November 25th, 2010 ~ Give thanks in all things

I think it is unfortunate that we don’t take time to publicly express gratitude for our blessings daily.  I try to list them every day in my journal and I’ve made sure to post a Facebook status message about something I’m thankful for each day for the entire month.  I have a testimony of the power of gratitude in our lives.  After my ex was arrested and my family and I were relocated, I learned to find gratitude in the small things.  Doing so allowed me to choose gratitude in the big things.  There were days when I couldn’t find much to be grateful for but I still made a concentrated effort to find a few things daily.  Looking back, the things I found myself grateful for now almost seem trite.  Flowers, indoor plumbing, screens on my windows, the smell of fresh-cut grass, etc.  Without this trite gratitude though, I would find myself frustrated and angry thinking about my every loss.

So, today I find it especially prudent to come out with the top 5 things I am most grateful for in my life.  These are things that I don’t ever want to be without.  These are things that I don’t know what I’d do without.  These are things that allow me to continue to have hope, even in the darkest hour.

1.  The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ…without it I am nothing.  19 years ago this month I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  My faith is what makes me who I am.  It is what has allowed me to hold on and hang in longer after everyone else would have let go and given out.  An experience I had in the Portland Temple (shown below) more than 19 years ago forever changed my life and I am eternally grateful to the person who introduced me to the gospel and put me in contact with the missionaries.  My membership in the LDS Church is the thing I cherish most and the most precious gift I’ve ever been given.  I am grateful for my membership every minute of every hour of every day.

Portland Oregon Temple

2.  Next comes my children.  I feel blessed beyond measure to have the children the Lord has given me steward over.  I get feedback all the time about what a great job I’m doing with my children and mostly, I just think I got lucky is all.  I am lucky to be their Mom.  My children are beautiful, they are smart, they are talented and many other things but most importantly, they are resilient.  They have gone through some of the most horrible things you can imagine.  Seriously…those of you that know the details know that my children have future serial killer kinds of childhoods and yet…they are faithful, obedient, and optimistic.  My children are what gets me out of bed when my faith is sometimes replaced with doubt.  They are the why behind everything I do and, though I feel completely inadequate for the task, I am so fortunate that Heavenly Father has trusted me with THESE kids.  The picture below is one of my youngest three children and I in the very spot that changed my life so many years ago.  Sadly, we are separated from my oldest daughter at this time.  To My Kiddos:  I ♥ you severe.

My first baby…I miss you honey!

3.  The next most important thing in my life are my friends and those I consider family.  I can’t even attempt to post pictures of all those in this category that I adore!  What I can do though is share how family and friends make me feel.

4.  Music.  I am audio powered.  I want music no matter what my mood is or what I’m doing.  It can things for me nothing else can.  I consider a variety of things music too.  things like the sound of traffic when I’m not driving in it.  Ocean waves, rushing water, fire, rain, thunder, birds chirping at dawn, laughter, wind, and many other things.  If I had to choose between losing my hearing or vision, I’d totally be blind.  No matter how chaotic and nerve-wracking my life gets…the right song can put me in this chair without a care in the world EVERY time.

5.  Finally, the last thing I have that I am the most grateful for is my agency.  My ability to choose.  This kind of goes along with my church membership.  But, when I say I’m grateful to have the ability to choose I mean in all things.  I’m grateful I can choose faith over fear, I’m grateful I can choose to educate myself, I’m grateful I can choose to develop talents (like crafting and expressing my creativity), I’m thankful I can choose to love instead of hate, I’m thankful I can choose to be still and know that He is God when going crazy with fear and dread is easier.  I’m thankful I can choose to be beautiful inside in out despite of the ugliness that is so prevalent in this world.  I’m thankful I can choose for myself and on this day and every day, I choose to be grateful!

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