November 26, 2015


What an amazing year!  What an amazing life!  I have had little time to sleep lately let alone update my poor blog, but as I was driving home from a doctor's appt the other day, I saw a sign that read "Better than Thanksgiving is Thanks-living".  It inspired me not only to be thankful more often, but to live my life in a way that my gratitude is evident by the way I live and just a part of me.  So while I smell the turkey cooking this morning and turn on the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, I wanted to take a few minutes to share the things that have caused my heart to nearly burst with gratitude and love recently....

1) I am grateful to be a citizen of the USA where I feel SAFE and am FREE to pursue my dreams, raise my family, and worship my God without threat to my life.  While we believe these to be basic human rights, I am painfully aware of the millions of people around the world who do not get to enjoy these rights.  I am humbled and grateful to just have the basics that make life sweet.

My other (incredible) half
2) I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is mindful of the needs of His children and uses us as instruments in His hands to love and serve each other through all of life's ups and downs.

3) I am forever grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who brings hope to every moment of life.  I am grateful that because of Him, all the joy of this life can and will extend into the eternities.

4) Oh how I love my hard-working, loving, and ever-supportive husband Garrett.  He is a perfect partner for me and supports and encourages me in a my roles as mother, wife, nurse, daughter, sister, friend, and now co-founder of a (future) non-profit.  I am so grateful to have someone by my side who works is an amazing teammate but honors and encourages me as an individual.  I can't say enough good thing about him.

5) I am grateful for 3 beautiful, healthy, vivacious children to raise.  Sometimes this mothering gig is terribly hard, but it is the best thing I have ever done.  I love watching them learn and grow and I am thankful for the patience and love they teach me every day.  I could go on and on for days like any other mother, but I'll just leave a picture of my little world right here.

so grateful for these people

6) I am grateful for this modern day where my family can frequently engage in conversation over the phone or via family/group text.  I have the best, funniest, greatest family and miss them terribly (why don't you all move back to Alaska?!), so it is a blessing to be able to communicate with each other so easily and often.  We had an awesome Willardson Reunion this past spring and I can't wait for the next one!

7) I am grateful that Garrett's parents were able to come up for a visit in September.  We had the best time with them and it was so wonderful to see my kids spend good time with their grandparents and form new memories.

This lady does so much for us, and we love her.
8) I am grateful for amazing family and friends to help me out!  Between my new endeavor in The Magic Yarn Project and an upcoming hip surgery next week, I've had family and friends come to the rescue watching my kids, bringing me meals, and helping me get The Magic Yarn Project up and running so I can hopefully have a little of my time/sleep back in the coming months!  Mom, Annie, Claire, Bree, Shelly, Jolene, Jamie, Rita, Hayley, Miles, and Sarah (just to name a few): they say it takes a village, and I have the VERY best one.  Thanks for saving me over and over and over with your help and support.

9) I am grateful for a generally healthy body, that I am able to feed it good and nutritious food, and that there are skilled doctors available when needed.  I'm not excited to have hip surgery that will put me on crutches and slow me down considerably for a while--especially at Christmas time--but I am so grateful there is a skilled surgeon in the state who can repair my torn cartilage so I can go from hobbling around to hiking mountains again this summer.  I've heard of people in other countries who are put on waiting lists for several years before they are able to have this surgery, and I am incredibly grateful that it is NOT the case for me here in the US.  What a blessing!

10) I am grateful for all the good people in the world who have eagerly helped, donated their money/time, or who have just offered encouragement and support for The Magic Yarn Project.  Obviously this project needs its own blog post, but it has really exploded in the past few weeks--we have received hundreds if not close to 1,000 emails from people worldwide requesting wigs for their little girls, offering to donate time/money/beanies/yarn, and wanting to know how they can get involved making these wigs.  We have been featured in dozens of news articles and stories around the world.  It is so amazing to see how many GOOD people in the world are eager to volunteer and serve and who are supporting us in this endeavor.  Yesterday I received a box of gourmet caramels from a Confectionary on the east coast as a "thank you" for all we are doing.  I feel like we are being hugged by thousands of people around the world and it brings me to tears frequently.  During a time when there is so much fear, anger, and hatred throughout the world, I am grateful that I get to witness and feel the LOVE, COMPASSION, and KINDNESS that is stronger than the darkness and will always conquer it.  Thank you to all the good people around the world who humble me with your service and big hearts.

Happy Thanksgiving and happier "Thanks-living"!

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