As the "Month of Gratitude" winds to a close, and I reflect on the many blessings in my life, I realize that most of them start with our marriage and the many blessings in store for us - eternally!
Monday, November 30, 2015
Sunday, November 29, 2015
I am grateful for calla lillies! Over the years, they have popped up in our yard - but somehow they haven't come for the last couple of years! And I miss them!!
They are beautiful - and I love them!!
Saturday, November 28, 2015
I am grateful that Harry and I are grandparents to a wonderful group of grandchildren. Here we are with Ara, the sweetheart who made us grandparents!
Hopefully we can take a "grandchildren" photo this holiday season - here we are when we had 8 grandkids.
We do have our "quiver full" of wonderful kids we call our own - and it is one of the greatest blessings in my life!!
Friday, November 27, 2015
This is one of the few shots of my entire family - it's my Grandpa Clayton with all of his grandchildren - the occasion was my brother Lyn's missionary farewell and David's blessing.
I am grateful for my family - all of them. I don't know all of my cousins very well - but over the years, we have had more contact - and social media has helped.
There were lots of reasons why we didn't know each other well. Back then, traveling distances without freeways and really good cars seemed a little daunting. We had a big family and didn't always feel that everyone was comfortable with us descending on them. And apparently, we lived "out in the sticks" and everyone wasn't keen on going there!
For whatever reason, we didn't see each other much. But my grandpa came out often.
And when you have a big crowd for a family, you don't often notice that there aren't other people there adding to the crowd!!
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Grateful for Thanksgiving - and not just the pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes and gravy - although they are delish!! I love a time to gather with loved ones - and eat!!
We spent a lot of years in Utah mostly celebrating the holiday with just our little family - and it was really nice. But over the years things have evolved, and we seem to be in a different spot every few years - and that is really nice too.
Thankful for the day of thanks!
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
I am grateful that I was able to share Harry's missionary experience with him. We were not boyfriend/girlfriend, but just friends. And the letters we exchanged were meaningful to both of us. It was the start of a wonderful relationship - and I treasure the written words we shared.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
I am grateful for baby Jonah and the blessing he was in our lives. I am grateful for learning some important lessons. I am grateful that he lived his short life so well. And I am grateful for the many sweet memories of his life.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Grateful for FHE!!
We used to have FHE at home - not all the time when I was growing up - it just really wasn't emphasized. But after the emphasis came, my parents tried anyway!! Richard often got in trouble for misbehaving - and I think some of my brothers tried to set him off so he'd get in trouble.
So one night he came with a bag over his head - hoped it would head off the fooling around!! I can't remember if it did or not. But the event is chronicled for all time!!
Harry and I have been better at some times - but we did keep on trying - and we still do!
I think that's the point!
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Grateful for a democracy that could handle the very horrific assassination of John F. Kennedy. I was an A student in American History, but that cold November day in 1963 was not like anything I had read in books.
Over the years, much has been written - and I have read a lot of it. After all the shouting and posturing and analysis and reflection, the nitty gritty is that we as a nation survived. We had survived before. And we have survived since.
It's comforting to know that we have a such a good system in place!
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Grateful for high school "beauty pageants" and the lessons they can teach us!!
When I was in high school, I was very active in student government. So one year, my friends and I who were on the student council, ramrodded through the organization a requirement for the Homecoming Queen and princesses to have 3.5 GPA's.
The standard lasted through one event - but for that one event, my friend Patsy and I got on the court - mainly because no one else interested had the requisite GPA!
It all turned out to be not quite as glamorous as I thought it would be.
And we didn't get crowns!!
But it's fun when you are playing those parlor games where people are trying to guess which statement about you is not true to have this up my sleeve. Apparently I don't look like someone who would have been on a Homecoming Court!!
Friday, November 20, 2015
Grateful for the Hollywood Bowl and all the great nights we've spent there!! Actually haven't been for a couple of years - need to rectify that!!
Once I commented to Dad that maybe we shouldn't go - I said, "We always fall asleep!" And he replied, "I can't think of a better place to fall asleep than under the stars listening to great music!"
It's usually worth the time and trouble it takes to get there!!
Thursday, November 19, 2015
I am truly grateful for my years as a school teacher!! I'm grateful that I was able to spend so many years doing work that was truly "work worth doing!" as Beverly at SMCNS always says.
I'm retired but subbing. Today a young man said, "How long have you been a teacher?" "Oh, a lot of years," was my reply. "You're a good teacher," he said back to me.
