thankful thursdays 1/17/19

Jan 17, 2019 by

This is the last week of our lovely winter break from iFamily and all its attendant responsibilities. I thoroughly enjoy our time with our homeschool group, but I also thoroughly enjoy the weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of January that we do not meet together and have more time to explore and create and let’s be honest, sleep. So, I’ve been savoring it. Reading books I don’t normally have time to read, letting Annes and Fish watch documentaries they have been wanting to watchm but haven’t had time for, and playing lots and lots of games. It has been delightful. It is time to really start getting ready for next week, but right now, I’m still in savoring mode.

  • We have finally found a dentist that will work with us on payments for Richard’s horribly rotten, broken tooth. He is getting it extracted and bone grafts put in on Tuesday. Then we will have to work hard to come up with the money for an implant over the next few months. I’m so hoping the smell of death that has been pouring out of him for two months will be gone and I will be able to sit near him…and kiss him again. And of course, I hope he feels better as well. That is the top priority.
  • I’m thankful for children who love to play games together. As I lie in bed and snuggle with a good book, they are laughing as they play another game together. It is more than music for my ears, it is balm for my soul. Sometimes I join them, sometimes I just listen to them play.
  • I’m so grateful for this talk, Teach Them to Understand by David A. Bednar. I have read and reread it this week in preparation for a discussion I am leading on it tonight and oh, my goodness, I love his message!
  • Keziah’s blinkers on our 20+ year old Subaru haven’t been working for weeks and despite Richard’s best efforts, he has been unable to figure out why. She has almost been hit multiple times because she is unable to signal. Combine that with icy roads and I have been pretty scared for her. All of a sudden they have started working again. We have no idea how or why, but we are sure grateful.
  • We are reading a hilarious book for family read-aloud and it is absolutely wonderful for me to hear my family laughing together. My children are growing up and I never know when a book will be our last read-aloud so I am savoring each one. If you want to a super fun read-aloud, check out Wilderking Trilogy. Book 1, Book 2, Book 3.
  • I have been asked to speak at The Winter Homeschool Conference. I was supposed to speak back in 2015, but I was having so many seizures, couldn’t digest food, and could not stand up for more than a few minutes at a time, so I can cancelled. This year, I am finally able to participate again! WOOT! I’ll be part of a panel discussion on formation of a homeschool group. I am pretty passionate about iFamily’s structure and am excited to share what we have done so that more people can benefit from it.
  • I’ve also been asked to speak at our local homeschool conference in February. My mind has been swirling with ideas of what to share for a few months and I’m finally solid on what the message is that God wants me to share. It is going to be fantabulous!

Life is good. It is full and beautiful and hard and transformative and I’m so, so grateful to be living this life of mine.

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thankful thursdays 1/10/19

Jan 10, 2019 by

As I look out the windows at the snow-laden trees, my heart is somehow calmed. It’s kind of the feeling of being under a thick, warm quilt of my grandma’s, cozy and heavy and safe. This morning someone got stuck in our driveway and I was able to pull them out with our Suburban. My heart welled up with gratitude that one, I was able to pull on some snow boots and walk outside and help someone and two, that I had a big, tough Suburban that could do the job. We haven’t always had reliable vehicles, in fact, many times we do not, but right now, on this very snowy morning, my 15 year old Suburban was able to help someone and that my friends is a cause for celebration.

I have been weighed down by a wide variety of stresses lately and at the same time have been filled with so many tender mercies. It is a strange place to be living in both worlds. Today I’m going to focus on the blessings.

