“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving last year my bestie K and I went to a yoga class at the gym and our favorite yoga instructor read us this quote by Melody Beattie. It was one of the best yoga sessions I have ever attended because our instructor set the entire intention toward gratitude. She reminded us that during this crazy holiday season where stress is really high while we attend a million activities and parties while trying to decorate our houses and make holiday treats and buy a ton of presents for our kids, family, and friends, that it is good to slow down and really appreciate the blessings in our lives.
A lot of my friends have been posting on Facebook something they are grateful for every day until Thanksgiving. Other friends have created a “gratitude tree” where they have a paper cut-out tree and every day they put a leaf on the tree with something they are grateful for until Thanksgiving (kind of like an Advent calendar) and I like this idea so much I think I will do it next year with my kids. Last year I wrote an A,B,C post about things I am grateful for inspired by my friend Mitch. All those things I’m grateful for still stand, but I wanted to re-iterate what I’m thankful for this year.
-I’m thankful for my family of origin. God blessed me with two loving parents and two incredible siblings. Even though my Mother is now in heaven and my Dad is far away, I still feel their love every day. And my brother and sister are two of the greatest people I’ve ever known. I’m grateful for their friendship, love, and support. I love the people they are, the people they married who couldn’t be more perfect for them and add so much to our family, and the little people they created. My nephews and niece are the cutest kids ever! I’m glad that my nephews are such good friends with their cousins and that they love spending time together. It’s true that some of your first best friends are your cousins.
-I’m thankful for the family the hubs and I created. I married the best man I’ve ever known and not a single day has gone by where I didn’t think that marrying him was the best decision I ever made. My sweet children add so much to my life and as usual they teach me more than I teach them. It has been such a joy to watch them learn and grow. I’m so grateful for the ease at which we have been able to add children to our family. Working where I work, I can never take our fertility for granted.
-I’m thankful for the family I married into. I’m so thankful for what a great family the hubs comes from because my mother and father-in-law are two of the nicest, kindest, most loving people I’ve ever known. They accepted me as part of the family the day I met them. They have helped the hubs and I out so much and they’ll never know how much I appreciate it, especially since they are the only grandparents my kids have who live nearby. I love that my kids are so close to their grandparents and have such a bond with them. Also, the hubs has some great siblings who also married some great people. We have the cutest nephews and niece ever and I’m so glad my kids are close with their cousins. The hubs’ sisters are some of my very best friends.
-I’m grateful for extended family and the love that has been given to me by uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, great-aunts, and uncles, etc. My extended family might not all be close by, but they’re always there supporting me and my family. I’m grateful for my grandparents. I didn’t get to know my paternal grandfather very well since he lived back east and died when I was 8. My paternal grandmother was a force to be reckoned with and I’m glad I come from such a strong woman. My maternal grandparents moved back to Utah from Boston when I was 2 and I was always so glad that I grew up having them be a part of my every day life. My maternal grandfather was one of the best, kindest, most gentle men I’ve ever known. He was out-going, loved life, never met a stranger, treated everyone like his friend, and I can’t help but think I married a man just like him. My grandmother, while quite different from my grandpa, loved me and I’m grateful I got to know her better as an adult when the hubs and I took care of her.
-I’m grateful for good friends. My NYCbestie and bestie K have been steadfast and loyal friends who have gotten me through a lot of hard times. They are both my every day, in the trenches, through good times and bad, gigglefest, best friends. My friend, Shupee, and her husband flew all the way across the country so they could spend 20 minutes at my mother’s viewing. It was one of the most kindest, selfless things anyone has ever done for me. She supported me through my mother’s illness by sending me cards and presents, and I wonder if she knew at the time how much that saved my life. I have truly been blessed to call some of the most incredible people in this world my friends.
-I’m grateful for a warm home, a roof over my head, electricity, running water, enough clothes to change my outfit every day, and plenty of food, and a variety of it, to eat. I read an article last Christmas that said if you have any of those things, you are more fortunate than 90% of all the people who have ever lived on the earth. I try to remember this whenever I get bogged down in my first world problems.
-I’m thankful that my NYCbestie was not seriously affected by Hurricane Sandy and she is safe. Especially considering she doesn’t live that far from places that were disastrously affected like Hoboken, NJ and Staten Island.
-I’m grateful for the good employment of the hubs and myself. We’ve both worked in some crappy jobs and it’s nice we both now are employed in jobs and careers we love. I’m grateful for the people I work with and the clients we work for. I can honestly say my life has been blessed the last 6 years because of the type of work I’m involved in.
