My Easter Message

A few weeks ago, I hurt my left knee. It’s taking longer than I think it should take to get better. It’s been an uncomfortable time of bandages, physical therapy and ups and down as my knee progresses toward full healing. There is light at the end of the knee tunnel, and it hurt really bad yesterday. Work is good and it has also been very difficult this year. Last night, I felt sorry for myself. I have a tradition to pray before I sleep. I didn’t feel like praying though. My knee hurt. I was tired. I felt some anxiety about work. The students are starting their standardized tests this week. Testing always adds additional stress to a teacher’s life. I honestly couldn’t think of anything useful to say to God and I didn’t feel like praying. After a long time of debating the merits of prayer, I decided just to tell Father how I really felt. My short prayer basically consisted of telling the God of the universe that I didn’t want to pray to Him because of how miserable I felt. I wish I could tell you I had some powerful, spiritual experience the moment I said Amen on my little prayer. I wish I could tell you that I instantly fell into a peaceful sleep and jumped out of bed this morning with a completely healed knee. Nope. That didn’t happen. I still felt miserable after my prayer. It took another hour (and some ibuprofen) to finally get comfortable enough to fall asleep. My knee is still injured today. I have to do the patience thing while my body heals. This patience thing is hard.

Today is Easter. You might wonder what my prayer experience has to do with the Easter message of a risen Lord. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes your knee hurts. Sometimes the only prayer you can muster is the one telling God you don’t really feel like praying. And the message of Easter is that God understands. That’s why he sent his Son to Earth. And Glory be to God forever for that gift.

Happy Easter, Everyone.

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations”(Deuteronomy 7: 9).

Gratitude Challenge Days# 16-30

My annual gratitude challenge is over. I can now be selfish for the rest of the year. Just kidding. I won’t be writing thankful notes every day, but I will keep trying to be thankful in my heart.

Day 16: I’m thankful I can cry. Life would be harder if there wasn’t a way to release sadness.

Day 17: Second chances. I’m thankful for the second chances we get in life.

Day #18: My car is running. Huge blessing!

Day #19: Bowling. I love my bowling family.

Day #20: I’m thankful for my parents. They have taught me so much.

Day #21: I’m thankful you don’t always have to be thankful. I normally do a gratitude challenge every November so I’m 100% behind being thankful. And I’ve experienced the sorrowful wilderness of feeling alone. It’s okay to be where you are and to feel what you feel. I’m so grateful for that knowledge.

Day #22: I am thankful for the beautiful Earth. I feel refreshed when I spend time outside. I feel closer to the Creator.

Day #23: I’m thankful for my sister. I always wanted a sister. I was so happy when she showed up after my 3 awesome brothers. (This adventure was last year. We dressed up to see Downton Abbey. Movies are 100% better when you wear costumes.)

Day #24: I’m thankful for clean water. I take it for granted that I have access to water.

Day #25: I forgot to write down my gratitude note for the day. I was too busy eating. It’s a good thing I believe in second chances.

Day #26: I’m thankful for inventors. There are so many things I use every day that someone had to invent.

Day #27: I’m thankful for books. Books have been a great blessing in my life.

Days #28 I’m thankful for parks and the people who maintain them. It’s so nice to have a safe and beautiful place to walk.

Day #29: I forgot to be thankful again. I may have been thinking about all of the work that would be greeting me after the Thanksgiving break.

Day #30: I’m thankful for music.

Sure Love Ya

My Mom’s family has a traditional goodbye saying. Sure Love Ya. It means goodbye, see you soon and you might drive me crazy sometimes but we’re still family.  I have no idea how many times I’ve said that expression in my life. It’s probably been at least a million times. There is another tradition.  Before ending a family gathering, we all huddle in a circle like a sports team and shout the saying. “Sure love ya.” The circle keeps getting bigger as more and more people join the family. 

It’s confession time.  The teenage me thought it was an embarrassing tradition. I hated it!  I only did it because my mother said I had to do it.  I was confident that we were the only family in the entire universe that would do something like that. 

My Grandma died this year. She was my last remaining grandparent Earth-side. We couldn’t meet with Grandma as a large family group to celebrate her birthday like we’ve done in the past. This year we meet on Zoom. It was fun to see various relatives as little Zoom boxes on the screen. We ended our short party with “Sure Love Ya”.  It was both sad and beautiful at the same time. 