  • Our Blythe is 36 weeks pregnant and after some worrisome test results last week, she is doing much, much better today. I can’t even tell you how concerned I have been for my girl and our little grandbaby. It has been a rough week and today I am savoring good test results and soaking in the peace.
  • I started driving this week after months of not. I have only driven twice, but just knowing I can is SO freeing. I often feel like a prisoner in my house when I am dependent on other people to take me where I want to go.
  • I have been having a hard time breathing lately. It seems my vagus nerve is struggling to communicate well with my digestive system and my respiratory system and the result is gagging, choking, aspirating episodes that scare all of us a bit. I have to be very careful to swallow in just the right way and to not laugh at all while I am eating. Last night I had quite a few of these episodes and while I’m not grateful for them, I’m grateful Richard was able to leap out of bed multiple times to help me and that I was able to eventually fall asleep with enough oxyge running through me.
  • Miss Annesley was able to attend the temple for the first time last Friday. My whole soul filled up with joy to see her bright, smiling face as she was baptized for our ancestors. All of my children were in the temple at that same time that night, Blythe and Travis in one temple and the rest of us in another. So much peace.
  • Today Annes and I started reading Anne of Avonlea together. I love reading to my girl and am so grateful she loves it too. Snuggling up under her quilt and reading will always be one of my favorite mothering memories.
  • This is a hard, tender week for me. Six years ago, on January 8th, 2013, I had my first seizure. I’m so, so grateful for the people who helped me that first day and through all the seizures since. While they are much less frequent now that I have been blessed with human mesenchymal cells, they still happen and I still need help. Knowing I have dear friends who have walked this path with me and who continue to stand by my side and carry me literally and figuratively is a blessing without measure. Thank you, each of you, who have carried me.
  • Richard got an eensy, weensy raise this week. It’s his first one in many years. I’m so grateful for the possible extra hundred bucks a month.
  • Keziah started at BYUI this week. I’m proud of her for having the courage to step into an unknown world and try new things. I’m so grateful she has been blessed with amazing jobs and has the funds she needs for her education and other dreams.

We are throwing a onesie painting party for Blythe this weekend and have a houseful of guests coming tomorrow and Saturday, so it is time to clean and get everything ready. So grateful I can do this for my girl.

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thankful thursdays 11/15/18

Nov 15, 2018 by

Today I’m thankful for love. My heart is hurting for lots of reasons right now. My little six-year-old nephew is in an immense amount of pain and is most likely dying. His family is exhausted from caring for him and trying to find answers and all of us are heartbroken they have to walk this road. Many of my dear friends are facing big challenges in their lives and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to help. My son is struggling with figuring out who he is, what his strengths are, how to conquer his weaknesses, and how to become a good man. My siblings are hurting with the recent divorce of their parents. It is all heavy and hard and I’m about cried out. At least I think I must be. And then more tears come.

But in all of this, there is love. One of my favorite books is When We Don’t See Eye to Eye by J. David Pulsipher. He says,

Most of us share a common handicap – our greatest resources, weapons of love, remain either sheathed or only timidly employed. This is unfortunate because the weapons of love aren’t wimpy. They don’t involve surrender to aggression or disengagement from conflict. Love resists. Love engages. But it resists and engages according to a different dynamic because love is the greatest force i the universe. Really. It’s stronger than hate or greed or fear or malice. Most of us have glimpsed its emotional and spiritual potential, but at its most vibrant and divine, love is also material and forceful. It is a physical force – perhaps even a primary force that organizes and binds the cosmos – and a growing body of scientific research is cataloging its characteristics and effects. Similar to light and sound, love reverberates in tangible, measurable ways. it has physical effects on our bodies and our relationships, and its influence can be traced through our homes, our communities, and our world.

I’m so grateful for love. The love that has been shown me on a has made all the difference in my life and has carried me through gut-wrenching challenges. I’m trying to unsheath my weapons of love in the lives of those around me so I can help carry them right now when they are hurting so deeply.

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thankful thursdays 11/8/18

Nov 8, 2018 by

I taught a lesson this week at my GRIT class on being grateful. I read my students The Quiltmaker’s Gift and then we played Gratitude Pictionary. I hope the power of gratitude really got into their souls. It has made all the difference in my life. In my bullet journal, I tak time almost every night to jot down the tender mercies of the Lord, the things I am grateful for that day. It changes my heart that day by helping me remember the goodness and over the course of the year, I am able to flip through it and quickly see piles of blessings in my life. Gratitude is one of the most important things for my sanity.

