Conference. EASTER. Carter. Life. and sparkling water.

Lovely title, right?
It's been way too long since I wrote (I know, just a few weeks really, but it seems like forever). Things are just getting busy with the semester wrapping up. Then I had spring break, where I hardly even thought about computers for a week. And then this last weekend was conference and Easter, and saying goodbye to Carter... so I haven't really been thinking about blogging lately.
But now I'm back at school, and am having the hardest time doing homework. Actually, I'm having the hardest time doing anything. I really just want to curl up with a blanket and some of my Easter treat--SPARKLING WATER while listening to country music or oldies. But I really should be doing homework. So much will be due in the next week, and I really need to get crackin'. But oh how hard i it is for me to focus right now!
And so, I thought I'd write a post. Because I have important things to write about--Conference, Easter, Carter, life in general, and sparkling water are all worth talking about, and it seems a good day to do just that. Also, Carter's leaving in two days. And it's only fair to let him read at least one more blog post before he leaves. So really, this is for him ;) (although I think he just reads this out of pity so I feel like someone cares to read this...)

So to start... Conference was GRRRRRREAT! (said with a slight growl just like Tony the Tiger). Really though, wasn't it amazing? It really is such an amazing blessing that we can hear the words of a prophet and apostles called specifically for this time. It is such a comfort to know that they have been inspired to speak on things pertaining to our current struggles--that those words are what our Heavenly Father wants us to hear right NOW in our lives. Conference is wonderful.
And what about all those talks on family and marriage? I don't think it would happen by chance that so many simply thought to speak on that... pretty sure it's all based on revelation. And for that I am so grateful.
Wasn't it also so lovely to have conference over Easter as well? It was just perfect. Win-win! :) What could be better than celebrating the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ while hearing His chosen prophets testify of Him. It truly was amazing. May I just say that I am so grateful for this gospel? It truly is a blessing. I can't begin to describe how grateful I am that I was born into a family that already had this knowledge, and that I was able to gain a testimony for myself--and that I am able to continue to exercise faith and grow that testimony! The gospel is true. :)

And then there was the not-quite-so-fun part of this weekend. It was hard and yes I may have cried a little bit, but I am so glad that Carter has decided to serve a mission and that he is leaving in two days. For two years. It's kind of crazy for me to think about, and pretty unreal and difficult for me to comprehend... it hasn't quite set in yet that he is actually leaving.
Yes, I'll miss him tons. More than tons actually. But soon enough I'll be heading out on my own eighteen month mission, and I won't have to think about missing him anymore :) Plus I know this is what the Lord wants him to do, so I'm content with that knowledge. I actually started writing a post the other day... I didn't plan to publish it, but it was easier to type than actually write in my journal. I was basically just planning on writing a kind of mopey post saying how much I'd miss Carter. But I amazed myself with what the post turned into. When I finished rambling and thought about all I'd written I realized it wasn't mopey at all, but that it was full of hope. Here's what I wrote the other day:
(I had been listening to the Vocal Point- "Lead Thou Me On" songs--possibly my favorite album ever. Even more than country music).

It (the Vocal Point CD) makes me think of my Savior. Of His Atonement and the love He has for me. It helps me to realize the reality and miracle of the Atonement and the fact that whatever pains I might feel now for whatever reason--the pain of Carter leaving, stresses of school, family relationships, or whatever else--that my Savior Jesus Christ has felt those pains. And he is here for me through them all. It doesn't matter what happens. It doesn't matter that Carter has to leave for two years, or even if we somehow couldn't be together. Whatever my trial, IT DOES NOT MATTER. My Savior is with me, my Heavenly Father has a plan for me. 
Like John 14:18 says, "I will not leave you comfortless"
He is here. He has felt all of my pains, sorrows, and also my joys. He loves Carter even more than I do! He understands with a perfect understanding the pain I will feel at saying goodbye to Carter. My Heavenly Father knows what I need. He will not leave me comfortless but will bring me the strength and courage that I need. He has a plan for me and if I keep His commandments and show my love for Him, I will be guided in the direction to fulfill that plan. It doesn't matter what I think is most important or what seems to be of the greatest importance. He knows what I need. He knows what we all need. If I follow him with obedience and faith I can be sure of his guidance in the direction I need to go.
It's hard for me to realize now the lack of eternal significance certain things in life hold. Yes, two years seems a long time to be away from Carter, but is it really that significant in eternity's view? Does it really matter? Not really. Realizing that gives me some of the necessary strength to hold on and wait these upcoming two years.
Isn't it interesting how the gospel works? How the truths of the gospel have their way of sneaking into every aspect of life?
I hadn't thought at all to write a gospel-related post. I honestly kind of intended to ramble and mope a bit, and then to hide this post among other blog posts, leaving it unpublished for only my own memory or maybe Carter's in a few years. But then it felt necessary to tie in my Savior and His Atonement as I talked of the lovely Vocal Point CD... and then it just took off. I guess I wrote what I needed to hear. I'm sure that writing of the atonement and the comfort granted by the Savior has brought me much greater comfort and solace than would an hour of writing about my heartache ;) The knowledge that I will miss Carter is still there, but the heartache is honestly gone. The tears are gone. My eyes are dry, and the only pain is that in my mouth and a slight headache from my lovely wisdom teeth. Writing this has brought me peace. And isn't that what the gospel-the "good news"- is all about ? Isn't that the beautiful reason of the Atonement, of the love our Savior and Heavenly Father have for us? I love this gospel! It is my source of comfort and strength when I have moments like this. When I feel down for whatever reason it may be. If I didn't have the gospel, where would I turn in these moments of pain and loneliness? [putting aside the fact that Carter wouldn't be leaving for two years in the first place if we didn't have the gospel ;) although then again, I wouldn't have met him in the first place if not for seminary... :)]  But really though. Where would I turn? The knowledge of my Savior, the knowledge that I can repent, that I have a place of solace in times of trial is the greatest comfort I could ever ask for. The gospel is true. It is such a huge blessing. And I am so grateful for my knowledge and testimony of the Savior.

