Tuesday, November 30, 2010

time well spent

some might say blogging isn't time well spent, but i do it anyway.  this is the last of my gratitude posts.  i wasn't sure what i would write, but then after a conversation with my mother on the phone i decided on a topic. i was telling her about our relief society lesson on sunday.  it was based on a talk by president uchtdorf in conference this last session.  a lot of people liked his talk and refer to it as the "simplify" talk.  it's true, he does talk about simplifying our lives.  what got me, though, was how he directed us to do so.  he said we should focus on four relationships: god, family, others, self. our teacher on sunday pointed out that it should be in that order.  i'm a to-do-lister and often those things on my list don't get done or don't get done in a timely manner.  lately i've been trying to make myself plug tasks into time slots - to help pace myself.  that hasn't really worked all that effectively, though, since i'm the boss and often tell myself i can do what i want.  anyway, after the lesson on sunday i got wondering if maybe i should try organizing my list into those four categories: relationship with god, relationship with family, relationship with others, and relationship with self.  i think it's easy to tell myself that a certain task is not important or just something making me busy.  if i look at a particular task, though, from the perspective of how it might improve one of those four relationships, then i think/hope that the task will take on new meaning and significance.  i'm pretty socially motivated.  if a task is all about bonding with someone then i enjoy it a lot more. i think if i can see a lot of my tasks as bonding with "someone" then i'll enjoy it more.  when president uchtdorf gave the talk i was initially drawn to the idea of having more charity for myself as i improve my relationship with myself, but really, i think when i work on my relationship with god or others or family i really am feeling better about myself and in effect i'm strengthening my relationship with myself.  i think that's why putting it in the order he did is so significant.  anyway, i haven't started organizing myself according to those categories yet, but i intend to next week (i try to schedule myself a week at a time).  what do y'all think?  really you should check out his talk yourself, if you haven't for a second or third time.  so anyway, today i am grateful for my many relationships - all of them!

Monday, November 29, 2010

grateful for inspiration

i was stumped all day today - wondering what i'd be grateful for. then i read julie's blog.  she's the one who got me started on this.  apparently her post today is in gratitude to the fellow that inspired her to do her own posting.  funny how things can spread.  i'm grateful for him too, i guess.  but mostly i'm grateful for julie who is and will probably always be my hero teacher.  have i already posted gratitude for her?  i can't remember.  if so, well, she deserves it doubly.  or we can just say i'm thankful for the guy who inspired her.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Today I was grateful for a good book to read while Bret took a much needed nap.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gratitude never ends

Well, it shouldn't anyway, just because Thanksgiving is come and gone.  Thinking of things to be grateful every day is a good exercise.  I like that it gets me to post more - maybe if I keep that as my general objective in blogging it will help me do it more often.

I failed to post yesterday, but I had a good excuse.  I spent the entire day with my oldest niece.  She's in college right now and needed to work on an assignment that involved coming to SLC and visiting the Family History Library.  My good friend works there so I'm somewhat familiar with the place and since I've always wanted to learn more I was happy to spend the day with her looking for dead relatives.  As she pointed out, though, it's a lot easier to look for people who have already been found - we were just reworking the problem to find out how they were found in the first place.  I learned about the microfilm and microfiche and even the books they have there.  The microfilm and microfiche machines brought back lots of memories as that's one of the ways we had to do research back in the dark ages before the internet.  She was surprised that I had used them before and was familiar with them.  The computer and internet are amazing inventions, but I think the micro machines were pretty amazing too - considering the amount of data they contain in such a small size.  There was a lot for me to feel gratitude for yesterday, but in the end I settled on being grateful for the millions of people who have slaved over the thousands of years to record information.  One of the books we found looked like it was hand written and individually typed using what I think was onion paper.  I vaguely remember that type of paper from my days of learning to use a type writer.  The book was a just an index of a bunch of graveyards in Kansas somewhere.  It's not the sort of book that brings glory or fame or money.  But it is useful to those who seek to find their connections to the past.  It certainly reminded me of how every little act of service no matter how small it may seem can have lasting repercussions. 

So today is a new day and I haven't done much other than eat breakfast.  I had chocolate pecan pie for breakfast.  I don't think I've said it yet, but I am grateful for pie.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

finally rest!

i spent half of today trying to find some craft thing for a rs activity coming up.  i am NOT  a crafter.  then i spent the other half baking pies.  they didn't work out as perfectly as i planned.  then it was time to make dinner.  bret got home and after we ate we headed for a party (dessert first - pretty clever if you ask me). and now we're finally home and getting ready for bed.  i love bed.  especially after a long day like today. and even better tomorrow is a holiday!  i love holidays!

and i'll go ahead and express tomorrow's gratitude.  am i allowed?  i think so.  i've been waiting all month to say this.  i'm grateful for my good husband.  being married is wonderful.  i highly recommend it.  but bret's taken.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Tonight's is easy. Big blizzard warning led to fear for husband's safety driving home. Both turned out to be no big deal. Now hopefully tomorrow goes well.
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Monday, November 22, 2010


i've been "flying" for at least a year now and thinking about it for a few years.  i figured it was time i proclaimed my gratitude.  i'm not perfect at it, but it has changed my life for the better.  i seriously recommend you checking it out for yourself.  look over the old lady cheese of it and find some gems that will make a difference in your life.  this is what i'm grateful for today as i just finished "blessing my house."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

happy endings

today was one of those church days where i anticipated a lot of hard things.  i'm always amazed at how in the end things turn out really well.  much better than expected.  in particular i had to visit someone and apologize for an off handed comment that was taken wrong.  i hate it when i put my foot in my mouth, and this was one of those incidents that reminded me i probably do it more often than i'd like.  i'm sure i need to apologize to many people, but at least i learned about this incident.  i having been worrying about it for over a week, but was finally made amends today. i am grateful for happy endings, or maybe i should say resolutions.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cool weather

Today was one of those utterly cool fall days where the leaves are fascinating as the race all over in the wind. I also just discovered it has snowed. I'm glad I was indoors for that. I'm grateful my days of driving to work in snowstorms is over but I'm also grateful I could enjoy being out among the leaves today.
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Friday, November 19, 2010


I know I missed yesterday. It wasn't the best day. Bret was sick and so all our plans went out the window leaving me grumpy. I felt bad that my reaction was selfish. But apparently not bad enough to change. Poor husband. He still isn't 100% better but I wasn't as bad. Hooray for improvement.

Tonight we went to the temple and the whole time I had a Sacrament hymn stuck in my head. One line in particular: "In the midst of affliction my table is spread.". Isn't that a great line? I love hymns. I love how they can realign your thoughts to where they should be. My table really is spread and I am grateful.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More gratitude for church leaders

I'm finally getting a leg up on this gratitude posting thing.  It's not even noon and I already came up with something I want to share.  I have been trying to follow a routine in the morning, to make sure I get the essential things done first, and one of those things is to spend some time reading and pondering the word of God.  Today I decided to read out of the General Conference edition of the Ensign.  I thought for sure I had the perfect thought to share after reading President Uchtdorf's talk, but then I read Elder Christofferson's and I couldn't help but want to share something from it instead. So I decided I could just be grateful for them both.

President Uchtdorf talked about slowing down and focusing in on the most important things in life when things seem to get hectic and out of control.  I figured with all the hub-bub gearing up with the holidays it was a perfect message.  I loved that he quoted Elder Dallin H. Oaks, from his talk about Good Better Best (one of my all time favorites), “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”  He lists three key places to focus our energy: "First, our relationship with God is most sacred and vital....He desires our happiness....Our second key relationship is with our families. Since 'no other success can compensate for failure' here, we must place high priority on our families. We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together....The third key relationship we have is with our fellowman. We build this relationship one person at a time—by being sensitive to the needs of others, serving them, and giving of our time and talents."  And the fourth was my favorite when I heard him speak because it was something I had been pondering a lot at the time:  "The fourth key relationship is with ourselves. It may seem odd to think of having a relationship with ourselves, but we do. Some people can’t get along with themselves. They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves. May I suggest that you reduce the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better. Walk in nature, watch a sunrise, enjoy God’s creations, ponder the truths of the restored gospel, and find out what they mean for you personally. Learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential."  And in his summary he said, "Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light."

