Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013

Our family has a tradition. At the end of each year we write down the things that happened, and then we write down the things we expect and/or hope to happen in the coming year. So, today I thought I'd share a few things that I am grateful for that happened in our family in 2013.

1.  Maci Jane was born into our family - can't go wrong when another little one joins your family! She was the tie-breaker - now we have 5 granddaughters, and 4 grandsons. She is adorable to boot! :)

2.  Linzi graduated from BYU-I with her BS. Yay!

3.  Craig graduated from UVU and immediately began work at EMC, a great company to work for. He is excelling and loving it! Hooray!!!

4.  Brad received a promotion, which allowed their family to purchase a home; single level, with a back yard!! Yippee!!

5.  Rach returned to school. She now is attending OSU, home of the Beavers. She is going for her Dietetics degree. She is also in a great relationship... double Yay!!

6.  Pat received the Engineer of the Year award for the San Joaquin Chapter of Engineers. So deserving!

7.  Sandy was able to play grandma several times this year, which is what she truly loves to do. We love our grandchildren SO much!

8.  We were able to travel to see family and to go to Hawaii for a few days. :)

9.  We just had half of our children home for Christmas... that was super fun!

10. I've been able to get help from the Chiropractor for my back, which was out of alignment due to my knee being in terrible condition. Luckily my back isn't nearly as bad! I can walk! Yay!!

11. Rach and I were able to go on a road-trip up to Vancouver, BC. Such beautiful country! I can hardly wait to take Pat up there!

All in all, I am grateful for 2013. Like any other year there were good times and bad times. Fortunately the bad were doable, and we have peace in our family and in our home.

Top things I am grateful for: our family, the gospel of Jesus Christ; my relationship with my Savior, and Father, and the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for friends, near and far. I am grateful that we are all here still, as too many that we have known have passed away unexpectedly this year. I am grateful for the good health we do have. I am grateful to live in the United States of America; for the freedom we enjoy, for the right that we have to voice our opinion, and to practice our beliefs. I am grateful for the beauty that we've been blessed with - my personal favorites - the mountains and the ocean. I am grateful that Pat has a good job, and that his dedication to being a good worker affords us the comforts of life. I am grateful for the happiness of our children, children-in-law, and grandchildren. On that note, I am grateful for words of love, hugs, snuggles and kisses.

There truly is so much to be thankful for.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Paper Products

Never have I been a fan of doing dishes; that is especially true when it comes to having a houseful of people! This past week Dixie paper plates have been my friend, in the truest sense of the word. They kept me from having to slave over dishwasher full, after dishwasher full, of plates and cups to wash! Instead of doing four loads of dishes per day we whittled it down to just two! Yay!

Christmas was a different story. We have to use nice plates then! Still, rather than break out the china that isn't dishwasherable (like my 'new' word?) we used our Christmas plates! Not only are they festive and cute, I don't have to wash them by hand! (nor does anyone else...you can thank me now! ;) )

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Father's blessings

Having a faithful Priesthood holder in our home is always a blessing. One of my favorite experiences is when Pat gives one of our children a Father's blessing. It is, quite simply, a choice experience. This morning was one of those times. Pat gave both Amy and Rachel a blessing. The Spirit was present, and this mother felt tremendous gratitude.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy 5th James!

Today we celebrated James' 5th birthday. We are grateful for him in our lives. He loves anything superhero related, his brothers, his mommy and daddy, and being adventurous. James is funny, smart, and cute. We love him and are grateful for him. Happy birthday James!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Monterey Bay

We were able to go to Monterey today. It's definitely one of my favorite places. Only stands to reason that I'm grateful for it!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Muir Woods


Today we ventured to Muir Woods, to show Rachel's friend, who had never been there before, the area. It was unusually warm (67) for this time of year. Her friend loved it, and so did we! We are all grateful for the beauty that Muir Woods holds for all to see. Certainly one of God's greatest earthly creations.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is today! I'm grateful for this chosen day to celebrate the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for ALL that He has done for us. One of the specific to today blessings that I am grateful for is our family - near and far. I'm grateful that we could celebrate with our family members that are here. It's the way Christmas is meant to be. :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Chloe-Bear!


Happy 3rd Birthday to our Miss Chloe!

We are so grateful for her! She has a wonderful excitement for life...you can just tell she could not wait to get her body and use it in this life! This little one was precocious from the start! She is greatly loved by all, she is funny, cute, and loving. She loves My Little Pony's, especially Pinky Pie. She loves playing with cousins, friends, and sisters. She does her best to be a big sister to Maci and is very attentive to her; even when it's nighttime. ;)

Chloe is one of the best Christmas gifts our family has ever received, of that there is no doubt.


(p.s. I kind of think Chloe looks a bit like me as a little girl!)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Love at home!

What a joy it is to feel loved by our family, whether they are home for the holidays or not, we are feeling their love. This is one of our greatest blessings that we are grateful for.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Safe travels!

Rach arrived today and brought a friend with her. Amy, Brad, and boys arrived yesterday! I'm so grateful they all traveled safely! :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Families can be together forever

Leah, our daughter-in-law, Angie's, sister, was sealed to her fiancee today (who is now her husband!)in the Mt. Timpanogas temple. What a wonderful experience for their family! I'm so happy for them! I am deeply grateful for Heavenly Father providing a way for our families to be eternal --- together forever.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Graduation day!


Congratulations to Linzi for getting her BS today at BYU-I!!!

You've worked hard, sacrificed much, and now you receive your reward for all of the stress, worry, time, sleep lost, etc., that you've put in. You and Sam should both be very proud of your accomplishment!

Well done, Linzi!

We love you!
...and are grateful you graduated! :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Glogg

A few minutes ago I went into my freezer to put some bread that I just purchased in there. While I was putting the bread away I noticed a bag of Christmas candy that is a mix of chocolate that we had purchased last year. To keep from eating it I froze it. I do that a lot...or I send a yummy container of something I just baked with Pat to work. (today they enjoyed pumpkin bars) I can only imagine what I'd look like, or how I'd feel, if I didn't do that! Oh my!

Yesterday I asked Amy if she'd like to have Glogg (a Swedish beverage) while they are here. She was all for it! Fortunately we have most of the supplies on hand! That is convenient!

There are several foods that our family enjoys during Christmas, for which I am grateful for. Why? Because it reminds me of the family bonds that we have, not only presently but with those who have passed away. I will forever remember making cinnamon rolls with my dad Christmas Eve - to be eaten on Christmas morning. That is a tradition that will endure...only they just might be orange rolls instead! ;)

On the other hand, we've been making Glogg since we lived in Ripon. A friend of ours, who is also Swedish, would invite us over for their Christmas celebration. We'd always enjoy Glogg and it soon became a family favorite. Ours is the non-alcoholic version, naturally!

Here is the recipe, in case anyone is interested!

Fruit Juice Glogg

1 medium orange
1 qt. apple cider
2 cups white grape juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
8 whole cloves
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup slivered almonds

Using a vegetable peeler cut colored portion from orange in a single spiral. In a large pot combine orange peel and remaining ingredients. Let stand 4 hours.

We usually serve this in our crock pot, it just makes it easier to keep it warm when we are using the kitchen for so many other purposes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Positive Impressions

Back in 1995 Pat performed his first wedding as a bishop. He married a family that hasn't been super active in the church, but whenever Pat saw them he went out of his way to greet them and give them each a hug.

Recently the husband passed away, very unexpectedly. He was 43, and had a heart attack in his sleep. Apparently he was suffering from 'indigestion' and figured he would be okay. He was, unfortunately, wrong.

We haven't seen this couple for a few years now. They moved out of our ward, but not very far away. Pat received an email from one of the bishops in our stake sharing that the wife wants Pat to speak a few words at the services this Saturday.

He feels honored to be able to do so; and saddened by the death of this brother.

I am grateful that not only my husband, but each of us, can make a positive difference in the lives of others; sometimes with very little effort. The key, I believe, is that we love and accept others for who they are. Sometimes that is a challenge, but it can be done, as long as we are receptive to having the spirit with us, and striving to have a Christ-like attitude.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

List-less

For me this is truly the season for making lists! I really believe I'd lose my way if I didn't have a list for everything! In fact, my mind is a bit cluttered...so much so that as I approached a blinking red light today I sat there, waiting for it to turn green while 2 other cars going the opposite direction turned where I was going. Then it hit me...THIS is a stop sign!

