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Messages of Love

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S: Messages of Love

FC: Messages of Love to our Mother our Sister our Grandma our Friend Carol Fay Nielson

1: "When you walk in the light, you will feel at that moment some of the warmth and the happiness that will be finally be ours when you are welcomed home again with the hundreds and perhaps thousands of others who you will bring with you, who have walked in the light because you did." President Henry B. Eyring

3: Brother Harper, I'm going to put together a book, of sorts, for my mother. I'm hoping anyone and everyone that has been impacted by her will be willing to put their experience(s) in writing so that I can compile them and present it to my mom. I'm welcoming anything--I know she's touched people in many ways from always smiling to telling them 'good job' to serving them. She's helped people to be happier, understand the Gospel, love our Savior, and to be better human beings. I don't want her to leave us with any doubt of the good work she's done for so many. Could you possibly pass the message along as I think you still do the email for CV1 (excluding my mom's email address of course). My goal is to have the book completed for a belated birthday present. The length of the "letter" is not as important as her being able to read examples of her goodness and/or the impressions she's made. I'm also open to pictures and "second-hand" stories (stories they've heard about her from others or ways she impacted someone close to them and in turn has impacted them). THIS IS A SURPRISE! Either emailed or paper submissions are great. Feel free to call me to make arrangements for me to acquire paper submissions. THIS IS A SURPRISE!

4: Dear Carol, Thank you for having been such a wonderful neighbor. From casseroles to finding my dogs to being a second mama to Lisa, you have been an inspiration to me as a mom and a friend!!! You are the best! Love, Kathy Carrozzi | Carol Nielson is hands down the best mother-in-law a girl could wish for. Carol has always been kind to me, and she graciously "adopted" me into her family. I am always amazed at her unending patience and the boundless love she shares with everyone. With children, she is kind but firm - I've always wanted to know what her secret was. She has unending talents - from cooking to sewing, and I've noticed her as busy as a beaver, yet she always makes the time to listen and show her concern. Her strong faith guides her in her actions, and I appreciate her good example. Becky Nielson

5: No matter what’s going on, Carol Nielson always has a smile for anyone and everyone. Regardless of background or differences she treats everyone with equal kindness. And despite what she says, she makes a great pumpkin pie. Lee Carnahan | Photo courtesy of Dianna Wright

6: You are a friend, an angel and a | mentor to my mom. She loves you and I love you. Thank you for being a | light in our lives. | -Tara Thornock

7: Dear Carol, I am so grateful to have you, Brent and your children apart of my life. I have always admired your sweet spirit and love of the Lord. The wife, mother, sister, and friend you have been--how you always seem to have time for everyone. You and Brent have raised eight wonderful children that have grown into fine adults with the same values and love of the Lord. To me, this is an accomplishment to be proud of. I love you and feel so blessed to have you as my sister. Love, Loretta Sally and I have always loved Carol. We would comment to each other after having talked to her how she is so happy and everything is going great. Carol is truly an example of how Jesus Christ wants us to treat each other. I want Carol to know how much Sally and I have grown in the Gospel by her example of love, faith and service to others. If Sally were here now I'm sure she could add a few choice stories. Carol we love you so much and will always have you in our hearts. Love, Brother Ortland & Sally...see you in our next life.

8: Several years ago I became critically ill and had no family near. Carol stepped forward and not only took me to the doctor, but took me to the hospital and stayed with me nights during those first touch-and-go days. I don't know if she got any sleep at all.! When the hospital released me, because insurance would not pay any longer, Carol took me home with her and nursed me for another week before sending me home. I will be forever grateful for my angel of mercy. With love and hugs for my dear friend, Jeanne Barta Carol is a tremendous woman because of her love for others. She is kind and generous. She loves her family very much and is delighted in your smiles and your accomplishments big or small. She, too, has a beautiful smile that warms your heart. She makes the world a better place. She is a gift! –Charlotte Hutchins

9: Carol- I met you many years ago when our family moved into this ward and I was a young mother. This was our first "real" ward. My first real experience with families outside of my own family ward growing up. I was a long way from home. I was scared and nervous about my future. We were accepted and welcomed by so many. I have very specific memories of your friendly face and your shinning example of kindness. I always looked to you and your family as an example of how I wanted to pattern my own life after. I wish I could list all of they ways that have been helpful to me. I want to share the story that stands out the most. It was years ago and I was very busy with church callings and all the activities of my children. Jeff had bought me a new temple dress and I loved being able to go to the temple more frequently since all of the kids had started school. One time while attending ward temple night you noticed that my dress was too long. I mentioned that I just never had time to hem it. The next thing I know you are at my house with my temple dress and it is already hemmed. You somehow contacted Jeff, took my dress and hemmed it without me ever knowing. I still wear that dress to the temple and always think of you. What a simple act but it has blessed my life for years. It is just the thing that helps me remember to try to be more like the Savior in my actions. You are truly a Disciple of Christ. Thanks for allowing me to be able to learn and grow from you. You have helped me become and better servant of the Lord. Love Pam Hosking

10: Dear Carol, You are my hero. I think of the few years we spent serving together in the Stake Primary and still shake my head at your enthusiasm and commitment to the program. I was so grateful for a leader who could see what needed to be done and just did it. The Cub Scout program was never in better hands as you attended their pack meetings, consistently trying to get the wards to work together, motivated them to attend training and district meetings. I know, it was a never-ending demand as leaders were changing often, but I never worried about it. I'm sure it's hard to imagine all the hours you gave [in] preparation and organization for Stake Primary activities and how much effort and energy it takes. Boy, I could never do that again. How will it be to have endless energy in a restored body? To be honest, I wish I could hold your hand and go with you, to be done with the pains and suffering of this life. I feel your spirit, your willingness to do whatever the Lord would have you do and even now, never complain. We come to appreciate each day as a blessing from God, the sacred blessings of strength and life. It's hard to comprehend what awaits, but with faith we need not fear. Isaiah 58:8,9,11: Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry,and he shall say, here I am. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought,and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. You were so thoughtful as Jon and I took the road you are taking now. I am forever grateful to have the time to express my love for you and look forward to our reunion in the eternities as sisters. You have touched my life! I appreciated having you join us one last time for Jon's birthday party. Little do we know what our future holds and to think you would be traveling that same road so soon. My prayers are with you for peace, understanding and faith. I love you, Carol. Dianna

11: Wow, what can I put into words! Carol you have been a shining star for me. You have truly shown the Christian way of life. You have so much love and kindness for people. You have are a wonderful example of what I wish I were. I've enjoyed being your visiting teacher (even though I have not been a great one). You always have a smile on your face - even when you tell little fibs on how you are feeling, but I caught on to you! Remember all the Homemaking meetings and how much fun we had? The dinners, the crafts, the women, the clean-up, girls camp, the girls. Your family has a true gem amongst them. I know I am rambling on, but it is so hard to put into words the love I feel for you and all the memories that come to mind, because there is so, so many! I wish we had many, many more years ahead. I love you, Karen Edwards | Carol, We have known each other since we were just young marrieds with small children living in Walnut Creek. I always admired you for how immaculate you kept your house. I was never quite able to accomplish your level of cleanliness. I admired you for how devoted you were to your children, not to mention how slim and trim you were able to keep yourself! We then both moved to Concord and were able to interact within the stake and being in wards that shared the same building. Girls Camp of course is one of the memories we share. You are always so willing to serve and I’ve seen you serve faithfully in many leadership callings. Our paths have crossed many times. Also, thank you for sharing your children with me. I know several of them and have enjoyed associating with each one. It’s because of your wonderful mothering and nurturing that they’ve inherited your admiral traits. I call them friends just as I call you my friend. I love you, you have touched my life. Love, Norma Bowerbank

12: Carol, It's been so long since I've talked to you, and yet you have remained an influential presence in my life. I can remember running to your house when I had nowhere else to go; the many mornings I spent chatting with you and Marissa when I should've been in class but was too anxious to go. The nights I walked all the way to your house because I felt more at home there than at my own. You never turned me away. And whether or not you agreed with me, you never let on, you never pushed or nagged or lectured...you merely accepted me. Simply let me know that I was welcome. My life since then has been anything but simple or peaceful, and I know that it is only by the grace of God that I am alive and on the path that I am today. Carol, I want you to know that you were a part of that path. You were always an example of peace, strength, faith, wisdom, kindness, and gentle love. You were the mother that for a while I wish I had been blessed to have growing up. I would be ashamed to tell you all the wrong turns I have taken and where they led to. I'm also ashamed and sorry for the pain or confusion I may have caused within your own family. The bridges I've burned remain a burden on my heart. Maybe someday, if it is the Lord's will, I can try to rebuild them. When I first heard news of your illness, I was overcome with sadness. And then with guilt; guilt that came from all the years I missed, the time I could have taken to be around you, and your family, all the moments that flew by without me in them. And then I became jealous! Jealous that you, without a doubt, are surrounded with countless lives you have touched, made better in some way. All the people who love you! But most of all, jealous that you would be with our Heavenly Father sooner than I would be! I can't pretend to sympathize or know what you have gone through, but I know that if anyone were to find peace in a time like this, it would be you. I pray for you every time I think of you. And though you weren't my mother, I was blessed by you. You were so sweet to me, and I never deserved it. Thank you, Carol, for loving me. Be comforted in the fact that it meant more than you could ever know. Thank you. –Rachael Thomas

13: Dear Carol, You are one of the first people I met when we moved to Concord for Torrey's first job after graduating from BYU. I remember thinking that you were perhaps the sweetest person that I had EVER met, and I have continued to think that over the years. I have one specific memory of you that has always meant so much to me. You were driving along one day and you saw me pushing my stroller full of babies up the hill toward Turtle Creek. You found the first place you could possibly turn around and rushed back to "rescue" me. You drove all around trying to find me, because you were certain that my car must have broken down or something equally disastrous. Little did you know that my torture was self-inflicted as I was merely out for my daily walk with all my little ones in tow... You touched my heart that day because you were busy and on your way to something that you needed to do, but took the time out to reach out to someone who looked to be in need [of] your loving kindness. I have never forgotten the lesson that I learned from you that day. I have learned many things from you over the years, and the ones that really stand out revolve around treating others with kindness, thoughtfulness and love. I thank you for your Christlike examples and unwavering love and affection, even when we hadn't seen each other for long stretches of time. I love you, sweet Carol, and am blessed [by] association with you and your precious family. May our Heavenly Father bless all of you each and every day! Much love and devotion, Connie Lowder

