Friday, January 07, 2022

Burdens

Two days before 2022 arrived Christian picked me up straight from work
to take me out to dinner.
He had a long day at work, and I admittedly
needed a little break from Christmas break--if you know what I mean.
It always seems like when we’re alone we'll start talking about what
 each other is reading in our personal Book of Mormon study.
 Christian told me that he had 
read earlier that morning about Alma in Mosiah 24.  
This is the story of how Amulon persecutes Alma and his
 people- and are even put to death if they pray, but the 
Lord makes their burdens seem light and delivers them from bondage.
Christian and I specifically talked about how the burdens 
weren’t taken away from them, rather they were eased if they
 would stand as a witness during their trials and hardships.
"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders,
 that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; 
and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter and that 
ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."
Then we talked about how 2021 for our family was one of the hardest we’ve had.  
We talked about the lengthy list of hardships from 
health issues to car issues, broken dreams, to financial stress,
 and pretty much everything in between.  
As heavy and overwhelming as our burdens and trials felt, 
and through some of the darkest and hardest days, 
Christian and I always encouraged each other and our
 children to stand steady in Christ and to witness of His grace and mercy--
 especially on the hard days. We can have faith that the 
Lord will ease our burdens as we stand firm as a witness of Him
then, now, and forever and we can do it as a family.
After a delightful dinner together, Christian pulled our car into the gas station.
 He jumped out and began refueling the car. 
 Since it was a cold evening, he turned on the pump then jumped
 back in the car with me. About 15 seconds later I heard a
 loud gasp and Christian jumped out of the car.  
He wouldn’t want me to announce this because it would humiliate 
his manliness, but he was putting regular gas in his diesel 
engine truck- to his credit, a mistake he’s never in his life made.
Maybe you don’t know, but that’s not a good thing that causes 
long-term or permanent damage.  
After 17 gallons later, Christian was on the phone 
getting a tow truck to take us home
We sat in the car in disbelief, 2021 wasn’t going away without a fight. 
Later a tow truck came with a very nice man named Bill coming to our rescue.  
He loaded up the truck and together we began the 30-minute journey home. 
 I said a prayer in my heart, something like,
 “why Lord did this have to happen? 
 Can’t we just have a little break from stupid things that keep
happening to our family?”
I remembered the conversation Christian and I just had earlier about
 the scripture in Mosiah and Alma’s promise
 to witness of God always- no matter what the circumstance was.
I felt low and frustrated and the last thing I wanted to do was praise the Lord.
But I felt the spirit testify to me of the truth of that scripture and 
 asked Bill if he had a family.
That lead to a conversation about his children, and he 
mentioned his daughter was a nurse and I commented my
 admiration for nurses and before you know it, 
we were talking about our accident, and would you believe it, Bill, too, 
was in an airplane accident!! I mean, I don’t personally know 
a lot of airplane crash survivors.  Out of all the 
 tow truck companies to call, we happen to call the
 guy who'd been in an airplane crash. 
Now we’d come full circle when Christian quoted the same scripture
 in Mosiah to Bill and now we’re testifying of 
God’s miracles and the goodness that He shares with His children.

Then Bill told us another amazing story of God's miracles and goodness when
he and his family moved to another state 
for a full year to live near a pediatric spinal rehab hospital after 
his 11-year-old son had fallen out of a tree and broken his neck.
“He was going to walk out of that rehab hospital,” 
Bill told us with conviction, 
“and I knew he wasn’t going to do it without help from God.”  
I could tell Bill felt emotional.
 "I don’t know how people do it without God. 
 It was hard enough as it was, but without Him, 
it would have been devastating, and with a different outcome.”
Bill pulled up to our house and he said to us,
“In my line of work, I don’t get a lot of customers who smile when I 
show them the bill.”  
Then Christian said, 
“I’ve never been happier paying for something I didn’t want.”  
I think this is exactly what the Lord means when he says that he will 
“ease the burdens" that they will somehow feel lighter.  
Yes, we still had to pay Bill and yes it was still stressful, and yes, 
Christian had to stay up until 4:00 am draining the gas out 
of his car with the boys so he could go to work the next day, 
but that moment did truly honestly seem lighter.  
Our "date night" is evidence to me that God lives, 
and that the Lord does visit his people in their afflictions.
In our individual lives, I know we can muster the strength we need
in times of trial by calling on the Lord like the people of Alma.
He may not always immediately relieve our burdens, 
but He will strengthen us with His Spirit,
 and He sends people who can help us with our problems 
and pain, or by performing great and small miracles. 
Christian and I have felt this power in our lives.
We have been a part of those miracles.
“The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the 
merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.  
I testify and promise the Savior will help us to bear up our 
burdens with ease as we are yoked with Him through 
sacred covenants and receive the enabling power of 
His Atonement in our lives, we increasingly will seek to understand
 and live according to His will. 
We also will pray for the strength to learn from, change, 
or accept our circumstances rather than praying relentlessly
 for God to change our circumstances according to our will. 
We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon."

