Friday, November 26, 2010

Double Winner Picked

Kelsi Rose is the winner of the Gratitude Wish List contest.  She will receive two books from her Wish List.  Kelsi Rose, please send me your Wish List (long list) and your mailing address to bhansen22 at msn dot com  Congratulations!
The next contest will have a Christmas theme and begin Dec. 1.  More details later.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I'm posting this a little early since there's a good chance I won't get to it tomorrow morning. You see I've got a turkey to stuff, potatoes to peel, and a few jillion other tasks planned, but I don't want to miss the most important part of the day--just being thankful for all of the many blessings that have come my way.


Ever since October Conference, I've been thinking and talking about gratitude and since today is a day set aside for giving thanks, there are a few more things for which I wish to express thanks. At the top of my list is a deep sense of relief and gratitude that at the moment my family is cancer free. The last few years half been rough on that score with the loss of four family members and hard fought battles by several others. I, myself, am a cancer survivor and my doctor reminded me just last week that it has been seventeen years. I am deeply grateful for the medical teams and the prayers of loved ones who gave me those seventeen years. As hard as it was to face my own cancer, it was harder to watch two of my daughters suffer through their battles with the dreaded disease and I'm doubly thankful they are both strong and healthy today.

I'm part of a very large, diverse family. When we get together, we look like a mini United Nations. I am grateful for the bond of love we share even though we represent half a dozen different ethnic groups and I'm not sure how many different religions. As one niece said "we love each other anyway, warts and all. And man, we have a lot of warts." I'm grateful for every last one of my family members and all of our assorted warts.

I'm grateful for my immediate family, my husband, my children and their spouses, and my grandchildren. I think they're pretty special and there isn't a day that I don't thank God for their presence in my life.

Serving in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple is a choice blessing in my life and I'm so very thankful I've been given this opportunity. In addition to the spiritual blessings I receive and the joy that comes through this service, I also appreciate the many friends and those who read my books who whisper a quiet greeting to me there.

I'm appreciative of my country and the privilege I have of living in America. Like my family, our government has a generous number of warts, but it's a privilege to live in a land where I and every citizen has a voice in fixing those warts.

I appreciate and give thanks for a warm, comfortable home and a generous bounty of food on my family's Thanksgiving table. Even good food tastes better when shared with loved ones and there are a good number of loved ones gathering around my table today. I, indeed, have much to be grateful for.

LAST CHANCE TO ENTER THE GRATITUDE WISH lIST CONTEST! Just tell us something your grateful for and why in the comment trail. A winner will be drawn on Friday.

Monday, November 22, 2010


This is the last week of my gratitude contest, so share those things you're grateful for in the comment section.  Someone is going to win a couple of books from their personal wish list.

I shared a few pictures of this weekend's winter storm on facebook, but here are a few of my favorites for those of you not on facebook.  The first is the view from my back deck and the second is the view from my front porch, taken early in the morning just before sunrise.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

For the Birds

As many of you know, I like having birds in my yard.  Lots of birds.  There's one bird however that leaves me with mixed feelings.  Every winter a sharp shinned hawk decides our back yard is her private dining room.  I'm no expert, but I think she's a female because of her size and with this breed the females are almost twice the size of their male counterparts.  Sometimes she shows up on consecutive days and sometimes she only appears a couple of times a week.  But always, when she leaves there is one less little bird at our feeders.  I love watching her; she's truly a beautiful bird, yet I feel sad each time she kills one of the little birds whose only crime was looking for a free meal.

I didn't take the picture above, but merely borrowed it from another web site.  I do take most of the photographs I use on my blog and that brings me to a point of gratitude.  I'm grateful for cameras and even more grateful for how easy it is to edit and print photoes today.  I got my first camera when I was twelve or thirteen, a gift from my older brothers.  It was just a little Brownie Kodak, but for years it was the only camera I owned and I took a lot of pictures with it.  Unfortunately getting those pictures developed and printed was expensive and somewhere around here I still have a few rolls of film I never did get developed.  My next camera was a Cannon that wasn't even really mine.  When I started out as a reporter, my editor put it in my hands and informed me I was expected to take my own photos to accompany the articles I wrote.  Next came a Fujica with all kinds of lens to choose from.  I fell in love with that camera and when I left journalism, my publisher allowed me to keep it in lieu of two weeks of vacation time.  My last few years as a reporter and editor, the paper hired a part time photographer who loved teaching me how to use that camera for best results.  In time several of my children borrowed that camera to use in college or high school photography classes.  Now I mostly use a little digital camera.  I miss those super lenses on my old camera, but it is so worth it to be able to pop that little plastic square out of my camera and into my computer and voila!  I have pictures.

