Friday, August 29, 2014

How to Have an Absolutely Fantabulous Marriage in 10 Easy Steps--Some Things Should be Sacred II

I know that a lot of people will disagree with me about this post, but I feel that it is very important that I share it.  Just because I am saying that I think you're wrong, that does not mean that I don't love and respect you, so please be kind and respect my freedom of speech as I respect yours.

Things that are sacred should not be taken lightly. Marriage is sacred, as is your relationship with your spouse and their trust. Sexual intimacy is sacred and should not be treated casually or shared outside of marriage.

Abstinence before marriage is a legitimate option. My husband and I are both so grateful that we chose not to share that part of ourselves with anyone else or even with each other until we were married. It has brought us so much closer, and enabled us to see sex as the God-given gift that it is and use it purely as an expression of love. I'm so grateful that I never have to try not to think of anyone else when I'm with my husband.

Once you're married, that doesn't necessarily mean that anything goes. You still need to respect the sanctity of intimacy, and you still need to be faithful to your spouse. Decide with your spouse and the Lord what is righteous, and what you are comfortable with. Don't push your spouse to do things that they are uncomfortable with, even if you don't think there's anything wrong with it.

Fidelity to your spouse obviously excludes having sex with anyone else, but there are other ways of being unfaithful. The Lord said "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt 5:28). (Women, this scripture applies to you as well.) Sometimes bad thoughts will come into your mind. Sometimes images or words or music that are offensive are put in front of you and it's not your fault. What is your fault is when you continue to entertain those thoughts, or keep looking or listening. When you do something with the intent to have sexual thoughts or feelings about another person besides your spouse, this is a sin.

Pornography is not a righteous thing. It is a form of infidelity, it is harmful not only to yourself, but to your marriage, your family, and it damages your view of sexuality, changing it from something Godly to something base, dirty, and sinful. Whether it's videos, pictures, books, music, you-name-it, if it causes you to think of someone other than your spouse in a sexual way, stop it. It doesn't matter the rating, the medium, or who recommended it to you. If your mind starts wandering places you shouldn't go, get away from it. Run like Joseph did from Potiphar's wife. Run and don't look back.

Porn not only ruins your view of sexuality, but of love, people, and bodies. Sex is not love. It can and aught to be a way of expressing  love, but lust is not the same as love. Pornography damages your ability to see the difference and recognize pure, godly love. Porn objectifies men and women, and their bodies, turning them into objects meant solely for gratification. We not only see this in explicit pornography, but in advertising everywhere. We need to see people first and foremost as children of our Heavenly Father, not bodies to be stared at.

Don't allow yourself to become too emotionally attached to anyone other than your spouse. Guard your emotions. Even if the feelings you have for someone else aren't sexual, they can still be unfaithful in nature. It can harm your relationship with your spouse. Remember to love your spouse more than anyone. "Cleave unto her [or him] and none else" (Gen 2; D&C 42:22.)

If you already have a problem with infidelity or pornography or anything else I've talked about, it's not too late to change. Because of the Savior's atonement you can start over, multiple times a day if you have to. He loves you, he will forgive you, and he can help you to rebuild your life. If you find that you have an addiction to pornography or anything else and can't kick the habit on your own, seek help. It's ok. There are lots of fantastic resources to help you overcome it. Talk to your church leaders, find addiction recovery groups in your community, ask your family members and friends for help and support. You can do it.

Marriage and family are central to God's plan for our salvation and happiness. Sex is also a part of that plan--not just for bringing children into the world, but for our enjoyment and for expressing love to our spouse. Because it is so sacred, we must treat it that way. The Lord loves us. We can do hard things, we can obey his commandments, and we can love and respect our spouses (current or future.)

If you're interested, here are some great talks on the same topics I covered.
Protection from Pornography--a Christ Centered Home
Personal Purity
Sanctify Yourselves: This talk was given specifically to an audience of men but it applies to everyone
Nurturing Marriage
LDS Addiction Recovery

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#tbt

I never seem to feel nostaligic on Thursdays. I've really wanted to do a #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) Instagram or Facebook post for a long time (not sure why, to be one of the cool kids I guess) but I never think of it on Thursday. So, I propose a new list of hashtags for those of us who feel nostalgic not on a Thursday.

#mlm - Memory Lane Monday
#tbtu - Throwback Tuesday (cheating? Maybe.)
#wbw - Way Back Wednesday (or WABAC for you Mr. Peabody fans)
#fbf - Flashback Friday
#sts - SenTimental Saturday (because I felt like it needed more than 2 letters.)

Or maybe just
#nnot - Nostalgic Not On Thursday


Friday, August 22, 2014

Feeling Grateful Today

Being a mom is really time consuming, and mind consuming, and all consuming. I hardly think about anything else, ever (which is why I really ought to be reviewing ASL right now instead of writing this, but it's nice to do something just for fun.)

I love my life. Goodness, I get tired sometimes, like all-the-times, but it is so wonderful! I am so grateful for my Father in Heaven who strengthens me. There are many moments, like yesterday morning, when I am too tired to even think about moving but I say a little prayer and He helps me to keep pushing on without falling over or dropping my baby, and then blesses me with a nap!

