Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's Christmastime

This December has been crazy. Between moving, working, and growing a human we've been stressed to our limits. There has been no time to just relax, making this the most stressful and busy December of my life. I've had to work harder than any year before to slow down, and seek moments of quiet peace in order to feel the Christmas spirit. However, as I've done this I've seen more and more that the things of this season do not matter-all that matters are the spirit and the reason for it-our savior Jesus Christ. 

"Take time to relax, be at peace, and see this little child in your mind. Do not be too concerned or overwhelmed with what is coming in His life or in yours. Instead, take a peaceful moment to contemplate perhaps the most serene moment in the history of the world-when all of heaven rejoiced with the message 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men' (Luke 2:14)"

-Elder D. Todd Christofferson 

As I've tried to simplify my view of the Savior-focusing only on this miraculous moment in his life, I've been able to simplify my view on the rest of the season-focusing more on what really matters. For that reason, it has been a beautiful Christmas season-and it's not over yet!

Thanksgiving in Bend

Nate and I were lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving this year in beautiful Bend, Oregon. Thanksgiving in Bendy will always be special to me. Back in 2013 Nate took me for our first Thanksgiving together. While there I fell in love with the rest of his family, saw a business card for a jewelry company fall out of his wallet, and realized that I wanted to brush my teeth with him every night. For different reasons, each of those things makes me incredibly happy to remember. 

This year was no exception. Despite being 29 weeks pregnant, and in the middle of packing/moving back in Utah (more on that later) we decided to go for awhile and spent 9 days there. It was wonderful! We went to movies, relaxed, played games, watched the snow fall, cuddled nieces and nephews, ate delicious food, and enjoyed our time surrounded by family. I am always thankful that I married into such a wonderful family-but this Thanksgiving I felt extra thankful to get to call them mine. Those Raus are something special, and I feel pretty honored to share their name. 

Oh yea, Nate snagged the best Black Friday deal of the year-$100 off a purchase at Columbia. After a markdown, and this coupon Nate got a $300 coat for $40 bucks! I couldn't be more proud1


Nate and I met in Provo, we dated in Provo and  after we got married the first place we called home together was in Provo. We never thought, back when we married and moved into that beauty on Sumac, that we would stay very long. However, we called that place home for 19 months. 

And what a home it was. Provo, and that little apartment we called ours, became a new and beautiful home to us once we were married. Separately we'd lived in Provo for 5 (me) and 4 (him) years before beginning our life together. We'd done all the typical college Provo things-bowling, hiking the Y, late night food runs, dance parties, and dollar movies galore. We were both ready to be done with that Provo, but still needed to live in Provo. Luckily, we found our own little niche in Provo-one that involved city festivals and events, 4th of July festivities, walks to the temple, working out at the rec center, new (to us) restaurants, quieter grocery stores, neighborhood bike rides, and plenty of nights in watching movies instead of out on the town. We fell in love with Provo again.

Saturday the 12th Nate and I (with a LOT of help from my darling sister) cleaned that apartment on Sumac for the last time, returned the keys, hugged our angel landlady, quietly said goodbye and drove away. At the time I was tired and swollen and a little relieved to be done, but now, looking back I'm a little sad. That home was such a perfect one, a tender mercy in our life. Getting that home was one of the first times we as a couple had our prayers answered together. We spent countless hours there-sleeping, cooking, reading, relaxing, playing games, and talking. Most of my favorite memories of our first 19 months of marriage took place there, in the place we called home.

Life has a way of moving on though-and for us that doesn't always mean moving far. On December 1, Nate and I moved into a wonderful new apartment in Sandy. The apartment itself is beautiful with even more windows then our last, big open space, and my favorite feature-a  bedroom perfect for a baby boy. The real beauty though is that it is in Sandy-the city where the rest of our story took place.

When Nate and I had only been dating a month, I graduated. Not knowing what was next in my life I moved back into my parents home in Sandy-where I stayed for the next 10 months until we were married. Nate and I dated in Sandy. We first said "I love you" in Sandy. We toasted (with sparkling cider) our engagement in Sandy, and got married just minutes outside of it. And soon enough we'll bring our first baby home to our own little corner of Sandy. It was always a home for me, and now it's a home for us.

Provo and Sandy, although they will always be special places to us, are just that-places. What I've learned the last few months though is this-home is not a place, it's a feeling. It's a feeling that can only be described for me as 'with Nate.' So no matter how long we stay in Sandy, and no matter where we carve a place out next I do know one thing-it will be home.