November Gratitude Posts

Yesterday was the 1st day of November. November is my favorite month! The weather starts to cool down, the air feels crisp, and it fills my soul!!! And to top it off, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away – pass the sweet potatoes! 🍁Reflecting on my blessings and all that I have to be thankful for helps me to recognize how truly fortunate I am. Today I’m beginning a month of gratitude. I want to start with two things today since I’m a day behind. First, I’m grateful for the person I am today. This time last year I was a shell of a person– physically, mentally, and spiritually. I was in such a dark and hopeless state. I didn’t know how I would ever climb out of that abyss. But here I am today– changed. Still finding my way through so much, but I laugh again, and I have happiness again. Have you ever had days, weeks, months without ever laughing? I have. If you find yourself there now, know that I have been where you are –There is hope! Also, I’m here for you if you need someone to talk to. Don’t forget you are loved! I love you!! ❤️ Second, I’m grateful for time. Time is something we curse a lot. We never have enough of it. Deadlines hang over our heads and we feel the pressure build as we become a slave to it. But for me time has become a thing of beauty. I’ve never before appreciated what can transpire when I allow myself time.  Time to heal, time to forgive, time to hold space for myself and others, time to feel all that I need to feel, and time to allow God to work within me. This gift of time isn’t given to everyone. We don’t know how many days we will be granted. I’m grateful to be blessed with the last 17 months of more time. I wasn’t sure I’d still be here. Most of those days were filled with a heartache and fear I can’t even put into words. But God saw a different plan for me. Time doesn’t heal all wounds…but it helps. If you allow it. 

Today I am grateful for this guy! ❤️ He easily flies under the radar most of the time. He can be a little quiet but don’t let that fool you. Once you get to know him he comes out of that shell just fine! Jared is an incredible example of strength. He suffers from MS, he works full-time, he has a 2nd job, he goes to school almost full-time, he serves in his callings at church that can make for very long hours as well, and somehow “still” makes time for our family. We have been together for 24 years now. We were High School Sweethearts. We have been through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows together. We have brought children into this world together and we have lost children in this world together. We have had employment and unemployment. We have been lost together and we have been found together. He is my best friend! He knows me more deeply and completely than anyone else. I can give him a look or a glance and he understands exactly what I’m saying without a single word being spoken. He loves me with a love that I never knew could exist. He doesn’t like to use the word “unconditional” love. He always says it’s redundant. If you love, there should never be conditions…it’s just love! 💖He’s hilariously funny and makes me laugh all the time. He can be goofy and a jokester and he can be so compassionate and understanding. He has an amazing gift of always being able to see both sides of a situation. Sometimes annoyingly so! LOL! 😂 He’s very good at helping others to have an open mind and see that things are usually not as black and white as it may seem. He is very musically talented and played several instruments. He has a great voice and can sight read music like a champ. 🎶 Ask him to tell you the story about him in Jr. High at a college fieldtrip he had. (He might kill me for sharing that! LOL!!) He teaches our children daily what a Father is. It is more than bringing children into the world. So much more! He works hard to be a part of their lives and spends time with them individually. He takes the time to sit and teach them about life and shares his testimony of the Savoir with them often. He never lets them question his love for them. He waits up for them to come home, he tries to learn the cool new games they are into, and he is at every swim meet and game. He’s a big softy when it comes to his kids. The thought that our oldest is graduating this year, and the others are following not too far behind, makes him genuinely sad. There have already been a few tears. He loves spending time with them! He is the rock in our home. He provides for our family in every way we could hope for. There is no one else I’d rather go through this crazy life with. He always asks me how he got so lucky to marry me? But truth be told…. I’m the lucky one! ❤️ #theluckiest ❤️

Today I’m thankful for my 3 amazing, completely different, children! ❤️ Being the mother of these three has solidified my belief that we come to this planet with our personalities, likes, dislikes, and everything in between already instilled in us!! That’s the only explanation for how they could all three be raised by the same parents, and mostly in the same fashion and style, yet they are individually and uniquely distinctive. They are my greatest joy and blessings! Being a mother was always what I wanted to be. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to have that dream fulfilled! 💖

What makes motherhood even better is genuinely loving and liking who they are! Today I am thankful for Walker. He is our oldest and has always been the sweetest, tenderhearted, and most loving person I know. He “always” gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. He loves people without reservation. He is open minded and accepting while still holding on to his principles. When I think of someone being a Christlike example, I think of him. ❤️ He makes me a better person. He has a laugh that is completely contagious and people are drawn to his fun loving, easy going personality. 😊 He just makes you feel better being around him! He’s also crazy intelligent. 📚✏️ He loves to talk and get into deep philosophy. He teaches me new things every day! (I’m not kidding!) I love learning from him. His mind is like a sponge and retains knowledge that I just can’t comprehend! He loves music and the range and variety of what he listens to would make any connoisseur proud! 🎶 He’s the best example to his younger siblings. He’s what every parent dreams their firstborn to be!

I’m grateful for our second son Eli. He is our gatherer. He brings people together. He doesn’t care who you are or what you are…he just wants everyone to come together and have a great time!🎉🎈🎉 He’s always up for something fun. He doesn’t like to sit very long. He has too much energy for that! His presence is felt everywhere he goes. He has a buzzing energy about him. You can literally feel his vibrations! LOL! He is loud, hilarious, outgoing, insanely quick witted, mischievous, entrepreneurial, and did I say loud!?! Ha! 🤣 There is no middle child syndrome with Eli…he never lets us forget he’s around! 😂 He has a mind for problem solving and the will power and determination to see any puzzle he’s working on or new talent he’s developing seen through until it’s solved. He won’t leave it unfinished! Eli is like his father and is musically gifted. It comes easy to him. He plays the sax, piano, and guitar. I love listening to him play his guitar in his room while he sings along. 🎸He is talented! He loves the outdoors and if he had a choice he’d live in the mountains forever. He’s also an excellent cook and spoils us with his yummy food! I love seeing what he’s going to do next! You never know with this kid. He’s always cooking up some crazy idea! Lol! 😜

