Let Gratitude Enable Your Ability to Soar!

TriumphI am always saddened by others who habitually feel sorry for themselves…not because they usually don’t have good reasons for their “blues” but because my experience has taught me that their lives would significantly improve just by taking the time to recognize their blessings. No matter how difficult our lives are, I know that we each are blessed! I believe that searching for and recognizing our blessings enables us to feel the strength of God with us more abundantly… that in itself is a wonderful blessing!

I hope you will enjoy today’s inspiring story!:

The Peace of ‘Enough’ During the Holidays

During this season of bounty, how should we define “enough?” Is there such a thing as enough love? Enough laughter? Enough money? Enough calm?

At first glance, we might be tempted to say, no—those positive things can never be truly fulfilled or completed to the point where we would say, “enough.” But if we reflect more deeply, we can imagine important boundaries that each one of those calls for in a positive, meaningful life.

Believing we can be loved “enough” means trusting the love in our lives rather than always feeling the need to chase or question it.

Laughing with deep, authentic joy is neither possible nor helpful to attempt all the time. Without “enough” laughter, we’d crowd out our other emotions, including the smiles that come from quiet joy more than giggles or guffaws.

While we all strive to better ourselves financially, finding contentment in the resources we have is an important part of living positively. If you still question the idea of “enough” money, just ask lottery winners, whose windfalls are found in multiple scientific studies not to affect overall senses of wellbeing.

Cultivating calm is a lifelong pursuit, but if we never feel calm “enough,” we will never find the motivation to act, to move or to assert ourselves in ways that free us to explore new possibilities for our lives.

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, strikes me as the perfect opportunity to reflect on the balance between “bounty” and “enough,” both in the contexts of the delicious Thanksgiving foods that we look forward to all year long and the emotional surge many of us experience during the holiday season.

As we tuck into our leftovers today, let’s remember to be grateful for their delicious gifts, but also for the deep peace that comes from knowing how to experience the feeling of being satisfied—knowing how and when to say “enough.”

Today’s story was written by Holly Lebowitz Ross and is shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/life-advice/the-peace-of-enough-during-the-holidays

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The Work of Being Happy

No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse Jeffrey R. Holland

Working at being happy takes some understanding and sometimes some simplification of our lives. It is best accomplished through being unselfish and caring more about the needs of those you love than about your own selfish desires. Have you ever noticed how miserable some celebrities are? There is a reason. There is no happiness in being a diva, and constantly being served. There is, however, happiness in serving and loving others.

Couch potatoes are rarely happy either. Again, there is a good reason, we are meant to be productive, hard-working individuals and our bodies were made to move! There may be a few highs involved with being a couch potato who has developed some gaming skills but there will not be long-term happiness and joy.

What about those difficult times that we all have? Some almost constantly? We can’t make all difficult circumstances go away but we can change our attitude and the way we address those difficult times. I remember not too long ago, a friend relating to me all of the difficult trials that had recently been a part of her life and then she added that she had met an individual at the hospital that made what she was going through look like a cake walk. Her point to me was that no matter how hard and how bad her life seemed at times, the Lord had reminded her of how much worse it could be and how many blessings were present in her life despite the difficulties.

Long term happiness is not to be found in short term thrills. Tried and true happiness is found in aligning ourselves with the Lord. It is He who knows us best and who knows exactly how to bring joy and happiness into our lives. For me, it is being a part of my family and something bigger than myself. For you, it might be holding a crack baby, watching after grandchildren, or playing with your child. Happiness does not come packaged in difficult to open gift boxes, it comes through loving and being loved.

Today, I am sharing another excerpt from the article by Jeffrey R. Holland called the The Gospel Plan of Happiness. I will share the last excerpt from his article on Monday. I hope you will read it and enjoy the inspired words that Jeffrey R. Holland shares! Have a wonderful weekend and choose to be happy!

Work At It

Here is one last suggestion when there are so many others we should consider. Nephi said that in an effort to find happiness in their new land after their 30 years of trouble, “I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands” (2 Nephi 5:17). By contrast, those from whom they fled became “an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety” (2 Nephi 5:24).

