Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 50 - A Good Morning

I worked the closing shift at work so I had a free morning. I was able to study my scriptures, read some conference talks, and go to the temple. It was just what I needed today.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 49 - Kindness

Someone came to my house early yesterday morning, shoveled my driveway and cleaned the snow off my car. Then last night, someone else brought me dinner.

I am so thankful for good people and the kindness they show me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 48 - A Warm and Cozy Place to Live

Today I am thankful for a warm place to live on this snowy day. I have had a rotten cold since Thanksgiving and haven't really left my house since I got home from work on Friday (except for playing for the choir and teaching sunday school today). Now I am back home in my warm bed, listening to the wind howl, and being thankful for my little house.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 47 - The Plan of Salvation

Yesterday, after a great day with my family, I got home and turned on the news. It was then that I learned of a terrible accident that had occurred with a family in my ward. While traveling to Thanksgiving dinner, their car was struck by a semi. The father and one of his daughters were killed and the rest of the family were seriously injured.

I couldn't believe it. My heart ached for the family. I was up most of the night thinking about it. I felt guilty that I had had such a good day while others were suffering so. I wondered how such a thing could be endured by those who were left behind. I concluded that it couldn't, if it wasn't for one thing - the plan of salvation.

Because a couple of members of my family have passed away during the last month or so, I've spent a lot of time thinking about this plan. It is such a blessing to know that this life is not all we have. We know where from where we came, know that there is a purpose for being here on earth, and know that there is much more after this life and there we can be reunited with our loved ones.

This knowledge helps us endure hard things and it helps us keep going.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 46 - So Much to be Thankful For

This morning I woke up early but I had a lot on my mind so I stayed in bed a little longer than usual. The holiday season tends to be a little difficult for me, something that I can't quite explain. It takes a conscious effort on my part to be happy during this time of year. I realize it shouldn't, but it does. So, this morning when I woke up, and those feelings of disappointment started creeping in, I started thinking of all the ways I had been blessed.

Last night before bed I read a fantastic talk by Elder Holland about the Savior. The timing for reading that talk was perfect. I was reminded that He, more than anyone else, knows how I feel. He knows me. He knows the desires of my heart. He knows my struggles and He knows what causes me joy. I am so thankful for Him and for all of the many blessings that are a part of my life because of Him.

I'm thankful for my sweet family. There is such strength in my life that comes from them. Their support for me is constant. They are the ones with whom I laugh and cry. I wish we could all be together today.

The gospel has been such a blessing in my life. Striving to live the teachings I know to be true and constantly needing to make corrections has made my life what it is. I have so far to go and so much to learn but the journey brings me joy.

I'm thankful that I've been able to teach gospel doctrine the last few years. It still makes me so nervous and I struggle with understanding things sometimes, but my love of the scriptures has increased in a way I didn't think possible. I have found strength and peace while studying that I desperately needed.

I love the temple and am so thankful for the time I've spent there the last six months. It has provided a place for answers, instruction, and for peace as well as a place where I have felt encircled in His arms.

I'm thankful for good friends. Some of you I have know all of my life, while others I have known for just a short time. Each of you has made a difference in my life.

My job is another thing I have to be thankful for. My income is sufficient to provide me with the things that I need. My job has provided me with opportunities that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I am a better person as a result of those opportunities.

I'm thankful to work with great people. They make me laugh and help me not to take things too seriously. They put up with a lot from me and I'm thankful that some have the courage to let me know when I need a time out.

I'm thankful to live where I do. My little house is perfect for me. I have great neighbors who look out for me and sweet friends here who I would have missed out on if I didn't live in American Fork.

