Monday, November 20, 2006

because they remember where i've been

1. I am grateful for my brother, Russell, who always makes me laugh. He is spontaneous and fun-loving, but also almost as smart as me. I am grateful that I feel like we are friends as well as siblings, and that we have so much in common. I am glad we had those summers together, and that he likes me enough to introduce me to his friends and crash in my living room. I wish that he still lived close because I miss him and don't feel like we see each other nearly often enough.

2. I am grateful for my sister, Heidi, who always wins the white rose award. She is patient and kind, but also able to stand up for herself and what she thinks is right. She is creative and loving with her children, and she somehow finds time to send me the sweetest cards that make me feel loved and remembered. I am grateful that we have been close our whole lives, and for the years we shared at BYU.

3. I am grateful for my sister, Karla, who is an example of goodness and ingenuity. She is setting a great example of how to let your children discover their own personality and talents, but also gives them a structured learning environment. She often seems to operate on a higher spiritual plane than I do, and yet she never judges or criticizes the things I do. She is smart and thoughtful and is firm in her resolve to live her life in the best way she knows how. I am grateful that we became friends after we both grew up a little bit, and I have loved living so close to her all these years. If I ever leave Utah, she is the absolute number one thing I would miss. And I already know I would miss her so much that sometimes it is painful for me to even think about leaving.

4. I am grateful for my brother, Joe, who is always willing to help me. He is smart and funny and always makes me feel like my questions and needs are important. He is a very giving person who will rearrange his schedule and his plans to fit me and the things that I want to do with our time together. He is a good dad, and I love to see his children hanging all over him because they love to be close to him. He is one of the highlights of "going home" and I'm looking forward to spending the Christmas holiday with him.

5. I am grateful for fond memories of a happy childhood. I am sure that everyone can remember sad or hard times about growing up, but I am grateful every day that my childhood was particularly blessed. I had a family who loved me, and we lived and traveled together to memorable places. We didn't often live by our extended family (or sometimes even by other English speakers) so we had to learn how to stick together and entertain ourselves. I never felt like we had less than others, and my parents did a good job of teaching us to think for ourselves and to act according to what we know to be right.

"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, and to work, and to play and to look up at the stars."
--Henry Van Dyke

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