Friday, 29 November 2013

Celebrating Six Months of Happiness

Tomorrow marks six months since Bernie and I started dating. Half. A. Year! Time seems to go so quickly! While we didn't want to be one of those cringey couples that celebrate things like a three month anniversary, we decided that half a year of happiness was certainly something we wanted to celebrate!

With the masses of uni work and Bernard working weekends, we very rarely get a day to ourselves. We started dating at the beginning of summer when we had ample time to take days off to explore nearby cities and random locations. Each time an adventure and discovery of getting to know each other. So to mark six months we took the day to go to Manchester for the Christmas Markets, have one of our favourite meals (Mega Chicken Katsu Curry at Yo Sushi) and watch the new Hunger Games movie (which is brilliant). 

Neither of us had ever been to the Manchester Christmas Markets, and as this is my final year at university it very likely to be my last year living near enough to travel to visit them. There were so many market stalls in clusters all around the centre, each trading out of quaint lodge style sheds. Decorated with chalkboard signs, lights and Christmas novelties. With over 300 stalls, the majority selling authentic foods from across Europe e.g. from the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Hungary and France. 

Alongside Christmas gifts, trinkets and charity fundraisers. We saw a beautiful Christmas tree for Macmillan Cancer Support, covered in handwritten wishes on brown gift tags. Detailing heartfelt wishes such as love and support for family members, wishing to get a mortgage for a home that can be passed on, prayers for those in Heaven and generic Christmas well wishes. With each wish added to the tree the individual pays £1 towards the charity. Seeing the beautiful messages made me feel such a love for people I had never seen, never mind met. Wishing that they had the power of pray and comfort of the Holy Ghost in their lives. 

It certainly was a lovely, lovely day. It's funny to compare how we are now with how we were when we first started dating. How things change and how much we appreciate each other and our relationship. While we love day trips and making time to do activities, there is something so wonderful about cuddling up and watching a TV series. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Feels like Home

*Pink text: hyperlinks
One of my sisters & I 

This past weekend I had the lovely opportunity to visit my family :). As my university city is almost 200 miles away, it was the first time visiting since the summer holidays. I am so grateful to have such a lovely family, home and house. Growing up we would often have friends comment on the 'feel' of our home and how it was different. I of course took it for granted and didn't quite know what they were talking about. 

Now in my final year of university and having thus lived away from home for almost three years, I completely know what they mean. Our family home is filled with love, security, support and most vitally, the Holy Spirit. 

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

Simply being there I begin to feel different. More content, removed from the 'world', a deeper sense of happiness, in-tune with the Spirit and in turn personal revelation. Such a wonderful relief from the stresses of final year and constantly being surrounded by the cultural British university lifestyle.   

Recently Bernard and I were invited to dinner at our Senior Missionaries home (a married couple from America who have volunteered for eighteen months to serve both the people of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and all in the geographical Manchester Mission. They also run a wonderful blog where they record their mission experiences here). Being in their home is so wonderful. It reminds me so strongly of my family home and the incredible importance of creating a climate of spirituality, peace and joy where we all live. Difficult to create sometimes I know. 

Last year I was assigned to give a Talk in a church sacrament meeting about creating a Christ centred home as a Young Single Adult. Highly relevant (Heavenly Father definitely knows what he is doing). A few things I find helpful are often the obvious answers given e.g personal prayer, building a relationship with Heavenly Father (he is so unfathomably incredible), studying scriptures, striving to keep the commandments with a cheerful heart and a glad spirit, and listening to classical music. The reason these answers are given so often are because they truly work!! Nothing compares to a personal witness of the Saviours love, a relationship with him and truly knowing and living his doctrine.        
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