Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Beautiful Season

Fall in Dallas has been a wonder of color and bipolar weather. I have enjoyed living in a place where I really get to see the colors of the season again. It makes me think Fall is my favorite season. But then, I haven't seen Spring in Dallas yet.

This has also been a beautiful season of life for me. My anxiety over the boys safety is lessening as they leave the "put things in my mouth" stage and are getting to understand it is not safe to just escape the house and run in the street.  Most night they sleep through the night.

But I haven't quite hit full teen drama with Sabrina yet either. My kids are young and simple and pure and safe for now. This is a beautiful season. I don't know how long it will last but it makes me think it is perhaps my favorite season. But then, I haven't experienced those many seasons yet to come yet either. 

But for today, I am grateful for the beauty of the season in in.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Feast

I am grateful for having days of plenty... Plenty of food, plenty of love, and plenty of warmth.

This year we traveled to Memphis to be with Jon's brother and sister in law Aaron and Carolyn. Aaron smoked a couple of turkeys. They were the best turkeys I've ever had. 

We made all my favorite sides and pies. It was a great feast!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Two year old

The other day I took Harrison to the doctor. She was doing her exam and needed to look at his throat. She asked him to stick out his tongue. He just looked at her puzzled. She kept explaining that she needed him to stick out his tongue out so she could see his throat.

Finally she went to go get a tongue depressor. Then Harrison stuck out his elbow and said "Dare it is!"

"No silly, that is your elbow!" I said. Then I showed him his tongue and he stuck it out. 

I love two year olds! I am grateful I have one.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


As a person with asthma, I am grateful for every time I can take a good deep breath and let it out without any wheezing or coughing. My little boys are both coughing and wheezing today and it just makes me glad I am not.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I am grateful for every full night of sleep I get. Those nights are not uncommon these days but I have had enough years of little or interrupted sleep to make me treasure a full night of dreams.

It's been a long day of errands and appointments and I am ready for bed.

Here is a photo of my first appointment today.
Sabrina got braces on this morning. Let the fun begin I guess.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Home teachers

One of many programs in the Mormon church I appreciate is the home teaching program. It is a program where two men are assigned to watch over your family and give assistance as needed. They are supposed to come monthly to share a message and also assess the family's need.

I am grateful for our home teachers and the effort they put into filling that assignment. For about 10 years we didn't have home teachers who came. So it has just been in the last 2-3 years that we have been regularly home taught. I am so grateful for the patience these men have shown as our kids have been learning how to behave for home teachers.

Tonight was the first time that my kids all sat in the room and didn't complain or say rude things to the home teachers.  :) I made cookies to celebrate this huge improvement.

Granted we still have a long way to go toward listening to the lesson and participating appropriately but I will take what I can get for now.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Tonight Jon and I are headed to the JFK memorial concert of the Dallas symphony featuring Joshua Bell. I am excited for the wonderful music I will hear. 

I am grateful for good music that lifts the soul and spirit. Music can completely change the tone in your home. Good music can make you run faster, act sillier, and be happier. 

I am grateful for all kinds of good music.

Friday, November 22, 2013


I love weekends. It means I get to be with my family. That makes me happy. I am grateful for Saturdays that we get to enjoy together doing fun things. I am also grateful for the gift of the Sabbath day to us. What a blessing this day of rest has been to me in my life!

Life is so busy and hectic. Right now I don't have a calling or job at church that requires much attention on Sundays so I really get to enjoy reconnecting with the Lord and my family members on this gift of a day. I love that.

I am grateful for weekends and am looking forward to this one!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mother in law

How many people can honestly say they are grateful for their mother-in-law? I can without hesitation! 

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. She is a wonderful woman and an incredible example to me in so very many ways. I am grateful Jonathan finally fell in love with me and wanted to marry me so I could have the honor of being related to his mother Kathleen Waite. :)

Thanks for raising 9 wonderful children, Mom! I love every one of them and I love you and Dad too! Your selfless example and faithful covenant keeping life is a legacy for us all to strive to live up to .

Happy Birthday! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lauren, my little chef

I am grateful for my healthy eater Lauren. She inspires me to have better eating habits. She makes great smoothies and other kitchen treats. 

This is her latest creation...multi-berries. It is a blueberry stuffed into a raspberry stuffed into a hulled out strawberry. Delicious and nutritious!

I love my sweet silly Lauren!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I have been studying the history of Thanksgiving today. I didn't remember many of the specifics about that first feast and how Thanksgiving became a national holiday. So I have been enlightened today.

