Friday, November 30, 2007

i've got my love to keep me warm

This is the last day of the gratitude challenge. Thanks to everyone who participated and sent me the things they were grateful for--it was so encouraging to see all the blessings that we all have. Almost every email I received contained something that I am also grateful for, often worded much better than I could have expressed.

1. I am grateful for photos so that I can go back and remember events and people that otherwise might be lost in my memory.

2. I am grateful for the knowledge that I am unique in all the world, that I am loved and appreciated, that I make and difference, and that I matter.

3. I am grateful for the way that focusing on positive things can help to dispel thoughts of frustration and disappointment.

And now, for two minutes, I will list all the things that come to mind that I am grateful for. Ready..........GO
I am grateful for Somebody, my parents, my siblings and their spouses and children, my friends, my extended family, a good heritage and upbringing, membership in the church, a testimony, a relationship with my Savior, air, water, earth, airplanes, colors, chocolate, flowers, fancy purses, a keyboard with a backspace, time, a comfortable bed, books, blankets, showers, a running car, road trips, family dinners, fruit smoothies, ice cream, digital cameras, ward choir, foam pillows, Sunday naps, gentlemen, gel keyboard wrist pad, lip gloss, good penmanship, donuts, mittens, kittens, vacation days, toilet paper, snow, sunsets, people who are tolerant, luxury hotel rooms, eternal marriage, scrapbooks, email from friends, google reader, food, cell phones, OH out of time.

I hope you all had a month of grateful thoughts, and enjoy the holiday season.

"My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we 'accentuate the positive.' I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort"
--President Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, November 29, 2007

we may be rushing things

1. I am grateful for options. I am grateful for choices. I am grateful that I always have a choice, and that very few things are really unrealistic options. I am grateful that through a good upbringing, a good education, and a good mind, I have the option of doing almost anything I choose.

2. I am grateful for the smell of clean laundry.

3. I am grateful for a family who loves me, cares about me, understands where I'm coming from, treats me like a friend, hopes for good things for me, prays for my health and well-being, laughs at my jokes, cries for my sorrows, and will always be there for me. There is a lot of strength and confidence that comes from having people in your life who you know will always back you up, and will always take you back when you've made mistakes. I am grateful for unconditional love.

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."
--Cynthia Ozick

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

he has the time for me

I have been searching for a particular photoshop template for, oh, four months now. Just about every time I get online I do a search for all the words I remember seeing on the page when I saw it last a year ago. I have tried every combination of words and topics I can think of without any success at all. I've emailed the information to friends, hoping that maybe it was familiar to them and they could help me find it. Seriously, hours of my life have been dedicated to finding this page again. Today, after so much frustration, and running out of time, I opened my computer and said a little prayer that this time I would type in the right combination of words to find the page with the template I wanted. And, what do you know? The first thing I typed in, and the third page suggested by google, and I had found this elusive template.

And then I started to cry, because compared to all the prayers offered up today, and all the needs in the world, it is such a little thing, this search I was doing. So small and insignificant, and it means nothing to anyone but me, and will benefit no one in the world but me. But somehow I am important enough to answer. And somehow want my heart needs, no matter how trivial, is important to Him. And I am truly grateful for the reminder.

the night was dark and still

1. I am grateful for slow cookers and the dinner made in them.

2. I am grateful for creativity and home made gifts. At this time of year I always find myself with more ideas for projects and crafts than I could ever have time to complete, but I am grateful that I have family and friends that I love and want to do things for. I am grateful that I have the mind and resources to accomplish at least some of the things that I start out doing.

3. I am grateful that my mom was able to stay with Heidi for a while to enjoy the first week of the new baby, and also that she is now back home safely. It only took us about 12 hours to realize that the house falls apart when she isn't here, and we all missed her terribly.

"If gratitude is due from children to their earthly parents, how much more is the gratitude of the great family of man due to our Father in heaven!" --Hosea Ballou

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

decorations of red on a green christmas tree

1. I am grateful for extra cars around this house so that we have one to use when ours won't start.

2. I am grateful that my dad was willing to take time out of his very, very busy schedule to check out my car for two days to try to figure out the problem. He is a good example of a good work ethic, and of doing everything you can do for yourself before you pass work off to other people.

3. I am grateful for the miracle of forgiveness. I thankful that our mistakes really are mistakes, and that, while we have to pay for them, we don't have to pay for them forever. I'm grateful for the way my heart feels light when I am forgiven by someone, or when I finally have the courage to forgive someone.

"Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart."--Seneca

"The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life. Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!"
--President Joseph F. Smith

Monday, November 26, 2007

i just knew

1. I am grateful for days when I don't hate being at work.

2. I am grateful that I can listen to Christmas music without shame now.

3. I am grateful for the moments when I think, "wow, I'm smart." Or, "hey, I'm funny." Or I just am suddenly and momentarily delighted with myself. It seems so rare that I have really positive thoughts about myself and it is refreshing to have those moments when even I have to admit that I'm pretty great.

"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

Sunday, November 25, 2007

pine cones and holly berries

1. I am grateful for alone time. First, because I enjoy having time and space to collect my thoughts and do/think about anything that I choose. I never want to lose my own sense of identity or my ability to function without others there. Second, because it makes me more excited to have the people I love return.

2. I am grateful that I can come home from church to the smell of dinner cooking in the slow cooker.

3. I am grateful for the chance to substitute in other callings so that I can appreciate more the calling that I have.

"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich." --Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Saturday, November 24, 2007

the most wonderful time

1. I am grateful for the comfortable feeling of being at home.

2. I am grateful for music that inspires, motivates, energizes, soothes, delights, touches, and sets the mood, no matter what kind of mood I am in.

3. I am grateful for the tiny, clear voice that children have when they sing.

4. I am grateful for siblings who are raising the cutest, sweetest, funniest, most delightful children ever.

5. I am grateful for football games that keep you on the edge of your seat and then end the way you want them to.

"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road." --John Henry Jowett

Friday, November 23, 2007

a different kind of healer

I walked downstairs to find Grace (2 yrs old), Jonah (4 yrs old) and Saffie (3 yrs old) in the playroom. Grace was lying down and the other two were looking over her in what appeared to be a "playing doctor" scene, which wasn't surprising at all for this very medically oriented family.

Me: Grace! Are you getting operated on?
Grace: Hab loab haas nosh.
Me: Oh, I see. It's pretty serious? That's too bad.
Me: Saffie, are you the doctor here?
Saffie: No. Jonah is the doctor.
Me: Dr. Jonah! Will she be okay?
Jonah. I'm not a doctor. I'm just plain baby Jesus.

it's beginning to look a lot like birthday

1. I am grateful for Somebody, who is wonderful in every way, and is celebrating his birthday today. Happy Birthday, Somebody!

2. I am grateful that my parents are okay getting up early and quietly leaving the hotel room so that we can sleep in as late as we want.

3. I am grateful for cells phones so that I can stay connected to my entire family no matter where we are or how far apart we are.

4. I am grateful for jeans that have that lived in, worn out comfort.

5. I am grateful for answers to prayers.

"Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable."
--Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

happy birthday, love

31 Reasons I Love You More

1. You wear your wedding ring all the time
2. You are kind to all children, but especially to the nieces and nephews
3. You know I am ridiculous, and you love me anyway
4. You introduced me to plum powder
5. You grill the yummiest pineapple, veggies, and burgers
6. You want to make friends
7. You are honest. When I ask you why you don't want me to put in the cd of me singing, you say, very calmly, that singing should be left to professionals.
8. You are strong--you moved those boxes in and out of the storage room three times now, and are still willing to go in and move them around to find whatever random object I am looking for.
9. You are so conscientious. You couldn't even sleep those nights during the storms because you worried that water was coming into the house. Good for you, because I was sleeping just fine without a care in the world for the effects of water damage. Probably because you were the one who was going to have to move those boxes a fourth time if we were flooded again.
10. You like to take walks
12. In the early morning hours you always reach out to snuggle with me
13. When I asked what you think about all the time, you said "gardening"
14. You get giddy about little things, like bike rides, and driving the golf carts
15. You laugh so easily 16. You care about looking nice, and always do look nice.
17. You always forgive me
18. You put your arm around me at church
19. You always act excited when I come home from work
20. You pick me "cheery" tomatoes
21. You get up early to start my breakfast
22. and warm up the car
23. You scratch my back and neck even though it grosses you out
24. You wear hair gel just because I like it
25. You always tell me how pretty I am
26. You never wait to say sorry
27. You know how I like my laundry done, and you do it perfectly, week after week
28. You love to shop with other people
29. You are kind and attentive to my parents
30. You are willing to do yucky things if it will help me feel better
31. You leave the window open at night because I like the fresh air, even if it means you have to sleep with your jacket on

