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Ten Things of Thankful: Finches, Football, and October General Conference

  A tiny lesser goldfinch sits on a dandelion stalk in the grass It's October! The temperatures are cooler, and this week I found myself taking time to notice little things around me, like the cute lesser goldfinch in the photo above. Just that one photo prompts several things I am thankful for, so let's just dive into the Ten Things of Thankful list! 1. I'm thankful for birds that visit my yard. 2. I'm thankful for a guidebook to help me identify the birds. 3. In the entry for "Lesser Goldfinch," the guidebook reads: "Lesser Goldfinches feed on dandelion seeds and raise their young on soft unripe seeds. They adjust the time and place of their breeding to the presence of this staple food." I guess that means I am thankful for dandelions, because without their presence in my yard, I probably would not see that cute goldfinch.  (Next slide, please.) Lavell Edwards stadium fills prior to the BYU/USU football game, as the sun sets amid dark clouds 4. I&#
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Ten Things of Thankful: Yellowstone Edition

A lone bison grazes in a meadow in front of the erupting Castle geyser in Yellowstone While Labor Day weekend traditionally sees families enjoying summer's last hurrah, John and I decided to spend the week of the autumn equinox camping at Yellowstone National Park. It's been quite a few years since we last camped in a tent, and even longer since we've camped in a tent during rainstorms. However, camping is easier with two adults than it is being outnumbered by children (fun though that is--seriously), and we both knew better than to touch the sides of the tent and invite the precipitation inside, so we managed to stay relatively dry. We also were happy to eat PB&J and leftover pasta salad for dinner while sitting securely in the van. Neither one of us drew on the fogged up windows nor breathed each other's air nor put an arm on the other's arm rest, so all in all, it was a boringly peaceful occasion. The rain didn't actually start until Wednesday afternoon,

Ten Things of Thankful: Road Trip and Home Again

  A collage of two photos: the one on the left is a sign from the Mad Greek Cafe that says, "Please do not grab the Mad Kitties." The one on the right is a photo of a black and white cat sleeping on a chair. Last weekend, John and I drove to California to visit the grandkids. Even though we've made that trip many, many times, there's always something new to see. This time, it was learning that the Mad Greek Cafe in Baker now has resident cats. I just had to take a photo. :-) I'm composing this while watching the BYU football game on TV. Hopefully the game will improve, but if not, at least I'll feel better after remembering what I am thankful for this week.  1. I'm thankful for finding paneer on a great sale at Costco. I don't think I'd ever purchased paneer before, but because it was so inexpensive, I bought it and found a recipe for saag paneer  that I think will go in the regular rotation. I modified the recipe slightly: I didn't use ghee, i

Ten Things of Thankful: Change is Good, but Not for Stores

A purple African violet  This week, I thought I'd run a quick errand to the local one-stop shopping place. The blinker on the car was out, so I headed to where the automotive lightbulbs should have been, only to find myself in the toy section. Sigh. Then it dawned on me that if I changed something up in my own house, I would feel a sense of joy and accomplishment. If a familiar store tries it, though, I'm none too happy. Strange. Perhaps I'm a bit of a control freak. :-) In any case, I'm going to focus on the changes (and some constants, too) that I'm thankful for this week: 1. I divided and repotted some of my African violets. I then had an abundance, and was able to share one with a neighbor whom I hadn't had a chance to really visit with before. We had a nice chat, and I'm glad we got to know each other a bit. 2. The weather is cooling down a bit. We've had a stretch of rather hot weather lately. Even though we've been in Utah for 5 years now, I s

Ten Things of Thankful: Ketchikan, Not Caughtacovid

  The colorful old buildings above the creek in Ketchikan, Alaska Before July, I had never been to Alaska. Earlier this summer, John and I booked a cruise to go to Alaska in August. After we booked that cruise, we received an email from a different cruise line offering unbelievably low rates for a last-minute cruise to Alaska. As responsibly as two kids in a candy store, we decided to take as many cruises as we could, so we booked that July cruise, too, and took our son and his girlfriend along. Walking around Ketchikan, Alaska in July in the pouring rain really wiped me out--or so I thought, until I tested positive for covid the next day. Last week, John and I returned from the second, though first booked, Alaska cruise, and I can tell you that Ketchikan is much more enjoyable than the town formerly known to us as Caughtacovid.  I'm thankful: 1. We both remained healthy and well on this cruise.  John and I smiling in front of a waterfall in Tracy Arm Inlet 2. We live on a beautifu

Ten Things of Thankful: Enjoying the Calm

A bright rainbow, with a fainter double rainbow above it John and I have been busy this week taking care of things around the yard and house, and the result is now being able to enjoy a more beautiful yard and a more organized and clean house. We've had rain and rainbows, gathered with family to celebrate my in-laws anniversary, and gathered with friends to celebrate the life of a neighbor gone too soon.  I have a pad of paper that has printed on the top of each page, "Lists Make Me HAPPY." It's true. Lists allow me to see what I want to accomplish, but also let me see what I have done. I like to see on paper what is OK to postpone until later, too. Having it written down means I won't forget it, but it doesn't take priority right now. Right now, I can relax for a moment and just enjoy.  Lists also allow me to look back and review what I am thankful for! (How's that for a segue?) Without further ado: 1. I'm thankful that the road leading up to my neigh

Ten Things of Thankful: Enjoying the Now

  A orange-yellow sunset over mountains, with the Mt. Timpanogos temple in the middle of the photo and treetops in the foreground Time fascinates me. I remember a conversation my grandma had once when I was a child where she was able to figure out what year something happened based on something else--where she was living at the time, how old a child was, etc. I was amazed that some arbitrary year number could be remembered in such a way. I also remember turning 10 years old and realizing that I had just entered the "two-digit" phase of my life. Never again could my age be described with a single digit, and it would be a very long time before I entered a "three-digit" phase. Perhaps because I've always been focused on time, I think about the past and look forward to the future. However, that fascination with the past and future sometimes means the present gets a short stick. I'm learning to enjoy the little "now" moments, without my brain telling me