Friday, April 21, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Let Me Count the Ways Edition

Thirty: the age that 20-somethings dread.  

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

Thirty gets a bad rap, though, because:

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Easter Edition


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Ten Thing of Thankful: April General Conference Edition

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

I'm thankful for these words:

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




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



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


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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

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

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: California Poppies

Spring has arrived.  On Wednesday, I took off for a few hours to hike.  The weather was perfect:  the sun was shining, the wind kept itself to a cool, slight breeze (as opposed to Thursday, when the sustained wind speed was 37.5 mph), and the temperature was warm, but not oppressive.  

My Ten Things of Thankful list this week will be mostly made of photos.  Each time I climbed another hill, or turned another corner, I was delighted with the new view.  Come along with me!

The poppy fields can be seen from miles away.

Photo:  The poppy fields turn the hills in the distance bright orange.
Many other people had the same idea I had on Wednesday. The line to get into the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve was longer than I've ever seen it. Many cars turned around and decided to just park on the main street and hike into the reserve.

Photo:  A view taken from the hill, looking down on the parking lot.  Cars were lines up nearly to the main road to wait to pay for parking.
Once I finally got the car parked and started to hike, I was greeted with wonderful views.  I hiked the steepest and furthest trails, and was rewarded by moments of solitude.  

Photo:  A silvery-colored small bush (rabbits' brush?) in the foreground in a field of orange poppies
Photo: A Blue Dicks flower provides contrast against poppies and yellow wildflowers

Photo:  Another Blue Dicks flower, with orange poppies in the background
Photo:  A close up of a California poppy
Photo:  A trail winds uphill through patches of yellow, blue, and orange wildflowers
Photo:  Bright orange poppies in foreground, snow-capped mountains in background
Photo: A particularly solid swath of poppies on the hillside
Photo:  A closer shot of a patch of poppies
Photo:  The poppies seem to go on forever, with mountains in the distance
Photo:  The trail goes through the middle of a poppy field
Photo:  Looking to the north, the valley is filled with orange poppies
Although I've seen rattlesnakes in previous years, the only ones I saw this time were on the warning signs.

Photo:  A sign warning of rattlesnakes
I did, however, see numerous lizards. 

Photo:  A Side-blotched Lizard suns itself on the trail
Thanks for coming along on this virtual hike!  I'm thankful for spring and for the beauty of the flowers.  I'm also thankful for John, who is going to be done with work for the day soon and then we're heading out on a date, so I'm going to get this posted without further ado.  

What are you thankful for this week?  Go visit the Ten Things of Thankful blog to see what other bloggers are thankful for, or to link up your own post. 






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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Six Sentence Story: Fault

Sometimes, it takes me a while to figure out what I will write for Six Sentence Stories.  Other times, like this week, I had a story jump immediately to mind.  This week's prompt:  Fault.

The light fixture above the table swayed, and a persistent rattling sound came from the apartment upstairs.  


Photo:  A small apartment's kitchen and dining area, with a hanging light fixture above the round table


"Helena's usually so quiet; I wonder if she's taken up aerobics."

On October 1, 1987, at 7:42 a.m. (give or take a few seconds for the truth to sink in) I realized I was experiencing my first earthquake.  When the earth quieted again--after what seemed like minutes, but was really only seconds--my nerves quieted, too, and I thought, "So this is what I can expect living here in southern California." Later, I learned that most earthquakes would be less intense.  The Whittier Narrows earthquake ultimately registered as a 5.9 on the Richter scale, resulted in 8 deaths and 200 injuries, and revealed a previously-unknown fault line.    



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Sunday, March 26, 2017

#52Stories Project: Work

Although I haven't joined in every week for the #52Stories project, I do want to participate as often as possible.  This last week's prompt was: Who taught you how to work?  What would you want your children and grandchildren to learn from your example?

Answer one question per week as part of the #52stories project from FamilySearch.



My parents taught me to work.  From a young age, I was included in family chores.


Photo:  Impish toddler me stands on a stool next to my mom in the kitchen and rolls out dough with my little rolling pin.


Photo:  Me as a young child, standing in the doorway between our kitchen and utility room, looking over my shoulder with a broom in one hand and a dustpan in the other.


Photo:  Me as a young child, vacuuming the living room rug with an old blue canister vacuum


Work didn't just include normal, everyday chores.  Work included big projects, too.  We landscaped the front yard.  We painted the exterior of the house.  Then we moved on to a much bigger project: building a new house, and ridding the property of Scotch broom.  

After the new house was framed, and the exterior walls and roof were up, we moved in and continued working.  Lest you doubt me, I found a few photos for proof:

Photo:  High-school aged me, painting dresser drawers in the living room in front of a wall of insulation
This next photo doesn't seem to demonstrate the concept of work, but when I adjust the exposure, you will see that we lived in a construction zone (which very much did represent a lot of work!)

Photo:  Me dressed up for some long-forgotten reason


Photo:  Table saws under the stairs in the living room.  The piano now takes its place of honor in that exact spot.
Back in the day of film (as opposed to digital photos), everyday life wasn't documented in photos as frequently as it is today.  Even though I don't have photos of the hours we spent pulling up Scotch broom and burning the big piles, I have memories of those work days--and they are pleasant memories.  I might have grumbled a bit at the time, and I'm pretty sure I got a blister or two, but there is something worthwhile and satisfying about hard work.  I hope that my children and grandchildren will learn the joy that comes through work and accomplishing hard things.

I'm thankful for hard work.

Who taught you to work?


 photo signature3_zps16be6bca.jpg.


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