So now for maybe just a quick moment. Carter is leaving. In 9 days. In 6 days I'm saying goodbye to him for the next 2 years. He's leaving on a mission. He's leaving to serve his Father in Heaven, to bring others unto his savior, Jesus Christ. To help others to gain a testimony but to also build and improve upon his own. And how it will grow in that time! I love the quote that says
Missionary: Someone who leaves their family for two years so others can be with their families for eternity.
This is one of the big things which makes me so eager to serve. I want to bring others to the knowledge of and belief in Christ so they can be sealed to their families for eternity. So they can experience the joy and love and peace of the gospel. This is what Carter will be doing for the next two years, and this is why I'm willing to part with him for that time. If the gospel weren't true, I don't know that anything else could bring me to separate myself from him for that time. But it is true! And I want the rest of the world to know it.
So yes, I'll miss Carter and yes it may be hard at times. But I am so happy that he and I both will have the opportunity to serve missions at the same time. It truly is a blessing which I am so grateful for.
I keep getting back on spiritual topics. No matter how hard I try to get back on the topic of Carter ;) I guess this is really meant to be a more spiritual post than I planned :) I guess that's alright ;)
I honestly am so grateful that we will both be able to serve missions though. I am so excited for Carter to begin his mission experience and to hear about those experiences he has. I'm excited to see the growth and the increased strength he has after serving for two years of his life. I'm perhaps even more excited to get my own call though, and to head out and serve. The gospel is true and I want the world to know.
Now that I've expressed all that lovely spiritual stuff, I really can't quite remember all the mopey things I was going to otherwise say. Yes I love Carter. Yes I am able to be my complete self with him, perhaps more than with anyone else I've known. Yes he's the one I can cry to and laugh with, and talk to about even the most awkward things. But does a two year mission have to change those things? No, it doesn't have to and I don't plan on it happening. I think these two years will do more good than harm to our relationship. We will both grow in the Lord and become better people than we are now. I truly believe this. That if we are both the best missionaries we can be and if we both serve with our whole heart, might, mind, and strength, we will be rewarded for it. We will be better. Stronger. Happier. And I think we'll also have greater love for others as well as each other. Making everything else altogether better as well :). So why do I need to feel pain at him leaving? Yes it will be hard, especially at first I'm sure. But I know this is what we are meant to do at this time in our lives. Now isn't the time to be together. Now is the time to serve the Lord, and that is just what we will do!
Moping or feeling sad won't change the things we face right now. It won't change the fact that I know Carter is doing the right thing. It won't change anything, or make me feel any better. So instead, here I write a lovely post centered instead on Christ and the service Carter will be dedicated to for the next two years of his life (as well as the rest of his life :). The gospel is true. Christ lives and the Atonement is real. A mission is only two years and I'll get over the pain through Christ who strengthens me. I love this gospel, I love my Savior, I love my Heavenly Father, I love life. :) :) :)

So there's my lovely spiel on Carter and the wonderful gospel from the other day... really after writing this all out I was able to feel such a strong peace. We're doing now what we're meant to do now, and that's good enough fore me :)
Life is great. The gospel is great. Conference, Easter, and the Atonement. Oh, and Carter :)

And.... SPARKLING WATER. I will forever be indebted to my trip to France, which converted me over to sparkling water... it. is. glorious. It's more exciting than water, but not unhealthy. It's great. :)

So yes, conference, Easter, Carter, life, and sparkling water... what could constitute a better post? ;)

And then just a couple Easter pictures...

putting our faces down by the Easter baskets... :)

Duck Bills!

And then som efinal picture with Carter... :)

I had my hair in piggy tails because it's Carter's favorite ;)

And these cute guys headed off to priesthood... it was so cute seeing them all piled up in the van! :)

:) :) :) Good luck Carter! :) :) :)


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