For a Quick Reference

Friday, February 27, 2015

It's raining blessings

Here is a five-minute exercise is gratitude. What am I grateful for today?

A bed to sleep in
A warm wool blanket on cold nights like last night
My darling husband who is drop-dead gorgeous, smart, loving, romantic, poetic, etc.
Nathan makes me laugh every day.
The tickle wars I shared with Joseph this morning.
Joseph's kissably soft cheeks that beg for attention.
Joseph's enthusiastic, full-body laugh.
The baby goats we played with yesterday in the feed store.
A reliable form of transportation for our family.
I have a warm home.
I have scriptures to read any time I want.
Technology is amazing; my tablet has all the General Conference talks I wish to read.
I've loved learning to swing dance with Nathan at night after the kids are in bed.
My kids make me laugh every day*.
Music that fills my home.
The old oak trees that surround my home. They give my heart a thrill every time I look out a window.
Our tire swing where children spend quiet moments under the boughs of my favorite tree.
A healthy body that can work hard each day.
I can exercise and enjoy the feeling of my muscles moving.
I can read- oh how thankful I am for that gift!!!
A camera to capture these fleeting moments of childhood.
Prophets who guide us today with God's word.
Dear friends of many different faiths- I love living in the Bible belt!
Temples and the sacred saving ordinances we can do inside.
The books recording the stories of my ancestors. I love having a link to our past.
Prayer. Oh heavens, I am grateful for prayer. I seek it often.
Christ's Atonement. It's a miracle that will never cease to amaze me.  I am such a beasty brat, and need all the cleansing power I can get.
Grandparents who love my children and tell them as such.
My eyes can see the beautiful things around me, like the sweet smiles of my children.
Nathan's creative cooking feeds my body and soul, making my taste buds sing in pleasure.
My ears can hear the lovely music Nathan creates, laughter, birds, and family's voices.
Our property is so beautiful and wild. I love what I see.
My kids attend a great school. I'm so thankful for the teachers and staff that educate them.
My art studio that allows me to earn an income on my own turf, on my own schedule.
Dear friends in our neighborhood and church who insist on seeing the best in me.
My children are healthy and their minds are whole.
Church leaders and other friends who help teach my children how to follow Christ.

Someone had challenged me to do this- spend five minutes and just write down all the blessings that came to my mind; the little things that give me joy. What a delightful exercise it was! The Lord is indeed very generous to me, and showers me with blessings. I hope your day is similarly filled with gratitude.

*Which reminds me of yesterday's funny moment. We were in Hobby Lobby getting supplies for my art classes and this happened:

Joseph: (Giggling and whispering) Mom, I just  passed gas!
Mom: (Distractedly murmuring while reading paint labels) Lovely.
Joseph: (shocked and raising his voice loudly) Lovely? LOVELY?! Passing gas isn't lovely, Mom! It's gross! (Turning to the rest of the store and cupping his hands around his mouth to amplify his words) Hey everyone! My mom thinks passing gas is LOVELY!

Good times.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wrap-Up of Idaho visit

This family reunion was largely centered around temples. I loved it! On Sunday afternoon our families visited the Idaho Falls temple with the children, where they eagerly participated in a scavenger hunt covering the temple grounds. The children were scurrying back and forth through the snow, hunting down each item with glee. The snow was fresh and crisp, and the scene was just lovely. 



We spent an entire day doing temple work. Several adults left at 4:30 AM for a bright-and-early appointment at 5:00 to volunteer for initiatory work. What a precious experience it was to do so many family names with my sisters and Mom! In one hour we did more than 70 saving ordinances for our ancestors! After coming home for a quick breakfast, all the uncles and older grandchildren went back to the temple to do baptisms for the dead together. That day Sarah had the privilege of being baptized as proxy for her Great-Grandma Pat and Great-great-Grandma Jean, both of whom she knew before they died. It was a very special moment for Nathan and Sarah to do these ordinances, and we pray that these women might choose to accept these ordinances offered in love. 

One day we all volunteered to help clean the local church building, so everyone worked together for a couple of hours vacuuming, scrubbing, and polishing.

Afterwards, Grandma Muir gave everyone a toy dart gun and set them loose in the gym for a foam-dart battle. The kids had SUCH a blast! After the dart wars, Grandma handed out glow bracelets and turned off the lights for some fun night games and a glow-in-the-dark dance party. What a fun way to spend a cold wintery day!


Other glimpses of our week together:

This is the toy chest at my Grandma Nelson's house. She made this for one of her children, and it's been a staple in her toy room since before I was born. It brought back so many memories to see it still there! I love recalling the many times she told me this story of Little Black Sambo. 

One night Grandma Muir planned a special family Home Evening for the grandkids. We all gathered for the lesson, and she spent the evening sharing her testimony with everyone. 

She and Austin had created little charms for each grandchild, and each charm represented a part of her testimony. For example, one charm was a penny with a hole drilled through it. When this charm was handed out, she bore her testimony on the importance of tithing. There are about 10-12 charms I think, and the kids would thread each charm onto their charm 'bracelet' while they listened to Grandma share her conviction of Christ's teachings. It was SUCH a neat activity! 

It was such a memorable way to hear their Grandma share the most important parts of her heart. At the end, she gave each child a little wooden box with their name on it. It was a special place to keep their charm bracelet. Inside the box was another box made of folded dollars. Inside that beensy box was a tie tack for the boys, or necklace for the girls. Each tie tack and necklace was a beensy metal replica of the local temple from our different hometowns. What a thoughtful gift! Joseph was SO excited to wear his San Antonio temple tie tack each Sunday!

We had so much fun playing games together all week. The most-played games were Telestrations, chess, and MineCraft. The cousins had such fun building things together in MineCraft. 

Everyone fell isntantly in love with Lisa's sweet baby Adelaine, and she was the most popular item in the house. Everyone wanted to hold her, play with her, or kiss her. Chubby babies are the sweetest thing! 

More glimpses of our weekend....I have to capture these precious moments while they last. They are so fleeting! 

At the end of the reunion, we headed home to Texas, only to learn of a week-long ice storm raging from Albuquerque to central Texas, making the roads impassable. So we had an impromtu slumber party with our cousins in Utah, the Skarstedts.

Oh! Fun thing!That night happened to be cousin Ethan's monthly writing group meeting, so he invited Nathan to come along. This group is where best-selling author Brandon Sanderson had his beginnings (and he has dedicated books to Ethan and his son Isaac- cool!), and the meeting was being held at Brandon's home.

We have LOVED reading Brandon's books, so Nathan's a big fan. What a neat opportunity this was! Nathan really enjoyed the interactions and was able to meet many other people who work behind the scenes to get Brandon's books on the market. Then Brandon gave Nathan three books from his collection. And signed them. What a memorable night for sure! They came home in the wee hours of the morning.

We drove to the edge of the wintry storm in Albuquerque and stayed another night in a hotel (thank you Priceline for the amazing discount!). This was the first time I've tried using Priceline for a hotel stay, and felt very blessed to get such a great deal on such a nice hotel. Goodbye, KOA campgrounds!

I was very thankful for the blessing of mobile technology that let us check road conditions all over the region and map out a way home that skirted around the icy roads. We arrive safely at home and were so happy to be back!