Unity in Marriage

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Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. This is important to remember because men and women are different but complement each other. In a marriage, they are equal. There are roles that the Lord has set out for us in marriage and family, but these roles work together to raise a righteous family. In the Family Proclamation to the World it says…

“by divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, father and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”1

It is so important that one spouse doesn’t exercise unrighteous dominion over the other. This does not promote unity and love in a marriage. This also does not set a good example for our children to follow in their own marriages. Our duty as parents is to teach and guide our children how to be kind, responsible adults. President David O. McKay has said “The most important thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother”.2 We teach our children more by how we treat our spouse and more by our actions, than the words that we speak.

Respect is something that is key to a marriage. Each person is an individual and needs to be seen as such. The woman in the marriage should not be silent because “her husband is the head of the family”. Like the proclamation says, they are equal partners. The best example of this is shown in the marriages of the apostles and prophets and their wives. President Gordon B Hinckley and his sweet wife were in an interview and Sister Hinckley stated that President Hinckley never tells her what to do. In response, President Hinckley said…

“I’ve tried to recognize my wife’s individuality, her personality, her desires, her background, her ambitions. Let her fly. Yes, let her fly! Let her develop her own talents. Let her do things her way. Get out of her way, and marvel at what she does…If there is anything that concerns me, it is that some men might try to run their wife’s lives and tell her everything she ought to do. It will not work. There will not be happiness in the lives of the children nor of the parents where the man tries to run everything and control his wife. They are partners. They are companions in this great venture that we call marriage and family life”.3

I got married a little later in life, so when I got married I was so independent. I had lived on my own for a long time, paid my own bills, made my own decisions, and worked. I took care of myself. Then, although I was thrilled to get married, I had a hard transition. All of a sudden, I had someone else telling me what to do. Jose had the same experience. We really struggled to find balance between being independent and depending on each other for support. It is still hard, but something that has helped us Is having our own hobbies. We still have most of our lives together, but there is one part that we try not to interfere with in the other person’s life. Sure, we’ll share and talk about what we are doing, but no suggestions are made. This has been a big help for us in our marriage. It may not work for everyone, but for us, it has been working wonders.

I encourage all couples to find unity in marriage through the teachings of the gospel. The true unifier is our Savior, Jesus Christ. If there are struggles, He can help to dissolve them. We need to go to Him, together.

 

  1. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&old=true, LDS Church
  2. “Love Her Mother”, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/love-her-mother?lang=eng, Elaine S. Dalton.
  3. Marjorie Pay and Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, October 2003, pp. 22, 27

Choosing a Covenant Marriage

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I remember being single and wishing so hard to be married. I just wanted someone to choose me. I remember the feelings of rejection and sadness when things wouldn’t work out, but now that I’ve found Jose, I’m very grateful for those experiences. I’m grateful that the Lord put Jose in my path. When I was pondering and praying to know if this was the one that I was to marry, I heard specifically, “It is your choice”. I was a little annoyed. I wanted God to just tell me a straight up yes or no. Ultimately, I made the choice of continuing on with Jose and here we are three years into eternity. I knew that it would be a long road with immigration. I knew it would mean living in Mexico. I knew that it would mean having limited money and resources. I knew that it would mean moving away from my family and learning a new language. I also knew that it was important for me to do all of those things in order to start my own eternal family. I knew that Jose was a good man. Even now, when the times get tough, and lately that is VERY often, I have to remind myself that I chose this life. I chose Jose and I chose Mexico.

