25 November 2010

Living Thanksgiving Daily

It's Thanksgiving and I am blessed! Not just because I had a yummy lunch of turkey, potatoes, dressing, and pumpkin pie but because blessings come into my life every day from my Heavenly Father. He loves each of us enough to bless us daily in big and small ways regardless of how well we behaved (or didn't behave!) on that day.

Although I realize how blessed I am, I also realize that I am not always good about taking time to be thankful or to show gratitude for my blessings.

So, I have been trying to be more purposeful in being aware and being grateful for my blessings- not just today on our nationally deemed holiday of Thanksgiving - but on each and every day.

Therefore, in trying to be more grateful each day I have been keeping a gratitude journal in which I write at least 3 specific things at the end of each day for which I am grateful. The funny thing is that once I start writing, I usually surpass my self-imposed requirement of "just 3 things." I am pretty sure that the reason this happens is because once I sit down to specifically think of a few things I have been blessed with that day, my heart and my mind are opened to seeing so many more of the blessings I have been given, and so I usually have a longer list than what I started out to create.

It's also interesting how close I feel to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ when I take time to express my thanks and gratitude daily. I think that I draw closer to Them as I recognize all that I have been given. I have also noticed how much happier I am and how much more love I feel for my family, friends, and fellow man when I am purposefully focused on being grateful.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin once gave a talk titled, "Living in Thanksgiving Daily", where he said that "Those who live in thanksgiving daily are usually among the world's happiest people." I want to be one of those people!

There are a million reasons not to be happy in this life - hey, the world is tough! But, Elder Wirthlin said that "living in thanksgiving daily is a habit that will enrich our lives and the lives of those we love" and that sounds so much better than being miserable!

So, how can we live in thanksgiving daily even after the turkey and the rolls and the pie are put away this year? Elder Wirthlin suggests three things that we can implement into our lives to be the happiest people who live in thanksgiving daily:

  1. Open our eyes. See the wonders and the beauties of the world around us each day.
  2. Open our hearts. Let go of negative emotions and fill our hearts with love.
  3. Open our arms. Bless the lives of those around us.

Today I had the chance to open my eyes and see the beauty of the small town of Nauvoo, Illinois which has incredible significance to those of my faith. And although it was incredibly cold (I mean, there was ice on the Mississippi already!), as B and I explored and learned about this incredible place, the beauty of this area that was once a swampland, was impressed upon me.

I also had the chance while in Nauvoo to open my heart and feel incredible love for people I have never met. It is amazing to me that the early members of The Church of Latter-Day Saints who lived in the 19th century set out in great faith not only to be servants of God but to build an incredible community founded on faith, kindness, compassion, and great sacrifice.

Finally, I had the chance to open my arms and found a small, but very worthwhile way to try and bless the lives of others. One of the great things about exploring Historical Nauvoo is that at each of the sites you visit there are awesome Senior Missionaries who have given time from their lives to serve and teach visitors about these incredible sites. We were so blessed to have great tours and information shared with us by these incredible missionaries and so I put together candy treats to give to them today as they served on this Thanksgiving day. As I extended my arms to drop off this bag of treats, I was overwhelmed by their gratitude and thanks for my small gesture of appreciation and my heart was full!

What an incredible Thanksgiving! I was with B, who I love more than anything, in a beautiful place where the Spirit of the Lord is incredibly strong, and I was given the chance to show my appreciation to others. The blessings in my life are amazing!

1 Cheers (not Jeers!):

Cathy said...

I am SO happy you and B visited Nauvoo! The spirit there is incredible. Hurray for you two!

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