This page has moved to a new address.

The Heart of Life

The Heart of Life: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Married Mormon Girl Problems

Ok, it's only one problem, but lately on Pinterest and Twitter people are into naming problems for a specific group of people. For example, "Skinny kid problem #477: The day you forget to wear a belt someone tries to pull your pants down." Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes I don't get it. Whatever. It's hot right now.

Married Mormon Girl Problems

#1. If you miss church, the ward assumes you've got morning sickness.

I had a cold this past week, and it decided to go from bad to worse on Sunday, so I couldn't go to church. My husband told some people I was sick, but didn't get the chance to explain to all of them that I had a cold. Undoubtedly, there are probably a few people now entertaining the idea of a pregnant Lindsey. Nope. No pregnant Lindsey. Just a coughing and sniffling Lindsey.

Once marriage hits, gone are the days of innocent sickness or strange behavior. The assumed reason for every ailment or oddity is pregnancy. You mention that you can't get enough pickles lately, and suddenly the other person's eyes bulge and in their mind erupts the word PREGNANT. You mention you're tired. PREGNANT! You're not hungry. PREGNANT! Your stomach growls. PREGNANT! Of course, it's usually not said out loud. But are they thinking it? You bet.

Because we're in a married student ward, pregnancy runs rampant throughout the ward. When I say rampant, I mean RAMPANT. There are babies everywhere. Don't get me wrong, they are adorable. I love babies. A lot. The tiny-ness is absolutely irresistible. But I've figured out what happens when you love on the babies too much. People get thinking you have this unquenchable thirst for baby, and that this thirst can only be quenched by parenthood. Then they ask when you're going to start having kids.

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like this question is a little too personal. Beginning parenthood is a pretty sacred and personal thing, and yet this question gets thrown around so casually. I think the decision of when to start a family is completely between a husband, a wife, and God. Nobody else needs to know the details.

Maybe I'm wrong, but before God created Adam I really doubt anybody asked Him, "So...when are you going to start working on Adam?" Or, "You've been working on Earth for a while... aren't you getting kind of Adam-hungry?" Regardless of whether or not He was actually asked that, it wouldn't have mattered because God has a plan and a specific timetable for that plan. God waited until our earthly home was absolutely complete, then He took the next step and created Adam. He did things when the time was right, and not a second before.

In my mind, God's creation of man is very similar to the creation of our own families. Just as the Earth was created first, a marriage must first be created. After the earth was created, it was filled with beautiful landscapes, plants, and animals. Every last detail was taken care of by God. Likewise, after a marriage is created, it needs to be developed and beautified. I'm not saying that a marriage should be perfect before kids can come along--people would never get to the point where they could have kids! What I'm saying is, there should be a period of growth. For some couples this period of growth might be years, and for others it could be 9 months. It is entirely up to the couple and God as to how long this period should be. We don't know how long it took God to prepare Earth for man--it might have been a matter of hours or perhaps billions of years. But it doesn't really matter how long it took; God took as much time as He thought was appropriate.

After the earth was prepared and the time was right, man was created--the masterpiece of all his creations! Creating man was God's main goal and His crowning gem, but it required a process. Parenthood is the same way--one of the main goals in life is to multiply and replenish the earth, and it very well could be one of the greatest things we accomplish. But it requires a process. It happens when it's supposed to happen. And that's all there is to it.


Saturday, January 21, 2012


I've decided that posting on random tangents isn't really working for me, so I'm going to have monthy themes. Seeing as I've already vented about wedding gifts, this month's theme is marriage.

I've never been a fan of sharing a bed. During my childhood I was lucky enough to be the sole occupier of my twin bed. However, during family vacations I was usually called upon to share a bed with one of my siblings. My siblings were notoriously awful bed-mates. They kicked. They stole all the covers. They snored. They talked in their sleep. It was never a delightful experience. Sharing a bed with friends while on school trips was less annoying, but definitely just as uncomfortable. There was this weird anxiety of bumping into each other during the night, so both parties stayed as close to their own edge of the bed as physically possible.

Then marriage came along. I was expecting to have a much better experience than I'd had with my siblings or friends. I mean, how hard could it be to share a bed with your one true love? It turned out to be much harder than I'd expected. Much like my siblings, my husband snores, talks in his sleep, and hogs the covers.

