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Ten Things of Thankful: Wide Open Spaces Edition

When I was young, my family's house sat directly across the road from a big empty field.  I remember when a housing development started to go in, my dad declared that it was time to move.  At the time, I thought it was a bit silly that a few houses going up would prompt such a big change, but now that I'm older, I understand.

I crave open space.  I don't consider myself claustrophobic, but I feel oh-so-much better when I can see beyond my own yard.  One of my first acts each morning is to throw open the curtains.

That peaceful feeling of open space also comes on a smaller scale, though:

1.  After living in this house for nearly five years (where does time go?),  I decided to do something about the office supplies that were in our bedroom.  I decluttered and relocated items, and was rewarded with a nice, empty space where previously bookshelves stood.  I'm thankful for how much larger the room feels now.

The room is bigger than this, but this is the recently decluttered spot.

2.  As I mentioned yesterday, I have a new vacuum cleaner.  The crevice tool works very well; I find myself glancing at the edges of my carpet as I walk through my house.  I'm thankful for clean floors.

3-8 .  One of my daughter's friends texted me last month, to tell me that she and others missed my daughter (who hasn't been going to her early-morning church seminary class as often as she used to), and to ask if it would be OK if they threw a surprise party for my daughter--at our house.  I'm thankful for their thoughtfulness.  I'm thankful for their initiative.  

Of course, I said yes.  The friend invited my daughter to go see a movie with her.  After they left, a swarm of teenagers descended on my house, armed with snacks and decorations.  They (the kids, not the snacks and decorations) hung streamers, blew up balloons, and hung up a homemade banner that said, "WE LOVE YOU!"

When my daughter and her friend arrived back home,  they were met with about 20 other teens, who jumped up and yelled, "Surprise!"  They definitely caught my daughter off-guard, and our house echoed with happy laughter during the next couple of hours, as the group ate pizza and played games.  I'm thankful at how well they pulled off the party.

Did you catch my wording in that last paragraph:  "during the next couple of hours"?  That's right, folks, the party was over by 8 p.m.!  I'm thankful the group kept it short and sweet.  Not only that, but they left the room how they originally found it!  The streamers were gone, the balloons were gone, the banner was down (but saved for my daughter to keep).  I'm thankful for teens who clean up after themselves.  (Thus leaving me with a wide, open space--you knew I'd have to return to this theme, right?)

Most of all, though, I am SO THANKFUL that my daughter has good friends, who go out of their way to help her feel included and loved. 

9.  I'm thankful for a computer battery.  My laptop has been anchored to an outlet for quite some time, as its battery held no charge.  John reminded me that we had another battery (and I found it on the above-mentioned bookshelf).  Now I am free to surf in any wide open space I want. 

10.  You might not be aware, but southern Californians have an oddity of speech when talking about freeways.  For some reason, we must put the word "the" in front of the interstate number.  

When I was growing up in Oregon, we would go up "I-5" if we wanted to get to Portland.  Now, if I want to go to Oregon, I take "the 5."  

What does this have to do with my Ten Things of Thankful list?  Tonight, John and I are going to attend a concert by the Irish Rovers, who are on their farewell tour.  We will need to take "the 405," which is a notoriously slow freeway.  (When it recently underwent scheduled construction, the news reports dubbed it "Carmeggedon.")  I'm thankful for the chance to see the concert, and I'm hoping that we can travel down wide, open spaces!  

Another #10:  I'm thankful for the gorgeous sunset I captured earlier this week.  Talk about wide, open spaces!

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I'm thankful to be able to participate each week in this 10 Things of Thankful blog hop.  You should join me!  The link is open all weekend, no matter which time zone you are in. 

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Ten Things of Thankful

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  1. I must know your secret, HOW did you get kids to be done with the party at 8pm?? My son's friends would literally stay in our basement ALL NIGHT, had I not gone down in my night clothes and yelled and chased them out around 2am a couple of times. Good work!
    Those sky pictures are so beautiful! I was born in Chicago, but the older get, the more space I like to have. In my current house, we are SO CLOSE to our neighbors we can literally see into their windows and into their houses. UGH. I have to remind myself of that.
    Great post!

