During April 2018 I will be blogging about my memories as MOM OF 6 from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 30, 2012

Scriptures: "Letters from Home"

Gratitude Day 30:  I'm grateful for Scriptures:  My letters from Home.

The first time that I remember hearing the scriptures referred to as letters from home was about 25 or 30 years ago, maybe even longer.  I was fairly newly married, a young mother, living in the eastern US, far from my parents and other family members.  I had come to the Stake Center to attend the General Relief Society Broadcast.  I was among friends, but still far from home.  I don't remember exactly who the speaker was, but someone referred to the scriptures as "letters from home, from our Heavenly Father".  It was a comforting analogy for me at the time as I eagerly awaited and enjoyed the letters that I received from my earthly parents and other family members. 

I love reading from the scriptures, and try to make the time to do so daily.  I'm not perfect in this regard, but when I do read daily, I enjoy it. I find I deal better with the challenges of daily life, and I believe that I am a happier person overall.  Right now as a family we're reading one chapter every night from the New Testament, and I've just recently started reading The Book of Mormon again on my own.  I also wanted to share a fun idea that I found just today: A 25 Day Scripture Countdown  to Christmas Chain  posted by Kendra at The Things I Love.  She shares a lot of fun ideas for counting down the 25 days of December to Christmas Day. 

Back at the end of August, my ward Relief Society gave us a 12 week challenge to encourage us to draw closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We have each been given a notebook with a picture of the Savior attached to the front, and a list of 12 scriptures.   The idea is to concentrate on one scripture each week, reading and pondering the scripture of the week every day as part of our personal scripture study, then sometime during the week taking time to write our thoughts and feelings about the scripture in the notebook.   In December we will gather together and share some of our thoughts on these scriptures and on our Savior.

 No, I haven't read every single day for the past 12 weeks, but I have come close.  I have written some of my thoughts about every single scripture reference in my notebook, and also here on this blog.  Most weeks I posted my thoughts several days into the next week, but the posts were scheduled for the Sunday after that particular week's reading, so if you happen to be a regular follower of this blog, you may have missed them.  So here's a list of the scriptures I've studied for the past 12 weeks, linked to the posts where I've shared my thoughts.

And there you have it.   Wishing you many wonderful days of reading your "letters from home."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bread and Milk and Peanut Butter

Gratitude Day 29:  I'm grateful for Bread and Milk and Peanut Butter.

I grew up on a farm.  My parents raised six children.  Our refrigerator always held several gallons of fresh milk, just waiting for us to pour a glassful for breakfast, after school, and of course for dinner.  My mother kept the freezer stocked with homemade bread.  If the current loaf was more than half gone, it was your job to pull another loaf out of the freezer.  There was always a jar of peanut butter in the cupboard.   I usually ate school lunch, but I grew up on bread and milk and peanut butter after school and after meals if I was still hungry.  My kids have all eaten their fair share of peanut butter sandwiches and we've gone through countless gallons of milk.  I even bake homemade bread fairly regularly.   To this day, if we have bread and milk and peanut butter in the house, I feel safe and secure.  If we were to ever run out . . . then I would start to worry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Comfortable Bed

Gratitude Day 28:  I'm grateful for a comfortable bed, pillows, and warm blankets.

I usually don't make it to bed very early.  You could say I'm somewhat of a night owl.  I've never wanted to be in bed sleeping when I might miss out on something exciting happening, even if it's just a simple conversation with family and loved ones.   I usually don't like to sleep in much either.  (Just to be clear, this is relative.  I do require a good 6 to 7 hours of sleep every night.  And more if I'm sick.)  Though I hate getting out of bed when it's still dark outside, once the light is there, I do like to be up and doing.

That much being said, I am grateful for a warm, comfortable place to sleep.  And sometimes read.  DH and I have a very nice bed that we purchased some years ago that has made a big difference in whether or not I wake with numb limbs and aches and pains.  I do like my bed and appreciate it very very much!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Universe

Gratitude Day 27:  I'm grateful for the amazingly awesome universe.  I have photos from the Spitzer Telescope as my background on my computer, and they just really make me happy.  I  love the colors. I love the majesty. I am just always enthralled with the wonders and the beauty that the Creator of the heavens and the earth has made. 

