Thankfulness vs Gratitude…

Thankfulness is measured by the number of words. Gratitude is measured by the nature of our actions. David O. McKayWe understand that the human experience is filled with emotions. Emotions are the spice that give the cake flavor.

What we don’t always understand is the power of our emotions for both good and bad.

I often see the powerful effect of emotions. As a result of those experiences, I believe that our emotions may be the single most important factor in regards to our health.

There are two things that I believe can redeem our health (all areas) more dramatically than anything else: The emotion of Gratitude and the Act of Forgiveness.

When we read in the scriptures about becoming as a small child, I think of Gratitude and Forgiveness. A small child is naturally grateful and naturally forgiving. As we grow into adulthood those tendencies often become less and less automatic. Often, the gift of gratitude and forgiving must be cultivated deliberately.

Take some time to reflect today. If all areas of your health were dependent on your ability to have gratitude and to give forgiveness, how well can you realistically expect to be? Do you feel good about where you are or do you need to do some work? (I always need to do some work but that’s okay as long as I keep working at it!)

I share today’s story because even though it does not directly address forgiving or thankfulness – underlying the story I believe is a complete foundation of thankfulness and gratitude! I hope you enjoy!:

Thanks For Taking Care of Me

— Author Unknown

Like most elementary schools, it was typical to have a parade of students in and out of the health clinic throughout the day. We dispensed ice for bumps and bruises, Band-Aids for cuts, and liberal doses of sympathy and hugs. As principal, my office was right next door to the clinic, so I often dropped in to lend a hand and help out with the hugs. I knew that for some kids, mine might be the only one they got all day.

One morning I was putting a Band-Aid on a little girl’s scraped knee. Her blonde hair was matted, and I noticed that she was shivering in her thin little sleeveless blouse. I found her a warm sweatshirt and helped her pull it on. “Thanks for taking care of me,” she whispered as she climbed into my lap and snuggled up against me.

It wasn’t long after that when I ran across an unfamiliar lump under my arm. Cancer, an aggressively spreading kind, had already invaded thirteen of my lymph nodes. I pondered whether or not to tell the students about my diagnosis. The word breast seemed so hard to say out loud to them, and the word cancer seemed so frightening.

When it became evident that the children were going to find out one way or another, either the straight scoop from me or possibly a garbled version from someone else, I decided to tell them myself. It wasn’t easy to get the words out, but the empathy and concern I saw in their faces as I explained it to them told me I had made the right decision. When I gave them a chance to ask questions, they mostly wanted to know how they could help. I told them that what I would like best would be their letters, pictures and prayers.

I stood by the gym door as the children solemnly filed out. My little blonde friend darted out of line and threw herself into my arms. Then she stepped back to look up into my face. “Don’t be afraid, Dr. Perry,” she said earnestly, “I know you’ll be back because now it’s our turn to take care of you.”

No one could have ever done a better job. The kids sent me off to my first chemotherapy session with a hilarious book of nausea remedies that they had written. A video of every class in the school singing get-well songs accompanied me to the next chemotherapy appointment. By the third visit, the nurses were waiting at the door to find out what I would bring next. It was a delicate music box that played “I Will Always Love You.”

Even when I went into isolation at the hospital for a bone marrow transplant, the letters and pictures kept coming until they covered every wall of my room.

Then the kids traced their hands onto colored paper, cut them out and glued them together to make a freestanding rainbow of helping hands. “I feel like I’ve stepped into Disneyland every time I walk into this room,” my doctor laughed. That was even before the six-foot apple blossom tree arrived adorned with messages written on paper apples from the students and teachers. What healing comfort I found in being surrounded by these tokens of their caring.

At long last I was well enough to return to work. As I headed up the road to the school, I was suddenly overcome by doubts. What if the kids have forgotten all about me? I wondered, What if they don’t want a skinny bald principal? What if I caught sight of the school marquee as I rounded the bend. “Welcome Back, Dr. Perry,” it read. As I drew closer, everywhere I looked were pink ribbons – ribbons in the windows, tied on the doorknobs, even up in the trees. The children and staff wore pink ribbons, too.

