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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Goodbye, Aunt Lois


The world lost a wonderful woman yesterday and heaven gained a special angel. For the 32+ years, Darrell and I have been married, I have admired a woman in our ward named Lois Wheeler. Maybe 5 feet tall and 100 lbs if she's lucky. But one of the greatest examples of love, compassion, devotion, and generosity all rolled into one. I was fortunate to be one of those she "adopted" into her family and I often received of her love. She was beautiful inside and out.

Some called her Sister Wheeler, but we have several of those in our ward. Some who had known her long enough called her Lois. Her children called her Mama and the grandchildren called her Nin. I feel blessed that I could call her Aunt Lois. She truly made me feel part of the family. And then our youngest daughter married one of Aunt Lois' grandsons! Now we were official!

I can just imagine the reunion between Aunt Lois and her beloved husband. I'm sure there were many waiting to greet her and welcome her to heaven. And I can bet that Shana was waiting in that line, as well. What a marvelous blessing to know we will be reunited with loved ones again. I heard someone say not long ago that those we've lost are just around the corner. We can't see them, but we know they're there. Just around the corner. And before we know it, we'll go around that corner and what a wonderful reunion we'll have!

So maybe I won't say good bye to Aunt Lois. Maybe just "see you later".


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Go Big Orange!


Darrell's beloved UT Vols pulled out a big win tonight. They beat Kentucky 28-10. We usually have several people over to watch the games and celebrate (or commiserate) together. We've done more than our share of commiserating this year. My MIL had her after Thanksgiving dinner at the same time as the game, so unfortunately we couldn't share this victory. So I'm letting all you dear readers in on our joy! Celebrate with us!

All together now: "Good Ole Rocky Top! Rocky Top, Tennessee!!"

Wish that I was on ole rocky top,
Down in the tennessee hills.
Ain't no smoggy smoke on rocky top,
Ain't no telephone bills.

Once I had a girl on rocky top,
Half bear the other half cat.
Wild as a mink, but sweet as soda pop,
I still dream about that.

Rocky top, you'll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good ole rocky top,
Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.

Once two strangers climbed ole rocky top,
Lookin for a moonshine still.
Strangers ain't come back from rocky top,
Reckon they never will.

Corn won't grow at all on rocky top,
Dirt's too rocky by far.
That's why all the folks on rocky top
Get their corn from a jar.

Rocky top, you'll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good ole rocky top,
Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.

Now I've had years of cramped up city life,
Trapped like a duck in a pen
All I know is it's a pity
Life can't be simple again.

Rocky top, you'll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good ole rocky top,
Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.

Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.
Yeah rocky top tennesee eee eee eee.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tired

Tonight I am thankful for grandchildren. We are having a sleepover with all the grandkids (except Grant). We've had pizza, cookies, tantrums, treasure hunts, and horseback rides. Tomorrow morning, Pa will make waffles for everyone. But right now is my favorite part of the whole process--bedtime! I use the term loosely. All but one are at least laying down watching cartoons. They are talking, giggling, tickling, and playing with flashlights. But they are laying down.

Listen for a minute...Hear that? It's the hot tub calling to me, followed closely by my pillow. I love my pillow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Short Today

I am thankful Lauren, Cam, and the kids arrived safely from Baton Rouge! And I'm especially thankful that their other grandparents didn't mind us coming over to visit at 9:30pm!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Have a Little Sister

And today is her birthday. Happy Birthday, Sharon! Most of you may not find this significant, unless you know how I grew up. Sharon is my half-sister and we did not grow up together. We did see each other occasionally, but if I remember right, I saw her in 1972, then not again until 2006. Since that time, we've become great friends. We email and talk on the phone (though not enough and that's usually my fault). She lives in South Carolina and works full-time, so we don't visit as often as either of us would like.

But just knowing I have a little sister out there who loves me is enough for now. Being able to say that is a wonder to me. And probably always will be.

I love you, lil sis!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Now I HAVE to do this---

Tagged again! And if you look at #33, you'll see I have to do this! Or I guess I could NOT do it and prove Laura wrong! Nah...

