Friday, January 31, 2014

Ten Things of Thankful: Wrapping Up January

January 2014:  It's a wrap!

This week, I'm thankful for:

1.  Colorful eggs that are fresh for the gathering.

 2.  Drexel the Guide Dog puppy.  He's scheduled to return for his formal training in a couple of weeks.  We'll miss him, but we are so excited for him, too.

3.  My Kindle, which allows me to check out and read books from the comfort of my own home.  My latest finish?  The Children of Willesden Lane, based on a true story of a young pianist who fled Austria during WWII and went to London.  

4.  The internet.  I think I have tracked down the person whose letters I found in my attic.  I'm just waiting and hoping for an e-mail response. 

5.  Green eyes, so I can count myself in with the green-eyed group.  (Sorry, girls, I can't call myself part of a gang.)  Lizzi mentioned she has green eyes, and all of a sudden there was a chorus of "Me, too! Me, too!" 

After seeing this photo, I started second-guessing myself.  Are my eyes really green?  As you can see, the color changes a bit depending on what color I wear, but helped me see that they are more green than blue.

 6.  Rain.  We've had just a bit this week, though we desperately need more.

7.  Prayer.  Once a month, Mormons fast for two meals.  Usually the purpose of the fast is individually decided upon.  This coming Sunday, however, California Mormons have been collectively asked to fast and pray for rain.  

Nothing is too small to merit a prayer. One of my favorite Book of Mormon passages is in the 34th chapter of Alma:

 17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;
 18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
 19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
 20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
 21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
 22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
 23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
 24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
 25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
 26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
 27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.
 8.  (As always), John.  In addition to being an all-around great guy, we have a lot of fun together.  

9.  Date night.  This week, we went to see the movie, The Saratov Approach.  It is a true story of the kidnapping of two Mormon missionaries in Russia in the 1990s.  Though it has Mormon missionaries in it, I think it has appeal beyond the LDS community.  

When we arrived for the afternoon showing, we noticed a sign in the box office window, informing us that one of the lead actors would be having a Q & A session before the first evening showing.  The movie theater workers told us that we were invited to stay after our show for the session.  When the actor showed up and announced he would take questions and answers after the evening showing, we thought we might be out of luck.  Instead, we (and several others of us who had watched the afternoon show) were told we could chat with the actor in the hallway while the movie played. 

I know some of you live by the saying, "Photos or it didn't happen," so here is proof that we met Maclain Nelson:

Phone photo, but still proof!

10.  A Color Me RAD run tomorrow.  John has agreed to run with me--our first 5K together!  We should be a colorful sight by the end of the race, as we will be running through showers of colored cornstarch.  Sounds like fun, right?  

What are you thankful for this week?  Leave a comment, or link up your own blog post to the blog hop!  This is a chatty bunch; you'll enjoy the hop.

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Thanks for another week/month/year. 

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Attic-Cleaning Adventures

My attic needs my attention. Boxes and bags have taken up residence, and seem to be multiplying.  I've been trying to get rid of things we no longer need, and yesterday I dragged down a couple of boxes from the attic.  I was absolutely sure I didn't need anything in them--they were in the attic when we moved into the house nearly five years ago--and yet I still felt compelled to see what was inside.


Monday, January 27, 2014

February 2014 Visiting Teaching Message

The 23rd Psalm, familiar to many, brings peace with its lyrical poetry:

 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ten Things of Thankful: Wide Open Spaces Edition

When I was young, my family's house sat directly across the road from a big empty field.  I remember when a housing development started to go in, my dad declared that it was time to move.  At the time, I thought it was a bit silly that a few houses going up would prompt such a big change, but now that I'm older, I understand.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Family History: Vacuuming Flashback

I've spent a fair amount of time this morning vacuuming.  I had been nursing along my old vacuum for quite some time, but recently decided to go ahead and buy a new one.  Oh, what joy:  no stopping every few minutes to unclog the hose, no loss of suction.  It behaves the way a vacuum cleaner should.  To add to its appeal, it takes me back to my childhood every time I use it. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Meal Time Conversation Saver

We eat the vast majority of our meals at home around the dinner table.  When the kids were little, they would tell us about what had happened at school, John would talk about his time at work, and I'd pipe in about what I had done that day. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ten Things of Thankful: Another 10K!

This post is like my recent 10K run:  finished rather late, but happy to have completed it.  Before I write more about the race, though, here are some thankfuls I noticed earlier in the week:

1.  I'm thankful for the wind.  It's a familiar sound here, and I rather like to hear it howling.  It often signals a change in weather--usually colder--which, living in a hot desert, is a welcome relief.  (I can live with our January daily highs, though, but I still like to listen to the wind from the comfort of my house.)

2.  I'm thankful for the moon.   I probably post a photo every month, but every month I think, "Wow!  Look at that moon!" I must have a short memory, but the beauty of the moon never fails to amaze me.


3.  I'm thankful for friends who play the organ.  As I've mentioned before, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates with a lay clergy. Because not every congregation has someone who has been trained on the organ, often piano players are asked if they will play the organ in our meetings.  In our ward, several of us take turns--one playing for the meetings one month, another playing the next month, etc.  

I think I am one of the least formally trained piano players of the bunch, and though I've "played" the organ for years at church, I really don't know what I'm doing.  I rely heavily on the "cheat sheet", a paper on the organ that tells me what preset button to push for prelude music, soft hymns, more energetic hymns, etc.  

When I sat down at the organ last Sunday and pressed my preferred setting button, I noticed that all of the stops went down.  Instant panic:  someone had reset all the preset buttons!  I had a flashback to the infamous day years ago when I detected trumpets during a should-be-quiet sacrament hymn.  I didn't want a repeat of that performance, and I didn't have time to experiment on my own to figure out what stops to set.  I quickly grabbed a friend from the congregation who calmly set the organ for me.  

I really should take the time to learn more about the organ, but I'm also really glad that I can draw on the knowledge of others.

4.  I'm thankful for the chance I had to substitute teach for the 4 & 5 year old class at church.  Besides being adorable, young children teach me many things, including humility.  

The lesson last Sunday was " I Can Choose the Right."  The children were supposed to learn to ask themselves, "What would Jesus want me to do?" when faced with a difficult decision.  To illustrate the point, the lesson manual suggested telling a story about a boy named Warren who was observing a nest of eggs in a bird sanctuary (where his father works).  While Warren was studying the nest, some boys came up, killed a bird with a slingshot, and threatened to hurt Warren if he told on them.  You can read the rest of the story here.  I hard-boiled some eggs and put them in a little nest to use as a visual aid.  Unfortunately, after telling the story, I inadvertently  cracked one of the eggs.  One of the little boys in the class lamented, "That egg will never be a bird."  

I started to explain that the eggs were hard-boiled, and that they never had birds inside of them to begin with, but quickly realized that my statement might just lead to other questions--questions that really weren't my place to answer.  So, we just went on with the lesson as written in the manual, while I felt as mean as the bird-killing, sling-shot-wielding boys in the story. 

5.  I'm thankful for John.  Yes, that is a repeat from other weeks, but there are so many little things that I notice each week that remind me of what a great guy he is.  On Wednesday, as I folded clothes--clean clothes which had been sitting in a laundry basket in our room for days--John said, sincerely and without sarcasm, "Oh, thank you."  Even though I've done most of the laundry our entire married life, he neither expressed annoyance that I hadn't folded and put away the clothes in a timely fashion, nor had he just taken my (albeit late) efforts for granted.  

(Segue into the 10K):

6.  I'm thankful that John also supports me in my interests.  He and youngest daughter came down to cheer me (and oldest daughter) on during the race.  He sweetly personalized a sign.  He felt like the more he added to the smiley face, the worse it got, but I think it's fine.

7.  I'm also thankful for others who supported me.  I joined Twitter fairly recently, and my phone now buzzes every time someone I follow tweets something.  During the run, my phone just kept buzzing and buzzing.  I thought of the line from It's a Wonderful Life:  "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings."  In this case, however, "Every time my phone buzzes, Lizzi is rooting me on."  Though the tweets weren't really about me, I appreciate Lizzi and others--both online and IRL--who have offered words of encouragement.  

8.  I'm thankful for the Disneyland custodial staff.  Not only were they lined up throughout the race to cheer on the runners, I know they had a huge cleanup project awaiting them after the race.  With over 8300 race finishers of the Tinkerbell 10K  (not to mention the thousands who ran the 5K and the half marathon), there was a lot of pixie dust landing everywhere.  I'm not kidding.  You would not believe the amount of glitter that was in the women's bathrooms!  Anyone who has ever tried to clean up glitter knows what a hassle it is.  Hurray for Disney custodians, who remained cheerful even when faced with a tremendous number of fairy wings running through the park. 

(The video below gives a taste of what the run was like.  Where else could I have run in a green organza skirt and glittery fairy wings and blended in with the crowd?  I'm not in the video, but you can see how many people were in costume.)


9.   I'm thankful that oldest daughter came to run with me.  The day before the race, after picking up our packets, we spent the morning together at Disneyland.  John and youngest daughter joined us in the afternoon.  Oldest daughter loves photos with the characters, so we took a few, both before and during the run:

 10.  I'm thankful we finished and felt good during and after the race!

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Thanks for another week!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'll Run in Green Organza

At the end of last summer, my oldest daughter and I ran a 10 K race at Disneyland.  It was our first run together at Disneyland, and as we ran, we noticed many other runners wore costumes.  Their attire added to the festive nature of the race, and we talked about wearing costumes for our next Disneyland run.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Eliminate Paper Clutter One Sheet at a Time

I remember what the missing item is from this past weekend's Ten Things of Thankful post!  I'm thankful for empty boxes--specifically, boxes that used to house all sorts of papers that I do not need to keep.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ten Things of Thankful: Even With Computer Problems

Argh!  I had a post all ready to publish, and somehow, it completely disappeared.  Well, that just gives me another chance to look back over my week and review again the things for which I am thankful.  Breathe, Kristi, breathe.  Focus on the thankful!

