Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanks for the Memories

Dear Reader,

If you're new, i'm now blogging exclusively at melissamichialeinlove.blogspot.com. You many go there if you'd like to keep updated on my life after marriage.





This will be my last "Happy Wagon" post, so i have some things i want to say. especially to those of you who have been there for the long haul. (btw, this is post 445.)





This blog is the story of a girl who didn't know who she was. I used this blog to vent, to share, to acclaim, to love. I used this blog to figure out the world, and hoped that it would help other people of the world to figure me out. I used this space to create and find myself. I used this blog so much, that it became an unalterable part of me. Some of you literally wouldn't know me if it weren't for this blog, and honestly i wouldn't have it any other way.

So thank you for listening, and allowing me to express myself in a way that broke me out of uncertainty. Thank you for being attached to me even though i'm an invisible person on the internet. Thank you for inspiring me and pushing me to be better. Thank you for being who you are, and for accepting me for who i am.
I literally could not have made it to where i am today if i didn't have you.

I hope you were able to come here and laugh because i was real about my boy drama or my two left feet. I hope you came here and were able to ponder a little bit because i shared a thought with you. I hope i made an impression, however small, on you.




I will continue to be my overly-sharing self on my new blog, but if this is the end of the line for you, i just want you to know that i believe in God and Jesus Christ, and that they head a church today, led by a Prophet that they called. I know that one cannot be completely true to oneself until he or she can express themselves by some means of creation, whatever that may be. I know that families can be together forever. I know marriage can work. I know siblings can be best friends. I know that children are holy creations. I know that hard work is necessary to be happy. I know that serving others is the key to joy, but i also know that joy is a journey rather than an event.

I know that we are all connected.



Thank you for being connected to me. It helped me through life these past 7 years.

Thanks for the memories, homies.


blahgs fo lyfe.
k thanks, bye.

melissa michiale

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

August - the days before the wedding

I received my Temple Endowment on Saturday, August 8, 2015. 
That night i went home and wrote in my journal for hours. 
I didn't stop until literally my pen ran out of ink, and even then i hadn't written everything i wanted. 
mmmm, i was so happy. 

On Sunday I went to our ward one last time with Karl (seriously my favorite ward). I drove home with my parents afterward and thought i would just absolutely shrivel up and die when we were saying goodbye. i wouldn't see him for like THREE WHOLE DAYS, HOW WOULD I SURVIVE?!
:)


our first apartment together!
and yes, it really is number 8 1/2. we love that. sounds a little King's Cross-y. 


I got to drive home with my mom and dad. I HATE driving home. My sister Rebecca swears that if she fell asleep in the passenger seat during any part of the drive from UT to central CA, she would know exactly where she was when she woke up without even having to ask. 
I feel the same way. 

It's partly nice, because you always know how much time you have left, but it's also AWFUL because it takes 12+ HOURS!! 

anyway. 
It was Sunday night when we drove home, and we decided to drive through the night (which i also hate, but voted in favor of this time because i was so ready to be home and not cramped in a car.)
the traffic was bad and it was like midnight. that situation equals contention because everyone's tired, and the driver is being scrutinized and the passengers are being annoying, no matter who is playing which of those roles. 
My dad was driving, and i wanted him to stay awake and alert, haha. He gets into a zombie mode while driving late at night where he is totally capable of driving, but he is definitely tired and it freaks me out. So i started thinking of some open ended questions to ask about his mission .

worked like a charm. 
I also got to hear a lot of stories from his mission that i'd never heard before! I was surprised!

we made it home at like 3:30-4:00am. 
uggghh. 
I crawled in bed but was woken up at 7:30 by none other than the dang weasel herself, Jenae Jewel. She likes to scare me awake. One of these days she is literally going to give me a heart attack and then she won't think it's funny. 


I spent the week cleaning and packing up my room, finalizing wedding plans, pickign up borrowed items for the reception decor, etc. It was hectic, but good, because i was busy and not sitting and stewing. I also skyped Karl every night, of course, haha. 

Tuesday night my dear dear dear friend Gina threw me a bridal shower in Madera.
AND GUESS WHERE IT WAS HELD???
FLIPPING ROUND TABLE PIZZA.
I WAS ELATED. 
I only got 1.5 slices of pizza, because i was talking to everyone, but i wasn't even mad, because they were so delicious. 


 (Holla at my sister Katrina for this striped shirt. adorable.)

Throughout my entire engagement, i just could not believe how NICE everyone was being. EVERYONE. random people that i knew in like the dang fourth grade were congratulating me, and relatives that i didn't even remember existed came out of nowhere with cards and sweet notes and advice and money and gifts and honestly, it was kind of overwhelming. HOW AM I EVER GOING TO WRITE ENOUGH THANK YOU CARDS. 
I was surprised over and over again by the sheer hospitality of some people. 
It was all very humbling, but nothing was more humbling than all the gifts. 
After my home bridal shower (which was SO fun and adorable! THANK YOU GINA!!!) i went home and we put all the gifts in my bedroom and i just cried, because i couldn't believe how generous everyone was being, and how genuine all their care was!

If I ever wondered if the people in my life really loved me, i didn't while i was engaged. I knew they loved me. They all worked so hard to make sure i was happy and cared for. golly, i'm still shaking my head over it. 




On Wednesday, the day before Karl came to Fresno, I did something i'd wanted to do for a while. 
I swear i already wrote about this. If i did, oh well. 

When i was like, 13 or 14, i wrote the name of the boy i liked on my back bed post, and kept a tally of all the months i continued to like him. I wrote the name of the boy i liked before i liked him, too, and tallied the months i liked him. 
I kept this practice for 7 years. 

When i liked a new boy, i'd write his name on the bed post, or on my wall, and keep a tally of every month i liked him. Dumb, i know. hahaha.

But i kept doing it, it was tradition. As i got older, the boys had longer bouts of check marks. In middle school there were many names, each with one, maybe 2 check marks. I never wrote two tallys a month though. So i didn't let myself just switch from boy to boy every day.

whatever, my point is, i had this tradition.

In those years i also wrote song lyrics on my wall. mostly Taylor Swift and mostly during boy drama. After a few months, i realized that i didn't want to be surrounded by sad lyrics. I didn't want my life to be defined by boy troubles. so i wrote an uplifting quote on the wall above my closet, which led to another, and another, and another.

My walls have since become covered in quotes and scriptures that i needed during hard times.





I went away to college, and every time i came home i always scoffed at the lyrics by my bed. Why were the most negative things on my walls the ones i spent the most time next to? RIGHT next to my bed, right next to my head when i slept? It was ironic, and i didn't like it.

So while i was home the few days before i got married, I decided to paint over it. 



