March

March has been a great month.  Learned so much. I love making progress in my life.

We kicked of the month with the Les Femmes concert at the Velour.  Luna Lune killed it as usual.  Chris is now obsessed with the Blue Aces.

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Idaho Visits

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One of my favorite things that has happened this month is Chris’ flag football team.  My brothers, Adam and Zeke, and my Cousins, Devan and Mckay, and family friend, Casey Taylor, all played on a intramural flag football team at the U.  It was so fun for me to go watch them play every Thursday night.  Not to mention they won the championship game.  Chris pulled his hamstring that game and has a ginormous bruise to prove it.  Such a fun thing to do with family and friends!

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Chris’ company, Struck, does advertisements for Ski Utah, so this year we didn’t even need to buy a pass but got free passes to several ski resorts.  It was so fun to take our sister-in-law, Asia, skiing for her FIRST time! She was awesome! Gotta love spring skiing.

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Partied in St. George over my spring break with the dance studio I teach for, Razz & Rhythm Dance Academy.  Our little dancers did so awesome!
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March is also the best time of year for us because it’s when we met!!! Our first date was March 21, 2013.  Man time flies.

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My mom’s side of the family always has a family reunion in March.  The Cook family reunion this year was probably one of my favorites ever.  Each of us found a story about our Grandma and Grandpa Cook to share form someone who knew them.  We also got to listen to darling Aunt Miriam tell stories and it was amazing to hear about how beloved my grandparents were.

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At the beginning of March I had the best idea for Chris’ 28th birthday.  Chris’ fave thing in the world to do is laser tag.  Soooo… I planned a surprise partay at laser quest.  He had no idea! So fun. Love my twelve year old hearted boy.11130148_10153166162736250_1684115100146470868_n

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The most important thing I learned this month, is that God has a plan.  My older brother, who we call Baby Egan, was a stillborn.  My mom was only about 24 weeks pregnant when she went into labor on March 29, 1993.  Chris was born March 29, 1987.  This gives me some sort of comforting feeling that I can’t quite describe that they have the same birthdays.  It is so precious that we get to celebrate both Chris and Baby Egan on the same day. Pretty crazy the plans Heavenly Father has.  If Baby Egan would have lived I wouldn’t be here.  So grateful that I do get to be here, with the man I love, and that I can be with my brother and whole family again.  I love eternal families!!!

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The other fun thing I did this month…  I helped my cousin make her family theme for 2015.  Every year she has a different theme and frames them.  I loved the idea so Chris and I talked about what we wanted to focus on this year.  We decided that we needed to be more supportive, more kind, and more loving to each other and everyone else.  Loved how both turned out.jentheme familytheme2015

Year One: Lessons Learned

Chris & I just celebrated our ONE year anniversary.  TIME FLIES.  We definitely can’t call ourselves seasoned marriage pros, but we have learned so much in this year. As much as marriage is fun it takes a lot of effort and work.  Here are some of the things i’ve noticed and learned in that year that helped…

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In no particular order of importance… Here they are…

1.  Selflessness and service towards your spouse is KEY!

2.  Set realistic dinner goals and try to sit down and eat together.

3.  People fart.  Just give fair warning. (mostly husbands)

4.  Netflix cheating is real, DON’T DO IT.

5.  Not putting the toothpaste cap on or forgetting to put the toilet seat down can be lethal.

6.  Laundry never ends. Come up with a system to get it done in a timely manner. We are just figuring out one that works. (what am I gonna do when we have kids???)

7.  Have a specific place for important things like mail, keys, etc.

8.  Play games everywhere you go together.  (Our favorites are would you rather, heads up, and guess the movie quote.) Play games at home too. (some other favorites include nerts, cards against humanity, and ticket to ride.)

9.  The times you do FHE are worth it. (we’ve done it specifically about four times… whoops. But I was grateful when we did.)

10.  Take every opportunity to hang out with other couples.  Make married friends.

11.  Put the phone down. Just do it.

12.  The best times together are always spontaneous. (Go on a drive, get a red box, or visit a friend)

13.  Visit and hang out with your families.

14.  Plan parties and get togethers.

15.  Share each other’s burdens. (Continually communicate with your spouse with what is troubling you.  Then when they are in need of comfort you listen with genuine intent.

