Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
With Lots of Love,
Jen and Renae
By the way Renae's blog address is: Renae Today.
Her conversion story is amazing and crazy all at the same time. Missionaries had moved into town and she was asking questions. I invited her to church. The rest took off from there. To say her family was against her joining the church is the understatement of all time. They threatened to put a restraining order against me. Our whole town was involved. My mother could not go to the post office without being harassed. The day Jen was baptized, all of the local churches joined together in prayer to save Jen's soul. Those are just a few highlights.
After high school Jen went off to Snow College in Utah. I went to the University of Northern Colorado. On long weekends I would drive to Utah to visit for a weekend. One summer we got together in St. George, Utah and drove to Vegas for a day. After a couple years in Utah and Colorado, we both ended up back in New York for a summer. Then, I went back to CO, to live in CO Springs with friends, while she went off to Australia to be a nanny. That year, both of us received our endowments, her in New York, and I in Colorado. Somehow again, we both ended up in New York for the summer. Jen was engaged to a member of the church in Australia but was having problems getting back to be with him. I was on my way to Southern Virginia University to finish up my music degree.
Before I left for VA, it was official, Jen had decided to leave the church. To this day I can not express in words how I felt for the first few months after she made this decision. But, I did understand. Her family had never accepted her faith, in fact they had disowned her. The engagement to her fiance in Australia had been broken. Life stunk for her! It was too much.
Jen and I have been friends since middle school. We have known each other since second grade. Though the gospel was a HUGE part of our friendship, it wasn't everything. And so we continued to be the best of friends. Sometimes it was easier and sometimes it was much harder. There were times when I wouldn't here from her in a while. That was when I knew she was doing poorly and experiencing her own trials and hardships. Other times we'd talk several times a day with our Verizon wireless minutes about relationships etc...
In 2005 I met my husband. When he came to visit she was the first to meet him and loved him. She told him if he ever hurt me, she'd kill him. She will too! When we became engaged, she was to be my maid of honor. I'll admit that was a hard time in our friendship, especially when she wasn't able to be there for my special day, but that's okay. And again, I understood.
I believe it was that year that she decided to join the military. When she went to boot camp I remember receiving letters from her, mentioning that her roommate was a member. She started showing interest in the church again. I was so excited. But it didn't last long enough.
I came to visit New York for a week when I was pregnant with Owen. She showed up at my parents to announce that she had just been married to a GI heading off to Iraq. That was kind of a hard time too.
Jason and I moved to New York when Owen was a baby. I remember one day calling Jen, having a really bad PMS day, crying, and she came to visit for the first time. Our lives couldn't be more different at that point. I had a temple marriage, was a stay at home mom, while my husband worked. We owned a home, actually two at that point. She was attending school, struggling with her husband being in Iraq, and definitely not active in the church. I think both of us at that point were struggling to find what we had left in common to keep our friendship alive.
I would pray and plead with my Father in Heaven to help me be an example and the best friend I could be. Watching Jen struggle was really wearing on me and I didn't know what else I could do. To help me with my own personal grieving process, I made a scrapbook of our years together as friends. I presented a copy to her for Christmas and kept one for myself. That was my last and final effort and rekindling what was left of our amazing friendship. I felt I had done all I could do.
Then it happened. I became pregnant with Adam. I told Jen immediately. One week later, Jen called sobbing. She was pregnant. Her husband was not happy (another extreme understatement). It was definitely unplanned and she had been using birth control. Our due dates were the same. And so it went.
The pregnancy was definitely divine intervention. We had something in common again, although this was my second and her first. Phone conversations occurred at least once a day. I was able to attend her first ultrasound appointment with her. We shopped and planned, and were crazy moody pregnant women together. Of course she delivered Bradley a week earlier than Adam was born, but they weighed the same exact thing and were a half an inch difference in height.
During the pregnancy Jen started to think about the church again. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but was SO EXCITED! After Bradley was born, Jason blessed him. She attended Adam's blessing. Jen was attending church. Her bishop called her to Young Women's Presidency.
Then Jen suffered a miscarriage. It was horrible. There seemed to be no support for her, especially from ward members, visiting teachers, home teachers etc... I was kind of upset about that.
Eventually Jen returned to church again though. To some this may not seem like anything big, but believe me it is. Jen's husband is a not a member. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, amongst other things, mostly caused by his time spent at war serving our country. Her parents still are around and even though they are far more supportive than they have been in the past, church is still a cause of contention. Then there is Bradley. She takes him with her each week. He is a toddler now. Anyone who has ever gone to church with a toddler, knows that chances of getting anything out of your meetings is slim, just because of the wrestle to keep the toddler from melting down. There are definite times I wonder why Jason and I try to go to church each week for that very same reason.
Anyways, Jen is still going to church. And a few weeks ago she surprised the pants off of me and asked if I would go to the temple with her. I knew she had been working REALLY hard to become temple worthy again, but had no idea she was completely ready. Of course I said YES!
The closest temple to us (45 minutes away) is the Palmyra Temple. Because it's small, we have to have all of our own temple clothing and packet. I helped Jen order hers online, (which is much more difficult that it should be) and watched her track the package each day. Last week it came and...
Saturday we went to the temple together for an endowment session for the first time ever. I tear up just thinking about it. What an amazing day! I think I cried tears of joy and anticipation for two days leading up to the event. In the car on the way to the temple I cried again. TEN YEARS!!! I couldn't believe this day was finally here. To sit together in the celestial room with my best friend... The one person I had shared the gospel with so long ago... The person who knows me better than anyone else... The person who has shared every up and down with me since before I was a teenager... The person I hitch hiked in Vegas with... The person who's friendship with me has endured almost every up and down imaginable...
The experience was beyond words.
Jen is such an example to me. Now that she is active, just like before, she's one of the most amazing, stalwart, and worthy members of the church I have ever known. You add that to how amazing and wonderful she already is without the gospel and I think I am the luckiest person alive. She's a one of kind friend. I know Heavenly Father had a lot do with our friendship and obviously has helped things along the way. We both know there's no getting rid of each other!
I LOVE YOU JEN!
That's Renae today!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Well I am waiting patiently, that by the way is not true. I am waiting VERY impatiently for my package from LDS Distribution Services to arrive. It's been years since I've been to the temple and the fact of the matter is I can't wait to go. So why this package? I'm waiting on the rest of my ceremonial clothing to arrive. The Palmyra Temple does not rent ceremonial clothing. I've been checking the FedEx Shipping number everyday, several times a day. Currently it's in New Berlin, Wisconsin. The estimated delivery date is the 2oth of this month....I know that's only five more days but I keep hoping and anticipating it will come earlier then that. I'm like a little kid waiting for Christmas and well patience is supposed to be a virtue. I guess I need to work on it. Anyone up for a temple trip? I want to wear out that recommend!
Friday, March 12, 2010
I have made a very important decision involving my family history....currently the decision is to work on it every Saturday during nap time (as long as nothing else is scheduled). I figure it would be a great start and then I can work on getting the names to the temple. I have not only my own family history to do but my husband's as well. This should be interesting and fun. Chris has shown a little interest in his geneology. We have the proper paperwork for this and now it's just moving forward with it. I'm excited to see what comes of it all. Wish me luck and hopefully I can be somewhat consistent at this compared to previous years.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
My father and I have always been close. When I was a little girl he used to push down on my head and say, "Can't you just stay this small forever. Don't get any bigger." Now that I have my own child I find myself thinking and saying that to him. Bradley is a lot of work and a lot of fun, but I look around and wonder where the last eighteen months have gone.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I graduated with my BA in Creative Writing. Now I'm a stay at home mom and turns out don't have nearly as much time to blog as I thought. My husband is still in school, so I'm left home alone quite a bit. Right now actually he should be home but has to study at school. I'm proud of him and this, well leaves me very lonely. When Chris is home, oftentimes he's upstairs studying or whatever the case is. Any free time he has I try to consume it all, or as much as possible. I really miss my husband.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
1. Have my house picked up by bedtime - some days are better then others, but it's slowly becoming more consistent, except for the weekends.
2. Lose 15 pounds - I'm only at losing two pounds, but I'm working at it slowly. I'm starting to run again (as of today) and I have decided I'm giving up sugary desserts, candies, etc. until Easter.
3. Eat a healthier diet - I definitely need to work on this one a lot. But starting with getting rid of those desserts is a good starting place for now.
4. Be more consistent at writing (blogging, writing on my own time) - I am being much more consistent on this one.
5. Finish the second children’s story - Haven't even looked at it again....
6. Work on getting the first children’s story published - haven't looked at this one either.
7. Spend about two hours a week working out (trust me it’s better then what I’m doing now) - It's been hit or miss on this one, but I'm starting to train for a 5K this month so it should pick up.
8. Keep an active journal - I have one entry for February. Clearly no excuse other then not making the time to do it.
9. Be consistent at Family Home Evening - we are doing much better at this, mostly once a week, although this week we did not.
10. Complete the first five chapters of my non-fiction book - I now have direction and am working on Chapter One as of earlier this week.
11. Make my bed everyday (or most days….right now it’s rare) - Almost every day.
12. Build up food storage - It's building slowly.
13. Allow my husband to make more of his own decisions where he will face the consequences himself, but hope he will recognize many or most of the decisions he makes will have a direct impact on our family (meaning me and Bradley and himself of course) - this is going well....nothing too exciting going on here.
14. Potty Train Bradley - this is still on hold.
15. Write an article for the Church - I have found the inspiration and actually wrote the rough draft a few nights ago.
16. This one is new.....Read the entire Ensign every month - I have not been doing this but if I can read an article every night, I think it will work just fine.
Well that's it for now. We have decided to rent our house now and we found a condo in Rome to live in. We can start moving our stuff down there by the end of March. I'm excited. We know what things we are going to start moving right away, which is pretty much our attic stuff and our basement stuff. Wish us luck!