It’s going to take me a minute to get to the forgiveness part of this post, because there’s some background to go over first.
Let’s start with this.  See these two awesome women right here?
One is my mother, and the other is my sister.
And I adore them…
Along with all of these other women:

(Including the one you can’t really see but who is on that phone FaceTiming in that picture up there…which I’ll explain in a minute.)

But first let’s talk about those two women in that first picture.

Every year or so that wonderful mother of mine gathers all the women of our family together.  We’ve met up for quick get-aways like a meal away from all the hoopla at Bear Lake or a trip to Park City (here) from Salt Lake.  And we’ve met up in California (here) and had a pretty extraordinary trip to Europe a couple years ago (HERE, HEREHERE and HERE…and a few more that I think are linked up to those posts).

And I think those get-togethers are pretty awesome.
I’m already thinking of the gatherings I’ll get to have with my own girls some day down the road.
This year since that other wonderful woman in that top picture just moved to a farm in California (which I talked a little about back HERE, and which she explains much better HERE), we figured we better meet there to check out her new stomping grounds.  
And they didn’t disappoint.  (and neither did that good sister Saydi’s hospitality…man alive she can keep a lot of things happening and not slow down!)
That place is magical.
It was green and fertile as far as the eye could see.

And those kids of my sister’s are thriving in all that green glory.

My sis-in-law had to laugh because we arrived late at night, and in the morning when we were standing there checking things out, the kids burst out of the main house and started running at top speed toward us.  We kind of figured they were excited to see us, I mean, we hadn’t seen them for a while and we are their aunts after all.

But we had to laugh when they ran right past us with all the glee lighting up their faces you can imagine exclaiming, “we got new chickens!” and ran straight into the barn to check out their new pets…who can apparently lay green and blue eggs.


It was my sis-in-law Julie’s birthday that day so we had a big farm breakfast…

…followed by a walk up to the ridge to take in all that beauty:

Saydi had warned us to bring our rain boots that sure came in handy to tromp around all that water-laden green.

My brother Noah and his wife and six (!) kids had already been there for a few days to get some farm experience for their spring break.

And boy howdy all those cousins were eating up that farm life together.

 Here’s Lyla conducting the chickens:

 Those pigs up there could sure make some noise!

 We got to feed the goats:

After taking in the farm for a little while, we gathered up and headed out.
The MFME adventure was about to begin.
We loaded up bikes and headed to this gorgeous beach area to ride them.

I have ten gazillion pics following my mom, because I did follow that woman, and I have through my whole life, and I want to keep following her always.

…because if I could gain even a tiny part of who she is, I’d be pretty awesome.

 These ladies are pretty awesome to follow as well.

We took turns on those bikes and soaked in that gorgeous backdrop.

And THEN the drama began.
We got back to my sis-in-law Krisit’s sprinter, (the one with six kids), which we planned to use all weekend, and found it looking like this:

Two windows bashed out, four purses stolen, three computers, wallets, passports, an iPad, you name it, everything in that car was gone.

Well, they left the carseat and some boots…

So sad!  A couple of us had our stuff in another car, which happened to remain safe, and I almost felt guilty that my computer was still there, safe and sound.  They needed that ID for flights, and of course they needed everything else too.  When something like that happens it feels so violating and maddening.

Instead of the schedule Saydi and Charity had planned that afternoon, we spent hours talking to the police:

 …and trying to cancel credit cards and figure out how to start replacing things (over $1,500 was charged to the credit cards before they could cancel, which of course, is taken care of by the credit card companies, but sad stuff for sure).

We also spent the afternoon vacuuming out never-ending glass.

All weekend long people kept remembering things that were in there, now gone.  Pictures not backed up on my mom’s computer, phone charging cords (everyone was sharing just a couple so we didn’t never had much juice), journals, things that were irreplaceable.

But do you know what?  Despite all that craziness, these sisters of mine were level-headed and calm.

More than once we were reminded that it was just “things.”  Everyone was ok, and we were all so grateful for that.  It was almost as if forgiveness for that awful thing just seeped and automatically changed hearts to gratitude.

And I loved that example of these wonderful sisters of mine.

There’s a movie Grace and I watched a little while ago in a rare snippet of time we had, just she and I.  It was called “The Light Between the Oceans,” and I had read the book before, wasn’t one of my favorites, but I did like how it made me think.  And I was surprised that the movie made me think even more.  There’s one part where someone is so judged and almost bullied.  His wife asked him why he didn’t fight back.  Why all the mean-spirited people didn’t turn his world upside down.  And I loved his response.  Here’s how it went in the book:

“But how? How can you just get over these things, darling?…You’ve had so much strife but you’re always happy. How do you do it?’

