During April 2017 I will be blogging about my Courtship Memories from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gratitude Wrap-Up




I started out this month of Gratitude quite well, but the blogger in me has fizzeled a bit.  However, I have kept up with my gratefuls on facebook, so here is the remainder of my November Thanksgiving Gratitude list:

Gratitude Day 24 (belated) I’m grateful for Temples and Temple Blessings.

Gratitude Day 25: I’m grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that I can be forgiven and change my ways.

Gratitude Day 26: I'm grateful for the Sun; our source of light, heat and energy. I'm grateful that I was able to be outside and enjoy the sunshine for a few minutes today!

Gratitude Day 27: I'm grateful for pie! What's your favorite?

Gratitude Day 28: I'm grateful for all of my wonderful family . . . ♥♥♥

Gratitude Day 29: I'm grateful for my heritage, and for the sacrifices made by my ancestors so that I can enjoy the freedoms of living in this country and time.
I'm grateful for a beautiful day so I could rake the leaves and work off some of the Thanksgiving Pie.

Day Thirty: I'm grateful for Christmas lights, decorations, and Christmas music.

I love all my kids, my DH, my parents, my sibs, my in-laws, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my neighbors, my friends & co-workers! Have a good night and sweet dreams.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Sun

Gratitude Day 26: I'm grateful for the Sun; our source of light, heat and energy.  The days are short this time of year, I work indoors, and often the weather obscures this wonderful creation from our view.  I'm grateful that I was able to be outside and enjoy the sunshine for a few minutes today!  I'm grateful for the Sun.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Atonement of Jesus Christ

 I’m grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that I can be forgiven and change my ways.  Every day I make mistakes, some more serious than others.  I am far from perfect and without my knowledge of the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his sacrifices and love for us, I know that life and its challenges would be more than overwhelming to me.  In this post from last April's blogging from A to Z, I shared one of  my favorite Hymns of the Atonement.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Temples

I'm grateful for LDS Temples and temple blessings. I have been blessed to be able to attend the temple frequently during my life, to make sacred covenants, to be taught more about the Lord's plan for mankind and God's work and Glory.  I have been blessed to be sealed in eternal marriage to my DH and my children and my own parents and sibligns.  During last April's blogging from A to Z challenge, I shared some more thoughts on Temples on my post at  Creation and Compassion.  Yes, I'm very grateful for Temples.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Redbox and White House Down

I'm grateful for Redbox.  Today while I was doing the shopping, DH stopped at the Redbox and rented a nice movie for us to watch on a Saturday evening.  The movie of choice was White House Down starring , , and .  To be totally honest, we don't go out to see movies very often, and I had never heard of the movie before.  I also don't particularly care for action packed thrillers or movies filled with lots of fighting and explosions, but I really enjoyed this one.  I stayed awake and alert and practically on the edge of my seat throughout.  So, if for some reason you haven't seen this one yet and are looking for a good movie to watch, try White House Down.    It's now available at Redbox.

White House Down Trailer

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cheese

Cheese makes everything better.   Today I had a cheese bagel with vegetable flavored cream cheese and cheese curds as part of my dinner.  What's your favorite cheese? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Trash

Gratitude Day 21: I'm Grateful for curbside garbage and recycling pickup.  Nuff said.

Chocolate

My life has been blessed with chocolate.  Growing up, we didn't always have a lot of candy.  There was usually some hard candy around somewhere, and we did get chocolate at Easter, a bit at Halloween, and of course at Christmas, but even at Christmas it wasn't all just chocolate.  We would usually make some fudge to leave for Santa along with the specially frosted sugar cookies, and in return he would leave a big box of chocolates under the tree and a variety of goodies in our stockings.  My favorites were probably the hershey's miniatures. 

We grew up on a dairy farm, so we always had plenty of milk to drink, and there was usually some Hersey's chocolate or Nestle's Quick in the cupboard for the special chocolate milk treat.  I remember when I was in Kindergarten that the fad for a while was to bring a little bottle filled with chocolate milk powder to mix into the carton of milk that we received at snack time.  So I did that a time or two, but if I remember correctly, the practice was not particularly approved of by our teacher, so after a while we didn't do that any more.

We also received a monthly allowance as children to spend as we saw fit, and as we grew older we were expected to pay for most of our own expenses.  I remember sometimes walking or biking into town with siblings or cousins and buying a bag of penny candy at Hoyt's general store.  One of my favorites were Sixlets . . . chocolate filled candy balls, similar to M&M's only spherical.  Sometimes I would stop at the Hi Mountain Drug store on my way home from school and buy a full sized candy bar.   I really liked Almond Joy, and another candy bar that had toffee and nuts and chocolate, similar to heath, but I can't remember the name of it now.  After school we would come home and find a snack . . . often chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream or chocolate milk.

During my High School Years there was a vending machine with candy and other snacks available, but I don't think that I bought much candy.  I preferred to save my money for things like books and clothes and school supplies, and preferred real food for lunch.  I still came home to awesome afterschool snacks that often included chocolate.   Onetime during my teenage years my Grandpa gave me a box of chocolate covered orange sticks for my birthday.  They're still one of my favorites . . .

