Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wisdom from Dad: Waiting Upon the Lord

My Dad is such an example to me. When he wrote to me while on my mission, explaining how we could appropriately wait upon the Lord, I knew that I would live by those wise words forever. 
I also knew that I would need to put the saying on something beautiful that I could see often. 
When I took the picture above, I knew that the two went together perfectly.

One of my favorite verses of scripture is Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

So what exactly does it mean to wait upon the Lord? It means that our timing is not His. 
He knows the end from the beginning, and at times, we must wait to know what He would have us do.
At times, we must endure times of trial and darkness before the light shines forth. 
Perhaps we beg the Lord for guidance, and nothing seems to come. 
We ask, "Oh God, where art Thou?" and receive nothing. 
But that does not mean that we have been forsaken or forgotten. 
It means that we must wait upon the Lord. It means that we have an opportunity to show forth our faith and move forward with trust. My Dad taught me how to best do this: 
Work while you wait, whistle while you work, and watch for the hand of the Lord to be revealed.

WORK: The Lord expects us to continue to move forward, even when we do not have 
the entire picture. He asks us to continue in obedience. He expects us to serve. 
While we are seeking guidance, we must do exactly that: seek. If we are but sitting and waiting,
wasting the precious time that the Lord has given us, I don't believe that the answers will come. 
The clearest guidance that I have received from the Lord has come in times when I am on my feet, serving, seeking, studying the word, and striving with my might to do 
what I think the Lord would have me do. We must work.

WHISTLE: We have two choices of attitude while waiting upon the Lord. 
We can become upset and discouraged that we have not received the desired answer or blessing, 
or we can cheerfully do all in our power to be the people He would have us be. 
I have said it before, but I still believe it with all my might. 
Obedience brings blessings. 
Obedience with a smile brings power. 
Yes, the path may be dark. Yes, you may feel that hope is hanging by a thread. 
But, if we will but put our trust in the Lord, moving along with a skip in our step and 
a whistle on our lips, we will be happy and find joy in the journey, even when the path is dark.

WATCH: We must be constantly watching for the answers and directions to come from Heaven. 
God will answer. He has promised us that. 
It may not be in our time, and it usually will not be in our way, but answer He will. 
For that, we must be always watching, ready and worthy to receive the answer when it comes.
We must pray with our might, get up and search the scriptures for answers, and then go forward, looking for that guidance. It will come. And when it does, we must act. 
The Lord gives to those who are ready to receive the word and do as they are told. 
I truly believe that as we receive and act on promptings from God, 
we can be trusted with more, and life can truly be guided by Heaven.

Brad and I have seen this prove true in these last almost 5 months of marriage. 
When we first moved up here, I was wanting things to fall right in to place. 
When they didn't, I was frustrated and sad. But my dad's words rang true in my mind. 
Work while you wait, whistle while you work, and watch for the hand of the Lord to be revealed. 
As we have done this, job opportunities for me have opened up at the perfect time. Those jobs came after I wanted and asked for them, but exactly when I needed them and was truly ready for them.
People have blessed our lives at church, in school, and in the community. 
We have found places to serve and bless others. And the Lord continues to guide our steps daily. 
There are still moments when we have to take a step into the dark, 
not sure of exactly what we are to do, but we can be sure of those steps, 
because The Savior is holding our hands, guiding us through that darkness into a more perfect light.
The Lord knows the right timing. He knows me. He knows you.  
Waiting upon the Lord has truly enabled us to renew our strength, 
to run and not be weary, and to walk and not faint. 

How have you been blessed by waiting upon the Lord?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Traditiooooon! Tradition!

If it worked to keep Anatevka in balance, it will work for us!

A super fun part of the first year of marriage is establishing family traditions
It's fun to take a little bit of what I grew up doing, and a little of what Brad grew up doing, 
and mix in some new ideas of our own to create fun new traditions. 
Halloween was no exception for us.

I LOVE any excuse to dress up. Brad does not so much, but he is a really good sport about it because he knows that I really enjoy it. So we had great plans to go to a law school costume party. When Brad told me about it, I readily agreed. We went to the thrift store to get some awesome costumes together! 
The day of the party, I left work and listened to a message from Brad.
It basically went like this. 
"So... I was talking to people at school to see if they were going to the party tonight. 
No one seemed to know what I was talking about... so I checked the email again with the info.
...And... you can make fun of me for this forever... 
the party was actually last Friday..."
Gotta love stressed-over-law-school-and-therefore-also-semi-scatterbrained-husbands.
So, we didn't get to dress up this year,. But on the up side, 
we already have awesome costumes for next year. 

Another Halloween tradition that we both love is carving pumpkins
We decided to share one pumpkin instead of carving two, 
and that is where the decision making came in. 
I am a free-hand kind of pumpkin carver. 
We're talking 3 triangles and a half moon (with some spiky teeth of course).
Brad is a pattern kind of guy.
We decided to tackle a pattern.

Taking the guts out of the pumpkin is always a joy. 
Or not.

We realized after we started that we don't actually own any tape... 
I don't really know why not... haven't had a need in 4 months of marriage I guess...
Note to self: Add tape to my grocery list.
So we stuck knifes into the pattern to hold it to the pumpkin. 

So cute and concentrated

We think it turned out pretty great!

A tradition that we took from my family is a spooky Halloween dinner. 
With only the two of us, I didn't go all out like my Mom does. 
Seriously, she is the queen of Halloween food. 
But we still had a fun dinner. 

Eye balls that don't exactly look like eye balls... but they were tasty!!

Something that Brad and I were both really looking forward to was giving out candy to trick-or-treaters. We live on a main road, so we weren't sure we would get many, but figured 
we would get at least a pretty good number. 
So I bought a big bag of candy. 
And at the end of the night, the grand total of kids who knocked on the door?
8... Seriously. Four groups of two kids each. 
But we still had fun being able to give them some sweet treats!
And we now have entirely too much candy in the house.

One activity that will not become tradition that we tried this year was watching 
"Nightmare Before Christmas." For reals. I couldn't stand it. 
As a child, I was not allowed to watch Tim Burton movies. As an adult, I just don't like them. 
I had never seen it, but Brad remembered liking it. After an hour and a half of weird music, a bad plot, and plenty of creepiness, we realized that neither of us are fans, so that one will go out the window. 

But dressing up, pumpkin carving, Halloween dinner, and 
"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" will remain! 

In all, it was a great first Halloween, and made for a couple of super fun date nights!

What are your Halloween traditions?

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