Alayna is our youngest and our only daughter. She is an awesome balance between being girlie enough for the girls and tough enough to hang with the boys. She has a good balance of friends because of it. I admire that about her! She is confident in who she is. 😊 She is happy to see others succeed but doesn’t feel bad if she leaves them in her dust! LOL! She loves a good competition!! 😉 Alayna is smart, funny, outgoing and creative. She is our “joiner”. If there is a club, activity, sport, you name it—she wants to join it! She isn’t afraid to try new things. It’s inspiring! She loves swim team, volleyball, run club, piano, chorus, and is now playing the cello! 🎻Alayna is a gifted artist.🎨She amazes me! Since she was tiny she has always loved to color, paint and draw. I have a whole bin of her artwork. I treasure them! She has a heart of gold and has so much compassion for everyone. She doesn’t like to see others treated unkindly and has no problem stepping up and sticking up for her peers. Once she has let you in her heart she never let’s go. She will think of you, miss you, pray for you, and try to find any way possible to spend time with you. Alayna brings in a good balance for our boys. She adores her big brothers and they both love her fiercely and are protective of her. Just the way it should be! ❤️

Thankful for my parents. Their lives have never been easy. They have faced so many struggles from their childhoods to their golden years. Through it all they have never given up. They have pressed forward and persevered. They are an example to me of putting one foot in front of the other and taking each day as it comes. Even if on some days all we can do is stand-still….at least we are still standing! ❤️ My parents have taught me to be myself and to be confident in who I am. They taught me about charity through welcoming family and friends who were going through difficult times into our home, even though we never had much ourselves. They would give you the shirt off their back if they knew you needed it! They are two of the most unique and interesting people you’ll meet. They are hippies at heart! ✌️☮️ They have something about them that people are just drawn to. My parents instilled in me the importance of integrity and that family always comes first. I’m grateful for their example to me and for supporting me in my life. We don’t always see things eye to eye, but I know no matter what, they will always love me, and I will always love them. Because family is what’s most important in life! 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Thankful for my brother and sister. Growing up we fought like cats and dogs. I think that tends to happen when both parents have to work and three wild and crazy kids are left to watch themselves without supervision for hours and hours each day. It was a little like Lord of the Flies at times! LOL! 🤣 But we are all still alive and we look back now and shake our heads and laugh at some of the crazy insane things we used to do! Haha! My sister is four years older than me and she was “the boss”. She is independent, bold,strong and loving. She is a farm girl at heart. She always brought home all the stray animals in the neighborhood. She’s had chickens, dogs, cats, birds, lizards, horses, you name it! She’s also incredibly good with her hands. If something needs to be fixed she has the mechanical mind to fix it! If there is a problem with her truck she can figure it out and repair it herself! I admire that about her! I can operate a can opener! My brother is two years younger than me and the classic “baby” of the family. The showman. The funny, charismatic, sarcastic, one. He and I are closer in age and used to run around Gilbert getting into all kinds of trouble! We tried building dirt bridges across the canal that ran behind our house and fish for crawdads. We swam in the irrigation ditches that were coated in algae/moss which made them extra slippery and you could get some serious speed and slide down them like our own personal water park! 🏊‍♀️🌊We would jump off of the roof of our house for fun. One time my brother didn’t catch the landing right and he landed on a potted plant flat on his back and it busted into a hundred pieces. I thought he was dead. He wasn’t! 😉 Ah the memories! My brother and I had to share a room until I was 16. That wasn’t easy! He was all guy!!! A total pig! And I was all girl! A total clean fanatic! We had many, many fights about that! I can laugh now, but it was very serious then! 😜 As siblings, we share a bond unlike any other relationship. I think because we understand exactly what the other went through in childhood! It’s like a secret club that you and them are a part of and you all went through the hazing process together! 😂
Grandpa William McClendon
Grandpa Eugene Bernal
Nephew Joseph Wallace
Cousin CarriAnne Darland
Grandpa Robert K. Morrison
Today, is Veteran’s Day! 🇺🇲 I can’t help but express my sincere gratitude for those who have fought for our freedom. Especially, for my own family members who have served. ❤️ My Grandpa Morrison, Grandpa McClendon, Grandpa Bernal, our Nephew Joe, and cousin Carri Anne. Our veterans sacrifices are truly great. So great, that sometimes their lives are required in the pursuit of freedom and justice. They leave home behind to answer the call of duty. They may have a family back at home, but they are willing to deploy, to leave suddenly to protect our freedom. They are noble and loyal. They are willing to fight and to die for us. We will never understand what they go through in combat. Some will never tell of the horrors they have witnessed and others will seek help to get past debilitating scares. Families make sacrifices too. Spouses, parents and children of members of the military often go long periods without seeing their loved ones. They miss them so much more than we will ever know. They’re the first boots on the ground. They go to places most people would never dare step foot in, all to protect the innocent and give liberty to those in captivity. They endure rigorous training. Military members go through training and battle, which can seem like going straight through hell and back. These men and women serve, despite the losses they may encounter. No one could ever understand what it feels like to lose a companion right next to you. They represent us and we should honor them. These men and women want freedom for all. These loyal patriots protect our nation. If you are a US veteran…From the bottom of my heart– thank you for all you do and all you have done! 🇺🇲❤️
William & Donher McClendon
Robert K. & Betty Morrison

