October 6, 2015

come listen to a prophet's voice

This past weekend I had the always wonderful opportunity to listen to and attend the 185th Semi-Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I saw and heard our beloved prophet and apostles give their powerful messages over the pulpit. Social media flooded with quotes from every single talk, the hashtag #ldsconf was trending worldwide, and thousands of members paid homage to Mecca aka Temple Square to gather and watch conference together. As hard as it is to narrow down everything that I learned from conference and which of the talks I heard were my favorite, the topic that is still on my mind is one that actually came from a blog post I stumbled upon at the conclusion of the weekend. Greg Trimble's post entitled: "President Monson...I Wish I Could Have Come and Held You Up" caught my attention. My exact thoughts were written so eloquently, you might as well just go and read it HERE. 

One of the talks that had a similar and equally powerful message was by Elder David A. Bednar, who explained why "indeed it is wonderful to have older men of such spiritual maturity and judgement serving in the senior leadership positions of the restored church of Jesus Christ." Over the years, there has been a lot of criticism concerning the leaders of our church, and how it seems to be run by 'old men.' Elder Bednar makes so many valid points about this, and you can hear all of them HERE.

What I'm getting at with this article and this talk is that these men have been called of God. We need to remember that there is a reason they are seated on the stand, and as faithful members of the church, we should love them, sustain them, and pray for them. What made me the saddest after reading that article and listening to Elder Bednar's talk was thinking about all the people who openly criticize these leaders, whether it be through social media, or attending conference and opposing these kind and gentle old men in person as they raise their hands in opposition. People need to realize what it actually means to be a general authority of the church. Not that I have any experience, but there is nothing glamorous about it. They travel the world for most of the year and live in hotel rooms more than their actual home. They leave their wives and families to visit with members, leaders, and missionaries from around the world, all of which look to them for spiritual guidance and knowledge. Once you are called as an apostle, you are dedicating the remainder of your life to serving the church.
President Thomas S. Monson was called as an apostle at the age of 36. That means that for over 50 years, he has been in a leadership position of a global church with over 15 million members. I think we all could see how much this calling has aged him and worn him out as our hearts broke watching him struggle just to speak on the podium this past weekend. Can you even imagine the burdens he faces on a regular day? Just consider what he has gone through in the recent past: his beloved wife Frances died leaving him a widow, he's had to call upon new apostles as three of his dear friends passed away in a matter of months, he stands back and watches the deteriorating morals of society effecting the members of the church, and on top of that, as president of the church, millions are looking to him for comfort and to lift their spirits, when I think sometimes he needs it most of all.

I have a testimony of a living prophet in our church. I believe that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today, and God speaks through him, and through his counselors and apostles to address the world with His message. D&C 1:38 states "Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."  These amazing men are called of God because they have the maturity, years of experience, and spiritual knowledge that only someone of their age posseses. As much backlash our church gets for having these men in leadership positions, I know they are the best men for the job. I look forward to hearing them speak every six months, and I am grateful for the sacrifices that they and their families make for the well-being of the members around the world.

I know this wasn't like anything that I normally post on here, but I definitely do not share my testimony as much as I should, and I am trying to improve on that! I just want someone (out of the five of you readers) to know that I do love this Gospel and it is the biggest blessing in my life. I honestly do not know where I would be without it, or without the counsel, love, and support I receive from my church leaders and teachers. The church is true! Go watch all of conference HERE!
"Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other" 
-Thomas S. Monson

October 2, 2015

i could dance to this beat

Hiiiii remember me and how I said I had a bajillion things to blog about from the month of August? Here's the last of it, I promise. After our perfect wedding weekend and our equally perfect honeymoon in Kaua'i, we flew to California for honeymoon week pt. 2 if you will, before starting real life in Provo. It started off with a few days of recuperating, followed by a day in San Diego, a day in L.A., and concluded with our open house. I just got all the pictures back from our open house, so I figured this was as good a time as any to talk about all of it.

After fighting off the jet-lag for two days, we decided it was time to leave the house. The San Diego Temple was high up there on my list of temples I want to visit, so our first day consisted of just that. We went for an endowment session in the early afternoon and it was completely empty. Considering it was an August day in California, we were pretty surprised. Shouldn't there be weddings going on left and right? Well, lucky for us we got the whole place to ourselves which was a really cool experience, plus we got a private tour of the sealing rooms. That temple is, in my opinion, the second prettiest temple of our church. Nothing beats D.C. though. Obviously ;) The architect is actually Catholic, which makes total sense because it is the most castle/cathedral-like of all our temples today. Similar to the D.C. Temple, it just pops up out of nowhere as you're driving on the freeway and is the most stunning and regal site.
 The next day was spent in L.A. as I anxiously awaited the main event of the week...Taylor Swift's 1989 tour at the Staples Center!!! (Hence this blog post title being T-swift lyrics. But which one?! 10 points to Gryffindor if you can finish them). It is a very long and convoluted story as to how I miraculously got my hands on a ticket the day before the concert, so HMU if you want to hear about it. In the meantime, we stopped by to play at the The Getty Center. This place is an architectural marvel. I was honestly more captivated by the buildings themselves than the actual artwork inside. And I'm a museum lover, so that is saying something! After walking around for a few hours, we hit up a chic little Thai-Japanese fusion restaurant in Santa Monica and then I said goodbye to Drew as he dropped me off at the Staples Center to party with Tay all by myself. Thanks Dad!! Seriously though, Drew earned so many dad points that night. Luckily he spent the majority of the concert hanging out with some old friends who live in L.A., but having to navigate back to pick me up amidst the insane post-concert traffic must have been brutal. It brought me back to the days of my own daddy dropping us (me, Ynna, and whichever friends came with us) off at Jonas Brothers concerts and having to kill three hours before picking us up again. So sorry guys. Good thing I married someone so patient and kind who knew how much attending this concert meant to me :)
But about the concert...it was such a party and I loved every second of it. Here's the thing, I have a weird relationship with Taylor where I actually think she'd be extremely annoying in person. Her girl next door, adorkable, gift-giving, cat-loving persona seems a little more forced each day, but I still love her and her music and her glam squad of friends. Say what you will about her, but she's a genius in the industry. Not to mention the fact that she puts on a great show. I've never witnessed so many pyrotechnics, moving stages, back-up dancers, or costume changes in one concert. It didn't even matter that I was dancing and singing by myself, THAT'S how much fun I had. I did however wish I had my mom or Ynna sitting next to me (the biggest T-swift fans I know), but I'm glad that by the end of the 1989 tour, we can all say we were in attendance at one of her shows in our respective cities.

The real reason we were in California was to get everything ready for our open house which took place in the Tekulve's backyard. Besides our families, we had so many people come to help during the day to set up and it was all thanks to them that it turned out so beautifully. It was such a pleasant evening meeting so many of Drew's friends from his home ward or high school that I had heard so much about before. It was so awesome to see everyone that wasn't able to attend the wedding come by to offer their love and support for us! *Bonus*: it gave me another excuse to wear my wedding dress <3
All open house pictures by Kylie Chevalier

Welp, that concludes my stories about August and all the craziness and happiness that it was. Definitely the best summer of my life thus far. Thanks for reading and hopefully I'll have some fabulous upcoming posts all about ~*newlywed wife*~ so stay tuned if you're into that kind of thing.