16.  Go on super cheap dates. (Our favorite, a maverick f’real and a round or two of Big Buck Hunter.)

17.  Attend all your church meetings and fulfill church callings. (Cannot stress this one enough.)

18.  Let your spouse have alone time.  (Hardest one for me.  I don’t generally love being alone so it is always hard for me to let Chris have time to himself, for him to think, get work done, and just have space. Yet, it’s necessary for a healthy marriage.)

19.  Read And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage Through Sexual Fulfillment.  (This book helped me leaps and bounds)

20.  Go get late night snacks. (personal fave, using the Wendy’s frosty keychain)

21. Talk kindly about your spouse and to your spouse.

22.  Go to sleep when you’re angry.

23.  Take time to clean your house together, it’s crazy rewarding.

24.  Keep the sabbath day holy,

25. Take the 5 love languages test. (Most helpful thing in someways.  Teaches you how to communicate love in a way your spouse resonates with

26.  Stay up late and laugh.

27.  Scripture study together, read talks etc. (Chris and I like to do the Companionship Inventory each week that is in the Preach My Gospel manual. It helps you as a couple to complete goals and just gives a set time each week that you can always talk about your relationship.)

28.  Read your patriarchal blessing to each other.

29.  Hold hands lots and Cuddle lots too.

30.  Constantly forgive.

31. Go on road trips.

32.  Eat really good food on occasion.

33. Go to the temple. Regularly. (Nothing helps my marriage more than going to the temple.  It reminds you of the blessings your relationship can receive and it helps you recognize and show gratitude for the blessings that have already been given by honoring your marital covenant.

34. Give the benefit of the doubt to your spouse.

35. Always kiss each other goodnight.

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does 2014 have to end?

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Cheers to the funnest, hardest, most rewarding year of my life so far.  2014.

Here are some of the highlights. . .

 

January – Married my sweetheart, Christopher Ryan George

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February – Had a paragraph written about us in TIME Magazine!

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March – Chris turned 27!

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April – We spent April exploring the our Downtown Neighborhood.

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May – Road tripped to Island Park with the George Family.

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June –  I finally turned 20!!! And in Lake Powell of all places!

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July – Oceanside with the Egans, Obviously.

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August – Asia & Zeke’s Wedding

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September – Assisting for Tessa Barton at some weddings was awesome!

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October – Moving to the compound.

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November –  Thanksgiving at the Georges & the Turkey Bowl.

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December – Sun Valley with the George Fam

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What an amazing year it has been. CANNOT wait to see what 2015 holds.

let your lamp BURN

“It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach? Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances…whatever they may be.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf…  My old Young Women president, Cristie Carter, texted me this quote on a Sunday morning.  Cristie is always so thoughtful and is constantly thinking of how she can help others.  I didn’t think much of the quote, in fact I didn’t even read the whole thing until after sacrament meeting.

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The speaker in sacrament meeting posed the question: “how are we supposed to be grateful when life sucks?” In my head I started thinking “I have no idea dude.”  The young man went on to discuss why we are here on Earth.  We aren’t here on Earth to have the best clothes, the biggest house, or the most followers.  We are here on Earth to PREPARE.  Sorry to quote Uchtdorf again (He’s the MAN) but during this past Women’s Conference he said “God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine.”  We as human beings cannot comprehend what our Heavenly Father has in store for his children.  God knows All things.  So yes, that means he knows things we don’t.

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In several of my recent church meetings the parable of the ten virgins has been brought up mostly because of  Linda K. Burton’s analysis of it during women’s conference.  Here is a link to her talk in case you missed it.

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The parable comes from Matthew 25

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

“And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. …

“[They that were] wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

“Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

“But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

“But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not.”

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When I heard this parable as a kid I can remember thinking to myself “why didn’t the others share their oil?” and “why did they have to have a lamp?”  This parable really confused me so, like many things I don’t understand, I shrugged it off.  However, I was happy to learn I wasn’t the only one who was perplexed by this story. Sister Burton helped me understand it so much better.  She likens the story to temple preparation.  She said ‘consider the words of a latter-day prophet who taught that “the oil of spiritual preparedness cannot be shared.” President Spencer W. Kimball.’  It is up to YOU as an individual to prepare yourself drop by drop.

So that begs the question… “How can we better prepare ourselves drop by drop?”  I leave that question open ended, because we can prepare for many things whether it be for the temple, marriage, baptism, eternal life, a mission, etc.  Anyway, back to the point.  How can we better prepare ourselves?  You guessed it the basic primary answers we have been saying for years.