I’m thankful for my Grandparents. I really only knew my Grandmother Donher, but she passed away when I was just 11 years old. Even though I didn’t know them, without them, I wouldn’t be here today. They are links in the chain of my life that stretch into the past and future. They lived lives that required sacrifice, service, and a fortitude that my generation never will fully understand. They served and fought in Wars, lived through the Great Depression, saw a President assassinated, and so much more. I also think that’s why I love family history so much. It gives me the chance to learn about them through their personal histories. Reading their stories helps me to see a glimpse of myself in them. Understanding the hardships they faced helps me to face my own with greater strength. I also think that’s why I love Grandmas and Grandpas so much!! 👵👴I think maybe I’m hoping a little of their life’s experience, wisdom, and love will rub off on me since I didn’t really have that connection in my life. So, if you are a Grandma or Grandpa…I’m always looking for new friends! 😉

Today I am thankful for my In-laws. I know In-laws get a bad rap. But honestly, I am so blessed! I love them! ❤️ Jared’s parents, step-parents, and siblings are some of the most down to earth people you will ever meet. They have big hearts and welcome everyone! That southern hospitality is ingrained in them! My mother-in-law, Rita, is truly an angel on this earth. She is one of the most service minded people I know. She gives so much of herself, always! She also makes the best chicken and dumplins (said in a Texan accent) and blackberry cobbler you’ve ever had! She is a wizard with crust! Jared’s brother and sisters have been examples to me over the years. They love each other and love spending time together. That was a new thing for me. In fact, I thought they were all a little weird at first because of how much they loved being with each other! Ha! 😜 I’m grateful for their lives, for just being themselves, and for showing me more about how love only grows when members are added, never divided.
Thankful for my home. I love my home!! It is one of the few places I feel safe. After I got sick NO place felt safe. Not even my home. I was terrified no matter where I went. It was the most gut-wrenching period of my life. To not even feel safe in my own home made my whole world spin and feel out of control. About 5 long hard months later I finally felt safe in my home again, and it has been, and is, my safe haven. 🏡 I still struggle with feeling safe out in the world, but I’m so VERY thankful that I can at least feel safe in my own home! ❤️ I appreciate what having a home and being able to come home means. Not every house is a home. Creating a home is less about the building itself, its look or the area it is in, and more about the emotional connection and sense of comfort, safety and peace we’re able to create behind closed doors. A house is just four walls and a roof, but a home is made up of everything else inside. A home is a sanctuary. Home is comfort. Home is inviting. Home is a refuge from the world. Home is cozy. Home is lived in. Home is cups left on the table and beds left unmade. Home is where you wear your coziest clothing with only comfort and never fashion in mind. Home is where there are kids’ fingerprints on the windows and their laughter fills the air. Home is where there is a junk drawer that needs organizing. And laundry piling up. Home is where you celebrate that there are messy piles. Home never ever looks perfect, but those messy piles mean you have loved ones among you. Home is filled with your favorite smells. Be it candles, your husband’s cologne, or freshly baked cookies. Home is a little corner of God’s green earth to call your own. A place where you might steal a Sunday afternoon nap. Roses that need pruning and a lawn that needs mowed. Or maybe just a patch of weeds. But it’s yours. Home is where your family and loved ones surround you. Home is time spent slowing down. Sitting down. Lying down. Home is filled with the most tender touches. Home is where you begin your morning, and where you meet your loved ones at day’s end. Home never ever looks perfect, but that’s ok. If it’s filled with love, that’s all that truly matters!! ❤️

Thankful for the Temple! ❤️ 💒 The temple is the House of God. It is a physical reminder that He has not removed Himself from us and that He wants us all to come “home” to Him. He is present within those sacred and holy houses. The temple is a house of prayer. I receive answers to my heart-felt questions if I go to the temple with a sincere desire to obtain them. There, the Holy Ghost may grant me added light and knowledge and the privilege of receiving the answers to the problems and trials the world presents. The temple is a place of revelation. Revelation that only comes to me in the temple to aide me as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and a child of God. I have been taught and tutored within those walls. I have been embraced with His goodness and unlimited love. I’ve had peace fall over me when I desperately needed to feel He is aware of me. When I had searched and grasped to find it but couldn’t. It’s always been there, that I have been able to have His peace when the grief, sorrow, fear, and pain were so great, and alluded me everywhere else. My Temple worship has changed so much throughout my life. It’s much deeper, intimate, and personal now. I’ve learned more clearly how the Holy Ghost speaks to me. I’ve come to understand that the Lord loves me more than I’ll ever comprehend. He wants me to be happy. He wants me to have joy. He knows my name. I’m never alone. In the temple I have learned the reality and nearness of Heaven. I have felt family so close as if they were sitting in the room next me. Those moments have been so sweet, tender, and tear-filled. The veil between heaven and earth is thin in the House of the Lord. If I go to the Lord’s holy temples with my mind focused on the things of the Spirit, I feel God’s presence so tangibly. There’s a power in the temple. It helps me see what’s really important in life. That power gives me the strength and fortitude I need so fiercely each and every day! Going often replenishes my heart, mind and soul. It is heaven on earth! 🌎💖

