Monday, December 27, 2010

Ruminations

Its Christmas break. I'm enjoying have tons of extra time with my husband and had to spend my first Christmas ever away from my immediate family. In other words I've had a lot of time to think, contemplate and otherwise ruminate over life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

I have come to the conclusion that I am blessed to have some of the best in-laws ever. I am so grateful for this wonderful family that I have been blessed enough to be a part of. I was worried when Jeff and I realized that we wouldn't have the money to go to visit both of our families for Christmas.

There are so many things I've come to love about Christmas with my family: 1) Making enough food to feed an army (and having my family gush over how flavorful and tender my turkeys always are) 2) Watching my nieces and nephew open presents on Christmas morning- you know that feeling you used to get on Christmas morning when you knew Santa had been to your house and you couldn't wait to open presents? Well, because of these little people that I have been blessed to know I have regained that feeling- living vicariously is a beautiful thing. 3) Playing the piano and singing Christmas carols with my whole family gathered around the piano 4) Watching the Forgotten Carols DVD with my older sister 5) sitting in pajamas all day with Amber curled up on her bed watching leftover things from her DVR 6) Helping Santa set up presents for my nieces and nephew on Christmas Eve

So, why was I worried? Because I love my family and what the holiday season does to bring us together so much that I was worried I would be totally bummed and become a Scrooge this Christmas without them. I didn't know what it would be like to not see them and experience this day without them. I didn't know what things would be like with Jeff's family.

Again, I am so blessed. My mother-in-law Cindy holds a big family Christmas party every year on Christmas Eve. She told me several times while Jeff and I were engaged "You can do whatever you'd like on Christmas Day, but Christmas Eve has and always will be the day we have the Nielson family party." This year the theme was elves. I got to sport an elf hat and footie pajamas (Thanks Mom Nielson) while we played games to determine who got to open presents and also games to learn about family history and funny stories from when Jeff and his siblings were growing up. We had so much fun!

After all was said and done, I'd had a blast, but I still felt a twinge of missing my family. I called and was able to talk to them and hear about how they'd spent Christmas Eve. I called my brother on December 26 to wish him a happy birthday (his golden birthday- 26 on the 26th!) and I called my niece Brianna to sing her happy birthday. She turned 1 yesterday, that's right, she shares a birthday with her uncle! I told Aaron that Brianna by default has to be his favorite niece now...he laughed and told me that he would accept that as an eternal truth.

Beyond Christmas, I've had a lot of time to think about communication with the spirit and truth.
Truth is a funny thing. Last night I was talking about it with my husband and mother in law. My husband said something to the effect of "There is only one truth, what ends up being different is everyone's perception of the truth."

So, what do you do when the spirit tells you something is happening NOW, circumstantial evidence points to the truth, but there is no definitive evidence?

I have been struggling with this for the last 3 weeks or so.

I know the good girl's answer is that you listen to the spirit and what it's telling you and have faith.

But faith can be tricky, and is sometimes easier said than done.

Especially when the truth seems too good to be true.

I guess part of me is still jaded and cynical in ways. When something I want seems close at hand it always seems to be further away than I think.

I guess this is where faith comes in. I made the decision on Christmas Eve that I was going to accept the circumstantial evidence and the whisperings of the Still Small Voice and wait for the tangible evidence, because ultimately will come.

There is only one truth, what makes it different is perception...and my perception needs to be in line with God's.

So, all I can do is wait for the day that I have tangible evidence. I must sit and be content, patiently waiting with my circumstantial and spiritual evidence gathered defining my truth.

Faith- such a tiny word for such a big, deep topic.

Here are things that I know that have helped me decide to accept the spiritual truth along with the circumstantial evidence:

1) God loves me, and he would never lead me astray.

2)God will find a way to prepare you for any new chapter in your life, obstacle, or trial. How blessed are we to be able to recognize the voice of Holy Ghost when he finds ways to speak to us? Some people will live their whole lives and because they aren't open to the will of God, because they choose to be ignorant, they will never hear that Still, Small Voice prompting and preparing them- which leads me to #3

3) If you've heard the Still Small Voice tell you something, its probably best you don't deny it and do what you're told.

4) No matter how unlikely or difficult circumstances may seem, God always finds a way to bring to pass things that he deems are necessary- which brings me back to #3- we need to listen to those promptings and accept them because then we become servants and tools for a loving God who only wants what is best for us.

5) God will always bless those that serve him with the capabilities and resources they need to bring to pass the things he asks them to do.

6) Whenever we feel like we aren't enough, we just have to remember a loving Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ who makes up for our deficits.

I guess when it all comes down to it you just have to remember the things that God has been able to do. Abraham and Sarah thought they would never be able to have children, and when Sarah was 90 she was somehow able to conceive and bare a son- bringing to pass the blessing Abraham had been promised of a lineage that would number the sands of the sea or stars of the sky. Abraham didn't live to see this promise completely fulfilled; however Isaac begat Jacob who became the father of the whole nation of Israel, fathering many children in what I call the "Baby Olympics".

Nephi was called and chosen along with his brothers to retrieve the golden plates from Laban. Laman and Lemuel, his brothers, did not see the value of this. Nephi's faith never waivered, even when his brothers beat him to try to get him to relent after they had lost all their wealth, and they were able to collect the plates. These plates ended up being worth more than all of the wealth that Laban had stolen from them. These plates prevented Nephi's descendants from living in ignorance. A whole nation was able to have scriptural promptings and prophecies to prepare for the coming of Christ. All of them may not have accepted it, but those who did received the amazing opportunity to see Christ! They had the opportunity to learn from him, to be blessed and healed by him. How amazing would that be?

I guess what I'm trying to get at is this- we may not understand God's purposes in everything he does or asks us to do- but he always provides a way and down the line it may bless the life of future generations if we accept the things we are told, and called to do and move forward with faith.

I'm sorry this seems so cryptic darlings. I guess I just wanted to make sure I shared with you a big lesson in faith that I've been learning the last few weeks. I just don't feel I should or can share all of it with you because to me much of this journey has been sacred.

Maybe the things that are true, but seem to good to be true, can be the biggest tests of our faith. We want to believe it, but we're afraid to believe it because we don't want to be disappointed.

Have faith darlings, move forward and listen. God speaks to all of us, no matter our race, creed, or religion. He has messages for you, he has a purpose for you, a purpose you may not be able to fathom now, and maybe you won't in this life...but you never know who's life you will touch, what families you will change, and what affect the things that you are asked to do now that seem small will have on the eternal spectrum of things.

Do good things and good things will happen to you.

Turn to God when you are struggling and have faith, You WILL receive the peace you're looking for and find answers to your problems.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How do I love thee????

I don't know what it is...but I have officially become a big cry baby.

I wish I could put my finger on it. I've never been much of an emotional person. Usually, I try to reserve any feelings that I'm having for the cathartic effect of music...

you know...purging yourself of excess emotions through art to create a balance in your life?

I was always pretty balanced.

Then I met Jeff...

Let's just say, I must have more emotions than my art can deal with.

I think about Jeff, and how much I love him- I vocalize it, and then the waterworks turn on.

I know it has to be a good thing in some ways. My heart is just so full that it can't help but bubble over. All I have to do is think about how blessed I am to have him in my life and I get warm from head to toe, and I find myself choking back the tears that will inevitably win.

I never thought it would be possible to love someone this much. I never thought I would ever find someone who could break down that wall that I built...

You know, that wall that we build as we start to become jaded and cynical...

It baffles me how much he loves me. It baffles me even more how much I love him. I am astounded at the way my emotions consume my entire body. I lose composure...and the funny thing is, he still loves me.

Even when I am a wet sloppy mess, crying over something silly like how much I love him and how happy I am...he just holds me, laughs a little bit to himself, and tells me that he loves me too, very very much.

So...here are a few things that I have learned about my husband in this first month that we've been married (it will be a month on Monday, which is so crazy!) and oddly enough, these things make him even more endearing.

1) He is brilliant- I already knew this, however, he has taken it one step further. He has decided he wants to take on a project converting our car into a hydrogen/gas engine hybrid. Meaning that part of the time, our car would run on water...that's right...water...in fact, he spent the whole morning figuring out math equations to find out the best frequency to try to set his hydrogen engine to when he builds it. When he asked if he could take on this project I couldn't help but smile and get all warm inside from head to toe and love him even more...My man is going to change the world- mark my words...he will.

2) When he plays video games he turns off the X Box without me even having to ask just because he thinks I might need help.

3) He has awesome snuggle shoulders to fall asleep on at night.

