Saturday, July 9

Guest Post: Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest

[from Shiloh, one of my six sisters/closets friends]

So when I got Amber's first request to share my gratitude... my hands smelled like the last diaper I changed and Anne was screaming her little head off in the other room and I was tired and the day just wasn't going my way.  Since the only thing I could think of to be grateful for was hand sanitizer I decided to put this off. So now I have something better than hand sanitizer.  

I married into a very tight knit family.  For example Sandra's Parents live exactly 1.7 miles away and Marlo's mother lives 8.7 miles away.  Also, both families (Treglowns and Stradleys) know and hang out with each other on occasion.  There are so many traditions that have been shared and enjoyed by both sides.  This post is about one of those traditions.  

The Fourth of July!  You see the Fourth of July probably has more tradition around it than even Christmas and Thanksgiving put together.  Strange right?  Not to them and by them I mean us.  

This year we started off with banana splits at Marlo and Sandra's and then a firework show put on by the kids.  This year it was Andrew and  his brother Matthew who choreographed the fireworks.  Megan, the only talking grandkiddo at this point, kept thanking Uncle Matthew for the pretty fireworks.  She even remember to thank him during gospel doctrine class the next day.  

Sunday we went to Jared and Tiffany's ward to have the twins blessed.  Then to their house for lunch and general enjoying of  each others company.  Monday morning was the pancake breakfast at Marlo and Sandra's.  We sang the national anthem and did the pledge of allegiance.  Then after everything is all cleaned up from breakfast there is always a water fight.  No one is spared.  Its always freezing.  I tried this year to hide with the little grandbabies but to no avail.  However, I still maintain I won because half of my hair was still dry.  Then we had a BBQ at Grandma and Grandpa Treglowns.  After food there we always play pickle ball and volleyball.  Then everyone heads off to fireworks at whatever local park is hosting.  That is our fun filled 4th.  

I love this family.  I love their traditions.  I love that I can not worry about my kiddos every stinking second of the fun because someone will always pitch in and keep an eye on them so I can enjoy myself too.  Anne got 6 or 7 people to walk her all over the Treglowns property.  I love that they just won't let their traditions die even when there are only 5 people involved in the water fight and their favorite firework park cancels their show so they go somewhere else.   I am grateful for family.  I am grateful for tradition.  I am also grateful for hand sanitizer.
What are you blessed with today?

Friday, July 8

Guest Post: Card Games & Root Beer Floats

[from Jennie, who is one of my favorite young ladies on the planet]

My Dad has worked the late shift for nearly half of my life. Because of this, my family isn’t often able to spend a whole lot of casual quality time together. I’m the youngest of nine children, three of whom still live at home (when we aren’t away at school that is – which is the majority of the year). Of course, getting all of the children together doesn’t happen unless it’s a big event like a holiday or a birthday, but I’m just talking about the immediate household family here. Consisting of me, my two immediately older brothers, my parents, and my grandmother. Those rare familial evenings are few and far between. 

Well, tonight was one of those wonderful family evenings. After church and dinner as a family (to the groanings of us children) my mother suggested excitedly that we all play a game together. Usually at this point all any of us want to do is take a nap. But I am happy to say that my usually party-pooper brother chimed in at that moment, suggesting that he could teach us all a new card game that he had learned the night before at a friend’s house. So we all gathered around the card table and proceeded to shuffle and deal out the cards. 

It was a blast. My normally sore-loser father stuck through the whole game even when he started to lose very badly, and my over-competitive mother’s excited squeals only made us laugh instead of becoming annoyed. After the third round, we took a break and put together some yummy root beer floats. All in all, it was about a two-hour ordeal. This will be one of the evenings that I remember. Though I griped tiredly at first
, I am so glad that we ended up doing it.

 I am so grateful for the small things that bring my family together – as small as a new card game and a root beer float. I am grateful that we can NOT gripe at each other occasionally, even if it’s only for a few hours. We always love each other, of course, but these nights truly show the eternal nature of what we have together. Someday in the eternities, we’ll be able to look back on our earthly ventures and say, “Hey, remember that time we learned a new card game and partook of those delicious earthly root beer floats?!” 

What are you grateful for today? 

Thursday, July 7

Guest Post: Tragedy/Comedy

[from the smart and funny Tapper]

It is said that all the world is a stage.
I won't argue because it often feels like my family is starring in a comedy of errors.
Every day is an act that my husband and I have to direct without a script or a musical score or a safety net!
We really aren't even sure of the plot.
We only know the ending- they all lived happily ever after.
Every day the spotlight sun fades to darkness and the curtain of night falls.
However tragic or euphoric the act has been, we settle into our beds to contemplate our roles, our performances, our tomorrows.
And after the children and breathing deep with sleep my fellow director and I retire to the couch to sigh and laugh and review our little play.
Are we failing? Are we putting on a good show? Are we building our characters?
And for that quiet, starlit hour I am deeply grateful that I cast such a good man in my starring role.
The world might roll their eyes at us, ignore us, even boo us, but when the curtain falls I will be holding the hand that steadies and uplifts me.
I am grateful that no matter how twisted and confusing the play of life may be there is a happily ever after waiting for us if we will claim it.
I am grateful for sleeping children and starlit hours and tomorrows.
What are you blessed with today?