I don't remember a whole lot of chocolate during college.  I'm sure we had brownies and chocolate chip cookies often enough.  And there was the one part time job where they made regular donut runs to the Cougar Eat in the Wikinson Center.  But my favorite donut was an apple spice cake donut, not chocolate.

My true addiction to chocolate has come in my later years.  I've enjoyed it off and on while my children were growing, and of course for the traditional Easter, Halloween, and Christmas candies, but I think I truly became addicted to having a bit of chocolate once I started working part time.  Just a little hershey's kiss or nugget or maybe two or three, preferably dark, and with nuts as a bonus, was just what was needed to make it through the afternoon.  We have a candy tin in the office that many dear co-workers take turns stocking with various forms of candy, mostly chocolate.  My dear MIL has also helped by introducing me to such delightful brands of chocolate as Dove, Lindt, and even Godiva.  All in small doses of course.  And my DH, well, he has been a good giver of chocolate as well.  Thank you DH!

I was initially drawn to  one of my favorite bloggers by the title of her blog:  Chocolate On My Cranium.  With a name like that, the blog had to be great, right?  Well, it is.  It is often humorous, often informative, and always uplifting.  And the author, Cocoa, has chosen other chocolate product names for various members of her family as she talks about them on her blog.

So, how has chocolate blessed your life?  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Appliances

In this day and age most of us are overly blessed with the abundance of appliances to help us to safely store and prepare meals, and to clean our homes, clothing, and dishes.  Sometimes we become complacent and take our appliances for granted, not truly appreciating how valuable they are to us until they break down.  Right now (knock on wood) all of my  major appliances are in good functioning order, and I enjoy many other smaller appliances and gadgest that make my life easier.  I wrote about some of my favorites in this post awhile back.  I'm grateful for appliances!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Vegetables

I'm grateful for vegetables and for the fact that I enjoy and appreciate them so much more than I did when I was growing up.  Growing up there were very few vegetables that I would eat on a regular basis:  potatoes,  corn, green beans, green peas, lettuce, raw carrots, celery, and cucumbers, and that's pretty much about it.  I gradually learned to appreciate others like tomatoes, peppers, squash of all kinds, sweet potatoes and yams, spinach, beats, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and even eggplant and brussel sprouts.  I'm sure that there are more  that I just haven't thought of tonight, a cornucopia of goodness!  Raw, steamed, roasted, boiled, baked and even creamed . . . Let's eat our veggies!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lotion


Jergen's Lotion

 I love and appreciate a good lotion, and I'm always grateful to have access to it.  Of course we had Johnson and Johnson Baby lotion at our house when I was small, but when I was five or six years old I received a bottle of Jergen's lotion a friend who came to my birthday party.  I was thrilled by the gift!  The smell reminded me of my Grandmother, and I have loved the scent of Jergen's ever since. 

While I was growing up my Mother  always had a supply of Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion on hand, and it was often used, especially by those hardworking members of the family who were out in the varied weather milking, hauling hay, and caring for the other animals on our family farm.  My dear mother also bought and gifted me with various of the wonderful smelling Avon lotion products.  I remember that I especially liked the Timeless and Sweet Honesty fragances. 
Oil of Olay Moisturizer

When I left home and went away to college, all of the students in our dorms were "gifted" nice little welcome packages with several samples of products, one of which was a small bottle of Oil of Olay moisturizer.  I loved how light it was, and have used it for years.  Several years later I was shopping in a drug store and overheard two women talking about a  small tube of St. Ive's Body lotion that was on sale.  One of them stated that she was a nurse who had to wash her hands numerous times during the day, and that this was the lotion that was used in her workplace.   I was a young mother at the time who did a lot of cleaning and diaper changing and handwashing myself.  It sounded like a good recommendation to me, so I bought some too, and have been using it ever since.  Well, ocassionally I will try to be frugal and buy another, cheaper brand, but I always go back to my St Ives.    This probably sounds more like a commercial than a gratitude blog post, but I promise that I have not been recruited or compensated in any way, shape or form for this blog post.  I truly am grateful to be blessed with wonderful products to care for my skin, and to not have to resort to dry, cracked and sore skin or to using animal fat or other such items to keep my skin happy.  I'm grateful for lotion!

St Ive's Oatmeal Shea Butter Body Lotion

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Grocery Shopping

 I'm grateful for a wonderfully patient husband who takes me shopping.  I have been without a car for several months.  It isn’t always fun, but I am becoming  accustomed to it.  I can walk to work and have several grocery and drug stores nearby, along with my favorite thrift store and a dollar store etc.  The weather has mostly been pleasant, and I don’t mind walking, but I just can’t carry everything that we need for a week in one trip.  So, even though DH truly does not like shopping, he has been kind enough to give up his time to drive me shopping every Saturday so we can stock up on the necessities for the week.  Hopefully our situation will not remain this way for too much longer, but for now, I’m very grateful for his help and sacrifice.  I’m also grateful for the wide array of food and other products that are so readily available to us in this country!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Work Place

I'm grateful for a wonderful boss and co-workers. I must again admit that working full time was not exactly what I envisioned for myself during this period of my life, but I do have a good place to work.  The surroundings are pleasant and comfortable, I enjoy the work that I do, and I particularly enjoy working with the people I deal with on a daily basis.  They are a blessing in my life and wonderful examples to me.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Air Travel

I'm grateful for safe and quick air travel that brings children home to see us!  DS1 has taken some time this month to travel to Europe.  It’s something he has wanted to do for a while, and since he has just completed a rigorous program of study to complete his PhD, and has the resources to do so, he is on his way.   He flew in today to spend a few hours with us, and will fly out tomorrow to begin his adventure.  We’re proud of him, we love and appreciate him, and we’re grateful for safe and quick air travel.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Central Heating

Gratitude Day 6: I'm grateful for central heating.
 
