Thursday, September 27, 2012

How I Knew: The Definition of Knowing

I never liked the saying "you know when you know" or "you just know." can someone just know? Then I realized that the definition of "knowing" means different things to different people. For some "knowing" means having one culminating, revelatory moment of confirmation. For others "knowing" could mean feeling comfortable enough in a relationship and having certain nuances and attitudes that are revealed as pleasant, liveable, and something worth aspiring to obtain. In some instances "knowing" doesn't happen until a person is willing to let it happen. When fear and doubt get in the way, "knowing" is difficult. In other cases trying to "know" before it is our time to "know" can prevent us from "knowing," or at least attribute to not understanding how we "know" best.

For me it was "knowing" was a mixture of events, conversations, and allowing our souls to maintain its original connection with the desire to increase. Some of my favorite moments that played into "knowing": 

  • He itched my toe once....I will never forget it, toe?
  • I cry. I just do. I own it. Adam does not get uncomfortable with my tears. Whether brought on by joy, frustration, healing, happiness, anxiety....he let's me do it, and often wipes my tears from my face.
  • Sometimes I feel like I am stagnant and need to progress. When I get to this space, I seek challenges...ones that will make me grow. Most often I end up disliking the journey, but I am working on dealing with these challenges with more grace. Bottom line - I seek progression. So does he. This was made very clear to me on our first date. He is motivated, driven, and knows when to slow down. In this respect, he complements me. I run until I am burned out. He runs just as fast as he needs to.
  • When we go to a party, I don't have to babysit him. He is working the room. He is just as social (if not more) than I am....imagine that!
  • He is annoyingly concerned for my, and secretly, I love it.
  • When I am a brat, he still comes around....weird.
  • When I am hurt, he rushes to my! Seriously though. When my mom was in town, we were all cooking in the kitchen and I burned myself and almost broke out into "the swears". My mom is used to my overreacting when I am hurt or sick, and doesn't react to my reaction anymore :) However, Adam rushes to my side.
  • He makes everyone feel included, and I love it.
  • He makes me giggle when he is not even trying to.
One night we were talking - teasing each other. We stopped talking just to look at one another. The silence was comfortable. The feelings in our hearts grew. The next thing I knew, he started talking to me about my worth in the eyes of himself and Heavenly Father. I cried. This very tender exchange opened up a whole world for where I could see my life become part of his, and his life become part of mine. 

All of these things aided in "knowing," but perhaps even more significantly, this one specific instance is when I knew I was in love with him.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our First Date: Great Sushi, Music, Connection

Adam didn't waste any time calling me for our first date. That is one thing I love about this man...persistence! As soon as he got my phone number, he called me the next day to set up our first date. Due to schedule conflicts, the only time that would work was that night - the night after we met (April 23, 2012). Smooth, right!?

He was new to the area and didn't know of any good sushi places, so he let me choose. We met up at one of my new favorite sushi joints (I am totally a sushi snob) Sweet Ginger in Vienna. *Side note: some of the best sushi restaurants are in strip malls.

During the course of the meal, I liked that he was adventurous when it came to food. I am a huge foodie, and love dining with people who also love food almost as much as I do.

I was not surprised by how smooth the conversation was, but how he and I were able to keep up with one another in thought. To be honest,  Adam has this incredible ability to connect with people, and so do connection was not an issue. THEN, he told me his story. He shared with me some very personal thoughts and feelings about the love he has for God, and for the decisions that have shaped who he is, and where he wants to go. He was completely open and vulnerable to sharing these truly personal and intimate details that so often I had not been privy to during any other first dates. For me, it was refreshing to speak with someone so in tune and willing to share his emotions and feelings. At one point he asked about my testimony. 

He asked me to share some of the most wonderful lessons I learned because I had the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. At the time, I recently had some insight into life issues and shared with him my understanding and perspective of those insights. Within these moments, I was touched by the Spirit reaffirming my testimony, and in that moment, I cried. For those who know me, you are probably not shocked. But, I was. It was a very special moment...not very many men get to see me cry on a first date. Other times yes, but on a first date...hardly ever.

He handed me his napkin, and responded in a kind way toward my experience. He and I continued in more serious and not so serious conversation the rest of the evening. It also helped that our food was amazing. I don't think we wanted to part from one another, so we jumped in his car to listen to some of our favorite tunes (another favorite date night activity...anything with music)!

By the end of the evening, the connection deepened, and I couldn't wait for him to ask me out again....but I did....and it drove him nuts :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How We Met: Cleaning With Purpose

Some of you know that I received a calling (volunteer activity) to feed glorified snacks to members of my singles ward (congregation) almost every Sunday...which we call Munch and Mingle. At the time, I was working with several other members of the ward, and it was fun...and often hectic trying to get everything ready to go, and cleaning up after. I found that I had a limited amount of time to socialize with other members because I was busy with the event...which left little time to flirt with members of the opposite sex. 

I remember hearing from my ecclesiastical leader, Brother Cram, that the leaders were thinking about releasing me from my calling. Time went by and I was still responsible. I didn't mind the responsibility, but again it limited my flirting abilities, including the prospect of going to other singles wards to meet men. I remember a semi-serious conversation I had with Brother Cram that went something like this, "How am I supposed to get married when I don't have time to flirt? You said you were going to release me already!" It has now become a standing joke between the two of us...and he always asks me "How's the flirting going?" 

I was released....3 months later. On the last day I performed my service, an onslaught of new nannies, pest boys, interns, and security boys came to the ward. Since it was my last day, I took it easy and mingled. I was able to meet my fair share of gentlemen and ladies and started to clean up. I was conversing with one pest boy in particular who seemed to have a keen interest in my friend....little did he know that she was almost engaged. However, his attention slowly made it my way. We chatted about sushi, music, small details, and I remember making each other laugh. It was a very natural conversation. 

I noticed the time and realized I needed to start cleaning. I continued to talk to him while I cleaned. Then he asked if he could help....and while I had my select few that always helped (thank you) was quite an unexpected and wonderful surprise that someone I had only known for 4 minutes wanted to help. So, I did what I do best.... and put him to work.  

He followed me to the broom closet where I unleashed the secret of the church basement that used to be some sort of locker room. There is also this super creepy storage area that used to be showers. I had only been shown this mysterious room a couple months earlier and think it is the coolest place in the whole building. He joked about me taking him to the dark closet only having known him for such a short time. Little did I know that he had been a plumber and found the space fascinating. 

After we cleaned up, I was ready to go home, but he lingered and asked if we could do sushi sometime, and asked for my phone number reminding me that his name was Adam Pence.

Thank you Brother Cram for not releasing me when you said you were going to and letting timing of the Lord catch up to impatient, little me!! :) 

Who would have thought that on my last day serving that I would have enough time to socialize (flirt) to meet the man I will soon call my husband.....

He Got That Fresh Deal

We are getting married!

Adam Pence and I are excited to announce our decision to be sealed for time and all eternity on February 21, 2013 in the DC temple. It has been an incredible journey for us and we are excited to share our story with all our friends and family. I have already received so many notes and phone calls of congratulations and best wishes and am overwhelmed with what a lucky girl I am! 

I thought I would first post the important details before getting on with our story. 

When: Thursday, February 21, 2013 Sealing Ceremony at 11:00 a.m.

Where: Washington DC Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located in Springfield, MD

Additional Ceremony: We will be having a special ring ceremony shortly after our sealing ceremony followed by a reception at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Atrium, this amazing and beautiful location my Aunt Eva introduced me to, and something we both fell in love with. 

Other details including the "when" to come!

Since we have only been engaged for less than 48 hours...we hope you will forgive the TBDs ;) 

We would like to have an engagement party in Indiana, and are also toying with the idea of a chill open house in Utah. 

