Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dec. 2-9 Gratitude

Dec. 2: I am so thankful for my sisters. I have two remarkably talented, intelligent and wonderful sisters. I am the oldest, but I learn so much from them. They are great examples to me.

My sister, Rebecca, faces challenges with courage and faith. She is an incredible mother, and has done tremendous research and made significant changes to help her children. Her children have food sensitivities that limit what they can eat. Her youngest was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and my sister has studied, prayed and then implemented dietary changes, biomedical treatments and intensive therapy to help my niece. My niece is making significant improvements. My sister and her amazing husband work tirelessly to help thei children reach their potential, and she is so incredibly patient. In addition, she is a talented photographer, took woodworking classes in high school and has developed skills in woodworking and upholstering. She is a great listener, and she is a hard worker. I am blessed to have such an amazing sister. I wish she were closer, but I so treasure the times when we are together.

My sister, Suzy, is an editor. She does freelance editing and teaches a couple of editing classes at BYU, our alma mater. (My sisters and I all graduated from the Y.) She has a strong testimony and desire to do what is right. She is a very hard worker. She is also very disciplined. She runs marathons and trains for them year round...running between 10-20 miles most days. She is very talented musically, and plays the piano beautifully. She is also a great aunt to my children. They love their Aunt Suzy.

Both of my sisters help me in countless ways. They are an inspiration to me.

Tuesday, Dec. 3: Today was not a great day. I have now lived in Utah for more than half my life, but I still don't like cold weather, and I hate driving in snow.

It took3 hours to get home tonight. There were tears shed...mostly by me. My children had to do their homework in the car. They were tired, starving, and began arguing. I tried to stay calm, but I wasn't entirely successful. I was cranky and frustrated and anxious. A funny/gross thing is that near the end we all needed to go the bathroom so bad, esp. me. We were just sitting, barely moving. I seriously contemplated just putting my car in park, and hopping out to go on the side of the road ...with cars all around us. I am sure I would have had time...but my modesty won out. I seriously worried that when I finally stood up to get out of the car that I would lose my bladder right then and there, but we made it. I guess that's something to be thankful for, right? Today while I was in the car, I thought, "I need to think of what I'm grateful for. That will help me feel better." But the only thing I could find to be thankful for after such a long day was that it was NOT the day of the street party, our RS Christmas dinner (so glad we did that early) or any other commitment because I would not have made it. (Now that I'm home, I can also recognize how grateful I am to be home, to be safe, and that I didn't pee my pants.)

Wednesday, Dec. 4: Today I am thankful for driving safely. As much as I dislike driving in the snow, I am grateful that I have been protected this week and in many instances in the past. I am thankful that I was able to drive safely to/from work and piano lessons. I am thankful that the commute did not take very long. I am thankful that the Lord has protected us from harm when weather conditions are bad.

Thursday, Dec. 5: Today I am thankful that Alfredo took my car to have it's brakes fixed. They needed to be replaced, and it is too cold for him to do it outside in the carport. He found someone that did it for an incredibly reasonable rate, and he got it all taken care of so I wouldn't have to. So grateful that he takes good care of me and of our cars.

Friday, Dec. 6: We have an annual street party at Christmas time. It is a tradition that started over 20 years ago, I believe. We've been participating for nearly 10 years now. (We didn't attend the first couple of years that we lived in our house.) It is a progressive dinner. We begin at one house for appetizers, move to another house for dinner, and then end at a third house for dessert and a white elephant gift exchange. It is a party for adults only, and we love it. We laugh and talk and eat good food and the white elephant gift exchange is a riot. This year our numbers were few, but it was just as fun as it always is. I am thankful to live in a neighborhood where I know nearly everyone on my street and many, many other people in the surrounding streets. A neighborhood where I feel safe. A neighborhood where we are treated with love and respect. I could not be happier with where we live. Our house is not perfect, but my life has been so blessed by those we call our neighbors and friends.

Sat., Dec. 7:
Good babysitters: We needed a babysitter last night, and we got a babysitter tonight to go on a date. We will have another babysitter next week, and one the following weekend. I am grateful that there are so many reliable teenagers in our area that I can trust to watch our girls. My girls love having babysitters, and I am thankful that we have several that we trust and that seem to enjoy our kids as much as our kids enjoy them. And it's nice to know that soon we won't need babysitters at all. Michelle is getting old enough to be our babysitter.

Date night: Alfredo and I went to dinner and then we watched Catching Fire. I was excited to see the movie. I have read the books and really liked them. So I was looking forward to the movie, and it was wonderful. I had tears in my eyes in several parts, and it was well done. I still think the books are even better, but the movie was great. And it was nice to have some time with just Alfredo.

Sun., Dec. 8: I am thankful for our Bishopric. It has been wonderful to get to know them better and serve with them this past year. They are wonderful men who love the Lord and who love the members of our ward. In ward council today, Bishop bore a powerful testimony of the importance and power of prayer. He encouraged us that when troubles and trials came, we should run toward our Father in prayer and not away.

As a parent, I really appreciate that the Bishop has the children visit him after church each Sunday. They share what they learned in Primary and then get a candy. My children have come to know and love the Bishop because of this routine. And I think it helps them pay attention in Primary so they know what to tell the Bishop.

We had tithing settlement today. I am thankful for the blessings of paying tithing. I am thankful for the ways that my family has been blessed and strengthened as I have paid tithing. I feel so thankful that I am able to serve in this church and to pay tithing to contribute to the building of churches, temples, and other church work. I am thankful that my family and I could visit with the Bishop for a few minutes and declare to him (and more importantly to the Lord) that we pay our tithing.

He has only a few more months to serve as Bishop, and I know that whoever follows will be a wonderful Bishop and will bless the ward. But I am so thankful for what Bishop DeLaMare has done for my family and for the ward.

Mon., Dec. 9:Christmas books I love books. I love Christmas. So I have always enjoyed reading Christmas books to/with my children. But then I heard about a fun tradition of wrapping up Christmas books and opening one each day all month long. So last year we began that new tradition. Each night, one of the girls gets to select a wrapped book and we snuggle together and read it. (For my sake, I label the gifts long, medium, and short and tell them what length of book we have time for that night.) This year, we started on Thanksgiving and I am loving it. Some of the books are fun and silly, some are religious in nature. But we enjoy this time reading together. A few of my favorites include The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey; Mary, Did You Know; The Pirate's Night Before Christmas, and The Little Shepherd's Christmas. I own about 30 Christmas books, so we have enough. But I usually check out a few books from the library so that we have a few they haven't read or seen before. After we read them, they go in a basket so the girls can reread them if they choose. I love this tradition. I wish I had started it sooner, but I am glad I started it. Better late than never, right?