Friday, August 19, 2022

Learning to Piviot

 We had to zip home from Virginia to be home for Claire's first shift
as a volunteer working twice a week in the Raleigh temple.
She's such a good girl who has her priorities straight.
Her life hasn't been going exactly as she envisioned it when she
left her mission in Brazil.
But she's learning to pivot and find joy in other opportunities
that life presents in her path.
She's hanging in there, making plans, and praying for the future she
hopes and wants.  Ultimately, we know the Lord is in charge; if we
do our part, he'll do His.
He always keeps his promises.
In other news, Jane is doing fantastic!
Google photos are lovely because every time she takes a picture they
upload to the cloud, and then I see what she's doing in real time.
Like eating at the Aloha plate for lunch or "Cafe West" for a burrito for dinner,
doing laundry, studying, picking up packages
 from our wonderful family members who live in Provo.

She also sent a photo of her standing in the MTC 
overlooking the beautiful Y mountain and, of course, Fox Hill
Her caption read,
 "Fox Hill!  It's so fun to see!  
I am so grateful the Lord has a plan for our family.
Also, so many other houses are being built around it, mom,
you would hate it!".
She's 100% right about that!
One of the reasons I loved that land and house was how secluded it felt up
there on the mountainside.  
The word is out (we knew it would), and people are buying land there
to build homes (can you blame them??). 
I knew it wouldn't be quiet for long, which was 
one of the reasons I felt alright about our move back in 2017.
Literally, 90% of my family lives within 5 miles of the MTC, so 
it's been strange for Jane to be so close and not see anyone!
But she's doing SO GOOD!  
She loves the MTC, her district, and even the food!
And she joined the MTC choir!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2022


While in Virginia, we met up with our dear friends,
 the Diviney's, who live near Virginia Tech,
 and went on a hike to a glorious waterfall.
Some of us went swimming, and some of us sat on a tree that had
fallen over and crossed the pond and talked.
We had this idyllic spot to ourselves.
It was such a wonderful late summer evening together.
As fate would have it, we met the Divineys at the temple earlier in April
when Jane received her endowment at the temple.
They were at the temple with two of their kids, and we just hit it off.

The Divineys are a soul mate family, and we look forward
to many more family activities...
(or marriages of kids.  Just saying).

We're heading home tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Helmet Lab

Today we all piled in the car and drove to 
to Blacksburg, Virginia, where Ollie attended a helmet lab
conference on campus at Virginia Tech.
He was the only high schooler invited and was so excited to be there with 
the top engineers and scientists in helmet safety
which is his passion and has been for years!
You know, Ollie is obsessed with helmets.  
He wears them to dinner, wears them around the
house, bedtime, scripture study, in the car, and sometimes just for funsies.

At the end of the weekend, we attended the post-conference meet
 and greet him in the lab with him.
It was really cool watching him excitedly show us around the lab and
explain the variety of helmets, super secret helmet technology,
 and testing equipment.
He hopes to go to VT when he returns from his mission in 2025.
He's always had a deep
passion for helmet engineering and safety development.
He's such a good boy!
We toured the campus and loved feeling the college vibe.
Claire was especially inspired since she's
attending Wake Forrest later this month to receive her CNA
and then will transfer to Utah for school in January for the Spring semester.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

14 Years...and counting!

14 years ago today, I woke up in our little house in Arizona 
with my four beautiful children, Christian, and a dog, went up in an airplane
and never went back.
There was a tune after the accident when I thought my 
burn injuries took away so much from me in every aspect of my life.  
But that's not true.  It's SO not true!
In the last 14 years, my life has been colorful and good because
 I persisted, persevered, and stayed true
to who I am as a follower of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has lifted me and showed me my potential in my most 
important roles as a woman, wife, mother, and survivor, 
especially through trials and difficulties.

He put people in my life who have lifted, healed, 
and helped me along the way...THANK YOU!
Someday everything will be made right, made whole, and understood.  
I'm just grateful for every day I have on this beautiful earth
 with my beautiful family and a healthy
body full of scars.
Happy Rebirthday, Nielson Family!

Monday, August 15, 2022

She's off!!

 Today we tearfully said farewell to our beautiful Sister Nielson.
We drove to the airport in the dark, yawning and sniffling the whole way.
Before saying our final goodbyes, I handed Jane a pack of
letters that were written by some of her favorite and 
most influential women in her life.  
(I added letters from her siblings, too!).

Months ago, I mailed a letter and included a card 
and asked them to write Jane a letter and send it back to me
 (addressed to me for secrecy).
I put them together and handed them to her on her way to the gate.
We were both crying.

  The letters were written with their wisdom, advice, 
support, and encouragement. 
I hope these letters inspire and encourage her throughout her mission.
She could essentially open two every month until she gets home.
So many incredible women, so much good advice, so much love!
After she left our arms, she was never alone. 
Strangers accompanied her from Raleigh to Chicago and into Salt Lake
 (and took photos with her and sent them to me!).
(With new stranger friend, Samantha
who also took these cute photos of Jane)
My brother Matt, who has special privileges at the airport, was 
there waiting for her at her gate as she departed the plane. 
He helped her gather her suitcases and walked her to the car
 where my parents were waiting to take her to the Mission Training Center.
How thankful I am for today. It's been hard and sad and
 wonderful all at the same time!
This is all for Him. We can do anything for Him!
Estamos tão orgulhosos de você, Jane!

Back at home, when Stillestead woke up, Gigs mowed the lawn
and Ollie was loading more mulch around our trees. 
I have gooooood boys!
Lottie's school clothes came in the mail.
She tried them all on for us, and we oohed and awwed 
and then I fell asleep on her bed.
Later in the day, I got a text (my last from her)
and she told me she had made it to the MTC and
she was turning her phone off for 18 months.

Here we go...
(Here is Jane's cute Zoom district)

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