Thursday, October 19, 2017

Six Sentence Story: Yard

Today is Thursday, which means that Ivy of Uncharted is hosting another Six Sentence Story blog hop. The timing of this week's cue (yard) is impeccable. This morning, John and I are going to sign final escrow papers on the purchase of our new-to-us home. I've had "yard" on my mind quite a bit lately. 

The house itself stood still and firm, waiting for the couple to turn their attention to it, but not even its wrap-around porch could redirect their excitement from the yard. 

The green grass in the front yard grew with reckless abandon, unconcerned about the purple-flowered weeds, caring only about reaching ever-closer to the bright blue sky.Two fruit trees--pear and apricot--rooted deeply under that green grass, proud of the fact they were not hidden behind the man-made abode, but could be seen from the street. Maples, pines, and quaking aspen each contributed their own character, but although they were native to the area, perhaps nothing said wild quite as well as the sagebrush that owned the backyard. In fact, it was impossible to determine exactly where the delineated property line fell; the lawn seamlessly was swallowed by the scrubby brush. 

And there, mere yards from the patient house, the trail on the mountain beckoned the couple to step off of their land and begin another adventure. 

Photo: Foothills, punctuated with sagebrush and other wild vegetation, lead to the craggy mountain. Dark clouds cover the sky.





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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

It's Almost Party Time, and You're Invited! #FamilySearchIndexing

Have you ever found information about an ancestor online? Perhaps you've stumbled across an obituary, or a census record. Maybe you've discovered a newspaper article, or a marriage license. If you have, you understand what a thrill it is to learn something about someone who is related to you. 

Have you ever wondered just how that information gets published online? In brief, digital images are taken of paper records, and then, thanks to many volunteers, the names and dates from those images are indexed. People like you and me can download a batch of records, then carefully transcribe what is written. 

Indexing is simple, and you can return a batch anytime. There is help available every step of the way, and each batch is indexed by more than one person, and any differences are arbitrated. It's a no-pressure, interesting, helpful project, and can be done by people of all ages. 

Why am I mentioning this? #FamilySearchIndexing is hosting an event on October 20-22, with the goal of making more records searchable, and is inviting you to participate! You can read more about how to join in by clicking here.

Caption: Join the cause Worldwide Indexing Event 2017 Help Others Find Their Ancestors through Indexing When: October 20 to 22 Where: Wherever you are! How: Index one batch, and help someone else do the same. What's new: Online indexing now available! Learn more at: FamilySearch.org/indexingevent2017 FamilySearch The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints #familysearchindexing
Hope you can join in the fun!



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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Autumn Splendor Edition


I was reminded last week that I haven't done a photo-heavy Ten Things of Thankful list in a while, so I determined to capture in pictures the beauty of the fall season. John, youngest daughter, and I headed up Provo Canyon to see the colorful display of the changing leaves. We saw not only trees, but animals, a waterfall, and other things that caught my eye. Hope you enjoy!

Photo: A forest of red, orange, and yellow-leaved oak and maple trees is dotted by the occasional evergreen tree, with the majestic rocky Wasatch mountain range in the background. Fluffy white clouds float in the blue sky.
Photo:  A doe (a deer, a female deer) crosses a dirt road. On either side of the road are oak and maple trees, shrubs, and grasses.
Photo: A canopy of trees with small green and yellow leaves stretches over a paved walking path. A wooden rail fence marks the right side of the path.
Photo: A blossom of a tree. The flower has white, wispy, hair-like pieces flowing from a yellowish center. I'm sorry I don't know what kind of a plant it is--a reverse Google image search suggested, "Flower."
Photo: An old wire-wrapped wooden pole lies on the ground, surrounded by yellow and tan leaves
Photo: Bridal Veil Falls tumbles over the rocky face of the mountain. An aspen tree, with green and yellow leaves, stands in the foreground on the left.
Photo: A small maple, with burnt-orange/reddish leaves, stands in the foreground, with the Utah valley in the background.
Photo: A chipmunk uses its hind feet to grab onto a vertical tree limb, while clutching its front feet together.
Photo: A white-barked, still mainly green-leaved aspen tree.
Photo: John and I stand on a bridge, with trees with yellow and green leaves behind us.
I am thankful.

