Monday, November 30, 2009


When there is an unusual call on the voicemail and then your mother calls and asks if you are sitting down, you know it will be bad new. I just didn't know how bad.

My best friend from high school has died. She was hiking in Zion National Park in Utah and fell several hundred feet to her death. I read that in most places on the steep, narrow trail where she was hiking, there were chains to hang on to. But not it this particular spot. She was by herself, but nearby hikers saw her fall and called 911. Her husband was supposed to meet her at a certain place at a certain time and when she wasn't there, he went to the ranger station. She fell around 2 pm on Friday, and they recovered her body around 6:30 pm.

Her daughter called me late last night. That was a tough phone call.

We had kept in touch all these years. I was her maid of honor 30 years ago, and she drove over 600 miles and slept in her car to be at my wedding 21 years ago. I could always be sure I would receive at least one card on my birthday every year and it would be from her.

We met in junior high when her family moved into our district. We were best friends in high school even though we had different interests and different activities. She forgave me when I did a bad job streaking her hair, she forgave me when I did a bad job making her a dress out of a beautiful cream color brocade fabric, she forgave me whenever I acted like an idiot, which, as a teenager (oh, who am I kidding? I still act like an idiot on a regular basis) I was wont to do.

And now she has passed on, leaving a husband, three (grown) children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, friends. And me.

A Month of Gratitude #30--The End

I am grateful that I gave myself the challenge to write a post for every day of November to express that for which I am grateful. And I did it! Yea for me!!! And I didn't even dip into the shallow end of the pool and talk about things like chocolate, or Simon Baker, or YouTube. It really made me examine my life and ponder all of my blessings. Now, what will December bring?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #29

I am grateful for the power of prayer; grateful for the knowledge that God is mindful of me; grateful to know that He will direct my path; grateful to know that my prayers will be heard and answered in God's own way and in God's own time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #28

I am grateful for things that make me laugh. My daughter, my husband, commercials, The Big Bang Theory, my friend Roy...all of these can elicit a hearty belly laugh on occasion. Laughter can ease a sad or tense situation. It can help healing. It makes things easier. Life is better with laughter.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #27

I am grateful to be a citizen of the United States of America. "I'm proud to be an American..." Politics and problems aside, this is a great country, and I feel extremely blessed that I live here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #26

happy thanksgiving!

I am grateful that I live in this time and in this place of great abundance. When I see scenes of people in places less priviledged that this, I wonder how they would react to see our big grocery/mass merchandise stores like Meijer or Walmart and see all that food, all that stuff, all in one place. It is no wonder that people think Americans are rich. We are, I am richly blessed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #25

I am grateful for my calling in the church. To anyone who knows what it is, stop laughing! I mean it. First, I am grateful that there are people who even think I could do it and actually called me to the position. Second, I am grateful for the people with whom I serve. Finer people you will not find anywhere. Not even in Utah. (That was a joke, by the way. The Utah part, I mean.) Third, I am grateful that I am struggling along the best I can to get it done. It is rather all-encompassing. There is really not a time I can sit back and take a break because there is always something else to do and something else to plan for. Fourth, it is actually kind of fun sometimes. Whew.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #24

I am grateful for internet shopping. Especially at this time of year. Sit down at the computer for an hour, a few days later, packages magically appear at your door. Shopping done. Is that great, or what? Not to say that I don't shop locally, because I do a lot of that, too. But for certain items, for certain people, internet shopping is the way to go. Especially if you can snag free shipping. Bonus!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #23

I am grateful for our health insurance. It is the best coverage we have ever had. It rivals the best health insurance we had when we were teachers back when it wasn't a crime for teachers to have good health insurance. K is getting braces, mostly paid for by the insurance; we all get new glasses every year, mostly paid for by the insurance. It is excellent, and we don't take it for granted. Not one little bit.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #22

I am grateful for the people in this community who are committed to make good music available for free, donations accepted (and encouraged, but still, free). There are two groups who come to mind whose musical offerings I have enjoyed over the last few years. They both provide wonderful musical experiences of top notch quality. And I love live music. I really love big music.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #21

