Sunday, January 25, 2009


1. Terry
2. George
3. Stace
4. Syd
5. Kell
6. Chad
7. Kenna
8. Tyler
9. Spielberg
10. Michelle
11. Nicole
12. Ellie
13. M~
14. K~
15. I~
16. G~
17. A~
18. K~
19. M~
20. J~
21. G~
22. J~
23. and the little one due in April
24. M~
25. V~
26. and the little one due in September
27. S~
28. J~
29. and the little one due in September
30. u. T~
31. a. N~
32. u. S~
33. a. B~
34. u. R~
35. a. K~
36. u. D~
37. a. L~
38. u. S~
39. a. M~
40. u. H~
41. a. S~
42. u. A~
43. a. W~
44. u. T~
45. a. J~
46. Ben
47. Ryan
48. Ross
49. Kristen
50. Noreen
51. Steve
52. Bree
53. Z~
54. b.
55. D~
56. Wendy J.
57. Wendy C.
58. Wendi O.
59. Jan
60. Melanie M
61. Melanie B
62. Rachel W
63. Rachel B
64. Theresa
65. Audrey
66. J~
67. S~
68. Tammy
69. Paula
70. Kristy
71. Corinne
72. Dr. Google
73. Magnum
74. Douglas
75. Steven
76. Dr. D
77. Lacy
78. Kim
79. Jennifer
80. Laurie
81. Becca
82. Mikael
83. Steph
84. Heather
85. H~
86. R~
87. M~
88. a. K~
89 u. G~
90. B~
91. L~
92. Sam
93. N~
94. P~
95. A~
96. Copper
97. Sadie
98. Ginger
99. Weasel
100. Ginger II
101. Mr. O

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Creature Comforts

1. wheat
2. Kamut
3. yeast
4. honey
5. salt
6. butter
7. hot water
8. making home-made bread
9. grinder
10. Bosch
11. oven
12. potholders
13. dishwasher
14. pantry
15. preserved peaches from our backyard tree
16. butternut squash from the garden
17. home-grown onions
18. home-canned spicy tomato sauce, perfect for hot tomato soup
19. frozen zucchini just waiting to be baked into bread
20. baked sweet potato fries, drizzled with olive oil & sprinkled with salt
21. jelly roll pans
22. blender
23. fruit smoothies
24. mirrors
25. television (not that we watch much, but still)
26. Ipod
27. docking speaker
28. camera
29. data cables
30. Picasa
31. playlists
32. lights to read by
33. lights to eat by
33. lights to brighten up the place
34. wood floors
35. semi shag carpet
36. rugs
37. wool socks
38. heat
39. fireplace
40. central air
41. soft water
42. washer
43. dryer
44. lavender scented baths
45. bubbles
46. yoga
47. dvd player
48. my bed
49. my pillow
50. sweaters
51. dark jeans - the ones with black bead embroidered pockets in the back
52. capris, how much they remind me of the beach
53. flip-flops
54. bright orange-red nail polish, a touch of spring for my toes
55. microwave
56. spatulas
57. pan scrapers
58. window blinds
59. clean walls
60. ceiling fans
61. overstuffed reading chairs
62. shoulder bags
63. silver hoop earrings
64. bookshelves
65. clean windows
66. the vacuum
67. broom
68. the all-important dust pan
69. lawnmower
70. weed whacker
71. the son who knows how to use them (I do too, but it's good for him)
72. sprinkler system
73. pools
74. hot tubs
75. trees to climb
76. trees to shade
77. trees to harvest from
78. clocks
79. a wheelchair-modified vehicle
80. pain meds for my boy
81. electric keyboards
82. and the headphones that go with them
83. oldies radio stations - if 70s and 80s music is considered to be oldies now
84. a couch big and soft enough to cradle Ty
85. a dining table
86. chairs enough for all of us and a guest or two
87. the independence Ellie's step stool lends her
88. paintings
89. sculptures
90. museums
91. hospitals
92. telephones
93. laundry baskets
94. that my kids can do their own wash
95. that we have some of the best tasting water right out of the faucet
96. that we do not have to boil, strain, and filter our water
97. or walk miles to get it
98. indoor plumbing
99. that my children do not have to go hungry
100. Mr. O has secure employment (it hasn't always been that way, so I'm especially grateful for this).
101. and we are all, currently, healthy

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Snippets from past medical trials:

1. Caring physicians who listen.
2. I am very grateful to be a mom, and it's nights like these (when he was in the AF ER) that make me appreciate my own mom even more,
3. I was fortunate enough to have my mom there when Tyler was born,
4. She got to see him fight his way here and peek out,
5. She has helped me so many times, there is no way I will ever be able to make it up to her.
6. She has always been a remarkable example to me in serving others,
7. I watched her lovingly care for both her parents at the end of their lives,
8. Even now, there are so many ways she serves others.
9. My husband and the kids have been awesome through this experience,
10. He stays with Ty at the hospital on weekends,
11. Has become the backup nurse (lots of IV meds experience),
12. He has been the glue that holds it all together,
13. He practically shaved his head to show support for Ty.
14. I need to tell you about three wonderful women who help me: Terry (my mom), Mo (my aunt), and Wendy (my dear neighbor)
15. They help with getting Ty ready,
16. Watching the girls so I can get some sleep,
17. And being here when I have to be away with Ty,
18. They cook,
19. They tidy up ,
20. They do what needs doing,
21. But most importantly, they love my kids and make it possible for me to do what I do.
22. I know my family is well-cared for and we are so blessed to have them in our lives.
23. Erin, who worked with Tyler, and shared her infectious smile.
24. The principal who sent a gift during Ty's chemo Christmas.
25. Susan, from USDB, who was the first person besides me who danced with Ty and absolutely loved it.
26. Kristy, his teacher, who has helped us to dream for Ty more than we ever thought was possible.
27. Corrine, the vision specialist, who is like family to us.
28. Starla, the speech therapist, who never gave up and found something Ty would eat - Gogurts.
29. Jodi, the physical therapist, whose kind heart extends to fostering rescue dogs.
30. Nate, the Occupational therapist, who found a way for Ty to paint - a special arm brace.
31. Kaye and Justin at the school district who made Ty's hospital/homebound school the best experience it could be.
32. Mr. Stradley, the art teacher, who saw the connection between music and Ty's expression.
33. Barb, another dear neighbor, has arranged so many meals to feed my family when I'm with Ty at the hospital.
34. Jake (Wendy's son), for bringing his guitar to the hospital and playing it for Tyler.
35. I sat Ty on my lap and helped him to strum the guitar as Jake held it. Tyler kept reaching out to touch the strings and make them vibrate with his sound - again and again,
36. It is the most fun and alert I have seen him be in the hospital.
37. The neighbors who have donated their time, their cooking skills, and their disposable cookware.
38.The anonymous people who made Christmas special for us one year -
39. We had the "Twelve Days of Christmas,"
40. Our stockings filled,
41. A Secret Santa bearing gifts.
42. And a Christmas Jar shared with us.
43. We are so fortunate to be blessed by such generous people.
44. The friends who call and check on us.
45. The church family and extended family members who pray and fast for Tyler and our family.
46. The many coworkers who show their support for Ty.
47. The children who tell me they pray for him and ask how he is doing.
48. Our family doctor, who knows me by name (and also by my voice), and comes to the rescue time after time.
49. Laurie and Jennifer in the same office.
50. Staff and techs who have provided great, loving care for Tyler.
51. We will miss seeing Lacey, she has moved to another floor, but we know there are many wonderful caregivers who love Tyler and have his best interests in mind.
52. Thank you for remembering that even though he can't speak, he still needs to know what's going to happen next.
53. Sharon, who always cleaned his room on ICS and danced along with us to Ty's tunes
54. Apple. What would we do without his Ipod?
55. All the minutes we forget that Tyler is dealing with something very serious - because we are all laughing and dancing to his favorite music.
56. And commenters during that time, for checking in and leaving comments, they were much appreciated and made me feel all cheery and warm inside.
57. My neighbor, who sometimes serves as my own personal Ask-A-Nurse.
58. Taffy, who sent me flowers at just the right moment.
59. An angel of a neighbor brought dinner and stayed to play with the kids and be with Tyler.
60. That is big. When you have a child going through something like chemo, and they happen to have other disabilities as well, you can't just call one of the teens in the neighborhood to come and 'sit' for you.
61. She did a marvelous service for us, and I felt very refreshed and ready for the coming week.
62. The birthday lunch the neighbors threw for me. I hadn't had one of those in a very long time. it was wonderful.
63. The baby shower they threw when I was expecting Gracie (it so happens I hadn't had one of those in a very long time either - like 10 years).
64. Magnum, Ty's new intervener, who brings the cool factor into Ty's jr. high life.
65. Marilyn and Ellen, both sweet bus drivers, who get just as excited as we do when Ty goes back to school after his most recent medical procedure.
66. The two priesthood holders who gave Ty a blessing (because Mr. O couldn't be there) the night he started the hard chemo.
67. How Ty called for me the next morning (because he felt so terrible) when I left for a minute - the only time he's ever called me Mom - both a blessing and heartbreaking, all in one.
68. How he calmed when I held him on my lapped, rocking him and alternately telling him again of the plan of salvation and singing I Am A Child Of God.
69. How good it felt to be strong for him, to be able to comfort him.
70. An oncologist who had a smile from Ty and felt an instant connection - she warmed to him from that time on and took a personal interest in his case.
71. An orthopedic surgeon, who also happens to be a specialist in Ty's tumor type, that brought in a specialist from MD Anderson.
72. Who consequently called the tumor review board together to reevaluate and confirm Ty's diagnosis.
73. Which ended up in a course of treatment change
74. and a subsequent end to the aggressive tumor growth.
75. All the men at Mr. O's place of employment who shaved their head in support of Ty's hair loss.
76. An insurance case manager who went the extra mile and arranged for a hospital bed to be set up and waiting when Ty was discharged.
77. Caring home health nurses, Becca and Sam, and their many weekend visits and late night calls.
78. Them teaching me to use sterile technique to access and flush his port.
79. The cancer intake worker who sweetly explained all the technical chemo/lab talk and then told us not to try to remember it all, that we would become fluent in cancer-speak before we knew it.
80. That we were able to grasp cancer-speak well.
81. Chocolate covered cinnamon bears in the hospital cafeteria.
82. The internet connection at the hospital.
83. Stairs
84. Elevators
85. The first time Ty had surgery (as a two year old), we were so poor I couldn't afford hospital food and subsisted on fruit and bagels from the courtesy cart - then someone sent us $50 anonymously and it was enough for dinner the 10 days I was there with him.
86. My aunt who picked up the homeschooling ball I dropped when ty spent so much time in hospital.
87. The neighbor who helped carpool the girls to gymnastics.
88. The other neighbor who stepped in and helped cover my calling.
89. The hospital sacrament meetings - short and oh so sweet.
90. The members who brought sacrament to the room the times I couldn't make it to the meeting.
91. The surgeon who spent the extra three hours it took redoing Ty's surgery the less invasive way so that he would have an easier recovery.
92. The anaesthetist who assumed the risk of sedating Ty mere hours after he'd had barium and successfully intubated him against her better judgement because she knew time was of the essence.
93. The orthopedic surgeon who always addresses Ty by bending down to his eye level and putting his hand on Ty's shoulder.
94. Who also talks to him like he's a regular 16 year old.
95. And comes out after surgery and draws an overview of the surgical procedure on his scrubs so I know just what happened.
96. The medical staff in post-op who always let me come right back because it's the surest way to get his respirations to normal.
97. Those toasty blankets with the fresh from the oven smell that warm him back up after the Operating Room.
98. The fabulous ENT who operated successfully on Ty to reduce his drooling and subsequent resolution of his facial chapping issues.
99. And then later saw my youngest daughter to sort out an emergency diagnosis of an abcessed lymph gland/mumps/abcessed salivary gland based solely on our relationship of his being Ty's surgeon. He worked her right in, ordered the least invasive diagnostic tests and felt that the team of the four of us could save her a lot of time (therefore cost) and stress by holding her down and taking care of it the old fashioned way- they drained it - more than once, but at least without surgery or aneasthesia
100. He sent her home with orders for Rocefan injections and placed a follow up call to hear how she was doing. Really, how many doctors do that?
101. Dr. TSN who's always looking a step ahead, with one eye on his future needs - the botox bestower.

Coastal bits of nature

These images and everything in them
2. clusters of tall, graceful palms
3. pink, wispy brush-stroked clouds
4. the patch of crystal blue sky
5. a friend who is talented enough to paint this scene (if only I could talk her into it)
6. hues of twilight
7. long stretches of sandy beach
8. the sounds and smells of coastal city night life
9. the taste of bbq chicken pizza by the beach
10. this sunset and every other I've taken a moment to enjoy
12. the peace of the ocean on this day
13. the only time I cannot recall hearing surf sounds
14. or feeling a breeze
15. realizing what a gift it is to hear and feel those things
16. the rays of the sun
17. it's path reflected on the water
18. the warm sand on top
19. and the cooler, damp sand underneath
20. the pleasure of digging my toes into each
22. watching others take in the same beauty
23. the sun glinting off the water
24. walking hand in hand along the hard, wet sand
25. stepping quickly to avoid the incoming waves
26. but also standing there waiting for one to come in
27. and feeling the ocean reclaim the sand under my feet
28. anchoring myself to the earth with my toes
29. the beach dotted with bits of shell, rocks and driftwood
30. sand (and not snow) flipping up, dusting my legs as we wade through the soft sand
32. a husband who plans fun adventures
33. and can navigate his way anywhere
34. the dear, dear woman I met on this boat and with whom I shared a seat
35. her lovely tradition of making whale-watching a weekly appointment
36. and who shared the very best time of year to see Blue whales feeding - I'm adding this to my 40 before 40 list
37. the camera that made recording these memories possible
38. the grace, speed and playfulness of dolphin
39. the misty spouting of gray whale
40. a perfect, calm day at sea
42. the pristine view of Catalina Island
43. a long ago memory of riding a golf cart around said island
44. and visiting the Wrigley garden there
45. lifeguard towers (even without a lifeguard present)
46. 10 foot swells and the surfers who make it look easy
47. beach chair rentals
48. reading a fluff book, toes in sand
49. people watching
50. dusky, golden skies
52. the spray kicked up by the skimboarders
53. wetsuits
54. the verve of youth
55. who take even more pictures than I
57. visiting a piece of history
58. art deco style
59. appreciating the workings of a ship firsthand
60. so many photographic opportunities
62. the tribal sounds of the bongo jam session happening next to the pier
63. an woman dancing Elaine-style
64. the tambourine shaker, who at 60+ still had amazing legs and a pixie haircut
65. the African drummer in the shirred, green velvet shift
66. a three year old dancing with abandon - as only three year olds can
67. rhythms that took me back to my luau days
68. that I do not drink alcohol (which, despite opinions to the contrary, impairs dancing ability)
69. the drummer who let it all out, African style
70. the mural in the background
72. seeing dolphin in the wild, up close
73. the light playing off their backs
74. the sun on my face
75. snuggling on the prow, feeling on top of the world
77. footwear sans socks
78. nail polish
79. lotion
80. carrying flip flops while strolling hand in hand
82. glassy ribbons of ocean
83. sailboats
84. the color white
85. and marine blue
86. reflections
87. feeling small in the vastness
88. and yet also very big in my little corner of the world
89. not needing my sea legs
90. the stillness of the group, waiting breathlessly for the whales to surface
92. the interesting things you see along the harbor
93. like dogs in sunglasses
94. the long line outside the psychic reader's shop
95. and a man with no fingers crafting waffle cones
97. this bride and her wedding party
98. in their bright purple dresses
99. with their infectious giddiness
100. the impromptu high-five run though they performed on the boardwalk
101. And have I mentioned? This man:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jen, The Sab.

1. 8:30 church that I thought I would hate, but actually enjoy
2. Well-prepared and delivered talks
3. Jooj giving the scripture for the first time
4. Hair that looks good when it is flat-ironed
5. Flat irons
6. Pot stickers
7. Organic Pomegranate fruit strips from Target
8. Being a full tithe payer
9. Jasper Fforde
10. The public Library
11. Sneetches
12. Sylvester McMonkey McBean
13. Almost-Four Sweetness
14. My Sleep Number Bed
15. After-church naps
16. The sleep of the dead
17. Zoloft
18. MS medication for my MIL
19. Clean Mammograms
20. Exercise
21. fireplaces
22. Spring in El Paso
23. Andrew Bird music
24. Having enough to pay bills
25. New shoes
26. Cookbooks
27. The way it sounds on my keyboard when I type fast
28. Senior primary that knows well enough to listen when I get serious
29. Squirrelly boys in Senior Primary
30. Serious girls in Senior Primary
31. Sunbeams telling me "I sang!"
32. The way the primary songs quiet the crying nursery kids
33. Jooj is mine, fair and square
34. Not being called to be a foster mom
35. Smarts
36. An amazing primary pianist
37. A bishop who loves my daughter
38. The men in the ward who have stepped up and been father-like to Jooj
39. Being on the same wavelenth as my sweet W
40. Slowly emerging clavicles
41. Jooj prays every single time she finds something she lost
42. That she is learning to recognize the Holy Ghost
43. Nesting, even though there is no reason
44. Silly games
45. Cuddling during Sac Mtng
46. W not in a war zone
47. "I can't tell you anything, but I am safe"
48. Small favors
49. Slippers
50. Root Beer
51. Planning
52. A new blender
53. Sabbath traditions
54. Internet
55. A laptop that still holds it together
56. Setting and obtaining goals
57. But having the tools to be okay if goals aren't reached
58. Being able to say the right thing at the right time
59. New opportunities to make friends
60. Unshakable testimonies
61. The still small voice
62. Making a difference to one kid
63. Spontaneous hugs
64. Not being swayed to stay home, even when it is convenient
65. Things I learned about being a member while at BYU:
66. Doing what you are asked
67. Cheerfully
68. Homework is not an excuse for missing church
69. Neither is tiredness (usually)
70. When you attend activities and meetings you are supporting the ward
71. No one likes to be in charge of an activity that no one attends
72. There is a reason behind callings and promptings and whisperings
73. I am part of a plan.
74. For the things I learned about being a member while in Monterey:
75. It is really hard to be in the RS presidency
76. Food Storage is divinely inspired
77. Welfare meetings are not to be coveted
78. There is good in everyone
79. For Army
80. And the rest
81. That I am not dating
82. That I am sealed in the temple to my family
83. That divorce and such doesn't unseal me to my folks
84. For my grandparents
85. For the opportunity to take family names to the temple
86. For cranky old ladies at church who want me to use colloidial silver in everything
87. Two healthy kidneys
88. Tonkatsu sauce
89. An adventurous palate
90. Carina
91. Marni, and the lessons I learned from her life
92. A mother who chose to have babies
93. Being a mother who chooses to have babies (theoretically.)
94. Not for Adam's transgressions
95. Elder Uctdorf
96. Elder Holland
97. Amazing in-laws
98. Blazing Saddles
99. The Great Race
100. Red shoes
101. Fairy Tales

there are families and there are ward families

1. How our ward had us in the ward directory weeks before we moved in
2. They were genuinely happy to have us in the ward
3. The first time I walked into Jane Stewart's house. I was actually looking for the Nielson's house, but found Jane instead. Her Tudor-style home was warm and inviting and she was friendly even though I had the wrong house.
4. How Jane used to tell everyone I was a good writer, long before she'd ever read anything I'd written. She helped me remember who I was and what I did before I immersed myself in being a mom.
5. The sweet way Jane has of being generous--of donating shoes, clothes, food, or whatever--without making you feel like you need a hand-out.
6. The way Olga used to call me from the Lake to pick up Christopher after school on early day or Jane would call me when she needed a phone number or some other type of information.
7. Finally seeing the sun--after living in my cousin's basement apartment for so long.
8. Feeling needed. We got put to work right away (I had 24 Beehives).
9. The row of blue-hairs in RS. Their wisdom and their grandmotherliness.
10. How it the spirit corrected me when I first turned down babysitting Leah Robinson. And so I got to know and love Leah (although I'm much better w/ teens than with toddlers) and Steve and Janet and they became like family to us.
11. How Janet once told me if she were ever the RS Pres. she would have me called as the compassionate service leader.
12. How when Janet was called as RS Pres ten years later and the bishop at that time was doubtful she persisted and told him I've already had 10 years to get ready for the call.
13. How much I loved serving as CS leader.
14. How when anyone died you didn't have to call to line up help--people called you to offer.
15. How when you send around a sign-up sheet in RS people write in their names at the bottom--an actual waiting list of sorts--when it's full.
16. The young mothers I knew who lived two houses down in the other teeny tiny fixer upper house on my street.
17. How I learned from one of them not to ever judge a mother who worked outside the home.
18. Our next door neighbor Bill--widower--who still cannot pronounce my name correctly. He is a good neighbor.
19. How Alice Jones would answer homemaking questions for me and help me with sewing issues (I'm still shocked at how quickly we lost her--to bone cancer).
20. How much I love the cookbook her husband Val gave to us all to remember her by.
21. How much Syd Kramer loved my kids.
22. Watching my Beehives grow up.
23. Getting them again four years later during my brief stint as Laurel advisor (before they yanked me out when they put Shane in the bishopric).
24. Having opportunities to have callings that made me stretch and grow.
25. How every time I was set apart I was told to put my family first.
26. Working with Lynda as the ward newsletter co-editors.
27. How much I loved writing the "News Around the Neighborhood" column (it was NOT a gossip column
28. The weird but special way I happened to usually be in the right place at the right time to know the news (at least in my pre work-outside-the-home days).
29. Sponsoring the "Where in the world is Bishop B" a "Name the Rooster" contests.
30. The Valentine's Day issue in which we ran pictures and stories of a number of the older couples in the ward.
31. Fern Cox.
32. Meridith Blackburn. It's her birthday today. Her husband just delivered to me the leftover cake. She sends food to us every couple of days because that's just the way she is.
33. How much more beautiful our world was because of the talent of Seven and Adrienne Nielsen.
34. The love shared between us the last time I saw Adrienne--just days before she died.
35. Taking my first quilt class with Alice Childs.
36. How Lil Anderson lent me her Bernina, then gave it to me for a promise---that I would take up quilting again and be her quilting partner.
37. How the miracles I've witnessed here: Andy Martin, Jenny Schieffer, and Phil Anderson's stories come to mind.
38. And how they help me hope for a miracle as well.
39. The day President Holland prayed that there would be no empty chairs at the tables in the home of our stake.
40. Back to Lynda--knowing her and learning from her and sharing in the pain and suffering she has faced as a mother has made me a better person.
41. Knowing and loving her daughters--who are amazing women even through the troubles they've shared.
42. Being able to witness Kate's return into the fold.
43. Being able to say good-bye to Kate the day before she died.
44. Being able to be there for Lynda and her family in the best way I knew how and how it helped me deal with my own grief.
45. Lynda's wonderfully frank RS lessons. Oh how I miss them. (Being able to reassure the bishop after a couple of them that they were fine and true--knowing full well he had likely heard otherwise from some who may not have appreciated her frankness.)
46. The at least a hundred times I plopped myself down on Bev Schieffer's comfy sofa in her lovely home to pour out my troubles and always hear, "Well, this too shall pass."
47. Going waterskiing with Jane and Olga.
48. The day I met Melody Newey.
49. The truth Melody speaks.
50. The way Melody nursed me, my husband, and my children. She is our personal nurse. She is one who has learned the healer's art.
51. The way Melody knows what I need even when I don't.
52. The way she nurtured me at times when I was all used up.
53. The way she makes me feel special with simple gifts of beautiful jewelry, silk slippers, fine chocolate and good books.
54. Getting sneak peaks at so much of her wonderful poetry.
55. The honor of being a friend to her, loving her kids, helping her work through some of her pains and fears.
56. Being there for her during her surgery. (Another miracle.)
57. When Marilyn Barry told me she knew my voice and I felt in my heart that God knew my voice, too.
58. The day I had a personal witness of why I come (even when with little kids it feels futile) as I bore my testimony through the simple act of answering questions during a temple recommend interview.
59. The night I went to ward temple night and I walked into the room and looked at those people wearing white and I knew that these are the people I want to see in heaven, too. The paths we walk together here bind us in such a way they are family to me.
60. The truth I knew when I first heard Steve Robinson's parable of the bicycle.
61. The way Melody saved my life when the doctors missed my double pneumonia.
62. How people brought in meals for weeks after I returned home from the hospital and long after the sign-up sheet was full and over with.
63. How I came home to clean house after that despite having threatened my husband to not let anyone in the house (I'd already been quite ill for a month).
64. All those years when we were first starting out with the school teaching gig and "Santa" would leave extras on our front door.
66. The wonderful friends my kids have had growing up.
67. Matt Marvell's "Step Up" challenge to the young men, just when one of my boys needed to hear it from someone other than his mother.
68. So many Fast Sundays when truth was told, witnesses were born, and I came away nourished and strengthened.
69. Gospel Doctrine from Steve Robinson, Dave Steward, Neal Kramer, Gordon Stokes and (finally) Donnette Perkins.
70. Geri Wood teaching me how to be a good mother-in-law.
71. The way my kids are at home at the Duerdens or the Cuells.
72. Finding out I was related to Charlotte Loveless when she told her pioneer story around the fake campfire in RS on July 24 and I realized her story was my story.
73. Finding out how Bob Spencer grew up with my dad.
74. The way Chris Sorensen caught Luke up with two years of scouts after he was allowed to fall through the cracks.
75. Watching Jan and Rob's lives changed as they embraced the Gospel--and learning not to take the water in which I swim for granted.
76. The way Jan takes in Kyle and Lindsay and loves them like they were her own.
77. All the people who played Santa for us this year when we were too devastated to do it ourselves.
78. Sister B. shoveling our walks
79. Jo Wentz (widow longer than I've been alive) tipping our boys when they delivered her paper (seriously no one tips in Utah).
80. The legion of people who supported Luke while he prepared for his mission and donated to the cause of outfitting him.
81. The legion of people who write to him and send him packages.
82. The people who bring dinner in anyway even though you tell them that until surgery there really is nothing to be done (this is a blessing because the truth is being so wiped out emotionally can be pretty exhausting physically and it's a good thing to have one less thing to worry about).
83. Knowing you can go to the bishopric and tell them when you're not comfortable with one of the YM leaders (turns out we were right on on that one), or that you have a family member who is struggling and you need some help.
84. All the people who love your kid anyway, even when he or she struggles.
85. Watching all the people who embrace your friend's daughter and her partner when they visit the ward.
86. Seeing the generosity pour forth for the 15-year-old girl who is pregnant (oh you know there are some who disapprove, but the majority are generous and supportive)
87. All the people praying and fasting for my husband.
88. The people who consistently drop off good quality hand-me-downs at exactly the right time.
89. Everyone who comes out of there houses no matter what the weather or what time of day or night at the too frequent arrival of ambulances on my street.
90. Knowing that whatever comes, we will go through it together.
91. The many times women have rescued me with homework help, costume help and general all-around survival help during the tempests of a teenage daughter.
92. The way everyone looks after each other.
93. Knowing so many doors are open to me, my husband and my kids if ever there is a need.
94. The people who are not afraid to tell my kids like it is.
95. Those people you can borrow a cup of sugar from.
96. Linda B's. Christmas cheese ball
97. Shirley's Christmas sweet bread wreath
98. Loving my ward so much when we had to move into a little bigger home we moved right across the street.
99. Sitting on the back row and watching the simple acts of service and sacrifice about which most people passing by any of these people I love would be completely oblivious.
100. Finding out Maria Lund knew my father and his family quite well growing up as well.
101. Working together with these people in this little corner of Zion, trying to build Zion together and helping each other along the way.

Justine, Church

1. The Spirit of God, sung by a feeble Relief Society
2. A music conductor, so moved by the music, sobs
3. A Sunday School teacher who becomes so involved in his "ministerial excitement" that he goes 10 minutes over time and makes all the little relief society ladies angry
4. A beautiful 19 year old boy speaking before his mission
5. A High Councilman who has wrapped his arms around my family in love
6. A Bishop who keeps us working
7. The Sacrament
8. Trying to draw dogs during Sacrament Meeting, but ending up with creatures of the unknown
9. Reverent children
10. Sonda's kindness
11. Kerri's kind words about MS
12. Our beautiful building
13. The P.C. ward members
14. Willing R.S. Presidents
15. Amazing Stake presidency
16. Full length mirrors at church
17. The Librarians
18. Sergene, who is so dedicated to teaching 8 year olds
19. Cindy's diligence
20. John taking such interest and care in my son's testimony
21. The beautiful organist who practices so faithfully
22. The boys who see to it the sidewalks are shoveled
23. The people who cleaned the building last week
24. Grace's tenderness to my 5 year old
25. The Strengthening Marriage teachers enthusiasm
26. the warm building
27. The pictures of the Savior all around
28. The Foothill ward
29. Kaye's willingness to share jokes
30. John B's grade school pictures that his mother shared
31. Brother T's kind words to Isabel
32. Someone making a space for me in class
33. Someone sitting near me in R.S.
34. The chorister choosing wonderful songs
35. The youth speakers great preparation
36. The Deacons coming early to set up chairs
37. The other Y.M. who take the sacrament to Vickie
38. The worthy Priests who take seriously blessing the Sacrament
39. Brother Walker's optimism
40. His daughter's dedication in caring for him.
41. Beth's wonderful commitment to the sisters in our ward
42. Tamela's soft words to rowdy boys
43. The time expended fulfilling so many callings
44. The money being raised to care for Cheryl's cancer
45. The opinions of even the most opinionated
46. That everyone still loves even the obnoxious commenters
47. That our ward is so academic and interesting
48. That Brother M always likes to argue in Sunday School
49. That the teacher is so loving anyway and keeps calling on him
50. That testimony is still more important than all that anyway.
51. That the R.S. teacher is the hottest 50-year old 1st grade teacher anywhere! (Gives me hope)
52. That the R.S. teacher is willing to say when she doesn't know something
53. The New Era that just came and hasn't been devoured by the kids yet
54. Kids that still won't eat until we pray
55. Quiet time after church
56. That DH is so dedicated to his calling, even if he doesn't understand a lick of it.
57. That DH is willing to put God first always
58. Our children are watching us serve in the church
59. Our ward really is a community of saints
60. The piano at church is nicely tuned
61. The musically number during Sacrament meeting was outstanding
62. A couple of members of MoTab are close enough to occasionally drop in to sing in our ward.
63. Parents all around us are teaching their children to be musical
64. My black skirt still fits me
65. I didn't look like a total dork today speaking in church
66. My calling lets me meet so many wonderful people
67. I'm learning something new about how the church works
68. Our Primary Presidency is just so wonderful
69. There are so many wonderful children around my kids
70. The Nursery leaders really go all out to make that a great place to be.
71. Snack's are not optional
72. Our Bishopric has learned so well how to meet the needs of the members of our ward
73. My ~I is SO excited to get baptized in a couple of weeks
74. She wants so badly to do what's right
75. Her older sister is encouraging her to live righteously
76. My son is earnestly preparing himself for the Priesthood
77. No one fought during Sacrament meeting
78. The Bishop remembered to announce Stake Enrichment
79. The Freezer Meals group is still going strong
80. Our ward book group doesn't read fluff.
81. Not all our ward members are right-wing conservatives
82. Not all our ward members are left-wing liberals
83. Brother W sought me out in concern for me today
84. I found someone to help
85. The Lord helped me keep smiling all morning
86. That I can still say I am firmly in denial about my life
87. That weekly injections are better than daily injections.
88. That I know the Lord loves me
89. That He reminded me of that so clearly today
90. That I saw my beloved R.S. sisters today
91. That the Lord blessed me with such a powerful testimony of love this morning
92. That music is such a powerful medium
93. That we remembered morning prayer before we left the house this morning
94. That there are people I saw today that I know I can serve
95. That the Lord reminds me that I need to be serving
96. That the words of the Prophets always seem to be brought to me at just the right moments.
97. That ~I's baptism interview was a positive experience
98. That she couldn't stop giggling through the whole thing
99. That I am surrounded by a family
100. That I don't have to cook dinner tonight
101. That I own red fluffly slippers.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

From La Yen.

1. For long-lost friends and family that are back in my life
2. For a kid who is turning out to be a fun person to play with
3. The ability to actually play with my kid
4. The end of another day, making it one day less that I have to be alone
5. Tapirs
6. Burros
7. The ghetto El Paso zoo
8. Costco
9. Free Samples
10. Crock Pots
11. Horchata
12. Receiving mail
13. Sending mail
14. Springtime starts in January in El Paso
15. Fish that keep breeding
16. My dog, Rocky, who is MY dog.
17. A Sleep Number Bed
18. A Sleep Number Bed
19. A Sleep Number Bed
20. Payday
21. A car that works
22. A camera that works
23. The Atonement
24. Repentance
25. Not being the Relief Society President
26. LDS Family Services
27. A Birthmother who loved us enough to give us her child
28. Best Friends
29. Democracy
30. Capitalism
31. Missionaries
32. Private beaches at Dana Point
33. Nieces
34. Sisters
35. Sisters-in-law
36. Sleeping preschoolers
37. The Bible
38. The Book of Mormon
39. The Other Two
40. Personal Revelation
41. Personal Prayer
42. La Ciudad Juarez temple
43. The sweet people who work at La Ciudad Juarez temple
44. Waldo, the love of my life
45. Waldo, my best friend
46. Waldo, my greatest blessing
47. Waldo, my greatest trial
48. The Holy Ghost
49. Hands that work
50. A clean upstairs
51. Strong water pressure in the shower
52. Utah mountains
53. Sand Cats
54. That I am not in High School anymore
55. Laurels that become Women who become great friends
56. New Shoes
57. Having a passport, even if I only use it to go to Mexico, anymore
58. The deployment being 4/5 of the way over
59. Old neighbors that are still friends
60. SuperTarget
61. Reading a book in bed
62. Mindless computer games
63. Quick-wittedness
64. Not living in California
65. The Ensign
66. A Prophet
67. Being a fast typer
68. Knowing that there is a master plan for me
69. Ancestors
70. Having three living grandparents
71. Friends who go on vacation with us
72. Not being easily offended
73. Dalene soap in the shower
74. Being at this stage in my life
75. Being sent to the family I was born with
76. Brothers
77. Brothers-in-law
78. Nephews
79. Toasty blankets on a chilly night
80. The Franklin "Mountains"
81. Ministering Angels
82. Priesthood Blessings
83. Patriarchal Blessings
84. Jacob Hamblin
85. My education
86. Seed catalogs
87. Sunbeams
88. The Army packs and moves us when we go
89. People who stand up for what they believe in
90. Almost-Four years of being a mother
91. Twelve Years of marriage
92. Books that are old friends
93. A healthy body
94. Strong muscles
95. Being brave
96. Alissa's pictures of Jooj
97. Cheerios and Honey
98. Women in the ward who will gladly be surrogate grandmas for Jooj
99. A mother who can fashion beautiful things from nothing (and doesn't feel bad that I can't)
100. Weight finally coming off
101. Mammoth Lakes, California

Friday, January 16, 2009

when good things happen to people who are going through hard things

(that title was way too long)