14: Marissa, I have not interacted closely with your mother, but when I have been around her, I am continually touched by the 'love' that exudes from her 'being'. She is so dear to everyone! She reminds me of my mother too, whose personality is very similar to hers...always laughing at herself, and encouraging everyone around her. My mother passed away in '05 suddenly, and I miss her dearly. When I see Carol, I am reminded of my dear sweet Mother, and it brings me comfort. When she is ready to depart this earth, I hope she will find her there, as I think they would become dear friends. Carol, you are dearly loved and respected by so many....Thank you for all you do to touch lives...even those you don't know! Allyson Hill Marissa, I just got back into town late last night, opening up my e-mail, I read the request from Jack Harper. When I first entered into the CV1 building, with my little kids in tow, your mom and Jeanne Sampson were the first to hold the door open for me. I fell in love with three ladies that day. Jeanne, Carol Smith and your mom, Carol Nielson; they opened up their hearts to me and my little family the newest strangers in town. Carol you are a born leader. You lead not just with your mind, but your soul and heart. I would watch you with your little kids, how you handled them, taught them and loved them. I could see in your eyes the “love” that you and Brent shared, always together and supporting each other. When I think of you, one of the first pictures that comes to mind is you in the front seat of the Girls Camp bus, coming back from Girls Camp sound asleep. You were in charge that year, need I say more? What a wonderful job you did!!!! It is said you can learn more about a person through their actions and how they live their lives then what they say! Your “Christ” like life has taught us well!!! Happy birthday you sweet lady, Louise Johnson

15: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CAROL! When thinking of you, Carol, I don't recall one particular moment or event, I have a radiant image of a choice soul, and spirit, one of God's beloved daughters. . . . .Smiling, friendly, thoughtful, caring, giving, sharing, helping, compassionate, full of love for family, friends, the Gospel, humankind. . .a shining example for me always, and I love you for all you are. Jackie Fontaine Grandma, You have no idea how many people love and care about you. Trust me. Who can instantly bring light into a room? Well anyone can, but you have the brightest light of all. You make everyone smile and we all love to make you happy. You always make sure you tell everyone you love them. We enjoy your company and love it when you're around. I had no idea you knew so many people! What I do know though is that every single person loves you. If I had to give you a title it would be Wonder Woman! You have a smile that makes others smile too. You reach out to those in need. You bring people into your open arms and love everyone. That's only a portion of what you do. I love you grandma! Love, Elizabeth

16: Dear Marissa, Thank you for the opportunity to express my love for your Mom. What a delightful friend she has been over the years whenever we meet. I think the way I know her best is through all of you beautiful daughters. Honestly, what a legacy. I know there are two sons as well, but it is you daughters that I have known best. You are each so beautiful inside and out just like your mom! I feel it a privilege to know all of you. We lift up prayers for you all and pray for peace and love between all of you always. The sentiments I express here are from Jim also! God blessings to each and every one of you! Bonnie & Jim Mattson What a glorious occasion to gather together and celebrate [your mom's birthday]! I wish I could be there...I'll be there in spirit, though. I have loved [Shauna] and your parents for so many years and I'm grateful for how my life has been touched by each one of you. Your example of being Christ-like is such an inspiration to me. Carol's strength and your family's unwavering faith and love through the pain and affliction of her illness make my own testimonies stronger. My best wishes to all of you and please give Carol the biggest hug for me. – Delia Cabrera Tell your mom how much we wish we could have come [to her birthday open house]. She is a wonderful woman who always set such a good example of kindness and love and never let anyone feel excluded. Wish we could see everyone. –Jennifer Clark Martin

17: Dear Carol, What a thrill to hear you are having a birthday - and a party! We wish we could be there to celebrate with you. We're sure you are as young and beautiful as we remember, even though many years have passed. We hold fondly the memories we had living in Concord and the friendship and love you and your family showed to us and our family. Those were the "best" years, according to each of our family members. The Ward was the best, our house was our best, the schools were the best, and the friends were, of course, the best. But life takes unplanned turns, at times, and we must respond with faith and hope into the unknown. And every experience has brought blessings and growth. The Lord truly watches over us and keeps us in His care. We are saddened to hear you have health challenges, but recognize that, this too, will give growth and bring blessings that can be obtained no other way. The easy road brings soft muscles; it is the hard climb that develops strength. We hope and pray for your comfort and that you will continue to spread your love and testimony with all who are blessed to know and meet you. We thought, when we heard about your party, that we would surprise you and fly back to Concord for the weekend. But those plans could not be realized at this time. We have a 17-year old granddaughter who has gotten herself into drugs and is coming to spend some time with us. We never thought we would have that happen in our family. I guess we were just naive, since everyone has some family problems and trials. But she is a great girl and we know, with prayer, patience, faith and help, she will be okay. Our son, Jason, is a counselor in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, so he will be involved in helping us help her. We can't believe it has been 28 years since we left Concord. We remember how hard it was for us to leave, and we remember one of your daughters crying our last Sunday at Church. I (Warren) have always held that as a special memory. I loved (and love) your family. They were always so much fun to be around. You must be proud of each of them. We send our very best wishes for a happy birthday and for good health. We are blessed to know that there is so much more to life than just tests and time. Eternity holds such great promises for each of us. We thank our Heavenly Father for you and your family, and for the great influence your have had on us and your wonderful example. May His peace and blessings be with you. With our love, Warren and Winona Webb, 4553 Fireweed Drive Taylorsville, UT 84123 801-685-6171 wwnww6@msn.com

18: Carol, can I just tell you how much I admire you and you inspire me? You really do. I see you as pure love and joy and to know you has helped me want to be a better person. I loved working with you in Stake Primary. I love your friendship and your sweet smile every time I see you. I wish you well and happiness always. Love, Pam Thornock Hi Marissa, I think it is so special what you are doing for your mother and I know she will treasure every bit of it. I did not have as much contact with her as I wish I could have....but...the things I admire most about your mother is her spirit. She just always had a smile on her face and a kind word to say! She made the world a much better place just by being herself and for the children she raised....the example she is just by being herself. My spirit has been strengthened just by knowing her....and watching the way she has handled the trial she has had to endure. No wonder Heaven needs her!!...she is as close to perfect than most will ever be while here on earth!! Love you Carol...and thank you for being you! -Heather Ganio So how can I best tribute my sweet aunt? mmmmm --I'm thinking :) I think Aunt Carol is "my" Heaven sent angel. She has always been there for me to laugh and cry with. One would think, that since Aunt Carol had 8 children of her own--her love would be all used up--but nope, she still makes me feel as though I am the most special person in the world! I will always, always treasure the fact that I was blessed to [have] her as my Aunt! Love, from Elizabeth! Mom, has always loved and appreciated just how compassionate, and caring her sister has been to herself, and to others! Carol really is a "Carol" to those around her!

19: I didn't know your mom very well; in fact I only met her a couple times as we would move back into apartments...the first time being freshman year in the dorms. But because I know you, Marissa, and how wonderful you are, I can only imagine how amazing your mom is. By the way you have lived your life and been an example to me, I know that your mom cares and loves you and others and [has] raised you to be a righteous daughter. I thank her for bringing you up in the gospel and being that example to you, for you have been a great friend and example to me. I remember you writing a poem for her one Mother's day. As I read it, I could feel your love and admiration of your mother. I can tell she has done so much good in this life. To Carol, I thank you for that example of love and for raising an amazing family and sharing your daughter with me. Stephanie Haven (Marissa’s Roomie)

20: Hey Marissa, Mom emailed and told me about your memory book for your mom and I'd love to contribute. I love your mom so much. Thank you for doing this. I've been wanting to tell her how much she means to me and so this is a great time to do it. She was like a mother to me growing up. So many of my memories have her in them. Here are a few. I remember presidency meetings in young women's at your house. I don't remember how old I was, probably a beehive. You always had caramels and I loved that. I wanted to eat the whole bowl but I knew that wouldn't be polite so I'd eat them slowly and obsess about how many I thought I should have the whole meeting. I know it's a weird thing to remember but it's always been funny to me. I remember loving being able to come to your house. I felt so comfortable there and had so much fun playing with the girls. I remember one time one of the girls showed me your wedding picture. I was amazed (keep in mind I was probably 9 years old) at how young and tiny you were (and you were always a small person). When you're that young you don't think "old people" were ever young. Then you let them show me your wedding dress or at least that's what I remember it [was]. It was a beautiful dress and I remember thinking how cool you were that you let them show it to me. Children are easy to please! I don't have a memory of you without you smiling in it (or crying or both). I remember you, mom and Diane always laughing or crying, mostly laughing of course. You have such a great laugh and a beautiful smile that lights up any room. I also have many memories with you in a church kitchen helping at so many different events and again doing it with a smile. It was fun to come home from college or with the kids when they were little. I always knew you'd be happy to see me and you'd have a big hug for me and you were so interested in what I was doing. I wish I could come home more often and get those great hugs more. I can't say enough nice things about Carol Nielson. You are really one of a kind. You have mothered me well over the years and I know I'm a better person for having you in my life. I've always thought of you and your family as an extension of my own. You'll never know the example you've been to me of kindness, love, service, and compassion. Thank you so much for being YOU! I love you and Happy Birthday! Karrie (Smith) King

21: Thank you, dear Nielson family, for this opportunity to talk about someone that I adore so very deeply. Our family's years in the Clayton Valley First Ward were lengthy in number, but passed as a dream in the night because we were so very content there. The only thing that eased our pain as we moved from the ward, was that we took such incredible memories of joyous and fun days, weeks and years with some of the most wonderful people on earth. At the center of many of those memories is my dear sister and friend Carol. I was 28 years old when I first met Carol, and my life would be greatly influenced by the rubbing of shoulders with her. I was blessed with the opportunity to be tutored by her as I served with her in the Relief Society. What an example of a Christ-like leader. I was so young and [inexperienced] in the struggles of lives and families, and who better to teach me than one who understood the hearts of people and who knew how to lift the hands that hang down, and gladden the hearts of those who suffer... than Carol? The wonderful tradition of the annual Relief Society birthday party began under her direction. It grew to be a night filled with laughter, joy and the mingling of hearts and smiles. (continued)

22: Being the Relief Society president, I feel is one of the "greatest" callings - it brings the greatest joy, the greatest sorrow, and requires the greatest sister to carry the burdens of the sisters and families in the ward. Often, Carol wore the sorrows of the sisters in her very countenance. I could tell when she was burdened by a problem that she couldn't share with us. But somehow, through it all she never belittled, or spoke ill of anyone regardless of their errors that often put them in the trials that they were then experiencing. She only spoke of people with kindness, and love. Never did a word of criticism leave her lips. To me, this was a teaching that has stayed with me all these years... if I try hard enough, someday I might be like Carol and be filled with charity towards all men. Another trait that I admire in Carol is her faith and endless optimism. I remember when Marissa was diagnosed with diabetes. Once again, being a young mother I was terrified that such a life long illness would inflict itself upon someone in my family, especially one of my children. (continued)

