Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's All in the Principle of the Matter...

I do not like arguing. 
In fact, I am horrible at it, and usually will end up in tears if I try.
Tears of doubt.
Tears of frustration.
Tears of impatience. 
I have just never been able to control the water works.

I don't want to get involved in the whole mess of it, but recently as I have been observing the events in American Society, it has become very clear to me that this country is DIVIDED. 
I am very interested to sit back and watch what unfolds over this new year, and with that, I just wanted to put in my two cents about a double standard that is happening right before us.

If you haven't been keeping up, it might surprise you that the words of one man have caused a stir in media and social networks in the last 24 hours. This stir has set whole groups of people against each other in a battle of "what's right and wrong."
Phil Robertson, famous for being the eldest Robertson of a family of entrepreneurial rednecks in Louisiana, is a self-proclaimed missionary bent on spreading the news of Jesus to anyone who will listen, along with those who will not.
If you would like to know more about Phil and his clan of duck-hunting enthusiasts, this article is a great source, and it cuts straight to the heart of the matter, as it is Robertson's statements from this particular interview that have caused such a riot.

Now, I am not writing to agree or disagree with what was said, but what I am concerned about is the double standard I am seeing here.
Did you hear the one about the baker in Oregon that refused service to a lesbian couple because she felt that baking a cake for their wedding went against her religious belief and moral standard. Any other cake, she would have created with a smile on her face. Had they come in for a birthday, holiday, party, etc. I am sure she would have obliged and made a great treat. It is the principle in the matter, though. She believes marriage is instituted between a man and a woman and felt that she had the constitutional right as a private business owner to refuse service to anyone she felt she could not serve, for whatever reason she saw fit. In this case, she felt that baking the cake would some how go against her moral code. 
She has since had to close her shop down and relocate to a smaller location in her home due to a court ruling and persecution.
(If you'd like to know more about this story, read here). 

Now, if American's decided in a just judiciary manner that this is the direction we would like the country to move toward; where capitalism is slandered and PRIVATE business owners are not allowed to decide to whom they will and will not give their services, then so be it. The key principle is that these rights are enforced everywhere.
In the case of the Phil Robertson, it is too early to tell what the outcome will be. As of this afternoon, Phil has been suspended indefinitely from the filming of his current hit reality television series, Duck Dynasty, on A&E.  This is the kicker for me; Phil was asked to be interviewed in his own home, away from the censors that make reality television what is is... The most unreal experience you might ever see someone trying to portray as authentic. He was asked what he thought about sin, and he gave his wholehearted honest opinion. All he did was what was asked of him, and now a company he works with is trying to punish him. (In the scheme of things this will probably end up hurting A&E before it even touches the dynasty of Duck Commander). 
So right now, Phil is not filming, and DD fans are wondering if they have lost their beloved, witty, redneck entertainment. I am wondering how this case would be ruled if it were ever taken to the courts. If you think back to our baker friend in Oregon, you'd think it would be prudent that A&E are ruled to cater to (work with) the Robertson crew, regardless of their personal beliefs. That's only fair, isn't it? We're talking about a PRIVATE company who has been doing contracted business with citizens that they chose to associate with. The only reasonable explanation for this business to be able to break their contracted work with these people is if Phil Robertson was somehow in breach of contract. 

So, that's the puzzle to me. The principle of the matter. How can in one case, someone have to choose between catering to a source completely against one's moral code, or discontinue their business, while in a separate case with related issues, a man is fired from his job because he has expressed a moral code that is not in accordance with the code of they who hired him? 
I understand that the logistics of both of these stories are much deeper, but am I the only one seeing a double standard here?

Now, if you are still reading, I'd first like to say thanks for making it this far with me, but I'd also like to make two more quick points:
1. I believe that marriage was created to be between a man and a woman. I believe that children do best when raised in a home with both a mother and father present, and following their divine roll. I do not, however, believe that I have the right to judge another man or woman based on how he or she chooses to live his or her own life. I believe that any person should claim the privilege of worshiping how, where, or what they may, according to the dictates of their own conscience. I also believe, however, that men should be subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. Right now, the law stands, and federally, as far as homosexuality is concerned, it is aligned with my beliefs. If the majority of America chooses to change the law, though, I would be subject to it, no matter my moral standards, just like people who currently support homosexuality are bound to the law although it may not represent what they truly believe. 

