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Ten Things of Thankful: It's Only January, but I'm Taking a Break

A new year often brings re-commitment, re-direction, and renewal of enthusiasm. A blank calendar shows possibilities: routines to be developed, and breaks to schedule in. While I know it's only January--the traditional "routines to be developed" phase--I'm shaking things up and starting with a break. I will be away from my blog and generally off-line for the next few weeks, but never fear, the Ten Things of Thankful link-up will go on. I will respond to comments and read linked posts when I return from my break. 

This week, I'm thankful for:

1. Book club. When I was a child, I had no problem at all living with my nose constantly stuck in a book. As an adult, I am trying to remember that it is OK to spend hours reading. Book club is a step in the right direction. I "have to" read, but I'm having fun, and have given myself permission to read other books, too. 

2. Thrift stores. I wanted an actual, physical copy of The Help (the book club selection for Fe…

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Ten Things of Thankful: Holding Down the Pew Edition

What a week! Let's just jump right into the list of thankful things, shall we?

1. I'm thankful for snow plows. Last Sunday, we managed to get to and from church OK, but then left the house in the early afternoon. When we tried to get back up our street, we couldn't do it. We tried another street, thinking maybe we could get home the back way, but that didn't work either. So, we headed back to our street, drove up as far as we could, then walked uphill and in a snow storm to our house. (I might not have walked uphill for miles to school each day, but at least now I have my own story!) Once the snow plow came by later that day, John drove the car back home. 

2. I'm thankful for cars. Our vehicles are each 10+ years old, but they run pretty well (on non-icy roads), and they are paid for. John and I are starting to see the wisdom of at least one 4-wheel-drive vehicle in this climate and elevation, but we aren't in any rush. It's the rare day when we have to be an…

Tuesday Travels: Springville Antique Mall

Whenever I feel like shopping for something unique, or just want to go window-shopping, the Springville Antique Mall in Springville, Utah, is one of my go-to stores. It has two big buildings packed with anything you can imagine, plus a large outdoor area filled with planters, patio furniture, tools, and tons of items that probably were found in an old barn. (I seriously considered buying dinosaur "footprints" to use as stepping stones in my backyard.)

Although I have purchased several much-loved items from the Springville Antique Mall, some of my favorite finds aren't for sale. I absolutely love signs that scream, "Welcome to Utah! You aren't in California anymore!" For example, the sign above taught me that earrings can be made out of antlers. Who knew? And apparently they are popular enough that there is no need for a discounted price.

Even better than the antler earrings sign, though, is the sign that begs, "PLEASE test all BB Guns outside! Thank you …

Ten Things of Thankful: Road Trip to Family Reunion Edition

I recently returned from a vacation in Oregon. It had been 5 years since my brother, sister, and I were together with my parents at the same time. It had been even longer than that since some of the cousins had been together. We had to revert to saying "Gen 3" instead of "the kids," since most of the "children" are now adults. 




I love the idea of family, and I love the reality of my family. We are strong and diverse, but unified in support, love, and laughter. 
We rented a place on the Oregon coast. When people talk about going to the beach, they usually envision sandy shores, calm waters, and beautiful blue skies. When Oregonians go to the coast, they walk over rocks, driftwood piles, and among long pieces of seaweed. Sweatshirts and coats are appropriate, even in summer, and windswept hair is all the fashion rage. Rain is, of course, common. 




We had so much fun!
When we weren't bravely walking on the shore, we were visiting the Tillamook Cheese Factory,…

Light Your Faith(s): A Guest Post #LightTheWorld

The final focus of the #LightTheWorld campaign is Light Your Faith. If it were possible, I would invite each of you to attend a special, one-hour Christmas service with me on December 23. Our ward's choir is preparing some really great music, and I would love for you to hear it. However, as you live all over the world, the next best thing would be to invite you to a service in your local area. If you go to the LightTheWorld website and scroll down, on the right hand side you will find a link to locate a congregation near you. If you decide to go, I'd love to hear about it!

For this Light Your Faith theme, as with the other themes, I didn't want to do all the talking, though. I invited my friend Sarah to share with us how her family celebrates during December. I was so pleased when she agreed to write a post for us. I love how she and her husband have been able to find common ground in their different faiths--and I think you will see how well that fits for a #LightTheWorld …

#LightTheWorld through Family Fun: A Guest Post

If you know Christine fromA Fly on the Chicken Coop Wall, you might remember this post she wrote back in November of 2014. If so, it is worth another read, and if not, you are in for a treat. Christine truly shines when it comes to family! I asked her if I might reprint this post on my blog for #LightTheWorld, and she graciously agreed.  The Best Christmas Present I Ever Gave Back in October, when my nephews were staying with us, somehow the boys and I started talking about the scrapbook we put together 10 years ago.  My nephew jumped in and started quoting things that were written in it.  I was shocked.
Me:  You remember that scrapbook? Nephew:  Yeah. Me:  When was the last time you even looked at it? Nephew:  About a month ago.  It's on the table next to my bed. Me:
This child has moved many times in the last 10 years, including a couple of places during their 3 years in Hawaii.  Just in the last 2 years he has lived in three different places in Kentucky.  I couldn't be more…

Ten Things of Thankful: Wrapping up 2018

(Video of snow falling in my backyard, with a wind chime ringing in the background.)

Christmas is coming, and two competing forces are at play: the hustle and bustle of the season, and the need to slow down, focus, and reflect on joy and love. As the Grinch learned, the details don't matter so much as the feelings. Taking time to think about what I am thankful for helps keep my life balanced, and this week, I am thankful for:

1. Getting my piano tuned. It had been too long. I learned something from the tuner. He said that years ago, pianos would be tuned to a different standard than is used today. I know that past tuners have told me that they would not raise the pitch on my piano, and would just tune it to itself. This tuner did take the time to raise the pitch. No strings broke. He will return in 6 months to tune it again, and hopefully then we can go to a once-a-year tuning. 

2. Carollers appeared on our doorstep. 

3. I went to my first book club meeting here. (Though I had thought…