What have you noticed this week that makes thanksgiving swell in you? Comment below, and feel free to write your own post to link at the Ten Things of Thankful blog!





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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Six Sentence Story: Spirit


Every Thursday, Ivy graciously hosts the Six Sentence Stories link up. This week's cue: Spirit. Like many (though not all) of the stories I write, this one is true:

The thought--"Your baby could be born today"--popped into her mind so suddenly and unexpectedly that Easter morn, she knew it was the Holy Spirit who interrupted her concentration on the Sunday sermon. She smiled with anticipation and tucked the premonition away.

Two months later, the phone rang. 

"A premature baby girl will be ready to leave the hospital in the next few weeks, and needs a foster family."

As the social worker shared details about this tiny baby, a quick consultation with the calendar confirmed that the infant was born on Easter Sunday. 

"Yes, of course we will take her."






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Monday, October 9, 2017

It's Never Too Early: "A Sacred Christmas" CD Review

I know what you're thinking: We still have eleven weeks before Christmas Day arrives! I'm still trying to figure out how to make the Halloween costume for my child! I can't possibly think about Christmas yet! 

Put your panic aside. This post aims to be as calming as the music I've been listening to lately. I love Christmas music, and I listen to it pretty much constantly from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. I decided to break my "wait until after Thanksgiving" rule when Garth Smith graciously sent me an early copy of his latest CD, A Sacred Christmas, in exchange for a review. I'm glad I did!


Photo: A Sacred Christmas CD album features a white background with a snowy Christmas tree (with a yellow star on top). "A Sacred Christmas" is written in red script at the top of the album, and Garth Smith's name is in red all-caps at the bottom.

Garth Smith's piano solos invite the peaceful feelings of the season, and provide the perfect background to a quiet evening. A Sacred Christmas features not only his amazing solos; various vocalists and instrumental artists join in on some of the tracks. Traditional carols make up most of the album, but the arrangements that might not be as familiar (Sankta Lucia and Heaven's Hallelujah, for example) are sure to become new favorites, too. 

Go listen to previews of each track on the album on Garth Smith's website. What is your favorite? 

A Sacred Christmas has an official release date of November 10th, but it is available for pre-release purchase at a discount on his website, using the code FBFRIENDS. 




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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Messages from General Conference

As promised earlier, here are some messages that stood out to me from this fall's General Conference, ten thoughts for which I am thankful:

Caption: "Some misuse authenticity as a celebration of the natural man and qualities that are the opposite of humility, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and civility. We can celebrate our individual uniqueness as children of God without using authenticity as an excuse for un-Christlike behavior."--Quentin L. Cook
Caption: "One of the great challenges each of us faces every day is to not allow the concerns of this world to so dominate our time and energy that we neglect the eternal things that matter most." David A. Bednar
Caption: "Our lives are like a chessboard, and the Lord moves us from one place to another--if we are responsive to spiritual promptings. Looking back, we can see His hand in our lives." Ronald A. Rasband
Caption: ". . .sometimes we are afraid to trust because we don't understand God's absolute love and desire to help us. . . .When we exercise faith and  humbly open ourselves to Their answers, we become free from the constraints of our misunderstandings and assumptions, and we can be shown the way forward." Jean B. Bingham
Caption: "How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don't notice?" Bonnie L. Oscarson
Caption: ". . . no matter your history--if you have faltered, failed, feel broken--know that you are not alone. God still calls to you." Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Caption: ". . .the grace of Christ offers us not only salvation from sorrow and sin and death but also salvation from our own persistent self-criticism." Jeffrey R. Holland
Caption: "Something powerful happens when a child of God seeks to know more about Him and His Beloved Son." Russell M. Nelson
Caption: "Of course, we must always stand for what is right, and there are times when we must raise our voices for that cause. However, when we do so with anger or hate in our hearts--when we lash out at others to hurt, shame, or silence them--chances are we are not doing so in righteousness." Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Those are just a few "sound bites" from conference; if you'd like to get the full experience, you can watch, listen, or read all of the talks here

Did any of those quotes stand out to you? What are your thoughts?

Be sure to visit the Ten Things of Thankful blog and feel free to link up your own list of what you are thankful for this week!





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Friday, October 6, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Hope for a Routine Edition

As regular readers know, I moved across state lines in August, and I've found myself struggling to find my groove and establish an everyday routine here. I'm finally starting to see the end of some of the tasks associated with moving, and can look ahead to settling in. This week, I'm thankful:

1. The escrow on the sale of our primary home in California is now closed! Within the next few weeks, we should be completely done with escrows, and I'm happy to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

2. Inspections of the new house came back with only minimal issues--nothing that would give us great concern. I'm starting to think about paint colors, etc. and things we'd like to do when the house is officially ours. 

3. We were able to figure out how to get the treadmill inside the house. It had been sitting inside the garage since our move, but recently (and with the help of a nice stranger who was walking by and noticed we could use a hand), we were able to get it to fit through the back door. My running routine has begun again--which is really nice, since John and I are scheduled to run a 5K Saturday morning!)

4. (Related to #3) My lungs are adapting to the altitude. Walking has always been fine, but running (and hiking the Y) was another matter. While some of the problem was due to a break in regular training, part of it had to be altitude-related. I'm starting to breathe easier while running. I still expect to place at the back of the pack tomorrow (I don't exactly fit in the main demographic of runners here), but am just happy I should be able to breathe. 

5. Our youngest daughter is starting to make new friends and now has things to do and places to go. 

6. I'm starting to return to more regular blogging, and opportunities seem to be coming to me, which has been a delightful surprise. I wrote previously about attending a taping of Christmas Under the Stars with Five for Fighting. This past week I was invited to the movie premiere of The Stray. Next week, look for a review of Garth Smith's new Christmas CD, A Sacred Christmas. While I didn't start this blog to do reviews, and I have been choosy about what I will review, I welcome the chance to support good, wholesome entertainment, or products that I personally find useful or noteworthy.

7. My visiting teachers were very sweet and brought me dinner one night this week. They had basically told me when I moved in, that they were going to find a time to bring me dinner, so I wouldn't have to worry about it. I got a text this week asking, "Is tomorrow OK?" It was very nice--especially since my sink decided to stop up that afternoon! (John got it unstopped soon without too much hassle.)

8. I had a nice phone conversation with a friend, and though it's been decades since we've lived in the same town, and a while since we've last spoken, we picked right up where we last left off. She's a great friend, a lovely person, and a terrific example to me. 

9. Everyday, the leaves on the trees and bushes turn prettier and prettier. I think we will take a drive up the canyon soon.

Photo: A shrub with brilliant red leaves grows in a bark-covered bed with other green-leaved bushes
10. Sharing my life with John. We celebrate the big moments and the little ones together. The what isn't as important as the who, and whether we are at a movie premiere or at a home improvement store, we have fun together. I'm so thankful for John.

What are you thankful for this week? Do you have a well-established routine, or are you trying to find your groove?

Would you like to join the community of bloggers who link up their posts of gratitude each week? Go on over to the Ten Things of Thankful blog to link up with us, and be sure to read what others are writing!








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Movie Review: #TheStray

Wednesday evening, I had the opportunity to attend the premiere of the movie, The Stray, distributed by Purdie Distribution. (Disclaimer: I was provided free tickets and compensation for my review, but the opinions expressed are my own.) What an exciting time! I sat on a bench across from the carpet and watched the stars--including Shiloh, the dog--walk the red carpet prior to the screening. A woman sat down next to me, and I discovered she is the mother of Enoch Ellis, one of the child actors. She mentioned how she carefully reads the scripts before allowing her son to accept a role, and how happy she was with the script of The Stray. 


Photo: Shiloh, a medium-large, mostly-white dog with one blue eye, sits on the red carpet at the premiere of The Stray

After watching the movie, I understood her delight. The Stray is a true story about a young family and a dog that showed up one day. The story is sweet, but not sappy. (You might want to pack a tissue or two, though.) The message of love, faith, and family comes through in an authentic way--the meaning is shown, but not beaten into the audience. 

The film is rated PG for thematic elements, although I have viewed  G-rated movies that were much more intense and frightening (Wizard of Oz, for example). Parents need not be concerned about their children being exposed to foul language; at worst, kids might giggle over "meadow muffins." The Stray certainly qualifies as family-friendly, but even adults will enjoy the film. Sarah Lancaster as Michelle Davis and Michael Cassidy as Mitch Davis show how to work through a problem without attacking a person. They have a sweet chemistry that rings true. 

Photo: Sarah Lancaster and Michael Cassidy sit at a table to sign autographs after the premiere of The Stray
In short, The Stray is a feel-good, true-story film that the whole family will enjoy. This film proves they still make 'em like they used to.


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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Live Studio Audience Edition

I started writing this post a few days ago. Yesterday morning, I woke up to the news about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Like everyone else, I am stunned at the horrific crime, and pray for peace, comfort, and healing for the victims and their families.

Even though the mood of the nation is heavy now, I'm going to go ahead with this post. We can find things to be thankful for even in dark moments. Our homes can be havens of peace, joy, and love, even when evil rages in the world. The terror of Sunday night does not negate the good moments of the previous week. 

So, if you can put aside the major news outlets for a moment, I'll take you back through my week and share some bright moments in my life--things for which I am thankful.

Last Monday evening, John and I continued our quest to discover all the gastronomic delights in Provo. We ate dinner at Cafe on Fire, a Persian restaurant with attentive, personable service and fresh food. Though dinner was fine, dessert at Rockwell Ice Cream Co. was outstanding. We are now wondering how in the world we will be able to try other dessert places when the smooth, flavorful ice cream at Rockwell's beckons. 

1. I'm thankful for blueberry lemon thyme ice cream, and dark chocolate honeycomb ice cream. YUM!


Photo: A small styrofoam bowl with two flavors of ice cream inside:  dark brown chocolate honeycomb ice cream on the left, and lavender-colored blueberry lemon thyme ice cream on the right
After our ice cream, we continued to walk around downtown Provo, and were surprised to spot Santa Claus! He was with a musical group, and they were all being recorded. We approached from the side to get a better look and to see what was being filmed. 


Photo: On a sidewalk in downtown Provo, Utah, in front of brick commercial storefronts, a singer/guitarist, a cellist in a Santa hat, and a man with a microphone (seated on the sidewalk) gather for a recording sesion. A Salvation Army bucket sits on a stand on the right.

We saw a sign tacked up on a post that informed us that BYU Broadcasting was filming the opening credits for their upcoming holiday special, Christmas Under the Stars. What we heard though, was a familiar voice singing part of Superman!


We had stumbled upon Five for Fighting! We watched and listened for as long as we felt we could as mere spectators, then went back home, amazed at our good luck.

2. I'm thankful for an evening that was full of delightful surprises. 

Delightful surprises didn't end on Monday, though. On Tuesday, a Facebook post alerted me to an opportunity to be part of the studio audience for the taping of the Christmas Under the Stars show. Having just watched the taping of the opening credits, I was very excited to get the chance to see the complete performance! 

Wednesday night, John and I ignored the month on the calendar, dressed up in our "holiday casual" attire, and headed to the studio. We sat two rows up, to the side of the piano. Before the show started, the sound people recorded various levels of applause by the audience. Though that applause was staged, I can assure you that there was genuine excitement in the studio, and we applauded sincerely during the concert. 

The set lived up to its "under the stars" name. Lights hung from the ceiling and seemed to envelop all of us. I might have even let out a little gasp. It was truly beautiful. 


Photo: John and I in front of the sparkly lights of the set following the performance

We enjoyed the intimate setting as Five for Fighting performed traditional Christmas songs, as well as some of his own chart-topping hits. A new Christmas song he performed (with Jim Brickman on the piano) will, I think, get lots of air-time this upcoming holiday season. In fact, if you know someone in the military, you might want to share this video that Jim Brickman posted on his Facebook page, asking for photos to accompany this new release.




All the musicians gave outstanding performances. The percussionist and string section not only provided accompaniment, they also had their own time to shine during several numbers. Jim Brickman delighted the crowd with his piano skills, and the International Children's Choir sang angelically. 

3. I'm thankful for talents shared and the spirit of Christmas felt.

My "live studio audience" experience didn't end on Wednesday evening. Friday night, John and I went to Dry Bar Comedy club, which tapes shows for future online release. Because it is billed as clean comedy, performers have financial incentive to keep the comedy family-friendly. The more editing that needs to be done prior to release, the less the comedians get paid. John and I enjoyed listening to Steve Mittleman and Jessi Campbell. (Though the acts were clean, I don't think the videos are up yet, so I can't give a link to the actual performances we saw.)

4. I'm thankful for good, clean fun and laughter.

Now, lest you think I spent the entire week last week in fun and games, let me tell you about my trip to the DMV. Our cars had been sporting their old California plates, and it was time to get them registered here in Utah. A couple of weeks ago, I took one car in for its smog check, then I ventured (with a bit of trepidation, I might add) into the DMV. I suspected I would be giving up a good portion of my morning in this task. Let me just say, the DMV in Utah is nothing like the DMV in California. I walked in the door, was shocked to see there was NO line, approached the front desk, and as the woman at the desk handed me a little paper with a number on it, that number was being called! I walked a few feet to the counter, and in less than 5 minutes was on my way with my new license plates. 

5. I'm thankful for quick DMV trips.

Last week, I returned to the DMV to get plates for the other car. I actually had to sit down for less than two minutes before my number was called this time. (I must have come at a busy time.) I approached a different counter than the week before, and was helped by a different worker than previously. She apologized for the delay. Again, I was quickly handed plates and I went home. When I got out of the car, I looked at the license plate number, wondering it I would be able to memorize it. Then I glanced at our other car's license plate number, and started to laugh. I hurried in the house to get John to come and see what had happened. 

No photo for this, as I don't think it's a good idea to publish license numbers online, but I'll try to describe the plates without giving them away. Both plates have 6 characters. The first, third, fifth, and sixth characters are identical with the other plate. The second and fourth characters on one plate are just one digit apart from the characters on the other plate--one car has the lower digits, and the other has the higher digits. What are the odds?! 

6. I'm thankful for amazing coincidence. 

Saturday morning, John and I decided to hike up to the Y. It had been decades since the last time I had been up to that large letter on the mountain. I realized I'm older now. We weren't running, but we definitely got a cardiovascular workout. We made it, though, and it was worth it. One of these days, I'll get used to this altitude. (Yes, the sign behind us says the elevation is 6224 feet!) 

7. I'm thankful for mountains to climb. (Anyone else hearing Julie Andrews right now? 😊)

Photo: John and I standing in front of a sign that reads: "Top of the Y Trail. You Made it! Elevation: 6224 ft. Distance 1.11 miles"
After we descended, we made it back to our house in time to watch the LDS General Conference sessions. I'll post more about conference in a future blog post, but let me just say that:

8. I'm thankful for the inspiring, uplifting messages of conference.

As I look around me, I see evidence of changing seasons. I love the colorful displays of autumn, and the cooler weather.

