When I woke up this morning, I was filled with thoughts of all the unseen good that awaits me today. My heart came to this place of gratefulness after attending our company Christmas party with my co-workers. In this very moment, I am so grateful for everything in my life —even for difficulties.

Before explaining just why it is, I will start with how this Christmas party theme idea first came to be.

outdoor tv fireplace christmas

Custom ShadeScape® pavilion kit with two-tone roof, built-in fireplace, and outdoor television.

Then —below are 40 gratitudes with links to stories and testimonies that I inspire. One example is in a touching video of drummer Clint Pulver who tells how:

“A single moment in time can change people’s lives.”

And in the case of Roger McGowen, a prisoner on death row. His words give new perspective:

“If I have to die on death row,
I will at least have shown one can be happy there
. . .God has a perfect plan for my life.”

Modeled After the Best of State Ceremony

Every year, Western Timber Frame® has won Best of State at the Utah Best of State Awards for Small Business. It is a tuxedo type event complete with a red carpet, chandeliers, and prestigious awards. This year —2020— the awards just come in the mail.

Some of the best things in life come out of the our momentary disappointments. Those asked to plan our annual company Christmas party this year then had a best idea ever. They decided to model our Christmas party after Utah’s Best of State and do our own award ceremony.

“bestThe Utah State Premier Recognition and Awards Program was created to recognize exceptional individuals, businesses and organizations in Utah with an aim to inspire greater dreams, higher goals, working harder, smarter to reach higher by strengthening communities, and adding to other’s quality of life.

best-of-state We would be amiss to say we ourselves earned these awards all by ourselves. So many individuals have blessed our lives we will always feel indebted to.

Word of mouth has been our greatest blessing —those many ShadeScape® families who have continually recommended us to others.

These awards go far beyond Western Timber Frame™. There are too many people from all over that to thank them each personally would be impossible except in the act of giving back to the others as we have been given to.


Timber Frame ShadeScape® gazebo kit built in 2019 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area (RMHC)

2016 best-of-state-award
arch top pergola
best of state
getting awards at ceremony

Riley Burton, our door-to-door appointment setter had zero appointments his first month but he didn’t let that discourage him. He persevered and was recognized for his outstanding achievements as a setter! We are very grateful for him.

The Cameau family were a delight to build for. They have done so much to improve their yard insisting they literally went from the ugliest home on the block to one of the most beautiful. We are so happy for them and the deck is their favorite place to be.

Our Red Carpet Christmas Party

chandelier hanging

Throughout the years, the Utah Best of State has been such an honored event to take part in. And yet. due to the many changes that we have seen take place in 2020 — doing our own award ceremony turned out to be the best ever! This was simply because spending time with those we care about so deeply for, and who make such a difference in each other’s lives, is such good company, always.

The Christmas party was complete with a rolled out red carpet and a gorgeous, borrowed chandelier. When the evening drew to an end, watching James and Tyler trying to carefully take down the chandelier afterwards was an exciting event— in and of itself.

The group of our team really went the extra to create a wonderful atmosphere for everyone else to enjoy their time together. It was amazing; they did such an admirable job.

We had a lot of fun with all our spouses, friends and co-workers. It was so nice to spend time with each in a relaxed setting.

I almost missed Ben and his wife’s playfully teasing but glad I got this one shot.

playful christmas party

A Christmas Party Evening of Thanksgiving

Now, back to what first inspired me. It was the integrity of the inspiring words of Hyrum Thompson, founder of Western Timber Frame™. Not a man of many words, his speech was simple, short, and to the point.  Hyrum began by expressing his gratitude to the all those who have blessed and been a part of our lives, and the many ShadeScape® families who have become our good friends.

Christmas talkAn excellent example of this was at the party —our Christmas party meal was deliciously and beautifully prepared by the Catering by Bryce staff.  They were very personable.

When the Christmas party had ended,  I learned we had built a pavilion and a pergola a few years back for the Catering by Bryce company. Our guys really praised them to me.

I only wished Bryce, whom I’ve not personally met, could hear all that was said of them.

After Hyrum began speaking, I realized I should be recording this and I’m happy that I did manage to catch the end of his words to us. He warned us he was going to get a little religious on us.

Hyrum has always given others the freedom to do and give their best. So, —unbeknownst to him— I am sharing the best here:

The Spirit of Gratitude

“. . . Christmas talk the spirit of ingratitude is probably the worst sins you can commit. And it makes me realize how grateful I truly am for all of you, all that you have accomplished and done.

