Saturday, October 26, 2013

My First Letter to Elder McMillan

Dear Elder McMillan, Man it feels so good to be writing that out and to see it on paper (or on my computer). I'm so proud of you for representing our family as well as the Lord with your choice to serve! I'm super excited to have a missionary out in the field that I love again. You're a great example to me even though you're my little bro. I hope you've been having fun in the MTC and not feeling too homesick. I'll have to ask Josh how he dealt with homesickness, but I don't remember him feeling too bad about it. He said most of the time you're so busy you don't really have time to think about it. I don't wanna make this too long but I do want to say that I have been thinking about you a lot and we have been praying for you every night in mine and Josh's prayers. I'll just leave you with a spiritual thought for the day. After you share scriptures from Ether in your farewell talk, it made me want to read it again. So I did, and I especially loved Ether 12:12 which says "For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith." This scripture means so much to me because I've been struggling with infertility for a year and a half now... I know it's kinda irrelevant to your situation but my point is everyone is fighting their own battle. To get on your mission you fought the battle to be a worthy priesthood holder and you fought a battle to have that desire to serve. My battle that I'm fighting and have been for awhile is trying to start my family, to fulfill God's greatest commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. I have been hurting over this year and a half because some days my arms feel so empty because I want my own child so badly...but I have seen how much I have grown because of this trial God has given me. It was frustrating at first, because look at us! I came from a mother who bore 11 children. She obviously had kids very easily... so why do I have this trial? I've learned that this was not the important question to ask. The important question to ask is not only "What can I learn?" but also "What is God's plan for me?" You will meet all kinds of members, nonmembers, investigators, and even companions who are all fighting their own personal battles. Believe it or not, you will be a source of light and strength and comfort for them. So keep fighting your battle Elder! I know that if I keep the faith that the Lord will bless me with a miracle. I consider you to be on a mission as a miracle. Not because I doubted you at all! But because it has been 12 long years since we've had a missionary in our family... I truly believe in miracles and know you will witness many on your mission! I love you and I'm proud of you, Elder! Keep fighting! Love, Ari

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Halloween Costume Wishlist

Every year Josh resists my efforts to get him to dress up in a cutesy couples costume with me. Not this year!!! (Unless he has to work...in which case, poop). These are my top choices, in no particular order:

Bert and Mary Poppins. Wouldn't Josh look sooo good in this 'fit??

Black Widow and Iron Man

Others I couldn't find good enough pictures of... Aladdin & Jasmine, Sailor Jupiter & Andrew, Goku & Bulma...I need more ideas!!

...and lastly, if I had a son, I WOULD TOTALLY DO THIS!!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

An Opportunity Rather Than a Trial

Tonight I had a great learning experience when I was surfing. I often find that the ocean has taught me most of the lessons I've learned about myself and about life in general, so I decided that maybe I should start documenting them. I have this awesome book called Surfer's Code: 12 Lessons for Riding Through Life...and it is AWESOME! The great thing is that you don't exactly have to be a surfer to understand and apply these lessons...maybe I'll do a separate blog post on that.

Anyway, I was feeling very moody today... I was grumpy when Josh and I woke up to surf at 5:30 am. I was grumpy when we got out of the water. I was grumpy when we surfed Turtle Bay at 10 am. Grumpy when we got out of the water. The horrible part is all the while, Josh is going out of his way trying to make me feel better (like...very out of his way....like embarrassing himself to make me laugh out of the way) and at first I always reject his efforts. After awhile though, he manages to soften my heart and I crack a smile and all is hunky dory from there. And I do apologize for mistreating him. He deserves to be treated so much better, but sometimes my mood just makes it impossible for me to think straight! So anyway, after I felt better around 1 pm, I made the choice to change my day around and to be happy. And it worked! It's amazing how powerful such a simple decision can be. I enjoyed my last few hours with Josh before he started work at 4.

Josh works at Turtle Bay, so I went out for a second sesh there (totaling 3 surf sessions today...I'm on Fall break). We always say a little prayer before surfing, whether together or not, so in my prior I was asking for safety and asking to have fun, but then I stopped. And I said, no, wait Heavenly Father. You know what? Please help me to treat others kindly in the water and make sure they have fun too. And with that I hopped into the water.

Things were going great...until a beginner ditched his board during a set and it hit me square in the head. Oh I was so mad. He kept saying how sorry he was and all I could do was turn around and go, "Just get out of the water! You don't know what you're doing anyways!!"

Ouch.

I mean, yeah, ouch my head hurt. But OUCH, I probably really cut him deep. I immediately regretted saying those things to him and paddled away, feeling ashamed but not wanting anyone to see my shame. I told my friend what happened and told him how much I wanted to apologize to the guy, but I was too embarrassed. So for an entire hour I kept surfing, too scared and too prideful to go over and apologize. Meanwhile, Guy Who Hit Me is sitting wayyyyy over on the shoulder away from the crowd. Just sitting. Not even attempting to go for any waves. He did this for a full hour, feeling horrible for hitting me. Gahhh I feel just awful as I sit here telling this story. So eventually I decided, if I couldn't gather up the courage myself, I'm going to pray for it. So, again I prayed. This time I asked Heavenly Father to help me catch a wave over to him so it would be easy to just paddle up to him when I got off the wave and just talk to Guy Who Hit Me. My prayer was immediately answered, and I went over and told him how sorry I was for being so rude and for taking out my pain on him and how wrong I was. He just kept apologizing over and over for hurting me but I wanted him to stop! I was the one who needed to apologize. After that, all was good and he paddled back over to the group to catch a wave. I felt as if a burden was lifted off my shoulders.

