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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...


Some people keep them straight while others have them all mixed up, but one thing is for certain, it always feels good when you are someone's priority.

Being put on the back burner so much I am used to it is something I'm sad to admit, but it's true. I don't even know how to explain all the many ways I am disrespected and undervalued; one of them is not being made a priority when I should be. The idea of even trying to list it all feels damaging. So I won't. Instead, I will focus on the blessing of when I am put at the front.

It truly gives me joy when I am thought of. I love the surprise of it and the kindness that is extended. The time people take to give just to me when I need some help or simple, loving human interaction, to feel seen.

Friendship is the most common vehicle I experience for being a priority. Friends give me time with such generosity. They have their own things to do and families to take care of, but I have people reaching out and giving to me despite their other priorities. And I am thankful for every minute spared in my behalf.

There's something I've learned about life, and it's that no one has to love you except your parents—and even then some parents still don't! So I don't expect anyone to ever prioritize me again, but I am very thankful for every single moment that I am valued enough to be treated so kindly.

I am ever thankful for everyone who makes time for me.

my treasure

To think of children as treasure is a good estimation. Sometimes, we see their amazing sparkle in their smiles and laughs and happy ways. There are also times when that sparkle is hidden by bad attitudes and confused decisions, and they are more like buried treasure. All the hard things pile up, so we have to help dig someone out or even wait for them to dig themselves out—because they are treasure—albeit buried.

The process of understanding the inherent value of myself and them has given me strength when I thought I had none left to carry on. What I've learned from my children cannot be written. There is too much. I'd have to spend my entire life writing what I know because of them, yet I will say I am thankful for how I've become more of who I am meant to be because of their influence on my life.

Buried or shining for all to see, I am eternally grateful for the children I have. They bless my life. They remind me that I am rich beyond measure.


Without light, life would be a lot more difficult than it is already. As I think about my blessings, I think about the lamp that lights my bedside table and helps me not walk into my footboard at nighttime. That's my first thought anyway.

I also think about the light of day when night is over. Sunshine makes life better. A smile can light up a room, right? That's a wonderful light. Truth is light, understanding is light, the gospel of Christ is another type of light. All light leads us to happiness and safety.

Gratitude fills my heart as I contemplate the many sources of light in my life. I'm thankful for it all. 


Ask me twenty years ago if I'd be thankful for the scriptures, and I'd have laughed at you—to your face. Thank goodness that twenty years has a whole lot of changing in it. 

The truth is that I don't read the scriptures as much as I believe would be best, but that does not change the fact that I recognize their worth. I am surrounded daily by the influence of my knowledge gained from studying them. The comfort and guidance that I find within pages of holy writing continues to be incalculable. It's all the more a miracle in that I've read over some scriptures so many times at different times in my life, and the same ones have helped me in different ways. 

It takes faith to open up the word of God and apply it to your life, to give it a chance to change you. I'm thankful that I used that mustard seed of faith I had and let it grow. My life is so different and so much better than it was when I was a young adult. I know who I am and where I want to be. And that's something to be thankful for too. 


I've needed to slow down a bit for quite awhile now, and today, I took that time. I cancelled everything—all the plans—all the cleaning—all the duties. I cried and smiled, sat silent and sang songs aloud, but most of all, I didn't tell myself to not do anything. I let myself feel the disappointment, worry, thankfulness, gladness, and loneliness that has been piling up in my heart.

I am grateful today that I saw the opportunity to carve out some time for me to just be and made it happen. I do feel a bit lazy since the dishes are piled up in the kitchen, the floors aren't vacuumed, and laundry is still not begun, yet I have had time to breathe, and I won't regret that.

I'm thankful that today went the way that it did, so I could experience the gratitude I do right now for having a day to just spend time taking care of me.


Having the ability to exercise is a big gift. Not everyone can, and it helps bring so much strength to our bodies and minds. I really get into a funk when I slack off on my exercise routine. There's a mental slump as well as a physical energy slump. It's just something we need to feel good, I guess. 

