2015 ABCs

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thank you 2015 for an incredible year!

A: Autumn (my best friend) & Ben's wedding! #bridesmaid

B: Body building - Hubs has been teaching me how to lift and I am already seeing improvements!

C: Christmas - with two families!

D: Dating Alex :)

E: ENGAGED! Just 3 months later :0

F: Fireside Coordinator for the Toronto Stake Presidency. Definitely one of my favourite callings!

G: Guelph! Moving out of the big city has been quite the change.

H: Honeymoon in Mexico!

I: Illness struggles; mental and physical. But hey, that is where strengthened faith comes in :)

J: June baby - Celebrating Alex's birthday with him for the first time.
[ Read post here ]

K: Korean Grill - First date with Alex.

L: Licensed to drive! Err...well G1. But it's something!

M: MARRIAGE! Can you believe dating, engagement, and marriage happened within a year? No? Yeah, neither can I. But it is fantabulous!
[ photo by Simply Emily ]

N: November baby - Celebrating my birthday with Alex for the first time.

O: Ocean - as in swimming in the ocean and learning how to snorkel. Kinda.

P: Pita Pit - #hitthefit #grilllife - Love my job!

Q: Quebec Montreal YSA Conference. Such a fun road trip!

R: Rogers TV! So grateful for the opportunity I had to share my mission experiences and testimony on local television.

S: Sara (my best friend) & Nathan's wedding! #bridesmaid

T: Teaching ESL to students in Colombia.

U: University. Alex's first year! :)

V: Visiting Teaching experiences.

W: Wedding upon wedding upon wedding! Congratulations to all my friends!

X: X-missionary life (aka returned missionary life). Tons of happiness and tons of struggles and just trying to figure everything out.

Y: Young Women's leader. I got my dream calling and I love my girls!

Z: Zany family. As in my crazy familia. It has been a blast catching up with them after a year and a half.

2016, I'm ready for ya!

The Pearl Necklace

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.  
Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!" 
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face. "A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma." 
As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. 
On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace. 
Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green. 
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?" 
"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you." 
"Then give me your pearls." 
"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess--the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite." 
"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss. 
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?" 
"Daddy, you know I love you." 
"Then give me your pearls." 
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper." 
"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss. 
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. 
"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?" 
Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver,she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you." 
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. 
He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.
A member I worked very closely with in my first area told me how this story helped her let go of her boyfriend in order for her to meet her husband. This dear sweet sister had no idea what my situation was, but it hit so close to home.

In order for me to explain how this story relates to my relationship with Alex, you're going to have to know a little bit about my past.

Leaving to serve a mission became super hard because there was another righteous decision I could have chosen. But I had to make a choice and I chose to serve the Lord.

It was so hard. I knew I was supposed to be a missionary. I've know it for years. But it was really hard to accept at this point in my life. What didn't make my situation easier was when other missionaries in the MTC, after hearing what was on the letters from the one I left behind, say, "Sister Limas, why are you here? There is someone at home who wants to marry you. You don't have to be here".

But I did have to be on a mission. I knew that deep down inside. I just didn't understand why.

I remember going to the temple with my companion during my first month as a missionary. The only question I could ask once I entered the celestial room was, "is he the one?" The answer was a clear and fierce, "NO."

It was hard for me to accept. I tried to bury it in my thoughts. I couldn't let my feelings get in the way of the work.

There came a point where things became rough between me and this person. It was an emotionally dark time for me. I became physically sick, to the point I was told I could possibly be sent home. I prayed and pleaded with my Heavenly Father to take it all away. After weeks of prayer and blessings and study, it was finally lifted. I can't even begin to express how many times I had to tell Heavenly Father, "I am leaving this in your hands. I don't want to deal with it anymore". I am so grateful for the comfort and peace I felt from my Saviour during that dark period of my life.

I felt free and I was ready to soar. I once was afraid of change because I did not want to go home with a different relationship with this person. But after that dark experience, I was ready for the Lord to mold me any which way He would have.