‘I choose to…I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened, like my father did, or I can forgive and forget.’

‘But it’s not that easy.’

He smiled that Frank smile. ‘Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things…I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No’ – his voice became sober- ‘we always have a choice. All of us.'” p.323” 

― M.L. StedmanThe Light Between Oceans

I’m just so grateful that no matter what happens, horrible things like in this book, or really frustrating things like those darn people taking all our stuff, we can forgive.  And move on.  And find light.

And that’s what makes us happy in the long-run.

We went on to have a pretty grand weekend despite some other crazy things that happened (next post), but that day, cleaning out all that broken glass amidst police phone calls and loss realization, there was light.  And I was so grateful for the example of forgiveness that brought that light in.


    1. Because people should not steal. It's a locked vehicle and the stuff doesn't belong to the thief. Why the victim blaming? I think it's safer the thief stole from a van than held them up. If they had their stuff on them, that could have happened.

    2. ^^true!
      Plus, it sounds like it was luggage and it's very common to leave luggage in your vehicle if you make a stop before your hotel/home/whatever. People do it all the time to eat or shop, lots of things.

    3. Mea culpa. I did miss out on a valuable message of forgiveness. I first commented out of shock. Those were just things which are replaceable, but time & making memories are not.

    4. FYI – the comment above is not mine. The first comment is my question. Not sure who this other Mother Theresa is but it's not me or my thoughts or opinions. Whoever this is needs to get their own life and make their own comments.

    5. Yeah, because Mother Theresa April 6, 2017 at 2:04 PM has exclusive rights to all things Mother Theresa. How dare you use that name that she has exclusive rights to! Give me a break.

  1. What an awful thing to go through. We've all been there, leaving things in our vehicles, believing everything would be okay. And sometimes things turn out okay, and sometimes things don't. Choosing forgiveness is a strong thing to do, even with all the hurt and upset!

  2. I leave valuables in my locked car all of the time. I make sure it's locked, of course, but there are many times that I need my wallet on a trip but then don't take it hiking, etc. This is a great message. Thanks for sharing.

  3. reading this post made me so mad at whoever broke into the van and stole all of your valuables. it really is a feeling of violation and sadness to have things taken that are personal and have a price tag and will have to be purchased… yet again. thank you for sharing this story and for choosing to forgive. xo

  4. Is your mom going to change the name to just "Mothers of Eyrealm" now that everyone has a little one? 😊 I absolutely love the idea of these gatherings you all do. What wonderful memories and discussions you must have.

    Sorry about the break-in. It's awful when stuff like that happens, but the attitude you all had is so good.

  5. I am so sorry for you and your family. The violation can go deep-but forgiveness does win out. This happened to my husband and I near San Francisco a year ago. I believe that the Police were so kind and helpful. We were told that this is a huge problem in the bay area….. Thieves (- a huge organized group does exist), targeting vehicles they seem to narrow down to travelers – out of state plates – rental company cars. The Police told us that typically travelers seem to place their small briefcase/carry-on type of baggage behind the front seats on floorboards or rear seats ( we did), with large baggage in trunk. Thieves take these small bags by " smash and grab" not the locked trunk. It is quick and with freeways near they are off and onto another parking lot. I did see at the SFO Car Rentals Building now, postings that are highlighting the need to lock up and to take your valuables with you, not leave in vehicle. We did as well view on 60 minutes a segment highlighting this epidemic in the Bay Area. This was not just targeting SFO travelers but residents too. Just feel the need to share.

  6. The quote you shared is my favorite from both the movie and the book. It is the entire message of the whole book and movie. He, her husband, was the silent main character. This was and is brilliant. Thank you for sharing.

    I'm glad you had a nice weekend with your family, and I am sorry for what happened.

  7. I love that quote. We used to live in Northern California and the same thing happened to us. They do it so fast and charge the cards immediately. At church they even told us not leave our scripture totes in the car because they were too tempting for thieves I guess. I miss California, but I don't miss how many things we got stolen there, not even kidding. When you already have a lot of kids to keep your eyes on, it gets exhausting having to watch your "stuff" all the time. The one that makes me laugh is on Halloween we had our Jack-o-laterns out and someone stole the glass votives out of them. Not kidding. Not nailed down…would get stolen. So sorry it happened to you. 🙁

  8. Absolutely love that quote Shawni! Thanks for documenting this crazy experience. I'm sure everyone is still working on recovery but it was such an inspiration to hear everybody say, "it's just things," instead of weeping and wailing. 🙂 What an awesome bunch!

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