Jenae helped me. 
we talked the whole time, about the temple, the wedding, her boyfriend, all my past boyfriends


as we painted over the names of boys who used to be so important to me, i couldn't help but smile. Many of those boys taught me great lessons about myself and love. 
It might sound weird, but i'm grateful for those names. 
I'm grateful for what i learned as i made those marks on my wall. 
Those were real people, they are real people. they lead completely different lives now, most of them, and most of them are much better people than they were when i first wrote their names. 

I know i am a much better person than i was when i wrote any of those names. 

It took 2 coats on the pink wall, 3 on the green. 

We painted over my old life. 
Not with the intent of covering it up or hiding it, but with the hope of a new start. 
I'm glad Jenae did this with me, because she was with me during all those names, and she's experienced those marks right a long side me. In a way i feel like she was just as happy that i found Karl as i was. Obviously for different reasons, but it's true. 

I'm glad i wrote those names, and made all those marks. I'm glad i had a way that i felt comfortable expressing myself, and that i had a tangible representation of my romantic past. 

But i'm also glad that i got to paint over it that day. because now, i'm new, just like those walls. 


Of all the names, there was one i didn't paint over. 


Karl Stuart Horlacher
There were 9 tally marks next to his name, representing the 9 various months that he was at the forefront of my heart. the first was August 2014. the other 8 were January-August of 2015.
9 is my favorite number. 
i like coincidences like that. 
there are also 9 parts to my wedding ring. 
we originally planned to get married in 9th month, September, but ended up getting married on Aug 15. 8 1/2 months into the year. now we live in apartment 8 1/2. 
I don't know, i like number things like that. 

After the 9 tally marks i wrote " + forever after. Love, Melissa Michiale" and drew a heart


When i go home next, i'll add a final quote. one about temple marriage, on that pink wall. then it will be complete. 
It was all quite therapeutic. 


The next day, the night before the wedding, my bridesmaids took me to get my nails done. I've  never done that before, so i was really nervous, but it was fun and i'm glad we did it. It helped me feel like every last detail was prepared and beautiful - ready for a wedding.

When Jenae and i got home, we had pizza as a big family. I read a book called, "My Wedding Day" to my nieces and nephews. It's a picture book of a dad telling his little girl about what her wedding day will probably be like when she gets married in the temple.

I held it together until the dad started talking about how much the groom prepares too, and has been a good man so that he can marry a good woman in the temple. I cried thinking of my Karl who has worked so hard to be and stay a good man. 
He really is so kind and precious, and as i read those lines i couldn't believe this was all really happening to me. 

i felt lucky. 


Then we all sang together and had a group hug. It's a pre-wedding tradition for most of the siblings. I'm glad we got to do it for me, too. 
It feels like Heaven to sing with all my family members. 

After we sang and my dad said a prayer, the siblings group hugged around me.  sweet. Jenae took a selfie of us doing  our super cheesy "Team Hansen" thing. we put our hands in the middle of us and then throw them up in the air, hahaha. 

I promise we're not super concieted. 
We really just want to stay together forever and little things like this, as cheesy as they might seem, are actually motivating, and remind me that YES! we ARE a team! we CAN make it if we stick together and help each other!


I also think we look alike in this picture. a LOT. the top right is me, then clockwise it's Derek, Donny, Rebecca, Jenae, Katrina, Jonathan, and Allison. with a tiny baby in the top left corner. hahaha. 

TEAM HANSEN!
We're gonna make it!






After the picture, My parents and i rushed to Fresno with the best man to meet Karl and his parents for dinner. we were a little stressed about timing, but it all worked out. I'd never met Karl's father before, so that was nice. Karl's parents are divorced, but they are nice to each other and i actually really liked having the parents together with me and Karl. 

After dinner, My parents, Karl, Karl's mom, and Joseph the best man, and I, all went to the temple together. It was the first time Karl had ever been in the temple with any family on his side, so it was very emotional and sweet for him. I loved seeing him just hug his mom and cry and smile together. it was a tender experience.
When we were about to leave, Karl's mom pulled me aside and told me how much she loved Karl and was happy for him to have found a good girl who loved him. She wished us luck and gave me a big hug. It was sweet. I cried. I was also grateful that Karl had been helping me become more comfortable signing, because i was able to talk to her even if it was really slow and not true ASL grammar.


Before we got into our cars, Karl gave me a giant hug and a big kiss and told me he loved me and that he couldn't wait to see me in the morning and marry me. 


I drove home alone, and cried practically the entire way, so grateful for my family, and Karl, and this life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief, because i couldn't, and still can't, believe how it all worked out perfectly. I just kept remembering times when i felt horrible and totally hopeless, and how much i had grown through the grace of God and Christ and how i miraculously found KArl and how by no small miracles we ended up together. I felt so blessed that he would be the man i marry. I felt happy that i had finally found a partner. I felt lucky that i was loved, truly loved, in  a way i thought was only possible in fairy tales and Jane Austen novels. 

The whole way home, i prayed and prayed in thanks to God for this opportunity, and for this incredible beginning i was about to have. I was, and am, grateful for everything that led me to that point, and i'm glad i learned so much from hard things. 

I slept easy that night.

grateful. 
blessed. 
full. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

My Temple Walk

On August 8th, 2015 i did something I'd waited my whole life for. 

This is going to be a long story. 







let's rewind to October 2013. 
I was in a dark place. A very dark place. I had limped through the hardest summer of my life with addiction strapped on my back and stumbled back to BYU-Idaho but i was not myself. 

Pictures from fall semester make me teary eyed, because i remember how hard i was trying not to drown. I remember craving change but lacking the willpower, and i remember crying myself to sleep at least once a week because i knew i was pushing away the few friends i had with my harsh tongue but i didn't feel like i could be any different. 
I hated my habits and i hated my attitude and i desperately wanted to just snap my fingers and be over that mountain. I CLUNG to the few good things that i had. 

the few things that consistently made me feel a sliver of the kind of happy i knew i could be:

Mallorie , Jaylene, my neice Evelyn and my blossoming relationship with Christine. Evelyn made me feel needed. 
Christopher Michael Moen. playing catch in random fields and driving across town to a dinky gas station to get sour patch watermelon just because they all knew it would help me feel a little bit better. 
Jonathan. He is so kind to me. 


the snow. 
oh, the dear snow. 
even now i'm choking up because i miss the snow. I miss the ice i miss the hoar frost i miss seeing my breath and i miss the air stinging my nose. I miss the crunching under my feet and i remember just being overwhelmingly grateful for the snow. It was a beautiful thing in what i thought was an ugly life. 
The snow made me happy. 


and my New Testament class. 
learning about Jesus Christ, the ultimate friend, when i thought all mine were dwindling, was the best medicine for me. 
that class helped me heal.
as the months went on, and as the snow came, my sadness began to leak away. 


I made small steps toward recovery and my usual joy, but i hurdled the grand canyon one day when i finally admitted to my mother, and my church leaders, what i was struggling with and why and how much i wanted to change. 

From then on, every day, though it was a battle, felt like a climb up instead of a fall down. 