Thursday, November 22, 2007

their case is fuzzy and circumstantial

1. I am grateful for a Thanksgiving Day meal of grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum.

2. I am grateful for a warm coat.

3. I am grateful that we got to sleep in today.

4. I am grateful that Somebody always pays attention to what I have to say.

5. I am grateful for a house full of family and friends.

"Forever on Thanksgiving Day, The heart will find the pathway home."--Wilbur D. Nesbit

"Stand up, on this Thanksgiving Day, stand upon your feet. Believe in man. Soberly and with clear eyes, believe in your own time and place. There is not, and there never has been a better time, or a better place to live in."
--Phillips Brooks

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

sometimes I'm even persnicketier

1. I am grateful that our long drive through the snow (snow! all day long it was snowing!) is over and that we arrived safely.

2. I am grateful for a new niece who is tiny and perfect and arrived just before we did.

3. I am grateful for the moment on my drive home from work yesterday when I knew, I just knew, that my Savior suffered and died for me, and that He lives again.

4. I am grateful for happy tears.

5. I am grateful for books on cd because they help to pass the time on road trips.

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." -- H. U. Westermayer

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

annoy, tiny blonde one. annoy like the wind

1. I am grateful for head phones so I can listen to music at work.

2. I am grateful for my wedding ring. Although I am also grateful for the happy marriage it represents, this is more about how I just like it, and how every time I look at it I think, "wow, I really like my wedding ring" and how it just seems to match me. Also, it is very sparkly.

3. I am grateful that I can fall asleep while Somebody reads in bed. I think we tried this arrangement at the beginning of our marriage and it didn't work out, and he was banished to the living room. But now I think it's working and I like that he is there when I fall asleep.

4. I am grateful for the long weekend coming up.

5. I am grateful for nieces and nephews, and that I'm going to have one more niece tomorrow.

"Thank God every day when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done whether you like it or not. Being forced to work and forced to do your best will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know." --Basil Carpenter

Monday, November 19, 2007

you need to go see the wizard. ask him for some guts.

1. I am grateful for mornings that are warm enough that I don't have to scrape ice off my car windows.

2. I am grateful for a vcr so that, even though I wasn't able to take time out last night to watch The Race, we can watch it tonight for FHE.

3. I am grateful for ward members who are willing to help me fulfill my calling.

"Find the good -- and praise it."--Alex Haley

"How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child's personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people." --Sir John Templeton

Sunday, November 18, 2007

it's dessert for dinner tonight

1. I am grateful that I feel like this ward is "my" ward. I am so glad that I actually look forward to going and that I have made so many friends at church.

2. I am grateful for fleece blankets.

3. I am grateful for leftover birthday cake.

"There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance."
--Joseph Addison

Saturday, November 17, 2007

if you're asking me to the prom again, the answer's still "no"

1. I am grateful that Somebody and I enjoy being together in the kitchen. It is so nice to have two brains and four hands getting the work done.

2. I am grateful for yummy recipes that make staying in just as fun as going out to eat.

3. I am grateful for the laughter of my nieces and nephews.

"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say 'thank you?'"
--William A. Ward

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
--Thornton Wilder

Friday, November 16, 2007

i'm so impressed you fit a pony into my room

1. I am grateful for clothes that I feel pretty in.

2. I am grateful for my hair. I like it quite a bit, and it usually behaves. I'm getting it cut tonight. Short. And coloring it much darker. Although remember last time I said I was going to color it brown, and then I was all, "hey, look at my brown hair," and you were all, "um, it's still blond?" Whatever. I'm still grateful for my hair, and for the fact that I still have some.

3. Last night we read this scripture: "And I saw them gathered together in multitudes; and I saw wars and rumors of wars among them; and in wars and rumors of wars I saw many generations pass away." (1 Nephi 12:21) I am grateful that even though I could be one of the people that Nephi saw, a generation passing away in wars and rumors of wars, that I do not live in a place where the sights, sounds, and fear of war threaten me every day. I'm grateful that I feel safe enough to leave my house every day, to plan for a future that I have no doubt will happen, to have faith and hope and excitement for tomorrow. I'm grateful that people are passionate about defending freedom and are willing to dedicate their lives to keep me free and to preserve this way of life that I enjoy so much.

"Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend... when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present -- love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure -- the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth." --Sarah Ban Breathnach

Thursday, November 15, 2007

i believe cartoon birds braided your hair this morning

1. I am grateful for the hope of something better.

2. I am grateful for examples of good leadership, good management, and good character.

3. I am grateful for yummy new recipes.

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude."
--Denis Waitley

"Gratitude is of the very essence of worship. … When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives"
--President Gordon B. Hinckley

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

murphy's cinnamon ice cream

I tried a few new ice cream recipes this summer (fruity, light, and fresh) and loved them, but we had packed the ice cream machine away for the winter. I mean, who makes, or eats, ice cream in the winter, right? Crazy people. And me. The idea of a cinnamon flavored ice cream, though, appealed to the "fall" side of me. Enter Murphys Ice Cream (I always knew I liked Ireland) and their request for bloggers to try their recipes and give feedback. Well, twist my arm.

The recipe:
130g Sugar
5 Egg Yolks
220ml Cream
200ml Milk
1 Cinnamon Stick

What to do:
1. Put the cinnamon stick in a saucepan with the milk.
2. Bring the milk to a simmer.
3. Remove from the heat.
4. Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until thick and pale yellow.
5. Remove the cinnamon stick from the milk.
6. Beat the milk into the eggs and sugar in a slow stream.
7. Pour the mixture back into pan, and place over low heat. If you want a strong cinnamon flavour, add the cinnamon stick back in.
8. Stir until the custard thickens (around 60C).
9. Remove the cinnamon stick.
10. Allow the custard to cool.
11. Whip the cream and fold into the custard.
12. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, then cover and place in the freezer.

Don't be afraid of the measurements being all metric. I used a very basic measuring cup and it had the metric measurements that gave me quantities close enough to accurate that everything turned out just fine. (Although, if you copy this recipe and send it to your mom for a grocery list, you might want to attempt to convert it so that she doesn't cry in the store.)

I followed the recipe exactly as written and opted to leave the cinnamon stick in longer for the stronger flavor. I thought it was the perfect amount of cinnamon flavor and would do it that was again. My only disappointment with using the cinnamon stick was that the color of the ice cream was an even vanilla--I would have liked some flecks or other indication that it was flavored.

My big complaint about your average homemade ice cream is that it a) coats your spoon and your throat in an unappetizing way, and b) has a funky, bitter aftertaste. This ice cream had neither. It is rich (from it's custard base) and creamy, but just tastes smooth--not artificial. We ate it over apple pie and everyone (all ten of us) loved it. A definite hit. I would make it again, to serve with pie, for sure. This is a great compliment to fall flavors.

Murphys Ice Cream

oh, right. that's a harp, and that's a dress

1. I am grateful that Joanne told me that The Amazing Race had started this season so that I could tune in to watch this week. Man, I love that show. Thanks, Joanne.

2. I am grateful for sunglasses.

3. I am grateful that I can read the general conference talks in the Ensign this month. I find much strength in the testimonies of the apostles and leaders of the church.

"The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated."
--William James

"When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears."
--Anthony Robbines

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

book club and apple pies

One of the things I have enjoyed since moving here is joining the ward book club. This month was only my second month, and, of course, I had volunteered to host. As I was going over possible treats to serve, Somebody finally said, "You know, this isn't a baking competition." Oh, how wrong he was. A bunch of women from Church? This was nothing if not a baking competition. Because the store was out of fresh blueberries, I decided on apple pie and ice cream. I'm not really an apple pie fan, but I had stumbled across this recipe with this challenge. Who am I to turn down a request to test a recipe? I decided on the cinnamon ice cream because, well, it sounded the best, and took the suggestion of the recipe to pair it with apple pie. The recipe here is adapted from this recipe, but I opted to make little individual pies in a muffin tin instead of hand pies. I'd made the hand pies before and thought it was too much crust for the amount of filling, plus, the look I was going for here (rustic) made sealing the crust easy--I opted to not seal the crust. These recipes made the perfect amount of crust and filling for twelve muffin-size individual pies.
The crust:
Although I have a pie crust recipe that I consider to be the best in the world, I opted to try something new this time and opted for a cream cheese crust. It mixed up really quickly and turned out flaky, so it might be another option to use in the future.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons powered sugar

Blend the butter and cream cheese for 30 to 45 seconds on medium-low speed.

