30 November 2012

Thankful November 30

And, after a month (and then some) of "Thankfuls," today I can't help but be thankful for the opportunity to be grateful.  If I could find the time, it would be easy to come up with something I'm thankful for each and every day of my life.  The list would go on and on and on.  I remember once in a freshman religion class at  BYU my professor challenged us to ONLY give thanks in our prayers for an entire week. While humbly asking for blessings from God is certainly not a bad thing, for one week we were to only look for the things which we were thankful for.  I still remember, after a few days of struggling to give meaningful prayers full of thanks, walking to school and seeing a tiny pink bud peaking out of an otherwise brown bush; the beauty of it did not escape me, and I thought, "Wow, what a blessing Heavenly Father has given me in that little bud." And, as I continued on the blessings around me just flooded to my mind: the cheerful chirping of the birds, the friendly smiles from unknown students, the young men who held doors open for me...  That night I had no trouble filling my prayer with gratitude. And, after a month of thinking of things I am grateful for, I feel the same way, like I could go on forever about all the things I have been blessed with.  As I am so close to Christmas, I hope I can carry those feelings of gratitude into the season and share my blessings with others.  

29 November 2012

Thankful November 29

Today I am thankful for kind strangers, the ones who remind me what it means to be good.  I went shopping with my sweet nieces, and a woman totally unknown to me walked up and gave us a bear from Build-A-Bear.  We weren't looking particularly dejected or poor. We were happy to be out on a Christmas shopping date, in fact. But, this kind woman was looking for a good deed to do, and so gave us a teddy bear. Moments like that remind me to be just a little more generous, a little kinder, and a keep my eyes a little more open for opportunities to serve.  If you haven't read my letter to strangers just like her, check out this post, as it expresses what I'm thinking today much more eloquently. 

28 November 2012

Thankful November 28

I am thankful for my sister-in-law, Renee. She is one of my best friends.  When Jared and I got married she made my dress.  At that point I barely knew her and butted heads a bit about the "fruiffy" factor on my dress.  Now, I love her fruiffiness, although still glad I didn't let her put any of it on my wedding dress.  I talk to her on the phone at least once a day. She is wonderful and I love her so much.  I trust her with my children.  I use her for her incredible sewing expertise. I am lucky to have her has a sister-in-law.

27 November 2012

Thankful November 27

I am thankful for Christmas. This year we decorated early, because we were having a party with Jared's family to put something together for his parents in Halifax.  It is fun to have the reminders in my home about Christmas. My favourite decoration this year is a little nativity set that my friend Cheryl made for me.  It is so beautiful, and one of many nativity sets I have that remind us every day that Christ is our Saviour and the reason for this wonderful season.

26 November 2012

Thankful November 26

I am thankful for knitting. I am.  It's true.  It keeps me sane. It keeps my family warm. It makes me happy.  I don't think a few years ago I would have ever thought I'd become the knitting obsessed woman that I am, but I am thankful for it.  I get giddy when I get a new ball of yarn, like this one:

 And these:
I like to create things, and having a saddle making studio, or even a scrapbook room, is not feasible at this point, but pulling out a knitting project to work on on my lap, sure is.  I am thankful for knitting. (And my Grandma Betty would be so proud!)

25 November 2012

Thankful November 25

I am thankful for Primary.  Eli spoke in church today all about being a missionary.  He was so cute. He bore his testimony about his Granny and Grandpops in Halifax, and recited the song, "I want to be a missionary now."  There's a few more years before I have to think about him filling the shoes of a missionary, but I sure am proud of the little man he is now.

24 November 2012

Thankful November 24

It has been almost three years since we left Michigan.  I still miss it, almost every day.  It was there that we really became a family (Eli was just 10 weeks old when we moved there).  Silas was born while we lived there.  So much of us as we know it was defined while we were there.  I am so thankful for the circumstances that lead us to Michigan and the experiences that we had while we were there. 

And, this fall I was sent a little love from Michigan.

My dear friend Sarah, who is a kindred spirit by the very definition, sent this blanket to Atticus, and he loves it. I love it.  Every time I wrap him up in it I feel her hugs and it makes me happy. 

23 November 2012

Thankful November 23

Atticus started crawling today.  CRAWLING!!!  He's on the move, and nothing is safe.  I love him so much and am so grateful for him in our lives every day.