1.  I'm thankful that we were able to attend church with our granddaughters on Sunday, and John blessed our newest edition.

2.  I'm thankful that I got to be at Disneyland for the final day of performances there by Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.  I don't think I've ever been part of such a unified-in-their-support audience.  It was really a lot of fun, in a bittersweet sort of way.


3.  I'm thankful for those who offer encouragement.  I am signed up to run a 10K next week, and I am much less prepared for this run than I should be.  I came down with a whopper of a cold after Thanksgiving, and didn't run for weeks.  I ran 5 K on Dec. 30th and was feeling more confident.  Now I'm fighting another cold.  My first run this week was only 2 miles long, and I was not too happy about that.  John reminded me that even though it wasn't as far as I wanted to go, I still ran 2 milesLizzi told me that if I increased my distance only 1/2 mile each day, I would work up to the full 10K by race day.  I'm still worried about this cold (I do like to breathe while running, or while doing anything, for that matter), but I have increased my distance slowly and am feeling a bit more hopeful now.

4.  I'm thankful for beautiful clouds, and for John for taking a photo when I didn't have my camera on hand.

As is par for the course, the clouds were more impressive in person.
5.  I'm thankful for date nights with John. 

6.  I'm thankful that it doesn't matter where we go, or what we do, we still enjoy each other's company.  Yes, our date started at Lowe's, where we purchased needed door hardware and then wandered through the store, commenting on merchandise ranging from orchids to vacuum cleaners.

7.  I'm thankful for little moments that make me smile.  I was driving, so I don't have a photo, but picture if you will, three gigantic St. Bernard dogs walking down the sideway.  Their owners were in tow--not literally, but nearly.  The sight of those huge dogs made me smile.  

8.  I'm thankful for shows that make me laugh.  Studio C is one of our favorite things to watch now.  It's on BYU-TV, or full episodes are also online here.  The show features Captain Literally, Shoulder Angel, and sketches like this one:

 9.  I'm thankful for the chance I had this week to spend time with a few friends, serving lunch to about 75 missionaries.  We settled into a bit of an assembly line, as we put together pulled pork sandwiches.  One of my friends kept suggesting jokingly that we start our own restaurant, because we were having so much fun.  The missionaries appreciated the food, too.  

10.  I'm thankful for a rather good memory, which allowed me to remember 9 out of the 10 things I had originally written for this post.  90% is still an "A," right? 
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Thanks for all of you! 

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

What's in Season?

Yesterday, a woman approached me in the grocery store to ask, "Are grapes not in season now?"  I was a bit taken aback, and told her that grapes are more of a summer crop.  When she said she couldn't find any grapes, I realized that her real question was, "Does this store have any grapes for sale, and if so, where do I find them?"  I pointed her in the direction of the grapes, and wondered how many consumers are so removed from food production that they truly don't know what is in season locally, and what has been imported or brought out of cold storage.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Disneyland Legend Ends: Farewell, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies

Monday, January 6, I found myself at Disneyland.  Anyone who knows me will realize that isn't an unusual place to find me. In fact, one of my daughters posted on facebook recently: 

I think my mom should just change her answering machine to; You have reached the mobile # of Kristi , I am currently unavailable, but just leave me a message on Disneyland resort loudspeaker and hopefully I will hear it. LOL!

I usually enjoy various areas of the park during a visit, but this week I went with only one purpose in mind:  to watch Billy Hill and the Hillbillies perform on their final day as Disneyland performers.  After 21 years, Disneyland chose to retire Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.  I will definitely miss watching them play there; my typical Disney visit always includes their show. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blessing Dress Completed!

John blessed our newest granddaughter in church on Sunday.  My daughter asked if I would make a dress for the occasion, so I spent last week behind my sewing machine, stitching and (let's be honest) ripping out stitches.  Once I managed to get both sleeves sewn on right-side-out, I was pretty happy with the results.  


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Thanks for an easy-to-use sewing machine, and thanks for sweet granddaughter!

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

TToT: 97 Things of Thankful!

Just a quick post today--a post that should have gone up yesterday--to wish my grandma a wonderful 97th birthday!

I wrote a bit about Grandma here.  

I'm thankful for each of Grandma's 97 years, and I'm totally counting this as a Ten Things of Thankful post!

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Thanks for a gentle, kind, strong, determined grandma, who is a great example to me!

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