Friday, June 19, 2020

Healing my wounded soul.

Nothing heals a wounded soul more than nature and music.

Today on my lunch break, I realized that I was feeling very depressed and down. I did not know why, nor do I know now. Sometimes I just get very sad, and I have to figure out how to move past it.

We are no longer allowed to eat in the break room (thanks to COVID-19 🙄) so I've been grabbing my picnic blanket out of my car and eating on the grass under this beautiful green tree for the past week.

The time I go for lunch, the sun is usually just peeking out of those branches, and sometimes gets in my eyes. But I love it. I love to look at the blue sky, contrasting the green leaves of the tree.

Today, because I was feeling sad, I read Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk Like a Broken Vessel. It was a reminder to me that it's okay to need to take time to rest and recoup. After that, I put on some of my "Sunday/Spiritual" music to listen to while I was eating lunch/laying on the blanket in the grass.

It didn't stop me from being sad right away–or even completely–but knowing that God hears me, and sees me, and knows how I'm feeling was a blessing. I was still a bit sad the rest of the day at work, but I did feel better after listening to my music, and after breathing in some fresh air and just taking a little time to relax.

Though my mind and soul might be bruised and sore, God is taking care of my wounds and I will feel better soon, I know it. It just takes time. Not our time, but His time.

I am not going to lie, when I realized that I was feeling depressed, my very first thought was that I just wanted to cry. Which is okay! It's okay to cry! And I did want to. And I almost did, but I then I had the thought that I should read to Elder Holland's talk, and it was exactly what I needed. And then I listened to my music because I just needed the Spirit that my Sunday music brings, and it was so beautiful. It was quiet, peaceful, and almost like my own personal Sacred Grove.


I am so very grateful for my husband, who is so compassionate and wonderful and loving towards me not just always, but especially when I am at my lowest points. I so appreciate his love, attitude, and the sacrifices that he makes for me to ensure that I feel comforted and loved! 

I hope everyone has a great Father's Day weekend! I am so sorry I haven't been posting as often. I am working on a blog post that is taking time because I want to get it right. In the meantime, I had this thought today and wanted to share.

I love you all! Married life is wonderful and I'll fill you all in on that later!

God is great, you are loved, let's be kind!!

Xoxo
Mattie Ruth Radke VELASQUEZ

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Blessed to love and be loved.

Today is Sunday May 17, 2020, and today is also my last Sunday as an unmarried woman, because I am marrying my best friend in 3 days!!!


This has been a long road, full of loneliness at times, as well as heartache. But I was blessed with amazing friends, mentors, leaders, and a loving Savior and Father in Heaven to guide me along my journey in life. Ricky came into my life unexpectedly, but he was a fresh drink of water. He was just what I needed at that moment in life, and then I realized that I didn't want to live my life without him. Luckily, he realized he didn't want to live his life without me, either. 💜


We are so excited to begin our life together!!! I am so excited to go on adventures with him and to create our life together! I fall more in love with him every day and I am so grateful to be able to keep falling in love with him every day!


Though our wedding planning experience hasn't been what we had expected, it has helped me remember to focus on Ricky and I, and the covenants and promises that we will be making with and to each other and Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for Ricky's tenderness, his kind heart, his compassionate nature, his respectful attitude, and his sweet love towards me. He is a wonderful example to me of being Christlike, and I am SO blessed to be able to love (and be loved by) him!

We are two different people, with two completely different life experiences, and we won't always see eye to eye about things, but I always want to share my life with him. 💜


I am so grateful for the amazing examples of loving and healthy relationships in my life that I have to look up to. My grandparents, my parents, my aunts and uncles, my friends, and all of the General Authorities. The love that they have for, and how they talk about, their wives, is SO sweet, and I hope that Ricky and I will talk about each other like that in the future. 