    1. I did not do ANYTHING! As if on cue, kids just started leaving happily. It was all their own doing! I was pleasantly surprised.

    2. That's just awesome.

  2. That sunset is worth ten items of thankful all by itself! So gorgeous!

    What a great thing your daughter's friends did...and proof that not all teenagers are beasts! Polite, considerate, asked permission, left the place as they found it AND the party was a wrap before the grownups get tired? Awesome. She is lucky - seriously - to have such great people in her life.

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. They really are good kids. I forgot to mention that they thanked ME as they left! I really didn't have to do a thing, and they thanked me. Gotta love 'em!

  3. An excellent post. I, too, crave open spaces.

    The sunset photos are beautiful.

    1. As soon as I saw that sky, I had to run inside to grab my camera before the sun disappeared behind the mountains. It was just an incredible sight!

  4. Beautiful sunset and truly hope you had a great time at the concert. Also, loved that your daughter's friends threw her a surprise party and actually set up and cleaned up, too!! :)

    1. It was a stress-free party for me--they took care of everything! :-)

      The concert is tonight--I can't wait!

  5. Oh WOW! Those sunsets are incredible. Wow!

    You really are blessed with a beautiful place to live. I can quite understand why you wouldn't want to trade that for having people living crowded around you. And very clever, the way you wove the theme of open space throughout this post.

    Your daughter is well loved by her friends, and that's a HUGE testament to her character, and to your raising of her. Wonderful stuff :D

    And those teenagers! Oy! Good kids :D

    1. My parents did move out to the countryside, after the houses went up across the street. They still live in that house.

      John and I, on the other hand, live hundreds of miles away, and inside city limits, but our house is located next to an empty field, and the orientation of our house means that most of our views are of open spaces. That makes me happy.

      I think the actions of my daughter's friends speak more of their character than of my parenting skills, but thank you for the compliment. The party was a success, and I don't think the kids have any idea just how much I appreciated it. Definitely good kids!

    2. HEY LIZZI... the Unicorn song... remember???!!!!

    3. GOsh Kristi those wide open spaces are gorgeous! you take fab photos... what a great list... enjoy the concert...

    4. Wait. . . you and Lizzi are Unicorn song fans, too?

    5. Being the grizzled old lady in this group, I actually owned a 45 of "The Unicorn."

    6. A while back I mentioned SHel Silverstien who wrote the original lyrics and Liz didn't know of I sent her the same youtube vid! I love that song... I told her though about the time my friend and I were imitating the humpty back camels and she got a bit overzealous and broke an ankle!

  6. Now that song (Wide Open Spaces) is in my head.....
    love the sunset pics!
    The party looks/sounds great, what a good group of kids!

    1. Watch the video clip, and you'll be singing about unicorns instead. :-)

  7. love the photos here… great sense of 'sky' where we are in a rural area and the while there is a yard around the house, we're in the middle of a pine wood, so the horizon is very high… the feeling of 'big sky' is something I miss.
    your daughter has good friends

    (so about shoes… there is, apparently, a characteristic in the choice of favored shoes styles that co-relates to the the 3 personality types of the Doctrine. It is seen more clearly in women than in men, mostly because, all things being equal, women have a stronger more developed appreciation of style in footwear…
    hey! lets continue this conversation through everyone else's Posts…see if anyone picks up on it! lol

    1. Well, I miss pine forests. There might be something to "the grass is always greener. . ."

      Yes, they are a good bunch of kids. Its nice when our tastes in friends is similar!

      Perusing over posts to learn what I can about shoes. I just know I hang onto shoes much too long. Who cares if they have holes? They're comfortable!

