Friday, February 11

Long Time

Today, we loaded up all of our children and drove an hour and a half to do our taxes.

Yes, I know I can do them myself. I know I can do them at home. I still choose to go to this particular accountant. He has known my husband and I longer than we have known each other.He is a good friend and a fantastic accountant. He has done our taxes our entire married life, including that one awful year we only grossed $9,000.

Each year, we look forward to seeing him. Each year, when we have a new baby to add to our growing list of deductions, he is rewarding and complimentary. Each year my children nibble through most of the candy in his candy dish. Each year he asks my second daughter if she hasn't changed her mind, if she wouldn't want to come live with him this time.

We had a baby last year, so we were giggling to ourselves what the accountant would say. He is very sweet with  babies. We came away, happy to have visited again, pleased with the return we will be getting, and with our 2012 appointment already set.

I am grateful for long time friends. I am thankful for people who, even though I don't see them for a long time, still have plenty to talk about with me. It's just like that little ditty from summer camp:

Make new friends, but keep the old. 
One is silver and the other gold.

What are you blessed with today?

Thursday, February 10

{Words of Me} Project

The lady behind the {Words of Me} Project is such a talented, up-beat woman. I love what she does, and how positive she is. I really enjoy peeking in on her projects. I may not be in a position to do any of the things she cooks up for a very long time, but I shamelessly stalk her all the same.

Last month, she started a 52 Words Challenge. Each week, she chooses a word. I love the thought she gives to each week's choice, and the back-stories she shares. I want to tag along with this project, so I have decided that  I will do a post on each of her words throughout this year.

The first word from the Challenge I want to use is Gratitude. Of course, I find that very fitting. Gratitude is what this blog is all about. I am blessed, blessed. blessed. I express my gratitude often, I think. But probably not often enough.

I know how I feel when someone thanks me, or expresses appreciation for me or something I have done. I want to share that  feeling with others, particularly those who do so much to bless me and my life. Gratitude! As Mark Twain once said, I could live two months on a good compliment. Only for me, it's gratitude. It is truly sunshine for my soul: feeling it, giving it, noticing where it pops up in my life, like so many unexpected crocuses in springtime.

Is it cliche for me to say I am grateful for gratitude? Possibly. I don't care. Because I really am. I am grateful for Gratitude, and for the sunshine that goes on over at the {Words of Me} Project. If you decide to follow along, you won't be sorry.

What are you blessed with today?

Wednesday, February 9

New Beginnings

Tonight at our Church, the Young Women hosted a "New Beginnings" evening for all the girls who will enter the Young Women's program this year. My oldest daughter was so excited to be included. Her birthday isn't until the end of the year, but she is full of anticipation for "what happens next". She isn't growing up too fast, but it's happening all the same. I am excited to see who she will be and what she will do. I suppose you could say this was New Beginnings for me, too.

The parents of all the girls were invited to attend. I figured I would be going solo, as my husband has a calling that occupies him during that exact time (he is the Young Men's president). I was fine with it, because I support him in his calling, and have learned to roll with it. Honestly.

We knew about the event two weeks in advance. But it was only the day before that my husband informed me he was coming with us. Hooray! I was surprised at how happy that made me. I mean, I was completely fine with him not coming. I wasn't expecting anything else.

As it turns out, his counselor told him to go, that he would take care of everything so my husband could go with his first daughter to her first New Beginnings. What a wonderful man. I can't thank him enough for that. Although I suspect cheesecake may come close.

The ladies in the Young Women's program did an amazing job with the New Beginnings presentation. It was fabulous. My girl loved every minute of it.

I am grateful for counselors who give good counsel (and wonderful support!), and for the opportunity to support my husband. And for all the good times we have ahead of us with our children as they begin new things more and more.

What are you blessed with today?

Tuesday, February 8

Friend Available

I have mentioned the once-a-week home school enrichment classes in which we are involved. What I didn't say was that I take all of my children with me when I go. Of course, my three "students", and of course my little nurseling, but also my three preschoolers, including the toddler. All seven of them. And we are at the enrichment classes for four hours straight. Plus drive time.

Enter my friend.* She has oh-so-graciously welcomed my three preschoolers to stay and play at her house for those hours. This is such a blessing for me. It allowed me to focus on my students and their classes. It frees me up from chasing the toddler and policing emergency potty breaks and the pressures of being a fountain of entertainment in reply to the chorus of boredom.

To be perfectly honest, she makes enrichment classes possible for us. If I had to take all of my children with me, for the entire duration, I know my patience and endurance would be insufficient. Because she said "yes", I was able to say "yes".