In a BYU Devotional given by Elder Richard G. Scott in 2010 entitled, To Have Peace and Happiness, he says:
"Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good. Righteous love is the foundation of a successful marriage. It is the primary cause of contented, well-developed children. Who can justly measure the righteous influence of a mother’s love? What enduring fruits will result from the seeds of truth that you as a mother can carefully plant and lovingly cultivate in the fertile soil of your own child’s trusting mind and heart? As a mother, you have been given divine instincts to help you sense your child’s special talents and unique capacities. With your husband, you can nurture, strengthen, and cause those traits to flower.
[...]
In closing I share an eternal principle that will assure you of a rich, purposeful life whether you are single or married. I have found that the best way to live life is to seek to know the will of the Lord as guided by the Holy Spirit. He knows what is best for you. As you are obedient and exercise faith in Him, He will help you realize His will for you in your life. May the Lord inspire, guide, and richly bless each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
I am so grateful for the loving and sweet examples of the prophets and apostles on how to love your spouse. I am looking forward to growing spiritually with Ricky as we move forward in our lives together. He is such a blessing in my life, and I hope that I can be a blessing to him, too.

We will be having a virtual wedding via Zoom! If you would like to celebrate with us, please let me know and I will send the link to you.

I hope you all have an exciting week! I know I will! I'm getting married and then going to St. George with my HUSBAND!!! I am so blessed to love him and to be loved by him!

God loves you and has amazing plans in store for you! You are wonderful, amazing, and loved by so many!

Xoxo
Mattie

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Shining bright with hope.

It's been a few weeks since I've updated my blog. I'm sorry about that. Life has been crazy and hectic. Things have been changing almost every day and it's been stressing me out, and I needed to take a breather.

Over the last few weeks, I have had a lot going on. I have had the opportunity to move into my new apartment, where Ricky will be joining me on May 20th when we are married. I have had the stress of a new job, which keeps changing things almost every day, and it's very hard to keep track of sometimes. And I have still been finalizing weddings plans. We were kind of counting on being able to use the church's cultural hall, but that is no longer an option. Instead, we will be getting married in my parents' front yard, and we are trying to figure out how to do a Facebook live or Zoom call or something like that so that Ricky's parents can participate, as well as any other extended family and friends of ours that would like to participate.

Today, the Church released that they are opening some temples in Utah for live sealings of previously endowed members. Ricky and I fall into this category. While I would much like to wait until we can invite so many more of our family and friends, as the future is unknown and we don't know when that would be, we are going to try to be sealed as soon as possible. While I am unsure yet how many guests we can have, I am sure it will be no more than 20, as that is the state's current number for "groups".

I am not going to lie, I am kind of super disappointed and sad. This whole experience has just been STRESSFUL for me. I haven't been able to really enjoy my time being engaged. My wedding plans have been changing on the daily, and I don't even know what's happening anymore. The minute that some temples were announced as being reopened for previously endowed members of the Church to be sealed as husband and wife, EVERYONE I know was sending me the link to the article, and asking if that changed things. I am not going to lie–I cried on my lunch break today because I was so overwhelmed and stressed. I was just about ready to relax because everything was pretty much done for the wedding–we just needed to buy Ricky's tie, probably some wedding decorations, and get/make food for the wedding brunch–and then the temples reopened and added a new element for me to think on.

I am really trying not to stress about this, but it is just so much more emotionally and mentally taxing for me than I thought it would be. I am grateful that I have Ricky to lean on. He has been so amazing through everything. I am so lucky to be the one that he chooses everyday, and I am so grateful that I get to choose him every day. It's the best and easiest choice I've ever made in my entire life. He is the brightest spot in my life when things are dark. He is always shining bright, and I love that about him.

Photo Credit: Beyond The Darkroom Photography
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In Elder L. Whitney Clayton's General Conference talk in April 2013 "Marriage: Watch and Learn", he gives some great marriage advice that I loved.

"First, I have observed that in the happiest marriages both the husband and wife consider their relationship to be a pearl beyond price, a treasure of infinite worth. They both leave their fathers and mothers and set out together to build a marriage that will prosper for eternity. They understand that they walk a divinely ordained path. They know that no other relationship of any kind can bring as much joy, generate as much good, or produce as much personal refinement. Watch and learn: the best marriage partners regard their marriages as priceless.

Next, faith. Successful eternal marriages are built on the foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and adherence to His teachings. I have observed that couples who have made their marriages priceless practice the patterns of faith: they attend sacrament and other meetings every week, hold family home evening, pray and study the scriptures together and as individuals, and pay an honest tithing. Their mutual quest is to be obedient and good. They do not consider the commandments to be a buffet from which they can pick and choose only the most appealing offerings.

