Several of my friends recently participated in the "Love Your Spouse" challenge on Facebook. I was nominated by a friend, but I didn't have a lot of photos of us handy, so I declined to participate. That was one reason. Another was that I wasn't sure about participating with spotlight photos of us that would present a "picture" of us for everyone to see...and compare to.
Do you ever look at photos of married couples who look so perfect and so happy and wonder, "Do they ever have challenges that cause them heartache? Are they always loving like that? Do they ever doubt?" An article posted today by a blogger who refused to participate in the challenge said something like we know and see one hundred percent of our lives, but Facebook only shows five percent. And we compare that real-life one hundred percent with everyone else's five percent of perfection. She then went on to post pictures of her and her husband fighting, driving in the car while lost and late, sleeping on the couch while trying to watch a movie because they're so exhausted. It was funny, but it was also more accurate. This girl was a young mom in the throws of nursing and sleepless nights with babies. She was tired and feeling real.
After reading that article I thought about my friends who posted. It occurred to me that I didn't have many young friends who posted. Most of the posts on my feed came from older couples. Not old in age, but more seasoned in marriage. They posted pictures of their marriages years earlier and of more recent trips and current activities, and all with appreciative comments. Why were most of my friends who posted more seasoned couples? I have a theory.
The good stuff, the really good stuff comes later in the journey.
The true appreciation we gain for our spouses comes later. It comes after the honeymoon years, after the kids are nearly grown, after illness, the loss of parents, the gut-wrenching, drive-you-to-your- knees trials...after refining experiences that help us see through different eyes. I see many young people declare that they married their best friend. I didn't. But he became my best friend on our journey. He's had my back through some difficult periods, and I've had his. When I look at that cute (very young) couple in the picture posted above, I no longer think, "young love birds," or "what a beautiful couple," or any of the idealistic things we think about the couples in wedding photos. At this stage in life I think, "They had no idea what the journey would be like." And I see how far they have come. I don't even feel like that girl in the photo anymore.
To sum up my thoughts I would give the following advice--As you look at those "Love Your Spouse" challenge photos, remember that they are not perfect couples. That they've been through some tough trials. They argue like you do, they cry like you do, and they've been on their knees many, many times just like you have. The joy is in the journey, and the reward comes later on.
After twenty nine years of marriage I can boast that we've hung on. We've stayed together through doubt, discouragement and despair. Our faith is the reason that we keep walking. We both have loyal personalities, but we both have strong testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We keep trying because we want to make it. We also love each other deeply and appreciatively. I can't imagine going through life with anyone else. I married the person that was going to challenge me to grow, although I didn't know that at the time. He's funny and sweet, hardworking and diligent, resilient and compassionate, and the best partner in parenting. I learn from his example, and I am lighter because of his sense of humor and positive personality.
Next time you come across one of those challenges and look longingly at the perfection, remember that there's ninety-five percent of that story not showing. Don't compare. Do your best and keep walking forward improving yourself and your relationship wherever you can. Appreciate your journey and embrace it.
Heather was looking radiant and beautiful at her track banquet tonight! She had another successful year. She came back from a fractured tailbone injury, missing the first few months of training, to PR in both the 100m and 300m hurdle events. She is exclusively a hurdle runner now, and this picture is missing Coach Knowels and Coach Krissy who are the hurdle coaches. Good work Heather! You continue to amaze us with your strength and endurance through the "hurdles" in life.
That's Jenna in the white shirt with the towel. She was cheering so loud for her favorite players at the US National Volleyball scrimmage tonight that they gave her a job on the court. She got to sit there next to the team and run out after any play where a guy hit the ground. She wiped up their sweat with the towel. She's such a germaphobe that it was hard to believe she was okay with this!
She can now say she's wiped up the sweat of Olympians. She had so much fun tonight!
Jenna took 2nd place in the running long jump! Woot!
Sarah made a great mascot!
Today was the district track meet for the middle schools. Jenna was a jumper and competed in the running long jump. She did pretty well even though she didn't jump quite as far as she had wanted to. A great second competition in track and field for Jen. We're proud of you Jen!
Our church friends were in a theater production of Beauty and The Beast, and we got to go see it tonight. Clark Matthews was an excellent Gaston, and Morgan Parker a hilarious Lumiere. Lauren Snow was in the ensemble and did a great job as well. We had a great time! Such talented youth!
