Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks, Part 2

After reading more about the First Thanksgiving, I am again thankful to live in this day and age. Did you know that along with corn and other vegetables and turkey, they ate deer, clams, and long, slimy eels at the First Thanksgiving. Now doesn't that just whet your appetite? I'd much rather stick with our turkey/ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, rolls and pumpkin (or in my case pecan) pie.

During this Thanksgiving season, I have done some reflecting on what I am grateful for.
First, I'm grateful for great teachers for my children. Both Michelle and Ella have written multiple lists of what they are grateful school, at church, and then on their own at home. I am grateful for teachers who help me teach my children... I'm sure that at school it was in a more secular way, but I'm still glad that along with the turkey crafts there were lists made of what they are thankful for. It obviously sank in, since they have both made additional lists here at home.

This is a list Michelle made at school: "I am thankful for my mom, my dad, and my food, my clock, my close (clothes), my house, my cusins, my grama.

Ella made this cute turkey in Spanish class. It says, "Estoy agradecida por... mi familia (I am thankful for my family), mis mascotas (my mascots...she thought it meant pets and maybe it can?), la escuela (the school), mi casa (my house), and mis juguetes (my toys).

This morning before church, Michelle asked if she could use a piece of scrapbooking paper. I came upstairs a few minutes later to see her writing/drawing a list of what she is thankful for. It says, "How much I am thankful: I am thankful for the Earth (then she drew a cute Earth with all the continents labeled), shoes for your feet, socks to keep our feet warm, and for teachers to teach. I am thankful for everything.

I, too, am grateful for shoes and feet are constantly cold and I can only imagine how miserable winter would be without warm shoes and socks.

I'm thankful for my family. Being a parent is often more challenging than I expected, but I love it. I love my husband and children. I am thankful for the ways that I am growing as I try to become a better wife and mother. My family teaches me the most important lessons. I also love my extended family and I'm so grateful for their love and examples.

I'm thankful that I have a job that I love and that I feel is important and worthwhile.

I'm thankful for good books to read. I learn a lot from reading and it is my main way to relax and take a break.

I'm thankful for chocolate. I know that seems like a superficial thing, but I seriously love chocolate and I'm thankful that I can indulge in a little bit most every day.

I'm thankful to live now and in this country. I enjoy reading historical fiction and learning about different events and time periods. However, I don't think there is any time period in the past that I would want to live in. There are many people and groups that I admire and that I would love to meet after I die, but I appreciate electricity, indoor plumbing, appliances, cars, computers, carpet (or other flooring), heating/cooling systems, and so many other modern day conveniences. I'm also incredibly thankful to live in a country where I can worship as I please, where I have the right to work in a job of my choosing, live in a home of my choosing, marry who I choose, have the number of children I choose, speak up about what I believe, vote and have many other rights that aren't rights for many people (especially women) in other countries.

There are so many other things that I am thankful for. This list could go on forever. But above all, I am thankful for my Savior. I love Him and worship Him and I'm grateful for His example, His love, His Atonement, and I'm grateful that He succors me. I can never say enough about how thankful I am for the Savior and for His death and resurrection. I am thankful for the scriptures and prophets that teach me about Him and help me to follow Him.

I want to end by sharing 3 quotes that I've been thinking about. First, in a talk in sacrament meeting last week, the speaker shared a thought that I've heard before but have really tried to take to heart this week. "What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for last night?" Wow! I know there would be times when if that really were what happened, I would wake up with very little. I'm trying to express my gratitude more completely.

Another quote, which is a quote I'm sure I've shared before, comes from a children's book by Douglas Wood called The Secret of Saying Thanks. In this book, one line says, "We do not give thanks because we are happy. We are happy because we give thanks." The more I reflect on this and practice this, the more I recognize the wisdom in this quote.

The final quote was one I heard while doing a lot of baking today. I was listening to Sounds of the Sabbath on the radio. The announcer read Doctrine and Covenants 59, verse 7: "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things." The announcer then went on to point out that this says all doesn't just say good things. We are told to give thanks for all things...including the hard things, the trials and disappointments and hardships. These things are given to us to give us strength, to help us develop faith, and to prove us. I can't honestly say that I am very good at giving thanks for my trials. There are times when I am not certain that I am strong enough to bear them. But certainly, I see that they are teaching me things that I may not have learned otherwise...such as not to judge others, to be patient, to have faith, to focus my efforts on what I can control. And most especially to turn to to my Heavenly Father for help. So I am going to try to remember to give thanks in all things. For in that same chapter, (D & C 59) verse 21 says, "And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments."