67: Every Living Thing

Mon Jan 18 19:08:29 EST 2021
Episode 67

Stories in this episode: A quest to solve the mystery of bees flying through cracks in their walls lead Kristen and Matt to discover important truths about God's laws of nature; Spencer’s childhood memories of catching bugs under yellow street lamps teaches him what it takes to recognize God’s hands in our lives.

Show Notes

Kristin and Matt went on a journey of discovering a beehive in their home:
Kristin and Matt went on a journey of discovering a beehive in their home.

A camera in the ceiling showing what was hiding up there:
A camera in the ceiling showing what was hiding up there.

The extensive hive that was revealed when the ceiling was cut open:

Beehive 1
Beehive 2
Beehive 3
Beehive 4

The process to relocate the bees included creating a separate space out of plastic sheets, cutting a hole in the ceiling, vacuuming bees with a modified shop-vac, slowly breaking out and securing bits of honeycomb, and placing them all in a box outside to take to the next location.

Relocating bees
Moving the hive.
Beehive moving.
Bee box.

Spencer's love of bugs began young, from when he would catch them with his dad.
Spencer's love of bugs began young, from when he would catch them with his dad.

A walking stick bug, one of Spencer's favorites.
A walking stick bug, one of Spencer's favorites.

An ox beetle.
An ox beetle.

Spencer holding a giant grub worm (a future beetle):
Spencer holding a giant grub worm (a future beetle):

Passing his love of spiders on to his daughter.
Passing his love of spiders on to his daughter.


KaRyn Lay 0:03

Welcome to "This Is the Gospel," an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay.

There is something that I have suspected about this podcast for a while now. And this week it was 100% confirmed to me that when we decide on a theme, heaven conspires to put that theme and all of its lessons in my face.

So maybe you'll think I'm being melodramatic, and the reality might be that I just notice things more, but listen to this you guys. This week, our theme is about the way the natural world teaches us principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we have jokingly called it "the bug episode" for months now, because both of our stories somehow revolve around insects.

So, not two days ago, my husband and I were coming home from a little jaunt – sometimes you just have to get out of the house when it's COVID times – and when we pulled into the carport, our headlights illuminate the biggest spider I've ever seen outside of a terrarium.

It's just dangling there – suspended in midair as though it was hovering. And luckily, we saw it in enough time to roll the car in a little bit slower than we normally would so that we didn't hit it. I hate spiders. And I guess it would be more accurate to say that I "fear spiders" since hate is a secondary emotion.

Ever since I saw a documentary about jumping spiders, I'm positive that every spider knows how to jump and they're just waiting to leap onto my body. So the added protection of the windshield of the car made it so that we could actually observe the spider without my anxiety taking over and we sat there for probably 10 minutes in total awe.

As we watched that spiders body twist in eight legged arabesques while she worked her magic spinning silk, it seemed like she was creating it out of nothing at all. Also, I don't know why I keep saying "She," – I assume it's because of Charlotte's Web.

Anyway. It was interesting to me that she was multitasking. That she was climbing the ropes and she was building them at the same time. And I thought, man, if that doesn't describe the work of discipleship, I really don't know what does.

Because sometimes moving along the covenant path can feel like we're dangling in midair with eight busy legs trying to build something just so that we can put one foot in front of the next.

But also – like my buddy, the spider – we can ignore the headlights trying to trip us up and the busy bodies staring us down through their car windshield, if we carefully focus on the task in front of us. Because as children of Christ, we've got it all in us. The tools, the spiritual DNA, the capacity to learn new patterns to harness the power of God here on earth to move his work forward.

See what I mean? One giant spider in the carport at exactly the right moment for today's theme, I feel like it's a little wink from Heavenly Father that He's on the job. And don't you worry, I have not taken out the garbage since we saw that spider, because I am sure that the minute I walk into the carport, it's going to leap on me.

But I also haven't forgotten that image of that spider, and the connection between us and the natural world. It's real. And I think it's a part of our gospel practice. And today's stories promised to give us just a little bit more insight into the ways that nature here on Earth brings us all just a little bit closer to heaven.