In all seriousness I have never, ever, done that before. I'm the person (yes, you will understand just how 'mean' I can be) that can't believe when others aren't going and it's their turn at a blinking red light! I may even mutter some things about them under my breath, or out loud, as the case may be! I so wanted to have a sign that read something like, "Excuse me for not getting that this is a stop sign! I'm in holiday mode...a little preoccupied here!" But of course, I had no such sign.

Instead what I have are lists. I guess I should explain that my lists match, almost. I have one on Word, one on my Kindle, and yet another on my phone (with reminders).

Is it really the holiday season causing my mind to not focus or am I just getting old? Yikes!

Regardless of why I need them I certainly am grateful for my lists! They save my sanity...though there are temporary lapses at times. ;)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Great chat!

This morning I called to talk to Sam. He usually doesn't pick up his phone, but he did this time! I'm pretty sure Linzi encouraged him to. (Thanks Linzi!) We had a really good talk, but what I called him about was to let him know how his Uncle Mike loved the picture that he did for him for his birthday!

Sam is such a wonderful artist. I wish I had a tenth of his talent, in anything!

Miss Rylee also talked to me for about five minutes, which always warms my heart. She is a chatter-box...and I love it!

I'm so grateful I could talk with them today - it was a great treat for me!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Individuality

This morning as I was browsing facebook and seeing what various friends and family members have put on there it made me realize how different our lives all are. We are all experiencing life in our own way. One of my friends, yesterday, had posted a birthday message to her daughter who would have turned 27 yesterday - the 10th anniversary of her untimely death is coming up. Another posted a picture of him and his wife at their Christmas party for work. One of our friend's family has been living in Germany for the past nine months, they are soon returning to Utah, and are experiencing the bittersweet feelings of leaving something special behind and going home. Another friend had a fun day in NYC with her daughters yesterday, and apparently her car handled the snow really well. Then there are our granddaughters - one slept for five hours straight while the nearly 3 year old woke up at 3am, making mommy miss her sleep - and then her friends hijacked her facebook post about their cats. :) Then, there's Amy who won a free waffle at Off The Waffle! Yay!

Those are just a few of the people I listed about their facebook posts yesterday/today.

I am grateful that we all have our individual lives and experiences. We all have our joys, our sorrows, our adventures, our happy times - and we get to share some of those via facebook.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Piano Guys Christmas!


Today as I completed my Christmas wrapping (oh yes I did!) I listened to our new Piano Guys CD. If, for some reason, you haven't been in the Christmas spirit yet, do yourself a favor and listen to this. They are awesome! I promise, you will not be disappointed.

So, I'm grateful to have their CD this year! It made the time go quickly and I enjoyed it!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Keeping in touch

This is that time of year when the mail is filled with Christmas greetings and news from friends and family. We sent out our Christmas letters this morning. It's fun to take a moment to think back on the year and realize all the blessings you have in your life. I am grateful that this is a great way to touch base with loved ones near and far. I'm also grateful that they include us in their mailing list. :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wrapping paper

I'm so grateful for wrapping paper that allows us to 'hide' gifts that we aren't ready to have seen just yet! What a blessing to be able to put something out in the open, and the recipient has no idea what it is, especially when there are multiple gifts out in the open! Wrapping paper makes gift giving so much more fun!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Warmin' up!

Last week Pat and I had to go out in the evening to cover up the orange and lemon tree so the frost wouldn't hurt them. In our eyes it was worth it! We love our oranges! We hope to love our lemons, the tree is still a baby, but I cannot imagine that we won't.

On Saturday Pat thought he had heard that the hard frost was over so he uncovered the trees. Around 5:30 PM I checked the forecast on my phone and found that it wasn't going to be for several days. He immediately went out and covered them back up again. Well, it looks like the hard frost (here) will be over tomorrow night. (Yay!)

I am grateful that we live in a climate where it warms up to where we don't need to keep our citrus trees covered! And, on that note, I am so grateful for our delicious oranges! Can't wait to taste them!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oatmeal cookies!

Today I had a sudden urge to bake. Even though my back was hurting I decided it was a good idea. Once I started I realized that Pat's Stake High Council meeting tonight will be the last for the year, so I thought it must be inspired because now he can take the majority of the cookies to his meeting!

This meeting will be a long one...five missionaries reporting back! Two of them (Matty and Jordan) we've known since they were babes! What fun!

I'm grateful for a delicious oatmeal cookie recipe, but mostly thankful that we can share them with others. Oh, and for missionaries. They are wonderful.

Monday, December 9, 2013

No Murm'ring Word

Yesterday in Sacrament meeting we sung, "Behold the Great Redeemer Die". This is one of my favorite hymns because it has significant meaning to me. Once upon a time, when I was a student at BYU, I was finding me, my testimony, who I was. The interesting thing was, I didn't know that I hadn't until I was on my own. Sure, I had a testimony, but was it rock solid? Not quite yet, but it was getting there.

One day in Sacrament meeting as we sung the aforementioned hymn, I was struck with the thought of how much everything good in our lives comes from our Savior's actions; He has given us the opportunity to partake of everything good and worthy. Even now when I think of this experience, some 37 years later, the Spirit testifies to me of this truth.

Lately I haven't been that pleasant to live with. (shocker, I know) I don't know if it has to do with my health issues that are going on right now or just the circumstances in our lives. (nothing bad, I'm just a wimp) Even this morning Pat asked me a simple question, "What are you doing today?" and I snapped. Seriously...who does that? So not me!

I digress. Back to yesterday.

As we sung "Behold the Great Redeemer Die" I was struck with the phrase, "no murm'ring word escaped his tongue." In pondering that phrase, and all that lead up to that moment on the cross, to think that he bore all the pain and anguish that he didn't deserve, so willingly and did so without complaint, puts me to shame.

Shame.

During the Sacrament I did something I rarely do; I studied that hymn. Once again, the spirit testified to me of the simple truth that without our Savior, Jesus Christ, our lives would not be blessed in the manner that they are. We have so much because of Him.

  • He made it possible for us to repent, truly repent, with all of our faults and sins being erased, as if they never happened. 
  • He has given us the gospel in these latter days. With that comes the blessings of the Priesthood; which brings SO much with it - eternal families, temple work, missionary work, etc., etc., etc..
  • He makes it possible for us to communicate with our Father through prayer. Anywhere, anytime, in any condition. Always.
  • He and our Father have given us the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is my friend. He guides me when I need it, he calms my troubled heart, he gives me answers from our Father, he helps me understand more and to serve more. He, too, does so much for us.

The bottom line is this - The Savior blessed us by willingly coming to earth to live as a man, albeit a perfect man. He willingly took the time to teach others, and those teachings are found in the scriptures, which is another great blessing for each of us. Then, He willingly took upon himself our sins, our pains, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He also willingly sacrificed his earthly life so that He could be resurrected and return to dwell with our Father; which makes it possible for us to return to Him as well.

Yet, even though he did all of this, and did it without murmuring, I, in my weakness murmur at simple things in life that I should not. Instead I should think of His example, and just plain be better.

Moroni 7: 24 - "and all things which are good cometh of Christ."

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Moroni 7

Reading this morning from The Book of Mormon in Moroni 7, I was reminded that it is one of my favorite chapters. The prophet, Moroni, shares with us the teachings of his father, Mormon. The subjects are the tools that we use to build our testimonies of Jesus Christ, and God, our Father. Those tools, that are intertwined, are faith, hope, and charity. There was a short period in my life, while a student at BYU, that I struggled. I'm still not sure why, or exactly what I was feeling. I remember having Brother George Durrant for my Book of Mormon teacher, he was amazing, truly. He taught me so much about The Atonement, and made it personal, to me. At any rate, the semester was nearing it's end, and this was my second time reading The Book of Mormon all the way through. Because of the feelings I was experiencing, when it came time to read Moroni 7, my heart and soul found what I was thirsting for. Prayers were answered personally, and I rejoiced as the Spirit testified to me and strengthened my weaknesses. I'm so grateful for the blessing of not just certain chapters in The Book of Mormon, but for all that it contains...what a wonderful testament of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Good friends

Last night we attended a surprise 60th birthday party for a good friend of ours in our ward. There were a lot of friends there that are our age. It was great catching up with the current events in their lives, and just seeing each other. In fact I wish we'd have more time to talk. :)

Today I'm grateful for good friends and the joy they bring to our lives.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Central Valley winters

All of our children are experiencing snow at this time. While I love looking at it, watching it softly fall to earth, and experiencing the quiet wonder that comes with snow, I certainly am grateful that we are not living in an area where it snows! I'm pretty certain that someday we will...but for now I'll appreciate our current balmy 49 degrees! Now that is a Central Valley winter! :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kindness

One of the reasons I don't enjoy shopping during the holidays is that some people are pretty rude. Once in a while you find a gem amongst them. Those people are considerate, thoughtful and kind. I've run across a few of those the past few days, and I make sure I thank them specifically for the kindness shown, that always brings a smile to their face...and to mine. I am sincerely grateful for those who display a Christlike attitude even during the busy-ness of this wonderful season. They truly bring the Christmas spirit to light.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

USPS

Today was that day... the day most all of the Christmas packages are sent to places like Idaho, Utah, and Maryland! Most of the gifts we sent are ordered online, usually through Amazon (they must love me there! and many of you as well, I'm sure! I seriously cannot look at their cyber sales anymore!) (should I be hash-tagging all of my side comments? Hmmm?)