Type only one word for each answer:
1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your significant other? fishing
3. Your hair? better
4. Your mother? 90
5. Your father? retired
6. Your favorite thing? love
7. Your dream last night? none
8. Your favorite drink? Diet Mt Dew
9. Your dream/goal? peace
10. The room you're in? kitchen
11. Your fear? rejection
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? patient
15. Muffins/donuts? donuts
16. One of your wish list items? money
17. Where you grew up? Clarksville
18. The last thing you did? eat
19. What are you wearing? pajamas
20. Your TV? addiction
21. Your pet? none
22. Your computer? fun
23. Your life? stressful
24. Your mood? calm
25. Missing someone? yes
26. Favorite pastime? reading
27. Something you're not wearing? shoes
28. Favorite Store? walmart
29. Your summer? HOT
30. Your favorite color? red
31. When is the last time you laughed? today
32. Last time you cried? today
33. Who will re-post this? unknown

FOUR THINGS
34. Four places I go over and over? church, Walmart, Sams, home
35. Four people who e-mail me? Lauren, Susan, Sharon, Liz
36. Four of my favorite foods? pizza, chocolate, mexican, banana pudding
37. Four places I would like to be right now? massage, sleeping, hot tub, Baton Rouge
38. Four people I tag? Lauren, Nicole, Marlena, Liz

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Relief Society

I am grateful for Relief Society, the women's organization of our church. I have always loved Relief Society and am thankful to be a part of it. It's been my privilege to serve as a teacher and a member of the local presidency on occasion. But I especially love sitting in our classes on Sunday and being taught by women who share my beliefs, values, and love of the Savior. We have a different sister teach each Sunday, so we get a wide variety of viewpoints and teaching methods. It's a wonderful opportunity! Right now, the fourth Sunday of each month is taught by a young (early 30s) sister named Amy. Amy amazes me with her wit, her honesty, and her insights. Her lessons are my favorites. I appreciate her preparation, since she has four small children at home. I'm sure it's not easy for her and I want her to know how much her efforts are appreciated by at least one member of the class.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I am thankful

I am thankful that it's Saturday night and my Sunday School lesson is already prepared. That's what I'm usually doing at this time. Not that I've waited till the last minute, but I've not gotten it all together yet. This week I made time each day to read and study, so now I can spend Saturday night doing other things.

I am thankful for a husband who gives his free time to help others. Darrell spent all yesterday afternoon helping a friend and last night feeding the boys at church. Today he and Clayton helped Erika's family move to their new house.

I am thankful for modern conveniences that make my life easier. Like a washer and dryer, microwave, dishwasher, etc. Not to mention indoor plumbing (especially when it's cold outside) and a car to get me where I want to go.

I am thankful for children who phone me, not once but several times a day to let me know what's going on in their lives. I am thankful they want to share the good and bad times with me. I am thankful they are interested in my opinion (even if they don't always take my advice).

I am thankful for this outlet. It's often easier to write my feelings rather than vocalize them.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Telling On Myself x 2

I should not be allowed near a stove--it's just a mishap waiting to happen. I can't tell you how many times I've had to make an emergency run to the grocery on Thanksgiving Day, because I ran out of or didn't have a necessary ingredient. Sometimes I've left a half-finished bowl of something while I went to the store--occasionally leaving the oven on the whole time I was gone!

Today was another example of my ineptness in the kitchen. Some of the boys from our church are going camping tonight (which I think is stupid in itself--the low tonight is 19!!) and Darrell was asked to fix dinner for the group before they head out. He decided on chili and cornbread. Darrell made the chili last night while I was at FlyLady class. And I was to make the cornbread this afternoon while he was busy doing other things. I made the first batch and everything was fine. Then I mixed up the second batch and decided to let it 'rest' a few minutes. I am addicted to a computer game and started playing it while the dough was resting. After a couple of minutes, I realized I hadn't set the timer on the oven. I set it for 15 minutes and went back to my game. Imagine my surprise when the timer went off and I opened the oven door only to find an empty oven! Where was my pan of cornbread? I looked over to the counter to see it still resting in the bowl waiting to go into the pan. Should be really good considering the time it rested!