I'm not saying that I'm the perfect bed-mate. One night I had a dream I was being robbed, and in my dream I went to punch this robber. I woke up right as I half-heartedly punched my husband in the arm. He thought I was crazy. There have also been multiple times when I've started talking to him in my sleep and realized in the middle that I was asleep and not making sense.

The first month or so of being married every little sound or movement from him woke me up just because I wasn't used to it. Thus, I'd wake up several times during the night. I'd always be a little disoriented, and when I couldn't figure out why I was awake, I would assume I needed to go to the bathroom. Some nights I got up to go to the bathroom two or three times. Every time I got up he would wake up and ask if I was ok. Neither of us got too much sleep while this was going on. Thankfully, it only happens a couple times a week now and he's learned to sleep through it.

When I was single I would occasionally wake up in the middle of the night super disoriented, so I'd play games on my ipod until I was tired again, then I'd go back to sleep. It's happened a lot more since getting married, so the poor guy has to put up with my bright ipod screen glowing from beneath the covers once or twice a week.

Ok, I exaggerated a little about my husband's nighttime faults. He doesn't snore very often, and when he does, a little nudge will usually make him stop. Also, he never completely steals the covers, and the amount he does steal is actually pretty convenient. I get kind of hot in the early hours of the morning and he makes sticking one leg out of the covers a piece of cake.

Really, the only thing I have a hard time dealing with is the sleep walking and sleep talking (which only gets bad when he's stressed). It's creepy. He's only sleep walked once since we've been married (to my knowledge), and I slept through the whole thing. He told me the next day that he went outside and woke up when he realized it was raining. Ever since then, I get really nervous every time he gets out of bed in the middle of the night. I sit up with my ears strained, ready to jump out of bed in the event that I hear the front door open. One night he decided to go sleep out on the couch without telling me, and I laid there for about an hour terrified that he was sleep walking around the house before I got the nerve to go check on him.

Thankfully, my husband's sleep walking is nothing compared to my grandpa. I'm told that as newlyweds he and my grandma had an argument about how to arrange the furniture in their bedroom. In the end my grandma got her way. However, that night my grandpa got up and moved the furniture to how he wanted it--all in his sleep. I can just imagine my grandma waking up to her new husband moving the bed across the room.

Now, my husband's sleep talking gets kind of disturbing sometimes. It wouldn't be so bad if I was completely awake while it was happening, but that's usually not the case. One second I'm dead asleep, and the next I'm awake and trying to figure out what he's going off about.

One night he sat up in bed, and stared intently up at the ceiling fan. When I asked what was wrong, he eerily replied, "It's spinning faster." He immediately laid back down and went back to sleep. I stared at the ceiling fan for another five or ten minutes trying to figure out if it really was spinning faster.

Another night he sat up in bed and frantically pointed at the wall, "Can you see it?"
"See what?" I asked, trying to wake myself up.
"That!" He continued to point.
"What?" I continued to ask. "What? A bug? An animal?" It went on like this for a little while.
"You can't see the picture?!" he finally asked with desperate urgency.
"Yes, I see the picture. It's been there for months," I replied, puzzled.
"Good. I'm not crazy." He went back to sleep.
I sat there wide-eyed for the next ten minutes wondering if I'd married a legitimately crazy person.

I've gotten much better at playing along with his sleep talking. One night he asked, "Why do you keep doing that?"
"Doing what?"
"Checking your schedule all the time," he responded.
"I do?" I asked.
"Yeah. It says you're going sledding."
I chuckled—-it was September. “Oh, is it snowing?"
"No," he answered. "That's why it's so creepy."
"That is creepy," I said, then went back to sleep.

Every once in a while he compliments me in his sleep. He once told me, "You're like sleeping beauty because you're sleeping and you're pretty." Needless to say, I'm always ok with that kind of sleep talking.

Sharing a bed definitely isn't always fun. Sometimes it's annoying. Sometimes it's terrifying. Sometimes it's exhausting. But regardless of how rough the night was, every morning I wake up next to him, and somehow it doesn't really matter what he did that night--it doesn't matter if he talked in sleep, snored, or stole my covers. The only important thing is that we woke up together.

