13 November 2014

Grandma Mary

Most called her, "Mary." But I called her Grandma. I always thought of her as my Grandma. It's not that she was a replacement of Grandma Joan, but it's more of the way I felt about her. She was my Grandma. She was perfect. She was one of the sweetest, patient, giving, and most humble woman I had ever met.

She has been in my life for 15 years. We were pen-pals for a few years of those 15. Every time she would come and stay, her and Grandpa would come listen to me play the harp and the piano. They loved listening. On October 15, we laid Grandma Mary in the ground. It all happened so fast. One minute, she needed open heart surgery. Another minute she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Then, suddenly, she was gone. I am so worried about my poor gramps. She was the love of his life, and now he doesn't have her. Grandpa lost two wives. I hate watching people get old. It might be one of the most painful experiences I have ever faced. I'm not looking forward to my parents, my aunts, uncles, or inlaws getting old. I've had to shift my whole perspective in gratitutde to the Lord instead. It's all a part of the Lord's purpose, and I MUST remember that. I'm really grateful to know that we can see our loved ones again. I'm also grateful to know that pain can turn into spiritual power, if you allow it to.

11 November 2014

Stop Waiting

I've always considered myself a "Find Joy in the Journey" kind of girl. Well, I have always strived to live that way. I seem to always look back and think about the incredible moments I have shared with Mr. Schroeder and other loved ones in my life, and wish I would have enjoyed them more. I'm still trying to perfect the whole "Love where you are right now" motto. About a year ago, one of my good friends and I got into a little argument. Now, hopefully she doesn't hate me for telling this story. 

She began texting me one evening about how she hasn't found her other half yet, and it's heartbreaking. I tried looking on the brighter side of things & explained that she can't keep waiting around for a man to make her happy, but that she needs to find happiness within herself. (Side note: I totally get that having all of your friends married and you not being married can be heartbreaking, and it can hurt. I DO get that. But I do believe that happiness can only be obtained by reaching inside of your soul, as far as you can go, and find what makes YOU happy. Nature, music, spirituality, art, whatever it may be. You can't depend on someone else to fulfill your happiness) Okay, I got a response explaining that I don't understand because I have my prince charming, I was married already, and things came easy for me. Though I'm not going to get into the argument part of it, it did hurt. I think people are silly. 

Why are we comparing our weaknesses to others strengths? Why are we comparing what we don't have to what others do have? Obtaining happiness will become impossible if this is the attitude we have. I've experienced it too. Life will be a lot easier once school is done & we both have our careers! Life is going to settle down once we start a family. No, no, no. I want to have joy & happiness in the NOW. If we're constantly looking forward to summer, or marriage, or something we don't have, we're never going to be happy. Readers! You wanna work on this with me, or what? 

10 November 2014

Mormons & Marriage

I assume since my blog is a lifestyle/marriage blog, that is why I get a lot of questions directed to me about my marriage. Recently, I got a few questions about being Mormon & being married. I've specifically got a lot of questions about sex, intimacy, and others. I'm going to try and answer these the best I can. I believe sex is an extremely sacred subject. Some LDS individuals are very open about their sex lives, but I'm not one of those. I'm happy to share my opinions on certain subjects but won't go into much detail. 

Q: Can Mormons have sex before they are married? 
 Can they? Well, sure. Everybody is given their free agency - that's the beautiful thing about this life. On the other hand, we're advised not to have sex until we are married. In order to get sealed in the temple, you must be completely clean, and not sexually active with your partner. Of course the repentance process gives us the opportunity to be forgiven. Like I mentioned above, sex is sacred & though it's a gift from God, we should share that moment with the person we are married to.

Q: Are Mormons Anti-Divorce?
When I received this question, I had a lot on my mind toward this answer. The LDS church disapproves of divorce. Our church leaders have also repeatedly spoken out against divorce & warned of the dangers of the disintegration of the family. Of course, this doesn't mean LDS members don't have marriage problems! Those who are struggling with marriage problems are encouraged to seek to reconcile differences by applying the teachings of Jesus Christ - such as repentance, humility, forgiveness, kindness, selflessness, respect, and service. Per contra, if the marriage proves irreconcilable (especially in cases of adultery, abuse, and neglect), LDS individuals may consider & obtain a divorce if necessary and still retain their standing in the church. I have had a lot of girlfriends of mine that have gotten divorces. It's completely heartbreaking, but sometimes, completely necessary.

