Category Archives: #gratitude

Only 21 Days and Counting!!

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There are only 21 days until Christmas! Santa’s coming! I have Christmas Lists to write! And send those Christmas Cards. I have to hang the Christmas Stockings! I loved those decorations I pinned at midnight last night. I have to start the Cooking, Baking and Candy making. We are going to go cut our Perfect Tree, and I’ll bring hot chocolate, and cookies, and we will all smile and be happy and it will be a perfect memory. I want to find the Perfect wrapping paper to match my perfectly themed tree. Why are the lights and decoration not up on the

Rejoice! The Lord is King!  He is our Salvation!

house yet? Did I Find the perfect presents? What if they think it is stupid. I should have some spare gifts ready.

 

Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 

For the past several years I have shared daily advent scriptures on my Facebook status; I opened the Old Testament and offered Isaiah’s powerful visions and prophecies of the coming of the Messiah, and stood with Zacharias in the temple, we knelt in awe at Mary’s humble acquiescence to the angel’s announcement she was to be the mother to Messiah, the Son of God. I felt Joseph’s fear when there was no room at an inn. And on the day I wrote of the shepherds, I rejoiced again with the Heavenly hosts, for the day of our salvation had come.

 

Each morning I sat for a few minutes writing, and for a month I followed the foretelling and unfolding of God the Father’s Plan for our Salvation. I hoped this would be a benefit to someone. I don’t recall too many comments or Likes, but I know I benefited from those few minutes of relecting on the miracle that is our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Turn up the Light around us, to hold up the light of Christ to our brothers and sisters. Like the Prophet Nephi we can “talk of Christ, we can rejoice in Christ, we can preach of Christ, we can share the  prophesy of Christ, … that our children (and I add our brothers and sisters) may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins”.

Because with the birth of our Lord and Savior, the Plan of our Salvation became reality.

In the middle of the world’s version of Christmas we’ve been asked to Light the World and keep Christ in our Christmas. There may be big things we could do, but we don’t have to do big things. Maybe simplify  things that add stress to our holiday and hides the joy of the season.

Isn’t “it through small and simple things that great things are brought to pass”?  This month’s edition of the Ensign* has many resources to jog our thoughts, and offers suggestions to help keep Christ in Christmas; there are a month’s worth of daily devotionals, and a calendar of ideas to share the spirit, share the season, and share our abundance. My sister sent me a text this morning with a meme and short note of her appreciation. It was a light. She made me smile.

But we don’t have to do exactly the same things everyone else does. When we rely upon the Holy Spirit to direct us in our days he will show us who we should serve, or cheer up, or calm down, and whom he would have us share His love. As Aaron said to the Lamanite King when he asked why Ammon  had not come to teach him, Aaron told him, “the spirit called him a different way”… (Alma 22:4)

Keeping Christ in Christmas isn’t a must do, a one more thing to add to our list, sticking him in here and popping him over there. Keeping Christ in Christmas is doing those things that keep the spirit near; we can pray for peace and guidance, we can read and study the scriptures to hear God’s voice in answer, and always we must include Him in our plans.

Christmas preparations and expectations can be overwhelming and it is easy to forget the real meaning of Christmas. When I start to spin off the track and my lists are too long, and my schedule too crowed and when I become discouraged and start to lose heart and think I can’t do it all.

I remind myself that God knows me, He knows my heart and my desires and knows the world we live in. He has given us direction, comfort and encouragement … I do not need to run faster or labor more than I have strength and means”.

Take minute … do you remember how you felt when I listed those Christmas activities? Did you notice a difference in your heart when I said Jesus was born?

I think that is what Keeping Christ in Christmas is … he immediately quiets our minds, he turns our hearts and gives us peace. We in turn can share that peace and His love through the Holy Ghost as we offer to lighten another’s load, engage in our community’s activities, give secret gifts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the chope that is in you.

When we reach out to others and hold up our testimonies of Jesus Christ and his restored gospel even when we think no one hears, or cares what we are doing. Someone is watching and listening.

As much as we desire to keep Christ in our Christmas, the business of the season will overtake us and when we forget and get wrapped up in the world, we can stop and refocus, and remember Ether’s admonition: “…I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever”.

*The Ensign magazine is a monthly publication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is available online at churchofjesuschrist.org/magazines or the gospel app.

 

 

 

 

 

First Novel … It’s Published! Cool huh?

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Hello? Anyone out there?

I don’t know if anyone is still checking in to read wanderingkeri  … but I’m going to tell you my personally excellent news!

On November 8th my first novel 20th Century Utah Pioneers, Homesteading “The Basin”, Uintah Valley Indian Reservation 1906 – 1922 was published! I did several happy dances, cried a bit, and can hardly believe I am looking at the results of where those  Chills, a Nudge, and Footsteps that I shared in July of 2017 have led me.

As I started retracing their footsteps, researching their places in time, the nudge became persistent pushes to capture the lives of Hyrum Chase Nicol and Isabella Crawford Murdoch. My writing urges were redirected to write and share with you their determination, faith, perils, and joy. Here it is … cool, huh?

I want to share my greatest thanks for my family and friends who listened and read ad nauseum to excerpts and research and offered me encouragement when I wanted to just ‘go on vacation’. To Jill, Lisa Anne, and Bailey who edited the final copy during their very busy lives I am sooo indebted! To my Sweetie, who endured my marathon research sessions, and road trips and never complained when my face was stuck in my computer. And to my daughter Angie De, for her unfailing support and cheerleading.  Love You All!

And with no further ado I present

20th Century Utah Pioneers, Homesteading “The Basin”, Uintah Valley Indian Reservation 1906 – 1922

“With the opening of the Uintah Valley Indian Reservation in Eastern Utah to white settlement, an unofficial call went out from local ecclesiastic leaders in Heber City, encouraging young men and families to move to the reservation and build homes and lives to offset the influx of gentiles who won the land lottery in the fall of 1905. 

In the spring of 1906, Hyrum and Isabella Nicol loaded two young sons, and their belongings into a wagon and ‘moved east’ in answer to that call. They brought with them faith, determination and a willingness to sacrifice their good lives for the promise of a better one yet to come. Together they battled nature, financial peril, and man-made disasters bound together by love for one another, humor, and their faith in God.”

It’s available on Amazon.com

 

Gratitude: the Answer to Every Question

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Gratitude: Counting my Blessings

Today’s the day … the final gratitude challenge question day. However, this is not the answer to just one question … Gratitude is the answer to every question. In times of stress and darkness being grateful for the smallest things turns on the light. Focusing on the light rather than the darkness lifted my spirit and gave me hope.  In times of happiness and joy gratitude multiplied my joy with contentment and peace. In my times of uncertainty giving thanks for the solid things I do know increased my faith and patience.

Taking this 30 day gratitude challenge has again opened my mind and heart and soul to the abundance in and around me. The opportunity to ponder the huge things and the small gratitudes day by day has given me such a lightness of heart and I’ve been happier, even when the crazies happen. I fear less and hope more. My eyes looked up from the paths of my feet; looked up at the light, and left the darkness behind (even if just for a short time).

My thought for the day is this: I will wrap gratitude around every thought,  in every blessing and through every trial and every pain, and I will see the abundance of blessings overflow in my heart and in my life.   I found gratitude in all times & places.  I encourage you to seek out the gratitude in your life.  And like one of my favorite hymns “Count your many blessings name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done”.

Milk Snorts

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Sweetie, Peter, Tessa, Ali & Mala

We have a large family … spread over a couple of few states … we have friends and acquaintances around the world; could I pick one to say they are whom I am grateful for today? Nope. Can’t do it.  Can’t make me pick one. They all make our world spin perfectly on its axis, make everyday special to us just knowing they are happy and are strong of spirit and heart. When things start to spin out of control for one of them or us someone steps up and adds a steadying hand, a thoughtful prayer, a laugh in the darkness.  I have to say we do find the oddest things funny, and often at the most inappropriate times (guess that’s when they’re the funniest). We’ve had a lot of milk snorts around our tables.

Well, I said I couldn’t pick just one person for which I am grateful today … but I lied.  Today it’s Tessa’s birthday! So I can say that I am grateful for her today and grateful to have her in my life.  I love her smile. Love her sense of adventure. Love her sense of style.  Happy Birthday Tessa!  Love You 🙂

Small Things … Huge Impacts

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Middle Sister, Mom, Little Sister

For what small thing that happened today am I grateful? We often say it’s the little things that count. A kindness toward another you may think of as an insignificant action, but it may mean the world to someone else. Look people in the eye and say hello … it may be the first kind word they’ve heard today. Look people in the eye and say hello … it may be the first time they’ve been ‘seen’ today or for a long time. Send that email, or text. Make a call and let someone know they are important to you.