Well, now that I've shared highlights from his talk you won't have to read it yourself - unless you can't help yourself.  It really is good.

I'm not sure it will be as easy to paraphrase Elder Christofferson's, but I'll try.  He talks about living a consecrated life.  He shares the scripture about the purpose of life being happiness.  He also praises hard work.  I've recently been thinking about the original 12 apostles (Bret and I have been reading the New Testament) and I'm amazed at the degree of sacrifice they made for the gospel.  Not to mention the sacrifice Christ made himself.  Elder Christofferson quotes Joseph Smith at one point and I was again reminded of the sacrifice and work offered by men who have lived consecrated lives.  Somehow that sacrifice is tied to joy.  It certainly seems like a contradiction, but in his talk he manages to explain and show how true it is.  I'll just share his conclusion and hopefully if you need more clarification or inspiration you'll just go directly to his talk:  "A consecrated life is a beautiful thing. Its strength and serenity are “as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit” (D&C 97:9). Of particular significance is the influence of a consecrated man or woman upon others, especially those closest and dearest. The consecration of many who have gone before us and others who live among us has helped lay the foundation for our happiness. In like manner future generations will take courage from your consecrated life, acknowledging their debt to you for the possession of all that truly matters. May we consecrate ourselves as sons and daughters of God, “that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope” (Moroni 7:48; see also 1 John 3:2), I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I am grateful for wise leaders who know how to expound the scriptures in ways that make them all the more precious to me.  I have loved reading the New Testament and I love that through the ages God has blessed his children with comforting words of truth and hope.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Relief Society

Tonight I went to RS presidency meeting. Usually it goes way too long and I come home way too impatient and discouraged and frustrated. Tonight, though, it was different. I felt like we truly had a spirit of charity. That felt good. I am grateful for the good sisters in my Relief Society but especially for the good women with whom I serve. They are good examples to me of hard work and true charity.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Grateful for health

Today I took a woman to the bishop's storehouse to get some food. She told me some of her stories. Our ward has a lot of people that struggle with mental as much as physical health issues that keep them from being self sufficient. In her case she sounds like she was perfectly fine until due to some unpredictable moment she wasn't. For her sake of privacy I won't say more but I AM learning that there is a fine line between well and ill and sometimes there's nothing you can do to control which side of the line you're on. Today I am grateful for my family's health.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

gratitude proclamation

tonight for our family home evening lesson my sister-in-law had us all write a "gratitude proclamation" - basically a list of things we're grateful for.  then she had us roll it up and tie it with a string and told us next time we're feeling discouraged or frustrated we can pull it out and proclaim our gratitude.  it was pretty cool.  she also showed us the mormon message about gratitude that's been circling the nets these days.  i like it.  i might as well do my part to pass it on.  enjoy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Apparently I'm forgetful, since I am just now realizing I didn't post anything yesterday.   Maybe I wasn't feeling especially grateful.  I spent the day with my friend cooking.  I had a couple sacks of pears I received from another friend whose tree is exploding with winter pears.  They don't can that well and aren't the best for eating raw (maybe a bit unripe) but there were  a ton of them and they made a delicious pie!  Somewhere in between everything I went to another friend's house and got a haircut for next to nothing.  She did it for free last year as a sort of wedding gift.  It just occurred to me to actually go back and pay her for another cut.  I really like what she did - but so far not even Bret noticed - and I think it's pretty different!  We'll see if the ladies at church tomorrow have anything to say about it.  But anyway, I think I can say that for yesterday I am grateful for generous friends.  I spent much of today peeling and cutting more pears - for future pies.  I also made a couple quarts of pear juice.  I still have another sack full.  Maybe pear sauce next week?  I don't need any more jellies or I might try my hand at pear butter.  I did find a recipe today for pear honey - basically really thick but viscous pear puree.

