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Ten Things of Thankful: Pre-Thanksgiving Thanks

I love the fact that Thanksgiving falls as early as possible this year, because that gives us more time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love the Christmas season, but I also love to give Thanksgiving its due. The two holidays go together so well; first, we express gratitude, and then we celebrate the birth of Him who has given us everything. And, as the hymn states, "Because I have been given much, I too must give." Our focus turns outward, and we seem more inclined to help others. 

I'm looking forward this year to another #LightTheWorld season. Instead of "25 Days, 25 Ways," this year the focus will be on weekly themes, rather than daily challenges. It should be much more do-able. I'll have more information in future posts, but wanted to give you a heads-up. Also, if any of you are interested in writing a guest post about how you serve your faith, family, community, or world, please let me know! 

This week, I'm thankful:

1. I met a woman who founded…

Ten Things of Thankful: Life in Mayberry Edition

Mayberry isn't literally the name of my town, but it might as well be. People smile and wave, chat with each other in line, and just are generally nice. When I run errands, I almost never hear swearing, and I don't think I've seen anyone shopping in their pajamas and slippers since I moved to Utah. I could get used to this, but I hope I never get used to it, because I want to maintain a sense of gratitude for the little things. (Also, I think it is important to recognize that even Mayberry had a sherriff, and we should always be aware of our surroundings.)

Nevertheless, this week I am thankful for small-town living:
1. I'm thankful that my town is listed among the top cities in the nation for its low crime rate. 
2. I'm thankful I wasn't arrested for shoplifting. This one obviously needs some explanation. First of all, I was not shoplifting. I had no intent to steal, and no merchandise left the store. I was trying on clothes in a dressing room at a department stor…

Before and After: Doggy Door

We've been wanting to put in a doggy door in this house, but the only place that made sense to put it was in a French door. In past homes, John installed doggy doors in sliding glass doors, or even in low windows. French door installation is trickier, and though John has the capability to figure it out, when we found a company whose prices were not terribly more than the do-it-yourself cost, we decided to hire out the work. 

We are so pleased with the outcome. The door looks great, and we have the replaced pane, so if we ever want to revert the door back, we can easily do it. Drexel now has access to the yard whenever he wants, and we have a locking cover we can use at night. (Our neighbor told us she saw a raccoon recently, and I really don't want to have wildlife wandering in while we are sleeping.) Now if we can just get Drexel to make up his mind about in or out! This photo below is not an action shot, just a picture of Drexel poking his head out the doggy door to look outs…

Tuesday Travels: Red Butte Garden

Last Saturday, John and I spent the afternoon at Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City, Utah.  When we first arrived, we entered the visitor's center to pay the admission fee, then we walked upstairs to see the special events of the day: a glass exhibit, and an orchid show. I was expecting that maybe there would be a glass-blowing demonstration, but the exhibit was simply a display of glass items for sale. However, it was still interesting to see. 

The orchid show was beautiful. I haven't had good luck in keeping orchids alive, so I'm impressed when I see orchids not only alive, but thriving. 



When I couldn't take the warm humid orchid room any longer, we ventured outside. We had never been to Red Butte Garden before, and I wasn't sure what to expect, especially in November, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only were trees, shrubs, and grasses interesting, but some flowers were still blooming, too. 



Trails meander all over the place, leading from one theme…

Ten Things of Thankful: Welcome, November!

Though I prefer "falling back" to "springing forward," my body still doesn't seem to know what time it is, so I guess it's OK if I'm posting this on a later day than I normally do. There is no limit to when we can be thankful. 

1. John and I went to the temple. The temple closest to us is currently closed for deep cleaning, so we took the opportunity to go to the Draper Temple for the first time. I have often admired it from a distance; it's so beautiful up against the mountains. I'm thankful for the peace found in temples. 




2. On the evening before Halloween, my yard was filled with teenagers. They were happily, voluntarily, raking leaves. They filled several bags, then moved on to another house on my street. (They even took the bags away when they were done!) I'm thankful for their help. 

3. On Halloween night, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted with the trick-or-treaters we received. The holiday was as I remembered it from decades ago:…

Six Sentence Story: Up

Joining in with Girlie on the Edge again for this week's Six Sentence Story. The prompt: Up. 



The sky, gloomy or cloudless (it doesn't matter), 
Couldn't stop the ascension.
Gratitude elevated,
Heart full.
A prayer of thanks
Reached the heavens.

***************
(I recognize that either my count or definition of a sentence is off this week, but hope that can be overlooked.) :-)

Happy Halloween!

