Monday, June 19, 2017
Pic via: my old-new bedroom floor. We are living with my parents this summer, so I'm back in my bedroom from the good ol' high school days. Emmy, my DOLLY (I'm obsessed with her), had just finished a diaper change, and since the other girls were occupied and I had 10 minutes before needing to dash to church, I grabbed my scriptures and read as sincerely as I could, knowing that I had such a short amount of time.

Little punches of power. Most of my studying these days is so short, but so sincere, because the time I can give is "now or never." How grateful I am to still feel a strong connection to Heavenly Father via shorter study sessions. I think He's grateful for any time that we pause to genuinely give.
Entry from Thursday, June 15*
"Our Good Shepherd" and 3 Nephi 27:14-15

"Surely the Savior did not condone adultery. But he also did not condemn the woman [that was caught in adultery and brought to Christ by the people for disciplinary action]. He encouraged her to reform her life. She was motivated to change because of His compassion and mercy." 

That piece is as good as gold for me as I raise the girls and have to discipline them. They will not follow me if I do not have the greatest compassion and love for them. "The Savior's compassion, love, and mercy draw us toward Him," not any withdrawal of love, harshness, and anger.

3 Nephi 27:14-15 "After that I had been lifted upon the cross I might draw men unto me...For this cause have I been lifted up."

He endured the Garden of Gethsemane and His crucifixion, giving Him perfect empathy. Empathy begets compassion. Compassion promotes change.

Grateful for this lesson and Christ's example. I will go and do!

*Half of my scripture study came from the April 2017 General Conference talk, "Our Good Shepherd," from the apostle, Elder Dale G. Renlund, which is why I found and included that quote up there.  :)


Friday, May 26, 2017
My last two weeks in Charlottesville found me mulling through mountains of memories of our life there and, of course, I met all of the emotions as I went. Fear, worry, stress, sadness. Peace, happiness, energy, and joy. We felt it all. Because we experienced it all: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the absolutely beautiful.

I wondered how I could memorialize the special experiences that helped us learn and grow so, and one night as I laid next to Claire while she drifted into dreamland - thinking once again about our precious life in Virginia - the memories started to mold into stories. So behold below - a few vignettes from our life in law school. They're a handful among the hundreds I have, but they're some of the most formative and, therefore, the most unforgettable.


We walked into the house for the first time, five minutes shy of 11:00 PM EST. The old door and wood floor equally creaked. The air was warm - humid and a little musty. Whomever lived there before didn't sweep the floor on their way out (or entirely empty the upstairs closet, or wash the fridge, or scrub the bathroom), but ready or not, we were there and for the next three years. Through the dark we could see - the walls were yellow, the kitchen cupboards white. Through the leftover dust and dirt we could feel - we were in an old space that was so new to us, but we could work hard. We'd win the place over.

Hand in hand, piece by recycled-furniture piece, we repainted and refurbished year after year after year and turned that old Honey House into our very first home. 


There were destinations in every direction, from national landmarks and parks, to world renowned cities. Not unlike the pilgrims, we'd landed in Virginia - a gateway to the rest of the American East. And just like the pilgrims and so many people thereafter, we felt the fire to spread out and see it all. From Boston to Baltimore, Newport to New York, Charleston to Washington, and Duck Beach to Barcelona. Even Lady Atlantic couldn't keep the spirit of adventure away. 

Babies in tow, we learned how to pack up the backpack, stock the car, get out of the house, and GO.


"You've never skinny-dipped before?!" asked the most angelic and pure woman of the group, aghast. The rest of the girls turned and asked aghast, "You have?!" Suddenly the moms went wild. Grabbing the essentials - flip flops, t-shirt dresses, and towels - they called back to their husbands that they were going to the beach and to keep an ear out for their sleeping babies. Five full moons lit up the world that night - one up high in the sky, four down in the water below. The shores of the Outer Banks had never been brighter. Uncontrollable laughter rolled along the waves.

After feeling like a serious, stressed-out new mom for so long, I learned how to let go again. My friends brought out the best in me. My innate yellow sides re-surfaced in full. I had fun.


"I won't be able to come home until the girls are asleep - not until Finals are through." It was mid-March. Law school final exams ended in May. Claire was 4 months, Olivia was 2, and I was tired. I faced that first, entirely solo day of parenting with a fear, wondering how I could do all of the work for my family all day long and for the next two months. By the end of that first, entirely solo parenting day, I cried, rolled up my sleeves, fed both girls, bathed both girls, soothed both girls to sleep, cleaned up after both girls, and cried some more. Day 1 down, 59 more to go. 