Our first story in this episode comes from Kristin and Matt who tag-team their tale of a time when the outside world made its way inside. Here's Kristin and Matt.

Kristen 3:36

Earlier this summer, our neighbor – we have a lovely, lovely neighbor next door who had been furloughed from her job, and so she would be outside all day every day working in her garden.

And one day I just went to say hello to her. And she said, "Hey, Kristen, I think you have some bees. I think you have a beehive." And I went, "What?"

She pointed out to me where some bees – and there wasn't a lot of them, it was just a couple, were walking in and out this little tiny crack in our siding. We have an older house, and it has brick and then it has some siding and it was just kind of this teeniest little space.

Matt 4:18

So we start to check every day, and sure enough, you can see little bees coming in and out of this crack, but I don't know. I don't know what's behind there, right?

Kristen 4:25

Yeah. And we weren't quite ready to peel off the siding or anything. By this time we are we're pretty sure – based on our oh-so-scientific knowledge, that they are indeed honeybees. Because they weren't trying to kill you they weren't wasp-y, they looked more like honey bees.

Matt 4:42

You know, the first reaction we had was, "Well maybe, let's call an exterminator and see what it would cost." And I was ambivalent about it because I really like bees. Bees do – bees do important work. They pollinate, they make honey.

So we got – I think we had an estimate for an exterminator, and it was already a lot of money. So I was like, why not – let's let's pursue the avenue of maybe somebody who's a beekeeper, or who specializes in removing bees –

Kristen 5:17

– What do you even call that bee guy, that would help remove a hive and find it a new home? And so we just kept googling like, "bee relocation," whatnot. And I stumbled on this guy, he finally comes out, and he busts out electronic tools like a little radar thing, a stethoscope,

Matt 5:37

Infrared like heat seeking like camera.

Kristen 5:42

He first starts using the infrared thing to kind of identify where the bees are, and how hard would it be to get to them. And then he uses a like a regular doctor's stethoscope to like listen in on their activity, and whatnot. And it was just fascinating.

Matt 6:00

As we were standing outside with him and looking at, you know, the one place where we knew that they were coming in and out, and I think he just kind of casually said, "Oh, I think you have a second one, too." And sure enough, like 10 feet to the left, there was another crack in the, in the sort of the older brick part of the house.

Kristen 6:17

Right by the fireplace.

Matt 6:18

Right by the fireplace where we saw bees coming in and out, and so then we're like, "Oh, great."

Kristen 6:24

So then he said, "Alright, well, let me think on it. And just watch it. You guys just watch it and let me know." And so for next few days, we're watching and I'm taking photos and videos and things. And one day, it was nuts. It was like the beehive . . . the bee highway, like it was rush hour. And it was just swarms, thousands and thousands of bees.

And we went, "Are you kidding me?" It was crazy how many there were, and we went outside and I'm filming it. And we couldn't believe our eyes. Like we had no idea there would be that many in there, or if they were all in there, or was it like a convention that they were suddenly coming?

And so we thought, oh my gosh, what are we going to do now? Now, now it's getting serious, because we have just seen that many thousands of bees flying in and out different parts of our house. And that's when we did start getting a little nervous about it.

We're thinking, oh no, like, this can be a lot of damage. This could be really serious.

Matt 7:29


Kristen 7:29

And so then as soon as I you know, stop the video, I text the bee guy the videos, and we hear nothing, nothing at all. He just ghosts us. We never hear back.

I started looking again online, and I happened to tell a co-worker about it. My co-worker tells me about a friend who happens to have bees on the side just as a hobby. He happens to be a roofer by trade, so I call him and talk to him and he's like, "Nope, not what I do." He actually puts it out on a beekeeping group within Western New York.

And somehow one of the guys that's on this Facebook group is interested. That he would like to come relocate it for us. He works with the public gardens that are around town that are trying to establish bees at these different community gardens. And he wants to do this.

Matt 8:28

Like urban, urban community gardens.