There are a few favorite ways of getting exercise for me. The first is most definitely dancing. When I go out dancing, I dance hard. I get sweaty and have so much fun. At times, I wonder if it's unattractive to dance the way I do, but then I stop myself because I just really don't care if it is or not. I love to dance, and anyone truly interested will not be warded off by a sweaty red face. 

Most of the other ways I love to exercise are sports. When thinking about it, dance is a type of sport considering the competitions. So anyway. Skiing, volleyball, softball, basketball, golf, tennis, swim, and bowling are my favorites. I haven't played some of these for a long while, but I still would if I had the chance. Some might say bowling isn't really a sport, but if you know how to play and play hard, it really gives you a decent stretch. 

There are fun things like indoor cycling that I've found enjoyable to a degree, but that's a class, not a sport. Maybe I like competition mixed in with my exercise to keep me motivated? That's got to be it. 

I am grateful for all the opportunities I've had in recent years to learn and try and love so many sports.  The fun I have while strengthening myself in body and mind invigorates me and helps me find joy in life. I am so thankful for this beautiful life I have been given to keep trying new things to take care of and improve myself. 


I don't know about you, but I love holidays. It's not just because we get time off from work either. I'm thankful for the break in the monotony of everyday life. I'm thankful for the food culture that surrounds each of the different ones—the nostalgia that is drummed up by simply making a certain recipe at a certain time of year. I love the decorations and activities that surround special holidays. The traditions that bring family and friends together to make memories are dear to me.

I'm thankful today for all the holidays we share throughout the year. And it warms my heart to know I've been able to spend another Thanksgiving with my family and friends, and I look forward to many more.

dream job(s)

When I think about how many people don't have jobs, I immediately count my blessings. Just having any job to be able to provide for my family in the best way I can is amazing. But there's another layer to be thankful for that many people who do have jobs do not enjoy.

Several years ago now, I had to give up the best job I've ever had of being a stay-at-home mom, and I was so upset. I am still upset in a way. I don't believe I'll ever be glad for having to get into school full-time and then work instead of have a full-time role in my children's education and lives. However, since I did need to get going on outside employment, I let myself go after some dreams about what I wanted to be when I grow up.

My major at university was English Teaching with a minor in Editing. I had settled on two dreams: being an English teacher and doing social media management in the magazine sector. Within two days of my exit interview for my student teaching, I had a job offer as an English teacher at a wonderful private school. A year and a half later, I was offered a social media director job with that private school. What this translates to is I have been able to reach my dreams—both of them—in at least small ways in less than two years of graduation.

If that's not something to be thankful for, I don't know what is.

And then there's that fine detail of just having any job that is such a comfort. I'm so grateful to have a good school to teach at and develop and spend my expertise on. I am grateful for this life of mine.

ice cream

It might sound silly to say I'm thankful for ice cream, but it's true.

Growing up, my parents had this cool, old (even at that time it was crusty and old) ice cream maker that you had to put rock salt and ice in as it turned the metal container filled with cream and other stuff into ice cream delight. My brothers and I used to have such a good time anticipating that homemade ice cream, which was typically banana nut ice cream since my dad loved it the most.

Also, I used to go to youth dances growing up, and when the dance was at a certain location, we'd go to the best ice cream parlor around afterward, with my mom buying for me and any of my friends who didn't have money to spare. She really spoiled us all.

Then we have the amazing discovery of gelato in my adult life, and I'm at a loss for the proper words. So delicious. So perfect. I dream about the pistachio gelato at that little shop inside the Fashion Show Mall from so long ago.

And you know something else? Ice cream is just really good.


As I sit here pondering what to write about today, I am lying on my bed with two quilts on it. The cold weather has begun to stick, and I need some layers to keep warm. I am thinking about the hands that made these special quilts: my mother's and a friend's mother-in-law's who finished my mother's work.

These two women have a talent for creating beautiful things that are worthwhile and bless people's lives. I wish I had learned to make the types of things my mother did, but I do cherish what I have of hers even more so because it is irreplaceable.

I am thankful for the quilts to keep me warm both body and heart as I wait out another cold winter.


