Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: Why Food Storage?


I will use coupons, but I am not extreme.  I believe in being prepared, but I'm not a doomsday-er.  So why do I store food? 

Food storage means peace of mind.  Not just peace of mind in the event of a major natural disaster, but peace of mind in the event of lesser challenges.  The stress that comes with unemployment, illness, or even just "I'm-in-the-middle-of-a-recipe-and-now-realize-I'm-out-of ____" can be decreased or eliminated with food storage.

Food storage embraces the tradition of saving for a rainy day. Though the actual process of preserving food can take time and effort, having food stored harks back to a simpler way of life.

Food storage  provides a creative outlet.  It's validating to realize I can take various ingredients, throw them together (with the help of recipes), and end up with a delicious product. 

Food storage brings people together.  My oldest son's brown-bag lunches piqued the curiosity of one of his friends.  Next thing I knew, my son asked me if I will teach his friend how to make bread.  (Apparently I was called a "hard-core" bread baker, because I ground the wheat.) 

Do you have food storage?  What do you store?  How do you use it? 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the wisdom of the past, which still proves wise today.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday: Time to Tackle a Star Blanket

This week, I finished crocheting a baby blanket.  As I have mentioned, several women I know are currently pregnant, so I'm trying to get gifts made in advance. 

I really liked this pattern, found here.  It worked up very quickly.  (Youngest son even commented on how rapidly I finished!) I used the Bernat Pipsqueak yarn, which is incredibly soft.  I like the unusual star shape of the blanket.


What are your favorite gifts to make? 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for super soft yarns and free patterns! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Morning in the Kitchen: Pasta Salad

While Memorial Day allows us to pay tribute to those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms, Memorial Day also serves as the kick-off to summer.  No longer do I want to cook dinner in the oven; hot weather calls for BBQs and salads. 

Pasta salad is quick, easy, and versatile.  It is one of our "go-to" meals.  Preparation is really quite simple: 

Put a big pot of water on the stove to boil.  Cut up whatever vegetables you want.  I used broccoli, baby carrots, and summer squash this time.  When the water boils, add a box of rotini (corkscrew) noodles, as well as the vegetables, to the boiling water.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until pasta and veggies are cooked how you like them.  Drain.  You can add chopped fresh tomatoes, olives, fresh basil, cheese, chopped ham, etc.  For a dressing, I use whatever bottled Italian dressing I have on hand.  Toss to combine.  Serve warm or cold. 



Thankful thought: Thanks to those men and women who sacrificed for our country.




Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Musings of the Spirit: June Visiting Teaching

The visiting teaching message for June can be found here. The warmth that Eliza R. Snow mentioned invoked images not only of physical warmth, as in quilts, but also emotional warmth, as in a loving, listening ear. 

Jesus Christ often taught about love, and He showed the importance of reaching the individual.  Visiting teaching is a way to serve as the Savior did, and it is a way to assure that no one is overlooked.  What a great program!

Here's the handout I came up with for this month's message.  If you'd like to use it, just right-click to print.


Thankful thought:  Thanks to the many friends I have made through the visiting teaching program.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Fun with Family History: 1940 Census

Perhaps you recall this post about finding my grandpa and grandma on the 1940 census.  Well, this week I found my other set of grandparents!  Before I explain about how I found them, let me show you the pages that show my first discoveries.  (I've left the names out the photos, since one grandma is still living.)


Oh, boy, that is impossibly small for you to read!  Let me walk you through the information I gleaned from the record.  First of all, to the left of where the names are on the census (and not in the photo), written in the margin, I learned that Grandpa lived right next door to the post office.  That was interesting because he met Grandma when she started working for the postmistress.  From the information in the photo, I see that Grandpa was a hired hand in the household he was living in.  Sex: male, color: white, age: 21, marital status: single.  He did not attend school within the past year, and the highest level of education he attained was 8th grade.  (I think that was more an indication of what was common at that time and area than in his natural abilities or inclinations.  He valued education and constantly read.  I remember seeing many books about natural wonders and history in his home.)

He was born in Kansas, and lived on a farm in rural Kansas on Jan. 1, 1935.  He worked 60 hours the week of March 24-30, 1940.  He worked 52 weeks as a farmhand in the previous year.  He did not receive income other than salary.