Warmed my heart!!
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
I am thankful for daffodils!! I love it when they peek their pretty heads up in the early spring. Every year I say I'm going to plant bulbs so they can grow in my yard.
And every year I don't!
Maybe this year I will - will post photos if I do!! (These are in Eliza's complex where she lives!)
"For oft when on my couch I lie,
In vacant or in pensive mood,
And cast upon that inner eye
Which is the bliss of solitude . . .
And then my heart with rapture fills,
And dances with the daffodils!"
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
I am grateful for our home - and grateful that it doesn't really look like this anymore!! Although there are those who say we should not have gotten rid of the aluminum awnings!
We bought this house mainly because we could afford it. And I kept thinking we'd sell and get a bigger, nicer house. But that never happened. And we have been happy here, and it seems nice enough. Often the grandkids tell me, "Grandma, you have the best house. I love your house." So I guess that's a good enough reason to be content with it.
But I am grateful for a place to call home, a place everyone loves to come back to, a place full of the echoes of years of good times and fond memories.
Home, sweet home!
Monday, November 16, 2015
I am grateful for a happy childhood! When I was a girl, I loved paper dolls. McCalls magazine had Betsy McCall paper dolls in their issue each month. My mom never bought magazines - but my good friend Judy, who lived next door, got McCall's magazine every month!! So glad she was will to share with Alice and me!
We usually took our allowance each Saturday and went to the matinee at the Panorama Theater. But if we didn't, we went to the Buy-Lo dime store on Chatsworth and bought whatever paper dolls we could afford.
We had a whole world of paper dolls - and even cut out pictures of rooms from the newspaper and any magazines we could get hold of and had homes for our world of paper dolls!!
It's hard to understand if you didn't live it, but live it we did - and what a joy it was!! I have distinct memories of sitting on the floor in front of my seated mom and cutting out my newest set of paper dolls while she curled my freshly washed hair for Sunday.
I encouraged Bonny to love paper dolls and bought her lots of them - she played with them some, but they never quite took over her life as they had ours.
Maybe they were just for a time and place - and I'm glad I was in that time and place!!
We also had good times just playing in our yard. There were a lot of us, so there was always someone to play with. Neighbor kids came over often - and when my dad was building our house, the construction site was a wonderful playground!
Not sure what to say about those pincurls on my forehead - perhaps I thought they were stylish - or maybe I just wanted the hair out of my eyes!!
So thankful for a the wonders of childhood and the joys I experienced!!
Sunday, November 15, 2015
I'm grateful for Cub Scouts - and for the opportunity to be working with them when our grandsons are part of the pack!
Had a great time working with Noah - Cub Day Camp - always a good experience - albeit a warm one sometimes!
And loved working with Harry too. The ward didn't have a den for him - kept putting me off - so we recruited Damond and made our own den - and had a great time!
I've done a lot of "solo" Scouting with both of our boys - and it's actually not such a bad gig!!
When I was a teen, my mom, with 6 sons, was often the de facto Den Mother - as they used to be called. And she recruited Alice and me all the time - it was pretty fun - and good training for being the mom of boys.
Scouting has come under fire of late, and there was apparently serious consideration given to the idea of the Church backing out of Scouts. They chose not to - and if they do in the future, I'm sure the Church will have a great alternate plan for the current program.
Meanwhile, I will keep on enjoying my current role as Stake Cubmaster. And loving those boys!!
Saturday, November 14, 2015
I am truly grateful for the grandparents in my life - even the ones I never met! My father's mother, Agnes Marietta Busath Clayton, after whom I am named, was a profound influence in my father's life. She died when he was 17, but her influence never left his life. I love the above photo - that I recently found - Agnes, in an apron, sitting on the porch, reading!! Can I identify?? (Yes indeedy!) So grateful that her influence was felt in my life.
My Grandpa Clayton, shown here with Uncle Paul, was a larger-than-life kind of guy - and we all loved him. He was always around, always had a joke or a song or a trick or a silver dollar to give you! Turns out he wasn't all that exemplary, but I'm glad no one felt they had to dampen our enthusiasm for his visits. And frankly, as the years go by and more information emerges, his life makes sense, as the forces that shaped it emerge in more clarity. And I think his heart was right!
My Grandma Stevens was a lovely woman. I was a little intimidated by her as a child, but fortunately for me, she helped me overcome that!! When I was in college and a young mother, she wrote me letters of encouragement - and she sent recipes!! She typed them on her Remington too - she was a stenographer in her younger days!!
