Welcome to my digital writing journal, or mydigitalclutter. What started as a family blog almost two years ago has morphed into my writing therapy. This is where I do a lot of free writing, mostly about my life with my family and the things that catch my interest. While nowhere even close to perfect, in each post I like to see how my writing is changing with time and practice. Most posts are left unedited for this reason, so if you don't mind, take the journey with me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Where are You, Christmas?

Truth be told, I'm not sure how I feel about the Christmas holiday anymore.  The older I get, the less enchanted it becomes, although I do have the opportunity to view it through the eyes of my children.  My house is never the way I envision it, although some may say I have too high a standard...I may never make it to magazine worthy decor.  I wouldn't say that my standards are high, but it never quite measures up to how I remember Christmas.

Growing up, I had a spectacular Christmas experience.  The lights were strung along the house, the tree emblazoned with the silk bulbs from the early 1970's.  Pink and red if I recall correctly.  The garland that adorned our tree was what we may call tacky today, but in my mind it was grand.  Plastic candies of all colors, peppermint swirls, candy canes, all encrusted with the fake sugar that would bush off to the carpet and cause a fine mess.  It was divine.  Peanut Blossom cookies, hot cocoa, snowmen, Christmas music on the record player all meant the holiday was fast approaching.

The anticipation of the holiday was almost more of a treat than Christmas day.  I recall the festive traditions, the family Christmas party, where I always played Mary in the live Nativity because I was the only girl.  Singing Christmas carols and learning to play them on the piano were staples of my childhood. For a time, my family lived away from extended relatives, yet the same traditions continued.  A program on Christmas eve, my brothers and I performing for my parents, where we learned the lyrics of Silver Bells, and my father read the story of Christ's birth from the book of Luke.

Now, it's a constant battle to regain those precious feelings of the holidays.  I can't explain it, but I feel as if a part of my soul is missing.  I don't know who I am without this part of me.  There are many that don't understand this facet of my makeup, but it is as important to me as the beating of my own heart, but one that has gone missing for a very long time.

Tonight we decorated the tree.  It is lit with white lights, red balls, and a snowflake or two.  Although my children and I worked together, I felt very little joy in their excitement, although I was happy for them, for making a memory.  My smile was forced and my throat tight as I reminisced about doing the same thing, but with a happy heart as a child. Is this what it means to get older?  To loose the spirit of Christmas?  If so, is it too late to run back into my childhood?  I want to feel the wild abandon of my son as he places the glass balls on various limbs, or the thrill that shoots through my daughter when she steps back to survey her work.  I miss it.

Time is short, but it really hasn't changed from when I was a child, so that really can't be an excuse, though it is one I fall back on a little too readily.  Am I pulled in too many directions, that I don't take time to really think on the true meaning?

I am forcing myself through the motions.  I pray that at some point in the next 25 days, my heart will find Christmas, for my children, but if truth be told, for me as well.

What do you do to get into the Christmas Spirit? Help is needed!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grateful for Analytics

This morning while perusing the analytics on my blog, I found that I have had visits from all over the world.

I had visits from Sweden, Brazil, a few from Ireland and Germany.  It amazed me to see the different colors and numbers each country presented.  Of course, Utah was the highest number, being that the majority of my family lives here.  Of course, I'm not sure that they read my blog....

I wondered who lived in certain places, like New York, North Carolina, and so forth.  Was it someone I knew in college, high school?  Or was is a stranger that came by because they Googled something that brought them here.  Was it a topic that interested them, or because I used a Google image that caught their eye?

I am grateful for the analytics.  It makes me realize my audience is larger than my followers or comments portray.  It humbled me to know that somewhere in the middle of Columbia, someone clicked on my blog, for whatever reason, and saw a little bit of me.

*Thanks to Google for the image!*

Friday, November 27, 2009

Grateful for Thanksgiving

Yesterday was a wonderful day, full of gratitude, thanksgiving, and pumpkin pie.  My own little family spent the day with my extended family, where we were all together, every child and spouse accounted for. We met my youngest brother's girlfriend and welcomed her into our crazy family and she fit right in.

Preparations were chaotic as the hour to dine drew closer, but we reveled in the fact that the kitchen was spacious enough for more than one person to cook at a time.

The turkey was moist, the potatoes smooth and delicious.  My youngest brother brought new dishes to our family traditions as he sautéed brussels sprouts and baked a delicious mushroom bread pudding.

No Thanksgiving would be complete without some sort of game playing, and Apples to Apples was the choice again this year.  Stiff competition as well as letting the little girls play was a change from the hilarity of last year, but fun nonetheless.