I could go on and on. My life is richly blessed and I know that all I have comes from a Father who loves me. I'm thankful that He listens, that He loves me, and that He sees the whole picture.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 45 - Exits

Tonight I am thankful that the freeway exit by my house is open! I forget every day when I'm on my way home from work that it's closed. But tonight, to my surprise, it was open.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 44 - An Evening Off

Tonight I am thankful for a free evening. I was able to do some reading, catch up on some things at home, enjoy the wind blowing outside, and have a break from homework. It was a nice break before a busy weekend!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 43 - A Good Neighbor

Tonight I'm thankful for my sweet neighbor who came over to visit. I love when she does that. She and her family have taken such good care of me since I've moved here. She frequently brings me treats and even some meals, they shovel the snow in my driveway, and rescue me when things happen, like my water heater blowing up. We've laughed and we've cried. She makes sure everything in my life is going okay.

I always feel better after she's come.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 42 - The Good Shepherd

Right this very minute I'm sitting in my favorite spot in the living room, next to the Christmas tree, candles are lit, Christmas music is playing oh so quietly in the background, and my heart is unbelievably full.

Part of the lesson in Gospel Doctrine today was about the Good Shepherd. While preparing the lesson, I was so filled with gratitude for a loving Savior who knows my name. I was gently reminded of experiences lately where I have been sought out, gathered, fed, guided, and strengthened - all by Him.

Knowing that He is my shepherd, that He walks in front of me, that He knows who I am, and that He looks for me when I'm lost, are all things that fill my heart with gratitude.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 41 - My Christmas Tree

Today, on my last Saturday off before Christmas, I'm grateful to have my Christmas tree up, thanks to the help of the kids. For a lot of years I didn't put up a tree. I work in retail and am surrounded by Christmas decorations during this time of year. Did I really want a reminder of the crazy Christmas season when I got home from work?

When I moved to American Fork three years ago, I grew up. I realized that having the Spirit of Christmas in my home was an absolute necessity. Now I love to read my scriptures in the morning by the light of the Christmas tree. While it's hard to work in retail and remember the true meaning of Christmas throughout the whole season, my little Christmas tree helps me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 40 - Final Weekend

This afternoon marked the beginning of my final weekend off before Christmas. I can't even believe it. These last couple of months have passed by so quickly.

After work I went to Mapleton and picked up Isaac, Spencer, and Audrey for a sleep over. We went out to dinner, hit Deseret Book to get some individual servings of BYU ice cream, played with some fun stuff, and then watched Muppets Letters to Santa. In between all that I got the laundry done, vacuumed, dusted, cleaned the bathroom, and changed the batteries in the smoke detector.

Tonight I am thankful for my final weekend off of 2010.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 39 - A Night Out

Tonight I went to dinner and to see Harry Potter. I'll admit I left the theater feeling totally confused since I've only read the first three books and seen a couple of the movies. But, in spite of that, it was a fun evening.

It was good to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I tend to be a little uncomfortable in social settings, especially in a group of people who all know each other and I know almost no one. But tonight was a much needed night of fun. It lifted my spirits and I am so thankful for it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 38 - Faith

Last night I was reading through some conferences talks from April of last year. Two right in a row were about faith, something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Elder Pino made this observation in his talk, "Living the gospel does not mean that we will everlastingly escape adversity. Rather, it means that we will be prepared to face and endure adversity more confidently."

I don't know how confident I am at facing adversity. I really don't like it. But here's something I do know - Heavenly Father always takes care of me and I am always better as a result of that adversity. While I frequently wonder if I have the faith necessary, when I really think about it, I trust Him. My actions don't indicate that sometimes. I'm good at feeling sorry for myself. But the bottom line is that I trust Him.

Elder Christofferson in that same conference said that "He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth His hand to you, saying, 'Here am I'."

I'm thankful to know that is true.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 37 - One Beautiful View

I had to run to West Jordan today after work. While I was driving home I was thankful for exactly the same thing I was thankful for this morning - the beautiful mountains.

I love the mountains. I always have. We used to camp all the time when I was younger and while now, we seem to only manage one or two camping trips a year, I still love it. I think I sleep better in the mountains, on the hard ground, than anywhere else.

