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Showing posts from January, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: Can't Think of a Title, but Still Thankful Edition

I love the exercise of reflection that the Ten Things of Thankful posts brings. Especially during this year of transition, it's a good way to stay grounded. As I look back over each week, I remember moments of gratitude, and I realize that the events that brought the most joy usually involve other people. Though my stay in this rental house is temporary, I need to avoid the ease of emotional detachment and make the most of the time I have here to reach out to make and strengthen friendships.  This week: 1. I'm thankful for a discussion earlier this month in Relief Society about a talk called, "The Needs before Us," by  Bonnie L. Oscarson. In her address, she made the following statement:  What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most? How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice? Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us c

Ten Things of Thankful: Snowy Day Edition

Photo: Snow covers the limbs of shrubbery and an oak tree Snow started falling last night, and shows no sign of stopping. The beautiful white flakes blanket the limbs of the oak trees outside. The gentle descent of the falling snow mesmerizes me, and I desire nothing more than to sit quietly in my warm house and gaze out the window.  I'm thankful for the beauty of this world. I had other plans for the day: John and I have tickets to Sundance Film Festival. We actually went last night and watched a documentary shorts program. Though our travels were uneventful, the weather did make for a slower trip home than usual. This morning, we made the decision to just stay home.  I'm thankful for fun evenings. I'm thankful for safe travels. I'm thankful for quiet days. Photo: A newspaper, wrapped in an orange plastic bag, sits on the dry part of the driveway (under the eaves and next to the garage door). Snow covers the ground and bushes next to the driveway. W

Ten Things of Thankful: Falling Edition

My house and I have been falling to pieces, but I think things are finally starting to fall into place.  This past week, I've been fighting a cold, which really isn't a big deal, except the symptoms are buggy and get in the way of things like sleeping and breathing. Fortunately, I won the battle and the war is drawing to a close. 1. I'm thankful it was just a cold. So many people seem to have been put out of commission with the flu this year; if I had to choose between a cold and the flu, I'd definitely pick a cold. 2. I'm thankful for Zicam. Of course, I have no idea whether it actually shortened the duration of my cold, but I'm on the mend and will gladly give Zicam the credit. While I've been fighting a cold, I've been trying to orchestrate a kitchen demolition   and other home remodeling projects. The demolition is just about complete, which means that pretty soon progress will look like progress and not chaos! 3. I'm thankful for the con

I'm Not Really a General Contractor

I'm a mom of five grown children; I know how to multi-task. When the kids were little, before each Mother's Day, John would read them a poem called, " Hats Off to Mother ." The poem talked about some of the various roles that moms play, and it was accompanied by paper cutouts of a mother and the different hats she wore.  I have felt like a taxi driver, a nurse, a chef, and other professions that the poem mentioned. One job the poem did not have is that of general contractor.  John and I are having some changes made to our house prior to moving into it, and I'm finding myself struggling to coordinate everything. However, stressful though the job can be, it is also rather fun to pick colors and materials, and to see the changes occurring. Nothing is complete yet, but I thought I'd share some in-progress photos with you.  One of the biggest changes we are making is in the kitchen. We chose to make changes to improve the functionality and to put our own touc

Ten Things of Thankful: Prophet Edition

Photo: Thomas S. Monson, as a younger man, sits in a leather chair. A quote by him is spelled out on the photo: "Unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives." Source The theme of this post has been percolating in my mind for a few days. I believe that most of my readers recognize that I am a Mormon, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This past week, Thomas S. Monson, the prophet and president of the church, passed away. I am, of course, saddened that I will no longer be able to hear him speak at future conferences, but I also recognize he had been failing in health and now he can be reunited with his dear wife, who preceded him in death. I also know that church leadership continues to run smoothly and a new prophet will be called soon.  While I know that some of my readers are also members of the LDS church, I know that many are not. From comments you have made on my blog, to private conversations

Happy 101th Birthday, Grandma!

Even as a girl, I knew my grandma would become a centenarian. Today she turns 101 years old. Though she is not physically imposing, and Alzheimer's is taking a toll on her mind now, she has always been physically and mentally strong. It was impossible to imagine that she wouldn't make it to the 100 mark. Now she has done that, plus one year. When I was in high school, our family moved, and Grandma was the one who loaded up our 100-pound barrels of wheat. (I remember my dad coming out to move them and being surprised to find them already moved.) She was always doing things like that: trying cartwheels in her living room when she was in her 70's, to see if she remembered how;  and attending water aerobics classes well into her 80's. Not only did she stay physically active, she also kept her mind busy. As a senior, she learned how to play the piano and use a computer. She lived through the Great Depression, moved from the Ozarks in Arkansas to the Central Valley in Cal

Thomas S. Monson: Leaving a Legacy of Love

I woke up this morning to the news that Thomas S. Monson, Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died last night. Though President Monson's health has been declining, I'm still saddened that I will no longer be able to hear him speak at General Conference. He was a gentle man with a sense of humor, great story-telling skills, and a particularly soft heart for the lonely, infirm, and elderly.  President Monson, you will be missed, but I imagine you are rejoicing now in being reunited with your beloved wife. 

Swedish Death Cleaning: A Gentle, Encouraging Read

Photo: My Kindle displays the cover of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson A few months ago, I learned of a book which was set to be released today: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning , by Margereta Magnusson. The title certainly caught my attention! According to the author, death cleaning "is a term that means you remove unnecessary things and make your home nice and orderly when you think the time is coming closer for you to leave the planet." Of course, that time of departure is always coming closer, so there is no reason to delay the de-cluttering process. As we are in the (seemingly never-ending) process of down-sizing, I've been looking forward to reading this book for encouragement and inspiration. This morning, I got an e-mail informing me that the book was waiting for me on my Kindle. I decided to start reading it. Once I started, I couldn't put it down.

This Year, I Will . . . .

New Year's Day traditionally inspires resolutions. We reflect on what we want to change, and commit to do whatever necessary to make the metamorphoses we desire. Often, at the first sign of struggle, we declare ourselves failures and throw in the towel, only to repeat the process the next year.  I'm guilty of that, as well. For example, my weight has not been where I would like it to be in more a decade. Ever the optimist, I plan to eat healthier, exercise more, and in general, treat my body well. Will this be the year that my efforts are consistent enough to outweigh the inevitable setbacks? I hope so, but that remains to be seen.   Resolutions are about so much more than the stereotypical "lose weight" goal, though. The new year gives us an excuse to try new things, learn new things, and give ourselves permission to break free of a humdrum routine and add some fun into our days. At the end of 2016, John received a camera for Christmas. He had requested one, th