I am so grateful for holidays and traditions that solidify us and make me so much more tethered to my eternal family.  I love the fact that year after year, it just isn't the same if there isn't some shrimp cocktail at the top of my plate, in a cut crystal dish.  A tradition that was started many generations ago, before my mother's youth, that has been carried on to today.

We were blessed in the prayer my father offered in thanksgiving for the bounty we had before us.  I was touched that we, all 13 of us, were together, and surrounded the table, an offering to the blessings we had been so generously given this past year.

Today, we ended my brother's visit with family pictures.  All were decked out in their somewhat best...for us that consists of jeans and a button down shirt...and my other brother may just keep the baseball hat on.  It was a particularly wonderful conclusion to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Filled with love, we smiled for the camera, making jokes and teasing each other in the way only family can.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday too.  However you spent it, with family or friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grateful for Family...Need I Say More?

Today I have to share my gratitude for my very own little family.  We are small, just four of us, but we are strong.  I just want to share with you a couple of things today, that have made me all the more thankful to be lucky enough to have a husband like mine, and children who are ever surprising me with their honest and heartfelt personalities.

This morning as we were getting ready to leave the house, my little guy bumped his knee.  Being the hurried mom this morning, I kissed my fingers and patted his knee, hoping that would sooth his bruised self.  Not so. Speaking up he told me, “Kiss it with your lips, it feels better like that!”  How can I say no or stay rushed when his big brown eyes look up at me with total confidence that a kiss from me will heal any hurt?  Oh that he will do this for years to come, when a kiss from my lips will heal a broken heart, or battered soul.  I am blessed to have such a son.

My daughter never ceases to make me amazed at her love and willingness to make someone feel loved and welcome.  She has spent the morning making welcome home signs for her uncle who is visiting from Oregon.  She wouldn’t want him to feel like we weren’t excited for him to be with for Thanksgiving, or that we weren’t welcoming to his girlfriend and puppy.  Signs grace the door, the walls, and her heart.  She makes me want to be a better person, to live up to the expectations she has of me.  Again, I am blessed to have such a daughter.

I am not the best housekeeper, as many who have passed through my front door can attest to.  My dishes may stack up and mountains of laundry seem to require a Sherpa to navigate, but my husband tolerates this with nary a murmur.  He is the man who I can send to the store at 6:00 am because I need something desperately.  He will buy my feminine supplies, on his own, by himself, just because I’m running low and need them.  Right there, tells you what a man he is.  He puts up with my idiosyncrasies and will do what he can to make me happy.  I am lucky to have him in my life, and that the Lord has given us the tools to make this marriage work over the years.  I am blessed.

My children tell me they love me many times a day.  What other joy can I have to be loved by such sweet spirits?  I really don’t know.  They tolerate my irritability, my moody behavior, and love me anyway.  They will hug me and love me, and I love them.  My husband will touch me and I know that he cares.  A sweep of his hand across my back as walk across the parking lot or a caress of my hair, is enough to make me fall into a cocoon of happiness.

Tomorrow I will spend my time with them, and extended family, to celebrate all that I am thankful for.  The top of my list will be these three individuals, who I could not live without. 

Happy Thanksgiving and may you be surrounded by those you love.

*Thanks to Google for the image*

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gratitude for Tights

I began my love affair with tights the Summer of 1994.  Well, summer in the northern hemisphere.  I however was in the southern, and smack dab in the middle of a very frigid Uruguayan winter.  Before my epiphany of the benefits to wearing tights, I was strictly a nylons type of girl.  (Remember, early '90s.  We didn't go with bare legs.)  But that all changed, one very cold, very humid, day when my poor little legs couldn't take anymore.

Before leaving to another part of the world, my mom and I had done the requisite shopping and had purchased a number of mid-calf length skirts, a couple of tops and sensible walking shoes.  Along with these hip and upcoming fashions were a couple of pairs of opaque tights that I was certain I would never remove from the packaging.  They soon became my most beloved fashion accessory.

Have you ever tried to ride a bycicle in the freezing cold, windy rushing up your skirt?  No?  Well, I have.  I would feel the cold air pushing aside the fabric of my skirt and then my legs would be left to the elements.  When I could stand it no longer, I put away my pride and donned a pair of dark brown tights.

There were no fancy patterns, like the ones I'm wearing today.  Argyle if you must know.  But for the first time in a number of months, my legs were warm.  They weren't full of goosebumps, running up and down from thigh to toes.  I wore out the first two pairs of tights and my dear mother sent replacements whenever she sent me a package.  My tights were a boon, a comfort when all things aliegn surrounded me.

Truth be told, my favorite benefit was not needing to shave my legs during that time.  Yes, needed.  I just didn't need to because there wasn't anything to shave.  My tights kept my legs smooth and hair free.  I know, a little vain, but something I was thrilled with.  How I missed that when the humid, steamy summer months rolled around and I was back to my daily routine, and bare legs.

Today, I'm quite a bit older than I was so many years ago, but love affair continues with tights.  I am grateful that I have so many daring and comfortable options.  It snowed here the other day, but my legs were warm and comfy as I trudged through the parking lot to my car.  I suppose when I'm ninety and still need a little something, I'll reach for a pair of tights rather than the flimsy covering of nylons.  Call me crazy, but it's true, and that is why I'm grateful for them today.

*Thanks to Google for the image*

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grateful and Trying to Catch Up

I'm throwing in the towel.  For days I haven't felt like blogging and continuing my month of gratitude.  That doesn't mean I have nothing to be grateful for, because I do, and recognize it emmensily.  I've just been off my game, in all aspects of life.

Here is a quick list to catch up on my gratitude sharing:
  • Abbie has braces.  I'm glad we can take care of the orthodontic issues, and I'm grateful that she likes them.
  • Senior Centers rock!  I say that because I'm grateful my parents have an outlet where they craft, mingle, and giggle like a couple of teenagers.  I called my mom today while she was there and she was so distracted and laughing, I felt like I was talking to a teen.  I'm glad they have someplace to go, and enjoy their retirement.
  • Christmas music.  Need I say more?  We started listening yesterday when the children and I overpowered Daniel's restraint and turned on some Holiday tunes.  Believe it or not, it really got me in the Thanksgiving mood and the desire to be with family.  See, it isn't bad!
  • I'm grateful for my calling in church.  I taught a lesson yesterday in Relief Society and hope it made sense.  I sometimes get up in front of the women, and don't remember what I said.  Perhaps I went on three thousand tangents and didn't notice.  But nonetheless, I love it.
Believe it or not, the list has helped change my mood.  I was really disappointed today when I found one of my employees job searching on her computer.  I almost felt betrayed and most definitely felt hurt.   The bitterness started to seep into every feeling I had.  I suddenly felt, "Why bother." with so many things, blogging namely.  But then I forced myself to sit down and start typing.  Amazingly a list of wonderful things started to brighten my mood.  I thought about how I snuggled with both of my children yesterday as we watched a movie after church.  I thought about my husband's smile, and then the list began again.

I certainly am grateful for so much in my life.  I'm glad I started this process, even though I've had a few ups and downs.  Now, if I can keep it going, I'll post again tomorrow! :)

P.S. Butterfly Blankets sold their first set!!  Pardon me as I get very excited.  You still have time to enter to win anything from our shop at MMB!

*Thanks to Google for the image*

Friday, November 20, 2009

Give Away on MMB!

Today Butterfly Blankets is one of the give-aways on Mormon Mommy Blogs!
To enter just click HERE!
My sister in law Becky and I have set up an Etsy shop that is being featured.  We are letting you choose from anything in our store!  If you want to take a look at our store, I have a widget on my sidebar, so scroll down.  We will be uploading more items this weekend.  By the way, the doll sets are adorable!!  Perfect for any little girl who likes to play with dolls!
You have until Nov. 27 to enter!  What are you waiting for?  Go!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grateful for Internet Shopping

I started Christmas shopping today.  That may seem a little strange to some of those who have been done for three months now, and are completely organized, but I'm far from that type of person.  I'm generally doing my shopping the week before the holiday, frantically trying to find everything on my list, and making a mad dash to the mall.  That isn't happening this year.  I'm shopping online.

A few years ago, I did the majority of my shopping online, and was amazed at the time I saved, and the hassle free days I enjoyed.  From the comfort of my laptop, I was able to purchase those gifts that I couldn't find anywhere else.  I haven't done it since, and today I began to wonder why I had strayed from this model.  I know, surprising due to my digi love affair.

I, like many women, do love to shop.  I just don't like the rush and crowds that seem to swarm the stores, and the very un-holiday like attitudes that are apparent when one has to park three miles out in the parking lot, just to trek to the entrance of the store.  On the other hand, I do enjoy the Christmas carols melodically weaving through the aisles and the smells of pumpkin pie from the bakery at the grocery store, but not enough to trade time at home with my family, and the activities that are sure to abound during the season.

This year, the majority of my purchases will be online.  I will still rush to the store to buy a fancy loaf of bread to give to my children's' teachers and other sundries that will be needed, but I intend to enjoy the season with my family, and miss the holiday crazies at the mall.

*Thanks to Google for the image*

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grateful for Quality Time

My life is hectic, but no more so than the next person.  I can whine, complain, and feel picked on when I look at how my time is spent, and how little I feel like I have to spend with those I love, but I won't.  Today I'm grateful for the quality time that I get to spend with both my children and husband.

This morning, Daniel rode to work with me.  It doesn't happen often, because we literally go in separate directions each day, me to the North, he to the South.  He happened to have a meeting at the university where I work, (not where he works) and so we had the chance to spend a few more precious moments together.  He held my hand as we drove.  I wasn't as keen on talking or discussing the various topics that seem to clutter our everyday existence, I just enjoyed the time to be.

The other morning, I was able to spend a few minutes with my daughter, teaching her the intricacies of flat ironing her new short 'do.  She made the very grown up decision to cut about 6 inches off her hair and now she is learning how to do it herself.  It causes me some stress as a mother, no longer having this task, and of course, worrying about how she will look, but it is all overridden by the pleasure I feel in seeing her accomplish a task that we have worked on together.  For ten minutes, my focus was on her, and she knew it, a reveled in it. I don't know why I don't do this more often, because I loved it as much as she did.

My son sneaked into my bedroom a couple of days ago as I was getting up for the day.  He just wanted to snuggle for a little while, and he was soft and warm.  We do this occasionally, where he will tell me stories, and dreams, his little lips quivering in excitement, face aglow.  I know that when he is fourteen he won't tell me these things, or want to spend time with me like he does now.  It is precious and wonderful, and again, I revel in it, all the while wondering why I don't do it more often.

I love the time I spend with them, and am grateful for it.

What do you do in your quality time?

*Thanks Google for the image*

Grateful for Training

So, yesterday I wasn't near the computer much at all.  I generally am online all day, for work and pleasure, but it didn't work out that way.  I attended a fantastic class developed by Steven R Covey, "Leading Across Generations".  I normally don't get as much as I should out of these types of classes.  I pick at what seems to be the flaw in the theory, and will get hung up on that one little thing, and all the rest goes to waste.  Not so yesterday.

I enjoyed learning about how the different generations 'think' as a whole and was very intrigued to see that I fit my own generation to a T, for the most part.  I am 'Generation X', the generation that grew up after the Baby Boomers, only half the size of the generation that went before us.  We are small in numbers, but apparently, we rock!

While these generalizations seemed to resonate with me, it doesn't mean that all members of each generation fit nicely into the box.  We are who we are because of where, how, with whom we grown up.  Because of my own background, I fell in the same place as the Baby Boomers when it came to a few things, and it was okay.

I love to learn new things and this was a great way for me to gain a new perspective on why my grandparents saved the twist ties from bread bags, and had 30 year old fruit in their basement, and why the children in my neighborhood text each other rather than talk when they are in the same room.

Are you a product of your generation?

*Thanks Google for the image*

Monday, November 16, 2009

Grateful for the Next Generation

How can you say no to this darling, sassy girl?

We have been very lax in our family home evening activities and I had the wake-up call from my dear little daughter who planned the entire lesson for tonight.  She decided that we had not been doing okay and needed to make sure that we were holding FHE, even though her dad has been going to class on Monday nights for quite some time.

Do your children ever make you sit up wonder how they are turning out okay, without any apparent help from you?  That is exactly how I feel today.  Somehow, she is learning and growing and I don't know where she is getting it from.

I wholeheartedly believe that my children have been given strengths that defy what I'm able to do to mess them up at this point.  I am so glad that they have the strong spirits that are needed to face the situations and turmoil in this life.  They are happy and resilient, and I am proud to be their mother.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Grateful for Silence

You know the quiet that seems to permeate a home when there is a new baby sleeping?  Where everyone talks in a hushed whisper and tip toes around, avoiding any unnecessary sound?  It's been almost 10 years since I had that luxury.  With my first child, I was so concerned about making a noise, the house was in silence.

Today there has been silence in my house.  Not that bad kind, where everyone is on edge, afraid to make a sound in case the hormonal mother may snap at them, but the good, blessed silence that comes from getting rid of the television.  Yes, we did it.  Yesterday was our last day of satelite television and we don't have the nifty convertor box or digital antenna to bring broadcast shows into my family room.  My children aren't quite sure how to cope, but I hope it will be by picking up a book or some toys in their room.

I'm not a complete renegade...we still have the set.  We will make due by watching the various Disney movies that line our shelves and of course, there is Hulu if we get really desperate to see what is up on a reality show or our favorite crime drama.

Cutting back on this of course make for better finances, because I'm sure I can find someplace else to spend the money we have been shelling out monthly for our entertainment.  I hope to see an improvement in my children's grades, obedience, and getting along with each other.  Will the learning curve be short enough to get through all the griping and complaining?  I certainly hope so.

Eventually we may bring something back in, but not like we did.  I think I enjoy the silence a little too much to allow that.  Ah, golden silence, the kind that is calm and wonderful, a boon to my soul!

Would you consider getting rid of your television viewing habits?  What ramifications would you foresee?

*Thanks Google for the picture*

Gratitude for the Award

I didn't get to posting yesterday.  It could be that every time I stopped moving, I fell asleep.  I think my body is doing a full blown mutiny.  It just won't cooperate.

I'd like to thank the lovely Diane, from That's What I'm Here For... for this lovely award.  I suppose I'm supposed to answer a few questions, in one word, so here it goes:

  1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
  2. Your hair? Straight
  3. Your mother? Friend
  4. Your dad? Strong
  5. Your favorite food? Potatoes
  6. Dream last night? Jumbled
  7. Favorite Drink? Diet Dr. Pepper (okay, more than one word, but so true!)
  8. Goal? Write
  9. What room are you in? Family
  10. Hobby? Numerous
  11. Fear? Snakes
  12. Where do you want to be in six years? Home
  13. Muffins? Mormon (From Rainbow Gardens.  Delish!)
  14. Wish list? Nook
  15. Where did you grow up? Washington
  16. Last thing you did? Church
  17. What are you wearing? Skirt
  18. Your TV? Gone!!!! :)
  19. Your Pets? NONE! :)
  20. Friends? Wonderful
  21. Your life? Hectic
  22. Your mood? Good
  23. Missing someone? Always
  24. Vehicle? Prius
  25. Something you aren't wearing? Perfume
  26. Favorite color? Green
  27. Last time you laughed? Today
  28. Last time you cried? Yesterday
  29. Best Friend? Daniel
  30. Place you could go, over and over? Bed
  31. Person who e-mails regularly? Me :)
  32. Favorite place to eat? Out
I've never been good at awards, and tagging, so if you are reading this and want to play along, please do!  Thank you Diane for the award and the fun time I had coming up with one word responses.  

I'll hopefully be back to write today's post on gratitude.  I just need to take a nap!! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grateful for Family Support

Today started specatularly.  It's Friday, so that means I have some time to spend with my family this weekend.  The weather hasn't been overcast, so my mood is bright, like the sun that is until the third phone call I received from my daughter before she and my son were to head to school.  Apparently Nigel has two wiggly teeth, and he's freaking out about it. 

I have to share my gratitude for my parents.  Although I can get quite verbose and sentimental about all the qualities they have for which I am thankful, I'm not going to go down that path today.  We still have half of the month to go...I'm sure it will show up again.  Today I'm grateful that they live so close to us.

Back to the trauma of this morning.  We have a system where the kids leave for school, a few minutes after I leave for work.  They call as they leave and they make their way with the other hordes of children from our neighborhood to their destination.  Generally, it goes off without a hitch.  Except for today.  Nigel bumped his loose tooth and completely freaked out.  FREAKED!  Suddenly he couldn't go to school because he might happen to swallow the said tooth, and he might BLEED.  I know, drama.

Well luckily my parents live a few minutes away and were able to make it to the house and comfort my little guy, something I couldn't do on the phone, and take the kids to school.  I should say now that I'm grateful Grandpa and Grandma are retired and can do that!!  Grandma checked his tooth, and gave the verdict that it was good for at least another three days.  Grandpa wiggled it a bit, and it didn't come out.  All was good with the world, and Nigel could head to school.

I am so glad that my parents have such a good relationship with my kids.  Fridays are their day.  So, today, they are taking my kiddlets to the movies.  That will be a lot of fun, although I'm not convinced it is all for the younger generation.  I think my parents get as much enjoyment out of it as Abbie and Nigel.

I know that many people live far away from their extended families and don't have this wonderful blessing.  After Daniel and I married, we made a decision to stay close.  We both love our families and enjoy spending time with them and we knew that moving away and chasing job opportunities that would take us out of the state, would hurt us as much as the families we would be leaving.

Thanks Mom and Dad!  I know that without you today, Nigel would have had a complete and total meltdown, and I wouldn't have been able to get there in time to clean it up before school started.  THANK YOU!

Why are you grateful for your extended family?  Are they a blessing or a curse? :)

*Thanks to Google for the image, it's a book!*

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grateful for Groceries

I'm a little late tonight to share my day of gratitude.  Tonight was piano lesson night, which meant I had a little time to run to the grocery store.  After dropping off my two darlings off with the teacher, I headed to the dreaded big W to pick up a few things for dinner.   Don't judge me because Wal-Mart is so close, closer in fact than any other grocery store, but that was where I headed.

Walking the aisles, it hummed with activity.  Families, couples, and singles wandered the racks and shelves, putting easily packaged food into baskets.  It was so amazing, that I had to stop for a moment to take it all in.  My own cart soon began to fill with a package here and there, the makings of my "famous" chicken enchiladas, and I couldn't help but feel so grateful for the ease of it all.

Around the end-caps, people congregated and chatted, hailing one another like long lost family.  A few people stood at the adult beverage aisle, their children running around in circles.  I had to laugh internally, because it seemed so ironic that they would be standing there.

It isn't my favorite place to be, but I am still so grateful that we are able to peruse the aisle and pick whatever we desire for dinner in the very moment we want it.  Not that I wouldn't mind eating from the garden all the time, but to have a place, so very close, to let me purchase what I need, when I need it.

*Thanks to Google for the picture*

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gratitude for Service

Today is Veteran’s Day.  Is your flag flying in your yard?  I put mine out this morning as I left for work.  I saw a boy scout and his mother putting flags out in my neighbors’ yards, and I smiled.  Today is especially bittersweet in remembering those who have served our country, but my heart is filled with gratitude none the less.

My father served in the air force.  He doesn’t talk much about that time, except for a bit here and there, but it mostly about a few people he met.  I remember as a child, looking at his old uniform that hung in the closet, faded navy blue, with the gold buttons.  I didn’t understand then, the sacrifices made by men and women who wore that uniform, but I stood in awe at it just the same.  My dad was long out of the military by the time I came along, but he still had the same sense of pride as he did when he wore the uniform.  I never saw him miss an opportunity to salute the flag, taking off his hat in respect and honor.  In later years, I’ve seen his tears, as news comes of a veteran receiving honors and the pomp and circumstance after years of dedicated service.  His gruff face can crumple into a myriad of emotions, and I see the gratitude in his eyes, a fellow brother who understands.

I grew up in an area filled with “military brats” in my school.  Most of my dearest friends in high school were only there for a few years while their own mother or father spent time station at the local air force base.  I spent my senior year with friends who had a parent serving in the First Gulf War, and only then began to understand the toll political unrest can take on a family.

It hits very close to home with the recent events in the nation, and my own family.  There are families today that are mourning their loved one.  They remember those whose lives were lost in the line of duty, either on foreign soil, or on home ground.  Many know the pain of losing a loved one.  Many have been lost, fathers, brothers, sons.  Mothers, daughters, sisters.   My father in law has lost a father and a son, both while serving their country.  My husband has lost a brother, and I don’t know how one ever gets past that, especially when the wounds are so fresh.

Near my house is a small park, only a few feet wide, dedicated to the Veterans of the Armed Services.  Today it will be festooned with yellow ribbons.  I’m proud to say that I honor them.  I wave my flag proudly and support them.  Today I am grateful for my freedom and for the brave men and women who fight for that blessing in my life.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gratitude for the Machine

I don't mean to be flip in my post today, but to be honest, I would be ungrateful if I didn't mention the modern marvel of the washing machine in my month of gratitude.  Have you ever lived without one?  Or a trip to the laundromat?  I have, so I speak from experience when I say I'm grateful for it.

While living in Uruguay, I spent time with the benefits of a washing machine for a few months, but the majority of my time I spent standing over a cement 'pileta' scrubbing my clothing clean in cold water.  I remember the first time time I needed to wash my "delicates".  I wasn't sure what to do.  I'd never had to wash my entire wardrobe by hand.  Oh, of course I had done the odd sweater here and there, but that wasn't quite the same thing.

My washing machine went out just before I had Nigel.  I was so nervous at the thought of running to the laundromat daily, or hand washing all of my families clothes.  I had done that once before, just for myself, and wasn't about to try it times 4.  I was glad when we found a second hand one to get us by until we could get a new one.

I'm doing laundry as I type this.  Now, my ancestors certainly didn't have this luxury.  I'm glad that I can do other things while my clothes was, glad that it doesn't take all day to scrub and hang to dry the contents of my closet.  Lovely, lovely machine.  Certainly something I'm grateful for today!

What modern marvels are you grateful for?