Sift the flours and confectioners' sugar into a medium-size mixing bowl. With the mixer on low, add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture about 1/3 cup at a time, blending after each addition.

When the ingredients are combined, scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead gently 3 or 4 times, and then form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours, until firm enough to roll.

After it had chilled, I rolled out the dough and cut it into circles big enough to fit inside the muffin cups (about four inches wide). I also cut out enough smaller circles (about two inches wide) for the tops.

The filling: (again, the original recipe is here, but below is what I used)
3 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped up
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter

Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, corn syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl, and whisk until combined. Combine with chopped apples. Divide evenly among the muffin cups. Top with small dough circles. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon/sugar. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Let rest for five minutes.

Top with cinnamon ice cream. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. Enjoy.

Somebody had the one remaining leftover the next day and he said it was even better after the filling had time to sit and thicken.

Oh, and I totally rocked the baking competition.

the best way to spread christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear

1. I am grateful that even though I am a thousand miles away, I can still tune in and listen to the BYU devotional. I never thought I would miss those, but now I kind of do.

2. I am grateful for my sister-in-law, Miriam, who is celebrating her birthday today. Happy Birthday, Miriam!

3. I am grateful for the Pilot G-2 05. I could write checks all day with that pen.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." --Melody Beattie

Monday, November 12, 2007

rude and interesting are not the same things

1. I am grateful for couches that are comfortable to sleep on. They are long and wide, and sometimes seem more comfortable than the bed.

2. I am grateful that those I love are so patient with me.

3. I am grateful that I don't have to go to work today. Also, I'm grateful that I'm going to work late tomorrow because I have a couple of job interviews. Yeah!

"Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary."-- Margaret Cousins

Sunday, November 11, 2007

you've never seen me very upset

1. I am grateful for band-aids, because they cover up and protect injuries, like when you are washing the glass blender and it slips and smashes apart and the glass shards slice across your wrist. Using a band-aid makes it look just slightly less like you tried to kill yourself. But only slightly.

2. I am grateful for clear broth and jell-o.

3. I am grateful clocks. I really like knowing what time it is.

"Gratitude is a state of appreciation, an act of thanksgiving, which causes us to be humble because we recognize an act of kindness, service, or caring from someone else which lifts us and strengthens us." --Elder Robert D. Hales

Saturday, November 10, 2007

histories don't happen overnight

1. I am grateful that this morning Somebody asked me what I wanted for breakfast, because then I could hand him the recipe that Emily just sent me for the best pancakes ever. Ever.

2. I am grateful for Chex Mix Trail Mix, which is one of my very favorite snacks, and I'm grateful that Joanne packed it into our travel bag when we left Utah or I never would have discovered it.

3. I am grateful galoshes. I don't own any, but I like the idea of them. And I like pictures of kids wearing galoshes splashing in rain puddles.

"Of all the 'attitudes' we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing." --Zig Ziglar

Friday, November 09, 2007

fester, fester, fester. rot, rot, rot.

1. I am grateful that when I mentioned that I had forgotten to pack my blow dryer, curling iron, and hair brush, Somebody drove all the way back home just to get them for me. (And I'm sure he'll want you to know that I don't just "mention" things, that it's more like I whine and complain and moan. Whatever.)

2. I am grateful that my meetings ended early today so that I could have a few hours at home before our evening plans.

3. I am grateful for modern medicine, and for the hope that someone can tell me why some things hurt and how to make the hurting stop.

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." -- Buddha

Thursday, November 08, 2007

celebrating my birthday

i'm very pleased and scared to be here

1. I am grateful for people who are willing to help. I was racing to finish a project at work and three of my coworkers happily joined in so that I could finish in time. I know they were busy and could have filled the time with their own responsibilities, but I could never have finished on my own and so am grateful that they noticed and helped.

2. I am grateful people in the church who magnify their callings. I'm on a quest to find a job that makes me happy and I met with the ward employment specialist this week to get ideas on what I can be doing differently. He, with only one day's notice, came with multiple print-outs of resume samples, websites of local companies, interviewing ideas, and networking tips. He also spent an hour with me going over what exactly I was looking for and talking through places and people I can contact. And not once did he say, "You know, it might help if you stopped wearing a ponytail, because you certainly don't look professional."

