Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011

We have a tradition in our family. At the end of each year we gather around together, and we write down the important things that occurred in our lives that year. Then we write down the things we hope to take place in the coming year. Of course not all of those things come true, but the majority of them do! They don't always have to be positive things either...just life events.

For example, this year I would write that my niece, Donna, passed away.

I would also write how old each of our grandchildren turned, and that Darci and Jack were born.

I probably would include that Pat continued to be employed...a huge blessing in this economy.

Of course I would include that Rach ran a half marathon and that she moved to Oregon.

I would definitely write that I began writing on this blog on a daily basis. This has been an uplifting experience for me. Hopefully it has benefited others as well. :)

You get the idea...

I am grateful for 2011. I am grateful for the positives, not so much the negatives (even though I realize they are growing experiences, they are still hard.) I am grateful to have the family we have, to enjoy the many blessings that we enjoyed, and that I can express my gratitude daily, no matter what year it is.

I hope you all have a Happy 2012 and that you learn and grown from the positives and negatives in your life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Getting away...


Pat and I are heading to Yosemite for the day. I think the last time we were there together was last summer, with Rachel. (we will miss her today) My husband + Yosemite = a child at Christmas! He is giddy with excitement. Super cute. He is especially excited that we can drive up to Tuolumne Meadows and to Glacier Point at this time of year. There is no snow [ :( ] right now, but that is okay, since it means we can drive up there. (I think we will soon be praying for moisture though, it's not looking so good right now - third driest December on record - ouch!)

I am grateful that we can get away from Manteca for the day, and enjoy one of God's greatest creations on earth.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ease of returns.

I ordered a Cricut for myself, then found that it isn't what I want it to be. So, I am returning it. Thankfully the company pays for the cost of shipping and it's a no hassle kind of thing. All that is required of moi is to tape it up, add a shipping label, take it to the UPS store, and off it goes.

Ease. I love it when companies make things a tad bit easier for us, and am grateful to those that do.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Uplifting gifts


Our friend, Corinne, asked me the other day if she could come over and see me this morning, before she leaves to go home to TX tomorrow.

Of course I said, 'yes!'

She had something she wanted to give me.

It is one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received. It's about 2" in diameter, flat and round. On one side it's a mirror, on the other it has my name, with a crown.

She said she was giving it to me to remind me that I am a daughter of a King. And then she became emotional. She shared with me that I have helped her to realize that she is also a daughter of a King. (Heavenly Father, for both of us, in case you didn't know)

I am humbled to know that I can be a positive influence in the life of someone I love; to know that I can make a difference.

I am grateful for those in my life who serve to remind me of my true worth...because sometimes I forget.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

James

Our eldest grandson, James, turns three tomorrow! THREE! Where, oh where, did the time go?

Here are a few things I love about this little grandson of ours:
* He is a love. He loves to cuddle and give kisses to all of our family.
* He makes me laugh. He has this wonderful imagination where he becomes characters  from cowboys to Superheroes.
* His laugh is HIGHLY contagious! Once he begins his real (as opposed to imitation, because he does that too) laugh no one can keep from laughing.
* He loves his brothers. He loves having brothers and being a brother. He loves everything about it.

I am grateful for James. He has been a joy in our lives. I am grateful for all the times he has put a smile on my face. :D

Monday, December 26, 2011

Family

News Flash!
I love our family.
Wait, that is nothing new, right?
Anyone who reads my blog, or knows me, knows this about me.

As much as I talk about how important my family is to me,
it really hit home yesterday.
Christmas is obviously about celebrating
the birth of Jesus Christ,
whom we all love and are grateful for.

I am the first to admit that this is what Christmas is to me.

However, the other side of that is that Christmas
is about family - 
showing our love for one another through spending time together,
giving each others thoughtful gifts,
making special meals to celebrate the holidays together.

Only this year we didn't have that. 
I am not here to complain about it, really, I am not.

I was struck by a thought yesterday
during our Christmas program.
I am not sure how this thought crept into my heart
and mind during that time.
I think I was pondering
the importance of the Savior in my life, my family's life,
and mingling that thought with Pat and I
being alone this Christmas.

I love my husband dearly, more than I can express.
I can't believe that this is our first Christmas alone
without any family member
in 33 years, 
which was our first married Christmas together,
since I was expecting Sam soon after.
I married my husband for eternity,
and am so grateful that I did. 

So, here is the thought that struck me:
We only have each other for the eternities, 
that is the way this all started out.
Then these people started joining our family.
First Sam,
then Craig,
then Amy,
and finally,
Rachel.

They are each amazing individuals,
with all the imperfections, individuality, and quirks
one would expect in a family unit.
And I love them with all my being.
Yep, every single part of me, loves them.

Eventually they grew up and began bringing others into our family -
Sam brought Linzi,
then Rylee, Sadie and Chloe.

Craig brought Angie,
then Lucas and Darci.

Amy brought Brad,
then James, Gavin and Jack.

Rachel -
she hasn't brought anyone yet,
but when she does,
my, oh my, 
will he be one lucky boy!

So, here is the thing.

I want them all.
With us.
In the eternities.

Every.
Last.
One.

And that is the point that was brought home to me
so forcefully yesterday.
While I sat alone in Sacrament meeting.
(Pat was on the stand - conducting)

For all the love Pat and I have for each other -
 it is simply increased
with every individual that joins our family unit,
for the eternities.

Here's a look at all those I missed so deeply yesterday...

Sam, Linzi, Rylee, Sadie and Chloe

Craig, Angie, Lucas and Darci

 Amy, Brad, James, Gavin and Jack

 And finally...our Rachel

We are blessed to have the family we have.
We love each of you.

The beginning.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Joy to the World!

We attended our ward's Christmas Sacrament meeting today. Since over half of our choir was gone they opted to have narrators, two songs sung by two of our youth, and the congregation sing the rest of the hymns/songs. Can I just say how wonderful it was? I do love listening to ward and stake choirs, but being able to sing the songs together just lifts my spirit so much. It's as though we are able to testify to and appreciate more the birth of Jesus Christ through song. I loved it.

I am grateful for the joy we have in our world because of the Spirit's presence in our lives.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chloe and Christmas

There are two births our family now celebrates today and tomorrow.

The first is little Chloe Ann Dell - who is one year old today. She is a joyful addition to our family and we are grateful for her. We only wish we could know her more and live closer to her family. Happy Birthday Chloe! We love you!

Second, of course, is the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He is our example, He is our foundation, He is everything that is anything of importance in our lives. Without Him we could not be forgiven, or have eternal families, or the Plan of Happiness/Salvation. He has made it possible for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father and Him. I am grateful I can celebrate His birth, His life and mission, and all the many, countless blessings He gives to each of us every single moment of every single day.

I am grateful our children are teaching our grandchildren the importance of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. They are laying the most important foundation that they can for them.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I Know the Scriptures are True

I am finishing up the Book of Mormon, in part thanks to the Facebook Challenge. I have been reading about the days prior to Christ's visit to the America's, and now am in my favorite section of the Book of Mormon, as He has come and is bestowing blessing upon blessing on those who have awaited his arrival, and kept their faith intact.

As I read these precious words I am reminded of the truths that are contained in the Book of Mormon, and how they truly are for us. We have so much to gain from their experiences, so much to apply to these, the latter days...in hopes of making our lives better and keeping our faith intact.

I am also amazed that people can believe/assume that Joseph Smith wrote this book. (How grateful I am for him... I can't even begin to tell you.) How on earth could anyone write such an account without actually having been there? No, he did not write the Book of Mormon - he translated it. The Prophets kept record of their experiences so that they could share them with us. This book is a gift from a loving Heavenly Father, and our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ.

I am so very grateful for my testimony of the Book of Mormon, for the truths contained within, for all of the Prophets and their willingness to share their experiences with us...and finally for all of those who show/showed me how to remain faithful, and to endure this life so that we can achieve exaltation, and glorify our Father.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Tonight we drove around and looked at the Christmas lights on all the various homes. The one huge spectacular one that we usually see wasn't there this year. :(  Times have changed, people have moved or things are just too expensive, whatever the reason, it was missed.

I am grateful for our family's Christmas traditions:
drives to look at the lights
cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning
opening a present on Christmas Eve
sending Christmas cards and letters
baking, baking, baking
sharing, sharing, sharing
movies
music
etc, etc, etc.

