Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: I'm Not Ready Yet Edition

We meet with our realtor this week. I'm stressed out with the idea that I have 3 more days to fix every flaw, organize every cupboard, clean away every cobweb, and decorate every room to make it look like what every buyer wants. I know I'm being unrealistic, but I'm not listening to my reasonable side yet. I'll wait until Wednesday afternoon and then declare everything good enough for the moment.

Meanwhile, today is Sunday. (1) I'm thankful for Sunday, because it is a day of rest. I went to church, I spent some time doing family history research, I talked with my daughter, I went to choir practice, and I'm now blogging. Monday through Saturday, I sort, organize, clean and pack. Sunday I take a break from that, and that break revitalizes me. 

Now, I must admit that the first Saturday of this month, I had work of another kind. My brother told me he needed me to go to Disneyland to watch my nephew lead his high school marching band. Neither my brother nor his wife could attend, so I needed to be the supportive aunt. Twist my arm, I know. (2) I'm thankful I could spend time with my daughter and nephew at Disneyland.

Photo: My tall nephew wraps his arms around me and my daughter in front of the castle at Disneyland
(3) I'm thankful we could hear his band play. (I'm not sure you will be able to hear his band play, though; I seem to be having trouble with the video. Hopefully it will work.)


(4) Speaking of playing, I'm thankful for acoustics. We replaced carpets with laminate flooring. In order to put in the new floors, we had to empty the room of furniture. (Fortunately, the installers worked around the piano, just moving it from one side of the room to the other as needed.) Anyway, the piano sounds so much better in a practically-empty, non-carpeted room. 


(5) Yes, this sounds like a line from the movie Napolean Dynamite, but I'm thankful for people with skills: laminate skills, baseboard skills, tile skills, carpet skills, appliance repair skills, gardening skills, plumbing skills, window skills, painting skills. . . . We've had a lot of help getting the house ready.

(6) I'm thankful we can enjoy the results of all that skilled labor, even if we won't be here much longer. Flooring makes such a huge difference! Before, we had a worn wooden parquet entryway and old carpet in the other rooms. Now, the same laminate flooring extends through most of the house. I'm not going to take time to try to find "before" photos right now, but here's a hastily-taken "after" shot:

Photo: Laminate flooring extends from the entry to the living room on the left to the dining room on the right, and on throughout other areas not seen in the photo.
(7) I'm thankful that packing leads me down memory lane a bit. (The trick is to not let that distract me too much from the task at hand.) I found a photo of my sister from when she was a freshman in high school, as well as a photo of me from my junior year. What struck me was what my mom recorded on the back of each picture.
(Mom, I love you and I want you to know you did nothing wrong. In fact, I wish I had been so thorough with my children's school photos. This observation just made me laugh, OK?) On the back of my photo, my mom wrote my first name, my last name, the month and year, and my age in years. On the back of my sister's photo, my mom wrote my sister's first, middle, and last name, the day, month, and year, my sister's age in years and months, what year in school she was, and the name of the high school.  

I texted my sister when I discovered the photos, and said,"Look what I found while packing! I don't know what delights me more--the photo, or the fact Mom was still counting your age in months!" 

To be fair, I'm comparing apples and oranges here, as my sister wasn't a freshman until 3 years after I was a junior, so the photos weren't taken in the same year, and she might have had minimal information written on the back of her photo that year, too. 

(8) I'm thankful that packing leads me down memory lane a bit. (The trick is to not let that distract me too much from the task at hand.) I found a couple more photos that made me realize that my oldest son bore a resemblance to me when he was young.  

Photo: Son in color on left, and me in black-and-white on right. We share many of the same facial features, down to the gap-toothed grin.
(9) I'm thankful for unexpected sights--like the ducks that have been in my neighborhood lately. The second time I spotted them, I had to stop and take a quick photo. Ravens I see all the time. Doves are common. Owls, hawks, and hummingbirds are not at all unusual. In all the years I've lived here, though, I've never seen ducks in my neighborhood.

Photo: Two tan ducks play in the water in the gutter.
(10) I'm thankful for John. He just walked in the door after spending the weekend with our oldest son, so I'm going to bring this post to an abrupt end. 

In short, I might be stressed, but I'm thankful. Go check out other thankful posts at the Ten Things of Thankful blog.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Cousins and Other Family and Friends

I haven't yet learned how to stretch time, nor how to write well when I'm exhausted, and so this poor little blog has been neglected for the past month. The neglect is taking its toll on me. Throughout the week, I'll think, "I'm thankful for that!" but I miss the process of getting my thoughts out of my head and onto the screen. There is something very stress-relieving about listing items of gratitude.

I noticed today that Dyanne has jumped back into the blogging world, and that inspired me to do the same. Thanks, cousin! (Dyanne and I used to discover we are 11th cousins, and Christine is a cousin, too. If you'd like to see how you might be related, too, read the posts here and here, then ask me about our Thankful Us group.)

1. I'm thankful for cousins. One of my cousins is currently on hospice care. Cancer has returned, and an infection has claimed an eye and her eyesight in the remaining eye. Her coworkers started a can drive to raise money to help her, only to have thieves steal the cans.  It just seems to be one thing after another. I'm sad for her, but thankful that she can be home surrounded by her husband, boys, siblings, and mom. I'm sad for my aunt as well, because just one year ago, my uncle passed away. At that time, we all commented on how we needed to get together more often, under happier circumstances. Miles separate us, and I'm afraid that I haven't seen those cousins nor my aunt since last June, but I am thankful that they are gathered together and sharing time together now.

I imagine that, despite the unknown future, there is a lot of laughter at my cousin's house now. When I think of times spent with my cousins, I picture smiles and laughter.  

2. I'm thankful for humor. When I checked on my blog today, I noticed a comment in my spam folder. It was written in Vietnamese. Though I suspected it was spam, I thought I'd run it through Google Translate to make sure. I'm not sure it is any more clear. I'm just glad my piano is the old-fashioned kind, and not a pulsed electric one that might cause inflammation of the esophagus!  Here's the translation:

Buy yamaha electric piano at tphcm all the details please contact us for specific advice to buy the Casio electric piano at tphcm to help you buy the best guitar. How much is the cheapest piano? Condotel Cocobay Danang's price list of investors The total investment capital of VND3,200 billion, including the development of 3,200 hotel apartments, 156 townhouses and a 27,000 square meter commercial and service center. The difference between villa and villa The landscape of this land still retains majestic beauty with white sand stretching along the cliffs of all shapes, attracting the eyes of visitors. Medicines Metronidazol 250mg Five days After stopping the drug, the secretion back to normal, but no increase in acid secretion. What is Panangin used for? Colonoscopy, the incidence of scarring of duodenal ulcer is 65% after 2 weeks of treatment and 95% after 4 weeks. 500 mg of amoxicillin should not be treated with duodenal ulcer or gastric ulcer. , Inflammation of the esophagus due to pulsed electric piano commonly used

Speaking of humor and Google Translate, have you watched this Studio C episode? 

3. On a more serious note, I'm thankful for a new family member. My 4th grandchild (2nd grandson) was born three days ago. He shares a birthday with my grandma--my dad's mom, who passed away several years ago. Mom and baby are doing fine, and I enjoyed holding the little guy.

Photo: 3-day-old grandson sleeps with his hands crossed against his chest, holding a blue pacifier in his mouth. My hand cradles his tiny, brown-hair-covered head.
4. I'm thankful that while his mom was in the hospital, I got to have my other grandchildren stay with me.  I love hearing them speak, which gives me insight into their understanding.  Sometimes I have to explain further.  For example, when I told them that their Grandpa was on a trip, they were concerned that he had fallen.  I'm not sure they understood "vacation" any better, but I hope to have convinced them that no one was hurt. Another time, I was gently chided for not wearing an apron while baking:  "Grandma, where is your big bib?!" As messy as I can be, we might as well just call it a bib. 

Photo: Oldest granddaughter pushes oldest grandson in a red kiddie car, while youngest granddaughter rides a pink and purple trike on the brick patio in my backyard. Two big bouncy balls--one purple, one blue, are also present in the picture.

