I love people. I love being around them, talking to them, watching them, learning from them, laughing with them, crying with them. There is a certain sense of belonging that I feel with people, because I believe that we are all children of God and that He loves us all equally. He is our Father. We are all members of His eternal family unit, white or black, male or female, rich or poor, gay or straight, young or old. The connection between all of us (simply as human beings) is very strong. Yet none of us love perfectly.

Lately there is a lot of social media discussion about this new release from the LDS Church. And when I say discussion, I mean arguments -- heated, nasty, hateful, bitter arguments that leave me shaking my head in disbelief that we all belong to the human race. Likewise, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and throughout the Middle East have left me speechless and heartbroken. How, I ask you, HOW can there be so much hatred in the world?

I have debated about whether or not to write this, but decided to do it, not out of hatred or spite for others, but out of love. For everyone. I sincerely feel that way. We need a healthy dose of love if we are ever going to overcome so many evils that are happening around us.

I was raised in a conservative Mormon household. I was taught traditional values and accepted & embraced them. I was taught that God is my Father and loves me. It made sense to me as a child, and still makes sense now, that He loves all of His children. He doesn’t pick favorites and doesn’t discriminate. He wants us all to return to live with Him.

I so badly wish I knew how to solve all of the world's problems. My quiet corner of the internet probably won't affect many people; my opinions won't be broadcast or go viral. I doubt that I'll ever appear on national television, or tour the many nations of the world. I don't pretend to want to change the world in that way. I don't think I ever will. But perhaps I can make a quiet difference. That's all I've ever wanted to do. 

I think one answer to the many problems hitting us in the faces right now is simple: love.

We need more love for God. We need more love for His Son, Jesus Christ. We need more love for families and more love for each other. We need more love among neighbors and more love between rivals. We need love for our nation and love for other nations. We need love for those that are different from us, and love for those that are similar. We need more love when we think we can't give any more. We need love toward situations in which we disagree strongly. We need love for people that hate us. We need love for our parents and grandparents. We need love for those sacrificing for our freedoms. We need love for our children, and future children. We need love so desperately I can't even list all the ways it is needed.

I think love is only part of the solution to the complicated predicaments we are faced with in this world. But it's most definitely a start.

I'll start by thinking about how I can love more fully. How will you start?



Since Michael and I are getting married in 48 days {you guys. less than 50! WHAT. so exciting!}, we have been meeting with our bishop every week for advice. I have learned so much from these weekly meetings.

Being engaged is the best. I have never been so happy! And here you go. What good are learned lessons unless they are shared?  "Only the foolish learn from experience — the wise learn from the experience of others." {Romanian proverb}

I've heard several times, "Being engaged is so fun because you just get to focus on you guys!" After we got engaged, I fell into an "us" rut. I was so wrapped up in wedding plans and us and the dress and the venue and our relationship and our future that I spent little to no time thinking about other people. I'll be honest -- I'm still in the rut. I'm working on getting out now, but I know I'll still slip back into it. The important part is that I'm working on getting out. Bishop told us we need to make service a priority. The perfect marriage has three people included in the relationship: the man, the woman, and God. It's a curious paradox that we get closer to God and closer to our spouse by reaching out to other people.

Might seem like a contradiction to the first, but I have found the importance of taking time at the end of the day just to be by myself. It's important to have reflection time. My getting-ready-for-bed hygiene routine, journal, scriptures, and prayer have been special times for just me.  I think it helps me give more of myself to the relationship. It is important to know yourself before you can give you to someone else.

How many times have you heard, "love their weaknesses too"? I had heard it a lot but I didn't realize I would actually have to work at it. I assumed everything would be butterflies and rainbows and I would absolutely be able to overlook everything that wasn't perfect about the other person. Well, that's not actually the case. I realized this pretty quickly and then consciously made the decision to love his weaknesses too. Something magical happened. Or perhaps it was simply that charity entered into my heart. I can honestly say I love everything about Michael, his imperfections and all. I know he feels the same about me and it's so comforting to have found that.

I know I'm no expert on being engaged. But let's be real. Who is? We only do it once!