WE FINALLY KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING FOR ROTATIONS!
So confession time. I'd been doing quite a bit of research on Arizona housing even before we found out where we'd be sent for rotations. I'd say most of my free time was spent researching neighborhoods and apartments! When the news came that we're getting sent to Phoenix for rotations, I was happy that all my time doing research wasn't going to go to waste. :) We were also pretty excited we got Phoenix because 1) It means we're escaping snowy winters, 2) It means we are closer to family, and 3) It means we get to try out living someplace new! I think I would have been happy if we were getting sent to Provo too (there are a lot of pros to going there), but Arizona was our top choice and we are both really happy about it! YAY! I also emailed the wife of a student who is doing his rotations in Phoenix - just to get some advice on where a good location would be to live (someplace pretty central to all the sites the student gets sent to). She also gave me a lot of info on what 3rd year of med school is like and I am feeling way more at ease about going into next year. All of her information was extremely helpful and I feel so much peace about going to Arizona.
This past week we celebrated 7 months of marriage. We're still very much in love. I know it's a common thing to hear that the first year of marriage is hard, but I haven't really felt that. Sure, there are some days that are harder than others, but that's mostly when my anxiety is getting the best of me. Jonathan is always so patient and loving and kind - I'm so lucky. Being married does introduce a bunch of new things that could be seen as challenges. Things like sharing money. Money can be a pretty stressful thing, but the thing I've been learning is to not be so uptight about it. Sure, I might see the $6 or $7 we spend on soda every week as a waste, but the $6 or $7 I spend on craft supplies could be looked at as a waste too. Also, I'm learning the importance of choosing not to overreact about things. If you know me, you know that I was SUPER protective of my car. Well since getting married our car has gotten a few dents, scratches, and stains. But you know what? It's just a car. A car that we'll replace one day. My relationship with Jonathan is something that is worth WAY more than a car, and it will last for eternity! So in summary, I think being married takes work (because sometimes it might take effort to think outside yourself), but I don't think it's hard. It's only hard if you make it hard.
Alvin has been growing so much lately. We like to say he was born on our wedding day (he's about 7 months now), and it's crazy to think back at how little he was when we first got him. He's turning into a cat now. His little kitten face is filling out and his body is just getting bigger. He's definitely developing more of a personality. He's a funny cat. I found him asleep like this:
Oh, and he snores. hahah it's hilarious.
I think my favorite part from last week was our trip to Nauvoo on Saturday. One thing that will be nice about living in Phoenix is we will be close to THREE temples (Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa)! Right now our closest temple is Nauvoo, which is a 2 hour drive. Although I am excited about the convenience of moving closer to a temple, I have to admit I will miss going to the Nauvoo temple. I LOVE the spirit of Nauvoo and the history there. I also like the drive there from Kirksville - there's no traffic (or any cars, really...haha), and the rolling hills have a charm to them that I'll miss. But mostly I'll miss how a trip to the temple is kind of an all day thing. Because we spend most of the day either driving or in the temple, it's easier to keep the spirit with me. When you live 10 minutes away, it's easy to fall back into the routine of a typical day and you don't really have the experience of basking in the spirit afterwards. It's kind of hard to explain, but I'm just really trying to soak up the remainder of our temple trips to Nauvoo while we're still living out here.
Oh, and side note - it was our first time being the witness couple this time that we went! That was a cool experience! I think my favorite part about it though was it meant I got to spend more time with Jonathan, haha. Normally during a temple session the men and women are sitting on different sides of the room. But because we were the witness couple, we didn't have to stay separated the whole time. Also, while we were there I sat next to a sister who was receiving her own endowment (which means she was going through the temple for the first time). I reflected back to my first time going through the temple and was thinking about all the times I've been since. We've made it a goal to go once a month and I really hope we continue to do that. I love the temple. It truly is a refuge from the world. The spirit is so strong there and I just feel so much peace. I know there was a point where I used to have no desire to go through the temple, and now I wish I could go back and just tell my old self how amazing the temple is. How there's nothing to be afraid of. How positive of an experience it is.
It has been a good week, my friends. And I love having this family tree in our living room now (see below) because even though it's just pictures of parents and grandparents, I still feel the spirit. I think it's because the gospel is so focused on families. Every time I look up at this wall and follow the branches, I think about how incredibly awesome it is that we can be SEALED FOR ETERNITY to our families. Doesn't family make you happy? Mine makes me happy. And the gospel teaches us how to be happy, so it doesn't surprise me one bit that there is so much focus in the church on the family unit. THE CHURCH IS TRUE! If you have any doubts, spend more time strengthening your relationship with family members. And work towards being temple worthy so you can enjoy the peace and feel the spirit that dwells there.
Thus concludes another week in Kirksville. :)