Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 31

I wish I had something profound and momentous to write about today.  The climactic ending.

I don't.

Writing a post every single day for 31 days wasn't easy.  (I'm a little grateful to be done.)

I'm also grateful for the opportunity.  I'm glad I did it.  Before October began, I wrote a list of possible ideas that I could write about (two of my favorite things:  lists + planning ahead).  I tried to pick things that were universal, things other people could relate to.  (I could have written every day about being grateful for Adam--but what good would that do anyone else?)

As October progressed, I had a longer and longer list of post ideas.  So maybe here's the lesson, maybe we could think all day about ways we're grateful and still not cover everything.  Considering everything wonderful in life (despite everything awful in life) leaves me feeling loved and supported and taken care of by Heavenly Father because who else could be responsible for all of this goodness I enjoy every day?

Part of gratitude is knowing who to thank.

On an unrelated note, Happy Nevada Day.

It happens to be the same day as Halloween but there's nothing to like about Halloween (except pilfering candy from my children).  So Happy Nevada Day.

there is the land that I love the best...fairer than all I can see
the land of the setting sun

Sunday, October 30, 2011


The variety of all things forms a pleasure.

You know how dogs have dog food, cats have cat food, fish have fish food?

We could have people food.  I am sure that nutritionists could come up with some blend of something or other that was perfectly healthy.  We could eat a plateful three times a day.  It could be the same color, temperature and consistency day in and day out.  We would survive.  (And not have to figure out what's for dinner.)

But can you imagine what we'd be missing out on?

Apizza in New Haven, CT...when can I go back?  When?  When?

The scope of flavors and textures is astounding.  Sweet, sour, savory, salty.  Crunchy carrots and pretzels, smooth puddings and mashed potatoes, crusty bread, chewy caramels, fluffy scrambled eggs, crumbly muffins, crisp apples, juicy peaches.  Consider the colors, the blends that result in different ethnic flavors, the chocolate!

I am grateful to live in a world with such variety.  How could anyone ever be bored in a world such as ours?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice. 
 Ayn Rand

I appreciate choices.  I recognize not everyone is given the vast choices that I am as an American woman, so I feel humbled and grateful.

Often I wish I had more time. Really though, how can you wish for more time?  It's like wishing for more earth.  It is what it is.  No one can be afforded more.  It's about choices.  How do I choose to spend my time?  I notice when I am feeling angst about not enough time, it is often because I'm not spending my time in the right ways.  I feel unbalanced.

What a wonderful blessing to be able to identify the best ways to use my time (haven't mastered that skill but I'm working on it).  What a blessing to not be victim to time, but instead mindful and choosy with my commitments.

If I'm busy it's because I choose to home school Sir Mark, I choose to do laundry, I choose to load the dishwasher and sweep the floor, I choose to volunteer for this or that,  I choose to exercise and socialize and listen to how Emma's day progressed, period by period.

I am grateful to be able to make choices all day long. 


Friday, October 28, 2011

Golden Ticket

The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

In the recent Relief Society broadcast, President Dieter Uchtdorf spoke.  It was a fabulous talk and I have been thinking about it ever since.  One part pertains to this blog series I'm working on in particular:

In the beloved children’s story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the mysterious candy maker Willy Wonka hides a golden ticket in five of his candy bars and announces that whoever finds one of the tickets wins a tour of his factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.

Written on each golden ticket is this message: “Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Golden Ticket … ! Tremendous things are in store for you! Many wonderful surprises await you! … Mystic and marvelous surprises … will … delight, … astonish, and perplex you.”

In this classic children’s story, people all over the world desperately yearn to find a golden ticket. Some feel that their entire future happiness depends on whether or not a golden ticket falls into their hands. In their anxiousness, people begin to forget the simple joy they used to find in a candy bar. The candy bar itself becomes an utter disappointment if it does not contain a golden ticket.

So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket—the ticket that they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed about. For some, the golden ticket may be a perfect marriage; for others, a magazine-cover home or perhaps freedom from stress or worry.
 There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings—we hope and seek after things that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” The problem comes when we put our happiness on hold as we wait for some future event—our golden ticket—to appear.