The thing that made me want to marry Jose the most was the fact that God was his number one priority and he wanted to raise his family with that mentality. Being a righteous mother has always been my greatest desire so to have the opportunity to have a husband with such a great desire to have a spirit filled home for our children was something I yearned for. Our marriage isn’t perfect and I am not perfect. I often forget that I chose this life and that I have been given a great opportunity to help build the kingdom of God. Not only that, but I have been given a great learning opportunity. Through this journey, I have been and will continue to be strengthened. I will be able to be a stronger mother to my children because of these experiences. Jose and I will have a stronger marriage as we stay close to the Lord through these experiences. We must strive to have a covenant marriage, rather than a contractual marriage. Elder Bruce C. Hafen said “Marriage by nature is a covenant, not just a private contract on may cancel at will.” We must also remember that a covenant is a sacred promise made with God. Elder Hafen goes on to say “When troubles come, the parties to a contractual marriage seek happiness by walking away. They marry to obtain benefits and will stay only as long as they’re receiving what they bargained for. But when troubles come to a covenant marriage, the husband and wife work them through. They marry to give and to grow, bound by covenants to each other, to the community, and to God. Contract companions each give 50 percent; covenant companions each give 100 percent.” As we follow the blueprint that He has given us in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, we can keep our part of the covenant. We must be active in being righteous and moving closer together and towards our Heavenly Father. Marriage is often described using a triangle where the two partners grow closer together as they grow closer to God. It is no accident that a triangle is the shape used for description, for it is the strongest shape. Elder Bednar has said “The Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point in a covenant marriage relationship. Please notice how the Savior is positioned at the apex of this triangle, with a woman at the base of one corner and a man at the base of the other corner. Now consider what happens in the relationship between the man and the woman as they individually and steadily “come unto Christ” and strive to be “perfected in Him” (Moro. 10:32). Because of and through the Redeemer, the man and the woman come closer together.”

There are many things in this world that may hold us down or try to rip our marriage apart. If the marriage was just a contract, it would be easy to give up. But because of the sacred covenant, we must fight. We must fight in this war against marriage. We must put forth 100% in a marriage partnership. We must choose to win.

 

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Is this the year?

Happy New Year!! 2018…I hope you bring happy immigration news. If not, I really hope that God grants me with patience. During 2016 and 2017, I moved back to the states during the waiver process for Jose. We were apart for a year and a half. It was tough, but I was able to work with a great company and spend some time with my family. In August of 2017, I moved back to Mexico to be with Jose. The day after I got here, his waiver was approved! We were ecstatic! Finally the long wait for Jose’s residency would be over. We still don’t have his interview yet. The US consulate in Mexico keeps saying it’ll be any day now. It has been 4 months. We call each week, but immigration is not one to get things done quickly. In the mean time, we have been busy with school online through Brigham Young University-Idaho, work, and helping the little branch here in Calvillo. Jose has been called as the Branch President for here and keeps busy trying to help strengthen the members here. I can’t help but think that one of the reasons that we are still here is so that Jose can be an instrument in God’s hands and help these wonderful people.

This coming year we hope to be in the states. The goal for 2018 is to be in Houston, Texas by April so that Jose can begin his summer job. He will be doing summer sales for my brother’s company. I will continue going to school full-time and working very part-time teaching English online. After the summer we will return to Mexico so that both Jose and I can go to school full time and we can live on my salary from part time teaching. Thank you Mexico, for being so inexpensive. We hope and pray that this is the year that the Lord blesses us with a Niño (or Niña), but I know that all happens in God’s time. I’ll be honest, I don’t always like that, but I really need to get used to it. Control freak Ashlee needs to learn how to calm down.

So thank you 2017 for the approval that you brought. 2018, please bring the interview.

Immigrants’ Wives

This week Jose has been gone in Mexico City for work. I’ll admit I cried pretty hard when he left. Cheese balls? Yes, I know. I didn’t know that I would miss him so much, but I guess he is my husband and I love him very much. My first night alone in this country I was quite nervous. Our hallway doesn’t have a roof, so of course my brain made up so many scenarios about robbers and stuff. But guess what…I live in the most tranquil part of Mexico. Seriously, I am so lucky. I fell asleep watching Spanish cartoons about chickens. The next day I woke up and watered the garden and weeded for a few hours before the sun became blazing hot. As I was weeding, I thought of how blessed I am. I thought of the women here in Mexico whose husbands have gone to the states to provide more for their family. I know that for some this is a very touchy subject, but let me try to shed some light about immigrants. Obviously I don’t know it all, I just want to share what I have noticed. Yes, Mexico is a VERY beautiful place. And what makes it even more beautiful is the people. My favorite thing here is that their main priority is family. Family guys! Not money. Not themselves or work. FAMILY. If that isn’t following the Lord’s plan, I don’t know what is. And that is a big reason why a lot of people cross the border and go to the states. They risk their lives and go to a place where they do not know the language or culture, for their family.

