Sunday, February 23, 2014

Families are Forever

This week was so wonderful! My good friend, Amanda, was married this week! And what's even better is that she and her sweetie, Jordan, were married for time and all eternity in the Denver Colorado Temple!

Aren't they adorable?! They're both such fantastic people and so good for each other and gaaahh! They're just so stinkin' cute and them being together makes me so happy!

Anywho, I'll stop squealing and get back to the blog.

One of the many wonderful things about the LDS church is that when a couple is married in an LDS temple, they aren't married for life, they are married for forever. Forever. Not "til death do them part," but for eternity. Until the end of time. For-ev-er. That means that when Jordan and Amanda said "I do," they knew that no matter what happened, they would be together, that even death couldn't separate them.

It's kind of a big deal.

And it's really fantastic. 

One of the most important things I will be teaching on my mission is The Plan of Salvation. I won't get into it in detail here, but let me tell you that the more I study it the more I love it. The Plan of Salvation is also called the Plan of Happiness. Why? Because a) living it will bring true and lasting happiness in this life and b) it teaches us that we can have true and lasting happiness in the life after this one. 

The LDS church is a family church, always has been and always will be. Now, family doesn't just mean your spouse and children, but also your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc., etc. 

I wanna talk about my family. For the sake of simplicity, I'll talk more specifically about my immediate family, but know that I love my extended family just as much.

So here's my family: 

In case you're new to my life and don't feel like counting all the children in the photo above, I'm the oldest of seven, yes, seven children. My parents have been married for 22 years and counting and our house is a great big ball of noise, fun, and all things crazy.  Oh, and all things ridiculous. And sassy. 

Lots of people say "that's a lot of kids," and yes, it is. Other people say "that's too many kids," and no, it is not. Our family isn't complete without each and everyone child, and we all have things to learn from and to teach to each other. We all play important roles and we wouldn't be who we are without each member of our family. 

Now, calm down, I don't think that every family should be as big as mine. I know every family shouldn't be. Just like every man, woman, and child is different, every family is different. Some people become who they are supposed to be by having one sibling, others become who they need to be by having twelve. Life is meant to be varied and that is beautiful.

I do, however, think that every family should be centered on God. When I say this, I don't mean going to church once a week as a family, have a few religious pictures in the house, and calling it good and then doing whatever you want. 

No, no. 

I mean that EVERY member of the family should work to treat others with respect, to be kind, to serve one another, to control your temper, to apologize when you don't, to make an effort to build a relationship with each member of your family, not just the member's that it's easy to connect with, to teach and be examples of happy, healthy living, and to forgive each other, even when it isn't easy. 

Especially when it isn't easy. 

Some people call this just a loving, happy family. I agree that's what it is, but I also call it a God centered home.

While every family and person is meant to be different, those things should be the same. The family is so important. Former prophet, President Joseph Fielding Smith said that "the family is the most important organization in time or in eternity..." (He actually had a lot of wonderful things to say about the family and family relationships. If you have a free 20 minutes this week you should read all about it.) 

Why is family so important? Because your family helps shape who you are. Without three brothers I wouldn't have such high standards for the men I date. Without three sisters I would be terribly impatient. Without my mother I wouldn't know how to advocate for myself. Without my father I would doubt there is really such a thing as quiet strength.  Family is learning and growing and supporting and loving.

I'm going to Mexico so that I can help others can know how to live with their own family forever, so that they can be with their families for time and all eternity, and so that they too can have the level of happiness and joy that can only be found within the Plan of Happiness.

It's gonna be great :)

Only 66 days!

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