What about Grandma?  Well, her mom had remarried after Grandma's dad died in a mining accident, so we see step-dad on the census as the head of household.  As for Grandma:  sex:female, color: white, age: 16, marital status: single.  She had not attended school in the past year, and the census lists that the highest level of education she completed was the 3rd year of high school.  (Grandma did not finish high school due to sustaining a bad skull fracture after falling off a horse.  However, Grandma has said that accident occurred the summer before her junior year, not the summer after. I'm apt to believe Grandma over the census record.)

She was born in Oregon, and lived on a farm in rural Deschutes county, Oregon on Jan. 1, 1935.  She was not currently working, nor was she working the previous year.  Her occupation was housekeeper at home. 

I had found Grandpa and Grandma basically by trial and error.  The town was small and there weren't that many records to browse.  However, the other set of grandparents lived in a larger area.  I didn't want to wade through record after record to try to locate them. 

I went to www.ancestry.com and found the voter registrations from 1940 for my grandparents.  The voter registration listed their address.  Stevemorse.org, in combination with www.mapquest.com, came to my rescue.  I was able to look up my grandparents' address on mapquest and note the surrounding streets.  Then on the Stevemorse site, I was able to look up the descriptions of the various enumeration districts.  Once I found an enumeration district that matched the location of my grandparents' address, I started browsing the record. 


Hurray!  I found them!  Here's what the census said:

Grandpa:  Head of household, male, white, 27-years-old, married.  He didn't attend school in the past year.  He was a high school graduate.  He was born in California, and lived in Los Angeles, California on Jan. 1, 1935.  He worked 60 hours the week of Mar. 24-30, 1940.  He rented a farm, working 52 weeks in the previous year, drawing no salary, but did earn money other than salary or wages.

Grandma:  Wife, female, white, 23-years-old, married.  She didn't attend school in the past year, but was a high school graduate.  She was born in Arkansas, and lived on a farm in rural Lake county, Oregon on Jan. 1, 1935.  She worked 48 hours the week of Mar. 24-30, 1940.  She was a stenographer in the motor vehicles industry, working 52 weeks the previous year, and earning $1200. 

Work ethic struck me as I read through the census entries, both on a personal, "I-know-these-people," level, and on a larger, "look-at-society," level.  Each of my grandparents was/is a hard-working individual.  Though I knew that already, the information from the census only supports that knowledge.  Both grandpas worked 60-hour work-weeks, and one grandma worked a 48-hour week. The one grandmother that wasn't working at the time of the census is an understandable exception, due to her young age and the fact she had been recovering from a head injury.  She did, however, start working for the postmistress a month after the census was taken.

Among the women on the page, only one profession paid better than stenographer.  And that profession, though held exclusively by women on that particular census page, paid a wage that competed with the wages of the men.  That profession was "teacher."  Due to the current length of this post, I'll refrain from elaborating on societal changes regarding the value of public education, but it would be a fascinating study. 

What have you learned about your family from the 1940 census? 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the hard-working men and women of the past!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: A Blog Evolves

I tend to be a thinker.   Have a problem that needs solving?  I can mull, study, research, read, and whatever-other-thesaurus-word-you-can-find.  However, I'm not always quick about it.  In fact, sometimes I can be agonizingly slow to reach a decision. 

The longer I have this little blog, the more mental energy I realize I give it.  Recently, in fact, I had a restless-night's sleep, filled with dreams about how I could improve the blog.  Enough! 

While I do enjoy blogging, I also enjoy living, and I needed to come up with a way to spend more time living and less time blogging.  So, I asked myself a few questions, like: "Why do I blog?" ,"What do I want to accomplish with this blog?", and other similar questions.

I blog because I feel like I'm supposed to.  Is this what real writers feel?  I don't know.  I just know that I like having this little corner of blogdom to share photos, thoughts, and ideas.

What do I want to accomplish?   I want to remember the many things for which I am thankful.  I would love it if something I say is of value to a reader.  I want to keep a record of some of the goings-on of my days.  I want to use the blog to inspire myself to be creative.

Somewhere (and I don't remember where), I read some ideas for blog improvement.  One was to have a structure, so that readers know what to expect each day.  I think that having a structure would also help this writer know what to expect!  Another tip I read was to write blog posts in advance, and just schedule them to post on a particular day. 

So, I am going to try to adopt the following schedule:

Monday Morning in the Kitchen
Tuesday Tackling Projects
(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday
Thursday Thoughts
Friday Family History
Saturday--[miscellaneous posts as desired, probably often a day off]
Sunday Musings of the Spirit

What do you think?  For those of you who have blogs, what tips do you have to keep blogging from taking over your life? 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the internet, and also for real life!



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday: Time to Tackle. . . Cleaning the Shower

Has anyone else noticed how the same ideas seem to keep popping up on pinterest, blogs, and other social media sites?  The other day, I read about the amazing bathroom cleaner made with vinegar and Dawn dish washing detergent, so I decided to give it a try. 

I don't even know who to credit for the recipe; I found multiple pinterest pins, and multiple blog entries that mentioned it, and I didn't ever find the original post.  Most of the recipes said to add equal parts of warm vinegar (microwave it) and Dawn dish washing detergent (the blue kind) into a spray bottle, spray it on the shower, leave on for some length of time, then rinse off. 

Swallowing all pride, I found the grungiest shower tile I could for a "before" photo:


I sprayed on the mixture.  The scent was extremely strong, and not just a vinegar smell.  More of a "open-the-window, I-need-to-breathe" smell.  

I left the cleaner on for a few hours before rinsing it off.  Some sites said to leave on overnight, others said 15 minutes.  I decided to compromise.  Rinsing took forever, as Dawn makes a lot of bubbles.  Be extremely careful if you clean the floor of the shower with this mixture! You'll want to have it thoroughly rinsed before showering to avoid falling.

Using a sponge, I scrubbed just a bit.  Mainly, the tile just needed to be rinsed (and rinsed, and rinsed.) 

Dawn and vinegar definitely improved the state of the shower:


Thankful thought:  Thanks for all who share ideas!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Morning in the Kitchen: Pineapple Zucchini Muffins

Remember this post about canning "pineapple" from zucchini?  Well, I really need to use all those jars before this year's zucchini starts producing.  Today, I decided to make muffins. 


In case any of you need to use up bottled zucchini, here's the recipe:

"Pineapple" Zucchini Muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine:  2-1/2 cups flour, 1 T non-instant milk powder, 2 T brown sugar (you might want to increase this for a sweeter muffin), 1 T baking powder, 1/2 t salt, 1 t cinnamon, and 1/2 c. chopped walnuts.  In another bowl, combine:  1 pint "pineapple" zucchini, 1/4 c. vegetable oil, 1 egg, and 1/2 c. water. 


(If you prefer, you can use 1/2 cup milk rather than the powdered milk and water.)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.  Either grease muffin tins, or use paper liners.  Fill muffin tins 3/4 way full, and bake for 18 minutes.  Makes 15 muffins.

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the smell of freshly-baked muffins!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Before Thankful Comes Recognition

This short video provides helpful advice on how to recognize the blessings that come to us daily.  In the hustle and bustle of life, we might miss just how fortunate we are. 





Our Heavenly Father loves each one of us, and he is aware of our needs and desires.  As we look to Him for direction, we will come to understand His interest in our lives. 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for a kind, loving Heavenly Father who knows us and wants only the best for us.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Birdcage" Makeover

Last week, I spent a couple of hours scouring garage sales.  I came home all excited, but as you can see, it doesn't take much to delight me:



After John brought out the wire cutters and we removed yards of chicken wire, this is what we found:


Once stripped of the chicken wire, I realized that the "birdcage" is actually two repurposed [this is the new catch-phrase, right?] store display baskets stacked together. After some cleaning, spray painting, and decorating, this is what we have:






What do you think?  Could we possibly use this as part of wedding reception decor?

Thankful thought:  Thanks for spray paint and possibilities. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

I've Been Indexing, But What is a Census?

For the past month or so, I've been indexing, and encouraging you to index, the 1940 census.  However, I don't think I ever really defined what a census is.  The following video does a great job of
explaining:



If you've been bitten by the family history bug, please visit this website to get started with indexing.  If you haven't caught the vision of genealogy, don't worry; there's hope for you yet! 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for family!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kitchen Towel Tutorial

After making the baby blanket the other day, I got to thinking that I could make kitchen towels using the same technique. 

I found a cute cotton remnant at the fabric store:


I love the vintage look, the colors (which work great with my brick kitchen floor), and the chickens.  John holds the reasonable view that barnyard animals don't belong in the kitchen, but I think he made an exception for chickens when I inherited my grandma's rooster decor.  Oldest son even created a painting for me with Grandma's rooster as inspiration:


Anyway, I decided the fabric remnant would make nice towels.  I found some waffle-weave material in the home decor section of the fabric store, and used it as towel backing.

