Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gratitude for Everything

After that incredibly long post where I wrote about my love and appreciation for all of you, I have decided to make this post short.
It took a long time to write, so please go and read it. Don't want to sound like a whiner, but I just want you to know I'm grateful for you.

I am so incredibly blessed and am grateful for EVERYTHING.

After posting EVERYDAY since November 2nd, I am taking a break. I'll still be reading, but I need to give my brain a rest from posting.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gratitude for Friends

This is another post that I think will be difficult to write. I am so grateful for friends--friends who have always been there for me.

A month or so I was reading an article about friendship. (And, of course, I can't find it now. Basically, it was talking about the need to have friends of different ages. Many years ago, when I was young, I had lots of friends who were older and lots who were younger. It helped me a great deal. I can't say I just learned from the older ones--I learned a great deal from the younger ones, too..

Today, the same thing is true. I have friends my age and friends who are younger, and if you can even believe it, I even have friends who ARE OLDER THAN ME!!!!

My friends have been through so much with me. I still remember when I called my friend Priscilla who was serving with her husband on a mission in Paris after Allan and I had our first date. She was so excited. (In fact, a few months after Allan and I were married we went to visit them in Paris.)

My friend, Pat, was the first one who knew Allan was going to ask me out on our first date--actually, Allan went to see her husband and told him first (so I guess she was the second).

Both Pat and Priscilla are the kinds of friends that you go to see and even though it may have been a year or so since you last visited or even talked, you pick up like it was yesterday. They have kept me in line and I appreciate their honesty. They will tell me when I'm being dumb, and I love them for it.

Then there is , Mary, who lives in Toronto. We keep in touch via telephone and internet. She has been with me through some pretty tough family struggles. She is a great listener and helps me see things much clearer. Her husband, Bill, died in a plane crash when Kyle was just a baby. She is an amazing woman and I cherish our friendship.

I have many wonderful friends here in Winnipeg--friends that I know I will continue to keep in touch with long after we move away. (That's one of the benefits of living in different areas--you form friendships that stay with you even when you leave ; ) In fact today I was with one of those friends and she gave me an ornament. I wanted to post a picture of it, but it was blurry each time I tried. It is a Hallmark "Angel of Chocolate" ornament. (She knows me so well) Thanks, cory.

This whole blogging experience has given me an opportunity to develop some great friendships. Some of you I've had the privilege of meeting--some I look forward to meeting one day. I so appreciate the things I learn from you as I read your blog. So much has helped me to think about ways I can improve.

I'm going to go out on a limb and do something I very rarely do--I want to say something about all of you whose blogs I read on a regular basis. I could lose readers because you may not appreciate what I write, but I do appreciate all of you, so please forgive me if I don't capture exactly what you think your blog represents.

First of all, my DIL, Macy. Even though she is my DIL, I consider her a friend. She has only been my DIL for 3 years, and unfortunately we haven't had many opportunities to spend much time together. Macy is a very talented woman and is very smart and sometimes intimidates me (not that she tries, it's my insecurities that make me intimidated--it's not her fault ; ) She can sing, cook, and she has just taken up photography and has taken some amazing pictures that she has posted on her blog. (Of course, my favorite photos would have to be of my adorable grandson, Garrett ; ) When I talk about the 3 years that she has been my DIL, I think of my other DIL, Daphne--she has been my DIL for 20 years. Over those 20 years we have spent LOTS of time together and consequently are very close. No, she doesn't have a blog, but how can I write about one DIL and not the other ; ) I'm grateful for the friendship I enjoy with both Macy and Daph and especially grateful for the love that they share with their husbands--my sons.

Bloggers that are here in my area: Carolyne B. is a friend here--we are in different wards and it's wonderful when we see each other at Stake Conference. Before Theresa and Jess got married they were both YSA when Allan was the Bishop in their Ward. Both of them are fantastic women.

