Josh. Cali. McKallister. Oakland. Quincy. Camden. Murphy.

Do we thrive off the crazy?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I always heard that the first year of marriage is the hardest.  The honeymoon period starts to fade, you are trying to develop a lifestyle together, and learn the art of negotiation. This may be comparable to the first year after having a baby. You are both exhausted, finances change and your attention shifts from each other to that of a new cuddly baby. Maybe it's the second year when reality has set in or not going as you imagined. Or the fifth?

Josh and I have been married for almost 8 years and it's possible that this year has challenged our relationshp in new ways and may just be our hard year. Weird right?

Year 1: Josh was traveling for baseball and distance made the heart grow fonder. The entire year was bliss.
Year 2: I was pregnant with Mac and could not have been happier, after we had him our relationship grew more than I can explain. We attached to each other and Josh was the reason I got through most of my days. We had lost a baby together and relied on each other to work out those tough feelings. He doted on me every moment, knowing the emotions I was going through and I had his constant attention.
Year 3: I was pregnant with Oakland and after having her, felt like we were in heaven. Knowing what it felt like to not be able to bring a baby home; we cherished the nights we were up with her, every diaper change and were grateful for the time we got to be together as a family. While dealing with blood clots, Josh stepped up to the plate and waited on me hand and foot. There was never a moment where he wasn't asking how I was doing, what he could do for me, reassuring me everything would be alright.
Year 4: We were in heaven with Oakland, the 3 of us bonded above any normal first child circumstance and Josh and I even battled over it being our turn on some of the hard first child moments. We bought our first house, Josh got his first (real) job, and we were on cloud nine living this perfect new baby, new house (we even got a dog), two income life.
Year 5: Josh was called to the bishopric of our ward. It reminded us how lucky we are to have each other around because he was gone more than usual. We prayed a lot together regarding the hard decision to get pregnant again and listening to all the medical and high risks of the pregnancy forced us to talk about some really emotional decisions that pushed us together.
Year 6: I was pregnant with Quincy and Josh turned in to the nicest nurse you could ask for. He gave me daily shots in my stomach (blood thinner) and was more than sympathetic to my every day needs. When we had the scare of miscarrying Quincy early on in the pregnancy he once again was at my side for anything and everything I needed. When I suffered the AFE... he saved my life. Nothing will bring you closer to a person than the moment you almost lose everything you have with them. He had to be my everything and physically take care of my needs. It made me so appreciative for him and because we almost lost each other, we were twitterpated all over again. I was so smitten, that I couldn't look at him without smiling. With Quincy gone too, Josh walked on egg shells around me. Always making sure I was comfortable and happy. Asking how I wanted to handle every situation, afraid of my emotional state.
Year 7: We went through the adoption process with each other and got Camden. It was the most magical thing to experience and made us realize how incredibly much we were meant for each other and how our kids were meant for us.

Now let's talk about this year... There have been no high pressure situations. No tragedies or dramatic action. No high anxiety situations. Nothing crazy taking place. Not much of anything taking place. I feel beyond exceptionally lucky to not have our minds on constant alert... but we are having to learn the art of communication outside of highly intense settings. Now don't get me wrong, Josh and I have an amazing relationship and something I find quite special but we are having to find reasons to dote on each other- and not because the other is sad or confined due to illnesses. We sometimes have to take time to be with each other because work and kids and life have just become busy.

I am realizing that the best years of marriage are the ones where you don’t let said life come in between you. We are learning the art of having a relationship off of the ordinary. We are attaining goals with each other on plain days of life rather than some of the hard days we have seen. Our life is devoid of tension so I'm having to acquire the skill of showing Josh fondness, to compliment him and tell him all the things I love about him. To praise him for the hard work he does so I can stay home with the kids. Whether your moments are currently crazy or uneventful, don't let life get in the way and LOVE that man or women you share it with. Remember all the times they rescued you from a bad day or comforted you when no one else could. Life is definitely all about learning... I'm still taking it one step at a time.

