Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm Taking a Gratitude Challenge

I know I say this a lot, but I LOVE my son! I LOVE being a mother! I couldn't imagine my life any differently; it is perfect for us right now. A few weeks ago my friend Carley and I got to go to "Time Out for Women." Sister Sheri Dew spoke, and one thing that she touched on was the divine role righteous women have in this world. Fewer and fewer women are realizing their potential as wives and mothers, and are choosing careers and glam over the more important things. She told a story of a woman who was at dinner with a large group of people. When asked by a successful businessman what she did, she said she was a stay at home mother of four. The man looked at her for a moment, and then turned his conversation to someone else, someone with a "more exciting" life. Sister Dew went on to say that the next time some condescending, judgmental person asks what you do in a belittling way, to respond with confidence with something like, "I am nurturing (insert number of kids here) my son along the path to Exaltation, how about you?" I love that response, and I plan to use it. "No one has more influence on a child than his mother." I am grateful for Motherhood. And I am grateful for Adoption.

Okay, so last night I was reading the December Ensign. After the First Presidency Message, "The Choice to Be Grateful," by President Eyring, there is a section specifically for the Youth and then for the Children on how to apply the message to them. The Youth section is entitled, "Take a Gratitude Challenge:"

Take a Gratitude Challenge

Let’s not just talk about counting our blessings—let’s do it! Write a list of 100 things you are thankful for. If that sounds like it is too many, try this:
  1. 1. 
    Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
  2. 2. 
    Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
  3. 3. 
    Write 10 living people you are grateful for.
  4. 4. 
    Write 10 deceased people you are grateful for.
  5. 5. 
    Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
  6. 6. 
    Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.
  7. 7. 
    Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
  8. 8. 
    Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for.
  9. 9. 
    Write 10 foods you are grateful for.
  10. 10. 
    Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for.
When we make a list like this, we discover that a list of 100 doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the things God has given us.

Well, I am going to do this. Right now. I am grateful for:
1. My overall health
2. My height
3. My teeth
4. My endurance
5. My hands
6. My smile
7. My eyes
8. My freckles
9. My mind
10. My strength
11. Our home
12. Our car
13. My piano
14. My journals
15. Our clothes
16. Our pictures
17. Our bed
18. Kyson's crib
19. Kent's job
20. Food on the table
21. Jesus Christ
22. Kent
23. Kyson
24. Our parents
25. My siblings and their significant/future significant others
26. Kent's siblings and their spouses
27. Our grandparents
28. President Monson and the Quorum of the 12
29. Our Birthmother, H
30. Close friends, like Carley and Krista :-)
31. Joseph Smith
32. President Gordon B. Hinckley
33. Nephi
34. Alma
35. Brigham Young
36. Moses
37. Lehi
38. Adam
39. Eve
40. My ancestors
41. Rain and it's cleansing properties
42. Trees and the peaceful beauty of the forests
43. Waterfalls--they are so majestic and fascinating to me
44. The ocean and beaches--inspiration and awesome
45. The mountains and their powerful presence
46. Snow--so magical
47. Sunshine and its warmth, beauty, and joy
48. Flowers and their beauty and scents
49. Birds and their happy songs and brilliant colors
50. Sunrises and sunsets for beginning and ending each day with all of the colors of the Lord's imagination
51. The opportunity I have to write this list and realize how blessed I am
52. My warm home
53. Kyson's company
54. To-do Lists and getting things done
55. Christmas music
56. Reading the Scriptures
57. Writing in my journal
58. Rest
59. Laughter
60. Exercise
61. My parents' home in Elma, WA--it is one of my favorite places on earth
62. Kent's parents' home in Northborough, Ma--we've had some fun memories there together.
63. BYU--my Alma Mater and where Kent and I met
64. The Temple--I can't wait to be sealed to Kyson in just over 2 months!
65. Guatemala
66. Costa Rica
67. Disneyland
68. Our home, wherever it may be.
69. The Beach
70. The mountains in winter
71. Cell phones--I love talking to my family!
72. Computers and internet
73. Our hot chocolate maker
74. Heating and air conditioning
75. Hot baths
76. Waffle iron
77. Cars
78. Washing machines and dryers
79. Pianos, Guitars, and all instruments
80. Boats
81. Ice cream
82. Chocolate
83. Red bell peppers
84. Pizza
85. Lasagna
86. Enchiladas
87. Red grapes
88. Cheese
89. Homemade raspberry jam
90. Homemade, hot chocolate chip cookies
91. The Restoration of the Gospel
92. The Sealing power and the chance for families to be together forever
93. The power of the Priesthood
94. Prayer
95. The gift of the Holy Ghost
96. The Scriptures, including General Conference
97. A living Prophet who guides and leads the Church today
98. Uplifting music
99. Repentance
100. The Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ

Okay, let me just say that this was so easy. It didn't take me long at all. The hardest part was trying to keep it to ten of each category. It is true that this list hardly scratches the surface of the things I am grateful for and the blessings that I have in my life.

I challenge EVERYONE who reads this to make your own list! It is a lot of fun! It would be a great Family Home Evening activity, or anytime activity. In a world where it can be easy to overlook the good and see only the negative, I am grateful for the Gospel; it truly is the Gospel of Good News, and I am happy to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even though I have my own set of down days and challenges, I know I am never alone and that I am incredibly blessed beyond measure, and I am happy to be alive.