Sunday, November 19, 2023

Coming Home

 Today, I got a text from Christian, along with photos, 
let me know that he and Claire had,
 by some miracle, squeezed EVERYTHING from Claire's apartment
 into her car. Now, bursting out the windows, 
the two of them will make the 2,200-mile trip back to North Carolina.
Claire had a wonderful time living in Arizona. 
She really enjoyed her job, developed valuable skills, and met incredible people
who she will be in touch with forever.
She has made plans to work as a medical technician here
in North Carolina until spring, when she and Jane
(who COMES HOME IN JANUARY) will head to BYU in Utah.
I'm so excited for those girls to have each other again!  
I am SO excited to have her home with me!
I missed her so much!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

(I Hope) The Traffic (is NOT) Terrific

This afternoon, I dropped Christian off at the airport.  
He is flying to Arizona, where he will help Claire
move out of her apartment and back home.
Together, they will drive the three-day journey 
just in time for Thanksgiving!
(Praying for no traffic, they are cutting it close!)
Meanwhile, back at Stillestead, 6/10 eggs hatched
in the wee hours of the morning.
One yellow, and five black.  We are all thrilled and so excited to 
have these new little dudes part of our flock!

(Do you see the theme we're going with here?)

Friday, November 17, 2023

Over the River and Through the Wood

Ever since I can remember, my family has sung the classic song,
Over the River and Through the Wood.
In November, of 1980something, 
 I learned this song with the rest of my siblings on Monday
Family Home Evenings at the Clark home.
Now I live in a place where you literally have to go 
over the river (chicken bridge) and through the wood
to get to my house (Stillestead).
It's so cozy!

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather's house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood—
and straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood—
When Grandmother saw us come,
She will say, "O, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for everyone."
Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Hygge Chicks

Today, while we had stormy weather outside,
 two monumental things happened;
1. I made the first delicious heaping pot of Hygge pudding
with cherry sauce and fresh cream.
I made a giant bowl and delivered it to Christian, 
who was on a work call.
His eyes widened the size of Texas as I dropped it off at his desk.

2. Our first egg, chick number 8, is currently incubating and slowly
 cracking his/her way out. (I HOPE it's her!).
Excepting the rest tonight!
Fingers crossed all 10 hatches!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Snoozing After School

 Today, I picked up Gigs and Lottie from school, and once they got in the
warm car and settled in for the 30-minute commute,
 they both fell right to sleep. 
This is common.
The day starts early for all of us 
(especially Gigs, who gets up for seminary at 5:30).
Sometimes, when I pull up to the house, I sit in the driveway
and let my passengers snooze for a few minutes in the car.
If I let them sleep for too long, they wake up feeling grumpy. 
Also, everything feels late since it gets dark early (which I don't mind).

Later, in the living room, we played card games.
Lottie's favorite game is called "Taco Cat Cheese Pizza," 
probably because I always lose, and it goes on FOREVER.
We played our family memory game and about 50 rounds
of Uno.  I'm actually pretty good at Uno.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

It Is Time!

 This afternoon, when Gigs and Lottie got home from school
(which felt like 7:00 PM! Thanks, Daylight Savings! Blah!)
 I asked Gigs to help me set up the luminaries along our driveway. 
I wanted to get them up before it got too cold. plus, while we worked,
 I got to hear Gigs tell me about his day, teachers, friends,
and the two new giant aquariums he bought at the Goodwill for $15.00.
That means two more aquariums in his already crowded room.
That also means two (or more!) new creatures that will go inside
those new aquariums.  
Oh boy.
But the luminaires!!

Monday, November 13, 2023

It's Worth It

We're on pins and needles, waiting for our newest chicks to hatch.  
Their official due date is on the 17th, but with our last batch, we had a 
few eggs pop open before the due date.