As far as other bloggers I have had the privilege of meeting: Nancyface and I will always be imaginary next-door neighbors and one day I'll go jogging with her (but it will have to be when it's not a zillion degrees outside ; ) She is so funny and positive--I love positive people and always hope some of that will rub off on me. I think her daughter, Lauren, is my youngest blogging buddy. Like her mom, she is so full of life, and I just adore her. I will always remember her link on my birthday to get me to get lots and lots of birthday wishes. Chel (who has a private blog) is a very dear friend--she feels more like a daughter. There is a connection--I'm sure we've been friends before ; ) Suzanne (whose blog is private) and I have met and I guess I knew her husband before she did--he served his mission in the area we lived in 1995 ; ) She is so incredibly sweet and we exchange e-mails quite often. I just love her. I still remember the first tag I ever had for a meme--it came from gina. She is such a lovely woman and a fantastic mom. I love her monthly letters to Liam. It was so fun when I was in Utah to meet up with UTmommy--she is so fun and such a sweetie. And even though I have not met her mom, and she doesn't have a blog, she is an instant friend. I can't wait to read all about her mission when they finally get their visas. I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet tori in person--I have read her blog FOREVER. She has a great sense of humor and a love of life and her family. I'm still waiting for another 911 post, tori. In fact, frankly, she was one of the big draws for my going to Oregon last summer--I really wanted to meet her. I still remember getting the e-mail from Amanda that she was going to Oregon, too. Aside from the bloggers that live here in the area, she is the closest in proximity. When she talks about her "lovely" weather I know what she's talking about. She is such a sweet woman. I had talked with klin on the phone and was happy to get a chance to meet her in Oregon, too. I love reading NCS's blog--she always makes me laugh--so clever. Heffalump has been doing some wonderful holiday tips--so great and so clever. Aubrey is a very talented young woman--every time I look around my clutter, I wish she was closer. She wrote a beautiful gratitude post the other day. I wish Glittersmama would post more often--she amazes me when she comments--she is so clever. I have to admit, I'm a little jealous because she is very witty. Millie is another one who is so clever--I love that she is a real genealogy enthusiasts. (I wish she lived closer because I could sure use some help ; ) Elastic is another one of those talented women who is so clever when she writes. So often I read and don't comment because I don't want to say over and over again "That was funny". Just go look at the banner on her blog ; )

And as far as those I haven't yet met: Txmommy has taught me a great deal. I know we would be real-life friends--when she writes I find myself shaking my head because I feel the same way. Of course, today I'm wishing I hadn't read her post the beginning of the month that talked about doing the month-long gratitude posts!!!! (Just kidding ; ) I love pj for her love of life and her laughter--and she has such cute girls and they seem to have such a fun time together. Melissa and I have a special connection. She tugs at my heart strings when she writes about her Little Bug. It brings back such memories of my times with Brent. (Please understand I'm not saying I feel sorry for her--because I know she is the perfect mom for Little Bug) Ashley is another dear friend whose blog I have read for quite awhile. She has 3 adorable daughters. Ashley is very talented and is quite the decorator. I love when she posts pictures of her latest decorating ideas. The other day I was putting the stars I won in holly's giveaway on my Christmas tree. Every time I play Scrabble with Allan I think of Holly. Somebody loved and I haven't always agreed but we still have a great relationship. One day I will get to Nevada and we will have lunch together (maybe we'll even go to Ely and go to the Star ; ) (one day I accidentally misled her--it is not in Ely, it is in Elko ; ) I would love to serve in Young Women with justrandi--her love of the youth and her sense of humor would be so fun to be around on a regular basis. I know one day we'll have a chance to meet, and I am so looking forward to it. I still remember one of the first posts I ever read of chelli's where she talked about her son's experience at the dedication of the Rexburg Temple--"the little red-headed boy". So often I read posts that make me wish I was still raising a young family--corinne's post yesterday about buying for her children for Christmas was one of those. Read it. Aurora doesn't post as often as I would like, but she is such a fantastic mom and I love to read of her experiences. She does great tutorials. Aurora, I still can't figure out how to do the little crochet'd cap, but I'm trying--how about a tutorial. I'm sure many of you read amber's blog. What talent. I often wish I could send her a post and say--"Can you do something with this?", and have her write it--I know it would be SO MUCH BETTER. I do not know how I started reading tonya's blog, but she is another one of those amazing women. She shares herself and her feelings in her post, and I love what I learn. I was so thrilled when she and her husband and son were sealed in the temple a couple of month's ago. Mel is an inspiration to me--she's another one who doesn't post very often. I wish she would because she inspires me. One day she wrote a thought that she was going to use in a Relief Society lesson--I loved it. Go here to read it. I love to read annie's blog--she has such faith and I am so inspired by her words. I just know she must be a great cook--she is always making such yummy dinners ; ) I think I'm drawn to people who are positive--Jodi is another one of those positive people. She talks so much about having an attitude of gratitude--something I've tried to develop through this month of gratitude posts. Magirk has such deep thoughts and I really have to stop and think as I read. She has a gift to write so beautifully, and I love reading her words. One of the first post I read from mindylou was about Isaiah--yes, Isaiah, SHE LOVES ISAIAH. She is a deep thinker and a beautiful writer. She's another one I wish would post more often. I know that one day sweetpea posted 100 things and at the end she commented "I have enough". Wow--that really made me stop and think about how blessed I am. Another young person who I read is whitney--she is such a sweetie and SHE'S GOING TO BE A MOM!!! It will be fun to read all about her pregnancy--I just hope it's fun for her. Sheri does a great job of capturing the things that are going on with her family. Quite often she writes about music--I love music so it's fun to read. Tiffany is another mom of twins--I just love reading about mom's of twins--they are amazing. In fact, several of the blogs I read are moms of twins.