But that hawk is a sneaky lady.  She eludes my camera with incredible skill leaving me with fuzzy pictures--but one of these days, I'll get a really good shot like the one above of her.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today I'm grateful for our military Veterans

Veterans Day is one of those holidays that always seems to get overlooked. After all, how can a day to honor soldiers compete with the likes of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas? Somehow we manage to forget that without those soldiers who endured unspeakable trauma and too often death, we wouldn't be free to celebrate the flashier holidays.
Armistice Day or Veterans Day was established as a legal holiday in the United States to honor those who fought in World Wars I and II, but has since been expanded in the USA to include members of America's Armed Services no matter which war they served in or may be currently serving in. Other nations who were involved in World Wars I and II observe this day too. In Canada the day is called Remembrance Day. In fact our friends to the north still observe the day more fully than we in the USA do. Though there has been some fiddling with the date, it is still observed by most nations on November 11, commemorating the day in 1918 when World War I formally ended.
As a child, almost everyone I saw; schoolmates, family, strangers on the street, wore a crimson poppy on Armistice Day to show our support and to honor those who fought for us, especially those who were buried on foreign soil. There was a national sense of togetherness brought about by this simple symbol and the dimes collected for their sale went to support programs aimed at benefitting veterans, particularly those who had been wounded. Red poppies still appear on the lapels of newscasters and many ordinary citizens in Canada while the custom has almost disappeared here. I remember that at precisely 11:00 a.m. a minute of silence was also observed in schools, places of business, and even the radio went silent. Once almost every school child could quote the opening lines of a poem composed by John McCrae, a soldier who wished to honor a friend who died on a Belgian battlefield where he noticed the bright, sturdy flowers growing in fields that had been disturbed by war and where the flowers seemed to flourish between the crosses erected to honor the war dead.
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.
Perhaps it is human nature to ignore unpleasant things until they touch us personally, but most people I know are hardly aware we've been at war for nine years, ever since America was attacked by foreign terrorists in 2001. Those of us who have had loved ones deployed during that time are certainly aware we are at war, but those who haven't, have too often gone on living their lives mostly untouched by this challenge to freedom and our way of life, other than being inconvenienced at airports and uttering complaints about the monetary cost of war.
Today is a day to set aside our political differences and simply honor those who risked their lives or gave their lives for freedom. It's a day to thank a soldier. It's a day to remember all those who sacrificed time, healthy bodies, or their lives so that we can choose our own government, our way of worship, our educational goals, our careers, and even so we can sit down together with our families to enjoy a holiday dinner. When it comes to gratitude, our military and especially my son-in-law, cousins, brothers, my friend Kerry's son, and the young soldiers I met at Walter Reed Army hospital, rank among those I blessings I'm most grateful for.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Random Gratitude Thoughts

This morning as I walked across the school yard with my grandson, I was very grateful for a warm coat.  I looked around and was pleased to see every child in his class was wearing a coat.  Last year there were several without coats and I want to give thanks for the many individuals and organizations that sponsor coat drives each year or pass on their children's outgrown winter coats.

I'm thankful too this morning for central heat.  I spent a lot of mornings as a child huddling beneath the covers waiting for Daddy to get a fire started in the stove to warm our house.

I'm thankful, too, for all the fun the piles of leaves in our yard provided my grandson and me last weekend.
I'm feeling grateful today too for being able to walk without pain.  It took a very painful shot into a tendonitis clump to accomplish the deed and tons of painkillers to ward off the migraine I always get following those shots, but today I feel great and will be on my way to the temple in a few minutes.  That's something else I'm grateful for.  I love serving in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple.

I know all of you have many things, great and small, for which you are grateful.  Please share them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Continuing the Gratitude Theme

Some of the things I'm grateful for may seem a little silly to some of you, but nonetheless, they're things I'm grateful for.

Except for a few short months we never had indoor plumbing until I was sixteen years old.  I am grateful to have bathtubs and toilets in my house.  Laugh if you want, but those who grew up in remote rural areas such as I did, know why this item is high on my gratitude list.

I'm grateful for my older sister and brothers who taught me to read.  I'm thankful too for the many teachers who nurtured my love for the written word.  I can't even imagine a life without reading.

I'm grateful for my little Saturn Ion.  It starts---every time.  I learned to drive a series of clunkers and spent a lot of time sitting in parking lots, at stop signs, and other inconvenient places waiting for some good Samaritan to give the clunker a charge or a push.

I'm grateful for this beautiful Fall weather.  There's something unique about an Indian Fall; the light has a special quality, the last flowers of the season are especially beautiful, and I hate wearing a coat.

I'm thankful for birds.  We keep three feeders in our backyard, and yes sometimes it gets a little expensive to keep them filled, but my husband and I get a lot of pleasure out of watching the various kinds of birds that visit our yard, and even laugh at the squabbling sparrows who arrive in droves.

Keep those gratitude comments coming.  Only those who add gratitude comments to my November blogs are eligible for the Wish List prize this time around.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Changing the rules

I'm changing the contest rules this one time.  This month the Wish List contest will last until the day after Thanksgiving.  Only those who make comments on this blog between now and Thanksgiving will be eligible to win and the prize will be two wish list books.  The theme will be gratitude and you can express your appreciation for anything you are truly grateful for in the comment trail.  Enter as many times as you like.

And speaking of gratitude I'm grateful for my family and how much fun we have together.  Usually we're a pretty low key bunch, but every Halloween my son and his wife throw a party for our family.  They always have the most innovative costumes. 
Along with way too much good food, those family members brave enough to don costumes pose for the family portrait.


Winner of the last Wish List book failed to contact me, so I drew two winners today:  Danyelle Ferguson and Mindy Battraw.  Congratulations!  Please send me a list of five or more LDS novels you would like to own and I'll send one of them to you (if someone else hasn't already claimed it).  Send your wish list and mailing address to bhansen22 at msn dot com.  Please include Wish List in your subject line.