Saturday, June 25

Ice Cream!

Today, as a reward for working their little tails off and cleaning the entire house (no joke!), we had ice cream. I had my son walk around, taking flavor requests from everyone. Then, I took two of my girls with me to the store, and we stood on the Frozen Delight aisle to select the yumminess.

I love ice cream. So does my husband. When we were first married, I think we went a little nuts because we were suddenly the "grown ups" and we could have ice cream whenever we wanted and eat how much we wanted, and no one was there to tell us otherwise.

It was overkill.

Eventually, we came to our, ahem, adult senses. I realized we had overdone it when there was ice cream that stayed in the freezer for days and days at a time and no one cared. How had we become jaded to ice cream?

Now, we only have ice cream every once in a while. And by "every once in a while" I mean less than once a month...including birthdays. It's a good thing. So, tonight, bringing home four flavors of ice cream was a big deal.

I am ashamed to admit that we might have eaten ice cream in place of the regularly scheduled dinner. I am sheepish to acknowledge that - betwixt the eight of us - we ate it all. Except the strawberry ice cream. There's still half the container left. Someone might eat it for breakfast.

I am grateful for ice cream. I am not too old or too self-conscious to admit it. I am grateful for self-imposed rarity, because it makes ice cream even more enjoyable because of its unfamiliarity. Because you know, familiarity breeds, uh, contempt. And contempt for ice cream is tragic. I am grateful for my children who did such an phenomenal and thorough job on housekeeping today, that ice cream was definitely in order. And I am grateful that there is some strawberry ice cream left...

What are you blessed with today?

Friday, June 24


Tonight, I had the opportunity to sit in a field, and listen to birds and the insects and the breeze. We watched the sun set, and then we watched the fireflies. The weather was perfect, the field was full of was all very quiet and serene.

It was sublime.

When did this city girl trade in her bus pass and her shopping habits for wildflowers and fireflies? How did I get to where I'd rather spend a couple of hours watching red-wing blackbirds catch bugs for their babies, and talk about ordinary things and watch the sun set?

I don't care how it happened. It's where I am at, and I like it.

I am grateful for those sublime moments. They aren't at all what I thought I'd be enjoying when Young me planned my life out. What did I know back then, anyway? I am grateful for the opportunity to take a breather at the end of an intense couple of weeks, and just enjoy the simple, rural beauty of the world around me. I am grateful for the pace of my life that enables me to find pleasure in small and simple things.

What are you blessed with today?

Thursday, June 23


Maybe it's one of those things I can't change about myself - like my eye color or my height - but I am a terrible estimator of time.

Oh, sure, a girl can get color contacts and high heels, but that doesn't actually change anything for real. I can use clocks and timers and planners and calendars (or my husband's Blackberry), but it won't erase the fact that I am incapable of a) telling how much time has passed b) how much time a given activity will require and c) starting things in enough time to finish at a reasonable hour...meal prep, bed time routine, sewing projects...


My darling and talented husband has an impeccable internal chronometer. And after all these years of hanging around each other, he is starting to rub off on me. Which is not to say I am getting better, but that I am setting up time-usage safeguards as he has (gently) recommended them.

Yesterday, this meant that I started dinner at 4:30.

A little side note: It kills me to devote that much time out of my life to meals (planned, shopped for, prepared, cooked, served, eaten, cleared up), but I love my family, and they need to eat, so I have adjusted.

Starting food prep so early meant that food was actually done and ready to eat before my husband and oldest son had to walk out the door for Young Men's weekly activity at Church.

It has to be the first time in ages. Personal victory. As an added plus, it was food everyone wanted to eat, so there was no whining.

I am grateful for timing, and for the chance to get a little better at having good timing ... as opposed to terrible timing. I am grateful for a husband who is patient with the fact that he may come home after six o'clock in the evening, to find us all on the floor in the living room, playing and totally oblivious to the fact that it's after four. I am grateful for all of my chronological crutches that keep me from offending friends and alienating family, and allowing me to function in a time-sensitive society. I'm also really grateful that everyone ate their dinner. Because I would have been a little irritated if I had worked since 4:30 only to be told it was disgusting.

What are you blessed with today?

Wednesday, June 22

Push Myself

I am in the middle of doing something hard. Which is a big deal for me. Usually, I won't try anything if it's hard, or inconvenient, or if I don't know for positive that I can have a reasonable shot at success.

A few months back, I spotted a poster inviting people to join a Jane Austin book group at our local library.

I have always thought of myself as one of the "smart kids". In junior high and high school, I was friends with other "smart kids" and many of my classes were the "smart kid" classes.

But I never pushed myself.

