Friday, November 15, 2013

Feeling Rich and Being Grateful for Fleas

My daughter has a book from the library called George Washington's Mother.  It is an easy reader biography and it has a simple theme:  Washington's mother always felt poor.  She felt this way despite the fact that she was always plenty cared for by her children and relatives.  Part of the reason for this was that she was born fairly well-to-do and then married a rather rich man, but when he died she was left in a less prosperous position.  Regardless, it was her attitude that caused her to feel like she was "in want."

This got me thinking about my favorite kind of gratitude list:  Things That Make Me Feel Rich.  The fact is that when we have an attitude of gratitude as Pres. Monson teaches, we can feel rich no matter what our financial and material situation may be.  It's all about recognizing the richness of the blessings we receive.

So here are some things that make me feel rich:

My library card
A pantry full of food
Fresh fruit and veggies
Free online learning resources
My beautiful girls
Being pregnant
My comfy bed
Having a heated apartment
My hair
Homemade bread
Watching my daughters dance to music
The ability to choose what I will do with my day

This is my short list.  I could go on and on but many of my other items might require some explanation.  The point is to feel grateful for those things in your life which make you feel richly blessed.

One additional thought I had about gratitude as I was contemplating Thanksgiving coming up was how important it is for us to take the difficult things in our life and find those things associated with them that we can be thankful for -- the silver lining -- the blessing in the trial.

This concept is well illustrated in the book The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.  She and her sister are taken to a concentration camp where their beds and huts are infested with fleas.  Corrie, understandably, detests the fleas.  But in a prayer, her sister Betsie thanks God for the fleas because they keep the guards from entering their barracks which allows them greater freedom to do their work and to worship God.

I need to be better about thanking God for the "fleas" in my life.  I think this is a healthy exercise for everyone.

I'm grateful for Autumn and all the beautiful colors.  I normally struggle to appreciate it because it tends to feel so melancholy and even depressing at times, but I really am grateful for the changes in the temperature and the beauty of the season.  I'm even grateful for rainy days or sick days, because they allow me extra time to snuggle my girls at home and read.

I would share more, but many of these types of trials and blessings are just too private to share.  I hope you will take the time to consider for yourself what your "fleas" are and what blessings you receive because of them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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