Saturday, April 23, 2011

Can't Sleep

It is 4:12 AM, Mountain Standard Time, and as the title reads (not just suggests), I cannot sleep. I woke up bright eyed a little over an hour ago, at 3:06. Such numbers are burned into memory for two reasons: 1) You are awake, and demand to know the time, and 2) At times like these, every detail seems to be above reality.
When I checked the time on my phone, I saw that Hilary had left me a message. Sent at 12:15 AM, it reads, "Oh my gosh, we're getting married! I'm nervous and excited!" Let the record show to Hilary, to you readers, God, and me, that I, too, am nervous and excited. The emotions swirl together, creating an emotional indigestion which only the recording of thought can alleviate.
Keeping with the time conceit, three weeks ago, I found myself sitting on the fourth floor of the Joseph F. Smith Building, wanting to sleep but unable due to an impending paper conference. It was around 10:57 AM, when suddenly I felt a wave of emotion, just like now. I became acutely aware there are children-my children-who are acutely aware of me. I began to pray for them, asking the Father of us all if He will bless Hil and I then with the strength to prepare our lives for them.
Now, it is 4:29 AM. Later today, family and friends will gather to witness and celebrate our marriage. It will be the binding of two families, the beginning of one, and the sealing of generations stretching into the past, present and future. I believe we will see three to four generations together in the same room. I feel the nearness of relatives who have passed on from this life, as well as the spirits of those who will bless our future life together. Some may scoff and say that I'm being sentimental, or I'm tired. Yet, I know it is times like these that extend beyond my comprehension. It is these sleepless hours when meaning is placed onto otherwise meaningless times, and I will regret writing this in the morning, not because it is vain or vulgar, but because such feelings and emotions are filled with the personally sacred.
But for now (4:36 AM), I will post and try to sleep. I'm getting married today.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Some Blessings

There's nothing like tax season to give a couple of lovebirds a jolt of panic and grief. Spring seems to call unto itself minor financial crises.

For example, when you live in a world where $25 equals a week's groceries and your landlord thinks you owe her $25 in additional unpaid fees, your eye starts to twitch and you feel stirrings of rebellion in your heart! (Don't worry, we didn't owe her anything. I rounded up all the receipts and checks to prove that she had messed up her calculations and actually owed me and each of my roommates $8.99. Cha-ching!)

However, we received really great advice from an accounting friend who is also a member of our church. He said, "I've seen a lot of messy, messy accounts. People have money problems when they're not honest with the government, the Lord, or either. By and large, those who pay an honest tithe and fill out their taxes with integrity are just fine."

And we believe that completely. So we have to make some tax payments (ugh), and sometimes it's hard to let go of 10% of our paychecks to tithing, but we know good things will come to us if we do.

For example, I was fortunate enough to win an ORCA grant for some writing I'll be doing for a former employer over the summer. That'll pay our rent for the spring and summer.

Mike got a grant for school this spring. He will finish his undergraduate education with his tuition and health insurance covered.

BYU was kind and flexible and converted my last semester scholarship to cover my spring and summer tuition.

I also found out on Monday that I received honorable mention in an essay contest! If I'm allowed, I'll have to post the essay someday. I know it's going to be published but I'm not sure the rights yet. Still, a nice little chunk of money for our savings account. It'll cover my health insurance for the spring, anyway.

And so even though life is stressful sometimes, and money is a universally huge factor in marital strife, Mike and I feel pretty darn blessed to have received so much when we have given the minimum that is expected of us.