  • DRUM ROLL! Today we got a new couch! I’ve been saving up pennies for a looooonnnnnggggg time to get new furniture and today was the day. It is so exiting! We now have more seating for our expanding family and I can seat 14 people comfortably at my monthly book discussion groups. WAHOOOOOO!!! I’m incredibly grateful for the blessing of this couch and I’m already savoring the many memories we are going to make as we snuggle up together and read delightful stories. First read-aloud on our new piece of heaven will be happening tonight!
  • I like to help my children start their own businesses and Annesley has decided she’d like to try her hand at a sourdough bread baking business. Today was her first day making bread. We had a lot of mishaps. Dough flying out of the mixer, running out of accessible wheat when we needed a bit more flour to get the dough to the not-sticky stage, having an oven full of burnt stuff that made our house stink when we turned it on to preheat. There was a bit of frustration and a few tears, but she stuck with it. I’m so grateful to be able to teach my daughter how to make bread. Sharing these moments with her in the kitchen is magical…and messy…and oh, so worth it.
  • Strong kiddos. My kiddos have some serious muscles. I’m grateful they have them since they are incredibly important with our Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Aside from that, they can lift and move all the heavy things in our house. They are lifesavers!
  • I’m currently reading The Book of Mormon in about 85 days and marking all the verses that talk about Christ. It is not easy for me to develop an every day routine, but I am trying hard to make this a priority in my mornings and I am really loving my time alone in the scriptures. The peace and calm it gives my day is a beautiful thing.
  • My husband warms up my middle section of the bed every night. He lies in my spot and gets it all toasty for me and then when I come into bed he moves over onto his side and the sheets which are freezing cold. So, so thoughtful and something I take for granted all too often.
  • My boy is sometimes grumpy. But sometimes he is super sweet. Last week he earned a candy bar in one of his classes and he saved it all day long to give to me because he knew I would love it. It may have been a small thing, but it gave me enormous piles of hope for our relationship.

I know I won’t, but I always want to remember this moment. My girl is in the kitchen in her fleece zebra sweats and Irish Dance leotard taking her bread out of the oven for the first time. Priceless.

p.s. It’s delicious.

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thankful thursdays 10/25

Oct 25, 2018 by

Today I’m breathing in the sunshine and the richness of my life. I’m trying to let it permeate every cell of my body. This afternoon we went to the lake to play with friends and it was so, so lovely to get out and breathe in the crisp fall air. I haven’t been outside nearly as much as I would like to be this fall and my soul is suffering for it. After a summer spent on the water and on my bike, I’m feeling all sorts of cooped up and need to make sure I get outside at least once a day. Truth be told there are many days I don’t leave my family room at all and that is not working for me.

So today Annes and I went and played for a few hours and drank in the goodness. And my heart is filled up with gratitude.

  • I’m thankful for parsley-pineapple smoothies. It’s like sunshine and happiness in a glass. I love it.
  • Good friends who travel this journey of motherhood and homeschooling with me.
  • Right now not a single joint in my body is braced or taped and that is an amazing feeling. I’m trying to get in a good exercise routine to build muscles during this time of no-massive-injuries.
  • Prayer. Opening my heart and mind to God is sooooo good for me. And not super easy for my mind that jumps all over the place. This week I had a small impression to pray for something specific for our dear Dallin who is serving a mission for our church and later found out it was something he was struggling with – experiences like this remind me that Heavenly Father is walking with each of His children.
  • Laughter. Tonight I could not stop laughing during our family prayer. And then we were all laughing and full of love for each other. And then I peed all over the kitchen floor and we laughed some more. Oh, it so good for my soul to laugh with my family.
  • Today I’m focused on gratitude for my mama. Some dear friends lost their mama this past week and she is the same age as my mom. As I have prayed for them, I have felt their heartache and pain and grief. I’m grateful for who my mom is and the relationship we have. We talk multiple times every day. We laugh and cry together. We help each other. We forgive each other. We love. It’s a beautiful thing.
  • Today I was doing family history work and I found my 3rd and 4th Great-Grandmothers! I have been looking for my 2nd Great-Grandma’s parents and family for the past 6 1/2 years and today I found them! I cannot even tell you how excited I am and how grateful I am that God asked me to do this work for my family.
  • When I was a teen and didn’t have a date on Friday nights, a group of us girls would get together and watch Man From Snowy River and Return to Snowy River. Annesley found one of the DVDs at grandma’s last week and brought it home and has been begging to watch it so the last few days we have been working our way through the two movies. We finished tonight. Ahhhh, sooooo good to share Jim Craig and his rock-solid character with my girl.
  • Taking time to soak in the goodness of my life is just what I needed today. Life is good. Really good.

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thankful thursdays 9/13

Sep 13, 2018 by

I have been saying for 3+ years, “I really want to start regularly blogging again.” But I haven’t done it. I haven’t figured out how to add this practice back in to my life after letting it go and filling that space with other things.

And that makes me sad. There have been countless experiences, insights, and adventures I wish I had blogged about. There are things I have needed to process through writing. There are lives I have needed to touch with my words.

Speaking of lives being touched, check out The Hundred Hearts Project. I will do a whole post on it soon (promise, promise, promise), but for now I will say that the experiences I have had in the past few weeks with Jenny Loughmiller and her amazing project are why I am super determined to start sharing in this space again.