A song with words. A melody. A string of chords and harmony. Music takes us where we were and where we want to be. I'm thankful for the access I have to such a wide array of music genres. I have a radio in my car, songs on a so-called phone that is more like a mini computer,  and the ability to play songs from my phone through the car speakers. I have a CD player in my kitchen, and a music player connected with my DVD/Blu-ray player. My children play various instruments to varying degrees, so I attend at least a handful of concerts every year, and there's a marching band participant in the house too, so there's hardly an end to that music. I love making and receiving playlists, which are like the new mixed tape if you ask me. I sing in my church choir, and on Sundays, there's always hymns to sing together as a congregation. There's just so much music everywhere that it surrounds me most days.

I do like a bit of quiet at times, so I turn off the noise, but then I usually catch myself humming a little tune or outright singing like I mean it.

I am truly thankful for what music does to make life better and lift my spirits.

a strong body

I'm not some body builder or anything, but I'm pretty tough for being such a small person. I think it has somewhat to do with my spirit being like eight feet tall or something, but I digress. I am thankful for a strong and healthy body. It serves me well.

There are things about my body that aren't so strong, like my allergies and habit of fainting from pain, yet these things can be managed and even avoided mostly. I have all four limbs working and a strong mind to make it do what it ought. I see my daughter who has autism who is limited because of her brain function not at its best, and I feel extra thankful that I am strong and able to help her.

Our bodies are a gift to help us on our journey, and I am thankful for all I can accomplish for good with the one I've been given.

a wish come true

It's not very often that a wish actually comes true, so whenever it is that the stars align just right and it happens, we are required to be thankful.

I wished for some snow, and I got it.

Some of you might be thinking I'm crazy for wishing for that, but you know, it cleans the air, provides precipitation, and it's beautiful (at least to me, it is!). I'm not fond of ice, but snow is magical to me after growing up in Las Vegas and having to drive to Mt. Charleston once a year to get some exposure to the stuff. To have it right in my own yard is amazing.

So anyway. If you've been reading my blog lately, you'd know I've been decorating for Christmas early, and Christmas lights are simply one hundred times more sparkly when shining on a layer of snow. I caught myself wishing for snow despite the sixty degrees Fahrenheit weather we'd been enjoying.

I had decided to actually turn on the lights before Thanksgiving after I had seen a few houses in my neighborhood with their lights on, so I just needed to finish setting them up around the place. While I was busy doing that, the winds became quite cold and blustery, so I had to get on a coat, and I caught myself hoping again: if I could just have a little blanket of snow to make the lights so sparkly, it would be perfect.

The lights all got set up, and they look so fun and cheerful. We turned them on and delighted in their awesomeness. And then we went to bed, forgetting to turn them off.

I'm not really glad that happened because it's not a good thing to do, but when I woke up to a light blanketing of snow and the lights sparkling, my heart sang a bit. Maybe more than a bit. I felt like a tiny wish of my heart had been granted.

The whole thing made me smile, and I have a bit more hope that wishes can come true if you prepare yourself for them. I'm thankful for the snow, Christmas lights, and even just a tiny wish to have come true for me. I'm thankful for this beautiful life.

more than shelter

It's pretty standard for people to say they are thankful for their home, so I guess I ought to think of something a little more out of the box. Yet as I think about what I'm grateful for, it is getting colder by the minute and snow might even fall, so, you know something, I am extra thankful right now to have a home—a lovely shelter for my family.

This house isn't fancy or large, but it has been a good house. There have been imperfections in its construction, but it has a charm to it that I really like. I've loved watching my children continue to grow up in this place. I grew up in the same house and even still own it, so when I think about how I've been able to give my children that same stability at this house, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have this wonderful home.

a clean house

Before my world turned inside out and I went back to school, I had a very clean house. It was not perfect, but I did quarterly spring cleanings, and I kept up on my laundry so much better than now. So much better.

So anyway, it's been such a long time since I had a handle on my house that we have a new normal, and I don't like it very much. I have to remind myself that my children are growing up and will be gone soon. And I force myself to remember what old ladies are supposed to say about how you will miss the mess. So I don't actually savor the mess, but I let go of the sheer frustration that overtakes me. That's not entirely true. I don't let go all the way. But I do let go for me, and that's enough.

