Don’t Miss This Incredible Video on Gratitude!

The secret to have abundance: Stay focused on what you love and express is fearlessly Anonymous

I had to share this video today! Never underestimate the power of gratitude! I am convinced that gratitude is one of the most powerful choices we can make! I hope you will watch…and then start your own gratitude project!

Today’s video is shared from www.365gratitude.com

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Make Room for You, for God and Rest

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop Ovid

Everyone has a story.

All of us were once little boys and girls. We all have memories. 

Some happy. Some not.

Some we share. Yet, many more lay hidden in the secret pages of our heart.

So that we can be strong. So that we can be happy.  So that we can be free.

That’s what I thought, until one day, I stood at the cusp of a childhood dream about to come true.

I was going to write a book.

But as my pen hit the paper to capture those moments, they all came alive.

My memories were no longer stories I once told myself.

And I began reliving them.

Unexpected. Painful memories.

Trauma.

Anxiety.

Just a Visit

I was seven years tall.

I didn’t want to be afraid. It was supposed to be simple. Just a visit.

On the weekends, my father would come see my sister and me.  After the divorce.

I was supposed to climb into the car with the cracking vinyl seats, into the car with the peeling rooftop — of my daddy’s olive green Nova.  It smelled like old, dirty ashtrays, as I slid in the back.  It smelled sad and lonely.  But, I didn’t say anything.

I kept quiet as my little sister with chubby wrists and cherub-rose cheeks toddled in to sit beside me. I felt small and awkward, my hands on my lap and shoulders hunched over as my daddy turned around and smiled a little too widely, his eyes begging for me to smile back.

But, I didn’t know what to do. Because my momma said nothing about this visit.  Other than I better not take anything from him.  I better not come home with anything, other than what I left with that morning.

Which was nothing.

As we rode across town, across the train tracks, up and over the metal buildings and smokestacks of the old Del Monte cannery in Sunnyvale, everything stood eerily silent.  It was Saturday morning and everyone and everything was still in bed.  The streets rolled by empty, as I looked out the window and wondered where we were heading.

I still remember how big the Kay Bee toy store looked as my father tried to hold my hand walking through the parking lot. The square letters spelling K-a-y-B-e-e were suspended kid-tousled happy on the signage way up high.

Even though my little sister couldn’t read, she didn’t need to.  She was getting excited, her little feet hurrying ahead.

But, I knew better. Nothing ever came simple for me.

That day at the toy store ended up just as I had feared.  Not simple.

Who I Could Be

The journey of rest has been the same.  Not simple.

How do you rest when life is less than perfect — with stress marring the daily journey?

I’ve tried to find rest by making a safe place for myself, by putting myself to the side.

By problem solving.

By being strong.

By doing.

I wrestle my anxieties into action plans and check lists to shield myself from vulnerability. I was thankful, sincerely trusting God in what I could do — but missing out on who I could be — by trusting Him to rest.

Here I was, all grown up, mom of two beautiful boys, married to a loving husband.  Yet, I somehow came to believe  incorrectly that if I had faith in God, stress, doubt and pain couldn’t touch me.

Awaken Your Heart

It’s so much easier to take care of everyone, to tend to problems and everything else. It’s easier to be strong and not need or feel.

This is how I’ve lived my life. Fine and functioning.

Surviving.

But, deep inside, where no one knew — where I seldom ventured myself — I was weary. I longed for rest.

Soul rest.

Sometimes the deeper journey of faith is found by following your heart to rest.

Putting our hearts first — letting Jesus love us — is a deep, intimate journey of resting with him.

Make room for you.

Feed your soul.

Slow down.

Breathe.

As much as I longed for all this, I didn’t know how. Until Jesus took me on a  journey of faith to awaken my heart. To be real. To be known. To rest.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the day at the toy store would be our last visit together. My daddy and I.

Something New

As I journeyed through stories long forgotten, God was using all my broken pieces to make something beautiful.

Something new.

God transformed my brokenness into a story of discovery.

A story of rest. To find the things I somehow lost along the way.

Quiet.

Stillness.

Intimacy with God.

In that secret place where I dream dreams. Where I can just be me.

In my search for answers, I made an important discovery:  we all need spiritual whitespace.

Spiritual Whitespace

White space is used in art and design. It’s the space on a page left unmarked.

It’s not blank – it breathes beauty. It gives the eye a place to rest.

Without it, clutter takes over the page.

Just as beautiful art needs white space, our souls need spiritiual whitespace.  We need rest.

God, after all, is an Artist and we are his work of art.

My story is really everyone’s story. Everyone long to find a place to breathe –

to dream dreams,

to slow down,

feed their soul,

and be free.

To feel more deeply connected to God. And others.

Make Room For Your Story

Learning to make room for yourself to rest requires risk. It’s vulnerable to say, I can’t do it all. I need rest.

I eventually went on to complete writing my book about my journey to find rest.

As I uncovered my story, I am finding kindreds on this journey of rest. I realize I’m not so alone anymore.  

I think of Jesus. How He made room for you and me.

By living a beautiful, broken story of love. He told this story. By living it.