I went into the room where the chicks were cooking to check
 the humidity level and the temperature, like I do several times a day
 then saw out the window all my chickens chillin' on the porch railing, 
and I hate it when they do that.  
It's super annoying because they poop everywhere, and then I asked myself,
But another hen lay her first egg today, which means that
 4 out of 5 hens are producing. I suppose that's the reason. 
The eggs are beautiful and delicious.
But the poop!! 
Not to mention that I'm completely frustrated 
with these little stinkers who have 
 scratched up several of the spring bulbs I planted earlier this fall.
But then again, the eggs!!
I guess it's worth it.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

What I Love About That Kid


We were coming home late tonight after having a delightful dinner
 with friends at their house and
Gigs in the back of the car loudly said:
"STOP the car!  Did you see that?"
I was like, "See what?"  
because seriously, 
all I could see out my window was a black abyss.
Then he yelled, "That owl on the fence post!  
Did you see him? He was beautiful!"
Christian backed up, and there right in front of us 
was a beautiful white owl hooting on the fence post, looking
for a little mouse scurrying around the pasture.

It was almost comical how easily Gigs spotted the little lonely owl. 
This is one of the things I love most about that kid.

Friday, November 10, 2023


Christian towed the squeeze chute and 
spent the day with a friend on his farm working his cattle.
They vaccinated, preg-checked, and castrated.
It's hard physical work, but it's his favorite workday.
Later that day, when he pulled up to the house, 
I went outside to greet him and noticed something hanging
off the chute, almost touching the ground.
I walked over to inspect to discover this: a pair of you-know-whats
hanging down off the side of the chute.
I laughed thinking about Christian driving the 2 hours with those little guys
bouncing around and sometimes dragging on the road.
Then Angus pranced over to them and tried to take a bite out of crime.
I stopped him, but Christian was OK with this strangeness
and added:
"You know these are a delicacy?
They are called Rocky Mountian Oysters."

Gag me.


Thursday, November 09, 2023


 Last night, after dinner was cleaned up, Gigs brought out one of his 
remote-controlled cars to spin around the kitchen.
Of course, Christian couldn't help himself and join in.  
In fact, he had more fun than Gigs, I think.
Then I was reminded about the time when we lived in 
a remote-controlled helicopter. He'd get home from work and fly it
around the yard with the Nies- especially Ollie, who was in complete awe.
(I was pregnant with Gigs. He still had about a month more of cooking time).
I remember also loving it because it gave me a few minutes to be alone
for the first time that whole day.
Not that my kids bugged me or anything like that, but because
I just generally love being alone and need that time to recharge and regroup
especially before the dinnertime hustle.

I still need that.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

A Lizard Named Chuck

Lottie and I worked on a project that she'd been anxious
 to start for months now; we embroidered her shoes! 
(Well, one of them, anyway).
She picked out a lizard pattern, took a deep breath, and began sewing
Chuck, the cute little lizard on the side of her Chuck Taylor's.
I stayed close in case she needed me-
(who am I kidding? My fingers CANNOT for my life
get the thread in the needle hole. #burnedgirlproblems).
While she focused on that, I pulled out craft bins and 
began organizing in preparation for the upcoming holidays. So excited!
She finished one shoe and did a fantastic job!
Tomorrow, we will complete the left shoe and tidy up the room,
we left in a mess when we stopped for dinner.
Speaking of messes, Gigs also cleaned up his room while all this
was going on.
His room is what I call a forever mess. 
What clean is to him is not necessarily what clean is to me.
Oh, boys.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023


This morning, I went outside to warm up the car before 
leaving for school with Lottie. As I stepped outside,
I was greeted by the sun peeking over the trees and 
shining directly on the pasture, highlighting the colors.
 The beauty of the moment was simply breathtaking. 
Autumn is still in full swing here.
This afternoon after school, Lottie went outside to feed the chickens
and again, I was caught up in the beauty of the day.
The colors, the sky, the views, Lottie's magnificent red hair,
the majestic chickens, the light breeze shaking free leaves
from the trees surrounding Stillestead,
and Angus racing around, happy to be alive.
When life starts to feel overwhelming, and peace seems out of reach, 
I gravitate to nature for comfort because 
I see His love in the beauty that surrounds me.
 If I allow His peace to guide my thoughts,
they inevitably focus on the abundance I already enjoy
 in my life every day - the vibrant colors, the changing seasons, my loving family, 
the cycles of day and night, and the comforting predictability they bring. 
Even the cooler weather invigorates me and strengthens my faith.

"Joy in this life, right now—not despite the challenges of our day 
but because of the Lord's help to learn from and ultimately 
overcome them—and immeasurable joy in the life to come.
 Tears will dry up, broken hearts will be mended, 
what is lost shall be found, concerns shall be resolved, 
families will be restored, and all that the Father hath will be ours."

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