I needed this to happen today. Thanksgiving is next week and it'll be the third without Shana. I woke up this morning feeling down and could feel myself starting that downward spiral. Thought if I did some Christmas shopping, that might help. But listening to the radio isn't a good idea when one is in a melancholy mood. Shana loved Rascal Flatts and of course one of the first songs was one of theirs. It seemed like every song I heard reminded me of her.

Shana's last Thanksgiving wasn't really a good one. She had to work till mid-afternoon and Clayton had to go in about that same time. Neither Holly nor Lauren and their families could be with us. I had decided I wasn't even going to bother with a Thanksgiving dinner. Then that morning, I changed my mind. Darrell, Clayton, and I ate about noon. Instead of enjoying the day, I was in a funk because all my family couldn't be here. When Shana came home from work, she fixed herself a plate and ate alone at the kitchen table. I was on the couch in the living room and felt prompted to at least go sit with her, but I didn't. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. I have a hard time forgiving myself for not following that whispering of the spirit.

Don't tell me not to beat myself up over this. Regardless of what my head knows, my heart still hurts about it and it'll be something I always regret. I hope I learned from that experience though. I learned to listen to the spirit and follow its promptings. I also learned to appreciate what I have instead of what I think I should have. I'm not perfect in this yet, but I'm trying.


I missed my thankful post yesterday because I rode with Darrell on his route and didn't get home till late. So I'll be thankful for that time together yesterday. And today I'll be thankful for the spirit of the Lord and its guidance.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Son

It's a wonderful thing when your grown-up children want to spend time with you. Tonight Clayton invited me to go Christmas shopping with him. I truly appreciate him wanting my opinion and asking me along. He's not always a big talker, so I try to take advantage when the moment arises. Since Clayton is our only son, I like to think we have a special mother/son bond. (Don't burst my bubble if you know differently.) We actually think a lot alike. I know sometimes I drive him crazy. I can be vocal about what I think, especially when I believe one of my children is hurting. Sometimes I talk when I should be listening. I love my son dearly and appreciate his spirit and his strength and compassion. He has grown into a wonderful man.

P.S. I didn't mention the uncanny way he has of being able to tell EXACTLY when his music is driving me nuts! He's always been able to turn it to something more my style just before I ask him to. I think he prides himself on this ability.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hawaii Anyone?

I know it's only mid-November, but I'm COLD! And I hate to be cold!! It's only gonna be in the 20s tonight. Earlier this afternoon, I got cold and it was bone deep. Luckily, I had the hot tub to finally warm me up.

Tonight I am thankful for the promise of warm weather in...what, six months or so?

Teething Biscuit Recipe

Found this on SavingDinner.com and wanted to share. Thought some of you new mommies might like to try it. I think the website is something you have to pay for, but if you look under Archives, you'll find a long list of free recipes that look yummy!

Teething Cookie recipe:Yield apx. 24 dozen
Ingredients:1 egg yolk, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon molasses or maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup milk or baby formula or water, etc (depending on baby's age)
1 tablespoon uncooked oatmeal (optional)
1 cup flour (buck wheat, whole wheat, white or combo mix)

Preheat your oven to 350.
In your mixer add the first 5 ingredients (wet ingredients) and mix to blend. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until you have a stiff dough. You can either spoon the dough onto an un-greased cookie sheet using a tablespoon or cookie scoop (I like a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop). Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Allow to cool. Keep sealed in a plastic zip top bag until ready for baby to enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Friends

Today I am thankful for friends--especially those who read and COMMENT on this blog. I'm sure it's not the most interesting, but I appreciate your participation. I'm thankful for those family members who are also friends--not always an easy feat.

And I'm thankful for friends who are invited to dinner and bring most of the food!! Tonight we grilled steaks and Connell and Liz brought the bulk of the meal: green beans, peas, salad, real mashed potatoes, stuffing, and key lime pie (one of my favorites). Almost two hours later, I'm sitting here still stuffed to the gills!

We'll probably just skip the scale in the morning....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

If I Had Only Known...


If I had known last night what I know now, my thankful post for yesterday would have been different.