Okay, back to the post office. Once upon a time, a long time ago, we used to send things through UPS. At the time they were less expensive, or at least comparably expensive. Now that is no longer the case. For example; when I have sent things to Rexburg they always charged us $4/extra for delivery, because they are 'out in the boonies'. Right.

After doing that several times I became wise to their tricks. Now the post office gets our business, solely. I am grateful that they, 1) don't charge an arm and a leg for the exact same service, and 2) get things there in a timely manner!

I'm also grateful that I should have only one more trip to the post office prior to Christmas. (Yay!) Oh, and I should say, I am grateful to be able to go to Lathrop's post office where they don't have nearly as many people to cater to - it makes my life happier. And I love being 'happy, happy, happy!'

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Self date

Last week the film, "The Book Thief", was released in theatres. Amy had told me a week or so before that they had made the book into a movie. I love the book so I knew I had to see it. Pat hasn't read the book (yet) so he didn't really care about seeing it. Since I have cabin fever from being sick the past few weeks I took advantage of seeing "The Book Thief" today. I'm so grateful I did. Like the book, I loved it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday!

For some unknown reason I woke up very early this morning... 5 AM to be exact. I realized that Pat was sleeping in the other room so I had our room to myself. After a while I realized I was not going to have the luxury of getting more sleep.

Recently we purchased a new computer for my mom. We have been considering getting a laptop for us. Pat has one for work, but we do not. You probably think (because I would) that by mentioning laptops that I purchased one today, cyber Monday. I did not. Actually, what I was eluding to is that since my mom has a new laptop I have taken over her old one. I don't use it often, but this morning it sure did come in handy! Especially since Pat was sleeping in the study where our computer lives.

So, I got to work, letting my fingers do the shopping. I was able to get most of our Christmas shopping accomplished! Yay! Good deals were had, and I am a happy camper. Several people that I love will be happy too. Double yay!

I am grateful that I was able to accomplish so much, and do nice things for others that I love at the same time. :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Time and all Eternity

Thirty-six years ago my favorite person in the world asked me to marry him, for time and all eternity. It is simply impossible to express how grateful I feel that this happened in my life. Because of us we have Sam, Craig, Amy & Rachel. To add to that equation we have Linzi, Brad, and Angie (in order of them joining our family). Then, to top that off (so far) we have --- Rylee, Sadie, James, Lucas, Gavin, Chloe, Darci, Jack-Jack and Maci! We are truly blessed.

To celebrate our anniversary engagement Pat brought me two dozen red roses. What a sweetheart he is. Then, to top things off for me personally, I started the process to renew my temple recommend that expires this month. When we were finished with the interview Brother Dorrett said, "Isn't it wonderful?" I told him that it makes me happy. Then he said, "I could tell! Throughout the whole time you seemed very happy!"

That is because I am. Today is a happy day. It always will be for me. :)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Love

Our friends Eric and Paige were sealed together for time and all eternity today in the Oakland Temple. We attended their reception tonight. They were both glowing! I am so grateful for this wonderful blessing in their lives and that we could celebrate with them and their families! Ain't love grand?!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Movie date

Seldom do Pat and I go to out to the movies. Today was one of those rare times. Several months ago Netflix and Amazon started showing The Hunger Games movie. Pat watched it with me. Twice! When I told him that I wanted to see Catching Fire he surprised me by saying that he'd go watch it with me. Yay!! We both enjoyed the movie and I felt it stayed pretty true to the book (though I haven't read it for probably a year). I really am grateful that we had a movie date...I love having dates with my Sweetie.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful

I'm grateful that we had a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope you had one as well. :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prepping

Today I (along with many others around the country) am prepping for our Thanksgiving guests and dinner tomorrow. So far I've made the cranberries, and candied yams - neither of which I will be eating. :) However, my mom feels that it is not Thanksgiving without candied yams, and I thought perhaps I will actually eat homemade cranberries, but perhaps not, after all. (No matter how much sugar you put with it they still taste bitter!)

I've also cut up the veggies for the dressing and begun getting serving dishes out. There are a few more things to finalize today, but much to do tomorrow.

I'm grateful that I can prep ahead of time, and that we actually have much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Staying home

This year we are, once again, staying home for Thanksgiving. I could easily complain about how we won't be with any of our immediate family. However, I won't. With watching the news about all the airport delays or cancellations I find that I am grateful that we are staying home, and that I feel badly for those going through that travel headache.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Online shopping

Most of you know that my mom lives with us. Taking care of her needs could easily send me in 500 different directions, well, maybe I exaggerate! At any rate, she has needs that need to be met, and it is my obligation to meet those needs. When things wear out, or break down, she cannot take care of them. It's up to Pat and myself.

She has a shower caddy that attaches to the wall in our shower (we have a walk in so she needs to use that). It seriously cannot stay up. We've tried reattaching it many times. Finally, after having to put her soap and body wash on a stool that goes under her shower seat (my way of having a temporary fix) I ordered a new, hopefully substantially more powerful, shower caddy for her this morning.

I have no idea where I'd be without Amazon. I've ordered multiple things for her there - her favorite tea, a new mouse pad, a shower seat and caddy, and the list continues to grow.

I'm grateful for online shopping. Without it I'd be running everywhere! I'm also grateful that I can order Christmas gifts online, and save my knee while doing so! :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Apples and Bananas


When our children were little we had a Raffi in concert video that they loved to watch. When they outgrew Raffi I gave the videotape to DI, knowing that some family would enjoy it. Since having grandchildren I've searched for it several times so that they, too, could enjoy it. I've not been able to find a DVD with him singing "Apples and Bananas" which was a family favorite. I still sing it sometimes to our grandchildren, it always brings a smile.

So, today when I was browsing Amazon, Raffi popped up and I thought I should search once again. Still no DVD with "Apples and Bananas".  So disappointing.

Then I had a thought ---- Maybe, Just Maybe, it will be on YouTube! After typing in Raffi and "Apples and Bananas" I was pleasantly surprised to find it there. Yay!

So, I thought I'd share on here so that our grandkids can view it. They may not enjoy it as much as their parents, but it should hopefully be fun for them, nevertheless. I'm grateful to have found it, for the fond memories it brings to me, and that I can share it with them via this blog.

Here you go!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=oacQL7UQtlk

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Facebook gratitude

Unless you live under a rock, or in a foreign country, you realize that this coming week is Thanksgiving. As a result many friends on facebook have taken to expressing their gratitude on a daily basis. I am in complete support of expressions of thankfulness regardless of why or the forum chosen. Being grateful is a wonderful way to be, it makes the world a better place to be, personally, and for those you come in contact with. I'm so thankful for the blessings of being grateful, and for my friend's expressions they share with many.

Friday, November 22, 2013

OJ

This morning it was evident that my cold had returned, or evolved, depending on how you choose to look at it. Craig happened to call to discuss something with me while Pat was getting ready for work. Suddenly he walked into our room with a glass of orange juice for me. I'm so grateful for him looking out for me, and delicious orange juice.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gobble Gobble!

Yes, my Thanksgiving shopping is nearly complete. I am truly grateful for that today! :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pie

Yesterday I went to our favorite farm stand in the area. They always have fresh produce, grown locally. They also have amazing delicious pies! While I was checking out I was chatting with the girl there. As I was about to leave she suddenly said, "Would you like a free pie?" Um, yes! Like I said, their pies - amazing. I could choose from coconut cream, banana cream, lemon and pumpkin. Since we are having pumpkin soon, I nixed that one, since I love coconut cream I nixed that one, since I don't care for lemon all that much I nixed that one. Banana cream won out!

I took that lovely pie home. (We each enjoyed a small piece later.)

One of my sisters that I visit teach happened to call me shortly after I returned home with that pie. I told her about my score, and she was a little envious...just a little! She also loves their pies.

