Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 30 - November 30

I'm thankful for vacations.

Even with eleven children, my parents made sure we had a vacation every summer. That's a tradition we've continued with our own family. Sometimes they're elaborate and adventurous. Sometimes they're simple and relaxing. I love them all.

We've traveled throughout the United States. We've cruised Hawaii, Alaska and the Western Caribbean. We've climbed ruins, played with monkeys, para-sailed over the ocean and been sprayed by the waters of Niagara Falls. We've biked trails in Alaska, toured church history museums from New York to California and segued around the monuments of Washington, D.C. We've swam in the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Caribbean. We've taken river trips in Oregon, Idaho and Colorado. We've enjoyed the Rockies from Colorado all the way into Canada. We've enjoyed water parks, amusement parks and national parks.

We've driven for 21 days straight and we've flown. We've ridden trains and trolleys and boats. We've explored crowded cities and deserted rock formations. We've created hundreds of memories and taken even more pictures.

I'm thankful we can travel, especially as a family.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 29 - November 29

I'm thankful for entertainment. It gives you a mini-vacation, it takes your mind off things and it lets you relax.

Basketball isn't the only entertainment I'm thankful for, although basketball is right up there. I love BYU basketball, Jazz basketball and especially basketball with people I know. I love watching my kids play basketball.

I also like a few good television shows, good music, good movies, concerts, and plays.

Since I like these things, I'm thankful for people talented enough to provide them.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 28 - November 28

I'm thankful for Pepper.

Pepper is our Great Dane. We bought her almost four years ago from a breeder who no longer wanted her. She'd been hit by a car and couldn't have any puppies, so even though she's got rare and sought after coloring, she was no longer of any use to the breeder.

When Pepper was hit by a car, she lost a litter of puppies. She was still hurt when we got her--she limped, she was still bleeding and engorged from her ordeal. She had bad dreams and cried and whimpered when she slept. It was sad.

She's now a happy and healthy dog. She's patient, calm and loyal. She loves to be around us and when the kids leave for school, she parks herself to sleep wherever I am.

If it were entirely up to me, I probably wouldn't own a dog. But since some of my family is determined that we have a dog, I'm thankful for a good dog like Pepper.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 27 - November 27

I love See's candies. I honestly think it's the best candy in the world. Especially when you can go through the line and pick the kinds you want.

I'm thankful for marzipan, California brittle, butterscotch squares, rum nougat, Beverly, coconut, bordeaux, vanilla nut cream, and divinity. Sometimes I'm thankful for a few others, but these are the ones I'm most thankful for.

I'm even thankful for an occasional chocolate or butterscotch lollipop.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 26 - November 26

I'm thankful for missions.

I've seen what missions can do for people and I know what my mission did for me. My testimony grew. My confidence grew. My patience grew.

I met amazing people. I saw lives changed.

I've seen what it did for my husband. I've watched my son turn into a man. I've seen the patience and long-suffering from my parents.

I'm excited for my daughter to go next summer and I'm looking forward to the wonderful experiences she'll have.

Missions change the lives of those serving and those being served. What a beautiful idea.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 25 - November 25

Today I'm thankful for my faith.

It doesn't make me perfect. Far from it. There are so many things I need to improve on. I could make a list a mile long of things I wish I could do better.

But one thing I don't lack is faith. I believe. I believe in my Heavenly Father and I believe in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have never doubted. I've fallen short of doing what they want me to do on many occasions, but even when I've made mistakes, I've never doubted.

I have faith that they live, that they know me, that they're involved in my life. I have faith that good will win in the end. I have faith in scripture, in prophets, in obedience. I have faith in revelation and in God's hand in my life. I have faith that if we obey the commandments, our future is secure. I have faith that the things I don't understand right now will eventually be clear. I have faith that He hears me when I pray and that Jesus made a way for me to repent.

I'm SO thankful for my faith.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 24 - November 24

Today I'm thankful for modern conveniences.

I have a microwave oven, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a washing machine and a dryer. I have indoor plumbing and water that comes out hot. I have a double oven, multiple televisions, alarm clocks that wake me up and computers to check the weather for the next ten days. I have a second refrigerator in my garage, cars, and a deep freeze. We have an electric lawn mower and a fireplace I can start with the flip of a switch.