A few weeks ago, Clark asked in a blog post: "So my compliment-in-a-question to those readers who have children is, ‘Given my example of the power of a mother (or father) in shaping a child’s mind, how do you work up the nerve to say or do anything with very young children?!!' " When I read that question, I chuckled. My daughter told me a while ago that my youngest granddaughter had been talking in her sleep.  And what do you think she said while asleep? "Don't be scared of chickens!  Don't be scared of chickens!" While I did, in fact, give my granddaughter that advice, I never imagined it would make such an impact!  I only hope that other, more important, lessons stick as well. Anyone who interacts with young children has to put fear aside and prepare to be quoted!

5. I'm thankful that the radio on my car seems to be working now. For months, it has randomly turned on, then every 30 seconds or so, automatically attempts to load a CD. It's been annoying to say the least. A week or so ago, the car was in the shop, and we asked the technicians to please check out the radio problem while they had the car. They told us it was not a car wiring problem, but a problem with the stereo itself, so they couldn't fix it. Well, one day as I was driving and the car wanted me to listen to a CD, I decided to heed its advice. I popped in a CD and listened to the entire album. Do you know that since that time, I can listen to the radio whenever I want to without having the car try to load a CD? 

6. I'm thankful for friends.  Preparing to sell a house and move to a smaller one is a daunting task.  I have had offers of boxes, help setting up a garage sale, many folding tables loaned us for the garage sale, help painting, etc.  I felt a bit like Tom Sawyer asking friends to help me paint, but it really did make the task go quickly!

Photo: Three friends and I smile after painting a bedroom in my house. The formerly bright pink walls are now a more neutral grayish color.
7. I'm thankful for friends who work, and also for friends who play. It's always fun to spend time with friends at Disneyland! One friend needed to use up the last day on her pass, and invited me along. Another friend allowed youngest daughter and I to celebrate her birthday with her.

Photo: My friend and I (and a stranger whose face I disguised with a Superhero sticker in this photo) race in a green car at Radiator Springs at California Adventure
Photo: My friend, dressed in a blue Mickey Mouse shirt, meets Mickey on her birthday.
8.  I'm thankful for family. So much has happened since I last blogged!  My parents were able to come and stay with us for a while, and they got to meet their great-grandchildren for the first time. 

Photo: My parents sit on a garden bench in front of blooming roses.  My oldest granddaughter sits next to my mom, and my mom holds grandson while my dad holds my youngest granddaughter. My dad looks at the camera, while everyone else looks up to the sky.  My grandson points at something.
Mother's Day has come and gone, and as always, I am thankful for my mom, my mother-in-law, my grandmas, my children, and my grandchildren. 

9.  I'm thankful for digital cameras, which make documenting moments easier than in the film days. It doesn't necessarily mean any one shot turns out any better than in years past, but it does mean I have more to choose from! 

Photo: Oldest granddaughter sits on her dad's lap, while my daughter holds youngest granddaughter and grandson. Everyone is smiling, and the adults and grandson and even looking at the camera!
10. I'm thankful for John. Life is crazy busy.  I feel like it's just been go-go-go from 5:30 in the morning until 9:00 at night.  He keeps me sane and helps me remember what we have accomplished when I'm feeling overwhelmed by how much more we have to do. 

It might be another month before I post again. I hope to post sooner than that, but I also don't want to promise something and then not deliver.  The nice thing is, this is a no pressure blog hop, and I know I can join in anytime. Go check out the Ten Things of Thankful blog and see what others have posted this week. Who knows, you might just read something from a distant cousin!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Let Me Count the Ways Edition

Thirty: the age that 20-somethings dread.  

Thirty: the length of many mortgage loans, which seems like an eternity of a time to be in debt.

Thirty gets a bad rap, though, because:

Thirty: the number of years John and I have been married.