I am more grateful than I have ever been for the Thanksgiving holiday. I am so grateful for Squanto and what a miracle he must have been to those pilgrims who had endured so much on their journey to find religious freedom and a place where their children would come to know God. Surely The Lord was in the storm that pushed them off coarse to make them land in Massachussets instead of Virginia. 

What a miracle it must have been to them to have an English speaking and educated Native American to teach them how to survive in this new world!

It is yet another example of how The Lord uses trials as blessings in our lives. I am sure those pilgrims did not feel "blessed" to have such a fierce storm hit them on their journey. It nearly forced them to turn back as it broke their mast and made leaks in the ship. 

But they had brought a large metal screw that allowed them to fix the mast. They had materials to seal the leaks. The Lord always provides a way for us to get through the storms so that may one day realize the blessing. 

All their sacrifice and loss would no doubt bring them closer to that God they sought to worship. Indeed the first Thanksgiving feast is evidence that they knew by whom they had been kept and preserved.

I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with a new appreciation for the holiday this year. I will be remembering the great freedoms we have in this land. I will be thankful for such a rich history of faithful people seeking The Lord. I will be grateful for the storms in my life that have pushed me off my coarse and onto God's.

Monday, November 18, 2013

2013 Family Photo

I am so grateful to have a visiting teacher who is also a photographer. What luck huh? Thanks Brittny for taking this lovely photo of our family. I am grateful for each of the people in this photo and their love for me and each other.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Morgan D. Harris

I am my father's daughter. I am grateful for him today and everyday. He is 77 today. He is in Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya on a mission for our church. He and my mom bring wells of fresh water to villages, give wheelchairs to those in need, and do other humanitarian efforts there.

My dad is one of the biggest hearted people I know. He loves people and will do anything he can to help a friend. He has been a rock for me throughout my life and I have called him for help in the middle of the night or at 4 am or whenever I have really needed him. He has always come to my aid. I will share a couple of those stories for your entertainment.

One day when Jon and I were dating, my car got towed. I was living in D.C. and parked out in front of my house while we went to grab Jon's luggage and take him to their airport to go back home to L.A. In the time we went into the house my car was towed. I hadn't realized we were in a no parking time right then. So I hailed a cab for Jon and the next morning before work my roommate took me to the impound lot to get my car.

Now I didn't live in a nice part of D.C. In fact, one cabbie who took me home said, "You don't actually live here do you?" When I said I did he said, "Lady, you gotta move! This is not a good place." I told him it was not that bad to which he replied, "No it is. I got shot a block from here. You gotta move."

Well as bad as my area was, the impound lot was WAY worse. It was in one of the areas I was scared to go to and trust me when I say not much scared me back then. So my roommate dropped me off and headed to work and I walked into the impound office in my business suit and heels feeling very out of place and asked for my car.

That's when they lady told me I couldn't get my car out because it was registered in my dad's name. I tried to see if there was any way she could call my dad and he could let me get the car. No deal. She said I would have to have him go get a notarized statement and have it sent to the impound to get the car.

I was beside myself. I was stranded and scared. This was not an area where cabs drove by regularly. I walked out of the office and saw a pay phone. Luckily, while I didn't have a cell phone back then, my parents had a 1-800 number we could use to call in case of an emergency. I used it.

It was between 7:00-8:00 a.m. in D.C. that means between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. Las Vegas time. I didn't even think about that as I dialed the number. I woke my dad up of course. I was crying. I explained my situation. I don't know what I thought he would be able to do from his bed 3000 miles away but that didn't even give me pause. My dad just always was able to help me when I was in trouble and so calling him was instinct.

He told me to put the impound lady on the phone. Well, she was in the office and I was out on the street, so I couldn't do that. I told him that she wasn't going to budge. I had already done my best to persuade her. He told me to wait 5 minutes and call him back. He was going to call her.

So I hung up. 5 minutes later I called back. He told me to go in the office. She would ask to see my ID and give me the car. Miracle right? No that is just my dad. Apparently, my mom's name, Ann Harris, was also on the registration and my name is Stephanie Ann Harris. He told the lady I was on the registration but that he had used my middle name on the registration not my first. I was never more grateful to be named after my mother.

