Since it is November, I have decided to write down a small fraction of the things I am grateful for. At one point in my life I had a Thankful Journal, and I would try to write something I was thankful for everyday. And every day I was able to come up with something different. Well, at some point, life got in the way, and the days of gratitude slowly went away. I still carry that journal around with me though, and when I get the chance, or when I am feeling especially low, I try to think of the things that I am grateful for.
President Eyring spoke of this concept. Another thing that he mentioned was to have a gratitude prayer. One where you only express gratitude for the things you are blessed with in your life.
"You could have an experience with the gift of the Holy Ghost today. You could begin a private prayer with thanks. You could start to , and then pause for a moment. If you exercise faith, and with the gift of the Holy Ghost, you will find that memories of other blessings will flood into your mind. If you begin to express gratitude for each of them, your prayer may take a little longer than usual. Remembrance will come. And so will gratitude." - President Eyring
When you start to count your many blessings, it is amazing just how much your attitude changes, and you begin to recognize all the good in your life, rather than all of the bad. There is a song that we sing in church often, but especially in November called "Count Your Blessings." It is one of my favorites, and because I love you all so much, I will even copy and paste all of the verses. ;)
Count Your Blessings
1. When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed,
Okay, now that you know what song I am talking about, let me tell you why I love this song so much.
Right at the very beginning, it talks about how it will surprise you what the Lord has done. I mean, that is SO true. It is not until you begin to count your blessings, and realize how much you are grateful for, that you truly recognize just how much your Father in Heaven loves you! Isn't that such a wonderful thing?
In the second verse it begins to talk about the hard times, when you are struggling the most. As you begin to focus on those blessings, "ev'ry doubt will fly." I know that to be true. It is hard for the adversary to be present, when you are so focused on the good things.
In church on Sunday, two of the talks were focused on the topic of Gratitude. One of the speakers used an analogy to help illustrate a very important point. Imagine a young spoiled child who never says thank you for anything. The more and more time goes on with out that simple thank you, the less likely you are going to willingly give them more. It doesn't feel good to others when we are selfish, and ungrateful. It also makes them less willing to give. The same concept goes for our Father in Heaven. When we express gratitude for the things we have, Heavenly Father wants to bless us even more. :) So, what more reason do you need to be grateful? When you are grateful (but not prideful), God blesses you even more. :) Of course it helps when you are keeping the commandments too.
"Gracias, danke, merci—whatever language is spoken, “thank you” frequently expressed will cheer your spirit, broaden your friendships, and lift your lives to a higher pathway as you journey toward perfection. There is a simplicity—even a sincerity—when “thank you” is spoken." - President Monson
So there you have it. Being grateful is one of the best ways to bring you joy. Everything we have is a blessing from our Heavenly Father. :)
And now for the small fraction of all of my many blessings. :)
- I am grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission. The more and more I think about it, the more and more excited and happy I get. :)
- I am grateful for my family. This one thing could be broken up quite a bit, but I truly am grateful for them. Sometimes it takes moving across the ocean to realize just how grateful you are for your family.
- I am grateful that my parents were married and sealed in the Temple, and that because of that, I can be with my family forever. :)
- I am grateful for my trials. Although at the time they may seem like the end of the world, I always come out stronger because of it.
- I am grateful for my legs, and the blessing that it is to be able to walk. It wasn't until my sister loss use of her legs in March that I realized just how grateful I am for my legs that work perfectly. Sure there are days that my knees may hurt, or walking one more step seems like it is just too much, but I can walk. I can walk miles and miles and I am grateful for that.
- I am grateful for my hearing. While I was at BYU-Hawaii, I took an ASL class one semester. While I took that class, I was blessed with the opportunity to communicate with those who were hard of hearing or deaf. It was through those experiences that I realized just how much I love being able to hear. I can hear beautiful music, the sounds of nature, others voices, and so many other things. How grateful I am for that.
- I am grateful for music. Especially good, clean, uplifting music. Music has always been one of the ways where I can feel and recognize the spirit. I remember one day while I was at school, I was listening to some music while I was studying. The playlist that I had on was one with some classical music, as well as some hymns played on the piano. I hadn't really been paying attention to the music and what songs were playing. I was struggling with something, and then "I Need Thee Every Hour" came on. I remember the sweet spirit that I felt while I took a second to relax and enjoy the beautiful melody.
- I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had in my life to travel all over the world. I have been blessed with the opportunity to live in 2 different countries, travel all over numerous others. I have also been blessed to see (whether by living or visiting) a large majority of the States in the USA. :) And I love that! I love that I have been able to experience so many different cultures, and I can't wait to experience even more.
- I am grateful for children, and the sweet spirits that they have. :) I love to teach, and to spend time with little children. I love how sweet, kind, and gentle they are. I love to hear their stories. I love to see them get excited over such simple things as tearing a piece of paper. I love to watch them learn and grow, and I am grateful that I get to do that everyday here in Ukraine.
- I am grateful for technology. It is such a blessing to be able to talk to people from the other side of the world. Because of technology, I am able to talk to my family every Sunday. Once a week I am able to hear from and talk to my friends on missions in various parts of the world. I am able to read about things like the Typhoon in the Philippines. I am also able to receive emails from friends and their families saying that they are safe. I can't even express how grateful I am for that.
I could go on for days and days about all the things that I am grateful for, but one of the things I am most grateful for, is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for his willingness to sacrifice his life for me and my sins, so that I may return to live with him and my Father in Heaven again someday. I am grateful for the healing powers of the atonement, and the blessing that it is to be able to partake of the Sacrament each and every Sunday, so that I may made clean again. What better blessing is there than that?
Just because these are all too good not to share, here are a number of different articles and talks from the Prophets and Apostles on Gratitude.
Remembrance and Gratitude - President Henry B. Eyring
O Remember, Remember - President Henry B. Eyring
Think to Thank - President Thomas S. Monson
An Attitude of Gratitude - President Thomas S. Monson