When the house gets a bit too drafty I can just turn up the thermostat and stand in front of the heat vent!   I'm grateful to live in a time and place where I don't need to be chopping and hauling wood or keeping the home fires burning (literally, that is).   I love being warm and toasty when the temperatures outside are below freezing.  The summer weather is definitely over for this year, so we can look for the good things about the cold weather season!
 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Good Citizens

Gratitude Day 5: I'm grateful for the privilege and the responsibility to vote.

Today was election day, and I voted.  It's a practice a try to follow every chance I get; every first Tuesday of November.  My dear parents have set the example and have been involved in community meetings and elections throughout their lives.  Today there was not a large ballot in our voting district, but the issues that were presented for vote were very important and widely discussed and debated in our local community.  It's been said that our local community elections are where we can make the most difference and where our vote truly counts.  Sometimes we might feel that our vote doesn't make a difference, and that is likely true in may elections, especially on the national level, but I'm grateful that I still have the opportunity to cast my vote and make my voice heard.

I'm also grateful to all of the wonderful citizens of this country who believe in freedom , including those who were born elsewhere and have come here and worked hard to help make this country a better place to live, including my wonderful dear Uncle who passed from this life earlier this afternoon.  He was from Armenia, was not a religious man, but was one of the kindest, happiest, most hardworking and generous men I have ever known.  In his retirement years he was a supporter of many causes that he believed in, trying to make this country and the world a better place for all.

We all have ancestors who have sacrificed and courageously come to this country, seeking a better life for themselves and their families.  Sometimes we forget that there are many people here in this country today who are currently courageously seeking the freedoms that citizenship in this country offers to so many.  They sacrifice, work, study, and do everything in their power to provide these blessings for themselves, their own families, and in doing so make things better for us all.

God Bless America, and her people too!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Homemade Cookes

Gratitude Day 4: I'm grateful for delicious cookies, and for daughters who volunteer to bake them!  Yesterday I had the assignment to bring a dozen cookies to a meeting.  I also wanted to attend our church choir practice and needed to make dinner for the family, so DD3 graciously volunteered to make them for me.  They were wonderful, and I am grateful!
 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gratitude Day 3: Hymns

I am grateful for many kinds of music.  I love to sing and I enjoy listening to uplifting music being performed, both choral and instrumental.  One of the great blessings of attending church services each week is being able to listen to, sing, and be uplifted by inspired hymns.  Here is the second verse of one that we sang this morning:


When dark clouds of trouble hang o'er us
And threaten our peace to destroy,
There is hope smiling brightly before us,
And we know that deliv'rance is nigh.
We doubt not the Lord nor his goodness.
We've proved him in days that are past.
The wicked who fight against Zion
Will surely be smitten at last.

--William Fowler
We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet, verse 2

Feeling a little bit blue?  Then go and sing or read or listen to a Hymn!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gratitude Day 2: Photos


 
I'm grateful to live in an age when we have a plethora of photos that allow us to remember and re-experience the beauties of nature, and wonderful times with friends, family and loved ones.  Old photos can be easily restored and digitized and shared with many.  Thanks to all of the talented photographers in my life!





Friday, November 1, 2013

Gratitude Day One: Eternal Life


Gratitude Day One: I'm grateful for the knowledge that life continues after death, and we can one day be with loved ones once again.
They are raised to dwell with God who has redeemed them; thus they have eternal life through Christ, who has broken the bands of death.
 Mosiah 15:23
The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Tale of Two, no, Three Birthdays



The end of October has always been a rather hectic time at our house.  DD1, DD3 and myself all have birthdays, and then of course, we have Halloween to celebrate too!  Some years have been just brimming with cupcakes and birthday cakes and ice cream and parties and costumes and candy.  Things have settled down somewhat now that the daughters are grown, and this year we pretty much celebrated together on a Sunday afternoon with two birthday cakes and two kinds of ice cream.  DH, myself, and the two daughters were the only family members able to come, so we have had quite the abundance of cake and ice cream all to ourselves.  Maybe next year we’ll invite you all!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Prayer

I cannot remember a day in my life without prayer.  Growing up, my parents gathered us all together each evening to kneel in family prayer.  As we headed off to be tucked into bed, we were taught to kneel and offer our own individual private prayers.  Each morning before breakfast, my parents kneel together for family prayer with whoever is at home for breakfast.  During the school year, we children would usually already be at school by the time my father came in from morning chores, but we always knew that the prayers would be said, and among many other things, Heavenly Father would be petitioned to watch over and bless and protect us all throughout the day.  I cannot imagine my life without prayer.

