Tuesday, December 31, 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


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


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


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.


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


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


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. :)