Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ten Days Shy of Twelve Months

Hiram and I went on our first date to the Mormon Miracle Pageant at the Manti Temple. We didn't take a picture then, but here we are two years and one day later!

We're in love.

Hiram and I have the same "argument" nearly every day.

H: Cebre, I love you so much.
C: I love you so much ... more.
H: I love you more.
C: That's what I just said.
H: Well, I've loved you longer.

And he has a point... kind of. He claims he's loved me since our first date, or even before.

I've tried to explain to him about cardinality of sets. A set in this case is a collection of numbers, or days. The cardinality is the count of all the days inside.  I can create a mapping from the day he first loved me to the day I first loved him. We'll both love each other forever, see, and so the two sets will be paired up:

His first day maps to my first day
His second day maps to my second day
His third day maps to my third day
His fourth day maps to my fourth day
... forever.

The sets are equal. Nobody will have loved each other longer. Math stuff.

He won't buy it.

Now, I know this is silly. We're what, ten days shy of being married a year... I know there's a lot more love to be developed.

But Hiram is amazing. I could write for hours about how he does the dishes, laundry, makes dinner when I'm exhausted, rubs my feet and back, kisses me so tenderly when I'm sleepy, listens to my chatter, lets me sing in the car and even sometimes at the dinner table...

... but here's just one example of why he's the best.

Monday evening I was helping a friend remember some math concepts for an upcoming exam.  I came home to this:
I love that you are always thinking of others.
And this:
I love how you love the Gospel (and babies).

And this:
I love how you sing so beautifully all the time.
And this:

I love the insights you have while we read the scriptures.

As I looked around the room, there were more. We walked into the next room. More. Kitchen? LOTS more. Bathroom, bedroom, spare room, more. Love notes were written on almost every surface in the entire house.

He wrote me thirty-four notes total. And held my hand so sweetly as I ran around the house looking for them (it was like an Easter egg hunt, but much nicer). Some were silly, some were sweet, some were written on our bathroom scale and inside our refrigerator...

He may have loved me longer, but he's made me love him more.

If you want to see all the notes, click here. It's very cute seeing how creative he was.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Joy in Family History

The title for this post comes from this month's Visiting Teaching Message.
It also fits my week, though. I felt joy in family history!

I started off Sunday indexing around 200 names. I'm not saying this to brag or guilt-trip, I was given really easy batches. After Hiram had finished getting ready, he came into the kitchen and lovingly said, "Okay, let's put away the Spirit of Elijah for a bit and eat." ...Spiritual feasting and physical feasting are the same, right?

On Wednesday, I was able to go to the temple to do work for family names. A few weeks ago, I found some names on my dad's side that needed sealings, and then also a few weeks ago, my sweet sister Lexie found names on my mom's side that needed all ordinances. She and Racer were able to perform baptisms for them in the Oakland Temple, and on Wednesday, I was finally able to print off the first list of names for Endowments! It was such a wonderful experience.

I cannot even explain the lightness of spirit and joy that I felt for the rest of the day. I know I was doing work for another, but I felt as if I had been endowed with power once again. That evening, I was visited by my visiting teachers, who repeated the Visiting Teaching Message's words:
As members of Christ’s restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search for our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel. They without us cannot “be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40), and “neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15).
I whole-heartedly agree. I felt just a glimpse of what "[being] made perfect" feels like, and it felt wonderful.
The Provo Temple. Beautiful.
On Thursday night, Hiram and I invited over some friends from our ward to play the cardgames Nerts and SET.  What I learned was that the men are wayyyy quicker at clearing their nerts piles than the women but the women totally rock at seeing SET patterns.

Safe to say, the boys got first and second place in our Nerts game (by far), and the women placed first and second in SET counts (by far).

For dessert, I wanted to provide something yummy and chilled, since it's summer. I came up with the following:

Simple Strawberry Trifle
Makes four servings of about 160 calories each -- I double counted. If you eliminate the whipped cream it's about half the calorie count. But who doesn't want whipped cream?...
Crushed Graham Crackers
1/2 cup Chocolate Pudding*
1/2 cup Vanilla Pudding*
Strawberries (2 cups sliced and four whole)
Whipped cream!
*The puddings I used were both from packets... I'm not that good.

