The call from my sister came as Mack and I were doing some banking.  I ignored it, thinking that I could call her back later.  Then, only a few minutes later, my sister called again.  Once again I ignored it.  After the second call, my phone signaled that I had a voice mail and, since there was a break in our banking tasks, I decided to listen to the message.  Call me, this has to do with mom.

Sensing something bad I called my sister back and learned that my mom had been rushed into emergency surgery for internal bleeding caused by a biopsy she’d had two days earlier.  Mack and I immediately left for home.  I made arrangements for Mack and Hoob to get Yawlin to his 5th grade patriotic program later that night and then Hub and I headed to the hospital to be with my dad who had been left standing alone in the emergency room after my mom had passed out and the doctors and nurses had rushed her to the operating room.

When we got to the hospital we found my dad and four of my siblings with their significant others waiting for my mom to get out of surgery.  We joked a bit to lighten the mood.  Finally, we received word she was in recovery and was stabilized. 

More waiting.  Many silent prayers.

After an hour and a half we learned she had been moved to a room and we could go see her.  It was great to see her!

And, I am happy to report, my mom returned home later this afternoon. 

The joy for today?

My mom is still here! 

     “Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings.

     This is a wonderful time to be on earth.  While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good.  There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach.  Our lives are blessed in countless ways.

     We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.  If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.  Someone has said that ‘gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.'”  –Thomas S. Monson

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve noticed that quite a few of my Facebook friends are doing a daily “Thankful” post this month.  It gave me an idea for a poll for my family.  I asked them each, “What are you thankful for TODAY?”

Here are our answers:

Hub – “My job.  Sorta.  Tomorrow I might not be, but TODAY I am thankful for my job.”

Kweenmama – I am thankful for a mistake.  Back during the summer we filled a shirt and hoodie order.  I let Huh and her boyfriend make the shirts because Huh needed to earn some money.  I’m not sure exactly what happened, but one of the hoodies ended up with a melted zipper.  So, of course, we needed to replace that hoodie which left us with a defective hoodie here.  This morning we woke to a cold rain.  The defective hoodie came to my rescue.  It is huge, so I was able to pull it over my head without having to use the zipper.  Because of the zipper mistake I had a hoodie to use and was warm and dry while I crossed kids at my school crossing. 

Squid – Unavailable to participate in our poll while he serves a mission for our church in Uruguay.

Huh – “I’m grateful that I get off work at 3:00 today.  Easy day!”

Juju – “I’m grateful for my dad’s cooking.”  Juju was up visiting us from college over the weekend.  She has grown weary of “college fare” and loved that Hub made one of his delicious roasts for Sunday dinner.

Mack – “Hot chocolate.”

Shroom – “Computer.”

Hoob – “My jacket.”  Said as she eyed the rain coming down.

Yawlin – “The rain.” 

What are you thankful for today?

There has been much to keep me busy lately, which has cut into my blogging time.  I won’t have much time for blogging today either, but I heard an idea from a neighbor a little while ago that I thought I would share quickly before I get started on the day. 

My neighbor is the mother of three very active little boys all under the age of six.  Like all moms, she can feel very worn out at the end of the day and has her days of frustration and boredom.  Apparently she has had a few days in which her thoughts about being a mom to her three boys were quite negative, and then she felt guilty for even having such thoughts, but didn’t know how to overcome the overwhelming feelings she was having. 

One day she had an idea pop into her head and decided to try it.  She got a spiral notebook and drew a big heart on the front of it.  She found a place on the kitchen counter to store the journal that is out of the way but easy to reach.  Whenever one of her boys says anything cute or funny or profound she immediately grabs the notebook and writes it down.  She records the cute things the boys do together, some of the things she and the boys accomplish during the day, and the times the boys show their love for her.  She even writes down inspiration about how to raise her boys as the ideas come.  She makes sure to record the date of each entry.

My neighbor reports that now, whenever she starts to have negative thoughts about being a mother to her three little ones, she goes to the notebook and starts to read.  It reminds her of why she has chosen to be a mom and how precious her boys are to her.  She has been able to see the individuality of each boy and more fully appreciate each boy’s quirks and personality.  She reports that the feelings of negativity have lessened and that she is more positive as she goes about her day.  She purposely chose to draw a heart on the front to symbolize her love for her boys and the notebook has helped in reminding her of that love.

I journal for my kids in a slightly different manner, but thought my neighbor’s idea was a good one.  Having the notebook in the kitchen where the family congregates most of the time has made it easy for my neighbor to record happenings quickly, as they happen.  So many times I have thought to myself, I need to write that in so and so’s journal, only to forget about it because I got too busy to write it down.   

My neighbor’s notebook has morphed into a sort of gratitude journal and she says that she now feels more gratitude about the blessings of being a mother.  It has worked so well for her that she now shares her idea with others. 

I agree with her.  It is an idea worth sharing.

My dad built a new deck onto the second story of his cabin.  We used to sleep on the lower deck occasionally until one time, a few years ago, a thieving bear decided to help himself to my brothers’ sodas that they’d kept stashed in a cooler on the deck.  Ever since then nobody has been allowed to sleep outside.  But, with the new deck up out of the way, it is considered safe.  It is the perfect place to sleep out under the stars.

So, when we decided to go to the cabin for the 4th of July holiday the kids all wanted to sleep outside, it was a novelty to them.  I decided to join them for the last two nights of our stay.  Sleeping under the stars is something I haven’t done for quite some time.  I thought it would be fun to experience it again.  The kids talked and giggled, we made up names for some of the star clusters, we watched for shooting stars.  I enjoyed seeing just how many stars there are.  With the absence of city lights, the night sky becomes something new and beautiful.

The two nights spent sleeping on the deck would have been perfect except that my feet kept getting cold.  The sleeping bag I was using had a broken zipper.  Since I couldn’t zip it up my feet were exposed to the very cool breeze that was a constant.  It didn’t matter how cleverly I arranged my extra blankets, I still ended up with cold feet numerous times during the night.  I didn’t get much sleep.

After returning from the cabin and doing all of the post-trip activities such as unpacking and laundry, I was exhausted when I climbed into bed.  The last thought that went through my mind as my head hit the pillow was, at least my feet won’t be cold.  This morning I was thinking about that final thought and I realized what a simple pleasure that was–my feet weren’t cold.  And I slept so well!

A night under the stars.  Warm feet.  A good night’s rest.  Simple pleasures.  I decided to poll my family (and a couple of friends who happened to be hanging around at the time) to see what they considered their simple pleasures.  Here are our results:

Hub – Sitting on the front porch watching the sunset with my wife. (Awww ;-))

Squid – Taking in a sunset with a girl.  (Like father like son!)

Huh – Beating the person next to you off the line at the green light.  (This is the teenage daughter that actually keeps wondering why she doesn’t have a car of her own.)

Juju – Trix cereal and watermelon (not together).

Mack – You bringing me a towel (said to me because there were no towels in the bathroom and she’d just finished a shower).

Shroom – Girls!  

Hoob – Cold cereal and gum (again, not together).

Yawlin – Books.

N – (A friend of Huh’s who was hanging around) sports.

D – (A friend of N’s) Cookie Crisp cereal and soccer. 

Ah, such simple pleasures!