#GiveThanks…”Golden years”

A couple days ago, I was catching up with a friend when she asked how our family was doing and how the kids were doing. I replied that we were all doing well. But it didn’t seem like quite the right adjective to describe us right now. I continued, “We are in the golden years of parenting and it’s pretty amazing.”

You see, for a family our size, there is a very small window where we have everyone at home, and yet we’re not tied down to a baby. For the first time in years, parenthood seems manageable. Which seems a little odd because I view parenthood like a bell curve and we are at the peak of that curve, but it’s fun. Having a high schooler is so much better than I could’ve imagined. And not having to change diapers anymore is everything I dreamed of and more.

These are the years we will look back on with fondness. The excitement of Christmas morning. The family hikes. Discussions at the dinner table. All 7 of us.

I am grateful for this stage of life. It is busy and a little chaotic. But these are the “golden years of parenting” and I’m not about to wish them away.

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Steve and I found each other when we were young and college students. We like to joke that we were willing to take the plunge because we were somewhat naive! 🙂 And although there may be some truth to that, we were committed. That commitment has been the glue in our relationship. We both have our peaks and valleys (fortunately, usually not at the same time!) and we handle them very differently, but we’re committed.

Although we have things in common, our personalities are far from common. We think differently. We work through problems differently. We relax differently. But in all our differences, we complement each other. We are a strength to the other’s weakness.

We are justice and mercy; we are good cop and bad cop.

We have created a life that is full of laughter and adventure and with it comes worry and frustration. But we work at it – and even after 17 years, our marriage takes time and attention and work. But we’re committed and that is what I’m grateful for. We are both willing to work at it.

We make a pretty great team!

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On Friday, I had the opportunity to listen to a message from our prophet, Russell M Nelson, on the healing power of gratitude. It was short and simple, but it settled deep within me. We talk a lot this time of year about gratitude and giving thanks but sometimes if falls a little short. Perhaps a little rehearsed. Maybe forced. We feel as though we need to show gratitude because it’s the time of year.

But his message suggested showing gratitude as a prescription for so many ailments that are facing us right now: COVID, racism, political unrest, financial troubles…the list could go on and on. Life has seemed heavier than normal this year and gratitude can help us face the heaviness.

I enjoyed this quote: “Over my nine and a half decades of life, I have concluded that counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems. No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a fast-acting and long-lasting spiritual prescription. Does gratitude spare us from sorrow, sadness, grief and pain? No, but it does soothe our feelings. It provides us with a greater perspective on the very purpose and joy of life.”

I’m not sharing gratitude to show some amazing life. I’m sharing gratitude as a prescription for peace, contentment and happiness.

Today, I am grateful for technology.

Yes, it comes with its challenges, but my life is significantly improved because advancements in technology. I have benefited from efficiencies and opportunities that were not available a generation ago. The way I work, grocery shop, see doctors and educate children is directly related to advancements in technology. And it just keeps getting better!

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I mentioned last week that Briggs was so excited to have matching shirts with Hallie. He was equally excited to have matching shirts with me!

He’s my little shadow and to be honest, I don’t mind it. He’s easy. Perhaps it’s being the youngest child and learning to go with the flow but he just tags along. He knows if we’re leaving the house to run errands that he needs to grab a snack. He’s always willing to “help” me with my projects. And if given the chance, he’ll always see what I’m wearing and see if he has something to match.

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One step closer…

Right before summer I finally got the ceiling back on the patio – after we had ripped it off for water damage a year and a half prior. I got as far as priming it before the heat was unbearable and I put the project on hold.

After rolling a single coat of primer on the ceiling, (and my shoulders aching) I realized this job would be easier if I sprayed it. If I’m being honest – spraying is one of my least favorite activities – so I put if off for as long as possible. But as much as I hate spraying, I also hate projects looming over me. It was time to get it behind me

Last weekend I taped everything off and got to work. I thought spraying would be easier on my shoulders, but holding it above my head was equally as taxing, but it did go much faster.

I chose the perfect overcast day to work on this project but I couldn’t finish fast enough. I sent Steve on an errand to grab another gallon of paint (I always underestimate how much paint is used when spraying) and by the time he returned, a large wind storm was moving in and my plastic was starting to fall down. I worked quickly and skipped the area where the plastic was falling down and within 5 minutes I had all the plastic torn down (which is discouraging when it took 3 hours to tape it off originally).

Is it finished. Nope. But I am one step closer and that is a little victory!

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