I think I finally understand why Grandma liked us to huddle up and express love. I think she was trying to ensure that we still loved each other even after she left us. 

That is what I will remember most about my grandmother Marjorie Hill Smith. She loved. 

I loved my Grandma very much. I will miss her. I know I’m not the only person on Earth who has lost someone they loved this year. There are many souls who are grieving right now. 2020. It’s been a crazy year. I haven’t really liked this year. It’s been hard. REALLY HARD! I’m ready for 2020 to be over and just a chapter in a history textbook.

I have learned something this year though. I’ve learned that love is one of the few constants in our crazy, ever-changing world.

Sure Love Ya to all my dear family and friends.

(My Grandma and I enjoyed baking bread together. )

Gratitude Challenge Days #8-14

Day #8: I’m thankful for my sister-in-laws. They are all incredible, intelligent, strong woman. Love you Kim, Sonya, Melissa and Amber.

Day #9: I’m thankful for a working car.

Day #10: Butterflies.

Day #11: I’m thankful for veterans and their families.

Day #12: Shoes.

Day #13: I’m thankful for the beautiful Earth. It’s lovely this time of year in AZ.

Day #14: I’m thankful that Christmas came early this year. Yes, I am one those people who watch fireplace videos on YouTube. It really was fun to listen to Christmas music and watch my fake fireplace last night.

Day #15: I’m thankful I could continue the holiday celebrations by putting on my Thanksgiving socks. They are so cute!

Gratitude Challenge Days 1-4

I have a tradition. I think of one thing I’m thankful for every day in November. It’s a good tradition and it makes the month special for me. I usually post those thankful notes on social media as a way to encourage others to pause and remember the good. I went back and forth this year about it. Do I post or just keep my thankfulness to myself? I’ve mostly been staying off of social media in order to preserve my sanity from this election. After a ton of debate, I decided to do it. I will be writing my gratitutes every day but only posting them once a week. It’s a good compromise between encouraging others and recognizing my own boundary of needing space from the crazy. I may have been singing that Tradition song from Fiddler on the Roof after making the decision.

November 1 I’m thankful for my family and friends.

November 2 I’m so glad we have music. Music speaks what words can’t express.

November 3 I’m thankful for God.

November 4 I love those wonderful green turn signal arrows at busy intersections. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted ‘thank you’ to the person who invented green turn signals.

Joyful Moment #612

I collect joyful moments like some people collect stamps. I put most joyful moments in a small book. Some of my joyful moments are also written on this blog. I had another joyful moment today. It was #612. It happened as I wrote in my journal.

I have been a journal writer since I was a child.  I’m not perfect at it, but I try to write once a month. As I was writing today, I felt joy on reflecting  why 7-year-old me set the goal to record the events of my life once a month.  I set the goal, because of a conversation I had with my father’s step-dad.

Grandpa Adams picture

Grandpa Adams was sick and his health was deteriorating.  This is how most visits to the grandparents worked at that age. I would say hi and then run as fast as I could past Grandma and Grandpa to play outside. This time was different though.  Grandpa asked me to sit by him for a minute. He shared that he kept a journal. He asked me if I kept a journal. I told him no. Grandpa looked at me and then solemnly gave me two promises. He told me that if I kept a journal I would remember my childhood. Grandpa also said that if I kept a journal that I would have a happy life even if sometimes I had bad experiences.

It was a deep conversation to have with a little kid. It made an impact on me. That night I asked my parents to get me a journal from the store. The brown book with the brown flowers is the journal my parents bought me.

My journals

As I was writing in my journal today, I felt joy that I can record my ordinary life. The act of writing it down somehow makes the ordinary turn into “extraordinary”. I get to be the hero (and sometimes the accidental villain) in the great story called my life.

Grandpa Adams’ words came true. I remember many things from my childhood. I also believe that I can have a happy life even if sometimes I have bad experiences.


Joyful Moment

When I was nine, I decided I wanted to be smart. I didn’t know how to be smart, so I asked the smartest person I knew for advice.  Grandmas know everything when you’re a kid.

Grandma told me to get a library card and read one book a month.

My library card

I’m happy to report that I’ve followed her advice with a monthly trip to the library. My library card has brought me a lot of joy over the years.

Thanks, Grandma.

Grandma Adams

My life has been blessed by listening to you. What advice have you been given that has blessed your life?







The End of Gratitude

My gratitude 2019 challenge has ended. I don’t have be thankful for another year. That’s a joke and to prove it I did a bonus thankful day.

Thankful day#29: I’m thankful for my apartment. It’s good to have a place to live.

Race picture

Thankful day #30: I’m thankful for my sister Jenny and her willingness to have fun with me. We froze but we finished the Thanksgiving Leftovers 5k  this morning. Don’t we look cold? I have no idea how people were racing in shorts.

Bonus Thankful Day–December 1


I am so thankful for toilet paper. It’s one of the best inventions ever created. It also makes a great present.  I once had a friend give me  24 rolls of toilet paper as a Christmas gift.  I was so excited when I opened my box and realized I wouldn’t have to add toilet paper to my grocery list for weeks.   I gave my friend a BIG HUG.  So thoughtful!

I guess you could say I’m pretty easy to please in terms of Christmas presents.




Gratitude Days 10-28


Thankful day #10: l am thankful for my legs and the ability to walk.

Thankful day #11: l am thankful for veterans and their families for sacrificing so much for me.

Thankful day #12: l am grateful for my legs. I took a walk around a park today. I’m glad l have legs that can take me places.
Thankful day :13: l am grateful for music.

Thankful day #14: I’m thankful l can laugh. Yesterday, l had a bird drop a present on me. I looked at my arm covered in bird droppings and then at the culprit sitting in the tree. I pointed at him and told him he was a very naughty bird. The little bird looked at me, started loudly chirping, spread out its wings and strutted back and forth on the tree limb. At that point, l started laughing. Well played little bird. You win.

Thankful day #15: I’m thankful for cars, airplanes, trains and buses. Modern transportation makes it possible for me to see my siblings who live far away from me. I’m grateful and so excited to see my brother David and his family. Hello Nevada! I’ll be there soon.

Thankful day #16: I’m thankful l was able to attend Jonah’s baptism. It was a special day for my nephew and his family.
Thankful day #17: I’m thankful for the Earth. I saw some beautiful views this weekend. This one made me want to sing All Creatures of our God and King. Nevada is quite lovely.

Thankful Days #16-24 It’s been a crazy week at work. The students really need a vacation. I got a little behind on posting something I’m grateful for each day. I’m thankful there is no perfect way to do this thankful challenge. You’ll notice that I made this one count for tomorrow and Saturday as well. I’m very thankful there is no right way to do this challenge.

Thankful day #25: Last week we got a lot rain. I don’t like driving in rain, but l was thankful we got some. It was needed.

Thankful day #26: I’m thankful for my coworkers. They brighten my day!

Thankful Day #27: I’m thankful for audiobooks. It’s so much fun to listen to books while l drive, exercise and go about my life. I love it.

Thankful Day #28: I’m thankful for parents, siblings, my cousins and dear friends who are like family to me. I’m thankful to God and his Son Jesus. I’m also thankful for the delicious meal I’m going to eat soon.

Gratitude Challenge Days 1-9

During November, I have a tradition. I think of one thing I’m thankful for every day. I then post my thankful messages on social media. It’s a good tradition. I’ve done it for  6 years now.  Here’s what I’ve written so far this year.

Thankful day#1: Clean water.

Thankful Day #2: My family and friends.

Thankful day #3: Employment. It’s good to have a job.

Thankful #4: I’m grateful for my parents for encouraging me to keep working on my goals.

Thankful day #5: I’m thankful for delicious food like salmon.



Thankful Day #6: I’m thankful for my Ricks family. (Yes, that also includes my former spouse.) I’m never going to be one of those people who stand up at Church and announce to everybody that they are grateful for their trials and it was the best thing that ever happened to them. Nope. It really  hurts to get divorced and anyone who says otherwise is selling you some thing. (Can you name that movie line?) I did wake up today though with a thankful thought. I am thankful that when I go grocery shopping and run into a Ricks that I can say hello and feel peace in my heart. That is a heaven sent blessing. I can praise God for peace.

Thankful day #7: Bowling was fun last night. I’m thankful for my bowling family. I’ve seen some league friends every Wednesday for 6 years. They’ve become adopted cousins to me.

Thankful day #8: Sunsets are beautiful. I took this photo a few days ago.

Thankful day #9: I’m thankful for flowers. I buy flowers for myself a couple of times a year and put them on my dresser.  Flowers brighten up a room. It’s fun to wake up and see beautiful flowers smiling at me.


What are you grateful for today?