Thursday, November 22, 2012

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon: A book on gratitude

This month for our book club, Jackie had us read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. It is a children's book, and it is wonderful. It is about a little girl named Minli whose family is very poor. Her father always tells her stories and her mother thinks the stories fill her head with nonsense. Ba tries to explain that stories are not a waste of time, but Ma complains a great deal. Eventually, Minli sets off to try to find the Man in the Moon so she can change her fortune. Along her journey, she meets a Buffalo Boy that has almost nothing, yet he is happy. She meets a dragon that cannot fly. The dragon decides to go with her to ask the Man in the Moon how to fly. She meets twins, Afu and Dafu, who help her. Their village even cuts a small bit out of each of their jackets to make Minli a jacket. Every where she goes, she meets people who are content and happy with their life. Meanwhile her parents are learning important lessons.

I won't give away the ending of this book, but it is worth a read. There are so many wonderful quotes, and the messages of thankfulness and selflessness are so clear and beautifully stated.

There are so many quotes that I loved.

"You only lose what you cling to." (page 140)

"For the line was only made of one word, written over and over again. And that word was Thankfulness." (p. 250)

"The woman (Minli's mother) cursed herself for her selfishness and foolishness. How lucky she had been! She was at last able to see that her daughter's laughter and love could not be improved by having the finest clothes or jewels, that joy had been in her home like a gift waiting to be opened. The woman wept tears for which there was no comfort. For all the time that she had been longing for treasures, she had already had the one most precious." (page 254)

"If you make happy those that are near, those that are far will come." (page 255)

"Fortune was not a house full of jade, but something much more. Something she already had and did not need to change." (page 259)

"The joy! How it flowed and flooded over her! More golden than the king's dragon bracelet, sweeter than a peach from the Queen Mother's garden, and more beautiful than a Goddess of Heaven! Minli smiled, treasuring her good fortune."

On this Thanksgiving Day, I hope I remember to give thanks for all that I am blessed with. I have a wonderful family. I have good health. I have the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a beautiful home. I have a job, as does my husband. In fact, I not only have a job, but I have a job that I love and that I feel called to do. I have enough food to eat... bounteous food. I have great friends. I have an abundance of good books to read. My prayers are answered on a regular basis. My favorite season of the year, the Christmas season, is coming. Life isn't perfect for any of us, but if we take time to count our blessings and recognize what we do have, it really puts our trials in perspective. I really believe that gratitude and selflessness are the keys to happiness. I have found that to be true in my life when I am practicing it. Now I just need to work on applying those two principles in my life daily.