That giant on my back was still loud and angry and mean and vindictive, but he got smaller everyday. 

slowly, very slowly, i crawled my out of the dark.
and i began to feel happy again as Christmas lights donned windows and shapes of angels appeared on snowy lawns. 



I remember that phone call, after i had admitted my struggles and my past to my mother and we'd both cried, she told me that a few days prior she had been in the Temple, and had the thought, "Melissa is ready to come here. She is ready to make these promises with God."

I could not believe that.






Rewind again to High school.


i had times of great strength and liberation where i was totally fine without my addiction. i didn't even think about it Junior year. I was busy, i was happy, i had faith in God.

but i slipped, and slipped, and slipped, until it was the end of my senior year and somehow i was down the hill again. not quite in the valley, but too middle-ground for any real progression.

And then my brothers came home for the summer and saved me, and pulled me up.

I went to BYU-Idaho and had whole new growing experiences.
then i came home and lived with my sister and her kids for a few months and had zero struggles with addiction or thoughts of insignificance. those months, along with spring semester in Idaho, were absolutely golden. I was on a spiritual high after a church history tour, and i thought nothing would ever be wrong again.















Often in the scriptures, after an individual has an uplifting experience from God, Satan comes and tries to bring them down. 
such is the pattern in my life, as well. 
After many spiritually enlightening times, I receive greater temptation. 
I am tried. 

I think this happens to us all, and i think it happens every day. 
I'd like to say that this particular trial came and i faced it head on. I'd like to say that i rose above my fear and sadness and kept along my merry way, but that would be a bold lie. 



I was shattered. 
and no, it wasn't about a boy, although that's what it seemed at first. Satan used that to begin the cycle, but then he became relentless. He brought back to my mind every time I'd lied or cheated or sank low, and he threw those acts onto a jumbo-tron. 

Replaying over and over and over in my mind. 
Everywhere i went in my hometown i was reminded of some sin or sadness. 
I was breaking. 
I relapsed to my old habits and means of treating myself. 

That gave the devil a perfect opportunity to step right into the spot where the Spirit of God used to be, and take over his duties as thought-whisperer. Instead of inspiration, he spat discouragement. 
and he was loud. 
He screamed at me all summer long. 
When i failed, i swear i could almost hear him laughing at me. 

Very quickly i was completely consumed in darkness that i could not control. 
That is the scariest thing about addiction to me. 


People say, "you always have a choice." and to some extent, you do. 
But when you get so far into a hole, you can't see anything, and i truly felt, and still feel, like i did not have a choice. Like i had forfeited my agency for a time because of all the choices i HAD made, and that the chemicals in my brain and the devils on my back were moving around my arms and legs and eyes. I was not acting. I was being acted upon by my addiction. 

I felt abandoned. forsaken. lost. 
I felt tangibly filthy, like my sins were leaking out of my pores. I felt hopeless and unlovable and like a "chewed up piece of gum".  
I could never be worthy again, i could never be clean again, i could never mean my smiles again.


I tried to find peace in all the things that usually uplifted me, but i was so numb i couldn't feel anything. not even the good things. 

_________________________________________



In my journal during this time, i hardly ever wrote, but  i drew a series of actually quite disturbing pictures. I never rip anything out of my journals or edit them, but i ripped these out after i'd drawn them. I didn't want anyone to see them. I don't remember where they ended up. 


The first picture was a girl. me. 
the caption reads, "This is me. I was happy. I was fine." 

the second was a girl with a shadow. 
the caption read, "This is me. i feel dark."

through the series, the shadow gets straighter and straighter until it is standing right beside the girl. 
one caption is under all these that reads, "I am becoming something else"

and then it begins to move in front of her. 
the caption: "And no one can tell."

finally, it stands in her place, and then consumes her. 
"Everyone thinks i am fine. They think this is me."

The girl is trapped in the shadow. the next picture is from the girl's point of view, as if the viewer is beside her, inside the shadow of herself. The girl is pounding against a window, the window is really the vision of the shadow.
"Why can't anyone see?"

the girls is scraping against the window, trying desperately to break out. 
The girl leans her forehead against the window, her fists on it as well, to her sides, and she is crying. she is giving up. 
"This is NOT me."

the girl is curled up at the bottom of the cavity in the shadow. hopeless. 
"No one can hear me"

the final picture is of the girl's shadow, and you can faintly see the outline of the girl inside her, trapped, screaming. 
The shadow girl is surrounded by people, family and friends. the shadow girl is smiling, and everyone else is smiling at her. 
The caption reads, "I am not fine."


________________________________________________


Even just typing that gives me goosebumps, because it was such a desperate and obvious attempt at admittance.

That night, I read through the addiction Recovery 12 steps on my phone, and wept, because each rang so true to me. 
I knew i had a problem. I knew i needed to change. 

but i had no idea how. 






jump back to that conversation on the phone with my mother.
she planted a seed in me. 



The Temple.



I'd always wanted to go inside, and i had since i was 12, gone inside to perform proxy baptisms for the dead. but i wanted to make covenants with God. 
I just felt like i could never be clean enough to do that. 
I thought i could never have enough faith to be that obedient. 


I had never heard a girl talk about it before. 
I didn't know anyone else could echo my feelings so well. 
It is a wonderful, eye-opening article. 

I can still remember that i was sitting in my study spot at the "Crossroads" at BYU-Idaho when i read these lines:

"You wouldn’t guess by looking at me that I have an addiction. I was on the seminary council, I went to church and mutual and the temple every week. I read my scriptures and say my prayers every day. You look at me and you think, “She has it all together.” Every time I tell people, they’re completely shocked. I know that there are other people like me that exist. I know that they’re there. It just makes me sad that they can’t come forward."

and i openly wept in the middle of the cafeteria. 


I re-read the addiction recovery manual online, and then i went home and told Mallorie and Jaylene about my addictions, because i knew i needed someone to be accountable to.

Then i called my mom, and we had our conversation.
We talked about the temple.










the Temple.











the Temple of God, the House of God, the Holy Temple.













I wished i could go in.















that night, i locked myself in the bathroom and prayed for hours.
these words came into my mind from the Addiction recovery manual,

"Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health."


In that cold tiny bathroom, leaning against the wall, i felt, lighter. physically lighter. I literally felt as if a portion of my burdened was removed.
and through tears i thanked God for that feeling, and for the hope i could feel trickling into my heart.


over the next days and weeks, i was determined to be different.
I'd tried this same path before, and always relapsed.
And even when i did relapse this time, it still felt different.

Before, i had been motivated to change because i wanted to stop feeling guilty. I wanted to stop hiding things I wanted to stop feeling judged.
those were good reasons.



But this time, i had....an epiphany of sorts. After I'd admitted my whole past, and confessed that i literally could not change on my own, the pressure was gone. I could breathe again. It was still labored breathing, but i could breathe of my own volition.


