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Ten Things of Thankful: Girls' Camp Edition

A sweeping view of pine covered mountains under a blue sky I spent most of this past week at a church camp in Running Springs, California with 84 young women, ages 11-18, and a bunch of adult leaders. My bunkhouse cabin home for the week, decorated with festive pendant banners. The day before I left for camp, I got an emergency alert text, informing me that my house in Utah was under evacuation due to a nearby fire. (Sorry, Mom, I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to worry.) Within 20 minutes of receiving that text, I received another text saying the evacuation order was lifted and the fire was under control.  1. I'm thankful for the firefighters who put the fire out quickly. 2. I'm thankful that no people were hurt nor homes were damaged. 3. I'm thankful that the whole incident was over before I left for camp, so I didn't spend the week worrying. The camp theme was UP, as in Speak Up, Look Up, Cheer Up, and Rise Up. The girls were encouraged to make new
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Ten Things of Thankful: Happy Father's Day Edition

  Baby me, sitting on the floor, looks up at my dad sitting on the sofa, as he smiles down at me I've been extremely fortunate in my life: my parents provided me and my siblings with a very stable childhood. We had a roof over our heads, food on the table, physical and emotional safety, books, music, and lots of love and laughter.  Probably 3 or 4 year old me looks at a photo or small piece of paper with my dad My parents are humble people, quickly giving credit to the contributions of others, and although they won't toot their own horn, they are amazing people. One of my dad's favorite lines is, "The best thing I ever did was marry your mother." While I agree with that, as today is Father's Day, I'm going to focus on some of the things I've learned from my dad.  My dad taught me through example to dream big, work hard, and be responsible. Just because something is unusual doesn't mean it's impossible.  As a junior high school science teacher,

Ten Things of Thankful: There and Back Again (A Non-Hobbit Journey)

  Drexel wanders down the hill in our Utah backyard On Monday, I loaded Drexel into the car and we drove to Utah to spend a few days at home and take care of some errands that needed to be done there. The drive was ultimately uneventful (thankful #1): even though I apparently unknowingly stepped in gum at a gas station, I was still able to "unstick" my foot from the car floor when I needed to brake. I pulled over at the next rest stop and removed the glob of gum. After getting back on the road, I managed to avoid hitting a blue plastic water storage container that fell off a truck in Nevada, as well as a red gas can that was just sitting in a lane in Utah. We arrived to our Utah home while the sun was still up, so we were able to enjoy exploring the backyard. According to the old adage, "First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap," our poppies (planted in 2022) are merely creeping this year. I can't wait to see how they look next year! 

Ten Things of Thankful: All Around Me

A yellow Julia Child rose bush blooms in a pot Keeping the post short and simple today, but no less thankful! 1. I'm thankful for the sound of the birds.  2. I'm thankful for the lizards basking in the sunshine. One lizard basks on the ground, another one's head is barely visible on the edge of the planter under the basil  3. I'm thankful for the bats that fly at night (and eat the bugs!) 4. I'm thankful for the cute goat kids that bleat at me as I open the gate to drive away. 5. I'm thankful for the pink petunias that brighten a corner of my patio. 6. I'm thankful for the hummingbirds that flit around the petunias and the feeders. 7. I'm thankful for the squirrels even as I hope they leave the petunias alone. A squirrel stands up, and looks over the top of a pot of pink petunias 8. I'm thankful for the rose that is in bloom. 9. I'm thankful for my grandchildren's elementary school concert, awards ceremonies, and graduation. 10. I'm thank

Ten Things of Thankful: Yee Haw and Other Flight Delights

  The view of a sunset taken from an airplane. The sky is orange and just a sliver of sun is visible. I made a quick trip to Oregon this week to visit my parents. As I waited at the airport to depart, I noticed a baby sleeping on her dad's shoulder. I was flying on Southwest, which doesn't have assigned seats. I was in boarding group B. As I boarded the plane, I noticed that the window and middle seat in the first row of the plane (the row with lots of legroom) was empty. I was surprised, but gladly took the window seat. I alternated between reading a book and looking out the window. It was so good to see the mountain lakes filled with water. I got a wave of nostalgia when I saw the peaks in the Cascade Range, as I have memories of going across the mountains to visit my grandparents when I was younger. I used to see Black Butte from the front window in my grandparents' home, but from the plane, I could see it in relation to the Three Sisters. Though Black Butte is aptly-nam

Ten Things of Thankful: A Lake Wobegon Inspired Post

  The Rosie the Riveter image from the Library of Congress Digital Collection shows a woman dressed in a blue shirt and red and white polka-dot head scarf raising a fist and showing her muscles. The image is captioned, "We can do it!" Every week, my dad would turn on the radio and we would sit around the table and listen to A Prairie Home Companion.  At the end of every episode, Garrison Keilor would sign off by saying, "That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average." With Mother's Day coming up on Sunday, I've been thinking about the strong women in my life, and I'm thankful for them. Two smiling 90+ year old white-haired sisters  My great-grandaunts, Golda and Olive, pictured above, were two such strong women. They were two of eight children born to George and Cora Telfer. Golda (on the left in the photo) was born in 1891, and Olive (in the dark sweater, on th

Ten Things of Thankful: Wading through the Week

  A young boy from shoulders down, dressed in shorts and blue sweatshirt, wading in a creek It's been an interesting week, one which was fairly quiet for me personally, but one which was more eventful for some family members. Some events were planned for, and I anticipated being needed to help, but it turned out I really wasn't. Other events were unscheduled, but again, my presence wasn't required. So I've had more free time than I thought I would. As I've been wading through this week, I've been thinking about how the advice airlines give to "put your own oxygen mask on first," and how that can relate to everyday life. I think when I'm on a plane, it's easy to think, "Of course I would need to put on my own mask first," but in non-aviation-related reality, it somehow seems selfish to put my own needs first. I've been realizing this week that taking care of myself first is selfless, because it allows me to be in a better position