Saturday, November 30, 2013

Last Two Things

Day Thirty of Count Your Blessings 2013

First thing today is that I finished NaNoWriMo and am a WINNER!! It feels really good to reach a goal.

Second thing is a huge THANK YOU to Noble for encouraging me and pushing me and making writing fun.

We had a great Thanksgiving. Very quiet but so fun to have JET here with us. Lots of good food left over and I haven't had to cook all weekend.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Three More Things

Day Twenty-eight of Count Your Blessings 2013

"The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." Here are another three things I grateful for:

1. Good friends-I'm really grateful for good friend, including those who also happen to be family members.

2. Good food-I live in the land of plenty; I can go to the grocery store(s) and buy just about anything I want, come home and cook up a delicious meal. (Or feast as my chuns like to call them.)

3. Music-Prior to the last quarter of the nineteenth century if a person wanted to hear music he had two choices: make the music himself (like Pa Ingalls) or go to a concert. I listen to glorious music everyday. I can choose choral, symphonic, folk, ethnic, pop, musicals, or whatever and listen to it either on CD, radio or streaming on the internet. It is another miracle of technology for which I'm really grateful.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Literacy and Tithing

Day Twenty-five of Count Your Blessings 2013

Today I'm grateful for the gift of literacy. My parents are both readers, especially my mother. She read to me before bed many nights until I was about twelve. She didn't "do voices" but she had an interesting voice and good inflection. I went to college, completing about two years worth of work, but I consider myself an educated person because of all the reading I've done. My favorite section in the library is non-fiction! There are so many interesting subjects to learn about.

The second thing I'm grateful for (I keep missing days!) is the law of tithing. This is another gift from my parents. They taught by example and words that obeying the law of tithing brings blessings, just like it says in Malachi: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10) I've seen those blessings in the life of my parents, among my family and friends, and in my own life. It takes faith to pay tithing FIRST, then the Lord blesses us, not the other way around.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Day Twenty-three of Count Your Blessings - 2013

In Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth she says "What we forget is that giving kids chores is exactly that: a gift. Does Junior really need to know how to rake leaves? Perhaps not, but raking leaves will teach him important lessons about staying on task, teamwork, and delayed satisfaction." The same can be said about any kind of repetitive chore. Today the boys shoveled snow and are at this moment doing the dishes.

I'm so thankful my parents taught me to work. To this day I don't feel a job is finished until all the tools (whatever they are) are put away and the area cleaned up.

And it's always a good day when I receive a compliment about the work ethic of our children.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Four Wheel Drive and Wool Blankets

Day Twenty-two of Count Your Blessings 2013

We had our first winter storm yesterday and last night, waking up to a white world, and a two hour late start for school this morning. I was in Council Bluffs when it began as a freezing rain and sleet. I was so thankful to be driving home in our big Suburban with four-wheel drive as the roads were slick and lesser cars had slid off the road and spun out.

And, of course, every cold winter night I'm grateful to snuggle down to sleep beneath a lovely pure wool blanket, snapped up at a thrift store for $5.00. Combined with a flannel sheet I am toasty warm all night long. Thank you sheepies for giving your wool so I can stay warm!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Day Twenty of Count Your Blessings - 2013

Noble introduced me to the NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth or NaNoWriMo in 2009. TopDad and JET had already moved to Iowa and it was just me and our other four children wrapping up things in Utah. She cajoled and wheedled and I gave in. I wrote a novel (that I'm still working on) and had a lot of fun doing it. The next year I attempted it again, but didn't win (making it to a 50,000 word count is considered winning) and hadn't participated again. November is just too busy a month for me being right before December and Christmas. But Noble did it again (cajoled and wheedled) and I'm again feverishly writing when ever I have some time. Last night she arranged a "Write-In" over Skype. We simply sat together and wrote in 25 minute bursts with five to ten minute breaks to relax and chat. I had a blast!! And I got 4,000 words written in the three hours we did it.

Thank You Noble aka Te Ah Rheum in Korea.

The other thing I'm thankful for today (I need two things because I missed yesterday) is the beauty of the night sky. For the past few days the night sky has been clear and the Evening Star is just gorgeous and then the full moon rising over the bare trees is another beauty to behold. Moonlight and star shine! Hey, maybe that can be the title of my next novel. Or should it Moonshine and Starlight?

Monday, November 18, 2013

16, 17, 18

Day Eighteen of Count Your Blessings - 2013

Three more things I'm grateful for:

16 - Restaurants! TopDad is so kind when I'm exhausted, he takes me out to eat. I'm so grateful for the convenience of someone else fixing food and cleaning up. Especially after I've spent the day fixing food for a church function and then cleaning up afterward.

17 - Hand me down/up/over clothes; someone elses cast-offs have been some of my favorite clothes. And my favorite price is Free!