3. I am grateful that my mom is also my friend. I am staying downtown in a hotel during work meetings and she was able to come and meet me for dinner tonight. Not that we don't have dinner together almost every night, but we are not usually alone and it was nice to be out together. I am so glad that we enjoy each other's company and that we are similar in so many ways.

"Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality."-Alfred Painter

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

this is not all there is

1. I am grateful for parking meters that have time left on them. The library here has a parking lot full of meters (Can you believe that? In the library parking lot? I KNOW!) and I found one today with time left on it. Hurray! But then, around the corner, I found another one right next to the sandwich shop with only 11 minutes left on it and thought I would make it back out in time. Nope. And, lucky me, a meter cop was right there to ticket me no more than two minutes after the meter expired. You can't win them all. But I'm still grateful for the first meter so that I could check out my book for free.

2. I am grateful for birthday coupons that get me Coldstone ice cream for free. Yum. Even though I got completely mixed up finding the place, and drove up and down one street for ten minutes before realizing it was on a completely different street. Still. Yummy ice cream makes a lot of things better. (For those of you from sunflower land, how could I confuse 23rd with Mass.? It's crazy! For those of you from Happy Valley, it would be like confusing Bulldog with University Ave. You know them both, and drive on them all the time, and then, when your ice cream depends on it, you mix them up.)

3. I am grateful for friends who are willing to ask me honest questions, and that the life experiences that I thought I went through for no good reason other than to cause me pain might actually come in handy in empathizing with those I love. So, two gratitudes there. First, for friends that have questions, and, second, for the experiences that gave me the answers.

"There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have. Thanksgiving opens the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way."
--Jim Rohn

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

to have the things that mean the most

1. I am grateful for good music. One of my ward friends plays with the Kansas City Symphony and gave us tickets to attend the opera she was playing for last night. The music was lovely, the performers were amazingly talented, and we had a lovely time.
2. I am grateful that I feel loved all of the time.
3. I am grateful that most mornings my dad makes hot cereal for breakfast, because I love to eat it but I never schedule in enough time to actually make it.

"Seeds of discouragement will not grow in the thankful heart."

"Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable. Gratitude turns a meal into a feast and drudgery into delight. It softens our grief and heightens our pleasure. It turns the simple and common into the memorable and transcendent. It forges bonds of love and fosters loyalty and admiration.
--Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Monday, November 05, 2007

give you a little peace of mind

1. I am grateful for opportunities to serve in the church. They help me feel like I belong in the ward and give me a chance to meet people.
2. I am grateful that the nearest temple is only three hours away, and not ten hours like it used to be. It's still just slightly less convenient than having one ten minutes away, but still so worth it when we make the effort to go.
3. I am grateful for eternal families.

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some."
--Charles Dickens

Sunday, November 04, 2007

if the weather holds, we'll have missed the point

1. I am grateful for all five senses.
2. I am grateful that I live in a free country.
3. I am grateful the we have a stocked pantry at home, and that I never have to worry if we are going to have food to eat.

“For today and its blessings, I owe the world an attitude of gratitude.”
--Clarence E. Hodges

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
--Brian Tracy

Saturday, November 03, 2007

i'd like to know your fate

1. I am grateful for family traditions.
2. I am grateful Canadian accents. One of the guys doing our tech demos this week was from Canada and I loved listening to him talk. I'm grateful that we have accents in general, because it makes listening to people talk much more enjoyable. What if we all talked like people from Utah? Or Texas? Or Boston? Or Australia? Boring. We love to hear them because of the variety, right?
3. I am grateful for pretty jewelry, and for good people in my life who buy me pretty jewelry.

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”
--Saint Ambrose

“Living in thanksgiving daily is a habit that will enrich our lives and the lives of those we love. We can live in thanksgiving daily by opening our arms to those around us. When was the last time you told someone you love how much they mean to you? When was the last time you expressed your gratitude to someone who has always been there for you, someone who has sacrificed for you, someone whose heart has always been filled with hopes and dreams for you? When was the last time you unselfishly reached out to help another in need? Every time we cheer another’s heart, every time we ease another’s burden, every time we lift a weary hand, we show our gratitude to that God to whom we owe all that we have and all that we are.”
--Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

have not aged a bit

Friday, November 02, 2007

this is going to be suck

Birthdays are a big deal to me--specifically MY birthday. Some people don't want any attention, and don't want anyone to notice them, and don't really want to celebrate. Not me. Bring on the parties! Shower me with affection! Tell me how much you like me! I’ve been pretty bummed all week thinking about how quiet this birthday is going to be—no party, no lunch with the ladies, no balloons at the office, nothing. And then this morning I started feeling kind of sick on my way to work, and I had to leave my meeting this morning because I started throwing up. Good times. Thankfully, my boss came out to my desk right after and asked if everything was okay, and when I told her that I wasn’t feeling well and that I was throwing up, she felt my forehead and said, “well, you don’t have a fever, so you aren’t contagious, so you can stay at your desk and get your work done.” Really? Thanks for that. This is my new favorite way to spend the day before my birthday. Seriously. This is going to be suck.

