My blog has been in hibernation for far too long.
My rule for my posts is that I only write when I feel inspired to do so. My blog’s purpose is not public attention. I write so that humble followers of Christ will know that they are not alone. I don’t mind being open about my life and sharing for the benefit of others. I also gain from being able to share what is in my heart as well. When the Lord blesses me I feel an intense desire to share what is in my heart. I guess it is the missionary spirit inside of me. I don’t know all of the reasons I need to start blogging again but I know it is time.
One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 62:3 which reads,
“Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you.”
My blog is a sort of personal/public online journal. I love to rejoice with others in the promises of the gospel. I love to think about angels recording our testimonies in heaven. I also love the promise that if we share our testimonies our sins are forgiven. Just like all of you I am a sinner. We live in a fallen world and none of us are perfect. I feel like the phrases we use, “I’m not perfect,” or “nobody is perfect” are too soft to describe ourselves.
I prefer instead to not beat around the bush and admit that I am a sinner. My shortcomings and weaknesses often lead to sin. We are all sinners. There are thousands of ways to sin. We even sin with our thoughts. I feel like sometimes we aren’t doing the big sins and so we think we are fine. Yet many of us are sinning daily through more subtle ways…envy, contention, fear, resentments, judgements and pride, just to name a few. I find that is in the broken-hearted confession of sin that I truly find my Savior. We all need him everyday. We all need repentance everyday. Despite my weakness, shortcomings and sin, I am a man of hope in my Savior. I love to share the optimism that is inside of me. I love to inspire others to the same hope. Because Christ came and paid the ultimate price, we don’t have to remain sinners. We can come unto him and he will change us for the better over time. He will make us like him if we let him.
The main reason I have put my blog on hold for so long is because I want to be a man who practices what he preaches, no questions asked. I have always maintained a very strong testimony of the gospel despite my struggles. I don’t hesitate to declare the truth, yet I want the truth to be validated with who I am as a person. Without personal worthiness, our words are just words with no authority. Certain life circumstances exposed a major weakness of mine that I needed to eradicate from my life. I didn’t feel comfortable continuing to write about spiritual things when I was hurting. The Lord needs His servants and teachers to be clean and authentic. I had to put much of my personal life on hold until the weakness of mine was developed into a strength. Thanks to the sacrifice of the Savior of the world I can say without a doubt that I am a new person in Christ. I am now free from the weakness that was eating away at my soul. By turning to the Lord to overcome my weakness, He did the most incredible thing. Not only did he free me from my weakness but he gave me a complete life overhaul. Together the Savior and I embarked on a long and difficult journey to become someone new. I wanted to become the person I always dreamed of becoming but didn’t know how. The result was that the Lord gave me a whole new world and has taken me to heights I never could have reached alone.
In fact, I am no longer physically alone either. I want to share with you all the exciting changes that have come about in just a short couple years. I was married for time and all eternity in the Gilbert, Arizona temple on May 30th, 2105 to Jessica Lee Peterson.
We went on our honeymoon to Kauai and then came home only to load up a big moving van and trek up north to Bozeman, Montana. Other exciting news is that I turned 30 on May 21st, 2015 and graduated dental school on May 28th!!! I obtained a dental license to practice in Montana shortly after graduation. It’s all been a bit of a blur to say the least!
I have been working here in Montana for Dr. Dean Mortensen DDS. He went to dental school with my Dad at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. I feel like I am living the dream but it is just the beginning. All of this I owe to my Savior Jesus Christ. I could not do this alone. I needed Him. While crossing the Montana State border on our way up here I was listening to music on shuffle. At that very moment I saw the sign the song “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” came on. My eyes swelled with tears of joy. I know that we are in the right place and that the Lord is watching over us. Montana summertime is when the bears are out of hibernation. So is my blog…I am very excited to be back to blogging!
I want to share Jessica and I’s story that I wrote before we got married for the wedding website but not sure that anyone got a chance to read it.
