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Ten Things of Thankful: Planting Seeds of Gratitude

If Google is to be believed, there is a Chinese proverb that says, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." We planted some trees this week, and while it will be nice in future years when they are full grown, I am thankful for the beauty and shade they already add to the yard. Like trees, a thankful heart grows over time, but is something to celebrate even in its early development. The Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, started by Lizzi in 2013, has provided an opportunity for me to reflect weekly on what I am thankful for in my life. Big things, little things, things that weren't necessarily great, but were better than they could have been--all those things count. Over time, this regular exercise shows me that situations and circumstances change, but there really is always something to be thankful for. When storms arise, those silver linings in the clouds are visible, if one looks closely. I am thankful for Lizzi for starting this blo…

Ten Things of Thankful: At Least it Wasn't a Boring Week

The front cover of the children's book, "NOTHING ever happens on MY BLOCK" shows a sulking child sitting on the curb, with a fireman and a robber behind him
I've mentioned the children's book Nothing ever happens on My Block in a previous Ten Things of Thankful post. In the book, a child complains that nothing ever happens on his block. Meanwhile, in the background, a whole lot of things are happening. In 2020, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, it felt like everyone was isolated in their own homes doing quiet things while the world raged on. It was as if all the excitement was happening outside, but inside remained calm. It still feels like the world is raging on, but (wearing a face mask and observing all recommendations) I'm not quite as isolated as I was in spring. I still don't get out much, though, and even when I do, it's often to use curbside pick-up at the store, so all-in-all, I lead a pretty basic (yet satisfying) life. This week, …

Six Sentence Story: Kettle

an antique typewriter
It's time again for another Six Sentence Story. Each week, Denise posts a prompt word and invites all to compose a story in only six sentences based on the prompt. This week, my inspiration came as I was dealing with the abundance of pears from my tree. The prompt word this week: kettle. Be sure to go to Denise's blog to check out the other entries. I'm always impressed by the talent of the other writers, and by the diversity of stories each word inspires. 
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Standing at the kitchen sink, her sharpest paring knife in hand, and with a bushel box of pears at her side, her thoughts turned to the past: how many years had she been an active participant (let alone captive witness) to the event that was about to unfold yet again? The air was muggy due to the heat of late summer and the big kettle of boiling water on the stove. Though it always seemed like so much work, the act of preparing the fruit, ladling it carefully in…

What's in a Name? Being Thankful When I'm Not

Ten Things of Thankful: Being Settled in Unsettling Times

Every day, it seems there is more evidence that 2020 is one strange year. It's not "just" the pandemic; Mother Nature has also had a heyday, with extreme weather and related events. This week, my dad took some very eerie photos from his yard. Because of nearby fires, everything had a reddish-orange glow. It hurts my heart to hear of the destruction in the beautiful areas where I grew up, and it would be easy to get discouraged because I can't do anything about it. However, as I have learned over the years, there are ways to find peace in stressful situations. 1. I'm thankful for a change of pace. We have been doing a really good job of staying home over the past months, but on Monday, we decided to not spend the day doing yard work, but instead, we drove to the Great Salt Lake to see the Spiral Jetty. We left early enough that there was really only one other family there when we arrived, and not too many more by the time we left. We could maintain distance from t…

Ten Things of Thankful: Harvest Time Edition

Although I have come to love summer once again, I have always loved fall. As a child, I loved the excitement of back-to-school time. There was something so satisfying about checking off the required school supplies from the list, and the new clothes and shoes were waiting so patiently for the first day to arrive, so I could wear them. The air developed a crisp coolness, and soon it would be the holiday season. I don't have new school supplies, nor do I have a new outfit in my closet, but I still love autumn. As an adult, September brings harvest time. I have been enjoying the bounty of the garden, and am taking mental note of what worked and what didn't, in preparation for next planting season. The temperatures are beginning the roller-coaster ride of changing seasons, and soon enough we will be celebrating holidays.One of those holidays, of course, is Thanksgiving, and what better way to prepare than to reflect back on this past week and express gratitude? This week, I am tha…

