Sunday, September 28, 2014

Indian Summer

Sunday Photo 9_28_14 web
It was a LONG Sunday. Having a bit of dessert just before bed.

I'm not gonna lie, This has been a difficult week.

Late last Sunday night, we received word that our sweet nephew had taken his life earlier that evening. He'd just turned 30 the week before, and has always been one of the most loving and sweet people you'll ever meet. He was in 7th grade when I first started dating The Maestro, and he always acted as if I were his very favorite person in the entire world. That's just how he treated everyone. He had his share of struggles in this life, and as his sister noted, he fought every day to overcome them. We will all miss him so much.

Lots of heart-heaviness this week due to losing him, but it was only compounded by how dang far we live from the bulk of our family. We couldn't get one flight out for less than a small fortune, the Chicago airport has been having insane issues anyway, and we would have had to start driving as soon as we heard the news to make it out to Utah in time for the funeral on Thursday. So we had to settle for photos posted on Facebook and Instagram and for being there in our hearts even while our bodies were thousands of miles away.

Even though the girls haven't had a lot of opportunity to meet their cousin, telling them was so hard. They were devastated. It's a difficult thing to process at that age, and I know well how they feel because I lost two cousins when I was young. I didn't know either of them super well, as I lived in a different state, but I did know them, and I was affected deeply by their deaths.

Then I got terribly sick this week--the kind of sick where I couldn't even get out of bed for an entire day. It was a day I was supposed to work, and that stresses me out further, because I loathe having to make up lessons when I miss them.

I'm feeling much better now, but being laid up in bed has a wonderful way of putting you behind in your life. I'm not sure I've done a single load of laundry this week and, as of last night, my house was a disaster area.

As much as I wanted to spend Saturday getting ahead on chores and the rest of my to-do list, we couldn't ignore the wonderful weather. We've had a pretty chilly and wet fall so far, and we didn't have much of a summer. But this last several days we have been given a gorgeous Indian Summer. The Maestro convinced me to head to the beach with friends for the evening, and I finally relented even though I was feeling great anxiety over all that I needed to get done.

McLain Puccini

The beach was beautiful. The friendship was refreshing. My friend and I walked our dogs along the beach, and I must say I've never seen Lake Superior quite so calm. The kids played in the water (they've gotten very used to the frigid temperatures of Lake Superior this summer--I think they're all crazy!), gathered rocks, and tossed footballs around.

Sophia 9_27_14 web

The light and the warmth and my beautiful children and wonderful friends were just what I needed to heal a bit from the difficulties of the past week. The longer we stayed at the beach, the more I felt the stress melting from my body.

Beautiful Bria 9_27_14 web

But then there was the sunset. Not only did Heavenly Father send me His love via several days of 80 degree weather (which barely happens around here in July, much less September), He sent me a beautiful Lake Superior sunset, too.

I had my big camera with me, planning on getting some great shots of what was more than likely our last visit to the beach this season. I actually had a fully charged battery in it this time, but not a memory card. Someday I'll get it together. Le sigh.

Until then, I have my iPhone (thank goodness).

Chloe and Eva 9_27_14 web

The thing about sunsets is that they are always a million times better in real life.

Lake Superior Sunset 9_27_14

This one was so spectacular, that every single human being in that state park was down on the beach trying to photograph it. But none of us captured its true beauty.

McLain 9_27_14 web

Which is just as well, because it was sacred. A sacred moment that reminded me how much good there is in life amongst all of the difficulty. An Indian Summer before the long, hard winter. A message from my Father in Heaven of His love for me, and a reminder to always look for the beauty.

Because it is always there.

After the sun set, we headed home where my three daughters and I watched the General Women's Meeting together. I was especially touched by President Uchtdorf's remarks about how the Lord is constantly showering us with blessings, but the umbrella of sin, doubt, and fear (and may I add anxiety?) blocks those blessings from reaching us. We need to close our umbrellas and let our Heavenly Father shower us with blessings from above.

I was reminded that my 2014 word of the year is peace. I made a great start with this word, but I let my life overwhelm me and I lost it along the way. I have let clutter--physical clutter, mental clutter, and spiritual clutter--take over my life and cause me great anxiety. For October, I'm going to work hard to eradicate that clutter via a 31 day challenge.

Happy Sunday!

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Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. Great topic for a 31 Days series Lara! Looking forward to it.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew. Suicide seems to be happening a lot lately, yours is the 5th family I've heard having to deal with this type of tragedy. Your lake pictures are beautiful and I appreciate your reminder from the women's meeting. I loved all the talks, but of course Ucthdorf touched my heart the most. I agree that anxiety can become an umbrella, I suffer from it too and have to remember to come back to reality every now and then. Hugs!!

  3. Oh Lara you sweet thing I am so deeply sorry to hear about the loss you and your family has suffered. I am relieved that you were talked into getting outside and enjoys natures beauty and your families love. Sending you warm hugs!

  4. Wow. What a week, indeed. I'm sorry for your and the family's loss. Distance is hard. We're grateful we're only five hours away.

  5. Is your original recipe from Simply in Season? Just curious; it's a fave of mine and something I've thought about trying gluten-free.

  6. Hi Heather,
    The original recipe is from Paula Deen. However I did modify it a little even beyond just the gluten-free modifications. But if you have a favorite recipe, I have found that most of them turn out pretty well when you use a GF all-purpose flour and some xanthan gum, though you may have to do a few trial runs to get it perfect. Go for it!

  7. Thank you, Annette. There are certainly both pros and cons to living 2500 miles from home, but when tragedy strikes it is a great big con.

  8. Thank you, Christine. I am also so glad I went and stopped wallowing a little. It was definitely what I needed!

  9. Thank you, Whitney. I have heard of more than normal lately, too. And it is scary.

    President Uchtdorf: I love that man. He is just so inspiring. I also really needed to hear Sister Marriott's talk.

  10. Thanks, Hilda! I'm a little scared, as I've never done a 31 Day series before, but I'm also very excited! I'm looking forward to yours, too. :)

  11. Could you use 2 eggs only instead of 4 ?

  12. You could try it--I've done it with three when I didn't have four, and it turned out fine. I also sometimes substitute plain yogurt for eggs when I am out.