I love the sights, the sounds and the scents of Christmas and I love that our family has time honored Christmas traditions. I am grateful for our family's Christmas traditions and how comforting they are.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the wonders of Roku!

I have been considering ordering a Roku for quite a while now, probably over a year. I finally caved and purchased one. The tipping point for me was realizing that I could watch General Conference, and other church related programs via the Roku. What's not to love about that?

After it arrived yesterday I waited for Pat to come home so that he could set it up, but all he did was take it out of the carton, read the instructions, warn me about the hazards of them having our cc information, and that was it!

So, this morning, after I accomplished everything else I needed to get done I took the contents of the box, read the instructions/directions myself and went to work! A few minutes later the Roku was up and running.

Since I have Amazon Prime I can now watch those movies on my TV without having to see them only on my kindle! It's genius, simply genius. For all of you out there who already have a Roku or Wii or Playstation that you use for watching movies and such, I am happy for you, truly. Just, I plead, don't judge me that I wasn't in the 21st century yet...I am married to Pat, after all, and he is not a joiner. (however he is a supporter, of me, so it works!)

I am grateful for Roku and enjoying movies and such, because I am a Breed and that is what we do!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good news is always welcome!

Sam and Linzi have been having car problems lately...almost to the point of being ridiculous. Their van had to go into the shop yet again, yesterday. Today she called me with the news that it isn't the transmission! It's only the spark plugs. Hallelujah!

I so love getting good news, and am deeply grateful for every bit of it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

humility

sounds like an odd subject, right? but here i am typing with my right hand due to an accident last night. sometimes when life happens in a negative form it causes humility, and that is what happened to me.

story -
my temple recommend expires this month, and i was going to wait until January to renew it since the holiday season is one - crazy, and two - cold. my reasoning may sound kind of dumb, but there you have it. yesterday i realized that our stake temple night is January 6th, so i needed to take care of my recommend. first i met with the second counselor in our bishopric (pat felt like someone else should interview me), then in the evening i met with president smith.

all was well, i went home with my recommend.

after getting home i put on my jammies. while doing so our phone rang, pat was beckoned to church to take care of someone else's recommend. problem was that Missy was in the garage already and we knew she'd be difficult to get back in. pat thought he could scare her in by opening and closing the garage quickly...fail. she ran out and under our neighbors camper. pat came in and had me get some tuna in hopes of coaxing her out...fail again.

unfortunately Diego, the cat that hurt Missy a few weeks back, was over on the other side of the house. so, there i was in my nightgown, with a bowl of tuna trying to get Missy. i was going to just go inside and let her be, knowing that Missy would come home, but pat was worried about the whole Missy/Diego thing, so i went over to chase him away. did i mention that it was dark out? yeah, it was. as i approached Diego i didn't see the sprinkler head sticking up six inches out of the ground, it blended in with the rocks that i met with my face, wrists, and knee. i would say that we became fast friends but that would be a lie, it was more like fast enemies.

fortunately, as i lay there wondering when i would feel well enough to get up and get in the house i noticed a car backing up, it was pat...my knight in shining armor. he was looking in the rearview mirror as he was pulling away, and noticed that my nightgown was on the ground, not moving.

he helped me up, took me in the house, calmed me down, got me some ice...all the while i was telling him that he needed to leave. he did, but not until he had taken care of me. with his shoulder gone (not able for me to cry on) i texted the girls, and cried on their shoulders instead. i don't think they've ever heard me cry so much. (thank you amy and rach)

i am feeling a lot of things today; pain is one of them, humility is at the top, for sure.

it's humbling to have to get help from my husband, and daughters. it's humbling to realize that i am dependent on my body working well so that i can do simple tasks. it is humbling to know that life can change in an instant and that we are not always in control.

so, why be grateful for humility? because it brings me to my knees and serves to remind me of who is really in charge and just how much He has blessed me. pat gave me a Priesthood blessing last night also; it made all the difference.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sundays

I love Sundays.

I love attending church; partaking of the Sacrament, seeing people I love, serving in callings, singing the hymns, hearing the speakers, attending Relief Society.

I love the quiet of the day. It seems that while I am concentrating on spiritual matters (scriptures, the meaning of Christmas, music, etc.) that our home also becomes still...as in "Be still and know that I am God."

I love that Pat serves faithfully in his calling, and that I can support him. I love it when I have a calling and am able to serve (soon, I am sure).

I love our hymns - and walking into the chapel with the organ playing, inviting reverence and worship for each of us. I especially love it when we have themed hymns - like Christmas or Patriotic type of hymns. Love it.

I love Fast and Testimony meeting, where tummys are rumbling, and brothers and sisters are sharing their testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ and it's truths.

I especially love feeling the Spirit. That comforting, testifying, loving embrace that you cannot see, but you can most certainly feel.

I love Sundays, and am so grateful that God in His wisdom provided a day of rest, a day for us to be strengthened so that we are able to face whatever comes our way during the coming days.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wrap up.

As I was pondering what to write about today I decided that my gratitude involves a culmination of things:
* Missy is doing better. Yesterday as I pulled my car out of the garage I had kitty hairs flying off the windshield, a sign that things are back to normal!
* Our landscaper came with a bid today, which was right around the price we had in mind, and I like what we heard about his plans.
* My new cell phone now has my old phone number, quite the accomplishment.
* Having lunch out with my mom, sister and niece today went well, always a blessing.
* Taking treats to our Home and Visiting Teaching families, love visiting them.

So, you can see that I have many things of which to be grateful for.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wonderful Friends

Today I was able to go to lunch with our former RS presidency. I miss my calling, but mostly because I miss them, being with them, all at the same time. We really enjoyed each other's company, and talked a great deal; not just about what our responsibilities were, but about our families, and our lives, and our likes and dislikes. We became good friends.

So, yesterday, as we sat and ate and had nonstop chatting I was reminded of how wonderful each of these women are; how much they have taught me by their example, how much I want to be more like each of them. They are wonderful friends, and I am so grateful that I can call each of them my friend. That will never change.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fudge

I spent a good portion of the day making treats to share with our HT and VT families. Yesterday I made super yummy Peppermint Popcorn (Our Best Bites), then today I was set to make Jan Hagel cookies, Guy Fieri's Blondie's, and then I was going to finish it off with fudge. After finishing the baking I had everything out, ready to go, to make the (Our Best Bites) fudge (which is more time consuming than what I usually do).

I realized that I needed to add more sugar to my container, since it was low from baking the other goodies. I grabbed the recently purchased 10 lb. bag of sugar that is in our pantry. As I was pouring the sugar into the container I noticed there were little black things in it that surely did not belong! Eeek! I quickly stopped the pouring process, and ran the bag out to the trash. The other contents that had actually gotten into the container I poured into a trash bag and threw it out in the trash. So disgusting.

I gave up on the idea of making fudge today, figuring I would go tomorrow and get more sugar. A little while later it dawned on me that I had actually purchased the ingredients for the never-fail, always smooth, yummy Eagle Brand Condensed Milk fudge. I was set! The best, very best, thing about this recipe is that it takes literally minutes to make, it's super, duper easy!

I am grateful that 1) I had purchased the ingredients, and 2) that I actually saw the little critters in the sugar before using it in a recipe, and 3) that I could make fudge afterall, which Pat will take to Sacramento for a meeting tomorrow and then we will disperse them to our HT and VT families!!

Since it saved me today I figured I should at least share the recipe with you...ya know, in case you have any unavoidable mishaps when you get to making fudge! ;)

Eagle Brand Condensed Milk Fudge
1 can Condensed milk (doesn't have to be Eagle)
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 - 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Line 8 or 9" square pan with foil, so the foil goes over the edges.
Melt chocolate with condensed milk and salt in saucepan over low heat.
Remove from heat, stir in nuts and vanilla.
Spread evenly into prepared pan.
Chill for 2 hours. Remove from pan by lifting edges of foil. Cut into squares.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Because I Have Been Given Much

One of my favorite hymns, as you can now probably tell, is "Because I Have Been Given Much." There are multiple reasons for this ranking as a favorite of mine...1) The lyrics are simple yet the meaning is great, 2) it always reminds me of my mom. I can still remember sitting in church with her and whenever we sang this song she always got teary, every single time, and 3) I have been given much and it is a sometimes gentle, and other times (when needed) in my face, message.