– Church Attendance – Fasting – Tithing – Personal & Family Prayer – Scripture Study – Service – Family Home Evening – Following the Commandments – ETC.

Nobody can do this for you.  Nor can you do it for anyone else.  Often times I think I wonder if I can just ride on Chris’ coattails to the celestial kingdom.  No one is gonna make sure you are actually paying attention to the sacrament.  Nobody is going to check if you made it all the way to dinner to break your fast.  It is up to you to determine your own salvation.

My goal is to be like Moroni in my preparation. Alma 49:8 ” they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known…

But, here is the kicker… Remember what feels like forever ago when I mentioned Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s quote.. Let’s revisit it.

“It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach? Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances…whatever they may be.”

How easy is it to be grateful and do the right thing when life seems to be going our way?  EASY AS PIE. Okay, maybe not that easy, but it comes more natural that’s for sure. So what happens when your life gets thrown a curve ball?  Do we head in the other direction and let our light grow dim?  NO! FILL THOSE LANTERNS TILL THEY ARE OVERFLOWING!

First, we MUST take a step back and have faith in the fact that Heavenly Father is a loving and all knowing God, he has a plan.

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Second, we MUST fall back on and become more diligent in what we have been doing to prepare for this curve ball. Do all those basic primary things. Turn towards your scriptures not away! Fall on your knees not your pillow!

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Third, be grateful for a loving family! Spend time with them, serve them, and let them serve you.

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Fourth, attend the Temple, in any capacity that you are able.  Whether it be baptisms, an Endowment session, or just being outside and near a Temple.  The temple is where I have the best spiritual insights and where I can go to feel calm.

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Fifth, (last the best of all the game) use the atonement and your Savior as much as you can.  Jesus Christ atoned for our sins but He also has felt everything you PERSONALLY have ever felt.  Christ is there for you in everything…The happy easy times and the curve ball, life sucks times.

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God has given us this recipe for happiness in both the hard times and the good times.  The instructions are there for us and we must make the choice. Life is hard but it can be oh so joyful if we take the time to spiritually prepare ourselves for life’s surprises.  Fill up your Lamp with oil drop by drop and let it BURN!


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5 Days

Chris was in LA for 5 days at Nickelodeon for work.  It is torture when your spouse gets to go somewhere cool WITHOUT YOU.  It brought back the sentimental yet horrible memories of Chris living in Chicago for 5 MONTHS while I was here in Salt Lake.  The hours spent face timing was incalculable and the amount of time we spent together during those months can basically be added up to barely two weeks.  Chris and I haven’t spent too much time apart since we’ve been married…  Which was a much needed break after the long distance dating.  I missed Chris the whole week while I went to school, cleaned, played words with friends, ate chick fil a, watched netflix, played casino with grandma, taught dance, edited. (watched more netflix.) I was super productive hahahaha. FINALLY, Chris came home Friday with Flowers from Jolley’s in hand and said “Can I take you out tonight?” Love that kid.

We got drinks at shivers. YUM. Then Chris decided he really wanted to go bowling.  I agreed and we headed to Olympus Hills Bowling Alley.  The reason we go to Oly hills besides the fact it is a great time is because they have our favorite arcade game: Big Buck Hunter SAFARI.  We arrive at the bowling alley excited to start the night with Big Buck Hunter.  WE LOOK EVERYWHERE.  They got rid of it.  Holding back tears Chris decided we would go to a different bowling alley.  This time we head to Sue & Rich’s.  Guess What? The coolest, most ghetto, cheap bowling alley is CLOSED. CLOOOOOSED for good! *wipes away tear* On to the next alley.  Fat Cats on 900 E. It is always packed on the weekends but the plus side… It has tons of arcade games.  We waited in line to buy a round of bowling and get our shoes for about 15 minutes.  When we got to the front of the line we both looked at each other and Chris said “Do we really wanna bowl?”  Got right out of line and headed to the arcade.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have the Safari version of Big Buck Hunter but the regular one did just fine.  We played a couple of games and headed home.  Quite the date night right?  I love that I can do anything with Chris and still laugh and have a good time.  That’s what your spouse should be for you.  A safe place, someone who can make any situation better.  Chris is that and more for me.

At least we got some good pictures.  Chris had my camera all week in LA and I had been craving it!!!! Here is what we got!


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As of Late

 

These past few weeks have been a total blur.  With school and work and side projects I feel like I haven’t had time to breath… Plus i’m still in a food coma from last week’s ice cream post.  So in the spirit of keeping up with blogging I thought i’d post a few things i’ve been up to.