Okay, now for today.  Today was great!  I spent the morning attending  a World Wide Leadership Training for church.  I LOVE our leaders. They are not only funny, but also very wise and in tune.  They get it.  They get it all.  They totally know what reality is like and yet they still believe in doing our best and believe we CAN do our best.  They really do have an eternal perspective and a Christ like approach to leadership.  I am grateful for good leadership and I hope to be a better leader myself.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

grateful for holidays

now that i don't work full time i guess you could say holidays don't matter so much.  but since my schedule is so closely tied to bret's i still enjoy days off.  today was one of those.  i know - lots of people had it off - his was just a normal non-work day - sam's club doesn't celebrate veteran's day.  neither did my school district for that matter.  but anyway, today was really nice.  lots of hanging out around the house wearing comfy clothes.  the only thing on the schedule was ward temple night - and we're about to head out for that now.  pretty nice.

one thought i had, though, while others were expressing gratitude for veterans they knew  - as far as i know i am not close to any veterans really.  i mean i have a few friends who served.  and it's not like i necessarily need or want to be especially close to a veteran, it's just that i noticed this holiday seemed to matter a lot more to those who were closely connected to veterans.  either way, i am also grateful for the service and sacrifice so many veterans have made over the years.  and by the way - if you are one yourself, bret says sam's club is giving away free foldable canes to all veterans, yesterday today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hooray for health

Today I have felt grateful for my health. For the past week I've had a slight cold. Not much, just enough to stuff me up and leave me with a general headache. I've used it as an excuse to take it easy at the gym each morning and to take a benadryl at bedtime which has allowed me to sleep soundly all night. But it did slow me down yesterday and has left me generally grumpy and unproductive all week. But today I finally felt myself getting better. My sinuses are draining and I actually had energy all day. No headache. It's like I'm a new woman. Hooray for the return of health!
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm thankful for my freezer

Last night I baked bread and rolls.  Actually, I only baked half my rolls.  The other half went in the freezer.  I plan to try baking them later and see how it works to freeze dough.  I hear it can be done.  I want to do it myself.  Today I made sandwiches and froze them.  I meant to make cookie dough.  Instead I went to the freezer and checked my supply and decided it was enough to last another week. Then I ate some.  I did finally make a bunch of pie dough blobs and put them in the freezer.  I've wanted to do that forever.  We'll be testing the experiment later in the month.  Finally, I went to my freezer and pulled out a bag that said, "Thaw and bake at 350 for 30 minutes."  I put it in the oven for an hour and had dinner ready and waiting for Bret while I was gone to two different meetings.  I love my freezer.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm sitting in my car at a train crossing. Why are trains so slow?
I'm on my way home from cleaning at the church cannery. They made applesauce this morning. I basically spent the last hour spraying a large power hose rinsing off some mystery foamy chemical. Next time they offer me galoshes I will say yes, thank you. Best part was walking home with a jar of hot off the presses applesauce. Oh, and a case of raspberry jam I couldn't help buying.
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Double the Gratitude

Yesterday I failed to post anything I was grateful for.  It's not because I was feeling especially ungrateful, it's just that I had no alone time to post anything.  So for yesterday I'd like to say that I'm grateful for my vision group.  A few friends and I get together monthly to work on various personal goals.  I learn a ton from my vision sisters.  It's been one of the best things I've ever done.  We've only been meeting for about two years - actually, two and a half, but I feel like I'm a new woman because of them.

As for today's gratitude.... I'm grateful for Fall.  I just got back from my tutoring shift.  I walked there in the rain and walked back in the snow.  Normally that wouldn't be so fun for me, but the trees are still so golden and being outside just feels magical.  I remember when I first moved to Utah years ago and walking all over campus was the most exciting thing.  I loved watching the seasons change before my eyes.  That was the best Fall ever, but I'm still reminded of it each year and it makes me smile.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Grateful for in laws

I just barely posted for friday but I noticed it's now saturday so I can post again. Bret and I are spending some time with his parents. We do it about once a month since they live so close and we have the time.