Thankful for hope. I’ve have lived and experienced a time in my life where I had no hope. I didn’t see, I couldn’t see, how anything was going to make sense and be possible again. It was debilitating and a darkness consumed me beyond what I can explain. The fog of darkness is a feeling of disconnect. I felt lost and far from God. I was weary physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I needed something more but couldn’t seem to find my way there. How does one somehow channel this darkness into something that lifts and gives hope? 🌈 It starts with a choice. However, following up that choice with action is critical. It takes practice and skill to learn how to observe your terror and rage without judgment—to stay connected with yourself, to calm yourself, to redirect your attention towards something positive. Imagine yourself in a cavern suddenly thrust into total blackness. You can no longer rely on your sense of sight to guide you, to remind you that you are not alone, or even to know that you are still present and on firm ground. Many will panic. But…if you slow down your breathing and heart rate, you might be able to hear drops of water that can begin to help you orient. If you focus on your feet standing on the ground, you can start to decipher whether the path in front is safe and solid or treacherous. If you observe quietly enough, you might be able to smell a breeze of fresh air and find the courage to begin probing into the darkness. To me, this is what therapy is all about. It is the process of grounding yourself until you are able to get your bearings enough to begin to take one step in front of the other. It is having someone there in the darkness with you willing to put out a hand and help you up when you stumble. Of course, therapy is not the only path, but whatever way is best for you, I hope you choose and seek out the skills to put that choice into action so that one day you can find yourself in wonder at the world around you. Come out into the light. Even with the darkness (or maybe even a little because of it), there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy. We need hope, or else we cannot endure. At what point do you give up – decide enough is enough? There is only one answer really. Never. Hope is trusting in God’s goodness and faithfulness, no matter what that looks like. God goes before us and behind us, watching over us, and no matter what, He’s for us. Moving forward is scary, but I want to have hope. Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope. I hope my story can give you hope. Don’t give up! I love you! ❤️❤️ “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Thankful for faith. It takes faith to believe in Christ; it takes faith to believe that what God says is always right and true; and it takes faith to trust and walk in that each and every day. Faith, at its core, is deep-rooted in the expectation of good things to come. It goes beyond hope. While much of hope lives in the mind, faith is steeped in the heart and the spirit. Often, it’s some experience of loss that shatters one’s faith. We may have lost a loved one, a job, a friendship, lost health, failed at some desired goal or lost direction and purpose. When we lose faith, we no longer trust life or God. We don’t believe that life will be kind to us. Once we deem our losses unbearable, unjust and unacceptable, we run the risk of fracturing our relationship with Him. 💔 Faith is a courageous trust. We sit with faith when we enter stillness, when we are in awe, and when we act with love. Faith is recognizing something greater than our current circumstances that we can imagine, and we make ourselves willing to surrender to, rather than control. Faith is what helps to get us through, lighting the pathway in times of darkness, helping to give us strength in times of weakness. It is not necessary to get trapped in a loss of faith. We can name our experience and address the loss that put us in bad faith. Because life is essentially about change, we are having a constant relationship with something ending and something else beginning, and sometimes that something else is even better!❤️ When we have a loss of faith, we grieve. Without faith, it is nearly impossible to love others, achieve goals, and take on important and immensely complex realities believing that we can succeed and achieve. There have been times in my own life where I have lost my faith in God, in people, and in myself. That will happen — we are all tested. And we all fall down. But we can get back up again. In order to want to have faith, in order to believe, and in order to have trust in greater things, you have to desire it. Simply having a desire is where faith begins. He can help you. He’s waiting for you. 💞

Thankful for the power of prayer. Prayer can succeed where other means have failed. I’m learning prayer is not to be a last resort, but my first response. 🙏 I’m learning to allow Him to embrace me, to care for me, to point out my needs to me (and how He fills them). I need to listen to Him, and I desperately need to talk to Him. In Ephesians 3:14-19, Paul prays, “that you may be able to comprehend… what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…” I now know Christ is here all around me, just waiting for me to reach out, to let Him love me. When I pray, I can pray to experience this love, to be bathed in it, to learn how to give it back, to learn how to let it seep into the dry cracks and crevices of my life. In fact, the longer I love, the more I think that the chief reason for the gift of prayer is that we learn to receive, experience, and return His love in genuine relationship. Prayer is one place when God can reach us (and we think prayer is for reaching Him!) and speak to and minister to us. It matters not what type of gifts, talent, or personality I have; it matters only that I take this time to cooperate with Him in my prayers. Prayer is so much more than a comforting exercise. Praying to God is talking to the creator of my very being. It is connecting with the God of the universe. God himself invites me to bring my burdens, cares and needs to him. He even invites me to come boldly in order to find mercy and grace to help in my times of need. He designed me and you to be in communication with Him. God cares about each one of us as individuals. The Bible tells us that he knows the number of hairs we each have on our head. He knows everyone who has ever wandered far from Him. You may feel sometimes like no one really knows who you are. God knows. He waits to hear your voice. You can pray because you are invited! The prayer offered in faith, believing God hears and will answer, is prayer that brings power into our lives. My heart swells with gratitude that He loves us so much that He provided this gift to all of us to come unto Him whenever and wherever we are. He is listening. ❤️

Thankful for our health. Even though both of my parents are facing big health concerns this week, they are still with us. Jared‘s MS is also a reality we face. We received some troubling news earlier this year which hit us hard, but he is doing well, and typically shows no outward signs of the disease most of the time. My children have each had their fair share of health issues as well. But one of the beauties of being young is how fast they bounce back. I’ve also had injuries and ill health. I’m still rebuilding my strength and health from a year and half ago. Today I’m extremely grateful that I’m not lying in a hospital bed on the brink of death. It’s been a long difficult road to get to where I am today, but the human body is amazing. It’s designed to heal!! Those four words give me hope. A healthy, whole, and strong body is a priority for me. I am grateful to have a body that is healing and getting healthier. I strive to increase my overall health daily. My body is a gift that I care for to the best of my ability. When you take a moment to think about all the constant processes that are occurring in your body at any given moment to keep you alive and well, it’s really quite astounding. Did you know that you take an average of 23,000 breaths per day? Or that your heart will beat over 3 billion times in your lifetime? The body is an incredible machine that needs our compassion, love and care. Often, we spend too much time hating our bodies wishing this or that was different. But hating never brings about positive healthy change. Sure, it may get results, but at what cost? It’s difficult to lose abilities and functions we once took for granted- both physically and mentally. I’m so grateful for the capacities allowed by my health – the cognitive ability to work and remember my children’s names, or the physical ability to walk up flights of stairs.There was a time I couldn’t walk at all. It’s a security knowing I can take care of myself and my family. It’s a responsibility to take the very best care of my health as I can. Some days I do great and exercise and eat really well. Some days I eat chocolate and watch Netflix. It’s all about balance! 🤣