4) He prefers me without makeup...this one still baffles me...I think I look like a scary mess without it, but he just tells me over and over again that I'm so beautiful I don't need it.

5) He sneaks his head in the shower curtain to kiss me when I'm singing in the shower.

6) He is super supportive of me (which in turn makes me want to do everything I can to be super supportive of him.)

7) He will literally drop everything (literally like drop arm fulls of stuff) to grab me, hug me and tell me how amazing I am.

8) When he found out the stocking was my favorite part of Christmas, he got into the Christmas spirit and we drove all over town looking for something that he wanted to put into my stocking...and daily since he has told me how excited he is for me to see what he got.

9) He lets me win at Racquetball...until I tell him to stop going easy on me, then he kicks my butt.

10) He is random (like me)...last night, had we found the necessary tools, he would have taken me ice blocking since Idaho is lacking in the snow department...apparently stores don't sell ice blocks during the winter...go figure...

There are plenty of other reasons to love him. I honestly feel like I landed the jackpot. To all my single friends out there all I can say is don't be afraid to be alone...I think when you finally accept and love your life for all its intricacies and random happenstances is when you finally send a signal to the world that you are ready for something more.

If I found the perfect man- and I'm pretty darn sure I did- then I know you can...because everyone is different, which means that there are millions of different perfect men out there. To my married friends out there, I challenge you to come up with 10 reasons that you love your husband every day- when you do it, you start to see how perfect for you he really is and always has been.

This is one lucky diva. (Wait...blessed...Jeff reminds me all the time that luck had nothing to do with me finding him...well, if its not luck, then he is definitely a gift from an amazing and loving God who knows just what we need and when the time is right.)

hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Let the Embarassment (and Hilariousness) Begin

As promised, here are the videos of our evening at home...with the Russian model, and Peggy Sue...Enjoy...
video


video

now don't you just feel better?

Hugs and loves until next time!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Remembering and Re-living

So...as you know, I'm getting sick...

When I get sick I have a tendency to get loopy...

When I get loopy, I tend to do crazy things....

Take last night for example. I got home from class, I was dead tired, ready for bed (in fact the teacher let me leave early, class was supposed to go until 9, he let me out at 7)

Jeff and I were sitting on the bed, snuggled up...dying together (he is sick too.) Then, it happened, a sudden, random burst of energy. I reached up and began moving his lips, using him as my living ventriloquism dummy...we were laughing and then I remembered something we used to do all the time when I was a kid. I asked Jeff if he'd ever drawn a little face on his chin, laid with his head upside down and put a pair of pants or something over his eyes and nose to leave one perfect puppet... We would do this at my grandma's house with my Aunt Maralee and Aunt Jann when I was a little girl. We would put on music and lipsynch, and we would put on shows for my grandparents. It always made for a perfectly random and hilarious evening.

Jeff laughed immediately and went to grab the camera...I went to grab a kohl pencil and draw a face onto my chin. I wrapped my head in a scarf and laid on the bed. Jeff covered my body with our leopard print blanket and then proceeded captured every glorious minute, asking questions of my impromptu characters...Bebe, a nameless poorly informed Russian model, and Peggy Sue...Jeff even pulled out some of his old Halloween wigs to add to the fun. I promise, if I can manage to get the camera away from him I will post the videos...

We laughed, I almost laughed until I cried...

and then the energy was gone...this lady was in bed by 9:30 last night.

Oh well...hooray for random bursts of energy, here's hoping I have a few more at just the right times to get through finals.

Hugs and loves (and laughter) until next time darlings!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The attack of the killer dead week (random thoughts)

So...

I'm getting sick...

Finals are next week, I'm supposed to sing on Friday for a the Stake High Council Christmas party and with the Idaho State Civic Symphony Chorale, and I have a 34 page paper to revise, a 10 page paper to write, and French to finish memorizing.

I also had the worst performance of an art song that I've had since my Freshman year of college yesterday...my husband did wonders for my wounded pride when I got home though, and, to share some words of wisdom I received from premiere Baritone at the Met Richard Zeller this summer, "You're too afraid of making mistakes. You need to make mistakes Brittany. Don't be afraid of making a mistake. We make mistakes so we can learn something new and get better." (P.S. This has been my mantra since June when I had a lesson with him and he said this to me.)

What did I learn from my horrible performance yesterday? A) I am getting sick...not such a good revelation, but it was an important one since I've been denying it... and B) Ms.Lane still loves me even when I mess up, as do my friends...so I guess I don't have to be perfect all the time. I can now commence with Schlumpadincka Thursday without fear of reprisal...LOL...

My body couldn't possibly pick a worst week to revolt.

Part of me wonders if this is the universe's way of telling me, its queen, that I deserve some down time with my husband. He is finished with finals. (Lucky!!!)

My finals week should be fairly uneventful. If I can just make it through my jury on Monday, I give this cold full permission to take over my body, but not a minute before!

Funny thing about my engagements this Friday...

Symphony Chorale thing should take a max of 10 minutes to get through but I may end up waiting for an hour before we actually get to sing...ahhh the joys of call time

and as for singing for the High Council Christmas party...I have to laugh that I was never asked to do anything like this until I got married...I have a theory about that, but I'm not so sure I want to share it....suffice it to say, it is an honor to be asked and I am grateful for awesome friends like the amazing Tonya Branson who is going to accompany me for my literal 15 minutes of fame...literally, they asked me for 15 minutes of music...3-5 songs and I am done and out of there...I must remember to make Tonya cookies or something like that (see how domestic I'm getting?)

This morning was a terrible horrible no good very bad morning...but looking to the sunny side of things, I may have been late getting out the door, but I got to kiss my adorable husband before I left, I may have had to walk all the way around the PAC to get into the box office to go to work, but outdoor exercise can be hard to come by at this time of year right? I may be getting sick, but atleast I made it through my wedding, and other important events like the choir concert last Friday before it took hold (I had my conducting debut on the stage at Jensen Grand Concert Hall...I was pretty proud of myself and my husband said that I looked like a pro!)

All things considered, life is hectic but still pretty darn good.

That killer dead week can continue to attack, I think I will remain steady and not fall on my bum, and even if I do, at least I have people there that are willing to pick me up.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Monday, November 29, 2010

And they lived Happily Ever After





Growing up, I admit it, I was a sucker for fairy tales.

I always was fascinated with the idea of happily ever after. I wanted to know what it was like. As I got older, I think I started to get a little jaded (big shocker, right?) I even wrote a college paper on how Disney sets little girls up for heartbreak with their notions of "happily ever after," pointing out that my favorite Disney Princess as a child Aurora, of Sleeping Beauty fame, was the tender age of 16 when she finally met and fell in love with Prince Philip...

I had been through a string of relationships, some ending in major heartbreak, and I watched other friends and family members meet and fall in love with wonderful people. I began to believe that perhaps happily ever after did exist...it just didn't exist for me.

This was a painful bitter pill to swallow. Part of me yearned for my five year old self. I wished she could be there for me, I wished she could, with all the wonderment of childhood, assure me that YES happily ever after would come. I grieved for her, I grieved for a childhood full of what I thought would be wasted dreams...

and then it was my turn...out of the blue, and unexpectedly.

So, I'm sure everyone is expecting me to blog about my wedding, and believe me, I really wish I could...but I can't.


How can you describe the most perfect day ever?

Well, I guess it wasn't so perfect, I was so stressed in the morning that I was near tears until I reached the temple...

I had people commenting on how composed I was- couldn't they see that I was a wreck?

Jeff knew...and my best friend Erica knew.

Since I couldn't really kidnap Jeff and take him with me to the hair dresser, I kidnapped Erica, and she stayed with me, and tried to keep me calm.

Perhaps there was extra irritation because mother nature decided to dump about 6 inches of snow on us...and I hadn't really planned for indoor pictures...

Perhaps there was extra irritation because I was worried about making it to the temple on time and we literally had to go between 15 and 25 miles per hour the whole way across town to get there...

Perhaps I was a little frazzled because I was worried about friends and family making the long journey from Utah and other places far away...

To say the least I was stressed. I drove to the temple and the whole way Jeff asked, "Are you sure you don't want me to drive?"

Bless his heart for asking, but I needed something to get my mind off of the stress (even if that something was fear of death on icy and snow covered roads...)

However, once we reached the temple and walked inside the stress started to alleviate...there were a few mix ups when I got back in the dressing room, they were changing workers in the women's dressing room and the new shift did things slightly different from the old shift- they were transitioning...I swear I walked back and forth between two dressing spaces atleast 10 times...but then, when I was finally dressed and ready to go, they led me into the hall and I got to sit with Jeff and wait.

He was super nervous, but had been putting up a very good brave front for everyone. Sister Conrad, my escort around the temple that day, came to me and said, "Either he is one of the calmest grooms I have ever seen, or he is really good at hiding his nerves." I laughed and assured her that I knew he was nervous.

We went through an initial ceremony that pertains to sacred covenants and rites performed in the temple only and had a chance to sit in the celestial room and wait to be sealed.

Jeff held me so tight I almost couldn't breathe. I kissed him on the cheek, scratched his back and let him, who cared if my lips were turning blue from lack of oxygen, I just wanted to be near him. I said a few things here and there to make him laugh. He needed to laugh...the nerves were almost more than he could bear, but he did say, in spite of his nerves, he had never been more sure of anything in his life....this calmed my nerves...part of me was still waiting for him to run screaming for the hills. I told him he could if he wanted, he laughed and said, "I'll only do that if I can take you with me."

My heart was so full I was once again near tears, but this time they would be good tears- tears of joy, love, happiness...it may be blistering cold and snowing outside, but inside I was warm and felt peace.

Our sealer came to talk to us. He cracked a few jokes to make us laugh before we went into the sealing room.

We were led into the sealing room, it was almost completely full. I was shocked. With the weather, I was certain that 74 seats would be about 60 seats too many. I guess it just goes to show how much we are loved. Seeing the smiles on the faces of our friends and family brought me near tears again. I choked up and tried to breathe slowly. I didn't want to cry, part of me thought it would be cheesy, but then there was the other part of me, the part that was so full, brimming over with love, the part that was holding Jeff's hand and gazing up into his big blue eyes...I managed to hold them back...for a while anyway...

Jeff led me to the alter when we were called...I was maintaining composure very well until...he said yes...that word resounded through my soul. I was trying to put my head around the fact that he wanted to be with me just as much as I wanted to be with him. It should not have been much of a revelation, we'd only been planning a wedding and talking about how much we love eachother every day leading up to this point, but this "yes" had a sense of finality to it...I knew that my happily ever after was about to begin. As I struggled to hold back tears I realized the sealer was talking to me...OH CRAP! Where was he? Was I supposed to say yes yet? Was it my turn to seal the deal? My attention had shifted to the "OH CRAP" moment, and the tears began to flow freely.

Never fear, I was able to catch up and figure out where we were...and I said "yes" at my appointed time and turn.

We kissed over the alter and POOF I was a married woman, Jeff was a married man, and all the planning that we had done leading up to this point all of a sudden seemed insignificant. All that mattered at that moment is that we belong to eachother forever.

Of course...walking into the luncheon/reception spot and seeing This didn't hurt:
The reception was a blast...putting aside that it was my reception, it was the best one I've ever been to. We had a bartender giving out individually made Italian Cream Sodas to order, delicious cupcakes, and a crazy DJ who made everyone laugh as he went from song to song on our playlist. Our nieces and nephews that stayed didn't leave the dance floor all night- we had a bunch of dancing fools on our hands! I smashed cake in Jeff's face and he followed in suit (he was going to be nice until I wasn't...) He smashed the cake in my face and I was laughing so hard cake went up my nose and I aspirated a little bit of it and began to choke- but it was well worth it. I did have to toss the bouquet twice...the first time it got stuck in the tenting, we had a do over. Jeff grabbed me quickly as the girls literally began to fight for the bouquet as it came down the second time, I could have been trampled. Jeff tried to throw the garter with his teeth when our crazy DJ (aka my brother Aaron) goaded him to do so...it didn't work so well, but it was funny to watch the guys dive for it.

The ring ceremony just before the reception went perfectly. I wish all of my friends could have been there. My bishop made it (we were worried he wouldn't because he had texted us saying he wasn't sure he would be there with the roads being as bad as they were). My bishop talked about the temple and what it symbolizes and reflected on his own experience in the temple earlier that day as he watched his grandson be sealed to his mom and dad. He spoke about the ride home and how when they finally got back to Pocatello from Idaho Falls they realized his grandson had failed to mention to anyone that he hadn't been strapped into his booster seat. He remarked to his son in law that if anything had happened it would have been devastating, and he had been reminded by his son in law that it would have been sad, yes, but devastating, no...because they were now an eternal family and they would see eachother again and be with eachother again no matter what... I managed to keep my composure while I sang a jazz standard (I'll never stop loving you) and my bridesmaids did an awesome poetry reading. The coup de grat of course was my nieces singing Families can Be Together Forever, there was so much cuteness in the front of that room I almost couldn't stand it.

I am so grateful for the sealing power of the priesthood, and that there are temples on the earth to make that sealing ritual possible. I am so grateful that I know I will be with Jeff for time and all eternity. I am grateful to know that death cannot and will not part us for forever.

I am grateful for this knowledge. I can now admit whole-heartedly that my early college paper was wrong. Happily Ever After does exist. It exists in the sealing power of the temple, it exists in the love between people who have the same goals and continue to work toward them together. I was already living in a part of a happily ever after through my own parents' marriage covenant and I now get to create my own.

I know it won't always be sunshine and daffodils, I am fully prepared and anticipating the hard work that comes with marriage and family relationships, but I know one thing for certain: with God on your side, and with the same commitment to keep Him as a part of your family and relationships, no matter what your religion or creed- you too can have happily ever after. With that commitment any relationship can last and be loving.

I am excited for my own piece of forever.

Let the Happily Ever After-ing begin!

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time

Time is such a funny thing.

Someone, at some time devised a way for us to split it into increments so that we could plan our days.

To this person I say: Bless you! (although sometimes I want to curse you...why couldn't you put more than 24 hours in a day and make fewer days in the week...more time to sleep and play...but alas...)

I am a control freak. I own it. I accept it. I embrace it.

One thing that I do when I find myself stressed is write a list of what I need to finish in the day and write a timeline for how long I will give myself for each task.

It half worked yesterday...

Yesterday was an interesting day.

The wind was blowing, I got hit in the head by my car door atleast 3 times in the morning. I was running errands before class and I would open my door to get out of my car, try to step out, only to have my car door hurled at my head and my now aching foot that it slammed shut on.

This set the tone for the day, and all day all I wanted was to see Jeff, but there was just NO TIME...

It was frustrating. I flew from errands, to class, to work, to choir rehearsal (which did NOT go well at all, for anyone. I was frustrated because I would sing a line right the first time but when it came to isolate said line, I would be wrong...) I just couldn't win.

My big plan for last night was to get every box moved up to the new apartment. I wanted Jeff... I needed him. My day was in the dumps and I just needed to see that classic happy to see me smile and a big hug to make my throbbing head seem to throb a little less.

I called and called after class, but no answer...it had been a while since I'd had a terrible horrible no good very bad day, and this was shaping up to be one.

I started packing DVDs.

There are two things in this world that immediately destress me:

Baking and Cleaning- and since packing falls somewhat under the cleaning category I could feel the weight lifting slowly, ever so slowly off my shoulders.

Then my phone rang. I had to throw boxes to find it buried on my bed. It was HIM...the day was instantly brighter. He needed me to come pick him up. I shifted the half filled box of DVDs to the floor and dug for my keys *they too were buried under piles of boxes and clothes.*

I got to the building where I needed to pick him up...he was in a suit...BONUS...and then came that smile. He got in the car and I almost started crying because I was so happy to see him. He kissed me, I kissed him...then I bit my lip, made my puppy dog I missed you face and he kissed me again. He laughed and told me I was ridiculous...he always tells me I'm ridiculous. I own that too. I love being ridiculous, especially when he makes me that way.

We went up to our apartment so he could change out of his suit (darn...) and then decided to go to D.I. before more packing commenced to see if we could find a love seat. We found one, an oldie but goodie and bargain priced at $30...but couldn't find anyone to come help us haul it to our place. (Hopefully tonight we will have better luck in the finding help department, we really, really need a couch of some variety.)

We went back to my current residence. I put on a movie in my room (I have to have white noise while I'm performing menial tasks, otherwise I go insane from the monotony.) Jeff had never seen it before (we were watching Wild Hearts Can't be Broken- a Disney masterpiece from my youth). He sat and watched the movie in my comfy dish chair while I packed. He would pull me down into his lap from time to time, I would watch a portion of the movie with him, he would tickle me, and then I would be up on my feet as quickly as I could be to pack some more.

I wasn't quite finished packing, but I was hungry, and realized that this would be the only night available for our date night...

Time=GONE...because really, I can find quick moments to pack what's left and quality time with the people I love is far more important to me.

So, I'm a control freak...and my timeline up until this point in my life has usually been the one thing that keeps me going through the day.

I guess that is one beautiful thing about love. It has made me realize that there is always time, especially when you are doing the things that you know you should and want to be doing. You just have to know how to budget it, and what investments will be wise.

Time with Jeff is always a good investment, because I always get so much more than I give, and even more importantly, I don't feel like I need to control anything, I can relax, let time pass and have faith that even if my entire list didn't get completed, there will always be time tomorrow.

And tomorrow will always be beautiful if you have people in your life to support, love, and help you.

P.S.> Another note on time: 3 days! It took forever to get here, but flew so fast!

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shlumpadincka and Soy Sauce

Okay darlings....

I woke up today and decided that it would be Shlumpadincka Thursday. If you aren't familiar with the term Schlumpadincka let me tell you a little story...

We (meaning my awesome friends Sammy, Teaira, Ms.Lane and I) were in Astoria, OR, this summer enjoying all the awesome opportunities that our opera apprenticeship had to offer. We were coming out of Safeway (or was it Ross? It doesn't matter, either way the story happened) We were pulling out of the parking lot and Ms. Lane points and says, "See girls, that is Shlumpadincka, I don't want to see any of that from any of you this week...or ever..." She was pointing at a woman walking out of the store in a ponytail, sweatpants, a baggy sweatshirt, and with no makeup on. We all laughed and promised her our "Shlumpadincka" days would be few and far between.

Well, I woke up this morning, and I decided that, as I didn't have anything important to do today other than school and work at the box office I wanted to be Shlumpadincka today...I've been super stressed (I wonder why?) and just decided I needed a break from my normal routine. Plus, since Jeff prefers me without makeup I decided I would make him happy today and just be Shlumpadincka Brittany. I rolled out of bed (I did do my hair) and stayed in my green yoga pants that I wore to sleep in last night. I pulled on a T-Shirt, and my Charlie Brown music sweatshirt (Snoopy is dancing on it...its pretty spectacular) and went to class.

Class was out almost before it began. The teacher had a meeting he had to go to, so he said we could just stay and practice or leave. Since its Brass Methods, and I have decided I'm almost hopeless on the trumpet (which is the instrument I've been learning to play for the last 3 weeks or so) I decided to stay and practice. Fortunately, my friend Heather stayed and helped me and I have actually discovered that I'm not as horrible as I believed I was (hooray for confidence boosters...confidence boosters and Shlumpadincka days...what a beautiful combination.)

I decided to leave early, my lips and jaw were getting tired and achey (a fun side effect of too much trumpet practice) Since I was leaving early, I had time to stop for a little lunch. I decided that California Rolls sounded like the perfect lunch for a Schlumpadincka like me...

I got to work, opened my lunch, ate a few rolls and quickly decided that a) these weren't fresh and b) maybe california rolls from Albertsons deli weren't the best idea. I forced myself to eat 4 of them, but couldn't force anything more beyond that. I closed the box, I thought I was being all clever in my technique because I was trying to avoid a soy sauce and wasabi disaster, but I knew I needed to close the box because I didn't want the Box Office to smell like rotten Krab (that's right Krab with a K because it wasn't real crab). I went to throw the box in the trash, and disaster struck. Before I could bat my eyelashes there was soy sauce all over my green yoga pants and the floor of the box office...thank heavens for the water cooler...I rushed to dilute the soy sauce on the carpet first with the cold water (because everyone knows that if you get to soy sauce before it sets in with cold water it will magically disappear.) I got the carpet cleaned and looked down at my fantastic green yoga pants (now brown and green) My first thought was that I was glad I had decided to be Shlumpadincka today because I really could care less about my yoga pants, but my second thought was "Crap, I don't have time to go home and change after work." I feverishly began dousing napkins in cold water and scrubbing my pants!

Well...serves me right for trying to be a little more daring in the culinary department (well, varied at least)...

However, I am glad for Shlumpadincka Days...soy sauce could have seriously damaged my calm on a day like today...there is an odd type of Zen accompanied with being Shlumpadincka....and with all the stress that I've been under recently a Zen Shlumpadincka day has been a nice reprieve...

P.S> Jeff and I are going to get our marriage license tonight...still debating if I want to change out of my Shlumpadincka Soy Sauce Yoga Pants for the big event or not...who cares...Schlumpadincka now, Shlumpadincka forever!

Hugs and Loves until next time darlings!

P.P.S> My little soy sauce adventure made me think of this scene from Thoroughly Modern Millie. If you don't want to watch the incomparable Carol Channing sing her "Jazz Baby" number then skip to 6:35 for the scene I am talking about. Enjoy darlings!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lullaby

Sometimes I wonder if the pain that you feel when you lose someone close to you ever really goes away.

When I first got engaged, I found myself thinking about my dad probably once every 2 weeks or so...I would wonder what he would think of Jeff, I would wonder what he would say, how he would react to me being engaged...and then I would feel it...

that deep pain, a pain that I try to forget on regular occurrences.

You wouldn't think it to look at me, or to talk to me, but I feel the loss of my father very deeply. If I allow myself to go to "that place" I get so overcome with emotions that I can hardly breathe. Which is why, most of the time, I choose to look forward rather than looking back. I look forward to the bright future I know he would want me to have. I look forward with positivity for the possibilities that each new day will hold, just like he taught me when I was a little girl.

With my wedding rapidly approaching, I find myself thinking about him almost every day, almost every day I've had a moment where I've had to stop and remind myself that he is here, just in a more round about way. I have to remind myself how lucky I am to have special, amazing people waiting and rooting for me on the other side of the veil, and that no matter how far away heaven seems at times, my dad is there.

I was having such a time on Saturday. I had been sick all week. It culminated on Friday with me barely being able to get out of bed (this was partially because Jeff refused to let me get up and took care of me all day, but, in spite of my complaints and attempts to get up- some to the point where he had to sit on me to keep me down- I was grateful that he reminded me to take care of myself and get better. I have a tendency to push myself a little too far when I know that I am physically not capable of doing so. I am so lucky to have such a sweet, caring, thoughtful person to love me and take care of me-even when I make it incredibly hard for him to do so. Thanks baby, I love you.)

I was leaving Jeff's apartment on Saturday night ( my least favorite time of the day) and Jeff asked me if I had started writing my new name somewhere on a notebook yet. I actually didn't start doing that until Wednesday of last week, but I giggled and told him there was a page in my ED 2201 notebook that was filled with "Mrs. Jeffry Nielson"s...

I was getting in my car and it really hit me, out of nowhere, like a truck. I will be changing my name.

Changing my name has never been a question. I will be proud to bear Jeff's name. I think its an important part of the marriage process. I feel like it brings husband and wife closer because of an even more important common bond- a name that they will share and make something out of.

For the last 27 years, I have been a Winberg. For the last 15 years this name has been the one last link I have really had to my dad. I've pushed myself and worked because I knew that I had my dad's name, and I had to live up to it.

My dad was a very special guy. He would give the shirt off his back if he needed to for just about anyone, even if, at the time, he really didn't have the means to do so. When he died the funeral home said that he had one of the biggest, most attended viewings that they had hosted in over a decade. People came out of the woodwork with stories of his generosity and kindness. People lined up outside the door and down the block to pay their final respects.

One man came to our door right before Christmas with a $50 bill. He told my mom he knew that it wasn't much, but it was all he could do for the family of a man that had done so much for him. Apparently, my father had helped him save his marriage and had given him money to get him out of a financial bind. His family was on the road to recovery and he wanted to help a family that was wounded...he wanted to make sure that the chain of service my dad had started went full circle...

As the days and weeks progressed after his funeral, people came out of nowhere, people we had never met, all were hoping to give back a little of the kindness he had given to them.

I guess I never really thought about how much that had impacted me subconsciously. I'm just realizing now how much that experience has shaped and molded my life, my character, and my soul. My dad loved and gave even if he didn't have much to give.

My goal has been to make him proud, my goal was to keep the name of Winberg special. I wanted to make sure that if people knew that I was Michael Winberg's daughter they would say, "Well, I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree. You can always go to a Winberg for help, that's for sure."

I left Jeff that Saturday night, and sat in my car. I said a silent prayer as I sought for comfort from the pain I was beginning to feel. He won't be there, I won't be able to hug him, I won't be able to kiss him, I won't be able to dance with him...my thoughts were streaming, flooding my brain and my heart, my thoughts turned to the reception, to the father daughter dance.

I am so lucky to have my amazing step dad. For all intensive purposes he is my dad, and he didn't have to be. He has blessed my life in many ways. Things weren't easy at first, for any of us, but after he adjusted, after we adjusted, after we had learned the vital lessons that the Lord brought us together to learn, I can look back and say that he has been and is the most amazing dad I could have ever asked for. I know that my biological dad, on the other side of the veil, had a hand in making sure he was in our home. I will be proud to dance that father daughter dance with him, but that thought didn't stop me from missing my biological dad and wishing it would be with him for that moment.

I decided to push the thought away. I decided to turn on music and start thinking about a playlist for my reception. I came across Jordan Bluth. I decided to go ahead and listen to him because I hadn't in a little while. I thought maybe there would be a song or two we could add to the playlist. It would be interesting because not many people have heard of him, plus he has a nice tenor voice and some amazing covers of old pop songs.

The first song on the playlist started, it was his cover of Billy Joel's "Lullaby"...and it was an answer to a prayer. All of a sudden, my car was a sacred place. I knew my dad was there, and I knew this song was "our song". We were having our dance, right there as I drove home with tears streaming down my face, tears of joy and happiness:

Goodnight my angel time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
and you should always know
wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight my angel now its time to sleep
and still so many things I want to say
remember all the songs you sang for me
when we went sailing on an emerald bay
and like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight my angel now its time to dream
and dream how wonderful your life will be
someday your child may cry and if you sing this lullaby
then in your heart there will always be a part of me
someday we'll all be gone
but lullabies go on and on
they never die
that's how you and I will be.

I couldn't find a video of Jordan's version, but here is Billy Joel.



In the end, I know its silly to be sad. I know I will see my dad again someday. I know that he is here watching every step of the way as I plan my wedding, and most importantly, I know that on Saturday night, we had our father daughter dance. He even picked the song that would say exactly what he would say if he were here.

I am so grateful for the sealing power of the priesthood. I am so thankful that I had parents who chose to be married in the temple so that I could have that gift. I know my family is forever.

I am so excited to be able to go to the temple and make those covenants, and by priesthood authority be sealed to Jeff for time and all eternity. I am content knowing that those sacred marriage vows, our bond, will carry our love beyond the shadow of the grave and into the next life. I waited a long time for him, and now that he is here I can hardly believe it. Now that he is here, I can't picture not having him for forever, it would just be cruel, and sad. I will have my forever family and it will be with Jeff. I can't wait to be Mrs. Jeffry Nielson. I can't wait to serve others as Mrs. Jeffry Nielson and start bringing good associations to that name as well.

My dad will still be my dad no matter what my name is. He would want me to make sure that his legacy of service and love never die. That is how in my heart there will always be a part of him alive. He will be alive as long as people are willing to give and love and share without fear for themselves.

I love you all.

Goodnight my angels, until next time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Slight Trip into Panic

Well, I woke up this morning and turned on my computer.

Jeff, being a techno wiz designed a program with Visual Basic that tells us how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds until we get married. He was sneaky and begged me to bring my computer over to him so he could do something. I thought, okay, he wants to take it to campus and set it up for internet. I brought it, he pulled out his jump drive, and then began working, blocking the screen from my view.

He finally let me see about 5 minutes later. I giggled when I saw the little time ticker ticking away on my screen. He then told me that he wasn't sure what would happen when the time ticker got all the way to zero. "It may crash your computer, but don't worry, I can fix it." Hearing that his little program, adorable as it was, could crash my computer was slightly disconcerting, but I have no doubts in his ability to fix it so I will continue to let it tick down...

Which brings me back to this morning. Like I said, I woke up this morning, looked at the screen when everything was loaded and had a slight trip into the land of panic. The words 14 days, 3 hours, 3 minutes and 30 seconds seemed to burn themselves into my cerebellum...

2 weeks! I'm getting married in 2 weeks!

My mind immediately went to all the work that still needs to be done for the wedding. I thought of the nightmare of going to Sam's Club to get the Italian Soda syrup (we're having an Italian Cream Soda bar at our reception and open house) and finding that there is no syrup to be found...I thought of going to the party store Zurchers' and finding that the M&Ms that we were going to buy for cheaper there are no longer there (or atleast not in our wedding colors) I thought of what would happen if Jeff's mom doesn't bring the dress here in time so I can take it to Margene's to get pressed before the wedding (she has been a total sweetheart, working feverishly to get it altered perfectly, I am seriously so grateful for her.). I thought of what would happen if the crew of happy helpers that I have been promised when it comes to decorating doesn't show up and then the decorator asks me for a check for $450 instead of $250...the list goes on...

Have you noticed that I tend to worry?

I'm a very positive person, but when it comes to important events, I have a tendency to always think of the worst possible case scenario. I think part of me does this so that, in the case that the worst possible case occurs, I will be ready and there will be less of an emotional outburst...

But, as all of these thoughts were bouncing around in my head, my neighbors turned on music. You'd think with brick walls I wouldn't be able to hear their music when they turn it on, but I always do. And it always goes on at 10:30 in the morning on the dot. I wonder if one of the girls has an alarm that does it?

Anywhoo...the music turns on and its Michael Buble's Crazy Love album that comes bursting forth through my wall. The song "All I do is Dream of You" comes on. I'm immediately back in my car last night. I turned my i pod on to blasting levels in my car and listened to that album, that song, and thought of Jeff. I found myself thinking of Jeff, I thought of what he would tell me while I was on my little trip down panic lane...and I realized something...

He, even in my thoughts, can calm the troubled waters.

He would say something to the effect of "Brittany, is it really going to matter in the grand scheme of things?" he would wait for me to respond, I would think about it and say something to the effect of, "No. It won't." Then he would say something like, "No, it won't. Because on that day, all we will care about is that we are together. The rest won't matter at all."

and he would be right.

So what if we get to Sam's and find the syrup is sold out. We would probably just go to every grocery store in town and buy all the syrup we could from them...or just forgo the Italian Cream Soda all together. While they would be delicious, I'm sure that no one will notice the difference or care. So what if the M&Ms in our wedding colors are gone, we will find a substitute. So what if our crew of happy decorating helpers fails to show, I know that I have 4 bridesmaids and family that will be there making sure that everything will be done and perfect...and if the decorator asks for a larger check, I guess she asks for a larger check, we will make it work somehow. If my dress doesn't get pressed, it doesn't matter much. Its still a beautiful dress, and I am still a beautiful woman. The clothes don't make me fabulous, I make me fabulous...because I just am fabulous.

What it all comes down to is this...I am now super excited to say that in 14 days, 2 hours 37 minutes and 47 seconds I will be Mrs. Jeffry Nielson. In 14 days and 2 hours I will be marrying the most amazing person on the planet. A man who reminds me every day how special and amazing I am, a man who wouldn't change a thing about me (and has told me so.) I know that some people have said that we aren't living together yet, so maybe he would want to change something after a year or so together, and some people have said that their love has grown innumerably and immeasurably since they've been married. I tend to agree with the latter. I see Jeff's faults and he sees mine, but what it comes down to is the faults, the things that are wonderful, the things that are exciting and unexciting are what make us who we are...and I wouldn't want Jeff any other way. Everything that is the sum of him, everything that makes him, him, is what I love.

Yesterday was his birthday. I wanted to make the day special and fun but of course I had to be super sick. Jeff forced me to lie in bed and he took care of me. I cried several times yesterday because I felt horrible. I love him so much that I wanted his birthday to be one of the best days ever. One time while I was crying, he asked me if I knew the story of the Gift of the Maggi. I told him yes, it happens to be one of my favorite Christmas stories.

A young man and young woman newly married are about to celebrate Christmas. Both have worked tirelessly to buy the perfect Christmas present. The young man wants to buy a beautiful comb at a jewelery store for his sweetheart to wear in her hair, and the young woman wants to buy him a gold chain so he can display a beautiful gold watch that he inherited from his grandfather. Christmas morning rolls around, and they come together after working to exchange their gifts. They haven't seen eachother since the previous morning. The young man opens his box and sees the gold chain. His sweetheart tells him its for his watch. He gets a sad look on his face, but the young woman doesn't see as she opens her gift. She softly strokes the beautiful comb and tears come to her eyes. She looks up and sees the tears in her handsome loves eyes as well. He confesses that he sold the watch to buy her comb because he hadn't made enough money. The young woman takes off her bonnet and sobs as she shows him that she had cut off all her beautiful hair and explains that she sold it to buy the gold chain because she too hadn't made enough money. In the end, they discover that their love for eachother is the best gift they could have received and all that matters is that they are together.

After I finished recounting the story to Jeff, I got his point. He didn't care if he got to do something amazing or cool for his birthday. In his mind, it was enough that we were together...I still felt bad, but I also felt so much love that all I could do was cry a little more and tell him how much I loved him.

