Sunday, November 30, 2014

1000 gifts: 30 days of thanksgiving

I don't usually share much on Facebook, but I've seen others do the 30 days of thanksgiving in November, and I did it this year too (except the version here on the blog is numbered for my 1000 gifts list). This list is mostly written for myself and for my family. I don't expect anyone else to read all these details, but I decided to leave these posts "public" just in case they might inspire someone else someday to start keeping a gifts list. Keeping this list has changed my life.

938. Dark mornings, but getting to see beautiful sunrises
Getting up while it's still dark, before the time change, is really hard, but I'm thankful for getting to see the beautiful sunrises (that I don't normally get up early enough to see)

939. My sisters-in-laws, who are making quilts for all my girls. 
Thank you Melissa, Monica, Crystal and Josey. This one Melissa is doing the embroidery on for the twins.

940. Snuggles in the morning
Starlet is almost 8, but she still loves to snuggle with me in the mornings before school. Serious got up early this morning to snuggle with me too.  I don't want them to outgrow the snuggly stage!

941.  the teachers at the twins' school that give them so much help and encouragement
The twins get one-on-one help for 2 hours a day to help them catch up with their reading! Our public education system is amazing in Wyoming.

942. "Pitchwars" -a writer mentorship opportunity
This program pairs two writers up with one published or soon-to-be published author so they can benefit from his/her experience. Veronica B. was my mentor and Natalie W. was the other writer I exchanged manuscripts with. Results in 5 requests from agents!

943. thankful for our veterans and our freedom

944. thankful for our cozy wood stove with near 0 temperatures outside

945. all four of my girls taking a break from Minecraft and busy writing stories

946. Getting bumped on a flight - but reimbursed with $500 voucher
This meant B. and I were able to get tickets to Seattle to visit Stars!

947. the deja vu feeling of Stars picking us up at the airport 
after all the times we've picked her up at the airport while she was growing up

948. A library that looks like a cathedral (Suzzallo library at University of Washington)
The students call this the Harry Potter library. Stars also gave us a tour of the beautiful campus. She's starting at a community college (to save money) but hopes to transfer here. Smart plan!
949. sunset from the tallest building in Seattle, the Columbia Center From up there, the Space Needle looked like a miniature toy! (you can just see it in the background of this picture)  It had a breathtaking panorama of the city, Mt Rainier, Puget Sound, all the beautiful lakes and Cascades in the distance. We stayed up there for over an hour, from twilight to full night because Stars said it was worth it to stay to see all the city lights, not to mention the sunset.  

950. Monorail
Another I loved was the monorail train in downtown Seattle with the glass roof. Makes me want to travel by train more.  

951. Huckleberries
Stars is trying to save money and using public transit instead of driving (parking is so expensive in Seattle, too) so we drove her car back to Laramie to sell it for her. It was a two day, 20 hour drive but through some of the most beautiful mountain country of Washington, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. And every time we stopped I couldn't help put splurging on huckleberry treats - huckleberries don't grow in southern Wyoming where I live, and they are one of my favorite treats. Even had huckleberry ice cream! 

952. Meeting friends in Idaho Falls
Amy & DJ's family moved away last year, and it was so much fun to have lunch with them when we drove through Idaho Falls. Miss them and their kids so much.

953. Swan Valley
I've never driven through Swan Valley before, but didn't figure I'd be lucky enough to see swans - but we did! Swans swimming in the Snake River! That drive through Swan Valley, along Palisades Reservoir, Snake River Canyon, and along the Hoback River is stunning! At one point we had to stop because there was a band of big horn sheep in the middle of the road, licking road salt.

954. My parents 50th anniversary!!! (November 21)
So incredibly thankful for them, words cannot express it. I wanted it to be special but Mom didn't want to do anything big, because Dad can't handle much company (due to his Parkinson's disease). We just had a few friends over for hors d'ouerves and champagne. My mom has a gift as a hostess that I deeply admire. My dad was much better than I thought he would be, too. He couldn't hold a conversation for very long but he was able to make a few snappy comments like his old self, such as "Not bad for a guy who can barely count to 50." 

 I wrote to all their friends and family and asked that they send cards and notes and photos and many did which really made my parents happy, especially some they hadn't heard from in a while. 
My parents' favorite car, Ford Galaxy, 1964
Anniversary dinner, 2009 at our house

955. kisses on both cheeks so you don't go lopsided
I love how my mom makes the twins kiss her good bye on both cheeks because if you only kiss her on one side, she'll go lopsided the rest of the day

958. Amazing grace! Jesus became real to me 21 years ago almost to the day.

959. Giant floor map to explore
The Geography Department arranged for this giant National Geographic Map to "visit" the University of Wyoming for a couple days. My girls got to walk all over North America (here they are visiting Baja!)

960. Little helpers in the kitchen
My helpers making apple crisp for Thanksgiving. And making silly jokes: Why did the baby ghost cry? He had a boo boo.

961. Skype to see long distance friends and family

962. Another local writer helping me stay going on NaNoWriMo
I had a really hard time getting going with my unicorn story during National Novel Writing Month...there were some nights I just couldn't find any inspiration; or whatever I wrote I ended up deleting because it was so far from the vision I wanted in my mind. But Emily kept asking me how I was doing, and we met several times to write together, and that helped me persevere.

963. Made up words, multiple personalities, and making wands
When you ask Blaze a question sometimes she answers with made up words like "Inkabob!" or "Dooba dooba?" or a couple other oddities... it's starting to grow on me. Dreamer said one day "I have so many personalities!!! I need to write them down to keep them all straight." One of her personalities is a geographer. Another is a geologist. Another is a fashion designer. Another is a singer/songwriter. She designs a new outfit for her doll every day. She also loves making wands. She finds a stick and uses her pocket knife to shape it, then paints it and decorates it with various ribbons, bangles, sparkles,  etc.

964. "The Lord stood near him"  (Acts 23:11) How have I never noticed that before?

965. Psalm 62:5  Find rest, oh my soul, in God alone. My hope comes from Him.
From Beth Moore: "The Hebrew word for hope is tiqvah which literally means "a cord, as an attachment" . The psalmist contrasted the disappointment he often experienced in man with the security he found in his faithful God. His cord or rope was attached to God alone. We're all holding onto a rope of some kind for security; but it anyone besides God is on the other end, we're hanging on by a thread!"

966. A neat study on similarities/differences between Paul and Jonah
(also from Beth Moore's study). They were both messengers of God, both were caught in a storm. One was willing to follow God's calling, even in chains. He was shipwrecked, but gave praise to God, and his life was filled with joy. The other wasn't willing to follow God's calling. He saved the ship by his own sacrifice, was saved in amazing circumstances, but still delivered his message with bitterness.

967. An intense moment picturing Jesus across from me
Had an intense moment where I pictured Jesus sitting by me in my meetings at work, and in my day to day activities with my coworkers, parents, and acquaintances... listening to my conversations. How would a friend feel if I never mentioned him, all day long, except at home or among Christian friends - but never acknowledged him to all the others I interact with? 

968. After 30 days of thanksgiving, having a completely full heart

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