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!