The following morning my mom was out doing a puzzle in the kitchen and my plan was to take the rest of the pie to this friend. I asked my mom if she wanted me to save her a piece, which she did. Of course! Then I took the rest of the pie to my friend who was delighted to have it! (and I am for her since we should not be eating it!)

Maybe it's not pay it forward day like it was last week...but who needs a day to pay it forward? We should all be doing the best we can in sharing what we have anyway!

I'm grateful for pie, and for being able to share it with a friend. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Taste test

Admittedly, this will be an odd post. Prepare yourself.

This year we are hosting Thanksgiving at our home for extended family members. Originally, when we weren't doing this, I was going to just go the quick and easy route: turkey breast, homemade mashed potatoes, Stove Top (I know), corn, green beans, and homemade rolls.

However, since we are having company I have had to adapt. Now we are getting a turkey, cooking stuffing from scratch, using Crescent rolls, and continuing on with the mashed potatoes, corn, and green beans.

Truthfully I've never been a HUGE fan of stuffing. It is not my favorite Thanksgiving dish (pass the mashed potatoes, please!). Since that is the case it stands to reason that I don't have a favorite stuffing recipe. Actually, usually I kind of wing it (ha! you know, turkey...wing, get it?). My stuffing turns out okay, but nothing to write home about.

Which has brought me to watching various TV shows that are focusing on Thanksgiving recipes. As a result I watched "The Chew" where Michael Symon made his basic stuffing recipe. Then, I had the brilliant idea that I would choose that recipe for my stuffing. That was followed by yet another brilliant idea - perhaps we should make a half batch and see how we like it.

I did make it. I did taste it. I did not like it. We are no longer using that recipe and I am beginning the hunt for a better one. Yikes!

I am grateful for taste testing - it sure would have been embarrassing to serve a crummy stuffing! :/

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Believe in Miracles

Yesterday I took the time to read the account regarding some of the sister missionaries in the Philippines at the time of the typhoon. How they survived is a miracle... especially when you see the pictures of where the water level was in their former apartment. Then came another miracle as the mission and area presidents were trying to figure out how to evacuate the 200+ missionaries. If you haven't read this account yet, you should. It is found here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865590735/Surviving-the-typhoon-A-story-of-fear-faith-and-what-it-means-to-be-prepared.html?pg=all

This morning as I was driving around running errands I was thinking about what I had read yesterday. I thought about all the miracles we see all the time, we just don't take the time to recognize them as such. So, I thought of a few simple, but amazing ones:

1.  We are here on this earth walking around with these miraculous bodies!
2.  We have been blessed to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. So many others don't, it's a miracle to me that we do.
3.  Technology. Here I am writing this post on my blog...in a few seconds it will be on the internet with immediate access to others. Crazy miracle.
4.  Our cars, or other forms of transportation. Seriously, how does one figure out how to put a car together to make it run so that we can get from one destination to another. Stopping and considering air travel simply leaves me speechless.
5.  We can know through the Holy Ghost what our Father wants for us. Miracle.
6.  We can be a forever family, and we can seal other family members to one another that have deceased.
7.  For me, being able to see without glasses for the past twelve years has been a miracle. Sometimes it still hits me how well I can see now.

I won't go on and on, because that is not my intention. These are just a few things I thought of while driving. Maybe you can take a moment and think of the miracles in your life, it just may make you feel more grateful.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stake speakers

This Sunday is High Council Sunday. One of our dear friends is our Stake RS President, and we were blessed to have her speak to us today. She gave an excellent talk on gratitude and giving. Then our High Council speaker, who is from the Ripon ward (but is new to us) spoke on self reliance. He did an awesome job as well. All in all it was a great Sabbath day; for which I am quite grateful for. Most especially I am grateful for partaking of the Sacrament, and for my testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Photos

We have several frames that are not currently being used. They had hung in our bedroom housing pictures from Daffodil Hill. Since we have changed our bedroom "theme" we no longer have these pictures in our room. This happens to coincide with Pat returning to his Lodi office, and actually into a new office. One day as I was pondering what to do with these vacant frames I happened upon a fabulous idea! You may know that we love Yosemite ...a lot. We have taken some great photos there. Since Pat loves Yosemite even more than me (shocker) I thought we could get some of those awesome photos printed (thank you Costco) and he could take those to his new office! I'm grateful for beautiful photos that capture moments we've experienced in a place we love.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Master Chef Jr

Last week someone, somewhere, mentioned the show Master Chef Jr. When I was still recuperating from my cold I thought that'd be a good time to check the show out. Having never watched Master Chef I had no idea what to expect. What an awesome show...more accurately - what amazing kids! Truthfully I am a decent cook, but these Jr chefs had more knowledge and expertise than I have, by far! They had great talent, and understanding, regarding food and cooking. This may seem like a silly thing to be grateful for, but I am. I love watching kids becoming aware of their personal abilities and discovering that they can use their talents in a way that makes them happy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Keeping in touch

For various reasons today I talked with many family members. No matter the reason I'm grateful that we can keep in touch. :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Old favorites

One of my friends celebrated her birthday two days ago. After texting her "Happy Birthday!" she texted me back, saying that she wanted to take me to lunch today. We have been friends for 21 years now, amazingly enough. We used to go to a Mexican restaurant in Ripon that has since changed names, but not owners. So, today that is where we met up for lunch. It was great being in familiar surroundings with a friend that I can talk to and laugh with. Another plus is that it was Mexican food! Good friend + good company + good food = great time. I'm grateful I could spend time with a few of my old favorites!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Knowledge

We recently purchased a new Dell computer (of course!) for my mom. The thing is - it has Windows 8, which I am very unfamiliar with. Honestly, I am hoping we can simplify it for my mom. By "we" I mean Craig and me. More him than me, since he is the one with the knowledge, and I so am not. Thankfully, Craig not only knows how to help, he will actually do some of the work remotely. I'm so grateful for his knowledge! What a blessing! (For us!)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank you!

Veteran's Day is today. There are no words to adequately express the gratitude most Americans, including myself, feel for ALL who have served on behalf of our freedom. Their selfless sacrifice is deeply appreciated. I'm grateful for the Veterans in our family: my dad, Pat's dad, Mike, Eric, and countless others; from the Revolutionary War forward. Thank you!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Priesthood blessings

The other night our grandson, Jack, was suffering from the croup. His daddy, Brad, gave him a Priesthood blessing, for which I am very grateful.

This morning I felt decent. I'm still struggling with my cold, but it isn't bad. After being up for a few hours this morning this sinus headaches hits from out of nowhere. Frankly, I am tired of this cold. The other day I told Amy that it reminds me of someone who sounds horrible, like they are dying, from a cold. You ask if they are okay and they say, "It's not as bad as it sounds." Well, in this instance the opposite is true. I don't sound bad at all; but I'm tired and weak, and congested and feel much worse than I sound. The point is not about how I feel, because we've all been there. The point is that I had to go to church today to take care of something regarding my calling (otherwise I wouldn't have, I don't like spreading germs). Since I knew I was going to at least be attending Sacrament meeting I texted Pat (who was in ward council) asking if he and our Bishop (hometeacher) could give me a blessing during Sunday School.

That they did. I am so grateful for Priesthood blessings, and for the worthy Priesthood holders in my life, that exercise their Priesthood righteously.

P.S. I should feel better soon, now that I've had a blessing!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Time

Unfortunately, I am a big reactor. Yeah. I can react positively or negatively rather quickly. Perhaps I am a slow learner, or perhaps this blog has taught me, that in most circumstances I need to give things time. What I have found is that when I am slow to react, coupled with putting my trust in God, I feel happier, and more at peace. It's that whole. "Be still, and know that I am God," frame of mind. I'm grateful for the difference that makes in my life, even our life. What a wonderful blessing. I'm also grateful Jack is feeling better today.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sweet Lucas

Our grandson, Lucas, is 4 & 1/2. He was telling Angie, his mom, how grateful he is for Thanksgiving, and family. Then he went on to express his gratitude for the gospel and Jesus Christ. His declaration melts my heart. He is one special little boy. I sure am grateful for him, and his sweet testimony.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Concerned friends

Yesterday I received an email from a concerned friend of mine. She asked Pat why I wasn't at church on Sunday (I went for the Sacrament and then went home, sick with a cold), and said she'd email me. That she did. I'm grateful for her care and concern for me...it makes me want to be better at expressing my concern to others for their welfare.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Favorites

A friend invited me to attend an upcoming get-together. The idea is that you bring five of one of your favorite things that has to do with either health and beauty or crafting. (I chose the health and beauty one.) You cannot spend more than $5 per item, which means you can spend up to $25. Then, you exchange things! You get to take home 5 things that 5 other people brought!

