Wednesday, November 4, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving #4

In August, I had the privilege of joining the Salt Lake Choral Artists. I have loved singing in a choir again! Dr. Allred, our conductor, is brilliant and the music he has picked it wonderful. Our first concert was October 17 and our theme was "Made in America." It's hard to choose a favorite song - but I think I'm going to have to go with Randall Thompson's "The Lord is My Shepherd." Runners-up would be Mack Wilberg's "Deep River" (an ode to altos), Howard Hanson's "The One Hundred Fiftieth Psalm," and Carol Barnett's "Gloria from the World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass." A couple of our songs have been posted on YouTube.

We're now working on music for our Christmas concert and I am in heaven! Besides the requisite Rutter songs (it's just not Christmas without them!), we're also doing three movements of Rachmaninoff's Vespers - in Russian. I can't begin to tell you how happy it makes me! I am so grateful for good music, the opportunity to sing in this choir, Dr. Allred, and Christmas!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving #3

Today I'm grateful for my Gorgeous Grandma. A little over a year ago she had to get a pacemaker. She had a follow-up visit today and I got to spend a couple of hours with her at her appointment, lunch and visiting Grandpa (at Wasatch Lawn.) She is doing so much better than she was a year ago! I'm grateful that the doctors were able to figure out the problem and fix it! As usual, she kept me laughing most of the time we were together.

Monday, November 2, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving #2

I'm still not used to blogging again! I almost forgot - and I'm totally brain-dead because I stayed up way too late reading last night. So, it seems appropriate that I express my gratitude for good books today. I've always been a reader - I basically slept through fifth grade because I'd stay up all night reading Nancy Drew - well, that and my teacher was an idiot so I felt no need to stay awake or pay attention (yes, I'm aware I was/am a total snob and very obnoxious!). But back to topic...I've read quite a few books this year. Some were good, some were very helpful, one in particular was down right awful. And two were wonderful - new favorites. I highly recommend "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows and "My Life in France" by Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme. I have read "Guernsey" twice this year - after reading it I lent it to my mom to read and when she was done, I picked it up and read it again. And was totally depressed when I finished it because I had looked forward to reading it so much every day! How many times is too many times to read a book in a year? Both books I found absolutely delightful. (The awful one is "Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell. I do not recommend it. I do, however, highly recommend the movie. That recommendation is based on three things: 1) they were able to make the Julie Powell character much more sympathetic in the movie, 2) a lot of it is based on Julia Child's "My Life in France" which I loved, and 3) Meryl Streep. Really, though, #3 is reason enough - the other two are just frosting.)

I'm currently reading "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo. It's good. I was nervous - I still feel like I'm getting my brain back from illness. But I had a wonderful friend give me the unabridged edition and express complete faith and confidence in me a while ago and I finally decided it was time to give it a try. I've been very pleasantly surprised. I've found it much easier to get into than I thought. I am loving it. I finished book one last night - 300 pages down - 1100+ to go!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

30 Days of Thanksgiving #1

As I was sitting in Church today, thinking with excitement that the holiday season has begun, I started looking back over this last year. It's been a year of contrasts for me. I've had a few serious illnesses, and two trips to the ER including a real scare last spring. And yet, overall, my health has improved this year - I've had less frequent illnesses, have let go of 70 pounds, and have more energy than I've had in a long time. I've had some very dark days and very hard personal struggles this year. But I've also been blessed with the opportunity to serve in the temple -to have an entire day of peace every week, received some great tools in dealing with the struggles, and been blessed with much joy this year.

I was able to recognize that while from a strict "numbers" viewpoint, this year could be considered a disaster, in reality, it's been a really good year. I am so grateful for the everyday miracles, many blessings, small joys that really add up, and love and support from family and friends this year. I am so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven for providing these miracles, blessings, joys, family, friends and love for me.

I'm excited to celebrate this season of gratitude and peace. It's going to be a good one.