Saturday, November 30, 2013

And so the month ends - so December can't be far behind!!

We had a little display at our Thanksgiving meal - Eliza had gathered branches and put them in a vase.  Then Hannah had cut out fall leaves with  twine to tie them to the branches.  When everyone was there, they were told to write down as many things as they were thankful for on the leaves, and then put the leaves on the branches.  It really was a lovely little activity - one I think we should continue.  

The table where she had set this all up had a chalkboard behind it, so Hannah wrote out ". . .live in thanksgiving daily. . ." and it seemed like a fitting motto for our daily lives!  It is from Alma 34:38.

Also seems a fitting conclusion to my month of gratitude.  And I hope I can remember it each day!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Winding down the month -

The month is winding down, as well as the Thanksgiving holiday and our trip here to visit Eliza and Hannah and families.

Upon reflection, I am especially grateful that in the scheme of things, the Thanksgiving holiday precedes the Christmas season.  It is good to reflect upon what we are grateful for.  It is good to think about how much we have - especially before racing out and getting even more!  And it is especially good to gather with those we love and care about so that we can be even more appreciative of all that is good in our lives.

I remember one year I decided to get all the Christmas details taken care of before Thanksgiving.  One of the motivators was the fact that my parents were coming up for the holiday - we were in Utah at the time - and I could save a bundle on postage.  It was a fun, busy November.  I was pleased to present my pile of gifts for my family members and to think that quite a few items were now checked off  my list.  I recall the Christmas season that year as being a pleasant one.  (But that could just be the filter of time!!)

Another year I decided to be done by December 1st so that I could offer to help others.  That was an especially good year - and I'm surprised that I never seemed inclined to duplicate it!  Maybe other things kept coming up!

Christmas has become less complicated in many ways.  I have gotten into patterns that don't require quite as much shopping and other effort.  Most years Harry and I don't give each other gifts.  We give  our children each the same thing - it takes some thought and effort, but we usually decide long before Christmas what we are going to do.  It's fun actually - and hopefully our kids like it!  I make birthdays the highlight for our grandchildren, and the New Year's Eve party we throw with the family is our "gift" to them.  I long ago made the decision to do certain things I do well - mostly jam and pumpkin bread - and give that to neighbors, colleagues, and church members we are assigned to visit.  
I give my mom an Auto Club membership each year, and we usually give Harry and David-type fruit gifts to Harry's mom.  Noah's pretty easy to shop for - so we are good to go!

So on this quiet morning after Thanksgiving, I am thankful to focus on the upcoming holiday season. To think about how much fun it will be to all be together.  To reflect on 46 years of married life.  To dream about sleeping in for about 2 weeks.  To listen to carols.  To smell the pine and cinnamon.

And to celebrate the birth of our Savior, the greatest gift of all!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Day!!

Here we are at Turkey Day!!  I am thankful for this time to gather with family and friends and "break bread together."  

The whole concept of "breaking bread together" is an old one - but it's a keeper.  When you sit around a table and share food and good conversation, a bond develops that doesn't quite happen in other settings. 

We do it lots on Sunday afternoons, Easter dinner, birthday dinners, Christmas dinners, potluck suppers, quick lunches, impromptu picnics.

Somehow Thanksgiving dinner seems to be the champion dinner of them all though - and I'm grateful to be sharing it with such a great group!!

Watch for pictures next week!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful for all that makes like worth living!

I meant to do all these gratitude posts before I left, since I don't have my computer with me, and hence do not access to my library of photos.  I have been taking lots of great photos, so plan to check back next week to see them all!!

I have thought of lots of things to be thankful for today:  the chance to be with Eliza, Hannah, and families; modern conveniences that keep us toasty warm when "the weather outside is frightful, but the fire inside's delightful" and good food and conversation that keeps life interesting.

I could go on, but it's late - we've been up visiting and eating!!  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My "goodly parents!"

Parents are vital in our lives, but it takes years to realize how very important and influential they are and have been.

I have indeed been born of "goodly parents."  They were not perfect.  I didn't always appreciate them.  But they loved me and I knew they loved me.

That was enough!

So thankful for my wonderful parents - and as long as the "Wall of Fame" is included in this shot, I'm grateful for my brothers and sisters too!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Quiverfull starts here!

When people take photos now,  they plan for "future posts" I think.  I know I do.  I think, "We need a shot of Grandpa with Ara" or "We need a shot of the grandkids with siblings" or "We need a shot of Mom with Dad!"

Obviously over the years I did not think, "I need a shot of me with each one of the kids at different stages in their lives."

So this is what I found.  I'm sure there are more - I just wanted to get finished!!  But the selection is representative.  And I hope it conveys the great joy and happiness that our children have brought into my life!

I am grateful for each one of them!!

(I know I did a gratitude post on our kids at the beginning - but I'm just feeling extra grateful for them I guess!)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanks for the memories!

We haven't had a family reunion every year, but we have participated in Terrill Family Reunions, Clayton Family Reunions, and even a Busath Family Reunion.

And they are always fun and rewarding, with some hair-pulling at getting them organized!

Kind of like families!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thankful for lessons learned!

If you are of a certain age, you will be able to answer the question "Where were you when you found out John Kennedy had been assassinated?" with striking detail.

Joy and I were in the library - and Joy suggested I take the above photo.  At the time, I'm pretty sure I didn't realize it would always be significant.

Though I am not thankful that Kennedy was shot and killed, I am thankful that in spite of such a great tragedy, the nation moved forward almost seamlessly.  I am grateful that we were able to read the news, that information was not withheld from us.  I do not hold to the conspiracy theory, and I am grateful that in we remained "one nation, under God."

How you perform under duress is a measure of your quality and stature.  We all came out okay.  I am grateful that our government, in spite of the partisan bickering that seems to have taken hold these days, is still a steady ship of state.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanks for Cub Scouts!!

The top photo is Blanche Card with some Scouts from a few years ago!  The middle shot is of Harry F. as a young Cub Scout.  And the last shot is Porter, the latest Terrill Cub.

Over the years, I have worked with the Scouts in many capacities.  When I was a teen, Alice and I often helped my mom out with her Cub Scout den.  I have been a Den Leader several times over the years.  I have been a Scout Committee Chairman.  And I'm still a Merit Badge counselor for several Merit Badges.

And currently I function as a Stake Cub Master.  And it's lots of fun.

I'm thankful for the chance to "stay young" with the Cub Scouts!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My hero tonight!!

I've got to say that Robbie is a true Renaissance man!!  He cooks, he cleans, he soothes the baby, he finds bargain flights, and helps his techno-challenged mother-in-law with the commemorative program for the Monrovia Ward 75th reunion!!

I'm really thankful for this wonderful new dad!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

So grateful for good women!!

This is a photo from one of Bonny's bridal showers - the one Margaret gave her.  And it shows Shirley Heslop, Polly Bourgeous, and Ida Smith sitting behind a couch - not playing the "make a bride dress out of toilet paper game" and just visiting instead.  I distinctly remember asking them why they were sitting it out when Meriba Cornia was digging right in!

I think Ida said "We're old ladies - we need to sit."  And Polly just smiled and said they had enough people doing it.  And Shirley just smiled.

I love these women.  I miss Ida.  And I miss the years I spent walking in the mornings with Shirley and Polly.

I am so grateful for all the good women friends I have had over the years.  And I still have great women friends and look forward to more years of rewarding friendships.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sewing up a storm!

My mother sewed most of my clothes when I was a girl.  I got to where I preferred store-bought - probably because I never got to have it!!  But as I grew older, I learned to sew myself.  Pretty soon I preferred the clothes I made for myself over store-bought.  I sewed a lot for Bonny, quite a bit for Phoebe, and some for Hannah and Eliza.  

Time got more scarce.  Styles changed.  Store-bought actually became cheaper and easier.  Although I recall one time when I told Bonny I couldn't make her a dress for the talent show, we'd just go buy something.  As we traipsed through store after store, I started thinking that I could have gotten two dresses made in the time it took to shop!!

