He Wasn’t a Last Minute Gift

December is a crazy month. I feel so much pjesusressure to get stuff done. Now “stuff” includes finishing my ever-growing must finish Christmas movie list, drinking a cup of hot chocolate while sitting on my porch in 75 degree weather, and finding the perfect gifts for e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. Finding THE perfect gift for someone can be a daunting task, especially when you are poorer than Tiny Tim from the Muppet’s Christmas Carol (Netflix must see). This is #Clott’s first Christmas and we are excited to establish some of our own traditions. We decided to start a daily Christmas scripture chain. Each day we read a few scriptures from the Old and New Testaments that focus on Christ. On our first day we read John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 The same was in the beginning with God.

 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

After reading this clump of scriptures, Mr. Bird and I discussed them and I had a thought….We started talking about the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge that this world and everyone who has come and gone made the choice to come and experience life. I thought about how I made the decision to come to earth and started to laugh at some of the things I agreed to. I agreed to everything I would experience the good and the bad. I have had times in my life where I have felt that I couldn’t go on whether it be physically or emotionally and on the flip side I have had times where life was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. The “Negative Nancy” in my thought back to the harder times in my life and reflected on the only way I made it through, it was with the help of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

I continued to think about the scriptures and how they related to Christmas and the birth of our Savior. From the beginning, it was known that God would send his son to earth to die for us, to suffer all the pain and sins so that we could return to live with God one day. The birth of our Savior was not a last-minute gift. He wasn’t the product of a quick trip to the mall on Christmas Eve.Sometimes the best gifts are not hidden under festive wrapping paper and cellophane.  It was known from the beginning that he would be the Savior of the world. I had a profound sense of love fill my soul as I realized this. It reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas. I am humbled at the knowledge that because of this gift my family can be together forever.

As we enter the Christmas season and we are either elated or disappointed at the gifts we receive, remember you were already given the most important one.

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Is it Child Porn?

stopYesterday, one of my Facebook friends posted a status claiming she was upset because someone had reported her picture she had posted that morning. The picture included her son who was about 5/6. He was playing in the bathtub with his toys. The picture was not necessarily super graphic, it hid his “private parts,” but he was still naked. As I thought about this, I researched Facebook’s guidelines on “nudity” It states:

Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”

I was happy to see that Facebook is cracking down on nudity, especially in minors. As Facebook’s community continues to grow the activity will as well. I am part of the generation that posts pretty much anything, from what I am eating, to what I am reading, and who I am in love with (duh, my husband). This is great for keeping a”journal” but it poses a lot of security questions. In college I took a Cyber Security class, and learned that if it makes it on the internet it is on there to stay, even it you try to delete it. Bringing it back to the picture containing “nudity,” I would like to point out who can be looking at your pictures.

me ME: I think of myself as a normal person. I have a college degree, a husband, and a job. I work every day, do crafts, cook dinner, and watch shows. I work on Facebook so I often see pictures of your new-born babies, engagements, your vegan food, and even those dreadful #selfies…just kidding I still take them. What I am getting at is, I look at your pictures. I am a pretty safe and innocent person, and I know most of you are comfortable with me looking at your life.

 


deltonStephen M. Parsons: He is a 25-year-old man, a resident of Felton, Delaware. He spent his days on Facebook liking his friends post’s, posting, and was just a regular guy. On March 21, 2014 a search warrant was presented and his home was searched. After a forensic examination of his laptop, they found more than 25 video files containing pornography. He was charged with 25 separate counts of dealing in child pornography.

sebSebastian Crump: He is a 39-year-old man who was a former cabinet office digital expert. He is now facing a long time in jail after 400 child porn images were found on is computer. He used both his work and home computer to access these images. He also plead guilty for making and distributing indecent images of children. In court he insisted he was not a pedophile, he was just a regular guy.