Pat and I were discussing helping someone out recently, and I have to say (because I am oh so far from perfection) that I struggled a bit. On Sunday when I was home alone, and the house was still, this song came into my mind, and I began humming it. I was immediately humbled. THEN to top it off, in Sacrament meeting a youth that was supposed to speak a few weeks back, but couldn't because she had the horrible flu (like what Rach had in September, seriously, she ended up at the hospital because she was so dehydrated), then volunteered to give the talk when she felt well again, gave her talk. The subject, you ask? "Because I Have Been Given Much." I honestly have never heard of anyone being assigned to give a talk on that hymn before.

Was it for me? Indeed. Was it for others? I am certain it was, but I have no idea who.

I am grateful for the sometimes quiet nudging of the Spirit, and for the times when I am humbled into submission, and can take stock of the many blessings I have in my life, and then can freely, and happily, give.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Socks

I grew up in Southern California, and spent most of my growing up years either barefoot or wearing flip flops, otherwise known at the time as a)thongs or b)jap flaps...neither of those sound very good now, do they? It's all about being pc!

Now I am a middle aged adult wearing socks, many months of the year. I still wear sandals, but not usually flip flops, or the like. When I was in my teens they began making what I call 'fun socks'. Those were right up my alley. If I have to wear socks then why not have them be cute? So, that is what I did, and do, most of the time. Yes, I do have socks that are plain, and they are fine, but I prefer the other.

During the month of December I break out my Christmas socks which brings a smile to my heart and to my face. There is just something about having red and white striped or blue socks with penguins and snow flakes on them that make me happy inside. One of the best things about them is they don't cost much so you can purchase quite a few, which I have done, over the years.

Perhaps this love of colorful socks is a way of holding onto the child within. Whatever the reason it really doesn't matter - because it makes me happy. I am grateful for my Christmas socks (and Valentine's Day, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Fall, Halloween, etc). They are just plain fun!

(disclaimer - not my socks or my feet in the pic...thanks google!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Missy update

A week or so ago I wrote about Missy, taking her to the vet, all of that. She continued to not be doing well. She seemed to perk up for a couple days and then took somewhat of a nosedive. All she wanted was to sleep, under a bed, away from us, and to not be bothered, one bit.

Yesterday before leaving for church I decided it was time to bring her out from under the bed, and make her be around us...she loves us after all, and she needs us. Dumb cat! After I got home from church I began cooking dinner, Pat came home just before five, and noticed drops of blood sporadically placed around the kitchen floor. Yikes! Needless to say we were worried. But not Missy, she was sleeping contentedly under the Christmas tree.

Let me backtrack for a sec here, a few days after taking her to the vet Pat noticed a scratch on her. We felt it would heal and didn't worry about it. Turns out that scratch is the culprit of this whole (pricey) ordeal.

Back to yesterday - Pat decided that since she wanted to go outside he would let her out. BIG mistake. Does he not remember that Diego is out there (neighbor's cat who thinks he lives here, but they do NOT get along)? I worried about her, seriously, I did. (Diego is probably the owner of said scratch)

Finally around 11 something PM she came in, after Pat spent multiple times trying to coax her with food. Finally he decided to make one last effort. He knocked on our front kitchen window (she was residing at the time in our neighbor's camper wheel well). She hopped down and walked in the house and acted like, "What? I was only out for a bit!"

So, then she climbs into bed with us. Mind you we don't normally let her in the house at night because she is a huge pest, but considering the circumstances and how she has been sleeping for the past week, not disturbing anyone, we let her. After days of acting like we don't exist she suddenly wanted both of our attention. She took turns going from one to the other all night long. Needless to say, not much sleep was gained last night.

This morning as she was lying on our bed and we were both up and about getting ready I went over to pet her and noticed a huge somewhat crusty and bloody wound on her. We decided to call the vet, which I did. A few hours later Missy and I went to the vet's. They decided that the whole cause of this sudden 'illness' was this injury, and that it had abscessed, and then ruptured. The doc said that it was good that it ruptured because otherwise he'd have had to drain it and such. Instead, they shaved the area, gave her antibiotics in shot form and fluids, and sent her home.

She is now happily sleeping in my closet on top of my little dresser in there. I am letting her. I am so, so grateful that we finally have a diagnosis and a cure. Thanks heavens! Literally - so many prayers said by me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My ward.

After having been missing in action, not activity, for the past few years in my ward, due to my calling, I am grateful that I can be 'home' more. It's nice to get to know the sisters in our ward, and to renew the friendships I already have. I love the church - change is always in the air, we adapt and move on, and become better in the process.

I am grateful for my ward, for the friendships and love I feel there.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Finally!

For years Pat has been doing our yard work. For the most part he has done a good job. However, this past year our yard has been looking, shall we say, shabby, and not as in chic. It's not like it's horrible, but it doesn't look well maintained. Much of that is due to his work schedule, a lot is due to the fact that our yard is huge and has become a bit overwhelming. I can't help in the yard any more (due to my back, knee, etc.), so he ends up doing 99.9% of the work. Hence, it's not looking so good these days, folks.

We have been planning on getting some new trees, a few of ours have died (farewell cherry, apple and camphor trees), and one we had taken out since it was beginning to get huge and we didn't want it to infringe on our neighbors, break up their cement, and then have to pay to repair it (because that is how we roll). So, for the past, oh, I'd say year and a half, we have made numerous visits to various nurseries in our areas...all in hopes of figuring things out. We have decided on crape myrtle - they are pretty and non-invasive, oh, and another cherry and a lemon. =)

A while back I had a frank heart-to-heart yard discussion with Pat. I pleaded with him to break down and hire someone to come and take care of the yard. Today Steve visited us and now the ball is going to begin to roll. He is actually back now to take pictures and measure, and all of that garden/yard stuff that needs to be done.

Am I grateful? YOU BET I AM! I am thrilled that we are hiring someone with a good reputation to come and fix our yard for us. It is going to be so much better. Mind you, our yard isn't horrible, it's just not us. I know the yard and I will both be happy once this project is completed. Our savings will dwindle a bit, but it is worth it, knowing that Pat doesn't have to be overwhelmed any longer and it will be done! YAY!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Graduating!

Today Brad 'officially' graduated from The University of Oregon with his Master's in Economics. That is quite the feat. We are proud of him for all the work he did to achieve this goal, and grateful for his dedication, not only to his studies but to his family as well.

When Pat graduated with his Bachelor's in Engineering from BYU I was awarded a "PHT" for Putting Hubby Through. Now, I didn't think I had really done anything - we were starving students after all. I stayed home and took care of Sam, and when Pat was there I took care of him. It wasn't until I received that award that I realized that Pat needed my strength, my support during that time. His degree was not just for him, it was for me, Sam and our future family. It has made all the difference for us. I am grateful to Pat for all the hard work that went into his accomplishing his degree, truly.

Brad's achieving his Master's Degree will make a difference in their family as well.

I am grateful also for Amy's support for him while he achieved his Bachelor's and his Master's. It has been a long road, with many sacrifices along the way. They accomplished this together, hand in hand, sometimes the road was smooth, but often it was not. They did all this while having 3 children in the span of less than 3 years. If they can accomplish this they can do anything...look out world!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Music

As I was leaving the house this morning to run errands I realized I needed something to listen to, other than Rush Limbaugh or random AM Christmas music. I ran in and grabbed my Josh Groban "Noel" CD. Perfection. Honestly, I could listen to him any day of the week. I especially love his song 'Grateful'. It just speaks to my soul, really. Now, that may sound cheesy to you, and that is okay, but somewhere deep inside me it really moves me. The combination of the lyrics and music make me want to be a better person, to stop worrying about any petty problems real or imagined that I might have. It makes me want to give of myself and to be so much more than I am.

That sounds as though I think little of myself, admittedly I have those days where that is true, but for the most part I know that I am trying, every moment of every day to reach higher. I am grateful for music that teaches me how to do that and just makes me happy and humble, all at the same time.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas is in the air!

Last night I decorated the house for Christmas. While Pat and I were straightening the tree I held onto it in order to keep it up and not let it fall. While doing so I could smell the pine. It made me think back on a book the kids received for Christmas when Sam was little from Grandma and Grandpa Dell - "The Sweet Smell of Christmas." I think I have actually given that book to Sam's family. (which means I should to the others as well, right?) In that book they had scratch and smell's throughout the book - peppermint, oranges, pine and hot chocolate are the ones I remember. My, how they loved that book.

I am grateful that our senses can work in such a way as to remind us of important things. When one really considers all the symbolism involved in Christmas decorations we can't help but think of our Savior, Jesus Christ, which is who Christmas is really supposed to be about.