I finally convinced him to go to his Robotics Club party. He had asked that we go for his birthday but I wasn't feeling up to it at all. He wasn't going to go, but once again I cried and begged him to go because it had been the one thing he had asked for, I wanted him to have it, and I could take care of myself for a few hours. He hesitantly left, but told me to text him if he wasn't back in an hour because he was worried he would get carried away (they were going to play Halo:Reach and he hadn't played XBOX since before his mission three years ago.) He left, I watched reruns of Glee and Family Guy on Youtube. I texted at 9:15 ( I gave him an hour and a half) and he texted back begging for more time. I texted back and immediately said that he could stay. I wanted him to have fun, and he did. I'm so glad. He came back at 10. We started watching The Emperor's New Groove, but I fell asleep. I woke up around 10:45 and Jeff wasn't lying there watching the movie. He had covered me and left me to sleep. He came back in the room as I was grabbing my shoes. He offered to let me have the bed, he was worried about me driving home in my sick and tired state, but I insisted. I left around 11(after struggling to leave. Jeff even pulled my Uggs off at one point and laid me in the bed and covered me up...but I managed to get up and get my shoes on again.)

Jeff told me to call him once I got home or he would come get me and force me back into bed. I laughed, kissed him and agreed to call. I got home called him, and was dead to the world...

Which brings me back to this morning...I was so silly to take a trip into Panic land...Why should I panic when I know that I am marrying the most amazing man on the planet...

I know...silly old Brittany.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grateful

In two and a half weeks I will be Mrs. Jeffry Nielson...

Say it with me now darlings, it will be my name for a very long time (for forever in fact.)

Last night Jeff and I had our final temple recommend interview with Bishop Wilker. We discussed our ring ceremony and made plans...

Until Jeff got me worried that the reason why we hadn't received a letter from the temple yet (apparently we were supposed to get one weeks ago after we scheduled the date) was that there was a glitch somewhere and our temple date wasn't set after all...enter the panicking and flashing red lights of my brain. (Never fear darlings, I called the temple this morning and all is well. For some reason the letters just never got to us.)

However, in a side note, we got back to the new apartment where I was dropping Jeff off (he moved into OUR place on Saturday...but it won't officially be OUR place until November 20...its been tough to not have him right down the stairs from me.) We sat in my car for a while and Jeff told me where he believed the turning point of our relationship was for him- the point where he decided we would be more than friends. I was surprised to hear that his turning point was earlier than mine. Then, we both tried to remember when he told me he loved me for the first time (Jeff will tell you that I said it first, but I wrote it first...so technically it doesn't count as saying it first.) We laughed because neither of us could remember at first. We remembered when I said (wrote) it for the first time, but we couldn't think of when he did...

My brain went back to a day I'd been thinking about all day...my favorite Jeff memory. In this memory we were just sitting in my car, neither of us wanting to go in...and Jeff was holding me in his arms and I felt pure love, and then it dawned on me why it was my favorite memory...because that was the first night he told me he loved me. He was stroking my hair and we were looking out of my dirty windshield at the night sky and he whispered it in my ear. I told him I loved him too...no bells, no whistles, no fireworks, but there was pure love...and we just sat there, holding eachother, afraid to let go because we didn't want the moment to be over...

I had another moment like that last night with my Mr. Nielson. He held me and we talked about why we love eachother, and why there were no words to describe the deep affection and respect that we have...and how frustrating that is.

I am seriously the luckiest girl on the planet!

He loves me, he wouldn't change a thing, he wants me to be happy and successful in whatever I decide to do, he is supportive, sweet, gracious, kind, and generous...the list could go on and on...

for the record, I wouldn't change a thing about him either. I am so grateful that we have a similar sense of humour, I am so lucky that he and I can laugh about stupid things like movie quotes, and that we can make fun of ourselves.

In short- he is easy to love...and I do love him...so much.

On Sunday we were both sick. Even though we were sick, we still tried to take care of each other. I wonder if being sick makes you closer to the spirit, because Sunday I felt closer to the spirit and Jeff at the same time. I could feel a new level of respect and love grow between us...we both cried because of the magnitude of what we were feeling (he was a little more sneaky than I was in the crying department, but he did admit that when I wasn't looking there were tears being shed.) It was the type of love that takes over, you feel warm from head to toe, and your heart is so full all you can do is cry because its about to overflow.

I am so grateful for this wonderful man who has chosen me to be his eternal companion. I am looking forward to finding new reasons to love him everyday, and to the opportunities to help him see how amazing he is every day.

Jeffry I love you, thank you for being wonderful.

Hugs and loves until next time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What a Weekend!!!!!

This weekend was definitely crazy, but it was a really good time.

Jeff and I left the sleepy town of Pocatello for some real fun in the bustling metropolis of Idaho Falls...I know, you're all green with envy right now, right?

We spent the night with my fabulous older sister. She gave us a bit of a scare last week, they thought she was having a heart attack, we flew to Idaho Falls and she ended up pulling through okay, making it possible for us to come for a fantastic weekend at her house. (She even went and got cookies and soda to commemorate the occasion...I know, I felt special too, don't you wish you were as lucky?)

Jeff worked on his homework like I busy bee while I danced with little Addie in the living room. She was amazed at how fantastic I was...I kicked, did turns and spins, and was my best impersonation of a ballerina for her...she showed me some of her moves, I showed her some of mine, it was a dancing frenzy!

In the morning, Jeff came out and snuggled on the couch with me (I let him have the guest bedroom so he could sleep in, but I should have known that wouldn't really happen when he knew I was in the next room on the couch...what can I say, I've captivated and entranced him...) My nieces and nephew were awake downstairs and they were playing with Macee's "Bop It"...you know that game that says "Bop it, twist it, pull it...etc. They were shouting out the directions to eachother and having a blast, giggling and laughing the whole time...Jeff squeezed me tight and whispered in my ear, "No kids for atleast a year." I giggled, he giggled and then we listened to the melody of happy children's voices coming up from the basement.

Kelly, Amber's husband, still slightly disappointed by the Yankee's loss on Friday night, managed to pull himself out of bed and make us some delicious breakfast burritos. They were yum-o! Thanks Kelly, you da man! I was almost finished getting ready, and I didn't think it was a big deal for me to walk in a little late for breakfast, so I kept going. Jeff decided to wait for me. He came into the bathroom and stood behind me. He put his arms around my waist and mimicked the faces I made as I put on mascara and the like...I giggled, and kissed him...and kept going in spite of his teasing. We walked out hand-in-hand and sat down to breakfast.

The kids decided to buzz about their primary program last Sunday. Primary Program Sunday is the one thing I really miss about family wards. I love watching the little kids get up and sing and recite their carefully learned parts. Little Addie sang us her favorite song from the program. I looked over at Jeff while she sang, he was smiling from ear to ear...which made me smile even bigger. (I love that man!)

After breakfast, Amber and I ran off to finish with preparations for my bridal shower. Amber was looking a little green there for a minute, she is such a trooper and pushed through. Thank you Amber Sue for all your hard work! I had a blast.

We had the bridal shower at our friend Ashley's new big beautiful house. We had a lot of fun (most of it at my expense...don't even get me started about the chewing gum or the Tinkerbell pajamas... LOL) We had an awesome turn out and most of my favorite people were there. I got some awesome home decor items to doll my apartment up with after we are married and had a lot of laughs.

I had my cousins come all the way from Twin Falls and my soon to be mother in law came all the way from Preston! Bless their hearts. I felt very loved and so grateful to have such wonderful people in my life. ( I wish I had pictures, but alas, you may have to read my sister's blog to get them...if and when she decides to blog about it.)

The grand finale of the day was that my mother in law has finished altering my wedding dress! YAY!!!!!! HOORAY!!! We whisked back to my sister's house and I tried it on to make sure it fit. Thanks Cindy for all your hard work! You're amazing! My nieces got to see the wedding dress for the first time and they were transfixed. Addie told me that I looked, "Boo-tea-ful" and Macee said I looked like a princess...when you have the approving votes of a 4 year old and a 6 year old, you know you're on the right track! :)

We then had a quick dinner with Jeff's parents and rushed back to Poky for the choir concert I was supposed to be singing at. I made it with ten minutes to throw on my choir dress, quickly retease my hair and fly out the door. I got to the venue, put on my red lipstick, and sang my little heart out. Of course, we started late (it was the high school choral invitational and with over 400 high school students to seat and their parents, of course we'd be a little late) so my E.T.A. to get home to Jeff to start my birthday celebration was only an hour off...(I said I'd be home by 8, it was closer to 9)

You see, Sunday was my birthday. We were going to try to do something fun the night before, so we rushed over to Albertsons and rented How to Train Your Dragon from the Redbox...and Jeff got me Cran-Grape juice (one of my faves) and some European dark chocolate (my ultimate fave) We snuggled up and watched the movie. It was awesome...but then again, I love Dreamworks, they come up with some pretty crazy, cool, creative stuff...which I think is severely lacking in other movies that end up on the big screen. Big fan...HUGE!

