I have been just a tad bit neglectful of my blogs as of late, but want to assure my gentle readers and the rest of the world that I still have plenty to be grateful for, in spite of the long winter nights and the cold and the snow. Our weather has actually warmed up this past week and our snow is all gone, even the snowman that my dear children created on Christmas Day has melted into the ground. In spite of the warmer weather, the clouds and fog and smog remain. It has been rather gloomy this past week in these parts.
However, yesterday DH and I made the trip up to my childhood home to visit for a bit with my dear Daddy. The mountain valley has received more snow this past week than they did during all of December, and the landscape was a beautiful sparkling winter wonderland with clear blue skies and dazzling snow-covered landscape. It was a good day with my DH and I am grateful we were able to enjoy some sunshine and blue skies.
Here are some other things that have blessed my life during the past few weeks:
Safe driving: not every trip up the mountain was under blue, sunny skies. Several weeks have been white knuckle, steering wheel griping trips, but we have been blessed with safety in all or our travels, including the children as they have traveled here and back home for the holidays.
Central Heating: Again we are grateful for central heating and a warm home to welcome us each evening after work. We have had some single digit temperatures this month, and even lower temps at the higher elevations. I am also grateful for heated car seats, car heaters that work, and sweaters and warm fleecy blankies to cuddle up in at home. (And even at work or church if necessary. Yes, I do have access to both in both places.)
Visits with Siblings: I have been able to spend at least a few hours with most of my siblings in the past few weeks, either while visiting with dear Daddy or at a New Year's Eve gathering here at our home. This coming week my Dear Sister 1 will be coming for a visit and I hope to be able to spend a couple of days with her. She was here last summer for Dear Son 1's wedding, but hasn't been able to come back since.
Phone calls with my kids: My kids are all productive, responsible adults, but most of them live out of state, and I miss them when they are gone. I enjoy their phone calls and texts and blog posts and photos on facebook or Instagram.
Black Licorice. I had a craving a week or so ago, so bought a package of the "good stuff" and shared it with my dear Daddy. I think I need to buy some more. DH was reading to me yesterday that black licorice is toxic in large amounts, but then so are many many other things that we enjoy in small amounts on a regular basis. Black licorice is not something I particular enjoyed as a child, but sometimes now it really hits the spot.
Fast and Testimony Meeting: Once a month in our church during our weekly Sacrament Meeting worship service, the time is opened up for any one to come forward and share their own thoughts and testimonies about our Savior and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a time to bask in the spirit of the Lord and have my own testimony confirmed and strengthened. Sometimes I share, but since I teach a Sunday School class every other week where I have the opportunity to share my testimony, I tend not to bear my testimony every single month. I do enjoy listening to the testimonies and faith promoting experiences of others.
Job and other opportunities: As many many know, working full time was not always something that I had particularly planned on doing much in my life, and I suppose I have not. I am grateful, however for the good job that I have and that I am able to help provide for our home and our needs. We are not rich by many standards, but we are very very rich compared to most who have lived in this world. I enjoy my work for the most part and feel that I am helping many to gain a good education. I have met many wonderful people in my work, and my life has been enriched and blessed by their examples and friendship.
Hot Oatmeal and Hot Cocoa: In the cold and dark months of winter, there are two things that help to cheer me up and keep me going: beginning my day with a nice hot bowl of date, raisin and walnut oatmeal, and ending my day with a huge mug of hot cocoa. Just so you know, I always mix the pre-sweetened packet of instant oatmeal with an equal amount of old fashioned oats so I have plenty of good old fashioned bone warming breakfast goodness. I am trying to keep my fat intake down as I get older and heavier, but I still always like to have a warm, sweet and comforting bedtime snack. In the summer a low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt seems to hit the spot, but in the winter time there is nothing better than a big cup of hot cocoa, even if it is made with skim milk. I tend to take my food comfort where I can.
Family and Heritage: I love my family. I could not have asked for better parents, brothers and sisters. I have a wonderful supportive, faithful, handsome, hardworking and loving spouse. I have six wonderful, talented, giving, beautiful children, and two beautiful and talented daughters in law, and two perfect grandchildren. I have numerous talented and generous and loving in-laws, aunts, uncles, and cousins, nieces and nephews and many others that are related to all of the above. They have each been a blessing to my life. I owe so much to my parents and grandparents and all of the ancestors who have made wise choices and sacrifices so that I could be blessed to live in this country and this time when I have so many blessings and opportunities and freedoms.
Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon:
"Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of 20 years he has brought forth The Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents, has sent the fullness of the everlasting gospel, which it contains, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and the commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men, gathered many thousands of the Latter Day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of God's anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother, Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated" D&C 135:3
So many of the blessings that I enjoy, and the very central purpose and joy of my life, are the result of the work of Joseph Smith, and of course, the mission and sacrifice of
My Savior, Jesus Christ.