Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

(Max's sweet duds courtesy of my uncle Patrick who wore them in the 1960s, also that's leftover licorice on his lips)

I love Easter. It has such happy memories for me as a child and now as a parent and with a  better understand of the true meaning of the day I love it even more. I was able to speak at church today on the topic of Easter and I thought a lot about what I knew about today. Here are my thoughts on Easter:

As most of you know, I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Let me fill in a few more details that illustrate why exactly I chose to be baptized and where it has taken me. I was baptized Catholic as an infant and we alternated as a family between Catholic masses and Episcopal services. We had bouts of activity but largely I remember only going on the holidays when I had a new dress and patent leather shoes to wear that would click upon the tile floor. I loved Easter because it heralded in Spring, flowers, the sun, green grass. I remember sitting on the hard benches in the Episcopal chapel which had beautiful floor to ceiling stained glass windows, about 6 on each side and the sun would project through them creating a rainbow effect in the entire room. It was beautiful, but it was not was Easter was about. The windows were beautiful but beyond that, I did not actually know much.

Through hymns, the scriptures, a few Sunday school classes, and two years at a private catholic middle school I learned about the Savior’s life, a lot about His death, and briefly about His resurrection. I never really doubted His existence and that He did all that was written about Him, but I definitely didn’t understand it; the magnitude of His life, the importance of His death, the pure joy of His resurrection.

I learned that slowly but it started with a moment that is forever etched in my mind. I was meeting with the missionaries before my baptism and as we sat in a plain room at the Institute, they told me we were going to watch a video. It was a video of Gordon B. Hinckley testifying of the Savior. He stood in front of a gleaming white Christus, and told me that the Savior’s life was an important life. He testified that the Savior really did live a perfect life and completely fulfilled His Father in Heaven’s mission for Him. He finalized His mission on Earth through His triumph over death, resurrecting from the tomb He stood as a glorious and perfect being. I listened and took in the words but it wasn’t until a missionary asked me a simple question, “What do you think about what he just said?” I was used to these questions and I always wanted to answer them sincerely and with depth, so I thought about it and then I felt and recognized the Holy Ghost for the first time, signaling to me the truth of the words that were spoken by a prophet of God. I believe the lesson was intended to teach about the reality of prophets on the Earth today and it certainly taught me that point, but mostly it kick started my testimony of the Savior. For the first time I realized that the Savior’s life meant something, it wasn’t just a story of a really good man. It was a record of the Son of God.

I definitely did not grasp everything immediately, only through continued learning and studying and desiring to know more have I grown in my understanding.  Today I would like to share with you three simple but significant principles that I know concerning the Savior and why they are important for all of us to know.

1. His entire life is an example and lesson.
As we read about the miracles He performed, the parables He told, and the acts he completed I hope that you see them for what they really are. They are constant lessons to us, lessons that teach us about charity, diligence, our strengths, our weaknesses, and our infirmities. We may not bear the physical mark of leprosy or be blind, but when the Savior said, “be thou clean”  to a leper (mark 1), “man, thy sins are forgiven thee”  to a man with palsy (luke 5), and “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; Go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (mark 5) to the woman with an issue of blood; He was not only healing that person at that time, but promising that He can do the same for us. We have pains of the body and pains of the heart and I have learned that each miracle and each parable is about me. It’s about you too. You are the prodigal son, you are the widow, sometimes you are the disciple who doubted or the one that denied Him three times but mostly you are why He chose to live His life perfectly and complete the Atonement.

2.    He really did suffer all.
Elder Holland spoke in general conference in 2009 about all the Savior went through from being condemned to resurrected, the most significant to me was when he said:

Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.

To know that the Savior knows what I have felt, what I will feel and everything that anyone could possible ever feel is humbling but for him to feel that loneliness means the most to me. Before I truly understood why He lived, I felt that loneliness, I wasn’t completely aware of it but looking back I realize that my sixteen-year old self was lost. I know this because I realize I hadn’t a care in the world, I lived day to day with no real idea of my purpose and no real sense of my future. To not know these things is to be truly lost, to not understand and feel God’s love for you is true loneliness and the Savior experienced even that. To know he suffered is to know He loves you, to know he understands, to know that we are not alone in anything we experience.

3. He really did triumph over death and lives today
This one is harder to explain how I know except that it started with that moment listening to a prophet of God testify of Christ and deciding to exercise my faith and be baptized. As an eighteen year old getting baptized even then I did not fully understand the commitment I was making. I was acting on faith. But when I emerged from the water I felt so much gratitude for the ordinance, as I went to the locker room I knelt down in my wet clothes in only what I can describe as pure and utter joy. I felt that newness of life. I felt such extreme joy I thought I could burst. The past version of myself was buried in that water and I came out a new person. Because I have felt that I know that the Savior’s resurrection was real. If it was not, I could not have felt that triumph. We all have the opportunity to feel that triumph each Sunday was we renew those covenants and because of His resurrection, because the tomb was empty,  ye might bbelieve that Jesus is thecChrist, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have dlife through his ename.” – John 20:31

I know that Jesus Christ really and truly is the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, and the King of Israel. I know that He lived a perfect life, a life that is an example of how I should strive to live. I know that I cannot be perfect without the divine assistance of the Atonement, the ultimate gift the Savior has given to all of us. I know that His Atonement covers my sins, my mistakes and my weaknesses as I come unto Him and seek the mercy of His arms and the grace that He is so willing to give. I know that He knows every pain I have felt and will ever feel and I know that His triumph over death was real and that He lives today. His reality gives me hope and joy through all that I experience.

