Thursday, November 30, 2017

for my testimony

I've been putting up Christmas decorations all morning. As I've been working, I've been thinking about what makes this time of year feel so special. I've decided that for me, it is because I am more focused on Jesus Christ. From the songs I have playing on repeat as I cook dinner, to the nativities I have scattered around my living room, to the plans I am making with my family this month to serve and give and love, everything is centered around Jesus Christ and His miraculous birth. I know that because He came to earth as a little baby and grew to a man who suffered and died for me, I can be forgiven when I make a mistake. I don't ever need to feel alone because He is there and He has felt what I feel. He knows me, He loves me, and He wants to bless me. Because of Jesus Christ, my life is possible--this wonderful, happy, difficult life that stretches me and teaches me and brings me so much joy. I am grateful for Him, and I look forward to celebrating His birth this month.

And in case you are feeling a little tense with Christmas preparations, here's a nice little thought from Elder Christofferson: "I think it's appropriate this time of year to just think about that baby in the manger. Don't be too overwhelmed or occupied with what is to come; just think about that little baby. Take a quiet, peaceful moment to ponder the beginning of His life--the culmination of heavenly prophecy but the earthly beginning for Him. Take time to relax, to be at peace, and see this child in your mind. Do not be too concerned or overwhelmed with what is coming in His life or in yours. Instead, take a peaceful moment to contemplate perhaps the most serene moment in the history of the world--when all of heaven rejoiced with the message 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."

Welcome, Christmas!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

for errands by bike

I had some packages to mail this morning, so I rode my bike to the post office, about a 6 mile round trip. I could have driven, but the weather was nice and I had the time, so I rode instead. Our town is pretty ideal for bike riding (from October to April, at least). The roads are flat and set on a grid. There are canal paths and wide bike lanes. And it hardly ever rains. I feel really lucky to be able to run most of my errands by bike. I am thankful to have the flexibility, time, and health to allow it. There is something really peaceful about riding my bike instead of driving. It feels more deliberate. And I like to feel the wind on my face and to hear it rush past my ears. I always come home with a smile on my face when I've been on my bike.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

for citrus season

We inherited lots of mature citrus trees in our backyard, and citrus season is almost here! Hooray! Just a couple more weeks until we have freshly squeezed orange juice in our fridge and orange slices with dinner every night. When we bought our house, I didn't realize what a blessing those trees would be. I am thankful for them (and for the original homeowners who planted them almost 40 years ago!).

Monday, November 27, 2017

for mondays

On Mondays I give myself a break. I ease myself in to the new week. I go down to the basement to assess the weekend mess and I tidy, but I don't clean. I look at my schedule and set my priorities. I do not let myself feel overwhelmed.

I am thankful for this weekend-recovery day. I try to spend it at home, in the quiet stillness of an empty house, putting everything back together again.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

for the #LightTheWorld Christmas campaign

Yesterday, I sat down to make a list of things to do with my family this Christmas season, but after just a few ideas I was feeling stumped. I have learned that having the Christmas spirit in our home takes planning and some work on my part, but I wasn't sure what to do about it this year. And then I remembered the #LightTheWorld Christmas campaign on What is the #LightTheWorld campaign? As it says on the website, "No season of the year shines as bright as Christmas--and the brightest light is Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Once again we celebrate His birth by making Christmastime a season of service. Join us this year as we learn His teachings and follow His example to #LightTheWorld."

I was immediately filled with gratitude for this program. Every day from December 1 until Christmas, there is a scripture, a short video, and a few activities to do as a family that will guarantee that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in your home. I printed off the calendar and copied down one activity to do each day, which I'll put into our nativity advent calendar. Most of the activities won't take more than a few minutes to complete, but I am very much looking forward to spending a little bit of time each day with my family, celebrating Christmas by following the example of Jesus Christ.

There's more info on my sidebar, if you'd like to check it out!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

for eyeglasses

Stella has been complaining of headaches for the past few weeks, and new glasses are on her Christmas list, so we got her eyes checked today. Eyeglasses are such a marvel! Both of my girls are nearsighted, and I often think about what their lives would be like if they didn't have access to good sight. I am forever grateful that we are able to provide it for them.

Friday, November 24, 2017

for good attitudes

We stopped at the Mogollon Rim on our way home from the cabin to take some Christmas card pictures. I don't think anyone really wanted to do it, but they did it anyway, and without any grumbling, even. They had such great attitudes and made each other laugh the whole time. I am thankful for these happy people.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

for togetherness

We went to Mike's parents' cabin in the mountains for Thanksgiving. It was just his parents and us, which gave us lots of time together without distractions, and I realized that we are happiest when we are together. I am thankful for this little family Heavenly Father has blessed me with, and I am thankful for the time we get to spend together.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

for tradition

I don't love that we still have school the day before Thanksgiving, but our elementary's annual Turkey Trot kind of makes up for it. It is one of my favorite traditions. This time of year is full of traditions, and I think that's what makes it so great. I am excited to gather with family tomorrow and eat the traditional turkey and take the traditional nap and maybe go for the traditional walk to make room for the traditional pie. :) My family has so much to be thankful for, and I hope we take the time to acknowledge that together.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

for improvement

Mike and I have been terribly inconsistent with our weight training for the past few months, probably because our weight bench is in our unairconditioned Arizona room. But now that the weather is nice again, I have been lifting weights twice a week. I love the way it makes me feel. It is not something I ever thought I would enjoy, and I am grateful that Mike got us started on it a couple of years ago. Now that I think about it, most of our good habits originate with Mike and I am thankful for his constant desire for improvement. He is a problem solver and he is always looking for ways to do things better. I am the total opposite! I would happily practice mediocrity for the rest of my life, and so I am grateful for the way he inspires me to try harder and be better.

(We use the StrongLifts 5x5 app. It is simple and straightforward and only takes about 30 minutes.)

Monday, November 20, 2017

for carpools

Another mom and I take turns driving our girls to their early morning A hour class, and this week is NOT my week to drive, and I am so grateful.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

for words of wisdom

Everyday my mom sends a scripture or quote to her posterity via email. I love seeing them pop up in my inbox. Usually it is something that I need to hear that day. I loved this quote from Elder Nelson that she sent this morning. I feel a heavy weight on my shoulders in my responsibilities at church right now, so it was nice to be reminded that if I follow Jesus Christ, I will be able to accomplish the impossible. I am thankful that my mom started sending these daily emails a couple of years ago. I feel like they help bind my family together, even though we are scattered across the country.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

for bike rides

Elliot stayed up too late last night and was having a hard time this afternoon. So we fixed his bike (it needed a new tube) and went on a bike ride together. The weather was perfect, and one on one time was just what we both needed. He gets really chatty when we go on bike rides, and I am thankful for the nice visit we had together.

Friday, November 17, 2017

for food I didn't cook

Mike and I are the worst at taking selfies, but I wanted to document our dinner out tonight. I am thankful that Mike and I were able to slip away for an hour and enjoy a meal together, for fish tacos and salty chips, for a few sips of Dr Pepper and a night off of dish duty.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

for stella

Stella turns 10 today! When Stella was born, she had a hard time latching on. She would cry and cry and not really be able to nurse very well. We ended up supplementing her with formula and she became the easy, contented baby that she still is today. Stella hates to be a bother. She says thank you after every meal, is quick to do chores, and transitioned to her new, more difficult school just fine.  She is the best friend--thoughtful and considerate, and would like nothing more than a day at home, crafting and playing. I am grateful to have her sweet spirit in our family! She is a joy.