I am grateful for teachers. I have had many, many wonderful ones and really hardly any not so wonderful ones. I don't know when, I don't know how, but at some point between the time I graduated from high school and the time I finished my own first year of teaching, teachers became the bad guys. They get paid too much, their health insurance is too good, they only work six hours a day, they have three months off in the summer, they have too many days off during the school year, blah blah blah. Well, let me tell you what. As someone who actually did teach school for fifteen years, let me tell you, being a teacher is a difficult, isolating, mostly thankless job. And the better you are at it, the harder it is. A teacher is not just working when she/he is with students. There is the planning, the correcting and grading (oh my gosh, the correcting) and, in my case, the shopping. Anyone wonder why I'm not a teacher anymore? I wish that anyone who criticizes teachers on a wholesale basis had to do the job for a week. The real job.

This reminds me of something funny (true/funny) that I read in Gourmet magazine back when I was a teacher. The quote was, "I used to be a middle school music teacher, which had nothing to do with either teaching or music." Any teacher can relate. Especially those wonderful souls who do teach middle school.

Not only am I grateful for the teachers I had, I am also grateful to the excellent teachers who taught my daughter. I was, with very few exceptions, very impressed with those who taught her. Thank you!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #20

I am grateful for good examples; those people who do things I want to do and do them well and those people who have characteristics I aspire to have. The world needs heroes, especially the quiet, kind ones who don't expect thanks or glory. I am thankful to these people, both real and imaginary (like those on the internet.) ;o)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #19

I am grateful for good books. And the ability to read those books. I have always loved to read. I am thankful for all of those talented people who have written good books to educate, to enlighten, and to entertain.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #18

I am grateful that I know how to sew. I has brought me much pleasure over the years. It is a great life skill to have, it is a great frugal skill to have, it is a great service skill to have. I would wager that I have done way more sewing for other people than I have for myself. And I always have more projects than time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #17

I am grateful that, although she is 1600 miles away from me, my daughter is getting to know my family and seeing how a functional family works. For example, my family gets together once a month for dinner, each taking turns hosting and bringing part of the meal. They have traditions for most, if not all of the holidays. They get together the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving for Dessert Night (because they are always too full after Thanksgiving dinner to eat the desserts.) Is that cool or what?

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #16

I am grateful for music. It is a powerful influence in my life and the source of much enjoyment. Music can amplify feelings of joy and good will and spirituality. I always have a song in my heart. Well, at least in my mind.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #15

I am grateful for the freedom to worship how, where, and what I may. I am grateful for the Church and the blessings my membership has brought to me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #14

I am grateful for the technology that allows me, even though we are separated by 1600 miles, to be able to talk to my daughter anytime, anywhere. It sure makes life a lot better.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Another Friday Fill-In

I'm on a roll! Click the button on the sidebar to play.

1. The last band I saw live was the local high school marching band. Oh, that's not what you meant? Then I guess it was maybe Crosby, Stills and Nash. If that doesn't date me, nothing will.

2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is going to Michillinda Lodge. Fabulous food, wonderful view, no cooking, and no cleaning up.

3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is started.

4. Thoughts of spending time at home doing things around the house fill my head.

5. I wish I could wear sexier shoes.

6. Bagpipes make me wish to visit Scotland.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to spending time at home, tomorrow my plans include doing some volunteer work, and Sunday, I want to watch The Amazing Race!

A Month of Gratitude #13

I am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know it can work miracles and change hearts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #12

I am grateful for my sisters. I have two, both are younger. The sister just younger than me married much younger than I did and had children way before I did, so she is someone I have gone to for advice and counsel many times. My younger sister is, and always will be, the baby of the family. She is lots of fun to be around and keeps everyone on track. I regret living so far away from them, but I am glad that my daughter now lives near them and is getting to know them. (And they store her stuff in the summer when she come home!) At some point, I would really like to live closer to them.