Starting School with my Seeeestor at the University of Utah

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Assisting Tessa Barton…

Chad and Taylor Bridals


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Cheering on our UTES!!!! UTAH MAN AM I BABY!

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Gracie and Tims Wedding


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Doing my own photo projects…

Purple Lace.


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CAN YOU BELIEVE FALL IS HERE????

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A good Ole StayCation at my parent’s cabin in Midway…

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Playing original nintendo is a must when we go there.  BATTLE TOADS 4 LYFE

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Fruit Roll… why not?

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For the longest time on the drive to the Midway cabin, my siblings and I would point to this big hill and say “there’s Grandpa’s cabin!” It was at the very tip top of the hill.  I was so excited to show Chris where some of my crazy childhood memories were. (It has not been in the family for several years, but it’s still sentimental.   Sadly, on the way up to the cabin I couldn’t see Grandpa’s cabin! We walked up the big hill and the closer we got to the top I kept saying “I DON’T SEE IT CHRIS! WHERE IS IT!”  Finally at the very top all I saw was the foundation of Grandpa’s Cabin and the iron wagon wheel Grandma had placed there.  We were devastated!!! So I took a few wood blocks I could find and carried them back down the hill as a momento I could give my Grandma.  I am so sad that I won’t be able to point to the top of the hill anymore..

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Those of you who love Midway and Heber will understand the importance and specialness of Dairy Keen.  (the train restaurant)  Can’t go there without getting some sort of ice cream treat.

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Visited my dear Grandma and found her with a Caffeine free DC in one hand and a cookie in the other.  SHE IS THE EPITOME OF AWESOME!

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This sunday was area conference and Chris and I live downtown so we got to walk 5 minutes to the conference center for church! booya!  I especially loved Elder Oaks talk.  It inspired me to write this song lyric in my sunday journal.  Faith means trusting in God’s timing which means we must be prepared to be surprised!

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I spent what felt like 5 hours looking for my keys in the apartment this morning.  (i lose my keys, phone, and wallet every second)  I open the door and there they were.  All night.   BLESS MY HEART.

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Big Cottonwood Canyon for this win Sunday Evening.

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Thanks for stopping by. Keep it real folks.

The Wedding Dress

The funnest part of all the wedding planning was easily deciding on the dress.  My mom and I went to try on dresses on several occasions yet, none of them seemed like me.  I wanted my dress to be fun, unique, and sophisticated.  Thankfully, Penelope’s  in SLC is around.  Penny has been making dresses for decades.  She offered me something every other dress store couldn’t… The chance to make a dress that nobody else has.  I totally recommend getting your wedding dress handmade if you can! It makes your experience so personal and fun.  Plus it ended up being about the same as me purchasing a dress from a dress shop.  WIN WIN YO!

The basic ideas Penny and I decided on were:

+long sleeves. With a winter wedding I wanted to be warm and classy.

+waistline.  I wanted my dress to hit me at my skinniest point and make my legs look longer

+train.  I wanted a bit of drama to the dress so Penny added a small train.

+stripes.  I had never seen anyone have a wedding dress with stripes.  Using a pattern on the dress was a bold choice but I thought it showed my personality and spunk.

+Bow.  If you know me at all you know I love bows.  I wore a ribbon in my hair almost everyday growing up.  I had a large bow at the back of my dress.

I was absolutely amazed and excited with how my dress turned out! MANY THANKS TO PENNY!

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Gaining a Testimony

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During my freshman year of college the change in missionary age for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was announced.  I would be eligible for a LDS mission in that coming June yet, a mission in my mind was NOT for me.  I was loving school and being a Chi Omega, I was having fun and dating.  However, after my first semester I felt kind of stuck.  I wasn’t improving and was in a way empty inside.  When going to my singles ward I never made comments in sunday school and relief society.  I missed being in primary where I knew the answers to all the questions!  I was embarrassed to give any insight when it came time for comments in class.  What did I have to offer spiritually?  At the time I was an 18 year old girl who grew up in the suburbs of Holladay and had had a privileged life.  I hadn’t experienced many hardships and didn’t have many spiritual experiences to draw from.  At church I was envious of the women who had gone on missions and knew the scriptures so well.  A mission was sounding more and more appealing and after much contemplation I talked to my Bishop and began my papers.  While diligently preparing for what I thought was going to be a mission became preparing for meeting my future husband.  I met Chris halfway through filling out my papers.  GAME CHANGER.