i'm smart and i know it

As KP knows, I want to be just like her when I grow up.

At her suggestion, I took this fun color quiz and found out I am pale turquoise #AFEEEE

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is low - You stay out of stressful situations and advise others to do the same. You may not be the go-to person when something really needs done, but you know never to blow things out of proportion.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.

Try the quiz... I'd love to hear what color you are!

a billion stars for my witness

1. I am grateful that my commute, while 40 minutes long, is down a winding, country highway, and that the scenery is green and beautiful.
2. I am grateful for ice water. It is new to me to work in an office where everyone except me drinks coffee (gallons of coffee), and then lots of soda, and then, at work socials, alcohol, and sometimes it is really lonely to sit in the lame section where they place me. And yet, I LOVE ice water, and am happy to drink it all the time.
3. I am grateful for fruity Halloween candy.

"You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you."--Sarah Ban Breathnach

Thursday, November 01, 2007

illusions of a brand new start

Two stories and a list from the workplace.

1. One of our association members uses both her maiden name and her married name—Elizabeth Snoddy Samuels. She is actually not just a member; she sits on the board of directors, and will be the president of the association in 2009. She is the chair of several committees and is very well known in the professional world. Today my boss sent an email to the CEO of another professional organization, and it began with, “I was talking to Elizabeth Snotty Samuels today…” This from the woman who once said to me, “We only do A+ work here, Jennifer. If your work isn’t perfect, it’s not good enough.” Right. Perfection. That’s what we’re going for. How about let’s start with spelling?

2. The guy who came to do our tech demos today was great. He was smart and funny and was, um, a fashion forward tech-y. And I was sitting there, interested for the first time, confused about why I was so happy listening to this guy, and then realized that he was quite a bit like a geeky Richard. You guys know what I’m talking about? It was Richard! Doing my demo! It was awesome. I wanted to take him home in my pocket so that he could have dinner with me and Somebody.

Things that smell bad
1. Coffee grounds
2. The candle in her office. Strangely, it’s scent is “Magic Fairy.” What? A more accurate name would be “Dead Fairy.”
3. Cigar smoke, like the kind the guy from the office next door smokes outside our door every day during lunch. Yuck.

defying gravity

Okay, are you guys watching Ugly Betty and getting goosebumps every time they show scenes from Wicked, or play the songs? Oh my gosh, I need to go see that play again. Gotta go. Gotta go. Gotta go.

attitude of gratitude 2007

Well folks, the trees are changing colors, the days are getting shorter, and you can just smell autumn in the air (also, if you live where I do, you woke up this morning to a thick layer of frost on everything--like winter is trying to sneak in early.) It's time for jackets and pumpkins and the November Attitude of Gratitude Challenge. Participation is completely voluntary. For those of you who have not played before, the challenge is outlined below.

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS: Each day during the month of November you will list three "things" for which you are grateful.

Definition of "things"- the term "things" is used here to encompass a myriad of stuff including, but not limited to: a certain set of circumstances, an event, an inanimate object distinguished from a living being, possessions or effects, a deed or act, a product of work or activity, an idea or notion, a piece of news or information, a person, a memory, anything that makes you smile. *

The challenge is to come up with three ORIGINAL "things" each day. Try not to repeat entries.

Please note that challenge participation may result in any or all of the following:
- you will be surprised at all the Lord has done for you
- angels will attend- you will feel help and comfort
- you may find yourself singing as the days go by
- your doubts will fly

To get you started, here is my list for today, November 1.
1. I am grateful free lunches provided by the office (even if I have to sit in seven-hour training sessions to get them.)
2. I am grateful for a reliable car that gets me safely to and from work every day.
3. I am grateful for nights when I fall asleep quickly.

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. -Margaret Cousins