The amount of time and effort saved by all these conveniences leaves me with more time to do other things--some good and worthwhile and some a total waste of time.

I know I'm very spoiled, but I'm very thankful to have them.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 23 - November 23

Today I'm thankful for my grandparents.

All four of my grandparents are wonderful examples of hard work, sacrifice and love for their families.

An article could be written about each one and I think I'll do that during the next year, but for today I'll say I'm incredibly grateful to have been able to know all of them for long enough to have wonderful memories. They were amazing people and they let me know how much they loved me. No girl could have had better grandparents--except my sisters.

I miss them and look forward to being reunited with them again. I love you, Grandpa and Grandma Hatch and Grandpa and Grandma Higginson.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 22 - November 22

Today I'm Thankful for Thanksgiving.

Maybe a little redundant, but oh well.

I LOVE Thanksgiving. I love the food, the family, and the lack of commercialism. I love reflecting, relaxing and leftovers. I love turkey and cranberry sauce, pies and my sausage/pear/pecan stuffing (that I only make for Thanksgiving because it's a lot of work and I want to keep it special). I love the Thanksgiving circle where we share what we're thankful for. I love puzzles and movies and football games.

No wonder I'm thankful for Thanksgiving.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 21 - November 21

I'm thankful for today. November 21.

Twenty-three years ago, on this day, I started the day with a delicious wedding brunch. Then we drove to the Salt Lake Temple, where I married my wonderful husband.

We were younger and thinner and wildly optimistic. We didn't know of the trials we'd face or the blessings we'd share. But we jumped in anyway.

I'm incredibly thankful that we did. Happy anniversary, Travis. I love you.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 20 - November 20

Today I'm thankful for computers.

Last week I finished the first draft of my latest novel. I'm excited about it and can't wait to get it finished and sent off.

Imagine revisions fifty years ago. You'd have to type an entirely new sheet of paper. If you revised a paragraph as many times as I do, trying out different sentence structures and different word options, the task would be arduous and wasteful.

Now imagine that I can cut and paste and play around with things as much as I want. If I don't like what I've done I can hit that little backward circle arrow (I'm sure it has a name, but I don't know it) and it can put me back where I was. I can easily correct a misspelled word or jump right in and add an entire descriptive paragraph. If I want to make Chad's hair a different color or add a cute, crooked smile, I can. (I really like Chad, by the way.)

A computer makes being a writer so much easier. Even with my down arrow that doesn't work and my "e" letter that's threatening to fall off at any moment, I'm thankful for my computer.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 19 - November 19

Today I'm thankful for cards and letters.

I'm generationally flanked by two of the most amazing letter writers I know. My mom and my daughter write letters and cards the old-fashioned way. They use a pen and paper (usually pretty paper) and write real letters. They send them to friends, loved ones and each other. They've both done it for years.

Somehow the skill skipped a generation--me. I try to do thank you cards and I'm pretty good about Christmas cards, but that's about it.

But I LOVE to get them. Right now my favorites are letters from Taiwan (my missionary son) and Canada (my missionary parents), but it's such a treat when a friend or loved one sends a little something to let me know they love me or appreciate something I did or think I'm really cool or incredibly good-looking. (Just kidding about those last ones.)

Today I got cards from three of those cute kids in my Primary class.

It's a shame this talent--and yes, I think it is a talent--is getting lost. It makes those that are still good at it very worthy of a thank you.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 18 - November 18

Today I'm thankful for my primary class--all 14 of them.

I teach fourteen 9-year-olds. They're cute, sweet, noisy, reverent, exasperating, delightful and wonderful. They have so much personality and they have so much to say that sometimes I leave class exhausted and wonder if I'm wasting my time.

And then they'll be so receptive and so inquisitive and so smart that I know there's nowhere I'd rather be than in that classroom with them.

So today I'm thankful for Alexis, Carson, Carter, Cate, Elden, Emma, Emma, Ethan, Faith, Jonah, Kael, Kamrie, Kate, Taylor. I love you all!

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 17 - November 17

Today I'm thankful for books--hardback books, paperback books, old books, new books and books on my kindle. I love books that teach and books that entertain and I revere a book that can do both.

From the time I was child, I loved books. I've read thousands of them and still love getting lost in the pages, the stories, the lives of the characters.

