Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giving Thanks

This started out as a much longer post detailing the highlights from my Thanksgiving break. Then I decided I should be more concise, and just list some things I'm grateful for.

- I'm really grateful for my roommates. We're all really good friends, and we tolerate, support, love, and teach each other in turn. Mostly we love each other :) I'm glad that on days when I'm stressed, or times when I'm either excited or disappointed about guys, my roommates will be patient and let me gush for a bit. We all do so much for each other; our apartment is really a haven of love and security.

- Naturally, I'm exceedingly grateful for my family. It's a little harder to stay as close to them when we live so far away, but I love them just as much and appreciate them more than ever. My parents have set a beautiful example for me in how to live my life, make a positive contribution, and reach out to others. My siblings have been wonderful friends and teachers in their own way; I appreciate each one of them for the uniqueness they offer and the privilege I have to call them my family. The same goes to my extended family.

- I'm grateful to be at my current university - I'm grateful for the friendly atmosphere, for the people I've been fortunate to meet, for all the variety in educational opportunities, and the chance it's giving me to grow up and become more of who I want to be. I learn so much more here outside the classroom than in it, and that's no small feat. Being here has been a huge blessing.

- I'm grateful for talents and interests. It's something that's always changing and developing. It's fun to be able to take enjoyment, fulfillment and pride out of being able to do or value something. I think it's cool that Heavenly Father has given each of us different strengths, because then we can uplift each other in different ways, and everyone is benefited by it. If we didn't have things we were better at and things we're not as good at, it would all be a lifeless, boring monotony. For my part, some things I love are dancing, nature, good food, fantastic company, and beauty wherever it is found.

- I'm grateful for Jesus Christ, and our Father in Heaven. Of all the blessings I've been given, this one trumps all, because it makes all the others possible. Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I can see my Heavenly Father again, and I have a hope and a way to live with Him again. Without Christ - His mission and Atonement - all would be fallen and lost. I will forever be indebted to Him for His selfless sacrifice made in love. He gives me blessings every day, and strengthens me when I am weak. When I get down on myself, He whispers to my heart and memory, "I love you. Look up - it's okay. Move forward! I am with you; you aren't alone. We can do it." He never gives up on me, even when I get distracted and falter. I trust Him; His promises are sure.

Paying attention to what you have and giving thanks for it is really important. There's many more things I could list, but they basically come down to these.

My home teachers (a couple guys who are assigned to visit with me at least once a month and assist me when I need help) had this to add about gratitude. Being thankful is good. It's even better to take the talents you've been given (Matthew 25) and multiply them by giving back. How exactly I'm going to do that through my life will be an involved process, but it's one that I'm going to do in order to bring my gratitude full circle (Doctrine and Covenants 42:38; Matthew 25:34-40). Being grateful = being happy.

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