Everything i thought i knew about forgiveness was wrong.
Everythign i thought i knew about relationships was wrong
about love, about guilt, about desire, about Jesus Christ's Atonement, it was all skewed.

I had to start over.

this time, i wanted to change because i wanted PEACE. I wanted to feel God's love, i wanted to hear the Holy Ghost, i wanted to be whole, i wanted to grow, i wanted to formally promise with God that i would always be my best self, i wanted to receive power from Heaven.

I wanted to go to the temple.
I wanted to be close to God.

I changed because i wanted to live with God.















that Sunday, i sat in my chair and literally ached for the Sacrament to come to me, and for the first time in what felt like forever, i understood its implications.
I was clean again.
I was whole again.
I was starting over.



I was not prefect, i fell back many times that semester, but i never let it hold me back. I just kept getting up, kept brushing off, kept climbing.
I kept doing everything i knew i should do to be whole.

I went home, and started completely new.

and i was clean.
I really was.







The rest of 2014 was incredible, because i felt new. God had given me a new heart. I didn't want that life anymore, i wanted peace.
this change was different, and lasting, and strong.

no, i wan't perfect.
yes, i still messed up.

but less and less frequently.

By June 2014, I felt stronger than ever.
I went to BYU Sports Camps with hope in my heart and happiness filling me to the brim.
I had the best summer of my life, because i was finally free.

I was finally open and honest. i had no secrets. i wasn't hiding a single thing.

I was just me.

Just plain old me.

it was the best feeling i'd ever known.
I wrote in my journal one night, "I think they call this JOY."







with that new found joy, came a spiritual confidence I'd never experienced. Every time i went to the temple, i yearned to make covenants for myself.  I prayed over and over about big decisions i was making, and i always finished my prayers with, "and help me know how to better prepare to live worthy of going the temple." because i was confident, i was happy. i attracted people, because they could see i was happy. I made life long friends that summer.
I even met the man i would eventually date and marry.

One Sunday as i sat in a Fast and Testimony meeting at church, the spirit filling my heart, i heard in my mind, a loving voice say, "You are ready".

It's interesting, the voice of the Spirit. It comes in an instant, but fills your mind with whole paragraphs and discourses and libraries of knowledge. It can convey directly to your heart an entire message in literally one single moment, using something much higher, much better than words. And you feel such immense love, and then you try to describe the message you felt, and it's impossible to be accurate.
God speaks to us in a way that is literally indescribable, and i had one of those moments that day.


I felt love.
I felt assurance.
I felt confident.
I felt ready.



ready for life, ready for love, ready to move from my past, ready to share my past, ready to make eternal promises with God, ready for everything. ready for anything.



I met with my bishop that Sunday, and he was excited for me. He too, felt like i was ready, and we were thrilled, but he said that since i was leaving for home really soon, i should schedule meeting with my home leaders.

I called my home bishop, who expressed sincere confidence in me, but told me that my home Stake had made the decision that women who were not engaged or going on a mission should wait until they were 23 to receive their Temple Endowment.

I was crushed and confused.

why had i received this impression if i couldn't even go to the temple?
After a few hours, and prayer, i felt that i was given that impression to assure me that i WAS ready.
But it was not time. 

and really, what a blessing to have that message!
What an opportunity to have an assurance from God that when my time came, i could be know i was ready! I felt so full of God's love for me that day, despite my disappointment of timing.

I went home, and spent the rest of the summer as a librarian at my Alma Mater, counting the days until i could be back in my dear Rexburg, nestled in the Teton Valley









That fall, when i went back to school at BYU-Idaho, i quickly formed a bond with my bishop and met with him often to keep myself on track. I was thrilled with my classes, i was happy with my roommates. But i still felt a nagging, a longing. Something was missing.

at the end of the semester, in my last meeting with the bishop before Christmas break, he told me that my stake had a per-requisite of one semester of a Temple Preparation Sunday School class before actually going to the temple for myself. He told me that he was putting my name on a list for a temple prep class winter semester.

I burst into tears of joy.
FINALLY.
i could learn about all the symbolism and doctrine of the Holy Temple!

over Christmas break i prayed and prayed to be ready for that class, and felt nothing, which frustrated me. when i got back to school, i met with my bishop and he extended me a calling in the ward that i was completely surprised by. Two of my best friends/roommates were called to serve with me.

Afterward, he said special prayers with each of us gave us blessings. In mine, He told me that i would be able to understand God's timing of my temple endowment.

that line kept bouncing around my head all week.
I spent hours on my knees, praying, trying to decipher all the thoughts and feelings i was having. I clung to the message i'd heard over the summer, "You are ready". Whenever it was time, i would be ready. I would keep myself ready.

and then slowly, i began to understand.
the next Sunday, i met with my Bishop again and told him that I felt ready, and i wanted to go through the temple, but that this was not the time God had prepared for me to do so. I knew i needed to wait. He emotionally told me that he felt the same way.

I was a little sad, because i wanted this more than anything i'd ever worked for. But i also felt peace. I knew that God had a plan, and that He would let me understand it as i walked His path.

That semester was incredible. I taught preschool, and became close with all of my roommates. I was writing a lot and realizing a lot about who i wanted to be as a wife and mother. I was doing Personal Progress every week. I was growing in strides and i was proud of what i was doing.

I was proud of who i was.






I was truly, genuinely, happy, and i believe that is when real love naturally finds us.





at the end of that semester, i started dating Karl.



After one week, i knew everything was going to change. I knew that this was different. I knew i was going to marry him. I knew he was 'the one'.

So i decided to just be patient. my Temple Day would come.
so i did wait.










and then finally, after courtship and engagement, came time to go to the temple.








the month before was hard. As soon as we got engaged, it was like Satan was determined to do everything in his power to stop us from getting married in the Temple. He put an awful lens over my vision for a few days. Karl was annoying, chastity was annoying, obedience was annoying, i just wanted to to whatever i wanted to do and i didn't care about the consequences.

Luckily, I had a great fiance who knew exactly what was happening, and how i was feeling. And Even luckier, we had a bishop with a rule that he meets with engaged couples every single Sunday to keep things on track. He helped me IMMENSELY. I literally would not have made it if it weren't for his council and help.

the week before was impossible without help.

Satan seemed to spend ALL of his time shouting at me that i wasn't worthy, that i hadn't been preparing, that Karl wasn't right for me, that i was wasting my time, that blah blah blah every single taunt or slander you can possibly imagine,  he threw it my way.

It was hard.
i was exhausted.


I was also frustrated because i felt like people were tiptoeing around me when i asked them questions about the temple. Yes, there are sacred things that we keep to ourselves, but that is only a few things. I KNEW that, and i KNEW that people COULD tell me a lot more than they were. i didn't know what to expect and quite frankly, i was terrified that i was going to walk into a room and see like, an animal sacrifice going on or something freaky weird happening that would make me feel uncomfortable. I wished someone would just tell me, "hey, this is what happens, you're going to be fine."