Kristen 8:30

Right. And so we thought this is outstanding, how great! These bees could be useful to our community, we'll be giving back, they'll have a purpose, but we still we had no idea what it would entail.

And side note, this guy's like a hobbyist beekeeper person, like –

Matt 8:49

Yeah, it was clear that he was trying to break into this, profession, whatever you call it.

Kristen 8:56

So another interesting component is that this beekeeper that decided he wanted to come and help is deaf. And we don't know sign language, so mostly we're trying to explain the situation via text.

Then we kind of decide a game plan on how we're going to do this. And he kind of talks us through it – texts us through it – you know, and kind of shows us, we're in our family room and he's kind of marking it out. And he says he's going to get all the supplies and he's going to come back another day and it should only take a little while.

Matt 9:30

I was a little bit hesitant, right?

Kristen 9:32

Yeah, well cause he was saying he's gonna cut open the ceiling.

Matt 9:35


Kristen 9:36

And Matt's going, "Are you kidding?"

Matt 9:38

Originally, when the first bee removal guy came, I was under the impression that, yeah, it would work like a Pied Piper. That he would set up a hive, a new hive, outside the house, he would do something to you know lure the bees out of the house and into this new hive, which – great! You know? The you know, minimal damage to the house.

I was never very clear, so you know, maybe that was always a completely naive idea of how it's gonna happen, but I thought – right? – that he'd explained it, something like that. So then when the second bee removal guy was here, and he was telling us, "Oh yeah, I'm just gonna cut your ceiling open," Yeah, that – trepidation would be the right way to describe what I was feeling at that point.

Kristen 10:27

But by this point, we were kinda like, what else do we do?

Matt 10:30

Yeah. And he – the other thing that, you know, sort of was setting up expectations, at least for the timing, is the second bee removal guy would send us these YouTube videos of people demonstrating how they remove bees, and the people in these videos, of course, we're very professional at it, and you know, from what it looked, at least to the way in the video, right? Looked like it was a – you know – maybe a three hour job or something, right? They come in, cut open the ceiling, vacuum the bees out, and then patch it up, too and that was it.

So that also gave us the impression that – right? – It would just be a quick and dirty job.

Kristen 11:11

It didn't happen that way.

We set up a day and a time for him to come back, and he came with a bunch of plastic and duct tape and a shop vac and some really rough tools.

And just started going. He kind of taped up all of this plastic, he encased himself in this plastic, like a whole corner of the room –

Matt 11:38

Almost like it was a shower curtain or something

Kristen 11:40

Like uh – exactly, like a shower curtain taped to the ceiling, and draping down to the floor. And then he would get in there, and just started cutting open the ceiling.

And little by little he starts breaking it open, and we're watching. Like I'm sitting there in the family room outside of the plastic, because I can't turn away. And he cuts it open, and then kind of motions to us to come see. And sure enough, you can see these little bits of hive.

Matt 12:12

Like uh . . . almost like curtains of honeycomb, right. These layers. It's – I call them curtains because they're the – the honeycombs would sort of, they would hang down from the top of the the cavity, you know, like they were curtains or something, hanging down, but they were just like rows and rows of them.

And they were very orderly. Yeah, it was kind of – to me, I thought the whole – I thought it was fascinating. And it was, there was a kind of beauty to it.

Kristen 12:41

Oh, yeah, for sure.

Matt 12:42

Just seeing all these, you know, almost these perfectly maid rows of honeycomb. And then they were just chock full of bees, right? I mean, it was just covered in bees, every – almost every square inch.

Kristen 12:57

Yeah. He texts us something like, "It's bigger than I thought." And so then he shows us that he's gonna have to cut a lot more, because it's a lot bigger. He's kind of showing us up in there. With his phone.

He takes his phone up in there and takes some pictures and you can see how deep it is, and how big these hives are. And we're going, "Are you kidding me?" And this is just the part in the family room.

These particular bees weren't super aggressive. They were just busy, busy, busy working. Just like you jokingly hear – busy bees. They were doing their work and they just kept on trucking, but it was beautiful to watch. It was beautiful.

