Category Archives: #gratitude

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.

Mrs. Rambeau 15 Mean Girls 0

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Have you ever used a brain-storm connections chart? Circles and lines, boxes and dots, large arrows and small, here a color, there a color to describe conditions or choices. In the end the lines of greatest impact are visibly represented, areas of import highlighted.  That is what swirled within my mind as I reviewed today’s gratitude thought: for whom in my life am I grateful? 

Of course my parents and progenitors were significantly highlighted. Friends forever, friends for a while, acquaintances for now and those who left impressions for good or bad in our passing. The lessons I’ve learned from them have often changed the direction of my life, brought joy or pain, brought illumination of heart and soul, or sometimes a cloud of darkness and fear.

Today’s brainstorming chart filtered down to Mrs. Rambeau, my first grade teacher. She not only taught me to read and write, but she taught me a greater lesson about love, about my responsibility for caring for one another, and for my actions.

Timpanogos Elementary School. My first grade classroom was first door from the left. (The school was torn down in 2007 & replaced.)

She taught that lesson on a rug in the corner of our classroom.  Some of us were bullying a girl. We had made fun of her and made her cry. We hurt her heart so badly she didn’t want to come back into the classroom. I don’t recall what or why this group of girls coalesced against her, but we did.  Not willing to let a teaching moment pass, Mrs. Rambeau sent the boys back outside and called us “onto the carpet”.

I remember sitting in a semi-circle facing her. I remember her eyes were sad, but her voice was firm and I remember this as the first time I felt shame for my choice and behavior. She didn’t yell, she didn’t demean, she spoke softly of kindness, of caring, of seeing ourselves in this young girl’s place. She taught me empathy in those few minutes. She also taught me that saying I’m sorry is only the first step in repairing the damage caused by my actions. I have to show that I have changed by doing something to reach out and be a positive change in their life or circumstance.

Today I am grateful that I had Mrs. Rambeau in my life. She was a gift. I sincerely try to be kind, more caring, more willing to walk in someone else’s shoes than I am a ‘mean girl’; some days I am more successful than others. To that end my friends, if you’ve felt any pain or fear from my actions or words, I sincerely apologize and ask your forgiveness. I’m sorry, is there some way I might make it up to you?

Michelangelo’s David – Pure Joy

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I was not prepared for the overpowering, breath-taking beauty of Michelangelo’s David as we entered the Galleria dell’ Accademia in Florence Italy.

The magnificence and perfection of the young David in the strength of his faith and youth brought me to tears. Not just wet eyes, but tears running freely down my face bursting forth from the overwhelming joy I felt witnessing such beauty.

How grateful I am to have stood in awe and wonder of Michelangelo who brought forth perfection from marble that joy continues to live in my heart and fills my soul. Michelangelo’s David is the piece of art for which I am most grateful. 

 

Change & Scary Hard Things

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Today my thankfulness focused on this knowledge, that nothing remains the same; we are living today as well as dying. Our ego buries that last fact far away from our consciousness but it’s truth. Having that knowledge has encouraged me to live my life and not wait for my life to happen.  The knowledge that I am in control of each thought and action, each act and reaction to the data and information I daily encounter has helped me choose to live in this moment, I try to live ‘in the now’, I try to live in change, live through change, grow from change, and sometimes I actually look forward to the next change.

The knowledge that today I have a day to live … that I am able to choose, that I can do something important or something smaller, I can grow from whatever happens in this day. I am grateful for that knowledge that I can change and I need not dread tomorrow or things which I have no control over.

Such knowledge has increased my faith in the future: “for faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21).

I have knowledge that I can rely upon those things that I don’t know, but I do know it is true that through faith in Jesus Christ I can do anything ( like all those hard things and scary things I might never have tried. Those things which changed me the most and for the better). That’s the greatest knowledge I have and for which I am overwhelmingly grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall: sweetness of summer & gateway to winter

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Fall Hike with Mala

For what season am I most grateful? Fall. Fall … all of it and in Fall I include late summer and later Indian summer and no snow early winter. I think that covers the stretch.

Fall … Fall Harvest. The mid-morning sun that beckons me out for the final garden day.  It’s that day, that day to pull on my favorite garden gloves and pick and dig up the final products of summer.  Then I grab those plants by their tenacious roots; tug and twist until the root ball pops out into the air hanging tightly to the soil. I shake the dirt briskly off into the garden and then toss the now limp and wilted plants in the compost pile (or trash).

Fall … Fall Hikes … with air just cool enough for a jacket, not cold enough for boots. Leaves and twigs littering the ground and branches newly bared standing majestic in their bones. Fall sun … rosier, softer and more intimate having shed its blazing summer intensity.

Fall Bike Ride … Visions

Fall … Fall Smells … soup on the stove, fruit bubbling into jam, spices added to pies and cookies, dusty leaves crackling to broken bits as they’re kicked up the sidewalk a step at a time.

Fall … Fall Sounds … laughs that float a bit more clearly across the street, wind skittering leaves across the lawn, zippers before the door opens, geese exploding in clouds from disturbed fields chased by smiling bird dogs.

