Thursday, February 22, 2024

Love Thy Neighbor

Last Sunday, Claire, Jane, and Gigs all
spoke in church.  I was brimming with pride throughout their talks as
they shared their love for Christ and how He changes lives.
Here are some gems from their talks:

Claire:
One of my favorite stories of Jesus is found in the Book of Mormon. 
It is a well-loved story. After Christ’s resurrection, 
He came to minister to and teach His faithful disciples 
living on the American continent. 
After spending some time with them, sharing truths and praying, 
He told the people He was to leave but that He’d be back the next day.
As He looked back on the people around him, Jesus saw that they were in tears. 
They wanted Him to stay with them a little longer. Jesus said: 
“Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. 
Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. 
Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are 
withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? 
Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; 
my bowels are filled with mercy.”
And we read later that Jesus healed everyone. 
Jesus heals broken hearts, broken families, broken bodies. 
There is no wound beyond the healing power of Jesus Christ. 
There is no person beyond the saving grace of Jesus Christ.


Jane:
"On my last day as a full-time, set-apart representative
 of Jesus Christ and missionary 
for His church, my companion and I were knocking an 
apartment building with an open stairwell. 
We went up to the very top and stood on the balcony; 
it was a beautiful sunny day and surprisingly warm for January!
We looked out over Queluz, which is the name of the city 
where we were serving and we just quietly stood there. 
My heart filled up with an overwhelming love.  
Love for God's children in Portugal, and not just Portugal,
but also Angola, Capo Verde, Brazil, Guinea Bissau, 
Mozambique and Sao Tome - the people 
I had the privilege to meet, teach, and testify with. 
Love for my Savior, Jesus Christ. 
Love for His restored gospel and for the great privilege I had to share it!

Gigs:
"In Matthew, we read, 
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Am I a good neighbor?  
Sometimes, I drive too fast on the dirt road on my street, 
which makes a dust cloud behind me for miles, dusting the houses along the way. 
I could probably slow down.  Am I a good neighbor to my friends?  
I could invite them to youth activities, invite them to know the Savior as I do, 
and elevate my conversations and actions.  
I can stand up and be different.
Am I a good neighbor to my siblings?  
I can’t imagine having a roommate with a snake and a 
Tupperware full of hissing cockroaches, 
among other critters that make noises and smell funny 
and occasionally get lost in the house.
 Why is “love thy neighbor” the second great commandment?  
It must be pretty important to the Lord, so it's important to me."


*Mom, yes, I sent their talks to you! 
Check your e-mail!







 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Cotton Candy


This evening, Claire, Jane, and I (with Angus) walked to meet up
with Christian and Lottie, who rode the motorcycle out to the 
pastures to check on the cows.
It was so brisk out that it made our noses turn rosy red.
The cotton candy sunset was stunning, and I wondered if I had 
ever seen a prettier sunset.
It blew my mind.


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Cindy's Nails

 Today, I walked into the kitchen to find Gigs holding hen Cindy
 while Claire was applying bright red fingernail polish to her nails.
She looks so cute strutting around Stillestead!
The hens are so adorable, and I love them, but they drive me crazy
at the same time.  They poop on the walkway and porch
and dig up my spring bulbs.
I know, I know, I should put them in a pen or something,
but I also love that they are free-range and 
eat all the bugs around my house.
Help me!
I love this poem by Jack Prelutsky
(This is so accurate!)

"Last night I dreamed of chickens,
there were chickens everywhere,
they were standing on my stomach,
they were nesting in my hair,
they were pecking at my pillow,
they were hopping on my head,
they were ruffling up their feathers
as they raced about my bed.

They were on the chairs and tables,
they were on the chandeliers,
they were roosting in the corners,
they were clucking in my ears,
there were chickens, chickens, chickens
for as far as I could see...
when I woke today, I noticed
there were eggs on top of me."


Monday, February 19, 2024

Presidents Day Hike

 Since today was a holiday and we had no school, we explored 
a fantastic hiking trail minus Gigs who was NOT into hiking.
He was pretty vocal about letting us know, too.
Sometimes, he's so moody and grouchy!
I mean, I can't blame him; he's the only boy with a three
sisters, but still, sometimes his moods kill me!
Whenever he acts like this, I ask Christian if he was like that
when he was 17 and he always closes his eyes and nods.
Is that karma?