-I’m grateful for Mountain Dew and cheetos.
-I’m grateful for the great neighborhood we live in and kind, friendly, and helpful neighbors. We moved here 3 years ago this Thanksgiving and it remains one of the best decisions we ever made for our family. The kids go to a great school, have made great friends, and we are surrounded by great families.
-I’m grateful for my memories. I’m grateful for having a mother who loved me unconditionally. I’m grateful that if she can’t be here right now, that God gave me a mother-in-law whom I love like she was my own mother. Sometimes I forget she didn’t birth me herself. I’m grateful that if my kids can only have one grandma right now, that God gave them the best one.
-I’m grateful for words and writing and having an outlet to express myself. I’m grateful for books and for a mother who instilled in me a love of books.
-I’m grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the peace it brings me. I’m grateful for the atonement and for the opportunity to repent of my mistakes. I’m grateful for the love and grace of my Savior because I know that I’m so far from perfect I could never measure up.
I hope that I can continue to reflect on all my blessings, not just during the holiday season, but all year long.
Four years ago when I was pregnant with my third child it was the most emotionally trying time of my life. I had just lost my mother to pancreatic cancer and I was overcome with a grief I had never experienced before. I had started a new job, which readily claims has a two year learning curve. I was hanging onto to life by the skin of my teeth. And the hubs stepped up and carried me and our family during that time. Our daughter was in 1st grade and our son was in pre-school and the hubs took over parental duties and household duties as I tried to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart.
It’s no exaggeration to say he did homework with our kids, gave them baths, put them to bed, and got them ready for school every morning, while the thought of even emptying the dishwasher was so overwhelming I could barely cope. He cooked our meals, he vacuumed, he did the laundry, he cleaned, scrubbed the bathrooms, did the grocery shopping, and gleefully gave me a foot rub whenever I needed it, even when I didn’t ask. He let me fall apart and he supported me as I got back up on my feet. Continue reading
Thirteen years ago today the hubs and I were married. A lot has happened in those years. We were just talking the other night about how swiftly the years have gone and how it does not seem like we had our first date 14 years ago and then married a year later. I blame it on the old adage that time flies when you’re having fun.
I would write a big long gushy post, but I already accomplished that with this post. Anything I said now would just be a repeat.
Recently we were watching, “Storytellers” with Jason Mraz and he debuted a new song from his new album. It really spoke to the hubs and I and we have made it our new song. It’s called, “I won’t give up” and here are the lyrics.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m re-posting a poem I wrote for my sweetheart. Happy Valentine’s Day, the hubs!
My current relationship is also my future relationship for eternity, I hope. The hubs and I have been together for almost 13 1/2 years.
This is me and the hubs at the Weber State Homecoming Ball in 1998. It was the first formal picture ever taken of us. We had been dating about a month when we attended this dance together. It was at this dance that my friend Angie told me not to get my hopes up about the hubs because he only dates girls for 2 weeks tops. I was glad we had this talk, because when I mentioned it to the hubs he told me this relationship was the real thing. I think we said our first “I love yous” that week.
The hubs and I dated for a year before we were married in the summer of 1999. We were the first children in both our families to tie the knot. Both of my parents walked me down the aisle and my mom read a poem that my dad had written (he was too emotional to read it out loud). We spent our Honeymoon in Jackson Hole and then made our home in an apartment by Weber State University.
A year after we were married, we became pregnant with our first little offspring. This is the hubs and I at the Institute Valentine’s Day dance in 2001. I was sticking out my stomach so I would look pregnant and not just fat.
The hubs and I became parents to our first (and only to this point) daughter in May 2001. This picture is obviously from Halloween where we dressed our little pumpkin up like a little pumpkin.
Next came our second child and first son in January 2004. He was born four weeks early and was hospitalized with RSV when he was 6 weeks old. We didn’t have family pictures taken until he was almost a year old, I was so afraid of exposing him to germs.
We took our little family of four to the Bountiful temple in June 2005 and were sealed for time and all eternity. Our daughter acted like an angel that day. Our son acted like a cranky toddler in desperate need of a nap. The hubs and I count this as one of the happiest days of our life together.
The hubs and I in front of the Ogden temple, May 2005, when I took out my endowments. Since they are currently tearing down and remodeling the Ogden temple, I’m so glad I have this picture. I love that we are hand in hand because we’ve been that way ever since we met.