I sew still, but I mostly sew aprons or craft and baby items.  I've done a fair number of pajama pants too.  Sewing requires energy and concentration - something not always available to me these days.  I have made so many of the aprons, though, I can do them in my sleep, so sewing is a pleasure or even a relaxer when I do them.

I am thankful, though, that I did learn to sew.  Thankful that I grew up with the idea that sewing was a good thing to do.  

And thankful that my daughters and granddaughters like to sew too!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Love affair with Relief Society!

It's been a bit of a chore to get this commemorative booklet ready for the the 75th Monrovia Ward reunion, but it certainly has been fun to study the history and browse through the photos.  This is some kind of Relief Society activity - the clothes and hairstyles are certainly from another era, but the smiles and good will expressed are timeless.

That's why I'm thankful for Relief Society!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanks for the memories!!

Our ward is having a 75th anniversary celebration next Sunday with a special commemorative Sacrament meeting and Linger/Longer afterwards.  My assignment has been to gather addresses of former members, find all the still-living former bishops, do a program cover, and make a special commemorative booklet with a history of the ward and testimonies of ward members.

I am not incredibly techno-savvy, so it has been a stretch at times.  I have also gotten some much-appreciated help from Robbie and Ella!!  I am feeling more and more that it's going to be okay - that the end product will be pleasing to most.  (I'm not going to worry about those who are not pleased!!)

One of the perks has been the chance to browse through some great old photos - like the one above!!  I have no idea what it represents.  Maybe the original "Debutante Ball" like they used to have.  Maybe a roadshow?  Or a musical? Or a drama?  It looks to be from the 40's.  Even knowing nothing about it, it's a great photo to look at and smile over!!

The Monrovia Ward has been a great blessing in our lives.  Who knew when we came 34 years ago that it would be "home" to all of us?  Who knew that we'd have children born here?  Who knew that we'd find a house to call home?  Who knew about the wonderful friends we'd meet? Who knew about all the opportunities to grow and serve that we'd encounter?

We started out in the Monrovia Ward. It was divided and we were sent to the Monrovia East Ward.  Then the name changed and we were living in the Monrovia 2nd Ward.  And then things came full circle and we were re-combined as the Monrovia Ward once more.

  And we are thankful each day to live and grow in the Monrovia Ward!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thankful for Grandma Birthday Weekends!!

At some point in time, I came up with the idea of Grandma Birthday Weekends.  They are sometimes as different as the grandchildren themselves, but they do have common elements.  They usually include breakfast or lunch or dinner out - or all three.  Or breakfast, lunch, and dinner "in" but grandkid's choice.  

They include a shopping trip - often to Target or Marshall's or Kohls - especially if I have a $20 off coupon for Kohls!

And Grandpa Bob usually tells a story - along with Milanos and milk.

Sometimes they include a sewing project or other craft project.

For the girls, they usually include a mani/pedi outing.  Once Agnes told me how much she loved that part of the tradition.  I mentioned that I wished there was something like mani/pedis for boys.  And she said, "Oh, just go buy them a Nerf ball."

They always include a very good time - I love spending time with each of our grandchildren.

And this weekend is Ella's turn.

So thankful for Ella and all the great Terrill grandkids!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A sobering thought

The post below this is about Mr. Gatto, my high school art teacher and yearbook advisor.  It's a sad, tragic story.  But I went through my old yearbook and found this shot of him - and read what he'd written.  It was encouraging and positive.

I am grateful for teachers - especially public school teachers - who were always helpful and supportive of me in my growing up years.  

My life is different because of them.  I am mostly sorry I didn't make an effort sooner to let them know that!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

RIP Mr. Gatto!

Joseph Gatto was found murdered in his home in Silver Lake last night.  His house had been ransacked, and he was found shot, slumped in a chair.  I heard about it first on the radio as I was driving Eve to meet her mom at the dentist.  I thought, "Can that be the same Joseph Gatto who was my Ceramics teacher and yearbook sponsor in high school?"

Unfortunately it was the same.  Such sad, terrible news.