My blonde buddy was first in line to greet me. “You’re back, Dr. Perry, you’re back!” she called. “See, I told you we’d take care of you!”

As I hugged her tight, in the back of my mind I faintly heard my music box playing… “I will always love you.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/truestories/thanksfortakingcareofme

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It is NOT the Things We Have…Where to Find Happiness

It is not the things we have that make us happy. It is what we feel... George Albert SmithHappiness Through Self Awareness

Are You Happy?

Once we meet our basic physical needs of food, shelter, and comfort our life becomes about maximizing happiness. The challenge is that we often get lost or turned around on our path. We end up seeking many things believing they will bring us to that emotional state we desire. We may get the things, but not the feeling we want. We become disappointed as people turn out not to be who we thought.  Relationships can become the source of emotional drama, insecurity and heartbreak.   Exciting careers lead to disappointment, disillusionment, and burnout. Others may work hard to accomplish their goals only to find that they feel empty and unfulfilled inside.

The Path to Happiness Crossroads

When you take time to evaluate the direction and priorities it may be wise to consider how your thoughts and beliefs affects your happiness.  We have been conditioned to focus on external factors and have missed the most important element in determining our happiness.  Your mind is filled with assumptions, beliefs, and expectations of what will make you happy. These have been collected over years, both consciously, and unconsciously. They affect and even determine our choices in a way that we may not be aware.  Hidden assumptions and false beliefs lead you down road to disappointment, frustration, and other emotional reactions.   Even the beliefs that you agreed to consciously in the past about what would make you happy might not be true any more. What made you happy when you were 20 may not do it for you at 30. What made you happy at 30 might not satisfy you in your 40’s.

We change, our world changes, and yet our mind so often tries to stay the same. People in a mid-life crisis let their mind resurrect an old dream of happiness and feeling from their youth.   Or rather the beliefs of their youth.  A relationship becomes unhappy or even abusive and the mind clings to the joy of the beginning days coated with fairy dust. The beliefs in the mind of hope keeps us trapped in loops of emotional drama and dissatisfaction. Only by clearing your mind of false beliefs and assumptions can we see ourselves and other people more clearly. By freeing ourselves from the limiting paradigms of old beliefs we have a new opportunity to make better choices.

It is Possible to Change How You Feel

Awareness of the mind and how to direct its thoughts, beliefs and emotions, opens new avenues of possibility. Your life becomes vastly different when you are the one directing your mind instead of letting it direct you

Change Your Core Beliefs and You Change Your Emotions

When you express love, acceptance, and respect, you create pleasant emotions within your self. When you express judgments, fear, jealousy, and anger you experience emotional chaos. The challenge is to master your emotional expression. You are the only one who can determine the thoughts you think, the words that come out of your mouth, and the emotions you create and express. The thoughts, choices and interpretations you make are determined by your core beliefs. When you change your core beliefs you change the interpretations you make, the thoughts you think, and the emotions you express. Changing core beliefs is the foundation for changing the emotional quality of your life.

The power to change your life and create happiness resides with you. No one else can change what you believe and what you express. But you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

Self Awareness is the Key to Change and Lasting Happiness

The first step in changing the way you create your life is self awareness. We can also call it mindfulness. You can not expect to change what you are not aware of. Self awareness or mindfulness provides the clarity to choose whether you express emotions of love or express emotions out of reactions of fear. Self awareness provides the possibility to catch your self in that moment prior to saying something destructive, or thinking and believing a negative thought. Self awareness is the means to identify your unconscious patterns and raise them in your consciousness so they can be changed. It is through self awareness that you identify and change the underlying core beliefs that drive destructive behaviors and create happiness.