I didn't want to leave anyone out--I want you all to know that you are GREAT WOMEN. Know that I appreciate the chance to get to know you a little better through reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your experiences, your laughter, and your efforts to do better each day. There are some days your words offer me the lift I need, the hope I need, the smile I need, or the encouragement to just press forward.

Thanks for your friendship.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gratitude for Missionaries

We had a fabulous evening with the missionaries. We ended up having 42 for dinner, plus the 3 of us. Everything was delicious. We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, corn, peas, pistachio pudding salad, yogurt/raspberry salad, broccoli-cauliflower salad, rolls, and for desert Germany Chocolate pudding cake, pumpkin gooey cake, double layer pumpkin pie, and chocolate carmel pecan pie.

After dinner and dessert, everyone popped open their crackers and then we had a gift exchange. It was so fun. I'm grateful for these young men and women (well, we only have one "young" sister and a few Senior sisters, as well as a Senior couple. It is always such a delight to have them in our home. I just love them all so much.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude for Inservice Days

I was going to leave my post about my parents up and consider it gratitude for my parents and Helen and Les and called it a double post, but I just couldn't.

Frankly, it has been a very long day today. I've spent most of the day getting ready for our big Thanksgiving/Christmas feast with the missionaries. I have had lots to do, and because tomorrow is an Inservice Day WE DON'T HAVE SEMINARY. I'm looking forward to having more time to get ready. I have 3 salads done, 5 tables set, 4 desserts almost done. 43 candy bags done, and most of the gifts for the gift exchange wrapped.

Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving--can't read all about your day, but probably won't be doing any reading of blogs until Saturday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude for My Parents

I realize that tomorrow is Thanksgiving but as I mentioned in the post I did a couple of days ago about my sisters, my mom's birthday was November 26th. In honor of her birthday today, I wanted to express my gratitude for my parents. They may have lived only a short time, but they had a great impact on my life. Along with them, I can't forget the two people who raised me after they died--Helen and Les.

First let me tell you a little about my dad: He was a plumber by profession. We lived on the East side of the SF Bay and my dad worked in San Francisco. He loved all kinds of sports--we watched wrestling, boxing, and baseball. (It's funny but I don't remember him watching football or basketball ; ) I often think of what it must have been like for my dad living in a home with NOTHING BUT GIRLS!!! He had two brothers and no sisters. He was born in the Boston area--I could kick myself today because I really don't know much about his growing up years. I don't even know what year he came to California. I was the son he never had--I loved reading the sports section and telling him who won and what was happening. I will always remember going with him to Candlestick Park to see the S.F. Giants play the Milwaukee Braves. (Those were the years the Giants had Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda. They had a pretty good team) It must have been just a short time before my dad died.

One of the things that is interesting about doing family history is the things you find out--I never knew my parents were never legally married. They were common law husband and wife.

My mother was a California native--she had 8 brothers and 2 sisters. Her mom died when she was fairly young. She grew up in San Francisco. She was tall and very slender. She was a waitress and worked very hard. I don't know how she did it after my dad died in May of 1963, but she persevered. I sit and cry when I think about how lonely she must have been, and I never remember her sitting around feeling sorry for herself. I will always be grateful for the Salvation Army for providing us with some treats that Christmas. (I can't pass by a bell ringer without stopping and making a donation. Somewhere there is a little girl (like me) whose life will be blessed by what they do) When she was hospitalized with tuberculosis, we were not allowed to go and see her in the hospital, but we could go and stand outside and she would go to the window or balcony and wave at us. That's my last memory of her. (In the picture, she is the one on the right)

Every so often we would visit my mom's sibblings. I can remember one brother in particular. I was pretty close to him--mainly because we shared the same birthday. In fact, when my mother died in 1964 he was one who came forward to "adopt" me--but he and his wife could only take one of us. I think many of them would take one, but no one would take all of us. I don't know who made the decision to keep us all together, but I'm very grateful they did.