Speaking is kinda awesome!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sorry it has been so quiet on my blog lately... I have been buuusy! We have had 3 nasty illnesses floating around this joint, we put our house up for sale so I have been cleaning and organizing like crazy, I took on another baby to babysit (so now have 6 throughout the week), visited Cam's birth family, took a trip up to Idaho and then I have spoken at 3 different young women in excellence/ relief society activities. So in my spare time, I am living it up with my littles.
I wanted to express the gratitude I feel for being able to share some of my life experiences with youth around Utah and other women through my church. And I can tell you this. It is blessing my life far more than anyone else.

Oakland started noticing me studying, taking notes, watching movies and stories to help with the presentations that I wanted to do. And it shocked me that she wanted to join in... I have always studied while the kids have been asleep because I get the most out of it, but wow! Little kids pay attention. She gets out her Book of Mormon, ask questions about why I am speaking and what I share. It's been a great opportunity for me to share my testimony with her when SHE is asking and curious...
Then there are the youth... The very first time I spoke outside of my own ward, I was in tears majority of the time. Every time since it has been the same story. And it wasn't due to the message I was sharing- it was the spirit and the LOVE I felt from our Heavenly Father for each one of those special girls. I catch glimpses of their personality and remembering what I struggled with at their age, I know how much stronger they have to be. The love He has for them is never changing, never ending and one of the most powerful feelings I have ever felt.
My second Young Women in Excellence, it dawned on me that I have the greatest support system in this whole entire world. My Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother in Law and Grandma have come to listen and what touched me the most was to realize that they have felt the hard times with me and let it strengthen their testimonies. They remember the wall of love that surrounded Mac, and the feelings of the thousands of prayers and fasting offered on my behalf while going through my AFE. They know I'll be with my two boys again and they remember their spirits.

The more I attended, the more I saw talented, hardworking, humble young women. Some prepared the theme, decorations, desserts, and program themselves. Others went out of their way to make every single girls feel included. Most are earing their Young Womanhood Recognition medallion, multiple are even going for their Honor Bee. But most of all, they are strengthening their testimonies and talents. They are learning skills that will help them be future Moms and Leaders of this church.

I have made some serious friends. I have met athletes, girls on the color guard, cooks, straight A students and others who are quirky and love themselves! And love each other. No matter how different we all are, no matter how different each of our trials and adversities are, the church unifies us! These girls are kind to those who seem different, they have made friends through the Young Women program that they probably wouldn't have through school. They are all so friendly and lovely and I know that they are loved beyond measure by a Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who want them to succeed.

Talking to everyone after I speak has been something I look forward to. Some share their struggles, others their thoughts on what I say. They tell me about trials that they have made it through and assure me that I will too, miracles they have seen in their lives. I have even had some amazing books recommended to me. It is so humbling to see others cry on my behalf and thank me for saying just the right thing when they don't know the impact they have had on me from a short conversation. There are some amazing women who have had brain tumors, divorced parents, been bullied, lost loved ones, moved around their entire lives... and they are there. They know who they are and who they want to be. The reason I would speak every single night if I could? Meeting all of them...

Each one that I have been to, has been packed with decorations, months of preparation, food and the spirit. It has made me want to fulfill my calling in the church 100 times more because I see the dedication these leaders have. I can feel the love coming off of them as they speak to their young women and fellow sisters. I see how each night is directed to those in the room, how our Heavenly Father assists to make that evening help someone keep going. And how prayer and contemplation was present in every single event.
Knowing the service that was offered my family over years of trails plays a huge role in who I am today.  I will forever be grateful for those who have filled the gap in my memory when I lost Quincy. I feel a connection in my heart to those who have cried for the loss of my boys, or prayed for the comfort I have felt.
I know that each one of us have felt abandoned, heartbroken, alone. But I also KNOW that Jesus Christ understands our sufferings because he experienced them. Christ suffered more than any of us, and he knows the intensity of our afflictions. That is why He understands and can help us. I have learned through everything how to draw on the powers of the atonement, and have felt encompassed by my Heavenly Fathers peace.
I desire every day to be more like Christ and let his light shine through me. The experiences that I have gone through in my life so far have refined me and made me want to be a more dedicated daughter. And not because he spared my life but because I have made covenants with him that I want to follow and serve him.
Jesus Christ is our savior, our Redeemer. I admire the powerful and overwhelming way he has communicated love to me in my life. I pray every day that I can continue to allow him to direct my life. He knows my sacrifices.
Don’t give up on the Lord- his promises and blessings are eternal.
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