Wednesday, October 30, 2013

trunk or treat in the [psych] ward.

The ward Trunk-Or-Treat was so much fun! We had a chili potluck (of course) and a little costume parade for the kids! Ana & I had been talking for a while about what we thought we should do to the car, and James had some ideas too, but in the end, we ran out of time. (That's typical for me though) So Ana was a go-getter and got some dollar store decoartions to put on it, and I think it turned out pretty awesome!

You can't see all the lights on it, and this was the only picture taken of the car. Besides this one.

The lights were much cooler in the dark, that's for sure. But it was fun! Zach & Ana had decorated pumpkins the night before so they put those by the car to add a little more spook! And yes, I was a hippie and it's the lamest costume ever. I know. But there was this whole situation with the costumes and so I wasn't going to dress up, but I decided a long time ago I was not going to be one of those people who doesn't get into the holidays. So LAST MINUTE, seriously, I decided to grab a few random things I've gathered over the years and go as a hippie...again. But it counts, right?

Anyway, on actual Halloween, James & I were in the middle of moving, so we weren't planning on doing too much. On the way home to Zach & Ana's house, I stopped by the store and got three bags of candy to pass out to little kids, including my faaaavorites....

Ooooh mama. My mouth is watering just looking at them. I grabbed a HUGE handful for myself before I set them out. In a way, it was kind of cool to think that I'm old enough to pass out candy. Like now I get to be the giver and maybe even "the neighborhood favorite house" someday. One can dream. Anyway, we'd set up the outside of the house and had the candy ready to go. The four of us ate dinner and then sat down to watch Beetlejuice (never saw it before, but now, I am scarred for life) and waited for the little ghosts & goblins (or more like princesses and cartoon characters) to come to our door...but they never came!! Not one! It was so depressed! I guess it didn't matter because James fell asleep like 30 minutes into the movie anyway.

Besides the kids totally letting me down this year, the other parts were pretty cute. I love big get-togethers and I look forward to every single ward party. And holidays for that matter. What can I say? I won't be a regular mom, I'll be the "cool mom."

Monday, October 28, 2013

i'm officially official.

[I have another post about our camping adventures waiting to have pictures snapped to them, but they're coming!!]

So in all of the hustle and bustle of getting ready for CAMPING this weekend

I almost forgot to add even MORE exciting news!!!

It's official!! Finally, (thank you government shutdown) I am now a resident of the sunny state of Florida!! Cheaper tickets to Universal Studios? We'll now take two thank you very much!! But even moooore exciting (if you can take anymore) I have proof that I am an Anderson!!  I know! It's pretty surreal! I live here now. Like soon, I won't have to drive back and forth down the streets looking for places I need to get to! And people will be like "Oh, yeah. She's an Anderson." After all, at church I am only know as either "Sister Anderson" or "James's wife." Haha Whoa. But! Very excitiiiing!

And ps, DMV workers hate their job everywhere. In case you were wondering.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

i would walk 500 miles.

Can I just say, I think it is incredible how far the church has come.

Let's check the facts: we have had a Mormon (a good one at that!) run for president. We have had thousands [74,900 to be exact] of young people change their whole lives around because the missionary age requirement has been lowered. There are 141 operating temples with 15 under construction and 14 announced. We have more than 14 million members. And now we see things like this. Complete strangers who actually know something about our church! It really is a miracle! *More statistics here*

I am so humbled when I think about everything that the early pioneers had to go through just to get to a place where they could live in peace & righteousness. Persecution beyond what I could ever imagine, family members & friends dying left and right, time that I'm sure seemed to pass so slowly that it was painful. I'm sure it was a lonely time for every single member of the church. It's hard to maintain a testimony among extreme trials and tribulations...but they did. And with a joyful heart! It's just beyond moving. to me. 

What is hard for me to see these days are those that mock us. You see, I don't think we're much different than these truly inspiring pioneers. We may have more than they were ever given, but our trials are all the same. We are given what seems to be an impossible task--bringing the gospel to “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” We have obstacles in our way, just as the pioneers.

Let's just say for kicks that we all die and the gospel turns out to be a big fat hoax. I have to say, I won't feel gypped! People think everything we do is so weird and everything we have to give up is so much and that our leaders force us to do all these things. Lemme tell ya something--no one makes us do anything! That's part of the whole point. We are given a choice. We can choose to follow Jesus Christ and his teachings given through the leaders and the scriptures, or choose another way. The gospel is not about sacrifice. The gospel means "good news." And the whole message can be wrapped up into two words: love & kindness.