I always feel very bad when I think about the short lives they lived--they had so much more living to do. Perhaps that's why being a mom and grandma are so important to me--and every holiday I get to be with my kids or have them call and I can talk to them is such a blessing.

In December of 1964, after my mom died, we continued to live with my sister, Carol's, boyfriend's family. A woman that my mom had worked with, named Helen, heard about what had happened and she and her husband wanted to do something to help. They had us over and visited with us a few times and decided that they wanted to take in all 6 of us. (Can you imagine raising 6 girls--age 19 down to 9???) They had already raised 2 boys. We moved in with them and they were officially made our legal guardians on February 14, 1965--we celebrated that anniversary together every year!!!

They were there for us during those critical teenage years. They were amazing--always encouraging us in all of our activities. As we grew up and had children, they were Grandma and Grandpa and helped us with everything. It wasn't like--Oh, you're 18--you're on your own. Helen died in 1979. Les continued to be very active in our lives. Allan, the kids, and I have some great memories with Les with us on a couple of vacations. When he and Helen died it was very much like losing parents.

They made every holiday, every activity fun. Les added on to the house and it was so fun to help him while he was doing the remodeling. He was a great handyman. You gotta love this picture with my sisters, Les, and I (and Gayle's boyfriend) Notice the hairpieces--I don't know if ANY OF THEM MATCHED!!!)

To my sister Linda they were the only parents she really knew. Obviously to my kids, they are grandma and grandpa. I marvel that they were so loving and caring and willing to do something I don't think many people would do. They made us all feel loved and they are both missed.

Not many people have been blessed with two sets of parents--I was and I will always be grateful for all of them.

Sidenote: I hope EVERYONE has a fabulous Thanksgiving. Not sure when I will get my Gratitude Post done for tomorrow. Because tomorrow is transfer day, we are celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday. Tomorrow I will be busy getting everything ready for my 43 dinner guests ; ) (Just think, if we had turkey dinner tomorrow, I could serve LEFTOVERS on Friday!!!)

Just so you understand why I cry every time I read about someone getting a free turkey when they buy $25 worth of groceries. Here's what it cost for one of our turkeys for Friday ; )

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gratitude For Digital Cameras

I love pictures and very rarely do I go anywhere without my camera. In fact, it has been mentioned before that on my tombstone it will say a phrase that I am noted for: "OKAY, LOOK THIS WAY!!!"

I was thinking about how nice it is to have all of my digital pictures so accessible. My digital pictures are on my computer, so when I'm looking for something I don't have to go through negatives (that fortunately are filed chronologically). I love that I can take a picture and then take another JUST TO BE SURE!!!

I am sad that I am not a great photographer. I'm looking forward to the day when I have a lot more free time and can take some classes and really hone my skills. For now it's a great hobby. Who doesn't love pioneerwoman's lessons on photography. (Of course, I guess I really need to get photoshop ; )


Monday, November 24, 2008

Gratitude for My Sisters

So rarely do I post much about my sisters. I have 4 sisters who live in California and 1 sister in Texas. I don't get to see them very often, but I have such great memories of our growing up years. Age wise I am number 4. We grew up in a small house in the Bay Area. I always think a great deal about my family this time of year. I miss them and wish I lived closer. On our family website the other day, one of my sisters posted an invite about Thanksgiving--I was so jealous.

In November 3 of my sisters have birthday--my sister Gayle on the 25th, my sister Carol on the 27th, my sister Judy on the 28th, and my mother was born on the 26th. Actually, my mom gave birth to her first daughter on the 27th, the next year on the 28th she gave birth to her second, and then 4 years later, my sister Gayle was born on the 25th. (Then I was born 14 months later IN JANUARY!!!! I have a sister Patty who is two years younger than me and then Linda is 4 years younger than me.

I think two oldest sisters grew up very quickly when my parents died. My father died in May 1963 (a month before my two oldest sisters graduated from high school), and my mom died in December of 1964. My sister, Carol, had tuberculosis and was in the hospital with my mother for 5 months before my mom died. My sister, Judy, had just turned 18 and would have liked to take care of all of us, but the courts wouldn't allow it.