Friday, March 22, 2013

This boy

Can I just tell you how much I love this little boy?

I do.

I was able to capture this picture the other day while we were looking outside after a rainstorm. He has decided to start making this face that cracks me up and I was trying to get it on camera. I got this picture instead. Although it would have been hilarious and cute if I had captured his new favorite face, this picture captivates me.

It reminds me that this little human has a deep soul. I look into those beautiful eyes and realize he is going to a  grown adult someday. He is my little toddler now acting crazy and opinionated and learning something new and showing it off every day. But it won't be that way forever, someday I will recognize these eyes in a grown man. They will probably always melt my heart. Children have a way of doing that.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

There's really a baby in there!

We finally had our ultrasound after a few scheduling mishaps. Of course I wanted Kyle there and his schedule really limits our options and then the tech got sick and so we had to reschedule but it finally happened. We finally got to make sure that it was actually a real live human life in there. I have learned that if you get an ultrasound you should try to get the last appointment of the day. They will take their time with you and print a million bajillion pictures on one long strip and there will be no rush, no hurry and you will get to be in that surreal moment of parental bliss at seeing feet kick and hands move and yawn over and over again.

When we had our ultrasound with Max is was short and quick and we got about 5 pictures including a full frontal face shot that showed a skeleton and two large hollowed out spaces for eyes. It was kinda freaky looking so we endearingly named our unborn child skeletor, because we are awesome parents. This time we even got 3D imaging which was super trippy and basically this child looks like Max's twin.

Still don't know the gender, to be honest we were tempted but the reality is that we truly enjoy not knowing. No I don't wonder constantly, but of course I wonder. It gives me something tangible to wonder about with this child. There are a host of other things that can bring anxiety like whether Max will be ready or how we are going to manage 3 ten week interships with a newborn and toddlers next year but wondering boy or girl is a lot easier on my mind. Plus, we just LOVE the surprise. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Evolving Style

I mostly write pretty deep, reflective, serious posts. I thought I would lighten things up a bit by talking about clothes. Yes, clothes. I love clothes and I know I am delusional because my belly is currently turning into a basketball but let's pretend like it's not, or that at least I shouldn't have to sacrifice style just because I am pregnant.

I don't know about you, but I think about my personal style WAY too much. At a young age I started thrift shopping at the local Goodwill that was just down the street from my home, my friend and I started by sifting through the boys section for unique t-shirts that you couldn't find at American Eagle or Old Navy. As I grew older and far too big to snag those 99 cent shirts in the boys aisle I realized I could find some pretty nice name brand items. To this day my best finds are a sherbert orange Jcrew pencil skirt, an emerald Shabby Apple dress, and pair of Joes Jeans wide legged pants that were clearly never worn. I started going for the thrill of the find rather than need or finding something that would fill a hole in my style wardrobe.

After having a baby I felt like my style totally changed, I had to consider practicality WAY more than I wanted to. Babies make messes and need to be nursed often. Machine washable, breathable, comfortable clothing became my hunt.

Then I felt like I was sacrificing what I wanted to wear for what was "practical." Where was the balance? In my mind I want to look simple, classic, comfortably chic. Now I don't have the budget currently to revamp my entire wardrobe but I do have pieces there that I love and feel they fit the bill. This makes me happy. But a girl can dream bigger still right? So my dream wardrobe is comprised of beautiful, wearable dresses, skirts jeans, t-shirts, and button downs. Let me show you what I mean.

But most of all, I want Boden dresses. Have you heard of Boden? They sell amazing, easy, beautiful, simple dresses (and lots of other great stuff too!). They are everything I want to wear but while we are in grad school the dresses will have to wait (unless I find one at a thrift store...) Here are my favorites from their new summer line. Can't you imagine not having to think about your outfit and just throwing one of these on? A girl can dream and this girl plans on achieving her dream when her husband graduates.



Monday, March 4, 2013


I have not been keeping track of this growing bump of mine but I realized this Sunday that the light through our living room window made for a cool back-lit effect.  So much to Kyle's annoyance we took some pictures. I am 19 weeks along and my belly button is already popping out. It's pretty much ridiculous but the same thing happened with Max. 

Pregnancy is a funny thing. You can read every book, every bit of information but it's quite indescribable feeling something moving within you. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to be able to carry children and although I may moan and complain to my husband (and anyone who will listen really) I am trying to remember this as a blessing, something sacred and holy. Helping me see there really is no reason to complain.