Jed finally fixed the scanner--so my previously written blog can come out appropriately on Stef's birthday!
Something I have wanted to do for quite some time is to write about people I admire. I hope to make it a fairly regular thing as I am surrounded by admirable people--but I can't promise anything. It seems fitting to start with my sister-in-law, Stefanie, because just being around her reminds me of all the reasons I want to get this started.
Stef is Jed's oldest sister. I remember the first time I saw her I was a freshman in high school and she was at my cousin's cabin for a ward party. She was what Jed would look like as a cute girl--amazing! I remember watching her occasionally in the halls of our church where she attended her singles ward. She was always happy and had many friends around her. It is funny now to think of that Stef in the church hall as the same Stef I have come to love and admire as a best friend!
Stefanie is genuinely thoughtful. It seems every time I come to her house, she has saved something for me to see, bought something at the store for one of my kids or baked an extra loaf of bread to send home with us. But it isn't just for my family. I've watched her countless times quietly thinking of and doing things for others. I admire her for her ability to remember things that people around her love and also her keen sense of seeing what others need. Then, somehow, she manages to take those considerations and serve everyone around her.
A couple of Christmases ago, when Jed was looking for work, I went to Big Lots with Stef (we share a love for bargain hunting). While I chose a few odds and ends for Christmas presents, Stef moved around the store gathering snacks my children like, Italian items for Jed and a Christmas decoration I had loved, but decided I didn't need. I protested, thanking her, but telling her she shouldn't buy all these things. She did anyway, because she's Stef. My kids loved the snacks, Jed, as usual, likes Italian things and I loved my Christmas greenery. More than anything though, I came away genuinely touched that Stef loved me--and Jed and Hazel and Parley so much. I will always remember her when I put up my winter decorations.
It is a joy to watch Stefanie be a mother. She is amazingly patient and gentle. I watched her persist at helping one of her children who was struggling so much. She was willing to try (and did try) everything to help him be happy and well. I know he will always count her as one of his choicest blessings--as will her other three (almost four!) children. She is a fantastic aunt and I think all the kids feel they are each her favorite.
Stef was once promised in a blessing she was given that her life would not be easy. I can attest to the truthfulness of that promise. Somehow though, through all the trials and frustrations life throws at her, she manages to stay positive and continues to serve others.
I love Stefanie. I am so grateful for her friendship, love and amazing example. She is a blessing to everyone who knows her.
Happy Birthday Stefanie!