Back to my memories of my childhood with my sisters--we got along pretty well. I think of how different life is today--we played hopskotch, hula hoops, jacks, baseball and basically had a lot of fun together. We spent a lot of time at the local roller rink. Many weekends were spent driving to San Francisco to see my Aunt and Uncle. My dad would pile us on a mattress in the back of the truck and away we'd go. I remember taking only one family vacation--and here I am 45 years later and I still remember it.

During the summer we would camp outside at night, run through the sprinkler and go to the orchards and pick fruit. Many afternoons in the summer we would walk downtown and get a hot dog, soda, and chips for a dime ; )

My mom made a lot of our clothes--gosh she was great. We loved each other and watched out for one another. Fight--you bet, but we also always had each other's back.

Helen and Les did a great job taking care of us after our parents died. I think we gave them a fair amount of grief, but nothing they couldn't handle.

The four of us were all pregnant together and gave birth to our first child the same year--Gayle and Judy gave birth to daughters 5 days apart. I had Stephen in May and my sister, Carol, had Troy in September. I'm sad that only Stephen really knows them. Two of them took care of Stephen when he was a baby. We spent lots of time together when Stephen was growing up. I know Stephen and Daphne see them for some holidays and I'm grateful for that--my sisters adore them and their kids. I think Heidi and Brent know them a little, but it's been years since they've seen any of them. That's probably one of the biggest disadvantages to living in Canada--not being close to my family.

My sisters are great moms and fantastic grandmothers. Each of them is a hard worker.

In 1993 we gathered in Texas when my niece, Denise, was married. It was so fun to have that time together. Such a great memory. Les drove his motorhome there and it was so fun to sit up at night and talk.

I think the last time we were all together was 1999 for Les's funeral. We live very different lives. I do love catching up on the phone--just wish there was an opportunity to get together more often.

I'm so grateful they are my sisters.

Sidenote: I'm so glad that JACK IS BACK!!! (Well, at least he was back last night. I am so looking forward to January when he will be back every week!!!; )

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gratitude for Scriptures

This may feel like a follow-up post to my Gratitude for Seminary. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to read and ponder the scriptures. They are such a guide and I am so grateful for the peace that comes as I read them. I have some favorite scripture stories. Each time I read of the anti-nephi-lehies burying their swords, I have to ask myself "What are the weapons of rebellion I need to bury?". I have loved studying the New Testament this year--When I study the story of The Good Samaritan, I wonder if I consider everyone my neighbor--do I really treat others with love and kindness, and am I willing to serve everyone, or just people I consider my friends. The story of the woman with the issue of blood causes me to wonder if I have that kind of faith--she dealt with that illness for 12 years and she used all of her resources to find a solution. She didn't sit and ask, "Why me?" There are so many great stories in the Old Testament: Several of my students loved the talking donkey in Numbers. I love the peace I feel as I read much of Psalms.

So many stories, so many wonderful examples. I am grateful that we are blessed to not only have The Bible, but also the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. As well, we have the words of our current Prophet and Apostles--which are scripture.

Today we had our Primary Presentation. I just love watching those little children--they are so sweet. I appreciate so much those that serve in the Primary. I'm grateful to know that my grandchildren have wonderful Primary teachers who love them and are sharing with them the things they need to know.

I think my Seminary students get tired of me saying, that is one of my favorite scriptures. In the back of my scriptures, I have a little list of "Scripture Treasures". The first one mentioned is Alma 36:3--"...For I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."

How about you--do you have a favorite scripture?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gratitude for Opportunity to Make Changes

I have struggled trying to figure out how to write this post. I am just so grateful to be able to get up every day and make necessary corrections in my life. I so appreciate that I can change things about myself I don't like. I don't have to say: "That's just the way I am".

Last year I made an accountability list, and though I didn't exactly keep up with it, I did do some of the things on the list.  I feel pretty good that I completed a couple of goals. A couple of things I'm still working on and will probably work on for the rest of my life: 
  • Letting people solve their own problems; and 
  • Recognizing that people are different and don't do things the way I do, i.e., the "right way" ; ) I have to admit I'm doing a little better.  I still get frustrated.  
Obviously, I am very grateful for repentance (but that will be saved for another post ; )  I know I have a long way to go, but I will forge ahead.  I am so grateful to know I can get up every day and strive to become a better me, and in the meantime I know I don't have to beat myself up because I'm not there yet. 

