Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: What Time is It? Edition

Since publishing my last Ten Things of Thankful post, I have driven to and from California (thus switching time zones) and turned my clock ahead. As a result, my body still doesn't know what time it really is. The calendar, however, tells me it is time to write about those things for which I am thankful.

1. I'm thankful that John and I ran the Rex Lee 10 K together. The sun shone, the temperature was perfect for running--a bit on the chilly side, but not freezing--and the course wasn't too brutal. I was on the recovery side of a cold, so I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but crossing the finish line felt good. 

2. I'm thankful for an uneventful drive to California. Because I left after the race, I decided to split the drive into two days. I stopped in St. George for the evening.

3. I'm thankful for the Meetinghouse Locator function of the website (found in the "Tools and Support" section of the drop-down menu under "My Account and Ward"). I wanted to go to a church service Sunday morning, but also wanted to make sure I went to an early service (to avoid hitting the inevitable Sunday night traffic caused by Californians returning from their weekend trips to Las Vegas.) I found a congregation that met in Mesquite, Nevada at 9 a.m. Perfect--except I forgot that Mesquite is in Pacific time, not Mountain. When my navigation app told me I would arrive an hour earlier than I expected to, I figured it out. Another quick search on Meetinghouse Locator found a congregation that meets at 8 a.m. I felt sorry for that ward, especially on the Sunday that we turned the clocks forward, but it fit perfectly into my schedule.

4. I'm thankful I got to visit my daughter and grandchildren. I read and re-read The Gingerbread Man and watched and re-watched Bert from Sesame Street sneeze his nose off. Whenever one of the kids would "sneeze," I was ready to ask if they still had their nose on. Fortunately, no one but Bert lost a nose, but we all had a good laugh. Every. Single. Time. 😄

5. I'm thankful that, even though I spent most of my time too busy to think about taking photos, I did manage to snap a few. (Youngest grandson, please forgive me for failing to get a good one of you this time!)

Photo: My oldest grandson gently carries his chicken under his arm.
Photo: My oldest granddaughter holds onto her backpack straps and smiles for the camera just before we walk together to school.
6. I'm thankful for new phrases learned. I had always thought one of my granddaughters had curly hair, but I was told during this trip that her hair is "wobbly." "Wobbly hair" has now joined our family lexicon, earning its place next to words like "hamdinger" (hamburger) and "same-ole-time-eously" (simultaneously). 

Photo: My "wobbly-haired" granddaughter (in profile) gazes off to the distance.
7. I'm thankful for lessons learned from innocent comments made. "This is Not My Appointment" became the inspiration for a blog post--one of the few, besides Ten Things of Thankful posts, that I have written in a while. 

8. I'm thankful for an uneventful drive home from Utah. I didn't start driving until after 6 p.m., and I wanted to make it to Mesquite before stopping for the night. I am not a night owl, and I was afraid I would be sleepy, but I made it--with .03 gallons of gas to spare, too! The combination of M&M's, Chad Mitchell Trio CDs, and blessings for a week of service really paid off, and I was not sleepy at all, even though the sun was down and it was well past my bedtime when I arrived at the hotel.

9. I'm thankful that while I was away, work continued on the house. The painter finished up his job. This coming week, the carpet will be replaced, and we can start actually moving our things in!

Photo: A before and after collage of the stairs leading from the family room to the main level of the house. On the left, the steps are carpeted. On the right, they have been replaced with hardwood, and the risers and skirts are painted white.
10. As always, I'm thankful for John. We are both respectful of each other's feelings, and at ease voicing opinions. This past week, I was contacted by Guide Dogs for the Blind about a working guide that I raised who is retiring. If I wanted, I could bring her home as a pet. Though she is a wonderful dog, and as hard as it is for me to say no to that opportunity, as John and I discussed the realities of another dog joining the family, the decision became clear. I made the call to decline. We both feel good about our choice, and I know that she will find a home that will be the perfect fit for her and her new family. (Guide Dogs for the Blind is really great about placements.)

How are you adapting to the time change? What things are you thankful for this week? Josie does a great job hosting this blog hop each week; feel free to join us by commenting and/or linking your own post below!

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

This is Not My Appointment: Dealing With Life's Disappointments

The self-described "wobbly-haired" (curly-haired) girl sits next to her grandma on the plastic office chair. A bunch of cheerful Mylar balloons float in the corner. Behind the desk, a bespectacled middle-aged woman explains which immunizations the four-year-old will be receiving that day. With a sudden dawning of understanding, the child looks up and solemnly declares, "This is not my appointment." 

Photo: A profile of a "wobbly-haired" girl, wearing a red dress and gazing off into the distance

Oh, my dear child! I'm afraid life will present you with many opportunities to think, "This is not my appointment." Suddenly, my mind floods back over the years to times life happened differently than I had envisioned.

"Your baby weighs 2 pounds, 15 ounces."

"You lost four units of blood. We gave you a transfusion."

"We have a diagnosis."

"He's been arrested."

"He jumped off the bridge. He's dead."

"Turn on the TV," the voice on the end of the line instructed on September 11, 2001.

The grandmother tries to explain the benefit of vaccines, but the little girl only cares about the imminent pain. The woman behind the desk finishes inputting information into the computer, and directs them to take a seat in the waiting room. After a few minutes, a nurse calls the girl's name, and the girl leaves the safety of her grandma's lap and follows her mother into a tiny room. The grandmother listens for a cry, but hears none. Soon, the girl bounds out of the room. 

"Grandma, I got three shots, but I didn't cry. And. . .and. . . I got band-aids and a Tweety Bird sticker!" 

Days pass, and the little girl continues to talk about the experience, but the focus is on the sticker, not the pain of the needle. Tweety Bird remains firmly stuck on her arm, a constant reminder of what she got out of that appointment.

Life doesn't always hand out Tweety Bird stickers, and sometimes pain lasts much longer than an instant, but the four-year-old's reaction to her trial illustrates several points:

1. We don't always have a good understanding of a situation, and we need to believe trusted individuals--even when the advice hurts.

2. Sometimes, the best thing to do is not the easy thing to do. The protective power of immunizations comes with the price of pain.

3. Often, we get something unexpected out of our trials. At the very least, we gain the experience--and that gives us compassion for others who are going through a similar situation. We are then prepared to help in a more effective way.

4. We can choose what we dwell on--the pain or the benefit. 

5. It's OK to feel like "This is not my appointment," but we can be brave in facing reality. 

6. We can joyfully share our experiences with others.

Have you experienced appointments in life that you wished were not yours? What were your Tweety Bird stickers?

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: Short Week Edition

I was late to last week's Ten Things of Thankful party, linking up with only 45 minutes to spare four days ago. I'm going to be away from my computer starting later today and through the extent of the link-up time. (John will be home, though, so the house isn't unattended.) Because of that, I am writing another Ten Things of Thankful post today.

This week, I'm thankful:

1. For my upcoming trip to California. Grandchildren, here I come!

2. For the bulbs that are popping up in my yard. We started renting this place in the summer, so the flowers were a nice surprise. 

Photo: Yellow crocus bloom in a bed of brown fallen leaves
3. The work on the house we bought continues. The granite went into the kitchen this week. All that is left now in the kitchen is mostly behind-the-scenes work, like connecting the plumbing and some electrical jobs. 

Photo: A before and after collage of the kitchen as it was when we bought it, and now with a more open floor plan, new cabinets to the ceiling, and a dark granite counter and backsplash.
4. For good companies, that do what is needed to make right a mistake by their workers. 

5. For good neighbors, both in our current neighborhood and in the one we are moving into. 

6. For individuals who share their talents. John and I attended a concert by Alan Menken this week. John's comment coming out of the concert hall was, "This was a lot like a Beach Boys concert; almost every single song was familiar to me." Alan Menken composed music for many of the Disney films, as well as Little Shop of Horrors and other plays.

Photo: A projection on the stage before the concert shows a caricature of Alan Menken playing the piano. The caption reads, "A Whole New World of Alan Menken: Stories and Songs by 8-Time Oscar-Winning Composer Alan Menken" (Photography wasn't allowed once the concert began, so I don't have a photo of him actually performing.)
7. For various financial tasks completed. Taxes are done and the budget has had its periodic re-working. 

8. For television. I'm not much of a watcher--my parents got rid of our set when I was a child, and quite frankly, there are better things to do than watch TV, but I do enjoy a show or two occasionally. Specifically, I'm glad that the X-files has returned for a short season again this year. 

9. For another race. John and I are running a 10K this morning to benefit cancer research. I'm a little anxious. This is only our second Utah run since moving here. Even though the first was half the distance, it was a bit rough; we hadn't fully adapted to the altitude  yet and we started at a faster pace than we should have. This time around we should do better. Our lungs are used to the altitude, and we're trying to remind ourselves that most of the runners are at least half our age, so we aren't expected to keep their pace. Wish us luck!

10. For John. I love racing into the future with him.

What are you thankful for this week? I love reading your comments, and reading the posts of those who link up. I'll be late in responding, as my phone doesn't always allow me to comment (particularly on wordpress blogs) and I will be busy with my grandchildren, but I will try to catch up when I return. Thanks for your patience!

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: Here a Cousin, There a Cousin #RootsTech Edition

I did something last week that I've never done before--I attended a RootsTech conference. RootsTech 2018 brought together approximately 14,000 attendees to learn and celebrate family history. Gathered in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah, we spent four days attending classes, listening to fabulous keynote speakers, visiting vendors at an enormous expo, and meeting friends and relatives.

Photo: My mom and I pose in front of a sign. Had I framed the photo correctly, "Welcome to Rootstech" would be visible.
My mom flew down to attend the conference, and spent a week with me. We not only had a great time at RootsTech, we also managed to watch a couple of movies (The Greatest Showman, Coco), eat Rockwell ice cream and BYU chocolate-covered cinnamon gummy bears (not simultaneously), and inadvertently photo-bomb a video interview with Scott Hamilton.  

Thanks to a "Find Relatives at RootsTech" feature of the FamilySearch FamilyTree app, I had a list of about 300 of my cousins who were also at the conference! I messaged some of them, and met some in person. One of my cousins had been researching a particular line in the family tree for some time, and was amazed to finally meet someone (me) with my maiden name. Another cousin used to live in the same city I lived in, and we share mutual friends. Yet another had visited Germany and shared a PowerPoint presentation of ancestral places. All of the cousins were happy to connect with us, and to share information.

Photo: A collage of four photos of my mom and I with various cousins we met at RootsTech
One of the days, I got a text from my oldest son, asking if he and his wife could stay with us over the weekend. Her grandfather had passed away, and the funeral was on Saturday. Of course I said yes. Although the reason for the visit was sad, it was nice to get to see them, too!

The link for this Ten Things of Thankful blog hop is dangerously close to closing for this week, so I will quickly wrap this up. I'm thankful:

1. For my mom.
2. For RootsTech.
3. For friends.
4. For cousins.
5. For more cousins.
6. For even more cousins.
7. For my son and his wife.
8. For my other children.
9. For my grandchildren.
10. For John. 

Have you ever attended a family history conference? Have you tried out FamilySearch? If you have a tree (or need help starting one) and want to find out if we are cousins, let me know! I've found a couple of blogging cousins already. It's a small world after all!

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: Snow Edition

The home improvements stores have started stocking seeds and spring bulbs. Raspberry canes tempt me, but the weather lets me know it's still too early for planting. After an amazingly dry November, December, and January, February has decided that Utah winter has begun.

1. I'm thankful for the peaceful falling of the snow.

2. I'm thankful for indoor plumbing. Unlike Drexel, I don't have to venture out when nature calls. 

Photo: A figure-eight shaped set of paw-prints in the snow. Drexel walked under the eaves of the house, then ventured out in the snow only far enough to find the nearest bush, then turned around and walked back to the safety of the bare patio again.
3. I'm thankful that, also unlike Drexel, I tend to enjoy playing in the snow.

Photo: John's green snowshoes, and my red snowshoes are visible as we hike in the snow.
4. I'm thankful for a warm dry house to come home to when I'm cold and wet.

5. I'm thankful that by next winter, we won't even have to drive to reach a trail, but can simply walk out our back door and up the mountain.

Photo: My wild, snow-covered back yard blends into the mountain. Arrows on the photo indicate where the trail runs.
6. Although changes weren't as dramatic as last week, I'm thankful that progress continues on the house. This past week, new baseboards were installed on the main level. They are plain, and still need to be painted (white), but I like them.

Photo: Tall plain baseboards define the bottom of the light blue living room walls. The old air intake register, and packaging for the new one, sits on the window seat.
7. I'm thankful to be able to rent a house to stay in during this year. I love this 1950's rambler, and I love the artistic details--even in the pattern the snow makes on the roof of the patio.
Photo: A snow-covered table and chairs sit on the patio overlooking the back yard. The patio roof is made of slats of wood. The snow, as it partially melts and then freezes again, makes a pattern of rounded waves that hangs from the wooden slats. 
8. I'm thankful for the chance to talk (via FaceTime) with a class of elementary-school students in Kansas about what it is like to be a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Even though I'm not currently raising a puppy, I enjoyed the years I did, and love to talk about my experiences with that great organization. Of course, I'm pretty sure that the kids were most interested in seeing Drexel, and who can blame them? 

Photo: Children, seated on the floor of their classroom, watch a projection of Drexel on the big screen during a FaceTime chat. (Photo courtesy of Teresa and used with permission.)

9. I'm thankful for retrospect, technology, and connections. After I communicated with students in a state I've never visited, I thought about how in the world (purposely chosen wording) I was even asked to speak with children in Kansas. If my beloved basset hound Lucy hadn't passed away, I wouldn't have started puppy-raising in California.  If I hadn't started a blog, I probably wouldn't have found Lizzi's Ten Things of Thankful blog hop (started in England), and I wouldn't have met (online--we have yet to meet in person) Dyanne (in Missouri), who happens to be good friends with Teresa, the teacher of the class (in Kansas). Everything worked together to allow me (and Drexel) to visit from Utah with 4th-graders in Kansas. Amazing!  

10. As always, I'm thankful for John. With apologies to Dr. Suess: He hikes with me on a snowy day. He shovels out the driveway. He drives the car on the icy street; his winter-driving can't be beat! I might not like green eggs and ham, but I'm glad John is part of my fam!

Photo: John and I pose for a selfie while snowshoeing. Snow-covered trees are behind us.

Kudos to Josie Two Shoes for hosting the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. Feel free to join in!

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