Monday, December 31, 2012

Beautiful Music

Last night Pat kept coming and getting me to come and watch various performers as they sang beautiful music. He was especially taken with a duo that competed on Britain's Got Talent...that he just happened upon while browsing the internet/you tube. Then, since we had heard sooo much about the performance at the Christmas music concert put on by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir I searched for and found the performance, which is also quite beautiful.

As to the first performance I'm sharing, I have to tell you that it is quite unexpected. It just goes to show that we need to not judge others. We have no idea of what beauty they hold within, and what they can share to make our lives better.

I am so grateful for the pure talent of others. One of my greatest wishes is to be able to sing well in the next life, because I certainly can't  in this one! Oh, how I wish I could...

AND... Happy New Year! I hope it is as wonderful as it possibly can be for everyone. :)

Enjoy!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ZsNlcr4frs4


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=www3RwEKcm4

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Warm blankets

A few years back I bought several blankets to use in our great room, and bedrooms. (Of course they are from Costco.) They are soft, warm, and cuddly! With the weather being chilly here they are perfect for snuggling and getting toasty warm. I am grateful for these blankets, and so is our cat, Missy!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Costco supplies

It's no secret that I love Costco! Today we went to pick up a few supplies. One of the great deals they had (and we bought) was an emergency car kit. It has first aid supplies, jumper cables, orange emergency triangles, etc. All for the low price of $25! Of course we purchased other things there, all causing me to have even more gratitude for Costco!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sweet Baby James

James is FOUR years old today! My goodness!
Where on earth did that time go?
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was flying to Amy's
to go and meet this little guy! What a blessing he has been in our lives,
we are so grateful for him.
He is funny, smart, silly, a little mischievous, and imaginative.
He is also quite loving, and is quick to hug just about anyone.

Happy 4th Birthday to our Sweet baby James! We love you so much! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

7up

Today my "food" of choice is 7up, and I am grateful for it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gaining knowledge

Pat taught me a few new things about Excel, which I am quite grateful for! The cut and paste is so much easier now! Thanks hon!

I do love gaining knowledge about things I am familiar with that makes them, and me, that much more efficient.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thoughtful Gifts

Today is Christmas! I love Christmas for many reasons, the main one being that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. My second favorite thing about it is time spent with family. That didn't really happen this year, so I'm grateful that Pat and I have each other to celebrate with, and that we can skype with some of our kids, kids-in-law and grandkids. [Some of them are sick, not skyping today! :( ] Lastly, I am grateful for the opportunity we have of giving thoughtful gifts to one another. I love hearing the joy in the voices of those I love (or seeing it on their faces) as they react to what we have given them. I am grateful for thoughtful gift giving, it makes giving so enjoyable!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Chloe!

Happy 2nd Birthday to our Christmas Chloe!

We sure are grateful for the gift that Chloe is in our lives! She is a sweetheart, with personality plus! We love our little Chloe, so, so much! Happy Birthday!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Prince of Peace


How grateful I am for my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

He is the Prince of Peace. 

Without Him in my life I would be so much less than I am. He has made everything that is good in my life possible; everything that is good in our family's life possible.

He willingly came to earth, with full understanding of the sacrifice He would be making, and did so to glorify our Father, and because He loves each of us, individually and collectively. He gave His all, completely, humbly, and lovingly. How grateful I am for - His miraculous birth, His exemplary life, His atoning sacrifice, and His resurrection. He has made it possible for each and every one of us to return to live in our Father's, and His, presence.

I love Him with all my heart, might and mind. I live each day in honor of Him, and strive moment by moment to be more like Him. How grateful I am for those moments when I fail, and trust in Him to help me along life's road, with open arms to forgive me and to love me.

At this Christmas season I am ever grateful for all that He has given me, and made possible for myself and those whom I cherish. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Family!

Today we were fortunate to host an extended family get-together! We had homemade soup, Superhero sandwiches, and a cake to celebrate my sister's birthday. We had a great time eating, talking, and laughing. I am grateful we could celebrate this season with our extended family; and that it made my mom really happy too. :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

The sweet smell of Christmas

When Sam was little his grandparents gave him a book entitled, "The Sweet Smell of Christmas." In the book there is a bear family, where the baby bear discovers the sweet smells of Christmas throughout the book. I can't remember all the scents (it's a scratch and sniff) but the ones I do remember are: hot chocolate, vanilla, pine, and orange. I have always loved that book and so have my kids. I think I've given the book to some of our grandkids also, but I can't remember who! (if I haven't given it to your family let me know for next Christmas!)

Yesterday as I baked and the scent wafted throughout our home, it reminded me of Christmas. The scents of Christmas bring back memories of my dad, and cooking with him during the holidays. Tomorrow we are having my sister and her family over for lunch. I am preparing homemade soups today for that. Now our home has savory scents, and I love it just as much!

Holidays and family and food - they all go hand in hand. Each one gives us something to be grateful for; today my gratitude is focused on the food, rather the 'sweet (and savory) smells of Christmas.'

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The last of the baking

I just completed the last of the baking for this Christmas season. Phew! I love baking, but I love it even more when I am doing said baking with loved ones. None are around, so it kind of takes the fun out of it. Fortunately, the fun part comes later when you take the goodies to friends and neighbors and see their faces light up with delight knowing that you thought of them. One more round of goodies to deliver...to our neighbors, so that should be fun! They are getting molasses crinkle cookies, blondies and no-bake fudge cookies!

I am also making one more batch of peppermint bark popcorn for Pat to take to work tomorrow. While he works at NOA, he is currently working from Kleinfelder; they are having a Christmas week! I can't remember everything they've done so far but it's been treats day, appetizer day, and a luncheon yesterday. Tomorrow is movie day with popcorn. I believe the staff is watching "National Lampoon's Christmas" movie. I doubt my husband will indulge though, except for the popcorn...that he likes!

Christmas is just a mere five days away. Nearly all the 'chore' part is completed, and I am grateful.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The joy of giving

Today I definitely experienced the joy of giving. I'm not sharing this to toot my own horn, far from it, in fact. No, giving doesn't make one prideful, instead it humbles us...makes us grateful for the blessings that we have. I was able to give a gift card to someone that I am close to, and that I knew needed it. I hadn't intended for her to open the card in front of me, but she did. And when she did, she cried. She couldn't stop thanking me. For that reason I wish I had done it anonymously, but in this situation that wouldn't have worked. It also gave me a greater desire to do more for her. She is a dear friend, and I am grateful for her in my life.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trader Joe's suggestions

Amazingly, I am one of those few people in the US that hasn't developed a love of Trader Joe's. Well, not yet, anyway. Usually, the few times I have actually gone in, I am lost, not sure of what to get. Even though the store is compact, they pack a lot of stuff into it! Then, the aisles are a tad small (ours in Modesto is anyway), and you find yourself hurrying along in order to keep out of the way. Invariably someone is on your tail, wanting to be right where you are at that precise moment. I know, because I experienced being the 'tail-er' today; more accurately, the patient waiter, would describe me.

Those who know my habits of shopping know that I go with a list, and am in and out quick as can be. Which is why WinCo and me sometimes, not often, don't get along. There are far too many good deals in that store for me to skate by! (which I also experienced today, but walked away with only two extra purchases...go me!)

Today as I perused the aisles of Trader Joe's I had an actual list! Recently a dear friend posted on Facebook that she was going to TJ's and all these women started giving her ideas of what to purchase there (Perhaps I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed there?). So, I went, list in hand, and spent about $50!!! I won't go into the details of sharing what I purchased, if you want to know you can ask me! However, I will share that I only hauled two grocery bags out of there! And it's not as if they are super expensive, but there were a lot of small delights awaiting me... like star shaped chocolate covered cookies, and chocolate covered peppermint Joe-Joe's. Can't wait to try those!

While I won't be heading to Modesto again anytime soon, and probably won't see the inside of another Trader Joe's for quite some time, it sure was fun to do something different today. I am grateful for the TJ experience, but most especially, the helpful list.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Puzzling

My mom isn't able to do much. Going out to run an errand is out of the question, unless it's a doctor's appointment. She just isn't up to it. She spends much of her day in her room sitting in her computer chair, either reading or playing games on the computer. Every so often she ventures out to the kitchen, and stays there for several hours and works on a puzzle. That makes her happy, which makes me grateful. I love that my mom is trying to stay alert through reading, playing games and doing puzzles.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Calling inspiration

This morning I woke up at 6:30, with a prompting to do something involving my calling as Visiting Teaching Coordinator. In our church the women visit one another on a monthly basis, by assignment. They are welcome to visit one another on their own, but most of us have 3+ sisters that we visit each month. As the coordinator it is my responsibility to get the report of who has and has not been visited.

The idea of visiting teaching is that we keep tabs on one another; who is having a baby, who is having a difficult time, who needs a meal brought in, who is unemployed, or simply - who needs friends. (don't we all?) That way we can report to our Bishop all of the needs that we are aware of, and he can make assignments to take care of them, or let them be and continue to let the assigned visiting teachers take care of the situation. Everyone should be accounted for; that is the hope.

However, that is not always the case. In fact, unfortunately, it too often isn't. We report our visits or non-visits monthly, but quarterly we report to Church Headquarters. I noticed an improvement of 10% from our report in June to the one in September. Yay! Now, that isn't a huge amount, but it is progress! I wanted to let the sisters know that we appreciate them, and are grateful for their service, as visiting teachers.

I had planned on just taking some Christmas candy (Dove's, Rolo's, and Candy Cane Kisses) to pass out in class and to disperse in Primary and Young Women's. But, this morning when I woke up the thought came to me that they need something just a little bit nicer than that. What came to my mind was to make a small card for each sister, and put on the card, "We could kiss you for getting your visiting teaching done this year! Thank you!" Then, I would attach a candy kiss to the card, and hand them out.

That I did. I am grateful for the inspiration that comes with our callings. I am also grateful for the 'thank you's' and smiles I got when handing those cards out. It didn't take that long to do, it wasn't a big deal, but I was still able to simply express our thanks. How I love inspiration.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Delete

Today I am grateful for something rather odd... the delete button. Isn't it nice that we can take back some of the things we choose to by simply hitting the 'delete' button? Sometimes in life I wish I could literally delete some of  the things I regret having said or done. Perhaps we can't actually delete those things, but thankfully, we can repent and strive to be better. I am grateful for that.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Excel

For the past few years I've been keeping track of several things on our Excel program. Recently there was a major incident involving our Christmas list, which could have been really ugly. Thankfully the girls called me immediately and asked if I had meant to send them the list of Christmas gifts for everyone! Fortunately I was able to contact Craig and Linzi right away and ask them to not open that file! Hopefully no one saw what they were getting. Seriously, sometimes I wonder about myself and where on earth my brain is!

Today, I am using our Excel program to keep track of what food items we have stored in our study pantry/closet. As I stated a few days back, we are really trying to fine tune what we are doing emergency preparedness wise. We have a decent amount of canned goods, baking supplies, etc. But do we have enough? No way to tell unless you've got it all categorized and organized. So, I spent this morning doing just that. Took me about three hours. No, I'm not slow, I'm just making sure everything is in it's place, on the shelves and on the computer.

One of the things we have decided to do is make up a menu for two weeks for dinners that we like. Then we take the time to figure out what we have in stock for those dinners. From there we set out to get enough of those supplies so that we can have the items we need on hand for three months. That means we'd need to have a supply of six meals for each dinner. We figured they'd also make great leftovers also, which means lunch. :)

I am grateful for Excel, it seems to help me keep track of all the facts that my brain is not able to keep track of. I'm sure it could be better then what I have, if Brad were here to help...but he's not, so there you have it! At least I have something!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Done, and Done!

Not only am I taking care of our Christmas shopping, but I am my mom's as well. Today I sent the last of the packages, sent out our Christmas cards, and finished up pretty much everything. All I have left is the wrapping, and there isn't much of that to do either this year. I love Christmas, but am so very grateful that now I get to sit back and enjoy the season.

If you don't have not so nice shoppers, or drivers, in your area then you have no idea why I am grateful.

Case in point - I was at Costco today, just picking up a few items. I happily smiled at people, because I am happy. At one point in time I was approaching a corner by the freezer aisle, when around the other corner came another person. I was going straight, he was turning. Apparently I was in his way. I stopped with plenty of room to spare, then smiled and said, "Go ahead!", rather cheerfully. He looked at me and shook his head in disgust. Seriously! Disgust!

At that point I wasn't feeling too Christmas spirit-y, so I muttered, "Sorry I am annoying you by being in the store." (not nice, I know, what can I say? I am far from perfect!) He didn't hear me, I knew he wouldn't, but I said what I thought, not that it mattered.

Then I got to my car, put away the few things I did get, and began thinking. Perhaps this gentleman was unhappy in general. Maybe his dog just died. Maybe he has no one to spend Christmas with. Maybe he is unemployed and not feeling very Christmas spirit-y himself. Whatever the reason, I repented, and truly felt badly for being perturbed with him...and even more for expressing it.

So, yes, I am indeed grateful to be home, out of the line of fire.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Cards!

Don't you just love going to the mailbox to be greeted by Christmas cards from family and friends? I sure do!  We live in a time where everyone is busily living their lives and rarely do we get a chance to really know how one another is doing. That is why I am grateful for Christmas cards, and letters. I saw on facebook recently that someone thinks they are just a chance to brag about how well you are doing. I don't see it that way at all. We want to know how others are doing and what is going in their lives!

One dear friend, whose husband was our Bishop when we were at BYU, wrote that her second husband passed away after their six year marriage. We were so sad for her, but so grateful that she chose to inform us. We love her (and her first husband, who passed away around eight years ago) and want to know what is going on in her life. Hopefully, next time we visit Utah we can stop by and visit with her. She has always been an example to me, and someday I hope to be like her, at least a little!

So, send out your Christmas cards, or Valentine's cards, or whatever! People are grateful to hear how you are doing, because they love you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunny morning!

This morning it was nice and sunny outside, so I decided to run errands! First, I took my mom to the bank to close out her old account. Then, I returned her home and headed out to go shopping to finish up my Christmas shopping! (Yay!) I also went grocery shopping, and Target shopping, because I could.

I am grateful we had a nice sunny morning, because now it is gray, cloudy and cold! I'm glad I could take advantage of the sunshine.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Peppermint Bark Popcorn


Can you tell it's Christmas time? I sure can! Today I made two batches of Peppermint Bark Popcorn. I made it for the first time last year and gave it to friends, as far as I know everyone loved it! I sure did! Don't you love when you discover a 'new' recipe that just finds it's way into your holiday treats? I am grateful for all the ones that we have in our family's favorites! I won't be making too many of those this year since it's just us three. But, tonight I wanted us to go out and share a few goodies with close friends, and this is one that I chose for this year. It sounds pretty simple, but it is a little bit time consuming, but is well worth it.

Here is the recipe, in case you are interested in trying it. (calls for white chocolate almond bark, which I use, but had to order it online, can't find it anywhere around here)

Peppermint Bark Popcorn
Ingredients

16 C popped popcorn* (fresh, or about 2 bags microwave popcorn)
1 lb almond bark
1 6 ounce box candy canes, crushed (about 1 generous cups, Bob’s brand are best!)
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil or 2 teaspoons peppermint extract**
3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
*if you’re using microwave popcorn, try to find an unbuttered or “natural” kind because this looks much prettier if the popcorn isn’t bright yellow!  Lightly salted is fine, I actually like a little salt in there, but avoid heavy buttered.
** If you can find flavored oils, like you would use for candy making, use them as they will best combine with the almond bark.  If using extract, it’s not unusual for it to cause the almond bark to seize, but just stir quickly and pour immediately on popcorn.  Once distributed it will be just fine. 
Instructions
Place popcorn in a very large mixing bowl.
Melt almond bark according to package instructions.  When completely melted, add extract or peppermint oil.  If using extract, it’s normal for the almond bark to seize (get lumpy) which is okay, just stir very quickly, the more you wait the more it will seize.
Pour melted almond bark mixture over popcorn and pour crushed candy canes on top.  Stir to evenly coat.  Pour popcorn out onto waxed paper, parchment, or foil and spread out.
Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.  Drizzle over popcorn mixture.  Let mixture dry completely until chocolate and almond bark are hardened.   You may place in the fridge to speed process along.
When chocolate is hardened, use your hands to break up popcorn into chunks. Toss in a bowl, a jar, a cute package, or in your mouth :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mormon Channel

This morning I attended Sacrament meeting, and as is the norm for the time being, I came home during Sunday School to get my mom some breakfast. Today our ward was meeting together for the third hour to discuss the changes in the youth program. They opted to do this since there would be few people in Relief Society then. So, I decided to stay home, where it is warm and comfy. (I am a rebel, I know. In actuality I felt I needed to be uplifted rather than instructed.)

Last night I watched a few things on the Mormon Channel, so I decided today when I came home that I would do the same. Our friend, Genie, sent me a link the other day to watch "O Come, Emanuel", which is beautiful, and quite uplifting. If you'd like to view it go here: http://www.mormonchannel.org.

I am grateful for the Mormon Channel, which has many uplifting stories, songs, etc. for our benefit. I love it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Yummy nut clusters!

The other day I saw on Pinterest how to make your own double chocolate nut clusters in a crock pot! The whole crock pot idea had me sold! We already had several of the ingredients, so I opted to go to the store for the few that we didn't have and then got to work!

Fortunately the 'work' part wasn't too difficult! It only took a few minutes to gather everything together, throw it into the crock pot, turn it on, and then walk away. Yay!

The unfortunate part was that I didn't follow my own intuitive instincts and a small amount burned, which I discarded, and saved the rest of the batch by doing so! My advice, stir after you turn down the heat, and then again, about midway through. If the chocolate is all melty, it is done, believe me!

These turned out fabulous! They aren't that pretty, since I'm inexperienced at making these, but they sure do taste great! They are good enough to give away to neighbors and friends, which we will be doing, along with our peppermint bark popcorn!

Oh, and as a bonus for 'listening' to me, I'm giving you the recipe. Not as much fun as the blogs where they actually let you enter a contest, right? Oh well, if I had a LOT more people looking at my blog I'd do that, but I don't, so I won't. :)

Recipe:
Double Chocolate Nut Clusters

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds white chocolate almond bark, broken into small pieces
  • 1 pound dark chocolate almond bark, broken into small pieces
  • 4 ounces German chocolate
  • 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) dry roasted peanuts, lightly salted
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) whole roasted almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Instructions

  1. Turn slow cooker on high and add the first six ingredients.
  2. Cook for 45 minutes (don't peek or stir).
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook one hour, stirring until all chocolate is melted. Add almond flavoring.
  4. Put into miniature Christmas muffin liners. Store in an airtight container or place on trays for holiday gifts.

Yield: 75-100 large pieces, or 200-250 small pieces

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Recipe From: Tennessee Home and Farm




Friday, December 7, 2012

Good idea

Several months ago we started a big push for us to become better prepared for an emergency. We have been working on this for years, but are really fine-tuning things a bit more. We've come across some clever ideas of things to use for an emergency. One of them is solar outdoor lights. We purchased some a few months back, but not just to pretty up our yard and give us more light...there was actually another purpose in mind.

Let's say you are at home and the power goes out. Flashlights are great, as are candles, but how simple would it be to bring in those solar lights you have to make your light even 'brighter' in a time of possible crisis? You could put them throughout your home and have no worries about candles being tipped over accidentally.

Brilliant idea! I wish I could claim it, I can't, but I can certainly pass it along to you. There are a good deal more ideas we've found and liked. I think I will post them on my other blog next week sometime, just to share with you.

I am grateful for good ideas. If you have any you'd like to share please do!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Little boys and their tales

I wish I had written more about my boys and their silly antics when they were growing up. (the girls too) But, seriously, there is just something about little boys, the things they say and do; their expressions, their goofiness, their sweetness, etc. I am grateful that Amy is sharing her blog "Every day with my boys" with the rest of us now. It is so fun to read their stories. It is seriously like reading a good book where you can't wait to see what happens next, but you really don't want it to end because you love the characters and story-line so much. Thank heavens it's not going to end!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nearly finished!

Here it is, the 5th of December and I am nearly done with my Christmas shopping, and sending! Yay!

While I love the holiday season I am not about the hustle and bustle of shopping. I am more about the joy of giving, and sending those gifts. Today I got everything together and put in their containers for shipping to Oregon, Utah and Idaho. Hallelujah! I had actually planned on sending them tomorrow, but when I saw that it was going to be foggy tomorrow I figured it was safer to go out today, in the drizzly rain. It was so worth it!

When I arrived at the post office imagine my delight when there was just one other person in front of me, and they were taking care of something relatively simple (I love the Lathrop post office, quaint, and more personal). I had no line to wait in whatsoever! Amazing! I am grateful to have been able to send out the gifts to our family and to do it in pleasant circumstances.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Decorated.

This weekend I decorated our home. It looks quite Christmas-y! Then today I purchased a fresh wreath at Costco - now our front door is Christmas-y! I love it.

Turns out I'm not using as many decorations as I used to. It's just not the same without the kids. I am grateful for our home being decorated (minus the tree, yet), I love the look of Christmas and all the symbolism representing the Savior. I'd have to say that my favorite decorations are the nativity's. They are beautiful.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Faking it...

Someday's you just 'fake it til you make it.' Today is one of those days. It's not that I am down in the dumps, it is that I have a slight case of the stomach flu. Yuck. However, I can't let my mom know that I am sick or she will be stressed and feel guilty, and invite all kinds of worrisome, and somewhat negative, feelings. So, I am faking it, and pretending that I am okay when I am around her. When out of sight, I collapse, which is what I am on my way to do right about now.

I'm grateful for days like these - sounds/seems silly, but seriously who doesn't feel amazing after being sick for a day or two? It just makes me appreciate being healthy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A rose is a rose...

As you know yesterday was the anniversary of our engagement. When Pat proposed we were sitting in my car at the Provo temple. After we became engaged he reached behind the seat and pulled out a long-stemmed red rose and gave it to me. That is part one of the story. Part two is that yesterday we picked up our new freezer. Because the weather is rainy we opted not to put our old fridge outside (until we get rid of it). We had to move a few things around for the freezer, while doing so Pat picked up a small unmarked box. Upon opening it he found the jar with the rose (yes, I put it in a jar to save it) that he had given me 35 years before. I'm grateful for the sentiment of what that rose represents, and that it has lasted all these years! (Like us!)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Engaging

Thirty-five years ago today Pat proposed to me...obviously I said "Yes!" I'm so grateful for that moment, it changed our lives, literally forever. That decision was the best I've ever made. I'm grateful for the wonderful man my husband is, that he truly loves me unconditionally, and indulges my romanticism by celebrating our engagement anniversary. :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Rainy days

Certainly you have guessed by now that today was rainy here...very rainy, in fact. We didn't get quite as much rain as the northern end of the valley, but we still got a good amount. And there is more to come! I am really grateful for these rainy days because it helps the drought situation. We have enough trials in life right now (not us in particular, the human race, or Californian's to be more specific), we do not need a drought on top of it. So, with every drop of rain that falls from the sky I am grateful. It means more water in the reservoirs. That is good.

Hopefully there won't be any serious flooding around here. Sometimes too much of a good thing is, well, too much. ;)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Accepting service

A few days prior to Thanksgiving I was getting out of my car in our garage. Our neighbor, Laura, yelled, "Sandy!" I stopped to listen to what she was saying to me. She came up and told me (knowing that my mom is living with us now) that if I ever needed anything from the store she would be happy to get it for me. All I needed to do was ask. She is a sweetheart, and I can't tell you how that lifted my heart. It made me love and appreciate her all the more.

I am not used to being the one served, and it is never easy for me to say 'yes' to any act of service aimed in my direction. We tend to try to be self-sufficient, to be independent, and strong. We seem to think that if we 'need' someone we are weak. Perhaps we are, for the time being. It's humbling to have others look after you. I see that in my mom every day. She thanks me all the time for taking care of her, she feels badly that I do so much for her, that she can't do for herself. It is difficult for many of us to accept help, assistance, from others.

One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was when I was expecting Rach. I had a pinched nerve and sciatica. My foot was numb, and I could barely walk. I also had varicose veins really badly, and my heart was doing things it shouldn't be doing. I was put on bed rest for several months. We limped along by ourselves for awhile. Pat was staying home from church in order to take care of me. No one really knew what was going on (well, I told my VT, but that was as far as it went, I wasn't expecting any help though). Pat finally realized that he and the kids needed to be at church, that I would be okay on my own (since I was all week long while he was at work! ;) ) So, off they went to church.

The bishop stopped him and told him that he thought that we had moved. (I think we had missed 3 weeks by then) Pat assured him that we hadn't and told him about what was happening. The bishop asked if we needed any assistance, Pat said no.

The thing was, we did, our house was falling apart. I was unable to cook or clean (that was when Pat learned how to make fettuccine - easiest recipe in the world), and Pat was too busy with a full time job, taking a class three times a week at night to get his engineering license, plus studying, plus taking care of our three children. It just wasn't a pretty sight. We were falling apart at the seams.

So when he told me that the bishop offered to send help over I told him that next time he asked he needed to take him up on it. He balked at the thought, but then he conceded that as hard as he was trying to be mom, dad, breadwinner, etc. he just couldn't do everything! So, we decided that we would simply ask for three meals a week, just until Rachel arrived (two months later). Fortunately, the bishop did ask again, and the RS president came over to assess the situation, and to clean my kitchen...bless her heart. The compassionate service leader arranged for a few meals to be brought over, and for another sister to come over and do our laundry. They didn't come often, which was fine, it was so greatly appreciated...and much needed.

Since then I am more in tune with how sensitive others are to receive service. The lesson I learned from this was that those that serve need blessings in their lives also.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a dear friend and told her that my mom had moved in. She said, "Oh, Sandy!" and what she meant was, how will you handle this? I reassured her that we'd be fine. Then I told her that I know that I will get the blessings that I need in order to help my mom, and I know that I will.

I am so grateful for the times in my life where I have needed to accept the service of others, it has made me more sensitive to others and to my mom and her feelings of inadequacy. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Swiffer supplies

Years ago when I would have to mop the floors I'd either pull out the trusty mop or get down on my hands and knees. I wish I could still mop the floor on my knees but I'm positive that would just hasten knee replacement surgeries ...that does not sound fun! Today I got out my trusty Swiffer supplies and Swiffered (not mopped) our kitchen floor. I'm grateful for my Swiffer! It serves me well. (And I love clean floors!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life's little miracles

Yesterday when I was out grocery shopping I had this nagging thought to get more milk, but I felt like I had just bought a gallon and it was out in the garage fridge. As I went to get my mom her cereal this morning I found that we were just about out of milk (of course Pat making pudding last night didn't help that! ;) )

As a result I found myself at Raley's, once again, to get a few items - milk being the main one. I went out to my car, loaded the few groceries in, but was rather rushed because a driver was waiting for my spot. (which really amazed me because there was a spot just one car over...I don't get it) So I hurriedly got in, pulled out and went to the ATM in the same shopping area, to deposit some checks for my mom. It was then that I discovered that my prescription sunglasses were no where to be found. I checked, and triple-checked my purse. Nope, not there. I drove back over to Raley's, and parked near my former spot. I looked on the ground in that area, and then in the store. Fortunately I didn't do a lot of shopping and knew the route I had gone. Still, no sunglasses.

I went up to one of the assistant managers and explained to him that I had lost my sunglasses, he went to the cashiers. Finally, at the last cashier, there sat my sunglasses! Unharmed! After thanking them profusely, I went out to the car, and thanked Heavenly Father profusely.

Truthfully, I didn't pray to find them, I figured if I had done all that I could then I would ask for help. It was nice to receive the answer I needed without asking, He is so kind, and so are others. I am grateful for that.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Costco, again

Surprisingly I found myself at Costco today. Seriously, I think the guy at the front door practically knows my name! Though sometimes there is a lady there, I think she might know my name too; if nothing else, they certainly know my face!

As I was perusing the aisles today, (because perusing is what everyone should do in Costco) I met up with a person in one of those motorized grocery carts. It was so nice because they had plenty of room to navigate as did I! It's always pleasant when those kinds of things happen, don't you think?

So, I am grateful for Costco, again, for a different reason than I have ever mentioned on here before. :)

(While I am at it, I love Amazon's deals going on right now! I totally scored a stationary recumbent bike for Pat and I for a steal!)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"See Others as They May Become"

In Relief Society today for our lesson we discussed President Monson's talk in the Priesthood Session in October. I had not yet read it. This morning I read it prior to our meeting. Wow. I love President Monson, the way he simplifies everything to make it work for everyone. He just has a knack for doing that, and as far as I can remember (literally) he always has.

As a young girl I remember how excited I would be when he spoke because his stories hit home. I especially loved the Christmas one about his sharing his toy/gift (a train, I believe) with a little boy less fortunate than him. How I loved that story.

Well, here we are, 49 years later (from when he was called as an Apostle) and I continue to be in awe and learn from him. I love that our grandchildren love him, that James thinks he is funny (because, frankly, sometimes he just is!).

However, today, as I read his talk a certain part really struck a chord with me. He shared a story from President Tanner who had just returned from presiding over the missions in Great Britain and Europe, about a missionary that Brother Tanner had interviewed. This particular missionary had great success, and Brother Tanner asked him what was the secret to his success...was it through referrals? The young missionary said in fact that those they baptized they had come in contact with while tracting. (knocking on doors) Brother Tanner asked him why this approach worked for him. The young elder said that if a man came to the door, smoking a cigar and dressed in old clothes and seemed uninterested in anything - particularly religion -the young missionary would picture in his own mind what that man would look like in a different set of circumstances. In his mind he would look at him as clean-shaven, wearing a white shirt, and white trousers. And the missionary could see himself leading him into the waters of baptism. Then he said, "When I look at someone that way, I have the capacity to bear my testimony to him in a way that can touch his heart."

Then President Monson said that we have the responsibility to look at others that way.

So, why am I grateful for this? That missionary could have been talking about my parents. Our missionaries knocked on our door when I was a few months old, my parents listened. My dad, who was an alcoholic, and smoked, turned completely away from that lifestyle and toward the gospel of Jesus Christ. My mom, who smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes daily for fourteen years, quit. Period. They found the truth, they embraced it, repented, and changed for the good.

My father served as Bishop, in several bishoprics, as various presidents of organizations, on the High Council, and as a Seminary teacher. He influenced many for good. My mom, she served as President of each Auxiliary, and served in the Stake Primary Presidency, and she influenced many for good. Mostly, they influenced me, and our family, for good. I will ever be indebted to Elder McNeal Magleby for finding my parents and loving them, and seeing what they could become.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Clam Chowder

Tonight I made homemade clam chowder. I've had this recipe since I was 18! We love it. It's just getting chilly enough here for it to be 'soup season'. (Yay!) I am grateful for this recipe, and the fact that I can make it without hauling out the recipe. It is delicious.

Funny sideline story: I took my mom a bowl of the clam chowder and she happily ate it all up. When I went to get her bowl from her (she eats in her room) she said, "That was really good! Is it from a can?"

Nope. It sure isn't. :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Online ordering

Last night and today I've been ordering various Christmas gifts for our family. I have gotten much done, and all from the comfort of our home. Oh, and another thing I am grateful for... Amazon Prime. Free 2-day shipping (if you don't count the $79 I paid initially, and will again soon). I use this so much throughout the year that Amazon and I are developing a personal relationship! ;)

Truly, I am really grateful that I could shop from home, and get so much accomplished. In some ways it seems magical, I simply wave my credit card at them, and presto (!) I have Christmas shopping accomplished! Couldn't ask for more... well, maybe I could.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am celebrating with my husband and mother...and with what contact we have with our family. I am grateful for this holiday since it causes us to stop and ponder the blessings we have and are grateful for. Here are a few of those blessings I hold dear:

- My family - parents, husband, kids, kids-in-law, grandkids, etc.
- My Heavenly Father, and Savior, Jesus Christ - their love, support, forgiveness, and all the blessings associated with them
- The Holy Ghost - for so many reasons
- Great friends
- The freedom we enjoy in our country
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Being able to share my feelings of gratitude with you
- Our home, the comforts we have, etc.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, however you choose to celebrate.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fall Colors

There is nothing quite as remarkable to me as the fall colors that explode in October and November. We now have two maple trees in our backyard and they are a sight to behold! They are sitting right outside our great room so I can partake of their beauty daily!