Books have made me laugh, cry, swoon, cringe, and tremble. I've fallen in love with characters, I've visited other worlds and I've marveled at the way a gifted author puts together words.

I've lost sleep because of books, either because the story was so wonderful I couldn't stop reading or I was so scared I couldn't tune out the noises.

I'm thankful for the places I've gone, the adventures I've had and the people I've come to know in the pages of books.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 16 - November 16

Today I'm thankful for my bed. A few years ago we bought a good quality mattress. Then we bought a 3 inch memory foam topper. Then we bought some super nice sheets. Now my bed is heavenly.

I sleep on my back. My husband says I look like I'm lying in a coffin, but that's not how I feel. A pillow under my knees and I'm set. I get in bed, burrow into that memory foam topper and I'm out in seconds. And I barely move all night.

My bed is so comfy that when my husband travels for work, the kids clamor to take his spot. Sometimes we end up with four of us in the bed. There's nothing better at the end of a long day than a cozy, comfortable bed.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 15 - November 15

Today I'm thankful that fifty years ago this gorgeous couple decided to get married.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Dad and Mom.

I love you!

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 14 - November 14

Today I'm thankful for my grocery store.

Last night I took my college daughter grocery shopping. We went to a market that was close to her house and I was reminded how much I like my usual grocery store.

Smith's Marketplace in Lehi was completed while we were finishing our house. It's new, spacious, well-laid-out and bright. And they have everything. I hate running to a close store to pick up one or two items only to find that they don't have one of the items I needed. That never happens at my grocery store.

It's certainly not a life or death thing, but I realized that if I ever moved, I'd really miss my grocery store.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 13 - November 13

Today I'm thankful for the Romney family.

A few years ago, I read the book No Apology The Case for American Greatness by Mitt Romney. I knew then that Mitt was a man with a special love for America. It was with enthusiasm and pride that I did my best to help get Mitt Romney elected as president of the United States.

It's been a week since the election that broke my heart. During that week I've thought a lot about the Romney family and the enormous sacrifice they made because they love the United States. Mitt and Ann didn't have to put themselves out there and open themselves up to the ridicule, hate, and outright lies. They did it because they knew that they had a special set of skills and determination that could help right the course of our country.

I was devastated at the results of last week's election. I'm sad our country won't have the chance to see what great qualities they'd have brought to the White House. I'm happy for them that they don't have to take on the mess that's been created over the last few decades.

So today I'm thankful for an entire family who willingly offered themselves up for the good of our country.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 12 - November 12

Today I'm thankful for glasses.

I had nearly perfect vision for years. Several times over the years, we had insurance that covered a yearly eye exam and every year I'd leave empty-handed. My vision was excellent.

Several years passed with no eye insurance and then a new insurance carrier again offered a yearly eye exam. I went to my appointment believing I still had good eyes. To my surprise, the doctor told me I needed glasses. I tried on some frames and tried to pick something I wouldn't feel too self-conscious in and then left.

A week later I returned to pick up my glasses. The doctor made some little adjustments and I left with my first pair of glasses. I didn't have to wear them all the time, just for watching television or driving. Anything long distance. I got in the car, pulled out the cute little case, and tried on my new glasses.

Suddenly the giant tree across the street wasn't just a big green tree, but a tree with thousands of individual leaves. I lifted them up and saw the tree without detail and put them back on to see each leaf and branch and even the texture of the bark.

I hadn't even realized I was squinting to see basketball scores on television until I had my glasses. Suddenly the numbers and letters became crisp and clear.

The world looks very different when you can see things clearly.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 11 - November 11

Today I'm thankful for The Book of Mormon.

The first time I read The Book of Mormon by myself was when I was fourteen years old. There were many places in the book where I felt lost, but I do remember Lehi's dream about the tree with the fruit that was desirable above all other fruit and I remember the chapters about Christ visiting the people of The Book of Mormon.

Not long after I finished the account of Christ's visit, I had a dream that I was there as he ascended into heaven and I saw him. It was a very profound dream and I woke up feeling a deep love for my Savior.

I've read this sacred book many times since and each time I'm filled with that peaceful assurance that this book comes from God and is absolutely true. With each reading, I understand new things and I see parallels that help me understand the world today. There are lessons and warnings and beautiful stories of courage and righteousness. I really love this book.