23: Once again, never a discouraging word would leave Carol's lips. She took the challenge and accepted it and moved on with faith that Heaven would assist her and she could help Marissa through this, and that her life would be joyous and full. We had the blessing of having Marissa in our home. Here was a confident little girl who took out her pack, laid down her Kleenex and put all her necessary items in their place. We watched and marveled as she pricked her finger, expressed the blood, put it into the machine and then of all things - gave herself a shot like she was putting a bandaid on a scraped knee. That was a testament of a faith-filled and diligent mother who taught her daughter to deal with what life offers us, and that we do it happily and move on to other things! When I think of Carol and how wonderful she is, I must think of Brent. For she is great and he is great because they are together and what they are together is wonderful. (continued)

24: My husband Verne was speaking a few months ago in Stake Conference and told this story about [him] and I. "It is easy for me to remain humble, especially with the help and support of my family. A while ago my wife, Shawny, said to me, "You are the best man I know." I looked at her and said, "Better than Brent Nielson?" (Brent Nielson was always the last person to leave the church building after every ward event. He was always there helping clean up.) She paused for a moment and said, "Well no, not better than Brent Nielson." I then said to her, "Better than Ron Hawkins?" She thought for a moment and said, "Sorry, not better than Ron Hawkins." I decided that I should stop there." This true story is humorous but is descriptive of how much I love Brent and Carol. "Neither is one without the other in the Lord.” When I received the e-mail telling me about Carol's cancer, to say I was heart sick is an understatement. I have followed her progress and set backs on your family blog, and her name has been on my lips during my prayers. (continued)

25: I have watched many near and dear to me suffer the ravages of cancer. As I watched them, I was impressed more often than not that this painful trial was the refiner's fire and the dignity by which they suffered was the last of their earthly submission - of giving their physical over to the Savior and allowing Him to purify them and prepare them for what would soon [be] theirs. I have no doubt that you, sweet Carol, are as pure and prepared as you could be. How pleased our dear Friend and Savior must be with you and all the good you have done for so many here on this earth. It is an honor for me to call you friend and to be able to love someone like you. I know how I need to live to have charity. I know how I need to express myself, to never speak guile. I know how I need to love and serve other people. I know how to be Christ like. These things I know because I know you and you have shown me the way. Thank you for your wonderful life. Love, Shawny Ernst

26: Marissa, I don't even know where to begin, but I can say this has been one of the hardest things to write in my whole life. My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I'm sorry Marissa, but I will always remember you stomping around your family house in your diaper as a baby! You and your family have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, which is what makes writing this so much harder... There is no memory from my life growing up that does not include Carol - no pivotal moment, family celebration or heart warming smile that did not have Carol in the background or foreground. I think of pictures of ward weddings, family weddings, young women events, scouting events, girls camp, ward round-up, memorial day breakfast, etc. that always had Carol Nielson wearing a great big, beautiful smile! More familiar than those memories are my personal memories of the time spent in the Nielson family home growing up. Growing up in a family full of boys, I loved being such good friends with Christina and Vanessa that allowed me to spend many nights in a house full of sisters, laughter, spirit, love and compassion. Every memory begins with ringing the bell at the Nielson door and seeing Carol approach the screen and welcome me into a house that always felt cozy and familiar but bursting at the seams with love and the spirit. I have shared so many delicious family meals at the dinner table that warmed my heart, spirit and belly.

27: When I think of encounters with Angels in my life, I think of Carol Nielson. There are a specific few women from my life growing up that I look towards as role models, Sally Ortland was one of them and my heart was broken to lose her last July and Carol Nielson was the other. The world will has been TRULY blessed to have these tremendous spirits in our lives. I know with all my heart that Heaven has a very special place for Carol and we should all be so lucky to know her and to love her. My life and my relationship with my Heavenly Father has forever been affected by the example of love and compassion that Carol has shared with all of us and no one can fill those shoes. So, blessings and love and Hazzah! to one of the most beautiful spirits that I have been so blessed to know and love in this life. xoxo -Karen Kaanehe

28: Happy Birthday Carol: Just wanted you to know how much of a delight it’s been to know you. I remember the first time I stepped into the Relief Society meeting, you were giving the lesson, and I cried. Don’t remember the talk but I remember that I was filled with such joy just being there hearing from you. Your beautiful smile was contagious and as I looked around I saw that I wasn’t the only one feeling the spirit of God you had presented. Many eyes were filled with tears and I know hearts full of joy. I looked forward to your teaching, so when I joined the Bible Study on Tue nights, I was delighted to see you there. You gave me confidence to speak what I believed to be true. I started in the middle of a study group with open arms. Thanks for making me feel comfortable among the group. What was even better was the fact you were the teacher the first night. You were so encouraging for me to study and put what I’ve learned into motion. You would tell me always how much you loved hearing what I had to say. I learned so much from you and still do every day I see you at church. You are a great example to those of us who don’t have role models. You’ve helped me to understand that we are all God’s children some of us (Me) just have to go through a little extra lesson to reach the truth and His true church. I loved your comments for me when I expressed my sorrow for not raising my children up in this church. You always assured me it was for a purpose that only God knows and all I need to do is trust in Him. My job now is to help others to reach this point. I felt your love and concern for my family and I appreciate that very much. I love your spirit for God it encourages me every day. Thank you for understanding my struggles and helping me to know the importance [of reaching to] the Holy Spirit for guidance. I don’t believe I ever thought truly in my heart I was worthy to do that until your study with me. You’ve been a great light in my life and I’m very grateful. I miss you at Bible Study but I know God has you on a different journey. If there’s anything I could say to encourage you I would. I love you very much. Know that you have a place in my heart for ever. Your smile and tenderness is a goal I hope to reach in my own life. That’s one of the great things about you. And when I see your children (adults) they are all living with that same light you have. You’re a great mom and you have the fruit to prove it. Thank you for being the great example that you are. I Love You, Diana Stull

29: Sister Nielson, Ever since I was a little girl, I have looked up to you as a second mother. All the many days and nights I spent at your house with Marissa, playing and being with your family, are some of the things I remember most from my childhood. You were and still are an example to me of kindness, sacrifice, love, charity, and one who has embraced the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that I am not alone in expressing my love for you; I know that my parents and the rest of my family respect, admire, and love you. You have touched more lives than I am sure you realize, and you have forever touched mine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lessons I learned from being around you, for the love I felt from being in your home, and truths of the Gospel that I learned from watching you serve those around you. You truly are an amazing woman, and I am forever grateful to have known you and been under your influence. We love you with all our hearts. Love, Whitney Ernst The Nielson family holds a very special place in my heart with the almost 25 year association through church callings and a personal relationship that developed over time. What a blessing it has been to know Carol with all her strengths and compassion. I still have fond memories lying on my family room couch on a very hot summer day with my broken ankle elevated and no air conditioning. Carol arrived unannounced with several of her daughters with a block of ice and a fan to set up a temporary air conditioner which gave me great comfort that day. This was not unusual for this beautiful daughter of our Heavenly Father, always concerned for other people and their needs. On another occasion at one of my son's wedding reception, the people who were going to work in the kitchen were late showing up and the guests were arriving. Carol and Brent saw the situation, tied on aprons and worked in the kitchen until other help arrived. They were always there to help and provide service wherever it was needed. These are only a few examples of the love Carol demonstrated for me and my family and I know it is compounded through everyone with whom she came in contact. Knowing Carol and the principles she stands for has been a blessing and an example of service and love in my life. I am a better person for having known and associated with Carol Nielson. -Mont Ford

30: Carol, I have never been in your ward - however, I have had many brief meetings and encounters with you in the hallway - and I have known you through my dear friend, your sweet and special daughter, Shauna. I have always appreciated the sweetness of your countenance - and your spirit that is reflected in your daughter and your grandchildren. I had the privilege of being Michael's CTR 6 teacher - what a dear, dear boy he is! I have followed Shauna's updates through your illness, and have prayed for the best of our Heavenly Father's tender mercies for you, as deserved. I appreciate your example of faith and spiritual strength. Love, continued prayers, and a joyous birthday! Fran Kelly | TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL When you look the word "angel" up in the dictionary, one of the definitions is: A person regarded as beautiful, good, innocent, etc. To our family this is who Carol is to us. Sarah had Luke the end of November 2006. Carol stopped by the house to see how Sarah and Luke were doing. Carol noticed the empty containers from ward members bringing dinner over. She offered to return them to their owners. This may seem like a small act of kindness, but to Sarah it was a welcome relief, to not have to worry about returning every ones containers. Carol is soft spoken and when she says hello, and asks how you are doing, it is genuine and sincere. There are many times that she as talked to me and helped to put a smile on my face and put a calmness in my heart. Our family has been touched by an angel, Thank you Carol. Robert and Denise Price Sarah and Luke Smith

31: Dear Carol, One of my sweetest memories was when you and Brent announced you were getting married. We were all so happy for you. My mom was pleased with Brent's choice--as she was very fond of you, Carol. When the day came for you to be married, it was a special day because you were married for time and eternity in the Los Angeles Temple. Your reception was very pretty with the beautiful flowers and swimming pool at your friend's home. You and Brent were meant for each other; you looked so happy together. When Darren was born, he brought such joy to all of us. It had been a few years since there had been a Nielson grandchild, so we were all thrilled. Even though you lived away, all of your children have brought love to me as their aunt. I always felt sad that my dad wasn't alive to know each of your children because he dearly loved his grandchildren. Thank you for being you, the kind person you have always been. Thank you for all your help when Mom died. I appreciated your help because I was under a lot of stress at that time with Lyall being ill. I appreciate the wonderful wife you have been to my dear, youngest brother, Brent. Happy Birthday! I love you, Marlene

32: I have so many memories of Mrs. Nielson as I had the pleasure of growing up right next door (and then next next door)! Let me just say that I am surprised that she continued to let me play with her daughter, Marissa, even after we “fought” almost every day, calling each other trivial names and even after we “rearranged” our neighbor’s rock garden. Who knew we would end up being best friends? And I have Mrs. Nielson to thank for that. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had to run up to the house hoping Mrs. Nielson would be able to sew my clothes, as I was incapable of sewing something as simple as a button. I would bring her my clothes that needed repairing or altering and she would magically make them perfect! And then of course, she always provided me with my daily fix of Costco rolls (it’s those little things that make us sooo happy). My poor mom, always having to hear me say “Why can’t you make what Mrs. Nielson made, it’s so good”. But of course, Mrs. Nielson is so much more than sewing and delicious food—she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve met, inside and out. Her soul is beautiful. She inspires me to be a better person and for that I am grateful. For Marissa I am grateful. And for her, Mrs. Nielson, I am grateful. -Lisa Carrozzi | Photo courtesy of Dianna Wright