Six Sentence Story: Twist

Each week, Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog posts a prompt word and invites bloggers to come up with a Six Sentence Story. It's a fun challenge for writers, and a delight for readers. Go over to her blog to read what others have written, and feel free to post your own story, too! This week's prompt: twist.*********************************The kids who moved in next door were big kids--much older than her 3-year-old self--but they might be fun to play with, and as they were coming towards her, the idea of them being new friends seemed at least possible.She was rather shy, but she understood the basics of making friends, so when those neighbors crowded all around her and asked her what her name was, she didn't hesitate to answer.  She thought she had spoken loudly enough, but apparently her shyness got the best of her, because they didn't seem to have heard her. "Twisty?" they asked, and recognizing she needed to be even louder, she raised her voice and practic…

RootsTech Connect is Coming to YOU!

As you probably know, I love family history, and I've been fortunate enough to be able to attend RootsTech, a huge genealogy conference, for the past few years. Earlier this year, RootsTech was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the end of February--late enough in the year that people had heard of covid-19, but early enough that gatherings were still happening in the United States. Now, of course, the pandemic has spread worldwide, and the thought of bringing tens of thousands of people together in one place just doesn't seem like a good idea anymore. Fortunately, RootsTech has always been about blending family history and technology, and if there is one thing that this pandemic has taught us, it is that we can do so much more virtually than we ever dreamed possible! For 2021, RootsTech will be called RootsTech Connect, an online conference that will contain many of the same beloved aspects as the past years conferences--entertaining keynote speakers, informative classes, and an…

Ten Things of Thankful: Something Different

I don't know about you, but for the past six months or so, each week seems to pass very much like the others. This week, however, has had some variety, and for that, I am thankful (#1). 2. We listed our travel trailer for sale and I'm thankful we have had good response. Although I really hoped to have a sale finalized prior to publishing this post, I will have to be content with several good leads. Hopefully one of them will pan out in this coming week. 3. Thursday, we had a sectional couch delivered. I feel spoiled, as it wasn't really needed (so very few things in life really are), but it fits our space better than the furniture we had in the space before. 4. In our game of *musical couches (couch in front room down to basement, one couch from family room up to front room, another couch from family room out to garage), I remembered that the back pieces of one of the couches could be removed. That made it possible to move it up the stairs. 5. Within minutes of posting one…

Ten Things of Thankful: Mixing up the Routine

The past few days, I've been masked up in my own home, as my brother and nephew stayed here prior to my brother taking my nephew to college. Though it was strange to have visitors, and strange to wear masks inside the house, it was also refreshing to be able to spend time with family. My nephew has moved into his dorm, and I took my brother to the airport Thursday morning, so now I've taken off the mask and am getting back to the routine. I'm thankful:to have spent time with my brother and nephew. that Moon's Rare Books is still open for business and I could share that amazing store with my brother and nephew. for game nights. My nephew introduced us to Richard: The Lionheart, and we taught him (and my brother) Splendor. Together, we tried to save the world from Pandemic.for Rockwell Ice Cream. The honeycomb flavor is great, but I especially enjoyed their G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) flavor, which they describe as: "This flavor won best ice cream in America in …

Ten Things of Thankful: Dog Days of Summer

Mid-August already! Although schools in my area start very soon, it still feels like summer to me. Like Drexel in the photo above, I'm enjoying watching the garden grow. I love autumn, but am content and "in the moment" with summer this year. I see friends in California posting screen shots of the weather forecast, and I remember those days of just enduring until October. I'm delighted that summer is again a delight to me. Even when temps near 100, they rarely go over that here, and even when they do, it's not by much nor for long. We've been in Utah now for 3 years, but I'm still tickled about enjoying summers again!This week, I'm thankful: for firefighters. (1) Some of my friends in California have been evacuated due to the Lake Hughes fire, and many others have posted photos of the big, billowing smoke from the fire. I hope that the firefighters are able to get a handle on the fire despite the hot, windy conditions. (2) A few hours after I learned …

Ten Things of Thankful: August Arrives!