If any of you would like a copy of The Book of Mormon to read yourself, please send me an email at and I will send you a copy as a gift from me. There's a good chance you'll come to love it as much as I do.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 10 - November 10

Today I'm thankful for comfortable shoes.

For years I worried more about how shoes looked than about how they felt. I remember many times when my feet hurt so much that all I could think about was the pain. I liked heels but my knees and lower back hurt when I wore them, even if it was only for a few hours on Sunday.

A P.E. teacher told my daughter that she only wore Earth shoes and that they'd helped her aches and pains. I decided to give them a try. Now the only shoes in my closet are either Earth shoes or absolute flats. No more heels for me. The comfort far outweighs anything else. My feet almost never hurt. My knees and lower back are much happier and I've even noticed that because my toes aren't scrunched into the front of the shoe, I've almost completely eliminated ingrown toenails.

Some of the comfortable shoes are even cute. There are still times I'll see an extra fabulous pair of shoes and for a moment I'll be tempted to choose style over comfort, but then I remember how nice it is to have your feet feel so good you don't have to think about them.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 9 - November 9

I've been thankful for my husband, my children, my parents and my siblings.

Today I'm thankful for my extended family. I'm thankful for my in-laws and my 24  nephews 17 nieces.

The above picture is missing my son who is on a mission in Taiwan, my parents who are on a mission in Canada, my nephew who was on at a priesthood retreat, and my brother and brother-in-law, who have passed away. A new baby has been born since this picture.

I love every one of my extended family. My nieces and nephews are some of the greatest kids I know and my sisters-in-law (I hate the way that's written, by the way) are smart women, great moms, good cooks and good friends. My brothers-in-law are funny, hard working, and great dads.

I'm thankful for all those great people and I'm glad they're in my life.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 8 - November 8

Today I'm thankful for my brothers and sisters.

I'm the oldest of eleven children--seven boys and four girls. I loved being the oldest. I loved holding and helping with the new babies. I loved staying home from school to take care of the little kids while Mom had a new baby. I loved fixing my sisters' hair and reading with my little brothers. I loved going to their games and concerts.

Sure we fought. Sometimes a lot. But we loved each other and were loyal. We could tease each other and fight with each other but we were (and are) fiercely loyal to each other.

I've tried to write a little paragraph about each one but they end up being too long and too repetitive. They're all smart. They're all funny. They're all good people. They all care about their families. They all work hard. They're all my friends.

And so, today I'm thankful for Richard, Nairn, Bruce, Robert, Lori, John, Lisa, Leslie, Spencer and Mark. I love you all.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 7 - November 7

Today I'm thankful for my parents. There's no possible way to list all the reasons but a few things are standing out today.

They had eleven children. What? I remember other people thinking that was unusual but I didn't fully realize how monumentally ambitious that was until I was older. Imagine it. 99 months of pregnancy (and she got sick through most of it). The number of parent/teacher conferences. The amount of food to be prepared. The homework. Keeping that many children in clothes and shoes. And Christmas. The challenge of quieting that many children of different ages for scripture reading, family home evening, church (and several of those years, Dad sat on the stand). Providing transportation for that many people and bedrooms and bathrooms. Think about the school programs, the music lessons, the basketball and football and track meets to attend. The concerts, the recitals, the New Beginnings and Priesthood Previews.

It's overwhelming.

But then imagine doing all those things with love and patience. Imagine having that many children and not having a single one have any doubt that their parents loved them. Imagine eleven children being made to feel like they were college-worthy athletes, the best singers and the smartest and most clever people. It wasn't until later that we realized we were all pretty average.

I could go on and on. But I won't. I'll just say that today I'm grateful for my parents. I can't wait until they gt home.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 6 - November 6

Today I'm thankful to live in a country where I'm free to vote my conscience. I'm also free to speak my mind. Those that disagree with me are also free to speak their mind.

Today will be the first election my daughter will be able to vote in. I'm waiting until this afternoon so I can vote with her. I voted for Ronald Reagan in my first presidential election. Looking back, it was a pretty smart vote. Today I'm voting for Mitt Romney. I'm voting with  more confidence today than I ever have before. I feel sure he's the best man for the job and for this time in history.