I love this picture of the Savior. What I see is Jesus healing this man, who needs him and came to him for help and who believes in him. Christ is doing it in front of everyone, even though there are people murmuring and whispering around him. I feel like that is a perfect symbol of today. How desperate are all of us for help and healing? Or for answers? And yet, every time we try to get closer to Him, there is something that wants to say it's wrong, do it their way! Follow them! But that's not what we are taught. We are taught to come follow him. He will stand up for us and help us and be our redeemer even among those that mock him. He isn't swayed by them. He loves us so much that he is there for us any time, any place.

The picture above is one I love, but it's not my favorite. THIS one is.

I don't ever doubt the Savior. He has felt everything I feel--the good, the bad, and the ugly. He's been there next to me through it all and has still always greeted me with forgiving & loving arms. Everything in this world is changing and moral standards are shifting, everything is shifting! But the love the Savior has for everyone is exactly the same. In fact, I think it's has just increased as He's watched us stumble through life. I can't even imagine the heartbreak he felt for those pioneers and for us today. The whole environment we live in is an amazing, beautiful place, but it can feel lonely and scary too. I never got the chance to serve a mission, but I am still a member of this church. I have friends and I have family and as long as I know what I know, I don't think I could stand next to them in heaven and say, "Sorry I didn't tell you. I just thought..." That's not what the pioneers paved the way for. That's not what our prophets, old & new, paved the way for. That's not what missionaries have paved the way for. There were others brave enough to have a voice in a time when it wasn't the "cool" or "proper" thing to do, but they defended it with everything they had. I don't want to be a fence-sitter. I never really have been, but I need to make sure that I am passing my same blessings onto those who need it. I think it's pretty awesome that people are still standing as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places. Yeah. We've come far and I'm excited for all that we have left to go.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

something tells me i'm into something good.

I can't decide if I should be happy or sad. But I got the call that I had been offered my dream job!!!....But only after I had accepted another one.

The thing is, I got an uneasy feeling after I interviewed there. I think it was because anyone who works in broadcasting signs a two-year commitment when they are hired. James & I want to start a family definitely within the next two years and I didn't want to work there and then always be on call when I have a baby. I don't know, the whole thing just didn't feel right.

However, I was a little sad to realize that I could be doing my dream job right now as a career. That's a little rough. I went to school for four years to do that and it was right in my grasp. My would-be boss even said when he called "Oh man. Well I guess my timing was off." [Yeah, a month later! Ya think?!] But he was really nice about the fact that I took another job.

I told myself thi phrase once and now, I always think it to myself: "Don't make a mistake for mistake-making sake." I don't want to always have to learn a lesson by automatically doing. Sometimes it's nice to just take a step back and really look at all the components and take as much time as you need. James has been such a help by doing that. He always points out the good in any situation (even when I'm not in the mood for positivity) and has helped me realize all of the things that I could also be giving up had I accepted the other job. Like getting to work from home 2 days a week and having a whole week off to get to visit my family for Christmas. I would be devastated if I had to give that last part up, even for a dream job.

The point is that there is always something good in something that can be disguised as "not as good." So even though I'm a little bummed, I know this will be a huge blessing. And high five for me for getting the offer anyway!!! Whoo whoo!! Ten points for the Ander-san Clan!! :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

what a weekend!

WHOA. We had a busy weekend!!! Well...more like James did. But still some cool things happened! Let's go backwards.

Sunday: Actually, what happened Sunday wasn't cool. Story time.

James & I both had to give talks in church (this is the second time now) and I am not one to get nervous when I give talks. I mean, my voice shakes a little because I'm trying to remember everything, but I actually don't mind doing them! [It's the primary & YM/YW teachers I have most respect for. Trying to prepare an interesting lesson every single week and then giving it to the most brutally honest people in the whole ward, who are allowed to say something back?! YIKES. I hope I never ever have to teach Sunday School to a combined YM/YW class. We were so mean back then....Anyway!]

So we both had to give talks but the MOST terrible, embarrassing, awful thing happened. So the first speaker is a young man and he speaks for literally 2 minutes. Then I get up to speak and I give my talk, which was 2-ish pages long & I spoke for about ten minutes (like they tell you to at school). I felt pretty good about it! I didn't think I read too fast & I had a lot of different quotes and scriptures in there! I had stuck a little more closely to it than I thought, but I shared some pretty personal stuff, so I didn't want to cry or veer off or anything. Anyway, so I close it and sit down and we sing the intermediate hymn. [Side note: I was dying to ask James how I did, but I didn't want people to see me do it. Haha So I didn't say anything.]

