Tag Archives: eternal family

Family Pictures 2015

As a blogger and social media dweller, I’ve seen and loved all the nice family photos. I remember as a kid getting family photos done at a department-store type place, with a boring backdrop and matching clothes. It was nice, don’t get me wrong, because we now have those memories. But, the images I see on pinterest and the family photos on the home page of my favorite blogs were too alluring. And, after all, am I a true blogger if I don’t take advantage of my blogging connections?

So, early July, I decided I wanted family pictures, especially since Rhys turned one, and the last time we had professional pictures was when Justin and I got married! I called up sweet Ashley because I knew she was a great photographer. We decided to shoot at Miller Park, a hidden sacred grove in an old, rich part of Salt Lake City. It was absolutely beautiful and stunning! I definitely want to go back!
These are some of my favorites!

Thank you Ashley!

Which picture is your favorite?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Love, Marriage, and Religion

I’m really going out on a limb here. I’m deathly afraid to actually post this publicly, on my blog, for the whole world (agreers and disagreers, but especially the ever frightful Internet trolls) to see. But, I’m going to word this as carefully as I can since I am still sorting through these feelings myself, so please bear with me… (some of this was written originally on Friday on my Instagram) Also, this is super long…

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled homosexual marriage legal. They declared that states have to recognize these marriages. I understand the reasonings why: marriage is an outward symbol of the deep, caring love that two people have for each other and their strong desire to spend the rest of their lives with each other. I do love the way that Justice Kennedy worded the importance of marriage: 
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies
the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice,
and family. In forming a marital union, two people become
something greater than once they were. As some of
the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage
embodies a love that may endure even past death. It
would misunderstand these men and women to say they
disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do
respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its
fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned
to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s
oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the
eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
I think that he understood the depth of marriage–that two become one in true love and intimacy. I believe that most homosexual couples feel this way about each other. I’ve heard of life partners–if that isn’t a sign of devotion than I don’t know what is! I’ve seen it, too! I’ve been a big fan of Neil Patrick Harris ever since a college roommate showed me “Doctor Horrible.” Then, when my husband got me into How I Met Your Mother, I loved him even more! Even though I hated the character of Barney (a sex-addicted play boy), I think it’s kind of funny and ironic that Harris, who is gay, plays that character, and his character’s half-brother is the gay one! But, I follow Harris on Instagram, and I’ve seen the devotion he has for his husband and their two adopted children. I know that what they have is true love and they are amazing fathers to their children. I’ve also always believed that homosexual couples should receive the same economical and governmental equality as everyone else having to do with taxes, housing, hospital, wills, military, and government positions, etc. I think it is as inexcusable as racism to keep these rights from them just because they are homosexuals who want marriage.
However, I’m still unsure on how I feel about the decision the Supreme Court gave. It was 5-4, so it was very close, which means even the Supreme Court had it’s doubts and was pretty divided. And, that is how I feel–divided against myself because I do want to see equality and love, but I also have certain religious beliefs that I adhere to with my entire heart and soul!
I believe that marriage is one of the oldest, most sacred institutions in human history. I believe that it was set up by God the Father, not by man, not by society, and not by government. Government regulates marriage for purpose of census, taxes, etc. But I believe that marriage is a religious institution, not a societal one. I honestly don’t believe it has “evolved” as the leading opinion of SCOTUS says it has. I believe that it is part of God’s Plan. I also believe that there is eternal marriage if performed by the right authority: by being sealed in an LDS temple. I have been sealed to my eternal companion & death will not part us. I believe that this is the way to the highest degree of glory after the Resurrection.
Now, being Mormon, I also believe that we have prophets on Earth today, and they God speaks to us through them. In 1995, the President of the LDS Church (the prophet) and his presidency (advisers) created a document called “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” They believed that this document would soon be needed to strengthen our testimonies in God’s Plan. The first two paragraphs read:
“WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
Now, as to whether or not I believe all cases of homosexuality is psychological/born with it, or that it is purely choice, I don’t know. I do know that there were a few girls in my high school who started dating other girls because it was the cool thing to do–that’s a fad. But, I do know people, including Mormons, who have had these feelings their entire life. Again, I don’t know. It’s not up to me to judge or determine that. It’s up to me to love them. They are people after all, just like you and me. They are still Christ’s children and He still loves them the same. Now, whether or not we can compare today’s society to Sodom and Gomorrah, again, I have no right or authority to compare. And I won’t. I have no right or authority to say that because of the SCOTUS decision, we will end up like them. Because do I believe that? No, I don’t. Do I believe being homosexual and acting on it is a sin and they are sinners? I mostly do, but it’s not up to me to declare that.
“Whatever wounds and breaks the family wounds and breaks the world. Whatever lifts and saves the family lifts and saves the world.” Families are the fundamental bedrock of society. Do I think homosexual couples can be a good family and raise loving children? Sure I do. But, do I think it is the right setup? I’m unsure of my feelings. It doesn’t necessarily feel right to me.
But, boo on those “Christians” who threaten to divorce because of this. Boo on those “Christian” ministers that threatened to set themselves on fire because of this. That is dumb & radical. I am happy homosexuals will be able to find their happily ever after, just as I have in my husband.
I won’t infringe on them if they won’t infringe on my belief of sacred, eternal marriage between a man and a woman. But, that is honestly what I am afraid of…not of the homosexuals condemning me for my beliefs or discriminating against me. No. But there is a small “What if” in the back of my brain of the government making laws to protect the homosexual marriages at the expense of religious beliefs against it. I’m afraid of our society (which has already shown hints and traits) of ending up how Ray Bradbury predicted in Fahrenheit 451. We have already seen evidence of this in the 1880s and 1890s in the Territory of Utah. Utah was settled by Mormon pioneers who left the states due to extreme prejudice and discrimination due to their believes compared to other Christians. But, they wanted to be part of the USA and tried many times (over 10 times) to become a state. But, the main reason they were denied statehood was because of the religious belief of polygamy. Mormons weren’t forcing Mormons nor Non-Mormons to participate in this. They just wanted to be left alone to do what they believed (just like the homosexual community today). But, the government didn’t like that idea, so they created numerous laws, such as the Morril Anti-Bigamy Law (which restricted the amount of $$ a church could own in a US territory), the Edmunds Act (which imprisoned polygamists with a fine and restricted them from political office and voting), and the Edmunds-Tucer Act (which denied women and polygamists the right to vote and the government could confiscate private church-owned property). I am a little afraid of history repeating itself, because we are humans and we are ignorant and arrogant and call those who don’t agree with us bigots. SCOTUS and the IRS have already sent out warnings that if churches don’t accept this new legal ruling, they will have tax punishments, and other negative consequences. I know SCOTUS says that they can legalize homosexual marriage under the protection of the 14th Amendment, but don’t forget or overlook the 1st Amendment–“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Freedom of religion, not from religion. 
In a perfect ideal world, if I were in charge, and my husband agrees, I’d completely separate religion and government in terms of marriage. Now, church ministers have governmental authority to legally and lawfully wed couples. What if this changed. What if you were wed by your church the way your church believes, but then had to get your marriage license legalized and official in front of a judge? That way, those who don’t believe what the churches believe, or who aren’t as what churches believe (such as homosexual couples), they can easily get a legal, non-religious marriage as elaborate or plain as they wished. But, those who do believe a certain way can have their religious ceremony, but then just get an addition–a 5 minute “ceremony” in front of a judge to be legal and lawful. I know it’d be more hoops to jump through for those whose religions’ doctrines don’t accept gay marriage, but it’s the only thing I can think of without having the government force ministers to do homosexual marriages in sacred ordinances against their religion.
Again, sorry for the long post. I just needed to write down my thoughts and feelings. 
In conclusion:
I am very happy that homosexuals can finally have peace, marry their true love, and have all the equal economical and governmental rights as straight couples do. I have homosexual friends that I love dearly because they are good people and are Children of God just like everyone else. My LDS Church believes that marriage was instituted of God for a glorious plan and is just between a man and a woman. I do not want homosexuals and their supporters to be discriminated against, but I also don’t want those who don’t believe in homosexual marriage to be punished or called bigots for their own beliefs, which the Constitution grants us freedom of. We should all just be happy for each other, and live as God wants us: to love one another as we love Him. 

*** I understand that not all my readers may have the same opinions as I do. I am keeping the comments open for this post, but I do so wearily. I do not want to start hate wars. If there is a comment that is not respectful towards the homosexual community OR towards differing religious beliefs, it will be deleted. Thank you for your tolerance of me and everyone else.

{Check out this lovely lady}

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Positives of Living Near Family

I was a military brat when I was a kid and moved all over the country. However, my dad’s family was in Idaho and my mom’s was in Utah. I hardly ever lived near them. But, then I went to BYU in Utah and became close to them. Four years later, my dad retired and they moved back to my mom’s childhood home in Utah–only an hour and a half away from me!