The movie ended, and we fell asleep...believe me, when I woke up and realized that it was getting late and I should leave, it was really tough to pull myself away...sleep is a beautiful thing, sleep snuggled up with the person you love is an even better thing...but alas...I pulled myself away and went to sleep.

4:30 AM...my phone goes off...its Jeff, he wants his Brittany...its cold, rainy and wet outside but I brave the elements and go to his apartment. We snuggle up on the couch and sleep until 9. We wake up, he says, "Happy Birthday" kisses me, and tells me that we will make my birthday breakfast up in my apartment. He tells me to go upstairs and he will be up shortly.

I get the key in the lock and the door flies open...My roommates call out "Happy Birthday!" They all hug me. Jeff asked them to make me breakfast! It was my roommate Lauren's birthday too. I tell her happy birthday and say that I should have made breakfast for her. We all laugh and sit down to eat...only Jeff isn't there, so we wait...and wait...and wait...and finally my roommates go down to kidnap him.

Chelsea and Lauren drag him into the apartment a few minutes later. Chelsea jokes that if he wasn't so tall she would have thrown him over her shoulder a'la cave woman style...We all laugh, we pray, we eat..

that's right we eat, we pray, we love! After all, there is a popular book that says that those things are the key to true happiness, right?

Breakfast was over, Jeff had to jet to get to meetings (he is the current ward mission leader) and me and the girls gab. I have to say, I have the best roommates in the world. God knew how much I needed them and how much they needed me. We have helped eachother in so many ways and I am truly blessed to count them among my "besties."

Melissa's parents came to visit...turned out that the 24th was also their anniversary. We all sit down and have a lovely lunch before church with Mel's parents. It was a blast and her parents are just as awesome as her!

I head to church, but then I turn around. Jeff calls, and he wants to drive up together. I meet him at his apartment...HE BAKED FOR ME...that's right...he baked...and not just anything, one of my favorites- German Chocolate Cake with the coconut pecan frosting! Yum-O!

We're late for church, but it seems Heavenly Father has a birthday present for me too...instead of speakers we are having a "hymn testimony meeting"- meaning, like a regular testimony meeting, people get up and bear their testimony, but they pick a hymn that goes along with the theme or just pick their favorite hymn and say why its their favorite and bear testimony about that. We spent the entire service singing...What an awesome birthday present from the big man upstairs. He loves me alot, and he has blessed me abundantly the last few months. I am so grateful to a loving God who has made sure that I am right where I need to be.

Jeff and I leave after sacrament, we decided to drive home and spend part of the day with my family. My grandma is staying with my parents this week, and I was super excited for them to meet. I had to giggle when Jeff and I were getting food (because we were hungry) and grandma, in the way that only grandma can, said, "You make sure to fill his glass up all the way with that lemonade, its so good!" It took me right back to her house in Moreland before grandpa passed away...that sums grandma up. She gives and makes sure that she shares abundantly.

Jeff and I shared our german chocolate cake with everyone. My sisters both came over with their kids and husbands and shared in the bliss... and then, all too soon, it was time to leave.

Of course, we leave right as a huge storm rolls through. I started out driving, but I chickened out at the rest area between Blackfoot and Idaho Falls. My man pushed through...even in Fort Hall when it started raining and hailing so hard we couldn't see in front of us...he slowed down, stayed calm, and held my hand because, even though I was trying to put on the facade of calm, he knew that I was terrified. We made it home...and there was much rejoicing.

Goodnight is always the worst part of the day... it will get tougher once he moves into our apartment (did I mention we have to have a new place for him to live by Monday?) We think we found the place. Its a giant studio apartment that doesn't actually feel like a studio apartment at all. We are putting in our application today, so here is hoping that it all works out, if not, Jeff may need to find a couch to stay on (he insists he can live in his car, but I insist that this will not be the case! LOL)

Well, things are getting crazier as the big day gets closer, but its all been worth it so far.

Keep smiling, and look for the blessings in your lives. Even when the times seem as dark as they can get there is a light waiting for you to find it.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Midterms, Apartments, and Weddings Oh MY!

I don't know how it managed to sneak up on us, but here we are...as of today there is a month left until the BIG DAY....

Of course there have to be a few minor stresses along the way... life isn't supposed to be easy, if it was it wouldn't be so much fun!

Last week was supposed to be midterm week...I only had one test, a quiz of my awesome Trombone skills...apparently I am proficient at a 6th grade level...woohooo! However, now I have to learn the Trumpet, we will see how that goes.

My midterms didn't end there though. Apparently, I have a midterm this week-its online, its open book, I don't know why I'm so stressed about it...maybe its the two papers and other assignments I have to do on top of it...all of them are due the same day...How did I get so lucky?

This week has been a very sure reminder of why I was feeling so burned out after my Masters, boy howdie am I feeling that way again! I am so ready to be done with school...top it all off with the knowledge that if I was in any other state all I would have to do to get my teaching license would be to take the Praxis I and II and they would happily hand me a teaching license (thank you Masters degree) but in the state of Idaho (one of the lowest paying states for teachers P.S.) they make you jump through hoops and do monkey dances to get your teaching license...

Oh well, C'est la vie. I know that somewhere down the road I will be grateful that I had to work so hard to get my teaching credentials.

There is one bright spot in all my madness...

My fiancee is the best person in the whole world! He takes such good care of me and is so supportive of everything I do. Yesterday he sat through an entire studio class with me because I was singing. He wanted to come cheer me on. (P.S. Classical vocal music isn't exactly Jeff's favorite, but he did it for me, because he loves me, and that is one of the many reasons I love him so much!) He also went to pick up my prescription for my oh so needed blood sugar medication since he knew I wouldn't have a break in the day to do it myself. I am truly the luckiest girl in the world- he is better than perfect (although he won't admit it) I am so excited for what's coming in a month. I can't wait to be Brittany Nielson!

The wedding plans are slowly but surely coming together. I need to call the lady who is decorating the church and verify plans with her, we need to order the M&Ms in our wedding colors, we need to buy table cloths and figure out who will help us make tons of cupcakes and if we want to add a fruit tray to the mix, we need to get a play list or a DJ for the reception, and I need to call Bishop Kirkham or Bishop Piippo and ask if they will talk about eternal marriage at the ring ceremony before Jeff and I put our two cents in and exchange the rings. My bridesmaids are taken care of, all of them have fabric for their dresses and thanks to Jeff's mom we have hairbows for all the little girls in the family and for all the bridesmaids (I still have to make my hairbow to go with my veil, but that should be fun!)

Jeff and I are also apartment hunting, which is slightly stressful, but mostly because its hard to get people to answer their phones, apparently no one wants to rent to us, LOL.

I am bound and determined that we will find an apartment for $300 a month. The kicker is, Jeff will have to move in November 1 because he sold his contract at Collegiate. This part makes me sad. I know I will be living with him soon, but it has been so nice to have him just down the stairs from me. All I can say is his move will put a major dampening on our special snuggle time, but I'm sure we will manage to survive...I can do hard things!

P.S. if anyone knows anyone who owns and rents apartments in Pocatello who might be looking for some awesome tenants, let me know! We have to find something next week for sure!

Well, as far as I'm concerned, stresses aside, life is glorious and the world is a beautiful place. I am so excited for what the future holds I can hardly stand it. Jeff and I went to the temple recently and I couldn't focus on the session the entire time. I couldn't focus because all I could do was think about the BIG DAY. I sat imagining how I would feel, what I would look like, what Jeff would look like, what our pictures would look like...etc...My heart is very full, and I thank God every night that such a wonderful thing could happen to me.

I am truly blessed...so what is a little stress? A little stress is the exchange that must be made for all the happiness and blessings that I have been able to have the last few months. Heavenly Father loves me very much.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dedications

I've spent the last few days thinking about music...music for my wedding...

music I will be singing at my wedding...

I want the perfect song, I want it to reflect the way I feel in a way that I cannot with words alone.

I have been racking my brain, and I've come up with a few ideas, but none of them seem quite right. My knee jerk reaction was to use this song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqsrVQfNYPc&p=8C0A38F94B7B67DF&playnext=1&index=35

In fact, the link above is the song I've dreamed about singing since I was a little girl (then again, at the age of 5 when I picked this particular song I was dead set on the idea that I was going to marry Gene Kelly and we would sing it together...)