*Thanks Google for the picture*

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grateful for Monday

To most, Monday is almost a four letter word.  To be honest, I enjoy the weekend as much as the next person, but I've never understood the abhorrence of Monday.  Monday means a new beginning, a new week in which to make my mark.  The days are fresh and full of opportunity.

I'm grateful for Monday.  It means I have the opportunity to live another week, to work, to play, to love, and to be who I need to be.  The start of something new, without the baggage of yesterday holding me back.  That is Monday.

Perhaps I don't mind Monday because I don't have weekend regrets, and for that I am grateful.

What are your thoughts and feelings on Mondays?

*Thanks to Google for the Estimable Calvin and Hobbes pic*

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Grateful for my Spiritual Reservoir

As each of us navigate the twists and turns of this mortal existence, we may find ourselves lost in a spiritual wasteland where no matter how much we want, it is difficult to leave.

I heard an analogy once, about building a spiritual reservoir, to pull upon its resources when difficult times test our resolve to be faithful.  I am so very grateful for the vast array of experiences that have filled my reservoir, that have built up a reserve for me to draw from.

It started when I was a young girl, when I prayed to find a missing library card.  I was bereft because my beloved card had gone missing, and after an offered plea, my prayer was answered and I found the insignificant card.  It didn't seem like much for anyone else, but I knew at that moment that the Lord heard my prayers, and gave me the answers that I needed.

Another time, I was a bit older, and in the mountains, when the grandeur of the stars in the sky, high above the tall pines, standing tall and straight to heaven.  I came to the understanding that the things of the world were made by the Great Creator and I was filled with the spirit, and my reservoir was filled.

The experiences are wide and varied.  The time I spent as a missionary taught me that I serve God as I serve others and my love and understanding grew as well as my testimony.  My reservoir was filled to almost overflowing by then.

As my life has progressed, there are days when I fill my reservoir and days where I draw from it.  I hope to teach my children to start building their reserves now.  For these reserves I am eternally grateful.

How do you fill your spiritual reservoir?

*Thank you Google for the image.*

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Grateful for Music

Thank you to everyone who sent me well wishes after being sick yesterday.  I am feeling better, so they are working marvelously!

Today I have to share my thought and feelings on music.  I love music and have it constantly playing in the background.  From the simple strains of a hymn to the complicated renditions of the masters, I enjoy it all.

We have a rule in our home, that each child learn to play the piano.  Although this seems harsh to some, both of my children have expressed and interest and have taken lessons.  Abbie has been taking for about three years, and Nigel started this past summer.

Today was the first recital of the year and they both did particularly well.  That is, when we could get Nigel to play.  He was first on the program and refused to play in from of people he didn't know, although, the majority of children are from our neighborhood. He did play when every one left and just family stayed around.  I'm quite proud of his efforts as it is quite scary to perform in front of an audience when he is super shy about being in front of people.

Abbie performed brilliantly, having memorized her piece, and she did it with style.  As with every child and the piano, she experiences ups and downs when it comes to practice and consistency.  She has really benefited from it though.

I am such a proud mom today, and so grateful for all the hard work my children have put forth in order to do something that is difficult, but so rewarding.  After the recital we picked out what I consider the biggest perk of piano playing...Christmas music.  That right there makes it all worth it.  They even had a fantastic book for Nigel, complete with Jingle Bells.  What a holiday season we have ahead of us.  I can't wait!

*Thanks to Google for the music notes, the other pics are mine!*

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grateful for Sick Time

Today I'm sick and tired.  I'm not being facetious, because I stayed home from work because I'm sick.  Because of this, I'm not going to spend any more time on this post, and will try to sleep some tonight.  At least I have sick leave to utilize and still get paid.  Thank goodness for small blessings like this.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another day of Gratitude

Yes, the picture says it all.  Oh, I could be all pensive and deep, but today, I really have to say that I am grateful for Diet Dr. Pepper.  You see, for some it is chocolate, their comfort food or "drug" of choice, but for me, it is fizzy, sweet delight called Diet DP.

When I'm having a rough day, I like to run to the Union Building and fill up my cup for a whopping 53 cents, and the first sip is heaven.  It might seem a little crazy, but I love it when 10 am rolls around and I can make a trip upstairs.

For my husband, his drink is Diet Coke.  Now, don't get me wrong, it is a very nice drink, but I'm not sure I would compose a blog post about it.  It is perfectly acceptable, but just doesn't say "Teri's drink of choice".