Sometimes the hardest stories to tell are the most beautiful.

Our stories are the greatest, most beautiful gifts we can offer: ourselves.

Take the journey of spiritual whitespace.

Uncover the stories deep in our souls, to create space in our hearts and in our schedules.

For beauty. For rest. For God.

So we can live a better story.

Today.

Today’s post was written by Bonnie Gray and is shared from the following website : https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/bonnie-gray/make-room-for-your-story-for-god-and-for-rest.html

 

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Understanding God’s Plan of Happiness

If you understand the great plan of happiness and follow it, what goes on in the world will not determine your happiness Boyd K. Packer

The Great Plan of Happiness

Questions like “Where did we come from?” “Why are we here?” and “Where are we going?” are answered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Prophets have called it the Plan of Salvation and “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8). Through inspiration we can understand this road map of eternity and use it to guide our path in this life.

The gospel teaches us that we are the spirit children of heavenly parents. Before our mortal birth, we lived as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father. We were placed here on earth to work toward eternal life. These truths give us a unique perspective and different values to guide our decisions from those who doubt the existence of God and believe that life is not part of an eternal plan.

Our understanding of life begins with a council in heaven. There the spirit children of God were taught his eternal plan, the “great plan of happiness,” as Alma called it. We had progressed as far as we could without a physical body. To realize a fulness of joy, we had to prove our willingness to keep the commandments of God in a circumstance where we had no memory of what took place before our birth on earth.

In our lives here on earth, we would become subject to death, and we would be soiled by sin. To reclaim us from death and sin, our Heavenly Father’s plan provided us a Savior, whose atonement would redeem all from death and pay the price necessary for us all to be forgiven of our sins if we keep his commandments and repent of our sins.

When we understand the Plan of Salvation, we also understand the purpose and effect of the commandments God has given his children. He teaches us correct principles and invites us to govern ourselves. We do this by the choices we make.

We who know God’s plan and have covenanted, or promised, to participate in it must desire to do what is right, and we must do all that we can all our lives. When we have done all that we can, we can rely on God’s promised mercy.

Today’s article is from a talk by Dallin H. Oaks and is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/friend/1995/04/the-great-plan-of-happiness?lang=eng

 

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Every Morning We Are Born to a New Beginning

Each morning we are born again What we do today is what matters most Buddha

To many, especially those advanced in age, starting over is a scary proposition. To some, this forecasted mountain of challenges proves to be too crippling to attempt. And they wither under the weight of change. In this piece, I offer a story of my mom’s tumultuous journey and the many start-overs she endured to show that it’s not too late to begin anew.

My Family’s Story Is Proof: You’re Never Too Old to Start Over Again

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

– John F. Kennedy

I waved goodbye to the sleepy neighborhood. It was 4am and not a soul was stirring except for the five of us and the bus driver. It would be our last day in Vietnam.

I don’t know if I could describe what I was feeling at that point. Fear, excitement, and a slew of other emotions — but mostly, I was numb. As we rounded the corner, I shed a tear watching the house I grew up in fade out of view.

But whatever emotional rollercoaster I was on during those first few transitional days from Vietnam to America could never compare to what my parents must have been experiencing. I was young enough that the effects of this new beginning didn’t debilitate me. I could make new friends quicker, learn the language easier, and assimilate to life in America faster. Starting over wasn’t as significant a barrier to me as it was to them.

My parents were in their late forties; their road to societal integration wasn’t as smooth. They struggled. Yet, somehow they managed to rise above the rubble and became contributing members of society within months. Perhaps, they were forced to do so. Fight or flight, you know? And they fought. But, I think a major factor for this quick turnaround had to do with their positive mindset toward change. “It’s never too late to start over,” they would tell me.

And started over they did, for the umpteenth time.

To fully illustrate this point, I will give a brief summary of my mom’s many start-overs in her life and how she never shied away from them.

From the change you never choose

When she was very young, her family moved from the countryside of North Vietnam to the cosmopolitan South. Back in the sixties, North and South Vietnam were as different as night and day. She quickly assimilated to life in South Vietnam and soon became a top student in school.

Then, just as becoming a judge came within reach, the ravages of the Vietnam War caught up with her. South Vietnam fell. Leaving everything behind, she and her new husband fled the city to go into hiding — my father was a ranking officer for the Southern Army at the time, and his life was in imminent danger.

He was captured soon after and sent to “re-education” camps for six years. And just like that, my mom was reduced from a position of honor to one of a countryside daughter-in-law, farming the fields as a quasi-peasant. Even then, she thrived in that environment. Being one of a few educated people in the area, she became a teacher and a respected member of the community.

Through twists and turns

Some years later, on my second birthday, my grandfather from my mom’s side visited us, and appalled by what he saw, plucked us from the farms and brought us back to the city. By then my mom had fully embraced the rural life.

She started over again.

The former Soviet Union and Vietnam were relatively close allies back then. There were a lot of Russian military personnel in the South — and their wives. My mother soon became a somewhat famous seamstress for these Russian women. But just as soon as life stabilized, we got the call from the U.S. embassy: “You’re going to America.”