Yesterday I had to go to Stockton to get cortisone shots (one in each knee). While Stockton is far from my favorite place to be I have to admit that the trees in the Kaiser parking lot were breathtaking! I could have sat there in their presence for hours. However, I had places to go and things to do, so I couldn't.

Fall colors remind me of spending time with our kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids...I have to soak up those moments because they don't last long.

I am grateful for the beauty of the earth, it is truly glorious.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Care and concern

After all was said and much was done they determined that my mom did not have a heart attack. They actually don't know what happened. She is now gratefully resting at home. I sm so grateful for the calls, the emails, the texts, and mostly the prayers offered on her behalf.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Doctors and nurses

Today has been a very long, tiring day. My mom had to go to Kaiser for a pulmonary test, lab work, a chest xray and to pick up her diabetes testing equipment. We were going to also take care of a medical release, but she was so worn out that I just got the paper to fill out at home. (Luckily she was in a wheelchair) After that she wanted me to stop and get her some taco bell. (Which I did) We came home she ate lunch and decided to take a much needed nap. Suddenly I heard her and her walker coming toward our room, which never happens. I knew she couldn't talk well since having the pulmonary test so I got up and went over to her, asking what was wrong. I didn't expect her to say these words, "I think I'm having a heart attack." Talk about turning your life upside down! I quickly called Pat, got my mom in the car and drove the three miles to the hospital. We were in the ER for about six hours, then they finally got her settled into a room. Poor woman was exhausted. So, with a grateful heart to all of those Doctors and Nurses that took care of her, and will tonight and tomorrow, I express my deepest appreciation.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Forgiveness

Pat had to speak in another ward today. His assigned topic was forgiveness. We attended our ward first where our Patriarch spoke (love that man!) and then another High Councilor spoke. When Pat spoke he mentioned our friends whose daughter was hit by a car years ago and killed instantly. The man that hit her had to go to court and was sentenced to several years in prison. Mike went to court, sat with this man's brother to lend his support, having forgiven his brother for killing their daughter. As we have talked since that awful experience they have been an amazing example to both of us in what it takes and means to forgive one who has hurt you so deeply. I have had to do some serious forgiving in my life, but nothing that compares to that. How grateful I am for our greatest example, found in the life of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am that through His Atonement that real, permanent, forgiveness is possible.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Heating up

A few days ago I noticed electric heaters at Costco. I asked my mom if she'd like one for her room, she said 'no!' Several days later I was at Costco again and noticed that there were just a few left, so I grabbed one and brought it home. Later I told my mom that I got it for her, explaining that I knew she didn't want it but that as things go at Costco if you don't get it while the getting's good you probably won't get it! Then I asked her why she didn't want the heater. She said she thought they weren't safe. Then I told her how they have improved through the years and that if she changes her mind we have it and to let me know. As I write this post my mom is enjoying the new heater in her room...and I am grateful for that.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Snicker.Doodles.

Yum. I have always loved Snickerdoodles. I remember making them when I was a kid. When we got married we did not have much money, so baking cookies became a way to save our budget. (Sorry Hostess, sad to see your demise, but you were just too much for us! ...seriously, no more snowballs? My dad's fave. He would be sad. Good thing I snagged the Green Lantern ones last year, they will definitely be my last memory of Hostess.)

Seeing as how I have a new Kitchen Aid and today was supposed to be rainy (slightly) I opted to make my husband's favorite cookie - Snickerdoodles. My, how he loves them and their cinnamony goodness. I figured if he could happily agree to my purchase I can certainly happily make him cookies. He will have a smile on his cute face tonight. :)

I guess I should have just titled my post 'cookies', because really, who doesn't love them? And who isn't grateful when some kind friend drops off a few of the unexpected treats? Our family favorites through the years have been; Chocolate Chip, Cowboy cookies, Snickerdoodles, Oatmeal, and for some Peanut Butter.

Yes, I am grateful for Snickerdoodles... they are yummy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Baking/therapy

One of my best ways of relieving stress is through baking, another one is cleaning. Our house doesn't get that dirty (not like it did when the kids were home, and little) so cleaning therapy isn't an option like it once was. However, I haven't really been baking much. Some time ago I told Rach that when she moved into her own place she could have my stand mixer (which she did in August) and that I'd get a new Kitchenaid mixer for my birthday, which was also in August. Due to circumstances at the time I didn't get a new mixer. (I don't remember why.) So, I've been doing without a stand mixer for several months, and haven't been baking much, at all. Since I enjoy getting bargains I've been doing my research, the mixer I wanted was at least $330. Then a few things happened, a) Craig got Angie one as an early Christmas gift at Costco, b) Costco had them go on sale ($250 - great price), c) Amy was having a difficult time and Angie kindly shared her cookie/therapy with her (which got me to thinking about my stress lately), and d) tomorrow is going to be a rainy stay-at-home kind of day. All of that combined to motivate me to go to Costco today and purchase a brand-spanking new Kitchenaid mixer! Yippeeee! I can hardly wait to use it! I am grateful for baking therapy! It's much less expensive than a therapist, and much more fun!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Smile that frown away

Admittedly I've been struggling a bit lately. I know part of it is post-election blues, and the thought of Thanksgiving and Christmas without any of our kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids around, and not being able to go and visit any of them does bother me. Oh well.

So, rather than be down about all of these things which are completely out of my control, I am, instead, going to focus on the things that make me happy (and grateful) at this time of year. There are several ways I have decided to tackle this -

1) Don't watch the news. Period. If I want to know what the weather is going to be like I'll look on  my phone or go to weather.com. I don't need to hear about politics, or murders, or anything negative, so I won't.
2) Focus on the real reason for the season. First, we are celebrating all that we have been blessed with. (So very much, which, by the way isn't really ours, it all belongs to Heavenly Father, He is just kind enough to allow us to use what belongs to Him) Second, we celebrate the greatest blessing we have been given in celebrating the birth, the life, the Atonement, and the resurrection of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. (That thought entails so much more, but that is the simple version of it.)
3) Giving service. When we are in the service of our fellow men/women, we truly are in the service of our God. When we give of our time, talents, energy, to others, we are happier.
4) Appreciation for others - while we may not be able to be with our family on these holidays, and sending gifts is a minor way of expressing love, I count my greatest blessings in knowing and loving the family that we have... as well as others that aren't in our family, that we love deeply.

Having just made that list I discovered that the 'burdens' of life already feel a bit lighter. What I am also reminded of is that what truly matters to me is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our family, and all the other people that I love, and that love me in return.

I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord in my life, and how He helps me, through the Spirit, to focus on what matters; and as a result feel genuine happiness and joy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kaiser

Never, ever, thought I'd say that I'm grateful for Kaiser! Truthfully, sometimes I am, and sometimes I am not. Today is one that I am. I had to go to my Dr. since my knees are giving me fits. In order to get x-rays, then see my orthopedist, I needed to go in for an appointment today. (tomorrow I take my mom, it'a a Kaiser kind of week, well, perhaps month)

After coming home, running limping to the grocery store, I came home and was able to make an appointment with my orthopedist for next Tuesday...Yay! I am grateful I was able to get in to see my primary physician, and now my specialist, plus I got a flu shot! (and I didn't even feel it!)

Life is good.