As a child, I did not always begin my day with personal prayer, but as I grew and was taught, I found that taking a few minutes each morning to thank my Heavenly Father for my blessings and to ask for his help throughout the tasks and challenges of the coming day was a great blessing in my life.   When I was far from home in South America as a young adult serving as a missionary for my church, I received a letter from my Grandfather with the counsel to not only pray morning and evening with my companion and on my own, but to also take the time in the middle of the day to offer prayers of thanks and asking for help and guidance in our work.  I tried to follow this counsel then, and have often done the same when the challenges of life become difficult to handle or face.   As a mother I have found prayer to be an  invaluable help to me and a source of comfort.   I pray for my family, my DH, and each of my DS's and DD's and my dear DIL each and every day.  I know that my prayers are heard and answered.  I know that I am guided and helped in my decisions and actions, and watched over and protected.  I am often strengthened and comforted, and am better able to face my sorrows and challenges.  As I take time to be still and think during and after my prayers, I receive knowledge and ideas of what I need to be doing.  I believe in the power of prayer.  I cannot imagine my life without it.

This children's hymn was written the same year that my DS1 was born.  I did not grow up with this song, but have learned it with my children, and it continues to be one of my very favorite songs: 


Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
"Suffer the children to come to me."
Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.

Pray, he is there;
Speak, he is list'ning.
You are his child;
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n.

Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938
(c) 1984 by Janice Kapp Perry.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lengthen Your Stride

I’ve mentioned before that I’m walking to work these days, but I probably haven’t mentioned that one of my major efforts is to be on time, if not a few minutes early.   I have been doing quite well recently, but usually towards the end of the week it gets a bit harder to get out of bed on time, or sometimes I remember a task that needs to be done that I was too tired to do the night before, so I sometimes end up leaving home a bit later than I had planned.  It has been a lovely week weather-wise, so it is enjoyable walking the few blocks in the brisk  sunshine filled morning air, crunching through fallen leaves and passing by the gory, monster infested,  graveyard decorated yards of some of my neighbors.   But, due to my sleeping in, or trying to do “one more thing” too many, I find myself needing to quicken my step and Lengthen My Stride in order to be to work on time.   
In today’s busy stress filled world, we are often counseled to be careful to not take on too much.  To not overburden ourselves with more responsibilities than we can handle, and to make sure we don’t run faster than we are able.   But maybe sometimes we take that counsel a little bit too far, and don’t actually push ourselves as much as we should.  It’s a difficult balance to find, I know.  But sometimes in a crunch, and sometimes when we haven’t quite measured up to what we should have been doing, I think we do need to quicken our step and lengthen our stride, if only for a few blocks, or hours, or days.  And then, when the task is complete, or we are to work on time, we can sit down and take that extra breath.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Applesauce

My wonderful DMIL has an apple tree that produces many more apples than she can currently use, so I asked if I could take some of them off of her hands.  Tonight I made my first batch of applesauce for the season, (somewhat chunky with no sugar added, since DH prefers it that way) and bottled  four quarts.  I don't do huge batches of fruit at a time.  After all, I am only one person and a person who has a day job.  But, hopefully there will be more batches to come in the next week or two.  We do like some applesauce on occasion around here:  with bread and peanut butter or pancakes and peanut butter, with Graham crackers, or even with Gingerbread if we happen to get around to baking some.  I'm grateful for apples and applesauce.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Don Quixote

Yesterday our department at work participated in our annual deprtmental retreat.  Traditionally the day consists of several hours of discussions, workshops, or meetings, a nice meal, and some sort of activity.  Yesterday we were treated to a delicious lunch and a private showing of the 1972 movie, The Man of La Mancha.  But before all of this we participated in a discussion centered on the book, Beyond Illusions, The Magic of Positive Perception, by Brad Barton.  The author, a magician, has written his book telling readers about how not to be deceived, and about how much our reality is based upon our perceptions.  Mostly the book is about how to understand our problems, thus allowing us to discover solutions to problems.   

Chapter two is titled "The Magical Man of La Mancha" and tells of Don Quixote, the character created by the author Don Miguel Cervantes.  Don Quixote was an older eccentric landowner who perceived himself as a noble knight whose destiny was to fight evil and defend truth and justice.  Quixote's perception of himself and the world was quite different from the reality experienced by the people he encountered in his adventures.  He saw greatness in everyone he encountered, including the scullery maid that Quixote saw as a high born lady of virtue and beauty.  At first the maid protests his exclamations of her worth, but ultimately she gives in to his perceptions, and begins to see herself, and to actually become, the Lady Dulcenia.  Quixote was able to change Dulcenia's perception of herself, and thus he was able to change her reality.

