Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Tell Me Why!

This evening, Claire and I finished our Mushroom ornaments.
This time, we watched White Christmas while we painted, glued,
and glittered.  And once again, 
IN THE 40s?  

But anyway, the mushrooms turned out super cute.
 Cute enough to hang somewhere on a tree on the
 White Christmas movie set, I'm sure. 

Then Gigs came home from school and fell asleep on
probably the most uncomfortable couch we own and
slept for over an hour.

Monday, December 04, 2023

A Mushroom Christmas

 This afternoon, Claire and I turned on Holiday Inn,
which is one of our favorite Christmas movies.
(I did a little investigating around on the WWW and found the
version colorized!).
 Last week, I created a dough using flour, salt, and toilet paper
then we shaped the dough into mushrooms and stems
to make ornaments for our Christmas tree.
They baked and dried for a few days and today 
we painted them to look like cute mushrooms. 
This is the kind of activity that I associate with Christmas.
It's cozy, quiet, calming, creative, and festive.
We may have gotten a little carried away with the mixing paint business
because we painted a stem a brown color, and it looked like,
well, I'm sure you have an idea of what it looked like.
We laughed and laughed (and are still laughing) imaging it
hanging from our tree year after year.
(Hopefully, these last years).
Tomorrow, we will put them together and doll them up with 
glitter, gold leaf, and moss.
Why can't we still wear cute clothes like they
 did in the 40s?
Tell me why!

Sunday, December 03, 2023

The Best Gift-Givers


Our hens are the best gift-givers.
They give and give and give,
beautiful colored, delicious, protein-packed eggs every single day.

Happy Sabbath!
I am so excited to start singing beautiful Christmas hymns in church
all month!  That's another wonderful gift to me!

Saturday, December 02, 2023

Life And Light To All Things

Tonight, we all gathered in the living room around the coffee table to play Uno. 
Lottie and I always manage to convince Christian to play with us, 
sometimes, we have to barter with Gigs to join in, but we always have to
 beg Claire to play as she's not a big fan of Uno.
But it's so much more fun with her playing!
She always has "more important" things to do, but what on 
earth could be more important than playing Uno with us?
She's busy getting her ducks in line with school and work
for the next chapter of her life story.
But for now, she's really enjoying the slower pace of life
here at Stillestead, and I say, ENJOY it as long as you can.
In between turns, I worked on my primary lesson: we're learning 
about the Light of Christ and how its influence makes all good happen.
  The Light of Christ is the divine energy, power, or influence that 
proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. 
The Light of Christ influences people for good and prepares them 
to receive the Holy Ghost. One manifestation of the 
Light of Christ is what we call a conscience.
I love that God, the giver of good gifts, and gives
life and light to ALL THINGS!

Friday, December 01, 2023

Let Me Come Eagerly To Christmas

 Today, we got the rest of the Christmas decorations out of the storage unit, 
and as I was going through the contents of the Tupperwares,
 I found a piece of paper tucked inside one of the 
Christmas magazines I had saved.  
It was a letter from my mom, along with a poem written by Marjorie Holmes.
(me, December 2005)

 Let me come eagerly to Christmas this year, Lord.  Let me come gaily, 
with a new delight in the countless things I
 must accomplish – the shopping, the wrapping, 
and mailing, the addressing of mountains of cards.  
Let me find new joy in the bazaars, the parties and programs, 
the baking and decorating… not to mention all the things 
I’ve promised to do for others.
  Instead of my usual seasonal panic, 
fill me with a glowing sense of trust and peace. 
 Each day that I awake, let me rejoice in the fact that 
I’m well and able to do it – that I can get up and begin.
  And though there never seems to be enough time (or money), 
let me remember that you’ve never let us down.  
That, as with the loaves and the fishes, a miracle happens each year.  
There is always plenty – more than plenty.  
The house overflows with gifts and friends, the tree is bowed
 with its shining burden, the table groans with delicious things to eat.
  Even time stretches out like a magic ribbon, 
somehow embracing all that must be done.  
As for strength – therein lies the greatest marvel of all.  
You give each of us extra portions for the season
 so that at the end, like children, 
we hug Christmas close to our hearts and don’t want it to be over.
  Remind me of all this as I prepare for Christmas this year, Lord.  
Let me come eagerly to the seemingly impossible, knowing that this holy, 
happy season is a time of miracles. 
(Jane, December 2005)

  I read the poem and cried.
I needed to hear this reminder, and it made me miss Mom
and her wise counsel and relatability.
It's officially December, so...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Rooster Tails

We've had some lovely weather, so I cut down 
some branches in our juniper trees and made a 
front door garland, adding some pretty velvet ribbons for a nice 
finishing touch.  
When Christian harvested our three rosters last week, I asked
him to save the tail feathers because they are so majestic.
Maybe I'll add them to the front door wreath or make a hat.  
Just kidding.
But kind of not. 
Those ladies were on to something.

Christian and I served in the temple together tonight.
It was like taking a breath of fresh air.
We felt validated and received perspective for our future.

"Whenever any kind of upheaval occurs in your life, 
the safest place to be spiritually is living inside your temple covenants."
—Russell M. Nelson

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

45 and Everything To Everyone

Happy Birthday to my Mr. Nielson, my Christian!
45 years old, and 23 of those have been with me.
(Thank you for choosing me!)
We're still eating the leftover Thanksgiving pies, 
so I didn't make a cake; plus, it was such a busy day for him
at work, (a really good busy day!), he didn't have a lot of time
for much celebrating.
But we finally went out to have a late dinner and shakes.
He is everything to everyone!

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


 Yesterday, I worked around the house, getting
 Stillestead decked for Christmas.
And the holiday jovial feeling has not arrived quite yet.
Once again, I am fully aware of how stress plays a significant role in life.
It has really been a challenging time, especially with Christian's job. 
I have learned that patience is a crucial virtue in his line of work. 
It requires a lot of patience to start a business 
that relies on the economy and investors. 
But I have also come to understand that patience alone is not enough. 
We need faith, and we need hope, too.
Patience that the thing I need/want will one day happen, and I can 
tolerate hardships without exploding.
Faith that I will be OK with whatever happens, and that
God is really genuinely listening to my prayers.
And, hope that while I'm waiting for the thing I need/want, I don't 
need to die in fear because 
I can expect good things with confidence and an open heart
because God loves me and wants what's best for me and my family.
All three must work together to help us overcome hardships. 
I feel like I have had to learn and relearn 
this same principle over and over again, but haven't we all?
We're not alone.
God knows.
He always always knows.
Then He sends someone or something to happen that changes 
the whole situation and direction, and you realize your belief and faith were
sustaining you all along, and God was always there.
We're getting close.
We're not there yet, but we're close.
Just like my Christmas spirit.
It's not quite there yet, but it's close.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Is It Bedtime Yet?

 Hallelujah, that Claire is home!  She helps around the house, she smiles, 
she plays fun music, she exercises with me, she gives input,
 she makes me laugh, and best of all, she helps with HOMEWORK! 

Last night, we took pictures of each other because it was a day 
for both of us and we both had fantastic hair.
I must have asked, "Is it bedtime yet?" 
20 times since the sun went down at 5:00.

(And I don't know why Gigs wears a mask around the house.
Well, I do know why, he is a 17-year-old boy, that's why).

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Oliver in Brazil: November 2023

Oliver has had quite the month.
A new area, new companion, new missionary trainer, 
area opener & district leader.

A lot is on his shoulders, and he literally has no time to write home, 
but we talk every Monday, and it's a highlight of my week.  
I miss him more than I could say!  
Each day, my heart aches for him, but when I talk to him, 
I am amazed at how much he is growing, maturing, and learning. 
I trust God.  I know he's safe and protected.

I love this photo of us in 2021!

Saturday, November 25, 2023


 We went on a family hike this afternoon in a nearby wilderness park. 
 It was beautiful and cold, but getting out was just what we all needed.  
Christian only packed a little bag of mixed nuts and a few mandarin oranges.  
I think we all felt like we were going to die of starvation.  
We felt like what the pioneers must have felt walking across the plains.  
Just kidding, but we were pretty dramatic.
As we were about to head out for dinner, we came upon a 
magnificent tree that had fallen over, 
landing on its side with its roots exposed.  
It led us into a great conversation about the significance of 
having a solid foundation that can ground and sustain us during tough times. 
It reminded us to be resilient and stay firm, 
even when life's storms come our way, 
so we don't fall over with a single blow.
Then, we're stronger for it.  Nature is the greatest teacher.
We picked out our Christmas tree on the way home and listened to U2
and talked about how much we missed Ollie and Jane.
Then, to finish the day, our mighty truck reached 200,000 miles.  
What a champ!

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