Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I know it's cliche to count blessings on Thanksgiving but it seems appropriate. Blessings can never be appreciated enough.

A few weeks ago I taught a lesson in YW on the importance of gratitude. This is one of those simple principles that seems to get overlooked yet has equal power with faith and prayer. In fact, the Lord said His wrath is kindled when we don't acknowledge His hand in all things. Gratitude reminds us of our dependence on God and helps us recognize what He's done for us. Sometimes we get caught up in the 'look what I did's' without remembering all we have can be traced back to Heavenly Father.

In that spirit...I'm going to count a few blessings.

I am grateful for the family I was born into. It was not an easy family. We had severe trials. It was difficult every day. Growing up I was very disappointed in my parents for their flaws and often wondered why Heavenly Father sent me to that home. As an adult I have more compassion for my parents - just because you're a grown up doesn't mean you have all the answers. I have been able to see the good I learned in spite of everything else. I know I am who I am because of who I was. I learned tolerance, persistence, fortitude, hard work, faith, and what not to do. I learned to love nature, people of diverse backgrounds and appearance, patriotism and passion for the right to vote. I developed an understanding of the arts, classical music and listened to, but never loved, opera. I can now honestly say, I am glad my mom and dad are my mom and dad.

I am grateful for my brothers and sisters. They are amazing people. In spite of difficulties that they could use as an excuse to be 'menaces' to society, they have graduated from college and/or become successful professionals. They are all awesome parents and good family members. They do many good things to help their communities. I think they are the greatest.

I am grateful for the family I married into. The Claysons and the families stemming from them are incredible. They have a strong family core and enjoy getting together often. We travel together, hang out together, holiday together, facebook together, celebrate together. I cannot imagine associating with better people. My in-laws have always shown me love, which I gratefully soak up. My brother and sister in laws have been my mentors for parenting and marriage. My nieces and nephews are astounding in the faithful way they live their lives. I am always in awe of all these family members and feel blessed to be a part of them.

I am grateful - SO grateful - for my children. Being a mother is my absolute favorite thing in the world. I have to admit, I approached this role with trepidation. Could I do it? I was plagued with doubts. And I wasn't even sure I could survive labor. It all worked out. It hasn't been easy. My children have often been the teachers when it should have been me. But we have learned and grown together. We have explored our 'world' with field trips and books and movies and games and time. We have had 'moments' of good and 'moments' of sad and even experienced contention. Shocker! I wouldn't trade any of it. I look at my children and can hardly believe they are mine. What incredible souls! They are good to me - even though I fall short of their expectations. They surprise me with their insights, their talents, their interests, their desires. I still feel doubts about my ability to do them any good but I love them and I am trying my best every day to mother them the way they need and the Lord expects.

I am grateful for my body. That may sound strange or egotistical. Believe me, it's not ego. One look at me would destroy that theory. But my body has been my companion for 46 years. it has taken me places and done things that I treasure. I have eyes to see, ears that hear, skin that loves to touch things [not sharp, sticky or itchy things] I can move about easily [except for my aching knee -grrrr] I can speak [can't sing] I can write, I can talk, I can cry, I can laugh, I can eat, I can work, I can relax, I can sleep, I can read, I store memories, I learn, I grow. I even heal when I am sick or injured. I enjoy the taste of chocolate and many good foods. My heart beats, my lungs breath, my stomach and other organs digest and utilize food without any effort on my part.  My body is amazing. It is a gift and even though I have mistreated it with junk food, it takes good care of me.

I'm grateful for the world and nature. This is a beautiful planet to be on. Isn't it amazing how all our needs are met here? we can grow our food, have the material to build homes, cars, buildings, boats, airplanes and all sorts of amazing things. We have a diversity of animals, plants, critters, and climates. It is populated with people with all kinds of gifts, talents, and skills. I have traveled many places and always been impressed by the people I met. [Not everyone is positively impressing but all leave an impression] Earth is a great place to call home.

I am grateful to know God is real. He lives, He's our Father. He loves and cares for us every minute of existence. We are His work and glory. I'm grateful He gave us scriptures, latter-day prophets, and the Holy Ghost so that we might know Him. I'm thankful He provided a plan with a Savior that brings us back to Him - to a place even more glorious than earth. I'm grateful Jesus Christ was willing to be the Savior.

I am grateful for the example of people who choose to count blessings even in the midst of great trials. Their faith strengthens and humbles me.

I could go on and on. There is so much to be grateful for and these are probably the most obvious. I know my life is greatly blessed. So I just had to shout it out on Thanksgiving.

And I'm thankful for Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday because it is just about who you are with. Happy Thanksgiving!