So I showed my ID and she showed me my car. I got in to find out the lights had been left on and the battery was dead. I had jumper cables but no one to give me a jump. The lady said she couldn't help me with that. So I went back to the street with my jumper cables to try and find a good Samaritan in the hood. I thought I had it made when a police car came by. I ran up to him and asked for his help. He told me he wouldn't give me a jump and that I really shouldn't be in that neighborhood. Thanks copper. Thanks. And he drove off.

After about 15 minutes doing all I could to get someone to stop, short of hiking up my skirt, the lady from the office finally came out and took pity on me and told me that although it was against policy, she would use one of the impound cars to give me jump. I have no doubt this change of heart was prompted by my father's phone call and the way he connected with her the way he did and does will all people. I finally got out of there. Thanks be to my father.

A second story: my scariest experience ever.

One night when I was a very young child I turned my light off and took my customary two giant steps toward my bed and jumped up onto it. I had an antique iron bed that was almost a foot off the ground with nothing underneath and covers that came to just inches from the floor. I was always scared something would be hiding under there to get me since that was a place I often hid.

So I would jump onto my bed from as far away as possible each night. As I laid there trying to fall asleep, I felt my bed move. I froze in fright. Being the completely logical reasonable girl I was, I started to come up with how my bed could move on its own that were NOT my fear of a monster being under there.

Maybe the wind did it. No the window was closed. Maybe I had moved and didn't realize it. Hmmm. Maybe? So I laid perfectly still, frozen in place and waited. And the bed DEFINITELY moved again. At this point, I screamed, "DAAAAAADDDD!!!!" My dad was half asleep as he came to my room, turned on the light and asked me what was wrong.

"Something's under my bed!" I told him. At this point he signed an exhausted sign and said, "Stephanie, there is nothing under your bed. Look under your bed and see so we can all go back to bed."

"Nu uh! No way! There is SOMETHING under my bed!!!"

He tried again to persuade me to look under my bed so I could see my fears were unfounded and we could go to bed. I would not. No way. "YOU look under my bed!" I said. Seeing I was firm in my decision, he said, "Fine. If I come look under your bed will you then look and see there is nothing there so we can go to bed?"

I considered this. After a few moments I consented. So my dad walked over to my bed and while lifting the bed spread so he could look under my bed and slowly bending down he kept his eyes on me. He had a little half grin on his face and twinkle in his eye as he teasingly said to me, "I'm looking under your bed. I'm looking under your bed..."

At this point the something under my bed reached out and grabbed my dad's ankle.

In one fail swoop and with a startled yelp, my dad was OUT of my room and in the hall. And I was left alone with the thing under my bed!

Then I heard my older sister Lesli laughing... from under my bed. She got us both... good. I learned that it is good to face your fears. They are most likely not as scary as you think.

Hope you enjoyed those two stories. I love my dad and I am grateful for him.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Family photos

We took family photos today. We also saw my nephew Bunker get baptized. Oh and we had a few other things on the agenda too that basically have all combined to wear me out tonight.

So I will be short in just saying how grateful I am for family photos... Especially these...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Forever families

Today, for the first time in quite a long time, I have just really been feeling a great longing to hold Camille. Maybe it is because Harrison is getting bigger and feels less like a baby every day. And knowing I am not having another baby, my arms are beginning to feel more empty.

But even as I feel these intense almost tangible longings to squeeze her little thigh and kiss her sweet cheeks, I know that she will be mine again one day. The day will come when I will be able to satisfy this longing perfectly.

I am so thankful to have been taught the true doctrine of the Eternal nature of the family from my birth. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who will one day right all wrongs and fill with joy the cavities carved into our souls by sorrows of this world.

I am grateful to be sealed by the Holy Priesthood of God by one authorized to use that power even as Peter was in the meridian of time. 

I miss my Camille. I am grateful that my family can one day be all together Eternally. I am grateful for Eternal families.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Few stars shine as brightly as my Annie. I feel honored to be her mother. She has a fever today and has been hanging around snuggling up with the boys and me. It has been wonderful to get to spend all the extra time with her. 

This morning I told a friend about how hard she was as a baby. She would just cry inconsolable for hours. She forced me to step up my parenting game as a toddler. But every year she has gotten easier to parent and more well behaved. 

It is not uncommon now for her to gently point out ways I need to improve in my parenting or things I need to do to help her siblings learn something I have taught her. Nearly always her "advice" or "reproach" is right on point. I love her mind, her wisdom, her talents, her cuteness, her strength... I just love her.