I've been doing deep cleaning projects, one room at a time, throwing away garbage and donating things we don't have use for anymore but for some reason love to hang onto. I've taken three loads to the thrift store already, and I'm due for a fourth hopefully by tomorrow night.

Being a working mom makes everything take that much longer since I have to stop and start and stop again, but I am determined to help myself (and my children) to be more successful at keeping up with our home. We shouldn't have so much stuff that we don't even know what we have. It's ridiculous.

I am very thankful to have a home and children, so I guess that's where gratitude makes its home: in the need for a home for them. I am thankful for the messes in that they are here to make them. But DO NOT tell them I said that!

There's a lot that goes into taking care of a home filled with children. A lot of time is evaporated in the process. I'm grateful for the chunks of time here and there that I've been able to spend focusing on my home and helping my family take care of ourselves. It feels so great to have an organized home, and I'm determined to have it that way at least halfway until they're gone and I am required to miss the messes.

candy canes

With all of our early Christmas celebrating, I'm making sure to think of small things we can do to make best use of the time. There's never quite enough usually, but with throwing in a few extra weeks of Christmastime, I'm being able to have a little more fun with the small things. 

My youngest has been hinting at and bringing up and making sure that we don't forget to have candy canes on the Christmas tree this year. I honestly don't remember a time when they've been forgotten, but maybe it happened once a long time ago. All I know is that boy sure wants to have candy canes, so when deciding what to do for family night, we got candy canes. 

I had the kids help me clean out the garage and fill up the car with donations for the thrift store, and then we headed out. Little did they know we would be stopping by a fun little treat shop! 

After dropping off the donations, we went down the street to a place I've only been to once and they have never been. We got there with fifteen minutes to spare before they closed, and it was magic. Every fun little treat was in this candy shop. And they make the sweets on site! The candy making wasn't going on then because it was almost closing time, but the magic was still hanging in the air for sure. 

We found cherry flavored, chunky candy canes in fabulous pink and purple stripes. They had so much fun looking around and finding a little something for themselves and the tree's candy canes. What a simple outing that brought so many smiles. And when we got home, we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas to get even more in the Christmas spirit. 

I'm so thankful for the extra time we've had to enjoy Christmas a little early. It's been small morsels of joy each day. 


It's no secret that my life has been pretty difficult to take for many years now. Crushing stress from continual court appearances and all that entails, graduating with four kids and getting divorced, four kids. Working mom status. It's tough stuff some days.

But that's just one side of things.

I also have my four little friends who show up when my children are being their true selves. I have neighbors who are amazing friends. There are work friends and school friends and church friends and an abundance of online friends. I also have layers of best friends.

I have my BFF Forever friend who I've known since like eighth grade. Then there's my neighbor best friend who lives three houses down from me that we carpool to grocery shop and weird stuff like that to steal friend time. And I have a surprise best friend who sort of was sent to me because I just really need what this friend and I share. I didn't know I needed it until I got it, and it's even indescribable. With such a complex life and also never really putting much store in the whole best friend thing, it's no wonder I have three types of best friends. I need to overachieve on everything, I guess.

So anyway. I survive life because of all of these gobs of friends I've got. Absolutely surrounded. Like this past evening, one neighbor friend dropped off fresh baked whole wheat bread just because she felt like she should. I had made chicken soup from scratch, and that bread just drove it home. So delicious. And it made my children so happy to have that little bit of extra being thought of.

At times, I am wracked in my soul for wanting someone by my side, yet I am always reminded and comforted by the steady flow of friendship tiding me over. The fact is I am cared for beyond measure. I am thankful for all of the many friends I have in my corner, cheering me on, helping me do better than just survive this life. I am so blessed.


I'm thankful for sleep. It's a rare occasion when I feel rested, so whenever it happens, I can't help but give thanks.

Last night, I was able to get a solid nine hours of sleep. Who knows when that happened last, so it was long overdue. I need a week's worth of days like that, but we all know that won't happen!

As I type, I am wishing I were sleeping, so it seems fitting to cut this short and get some much needed rest. It will show how thankful I am, right?