North Carolina!  You are beautiful!  
I'm excited for Summer when you green up!
But I also LOVE the season we are in, so, no rush!




Sunday, February 18, 2024

Happy 21 Birthday, Jane!

 Today, my little Jane Bug turned 21!!
I am LOVING having her and Claire home for a few 
months until they turn the chapters in their life stories and move 
to Utah for school and work.
This is truly a unique time for our family.
I made Jane a vanilla sprinkle cake 
and tortilla soup for dinner (per her request).

Also, today, Jane, Claire, and Gigs ALL SPOKE IN CHURCH!
Jane shared with the congregation about her mission, telling beautiful
faith-filled stories about her 18 months in Portugal.
(And Hope and her family came to listen!!)
Her favorite gift was the heart flower vase 
since she's a little goth-y at "heart."
Get it?
I am beyond proud of Jane.
She has magnified her life by serving.
She is truly inspiring!
I can't wait to see what this 21st year brings!

Saturday, February 17, 2024

So Ripe

 Today was wash Angus day,
and Claire was the lucky one who was brave enough to do it!
Bless you, Claire!
This was a much-needed wash since he had rolled in something
earlier that day that was so ripe and gross that at night,
 I kicked him out of my room
where he sleeps on his special pillow next to my side of the bed
and onto the porch, and I never do that!
It was that bad.



Friday, February 16, 2024

My Greatest Gift

 Embracing the spirit of Valentine's Day, 
Christian and I went on a wonderful date with Clane tonight
serving in the temple.

I feel incredibly lucky to be with my beautiful daughters in this special place. 
Having a personal connection with God is something I am deeply grateful for. 
It is a source of strength and comfort that I can tap into at any time.
 But when I am in the temple, I feel a connection and clarity that is so vivid.
The Lord desires to give His love and grace to all His children. 
He wants to see us succeed and grow.
 I find true and profound peace there, 
especially when I face individual and family challenges,
and peace in the world is hard to find.
As a mother, there is no greater gift than having strong daughters
 who know their purpose and willingly follow
 God by making and keeping covenants with Him.

Yes, of course, we got Chic-fil-A shakes after.
 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Easter Egg Hunting

  Today, while on a backyard sweep, 
(which is our way of saying picking up Angus poop),
 I stumbled upon a nice clutch of eggs.  
Actually, I found hen Muppet,
one of our Easter Eggers, sitting on top of a lovely community clutch of eggs.  
We've noticed we were getting fewer and fewer eggs, and today,
 I found out why!

After dinner, Christian took his two gingers out to 
feed and check on the cows.
These are good days.







Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Lover's Holiday 2024

Happy Lover's Holiday!
Christian and I spent our Valentine's afternoon 
writing down in individual books
 60 reasons why we are in love with our Nies:
Claire
Jane
Oliver
Nicholas
& Lottie
It was so much fun to think about each child and the unique ways
 in which they bring joy to our lives. 
Later in the evening, while listening to the romantic voice of Diana Krall
I made dinner (tacos) and served a Ding Dong cake
that took me, like, 24 hours to make.

It tasted pretty close to the beloved Hostess version.
I was pretty proud of it, I must say.
I added heart sparklers to the top, which gave it a nice smoky flavor.
(I was being sarcastic).
Jane made a delicious pink drink in my cute pink martini glasses.
Then we sat around the table enjoying dinner while 
listening to all the love songs Christian
and I dedicated to each other throughout the 23 years we've been together
 including the newest one, Songbird, by Eva Cassidy.

"For you, there'll be no crying
For you, the sun will be shining
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you

It's alright
I know it's right
And the songbirds keep singing like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before

To you, I would give the world
To you, I'd never be cold
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you
It's alright
I know it's right
And the songbirds keep singing like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before
Like never before
Like never before


Also, Christian and I were featured in a CBS love story series.
You can read about it here!




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