To a(nother) new beginning in America

In the US, she went back to school at the ripe young age of fifty, received an associate’s degree and soon became an admired team member for a Fortune 500 company. Yet just as soon as life stabilized and the joy of homeownership was upon her, the housing bubble popped. She lost the house she so proudly and deservedly earned.

She was shipped off to Oregon to start over with a different division in the company. By then I, the youngest of three kids, had graduated college and started to earn a good living. To her, her “job” was done, and she retired. And I suppose retirement could be considered “starting over” as well.

Triumphing through change

All said and done, my mom’s life is comprised of many abrupt changes, but through them all, she triumphed. She triumphed because she didn’t let the emotional weight and strain of starting over erect an impenetrable wall before her. She embraced each change, and in doing so, found ways to overcome these hurdles.

Now, when faced with the possibility of starting over, I channel my mom’s fighting spirit to move steadfast toward the future.

So what I’m trying to say is… it’s not too late. You’re not too old to embark on a new journey. The obstacles you see are indeed tangible, but they’re not insurmountable. You might not have that pep in your step anymore, but as long as one foot can go in front of the other, strive forward! My mom’s journey is a testament of that.

Today’s inspiring story was written by Hung Thai and was shared from the following website: https://www.goalcast.com/2017/08/07/my-familys-story-is-proof-youre-never-too-old-to-start-over-again/

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Counting Our Blessings

We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count Neal A. Maxwell The Power of Counting and Speaking Your Blessings

Once upon a time, a wise man met with a king. The king challenged the man with a riddle. He said, “In my hands is a small bird. Is it alive or dead?” The wise man paused and looked down.

The wise man thought to himself, “If I say it is alive, he will close his hand and crush it. If I say it is dead, he will open his hand and let it fly away.”

The wise man turned his head up and said in a soft yet commanding voice, “It’s all in your hands.”

The same is true for us. Our lives are in our hands. It is not always easy. We face struggle, challenges, and difficulties. But we can derive blessings from them, if we are intentional. We can, to use the phrase of the late Debbie Friedman, “find the courage to make our lives a blessing.”

To make our lives a blessing, we need to make two critical choices: count our blessings and speak our blessings.

Counting our blessings

As a father of two young children, I am truly blessed. Yet, that’s easy to forget at 3:00 a.m. when one child’s loud crying wakes up the other.

One of the ways I remind myself is by following an ancient Jewish custom. In Judaism, the first thing we are supposed to do each morning is sit up and say the words,

I am grateful to you, Oh God, who has restored my soul from sleep and given me the breath of life.

No sighing. No turning our pillows over and burying our heads in them. We recognize the blessing of life. We prime ourselves to live with gratitude. We count our blessings and find happiness in them.

Saying blessings

It is not enough, however, to recognize and count our blessings. We have to say them, too. Acknowledge them. Speak them.

That’s why the ancient sages urged us to say 100 blessings a day. Something magical happens when we give expression to our feelings, when we use words to show gratitude.

About a month ago, I saw an example of this magic. I was in my office when a member of my congregation came by. He had a burning question.

“I was dining at a restaurant in New York,” he began. “A few tables away from me a man stood up and proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes, and everybody in the restaurant cheered. Then the man walked quietly over to a corner, put on a yarmulke, and said some type of blessing. His and his fiance’s eyes filled with tears. Rabbi, do you have any idea what blessing he said?”

I recited a blessing I thought it might be, and he said, “Yes, that’s it! Do you have a copy?” “Sure,” I said. “Why do you ask?”

“I am planning to propose to my girlfriend this weekend, and I want to say it with her.”

With tears in my eyes, I handed him the blessing.

How a blessing works

Blessings express our feelings. They need not be traditional ones. They simply need to come from the heart. When they do, they can change lives.

I experienced this truth near the end of my grandfather’s life. We were very close. Up until his death, I tried to talk to or visit him every day. We would usually end our conversations with my saying “Talk to you tomorrow.” We did not say, “I love you.” He was not a warm fuzzy kind of guy, and it just did not feel right.

But during the last few weeks of his life, something changed. Perhaps it was the birth of my daughter or his declining condition. Whatever the cause, our moments became more infused with meaning.

When I said, “I love you”

A month before my grandfather died, I was sitting by his bed, talking to him. As I got up to leave, I felt a twitch in my stomach. Turning to him, I said, “Grandpa, I love you.”

He didn’t say anything. Our connection, however, had changed. Thereafter, we ended each conversation with my saying, “I love you.”

Saying ‘I love you’ to our dearest ones blesses them and us. It is a way we make our lives a blessing. It is something each of us can do today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives.

This is one more way we can speak and share our blessings. When we do, we learn the discipline of gratitude and the importance of words in our daily lives.

Everyone has an opportunity look at his or her life and decide what to focus on. Will it be the tragedy, the pain, the hardship? Or will it be a blessing? You decide.

The Blog post I am sharing today was written by Evan Moffic and is from the following website: https://goinswriter.com/count-your-blessings/

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