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Temples

This month our testimony Tuesday topic is on Temples! Here is more information on LDS Temples.

As I was thinking of this subject, the fact that I get to be with my husband and daughter for eternity naturally entered my mind a lot. As I was thinking about this I started to wonder how early in my life do I have memories of the temple? I don’t have many but I can clearly recall two instances as a young child that I really thought about the House of our Lord.

The first was when I was about 6 or 7 my dad had left me in the car to go in somewhere. I was siting in there and started singing the primary song, “I love to see the temple, I’m going there some day. To feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to Pray…” I remember stopping at, “To feel the Holy Spirit” and imagined myself going up to the temple and touching it’s walls. I imagined the wall and my hand glowing as they met. Obviously this isn’t what happens but in my young little mind going to the temple and physically feeling the spirit would be a glowing and huge event.

Fast forward to April 30, 2011 to when I was able to do my own temple work. My hands may not have physically glowed but my testimony did. My eyes were opened to the love and beauty of God’s plan. I had that burning desire to never stray from His loving embrace.

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The other memory I have is from when I was 8 years old. I was looking through a calendar of Temples that my grandma had when I fell upon a picture of the Manti, Utah temple. I instantly fell in love. I ran through the house until I found my grandma and showed her the most beautiful building in the world! She gathered me up on her lap and told that one day I could get married in that building. That was my new goal. May 6, 2011 that goal was accomplished when I married my best friend there.

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These experiences have showed me how important it is to foster a love for temples in young children. To teach them how beautiful and sacred the work is that we do within their walls.

I testify that temple work is one of the greatest things we can do on this earth. It is the earthly house of God. We go there to do work for those who have gone before us, to receive guidance in our lives, and to receive peace and rest from the hustle and bustle of the world.

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Blair Monroe: Blessing Day

Our main reason for going to Utah was to have Blair blessed surrounded by the people who love her. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we do not baptize babies as we do not believe they are subjected to that transgression. Here is the excerpt from True to the Faith:

Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, all people live in a fallen condition, separated from God and subject to physical death. However, we are not condemned by what many call the “original sin.” In other words, we are not accountable for Adam’s transgression in the Garden of Eden. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression” (Articles of Faith 1:2).

Through the Atonement, the Savior paid the price for the transgression in the Garden of Eden (see Moses 6:53). He has given us the assurance of resurrection and the promise that, based on our faithfulness, we can return to dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father forever.

Kids are baptized at the age of 8, when we believe they have to ability to decipher right from wrong.

Now to the actual day! We had just arrived in Utah the day before, so everything was a little hectic. We went to Sacrament meeting at church and then went home to let Blair take a nap and to get ready for all of our guests. That day was also the first time I have seen my best friend in over two years because I was in New Hampshire when she returned home from her mission! (And now she is engaged!! EEK!) Both of our families were there, we even had grandparents travel from Arizona and California to come see our little girl blessed. The feeling was so surreal witnessing my husband and other loved ones surround our daughter with love, hold her, and bless her with the power of God. The blessing was so beautiful, I honestly don’t remember a lot that was said but I will never forget the way I felt. Brings tears to my eyes just remembering it.

Blair was held by probably 40 different people that night and I was amazed by how well she handled it. She went down for a much deserved nap soon after the blessing.

Garren and I had a great time catching up with our friends and family and are so grateful to every one who came. I am also so grateful to my in-laws for helping it all come together flawlessly! There were a ton of other pictures but I cleverly forgot our camera in Vegas at my sisters. Hopefully it’s on it’s way here!

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She wore my blessing dress :)

20140706_073243 20140706_072538 20140629_055209 20140629_055139 20140629_054859_1 20140629_054859 (1) 20140706_073320 10509601_10152181652827477_1164422248860611148_nIMG_4292For some reason we didn’t get pictures of Garren with her on our camera. I think Deniece got them? Any way if any one has copies of those pictures I would LOVE if you emailed them to me :)

 

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Faith

I have teamed up with some other bloggers to do a serious called, “Testimony Tuesdays”. The first Tuesday of each month we are given a topic to discuss and bear our testimony on. I thought this would be perfect for me to add a little variety to the blog and to gain confidence in discussing my faith, which is the most important thing in my life. Note: I am a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You can learn more about the church here