I have not actually read Don Quixote myself, but I like Brad Barton's assertions that through our actions and words we are able to change other people's perceptions of themselves, and by so doing we can actually change their reality.  Have you had a Don Quiote in your life?  Has someone influenced the way that you see yourself and actually helped you to become a better person?  Have you ever been able to be a Don Quixote to someone else?  I'm sure that there have been many people who have been a Don Quixote to me, but perhaps my greatest Don Quixote has been my DH.  I can feel from his words and his actions that he perceives me to be a woman of worth, and has helped me to have a self confidence that I didn't have before he knew me and asked me to be his wife.  Thank you DH.  I love and appreciate my own Don Quixote.   ♥♥♥
  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Strawberry Patch and Peach Tree

This week I have had the pleasure of spending several evenings working in the back yard.  The week started out rather cool, but I know that day light savings time will be ending soon (finally it will be lighter in the mornings!) so I have forced myself to get out and try to get the gardens cleaned up a bit while I still have daylight hours after work.  The vegetable garden really needs some work, both cleaning out the frozen tomatoes, squash and cucumber plants, and some major weeding also needs to be done.  However, this week I have felt more inclined to work on enlarging the strawberry patch.  There was a very small patch of strawberries near the back door when we first moved to this home, and over the years I have moved and expanded the patch a bit at a time.  The past few years it has been rather neglected, and is currently majorly overgrown with grass and overly crowded with strawberry plants.  Needless to say, they have not been producing very well.

Last Friday the husband of one of my friends brought me a peach tree.   The tree had been growing in their back yard, but they have several other fruit trees and had other plans for the spot that this little tree had been growing in.  My friend felt bad about just cutting it down, so her dear husband dug it up, wrapped it in a tarp and drove it over to our home for me after work.  Several years ago I had laid down some old tarps and wood  down over a section of grass next to my strawberry patch in an attempt to kill the grass so I could expand the patch.  When the tree arrived, I moved one of the tarps and was able to quickly dig a hole and get it into the ground before it got dark.   So this week I have been moving more of the tarps and digging strawberry plants out of the very grass and weed infested old  patch and planting them around the new baby peach tree.   Hopefully I'll have the ambition to continue working at the job throughout the weekend, and next June we will be able to enjoy many luscious strawberries, and many delicious peaches in the years to come!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cocoa Maker

Several Christmases ago when DS1 was in college he asked for a cocoa maker for Christmas.  Very dutifully Santa went ahead and provided said cocoa maker for said sun.  Coincidently, that same Christmas DH also recieved a cocoa maker for Christmas.  The cocoa makers were two different brands, and the machine that DH received was actually the brand that DS1 had originally asked for, but a brand that Santa had not been able to find.  So, DH challenged DS1 to a cocoa making contest, and the winner would be able to choose which cocoa maker he wanted to keep.  Long story short, we had a lot of delicious cocoa, DS1 decided to keep the cocoa maker that Santa had brought, and we still have the other cocoa maker here in our home. 

It was raining tonight as DD1 returned from shopping and errands, so I whipped up a batch of hot cocoa.  Not the best ever, as our ingredients for cocoa are a bit limited right now and I was in a hurry, but it was hot, sweet, and chocolate.   Our family does like a good cup of cocoa, and so do the co-workers at work.  We have sometimes talked about how nice it would be to have a cocoa maker at work, but we really don't have a break room that we can use for things like that.  So for now, we either need to warm up a cup of instant cocoa in the microwave (located in one of our supply closets) or use a cup of hot water from the nearby water cooler/heater (located in another nearby supply closet.)  Oh well, I may just have to put a stash of instant cocoa into my desk drawer.  Cocoa season is upon us!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Baptisms

Yesterday I had the choice experience of attending two different Baptisms of young eight year olds.   One was for a young man who I have taught in primary, the other for a young lady from a neighboring ward who I do not really know well.   In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,  the Baptism ordinance is reserved for children and adults who have reached the age eight, and are now considered accountable  for their own actions, and most children of members of the church are baptised at age eight. 

Each of the services was different, with family members or friends of the children participating in the service by giving talks full of advice for the children or presenting musical numbers.  The songs and the talks all centered on how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us, want the best for us, and how Baptism is the first step in our journey back to live with them again.  When we are baptized, our sins are washed away, and we are forgiven for any wrongs we have done.  Baptism is also a covenant that we make with our Heavenly Father to keep his commandments and to always remember him. 

After the baptisms, the children received a blessing from a Priesthood holder where they were confirmed as members of the Church and given The Gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift is a privilege that will allow them to receive continual guidance and inspiration from the Holy Ghost throughout their lives.  

It has been many years since my own baptism in November of 1968, but I am very grateful for these gifts.  I am grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ.   The Holy Ghost has helped and guided and comforted me many times throughout my life, and I could feel the spirit very strongly yesterday as these ordinances were performed and explained to these two sweet children. 

When I am Baptized

I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away.
And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

Words: Nita Dale Milner, 1952-2004; adapted. (c) 1989 IRI
Music: Nita Dale Milner, 1952-2004. (c) 1989 IRI

Friday, October 11, 2013

Chatting with the Daughters

I had a lovely evening last night just chatting with a couple of my dear daughters, just catching each other up on what has happened this past week, and knowing that we have that connection.  I love and admire my daughters!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Umbrellas

Source

We have had rain again this week, which is a good thing, and which also makes me grateful for my trusty old umbrella.  I don't use an umbrella very often as we really don't get a whole lot of rain in these parts.  When I lived in Colombia for a year and a half I did carry an umbrella and used it frequently, and sometimes even got caught in sheeting rainstorms without it.