2. "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend, to the death, your right to say it." ~Voltaire.
If the law of the land changes, I will follow it with my whole heart. All I ask is that the law be enforced equally. If one person is allowed a voice, should not all men be allowed to speak on the same matter without fear of loosing their jobs, families or even their own lives? I know that many men and women have lived and died for this country and the freedoms we observe. What a shame it is that those freedoms have standards. What a shame it is that on one end of the spectrum, the opinions expressed are applauded, and on the other end of the same spectrum they are shunned. Phil Robertson was not working when he said what he said. His quote was taken out of context and slandered through ignorance and yellow-journalism. He was stripped of his right to work with the company that he has done so much for. He is dealing with the consequences of his actions, I'm sure.  Honestly, it's probably one of the better things that has happened in his life because he has gotten a myriad of publicity in these hours since this interview was published, and his message is being spread far and clear. I just hope that we can all look into what he really said from the heart. "That we might not ever judge each other, but that we can leave that up to the Almighty. Whoever you might be, just know that I love you, and I'd like to share this happy life with you, and we'll let God sort everything else out."
"You see what I'm saying?" 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Line of Authority

Andrew is turning 25 in just a few days, and this year, I wanted to do something really special for him.
I was so excited when I came across the perfect idea of what I could do for him!
As some of you know, I am a member of The Church Of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints. 
We're also known as "Mormons".    :-)
In The Church, all men are ordained with something called The Priesthood. This is because our church has a Lay Ministry, meaning that all members can be called into leadership positions, and they are not paid for their service.
We believe that the Priesthood is Power and Authority to act in the name of God. Jesus Christ held the Priesthood during his Earthly ministry and ordained each of His Apostles with this power and authority. 
I recently stumbled upon a way to trace Andrew's Priesthood line all the way back to the Savior, and for his birthday, I made up a display of the line and got it printed out on a canvas so we can display it in our home.

I know that not everyone shares our beliefs, but when I look through those names, I can't help but feel that we are part of something much larger than ourselves! I am SO grateful for The Priesthood and what it means for us as a family. I am grateful for the binding powers that come through the Priesthood and for the way it has shaped Andrew into an amazing man and husband. 
I would love to answer any questions you may have! Feel free to post a comment!
If you would like to find a line for that special Priesthood holder in your life, let me know and I'll share how I found Andrew's line.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

New *

My new body :-)
Throughout my life, I have experienced many changes. Most of the time, these changes consisted of trials that were extremely difficult for me to maneuver through, and at times, I felt that rather than living through them, I was just hanging on until I could find footing somewhere and pick myself up to keep moving forward.
Recently, I have found that through some of these most challenging trials have come some of my life's greatest blessings. 
For example, through the divorce of my parents, I was able to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Through the trails that came from moving to a different town my Junior year of high school, I was able to meet my eternal companion and the man of my dreams, Andrew.
There are so many more examples of this in my life, but I have also picked up a few more trials as well. During high school, I was very depressed. I saw a few counselors, but really felt that they weren't helping me feel any better. I also began to develop health problems. At fourteen, I experienced my first kidney stone. Years later, in college, the depression was still there, but I had found solace through my Savior, Jesus Christ, and through the teachings of my church. Through prayer, I could find a reason to keep living and the horrible thoughts I had experienced before were not as bad as they had once been, still my health was not perfect and to add to my kidney problems, I began experiencing pain in my gallbladder.
I was placed on a few really boring diets by my doctors and had a hard time sticking to them. I also had been prescribed a few different medications for pain, but never anything that would actually heal my body, and as far as the gallbladder goes, removal is not a treatment and does not end the problems. I told my doctors in 2011 that I would prefer to change my diet than to take out my gallbladder. They understood and that is how those crazy diets came to be.
A year ago, life got really crazy. My husband and I moved more than 400 miles from the tiny town that we both loved and were raised in. We uprooted and in the process, I lost my health insurance because I had to quit school. We thought we would be fine, until I began experiencing more pain than ever in both my kidneys and my gallbladder. I noticed that I was gaining weight and I seemed to feel sick all the time. I spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2012 sick enough that I was laid up on the couch for both holidays. To top it off, I had a UTI over our Christmas vacation as well. I seriously wondered when I was going to catch a break, and I was absolutely miserable. 
We came home from our Christmas vacation and I began training for a temporary job of preparing personal taxes for Jackson Hewitt. Working an office job was probably one of the worst things I could have done for my body. This is because I could not drink enough water to suffice my kidney problem and do my job well at the same time. I developed and passed even more kidney stones, and at this point, they were coming on average, every three weeks!
This is when a moment of inspiration had come...
I had always thought laying down until the pain went away was my best option, but I was soon working everyday in the Kalispell WalMart booth, and we were not very busy for some reason. During slow times, I would get up and walk  around my booth passing out coupons to WalMart customers. I found that walking made my pain more tolerable. A doctor later explained to me that this was because the constant movement of my body would help to move the stones more quickly through my body, and it is when the stone is leaving the kidney that it is most painful for me. I began to wonder if increasing my activity at home would help the pain subside, and began to exercise more frequently, along with drinking more water. 
In April, I joined an 8 week health challenge. I felt better when finished, but I still felt malaise that would not leave my body. I knew there was SOMETHING I could do and I just hadn't found it yet. 
In June, I had another check-up with my doctor who wanted to prescribe me yet another medication 'just to see if it would help'. I was really tired of hearing that from my doctor's and told her I just wanted to try one more time by changing my diet and exercise routines. I asked her to give me six months to find a way to help myself and if I couldn't find anything, I would come back and let her write me that prescription. I just don't believe that our bodies are meant to be cured with synthetic materials that can cause so many other problems when you use them to try to cover up problems that are already existent in the body.
I began my search again and finally stumbled upon a friend who was starting to coach people through 60 day health challenges. I really wondered how she could help me when the last challenge I had done had made no difference, but decided to contact her just to see what she had to offer. This is when I was introduced to something called Shakeology. I decided it would be worth a try after looking into it and realizing it was made completely from whole foods with no man-made ingredients. I also signed up for her 60 day challenge and used the INSANITY program my husband had ordered about a year earlier and not finished. 
This challenge began on August 1st, 2013.
Today is September 28th, 2013, and I am excited to report that both my kidney and gallbladder pain have completely left my body. I still have to avoid really fatty-greasy foods to prevent gallbladder flare-ups, but when I am eating balanced and drinking Shakeology every day, I have absolutely no pain and more energy than I think I have had since I was a young kid! To top that off, my depression symptoms have gone away and I am feeling a zest for life that I have never had! I feel bright and cheery and look forward to my day when I wake up in the morning. My world is no longer dark, and dreary and my husband is LOVING this new me!!! Also, a big plus is that I have lost over 15 pounds. When I started this journey on August 1st, I weighed 165 pounds. Today, I weigh 147 pounds! I have lost over 3 inches from my waist, and have lost inches from my arms, legs and hips as well! 
I am blessed to have finally found something that works for me, and I am going to make sure I keep this up. Not only that, but it is my goal now to share this success with anyone who can gain from it! I would be selfish to keep this to myself when it may help someone I know and love!
So, with that being said, I would just like to add that if you have been struggling with anything in your life, I PROMISE you that YOUR life can change for the BETTER! It does get easier and you can find peace and happiness again! If it is your health that you are struggling with, don't give up! There will always be something to help you become whole again! Life is good, and worth living! Don't give up! YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY, and IT CAN BE DONE!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Do you ever have those moments when you do something really silly, but really painful. You know, those moments where you sit there trying to decide if the desire to cry is stronger than the desire to laugh at yourself?
I KNOW you know what I am talking about...
Well, if you are lucky enough to have not had an experience like this in your lifetime, I'll tell you what I did today. Maybe then you'll understand what I am talking about.
This is how I remember what happened:

I was feeling a little munchy, so I decided I'd take a little stroll into the kitchen to see what I could eat. I went to the pantry first, thinking this was where I would find something to satisfy my need for feed... 
This was my first mistake. 
I opened the door and realized it was awfully dark in our house, and I would probably need to turn on a light in the kitchen to make out any of the shadowy shapes I was looking at in the pantry.
(You see, our pantry has no light inside, even though we have been talking about getting something to fix that problem since day one of moving into this house). 
Well, it just so happens that the light switch in the kitchen is located on the south side of our kitchen, and the only thing standing between that switch and myself was that stinking pantry door.
I thought this was no problem as I could just step back, walk around the door and flip the switch. 
This was my second mistake.
You see, my brain, being able to concentrate on only one thing at a time, must have been far too preoccupied with the current status of my stomach. I say this because rather than simply walking around the door and flipping the switch like I was thinking would happen, my body quickly walked RIGHT AT THE CORNER OF THE OPEN DOOR and SMACKED my face straight into it!
I hit my lip so hard it is now starting to swell, and I first thought I had broken my nose because of the instant desire to pass-out. I fell to the floor, clutching my face and watching, dazed, as my husband came running toward me asking me if I was OK. 
My response?
Laughter, and tears. Lots and lots of tears. I still don't know if the tears were a product of the pinching feeling that was taking hold of my upper lip at the moment, or if they were of pure and utter embarrassment, but I guess it was probably a mixture of both. I have calmed down now, except that my eye will not stop this crazy twitching... It's driving me nuts. :-)
Pictures never do justice, but you can somewhat see a titch of swelling starting to happen there.

So what's the moral of this story...?