33: Dear Carol, I'm grateful for the opportunity to express my admiration and love for you. When we came into the ward 29 years ago, you made the transition so much easier by being so warm and friendly. You really displayed the spirit of fellowship and made me feel like I was accepted. Over the years, you have been such an outstanding example of true motherhood. I watched you sacrifice and support your family in so many different ways. You faced your trials with dignity, as you still do. Through your example, you have shown me how I must face my own trials in a way that would be acceptable unto the Lord. You have been "head cheerleader" in the ward. You have an ever present friendly greeting, a great smile, and always, always, a word of encouragement to one and all. I have never felt a single negative feeling come from you. You have the special gift of cheering people on even if your day isn't going so well. I was once in the hospital and the only thing I really remember about it was hearing your voice on the phone and that you brought over oil so I could be blessed. Bless you! One last thing I want to mention. It's true over the last few years I've had the opportunity to be engaged in doing genealogy. For years, I have felt and seen your desire to do the same. The few times we've discussed it, you always indicated that the time wasn't right for you. How right you were to feel the promptings of the Spirit and through that, to know what the Lord's will is for you. You asked me if I would teach you when the time is right. The answer is, "Yes, I will." I look forward to working with you in the future. Until then, God bless you. All my love, Jean Kaanehe

34: Dear Sweet Carol~ There has never been a time where I have not been touched by your sweet spirit. You have inspired me to be a better person by the faith you have always shown you have in me. I remember when I had just got called to the Primary Pres. in our ward. You were serving in the stake Primary Pres. I was, to be honest, a little more than out of my element. You always had only wonderful words of encouragement & excitement for anything I did. You made me feel like my efforts were good enough & even more. I have always felt such love & sincere kindness from you & it means so much to me. You can tell the wonderful woman you are by the amazing children you have. My bishop told me that if you ever need confirmation of your worth in the sight of the Lord look no further than your own children. You, my sweet friend, are an amazing woman, mother, wife, & daughter of God. You have never in all the days I have known you stopped serving. You have been an example to me of faith that never ceases & a true love of our Savior & our Father in Heaven. I am a better woman, mother, & daughter of God for knowing you & your goodness. Love you, Marianne Gatchell

35: Dearest Carol I'm sure that you don't remember many of the kindnesses and help that you have given to people over the years to help them to stand strong. I still have a note that you gave to me many years ago - admiring me for my strength in difficult times. It helped and touched me so much, but now it is my turn to tell you how much you are admired by your strength in this difficult time. My family and I love you. Vivian Carson | Hey Marissa, I just wanted to let you know that you, your mom, your family and all that is accompanied with what you’re going through is in my prayers. I know how much cancer sucks. I think you know that my husband just beat Hodgkins Lymphoma 3 weeks ago. It is such a roller coaster of a ride with emotions, tests and faith. Keep strong and continue to trust in the Lord. You are amazing. Love you -Alysha Smith

36: Dear Marissa, I tried to send you a separate email just to your mom but for some reason it would not take the email address that I had sent for you so I am replying as I know that you will get it for sure. I didn't want you to have to retype it but I guess you are going to have to. Dear Carol, It sounds like you are going to have a great birthday and I wish I was there to help you celebrate. I have such fond memories of you. I don't think we did anything special together other than attending church and church activities. My kids were all older than yours so we didn't do anything involving our kids together. I do remember your beautiful smile and how happy and kind you were to all of us. I always enjoyed being around you and your family. I always thought you were so pretty! I might share my 80th birthday with you. I turned 80 February 25th of this year and my third son, Randy, who lives here, gave me a party, too, and they presented me with an album that had my friends and relatives memories of me and some pictures as well. If you remember Rick, my oldest, came all the way from CA to be here for that special day. Danny lives in WA and could not come and La Donna lives in UT and could not be here but they called and shared their love and wishes with me. I will be thinking of you on your special day and I know that you will have a wonderful, special time. Love, Pat Beaman

37: We do not understand always why we have to go through these things, but I guess there is a reason; for myself, life has been a learning lesson, and I still am learning even at my age now, and through health issues, I know the Father loves us. I know that with every fiber of my being. And you are one of His special ones, so, my sweet friend, take good care and I know you have put your hand in His, and He is holding you tight. He loves you so much. Your loving friend, Jeanne Meaker | Dearest Carol, your sweet daughter thought that if all that who knew you would say something about what we took with us about knowing you and put it in a book form, for your birthday, it would be a lovely surprise. I could not agree more; for me, knowing you has been wonderful, you are truly one of the most beautiful daughters of [our] Lord. You are special; you taught the Gospel to whomever you met, just by being yourself. You made your children strong in the Gospel and they, in turn, carry this with them and to their children. I [will] never forget all the things we did and talked about, I was lucky to have you for so many years as my visiting teacher and friend. When I [discovered] my colon cancer, we went to see the oncologist and he said that I did not need chemo. Outside his office we saw a picture done in pencil and under it, it said gratitude and we both burst into tears, you were there for me always. I wish I was closer by, I do call from time to time and the family keeps me updated. I pray for you always. I am sorry about your pain and all that comes with it. I plan on seeing you soon, Hank and I will come by. | Carol, Sue, Brent at Ken's Chevron retirement party July 24, 2010

38: Some memories of Aunt Carol... I remember always being so excited to go to your home to see you guys because it was such a warm and inviting, happy home. You always had yummy food - even though I remember you made tuna fish sandwiches with Miracle Whip and I am a mayonnaise girl :). One of my favorite recipes to this day is your fruit salad with pineapples, mandarin oranges and bananas in the cooked pudding and tapioca - yum! I get complimented every time I bring it anywhere - and I let them know it's my Aunt Carol's recipe. I remember one time I came to visit and Lori had to go to the chiropractor and I got to drive around running errands with you two. It is such a fond memory, since we really didn't get a lot of time with you guys. You are always so incredibly kind to me and everyone you're around and I am very grateful for that example of Christ-like love in my life. I always knew you loved your family, your husband and the Savior. There was never any doubt when I was around you - it was just kind of part of who you are. I love you very much Aunt Carol and appreciated every moment I was able to spend with you. Sara

39: Dear Marissa, Here are some of my memories and thoughts that your mother and I had together. Your sweet mother is like none other. She is truly an angel on this earth. Her loving acts of kindness and service have humbled me as she would perform such simple tasks as cutting and filing my fingernails or sewing for me when I could not do for myself. Listing all the acts of kindness and service is futile since they are too numerous to recount. I simply love her friendship. She showed me the true meaning of friendship and Christ-like love. I miss visiting with her and the fun we had sharing stories and reminiscing about our children. I’m grateful for her friendship. I see her and her husband’s Christ-like qualities instilled in their children. I’m grateful for her testimony of faith and enduring all life’s obstacles with such grace. She has been such an amazing example and continues to be so. Alice Baldwin | Marissa, I just wanted to remind you of the time we called the police and then hid in the bathroom; then your mom felt bad and bought us star shaped chicken nuggets. I can write the whole story if you want or you can just let her know "thanks for not letting us get arrested"! -JoAnna Mead

40: Note for Carol (I hope you know how much I love and admire her;) Memories of Carol... Carol was the first person I met coming into the Clayton Valley First Ward 20 years ago. She was so warm and inviting. I was new to the area with my two year old son, Wesley, and she made me feel good about the new ward. Carol called and invited our family to Thanksgiving when we were settling into the new ward. I'm sure she wanted to make sure that we weren't on our own in our new surroundings. We were lucky to have my extended family visiting that Thanksgiving, but I appreciated her invitation. Carol and Barbara Bragg became Wesley's Sunbeam Teachers. What a treat for him! I still have the Christmas ornament she made him for Christmas that year--a sun shape with a Santa's hat. We put in on our Christmas tree every year. When my daughter, Ellen, was born Carol was at our doorstep with a homemade cake to congratulate us. I can still picture her pulling up to our house in that old station wagon ; ) Carol served as an instructor on my Young Women's board when I was called as the CV1 Young Women’s President. Her lessons were well planned and spiritual. She provided uplifting and encouraging instruction. I was blessed to have served with her. I recall looking to Carol during many presidency meetings held around my dining room table. Carol had a calming influence and years of practice experience. I so appreciated her service then.

41: My youngest son, Dylan, has also been blessed by Carol's service in Scouts. She was a familiar face during the summer camp and at pack meetings at the church wearing her scout uniform. Over the years, I have appreciated Carol's many testimonies of her faith in Christ. Perhaps her most wonderful trait is her positive disposition. This was an important trait when she assisted several years ago with a funeral of a sister who had passed away in the ward. Carol, Bonnie Carter and I met at Ouimet Brothers to dress a dear sister in her temple clothes in preparation for her burial. Carol is always the first to volunteer and frequently the last one standing at church events involving clean-up. Carol has a treasured place in my heart. She has been a bright light in my life and in the life of my family. Thank you Carol for your loving service and friendship over the years. Arohanui (much love), Tracey Panek

42: Hi Marissa, Thank you for putting this book together for your mom. I have two memories I would like to share. I remember when I received a call from your mom when she was Relief Society President. She called to ask me to be the compassionate service leader for our ward. I had just accepted an assignment as school treasurer, but knew I wanted to serve with your mom. I said, "Yes!" She assured me that I was important to the sisters and that I would make a difference in their lives. I always wanted that connection as I have always served in primary. The short few months I enjoyed that calling were wonderful. My success was due to your mother's belief in me and the sisters' support of me in my calling. I grew in my love for the sisters as I had the opportunity to know them. Since I served as a substitute for primary, I was called back into primary as a full-time teacher. It was a bitter-sweet change. I've always been so thankful for your mother seeing me as someone important to the sisters. Second memory, I was sitting with your mom in Sunday School. I had to leave suddenly. The next Sunday your mom came to me to check to see if everything was okay and to apologize if she had offended me in any way. Of course she had not! How could she offend anyone?! It felt so good to know she thought so much about our relationship that she would check in. It made me feel like the "one" the Savior encouraged us all to seek after and surround with love. I am so thankful for your mom's example of living a Christ-like life. She is truly one of his disciples. Love you all, Debbie Penovich

43: Mom is always thoughtful towards others, and that showed in a small but memorable way for me the first Christmas when I was about to join the Nielson family. I received a Christmas present from Mom and Dad, even though I was not actually there for Christmas, and we were busy with wedding plans. There was already so much being done for us, I would not have thought twice about it if I had not been remembered at Christmas. But I was remembered, the gift was a leather belt. I've gone through many belts in my lifetime, usually they wear out quickly, get stretched and deformed, and last at most a year or two. This belt was simple but good leather that lasted 15 years, worn with Sunday clothes, and everyday clothes. It sounds trivial, and I'm sure no one else would even think of it, but a really good belt is hard to find and something special, and I like to think Mom put in a little extra effort to make sure they got something of quality as a gift for their soon to be son-in-law. In any case, I remember being a bit sad when I finally had to retire the belt, as it was my first gift as a member of the Nielson family. -Mark Taylor

44: This is really a difficult thing to do! So many wonderful things to say about Carol! One of my very first things that I remember about Carol is that she was my first visiting teacher. She was always faithful in coming every month and would be really patient in answering my questions. She was so warm and loving to me, a convert, and I was so sad when they changed my visiting teachers! The second thing that I love to think of is when I went to take out my endowments at the temple. Carol was there and I was so happy that she had some [time] to share that time with me. After the temple we went to Fenton's and she came and it was such a fun time! She always adds such fun and joy to any occasion! I'll never forget after Alicia's reception that she and Brent insisted that we go home and relax and they cleaned up the kitchen area. What a blessing that was! My feet hurt so much and I was so tired and I appreciated that SO much...I can't even tell you! She is always thinking of others and helping to make their lives nicer. I have many times which I cherish of when Carol and I went for lunch or just chatted on the phone. She is always so uplifting and loving. I always wished to serve in some way with her and I finally got my chance when we were in the Stake Primary together. It was so great to be able to work with her although it was much too short. Carol has always been the example of what I thought a mother should be. I would think often that I wish I was like her.