 Super Bubble

Pinwheel Galaxy Rainbow

Tarantula Nebula

For more awesomely amazing photos of the universe go to http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Gratitude Day 26:  I'm grateful for Priesthood Power.  It is the power of God, given to worthy men on earth to carry forth his work.  I'm grateful that I was baptised and confirmed by this power.  That I can partake of the sacrament each week that has been blessed by this power.  That I have been sealed in the temple to my family by this power.  That my family, friends, and loved ones can and have received blessings of healing and comfort from this power. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Believe in God

Believe in God, And That He Is
Scripture Challenge Week 12
Mosiah 4:9-12

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
 10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
 11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
 12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

I love Mosiah 4:9.  I know that it has been set to music because I have sung it before.  Believe that God created all things:  the awesomely wonderful universe and our beautiful world.  Even the cold, windswept and snow covered mountains have their own kind of beauty.
He has all wisdom.  We need to trust in Him and in His timing.  But we also need to communicate with him and pour out our souls in prayer to Him. 
He has all power.  He can do anything.  He is more powerful than anything or anyone.  He will use his power with ultimate wisdom.
We cannot at this time understand everything that He understands.
Verse 10 is another reminder that we must always repent.  Be humble enough to ask him what our weaknesses are and to repent. 
I say that I believe this, but do I actually live this?  Verse 11 may be even harder to live.  I have had wonderful; powerful experiences where I am reminded how much the Lord truly does love me.  These times have usually been in the temple or when I've poured out my soul to him in earnest prayer.  The hard part is remembering and retaining the knowledge of this love always in day to day living.  Why are our mortal memories so feeble and fleeting?  Perhaps it is to test our faith and our determination to do what is right.  Perhaps it is to help us learn better how to control our thoughts and our actions.   Perhaps it is to teach us that we need to call on the Lord daily. 
And the promise if we do remember to call on Him daily?  We will always rejoice and be filled with the love of God, and keep the remission of our sins.  How wonderful is that?

♫♪♫ Christmas Music ♪♫♪

Gratitude Day 25:  I'm grateful for Christmas Music  ♫♪♫

Now, let me set the record straight.  I'm not one of those people who listens to Christmas Music all year long, but if for some reason I happen to hear a Christmas song sometime in July or October or whenever, I'm not going to complain.  I admitt that I have my car radio set to a station that has been playing Christmas music for several weeks now.   I don't appreciate seening Christmas decorations and advertising before Thanksgiving, and especially not before Halloween, but I don't mind the Christmas Music a little bit early, even if the weather is still mild and fall like.  I love Christmas music, both the traditional carols and the funner more modern music, but  I'm not a big fan of anything really silly or irreverant. 

Some years we have pulled out all the Christmas Decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I haven't really wanted to do that this year, but I have been putting together our Hugs and Kisses Advent Gifts (you can see a picture of them in this post about traditions)  this weekend, and that activity definitely requires Christmas Music in the background.   So, even though we don't have snow, bring on the Christmas Music!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Gratitude Day 24:  I'm grateful Leftovers, or planned overs. 

Even though we usually join with other extended family members for our official Thanksgiving Dinner, I always cook a turkey of our own so we can have plenty of Turkey  for Sandwiches and Sunday Dinner.  I have tried different turkey soups and casseroles in the past, but they just don't go over too well with my family.  I admit that I do plan other types of meals over the weekend too . . . pulled pork for Friday and Pizza on Saturday, just so we don't get too tired of the turkey.  But for lunches, turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry sauce and yams are definitely the best!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Gratitude Day 23:  I'm grateful for chocolate!

Chocolate kisses, chocolate hugs, chocolate with nuts, with caramel, with fruit, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, even with mint.  Brownies, cookies, cakes . . . you name it, I love it!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Gratitude Day 22: I'm thankful for my health. According to research by the Institute of HeartMath, gratitude improves the heart's rhythmic functioning, which helps us to reduce stress, think more clearly under pressure and heal physically. May you all have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Gratitude Day 21: I'm grateful for pie. I'm also grateful for a wonderful daughter who volunteered to make 5 pies for us tonight.  Usually I look forward to baking a multitude of pies for Thanksgiving, but this year it was feeling more like a chore than a pleasure.  So I'm very grateful for her efforts in making the 4 pumpkin and 1 sugar free apple pie. 
Did you make pie this year?  What's your favorite kind of pie?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Gratitude Day 20: I'm grateful for all my children! I love being with them, hearing from them, and being a part of all of their lives. I love being a Mom!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Neighbors and Friends

Gratitude Day 19: I'm grateful for wonderful neighbors and friends.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Gratitude Day 18:  I'm very grateful for my Heritage; for parents, grandparents and other ancestors.  I'm grateful for the way they have lived and the decisions they have made so that I can enjoy the life and blessings that I have today. 