A few weeks ago, our church had stake conference and a person from another ward spoke. He mentioned how he had had a beard for a long time and how proud he was of his beard. Apparently, it was long and full and he would spend quite a bit of time grooming it. He took way too much pride in this beard. The vast majority of men in our church are clean-shaven, a look encouraged for all males. As a gesture of obedience, he had finally shaved off his beard.

For those of you who don't know, Darrell has had at least a mustache for almost all the time I've known him (if you start from 1975 when we actually met). I can count on one hand the number of times he's been completely bare-faced. Nothing against clean-shaven men, but once you've kissed someone with a mustache and/or beard, there's no going back. It's like kissing a boiled egg! That's my opinion, anyway.

Darrell has been thinking for a while that he should shave his beard off. We've talked about it off and on--he knows how much I like it and was deferring to me. When this brother spoke at stake conference, it really pricked Darrell's heart. He kept whispering to me that he felt like this brother was speaking directly to him. I would whisper back that he didn't take pride in his beard like this other guy was talking about, so it didn't apply. Last night, Darrell brought it up again and I realized that he was feeling pretty strongly about shaving and it must be weighing heavily on his mind. So I told him to do what he felt he needed to do.

This morning he came to me and told me to run my fingers through it one more time, because he was going to cut it off. I hope he didn't notice, but I got tears in my eyes. A bit later, Darrell came back into the bedroom looking dejected. He had shaved everything but the mustache and didn't like the result. Guess it'll take some getting used to for both of us. At church today, we sat in the back so that "no one would have to look at him" (as Darrell put it). Then he was asked to give the closing prayer--which meant of course that he had to get up in front of everyone!

As I reminded him later--I fell in love with him before he had a beard and it's not the beard that keeps me around. He's still the wonderful, sweet man I love! In case you haven't figured it out, I'm thankful that my sweetie listens to the promptings of the Spirit and is obedient. (But if I'd known his intentions yesterday, I would have written an ode to the beard.)
He won't let me post a picture---yet.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ok, this may be lame

Today I am thankful for my body. Sure, most of the time it drives me crazy--I don't weigh what I want to and I wish I could rework some parts (make some smaller and others a little larger). And I am starting to feel my age. Oh, who am I kidding? I've been feeling my age and then some for a good while now!

But you know what? I am thankful that I can hear, see fairly well, walk if not run, move, get out of bed, and do a lot of other things that I take for granted every day. Once, when one of my daughters complained about their brother, I reminded them of a classmate they had. I then told her to think about having that classmate for a brother. Put things in a whole new light for her! Same thing applies to my body. Whenever I get to feeling sorry for myself because I don't look like the models in the magazines, I can remember the man I saw today at Walmart who had no legs or my neighbors who are deaf and can't hear the laughter of their children. I can think about the dear friend from high school who died in a car wreck at age 16.

In the grand scheme of things, I really have nothing to complain about. And at least I'm on the right side of the grass!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Let's See....

Today I think I have to be thankful for the internet. It helps me keep in touch with grandchildren who are too far away. We have webcams on both ends, so they can see us as well as hear us. We get pictures and updates almost daily. And we get to view great videos. All these things are SO much better than photographs and regular phone calls. When Cassidy and Grant come to visit, they are already familiar with us and thus don't have to get used to us all over again each time.

So, thanks, Al Gore (cough, cough).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Here's Another One

Read this.....http://www.ldslivingonline.com/article.php?articleId=82645

Want a Good Laugh?

If you're in need of a good laugh, head over to craigslist and peruse the things for sale, especially the furniture. I seriously worry about some of these poor people.

At this particular moment, you will find:

a cowch
a 4 jored dresser
a 5 jored dresser
a chest of draws
rod iron patio furniture
a set tea
a kids armoria
an ahmwah

I don't laugh at the "fat-fingered" mistakes, but the obvious phonetic spellings and mispronunciations which lead to these resulting ads drives me crazy and makes me laugh out loud. I'm sorry, what can I say? I'm warped. Ya gotta find humor where you can!

I love...

Books! I have always loved books and loved to read. As a child, there weren't always other kids around for me to play with, so I found friends in the books I read. Nan and Bert from The Bobbsey Twins were some of my favorites. Of course, I loved Nancy Drew. She was so clever and brave, doing things I could never do. Then I went to elementary school and guess what was waiting there?? The Library!! I can just imagine my first venture into that vast array of books. Wonder who picked my chin up off the floor.