The technique was the same as the baby blanket.  First, be sure to pre-wash your fabric.  The waffle-weave, in particular, shrank a lot! 

Then, cut your fabric pieces.  I had slightly less than a yard of the remnant, and just cut it so I could get three towels out of the piece.  Then I cut the waffle-weave to match.  You could also use a kitchen towel as a template.  Just cut it slightly larger than your desired finished size, to account for the seam allowance.


Place right-sides together, and sew around, leaving a gap of several inches.  Trim the corners, then turn the towel right-side out.  Then iron the edges and top-stitch all the way around.  The top-stitching will close the opening you left.  I chose to experiment with decorative stitching, though I should have used a red thread if I wanted it to show up for a photo.

I don't think the towels turned out nicely enough for gift-giving.  The waffle-weave is thick and caused me a bit of trouble when I did the top-stitching.  I think I would use flour sack cloth as a backing if I were making the towels as gifts.  However, I like the end result for my kitchen.



Thankful thought:  Thanks for the joys of new kitchen towels!




Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Reno at 8 Months




Thankful thought:  Thanks for soft puppy faces, and picmonkey.com, which helps improve my photos!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jewelry Tree Handmade by Creative Youngest Daughter

Last night, I heard power tools humming in the garage.  Next thing I know, in walks youngest daughter, carrying a cute jewelry tree. 


She made it by taking wire and bending it at the end.  She took a little piece of wood and drilled holes the size of the wire, then inserted the wire into the holes.  Finally, she spray painted it all white.  The whole process took her about 1/2 hour. 



Oh, did I mention that she makes her own jewelry, too? 


Thankful thought:  Thanks for the creativity of my children.




Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

My mom called me the other day just to tell me how much she enjoys reading my blog.  She said all the right "Mom" things to say:  I could write a book (if I wanted to), I could be a speaker (again, if I wanted to), I am as enjoyable to listen to as the pros. 

Now, those statements reflect more on my mom than on me. 

She's always been a great support.


She taught me skills and spent time with me.


Above all, I have always known that she loves me.


Happy Mother's Day, Mom! 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for my mom, my grandmas, and my mother-in-law, each of whom has been a great support to me.  I'm so lucky to be associated with such wonderful, strong women!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Easy Baby Blanket Tutorial

I recently purchased a new sewing machine.  My old one sewed temperamentally, balking and complaining most of the time.  While I felt a bit bad buying a new one when the old one still had life in it, I'm amazed at the quiet ease with which the new one operates.  Not only does it seem happy to be working, it offers me quite a few different stitching options. 

My fabric stash tends to grow if I'm not careful, but with a new machine, I felt motivated to turn some of the flannel stash into baby blankets.  What an easy project!  Here's what to do:

Start with two different pieces of fabric, 1 yard each.  Flannel shrinks quite a bit, so make sure to wash, dry, and press the fabric first. 

Next, you will need to square up the fabric.  Fabric isn't always cut squarely at the store, and then it shrinks in the wash, so your two 1-yard pieces probably won't be identical.  Here is how much my pieces differed:


If you use a rotary cutter with a mat and ruler, you can easily square up the fabric.


Then, with right sides together, stitch around the flannel (I used a 5/8-inch seam allowance), being sure to leave an opening on one side.  I left about a 7-inch gap, so it was easy to turn the blanket right-side-out after stitching.


Before turning right-side-out, though, you'll want to trim the corners, so they will lie flat. 


Now for the fun part! Turn the blanket right-side-out.  There's just something satisfying about seeing what it is going to look like completed. 

At this point, I suggest pressing the seams.  It will make this next step go more smoothly. 

Once the blanket is right-side-out and pressed, top-stitch around the entire blanket.  This will close the gap in the initial stitching, plus it allows you to embellish a bit with decorative stitches or trim.  I used a contrasting thread color so the design on the back fabric pops.


I love the front fabric, too.



Here's the complete blanket:



And here it is with an ABC book, all ready for gifting:


Four women I know are currently pregnant, so I think I need to stitch up a few more blankets!  Fortunately, this quick, easy, economical, and fun project results in a soft, comfy, and useful gift!

Update:  One reader wondered whether or not the blanket would hold up without stitching in the middle.  I washed the blanket and didn't notice any problems--perhaps I might have, had the blanket been larger.  If you'd like to add stitches in the middle, feel free, but I'm comfortable with it as is.  Thanks for the suggestion, though--I love comments! 

What are your favorite make-it-yourself projects?