My sister Allison took me to go buy a pure white Temple dress, and i picked out a beautiful but simple dress with floral stitching. We bought my Temple Garments and Robes. Everything felt so well made and pretty. I started to be really excited.

I moved into my new apartment the night before I was to go to the temple. I slept on the floor because we didn't have a bed yet.
I prayed my guts out, really scared and feeling completely unworthy.

when i woke up in the morning, i did the same thing over again.

The day had come.
August 8th, 2015.

I woke up, prayed, read my scriptures, prayed, read my Patriarchal Blessing, prayed, cried, and then i took a shower and i always sing in the shower. I unconsciously started singing children's hymns. It wasn't long before "I love to see the temple" was coming softly from my mouth. My voice caught at the words, "I'll go inside someday" because my mind changed them to "I'll go inside today.".

This was the day i had worked so hard for.

and i really was ready.







Karl and i cleaned my old apartment, and that took almost all day.
And then we changed, got all my things ready, and we drove to the Payson Utah Temple. I was nervous and fidgety the whole drive. We were going to be way early, and i don't do well with waiting while i'm nervous, so we stopped at Walmart before hand to get some apple juice and granola bars because i was hungry.

While we were driving i expressed my frustration about people "tiptoeing around me" Karl looked at me and smiled. I love that dear boy's smile. He said, "Melissa, i promise, you're not going to see or hear or do anything that will make you feel uncomfortable. I promise, there's nothing in the temple that you haven't already believed since you were a teeny little kid, because i know you were raised to kep the commandments and that's literally all this is. It's just a ceremony where you formally promise to keep the commandments. It's what you've been doing every week when you take the sacrament, it's just in God's house, and you say it a specific way, wearing specific clothes. We do this in the Temple because we're completely safe in there from temptation. And they do everything they can to let you know what you're doing before you do it, and you can say no if you really want to. If you feel weird, you really can leave. They give everyone that option, every time, your first, your tenth, your one hundredth time, they'll give you that option. No one is forcing you to do anything."
 he told me how much he loved me and how proud of me he was. He bore his testimony to me of the power of the temple, and the peace i would feel.





and then we were there,


and Karl looked like a model while he was one the phone with his sister for a minute


I was nervous and fidgety and just wanted to go in, but we were waiting for my mom, who was going to escort me since it was my first time. 







My mom got there, and it was time to go inside.

My nerves reached a boiling point right before we walked inside and i was so anxious that my eyes started to tear up, and then we walked through the doors.

But then

I was completely calm.

A wave of peace rushed over me as if someone was wrapping me in blanket.



My senses were still and quiet as we walked through the gorgeous halls. We got all checked in, because we had a scheduled time.

There are two parts to receiving an endowment.
1) The Initiatory
and 2) The Endowment Session


One is private, just you and the temple workers, the second is a large group of people.
I got dressed, hugged my mom who waited outside the room on a comfy bench next to a giant gorgeous painting Aaron being ordained in the Old Testament.
Then, i went in to my initiatory alone.

There were several sweet old ladies who helped me. They explained to me many blessings i would receive that day, and they prayed with me, that i might have all of those blessings, and all that knowledge. we moved from one tiny room to another until all the blessings of the initiatory were given and explained. Then in the last little room they explained a little more about my temple Garments, and how respectfully i should treat them, and i exited.

The blessings were in-expressively wonderful.
I felt completely clean, i felt strong. physically strong, and spiritually uplifted. Like, literally lifted up. I felt literally like angels, or God, or something higher than me, were lifting up my soul. Filling it with light and power to do whatever i needed to do.
I felt very safe. I felt protected. A protection i can't explain fully, because i can't find the words.

My mom immediately stood and hugged me, tears in both our eyes.
The spirit of God was felt strongly between us, and in the room.
Then out of the corner of my eye i saw someone hurrying toward me.

My dear sister Allison, who maybe more than any other human understands everything i've been through, everything i've explained here and more, and how hard i have worked to get to where i was that day. All of my siblings love and understand me, but Allison and i have been through a lot together, and shared similar struggles.
we practically ran to each other, and threw ourselves into a hug. She whispered, "Isn't it wonderful?!" It was all i could do to shake my head.  I let out a small laugh, i couldn't verbally express what i was feeling, but there was too much joy to contain. so i laughed.

My mother walked me back to my changing room. as soon as the door was closed and i was alone, i wept and prayed in gratitude for this opportunity, and for the trust and gladness i felt from God.

I changed again, into my new white temple dress.

The temple Matron (The head lady, who is usually like old and super wise and knows everything about temples.) sat with my mother and i in a room and answered any questions i had about temple garments, or the initiatory. She read through some FAQs in case, and then she told me how happy she was for me.

My mother walked me to the Endowment room. Karl was waiting outside the door for me. He was wearing a white shirt, white tie, and white pants. He looked so handsome and clean and happy! His face was glowing! He hugged me and kissed me very gently, and then we walked in together, hand in hand. The men and women sit on separate sides of the room, so Karl sat right across from me.
i got to sit in the front row, with my mom. Then everyone started filing in. all my family members and my bishop with his wife. They all gave me giant smiles and little friendly waves. My sisters all sat around me. My dad smiled at me from the other side of the room with tears in his eyes.

Karl was signing to me excitedly, "you look beautiful. I love you."
I signed, "I'm very happy, but very nervous!"
He signed, "It's going to be great, don't worry." and then after a pause and a  big smile, "wow, you are beautiful!"

Then the instruction started, and i was SO nervous. We learned about the creation of the world and Adam and Eve, everything that i'd read in the scriptures since i was a tiny child. I was actually surprised that there wasn't anything new or startling. I kind of kept waiting for something to make me uncomfortable, but nothing came. haha. Maybe that sounds weird, but everyone had been so vague about what would happen, i didn't know what to expect.

Here's what happened:

we sat and listened to the story of the creation of the world, and the story of Adam and Eve, and it made me really appreciate Jesus Christ, because he saved us from suffering from Adam's transgression. He provided a way to return to God, but be clean from all the bad things we might do on earth. He also made it possible for ALL of us, each of us, to live again AFTER we die. to be resurrected! To have our bodies again, and live forever! literally every single person who has ever lived, who is living now, and who will yet live, gets to live forever in a perfected version of their body after they die, because of Jesus Christ.

Every once and a while, at certain points in the presentation that corresponded with the story, we'd stand up and add a piece of the temple robes to the full clothes we were already wearing. The clothing is beautiful, and just helps us visualize what Adam and Eve went through.

Then, after we learned about Adam and Eve, we promised to obey God's commandments. They weren't new commandments, they were all the same virtues i'd learned about my whole life from the scriptures. The same commandments we promise to keep every week when we take the sacrament, and the same commandments we promise to keep at baptism, and every day as we live to be like Jesus. It was totally normal and peaceful, and felt like Sunday school. Of course i'll keep the commandments, of course i'll have to sacrifice to do that, but it will be worth it. Of course i'll be chaste. Of course i'll follow the Prophet and give to the poor and needy.