And I'm also thankful for this picture of him.

Thankful November 22

I'm going to finish off my Thankful November en masse today.  Let's pretend I wrote all these on the day they occurred, okay?

Strangely, this month, I found myself thankful for jerks.  I don't come across them very often, but every once in a while I'll have a run in with a real jerk.  While in the moment I can get upset and want to rant and rave, when it's all said and done I usually leave the experience a better person, because I so badly don't want to be THAT person.

Last year is was a neighbor and old colleague, who is a respected teacher in the city I live. One day, after standing listening to him insult myself and my mother in front of my kids, I decided I was going to homeschool my kids lest he one day be responsible for it. I am grateful every day that I have made that decision.

Another time it was a guy at Michael's. I was mad and really wanted to get the last word, but walked away frustrated instead.  But, as I walked out of the store, an older lady was walking in, and as I held open the door for her and she thanked me, I was grateful for the contrast.

I don't want to be a jerk, I want to be the kind of person that holds doors for little old ladies.  So, instead of being mad, I'm going to be thankful for the jerks in my life.

22 November 2012

Thankful November 21

Today I'm thankful for my membership in the woman's organization of our church: The Relief Society.  I haven't said that many times, but today I'm feeling it.  One duty of being in The Relief Society is called Visiting Teaching, where, once a month we are assigned to go and visit another sister in our congregation. Tonight one of my new Visiting Teachers came by.  I don't know her very well, and we've never had the chance to sit down and talk for long, but we sat together for over an hour and talked and talked and talked.  I felt so much love for her in that time, and she left such a sweet spirit in my home.  I'm grateful to be part of an organization that supports that kind of love.

Thankful November 20

Today I'm thankful for my friend Adrienne.  I could fill up books about how good she is to me, and have a different post every day for a year all about her.  She is wonderful, and giving, and amazing.  I've been working on a little something (or a really big something...) for her birthday next week for the last three months, and today as I've been putting on the finishing touches, I'm glad for her in my life.  I am lucky to have such good friends.

Thankful November 19

I am grateful for my mother and father-in-law who are on their mission for our church in Halifax, Nova Scotia right now.  I am grateful that we get to pray for them every single day, and talk about what a sacrifice and wonderful thing it is to serve a mission. They are such a good example to my boys, who one day will serve missions of their own.  Tonight we got together with most of Jared's family here in Calgary to put together a little something for Granny and Grandpops in Halifax.  We miss them, but are so glad that they are where they are!!!

Thankful November 18

Yesterday, while the ladies crafted to our hearts' content, the dads all took the kids to the zoo for the day.  I'm grateful for a husband and brother and a whole bunch of brother-in-laws who are happy to spend the day with their kids, do it with smiles, and have tons of fun! 

I'm also grateful for the zoo, who gave Jared a pass in 1982 that gets unlimited guests in for the rest of his life.  I like that.

Thankful November 17

I spend the day crafting with my sisters - all seven of them.  I am thankful to be part of a family where we all like each other and want to be together and can have fun from sun up to sun down.  I love my sisters (and sister-in-law) and am grateful for all of them every day!

16 November 2012

Thankful November 16

Although I have no daughters, I sometimes find myself having objections to the whole "princess" culture.  If I ever have daughters, I don't want them to base their self worth on an unattainable expectation of beauty, power and wealth, and I especially don't want them to believe that happiness can only be found through a handsome prince (who, according to Disney will very likely be grotesquely muscular and extremely self-centered or completely clueless.)  I was raised in a family of 7 girls and 1 boy. We were all taught to be strong and independent, regardless of our gender.  Grandma Jackson once, when my darling husband, covered in paint because he was helping my parents build a mini-cabin at our cabin in Sandpoint, asked for a glass of water, said, "Why don't you tell him to get his own damn drink of water?!"  Us Evans girls are no princesses!

Still, I can't say I didn't love a little Disney fairy tale action as a kid.  And, as much as I wasn't interested in boys and dating as a teenager (horses were way more interesting!) I still had hopeless crushes on boys at the dances and kept an up to date "marriage list" with my friend Annette, and worried about what people would think of my less than perfect skin, or my more than generous body shape.  So, if girls are going to feel that way anyway, what's the big deal with fostering the whole "Prince in shining armor" dream?