Growing up I heard all the jokes and negativity about in laws so I was prepared for some real challenges when I got married. Well I must say I am blessed. Besides having quality mother and father in law i also have good brothers and sisters in law. It's been easy to get along with them all. They're the sort of people you'll be happy to have your kids spend time with. I think having such good in laws has just made being married that much easier and enjoyable.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Grateful for the gym

I haven't made it to the gym all week. Until this morning. I woke up achy as all get out. I got up gathered my things and then curled up on the couch for an hour. Finally I went to the gym. It always pays off. I came home ache free. Besides physically I came home feeling great mentally and emotionally. It always amazes me how it makes me feel better.
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm grateful for lettuce

This morning I took someone to the bishop's storehouse to get some food. I was grateful for that opportunity since in our morning family prayer Bret asked that we would have the chance to serve someone. When we got home I was hungry for a snack and saw this bagged salad in the fridge. I was struck not only by the ease and convenience but also by my own blessing of prosperity. I don't know how long I'll be blessed in such a manner but I am mindful of what a great blessing it is.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pizza pockets

Why is it whenever I try to make "pocket" type food I always fail? My dough circles come out too thin and then they are weird awkward shapes and even worse they bust out and leak all over the pan. Sadness. They're such a handy freezer food I am determined to make them work!
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not related to gratitude at all

on my way to volunteer at the elementary school this morning i saw and overheard an unfortunate interaction.  the sort of thing that just worries me about our next generation.

i saw a little boy with his arms wrapped around a little girl from behind - like in a wrestling move or something.  she was saying, "let go," and he was saying, "but i love you."  they seriously looked no older than kindergarten. where or where did he learn this behavior.  what happened to tether ball and hopscotch?

grateful for learning

i've recently begun volunteering at an elementary school.  the best thing about this is that i only stay for an hour at a time and i work with kids in small groups - or just one on one.  i'm not their main teacher and i don't make the assignments, nor do i have to grade them, i just have to sit with them and help them get it done.  so far i've worked with a girl from tanzania and a boy from cuba and a boy from some other african country, but i'm not sure which.  all speak english as a second language.  i'm amazed at how much they know and how well they can communicate.  they have friends and they are attentive (as far as i can tell) and do their best.  they're only about 10 or 11 and are still young enough i can sense their innate goodness.  they seem happy to work and i've actually seen the cogs in their brains working to figure things out.  it's like seeing learning in its purest form.  when i taught high school i didn't get to see that very often - way too many distractions if it was happening at all.  i wonder if i'm as open to learning as they are.  to be teachable and fresh... is that possible after so many years of being bounced around on the rocks of life? (ha -i say that as if i've had such a hard life - but you know what i mean.) i get to go again today.  i'm looking forward to it.  maybe they'll teach me a thing or two.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Second day of gratitude

oops - i nearly forgot about doing this.  and it's only the second day!  i hope i can keep it up.

this morning i've been feeling a little harried trying to make plans for the coming month.  there are a few friends i'm trying to get together with and it's being difficult to coordinate our schedules.  not only that, there are some friends i have a few projects going with - cooking, goal setting, writing/editing, not to mention the tutoring i've recently begun at the local elementary.  when something gets a bit frustrating i try to remind myself what life would be like without it.  i am MOST definitely grateful for friends, but today i think i'll focus more on being grateful for friends that are anxiously engaged in good work and motivate me through their examples and encouragement and just plain inclusion.  i like keeping busy with good things, and i can't imagine a life without so many good people in it that make all those good things possible.  now the trick is to make sure i stay true to my values and don't just get busy for busy's sake.

now back to the kitchen with me where i'm attempting to make mock crab cakes using shredded zucchini.  yep - i found it on the web.