1. Geo's homemade soup
2. a thousand (more probably) prayers
3. already having a weekend getaway planned during which to process bad news
4. wholesome food
5. quiet elegance
6. attentive help
7. sleep
8. returning to snow
9. the way my in-laws showed up because we needed them to, we needed to tell them
10. the fact that Shane's family had a better outcome with his Dad's cancer and how being mindful of that gave me hope
11. the way Shane's brother showed up the next day so we could tell them, too. the strength of emotion and bonds of brotherhood
12. how my extended family knew there was something even though we couldn't tell them until we told our kids--their hugs about undid me, but they held me up at the same time
13. how much my kids love their dad
14. our kids' goodness and strength
15. the love and support of both of our families
16. the beautiful and sacred priesthood blessing bestowed on Shane by his father
17. the immediate prayers of friends and family and even people we've never met (blogger sisters, Segullah sisters, Facebook friends I haven't seen for decades)
18. the speed with which people put Shane's name on the prayer rolls of temples everywhere
19. phone calls and e-mails,
20. love and fierce hugs
21. generosity in the form of
22. an broken appliance replaced with a new one by someone who wanted so badly to fix this, but couldn't, so just had to do something
23. the other half of the set (which had also been broken for ages but in a less drastic way) being replaced by one more "fixer" who just needed to do something
24. how not having to worry about any of that--simply having it all taken care of--was such a relief to me
25. the heartfelt note of an anonymous former student who touched our hearts and donated enough money to cover the exact amount of Shane's medical deductible
26. how meals started arriving immediately even though we told everyone they didn't have to
27. donations of others--all anonymous--toward the skyrocketing medical bills
28. more generous donations that removed my worry over how to put groceries on the table during the time I will have to take off of work during surgery, recovery and treatment
29. the advice, comfort and encouragement of friends who are also cancer survivors
30. having the holidays arrive on the heels of getting the news so we had some time together as a family--a little bit of downtime--and were able to just hole up together at times and enjoy each others' company
31. the tender mercies that came to and from Luke:
32. knowing he would be blessed for his service
33. being very aware of how blessed we are for his service
34. how he is blessed to be with wonderful companion to comfort him and give him a blessing
35. how he was able to walk along the shore while he processed the news
36. how it was no coincidence that the lovely sister who had picked them up when they arrived on the island mentioned she had bone cancer and was willing to invite them to dinner and talk about it with Luke that very night he heard the news
37. the wisdom of Luke's mission president in allowing us to call him that same day
38. how Luke told us the exact reassuring things we had both written to him (but which he hadn't yet received or read)
39. how it turns out that lovely couple who helped Luke that day are friends of some friends of ours
40. how wonderful it was to hear Luke's voice
41. and feel his faith
42. and his love for us
43. how three months of photos arrived on the day when we were both sick with worry over the pending results of the MRI and how they entertained us during almost all of the two-hour wait to hear them
44. the feeling of relief we felt when we heard the news wasn't any worse
45. the seemingly (but not) little things:
46. someone taking our laundry when the washer broke and before it was replaced
47. Richard and Mary bringing pizza in on the night of our appointment for the MRI
48. the Marvels and friends
49. Meridith and her constant notes and leftovers and recipes
50. the peace I felt with each and every snowstorm
51. Deliveries at my door:
52. Godiva chocolate from California
53. a beautiful fabric covered notebook in which to track my blessings from and angel friend who read my blog
54. an entire cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory
55. an 18-year-old boy who brought us food all on his own
56. how is married and moved away sister and her family brought dinner in to us two days later w/o even knowing
57. how my cousin and her husband were so persistent in calling us (even during the busy holidays) and encouraging us to ask more questions--and make sure they were the right questions--now as opposed to later
58. how that simple act changed the course of Shane's care and our entire experience in very significant ways
59. the very feeling of peace and calm we have every time we walk in to the Huntsman Cancer Institute
60. how our insurance year runs September - August instead of January - December so in spite of all the extra out-of-pocket costs we will still save a bundle
61. having such excellent care and expertise (Huntsman) less than an hour away
62. living in a land in which such care is available and such expertise is fostered and encouraged
63. the attentiveness, kindness, friendliness and professionalism of every single person we've met there
64. having an entire team of experts look at Shane's case
65. the entire teamwork method there--it makes a difference
66. how having wireless Internet there provides an excellent distraction and makes it so I'm never alone (there always seems to be someone on) while I'm waiting for Shane
67. the passion the sarcoma team brings to their respective jobs
68. the power of prayer and fasting
69. the willingness people have to do both
70. the gorgeous views we've seen to and from Huntsman
71. blizzards
72. night skylines
73. sunsets
74. that we've managed to travel safely despite the inclement weather
75. how we came home Wednesday to a delicious and hot meal from my visiting teachers
76. and a clean kitchen at the hands of my darling daughter
77. a really really clean kitchen--she did an excellent job!
78. how one of my dearest friends Becky keeps keeping my two youngest kids
79. even though she has five of her own
80. and she feeds them
81. and lets them spend the night when we are too late
82. and keeps offering to do so as needed over and over again
83. (and means it)
84. how our friend Georgie does the same for Z~
85. how a handful of our friends did all of our Christmas shopping (and Shane's birthday shopping for me) because we were too shell-shocked to do it ourselves
86. how one of our friends (and cancer survivor) told us we would learn so much through this experience
87. and reminded us to write it all down
88. Shane's sister who flew here from Illinois
89. his other siblings who have visited and stayed close
90. my sister who wanted to come, but couldn't when the blizzard hit
91. my mother for so many things:
92. running errands for us--especially as we frantically tried to pull everything together to go up to Huntsman for the first time
93. watching out over my health
94. how she--and so many--are just waiting for us to need something and allow them to help us
95. the comfort of the Holy Ghost
96. the eternal truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
97. the antics of our neighbor's cat Capone that make me laugh
98. all the calls and e-mails and visits from Shane's former roommates and former students and the parents of his students
99. the fact that both of us have been blessed with a sense of humor
100. knowing that care, prayers and blessings will continue--this is still just the beginning

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Justine, Day 2

Closer today, but ran out of time...

1. x-ray machines
2. Ibuprofin
3. dh's patience and tenderness
4. pancakes that only have to add water to make
5. kids that think pancakes for dinner is "awesome"
6. praying out loud in the car
7. a nap this afternoon
8. that we live to darn close to a temple
9. that I've made those covenants
10. people are willing to volunteer for blood drives
11. the MS society people
12. that Target had a bunch of clothes for the kids on sale for $1.
13. that Target had a bunch of clothes for mothers on sale for $1.
14. we have an abundance of food
15. my garden is already ready for planting
16. there is still a ton of snow in the yard
17. recycling
18. webkinz for the kids
19. amazingly gracious in-laws
20. my family is trying to be closer
21. my new pillow
22. how beautiful the moon looked this morning
23. that I was awake to see it.
24. my short hair
25. hair goop
26. josy's beautiful curly hair
27. we haven't lost all the cordless phones
28. i have one clean room in the house I can go to.
29. two kids here do their own laundry
30. dh remembers enough math to help kids with homework
31. owner's manuals
32. cute hair clippies
33. wet, slobbery kisses from toddlers
34. my older two kids still hugged me this morning
35. I've been smiling all day
36. it's not -20 degrees outside, like it is in Michigan
37. I have a closet full of clothes
38. crayons aplenty
39. snacktime
40. warm, cozy bed
41. 20 year old alarm clock that still works
42. my body hasn't fallen to pieces today
43. kind email notes from friends
44. too many shoes to know what to do with
45. hugs
46. more answers to prayer today
47. peace and calm that comes from those answers
48. toys in all forms
49. Steve Jobs great mind
50. dh's kind affection this morning
51. Grandma's willingness to take ~I on short notice this morning
52. That she's willing to do it again tomorrow
53. neighbors that listen to the Spirit
54. Writing's that move me to tears
55. The Spirit moving me to action
56. watching my little people play together
57. the smell of brussels sprouts in the oven
58. leftover birthday cake
59. fresh baked bread
60. Horton Hears a Who
61. butter in general
62. cold cereal without milk
63. Dove Chocolate hidden in my purse
64. Macaroni Grill has curbside to-go
65. the kids don't like cheap pizza
66. yoga class is so calming
67. Malcolm Gladwell likes to write
68. my vision hasn't changed since last year
69. we have health insurance
70. We have health insurance (important enough to get two spots)
71. children who like to read
72. mountains are so close
73. the trail to the Y is fun enough to ignore the challenge
74. BYU's museums are open to the public
75. pens

