Saturday, November 30, 2019

2019 - Gratitude Month #30 - Mr. Kerry

Gratitude Day #30

Today I am grateful for Mr. Kerry.

For the past eight or so years, I have always begun the month with my mom, for it is her birthday. And, I end the month with Kerry, for tomorrow is our anniversary. And yet, I often will receive a PM asking me why I haven't expressed gratitude for Mr. Kerry.

This is why.

Kerry is a good man. When we began dating, I wasn't exactly thrilled with him. He greased his hair down like Bowser (Sha-na-na), and seemed stuck in the 1970s. Well, it was the 1970s.

But, my parents adored him!

After his proposal, I hemmed and hawed for a week when my dad asked me if I was planning on giving this poor boy an answer soon. I waffled, for I didn't know. I mean, he was a nice guy, but that *spark* wasn't there. Dad looked at me and said, "You had better do some deep thinking about this, Peggy. How many people would be willing to live with you?"

Truer words were never spoken.

Kerry's pros far outweighed his cons, and after deep prayer, I decided to say yes. I told him after working at the Washington Temple one day, and he nearly drove off the edge of the road.

If I had not married him, it would have been the single biggest mistake of my life. And, I know that.

He married me when I was heavy, and continued to love me as I nearly doubled in size, never once saying that it might be better "if I just lost a little weight".

He sat by me and wiped my brow through every labor and delivery, and cried at the four miscarriages that we both suffered through.

He was by my head when I woke up from surgery, softly telling me they had found cancer. He held my hand when the doctor came in to tell us more details.

We held each other tightly when we buried my mom in 1984, then again when we buried his sister in 2000, my dad in 2002, his mother in 2003, and his father in 2004. We held each other like the world was coming to an end when we lost our son in 2009. It had come to an least, the world we knew.

He supported his family working as a letter carrier for thirty years, showing his children by example that they would always have a place to live, clothes to wear, and food to eat.

Just like his father, he is a scriptorian. He has never once preached that we should all follow his example of prayer and scripture study. He has quietly found a nook to study and ponder. Throughout these 42 years, I have often walked by his office as he is deep in study, or have caught him kneeling and praying. I wish that his children could hear those prayers as he names each one, petitioning God to watch out for them and keep them safe.

Kerry is the best man I have ever known. He married a very unsure girl, seeing potential in me that I couldn't/didn't see. He has supported me every step of the way, and believed there is nothing I can't do, even though there are things I just cannot do.

As we reflect on our upcoming anniversary tomorrow, we will pause and recall our lives through the past 42 years of our lives. We are good to each other. We are good for each other.

And, I wouldn't be who I am without him.

And so, I end my month of gratitude postings, knowing I could go on posting every day until the end of my life and never come close to running out of things to be thankful for. If I were to die this night, I hope that I would be remembered for having a grateful heart.

May I never lose site of what I have been blessed with...even the air that I breathe.

I thank you for reading my posts; some are personal, some are preachy, some are tiny posts that all show gratitude for each and every part of my life. I thank you for your comments. I thank you for the PMs.

May you all look for ways to be grateful, too.

Friday, November 29, 2019

2019 - Gratitude Month #29 -

Gratitude Day #29

Today I am grateful for photography.

As I have written these gratitude posts, I have found myself scrolling through hundreds of photos of my family and my friends. Each one I have looked at sparked a special memory or feeling deep inside.

When I was recently in Portland, OR to do some filming for Harmony's college classes, she brought out a notebook I had kept for each of the kids that contained special stories, ancestor charts, and photographs of ancestors. Many of them were being displayed behind me, both on a table and on the wall.

As they fussed around me, I was trying be still and obedient while Harmony directed everyone into positions. As I was looking at one of the larger cameras, a reflection from the wall behind me showed up in the camera lens - a photograph of my grandmother. As the camera changed positions, one by one different ancestor photographs would be reflected for me to see for a brief moment.

The camera was on me, but the ancestors were behind me.

I have used this month to recall travels with our children, holidays, extended family who are no longer alive, Kerry's parents, my parents, just so many, many memories that often caused me to catch myself.

As I get older, I thrive on those memories, and hope they are never taken from me.

In one of the final seasons of "The Walton", Earl Hamner wrote something so poignant that I often refer to it as I am researching:

"Appalachian Portrait, by Earl Hamner...

There is something within us that tells us all we will ever know about ourselves. There is a destiny that tells us where we will be born, where we will live, and where we will die.

Some men are drawn to oceans, they cannot breathe unless the air is scented with a salty mist. Others are drawn to land that is flat, and the air is sullen and is leaden as August.

My people were drawn to the mountains. They came when the country was young and they settled in the upland country of Virginia that is still misted with a haze of blue which gives those mountains their name.

They endured, and they prevailed; through flood and famine, diptheria and scarlet fever, through drought and forest fire, whooping cough and loneliness, through Indian wars, a civil war, a world war, and through the great Depression they endured and prevailed.

Grandpa, in memory I touch your face. A distance from me now, I feel you near…you will endure through all of time.

Grandma, I touch your hand and when I do I touch the past. I touch all the ships that brought us to this country and all the strong brave women who faced the frontier and made it home.

Strength and love came together here. All I ever want is what they’ve had so long.

A brother with an alien name. A first baseman grown to wife and mother. A pretty girl deepens into a beauty. A little sister full of wonder. And close to us as family were our neighbors linked to us in ties as strong as blood.

I have walked the land in the footsteps of my fathers. I saw yesterday and now look to tomorrow."