I guess when you read about crimes in the paper, they sound sad and terrible - but they don't really apply to you, because the people are not people you know.  This was a new one for me - someone I knew, someone who had had an impact on my life when I was young and impressionable, someone who was a good person, someone who probably never hurt anyone in his life!

I got out my old yearbook - and found an inscription from him - it ended with "may life be good to you and reward you with the best!"

He always encouraged me to stretch and grow.  To go beyond the comfort zone.  I did not think of myself as an artist, or even as an artistic person.  But he helped me see that appreciating art is as important as being the artist.

I like to think I appreciate art.  I like to think he'd be proud of my progress.

RIP Joseph Anthony Gatto!

"Once upon a time . . ."

I have memories of my mother reading to us from either one of two books - Grimm's Fairy Tales or Anderson's Fairy Tales.  We didn't have lots of books in our house when I was small - I don't think lots of people had books.   But we did have a set of encyclopedia - and neighbors came often to borrow them.  We only had a traveling library in our town. It came every two weeks.  We checked out the maximum allowed each time they came too.

But I have memories of sitting on the floor while my mother sat in a chair and read  the stories to us.  It is a happy memory, because books and reading came to mean everything to me in my life.

And so I am happy that I am a reader.  I am happy that my children read to their children.  I am happy that we are a family of readers.

It certainly was heart-warming to watch Robbie read to Rhoda!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thankful for my home!!

I've always loved this old snapshot of Bonny racing down our driveway!!  The house has changed a lot in the intervening years since this photo was taken, but it is still home.  I enjoyed immensely my week with Hannah, Robbie, and sweet baby Rhoda, but it is good to be home.

Of course, it's not so enjoyable to unpack, do laundry, sort through mail, listen to voice messages, and contemplate returning to school tomorrow.

But I will enjoy uploading the photos I took and posting them on the blogs and Facebook.  And I will enjoy trying out my new linens from the Eastern Market flea market.  And some of the mail was real mail - letters and cards from people I know and love.  Even a package - my Earring of Month for November I think, from Darlybird.

And my friend Norma had a letter published in the LA Times today.

Life is good - I am thankful!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Thank you, thank you very much!"

My visiting time with Hannah, Robbie, and little Rhoda Primrose is drawing to a close.  I am so thankful that I have been able to be here.  The ability to be with our children when their children are born has been a blessing indeed.  A blessing I cherish, because it allows me to feel an important bond with these wonderful children - right from the start!

It's a time of cocooning almost.  Some days I don't even go outside.  It's chilly but beautiful, and when I have gone outside, it's been satisfying and invigorating.  But we are not so concerned with what is going on outside - we are focusing on establishing this new little member into the family unit.

We - that is Robbie and I - cook and clean and organize and fetch and carry and watch some TV too.  We talk and talk and talk - it's wonderful to have great conversations without any pressure to get other things done instead.

We go to bed early - or late - and rise early - or late - depending mostly on Miss Rhoda.  But there's no definitive schedule yet.  Why is that so liberating??  Schedules are important and we are working on establishing one.  But they don't rule us yet.  And the lovely Miss Rhoda doesn't "rule" us either, since we want to meet her every need - it's the reason we are all here together.

I am so thankful for the circle of life and my role in it right now!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Grateful today for so many!

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
 That mark our place, and in the sky,
 The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
 Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
 Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

 Take up our quarrel with the foe!
 To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
 If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Grateful today for so many soldiers and civilians who paid the price for all the rest of us!!  Thank you!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Autumn on the East Coast

Typing up blog posts on my iPad seems to preclude photos - I am busy taking lots of them and will do a blog post when I return - but for now I need to express my gratitude in words. Since I fancy myself something of a wordsmith, that ought not to be too hard, right??

But fall in DC is almost too exquisite for words.  We don't go out much - we've gone for 3 walks - but a tiny newborn and a new mom mostly need to hang out at home!!  But I have wonderful views of the leaves and the trees and the breezes blowing and even the sunset and sunrise - babies facilitate such viewing times!!