So, I am grateful for my friend, for her mellow disposition and her laid-back approach to all things involving little kids. And for her availability: for being available today, and for the next ten Tuesdays. What a gal.

What are you blessed with today?

*Really, I have been blessed with so many wonderful friends. I am intentionally not naming names, and titling posts after them, however. I don't wish to offend anyone mentioned, undermentioned or not mentioned at all. So, you're stuck with generic references. It's about the gratitude, not the roll call.

Monday, February 7

Change of Plans

Tonight - being Monday - was Family Home Evening. We are trying to build our family, to be better friends, and more organized, and more intentional with who we are and what we do. So, tonight was going to be the first FHE where my husband and I fully turned the reins over to the kids (with supervision, of course), to let them do activities, treats, pick songs, whatever.

Then, even as the "death by chocolate"cookies were being made, I got a phone call. Today is the birthday of a friend (I didn't know!). Our mutual friend, Melanie, was throwing her a surprise birthday party. Could we come over between 6:30 an 9:00 this evening? And did we like carrot cake?

Change of plans!

I have no problem switching gears like that. It's still Evening, we're still together as a Family, even if it's in someone else's Home. I have no guilt scrapping our plans completely when something else better comes along.

Well, we still baked the cookies.

But we took a heaping plate of them with us, still hot and gooey from the oven. And we had a great evening. We sang about four different versions of Happy Birthday. And my toddler helped our friend blow our her candles...twice.  Everyone held our baby and loved her, and complimented my older children on the yummy cookies. We stayed and visited and laughed. I gave the birthday girl woman a back and shoulder rub (good present on short notice, no?). It was delightful.

I am thankful for a change of plans, and for the chance to be part of making someone else feel loved and needed and special. Eating carrot cake: a lovely bonus.

The original FHE plan has been bumped back to the following Monday. Unless something else comes up, of course. And who knows? We will probably bring cookies with us.

What are you blessed with today?

Missing Posts

I have not blogged here in a full week. In that time, I have had a lot going on in my head, but not so much going on in my life that I couldn't have stolen a few moments to blog. So, I have been thinking about the purpose of this blog for me.

I considered posting and "back dating" it, so it looked like it was actually posted on the right day, but then I thought, "No, that's not honest." Which lead me to wonder, does it still count for gratitude if I post, but not actually on the day? Of course. I was (am) blessed, and acknowledgment and  my gratitude don't have an expiration date.

Well, then.

I decided to give myself permission to indeed go back and post. And back date it. I will not try to pretend to have that sort of continuity in my life for real, but I like having things organized and streamlined, so it will do my heart good to look at my blog archive all tidy and orderly.

I feel a little silly about my internal dialog. But I really do want to post my moments of gratitude from this past week. And it really is important to me to be honest; even about the real date of my posts.

So, readers be aware: the post you are reading may not actually have been written on the day that particular moment of gratitude was noted, but it will be dated according to said moment of gratitude.

There. I have both assuaged my conscience and gratified my inner librarian. Back dated posts to proceed.

Sunday, February 6


The university where my husband works hosts an excellerated learning program for high school juniors and seniors. It's a big deal to be accepted into the Academy. Every year, we have one or two (sometimes four!) Academy students who are also members of our Church. As it is a boarding school, the leaders of the youth program take on a larger responsibility to get these students to and from meetings + activities, and so on.

Both my husband and I have worked with the Youth a great deal in our time here. And the Academy kids have been close to our hearts. Since they are far from home and family, we have opened our home to them as much as we can. Mostly, we just feed them. But we also parent them a little, and feed them some more.

Today, we had two of this year's three member Academy students over for dinner after Church (it being Fast Sunday and all). I didn't know they were coming before I left for meetings, so I didn't prepare any extra food. But it didn't matter. We had enough. I thought the meal was a little iffy. But they were so glad to have home-cooked food. And then we had lemon bars for dessert. Which were quite yummy, if I do say so myself.

Having these youth in our home is a treat. We encourage them to bring friends from the Academy.  Once, we had eight of them, with about forty-five minutes advance notice. It was a blast. I only freaked out a little bit. We played games, and told jokes, and they played with our kids and held our baby, and were so, so full of gratitude about being invited over.

These young men and women bring a good spirit with them. I love it. I mean, I stress about having enough food, and if the house is clean, and if my toddler is going to melt down and start screaming and throwing food. But I still love it. I am thankful for the opportunity to have the "Acade-Kids" in my home.

What are you blessed with today?