This concept has a lot of parallels with marriage in general. Sharing your life with another person has its annoying or hard moments--they really can't be avoided. But when it all boils down, it doesn't really matter if we don't agree on everything or if things don't go the way we wanted. We get to do eternity together, and that's an amazing thing.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wedding Gifting

The other night we had our new neighbors over to play Five Crowns (It's like Phase 10 but soooo much better and faster). Because we are all newlyweds, it didn't take long for the conversation to turn to wedding gifts. We all vented a little bit (perhaps more than a little) on this topic, and after asking myself, "What were they thinking?" many times, I've decided to give a few suggestions on the do's and never do's of wedding gifting.

Before I begin my rant I want to make this clear. All gifts are thoughtful, even if they aren't well thought out. The fact that someone took the time to pick out a gift, wrap it, and bring it to a reception or our parents' house is really admirable. We received a ton of gifts, and it improved the quality of our lives in a big way. We got so many cool kitchen appliances and accessories! Cooking is so fun when you have all the right tools! When I was single, there was more than once that I wanted to make something, then realized that I didn't have a mixing bowl to make it in. Or the right sized pan to cook it in. Gifts are a life-saver!

However, givers should keep in mind that couples are receiving a LOT of gifts all at once, and often receive multiples of items. Here are a few examples of gifts couples end up tearing their hair out over:

1. Tupperware. Don't ever give couples tupperware. Let them pick out their own tupperware. Here's why--I think we got seven sets of tupperware. When you get seven sets of tupperware, you absolutely have to return some. No newlywed has room to store seven sets of tupperware. Thus, you figure out what sets you can return--three of them. Booyah. (But be careful, because Walmart only lets you return things without a receipt three times in a six month period. After that they assume you're stealing things.) Usually your favorite set of the seven is one of the returnable variety, but there is no sense in keeping it, as you have four other sets you cannot return. At this point, it's not about what you like, it's about what you can't get rid of, so you end up using a few of the sets you don't like so much. If you do eventually find the origins of one of the sets of tupperware, usually that product is no longer available and they have reduced the receipt-less return price of the $15-$20 gift to the lowest clearance price--$4.99. At that point it isn't worth returning.

2. Crockpots. Our neighbors got eight of them. We only got four, but it's the same principle as the tupperware. Typically, you return what you can return, and use or regift what's left over. We got two large crockpots, and I made the mistake of keeping the one I registered for at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The lure of a crockpot in which the lid could be latched on was absolutely irresistible. However, I never could return the other big crockpot, so the rejected crockpot is sitting in the box in a closet. I should have ignored the frills of the returnable crockpot and stuck to the much simpler one that takes up so much space in the closet. Just let couples get their own crockpot.

3. Personalized books. You know--writing something on the inside cover of a book. Unless, of course, it's signed by the author. I could deal with that. We got a book that we already owned (I'd bought a used copy from Amazon several months before), so I went into Deseret Book to exchange it for something else. All went well until they opened the front cover. Signed. By the giver of the book. Did they leave a personal note saying something like, "Congratulations on your marriage."? Nope. Just a signature. Needless to say, Deseret Book doesn't let you return books that are signed. Never write anything on the inside of a book. In the event that they already have that book, the recipient has no way of turning the money you spent on them into something they will cherish.

4. Appliances without the box. Our neighbors told us about a pretty clever gift they received--a waffle iron with all the ingredients and fixings for waffles. Fabulous idea. However, in order to make the gift more visually appealing, the giver took the waffle iron out of its box. It was a creative gift, but unfortunately our neighbors already had a waffle iron. Because the waffle iron was missing its box, they were not able to return it. There's always the option of keeping multiples around for when the other waffle iron breaks, but considering how quickly appliances improve at more affordable prices, chances are by the time their current waffle iron breaks, the one they set aside for later will be pretty dated. They would probably be able to buy a cooler waffle iron for less than what the original giver paid for the saved waffle iron. Returning a gift and putting the money in a savings account and buying a new waffle iron when you need a new waffle iron is just way more economically intelligent. The bottom line is, if something is worth more than maybe $5, NEVER do something to it that makes it unreturnable.