I am grateful for my Annie.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Children are an heiritage of The Lord. I was mightily blessed to be able to conceive children quickly and easily. I am so grateful I was able to give birth to my 6 lovely children.

Yesterday I read a real and honest post of a friend of mine. She and her husband did not have this fertility blessing. Three years ago they were finally able to adopt an adorable little boy who has become one of Harrison's best friends. Harrison asks daily if he can oh to Jacobs house.

Jacob's parents, Jana and Rob, have been working to adopt a sibling for Jacob  for the past two years. You think waiting 9 months for a baby is hard. Then you get a view from an adopting mother's eyes.

I thought I would share a link to Jana's blog post that spoke to me yesterday. I hope if anyone one out there who reads this knows someone who is thinking of giving a child up for adoption, that you will consider Jana and Rob.

Check out their blog At


Jonathan has left for work. The girls are off to school. I am hanging out with the boys. Today I express my gratitude for my husband's employment.

I know how blessed I am to be able to stay at home with my children. I am so grateful for my husband and his faithfully working to support our family. I am also grateful to his employer for hiring him, his coworkers who seem like great people and make the time Jon spends in the office enjoyable.

I also give thanks to my brother Stephen for his networking help that led the way to finding this job.

Most of all I thank God for opening these employment doors for us and for preserving our health and mental acuity so that both Jon and I can do those jobs required of us.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Being that it is Veteren's Day, I thought it apt to express my gratitude to have been born in the USA and for the freedoms that come from that citizenship. More importantly, I am deeply and humbly grateful for all the men and women who have bravely put their lives on the line in the fight to gain and maintain those freedoms I enjoy on a daily basis.

America has lots of issues we all know. But it is the best county in the world in my view. May God bless our country and guide our leaders to act wisely in governing our nation and preserving the freedoms god has granted us that are protected by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

On a somewhat related note, I read last night in Team of Rivals about William Henry Seward defending an insane black man in a terrible massacre trial. As a criminal defense attorney, this story of his courage to stand up and defend a man no one else would made my respect for him grow by leaps and bounds. I love also that his wife stood proudly by his side the whole time. This is one of the freedoms for which I am grateful. No matter how awful your sinful crime, in America every accused is given an attorney that will stand with the and speak for them at the judgement bar.

I hope I am found worthy at the last day to have Christ serving as my "public defender" at that great and last judgement bar of God.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Today is one of the first days in my no sugar challenge that I really just want a treat. I mean I want a fat brownie sundae with hot fudge and some rich hot chocolate with real whip cream on the side. 


But since I can't eat that and still get my point, I thought maybe I would write about it instead. :) I am grateful to those wonderful people who invented our modern version of chocolate. Now if I can just master my powers of moderation, I can enjoy the yumminess of chocolate once again.

Problem solved! Chocolate craving satisfied!

I invented a delicious sugar free homemade hot chocolate! This is totally gonna help me thru this challenge.

8 ozs. Milk heated
2 T good unsweetened cocoa powder (perigino here)
1/3 cup stevia

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sweet Sabrina

Today I am grateful that my almost teenage daughter is still sweet and loving and wonderful in every way! Love her!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Crazy Good

Today a friend offered to watch my kids so I could go to our Stake temple day. When I got to the temple I was surprised to see that every parking spot was taken. About 15-20 cars were looking for some place to park!

I circled the lot till finally someone pulled out right by me and I took their spot. Inside I saw familiar faces from church. Temple workers were scrambling trying to service the massive numbers of patrons. I have never seen a temple so busy. It was crazy and wonderful.

It took me 3 hours to get my one family name baptized, confirmed and ready for endowment. But watching my Stake presidency serve as the witnesses and name projector person in the baptistery was a really special. 

The temple is always wonderful and always has a great spirit inside but today with what felt like half my Stake in there, it had an extra measure of special and wonderful.

I am thankful to have a temple in our day and for the covenants Jonathan and I made there which bind us and all our posterity together forever. 

Parking at the temple today. That's my silver minivan on the right.

I am also grateful the lady who double parked behind me today wasn't in a session and could be found so I could get home to my kids!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Savior

Today and each and every day I am grateful beyond words expression for my Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives. In Him alone is the power to forgive sins. Through His Grace we can be made perfect. I know that through the power of His atoning sacrifice we who have been broken in spirit by sorrow or trial can in time be made whole.

I know He loves me more than I can bear to fully feel. And I know He loves you. I have felt a portion of His love for others as I have served others in His name. 