Thankful for choices. I recently went to a conference and the speaker asked, “What role do you play in the movie of your life? What story have you been telling yourself? When you tell your story, do you emerge as the victim, survivor or hero? The Victim: Down trodden, always under the influence of someone, some problem and some force. The Survivor: Those who seek constantly to stay afloat amid unending difficulties, challenges, or disasters. The Hero: Those who have discovered the strength, skills and understanding to enjoy a rich, full life- “despite” horrific problems they never thought they would be battling; desires to help others by sharing what they have discovered.” I think I have played all three of these roles throughout my life. But the beauty is that I get to choose my part. I’m not already cast by the director. And more importantly, I’m not type-cast to always play certain roles. I have the power to choose. “It’s not so much our abilities but our choices that make the difference in life.”- Dieter F. Uchtdorf. I may not have the ability to change my circumstances but I have the power to choose how I react to those circumstances. Sometimes it takes time to get my head around everything that’s going on and get my bearings straight. To remember that yes, there is always a choice! My hands aren’t tied. I can choose. Even if what I choose isn’t ideal or what I want. I still have the power to choose it. Sometimes choosing to be still and do nothing is the hardest choice to make. Waiting for more information or inspiration. But, I’m grateful to know that I have choices, and my choices matter. I am thankful that today I have the choice to take care of my own corner of the world according to my own conscience, as long as I am acting righteously. I am thankful that the only One that I have to answer to is my Father in Heaven. I am thankful that throughout my life He teaches me that every person who was put on this earth has the power to change the world. Every day, one small act at a time, each person can ultimately make the whole world a better place, including me. Who will we choose to be today?
I’m grateful for our Young Women. Yesterday was an emotional day for our Young Women’s group. The Lord felt it was time for a change, and all of the leaders, including myself, were released. It was a tear-filled day. Being called into the YW’s program was a calling I never knew I wanted. It filled me and shaped me in ways I could never have imagined. The YW of our Ward are remarkable! ❤️ They have been born at this time for a sacred and glorious purpose. It is not by chance that they have been reserved to come to earth in this generation. They are royal daughters of the Lord in the last days. They share their light with all of those whom they meet. They share their goodness in their friendships and families. They love their families. They are loyal to them. They have a genuine concern for their peers. They help carry the loads and burdens that they see their friends endure. These YW have a positive influence in motivating others to seek out truth and goodness. They have a great impact for good by helping others see their love of their Savior, and in turn, motivate those around them through their good works, to be their best selves. These YW are modest, faithful, determined, strong, hopeful, and courageous. They know the Lord loves them and doesn’t want them to settle for less than what He wants them to be. I sit in awe at these YW who love home and family, who read and ponder the scriptures daily, and who have burning testimonies. They faithfully attend their church meetings, seminary classes, and work towards earning their Young Womanhood Recognition Awards and wear them with pride! These women are virtuous and are striving for a temple marriage. These beautiful YW perform miracles for the Lord as His hands on the earth. I truly love these YW with whom I have been blessed to serve. I have loved getting to share and be invited into their lives. We have formed true friendships, and it has been a joy and treasure to be an Advisor to them. We have grown and connected with one another, and it’s my prayer that I served in my stewardship well. To my girls, I love you! Thank you so much for the last 2 years! Its been incredible! 😘❤️(Missing: Abby, Kaitlyn, & Tirzah)

Thankful for quiet, alone time, time to reflect, time to take stock. I need peace and quiet to refuel, reconnect, and think. With all the noise in life, I need time to quiet my mind. It’s so rare for us to have to sit quietly with nothing but our thoughts. Everyone can benefit from hush and stillness. In the early morning hours, I find this quiet to be the sweetest. There are no piles of laundry. No desk full of papers. No Facebook. No one tries to talk to me. In silence I can hear my own thoughts. Silence is more than a break from the traffic of daily life. The stillness is food for my nerves. As I rest in quiet’s gentle blanket I recover from daily stress and much more. I begin the recovery from loss of myself. In all the noise I live with, I contract. I tighten up. I lose openness and joy. In silence, I’m less on survival mode and more free to smile. Smells, tastes, sights, and of course sounds grow stronger in silence. My emotions, memory, and imagination are awakened. I can breathe. Sitting for some time in its sanctuary I find a place within that is centered, whole, and a place of trust. You and I are much more than our complicated lives and personalities. If we try to be present, if we actively offer ourselves to silence’s touches, there is a new trail for us to explore. If we can just be and let the quiet lead, our busy mind can find a pure spot, a quiet place. With silence, life’s opportunities are seen differently. Our priorities begin to change. What is important and not so pressing become clearer. The heart in stillness calls us. Entering into silence is like a gentle aerobic workout, exercising our heart muscles, reaffirming the best of life. For some, silence is something feared or avoided. They have nobody to meet except themselves. Spending time in silence we may bump into our very deepest selves. For some this can be too difficult. However, I think lives would be transformed for the better if we could embrace silence and find peace with who we are. God sometimes gets our attention in big ways, but often He speaks in a gentle whisper. The Spirit has important things to tell us, are we listening? Quiet is a blessed gift. In this frantic world, I cherish every moment of it, and carve it out for myself every chance I get. I’m grateful for the gift of quiet, for the stillness of creation. It is a conscious effort to eliminate noise that distracts me, and things that are frivolous and unnecessary. To tune my attention away from shouting lies. By His grace He can help me to listen to His truth. Help me to know and hear my own voice and discover who I am and what my purposes are.

