The Livingstons

The Livingstons

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just Have a Little Faith

Well, I just wanted to get on here and talk about some things that are important to me.

I have really struggled lately. I have felt so down in the dumps and stressed and upset and overwhelmed and tired and the list goes on and on. These aren't good feelings to have, obviously. I've really struggled to see the good in my life. I've had a hard time being grateful for things that I have and for the people I have in my life.

The worst part about it was that I was trying so hard to do the right things. I felt like I was on the right path, but for some reason I couldn't seem to be happy. How can I possibly be feeling like this? This thought crossed my mind over and over again.

Well, the first thing that popped into my mind was, "Oh, it's just your hormones." But that just didn't seem like a good enough answer. That didn't seem like it should be my rationalization for feeling and acting this way. I just wouldn't let that be my reason.

I finally opened up and talked to Greg. Up until this point, I just figured I was doing everything in my power to do what was right, but, seemingly, to no avail. But after talking to Greg, I realized that I had some pride that I needed to get rid of. That I have some things I can definitely do better.

I realized that I needed to work harder (even though I felt like I was being pushed to the limits). I knew that I had to push myself even further, not physically or mentally, but spiritually. I realized that God was trying to stretch me and help me grow by giving me a really hard week in school and by having me feel uncomfortable. He was trying to get me to change and be better.

Well, I felt like I failed. I had been given a chance to prove myself, that I could get through hard things with a good attitude. But I didn't.

But life is full of hardships and bad attitudes and imperfect people, including myself. I am learning how to make it in this crazy thing called life. I'm going to have bad days, and I'm going to have good days. But having a good attitude, even in those hardest of times, makes it so much easier to bear.

I think God is closer than ever to us on those hard days. It's our job to open up and turn toward Him.

Faith is the key.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Caramel Apples

On Halloween night, Greg and I stayed home to pass out some candy (we actually had a lot of trick-or-treaters), and we also made some caramel apples! It was a lot of fun. I've never actually made them before (of course, I've had them from like Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory). It was a fun process, even though we didn't exactly do it right. Greg said if you do it right, it supposedly takes a really long time, so we just microwaved the caramel and the chocolate, and did it that way. I'm not an expert, so I just went with it.

Unwrapping the little caramels!


Mmmm... That chocolate was so good.

Once again, the chocolate was so good.

Our finished product!

Halloween was very fun this year! We listened to Halloween music (there isn't a lot to choose from when it comes to this type of music) and loved passing out candy too. The chocolate covered caramel apples weren't bad either ;]

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Christmas Card Pictures

On Saturday, Greg, Karina, and Savannah came down to Provo. We went to a beautiful park and took pictures for our Christmas Cards. Greg and Karina had a good camera to take pictures with. There was a little river, a bridge, and leaves everywhere! I think we got some good ones.

Greg, Karina, and Savannah got some good ones too, among the many pictures we took. I don't think Savannah was too happy about posing for the camera...

Finally, we got her to enjoy herself, and she played in the leaves. It was so cute!

Just look how happy she is!

She is seriously such a doll!

I'm a little hesitant to put the picture I think we want to use on here. I want it to be a surprise when you actually get the card! So be watching for it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Party

Well, we had our annual pumpkin carving night last night. It was a lot of fun! I'm glad that we can make this a tradition in our family. Greg, as usual is a professional at making his pumpkin look amazing. Last year, his Voldemort pumpkin blew my dumb happy smiling face (which I even messed up on its tooth) out of the water! This year, I did a little bit better: I carved a zombie coming out of a coffin. Greg carved the face of Jack Skellington. It was a lot of fun!


Look at that cute face...

Of course, we had baked pumpkin seeds.

Now here's my masterpiece. Better than last year, that's for sure!

And here's Greg's. He always does a great job.

We had a great time together doing this.

We can't wait for next year's pumpkin carving party! 

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are YOU Ready For Halloween?