At first when I was thinking about this experience, I thought, "Wow, Heavenly Father. I asked to be kind to people and then you try me! Haha! Joke's on me, huh??" But then I realized...wait...it wasn't a trial, I was given an opportunity to do good, to do exactly what I had asked him to do. And after this realization, I felt at peace. Next time, I want to have the strength and humility to apologize right away to someone who I have offended. Better yet, I want to better myself so that I don't even react the way I did. I could've handled it so much better by telling him, "It's alright, I know it was an accident, sometimes we can't help it, etc."

It's alright though. This was yet another lesson learned in the school of the ocean :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Two Years of Wisdom

Most of you probably already know that I "waited" for Josh while he was on his mission. The reason I put that word in quotations is because the definition of that word varies from crazy girl to crazy girl...my definition entailed writing him for two years with the hope that we would marry when he came home. Eventually. And we did! Anyway, I was contemplating what he and I have been going through over the last couple of months and this entry from a week after he got home really helped me.

But here, and now. This. This is what I have waited two long years for. This is what I had faith in. This is what I have loved. And...it's working. I love that it's working. I can't describe it adequately but I am so happy, the happiest I've ever been. And I'm trying not to slip into this "honeymoon phase" where the couple is just happy and thinks everything will be all fine and dandy... I know that every healthy relationship has hardship to some degree, and we've had some but we use those to bring us closer, to build each other up, or to use it to strengthen ourselves individually.

Love it. Love him. Gosh, do I love him.

Why Ask Why?

Summer Session A finished on June 7th and our lives have been a whirlwind since then. After three ER visits, Josh was admitted to the hospital that weekend for a 105 degree fever and they did another CT scan (he had one a month prior) and found a second kidney stone, and it was 4 mm this time rather than 2 mm like the other one was. Here it is:

It was a scary experience for me trying to care for Josh as he recuperated from his illness but I surprised myself at how strong I was. I was there every time he needed me. I stayed in the hospital every single day with him, not caring about surfing or seeing daylight or anything. I just wanted to stay by his side and care for him. I think that's true Christ-like love. At least I hope it is, because that's the kind of love Josh deserves, and the kind of love that will carry us through all obstacles in marriage and in life. I have never seen him in so much physical pain, I have never seen him so weak. And I think it was like I had a psychological "rush of adrenaline" where I knew I had to be strong for us. I'm glad he only had to stay in the hospital for three days though, otherwise I might have gone nuts if it was weeks or months, haha.

So we celebrated our second wedding anniversary in room 327 of Castle Hospital!! Lucky us!! ;D We came home from the hospital, where he got a stent inserted to drain the very bad infection from his kidneys, then went back a week later to his urologist to have it removed. He had a couple more days of intense pain from that stent invading his organs but he has been pain free since then and we are so grateful! I'm personally grateful to Josh's parents and my parents for coming to visit him in the hospital and for taking such great care of us. All I can say is, Josh owes me a frickin awesome third anniversary after this experience!!

After we got home, we began the 2-3 day moving process. We finally got into a one bedroom apartment! Whoohoo no more studio!! One thing I am bummed about though is that we already have seen 3 cane spiders and we haven't even been here a month yet...our second floor studio was almost bug free compared to here. But it's because our building is right next to a big open field. But I do like our apartment! Storage space is amazing!

My first instinct when bad things happen is to ask Heavenly Father, why? I automatically feel like everything has a cause and effect. Thus, I must have done something to deserve this or that trial. So what did I do? But since it feels like a lot of trials have been hitting us lately, I've been thinking...what is the purpose of asking why? What good will finding out the reason for my struggles and sadness do? That is why Heavenly Father doesn't want us to ask why. It is because he does not want us to focus on the past. Past pain, past mistakes, past memories...he wants us to live in the present and to look toward the future. This gospel is all about progression. If you are not moving forward, you are allowing yourself to get pushed backward by external forces.

One thing I have realized about life is that if it's not one thing trying you, it will always be something else. So we can't just sit and wait for it to pass and think things will be easy from there. We have to constantly be on our toes and working towards worthy goals, or else the good will pass us by and the bad will stay to make us miserable. Dealing with infertility has been my main source for asking, "Why?" over this past year. It is seriously a roller coaster of emotions! One day you feel like superwoman and feel content, the next your arms feel empty, your heart aches, and your eyes water. I know that as I wait, I am so very blessed and lucky to have the people in my life that make me happy, especially my husband. So I don't want to seem ungrateful. But I also want Heavenly Father to see that I truly desire this. To be a mother some day is a worthy goal I am working towards.