It was right in front of all these windows in our family room, and so the sunlight was coming in and you could see the intricacies of the beehives and you could see which ones had little babies, little eggs in some of the hives and you can see where there are honey pockets and you can see – I mean it was natural geographic, right in our family room.

And then the beekeeper goes in with this shop-vac type thing, so he's inside the plastic, up in the ceiling, up above the bookcases, and he takes this shop–vac and just starts vacuuming up all the bees, and –

Matt 14:18

Yeah, he's got, he's got a long tube and sucks them through, and then it puts them in a big bucket, where then he can then carry to, you know, whatever place he wants to go.

Kristen 14:28

Yeah. And then – interestingly – so then he takes little by little, would break out really carefully the different curtains of honeycomb and put them in these wooden frames. And then once he got all of their hives back into these little bee boxes, and so he moves the whole bee box, all the new hives that are now in these screens and moves them all out, just outside that family room, so it's kind of right at the entrance to where the crack was.

Somehow he knew he had gotten the queen. He could identify the queen, and knew that she was in the new box and so that eventually all the others would come follow. Then he kept that bee box outside of our house for another 24 hours or so.

Matt 15:19

So that process took, what? All day.

Kristen 15:21

All day. I mean, early in the morning till late that evening, and he was just drenched in sweat. And he – and it was just a long, extensive, very – was a lot more than he had anticipated.

Matt 15:37

It was dirty, too. Not gonna lie, right? There's, I mean, whatever, you know, was in that old ceiling, you know, and then, and the honey everywhere, dripping everywhere.

Kristen 15:47

Everywhere. And anything you touched, got it. I mean, we were cleaning bee guts and honey off things for a long time.

And so that was just one. And we kind of had to do the whole process again, with the bees that were in the living room.

Only this time, they were much more aggressive. The hives looked the same, but they were so distinctly different. Different temperaments, and different everything.

It was, it was a lot. And I kind of hit a breaking point, at one point where I was just like, "I can't do this again. Our house is gonna be a mess," it just takes so much work. So much time.

And so that process, it did take a lot longer. We spread it out over a couple of weeks trying to get those removed.

And then he was, a beekeeper was able to relocate it to one of the urban gardens in downtown Buffalo.

And hopefully, they're living happily ever after. He brought us some of the honey from it a few weeks later.

Matt 17:00

You know, we could have, we could have maybe actually paid a little bit more for an exterminator, but probably would have had the job done a lot quicker.

If we just, you know, just killed them, got rid of them. But I just, I just never felt comfortable doing that, you know. It seemed like if there was a way to keep these bees alive and just move them to some other location, that would be the better thing to do. Even though doing that ended up taking a lot more time, probably produced a lot more stress for Kristin.

But, you know, to treat life the way we do sometimes, you know, it's just an obstacle to our own sort of whatever goal we're trying to get out seems to be not compatible, not respectful with God's creations.

Kristen 17:54

It was awe inspiring to see this happening because even as the beekeeper was cutting open the ceiling and tearing things apart and trying to get to the bees, they just kept on working and kept on doing their thing. You know, they kept producing, they kept building, they kept going for the good of their group. And they were so fascinating to watch.

And I remember thinking, and I don't know where I've read this, I know several Church leaders have commented on this at some point, but that part of why we're so inspired by nature, or that we often will feel the Spirit when we're in nature is because nature obeys God's commands, period. And that's why we can feel so much of the Spirit in nature. Everything around you is obeying God's commands.

And as we were watching this all unfold in our ceiling, I remember thinking about that, that these bees are doing exactly what they were put here on earth to do. And it was, it was remarkable to watch.

Having lived in Utah for a little while, of course, you know, the Beehive State and the whole pioneer legacy with bees and the symbol and the working together and, and all of those things were really evident as we watch this unfold. It was you know, physically challenging, it was messy, it was inconvenient. It was everything. But it was also inspiring. It was nature at work. It was really remarkable to see the determination in those little bees, and just that they do what they were sent here to do.