Today I'm grateful for the chocolate bar.  Things that aren't perfect, aren't sublime, aren't exactly what I've always dreamed about but are like chocolate.  Sweet and satisfying.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

 I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.
Tennessee Williams

It was my turn to drive the kids to seminary yesterday morning.  As we were going, I noticed an indicator light that was indicating something (although I didn't know what).  I still don't know all the ins and outs of our van (but in all fairness, I didn't know the ins and outs of our old van and I drove it for seven years...ins and outs of vehicles aren't really my thing).  Hans told me it indicated tire pressure.  Hmmm.  I checked to see if I had a flat tire and I did not.  Hmmm.  I called Adam who is on a business trip in North Dakota.  He told me to go to Les Schwab and get the tires checked.

So I did.  I had low tire pressure which apparently happens after time and especially in cold weather.

The guy at Les Schwab filled my tires and sent me on my way and I felt relieved.  I feel anxiety when it comes to my vehicle not working (particularly when Adam is living it up in North Dakota).

There were a lot of things that defined my childhood.  My mom cooked everything from scratch, my dad's hat could always be spotted above a crowd, there were Wranglers everywhere you looked, and we drove unreliable cars.

My dad kept them running quite well considering the various ages and mileage counts of our cars, but they invariably had troubles.  When we were in college, Olivia and I were driving to Utah from Nevada and our car started to cough and sputter.  I was filled with a familiar dread.  This was before we had cell phones and we were in the middle of the desert.  Then the car started to belch smoke from under the hood.  We happened to be at the Dell exit which is an exit in the middle of nowhere with no services (or mechanics).  I pulled off the exit (on account of, you know, the belching smoke).  A car pulled directly behind me and a man emerged from it that appeared a little frightening to me.  I groaned inwardly.  Our car problems were soon to be compounded by a mass murderer.

He tapped on the window and indicated that he'd look under our hood.  I seriously doubted he could be of any help but because I truly had no options, I opened the hood.  He told me what the trouble was and went back to his car to fetch something and fixed our car!

He handed me this piece of hose that had blown.

I have kept it all these years as a reminder.

I want to remember that the world is a pretty good place.  There are kind people everywhere that are happy to help.

Also, I want to remember that I shouldn't judge the scary looking guy in the car behind me.  He may just be an angel in disguise.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Most Fun I've Ever Had With My Yearbooks

All the yearbooks from my years at Wells High School--7th grade through 12th--are about as thick as Adam's yearbook from his senior year.  My little yearbooks may be scanty and they may have low production quality, but they are highly entertaining.

One Sunday afternoon, we pulled them out and perused their offerings.  Adam grabbed the nearby camera and started taking pictures of us.
This may have been when they saw a picture of Enoch in his seventh grade basketball picture.  "He's all limbs!"  In the dictionary, under gangly, there's a picture of Enoch's seventh grade basketball picture.  (I'll wait here while you go check.)

We confirmed that it's not a recent thing, I've never been photogenic.  Also, they couldn't believe how many cousins I went to school with.  "Was everyone related to you?" ( just the fabulous ones.)
Let me tell you though, Wells High School in the late 80s and early 90s was one hilarious place.  Especially when Braeden's commentary is applied.

I am grateful for memories.  I'm grateful for my little school in a little town.  I'm grateful that my roots are planted in rocky Nevada ground.  But perhaps I value the memory of laughing with my children more than anything that happened in high school.

Some memories make me cringe (How could I be so stupid?), some memories bring back sadness, but most of my memories, I am thankful to say, are happy memories.

It is lovely to be able to retrieve and savor my grandparents' red brick house, my loving father-in-law who was a spectacular grandpa, summer moonlit nights driving home with my sisters from our waitressing jobs.  Gone now, but steadfast in my memory.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good Influences

picture of Austin, Trevor, Dillon, David and Hans...shamelessly stolen from Facebook
 Today I'm grateful for people in my children's lives who influence them in wonderful ways.