I know some of you have been asking about details, of which we would love to share.The next couple of days, we will do our best to tell our story. Here is what we will cover:

  • How We Met
  • Our First Date
  • How I Knew 
  • We are Unofficially Official: The First Proposal
  • Officially Official: The Second Proposal 
  • The Ring
  • Other Details to Come

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ready for Cheese?

I have to say, I'm a pretty lucky girl.

Some of my faves:
  • Yoga in my kitchen
  • Rapping for me on my birthday
  • The time he itched my toe for me
  • When he carries me, and doesn't huff and puff ;)
  • Making up
  • How he reacts like that dog on "UP" who says "squirrel," every time a car drives by
  • Singing songs to me before I go to bed
  • Saying super cheesy things to me that make my heart swoon
There are so many other serious things I love about this man too....but that is just SO cheesy!

In the meantime, a good friend posted this, and I loved it:

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.” ― Bob Marley

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Why I Pay Tithing to My Church

I had a coworker who asked me about what happens to the money our church members contribute for tithes and offerings for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I thanked him for asking me about it because I was able to really think about how I feel about my contributions, re-investigate what I know about tithing in the church, and why I have chosen to contribute. Here was my written response to him:

Here are some articles and websites that explains a little more about what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does with tithing, and other items that might demonstrate the financial status of the church. If anything, the links I provided are educational and discuss how the money serves not just our members, but also others who are in need physically and spiritually. 

First, it is important to note that tithing funds are, as purposed by the Church: ... always used for the Lord’s purposes—to build and maintain temples and meetinghouses, to sustain missionary work, to educate Church members, and to carry on the work of the Lord throughout the world.

You can read more about tithing HERE. You can also read about where the 10% goes.

As per revelation, some ways in which the church carries on the work of Christ throughout the world includes:

1.      Humanitarian Efforts: LDS Charities: LDS Charities was established by the Church in 1996 to enhance Church involvement in relief and development activities throughout the world to Mormons and non Mormons alike. News article about LDS church explaining its approach to charitable giving. 

2.    Other ways and things tithing is used for:
  • Perpetual Education Fund: The Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) has been established to provide worthy young adults of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the support and resources necessary to improve their lives through education and better employment to better serve their family, the Church, and their community.
  • Church Welfare Plan: a program establish to help all of us become more self-reliant and to follow the Savior in helping people help themselves.
  • LDS Employment Resource Services: For the unemployed. This is available to everyone.
  • Family History: A free service for all people to begin searching their ancestry and make connections with their family lines
The list mentioned above is intended to help the physical and spiritual well being of its members, which in turn produces a people based on giving....not just to members, but to all.

In addition, a yearly audit report is distributed to the public every year, which can be viewed on the church website.

Might I also point out a quote given by our late prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley: “There are so many who are hungry and destitute across this world who need help. I am grateful to be able to say that we are assisting many who are not of our faith but whose needs are serious and whom we have the resources to help. But we need not go so far afield. We have some of our own who cry out in pain and suffering and loneliness and fear. Ours is a great and solemn duty to reach out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry, to nurture their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness.”

On a more spiritual note: I have been paying tithing since my youth. It wasn’t until I prayed about its great significance and power that my faith to help build the kingdom of God on earth was stimulated. I am grateful that the church has made it possible to help those around me in need. I may not be able to immediately see the needs of those around me. I also recognized that there are people who are proud and don’t want to let others know that they are in trouble (like myself when I was struggling). I am grateful that I have the opportunity to contribute 10% of my income to a wonderful, Christian cause. I believe in its power not only for the creation of houses of worship, where our wonderful Savior visits its halls, but also in its ability to strengthen my faith and relationship with Christ. I pay my tithing because He has asked me to sacrifice so little compared to His ultimate sacrifice. Each one of us in the church has to realize our own testimony, and will contribute what they will. But as for me, I choose to give, because I know it makes me happy and because I love the Lord.

Anyway, thank you for letting me share my testimony of tithing! I hope it was enlightening.