5. Expired items. This one isn't a very big deal, but I thought I'd mention it while I was on the subject. We got a lot of cake mixes paired with cake pans or mixing bowls. This is a pretty good gift idea (keeping in mind that the pans or bowls should be easily returnable). However, as I was putting the cake mixes away in my cupboard, I happened to glance at the expiration date. Nearly all had expired roughly a year ago. I'll still use them because I don't think there's anything too dangerous about expired cake mixes, but it still irks me a tiny bit. I don't have a problem with people giving things from their pantry as gifts. I can understand that someone wouldn't want to pick up a cake mix at the store (especially when they aren't on sale) when they know that they already had a good stock of cake mixes at home. However, it just seems polite to check the expiration date first.

Now that I'm done ranting, here are some pretty bullet-proof gift ideas:

1. Anything with a gift receipt. In the event that the couple already has that item, it will streamline the returning process. It saves the couple time in determining where the item came from, and it also ensures that the couple isn't reimbursed with less than you spent on them.

2. Anything from their registry. As far as kitchen appliances go, couples register for only what they need or want. If you buy something from a registry, you can rest assured that it's something they want. If they are forced to return the item you got them (because they got multiples they weren't able to return) you can also be confident that your gift can be returned super easily. If more people paid attention to registries, couples would get fewer repeats. The way registries work is once an item on the registry is purchased, it is taken off the registry so the couple doesn't get multiples. Even if you don't plan on purchasing something from the store they registered with, it's still a good idea to go online and look at their registry. If you see that they aren't registered for a toaster, chances are they do not need a toaster, so don't get them one. If you see that they registered for a popcorn popper, but you know you can get an identical one for a better price at a different store, go for it. Just make sure you include a gift receipt.

3. Those items you can't get too much of. We got a bucket filled with cleaning supplies--Windex, bathroom cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, furniture polish, paper towels, and sponges. We had some of the things already, but with this kind of stuff, it's perfectly ok. We won't need to buy cleaning supplies for a while, and that's awesome. Anything that everybody uses and everybody runs out of is a good kind of gift. Another good gift is baking essentials--flour, sugar, soda, salt, baking powder, chocolate chips, powdered sugar, etc. Anything that has a pretty long shelf life is a good gift, even if the couple isn't big into baking. Just don't give them stuff that is expired or will expire soon. Another good idea along these lines is to give them a 72 hour emergency food kit.

4. Gift cards. Gift cards are amazing. They don't take up very much space, and they never expire. A lot of grocery stores have a gift card kiosk with tons of options for gift cards. You can put money on the card as you check out with your groceries. How convenient is that? I think some people shun gift cards because they don't like the idea of the couple knowing exactly how much you spent on them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a $5 or $10 gift card. The couple doesn't have to return anything and it's 5 or 10 bucks saved on something the couple really wants or needs. It's a win-win situation. If you're ok with the couple using your money to buy groceries, go with a Smith's or Walmart gift card (couples love this when money gets a little tight). If you'd prefer they used it on something else, pick something different. We got a gift card to Chili's--essentially the giver bought us dinner. How great is that? We got a gift card to Seagull Book--I'm hoping to put it towards a nice framed picture. If you do pick a gift card that's more specialized, do your homework. Find out where the couple will be living and pick stores or restaurants that are in pretty close proximity to where the couple lives. Don't get them a gift card to P.F. Chang's if the nearest one is three hours away.

5. Money. You can never go wrong with money. Couples can use that money in so many different ways. Maybe they'll use it to go out to dinner. Maybe they'll use it to help pay off a student loan. Maybe they'll put it toward a vacation or car. We put all the money we got from our receptions into a savings account. We don't have any big plans for that money, so in the meantime we'll let it collect interest. Use your best judgment, though, when giving money. If you know the groom is a raging alcoholic, and you're worried about them using your money to buy beer, go with a gift card instead of money. However, most of the time your money will be put toward something worthwhile, even if it's just paying the utility bill.

Of course, my list of good ideas isn't comprehensive. Don't be afraid to get a little creative. There are lots of really good wedding gift ideas, and whatever you choose, the couple will be genuinely grateful that you thought to give them a gift. The main point is: Be oh so careful when buying wedding gifts. Be aware that they are getting a lot of stuff at once. Be aware that they have limited space to store gifts. Do that, and the couple will love you that much more.

Happy Gifting!