thankful thursdays 2/18

Feb 18, 2021 by

Today is a good day. A tender day. A day my mind is drawn back to nine years ago on February 17th, 2012 when I was able to run and do back handsprings and had no idea what was coming in the next few days. Today my heart is full of gratitude for all of it. I know I have some amnesia regarding the pain and the anger and the sheer hardness of it all, but my heart is full of gratitude nonetheless.

  • I’m grateful for the opportunity to experience exquisite pain and see that it’s possible to come out the other side. Many times I didn’t know if that was possible. But now I do and that knowledge will strengthen me forever.
  • I’m grateful for the love that has been showered down upon us regularly. I cannot adequately describe how much the notes and hugs and meals and money and smiles and encouragement have done to carry us through.
  • I’m grateful for stem cells – what a gift these have been in my life. They have helped my body heal from so-called unhealable injuries and given me hope of having functional life again.
  • I’m grateful for Tami, who has taken me to Mexico fifteen times. I would not have been able to go without her. Her sacrifice for me can never be repaid. Every time you see me living and doing think of her and how she took care of me trip after trip.
  • I’m grateful for Plexus. These supplements have helped my body feel like me again. Priceless!
  • I’m grateful for the utter desperation that drove me to God because I had no where else to turn. My relationship with Him is sweet and soul-filling and completely worth the hard.
  • I’m grateful for my friends and family who have been there for us each step of this journey. So many times I had nothing more to give to this fight and someone would show up with a hug or a smile or a plate of cookies or a meal or money for treatments and my courage would be refueled. Thank you, thank you, thank you to each of you who have lifted and loved us along this journey.
  • I’m so grateful for our children. They have had to do hard things, face big fears, and carry a big part of the workload. They are each remarkable humans and I’m so grateful for their courage and tenacity and love and patience. May they always know how dearly I love them.
  • Last of all, I’m grateful for Richard. This man, oh, there are no words to describe how good and strong and kind he is. He has loved me without frustration and served without even a hint of complaint…and instead serves me with joy. He has cried with me, held me, cheered me on, and helped me stay sane. He is my superhero and my dearest friend. Oh, I love him!

Tomorrow I’m thinking of trying to do a back handspring at gym to commemorate the day. I just don’t know if I dare.

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thankful thursdays 2/4

Feb 4, 2021 by

Today is gloomy: overcast, cold, and full of a big to-do list. I don’t love to-do lists. They feel restrictive for this carpe-diem loving soul of mine. I got on here to update the Swim Camp Registration page and read through a few posts and remembered how dear this space is to me. I’d like to rekindle it and I think I’ll start by focusing on Thankful Thursdays once again.

  • I reread Charlotte’s Web this week for the umpteenth time. Oh, my goodness, I love this book. The simple days in the barn, tranquil days of childhood, Wilbur’s pure soul, and Charlotte’s rescue of his life always bring me joy. Last night as I finished the last little bit and Charlotte died and her children were born and then flew away, I cried and cried. I’m so grateful for this beautiful story of friendship, childhood, and wonder.
  • I’ve been rereading a biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe for a while now for my WUBA class. Oh, how I love this woman! Her courage, tenacity, and faith inspire me to live more fully and with more dedication. Her book changed the course of America and I’m forever grateful for her writing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
  • Speaking of WUBA, oh, it’s such a privilege to mentor my students! They blow me away with their humor, goodness, and determination to learn and grow as scholars.
  • Today I’m really grateful for a warm home, food, and working vehicles. One of our vehicles broke down today and while I’m hoping it isn’t a huge deal, I’m just so grateful to have other vehicles that are working.
  • I’m grateful for the everyday moments with our children. Fisher asking me to help him with something, writing papers with Annesley, hearing them laugh, or Annes coming in for morning snuggles, oh, I love these little moments of connection. I’m so grateful for each of our children and as they grow, I feel like every moment gets more precious.
  • We gave Annesley a ukulele for her birthday in November. She plays and plays and plays. Our home is full of music again! Ever since Blythe moved out, I have been missing her music. It is so wonderful to hear Annesley create magic with her voice and strumming!
  • Back in October I started reading to my mom most nights. I’m so grateful for the nightly check-in and that she wants me to share our family read-aloud time with her.
  • Today is World Cancer Day. My mom was diagnosed with bladder cancer on September 30. A few weeks later we found out it was high-grade. It gutted me. She has completed her first round of treatment and is doing really well. Soon we will find out how her body responded and if the cells are still multiplying rapidly or if her body is winning the battle. I’m so grateful she is thriving spiritually and emotionally and nourishing her body physically – giving it all sorts of fantastic stuff to kick cancer to the curb.

