Sunday, June 23, 2013

enduring love

Ammon and I will sometimes watch Mormon Messages on a whim. A couple days ago we watched the newest one. The one on marriage. And we bawled the entire time. (Okay, I was the only one bawling but I SWEAR Ammon got teary-eyed.) haha. 

This is the most heart-wrenching video you can watch on marriage in less than 5 minutes. In a good way. It will make you want to be the best spouse you can be. 

While watching this video, the spirit confirmed to me that this is what eternal marriage is all about. It's about being with each other through everything on this earth, so that when you get old, you will be there to take care of one another. That you will love them so much, spending all your time to serve them will be second nature. And you will carry that love and sacrifice with you into the eternities. 

I used to wonder if I could ever willingly serve someone beyond a few hours a week. It seemed daunting to give up all my precious time for someone else. But as the months grow into years with my husband and best friend, I KNOW that I would do anything for him if something happened to him. I would take such good care of him. I love him so much. 

The trick is to keep that attitude always and eventually feel that way toward all those who are in need of help.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

confessions of a crafty pyromaniac

About a month ago, I wrote a post proclaiming my love for the great outdoors and how much fun it is to throw rocks. This post is similar because it is about fire. And how much fun it is to light things on fire. 

Ammon and I reserve Friday nights for dates. After listing off things over and over again that we didn't  feel like doing, we finally agreed on something that would make us both happy: crafting with popsicle sticks (my idea) and then lighting them on fire (Ammon's idea). Please enjoy the following pictures and videos. 

{Note: do not hold anything anybody says during the videos against them.We all said some weird things . haha}

Nephi came over later and helped me with painting

Ammon's final product

And mine

One last moment with my creation
 Okay. Here's the part where we burn our creations.On Sunday, Mark, Rachelle, Nephi, and my brother Taylor came over for games. Once we had an appropriate audience, it was time to burn our beauties. 

 After burning Ammon's epic ship, we anti-climatically burned my creation:

Haha! My face is priceless. It wasn't just the boys who were excited about the fire. 
What a great date this made. Inexpensive. Inventive. Fun. Thrilling? I'd definitely do it again.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

flat leah

Have you ever heard of Flat Stanley?

If not, that's okay because I hadn't heard about him until last semester when I was spending three weeks in a Kindergarten Classroom. If you have heard about him, then you know that Flat Stanley is a children's storybook about a boy named Stanley who turns into a paper doll and visits his friends via envelope. 

Flat Stanley is also an elementary school project where the students read about Flat Stanley and then send a paper version of him to their family members or other students living in a different part of the world. The person who receives Flat Stanley takes him everywhere they go and takes pictures.
After a few days or so of this, the pictures and a letter are sent back to the student. In the Kindergarten class where I observed, the students made a poster and shared it with the class. Flat Stanley went to Texas, Idaho, Washington, and even China!

Alright. You're probably wondering what this has to do with me. Well... my good friend Allissa just got back from visiting my other good friend Meggie in the Caribbean. I was so sad I couldn't tag along, that I came up with a genius idea... Flat Leah. And Allissa was great enough to go along with it. 

me with my flat leah

Allissa taking flat leah out the door

Allissa stopped by the Distribution center to grab a Book of Mormon for the flight

Waiting at the airport

On the plane

All buckled in
At the pool. Look! My very own hot tub! 

Meggie's backyard. I'm in the plant!

Oh just pickin some magos

On a boat ride

So there you have it. Flat Leah in the Caribbean. Too bad the real me wasn't there. But maybe one day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

my first attempt at giving marriage advice

Soooo... I am following a couple blogs that often give advice on marriage; pretty good advice in fact. But sometimes I wonder what makes them credible to give such advice. They aren't a therapist, they don't have a PHD, they aren't a world-renowned book author or anything like that, so why do their readers often go to them with marriage questions? I've decided it's because they have experience, they reflect on their experience, and they are honest in their writing. Well, last I checked, I do all three of those things. So I thought, why not give it a go? Why not share my advice? 

So here I go. Here is my marriage advice. {More like just the beginning of it} 

Ammon and I have been married for a little over a year now. While it has been a blast and I never regret my decision to marry Ammon, it has also been challenging. When you become so comfortable with someone, it's easy to get comfortably lazy with how you treat them. 

For example. If someone at work says something we don't like, or they are acting fist-clenching annoying, we usually just brush it off and just ignore it-or we approach them very carefully to discuss the matter. However, when it comes to spouses, we tend to say whatever first comes to our mind because we've gotten so comfortable. Isn't it sad that the ones we love the most are the ones we tend to say the most hurtful things to? 

From experience, this is my solution: the second you are about to say something negative about your spouse, learn to say these words instead: I... love... you. And even if you don't mean it at first, you will. There are times when Ammon will do something that is completely harmless, but because I'm in a bad mood, I start to get annoyed. I've learned that if I just turn to him and say, "Hey Ammon? I love you." Then the results that come are much more wonderful than if I had said, "stop that." It is the smallest thing, but I think it makes the biggest difference. 

I absolutely love the following quote:
How often do we have this grandiose plan in our head to do something nice for our spouse, but because they say something or do something that we don't like, then we decide they don't deserve it? So then we get hurt and we don't end up serving our spouse at all. 

For example, at the beginning of our marriage, Ammon was still at work and I wanted to serve him. So I executed my elaborate plan to give Ammon a massage when he got home. I dimmed all the lights in the house, I set up candles, and I had Enya playing in the background. In my head, this was going to be the best service. Well, when Ammon came home from work, he didn't want a massage. {not yet, anyway.} He had just worked at Brick Oven, so he wanted to shower and he was also very hungry. Well, unfortunately, I became offended. I couldn't believe he didn't want a massage right when he got home from work? My plan was to serve Ammon, but what I didn't realize, is that by getting offended and not allowing my husband some time to switch from work mode to home mode, my act of kindness was only an intention. A true act of kindness would have been serving Ammon how he needed to be served in that moment. 

This story leads me to my other advice and that is not getting offended. There are so many disagreements and hurtful feelings that could be avoided if we just stopped getting offended. When someone says something or does something that can be taken either way, take it the way that doesn't hurt! Brush it off, turn it into a joke, laugh at yourself, whatever makes it so you aren't offended. And if they do say something that is legitimately hurtful, then pull them aside and talk it out, rather than just saying something hurtful back. {this is something I am still working on}

Okay. Last bit of advice. Pray to see the good.
When Ammon and I were attending the single's ward, we went to a few firesides specifically given for couples who knew they wanted to get married. During the firesides, my stake president would always give the 80:20 advice. He said that when you get married, you will love 80 percent of the things your spouse does, and the other 20 percent, are going to be things you can't stand. Focus on the 80 percent and ignore the 20 percent. You will continually struggle with the grass is greener syndrome if you can't learn to focus on the 80 percent. I got really lucky, so it's usually really easy for me to see Ammon's 80 percent. In fact, it's more like 90:10. Haha.

Elder Eyering gives great advice on how to see the 80 percent:

Oh! And one more thing:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

dirty dash

The Dirty Dash was SO. Much. FUN! 

Picture running 5 miles or so with the heaviest and most soaked shoes you've ever experienced, crawling up, down, and through muddy obstacles, cheering on strangers because you feel like you're in it together, drinking chocolate milk right in the middle of your race, receiving a couple battle wounds along the way, and simply having the time of your life. 

That's what the dirty dash was for me and Ammon. 
We loved it and we definitely want to do it again next year! {Anyone else wanna do it with us?}
Here are some epic pictures.




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