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day two, for Mrs. O


1. abra-ca-dabra
2. aroma
3. aimer
4. apropos
5. believe
6. barometer
7. banter
8. bistro
9. carol
10. centrifugal
11. caress
12. cirque
13. Deuteronomy (what can I say, it rolls off the tongue)
14. devoted
15. dahlia
16. divine
17. Eskimo
18. exquisite
19. esoteric
20. exotic
21. errata
22. farfegnugen
23. felonious
24. fearless
25. Fernortner (you had to be there)
26. giraffe
27. gargantuan
28. gallant
29. gist
30. hello
31. hint
32. hibernate
33. histrionics
34. icicle
35. ink
36. ironic
37. irridescent
38. jingle
39. jangle
40. juxtapose
41. just
42. katydid
43. kick-off
44. karate (with an proper accent)
45. Kittredge
46. love
47. left
48. lore
49. Louvre
50. mellifluous
51. magnanimous
52. market
53. mandible
54. note
55. non-pareil
56. nodding
57. neuron
58. octopi
59. octagonal
60. orange
61. origami
62. pie
63. purposeful
63. prescient
64. parsimonious
65. quixotic
66. quiet
67. quoins
68. quell
69. reminiscent
70. rampant
71. rest
72. return
73. restorative
74. simple
75. semblance
76. santorini
77. spiff
78. thank you
79. travel
80. terrarium
81. tertiary
82. umbrella
83. understudy
84. umpteenth
85. up
86. verity
87. vein
88. veer
89. ventana
90. weary
91. wend
92. way
93. weave
94. yarn
95. yearn
96. yes
97. yesterday
98. zebra
99. zephyr
100. Zanzibar
101. Xanax (couldn't resist)

Day one, for Mrs. O

Here's my first list:

1. technology
2. and how it keeps me in touch with old friends
3. and new ones
4. pain meds
5. that make it possible for Ty to tolerate the bus ride to
6. his school
7. Ty's wonderful teacher
8. Ty's compassionate intervener
9. the principal who sent him a gift when he was going through chemo
10. the busdriver
11. wheelchairs
12. easy-to-clean wood floors
13. beautiful sunsets
14. gorgeous dawns
15. clear, brilliant blue skies
16. paint!
17. glorious paint
18. and the painters who are coming tomorrow
19. to beautify my space
20. and therefore, I'm also grateful for masking tape
21. and masking paper
22. moving boxes
23. books - which could take up 3 days worth (or more) of lists
24. reading in bed under
25. my down comforter
26. cool, crisp sheets
27. my pillow (oh, my pillow how I do love thee)
28. yoga
29. sports bras (seriously)
30. hot, relaxing showers
31. fuzzy bath mats
32. giant bath towels
33. space heater in the bathroom
34. mirrors
35. moisturizer
36. makeup
37. blowdryer
38. curling iron
39. hairspray
40. brush(I swear I'm nearly through everything that helps me get ready)
41. deodorant
42. boot-cut jeans (I know they are passe, but I'm still grateful for them)
43. scrumptious wool socks - a hug for my feet
44. electricity
45. that powers my refrigerator
46. and my morning light
47. and my technology
48. email
49. cell phone
50. dishwasher
51. dusting - because tidying up feels nice
52. a potty trained daughter - hallelujah!
53. putting pigtails in her hair
54. the opportunity to travel with Mr. O, just the two of us this weekend
55. the two of us!
56. journaling
57. homemade whole wheat bread
58. lemon curd
59. my aunt M~ helping me with Ty
60. good doctors
61. medicine
62. sleep
63. Copper - superdog
64. watching her joy in eating snow
65. neighbors who check in on you
66. stories
67. callings that stretch you
68. faith (though still budding)
69. past miracles
70. especially hearing Ty call me mom
71. the only good thing about chemo
72. writing
73. reading great writing
74. counting blessings
75. music, the loud dance your heart out kind
76. and the soft, meditative kind
77. my daughter M~, helping to clean up dinner (without being asked)
78. S~ being praised by his photography teacher, it meant a lot to him
79. N~ being able to memorize her vocabulary words
80. E~ for always being my puppy and singing her soulful, puppy songs
81. the piano, an instrument I hope to someday master
82. dinner, all of us together
83. many hands making light work
84. my girls
85. my boys
86. my Mr. O and his very compassionate ways
87. his example to me
88. fabulous health insurance
89. customer service representatives who are helpful
90. and even the automated system whose magic word is "representative"
91. pharmacy techs who go the extra mile to update all your info, even though you
don't have an actual card, rather, just scribblings on an old grocery list
92. And likewise, dr.'s offices - who help you sort out the insurance maze
93. a pink, dusty sunset
94. reflected moonlight
95. olive oil
96. a hot, steamy washcloth
97. washing away the day
98. warm puddles of lamplight
99. snuggling
100. Ambien
101. Sleep, glorious sleep

Justine: Jan 14

I could only do 50. I seriously need to improve my gratitude capabilities!

1. my warm shower
2. low side effects so far
3. all the snow
4. my sons tonka truck
5. my quiet morning
6. my running partner's wisdom
7. advanced medicine
8. yoga stretches
9. my calling's difficulty
10. my husband's socks
11. listening to the kids practice piano in the mornings
12. that my scriptures are so close
13. that I've received an answer to some prayers
14. my friends are so amazing
15. my computer is still working
16. I'm surrounded by good books
17. my sil taking Isaac this morning
18. I get to be a part of the PTA
19. The Lord has asked something of me today
20. I'm not out of ink toner
21. the laundry is done for the week
22. the house isn't completely trashed
23. my nylons didn't run on Sunday
24. I can go refill my meds today
25. the library is free
26. Jocy smiled through 20 falls during ice skating lessons
27. I'm still happy
28. Callie showed me what to do yesterday
29. DH is serving in the church with such faithfulness
30. DH is such a powerful and humble priesthood holder
31. the kids are really making an effort to find testimonies
32. Izzy is so excited to get baptized.
33. The Lord has shown me such tender mercies today
34. My kids still want to shovel the neighbor's driveway, after 5,000 previous shovelings.
35. Isaac's hugs
36. The heater's are still working
37. that I know so many wonderful people
38. the carpet is already vacuumed
39. I have clean sheets
40. I have another box of granola bars in the basement
41. Segullah mailing is finished
42. we don't own any pets
43. the Devonas's let us use their pool
44. DH made me laugh this morning
45. kisses from my baby
46. Alma
47. we own 4 staplers
48. that the track opens at 5 a.m.
49. I got to go to bed at 8:30 last night
50. DH showed me so much love this morning.