A few Christmas Symbols:
candy cane = the Shepherd's
evergreen/pine trees = eternal life
stars = the star of Bethlehem
candles and lights = the light of Christ
gifts = the gifts from the Wisemen

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Car

Pat took in his car today to have some minor maintenance done, which meant that I was without a car all day. There are pluses and minuses to this. First, I was able to stay home and accomplish much. Second, I was able to stay home and not spend money (because what else am I going to do given a car to go shopping in at this time of year?) Third, I thought I would be bored, but I wasn't. And nearly all of the Christmas presents are ready to send, now I just have to get to those Christmas cards.

I am grateful to have a mandatory at home day, it works, once in a while. ;)

Monday, December 5, 2011

It IS a wonderful life!

The other night one of very favorite Christmas movies was on..."It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Oh, how I love that movie - the heartfelt storyline, the acting, the message, it all works.

You know how you can see things repeatedly and sometimes something just hits you between the eyes? I didn't even really watch the movie, just the beginning. I figured we have it on DVD and I will watch it later, minus commercial interruptions, whilst sipping hot chocolate, and being cozy.

As I said, I watched the beginning, when they introduce Clarence, the angel. This experience so reminds me of reading the scriptures where you can read a passage so many times and then wham! it hits you right between the eyes. And you wouldn't think that I would derive something spiritual from a movie, but it happened.

The movie begins with two angels discussing the prayers that are being sent to heaven on behalf of George Bailey, who is down on his luck. George's friends and family members are praying for him, asking for heavenly help to assist him during this dire time. Now, here is what struck me. All those people that were praying for him didn't stop there. At the end of the movie they all came to his assistance, happy to serve, to give of their means and their love and support for George and his family.

Now there is a lesson that bears repeating - faith without works is dead. We need to not only pray for people but to do whatever we can in our power to help them.

I am grateful for the wonderful life I have and for all those who have come to my aid when I needed it. I am also grateful for the opportunity to help and assist others when I can. Service is something that means a great deal to me, I love that we can become more like the Savior as we reach out to others.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Juicing

I haven't been eating much lately due to being sick. Today I felt like I really, really needed a boost, so I cut up some carrots, peeled a few oranges and juiced them together. After drinking my juice I felt a bit rejuvenated, and I am grateful for that, and the yummy-ness of it all.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree!

I am grateful that we could go out and get our Christmas tree today! Now, we just have to set it up and decorate for Christmas! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

vet

our cat, missy, hasn't been feeling well since yesterday. since i really didn't want a repeat of what happened to our cat, bagheera (who died 3 years ago), i took her to the vet.

i am grateful i could take missy - even though she was not a happy kitty. i am grateful that they could see her so quickly this morning, help her feel better, and lastly i am grateful that we can afford to pay for it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

34 years

I realize most people don't celebrate their anniversary of becoming engaged, but we do! Thirty-four years ago today my hubby proposed to me in Provo, UT, as we sat in my VW bug (Gladys) next to the Provo temple. It was snowing outside, and it was cold...but we had our love to keep us warm! ;)

(sometimes cheesy just comes out, sorry!)

I am grateful for my husband, who started out as my friend, and became much more. I am grateful that we prayed and fasted about whether or not we should be married (for eternity) to one another, and that we followed the direction we received. I am grateful that Pat continues to be a strength in my life and that I love his quirks, his intelligence, his sense of humor, his hugs and kisses, his dedication to and love for us, the gospel and family, that he helps bear my burdens and that we stand strong together as we face life's difficulties.

I am grateful for the family that we are - with our children, children-in-law and grandchildren. We wouldn't be complete without them, they have helped shape who we are, and make us want to be better. While we aren't perfect by any means we are certainly striving for perfection together - taking it one day at a time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Costco Photos

I grew up in an age where it was expensive to take photos. We had to pay for the film, take it in to be developed (having no idea how any of said pictures turned out), and then wait. It is true that we are paying more for our cameras then we did back then, but the quality, the ability to choose which pictures to print, to download them and send them in to be printed, and then  to be able to pick them up that same day...well, it still astounds me.

I am grateful especially for the Costco Photo Shop where I can go online, order my prints, and then pick them up soon thereafter. Or I can opt to have them delivered to my home and pay for them online. Brilliant!

I love that I can do this, and it so super easy. I also love picnik.com where I can 'fix' photos when needed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Organizing

I have spent several hours today going through two boxes...yes, just two! They are full of files that we have been holding onto for years. For example, we have tithing receipts that date back to the 70's, we even have Sam and Craig's first tithing receipts, amazingly enough.

So I am purging paper today. Can I just say how wonderful it feels? I love getting rid of things that aren't necessary to have in our lives. I hope to do this more often because it is so refreshing.

Earlier today Linzi and I were talking about Rach being gone and my no longer having a calling (at church) (other than VT, which of course is important). She was wondering what I am going to do with my time. I have had a few minor panic attacks over that one. I figure my mom is 30 years older than I am, and she is still living and I want my life to be fulfilling so I have a long way to go, in years.

One of the things I am concentrating on is really truly getting our home organized. Not just surface organized, but deeply organized. All those papers, all those boxes that have been contentedly sitting around collecting dust for years are going to be attacked, by me. It's time to get everything in it's place.

Mind you, I do not love organizing, but I do love being organized. Rach is the one that loves organizing, not me.

Today I am grateful that I can become better organized, and keep myself busy in the process.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A lovely day

We live in a society where people are bogged down with worries - bills to pay, jobs to find or work at (if they are fortunate enough to have one), groceries to purchase, car problems, children to take care of, etc. I have always been of the mindset that we have control over how our day is going. Yes, I have been victim of not choosing to have a good day, but I try, when I am able to, "get over it", whatever 'it' might be.

That being said - on my igoogle homepage I subscribe to the 'how to' section. One of those highlighted today caught my attention. It is 'how to have a lovely day'. I love that thought. How do I make my day lovely? So, I decided to read it, and it reminded me of our daughter, Rachel. She does a LOT of these things, daily! I am now going to share with you what they said, definitely summarized. If you want to read the entire article you can go here: http://www.wikihow.com/Have-a-Lovely-Day

Now, before I go any further can I just add that I am grateful for this article because sometimes we just need a little boost and their suggestions (for the most part) are definitely something that can turn our not so good day into something lovely. It's just a wonderful thought.

1.  Get up early (plan ahead, don't go to bed later than midnight, but they suggest 10 PM, and I happen to agree)
2.  Begin with a stretch. Don't you love it when you have time in the morning to stretch? It so beats getting up and rushing around...I am not sure why, but it does.
3.  Have breakfast (they suggest an ambrosial one, with yogurt, fruit, granola)
4.  Wear something that makes you feel good. Who wants to go through their day wearing something that makes them feel lousy? Not I, thank you very much!
5.  Wear perfume or aftershave. You might as well smell delightful!
6.  Bake. And if you can't bake, go to a bakery.
7.  Make a cup of tea. I have to say, that having given up on tea, I sure do miss it. Instead you could sub with a cup of hot chocolate or spiced cider. It's all good.
8.  Read the newspaper. I am not one to be doing this for several reasons, 1) We don't get the newspaper, and 2) I find it kind of boring. (I know, I am bad.)
9.  Eat dessert first. Now, that is a novel idea, right? We have done this on occasion, especially when our kids were little and kind of grumpy when going out to eat; let them get dessert first, then eat their food. Worked like a charm for us! (didn't happen often though) Oh, and when you get home from a long, hot, tiring camping trip - banana splits work for dinner, at least it did in our family!
10. Go shopping for vintage clothing. It's just fun, if you like to shop! Set a budget though, you can go crazy!
11. Go for a walk - it so clears your mind and gets your body moving. So many wonderful benefits.
12. Ride a bike - one of my favorite activities. I look forward to loading our bikes up on the pathfinder and then going to a biking destination - like Monterey, Yosemite, the American River or even Bidwell Park in Chico.
13. Pick berries or fruit from your own garden. This is a huge thing at our house. We love it when our fruits are in season and we can eat them and share with others. The oranges are just beginning to turn orange...I love it!
14. Dance freely. I always loved dancing. I would dance in my car, and I love it when I see others doing the same things...though some get a little crazy, good for them! And I love that our granddaughters and Linzi have dance parties. And people think "Mormons" don't dance! We sure do!
15. Head over to your local library or book store. How fun is it to roam through books? Finding just what you want? When you find that book you are looking for you just want to shout 'Hallelujah!'
16. Write a letter --- I am stressing this because people forget that you can do this --- make it handwritten. This has so gone out of style, and it means so much to people that you would take the time to send them something you took the time to write to them.
17. Put together a movie night. I heart movie nights. My husband isn't a fan of sitting and watching a movie, but he told me the other night he would start watching movies with me. Now, that is love. :)
18. Treat and take care of your body. They recommend a spa day, but those are rather pricey. If you can't afford that simply purchase a mask or bath oils or bubble bath and treat yourself to some 'me'/pampering time. We all deserve it.
19. Make new friends. I am 56 years old, and am working on this, now that I am back in my ward and have no stake assignments keeping me away. I need friends, since most of my best ones are away living their lives.
20. Relax. So, this may be obvious, but like I said before, we all need some 'me' time. It's up to you how you choose to relax, but I can tell you that turning off sounds around you, and just being in silence is very relaxing.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Have a lovely day!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Recipes

A few years ago I made all our girls cookbooks from our family recipes. They have gotten a great deal of use out of them. Some of the recipes are loved by some while others are not, and vice versa! It works, right?