Then the bishop gets up and introduces James and says "..and his wife left him with a whole lot of time to fill!" And I literally froze. What is he talking about? I thought. I left James with maybe like 12 minutes to speak and enough time to close, sing, and pray--like always!

No. Turns out, we end ten minutes after the hour. Not at 11:00 like I thought. No, 11:10. So poor James (who spent a lot of time on his talk, but didn't stay up too late because he knew my talk would take some time) had 20 minutes to fill. To put that in terms you'd understand, that's how long the apostles have to speak at General Conference. Actually, less than that! So I was forcing my poor husband to take up half the meeting!! Needless to say, I was MORTIFIED. I could hardly concentrate because I felt so bad. I was even trying to telepathically tell him how sorry I was and how terrible I felt, but it didn't even phase him. He did such an amazing job (which I knew he would because he went on a mission and they are forced to speak all the time at a moment's notice!) He was funny, spoke more slowly & clearly than I did, and even made this adorable little joke about how he used to not even see over the pulpit when he was at the age of passing the sacrament and now he was maxing it out! :) The bishop did have to take the last few minutes up and talked about missionary work (which is what James talked on) and I was whispering an apology to James about my huge mistake during the song and he was so sweet about it. I love that man.

Anyway, I had so so so many people come over to me between sacrament meeting & sunday school and introduced themselves to me and tell them how my talk had impacted them each differently. That was a tender mercy. I was so relieved that at least people got something significant out of what I did have.

Later that night, James took some more stuff over to our almost-house and got to go over with his friends and watch the premiere of the Walking Dead. I so did not care to join, but I'm glad they got to have fun together!

Saturday: Saturday I spent all day preparing talks and doing some other stuff. Not that cool. But my little handyman MADE shelves for Zach & Ana, along with help from Zach & his dad. It's so awesome when I see James putting to use all these amazing talents he has! He's so smart & good with numbers, he remembers everything he learned in school, and he just does things for people. All the time! He's always always always willing to go over & help someone move or build something or haul away things with his truck or fix something or whatever! People always look to him because they know he does a good job and is such a fun guy to work with! (I would know!) I love that about him. Anyway, I wasn't involved too much in the process so I can't tell you exactly what went on. Before the closet was just one little metal shelf (on one side because the other side had fallen out) and was filled with our suitcases.But after it looked like this!!

[Picture to come! I didn't want to post my crappy one, so I'll wait and take one with James's phone]

I know. What a stud right?! I told James not to buy a stud finder because, well, I think he married one. Haha *Double-sided compliment. What up!?*

Friday: Abby needed help with her homework so she came over & we finished that night. By then, Tyler had come over and Zach & Ana had left aaand James had come back from the auction. So. It was just the four of us. We didn't know what to do for dinner so we went to the store and bought all these ingredients for Jambalaya with kielbasa and they bought all these ingredients to make dirt pudding! It was so fun!! Zach & Ana were there when we got back from the store so we all cooked together and then watched the Internship together. SUCH a fun date night.

So all in all, I'd say pretty great weekend with a lot accomplished. High fives all around! :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

going bowl-ing.

We got to finish Part 2 of our Empty Bowls project we have going for the county! I am so excited about this!! I love that we all got to get together and make something messy...that turned out really cute!

James was a bit of a perfectionist, a characteristic we both share. He is very very very good at art and so he painted his bowl all in the same directional strokes, took his time, and made a suh-weet bowl if I do say so myself! His passion for the Gators came through once again and some sweet little lady tapped me and said "Aaaah, a football lover I see." Haha, she has no idea! :)

I looooved how my cute little elephant turned out.I was trying to make something like this...

But I didn't have enough clay after the head for the legs. Plus, I am not an artist like my cute husband. So my turned out a little different. But I loved it so much and eeeveryone knew which one mine was, which was kind of a cool feeling! Right when I walked in, they were all like "Oooh, now the little elephant can get his paint job!" Haha And I didn't even have to label it again. The lady in charge was like "Don't worry. We all know which one is yours!" Sooo needless to say, I felt like a boss. I don't think it would have turned out as great though without James's help, so thank you for all your help baby!! :)

SOMEDAY I will get James to actually smile. I promise, he's got a good one.

Didn't his Florida Football bowl turn out amazing?! Look how smooth and fancy!!

We took a lot of pictures of everyone else for the stake or ward website but I figured they might not all want to be on some random girl's blog and it's not like I even know who they are, so I don't think you would either. But every seat was filled once again and I had to get a picture of how some of them turned out! Ana's and Holly's both turned out so cool! They splatter painted the insides!