Sidenote:  I can't believe I forgot to write that yesterday was my grandson, Josh's 19th, birthday.  Of course, I guess part of the problem is because I have been doing these gratitude post, I didn't do a November celebrations post.  

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gratitude for a Full Life

I saw this on Aurora's blog--I know I saw it some time ago on someone else's, but I thought this would be the perfect list for this post. I have been very fortunate to do a great many things. The things I have done are in italics and highlighted--the last two things I saw on another list:

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band--I doubt ROCK BAND counts ; )
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked(Some day I'll have to post about that whole experience in Yosemite when I was 17)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (the Canadian side is much prettier than the American side ; )
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt (it was such a fun vacation)
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (been to the Eiffel Tower, but have not been to the top
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Visited to Mt. Rushmore
101.  Learned to play a musical instrument

I have been blessed to enjoy a full life.

Sidenote:  Went this afternoon to see Twilight--really enjoyed it. I was very worried that it was not going to be very good.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gratitude For My Jacuzzi

The other day Neal asked me if I was going to keep posting for the whole month--YES. I'm one of those people that tries to follow through on commitments. Gee, I wonder if I sound like those people in the scriptures who talk out of both sides of their mouth because I didn't do very well on the 21 days without sugar commitment I made ; (

I have been going to the gym (well, on second thought I'm not sure Curves is considered a gym???) every day this week. I do 30 minutes of circuit training. Then I come home and get on the elliptical for another 30 minutes. I have to tell you my hips (well, my right hip) is giving me grief. (Actually I had noticed before we even went to China that it was bugging me)--I kept thinking I just needed to keep working it and it would get better). I keep going up and down the stairs in my house and some days it is tough. (Remember how yesterday I said I didn't feel old--TODAY I DO. So far my hip is not getting a whole lot better.

I am very happy to say that it feels a lot better tonight after a nice 30 minute soak ; )

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gratitude for My Cute Husband

Obviously these Gratitude Posts are not in order of importance or this one certainly wouldn't be posted on the 19th day of the month!!! I am certainly grateful for this guy.

He is the love of my life. I know I have told you so much about him, but I'll tell you some more. We had our 26th anniversary almost a month ago, and in that post I told you about some of the things I love about him. Each and every day I feel so grateful for the wonderful man that he is--quite often I wonder why I am so blessed. I truly believe he gets up each and every day wondering what he can do to make my life better.

We have had some great times together--he is so much fun-- No matter how old he gets, he is so young at heart. I think we both shake our heads in disbelief that we are as old as we are!!! Of course this was a river trip over 20 years ago. It was so fun.

Our first cruise--we laugh so much about this trip. When we left LA there were 6 of us traveling together. My SIL had some heart palpitations when we stopped in Hawaii, so she my other SIL and my MIL and FIL got off the plane--Allan, me, and the luggage (I didn't want to write Allan and the old bags or you might have thought I meant me ; ) went on. (This would NEVER happen today.) So when we arrived in Sydney, the two of us had to manage something like 12 pieces of luggage--(gosh we traveled light in those days--today Allan and I coming back from China almost had that by ourselves ; ) We still don't know why they ever let us through customs.

Our first trip to Alaska--it was so beautiful--still probably one of our favorite cruise destinations. We just love seeing this beautiful world together, and we have been so blessed to enjoy some beautiful sites.

Thanksgiving 1991. Such a great memory--Jason, Kiah and Daphne were visiting. We were living in the Toronto area--Allan was serving as Bishop. Such an amazing time in our lives. It has been a privilege for me to support him in each of his callings, and I feel so incredibly blessed for the support he has always given me. It is so wonderful to have his help with my Seminary calling. I just love his willingness to serve anywhere.

He can be so silly sometimes. When Nancy got married in 2000, she had a Hawaiian theme, and my SIL had this silly wig, so Allan had to put it on--frankly I prefer his little bald head!!! He does have a great sense of humor which I appreciate so very much.

We've had the privilege of seeing many temples throughout the world--this is the Copenhagen temple. We always try to visit temples whenever we can--I love that attending the temple is so important to him.

In 2007 it was so great for him to have the opportunity to release Brent when he returned home from his mission. Allan's mission was such a great experience for him and we so look forward to serving a mission together one day. I'm grateful it is so important to him

He has always been a great provider--he is such a hard worker. I love having him at home now, but I know he is anxious to find another job. It's exciting to wonder what the future holds.

