Category Archives: 1 2 3… Lists

A Time for Thanks (part I)


The past month or so, I have been reflecting on Thanksgiving. I don’t know why it is so poignant this year, perhaps because it is my first “real” holiday away from home (the Canadian Thanksgiving inefficient in the American holiday department by some because I do not hold Canadian citizenship… I deem that lame), or because I’ve grown up a bit more. But honestly, I’m going to go with the double-theory on this one. I’ve gotten older, and it’s my first holiday out on my own. Because of this, the things I am grateful for have been at the forefront of my mind the past few weeks.

A week or so ago, my roommate Kambyl and I decided to decorate the door of our room. It began at first with kirigami leaves in bright fall colors and ended up with pieces of coordinating paper covering the door. On those slips of paper, we had written some of the [many] things we were grateful for. We had a good conversation while doing our crafting, about home and family, our friends and other things we are grateful to have in our lives. Of course we mentioned those serious things like family and friends, home and the Church, the blessings of being here at Southern Virginia University.

There were also very simple things that we took joy in: black and white photography, daffodils, chocolate, long-awaited letters, etc.

And then came the silly things: the VMI guys that make us laugh, socks, Alexander Rybak (who doesn’t love the video “Oah”?), Harry Potter…

Anyway. Our Thanksgiving inspired silliness prompted me to think of all the things I am personally grateful for. I figured I would share my top one hundred. No worries, not all in one post, fifty here and fifty in a second post. Aren’t you grateful? (Aren’t I funny?) They aren’t in any particular order, mind you, but here they are:

1. Family and “almost-family Family.”

2. The opportunity to be here at Southern Virginia University.

3. Living on a hill where we get the best view of sunsets and foggy mornings on campus.

4. Friends who have the same sense of humor as I do.

5. Christmas music – minus the song “Blue Christmas.” But I sing it anyway.

6. Strangers who smile back at you.

7. The novella, The Little Prince.

8. Getting letters you’ve (in)patiently waited for in the mail.

9. Any member of the equine species.

10. My orange PF Flyers.

11. Guys who sing.

12. The rubber bands that hold my scriptures together (and my scriptures, obviously).

13. Books.

14. Fountain pens.

15. The way sunlight strikes yellow leaves early in the morning.

16. Quiet morning walks accompanied only by the music in your mind.

17. Plaid.

18. Blank notebooks.

19. My professors.

20. Paper cranes.

21. Post-it notes.

22. Poetry (especially the Robert Frost variety).

23. The Blue Ridge mountains & the Shenandoah Valley.

24. Hymns on a Hill.

25. Music.

26. Troxel helmets.

27. Improv.

28. Photography.

29. Missionaries.

30. Birds.

31. Birch trees.

32. Roses.

33. Visits from family.

34. 4-way calling.

35. Challenges.

36. Claddaghs.

37. Adventures.

38. Writing.

39. Uilleann pipes.

40. Harvest season.

41. Hot cocoa.

42. Perfectly colored & shaped leaves.

43. Talking to friends (and families) for hours.

44. Quilts.

45. Good songs that get stuck in your head.

46. the American Flag.

47. Vivid memories.

48. Harmonizing.

49. Rainboots.

50. Packages from home.


Things From Home


Top Twenty list of my favorite things brought from home:

20. my Swedish ornaments shaped like hearts made of straw.

19. my empty and half filled notebooks.

18. my post-it notes.

17. my giant photo clip clothespin.

16. my Young Women temple hanging and my Good Works tile.

15. a 2-pack of my favorite gluten free snickerdoodle cookies (being saved for my birthday).

14. my giant green soup mug.

13. my framed Haiti photo.

12. my old and slightly ratty Navy tee and sweatshirts and my holey yoga pants.

11. Bananagrams.

10. my Zune.

9. my origami paper.

8. my cowgirl boot slippers (apparently SVU approved).

7. my stationary and stamps.

6. my books – To Kill a Mockingbird, James Herriot, Gerald N. Lund, and Robert Frost.

5. my green plaid John Deere fleece blanket.

4. some of my photos, quotes, and do-dads.

3. the artwork of my friends.

2. my soccer quilt and crocheted lap blanket.

1. my camera.

I heart New York


I know I promised a few posts on graduation, etc. but my OCD tendencies won’t allow me to write about such an important event such as graduation without some photos to accompany them. Take it up with my OCD monsters – they are few, but powerful!

So, instead, I thought I would update everyone and let them know I’m back in the Empire State for a week. I love the annual week that Taylor and I spend in Upstate NY. We always head this way just after school ends and it’s such a wonderful way to let go of the school year and relax. This year is especially meaningful because it is the last summer I have to hang out here with my family before heading off to college in August. So I’ll just give you a top ten reasons I love New York:

1. My family is here!! We only see eachother a few times a year, and it’s always a blessing to spend time with them.

2. Everyone is so ridiculously friendly. People talk to you in nearly every place you go, and are so warm and open. It helps that my papa knows half the state of NY too.

3. It’s such a beautiful part of the country – the perfect mix of open land and woods, of city and country, of fast paced living and slow relaxation.

4. Tiny little shops abound here! I love the way most little shops are around here. They aren’t all packed into a mall or strip mall (I really dislike strip malls), but fill a street. There’s lovely cafes, boutiques, and studios all in a nice neat row, just waiting to be explored (tomorrow, possibly?).

5. The Finger Lakes. One of my favorite places in the entire world. Keuka is definitely my favorite, but nothing beats Seneca if you’re planning on spending a day on the boat, cruising about. They’re clean and beautiful and not too crowded. What more can you ask for?

6. The history. Upstate NY is all but drowning in history. This area has produced fashion designers, astronauts, tv news anchors, conspirators (John Surratt, in case you’re wondering, he was in on the Lincoln assasination), athletes and more. There’s Corning Museum of Glass. Mark Twain’s study is at Elmira College. And it helps that my grandparents are like my our own personal docents.

7. Farmers Markets. It might just be me, but it always seems like there are a) more farmers markets and b) everything is fresher and cheaper than in New England. But true or not, I love it. And don’t forget those baked goods they sell there too. Strawberry-Rhubarb pie, anyone?

8. There’s never a shortage of things to do. Hiking, fishing, shopping, exploring, simply meandering about.

9. Ice Cream. There’s always a nearby ice cream parlour or stand. It’s the Dunkin Donuts of the Empire State. And for good reason.

10. It’s just a happy place.

There you go. My first Top 10 List. I doubt it will be the last, because this was rather fun to think up. Hopefully my new camera (!!) will arrive in the mail sometime tomorrow or the day after so I can snap some pictures to post, and I’ll start working on the grad posts. Till then!

(oh, and #11 on the list is the fact that I’ve never seen any state with so many “I (heart) [insert state here]” shirts!)