Saturday night we attended the Eagle Court of Honor for David, Hans, Dillon, Trevor and Austin.  Five boys Braeden and Mark look up to.  David and Dillon are four years older than Braeden and he has esteemed them, along with Hans, as heroes I think since he met them.

picture of Dillon...shamelessly stolen from Facebook
Dillon lives close to us and he and Braeden went on bike rides, destroyed old electronic equipment, and played video games together. (Dillon would provide Mark with a broken video game controller so he could "play" too.  Mark was young enough that he couldn't tell the difference.  I was old enough to know Dillon was a genius.)

Braeden and Dillon nearly seven years ago...I did not steal this picture from Facebook.
I felt a little worried sometimes when Braeden was nine and Dillon was thirteen that the day would come that Braeden would be way too young and a menace to Dillon.  I was afraid Braeden would end up with a bruised heart.  It never happened.

I remember seeing Braeden when he was twelve at his first youth church activity.  He was of course glued to Dillon's sixteen year old side.  He hit Dillon at about his elbow.

It was about that time that they gradually hung out together less.  But Dillon never, ever was unkind to Braeden, never blew him off, never stopped being his friend.

How can a mother not love the boy whose heroism never dimmed in her son's eyes?

picture of David and Hans...shamelessly stolen from Facebook

Since our families are close, we've spent various holidays and evenings together with David and Hans.  They treat younger Braeden with the kindness of an equal.  They laugh at his jokes and hear his ideas.  I know enough to know how rare this is; how good these boys are.

It meant a lot to me to see these five boys, who Braeden has grown up with and watched and tried to emulate, achieve their Eagle awards.  It made me grateful for good examples.  Grateful for kind boys.

Glad for heroes.

(And speaking of heroes, I'm going to keep following Susie and Janet and Stephanie around so I can learn how to raise such good boys.)

A picture of happy mothers...shamelessly stolen from Facebook.  What is with me stealing pictures.  Is nothing sacred?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Books to Read

 For where can one find more noble distraction, more entertaining company, more delightful enchantment than in literature?
Muriel Barbery

I am grateful for books to read.  Wonderful wonderful books.  I love sinking deep into a story, so deep that when I finish reading it I feel sad because I'll miss the characters and disoriented because I was so immersed in the world of the book.  I love to read.

It's not just escaping into novels that makes me happy though.  I love books that inspire and enlighten, books that challenge what I think to be true, books that teach me something new.

And I love sharing books.  My children, as a rule, refuse to read what I recommend.  It's how the world works for us.

Imagine my surprise when Braeden picked from a handful of books in his English class, to read Pride and Prejudice, one of my favorite books.  It gets better.  He said he picked it because he knew I loved the book!  Is your next question what is he trying to butter me up for?  I don't know but believe me, it will work.

My boy, reading Pride and Prejudice.  I told him his wife would appreciate it some day.

The first few days of him reading were painful for him.  He told me, "Nothing's happening.  They just talk and talk.  And talk."  I told him to keep reading.

And he did.  I also toyed with him.  I asked him if Jane had died yet.  He said, "She dies!?!"

I said, "Oh, I've said too much."

The other night, I was making dinner and Braeden yelled from the other room, "Mom!  Mr. Bingley just proposed to Jane!"

So maybe the best part of books: sharing them.  Delighting together in the magical combinations authors make with 26 little letters.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Perspective--Pollyanna Applied

If you count all your assets, you always show a profit. 
Robert Quillen

Yesterday I wrote about I'm going to channel the little optimist a little.

The glad game works.  I dread going to Costco.  The crowds, dodging the frantic people clamoring for samples, the loading and unloading of the cart.  The putting everything away when I get home.  Blah.

I do feel glad that Costco is so close to my house.  I feel glad that I can buy my six gallons of milk for a relatively low price.  I am glad I don't have to go to WinCo Foods instead.  I am glad I have the means to buy the food that keeps us fed and happy.  I am glad I have the strength to push my cart and lift everything that needs lifting.

See, I feel much better about Costco.

The reason the glad game works is that it changes perspective; you look at things in a different way.  Sometimes it takes something unfortunate to remind us.  For example, one of my friends recently tore her Achilles tendon.  She can't drive or walk on it for 8 weeks.

She's a mother of 5 children.  How does a mother of 5 not drive or walk for 8 weeks?

It's a hassle to take kids to their activities, to run errands, to drive hither and yon.  But I am glad I can.