The small thing that happened to me today for which I am grateful was the conversation I had with my sisters. I may be the oldest, but I live a state away and they carry my part of being around for our mother. The conversation was short & small, but their loving care and example of selfless service is huge. They are the best sisters EVER!

Toothbrush … Better than a Chewing Stick?

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I don’t think I’m too weird, but the small thing that I use daily for which I am most grateful and which was the first thought that came to mind truly was My Toothbrush (in conjunction with toothpaste). I can’t quite wax poetic over dental hygiene … but, don’t you agree a fresh mouth in the morning, and a fresh mouth at night is pretty fantastic.  Such a great tool, don’t you think? Much more refreshing than say, chewing on a stick you’ve pulled off of a tree branch; although that does work in a pinch.  Can’t say much more than that … well, except I am grateful for toothbrushes.

Create, Explore, Bring New into the World

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For what form of expression am I most grateful? Well, the answer to that interesting question would be Words. The written word and worlds that they create are my favorite form of expression.  I love to write … especially if I can keep the fierce critic in my head quiet. It’s always lurking, always judging, always comparing ready to offer its negativity to encourage me to stop trying.    I’ve named it Shrew and often yell at it as did Smeagol to his Gollum looking into his mirrored reflection … “Leave and Never come back”!

It does come back, but now that I’ve named it, and imagined its form as small and weak and powerless though it keeps trying to live by sucking life off of me … sort of like Voldemort’s weak succubus fed off of poor professor Quirrell … it is easier to dismiss, and make it be quiet.

Like any negative thought once exposed to the light the darkness flees.  So whatever or whoever your inner critic is,  kick it out of it power place, and let yourself go free to express your art, music, dance, design, cook, garden, or like me, write … Just let go, create, and send it out to the universe.  You know we are meant to create, to explore and to bring new into the world.

Sweet Awareness of Eternity

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For what moment this week am I most grateful is the sweet awareness of eternity  I had thinking of this question.  On Thanksgiving day, after a taste-bud popping dinner I stood snuggin’ with my youngest grand-grandson Konrad (1 month old) as his mother hovered next to me and then I looked toward my mom, the matriarch of our family. I saw in that moment a family line as long as men and women have been on the earth. Awesome!

Konrad … 1 month old

One month ago Konrad was in the spirit world anxious to arrive and begin his journey in mortality. My mother is 87, she occasionally says she’s ready to continue back through the veil to be reunited with my dad, her eternal companion, with her parents and family and friends who’ve gone ahead. And I’m on the other side of the middle watching the lines of my posterity spread before me and I envision all the generations to come and I also can feel the eyes and hearts of the generations that came before.

Kyiv Ukraine Temple Sealing Room (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

How grateful I am for the wisdom and love of our Heavenly Father and his plan for us to gain mortal bodies and experiences. Grateful for my agency that throughout my life I may choose Him, choose keep His commandments, and know Him. That through the divine atonement of his son, Jesus Christ, through His grace we may be saved and gain eternal life.

How grateful I am for the sealing power of the restored priesthood and for my knowledge that Families Can Be Together Forever. That we may be married in God’s temples for not only time, but for all eternity; with our families sealed together generations beyond generations … as part of the eternal family of God.

What an extraordinary moment.

 

Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are dedicated to the Lord. Each temple carries the inscription House of the Lord * Holiness to the Lord and most are topped with a golden Angel Moroni heralding the restoration and preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the last time in this the last dispensation before the second coming of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Challenge – The Great Wall

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Bottom of the Great Wall

Today’s thought provoking question is: For What Challenge am I Grateful? And the Million Dollar ball dropped onto … Starting a climb to the top of the Great Wall in China and making it to the top.

My traveling partner Faye, a much younger and much fitter friend (think wildland firefighter fit) and I started up the steps, casually at first along with hundred of other tourists. Every so often there would be a landing as the stairs changed direction … think a very steep road of continuous switch-backs, though without any easy grade change. It was always straight up hill.