Thankful thought:  Thanks for gift-giving opportunities!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Patience, Please. Blog Makeover in Progress

You know the feeling you have when its been too long since your last haircut, and you just have to do something about it right now--even if it means wielding the scissors yourself?  Well, my mind has somehow decided I need to update the look of this blog today.  Stat.  So, please be patient.  If you're checking in and think, "I can hardly read the heading," don't worry.  I know.  I'm working on it.  Hopefully the final (ha ha--until next time I change things up) result will be worth it. 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for your patience!

Drying Rose Petals: AKA The Garage Smells Great

With my son's wedding date fast approaching, I'm starting to realize I have a lot to learn about putting on a wedding reception.  (The bride-to-be is from another state, so the wedding and one reception will occur there, and we will hold another reception here.

I scour pinterest for ideas, and try to think of what we have already, and what we might want to pick up for decorations.  My beautiful rose bushes are blooming now.  If only I could capture the fleeting blossoms.  Oh, wait!  Maybe I can.

I gathered a basketful of deadheaded petals. 


Then I removed the sliding screen door from its tracks and balanced it on two sawhorses.  Next, I scattered rose petals all over the screen.  Now I'm just waiting for them to dry. 


I'm not exactly sure if/how we'll use them, but I figure it doesn't hurt to have options!  I'm envisioning some rose petal, vase, battery-operated candle, tulle creation as a centerpiece. I want to discuss this with the bride-to-be, of course. 

Even if we don't end up using the petals, at least the garage smells good.

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the excitement of happy occasions!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Struggling With My Views at Petsmart

You might remember that I recently posted about confident parenting.  We know our children, and we know what skills and knowledge would prove most useful to them.  We should celebrate successes and not worry about what others think.  Well . . . I still struggle with this. 

Yesterday, I stopped at Petsmart to buy dog food for Reno.  I was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.  The T-shirt had on the front:  America 1776.  The cashier looked at me, and asked/said:  "1776.  Is that the date of the Army?  Or was it Navy?"  Even after I explained it meant the birth of our nation, she asked, "the flag?"  I reiterated, then tried not to act surprised when she explained to me that her major in college had nothing to do with history. 

Then I struggled with my feelings.  I do believe what I wrote in my confident parenting post, yet I found myself surprised that the English-speaking, college student/cashier did not know what I considered a fact of general knowledge.  I reminded myself that I have forgotten many facts in my lifetime, and I remembered all the nightmares I had after I received my college degree.  The dreams all had one recurring theme:  somehow I was a fraud, because I couldn't remember calculus.  Never mind the fact that I took calculus in high school.  According to my nightmares, if I don't remember how to work the problems now, I shouldn't have the college diploma (and probably not even the high school one, either.)

Anyway, it probably doesn't take a psycho-analyst to realize that I value education, yet struggle with defining what that means.  The good news, and what I constantly need to remind myself, is that each one of us has a lifetime to collect knowledge.  None of us will ever be able to learn everything that is available to us.  We get to pick and choose where our focus will be.  Even if we don't know something someone else considers a basic fact, that doesn't diminish what we do know.  And just as I would not want to be judged by someone who actually remembers calculus, I should not judge another person's lack of recollection of historical facts.  Do I want my children to understand and remember what 1776 means for this country?  Of course.  Is it the most important thing they will learn in their lifetime?  Of course not. 

I love seeing my children learn and work hard.  I smile along with them as they enjoy academic success, but their development of character traits such as determination, motivation, empathy, kindness, and love brings me even greater delight. 

So, to the cashier in Petsmart:  You showed curiosity, humility, and willingness to learn.  Note to self:  Until you have relearned calculus, and as long as the change is correct, don't worry about what a cashier may or may not know. 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the time we have to learn. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mother's Day is Coming Up: How Are We Doing?

As a child, the second Sunday in May meant it was officially Be Nice to Mom Day.  It wasn't until I was married that I began to understand just how difficult Mother's Day can be for women.  Single women.  Married women.  Women without children.  Women with children. 

What lies at the heart of our sorrow and discontent?  Judgment.  Comparison and contrast.  Mother's Day can stand, for women, not just as a day to honor the hard work and sacrifices of our own mothers, but also as a performance review check.  And let me tell you, I think we are often much too hard on ourselves. 