At the school library, I found biographies of Clara Barton, Dorothea Dix, Betsy Ross, Florence Nightingale, Dolly Madison, and others. I still remember those wonderful stories and wish I could find those particular books today. I also found great books that I have in my personal library now and still read occasionally. Like "Island of the Blue Dolphins", "A Wrinkle in Time", and "Black Beauty".

As a teenager, I would visit the library weekly with an elderly neighbor. It was fun for both of us. We'd stop for lunch on the way home at a little burger joint that's still there. When Darrell and I went to Italy, the first thing I did was find the library. The kids and I went to get library cards as soon as we moved back to Tennessee.

My mother used to complain that I always had my nose in a book. And when I had young children at home she couldn't understand how I could let things go (housework) in order to read. She doesn't like to read and didn't get the outlet reading provided for me. I tried to teach my kids to love books and love to read. I think that's something I succeeded at. When Holly was in 4th grade, she won an award for reading the second most books (over 400) in the school--not just her grade, the school. And I think Lauren and Clayton both have extensive libraries of their own. Lauren would rather spend money on books than anything else. I believe we're passing our love of books on to the next generation as well. Melody is almost as bad as the rest of us.

If you're a reader, check out Goodreads. It's a great place to find good books to read and share your own reviews.

To paraphrase Oliver Twist and his gang: "Books, wonderful books...."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Today...

I am thankful for being able to work from home. That may not last much longer, but I'm enjoying it for the time being. I worked before I had children and went back to work after they were all in school. Then in 1999, Darrell and I talked and decided we could make it on his salary alone. I was ready to leave what I was doing--I had gone about as far as I could with that company. So for the past 9 1/2 years, I've been doing Darrell's books and billing. My time is my own for the most part. I can work out, read, garden, etc. at my leisure--as long as I keep up with the invoicing and other bookkeeping. With the economy the way it is, I'm considering returning to the work force. I've applied with the local school system and am hoping to get on as an administrative assistant. The biggest bonus will be the health insurance. Wish me luck (I think).

Finally--someone on OUR side!

Found this on LDSLiving.com. After all the flak the church has been getting, it's nice to see something positive from another church.

Catholic Bishop Decries Religious Bigotry Against Mormons 11/08/2008 05:15 PM MST
SACRAMENTO - 7 November 2008 - (This news release was issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento) The following statement was released today by Bishop William Weigand, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento and former Bishop of Salt Lake City, in response to attacks on (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for supporting California’s Proposition 8, defending the traditional definition of marriage:
“Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage — the union of one man and one woman — that has been the major building block of Western Civilization for millennia.
“The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included — but so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos.
“Bigoted attacks on Mormons for the part they played in our coalition are shameful and ignore the reality that Mormon voters were only a small part of the groundswell that supported Proposition 8.
“As the former bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, I can attest to the fact that followers of the Mormon faith are a good and generous people with a long history of commitment to family and giving to community causes.
“I personally decry the bigotry recently exhibited towards the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — coming from the opponents of Proposition 8, who ironically, have called those of us supporting traditional marriage intolerant.
“I call upon the supporters of same-sex marriage to live by their own words — and to refrain from discrimination against religion and to exercise tolerance for those who differ from them. I call upon them to accept the will of the people of California in the passage of Proposition 8.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

hmmm....

This gratitude thing has been good for me. I've had to pay attention to my blessings and look for the good in everything. Not one of my strong suits.

Today I can be thankful for a lot of things. The rain--light though it was. Now the 72 pansies I planted will grow. Lower gas prices--a wonderful thing when our car takes premium gas! Chick-Fil-A fundraiser night for Melody's school--a little grandma time. Clean flannel sheets on the bed--I hate to fold sheets, so I only have two sets (one for summer and one for winter). Today's the day I made the change to winter sheets. My neck feeling better for the first time since August (thanks, April!!!). The list could go on and on, but I need to save some things--hey, I've got till the end of the month!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Appreciation

Last year we bought a hot tub--a used, older model. It was an adventure getting it up on our deck, but oh so worth it! We are fortunate to have a private deck off our bedroom and that's where we put the hot tub. On chilly nights like tonight, sitting in that hot water is heaven itself. Tonight the moon was almost full and the sky was cloudy. Just beautiful. Other times the sky is clear and the stars seem so close. We watch airplanes going in all directions--you can tell the ones taking off and landing in Nashville.