18 - Korean Pop music, which is the BEST to walk/run to; my treadmill time is so much more pleasant with KPop blaring to help me keep up the pace. Thanks, Noble! Saranghae (Korean for I love you!)

Friday, November 15, 2013


Day Fifteen of Count Your Blessings 2013

Ummmm, can you smell it? Bread baking in the oven. Heavenly!

I'm so grateful to have an oven! The house smells so good these days, what with bread, muffins, cakes, cookies, and such. It feeds both the body and the soul.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Day Fourteen of Count Your Blessings 2013

Today I'm thankful to be a mother. For lots of reasons, but today for the reason that my children have introduced me to things I would never have explored otherwise.

I'm currently reading a book that Noble recommended in a genre that she loves. I can't put the dang thing down even though I have so many things to do! She's also the reason there is a jar of Kimchi in the fridge. I just had a craving for it! I'm also learning Korean, one word at a time.

Of course, my Korean gets mixed up with the Spanish I learned in my childhood and youth and try to keep up. But I'm nowhere near as fluent as PW. He gives me an incentive to get better. And then there's the guns and airplanes to learn about! And he was my first Lego Man, but not the last.

I know a lot more about the inner workings of automobiles because of JET. He loves cars! So I hear about them when he comes to visit. I love his enthusiasm. I always thought a vehicle was just a way to get from point A to point B. But he knows how to drift!!! And other cool things.

Dr. Hair has taught me to look at movies in a whole new way. As a film-maker himself he notices effects, camera angles, bloopers and such. And he can remember dialog from movies seemingly without effort. He's also the younger Lego Man. A master builder with visions and skills that rival professionals.

I sat through a year of violin lessons with Dandylion before getting up the courage to take lessons for myself. Seeing him do it gave me hope that I could learn too. It gave me great joy for four months before finances fell apart and I had to stop. We had fun playing a few duets too. He has music in his soul! I've learned to listen closer to hear the different instruments being played. He plays percussion and those instruments are not always easy to distinguish. But I'm getting better.

My cooking skills are legendary (within my family) having been honed over twenty-four years of feeding hungry children. My patience has increased exponentially over the years. I'm grateful to have learned selflessness through motherhood. And I'm so grateful for all the joy! Especially as my children become my best friends as they reach adulthood.

My only regret is that I couldn't have had five more!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Day Thirteen of Count Your Blessings 2013

Last year we bought a treadmill so we could walk during inclement weather. I used it, maybe twice. I don't like walking on a treadmill. However! This year I'm grateful for it as I'm in the habit of walking daily and when the wind is blowing at 20 mph and the temperature is under 30 I'm not going outside to walk. Also, I've learned to use it so I don't end my walk and fall over due to loss of blood pressure to the brain. Which is always a good thing. To not fall over I mean.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Small Cars

Day Twelve of Count Your Blessings 2013

Today I'm really grateful for my small car. Clearing snow and frost off the windshield is no problem, I can reach the whole thing! I'll leave the clearing of the huge Suburban window to Dr. Hair, who at almost 6'2" can reach it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Three More Things

Day Eleven of Count Your Blessings 2013

I seem to be incredibly busy this year. And I don't like it. So to catch up (again) here are three more things I'm grateful for.

1. Thermal underwear. Baby it's cold out there!

2. Slow cookers: which make it possible for me to serve a delicious meal even when I have a busy day. Tonight we had Black Bean Chili.

3. Today of all days, I'm so grateful for those who have served, are serving and will serve our country in the military.
  • My father served in the Army Air Corps at the end of WWII
  • My three brothers served in the Army and Air Force
  • My brother-in-law served in the Army in Viet Nam
  • My husband's grandfather served in the Army
  • My husband's father served in the Navy
  • My husband is a Retired Marine
  • My daughter is serving in the Air Force
  • My son is signing up for the US Marine Reserves
  • Uncles, cousins, and friends have served in various branches of the service
All these loved ones and so many more who I don't know have served to keep us free. Not all have served in combat situations, but all are needed to keep things running smoothly. THANK YOU!

Friday, November 8, 2013


Day Eight of Count Your Blessings 2013

I think I said it two years ago, but the miracles of technology continue to amaze me. Last night we "Skyped" with Noble in Korea. It is awesome to both hear and see her through the computer. How does that work? I don't know and I don't need to know. I'm just grateful it does work.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Understanding Husband

Day Seven of Count Your Blessings 2013
Last night I was so tired and drooping at bedtime that TopDad suggested I just sleep in this morning and he'd put out cold cereal for breakfast. I said no, I need to get up and get breakfast.