Those are a just THREE examples of people who are looking at your Facebook pictures. Two of them were looking at more… You don’t wake up one morning and think ” I am going to become a child porn addict.” It is something that builds up over time. It could start with simply looking at a picture of a young child in the bath and then escalating to full nudity.
Your children don’t have a choice or a say in what YOU put on the internet. Don’t allow them to be harmed. Don’t let their picture float around the internet. Remember whatever you put on the internet, even with the safety measures you take, your picture can be saved or shared. All I ask is, be careful in what you post!
(C)LVB-2014

Obama and Mormons

obamaI am in no way a political wiz. I should probably be more involved in what is going on in the world, but for me it has become to contentious of a subject. On Sunday, I attended Sunday School and the lesson was on “Good Leaders.” We began discussing good leaders throughout the church, from olden time prophets to modern-day prophets. The discussion then turned to good leaders outside of the church. Our teacher described a good leader with many characteristics. The first person that came to mind for me was obviously a fictional character, Dumbledore and by association Harry Potter. While that answer got a few chuckles, the next person mentioned created much controversy throughout the room… OBAMA.

I was shocked at the response from the class members. As class members started to nit-pick everything wrong about Obama and his actions, the teacher held his ground and kept reiterating that we were not in class to discuss how good our president is doing, and that our political beliefs are our own. There were many off-hand comments about Obama and his role as president. I won’t go into detail, but the room was full of people both for and against Obama. I tell you again, I am not a political wiz. I know maybe a fraction of what is going on around the world, but what I do know is that the Mormon church allows us to have our own political views.  On mormon.org the Church has a statement: “Principles compatible with the gospel are found in the platforms of all major political parties. While the Church does not endorse political candidates, platforms, or parties, members are urged to be full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs.” This statement reassured me that politics are important, and I should be better informed, and that I should be involved.

A few years ago I attended a summer camp called GIRLS STATE. It was an opportunity for me to spend a week with 100 girls from around Idaho and play “government.” Throughout the week, we recreated the government, we ran for offices, gave speeches, ran campaigns, and even passed laws. That week I ran for a position and didn’t get voted in. I had lost. At first I was upset. It took me a day or two to realize a lesson about leaders that I will never forget. Even if you don’t like your leader, you should show your support. This lesson has followed me through many things, student council, after school club, EFY, and even church callings. Sometimes I didn’t agree with my “leaders,” but what I had to remember was the importance of the bigger picture.

When it comes to Obama, I may not like everything he does. I don’t agree with him on a lot of things, but right now he represents our country and so I support him. I don’t know what he does all day, I don’t really know the behind the scenes of his life, but I do know that he has our country, America, in his hands. So I support him. I pray for him to make decisions that will better the country instead of rip him apart. I hope that he does well, because when he does well so does America. He is like any other human on this earth, he has agency and he will make mistakes just like you and me. He may or may not have been my choice, but my choice is to support America. number 12

(C)LVB-2014

 

The Temple Garments

modestyWhen it comes to the Mormon Temples a lot of people have questions and think it is a bunch of secrets. I have written about it before and you can read it here. I know this subject is sacred and so I will do my best to maintain that. I also am not pinpointing anyone in particular, just sharing some thoughts. Today I want to write a blog for those who have been through the LDS Temple or are preparing. I received my endowment in 2010. It was while I was still in college and was preparing to go on a mission. One of the things that happens when you go through the temple is you begin wearing special garments or underclothing. Many people refer to them as “g’s,” “special underwear,”  “my religion,” etc. I am always saddened when I hear those terms because I feel like it is degrading its sacredness. I don’t go around calling God my “homeboy,” I always use his name respectfully. My mother and the temple worker instructed me to not give such a sacred thing a degrading nick name, but to call it by name. Ever since, I have called them garments and have never lost sight of the meaning.