I sometimes feel like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, when I stop and think of my favorite things and the list goes on and on. Fall is my favorite time because it still holds the sweetness of summer and is the quiet gateway to winter; trees, and bushes, and plants and sometimes the sky bursting into blazing color and smells like the explosion of fireworks on the 4th of July. It is the downshift from summer that is why Fall is the season I love the best. 

Say Fromaggio!

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Again today’s question for what sight am I grateful is almost a no-brainer for me … a smile on the face of my Sweetie when either he walks in the door toward me or when I walk into the room; especially when we’ve spent a few days apart. Or the smiles on the faces of my family when I walk through their doors after months apart.  The sight of opening arms for that long embrace when some times I can’t really see ’cause my eyes are filled with water.

If you’ve not figured it yet, family and friends are my greatest blessings and I am anticipating “that smile” when Sweetie pulls into the drive Friday night after a week of elk hunting 600 miles away. And anticipating Thanksgiving day when blooming smiles surround our tables with plates piled with, of course, family favorites.

An aside … I’m grateful to sit here and think about the smiles on the faces of those I love. It has put a smile on my face …

Daughter 2 & Daughter 1 Together after a almost a decade

That’s right! That’s the gaggle 🙂 or part of it at least

Grandson weekend … still smiling from that trip

Making this mama’s heart sing … my kids, minus 1.

 

Grateful for “The Ability to Love”

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My very loved and well used trekkers … walk, walk, walk

Today’s gratitude question For what abilities am I grateful? I had actually been thinking something like this the other day while Sweetie and I were walking. Sweetie had a Major accident about 2 months ago and tore his quad off of his knee … after surgery and 6 weeks in a brace he is able to walk with me again. How grateful for being ambulatory I am; heel to toe, right foot, left foot moving forward however slowly or limpingly.

Finger exercise … lesson in patience

I am grateful to know how to use a keyboard, I was going to say ‘type’ which is what I learned to do in 8th grade on a heavy Underwood typewriter. Pounding keys with an eraser at hand for my many ‘typos’. It was only in high school that correction tape was allowed (or maybe invented ? ). So the ability to use a keyboard to capture my thoughts, with almost instant error correction, is an ability for which I am grateful.

But, for this ability I am deeply, truly, profoundly grateful … the ability to love. To feel love. To give love. To accept love. To share love. To recognize love in all of its aspects. Those thoughts to reach out to the stranger, neighbor, or friend, the thought of wonder for a beautiful sunset, a hug when it is the least expected, or a personal message when reading the scriptures that fills my heart and lets me realize that God knows exactly what I need, and when I need it; the perfect love from our perfect Father in Heaven.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Warning!! Seriously Addicting Chewy Ginger Cardamom Black Pepper Cookies!!

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Today’s question’s answer For what texture am I grateful is the slightly crispy on the outside, a bit more chewy on the inside, crunch added with a bit of raw sugar and a perfectly crackled top Chewy Ginger Cardamom Black Pepper cookies. Which I am eating when I read the question and the answer was right there, in my mouth!  These delectable cookies are perfectly textured for an adult treat unless your younglings are fond of spicy pepper.

Ginger cookies evoke memories of my grandmother’s kitchen, and her cookie jar filled with ginger snaps. She’d get after me for sneaking yet another cookie and slipping back to the basement to savor my ill gotten sweets.  I love the sweet and spicy taste of ginger, so when my step-son Peter brought these cookies to Thanksgiving or Christmas (I forget) I was hooked.  So will you be once you’ve whipped up a batch and this will become your go-to recipe again and again and again.

Warning!!

Chewy Ginger Cardamom Black Pepper Cookies
Serious Eats

Seriously Addicting

The recipe is from Serious Eats, but I double the cardamom and black pepper, and leave out the candied ginger.  I didn’t have any one time and found that I couldn’t really tell the difference that it wasn’t there.

2 cups flour

1 T ground ginger

2 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t unsweetened cocoa

1/2 t ground cardamom

1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

1 c granulated sugar

2/3 c vegetable oil

1 egg

1/4 c molasses

1/2 t grated fresh ginger

1/2 c chopped candied ginger

1/4 c coarse sugar (for rolling) Optional

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cocoa, cardamom, and pepper.

Ina  large bowl, beat together sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in egg, grated fresh ginger, and molasses until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture until well combined, then add in candied ginger.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in coarse sugar if desired and place on baking sheet. Bake 6-7 minutes (I cook them 8-9 minutes)

Let cookies cool for 3-5 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove to a wire rack until cool.

Gratitude: Family and Far Enough

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“Far Enough”

For what place am I most grateful? At one time I would have said “Far Enough” … the cabin in Lemon Springs Canyon on the rim of Zion’s National Park. My dad and mom sacrificed to be my bank so I could buy “Far Enough”, I needed an escape from the insane world my life had become. It was my refuge. A place of silence and healing sorely needed by my wounded heart and soul. After the healing came I loved that once in a year I could entice some of my kids and grandkids to take that journey south.  BTW “Far Enough” was named by my mother, “It’s far enough you don’t want to drive a mile farther and far enough people don’t just drop in”.  LOL

Now the place for which I am most grateful is anywhere my Sweetie & our families are … our home or theirs, inside or out, laughing or crying.

Abundance of Love & Laughter & Sadness & Anticipation … Family is The Place for which I am Most Grateful.