Well, as normal, Greg and I have been up to a lot lately! Mostly just homework, work, school, more homework, etc. Fun, huh? I have some very strong feelings about school lately... Anyways, even though we've had some tough weeks lately, it's been great. We had a chance to paint one of our walls an accent color, which looks pretty nice. We just dedicated one Saturday afternoon to paint. 

We got to decorate our house with Halloween decorations, and although we didn't have very much, we made do with what we had: some spiderwebs, a bowl full of candy (probably Greg's favorite part), a witch welcome sign on our door, some orange "DO NOT ENTER" caution tape, a couple of purple lightbulbs (oooo creepy), and a little pumpkin decoration. Let me just say, spiderwebs are everywhere in our living room. It almost looks just plain dirty. But hey, it's Halloween and that's just the way it is. 

Here are a couple of pictures of us painting our wall.

This picture is hideous of me, but if you look closely, there is a very thick piece of dried paint that ripped off while we were painting. Several weeks ago, Chris and Jocelyn came to reclaim their furniture that we had been storing for them all summer while they were in Florida. There was a bookshelf that was very top heavy that we ended up taping at the top to the wall. Well, when we were moving the furniture, Chris pulled the bookshelf really hard (he had no idea that it was taped, so it wasn't really his fault), and it ripped a bunch of layers of paint of with it. You could literally see the concrete (our apartment does not have insulation or dry wall, unfortunately). Greg tried to patch it with some putty, but apparently it wasn't a good enough job, and while we were painting, the roller pulled off a big chunk, as you can see in the picture.

We've had some nice, relaxing weekends. We made homemade cinnamon rolls a couple weeks ago, which were delicious as always!

A couple of weeks ago, we got to go over to Janet and Martha's house (Janet wasn't there, unfortunately). Martha had had knee surgery, and Greg, Karina, Savannah, Greg, and I went over there and made dinner and dessert for her and her friend. Karina made lasagna. I made brownies and we had ice cream. It was really nice being over there visiting. They always show so much hospitality and are very welcoming. We sure do love them.

Of course, the Cutie was there too. Isn't she just a doll?

Greg decided to follow his FAVORITE person in the world (NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE TRUTH FYI) and be Obama for Halloween.

Here starts the pictures of our house with Halloween decorations.

Notice the excess spider webs...

And the big bowl of candy...

I know this is probably super weird, but we had extra caution tape, so we decided to put this on our bathroom door. You can probably guess why... And it's not because of me...

Since we are still suffering a little bit financially from our car fiasco, we have been really skimping it on food. We haven't eaten very well; our diet consists of noodles, noodles, and more noodles (a slight exaggeration). Last Friday, we just couldn't handle it anymore. We decided to go ALL OUT and make french dip for ourselves. It was so incredibly good. Such a nice change from what we have been eating. Oh, and we got some watermelon too :)

Life's been good. We are trying to be happy now and not look too far ahead and long for the future. Of course, we are trying to plan our lives for the next 5 years, but we are trying to keep a good attitude through all the homework, work, school, and craziness that goes on. It's tough, but hey, who ever said life was easy?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Some Thoughts on the Gospel

I've really enjoyed my Doctrine and Covenants class. I have learned so much from my amazing professor, Dr. Brooks (I've mentioned him before; he was the professor I took for my Marriage class last semester). Today we were talking about D&C 21. It is right about the time that the church was organized (April 1830), and this section talks about the prophet and how we should always follow him. In this context, it specifically talks about how Joseph Smith will be the prophet, but we can apply it to our day as well with President Monson. It says that we should follow the prophet because God speaks through him. It is as if God were speaking to us directly.

My teacher made an interesting point with this doctrine. He said that often times, members of the Church are so concerned and waste too much time trying to decide if what the prophet said was a commandment or if it was just counsel. Sometimes, the members make excuses for why they won't follow the prophet's voice because they say he was just "counseling" us, and that it wasn't a "commandment." This is a sign of not understanding the doctrine of the Lord in D&C 21.