But here in our humble state it normally doesn't take more than a quick dash from house or store or church to the car or wherever I need to be going when it is raining.  Since I have been walking to work, however, I have had to use the umbrella exactly twice so far.  I have carried it with me several times, but have not needed it to protect me from the "misting and spitting"  bits of rain or just plain cloudiness that I encountered on these other occasions.

According to wikipedia, umbrellas probably originated in ancient China more than 2400 years ago.  So thank you to the wonderful and intelligent soul who designed this lovely and useful instrument.  Now I just wish I could figure out how to keep my feet dry without wearing galoshes!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Great Bakery Bread

Tonight our sweet home teacher stopped by with a fresh loaf of bread from one of our local Bakeries.  Our family's work schedules aren't condusive to weeknight visits as I am usually the only one home. Our home teacher has had a crazy work schedule lately too, and he has a hard time getting his companion to come with him, so he has taken to stopping by once in a while with a loaf of bread.  It's all good.  We appreciate his love and concern, and we do enjoy his Sunday afternoon visits when his work schedule allows.  And it's great having a nice loaf of whole wheat sunflower bread!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Words of a Prophet


It has been a good week filled with visits from and activities with many of our dear children.  But the highlight of this past weekend has definitely been the opportunity to listen to a living Prophet who has spoken words of comfort and counsel to the world. 

President Thomas S. Monson, president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, recently lost his beloved wife of over 64 years.  In spite of his sorrow, President Monson has carried on with his work, doing his best to teach, to lead, and to care for the needs of those around him.  Here are just a few of his words from this past Sunday:  

 “No person has ever lived entirely free of suffering and sorrow, nor has there ever been a period in human history that did not have its full share of turmoil and misery.

When the pathway of life takes a cruel turn, there is the temptation to ask the question “Why me?” At times there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel, no sunrise to end the night’s darkness. We feel encompassed by the disappointment of shattered dreams and the despair of vanished hopes  . . .

May we ever strive to be close to our Heavenly Father. To do so, we must pray to Him and listen to Him every day. We truly need Him every hour, whether they be hours of sunshine or of rain. May His promise ever be our watchword: “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”10

With all the strength of my soul, I testify that God lives and loves us, that His Only Begotten Son lived and died for us, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that penetrating light which shines through the darkness of our lives. May it ever be so, I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Many other inspired words from our beloved prophet and other messengers of the Lord Jesus Christ were shared this past weekend.  To read, watch, or listen to these messages, please visit http://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2013/10?lang=eng.  I promise it will be well worth your time.

LDS General Conference

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Solitude

I enjoy my daily breaks at work, as do most people that I know.  We all need a change of pace, a chance to get up and stretch and get a bit of excercise, some nourishment, and take care of other personal needs.  Today while on my break I conciously realized that one of the things I enjoy most about my break is that I have 30 minutes of time for myself.  Solitude.  I can go for a walk by myself or find a quiet corner to eat my lunch and think, maybe close my eyes for a few minutes, run an errand or two on campus, or even send a quick text to a child or two.   I work in an open area with anywhere from 3 to 5 co-workers in close proximity.  In busy times we are constantly on the phone or helping walk-ins with problems.  During slower times we can and do take some time to chat or visit a bit while we do our work.  I enjoy my co-workers and consider them to be my friends.  But . . . I also enjoy my solitude.  

I have always enjoyed my solitude.  In a fairly small house bustling with parents and siblings it was sometimes difficult to find.  It was heaven to be able to go outside to a tree house, a playhouse, a hayloft, or even to find a perch on the woodpile or up in the willow tree where I could be alone with my thoughts or a book.  During the winter time it was a bit more difficult, but I did learn to find some solitude for myself with my nose in a book even if there was much else going on around me.  As I grew older I also found that I would rather walk home from school than ride the bus on most days.  I enjoyed the solitude of the nearly mile walk from the school along the country road to my home.  Even in the winter it was usually preferable to a long ride on a crowded bus. 

At college I mostly enjoyed losing myself amongst the crowd.  I enjoyed time with my roommates and other friends, but I also enjoyed the day going by myself from class to class to work, grabbing a quick lunch,  all  by myself on most days. 

It was more difficult as a young mother to find the solitude.  A few minutes alone in the bathroom.  Or grabbing a few minutes to read in my room while the kids played together.  Or an hour or so of TV or reading after they had gone to bed.    I think that most of my children have this love of solitude too; some need more alone time than others.  Perhaps most people need it.  Maybe some people don't recognize this need.  Time to reflect.  Time to study.  Time to pray.  Time to listen for answers.  Solitude, in my opinon, is one of those ingredients necessary to a happy life.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bedtime Stories

Tonight I had the opportunity to read a bedtime story to three of my neighbor's cute daughters.  We had a fine time reading about Amelia Bedelia and her adventures in baking a cake for a baking cookoff.  I had never read Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off before, but the girls had, and it was obvious from their grins that they loved the humor and misunderstandings that Amelia is well known for.

It's been quite a while since I've read bedtime stories to my kids, or any little kids for that matter, but I still love kids books and bedtime stories.  I grew up in a family that read to me, and had bedtimes stories, and middle of the day stories read to me often by my mother, my father, my older siblings, and my grandma.  I loved hearing stories and I loved reading stories.  I still love reading children's books, and my adult children still ocassionally pull out the picture books and we read them aloud.  There are so many treasures out there!

