mamma mia.

Being a good mom is no cake walk. Ask ours.

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Here’s my lovely momma getting some kisses from me and one of my three younger sisters, when we were together at the Calgary Temple one day a few years ago. Isn’t she adorable?

She has more energy than most people I know. She works harder than most of us. And she has a great sense of humour. She cooks, gardens, and organizes like a queen. She’s super smart, endlessly generous, and amazingly fun with little children. She’s educated, and smart; and she loves animals.

Her faith has informed and inspired my own, and if that’s all she ever did for me or gave to me, it would be enough.

But that’s not all. She cares so much for me, and for my family. She’s forgiving and nothing can take her down for long. Her life hasn’t been an easy one; I wouldn’t want to trade. But mine has been sweeter and more gentle and beautiful because of her, turning herself inside out time after time after time to create for us something better than what she started with. I feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of giants in my own life, and she’s definitely one of them.

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On a walk near her home today…

Do you know how encouraging her example it to me? I believe I can do hard things.

And this is what she tells me:

Loved you yesterday.

Love you still. 

Always have.

Always will.

I believe her.

So blessed,

Leah

Grace.

This is one fun girl; let me tell you.

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I’m feeling pretty blessed this week. I get to spend some sweet time with my cute niece, Grace. She’s being a good sport about going out to soak up some smiles from the sunshine with me day after day… We take walks and bike rides along the river; such a good time.

We decided to try making homemade perogies this week, since we both love cooking and baking. The recipe (if you can call it that) was super simple, and they turned super yummy! Here’s how we did it:

Homemade Perogies

Mix 2 cups of sour cream with just enough flour to make a smooth, soft, somewhat sticky dough. Knead it for a few seconds on a floured surface and cut into about 20 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then use a rolling pin to flatten it out into a thin little disc. 

For the filling: Boil 4 medium-sized(russet) potatoes, and mashed them with butter, shredded cheddar cheese, and bacon bits. Then put a little blob of this on each perogy,  fold it over, and pinch the curved edge closed tightly to seal. 

Set half of them in a large pot of boiling water, and gently stir as needed to make sure they don’t stick to each other or to the bottom of the pot. (Repeat with the other half once these first ones are finished). They’ll be floating when they’re done, in just a few minutes. We took them out shortly after this, and laid them in a serving dish with butter until we were ready to eat them with sour cream. Mmm.

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Grace is sweet, affectionate, and funny. I like playing with her gorgeous hair, laughing our way through a game of Dutch Blitz, and making sourdough bread for her to eat. We all enjoy her slightly cheeky sense of humour, and love having her come to visit!

So blessed,

Leah

faith.

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painting by Simon Dewey

This is how I feel about Jesus Christ. Like he loves me, and I can trust him to always care for me. I’ve felt his love too many times, in too many ways, to ever doubt it. And I love him with all my heart. I feel safe and secure in his amazing love; he knows me better than I know myself, sees all my flaws, and only wants to help me. I am grateful for many blessings, every day, but he is everything to me.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

C.S.Lewis

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Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

I can’t imagine my life without him in it, and thankfully, I’ll never have to experience that. Because no matter what life throws at me, I can always count on Jesus to be with me, as long as I’ll be with him. This changes everything, in the best possible ways.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come…. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”     ~Bible, New Testament, Romans 8:38-39~

The most beautiful thing about all of this is that it’s just as true for everyone else as it is for me. He loves us all with a pure and perfect love. He fills me to overflowing with the feeling of it, and it changes me; I want to share it with everyone I can. I try.

So blessed,

Leah

white chocolate craisin cookies.

Today is our 24th wedding anniversary. What we had planned was a visit to this dreamy nearby destination: Kananaskis Nordic Spa.

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-what we had in mind-

However, this is not to be. (Once again, thanks, COVID-19.) Instead, we exchanged cards and gifts at home, and we’re ordering in from our all-time favourite restaurant (NOtaBLE), which is now very local to us, since our move almost a year ago. I’m sure the dinner will be delicious, even though we’ll be enjoying it as take-out. Better not complain.

In the meantime, I wanted to make a treat for Kirby today. I asked him what he’d like, and he replied, without hesitation, that he’d love these cookies. I’ve adapted the recipe a bit, and here’s how it goes now:

White Chocolate Craisin Cookies

Cream 3/4 cup butter with 1 & 1/2 cups sugar. Beat in 2 eggs, and a teaspoon each of salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir in 2 & 1/2 cups flour, then 2 cups combined craisins and white chocolate chips. Bake in 1 tablespoon lumps on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, at 350 degrees F for about 9 minutes. Let cool a couple minutes before lifting them off the pan with a thin metal flipper. 

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-real life-

So, this isn’t quite the romantic spa getaway we had in mind. But, all things considered, it’s a pretty sweet anniversary anyway. Celebrating at home, yeah. But so grateful for what we have to celebrate at all. Plus, cookies. Mmm.

So blessed,

Leah

this man of mine.