If we truly understand what the Lord has said, we will do EVERYTHING the prophet asks us to do because we know what he says comes from God Himself! I remember in my New Testament class last semester, my teacher explained that there are commandments, and then there are rules, or "counsels" that the prophets give us that aren't necessarily commandments that the doctrine of the scriptures mention. I sort of struggled with this. I guess I didn't really understand what my teacher was trying to say. But now, with this further clarity from Brother Brooks, I understand better the fact that it doesn't matter if it's commandment or counsel, we should ALWAYS follow the prophet.

My teacher explained his point by using a hypothetical instance. He said that if Christ Himself came into the classroom and went up to Brother Brooks and asked him to sit down because He wanted to speak to the class Himself, no one would even dare to raise their hand and ask, "Is that a commandment or is that just counsel for Brother Brooks to sit down?" We would just all obey and understand that Christ knows best! Likewise, we should just obey the prophet because God speaks through him. He would never tell us to do something like only have one pair of earrings, or dress modestly, or serve a mission (all counsels from the prophet) unless Christ wanted him to.

I've just been thinking a lot about the prophet and Christ, and I truly know that if we just obey what the prophet says, we are promised the blessings that Doctrine and Covenants 21 promises: the gates of hell will not prevail against us, Christ will disperse the powers of darkness, and the heavens will shake in our behalf.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ruth Lake Trip

So I am trying to surprise Sam by writing this blog myself.  Myself being Greg.  We just went on a fun trip to Ruth lake, just past Mirror Lake in the Uinta's, with Chris and Jocelyn.  We were a little skeptical at first because we were exhausted from a hard second week of school, and our work schedules staying the same all the while.  We drove out at about 5 on Friday evening and got there at about 7.  We started hiking and realized that the darker it got, the harder it was going to be to catch our dinner.  Once we got there we got straight to fishing.  It was getting darker, and Sam and I fished together.  We casted where we would see jumps on the lake.  It was a small lake so there was not a lot of room to explore, but it was still very pretty.  I took some casts but did not have any luck.  Sam took over and finally after seeing a fish jump fifteen feet in front of us, she reeled one in!  It was a pretty good sized Brooke trout, especially for being that high in the mountains.  After catching it, she pretty much handed it off to me and kept casting.  I told her I wanted to catch one, and so I got the rod, and she got to enjoy holding her fish.  Im sure she loved that. I could not get one, but I was very happy that Sam got one.  She could not have been happier either, I think mainly because I didn't get one and she did.
Once it got dark, it was freezing and we had to run around to get wood for a fire.  We started one up and started cooking our food.  We also started putting up our tents, but wait, where was Chris and Jocelyn's?  I don't know but it was not there with them!  They were totally prepared with food, sleepping bags, and fishing stuff, all except for the tent.  Chris went across the lake to see if a loud Scout group had an extra one(we, as you probably do, are thinking at this point it is a lost cause).  Sure enough, he and a few other scouts came over presenting Chris's less than jovial wife at this point with a tent.  He told us later that it seemed to be a trade for one roll of Smarties.  Candy was, according to one of the Scouts, "legal tender" in their troop.  Lucky for Chris he agreed and always carried a spare roll of Smarties for emergencies.  We had hot dogs and cooked our fish in tin foil.  The fish was very tasty, probably because Jocelyn brought spices and I made sure every square millimeter of that fish was covered.  We cooked marshmallows and had a nice discussion about the stars and the universe and all things space (Heavy stuff).  After a lot of stories and joking around, we were ready to go to sleep and stop trying to fighting the cold.  It was quite cold.  Supposedly it got down to about 37 degrees, and we all agreed that it was a pretty fair estimate.
We woke up to Chris stoking a crackling of a fire and the sun causing the greenhouse effect in our tents.  As we were eating breakfast some birds found interest in the crackers I was eating and so i held one out and a "castro" bird came right up, perched on my finger for a second and took the cracker.  We had a good time trying to get the birds to do the same thing to get it on camera.  After eating breakfast and packing up we gave the Boy Scouts their tent back and headed back.  On the way back we tried our luck in a stream, where we saw lots of fish, but caught few.  The trip will be remembered, sadly for Chris, as the "how could you forget that" trip.  