He knows blogging makes me happy, so he encourages me to blog and has even helped me come up with post ideas. He was even a guest blogger on my blog on this post He also has always been supportive in my meeting other bloggers. He encourages me in my exercising--not because he thinks I need it, but because he know it makes me feel better. He encourages me in my piano playing--even though he has to put up with the poor playing when I practice.

You may laugh when I say that I look forward to growing old together--because I'm sure to you we are old. Believe me, to us we're not. I think of my parents who died before they were 50 and realize that we still HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF LIVIN TO DO!!!!

Every year when the kids go to buy Christmas presents and they ask him what he wants, he gives the same answer: I just want my family to be happy. I AM JUST SO GRATEFUL TO BE HIS WIFE.

Sidenote: I'm glad he was at meetings last night and didn't have to listen to his wife yell at the TV while watching Biggest Loser.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gratitude for Blogging

I think each of us began blogging for different reasons--for me it was to be a place for family and friends could go to see the things we were seeing on trips. It's more than that today. It has become more of a journal of what's going on in my life. Sometimes I let it record some of my thoughts--probably shouldn't do that very often. If I come off whiney, I'm sorry--I certainly don't mean to. I guess that needs to be written on my private (or personal) blog, which I am the only one who reads.

I love reading other blogs. I appreciate those family members who have blogs and I can go and read about what they're doing or even see pictures of cute children/grandchildren ; ) I have met some wonderful people through this whole experience. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting three of my favorite people--Nancy, Lauren,

and Chel. And then on trips to Utah I had a chance to meet Suzanne,

Gina, and UTMommy. And last summer I was able to spend a couple of days with some wonderful women. The thing that will always stay with me was their kindness in including an old lady, and especially not making me feel like one.

It is fun to read about life from some one else's perspective. I love to comment because I like people to know I appreciate what they wrote or appreciate their courage in writing their post (sometimes people really go out on a limb and share things they feel very passionately about--they amaze me). There are so many braves indivudals who exhibit such strength and write so beautifully.

So thanks to all of you who have blogs that I read. I have several blogs on my sidebar. I also read a lot of other blogs that aren't listed. I hope I have never offended anyone because perhaps I come and read your blog, but I don't have you listed on my sidebar. I guess I need to go back and read gina's blogging etiquette post.

As much as I have enjoyed writing about the things I am grateful for, it has taken up a lot of time. I'm also very aware that it takes a lot of your time to come and read. So knowing everyone is busy, I'm turning off the comment section--giving you a break from commenting.

Sidenote: I'm sure hoping tonight is the night we say goodbye to either Vicky or Heba on Biggest Loser!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gratitude for Music

Because I love music, and in honor of Friday, I posted youtube video (the previous post). This song was popular in about 1958.

I am so grateful for music. I grew up in the 50's--no, that is not a typo ; ) There are a few songs I remember from the 50's--Rock Around the Clock, The Great Pretender, Paul Anka's "Diana", Blueberry Hill (that song ALWAYS reminds me of my dad). You know in Top Gun where Tom Cruise talks about his mom listening to "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay" over and over--that's how I feel about Blueberry Hill.

My sister's and I had our 45's and would listen to all these songs and many more. But like every teenager back then, I learned how to dance and learned what everyone was listening to by watching "American Bandstand". When I saw "Hairspray" oh it brought back memories of American Bandstand--I don't know how often that show was on, but it seems like we watched it every day. I wonder how many times Ricky Nelson was on that show--I loved Traveling Man or maybe I just loved Ricky Nelson. And, of course, growing up in California, I loved the Beach Boys. I was a big Simon and Garfunkel fan.

Well, I guess I can't go through every era and every song I liked, but wow, there was a lot of good stuff. I don't know what my teenage years would have been like without all that music. My sister's and I knew all the words to all the songs. I don't listen to the radio like I used to--but I don't think kids do either--it's more CD's and iPods today. Isn't it great how technology has made it so easy to download music.

Today I listen to all kinds of music--my playlists has music from just about every era. (Well, not so much of the current stuff ; ) I'm grateful that there are so many talented artists.

Do you have a favorite song or artist?

The Platters - Twilight Time

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gratitude for Church

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have each Sunday to attend Church. When the meeting began and our opening hymn was "Where Can I Turn for Peace", I knew I was not alone.