When my mom called me to talk about what day to go through the temple, my first thought was I should wait until after the Howl, the largest Halloween party in the west. I thought it would be my last hooray to wear something a little more skimpy and not feel too bad about it. While discussing dates with my mom, the idea that I wanted to wait until after the big party had slipped out and she was appalled…As she should have been. That was the night I realized my heart was not ready for the temple. At that point I poured over my scriptures, the pamphlet that explains the sacredness about the temple, and prayed. I wanted my heart to change before I entered the temple, and it did. Receiving my endowment was a wonderful and peaceful event. I won’t go into detail, but I was happy that I had prepared myself spiritually. From that day forward I began wearing the garment. It’s not very often that I go with out it. We are instructed to wear it as much as we can. I only take mine off when I wear my swimsuit, go rock climbing, or  pretty much when I exercise. At the beginning it was an adjustment, but as I have continued to wear them I have seen them as a blessing in my life. There were a few times that I would throw a pair of shorts on and realize that they were too short and so I would change, or a shirt that didn’t cover everything. Instead of taking off the garments so I could wear the outfit, I took off the clothes that didn’t work and gave them away.  Now as a missionary I heard many things said about garments but mine haven’t stopped a bullet from penetrating my heart, they haven’t stopped a stab wound, or been fire repellant… What they have done is constantly reminded me of the covenants I made in temple and the blessings I have received.

templeNow, I want to talk about the HOWL again. I went ahead and received my endowment in the middle of October. The HOWL was coming up and I wanted to have an exciting costume. I made a promise to myself that I would wear my garments no matter what.  That night my costume was not Mean Girls like, but I was fully clothed. I had a comforting thought pop into my head, I wouldn’t be the only one dressed modest that was at the party. As I went to the party I was so disappointed to see many of my LDS friends who had served missions or been endowed decide to leave their garments at home. There were many males and females that had decided that a night of showing off their sad-looking faux six packs and nice looking coconut bra would be worth it. I was even more shocked by the boys who had decided to just take their tops off and wear the bottom half of the garment when we are specifically instructed to wear both parts together. Many of these people had pictures taken of themselves and they were plastered over Facebook. That night I added to my list of MUSTS for a husband, “respects his garments” (I found one:)) I was heartbroken that so many people were willing to violate their covenants for a night of fun.

That night I went home feeling great about the decision I had made to stick to my covenants. As I have continued to wear my garments, I think back to that night and think about what an internal battle I had over something that seems so plain and simple to me now. If you have been through the temple or are preparing to enter, I urge you to prepare yourself spiritually and physically. What I mean physically is prepare your wardrobe (even though your wardrobe should be pretty close to what it needs to be anyways). We all have our agency and we are instructed to use it. The question is what will you do?

(C)LVB2014

#ItWasMom

it was momMother’s Day is right around the corner. Mr. Bird and I were asked to give talks in church on this upcoming day and we both thought, well that’s easy, we will just talk about our mothers… Trying to sum up what a mother does would take more than the allotted 15 minutes. Mr. Bird and I invited our parents to come listen to us talk. My mother’s response was, “I will come if it’s not sappy.” If you know the Kri, that fits her personality perfect. So this is this year’s tribute to my mom. I am not going to make it sappy, I will just provide the cold hard facts. As a recent bride, some of my past times include looking through wedding photos (I know shallow). I came upon this one and thought, this is all because of one person, my mom.

Facts:

She found a worthy man, and she married him… in the Logan Temple

She supports her husband through thick and thin

She has given birth to 6 children without any epidurals all by the age of 30 ( I will most definitely be drugging up and spraying some Pam down there)

She drove each child back and forth to piano lessons weekly from the time we started kindergarten until we could drive in high school. Unless you decided to bite the piano teacher, then you didn’t have to go…

I can’t remember a day during my childhood when my mother didn’t stop what she was doing and read to me and my siblings. We still gather around and beg her to read to us during Christmas time.

Five of her Six kids served  LDS missions

4 1/2 have been married (Max is engaged)

She has 4 1/2 grand kids who are loved endlessly and spoiled

She taught us to get an education:

LauriAnn has her Bachelors and Masters in History

Mitch has a Bachelors, Masters, and his PHD in Family Studies

Emily has her Bachelors, Masters (RD) , and is working on her PHD in Dietetics

Alex has his Bachelors, and graduated with his Masters of accounting today

Me, well I have my Bachelors in Communication, with a Certificate in WGS

Max is working on his Bachelors in Economics

Since I can remember, she has always gotten up around 545am to go running

She ran the Boston Marathon

Sometimes she gets into a laughing fit and can’t stop…These are some of my favorite memories

She poured us orange juice every morning before school

She came and silently cheered me on through “boring” golf tournaments

She never has to call her kids, we always call her to catch up (some daily)… I think she ends up spending at least 3 hours a day on the phone with her kids.

