A Photo a Week Challenge: #GiveThanks

In the United States, today is Thanksgiving. Even though there is a lot of controversy about our history and what and who we should celebrate, I’m still grateful to live in a country that values freedom. While we may not be perfect at honoring that value, I do believe most of us try. Last Friday, the leader of my church asked everyone, worldwide, to flood social media with posts about gratitude using the hashtag #GiveThanks. It has been amazing to see the tone and feeling of my Facebook newsfeed shift from anger, fear, and division to hope, gratitude, and love for others. I hope that this continues not just through the holiday season, but becomes a permanent part of our lives and thoughts as we give thanks for what we have and who we have in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, American or not. I hope that your days are filled with love, joy, and happiness.

(P.S. The second photo is to show off a little. I’m loving the flakiness of my pie crust turkey but please ignore the slightly too-dark edge. 🙂 )


Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.


Thankful November 30th: Life

I have a wonderful life. I love my husband. We have great kids. Most of our family lives close by, and we have good opprotunitues to visit those who don’t. We travel frequently to really cool places. We have our own business and live in the freest country in the world. Life is good.

I’m glad that I’ve had the chance to reflect on what I’m grateful for this November. Hopefully our gratitude isn’t limited to just one month each year.

May this holiday season fill your homes and hearts with love, thankfulness, and peace.

Thankful November 29th: Home

We live in a little bungalow-type house that was built in 1961. It’s small, but comfortable. We are empty-nesters, so we don’t really need a lot of space. My husband bought this house a year before we met. We’ve done some major renovations on the inside, and we love the huge garage that the previous owners added. But in all honesty, as much as I love our little house, to me home is anywhere Russell is.

Thankful November 27th: Technology

When I look at my current phone (Samsung Galaxy S9), I find it amazing that a little over 20 years ago it would have been fantasy to have so much power in the palm of your hand. Our phones are really mini computers that we can use to make phone calls. And making phone calls on a device that doesn’t have to be connected to a wire was miraculous 40 years ago. I was born in the 1960s, and the technology advances made since then have felt like a 500- to 1,000- year leap. I remember wondering why anyone would need more than 46 mega bites of space on a hard drive. I just added an 8TB external hard drive to my home computer to store photos and music projects. And that’s on top of the 2TB and 4TB drives that are already full. Crazy times. But also amazing times.

Thankful November 26th: Love

There are many things that we can live without: extra money, going to movies, a house as big as the Jones. There are some things we can’t live without: food, water, air, and love. Studies have shown that without love, newborn babies stop thriving. There are so many different ways to show love: spouses and partners, friends, family, even complete strangers. The Beatles said all we need is love, and to some extent, they were right.

Thankful November 25th: Heat

Today is our first real snow storm here in Utah, and it’s supposed to last the entire week. Yay us. Sort of. Today, I am grateful for heat. Well-built fires, forced-air vents, a down-filled coat, a simple knit hat, a sun-heated beach. These are a few of my favorite things.

Thankful November 24th: My Faith

You are getting two post today because yesterday was too full to do a post (gone from 8 in the morning until 11 in the evening). And the first one today was for fun (see Thankful November 24th: Chocolate for reference.) This post will be much more serious. I’m sure that many people who follow this blog and read my posts are aware that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes known as the Mormon Church). I haven’t tried to make it a secret. I have also tried to not be overbearing about it. I was born and raised in Utah in a family that is very actively involved in this religion. When I was 22 years old, I served as a volunteer missionary to Wisconsin. I married my husband in the beautiful Mount Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, Utah. I have been living my religion as best as I can for almost 53-1/2 years. Having faith has grounded me, given me hope as I see things happening in the world around me, and provided me with a community wherever I have moved. I am a firm believer in Jesus Christ. I have faith in a Heavenly Father, who loves and knows me. I’m grateful for scriptures I can turn to for comfort and guidance during difficult times in my life.

Whatever your religious (or non-religious) life may be, I hope that you find love, happiness, and joy in the Christmas season this year. I love celebrating the birth of my Savior with the entire world.

Thankful November 23rd: Chocolate

Okay, so most of my Thankful November posts have been on a more serious side, but this one is pure fun. I love chocolate. I love really good chocolate. By taking my husband to Europe, I have turned him into a chocolate snob. I am not sorry about this. We are always on the lookout for good, European chocolate here in the States. We also take suggestions of good chocolate to try.

Thankful November 22nd: The Moon

“Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing Heaven, and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,—
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?”

To The Moon (fragment)
Percy Bysshe Shelley

I love taking pictures of the moon. It took me a while to figure out how to do it well, and I have to admit that on the really cool I cheated. That photo was taken with a camera telescope at an observatory, but I did take it.

The moon is an amazing heavenly object. without it, you earth would probably not be inhabitable. It regulates our tides and keeps the earth from spinning faster than it should. It’s also beautiful in the night sky.

Thankful November 21st: My Heritage

I have a very diverse heritage. English, Irish, Danish, Swiss, Italian, Jewish, Spanish, French, Scottish. And we don’t know if that’s all. One of the biggest influences on my life was my mother’s mother, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in the 1880s. I had promised my mom that I would make sure she got to Switzerland in her lifetime, and we took that trip in the summer of 2016. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for my mother, who was 83 at the time. She will probably never get back to Switzerland because of her health, but she will always remember that trip.