Today I decided it's the inequality of it (I'm only mostly joking)!  Girls spend their lives worried about when their prince will come sweep them off their feet, but not often do you hear of boys concerned with which lovely girl in their lives will be their princess.  In fact, in general I don't think much emphasis is put on their eventual princesses, or how they can be prepared the man that girls are dreaming of at all.

Well, I'm breaking the mold... kind of.

For you see, Eli has a Princess, whom he loves and adores and cares for like a princess should be cared for.  Sure, she's got 4 legs and weighs 400 lbs, but hey, appearances can be very deceiving, for this little lady is all charm, and Eli is smitten! 

This little Princess is a dream.  She's and I have known each other for years and years.  She has followed me from one farm to the next, just waiting to be some little boy's beautiful Princess, and that she is!  Today I am thankful for Princess, not because she is ornery or feisty (which she totally is), but because she is Eli's Princess, and he loves her, and to me THAT is a dream!!!

15 November 2012

Thankful November 15

Today is Threeday.  Kind of like Thursday, or Saturday, but just for three-year-olds, and for that I am thankful.  If you have never had a Threeday cross your way, it's really unfortunate, for we love Threeday. 

Threeday, according to Silas, is the very day that "Grandma get Silas Build-A-Bear" day. Pretty much the best day in the world, if you happen to be Silas.  And, today was that day.

Si's Build-A-Bear of choice? Rudolf, of course.  His nose glows, just like it should.  I guess it's time to decorate for Christmas!

Frippery - A Knitting Pattern

I'm excited to release my next knitting design. This one took me a little while, as I had to re-knit it before I decided I really loved it.  But love it I do! 

Introducing Frippery!

My sweet friend, Ruby, was a reluctant, but perfect model for this little sweater.  Love her!

According to Mr. Webster, “frippery” describes something both elegant and showy but also frivolous and nonessential. Well, while puffed sleeves and ruffles may be frivolous to some, to me they are a necessity in any girl’s wardrobe. This little sweater is perfect for the elegant girl in your life looking for something just a little bit frivolous!

As always, my patterns are for sale on Ravelry, but if you want it right here right now, you can always !  Who's stopping you?

As always, I am ever thankful for the wonderful women who test knit my patterns for me, making them ready for everyone else!   

Here's to a little frippery in all of our lives!

14 November 2012

Thankful November 14

Today I am thankful for a mother who knows when I need her and comes running to help when I do!  I have a spotless house and a calm heart today because of her.  Sometimes even mommies need mommies. 

13 November 2012

Thankful November 13

There are those who are burdened with the expectations put on them by all the different forces around them. At times I feel that way. Most of the time, though, I can look at what the world wants of me, and what I want, and make a good decision.  I am thankful today for the decision my family has made for me to stay home with my boys.  I am also thankful for the education I have that helps me provide for my family in the small ways I manage.  You see, there are parts of the world which tell me that as an educated, talented woman, I am throwing away all the hard work I've put in by being a stay at home mom.  I had a man in an airplane once ask me how I could stay home with my children when I could be such a good influence to all those children in the schools?  At that time I was working, probably being a wonderful influence on all those children, but I knew that when I had children I would want to be home with them. I answered, "Because if I screw up my own kids, it won't matter how many others I save."  Now that I know what it means to be a mother, and what it meant to be a junior high English teacher I know that the greatest influence I can be is right where I am, with my children. 

On the other hand, there are those who think that if I had always planned on being a stay at home mother, I may as well have not wasted the money and time getting the education I did and building the career that I had.  Perhaps they felt that my time would have been better spent preparing myself for motherhood. While I'm sure I could have spent a little more time learning to cook (I'm a dismal failure in the kitchen) I will never regret the education I received and the time I spent as a teacher.  For one, I was able to support Jared and I for all the time that he was in University doing his undergrad.  Also, I was able to acquire very valuable skills that today I use every day.  On Tuesdays I have the opportunity to teach a group of homeschooled teenagers Language Arts; it is fun for me and brings in a little extra money that helps our family as Jared is getting started in his career. More importantly, however, I am able to use my skills to teach my children in my home, to help my sisters in their school work, and to further my learning on so many things.  I may not write many essays any more (although I absolutely ADORE writing essays, it's true) but I know how to read and glean information, which I do daily to support and improve my family. 