She can make popcorn with her eyes closed

We did family scriptures and prayers every day

She has mastered the art of distraction and can still use it on her kids and we are all in our 20’s and up.

She is humble, doesn’t like fluff and to the point.

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in all the lands!

That’s a fact Jack…

The missing grand kids and my sister is having another girl in June 🙂

evers mad hayes

Getting My M.R.S

IMG_3898I remember in elementary school when I would lay on the bottom bunk bed with my blue and white starred comforter thinking about the day I would get married. I had so many ideas to make my wedding day the best day in all the lands. I had planned a huge bonfire in the backyard for roasting marshmallows and a slip in slide for the guests. I would wear a white swim suit with rhinestones spelling out BRIDE on the behind. I had the idea to rent out a movie theater and have the infamous “line” go directly into a movie theater of their choice. Obviously, I thought about it a lot. I have had 24 years to think about all of the details. Often that is how I would fall asleep, is dreaming about the extravagant wedding that I would have one day.

Last night I sat in the family room with my mother and sisters and they watched me open up my “wedding capsule.” We had made them for young woman’s in 2004 when I was 14 years old, such a great idea. It was full of magazine clippings of what I wanted my wedding to look like, the groom’s qualifications, the cake, and the ring. It was so fun to see how I swayed from the extreme wedding plans, because once I met Mr. Bird, none of that matter, only he did. It doesn’t matter that the shades of coral don’t match just right and that yellow is the color everyone hates with a passion. It is not going to be the end of the world when someone gets upset because they can’t find a parking spot. I know I will be very anxious and so my stomach will probably hurt all day, but still that doesn’t matter. What I have come to learn is that what matters the most is being able to be sealed in the Temple for all TIME and ETERNITY. It is definitely the scariest decision both Mr. Bird and I have ever made, but it will be one that blesses us every day until forever.

IMG_3966In my “wedding capsule” there were two letters, one from me and one from my mom. I read mine out loud and there were parts that I couldn’t stop laughing, I had specifically stated that I needed to make sure to not make my husband jealous of me, and that we needed to have kids as fast as we could “no matter the cost,”  whatever that means. What I loved most was my past self saying how I needed to get married in the temple, and that I needed a man worthy to enter. It’s funny that at such a young age we are taught those things. As I look back today, I am so happy that I learned that young. There were years when I thought it would be easier to forgo a Temple wedding to satisfy my temporal needs and the Gospel wouldn’t do much for my family. I realize now, the sealing and the Gospel in my family means everything. I want to run back to my 14-year-old self and let her know, I did it, I made it to the Temple.

My mom read her letter out loud. It almost brought tears to my eyes, I say almost because it totally made my sister Emily bawl. She gave me great advice and said that the day of your wedding will be a hectic one, it will be one of stress and of happiness, but the most important part would be the sealing. I couldn’t agree more mom and dad, thanks for preparing me.

Tomorrow all of my friends and family will begin to pour in and the festivities will start. I can already imagine an impromptu dance party in the family room, loud arguments/discussions between family members, and a fun late night. Saturday will come quickly and the day will pass in a minute. I will be surrounded by my favorite people, and will realize how blessed I truly am. The best part of getting sealed is that we will be together forever no matter what. I will never regret looking at that “BYU” boy and saying hello to him, because now I will never have to say good-bye.

(C)LV-B2014

The R-Word

End the R-WordI want to speak about a somewhat taboo topic, disabilities and mental handicaps. I want to introduce you to someone who I love dearly and consider my good “pal” as he would say it. His name is Uncle Bret. He is my Uncle, and everyone I have introduced him to consider him to be their own Uncle Bret. He was born in Germany while my grandpa was in the Air Force. When Uncle Bret was born, he was different, he had Down Syndrome.

