Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sarah's Talk

So last Sunday I was asked to give a talk in our church. Because Kevin is in the ward leadership (he's the second counselor in the bishopric) and we're essentially new in the congregation, our Bishop asked me to give a talk introducing us. Since it's mostly about us, I thought y'all would also like a chance to get to know us better. He did ask me to talk for 15 minutes, so it might be a lot of reading. I won't be offended if you don't read it! I did edit a few audience-specific sentences out (remember this was written for a bunch of mormon college kids), but I hope you enjoy it!

I have two favorite scriptures. The first is 1 Ne 3:7. “And it came to pass that I, Nephi said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” I discovered this scripture at a young age and Nephi's faith and courage have inspired me many times over the years.

My other favorite scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” I discovered this scripture as a teenager at a time when I was still trying to figure out where I was headed and what I wanted out of life.

You may or may not have sensed a theme from these two scriptures, but I think the reason that these two scriptures have meant so much to me is because we can only truly be happy when we trust our Heavenly Father and do his will. I certainly try to discover and follow the Lord's will and recognize his hand in my life, but it's obviously something we all struggle with from time to time. I hope that by the time Kevin and I grow old that it can be said of us that we truly exemplify these scriptures.

I'll come back to this theme later, first it's time to talk about my favorite subject. Me. Just kidding! Bishop Paiser has asked me to introduce my husband and myself to all of you. Last night I was IMing my sister , mentioned my topic and she said, and I quote: “make them see that you guys are awesome.” My goal is just to not put too many people to sleep.

Kevin and I were born in the same year – in fact, only a couple of months apart. Other than that, our upbringings were pretty far apart. Kevin is the sixth of seven children, and I'm the oldest of two. I have a younger sister, while Kevin has a younger sister, and older sister and 4 older brothers. I was born and raised in a small town outside of St. Louis, Missouri; Kevin was born in Houston and grew up in North Ogden, Utah. Kevin is descended from Pioneers, while my parents are both converts and the pioneers in my family. I grew up with extended family members of many different faiths, as well as experienced being one of two members of the church in my high school. Kevin grew up in Utah, with a large extended family of members.

While our stories start off pretty different, our future together is the same. We have the same goals. We both want the same things in life and have very similar priorities. This is so important when you are choosing a spouse! Where you are headed together is infinitely more important that where you've been before.

Kevin and I graduated high school in 2002, but we didn't meet until the summer of 2006. I'll spill the juicy details of how we met, but for now I'd like to show how letting the Lord's hand direct our path helps us be truly happy. I know that Kevin and I would never have met if either one of us had ignored the promptings and guidance we received from Heavenly Father.

As a high school student, I never planned on attending BYU. I LOVE St. Louis and am pretty close to my extended family. I knew that attending a state school would be much more feasible financially for my family and, well, I just didn't know anything about BYU. On my own I had narrowed down my college search to two choices in Missouri; I prayed many times to know which of the two I should attend. I knew that this decision would affect the rest of my life, and I wanted to know where the Lord thought I would be the happiest. One day the answer randomly came to me: BYU. “How could that be?” I thought to myself. After a lot more prayers and tears, I came to understand that BYU was where the Lord truly wanted me to be. It was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but even before setting foot on BYU campus, I knew it was the right one.

And almost seven years later, I'm still stuck in Provo. But let's go back to Kevin's story. After high school, Kevin was called to serve in the Texas Houston East mission. He served faithfully for two years. Like most missionaries, he faced many challenges including having his apartment robbed and having his return home delayed because of a hurricane. I know that his mission wasn't easy, but I'm so proud of him for doing what the Lord wanted him to do. He might complain jokingly to me, but I know that he was blessed for faithfully following the Lord's will. After several months of working full-time after his mission, Kevin moved to Provo to attend BYU. According to Kevin, his decision to attend BYU was a little easier than mine. “I thought I'd apply, I got in, and decided to go.”

When Kevin moved to Provo and started school during spring term, I had just moved into a new apartment complex. I had planned to do a summer internship in D.C., but once again, the Lord had something completely different in mind. So I ended up deciding to work and play in Provo before my last year of college. To set the stage, I had been in singles wards for four years, so I knew a thing or two about dating at BYU. I had pretty much given up on finding love in Provo, and was excited to hurry up, graduate and leave Provo forever.

But luckily, we moved into the same ward. I was quickly called as the ward chorister, which gave Kevin the opportunity to check me out, or so he says. One night I hosted a “waffle night” party, which is the first time that I remember meeting Kevin. He showed up really early, which I thought was weird, but sweet. Over the next couple of months, we'd see each other at ward functions, talk and laugh for a bit, but I didn't really think much of it. We eventually bonded over the great music of the 80s, and we ended up hanging out in some smaller groups and got to know each other a little. I loved how he was so sweet and funny without being boring. Then I found out he was from Utah and that he was a freshman in college and I almost gave up on him. But in reality, the fact that I was a super-senior and he was a freshman, just made me realize that this might be the perfect summer fling. Don't worry, I found out later that he was thinking the exact same thing. Kevin finally got up the nerve and asked me out. To make a long story short, we ended up falling completely in love within a few months. We originally planned to move to Chicago after I graduated so that I could work in PR, and he could finish school there. Yet again, the Lord had something else in mind; we trusted the Lord and tried to rely on his understanding, not ours. It was pretty difficult for me to give up some of my dreams, but I knew that the Lord knew me better than I knew myself, and I hadn’t gone wrong following his will yet.

Obviously, we ended up staying here in Provo. We were married in the St. Louis Missouri Temple about a year and a half ago. Things are going well and we still like each other. Kevin currently works at the Provo City Library full-time (he's the guy in the blue collared shirt and tie behind the desk) and goes to BYU part-time. Kevin is majoring in English and has plans to graduate in 2030. I graduated two years ago with a degree in public relations and a business minor. I work full-time for Down East Basics and currently manage the kiosk at Provo Towne Centre. While we still plan to move out of the state in the near future, we know that for now we are following the Lord's will and that we will be blessed for it.

About a month ago President Stratton of the stake presidency met with us and asked us if we would be willing to serve in this ward, and Kevin as the second counselor. To be honest, we were pretty surprised; we weren't sure if this was something we could do very well. While meeting with President Stratton, I got the overwhelming impression that this was something that the Lord wanted us to do. I remembered the words of Nephi and knew that the Lord would provide a way for us to serve in this calling although it didn't seem to us that it would work out very easily. We are happy to serve in this ward and get to know all of you and have you get to know us.

Wow! You made it to the end! I cut it off here because then I started naming all the ways they could get in touch with us, and included a joke about us being "hip" and "cool" because we are on Twitter. But we're not cool--we're just on Twitter.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I Love you, Mom!
I hope that I can be half of the great mother that you are someday.

Monday, May 4, 2009

kevin, do you notice anything??

so every time i get my hair cut, i have to point it out so kevin can tell me he likes it. i seriously cut off like 5 or 6 inches today, and he didn't even flinch. i also got new glasses about two weeks ago and had to point that out to him as well. oh well. i still love him.

in other news, kevin has been called to serve in the bishopric of a local single adult ward. so basically kevin's part of the congregation's leadership, and we now attend church with a bunch of young single adults - mostly BYU students. so far things are going well and he just puts in a few extra hours at church on sunday, nothing too stressful.