I am grateful for Him and what He has done personally for me in my life. I am indebted eternally. My life, happily, is His to do with as He sees fit. I love my Savior and am so grateful for Him.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Holy Ghost

Last night Jonathan and I went with some lovely young sister missionaries to teach a lesson to a Brazilian woman. Her English is great but they wanted someone there who might be able to bear a testimony to her in Portuguese. Since Jonathan served his mission in Brazil, he could do that.

We had a wonderful time meeting this new friend. She is really such a wonderful and amazing person who really is looking to grow closer to the Lord. The missionaries taught a lesson on recognizing the Spirit. At one point they asked me to share how the Spirit helps me in my life to know truth.

Answering that question and our discussion last night just makes me recognize how wholly dependent I am on the Spirit in my life to guide, protect, teach, purify and comfort me.

I am eternally and daily grateful for the precious gift of the Holy Ghost which I strive daily to RECEIVE.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Best part of living in Texas

This morning I made a lightning fast Target run to buy Harrison a new car seat. He threw up in his while I was out of town and despite Jon's best cleaning efforts, it just still smells.

When I got back I put it in the car and then I saw the big empty box sitting by the recycling bin.

Today I am grateful for my sister in law Rachel. As I looked at that box, I remembered how this summer she brought her kids over and we made spaceships out of out old moving boxes. She inspired me to be a more fun and hands on mom this morning.

I brought in the box and got out the markers and Noble and Harrison began decorating. Then Noble said, "thanks mom for letting us build a spaceship!"
During our decorating above and after the boys were ready to play something else.  Just need to document that once upon a time I actually did something fun with my kids. :)

I made pretend iPads for each boy and pockets for them in the spaceship.

Having my brother Stephen and his wife Rachel 10 minutes away is by far the best part of living in Texas. I am so grateful for them in so many ways. This morning I am particularly grateful for Rachel and how she inspires me to be a more hands on and fun mom by her example. Thanks Rach!

Monday, November 4, 2013


This morning as I was running the kids to school, Annie asked if my running was part of my health challenge. I told it was.

From that point on she began cheering me on. She would ride ahead of me on her scooter. Then she would stop and cheer and put her hand out to give me a high five as I passed her.  Then repeat. All the time saying "you can do it mom! Keep running! Go mom!"

How many people have their own personal cheerleader? I am so grateful for my Ann Marie!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


am in the Salt Lake City airport waiting to fly home. Outside is a world of white as fat clusters of snowflakes drop lazily from the heavens. I am grateful for the beauty and the wonder of snow and that I had a chance to see it on my short trip to the mountainous West.

Ok here are the 10 things:
1-read 20 mins of holy writ each day
2-eat 6 servings fruit/veggies per day
3-drink 6 cups of water per day
4-write in gratitude journal daily
5-exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week
6-consume no more than 1 serving refined sugar per day
7-no eating after 8 pm
8-work on a personal goal of your choosing (mine is to read 8 pages of Team of Rivals daily so I can finish it)
9-wild card (changes weekly- this week no soda)
10-record daily point tally to score board.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Crazy Family

Today I attended the graveside service for my cousin Jon. I got to see and remeet most of my Harris family cousins. We are all a bit crazy in one way or another and I love them all! I am grateful for my hard working, know it all cousins.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A New Day

It is November again. And while we don't typically think of November as a month of new beginnings, this one is for me. A friend invited me to join an overall health challenge. It gives daily goals for 8 weeks like drinking water and not eating sugar and reading scriptures and exercising. There are 10 daily goals each worth a point for each day you do them. 

One of the daily goals is to write in a gratitude journal. That fits well with my November tradition of gratitude posts. So until thanksgiving (and maybe after) I will be putting my gratitude journal in my posts.

Today as I ran for my 30 minutes of daily exercise, I had to go a little further than my normal route of taking the kids to school. As I ran through the park near our home, the sun was just peaking over the horizon.

I stopped to take a photo for this post because today I am grateful for new beginnings. I am so grateful for repentance and that The Lord allows each of us as many new beginnings as we need to get it right. That no matter how much candy you ate the night before or how long it has been since you prayed or read your scriptures, you can wake up the next day and resolve to be a new sugar free, praying, scripture-reading you.

So thank you to my good friend Catherine for inviting me to join this challenge and make November a month of new beginnings. And thank you to her sister Brooke for the idea and putting it all together. I have been needing something just like this to get the sun on my new beginning to rise up.