And just as I was starting, he tried to mend things up.

Now here's the tricky part. I could have just ignored him, right? WRONG. The Spirit made it very clear that he was not the one for me, BUT I was still supposed to be writing and uplifting and encouraging this person. (Holy moly, can you imagine how confusing this was when it was actually happening? Geez.)

My whole mission was a constant battle of doing my best to accept the Lord's will. There are countless stories told, Mormon Messages watched, members's examples seen, that the Spirit would use to confirm again and again that the one I left behind was NOT the one for me. Did I want to believe it? Of course not. I tried not to think about it, but I felt like something was always always hinting at it.

Then came the last few months of my mission. Much growth and learning has happened at this point. I was also pretty sure that I had let everything go. He told me he was seeing a new girl and I knew this girl most likely the one for him. I told him to date her. Although I was accepting of this, I felt such a discomfort and I had no idea why.

In my 2nd to last email home (Life Lessons Learned), I shared my thoughts on my lack of faith. I had enough faith that this work would move forward. The amount of miracles I saw my last transfer confirms that. But I learned I had a lack of faith in Heavenly Father's promises to me specifically. I didn't trust the promises given to me would be fulfilled because I could not see the plan.

I remember getting on my knees and really evaluating where I stood. Even though I had told Heavenly Father multiple times that I was leaving this in His hands, I had to make one last official promise to Him before going home. I said in this prayer, "Heavenly Father, I am giving my pearls to you." I remember crying because I didn't know what was going to happen next. I didn't know what to expect for what the Lord had prepared for me. I really had to fight my own doubts, but I felt at peace that He had a plan.

A week before going home, I had the opportunity to once again visit the temple. This visit was like none other. After much struggle and refinement and learning about my Saviour, the temple and the covenants I had made had a new meaning and significance to me.

I entered that celestial room one last time and asked the same question I did 18 months ago. The answer was, "Sister Limas, you know you can make it work if you really wanted it to. But receiving what you want most now won't give you the things you truly desire (which are the promises in your Patriarchal Blessing.) I have someone else prepared for you. But it is your choice".

I look back and realize I had to make that one last statement of handing over my pearls because I had to stick to it. Heavenly Father knows that if I fought for what I wanted, I would have gotten it. But He knows me better than that, and knows I wouldn't fight for something I knew was not in His plan.

I get home and it was the hardest month of my entire life. I hated not having a companion, I hated not having a my missionary schedule, I hated the drama I was being thrown into, I hated not knowing what direction to take in life, and I just missed being a missionary so so much.

Exactly one month after I got home was when Alex got home from his mission and we started talking right away. What's funny is the moment Alex and I started dating, everything else started to fall into place. There have been a couple times during the beginning of our relationship where I was brought to tears as we talked over the phone. Alex was not at all what I expected. But I knew deep down inside that this was the person Heavenly Father spent the last 18 months of my life preparing me for. He was my genuine pearl necklace the Lord had been preparing for me. He proved to be everything that I was expecting in an eternal companion. It shocked me how quick the Lord was willing to fulfill that promise even though I was so stubborn throughout my mission. My gratitude was, and still is, overflowing.

I always say that I used to think my mission was a huge sacrifice I had to make. But over time, it had become a very sacred time between me and the Lord. And now I find it even more so because I realize what the Lord was trying to do in order for me to meet my eternal companion.

Lesson learned: Heavenly Father has beautiful blessings in store for each of us. Sometimes we forget that what we're holding on to might not necessarily be the biggest and better blessings Heavenly Father wants us to have. He doesn't take away our agency. And it isn't until we choose to let go when 
He can start pouring them out to us.

I know with my whole heart that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us. He loves us too much to not help us succeed. What might seem like a boulder in our way in our individual paths of life is really a stepping stone He has placed to help us reach higher. I know that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can turn those boulders into stepping stones. It's because of Him that we can have hope in the promised blessings our Father has in store for us.

Mucho Lovin'
Sister Limas (soon-to-be del Mundo!)

DIY Birthday Surprise

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It is Alex's birthday tomorrow! 

I wanted to do something special for him to show him how much I love him. 
Sooooooo I went to Cambridge to surprise him and sent him on a little scavenger hunt :)

 It started off with a little note on his front door.
Each note had an explanation of why I got him a certain gift +
a clue to where his next gift was.

He said he needed new clothes but didn't want me to get any for him because he can get discounts.
This was my next solution.
It's not much, but it's the least I can do when he is always buying me new clothes.
(Geez, he spoils me so much!)

A couple weeks ago I did the Colour Run. I was so sore afterwards! Gah. It was awful.
Alex asked me if I wanted a blessing, but realized he didn't have any consecrated oil on him.
I wanted to get him his own canister
(since he will soon be the only Priesthood holder in my household)
but I knew it wouldn't come in the mail on time.
So I decided to personalize one for him instead :)

Reese's Pieces are one of his favourite chocolates.
This pretty much speaks for itself.

Blue is Alex's favourite colour.
I thought why not get him a tie in his fave colour +bonus: one of the colours of our wedding?
I may have mentioned how ties remind me of fathers...

I am the cheesiest person. Oh gash. 
This is one side of his pillow case.

Here's the other side...

And above it I left him 100 sticky notes; each one stating what I loved about him.
My MTC Branch President committed us to write a list of 50 things I love about each companion.
I did it faithfully as a missionary.
I figured Alex is going to be my eternal companion;
I might as well list 100 :)

His last stop was outside by the pool with me.
And this deliciousness.

Mucho Lovin'
Ariana Rae Limas (soon-to-be del Mundo!)

'How did you know to get married to Alex sooner than later?'

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

One of my dear friends, Eloise Bucais, texted me said question this afternoon. After responding to her question, she suggested I post it up on le blog. So here it is :)

General Conference (April 2015). We were planning on getting married the following summer, so we went to General Conference with thoughts and questions regarding the matter. For me, it was L. Whitney Clayton's talk on faith. The Spirit was very clear in saying, "you just need to do it." I didn't know what the Spirit meant because we were already planning, so I was a little confused.  
The next day after conference, Alex said his parents asked if we were planning to get married and that maybe we should think about doing it this year. This was out of the blue because up until this point, his parents were telling him he needed to date around before getting too serious with me (fun fact: I am Alex's first girlfriend!) I told my sister this and she said, "yeah Alex told me yesterday he was thinking you guys should get married this year instead. I think something from the Priesthood session really hit him."  
(TBH, I think that was the hint from the Spirit of what He meant by "just do it".) 
So we talked about it and listed all the pros and cons. My main concern was that it was too fast and that we didn't have enough money. But the Spirit telling me I "just need[ed] to do it" was the confirmation I needed to have a little faith in the situation even if I didn't know Alex as long or as well as I would have liked. 
Alex said that if finances were my only concern, then we won't have a problem if we continue to keep the commandments. The more we talked about it, the more right August felt. We finally took it to the temple at the end of the week to make our final decision. And just like every other time I went to the temple with marriage and Alex as my question, I got a good feeling inside. Alex said he felt like he needed to take this step of faith even though he didn't feel completely ready. 
Both sides of our family have expressed their concerns, especially with it being too fast/not finishing school yet, but the Spirit has helped us answer their questions. Alex says, "if I had to make a decision of making the next covenant (promise) with God and you this summer or next, why would I wait?"

I know. I write essay texts, okay? Haha.

Now that I've reminisced through typing that (twice), I want to tell you my thoughts now.

Choosing Alex is one of the best decisions I have ever made (the other being my decision to go on and stay on my mission).

