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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Gratitude Project, Part 2

I have to admit I'm having way to much fun with this. As you'll see with the pictures that follow:

2. Wikipedia
3. Where I live, Acton, CA
4. Feet, particularly my feet

13. I am lucky to have been friends with Gypsy since either before or since I was born. Our moms were best friends and we grew up together much like sisters. We have been fortunate to keep our friendship and it has flourished over the years.

14. Wikipedia is kind of an odd thing to be grateful for, but I thrive on learning and it gives me a brief overview on a subject and use that information to find more information. It's a little crazy but I am extremely curious and it satisfies some of that.

15. I love living in Acton. It's small, rural and people take care of each other here. We moved here about seven years ago and I love it. Acton feels like home, like no place I've ever lived in my life.

16. Can you tell I was feeling a little desperate for ideas when I posted about my feet? The truth is I do like my feet. I have worn the same size shoe since I was twelve. So I can say I can still fit in the shoes I wore in high school (and I might still have them too)!

1. Family Movie Nights
2. My oldest son, Captain America, aka The Cap
3. Middle son, Hulk
4. Youngest son, baby of the family, Batman

17. We love to watch movies and some TV shows, but mostly as a family. We love to be together and be entertained. It's the time together and making jokes about what we watch later. 

18. How much can I say about my kids? My oldest son is awesome. He is Captain America to me. I rely on him for so much physical help. He is a good kid and I'm proud of all he does.

19. My middle son is my challenge but I feel perpetually blessed because he is part of our family. Hulk was born with XXYY chromosome disorder and as a result I have a full-time job keeping up with his needs. He is worth it.

20. We were done having kids when we had Hulk. Then we felt there was another member of our family and decided we would have another, God willing. That's how Batman came to being. He is a joy to have around, a bit precocious but a delight. (I'm sure his siblings would disagree, but I find him a Joy!)

1. Princess, my baby girl
2. Our oldest child, Sunshine
3. Having a roof over my head
4. Going to church

21. Our little Princess is every bit a Princess. She's sweet and sassy; fun and flirty, and just wonderful to have around. She was gone last year for several months but decided to stay home and go to school this fall. I love having her around, when we see her...

22. Sunshine is not living at home these days and I miss her terribly. Poor child got all our mistakes and parenting fails and yet she still seems to have turned out mighty fantastic. She's working, going to school and basically supporting herself. I call that a Parent Win! 

23. While I complain a lot about what our house isn't, I am thankful to have a house and to live where I want to live. It's not horrible just a lot of wasted space. That space, however, keeps our home cool in summer, which has its value.

24. Finally, I posted some pictures of church. I serve the little kids (18-months to 3-years-old) and I love it. I've been there a while and some are telling me it's time for a change. I'll be sad when that day comes. I love the recharging I receive from going to church. 

Six more days!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Gratitude Project

Maybe you've seen them and noticed everyone posting the things they're grateful for over the last week or so. For the last few years I have been posting my Gratitudes daily during the month of Thanksgiving (November) and this year I decided I would do it in pictures. I'm thinking I will do a summary every 9-12 days.
Here are the first 12 days...
1. My family
2. My daughters (Sunshine & Princess)
3. My husband (Superman)
4. My daily devotional; scripture reading, journaling and gratitudes
My family is basically the center of my universe. My main job is to take care of them so I suppose it's the first thing I'm grateful for. They give my life meaning and make everything else on the list matter.

I started with my daughters because I absolutely Love this picture! I think we all look good, which for a mom with two babies (Sunshine was 2 1/2 & Princess was maybe 9 months in this picture) we look pretty good and I love the pink wash and our white clothes. Princess is in her Blessing dress, by the way.

I am so happy to be married to the love of my life. He is my Superman! This is a lovely photo from our wedding collection. Even though it's kind of cheesy, I like this picture because we are looking at each other in total oblivion of the next 20-50+ years. HAHAHAHAHA!

My scriptures, journal, and gratitude journal. I got in the habit of reading my scriptures when I was in high school. It was further branded into me when I was a missionary. It's hard for me to feel "complete" during the day without reading them. I have kept a journal even longer than that, starting when I was very young and writing regularly from the time I was 12. The gratitude journal was introduced to me a few years ago by our then Relief Society president. She gave us each a journal to start and every day we were to record 5 things we were grateful for. I have been doing that for about three years now (I think) and not even sure how many of the little books I have gone through. It helps me to remember who to thank and to be content. 