Down syn·drome

noun: Down’s syndrome; noun: Down syndrome; plural noun: Down syndromes
  1. a congenital disorder arising from a chromosome defect, causing intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities including short stature and a broad facial profile. It arises from a defect involving chromosome 21, usually an extra copy (trisomy-21).

End the R-WordI remember when I was little and my grandparents would drive from Logan to visit us in Boise. I would get very excited, it meant Uncle Bret was coming. At the time, much of my excitement came from the fact that my mom stocked the house with chocolate milk for him (one of the few things he likes to drink), but now it has become much more. On one of my grandparents visits, I remember going to Albertson’s with my dad and Uncle Bret. At first I was afraid of what people would think of us because Uncle Bret looked different from the people staring at him. I didn’t know if people were curious or were looking down upon him. It was when a son and father had walked by and the son kept staring, the dad grabbed him by the arm and said “stop staring at that retard.” I am pretty sure I was the only one to hear it. My.heart.broke. I was so little, but I knew we never ever used that word, because it wasn’t kind. I wasn’t always clear on why my mother told us not to use it, but that day I learned exactly why. As years have passed I have heard many stories of how my mom and her two sisters protected Uncle Bret. It is hard to think that we ever have to protect him, that there are still people out there who will tease him for who he is and what he looks like. People with disabilities have a unique and special spirit and the kindest hearts. They have talents that many of us don’t have.

uncle b 4Uncle Bret and I have spent a lot of time together. I went to college in Logan and would see him 2 to 3 times a week. I consider it to be one of my favorite blessings. I have learned so much from him. He has taught me kindness, love, patience, true happiness, and has been a tender mercy to so many around him. I have learned that we have some similarities… We both like shows, and we both like to watch them over and over again. We can quote them, and we never get sick of them. We both love  a good routine, there is nothing better than a regular schedule and sticking to it. We both enjoy teasing each other. Usually we have fake arguments that end with him saying “Clare Cry” and him giving me a hug and saying ”back better.” Even though we are different in appearance, we still have similarities.

I consider myself lucky. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that not everyone grows up knowing someone who has disabilities and I have been blessed by a love that is rare. When we come across something unfamiliar we are not always comfortable.  Sometimes when we meet someone who is “different” from us, we tend to stare, or feel uncomfortable because it is new to us. When we are unsure on how to do something, or feel uncomfortable, the only way to overcome that is to try it out, get to know them, find out what they like to do, spend time with them, I can promise you that you will have a lasting friendship. The reason I wanted to write on this was because it is end the R-WORD week. If you are someone who uses the word, just stop. If you use it as a describing word of something you find “stupid, uncool, or dumb” I want you to reconsider.  God made all of us and he loves all of us, we should follow his example and never show unkindness towards someone who is different.

(C)LV-B2014

I Was a Bully.

yellow flowersI was a hellion growing up. I was not always a nice goody-goody girl, I had a mean streak. I remember walking home one day with two other boys. These boys had hard lives and were a little rough around the edges, they had an idea to start throwing rocks at people going past. It was my turn, instead of saying no, I picked up the rock and I threw it. My t-ball years had paid off (unfortunately) and I hit a girl riding her bike, right in the head. She wobbled and then toppled off. My heart sank. I was torn between two things, fitting in with the boys and being kind. I felt guilt. I got home and didn’t say a word about it to anyone, hoping I could forget. The next day at school, I was called into the principles’ office. It was a scary thing, I was at a brand new school, and I had only been there for a few days. The principal asked me why I did it and even thought it was a witty comeback… “It wouldn’t have hurt if she was wearing a helmet,” to this day I regret my action. I don’t regret it because I got in trouble. Literally, I have never seen my mother so mad, she marched her way down the street, grabbed me by the arm, and walked me home. I spent the day in my room. I regret it because I missed an opportunity to be kind to those around me.