It's not fun to have a long To Do list, to have more things than seem possible to accomplish.  But I am glad I can try.

I am grateful for reminders that even when things aren't perfect, I have a lot to be happy about.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears.
Anne Roiphe

I think because I loved Hayley Mills, I loved the movie Pollyanna when I was growing up.  I just thought she was adorable with her blonde curls and button nose.  (I was a little alarmed when I found out she was in reality older than my mom...not so much a little girl anymore.)


I loved Pollyanna.  I loved her message of being glad.  She made a game of it.

The glad game:

"You don't seem ter see any trouble bein' glad about everythin'," retorted Nancy, choking a little over her remembrance of Pollyanna's brave attempts to like the bare little attic room.  Pollyanna laughed softly.

"Well, that's the game, you know, anyway."


"Yes; the 'just being glad' game."

"Whatever in the world are you talkin' about?"

"Why, it's a game. Father told it to me, and it's lovely," rejoined Pollyanna. "We've played it always, ever since I was a little, little girl. I told the Ladies' Aid, and they played it--some of them."

"What is it? I ain't much on games, though." Pollyanna laughed again, but she sighed, too; and in the gathering twilight her face looked thin and wistful.

 "Why, we began it on some crutches that came in a missionary barrel."


"Yes. You see I'd wanted a doll, and father had written them so; but when the barrel came the lady wrote that there hadn't any dolls come in, but the little crutches had. So she sent 'em along as they might come in handy for some child, sometime. And that's when we began it."

"Well, I must say I can't see any game about that, about that," declared Nancy, almost irritably.

"Oh, yes; the game was to just find something about everything to be glad about--no matter what 'twas," rejoined Pollyanna, earnestly. "And we began right then--on the crutches."

"Well, goodness me! I can't see anythin' ter be glad about--gettin' a pair of crutches when you wanted a doll!"

Pollyanna clapped her hands.

"There is--there is," she crowed. "But I couldn't see it, either, Nancy, at first," she added, with quick honesty. "Father had to tell it to me."

"Well, then, suppose YOU tell ME," almost snapped Nancy.

"Goosey! Why, just be glad because you don't--NEED--'EM!" exulted Pollyanna, triumphantly. "You see it's just as easy--when you know how!"

Sometimes The Glad Game annoyed people around Pollyanna (her aunt). People now refer to someone who's too cheerful, too saccharine, too much as a Pollyanna.

But I like her.

I think there's something to looking for the good in situations.  It's not easy but does lessen the sting a little of unpleasantness.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ordinary Days

When the shriveled skin of the ordinary is stuffed out with meaning, it satisfies the senses amazingly.
Virginia Woolf

I don't bring my iphone to listen to at the gym anymore...ever since the incident...which still makes Stephanie laugh when she remembers it.  Lately I've been reading instead.

The other day I was on the elliptical runner, trying to stay aloft while I read  The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. (Sometimes my balance wavers when I turn pages...)  It was 6:30 in the morning and my brain was barely awake and the book is full of philosophy and sophisticated language.  (It was translated from French to English.  When I come across a word I don't know I wonder if it's an English word?  French?  Something else altogether?)

So it wasn't an optimal reading environment, but something I read struck me nonetheless:
 Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn--and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn:  human life continues to throb.

I am grateful for the continuous throb.

The ordinariness of ordinary days.  There are small annoyances like my alarm clock going off, gas tanks that need to be filled, children that drop belongings like autumnal trees drop leaves.  There are the small pleasures like kissing hello and good-bye to my loved ones; chatting on the phone with my mom, sisters, Janet; laughing with Jill and Stephanie while we simultaneously walk the neighborhood and solve the problems of the world.

There are small dramas.  (I have a twelve year old daughter, of course there are dramas.)  There are minor crises.  There are little triumphs.

But mostly it's just ordinary.  Ordinary flawed people living in an ordinary house in an ordinary neighborhood.

And we're mostly pretty happy in our ordinariness.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise
Folliott S. Pierpoint

Jill told me about a conversation she had with her son.  They were driving and saw the mountains in all their grandeur.  We have some spectacular mountains around here.  (Especially on the days when the sky is clear enough to see them.) Jill told me they wondered how anyone could deny that there is a God in the face of such beauty.