Farmers and Paul Harvey

I was at a marching band competition a couple of weeks ago wherein a band from Washington performed a show celebrating farmers by integrating clips of the Paul Harvey commentary "So God Made a Farmer," and it was perfectly enchanting. Its wholesome truth struck a chord for me on a couple of levels. It got me thinking about food and talk radio.

Knowing that you have good food to put on the table for your family is invaluable. I'm thankful for the farmers and pickers and ranchers and butchers and truckers and store clerks and everyone from start to finish who helps make sure I'm able to feed my children. Being a city girl, I can hardly imagine having to kill my own food, gut it, and chop it up into usable parts to prepare for cooking. That might sound very sheltered because I have been, but that makes me all the more thankful for the people who have made this lifestyle possible. I have tried doing vegetable gardens at times, and I've done alright, but if we had to live off of what I can grow, we'd be in a sad state of affairs. My gratitude runs deep for what the food producers give us, the buying public, to keep living, growing, and enjoying so much delicious, nutritious food.

And as far as talk radio fits into this, I remember listening to Paul Harvey while driving here and there with my mother as I grew up. I remember feeling so good after learning the lesson he was conveying, the important slice of everyday life that he applied fine detail to thus adding importance. Being in the car, parked in the Sam's Town parking lot, waiting for I don't remember what or who, listening to Paul Harvey signing on or signing off for his "The Rest of the Story," I learned the importance of valuing a good story and that there are good stories all around us.

Food and farmers and Paul Harvey combine into a collective gem to remind me that God made a writer too, and I am thankful for being able to write about these things to express my gratitude. I'm thankful for the wonderful life I've had so far. I'm thankful for everyone who makes it possible.


I'm thankful for veterans today and every day. I have many family members who have served honorably in the military, so I try to keep in remembrance what they have given and continue to give as their service alters the way they see the world around them, the way they treat others, and how others see them.

Veterans give more than years of service or wars fought. They give up the blessing of not seeing gruesome violence and harsh living conditions. They give up so much I can't even fathom it since I've never served in the military, but I honor their unspeakable sacrifices in order to provide a sense of safety to my family. My love and gratitude goes out to my brother who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, who was stripped of so much while out of the country. He continues to sacrifice even after being out of the military for some time now.

To all veterans who serve us so well, I give thanks for you and all you have given.

a good haircut

Having curly hair is a special adventure. I adore my curly hair, but that does not change the fact that it has its struggles. Not everyone can give a good curly hair haircut. It's just the facts.

That said, I have an aunt, the very kindest of aunts who has curly hair too and is a talented hairdresser, who loves me, so she volunteers her expertise and time (and sometimes supplies) to aid me in my curly hair adventure. She also listens to me when I need to talk, which seems to be incessantly the entire time. She helps me feel a little more whole again every time I come to her house: more beautiful, more understood, more able to learn, more able to face my struggles—including my hair. In our conversations, she teaches me these little tidbits about beauty and life as I age. She might not realize it or maybe she does, but since my mom died when I was still in my twenties, this aunt of mine is filling in where my mom had to leave off.

I am so thankful for all the wonderful haircuts she's given me over the years. I say thank you, but it never seems like enough because she always sends me away with so much more than fixed hair.


Liberty. That's not a word we hear often. Freedom, choice, democracy, these are more of what we've been throwing around a lot lately (well, at least all of the Americans I know). But I want to focus on liberty as I write out my gratitude today.

Liberty encompasses the other words. It stands for freedom, choice, democracy, and our blessed republic. We enjoy the absence of being subjected to restraint, compulsion, and ownership of our person. There are social pressures forming by way of political correctness that can sometimes infringe upon our liberty, but for the most part, liberty is still within our grasp.

Today, I am grateful for the liberty I enjoy with my family and friends and community. Gratitude overflows for all of my ancestors who have made it possible for me to be where I am now with the opportunities and quality of life to exercise my God-given liberty.

For the good people around me who care about protecting our liberty and loving each other as the children of God that we are, I thank you. Thank you for collectively helping us all to enjoy liberty today and into the future.

the unexpected

I'm thankful for the unexpected surprises in life that have helped me. You've probably had those problems that turn out to be something so good you never could have planned it for yourself, right? You can't tell how much it makes sense until you're in the middle of it all.