I've been trying to doing all those things my whole life,
the Temple was just the first time i formally promised to do so.

Then, the person who had been giving the presentation says a prayer. anyone who wants to can go stand at the front of the room with him while he says it. Most people stay seating and just listen from their seats reverently. I went to the front, with Karl and my siblings. We all held hands and smiled at each other.


Then, everyone goes one by one to one end of the room that has a big partitioning curtain instead of a door. It represents the veil between Heaven and Earth. Everyone goes to that end of the room and quietly talks with a temple worker about what they learned. Since Karl and i were getting married in a week, They let him stand in for the temple worker. I got to tel him the things i'd learned, and he got to ask me questions. It was a sweet experience. Then we walked past the curtain together and he gave me a big hug before we went into the "Celestial Room" which represents Heaven.

and that was it.

nothing weird, nothing foreign. No weird memorized group chants, no smoke and incense. Not anything secret or scary. literally anything and everything that happens in the temple is in the scriptures.

It was all just simple, beautiful doctrine. i loved it.



As Karl and i hugged i heard several old ladies whisper, "oh, they are just so cute!" hahaha.

We walked into the room, and i hugged each of my family members who were able to come. I hugged my bishop and his wife, who were so happy and proud of me. I thanked them for their help, and for coming. I hugged my old roommate Stephanie and her husband Connor who had come, too. We all stayed and talked for a few minutes. My siblings and i mentioned that we wished Jenae, Phillip, Donny, and Christine were there to complete the sibling group.

And then we went to the changing rooms and put back on our regular clothes.
we tried to take some pictures outside, but the flash wasn't really working with my family. Looked great with Steph, though! haha




hahah our eyes kind of look creepy. But i promise we were happy! SO SO SO happy!




It was the best day of my life, tied with my wedding day.
I was indescribably happy, and i felt completely whole for the first time in my entire life.


If you read all the way to the end, way to go! That was a long one.
If you skimmed, know this:

I made the best decision of my life that day. It was beautiful and happy and i do not regret it a single bit. I am proud that i got there, and so happy that it FINALLY came true.

Also, know that more than anything in the world, I love Jesus Christ. I love His Gospel. I love His Church. I love His Temples.




God's mercy is real.
I was redeemed.

I was so broken, that i thought i could never be whole again, but i was wrong.
the Atonement of Jesus Christ healed my fractured soul.
And then He made it strong, and gave it protection.
Now i AM whole.

I feel that.
I know that.

It is all so true.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Former Best Friend

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Marissa,

You've been on my mind lately. a lot.
You and i were attached at the hip for nearly six years. We grew up together. You were practically my sister. Then one day we bumped into each other at a high school theatre production and all we saw were strangers with the same faces as the girls we used to love.

I've been thinking about that interaction lately.
It was forced.
It was fake.
I treated you exactly the same as i would have if you were a person from high school who i had in that one class that one year. You treated me like that, too.
It was obvious that we both wanted the past.
We both wanted to hug and act like nothing had happened, but our jokes were tired. Our lives were so far apart from each other that we didn't know what to say. I couldn't even think of a question to ask you, but i literally knew nothing about you anymore.

I hated it.


But you know what? I'd seen you across the room several times that night. I purposefully avoided you at first, thinking it would be too awkward. Thinking you would brush past me or something. So i left. I walked completely out of the building with Jenae, got in my car, backed out, started driving away. I said quietly, "Marissa was there." Jenae said, "I Know! Did you get to talk to her?" "No."
and then i stopped the car. I froze for a second, staring at the dashboard. Then i pulled into the nearest paring spot, literally jumped out the car and ran back into the building through the drama room and found you in the crowd. Then i marched my way over to you, propelled by adrenaline, and hovered around your group of friends until their was a break in conversation. I tapped on your shoulder to say hi to you.

I wanted you to be surprised, and i wanted it to feel good, and i wanted to tell you everything in my heart, and i was so ready to apologize and sit with you and explain everything and beg forgiveness,


but that weird exchange happened instead. A too-polite sounding voice came out of my genuine-intentions mouth and ruined everything.


we walked away from each other with our separate groups of friends and i drove home in silence.






You know, when your niece Gemma was born i cried because i was so happy for you. I knew what that would mean for your family after everything you've been through together, and i was excited that you would get to feel that new kind of exciting love for a child.
You got to see the Jonas Brothers in concert before they broke up and i giggled like an idiot when i saw your pictures, because i knew you were getting to do something you'd wished for since middle school.
I even watched Michael's creepy cult movie even though i don't do scary/dark stuff, because you were in it and i knew it must have been important to you and that you were proud of it. I thought you were incredible. It made me think of all the times we performed together. You're a passionate actress, and loved feeding off your energy on stage. I wish we would have done the Hellen Keller scene together for Amador senior year.

You sent me a waffle maker as a wedding gift and i cried, which i know sounds weird, but it just let me know that you didn't hate me. It also whisked me back to my living room, after sophomore year of high school when we made waffles and eggs and breakfast things and watched Camp Rock 2 and ripped up my stuffed monkey from an ex-boyfriend like we'd done for you with an old crush the previous summer. I can still picture what we were wearing, and our reactions to the movie, and that by the time you all went home, it was getting hot outside.
Karl asked me who the waffle maker was from and i said, "Dobchinsky Marissa" and he smiled. He's heard so much about you. I wish you could meet him. I wish he could meet you. He's so good, Marissa. He's more than i ever dared to wish for. All those times we talked about things we wanted in a marriage and a home and a husband? He is all of those things. He makes me so happy.


But in all of that happiness, i still feel a hole when i see your name.


I regret very few things about my life, because i feel like even my bad choices helped me see the way i should have been living, and they propelled me to change.

But i regret leaving you.

I regret leaving you behind without marching to your door and spilling my heart on your sidewalk. I regret not making more of an effort to show you that i meant my apologies. I regret going to see "Once" In San Francisco with you literally RIGHT behind me on the bus and not saying a single thing to you because i was embarrassed.

I feel uncomfortable around some of your friends because i never knew them very well, and i don't think they like me. Even beyond that i feel uncomfortable around them because i know they love you, and they know who you are know.

I don't know you now.
But that shouldn't have stopped me from talking to you.

I was talking to Karl about you last night as i was falling asleep.
"we were like twins, and then i blinked and we were complete strangers." i said softly.
"How did it get like that, if you were so close?" He mumbled sleepily
"I don't know. After Disneyland? Time just, stretched us, i guess."


and then i fell asleep, and dreamed about us on the first day of school, rushing to classes and dancing in the car on the way home. Doing the same thing over again the next day and the next day and the next.

I said, "I don't know" when he asked me what happened, but i do know.