I know you can't really see this little guy (we must've been in some bright lights!) but it was really cool to see them after they were fired up and everything! Picking colors was hard because I didn't want it to turn out too dark, but the whole thing was just a really fun experience. Now, we will get to go to the actual event and will get to have a little bowl, a little cup of soup, and a full heart. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

a few of my favorite things.

[Barney's favorite things!!!! from Henson Lee on Vimeo]

*Ok, so this is the less-appropriate display of what I was going for, but I think you get the idea...(plus, we all know I love How I Met Your Mother sooo I had to go with this)

I was thinking about my last post and I feel pretty guilty about it. My intention with this blog was to write all of the things that are going on with James & I, good or bad. I mean, it is really only my family and very best friends who even know this exists, so I didn't see a problem with it.


I still feel like I came off a little ungrateful. So. Here are a few of Ashley's Favorite Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiings!!!!! Well, I mean, a few of my favorite things that I am really grateful for right now. Sorry, there won't be any free giveaways or

1. Gummies. I love them. How could you not?! So yes, they make me smile and make everyday...sweet. *wink*
2. Cleaning. I'm so thankful my mom taught me the right way to clean. Especially now that I'm an adult and see how gross people can be. Sorry future kids, but even if it takes you all Saturday to clean the bathrooms, you're going to learn too. [Moving is the reason why this is included]
3. Ice cream!! I have had the weirdest craving for ice cream. Like....I think it might be my drug. Good thing I have number 13!
4. General Conference. I really don't think there is a church meeting I look forward to more than this....okay maybe the Presidency Christmas message. But every single time I listen with a question, it is answered. Without fail. I was so grateful for the messages last week and I can't believe how lucky I am to be a member of this church.
5. The Savior. And I guess the Atonement. I have never felt closer to the Savior than I have since I've moved here. I've been praying more because I've seen how much I am blessed and the comfort I get from knowing that my Savior went through everything I've been feeling and He is always listening and I feel when He puts His arms around me.
6. Date nights. Since we've been married, James & I have tried to have a date (alone or with a group) every Friday night. We've done a pretty great job and I think it's the best way to get him to unwind after a long week of work. I'm looking forward to getting to spend many more with him. I sure love that guy.
7. Roommates. I seriously LUCKED OUT when it came to roommates. I never had any that were rude or mean all the time, none that yelled or took forever in the showers or anything. In fact, some of my closest friends in the entire world were my roommates. Not to sound like a lesbian, but I seriously loved living with girls. We talked all night long, danced around, went out together, stayed in together...those memories are some that I cherish forever and I am so happy we were, and still are, that close.
8. The temple. That one was a no-brainer. I know for a fact I become a better person inside and afterward. I love love love going to the temple.
9. Jobs. I am so lucky to finally have a job! It will keep me busy, lets me make new friends, and gives allows me to make our new little place a home for us. I am sure blessed to have one in these times too and I don't take that for granted.
10. Snow. I NEVER thought I would say that I am grateful for snow. Every time I would slip when walking with someone, I cursed it. But after having it for the last four years, it feels like an autumn without at least the freezing temperatures are just not an autumn at all! And don't get me started on not having it for Thanksgiving & Christmas. :(
11. Pumpkins. And not so much to carve, but eeeeverything that is pumpkin flavored right now!! I look forward to this every year!!
12. Family. Again. This is a no-brainer. And not just the one I had to leave in California that I love more than anything in the whole world, but the one I am a part of here. The ones that are not judmental at all and like to spend time together and are making things sooo much easier and blessing my life tremendously. My family thanks you guys too. And! For the one that James & I will get to have someday. They are the ones I am most excited for.
13. Gyms. Thank goodness everyone convinced me to get one pretty much as soon as I got here. I have been going a LOT and I am feeling better & better. It's awesome to feel like a strong ox!....Well I mean I'm sure it will be. Once I get there. :)
14. Skype. Thank you, you beautiful piece of work. Now I can hang out with my loved ones from across the country!! Seriously. I'd DIE without you......Seriously.
15. Showers. And hot baths. I'm pretty sure there's nothing better than washing away your day or having a fresh start in the morning than with a hot shower..or bath. Mmm.
16. College. Specifically, BYU-Idaho. It's astonishing how much I miss college. I think about it every single day. I miss everything, everyone...everything about it. Yes! Even little Rexburg, with all its LDS, smallest college town charm. A word of advice? You soak in every single day. Whether it's the best or worst day ever--remember that this is the only time in your life you get to have these experiences. Pounding your head against the wall, studying until your eyes fall out, and then laughing about it the next day with your roommates who are going through the same thing. I miss it so much. I wish I could be in college forever.