45: She is so spiritual and loving and giving and every time she spoke in Gospel Doctrine class she had the correct answer and I didn't! Ugh! She is quite an example to all of us! Carol is such a dear friend. We never seemed to have enough time to get together when I lived there but I would always think that she is more than likely doing the Lord's work instead of getting together with me and which is more important? That would always put me back in perspective of what was really important in life. Carol, you are one of my dearest friends and I love you very much. Cathi

46: Marissa, Reading about your mom is making me cry and I've never met her. If I could say one thing about your mom though, it would be that I know she has to be amazing since she raised a daughter as wonderful as you are. I pray that there is still time for a miracle. I don't know what I'd do if I lost my mom this early in my life. Mothers are so special in the lives of their children, especially their daughter's. I'm glad she was able to see you married to a wonderful husband in the temple. I'm glad you've been given time to appreciate what your mother has done for you. I just want to let you know that I love you and think of you often. You are a beautiful woman and I bet I wouldn't be too far off if I said you attribute that to the wonderful mother you have. -Billie Jo

47: Dear Mom, Over the years, I have written down my memories of you. Hopefully you enjoyed receiving those on special occasions. I don't feel the need to remind you of those now. You have been my example of compassionate service, gentleness, lady-like behavior, and finding joy in life. When I've been in doubt on certain situations you have been my moral barometer. If you told me something was okay, then I knew it was. I don't remember you ever being in a bad mood. You had some moments that you weren't happy but they passed quickly. As a mother myself, I am in awe that each and every time I called to you, you answered "Yes?" in a sweet tone. That impresses me greatly. You have a rich and easy laugh. I love to make you laugh. You laughed the hardest out of everyone when I told a knock-knock joke I made up a few months ago. "Knock-knock" "Who's there?" "Goldie" "Goldie who?" "Goldilocks-- I'll come back later." You obviously have a terrific sense of humor. :) Although I have witnessed your example for many, many years, I know I will never be as amazing as you. I tell my children that to honor one's parents means to keep the commandments. I will try my best to honor you all my days. I love you!!! Lori

48: One of the fondest memories I have of Sister Nielson stems from the days I used to go over to her house as a Merrie Miss (?) She sat at the head of the table and taught us all good tips for painting our nails. We all sat their one afternoon painting our nails and laughing. I loved it. I will never forget her welcoming smile and always positive attitude. We love you Sister Nielson! -Brooke Anderson I'm glad to be a part of this wonderful thing you're doing for your mother. I've been keeping up with her blog over the months and it's torn at my heart when things go sour, and I'm filled with happiness for your family when I read about the positive results. Your mom [was] such a great teacher, leader and beacon for me as I grew up, as I'm sure she was for many of the other young women back in CV1. I can only imagine how difficult this all must be for you; it's a distressing thing ya know, growing up and seeing friends go through so much pain, or hearing about people you knew when you were little, having such terrible trials. I can't remember a time I ever saw your mother not smiling. She took in so much joy from helping others and it really showed. It was something you just had to stop and think, "I sure hope I can be like Sister Nielson someday." One of the few genuinely helpful and happy examples of Christ's love here on earth. I am very particularly grateful to your mother for opening up her home for my bridal shower! It was so fun and I know she put so much effort into making it a special place to hold a special event for me. You really can't put into words the influence her kindness has had on me over the years. I hate to think of it, but I will surely miss seeing her in the years to come as my own little family travels back to visit the bay area. Brig (Brigitte Brown)

49: Carol, Thank you for all the many ways you have touched my life. You have shared great testimony, words of love, shown service, and countless other things that have strengthened me. You are not only a shining example, but your children have played a wonderful role in my life. Thank you for all you’ve shared and for raising wonderful choice spirits that continue to share your spirit. I love you. Charla Ann Pinney Dominguez | Carol, Thank you and your family for the most wonderful gift to our family—Marissa. She is such a delight to be around and so much fun. Such an intelligent and lovely girl. We hope you have a wonderful birthday. What a pleasure to share it with you! Love, Mary, Keith, Maggie

50: Dear Mom, Happy late birthday! I definitely had a deadline for everyone to get your birthday letters in by May 19th but, apparently, that didn’t apply to me! I don’t think you mind an extended birthday though! However, I want to thank you for being the best mom EVER! As I was brainstorming what I wanted to write to you, I filled up 2 or 3 post-it notes! Little things came to mind like kids fighting over being in our group for field trips so they could ride in the station wagon. And big things came to mind such as you coming to school every day to do my blood test and before lunch and playing with my hair and ear with my head in your lap in the evenings. I remember you being gone one evening when I was probably at least eleven, so I tried to lay my head in Christina’s lap and have her do the same thing but she complained that it was uncomfortable—and, if I remember right, something about my head being too bony. I was so upset and thought “Mom would never do that!” Needless to say, I was very happy when you returned! I can recall countless cards, especially in college, where you would write how much you love me and how proud of me you are. It means so much to me, I still have them! Speaking of how much you love me, I’ve often shared with people when I would get in trouble when I was little, you would put me in my room and explain under what terms I could come out; and then you would do the most obnoxious thing and tell me, “I love you sweetie.” It would make me so mad that I couldn’t be mad about being in trouble anymore! How lucky I am that that’s the kind of mother you are! I’ve noticed over the years that many of my friends appreciated you as a mother figure for them too. You are always so kind to everyone—as evidenced by all these sweet letters! Many people have described you as an angel and I would have to agree. I sincerely hope that as I grow that I can be even remotely like you. Last thing I want to express gratitude for explicitly is your sacrifice. Not only have you sacrificed wants and pleasures but also comforts and your very life. I know it, dad knows it, your children know it, and everyone else knows it! Most importantly, Heavenly Father knows it too. There are many sacrifices I will always remember but the most poignant will be your gift in being at all the events the day I married the man of my dreams. I did not know if you would have the strength to make it. I know that it took all your energy and more and for that I will be forever grateful. I love you with all my heart mom! Love, Your baby Marissa

51: Dear Carol, When Marissa and I first started dating, we were both worried about how you and Brent would feel about your daughter dating a guy with tattoos. While I’m sure this was a cause for concern, I never felt defeated by judgment coming from you. I knew and appreciated that I would have a fair chance at getting to know the Nielson Family. I am so eternally grateful for you and Brent giving me a chance and allowing me to become a part of the most incredible family I have ever known. Thank you so much for being such a wonderful mom to your entire family and giving me the opportunity to join in. I love you, Brent, and ALL of the Nielson Family so so much. Thank you for the shining example you have set for Marissa. I know she will be a wonderful mother because of you. Oh yeah...Happy Birthday! Love, Your son-in-law Andy

52: Dear Carol, You just celebrated your 64th birthday!! The years just seem to be slipping by so fast, and I will catch up with you in December of this year. You are so lucky to have your family so close around you, to be with you on these special occasions. They love you and appreciate you so much. Seems like just yesterday that we were in Young Women together in the Stake. You were such a great help and support during those few years that we served together. You were always willing to do any task I assigned and you did it so well. Remember our skit about the Little Red Hen at one of our leadership training meetings? We really did have a good time together in our presidency. I admire you, Carol, because you are one of those people who are “without guile” and that is such an admirable quality. I have always admired your quiet way and your welcome smile. You always had positive and kind words to say about people and to people – I don’t think you have a negative bone in your body. I think of you often and continue to put your name on the prayer roll at the temple when I go in on Wednesdays. With all my love and best wishes, Kristi

53: Carol Nielson is my friend. We have lived across the street from each other for almost thirty-five years. During this time she has been a second mother to our children, looked after activities on the street while we were at work, took in the mail for us when we traveled and kept the sacred 'spare key' for the times when we locked ourselves out of the house. Now however, I find that it is difficult to put ones feelings about our friendship down on paper. She is the kindest, most generous person I know. She will do anything for you. She is non-judgmental, and always sees the good in people and what they do. She has a wonderful sense of humor and laughs at my silly jokes. My goal was to make her laugh every day. On most days I was successful. Spending time with Carol these past months has been wonderful. It has given me great strength. She smiles when she sees me, even if it was not a good day for her. It has made me realize how fortunate I am to have her as my friend. When we talk seriously, she understands my biases and where I am coming from. She has taken the time to patiently answer all of my many questions and has helped me better understand her religion. I have always had a list of "why" questions for when I meet with God. Now Carol has her own list of "whys." As we talk about many things, I have come to realize how much we are alike, how much we have in common. This really surprised me as we come from such different backgrounds. Visiting with Carol everyday has meant the world to me. When I come in and bring my outside worries with me, she always helps me get my center back and I leave her feeling happier and definitely calmer. This time together has been a gift for both of us. I know I am a better person because of Carol. She has helped me develop a much better appreciation for life.