KaRyn Lay 19:52

That was Matt and Kristen, in Buffalo, New York, and their description of those curtains of honeycomb in the wall get me every time. And we're actually going to have pictures of that, this crazy phenomenon, in our show notes.

I've been so curious about this. So I asked Kristin if they could hear the bees when they were trying to watch TV or smell the honey. And she disappointingly said that they literally had no idea what was happening behind that wall. But you know, the other thing that gets me is that reverence for all life that the Spirit brought into Matt's heart as he watched those creatures at work. There's a reason for that. In Moses, chapter six, verse 63, the Lord teaches us that, quote, "All things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal and things which are spiritual. Things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and the things which are in the earth and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath, all things, bear record of me."

Once you get past all the prepositions in that scripture, it's clear that every living thing has a purpose, a job to do, just like Krista mentioned about the bees. And that job is actually to bear record of the goodness and majesty and love of the Creator. So when Matt gets the chance to witness the earth, and all her parts, filling the measure of that creation in his family room, of course, the Spirit is going to be there to ratify that testimony, and to fill his heart with love for all of God's creation.

Our next story comes from Spencer.

Spencer 21:19

One of my very first memories of moving to Texas, I was six years old, and my dad take me and some of my siblings, we walked down to the woods that were at the end of our street. And we went and looked at fireflies.

Coming from the Bay Area, I'd never ever seen fireflies and it was this magical moment. It was dark, and all of a sudden these lights popping up everywhere and they're around you. And if you've ever been around fireflies, you know that feeling. There's one right in your face and I'm sure we caught one and held our hands. And it was this amazing moment.

Where we moved, just outside of Houston in 1982, was very much frontier. Deep forests, subtropical, and there were bugs everywhere. My dad had been a fly fisherman and kind of grown up near the mountains. And when we moved, none of the fly fishing was available. And so his attention got turned to catching bugs.

At this time, the streetlights were like these bright white streetlights, they're not like the yellow ones you see now because they've learned that those yellow ones don't attract bugs the same way. But these ones would attract bugs like crazy. And so under every streetlight, you've had this illuminated circle that was filled with thousands of crickets, June bugs, and then, of course, all these other like fiery chasers. And you'd get toads and frogs that were coming to eat all those and then you'd have bats flying around eating the moths and the butterflies. And then, of course, cars would be running over them. So every morning there'd be like flattened and crispy bugs, and that was life.

So we'd just go and catch them. It didn't matter, school night, we'd be out till 10 o'clock. We'd go to the car lots that were close to the freeway because they just had these huge, powerful lights. And you had to wait till those closed and so after nine, we would show up. Security guards initially would question us, but then they got to know us, they became familiar with us. And we were walking around with a bunch of boxes and a big butterfly net. And we just kept some of the most amazing things.

And then he went and bought the bug book: "The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders." It had these great color pictures, and really well made. And we would look through that and it would show the habitat and the range of every bug. And you'd be like, "Oh, they're here too." And we'd, kind of almost like birders do, where you're trying to make a list of, "Can we find this?"

One of our favorites were walking sticks. They're so cool. They look just like a stick. And we had like an 8-and-a-half inch, it wasn't a walking stick, it was like a walking branch, right? It was huge. As big around as your pinky and scared to death the first time you see it, and you realize these things, they don't bite, they don't do anything. They're just trying to hide.

My dad got really interested in preserving this. And so he went to the Container Store, which is like we had downtown, bought these clear boxes of different sizes. And he'd carry them around in his car, actually. We'd always have some in the glove box because you never know what you're gonna see. And we would just start catching things. And if we didn't have it, we would collect it and we'd bring it home and we put it into this little display cases that he bought, mounted on the styrofoam, male and female of everyone. Our little Noah's, little bug ark, right? But they're dead, sorry. And we just started growing this collection.

So this became kind of the thing and I was 9, 10 years old. And my older siblings were not super interested in this. You know, they were too cool.