I am grateful that Jared and I have made the decision, as hard has it has been financially, for me to stay home with my kids.  I am so lucky to watch my boys grow and learn every day, and I wouldn't miss it for the world!

12 November 2012

Thankful November 12

It seems that every week I've felt that if I can just get through that week, the next should be better. Life has been crazy, and busy, and heart breaking and heart warming all at the same time for what feels like months. We have lots to look forward to in the next few months, but lots of work to do in order to get there. I am thankful for moments I have to sit back and remember to enjoy each moment and not rush through waiting for things to get better.  My life is wonderful and good, and while I'm sure there are amazing things to come, I am thankful for the moments I have right now.

Thankful November 11

I think I've bought 5 poppies this year, and each one has fallen off my coat.  With or without I am extremely grateful on this Remembrance Day for those who have protected the innocent in the world and helped to spread freedom.  The minute of silence that I offered in memory of those who have fought seems menial in the face of what they must have experienced and done, but it's what I could do to give my thanks for those good men and women.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thankful November 10

While my heart is still with my family and my Grandpa, we traveled away and spent the rest of the incredibly blustery weekend with our friends, the Snells, in Medicine Hat, Alberta.  I can't being to describe how thankful I am for their friendship. There was a time that they lived 30 minutes from us, before we became the Sneibes, when they lived way too far away for a visit. But, together we moved to the East Coast and they became the closest thing we had to family, and so we thought nothing of driving 4 hours to see them for a short weekend.  The drive through a snow storm was completely worth a different 3 1/2 hour drive this weekend, as I'm never disappointed by a weekend with the Snells. They are worth their combined weight in GOLD!

Thankful November 9

As my family gathered together to celebrate Grandpa, I couldn't help but hurt for my sweet grandma.  Grandma and grandpa were married for almost 70 years!  They were sweethearts that whole time, and oh so sweet to each other. I love my Grandma Betty and hope that her heart is warmed with the knowledge of the gospel and the Plan of Salvation that assures her that she will be with my Grandpa again in the next life. I am so thankful for my Grandma, and so blessed to call her mine.  No matter what, I've always known that my Grandma is proud of the things I do.  She was always good for a handful of scotch mints, some hot cocoa, and a warm hug. She was the one that taught me to knit, a skill I can't being to tell her how grateful I am for. I love her so much!

Thankful November 8

The weekend got away from me and I had a hard time getting it back.  We spent Thursday and Friday being very thankful, and a little bit sad, as we said goodbye to my Grandpa Gill.  All but 4 of Grandpa's 22 grandchildren, and the vast majority of his 57 great-grandchildren gathered around my Grandma to remember Grandpa and to say goodbye.  It made me realize what an amazing man I've had the pleasure of having in my life for the last 32 years.  I'm thankful for his influence, not just in my life, but in the lives of those 22 grandchildren and 57 great-grandchildren, because as we all sat together, talking and laughing and healing, I'm sure he was watching down just as proud of us as he always has been.  I have no doubt that he was laughing along with us as we shared funny stories about him, and pleased as punch to see us having such a good time together. Heaven sure is lucky to have him back, because he is one hard working, righteous man, and I'm sure he's already hit the floors running.  I miss you Grandpa, and will love you forever!

07 November 2012

Thankful November 7

Today I may be in a feisty mood, but I am going to have to say how thankful I am to be Canadian.  Having spent many years living in the United States of American, I am also grateful for that wonderful country, but today I am especially grateful that I call Canada home. There are certainly things I have to complain about around our own election time, but since it isn't that time, I'll be grateful for all the things I like about the True White North. One of the prevailing arguments I saw from my American friends was for or against social assistance, with good people flippantly calling the other side heartless, uncaring and too rich to know what's going on in the world, or leaches, careless and lazy, draining their country's coffers. (The funny thing is, I know wealthy and hardworking on both sides of the argument, and struggling and hardworking as well.)  I'm thankful that I can live in a country who takes care of it's poor without having to be a "dirty liberal" (heard that one several times on Facebook.)  I remember the first time an American confidently declared to me that I was a communist; if it takes being a communist in the eyes of some Americans to live in a country where we can go to the doctor without going bankrupt, or get student loans to better our lives without fearing the stigma of being a drain on society, I'll take it!  I'm not certain, but I don't think anyone has ever wondered where I got my smartphone from, or worried how I pay for my food, and I'm grateful for that (although, my phone is not very smart, so maybe that's why.) Anyway, without declaring whether I'm disappointed or joyous at the outcome of yesterday's election (although, I will say that I'm not at all surprised), I will say that I am grateful I don't have to be one of the many who jokingly (I hope) say that they are moving to Canada, because I'm already here! 