This months topic is: FAITH

Coincidentally we discussed this very topic in Relief Society last Sunday. Even more amazing is the fact that I even know that. Having a 4 month old baby can be a little distracting. She happened to sleep through the whole thing so I had a rare opportunity to pay attention and be edified by the Lord’s spirit and the testimonies of others. A very interesting discussion broke out about whether or not faith can waiver, or if we simply stop believing. While there were many opinions, I will only share my own. Throughout my life my faith has waivered. There have been times of trial, and more significantly fear, when I have felt my testimony start to suffer. I have asked those questions of Why? However each and every one of those experiences has strengthened my testimony and given new life to the the way I see faith.

My two favorite quotes concerning faith are “Faith is not simply believing, its acting” and “Faith is the opposite of fear”.

Quick background, I was baptized at the age of 8 but my family was never active for very long growing up. At the age of 15 we moved to Utah and through the amazing friendships I made, and one life changing experience at EFY I developed my own testimony and became active in the church. I attended Brigham Young University. I was called to be the Relief Society President in my very first ward and was at a complete loss of what this even meant.  I was unsure of my abilities to take on such a roll. I was talking to my great grandmother, a spiritual giant, and who has since passed away. She told me some things that have stuck with me. First she said “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies those he calls,” and then asked me if I have faith in my Father in Heaven to mold me into the woman he needs me to be. I of course responded yes, and she said, “well then get to work! Faith isn’t simply believing, its acting.” (I am not sure who the original quote is by. I remember her saying something about that but I couldn’t find it online) That year was seriously a whirlwind. I was taking a full load of classes, working, and having a ton of fun. I grew to love the church in a whole new way. Serving my sisters and learning from them gave me a steadfast testimony in the work behind faith. We cant expect our faith be unwavering if we are unwilling to reach deep inside ourselves, serve others, and push to gain greater knowledge of our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ. I go back to these scriptures all of the time, mainly when I am needing that motivation to push forward: James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, and Alma 32:27 Awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith.

The second quote has helped me rise out of the most trying experience of my life. In December of 2012 we lost our first pregnancy to miscarriage at 10 weeks. Prior to this loss we had prayed fervently on whether or not it was the right time to bring children into our eternal family. With a resounding answer of peace we found out we were pregnant that first month. In my heart it felt so right. We had waited for the right time and once that came things happened quickly. I was already so in love with this tiny life and my future as a mother. The moment they told us there wasn’t a heart beat my world came crashing down. I tried so desperately to not let those questions and fears enter my heart, but they did. I became fearful that my righteous desire and dream to be a mother would never happen here. That I may never carry a baby to full term. So many women go through infertility (something I feel so blessed to not have had to experience), and one out of every four women will experience a miscarriage in their life time. Regardless I felt alone. Garren was a wonderful support, but it didn’t effect him the way it effected me. One night, while Garren was back east at a PT School interview I broke down and let my heart out to the Lord. I told him how mad I was, how sad I felt, and how truly fearful I was of the future. I knew I had two choices. I could let this experience ruin my testimony or I could find the light of Christ in this moment, allow myself to learn from this small tragedy and push forward in faith. I told my Father in Heaven that I refused to give into the fear the advesary would have me fall into and that I knew the Lord’s plan for me truly was perfect. That night I felt more peace than I had ever felt. My Father in Heaven comforted me and gave me the answers my heart yearned for. I knew from that moment on we would conceive again, I would hold this next baby in my arms, and I even told Garren I knew with a surety we would get pregnant that following May. The next 5 months, any time I felt the fear creep in, I did something about it. I knelt down to prayer, asked for a priesthood blessing or read the words of God through our prophets in the scriptures. I will tell you I failed many times, but I didn’t let the failure consume me and pressed forward.

Faith is the most important attribute we can hold while here on earth. I testify that we do have the choice to serve our fellow man and to believe the words of our Father in Heaven. We are so very loved by Him and because of our Savior Jesus Christ we will return to him. The life we lead is up to us. A life in faith will bring about so much happiness, a happiness that has no place for fear.

