This photo was taken two years ago during the first Thanksgiving week Michael and I had together:
So, this month it seems that everyone is expressing all of the things that they are grateful for. I remember when I was little my mom had me create what we called a “Gratitude Journal,” and I thought I might pick it back up again for this month. Only this time I am going to be doing a countdown to Thanksgiving Day. Keep in mind: these are not in any order of favoritism, just different things that I love at random each day.
28. My Husband & My Daughter
This one’s a given: of course I love my husband and my daughter! They are my everything. Michael is the most loving, humble, and supportive husband I could ever ask for, and I consider myself to be the luckiest girl on Earth to be given the opportunity and privilege to be ‘Bugaboo’s’ mother. It is such an honor to be sealed to these two for all time and eternity.
27. The Gospel
I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the gospel in my life. I feel incredibly lucky knowing all of my life that I am a daughter of God, and that He loves me and all of His children in every way. I am grateful to know that Jesus Christ, our Savior and in every way our Redeemer, lives now. I am grateful that He had died for me and everyone who had ever lived on this Earth and will ever live on this Earth in that with grace of God we will have the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father once again some day. I am grateful to know that our Heavenly Father has not left us alone in these modern days, and that he will never leave us alone. I am grateful for past and present-day prophets. I am grateful to know that Thomas Spencer Monson is today’s modern-day prophet, and that he will aid us, lead us, and teach us what it is that we need to do to prepare to live in these times and the future. And finally: I am grateful to be able to have the Book of Mormon, the Bible (Old and New Testaments), the Pearl of Great Price, the Doctrine and Covenants, and any talk, article, document and artifact that proves and teaches that Jesus Christ really was here on this Earth, that He had risen, and that He will come again.
26. True Friendships
This one is a tough one to explain. I have had a lot of friendships all of my life. I have had many small acquaintances with people who are wonderful and have taught me great things that I can take with me for the rest of my life. I have met some people who have inspired me to do great things, to be a better person than I was before. And I have met some people who have shown me what it means to stand up for what you believe in. And I am eternally grateful to have had the chance to get to know them these past 25 years.
But this is what comes to mind when I hear the word “True Friendship.” To me, true friendship means to love unconditionally. To reach out and help one another when no one else would. To truly see you for who you really are and accept you no matter what. And last, but most definitely not least, true friendship means standing up for each other.
I am grateful for those who have stood up for me over the years, and that includes my rights and my beliefs. They are my truest and honorable friends. They are those that have shown what it means to show kindness and love, no matter what the tides of life may bring in. To those of you who know who you are, I’d like to say thank you a million times over.
25. Supporting Parents and Siblings
Michael and I couldn’t have made it to where we are now if it weren’t for our loving parents and siblings. And that includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins too. They have taught us everything we need to know to stay afloat in life: economically, physically, and spiritually. To all of our family members: Thank you–we love you!
24. Modern-Day Medicine
Let’s face it: No thanks to food allergies, I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for modern-day medicine. Enough said.
23. Inspiring Leaders and Teachers Throughout My Life
I can’t say enough how teachers just don’t get enough gratitude for what they do every day. As an Education graduate and after having some experience with teaching, I can personally testify that it is no picnic standing in front of a group of people to share wisdom, especially when you’re teaching ages 10+. I applaud all of my teachers throughout grade school and college and the leaders I had at church as well. You have all inspired me.
22. The Temples Throughout the World
I should really call them “the Castles throughout the world,” but I decided against the idea since no one would know what I am even talking about. But, in all honesty and every real sense they are like castles. And beautiful ones at that. Every time I step inside the temple, I feel closer and closer to my Heavenly Father and I get a real sense of what heaven is really like. Every time I walk on the grounds I feel like I am standing on holy ground and I am so grateful for the work that is done inside there. It is the most important service we can ever give for those who have passed, and I am so grateful.
21. Those That Still Hold Their Hand Over Their Hearts During the Pledge of Allegiance
This one may sound a little interesting, but it’s really something that has been making me concerned as of late. Ever since I student taught at Brimhall Junior High in Mesa, AZ, I have been noticing it more and more in public and on TV (like the world series games, and other public gatherings): less and less people are placing their right hand over their heart during the raising of the flag, during the pledge of allegiance, during the national anthem, etc. What is going on here? Where is the love, honor, and respect? Where is the patriotism? Wasn’t it just 12 years ago that 9-11 happened? Have we all forgotten what it means to place your hand over your heart? That it means that your heart belongs to this country? And that you pledge allegiance to this country with your whole heart? Have we all forgotten the troops, who are currently fighting for this country, and everything that it stands for? I, for one, am still going to do what every single one of my teachers have taught me all throughout grade-school. I will still proudly show publicly that I still love this country. I will always and forever honor those who had died for this country every day fighting for my freedom and rights. And anyone who will do it with me, I am grateful and honored to have you as a fellow citizen and as a friend.
20. Nature’s beauty
Come on! I know this may sound a little ‘hippie’-ish, but I love, love, love nature! I love watching the seasons change throughout the year: the flowers blooming in the spring, the sweet smell of rain in the summer time, the leaves turning in the crisp fall air, and the snow glistening like diamond-confetti in the winter. Who doesn’t love nature?