Thankful for baby steps. The years teach us much which the days never know. – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Life is a series of baby steps. Many of life’s greatest achievements are the result of little steps. A step at a time, one foot in front of the other as I learn the ways of life. Sometimes I rail against the process. I just want what I want when I want it – right now! Patience is hard to come by: we expect results now, and if we haven’t reached our goal yet, it must be because we’re not working hard enough or fast enough or we’re lazy and undisciplined. Hard work and discipline are certainly valuable traits when trying to make changes in our lives or attain important goals, however, in our impatience for results, we try to change too much at once, and expect too much of ourselves, and this impatience usually leads to frustration and failure. To ease the path, I try to celebrate every successful small step. Thinking of each as a tiny win; together, they become big wins. A philosopher once said, “He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance. One cannot fly into flying.” Sometimes even microscopic steps are the way to go. Whether baby steps or microscopic steps the steps need to be small and well-supported. If the leaps are too big, the gaps will cause bewilderment and confusion and that will lead to frustration. Patience -and persistence-in tiny doses work best. Rarely does life change miraculously; solutions don’t just show up on our doorstep. Even though I wish it would! Life is a process, a step-by-step, baby step process. When large problems loom over me I have to pull it apart, start to see it as a group of smaller issues, each requiring attention. Each is an important part of the big picture. Looking at each aspect separately. Using baby steps, I can usually create a successful plan. Tackling each issue separately allows me to make good decisions, one at a time. Achievements are not the result of a big bang. Life doesn’t happen all at once. Lives evolve and change over the years. Counting the little things and trying not to look too far ahead, helps me recognize the beauty in the small footsteps. 👣D&C 64:33

Grateful for Thanksgiving!! I am truly thankful for the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s the day we count our blessings and express our gratitude to God and others. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! It is a time I relish because I get to be around family and friends, to cook and eat food made with love, to share in meaningful conversation, and no one has to exchange gifts. Being together with loved ones is the gift, and I am grateful for it. When we view our relationships and our life through the eyes of gratitude and thankfulness, our inner world becomes a place of peace, joy, happiness and tranquility; it radiates out from our very core and influences our external reality. Think of it: Always giving thanks for everything—no matter the circumstances! Gratitude is a powerful social emotion; a deep feeling of thankfulness, one that has long reaching benefits for wellness and quality of life. In good times, and in tough times, gratitude turns out to be one of the most powerful choices we can make. Gratitude and thankfulness provides a mindset that allows us to see the good in the people who make up our lives and this vision extends to the world at large. Thankfulness puts us in a place where we truly want to give back to the world for all we have; it injects positive feelings into our relationships and allows them to expand from a place of love and abundance. As the hustle and bustle of this holiday season begins today, remember to express your thanks and gratitude to the people who make up the relationships with whom you share your life! “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.” (D&C 78:19). I hope each of you have a Happy and blessed Thanksgiving!!❤️ 🥧🍗

Thankful for peace. So many of us struggle with trying to find peace (and maintain it) in our lives. Peace is not being asleep or being numb. It’s the opposite. It’s a state of heightened aliveness, when we become more conscious rather than less, and this requires an awareness of the kinds of thoughts that habitually go through our mind. Many people think of happiness as a goal, something you’re working toward that will eventually make you feel good or at peace with your life. However, happiness isn’t peace. Happiness is actually quite superficial, whereas peace is deeper. Peace is immune to the polarities of life: the highs and lows, the hots and colds, the so-called goods and so-called bads. This is why peace is so crucial. Nobody goes through life without encountering all these experiences, inspiring or upsetting. When someone close to you dies or you have a health problem or you lose our possessions, you probably can’t feel happy. Nobody could. When you have peace you’ll have a calm that is not affected by whatever happens, because you have an acceptance and understanding of whatever happens. There have been times when I’ve needed the peace of God–that type that surpasses all understanding. And there’ve been days when no matter how hard I cry, how much time I spend on my knees, how many miles I walk while pacing my cage–peace seems far from me. But It. Does. Come. When I struggle, I continue to pray for peace, and I also remind myself of the times before when He’s replaced the incessant warring in my mind with harmony and composure. Sometimes it takes minutes. Sometimes it takes hours. Sometimes it takes days. I keep praying and crying out to Him–and sometimes just plain crying. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 Another truth to remember when our search for peace seems daunting is that He is able. His Word says that He is able to supply our needs (note that it doesn’t say our wants). Maybe you’re unable to experience peace today because you’re in need of something that seems so unattainable, so far beyond anything anyone can do. But, with God all things are possible. Whatever it is that’s weighing heavy on your mind and heart, whatever it is that has caused you to doubt His plan, whatever it is that has allowed the enemy to take hold of your mind and steal your peace, take it to Him in prayer. Earnestly pour out your heart to Him. Trust that He knows your every need and is able to deliver you, comfort you, and provide for you in a way that no other can. Feeling peaceful doesn’t mean your life is perfect. Believe in yourself. Let go of self-doubt and what-if. Feel the positive energy around you. Feel the presence of those you’ve lost. Be open-minded Recognize the love of those currently in your life. Live in the moment. Know that you can abide in His peace. ❤️

Thankful for love. ❤️ Love is a feeling. Love is an action. Love is an attachment. Love is a choice. Choosing to love someone with our whole heart takes sacrifice and maturity. It also requires vulnerability. We were created to love and be loved. I cannot comprehend the depths and vastness of God’s love. I can’t understand why He blesses us more than all we can ask or imagine, but He does. My favorite bible verse says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 💖 (1 John 4:7) We can never love as much as the Father loves us, but we can try to reach that level of ultimate love here on Earth. Choosing to love someone means we understand that they will have faults. A true humble love is the type of love God had in mind for us. Choosing to truly love someone is not an easy task. It involves taking a look at our own life and seeing what changes we need to make to help each other. It requires motivation and a kind heart. It takes time. Time to know one another, time to know their imperfections and virtues, and time to accept them as they are. To meet them where they are. Love is not something to gain impulsively or to throw away at the first sign of a problem. True love must be stronger than that. Choosing to love means choosing to grow with another person. When we love another person, we are going through the journey of life with them. We have to be patient, and most of all understanding. It may test us, and it may require changes, but in the end, we will find it is worth everything. Love is the most important thing we can share with someone whether it be here on Earth or with God. When I feel the love of my Heavenly Father, my husband, my children, and my family and friends, I feel more courageous, strengthened, understood, beautiful, peaceful, trusting, known, and safe. 