By day 60, taking care of everything on my own was second hand, a breath in and a breath out. I was the world's newest independent parent. I learned how to work and love and give - constantly - on my own. 


He had a final exam on Monday morning and a busy Sunday with his church calling. He'd made a goal to let Sundays be study-free during law school, giving his heart a chance to focus on God and his family on the Sabbath -- but should he hold off right now? The schedule had been paying of so far; he felt refreshed every Monday and didn't feel behind the others in class. But this was an exam...

He learned to stick to his goals. He learned to take a risk and put God first. We learned that while doing so doesn't always pays off with big-boom, unreal life changes, honoring the Sabbath does always pay off with being empowered and feeling peace.


She was on the couch when he left for school, a baby to her breast, one toddler to her left and another to her right. He had been home so much, but he had to go back now. She had been drowning, but was just barely coming up for air. She pushed through the weight of life to the surface, propelled by the inescapable fact that he had to go back to full-time school now. They'd been here before - a newborn life mixed with the demands of law school. Silent tears rolled down her cheeks. "You'll be okay," he said. She nodded, fearful but hopeful. She was on the couch when he came home from school, a baby to her breast, one toddler to her left, and another toddler to her right. "How did it go?" he asked, slightly fearful but hopeful. Quiet tears rolled down her cheeks, as her smile spread as wide as the Shenandoah. "We had a great day!" 

We learned via law school that together - as a family - we can be stretched physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and if and when we just hang on together, we will beautifully, beautifully grow
Photos via: a few weekends ago - we swapped cameras with some of our best friends, the Christensens, to memorialize our families on these two, precious-to-us stomping grounds: the law school and the Rotunda + the Lawn. You'll see below - their sweet family has a boy for each of our girls. And yes, each is betrothed. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‰
See all of our Law School posts HERE and all of our Virginia posts HERE
Till we meet again, dear VA!!!


Sunday, May 21, 2017

My heart is full to bursting. Sunday, May 20, found us on the lawn at the University of Virginia Law School with hundreds of other people, all in celebration of a few hundred more: the graduates of the 2017 class at UVA Law.

The day was one of those that you picture for years prior - three, to be exact, for us. We foresaw graduation - the finish line - knowing that our families would be there, knowing that it would be humidly warm, and knowing that we'd be beaming. Because we would be done, the law school climb complete.

What I didn't know at our beginning here was how fast graduation day would come, and how bittersweet I would feel at its arrival (more about that in my next post). This adventure has been more perfect than I perceived, or rather, attempted to perceive. I thought I had foresight on these three years as we arrived, but now that I'm through our life here, it's so obvious that when a life experience is as dense as going through the graduate school experience all on your own as a tiny family, far, far away from home, you can't catch a glimpse of it. Something so wonderful simply cannot be foreseen, only felt. Day by day by day. ๐Ÿ’›

Congratulations, my Ryan, on earning this degree. "Proud of you!" will never be enough. Your balance of schools work, family life, and church service has blown me away. You have done it all, and with the ever calm and cool demeanor that is yours. Thank you again and again for bringing our family here, Love. What a glorious run!


Sunday, May 7, 2017
Pic via: the living room floor (again ๐Ÿ˜Š). I read and pondered there while nursing Emmy during her little morning meal (hence the baby thighs!!!)
Entry from Sunday, April 30
"And the Lord did strengthen them, that the people of King Noah could not overtake them to destroy them."

The Lord didn't make the enemy stop. He didn't send down a storm that stalled or wipe them out. The problem remained - the Lord just gave Alma's people more strength to bear with the situation until it could be done. He operates that way so often, doesn't He? The existence and/or nature of a trial doesn't often change in answer to my prayers for help, but my capacities to handle the situation does. God lives to make me better and stronger. How could He do so if He took the trials entirely away right when I ask Him to?

Grateful for this reminder. Emmy's demanding needs and struggles as a little newborn might not entirely go away for a few more months (although she is making the sweetest, most relieving progress!), but my weaknesses will: the Lord is and will keep making me stronger.  


Sunday, April 30, 2017
Pic via: the living room floor, at the feet of a little girl playing with little toys during quiet time. Claire and Emmy were snoozing upstairs. ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜Š
Entry from Saturday, April 29
"They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them int he day of their trouble." 
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