I had grown up thinking I was independent and ready to be away from my family. I loved them dearly, but, you know how the saying goes: “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” I also never planned to stay in Utah after I graduated college.

Now, I’m married, have a baby, and we both have good, promising jobs here in Utah (only living 30 minutes from my family). But, more than that, my husband has a brother and his family an hour and a half away from us, and his sister’s family is up in Boise (4.5 hour drive). His parents will be retiring to Utah in a few years. It looks like we’ll be here for at least 5 more hours. And, although I never thought I’d be saying this: I love living in Utah near family.

– If you don’t own a washer or dryer, free laundry over the weekends when you visit.
– Getting to see your little siblings’ concerts, plays, and competitions.
– Mom’s home cooking every now and then (plus you get to take home leftovers!).
– Free babysitting for date nights or emergencies.
– Going along with free babysitting–free overnight babysitting!!!
– Spending the holidays with family, or any day you feel like.
– A lot of support and help when you first give birth.
– Having your sister randomly come and visit you.
– Having mom help you sew your very first set of Christmas family stockings.
– Spending the weekend in a nice house while your parents take a weekend away.
– Continuing old family traditions.
– Having a safety net and large field of support.
– Having a place to stay just in case something catastrophic happened.
– The opportunity to strengthen your relationship with family.
– Most of your family (including extended) attending important events like weddings, births, baby blessings (like Christening), birthday parties, etc.
– Being able to leave town, or the state, and visit family, but it’s still quite close (Boise is only a 5 hour drive).
– Being able to have puppies without having them live in your house since you are allergic.
– Being able to have tax help while your baby plays with his little cousins.
– Being weird, new card and board games with your siblings.

Honestly, I’d be okay with staying in Utah indefinitely. Childhood me shouts, “Why would you want to live in the Mormon bubble?!?” But, I enjoy being close to family on both sides. The four years my family lived in CA while I lived in Provo, UT, I felt like I didn’t know my brother (7 years younger) and baby sister (10 years younger) anymore. But, now I do. I also want Rhys to have what I didn’t. I want Rhys to grow up having play dates and sleepovers with his cousins. I want him to be able to go to Grandma’s for the weekend and get spoiled while Momma and Daddy have a date night.

I love both families and I would like to stay near them!

What are some positives of living near your family? Or, if you don’t, why would you want to live near your family?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our 2nd Anniversary

Wow! It’s true what they say: when your baby first sleeps through the night (sleeps at least 5-hours long or feeds only once in the night) you feel like a new woman. Well, typically, we put Rhys to bed around 9ish and he wakes to feed at 1 and 4. But, last night, he went to bed at 10 and woke up at 2:30 to feed, then 7AM for breakfast. YAAAY! Already today I’ve gotten dressed, had tummy time with Rhys, went shopping, and did a load of laundry! Please continue to do this, Rhys!

But, on to business.

Yesterday was Justin and my 2nd anniversary. We had not expected to really do anything to celebrate it because of Rhys, but we ended up having a ton of celebration!

Friday, we went down to Provo and had sushi with my sister. I had not had sushi since before I was pregnant! It was glorious and tasty! Rhys was a champ, sleeping most of the time and then downing a bottle. Next to us, was an Asian couple with a toddler…or so we thought. We asked how old and they said 4 months! The baby looked like a 2 year old!

On Saturday, we decided to become grownups and sign up for a Costco membership. (The main reason was to save money by buying diapers and wipes in bulk). We were right in time for free samples as well. Then, we had to get a $1.50 hotdog and soda.

Photo: We are now officially Costco shoppers! #grownups #costco

Later that day, Justin and I got dolled up for a date in Salt Lake City. My mom and dad came over to babysit Rhys, and Justin and I left him for the first time.
We went to a restaurant called Em’s Restaurant.

I loved the look and the atmosphere of this restaurant. It was on the hill, up towards the Capitol Building, but in a residential area. There was a balcony area for eating, but we sat inside.

Our appetizer was Potato Pancakes with Crème Fraiche & Fresh Herbs. It was very delicious. It was a mix between a pancake and a hashbrown. The creme faiche tasted like a buttery sour cream.

We got two entrees to split. Leek stuffed, Wild Salmon Roulade over Creamy Cabbage and Dried Fruit stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Potatoes in a Bacon Sherry Vinaigrette. Typically, I don’t like cabbage, but I loved the creamed cabbage the salmon was on. It completed really well. The pork was very sweet and tangy. Justin preferred the pork and I preferred the salmon. 

