Anybody who knows me, knows that I absolutely LOVE this time of year. Starting December 27th, I count down the days until the holiday season will return. This past year has been particularly rough for a myriad of reasons, these past couple months have been particularly rough usually ending with many tears at the end of each day. The curse of ingratitude was etched in my heart until Sunday when a wonderful speaker at church reminded me that I have much to be grateful for. It has been 2 years since I lived in China with 10 wonderful ladies and many wonderful experiences that have changed my life. I will forever cherish that time of my life and the experiences that have forever molded who I have become. One of my all-time favorite memories from China was during Thanksgiving, for a number of reasons I will not go into right now. I stumbled upon several lists that I made during the holiday season while living in Changzhou, the one that stood out was my "thankful" list. It is amazing how many simple things I take for granted each day just by living here in the United States.
Reflecting on the path my life has taken the in the past years it is amazing how easy it is to get caught up in the busyness of my life to forget about all the tender mercies both big and small that have been present in my life. This is especially true for the past 9 months. I have had some pretty miraculous events happen in my life and instead of celebrating those miracles I have been focused on what I am lacking.
It is easy for me to say "Cleveland sucks" instead I will be grateful for the warm bed that I have to sleep in, the roof over my head, a toilet that flushes, heat that works, the job that provides income and the food that I have to eat every meal. There are strangers and friends who are willing to die for my freedoms so that I can live a life full of religious, political, and personal freedoms.
It is easy for me to shed tears from feelings of lonliness instead I will be grateful for the wonderful people that I have had and continue to have in my life. I have been blessed with a wonderful family and many wonderful friends along my journey of life whom I love so dearly) Whether the person was a 7 month old pre-mature infant on a venteliator or a 94 year old lady with Alzheimer, every person I have met has taught me so many wonderful lessons about living life and enjoying each moment.
It is easy for me to say that "this ward is full of the most unwelcoming, unloving people" instead I will be grateful for the simple acts of service that I see that testify of the love our Heavenly Father has for each of his children. I will be thankful for the speakers and teachers that continue to increase my spritual knowlege and allow me ot feel the love of that my Hevenly Father has for me. I will be grateful for the men who hold the priesthood who have helped me in my times of need, whether it is moving a big desk up the stairs or coming over after I sliced through my finger.
It is easy for me to complain that I have gained an immense amount of weight since graduating college, when instead I will be grateful for the many things my body has allowed me to do, for the opportunities my body has given me to climb mountains, shimmy down canyons, and repel down waterfalls. I will be grateful for the knowledge that I have gained to take care of my body both physically and spirtually.
It is easy for me to get frustrated that I am not the same "Spring Summit or China Tiffanee." Instead I will be grateful for who I am. I will be grateful for those experiences that have shaped me into the person today and I will be grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that allows me to change to become better.
It is easy for me to get angry for not dating and still being single, instead I will be grateful for the lessons the Lord has taught me on patience and becoming a better person. I will be grateful that one day when I do get married that I have had this time to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ and a better wife and mother.
I can get upset that my belongings were stolen and my journals and various other items were not recovered. Instead I will be grateful for the opportunity the Lord gave me to grow during my own personal Liberty Jail experience. I will be grateful that I got even a portion of my stuff back, and I will be grateful for the understanding that I have that material possessions do not make my self-worth. Most of all I will be grateful for all the Lord sees fit to give me and will give of my time, talents, and substance to those who are in need.
In getting caught up in my own self pity I can forget that I have wonderful gifts to help others. I will be grateful for my gift of music that helps to calm contention and anger and bring the spirit into consciousness. I am grateful for my ability to sew. I am grateful for my ability to be crafty.
I can be angry and bitter at the Lord for bringing me to Ohio. Instead I will be grateful and remember all the tender mercies that brought me to where I am today. I am grateful for the bites and scratches and strep throat that encouraged me to look for another job. I am grateful for the tender mercies that occured during the application and interview process. Between having my car stolen and almost missing my flight Satan tried hard to discourage me from coming. Although the road has been tough I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn and grow in Cleveland, Ohio.
I LOVE THANKSGIVING!!! What a wonderful time of year to reflect on all the bounties blessings the Lord has given us and then 4 weeks later to celebrate the birth of the Savior. I don't think words can describe how much I LOVE this season! I know that I have shared this video before but it is just such a wonderful testimony of gratitude and thanking the Lord for all we have. I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for the love and support you have given me through the years, and continue to give me. I love you all!