Faith is the foundation of every virtue that strengthens marriage. Strengthening faith strengthens marriage. Faith grows as we keep the commandments, and so do the harmony and joy in marriage. Thus, keeping the commandments is fundamental to establishing strong eternal marriages. Watch and learn: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of happy eternal marriages.

Third, repentance. I have learned that happy marriages rely on the gift of repentance. It is an essential element in every good marital relationship. Spouses who regularly conduct honest self-examination and promptly take needed steps to repent and improve experience a healing balm in their marriages. Repentance helps restore and maintain harmony and peace.

Humility is the essence of repentance. Humility is selfless, not selfish. It doesn’t demand its own way or speak with moral superiority. Instead, humility answers softly and listens kindly for understanding, not vindication. Humility recognizes that no one can change someone else, but with faith, effort, and the help of God, we can undergo our own mighty change of heart. Experiencing the mighty change of heart causes us to treat others, especially our spouses, with meekness. Humility means that both husbands and wives seek to bless, help, and lift each other, putting the other first in every decision. Watch and learn: repentance and humility build happy marriages.

Fourth, respect. I have observed that in wonderful, happy marriages, husbands and wives treat each other as equal partners. Practices from any place or any time in which husbands have dominated wives or treated them in any way as second-class partners in marriage are not in keeping with divine law and should be replaced by correct principles and patterns of behavior."

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I am so excited to be Ricky's partner and equal in life. I am so excited to go shopping every other weekend with him. I am so excited to discuss dinner options for the week. I am so excited to wake up next to him every morning. I am so excited to be able to study our scriptures and pray together in our own home. I am so excited to be able to create our life and family together. I am so excited to be able to grow closer together and grow closer to God together. I am so excited to be able to move forward in life with him by my side. Together, I know that we will be able to make our way through this crazy adventure called life together. 

I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has blessed me in so many ways. I am so grateful for the examples that I have to look up to in my life of great marriages. I am grateful for the wonderful friends and family who have been so supportive and loving. Even though things keep changing on me, and it is stressful, I am learning to work through them. I am learning to take things one thing at a time. Some days, I don't always remember that. But each day is something new. Each day is different. Each day is a blessing. And I know that I am never alone.

Xoxo
Mattie

Friday, April 3, 2020

Life amidst chaos and uncertainty.

Long time no see! It's been a couple weeks, I think, since I last posted. It's been crazy around the world. The virus known as COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) has the whole world in a tizzy.

There have been crazy shortages of items, such as toilet paper and bottled water, by people who panicked. I think that that is mostly slowing to a trickle.

There has been an OUTBURST of memes (as always!) and they never fail to make me laugh! My brothers have been making their own memes, and I am impressed at how funny these little guys are!

School has been online for the last couple weeks, and will continue to be so until May 1st (at least, for now, in Utah).

Social distancing is encouraged, as well as staying at home/away from crowds as much as possible.

In church-related news, we have been having church at home for about three weeks. A lot of the missionaries serving around the world (including my own brother, Elder Radke) were sent home to be self-quarantined/isolated for two weeks, and then at some point will either be reassigned to a mission in their home country, or released from their mission. It all depends on the missionary and their stake. Temples were closing all around the world one by one, but then on March 25th, the First Presidency announced that all temples were closed until further notice.

To be honest, I was devastated when I heard that news. I am getting married on May 20th, and I was really looking forward to be sealed to my sweetheart for time and all eternity. Planning my wedding right now is actually really stressful. Like, it was stressful before coronavirus was really a thing, but now–with things changing literally every day–I never know whether or not I should move forward with certain things because a lot can happen in one and a half(ish) months and things could be a lot better by then. Then again, things could also be a lot worse. Either way, I am grateful to know that regardless of whether or not the temples will be reopened by the time we will be getting married, we will still be getting married and we will still have the opportunity to be sealed together once the temples are reopened.

Anyway, General Conference is coming up! It is THIS WEEKEND and I could NOT be more excited!! This year is the 200th anniversary of when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in a vision. It is going to be a conference like no other, for probably more than one reason. I am so excited to be able to hear from our prophet and other Church leaders.

