my sister at 40

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Last December, everything in my little world was happily humming along. Enough that I became a bit self-congratulatory, “I’m doing great with this whole healing process, gaining emotional stability…”

And the next week, I crashed. I could barely get the morning chores done and the kids off to school before collapsing into tears. Every awful thing spun through my head like a broken record during the day then revisited me in nightmares.

I talked to my sister daily, “What is wrong with me? Will this haunt me for the rest of my life.”

And after three days she confessed, “I know what’s wrong. I’ve been fasting for you every Friday and last week I skipped.”

I was stunned.

Fasting. For me. Every single week.

“I’ve been doing it for a long time,” she explained, “I knew you needed extra heavenly help.”

Once I found words, I gasped, “Thank you! And please never skip a week again.”

To have a sister like that. To be a sister like that.

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You can scarcely read my blog without knowing Ruth’s virtues– she’s strong stable, good to the core. A marathon runner who will slow her pace to walk with you and XXX. Give Ruth an hour and she’ll throw an amazing party (without panicking or whining), give her 20 minutes and she’ll prepare one of the best dinners you’ve ever eaten. In her spare moments, she pens stories (look for her best-selling novel later this year…as soon as she finds an agent), gardens and creates magic for her four kids.

This morning, Ruth’s friends threw a surprise party complete with strawberry shortcake and a photo collage in the shape of 40. Gathering friends has always been one of Ruth’s gifts. They adore her, will do anything for her and usually love me too just by virtue of association.

Ruth’s kindness has made me think more of my own friends (especially my friends without sisters). I can and should fast for someone every week. As women, as sisters, I know we have great power to help each other both physically and spiritually.

I did send a box in the mail, but my real gift to Ruth this year is a commitment to fast every Friday for friends who need a sister like mine. And maybe, I’ll become just a little bit more like her.

Ruth’s birthday post from 2008. Always worth a reread.

Happy birthday darling sister!

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April 19, 2014



  1. annie

    April 14, 2014

    Beautiful post. How blessed you are to have each other!

  2. adw

    April 14, 2014

    There is no friend like a sister…
    You are both lucky girls!

  3. Mitchell Family

    April 14, 2014

    Awww shucks! I’m lucky to have a sister like you. Just yesterday Lizzy and Zoey and I were looking at the 40 collage and talking about my strengths and weakness as a mom and I mentioned that I’m just not as good at giving praise as you are. They agreed. Lizzy said “Aunt Michelle is amazing at building her kids up, when I’m a mom I want to do the same.” I feel so blessed to have a sister to fill in my parenting gaps and one who agrees to take my 16-year-old daughter on her family vacations. I do like to think that Lizzy and Zoey are Mary’s special sisters.

  4. Gina

    April 14, 2014

    Ruth is a treasure.

  5. jenn

    April 16, 2014

    Couldn’t agree more! Love Ruth!

  6. Kristi

    April 18, 2014

    Michelle- I found your blog while searching for chicken coop plans. Your coop is darling by the way, but what I found was so much more. Your video of when Ben came home from his mission had me in tears before I’d even became acquainted with you and your sweet family. This was a few weeks ago and since then I have been reading your words and soaking them in. You have such a gift and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your talents with the world. Your words and thoughts on motherhood especially have been so inspiring to me. My oldest is finishing up his junior year and it really hit me after reading your blog how short and precious this time is with my family intact before my boys leave on their missions. Again, I thank you for sharing your heart and your family. I truly feel like prayers have been answered as I read your words. I don’t know if it is too much to ask, but I’d love to be able to share Stefan’s missionary blog with my boys.

  7. Unknown

    April 24, 2014

    Thank you for sharing!
    My sister has been sick for some time. She is down to 80lbs.
    I have felt helpless.
    Now I know I can do something.
    I have enlisted my siblings, we are each taking a day to fast for her. (There’s 7 of us) On Sundays we will all fast together.
    You gave me power.
    Why didn’t I think of this?
    T H A N K Y O U!

  8. Kerri

    April 28, 2014

    Oh, man, that made me cry. What a beautiful, sweet, tender gift. I decided this weekend to return to my weekly fasting, but it was purely to try to help my immediate family. I think I’ll extend out a little more.

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