Photo:  John, in a grey tux, and I, in a white wedding dress, stand outside the Seattle Temple on our wedding day

We met in Provo, Utah, while students at Brigham Young University.  We married in Seattle, Washington (the closest temple at the time to my parents' home). We lived for a few months in the basement of John's parents' home in Salt Lake City.  A job offer took us to Orange County, California.  We lived in a little apartment for a couple of years before purchasing our first home--a little upstairs-unit condo, with a view of the train tracks. Our family doubled while we were in California. With two children in the backseat, we moved to the Seattle area.  While in Washington, we added three more children to our family.  After seven years near Seattle, we pursued a dream and moved to a tiny rural town. Though we loved it there, after several years it was time to move on again.  We returned to southern California. We lived in one house for 7 years, and we've been in our current home for eight. 

If one were to map our journey, it would look something like this:

Photo: A map of the Western United States, with spots in Utah, Washington, and California marked, and travel lines between

(As I viewed that map, I thought of the children of Israel wandering for 40 years in the wilderness.  We're not there yet--another 10 years to go!)

In the past 30 years, children have been born and have grown up. A daughter-in-law joined the family.  Three grandchildren have been born, and a fourth will come next month. Each new person has expanded my heart.

Of course, there have been experiences that I never imagined I would have. We have first-hand knowledge of several Seattle-area hospitals.  The jargon of the DSM has become reality, as we've waded through various mental-health diagnosis with some of our children. We've sat together at funerals for both young and old.  

We've also gone swimming with sting-rays, ridden mules to a leper colony in Molokai, run a half-marathon down a Utah canyon, and traveled in three continents. 

Photo: John and I stand in the warm Caribbean water and pet a stingray

Little ole' me, prone to routine and settling-down, has become someone I never would have expected. Me, a world traveler?  Me, a runner? Me, someone who moves to a different house at least every 8 years? Me, braver than I ever dreamed?

Being married to John has changed me.  It's changed him, too. Oh, I'm still me, and he is still himself, but together, we are much, much more.  We know that no matter what life throws at us, life is an adventure, and adventures work out.  

Photo: John (as C3PO) and I (as R2D2) cross the finish line of a Disney 10K race

We met in Provo.  This year, we continue our journey with a move back to Provo.  We are both looking forward to this move, and are both stressed about this move. Together, though, we are calm. We're just off to the next adventure!

Please forgive me if I am quieter than usual, both as a blog writer and a blog reader.  I hope to return to a more frequent blogging schedule, but my time is taken up right now with all the preparations that need to take place prior to our move. 

(I obviously did not enumerate my ten things of thankful for this post, but I trust that my gratitude came through anyway.) 

What are you thankful for this week? How have you changed in the past 30 years?  (Some of you might say, "Well, I was born!")  

Be sure to check out other Ten Things of Thankful posts here.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Easter Edition

Time is short, but I'm still very thankful.

1. I'm thankful for Easter and all that it means. The events of that first Easter are central to my faith, and give meaning and purpose to my life. 

2. I'm thankful that my oldest daughter was able to make a short visit home this week. 

3. I'm thankful that she was able to go through the boxes of things she still keeps at our house.  Some items are still here, some she took with her, and others will be let go. 

4. I'm thankful that there were some trips down memory lane, as we sorted through old papers.  Sometimes we were a bit confused, as with this old letter to Santa, but it sure made us chuckle! (If anyone can decipher this, we would love to know what she wanted for Christmas!)

Photo: A letter to Santa, written in child's printing, which reads: "SAntA Plees Biging Me Pissse Wisging"

5. I'm thankful we were also able to fit in a trip to Disneyland while she was here. She is, hands-down, my child who is most enamored of Disneyland. When I went to her room bright and early on Friday morning to make sure she was awake, before she heard me knock, I heard her talking to herself: "It's Disney day! It's Disney day! It's Disney day!" She might be a grown woman now, but I still see a cute little girl every now and then.

Photo: My daughter, holding a gold churro and a crocheted bunny with a crocheted Mickey hat, smiles for the camera at Disneyland. She has short strawberry blonde hair and is wearing a blue and white striped shirt and glasses. 
6. I'm thankful for a Facebook group of Disney fans. Very often, a group member will post that he or she is in Disneyland with a giveaway, and if you find the person, the item is yours.  This week, my daughter was the lucky recipient of that cute homemade bunny! 