The last couple of weeks, for church in my home, we have been reading and discussing things from our Come, Follow Me manuals. It has really been a blessing for me to be able to discuss and ponder the scriptures with my family. It's been a blessing for us to spend time together. I think that we have grown closer together. I especially am enjoying it because this is my last couple of months living with my family at home before I am getting married and moving out of the house for good. I am enjoying this time with my family and am grateful to have the chance to be with them together forever because of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Amidst the craziness that is the world right now, one thing that has kept me calm (even thought I will admit, I haven't always been "calm" about some things in my life right now) is the fact that President Nelson has shared many messages of hope and peace, and President Ballard shared a beautiful message of calm and relief during this period of time where so many things are uncertain. He has been encouraging us to study the First Vision, as it is 200 years since it occurred in the year 1820. He invited us all–everyone around the whole world, including people who aren't necessarily members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–to fast and pray this past weekend for relief from the coronavirus, as well as a blessing on the medical personnel who are and have been working on treating patients and finding a vaccine. It was an amazing experience to fast with my family this past weekend. It was one of the most powerful experiences I have had with fasting in my life.

My fiancé and I had our engagement pictures taken on Monday night. It was so much fun! I loved taking pictures with him and spending time with him! I am so excited to see how they turn out! The wedding is getting closer and closer!! And while things are continuing to be unknown and it's hard to plan certain things, I am still so excited and grateful for the chance to be marrying my best friend in a little over a month and a half!!

While this virus has kind of put the world (and life) on hold, I am still trying to live through the chaos and uncertainty. Texting, video-calling, using social media–connecting with my family and friends has mostly been virtual since we've been quarantined/isolated. I'll admit, that there are days and moments where I am just so done with everything and want this all to be over. There are days where I feel so helpless and like nothing is ever going to be the same again. Will the sun ever shine again (figuratively)? Some days, it doesn't feel like it. But I hold on to my faith. I know that life will go back to normal at some point. It might not be as soon as we would like, but I know that it will all be okay in the end.

I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father! I am grateful that my fiancé and I will still be able to get married, even though (as of right now) we won't be able to be sealed until the temples are reopened. I am grateful that this weekend is General Conference.  I am grateful for the scriptures and for the love, peace, and answers that come from them as I study their words. I am excited for the chance to hear what the Lord has to say to us through the prophet and other church leaders. I am extremely grateful for President Nelson, and for his words of comfort and peace during this time of uncertainty around the world.

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Peace and love amidst confusion.

I missed last week's post because it was just such a crazy day/week! I've had a lot going on. So I'm playing a little catch-up with a few posts in one. 

March 1, 2020:

Palmyra, New York. 1820. Early spring. Early morning. A young boy. A serious question. A vision from God.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=431662257545756

This video is amazing! I love all of the little miracles. It's such a testimony to me and just reaffirms my faith in the gospel, in my Savior, and in my Heavenly Father. I am so thankful for the First Vision, and for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon, and for the impact that it has had on my life, and for the love and peace that I have felt as I have read its pages and studied its messages.
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March 8, 2020:


I love this. I don't have all the answers. I don't know. I honestly don't know. I am so confused and so sad for all who are affected.

But I love this. God is a God of clarity and truth. Sometimes it seems like He has given us conflicting commandments. Sometimes it seems like He hasn't given us any answers. But I know that He loves us. I know that He wants us to be happy. So I will walk and talk with you. I will love you. Because that is what Jesus would do. And I am trying to be like Jesus. So I will do what He would do. And that is fight for you. And love you. So I will fight for you, and I will love you. Even when people tear me down because of my beliefs. Because I can be the bigger person. I can make room in my heart to love those with opposing opinions and views, even if others cannot grant me the same respect. 
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Today is also International Women's Day! I wanted to say how thankful I am for all of the women in my life: my mom, my sisters, my grandmas, my aunts, my friends. I have such amazing examples and mentors in my life. Thank you for showing me kindness, determination, charity, compassion, divinity, dedication, how to be myself, and that, no matter what, I have an armada of love behind me. 