Monday, November 1, 2010

First day of gratitude

i have a good friend that blogs more regularly than i do.  she's long been a hero of mine, mostly because when she lived here she was a high school english teacher and i thought that was an impossible job.  she wasn't just an english teacher, though, she was an exceptional english teacher.  i may have finally had that job myself, but i know i wasn't as dedicated and academic and hard working as she was.   i still admire her, even though i'm no longer teaching.  she's the sort of teacher that makes me value public education and want teachers to be treated as professionals. probably because she is so professional.  anyway, she won't be so comfortable with all this praise so i'll move on.

yesterday she pointed out that today was the beginning on november and apparently, for the last few years, she's done a daily gratitude post in the month of november.  sort of a thanksgiving day/month celebration.  she was feeling a bit less than grateful, though, and i thought one thing i could do to support her was maybe do my own list.  you know how doing things with others is easier - at least it is for me - so i'm joining in the thanksgiving celebration.

for my first post i could list all sorts of things, like being grateful for julie and her good example, or i could say something about this being the month i was married in last year - but i figure gratitude for julie is implied by doing this whole shebang anyway, and gratitude for my good marriage will be saved for my actual anniversary.  :)  instead i've got a good story for today to express my gratitude for prayer.

yesterday was a hard day for bret and me.  we were both pretty down and sad most of the afternoon and into the evening.  some friends of ours in the ward are separating.  well, we heard that she's leaving him.  i'm not sure what all that implies for the future, but it was heavy news, just that bit.  when it was time for bed we were also worried about the burdens of today.  bret went into work an hour and a half early to take care of all the extra stuff he knew would pile up on a monday.  he usually doesn't work at this particular pharmacy on mondays, but he does on tuesdays, and when he gets in on tuesdays there's usually a pile up of stuff that got put off, and he doesn't feel right about doing that, so he figured he better get in and get to work before the store actually opens.  i'd like to point out here that his normal shift is already 10 hours so with an extra hour and a half he's in for a killer day. he has a hard job. but that's just me complaining - not him. so anyway, back to our story.  last night we said our family prayer and specifically prayed for our friends and for bret to be able to sleep soundly and be ready for today.  we even went to bed about an hour early in anticipation of the longer day.  it just so happens i can sleep like the wind.  i must have gone straight to sleep, but then i woke up with a start at midnight.  according to bret i was shaking him.  all i remember, though, is hearing him say, "good, it's not quite midnight, if i can just fall asleep now then i'll still be able to get 6 hours of sleep."  i guess he had not fallen asleep at all; he had lain there for two hours trying to fall asleep and still hadn't.  he's the sort that usually needs nine hours of sleep - six was not ideal but i knew he needed that.  so i decided it was time for serious prayer on his behalf.  i did it quietly because i didn't want to talk to him and keep him up longer.  lately we've been reading the gospel of luke together and it's chock full of miracle stories.  in our combined priesthood and relief society meeting yesterday we had a lesson on the power of the priesthood in performing healing blessings.  part of the discussion mentioned that even when the priesthood is not available there is great power in the prayer of the faithful.  i knew god can perform miracles and i felt like bret needed one and i knew that faithful prayer could work.  so i prayed and kept praying and kept consciously reminding myself that the miracle could happen.  after 20 minutes i heard the tell tale sounds of his breathing/snoring.  i knew he was asleep.  i said a quick prayer of gratitude and put my ear plugs in and went back to sleep myself.

it is not often i am the witness of such miracles.  it seems when god answers prayers it often comes in the "fourth watch" so when this prayer was answered i felt i had seen a miracle.  in the morning i asked bret how he had slept.  apparently he hadn't dreamed and he hadn't woken up a bit.  that's pretty rare for him, so i feel like that prayer was answered and then some.  not only was he able to fall asleep, he managed to stay asleep.  i am grateful for the power of prayer.

now i need to continue to pray for our friends who are going through such a hard time.  i only wish i knew how to reach out and be a support when the problem is so sensitive and private.