Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Today is my birthday. I am 36

Dear Deb,
Today is my 36th birthday. 
 I know, I know, you would probably say to me that I was
still a Spring chick or something like that, but I feel kind of old.
Anyway, I wanted to write you a letter today to thank you.
Thank you for pushing me.  Thank you for being stern with me, 
and especially thank you for never giving up on me.
One day in the burn center after I had just woken up from my 3 1/2 month coma
 you began doing physical therapy with me.  I pretty much hated you.  
One day as you preparing me for bed and strapping my burned
 and bloodied arms into the terrible "airplane splints"
for the whole dang night (to stop my arms pits from contracting), 
you looked at me in my eyes
(I am sure I was crying- because I cried a lot back then),
and you calmly said something to me that I will never ever forget.  
You told me that you were not trying to torture me,
 but you were trying to help me get back to my job as mother.
You told me that one day- not far off, I will make dinner again for my children 
and I will want to reach for the spaghetti sauce in my pantry.  
You said I wouldn't be able to reach for anything (not even my children) 
if I didn't endure the pain now.   
You told me the harder the work the better the reward.  You were right.
I worked hard, I pushed, I cried, I tried, I quit, I tried again,
 I screamed, I yelled, and I prayed over and over again (sometimes with you!).
  Here I am on my 36th birthday surrounded by my five beautiful 
healthy children and protective husband.
My body works wonderfully.
I can reach for the sauce (except not today because I don't believe in cooking
on my birthday) and I can do so much more.
We are going to go on a hike today, we'll swim today, and maybe
turn the music up loud and dance around on the back porch,
and of course I will blow candles out.
Then I will cut up slices of cake for my loved ones 
and reach over the table to pass them out.
 And I can do all of that because you pushed me. 
Thank you for pushing me and believing in me.
I am 36 today in part because of you. 

Thank you so much,
Love, Stephanie

Monday, June 26, 2017

Fasting as a family

As Mr. Nielson and I prepare to move this summer, there has been much
 prayer and pleading with God around our home and in our hearts.
Pleading for help, pleading for guidance as we sell Fox Hill, 
and to help us find the right owner and for the right price.
I have a set alarm on my phone for 8:00 every evening and 
when the alarm goes off, Mr. Nielson and I kneel to say our prayers together- 
no matter where we are or what we are doing.  
During prayers last Monday evening I felt prompted that I needed to 
fast on the next day (Tuesday), and show the Lord I needed divine assistance
and His help in our plans to move. 
After I told Christian my feelings that I felt during our prayers,
he suggested we should make this a family fast
 and talk to the kids and ask if they would like to participate (except for Lottie).  
We would each take a day to fast and carry the load to show
extra faith to the Lord.
This would require lots of patience and prayers for the one fasting
 as only one family member would be fasting while 
everyone else continued on with normal activities, namely eating.
We brought it up in a family counsel and all the Little Nies were on board.
To make the deal even sweeter, we told the kids that we would take them
 each out for a treat once they had completed their fast. 
I fasted Tuesday, while Claire took Wednesday, Jane on Thursday, Oliver on Friday, 
Nicholas on Saturday, and Mr. Nielson pulled up the rear on Sunday.
Each Little Nie picked a different place for a treat, and in the car on
the way I asked them how they felt while they fasted.
I wanted to know if they had any spiritual impressions or thoughts.
Each child independently told us "it just felt right".  
"What part" I asked.
"Everything. The move, the fast, the change."
Now we wait for miracles, and they will come.  They always do.
"There are times in life when we need more than simple prayer can provide, 
and fasting is another tool we can use to bring ourselves closer to Heavenly Father 
and receive in the blessings He has for us.
When we are seeking guidance and answers to our prayers, the Lord expects us to
first do our part-all we can do-
before He provides answers or relief for the challenges we face.  
This can be hard, but it can be viewed as evidence of our Heavenly Father's 
love because it allows us to grow and get the most learning
out of every experience.
Families, including children ages eight and older, 
are encouraged to go without food and water for
two consecutive meals in a 24-hour period." (fasting)

Friday, June 23, 2017

They are sisters