Senior year, we were as close as ever. inseparable isn't a word i use lightly. We were everywhere together. When I wasn't with you, people asked me where you were, assuming we should be ride beside each other. I loved that. I loved that people associated you with me and me with you. We were a package deal. People knew us as "Marissa and Melissa".


Toward the end of the year, as the musical was ending, we both started dating boys who were different than the kind we usually went for. Honestly, i don't ACTUALLY know anything about your relationship. I judged it, i made assumptions, and i disapproved because i thought it came with people, if that makes sense. Like you linking with that boy linked you with an entire group of people who i knew didn't like me, and i didn't like them. You choosing that boy felt like you were choosing all of those other people, too. So i felt like you were choosing to be 'anti-melissa' as well.

I did the exact same thing.

I dated a boy who was absolutely toxic for me. Zero good things came out of that relationship, and it poisoned a lot of my other relationships that were actually good, because those people tried to show me what i was doing and i didn't want to believe them, so i cut them off.
The stupidest thing was, The boy I was dating was previously in the group of people who i didn't like, and they didn't like me! I had aligned myself with a category of people i wanted to be nothing like. The same group of people attached to your boyfriend were the people attached to mine. Hypocritically I blamed your relationship for our falling out.

In all actuality i think was both.

Your relationship and mine pushed each other away. Not even because of the actual boyfriends, but because of the lifestyles and the associations.


You were one of those kind people who were just trying to convince me that i wasn't doing what was best for my long-term life. I ignored you. I cut you off. I choked out our relationship bit by bit that last month of school, and when we graduated it was nearly unconscious.


When i broke up with my boyfriend, you were still with yours, and the two boys had very close ties. Too close for my comfort. In my mind, you were now part of that group of people who didn't like me, the group of people who were attached to the boy you dated.

We still saw each other, but mostly because of other people inviting us to the same events. I felt disconnected from you, but i tried not to let it show. I remember our mutually good friend Oscar finally catching a glimpse of it and being shocked, because we'd always been like two peas in a pod.



We stayed friends through the summer and fall, though never fully regaining what we had until Christmas when we went to Disneyland. I was uncomfortable that trip because i'd gained 30 pounds my first semester of college and i felt ugly and fat.
The relationships on that trip, though were perfectly normal. We even shared a bed, haha. It reminded us of the night we'd stayed up until who knows when in the morning plastering Jonas Brothers posters to every available inch of space on your walls and ceiling, and then collapsed exhausted onto your bed and fell asleep next to each other. In the morning your dad came in to wake us up and asked, "you slept int he same bed??" with a weird look on his face. Your mom rolled her eyes and we never let it go. We genuinely laughed at that broken record story for years.



We saw each other a few more times, but then my family life got crazy really quickly and i was very busy with a sister who was very ill pregnant and her 3 young children. and i was working and had church obligations. Most night i was just too burnt out to do anything. I hardly had time for myself, i didn't even think about friends.

Right before i left for school again the spring of 2013, you sent me a message on Facebook. You had assumed some things of me that i thought were unfair, but you also pointed out some truths that were hard for me to hear.

I'd forgotten about you.

but it's not because i didn't love you or want to spend time with you, i had forgotten about everyone. My friends from high school seemed like they were in a completely different world, because i spent all day everyday helping my sister raise her children. Life outside of their schedule was recreation, and i just genuinely didn't have time for that.


My cousin and i were working in a friend's almond orchard one day that summer, and she told me that in Amador, a girl in the room had made a derogatory comment about me, and that you had defended me. "Don't judge her!" you'd said. "You don't know her".
It wasn't until then that i'd realized that it was completely my fault that we stopped being friends. You have always been loyal to me, always supported me, always been there, trying.

I never wanted to make you feel excluded. I never intended to stop talking to you. I had no idea you were feeling alienated. I assumed that you were fine, that we were fine, and that when we saw each other again we'd jump right back on track just like at the beginning of every school year after not seeing each other all summer.

I was wrong. I was so wrong, that it was painful to realize. I was so wrong, that i couldn't make it right again. I was so wrong, i ruined our relationship.

It was no longer about boys, it was no longer about other friends or groups of supposed people who i was judging.

It was about me and you.

It was about you feeling neglected, and me not noticing. It was about me not valuing our friendship that i claimed to cherish, when you were still fighting for it.
You'd been fighting for so long, that you were tired. So you took a break, and realized that i wasn't even trying.





I'd hung us out to dry, and not returned for us until the sun had bleached all the color out of us. We were empty.



We were over.







I saw you a couple time after that, including the exchange i described at the beginning of this. I'd invited you over to make pizza, but never followed through, and then it was time for me to go back to school again. I'd inadvertently shown you, again, that i didn't actually care abut you as much as i said i did.
You told me you felt like one of those people who i acted nice to but didn't actually like.

I denied that fiercely,
but,
you were right.
I had treated you that way.







I know that we will never have what we once did, but i wish i could let time and space be the only reason we fell apart.
I hate that it was my fault.
I hate that i didn't try harder.



I just want you to know that i never thought of you in any other regard than that of my best. friend. I never doubted your regard for me, and i never talked poorly about you behind your back. There would have been nothing poor to say. You are incredible, and have always been incredible. I never wanted you out of my life. I never intentionally pushed you out, but when your grip loosened, i didn't pull you back and i'm sorry.

If i had the money i would literally be on a plane right now, hoping to tell you all of this in person.
I wish i could see you again.
I wish we could laugh again.
I wish we could be friends again.


I never, even in my worst nightmares, thought i would be living a life without you in it. Even in my nightmares, you were with me.



We're just both so different now, we can never go back to the way it was.



I just wonder if we can start over?

like literally, just start completely clean.
I'm writing you a letter. Your home address is the only one i have for you, and the only means of communication i have for you that i know would get through to you. I don't have your number, I've tried messaging you on facebook, i feel insincere on instagram, so i'm writing all this out and mailing it to you in the post.





Marissa, can we start over?
I don't want you to be just a face in my photo albums. When my husband, and my children flip through photos of us, i want them to smile because they know who you are.

I don't know if it could ever be that way.
I don't know if i've permanently ruined us.
I know i've ruined the old us, the children us, the two girls who grew up hand in hand, but i hope the bridge isn't completely burnt.


You were a part of me that i was proud of, and i don't want to forever loose you.




Can we start over?





Hello?
My name is Melissa Michiale Horlacher.
I am 21.
I am married.
I live in Utah.
I am working part time and taking 3 online classes, the completion of which will mark my graduation from BYU-Idaho.
My hair is short now. above the shoulders.

If you don't hate me, please write back. Or call me, my number is still the same as it was in 2008. I'll put it in the hand-written letter, but not here on the internet.

I don't know which you'll see first.
either way, Know that i loved us, and a part of my heart still loves a part of yours, but it would love to love the whole thing again.

I don't necessarily deserve a second chance from you, but i'm asking for one.