I thought I had learned my lesson but a year later I fell into a similar trap. Once again I was being a bully. I was still hanging out with the rougher kids, and I still did not excel at making friendships with girls. I don’t know if it because I felt threatened by them or because I was that insecure, whatever the reason it doesn’t make it right. I had started playing the trumpet. There was another girl in my grade who started to play as well. My parents had rented me a nice one and I felt very proud about it. There were no scratches, and it was shiny. The other girl’s trumpet was not as nice as mine, and I made sure she knew it. Later, I found out how much I had really hurt her feelings. I apologized years later, but it is something to this day I still regret. Who am I to judge?

A few years later…”I got what I deserved.” I was bullied. Some girls ganged up on me and started rumors about me that were crude and not even a little bit true. It caused me a lot of grief. It made me a different person. I sometimes hated myself because, I began to believe those things flying around about me. It was a hard to shake those feelings, but I was able to find people who were willing to show me kindness.

When the reality of my actions set in, and my own wounds were healing, I decided to change, I was always going to look for ways to be kind… To Everyone. To make someone’s day better. I am still not a professional, and I still have moments when I think, I shouldn’t have done that. Instead of waiting years now when I make a mistake, I go straight to the person and apologize. Whether it is a CEO of a company or someone who is homeless, I strive to treat them with kindness. Today, I watched a video that reminded me of my bullying days, and days I was made to feel like nothing. It was a powerful video that highlighted very real things. As many of you know I am very passionate about anti-bullying and anti-cyber bullying. There is never a life that is worth less than yours, so don’t make them feel that way. You have a choice, don’t be the bully, be the one who sticks up for others. Watch this video, I know it has an LDS religious tone to it, but the overall message is what matters.

Dear Mrs. Goldin- What My Mom Taught Me by Not Working

Kara HintToday I read a disturbing article that I found on LinkedIn. It was titled What Would it Teach my Kids if I Stopped Working. The article was written by Kara Goldin who is the Founder and CEO of Hint (flavored water). She tells the tale of how she decided to make flavored water (not original btw, propel ect.) and make a business of it. In the midst of her brilliant idea she had found out she was once again pregnant, with her fourth child… There must be something in that “special flavored water” of hers… I would question that, I think the warning label says “May cause pregnancy, and rash stereotypes.”

Now before I begin my “rant” I want to point this out, in 2013 Taylor Swift was at the brunt of some of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s jokes for finding a new boy to date. Lets be honest Taylor you find a new one as often as there is a sale at Khols. Taylor replies to the dream team with this: “You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’” Taylor what I want to point out here is by dating all these men, maybe you are not necessarily helping women out either. All I am saying is, there will always be a different opinion on what is right and what is wrong.

IPHONE JULY 2013 116Well Mrs. Goldin, I think you are wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom and there is nothing wrong with being a working mother. There will be obvious differences in a child who has a parent in the home at all times and a child with two working parents. Depending on who your deciding audience is the outcomes maybe positive or negative. You stated some very harsh stereotypes:

 

“The most difficult men I have managed: 1) had a mom that stayed home, 2) had lost their mom as a young child or 3) grew up with a father who spoke negatively about his mother. It’s sometimes hard for them to accept a woman in the work force much less as their boss. -Mrs. Goldin”

I would like to ask what method you used to obtaining this data? I had a stay at home mother, I have three brothers, none of whom fit your stereotypes of men being managed. One of my brother’s has his PhD in Family Sciences and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and works mainly side by side and under the direction of females, I have done research with him under the supervision of his advisors, and have seen him interact both in a workplace setting and the behind the scenes. Never has he shown signs of difficulty, hatred, or spoken negatively of his female bosses. Again this is a bias view, but if you asked anyone who knew him, they would say the same (ask for references). Your stereotypes might be true of some men, but I don’t think that having a stay at home mom was the contributing factor. Perhaps I will do my thesis on it one day…

