Continuing Gratitude


Even though I refrained from the “30 Days of Thanksgiving,” the spirit of the holiday did finally catch up to me, and I made one post on Facebook on Thanksgiving morning:

It’s funny how my brain works — I can post all sorts of things all over my blog, but I refrained from the 30 days of Thanksgiving because I didn’t want to reveal my feelings “in the moment.”

As I get ready to start celebrating Thanksgiving, I’d like to list things that I am grateful for:

– Having the light of the restored gospel in my life. I have walked through some very dark days, but I have always been supported and lifted beyond the circumstances of the day.

– My fiance, John. I have come to rely on his quiet strength, and he daily demonstrates the depth of his love for me. He is an amazing man, and I am more than lucky to have him in my life.

– Friends. Some are closer than others, some are quirkier than others, some challenge me more than others, but all have added something special to my life and helped me look at things with a fresh perspective.

– Music. A recent conversation with a friend caused me to take another look at the gifts that flow so freely into my life. When I run out of words, when I don’t want to talk about it, when I need to get my mind off things, music is there. I have been given the opportunity to make a difference in a lot of lives because of the gifts I have been so freely given.

– Teaching. Touching the lives of children gives my life purpose. I have never seen grown ups be a guileless, real, and open as the children I work with daily. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share my passion with them.

– Running (ok, jogging slowly). The same friend that reminded me of my fortune to be blessed with musical talent also reignited my love for running. I may never be fast enough to race, but I’ve been able to sneak enough time to take 9 and 11-mile runs that relax me and refocus me.

– Temporal blessings. I have always had a safe, warm place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, and enough modern conveniences to make my life doable. I consider myself to be very wealthy.

– Opportunities to reflect. I’m grateful for times to slow down and think, and realize that life is wonderful.

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!

 After I had posted, I realized that I had left out any mention of family.  I guess family is a mixed blessing for me, and I am still dealing with conflicted feelings.  I do want to mention my son, though.  I have been blessed with an amazing son who has a gigantic, loving, and thoughtful heart.  He is a joy to be around, and watching him grow to manhood fills my heart.

Of course, the Thanksgiving holiday is now over.  The turkey has been relegated to the category of leftovers, family has already left or is preparing to head home, and we are gearing back up for “regular” life.  I intend to make gratitude a larger part of my life.  I believe that seeing the blessings we have daily in our lives is more powerful than waiting for one special day a year. While I have no scientific evidence at my fingertips to back up my opinions, here are the benefits I have experienced in my life:

  • Grateful people are happier.  The word that comes to mind is “contentment.”  Grateful people see the beauty of what they already have, and seem to focus less on “lacking” things.
  • Grateful people are friendlier.  Maybe it just goes back to being content, but gratitude seems to help people be more open and caring with each other.
  • Grateful people recognize the hand of God in their lives.

Before I end my post, I’d like to share a few thoughts from LDS leaders:

“Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves.”

“We need to be more grateful. It’s one of the marks of strong character, to have a feeling of thanksgiving and gratitude for blessings that are ours. We need more of that spirit in our homes, in our daily associations, in church, everywhere. It’s so easy to cultivate the spirit of appreciation.”

Ezra Taft Benson, “All This and the Gospel Too,” New Era, Nov. 1991, 4

 

“A happy home is but an earlier heaven. President George Albert Smith asked, ‘Do we want our homes to be happy? If we do, let them be the abiding place of prayer, thanksgiving and gratitude’ (in Conference Report, Apr. 1944, p. 32.)”

Thomas S. Monson, “Precious Children—A Gift from God,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 68

Thank you for being my reader, I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you.