My life took a different path and I got married.  Before getting married to Chris I had never lived away from my home.  I lived with my parents and at  their house the gospel runs every aspect of their life.  I was reminded constantly of the importance of reading the scriptures and attending church.  Imagine yourself going from elementary school straight to college.  I left a place where I had my hand held the whole way to YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN KID.  Needless to say it’s been hard. Waking up on Sunday and not having any pressure to go to church for ALL three hours.  Being a poor couple who could use every penny, I had no person saying “Did you pay your tithing?” No one is telling me to get out of bed and onto my knees.  You get the picture.

As much as you’re twenties (I’m not even 20 yet ha, SOON) are a time of fun they should also be a period of self discovery, reflection and independence.   NOW is the time to decide what you’re priorities are and what you believe.  Alma 34:32 “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.” Now is the time is to gain a testimony of the things that are so easy to blow off like, tithing, scripture study, prayer, church attendance, fasting, etc.  We can’t expect for these habits to come easily, from experience I can tell you they don’t!  AT ALL.  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!  I don’t anticipate that it will be any easier doing these things in my later years when I haven’t started now! Every time I do these things (As my mom would say)  I put money in my spiritual bank account and I begin to know of the truth of the doctrine by practicing it.

It may seem strange that after being married in the Salt Lake Temple  and having taken out my Endowment that I don’t have a strong and unwavering testimony of the Gospel.  I doubt everyday and have worries and concerns like many others.  The only thing I strongly know to be true is that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. I have leaned on my parents testimony for nineteen years which is far too long. I decided that It is time to find my OWN testimony and knowledge of this Gospel.  I didn’t go on a mission and I don’t want to regret that decision.  I want to be able to share scriptures in church and have conversations with my husband on a spiritual level and feel equal. I want to help hasten the work here in downtown Salt Lake City where the need is great. Already as a wife I have grown to know my Savior more than ever before. I am reading my scriptures and praying for the will power to learn this gospel.  I want to continually be pointed towards the Lord and his Temple.

This week my testimony builder was temple attendance.

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 It is all too common to get sealed in the Temple and to rarely return to that sacred place.  Being that I live less than 5 minutes away from the beautiful Salt Lake Temple I have made it a goal to go two times a month.  I haven’t been perfect but so far it has blessed my life tremendously.  I try my best to prepare mentally before I go by taking my time and thinking positively.  The temple is a testament of God’s love for his children.  God bestows so many blessings when we follow the commandments and honor our covenants made there.  As much as going to the temple with my husband is amazing, I had the opportunity to go with my family and my 92 year old Grandma Marcia.  It is crazy that even someone like my Grandma who has been more times than she can count and worked there for many years still can learn something new from the experience. However, Marcia can’t remember the last time she had gone and participated.   SO SO grateful she was ready when we called her! She still keeps her temple recommend current.  I hope to not only live to be 92 but to also have a current temple recommend!  As I helped her get her things ready and drove her to the Jordan River Temple I could tell she was excited.  She knows that hearing God’s words and feeling the Spirit can rejuvenate the soul so tremendously.  Being with her was one of the sweetest memories I will ever have with her.  Please take the time to serve and go to the temple.  

I hope to provide posts for my readers with uplifting messages of how to strengthen your testimony through the little things. I would love to hear of your journey of finding a testimony as well!

 

“Swipe Right” leads to “I Do”

Being a tinder success story has led Chris and I to some really fun experiences.

elle-tinder-marriages-chris-janie-iiCpmd-vElle Magazine just recently posted an article about the new tinder trend. The site is not just for hook ups but for finding the love of your life.  We were one of the ten couples interviewed. Check out the article by Jo Piazza!

http://www.elle.com/life-love/sex-relationships/tinder-dating-app-marriages

TIME

We be here cause we right swiped on Tinder one day. Here’s our original Tinder photo’s that we both saw of each other that first time. 


HersHis

On the day of our wedding I tweeted at Tinder:

Twitter Tinder Post

That tweet ended up getting a lot of attention and even Tinder retweeted it, and reposted our picture to their Instagram. That same day we were contacted by a writer, Laura Stampler of TIME magazine:

Laura Stampler

We did an interview with her and made it into the Feb 17 issue: (this is not the real cover)

TimeInsta

-Chris