Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gratitude for Pictures

When you live so far from your children/grandchildren it makes you appreciate the fact that you can see pictures of how cute they are--especially at Halloween. I appreciate so much my kids e-mailing pics or posting on our family website. I have always enjoyed Halloween and loved watching my kids through the years and now to see my grandchldren is such a treat. Let me just share a few with you.

When Stephen was a little guy, we dressed up as clowns.

A pic and comment that gives you a better knowledge of my little Elder's personality. One year Brent was a robot and Kyle was a spider. When they went trick or treating someone asked Brent if he was a refrigerator--Kyle's comment, "Have you ever seen a refrigerator with arms???"

I made the dinosaur costume and Brent wore it for about 3 years. That was our little bride to be's costume for kindergarten ; )

My easiest Halloween costumes "Men in Black"--the boys just wore their suits and I made black ties and they each carried a business card with MIB on one side and "K" or "B" on the other.

Last year, Jack Sparrow and a geisha.

These next two are two of my favorite costumes--G-Man as an elephant and Drew as an octopus:

And, of course, I wasn't disappointed this year. Neal and Macy and G-Man decided to dress up as a family. Gotta love it:

And little Spiderman:

And finally, Nemo--goodness, she is growing up so fast:

I would love it if these little ones would come knock at my door--I might even share some of my candy with them ; )

I'm getting so excited about seeing them in Utah. It's going to be so fun.

Sidenote: We got back from the temple in time to hand out candy at our Ward trunk or treat. It was a wonderful trip. A couple of hours out of town there was quite a bit of snow on the sides of the road, but we made it in good time. Coming home for three hours there was lots of fog, but other than that the drive was not too bad.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gratitude for Great Examples

This will be short, but hopefully to the point.

Throughout my life I have been blessed to be surrounded by good people. I have been very careful to choose my friends very wisely--something I was warned about very clearly in my Patriarchal Blessing.

I have learned so much from my friends. I have been so amazed by their strength. Yesterday I talked to one of my best friend's who just recently lost a grandson. I was amazed by her strength as well as her son and daughter in law with the loss of this little one. I know it is their testimony of the Plan of Salvation which gives them them strength to get through something like this.

I appreciate friends who are honest and help me see things clearly.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gratitude for Scriptures

This week as I was working on my Sunday School lesson for this Sunday and reading Isaiah, I was struck with how blessed we are to have the scriptures. We are combining two lessons this Sunday and will talk about the Savior. I am so grateful to have a knowledge of Him and the great love He has for each of us. He truly is a God of miracles. I have been struck by the beautiful imagery in Isaiah. We get so caught up with understanding all of it, but if we just read and search our feelings, I think we will be amazed at how much we learn because of what we are feeling.

Several years ago, I made it a point to read each and every Sunday School lesson for four years. I think that was when I developed a great love for the scriptures. I got more out of those 4 years of lessons than I had until then or since then--well, maybe with the exception of the 4 years I taught Seminary.

Whenever I find myself in a funk I am so grateful to find peace in the scriptures. Things are so much clearer as I study and ponder. I love Isaiah 25:8--"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it."

SIDENOTE: WAY TO GO, GIANTS. Not the prettiest game--lots of errors, but hey, at least the Giants won ; ) Loved hearing Tony Bennett sing during the 7th Inning Stretch and I loved when they showed him singing, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco".

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gratitude for Temples

As mentioned in my post on our anniversary, twenty eight years ago Allan and I were married in the Oakland Temple. We were sealed together for time and eternity and at that time Stephen was sealed to us. It was an amazing experience.

In a recent talk at General Conference, Elder Gong talked about being sealed in different directions--something a dear friend of mine wrote after losing her brother. A few days before Elder Gong's talk she wrote: "I am so grateful to know he was sealed to his family in every direction. I know he is figuring out more of the plan as he is introduced to the spirit world and gets to work. I am so comforted right now to understand that this life is just one step of something much bigger. I know we can see him again. I know we are supported by a loving Heavenly Father who hears our prayers and loved by a Savior who understands our heartbreak."

I am truly grateful for the temples.

In a few weeks, we will have the opportunity to be in the Bountiful Temple when Heidi and Daniel are married for time and eternity. (I love that our granddaughter, Amanda, and her husband, Darren, were married in that temple, as well) I know it will be a wonderful day. It will be wonderful to be in the temple with some of our children--we will miss Elder Rob, but I had to laugh when in his last e-mail he wrote, "They should've thought about the Idaho Falls Temple, and maybe I could've dropped in ; ) Just kidding, I wouldn't do that."

A few other temples that hold special meaning for us:
It was a great day when Stephen and Daphne were sealed as a family.

Now this temple is one of my favorites. It is where my Allan's family was sealed and where Neal and Macy were married.

This is our temple. This is also where Brent received his endowment.

Just a few months ago, this is where Heidi and Kyle each were endowed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gratitude for Doctors and Nurses

Each day as I do these gratitude posts, they are triggered by something that is happening--the other day I went to the doctor for a physical, and that was a reminder how grateful I am for doctors. I appreciate the time and effort they put in to earning their degrees. I have been fortunate to have had some great doctors in my life. I do not remember when I was born, but I'm pretty sure a doctor was involved ; ) But when I was a little girl, I fell down the stairs going to our garage with a jug of kool aid (probably was being chased by one of my MEAN sisters ; ) When I fell the glass went deep into my wrist. After all these years I can still feel my mom squeezing the dishtowel around my wrist trying to keep it from bleeding. I have a massive scar on my left wrist, but I will forever be grateful to those doctors. I just remember being told that I almost lost my arm.

I have not had any other major health issues, but a few babies and I'm so grateful for those doctors who were there to deliver my babies, especially Richard who delivered Brent. That was definitely a spiritual experience.

When I was in the hospital for two months with dehydration when I was pregnant with Kyle, I was so grateful for caring nurses. I can only imagine what it would be like to be a nurse.

I do have to laugh about my appointment last week. When I was getting my EKG, the young lady who was doing it (and I don't know if she was a nurse or an EKG tech) put the leads on and told me to close my eyes and lie still. After a minute or so, she said, "Okay, I'm going to do that again. Now, I want you to just relax." I thought, I am relaxed??? When it was done she said, I'm going to go get the doctor, I'll be right back. Now I'm thinking, WHAT'S WRONG????? I FEEL FINE. Apparently she just didn't have the leads in the right places.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gratitude to be able to Create

Yes, part of that being able to create is the opportunity to create children. I spoke yesterday in Stake Conference (sure glad that is over) and I spoke about raising children and I started by saying that I love being a Mom, AND I DO ; ) But that will be a gratitude post for another day.

A couple of years ago, President Uchtdorf gave a great talk during the Women's Broadcast. During his message he talked about creating. He 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.

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment."

Some of the things that have brought me "satisfaction and fulfillment" recently:

Creating a book about our Trek for Pres. B who was released yesterday. I have never done one of these books before but when I received the finished product in the mail, I LOVED IT. The pictures are of the front and the back. I know that it is something that Pres. B will enjoy and that makes me feel so good. Right now I'm kicking myself because I didn't take a picture of him with his book ; ( Allan also gave a copy to Bro. A (the other Trail Boss) and he was happy, too.

I have been working on a baby blanket for my little granddaughter who will be born in January. I love to crochet.

I don't always feel that when I sit at the piano and practice I'm creating beautiful music, but it sure gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I think in another couple of weeks I will start practicing Christmas carols--that will be fun.

I am not a great cook but I do love to "create" a good meal. Yesterday, after Stake Conference, we had the MP and his wife, the TP and his wife, the new counselor and his wife, the old counselor and his wife and 3 children, and the other counselor and his wife. It was so fun. I don't know if it was because I was hungry but the food sure tasted great. I had made a banana split cake and death by chocolate. Yummy. I do not like splitting dinner guests up, so Allan brought in the kitchen table and we made one SUPER LONG table and had all 15 of us together. It was so fun. They really are a great group of people.

SIDENOTE: Hooray to the Giants for winning the NL Pennant. Looking forward to the World Series ; )

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gratitude for My Husband

Twenty-eight years ago today Allan and I were married. I'm so grateful we have this day to celebrate, but we really won't be celebrating because IT IS STAKE CONFERENCE.. (We went to the movies last night to see "Red"--funny movie.) He truly is the love of my life, my knight in shining armor, my prince charming. I am a very blessed woman.

I will never forget the day he called me to ask me out on our first date--July 24, 1982. Pizza and a movie--Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan. Neal and Stephen went with us. Such a great night. And the next 3 months were wonderful, and then on October 23, 1982, when we entered the Oakland Temple and were married for time and all eternity and had Stephen sealed to us--it was AMAZING. When I spoke at Elder Rob's farewell on the subject "How did I help him prepare for his mission", at the end of my talk I said, "The first thing I did to help him prepare for his mission was marry his dad in the right place and at the right time. That is a decision I have never regretted."

Our journey has been like many of yours--several bumps along the road, but I'm so glad he's right there beside me--through the good times and especially through the bad. He is my rock to lean on--he has always right there to help me know it will all be okay.

Now, let me add, marriage is work--lots of work. It's a sacrifice. But IT IS SO WORTH IT. I'm so grateful that I know that we have the opportunity to be together forever. As we get older, that even becomes more important to me. Death will not separate us--and that is such an incredible blessing.