Darrell and I have some of our best conversations in the hot tub. Maybe it's the darkness that helps us open up to each other. Maybe it's the relaxation of the water. Whatever it is, I love it. Don't know how I made it all these years without a hot tub! That's what I'm grateful for today.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

And today....

I am thankful for my calling as Gospel Doctrine teacher. I've been doing this for about a year and a half and while others may not have learned much, I certainly have. I've been a member of the church since June 1976 and served in many callings (Primary teacher, Relief Society teacher, secretary, and counselor, visiting teacher coordinator, librarian, Young Women's president and advisor, Stake Young Women's secretary, Sunday School teacher). The callings I always said I would never want are the two I've enjoyed most and learned the most from. Young Women's president and Gospel Doctrine teacher.

About this time two years ago, I was praying for a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father. My desire was for a greater understanding of the Atonement and how it applied personally to me and my life. When I was asked to teach Gospel Doctrine, I laughed out loud. How could I teach these people anything--they were so far above me. Then I found out the subject matter for the year was the New Testament. What better way to grow closer to the Lord or understand the Atonement than to have to study it and teach others? So I accepted the calling and have never regretted it. This year we have studied the Book of Mormon and next year will be church history. While I don't know how much longer I'll be teaching, I want to make the most of this opportunity and learn all I can.

And from now on I won't be a member of the "hall class". I'll be in Sunday School where I belong and will have studied the lesson and will aid the teacher by participating whenever I can. Hint, hint ;-)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Today I am Thankful For...

...returning home. I like getting away, but I love coming back home. No matter how short the vacation, I get excited the closer we get to the house. I love walking in to familiar sights and smells. And I can't wait to sleep in my own bed tonight! Especially since I forgot our pillows and we had to buy cheap ones at Fred's and use them without pillowcases. Not conducive to a good night's sleep!

We may not have a mansion, but it's ours. And it's filled with love and the spirit of the Lord. I'm thankful for that and for the protection this house provides against the outside world--both acts of God and those of man.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Today's Installment

This post is coming to you early as Darrell and I are going to the lake for the weekend!! Our friends have a small house there and we are using it today and tomorrow. And so my gratitude on this day is for being able to spend time with the person I love most in the world. One of the things I like best about this place is NO CELL SERVICE!! So it's just me and him.

See ya tomorrow!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am thankful....

I'll try to make this shorter than the last two!

I am thankful to live in a part of the world that actually has seasons. As I was thanking the Lord the other day for autumn and all its beauty, I realized that there is something special about each season. I love fall when the air is clear and crisp, the leaves are turning beautiful colors, and the sweaters come out. I love how blue the sky is. I even love watching all the birds flying south. I love smelling vegetable soup or chili cooking on the stove. I love racing to the hot tub to get in the hot water. Sitting there all warm and watching the steam rise, all the while surrounded by cooler air is wonderful.

Winter is lovely in its own way. The busyness of the holidays. The outline of bare tree limbs against a sky so blue it hurts your eyes. We don't get much snow, but when we do, the whiteness covers everything and makes something spectacular out of the most mundane. I even love the ice storms we get. It sparkles like diamonds--and you all know how I like jewelry!

Spring is probably my favorite season. Watching what I call the rebirth of the earth is one of my favorite things. The world seems to be coming to life again with the trees budding and the grass turning green. I love how vivid the flowers seem. I love hearing the birds and watching them build nests. I love the fluffy white clouds. I even like the rain--as long as it doesn't last too long--because I know it means my flowers will grow even faster.

Summer may be hot and humid here, but I even like that. Getting hot and sweaty makes a cool shower all the better. Big fluffy clouds in a Carolina blue sky. The smell of fresh cut grass. Flowers blooming in abundance.

