Photo and text by Gabrielle.
Today, I’ve got another installment of random thoughts just for you. Feel free to share your own random thoughts in the comments!
1) Happy Veteran’s Day!
I’m feeling such gratitude to the Veterans in my life. I’m thinking of my brother-in-laws Paul Rodgers and Daniel Madsen. I’m thinking of my Grandpa Pack and Grandpa Stanley who both served in WWII. And I’m thinking of all the amazing people that have been willing to give their time, and in too many cases, their lives, to defend this country.
Are you thinking of anyone in particular today? Will you get the chance to visit a military cemetery or perhaps a veteran’s hospital? Have you found a good way to mark this day, or help your kids understand its significance? I always love your ideas!
2) Since Thursday night, I have been preoccupied with news that my church has a new troubling policy. I have probably spent a hundred hours at this point talking to people about it. I’d like to tell you I’ve been totally gracious in my discussions, but if I’m honest, among the civil conversations I’ve had, I’ve also done a good deal of shouting at the internet. Sigh. It’s definitely an emotionally charged subject. I’ve been writing all over the place, but you can see most of my thoughts in the comments of this post.
I should note: If you have thoughts to share on this topic, I do want to listen to you and talk with you, but may not be able to respond today as I’m traveling.
3) Speaking of which, I’m on a quick field trip to L.A. today for some business meetings. Nothing dramatic — I’ll fill you in as soon as I can. It’s a short trip and I return home tomorrow night.
I really like Los Angeles. I was born in Southern California and spent my first 5 years there. And once we moved away, we still returned for visits several times a year. So there’s something about the area that always feels and smells familiar to me. I have lots of happy memories there.
Do you have strong feelings about Los Angeles? It seems like anytime it comes up in conversation, the city provokes a lot of love and hate. In comparison, I have almost never heard anyone express big dislike for New York City — they might complain about its challenges, but they adore it at the same time.
4) I am thinking about Alt Summit. We announced some big changes coming up. After January’s conference, we’re moving our flagship event to a new city! It’s a big deal to us and we’re excited about the change, but also feeling nostalgic about all the years we’ve had in Salt Lake City. I’m so happy we get one more conference there! I’m really looking forward to the January event. Are you coming?
When we made the announcement, we knew there would be people that wanted one more chance to experience Alt Summit in Salt Lake City, and we opened up a block of additional tickets. They are going fast, so if you want one, I hope you’ll grab it right away.
5) Our 3-day trip to Yosemite was so good for my soul. Time together with my whole family feels like the most precious resource I have at the moment. A resource that disappears too quickly! I loved every minute of the trip. Talking with everyone during the drive. Asking the kids to play DJ so we can hear what they’re listening to these days. Hearing them debate about the Oreos versus Trader Joe’s Joe Joe’s.
And of course, simply being in Yosemite. Each day, we would head into the park with zero plan. And then we’d park and explore whenever something caught our eye. We scramble on the boulders, play by the river, play catch in the meadows, watch the sunset on El Capitan. The weather was wonderful — enough chill to keep us in jackets and hats, but not so cold that the kids weren’t willing to dunk their heads in the river. Hah!
This was also the first time we had the chance to visit the Ahwahnee Lodge. The hotel was booked so we didn’t stay there, but we explored the public spaces and ate a big feast for lunch in their famous restaurant. Fun fact: We learned that the restaurant has a dress code for dinner. So if you’re planning a visit, you might want to pack something dressier than we did. : )
We really loved being there and we’re thinking about making reservations now for Thanksgiving 2016. A holiday at Yosemite sounds magical.
One more bonus about visiting in November is that the park is relatively empty. In the summer, visitors are required to use the park shuttles, but in November, we could drive and park quite easily. If you’d like to see, I shared a whole bunch of photos on Instagram and so did my kids.
6) We finally turned on the heat here in Oakland. If we lived anywhere but the Bay Area, that would probably be a sign of dread for me, but the weather here is so steady that it almost feels like a novelty. Maude made me hot cocoa with marshmallows last night, and it felt like the best treat ever. Sometimes I miss having true, decisive seasons, so it’s fun to have this drop in temperature. (Though when February comes around, I admit, I’m like, just kidding, California is best!)
7) I’m thinking about Ralph’s Court of Honor. I still haven’t start planning it and need to get myself in gear! I want to plan something really memorable and fun and satisfying for everyone involved, but I haven’t been to many Eagle Courts of Honor. Are there any particularly good ideas you’ve seen or heard of? Please share!
8) After a family party with cousins on Monday night, we were driving back from San Francisco and the topic of babysitting came up. I told Oscar and Betty that in just a few short years, they would probably get a chance to babysit their little cousin Edie.
June was understandably upset. She teared up. Would she get to babysit anyone? We told her that when she’s old enough to babysit, Ralph or Maude might be a parent, and she can babysit their kids. Obviously, we have no idea if and when our kids will become parents, but regardless, June was so excited!! You could see her little head calculating the future generations and trying to figure out who was going to babysit her own kids. It’s so satisfying and unbelievable to see your children start to comprehend past and future in a profound way. There are a whole lot of amazing things about being a parent, but watching your kids learn something right before your eyes is one of my favorite parts.
I think that’s it for today. Please feel free to respond to anything here, or bring up your own topic. I always love hearing what’s on your minds!
P.S. — I post my random thoughts each month. You can find them all here.