What a clever idea!

I'm looking forward to attending my friend's get-together this coming Saturday evening. I'm grateful for the fact that I do have a favorite thing to share, and that it is healthy, and that I was able to pick up five of them today! Doesn't it just sound like a fun idea?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Strength

Some days are hard. Everyone has them. We wonder why is it that we have to endure certain trials. Sometimes we feel weak and unable to bear the burdens that lay before us. If we were all alone I'm certain that would be the case. However, we are not. We have our elder Brother, our Savior, Jesus Christ that bore our burdens in the Garden of Gethsemane. Because of Him we can bear life's trials.

The beauty is that it didn't end at the Garden that night, when He was in agony on our behalf. The beauty of it is that it is eternal, an everlasting blessing given to every person. Every person, ever.

Our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson said this in October General Conference:

Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.
This should be our purpose—to persevere and endure, yes, but also to become more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow. Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no progress toward our goal of eternal life.
Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain, and our suffering. He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity. He alone touches our tortured souls with His comforting words:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us. He has promised that this will never change.
Personally, with all the suffering I see in the world, with the sorrow of those I am close to who lose loved ones far too early; with the trials I am enduring now, and you are enduring now, I find peace in the words of President Monson, and those he quoted from our Savior, Jesus Christ. The depth of gratitude I feel for Him, for our Father, and for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, I am unable to express with words. My heart, my mind, my soul, know, without a doubt, that they are there for us. They love us. They want us to be happy. They want us to be successful in living the gospel principles. They want us to return home to dwell in their presence someday. That knowledge is what I am most grateful for today...it strengthens me.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Revelation

When I was expecting Sam we were living in Provo, Utah. During that time they had the first ever General Relief Society broadcast. My former roommate, Lizzie, her mom, and I attended together in the Marriott Center. I remember Sister Whitton commenting that it was a historical moment - the largest gathering of women ever. We were excited to be there, and anxious to learn what we were being taught. That was 35 years ago. Now there has been new revelation regarding this meeting. We, the Relief Society sisters will be combining forces not only with the Young Women of the church, but all those eight and over. Honestly, at first I was excited, then I wondered how it will be as they strive to teach such a vast range in ages. And then it hit me - this is part of the progression to help those girls realize that they can feel comfortable in Relief Society when they reach age 18. Also, what a wonderful opportunity for mothers and daughters - to share a special night together twice a year. Yes. I am grateful for modern day revelation and how it applies to us.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Life

Last Monday a coworker of Pat's passed away in his sleep. He was in his mid 30's, and left behind a 5 year old and his wife. All those that knew him were saddened by his passing. Everyone at Kleinfelder was in shock...understandably. Last night I discovered via facebook that a close friend of ours passed away, that same day, again unexpectedly. We kept in touch through Christmas cards, and wedding announcements. In fact Rach and I tried to see them when we were in Vancouver, WA in September. Sadly, it just didn't work out. He was only 51, and would've turned 52 on December 28th. (A very good day for a birthday) Keri, his wife, is one of the few kindred spirits I've met in my life. Larry leaves behind Keri, their 7 children, 4 children-in-law, and a grandson. We have no idea what happened, all we know is that it was sudden, and that we are very sad about it. I'm grateful for life, for how precious it is, and the lessons we learn when people close to us pass away. I'm very grateful that Larry is sealed to their family...that is everything.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Unexpected

I am grateful for blessings that unexpectedly come our way! The great thing about these type of blessings is that by nature they are a pleasant surprise. You didn't see it coming, and voila - there it is, right in front of you. (I'm not saying anything has happened in our lives recently that warrant this post; it's just me considering the wonder of unexpected blessings.)

These blessings, to me, are magical. Why shouldn't they be? Aren't they a wonderful way of Heavenly Father saying, "Just thought you'd like to know that I love you and wanted to give you this to show you my love." Not that He doesn't always show us His love, but sometimes that love is shown in unexpected blessings. :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rest

The past few days I've been fighting a cold. While I did my best to beat it, I think the cold finally won. While I needed to run a few errands this morning, and take care of a few other things, I have spent the rest of the day resting. I'm still not feeling well, but am grateful that I can rest!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween!

I hope your Halloween has been happy! We've been enjoying seeing all of our grandkid's costumes! What fun to go trick or treating! I'm grateful we could contribute treats to others, and that so many people loved Pat's pumpkin!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Bars

Tomorrow Pat's "office" (Kleinfelder) is having a Halloween party. It's a potluck where everyone is bringing soup. Why, then, am I posting about pumpkin bars? The answer is that I'm also making clam chowder but that I had planned on making the pumpkin bars for our neighbor, Laura. (She wants to learn how to bake for the holidays and I'm going to teach her, just trying to figure out which recipes she wants to learn.) Pat seriously loves these pumpkin bars so when he found out that I'm making them he asked me to hold off for the Halloween party. I'm grateful for this easy, quick, and delicious recipe. I'm also grateful for my friend, Genie, for sharing it with me! It's already a family favorite! If you'd like the recipe let me know and I'll post it on here. :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Snow!

Yesterday they had snow in the Sierra's! That is a plus for us! While I wouldn't want to be driving in it I'm certainly grateful for it. I am actually praying for much more of the white stuff to come this year...otherwise we face a serious drought. Having lived through those many times I can honestly say it isn't fun. I remember when we lived in Paradise and there was a drought, there were a lot of water usage restrictions. So, I am grateful for the snow in the Sierra's and am hopeful for much more this coming season...oh, and some rain for us too!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Top Ramen

Back in the day when we were starving students we had many dinners that were often repeated - mostly due to them being inexpensive. Top Ramen was one of those. Then, when the kids were growing up we'd have it every once in awhile. We haven't had it for years. Today was a busy day, my back and knee were in pain so Pat volunteered to make dinner for us. Recently when I went grocery shopping I picked up a few packages of Top Ramen. (Amy actually had some recently which made me think of getting some) So, when Pat asked what I wanted, with the weather having dropped twenty degrees, it sounded good! Pat added an egg, some veggies, and voila - we had dinner! I'm grateful for all those years ago when we had Top Ramen to help supplement our food bill, it really made a difference.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lazy morning

This morning I took my time getting out of bed. I didn't actually get up until 9 AM. That never happens, unless I am ill. (thankfully I am not!) It felt so good to just relax this morning... I am grateful I was able to. In a few months I won't be - we start church at 9 AM then! (Yay!!! :) ) (no, seriously, I am excited about that!)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Prophets

During my lifetime there have been eight Prophets. These are men I admire, respect, and honor. I am so grateful for each of them in my life; what made me think of this is a picture that hangs near our computer of all the latter-day Prophets, minus President Thomas S. Monson. In thinking of them I thought I'd leave a few quotes on here by each one:

President David O. McKay - whom I considered to be 'my' prophet, since he was the Prophet from April 1951 - January 1970, I was 14 when he passed away, and my parents joined the church when he was the Prophet. They attended the Los Angeles Temple dedication and while there saw him. :)

"Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world.”
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President Joseph Fielding Smith - he was the Prophet from January 1970 - July 1972. So, he didn't serve for very long. I don't remember much about him, other than what is printed. Here is a quote from him:

“We believe that worship is far more than prayer and preaching and gospel performance. The supreme act of worship is to keep the commandments, to follow in the footsteps of the Son of God, to do ever those things that please Him. It is one thing to give lip service to the Lord; it is quite another to respect and honor His will by following the example He has set for us.” 
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President Harold B. Lee - he served as our Prophet from July 1972 - December 1973. There are two things I really remember about him; 1) our former Bishop was one of his Seminary students in Idaho, and 2) he died completely unexpectedly - he had been in for tests in the hospital, was pronounced healthy, and then died. It had to be his time, that's all there is to it.

“Never is the gospel of Jesus Christ more beautiful than in times of intense need, or in times of a severe storm within us as individuals, or in times of confusion and turmoil.” 
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President Spencer W. Kimball - one of my personal favorites. I was able to be in attendance at a BYU devotional, and General Conference with him there. I will never forget the feeling that I had as we rose to sing, "We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet" as he walked in the room. There was no doubt in my heart and soul that he was indeed a Prophet of God. He served as Prophet from December 1973 - November 1985. I remember thinking at the time of how sad I was that Rachel would never know him as a prophet. He truly made a difference in my life.