I am grateful for my Heavenly Mother, and for the example that She is to me. I am grateful for the peace and love that I feel whenever I think of Her. I am grateful for Her quiet influence in my life. I am grateful for the love and strength that She gives me. I am grateful for the hand that She has had in my life. 

It has been a pretty busy and difficult week for me in a lot of ways, but I am so grateful for not only my Heavenly Parents and my Savior, but for my cute fiancé, who has been holding my hand (literally and figuratively) the whole week. He is my person and my rock and I can't imagine life without him.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I am looking forward to getting some things done this week and to cross a few things off my to-do list. This will be a great week! I can do hard things! God is with me and will help me get through it, and He is with you and will help you through it, as well!! He loves you very much and is so proud of you! I love you and am proud of you as well! Keep it up! 

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Gratitude changes everything.

I am so full of gratitude this week!

I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for His sacrifice for me, which makes it so that I can be with my family forever, and with Ricky forever. It makes it so that I get to try again and again to be like Him in order for me to live with my Heavenly Father again.

I am so grateful for Ricky. He is so thoughtful and sweet. I am so excited to be marrying him! He is a blessing gin my life and he is my best friend. There is so much that we still have to do to plan our wedding our future together, but he is oh-so-willing to help me (in most things 🤣).

I am grateful for the angels in my life–on this earth, and on the other side. I am grateful for the love, peace, and guidance that they–and the Holy Ghost–give to me. I am so blessed to have angels on both sides of the veil in my life to bless, love, and support me.

I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for its testimony of Jesus Christ, and for the truths in its pages, and for the lessons that these truths teach me. I am grateful for the peace that it brings into my life, and for the answers that come as I search its pages.

I am grateful for my Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. I am grateful for Her divinity and strength. I am grateful for His mercy and grace. I am grateful for Their love and guidance. I am grateful for the blessings they give to me, and for the big part that They play in my life. I am so thankful that Heavenly Father is always willing to bless me and lift me up.

I am grateful for friends and family who are always willing to help me, especially with wedding plans as my wedding is coming up. Everyone has been offering help and advice, and I so appreciate it.

When we are grateful, and notice our blessings, we're happier. I've seen this in my life. As we recognize the Lord's hand in our lives, we are able to notice more and more all of the good things in our lives. The more grateful we are, the more dopamine that our brain makes, which means that we are happier! It's science! I learned that in college! But I've also experienced it in my life. I am grateful for the love and peace that being grateful has brought to me. What are you grateful for?


I hope that everyone has a great week! God loves you! I love you! Thanks for all of the love and support!!

Xoxo
Mattie

Sunday, February 9, 2020

It's time to start.

I’m in the middle of wedding planning right now, and it’s been taking up my every thought.

But today I was able to take a step back, and I realized something.

I realized that sometimes, life is HARD. Planning a wedding is HARD. Trying to get a new job is HARD. Trying to spend time with my family, friends, and fiancé (hahaha the three “f’s”) can be HARD. Trying to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ is HARD. Trying to live as He did, and to live the gospel, is HARD.

There are days when I am looking and looking and planning and planning but I get nothing done. There are days where I don’t have enough time to spend with my loved ones. There are days where I fail multiple times at being a good disciple of Christ. There are days where I don’t live the gospel as well as I would like.

This is NORMAL. Everyone struggles. We are all struggling at life. It’s not always big or noticeable, but we are always struggling. It’s important to remember that we are all loved and cherished by a loving Father in Heaven. He knows how we are feeling, and that we are struggling. He wants to help us but we need to turn to Him. We need to ask Him for help. We need to do our part, and then humbly kneel and ask in prayer for His help and guidance. We need to be prepared to move forward with faith.


We don’t need to feel overwhelmed. We need to remember to just start doing SOMETHING. Start by praying for peace. Or guidance. Start by reading the scriptures. Or conference talks. Start with ONE thing. And God will help you. You just need to start.


We also need to remember that when we ask God for one thing, He will often give it to us in a completely different way than we asked or intended for. That’s okay. He knows what we need. We just need to be open to the possibility that what He gives us is different than what we asked for, but that it must be what we need.

Happy Sunday! Hope you have had a peaceful Sunday and that you have a wonderful week!

Xoxo
Mattie