Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The wedding

was absolutely wonderful. I wish I had time to write about it now - the beautiful spirit of the temple ceremony, the joy of having all of my loved ones gathered around me, the way my heart jumped when I looked into sweet Brandon's eyes and the sealer pronounced us as husband and wife for all eternity, the gorgeous reception, and most of all, the sweet love I witnessed everyone sharing with each other that day. It was truly heavenly. 

Someday when we finish unpacking and taking midterms, I'll write more. But for now, just look at the pictures our sweet friend Jennifer voluntarily took. I think they express the day much better than my words ever could. 

And for everyone who has showered their love upon us, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I'm Getting Married in the Temple: The Doctrine of Eternal Marriage

Image found here.
It is difficult for those outside the Mormon faith to understand our marriage customs - why we are so anxious to get married and start our families, why our marriage ceremony takes place inside a temple that only authorized members of the Church may enter. I hope to help explain why we do these things and share the beautiful truths I have learned about the covenant of marriage. 

The temple is a place where very special, sacred ordinances take place. In order to enter, one must be willing to make very big promises, commitments to change one's lifestyle and fully dedicate oneself to the Lord. The temple is not a secret - we want everyone to attend, but we do not want anyone to promise to keep these big commitments unless they are truly ready to consecrate themselves to God. 

The most important and sacred of these promises is the marriage covenant. We believe that this ordinance is necessary to enter into the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom. Most people view marriage as a contract - an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified. 
Marriages that take place in the temple are covenants, or promises between the individuals and God. The terms are specified by Heavenly Father, and if we keep our commitments, He has promised to pour out blessings upon us. This means that when challenges arise, we cannot run away because we do not like the contract any more, but we are accountable to keep our promises to God and our spouse. One of the blessings promised in the marriage covenant is being sealed to our spouses and our children for time and all eternity. This means that death is not the end of family life, but that our relationships can continue forever.

LDS marriage is very focused on the family. We believe that the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth still applies, and when we enter into the sacred marriage covenant we commit to bear children and raise families unto the Lord. We believe that having children is a sacred privilege, and that family relationships teach us how to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that families are essential to God's plan, and that they have the potential to bring us a fullness of joy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides us not only with the ordinances that allow our families to be together forever, but teaches how to treat each other so that we actually want to spend eternity together. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World goes into more detail about this.)

We believe that temple ordinances, especially the temple sealing, are necessary for exaltation. Through the ratification of sacred ordinances and the sanctification of keeping our covenants with God, we can someday be perfected through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and live with Heavenly Father again, enjoying all the blessings He has

Can you see now why I have always dreamed of getting married in the temple? The promise of being sealed to the man I love the most for time and all eternity, of having our future children sealed to us as well, of having God directly involved in our marriage, of someday being able to return home to Him and receive all of the joy and goodness that He has - these promises are so, so beautiful. I still feel like I can barely comprehend them, and I am so amazed that Heavenly Father would offer such blessings to me. 

One of my friends remarked that my fiancĂ© and I seem to have reached "fairy-tale levels of happiness," and I would have to agree. Our parents, church leaders, and prophets have taught us how to serve and love one another, and on Friday we will enter the Holy Temple and be sealed to one another forever and ever. The best part is that because we are committing to love one another as perfectly and unselfishly as God loves us, the joy and love that we feel now will continually grow through all eternity. There is nothing greater than knowing that as wonderful as it is right now, the best is still yet to be.  

"Some think of happiness as a glamorous life of ease, luxury, and constant thrills; but true marriage is based on a happiness which is more than that, one which comes from giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing, and selflessness." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“The whole subject of the marriage relation is not in my reach, nor in any other man’s reach on this earth. It is without beginning of days or end of years; it is a hard matter to reach. We can tell some things with regard to it; it lays the foundation for worlds, for angels, and for the Gods; for intelligent beings to be crowned with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. In fact, it is the thread which runs from the beginning to the end of the holy Gospel of Salvation—of the Gospel of the Son of God; it is from eternity to eternity.” -Brigham Young

How grateful I am to be able to embark on this wonderful journey with a wonderful man who loves me so sweetly and is my very best friend - and how even more grateful I am for my Savior, Jesus Christ, who has made this joy possible.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine

10 reasons why I am so glad I get to have Brandon Moon as my valentine today and forevermore:

1. He makes me laugh every day.

2. He loves me despite my ridiculousness and even joins in!
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3. He makes these cute little faces:

4.  He likes hiking and camping.

5. He's not afraid to get sassy.

6. He can jump really high. I mean, look at that! He's so awesome!
7. He reads me stories.

8. He plays Bey-blades with my brother and is such an attentive uncle. He is so sweet with children.
Us with his niece Adri who asked for a new aunt and helped bring us together. Read the full story here.

9. He fits in so well with my family and loves them as if they were his own. 

10. He loves me so sweetly, unconditionally, and unselfishly. He is constantly looking for ways to serve me and lift me up. He enables me to be my best self and brings me the greatest joy I've ever known.

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetheart! I am so excited to spend time and all eternity with you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love Languages

A friend posted this on her blog today, and I thought it would be fun to compare my results to Brandon's - plus, I always like knowing how I can better show my appreciation for my sweetie pie. 

Brandon's results:
5 Words of Affirmation
11 Quality Time
0 Receiving Gifts
8 Acts of Service
6 Physical Touch

My results:
9 Words of Affirmation
10 Quality Time
0 Receiving Gifts
6 Acts of Service
5 Physical Touch

How interesting is that? We so similarly, and for both of us quality time is crazy high (12 is the highest score possible). We also found it interesting that we both scored 0 on receiving gifts. My mom is really good at leaving little notes and presents to make us feel special, and from her example I have gained a love of doing the same. So why is it that neither of us feel that it is important for us? Maybe it's just that after all of our influences, it's really up to us to define our own love language. It's a fun journey that I love taking with my wonderful almost-husband.

Enjoy the quiz and have a happy Valentine's day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

When you're getting married in 8 days, this is just what you need to hear:

Image found here.
"Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!...

"Patience is a process of perfection. The Savior Himself said that in your patience you possess your souls. Or, to use another translation of the Greek text, in your patience you win mastery of your souls. Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most. This was true in the time of the Savior. It is true in our time as well, for we are commanded in these latter days to 'continue in patience until ye are perfected.'

"To paraphrase the Psalmist of old, if we wait patiently for the Lord, He will incline unto us. He will hear our cries. He will bring us out of a horrible pit and set our feet upon a solid rock. He will put a new song in our mouths, and we will praise our God. Many around us will see it, and they will trust in the Lord.

"My dear brethren, the work of patience boils down to this: keep the commandments; trust in God, our Heavenly Father; serve Him with meekness and Christlike love; exercise faith and hope in the Savior; and never give up. The lessons we learn from patience will cultivate our character, lift our lives, and heighten our happiness. They will help us to become worthy priesthood bearers and faithful disciples of our Master, Jesus Christ." 
-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Continue in Patience"
Thanks President Uchtdorf. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My eternal family

"The proclamation teaches that 'successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.' In other words, the Lord measures the success of a family by the quality of its relationships. In a home where faith, love, and forgiveness are dominant, members find joy and satisfaction in being together. Ideally the father presides in love and righteousness, provides the necessities of life, and protects the family while the mother is primarily responsible for the nurturing of the children. In contrast, the world often measures family success by the accumulation of worldly things and the size of the estate that is passed on to the children." - Elder Merrill J. Bateman, "The Eternal Family"

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How grateful I am for my quality family relationships. They bring me the greatest joy I've ever known.