7. I'm thankful for the Yelp app, and discovering a new-to-me restaurant.  If I have time for the wait, I might just visit Portos every time I pick up or drop off someone at the Burbank airport!

8. I'm thankful for my grandchildren. I spent some time at the park with them one day this week, and another day we went to the library's story time. We have fun together playing and talking.

Photo: Youngest granddaughter and grandson prepare to slide down a double-slide at the park

Photo: Oldest granddaughter, wearing a bright pink fleece jacket, colors at story time.

Photo: Youngest granddaughter, with her elbow on the table and her head resting on her hand, shows off her snake puppet.
9. I'm thankful for another Facebook group, this one a buy-sell-trade group.  I'm in a major decluttering mode right now, and this group has allowed me to quickly find good homes for quite a few items that we no longer need.

10. As always, I'm thankful for John. He's had a busy week on several fronts, but this weekend his concern was what to do about date night.  We always have date night, but date night does not always have to mean going out somewhere.  I knew how overwhelmed John was this week, so I suggested just watching an episode of The Carbanaro Effect together.  Now, we often will watch a bit of TV together before bed, but there is something different about calling it "date night." The importance is not so much in the activity (though it is good to change things up every now and then), as it is having the habit of dating.  

I'm thankful that John and I have the tradition of weekly dates, and the mutual concern for the other's welfare. He didn't want to disappoint me by suggesting an at-home, low-key date, and I didn't want him to stress out over a time-consuming date night, when he has so much more on his plate right now.  

And as always, I still need more practice on writing a "quick post." I need to hit publish now and get ready for church!

How has your week gone? What are you thankful for this week? Link up at the Ten Things of Thankful blog!

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Ten Thing of Thankful: April General Conference Edition

Last weekend, I didn't go to a church building on Sunday--rather, I watched General Conference from the comfort of my own couch. Twice a year, on the first weekend of April and October, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participate in a world-wide conference. We listen as the prophet, apostles, and other leaders speak to us.  I always come away from conference renewed, refreshed, and encouraged.  Today, for my Ten Things of Thankful post, I will share some of the quotes I heard. (For my friends who depend upon photo descriptions, each of the photos simply are memes of the quotes listed.)  Full transcripts and videos of all the talks can be found here:  General Conference

I'm thankful for these words:

1. "No true teaching or learning will ever occur when done in frustration or anger, and hearts will not change where love is not present." (S. Mark Palmer)

2. ". . . for enduring faith and to have the constant companionship of the Spirit, there is no substitute for the individual religious observance that is comparable to physical and mental development." (Quentin L. Cook)

 3. "Fear rarely has the power to change our hearts. . . ." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

4.  ". . .if you listen to the first prompting you will get it right nine times out of ten." (Ronald A. Rasband)

5. ". . . it is by divine design that not all the voices in God's choir are the same." (Jeffrey R. Holland)

6.  "Over time, simple habits of belief lead to miraculous results." (L. Whitney Clayton)

7.  "A succession of small, consistently kept promises leads to integrity." (Joy D. Jones)

8.  "Don't look around, look up!" (Yoon Hwan Choi)

9.  "Overcoming the world means turning ourselves outward." (Neil L. Andersen)

10. "We are children of God. Receiving light, continuing in God, and receiving more light is what we are created to do." (Mark A. Bragg)

11. ". . . a repenting sinner draws closer to God than does the self-righteous person who condemns that sinner." (Dale G. Renlund)

12. ". . . even the best technology can never be a substitute for revelation from heaven." (Henry B. Eyring)

(When I have a question, I should be quicker to turn to God than Google!)

And as always, I am thankful for John. Our 30th wedding anniversary is just weeks away. I love the adventures we have had together, and the adventures that are in our future. 

What are you thankful for this week? What conference quotes stood out to you? As always, feel free to leave a comment, or link up your post at the Ten Things of Thankful blog!

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