I've talked about my transition from an English teacher to a Digital Journalism teacher and Social Media Director, but I haven't said enough about how this big change, hard change, unexpected change has blessed my life.

Things are pretty stressful for me as a single mom with very little support, so anything that can simplify life or make it more enjoyable is a blessing in my book. And my job duties changing did both of those things for me without having to leave the amazing private school and students that I have grown to love. I cannot express how thankful I am for the way things have transitioned. The words aren't enough. But I will say that I was surprised, I have been blessed, and I have learned that I need to learn how to let those surprises take me places without worrying so much. I am thankful for yet another lesson in planning to be surprised.

The unexpected things in my life aren't always so good, but I will say that many of them have been life changing blessings. Friends are another big unexpected aspect of life. You can't plan for meeting someone who turns out to be a lifelong friend or even your best friend. You can't ever be sure if anyone will care enough to stick around after seeing your bad side. And you surely can't plan on anyone loving you enough to stay and be with your forever. But you can plan to be glad when it happens, whenever it happens, and have gratitude.

There's this movie quote that I love that I think about all the time. Maybe you've already read something of mine using it actually, but I'll go ahead and share it again because it just feels like a good thing to do. It's a good reminder to plan for being glad about the unexpected, to treat it like a surprise and not a nightmare. I'm thankful for this quote too, for how it helps me make sense of things in such a simple way:


I grew up with observing the sabbath, but then I went away from that practice for about five years or so when I was a young adult. When I finally decided to keep the sabbath again, it seemed like a hard thing to change back to not running around and shopping on Sundays—and making sure to go to church each week. Now that I've been on this track for nearly twenty years, I have to say that I can't believe I ever gave up this day of rest and slowing down.

I'm thankful to have one day out of every week when I slow way down, take time to attend church, and rest from the daily grind. I like to write letters to family and friends, read my scriptures a little extra, listen to spiritual music, watch nice movies, and the almighty nap happens on occasion. The rejuvenating effect it has on my family is something to be thankful for too. We spend time together without the rushing around and wondering who has to be where. It's just part of the schedule to spend time together.

What a gift it has been and continues to be to enjoy Sundays so fully.


I was cleaning my windows today, and it was just so nice to have the extra light and warmth. With it being autumn, you just never know when it will snap to winter. It's like we are holding our collective breath for when we have to worry about slipping on ice and freezing our butts off for a few months. 

Don't get me wrong, I like wintertime. I like snow too. But it has been such a long metaphorical winter that I just want to hold onto the real sunshine a little longer. It seems to help me find energy to break out of my clouds.

I'm grateful for the continued sunshine that beckoned me outside to finish cleaning my windows. I thought about how my parents would joke around about how my mom doesn't do windows. My youngest daughter was outside helping me, and the other children were helping to clean out the car without needing constant reminders. It all made me feel so happy. 

I'm thankful for all the sunshine in my life. Happy times, the best of friends, my sweet children, memories to cherish, and the gift of today and each new day that I will have to bask in joy.

early Christmas

I've never begun decorating this early for Christmas before now, but it had to happen.

The past couple of months have been stressful and lightly peppered with grief, so as I started thinking of ways to get in gear, I naturally looked to the calendar since time rules our world. This thought process began mid-October with Halloween preparations underway. I decided that once Halloween passed, I'd dive into decorating so long as my children wouldn't kill me for it. I figure that time marches on, and so must we, but we don't have to keep marching without Christmas lights and music to keep us warm.

Three days ago, I was shopping with my youngest son, and I asked him what he thought about getting out the Christmas stuff to start in on Christmastime early. Bracing myself for a You're weird, Mom and other such responses, I was surprised to see a big smile spread across his face and hear him agreeing with me that it feels like a good thing to do.

We haven't been able to crack open anything until today, but we got half of the outdoor lights placed (I promise we won't turn them on yet!) and my special toy reindeer collection set up along the edge of the sofa. We took inventory of what other lights we have that still work and have a plan for making our house so sparkly and cheerful. We wound down for bedtime by watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas! together and deciding that we will watch a Christmas movie a week until we get to actual Christmas. It was so fun. We really relaxed so much and were able to smile without any trouble. Oh yes! And we got out our essential Christmas countdown chalk board. No one wants to keep track, but no one wants to send it for donation either. Doesn't every family have something that no one wants but doesn't want to get rid of? Maybe we are weird, and that's okay.