“A true Latter–day Saint family is a haven against the storms and struggles of life.” 
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President Ezra Taft Benson - served as our Prophet from November 1985 - May 1994. The most significant thing I remember him talking about was Pride. That was a life church-changing event. To me it is one of the most historical talks in the history of my life. He also had quite the career - in Washington DC; he was outspoken, but humble.

“Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves.” 
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President Howard W. Hunter - He is the Prophet that served the least amount, yet he had a profound impact. His main focus was on temple work. He served from May 1994 - March 1995.

“Let us be a temple-attending people. Attend the temple as frequently as personal circumstances allow. Keep a picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it. Teach them about the purposes of the House of the Lord. Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing.” 
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President Gordon B. Hinckley - There is so much to be said about our dear Prophet, President Hinckley. He had a love for others that was unmatched. He made such an incredibly positive difference; with the media, with the youth, in the building of temples, encouraging us to read the Book of Mormon, and to become prepared for the trials that were to come. I remember seeing him in the Marriott Center when attending BYU Women's Conference. The spirit was so strong in that room that when everyone was leaving I wanted to just stay and soak it up. I miss him.

He served as Prophet from March 1995 - January 2008.

“The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” 
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President Thomas Spencer Monson - our current Prophet, who has served as our Prophet since January 2008. This year marks his 50th year of beginning his service as an Apostle. He is 86 years old. His beloved wife, Frances, died earlier this year, in April. His legacy is all about serving others. A few years ago I attended a meeting in our area where we were able to meet with a member of the General Relief Society Presidency of the church. In that meeting this story was shared: President Monson had a dear friend in the hospital. He, due to his duties, was unable to go and visit with him. He called one of the members of the Quorum of the Seventy and asked him to go in his stead. Then he was to report back on how President Monson's friend was doing. The Seventy then called the hospital, spoke with a nurse, got detailed information as to how this friend of President Monson's was doing; I think he even spoke to the man himself, expressing President Monson's concern and love for this man. After the phone call the Seventy then called and spoke with President Monson's secretary, reporting his findings. A few minutes later President Monson called the Seventy, and asked him - did you go and see him? When he said 'no' he asked him to please go and see how he is doing, and express his love for him in person. That he did.

It's interesting to me that our grandchildren are enjoying President Monson as their Prophet. As a young girl he was my very favorite speaker, since I loved his stories. It's just incredible that he was sustained as an apostle when I was 8 years old.

“Faith precedes the miracle. It has ever been so and shall ever be. It was not raining when Noah was commanded to build an ark. There was no visible ram in the thicket when Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Two heavenly personages were not yet seen when Joseph knelt and prayed. First came the test of faith–and then the miracle. Remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. Cast out doubt. Cultivate faith.” 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Movie night!

Tonight we watched "Iron Man 3"! It was nice to spend the evening together enjoying a good, action-packed movie! I'm grateful we could enjoy this together. :)

PS - we also watched the Duck Dynasty Halloween special - hilarious!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Being adventurous!

Okay, so honestly, I'd love to be more adventurous than I am, but for the time being, this will do.

I've never cooked spaghetti squash before. In fact I didn't know that people ate squash until I was married. It's simply something we never ate at home while growing up. I'm trying to try new things. As a result I bought some spaghetti squash today at the fruit stand (which seems funny since it's a vegetable!). I'm excited to try it; and am, once again, grateful for the abundance of fruits and veggies found here in the Central Valley. It's a great blessing for us! (and...no, I didn't buy pie, in fact I wasn't even tempted!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

He is home!

Pat went away on a business trip, returning late last night. I'm so grateful he is home. I love having him here. :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Integrity

Yesterday I went shopping at Costco, trying to get things before their coupons expire this weekend. I was busy putting the supplies in my car, then putting the cart away. I hadn't noticed that I had forgotten something in the cart. In fact I didn't notice it until I came home and was putting things away. That was when I realized I needed to get back to Costco...quickly. I didn't know whether or not someone would just take what was left in my cart or turn it in. Once I pulled into a parking space I checked the carts...not there. I went into Costco to the front desk and there, sitting behind the counter, was my item. I simply told the clerk that I was there to get this item. She handed it to me with a smile. I, said a prayer of thanks for whomever turned it in. I am so grateful for those who have integrity. They brightened my day.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jack-Jack!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK!!!

I cannot believe that it was two years ago that we were in Oregon for Jack's birth. He has been such a wonderful addition to our family. He is full of happiness, and fun. He reminds me a lot of his mommy at times for when he is happy he is super happy, and when he is upset you'd think the world had just come to an end. He can be a bit of drama King. :)

I'm grateful for Jack's personality, his laugh, his joy, and his love. 

Happy Birthday little Mister!

Motherhood

This morning I was perusing Pinterest, just because I had time to. :)

While doing so I came across this pin about clearing your house of 40 bags of stuff in 40 days. I am in. Obviously we are attempting to do just that around here, only my mindset has been this: if we were moving what would we really want to take with us?

That was what lead me to this gem of a quote by Matt Walsh:

"Yes, my wife is JUST a mother. JUST. She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC’s, to hygiene, etc. She is JUST my spiritual foundation and the rock on which our family is built. She is JUST everything to everyone. And society would JUST fall apart at the seams if she, and her fellow moms, failed in any of the tasks I outlined."

I love this. Seriously. He summed up motherhood so well. How I remember feelings of inadequacy because I wasn't doing anything but being a mom. Sometimes I felt small; other times I felt noble - realizing the importance of my calling as a mother. In a world where success is defined by how many degrees you have, where you work, how much money you make, etc, etc, etc., I find it refreshing to know that others feel about their wives the way my husband feels about me. Yes, our children have all grown and left home; but in some ways they still need me. We find that I need to be available for them - whether it is through a phone call, or Skype, or me visiting them because they have a need - I continue to be there for them; and hope to be as long as I am living in this earthly estate.

On another note - I do keep busy with personal pursuits, along with caring for our home and family. That includes getting my mom's breakfast and dinner to her daily, seeing to her needs, running errands on her behalf, and cleaning up after her. I don't know why I am going into this; I guess because what I do means something to someone else, even though our children are no longer here with us. Sometimes I feel a need to justify why I don't have a job, why I remain a stay-at-home mom/wife/daughter. This is my life - what I do does matter, and it does make a difference.

I can only hope that Amy, Linzi and Angie realize their importance as they continue to care for the mundane task of raising children, keeping their homes in order, and their family functioning normally. To each of you - I applaud your choice to be at home with your family. That sacrifice is worth more than anything money or prestige can buy. In short, I am proud of you, and love you for your efforts in caring for our grandchildren, and your spouses. You are so much more than 'just' a mom. From the bottom of my heart I thank you.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Obedience

The High Councilor's in our stake were assigned to speak on Obedience today. Pat spoke in Tracy ward, and later we attended our ward, and heard a similar talk. It's amazing how the Spirit can direct them to be basically on the same path, but have a few differences meant for the ward they speak in. Both talks were excellent; both made great points; and both had the Spirit with them.

I also loved the topic of Obedience. I am grateful that they talked about the fact that there are two types of obedience - faith, and blind. I also loved that we were taught that the best way to be obedient is to do so out of love rather than fear.

We came to earth to gain a body - check. We all have done that. We also came to prove ourselves - through our obedience to God's commandments - that is a work in progress. But, isn't it better to be obedient to God, our Father, because we love Him rather than because we fear Him?

I leave you with this quote from President Boyd K. Packer:
"We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see."

I am grateful for the principle of obedience, for the moral agency we enjoy, from a loving Father.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Family Memories

Currently we are trying to purge, organize, and condense our belongings. It is quite the ordeal! Thankfully we are doing it s-l-o-w-l-y, but it's still a lot of work. Today Pat found a box partially filled with pictures! The year was 1998, when Sam went on his mission to Uruguay. I'm grateful we have part of that family history recorded in pictures...it is fun to look back on one of the last years our family all lived together. Do I miss that time? You bet! However, I'm also very grateful that our children are happy in their lives. It's exactly what we want for them.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Popcorn

Just prior to us leaving for Oregon my mom let me know that she's been craving popcorn. Problem was we didn't have any on hand. I picked some up the other day, buying the kind Amy and Rach like. The other thing is - usually we can't cook popcorn in the microwave on the popcorn setting, it will burn it. I decided to give it another try...and it turned out perfectly! I'm grateful that we are once again enjoying delicious popcorn. :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Costumes!