Time to get to work on taxes and laundry and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I really need to leave my house and run errands today, but it’s so dreary, I think I’ll just keep working on my big to-do list here at home.

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thankful thursdays 3/5

Mar 5, 2020 by

We have survived the first week since Richard’s brain tumor removal on February 27. It has been rough. And wonderful. And exhausting. And tender. And everything in between. Today is also his 50th birthday and there is something about birthdays, especially big, round numbers like fifty that bring on the introspection, at least for me.

  • I’m so grateful he is alive, that he made it through surgery and we were able to bring him home! This surgery doesn’t generally cause death, but thoughts of him dying have been quite present in my mind since his diagnosis.
  • This time with him is a gift to both of us. We haven’t been able to spend a lot of time together for a long, long time because of his working hours. Sitting with him, reading to him, laughing with him, and just watching him have been so wonderful. We love being together and spending time together is comfortable and soothing to both of us. It’s really nice to know we actually, factually like being together.
  • My heart is full to bursting with the good in this world. So many people have reached out to us with donations of money, food, words of encouragement, gift cards, hugs, and many other kindnesses. Piles and piles of goodness!
  • I’m so grateful to be a wife and mother. These were not roles I wanted to have, but oh, the soul-filling richness of loving these people is such a gift! I’m so thrilled God gave me this privilege even though I didn’t know enough to want it.
  • A few days ago, my friend, Jodie, came to the hospital with all sorts of yummy goodies and yes, that chocolate has gotten me through many a hard moment in the past few days, but more importantly, she brought her heart. She let me cry and talk about our babies. She listened while I tried to sort out the past few months in my mind. She gave Richard a hand & arm massage and me a foot massage and it was heavenly. HEAVENLY. She inspired me to show up to someone’s hospital room and give them a foot massage. Someday soon I will do just that.
  • Prayers. I’m so grateful to know people are praying for my husband and for our family. I’m grateful to hear our children’s prayers. I’m grateful to be able to pray and pour my heart out to God.
  • Orchids. I’m not really a flower person and I’ve never successfully kept a plant alive. My friend, Lisa, brought over two orchids for our babies we miscarried a few weeks ago and I gave Keziah the task of keeping them alive (and she has!). Coming home from the torture chamber of the hospital was a strange experience. It was as if everything in our lives had changed and that an entire lifetime had been experienced while we were gone. I didn’t know how to recalibrate to our new lives. Seeing the orchids on my kitchen windowsill brought me back to center. Somehow they helped me reintegrate this new post-surgery family with our pre-surgery family, my new role as caretaker of my husband with my old role as pregnant mama of twins and mother of young adults and teenagers. Somehow they helped me remember who I am and that these babies are ours forever even though it feels like a lifetime ago that we lost them instead of four short weeks.
  • I’m grateful for sunshine. We aren’t getting out in it much, but it sure is nice to see it shine through the windows and start melting the mounds of snow in our yard. It reminds me that the new growth is coming and we won’t be living in the cold, hardness of this winter forever. We will regrow as a family and figure out our new normal.

My heart is full. And broken. And growing. And aching. But mostly full of gratitude.

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thankful thursdays 4/25

Apr 25, 2019 by

Glorious day! Banner day! Exactly what my soul needed type of day. The sun is shining, we had a wonderful day homeschooling, a visit with a friend, a one mile bike ride around the (empty) lake, and I made dinner, actually we all made dinner together. Me making dinner is not a consistent, regular occurrence at our home, but I really like it when I do. Days like this feed my soul. They remind me of why I do what I do in my mothering and why it is so important to me to be home with them soaking in the hours of my children’s fleeting childhoods.

