Monday, November 30, 2020

#givethanks - day 10


 Yesterday I was able to go to church.  I've always been glad that in our country we have the right to worship as we please, and I never really thought that there would be circumstances that would prevent me being able to go to church.  I always thought it would be my choice.

Home worship is wonderful, and I was grateful that we had the opportunity to do that when we were not able to join together as a congregation, but yesterday I really felt what a blessing it is to be able to come and worship together.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

#givethanks - day 9

This is my space.  It's often messy.  It's not perfect.  But it is my space, and I am grateful for it.  I do pretty much everything here.  I sew, of course, but I also grade papers, read novels, crochet, and simply relax here.  Occasionally I even watch TV or movies.

I have been so fortunate that for most of our 44 years of marriage, in most of the places we've lived, I've been able to have a space.  For many years, while our children were growing, it was a tiny little nook off the kitchen with 4 doorways and only 7 feet of usable wall space.  I made the most of it.

THIS space is bigger - much bigger - than that little corner I had for so many years.  And its use has evolved.  I love it.  I can be more organized and see more of what I have.  I can have two machines (and sometimes even 3) out at the same time without feeling claustrophobic.  

I am also grateful for this skill that has enabled me to help so many people this year.  I've lost count, but I've made somewhere around 800 masks I think.  

Many of them went to help our medical community at the beginning of the Covid crisis.  

I made a few hospital gowns and scrub caps too.  I'm very grateful I was able to do help in some small way.

I've also been able to make doll clothes and other items to make my grandchildren and others I love happy.  The doll clothes (and the techniques that changed it from a terrible chore to a pleasure) was shared with me by a friend of a friend that I've never met except through Instagram.

When I was around 8 or 9, my mom sat me down at the sewing machine and taught me to sew.  I'm sure I made a thing, although I don't remember what it was.  What I do remember was being at my grandmother's and noticing that my swimming suit needed mending and sitting down at her treadle machine and completing the repair like I knew what I was doing.  I remember my {male} cousins being impressed.

As I grew up, my mom would give me $100 to buy school clothes at the beginning of the school year.  In those days, it was a hefty sum, but still didn't go far if you had to buy shoes, a winter coat, underwear, and gym clothes.  I learned quickly though that Mom would buy me all the fabric, notions, and sewing supplies I wanted.  The message was clear - if you want a wardrobe, make it yourself.

I sewed for my kids when they were small, but when the youngest was 4 I went back to work and the husband went to work for an airline.  After that, if we were lucky, he spent maybe 2 days out of 7 at home.  This was a very busy and chaotic period of our lives, and for about 15 years, I rarely sewed anything but Halloween costumes and prom dresses.

And then things quieted down, grandchildren came, and I discovered modern quilting.  And I was hooked!

And now I am able to share my love of sewing with my grandkids.  They come for a month every summer and I always plan a project.  The first year, it was tote bags.  The next year, pajamas.  This year it was shorts.  But then the oldest asked if she could make a quilt for her Granny.  She went shopping in my stash and made the most wonderful quilt.

And she did everything except the quilting by herself.

And this space is where we hang out...

Where they help Grandma create...

Where we get a little bit silly...

Where we play...

Where we get a leeetle bit goofy...

Where we can relax together...

And maybe get a little bit silly sometimes.

And I love it.  And I am so very grateful.  And I hope I get the chance to share these things with my other two granddaughters - one who lives far away and one who is still a newborn - someday soon.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

#givethanks - day 8

Today, I am feeling so grateful for the change in my social media feeds.  I have absolutely LOVED reading what everyone is grateful for.  I have gained insights into the lives of friends I have known for years, and some that I only know through social media.  It has improved my mood, and turned my attitude around.


I guess it just proves that it is difficult (I won't go so far as to say "impossible") to have a positive outlook and be surrounded by negativity.  

This year has been difficult - no question - but there have been many bright spots.  Dwelling on the things we're missing or the things that are going wrong just makes us more miserable.  Looking for the things that are going well, or the blessings hidden in the changes - and they're there if we look - helps us enjoy what we have.

I'm going to try to do better.


Friday, November 27, 2020

#givethanks - day 7

 Today, I am grateful that we have a Heavenly Father that hears and answers our prayers, and that sometimes, I have "eyes to see and ears to hear," and am aware enough to call these answers "miracles."  Here is one example.

The year was 2013 and my hometown was still in the throes of the 2008 recession.  Things.  Were.  Not.  Good.  I had spent nearly 20 years with a local bank, but layoffs had been going on for more than 2 years at this point, and I knew my name was on the list.  The writing was on the wall and it was only a matter of time until I was laid off.  My blood pressure was the highest it had ever been.  I was stressed. 

There were a lot of problems to deal with, not the least was that I had grown to hate the job I used to love, but the most immediate problem was that I was driving a 2004 minivan with almost 200,000 miles on it, and things kept breaking.  First it was plastic parts here and there, no big deal.  Then the speedometer went kaput, but I managed that pretty well.  Then in the fall of 2012, the air conditioner went.  Good thing it's fall, I thought?