So when I saw the poster, I thought many things, including "Oh! I've always wanted to read Jane Austin's books!" and "This would be a great way to meet new friends" and "This shouldn't be too hard...I can do this."

Whew! Either I'm not as "smart" as I thought I was, or this is hard. I mean, I am certainly enjoying it. But oh my good-golly-goodness. Fiction from 1820 England is not a breezy read. We are reading all six of Jane Austin's novels, in order of publishing.

I'm behind by a book and a half. But I refuse to give up! I am going to do this. I can do hard things. I can push myself, and learn and stretch and grow. I can contribute interesting things to the book group discussions! I can find out for myself why there is such a thing as The Jane Austen Society of North America.

I am grateful for an opportunity to push myself. It's uncomfortable (which is why I generally avoid it), but I find I actually like it. I am grateful for my (new) friend, Becky, who started the group, and who is so real and down-to-earth and intimidating and encouraging. I am grateful for the fact that I'm never too old to learn, even if it seems like all the "smart kid" stuff came out in the wash about fifteen years ago.

What are you blessed with today?

Tuesday, June 21

First Day of Summer

Today is the first day of summer. I love summer. Somehow, everything seems possible in summertime. When I was young, summer seemed to blissfully stretch on forever.

Even though it's the middle of June, today was wonderfully cool: a little bit of cloud, a little bit of rain, a little bit of breeze. And I spent it in easy summer style: visiting with my sisters, playing with kids, puttering a little, reminiscing, reading...all the good stuff. In the evening, I took my girls + a friend to see "Tangled" for free at the summer movie series.

I am grateful for the first day of summer. I am eager for the activities and enjoyment of this season, and glad for the gentleness of spring that has just finished up. I am grateful for the change of seasons; about the time I am ready to be done with one, the next one is just a short way off, full of promise and anticipation.

What are you blessed with today?

Monday, June 20

Light Show

It's been a storm-off/storm-on kind of week. Yesterday, as the day was winding down, and we were saying goodbye to family and going home from Fathers Day visiting, the clouds were huge and piled high.

On our way home, I pointed them out to our children, and they started calling out the "cloud pictures" they were seeing: a witch face with a mushroom hat, a child riding on a dragon head, a robot waving a flag, that sort of thing. This lasted until sunset.

Then the lightening started. The last half-hour of our trip was spent watching the spectacular lightening that was going on in the sky in front of us.

It was amazing. The flashes never stopped. We could see some bolts of lightening, some were just brief bright places behind the massive clouds. It was the best display of Nature's "shock and awe" I've seen in a long time.

The storm must have been moving pretty fast, because we never heard any thunder, and we never hit rain or wind, even though we were going 70 mph up the highway.

I am grateful for the phenomenal light show put on by God. I have always loved watching storms! This one was gorgeous and just kept going and going. I am also - once again! - grateful for safety. We had no sooner arrived home and unloaded our tired selves then my husband turned on the weather radio. That's when we learned we had been under a tornado watch, the town sirens had gone off, and most of our friends and neighbors had been in their basements and storm shelters.    !!!    We got in town just as it ended. So, I am really, really grateful for safety. And a beautiful storm.

What are you blessed with today?

Sunday, June 19

Dad Proxy

Sometimes Fathers Day is hard for me. It's very easy to feel sorry for myself, if I choose to focus on what is missing. I choose to focus on something else. 

My own father has not been a part of my life for many, many years. My parents separated when my husband and I were expecting our first child.

It was very hard. But God never lets me go into a dark place without someone to guide me through. 

In this case, several someones. And not just for me, but for my whole family. I'm on the older end, my youngest brother was five. When our family fell apart, Heavenly Father had more than a few "spare" parents waiting in the wings to help put us back together. 

Through the years, I have been mothered by many, many women. And just as many good men have filled the "Good Dad" role. My mother, my brothers, my sisters and I have all been ministered to, mentored by, taught, teased, counseled, and served by proxy dad after proxy dad. Each of these men have stepped up when the need was there, filled the empty shoes, and then quietly moved out of the spotlight. 

I am grateful for all of the proxy dads in my life, and in the lives of my family. I am grateful for the time and energy they have selflessly given, and for their families who have willingly shared their own dad with us. I am grateful for faithful home teachers, who go the extra mile, and for priesthood leaders who follow through on promptings and inspiration. I am so blessed to be surrounded by righteous fathers, good men all of them. It is one of my favorite parts about this Church. I am grateful for my husband who is an excellent father to my children. I am forever indebted to his father, who showed him how to be a good dad. 

Above all, I am grateful for my Father in Heaven, who loves me and watches out for me. Knowing that makes everything bearable. I know I am His princess, and that He pampers me with everything I could ever need, and so many things that I want. The list of gifts from my Father is endless.

What are you blessed with today?