Saturday, June 4


Today, my husband used the Chilton's Manuel for our little 20-year-old car and replaced the water pump. First time ever, and a complete success.

Not the first time he's worked on our vehicle(s), or even the first time he's put Chilton on the job. Just the first time with a water pump. And it works. Perfectly.

Yeah. He's that cool.

Until I met him, I didn't know what "DIY " stood for, let alone who the Chilton people were. I certainly didn't have the confidence to willfully dismantle the front half of my car based on a few illustrations in a book.

The DIY spirit is alive and kicking in our little family, thanks to the example set by the dad. I have picked up on it, to be sure, and it has spread from there. Even the toddler lets us know on a regular basis that "I do it uh-self!" Our daughters make their own stuffed animals and stationary. My oldest son is ingenious and persistent in finding ways to get access to what interests him.

I am grateful for the whole DIY concept. I am grateful for the independent, provident life it fosters, for the confidence and satisfaction it provides, and for the security in knowing I/he/we can do pretty much anything around here that needs doing.

What are you blessed with today?

Friday, June 3

Good Cause

Date night was planned by someone else, this week. Several someones, really. The Young Women in our Branch hosted a spaghetti dinner and homemade dessert auction to help raise money for camp this year. They charged by the person and made yummy spaghetti with authentic, handmade meatballs, serving it with generic salad-from-a-bag and winning smiles.

If it hadn't been date night, and we had decided to take our entire brood, the Young Women would have made off like bandits just from our family alone. But we decided to stick to the date night ideals; it was a concession to bring along the baby, and we did it only because so many of our friends would be less enthusiastic to see us if she is not there as well.

It was very fun to sit and talk with friends, and (gently) heckle the girls as they served side dishes and entrĂ©es, refilled drinks and bussed tables. The dessert auction was very entertaining, and we bid all that we had brought with us on two delectable chocolate confections. Mark joked about having been on much cheaper dates, and how we paid for the double-layer chocolate raspberry cake at a dollar per raspberry. But it was very yummy.

And it was for a good cause. I am grateful for good causes. Particularly ones where it's a win-win sort of thing: I gave money, they entertained and fed us. We happily drove up the prices on several desserts we couldn't afford, and everyone shared around the purchased confections when it was all over. I am grateful to be part of a community and a Branch that circles the wagons, if you will, and helps each other out. I'm grateful for an evening with friends, and for the fact that my husband and I didn't have to play the "I dunno, what do you want to do?" game. 

What are you blessed with today?

Thursday, June 2

At the End of the Day

I love that moment, at the end of the day, when dinner is cleared off the table and the curtains are closed, after we've had family prayer and the children are kissed and tucked in. That moment when, I sit on the bed, fluff my pillow, and lay down.

Of course, sometimes the day doesn't end like that. Sometimes I'm up late (maybe blogging?) or a child needs extra attention or the baby thinks it's playtime. Sometimes we're away from home for the weekend, and I have to wait until we get home to our own beds.

Still, there is the moment when I lay down, with the lamp off and tomorrow's alarm set. And I can close my eyes. Maybe I'll go right to sleep, maybe I'll lay there thinking about stuff, maybe my husband and I will talk about the day and compare notes.

I am grateful that, no matter how the day has played out, whatever happened, I can look forward to that moment when I relax into my pillow, and know that whatever I did or did not do, it is sufficient for the day. And just like Scarlott O'Hara, I know that tomorrow is another day.

What are you blessed with today?

Wednesday, June 1

Fresh Fruit

Let me just say how much I enjoy this time of year, the whole May/June thing, with the gorgeous flowers and the mild weather (except the tornado part) and the fresh fruit!

Yes, I have ten pounds of strawberries in my house. PLUS about a gallon of farm-fresh cream. Yes, we will be combining the two and eating it all up like greedy little imps.

Don't you wish you were here?

I went grocery shopping with my husband last night, and found my self wanting to ditch the bread and eggs and potatoes and flour, and completely load my entire cart up with all those luscious, tempting

      blueberries and

                 plums and

                          apples and

                                    blackberries and

                                              watermelon and

Excuse me, I might be drooling on the keyboard.

I am grateful for fresh fruit. Hot house strawberries in December just can't compete with picking the little sweet, tangy, juicy ones from Grandma's strawberry patch on Memorial Day weekend, or eating a fat slice of watermelon so drippy you practically need a bib (I used a paper towel). Thank you, Summer for being so tasty! It makes it a lot easier for me to endure the humidity and the poison ivy and ticks and sunburns and the air conditioning bill. Also, I am grateful for air conditioning. It probably merits a post all its own.

What have you been blessed with today?

Monday, May 30

Old Friends

"Make new friends
but keep the old.
One is Silver
and the other's gold."

I learned that little song when I was a Brownie Scout. My Girl Scout leader taught us to sing it in a round, and all these years later it pops into my head on a regular basis.

Today, I had a chance to go to the home of an old friend.

The family had moved out into the country, and we hadn't seen the new place. And their kids are all getting older and taller (and their voices are changing, which is normal and weird at the same time). We used to see each other all the time, and spend hours together. We had a tradition of combined family spaghetti dinner.

Lots of shared experiences and memories.

But, we moved a few years back, and the distance was just enough to keep us from getting together. I have missed them desperately.

So imagine my joy when we went to visit, and simply picked up where we left off. No awkward gaps in conversation, no strained efforts at inside jokes, no holds barred on topics for discussion. Walking in to their new home and sitting down on the same old couch and diving back in to our friendship like we had never come up for air felt like...

Well, it felt like everything was exactly as it should be.

I am grateful for old friends. There is an intangible and priceless value in that mutual history that can't be faked or replaced. I am grateful to be able to trust and tease and talk like we always have without having to back up and fill in the gaps. I am grateful that life has been good for both of us while we've been apart. I am grateful for the opportunity to check in as often as possible. Mostly, I am grateful for old friends.

What have you been blessed with today?

Sunday, May 29

No, I Did Not Forget

We were out of town for the Memorial Day weekend, therefor I did not have access to my calendar or my blog(s). But that does not mean I forgot your birthday.

Even though my husband programmed it wrong into his blackberry, and I called you the day before to sing to you because I sincerely believed it was the 29th, and  you stopped me before I was half-way through the song to correct me, I did not forget your birthday. Every May, as we work our way through the girls' birthdays, I think to myself about how you always teased me that one of my children was supposed to be born on your birthday, but that I kept screwing it up and was doomed to keep having kids in May until I got it right. And it makes me smile. And I remember your birthday.

As long as I have children who were born this month (and I guess that's forever now, huh?), I will remember your birthday.

So. Happy Birthday. I love you. For so long you were like one of my own little brood. When you got married, I felt like I was sort of marrying off a daughter. But now, you're a wife, and you have kids of your own, and when you call and we talk, it's not the same. We are now peers.

It's different. I like it.

Also, I think you should have a kid on my birthday and name it after me. Lizzy refused.