1. Books
2. My laptop
3. My parents and my in-laws
4. My dachshund, Bailey James
Books are one of the loves of my life. It's true. I love to read them and am inspired by them. I love fiction (yes, it's true) and love romance most of all. My ToBeRead pile is ridiculous. I am never bored however!

I list the reasons to be thankful for my laptop partly because of the connection it gives me to people who I have lost touch with as well as making new friends that I only have contact with online. I was a better letter writer before email and texting, but not much. 

Both my parents and in-laws have celebrated their 50th anniversaries. What a milestone and what an example to their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren! I am proud to be related to both sets. Sadly my father-in-law passed away from cancer a few years ago. I still miss him and think about him often.

I had a dachshund as a child (her name was Suki) and I loved her until I became a teenager and found better things to do. I love dachshunds and wanted a puppy so bad and a friend offered one of her dachshund pups to me. I named him Bailey James after George Bailey/James Stewart (yes of It's a Wonderful Life) and loved him like my youngest baby he was meant to be. Unfortunately when we moved into our rental house we couldn't keep him in the house and he was not meant to be an outdoor dog so I found him a new home with other small dogs. I miss him every day.

1. Lake Powell with my parents & siblings
2. My membership in the LDS church
3. Veterans
4. My brothers
Since 1994 we have spent a week at Lake Powell with my parents, siblings and their families. It's a small space and it's a closeness we rarely get to experience otherwise. We enjoy lots of water sports (tubing, water-skiing, hiking, cliff-jumping, etc) and laying around (me) reading through my TBR pile.

I love going to church! It renews me and makes me feel ready to take on another week of humdrum but necessary activities. I am a Mormon and I like it.

I have so much gratitude for soldiers. My mind cannot really wrap itself around so much tragedy and horrors surrounding war and I'm thankful to not have to be the one to go fight. I know freedom isn't free. I know somebody has to make the hard choices and do the hard things so I can live in this country with the liberty to choose as I please (for the most part--and within the law).

I have all brothers. This picture only shows three of my five brothers, but I love them as much as I love my arm or my leg. We don't get to see each other as often as I'd like but we stay in touch in other ways. (Hello, thank you laptop!)

What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where do I go from here?

My year experiment wasn't a bust, per se, but it also wasn't a success. I am contemplating where to go from here. Part of me just wants to blog about my feelings (ugh, really?). I see so many blogs out there like that and I wonder if they are helpful or just voyeuristic.

Does it help you to know that I suffer? I have clinical (treated) depression. I have fibromyalgia (they say, ...I am still in denial), I have hypercalcemia (which may or may not be caused by hyperparathyroidism) and osteoporosis. Most of the time I just feel like a lump.

I got an email from a writing site I subscribe to yesterday about rejection. I realized that I haven't really experienced rejection in a while because I don't really submit anything anywhere. I don't really know how many people (or who) reads my blog. I had to turn off comments because the spammers were having a heyday and people were getting linked to porn.
I certainly don't want to be a perpetrator of that kind of nonsense!

So here I am. In the midst of personal crises (always), sick kids, no money (does anyone really have enough?), kids with behavior issues, too small house (not used to it, still, after two years) and yesterday I read, "I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted me." (Book of Mormon, Alma 29:3) So I stop and pray for contentment. It eludes me.

I am always reaching for something. A clean/tidy house (miraculously, not because I had to do any physical--read painful--labor!), a degree, perfect children (Hahahahahahaha), a loving and romantic relationship with my spouse (it happens), different furniture, a better stove, tidier kids, straighter hair, flatter belly... it's always something and then I think...

I am enough.

Really. I am. I know I am. I would tell my kids (if they asked me), "You are enough." If I am doing my best (which I am not always, for a variety of reasons) then I am Enough. I am.
Most of my infirmities, I believe, are swallowed up in the Atonement of Jesus. Yes, I believe that. It is a wonderful thing to believe. It brings me peace, and sometimes Joy, to believe that someone loved me enough to suffer and die for me. Suffer and die for everyone. Yeah, I think that's pretty cool.

I did not mean for my post to get preachy but it is part of who I am.

I believe that we are enough. I can do more but I sometimes can't and that's okay. Because I am enough.

I still don't know what I'm going to do with my blog. I don't know if I want to be cutesy and artsy (not really my thing) or just post my angsty thoughts (like this one) and hope somebody else also gets something because for me it is often cathartic.