We have been studying the Life of the Savior and the Atonement in Seminary. When I was in Utah a while ago, someone in Relief Society said when she was a little girl her grandma told her that if she understood the significance of The Sacrament she would crawl to get to the meeting. One of the reasons I am grateful for Church is because of the healing power of the Atonement.

I was also blessed by each of the talks given today:

A missionary who is going home next week bore a beautiful testimony.

The next speaker especially touched my heart--it was on forgiveness, and today I was not feeling very forgiving. (Hence, the greater need for the sacrament) I was also touched because it was given by one of my Seminary students. She mentioned she had learned in Seminary that the Savior suffered not only for her sins but also for her hurts and sorrows. It was cute when I went up to her after and thanked her for the talk and told her how I really needed to hear her words today, she said she was hoping that someone would benefit from what she said. (I sure did)

The next speaker talked about righteous traditions and reminded me of why it is so important to strive to teach our children. This young lady talked about her parents insisting that the children come home at least once a year. (She is one of ten children, and I believe she is from Jamaica) It was so sweet when she said how getting together every year has kept them close and it is why, when she was given this assignment to speak, the first people she turned to were brothers and sisters. I love when our family can get together and want my children to be close to each other and to know Allan and I are always there for them.

Our Bishop spoke last and he talked about Elder Wirthlin's talk--"Come What May, and Love It." I made reference to this talk a few posts ago. It isn't always easy to deal with the struggles we have, but they are there for our growth. At those times when the struggles seem too great, I know where to turn.

I hope this doesn't come off as a downer post or that it sounds like I'm being a whiner or a needy person. I am just being real. Every day life isn't a bowl of cherries, but I know that I can get through anything with the help of the Lord. He is always there. I worry that sometimes people read my blog and see my travels and think I don't know what problems are--I want people to know that life can get tough, but we can all get through it--no matter what IT is.

I'm grateful for what I heard, but more importantly, I'm grateful for what I felt.

I hope you have had a great Sunday.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gratitude for Food and Shelter

I remember when I lived in California and it would get cold--or what I knew then as "cold". I now have a much different definition of cold. I'm grateful each and every day that I have a home, that along with everything else, shelters me from the cold. Everywhere I look in our home there are so many memories--memories that warm my heart. I am also grateful that I can go to my cupboard or refrigerator and get something when I'm hungry. I'm also blessed to have running water.

All of this may sound very simple, but I consider it a great blessing.

In 1982 when I married Allan my life changed in many ways. I was a single mom on a very limited budget. (In fact, the other day I received a note from Social Security (goodness am I really getting that old ; ) giving my earnings in those years when Stephen was a child. To say that we were below the poverty level would be an understatement.) I didn't have a car for a long time--and when I bought my first car bought something I couldn't afford and had a repossession. I learned some valuable things about credit/debt during those years. Through it all I learned how to make a dollar stretch.

As I watch the economy right now, I'm grateful for all the experiences I have had. In June when Allan came home and told me about his sudden retirement, the trips to the store slowed way down. We are watching our pennies right now. With the situation with the economy, it can feel scary. I am grateful to know that we are prepared in many ways. I am also very grateful for the counsel of our Church leaders and pray that I will always listen.

Each and every day I am grateful for all that we have.

Sidenote: I'm sad to report that we lost the scripture mastery challenge. Sad, but maybe they'll be more motivated in the Spring. I was very proud of their effort.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gratitude for Seminary

First of all, thanks to tori who sent me the above flair.

It is such a privilege to be a Seminary teacher. I love the youth so much. They amaze me. It's hard enough getting up so early in the morning, but when it's cold and dark, it's even harder. I MARVEL AT THEM IN FEBRUARY/MARCH WHEN THEY GO OUT AND IT'S 40 below!!! I especially appreciate those who do not have a lot of support at home.

Today was Scripture Mastery day. We are working very hard to get ready for tomorrow. They are getting there. I know come Spring they will REALLY be ready. I feel like I let them down when I was gone for the month--they are not as prepared as they could be. They really want to win tomorrow, but we'll see how it goes.

It may seem silly that we spend so much time memorizing scriptures, but these scriptures are so important for them to have in their mind--they will be part of their armor. They need to be so prepared to withstand the "fiery darts of the wicked". Goodness only knows what they will face in the future, I want them to be ready. AND I WANT TO BE READY, TOO.

Off tomorrow for the challenge--wish us luck. Will let you know how it goes.