Something that I always loved about taking dance classes growing up was how our dance teacher introduced Gratitude month each November. We all made our own gratitude journals and at the beginning of each class there were always inspiring quotes for us to write down and exercises for us to do to relating to Gratitude. That was something I loved very much! I realized how much happier I was when I was grateful for all of the good around me, and it helped me to look for the good as well. I became more aware of all of the blessings that I was receiving, and I think that it is important to recognize our blessings and thank our Heavenly Father for them, even the little ones. I know that having a grateful heart brings happiness into our lives!
So I'm going to try a little harder this month to recognize all that I'm blessed with and to show my gratitude more often. For starters...Here are some pictures of a little blessing that occurred just a few weeks ago. Nate and I both had Saturday off and we got to sleep in (Divine!). When we woke up we both noticed that there was a sliver of sunshine sneaking into our room and it just so happened to spotlight one of my willow tree figurines. It was beautiful really! Especially because I wasn't having the best week that week, and I'm pretty sure I was homesick and everything else. But things started to look up when Nate and I both noticed how cool it was that the figurine that was being spotlighted was called "Happiness...Free to sing, laugh, dance, create!" As simple as this was it was a blessing to me and it made me happy!
I was immediately reminded of a talk given by President Uchtdorf in the General Relief Society meeting called "Happiness, Your Heritage." Here are some highlights from the talk that were encouraging and comforting to me:
- I would like to speak about two principles that may help you find a path to peace, hope, and joy—even during times of trial and distress. I want to speak about God’s happiness and how each one of us can taste of it in spite of the burdens that beset us.
- Heavenly Father is able to accomplish these two great goals—the immortality and eternal life of man—because He is a God of creation and compassion. Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate.
- But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fullness of joy.Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.
- Try to see how many smiles you can create
- The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.
- As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.
- the words of James Barrie, the author of Peter Pan: “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”
- In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers.
My dear sisters, I have a simple faith. I believe that as you are faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, as you draw closer to Him in faith, hope, and charity, things will work together for your good.I believe that as you immerse yourselves in the work of our Father—as you create beauty and as you are compassionate to others—God will encircle you in the arms of His love. Discouragement, inadequacy, and weariness will give way to a life of meaning, grace, and fulfillment.
As spirit daughters of our Heavenly Father, happiness is your heritage.
You are choice daughters of our Heavenly Father, and through the things you create and by your compassionate service, you are a great power for good. You will make the world a better place. Lift up your chin; walk tall. God loves you. We love and admire you.
Of this I testify, and leave you my blessing as an Apostle of the Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.