What were the words of L. Whitney Clayton that sent the prompting from the Spirit? THIS:
"Over time you will come to see that you have made the best choice you could possibly have made. Your courageous decision to believe in Him will bless you immeasurably forever".
The first thing that popped into my head was my mission--how it took me 5 years to figure out if I should and when I should go. And then when the time was finally nearing for me to leave, I was debating whether or not it was still the right choice. I struggled my first couple areas trying to understand why I was there, especially when there were other decisions I could have gone with.


over time, the Lord had shown me (and had helped me be sensitive enough to recognize) all the reasons why I was supposed to be there. Choosing the mission over what I thought I should have chose was undeniably the best choice I could have possibly made. The Lord knows better.

Right after this flashback of the mission was when the Spirit said "just do it". In my journal I wrote:
"I know eternal marriage is a huge step of faith. It's comforting to know that in time I will see it's the best decision I make [...] So I need to go forward in faith and trust the prompting I've received through prayer and in the temple." 
So here we are, 2 months after general conference, planning a wedding and preparing to start an eternal marriage in 53 more days! 

The past 2 months I have had worries, anxiety attacks, overwhelming stress, and non-stop tears. But I also want you to know that despite all that, I know choosing to be with Alex is the best decision I could make. Is it too early to say that? Heck no. Since making our decision to choose each other for eternity, I have become so much closer to my eternal companion-to-be! Every day we grow together. Day by day Heavenly Father unfolds another layer of why Alex is my best choice. I love him so very much! If the past 2 months have been filled with overwhelming emotions, I can definitely count on the fact that marriage is going to be hard.

But you know what? It's going to be okay. I am so excited for this new adventure! I look forward to those experiences (whether they be fun or hard) that will give Alex and I opportunities to continue to grow as a companionship and strengthen our relationship.  I know what Elder L. Whitney Clayton said is true! I know that when our lives are centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need not fear. I know that our Saviour is the perfect example of love. I know that the more we seek Him, He will teach us to love as He does.

Mucho Lovin'
Ariana Rae Limas (soon-to-be del Mundo!)

One of my journal pages from General Conference :)

Why Marriage?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Last night at Institute, in commemoration of our dear Elder L. Tom Perry, we studied his talk from April's general conference talk, Why Marriage and Family Matter--Everywhere in the World.

Brother McMullen started the class by asking us, "why marriage?"

Being the only one in our study group who was engaged, everyone turned to me to answer first. I knew the answer, but I almost felt hesitant to.

"I am marrying Alex, not only because we love each other, but because marriage is about more than just us". 

I stumbled explaining myself (you guys, I'm the worst at presenting my thoughts to people. This is why I am a blogger and not a public speaker haha). After I said it and attempted (and failed) to explain myself, the group gave me a look and carried on with the discussion.

I asked myself if I really meant what I said. I have been so stressed the past few weeks that sometimes I forget the reasons behind what I am doing.

As the class went on, my friend Sammi Padron made the following comment in relation to last week's lesson on The Music of the Gospel:
We need a dance partner. We need someone who will go through the steps with us. Our partner is the one who helps strengthen us when we are weak."
I then started bawling my eyes out. As she said that I thought about how hard it was coming home from my mission and not having a companion. It wasn't until I no longer had a companion that I realized how important it was to have one to progress. For a whole month I felt stagnant, trying to figure out myself without a partner and without companion goals.

And then I met Alex. As we got to know each other, all of a sudden pieces of my life started falling into place. Work, school, name it! We weren't even officially dating, yet things were finally making sense.

I got emotional for two reasons:

1. I felt an overwhelmingly amount of gratitude for Alex. I don't know how to express how much of a blessing he has been since coming into my life. Alex and I may have opposite personalities, but we compliment each other. I thought about all the times when I have been weak or have showed a lack of faith. Alex has been there to encourage, uplift, and strengthen me, and put me in my place when needs be.

2. I was extremely grateful to Heavenly Father for giving me Alex. There is not a morning or evening prayer I say where I don't start out thanking my Father in heaven for the man I am about to spend eternity with. This gratitude came to the extent of tears because I know how much I don't deserve this.Throughout my mission I was very stubborn about my choice of who I was going to marry. I was stubborn even though the Spirit had clearly said and shown me time and time again that who I wanted was not the right one. And when the time came that I finally let go, I showed a lack of faith and trust in my Father's promises of my patriarchal blessing being fulfilled.

