Last night I was studying for my Byzantine Art final (with sweet Brandon by my side) when I realized that I was not prepared for two of my five essay questions. I have attended every class and taken notes, and I know I've heard the professor mention these topics, but I don't understand them clearly or feel that I can write an essay about them. And our textbook doesn't really explain them either. I got really frustrated and discouraged because I felt that my best effort would not be good enough.
My wonderful husband-to-be took me in his arms and just let me cry out my frustration. Then we watched these Mormon Messages videos-
PS- The bell player at 3 seconds in? That's my future brother-in-law!
- and I discovered something wonderful. This test won't really matter a year, a month, or even a week from now, but I have what matters most. I have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life and a testimony of its truthfulness. I have an absolutely incredible fiancé who truly knows how to comfort those in need of comfort, who treats me like a princess, who stuns me with his goodness every day, and who helps me be my best self. I have wonderfully supportive family and friends who love me unconditionally. And most of all, I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that they love me perfectly, no matter what grade I get on this exam. I know that they accept all that I can offer with open arms and loving hearts. I know that through them, I can receive redemption from my sins, eternal life, and a fullness of joy. I have what matters most - and therefore, I have great reason to rejoice.
I wish all of you good luck on your finals and a very merry Christmas. Don't forget what matters most and how very much your Heavenly Father loves you.
Well, in case you didn't know, being engaged is CRAZY! Especially in the midst of finals and the death of another semester. It's been just a little difficult to focus. I'm just glad I'm getting married in February so I won't have to be this distracted during next semester's finals as well!
I've been a little anxious about getting everything figured out in such a short amount of time, but God has been so merciful and helped so much fall into place. Last Tuesday we found a place to live in a great ward that one of my good friends happens to live in. Thursday we found out that Brandon's contract was sold by the housing office, so he won't have to pay rent for an apartment he's not living in. Saturday we were able to get a nice mattress and bed frame for under $600, and Brandon's mom informed us that she has connections with florists, decorators, caterers, and wedding cake makers, so basically she will take care of a lot of those reception details that have been driving me batty. How very blessed we are! This past week I have truly learned that things will work out however God wants them to.
And now some links: *This is the cake we are ordering. With funfetti inside. Ohhh yeah :) *Just discovered this website today and am loving it! *My hubby-to-be has me on a Jack Johnson kick, and I'm really loving thesethreesongs. *I just love this post. And pretty much every post on their website. *This describes how I feel about Brandon. And the acoustic version of the song is just lovely!
And now the countdowns: *1 1/2 days until I am done with the semester and get to see David Archuleta at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Concert! *4 days until we get to take the bed out of Brandon's van and move it into our little apartment! *5 days until the fabulous Moon family Christmas party, complete with small costumed children acting out the nativity! *6 days until I'll be home with my fam-bam for Christmas! *11 days until Christmas! *65 days until I become a wife!
Since many of you have asked, here is the story of me and Brandon. It's long and complicated at times, but it has a happy ending, I promise you. :]
Brandon and I met in our FHE group during the summer term. He had been living in a different complex for several years and felt that he should move to Sparks in the spring. I bought my friend Laina's contract for the summer and moved in because I felt that I needed to return to Provo for the summer term. Little did we know that the Lord was doing a great work with our lives.
Brandon was friends with my roommates and I got to know him through them and FHE. My first impressions of him were that he was quiet and shy, but hilarious once you got him talking and very diligent in his calling - always attractive to a Mormon girl! He remembers playing Settlers of Catan with a group of friends one Sunday evening and noticing that I wasn't competitive in the game, but was willing to trade with everyone.
He started coming over to our apartment more and more often, and I started to realize that he was interested in me. One Sunday he told us about his 7 year old niece, Adri, who had asked her mom why her uncle wasn't married yet. Brandon's sister-in-law replied that it takes a while to find the right girl, and Adri declared, "I know what kind of girl he needs. She needs to be modest...and calm...and not too fancy." That cute comment turned into this haiku:
Brandon accepted my application and I accepted his invitation for a first date. We went to fly kites at the park, which didn't turn out too well because there wasn't enough wind, but by then I was smitten so it didn't really matter. The next day he held my hand, and we've been inseparable ever since.
We've done all kinds of things in our almost 4 months of dating - hiking, camping, attending General Conference, tie-dying t-shirts, going to the Opera, going to the temple, his family holiday parties, cooking together, walking around Provo talking about the Gospel and the cute old houses we spy. But my favorite thing to do with him is cuddle up on the couch and relax as he reads me Betsy-Tacy books. To me, that makes him the most romantic man in the world.
About two weeks ago, I brought up the "M" word. The whole time we'd been dating, I'd been incredibly conflicted because I had a missionary who I had dated pretty seriously. Brandon had hinted at marriage, and I really really wanted to marry him - but I was so confused. I just couldn't figure out what was right. Finally, that night, I told him the whole story and all of my true feelings. He took it very well. "I knew this might happen when I started dating you," Brandon assured me. "But no matter what happens, it has been worth it. You have brought me so much joy and have changed me for the better. Whatever you decide, I am grateful for this experience." It was then that I realized just how incredible this man was, and how terrified I was to lose him.
After a lot of fasting and praying and counseling with the Lord, I finally received my answer - that I should marry Brandon. I told him right before Thanksgiving, and told my family when I saw them over the holidays. They have been so loving and supportive, and I am so grateful for them.
Yesterday we went to the Garden Restaurant at Temple Square where we had a beautiful view of the Salt Lake Temple where we are going to be married for time and all eternity. He gave me the ring we picked out, and tears filled my eyes. I am so, so blessed.
The decision to marry Brandon has brought more joy and peace into my life than I've ever felt before. Every day I discover more of Brandon's amazing qualities and fall more deeply in love with him. He is a good listener. He brings me peace when I'm stressed. He protects me and takes care of me. He's adorable. He makes me laugh. He makes me want to be a better person. He helps me to refocus on what really matters. He helps me feel God's love for me. He writes sweet, sensitive blog posts about me. He never criticizes me, or anyone else for that matter. He adores me and honors me and I know he will for all eternity. He is the perfect match for me, and I am completely, unabashedly, unequivocally happy.
We'd love to send you a wedding announcement! If you put your address in here, we'll get one to you at the beginning of January.