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Ten Things of Thankful: Being Settled in Unsettling Times


Photo: In a cloud-filled sky, the sun rises over the mountains

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 the other groups, and still enjoy a change of scenery. Being able to do something different helps. 

Photo: The Spiral Jetty is clearly visible, as the water in the Great Salt Lake is receded

After we spent time at the jetty, we stopped at the Golden Spike National Historic Park, where the transcontinental railroad's east and west tracks joined together. Again, it was nice to have a (safe) outing.

Photo: Two old-fashioned train engines meet at the site where the final spike was driven

2. I'm thankful for a mix-up. I don't know about you, but Tuesday to me didn't feel like Tuesday. I'm not sure what day I thought it was, but I do know I thought it was a day my neighbor and I go for a walk in the morning. It wasn't until I had already told my dog, Drexel, that we were going for a walk that I realized my mistake. I couldn't disappoint him, so he and I went without my neighbor. Although my neighbor is very kind and accommodating every time I want to stop and take a photo, because I was walking with just Drexel on Tuesday, I really meandered and took time to take lots of photos from many angles. The photo of the sunrise at the top of this post is one I took that morning. Being able to look for good photo ops helps me focus on what is beautiful in the world. 

3. I'm thankful for temples. I see one every day I walk. Even though the temple is open only for limited use currently, and it has been months since I have been able to attend, the temple is a visual reminder to me of what is most important. That faith in a loving Heavenly Father helps bring peace to my soul.

Photo: Sunlight hits the Mt. Timpanogos Temple

4. I'm thankful for the opportunity to give. Tuesday afternoon, I donated blood at a local Red Cross blood drive. I know that not everyone is physically able to donate. For whatever reason, whole blood donation comes easy to me. There's no shame in matching strengths with service. When we can use our talents (or inherent easy blood-letting, in my case) to help others, we can feel less overwhelmed with situations out of our control.

5. I'm thankful for seasons, even when they are mixed-up. On Tuesday, prior to the blood drive, it started snowing. It didn't stick, and it didn't snow for long, but it did indeed snow. From hot summer temps to snow in a matter of days reminds me that "this, too, shall pass." 

6. I'm thankful for friends. I love my walks with my neighbor. Whether conversations take place on the walking path, through a fence, between a driver and a friend walking in the neighborhood, or via technology (that includes blogging friends!), connection with others helps make the world a nice place.

7. I'm thankful for wildlife. Quail visit my yard daily, and make me smile every time I see them. This week, I was very surprised while on a walk to see an animal cross the trail in front of me. It took me a while to register what it was: small dog? cat? NO--it was a bobcat! I had never seen one in the wild before, and was surprised that such a reclusive animal would be out in broad daylight. Of course, it disappeared into the brush before I could get a photo, but I'm thankful I got a chance to see it. Animals remind me to live in the moment and not worry.

8-9. I'm thankful for family, and for phones that allow us to stay in touch. John's parents had some wind damage to their fence, but (unlike their neighbors) did not lose power in the storm earlier this week. My parents have terrible air quality with the fires, and did lose power, but so far have not had to evacuate. I'm so thankful to be able to hear the voices of parents, children, and grandchildren and know that things are going OK for them. 

10. I'm thankful for John. He reminds me that "Life is an adventure, and adventures usually work out." (Even if the wind is blowing!)

The wind blows my hair in front of John's face as we stand at the shore of the Great Salt Lake

I hope that you are all safe and well, and are enjoying a sense of peace in this crazy year. I'd love to hear what things you are thankful for this week! Leave me a comment, and feel free to link up your own post. 

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  1. My niece in Utah had two trampolines show up in their yard. They blew there. Glad you didn't ask the bobcat to say "cheese."

    1. Two trampolines?! Wow! One I could understand, but two?
      I don't often wish I had a GoPro, but that would have been the time--then I could have gotten footage of that bobcat.

  2. Very cute photo of you and John. It looks like he is trying to grab hold of some of those flying strands of hair. LOL
    A beautiful photo of the temple too.
    I just looked up to see where the Golden Spike National Historic Park is. When I saw the name of the town, I thought, Oh.....I wonder if.
    They had to cancel the blood drive here this week because of the fires and associated relief that was being provided to the evacuees.
    That was quite the wind storm in the Salt Lake City area. A friend posted some photos of a park there on FB.
    Have a good week.

    1. I think he was trying to get my hair out of his face, and I happened to push the button just at that moment.
      No, neither of us knew of the town at that time. :-)
      I imagine the Red Cross is plenty busy in Oregon right now. Fortunately, blood travels--in fact, all of my donations, except for the one previous to this one, ended up going out-of-state.
      Stay safe!

  3. Life is an adventure, and yes, adventures do have a great way of working out most of the time.

    You commented on my blog about my Sweetie and his retinopathy. Yes, he and his twin, Brother-in-Law, were born two months premature in 1953, back when they didn't know excess oxygen caused that problem. Both of them were blind by the time they were adopted and got out of the hospital.

    At age 6 months, a doctor was telling their adoptive parents, he was sorry, they were blind and nothing anyone could do about it, and both of them, at the same moment, started following the doctor's light with their eyes, which they'd of course never done before. The doctor almost dropped his light and yelled for another doctor to come in and see if it was real. It was. To this day, the fact that either of them can see, much less that both of them have been able to drive and lead normal lives is nothing short of miraculous.

  4. This week, the 'Jump Off the Page' Grat Item is number seven for shore.
    Not merely because of the fun of a sighting of a not commonly seen animal (bobcat) but because of your immediate reinforcement of the most proper thought, ' live in the moment and not worry."
    (For me, the proximity of the reminder and the remember is of the highest important. It's easy to think, 'don't worry about the future or overly dwell in the past', but its an order of magnitude (imho) to tie a direct experience to the thought.


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