I look back 11 years ago sitting in my drawing room, cutting out my first pergola that we actually sold, and uh, pretty much by myself cutting it out and then staining it with a paint brush and a little roller. It was all makeshift to do it —with just a dream and an idea. And I would truly have the spirit of ingratitude if I didn’t truly thank God for what he has truly blessed all of us, and all of you people who are in my life to make this happen because I couldn’t have done it without all of you here.

40 trees I don’t know how to express enough to each and everyone of you here, far more than just a recognition  award because everyone who works here deserves one of these awards even though we didn’t give it to everybody. And I’d like to tell each and everyone of you how much I truly appreciate and am grateful for what you and we all together have accomplished.

And at the same time when we plow a field and we water it and after we plant a seed; it is God who makes it grow. He is the one who gives us he increase. And so we are here plowing the field and watering it and doing all that we can but the increase come from Him.

And I think that we ought always to remember that in our hearts and to be more grateful because even science has studied and proven that the spirit of gratitude makes a happier people and also more successful.

If it wasn’t for that we wouldn’t be here today and I look around here in the building and look at everything that we have accomplished in the last eleven years back when we had what we called a rough time back in ’08. I thought that was rough and now we get to this year, now ’08 was kind of nice. But at the same time we have been truly blessed through all this difficult time and, kind of an odd-ball year with that.

family time gratitude And so I would just like to extend a big hand and a spirit to gratitude to all of you, and thank you, and for your families. I look around and This company provides for so many people and it puts a lot of pressure on myself. I feel like there is so many people that rely on us and on this business being a success.

Together, we all do it together. Not one of us —including myself— has made it happen. It is all of us together
that has made it truly successful and I’d just like to say:
thank you to all.”

There are so many things to be grateful in 2020. I really want to elevate 2020 by calling it how it used to be said: The year of our Lord, 2020. It gives so much more meaning. I don’t think we will ever take life, family, friends, education, jobs, or health for granted again.

40 Notable Gratitudes » Blessings to Remember in 2020

1. Life Itself — All people owe their existence to a being and others beyond ourselves. So grateful to have woke up this morning and see a new day, life is such a wonderful gift. And I am so grateful for new life.

2. Resilience — I am grateful for the resilience I have built and didn’t know I had when malevolent people say, “No, you can’t.” or “You must.” The ability to adapt, be okay when things don’t go as planned, and move forward. El Shafie, a modern-day Daniel in the lion’s den is the epitome of what it is to build resilience.

3. An Extra Paycheck — Another reason to be thankful in 2020 is for salaried employees there is one extra paycheck this year. If paid biweekly there is 27 pay periods instead of 26.

4. The People Who Pray For You Every Day, Without You Knowing It — I often pray for others without them even realizing it, asking for them to be blessed in abundance in every conceivable way. This got me to thinking that there are people who must pray for me when I don’t realize it. What a precious gift to have someone pray for you without you even knowing it.

5. Sunsets — No matter where you live on earth, the sun rises and sets. The glorious spectacle of sunsets is never the same. Everyday, is a sunrise or sunset that has never been seen before. You don’t need science to tell you but it does, research shows that sunsets have long-lasting psychological effects that give people more satisfaction in life when the appreciate the show. It slows down time and makes you feel more grateful, inspired and relieves stress.

6. Agency. Intuitively we want to see agency in the world, the force that can act and cause events to happen. It is how we explain the good and the bad is in terms of agency. Agency gives you freedom to maximize your potential. An incredible example of agency is from Roger McGowen a 56-year-old man on death row in a Texas prison for a crime, that those who know his case, believe he did not commit. Rogers exceptionally uses his agency to teach and love, saying, “If I have to die on death row, I will at least have shown one can be happy there. . .God has a perfect plan for my life.”

7. Patience — The dictionary says that patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, misfortune, annoyance, trouble, pain or suffering without complaint, loss of temper, or irritation. Patience lets you pause, gain perspective, take a deep breathe, and reevaluate your priorities. It provides the space and time to engage and give space to others and our inner self. One of the greatest examples of patience is from Kent Nerburn who wrote: The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget.

8. Giving Someone a Laugh — It feels so good to make someone laugh and laughter is contagious. Whatever makes you or you make someone chuckle, giggle, snicker, or roar with laughter does more than lift your spirits. When you laugh your body takes in more oxygen for your blood; which in turn stimulates your lungs, increases your heart rate, strengthens your immune system. And from what I read, laughing helps you to lose weight by burning calories and reducing the stress hormones that cause weight gain.