I have not yet made myself such a cookbook, though I am revising the original and working on an updated one for myself. Since Rach is living with Amy they don't need to have the same cookbook, so she left hers here for me to use...Thank you Rachel!

Today I pulled that trusty little cookbook out and made cornbread - only because I had a lot of buttermilk to use up and it's the best recipe I know for that purpose! Then, with having turkey leftovers I made (from that same cookbook) chicken pillows, only in this case they are turkey pillows (and yes, I did put the mushrooms in, yum).

I love our tried and true recipes that I have collected over the years and incorporated into our family dinners, desserts, etc. I am grateful for each and everyone of them - they all have a special memory attached to them for me.

On a completely different note, I am grateful for talks given in Sacrament meeting that speak to my heart and help me to be a better person. Seriously needed today. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Old books, kitchen supplies and Christmas decor!

Pat and I spent the latter part of the morning and the early part of the afternoon today up in Jackson, CA. It's a quaint town in the foothills. We went because there is a bookstore that sells used books...and I mean first edition and beyond books. I was able to get myself a compilation of Mark Twain books - with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer contained within. Yes! (our used bookstore in town told us that those are selling out since they are changing the words, making them pc - ridiculous - they are part of our history) So, I was happy to purchase that and A Christmas Carol, which I am embarrassed to admit that I have never actually read. We have an account with this particular bookstore because we 'sold' them some of our National Geographics (1930-1945 years).

Along with that we took a stroll along Jackson's Main Street - enjoying the Christmas decorations and the atmosphere. Apparently tonight is their Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony - so makes me think of Stars Hollow. We also ventured into many an antique shop and their little kitchen shop - which is an automatic happy on my part since I love kitchen wares. =)

However, the best part was spending time with my honey as we perused used books, antiques (they had some old civil engineering tools that he thought were awesome), kitchen stuff and just enjoyed being together. All in all it was a great day - ending with a stop at a roadside fruit stand/bakery where we both had a yummy smoky flavored tri-tip sandwich.

I am grateful for the time we spent together, enjoying the simple things in life.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ability

When I was growing up my mom didn't teach me a great deal about cooking. I would get 'cooking lessons' via the phone while she was at work. She would call me around 4 PM and tell me what I was cooking and how to cook it. Eventually when I became proficient at a certain meal she would just tell me to cook that for dinner and I would.

You need to understand we didn't have a huge variety of dinners - it was mostly swiss steak, mock chow mein (i know, trust me, i know), and various other meals that I have blocked from my memory. Yes, blocked. There aren't many things I make now that I was taught to make when I was younger.

So, when I was married I ventured out and began making meals my mother never even dreamt of making. Things like chicken cordon bleu, homemade fried chicken, fettuccine alfredo, etc. My mom would tell others that I was a 'gourmet cook'. Ha! She is so funny! (and cute)

I am grateful for the ability that I have to learn new recipes and then to incorporate what we like into our meals. I am grateful for the variety of foods we eat (though there would be more if Pat's tummy could handle them).

What brought this up? Last night as Pat and I were talking about Thanksgiving I told him that our girls didn't cook the traditional turkey. He asked what they cooked instead. So, I told him - swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, stuffing (heated up from Trader Joe's, but quite delicious I am told), fresh green beans, Aunt Bev's homemade rolls (to die for, really), and for dessert - pumpkin squares and apple pie.

I guess what I should really be grateful for is that our daughters had a great deal of experience in the kitchen, so much so that they feel 'at home' there, just like I do.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So grateful...

I have much to be grateful for this year. I am sure all of you do too (all 5 of you, that is!). I thought I'd share a few of those blessings with you. I am sure you are counting your blessings today as well.

1) The gospel of Jesus Christ (Priesthood, Temple, Plan of Happiness, etc.)
2) My testimony
3) My family - each and every member individually and collectively
4) Our home - all the comforts we have
5) The United States of America - and the freedoms we have
6) The leaders of the LDS church - the love and guidance they give to us
7) The Holy Ghost - my friend, comforter, etc.
8) Food storage - when ye are prepared ye shall not fear
9) Skype - love seeing our family that is so far away
10) Even though I mentioned family I am especially grateful for Pat, Sam, Craig, Amy and Rachel, kids-in-law and grandchildren
11) Pat's job - the security it gives us in these troubled times
12) Our health
13) Our surroundings - living in California isn't the greatest these days, but I do love our surroundings; Pacific Ocean, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, etc.
14) Great friends - especially those we have known for years who continue to be our friends
15) Being able to read and write. I know that sounds like a strange thing to say considering the above list - but I love to read and I love to write (which is why I have a blog) - they both make me happy.

I won't share any more blessings that I am grateful for though there are so many. I hope you enjoy your day with your family, friends, whomever you are spending it with. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grateful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I love that we have an entire day set aside to give thanks for the many wonderful blessings we have in our lives. I love that it is a time to celebrate family and friends. I love that we are also celebrating the beginnings of this wonderful country we are blessed to live in. And, finally, I love that we celebrate the bounty that we have by having wonderful meals prepared so lovingly across this great country.

I am grateful for this time of gratitude, and am going to enjoy it wholeheartedly. (even though I miss my family)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good news!

I had an appointment with my physical therapist today - he declared my leg/ankle healthy! It worked, it really worked! Yay!!! Hallelujah! I am so grateful for good news!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thoughtful

We are staying home for Thanksgiving. I know, this is the first time we've ever done this with just the two of us. It does feel a bit strange. Pat has to work, I have been away from home a great deal, so it just works this year. Yes, we will miss our family a great deal, but everyone lives so far away that it isn't feasible for us to go there or for them to come here. Sigh.

Other friends have discovered that we are going to be home - alone. There are a number of them that are as well, and some that aren't, that have invited us to spend the holiday with them. I am so grateful for their thoughtfulness for us. We still aren't positive of what we will be doing. I did purchase a turkey and all the fixin's (basic foods) but we just may end up going out to dinner with our friends, Jan and Randy. I can cook the turkey another day. :)

Isn't it nice, though, that others are so considerate and kind to us? I am deeply grateful.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

new jobs

Rach had an interview with Old Navy on Friday. She got the job! Yay!

I am grateful for blessings that come my family's way...especially ones that are really needed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Penderwicks


Some children's literature I am not a fan of, but others I love. "The Penderwicks" is just that sort of literature. It isn't a difficult read, but it is fun and entertaining. For me it is a reminder of childhood, of what it is supposed to be, filled with adventure, love for family and learning experiences along the path. I am grateful for this series of books, and for Rach recommending them to me. They are a delight...read them!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Projects

I am grateful I have projects to work on to keep me busy...it is just what I need.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grateful bonus.

Usually I only post once a day, sometimes I want to post more, but don't. I just wanted to express my gratitude for Craig calling me to check on me today. I am grateful for his concern for me in regards to Rachel being away. Thanks Craig. :)

Made me laugh!

I love the unexpected. I don't know why, but I do. I also love a bit of whimsy in my life. Isn't it great when you are going through your normal routine and something appears that you don't expect and it just makes you laugh - out loud?!

So, today, as I was grocery shopping at Food 4 Less I was walking down the baking aisle and as I looked down I saw three little birds all hopping around on the floor. I just laughed right out loud! I didn't care if anyone noticed, it was just so unexpected that I couldn't help myself. I am pretty sure I chuckled for a few minutes afterwards as well, if not openly then definitely inwardly.

