguise. I have been worried about paying for summer tuition and a break in rent could be a miracle for us. I told the manager that we were able to do the laundry at my grandma's house but she still gave me $6.25 in quarters to reimburse me for having to wash all of the towels. In a week or two we will have brand new carpet and it will seem like it never happened.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about the things that have changed since I got married. I am a lot happier about everything and more importantly I feel like a better person. Maybe feeling like a better person makes me more happy or maybe feeling happier makes me feel like a better person, its hard to tell.
I like to think that I am not an optimist nor a pessimist. I am a realist. In the argument over whether the cup is full or empty, I see it as someone is going to drink it in 5 minutes and you two won't have anything to quarrel about anymore. But rather than look at it negatively by saying "the water will be gone," my attitude has shifted to where I say "someone gets to have a drink of water." The helpful dictionary gadget on my computer says that realism is "the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly."
As a kid I always thought that being optimistic was the right way to live. I tried as hard as I could to think positively about things but because I don't have an innate optimistic personality, I would cover my true feelings with the "blanket" of what I was supposed to feel as an optimist. It really didn't work out for me because I felt like I was a bad person if I was unhappy with the way things were in my life. I don't think that optimistic people are bad, in fact I really like them. That's why I wanted to be one. But it hurt me to force myself to bury my problems so I could look at life in a positive way and so I abandoned my pursuit of optimism. I was really unhappy with my life for a long time. I told my mom once (at a very young age) that I wanted a new mom, "one who doesn't make chicken pot pie all the time." I was obsessed with the idea of a nicer car when I turned 16 and my parents gave me a car to drive and payed for the insurance to include me in their policy. When we got married, I wanted my husband to have a nice "cushy" job (one with decent pay, vacation, time and benefits). I also wanted a nicer apartment, one without mold or noisy upstairs neighbors. But I already had a wonderful mother, a good car, and Michael did have a part-time job in addition to our apartment. It just wasn't good enough for me.
Something has changed for me. It could be the increase in endorphins since I have been biking to most of the places that I need to go. Or perhaps I am just deliriously happy to have a kitty again. Whatever the reason, I am more satisfied with everything in my life. My mom is my hero and I hope I can be just like her someday. We have a car and I have the freedom to bike where I need to go when Michael needs the car for work. I have found that living on a budget can be fun because we have to work together to stretch the money to fill our expenses.
I accept my life the way it is in every aspect and I am prepared to deal with it accordingly because I am at the place that I need to be in my life.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Perfect in Word

I came across this scripture in James 3:2 while someone was giving a spiritual thought at a meeting. It reads: "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." This really stood out to me because I often feel like I am so far away from ever being perfect that I should just give up. That the idea of me ever being perfect is hopeless. This scripture illustrated to me that the first step in being perfect and good is to clean up what we say about other people. Withholding mean and hurtful words will lead to actions that are kind and loving. I think that the last step is cleaning our thoughts, which comes after we show people that we didn't think highly of before that we won't judge them.
I have a hard time with keeping my thoughts nice. When I hear comments that upset me, especially when the person is being loud, I am quick to judge harshly. Even though I might not say anything hurtful directly to the person, sometimes I go home and tell Michael all about it, sometimes exaggerating a little. This does not seem like gossip to me because I am not intending to hurt the person and they will never hear about it. But Heavenly Father can hear it and that person that I am criticizing is one of His children that has a life story that I have no idea about. They have family, trials, and imperfections just like me. Also, it burdens Michael to hear the tales of wo that I bring home and unload onto him.
I realize that I have been unfair and very hurtful in many of the things that I say. The two people that I have hurt the most are 1. My mom and 2. My husband. Funny how the people you love the most and those who are the closest to you usually end up being the ones you hurt the most. I regret all of the mean things that I have said and even yelled to my mom during my teenage years. I am grateful to still have your love but I wish so badly that I could go back and erase all of the lies and all of the pain I have inflicted. Even though I am a much better person now, I still say very hurtful things to Michael, often for no more reason than being in a fowl mood. I wish that I could erase those things too.
Reading that scripture really changed the way I view other people. It also made me realize that perfection is a very long and rough journey that requires rebuke and change, but it is possible if you take it one step at a time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mike's Ugly Shirt

Michael recently started a new office job at a company called the English Language and Culture Institute. He has really enjoyed it so far and hopes to continue working there after his 30 day probation period.
This morning he came into the kitchen wearing a disgusting, bright-purple, silk button-up shirt that one of his brothers handed down to him years before. I had scoffed at it earlier when looking through the vast sea of used and unwanted clothes that haunts our closet. I thought that maybe he wore it during a play in high school and that gave it sentimental value enough to keep it, unused, forever. Or perhaps he bought it while on his mission in South Korea, making it indefinitely valuable. I didn't actually think he would ever wear it.
Un-tucked over blue sweat pants, the shirt was halfway between nightgown material and something to be worn in a horror movie. I made several silly but disapproving remarks like "another piece for the little shirt of horrors?" while serving him french toast.
However, from Michael's point of view, he was going to work at an institution where young students would be coming from all over the world to learn better English skills and take classes at the nearby university. He thought that the bright shirt would be friendly for individuals daunted by the experience of being so far away from home. In addition, the shirt was very comfortable and matched the tie he'd found.
Tucked into nice black pants and accented by a thin, dark tie, the shirt didn't look half bad. In fact, it looked pretty good.
I realized that there is a wonky but true metaphor here. Personalities can be compared to button-up shirts. Some are bright with images of palm trees or Hawaiian flowers. Others are solid white shirts sewn with care and pressed neatly to prevent wrinkles. Michael's "personality shirt" just happens to be an awkward, bright purple color and made out of silk. But I shouldn't try to change that. It's who he is; bright, happy, and friendly. Although his personality doesn't exactly emulate great business skills or prestige, his personality was, and still is, attractive to me. If I forced him into a stiff, bleach-white collar with no wrinkles or fun, it would not be the same Michael that I love so dearly. It taught me an important lesson: a man is not truly measured by his ability to do well in the business world, but by his ability to enjoy life and fill the measure of his creation; whatever that may be.