Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Are You Grateful For?

by Stephanie Black

When I was a kid, there was a sister in our ward who was not a particularly happy person. You know how when you’re sitting next to someone at church and sharing a hymnbook, and you both hold a side? Well, this sister felt that when she shared a hymnbook, she always got the heavy side.

Huh? What could be more random than which side of the hymnbook you’re holding? To me, this story is a perfect illustration of the fact that if you're looking for something to be unhappy about—looking to be offended, looking for something to complain about, looking for ways to prove that the universe has done you wrong—you’ll find something. On the other hand, if you’re looking for things to be grateful for, looking for the tender mercies of the Lord in your life, you’ll find those, in abundance.

Over the past few weeks, my family has been e-mailing a “gratitude list” back and forth, where people list things they are grateful for. A few of the items that have made the list are:

Online bill paying
hot showers
the First Vision
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Anna singing in the shower
The Book of Mormon
The right to vote
BYU football
Chocolate cake donuts
Emergency C-sections that save babies
Digital photography
A good husband
Bike rides
Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches
Parents who taught us the gospel
Contact lenses
Children’s giggles
The internet
Warm banana bread
The kindness of others
Central heating
People who serve in the military
Candy cane Hershey’s kisses

Obviously, some of these items are huge in the huge eternal sense and others are very small. Does it really make a difference to our happiness whether or not we’re grateful for things like Candy Cane Hershey’s kisses?

I think it does.

I think there are few things that make more of a powerful, immediate difference to our happiness than having gratitude for even the tiny things in life. Instead of going through life getting the heavy side of the hymnbook, we’ll feel blessed beyond measure when we start counting our blessings and realize the list goes on and on and on.

In Doctrine and Covenants 59:7, we’re commanded to thank the Lord in all things. I think one of the reasons the Lord gave us this commandment is because He knows how happy gratitude makes us and how unhappy ingratitude makes us. And He wants us to be happy.

So today I’m following the example of a dear friend of mine and am inviting all of you to post in the comment trail a few things that you're grateful for, big or small.

I should go throw some laundry in, so let me just say I am grateful for my washer and dryer. How amazingly convenient is it to be able to throw a load of dirty clothes in a machine and have them come out clean? Awesome!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!


At 11/26/2008 2:20 PM, Anonymous mean aunt said...

--the ability to listen to beautiful music anytime, anywhere

--Thanksgiving food


--and of course the big things like family, gospel and the internet ;)

At 11/26/2008 2:44 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

Although your family's list is pretty comprehensive, I'd like to add Netflix to the list of tender mercies, since I live 20 miles from the nearest theatre, and it only has 6 screens.

At 11/26/2008 2:59 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

MP3s ;)

Awesome Authors! (this includes you)

Red Delicious apples

Russell Stover Sugar-Free* candies

Remember, the glass isn't half-empty or half-full, it's just twice as big as it needs to be!

* Mmm, sugar alcohol.

At 11/26/2008 3:03 PM, Blogger Kelsi Rose said...

A roof over my head
My puppy dog
A nephew who puts himself in timeout
Charlie the Unicorn

I could go on, but I think I will stop due to the randomness of the subjects popping into my head.

At 11/26/2008 3:46 PM, Blogger bobtheenchantedone said...

Books, contacts, Pixar, my dad's job at BYU, and my talents.

Man, I would be so bored without my talents...

At 11/26/2008 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my pets

At 11/26/2008 7:10 PM, Blogger Janet said...

The ability to see and read is big on my list!

And I totally agree about even being grateful for the small random things. Spend a day expressing thanks in your head for everything you're grateful for as it comes a long, either big or small and by the end of the day you will find you are so much happier than when you began. It's what I do every time I start to feel down or depressed and it works wonders! Thanks Stephanie.

At 11/26/2008 7:35 PM, Blogger Charlie Moore said...

Stephanie, I like this:

Small: Oysters (just about any preparation) especially oyster stew.

Big: A loving Heavenly Father and His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice for all of us. And my eternal companion, Teresa.

Charlie Moore

At 11/26/2008 11:49 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

All of the above and :
indoor plumbing
Kitchen-Aid mixer
emery boards
my car
hand cream
my editor
people who buy my books
my bed
my house is paid for
Lazyboy recliner

You get the idea. I could go on and on.

At 11/27/2008 12:34 AM, Anonymous Crystal Liechty said...

Oh so many things. Let me see...

-My little boy and how hard he laughs at my jokes
-My husband, who gets up early with the baby so I can sleep in a little longer
-My sisters who know me so well they finish all my sentences
-Romantic comedies
-Good books
-Turkey and mashed potatoes
-My sweet, loyal dog, Vern
-The power of forigiveness
-Warm blankets

At 11/28/2008 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a U. of U. fan, I'm thankful for Max Hall :)

At 11/29/2008 11:11 PM, Blogger penb said...

I would add to your washer and dryer a dishwasher, whoever invented that will get a big kiss on the cheek from me when I meet them. But the most thankful thing I can say is family, its one of the only things you can take to heaven.

At 12/01/2008 4:33 PM, Anonymous Steven O'Dell said...

I am currently very grateful for the inspiration the Lord is giving me to write (to be an instrument in His hands is more accurate) some very powerful short stories that He clearly wants written. I am certain I could not do this without His input, for when I read them I get a tear in my eye and when I write them, I have no idea where it is going until it is done--it is like taking dictation. BUt they are always powerful. Thank you, Father.

At 12/01/2008 6:29 PM, Blogger Julie Wright said...

*Dance dance revolution to play with my kids
*publishers who like me :)
*readers who like me:)
*a husband who loves me and puts up with me when publishers and readers don't like me :)


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