So, let’s scale down. A grandmother sees her grandson being swept out in the huge waves on the beach. She prays that God will save the her grandson and bring him back. As the wave rolls in delivering the child safely back to her as she yells up to God, “Where is his hat?!” It makes us chuckle because we recognize the ingratitude.

9. Trees — At Western Timber Frame, we specialize in utilizing heavy timbers; solid wood timber shade structures, pergolas, gazebos, pavilions, arbors, and trellises to give families the ultimate experience in everyday outdoor living. Working with wood, especially on a massive scale, we are continually reminded of the authenticity of these botanical blessings.

pavilion-gazeboSince the dawn of time trees hold significance. The awe-inspiring gifts we receive from them every day are immeasurable. Trees power everything; they absorb movement from the earth and energy from the sun. We conserve energy with trees as well as converting and producing energy for human use. In essence, trees are a great big battery and continue to give to us even after they are harvested. Unlike other energy sources, such as oil and coal; which can be depleted and forever gone — trees are renewable and sustainable. Housing, food, almost every man made product is in someway a gift of trees.

10. The Ability to Read — If you are reading this now, you have so much to be grateful for. Being able to read advances your life forever. Reading gives you immediate access to information, resources, and new discoveries of the day —it can empower and uplift you. With this gift you can teach others and explore as well as explore the fun of make-believe worlds. Some of the best conversations you may have could revolve around something you read.

11. The Gift of Sight — Eyes are said to be the window of the soul describing the depth of connection we feel when we look into another’s eyes. Again, if you are reading this you have so much to be grateful for, even if you wear contacts or glasses, you have the the ability to see. Eyesight should never be taken for granted. The global data on the visual impaired estimates 39 million are completely blind and other sites set the number at 76 million. I just watched the About Miracles stories on Amazon and was truly blessed to hear the story of Neville Peter, a Recording Artist who is grateful for his blindness. Well worth the watch!

Just watched the About Miracles stories on Amazon and truly am blessed to hear your story AND your music. I’ll be looking for opportunities for you to share your music!

12. Roof Over Head — Today, I am so grateful for the gift of a roof over my head. I do not take this for granted, to have a place where my family and I are shielded from the elements of nature.

13. When Someone You Love Says to You, “Do You Want to Hang Out Together?”

14. Smiles — I am thankful for smiles, mine and from others. A smile can that lights up the eyes can totally turn a day from negative to positive in the blink of a second! Now, for the science side smiling gives you: More confidence, lower your risks of accidents, and better overall health.

15. Future  — Tomorrow is never promised, but I looking forward for time still to come is gratitude. A prayer I will never forget that touched me deeply was when my son was small. He thanked God for the wife God had for him in his future. The wheels of heaven turn on gratitude.

16. Big Mistakes —  We can think of tons of things to be grateful for when life has a positive glow. But what happens when we make mistakes and things don’t go so well. I am thinking about those huge, honking mistakes that were downright stupid or careless, maybe it effected others in the process, such as a broken relationship that changed the future once dreamed of. While it may seem counterintuitive to be thankful for our mistakes, however big those mistakes are, with them brings a depth of experience. When mistakes cause us to see our frailty and absolute dependance upon our Creator we learn compassion that can transform us into more capable, understanding, giving, and forgiving person —of others and ourself. Being appreciative for mistakes give us a well of wisdom that perhaps could never be found in a book, sound, or course.

17. Rainbows — Rainbows are a beautiful and amazing meteorological phenomenon that forms when light interacts with water droplets in the air. No two people will see the exact same rainbow; they will each view it differently. This is because rainbows are dependent upon how the light is bending as it reflects back to you. And rainbows can not be touched. They are not an object or thing; they are made up of reflected light as it shines. Weirdly, they are not an arch either but are actually full circles.

18. Worthy Accomplishments — We each have accomplishments we can list, times when we have influenced, succeeded, contributed, where others have benefited, maybe in a way that only you could have uniquely done.

19. Comfortable Shoes — Shoes that are properly fitted help in support and stability of our feet. They can hep to align your feet, ankles, knees and hips. A good pair of shoes can correct your gait and it can improve your posture.

20. Wind — The wind that stirs the trees, the breath of mother earth generates waves; lifts clouds, carries birds and pollen. At night, it generates eddies pushing up cold air from the ground and warm air downwards to make life for us more comfortable.

21. Bad Examples — When we study individuals such as George Washington, Nelson Mandela, and Rebecca R. Pomroy, it is easy to see what you want to be like but bad examples can be just as revealing. Individuals like these are a shining beacon directing us towards more elevated paths to take. Bad examples also instruct us by identifying rough spots, dead ends, cliff’s and pot holes —so we do not take the same destructive course.

