Warning!!! This is a little long. Today is my 53rd birthday. When I was a kid, I calculated ahead to see how old I would be in the year 2000 (who could imagine the year 2000?!!!??!) and remember just being so taken with the idea I would be 45. Well, here I am, 8 years later. Now, I wonder what things will be like in say, 2030. Seems SO far away, but we all know time flies and I suppose 2030 will be here before we know it. Anyway, I digress. I have been thinking lately of all my blessings and things that make me happy. Here are some of them.
1) My family
a) Howard-A funny, hard working man of integrity. I love him.
b) My kids--Smart, kind, pro-active, beautiful people. I tear just thinking of them. I love them!
c) My parents--Not the most ideal upbringing, but it could have been so much worse. And, I got some good stuff from them. I used to think they should never have married and had kids, but then, where would I be? WHO would I be? I think, when it comes to births, there are no real accidents. Not accidents from an eternal perspective. I've also decided it's not what we have or don't have, where we are or aren't, it's what we do with it that matters. All we have to do is do our best, whatever that may be, whether we're rich or poor by earthly standards. That's the big equalizer of life.
d) My sons and daugher-in-law. GREAT people and great matches for my kids.
e) My 11 grandkids. GRAND is a good word for them.
f) My brother, Gary. I love him. He's 5 years older than me. We're siblings for a reason. He's a hero to me in lots of ways.
2) Being an American. My daddy's family came to America before it was the U.S. It was a French colony. My mother's father's family came in the early 1700's from the best I can figure, from England. I love knowing where I came from and wish I knew more about those people's stories.
3) Belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My life changed SO much for the better when I was baptized into this church. While I am FAR from perfect and have much to improve upon, I have learned truths that influence the choices I make and the woman I have become.
4) My home. Not that I "love" my house. I've lived in many houses and I know that I can be happy or unhappy no matter where I live. But, I am grateful I HAVE a house. So many of God's children don't. And, it's a comfortable one. VERY comfortable.
5) Air conditioning. Seriously, living in Las Vegas makes that high up on the list.
6) Food. Really. Part of it is being an American, because in America, there are supermarkets that have a large variety of food. Usually in plentiful supply. I take it for granted. Some in this world can't.
7). Flushing toilets. Ditto.
8). Electricity in my house. Imagine your life without the wonder of electricity. I wouldn't be able to write this here blog without it, sitting in my house with the TV on, the AC on and the fan on, keeping me cool and comfy. Good stuff, electricity. Gooooooooo Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison!
9) Being able to vote.
10) Education. Not that I'm THAT educated. But, I can read, write, do some math and know a little about a lot of stuff. That knowledge makes my life better. Comes from living in the USA.
11) Being born in 1955. Disneyland & I started that year. Lots of good stuff has come along since 1955. Microwaves. Computers. Think about it.
12) Friends. How poor someone truly is who doesn' t have friends. I have good ones, and some of the best ones are in my family.
13) A job. A job I like. Comes with some drama and some stress, but isn't that life? I like what I do and rarely dread going to work. But, I'm totally loving the idea of NOT working tomorrow!
14) Movies. I love a good movie. Now, MY idea of a good movie is this: A romantic comedy, a romantic drama or a historically factual story, particularly ones that are set in 19th century England or are about Revolutionary, Civil War and WWII stuff. I LOVE Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice and, Gone With The Wind.
15) Television. I know, I know, I watch too much of it. But, how can you not like good drama? Gray's Anatomy (good is a relative term, morally, I know!), The Closer and Boston Legal? Those are some shows I just won't miss if I can help it. And, Survivor. And, the Amazing Race.
16). Memories. Good and bad ones. Bad ones help you appreciate the good things in your life and remind you to avoid whatever you can to prevent them from happening again, if you have any control over it. Good ones are just, well...good!
17). Chocolate. I can't believe I left chocolate til #17.
18). Blogs. Really, I can't thank Stacy enough for bringing Blogs into our world. What would I do if I didn't check and read blogs every day? Read some of the great books on Sarah's list??? Well, I COULD... but I wouldn't. I'd watch TV, probably.
19) Naps. Gotta love a good nap. Now that I'm older, I value them more. Probably because I GET them now. Need them, too.