Yours truly,
Melissa Michiale.



______________________________________

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

August- almost married

Sometime in June, (I'm not sure when), Karl and i were talking about what i would do for a job after we got married. He was planning to go to school full time to start the Accounting Junior Core, and i knew that i would be the one bringing home the bacon until he finished school. 
That had always been the plan, and i was excited about it. 
I'd applied to about one million jobs in Provo and had heard back from 3, all of them wanting me to start immediately, but when i explained i was getting married in mid-August and would need 2 weeks off, they all peaced out. 
totally understandable. 

One day, At Six Peaks, my friend Rachel O said, "you know, you should look for some kind of RA job. Like a live-in married RA position."
I thought that was a good idea, but figured i'd have to know someone. I looked on the internet that night anyway, to no avail. I mentioned all this to Karl and he thought it sounded perfect. we both did. 

The next evening, a mutual friend of ours posted on Facebook about a live-in assistant manager position for the complex both Karl and I were still living in!
long story short, we expressed interest, interviewed, and got the job against large odds, all in a whirlwind of about a week. 

I was completely shocked. 

we started working immediately, and it was hard, because we A) weren't married yet and B) We were both working full-time already. My job was 24h a day, 5 days a week, so Karl had to do everything during the weekday, and then we'd both do stuff on the weekends. 
bless his heart for that, because thats the only reason we got the job. 

We were officially the live-in Cleaning Check managers at our favorite apartment complex in Provo!








Here are some pictures that belong to my last Sports Camp post, but i forgot them:


waitin' for an Erin in the rain, in the rain. waitin' for an Erin in the rain. 


FEASTING 



that's not soda, btw, it's a bunch of different juices mixed together, haha


I am intrigued by children's Art Therapy. It is a far-away dream of mine to own and operate an art therapy preschool. Karl and i have already decided that after we've moved away from Provo with a couple kids to wherever he'll be settling down for work, i'll start a higher degree online in child psychology. Then once all of our kids are in school (like, when my youngest starts kindergarten) I'll go back to an actual, physical school for a higher degree in Art therapy from whichever university we live closest to. I'm already excited, haha. And i plan on making my future children little test subjects along the way so that i have plenty of material to draw from. 

Anyway, i've been doing "Art Therapy Thursday" with myself for a little under a year now. I've been researching a lot of adult methods, but honestly i can only learn so much on the internet. I need some books in my life, but i have no time for recreational reading right now. sad. 

ANYWAY. 

a method i've been wanting to try is foil-masking. There are a several projected benefits that i won't go into. 

long story short i mostly just wanted to see how difficult/unnerving it was for me, to know if i could try it with a child. 

So naturally, Karl was my fellow guinea pig. 


okay despite our awful faces, it was fun.
(ps we bought matching shirts at Macy's for $2.00 that day and immediately changed into them because we thought we were cool. ahahaha)


Karl kept making the masks kiss when i was trying to take pictures. hahaha. 


Karlitos


y mi, 
ALSO KNOWN AS GIANT FOREHEAD


consensus: I would NOT do this to a child. 
MAYBE an older child could handle doing it to themselves, but having foil pressed over your mouth and nose is unnerving, and for a child could be frightening, haha. It was a fun date, and had i done it alone i probably would have enjoyed the full range of projected emotions that supposedly come from foil masks.

(If you ARE looking for art therapy ideas for your young children, or even yourselves, i have a bunch of techniques/ideas. Also, i love this blog: "Love that Max"  The author is an art therapist who is the mother of a boy with special needs, and it is FULL of ideas for (mostly) developmentally appropriate art activities.

FLAG UPDATE:
we decided that in addition to the family flag that i would sew, we wanted a painting for both our sons and our daughters to hang in their bedrooms. 

(YES, I KNOW THIS IS YEARS AWAY. It will be at LEAST five years before i have a child who is close to reading anything at all. I know they won't be able t read the motto we hang in their room. I am a firm believer that if you make a decision before the question comes, it is easier to stand with your convictions. Karl shares this belief, and we hope that our future children will come to know it's truth as well. We want t help them in every way we can, so we think a painting of our family's motto hung in their room in a simple, unobtrusive way of reminding them who they are. We feel good about having made this decision far far far in advance. love me.)

Of the sketches below we chose the gradient mountains for our future Sons


and this floral one for our daughters


I drew these all while on hospital duty one day. We were in the waiting room for like 4 hours, but i didn't even notice. 


I don't know if i've posted this picture already, but Jonathan left this note in my scriptures and i thought it was really sweet :)



One weekend when i came home from Sports Camps, i literally opened the door to find a tower of presents with my name on it. 





OH, my roommates. We had a great time last summer. This summer it was all the same girls, and one new one, and i don't know if it was the fact that i was engaged, the fact that i worked more, or what, but things were different this year. hahaha. Leah still rocked, though. 



I HATE BEING HOT. it is gross. you can only take off so many layers! You can literally have zero clothing on, and still be miserably warm. 
I'd much prefer to put ON layers in the cold and control my temperature. 

my roommates liked it HOT
one night i sent Karl this picture on Snapchat to summarize my annoyance. 





seriously though, folks, this was early August. WHY IN THE WORLD WAS THE FLIPPING HEATER ON. WHY DO YOU NEED IT TO BE EIGHTY DEGREES RIGHT NOW, I CAN'T BREEEEEEEAVE. 

I love a lot of things about Karl, but my absolute favorite thing is that his faith in God is literally his top priority. While we were just dating, i remember him telling me one night, "You're not my top priority. God is the most important thing to me. If He wasn't, i wouldn't be a very good husband and father." 
It took me a few minutes to let that sink in and be appreciated. At first i was a little stung, to be honest. But after a minute or so, i just felt grateful for a man so devoted to what he knows to be true. 



August 7th was the anniversary of our first official date!
Karl, the expert re-creator, was at it again. He took me BACK to JDawgs and Rita's. He wanted to park and sit in the same places, but there were a lot of people out that night, so we didn't exACTly replicate it. I still thought the effort was cute :)



He was so excited!







He got Smores.which is chocolate custard on top of marshmallow gellati on top of graham crackers. it was delicious. 
I got Swedish fish gellati with vanilla custard on top, and IT WAS THE BOMB. 




we sat in the same place that we did the first time :)



we were being super goofy, and we both talk with our hands a lot, even when we're not signing, haha. there was an old man in his adorable truck to our right. we saw him, Karl made a remark about loving old people, but that was it. we didn't think anything of him. about half way through our dessert the old man got out of his truck, walked up to our table and handed me a $2 bill. He said, "get another treat. you two are so sweet."

ADORABLE.
slash what?


we really do love old people. 




On August 8th, 2015, i received my Temple Endowment. 

That experience will get its own post. 
I didn't want to post this without referencing that one, because it was the best thing I've ever done.
I didn't want it to go unsaid.