Saturday, November 20, 2021

Claire: my Blue Heron

 This evening we took our family photos.  
It was a little weird and sad without Claire.  
For some reason, Christian and I have
 always associated Claire with the beautiful
Great Blue Heron that frequents 
the lakes, rivers, and ponds here in North Carolina.
This beautiful bird is Claire's spirit animal.
They are beautiful creatures with grace and strength, just like Claire.
Every time we see one we'll say, 
"Hi, Claire!  We miss you so much!"
We decided to take our photos this year on the banks of the Haw River
close to our house.
The fall color is still bright and the river is so gorgeous.
As our photographer, Melissa was setting us up together for the shot,
I happened to look across the river
where a gorgeous heron stood watching our family.
It took my breath away and I got teary.
I shouted out:
"Hi Claire, I miss you. 
 Thanks for showing up at our family photos!"
Heron Claire stayed nearly the whole time we were there.
It was incredible!

I'm excited to get these photos back and start Christmas carding!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Fun Run 2021

 Today Lottie ran in the FUN RUN at school.
This is Lottie's third time participating in the school fundraiser Fun Run.
I think her school raised something like $26,000!
She ran in a circle almost 45 times with her classmates.
I was super proud of her because it wasn't easy
 and she tried to run the whole time.
I kind of wanted to cry a little bit when I saw her zoom past me.
She was working so hard and trying her best.
It was the cutest thing!
Then it started to rain just as the 45-minute run was over.
Good timing.
I felt bad for Mrs. C who had to wrangle 24 stinky students
back in the school for the rest of the day!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Hygge time

Do you know what time it is?  HYGGE PUDDING TIME!
This is a huge deal around our house!
This is our favorite winter dessert.
I make a batch of it almost every week in the winter months

and today was my first time making it.
It kind of kicks off our Hygge winter holiday life 
and everyone looks forward to it.
Last time I talked to sister Nielson in Brazil I asked her what she is
missing most right now and of course, she said Hygge pudding.
I love when I am alone in the house and everyone is either
at school or work and I can listen to all the Christmas music
that no one likes (Mannheim Steamroller anyone??).
I can listen to it at level 10 if I want to and sometimes I do.

Today when Gigs got home from school and Jane from work
they helped me put fresh batteries in our Hygge window candles
and put them in every window in the house.
It's a favorite Hygge holiday tradition and it seems like every year 
we put them up earlier and earlier.
I can't get enough of these winter months!

Speaking of sister Nielson, she is doing FABULOUS!
She was just made a Sister Traning Leader.
She's such a good strong leader.
I'm so proud of her.
I say that every chance I get!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Autumn Glow

I woke up this morning with Lottie in my bed.
She must have had a bad dream or something because when
 I woke up she was snoozing cuddled in between me and Christian.
I was taken back at the beauty out my window.
The glow from the leaves lit up my room, 
the color was incredible!
The world outside is amazing right now.
Sometimes when I'm driving around town I am in awe
at this beautiful earth, I live on.
In my perfect world fall would dominate most of the year
with winter coming in a very close second.
I love summer and spring, but not nearly as much as the colder months.
I think the Nies would all say the same thing.
Well, maybe not Christian.  
He's an Arizona boy and needs the sun every now and then
to charge up his batteries.
I feel the opposite and find energy and vigor on gloomy days.
Isn't that funny?

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

All About Topher

 Today while organizing the pantry and other places in the house,
 the mailman came to my door and dropped off a package.
It was from my mom in Provo.
Inside was my favorite licorice taffy, BYU bookstore chocolate covered
cinnamon bears, newspaper clippings of stories
she wants me to read, microfiber cloths to clean my new house with, 
BYU stickers, and a very special book all about Topher.
After he found out about his ALS diagnosis my cousin Jayne 
began interviewing him to compile a book for his family and posterity.

I sat down and began reading immediately and before I knew it 
45 minutes had passed and I was nearly halfway through it.
Jayne had asked him questions about his earliest memories, life as a child,
the places he and my family lived, his friends, schools,
jobs, his travels, his talented piano career, his acting and theater life,
his mission in Finland, Lisa, his wife, his five children, our eight Clark
siblings and parents, and his testimony of Jesus Christ.
I've been reading a little bit each day because 
I don't want it to end.
I have to force myself to slow down to make it last.
I'm grateful that I can re-read this book a 
million times whenever I want to feel him close.
There have been so many times after reading a story he's told that
I've wanted to call him up and ask him about it 
or just laugh with him about something he's said or done.
I just talk to talk to him.  I miss him.
I'm so thankful that his colorful
life lives on through this beautiful book. 