Last year I did a post of 27 wonderful memories from our years together--still one of my favorite posts. As I re-read it, I realize we have had a great 28 years especially when I think of the things that have happened this past year:

Adjusting to life as empty nesters That has truly been an adjustment, but seriously he handles change so much better than me, so it's wonderful to share that kind of experience with him. He helps me through everything. We love being together, but we both sure miss having our kids around.

His starting his new job with that company that wears the brown shorts--the freight Division not the packaging one: I'm so grateful for his positive attitude. This has been a big change for him, but he handles everything with a smile.

Heidi and Elder Rob going to the temple: Such a fabulous day. The kind of day that parents LOVE. We were both so proud, (thank you Pres. Uchtdorf for your talk on pride) It was great to have Brent with us, too.

Taking Elder Rob to the MTC: Such a wonderful memory--both the getting him ready and taking him. I know Allan loved every minute of it. Their e-mails are so fun to read. I just laugh at Elder Rob's salutations to his dad: "Tank", "Pops", "Dad".

Being apart for 4 1/2 weeks while I was in California: When I left for California, my plan was to be gone a little over 2 weeks, well it ended up being 4 1/2 weeks. It's not very often that I'm gone and he's home alone, and we have NEVER been apart that long. I didn't like it and neither did he. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVED SPENDING TIME WITH MY KIDS AND SEEING THE BABY, it just would have been more fun if we were there together. But again, I'm grateful for cell phones, e-mail, texting, and iChat's.

I'd like to think we will have another 28 years, but one thing is for sure WE ARE GOING TO MAKE EACH AND EVERY MOMENT COUNT.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gratitude for Prayer

This will be short and to the point. I'm grateful that I can pray and that I know Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I'm also grateful to have a testimony that although they are not always answered in the way I would like, He knows what's best.

I know as we go through this life we are not alone and that is such a comfort to me. It is something I wish I knew when I was younger, but since I don't want to dwell on what I was lacking, I will just express gratitude that I do know today. I'm also grateful it is something that I have been able to teach my children. I take comfort in knowing that when my children and especially my little Elder (who can't just pick up the phone) has struggles he knows where to turn.

And speaking of my little Elder--I got a picture CD today. YIPPEE.

Here's a couple of pics.

I don't know if he's ever been on a tractor before.

I don't know what's funnier here--the little trailer or the look on his face ; )


Sidenote: Our flights are booked for the wedding--so glad. Worried with the Thanksgiving holiday, we'd have trouble getting on, but no problems.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gratitude for Happy News

It's always wonderful to share happy news so this is my gratitude post for today. I'm grateful to share HAPPY, EXCITING NEWS--MY DAUGHTER IS GETTING MARRIED.

Heidi and Daniel have set a date. They will be getting married in the Bountiful Temple on November 24th. As you can imagine we are all in high gear (especially Heidi and Daniel) who are very busy trying to get everything done.

I don't know if all the family will be able to make it, but we'll see. I know she is grown up, but to me she will always be my little girl.Goodness, where has the time gone???? This really does seem like it was yesterday.

Don't they make a cute couple? This mama loves to see her girl smiling. Congratulations, Heidi and Daniel--we love you and are so happy for you both.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gratitude for Opportunity to Learn

I enjoy learning. Some of the ways I've been learning:

As I've mentioned, I have been taking a Spanish class. If all I had to do was learn words, it wouldn't be so bad. But then having to learn how to put those words together into a sentence with verbs, pronouns, etc., is a WHOLE DIFFERENT STORY. I'm trying to decide whether to take the next class or to just break down and buy The Rosetta Stone. Last night one of the girls from the Ward came over to help me. It was so great.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have also decided to join an exercise class. Yeah, sure I could just pop in my Bob or Gillian DVD's, but sometimes I don't push myself as hard because they are not really IN MY FACE. I know that's a good thing because I would be in tears if they yelled at me like they do the people on The Biggest Loser. But I'm so competitive that when I'm in a class, I don't want to be the only one who can't do that next push-up ; ) Now you may not think that taking an exercise class is learning, but for me it is because I'M LEARNING I CAN DO IT ; )

Each time I read my scriptures I learn something new. I love teaching and my calling has allowed me the chance to really delve deeper into the scriptures.

I've also been great spending more time reading and listening to General Conference talks. Of course, part of that has come from Stephanie's General Conference Book Club. Check it out here. I've also decided to just try and use the talks more in teaching my class and teaching my family. Also, there are so many great things to apply to help me be a better person.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gratitude for Preparation Days

I love getting weekly e-mails from my Elder, so I am so grateful for Preparation Days. I'm so glad we get to keep in touch via e-mail. It would be so hard if it was via snail mail. But I love that he can sit down at the computer read my e-mail and write me back and then read his dad's and write him back, too. He is definitely learning and growing and enjoying the mission.