Eons ago, I regularly wrote a Thankful Thursdays post. In an effort to start blogging again, I thought I would start back with something I know. So here goes, the first of many to come!

  • I’m thankful for working hands. For two long years, I could not use my hands very well at all. I couldn’t write or type or mouse. I have been out of my splints for about a year now and they are regaining their functions. I still can’t type for a super long time and I have to hold my pen a bit skeewampus, but I can write without pain!
  • My children’s growth is making my heart burst with joy right now. They are learning and progressing and making decisions to do hard things. Ahhhh, the harvest is sweet.
  • I have kayaked all summer long and my soul has been fed by the water, the paddling, and the connections with friends. Oh my goodness, I love kayaking. I’ve done the Snake six times this year and each time it has worked its magic and given me nourishment. We’ve also done the Teton, Wade Lake, Buffalo, Green River Lakes, and Henry’s Fork. A day on the water helps me see more clearly and gives me strength to go forth.
  • After 13 years of being unable to sit on an upright bike, my hip has healed enough that with the right bike geometry and a comfort seat, I can do it! I bought a bike in February to celebrate the six year journey with injuries and seizures and have been riding it ever since. HALLELUJAH! Some day, somehow, I’m determined to get back on my beloved recumbent again, but for now, I am soooooo loving riding my Felt Verza Cruz with my family.
  • I’m so grateful for time in my Levitat. My life is full to the brim with wonderfulness and a good afternoon relaxation session in my hammock is the perfect gift to help me stay centered. I look up through my trees to the blue sky beyond and drink in nature for a few minutes. And sometimes I take a nap. That is always good too!
  • Stem cells!!!! They are amazing and are healing my body in countless ways. Such a gift! I travel to Mexico next week for my next round of cells and am so excited to see the progress they give me.
  • Life, oh, how grateful I am to be alive and living and experiencing and learning and loving and making mistakes and crying and facing challenges and soaking in goodness. What a blessing it is to be alive and be able to connect with other souls! What a blessing to love and be loved. What a blessing to suffer and triumph and laugh and learn. I’m so very grateful for this opportunity to be here, right now, and be able to LIVE.

It’s time to focus on learning time with my kiddos, so I’ll stop for now. But I’m coming back. I’m showing up here at Wet Oatmeal Kisses. I’m ready to make this a priority in my life again. Thank you for joining me.

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thankful thursdays 11/9

Nov 9, 2017 by

Boy howdy. This back injury has me reeling. It hurts a whole, whole bunch. I am clinging to faith and hope and love, but often slide into despair and anger. Because it’s hard to hurt this much and have no idea when it will end.

  • Tens units are the best. So grateful I have one.
  • My Rezzimax Tuner is also the best. I alternate between my tens unit and my tuner and if one of them is on me, I can function. As soon as they are taken off of me, I writhe in pain again.
  • I’m so grateful for amazing children who are taking care of me during the day.
  • Blue skies make all the difference for me. If I can see the sky outside my window, my soul feels a million times more hopeful.
  • I’m so grateful for dear friends who drive me to events so I can still participate, make a place for me to lie down, and don’t bat an eye at all the special care my body needs.
  • My children are blossoming. After years of struggling with reading, my little ones are reading and reading well. I’m so proud of the hard work they have put in and the time they have had to develop in their own ways. Miss Annesley is reading Little House in the Big Woods to me and we are having so much fun with it. Hearing her happy voice read about Laura’s adventures makes these long days in bed much more bearable.
  • Two more weeks until I go to Mexico for more stem cell treatments. I am SO, SO hoping for a miracle for my back.

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thankful thursdays 11/1

Nov 3, 2017 by

It is food for my soul to take some time and ponder the blessings of my life.

  • I am grateful for the past many weeks of consciousness. I haven’t passed out fully since I got home from Mexico on September 1. I did have one small episode on September 15 at gym and one almost episode on a trip to Utah on the 16, but I didn’t actually pass out either time and haven’t had anything close to an episode ever since. It is AMAZING!
  • My bed is glorious. I spend far more time in it than one would think is wise, but oh, my it is just so comfy. The past few weeks my back has been hurting something fierce and lying in a comfortable bed has been such a gift to my recovery.
  • I’m so grateful for the human beings my children have become. They are now 21, 17, 13, and 9 (almost 10!) and while we all have character development we could improve upon, I am genuinely pleased with who they are and how they are living their lives. They are kind, caring, honest humans.
  • Warm baths are near the top of my list right now. My back has been spasming for the past few weeks and I’m so grateful to have a comfortable tub I can soak in comfortably.
  • The beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows of the season bring a smile to my soul. As my beloved Anne says, “I’m so greatful to live in a world with Octobers.” Now that it is November, it is mostly drab.
  • I’m grateful to be mentoring Worldviews right now. It is a TON of work for me and I wonder if I am up to the task, but I love discussing big ideas with my students and immersing myself in the mountain of books we are reading.
  • My amazing husband has a new job this year and he is loving it! He feels like he is actually making a difference. I’m so, so grateful he has this opportunity and that his work is being valued.
  • I am especially grateful for the Giver of All Good Gifts. He is ever reminding me of who He is and who I am.
  • This is the beginning of November, the month of Thanksgiving. I hope to open my heart more fully to gratitude and to His bounteous gifts this month…and always.