Self Awareness is Different than Book Knowledge

Self Awareness is largely a function of perception and observation. It can not be learned like academic subjects that fill the mind with knowledge.  It can not be learned from books that give us more information to think about and has us noticing less about ourselves, and the world.  Increasing awareness has more to do with emptying the mind of the incessant chattering thoughts so we can see ourselves and life more clearly.

Change the False Beliefs in Your Mind

Emotional reactions usually stem from your assumptions about how life “ought to be” not from actual events. You create assumptions about people, relationships, business deals, and stocks you invest in. Your false assumptions (beliefs) become the set up to future emotional reactions. Awareness provides the presence of mind to see the assumptions and false beliefs before you invest in them. Clarity allows you to perceive what is really happening instead of following the false beliefs of your mind.

Stop the Emotional Roller Coaster of Reactions

When you no longer live by the false beliefs in your mind you no longer have unnecessary emotional reactions. You can get off the emotional roller coaster that has taken you for a ride. With practice you can choose in the moment not to believe what your mind is saying. This allows you to see the emotional roller coaster coming. You can step back from it and watch it go by without you. You are no longer a victim to the emotions that try to control your life.

Develop Personal Will Power

Having knowledge of a “personal belief” or behavior and a desire to change it is not always enough. Take the smoker who knows their behavior is destructive, wants to quit, but is unable to break the habit. You may have behaviors and emotional reactions that you have been unsuccessful in changing. In this case what is lacking is not just awareness but personal will power. Recovering and developing personal will power allows you to keep your commitments with yourself and others. This is true whether the change is about addictions, emotional reactions, exercise, eating, or relationship habits. One way to recover personal will power is by identifying and changing core beliefs.

When you dissolve a core belief you no longer commit your personal power to that conceptual idea, or spend your energy on emotional reactions. The result is that you have more personal power to break other habits. With awareness you can not only see new possibilities for your self and your relationships, you now have the personal power to make them happen. Changing false core beliefs is just one way to increase your personal power.

Change in your Relationships

By living your life with awareness you will change the way you communicate in your relationships. You will no longer express yourself through the emotional reactions that come from illusions in the mind. You will have the choice and the personal power to express yourself with love and respect. By changing the way you express yourself, people will change the way they respond to you. Relationships are where our false beliefs, emotional reactions, and lack of will power combine to cause the most emotional pain in our lives. Relationship is the area of people’s lives where they yearn for the most change. It is the area where mastering our expression of love can have a profound impact.

Self Mastery through Self Awareness

There are many ways to approach mastery over your life. All of them involve creating integrity in your mind, emotions, actions, and relationships. To accomplish this you will need to understand and have control over your core beliefs, and your expression of emotion. At first glance Self Mastery over your thoughts, beliefs, and your emotions might appear too challenging. However, consider the alternative is to let emotional reactions from false beliefs determine the direction of your life.

Today’s article was written by Gary van Warmerdam and is shared from the following website: https://pathwaytohappiness.com/

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Overcoming Depression – The Amazing Power of Friendship

Cherish your human connections -  your relationships with friends and family    Barbara Bush

When I was going through depression, there was nothing more important to me than to feel like I had a friend. Thank goodness my husband and my children were such good friends to me. Often, my other friends had no idea that I was going through depression – even though it felt like I had a neon sign hanging around my neck which flashed: “Danger! Danger! I’m hanging from the neck of an Emotional Wreck!

It was during my most difficult days that those friendships gave me strength and the desire to keep fighting. I hope that if you are going through depression, that you have good friends to turn to. In turn, be the best friend you can be. We never know what others might be going through.

If you are going through depression, find those that you can trust. I know that it is not always easy but …. it is possible. A true friend can help you through your hard days and laugh with you on the better days! We are connected more than we know on this planet. When we connect to others in a positive way, we help ourselves, we help others and we help the world!