So in seventh grade, we had to do our life science bug collecting project. And you're supposed to try and find 50 bugs. Almost every case, kids would come in with like 15 to 20. And I remember bringing my whole collection and we had hundreds, probably 250 to 300 different things like longhorn beetles, click beetles, large eye, small eye, all the different types of moth, polyphemus, IO. And people couldn't believe that we had caught these right around us. And it was always like, "How come nobody else can see these?" In part, it's because maybe they didn't know where to look, or they weren't really trying. Or you also got things that totally camouflaged in. But if you're not looking, if you don't recognize it, then you won't see it.

As a kid, as a dad, I feel bad like these are beautiful, why are we killing them? He always said, "Look, most bugs don't live more than maybe a few weeks, a few months, especially when you think about a butterfly or a moth like after they come out of their cocoon, they don't live long in that form. So our preserving them, meant other people could appreciate them and be aware of them."

Ever since then, I realizee that we have this all around us. And we can get so stuck up in our own heads, or we can start to see things.

When I learned to speak another language I'd have those moments where you'd learn a new word and all of a sudden, you would hear it everywhere. And it wasn't that that word hadn't been said, every single day. And actually it had been hitting your ears, but until you recognize that knew what it was, your brain didn't process it. And in some ways, the same is true with the bugs.

When you learn to recognize a moth, you would learn to see it and all of a sudden, you would see it everywhere.

And so with spiritual things, they're there. Once we learn to see how much the Lord is trying to bless us and it's constantly blessing us, once we see that pattern and learn it, we'll recognize it all the time, and we'll recognize that it was always happening. But if we don't pay attention to it, or if we don't learn to appreciate it, we'll miss it. And it's not because it's not happening. It's just that because we are failing to see it.

That's why I believe one of the principal values of a journal is even learning to recognize the hand of the Lord in our own lives on a consistent, daily basis. Not just the big, one time this happened, but every day. How do I wake up and learn to have an eye of gratitude and see those things?

When I go back to Texas now, on the same street that I grew up, and if you stand there at night, you don't see a single bug under a streetlight anymore. It makes me sound like a million years old because like how could it have changed so quickly. And it really, this has been true probably for the last 20 years, it's pretty rare to see any of the things that I saw. And I'm worried that some of them are gone forever.

And I realized that the amount of time that I'm going to spend with my dad who's now 76 years old, is probably measured in a number of days. We live in separate states, I might spend less than three weeks of cumulative time with my dad, person to person. That kind of thought is sobering. And so all the more I appreciate every moment we have. Even after he is gone, when I see a bug, it will always connect me back to those moments. And it keeps us strong in its own interesting way.

I think a lot of times as parents, we're told we're a generation apart. And we're just in different places and trying to communicate directly sometimes with a kid is hard. Now that I've got six, and various ages, but in this, my dad and I had a common bond. I know my other siblings like bugs, but my dad and I are the ones that shared this. You know when you're not actually catching the butterfly, like sure that was exciting, but it was 45 minutes of just banter and just conversation where we built that relationship.

We need to have these binding moments with our kids. It's not enough to just be blood anymore. There's so much more things that are more entertaining, more exciting. And so finding ways that we can be in not just proximity, but that emotionally or intellectually, or spiritually, of course, we are teamed up and we are working on something together. I have to find opportunities to create with my kids because that will reinforce who they truly are, and then bind us all together.

These kinds of activities, it's something that we do that becomes part of the fabric of who we are that will always keep us close. It lifts our eyes from the mundane to the more divine. It's pretty cool.

KaRyn Lay 30:08

That was Spencer. If you have been a longtime listener to "This Is the Gospel," you might recognize Spencer from one of our very first episodes. In fact, he was one of the first people that I called when I needed a good story for the pilot of the podcasts because I knew that he'd be able to spin a good yarn and make some really beautiful gospel connections.

Spencer's story and all the many lessons he learned about the world from his enthusiastic study of bugs with his dad made me think that some of the most powerful spiritual teachers come in all shapes and sizes. And some of them might have wings and too many legs, but it's up to us to open our eyes to the wonder of the natural world if we want to learn from them.