Q: What is so special about marrying in the temple?
In my opinion, marrying in the temple is one of the greatest blessings in the church. You guys, it really is amazing. One of the greatest truths that God has reestablished through the church is that man and woman can be married for time & all eternity. Death isn't the end. Central to the theology on marriage, we can also become exalted in the highest heaven. We also believe that man can't fulfill his ultimate divine potential without a woman, nor a woman without a man. (1 Corinthians 11:11) Many of us wonder how heaven could possibly be heaven without the husband or wife we've spent a lifetime loving & serving. Mormons believe that the Lord has made unending love both possible & eternally purposeful.

Q: Is it true that Mormons can't participate in certain sexual acts once they are married?
When I was going to school at Utah State, a lot of my friends told me that there were certain acts "in the bedroom" that we should NOT participate in. When I asked my stake president a similar question, his response said something to the extent of, "What you do in your bedroom is between you, your husband, and God. Obviously, we advise against pornography & anything unnatural. But ultimately, you decide, and you keep that behind closed doors."

Q: Are the rumors true about the divorce rate being significantly lower for Mormons?
Multiple studies have found notable differences in divorce rates between LDS temple marriages & the national average. A recent study estimates the lifetime LDS temple marriage divorce rate to be about 2.5 times less than the national lifetime divorce rate.

Q: Can Mormons marry Non-Mormons?
Yes. However, most Mormons tend to marry other Mormons. A study of students at BYU indicated that 93% of men and 97% of women surveyed have an LDS temple marriage as one of their important life goals & will probably marry another Latter-day Saint. However, this doesn't mean that it is forbidden for a Mormon to marry someone of another faith, nor does it mean that a Mormon who does marry someone from another faith cannot be a fully faithful & practicing Mormon.

Q: Do Mormons believe in gay marriage? Do they hate gay people?
The LDS church does not sanction or support same-gender marriages, and "affirms defining marriage as the legal & lawful union between a man and woman." Jesus loved people, even when He did not support or authorize their behavior, such as the woman taken in adultery (John 8:3-11). Latter-day Saints strive to do the same with issues regarding homosexuality & same-gender marriage. We are encouraged to reach out with understanding & respect to individuals who have same-gender attraction. In my eyes, I love gay people as much as I love anybody else. Just because I don't believe it is consistent with God's plan of salvation, it doesn't mean that I don't believe God loves all of us as His children & that I will do the same.

Do YOU have any questions about Mormonism? If so, email me at we(n)serendipity(at)gmail.com and your question could be featured on future Mormon Monday posts!

Sources: I got a lot of help with my answers from this book.

23 October 2014

Holding Hands

Can I talk about holding hands for just a minute? About a week before Mr. Schroeder and I got married, we had an interview with our Stake President. For those of you who aren't LDS, if you're getting a temple marriage, you meet with your Stake President to determine your worthiness in order to get sealed in the temple. In our Stake President meeting, the man mainly gave us advice. I remember giggling throughout the meeting, glancing at Trevor every few minutes with those 'awe-struck lovey dovey eyes.' I distinctively remember the happiness I felt, and the warm spirit that I felt there. Though I don't remember how the entire meeting went, there was one thing I remember that stood out to me like a sore thumb. 

The man said, something to the extent of, "I'm glad to see that you are holding hands. Please don't stop doing that. Hold hands in the car. Hold hands when you're sitting on the couch. Hold hands when you're praying. Hold hands everywhere. To me, when I see a couple holding hands, that is the simplest form of love that I can see. Holding hands has a whole level of love involved that you might not even understand right now. But just trust me" 

As I sat there and reflected, I thought about the trueness of his statement. Though at first, it sounded silly that just 'holding hands' would make such a big impact on our marriage. But you know what? It has. Holding hands is such a SIMPLE gesture of love. There isn't really a need for poems that try too hard or potential songs that attempt to convince. It's just the hand holding, people. It does wonders.