The year was 2013…I had given up hope in finding someone to marry. I was down in the dumps. I had seen almost all of my younger siblings and then friend after friend find their eternal companion and happiness. I was single and very good at that lifestyle. Right after my mission I dated to get married but it didn’t work out. I dated a lot and made mistakes. I had some long relationships but nothing ever stuck. I was frustrated and I was exhausted. I was so totally alone. I got on my knees and said one of the most sincere prayers of my life. I acknowledged my weakness and pleaded with Heavenly Father that I could find someone to be by my side. I told Heavenly Father that I didn’t need to get married, but if I could just meet someone…I would be eternally grateful.
I was pretty down but that prayer was one of humility and faith. On my own I was stumbling and made a mess of my life. There was a glimmer of hope though that maybe God could do something that I could not do for myself. All it takes is one person right? The problem with marriage and dating is that a lot of it is timing and agency that makes all the difference. A popular analogy is that finding someone to marry is like finding someone to sit down and play a duet with you at the piano. You may be playing beautiful music by yourself but marriage takes two, and you can’t force anyone to sit down and play.
I wanted someone to harmonize with… little did I know what was on the horizon.
God answered my sincere prayer. After meeting her, The Holy Spirit continued to whisper the name Jessica to my mind over and over. Anytime I thought about who to date or what I should be doing the thought, “cling to Jessica” kept coming to my head. Jessica and I met in the Scottsdale YSA singles ward at the 56th street and Camelback church building. The first time I saw her sitting in church I told myself I needed to get to know that girl no matter what. I saw her from across the chapel sitting alone and she lit up the entire building! I will be honest it was her good looks that made me interested initially. Her smile is priceless and she is a drop dead gorgeous tall blonde with beautiful blue eyes. Apparently we were both in Mexico for a sand volleyball tournament at the same time but didn’t talk to each other. I had a friend who kept telling me to meet and talk to this girl that he thought we would be a perfect Mormon match. I connected it as the girl from church so I made a point to talk to Jess. After Sunday school the Sunday after Mexico I introduced myself. I was pretty nervous. The conversation was brief and I am sure I fumbled with my words but at least it was a start.
Then all of a sudden she disappeared before I could even inquire more. I thought that she was “ward hopping” or maybe inactive. Could a girl who is that good-looking really be active in our ward? I found out later she left to San Francisco for a month or two so she wasn’t a rebel. I was so curious. Then all of a sudden she was back! I told myself I had to go talk to her but I’m not going to lie I was pretty skeptical. Dating in the singles scene for so long I feel like I have heard and seen it all. Could she really be the real deal? I wanted to play it cool. We chatted briefly after sacrament but she was surrounded with friends and I thought at least that was a good sign that she had lots of friends in the ward.
I asked our mutual friend Brook Dorf about her because I wanted to do my research before I started to pursue. I will be honest I was pretty much just working on myself at that time so the thought of being in a relationship was terrifying. Brook told me she loved Jess and that she was one of her all time favorite people and that she wasn’t going to tell me anything. She told me if I wanted to get to know her I had to ask her myself. I was up to the challenge.
After sacrament I went up to her again and pretended to forget her name trying to act like I didn’t care. I don’t think my strategy worked I don’t know. She called me out on it. My theory was that girls like her get all kinds of attention all the time so might as well not be another one of “those” guys. We sat by each other during a combined Sunday school and we found out we both played the trumpet back in the day and both lived in the same 3 states but simply never crossed paths. I couldn’t play it cool anymore. I let out my real personality and we were just talking and laughing and being silly.
I was feeling it so I made sure she was going to be at social event at our friend Jimmy’s house in Fountain Valley that night. Some of us were getting together for games. She showed up in an ASU t-shirt and no make up which she claims was to make it so I didn’t like her. This backfired on her because I loved how down to earth and naturally beautiful she was. At the time I was on a technology fast and so when we were about to leave I asked her for her number and she said but you don’t have a phone…I replied, but I have a pen! She wrote her number on my hand old school style. I thought it was pretty smooth and unique. I went home right away and wrote it down.
