The Nielson family Back to School Feast was a little different this year.
Instead of being held in our home, like usual,
we decided to have it under the park pavilion next to the Raleigh temple.
Cheesy, yes, maybe, but it turned out to be one of the
most impressionable Back to School Feast we've ever had.
The morning of, I finished last-minute details for the feast;
ordered our pizza and salads for dinner at our favorite restaurant,
loaded up plates, goblets, decorations,
picked up dessert and drinks, and flowers,
and met Christian at the park next to the temple.
Together we decorated the metal park bench with my nice glassware,
linen tablecloth, and decorations.
It was so memorable for me to have Christian help me set up.
Usually, he takes the Nies out
for the day, and I decorate and cook without anyone home,
but this time it was different, and I liked it.
When I pulled out of the box our new framed family theme
and showed it to him, we had an emotional moment together.
This year's theme is perfect for our family, and
among the unsettled feeling we've been experiencing recently,
we felt validation as the leaders of our family.
Christian called the kids and told them to drive to the temple.
(We kept the dinner spot a secret).
About 20 minutes later, the kids pulled up in their denim
we greeted them and ushered them to the picnic table.
Admittedly they seemed to need more clarification about the dinner spot.
After all, it was under a park pavilion,
and there was a loud little league baseball game next to us.
But we felt power and protection in the beautiful temple's shadows.
The lights on the grounds were turned on as
we sat together to start our little program.
I brought a framed photo of Claire with us in spirit.
Graduated, working, being my best friend.
Christian unveiled the theme, which was taken from
scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants,
section 101, verse 16:
"Be still and know that I am God."
This is perfect for our family as we put
all our faith and trust in God,
Sometimes, it's hard to be still.
But being still is how we sense and heed the spirit of the Lord
direct our paths and help us succeed.
And we need that direction daily!
Afterward, we walked around the temple, admiring the beauty and peace surrounding us.
Then we returned to the picnic table to a stray cat
on top of the table licking up Lottie's plate.
I put sparklers that represented each Nies grade inside a s'more cookie,
we lit them, made goals for the year then
laughed a little more about the cat on the table.
That night after everything was cleaned up, put away,
and Christian and I went to bed we discussed the evening.
We pulled it off.
We felt the spirit.
We are going to be alright because we
as a family, are learning together how to be still and recognize that
no matter what, He's got us.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Bright Lab lights:
Pinhole Press (framed theme & picture of Claire, notepads):
Glass stars from Piggy and Dirt: