Sunday, November 30, 2014

Month of Gratitude

Today, the last day of the "Month of Gratitude," is also the 11th anniversary of the death of our beloved Charlie Graham.

Charlie was a good man with a great family.  We all miss him still - but are so grateful to have had him in our lives.

And we are all eternally grateful for the plan of salvation.

Seems like a fitting note upon which to end this month of gratitude.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Month of Gratitude

I did some checking, and I'm two posts short - so I'm playing catch up!!

I'm really grateful that years ago we went to a Saturday morning activity at SMCNS - while Phoebe went there - and toured Santa Anita Racetrack - and discovered that far from being a "den of iniquity," it was a fun place to go and watch the horses work out and eat breakfast under heat lamps at Clocker's Corner.

And I'm grateful it's part of our holiday celebrating!

Even if Harry is yawning, he loves it too!

Month of Gratitude

I'm grateful that we get together at the holidays. I'm already looking forward to it.  I'm grateful that everyone wants to get together!!

I don't think it gets any better than that!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Month of Gratitude

This photo was taken a year ago.  I decided to have my mom, Marjorie, and Helen over for dinner - just them.  They had all commented that when everyone was there, it was noisy and hard for them to hear and be part of the conversation.  So I had the idea to just have them over.  

It was a good idea, and the meal was lovely.  I think they all had a great time too.  At this little dinner party, my mom started discussing her dream of riding the train across Canada - a dream she realized this summer.

I'm grateful I acted on an impulse - and hope I learned a lesson!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Month of Gratitude

I love dolls.  And I loved dolls when I was a little girl - and even when I was a big girl.  My sister Alice and I usually got matching dolls for Christmas.  One year we got "newborn" dolls - which were perfect for us, since we usually had a newborn in our house and we could use some of the clothing and accessories when we played.
And we always "played" dolls.  We set up houses by laying out rooms on the patio, and we played house with our dolls. 
 I'm so old there were no Barbies.  There were Ginny dolls, but they were probably expensive, because we never got one.  Once we got a Muffy doll - maybe the equivalent of the Target brand faux American Girl dolls.  We weren't ace seamstresses at the time, so the clothes we made for them were pretty rustic.  But we still had fun.  Although I do remember going to school and being very envious of those girls who brought their Ginny dolls to school - and the vast wardrobes their Ginny dolls had!

I remember always loving the dolls we got.  From conversations with my mother over the years, I'm pretty sure she either went to a lot of trouble or was always really lucky - I think maybe she went to a lot of trouble.  In later years, she often made dolls for the granddaughters and great-granddaughters, so I think she thought dolls were pretty important.

When Bonny was ready to get a doll, Harry and I both weighed in on the purchase.  He had some definite ideas about dolls too.  I made doll clothes that matched Bonny's clothes.  I enjoyed doing it too.  Once Harry said, "Are you making those for Bonny to enjoy - or for you to enjoy?"  I think it was a little of both.  I also started collecting Madame Alexander dolls for Bonny - each year I'd give her one of the Little Women dolls - she still has them all!

Madame Alexander actually fell into some disfavor, and all the girls didn't get them.  Frances had a tradition of buying Baby Huggums for the new babies, and we've done that somewhat sporadically I think.  It's pretty hard and pretty expensive to get them now.

And of course, everyone knows the story about Phoebe's Cabbage Patch doll.  (She wanted one - I did manage to find one - and Harry questioned the expense - until he saw her face when she opened it - and said, "Well, you called that one right!")
Hannah and Eliza managed to come of age at the right time for the American Girl doll saga - I confess I enjoy them too - and Bonny, Phoebe, and Dawn have managed to make them a part of their lives!!
There are lots of doll stories to tell.  Someday I should gather them up.  For now I will just say I am thankful for a mother who provided me with dolls I loved - and encouraged me to play with and enjoy them!!

There are lots of doll stories in our family - sometime I ought to write them all down.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Month of Gratitude

Grateful today for blue skies, warm sunshine, good food to eat, and a sweet visiting teacher who comes faithfully every month. I haven't had such a regular visitor in many years - a true blessing in my life!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Month of Gratitude

I didn't always know how to sew.  And I wasn't always interested in learning how either.  When we were girls in junior high, I was always in Student Council or on the newspaper staff, so I didn't take sewing at school.  My mom sewed all the time, and sewing was often essential if I wanted certain things.

I learned to trade chores with Alice, who not only took sewing in junior high, but was very good at it.  I'd do her dishes if she'd set in the sleeves for me, or put in a zipper - I'd was pretty good at straight seams!

This arrangement worked well until she went on her mission - and I was pregnant and poor!  She gave me a pattern and some fabric and assured me I could do it - and I did!  And I kept on doing it, and got better as time went on.

I mostly sew aprons and tied quilts these days. Or I mend.  I'm not so interested in having to read new directions - I'd rather sew something I'm familiar with while watching old movies on my portable DVD player!

That doesn't mean I might not branch out again

one of these days.  If my arthritic fingers and my vision continue to co-operate.

Stay tuned.  In the meantime, I'm grateful for skills that bring me joy!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Month of Gratitude

There are those who scoff at the skylight in our bedroom, but it really is a joy to me.  In the summer time, the blue sky and the green leaves of the neighbor's ancient oak tree make the start of every day a beautiful event.  At night, we can see the stars - and often the constellations.

And the moonlight - I love falling asleep bathed in moonlight!  Last week we found "Moonlight Becomes You" sung by Bing Crosby and listened to it in bed while the moon shone down on us.  What a treat!

On winter mornings, we still see green leaves and blues skies - because this is SoCal after all.  Cloudy days and nights make a pretty picture too.

I am truly grateful and thankful for my bedroom skylight!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Month of Gratitude

While I am not grateful that John F. Kennedy was assassinated 51 years ago today, I am grateful that we have a strong enough government to withstand such an onslaught.

History has dealt with the man and his presidency with varying degrees of sympathy and appreciation, but he did give his life for his country.  That deserves our respect.

It is easy to be critical of politicians - I often am - but many of those who serve our country are good men and women for the most part.  Those who serve well deserve our thanks.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Month of Gratitude

Exchanged some text messages with Sarah Nebeker today.  Was reminded again how much our friendship with the Nebekers has impacted our life - for the better.  We have lots of beautiful art in our home - and have had for many years - and a lot of it is from Ry.

We are saddened by his recent passing, but we are grateful that he left such a great legacy.  And that we will see him again one day.

And we are grateful for our continuing friendship with his family.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Month of Gratitude

So grateful for the upcoming holidays and all that means to the Terrill family.  It means a wonderful time being had by all - and I'm getting excited.

It's beginning to feel a lot like New Year's!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Month of Gratitude

This is a long ago photo of Ella with a doll she made at our house.

And here is Ara with her doll.

As I recall, it was a project Ara was doing for a class at school - and Ella just wanted to make one also.  I remember Bruce was helping them - I was providing supplies and the sewing machine I think.

I am so grateful for happy doll-making memories!!  And so grateful for Ara and Ella - who are growing up fast - too fast it seems at times - they will flee the nest before we can blink if we're not careful.

I know the grandchildren will all grow up and away - that's what kids are supposed to do.  But it doesn't make you miss them any less.  Which is why happy memories are so essential - and why I am grateful for them!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Month of Gratitude

Every month I volunteer in Eve's cooking class at Clifton.  The teacher is a good friend of mine, and it's fun to be with her too.  Apparently Eve volunteered my services at the beginning of the school year, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Today I taught them to make jam - it was lots of fun.  Many of them didn't even know what jam was.  They apparently call any sweet sandwich spread jelly!  In September we made apple turnovers.  In October we made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies.  In December we are going to learn about and make wassail!  (Any good recipes, feel free to share them with me.)

They are all eager learners.  It just warms your heart to be surrounded by such willing students.  With all the focus on academics and Common Core, it really is too bad that things like cooking and other electives are falling by the wayside - and falling they are - because there is so much to be learned from cooking.

(The above photo is a much younger Eve helping me in the kitchen.  I think all kids love the kitchen!)

I am thankful that cooking is still offered at Clifton - and that I get my middle school-fix each month in the class!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Month of Gratitude

After the Sacrament today, Eve leaned over and whispered that the Young Women had made the bread they had used for the Sacrament. She was pretty excited and pleased.  

Much has been written of late - at least in LDS circles - about helping women and girls in the church feel a more direct sense of involvement in the running of church activities.  Women actually do a lot of the work, but often do not feel acknowledged.  I was pleased to see the Young Women involved this way.

I have noted previously during the month of gratitude that I am grateful for the Young Women program, but tonight I am feeling especially grateful for the program and the very real, valid opportunities for service that come from wise, in tune leaders.

Let's hear it for the girls!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Month of Gratitude

For the last 12 or 13 years, Jen Knudsen has been coloring, cutting, and styling my hair.  As we all know, getting the right haircut can make all the difference in the world.  

This is getting ready to change for me, because Jen is no longer coming out to Monrovia once a month to serve the clients who came to depend on her! (She several years ago moved away to Murrietta but came back monthly.)  She is actually finishing her degree, and I support her 100% in that effort.

But I will have to find someone new.  Or just let my hair grow unchecked.

Except for the ridiculous spiral perm phase, I pretty much either have had short hair or long hair or in-between hair.  Actually, they covers all options doesn't it?  And I don't go in for complicated "do's."  But I have thick, wavy, opinionated hair - and Jen seemed to understand it!

I'm sure I will survive.  But I am certainly grateful to have had an excellent stylist - and wonderful friend and conversationalist - for these past years!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Month of Gratitude

 I am eternally grateful to my sister Donna who has taken such wonderful care of our mother for the last many years.  My dad died in 2000 and she helped care for him too, so she's been "on the job" for a long while.   She pays close attention to all the details that make life pleasant and purposeful for Mom.  She loves everyone, and usually puts others ahead of herself.

My mom often says, "I couldn't be here and live in my own home this way if it were not for Donna."

Amen to that!

And thank you Donna!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Month of Gratitude

I don't have albums full of photos, but I do have some "snapshots" of my life.

I appear to have taken random photos at random moments.  I actually have thought of many times when I wish I'd had a photo of some event or item.  I don't even have photos of our kids on their first day of kindergarten - except Noah - and I think Linda took that one! 

But I love the photos I do have hanging around from years past - and so I am grateful for cameras - and the photos they take that help keep us connected to the past.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Month of Gratitude

This summer, Eliza indulged my whim and found the grave of F. Scott Fitzgerald, so we went and visited.  (His wife and daughter are also buried there.)  I have read every book he's published, and I enjoy his writing.  (I used to pick authors and then read everything they wrote!  I kind of do that now, but not as often.)

I'm so glad that somewhere along the line, I came to love reading and literature and words and writing.  I "accidentally" became an English major - and I'm glad about that too!  (My roommate Pat said, "What are you majoring in?"  And I said, "Oh, I don't know, what's a major?"  She said, "Well, what did you take in high school?"  I said that I'd taken a lot of math but didn't think I wanted to major in math.  I said I'd taken Latin, but I was pretty sure I didn't want to major in Latin.  Then I said I'd always wanted to learn French, so maybe I should major in French.  She said, "Language majors are too hard.  How about English?"  And that's how it happened!)

I love a good book!  So thankful for books and libraries and reading - and my Kindle!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Month of Gratitude

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.

The above poem was written by John McRae, who was a doctor in World War I.  He ended up being asked to conduct a funeral - on the battlefield - because the chaplain was busy elsewhere.  It is believed that that night he began the draft that eventually became this poem.

I think about it every year on Veteran's Day - I am not a believer in war - "proclaim peace, not war" is my mantra. But soldiers who have died defending us deserve our undying respect and honor.  I believe this poem exhorts us to do our best to make sure no one dies in vain.

I am grateful today for those who have given their all - and those who have served and continue to serve to defend and protect us all.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Month of Gratitude

While we were in Utah, Leslie arranged things so that my mother's good friend Kay Gavin could come and visit.

Kay's daughter Nancy and Leslie have been good friends since junior high.  Leslie introduced Nancy to the gospel and later Nancy's parents joined too.  Nancy married and settled in Utah and after her father's death, her mom joined her there.

Before she moved away, Kay became ill and needed care.  So she came and stayed with our family,  and Mom cared for her.  That truly cemented their friendship.

Over the years we have all maintained contact, so seeing them was a treat for everyone.  Kay is 96, and it took both Charlie and Nancy to get her mom in the door and settled down.  But I wish I'd had a video camera - or at least thought to take a video with my iPad.  Mom was sitting on the couch, and when Kay got near enough, she flung her arms around Mom and squealed delightedly, "Oh, Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary!"  It was wonderful to behold.  And they visited for a goodly long time!  (It had been years since they'd seen each other.)

I have wonderful friends. One especially who goes "way back" is Joy.  Summer of 2013 we managed to meet up in St. George.  Joy squealed almost as delightedly as Kay did.  (I guess I'm not a squealer!  But I was very happy to see her.)

I am eternally grateful for friendship and all it has meant in my life!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Month of Gratitude

I come from a large family.  Family gatherings have not always historically been peaceful.  We have all followed different paths, had different experiences, and we are separated by age also.  The youngest child in a family of 12 might feel more like a nephew sometimes.

So at  first I was concerned that if we were all together for such an emotion filled weekend, there might be misunderstandings or dissension.  I should not have worried, because having us all there together created love and unity.  It was a good experience, and our attendance brought a measure of peace to Richard and Julie.

I'm grateful for lessons learned!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Month of Gratitude

Today we are all in attendance at my niece Robynn's funeral.  We were all together in 2000 for my dad's funeral.  And we were all together in 2010 for my mom's 90th birthday.  

Sometimes it's tough to have so many siblings.  The more people you have in a group, the greater the chance for conflict or disagreements.  But when times are tough, there is nothing quite like having a crowd with you to circle those wagons and get through the trial.

I am grateful for my siblings - all 11 of them!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Month of Gratitude

Today is my dad's birthday.  He was born on November 7, 1916 - the day Woodrow Wilson was elected president.  He told us that every year - and now I do too.  Some things are worth repeating.

I am grateful to have had such a loving and supportive dad.  Not everyone is so fortunate.  We live in a world where many kids don't have much contact with their dads - and may not even know who or where they are.

Thanks, Dad!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Month of Gratitude

In my early married years, I always wore aprons.  Then they sort of went out of vogue, so I didn't wear them as often.  Then they came into vogue with a vengeance, and they are still in fashion.  And I usually wear them - especially on Sundays when dinner is at our house.  And since I have such an extensive wardrobe of aprons, I need to wear them or they stare at me accusingly!

I love to make and give aprons away too.  They always seem to be appreciated, and that is one of the perks of making them.  I love to browse through fabric stores looking for great apron material.  And I love to sew them and watch old movies on my portable DVD player - it's a great way to pass an otherwise empty evening and not feel abandoned.

I am truly grateful for aprons and all they represent in my life!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Eve came home excited and happy this evening after a YW activity.  I am so grateful that my daughters and granddaughters love Young Women.  It certainly wasn't the program it is now when I was in Young Women, but I loved it then.  And I love it now.

I'm grateful that there has always been a place for girls to grow and develop into wonderful women.  I loved being a Beehive, a Mia Maid, and a Laurel.  I loved seeing my daughters go through the program.  I love watching them work in the program in their own wards.  I loved serving in the Young Women as an advisor, a counselor, a ward president and a stake counselor in the YW presidency, and of course I always loved Girls' Camp.

A caveat here:  In Centerville, Utah, while I was still pretty young, I served as Camp Director and as Mia Maid advisor.  I had less than sterling experiences.  But I love that I survived the experiences so that I could do a better job later on!!

So grateful for the Young Women programs!!