Instructions for One Serving:
Remember, there are enough ingredients for four servings, so you can do this four times.
1. In your cup, place a layer of crushed graham cracker.
2. Over the graham crackers, spread two tablespoons of chocolate pudding.
3. Layer 1/4 cup of strawberries on top of the chocolate pudding.
4. Next, layer two tablespoons of vanilla pudding over the strawberries.
5. Add another layer consisting of the rest of your strawberries!
6. Spread the whipped cream on (I sprayed what looked like about a half a cup each), and top with your whole strawberry!
7. Grab a spoon and ENJOY!

All four servings.

The reason why I include this in my "Joy in Family History" post is because each of those beautiful dessert cups were a wedding gift from my Grandma Allen, that she and my grandpa were given as a young married couple. As I layered the dessert I thought about how she would make things look beautiful, and how the "package looked prettier than the present inside."

While I can't say that this looks better than it tasted (it tasted soooo good!), I can say that with every bite I was thinking of her.
 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Friendship for Free!

Life has seriously slowed down since school ended. At least on my end.
Hiram implored me to try to remember what it is like to be a student again: stressed about assignments, deadlines, and finals. He's been very busy with work, internships, and classes. I have no responsibilities.

I'm going to be honest. It's been hard. There is cleaning and organizing to do, but it's not the most fun to do when your house is about 90 degrees, so I can only do it with glee in the wee hours of the morning. When it's not those wee hours, I've sat around wishing I had a friend available to talk to.

I had a mini revelation on Sunday during Relief Society. The lesson was titled, "I Seek Not My Own Will, but the Will of the Father", which I strongly encourage reading. During the lesson, another woman referred to Elder Stanley G. Ellis's talk from this most recent general conference, "The Lord's Way" (also a good read). She specifically talked about the question, "Where are we needed?" and how often we do not ask, "Where can we help?" but instead ask the Lord to fit our will.

Humbled, I realized that I had been asking, "Can you send me a friend?" instead of "Who needs a friend?"

This perspective change has altered how I feel when I am alone. I feel blessed to have been given all of this free time, so that I can be available as a friend to others. I recently learned of two different sisters whose unique circumstances produce more loneliness than I can imagine feeling right now. I look forward to being an instrument in His hands, in whatever way he needs me. I'm free to do so!

Last night, I joined one of these sisters for a craft night. I had realized that we have NO patriotic decorations for Independence Day. I found the following instructions for a "no sew fabric wreath". Inspired, I adapted a bit of her instructions and created the following!

What you'll need: Hot glue gun, scraps of fabric, scissors, ribbon, and a frame.

1. Cut out pieces of fabric in the colors you desire (I did all of my scraps that have red, white, and blue) that are about 3/4 - 1" thick, and 2-3" long. The number of scraps you need depends on how big your wreath is going to be.

2. Fold the fabric over on itself, making a little triangle corner.

3. Hot-glue your triangle on your frame. I cut mine out of a Honey-Nut Cheerios cereal box, but you can use something more sturdy. It was all I had.

Alternate the way the point is facing for each glued piece (shown below). This way you can see each piece of fabric. You want to start with one triangle, and then glue the next piece on top of that (making sure it's facing the other direction). I started in the top center of the heart, and worked outward from there. 

Note, sometimes extra fabric hangs over. I simply glued these to the back of the heart-shaped frame, which made it more secure anyway.

4. After you do one side, start again in the top center, and alternate the triangles again! When you're done, you can attach ribbon to hang it by. I simply hot-glued it to the back of the wreath, although I do want to change where I placed the ribbon as it'd kind of bending the wreath (see the top photo).
Later Edit: I did change the ribbon to the center, and now it hangs beautifully and straight!

Voila! Decorations for Independence Day!

This took hardly any time at all-- the hardest part was making sure that I didn't hot glue my fingers.

What do you do to decorate for the Fourth?

More importantly, what do you do to serve those in need around you? I'd love ideas!