55: Mrs. Nielson; Although I only met you once, at Marissa’s wedding, because of Marissa I feel as though I had already known you. Marissa has been friends with my granddaughter, Lisa Carrozzi, since they both were little. As you know, Marissa has always addressed me as “Grandpa”; a salutation I very much appreciated. Only a child, now an adult, who was raised in a loving manner, would treat her friend’s grandfather as family. Thank you for the gift of Marissa in my family’s life. May God make the rest of your journey peaceful and comfortable. Joe Sullivan I have no doubt that she’s an incredible woman. If you are any indication of your siblings, then any woman who raised as many kids as she did and have them turn out to be caring, sweet individuals must be pretty awesome. :) Valsa Farlow Dearest Carol, I loved serving with you in the Walnut Creek Stake Relief Society presidency several years ago. Your love of the sisters, your willingness to serve and your general cheery disposition were such a contribution to the work. I learned much about charity from you. I love, admire and appreciate your example through the years, and I know you will someday be greeted by the Savior with '' Well done, thou good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Since we have learned about your struggle with cancer, you have been in our prayers. We know you will continue to be a blessing to others by your example for whatever remaining time the Lord allows you in this life. Happy Birthday! Love and best wishes, Kathleen and Stephan Seable

56: Carol was my Achievement Day Leader while I was a young girl in Primary. I know she taught us many things but the one thing I specifically remember learning from her is about how to care for your nails. I remember her telling us that if you painted your nails all the time your nails could turn yellow. Since then I have made sure to keep an eye on the health of my nails and I am happy to say they are not yellow. :) Carol is probably one of the greatest examples in my life of what a woman of God should be. She seemed to always be serving others, without any fanfare, and with genuine concern for others. I know she has served my parents and siblings countless times, and most of the time without my knowledge. She is a wonderful mother who cares deeply for her family and friends and it shows in all she does. I don't ever recall hearing harsh words from her, or any gossip, or complaints even though I'm sure there were days when that would have been easy. I am grateful to know Carol and to have her example. I hope someday to be as good of a person as she is. Thanks, Shelley (Christensen) Jordan

57: Marissa, I'm sorry I missed the deadline - we've had our own bit of life (and family and hospitals and funeral) over the last month or so, and time got away from me. I know you've already put the book together, but maybe you can share these thoughts with your mom later. I remember being so excited when another Mormon family moved onto Deerberry Court back in the late '70s (boy, that really sounds so long ago; oh wait, it really was a while ago). That created a connection (wow - I just figured out that I was about the age my daughter is now, 9) and a friendship that's been part of my life for a long time. Shauna and I were in the same class, so I knew her best, but I always remember being happy the Nielson family lived so close to us. I moved away from Deerberry Court at the end of 1984, and haven't been back much, but I know if I ever ran into Sister Nielson (I guess she would be just "Carol" to me now, but she was Sis. Nielson when we moved away) I know it will always be a happy, joyful reunion, a meeting with an old friend. I'm sorry that I won't be able to come to the open house tonight, but my love and prayers are with Carol and your family. I have loved reading the blog and hearing about all of the support out there. With love and prayers, Jennifer Silvester Nebeker (and family; I've been in touch with my mom, Paula, and I know she sends her love and prayers as well; she's currently living in Washington DC)

58: Marissa, (Voicemail) This is Bill Bergen, I don’t know if you remember me, Bill and Jan Bergen, we left there in '92. I love your mom and dad and all you kids. I saw you grow and we left and I’ve been following your blog and my prayers have been for your mom. I hope and pray that she does get back strong. You can tell her I love her and when I get down there one of these days (I’m in God’s country, up in the mountains), if I get down there I would like to see you guys. Your mom and your dad, give her my love. (Notes from a phone conversation) He was a convert when he met the Nielsons. They were very strong and helped the Bergen family grow. Bill remarried in December 2010 and they are living in a house they built in Castroville, California, southeast of Placerville. Bill Bergen (and Jan) (530) 621-3082

59: My Grandma has always, and I mean always been there for me, and my sisters. I remember the time when we (Marissa, Grandma, and I) went to Safeway. There was this little cup thing that had a smiley face on it, and it was in a vending machine. I really wanted this little cup, and it cost about 20 cents so I asked Grandma and she got it for me! I was super psyched, and I still have it today. I also remember that Grandma was always there with my dad and my sisters and I when my parents were getting divorced. It was nice to have her there, because she was so nice and supportive. Grandma also made at least two or three dresses for all the cousins for weddings. And they were so pretty. I just am so grateful to have such a wonderful grandmother like I do. She is such an inspiration. I love you Grandma! Love, Whitney

60: May 21, 2011 Mom, How do you even begin to summarize the experiences of a lifetime? I feel so privileged to have been born to such a wonderful and loving mother. I think about your life experiences and how they could have shaped you much differently if you had let them. Then I think about the fact that my own life experiences could have been so different if you had let your circumstances over come you. However, because you are who you are I have only the happiest memories of my childhood. I remember playing with my bothers and sisters and having a good time, family vacations (even if they were just going to a hotel in Pleasant Hill or San Ramon--we loved every minute of it), Saturday mornings lying in bed listening to you and dad laugh! I remember family home evenings, holidays, weddings and so much more. With all of these experiences and memories, and most of all from your example, I have learned so many valuable lessons. Lessons like, service first. I watched you serve the Lord in a variety of capacities at church: Relief Society President, Young Women, Girls Camp, Cub Scouts, Primary, Seminary and on and on. Never once did I hear you complain, even though it may have been inconvenient at times. I watched you serve your fellow beings, making meals, doing nails, running errands, writing letters, giving smiles and hugs. You touched so many people and made so many feel loved; but nobody more than your own family. (continued)

61: I watched you give up so much of your own time to be the best mother you could be. Of course as a child you have no way of knowing what that really means, but now that I am older, words can not express how grateful I am to you and dad for creating the greatest childhood a kid could hope for. I am especially grateful for the gospel training and experiences that helped me to create my own burning testimony and love of the Lord and His gospel. Thank you mom for all you have given me, they are lessons that will not be forgotten and though I have not incorporated them perfectly hopefully some day I will be able to pass the legacy of your example as wife, mother, daughter of God onto my own family. Thank you for who you are, and all you have given! Love, Vanessa

62: Everyone thinks they have an angel mother, and some do. But the difference with my mother is that she shares that unconditional love with everyone. She is not ignorant of people’s faults, but she loves them in spite of them. I have spent my whole life trying to emulate her ability to love and not judge. To not criticize or speak ill of others, even just to her kids or her husband where no one else would hear. The endless acts of kindness she has performed for others has endeared her to all around her. I still remember her noticing a neighbor who had a sign out in their yard proudly announcing the birth of a new child. My mother stopped the car in front of the house and went to the door. She congratulated them on the new addition and told them she wanted to make them dinner. They were surprised and said that was unnecessary, but she sweetly and firmly insisted that she knew they were exhausted and wanted to do this. In fact, we were trained to ask if the yummy things that filled our kitchen were for us or someone else because very often she was caring for others in that most basic way. Often it is hardest to be kind to those you are in closest contact with, but Mom reserves her best self for her family. She uses humor to dispel heated, stressful or ‘drama’ situations. She answered every “Mooom!” with a patient “what?” As a mother myself, I realize now how much love and discipline it took to not only answer patiently but to physically come when we called and stop whatever she was doing. I still remember how sad Mom got when summer was over and we had to go back to school. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I found out that a lot of parents count down the days till their kids are back in school, not my mom she cried. Mom’s experience with and love of children has been the guide I’ve followed throughout my life. Everything from how to make a child’s eyes tired so they will go to sleep, to making a game out of the dreaded chores. I remember once when we were on vacation and eating at a mall food court, we noticed a young girl who was crying and very upset. Mom went over and discovered that she was lost, immediately she told her everything would be ok and she would help her find her mother. She gave the girl her finger to hold and off they went to find her. They found the security personnel and before our food was cold mother and daughter were reunited. Because of her example I knew exactly what to do when I spied a tearful frightened little girl at the zoo last month. The great thing about Mom is that she doesn’t wait to be asked. She serves when she sees a need. At church she always looks for the person apart, sitting alone or who might be new. The special birthday meals for each of us kids, being a room mother, driving me to soccer and piano and church activities; all service and sacrifices of time that she never complained about. Examples of which are endless. (continued)

63: She is a perfect example of a loving teacher. Much to my chagrin I was often taught the ‘better’ way to clean and fulfill my daily chores. We had sewing projects to help us learn everything from sewing on a button to making dresses. She is a great cook and allowed me to have hands on learning. (Something I also now appreciate since it is soo much easier to do it yourself.) Mom always calmed my panic when I didn’t follow the directions quite right and wasn’t upset at lost ingredients when my mistakes were unsalvageable. I still call in a cooking panic sometimes and if nothing else she is an understanding shoulder to cry on. Mom is a GREAT listener. She knows how to commiserate and console, when to offer suggestions and ideas, and when to just cry with you and for you. No problem seems as big after talking to Mom—whether the problem was solved or even tackled, just telling her my problems and getting sympathy with no judgment makes me feel like I‘m not in it alone. And she doesn’t get frustrated or offended if I don’t follow her suggestions. But I think the most meaningful thing my mother has shown me is her deep and unwavering love for Jesus Christ and for her husband, my father. She takes every opportunity to share her testimony in countless little ways she shares it out loud, wrote it in letters, left the door open when she prayed, reads her scriptures, attended seminary, attends church, attended the temple, and most of all the way she loves with the pure love of Christ. There is also no doubt that she loves my dad with all her heart. She misses him during the day but doesn’t complain that he has to work late. They’ve always spoken softly with each other. She’s ironed all his shirts, for 44 years. She knows his likes and dislikes, and trying to accommodate him wherever possible. Mom always credits Dad with their great marriage, home and family. They are each other’s world. Knowing your parents love each other, the Lord and you, what more could a child ask for? Sometimes I wonder why I was so blessed, so chosen to be their daughter. How did I get the mom everyone dreams about? I honestly don’t know. But I am grateful, so grateful. And all I know is I want to live my life so that I am worthy to spend a celestial eternity with her and my father. I love you mom-Wendy

64: Dear Carol, One of the things that I remember with fondness, are the many “block parties” that we had in the early days. The Elliott’s and the Nielson’s, as well as others, brought out their Webbers and we all celebrated our new neighbors and new friendships. We would have so much fun those nights, and you and your family were so generous, and nice to everyone. I actually miss those nights. Well, being 10 as well, but everyone knew everyone, and everyone looked out for each other. During the “early days” my brother Craig and I were in and out of your house, playing with your kids. Craig and Darren would always be together, and usually I hung out with Lori and Shauna. That was before many of your children. I remember asking about all the “stuff” in the garage. Yes, the Elliott’s had a full garage, but yours beat ours by a mile. I remember you telling me about the Mormon faith and how you were required to have a storage of food, just in case. I remember being a little confused, but that was part of your family, and so it was just another part of your family. You and our family exchanged house keys, so that if we needed to, we could get in. Usually, it was the Elliott’s borrowing the key. Rarely did your family need the key, but it was always there. I still have your phone number memorized, as I called it many times. I always had to ask whom I was speaking to and most of the girls sounded all like you on the phone. I appreciate your willingness to help me out when my parents go out of town. You save me, by picking up the daily mail. Then waiting with many bags (in the early days) of mail, while I come once a week to go through it. I’m glad, as you are, that my parents mail volume has dropped considerably. You are my eyes and ears, and I feel that the Nielson clan is acting as a guardian angel over us. People who encounter you and your family have always known your kindness and loving heart. You share your faith, not by words, but by your actions. You are the heart and soul of the family, and a founding mother of our street. Now that many houses have turned over, the Elliott’s and Nielson’s are one of the few that are originals. I appreciate all that you do for the Elliott’s and your willingness to smile during this tough time. You shared with my mom and me a video out Jesus’ Father, because we were talking about something that made you think of this video. I appreciate you showing us the video. You were able still share your faith in everyday conversation, and it was so natural for you to do so. You are like my second mom; you take care of me when I need it. You have help raised me, and are now a friend to me. Thank you for everything that you have done for me and my family. Love with all my heart, Maggie (Margaret) Elliott