I have to agree with her.

...and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
Alma 30:44

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Being a Grown Up

Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.  
Author Unknown

My adored brother Tabor broke his leg in quite a spectacular fashion.  (He doesn't do things halfway, that one.)  In thinking about the difficulties in getting his truck, horse trailer and horses home (8 hours away) with a broken right leg (when he gets out of the hospital, that is), I thought, grown ups should not have broken limbs!  There should be some statute of limitations that you can't break when you have responsibilities to attend to.

Maybe you should just live a more docile life; be more careful.  Are you reading this Tabor?  Do you have internet in that hospital bed?

Despite the hassles that come along when we are thwarted in our grown up duties, it's rather nice to be an adult.  I would be kicking and screaming if someone dragged me back to junior high.

 Here's why I'm grateful to be all grown up:


can eat what they want
have credit cards
can drive
have presumably learned some skills
have the ability to earn money
aren't intimidated by haughty teenagers
don't have to carry enormous backpacks
can take a roadtrip
don't have to clean their room
don't need to ask permission
aren't lectured to be more careful when they spill the milk
can read what they want
don't have to write a five paragraph essay after they finish reading a book

...and (all right Tabor) can ride wild horses.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Double Dipping

This is what the school room table looked like one morning.  I asked Mark how we'd have school.  He said he'd use a clipboard.  He did.

I'm posting twice today.  Because.

This morning I was whiny before Adam left.  It's sometimes an obstacle to him getting out the door.  Me, whiny.  I told him writing posts every day about a specific topic (although it's a topic I love) is wearying.  I need a little narcissism.  I need to write something meaningless and then post it.

Adam told me to do it.  He said, "Post twice."

Why not?

 I spend my days with Mark.  He is my delight.  (And yes, OK, I'm grateful for the time with him.)

Here are just a few of the ways that he makes my life entertaining:

Mark was doing a math test...adding and subtracting long digit numbers.  The regrouping!  The humanity!

He paused and said, "You know Mom, since you refuse to help me, I'm actually kind of getting how to do this."

That's sort of the point Mark.


Mark ate cheese for breakfast.  Then he wanted cheese quesadillas for lunch.  I told him it was too much cheese.  He said, "But I want to have a Mexican day.  I want to eat Mexican food for every meal."

I suggested French Toast for lunch which Mark thought was a fabulous idea.  While I was flipping thick slices of homemade wheat bread dipped in eggy goodness and sprinkled in cinnamon, Mark said, "Wait, is French Toast Mexican?"

I said, "Say that again Mark and think about the words you're saying."

He started to laugh.  "I can't believe I said that.  Mom, did you get what I just said?  French Toast?  Mexican?"  He laughed and laughed, delighted.


Mark was eating some rotisserie chicken and said, "Look!  There's a bone!"   Then he said, "I wonder if that is it's tennis elbow?" (In Mark's defense, we are usually a strictly boneless skinless chicken kind of family.)


In school we have been learning about verbs.  Mark said, "If there was going to be a book about my life, I bet there would be a lot of verbs in it.  I like doing verbs more than learning about them."


Here's Mark, living his life doing some verbs:

Blurry images but he is part Sasquatch...

(See what I did there?  You know how pictures of Big Foot are always blurry?  I wish Braeden were home from school so he could roll his eyes and tell me I'm not that funny.)

OK.  I feel better.  Tomorrow, back to gratitude.

At This Moment

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. 
Henry Ward Beecher

On a whim, I sent out a mass email to some of my family and friends.  I asked them to tell me what they were thankful for at that moment.  I told them not to think about it too much, just to answer.

I wasn't sure anyone would reply.

Well, they did.  It made me feel all warm inside that my loved ones would be so obliging.  Their answers made me feel even happier.  What a lot of gratitude there is circling the planet at any given moment.

Here's how they answered:

A: My car doesn't leak when it rains.

M: A quiet house which is very rare.

K: I'm grateful for my job. It keeps my family afloat and offers me so much flexibility and freedom. I feel truly blessed to work here.