If you want to be happy in school or on a mission or at a job or in a marriage—work at it. Learn to work. Serve diligently. Don’t be idle and mischievous. A homespun definition of Christlike character might be the integrity to do the right thing at the right time in the right way. Don’t be idle. Don’t be wasteful. “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). Be industrious and labor, including laboring for and serving others—one of the truly great keys to true happiness.

Now, let me close by citing Alma’s straightforward counsel to Corianton. With all the encouragement a father would want to give a son or daughter, he said that in the Resurrection the faithful are raised to a state of “endless happiness” wherein they “inherit the kingdom of God” (Alma 41:4). At that time, he added, we will be “raised to happiness according to [our] desires of happiness” (Alma 41:5). But he also sternly cautioned: “Do not suppose … that [without repentance] ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10; emphasis added).

Sin is the antithesis of “living after the manner of happiness.” Indeed, those who believe otherwise, Alma says, “are without God in the world, and … have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness” (Alma 41:11).

Excerpt of article by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled The Gospel Plan of Happiness was shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

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True Wealth…Do You Have It?

True Wealth – do you have it?  When you make an assessment of your life – is your bank account wealthy but your relationship account poor? Have you ever noticed how miserable some of the very wealthiest people are?

When my father died, I came to know how truly wealthy he was. His bank accounts weren’t overflowing with wealth but his relationship accounts were. It seemed that everyone who knew him had a story to tell about him helping them or how much they valued his friendship. My dad was the kind of person his friends knew they could count on.

My dad rarely stepped inside of a church because of feelings of inadequacy and yet the leader of the congregation that my dad belonged (whom you would think would have not known him due to poor church attendance) knew him well, claimed that my dad was a truly treasured friend, and shared nothing but praise for the many times he had witnessed my father serve him and others.

My dad left nothing in his will for his grandchildren or great grandchildren but he left a treasure trove of precious memories. Whether it was dad helping my oldest daughter as a child feed my dad’s lame calf, inviting everyone out to sled in his fields or his frequent calls to meet him while he was in town for an ice cream cone – my family knew my dad’s love for them. Even in his last months of ill health, my dad was a frequent provider of his infamous piggy back rides.

A friend remarked to me after my dad’s funeral that he hoped that he was remembered as fondly at his funeral as my dad was at his. I think that my friend realized how truly wealthy my dad was. Wealth like the kind my dad had is truly priceless.

Today, I share a story that I think speaks to the importance of acquiring people wealth. I hope you enjoy!:

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”

Reflection:

Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the “axe”. In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever.

Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay “sharp”? There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our Creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read etc.

We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don’t take the time to sharpen the “axe”, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness.

Author: Stephen Covey
From: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Story shared from the following website: http://rishikajain.com/2015/08/16/the-story-of-a-woodcutter-author-stephen-covey/

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Helping Others…He Climbs Highest Who Helps Another Up!

Helping Others...He Climbs Highest Who Helps Others Up

Helping others does not have to be a Christmas thing. It can be a way of life – or a way of living. We don’t have to donate our time 24/7 but we can help in ways that fit into our lives. Helping others always make us feel better and it makes those we serve feel better as well! I love the positive impact we can have on the lives of others when we give just a little bit of personal time and assistance! I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Saving Memories
Rebecca Sell, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Three months after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rebecca Sell, then 24, a photojournalist for Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Free Lance-Star who was on assignment covering the disaster, captured a distraught New Orleans couple sifting through waterlogged photo albums. As she snapped the photo, something within her clicked. “I told them I could take the ruined pictures, copy them and give them digitally restored photos,” she recalls. Although a bit skeptical, the couple agreed. Rebecca took their photos home with her once her assignment ended, restored them and took them to the couple at their temporary residence in Virginia. “It felt so good to be able to do that for them,” says Rebecca.