Thursday, January 06, 2022

3D

 Today I practically bribed Gigs to help me take down 
the Christmas wreaths off the house.  
He was really excited to help once I mentioned I'd need him
to get on the roof where he stayed longer than necessary.
I went inside because I was cold, but he stayed up there
mapping out his next drone route.
Gigs has really shown an interest in drone flying, and he's really good, too!
He spent the whole day/night yesterday printing out a GoPro cover
on his 3D printer.  It was actually very impressive!
He's determined to make me a new pinkie finger with his 3D printer.
I'd love to see that!

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

The First Snow of the year

Big news here in North Carolina!
It SNOWED!
I didn't care that it didn't snow very much-- or for even for very long,
I was just so excited to see it!
Also, schools were cancelled!
Jane and I subscribe to a few favorite YouTube live camera channels.
Our favorite recently has been the town of 
It's like watching a Hallmark movie.
One day it snowed and I swear didn't stop for FIVE DAYS!  
There was so much snow.
I'd text Jane at work and say;
"Did you see the kids sledding down the hill?"
She'd text me back and say;
"Mom, did you see the horse and sleigh? It looked so cozy!"
Once we rejoiced together over text as we watched a
 snowed-in car get freed by a group of passerby's.  
Does that make us creepy?




Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Passports

Today was back to the grind. It's always the worst
 going back to school after a wonderful holiday break.
I do think that Lottie was ready and excited though.
She was ready to see her friends and hear what Santa brought them,
and show off her new little Gizmo watch.
But the boys, not so much.
As sad as I am to admit it, I am excited to get the house back,
cleaned up, and our family schedule back.
Christian and I are hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro in June.  
I think I need to say that again; Christian and I
  ARE HIKING MT. KILIMANJARO in June.  
Wow.  It feels amazing to type that.
We've been planning this journey with our
 friends and fellow burn survivors at the
 Arizona Burn Center for two years.
Thanks to Covid we had to cancel but this June it's finally going to happen!
I will be posting much more about this
 amazing adventure as time goes by. 
For me, this hike symbolizes the mountains that we burn survivors 
climb every day to create a new normal for ourselves and our families.
This mountain climb will symbolize the uphill battles
 I have faced and fought physically and socially.
Its going to be amazing, and I'm really excited!
Last year our passports expired, so today along with 
Jane and Ollie, we went to the post office to renew them.
It wasn't as bad as I expected.  It took a long time but was fairly easy
since I was uber prepared.  
I had some fun with the extra passport photos.


You can watch our short burn documentary HERE

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Oliver is 17!

Happy 17th Birthday to Oliver Christian!
We celebrated Oliver with his favorite dinner, 
and his favorite Mexican Chocolate Cake.
I make it for him almost every year.
This year I bought some Olipop sodas in a variety of flavors.
It just seemed appropriate.
Christian and I gave him a power washer so he could
 clean his motorcycle after rides.
I think he was pretty happy about that.
Next year he will be 18, which means he'll be 
old enough to serve a mission.
(I'm crying).
His plan is to graduate high school early so he'll be eligible to serve 
when he turns 18 instead of waiting to graduate high school in June.
I so admire his desire to serve the Lord, and am so proud of all the 
decisions he's made in his 17 years of life.
Happy birthday, Oliver!
It's a pleasure being your mother!
* * * * * 
When Oliver was just a few weeks old we visited New York City
which was just an hour away from our home in New Jersey
to visit The World Trade Center.
He enjoyed his first subway ride.
(Not counting the NYC subway where I went into labor on and almost
 made an emergency delivery).
And baby Ollie enjoyed the sights of NYC tucked
 safely in the Baby Borjn on Christian's chest
We were all so excited to have another boy in the family!!








Saturday, January 01, 2022

New Years Day 2022/Polar Plunge

 Happy New Year 2022!
To welcome the new year, we drove to Willmington to take a refreshing dip
in the chilly Atlantic Ocean for our 2022 Polar Plunge!

It was coooold!
Before we left for the beach I boiled water, put it in a thermos then brought
 hot chocolate, whipped cream, marshmallows, 
and tea so after our dip, we could warm up.
I think that saved us from freezing.
Christian told the Nies on our drive down that he had read in 
The Book of Mormon that morning in Mosiah 18:10
about baptism, and while this polar plunge isn't baptism by any means,
 it is kind of symbolic of us dipping ourselves into the water 
as we wash away 2021 and welcome 2022.
"Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, 
what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, 
as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, 
that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, 
that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?"
In a way, this refreshing dip helped us reflect and remember our own
baptism days, and the covents we made with God.
After warming up 
(and taking turns secretly changing out of our wet suits in the car),
we drove to Willmington's premiere Thai food restaurant for dinner.
Of course, it was about a 3-hour wait, and since 
we had a few hours of driving ahead
of us, we opted for take-out (still a 1 1/2 wait!) and parked in a 
lonely parking lot at a Montessori school and ate under the street light.

This was a New Year's Day for the books.
(except we missed Claire soooo much!).




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