IPHONE JULY 2013 117Mrs. Goldin how dare you belittle what my mother has done for me and my 5 brothers and sisters. As hard as it is for you to leave your kids and go to work, it was hard for my mom to give up the nursing career she dreamed of, so that she could give us her best. I applaud you for working and raising a family, I hope to one day balance my life so I can do both. However, if I am fortunate enough to be able to spend all of my time with my kids, I will consider myself lucky. What my mom taught me about staying home is that the person is more important than the money. That I was wanted and needed in this world. My mother taught me that life needs a balance between work and play. She spent countless hours reading books to me, playing blocks, and making me lunch. She got up every morning and poured me orange juice to show she cared. I have learned to love people because of her. She stayed home and helped me with my homework that prepared me to get scholarships in college, and to obtain a degree. I never went a night with out a home cooked meal surrounded by family. The house was always clean, and I had clothes on my back. She stayed home to be my best friend when I didn’t have any other friends, she was always there for me, she provided a stable home for me to be raised in. My life would be different if she worked I am sure, I can’t say if it would be better or worse. What I do know is that she stayed home and taught me to respect others decisions, and to be what I want to be and stick up for what I believe in.

Rant. Over.IPHONE JULY 2013 174
(C)LV-B2014

10 Things I am Glad I Did Before I Got Engaged…

#targetpracticeI know… Another post about being engaged. To those who are not engaged or dating someone (especially around Valentine’s Day), I know you want to do a cornucopia of things to me, including but not limited to vomiting on me, punching me, or throwing darts at me.  I have included a picture to print off, including my face in the middle of the target. Sorry, darts are not included. But I know YouTube has a great selection on “How to Make Darts.” I didn’t actually watch any, so if you do, let me know what you think… #targetpractice

So if you are caught up on Life of a Clare Bear, you know I am becoming a bird. I am not suddenly morphing into another animal; I am just changing my last name. I have finally found my “other half” and we are going to be married for time and all eternity. I guess you could say that I am pretty happy. Our period of engagement will be 51 days. It’s fast, but when you know, you know! So I thought I should enjoy these days until I become an old married woman. I wanted to share with you the 10 things I was glad I did before I got engaged. I am not saying these are rules to follow; they are just things that helped me get ready. Everyone is different, we don’t come with directions and so there will be other opinions. All I can say is share them… if you dare 😉

1. Dated Around… I have been on plenty of dates in my single life career. The dates ranged from finding out he was a registered sex offender, throwing up on the boy after a carnival ride and being left 60 miles from home to find my own ride, I have even been on a date with someone who I found out was my cousin later… Now those are my extremes (they are pretty extreme). I have been on wonderful dates too. I have been to see Christmas lights, on scavenger hunts, rock climbing, and broken into a TCBY (he had a key, legal, Idk…) All of these dates taught me something. It taught me what I didn’t want in life. It’s a negative way to look at things, but it made me understand what I really wanted in a future partner. The part I needed most was I needed to be dated out. When I was younger I felt the urge to date everything that moved with no commitment. It took me time, but I realize now it is fun to go on dates with the same person and to have a commitment. Commitment can’t be forced, it can only come through desire.

2. Finished Gilmore Girls (a few times)This show is a guide to life. Okay not really, probably look for a more spiritual resource, but it taught me about boys. I learned that there was always going to be a Dean in your life. Your first love. He would have a special place in your heart, but in the end he would not have your whole heart and that was okay. You don’t have to end up with the first boy you date (you can, but you don’t have to). Then there are boys who are like Jess, the bad boys. They are going to sweep you off your feet and turn you into someone you are not. They will make you question life; you will fall fast and hard… But then you fall out of love in faster. And then there is Logan. Rory dated him for a long time. They were a cute couple and seemed to have it all. SPOILER ALERT, Rory did not accept the engagement ring, and that was her choice. I learned from Logan and Rory that love is a choice, if you make the choice to love the person, you are accepting their best and their worst.

satisfied dr3. Road Trip with your Best Friend… That’s a Girl…The summer before meeting Mr. Bird, I went on an adventure. I surprised my best friend Amanda for her birthday in Skagway, Alaska. I flew there and then we spent a few days making the road trip from Alaska to Boise, Idaho. If you have never been in the same car for 4 days straight, I can tell you that you are going to come out of it loving them or hating them. I came out loving my friend Amanda. One of my biggest fears of getting married was spending a lot of time with the person (because I am an introvert and love being by myself). This long road trip taught me that it was possible. I let down my guard and learned new qualities about myself. It helped me get over that fear.