Fast forward to February.  We had a couple of warm days, and I realized Spring (and following that, SUMMER!!!) was coming.  I live in Florida and I had a car with no air conditioning!!!  The estimate to fix it was almost $1000.

I had been praying that somehow I would be able to get enough money to repair the air conditioner before the weather warmed up.

One Saturday afternoon there was a raging rainstorm going on outside - the kind you only get in the South, and can't appreciate until you've actually experienced it - and there was a knock at the door.  A drenched stranger stood on the doorstep.  He said he had been driving by and noticed the 1992 Cadillac Seville that was sitting in front of the house.  He explained that he refurbished Cadillacs and asked if it was for sale.  

The car was in fact sitting in the front yard, but it did not have a "For Sale" sign on it.  It hadn't run for a year or two, and we really couldn't figure out what to do with it.  It had beautiful leather interior, but honestly, a car that doesn't run isn't much more than a giant paperweight.  

 Did I mention it was pouring rain?

Did I tell you that we live a couple of blocks off any main street?  There was no way - NO REASON AT ALL - for him to have been driving down our street in the middle of a thunderstorm.  In fact, he lived in Mobile, Alabama, more than 60 miles away.

And he wanted to buy our car.  Our dead, hadn't-worked-in-years, car.

He offered us $900.

I said I had to get the title out of the safe deposit box and he could meet me at the bank on Monday, which he did.  He gave me $900 cash.  I called the repair shop and made an appointment for Thursday.

I took the car in  to get the air conditioner fixed on my way to work Thursday morning.  It cost $872.00.  

I got laid off that afternoon.

How well my Heavenly Father knows me.  As they say, timing is everything. If my appointment had been on Friday, for example, I know that I would not have spent the money on the air conditioner.  I would have thought of a thousand reasons why I needed to save the money for "a rainy day."

And so, this once, (and a few other times in my life,) I was very sure that my own personal miracle had just taken place.  I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows and loves me, and hears and answers my prayers.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

#givethanks - day 6

My gratitude posts have been pretty serious so far, so this one is a bit more frivolous, but no less sincere.  I am grateful for my favorite beverage.  After many, many years, I still enjoy it very much.  It refreshes me and helps me focus.  It tastes good to me.  

I'm also grateful that is is available almost everywhere.  I have been able to enjoy it throughout our travels, in almost every country we have visited -

 Even China, which is amazing, and a reason to be grateful in its own right.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

#givethanks - day 5

 Today I am thankful for covenants.  A covenant is a 2-way promise with our Heavenly Father.  We promise certain things to him, and receive His blessings in return.  I am very grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent His Son to be our Savior.  "For God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)

The first covenant most of us make is baptism, where we covenant with the Lord that we will follow Him, and He promises to be our Savior, as long as we are faithful to that covenant.  He took upon Himself our sins, so we would not have to pay the price.  My favorite scripture about His Atonement is 

"For behold, I, God, suffered these things for all that they would not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I, which suffering caused myself, even God, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit - and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink - Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men."  D&C 19:16-19

As part of the blessing of Confirmation, we are promised that if we are faithful, we will have the Holy Ghost as our constant Companion, to guide us and reveal to us many things, according to our needs and our faithfulness.

Then there are the covenants we make in the temple; covenants of service and sacrifice, which have enriched my life and helped me to become the person I am.

And last and most wonderful of all, the marriage covenant, where we are bound or sealed to our families forever, both our ancestors and our descendants, so  that we can be with those we love most forever.  It was for this reason that Jesus gave Peter the keys of the kingdom. (Matthew 16:19)

I am so very grateful for these promises and the joy and the structure they give my life.  I cannot imagine where I would be (or who I would be) without them. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

#givethanks - day 4

Today, I express my gratitude for this beautiful, amazing Earth that our Heavenly Father created for us to enjoy.  I am awed by its beauty, glory, and infinite variety.  I have had the opportunity to travel a bit, and I am always amazed at how every place I have visited has its own unique beauty.

I am blessed to live near one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  It is temperate here most of the year, although sometimes it is downright hot.  I am not a beachgoer, but you can't look at this scene and not think, "Isn't this glorious?"

And there are so many other lovely places for us to enjoy.  And different seasons to add to the variety.

Last Christmas we made a brief stop for a plane change in Vail, Colorado. 

And in Utah it snowed last Thanksgiving.  It's so beautiful and clean, but so cold.

Our Heavenly Father has created masterpieces, both large...

and small...

And beauty that changes in the course of just a few moments, that will never be exactly the same again.

I remember a hymn from my childhood:

For the beauty of the Earth,

For the beauty of the skies,

For the love, which from our birth,

Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to thee we raise,

This, our hymn of grateful praise.

And a scripture that reminds us that the Lord created the earth and its beauty to show not only His power and grandeur, but also His love for His children:

The heavens declare the glory of God,

and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.  (Psalms 19:1)

I am so very grateful for this constant reminder of His love for me.