65: Dear Marissa, When I arrived home last night I checked my E-Mail and found your "project." I wrote immediately as it was rather late. Finished up and - POOF - the letter disappeared. Left the computer overnight and this morning managed to restart it with the usual message - your computer has recovered from a serious error. So I'll try again this morning and hope it runs long enough I can send this. Carol Nielson - whenever I hear the name or think of Carol I have a huge smile! We moved to California in 1967 and lived in Walnut Creek Ward until the spring of 1980 when we bought our home in CV1. It was a hard move for me as in those years we had made many friends in WC. We had only lived in our new home for a short time when Carol visited me! WOW! Here was someone absolutely as special as those I had left behind. That visit meant so much. Found we almost shared last names-my maiden name was "Nielsen" with a Danish 'e.' I began to think of Carol as a sister - and I really needed that. As time went on we became acquainted with Brent and the children (that was a long time ago). | And we were so impressed with all. When we visited, the family would gather around, listen to what we were chatting about and participate. What a neat family! Later, I was delighted to have Shauna in a Sunday School class and what a delight she was. Regrettably I never had the opportunity to have the others in a class. When our oldest son and wife were expecting their first child, they lived with us a few months to save rent money for hospital bills. The baby was in a hurry to get here and was TINY. He had to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks before facing this world. When he came home, he had many nice things awaiting him because Carol, who hardly knew his parents, had given a wonderful baby shower for him! We appreciated that so much! Incidentally, he caught up in growth and is now 6'4" tall! And married. I could go on with happy, appreciative memories but I think I'd better try to send this while the printer is still in the mood to work (I hope). Just know I always think of Carol and her family with love and cherish her as a dear friend! With much love, Gerda Holcomb

66: Dear Carol, Thank you for being a good example to me. When thinking about you for this letter the word sincere kept pressing forward in my mind. Every tear, every smile and every hug you give is sincere. I know that sometimes my motivation to love is compromised by guilt, duty, desire to please others or self-improvement attempts. I never felt that from you Carol. I always felt you were motivated by love and your example of the pure love of Christ has made my desire to achieve charity in my own heart swell. The last time we spoke we were talking about my baby Suzanne who was born early and with complications. You were so happy to see her well and in my arms. I knew that you had prayed for us. Thank you for taking the time to include me in your prayers. Suzanne and I are the true benefactors of the faith and prayer of friends and family. At that time we stood together and marveled together at the glory of God. I don’t know why one is blessed with a miracle and another is not, but I want you to know that I have prayed for you too. I was very thankful for Shauna’s blog posts so I could get updates on how you were doing and feeling so my prayers could be more specific. You have always been a constant fixture of goodness. Thank you for setting tangible patterns of discipleship that I can follow in my own life. I want you to know that your testimony of Jesus Christ has impacted my own. I love you Carol! Love, Janelle Carter Webster

67: May 2011 Carol, So many remembrances there are of you and your family over the years. And of course the first thing that comes to mind are the acts of service to others and within your own family. A particular memory will be one that was personal to me. Years ago I always liked to think of myself as independent and able to handle all situations in my family. That included getting certain things done no matter how sick I might be. However, there was a day that I woke up feeling ill and so light-headed I did not want to risk driving Mallory the couple of blocks to her school and she was too young to walk on her own across a busy street like Denkinger. Jack had long left for work in San Francisco. Courtney and Kimberly were in college and John must have been at seminary or school already. I called and without the least bit of hesitation, you were right there and took her to school and brought her home as well that day. To some that might have seemed a simple act of kindness, but to me it meant so much. My thanks to you as well as your family for the innumerable acts of selfless loving service, seen and unseen, known and unknown. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for being a friend. Love, Judy Harper

68: My Hero! By: Colette Nielson Everyone has a hero, they may not know who yet, but I do. My hero is a fighter physically and spiritually. She is a mother of eight and a hero among all. She is a great and kind person. My hero is my grandma. Grandma Nielson this past year has had some trouble with a brain tumor that required surgery and treatment. Although, the operation was traumatic and affected her memory for several months, she was a hero through all her struggles. Even if she wasn’t feeling well she would let us in her room, or house, and let us talk to her through her struggles. She has taught me to never give up and if you are not feeling well let people in, don’t stop them saying “Hello” and don’t complain even though things didn’t go the way you wanted them to, stay strong. Throughout 2010 it was hard turning into a young woman, going to a new school, having two houses, and a sick grandma. I was having chemical problems in my body, but thinking about my grandma and all the things she has been through it helped me realize that I am complaining about nothing. We need to always remember how lucky we are to have | heroes to point us the way and family to teach us what’s right and wrong to also help us choose [our] heroes. For little kids their heroes are spider man or princesses that are really not going to be there when we need them, but older kids or adults pick people who are there for them all the time and someone who knows more than you. I promise you if you choose the right people to hang out with or talk with or even look up to you will be able to have a hero like mine. My grandma is getting stronger and stronger each day as I have seen. She is going to church, family activities, and moving around more (like around her house). With many of her skills including sewing, cooking, and a mother she was able to show me that nothing is impossible even if I have no idea on how to cook like she does. Does your hero cook your favorite meals? She is getting better physically and spiritually each day and even though her turn is almost up I know that Heavenly Father needs her way more than us and that we will see her again- it is never goodbye!

69: Hi Marissa, Thanks for the reminder about your mom. Here is my contribution. I have always looked up to you, Carol. I always admired that you are so soft spoken and I never heard a bad word come from your mouth. I really got to know you when we served together in the YW-Beehives. You had such unconditional love for those girls and were truly an example to all even me. I looked to you and learned from you on many things. Your knowledge of the gospel and extreme faith was just a few of the things that I saw and drew from you. Your willingness to always be of service to anyone who needed it, was truly amazing even when your family needed you. May the Lord bless you and your family in all that you do. Love, Stephanie Lambertson

70: Where to begin? I don’t remember a time that I didn’t know the Nielson family! I always remember my mom’s monthly lunches with Dianne (Billstrom) and the two Carols (Smith and Nielson). They were the highlight of her month. I remember my dad going home teaching to the Nielson home every month. I remember old episodes of ‘Remington Steele’ in the Nielson living room; Girls Camp; making mints and more mints and then even more mints for Lori’s wedding reception; rolling crepes for Shauna’s wedding luncheon; and just hanging out and laughing, lots and lots of laughing. I could go on an on. The Nielson home, for many years, was like a second home, and the Nielson mom, a second mom. Whether they like it or not, I consider myself to be an honorary member of the family. So many times, especially when Lori moved home while Mark was going to medical school in Belize, I can remember Carol shaking her head and an exasperated ‘you girls’ coming out of her mouth. Lori and I enjoyed sharing our escapades with her just to get that reaction. Seemed to work every time! The night before I moved to Nevada my house was packed in a moving van and my choices for a bed were the floor in my empty house or a hotel room. Carol graciously gave me a third choice and opened up her home to me. Leaving the next morning was like leaving family as she sent me off with love and hugs and even a few tears. When I got married the following year, she wanted to host an open house for me in Concord, which meant so much to me, even though we were unable to make it happen. (continued)

71: The most recent memory I have of Carol, and the one I will forever hold dear, was from last November. Even though Marissa seemed to have forgotten that I am an honorary member of the Nielson family, I was able to attend her sealing in the Oakland Temple. What I took from this day is the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the faith of the Nielson family. Being in the sealing room with them and seeing the joy and peace they had as they got a glimpse into eternity was truly a wonderful experience for me. No one knew how long Carol would be with them, but at that moment it didn’t seem to matter. They were together then and each of them seemed to know without a doubt that they would be together again, and the next time for eternity. The love and testimonies that were in that room were overwhelming and I was truly blessed to be able to be a part of it. That memory brings to mind a scripture from the Book of Mormon – Alma 56:47-48. “They had been taught by their mothers...And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers saying: we do not doubt that our mothers knew it.” I do not doubt that she knows it either, and knowing it, teaches it to her children, grandchildren, friends and all those around her, not just by word, but more importantly, by example, quietly showing what it means to be a Daughter of God. My life has been blessed just by knowing her and seeing the way she lives her life. I have never heard her raise her voice or berate anyone. She is not one to gossip. I have seen her when she was a wee bit stressed and still ready and willing to serve in whatever capacity was needed. Quite frequently, I saw her put the needs of others in front of her own. Most importantly, I have seen her and been taught by her through love and example. She is truly a woman the Lord can count on. With love, Melanie (Sampson) Billat

72: May 13, 2011 Dear Carol, The first time I heard your name was when Grandma Nielson told me you had come into Sprouse Reitz in Temple City, California and asked when Uncle Brent was coming home from his mission to Argentina. She said you were a cute girl with short blonde hair. I don't know if I am remembering correctly or not, but it seems he came home in the spring and you were married on July 22, 1966. Grandma was right; 'I think Carol is sweet on Brent'. I believe I met you for the first time at Melba Dobbs' when Reg Dobbs came home from his mission. I liked you right away--you seemed so mature and lady-like. I was thrilled when you asked me to be one of your bridesmaids and I was able to wear a beautiful pink long dress. Your reception was very elegant including an ice sculpture floating in the swimming pool. You had planned every detail with such love and thought. When guests greeted me they asked how old I was...I remember saying "12 but I'll be 13 tomorrow". Looking back, I could have just said 13 but for some reason I felt it dishonest! I remember how exciting it was to visit you and Uncle Brent as newlyweds in your first apartment. I was very sad when you moved to Provo to attend BYU. Was it possible to rent an apartment for just a month or so...it seems to me that is what you did. How times have changed when now leases are required of at least a year. Grandma was kind to keep us updated on how you were doing. I was very excited when each of your children were born and anxiously anticipated what their names would be. When Shauna was born I flew to Provo to help you. I don't know how much help I was but seeing traffic lights hanging in the middle of the street instead of at the side of the road was unbelievable. I remember when you came back to Temple City after Brent graduated and how thrilled we were with his first job at Arthur Anderson (I believe). We cleaned, painted and gleaned furniture to make your apartment inviting and cozy. We wanted everything to be just perfect when you arrived. (continued)

73: When you moved to northern California it was very sad. I would miss you. Although not that far away, it seemed to be a great distance. Dad and Mom drove me and Ryan (less than a year old) to see you in 1976 when Bob was at his annual Army summer camp and I came from Salt Lake to visit them in Irvine, California. From that time on we became busy with our growing family but Grandma Nielson continued to share letters and information about your family with me. She was so proud of your family. You have a great sense of humor and contagious laugh. You and Brent set a great example of an eternal marriage to a young, impressionable girl. You are a kind, loving mother and you have shown me what I now know--your concern for your children never ends. I think we mistakenly think when children reach a particular milestone, we will worry less--I realize that day will never come. I have a greater appreciation for Grandma Nielson and how she cared and prayed for her children. It is interesting how we come to realize some things only as we experience them for ourselves. As your birthday approaches, I want you to know of my love and concern for you. You have lived an exemplary life full of faith and hope. Happy Birthday! Love, Debi