Transfers are this week and he will be serving in a new area. I'm sure he will adjust, but I think it's probably hard to leave your first area.

I was holding off posting this in hopes that I would have received a photo CD so I could add some pictures, but I'll have to add those later.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gratitude for Weekends

It was a great weekend. Friday night we had our Stake Harvest Ball and Display of Talent. It was amazing--I'm so disappointed that I didn't take my camera. The people in charge had transformed the cultural hall into an art gallery. About 1/4 of the gym was decorated pillars and along one wall they had mounted art work and in the middle were different things like sculptures, quilts, jewelry, etc. I was amazed at all of the talent that was displayed. One of the older sisters had done a bronze sculpture that was absolutely incredible. I talked to another sister and told her how impressed I was with her paintings--she laughed and said, "Take an art class." I told her I could take tons of art classes and that would NEVER be the results. As one of my friends commented--my talent is appreciating.

On Saturday morning I went out and had a great run. It was nippy but still nice. I was still quite sore from my exercise class. (I don't know if I wrote about the Boot Camp I've signed up for--it's for women over 50. Don't let that fool ya--it's still quit hard. I was going to only take it one day a week, but after taking it, decided to try two days a week. My legs and rear-end were pretty sore.)

Heidi flew to Idaho to visit her recently returned missionary. She called me when she landed in Idaho and he picked her up. SHE SOUNDED GREAT. I had a chance to talk to him, too. He sounds wonderful--the mission was obviously good for him. They went to the temple. I talked to her again last night and they had a fabulous time together. Big plans are being made. More to follow.

Allan had lots of errands and then had to work on talks--he had a Ward Conference yesterday and next week is Stake Conference. But he's such a great guy--he helped me go out and deliver an assignment for someone in my Gospel Doctrine class--we had delivered the other assignments on Wednesday night. We ended up watching How To Train Your Dragon after dinner. (That movie is so cute)

Sunday was a great Sabbath. Heard some great talks on repentance, taught my class, and had a great RS lesson as well. It was a fairly quiet evening.

Weekends are GREAT.

Sidenote: I love Monday--can't wait to hear from my Elder. I'm looking forward to a picture CD soon.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gratitude for Parents

I have written many times about my parents. (That's the only picture I have of me as a baby ; ) I don't like to think about how different my life might have been if they hadn't died when I was a teenager. (That's a waste of time--or at least that's what I tell myself when I start thinking like that) I'm grateful for genealogy and the things I'm learning as I do family research. I don't know if I told you but I have a cousin who told me she connected with a cousin who says her great grandfather, who would be one of my great uncles, told her we are related to Ponce de Leon. (Now don't write me and ask if I have any connections to the fountain of youth--JUST LOOK AT ME TODAY AND YOU'LL KNOW I HAVE NO CONNECTION AT ALL : )

Anyway, I am very grateful I had least had an opportunity to be with my parents for some time--at least I knew them and have memories. Actually, as the SF Giants get ready to play in the NLCS this weekend, my heart goes back to the one game I went to at Candlestick Park with my dad. It was so fun. I'm sure I will be a Giants fan until the day I die because my dad was ; ) I also will always tip a waitress a little extra, because my mom was a waitress.

Now my parents didn't teach me the principles of the Gospel, but they were such good people. They worked hard and loved us. And I'm sure it was their influence that allowed my heart to be open when I heard the message of the Gospel.

After they died and we went to live with Helen and Les. No girls could have had better people to raise them. They loved us like their own children. I don't think I will ever meet anyone who would do what they did--take in 6 girls ranging in age from 9 - 18--girls they really didn't even know. I will love them FOREVER for what they did for me and my sisters. We were able to stay together AND THAT WAS SUCH A GREAT BLESSING.

When I married Allan I became a "daughter" to Allan's parents. They were wonderful. I learned so much from them. I miss seeing Allan interact with his mom and dad. He loved them so much. I learned a lot from watching him and from watching them. They never really interfered in our lives, but they were always there to love us.

It's amazing how after all these years I still miss my folks, I miss Helen and Les, and I miss Allan's parents. I'm so grateful for the wonderful memories I have. I will forever be grateful for the trip we took to Hawaii to celebrate Allan's moms 90th birthday. Here's a picture of the WHOLE FAMILY

I am grateful for the knowledge that although they are gone I will see them again. Because of the ordinances of the temple, I have been sealed to my parents. As well, Allan has been sealed to his. We have been sealed to each other and our children have been sealed to us. As well, many of our children have been sealed and their children sealed to them. I love the way Elder Gong explained it at Conference:"In temple mirrors of eternity, I began to understand my wife and myself as children of our parents and parents to our children, as grandchildren of our grandparents and grandparents to our grandchildren. Mortality’s great lessons distill upon our souls as we learn and teach in eternal roles, including child and parent, parent and child."