Monday, October 14, 2013


Little Possum made me a cartoon once.... I don't know where it went to, maybe in one of my journals? It featured a superhero called "Gratidude". Said 'Thank you' a lot..... awesome. Gratitude would be a great superpower. Although....... when I think of 'gratitude' I think of other words like
'humility', 'faith', 'submissive', 'meek'....   not words that seem to fit with the image of a superhero.

A little over a year ago, in preparation for a lesson on Gratitude to the Young Women (12-17 year old girls at church), the YW presidency started keeping gratitude journals. The challenge was to write down at least 3 things each day that we were grateful for, blessings that we had noticed, ways that we had noticed the Lord's hand in our day.

This has been such a blessing to me. I have missed a few days, and there were a couple of days where all I could think of was how grateful the day was at an end.  (I'm sure on those days I could have found something had I looked harder!). There are many times when I have expressed gratitude for the challenge of keeping this journal because it made me sit down and review my day, and it made me more aware during the day because I was looking more actively for things that I could write about in the evening.

When I've read back in the journal I noticed patterns emerging. I noticed that the periods where I had missed days were also days I could recognise as a spiritual trough, a period where I had not studied the scriptures daily or prayed as earnestly (some days, not at all) as I should. Humility and faith bring gratitude which brings humility and faith.

I noticed that the periods where I had been diligent in noticing blessings and had given thanks for them were times where I had been blessed with an increased awareness of the promptings of the Spirit in general. These were also days when I was generally more patient, more kind and contented. (My kids like those days!)

Lastly I noticed that the things I expressed gratitude for ranged widely.... from 'chocolate' to eternal principles and blessings. I figured I should give thanks for all things! But lately I have thought a little more about the phrase "all things".

D&C 59:7 "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things",
D&C 78:19 "And he who receiveth  all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious"

I have thought about the pioneers. I have thought about the blessings that come from adversity. I have thought about the ability to find things to be grateful for in times of adversity and the importance of being grateful for the adversity itself. It is in our extremities we come to know God. Although my recent injury affects my extremity (har-de-ha), the challenging days I have now can hardly be described as an extremity........ but I am still grateful for the time for reflection it has given me! A blessing indeed.

My goal is to be able to always be grateful in the midst of a trial, and not just after it is over

 "To express gratitude is gracious and honourable,
To enact gratitude is generous and noble,
but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven"
President Thomas S Monson

For our FHE tonight everyone was given 5 minutes to write down a blessing or something they are grateful for.... one for every letter of the alphabet. (Q, X and Z were tricky.....)

Psalms 118:24
"This is the day which the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it"


Thursday, October 10, 2013


We have a wonderful Relief Society presidency in our ward, their love and concern for the sisters is amazing. The latest emphasis is to help us in our Visiting Teaching. The principle is simple - We need to love our sisters more, and we develop that love by getting to know each other. As we come to know each other we will care for each other more. To help us, they will issue us a challenge every month. For October the challenge is to ask our sisters

 "If you had an afternoon to yourself, how would you spend it?"

I love this question. Our sisters are at different stages in their lives, but they are all busy women. I am sure that an afternoon all to themselves would be lovely! But there is a deeper question there which I have pondered myself.
5 weeks ago I injured my ankle, and then developed a blood clot in my calf which set recovery back a little. I have spent a lot of time confined to the sofa which (as per the kids) became "Mummy Command Centre" or "Mummy HQ". I had my phone, iPad, laptop, scriptures, journal, stationery, books, woolbasket and more all around me. I have to admit I spent a lot of time floating aimlessly between email, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media until one day I sat pondering the issue of "time". I had been thinking about adversity and trials, reflecting on Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail and the Lord's admonition to "endure well" (D&C 121:7-8).

Enduring vs enduring well. 

The thought struck me that I was not enduring well. I was certainly cheerful and filled with faith in my recovery, but I was not enduring well. I was passing time. I was not actively seeking to learn from my time of relative adversity.

I realised that trials or tests of faith can come in many forms, and that one of the biggest tests I was facing was simply in how I spend my time during this period where I had no specific demands for it/me. I couldn't do cooking, cleaning, school run, work, shopping or any of the other many tasks that would normally occupy my day. My time was completely unstructured and at my disposal during the day. So, how was I choosing to spend it? The question went right to the core, to my priorities. I saw that there were still lessons for me to learn and truths to ponder. There were things that I could do to serve, to lift, to love even from my sofa. There is nothing inherently wrong with spending time on social media, but if I am reaching out for entertainment before reaching out to the Lord or to others, then my priorities could do with a little tweaking. 

" We are responsible for our own actions and accountable to God for what we choose to do with our lives. Life is God’s gift to us, and what we do with it is our gift to Him". - Elaine Cannon "Agency and Accountability" GC Oct 1983