I hope you will enjoy today’s story about friendship! It’s hard to place a value on friendship – it is such a priceless commodity! :

An Inspiring Story About Friendship

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day one fellow met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”.

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”. “Triple filter?”. “That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”. “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t know if it’s true or not.

Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” . “No, on the contrary…”. “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true.

You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.videoinspiration.net/blog/short-stories-about-friendship/

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You Are a Child of God!

You are a child of God, and that alone make you worthyof care and love. If your guard is up, let it down. If you’ve constructed a defensive wall to protect yourself and keep all the bad guys out, don’t forget who that wall also prevents from getting in -- the Good Guys Brendan Burchard

You are a Child of God! I witnessed that fact during my near-death experience. We are all children of God. We all have personal power – the ability to make choices and determine the kind of person we will become.

I know that, at times, it can seem like the world is against us. Sometimes, it seems like the thing to do is to protect ourselves from the evil in the world. Evil does exist and we, for sure, do not want to invite it into our lives but there are appropriate ways of protection and ways of protection that backfire.

I have a perspective that has been guided by my interactions with my adoptive children. As small children, they were neglected and abandoned by their birth parents. They were hurt by the very individuals that they should have been able to place complete trust in. As a result, they have significant trust issues – especially with me and my husband. Does that seem contrary to you? My husband and I brought them into our family voluntarily. We did so because we loved them and wanted them to be part of our family. Our efforts on their behalf have been met with distrust, hurtful actions, and deliberate exclusion of us in their lives.

Additionally, they have, at times, protected themselves so completely from being hurt that they have also denied themselves incredible opportunities for joy.

You see, when you can’t get hurt and/or fail, you also can’t succeed. No action and walls we build around ourselves protect against hurt and failure but they also deny new experiences and success.

Initially, those walls, that they built ,were a device that successfully helped them to survive. Yet, as the years have passed, those walls have negatively affected their ability to be vulnerable and to have reciprocal relationships.

Where are you in your ability to give and receive? Are you able to allow yourself to be vulnerable? Do you exclude others from your life because you don’t already know them? Do you judge on outward appearances or do you attempt to judge as Jesus did (look at the heart)?

There is a lot of evil in our world. There is also much good 🙂

As we all seek and promote the good in this world, the resulting light will overshadow the darkness of evil! God is real! You are his child! Your light is meant to shine in this world!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

The Best Soccer Player 

By Angie Bergstrom Miller

I clenched my fists, bit my lip, and kicked the ball that was rolling toward me. Then I frowned as I watched it soar out of bounds instead of going into the goal.

A girl named Nan had been standing on the sidelines watching our game. She ran to pick up the ball, tripping in her excitement. Everyone laughed. No one thanked her as she threw the ball back to us.

I felt guilty. I knew Nan wanted to play, but I didn’t want to be the one to invite her.

Nan was quiet, with messy brown hair, thick glasses, and a squeaky voice. She didn’t have one friend in our whole class. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her. I had just never talked to her.

That afternoon our teacher announced that she was going to move our desks around. She would make a new seating chart. The room buzzed with excitement. My best friend, LeAnna, and I smiled at each other.

Just then Caroline leaned toward me. “I heard Nan tell Mrs. Martin she wants to sit by you. Gross!” I sat in shock. “Why me?” I wondered. I had never been mean to Nan, but I had never been nice to her either.

“Tell the teacher you don’t want to sit by her,” Caroline whispered. “Otherwise no one will want to sit by you.”

I looked at Nan. Her head was lowered. She must have known what everyone in the room was thinking.

Mrs. Martin called me up to her desk. I knew Nan was a child of God and that Jesus said to love everyone. But if I became friends with Nan, everyone would think I was weird.

“Who do you want to sit by?” Mrs. Martin asked me. “LeAnna,” I said. That was easy.
Mrs. Martin smiled. “Would you be willing to sit by Nan too?” I looked down at the oor and whispered, “I’d rather not.” Mrs. Martin looked surprised. “Are you sure, Angie?” “Yes,” I muttered. The next day our desks were rearranged. I sat by LeAnna. Nan was across the room. The two girls sitting by her pushed their desks away from hers so it looked like she was sitting alone. She looked like she was going to cry.

A few weeks later Nan changed schools. A girl in my ward went to that school, and I asked her if she had met a new girl named Nan. “I think so. What does she look like?” she asked. “Well, she’s really quiet. Her hair is messy, and she wears thick glasses. No one in my class liked her.” “Really? It must not be the same girl,” she said. “The new girl I know is really fun. Everyone likes her. She’s a great soccer player.”

I thought about the day Nan had watched us playing soccer. She only needed a chance and a friend. And I could have given her both.

That day I made a promise to myself to always be nice to everyone and never let a girl like Nan slip by me without trying to be her friend.

Today’s inspirational story shared from the following website: http://media.ldscdn.org/pdf/lds-magazines/friend-march-2012/2012-03-29-for-older-kids-eng.pdf

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Family….The Relationships and Love that Bind Us

She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her Proverbs 3:15I am biased – I admit it. I believe that I am blessed with the most amazing and wonderful family in the world!

I hope you feel that way about your family too!

I believe that our marital relationships and the relationships we have with our family are the most important mortal endeavors we can participate in. I also believe that families are for eternity. I don’t know, for sure, that our families existed prior to our birth but I do know for sure that our families were planned well before any of us were born.

Additionally, I know that our deceased family members are not far away and I know that they often help and mentor us. I believe that they are often our guardian angels.

I know that my grandparents have been with me and I know that my father was a part of the circle of angels who protected and gave strength to my granddaughter at the time of her accident and while she gingerly clung to life in the NICU at Primary Children’s Hospital.

I now have 18 grandchildren with the 19th on her way. When the newest member of our family makes her mortal entrance, she will be my 13th granddaughter and she join what I consider an elite team of incredible individuals. It is my hope and my duty as her grandmother to help her know just how amazing and wonderful she is. You see, once she takes her first breath, she will lose much of her pre-mortal memory. I will need to remind her of what I know of her – what I know of each of us: We are all precious children – all worth incredible sacrifice and effort as far as the Lord is concerned.

And I will pray for her and for the world as I always do – I will pray that she will know God’s love for her. I will pray that she comes to know Him well throughout her life. And…I will pray that each individual who is a part of this world will have the same blessing and knowledge of God that I want for my granddaughter and every member of my family.

I hope you enjoy today’s story!

The Lost Ruby

I’ve had only one experience in my life and this one changed my life and way of thinking.  When I was a teen my grandmother moved in with us.  I loved my grandmother, we were very close. My mother called me her ‘junior’.

When I was seventeen I went to the prom and my grandmother let me borrow her beautiful ruby necklace. At that age, being somewhat reckless, I lost it somewhere. To this day I still don’t know where, I just remember at the end of the night my mother was extremely upset with me. My grandmother being very understanding and forgiving was not upset at all.

A year later my grandmother passed away and not long afterwards I joined the military and was stationed in Germany. For years I had not talked to my family. My husband left me and at this point I‘d been in Europe four years with still another year to go.

One night I became an hysterical drunken mess, cried for hours and I passed out. The next morning I found clutched in my hand my grandmother’s beautiful ruby necklace. I don’t know how to explain this! I shared this with my mother and we both cried. Together with the help of my family and this miraculous event, I’m putting my life back together,

Contributed by Cindy Rowe

Story shared from the following website: https://www.keen.com/CommunityServer/UserBlogPosts/Ms_Claritynow/TEN-ORIGINAL–TRUE–DIVINE-INTERVENTION–ANGEL—-MIRACLE–INSPIRATIONAL–STORIES—collected-by-me–amp–till-now-unseen/141689.aspx

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