Photo: On Y mountain, beside a huge rock formation, trees stand--some with red leaves, some with orange leaves, some with yellow leaves, and some still with green leaves

9. I'm thankful for the beauty of the earth.

Sunday evening, we went to John's parents' house. It was nice to spend time with them. We had dinner together, talked, and played games.

9-1/2. I'm thankful we live close enough to see John's parents more frequently.

10. As always, I am thankful for John. While we still are getting settled here, and the routine, daily tasks continue, we also are enjoying exploring a new place together--with or without a live studio audience! 

What are you thankful for this week? Remember, the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop happens every week, and we welcome new participants! Join Josie at the Ten Things of Thankful blog, and read other uplifting posts of gratitude!

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Six Sentence Story: Up


It's Thursday, which means it's time to join the Six Sentence Stories link-up. This week's prompt: Up.

If one were to be believe the "LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION," scream of the real estate listing, this house might be the one--the one that had not only the million-dollar views without that hefty price tag, but also no backyard neighbors, and unobstructed access to mountain hiking trails. Determining whether or not the house lived up to its reputation required, of course, an in-person visit, and as the husband and wife drove to the address, they took note of the attractive houses in the neighborhood. 

The "LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION" house greeted them with its tall, weedy lawn and overgrown shrubbery, but they only had eyes for the fact it had landscaping--including fruit trees, maples, pines, and beloved quaking aspen. As they climbed up the front steps, the joy of a wrap-around porch overshadowed the disappointment of a broken door bell. 

Upon entering the house, the couple read a note taped to the back window, admonishing them to be sure to go up to the swing in the backyard and see the view. After a perfunctory tour of the house, they followed the note's advice and realized they were home. 

Photo: A tan two-person swing sits at the base of a jagged mountain 



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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How To Declutter for a Move: Ten Tips

Earlier this year, we decided to move ourselves from a large home in California to a smaller home in Utah. Thus began what will be known as The Great De-Cluttering of 2017. By nature, I am a sentimental saver. Preparing for this move forced me to examine all of our belongings and make some tough decisions. Along the way, I discovered some truths that helped me in my efforts. 



1. Letting go of an item is not the same as letting go of a person. 

2. Letting go of a gift that commemorated an important event does not cause the event to never have happened. 

3. Splitting a set is OK. Really. I use dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls, but I don't have a need for mugs, saucers, nor bread plates. Why waste precious cupboard space on items I don't use? I kept what I use and donated the rest. 

4. Acknowledge that needs change. I used to bake 6 loaves of bread at a time, weekly. Now I seldom bake bread, and when I do, I bake at most 2 loaves. I kept 2 pans, and got rid of the rest.

5. If you are selling your items, keep in mind what your primary purpose is. In my case, the main goal was to declutter. Any money made was just a bonus. We did have a garage sale, but we priced items to sell. Also consider giving items away. Between friends, local buy-sell-trade-giveaway groups, and charitable organizations, we were able to significantly decrease the number of items we had to move.

6. Start early. I can not emphasize this enough. If you think you will ever move anytime during your life, start yesterday. Decluttering will take longer than you imagine. Once you begin, make it a way of life. 

7. Stay focused. Work on one area at a time.

8. Notwithstanding tip #7, if you find yourself getting bogged down, work on another area for a while, then come back to the area where you started. 

9. Decluttering is messy. Try to maintain a semblance of order during the process, to keep from becoming overcome by the clutter. When gathering things together for the garage sale, keeping certain areas of the house tidy gave me a place to relax for a moment and just breathe. Similarly, when you've emptied a cupboard, closet, or area, put the items away before proceeding. 

10. Decluttering can happen on both sides of the move. When you get to your new place, take a good hard look at what actually works in the space you have. Getting rid of something doesn't mean you don't like it or appreciate it; it means it doesn't work for you in your current situation. As you unpack, if you don't have room for a particular item, feel free to let it go. 