Note: I also have a brother who is (much) older than I am :0) who I also love, but he isn't, you know, a sister.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #11

I am grateful that I live in a time when there is the knowledge available to correct bad vision. Is it weird to even think about that? I think about it on occasion. I have worn glasses since I was in the third grade. It's not like I'm almost blind or anything, but my vision is bad. If I lived in a time when corrective eye glasses were not available, there are a lot of things I would have never been able to do. Or see. So I am grateful for my glasses!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #10

I am grateful for the beautiful world I live in. "I am happy today for the sunshine..." We have had nicer weather so far in November than we did in October. Although I love a rainy day at home, I am generally happier if the sun is shining.

I am grateful for all of the beauties of nature. I love, love, loved driving across the country with Star the August I took her out to college the first time. It was so interesting to see the way the landscape changed as we left the shoreline of Lake Michigan and headed West. I am looking forward to taking that same trip by train in April.

I am grateful for blogs on the internet that post pictures of beauty around the world and for The Amazing Race that shows beauties of nature I may never see any other way.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #9

I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for the friends I have now and the friends I have had over the years. I am grateful for the friends who live close and for the friends who are far away. I am grateful for my imaginary internet friends and for my telephone friends. I am grateful that I have had a diverse group of friends and for the different perspective they have given me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #8

I am thankful that the program I was in charge of last night, Young Women in Excellence, is over. Done for another year. Overall, I am pleased with how it went and learned some things to apply for next year. We have some lovely, talented, amazing young women. And some really wonderful leaders. I feel blessed to be serving where I am.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #7

I am grateful for my heritage. I am grateful for the family I was born into, for my grandparents and the wonderful examples they have been to me. I am thankful for all of my ancestors and the things they did and the people they were. This heritage has been my rock, has grounded me, has given me depth, has strengthened my faith.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Finally, A Friday Fill-In

I haven't done one of these in forever. Click the button on the sidebar to play along!

1. Plans and schedules are what keep me on task .

2. I'm happy when things go along smoothly .

3. The last thing I drank was water .

4. One of the most valuable things in my life is my family .

5. I like almost anything on my pizza.

6. Dear November, lets just keep things on the warm, dry side. Save all that cold, yucky stuff for December, or better yet, January. Ok? Thanks .

A Month of Gratitude #6

I should back up a bit and say how grateful I am for my daughter. Not just that she is 19 and, for all intents and purposed, "raised."

I am so grateful that if I were only to have one child, which is exactly what happened, that the child would be a girl. At every age and every stage, I have said, this is such a fun age! And it truly was. Not that life was perfect, but it was good! And fun.

I have never been a perfect parent and have made a lot of mistakes. But in spite of all of that, things have turned out quite well.

My daughter is smart, creative, hard-working, funny, fun to be around, a good cook, and talented in many ways. She is not afraid of a challenge. In fact, she continually challenges herself in most areas of her life. She knows how to work hard, she is not afraid to work hard, and she does work hard.

I am also extremely grateful that, after receiving her first proposal of marriage this past week, that she said no!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #5

I am grateful for my husband. He is smart, funny, and fun to be with. He is a wonderful father and a great cook. He works hard and puts his family first. He has taken a huge leap this past year, and I am so amazed at how well he has pressed on and taken up this new adventure with gusto. He is the heart of my heart and the light of my eyes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #4

I am grateful that my husband and I are both employed. Although we don't have our "ideal" jobs, we are thankful that we have jobs and can take care of the necessities of life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #3

I am grateful that my daughter, my only child, is 19. I am thankful that we were led to the place where we raised her, because I think she was able to have a unique set of opportunities that led her to be who she is today. We are very blessed by the people who were put into her life to help shape her character and personality. We were lucky to have dodged some of the situations all parents worry about when raising teen-agers. I pray every day that things in the future will go as well as things have gone in the past.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #2

I am extremely grateful for the changes that have happened in our family in the past year. It was a long time coming, and sometimes I thought it would never happen. But it did, and progress continues to be made. Goals we have in sight seem to be coming closer. A major one will happen on Sunday, if all goes well.

Yea, us!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #1

I am grateful that we have had such a beautiful Autumn. It has been, in spite of all of the rain, breathtakingly beautiful. It is my favorite time on the year, in spite of the rain. The Coach and I did manage to take our annual Fall Tour, in spite of the rain, and had a wonderful time.