Us in front of the lake
Us fishing before it got dark

Hiking back out

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Sold The Car! And Other Things We've Been Up To...

Well, it's official. As of last night, we sold our 2000 Saab 9-3. You know, the car that has caused us problems since our fiasco in Vegas? Yes, that car. We have been trying to sell it for about 3 weeks now, and it finally sold! It was kind of a funny situation... We had a couple of people who were really interested in it, and then a couple of nights ago, a lady who lives in Logan texted Greg and told him she wanted to come down and buy our car the next day. I thought it was a little weird because she hadn't even tested the car out yet, but she and her husband came down last night and bought our car. We are seriously SO excited. The nice thing is, we sold it without the A/C working, which we thought was not going to happen for a reasonable price. But it did!

So it's out with the old...

...and in with the new.

We bought our new car, a 1999 Mazda Protege, about 2 weeks ago. Coincidentally, it worked out that while we were celebrating our first anniversary of being married (we stayed at a hotel in Sandy, Utah), we got to check out this car. We really liked it, so we ended up buying it for a reasonable price. Greg is a little sad to not have the Saab anymore (it had a turbo in it and just had a lot more power than our new car), but it was time for a change. This car has a lot less miles on it than our Saab, so we are hoping it works out.

We had a really nice anniversary in Sandy. We stayed at a hotel call the Residence Inn for 2 nights, went out to eat at a pizza place, rented a couple of movies, and went swimming. It was just nice to get away from the stresses of life for a couple of nights before school started.

Just wanted to post this picture of how awesome our hotel room was. We didn't even pay very much for it, but it came with a kitchen and everything. We were spoiled.

Last week, Chris and Jocelyn were moving into their new apartment on the border of Provo and Orem. It's so nice to have them back from Florida. We've been hanging out with them and it's been great. As they were moving in, they needed us to watch their cat, Oliver, for a couple of days. We agreed to babysit little Ollie.

He just couldn't get enough of my shoes. He kept rubbing his body all over the rubber of my tennis shoes. One of the nights he was here, there was a crazy thunderstorm, something I've never really been in before. Every ten seconds or so, lightning would strike, with thunder immediately following. It felt and sounded like it was right over our house. In fact, the lightning even hit one of the transformers at Chris and Jocelyn's apartment complex. It was insane, but kind of awesome at the same time. Ollie was FREAKING out. I tried to calm him down and wanted him to know it was all ok, and as I put my hand out toward him, he swatted me with his little claws (left some tiny little marks), and just stood in the corner. The poor little guy was just scared out of his wits. I guess that's what I get for trying to pet a freaked out animal.

The other night, we got together with a couple from our ward, Rebecca and A.J. Echols. I have gotten to know Rebecca through the ward a little bit, but it was so nice to have them both come over and chat and get to know each other even better. I think we really hit it off. Rebecca had this really fun idea to get two boxes of ice cream, take the cardboard off, and carve something into the ice cream. The ice cream started melting and it was kind of hard to shape what you wanted into it, but it was a ton of fun. Greg and I carved a bowl with ice cream in it (made out of real ice cream mind you) and A.J. and Rebecca carved a cat. It was really cute.

We really had a good time with them and can't wait to do more fun things with them (and their baby who is due in October- how exciting!)

For Labor Day, Greg and I went up to Park City to spend time with the family. We spent the night Sunday night and then got up in the morning and went on a hike to Stewart Falls (it's kind of near Sundance and Aspen Grove). It was beautiful, and the leaves are changing, so it was very colorful. The waterfall itself was very cool, but the water was freezing! Here are some pictures of our adventure.

This is how Park City is starting to look. As Fall progresses, it gets more vivid.

My cutie up at the waterfall

More cuties up at the waterfall

There were a ton of people there. It was just crazy.

Lance brought Sammy up to the higher waterfall. 

Overall, life has been going great here in the life of the Livingston's. We are just moving along with school and finances, even though both have been struggles for us lately. We are relying on the Lord because He is the one who will help us get through our difficult times. We are very blessed in our lives, and we are looking forward to more adventures.