To love and be loved is the greatest blessing I could ever experience. 💞💖

Thankful for miracles. Used to, when I’d think of a miracle, the words that come to mind were – unimaginable, stunning, fast, mind-blowing, unbelievable, happy, unnatural, mysterious, and extraordinary! Among these words, in my opinion, a key one was ‘fast’. A miracle has to happen suddenly and fast. Then only will it be ‘unbelievable’, ‘extraordinary’, ‘mysterious’ and ‘unimaginable’. Speed is of essence here! Occasionally, God works in an instant. But this, I’m learning, is the exception. This does not mean that God is not at work. Usually, He works over a long period of time. This doesn’t make it any less miraculous, but it is certainly less dramatic. We tend to see and feel only what’s in front of us, but God’s perspective is vaster than we could ever imagine. Because of this, His perfect timing can feel agonizingly slow to people (me) who are looking for immediate relief. THAT is the beauty of God’s miracles. He is no show-off. He executes most of His miracles in a very ‘natural’ manner at the right time. Just because something ‘seems natural’ doesn’t make it any less miraculous, but perhaps it is less sensational. But when it comes, it is just as sweet and beautiful. Whether it is done in eight minutes or eight years, it still remains God’s handiwork. He is not obsessed with speed! If the Lord chooses to revive a heart that has stopped beating and to restore a brain that has stopped functioning, that is a testament to His grace. If He chooses to heal cancer through anointing with oil and prayer, that is a beautiful display of His power. But these miracles pale in comparison to what He does when He brings the spiritually dead to life, when he takes a rebel and transforms him/her in the deepest way possible. This is the one miracle that, unmistakably, gives glory to God alone. I have no doubt that the Lord is able to work in miraculous ways today, and that he does work in miraculous ways. I pray for miracles nearly every day. As I look back to just one year ago today, I see I am a miracle. It has been difficult for me to see the changes day to day. They are so small and imperceptible at times. But adding the minutes, days, weeks, and months together, I can see how far I’ve come. I’m able to do things that once terrified me. I’m making progress. I’ve wished, begged, hoped, and prayed for God to speed up this process, to heal me with the snap of His finger, but that isn’t what He sees is best for me. My miracles come in moments over time. I have to be ready and willing to allow Him to show me all that I need to see. I keep my heart, my soul, and my spirit open to miracles. Each day is a new opportunity for Him to perform His work within me. Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.”

Thankful for my hands. (This one is hard for me.) It is such a strange thing to have something that functions perfectly and properly yet I’m not able to use them the way I wish. I’m sure it’s hard to imagine what life would look like without being able to use your hands. What it would feel like to not hold your children – to not be able to touch – to not hold your spouse’s hand – to not be able to play games and participate in activities – to not be able to open doors – to not be able to reach out to someone in need by placing your hand on theirs. But this is what I face. We use our hands constantly, every day, for everything! We don’t even realize how often we use them until we are unable. We use our hands to lift, carry, hold, create, embrace, work, connect, greet, touch, serve, and so much more. Slowly, I’m finding my way back through with the Lord’s guiding hand, but I’m not the same. Nothing is ever really the same after God touches it. It’s better…I hope I’m better for it. What I can do, is lift my guilty hands – lift the shame – lift my imperfections – lift my doubt – lift my pain – lift my insecurities – lift my sadness and allow God to turn my sometimes-shaky hands into Holy hands. Christ can glove my hands in His grace and righteousness. He has the power to place in my hands HIS mighty work if I keep them open and facing up ready to do His will. All He asks is that I open my hands and give it all to Him. Even though all I want to do is clench them tight and hide them. But if I loosen my grip, and allow Him to place His hand in mine, He gladly takes these burdens from me. God loves me and He tenderly holds my life in His hands. But even more so than my own hands – I’m thankful for Jesus Christ who allowed the nails to pierce His hands for me. His scarred hands are what makes my hands so beautiful and unique. But my hands – my works alone – cannot save me. So today I’m thankful for the way that Christ has entrusted my hands to do His work however timid and trepidatious it may be. When I feel that the world is caving in and my tears of hopelessness are just about to fall, I look down at my hands. I stretch my fingers and I start to count … my blessings.

Thankful for forgiveness. We hear that voice in our head telling us how worthless we are because of the things we have done to hurt other people. How much of a failure we are for continuing to make choices for our life that bring guilt and shame. These adjectives would never come from the lips of our Father in Heaven. These are the whispers of the adversary. Failure to forgive ourselves can be every bit as lethal as failure of forgiving God or failure in forgiving others. It can also be the MOST DIFFICULT. Forgiveness is about setting the offensive behavior and all of the emotions associated with it in front of the Father of Lights (James 1:17). Darkness literally cannot exist in the presence of light. Unforgiveness is a form of negative pride. Unforgiveness tends to cause us to want to “punish ourselves” further, as if the shame and guilt that come from the event that caused us to feel bitterness towards ourselves wasn’t punishment enough. When we forgive ourselves, it does not justify what we have done; it does not condone or excuse our sin. But, we cannot forgive and love others without fully forgiving and loving ourselves. When Christ died on the cross, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). No further payment is required. How we feel has nothing to do with the reality of what He accomplished for us. Perhaps the failure to live up to our own expectations is what causes us to berate ourselves. However, when we are so disappointed that we can’t forgive ourselves, we’ve set up a standard based on performance. The Lord gives only one qualification for receiving His forgiveness: faith in Christ. To say, “What I did was so bad that I cannot forgive myself,” is to live under law, not under grace. God’s forgiveness is not given on the basis of a rating system for sins, and ours shouldn’t be either. Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength.The Gospel tells me that my heart was once as black as night and that my eyes were veiled so that I could not understand the truth. And yet God rescued me, not because of any inherent value in me, but because of His great love and mercy! And this is why I’m thankful!