Wish she'd lived longer so I could have known her even longer, but we have eternity!!
My Grandpa Stevens was an executive at General Motors - and he was a little intimidating too, but he also helped me overcome that. Funny how that works!! So grateful for the years I knew him - he died when I was in my freshman year at BYU - a good man - even if he didn't have much good to say about Mormons!
My Grandpa Clayton married 3 times - his second wife was Helen Barlow Pratt - and I don't have a photo of her - but the hazy memories I have of her are good ones.
His third wife was our favorite grandma - Grandma Connie - what a wonderful woman she was! She lived into her nineties, so my children got a chance to meet her. She inherited a whole passel of grandkids when she married my grandpa - but she opened her heart to all of them - and kept track of them too. She is the reason I even know some cousins I'm pretty sure I wouldn't know if it hadn't been for her!
Grateful for all my grandparents!!
Friday, November 13, 2015
So grateful for Noah! Child number 6, son number 2, a young man with a ready smile and goodwill to all!
He was a cute little guy - easy to spoil, if that's what you call loving!!
Loves his big brother!!
And his dad - even if he more often than not was mistaken for a grandson!!
Not much of a scholar, by his own admission. But also by his own admission, a "lifelong learner!"
Didn't really grow up "alone" since his buddy Andrew was a fixture in our household.
We are grateful that he has found his "better half!" Taylor is a welcome addition to our family.
And so happy that the package deal includes Keesa and sweet baby Francis.
We love you Noah!! And we love your little family too!
Thursday, November 12, 2015
I am grateful for Hannah Rebekah - Harry has had to be persuaded with each daughter to allow a middle name - he said, "Okay, we can do Rebekah - but only if we spell it with an 'ah' at the end!" That was easy!!
Hannah has always been pretty mellow and laid back - at least she was as a baby and child - she can get tense but you can usually talk her out of it!! Slept like a dream even with her awkward casts and Dr. Brown splints!
And she is crafty and creative and resourceful. I will never forget her science project - and her query "Can I use anything I can find in the garage?" And she just keeps going - we love seeing what she comes up with!
And her Halloween costumes this year were over the top cute!!
There were "dos Hannahs" growing up - and she handled it fine. She's always been surrounded by friends and family - everyone seems to love Hannah - and we do too!!
With Hannah comes Robbie - and boy, Howdy, were we happy to welcome him into the family circle!! They complement each other perfectly.
And with Hannah and Robbie comes the lovely Miss Rhoda - and we do love her - looking forward to the holidays and having the Hamills here with us!
Lucky number 5 - that was our Hannah - so grateful for the wonderful daughter that she is!!
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I am so grateful for Eliza, another waited for, longed for baby!! How happy we were to find out that another child was coming to our home!!
I was the only mom in the hospital when she was born - so we got lots of special attention - what a great way to start out your life!
Phoebe too was pleased to have a new baby sister!!
And there was no chance for Eliza to be a "later only!" with the addition of Hannah and Noah.
Eliza is bright and personable and empathetic and understanding and so kind!! She also writes extremely well - and she's a wonderful teacher! (and musician and mom and I could go on and on!!)
With Eliza comes Matt - and we are so grateful for him too! A wonderful husband and father - not to mention son-in-law par excellence!
Another quartet of charming children rounds out their happy home - we love them all - and love to visit - and love their visits here!!
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
I am so grateful for Phoebe. We had two lovely children, but really wanted more. In fact, Bonny would tell people in the ward that I was pregnant - hoping I'd make good on her story! So we made it a matter of fasting and prayer - and Phoebe was the answer to our prayers! Her name - Phoebe Elizabeth - means light, and gift of God. Seems fitting!
She was a delightful little girl - charmed everyone she met! And you'll notice as a woman of fashion - Phoebe was ahead of her time - notice the Saltwater sandals!!
Parties and Phoebe just go together - it's as if the party can't start until she is there! We love that about her - and love her visits - and visiting her! She is the queen of "visitor's baskets!!"
She is the one who gets the tan to beat all tans!! Our beautiful Phebes!!
And you can't have Phoebe without David - we had never met him when Phoebe informed us that he was the one - but we didn't doubt her judgement - and she was right! David is an essential member of our family - we would not be complete without him!
And with Phoebe and David, you have the wonderful quartet of kids that round out their family - so grateful for each one of them - and grateful that we get to visit them for Thanksgiving!!