I am grateful for the fun unexpected things in life that bring a smile to our face, and sometimes make us laugh out loud!

For Rach: "When we got adopted by a bald guy, I thought this would be more like Annie."
It still makes me laugh!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deseret Book

I went and visited my mom today. They have a Deseret Book about 2 miles from her place, which is quite amazing since there are only 2 in the state! They were also having a grand opening, but really they are at the same location, they have just tweaked things a bit.

Now you can purchase your temple clothing at the back of the store (of course you have to have a recommend, not just anyone can purchase them), which is very convenient. Then, in front they have a section for Lion House baked goods, I did not partake, though I was quite tempted to! The rest of the store is full of books, all kinds of books.

I loved browsing and spending a little time there. I purchased a Christmas gift for Pat, a current Ensign (so we can both have the Conference issue), a book for moi, and a Zions Mercantile Clock which is now displayed on our entertainment center, and it looks great!

I am grateful we have a Deseret Book so handy! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

chatting with Sam

Today, on a whim, I called our eldest on his cell...he rarely answers. I had seen on Linzi's facebook status that he has pink eye and wanted to see how he was doing. We chatted for a whole 23 minutes! He only got off because he and Sadie were at the store and well, if anyone knows Sadie they know she needs to be corralled, especially in public places! I can't blame her...the world is sure a great adventure when you are three! She is our little Eloise!

At any rate it was great to talk with Sam, I miss him. We saw him in September, and then again skyped with his family after Jack was born, but that is all the communication I've had with him. The other kids keep in touch regularly, and Linzi does a great job of that too, but Sam - not so much.

So, I am really grateful that we were able to chat today. I know it wasn't for very long, but still, it does my heart good being able to hear my child's voice and keeping that connection strong.

Oh, and Linzi, I had wanted to call about Chloe's double ear infection last week, but couldn't because I was too sick. She was in my prayers. I am so glad she is doing better. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Breathing a sigh of Relief

Rach drove to Amy's today. That sentence doesn't sound like it means much, for all you know Amy could live down the street...but she doesn't. Nope. She lives in Eugene, Oregon (with her wonderful little family). It is an 8 1/2 hour drive from here to Eugene, well, depending on who is driving. If it's only Pat it's about 9 hours, if we share in the driving experience it is 8 & 1/2 hours.

Pat and I both breathed a sigh of relief that she made it safely, in 8 & 1/2 hours! Tonight we are both very grateful.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Change

For the past 39 months I have served in our Stake RS presidency. This is the longest I have ever held a calling. It has been a stretch for me as I have grown in so many ways. I have loved serving with our presidency, the friendships we have formed are lasting, and I love each member of our presidency. They have all taught me so much, and I still have much to learn.

On Tuesday, when I was sick in bed with a 104 fever I received a call from our high councilman over RS, who happens to be a dear friend of ours. He wanted to meet with me, but when he discovered how sick I was he talked with me over the phone. He extended a release to me, with a sincere expression of thanks for the service rendered.

This week I have experienced mixed emotions. I knew that this was coming, I felt it for a while. I know that it is time to move forward, to serve wherever the Lord wishes for me to serve. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve in this calling, as I stated previously this has been a calling of great growth for me, especially spiritually. I am grateful to know that I will receive another calling and that there will be growth there as well.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Buddy

In case you haven't noticed I love my family...a lot. They (meaning my children) are all uniquely special to me. They each have their own individual personalities, and characteristics that set them apart from one another. Yet they all share similarities as well. Sometimes that just amazes me, truly.

Rach is our youngest. She has left the nest before and I have missed her, but loved that she was finding herself, learning to fly pretty much on her own. In 2009 she returned to the nest, and stayed much longer than she had anticipated. (thank you 'economy') She finally found a job last year and worked for nine months, and she also began an etsy business selling earrings, and finally she started selling Pampered Chef.

In September she lost her job ...couldn't find it anywhere! ;) She was laid off due to our slow economy (thanks again). She wasn't sure just what to do, where to go; but realized it was time to flee the nest yet again. This time she is leaving for Eugene, OR, and going to live with Brad and Amy. There she will find a job, meet new people and have new experiences...and enjoy the scenery, living with her sis, and enjoy being called 'sissy' by a certain little boy. All in all it is good for her.

So, why do I feel like I am losing one of my best friends? Rach and I get along 99.99% of the time. The only time we don't is when one of us is in a foul mood, which isn't very often. She has been my buddy for 25 years... by her choice. She is the child that I know without a doubt chose me to be her mom. She was attached to me from the moment she took her first breath, she was a mama's girl, and it wasn't because we encouraged it, she just was. When Amy began school she came with me wherever I went, happily. That little girl hasn't changed a whole lot. She still loves tagging along with me when I go and run errands, so much so that she drags me out to run errands with her!

She leaves on Monday, and I am sad and happy all at the same time. I so want what is best for her, and for her to find her place in this life, which is not, unhappily for me, here in Manteca. It is time for her to move on, to spread her wings and fly, and become even more who she is meant to be.

How grateful I am for my buddy, for the love we share, the relationship we have, for all the hours of tears and laughter we have experienced together; for all the late night talks, the porch swing chats, and for all the support she has given me. I am grateful she is going to Oregon, I am just going to miss her and just might be lost for a while.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans

I am deeply grateful for all of those who have served and are now serving to ensure our freedom. I am grateful for my ancestors who served, and for my dad, and father-in-law for the brief time they spent in the military. I am grateful to my brother-in-law, Mike, and nephew, Erik, for their service. Even though none of them saw combat they still gave of their time and talents to ensure our safety. I am grateful to those friends that served, and for those parents, wives and siblings who sacrificed for them to serve.

Thank you for making our country safe, and allowing us to have the freedoms that we enjoy. I am grateful.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

La Estrella

Manteca has one really great attribute (I am sure there are others, but this one works for me right now). We have a lot of taquerias in town! There is one near our home that is de-lish! Every once in a while I get a hankering for some of their food. Since Rach is leaving on Monday I thought it'd be nice for us to have one final lunch together there. (not that she won't be back and want to go there.) Seriously, this is the kind of food that you c-r-a-v-e when you leave here, one of the few reasons to return! (I am not down on Manteca...really. I just would rather be elsewhere...like Oregon, Utah or Idaho, if you get my drift)

So, today, a day when nothing sounded good to eat, I am grateful for La Estrella - such seriously great food.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Friends

One of my old roomies, Shannon, will be about 20 minutes south of here this coming Saturday. She facebooked me and said we should get together. I am grateful for old friends and for the influence they have on our lives, and that we can get together about every 20 years or so! (seriously, it's been around 20 years!)

I am also grateful for the friends I have that help me to grow and let me know I am important in their lives. What a treasure they are.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick appointments

I woke up at 3 am with my ear in great pain. It was my right ear (the ear that actually works fairly well) and that scared me. So, this morning when I got up I went on the computer and made an appointment with my doctor for 8:30 am. That gave me time to take a shower and get ready. I left home at 8:10 in hopes of getting in a tad bit earlier. That didn't happen, but that's okay.

My Dr said I have an ear infection and sinusitis and that I need to REST!

I am grateful that I got in quickly and on meds already. My ear is killing me!

I am also grateful that Rach is going to her Dr. this morning. I am quite sure she has a sinus infection. Aren't we quite the pair?

I am really happy that I can find things to be grateful about even when I feel lousy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Home Again!

After a month and a half of travelling I can happily say that I am home. Yes, it is with mixed emotions, since I love our family time together and my being home means I am far away from them. However, on the upside it feels good. I love being able to be in my space that I have created with my husband; and I love that I can see him every day - not through skyping but in person! I love that I can be on my computer and don't feel guilty about using someone else's. I love that I can sleep in my bed, sit on my couch, cook in my kitchen and just be here.

I am grateful for our home. It is comfortable and cozy and clean! I am grateful that I love being here, and that I can miss those I love at the same time... and believe me, I do! All fourteen of them! (grandkids, kids and kids-in-law) ;) (and soon Rach will be added to that list since she moves to Oregon next week... :[  )

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Blessing

Today we had the opportunity to see our most recent grandchild, Jack Austin Westmoreland, blessed. We have only missed one blessing out of eight grandchildren.

Each time we attend a blessing I am grateful. I am grateful for having the gospel in our lives, I am grateful for each new spirit that joins our family and the amazing joy they each bring, I am grateful for the worthy priesthood holders in our family that stand in the circle, and I am grateful that I can be there to experience these blessings.

I am grateful for jack, who has a very calm and sweet spirit. I know he will be a blessing to our family.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

beautiful colors

fall is in full swing here in eugene, oregon. there are golds, oranges,and  reds of many shades. it is glorious! i am grateful for the beautiful fall colors found here - how nice for them to have a real fall season!

Friday, November 4, 2011

pumpkin pie

today all the grandparents of james, gavin and jack are here in eugene. good thing eric is taking care of our home (and missy)! tonight we had our wonderful hero sandwiches for dinner (which i am also grateful for) with pumpkin pie for dessert! so yummy! it has been a long time since i've had any...and it was delicious, and i am grateful for it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

tomorrow!

pat flies in to eugene tomorrow...can't wait to see him and for him to see jack! yay! i am grateful for tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

support

a little over a year ago we took gavin in to get circumcised. it was not a happy experience...at all. to me it was pretty barbaric. today we had a repeat in taking jack to be circumcised. thankfully it was not nearly as bad an experience as gavin's was. amy and i were able to be in there with him, she stroked his face, and gave him sugar water throughout the ordeal. i let him hold onto my finger, which he had a death-grip on several times throughout the procedure. all in all it was a much better experience than last year. (i do prefer them being circumcised in the hospital, but you can only do what they allow you to do.)

i am just grateful i can be here to offer my support to amy and to jack, and that rach could through watching the little boys at home. blessings come in all sorts of packages, don't they?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

jamba juice

we have been wanting jamba juice for a few days. today we were finally able to partake. mega mango! yum! tuesday is extra boost day so i was able to get the immunity and energy boost...just what i need! rach enjoyed their seasonal pumpkin smoothie and amy had the pomegranate. super good, all of them!

i am grateful for jamba juice - it is good for what ails you!

Monday, October 31, 2011

puffs

i seem to be following a theme from yesterday's post... i am really grateful for puffs tissues, especially the ones with the lotion in them. we have gone through about 3 boxes (not the square ones, the rectangular ones) the past 4 days. obviously that is why i am grateful for them. they are like a seasonal trusted friend. i actually purchased another 3 boxes today. i sure hope we don't have to use them! but, if we do, i sure am grateful for them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

warm drinks

we are sick, every one of us (except baby jack) here in the westmoreland household. we all have colds, which began with james, then went to brad, to rachel, to gavin, to me and finally to amy. phew. it is no fun being sick, at all. we are hopeful that jack will avoid this illness completely, really.

back in june our stake presidency let us know that we are no longer able to drink teas in any variety. i am a lover of herbal teas, especially when i am sick with a cold or the flu. i no longer partake of them. fortunately, for me, i had already decided that on my own, for my own reasons, so they just cemented my feelings. still, i miss those peppermint, echinacea, and various other herbal teas.

warm drinks (not hot) make my throat and head feel better when i have a cold. thankfully there is still spiced cider, honey and lemon, or warm orange juice to partake of. i am grateful for those warm drinks that help me to feel better, and that our family has come to rely on.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

service

i am grateful for those who have, out of the kindness of their hearts, served amy's family this week by voluntarily bringing in meals, thus helping us all out. i am also grateful for those who have volunteered to help her out once we leave and she is on her own...while brad is at school/work.(she is going to have her hands full! these three little guys keep us all hopping.)

i am also grateful for my hubby who willingly went to carter's today since james needed a few warm items for winter. 

what wonderful people...all who serve in the name of kindness. i love that.


Friday, October 28, 2011

halloween fun!

i had forgotten what fun halloween can be...must mean that i am getting old, right? seriously, spending this holiday with little guys, especially james, who is enjoying the halloween festivities makes it w-a-y more fun! we have decorated sugar cookies, making them 'gunkins' (including mickey mouse 'gunkins'), rach made a jack-o-lantern kitty which he thought was amazing, and then we attended the ward trunk or treat party tonight. he had a blast!

watching him discover halloween is fun! i am grateful i am able to experience this with at least one of my grandchildren! and i wish pat were here to enjoy it as well.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mmmmm, Yummy!

I have been wanting to try to make Magleby's buttermilk syrup for years, well, ever since I had french toast with Megan and Amy there. It is incredibly delicious. I am not a huge fan of syrups in general (usually use powdered sugar and fruit), but this recipe won me over! I am a fan!

We are going to have french toast bake at Amy's and I figured this was a great time to try out a recipe. So, I went online and researched and found a great one. I also like the Our Best Bites one, but it sounded just a tad too sweet to me.

So, I made this one:
1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 T vanilla
1 T corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions: bring first five ingredients to a boil. Add baking soda. Boil 10 seconds and remove from heat immediately to prevent boil over.
Serve over french toast, pancakes, waffles, crepes and even ice cream!

I am grateful for delicious recipes that I can make for and share with my family.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

access

while we are away i am striving to keep on top of my budgeting...every once in a while. i am grateful for the access i have to various accounts on the internet, for the ease of taking care of necessary bills, knowing how much has been spent, how much is left, etc. how much easier this makes my life - since i am ocd about budgeting! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

blankies

i am such a grandma these days! it's almost like i have 'reverted' back to being a mommy! we took gav and james grocery shopping today. since gav has a tendency to become tired of sitting in the cart rachel (being the smart aunt that she is) brought along a blankie for him. (sidenote: gav loves his blankies, especially the soft fuzzy type, in a way i have never seen a baby love blankies, he practically melts!)

about 3/4 of the way through grocery shopping gav was becoming a little bit unhappy. rach volunteered the blankie that she had tucked away in their 'diaper bag'. i gave it to him, he immediately latched onto it, and melted, right before everyone's eyes. super adorable.

i am grateful for blankies - that all of my children had them, that our grandchildren now do, and for the comfort they give all of us!

Monday, October 24, 2011

pacifiers

obviously not everyone believes in using pacifiers for babies....i, however, do not fall into that category. that fact came home quite strongly to me today as amy and rachel went to fill amy's prescription while i stayed behind with baby jack and gavin as he was napping. shortly after they left jack became quite unhappy, and with his adorable baby voice expressed his discomfort. after twenty minutes of jack's unhappiness i texted amy to find out when they were coming home, and where the pacifier was. fortunately for me she knew where to find it. thank heavens.

my children had pacifiers (except for amy who had her blanket and two fingers) and we always made sure we had plenty on hand...it was worth the peace they afforded us. i am grateful for pacifiers and the blessed peace they allow us to have.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eight is GREAT!!!

Our eighth grandchild was born two days ago, on Friday, October 21st. His name is Jack Austin Westmoreland., the proud mommy and daddy are Amy and Brad...we are half of the proud grandparents. :)

Jack weighed 8 lbs. 2oz, definitely Amy's biggest baby to date. He was measured at 19" but looks more like 20"  to me. He looks like a bit of both brothers, only with lighter colored hair and chubbier. (so cute) He has a sweet little cry, so far! I am in love with him.

I am grateful for Jack, that his delivery went well (scheduled c-section), that he was a welcome surprise to our family, and that Amy is doing well with recovering. I am also grateful that I am able to be here to take care of James and Gavin, and Amy and Jack (when they come home tomorrow). I am grateful that Amy had a father's blessing last week when Pat was here and a Priesthood blessing from Brad the night before surgery.

I love being a Grandma. The other day, prior to Jack's arrival I was at Costco. I went to the front desk in order to pick up a coupon book for Amy. The woman behind the counter asked me if I wanted to be on their email list, I replied no, that we live in California, and that I am here visiting my daughter. She asked me if she was in college, I said no, but her husband is. I explained that Amy was expecting and having her baby on Friday. She was like, "Oh no, that means you will be a grandma!" I shared with her that this was our eighth, and that I LOVE being a grandma. She was shocked, literally shocked. I told her that if she thinks she loves her kids, wait until she has grandkids. She couldn't understand that. I told her they instantly wrap themselves around your heart, I even had tears in my eyes.

Don't doubt for a second that I love each of my children, I do...wholeheartedly. I believe that the amount you love your grandchildren is a reflection of the amount you love your children...and I sure do love each of mine.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

safety

while i am away pat has decided to enjoy his time. last night he drove to yosemite, spent the night in our suv, and got up this morning for a hike. it was supposed to be a simple hike, but he chose to do a more difficult one, above may lake. needless to say i was a bit concerned for his safety. so glad he called a while ago and let me know that he is on his way home, tired, but happy.

i am grateful he is safe.