Read More Testimony Tuesday Entries here:

 

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New Callings

Last Sunday the Bishop pulled us into his office to talk to us about giving us callings. He is honestly one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He always asks how I am feeling and how baby red is doing. He started off by telling us he completely understands that Garren is currently in grad school and we are expecting our first baby here shortly. He told us he doesn’t want us to get overwhelmed but that he feels we would be wonderful in these new callings. He first called Garren as the assistant Ward Missionary. Let’s be honest he has basically taken on that calling the last two months by himself. Once a missionary, ALWAYS a missionary. I am excited for him. Our ward currently has 4 sets of elder missionaries, 1 set of sisters and a couple serving their mission! That’s SIX sets of missionaries JUST in our ward. This is such a beautiful blessing for our ward and the city of Manchester.

Then the Bishop told me to feel free to say no, and that he understand becoming a new mom is hard work… I basically stopped him right there and told him I was so bored and desperately needed something to do. So I was extended the call of Activities Day Leader (Once known as Achievement Days). I am so excited! I will be working with the 8-11 year old girls in our ward and doing activities with them to prepare them for Young Women’s twice a month. It gives me something to look forward too each month with out completely overwhelming me. Plus it’s something I can bring Baby Red to once she makes her entrance into the world. I have my very first activity with them tomorrow so wish me luck! (The former leader has planned the activity so I am just getting a feel for it.)

If any one has ideas for upcoming activities for me to plan please don’t be shy! All help would be greatly appreciated!

I love our new ward so much. They are so warm and inviting. Since day one they have made this place feel like home for us. We have made some wonderful new friends and never felt out of place here. I am so grateful to have the gospel in our lives. Without it life would be so different and so very hard. I get giddy imagining taking our baby girl to church with us, having Garren bless her and give her a name. I am getting all sappy and emotional but really I just love my life. I am so blessed.

Ready for Church!

Ready for Church!

 

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Monday Family Home Evening

Since we are expecting our first baby we decided to center our Family Home Evening lessons on the manual called “A Parent’s Guide,” found HERE on lds.org. I did our first lesson tonight on the section within chapter one called “An Earthly Family Is a Preparation for an Eternal Family”. I couldn’t get through the whole thing with out crying. Just thinking about the great blessing and responsibility of bringing this little girl into our home is humbling and overwhelming. We look forward to this challenge and know we will need the Lord’s support in every step of this journey.

Garren’s activity went perfectly with helping us remember what is truly important in this life. We have compiled a list of 100 things we are grateful for and have decided to share the top ten with you:

  • Our Savior Jesus Christ and His infinite atonement.
  • Eternal Family- The families we were blessed with and the family we are now building together
  • The Gospel and all it entails- The Book of Mormon, The Plan of Salvation, Our Testimonies, Temples ect
  • Our Daughter- Yes we know she is apart of our eternal family but we lover her so much she warranted her own bullet point.
  • The comforts within our temporal life. Our car, apartment, the ability to walk in to our kitchen when hungry.
  • Good friends. We have both been bless to have made amazing friends through out our short lives so far and are indebted to their amazing examples.
  • Education. Garren is currently in grad school following his dream to be a Physical Therapist. This will in turn make it possible for me to follow my dream of being a stay at home mom. I have two semesters left of my bachelors degree and wouldn’t trade any of the education I have had thus far for anything.
  • Laughter. Every night Garren and I find random youtube videos to watch so that our day always ends with us laughing. We are always laughing together. In fact last yesterday in church we sang hymn #156 entitled, “Sing We Now at Parting”. One of us made the comment “what if that p was an f.” (Maturity at it’s finest. We are having a child people. Scary stuff I know) Any way that got us giggling. Then the last line of the first verse says, “fill this sabbath air”. All composure was gone. Garren was crying, and I was trying not to pee in all my pregnant glory. Now I don’t condone being irreverent in Church, but this was just one of those moments when laughing cannot be stopped. Laughing is very therapeutic.
  • Nature. We have both been blessed to live in many different places and it never stops to astound us how gorgeous this world is that our Father in Heaven created for us. We have many dreams and plans of seeing more of it in the many years to come.
  • Finally Ice Cream. Yep. Ice Cream. Nothing is better than sitting down with a bowl of ice cream, or coming home and knowing you have some in your freezer. Ice cream fixes bad days and celebrates good days. Ice Cream is an Allred staple. Just ask any of us ;)

Family Home Evening is a wonderful tradition/practice in church and I urge every one to make it a tradition within your own family. I can’t wait for the day when our children gather around us for this purpose.

