The chickens are standing on one foot (alternately warming one and then the other in their down coats), the sheep are fully encased in their wool coats and my son is cuddling with the dog’s shaggy coat. I hear “Mom, I’m cold” from Grace as temperatures in the house frequently dip into the 50’s at night and rarely rise into the 70’s during the day. It may not be as warm in the house as she would like it but it is certainly warmer inside than out. The temperature reads 18 degrees F when I drive to work and my CNG truck bucks and balks for the commute’s first ten minutes. (It performs fine when I exercise its gasoline option—who knew CNG was so temperature sensitive?) Yep, yep, YEP it’s cold outside.
Cold hands, warm heart…right?
Here are some stories that have warmed my heart.
I received an email from a student just before going to bed. A large assignment was due the next day and she had a question…and a message. “Hello Mrs. Hislop! i was wondering if we print our research project and hand it in, in class or if we could just share it with you. Also i wanted to say that I love your class so much! I love how you teach science because you do so many amazing things and i learn so much this year! I love you so much you are such a great teacher!” Our bedroom is cold—VERY—but chilly was not what I was feeling.
Rather reluctantly—we were feeling more than a little chilly—my family followed me to the Weber County Fairgrounds one Monday where we watched a live (outdoor) nativity, complete with angels on high (singing from the roof top), Roman soldiers (clad in helmets and wearing shorts—Burrrr!), shepherds with real sheep (six Suffolk on lead ropes), a couple of llamas (apparently the South American contingent had to be taxed also….), and a camel with three kings (love, LOVE the camel!!!). Our butt cheeks and face cheeks froze (nothing like sitting on metal bleachers in near-zero temperatures) but our hearts were warm (about 98.6 F, on average).
Our hearts warmed further when a gray-haired man pulled Lance from the crowd, saying “You are a Hislop, aren’t you?” [The Hislop uni-brow is quite distinctive.] The senior introduced himself as one of Dad Hislop’s former runners. “Bob Cox,” Lance said. “I know you. You ran the high hurdles, right?” Yes the man said with a smile. “And your time was 14.4,” Lance continued. Bob was both very surprised and very pleased that Lance remembered him. [I was not surprised; Lance is somewhat of a savant when it comes to track and cross country trivia, even when the data is over three decades old.] As we left Bob expressed interest in getting a copy of Dad Hislop’s book. He was again surprised (very) and pleased (very, VERY) when we showed back up at the fairgrounds twenty minutes later with a copy of the book AND with its original author. Bob and Dad Hislop had a great chat. Hearts warmed…probably still at 98.6 F literally but certainly glowing figuratively.
“Old people are so cute,” Miles said, eyes glowing. He and another 12 year-old from our congregation took the Sacrament (sacred emblems of bread and water) from room to room to the residents in a local care center on the Sabbath. “It was like how Jesus serves…going to each individual.”
Individually…uniquely….personally. That is how Christ loves us. And how I love my family.
Chick and I went to USU for a freshman orientation. While there we learned that housing for men was scant to non-existent. Before we went to Logan (which was also before we knew there was a housing shortage for men) Chick received a phone call from a USU student—male—who was looking to sell his contract in the Honors Housing complex. While in Logan Chick signed the papers necessary to transfer the contract and we both felt grateful that he had housing, knowing that there were others who did not. Heart warming….whole body warming, for that matter—Logan is very cold in the winter!
It is so fun to have Chick home. While the mission changed him in many ways, somethings have not changed. “When are you going to get paid?” I asked him. Six weeks into his job he had not yet received a pay check and had not thought to ask about it. Last Wednesday I sent Chick to work with my truck instead of driving him to work, dropping him off and returning eight hours later to retrieve him. When he was done with work he sat for an hour in the lobby waiting for me to pick him up before remembering he’d driven himself there. When he drove himself to work this week it only took him 15 minutes and a reminder text from me to realize he had to drive himself home.
Tanah did not drive herself home but, thanks to roomies and the FrontRunner, she is home. The noise and drama levels in our home have significantly increased….and we would not have it any other way. “Mama, I love you so much,” she says repeatedly.
Grace also tells me that she loves me—and it is a lot harder for her to love me because she has to live with me….. but still she manages to do it—live with me AND love me. (Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder and close proximity makes faults and failings harder to ignore.) I love Grace too, as do the Maylins, a family for whom she regularly babysits. Last time she was there she convinced the children, ages 7, 4, and 2, to clean the entire house. Calling themselves the Purple Unicorns, they circled up in the middle of each room, everyone putting one hand in the center, and chanted “Cleaning is fun!” before scattering to gather whatever it was that needed putting away. At evening’s end the kids begged her to come back soon so they could clean some more.
Cold temperatures aside, it is a season of warmth. May your hearts be warmer than my hands!