You see, here in Mexico people are willing to work. It’s just that the jobs don’t pay. The people who have money are either crooks, part of the Government, or have their own businesses. I know of a family here that has 5 children. The dad works ALL DAY. In the blistering heat. He gets paid 300 pesos per day. Right now the money exchange is about 15 pesos per dollar. So divide 300 by 15. That’s 20 bucks. A day. For a family of 7. That’s $120 a week. That is just one example. Things here are cheap. Like food and land, but clothes, education, household items, etc…They are all the same price as the states. People don’t have a lot here. I’ve seen it, and I’m experiencing it. It has not been easy. Sometimes, honestly, it sucks really bad because we don’t know how we’re going to earn money. But the Lord ALWAYS provides.

For example, about a month ago, Jose and I had about 50 pesos left with no jobs lined up. We both had looked and searched like crazy, yet there was nothing. Since we got married we both have been looking forward to going to Stake Conference 40 minutes away. For both of us to go it would cost 200 pesos. The day before we decided to go visit Jose’s family and just spend time with them. Jose’s sister in law came up to Jose and gave him 200 pesos. He asked what it was for and she told him she was paying him for a lamp that he put in her apartment. A few hours later Jose’s sisters came to me and asked me if they could by some makeup I had in stock from my old job. I couldn’t believe it. The Lord provided us a way to go to conference and also enough for food the next week. The next week Jose found a two week job and now he is in Mexico City for more work. This job allows us both to work from home and have our own business. I am so grateful for the Lord. For him providing for our family.

I got sidetracked…but I felt the need to write the above. So for us yes, now we are financially OK, but for others it is not that easy. That is why the dads jump the border and go work to take care of their family. I know of so many women here in Mexico who are home alone and taking care of their children without their husbands. In fact this morning, I was talking to my Suegra about how much she missed her husband when he was gone to the states for YEARS at a time. And Jose is only gone for a WEEK. The sacrifice of these people is tremendous. So I guess what I’m saying is, please don’t be so quick to judge illegal immigrants. They are just trying their best for their families. They want to make a better future for their children. Isn’t that what so many people want when they go to the states? Yes some don’t have papers, but I know they would if they could. It is a lot of work and a lot of money to get them. Money that the people of this country do not have. The Government has tons, but the people have seriously nothing.

Through the eyes of this gringa I can see just a little of how the women live while their husbands are a country away for years and years. Mine is still in the same country and he is only gone for a week. But this week I have caught a small glimpse of what they are going through. And ladies…I get it and I respect the crap out of you.

-Ash

Chile Eyes

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I ran to the bathroom. I couldn’t let Jose know that I was crying and in so much pain. It was so embarrassing. I sobbed in silenced. I wanted to rip my eyeballs out. I tried to fit my head under the faucet in the sink, but my head is too huge. After clever maneuvering, I finally got the stream of cold water drenching my eye. The burn only got worse. WHAT???! I had always learned that whenever you had something in your eyes you should run cold water on them. I stopped and washed my hands. I tried to get all of the serrano chile off of my fingers before I took the next step. I was terrified. I needed to take out my contacts. With my hands. My chile hands. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. Finally, I felt like it was OK to stick my fingers in my eyes and take out the contacts. I was so wrong. The burning intensified. I could hear Jose down the hall calling my name. I really didn’t want to answer. He came to the bathroom door.

“Ash? Are you crying?”

“No, I’m fine!” I yelled back. I was so grateful right then that I had locked the bathroom door. Our lock is a deadbolt. Pretty serious privacy for a bathroom if you ask me! By this time I was back under the water soaking my eyeballs. I thought I had no other choice.

Then all of a sudden I felt a hand on my back. My sweet Jose was standing right next to me. I have no idea how he got into the bathroom. But he was there. I was so mad he was there! I really didn’t want him to see me like this. And over something so ridiculous!

“You got chile in your eye, didn’t you?” he asked.

“Yes and my contacts are soaking in it”, I sobbed.

Then he was gone. The next thing I new I could hear him speaking Spanish on his phone. He was talking to his mom. When we was finished he rushed back into the bathroom and said,

“Take your hair down. You need to rub your eyes with your hair.” So I did.

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Immediate relief! As I continued the pain got so much better. It was the best massage my eyeballs have ever received.

So there you have it folks. The cure for the dreaded chile eye. Advice from a true Mexican woman: my suegra. Online people say flush with cold water. DO NOT. I REPEAT. DO NOT FLUSH WITH COLD WATER. This only makes it worse. Like A LOT worse. If you ever get chile in your eye wipe your eye with your hair. God gives us cures all around! Even on our own body! This also works if you get lavender oil in your eye. (Tried it last night when a little spewed into the corner of my eye)

Remember. No water. Only hair. I think it has something to do with the oils absorbing up the chile juices. At least I like to think that is the reason because it makes me sound very smart.

You could always wear those rubber yellow gloves when you cut chiles as well. Maybe that would save you from the trouble and the pain in the first place…

in

PS the contacts…flushed em.

Food Frenzy Friday

I have always loved Taco Bell. Those crunchy tacos…holy crap I could eat like 5 at a time. One of the items on the menu that always soothes my craving is a gordita.

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Is your mouth watering? Because mine totally is…

This morning we got to the suegras house early so that I could learn how to make some Mexican food with suegra. Just my luck, she was making gorditas (food, not actually little fat ladies). When she said this I got so excited. She got the masa de maiz (corn dough) and quickly showed me how to mold a ball into a thick looking pancake.

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This was not looking like Taco Bell’s version. My friends…taco bell is not real Mexican food. Don’t let them fool you. You  want to then take the dough and set it on a tortilla warmer on your stove. Just let it heat up and cook. You will be able to tell when to flip it when the sides are turning brown and the gordita no longer sticks to the warmer.

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After we heated up the dough on the stove, suegra took a pancake thing and cut to, but not through the top of the gordita.

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She then pointed to the beans, cream, salsa, and lettuce that were on the table and told me to fill it up to my heart’s desire. Ok Taco Bell…see ya. This was so delicious and so moist! The gordita bread seriously melts in your mouth. You can fill it up with whatever you want. Meat, cheese, beans, veggies, cactus paddles, whatever you want!

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Sometimes, Abuelito will make these with banana bread dough. He won’t cut them through to add stuffing, but just eat them flat like regular bread.

For reals this is the easiest recipe that I have found. We just went to the tortilleria and bought the dough. Add a little bit of water so it is a little sticky and mold away! Make sure that you are throwing the dough ball between both hands. The quicker the better. The ball will transform into a perfectly round, flat gordita.

I would suggest buying the masa already made. Even the mexican ladies here do that. You can go to your nearest Tortilleria and just ask for masa de maiz. They will know exactly what you need.

Enjoy your very own authentic Mexican Gorditas!

How do YOU shower?

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Showering. It’s an everyday occurrence. At least I feel like it should be. If you don’t do it there are some nasty smells around ya. There are many benefits. You get clean, it improves blood circulation, relaxes your muscles, treats depression, improves your lungs, and even boosts your immune system! People all over the world do it in one way or another. Here, it’s not so different than in the states. We have hot water, we have showers, tile, shower heads. We even have bath tubs! (This is a recent discovery of mine. I hadn’t seen any tubs here until I went to my sister in law’s house and BAM! there it was. She is so lucky.) In Pachuca, we always needed to turn the water heater on with a match at least a 1/2 hour before we wanted to shower, but here in San Tadeo, Aguascalientes, we have hot water from the street! So from about 11pm to 6pm you have hot water whenever you want it. And you don’t even have to light a match or use any gas or electricity. Jose and my house is about 2 miles away from his parents’ house and we are not as fortunate to have hot running water in our street, although we do still have water, don’t worry. We have a shower that has running water, but our beautiful house doesn’t have a boiler. (This is what heats up water.) My girl, Taneesa, guessed the other day that we heat up our water on the stove…she was SO close! Here are the step by step instructions of how to shower when you all come visit our home.

1. Round up a 5 gallon bucket such as the gorgeous one shown below.

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2. Fill the bucket with the desired amount for your shower. Our water-spout is on the other side of our house, so I like to fill the water it up to the 1st ring so it’s not so heavy for me.

3. Once you make the trek from the spout to the bathroom, plug-in the portable water heater and stick it in the water, bulb first.