P.S. I took my mom to the Dr. today, my Dr. at Kaiser. He spent nearly an hour and a half with her, and he was so patient. I was exhausted by the time we were done, so I can only imagine how he felt! And an added bonus - he sent my physical therapist in to visit with me for a few minutes and help me with a problem I am having. So sweet.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pick Me Up

Nothing like a 2 hour phone call with someone you love to pick you up! Thanks Amers! I am quite grateful! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holiday Season

Did you realize that Thanksgiving is a mere eleven days away?! ELEVEN DAYS!! Unbelievable! Pat and I have been 'discussing' our menu. Unfortunately it will be only him, me, and my mom here for dinner. Since it's only the three of us we will be keeping it simple...no turkey for us! Nope. I am just going to make harvest chicken bake, it's very yummy and Thanksgiving-ish, so it works! (And we won't have a ton of leftovers!) Simplicity will be the word that defines my approach to this year's holiday season, which will make me happy. (Normally I'd begin a new paragraph about now, but I'm on my kindle, so you get what you get.) Back to the holiday season ...I am grateful for this season of gratitude, of kindness, love, giving and reflection. We are all so very blessed, temporally and spiritually. While we will miss Sam, Linzi, Rylee, Sadie, Chloe, Craig, Angie, Lucas, Darci, Amy, Brad, James, Gavin, Jack, and Rachel, we will do our best to find joy in this holiday season.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A full pantry

Pat and I went shopping for a freezer and generator this morning. My mom wasn't up when we left so I didn't get her any breakfast. We came home around 11 AM. I went in and saw her as soon as we got home, and she said she was just going to go in and make herself a Pb&j and some hot chocolate. She was happy that I was willing to do that for her. When I finished taking her food to her I figured I should probably eat also (since I hadn't yet.) As I was contemplating what to eat it struck me how blessed we are to have such a full pantry (two actually). So full, in fact, that I purchased more storage containers so that I can organize the food even better. During this month of Thanksgiving, this is truly something to be grateful for.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sweaters

The weather has changed, it's cold outside, and a little inside. I am grateful for warm, cozy sweaters - they're the best!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Target's customer service desk

This morning I had several errands to run. First, there was Raley's (even though they are on strike, yes, I went there; I don't care about unions, go figure) Second, I had to go to Target. Before I did I decided I needed to record some VT numbers I had received through an email. As I was putting back the supervisor's record I noticed that there were two supervisor's that didn't have their recording sheet. (they have been either out of town or not at church) So, I decided that I would go and drop them off at their homes. (Why is the song, "Taking care of business" suddenly in my head? Hmmm.)

One of the supervisor's is someone that I visit teach. My visit with her turned into a visiting teaching visit. I was there for at least an hour. I hadn't expected to be gone that long!

I still had my Target run to go on. I hurried over to Target, quickly shopping for the supplies I needed (perhaps a few extras... sales that I couldn't resist). As I was coming closer to the checkout area I noticed there were five or six carts in front of me, with much merchandise being bought. Being on the shorter side I did my best to see if there was a line at the customer service desk. There was not.

I hightailed it over there and the clerk kindly waited on me. I was done in no time at all. (way before the others in front of me!)

Last time I was at Target the same thing was happening. (they really should hire more people) I went over to the customer service desk then as well. The cashier was super nice and friendly, and commented on how she doesn't understand why people don't use them  more often to pay for things. I told her I think it's a well kept secret. And it will continue to be, since not many people read my blog. But you do! So, hey, next time you are at Target and the lines are ridiculously long, go to the customer service desk...they'll check you out, in a good way!

(I am grateful I know about their policy!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happier Camper

My last post was posted early, early this morning. I couldn't sleep due to the election. Amy said I sounded depressed. Probably because I was.

I'm grateful for the difference a day makes. There are still some things I cannot stomach, and don't want to  hear, but I am fine...as long as I stay away from the lefties. I also couldn't face facebook, even though nothing major was being posted, other than a lovely message from the First Presidency. I'll go back to facebook, someday, when I am ready. :)

I also have a wonderful husband, who was also feeling a bit down, but was still kind enough to go out of his way to bring me flowers to cheer me up this evening. What a sweetheart.

Confession: one of the major reasons I was down (other than the obvious one - Mitt losing) was due to my lack of faith in myself. I had experienced multiple times when I felt the Spirit was telling me that he would win, that things would eventually be alright. Turns out I was wrong, and I puzzled about the feelings I had felt. What I have come to realize through the course of this day was that the Spirit was telling me that things were going to be alright, that things were in the Lord's hands, that I need not fear.

Not only am I grateful for that reassurance, that comfort, but I am also grateful for the understanding I've been given of what I felt, and that I don't have to doubt myself. That means the world to me. You can take away a lot of things from me, they might upset me, even make me sad, but the one thing you can't take away from me without devastating me is my faith in my ability to recognize the Spirit. Sometimes I just interpret what I am feeling wrong. I'm not perfect, so that's okay, I can live with that. I just can't live with being devastated.

Not a happy camper

Tonight the unexpected happened, Obama was reelected as President of the United States. That is all I am going to say about it. I, along with millions of other voters am not happy about it, and that will suffice.

This morning I took my mom to get a pedicure. As we were driving through town she commented on how much she likes Manteca. Then she asked me if I liked it as much as Ripon. I said 'no'. Since she can't hear well I didn't go into detail, like how high the crime rate has become here, or how much I dislike politics in California (even though Ripon is in CA, that doesn't matter...). I just let it go.

Then she proceeded to tell me that she hopes that I appreciate the blessings I have. That we have such a nice home, and we have been blessed far more than she and my dad ever were.

What? Really? Seriously. I kindly explained to her that Pat doesn't make nearly as much money as my dad did. That yes, they had to pay more in taxes, but we really don't make that kind of money. If Pat were making what my dad did (comparatively) in the 70's and 80's he would be making five times more than what we make, at least.

But I couldn't explain that to my mom. All I could say was that we are really careful with our money, and that is why we are comfortable. Then she told me what a blessing it is that we are able to budget so well. (sigh) I explained that I believe it is because we pay tithing that I have been able to learn to budget so well, and that we have been able to distinguish between wants and needs, due to tithing also.

I love my mom. I am grateful that she is happy that we are doing well. I am grateful for the blessings we do have. I just wish, and hoped, that Romney had won... I'd feel a whole lot better tonight if he had.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

Today is election day in the USA. I know I posted on here about voting last week, but it is certainly worth repeating. Today I am filled with gratitude that each and every American (18 and over) has the privilege of going to the polls and voicing who they want to lead our country, or their local leaders, and what they want to take place as far as propositions go. We don't have anyone telling us what to do, we vote with OUR conscience! This is our right. This is our voice. I am praying for America and confident that this election is in the Lord's hands.

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Indian" Summer

It's 80 degrees outside right now, and the leaves are turning into their beautiful fall colors. What a lovely day! I am grateful that our "Indian" Summer is mild, and not HOT!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Enthusiasm!

In our ward I serve as the visiting teaching coordinator. That means that I help our Relief Society President figure out who visits whom, get reports on who actually visited whom, and make sure that any 'problems' are reported to our president.

One of the sisters in our ward bore her testimony today. I went up to her to express my appreciation for her words. Before I could say anything she threw her arms around me, and thanked me profusely for assigning her the sisters that she visit teaches. She expressed to me that they are all the same age, and that they have much in common. She also said that finally she loves visiting teaching!

I am so grateful that this sister is gaining a testimony of the importance of the friendships that are formed, and the love that is developed, through visiting teaching. I am also grateful that she is taking it even further, she doesn't just see her sisters once a month, nope, she sees them at least once a week. Now that is enthusiasm!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Voting

One of the many, amazing, freedoms we enjoy here in the USA is the right and privilege to vote for who we choose to have in office. Honestly, here in California, rarely am I in the majority...sadly enough. However, I still hold dear that right. My parents taught me to honor our country, and our freedom; by saluting the flag, singing the national anthem, doing simple things like not littering, and just plain being respectful of the values our country holds dear. One of those patriotic duties is to vote.

For several years now Pat and I have chosen to vote absentee. It's nice, for us, to be able to sit at our kitchen table, thoughtfully go over the choices we have, mark our choices, sign and seal them up and send them in. We both did that the other day. The feeling it gives me is akin to being spiritual. I know that within that envelope contains rights that were fought for, and freedom that we enjoy.

How grateful I am for the right, privilege, and opportunity to vote.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Four more days!

While it's true that I am somewhat of a political junkie, I have to admit that I am grateful the election takes place in a mere four days. You can't watch anything on TV, or listen to the radio, without a negative political ad popping up! I'm quite tired of those! Living in California we don't see nearly as many as other States do... which I am also grateful for! (I'm also grateful for Mitt Romney, our next President!)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The BEST waffles

Amy has motivated me to be more organized regarding dinners, purely by example. I can tell you it takes a lot of guess work out of the age old question, "What's for dinner?"

Thursdays are breakfast food night, since we enjoy breakfast foods for dinner in our family. Don't you? Tonight I decided to make waffles. This recipe is from my old roommate, Elizabeth. Years ago when our family was visiting she made these and our family has loved them ever since. They are as easy as any other waffle recipe (except Krusteaz, since there is not a smidgen of thought to those!)

Every time I make these, it makes me happy. They are lighter than your average waffle. (though I must admit that 'off the waffle' in Eugene has the best waffles anywhere, hands down, well, at least to my experience!)

So, yes, I am grateful for these waffles, because they are delicious. So grateful I am sharing the recipe!

Lizzy's Waffles

2 cups Bisquick
1 egg
1/2 cup oil (I use canola, since that is what we always use)
10 club soda

Mix together, cook on waffle iron, and enjoy!

You can freeze them and heat them up in the toaster for later if you want.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Safe and warm

Today is Halloween, so I'll just start by saying, "Happy Halloween!" I actually considered doing a post on being grateful for Halloween, but there are other, more important issues I am grateful for today...

 Hurricane Sandy (unfortunately it's named Sandy) struck with a vengeance on the East coast, with a 900 mile radius. Crazy. Fortunately the hurricane portion of the storm lessened, and just became a 'noreaster' or 'monster' storm...however you choose to view it. The point is that it could have been so much worse. Don't get me wrong, the toll it took was very, very bad. People are left without homes. Many lives were lost. The Jersey shore (part of their needed economy - tourism) has vanished. I saw one reporter standing on sand, on what appeared to be level ground. It was a pool that had filled with sand. Flooding was everywhere. It will be some time before the NY subway system will be up and running. One neighborhood went up in fire. I'm certain I am only covering a few of the many tragedies that struck, but those were what I witnessed on TV.

 I, along with many others in this great nation we live in, prayed for and continue to pray for those in need, in desperation. I wish I could invite them into my home, give them a soft bed to sleep on, and a warm meal. But, I live thousands of miles away from them, and cannot assist in this way. So prayers, money, that is all I can offer.

 And on the flip side of that - I can offer my gratitude to our Father for the safety and warmth our family, and others I love and care about, are enjoying right this minute. Our grandchildren will go trick or treating tonight, without cause for concern. They will go home to their soft beds, with food in their tummies, and smiles on their faces, and in their hearts. I am grateful for that. I am grateful they are not in harm's way, and that they truly can enjoy their Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Red tape

By now you're aware that my mom has moved in. With her move comes several challenges ...the most important was tackling her insurance/Medicare. So much to do! The past few weeks I've talked with insurance reps and thought I was on the right track. Until today. I had hoped to get her into Rachel's former doctor, only to discover that he isn't taking Medicare patients. So, I called Social Security to see if they had any idea of what course to follow. They referred me to some California health/insurance department. They didn't answer. At that point I decided to call Kaiser, just to look into it. When I told mom the info she said she wanted Kaiser for her insurance. Seeing as how her insurance doesn't cover her in our area and she'd be paying for it on the first we acted quickly. After spending an hour on the phone with Kaiser, then calling Medicare and Social Security, I am grateful to be done with ALL that red tape!!! I'm ready for a vacation!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunshine

This morning I was thinking about a person in my life. This person has a difficult time dealing with life. They are incapable of seeing the sunshine on a cloudy day, all they see are the clouds. It is sad to me, that this person experiences life that way...it could have easily been me that has that take on life.

I am grateful that I have been blessed to see the sunshine through the clouds. Yes, I may have moments where the sun is not shining that strongly for me to see, but through the help of the Spirit, and those that love me, I do see that sunshine...almost always. Not only am I grateful for that blessing, but I am deeply humbled by it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Primary children

The past few years I've missed our Primary Sacrament meeting program. Today I was delighted, and grateful, to be there for this year's program. It was fun to see how well they did. It did cause me to regret that we aren't able to see our grandchildren when they participate in their programs. At least I can be grateful for our ward's!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New Beginnings

Mom is safely here now. She is sleeping in the comfort of her new room. We had a really good chat all the way down from Sacramento...which is amazing, and always something to be grateful for!

This morning as I was getting ready to go up and get her and her belongings I began thinking about various places we've moved to... and the blessings that came from each of those moves. Two of my favorite places that we have lived as a family were, unfortunately, short-lived.

The first was Paradise, CA. (though I had lived there with my parents previously). We loved it there. Paradise truly is all it's name implies. We were only able to live there for two years. Fortunately, Amy has the good fortune of being able to claim being born in Paradise! That's a fun one for her.

The second was Idaho Falls, ID. Surprisingly, I fell in love with living there. We made many amazing friends, were able to be in a great ward, and the girls loved school there. There really was absolutely nothing negative about being there. As luck would have it, after 911 happened the work that Pat's company was promised by the government was halted. So, we had to leave the area, and move back here. It took me several years to get over that one.

As I look back at the many moves we've made, I truly do see blessings coming from each of them. I am grateful that we could move my mom in with us, and for the new beginnings she will experience, even at age 86 (87 in January!).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Order

Tomorrow my mom moves in with us. Things have been hectic getting everything in order. They finally are! All we have left to do is pick up the truck, pack it up, bring her and her belongings here, and then we are finished. I am grateful things are in order.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

For the love of service

Amy has the stomach flu...poor thing. Rach was so sweet and took her some tapioca (what most of us like when we are sick). While texting with Ames today she asked if I had ever been sick when they were little. I told her I had. It made me remember a time when I had pneumonia and Pat was busy with work and being Bishop. It was Spring break so the kids were home. The boys were off being adventurous while the girls chose to stay home and take care of me, and everything they could do in the house. They were ten and almost twelve. That service continues to melt my heart. I will forever be grateful to those that willingly serve others.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DI

When Rach was last here she went through all of her belongings...pretty much. We have bags and boxes of things to donate. Pat insisted on donating them to DI, and gratefully, the DI truck was deposited at our Stake Center last night. So, tonight, instead of attending our Ward Halloween Party, we are going to be taking Rachel's, and our, donations to the DI truck. (and doing some hometeaching) Thank goodness!

On another note, I really am grateful for DI (Deseret Industries) for the many blessings that company gives to others, including (sometimes) members of our family. I remember when our kids were growing up I always felt guilty doing any shopping there, since I figured there were others with greater needs than ours. So, on occasion we would shop there, but not much. I am also grateful for the employment opportunities they give to others that might otherwise be glossed over, and unable to find employment.

All in all, DI is a win/win.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kindness

One of our friends is quite talented. She has had many trials lately and we have done our best to "be there" for her. Even though she has experienced many difficulties she still found time to do something for us. We didn't expect, or ask, for anything in return, but we are grateful for her kindness, and the love she shows us. She is an amazing person, and I believe there are great blessings in store for her.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baby,it's cold outside!

Oh, the weather outside was frightful...or should I say delightful? Today fall wasn't just in the air, it was everywhere! Pat and I drove to Sacramento, him for a meeting, me to see my mom to assess what size truck we'll need to move her in this coming Saturday. All day it rained off and on, and was it windy! So windy, in fact, there were tornadoes in Elk Grove, and near Oroville!! (Grateful no one was hurt) I am grateful for this change in weather. LOVE IT!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jack-Jack


My goodness, time has sure flown by! I cannot believe that one year ago today we were meeting little Jack for the first time! Before we even knew it we were calling him Jack-Jack! I was talking to Amy about this little guy the other day, telling her what a happy boy he is. Sure, he has his moments where he wants his mommy, as she walks by and he is heartbroken. Or, those moments when he is starving to death and needs food...NOW. But, overall, he is one of the chubbiest, happiest, cutest little guys ever. He is loving and sweet.  We are certainly blessed to have him as (currently) our youngest grandchild.

