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Ten Things of Thankful: #WorldGratitudeDay Edition

World Gratitude Day is tomorrow. I only recently learned about it, but it is definitely a celebration I endorse. When we focus our attention on something, that is what we will find. I choose to focus on things that make me feel thankful. Here's what I've found this week:

1. I'm thankful for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop (started by Lizzi), and for all the hosts, co-hosts, and participants through the years. 

2. I'm thankful for (technically still) summer snow on the mountains behind our home. Today is a blustery, rainy day, and snow is falling at the higher elevations. Having grown up in rainy Oregon, there is just something homey about gloomy, cloudy days.

3. I'm thankful that yesterday was nice and sunny, and I spent time painting the back steps. I had started scraping old paint off months ago, but had procrastinated the fun part of the project. It's so nice to know that the wood is protected from the elements again.



4. I'm thankful for good news. I was…

#RootsTech, Here I Come!

I received an email last night with some great news: I have been accepted as an ambassador for RootsTech 2020, which will be held next February in Salt Lake City. Though I have attended RootsTech before, I've never been there in an official capacity, and I'm honored and excited to be able to be more involved. Stay tuned for more information. (A little heads-up: there will be a fantastic giveaway for one lucky reader in a future post!)

In the meantime, mark your calendars for February 26-29, 2020. If you can make it to Salt Lake City to attend in person, that's great! If not, there are virtual passes available, so you can access videos of some of the classes. 

RootsTech is the world's largest genealogical conference, and whether you are just beginning to explore your family history, or are a professional genealogist, you will find helpful information at RootsTech. Last February, I learned about newspapers.com. Through a series of events that started with an obituary I fou…

Ten Things of Thankful: Road Trip Edition

Youngest daughter and I went on vacation last week, leaving behind chores and projects to spend some time together. John stayed home and so while we were off having fun, he saw to it that home projects got completed. 

1. I'm thankful the wild, hilly part of our backyard now has sprinklers! Now that regular watering is possible, I can start planning where to put lilacs, raspberries, and other plants. The area is huge and the project will be ever-evolving, but I love gardening projects!

2. I'm thankful for some rain. I think the sprinkler installers were, too, because it made it easier to dig. Our soil is more rocks than dirt, and the installers quickly realized that trying to dig the trenches by hand would take forever. They left and returned with a trench-digger, and I think the recent rainfall made it at least a tiny bit easier.

3. I'm thankful for a mom-daughter vacation with youngest daughter. We spent last week together at Disneyland, and had a fabulous time.



4. I'm th…

Ten Things of Thankful: Short Week Edition

Because I published my last TToT on Monday, this week has gone very quickly, but I'm sure I can still find ten things to list!

1. I'm thankful for eyeglasses. It had been 2 years since my last eye exam, and I thought maybe my prescription had changed a bit. I didn't wear glasses until after turning 40, and even then I just used readers for several years until finally getting tired of having to constantly take glasses on and off. Then I broke down and got progressives, with just a very tiny distance prescription in the lenses. Every couple of years, the prescription got a little stronger (both in distance and close-up). This week, although my astigmatism is worse and the close-up prescription got stronger (and the doctor said that was to be expected "at each birthday"--I haven't even had my birthday yet this year; he just didn't want to say "as you age.") my distance prescription was weaker! Woo-hoo! New glasses are ordered and I'm looking for…

Ten Things of Thankful: Labor Day Weekend Surprise

I'm a bit later than I usually am in linking up a TToT post, but I knew that I would have lots to say after the weekend, so I held off until now.

Last week, as John and I were sitting at the table, we heard a big thud. I went out to the porch, expecting to see a dead (or at least stunned) bird outside the window, but the only bird I saw was a magpie, flying out of our maple tree. I didn't think too much about it, until a day or two later I was standing outside, looked at the window, and because the light was just right, noticed this:


1. I'm thankful the bird (and the window) survived the impact.

2. I'm thankful that a couple of friends from California were able to come visit for a few days. They arrived in the middle of the night (which really wasn't a problem for us; we fell asleep at our normal bedtime, and just opened the door when they arrived and pointed out the guest rooms), and then the next morning after they were more rested, we started our fun. 

3. I'm th…

Ten Things of Thankful: Back to School (BYU Education Week) Edition

I drove my mom to the airport Saturday morning, after a week of fun together. I told her we should list the same items in our TToT posts this week, but we never coordinated that, so I'm curious to see how similar our posts turn out to be. There were more than ten things to be thankful for this week, so I imagine we won't have identical lists, but we'll see.

1. I'm thankful for the chance to speak in church last Sunday. We don't have a preacher/minister who speaks each Sunday; members are asked (ahead of time) to prepare an address (about 12-15 minutes long) to share. My assigned topic was the importance of remembering Jesus Christ. As is so often the case as I study for talks, a seemingly simple topic grew in depth and breadth, and I ended up touching on not judging, forgiveness, the sacrament (communion), names, and the love of God. Hopefully it made sense to those listening. 

