Dear Stefan

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Dear Stefan,

Please forgive this rather hodgepodge letter. We’ve had a week of everything and nothing– long hours of work interspersed with moments/hours of delight. With the realization summer is almost over, we took out the boat Friday afternoon. Mostly everyone rode in the tube,

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or rather, fell out.

Little Mary was quite disappointed no one would attempt the pyramid; maybe next time.

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Mary leaves on her mission in just three weeks so we are making the most of our time with her (Mary with the sunglasses; little Mary is NOT serving a mission yet).

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Last week, we joined the Bradfords and friends for the Parker Bradford Memorial Hike. Every time I am with them I am struck with the enormity of their loss– to lose a son… nothing could be harder. And yet, they live with strength and grace, sharing their considerable light with all of us. I love the way they talk about Parker in the present tense. Because he still IS and will always be their son; Parker lives and works and progresses in another sphere– but one day, there will be a great, glorious reunion.

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Hiking forms a particularly fitting memorial for Parker, because no one enjoys the hike more than the teenage boys. They race ahead on the trail, strip off shirts to stand under the waterfall, climb cliffs, charm all the girls.

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In case you are confused by the above photo (and who wouldn’t be?) they are spelling out #yolo. You’d better believe I ran through the waterfall too. Several times. ‘Cause you know what I say about hikes? If you don’t come home wet or bleeding you didn’t have fun. I wish I’d taken more photos, but I was really wet most of the time.

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A pack of cute teenagers. Remember when Hans was one of the little kids on this hike? Everyone asked about you and everyone agreed Russia is the perfect place for you. Several moms confided they’d really like you to date their daughters when you get home. 😉 
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on the hike down. Gabe patiently waiting for Mary.

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just before heading home– how come I’m the only one with waterfall hair?

It’s amazing– don’t you think?– how friends come into our lives and become so important. They change us. We are more than we were before. I could write of list of all the people who’ve filled such a spot…it’s a long one. I know hermits seek enlightenment through solitude, but I’ve come to know God through His children.

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Because I am a crazy momma, we bought another bunny. It’s a girl, so we’re not creating a rabbit farm yet. We bought her at the most incredible place– a huge beautiful estate with llamas, miniature horses, chickens, doves, parakeets, one elegant barn cat, goats and hundreds of baby bunnies bouncing, hiding and racing through the barn. Without realizing it, we chose Lucy the Cat’s bunny twin.

I haven’t had time to take many photos, but you know I’ll send you more than you’d ever need. Unlike Zoey, our new baby bun is a calm little sweetie. She hops toward you rather than away and snuggles into your lap or under your chin.

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I’m so glad you are happy and well. Really, you are SO happy. I can’t begrudge your absence. But I’ll admit, every time I pass a photo of you on the wall (and there are many) my heart tugs a bit. Be careful, be well, avoid the drunks, but please let me know if you get mugged. I’d rather know.

Hugs and love and kisses,


July 25, 2013
August 5, 2013



  1. Dr. Oble

    July 29, 2013

    ACK! I love your blog. I love your family. I love your happiness. I think that Heavenly Father has answered the prayers of my heart and recent realizations of quasi-happiness by helping me find the super-happiness that you seem to exude. (Though He may not be so thrilled that it’s 3:00 am and I just spent over 3 hours enjoying your posts.) Thank you for sharing your heart.

    (But I can’t find the ‘follow’ button. Blast!)


  2. Kit Linkous

    July 31, 2013

    Someday we will join you on that great hike :). The new bunny is adorable!

  3. Melissa

    August 21, 2013

    Michelle-it’s taken me THIS long to get to your blog. I had to come home to Switzerland for a little head space, and then I stumbled into this gorgeous post. You know I love you, and you know these shots are exquisite treasures for me and for my family. Thank you for hiking, inviting on dates, coming to Geneva, filming our life, being more than a sister to me.–M

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