 When her editor, Dave Ellis, saw the photo of the couple, he suggested they go back and restore damaged photos for even more people. So in January 2006, with paid time off from the paper, the two set up shop in the Pass Christian, Mississippi, public library, 65 miles from New Orleans (or rather, the double-wide trailer that now served as the library; the original had been destroyed in the hurricane). After posting a notice in the community newsletter, Rebecca and Dave were inundated with 500 photos in four days: water-spotted wedding pictures, baby photos crinkled with moisture. For each, the pair snapped a new digital picture, then used high-tech software to erase water spots and restore colors. “We worked from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day for four days,” says Rebecca. “It was a massive undertaking.” In a stroke of luck, a popular website linked to Dave’s blog about the experience, and soon Operation Photo Rescue, as it came to be known, had emails from hundreds of volunteers, including photographers, restoration experts and Photoshop whizzes, eager to help.

Though digital restoration is a painstaking process, mending irreplaceable family pictures means the world to victims like Emily Lancaster, 71, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, who tossed out piles of ruined photo albums after Katrina, never thinking the mildewed mess could be salvaged. But she just couldn’t bear to part with a few treasured pictures, including a portrait of her father, who had passed away, and a photo of her husband as a boy. Then she heard about Operation Photo Rescue. “I didn’t have a whole lot of hope they could fix them, but they did,” Emily says. “Almost every day I think about all the pictures I’ve lost. I’m so happy to have these two.”

In the five years since Katrina, Operation Photo Rescue—now headquartered in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with more than 2,000 volunteers—has collected thousands of pictures ruined by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes in such states as Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Texas and Louisiana. Volunteers make “copy runs” to disaster areas across the country to gather damaged photos from survivors; operating costs are covered by donations and grants. “It’s great to be able to give people some of their history back,” says Rebecca. “One person told me that thanks to us, her grandmother got to see her photos again before she passed away. Moments like that remind me why I do this.”

To volunteer or make a donation, go to OperationPhotoRescue.org.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.womansday.com/life/real-women/a2093/lending-a-helping-hand-112631/

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How Do You Know and Describe God?

how-do-you-know-and-describe-god-lamp-revised-639489

During my near death experience, I was allowed to witness a visit that I had with God prior to my life on earth. As a result, I know and understand God in ways that few mortals do. Most importantly, I know that God is perfect. We, as mortals, talk about God being perfect but our mortal limitations make it almost impossible to relate to what perfect really is.

In God’s case, perfection is not dependent on our perspective. God’s perfection is whole and complete. There is nothing that God does not know. There is no talent, ability, or knowledge that He is lacking. He is not perfect compared to __________ (you fill in the blank). He is the completely and utterly and totally perfect.

I often see man try to humanize God and instill in Him weaknesses and faults. It may make someone feel better (I doubt it?) but that does not change God. God is unchanging and He does not waver. God’s laws do not change, His purposes do not change, and neither does His love.

The God I have come to know, as a result of my near death experience, is intent on helping us learn, loves nothing more than to be able to bless us, is our most ardent fan and supporter and loves us perfectly.

If there is one lesson that I have learned as a result of all of my experiences, it is that we can come to know and understand God most easily through our hearts. It is within our hearts that we feel Him and it is within our hearts that we are taught all truth – including all truth about God.

Today I would like to share a story from the following website: http://godrestorestestimonials.weebly.com/short-inspirational-stories.html#perfect

I hope you enjoy the story about the King!

A king who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a slave who, in all circumstances, said: “My king, do not be discouraged, because everything God does is perfect, no mistakes!”

One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king. His slave managed to kill the animal, but could not prevent his majesty losing a finger.
Furious and without showing his gratitude for being saved, the nobleman said “Is God good? If He was good, I would not have been attacked and lost my finger.” The slave replied: “My king, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good, and he knows “why” of all these things. What God does is perfect. He is never wrong!” Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his slave.

Later, he left for another hunt and was captured by savages who made human sacrifices. In the altar, ready to sacrifice the nobleman, the savages found that the victim had not one of his fingers, so he was released. According to them, it was not so complete to be offered to the gods.

Upon his return to the palace, he authorized the release of his slave that he received very affectionately. “My dear, God was really good to me! I was almost killed by the wild men, but for lack of a single finger, I was let go! But I have a question: if God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in jail?”

The slave replied: ”My King, if I had gone with you in this hunt, I would have been sacrificed for you, because I have no missing finger, therefore, remember everything God does is perfect. He is never wrong.”

Thank you for letting me share my knowledge of God with you today. May God’s blessings be yours and may you feel His perfect love for you!

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