 Thankful for my Heavenly Father and Savior. I love my Savior. There are some people who want a warm and fuzzy Jesus. Someone who overlooks sin and makes them feel good about themselves. Others want a table-turning legalistic Jesus, who helps them justify their self-righteous angry outbursts and agrees with their judgment of “real” sinners. Some people want a Jesus who will make them happy and prosperous. And others want a Jesus who agrees with them politically. Who is Jesus? More important…Who is Jesus to you? My heart’s desire is to really know Jesus. Not who I want Him to be or believe He should be but who He is – the God in flesh Savior I so desperately need. I’ve been guilty at times of making Jesus too small or molded my thoughts of Him into what I wanted or thought I needed at the time. God and I have had several talks about it. I’ve confessed and repented of my selfish foolishness. I also know I will never make Jesus big enough this side of heaven. I can’t possibly understand the One who is the creator of everything, needs nothing, and loves everyone. The One who hates sin so much He died to rescue us from its death sentence consequence. The God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and present everywhere and the man who put on flesh – to save a lost creation. Fully God and fully man. The ‘I AM.” The more I learn about Jesus, the less qualified I feel to talk about Him. Yet telling people about Jesus brings me joy. So, I will stumble over my words and insufficiently point to Him because I have to tell people about all He has done in my life. He is removing my fear and replacing it with courage, strength, peace, and contentment. He has given me hope, shown me love, and blessed me in countless ways. He served and loved and blessed and forgave and saved and uplifted and purified and sanctified like no one else. He also sacrificed in a way that none of us could possibly comprehend. He did it because He loves you and He loves me. His love is unconditional and does not discriminate. He loves each of us no matter what. I am certain that, as impossible as it seems, the Savior of the world knows each of us individually and chose to pay the ultimate price and die for each of us so that we may be eternally blessed. I come up short all the time. Every single day I make more mistakes than I can count. And yet – because of Him – I can repent again and again. I can keep trying without losing hope. There is never, ever a reason to lose hope. Because of Him and because He lives. This is what I know for sure: Jesus wants to be a part of our life. He’s already done His part. Our part is to seek for Him, invite Him to be a central part of our life, and look to Him in all that we do. Not because we have a chance at being perfect in this life. That’s not the plan. But through Him and because of Him, we can change. We can progress. We can let go of anger and sorrow and grief and hurt. We can forgive. We must forgive if we want to be forgiven. We can be challenged to the core and experience the deepest trials, and yet still feel joy. Because of Him and because He lives. He lives! With all of my heart, I know that Jesus Christ lives. I have gained a testimony of the Savior through my own seeking, my own study of the scriptures, my own desire to know, and through personal prayer. For me, part of cultivating a good life is acknowledging my Savior as the ultimate source of peace and comfort. I am nothing without Him. And yet, as I continue to look to Him as the ultimate perfect example, my potential — and your potential — is far greater than we realize. I am so grateful to know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. As my testimony in Him has grown, my love for Him, for Heavenly Father, for myself, for my family, and for my fellow brothers and sisters has grown. I know that He pleads my cause, I know that He loves me, I know that he rushes to comfort and support me. I know that it is because of Him I am able to receive blessings from Heavenly Father – including the potential blessing of eternal life. I’m not always righteous or perfect. In fact, I’ve made many mistakes. However, I know that the Lord fills in my gaps, helps my unbelief, and heals me. I know that everything He has done was so that Heavenly Father’s work and glory could be fulfilled. I know that Christ bridges the gap that exists between Heavenly Father and all of mankind. I am so grateful for this knowledge, and I hope to always grow in my testimony of the Savior. I love Him. Just get to know Jesus. Not who you want Him to be or who other people say He is. Get to know Him through the power of the Spirit as you study the Word. Because, the more you get to know Him, the more thankful you will be for Him. He is my comforter, healer, counselor, support, guide and friend. He’s waiting to be yours too! ❤️❤️❤️

Thankful for Gratitude. “One of them came back to Jesus, shouting, ‘Glory to God, I’m healed!’ He fell flat on the ground in front of Jesus, face downward in the dust, thanking Him for what He had done…Jesus asked, ‘Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the nine?’” (Luke 17:15-17). I have often thought about how exciting it will be when we get to heaven and our eyes will be opened to all the miracles God did for us – most of which we were unaware of. We will also come to realize how many times we rationalized away many of the miracles…like the nine lepers who were healed. The cartoon character, Charlie Brown, gave several suggestions as to why the nine lepers never returned to Jesus to give thanks. They reveal a whole lot about human nature:

One man waited to see if the cure was real.
One waited to see if it would last.
One said he would see Jesus later.
One decided that he had never really had leprosy.
One said he would have gotten well anyway.
One gave the glory to the priests.
One said, “O, well, Jesus didn’t really do anything.”
One said, “Any rabbi could have done it.”
One said, “I was already much improved.”
Think about it- are we thanking God for all He has done and is doing for us? Or are we, like the lepers, rationalizing away God’s miracles? Miracles of providence, healing and transformation abound in our lives when we become truly grateful souls on three levels. On the level of thought, we acknowledge all things, little or big, as coming from God as a gift to us. On the level of words, we express our gratitude by words of thanks. On the level of action, we place these gifts back in God’s hands by using them the way that He would want us to make use of them and not as we like to use them. I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to share some of the things I’ve been thankful for this month. Thank you to all of you who have read them and left such kind comments.Your responses mean so much to me!❤️❤️

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