I'm so grateful that I have some special and festive decorations to liven things up around here. I'm so grateful for Christmastime arriving relatively soon. I feel my heart welcoming the messages of peace, charity, and hope that come as we remember the birth of the Savior. I'm thankful for Him. I'm thankful for my sweet children wanting to decorate early and enjoy Christmas music and movies. I'm thankful that I can choose to begin celebrating Christmas a little early this year.


In my efforts to get more physically active and actively meet new people, I decided to participate in a volleyball night once a week for singles. I had been thinking about it for months, but never really got the courage to try going until this past spring.

I was not very good at it for awhile (and it's debatable whether that's still true), but I have so much more confidence now, and most importantly, I have a good time. I have met some wonderful individuals, my volleyball skills are improving, and I have found an outlet for some of my suffocating stress.

Gratitude overflows as I think about how I almost didn't go that first time and for how long I put off that first time. Volleyball seems like a strange thing to be thankful for, but it has renewed my heart a little. I will always have gratitude as think of that, for this heart grows ever more weary, or so it seems.

marching band

Anyone who has every been in marching band knows that it takes over your life, but no one warned me about what it does to the parents.

Running back and forth to the school, mouthpieces, music, dot cards, food, snacks—endless snacks, water bottles but giant containers that are usually used on picnics for whole families, dirty socks, clean socks, athletic shorts and band shirts, sweaty kids, no chores getting done because they have to get sleep at some point, music, silence, stress, happiness, LOTS of money, LOTS of time, LOTS of happy musicians.

Marching band proves a parent's mettle. I never wanted to quit. I remember the fun I had in high school, but I sure did have my moments of thinking Wow, how is this even going to work! as I'd map out the band schedule on the calendar while pretending it wasn't my personal schedule.

I really hoped my son would find the fun and magic and joy of marching band. And he did. All the happiness on his face during Senior Night this week proved to me that all the craziness was more than worth it. And I'm thankful that I can say I got my first child through marching band. I'll definitely sign up for more. You can't put a price on joy—even if it is costly at times.

a special sense

This doesn't happen all the time, but it happens enough for me to want to recognize how lucky I am for when it does.

In the midst of important moments, I am able to feel their significance (and I'm talking about unique moments that aren't set aside in society as special moments per se). I don't always understand how very significant the situation might be until later, but I get this sense that I should pay a little closer attention and my heart and mind hold onto bits of conversations, feelings, smells, and other sensory input.

I'm grateful for this special sense for the treasured times in my life. Many times I have been able to reflect on that sense during a moment and have poignant gratitude that I could recognize significance in the making. I am thankful right now as I document it actually because I know that my writing will one day become part of my memory and how I can hold onto at least a few morsels of these moments that make my life what it is.

thankful for my life

The first day of the challenge and I'm barely making it. But it's not because I'm ungrateful. Quite the opposite.

I've had a crazy couple of days. After accidentally dropping my nice, expensive phone into the toilet and not being able to function properly in my job and photo hobbyist lifestyle for over twenty-four hours, I am feeling so grateful today.

My replacement phone got overnighted and was delivered so quickly. And it's a gorgeous pink color (I promise that if they had purple, I'd have that, but pink is a good substitute). I have been able to resume my work and photographic neurosis AKA hobby photography.

The experience has caused me to be more thankful for the technology I enjoy, the ease by which I can do my work with credit due to a nice piece of equipment and really wonderful apps, and being able to share snippets of my day with those around me who choose to.

I am thankful for my life as it is.

Throughout this month, I will focus on breaking down the parts of this life into smaller portions and savoring the many blessings I enjoy. I hope you will join me.

Please feel free to put a link to your own blog posts in the comments section or write something right there in the comments. Either way, I very much hope to share this month with more of you by getting to read what you are thankful for. Let us embrace the goodness that surrounds us and share it together.