  • I made it one whole mile on my Elliptigo around the lake on Monday and though my thighs were burning and I had to stop every quarter-mile to rest, I made it! Today I tried again and this time I made it a half-mile before I had to stop and rest. I’m so grateful to be able to start building muscles, for the equipment to do it, and for children that load all the stuff up and ride along with me very slowly so if I have fall off my bike or have a seizure, I won’t be alone.
  • Yesterday was our last day of iFamily for the year. While I was more than ready to be done teaching my three classes and all the prep work that they entail, my heart was chock-full of joy to see my Math Alive and GRIT students on fire about what we have been learning. My math students built AMAZING catapults for our catapult contest and my GRIT students have totally taken the growth mindset lessons to heart and made changes in their approach to life. Mentoring students feeds me. Seeing the impact my influence has in their lives electrifies my soul. The cherry on top is our amazing community. We have loved and served each other for so long that the result is a love beyond words.
  • Fisher has been giggling during math. Not that he enjoys it, but because it is his new coping mechanism. I’ll take giggling over grumpiness every day.
  • Our Keziah girl was given a huge blessing this week to have her track at college switched to Fall/Winter instead of Winter/Spring. This will enable her to get more credits in before next year and will allow her to come on more of our summer adventures. WAHOO!
  • Our oldest has been sick this week, which meant I had some precious hours with our grandson. This baby, oh my, he has my heart.
  • Laughter. Healing this knee and dealing with piles of big decisions, my mom’s recent surgery and subsequent blood clots, long days, full schedules, and very little down time over the past few months has about done me in. But laughter, dark chocolate, and read-alouds with our family have got me through the hard days weeks.

Now it’s time to play our new math games!

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thankful thursdays 3/28

Mar 28, 2019 by

After several days in a row of overcast skies, there is a bit of blue shining through this afternoon and something about blue skies lifts my spirits and helps me fill right up with gratitude.

  • Keziah is off on a babysitting job for five days so I get to take over her usual duties here, which means a lot of driving for me. There have been months (years, really!) where I have been unable to drive because of various injuries and it is SO wonderful to be able to do this for my family right now. My knee doesn’t enjoy it, but I CAN do it and that is quite magical.
  • Last night I won a painting from my favorite artist! Jenny Loughmiller of the Hundred Hearts Project is taking her family on a 500 mile journey on the Camino trail in Spain. As part of her project, she is selling 100 paintings over 100 days to earn money for their seven week adventure. Every day she posts one painting and the first person to comment “sold” gets the painting. I have tried and tried and tried to win the race, but I have missed out by seconds every single time. Last night, by some miracle, NOT A SINGLE PERSON had commented on the post by 36 mintues AFTER she had posted it. This just doesn’t happen. All the paintings have been sold within seconds of her posting. But last night, on her 88th painting, 36 minutes after the post went up, I commented and won! Isn’t it lovely?

  • My mama is ALIVE. She has had a rough few weeks with a hiatal hernia repair back on March 11 and then a few days after the surgery, her oxygen saturation was down to 70% and it was discovered she had formed blood clots that had passed through her heart and into her lungs. This is the second clotting episode she has had in the past two years and is also what her father died of when I was 18, so my heart has been all mama bear trying to protect her.
  • Red quinoa chips. Yummmm.
  • I get to speak at an event this weekend on Growing Grit and I am silly excited to share my message about strengthening families, building resilience, and finding courage. It is going to be AWESOME!
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is now on Amazon Prime and I decided it was high time Annesley learn all about this brave, inspiring woman. About once a week we snuggle up and watch an episode. I’m so grateful to be able to share this story with her! Dr. Quinn, Sully, and cuddling with my girl all at the same time? Yes, please!
  • Fisher is taking a fly-tying class right now and I am SO happy for him and grateful he has this opportunity. He has long been obsessed with bugs and now he gets to put his amazing observational skills to use and make fake bugs to catch fish. He has big smiles every time he talks about it and I love to see all the smiles I can on that boy of mine.

I’m so grateful to be alive at this time and to able to mother my children. The last six weeks since I went to Mexico for stem cell treatments have been really hard, incredibly busy, and full of heartaches and heaviness, but I feel myself pulling out of it and soaking in the small, ordinary moments of joy that come each day.

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thankful & blessed

Jan 31, 2019 by

Full heart today. I have made two kinds of delicious soup, cleaned my house, worked on our taxes, sent my kids to the temple, and spent sacred hours with my girl.

Blythe is in labor with our first grandchild. I have been preparing for this day for pretty much her whole life and now it is finally here. During our hard years of me not understanding her or her needs, I didn’t know if she would ever allow me to be at her births. And for me, a doula and childbirth educator who loves being with birthing mamas with my whole soul, that thought was deeply painful. Many mornings I would do a visualization technique where I would picture her in labor and envision our relationship at that future date. Then I would think about what I needed to do in the current time to have a future relationship that would allow me to be at her birth. It was one of the most powerful ways I was able to curb my harsh words and be the mama she needed me to be.

And now that day is here. Right now. And it is glorious.

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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 watch, 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 oxygen 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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