The reds and greens and yellows and oranges are massed in gorgeous array - the leaves are falling - the sidewalks are full of dry leaves.  Some flowers are still blooming - mostly mums and some roses -    all together they create a palette of color that pleases the eye indeed.  

"Glory be to God for dappled things . . . "

Grateful for all things beautiful - and Gerard Manley Hopkins!

Thankful is as thankful does!!

The "inspiration" for this post involves the phrase "beauty is as beauty does" and my re-interpretation of it.

I always took the phrase to mean if you didn't do beautiful things, your beauty was diminished.  I could be wrong - and I've never googled it, so we won't have a definitive answer!  But it's as good an interpretation as any other I've heard, and it leads to my point for today's gratitude post.

You can be thankful, you can express gratitude, but if your life and your actions don't mirror that gratitude, then your declarations of thanksgiving are hollow and without much substance.

For example, gushing profuse thanks for a favor, and then never doing favors for others would seem hypocritical at best - and much worse in some other arenas.

Giving grudging service also falls into this category.  So does envy and jealous over the good fortune of others.

And what does all this have to do with a month dedicated to thankfulness?

I am grateful for good people all around me who willingly serve me and my family.  I am grateful for those who delight in my good fortune with me.  I am grateful indeed for the spirit of good will that surrounds most of my days!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

So grateful for so many things!

Visiting in our children's homes when new babies arrive is a special treat in my life.  My girls tell me that they have friends whose moms don't want to come - and they don't want them to come.  I'm glad my girls don't feel that way.  And I'm glad that Harry and Dawn live  close by so that I can go over and be helpful whenever the opportunity presents itself.

My own mom came when Bonny, Harry, and Phoebe were born.  It was a fun, special experience to have her there, and I treasure the good memories.  It's a great time to visit and share thoughts and feelings - that may be even more beneficial than the help!  But the home-cooked meals, the folded laundry, the encouraging suggestions and real-life advice were certainly helpful and needed!

Eliza was born 4 days before Leslie's wedding, so my mom was pretty occupied and wasn't able to come.  I thought I'd be fine - Bonny was almost 13, Harry almost 11, and Phoebe almost 6, so not only were they capable of caring for themselves, they were also a big help.

But I do remember that first morning after I got home from the hospital.  She had jaundice - of course - so I had to take her in to the doctor's office - and had to get the kids off to school and then drive myself - Harry was on a job in LA and had to leave very early.  I do recall feeling somewhat abandoned!

I am grateful not only for the help and support of my mother and sisters when I have had my own children, but also the opportunity I have to be supportive of our children and their spouses when their children are born.

It's a good life!

Friday, November 08, 2013

The month of gratitude goes on and on - as well it should!

Today I read about the death of an old college roommate's husband.  Patti and I have stayed in touch over the years.  We have visited a time or two also.  Even so, the news was shocking and saddening.

Patti and I, along with another friend Kay, all got married in December of 1967.  Each year as our anniversary approached, I would think, "Well, Patti and John and Kay and Steve are celebrating too."

I would often think about how much fun it would be to get together for our anniversaries.  But Kay and Steve were in the Navy - Steve was a chaplain - and Patti and John lived in Northern California.  So my great idea never went anywhere.

But we did stay in touch - I am grateful for that.

And we did get in some visits over the years - I am grateful for that.

And all of us were sealed in the temple - I am especially grateful for that!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Happy Day to the dad I am so thankful for!

It's the 7th of November - the date in 1916 that Woodrow Wilson was elected president of the United States.

More to the point, the day my dad was born!!

I will always be glad for my dad!!  (and of course my mom, whom he had the good sense to find and marry!!)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

"Come on Grandma, you can dance!!"

My paternal grandmother died when my father was 17, so I never knew her.  My grandfather married two more times, but I didn't have a grandma on that side of the family until I was a pre-teen.  My maternal grandmother was in my life often, and I have always been grateful for that. It's important to have a grandma!

For this reason, I am truly grateful that our children have grown into adulthood with not one, but two grandmas - both of whom are aging well!!

What a blessing!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

No kidding!!