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thankful thursdays 7/20

Jul 21, 2017 by

Sunshine and blue skies and beautiful trees are oh, so good for my soul. I need more of them in my life. I have spent much of the past few weeks cleaning and decluttering my home while recovering from a brain MRI (the gadolinium contrast made me sick for several days) and it has felt pretty soul-sucking. But yesterday, I went kayaking and remembered just how much I love being on the water. It is medicine for my soul in a way I cannot describe.

  • Today I am really grateful for my Keziah. This girl has worked and worked and worked the past few weeks and has been the muscle behind all the projects going on in our home. She has cleaned the storage room and sewing room and been a decluttering maestro. She has little attachment to things so she was able to help me sort out what really needed to go. This girl is a cleaning wonder.
  • Insurance is on my list today. I am philosophically opposed to the whole Obamacare program and it is terribly disturbing what it is doing to our country as a whole. However, I am one of the few it has been a blessing for and while I still disagree with the program, I feel a need to say thank you. In the past month I have had genetic, brain, spine, heart, and blood tests totally over $10,000. My insurance has paid for all of it except a couple hundred dollars. Such a blessing!
  • My dear husband. I’ve been a bit of a bear to live with lately. Maybe I am always a bear, I don’t know really. In spite of my prickliness, my gem of a man has been kind and forgiving and helped me work through super big emotions. I love this man. So much.
  • My body is doing FABULOUSLY well at the moment. I am making heaps of progress physically and this week I made it into the gym at PT! I believe it is the first time since Fall 2014! I have been riding my Elliptigo on short, little rides and now Jeremy has given me a list of exercises to do at home each day. This is HUGE. Since 2012, I have made it to this point four or five times and then gotten injured within two to three weeks. This time I am hoping beyond hope to stay on the healing side of things and be able to actually grow some muscles.
  • I’m thankful for new bookshelves. Keziah bought them since I have no pennies to spend at the moment. Kat helped me assemble them. And I have been slowly filling them all week. They fit perfectly and hold far more books than our last set-up. I have big plans for Richard to eventually build cupboards below them and add crown molding so they look like built-ins, but I have no idea when that will happen.
  • Last summer Kat planted me some daisies right outside my bedroom window. I love them. They are blooming and those little flowers bring me joy every time I see them.
  • I’ve become a little obsessed with Caesar salad with feta cheese and craisins. While the feta and craisins might not actually be good for me, I have convinced myself that eating a giant bowl of romaine slathered in Caesar dressing and the delicious aforementioned extras is super nourishing to my cells.
  • I’m so grateful for friends who have listened while I have fallen apart over the possibility of something being wrong in my brain. At times it feels really, really big and they have let me cry and rant and rave and have given me big hugs, wise words, and heaps of laughter which makes it a bit more manageable. Thank you, dear ones.

I have received quite a bit of crazy medical news over the past few weeks and I am researching, trying to process it, and sorting out what I want to do with the information. More tests? Submit to various treatment plans? More appointments with more doctors? It is a bit overwhelming. At times I burst into tears. Other times I try to distance myself from it and force myself to think of other things. Some of the most helpful things I am doing are taking the time to think of what I am grateful for, remembering God’s hand in my life, and doing the new exercises Jeremy has assigned. Those are things I have control over and are actually growing muscles and building mental toughness.

Today I started another grow-my-sanity practice. I have a daily devotional book based on the writings of C.S. Lewis that I am going to be reading one day at a time and then writing my thoughts. I think this is going to be both centering and heaven focusing. Creating a new morning routine is pretty challenging to me, but maybe, just maybe, my good friend, Jack (C.S. Lewis) will be a strong enough pull to help me get out of bed and spend some time communing.

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