Anyway, Josh and I are great. Working our butts off like crazy over this summer break, but it's good because we are being financially taken care of. We see the blessings of paying a full tithe every month when we pay each bill on time. We see the blessings of each day when we remember to pray together. We love being married and we love everyone in our lives! So if you're reading this, know that we love you and thank you for touching our lives in the way that you have.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

This is from an article from LDS.org by Carolynn B. Spencer.


I sat in the temple seeking peace, but there it was again: the first commandment given to Adam and Eve, and to all of us, to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28). I wanted nothing more than to obey this commandment. I had a firm testimony that “the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7). Why, then, could I not get pregnant?….

….I learned to dread few days as much as I did Mother’s Day. On many other days, I cringed when I listened to women complain about their pregnancies or their children or the responsibilities of mothering. Didn’t they realize how blessed they were? Didn’t they realize that others longed to be in their shoes? Month after month, and then year after year, Tim and I rode waves of hope, only to feel them come crashing down when our dreams failed to materialize….

…Each person’s story is unique, but I have a testimony that miracles do happen—even if they don’t happen in the way we hope for or expect. I know that we can find peace in the scriptures, in prayer, in the temple, and in the words of the prophets. We have a loving Heavenly Father who will help us. He will strengthen us to meet our challenges if we put our trust in Him and in His timing.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Anniversary Photoshoot

I hired the young and talented Amber Mozo to shoot Josh and I surfing for our 2nd anniversary! Which will be on June 10th. Josh wasn't excited about it because he hates taking pictures (I think it's a guy thing...) but I know he will be grateful in the long run! This is a unique time of our lives as we are in school, still preparing for the future (career, kids, etc.) so I wanted to document the memories we make all the time. It was so much fun and I hope to work with Amber again for our next milestone, whatever that may be! Here are a few of my favorites:

Dreams

I had a dream last night that I was cradling a baby girl close to my chest. It was a beautiful, tender moment, and it melts my heart just thinking of it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

2 Months Later: My Birthday - Josh is THE BEST HUSBAND EVER! Like ever.

Before my birthday (March 13) I had been hinting to Josh that I wanted him to surprise me. And he did! I'm a little too sneaky and nosy though, so there were some things I wasn't as surprised about, but for the most part he really surprised me and I was on cloud 9 the entire day! It started the night before, Josh told me, "I'll tell you one part of your birthday-day. I'm taking you to O&P tomorrow." I had suspicions about this because I was sitting next to him one day in church and I had unknowingly glanced at his to-do list for my birthday on his phone (once I realized what it was I looked away!) but I saw "Get Breanna and Haley's phone numbers." They are the two girls I would ride to my Practicum with in Kaneohe. So when he told me he would be taking me I was stoked! Also, he came home from working in town around midnight and I was supposed to be asleep but for once I was wide awake and I watched him walk in with a huge bouquet of lilies (my favorite!) for me! I was sooo happy. Oops sorry for spoiling the surprise love. :)

We both woke up at 5:30am on my birthday and I got ready for my O&P. I even straightened my hair a bit and put on makeup! He gave me this silly hipster card. I am including what he wrote so that in case I lose the card I can always read it again on here.

We got in the car and as he was turning out of the TVA parking lot, he turned LEFT instead of RIGHT (which would be towards Kaneohe) and he was like, "Oh wait, what?? Where are we going??!?!" And I was like you butthead!! Yay!!! He kidnapped me and I got to skip that day, which I wasn't even mad about. We ate at Haleiwa Cafe for breakfast.

After breakfast we watched the surf at Ali'i Beach Park to kill some time before we have to get back to the Laie area for my next surprise. It was the most gorgeous day ever! And my surprise was....HORSEBACK RIDING!!! AAHHH!!! Josh worked for Hele Huli Adventure Center at Turtle Bay, so he was free and I got the employee discount. Warning: I took a million pics of that adventure. So that's how many I will post.

We then ate Kahuku Grill for lunch and I got my acai bowl fix.

We came home and took a short 30 minute nap (we were exhausted!!). Then we headed out to surf perfect Goats!!! It was perfect. So glassy.

After surfing I had to go to one class from 2:30-3:30, which is sort of a buzz kill. But after class I came home and Josh was sleeping again, so I took yet ANOTHER nap! I woke up at 6:30, which is when we planned to leave for dinner, but I was still tired so I asked Josh if we could eat later and he shot up and was like no! We need to eat now! And that's when my suspicions rose again that we were secretly meeting up with my friends. And I was so happy when we got to Surfin' Tacos in Hau'ula and most of my closest friends were there (some couldn't make it and Josh forgot to invite a few others...oops). Even my little brother Jeremy and his friends came, haha. I was on cloud 9,000 by this point. Sadly, I forgot to get a group picture. After dinner we got home and Josh knocked out pretty much right away, which he deserved for working so hard to make me happy all day. :)

That weekend we celebrated with Josh's family at Cheesecake Factory, and with my family at my parents house in Pearl City, where we celebrated both mine and my dad's birthdays (his is on March 11th).

Even my visiting teacher remembered my birthday! :) All in all, it was a great 23rd!!