Well, that was really fun!! It's great to count your blessings outloud every now & then. I really am so lucky for everything I have. I love that each day is my own. I can do whatever I want with it. And that, I will never take for granted.

Monday, October 7, 2013

things just got real.

[I'm giving up on the one-two word post titles. They were a lame idea in retrospect. When do I ever have only one or two words to say about something?]

Can I get a little real with you for a second? Living in Florida is in the top 3 hardest trials I have ever gone through in my entire life.

I know, I know. I obviously have a LOT to be thankful for so I really don't know feel like I have grounds to say anything. I have a great in-law family that really tries to include me in every single thing and has tried to make this as easy as possible. And I have a great ward to be a part of and now a great job that I will be starting soon. (Oh, did I tell you I got a job? More on that in my last post) I am surrounded by gorgeous greenery everywhere I look and we are moving into our temporary home in a couple of weeks! (Again, watch for that post!)

But I have come to the realization that Florida will never be home. And that scares me a little bit. I have never ached for something so much in my whole life. I thought I was homesick my very first semester of college? Ha! And it always hits me at night. I cry a LOT at night thinking about home, missing everything about California and everything I am missing there. My nephews & niece growing up so fast that soon I will just be the weird aunt they seen like once a year. My mom giving me much needing babying consoling and advice while we stay up all night long. Laughing with my dad about hilarious things he says that I know for a fact other people might find offensive, but feeling like I'm still his little girl. And of course, my sisters. My very best friends in this entire world and the only ones I really can be my total and complete self with. Yeah, I miss home so much I almost can't breathe.

All through out my teenage years, I always told myself that leaving home was going to be so easy and that I couldn't wait until I got to be an adult and make my own rules. I dreamed of it....I was so naive. After high school and when I really did leave home for college, that homesick feeling was always masked because I knew it was enough time in between going and staying--never there too long to take it for granted, but never in Idaho too long to actually feel overwhelmingly homesick. Even up until I was married, I was sure that I was going to be just fine. Just James & I making a home together. But sadly, I'm starting to feel like my mom was right. It's really strange to be in a place where your husband has been here since toddlerhood and knows everyone and so everyone knows him, but he is the only person I have known here longer than a full month. So when everyone you do see & know work while you are jobless, you find your days are pretty dang lonely. I have tried to keep myself busy, but there are only so many things you can do.

I really didn't mean for this to be a totally depressing blog post. I was just listening to a conversation about the San Diego temple and suddenly I found myself in that familiar flood of emotions. I would never mean to feel this way, but I was ever so slightly offended! What the heck, right?! It was a joke about how the temple is a little weird in its layout, which I'm sure to other people who have grown up going to other temples, it is.

But that is my temple. The temple I went & did baptisms for the very first time. The first time I went up to the wedding exit and wrote in my journal about going in someday, and then actually going through that very same exit years later. That's the temple all of my best friends and sister were married in. That's the temple where I was sealed to my sweetheart for time & all eternity. The eternity that begins with our life together here in Florida. And although it literally shreds my heart every time I think about California, and especially when I have to hold back tears when my mom weeps over the fact that we will only see each other a very small amount of times a year...I'm really trying to do what's right. And I think Heavenly Father knows that. He's given me signals that He is there and listening to every tear-filled prayer at night. I know He's watching out for James & I and I'm sure part of it is because of this sacrifice. And I do know that there will always be one person by my side, who just happens to be the greatest guy I have ever known and the person I love on this earth more than anything in the whole wide world. He is my first thought in everything and my first priority and I want nothing more than to make James eternally happy & grateful to be my husband.

I found this little quote very comforting tonight.
"I like to tell a young couple who are being married that in the marriage relationship they ought to look first to one another, as they do across the altar during their marriage not first to their parents, not first to their siblings, not first to their friends, but in solving all of their problems, they should look first to one another, because the unity between them under the presiding, loving authority of a Heavenly Father in that triangle… is what will get them over the inevitable problems of marriage." --Elder Oaks, Round table discussion, 2008 Leadership Training Meeting: Building Up a Righteous Posterity.
I know and believe that with all my heart. I don't know what our life has in store for us. It may take us somewhere else, it might lead us to raise our family here for the rest of our lives. But I promised to honor my husband and share every part of my life with him, so that is what I am going to do. I refuse to break that promise and I know that because I love & trust in a very very loving and patient Heavenly Father, He'll take care of us. "After all, there is the promise of 'good things to come.' "