My teacher friends are preparing to return to the classroom, whatever that looks like in their district. In any other year, I would be getting excited about BYU's Education Week. 2020 isn't like any other year, though, is it? Ed Week has been postponed to a date TBA and changed to an online format. While I am happy that I am getting projects done around the house, and I'm generally content to live the life of a hermit, I'm literally dreaming of going to Disneyland, which makes me think I must be getting a little case of cabin fever. (I'm not usually a big dreamer, or if I am, I don't usually remember my dreams. This one was particularly funny, I thought: I was in line to get into Disneyland. In front of me in line were the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Cook was having trouble and his ticket wasn't scanning. I said to the cast member, "He's OK. I can vouch for him." Elder Oaks, who was in front of Eld…

Six Sentence Story: Random

I'm linking up this week with another Six Sentence Story. This week's prompt: random. Go over to Denise's blog to read entries from other bloggers--and feel free to link up your own story, too. 
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Every day, his older sisters ventured into the big brick school building, to do who-knows-what. The outdoor playground equipment looked like fun, but he had no idea what happened inside the classroom. His turn would come in the fall, but kindergarten was a mystery. Fortunately, his sisters had experience. Unfortunately, the current kindergartener's description did nothing to ease his fears:
"Math is really hard because no one tells you the answer and you just have to guess a number."

Ten Things of Thankful: Good-Bye, July Edition

Summer 2020 reminds me of childhood summers: my calendar is open, my responsibilities are few, and the hot days stretch out seemingly endlessly. The months, however, pass quickly, and here we are in August. Parents and teachers are trying to figure out what back-to-school will look like, while children are trying to enjoy the last days of freedom. There is much to be thankful for, even as the pandemic continues.
I'm thankful for:

1. Looking back over the two years we've been in this house and noticing the changes we've made in the backyard.



2. Bargain price on mulch, which came in handy for the new beds. (Check your local Walmart! Bags were marked at $0.75-$1.50, depending on color.)

3. A million ways to eat summer squash. (Much like shrimp, I guess.)
4. Dyanne for suggesting roasting corn in the oven. So easy, so yummy! (The corn was store-bought; we're still waiting for our home-grown corn to ripen.)
5. Noom app. I'm down 7 pounds in two weeks. Plenty more to go, but i…

Ten Things of Thankful: Pioneer Day Edition

Here in Utah, July 24th is a holiday: Pioneer Day, commemorating the day in 1847 that the pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. Tonight, firework displays will go off all over the state. Today's Ten Things of Thankful post will be written with history in mind.
I'm thankful (1) for the legacy of faith the pioneers left. Even though I don't literally descend from pioneers who crossed the Mormon Trail, I am impressed by their dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I moved here to Utah 3 years ago, and it was hard work! Compared to the pioneers, though, I had it easy. I drove in a van, I was neither hungry nor cold, the journey was completed in a day (or two, I don't remember now if we took two days or not), and no one died along the road. Those pioneers rode in wagons, or walked, pushing handcarts, for months. They were hungry and cold, and (especially true for the Willie and Martin handcart companies) not everyone made it to Utah. I'm thankful (2) for modern trans…

Speaking Up

My family did not own a television for much of my growing-up years. No, I was not born before the invention of television; my parents had a TV when I was born and made the conscious decision to get rid of it when I was in elementary school. They didn't get another one until all of the children were grown and out of the house. Perhaps in part because of their decision to not have a television in our home, we were a family of readers. 
We owned plenty of books, and always had library books on hand, too--from the school library as well as the town's local library. I read voraciously, and can still picture in my mind exactly where in the school library I could find the L.Frank Baum Wizard of Oz series, or Joy Adamson's Born Free. Books transported me through time, space, and imagination. Reading the Little House books, I became a pioneer. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler opened the wonders of a New York City museum to this west-coast, small-town girl. Books …