I love him. Can’t help it; he’s a lovable guy. His name is Kirby, and I’ve been married to him for almost 24 years…

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This is us out for our first bike ride of the season, yesterday. It was his birthday! After he finished his work (at home, thank you COVID-19) we couldn’t wait to get out and cycle for a while in the warm spring sunshine. It was the warmest day of the year so far; so nice for his special day. I say that with a wee tinge of jealousy; on my birthday, just a couple weeks ago, the temperature ranged between about -4 and +5 degrees celsius. But my jealousy is the nice kind; I wouldn’t have the weather on his birthday be any worse. I just wouldn’t have complained if mine had felt a bit more like spring.

So back to our bike ride. Kirby suggested that I ride ahead of him, since I am not especially athletic, and therefore a slow rider. He was nice enough to not put it quite like that when he offered to keep behind me. Being considerate enough to cycle at my pace is a little thing that says a lot about the kind of guy he is.

He also has a great sense of humour; this is one of the first things that attracted me to him back in the day. He’s a talented and innovative teacher, and has a way of connecting really well with older kids and teens that seems like an inborn superpower to me. (I specialize in babies and very small children.) Kirby also has a knack for technology. This is something else I really appreciate; he just laughs when I say that the printer and the remote controls etc behave better when he comes in to help me with them, but I know in my heart that it’s true.

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Again, it’s my intention to make my blessings blog posts as relatable as possible. I do realize I’m the only person who has this strong and sweet husband, but so many of us have people in our lives who love us and are always there- for better or for worse. It’s sometimes easy to get used to these loved ones; almost a form of hedonic adaptation… I’m writing to remind myself, and my dear readers, how good we really have it.

So blessed,

Leah 

Hayley.

Today I’m feeling especially grateful for my nieces; in particular, this one!

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A couple years ago in an airport, as a complete stranger walked by us, she smilingly commented, “Well, that’s not a mother and daughter, is it!” She meant it as an ironic statement of the obvious, but Hayley and I laughed because it’s not the first time she’s been mistaken for my child.

We have a lot more in common than our colouring though. We’re both avid readers, with a special taste for historical fiction. We both enjoy knitting, and cooking, yoga, and family history research. And we’re both nature lovers, so we like taking walks together when we get the chance.

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So blessed,

Leah 

time to paint.

Here’s a sight for sore eyes! My husband is a teacher on his spring break, and the ski hills are all closed (thank you, COVID-19) so he has time to paint some walls in our apartment!

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Why (you may ask) don’t I just do the painting myself? Well, I asked myself that question last year when our family home was on the market and I had some down time while Kirby was out of town. It looks pretty easy, even fun. So I bought some paint, rolled up my sleeves and set up. I cut in with the primer, and then excitedly started rolling it on.

It was a nice thought, but pushing the roller across the wall caused shooting pain through my wrist. It was an old case of tendonitis, flaring up just in time to grind my wall-painting ambitions to a halt. I was disappointed, and pretty frustrated. So much for my I-can-do-anything independent idea.

Imagine my husband’s delight when he arrived home to find that another bedroom needed to be painted asap, because I’d had some free time a couple days ago. Since then I’ve been content to stick to my original part of redecorating; choosing colours.

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white on white a la Laurel Bern

To see more of her beautiful work check out her blog at LaurelHome.

This week we have our sweet and energetic 13-year old niece, Hayley, staying with us. She enthusiastically offered to help Kirby with the painting, and they’re a great team. I’m grateful for their hard work washing, taping, filling holes, sanding, priming, and painting. I’m sure looking forward to having a brighter, lighter feeling in our dining room after today!

As much as none of us would have willingly signed up for so much of life shutting down over the COVID-19 pandemic, we can use the time it’s giving us to catch up on projects like this one. And yes, Kirby; in this case, when I say “we”, I mean “you”.

So blessed,

Leah 

the living Christ.

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‘He Lives’ by Simon Dewey

I love Jesus. I can’t comprehend how his sacrifice can heal and save me, but I know it’s true. I believe it in my mind and heart because of the warm, peaceful feelings that assure me my faith isn’t a fallacy.

On a Sunday afternoon in early February, our adorable 18-year old niece, Hope, was driving to join her family at a birthday dinner for her littlest sister. Due to changing winter road conditions, her truck suddenly crashed with an oncoming semi-truck, instantly ending her sweet life here on earth.

The anguish losing her has brought to our heartbroken family and her many other loved ones is stunning in its intensity. She lived her life as an angel on earth, so we have no doubt that the next place we’ll see her will be in heaven. What comforts my heart in this aching grief is knowing she is ok and loved where she is… and that because Christ rose again after he gave His life for us, we all will, too. That means after this life, I know we’ll all be able to put our arms around Hope and feel her sweet hugs again.

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Hope at F.A.C.E.S.

It’s a long wait, but because He lives, Hope isn’t really lost to us. I love her and miss her.

So blessed,

Leah