Part of Topher's testimony that touched me deeply:
"When people ask me what I've learned from these
last few years. I think: God is awake.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been comforted,
 strengthened, or encouraged
because of a brief prayer or silent plea for help.
I have been blessed with peace and stillness, sometimes in the middle of
the night.  I testify to you that I have been entertained by angels, unaware.
To quote Longfellow's Christmas hymn:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.""

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Go Chick!

I got a text today from my niece, Chicky. 
Her real name is Drew, but we all call her Chicky or Chick.
Chick was born when I was in high school and she was my everything.
She was all I could think about during the day, and 
I'd stop by to see her on my lunch break and babysit her any chance I could.
Once I brought her to school to show her to my friends.
Anyway, recently she sent me some fantastic photos of us together.
This is me and Chick at the 4th of July parade in Provo, 1999.
My cousin Jayne and her husband, Jed is behind me and
a plethora of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and siblings behind us.
A classic Clark gathering.

Another 4th of July gathering this time at our family cabin in
Wallsburg, Utah, 2002
Me holding Chicky with Courtney.
I was pregnant with Jane.

Halloween, 2002.
I was pregnant with Jane, still.
I was dressed up as a web and Claire (not pictured) was a spider.
Chicky was Tinkerbelle!

Chicks Wedding, June 2021

She also sent me a photo of her first day of school
with a note that said:
"Today was the first day in the nursing uniform!
It is honestly so good!
It'll be a busy semester, but I'm really excited about it, and I 
love what I am learning.
It's only been a week and a half, but I think about
you and Christian so much as I learn new things."

Go Chick!

Friday, November 12, 2021


 Today the Nies had school off so I took Lottie to the clinic
to get her first COVID shot.  
I am grateful the vaccine is available for children now, and
we're longing for the day when we can go to school and church
without wearing a mask.
After I bought her bubble tape gum for being such a champ.
Then we went home and made
 tuna sandwiches for lunch and the boys joined us.
Gigs sat down next to me and told me that he
was having the best day and was super productive.
Then he tried to persuade me that school is a waste of time and then
 he listed off all the productive things he had done so far.
"I wrote a bass riff and a whole song, 
got some good rest, 
had tuna fish sandwiches (his favorite) for lunch..."
 and then he said to me, 
"and you lit a bunch of candles that remind me of Christmas."

Good times are coming.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Ladybug, ladybug fly away home!

Today I noticed a ladybug city living on the windowsill above our front door.
When I say "city", I mean a metropolis! 
It was disgusting and for someone (me) who has a serious 
case of trypophobia, this was not a pretty sight.
I don't look up there unless I absolutely HAVE to.  
But I have noticed that as each day goes on the city is 
growing and now suburbs are developing to the east of the window.
Tonight around dinner Lottie began telling us about how
 she learned in school that there is a ladybug infestation in North Carolina!  
She told me that more than half the students in her class 
 reported that they all have this problem in their homes!
I read an article that said this:
"Because North Carolina does not have the granite mountain features 
that the beetles seek to pass the winter, they are attracted to light-colored
 houses on the horizon that mimic the usual hibernation sites."

Or it could just mean that THE END IS NEAR!

This situation was giving me vibes from our
That was really gross.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021


This evening Jane, Christian, Ollie, and I took a Barre3 class together.  
This only happens on rare occasions and tonight was one.
Exercising with my family is definitely one of my favorite things to do together.
Plus, the Nies make me laugh.  Really hard.
Don't get me wrong, I loved the baby stage all those years ago and
babies are just generally the best.
But, having teenagers is really such a joy!
They are my best friends and we genuinely love being together.
When I pray at night, I thank God for my children.
Jane and I have begun Thanksgiving preparations.
I pulled out all of my recipes and we're planning our menu.
This is such a fun time of year because we get to cook all
our favorite foods; Hygge pudding, cider, liquid gold hot chocolate,
pastries, pies, and bread!  Yum!
Also as we look ahead, Lottie is going to be our family St. Lucia this year.
I've already got her white nightgown ordered, and she's picked out
the sweet treat she wants to deliver to our family and neighbors.

Welcome, Holiday season!!

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Carpool Greeter

This week Lottie was chosen to be a car greeter at school.
We wake up extra early so she's there before anyone else and
 with a few other students in her class, 
she greets all the morning carpool kids.  
She's also expected to open car doors, smile, and help the 
little kids with their backpacks.
She was super excited about this experience!
The first day I dropped her off I turned around and got back in line so I
could see her in action and take photos of her.
After school, she told me that there is some kid 
whose grandpa drops him off in his
 Ferrari and all the kid car greeters
fight over who gets to open the door handle.
She's determined to do it so she can look inside.
She's her mother's daughter!

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