Wednesday, July 6

Guest Post: One more day …

[from a best friend I haven't seen in half a decade, who is in a class of her own, like Wilbur's Charlotte]

Two college roommates each recently buried an aging parent and yesterday an old friend posted about a memorial service for a young child lost in a raging river; the length of one’s life is never guaranteed. Everyone knows that today could be the last, but sanity depends on our ability to set that aside and live with the figment of immortality – until reality smacks us in the face and we regret. 
My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Feb 4th and was told she had about  4 – 6 months to put her affairs in order.  Tonight I spoke to her on the phone about the trivial day/day stuff that good friends share,  and I realized how grateful I am for one more day.   One more day for one more phone call, one more chance to share her burden, one more chance to record all those recipes. I will never accept that cancer is a blessing, but it has blessed me with a gift that many never get - one more day.
One more day for her grandson to capture her testimony and blessing on video tape to be handed down to the next generation; One more day for her granddaughters to visit despite years of a dysfunctional family relationship; One more day for my father to move ever so slowly towards accepting that he will soon be parted from his best friend of … well a lifetime.   And one more day for me to express my gratitude for the heritage I’ve been given – while she can still hear me say “thank you.”
What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, July 5

Guest Post: Mental Cravings

[from the feisty mom at Her Manleyness]

Often I find myself craving food for my brain, you know, food for thought. Since I've become a stay at home mom, I find myself trolling facebook and blogs, looking desperately for something to read that is worth reading. If you've shared a link worth checking out, and you are lucky enough to be my friend (wink, wink), then I've probably read it. I just can't seem to get enough! I need mental stimulation!

I started to feel nuts looking for books to read that had wonderful plots and characters, without the muck and adult content that I would rather not have ingrained into my brain. It's hard to go off friend suggestions, because I've been disappointed by what they think is a good book, or that this "good book" has parts in it that need to be seriously edited. Thankfully, I have awesome family that saved me.

Lately, a couple of my sisters have sensed my need for some serious brain food. One lent me her Kindle to read the books she has stored on it. Listed were several Jane Austin books, which I am a little ashamed to admit, I have never read any of them. The other sister has updated her blog for me to read, because I begged and nagged until she did. A third sister even sent me an email with several links to articles she had found and wanted to share, and has also made a more concerted effort to keep her blog updated for me to read as well.

I am grateful for things to read to stimulate my brain, inform, entertain, and educate me. I am grateful for sisters that understand this need for stimulation and help me feed my brain cravings. I am most grateful for sisters who have good taste in reading choices.

Sunday, July 3

Guest Post: Personal Trek

[from Kelli]

Next week is a big is our stake's youth conference. But not just a regular youth conference, but a handcart trek. And I am thankful. Because i have two grandkids that will participate this time, and i know that despite the heat and hard work and the wearing of old style clothes, they will feel the Spirit.
Four years ago our stake had it's first handcart trek. I was blessed to serve in the stake YW presidency at that time. We planned the trek for 9 straight months. It was uncharted territory for our stake. Handcarts were built, routes were planned, leaders were selected, food was planned, youth were motivated. It was hard, hard work, and i spent HOURS in communication with the other leaders pouring over details and last minute issues. (I could write another post all about how thankful i am for email.) I didn't sleep at all the last couple nights before the trek, out of nervousness.
Then, it happened. That magical moment when the assembled youth, leaders, support vehicles, and even the port-a-potties took their first steps forward onto the trek route. Much of the next 3 days still stands out vividly in my memory, and i will never forget the fun, tears, agony, hard work, sights and sounds of those sacred three days. It was collectively one of the most spiritual times in my life, as i could see the Lord's hand during the entire venture. At the final testimony meeting at Far West, we openly wept as we listened to the youths' comments and testimonies, and felt the Spirit burn inside our own hearts.
Knowing the huge amount of work it is, I am thankful for leaders of youth who will do this for my grandkids, nd for their spouses who will stay home and allow them to participate. I am thankful for my grandchildren who are pioneers in their own way, and that they have chosen to participate in the trek. My heart is full of thankfulness that we live in an area of church history, and that we have a pioneer legacy to live up to. And thankful for the restored Gospel, which makes all this possible.