22. Being Told NoWho hasn’t been grateful for some things we desperately thought we wanted and it didn’t work out. There are times when looking back on life and can now see why it was that we didn’t get that new job, the boyfriend, girlfriend, or whatever it was we picked out.

23. Time Away — Forgetting about yourself for a while gives you the opportunity take your focus off your own comforts and happiness to care for someone else’s plans, tasks or goals. We hardly realize that we always receive a great deal more than we give. Giving with genuine gratitude has been shown to increase your energy, personal happiness, improves your relationships, helps you to sleep better, relax and live longer. When you do good for others it increases your fundamental belief that the world is good.

24. Air — Oxygen-rich air that flows through us at every moment with freshness and inspiration. Every breath is a gift but not just the air we take in but in the air we exhale. There is actually more nutrients in the air that we breathe than in the food we eat.

25. Faithful People — The Golden Temple has the world’s largest free kitchen called the Langar. The Langer feeds —on average— 50,000 to 100,000 people a day, and up to 200,000 on special religious events and festival days. It has the capacity to feed up to 300,000 people. The free kitchen never closes, even late at night people will come for a meal. All of the food is donated by the faithful.

26. Having Employment — A job is something for which you can really be grateful for. Work is deeply rewarding, it helps to pay bills and helps to keep food on the table. Without a job life is more difficult.

27. A Friend You Can Count On — Friends you can count on and lean on are invaluable. In an extensive study —published by The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health— a little under 7,000 people were studied for social ties over a nine-year period. Those who were more disconnected with others were twice as likely to die in the course of the study in comparison to those who had more contact.

28. Life Changes. — Changes are inevitable in life and it can be positive or negative. Change keeps life from becoming stagnant. With is brings new experiences and opportunities, and the potential to make life better. No change would lack personal development, adventure or growth.

29. Children — Children are the greatest source of joy and the greatest sorrow. They give purpose to life.

30. Those Who Motivated and Influenced You — All lives are become who they are because of other who motivated and influenced them in some way. In this touching video, Clint Pulver says, “A single moment in time can change people’s lives.” Think about those who have done this for you.

31. Things That Are the Same. Especially, this year in 2020, we have so much to be grateful for things that haven’t changed. Surprisingly, there’s more that hasn’t changed than has. You could make a whole list with this one but here’s just a few: truth doesn’t change; the sun still shines; birds sing, and babies are born.

32. The Gift of Gratefulness — Pure gratitude glorifies God, puts the focus on the Giver, not the gift. When someone tells us “thank you,” that feels good. It helps to make you feel appreciated when your kindness is acknowledged. Expressing thanks is the first step in gratitude. But it is not a fuzzy Thanksgiving Day mentions of things you have. The gift of gratitude is deeper, it comes from God as He opens our spiritual eyes and we sense God’s presence, personal care, and perfect timing. It is literally His gift to us.

33. Guardians of Liberty — The many people who actively take on the toughest cases working to defend freedom, preserve our liberties, and individual rights.

34. Art — Whether it is music, dance, paintings, sculpture, or poetry, people appreciate art in different ways — e.g. the art of sound. Art is extremely important to the world, even helping to shape lives, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

35. The Ability to Stay Hopeful —  Hope is real. It supplies us with energy and fuels life. Without hope you lack stamina or the will to engage in life. Hopeful patients produce greater amounts of dopamine, endorphins and other organic molecules that heal and produce more vitality for living.

36. Having a Pet —  Pets provide the human need for touch and increase social activity. Even hard-hearted imprisoned criminals have changed their behavior long-term after interacting with pets. A loving animal can calm, soothe, and ease loneliness, decrease depression and bring joy.

37. Truck Drivers — We are so blessed with transportation. Not just in getting around but if you look around, wherever you look, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, your home you live in — almost everything in it was likely transported by a truck driver.

38. A Soft Bed — A soft bed helps you to sleep happy and comfortable through the night.

39. Salt  — Can you imagine the taste of food without salt? Our bodies contain around one-half a pound of salt, in fact, every cell in our body contains salt. Salt lets electrical impulses pass through cells to communicate with different parts of the body. It also is essential in flushing out toxins. Without salt we would die. We also put more salt on our streets to melt snow than we put on our food.

40. Free Time — Time to do things you love, relaxing at home, enjoying the outdoors, gardening, fishing, hobbies —whatever it is free time gives you the opportunity to do what you love to do.

shade kitchen gazebo

In the comment box below,
we’d love to hear your thoughts
of what you feel grateful for in 2020.

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