Today I started early, running into the gas station for my fix before I headed to work.  Yep, it was one of those days.  Yeah, I know some health nut is shaking her head, wondering how I stay alive if I survive on this refreshing beverage.  I turn my nose up to you.  It is my weakness, and to be honest, I'm not too sorry about it.

Okay, so someday, I'll try to break my DP habit, and have refreshing water with all my meals, but until that day, I'll stick to what I love.

What is your beverage of choice?

*Thanks Google for the gorgeous image above.  Love it!!*

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grateful for Books

Today I'm grateful for books.  Of course, many of you already know of my love affair with the written word, and for that, I sincerely apologize for my gushing in regards to this blessing in my life.

I don't know what I would do without the ability to read wide and various tomes.  Going into the bookstore or library is near ecstasy for me.  One of my favorite quotes, one I put on my Facebook page comes from an Argentinean writier, Jorge Louis Borges:  "I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library."  Doesn't that sound divine?  I certainly think so.

My current reading consists of various church items, a fantastic writing book, and a few crochet patterns for snowflakes.  I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to read, and know how, and enjoy it.  It isn't a chore to me.  In fact, I thin I was grounded from books like most children are from television when I was a child.  Perhaps my mother could confirm or deny this.  It seems logical though.

What fabulous things are you thankful for and what books are you reading today?

*Thanks to Google for the Image*

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Gratitude to Vote

I woke up this morning invigorated with the idea of finding something to share that inspires gratitude in my life.  The list was long, and as I mentally ticked off each one on my drive to work, I began to see all of the campaign signs that were lining the streets and the added "Vote Today" reminders in bold letters.

Whatever your political leanings might be, or the platform you endorse, the fact of the matter is that we have the opportunity to let our opinions be heard by the mark of a pen, or the touch screen of the polling machine.  While one voice may be small, we have the opportunity to express it.

Today, I plan to express my gratitude by voting.  It won't be a hardship, as I have transportation, and there won't be much of a line.  There isn't anything "BIG" about this particular election day, but the fact of the matter is, there is a celebration every time I can cast my ballot.

I was thrilled the first time I was able to vote.  My eighteen year old self could hardly contain herself and I'm sure the polling judges couldn't understand my grin.  I had just spent my senior year studying American Government and had particularly enjoyed the content.  The Suffrage Movement has also held me in awe and I didn't want to let those women down who had fought so courageously for my moment to cast my ballot. Time has dimmed those exuberant hopes and dreams, but not so much that I will let the chance to vote pass by.

Will you show your gratitude today by voting?

*Thank you to Google for the image*

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Month of Gratitude

While in church yesterday, someone mentioned doing a month of gratitude, by daily sharing what inspired them to be most thankful.  I loved this idea, and thought to modify it a bit for my own use.

I love this picture I found while searching Google today.  A woman, in a position of supplication and gratitude, surrounded by things that really are the staff of life, food, drink, and the word of God.  Of course, I may be reading into the image, something that isn't there, but none the less, I think the image truly shares what I believe to be important.

I've heard it stated that after 21 days, an activity becomes habit.  Wouldn't it be the culmination  of all good things if by the end of the month, I had to continue my journey, out of habit, to be grateful for all that I have? I believe it would.  Gratitude can change a perspective from bleak to shining and bright.  Will that change my dismal moods into something light and manageable?

Today, I am grateful for life.  The very essence of who I am, who I was, and who I am to become.  To enjoy every breath, every sight, and all sensations, is a miracle.  I will still be grateful tomorrow that my ears can hear the music I love, my eyes can read the words I adore, and my fingers can touch my loved ones.

How do we live a life of gratitude?  Is it really gratitude if we don't give credit to He who is the author of all we have?

Today, what are you grateful for?

*And I'm grateful to Google for the image!*

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I don't {heart} the end of Daylight Savings

This is what I feel like.  Most of my clocks are still an hour ahead, and truth be told, I'm not keen on moving the hands to the correct and current time.  I really don't like the change, the end of daylight savings.

I suppose the biggest change is the adjustment of my internal body clock must make to the earlier darkness and thinking that it isn't really 5:00, but 6:00 and so on and so forth.

Onward and forward I must go, and tomorrow will be an interesting day as I rush my children in their preparations for school, and try to stay awake until 10:00 pm tomorrow night.  Of course, in the back of my mind, I know that it is really 11:00 pm and I'm tired for good reason and should just go to bed.

So, as the clock approaches what I believe is a rather late hour, I should head to bed.  My you all enjoy the time shift and make whatever adjustments need to be made in your routines to accommodate the difference.  And of course, if you are in Arizona, I'm a bit jealous right now....

*Thanks to Google for the picture*
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