Monday, October 03, 2022

Spring Bulbs

 I've been in the garden preparing for the Spring flora, 
the upcoming winter, and the long garden sleep ahead.
I planted over 250 daffodil bulbs in my front yard
 in pinks, whites, yellows, and oranges.
Conveniently the nursery is across the street from the boy's high school,
so I texted them and asked them to pick up 60 more bulbs
to finish the job.  Of course, they took eight years to respond,
but they agreed IF I would buy them a treat at the gas station.
When I say "treat," you have to understand a treat to them is like three things each.
I was prepared to tack on $20 bucks to the request.
They are candy fanatics!
They totally get that from Christian.

Just kidding.  They TOTALLY get it from me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022


This was the front page of the Arizona Republic!
You can read the beautiful article HERE

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

"I Have Kept the Faith"

 This afternoon I got an e-mail from Jane with a few precious photos of her
next to the larger-than-life mural of the Apostle Paul being visited by God
on the road to Damascus.
Saul learned and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ after being visited by 
the Lord and chastened for persecuting Christians.
He was known from then on as Paul, and he dedicated his life to 
teaching and testifying of the Savior and His gospel.
"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly
 there shined round about him a light from heaven:
"And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul,
 Saul, why persecutest thou me?
"And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, 
I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. …
"And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? 
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, 
and it shall be told thee what thou must do." (Acts 9:3–6.)
I love that the Lord told Paul to "Arise, and GO..."
This is the same admonition He gives to all His missionaries, to my Jane.
This mural is EXTRA special since the actor portraying 
Paul is my brother, Topher, who passed away two years ago.
Oh, how I miss my brother, Topher!
I am so thankful for his example of perseverance and courage
especially during personal trials and hardships.
What a wonderful man!
I'm sure Paul was pleased knowing he was going to 
"I  have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, 
I have kept the faith."

Monday, August 29, 2022

First Day of School 2022

Today was the first day of school for the Nies!!
Oliver is a senior
Nicholas is a sophomore
Lottie is a 5th grader.
Everyone got up bright and early, and Gigs put on his cut-off sweats.
The boys don't care anymore.  At least Ollie combed his hair.
The boys will drive themselves to school
 (and early morning seminary starting at 6:20),
and I will drive Lottie to school.
(Ollie sent this to me from the bathroom)

We've got a great system down from previous years, but since
moving to Stillestead, it's about 20  minutes longer everywhere we go,
so we'll have to wake up and leave earlier.
This was Ollie's last first last day of school, and I was trying
not to be sad, but I was.
He was just sad he had to go to school, period.

After school, on my motorcycle, Christian taught Claire how to ride.
She wants to join the ranks of some of us family as riders.

We ended this special day with a deeper commitment to read our scriptures
as a family every night.  We've done OK in the summer, but
now that school is in session, it will be easier to gather and read since
we're all on a similar schedule.

I hope God blesses us this school year with knowledge, love, patience, and 
kindness for ourselves, family members, friends, and schoolmates.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Summers End

 The last week Lottie has been attending a ballet camp, and today she
ended the camp with a performance.  
I think she was most excited to wear the black swan costume.
She's so elegant and graceful.
I'm glad she did this little camp.  
I admit I've been feeling so guilty this summer break.
We've had so much change, moving, remodeling,
living in hotels, and then Jane leaving.
It's been a lot of change.
She's been remarkable through it all!
I'm so proud of her
Now we gear up for school!!!!
I can't believe that's already happening.
Things are starting to settle down at Stillestead, finally!
We're finally living with TWO bathrooms, whaooo!
The master bathroom is still under construction, and we're waiting
for our front door to be delivered, I think that will change the whole
look of the house.
Tonight I made peach cobbler to celebrate the weekend!
In late July and all throughout August, I make this 
cobbler at least once a week.

Friday, August 26, 2022

We're Trying

 This morning I woke up early and took Angus for a walk around Stillestead.
It was quiet and humid and so beautiful!
I prayed as I walked, thanking God for leading our family to this area.
We love it here; we're so happy.
We're trying; we're working hard at being faithful and strong as a family
and we're closer and happier as we try together.
I got back and found Lottie on the porch swing waiting for me.
I sat by her, and we swang, waiting for the sun to shine
through the trees.
The boys are camping this weekend, and Claire, Lottie, 
and I are going to grab dinner, then come home and
 watch American Girl Doll movies in my bed later this evening.
If I can stay awake.  Sheesh, lately, if I sit down, I fall asleep.
I feel old.
But I've been working hard on the house.
 It's go, go, go from the second the sun wakes up to 
the time it sinks below the fields behind the house.
I also feel this while raising my family.
It's always go-time around here, and I've got to be ready and prepared.
Nothing is better than laying my head on my pillow after a full, busy day
feeling satisfied and proud of my efforts.

Thursday, August 25, 2022


 It was Back to School night at Lottie's elementary school!
She's been waiting for this day since the beginning of the month!
We walked to the 5th-grade hall and found her name on the
 teacher's door, whom she was soooooo hoping to get!
She was both relieved and excited!!

She is the oldest in the school and will be in Middle School next year.
That's mind-boggling since she's my baby!
(The Nies STILL asked me to have another baby!
Shaaa, right!)

On the way home, I got a phone call from our local Post Office.
It was Mrs. Moon who was letting me know that there was a package
that had been sitting there for almost five days.
It was addressed to Nicholas.
She told me it was "hissing," and it occasionally moves.
She asked me if I'd please come pick it up.  Like, NOW!

Nicholas was so excited when I walked in the door with the small box.
Minutes later, he pulled out about ten giant hissing cockroaches.
This is the only downside of Gigs having a job; he buys stuff like this!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Golfing with the Boys

Today the boys somehow talked me into going golfing with them.
They guilted me stating that they only have a few days left
of summer vacation and soon we wouldn't be able to "hang out" anymore.
It worked, and minutes later found myself sitting in between them in the truck
on the way to the golf course.
I sat in the cart, took photos of them, made lots of comments 
(Ollie eventually told me to stop),
 and even hit a few balls (and made them laugh).
We came home, and Lottie was working on her drawing.
She's committed to drawing something challenging daily (on day four).
She's amazing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

It's Coming

Today Christian and I slipped on our overalls and worked on Stillestead 
both inside and out, then walked the fence lines with the Nies.
It's such a gorgeous piece of land with
so many big strong trees, a little pond, 
and lots of land for cattle to graze (someday!).
I'm sensing Autumn in the air. No, really, I am!
The leaves on the trees are starting to look tired and turning lighter in color.
Yes, it's still blazing hot here, but I have a unique sense about these things,
and I'm telling you, it's coming!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Goodbye, Pirates!

Chrisitan politely "let go" the pirates contractors
from their duties working at Stillestead.  
After about a week of not showing up to finish jobs,
 we told them not to come back.
Now we're left with rooms full of tools and unfinished projects, but
at least we don't have to worry about them literally walking in on us before dawn
sleeping in our beds, using our bathroom, smoking on the porch, 
and just a general lack of boundaries and respect. 
But somehow, in Christian's free time (hahaha, yeah, right free time),
he will oversee the projects with all of us "helping."
Today Lottie and I cleaned up the back porch so we could 
start hanging and enjoying that space.
Previously it was used for tools and equipment, and we had never
been able to enjoy it.
We're still a long way away from finishing the porch, but at least now
we can enjoy it and eat out there.
We have a fantastic fig tree in our backyard that we've been devouring.
Later this evening, Christian and I rode our motorcycles 
and met up with CB and Nellie for dinner.
 They are such good pals, and we're grateful for their friendship!

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