Everyone is a-buzz about their Halloween costumes this year! I remember, back in the day, when we would figure out our children's costumes. If I couldn't make it we thrift stored it! Probably one of the most unique costumes was Rachel's 'bow girl'. I think she was four and had this idea that she wanted to be a 'bow girl'. That meant that she wanted a bunch of bows all over her clothes. I attempted to sway her with other ideas but she stood firm. A bow girl it was! I wish we had a picture of that one!

My favorites of our kid's costumes were: Indiana Jones, a mummy, Bat Man and Bat Girl (which I made myself and have since lost, actually lost quite quickly, darn!), and the various super hero and princess themes. Those were fun times!

I'm grateful that our grandchildren can now experience the thrill of Halloween. I know what some of them are going to be but the others haven't told me yet. I can't wait to hear! :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shrimp

Before you get the wrong idea and think I'm referring to my height let me make it clear that it is seafood that I am grateful for. Tonight I am making shrimp curry, a recipe I've been making since our BYU days. In fact I got this recipe from our singles ward there. It is simply delicious. The other point is that I just love shrimp and have all my life. It is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy, Happy, Happy!

This morning I had an appointment with my Chiropractor in Ripon. As I left home my stomach wasn't feeling that great. I have no idea why, it may have been what we ate on the road yesterday has come back to haunt me. At any rate, I decided I needed to get my mind off my tummy problem, so I started listing out loud in the car things that make me happy. The thing is my tummy felt better after a few minutes, which was great.

That made me happy too! :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Home!

We are home! It feels so good to be here. I love seeing and spending time with our family...but I also love being home. I'm grateful for our safe journey, our family, and our home...and for an almost two year old's plea of "don't go." :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Friendly

One of my favorite lines in, "You've Got Mail", is "Aren't daisies the friendliest flowers?"

This afternoon we joined Amy's family for Sacrament meeting in their brand new ward. I don't think I've ever been greeted by so many people in a ward where no one knew us! Apparently there are a lot of daisies in their new ward. That does a mom/grandma's heart good. I love it when I know that our family member's are in good  hands...at least when they appear to be. :)

We'll see how friendly they are in the future, and we will hope that Brad, Amy and boys find a happy place here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Vibrant!

The colors of Fall leaves are beautifully vibrant here in Oregon. While we have beautiful trees in California also, the colors are not as vibrant. Pat and I have been oohing and ahhing while we've been here at their beauty. I'm grateful we could be here at this time of year. (I'm also grateful to be with part of our family! :))

Friday, October 11, 2013

Success

We made it to Amy's with the piano successfully! I am very grateful for that.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Helping hands

As I mentioned, we are going to be taking Amy's piano tomorrow to her, so that she can enjoy it with her family. I'm grateful for those friends that we can count on to help us Pat to lift and load that piano onto a trailer. I don't know what we would do without their service. Well, I guess we wouldn't be moving a piano, now would we?! Thanks to them we are. :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cool down!

Fall has arrived! I'm so enjoying these mild temperatures! I'm also excited that we are delivering Amy's piano to her this weekend. Obviously I'm excited to spend time with them, and to see their new home, but I'm also excited to see the abundance of fall foliage. I'm grateful for the beauty each season brings and that Fall is definitely one of my favorites.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rice with cinnamon and sugar



Tonight I am making fried rice for dinner, which meant that I needed to make some fresh rice earlier today. I don't know about you but when the rice is steaming fresh it just makes my mind wander to my childhood days of when my mom would make me rice with cinnamon and sugar (and a bit of milk). It has always been a favorite of mine, and our family's. So, what did I do? I put a little rice aside in a bowl, added a little cinnamon and sugar, with milk, and enjoyed.

I am grateful for simple memories like that, they just feel so homey. But, don't worry, I won't be eating any butter and sugar sandwiches...I outgrew those many years ago! :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Figuring things out

Today has been one of those days, it seems if it could go wrong, it has. Actually, I'm not exaggerating...that much. I had to run a few errands, and maybe people are just crazy, rude, or perhaps just plain thoughtless, but there were a lot of people not driving very well today which caused me a bit of angst. I'm grateful I made it home safely. Phew!

On another note, which is what my post is really about, I'm grateful that I can figure things out. Last night I was unable to sleep, so after tossing and turning for a solid hour I decided to get up. I thought it'd be a fantastic idea to do our budgeting - because that's what I like to do late at night, no, seriously, I do.

However, I thought I'd look at my mom's account as well, and get everything up to date. After looking at my numbers, then looking at the bank's numbers, it was obvious someone had made an error. It was me. I couldn't figure out the error, after going through her entire account since last October, it just didn't make sense. I must have gone through it at least four times. By the time I finished my brain felt like mush. However, after persevering I finally went through each and every deposit - figuring I'd find the culprit. AND I did. By then it was 1:30 AM, and not only my brain but my body felt like mush. I needed sleep, and I needed it badly. So, off to bed I went, with the resolve to take care of this problem today.

This morning, after getting myself ready for the day, and taking care of  few things I looked for a blank check register, only to find that we have none. (I always keep them on hand, always!) That brought me to the thought that I needed to head to the bank, because believe me the check register that I was working on last night was a scribbly nightmare! There was no way I could continue to use that. I needed a nice clean slate register.

Gratefully I was able to talk to a banker and he went and picked up the register for me. Before long I was home and was able to 'fix' what was wrong. I'm grateful the mistake was in my mom's favor, since I apparently didn't add in one entire Social Security check for her. That's a whole lot better than having too many! At any rate, I'm really grateful this problem is fixed.

I'm also pretty sure I'm not going to love doing budgeting late at night any more. We'll see.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Be a Rock

Many people know that my husband is a Civil Engineer that specializes in soils. He makes sure that foundations are stable enough to hold up whatever is being built; roads, buildings, levees, you get the idea.

Children in Primary learn the song, "The wise man built his house upon the rock, and the rains came tumbling down."

Basically the rock is our personal foundation, our testimony, of the gospel of Jesus Christ - which includes SO many aspects, but I won't go into those.

Today during Conference one of the speakers quoted this, "You must become the rock the river cannot wash away." I love that quote. Too often I find myself being sand, and not the rock I think I am. Not in drastic ways, but in simple things. Perhaps I watch too much TV, or I don't spend my time wisely. I know I don't go to the temple often enough... etc, etc.

My goal is to become a rock that a river cannot wash away. I won't share right now how I am going to do this, but it will happen. I've had a lot of thoughts and feelings regarding this the past few months, now is the time to put it into action. Wish me luck, or pray for me, that is even better. :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Change of Heart

Today my heart was changed regarding the ending of my blog. You may ask why...well, be prepared for a slightly lengthy answer. To you that do read my blog (friends and family) you know most of what I'm about to say...however, it won't hurt for you to read it. :)

We belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have spent most of the day watching General Conference (four hours). General Conference is where our church leaders speak, giving us counsel regarding topics they have been inspired by the Spirit to share with us. Tomorrow we will do the same.

I love General Conference. I love knowing what the Lord has in mind for us to know. I love being reminded of things of a spiritual nature that are truly important, and life changing. I love knowing that our Father loves us and is mindful of us; of me, and of you. He truly knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts.

There were a few things that really struck me today, and I knew I had to mention them in the post.

First, Elder Bednar stated, "A grateful person is a person rich in contentment." I loved that statement. As we are grateful for the blessings that we do have and choose not to focus on what we don't we are content, and find we are not lacking. Blessings become magnified - which is what this blog has proven to me.

Second, "Doubt your doubt, before you doubt your faith." How I love President Uchtdorf, so much. He had words of wisdom that I am looking forward to reading, re-reading, and re-listening to.

Third: Missionary work - if anyone got anything out of Conference today it is that we are to work with the missionaries to rescue, and to share our faith with others. This is the reason I've had a change of heart. Being a 'stay-at-home daughter' (my doctor quipped that the other day) leaves me little time to be out and about with others. How can I possibly share my beliefs, my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, with others when I'm not really around others that much? This is my way. Perhaps I won't reach many here either, but I will at least try. I loved that Elder Ballard mentioned that if we all just reach out to one person, just one, before Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Savior more. Now, that would make a great Christmas, wouldn't it?

While my blog is purely about things that I am grateful for, and will continue to be so, the things that I am most grateful for are abundantly clear, and what I will always address: my family, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the blessings I've been given - whether simple or great, small or big... they all come from a loving Heavenly Father, for which I am deeply, and humbly grateful.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Spinach smoothies

The past few months I've been having spinach smoothies on a regular basis, usually about three times a week. There is no way to tell if they are making a difference but I still like them, a lot! On the other days for breakfast I usually eat one egg... just so I'll have some protein. The spinach smoothies are really easy to make, especially since I learned from the girls that I could freeze the spinach!