Are you kidding me? I do things like this all the time and I still haven't learned. I doubt this time will be any different!
I am just glad it was only Andrew around to actually witness this happen... (He's seen me do similar stunts and is less surprised when they happen).
I will admit that we were at Lowe's this morning and I mentioned a little something about grabbing a light to throw into the pantry later today... I will definitely make that a priority on the list for the next trip we take into town!
I guess I have learned something today! 
And if you haven't experienced and embarrassing moment like this yet, well, I hope you do someday. It's good for the soul to have a few humbling moments every once in a while. It's even better if you can laugh at yourself while doing it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

*To My Man*

We have been married two years, one week and one day now. 
I couldn't be happier. :-)
I love you , and I am so grateful you chose me!
Do you remember when we used to Skype and thought that you would NEVER get back from Laramie?
Can you believe how long that period of our lives seemed to take?
When I look back at how crazy these last three years have been... with everything you have gone through with me... it feels like some of those old memories were a lifetime ago! I can't believe you can fit so many ups and downs into two short years... (three if you consider how long we have dated).
Still, I think back and wonder how could that much time have already passed? Where is the time going? It seems to only be moving more rapidly!
Regardless of time, I know that my love for you is not constrained by time.
In fact, it seems to grow deeper as time moves on. I am so grateful for this! Look around you! Look at the billions of people in the world who don't even know of our existence. Look at the media and how many failed relationships we could choose to be our examples. Look at how hard life can be! 
Now look away and know this, life does not have to be that hard!
We are LIVING PROOF of that!
This doesn't mean we won't go over some bumps in the road, but it does mean that we have a choice in how we will handle those hardships.
I know that when I'm with you, we will buckle down and hang on for the ride of our lives! We won't go down without a fight, and if, by chance, we are brought down... I know we will go down together.
That's what we do, you and I. We do things together. We play together. We fight together. We love together. Most of all, we are just...together!
I LOVE YOU, and I know that we will be happy (like we are right now) for the rest of our lives!
Thank you for making the choice to do this together, with me.
Thank you for believing in me!
Thank you for finding that life is mean to be enjoyed, and that it CAN be enjoyed with someone you love spending time with.
Time moves quickly, and I have a feeling it will continue to speed past us, but I find comfort in knowing that the time I have will be spent in good company!
P.S. No matter what anyone else says, I hope you NEVER stop kissing me in public!
 Your "Sweet Girl" :-)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Year In Photos

I took all of my photos off my SD card today... I thought it would be fun to post some up just for memories sake. I'll let the pictures do the talking :-)

 We love that we only live 30 miles South of Glacier National Park :-)

 The mountains are UNREAL here! Definitely one of Heavenly Father's more grandeur creations!
 Conrad mansion. Built by the founder of Kalispell. Beautiful place!
 Braxton and me on July 4th, 2012 @Freeman Park, Idaho Falls.
 Melaleuca Freedom Festival 2012
 Beautiful Mud Lake sunset. Our last weekend living in Idaho.
 Love the warm colors! Last weekend in Idaho.
 Getting back from a RZR Ride! We love bombing across Monteview!
 Andrew's Jekyll/Hyde impression?
 Eating @ Shari's after Hazen and Kizzy took out their endowments in the Idaho Falls Temple. 
 Andrew is overwhelmed by the menu :-)
 Hazen's nerves must be setting in and Kizzy must be tired from all the wedding planning!
 We trashed the pickup. Added 'snaps' firecrackers that were popping for weeks!

 Waiting for the Mud Lake Rodeo to start! 2012
 My babies :-) Just in our front yard!
 Hungry Horse Reservoir
 More Hungry Horse
 I love the moss that grows everywhere here!
 Hazen and Kizzy's first visit to Glacier!
 Andrew and I were asked to play "Mary and Joseph" in our church's Live Nativity.
 Out sledding (on the snowmachines) COLD DAY!!!

 "Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man" Ringing in the New Year!
 New Year's 2012/2013

 Drove the VW Beetle up Blacktail Mountain in January... not much snow this year.
 Playing out on Lake Blaine February 2013
 Mr. Toady, our girls camp friend, playing dead!
 Independence day w/ the Newman Family 2013
 Andrew making a sparkler "Eternity"
 Brian Williams with our over-sized sparklers!
 Family photo time
 Ping pong ball-sized hail in Hamer. July 2013. We were driving in it and thought it was going to break through our windshield!
 Riding the lift up Big Mountain, Whitefish Montana, August 2013
 Ross and Sheron waiting to take the slide back down the mountain, August 2013.
 Logan Pass

 I can't get enough of Glacier! What splendor!
 It is becoming tradition to eat cheesecake on our anniversary. This year it was homemade with hand-picked huckleberries and raspberries!
 I took Andrew to Montana Raceway Park August 31, 2013.

Cars are loud, I want to hear when I am 80 years old... thus the reason for my sweet fashion statement!

Overall, this has been a great year! We miss Mud Lake, but we LOVE it here! We are so grateful for the opportunity we received to come here. How interesting it is to see how life pans out. I never would have guessed that I would enjoy being this far away from family. We can't wait to see what the Lord has in-store for us this next year!