There's a little scriptural passage in Job in chapter 12 that kind of sums it up for me. It starts in verse seven, "But ask now the bees, and they shall teach thee. And the fowls of the air and they shall teach thee. Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee. And the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee." And then it skips to verse 10, "In whose hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of all mankind?"

Job was in the depths of his despair when he spoke these words. More trouble was coming for him and, and somehow, he understood that turning his heart to reflect on the natural world could actually bring healing and hope and connection in the midst of his pain.

And I'm not sure if this understanding is what motivated Spencer's dad to turn to spending time in the parking lots under the lamplight with his 10-year-old son after a really big move. But it almost doesn't matter. From those hours that they spent collecting their Noah's ark of bugs, Spencer and his dad internalize the lesson that the earth is trying to teach us all. Life is fragile and fleeting and precious. And we are all, great and small, buggin man, father and son, connected by the truth that we were created by the same master.

I'm a huge fan of the word stewardship. It comes from the Old English and it means keeper of the house or guardian of the hall. It's so interesting to me that the Lord uses this word steward and stewardship throughout the scripture to describe our relationship to the earth and all the things in it. In fact, in Doctrine and Covenants, section 104, verses 13 and 14, he reveals to Joseph Smith, "For it is expedient that I the Lord should make every man accountable as a steward over earthly blessings, which I've made and prepared for my creatures. I the Lord stretched out the heavens and built the earth, my very handiwork and all things there in our mind."

I've been thinking about what it would look like if my gospel gig was to be a guardian of the halls of God's house. If we think about it as a literal house, I can imagine walking some great marble halls filled with God's treasures, and I'd like to think that I'd be a decent steward. I'd like to think that I could be really attentive to the things around me, always looking for ways to protect them. Maybe I'd wear white gloves and check for dust a little bit more often than I do at my own house, or drink a little more caffeine so that I'd stay alert to anything that might be a miss.

Certainly because I love the master of that house I would care for and honor the things that he made because they're a part of him. But I also suspect that like most things that become routine, after a while, I'd probably get used to all that greatness all around me in those halls and I might lose the sense of wonder and awe that would keep me hustling to be good at my job.

If the Lord's house is this earth, then today's stories are a wake up call for me and I hope for you that while we're in the midst of facing uncertainty and certain difficulty, maybe even as certain as Job's, we can still find solace and spirit and God's creation. It's a reminder to go outside and seek wonder and to pray for new eyes so that we can see the spiders dangling in our headlights or be awed by the bees in our walls. It's a reminder to spend time with people you love in places that testify of God by virtue of their very existence. I really believe that this will invite the Spirit who testifies of Christ into our lives more and it will reawaken our desire to be good stewards, keepers of the house and guardians of the halls of this earth. And it will give us more reverence for every living thing created by a loving father for our benefit.

That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel." Thank you to our storytellers, Kristin, Matt and Spencer for sharing their stories and their innate enthusiasm for all the creepy crawly things. We'll have more info about each of these storytellers including a picture of those honey hive curtains in our show notes at ldsiving.com/thisisthegospel. We'll also link to the gospel topics from the Church about stewardship. It's a really good read and there's some great things in there that you can learn. Some of my favorite quotes and thoughts about nature are found there.

You can also get more great stuff by following us on Instagram or Facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast. A huge thank you to every one of you who takes the time to write a review of this podcast on whatever platform you listen, we love to hear how the podcast and specific episodes and stories have stuck with you and helped you on your discipleship journey.

All of the stories in this episode are true and accurate, as affirmed by our storytellers and we find a lot of those stories through our pitch line. If you have a story to share about a time in your life when you learn something new by practicing the gospel of Jesus Christ, we want to hear from you. The best pitches will be short and sweet and have a clear sense of the focus of your story. You'll have three minutes to pitch your story when you call 515-519-6179.

This episode was produced by me, KaRyn Lay, with additional story production from Sarah Blake. It was edited by Erika Free and Kelly Campbell and scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at 6 Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts at ldsliving.com/podcasts.

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