4. Served in My Church… Now, this can be for any faith, any position, and for any time length. What I am referring to is my mission. I learned what it was like to live away from family and to make sacrifices. I learned how to do hard things and to rely on God. I built a firm foundation of what I believed. I saw families who didn’t live with religious beliefs and they struggled, they lacked something great. I learned and have made it my goal to find someone who wanted the same thing. A family and home built on faith and God. I also learned the value of serving and what it can do for relationships. Serving others can break down barriers and allow you to love someone even when you are mad at them.

5. Survive a Broken Heart. Everyone must survive a broken heart in their lifetime. It is inevitable. I never thought that I would have to. I always had the idea that I would date one person and that would be it. That wasn’t the case for me. My life was a hot mess after break ups. The relationships just never felt right. What I learned from having my heart broken a few times was that I had the ability to care for someone, that I could open up my shallow mind and let someone in. I needed to learn this so that when it was the right time with the right person, I knew I could let them in and care for them the way they deserved. Knowing what a broken heart feels like makes a heart full of love mean that much more.

grad6. Graduate College… One of the reasons I say this is because dating after graduation is a lot less stressful. You don’t have to pick studying for a test over a weekend away. The other reason I liked it, is because I had already defined who I was through what I studied at college. I didn’t have to change my career goals because I had met a boy. I was able to focus my time on school and was able to be successful. When you are spending so much money for your education, it is nice to have it not interrupted. I know this is not always the case, for me it was perfect. I have a one track mind 🙂

7. Have a Grown Up Job… Graduating college led me to a job. I have loved being able to use my degree that I put so much effort into. I have been able to build up a resume, network, and complete projects. I have learned how to work in an office. All of my experience is preparing me to work from home, something that I have craved ever since the snuggie was invented.

8. Build up a savings Account…I am not saying I am a sugar momma, but I am not worried about how many Ramen Noddle’s to buy for Mr. Bird and me. Having a grown up job means grown up money. I have been building up my savings account since I was 12.  Money is something that puts stress on any marriage, whether newlyweds or those who have hit 20 years. Beginning a marriage itself is stressful and it is expensive, saving as much money as you can before would be the smartest thing you could do…

9. Use Private Boards…   It is no secret that girls at a certain age (pretty much from the time they are born) want to plan their weddings. The greatest invention in mankind (not really) was the Private Board function on Pinterest. You are going to have those days where you just want to dream about your wedding. It is natural, but the whole world doesn’t need to know you are planning your wedding before you have met the boy. Let’s be honest, boy’s Google us before they take us on a date. Do you want the first thing for them to see is the 10ct diamond, the tiny baby clothes for your first born, and ways to get along with your husband? I know that they are super cute and you want it now, but scaring them before the first date almost always results in no second date… Perhaps go private on those 🙂

isingle10. Find Happiness in Singlehood… I have seen so many people resort to marriage because they are simply unhappy in their “single” life. I urge you not to make that the reason. Do it because you are in love. Being single is great, at times it may seem not so much, but you have your whole life to be married. Find out who you are and who you want to be, what you like and dislike, find your passions. Learn to be happy when you are by yourself, so that when you find someone you can make you happy you know it is genuine. Getting married doesn’t solve problems; solve some of your problems before your marriage becomes one.

There are so many other things that I am happy I did before I got engaged, but these are the ones that stick out. Valentine’s Day is coming up; I would recommend taking number 10 into consideration. Learning to be happy without a man/woman will make loving them so much easier. The last thing is timing; nothing will happen unless it is the right time, be patient. Now if you hate me even more, the target is below 😉

(C)LV2014