Yet here I am, preparing to marry this incredible man in 56 days.

It is a huge testimony to me of my Father's love.

No matter how stubborn, how unfaithful, how rebellious, or how doubtful I can be sometimes, He still loves me. He blesses me in ways that I can't even begin to think how to give back.

And so, I want to take this opportunity to expand on what I have originally said:

I am marrying Alex, not only because I love him, but because marriage is about more than just us. Together, I know we can reach a potential that Heavenly Father wants for us. There is nothing I desire more than to raise children in the gospel and help build the kingdom of God. I know with Alex as my eternal companion, we can get that done. Why? Because we have the same eternal goals. Eighteen months dedicated to the Lord as a missionary does not mean the rest of my life's time isn't. This is still His time, it is still His work. I am forever indebted to my Saviour. I choose the path of making the next covenant (promise) with my Heavenly Father. I choose the path of dedicating all my efforts to building the kingdom of God. This is how I give back to Him. That is why eternal marriage has always been my goal. It is another important step in the process of becoming more like the Saviour--for myself, for my spouse, and most importantly, for our children. Embarking on this journey with someone I love with my whole heart, and I know loves me the same, is a huge blessing added on to something already incredible.

So why marriage?
Because marriage is not only about our love for each other, but a duty to the One who loves us more.

Mucho Lovin'

Ariana Rae Limas (soon-to-be del Mundo).

Introducing Mr. del Mundo & Miss Limas

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Who is that handsome stud I am holding? That would be my future hubby, Alex del Mundo. He appeared into my life at what seemed like the most random and inconvenient time. But as I look back at how our relationship has unfolded, I now recognize he came in exactly when I needed him. The Lord's timing is on point! The Lord knows exactly what I need when I don't know it for myself. This guy right here continues to surprise me every single day. He definitely keeps me on my toes. One moment he is the biggest goof ball in the world, cracking me up with all his cheesy Filipino jokes; in the next moment he is the sweetest, most supportive human being who is so willing to deal with my hyper/stressed/spazzy self. We are absolute polar opposites, but I believe opposites help each other in ways no one else can. With him, I know I can reach a potential I can't on my own. He literally is the side of me I have not quite mastered yet. His example rubs off on me and makes me want to be better and try harder. I seriously feel like the luckiest girl because I get to be sealed to him for eternity. I love spending time with him and in the time that we have been together, he has turned into my best friend. I am so grateful for all that he does and all that he is. I am super stoked for this new adventure to begin :)

This is my beautiful fiancé (who I jokingly call "ate", which means older sister in Tagalog (Ew! haha)) Ariana Rae Limas. I met her two days after I got home from my mission in the Philippines, and I never looked back! For some reason she seems to be attracted to me (maybe), as well as my corny Filipino jokes. In the short time that I've known her, I have grown to know a lot more about myself, and also about my Saviour. She always keeps me motivated to be the best man I can be and to honor my priesthood. It was not long after getting to know her that I discovered all her wonderful qualities. I couldn't possibly let anyone else have her. She is the love of my life and I can't wait to spend eternity with her.


Monday, April 6, 2015

My friend, Benjamin Wilson, is currently serving in the Calgary Alberta Mission. He is an online proselyting missionary and posted this up a couple days ago:
"Because He lives I can become like Him"

I LOVE that! Because of Jesus Christ and His Atoning sacrifice for each of us, we have the hope and every possible means through His power to become like Him. We can be perfected.

Elder Wilson sent this out as a challenge, and me being me I had to.

You know what's awesome? 
Promptings from the Spirit + Spiritual gifts & God's talents =

In the span of a week and a half, we got this completed. Enjoy!

Mucho Lovin',
Ariana Rae Limas
my lovely chaos © . QUINN CREATIVES DESIGN .