Sometimes, as a family, we would go up the canyon just to have dinner. I still love long drives in the mountains. I love to hike, sit by a lake, and watch the animals. For me, there is a feeling of peace and closeness with Deity in the mountains that is different than other places.

I am thankful for the beauty that surrounds me. I'm thankful to drive to work every morning up University Parkway with the mountains right in front of me. I'm thankful to live so close to them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 36 - Homework

Okay, so I'm really not thankful for homework. Well, maybe I am.

The process of going back to school as a mature adult is an interesting one. I learned a lot about myself. I'm a much better student than I was as an 18 year old, but it's much harder for me to pay attention. I can't spend too long on the same task because my mind wanders. I procrastinate, but I'm better than I used to be. I'm more brave than I used to be. If I don't agree with the grade I was given, I have a conversation with the professor. (By the way, that's never gotten me a better grade.)

It's been a good experience for me and I am thankful that I am so close to graduating. February 21st!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 35 - This Great Country

One of my favorite things about afternoon church is that I can watch Music and the Spoken word on Sunday mornings. This morning's program was a tribute to all of the men and women who are fighting or who have fought to defend our freedom or the freedoms of others. Having witnessed this sacrifice, first hand, I started thinking about why they do what they do.

Right after September 11th my brother joined the army and it wasn't too long after that my brother-in-law did as well. Their military careers took them in different directions, but I believe they did what they did for the same reason - they love this country.

We seem to be bombarded with commentary about what's wrong with America. Decisions are made based on what is politically correct, not on what the majority wants. While we profess to be more tolerant than in years past, sometimes our actions would indicate otherwise. However, this morning I started thinking about the reasons I love being a part of this country.

I appreciate the fact that I am relatively safe. I don't have to have bars on my windows and doors and there are not police officers with machine guns standing on corners, like there were in Chile when I was there.

I can go to church every Sunday and worship the way that I want. I have the freedom to discuss my religious views without fear.

I don't have to be secretive in my actions or hide to listen to the radio or watch television. I can use the internet when I want and don't worry that the government will choose the websites I can visit.

I can have as many children as I'd like, live where I want to, and work in whatever profession I choose. I don't have to cover my face when I'm in public, unless I choose to, and my conversations are not restricted.

I can visit beautiful places - and there are many here, visit whomever I'd like, and travel in a variety of different ways. I take for granted that I have heat, water, and electricity in my home and I don't worry that those things will be turned off for an extended period of time.

I am proud to be a part of this country and am thankful for all the freedoms I enjoy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 34 - BYU Football

I love BYU football!!! Is that a crazy thing to be thankful for?

There was a point in my very young life that I knew the names and numbers of every player on the team. The journal I kept as a 7 and 8 year old has the scores to each of the games recorded in it. I have always cheered for them, even when they've had a rough season, although I always prefer a win.

Today's game was fun to watch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 33 - Catching a Break

Today was not the best day. There are a lot of reasons why this may have been the case but none of them really matter.

After getting pulled over on my way home from work and being issued two tickets (It seems that in July, not the best month for me, my car expired. It also seems that I didn't change my address with the DMV the last time I moved), I broke down. I think the words "you've got to be kidding me", and "can't I catch a break?" actually came out of my mouth.

I was lovingly reminded that I had caught a break. Because it had been more than 90 days, my car could have been impounded and it wasn't. Other things could have happened, but they didn't. And while the last few months have not been my favorite, worse things could have happened.

So tonight, I'm thankful for those times when I'm reminded that I'm not alone, that I need to be more grateful, and that there have been several times in my life when I have indeed caught a break.

Day 32 - Good Friends

Tonight I got together with a few of my supervisors, past and present. We were missing a bunch of them and I honestly wish all could have been there. We went bowling and had dinner and it was so fun to catch up.

You'll be happy to know that I am the worst bowler of them all. However, each game got progressively better.