We think we’re going to go back one day for their breakfast menu, which looks delicious as well.

At dinner, we talked mostly about the society and culture and everything else about the world in Avatar: The Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra series. We noticed that for a brief second, we had forgotten we were parents and had a baby at home!

After dinner, we went to Leatherby’s for some icecream.

On Sunday, we wanted to go back to our ward in Provo, even though our records were now in our Sandy ward. We wanted to show all our friends Rhys and say goodbye to our old Bishop who was being released. Everyone was excited to us and Rhys. They also mentioned that there was a break-the-fast (a potluck to end Fast Sunday) right after church, so we stayed for that as well. It was really nice to spend our actual anniversary visiting with our close friends who have been there for us since we were first married.

For dinner, I made my Chinese Cashew Chicken. It was still just as delicious as the first time I made it. We watched the Lego Movie. It was a nice weekend to spend time with each other and just relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Our first year of marriage was full of fun and adventure. We lived life to the fullest. It was also a good start for me: I had graduated and got a teaching internship. We were just getting to know each other and learn how to live with each other. We were discovering our chemistry.

Our second year of marriage, we began the transition to adult decisions. I got a full-time job as a teacher, we decided to have a baby (and did), Justin is finishing classes and interviewing everywhere for a full-time job, and we left the college town of Provo and moved to a real town. Because of all these big things, we learned what stressed us out the most and learned what we were like at the breaking point. But, that is to be expected because all these big, important changes were happening at once. And, now we know how to deal with it.

It’ll be exciting to see what our 3rd year will bring: parenthood, a full-time job for Justin, and me working part-time, living in a home (and not college housing) and attending a regular (not student) ward. I’m excited!

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Because of Him

He is Risen! He is Risen!
I absolutely love Easter season because of Him. Christ, our Savior, bled and died for us and was resurrected so that we, too, can live again. Because of Him, so many good things can happen in our lives.
Because of Him, we can be resurrected and reunited with our loved ones in the eternities. We can be sealed together for all time and eternity and always be a family. This poignant part of the great plan has been at the forefront of my mind this Easter weekend because my sister-in-law, the baby of my husband’s family, got married.
We went to Idaho with Justin’s family to witness this joyous occasion. We were able to attend the temple with Jenny, her fiance, Kendell Marquiss, and the rest of the Morrell and Marquiss clan the night before the wedding. It was such a special experience to see the last of the Morrell’s go through the temple for the first time. (My siblings are all still too young to attend the temple.)
The next morning was their wedding, to again, take place within the temple. As Mormons, we believe that if you get married within the temple, you can be sealed to your spouse for all time and eternity, so it was a special occasion. Sadly, that means little kids and relative/friends not members of the Church can’t witness the ceremony. But, what was very special for my Mother and Father-in-law, and very neat for me to witness, was that all the Morrell children and their spouses were able to attend and witness the youngest join the ranks of being eternally married to her love.
Again, this could only happen because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. Because of that resurrection, we will be together as families forever.
Mother and Father-in-law, and all of the Morrell children.
But, it’s not a free ride. We have to work towards being together again in the highest degree of glory after death. My mother-in-law was inspired by President Ezra Taft Benson who was the Prophet of the LDS church in the 80s: “As parents and grandparents in Zion, it has been the shared hope of my wife and me that all of us will be together in the eternities—that all will be worthy, without a single empty chair.”
Since that talk, my mother-in-law has had little chairs made to represent each member of the Morrell family to place on her mantel. Each time a child is married or a grandbaby is born, a new chair is put up to represent them in hopes that each new Morrell will keep their covenants so that we can all be together in heaven. 
I absolutely love this idea. When Justin and I got married in August 2012, I was presented with a chair that day. I was able to hold it and know I was accepted into the Morrell family. (Of course, my mother-in-law took it home with her to put on her mantel, but it’s the symbolism that counts). It was really neat to see Kendell, the newest “Morrell” (even though Jenny will take his name) receive his chair as well. And to know that the next one to receive a chair will be Justin and my son, Rhys.
Because of Him, I can have an eternal family, both my Christiansen family with my own parents and siblings, as well as my new Morrell family. I can be with them during life and after death. Time has no meaning, family has no end Because of Him.
So once again, Kendell and Jenny, congratulations!

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.