I'm also so grateful for my husband who is so supportive and helpful. Even though he has a sprained ankle and a cold and is taking the GRE this weekend he still takes the time to help me and just sit and talk and make me feel loved!

I am also so grateful for my little angel baby. He is so wonderful. Yesterday was tough, I think he might be catching whatever I have, but his little smiles and giggles make me so happy. No matter what burdens I am carrying, his smile lightens them instantly. Motherhood is amazing. I can't even begin to describe how much I have grown, especially emotionally. I've always had a pretty low threshold for stress and sleep deprivation (anyone who knew me in high school can tell you I got sick all the time) but I have been strengthened in my mind and body. I've learned how to keep pushing, to just take one more step, and then another, and another, until I'm running full speed again. It truly is a miracle.

I'm so grateful for all my friends and family, for their love and support, and for the joy it gives me to know that I am not alone.

I'm grateful for baby bouncers and bagels with strawberry cream cheese.

I'm grateful for baby giggles and kind strangers and windows that open.

I'm grateful for sunshine, I'm grateful for rain, I'm grateful for this beautiful place I live in that I used to think was a barren desert. I'm grateful that my mind can change!

I'm grateful for my tiny apartment that has a full sized stove, oven, and refrigerator. I'm grateful for the concrete floors covered in cheap linoleum and million year old carpet that don't creak when I'm putting my baby down to sleep.

I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful for my family members that I have known who have passed away. I'm grateful for their examples, and for the love I still feel from them.

I'm grateful for my faith: for my knowledge of a life after this where we can have a second chance and can be with our families again. I'm grateful for a merciful God who loves me, and all of us, more than anything!

I am grateful that happiness is a choice!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Six Months!

Five days late, but here it goes! Sam is six months old! (And currently asleep, can I get a "hallelujah?" I'm sick and this is his second nap today which hasn't been happening lately so I'm super excited, since I slept during his first one.)

Sleeping in the Car


Major updates for this month: Sam is scooting! I wouldn't exactly call it crawling yet but he's on his way for sure! Which means I need to make sure nothing that isn't ok to go in his mouth is on the floor. Thankfully we cleaned well before we went on our big trip so we just have to not put anything new on the floor.

Sam scooting with Daddy


Speaking of our trip, Samuel went on his first (and second, third, fourth) plane ride(s)! We had a couple plane changes. But he did really well! On the first three flights he fell asleep as between when the engines turned on and when we reached cruising altitude, and on the first and third flight he didn't wake up until we landed! The last flight, which was only an hour, he was awake and happy the whole time. Everyone on the planes seemed really happy that he was such a good baby. We were so proud of our little guy!

Sam loved the curtains at my parents' home


He did great on our trip and loved meeting his uncle Cameron, aunt Lizzie (Stein) and Uncle Bryan, Aunt Felicia, and cousin Weston.  He also got to meet my high school choir teachers, a bunch of my favorite people who still live in our home ward, and my best friends from high school! He was fascinated by my sister's dog Franky, who was equally fascinated (and a little bit jealous) of Sam. Samuel had his first trip to Zingerman's Deli and a bunch of other neat places around Ann Arbor, met a cat for the first time (who thankfully didn't mind Sam constantly reaching for it's tail) and discovered that he loves soccer!

Playing with cousin "Fireman" Weston


He also tried his first taste of real food! He has only had avocado so far, but he really likes it. After two weeks of trying desperately to eat anything we were eating I finally just took some avocado that didn't make it into my sandwich and smooshed it up for him and fed him off my plate. He was a happy camper after that! Now he wants to try everything else on our plates... We're going to try peas and sweet potatoes next. Maybe it'll get me to eat more vegetables, too!

While we were in Vegas, Sam had his first experience with swimming where he didn't look miserable. I think he actually liked it! Unfortunately, he started getting cold and shivering so I really quick took him inside and dried him off, but he liked the water, especially the little fountain in the shallow end. He also made great friends with his cousin (once removed) Ellie, who is eight. They had a blast together. He also loved interacting with all of Ellie's older brothers, and my arms got a much appreciated break.

Sam has gotten much better at grabbing things and controlling his hands. He likes to put everything in his mouth. A few times he's managed to get his bottle into his mouth all on his own a few times, but has never tipped it high enough to get anything out of it on his own.

He laughs at a lot more things now as well, including clapping, sneezing, dancing, and continues to love tickling, raspberries, and kisses. He also is starting to recognize pictures of people. I've started putting my phone on speaker when people call so I can have my hands free and he can recognize his daddy's face and voice, and I think my mom's as well (they're the only ones I have really good pictures of in my contacts.)

video

He will have his six month check up on Monday, but from holding him on a scale and subtracting my weight he looks to be about 16 lbs! In the last couple of days he's sat up on his own and tried to pull himself up onto his daddy's stomach. He's growing up much too fast. I never understood when parents said that until now. I really wish he'd slow down! Especially since I'll be going back to school in a couple weeks I can't bear to think that he might change or do something new when I'm not there to see it! Being a mom is hard! I can handle the crying, the late nights, the poopy diapers, but I can't bear to see him grow so fast! Sigh.

can you believe how much he's grown?