Friday, October 21, 2011

all is well

amy underwent surgery this morning. she is doing well, as is someone else! ;) i won't say anymore regarding that other person just yet, but will say how very grateful i am that our daughter's surgery went well. it is interesting the feelings you have when your baby gives birth to a baby. there is a mix of anxiety, concern, peace and joy, of great intensity. to see her doing fine, to know that all is well is a great blessing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Potty trained!

Our two oldest grandsons, James and Lucas, were potty trained recently. Lucas graduated potty training boot camp today...go Lucas! James finished his potty training adventures a little over a month ago. Each of them had to 'wait' to be potty trained due to family moves and new babies coming to their families.

But it is done! They did it! How well I remember when my kids were potty trained and the huge sense of accomplishment for them and their parents! It is great to achieve that...more wonderful than I can say.

I am grateful for potty training grads and for all the extra help parents have these days compared to when our kids were little.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

cell phones

amy is scheduled to have her c-section this friday, which will bring another member to our family. (yay!!!) brad's cell phone has died, it is really dead. so, she had been fretting about being able to get ahold of him while he was on campus or at work. no worries now that we are here! he has her phone and she is using mine, for the time being.

it is so different than how it was for pat and i when we were having our children. pat would call me from school during lunch, or breaks when we were having sam and craig. with amy and rachel he would call me from work. thankfully the only emergency c we had was sam, but pat was home when i went in to labor. the other c's were all scheduled, and that is when they came!

i am grateful for cell phones and how convenient they are, and the blessing they can be in our lives.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rachel

Rach is amazing. While we have been at Amy's she has been taking care of everything! She is Gavin's and James' #1 go-to, aka favorite aunt 'sissy'. (and no we never called her that when she was growing up, James pronounced her name that way when he first learned to talk, and it stuck) Rachel has been cleaning up whenever there needs cleaning up, she puts the groceries away, helps with meals or makes them herself. She is our all-around service machine!

I am so grateful for her. I don't have to ask her to do anything, she thinks of it all on her own and goes forward and does it. She even thinks of things I don't think of! Imagine that! All in all, she is the greatest. There are so very many reasons I love her, this is just one of them.  :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

for the love of

i have said it before, and will say it again, and again, and again...i am one lucky girl. i am blessed to be married to literally my best friend. he treats me well, because he loves me, pretty much unconditionally.

he loves me so much that he drove up to oregon with me, and he supports me supporting our children when needed. he also loves me so much that he gave me a Priesthood blessing prior to leaving for home today. not only was the blessing wonderful, but his love for me and our family came through as well.

i am grateful for this wonderful man, for the amazing father and grandfather he is.

i am one lucky girl. =)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

wherever you go, it's the same

today we attended amy's ward here in eugene. i am always amazed that wherever we are in attendance in the church it is the same. the people are different, the building is different, other than that it is all the same. i love it, and am grateful for it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bumpa!

there are certain scents, sounds and places that can remind you of a circumstance or a person. today as we ventured to oregon we stopped at the klamath river rest stop i felt such an experience. whenever i am there i can't help think of my dad.

he was an attorney by trade. he was an honest, hard working man who shared much with many. though he was an attorney he had a great love for white water river rafting, and he shared that love with many. he happily arranged for many church members and non members to enjoy a week on the rapids, several times each summer. those who went didn't realize how much he paid for the trip out of his own pocket. he simply wanted to give them an experience to remember...and did he ever!

he and my mom made all the arrangements. you know the saying "behind every great man is an even greater woman"? this was true of my mom. she was the behind the scenes person, figuring out all the menus, doing all the grocery shopping. it was a labor of love for the two of them.

so, while i stood next to the klamath river today i could imagine my dad, where he may have put those rafts into the river; i could see him standing there with his crazy fisherman hat, his plaid shirt and his cut off jeans. but what i could imagine the most was the joy on his face that showed through his excitement at being there.

Bumpa's White Water Rafting adventures were many - but the best part of it was that he was given that name by his grandchildren, and they were what mattered the most to him (besides my mom and the gospel of Jesus Christ). i am so grateful that there are times when i can be where my dad loved to be, and i can feel him near.

Friday, October 14, 2011

fun soap!

about a month ago rach went to bath and body works and picked up some of their foam hand soap. it is my favorite and we have kept it in our home since they were first sold. :) (i have converted others along the way too!)

while she was there she noticed that they come in halloween packaging. so she bought several that are super cute. one has a haunted house on it, the other is a jack-o-lantern, there was another one, i think it may have ghosts on it.

anyway, i love their soap, which is pretty obvious since i am a regular customer. but how fun is it to have holiday ones? i don't care if they are commercializing things, it is just plain fun! i would buy their soap anyway, since i love it so much...why not have fun with it!

i am grateful for fun soaps and for other fun holiday things. simple, i know, but still fun!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

be of good cheer

i am grateful for all the good things in our lives that bring us cheer. we have an abundance for which to be thankful for. and i am not referring only to material goods, but to the things that really matter. we have our family, the gospel, and many friends. we have the ability to walk, talk, think, feel, and just be. we have our senses, some may work better than others, but we have them! we have the opportunity to grow and expand our minds, our spirits, our talents and our love for others. we are blessed to be able to serve others in so many capacities!

indeed, we have much that we have been given that we are grateful for, and that helps us to be of good cheer.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

pest control

the people that know me really, really well know that i have a strong dislike for ants...maybe even, dare i say, hate?! when i was a little girl, probably around 2 or 3 i ran into the house to my mom because i was (grossly enough) covered with ants! i have a reason for feeling the way i do about them...and it began quite young.

we always have pest control, wherever we live. it is one of the few luxuries i allow myself to have. ants are not welcome in my home, really not in my yard, but there is only so much you can do, right?

on monday morning pat announced that we had 3 ants in our bathroom, rach found a few in hers as well. ewww. their presence really gets my blood pressure up! it is one of the few things that does (other than being upset with a family member). he also told me that there were some around the yard, congregating, as if they own the place. i will show them!

i called our pest control place yesterday and they informed me that our tech was super busy and may not get to it until next week. what?! really?! in the meantime we have to live with these tiny creatures invading our space, ever so slowly? no!!!!

i didn't actually let her know how much that disturbed me. i kept my cool...really, i did! she informed me (without my pressuring her in the least) that she would call our tech and ask him when he could come. (i love their service) a few minutes (honestly - a few minutes) later she got back to me, and informed me that he would come in the morning between 8 and 9.

and that is just what he did! talk about a sweet guy - super nice. in fact once pat dealt with our tech personally and he called the office and told them what an amazing guy he is. i finally met him today.

i am grateful for the pest control company we have, and for their prompt service...and for this handy little tip that israel gave me --- should we have any ants in the bathroom again, spray them with windex.

who knew? oh, 'my big fat greek wedding'...that's who! ;)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

a woman's work

i get that people think i am crazy for not working outside the home. i really do. yes, i am 56 and have no 'children' at home. rach counts, but she is pretty self-sufficient. all she needs me for is to keep her company every once in a while. plus, she may be leaving us soon for better circumstances and certainly a much more beautiful location!

i noticed as a stay-at-home mom that when all my kids went to school i became busier. i know, how does that happen, right? suddenly i had errands i could run that i had put off before and i was one busy mama! now that i remain a stay-at-home mom/wife i continue to be busy. honestly, some days i walk around here and think, 'how can anyone think i have nothing to do?' there are children and grandchildren to talk to on the phone or via skype! there are dishes to wash, and put away; there is always laundry to do (though i have a schedule); there are meals to cook, and that food has got to come from somewhere! i also need to throw in exercise - bike riding, or stretching, whatever it is. then there are callings to fulfill, people to visit teach, etc., etc., etc.

yes, i do have a great deal more time to myself, and i have been known to 'catch up' on a program on tv through watching it on demand. but there aren't that many shows that i really have any desire to catch up on! i do enjoy reading (when it isn't putting me to sleep) and have been doing a lot of that lately (not the sleeping part, the reading part). i have become a lingerer while reading - savoring all the words and the meaning - one of the perks of not having anyone else to tend to!

my point is this --> a woman's work is truly never done. i am grateful that i can remain busy, even at my age, and continue to grow and learn and do what i enjoy most - caring for my family, whether they are close or distant in proximity. it is the best job in the world. =)