You’re asking so what’s so difficult about climbing some stairs? These stairs aren’t standard measurements, like climbing the Eiffel Tower, but are ever changing heights and depths; 6 inches, 9 inches, 15 inches, 4 inches and depths were like 10 inches, 26 inches, 8 inches … each one smooth, slick, and worn deep from millions of feet over thousands of years.  You can’t get into a climbing rhythm with changes like that. Add into the mix the count down clock given us by our tour guide; you have 1 hour here before we leave for the tea plantation.

From the top of the Great Wall

My thought was to climb a bit then stop for a photo op and return. That was not Faye’s thought, no, not at all. I’ve not come all the way to China to climb up this wall and stop part way.  Up we continued, at first I tried to keep pace with Faye’s running feet, but she soon out paced me. She would run up to the next landing, look down toward me and urge me on. Me? I fell into a trudge, a stair at a time, huffing and puffing as I tried to keep up with her.  Every now and again, I’d say, I’ve had it, this is it, I’m not going any farther. And Faye, friend that she is, would yell back at me, you can do this and if you don’t I’ll tell everyone at work that you whimped out.  I wouldn’t let that happen, so I continued plodding up the stairs, pushing on my knees at times to keep them from shaking out from under me as I stretched for those extra tall steps.

Finally I could see the watch tower 100 steps above me and Faye’s face leaning over the path ledge urging me on, encouraging me to make that final grade, that final push.  As I gasped for air leaning against the base of the tower, Faye said, we can go inside and to the top of the tower … what? more stairs? She said, “I waited for you so we could go up together”.

Faye & Me at the Top of the Tower at the Top of the Great Wall

How grateful I am for Faye’s laughter and encouragement that helped me reach that pinnacle in the sky. If it weren’t for her shouting and calling and walking next to me I would not have made it to the top of the tower. Isn’t that how we reach success most often in our lives? We don’t really do things ‘ourselves’. We have cheerleaders, we have mentors, we have parents and friends, we have teachers and coaches guiding us, encouraging us to reach higher than we think we can. Encouraging us to see ourselves from the top of the tower and so we might feel the sweetness of success.

Like standing next to my friend looking down at the throngs of people at the base of the stairs at the bottom of the mountain, and saw them rather rapidly thin out as the climb steepened and sheer stamina alone couldn’t pull them up … like the 8 of us standing at the top of that tower, 4 pair of friends each standing in awe at what we had accomplished together.

That awe lasted just a few minutes then we ran sliding and slipping downward to meet our bus … we were the last ones on of course, but the only ones to reach the summit. (Yes, they had to wait longer than an hour, but not by much.)

Turn on Light – Give Joy

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Looks kind of like my first radio.

Okay, I admit it, I’m not an audiophile.  I haven’t ‘crushed’ on a song probably since Jr. High School, where I would listen to the radio for hours with my cassette tape recorder at the ready to capture ‘that song’.  However, there is music that is the sound track of my life, or periods of my life. Like a smell caught on a breeze that opens memories, music does that too. I will tell you that I am emphatic about this statement …. I despise “classic rock”. Mostly music from my High School years … tell me, just how many times can a person hear The Who’s Tommy, the Lovin’ Spoonfuls I Believe in Magic, or the Beatles Yellow Submarine, and others ad nauseum? It gives me the creeps.

That said I do listen to different radio & satellite stations while I’m driving and I have tried to keep up with music trends; so I can at least be semi-aware and have some common ground with my family & friends who are music lovers.   I don’t do that much anymore. I’ve found I’ve become more aware of the lyrics, even if there is a catchy melody, and for the most part I don’t hear much that gives me joy. What I hear is ugliness against others, about others. I find it degrading to people, women in particular. It degrades love and I feel a lot of it sends negativity into the world and is the antithesis of light, joy, and happiness.

You can tell that pondering today’s blog thought took me afield from for what song am I most grateful. With all of my griping about old music here is a handful of music that always makes me smile and turns light on in my heart and gives me joy.

Louie Armstrong: What a Wonderful World

Lee Ann Womack: I Hope You Dance

Handel’s Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus

W.W. Phelps: The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning

 

*All music links are via published YouTube links.