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This is what we like to call a “Miracle” in our house.

4. Let it sit and cook for about 1/2 hour. I usually do this while I’m making breakfast for my husband. Jose. He’s Mexican, by the way.

5. After the water is heated all the way to the bottom of the bucket, rest the bucket on the edge of the shower. You’ll want to have another bucket filled with colder water on hand so you can mix the two and not scald your body.

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6. Shown above is the small bowl that is used to pour the water over yourself as you shower. This picture is not pretty, but this bowl looks so much like ours, except ours is black.

           And there you have it! The process of showering in the blue house! So whenever you want to visit know that you also can be clean. We may not have an extra bed right now, but we do have a shower!!

And so it begins…

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I never would have thought that an anxious girl from a small town in Utah would make the trek to another country. I’ve always dreamed of it and thought how cool it would be. I never actually thought it would happen. It was always something in my imagination. Until the summer of 2014 when my dreams were made reality. As soon as my friend told me about teaching English in Mexico I knew I had to do it. I went to the information meeting and applied for a spot that night. I was given the last spot to Pachuca, Mexico. Getting off the plane, I felt like I was walking on clouds. This was not real. I was going to wake up any moment now. Then I saw it and knew that this was real life: “WELCOME TO MEXICO”. Immediately, I fell in love with the country. Every morning on our walk to school, my fellow English teachers and I made a new friend. Within 2 weeks of my stay here I knew that I wanted to live in Mexico. I wanted to spend more than just a summer here. I wanted years. I want to share with you how this dream is in the process of becoming my reality.

In July, I was at church when a stranger approached me and asked me where he could find inexpensive housing in the area. I didn’t know since the school I was working for was providing mine. Our conversation was limited due to the language barrier. He had a friend, however, who spoke more English, so he asked me to speak with him. Just then a man just a little taller than me walked through the door. As cheesy as it sounds, the sunlight was shining on him just enough to make it seem like he was glowing. He was so handsome. Jose’ came over and spoke with me. There was an instant connection and we became fast friends. He never found an apartment, but there was a family in our ward who offered him and his friends a place to live in their home.

Jose’ and I started to see each other more often as we had the same group of friends. We both started attending dance classes in the institute. Now…if you have ever attended a Latin dancing course you will know that it is very saucy. The chemistry between Jose’ and I was very strong. Flirting with each other, which I have never been good at, came naturally and our relationship grew into a dating relationship. We were both hesitant to further our relationship, but the spirit kept leading us to one another. One Friday, we had discussed how our relationship wouldn’t work out due to the fact that I was leaving to go back to the United States. What Jose’ didn’t know was that I wanted to move back to Mexico. We both enjoyed each other’s company so much and still wanted to remain friends. Two days later we went to some car races with the family that he was living with. They were fun and it was a great new experience for me. It was basically attending NASCAR races for Mexico. On our way home we got to enjoy a traffic jam due to all of the racing fans. With a sense of adventure, we pulled the car over and decided to go eat “tunas”. Tunas are a fruit that are on the top of some breeds of cactus. In order to harvest cactus you must first pick some sagebrush. This is used to smack all of the needles out of the cactus. After this you use a knife cut the skin off and expose the delicious fruit.

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(Photo Credit)

http://www.arizonagifts.com/12lbboxcactuscandy.aspx                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://thequeenstable.blogspot.com/2012/09/whats-that-cactus-pear-celery-jicama.html

The family and I ate many, many tunas. Someone getting a sliver in their lip was bound to happen. And it did. Jose’ got a splinter in his lip and because I am SUCH a great friend, I got it out for him. Of course that led to our first smooch. Everything changed after that. Jose’ and I started dating exclusively and we met each other’s families. He met my parents over FaceTime and I was able to visit his family’s home while traveling through more of Mexico.

After some time, we both knew that we wanted to get married. The only question was “How”. And that my friends is why I wanted to start this blog. The Lord totally has his hand in this relationship and has been guiding us every step of the way. We have seen so many miracles and I know that there are so many more to come. This is meant to be a record of the steps along the way and then about our lives in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Our journey has already begun and right now we remain a country apart. However, in two short months we will be able to be united in Mexico and will be getting married in the LDS Guadalajara Temple.

Bring it on.