Here is how I make my smoothie:
1 cup milk
6 ice cubes
1 T peanut butter
1/2 tsp chia seeds
a dash of cinnamon
2 cups spinach (previously frozen)
1 sliced banana

You just throw it in the blender, and then blend away. I usually use the ice crushing setting first, then the pulsing, and then blend. Soon you have a refreshing, delicious smoothie! I'm grateful for this great way to begin a day! And, if you don't like the thought of drinking something green, just put it in a cup where you really don't notice it! :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Cogs in the wheel

Today I am grateful for those Visiting Teaching Supervisors that are getting back to me in a timely manner; as well as those Visiting Teachers that are giving them their reports in a timely manner. October is a reporting month, which means I have to get my report into our RS president so that she can report to our Ward Clerk, who then reports to our Stake Clerk, who then reports to Church Headquarters. It's a well-oiled machine, I tell ya, it is! All the cogs in the wheel fit together perfectly. I'm so grateful for all those 'cogs' that do their part. :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

9+9=18

For some reason the other day I was thinking about our family; number of girls vs boys. I guess I'm kind of quirky because I enjoy similarities. For example: Sam and Rachel were born exactly 7 years and 10 days apart. Sam's daughters (currently their oldest and youngest, which is what Sam and Rach are) Rylee and Maci, are also exactly 7 years and 10 days apart. Interesting, right? So, I thought about how we have five granddaughters and four grandsons, and it dawned on me how we have that same amount of adults in our family - there are five women, and four men. It strikes me as funny that we have odd similarities like this, but I'm grateful for them, since it really adds up to our family. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Moving on up!

Tonight Brad and Amy are moving into their first home! I'm so excited for them! I'm grateful for this time in their lives...it's wonderful!

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Cougar that became a Beaver

Today was Rachel's first day at OSU! I am so grateful that she is going back to get a second degree. This major will not be easy, but she will be able to work in a rewarding field that will bring her a lot of joy. I'm grateful that she has a desire to help others and is willing to make this sacrifice...she'll do great!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Good people

Today in Sacrament meeting one of the sisters in our ward that uses a walker for walking bore her testimony. I noticed when she was finished one of the brethren left his seat in order to open the chapel door for her so that she could easily exit and return to her seat.

I love noticing when others are thoughtful and serve others.

That got me to thinking about our road trip, and the nice things that people did for us. We were treated kindly, and I am grateful for that. I also noticed that when we went out of our way to do something for someone else they were super appreciative.

Being nice/kind/thoughtful/considerate doesn't take a whole lot of work or energy - it can be as simple as opening a door for someone who would struggle otherwise, or letting little boys watch you make pasta and then making their day by giving them a sample.

Easy-peasy, but so rewarding!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

RS Broadcast

Tonight was our General Relief Society Broadcast. I ended up watching it from the comfort of our home. That is something I've never done before. It was a nice change, though I'll probably attend next year. All of the talks were really great, especially President Monson's. He was so sweet when he spoke about his wife, Francis, and how he misses her. His main topic was prayer, and he bore testimony that Heavenly Father loves us and is aware of our needs. We all need reminders of that; I'm grateful that our Prophet felt impressed to share that with us. I'm so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Joy and Sadness

Yesterday after Pat picked me up from the airport he let me know that one of his co-worker's wives, Sandy, passed away on Tuesday. Larry, the co-worker, is a good friend of ours, we knew Sandy a little. She had a lot of health problems and has been in and out of the hospital over the past few months due to having strokes.

Sandy and Larry love anything that I bake, so Pat always makes a special effort to give Larry two of anything he brings into the office. Last Monday he brought in the pumpkin bars that I made, and Larry took them home to Sandy. Usually Larry will call Sandy to let her know that he's got a special treat from us, she'll put the coffee on for them, then she'll go and sit on their front porch (they live in the country) and wait for him to come home with their treat. The same thing happened on Monday. Larry told Pat that she licked her fingers because she loved the frosting so much, well, and the pumpkin bars.

Tuesday when Larry was with Sandy she was having a difficult time catching her breath. Apparently she was unable to at one point and just stopped breathing.

I can only imagine how that must have felt for both of them. I'm so sad that they had to experience that, but grateful they were together and she wasn't alone. She just stopped breathing, and he was there with her, which is comforting.

Larry was going to have to make some difficult decisions - whether to put her in a care home or not. That decision is not something he will have to worry about now, and she won't have to be away from him in a home somewhere.

I hope this doesn't sound morbid, at all, because it isn't meant to be. It just struck me so quickly how happy I was for her - no more pain, just peace. And then it struck me how sad I am for Larry. He is going to miss Sandy. A LOT.

It'll be awhile before I bake anything for him; I'll let him have some time to heal. I'm hoping that once I do it will be a sweet memory of Sandy for him.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hard work

One of the greatest lessons one can learn in life is that hard work truly does pay. While it may not be immediate, and it may not be in a monetary form, it pays in the sense that it makes one feel good about themselves. Today I am grateful that Craig received an award from work for his hard work. It's great to be noticed by others, but what really matters is the feeling that it gives you inside for a job well done.

Good job, Craig! Well done. :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tired, but grateful

We are back in Eugene tonight. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have spent time with Amy and family, and for mine and Rachel's road trip. I'm grateful that Pat and I missed each other. I'm grateful for the beauty we were able to see, the new experiences we shared...and while I'm tired tonight I'm pleased with everything that we did. I am looking forward to being home with my Sweetie again. Good night all!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Poulsbo, Bainbridge & Seattle

We spent a lovely morning riding the ferry to visit Poulsbo and Bainbridge. (Thought we were going to miss it due to getting lost, but didn't - grateful for that and Rachel's cool head since I was a bit freaked out - I HATE being late!) Rach is in love with Poulsbo! Seriously. It's a quaint little Scandinavian town. We went to a bakery that Angie told us about and were able to eat some pastries that I remember eating when I was young, either from relatives or Solvang. Yum! We shopped at a few fun stores and met some really nice, helpful people. The town was super cute too! Bainbridge was where we caught the ferry to go to Seattle. We didn't spend as much time there since we wanted to get to Seattle for lunch. In Seattle we went to Ivar's for lunch (very yummy), and to Pike's Place Market. It was fun to watch the fish mongers throw the fish to each other! They sold beautiful fresh flowers and a variety of crafts there. It was a great place to visit and I'd wished that I could take some flowers home with me. I'm grateful for the great day we had. We are both pretty tired from our adventures, and looking forward to seeing Tillamook then returning to Eugene.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Beautiful Vancouver

This morning we drove twenty minutes and left behind the USA. When we returned the border guard welcomed us back! Yay! We loved being in Canada, but we also loved coming home. The Vancouver area is lovely. We've noticed that when we've been to Canada we've always admired how clean their cities are. The people seemed very nice as well. I'd have to say that our favorite part of the drive was going to Stanley Park. Simply put: it's gorgeous. When we arrived in Vancouver it was raining pretty good; when the sun broke out it was an answer to my prayers - literally. I'm so grateful that such a simple prayer could be answered so that we could enjoy the beauty that we saw.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Washington!!!

Today was the major part of our road trip. We began in Portland, went to Mt Rainier, then on to Seattle, finally stopping for the night in Bellingham. Rach and I have been marveling at the absolute beauty of this state! It's as if when the USA was created they saved much of the beauty for just this area. Oh, I know there are other beautiful areas in our country, and I love and am grateful for those as well. But to put so much beauty in one area...that rarely happens! Now if it just wasn't SO rainy! ;)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Portland

Amy, Rach and I spent today in Portland, Oregon. We began our trip by doing family initiatories in the Portland temple last night. After sharing that wonderful experience we went to Kell's for an Irish dinner that was fabulous! Then we just hung out at our hotel last night. After breakfast this morning we made some shopping stops: a large bookstore, and Penzey's (a spice shop), then we drove around in the pouring rain looking at the downtown area. We stopped at Elephant's Deli - a fun place to eat, then we went to the rose garden in Washington park. After that we had some time to kill before Brad and the boys joined us at the park for a brief playtime (due to serious rain!) so we looked at homes. After being rained out we went to get dinner at our restaurant of choice, which wasn't serving dinner yet, so we found an Italian restaurant that had great food...and the boys got to watch them make pasta! After dinner we said our goodbyes and their family returned to Eugene, while Rach and I returned to our hotel. On the drive back Rach asked me what the best part of the day was...spending time with them was my favorite thing of all. I'm grateful for our time together, especially in the temple.