20) Dogs. We have 3. Most days, I feel like that's about 2 too many. We have some issues with some of them. But, I had my first dog when I was 8. They are good and fun and loving and cute.
21) Red Pepper Stew. Family dish...heaven on a plate. I NEVER tire of it and I hope one day, one of my kids want to learn how to make it so the goodness will pass on to the next generation. I fear it won't.
22) Cars. Really, where would we be without them? Traffic and all, expensive repair bills and all, I'll take them rather than leave them.
23) Airplane travel. SUCH a time saver. See, if I had been born in 422 BC, I wouldn't be able to fly in a plane. Good reason to have been born in 1955.
24) Oprah Winfrey. I know lots of people don't like her and some people are waiting for a HUGE skeleton to come out of her closest. I suppose time will tell. I don't think she's perfect, but she's OPRAH. I don't agree with some of her politics. But, she does good things and motivate others to do good things, too. I would like to think we could have lunch and be in the same orbit.
25). Music. I'm no afficianado of quality music. But, I love songs that put me in a good mood. "My girl". "Love Shack". Most Motown. Most Marvin Gaye. Some country. Some gospel, especially Hilary Weeks. I get to see her in Sept. I'm excited because I LOVE her music.
26) Teachers. I have had some teachers that really, truly shaped me. Mrs. Smith (Ms. Bessie) in the 5th grade. Coach Patterson in the 9th. God Bless them all. Well, Coach is alive. Ms. Bessie's not.
27) Genealogy. I love knowing who my relatives are.
28) Needle work. I've done counted cross stitch for nearly 30 years. I've sewn for longer than that. I've crocheted for about 33 years. I'm moving on to quiliting.
29) Massages. A good one is heaven. A bad one is...not. None at all is deprivation.
30) Relief Society. Relief Society is the woman's organization in my church. Lot's and lots of good women struggling to become better. Like me. Struggling, that is, to become better.
31) Road trips with someone I like.
32) Solitude. As I've gotten older, I've come to be more comfortable with myself and not mind, even LIKE, being alone.
33) A good night's sleep. Between medication and who-knows-why, I seldom sleep more than 6 1/2-7 hours a night. But, that's generally ok. But, a good, uninterrupted night's sleep is G-O-O-D.
34) Clean water. Water that I don't have to boil to be able to safely drink so I don't get sick.
35) Scriptures. God's letters to me.
36) Caffeine Free Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper. Not together.
37) Hot dogs. Grilled are best, slightly charred.
38) Lemon cake with lemon filling. My mother used to make it. I don't because I'm afraid it won't be as good as I remember it. It's a totally "feel good" memory of my childhood.
39) Vision and hearing. Life is better being able to see and hear than it would be not being able to.
40) Inlaws. Not the daughter and son type but the sister and brother and mother type. I love you guys!
41) Board games. I LOVE board games, but Howard doesn't. My kids do, mostly, but it's hard to ever get to play with them. I think it's the competitiveness in me. Whatever. I like 'em.
42) Seeing my kids love each other and laugh together and cry together.
43) Fashion shows. Every year, the Sunday night before school starts, we have a family fashion show where the granddaughters come and model all their new clothes for school. So far, the boys have refused to participate. It's good fun.
44) Making foods my kids like. Howard never asks me to make anything special. Maybe he doesn't like my cooking!
45) My closet. I have a walk in closet. I've never had one before. It's a good thing.
46) My BIG tub. I have a shower and a tub. A big tub and when I want to have a bath, I can have one and not be scrunched.
47) Hot weather and sun at a pool or beach. Calgon...take me away! Well, not Calgon, but you get the idea.
48) Health insurance.
49) My dollstone collection.
50) My ruby birthstone ring. My daddy gave it to me when I was 17. Let's count. That's 36 years ago. He gave it to me sitting in a booth at a "Sambo's" restaurant. I promised it to Sarah and one day she'll get it. Two years later, he gave me a small diamond neclace that Erin will get. I just can't say when.
51) Washing machines, vacuums and remote controls. Energy savers.
52) Freshly mown grass. LOVE the smell. As a kid, it used to remind me of watermelon.
53) Missionaries. And letters and pictures from missionaries. Go, Mike!
Well, that's just some of the things I love. If you're reading this, there's a good chance I love YOU. At the very least, I probably know you and have been blessed to have you in my life. Happy Birthday to me!