  8. Without a doubt, that's one great group of teens!

    You're right, only in Southern California! I used to take the 101 over the Conejo grade and then into the valley to the 134 to get to work. The 405 was to be avoided at all costs, but it was the only way to get to Santa Monica or Beverly Hills without driving on "surface streets" all the way, which also took forever. See? I can still do it!

    And your sunset pictures? Just lovely!

    1. Yes, you can still speak the lingo. And the 405 is still a bear--it wasn't bad going down last night, but the northbound 405 narrowed to 2 lanes coming home due to construction. There's just something wrong about heavy traffic at 11:00 at night!

  9. The sunset pictures are beautiful...I love a good symbolizes a gift for a day done...does that make sense? Your daughter's friends are awesome...and wonderful that they were able to make her feel special. Love the Unicorn song too! Doesn't it feel good to clean out a space this the basement!!!!! YAY !!!!!!!

    1. Your comment makes sense. A sunset is a beautiful way to wrap up the day.

      It does feel good to clean out space. Strangely, none of the homes around here have basements, so I don't have that to contend with, but I do have an attic that could use some attention. :-)

  10. Funny that you mention THE freeway thing. It is so true. But traffic can be such an article. THE 405 is shaping up nicely. I love the open space driving through the pass. That concert sounds like so much fun. Love the sunsets! Now if we could only have some rain, right?

    Decluttering is such liberating exercise. Glad you found some new space. It looks beautiful. What great teens! The party looked so fun and love filled.

    1. The concert was a lot of fun! It appeared to be a sold-out performance. Most of the crowd was in an older demographic than we are, but I felt right at home.

      I didn't even realize about THE freeway thing until one day when my dad was teasing me about it. When in Rome, right?

  11. The sunset photos are spectacular! Wow!
    I think it's possible you may have discovered a new species! Teenagers that halt a party at 8pm AND clean up after themselves. You could have made ten thankfuls on that one alone!
    I wish you safe and easy travels on your way to the concert! Enjoy!

    1. The concert was great, and except for delay on the way home, the freeway was clear.

      LOL about the newly evolved teens!

  12. This is the second post I've read recently that made me think of Pa (Charles) Ingalls. This one called him to mind with the love of wide open spaces. I believe Laura called it his "itchy traveling foot." Don't ask how many times I've read that series.
    What amazing friends your daughter has! I love that whole series of thankfuls.

    1. That's funny that you mention the Ingalls. I thought about the Little House books while reading a different post, too, but didn't even think about it while writing mine. I love that series, too!

  13. That sunset was such a great way to close the post. So glad to hear the kiddos threw a nice party AND cleaned up afterwards. Your comment on wide open spaces reminded me of when my house in FL was one out of 4 on the block. My dad said to always remember that because it won't be the same. He was right. 20 years later, the place has just exploded & isn't recognizable!
    Bianca @ Rant Rave Crave

  14. I can never get enough of sunset pics... that pink in the clouds is just gorgeous! And I know exactly what you mean about new cleaning equipment... our vacuum cleaner has an inside compartment that gets washed between each vacuum and I LOVE the smell of the carpets afterwards. Like you, I CRAVE space and need things decluttered at all times. As soon as I'm well and fit again, I am going to seriously tackle this house!!!

    1. Funny you should mention the smell--I was noticing a "new vacuum" smell, similar to a "new car" smell.

      I hope you feel better soon!

  15. Wow! Those are some sweet and thoughtful kids. Something to be very thoughtful for!

  16. The wide open space photos are breathtaking! And that's so cool that your daughter has such wonderful friends. Seriously such an important part of growing up, ya know? I had to laugh at the caption on your dusted bookshelf-less room photo! HA. Have a great rest of the day!

  17. Wait....teens cleaned up after themselves?

    That is SO sweet that your daughter's friends went to all that trouble for her! I think that's precious.

    And WOW to the sky photos....what an amazing, glorious sunset. Sometimes I see colors in a sunrise/set that I can't believe happen in real life.

  18. You always find 10 (or more) wonderful things to feel thankful for. DO hope you survived the 405 as you know I understand that pain!


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