Yep, yep, yep sweetness fills my soul with joy! And it has certainly been a sweet, sweet season. This season’s sweets include (but are not limited to):
- Snow: Nearly twelve inches of snow on Christmas…and no need to drive anywhere. Beautiful! And cozy….unless you are a chicken….or a lamb.
Jill, Lance’s sister, and her husband Kurt have recently become chicken caretakers. And, as Grace says, if we ever have to come back to Earth as chickens we want to go to Jill’s place. Kurt, who has skills undreamed of on the Hislop Happy Whole Acre, built their chickens a fortress affectionately called “Clucking-ham Palace”. It has twice the square footage of my bathroom, is completely insulated, and has a heat lamp that is turned on whenever temperatures drop into the teens. “Do you close your hen house door at night?” Jill asked me. Uh….no. (See photo below.)
The sheep have a shelter (nothing like Clucking-ham Palace but it does have a roof and four walls….) which they chose NOT to use during the Christmas Day storm. Who needs a barn when you have wool coat? Wool is a fabulous insulator. It kept Esther’s body heat in (notice the snow did not melted from her coat) and the snow’s cold out. Presumably she would have sought shelter in the barn if she were cold. Our little black lamb was almost white. (See photo below. Does she look sweet?)
- Red: Grace loves red and we love Grace. This Christmas she got the red carpet treatment (literally), a red comforter, red boots, a red sweater, and a teddy bear she can “red” too. (Okay, “red too” was a stretch….Work with me on this one. Be sweet about it, would you?)
- Teens: My baby turned thirteen on December 28; we’ve no more chronological children in the house. (Maturity level is a whole different story….) One of the first things he did on is birthday was open a Facebook account. Feel free to friend him. Sweetly, of course.
I also had a ton (Well…..probably not literally a ton….) of Young Women in our home over the Christmas break, first for a movie night in our basement and, a week later, for an impromptu dinner after a trip to Temple Square to see the lights. These young ladies must not eat many home cooked meals because they think I am a great cook—I am not. I love my calling to work with the Mia Maids (young ladies 13-14 years old) in our congregation. They are sweet! (….mostly….)
- FSA: Done! I have filled out all the paperwork to request reimbursement from our 2016 Flexible Spending Account, a task that usually hangs over my head until late March. SWEET!
- Health: It’s back after taking a vacation. A nasty, violent, take-your- pyloric sphincter-and-force-it-up-your-esophagus stomach flu hit our family before (everyone but me) and after (me) Christmas. Mercifully it left us alone on Christmas Day, a truly sweet blessing.
- Brad and Nikki: In anticipation of our upcoming February Florida Frost-fleeing Field Trip, they sent us a vacation package planner. My favorite gift was the necklace Nikki made from shells and stones collected during family reunions though the green death claw runs a close second and the swim cap looks sweet on me, don’t you think? (See photo.)
- Blankets: I found a sweet deal on blankets at Sam’s Club and they somehow made it from Sam’s the kid’s stockings….from the stockings to the shoulders (see photo)…and, frequently, from the shoulders to the floor. Blankets (and socks and shoes and….) shed willy nilly around the house is a sign that my family is home…and that is truly a sweet deal.
- Family: Next week Tanah will return to Cedar City (SUU) and Chick will move to Logan (USU). Grace will resume FFA, play practice, and early morning temple trips (RHS). Miles will extend his active social life (SRJH) and Lance and I will go back to work (SAA and OPA, respectively). What a sweet blessing it has been to have all six of us under the same roof for two weeks!
I started this letter with a quote from Lehi in the Book of Mormon. He had a vision wherein he saw a fruit that was “most sweet”, so sweet that eating it filled his soul with joy, “exceedingly great joy”. (1 Nephi 8:11-12) In his great joy, his first desire was to share the fruit with his family.
Sweetness and joy and family escort and accompany each other. They are manifestations of the love of God, a love so great that He not only gives us sweetness and joy and family, He also shows us the way to have them all forever. May we follow Him to them.