A Taste of the Future

A Taste of the Future
Scripture Challenge Week 11
Revelations 7:15-17

 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
These verses can give us a taste of what can be our future:  the joy of being and serving in the temple.  Our fondest dreams and wishes can come true.  We can be fed and nourished at the feet of our Savior.  We can always be in his light.  We can dwell with Him and with God, our Father forever and be instructed by them and comforted by them.  What joy and gladness!  May it come soon.  May these dark and wicked times pass.  May we all be blessed and fed and comforted by our Savior.  And in the meantime, may we all bless and comfort and serve one another.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kitchen Aid

Gratitude Day 17:  I'm grateful from my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.

DH brought it home several years ago, and it has faithfully mixed up many batches of bread, cookies, cakes etc over the years.  It is definitely one of my very favorite belongings!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Gratitude Day 16: I'm grateful for my education and for the dedicated educators who have taught me and my children.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Soap etc

Gratitude Day 15: I'm grateful for soap, toothpaste, lotion, and chapstick.  Among other similar things. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Farmers and Food

Gratitude Day 13: I'm grateful for farmers and other food producers who make our lives so much easier, more healthful, and enjoyable! (ps I'm grateful for food!)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beautiful World

Gratitude Day 12: I'm grateful for our amazingly beautiful world!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Gratitutude Day 11: I'm grateful for music and children's voices.

House of Order

House of Order
Scripture Challenge Week 10
D&C 88:118-119

 118 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.
 119 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
These verses have been favorites of mine for many years, ever since I learned them as scripture mastery verses in seminary.  They describe my goals for myself and for my home as we have raised our family.   They are goals that I set long before I was married and had a home of my own.  Study, wisdom, faith, and order.  These are lofty goals and I often feel that I fall short.   But I have seen success, and I will continue to strive to make my life and my home reflect these verses.  I also love the verses that follow:
120 That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord; that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord; that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High.
 121 Therefore, cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter, from all your lustful desires, from all your pride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings.
 122 Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege.
 123 See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.
 124 Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.
 125 And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Gratitude Day 10:  I'm Grateful for Books!

 I've mentioned elsewhere that I have always loved to read, and that I always have a huge stack of books piled next to my bed. I always have almost my limit of books checked out from the library, and have trouble deciding which one to read.  I even have several books on my new Kindle Fire.  One of my favorite websites is goodreads.com, and I have accepted the challenge to read 70 books this year.  Last year I read 66 books.   Last night I completed my 65th book for this year, The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner, and really enjoyed it.  I'll have to read more of her books.

Here are some of my previous posts about books:

My Favorite Book

A Most Important Book

And from my other blog, Creation and Compassion:

Gotta Love the Library

Reading Aloud with Kids

So what shall I read next?  What are you reading?

Friday, November 9, 2012


Salt Lake Temple

Gratitude Day 9:  I'm Grateful for Temples. 

I'm grateful that I can make the time to attend the temple frequently.  I love that I can be of service by proxy  to some of my sisters who have not had the opportunity during their life times to receive the blessings of the temple.  I'm grateful to feel the closeness to my Heavenly Father when I'm in the temple.  I'm grateful to have been born to parents who have been sealed as a family unit for all eternity.    I'm grateful that more than 30 years ago I was able to receive my own endowments in the Salt Lake Temple, and that 2 years later I was sealed to my wonderful DH in the same location.  I'm grateful for the many times that I have been able to attend the temple with various family members.

I strongly believe that the very most important thing anyone can do in this lifetime is to make sacred temple covenants.   Serving a mission is a wonderful and important calling and service.  But receiving your endowment is far more important.  A wedding is a wonderful, happy time in a couple's life, with many exciting preparations for dresses, receptions, cakes, photos, etc.    But receiving your endowment and being sealed together as a new family unit is the very most important part of the wedding.  Planning for and preparing  for the temple should receive just as much time and effort, if not more, as the other aspects of preparing for a mission or a wedding. 

I eagerly look forward to the day when I can see each of my children worthily and knowingly go to the temple, make their own sacred covenants there, and receive the blessings that have been promised to them.   To be in the Lord's temple with my entire family gathered together is my greatest goal, wish and dream. 

To all of my friends and loved ones:  If you have not yet received these blessings, please do what you need to do to learn about and prepare yourself  to do so.

"I am satisfied that if our people would attend the temple more, there would be less selfishness in their lives. There would be less absence of love in their relationships. There would be more fidelity on the part of husbands and wives. There would be more love and peace and happiness in the homes of our people . . ."
---President Gordon B Hinckley

Washington DC Temple, where we attended during our years living in the east.

Jordan River Temple, where I frequently attend.

Bogota, Colombia Temple where I would love to visit someday.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Power, Heat and Water

Gratitude Day 8: I'm grateful for power, heat, clean running water, garbage pickup, public transportation, and the many other amenities available to us.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Gratitude Day 7:  I'm grateful for gainful employment and pay day!

Yes, today is pay day!  Yes, I am grateful that when my children were small, I was able to be a 100% stay at home Mom and be with them all day.  I'm also grateful that when DD4 started school all day and money was tight, I was able to find a near-by job with flexible hours and wonderful co-workers.   I am blessed, and today we can pay some bills and do some grocery shopping!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Gratitude Day 6: I'm very grateful for my country. May it always continue to be strong and free!

"Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail.
This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the new Jerusalem. This is the place that the Lord said is favored above all other nations in all the world. This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. This is the favored land in all the world. Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won't fail. I have faith in America; you and I must have faith in America, if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are living in a day when we must pay heed to these challenges.
I plead with you NOT to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers. It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through."

-Harold B. Lee

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Internet

Gratitude Day 5: I'm grateful for the internet and cell phones, and that I can keep in touch with family and friends who I don't get to see on a regular basis!
Several days ago a younger co-worker posed the question:  What is the greatest technology or development that you have seen in your lifetime?  It didn't take me long at all to answer.  Definitely the internet.  It has changed the world.  I remember trying to wrap my mind around the concept when DH came home about 26 years ago explaining to me how it works, and that he was going to order some nice dress shirts on-line.  At the time we were living across the country from our families, and kept in touch with them through snail mail letters and the occasional phone call.   It was quite a while before we actually had internet access at home, then email, and then slowly family members and friends came on board.    The internet also provides instant access to such a wealth of information, changing the way we read  and see our news, do research for school or our own personal knowledge.
  We now live closer to our families, but still rely on email, facebook, and now text messaging more than phone calls and snail mail to keep in touch with each other, and now, with our children who are scattered across the country.  I am the first to admit that with the good comes the possibility for bad and even evil, but I am definitely grateful for the blessings of the internet and cell phones in my life.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Answers to Prayers

Answers to Prayers
Scripture Challenge Week 8
D&C 6:14-16

14  Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou has inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit.  If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time. 
15  Behold, thou knowest that thou has inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth;
16  Yea, I tell thee, that htou mayest know that there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.

Why do we not always recognize the answers to our prayers?  And the inspirations that we receive? Do we sometimes take credit for ourselves for what the Lord has inspired us to do?  I do know that the Lord does answer our prayers.

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ

Gratitude Day 4: I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and for my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I know they are real.  I know they live and love us.  I know that their work and desire is for each individual who lives on this earth to learn of them and  live in such a way that they can return to their presence.  I know that they desire us to find joy both in this life and in the life to come.  This is the basis of my testimony.  This is the basis of my life.
Gordon B. Hinckley: This thing which we call testimony is the great strength of the Church. It is the wellspring of faith and activity. It is difficult to explain. It is difficult to quantify, yet it is as real and powerful as any force on the earth.
Thomas S. Monson: You have a heritage--honor it. You posses a testimony--share it. You will face temptations--withstand it. You know the truth--live it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012


Gratitude Day 2: I'm grateful for my wonderful family: Kind, faithful husband, great children, inspiring parents, wonderful siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws:   I love you all!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm Grateful for Veggies

After a week filled with birthday cake and Halloween goodies, I'm very grateful for Veggies.  I must admit that I haven't always been the best at cleaning my plate when it came to the veggies, but if I don't get my daily serving(s) of veggies these days I do feel off. 

Tonight's veggies were baked butternut squash:   Yummy!