Thursday, July 4, 2013


Last night, Noah saw fireworks for the first time.  Ryan's family is in town, and Grandpa Nielson insisted that we go out for frozen custard, even though it was way past Noah's bedtime.  (Noah approved of this decision.)  As we were leaving the custard place, fireworks started lighting up the night sky in the distance, and Noah was amazed.  "Sparkly!" "Beautiful!" "Loud noises!"

We told him that the world was celebrating Grandpa Nielson's birthday.  Ryan's dad, Gordon, was born on the 4th of July and has celebrated his birthday every year with a fireworks show.  So fun.  Gordon told me last night that he was obsessed with fireworks as a kid, and I think that obsession may rub of on his grandson Noah after last well as his obsession with ice cream.  (You should've seen the grin on Noah's face when Grandpa brought over the tray of frozen custard.)

I love Gordon and am grateful that he is my father-in-law.  I admire many things about him, particularly his love of discussing ideas.  Whenever we are together, Gordon asks me what I think about complex topics, ranging from politics, to religion, to educational policy, to parenting.  I think it is very endearing that he values my opinion, even though I am much younger and less wise than he is.  We've had many great talks over the years, especially on long nighttime drives from the airport in Salt Lake City to their home in Pocatello or from their home in Pocatello to their cabin in Sun Valley. (What is it about the car, especially at night, that gets people talking?).

Gordon is a very religious, devoted man, and I admire his love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ryan has told me that when he was a teenager, he would often wake up early for a sports practice and find his dad at the kitchen table studying the scriptures before dawn.  His father modeled through his actions as well as his words how much he loved the Lord and relied on Him each day.

Whenever we are with the Nielsons, Gordon will call us together before bed, and we will have some sort of Gospel devotional.  These usually aren't super planned or scripted, which makes them even more special.  Gordon will share something that he's read recently or been thinking about, and then he will ask for our input on the topic.  I love how the Nielsons have developed a culture of open, spiritual discussions in their home.  I feel an amazing closeness to the family as I listen to them share their sacred experiences and thoughts, and I love that I feel comfortable enough to share mine as well.  I hope that Ryan and I will be able to have these types of Gospel discussions with our children someday, and I'm grateful to Gordon for showing us how it's done.

Happy birthday to a wonderful man and mentor.  I love you, Gordon, and I am so thankful that my husband was raised by such a good man, that my son has such a loving grandfather, and that I was lucky enough to marry into your family and gain such amazing in-laws.


  1. My dad is a good man. Love him. How cute is Noah in that picture!!

  2. I love how notice so many wonderful things your in-laws do. At least for me, it's easy to focus on the things they do differently (and therefore strangely), but there's a lot to learn from our families, both the ones we grew up in and the ones we married into.


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