“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest; heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”
I love music. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved the sound of the piano being played by my older sister, or the sound of the guitar as my dad fiddled around on the chords. I love hearing the music playing on the radio, I love hearing little kids sing Mother Goose rhyme songs, and I love hearing my husband humming hymns to our little baby. Music has always been a huge part in my life, and I am so grateful for it.
I am so grateful for books! There are a lot of new ways to entertain yourself these days, but nothing beats curling up on a couch on a rainy day with a warm blanket and a good book. I love getting immersed into an amazing mystery story and discussing it with my husband or a friend. I love discovering something fun to do with the help of a book, like learning to make balloon animals and juggling and such. I especially love that if you need help with something or if you feel inexperienced about something (like motherhood?) there is more than likely going to be a book out there with all the answers. Again, I’m so grateful!
I love it when I see my baby smile back at me. She is just starting to present a sociable smile (as opposed to a gassy one teehee) and it has been making my life complete. Of course I’ve loved her since day one, but these cute toothless smiles seem to melt my heart like a Popsicle on the Fourth of July (yes, I know that came from Little Rascals). But, it isn’t just my daughter that warms my heart when she smiles. It seems like receiving a smile from just about anyone always makes me feel better. Whether it be from the cashier at the grocery store, from the little girl at the park, or even from the greeter at Walmart, you feel connected in a way. It’s one of those wordless ways to communicate, “It’s okay. I understand you. I am like you.” It makes me feel good when I receive a smile. I’m not entirely sure why, but it’s the truth. And I am grateful for the kindness that people still show for each other in this crazy and messed up world. Maybe we can all make a goal for today: give someone a smile today. See how they react. They might either be weird-ed out by it, or they might really appreciate it. Either way, give it a chance. It is the simplest, cheapest, and easiest way to make someone’s day a little bit brighter.
I love candles, warmers, plugins, sprays, etc. I am one of those people who can’t stand having a stinky home. If you see me in Bath and Body Works–it’s probably most likely I’m there to buy another candle…or another bottle of lotion.
I love presents–in the sense that I like giving them, not receiving. Receiving presents is always an awkward moment: you have to make the right facial expression in order to make the giver feel happy, whether it was something you loved or you didn’t like at all. Being the giver, however, is the most rewarding feeling ever. Giving something to someone who really wanted or needed it makes you feel really good inside. For this Christmas: I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeves to get Mike what he really wants without him knowing about it :).
14. Hand Sanitizer
And this goes to all antibacterial products out there: thank you! You have kept this place clean and germ free for my baby and me over the fall season.
I know this one sounds a little ridiculous, but hey! This has kept me entertained these long several months when Michael will be at work from 9 pm till midnight. I know some of you are thinking, “You could probably be sleeping during that time…,” but when you have gotten used to having someone else sleeping in your bed for the last 2 years–you would be feeling awkward going to bed alone, too. Anyways, Netflix has always come to the rescue–even on those late-at-night ‘what movie should we watch tonight’ dilemmas.
12. Cookbooks Online
There have been too many occasions where I am looking into our cupboards and thinking to myself, “What on earth can I make for dinner with ______?” Sometimes it would be a can of condensed milk, cream of celery, a can of tuna, beans, and other random foods I just happened to have in the cupboard. All I needed to do was pull out my laptop (or tablet, or iPod), get on my favorite search engine (google) and type up “quick easy recipes with ______.” Then a million of different ideas would pop up! It’s magic! It’s amazing! And it’s usually something Mike really enjoys and wants it to be added to our recipe book for future use. Hallelujah–no more throwing away random food items just because I didn’t know what to do with it.
Anyone with eczema, asthma, allergies, and just about anyone who hates static electricity during the holidays, would agree with me on this one. If you live in such a dry place like we do, humidifiers are a lifesaver. Just a fore-warning in case you are about to go out and purchase one for this season: don’t have it on too high for too long. It starts to leave a cloudy mist in your home…and it lands on everything! But, other than that, they’re great!
10. Pumpkin Pie Creamer
Michael was the one that introduced me to this one, and man alive! I think I have found heaven on Earth (well, other than where my husband and baby are, of course). If you add this stuff to your cup of hot chocolate–yum!!! It tastes like chocolate/pumpkin pie goodness. I recommend it to anyone I know.
9. Safe Drivers
Seriously. Even in little Rexburg, Idaho you find the most crazy of drivers in the world. I was driving down 2nd street a couple of weeks ago (after it had just snowed several inches) and this driver decided to create his own 3rd lane in a normally 2-lane street. He was practically driving on the sidewalk. And y’know what’s even better about this story? It was right in front of the police department….talk about ironic….