I recently read the blog post titled Everyone Needs a Mrs. Twinkle by Shawnie over at 71 Toes.  She talked about the book  Chrysanthemum by Keven Henks where the music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle helps Chrysanthemum feel better about her original name after her classmates make fun of her.  I didn't remember reading the book, so checked it out from the library, and have read it several times in the past week. 

Have you read a great picture book lately?


Sunday, September 29, 2013

I Am a Child of God


source
 Today I have had the pleasure of visiting and listening to two different Primary Sacrament Meeting programs where beautiful children have shared what they have learned in Sunday Primary throughout the past year with many wonderful songs, scriptures, and other talks.  The Primary theme for this year has been I Am a Child of God, perhaps one of the sweetest, most informative songs we can teach our children, or anyone else for that matter.  The words were written by Naomi Ward Randall back in 1957, and have been a source of comfort and strength to millions of children and adults since that time.  

I found it interesting that the message presented by President Thomas S. Monson  to women throughout the world at last nights General Relief Society Meeting was essentially the same: "My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you, each of you.  That love never changes."  and  "Prayer is life's greatest blessing."  


Friday, September 27, 2013

Movie Night

DH has been a bit under the weather for the past week.  I do wish that he was feeling better, but I must admit that it was nice to have him stay home from work last night.  After I mowed the lawn and we rustled up something to eat, we were able to settle in and have a movie night together, something that we really don't do that often. 

Napoleon Dynamite was the movie of  choice (DH had picked it up from the library.)  I haven't seen the show since it came out on DVD probably about eight years ago, and probably wouldn't have thought of it myself.  I did enjoy the wackyness of the show back then, and again last night.  It has a sweetness about it that reminds us that we're all different, most of us are a little bit wacky or weird in our own way, but that's ok.  People are good. 

Thanks for the movie night, DH.  ♥♥♥

(I couldn't get the Utube video of the official trailer to load onto the blog, but you can watch it at Napoleon Dynamite)

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

When DH Fixes Dinner

My DH pretty well knows his way around the kitchen.  While we were dating he would often fix dinner for me or we would cook and clean up together.  Once we entered the real world of daily living his cooking didn't happen as often.  He will still take a turn at fixing a dish for the family potluck or an evening treat, but most of the time dinner prep has been my responsibility.  Tonight I just haven't been feeling quite on top of things, so  it was very lovely when he came home from work and offered to fix us something to eat.  Eggs and toast is a simple enough meal, but hey, it did the job and hit the spot.  Thanks for dinner DH!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Hodgepodge of Blessings

I couldn't think of just one outstanding occurance or blessing today, so here's a hodgepodge of random good things from today:

*     Leftover roastbeef sandwich and coleslaw for dinner
*     Phone calls from two different dear daughters
*     A nice visit with a new neighbor  and a nice short chat with a former neighbor
*     Another lunch break in the warm sunshine
*    Several new and interesting tasks at work
*    One good productive meeting at work
*    New possible job opportunities for DH and DD4
*    Leftover chocolate ice cream

I hope that you've all had a hodgepodge of blessings today too!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Family


Over 50 years ago I was born into a family where my mother and father honored their marital vows with complete fidelity.  They taught their six children principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, and work, and gave us opportunities for wholesome recreational activities.  I’m grateful for a father who provided the necessities of life and a mother who has spent her lifetime nurturing her children and others. 

Thirty years ago I was blessed with a wonderful companion as my husband who has also honored our marital vows with complete fidelity.   We have been blessed over the years with our own six beautiful children who were each created in the image of God and who each have their own divine nature and destiny.   We have done our best to care for each other and for our children, and to rear them with love and righteousness.  

 
Eighteen years ago today, on September 23, 1995, a modern day prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley first presented The Family, A Proclamation To The World in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ General Relief Society Meeting.  The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.  He warned that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by both ancient and modern prophets.
 
I’m grateful for my family.  I’m grateful for the guidance that this proclamation gives to us all.  It is my wish and my prayer that people and families throughout the world will turn to their families and use these simple, basic principles to maintain and strengthen their homes and in so doing, strengthen and maintain our society.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cake and Ice Cream


This weekend we celebrated DD4's 18th birthday.  It was a quiet celebration with just a few of us gathered for presents and conversation, and of course, chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream!  Yea for cake and ice cream, the traditional birthday dessert!  It's been a few months since we've had a birthday at our house, so we really enjoyed the treat.

For most of my growing up years my family had cake and ice cream for dessert almost every Sunday.  And then, of course, there were always leftovers for after school snacks on Monday.  In our home now we usually have a dessert of some sort on a Sunday, but it's usually cookies rather than cake and ice cream, so now our birthday treats are extra special.   Thanks, DD4, for having a birthday! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Trivial Pursuit

The other day at the thrift store I found a never-been-used Trivial Pursuit game for $1.99.  Seeing as how the game is going for about $49.00 on Amazon, I thought this was a pretty darn good deal.  In our family we've been on a bit of a Trivial Pursuit game trip lately, and various members of the family have picked up their own games at various thrift stores lately.   Since  DD4 has moved out and gone to college, I thought it would be nice addition to her game collection.  Happy Brithday DD4!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Catching Some Rays

A few weeks ago I mentioned how much I am enjoying my Lunchbreaks  now that I am working full time.  I think that one of the reasons that I enjoy them so much is that I am able to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine, usually away from the bustle and stress of the work day.  I can eat my lunch, relax in the sunshine, and listen to the birds, the breeze and sometimes even the sound of the running water of the fountains.  Now that the weather is cooling off, the fountains are no longer running, but I can still enjoy the sunshine and the fresh air, at least most days now.