All we lack is a bunch of balloons, but we are going to remedy that soon. We'll be home tonight for trick-or-treaters, but our house might be approaching Paradise Falls by then. 😉
🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈

What are your plans today?

Tuesday Travels: Zipline Utah

I received a birthday gift this month that I never expected: a voucher to go zip lining at Zipline Utah. I am so thankful that my children view me as adventurous and willing to try things that are outside my comfort zone. Zip lining fit the bill perfectly. 😃

John and I drove up Provo Canyon on Friday. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day; the sun was shining and the temperature was near 70. We wanted to go before the weather turned more winter-like (though Zipline Utah is open year-round).
When we arrived, there was another couple signed up to go on the course (The Screaming Falcon) at the same time as us. We were all suited up, then were driven to the platform, high on the hill. We could barely see where the zip line ended, 3900 feet across Deer Creek Reservoir. 



The staff did an excellent job explaining how to position yourself, how to keep from twisting in the wind, and how (and when) to brake. We were told we would be traveling between 55-65 mph, and were told how to figure ou…

Ten Things of Thankful: Life's an Adventure Edition

Color is all around me, as fall puts on its bright display. Our high temperatures are approaching 70 this weekend; but then are forecast to drop to the 40's by Tuesday. Now is the time to embrace autumn, to live in the moment, to be present and intentional. Today's TToT is a bit of a selfish one, because I am writing it as much for me as for you readers. This afternoon, I am being brave and adventurous and will have 3,900 feet of fun, as I tackle the world's longest zip line over water. This post is my pep-talk to myself, as I think about all the lovely colors of autumn, the moments I have been present and intentional this week, and anticipate beautiful views and a rush of excitement as I zip line for the first time today.

Ready? Let's get started!

1. I'm thankful for the vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds of the changing leaves.

2. I'm thankful for the satisfying crunching sound I hear as I walk through the fallen leaves.

3. I'm thankful for fun projects compl…

Six Sentence Story: Classics

Linking up with Denise of Girlie on the Edge today with another Six Sentence Story. Today's prompt: classics.


Words spoken instantly transport me back to childhood. "Kerplink" evokes the smells, tastes, and sights of blueberry picking with Sal; "terrible" needs to be followed with "horrible, no-good, very bad;" "caps" are always for sale for fifty cents; and "I think" is not followed by "therefore, I am, " but rather, "I can," and repeated as a mantra.

The power of classic children's literature turns two-year-olds into "readers," as they recite, verbatim, the words of The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, and allows exhausted parents everywhere to speak, without even looking at the book, the text beginning with, "In the great green room. . . ."

The power of classic literature also transforms large stone buildings, with their steep entry stairs and heavy wooden f…

Wednesday Works: DIY Painted UP Mailbox

For the first time since the 1990's, we have an individual mailbox, as opposed to a community box. The mailbox that came with this house is small and missing its handle. That was just enough reason for me to decide to replace it with a personalized box that would make me smile every time I saw it.

Do you remember the Pixar movie, UP? I love that movie: it has a cute married couple, an adorable dog, and a lot of heart. During one scene early in the show, Carl and Ellie paint a mailbox that look like this one:

The movie mailbox was my inspiration. John purchased a big white box, we visited a craft store for some outdoor paint, and we figured out how to make a John & Kristi mailbox.
We started by trying to find a font similar to the one used. "Learning Curve" on PicMonkey seemed close to the one used for the names, and I used "Alter Ego" for the "and" sign. I did need to edit it a bit in the PicMonkey program. The "and" sign was bolder than th…

Tuesday Travels: Four National Parks in Four Days

Last month, my parents, husband, and I took a trip unlike any other that we've taken before; we visited four national parks in four days. Our usual method is to explore a place in depth, but for this particular trip, a broad overview worked for us. So come along as I recap our whirlwind tour of Capitol Reef, Zion, the Grand Canyon, and Bryce.

The first day of the journey, we left our house in Utah county in the morning around 9 or so. By early afternoon, we had arrived at Capitol Reef National Park. The red rock formations, deep canyons, and obvious evidence of the earth's movement gave us a sense of awe. 

We stopped at the Gifford House Store and Museum for a bite of pie before we going on the Scenic Drive. 

At the end of the scenic drive, we got out to hike part of the Capitol Gorge trail. 

Along the trail, we wondered how in the world these names were carved into the rocks so neatly. We also were curious as to how the people even reached that spot on the mountain; they must hav…

Monday Mentions: Jane and Emma Movie

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see a screening of the movie, Jane and Emma. I always face screenings with a bit of trepidation, because I really want to be able to give a good review, but recognize that not all films deserve high praise. Fortunately, in the case of Jane and Emma, I was very impressed. 