W: I'm grateful that my hubby and I both have jobs and can pay our bills. I don't always (ever) like going to work, but I'm glad we can provide for our family.

S: I am thankful for abundant hot clean water; but that is kind of three because 1. abundant (not in desert) 2. hot (we have electricity) 3. clean water (treatment plants).

F: People who keep their covenants, righteous choices and those who choose to endure to the end. These were my first thoughts!

M: My husband and boys. :)

M: My very first thought was I'm grateful I have an interview tomorrow for a new job in the kidney transplant department and that my current supervisor totally supports me doing this!

H: There are so many things to be thankful for but the first thing that came to mind is........good health.......especially after accompanying L. to chemo yesterday :'( so sad to see someone so sick.

H: Right at this moment I have gratitude for a talented son coming to my rescue and helping fix up the house. I am allergic to paint and have a husband that will not paint. In one day he did the ceiling in the kitchen and my bathroom upstairs that so desperately needed new paint. He will also did my hallway and stairwell where it is impossible for me to get to.

M: Nap-time and a soft bed. Being pregnant I can't make it through the day without a nap and a good long night sleep.

A:  I'm grateful I have a job I enjoy.

J: Yesterday my husband and my daughter and I went to the temple. We did some initiatory and endowments. One was a family name. Soon we will be able to seal and entire family.

E: I'm thankful for my wonderful family, especially my dear wife. I'm also thankful for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

N: I am grateful for my dog so that I am not alone all day now that we are empty nesters!

L: I am thankful for my mother.

J: First thing that came to mind: That there wasn't an explosion at the high school. (editorial note: There was a bomb threat that day.)

S: walking my cute dog, in the sunshine.  Also, walking with my walking buddies (wink, wink)

J: Friends who are there for you no matter what and always there with a kind word, shoulder to cry on and hugs to say they care!

C: I am grateful for good health and the ability to walk and work and do

A: Oh boy, that's hard. I am grateful for so much! I guess right now I am
grateful to be home safe from work in my nice house with my husband who
loves me. How's that for wonderful!

O:  I am grateful for my children and for dark chocolate.

B: You may think these are strange, but old age is creeping up on me, and I am so thankful
That I have my teeth.
That I am not in constant pain.
No one has to push me in a wheel chair.
I don't need to wear a diaper.
I have the use of my limbs eyes and ears.
I don't need surgery or chemo treatment.

I'm thankful for blue sky.
That my garden hasn't been frozen yet.
My kids want to go to church and seminary.
My kids passed the wasl
My older kids are continuing with a college education
My husband has a job
We have a home and cars
We can pay tithing, FO, and help the poor and needy.
I have many friends~particularly my Savior, Jesus Christ,
and the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

T: I'm thankful that O. told me yesterday was "her favorite day because we roped together."
Also thankful to be able to do what I love and get paid for it.

H: I am grateful for friends that make me laugh, recommend good books, and love me no matter all my short-comings.

I'm grateful that I live near them, and that family livea not so near :) love them bit they need to make appointment to visit!

I'm also grateful for church leaders that speak simply and use beautiful metaphors like forget-me-nots.

S: I am thankful for a living prophet.

J: Shoes. When I see H. without shoes, it makes my feet hurt. I'm glad I
have them.

Firefighters. They just put out a fire on the hill behind our trailer.

Sisters-in-law. Some of us weren't blessed with sisters in our immediate
families. Sisters-in-law are the blessings/bonus check for surviving
childhood with only brothers.

Running water that is safe to drink

Fast internet.

Freedom of religion.

A living prophet. The other day in Primary I told the kids I didn't know
about a living prophet when I was their age. Some were really confused by
that, others were amazed.

General Conference

My children

A dishwasher

My camera

My memory. I hate that my grandma is not able to remember things like she
used to.

Communication. I hate living far away from my mom, but I'm glad we don't
have to send letters via the pony express to tell each other something. We
can talk every day. Several times a day.

Advil. How did those pioneers survive all those children without Advil.

Stain remover.


D: I am grateful for my grandchildren. I need a t shirt that says "If I had
know how wonderful grandchildren are I would have had them first"! They
always make me feel loved and awesome!!