74: Dear Carol, I believe I first met you in 1992 Highlands Elementary. I remember being so impressed by your constant smile and wonderful, happy attitude. Even though our kids weren't in the same classes, I loved seeing you on campus and always helping with school activities. A short time later I was asked to co-chair Youth Conference. I was scared to death because, having grown up less-active in the church, I had never even attended Youth Conference! I found out that you would be helping on our committee and I was so relieved. You proved to be an absolute lifesaver during Youth Conference. I really don't know how I would have managed without your help. Through the years our paths would cross and I loved to visit with you. Then in 2006, I was called to serve as a counselor in the Stake Primary presidency with you. I was so happy because, if I had to choose someone to work with in our stake, it would have been you--no hesitation! I tried to soak in all of your love for the children and your incredible knowledge of Primary and particularly scouting. I loved to watch you interact with the children because you emanated pure love--the kind of love that I am sure Christ has for us. After serving as a counselor in Primary for a little over a year, I was called to be the president. I knew that I not only wanted but needed you to stay in the presidency with me. Luckily, you did. I probably called you a little too much, but I value your insight and wisdom so much that I knew you were the one I needed to talk to. (continued)

75: The amazing thing was that you always made me feel as if you enjoyed taking the time to help me. I love talking to you! Carol, you have a way to be calming, helpful and you come up with some wonderful ideas. What an amazing gift you willingly shared with me. Thank you so much! I will never forget the day that President Bevan walked straight up to us after a North Gate ward conference and asked if he could talk to Carol. My heart sank because I knew you were going to be receiving a new calling and leaving Primary. I was really crushed. I went home and cried and wondered how I could function in Primary without your help. Well, somehow I did, but I made many phone calls to you asking for advice and counsel. You happily helped me, even when Primary was no longer your calling. I love you, Carol! You are definitely someone that I would love to pattern my life after. I am so grateful for your friendship and love. You are truly an amazing woman. Have a wonderful birthday! Love, Lyn

76: Dear Carol, Another birthday! How I wish I were there so we could share another birthday lunch with the four of us. I don't remember where or what we ate, but I remember how hard we laughed and much love was shared. I am so glad we started that tradition and were able to carry it on for so many years. Until I so rudely moved away to the wild mountains of Nevada! I can't even remember when our friendship started. It seems like I've known you forever. Was it when we were in the Relief Society Presidency with Carol?--those many Girl's Camp days? You have always been there. Girl's Camp. We surely had a lot of fun! I think you were in charge, Carol was in charge, or I was in charge. Whoever was "in charge" we always seemed to work as a team and had such fun doing it. Do you remember when the girl's stole Carol's curling iron and I snuck (is that a word) her my propane curling iron? I remember trying to be so quiet as I had to get up and pee 5 times a night. I'm sure everyone heard me anyway. If I had a memory, I could write a book on our Girls' Camp experiences. It would have to be a collaborative memoir, since I don't remember very well. I do remember the love that overflowed. Especially from you. You were always ready to give, give, give to all. Your house overflows with love, as well as lots of children! I'm glad that they are there and can care for you. I know it's probably hard to accept help for things you used to do for yourself, but they will be blessed and it will increase their love and yours. I am so glad Melanie and I came to Concord when Marissa got married. I was able to see all your grandchildren, your children, dear friends and loved the special minutes we shared together. You are such a treasure and a blessing to all who know you. As a result of our friendship, some of my children remain close to yours. I know David and Logan will always stay in touch. Melanie and Lori's friendship has been wonderful to see. They have grown so much closer even though they are far away--mileage wise--from each other. I know they email and talk regularly. Now that Lori is a Relief Society president, she and Melanie can share experiences. Although I do remind Melanie she's still never had to line a coffin! Some of my most special memories are the years I spent caring for my mom. She hated asking for help, so I tried to do things without being asked for awhile. I worked in her yard because I knew it was important to her. I gave her pedicures, bathed her, washed and curled her hair, pulled the hairs out of her chin, (seriously,) and watched the news with her at night (I hate watching the news, but she liked it). (continued)

77: She had trouble swallowing and didn't want to waste the energy or room on bread, meat, salad, etc. Everyone tried to get her to eat healthy, but I made her tapioca pudding, which we both loved, sometimes we only ate dessert for dinner and I just coaxed her into drinking 1 Ensure every day. She hated to wake anyone up to help her to the bathroom at night, so we got a little silver bell. She would ring that and we would know she needed us. I have that bell in my kitchen window. Even though I loved helping her so much, I am awful about asking for help. You would think I had learned the value of letting others serve you. I'm trying, but I guess I'm getting a little ornery (just like Mom did once in a while) because I only ask once. I admire you so much for your patience, your spirituality, your love of family and of all who come in contact with you. I will always treasure our friendship and my memory seems to center in on our laughing and having fun together. I am thankful to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and to our loving Father in Heaven for the plan of salvation. I know as families we can be together forever. I'm pretty sure that in addition, this means extended families, dear friends, also. I probably won't get to California again anytime soon, so I'm glad we were able to see each other when we did. Have a wonderful birthday and know that I love you and that you are in my prayers. Love, Jeanne Sampson

78: July 9, 2011 Dear Mom, I just finished reading your Patriarchal blessing, some of your journal, and going through many of your papers from your youth. I’ve also read through the cards and letters others have sent to you and the memories they’ve shared. And I’ve decided that you are just as remarkable as I thought you were. I have shared many of my feelings already, through your blog, but there are a couple of memories I have that have particularly stayed with me. Well there are three really. The first because it was so out of character, the second was also out of character and taught me a great lesson, and the third was classically you with a lesson I have shared with others many times. The first was the one and only time I ever heard you swear. You are so careful and thoughtful with your words, it is obvious to me that at some point in your life you learned to double check your thoughts before they left your mouth. This is a significant quality and a blessing to your husband and children. I don’t know if it was a difficult process or one that was more natural to you, but it has left me with no doubts about my worth in your eyes and this has probably been one of the greatest blessings to me for the strength it has brought me in dealing with my life circumstances. So imagine my surprise when upon entering “the little girls room” and finding it piled high with all the clothes having been dumped on the floor—I think in preparation for someone to runaway, at dinner time, you looked around, said “dammit”, and turned and walked away. I was shocked! I’m still shocked. But now I’m shocked that you were able to walk away. It’s so incredibly hard to contain and control yourself when you’re tired and at the end of a long day. I am impressed with your self-control. (continued)

79: The second was the one of only two times I can remember you being angry at me. I deserved both. But the other makes me sick to think about for the fear and stress I caused, so I only refer back to this instance. I was a teenager. I was upset with you, I don’t know why. And to show my frustration, I was rudely reading the plaque Dad had given you (actually I’m not sure who gave it to you, but it was about him), that said, “The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”. I was really being rude and you spanked me! I was shocked! I don’t remember your exact words to me, but I remember that they conveyed to me that you and Dad were a team and no one was going to insult one or the other without problems. I always thought it was the most normal thing in the world to have a Dad that ate and made you eat whatever your mom made, because she worked hard on it, and that for all the “complaining” about your late hours working on whatever calling or project and telling you to come to bed, he was still your 100% supporter in those endeavors. And certainly, every mother in world spoke softly and kindly to her husband who worked so hard every day. She always tried to provide a clean and calm environment when he came home (I say tried, because the eight children underfoot were not so very helpful in that department). And above all, she knew when and how to bring out the best in the man she loves the most. It is a lesson that is my standard. It is the measure by which I will know when Concho and I have succeeded. The third is my other standard, the standard for which I measure the rest of my life. Often at odds, Darren was arguing some point of contention with you and you were trying to help him see the big picture. Again I don’t remember the exact conversation, but Darren was trying to make you see that some things just don’t have an eternal consequence and he said to you, “O, everything is spiritual to you!” (continued)

80: I’ve thought and thought about that. Unfortunately for Darren’s teenage perspective, he was right! Everything was and is spiritual to you. Of course, that’s because everything is. But you knew it, and you let it affect the way you think and choose to act. This is so key for me, Mom. It shows your humility and your strength. You let your will bend to what you know to be right. Your Patriarchal Blessing has been fulfilled. You prepared yourself with knowledge and you have been able to remember what you needed. You have had health and strength and material things “sufficient to your needs”. You chose your companions carefully, married Dad in the Temple, and honored your covenants, which “form[ed] the foundation upon which you [built] a happy family here and [will] earn your exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom hereafter.” The passage that stood out to me, from my experience with you, says, “Your testimony of the Gospel will grow untill it becomes the motivating influence in your entire life. It will bring you and your loved ones great joy. Never be afraid to testify of the goodness of The Lord. His Spirit will testify to those who hear you that you speak words of truth. Many seeing your righteous example will seek your counsel and they will follow you in righteousness. You will accomplish a great work among the children and the women of The Church.” I think you can now, “look back upon your life and thank [The Lord] for the many blessing that He has sent to you and the great joy that has attended your righteous efforts.” While our separation from you, no matter when it comes, will be too soon, I know that I have what I need. I know that you love me. I know that you have truly lived the best that you could. I know that you have taught me truth. I know that you will be happy. I know that we will be happy as we follow your example and that we can trust that all will be well. (continued)

81: I shared with my Relief Society sisters some thoughts that finally took shape for me one day, but I’m not sure I’m capable of expressing them with exactness, yet. I was thinking about you and writing on your blog and it struck me that all the qualities that I love so much about you are your Christ-like qualities. And I thought that if I love you so much for being like Him, my goal is to learn to love Him in the same way. I already accept Him as my Savior and know that I have no hope without Him and have a love for what He has done. But it’s more removed, more intellectual in nature. I want to reach a point in my relationship with Him that I feel the same ache at separation, the same longing to be near again, and the same gratitude for the influence over my life. It means, to me, Mom, that you have become Christ-like and I love you for teaching that to me. With all my love, Shauna

82: May 17, 2011 Dear Carol, There are very few times in your life that you find a friend who no matter whether you are working and seeing each other often or your paths go weeks without crossing that you can see each other after a long period of time and pick up right where you left off---or, if you need help you wouldn’t hesitate to call. Fortunately, I have a friend like that in you and I feel blest to know you. There are so many memories that are tied to you and I treasure each one—from our first visit when you moved into CV1 to the birthdays you, Dianne, at times Jeanne, Anina and I celebrated together. We’ve held callings together in Relief Society and Girl’s Camp and through it all you were and continue to be the voice of reason and common sense. Everyone needs people in their life that they look up to and you are such an example to me of how the Savior would treat his family and friends-always willing to serve. May you enjoy your ??? birthday (friends never remind you of how old you are) and hopefully it won’t take you long to figure out what you want to eat!! Dianne and I have been working on this for 20 plus years and we really haven’t seen much improvement yet. (just teasing, but it is the truth) My Love to You, Carol Smith

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  • Title: Messages of Love
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