Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like . . .

A lot like Fall is shy in my neck of California. This week, the leaves have just barely started to turn and fall. It's like the trees are shy - they can't bear the thought of letting go of something so comfortable. It's like they're afraid they'll be good at it. So, while it's not:


Or even:
It's getting better. I'm retaining hope. I mean, in the trees' defense, the temperature hasn't really been cooperating. Temperatures in the 70s are not conducive to colorful leaves. Of course, there are perks to this warm spell . . . I still turn on the fan to sleep. I don't ever have to scrape ice from my car. I can still get some milage out of my sandals. 

However, deep in my soul, I really long for this:

When I say long for, I mean I ache for, crave, even give my eyeteeth for. Yup, I want it that bad. 

I guess what you really want to hear, rather than my ravings about the weather, is an update from the Hills. We're still here. Brent is working hard to finish out his quarter. Today was the last day of classes, so it's just finals from here. I must say, I am quite impressed of his hard work and dedication. I know he feels like school isn't his forte, but he's worked hard and that effort is paying off. Of course, I'd like to think that his success is partly due to his devoted and supportive wife, but I know I can't take any of the credit. 

I'm taking an unexpected hiatus from work for the next few weeks. It's a long story. I'm optimistic though - I mean, I have time (finally) to finish my thank you notes from the wedding (I know, for shame, they aren't done yet). I can get my house spotless before the holidays. Maybe I'll even decorate some. I can read a book. Or two. This may be a good break for me. Brent and I are still trying to work out a way to take another trip to Arizona. Things are looking good. 

In other news, I've been going to the chiropractor this last month or so to fix a few things. The first benefit of this decision is that, for the first time in the last 10 years, my jaw opens evenly. That's right, my chiropractor has been adjusting my jaw, which is resolving some of that TMJ I've suffered. (Yes, Stacey, that's TMJ, not TBI). The second wonderful benefit of this is that, in conjunction with fixing my vertebral and mandibular subluxation (also known as being adjusted), I've been seeing a personal trainer and I get a weekly massage. It's been wonderful! I really hadn't been a very good steward of this mortal frame I call my body. Yes, the road to physically fit has never looked so long or steep or riddled with potholes, but that may have been because I wasn't looking very closely at the road. It was enough for me before to walk to class and all over campus, play tennis on the weekend, and take an occasional dance or volleyball class in my college days. Not so these days. That's why I'm changing my tune. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Live in Thanksgiving Daily

It's November! This means the air really starts to become crisp (in my desert home, that is), and my thoughts start turning to hearth and home. I long to be with my family and I feel the pull to be a domestic queen to get my home in order for the winter. I've yet to learn that balance: full-time employee and homemaker. I must say though, I'm making progress. 

This time of year always makes me think about being more grateful. I don't know what it is, maybe that holiday that comes at the end of the month. Whatever the case, I've decided this year to make my November theme: "Live in thanksgiving daily."

See, I was remembering a strengthening marriage class that my parents took once in which they had the assignment to think no negative thoughts for a whole day. Harder than it sounds. I thought to myself, "Self, I would love to be able to do that. I would love to be one of those people of whom it is said, 'She never said an unkind thing about another person'." It's right up there with, "She never uttered a word of complaint." Now, I know I'm human and as such, I am prone to the weaknesses of the flesh. That's why this effort for effectual change will start with practicing living in thanksgiving daily. I'm focusing on more fully developing graciousness. Wish me luck! 

To help me out, I will be studying much from the scriptures and the words of the living prophets. In the meantime, I think I'll share a thought or two about gratitude and my experiment here for you all to be uplifted by as well. 

Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. The Lord has promised, "He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious" (D&C 78:19). Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful. 

Live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have greater happiness and satisfaction in life. Even in your most difficult times, you can find much to be grateful for. Doing so will strengthen and bless you.

We should be thankful for the wonderful blessings that are ours and for the tremendous opportunities we have. We can be thankful to our parents, family, friends, and teachers (and co-workers). We should express appreciation to everyone who has assisted us in any way.

We should thank our Heavenly Father for His goodness to us by acknowledging His hand in all things, thanking Him for all that He gives us, keeping His commandments, and serving others. We should especially thank Him for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, for the Savior's great example, for His teachings, for His outreaching hand to lift and help, for His Infinite Atonement."
—See True to the Faith (2004), 78–79.

Alma 34:37-38

37 And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;
  38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

Halloween with the Hills

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be home with my sweet husband on Halloween this year. I went to Utah to help my sister-in-law get her wedding dress. It was a fast but wonderful trip. I'm glad I got to see my brother and his wife, as well as some dear friends. I don't think Brent minded my absence too much as he had mountains of homework to finish. 

Lest you think we're complete holiday duds, here are a few pictures from the month - house decorations, fun munchies, and costume parties. Enjoy!

In Utah: this is my brother decorating cookies! He came dressed up as Mr. Rogers, but apparently lost his cardigan sometime before this. 

Can you guess who he is? Let me sing a song to help you out: "Johnny Lingo had a cow, trade it for an ugly wife . . . " Let's just say, once again, Brent was pretty pleased with himself. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008