K: I am grateful for silly songs in the car.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ability to Create

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty. 
Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

created by my dear old dad
Usually when I’m feeling dissatisfied with life I need one of two things, more time with Adam or to create something. It’s very predictable.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, one of my favorite speakers to listen to, said, “The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.” I could not agree more. There is nothing quite as satisfying as creating.

Creating can take on many forms for me. Sometimes it involves words, sometimes glue and paper, sometimes paint. Sometimes it’s corralling clutter into order. It’s all gratifying. I love that we can create.

Everyone I know creates in different ways. My dad makes bits and spurs out of steel and silver, my mom makes quilts and amazing meals.
Adam likes to create ways to display informationOne sister sews, the other one creates connections in family history. I have one child that writes stories, another that draws maps of fictional lands, and another who builds with Lego blocks. 

What a wonderful world we live in that is constantly being improved by people adding more beauty, more order and more innovations.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Unpleasant Luxuries

If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience. 
Robert Fulghum

Emma got braces recently. They made her miserable. (The cost made me a little miserable.)

There are a lot of unpleasant things in the world that are wonderful luxuries though. Blessings really. Braces are among them. How lucky we are to be able to put a little money and a little pain into a lifetime of straight teeth that will not only look better but work better?

I started thinking about more disagreeable things that turn out making life better. There are vaccinations, going to the dentist, getting a mammogram. Wearing seatbelts, driving within the speed limit when you’re late, red lights when you’re late, (What?  I'm late sometimes) bicycle helmets.

What about receiving constructive criticism? It’s no fun to be told you’re wrong/ineffective/not doing well enough but sometimes it’s the nudge you need to improve…the only way you can improve. It’s nice to have people that care enough about you to kindly tell you the truth and what you need to do better.

Like braces, worth the discomfort.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Conscious of My Treasures

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Thornton Wilder

At the beginning of the school year, I had a flurry of paperwork to fill out. I had to sign my name that yes, I’d read the syllabus. Yes, I knew what the grading scale was, how to get in touch with the teacher, what materials were needed.

It was all kind of a pain.

Then I came across another kind of form. It was a health history. I’ve filled out health histories for my children dozens of times; it was nothing new.

But something struck me.

I realized how really marvelous to fill out the forms, one each for Braeden and Emma. I answered no, no and no to disease after disease they don’t have. Yes, they’ve been immunized and yes, they have a doctor. (A doctor we love by the way.) What a blessing to have healthy children. What a blessing to have my eyes opened while I was filling out paperwork.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Soul Help

 We thank Thee, O Father of all, for... all the soul-help that sad souls understand. 
Will Carleton

With Mormons running for president, Mormonism seems to be in the news.

The New York times reported 25% of people would not vote for someone just because they were a Mormon. (Voting for someone based on their religion doesn't make sense to me.  It's like voting for someone based on their gender or color of their skin.  Irrelevant.  The politics of the person is what matters.  There are Mormons whose politics I agree with--and would vote for--and those who I certainly would not.) In my naivety, the 25% is surprising to me but not shocking.  It's not the first time there have been prejudices against Mormons and I'm sure won't be the last.

It's reminds me of how I feel about terrorists hating Americans.  Really? Most Americans I know are pretty good people, not worthy of hatred.

Here's what hurts my feelings though: when people say that we're not Christian, that we don't consider Jesus Christ to be our Savior.  It is like terrorists hating America because we don't believe in freedom or equal rights or apple pie.

My belief in Jesus Christ is central to my life.  My reliance on His atonement for my happiness and peace is central to my life.  It makes me sad to hear that so blatantly denied.

I was feeling a little downtrodden by all of this and then opened my Bible for my daily scripture reading.  I've been reading Isaiah in the Old Testament lately.  When I read Isaiah, I absolutely don't get 2/3 of what I read but then something shimmering in its grandeur comes along.  I have been taking note of all the scriptures that so elegantly testify of Christ.  

Coincidentally, chapter 53 is where I happened to be reading:
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:  the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 

I am healed by my belief in Christ. Those words fill me with the reassurance that I know what I know.  It doesn't matter what people I've never met think I believe.

Because I know.

Today I'm grateful for that knowledge.


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