Happy 1st Birthday Jack! You are loved so very much.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Strong arms

Today has been moving day while we prepare for my mom to move in next Saturday. Thankfully, Pat has strong arms, since I do not. He is doing 95% of the work, and for that I am truly grateful. Here is what we have done thus far:
- Moved the twin bed (after covering in plastic) to the storage shed
- Moved many boxes to the storage shed (as we weeded through them, giving much away)
- Moved the queen bed to the 'study'
- Moved the computer/desk to the 'study'
- Washed and dried 3 loads of bedding
- Emptied the dresser to be moved to the 'study'
- Stepped on Missy's tail...oops, and 'meowwrrrr'!
- Sorted through all the toys, moving them to the shed (found the missed Brontosaurus and a good deal of toys the kids would have loved having out last week!)

 We only have a little left to do for today (and may I say how grateful I am to have my computer on again?), like moving the dresser and nightstand to the study. Then Pat will mow the lawn, I will give his hair a nice trim, he will work on his talk for tomorrow morning (why, hello Ripon ward!), and we will grab a bite to eat.

What a busy, productive day. I'm so grateful for Pat, he works so hard on our behalf, all the time. :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cute kids

Our grandkids are pretty adorable. Seriously. A few things have happened that give me cause to make such a statement. First, Sadie as a pirate - too cute. Rylee missing her front tooth - priceless (except for the tooth fairy!) Lucas waking Craig up to find out what Batman uses his Batman gloves for - so adorable! And then there's James - who, when he got up early this morning, who was on his mind? His grandparents ..."I love him. I love him. I love her. I love her." How grateful for each one of my grandchildren -they all tug at my heart.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Support

A few days ago I contemplated not having this blog any longer, and just continuing to write my grateful moments down for myself. Gratefully, two of our children, Craig and Amy, lent their support. I know the others read it as well, and I am grateful they do (probably not Sam, but Linzi does!). I am hopeful that this blog does serve to make one contemplate what they are grateful for. It's not for the number of viewers, as I eluded to the other day...which was wrong of me. Really, what it boils down to, is me taking the time to voice what I am grateful for, which keeps me in check.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Creativity

When Amy was here we bought towels and ribbon to make hooded towels for the grandkids when they visit. Things were a bit more hectic than we thought they'd be, so Amy made one while she was here. I finished making the other two today. :)

I am grateful for: 1) the site from Pinterest where the instructions are shared, 2) my ability (and Amy's) to use a sewing machine, and figure out the towel structure, and 3) my sewing machine. I love it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Successful surgery

Pat found a basal cell carcinoma on his nose in the beginning of August that seemed to have 'sprouted' overnight. He finally was able to go to the dermatologist yesterday and have it removed. Thankfully, the DR was able to remove it with the first incision. I am very grateful that it wasn't more serious, and that he is fine...other than a little discomfort, a large bandage, and the beginnings of a possible black eye. :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Full house

Our home is quiet. I miss the noise, the toys, the food prep, the fun...of having a full house. There were SO many moments when I would just stop whatever I was doing and grab one of my grandchildren, hug and kiss them (except for Gav, who is two, and very independent), and express my love for them. We don't have nearly enough time with all our children, our time together is precious. Yesterday when we said "goodbye" to the last of the departers, we went inside, viewed the chaos, quickly found some left behind items, sat on the couch, and then the tears came. Poor Pat, he misses everyone so very much. I am grateful for the full house we had, even if it was only for a short time.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

to blog or not...

I feel like my blog is a bit blah... perhaps a reflection of my life, right? At any rate, I am considering quitting it. I went from having quite a few look at it to nearly none. I mean, 2 views this past week? I can continue writing for myself about the things I am grateful for, so that is fine, I don't need a blog to record being grateful.

I am grateful for the time I've spent on this blog, and how much it has helped me get through some trials. Being grateful has become more ingrained in me, and if it has offered nothing else, that is enough for me. I am still debating, but this is what I am thinking. And to continue along that thought, I am also considering quitting Facebook,  no special reason.

There you have it. You may, or may not, see me on here again.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Horses, Horses, Horses

In the movie, "Sleepless in Seattle", when Meg Ryan Annie Reed is driving to her family's home on Christmas Eve, merrily listening to Christmas music on the radio she sings along to "Sleigh Ride". In the background the singers sing, "Horses, horses, horses", which she sings along to. I have no idea why but that is one of the few 'quotes' that comes to my mind when I think of that movie.

Today we were able to go to Jim and Chris's (Brad's parent's) ranch where Angie, Craig, Lucas and Darci were able to ride their horses. The kids all loved running around on their property, and of course, riding the horses. It's so sweet of Chris and Jim to let us come and take our grandkids to have a horse-experience! I remember taking Rylee there when she was ten months old, and how much she loved it.

I am grateful, as always, for the generosity of Jim and Chris, and for Brad taking the time to take his in-laws out there. :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Full day

We took a day trip to one of our favorite places today - Apple Hill. The kids have always loved going there and it was fun to share it with Angie this year! We had a very full day, leaving later than hoped for, going to only two of our favorite apples places, topped off with James slamming the car door on his thumb. :( After that we decided we wouldn't be able to take the time to go and see Grandma Breed; we were all disappointed. Then we headed home, to celebrate Jack's first birthday (the 21st!)

I am grateful for a full day with family. It might be exhausting, but it's worth every second.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hugging Cousins

It has been nearly three years since Craig and Amy have seen one another. There have been three children born in the meantime - Craig and Angie had Darci last August; Amy and Brad had Gavin two August's ago, and Jack last October. This morning Craig, Angie, Lucas and Darci arrived at our home, after a long night on the road, at 6:30. All four of them were awake, while Amy's family slept. Finally, around 8 AM, Craig and Angie decided it was time to get some sleep. Brad was up so he and I would watch Lucas and Darci. A little while later James and Gav came out of the room they were sleeping in, holding hands (how cute is that?). When they saw Lucas and Darci and said 'hi' they went and gave Lucas a hug. At one point in time during the day James and Lucas had to make up (who remembers why, not me!), so they hugged, then Gav came over, and Lucas was hugging both of them at the same time.

So, so precious!

It is great to have them here, I am grateful to have them here... only 6 other members of our family are missing, and definitely missed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Good talks

Yesterday I was able to talk on the phone with Linzi for an hour and a half. It'd been awhile so we had some catching up to do. Plus, they've had some trials lately and it was good to hear that they were doing okay. Sometimes a mom/mom-in-law/grandma needs to know what is going on in the lives of her family...that'd be me. :)

I am grateful we could talk, it just made me feel happy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Yummy Cookies!

Brad, Amy and boys headed north to visit with Neil and his family in Elk Grove today. I had a little bit of time to myself so I decided to bake some cookies for their return. I tried this amazing recipe posted on Our Best Bites on Monday...super yummy. I've been trying various chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for years, in hopes of finding a really good great one. I finally did! I am so grateful I did and I know they are going to love them...especially Pat.

If you are interested in making them go to ourbestbites.com ...you're gonna love them! (I chose to not make them giant, just because!)

Just to make it easier for you, here is the recipe. :)


Giant Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from The Best Bake Sale Cookbook
Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled with a knife (very high altitudes may want to try adding 2 additional tablespoons of flour)
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 3/4 teaspoon table salt)
3 cups (or 18 ounces) chocolate chips (I used the big Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips and don’t think I wouldn’t be above using those chocolate chunks you can get in the baking aisle…)
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325. If desired, line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Beat the softened butter, sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips). Add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix until combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
Using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, drop the dough by the scoopful onto the prepared baking sheets. You should be able to get about 6 cookies per sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until they begin to turn light brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely (or don’t…no shame…) Makes 18 giant cookies. If you’re feeling more modest, you can always use a smaller cookie scoop.