2. I'm thankful for family history. My mom and I revisited a line that seems to have a…

Ten Things of Thankful: Anticipation Edition

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I look forward each year to attending Education Week at Brigham Young University. Why should children have all the fun of anticipating a new school year? Next week I will spend five days attending classes, recharging, and enjoying learning without the dread of final exams. I'll give you a recap next week, but this week, my post will be anticipatory:

I'm thankful that my mom will be joining me for Education Week again this year! (Thankful #1) I know it will be a week filled with laughter (Thankful #2) and fun (Thankful #3). (And, let's be honest, BYU mint brownies (Thankful #4) and ice cream(Thankful #5)!)

I'm thankful I've "tidied up" a bit this week (Thankful #6). My mom is a super easy guest (Thankful #7)--but even if she wasn't, I'm positive she wouldn't be checking to see how organized my master bathroom drawers are (Thankful #8)--but nothing gets me into super-organized mode more…

Six Sentence Story: Code

When the prompt word (code) was given for this week's Six Sentence Story, it didn't take me long to come up with a topic. As a host of a blog hop (the Ten Things of Thankful), I have been frustrated trying to find a link-up code service that is truly accessible to those who use screen readers. The company I use used to work with screen readers, but they have "improved" their service, much to my chagrin, and the frustration of some bloggers. If any of you know of a blog link-up service that is accessible, please let me know! Thanks!

There once was a service called Inlinkz Once useful, but now it stinks. The link-up code, I find Is unfriendly to the blind. And Inlinkz doesn't care, methinks. (A sad, but true tale.)
#PleaseIntegrateAScreenReader #BringBackTheOldInlinkz

Tuesday Travels: From the Secular Domus Aurea to the Church of St. Peter-in-Chains

When in Italy, be sure to stop in Rome. Multiple days are best. I've written about our time at the Rome Italy Temple, our visit to the Capitoline Museums, the walking tour we took, and the experience of visiting the Vatican. Today I'm going to share some photos from the Domus Aurea, and the church of St. Peter-in-Chains. 

The Domus Aurea was Nero's extravagant palace. Nero (he of "fiddling while Rome burned" fame) was not a popular leader, and after his death, the Domus Aurea was looted (our tour guide emphasized that Italians were big on reuse/recycle!) then buried in dirt. Now, excavation is ongoing, and we donned hard hats to tour the site. Because so much that was there in the past is now missing, or at least incorporated into other buildings, it is difficult to imagine how it appeared in Nero's time. Fortunately, our tour included a virtual reality experience that allowed us to envision the opulence. 
Although we toured only part of the palace, we were abl…

Ten Things of Thankful: Balancing Out Edition

Sometime between 1-1/2 to 2 years ago, I decided to plant an avocado pit. It took what seemed like forever, but it finally sent up some green growth. The plant got taller and taller, but did not branch out. I made a drastic decision to prune it back in an effort to encourage some lateral growth. At first, I thought my action would be rewarded, but only one sideways branch developed. The other side remained only a tiny little bud. 

I moved the plant outside this summer, so it could soak up some direct sunlight and bask in the warm temperatures. It is enjoying its new locale (and I'm not telling it that it will need to move back indoors in a month or so). A couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to notice that it was finally developing another lateral branch. I'm looking forward to watching it become a more balanced plant.

I love balance; whether it is in the form of real life/blogging, vacation/responsibilities, or exercise/curling up with a book, it's nice to feel balanced. Wh…

Ten Things of Thankful: Another Road Trip and Other Summer Fun

I'm a little bit later than I normally am in linking up a TToT post this week, but I have good reason: I was at a friend's cabin in Idaho from Thursday-Saturday, and there was no wi-fi there. (And I'm glad there wasn't; it's really nice to disconnect every so often.) Before I tell you about that, though, let's start the list with things that happened earlier in the week:

1. I'm thankful that Drexel stopped limping. The last Saturday in July, I noticed Drexel wasn't putting weight on a front paw. I couldn't find any reason, but he was a bit better on Sunday, and by Monday was back to his usual self. I imagine he must have just strained a muscle on our Friday afternoon hike. In any case, I'm glad he's feeling better.

2. I'm thankful that I finished a little quilt for my granddaughter's first birthday. I just used a panel, and sewed straight lines for the quilting, so it wasn't complicated, but I got the mitered corners right on the f…

Tuesday Travels: A Walking Tour of Rome

The evening before our scheduled walking tour of Rome, John and I went with another couple on our own stroll around the city. Though we wouldn't go inside the Colosseum then, seeing the lighted arches of the Colosseum against the dark evening sky made the chilly outing worth it. 

The next day, we returned for a guided walking tour of Rome. What follows is a quick, photo-heavy recap.

The Colosseum is just as impressive in the sunlight as it is in the moonlight.  Note how tiny the people seem in the photo below:

Before we went inside the Colosseum, we stopped at the triumphal arch. It's easy to feel very small. 

Once inside the Colosseum, I again felt small. The Colosseum could seat at least 50,000 people in its heyday. Look for the people in the photo below for a sense of scale. The white plastic-looking area in the photo shows where the floor would have been. Below that is where the gladiators and animals would wait for their turn in the arena. 


Next, it was off to the Forum, where…