How can anyone experience these things and not believe in God? I just don't get it. I am thankful for a beautiful world to live in and enjoy each and every day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day Two--so to speak

In an effort to catch up on my list of things I'm thankful for, I'm going to cheat and list my four children. That way, I'll be where I'm supposed to be tomorrow. Is that clear as mud?

I'll start with the youngest of our brood: Lauren. I am thankful we kept her. When I was pregnant with her, we were at a very difficult place financially. We had moved from Tennessee to North Carolina, our house payment was $50 more a month there, and we had bought a van and thus had a car payment. Darrell of course had changed jobs and was making about half what he had been making in Clarksville. We just didn't see how we could support another child. We came ttthhiiss close to asking Darrell's sister and her husband to adopt Lauren. I'm so glad we didn't. Our first three children have always been Darrell's. You know what I mean. Especially Shana. She'd be under the car with him and knew different tools before she was two. From day one, Lauren was mine. If she was hurt, she wanted me. If she was afraid, again me. If she was crying and someone picked her up, she'd cry until I took her. Then she'd just stop. Frustrated Darrell no end, but I loved it! She has become a wonderful friend and I appreciate her immensely.

Clayton is our only boy. He has been blessed/cursed with a mother who wants him to be happy, but doesn't want him hurt. One of my great regrets is not letting him play football. He wound up getting just as hurt wrestling and playing soccer. Clayton inherited my cleanliness habits and actually (sorry, Lauren) is probably my neatest child. He folds his t-shirts according to sleeve length and sport (i.e., long sleeved soccer shirts in one stack, short sleeved in another, etc). He constantly astounds me with his knowledge of scripture and his ability to remember them. You may have read on the sidebar that I don't like to be called Bev. Clayton does not like to be called Clay. I try really hard to honor this wish, because I feel his pain.

Next comes Holly. She's now the oldest of the lot and I often wonder how she feels about that. She followed Shana around so much when they were little and Shana taught her a lot of things. I can remember Shana trying to teach Holly the alphabet. Holly is like me and is very hard on herself. I tell her that she's done too many difficult things--things other people will probably never do--and she needs to give herself a break. One of those hard things is having a baby without an anesthetic (we got to the hospital too late). The other thing is finding Shana. My prayer is that she can find a way to live with that and be at peace.

And of course there's Shana. My first born. I was only 19 when she came along and she used to tell people we grew up together. She probably wasn't far wrong. She wasn't active in church when she died, but I know she loved the Lord and still had a testimony. I've found evidence since she's been gone. She was a great friend to me and often told me I was her best friend. I still feel her with me sometimes, especially when I'm down. I can't wait to see her again.

It's been said children bring us our greatest joy and our greatest heartache. All I can say is Amen. There are some things I would change if I could. But I think I have great kids and I am thankful they are mine.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

Since this is National Blog Posting Month, as well as the month of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. I've decided to post every day about something I'm thankful for. When the kids were little, we once made a "turkey" out of a shoebox and construction paper. Each day every family member was to put a slip of paper into the turkey--thus "stuffing" it. On the paper was something they were thankful for. Before eating Thanksgiving dinner, we read some of them. It was wonderful to read the things the kids wrote. That's kind of what I'm going for here. I'll have to name four things today, since this is the 4th day of November.

First, I am so very thankful for my dear husband. Last Thursday was his birthday and I let it go by without acknowledging him here. We met under very unusual circumstances, so I'm sure Heavenly Father had a hand in our getting together. When I was in 8th grade, Darrell was a very popular senior at Clarksville High School. I knew of him through the older siblings of my friends. He worked at a little gas station on Madison Street and my bus would pass by there every day after school. My friends and I would yell "Hi, Darrell" out the windows and he would wave to us. At the end of that school year, my best friend Renea had her 14th birthday party and of course I was there. Darrell showed up to visit Renea's older brother. I followed him around all night and I can still remember him glancing over his shoulder at me, probably wondering who this weird kid was and what she wanted.

