This week our FHE was on gratitude. We truly have so much to be grateful for. I've enjoyed reading several friends' posts on Facebook and blogs about what they are grateful for. But even more than that, I enjoyed seeing what my kids (well, my two older girls) had to say about what they are thankful for. We used this amazing booklet found at Sugardoodle.net. Here are my girls' lists of what they are grateful for:
And here is my own list of the Top 10 Things I am grateful for. I am sure there are at least 100 more. More likely 1,000. But I'll stop at 10 for today.
1. My Savior Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father. My knowledge and testimony of the gospel. A living prophet on the earth. I just began reading President Monson's biography, and he is truly a remarkable man who has literally spent his life in the service of others and in the service of our Heavenly Father. I want to be more like him and strive to follow both his example and even more importantly, the example of my Savior.
2. The sound of my children's laughter. I think this may just be one of the best sounds in the world...and I've heard so much of it these past few days as we've been home together. I love watching them play and seeing their sweet relationship with each other.
3. This wonderful country we live in and the freedoms we enjoy. I am so grateful to live where and when I do. I read a lot of historical fiction and while I know there are plenty of problems here and now, I would not have wanted to live in pretty much any part of the past. I am especially grateful for freedom of religion, but I treasure all of our freedoms and the rights that we enjoy that so many others throughout the world do not. I am grateful for those, past and present, who have served and fought to make and keep our country free.
4. Books... I can't imagine my life without them. My life would not be as happy or content nor would I have as much knowledge without reading. One of my favorite sayings is: "You don't have to read every day...only on the days you eat." (author unknown) Reading is such a big part of my life.
5. Food and shelter... I am grateful that for the most part I am able to almost take these for granted... I have always had enough food to eat and a place to live. And while I have never lived in a huge home, compared to so many millions in this world, I am so richly blessed. I live in luxury.
6. Great family... My mom is probably the most Christ-like person I know. I have amazing, talented sisters. My stepdad is committed to the gospel and is a wonderful husband and father. My dad adores my children and we love to visit him. I have a husband who works so hard and is such a great dad. I have three beautiful children that are true gifts from God. I have grandparents who have been a great example and a big part of my life. I have aunts and uncles and cousins that I love. While, unfortunately, I don't live close to most of my family, I love them and they teach me so much.
7. Wonderful friends and neighbors... I have been so blessed to never have to put my kids in a day care... I have had wonderful friends that have cared for my children and we have been recipients of such kindness and so many acts of love and service. I have friends at work. Friends at church. Friends in my book club. Friends from the neighborhood. Friends from my husband's job. Friends from college that I still keep in touch with. And perhaps more importantly,my children are surrounded by good friends. They are so fortunate to have so many wonderful playmates and so many that love them.
8. For good teachers, past and present... I was blessed to have many wonderful teachers in elementary school, high school, college, primary and other church classes. I have many fond memories of my school years and know that my life has been enriched because of the time and effort they put into teaching me.
9. For prayer... My prayers and the prayers of our family have been answered on so many occasions, for big and small things. I know that my Father is there and listens when I pray. I know that He loves me and is aware of my needs. I am so grateful for prayer.
10. For my job... I recognize that my job is a mixed blessing. It takes me away from my home and my children and it often causes me stress. If I had more faith and better self-discipline, maybe I wouldn't have to work and could be home with my children full time...and yet, I really feel that what I do is valuable. Not more valuable than raising my family. But valuable just the same. I love the students I work with and hope and think that I am doing a good job of educating them and loving them and providing a safe place for them. If I am going to be away from my children, I am glad that I have a job that I love, that helps others and that gives me quite a bit of time off to be home with my kids. I find it mentally stimulating...my job is always changing and I am always learning new things. I find it rewarding to see children get excited about reading and learning. I find it challenging and sometimes depressing. But at the end of the day, I am glad that I got to go to a job that I really do love. It often means that I don't do some of the things that I feel like I should (ie clean, stay organized, sew, garden...although honestly, I probably wouldn't be any good at those things even if I stayed home) and it also means that sometimes I get too focussed on getting things done... but it also keeps me from being lazy and helps me to prioritize. Anyway, this last one feels like less of gratitude and more of me rambling about my mixed feelings, but really I am grateful for my job.