I was thinking as I was driving home late tonight that by next summer just about all of them will be married. It's strange to think that not too long ago some had just come home from missions, some were finishing up school, and some were trying to figure out life. Now they are husbands and wives, moms and dads, and college graduates. Basically, they're all grown up!

I rely heavily on my supervisors. Some of them worked for me during incredibly tough times, while others were there when we experienced our best year ever. All are my friends. They are the group who, more than anyone else, have experienced my good as well as my bad. They've seen me frustrated, angry, hurt, happy, excited, silly, and exhausted. They've put up with my short fuse, worked long hours by my side, and accomplished things no one thought they could.

I admire, love, and respect them and I am better because of my association with them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 31 - Home Safely

Traffic on the way home from work was crazy! I always forget before I hit the freeway that because of construction one of the lanes is closed as is my exit. Tonight, the normal 15 minute commute took me an hour.

About 45 minutes into my drive something happened. Traffic was crawling alone. The big white van behind me was tired of waiting so he decided to pass me on the shoulder. Since there was no shoulder, only the emergency pull out that is three feet long, this created quite a problem.

I don't know how he didn't hit me or how I didn't hit anyone else trying to get out of his way, but I didn't. I'm so thankful for that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 30 - Visiting Teaching

Today, right after work I went visiting teaching. I'm not a very good visiting teacher and I seem to be constantly resolving to be better. I especially stink at it when things get hard in my life, which is the time when I should be better at it. Service seems to make things less hard in our lives. Someday I'll figure that out.

Anyway, I went today and, just like always, I loved it.

After, my visiting teachers came. It's such a blessing to have them in my home. We could talk for hours. I love the spirit they bring into my home and I especially love that come because they want to, not because they have to.

Sister Thompson in the last General Women's Conference made this statement, "Because we follow the example of and teachings of Jesus Christ, we value this sacred assignment to love, know, serve, understand, teach, and minister in His behalf."

My visiting teachers do this - minister in His behalf - and I am thankful for them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 29 - Time Change

Tonight I'm thankful for this time change. I hate the one in the spring. It takes me months to adjust, but I love the one in the fall. This morning I left for work at 7, and it was light outside. I know it won't last, but I appreciate it while it does. Also, I will admit to loving the extra hour of sleep. I really needed it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 28 - My Parents

Our lesson in Relief Society today was on being good mothers. There have been times in my life when it was almost unbearable to sit through one of those lessons. Other than making it back Home, there is nothing I want more than to be married and have a family. Not one thing. However, growing up a bit and realizing that I will at some point have that blessing usually makes those lessons enjoyable.

Today, however, I left after class with a lot of questions. After thinking about it for a while, I called my parents and my dad answered the phone. We had a great conversation, he put some things into perspective, and I felt better.

I am so thankful for good parents, for wise parents, and for parents who love me unconditionally. There have been several times in my life when hard things have happened when I just wanted to go home and talk to my mom and dad. I knew that sitting on the couch next to my mom I could cry and she would put her arm around me and stroke my head. Sometimes she would cry with me and she always has an opinion on how to fix everything.

My dad is a great listener. He rarely tells you what to do, but asks questions until you figure it out. He used to do that when he'd help me with math problems and it would drive me crazy! I just wanted the answer! But, asking me questions and letting me talk things out has been so helpful.

From them, my testimony began to grow. From them, I began to understand who I am. From them, I began to realize just how much my Father loves me.

I am so thankful to be their daughter!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 27 - Grandma's Funeral

Today was my Grandma's funeral. The weather was perfect. One never would have guessed that it was a Saturday in November.

I got to play the organ, something that under normal circumstances causes me much stress since I'm not an organist. However, I really enjoy playing for funerals, especially if I know the person well. I spend a lot of time thinking about what music they would want played. For postlude today I played Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. I hope she liked it.

The special musical number kind of fell apart at the last minute and so we scrambled to find something else. Some of the grand kids sang Lord, I Would Follow Thee, which I accompanied. They sounded amazing, honestly, and the song really brought a sweet feeling to the meeting.