Since every blog post needs a picture here is me playing pictionary with Garren telling him what I want to eat for dinner and a picture of Garren’s favorite post test celebration.

 

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A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit

Yesterday in church we listened to a beautiful talk on the importance of having a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit. This is not a new concept for me, as it’s sprinkled throughout the scriptures, however, the speaker’s perspective got my wheels turning.

My heart has been broken many times. I am a “wear your heart on your sleeve” kind of girl and it’s been crushed through my short life so far. Break-ups, the passing of loved ones, and most recently with my parents divorce.  While this heartache does strengthen my desire to grip closer to my Father in Heaven’s love, I have realized this is not the “broken heart” the scriptures are referring too.

3 Nephi 9:20 says, “And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the HOly Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, where baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.”

When I read, “and ye shall offer,” I realized a broken heart is very much an action we preform, not a trial that happens to us. When we think of “house breaking” a family pet, we are literally breaking them of a habit so that they can comfortably reside within our home. Having a broken heart is simply breaking down the barrier of our heart and letting God in. It’s admitting we have human flaws, we make mistakes and we need  His mercy and love.

A contrite spirit is a little more straight forward. It’s having a spirit that is remorseful for the mistakes we make, the people we hurt, and the selfishness that finds it’s way into our lives. When it comes down to it, having a broken heart and contrite spirit is about obtaining a humble and giving way of life. Aligning our desires with the will of God. Christ is literally the epitome of these attributes. He gave his life to us, both while alive and in his death. His will was only that of his Father’s. I will forever be in awe of my Elder Brother for his sacrifice and strength, but most importantly of his life. His spirit of charity is something I pray to emulate, even in the small percentage I may be able to obtain while here on earth.

 

In other news, I am officially a Graduate School Widow. Garren started his first day of Physical Therapy School this morning. I am so lucky to be married to a man who works so hard and is determined to take care of me and our family. I won’t lie, after the past two weeks of being completely spoiled with his presence, I was more than a little sad to see him go. I am so excited for this new adventure and will do my best to enjoy every minute of it. This is a very big year for us! I even woke up at six this morning to make him breakfast, and maybe forced him to hold up this sign. He is a very good sport.

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Seriously can’t get enough of his cute face.

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Better shot of the sign

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Week of Bliss :)

This week is going to be amazing! After a lot of hard work by him (and lonely nights sitting on the couch by me) Garren is graduating with his Bachelors of Science. His major was Physical Education and Human Performance with a concentration in Exercise Science. He graduates Friday, and then we are heading to Quail Lake to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. (I will post about our 2nd year of marriage and the celebration next week) I can hardly believe that we have been married for two years, but then I think about everything that has happened, all the blessing and trials we have gone through, and amazed that that all happened in the space of ONLY two years. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. I know we can get through anything as long as we have each other and the gospel.

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Quail Lake at Sun Rise :) So excited to go this weekend.

So three weeks ago I went to my normal dental cleaning and found out that my wisdom teeth (that I had removed last June) had grown into my two lower bottom teeth and had completely ruined them so I had to have them removed and had “bone putty” into my lower jaw. It was super glamours and I am just now able to eat solid food.

Lately I have been experimenting with different hairstyles because my hair is geting long enough to do fun things! Here are some pictures from my latest fav: The Hair Bow.

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Two years ago tomorrow I went through the temple for the first time. I had been given a lot of “advice” and honestly it scared me a lot. However the temple was, and is the most beautiful part of my life. The calming peace and undeniable truth lets me know exactly WHY I am here and what my purpose is.

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This is from my first time through the temple with some many people I love around me.

We are officially moving in 99 days. 99 days till I lose my husband again to three more years of school ;). I am not actually keeping track but there is a countdown on my phone. It’s all very bitter sweet. I am so excited to move back East and have this adventure with Garren, but I will miss our families and friends.