The United States of America is the greatest country on earth and I'm grateful to be able to walk into a school in my neighborhood and vote for whoever I want, whoever I feel will represent me best.

What a great country!

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 5 - November 5

Today I'm thankful for my children. In general, they're smart, funny, good-looking, helpful and good.


Bruce is a fantastic missionary, brave in the face of difficulty, creative, solid and entertaining.

Veronica is obedient, hard working, nurturing, helpful and determined.

Savannah is a peacemaker, cheerful, a home-body, accepting and loving.

Joe is smart, consistent, clever, affectionate and friendly.

I love spending time with my children. I like them. I enjoy them. I miss them when they're gone and I love watching them work their way through life. I love to listen to them joke around with each other and I love that they're friends with each other. I'm thankful to be their mom.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 4 - November 4

Today I'm thankful for Travis. What a handsome guy!

I loved him the day I married him but there were a lot of things I didn't know about him. I didn't know how funny he was. I didn't know how well he'd fit into my family. I didn't know what a great dad he would be. I didn't know the sacrifices he would make for our family. I didn't know how dedicated he'd be to his callings. I didn't know how helpful he'd be or how supportive he'd be when I decided I wanted to try to make wedding cakes or write books. I didn't know how accepting he'd be of my failings or how willing he'd be to forgive.

I was thankful to have found him way back then but I didn't have any idea how much more thankful I'd be for him now.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 3 - November

I'm thankful for church activities--especially for my children.

Yesterday afternoon, Savannah left for Youth Conference. In order for that to happen, many leaders had to plan and sacrifice time away from work and family to provide my daughter and other young people with activities that are fun, spiritual and faith-promoting.

I know because when I was Young Women's president, I attended girls camp for two years. While it was a wonderful experience, it was also a sacrifice. I don't like camping. In fact, I loathe it. I like indoor plumbing and comfortable beds and regulated temperatures. But because I loved the girls in my ward, I went with them, ate with them, and bore testimony with them.

Because of the unpaid sacrifices of youth leaders, my children have experienced girls camps, mountain and river expeditions, and youth conferences. I know that some of the most spiritual experiences are around campfires and on mountainsides and in rustic cabins where they learn, have fun, and have their testimonies strengthened.

Today I'm thankful for the sacrifices of every one of those people who give up so much for our children.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 2 - November 2

I'm thankful for babies.

I'm not sure if there's anything in this world better than a baby snuggling in with his head on your shoulder or taking a nap with a baby sleeping on your chest.

I'm thankful for my babies. I'm thankful for the babies my sisters and sister-in-laws have had and I'm thankful for the cute babies at church. I'm thankful for the cute babies that smile at me in the grocery store or the doctor's office. I wish I could hold them all, but I don't want to freak out any mothers, so I just smile back.

I worry about my kids finding wonderful spouses but I don't worry about my kids having beautiful, sweet babies.

Sometimes, when one of my girls has had a hard day, she'll say, "I just need to hold Charles and then things will be fine." Charles is the name of two of my sweet, new nephews.

The best scent in the world is a freshly bathed baby. The best sound in the world is a baby laughing.

Today I'm thankful for babies.

Thirty Days of Thanks - Day 1 - November 1

Today is November 1, one of my top 5 days of the year. This year, I decided I'm going to celebrate Thanksgiving by having THIRTY DAYS OF THANKS. Each day I'm going to write about something I'm thankful for. If you'd like to join me, please do. Tell me what you're thankful for in the comments.

Let's make this the most thankful Thanksgiving month ever.

DAY 1 - I'm thankful for November.

Why? Because Halloween (my least favorite day of the year) is over. We're usually not buried in snow, traces of Autumn remain and most days you can get away with a jacket or cardigan.

I'm thankful for November because it's the month of my wedding anniversary, so every year during November, I get to focus on what a blessing it is to be married to my husband. We get to celebrate the beginning of our family. I get to remember that freezing, sunny day.

It's also the month my parents were married, so we remember the beginning of the family I was born into and I get to think about that picture of my tall dad and my short mom standing in front of the Logan temple.

I'm thankful for November because it's the beginning of the holiday season--Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. It's like great holiday overload. A celebration of thankfulness, family traditions, the Savior's birth and new beginnings.

Yay for November!