However, as I've been a music major for quite a while, I've been exposed to a few other options that could be lovely as well.
Like this:


or this:

or even this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63USHAggfTw&feature=related

I definitely love this one:

Its all so confusing! So, in an effort to clear my head, I've been trying to think about what songs I would dedicate to all the people that I love...

To my Mom and Parker:

To Amber and Kiersten:

To Aaron:

To all my friends:

This list can go on...but I will stop it...

In the meantime, I will just continue trying to find a song that says everything I want to say...I love music, its pretty amazing like that.

Hugs and loves until next time.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dear Daddy

I have been debating over the last few days if I should post this or not. The main reason is because I normally blog while I'm at work (between customers! Don't worry, I'm no slacker, but 2 hours in the box office can go pretty slowly if you have nothing to do)... but I'm not at work today, and I find myself wanting to say all of the things I've been thinking.

Many of you who know me well, know that my dad passed away when I was 12. I still miss him every day. This month marks 15 years that he has been on the other side, doing what he was called away to do. His patriarchal blessing foretold of his early passing, and used the scriptural line, "wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?" Many of my family members (me included) firmly believe that he is on the other side of the veil doing missionary work. My grandfather was the first member of the church in his family, which leaves a lot of Winbergs waiting to hear the gospel and have their temple work done. For those of you who are not LDS, this may not make any sense, let me explain: we believe in life after death, we believe that those who did not have a chance to hear the word of god before their passing are now receiving that opportunity, which is why we do lots of family history work and temple work for the deceased. We also believe that they have the right to accept or decline the work that has been done for them.

But that isn't what this blog is about. Not only does this month mark 15 years since his passing, 15 years since he hasn't been physically present...it marks my birthday, and his birthday. The month of October is always one of mixed emotions for me. It is my favorite month, not because of my birthday, but because I love autumn, I always have. I love walking in crunchy leaves, Halloween, and pumpkin cookies, pies, and toasted pumpkin seeds...October is the month when all of this comes on full force...but it also is month of sad memories- that fateful night when we had to say goodbye all too soon...

I'm also getting married next month...and that coupled with the regular hum drums that I find myself having in the month of October have both caused me to reflect a little bit and wonder. I have a few questions that I wish I could ask my dad, but he isn't here to give me an answer to them. So I have decided to write him a letter:

Dear Daddy,

How are things where you are? Are you getting a lot done? I bet you are, you always seemed to be busy and accomplishing a lot before you left. I'm sorry I haven't been better on my end, I know I need to be doing some family history work. I promise, I will start to work on it when things have slowed down a little bit.

So, a lot has been going on. I often sit and think to myself, "Hmmm self...I wonder if dad knows?" Do you know dad? Were you there when I graduated from high school 8 years ago? It seems like such a long time ago, but maybe for you it wasn't. Were you there when I sang my first solo in Europe? That was so cool! I wish I could have seen the look on your face. Were you there when I graduated with my Bachelors in Music? my Masters? (P.S. Were you disappointed that I decided to study music instead of something more practical? Then again, I think you always knew that I was a dreamer. You always told me to follow my dreams and work hard for them. I was just following your advice.)

The biggest news of all....I'm turning 27! Ha ha...well I guess that isn't the biggest news... I am getting married. I wish you could be here. I wish you could meet Jeff and talk about "guy stuff" with him. I wish you could tell him the story that I made you tell me over and over again. You know, the story about how you and your friends out at the INL were bored one day so you took liquid nitrogen and froze dead lab animals and threw them on the ceiling so they would shatter everywhere....I look back and I wonder why I liked that story so much. Its actually really gross...maybe it was just the way you told it. I bet Jeff would love it.

That's his name by the way, Jeff. I think you'd like him a lot. He hasn't asked me to give up my love for BYU football or the 49ers, so I think you can rest easily knowing that I will be with him for eternity.

You know that thing you used to do to tickle me? You'd make a gun out of your finger, make that funny sound, and from across the room I would feel it and writhe on the floor in the delicious agony of being tickled...he does that. I don't think anyone else has ever been successful in attempting to make a mental connection for tickling me like you did...I guess that's just one more reason you'd like him- he makes me laugh and he loves to do it.

Do you remember how I used to lay my head on your chest and listen to your heartbeat? We'd snuggle up on the couch after you got dinner started, it was our special daddy and Brittany time. No one else could intervene. You would play with my hair and we would watch General Hospital...haha...well minus the General Hospital, I find myself in that position with Jeff a lot. You know the best part? Its just as good as I remember it being, in fact, its better...I love feeling safe, I love feeling loved...He gives me that daddy. I bet you would love him for it.

I wonder what the look on your face would be to see me in my wedding dress? I think I will look fabulous, but then again, you know I've always had a flair for the dramatic and whimsical. You will be happy to know that mom and Parker are working extra super hard to make sure that the big day will be every bit as special as you wanted it to be.

Thanks for sending us another dad. I don't think we were ready for it, but I believe that you had a bit of a hand in making sure Parker got to the right place. He needed us, and we needed him. It was a tough start, but we made it through, and I feel very fortunate to know that I have an awesome dad here on earth to look out for me, and I have you.

I miss you. I miss the way you smelled like Old Spice. I miss you making up funny songs, I miss the way you used to call me peanut and Brittmeister. I miss your cheesecake.

But I know you're looking out for me.

I hope you can make it to my wedding. I know I won't see you, but a little sign that you're there, a little sign that you're proud of me, that you're happy for me, would be greatly appreciated.

Stay strong. I know that someday we will see eachother again. Thank you for that gift of knowledge. Thank you for marrying mom in the temple. Thank you for making sure our family was a forever family...Eternity would be pretty crummy without you and everyone else that I love so much.

I love you!

Brittany


Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Surreal Reality

I'm sorry my last few posts have been so sappy. I'm sure all of you are thinking, "Can't this girl just shut up about how much she loves her fiancee and how happy she is...we get it!" Well, and if not all of you are thinking it, then MANY of you are thinking it.

I guess I just can't help myself.

The last week flew by like a breeze and I'm realizing how fast this week is flying by. Jeff and I feel like its taking forever for our wedding day to get here, on normal days, but today, I'm noticing how much it feels like the world is speeding on around us while we wait. My friend Anna said that this would be how I would feel, but I didn't quite understand what she was talking about until I began to experience it.

Last week, I bought a wedding dress...it was so weird! I guess I had just stopped imagining what it would be like, so when it happened, I had a hard time taking it all in. I thought that I would cry when I found the right dress...like on an episode of 'Say Yes to the Dress' on TLC (one television show that I actually do watch and can get lost in for hours...sad but true.) I found the right dress, I had a hard time deciding between two of them, but my initial "I feel like a bride" reaction won, and I ended up taking home a gorgeous gown that is modern with a vintage vibe. My soon to be mother-in-law Cindy was kind enough this weekend to fit my dress to me, and she worked on the alterations during conference. Every time I put the dress on I had to blink to be sure that it was really happening, that I was really in MY wedding dress...

those words, "my wedding dress," have not been together in a sentence in my head in years.

I feel like I'm living in a dream-like haze. I try to focus on the regular things: school, practicing, and work, but I find myself wishing I could be somewhere else, anywhere else, with Jeff just enjoying this pleasant shift in reality.

Last night we planned our honeymoon...and I almost called him my husband (context: He could tell I was tired, and said I should go home to bed, I threw my arms around his neck and said, "I don't want to, you can't make me, I want to say here with my h....(I stopped myself, long pause) my many...I want to stay here with my man")...it was so weird how easily it just about rolled off my tongue in the moment.

My older sister has been a gem through all of this. She even took our engagement pictures this weekend... I was fighting a cold (I still am), I didn't feel very pretty, I had a nervous breakdown and my lovely roommate/bridesmaid Lauren calmed me down...but once we started taking pictures all of the bad/gross feelings melted away. Amber kept laughing and telling me and Jeff to stop kissing, we tried....really we did... Bless your heart Amber, and thanks!

Jeff's sister in law Stacy is going to make our wedding cake. We talked about what I wanted, and she laughed and said, "I think it will be just about the easiest wedding cake I've ever made." It was surreal to talk about wedding cakes.

I just feel like I'm floating through this. I want to find a way to stop floating and feel like I'm more present. Maybe I will figure it out, I guess until I do I can try to enjoy this surreal reality that I'm living in.

I promise darlings, I'm not a space cadet, I'm just in love and getting married in 46 days...it will pass...

Hugs and loves until next time!