I'm currently on #10. To be honest, it's hard work and I'm getting tired. However, I think back to when our house was on the market. During that time, we had most of our things in storage, and we enjoyed the freedom that comes with living minimally. If I want to enjoy that feeling of peace, I need to choose carefully what I allow into my home. It's an ongoing process, but one that is rewarding, and gets easier with practice.

Have you tackled a decluttering project? Do you have any tips or advice that I missed?




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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Changing Seasons Edition


Fall arrived a couple days ago, and winter arrived today. John was out of town this weekend. When I turned the thermostat from "cool" to "heat" yesterday, the furnace fired up for a few minutes, then stopped. The inside temperature was 59 degrees this morning, which was better than the 40 it was outside. 

Several situations have me heated up, though. I could choose to focus on them, or I could look back over this week and remember the things for which I am truly thankful. I'm taking the grateful route, knowing that it will make me feel better, and will allow me to see the situations in their true light--which is that they are annoyances, but nothing of long-term importance.

1. I am thankful for the cool weather and changing seasons. Though I'm not ready for snow here yet, I do enjoy seeing it on the mountains. 

Photo: The snowy peaks of Y mountain (it has a white Y for BYU painted on it) stand in contrast to the still-green leaves of the trees in my neighborhood

2. I'm thankful that John is Jenga-master and was able to fit the rest of our things from California into a trailer. We are officially all the way moved now! (Hopefully in a week or two I will be able to report that our escrow has closed, too.)

3. I'm thankful that John was able to figure out what was wrong with the furnace, and we currently have warm air flowing into our cold rooms.

4. I'm thankful for fall flowers that popped up, seemingly overnight. I'm curious now about what I might see in the spring.

Photo: Pale purple fall crocus push up through the bark groundcover. Assorted fallen leaves and green grass are also in the picture.

5. I'm thankful for a Relief Society night, where we went to homes of new moms to drop off flowers and perform small acts of service. It was nice to spend time getting to know women from church, and it felt good to be able to be helpful.

6. I'm thankful for the women's session of general conference that I could watch on Saturday night. Even Drexel appreciated the encouraging messages and the beautiful music.

Photo: Drexel gazes at the television. On the screen, a women's choir sings at the conference center.
7. I'm thankful for unexpected things that make me laugh. Have you ever seen a human skeleton riding a T-rex skeleton? Neither had I, until the other day. 

Photo: A human skeleton (wearing a cowboy hat) rides a T-rex skeleton. The T-rex stands on the balcony of a house.
8. I'm thankful for temples. While it used to take us a couple of hours to get to the temple, now it takes only a couple of minutes--either direction! Today, we drove by the Mount Timpanogos temple.

Photo: The Mount Timpanogos Temple, constructed of white granite and topped with the gold angel Moroni statue.
9. I'm thankful for some exciting news: we have found a house to purchase, and should close escrow next month! There are many things we love about the house, but most of all we love the location: it backs up to the mountains, and we can access hiking trails from our own backyard. 

10. I'm thankful for John: John the Jenga-master, John the furnace-fixer, John the adventure-partner. I love spending time with him!

Well, it worked. Thankfulness has wrapped me in its warm blanket, making me feel all cozy and secure, and realigning my perspective on things. I can't think of a better way to end the weekend than to join up with the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. Won't you join me?



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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Six Sentence Story: Plate

It's been a while since I've participated in the Six Sentence Story hop hosted by Ivy. I guess you could say I've dropped the ball plate. 🙂

"How do they make it look so easy?"

The quickly spinning plates balanced so perfectly on the poles the Chinese women acrobats held in their hands. As she watched them, mesmerized by the hypnotic movement of the plates, she thought she saw words on each ceramic disc: family, job, chores, exercise, mental health, home projects, budget, . . . . Her mind spun as frantically as the plates. 

Returning home from the performance, determined to learn their secret, her hasty internet search informed her that the plates were not regular dinnerware, but special pieces with places for the poles to attach. Comparative guilt relieved, she settled back into the rhythm of her life: some plates spun nicely for a time, others fell and needed to be picked up again.  








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