What ensued was some back and forth of group hang outs and a casual friendship. We both knew we liked each other but we were both slow playing it and being safe. Calling each other friends with an asterisk was easy enough. I took her to Coconuts, one of my favorite fish taco places in North Scottsdale, and to the movie the Lone Ranger. We held hands and it just felt natural. It freaked me out because this was one of those relationships I knew could go the distance. We had so much fun organizing group activities and going on trips. We would stay up late talking and we were annoying because even though we were in a group it was like we were on dates with others just tagging along. Around this time my car had no AC in Phoenix and this means death. I took it to the shop and was without a car for a while. Jess and I would carpool to church activities, FHE and institute. I was falling for her fast. She wanted to come watch me play basketball and that made my world. She is so thoughtful and caring. She is so carefree and has an even more beautiful inside than outside… as if that was humanly possible. She was like an angel to me and a gift that came at the perfect time.
(my sister Amy, Jess and I not very long after we met)
The more I got to know the more I loved. Her personality is contagious…carefree and hilarious. She is a closet genius and very spiritual. She has such a loving heart and genuinely cares about others. I started a journal about her, keeping track of everything we did and all the details of our adventures. We got to know each other with no pressure and no kissing. It wasn’t until about 3-4 months into this that we were both confused and things started to get awkward. We were at a crossroads. We either had to be forever “friend zoned” or start dating for real. I remember the conversation vividly. I think it was after a ride Jess gave me home from church. She was standing there and the sun was shining behind her and it all made perfect sense. I had a moment of clarity. I was learning to care about Jess and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
I think we were officially dating for a couple of days and we kissed the first time, during the movie Safe Haven at my house. I quickly realized with lips like hers I needed to lock those down. So we went from dating to exclusive to together in about a week. We became a couple on October 9th 2013. I am glad we were friends first for a few months and waited to kiss. I knew Jess was special from the beginning so I wanted to do things differently than I have ever done in the past. It worked!
One of my favorite times of our entire relationship was when I was helping Jess house sit for our Bishop. We cooked together, took the dog on walks, watched football and movies and it was just us. This is when I fell in love with Jess. The first time I told her ” I love you” was at a special spot by my house after a walk in Sacramento on New Years day. We took our time and enjoyed our courtship together. Instead of coming together as finished products we grew together, overcoming weaknesses together and growing close. We served together as co-chairs of the Welcome Committee in our ward and did church visits together. We started weekly planning sessions and made decisions to try to eat healthy together. One of my favorite activities became our mornings. We started getting up early and going to work out together. We came home after and made a green smoothie eggs and bacon breakfast. I was once a stay up late kind of guy but while dating Jess I saw more sunrises than I ever have in my whole life. Jess sacrificed so much to make this happen. She had to get up at 5 am at her house, drive to my house, then sit in traffic to get back to her house and more traffic on the way to work! She is incredible!
We talked about getting married one night in the summer about a year since we met and it seemed like the natural next step. We overcame many things together and kept getting closer and closer knowing we were working towards something that was beyond us. I wanted to propose but I waited for the perfect timing. I have always been a fan of a long courtship and short engagement. This gave us an opportunity to discover our true selves and grow together. When you plant a seed you know if it’s a good seed if it grows and brings forth fruit. Our relationship became very fruitful over time. Jess makes me happy and I started to progress and change for the better with her support. Weaknesses were becoming strengths. I was now a man of loyalty and commitment and purpose. Lust was all but gone from my life. I was learning how to truly love someone else. It was all very exciting. We got engaged on Feb 22nd at the edge of the Grand Canyon in an isolated lookout straight down with no guard rails called ToroWeep. It was the same spot we had taken a group trip to after we first met, just much more frigid this time around. I brought her out to the edge and gave her the journal of special moments I had recorded. I read her a poem and sang a couple of jingles I made up about us. She said “yes of course” and as we were leaving the snow started falling! It was beautiful and there were many special moments like these. The Lord had a hand in all of this. Everything came together so we could have our perfect moment. Our real journey had only just begun.
Since being engaged our lives have gotten a lot more busy and serious. We are having to make major decisions, including the wedding and where to live and where to work. In the meantime I have been burdened with dental school requirements and licensing exams. I could not be more elated to be marrying my best friend and one true love. We are a team and we are attached at the hip. Jess and I want to create an eternal family. We love the Lord first and then each other. I can’t speak of her and I and not acknowledge the hand of God that brought us together, and it is God that fortifies our relationship daily. Without him we would be lost and who knows if this would actually be happening. With Him we can do all things. I love Him and I love Jess. Thank you for reading our story.