Fast forward about 3 1/2 years. I'm now a senior at CHS and Darrell is in the Army, stationed at Ft. Knox, KY. It's Homecoming week and I'm president of a club at school. Me and several other girls are at our teacher/sponsor's home decorating a display for the commons area (cafeteria). Unbeknownst to me, Darrell is friends with this teacher's husband and is upstairs visiting. He hears all the commotion being made by a bunch of girls downstairs and asks Mike (the husband) what is going on. Mike tells Darrell about all the girls down there and says "go pick you out one". The two of them head downstairs where they tease us a bit before heading back to the kitchen. Renea was still my best friend and remember she's known Darrell for years. So she flirts and teases him right back. Even though we were best friends, we were also very competitive and if she could flirt, I could, too. So I did. I found out later that when they went back upstairs Mike asked Darrell which girl he had chosen. Darrell told him me, but added that I was too young. Darrell was about to turn 21, and I was only 17. That didn't stop him from calling Renea the next day and getting my phone number. He started calling me and continued to do so for the next two months. I refused to go out with him because my parents were pretty strict and I thought the difference in our ages would prevent them from giving me permission.

My father finally had the opportunity to meet Darrell and approved of him. Our first date was Christmas Eve 1975. We were engaged about 3 weeks later with an August wedding date in mind. Darrell got orders for Italy in mid-February and would be gone for 2 years. In order for me to go with him, we had to be married so I could get an ID card, passport, shots, etc. So we moved our wedding date up to April 10. While others were off to Daytona Beach for spring break, I was getting married and going on my honeymoon!

The Lord meant for Darrell and me to be together and I'm so very thankful Darrell saw that from the beginning. He is a wonderful husband and father. A gentle loving man. His generosity and compassion know no bounds. I admire and respect him. He is my best friend and the greatest blessing in my life. I need him. And I love him.

Whew! This got to be longer than I meant. Enough for today. I'll be thankful for more tomorrow. Right now, writing this has made me want to cuddle on the couch with my sweetheart.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm Quirky, Not Weird

Thanks, Tamara, for sending this one my way!
Here are the rules of the game:
1. Link the Person who Tagged you.
2. Mention rules on your blog.
3. Tell about 6 quirks of yours.
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers to do the same.
5. Leave a comment to let them know.


I'm sure I won't be nearly as entertaining (or weird) as Tamara ;-) but here goes....

1. When loading the dishwasher, I will not put one utensil by itself in a compartment with several other utensils. For example, if there are 3 forks in a compartment, I won't put a lone knife or spoon with them. I don't like being the lone anything and I figure silverware is no different. Also, when unloading the dishwasher, I always put the glasses in the cabinet like they were in the dishwasher. If the glasses were next to each other in the dishwasher, they have to be together in the cabinet. Maybe they began a relationship or something, and who am I to break them up?

2. I have a routine for just about everything. I shower in the same order (shampoo first, bathe, etc), put on my makeup (I've been known to forget a step if I get interrupted), clean house, everything. Routines make things go faster and easier, though you can take it a bit too far (Tamara!).

3. I cannot sleep without a fan going. It's not the cooling I'm after--I love the white noise sound. And still air makes me nervous. I feel like I'm suffocating. I need the air to be moving.

4. I don't like mixed up food, like casseroles, unless I made it myself. I'm very particular about what goes into my mouth.

5. I have this thing about even-ness. Don't know what else to call it. A long time ago, we had a striped comforter on our bed. I couldn't go to sleep if the stripes weren't straight. I guess I was afraid I didn't have my share of the covers. We have a light switch at the bottom and at the top of our stairs. I will walk up the stairs in the dark to use the other switch if it is that one's "turn". If I'm tapping my fingers, I won't stop unless each finger has been used the same number of times.

6. I read the obituaries every day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

So...whaddya think?

After several days now of my new cut, I think I may be getting the hang of it. May need to work a little more on the sides. So...how'd I do? I'm a little disconcerted in that no one---NO ONE--has noticed that I cut my hair. It seems like such a change to me, but apparently it's not. Or maybe they're being Thumper and can't think of anything good to say and so don't say anything at all. Or--and this is quite possible--their world doesn't revolve around what my hair looks like and they just don't notice. I'll shut up now. And I promise no more posts about my hair.












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