06 November 2012

Thankful November 6

I am so thankful today for good family: immediate and extended. This weekend I will get to see a lot of them, and I am looking forward to communing with them in celebration of my Grandpa's life.  I'm thankful for parents who have always expected us to be a part of our family festivities, and the lasting relationships I have with my cousins and aunts and uncles. 

05 November 2012

Thankful November 5

I wish I could just talk about how thankful I am for my Grandpa again today, but since I'm supposed to pick a new thing to be grateful for each day, instead I will have to say how immensely grateful I am for the knowledge I have that I will not only see my family in the next life, but that I am sealed to them eternally, so I will live with them again.  Heavenly Father has blessed us with the gift of sealing families together forever, so even though I will miss my grandpa for the rest of my life here on earth, I know that when I too pass away and go to heaven, he will be there waiting for me with open arms, just as he always was here.  I am so thankful for that knowledge I have, for it makes moments like this just a little bit easier.

04 November 2012

Thankful November 4

My Grandpa Gill is one of my favourite people on earth, and today I have reason to be very thankful for him.  I love him and will always be grateful for the example he has been in my life.  When I was little he would hold me across his leg and bounce me to the nursery rhyme, "This is the way the ladies ride."  I was always fascinated by his mustache and loved to watch him trim it.  I admired him as a kid because he was the mayor of Raymond, forever, and anyone who was a mayor must be pretty important.  As an adult I have learned that he was important not because he was the mayor, but because of the kind of man he was who would serve his church and his community with honor and commitment, and because he served his family with the same valour.  I love my grandpa so much and will always be thankful for having him in my life.

03 November 2012

Thankful November 3

Today Jared and I are cleaning the house.  Really cleaning the house.  From top to bottom.  I could be thankful for a beautiful house, a loving husband, all the temporal things that we have, but what I'm really grateful for today is my sister Alice.  Alice lives just down the street from me, and when one of us has to move on I will be oh so sad.  When I need to get my hair cut, what do I do with my kids? Drop them off at Alice's. When I have a quick chiropractor appointment, what do I do with my kids? Drop them off at Alice's.  When I need to run to the grocery store and pick something up, what do I do with my kids? Drop them off at Alice's. We do dinner together at least once a week.  We talk on the phone every single day.  Today, and every day, I love Alice!

02 November 2012

Thankful November 2

Today is a no brainer:
I'm a horse lover.  In my day I was a horse rider, but lately I have regressed into a horse owner (two completely different things.) I own two beautiful mares that I love oh so much, but with three little ones, I have very little time to ride them.  So, today I am grateful for, not my horses, but the friends that take care of them for me while I'm at this place where I feel I can't.  Alie, who on a cold day like today is out trying to catch my miserable mares to get their feet done. She takes such good care of them all the time.  Without Alie, I would not have horses (or, I'd have to actually pay attention to them...) Adrienne, who I can't even begin to describe how helpful she is. She's my best friend, and while we differ on our opinions of what makes a great horse, she is my inspiration and my motivation.  I love her!  And, most importantly, one of my favourite families of all time, the Rymans, who have allowed me to love them, and love me in return, and help me out in ways that I will never be able to repay.  They are the most wonderful of all!!! 

01 November 2012

Thankful November 1

Even though I am not American, and therefore my Thanksgiving is not in November, I'm going to try to get back to blogging regularly by taking part in posting one thing I'm grateful for every day.  Let's not talk about how poorly I did at this last year.  This year I will be better.

Today I am grateful to live in a country where I have the freedom to make good health choices for my family. I'm specifically thinking about my choice not to vaccinate my children.  We were talking last night about some of the restrictions in other provinces and states that require by law that parents vaccinate their children, and I am grateful I don't live there. I appreciate the I can be trusted to make the best choices for me and my family.
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