Jane and Emma is based on real people, Jane Manning and Emma Smith, and tells the story of their friendship in Nauvoo, Illinois in the early 1800's. I appreciated the fact that the writers did not gloss over the challenges that Jane faced as a black convert of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including the prejudices of some of the other church members. Though I'm sure that being familiar with the history of the church added to my enjoyment of the film, viewers who have no background knowledge will still appreciate the story of friendship, loyalty, and faith.

The acting was first-rate, the writing was solid, and the musical score added to the feeling of …

Ten Things of Thankful: Oh, the Things I Can Do (when I'm not distracted!)

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm coming off of a social media fast. I enjoyed my time away immensely. Although I really appreciate all of you, my readers, I also would encourage you to take time off from your devices every now and then. 

I must admit there were times that I would see/hear something and think, "Oh, I can't send out a tweet, or post on Facebook," but then I realized that I could still enjoy the moment without having to share it with the world. 🙂

Now, however, I will share with you ten things I've been thankful for in the past two weeks:

1. I'm thankful for General Conference. This year, both the April conference and the October conference brought changes in the way the church operates. Most recently, it was announced that starting in January, our Sunday meeting schedule will decrease from 3 hours to 2. This is to better align with the idea that church is to support the home, and that gospel-learning is primarily a home responsibility. I'm very e…

Social Media Fast Ends: Here's What I Learned

When Russell M. Nelson urged the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to take a 10-day fast from social media, I gladly accepted the invitation. Although I had actually been revving up my use of social media in the preceding days, and felt like I was getting into more of a groove with my blogging and online presence, I also recognized the value in what President Nelson was suggesting. He said:
The effect of your 10-day fast may surprise you. What do you notice after taking a break from perspectives of the world that have been wounding your spirit? Is there a change in where you now want to spend your time and energy? Have any of your priorities shifted—even just a little? I urge you to record and follow through with each impression.I knew immediately that I needed time away from distractions. A smartphone, computer, and even my Fitbit constantly turned my attention away from what was happening right in front of me. Little minutes here and there added up to big chunk…

Social Media Fast: Blogging to Return Mid-October

As many of you know, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tonight, at the women's session of General Conference, President Nelson challenged us to take a 10-day fast from social media. Although technology can be used for good, it is easy for me to become unbalanced in my time. I decided to accept his challenge and am looking forward to focusing my attention elsewhere. 

The posts that I've promised for next week will be delayed; they aren't ready to schedule to publish yet. However, I will return to blogging and other social media platforms later this month. 

You are welcome to join me in the break, if you'd like. I'm thankful for you, and will catch up with you when I return. 😊

Ten Things of Thankful: Grand Week Edition

The past week and a half has been a blur, as my parents came to town and we visited four national parks in four days. I'll publish a post next week detailing our adventures, but for now, let's just say we all had a grand time!

I'm so thankful this week:

1. That my parents could come to visit.
2. That we could enjoy the beauty of nature.
3. That we could laugh (a lot!)
4. That my parents extended their trip on both ends, so we could visit with other relatives and enjoy other sites (like Moon's Rare Books) as well.

Sometimes, after a vacation, it is hard to get back into a routine again. I'm thankful to be easing into things:

5. John and I were able to attend a meet-up for bloggers here in Utah. We were served dinner, learned about the #LightTheWorld Christmas campaign for 2018, listened to the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, and watched a showing of the movie Jane and Emma. While we were there, we also just happened to run into someone who used to live in our area in Cali…

Six Sentence Story: Crunch

Each week, Denise ateGirlie on the Edge hosts the Six Sentence Story link up. It's an enjoyable challenge: to write a sentence of only six sentences, based on the prompt word. This week's prompt is "crunch."

As a little girl, she read the papers, and knew that the Peanuts gang and others derived joy from jumping into big piles of fallen leaves, but she couldn't imagine exactly how that translated into fun. The leaves on the oak tree in the neighbor's yard turned brown before falling to the ground, and the Oregon rain kept them constantly soggy. 

She grew up knowing the jokes about Oregon's weather (Oregonians don't tan, they rust, and Rain is liquid sunshine), but didn't truly appreciate the underlying truth until she moved out-of-state for college. She couldn't get over the fact that the sky was cloudless most of the time, and that weeks could go by without precipitation--even in the fall!

Walking to her apartment after class one day, she was st…