I attended a conference earlier this year, and one of the speakers really impressed me.  (The fact that I don't remember her name reflects more on the state of my memory than her ability as a speaker.) Anyway, she talked about how she doesn't consider herself a refined woman, but that she admires those women who always have their hair perfectly groomed, and who are poised in all situations.  Well, she decided that when she moved to a new neighborhood, she was going to be one of "those" women.  The unflappable ones.  The ones who exude grace and charm.  She then told about going to church in her new ward, standing up to introduce herself, and not being able to make it through an introduction before her real self came through.  Somehow, in the short span of an introduction, she managed to mention the challenges involved in living in a home that was under construction.  (Something about having to visit an outhouse?) She felt like she failed at grace and charm. 

I could relate.  For whatever reason (maybe I lack the Barbie gene), I've never considered myself a particularly poised person.  How does this relate to feelings of inadequacy on Mother's Day?  Well, in our annual performance review check, we tend to think of all the things a mother "should" be, never taking into account our own specialized subset of skills. 

Have you seen the movie, "My Best Friend's Wedding"?  Remember when Julia Roberts is talking to Cameron Diaz and compares her to creme brulee?  She suggests that Dermot Mulroney might prefer jello.  Cameron Diaz says that she could be jello, and Julia Roberts replies that "creme brulee can never be jello."  I prefer to think of myself as some sort of chocolate hazelnut raspberry concoction, but nevertheless, I am not creme brulee.  And that's OK!

My self-imposed performance review checklist should not include ratings for tasks that are not part of my job.  The problem is, the ideal mother is perfect at everything.  So, we take the ideal and realize we fall far short.  However, it is ridiculous to think that any one person will be expert at everything.  Instead of minimizing the importance of our own talents and coveting the talents of others, we should instead improve upon the skills and interests we already have.  That's not to say we shouldn't try new things, but we don't have to beat ourselves up if we aren't proficient in what appears to be a basic life skill of another person.  (I will spare you the details of how I spent an unsuccessful HOUR trying to apply fingernail polish.  On a related note, I wear my hair curly because that is what is easiest, not to mention it suits my unpolished self.)

So, my fellow women, this week let's be patient with ourselves.  Let's graciously allow our children, husbands, friends, and family to say "Happy Mother's Day" without us having to explain why we don't really deserve the greeting.  Let's celebrate the many and varied talents we have.  Just because something comes easy to us, doesn't mean it is unimportant.  Regardless of our situation, each of us possesses traits that benefits family and friends. 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said to women in Sept. 2009, "May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don’t reach beyond your capacity. Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don’t compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest."

Thankful thought:  Thanks to all women: single, married, childless or not. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Friend Crossed My Path--Again

Sometimes, I have grand ideas of writing a perfectly eloquent blog post--one that exactly expresses the thoughts and feelings I'm having, one that shares universal truths in a way that anyone reading would feel compelled to comment: "I know what you mean!"  Then I stare at the blank screen, with the blinking cursor daring me to attempt to put my heart into the written word. 

Today, I try again. 

At church this afternoon, some individuals mentioned how thankful they were for friends who helped them during difficult times, as well as happy times.  I found myself mentally recollecting the many people I've known throughout my life, and the fond memories I have of them.  Just then, my youngest daughter nudged me and gestured for me to look behind us.  Sitting a few rows back was one of "my" young women, someone I knew from when we lived in another state and I taught the teenage girls in our church ward.  I quickly motioned for her to come sit with us, and I found myself smiling throughout the rest of the meeting.

I remember when we moved to that small town years ago.   I received the shock of my life by being asked, very shortly after we moved in, to be the young women president, which basically meant I was responsible for the teenage girls.  What a great group of young women!  They accepted this stranger into their midst, and I grew to love them. 

Recently, one of those girls moved to the area where I now live.  Of course, now she's grown and a mom herself.  We've met for lunch and chatted, and today she surprised me by showing up at church.  (We attend different congregations, as we live in different geographical ward boundaries.)  I'm delighted to have the chance to reconnect with this sweet friend.   

How about you?  Have you had an opportunity to cross paths again with people from your past? 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for friends, and for crossed paths!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: May Flowers

Iris--High Caliber

Rose--Climbing Seminole Wind

Rose--Climbing Aloha

Iris--Gold Finger

Iris--Bold Statement

Iris--Millenium Falcon

Iris--Temple Gold

Rose--Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison

Iris--Superstition

Rose--Disneyland

Rose--Scentimental

Rose--unknown, came with house

Rose--unknown, came with house

Lilac--Alice Christenson
Thankful thought:  Thanks for the sights and smells of spring!