Of course when morning came I didn't want to get up and I remembered how sweet he was to offer to let me sleep in so I ignored the alarm and went back to sleep. He is so good to me! He understands my need to sleep in once in a while and lets me. Thank you TopDad.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Day Six of Count Your Blessings 2013

Today I’m grateful for the privilege of voting. Yesterday we had a city council election, four people on the ballot; we got to vote for three. Amazingly I am acquainted with two of the four. Such is life in a tiny town. I’ve participated in every national election since 1976. The outcomes haven’t always been what I voted for, but having voted I have a right to complain, something I feel those who don’t exercise their right to vote don’t have a right to do. Thank God for liberty! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Now I'm Embarrassed

I guess I wrote my other post only in my mind. I was sure I had posted about this being November and I'd do the whole Count Your Blessings thing again. Oops!

Two years ago I did a month long series of gratitude posts. I enjoyed it and it was a good exercise for me to remember and record all the things I’m grateful for. I missed last year but have decided to do it again this year, even though I’m getting a late start.

So, having missed the first four days of November, I’ll come up with four things I’m grateful for:

1. I’m grateful for the health and strength I have. I have no chronic illnesses or conditions. I've been in the hospital only twice (I don’t count having babies as that’s not a disease!) once at age 5 or 6 to get my tonsils out, and again in 2005 to have an ovary removed. So pretty healthy here. I've never broken a bone, or had to have stitches (other than for the removal of a mole). I have had Influenza twice, the first time in 2008 I was in bed for a whole week and my family was scared I would die. The second time was the next year and I was in bed only three days, and then not again. (I think I've built up an immunity. I've never had a flu shot either.) So I count my blessings health-wise.

2. I’m really grateful for my five physical senses. I love hearing the sound of my family’s voices; beautiful music and singing; birds, the wind in the trees, water as in rivers, streams and waves of the ocean. I get great joy from seeing beautiful things like sunrises and sunsets, autumn leaves, spring flowers, majestic mountains, gorgeous lakes; I love to see my family and friends (and am so grateful for technology to do so); I find pleasure in smelling and tasting good food (sometimes too much), like bread and cheese, fresh summer fruits, thick soup on a frosty night. And I love to touch things, like smooth baby skin, silky fabrics, satiny flower petals, rough tree bark and boulders; I like the feel of beach sand running through my fingers, and kneading bread, and holding my husband’s work roughened hand. To me these senses are gifts from God to experience his goodness and tender mercies.

3. Technology is a huge blessing. With our adult children so far away physically I rely on technology to stay close emotionally. Skyping with them is so fun! Email, Facebook, blogs, IM’s, and cell phones keep up connected. We have so many blessing from God to help preserve families.

4. My own car! Again. We've been a one car family for a long time, about five years, I think. We finally got a cheap, economical, little car for me. TopDad drives a school provided car for work (he commutes between two schools), and Dr. Hair and Dandylion use the family car to get to school and work. Oh, it’s wonderful to have some freedom again, and driving a 5 speed manual is fun! (For those interested, it’s a 1999 Ford Escort, 2 door, 5 speed, red.)


Day Five of Count Your Blessings

I heard the heater kick on this morning and felt go grateful for automatic heaters and programmable thermostats. You know how much I love studying history, but I don't know that I'd want to live history. The father or mother has to get up in the cold and stoke the fire and feed it and wait for things to warm up. I think I truly would hibernate if I had to do that!

Winter is closing in.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Okay, Back to Blogging

Long time readers will remember that I originally began this blog as a public sharing of my weight loss, sort of an accountability project. Which, ahem, didn’t work. So . . .

In June of this year I joined TOPS, weighing about 193 lbs. I say about because I stopped weighing myself when I saw 192, and I know I went up a little bit from there. So far attending TOPS I've lost 26 ¼  lbs and regained 10 ¾ lbs for a net loss of 15 ½ lbs. The “loveliest” number I saw on the scale was 172.8 (which rounds to 172 ¾). I'm looking forward to seeing it again very soon.

October was really difficult to get through. If I believed in evolution, I’d be inclined to believe I descended from a bear. Every Autumn I feel the urge to bulk up on carbohydrates, then curl up and hibernate through the cold, dark winter until the weather warms up with the sun shining longer each day. Alas, I’m a human being and don’t get to hibernate. And I must overcome my cravings.

Attending TOPS really does help; the other women are empathetic and encouraging. And it helps to be accountable, even when I know I've gained weight. So onward and upward downward!

I’ll share a really yummy recipe I make for my lunches (because I’m the only one in the house who likes tomatoes).

Tomatoes and Black Beans
1 onion (tennis ball size, or more or less as you like) chopped and sautéed in 1 tablespoon oil (your choice, I like Olive)
When the onions are soft and translucent add 1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes and 1 15 oz. can of black beans (drained and rinsed), ½ tsp basil (or any favorite Italian spice) and ½ tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt). Simmer until heated through.
Serve over cooked brown rice. If you like, top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

For me this is comfort food! Plus, it’s low calorie and high fiber, two things that help me in my quest to lose weight and be healthy.