The other day I ran accross this article from the Huffington Post, The Habits of Supremely Happy People
which listed 21 habbits that happy people have that you can easily add to your own life.  One of these was going outside every day, if only for as little as 20 minutes.  So, if for some reason you're not feeling particularly happy right now, try to take some time to enjoy the outdoors, breath in the fresh air, maybe take a little walk, and catch a few rays.  And then find your way to the Huffington Post article to see a few other things that you can maybe make the effort to do and add a bit more happiness to your life. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meatloaf


This past weekend my dear SIL hosted another family potluck dinner.  The theme for this one was 1950's recipes.  DH has been talking about meatloaf for several weeks now, so I was plannning on making one sometime in the near future, but of course this was the perfect occasion.  I looked up several recipes online just to make sure we were being authentic, and chose the above recipe (see link) for my guide.   We whipped up a big tripple batch of meatloaf  (I did substitute a bit of ground oatmeal for some of the breadcrumbs and some purred tomatoes for the ketchup since that's more what my mother used to make) and a big batch of mashed potatoes and gravy and carried it all off to dear SIL's house.  Of course, as usual, there was way too much food for everyone to eat, so I sent one meatloaf home with my dear MIL and since then we have been enjoying lots of leftovers!   

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Instagram Great Gram Day

Today is Insta Great Gram Day.  I'm not an instagram person; haven't quite reached that level of technology yet, but I would like to celebrate Insta Great Gram Day along with some of my fellow bloggers. 

I've posted briefly about my grandparents before, but today I would like to honor my great grandparents Albert Smith and Mary Ann Storton Smith, who as young parents left their homeland and lives in Harlestone, Northampton, England, and immigrated to America in 1882.   They worked hard all of their lives as a butcher and a homemaker, and left a legacy for their posterity here in America




What do you know about your grandparents, great grandparents, and other ancestors?   A great place to find out more and to share what you do know with others is www.familysearch.org/photos/.  Just now I found some new photos of Albert and Mary Ann that I didn't have before:



 Go ahead, take a peek, and have some fun!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Clouds



We have been having quite a bit of rain lately, as maybe many others around the country.  In the past two weeks we've probably received more rain than in the past three months all together.  I'm not complaining at all, even though at times it has been a bit inconvenient and I haven't had quite the amount of yard work time that I was hoping for.  We have had a hot and dry summer, we need the rain, and I've only needed to actually use an umbrella once.

Probably even more than I have enjoyed the rain, however, I have enjoyed watching the rainbows and the clouds.   I've seen more rainbows in the past few weeks than I've seen in the past couple of years, but I've especially enjoyed watching the different clouds.  The cumulus clouds pictured above are very typical of our area and can bring scattered rain showers throughout the spring, summer and fall, but this week we've seen thicker cloud cover and darker days.  One evening earlier this week the day had been basically rain free, and I spent several hours in the evening pulling weeds from the garden.  I enjoyed some time resting in the grass and doing some cloud gazing, watching the light and shadows and the changes in the clouds as they thickened and darkened and moved across the early evening sky.   The cloud cover gives us a rest and respite from the hot sun, and brings much needed moisture.  Often times the clouds obscure our view . . . of the blue skies, the night time moon and stars, the majestic mountain peaks, and if they come low enough as they often do in the winter months, they can even obscure our vision of our own neighborhoods and roads as fog.  But experience has taught me that the clouds and the fog eventually pass, and the blue sunny skies that I love do eventually return to my view.  

Sometimes the good things in our lives can be hidden or obscured from our vision by clouds of troubles and challenges, and even by our own doubts and fears.  I need to remember that the good things are still there, even though the cloudy and challenging days might obscure my view and memory of the good.  I need to have patience and faith that the bright sunny days will return, just as they always do, and try to find the majesty and the beauty in the clouds.     

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gardening Tools


I had some time this evening to putter in the garden.  The job of the season is getting rid of some very large and overgrown weeds.  Some I am able to pull out by hand.  Others require the aid of my trusty old spade, similar to the one above but many years older.  I still love and trust and use it every year.  I'm grateful for my spade.  Ocassionally I would come across a bunch of weeds so thick and tough and tall that instead of my spade, I grabbed the long-handled pruning shears.  These shears are not quite as old as the spade, but still well loved and well used as we do have several trees and a number of shrubs on the property.  They also work well on tall, tough, overgrown patches of weeds that I don't feel ready to dig out.  I'm grateful for my prunning shears. 



I do have several other gardening tools that I use and appreciate, mainly rakes and hoes and small hand trowels, and pruners but my spade and my prunning shears are probably my faves.