My dad spoke. I always love listening to him speak. He talked about the need for families and how we should not let anything drive us away from them. He talked about kneeling at the feet of the Savior and having Him tell us that we were not as bad as we thought we were. Sister Beck in our regional conference a month or so ago made a similar comment. I thought about that a lot today. We need to constantly be working to be better, but sometimes we are really hard on ourselves. We forget the Atonement helps us, not just everyone else we know.

Today, I am thankful for the things I learned, for the spirit I felt, and, once again, to be able to be with family as we paid a final tribute to my Grandma Keddington.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 26 - Extended Family

I know I've already said that I'm thankful for my family, but today I saw members of my extended family who I haven't seen for years. We were at my grandma's viewing. People flew in or drove in from all parts of the country. It was so nice to be able to catch up, to see where people are and what they are doing, and to realize that none of us have aged at all!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 25 - Philosophy

My current class is a philosophy class. I spent the better part of the evening reading about ideas from different philosophers. Some of it was very fascinating. Some of it was a little ridiculous. But all of it made me very thankful for what I know to be true.

I'm so thankful to know with surety from where I came. I'm thankful to know that I have a loving Father in Heaven and that I am His daughter. That knowledge helps me during those times when I feel alone or when things are hard. It also brings me much joy and peace.

I'm thankful to know that I am a part of something bigger, that this life is not the end, and if I work hard here, making the necessary course corrections, not only will I be welcomed into the arms of those loved ones who have gone on before, but also into the arms of the Savior. This also brings me much peace and joy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 24 - A Productive Work Day

Today I'm thankful for all I was able to get finished at work today. This is a crazy time of year in retail. While we're not busy with customers, we are feeling overloaded with product and since our stockroom is ridiculously small, it feels like we're always behind. So while it was a very long day, I was able to get schedules done for the rest of the year, get the rest of the Christmas product out on the floor, and clean up some messes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 23 - My Grandma

Today, right before noon, my Grandma Keddington passed away. The last few days I've been thinking of my earliest memories with Grandma. I thought she had the most beautiful house I'd ever seen. I loved to look at all her dolls and her pictures.

I remember as a little girl spending Christmas Eve at her house and then going back for breakfast the next morning. I loved to see all my cousins, looked forward to sitting on Santa's lap, and loved the meal that Grandma would cook. We would watch the Wizard of Oz in the basement, waiting for Santa, and we would wait to hear the jingle bells.

I'm not sure how old I was when she started taking us to the Nutcracker. We did it every year for a long time. I felt so grown up when I was there.

When I was eight years old, right before I got baptized, she took me shopping - just me. She bought me a beautiful dress, which I still have in the cedar chest that she gave me when I turned 16, some shiny black shoes and some new tights. I felt like a princess.

When I was 12 I got to go to Hawaii with her, my aunts and cousins, and my mom. It was just the girls and it was such a memorable trip. It was the first time I'd been on an airplane or had been to the beach. I loved it.

I remember her trips to Europe. She would make sure to send each one of us a postcard telling about her adventures. I really looked forward to these.

Grandma lived a long and full life. She served and loved. She took care of people.

I love you, Grandma, I'm thankful for you, and I'll miss you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 22 - A Little Behind

I'm a little behind, having missed yesterday. It's not that there was nothing to be thankful for. Yesterday I left church early in order to attend another sacrament meeting. When I got in the car there was a message from my mom letting me know that my Grandma Keddington wasn't doing very well an wasn't expected to make it through the night. I headed to Bountiful with my family and haven't made it back home yet.

During the last two days I've had many thoughts running through my mind. I've been reminded how much we are loved and what a beautiful thing Heavenly Father's plan is. I'm so thankful for the things I know to be true, that this life is not the end but only a preparation for what's next.

As my sweet Grandma struggles and waits during her final few hours on this earth, I'm thankful for the knowledge that Grandpa and others who have gone on before are there, waiting for her.