My daughter Kali is a bird enthusiast. It seems like that, from the day she was born, she has had an affinity and a love for them. She loves to draw birds, research birds, play with birds, identify birds in the wild, hunt for nests, and just enjoy the melodious sounds they make, especially during the Easter season as they migrate for the change of seasons.

A few years back, she saved up her money for quite some time and was able to buy a chicken coop; next came her very first set of chicken eggs. She loved these eggs and watched over them like a mother hen would. Each day she made sure that the temperature was set correctly on the heat lamp and that the eggs were receiving their proper treatment. Then, after 21 days of vigilance, each egg began to wiggle and then we beheld 5 little baby chicks emerge from their shells. We rejoiced as a family at the site of these little beautiful baby birds.
Each day, Kali would make sure they had enough food and water. On occasion, she would throw them a worm to eat or a few grass clippings to enjoy. She would check their wings to ensure they were developing properly and would check their eggs to make sure they were getting proper nutrition. Her life revolved around the little chickens.
One day, after returning home from running errands, we looked and saw that the chicken coop had a large looming figure inside. We rushed over to discover that a neighborhood dog had broken into the coop, killing all but one of her precious birds. With blood and feathers strewn all around the coop, Kali burst into tears, knowing that these little friends of hers were now gone.
That Fall, after weeks of pain and distress, a miracle happened for our family. As we were still mourning the loss of Kali’s chickens, I was in the yard and turned around to notice it first. Then I called out to the kids to turn around. As we looked across our yard towards our pear tree, we could hardly believe our eyes. Heaven had sent us a personalized message from the other side of the veil. There, looking back at us, was a pear tree that looked just like a chicken. It was as if Heavenly Father wanted Kali and our family to know that although we had lost our chickens and were sad, He was aware of our situation.
At some point in our life, we will each lose people and possessions that are precious to us. But when death calls those that we love to the other side of the veil, we can take comfort knowing that death is not the end. Because of the atonement that occurred  two millennia ago, we will all live again and be reunited with loved ones.
Each time I look at the pear tree in our yard, I am reminded that “the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ” (Romans 6:23).
unnamedGuest Post by Brother Richards

Brother Richards is here today because two missionaries chose to go tracting one day in San Diego.  Later, his own mission began in Honduras and ended in Alabama (due to a bone tumor).  He played water polo and volleyball in college, during which time he met wife Megan as they worked as EFY counselors; the two were married in the San Diego  temple and have 4 children.

His current assignment is writing church curriculum in addition to being a Seminary Principal;  in the summertime, he directs at EFY and speaks at BYU Education Week. Both Deseret Book and Seagull Book carry his Fireside CDs.

Brother Richards loves cooking for people, photography, remote controls, ice cream and iPhones.  And, on a side note, he loves chocolate more than most women do.

Most of all, he loves teaching and being with valiant Latter-Day Saints.

Find him on Instagram and Facebook @brotherichards

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