Our family grew slowly, over a few years.  Bonny and Harry were just 2 years apart, but then it was 5 years waiting for Phoebe, and then 6 years waiting for Eliza.  Hannah and Noah sort of zoomed in there at the end.  

The spacing has meant changing relationships over the years.  When you are 17 and you have a baby brother, it's a different relationship than you have with your closer sibs.

Wonderfully, though, the relationships have all coalesced into a great family dynamic - adult children who love, respect, and enjoy one another.

Couldn't ask for a better blessing than that!

Monday, November 04, 2013

"I've got plenty to be thankful for!"

Since Deacon's birth, Eve has been coming to my classroom after school, and then I take her to her gymnastics practice.  It's a nice little routine, and a nice chance to share some one on one time with her.

She often talks about how glad she is about certain aspects of her life.  "I'm glad I go to Clifton and not Santa Fe," or "I'm glad I'm not too tall," or "I'm glad I have Ms. Carter for Social Science."

And my favorite, "I'm glad I go to Clifton with you Grandma."

And it reminds me of my favorite Christmas movie, Holiday Inn, and one of my favorite songs from the movie, "I've Got Plenty to be Thankful For."

I'm glad you go with me to Clifton too, Eve!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Thanks, and thanks, and thanks again!!

I am certainly thankful that my girls were persistent in encouraging me to become familiar with the joys of pedicures!!

They went for them all the time - and always invited me to join them.  But stubborn me, I always declined.   I have never had what I thought were "pretty feet" so I was pretty sure pedicures would just highlight the unloveliness of them.

How wrong I was!  Pedicures only improve the look of your feet - as unlovely as they may be!!  And I'm converted - I go for them regularly.

It was not, however, the efforts of my daughters that finally got me in the chair.  Rather it was the receipt of a gift card from a student - one for a full-scale pedicure at Urbane - that got me in finally.  I didn't want to waste it - so I used it.

And the rest is history - and frequent visits to Urbane!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

More to be thankful for!!

I LOVE poinsettias.  I have tried, unsuccessfully, to grow them in my own yard.  

When they start showing up in the market, I buy them, and put them all over the house and porch.  The unsuccessful growing efforts start after that.  (They do grow and bloom for a time after I transplant them.  It is just never sustained.)

So I am grateful that they grow in such profusion in other yards.  Especially yards that I drive by on a regular basis!!

Friday, November 01, 2013

"I've got plenty to be thankful for . . ."

Eliza blogged about the concept of blogging daily in November about what we are thankful for. At different times over the years, I have kept a gratitude journal, and it is a very useful, rewarding kind of exercise.  I tend to focus on negatives more often than positives, so it's an especially helpful exercise for me to engage in!

My "gratitude posts" are not going in any particular order.  That is, the first post might not be the thing I am most grateful for, but it is something I thought about when I thought about gratitude as I sat here at the computer.

This is a photo of me with my aide of 16 years, one Verna Beth Roth - known fondly as "Mrs. Roth" to many of my students.  In fact, when she was not in my classroom this year, I heard "But where is Mrs. Roth?" more times than I care to remember!

Beth had the opportunity this year to finally have full-time status as an instructional aide - something she has wanted the whole time she's worked for the district!  But it meant she had to move to the self-contained classroom, since the Resource classroom does not qualify for full-time aides.  

I used to say, "When Beth goes, I go!"  But I'm not ready to retire yet, so I have had to adjust!  Beth has had to adjust too, but she has simply endeared herself to a new group of aides, teachers, and students!  And I have been given two new aides, and they are working out well and do an excellent job.  Mrs. Roth does drop by often.  I also get to have lunch with her in the staff lounge each day, so we may actually have more "social" time together than we had before.

But I often look for her - and have to remind myself that she's not in my room anymore.  I miss her ready smile, her very upbeat, positive attitude, her daily injunction to just look for "baby steps" and then we won't be disappointed.

And I am reminded that we need to treasure the now, the today, the present.  We need to be thankful for what we have - not what we might not have in the future.

I am truly thankful for the wonderful 16 years Beth and I worked together. And thankful that we are always going to be friends!