for the beauty of the earth

1. the scent of fresh lavender rubbed between my fingertips
2. the shades of blue in a well-fed hydrangea
3. cooing pigeons
4. cooing doves
5. the chatter of a young raccoon
6. dolphins
7. dolphin chatter
8. flight--any: pigeons tumbling (you should come see it at my house), hawks and eagles (but not while the pigeons are flying
9. whales breaching
10. whale song
11. the color of coral
12. the color of water--ocean water, and also the piercing blue of Starvation Reservoir
13. red rocks of Southern Utah.
14. the lakes of Finland
15. Monument Valley
16. the Oregon coast
17. Heceta Head Lighthouse
18. Devil's Elbow
19. Cannon Beach
20. Multnomah Falls
21. The Columbia River Gorge
22. The entire Willamette Valley
23. the wild blackberries that grew along my back fence in my childhood home
24. all the berries that thrived in our garden
25. fresh peaches
26. vine-ripened tomatoes
27. freshly picked and immediately cooked corn on the cob slathered with butter and sprinkled with sea salt
28. sun-ripened fresh strawberries
29. pears
30. the golden glint of a row of jars filled with freshly canned pears
31. fresh beets
32. fertile soil
33. lying on your back on warm green grass on a summer's day and watching the clouds float by
34. sunrise over Y mountain
35. sunrise over a thousand lakes in Finland
36. sunset over the west desert
37. sunset over any beach on the Oregon coast
38. sunset over another thousand lakes in Finland
39. the night sky over Salt Lake (as viewed twice now from the Huntsman Institute)
40. the night sky over Utah Valley as viewed from anywhere on the east bench
41. a row of tiny baby quail in the backyard (or crossing the street--I brake for baby quail)
42. baby chicks
43. rooster crow
44. farm fresh eggs
45. newborn fawns
46. seals
47. otters--they know how to play, yes the do
48. penguins
49. polar bears
50. Bridal Veil Falls
51. a good lightening storm
52. how big the stars are once you get out of the city
52. the vineyards near Reims, France
52. the Rhine River Valley
52. the cliffs of Dover
53. tulips in Belgium
54. the rolling green hills in England
55. jelly fish (in tanks and in the ocean, not when they're wrapped around your ankles
56. the bright bright colors of tropical fish
57. the wildflowers at Yellowstone
58. the clarity of the water at Big Springs, the source of one of the forks of the Snake River
59. the warmth of the sun any spring afternoon
60. the cool you start to feel in the air September nights
61. the touch of a breeze on your face and in your hair
62. the feel of water
63. the taste of water
64. snowflakes on my nose and eyelashes
64. Timp when she's wearing her snow dress
65. the vivid hues of fall leaves
66. the crunch of leaves underfoot
67. the crunch of snow underfoot
68. the crunch of ice under teeth
69. the scent of sagebrush
70. the scent of sage rubbed between your fingers, too
71. rosemary
72. lemon thyme
73. a whiff of lilac blossoms (who says that smell is for old people?)
74. a whiff of mock orange blossoms
75. crabapple blossoms bowing the branches of the tree in our front yard
76. Virginia Creeper in the fall
77. fresh (and wormless) cherries
78. squares of farmland--yellow and all shades of green--dotting the countryside
79. the rush of water over river rock
80. that cool feeling of wet sand between your toes
81. submerging your feet in any water--oceans, lakes or streams
82. echoes
83. puppies--any
84. the work ethic of a beaver
85. willow leaves
86. shade on a hot summer's day
87. bird chirping in the spring
88. cricket song at summer night
89. the gorgeousness of Daniel's Summit and Strawberry Valley almost any time of year
90. the quaking of aspen
91. the lush green of almost anywhere in the Pacific Northwest
92. the taste of ocean salt spray
93. the sound of waves crashing against the surf
94. the feel of body surfing
95. the magic of tide pools
96. the wonder of seeds sprouting
97. the glow of a full moon
98. the embrace of the Wasatch Mountains
99. the magic play of light, sound and energy during a storm
100. sunbeams
101. at least 101 gorgeous places to be in Provo Canyon during any season of the year

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gratitude 101

100 things

Our stake president recently challenged the members of the high council to list 100 things they were thankful for each day for 10 days. Some of them (and the wife of one) have talked about what an extraordinary experience it has been for them. Care to join me?

1. nightfall
2. shadows of bare tree branches
3. generous and genuine hugs and snuggles from K~
4. how L~ asked me to cut her hair last night (huge show of trust) and really liked it
5. how even though I haven't cut hair for a decade I managed to do a decent job and I liked it, too
6, 7, 8. L~'s passion, energy and openness
9. the hope implied an inherent in each new day
10. Sandy Olsen's loving phone call last night when she heard about Shane
11. The promise of prayers--more now from the Olsen's and from Sandy's mother who, apparently has faith to make things happen (those are the kind of people you want on your side when tragedy strikes for sure!)
12. kids who make a greater effort (on most days) to do better: go to bed early (L~), get up and be to early morning seminary on time (Z~)
13. how K~ wanted to teach FHE last night and did so
14. that for once I was smart enough to help him w/ the funky way they do math these days
15. seeing the return of one of my work friends after his recovery from a vicious attack
16. having a work environment that feels like family
17. words
18. having my brother who doesn't call much, call me Sunday
19. knowing how much he meant it when he said he wishes he were here to give me a big hug
20. the prayers of the children
21. modern medicine
22. living in a place where a miracle like the Huntsman Institute can be created, exist and thrive
23. warmth of central heating
24. knocking several bills off my to-pay list
25. having simple hope that things will work out (the bills)
26. having simple hope that we will be able to manage (the bills)
27. the very real blessings that come from having a missionary out serving the Lord
28. fine, I'll list some: the good spirit that prevails (most of the time--more than before) in your home
29. the feeling of peace you have
30. the fact that you don't worry--you really don't--because you know God and angels--both of earth and of heaven--attend him
31. the blessing that come from praying so much more for the missionaries
32. learning that you've been bearing witness, testimony, to his companions mother this whole time believe she too was a member when in fact she is not
33. feeling good about the way you've been bearing witness and testimony because your son has been challenging you to have missionary experiences and you realize that in some small way here you have
34. bearing witness and testimony in general--it feels good to be a witness for the good and truth you see in your life
35. the beauty of the earth, specifically:
36. the sound of rain
37. the feel of rain
38. the scent of rain
39. the thought of rain filling up reservoirs and quenching thirst, both literally and
40. I don't know the word, somehow spiritually and emotionally, too
41. knowing how the rain will make the flowers grow
42. hearing the haunting melody of the that song (Eponine's song--Les Mis) as I wrote those words "the rain will make the flowers grow"
43. falling snow
44. the way the snow blankets the earth
45. the promise of the water within the snow
46. the way the snow muffles sound and brings peace and quiet to your world, your life
47. watching kids play in the snow
48. snow angels
49. the feeling I had looking at all the pictures people have posted on Facebook of their families playing in the snow
50. especially b.'s family having fun together sledding on mattress
51. the morning
52. watching the day break
53. seeing the lights turn on slowly, one by one, in the houses dotting my street
54. imagining the warming houses as the heat turns on and the hustle and bustle as families wake and prepare for their day
55. the gift of another day
56. watching shadows fall away
57. appreciating the beauty of those shadows
58. but also embracing the light
59. the fact that there are different shades, tones, colors and nuances in the light
60. being able to pray sincerely for people who wound me
61. being able to hope I can love and serve them better even though they bring pain into my life
62. I guess just the hope that I can be a better person
63. and try/learn to not be as selfish
64. and instead be more generous
65. and that hurt will heal
66. and I can overcome
67. and maybe rise above
68. and hopefully bless the people who hurt me
69. hoping I can do that in a sincere and meaningful way
70. quiet
71. thinking
72. feeling
73. being aware
74. and in some ways oblivious
75. being an "in the moment" kind of gal
76. at least mostly anyway
77. trust
78. I trust God
79. realizing that isn't something that comes easily to people, but knowing I do
80. and appreciating the way it lessens my fear
81. and my worries
82. the fact that though I am a bit crazy, I am less so because of some combination of #75 and #77 above
83. being OK w/ my own level of craziness (at least on most days)
84. that darn cat
85. and loving how it has worked its way into our hearts (even though we are allergic)
86. that so far it hasn't eaten our bird (although yesterday it tried)
87. leftovers
88. hand-me-downs that more often than coincidence would allow end up being the right thing at the right time
89. my husband (this is the introduction--I want to do a full one hundred on each of my family members)
90. being reminded of the difference he makes in the lives of others (OK, more later)
91. Tuesday
92. and how I know it leads into Wednesday--which is the day of missionary mail
93. and how waiting on Tuesday
94. and receiving on Wednesday gets me halfway through the week
95. the way the moon sometimes shines through the branches of the tree outside my west bedroom window and draws beautiful and mysterious shadows on my bed
96. and the walls of my room
97. and my awareness of the beauty in that
98. having a flex spend account
99. knowing we upped the withholding for it this year
100. knowing I can do what it takes to appeal denied insurance claims when I need to
101. being an extra-mile kind of girl when it comes to counting blessings