Tonight's practice for the Jubilee was fun for Heather. She's in the Newsie's number, and Sister Holmstrom asked who could do tricks. It seemed the right place for hurdling over some people, so Heather mentioned it to her. Here she's hurdling over one person, and then she tried two. This girl can fly! She's got a part in the trick section, and I know she'll do great.
Heather dressed as a hippie for her History class today to act out a scene. She was playing the role of a teenager in the 60's for some extra credit. She rocked it! And it was fun to be working in the office to take a pic!
Heather and I received our Young Women Medallions today. Heather did a fabulous job with her Personal Progress, and it was fun to put her table together and reflect on all of the different things she accomplished. As a YW leader, I was able to receive mine as well. Due to not having the required seminary attendance as a teenager, I was not allowed to receive mine at that time. Fortunately, the church allows us to work on them as a YW leader, or a mom with a young woman in the program. As a leader, I was able to do a table. It was a special experience for me to get my medallion, and especially great to get it along side my cute daughter. Thanks for sharing a little spotlight with your momma Heather. You are awesome!
The Fountain Valley Vocal Music department had their end of the year show. We know so many friends in the choirs that it was super fun to go and see this show. The first half of the show features all the choirs, and the second half is the Troubadours and a few invited Concert Choir members. This year the second half was Les Miserable, and it was FABULOUS! Morgan Parker was Jean Val Jean and led the entire show remarkably. Many friends had leads. Madi and Kenzie came with to see the show, pictured above with Lizzie who was in the ensemble/Concert Choir. Kelly and Jenna came too. It was a great family activity. Can't wait until next year!
It has been fun to have a job here on the campus where Heather attends high school. The principal's secretary made a cute sign for my desk. The work keeps me busy, but is doable. I like clerical work because it feeds my need for organization and order. The staff has been very welcoming.
For a combined Relief Society/Young Women meeting this month, we decided to do a Dutch Oven cooking class since the young women and their leaders will be cooking their own meals at camp. Kelly put together a great recipe with a whole chicken, a yummy rub and potatoes and vegetables. We tried it out the day before the RS Meeting, and it was so yummy. It was a complete hit at the meeting! We won't be able to do a whole chicken at camp, but the meal was delicious and the girls who participated got to see the process. Kelly is amazing at figure this stuff out. I'm proud to call him my man.
We normally visit our grandparents' graves on Memorial Day, but this year we decided to go on Mother's Day. It was a nice, quiet afternoon, and it seemed like a great activity. Both our mothers have passed, so it was a good time to remember them. Kelly cleaned their graves and we talked about our parents. The girls were good sports as usual. They don't like when Kelly get teary, but I think they like remembering what they can and hearing our memories. We are happy to know that we will be reunited one day.
Heather gave her all in the Sunset League Finals today. She placed 5th in the JV 300m Hurdles. Not too shabby for being out half the year and coming back from a fractured tailbone. We're so proud of her dedication and determination to have the best season she could have. Way to go Heather!
Heather has been having anxiety attacks, and they've been pretty bad. She has drawn pictures of what it looks like for her, and she has blogged about how her attacks feel. Kelly hasn't seen Heather in the throws of an anxiety attack, but I've witnessed a couple that have been pretty bad. I don't have any control over what happens, and I am pretty much helpless. All I can do is watch and stay with her to offer comfort (silent comfort because words do not help). Anxiety is irrational, and although she knows that it's still very, very real. I wrote a poem about it today. It felt good to get thoughts and feelings down. A huge release actually. I'm not going to put the poem on the blog yet. Maybe someday.
MacKenzie wanted to go to Disneyland for her birthday. Since we have passes, Jodi, Kenzie, Heather and I went to have fun together. Had to post a picture of the ketchup because I asked Heather to get a lot of ketchup at dinner. She got so much we laughed for five minutes. She did what I asked. Haha. Happy birthday Kenz!
Heather put together a great Steampunk outfit this year. I wore my same old dress, but it works at the faire. I love this tradition that we have. Clover (the Drabbit) was a hit, and lots of people stopped to look and see what this furry thing on Heather's shoulder was.
It was amazing to come back and sing with OCMCO again this season. The music was beautiful and so uplifting. The whole family attended, and it was fun to run into my TwilightMoms friend, Sarah (her kids are in the choir now). The hard work pays off, every, single, time.
I'm a wife and mother of two of the sweetest girls ever. In my former life, I was an elementary school teacher. I love learning and sharing experiences, and the chance to journal for posterity. I wish I knew as much about my ancestors as my posterity is going to know about me!