Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gratitude Check

Someone once told me that when I'm frustrated, stressed out, overwhelmed, or worried, I should think of things to be grateful for. So today, I'm writing a gratitude check.

1. I'm grateful for my children. I am grateful for their strong spirits that will help them stay true to what they believe some day and help them to keep from being swayed by every wind of change. I am grateful that they have creative imaginations, that help them to add excitement to their lives. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be at home with them, to watch them grow older. I am grateful that the stages they pass through do pass. I am grateful that my children spend time together. I'm grateful that my children have voices that can be raised to great volume because I'm sure that will come in handy some day when they are coaches or teachers or parents. I am grateful that my older children are learning responsibility; that I don't usually have to worry about them completing their homework or other assignments. I am grateful that my children have the opportunity to go to school. I am grateful for the hours I have at home while they are at school. I am grateful that our family was sealed in the temple, so our family can be together forever.

2. I'm grateful for my husband. I am grateful that he has this wonderful opportunity to go back to school to earn his MBA. I am grateful for the loans that have made it possible for us to live while he is going to school full time. I am grateful that he is doing well in school. I am grateful that he was released from his calling as Scout Master after six years, and that he can spend more evenings at home with our family. I am grateful that he was called to the Sunday School presidency, because he has a calling where he can continue to work with the youth, he can feel useful at church, and it doesn't take him away from home on weekdays. I am grateful that Steven is a loving and helpful husband. I'm grateful that my husband loves his children and wants to teach them obedience and responsibility. I am grateful that my husband holds the priesthood and is worthy to give blessings when needed.

3. I am grateful that we are wealthy enough to own two vehicles. I am grateful that both those vehicles usually work, enabling me to have a car to get the kids to school and back and run errands while Steven has the other car to go wherever he needs to go. I am grateful for friends in the ward who know how to fix cars, and are willing to loan us tools, equipment, and know-how when we are in need of their services. I am grateful for other friends in the ward who are willing to give rides to and from church activities when we are in need of them. I am grateful that we live near enough to the elementary school and the bus stop to the middle school that the kids can walk when necessary.

4. I am grateful for opportunities to be of service. I am grateful that Josh's teacher loves having me come and help at the school. I am grateful for the chance to help the third graders with math and
writing, and also for the chance to get to know Josh's classmates, so when he speaks of them, I have an idea of who he is speaking of. I am grateful for chances to help organize the book room at the school. I am grateful that the teachers have so many resources to help them in their teaching. I am grateful that Peter's teacher is also searching for times when I can visit her classroom.

5. I am also grateful for my calling in the Primary at church. I am grateful for counselors who are very supportive, and who do so much. I am grateful for teachers who show up on Sundays ready to teach. I am grateful for church members who are willing to stand in and teach a class at short notice. I am grateful that the Primary has the opportunity to present the Sacrament Meeting program in just a couple weeks. I am grateful that the program was already written and that the children know the songs so we can have it ready a week earlier than we had planned, and I'm grateful that we were able to schedule a practice for the day before that program. I am grateful for a bishopric who is trying to work with me in filling the vacancies created when my primary teachers for three different classes were either called to other callings, or moved out of the ward. I am grateful for the upcoming media blitz in Denver, and for the missionary opportunities that is sure to provide. I am thankful for the training meetings we have received in preparation for that blitz. I am grateful for the upcoming General Conference and the opportunity to hear the words of modern apostles and the prophet.

6. I am grateful that I have a home to live in. I am grateful for the maintenance people who fix up the outside of the buildings. I am grateful for a dishwasher, and a clothes washer and dryer. I am grateful for hot running water. I am thankful for carpets on the floors, and for the vacuum that cleans those carpets. I am grateful for an internet connection to keep me in touch with my family and the world. I am grateful for clothes and shoes, for furniture and a refrigerator. I am thankful for the grass and trees outside where my children can play.

7. I am thankful for my parents and siblings and for their families. I am thankful for parents who raised me in the gospel. I am thankful for siblings who are good friends. I am thankful for my family in Colorado Springs and for the times when we can get together. I am thankful for the Scrabble games that some of us play. I am thankful for Steven's parents for raising him in the gospel. I am thankful for his siblings and their spouses, and for the friendships that we have. I am thankful for opportunities to pray and exercise faith in family's behalf.

8. I am grateful for trials, because I know (in my head, anyway) that they make me stronger. I am thankful for hobbies to keep my mind busy, for books to read, for wire to bend and beads to string into jewelry. I am thankful for Photoshop, and the skills that I have developed there over the years. I am thankful for good health, for strength and energy. I am grateful for the scriptures and the guidance that I receive from them. I am thankful for the influence of the Holy Spirit and the direction and comfort that it gives me. I am thankful for this wonderful country that I live in, and for the freedoms that we enjoy here. I am thankful that my children have pets to play with and enjoy. I am thankful that the cats have remained healthy for the last several months. I am thankful for the direction of the prophets to have food storage, to save money, to avoid debt, and I'm grateful that we heeded those teachings, and they got us through difficult times.

9. I am grateful that John and Joshua are able to participate in Cub Scouting. I am grateful that they are able to make goals, learn skills and have fun. I am grateful that Hannah is able to participate in Young Women, and I am thrilled that she was called to serve as first counselor in the Beehive class presidency last Sunday.

I do have a lot to be grateful for. And I do feel better. Thanks!

Friday, September 16, 2011

12 Years of Hannah

She turns twelve today, that beautiful girl who changed my life forever. A dozen years ago I was young and relatively care free. A dozen years ago I quit my job at Kinkos and looked forward to caring for my precious baby in our home. We had gathered a bassinet, a crib, and a changing table. We had acquired sleepers and onesies, diapers and burp cloths. We thought we were prepared. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

Hannah was beautiful from the start and we loved her immediately. I remember how carefully Steven drove us home from the hospital, how gently he rounded every corner, how he eased over every bump to be sure that our precious cargo arrived home safely. I remember watching her, holding her over the months that followed, never wanting to put her down, not wanting to miss a single moment of her existence.  I remember walking home from church one day and hearing another young child tell us, "Your baby is sooooo cuuuute!" and smiling because I knew it was true and wondered that everyone couldn't see it. I remember watching her take her first teetering, wobbling steps in awe. How big she was growing! I remember teaching her letters and their sounds, and how she soaked it up, anxious to learn to read, and to write stories of her own. I remember her first day of school, how nervous, and at the same time excited I felt, that she was taking this huge step forward.

I remember the day she was baptized, how beautiful she was in her white dress, how excited she was to be making covenants with her Heavenly Father. I remember watching her grow, and sometimes wondering, "is this really the tiny baby that Steven and I brought home from the hospital, the precious soul who grew in my womb, below--and within--my heart?"

Today she turns twelve. At church, she graduates from Primary and goes to Young Women. She gets to go to mutual activities; she can babysit for other families. It wont be long before she is old enough to go to high school, then college, and before I know it, she'll be getting married and starting a family of her own. A dozen years ago she was born. A dozen years from now, she could have children of her own. Will the coming years pass as quickly as the past years have flown? Will I blink and miss it all? I've watched my tiny, helpless baby grow up into a responsible, mature young woman, and I have to admit that I'm pretty happy with the person she is becoming.

Happy Birthday Hannah!