8. Cascade Dishwasher Packets
I promise you: I am not advertising. I really am thankful for these little things. If you have ever lived in an apartment before, you probably know all about hard-water damage and what it can do to your dishwasher you are temporarily using for the time-being. It sucks! And I tried using lemon juice and vinegar–and it still didn’t help clean out the muck that’s making it difficult for my dishes to get clean (that’s the whole point in a dishwasher, right? I mean, if it’s not–might as well wash every thing by hand). Until I decided to splurge and get the Cascade brand of those pretty colorful dishwasher packets. To me, they at first looked like a waste of money, but on the back of my old dishwasher soap bottle it recommended these for hard-water damage. So, I figured, “What the heck–I’ve tried everything else. Might as well give this one last shot before we move.” And after a couple of washes with these bad boys: Sparkling Clean!! They’re a miracle–seriously.
7. Digital Cameras
I love taking photos of everything around me. But, the best thing about being a new mommy is that you can spend your entire day taking a million photos of your little precious angel without a care in the world. And, so what if that photo seemed a little blurry–delete it and try again without a worry about wasting film! 25 years ago, you would have not been able to do this. It’s true.
This one is kind of silly since I am living in one of the coldest places in this country, but it’s true. I am thankful for heaters. Back in the olden-days when the pioneers had to trek across the country with wagons and handcarts–I can’t even imaging the pain they felt for walking in the snow. I can barely stand to wait for the car to heat up. The heater is probably one of the greatest inventions ever thought of.
This one is pretty bold for me, considering I’ve never been familiar with guns and hunting and the such. I’m not afraid to say that I am a City-Girl and was raised in a safe neighborhood all of my life. And proud of it. I’ve never grown up in any place where hunting was an everyday hobby. Maybe to some people, but not everyone. But, I’m hearing this crazy idea with this whole idea of banning guns everywhere and the politics that go with that, and I just have to say one thing: Guns are great. Yes, guns are dangerous. And so are sharp pencils. Guns can kill people. And so can water. I can list a hundred reasons why guns are not the sole-problem. If you want to look at the real problem for why people would shoot with these pieces of metal, look to Criminal Psychologists. I am sure they are more than willing to give you plenty of information as to why someone would use such a weapon. Besides, if you outlaw guns everywhere, what do you think will happen? They will all just ‘disappear?’ No, all the good, law-abiding citizens will suddenly be without a gun to protect themselves, while criminals are still out there holding theirs. Yeah, that’s a real problem solver: let’s make everyone in the country even MORE vulnerable. That’s a great idea—not. My point is: I’m glad that we have the right to bear arms. I am glad that this invention was created, not for recreation or whatnot. But, for protection. Even if I don’t personally own a gun myself, I feel safe having the thought that a criminal could at least think that I might have one. Maybe someday we will get one for Mike to have (don’t worry, we’ll have it safely put away from the kids). Just for safety’s sake.
4. My Ancestors
If it weren’t for these guys, who knows who, where, and what I would be today. I am so grateful for their courage to come to this country, to start a new life here, and to leave such a wonderful legacy for us today.
3. Our Savior, Jesus Christ
Christmas will be coming soon, and all I can think about is the first Christmas story. Yeah, I’ve heard it a hundred times: words like Bethlehem, manger, wise men, and shepherds have been familiar to me since I was a little baby. But, this year, my perspective has changed a little bit. I am so grateful to Him and everything He has taught us and done for us. Because of Him and through the Atonement, I can be with my family after this life for eternity. That is the most I wonderful gift I can ever ask for, and He has freely given all of us this chance. I am eternally grateful for Him.
2. God’s Gifts for Me
I am so grateful for a lot of things Heavenly Father has blessed me with, but what I am going to talk about is mostly the few talents He has given me. I say He has given them to me, because to be honest: I don’t think I could be great at these things on my own. I don’t have all the credit. Sure, I can sing, play the piano, draw, etc. But, I would be nothing if it weren’t for a little help from Him. It was He who had inspired me all these 25 years. I am grateful I am blessed to be able to see beauty around me, to be moved by a beautiful song and to be able to appreciate it with my whole heart, to be able to be eager to learn all that I can, to know that I am great in His eyes but also to be humble enough to know that I could not have done it all without Him.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! I am so grateful for the virtue, ‘Patience.’ This was something I had to really think long and hard about, because this is a virtue that I actually lack. I only wish I could say that I am a patient person, but then I would by lying. Because the truth is: I am probably the most impatient person that ever existed on this planet. When it comes to surprises, or what’s-in-store for me in life, I’m so anxious to see the outcome it drives me nuts. I am glad to say, though, that I am working on it–and so far I am doing pretty good on being more patient. I am becoming more patient with ‘Bugaboo’ and Mike, I am becoming more patient with Heavenly Father and His answers to my prayers, and I am becoming more patient with myself. The last part is the hardest for me–I tend to beat myself up a lot. For some reason, I always try to push myself further–to be the best that I can be. I try to be the perfect wife and the perfect mother 24/7, 365 days a year. I try to make my world a better place by trying to please everyone in my life, because I have in my brain this idea that if everyone’s happy then I will be, too. I try to make our home perfect, to make our lives perfect, and to make myself be perfect. But, sometimes I have to force myself to sit back and look at myself in the mirror and then tell myself, “You are not perfect. You will never be perfect. Accept that, and move on with life.” This is my way of becoming more patient. And I am grateful for it.