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  • Formula W: Work Will Win When Whishy Whashy Wishing Won't. Thomas S. Monson Jan 2009

Monday, October 11, 2010

THANKSGIVING

In Canada,
where I was born and much of my family continue to live,
today is Thanksgiving.

Yes - REALLY! Canadians have their own Thanksgiving. 
Harvest should be done there.
If not it may have snowed on your crop already.

So what am I thankful for . . .

I can list generalities - the usual categories  
Family, friends, health, shelter, food, transportation, technology, talents, opportunities, knowledge about God, the earth and universe, books or music and other media -

I can cover everything in a few words. 
Sometimes my prayers are like that.
Thanks for all the wonderful blessings I have.
Please bless my loved ones and the poor, the sick, the needy and help those with cause to mourn.
Please protect us all today and help us be happy -

you get the idea ...

Many years ago, while on an overnight visit, I knelt with my Uncle Ken and Aunt June in their home for evening prayer. I was grateful to feel loved and  included in their day's routine.  They prayed very specifically and personally for each one of their many loved ones, children and their spouses, grandchildren and me. Yes that took time.  They took time. They made time every day, every morning and every evening to specifically talk to Heavenly Father individually and personally about each and everyone, and everything on their mind.

WOW! 

Not only that, Aunt June (in her 80's and frail health) with difficulty, did kneel. I kidded her a tiny bit about making such an effort at her age. She said that although she understood that some people are unable to kneel, that she considered it a privilege to bow in gratitude before her maker, a privilege to thank Him for His mercy and blessings and talk with him.

I knelt with them there. I have seldom felt nearer to heaven.

A serious injury immobilized me, at one time, for almost a year .  Physical Therapy and persistent effort and exercise helped me regain the ability to walk - and kneel - sort of.  I became careless about kneeling for prayer (or anything else).  I knew God would understand.  He hears my prayers in all the postures and places they are offered. I know that - really! He does - so what did it matter.  I learned that what mattered more than posture was attitude. Kneeling is one demonstration of mine.

That day I vowed to follow Aunt June's example - and Uncle Ken's.  Despite additional injuries, immobilizations, and illnesses since then, each time I work persistently to kneel again.  I don't always tell my doctors or Physical Therapists why but mobility is a desirable commodity they seem willing to help me achieve.

Today I can walk.

 It is a wonderful thing to be able to rise from sleep in the night and  get to the bathroom, or to the kitchen for a drink, without waking anyone else or needing their assistance.  It is wonderful to feel the muscles of my body as they help lift and move me or objects I want.  

When I start to name the abilities and things and people I am thankful for, one by one, distinctly and uniquely, I find greater gratitude for much that I take for granted. I feel more love for my family and my friends and even my neighbors - I see them each more as a person - another human being. Aldous Huxley as quoted by President Thomas S. Monson in October General Conference said, "Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted." President Monson was teaching about gratitude.

On that day, with Uncle Ken and Aunt June, I began to pray for my children and grandchildren and other loved ones by name, every day. Amidst all the busy comings and goings in their lives and mine, my mind dwells more on their needs and my heart yearns for them to feel happy and have their physical, emotional and spiritual desires met. I learned to pray for myself with faith too.

So today, what can I enumerate with gratitude?

Instead of just being grateful that I can see/hear/talk what can I see/ hear/say?

I was looking at a preying mantis the other day - I think it was looking back! What a marvel! I heard a bird warbling outside the screen and whispered to my granddaughter to listen - then we laughed and tried to imitate that incredible sound.  Over and over it sang and we tried.  It was delightful.  My husband walking past might have asked what we were doing. I would have needed to speak loudly and repeat my answer if he was not wearing his hearing aide - and maybe even if he was.  Hearing is so incredible.

Today most of my family (and many of my friends) will feast on turkey, pie, and family love.  I miss you all.

So to everyone in Canada (and elsewhere celebrating today)
-  to Mom and Dad, Rex and Bet, Gene and Deb, Randy and Kathy, Tim and Karyn, Shane and Sharon, Rick and Necia, Scott and Teri, Becky and Kevin, Bonnie and Darcy, Wilfred and Charlotte, Jason and Ginger, Tad and Kurri, Marty and Kimber, Ryan and Nena, Benjamin and Casey, Clarence, Erin, Raanin, Avalin, Calvin, Campbell, Cody, Benson, Meg, Joseph, Jaeger, Jaidon, Quinton, Winslow, Zaymes, Mikkel, Beckham, Hendrix, Cynthia and my dozens and dozens of nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles, with all your spouses and more dozens of children, Happy Thanksgiving.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

I will spend the rest of the day thinking of each one of you individually by name, looking at pictures, remembering things we have done together and the many, many things that have made all of it possible.

Things like: Rook, Rummicub, mountains, trees, piƱatas,a '54 Chevy or the 'purple people eater' truck - that used to be blue, tents and tarps, cameras, marshmallows, rocks, water balloons, Bocce, t-shirts, Kimball, Orion, Mt.View, western movies, windows, doors, floors, beds, pancakes, cackle berries, moo juice, poetry, hamburgers, cake, birthdays, hammers, shingles, paint, doctors, weddings, Bishops, church, the temple, schools and buses, pencils, books, stories, pictures, Necia Bennett, Cheez Whiz and raspberry jam, pepper sandwiches, baloney and mustard,  macaroni and tomatoes, fried potatoes (and therefore lard!) and ketchup, fresh bread, chokecherry jelly, rhubarb, bleeding hearts, hollyhocks, peonies, ants,  shooting stars, buttercups, buffolo beans, baked beans in the can, beans - in the garden, pebbles, jam cans, Roger's Golden Syrup, Brownie, Beethoven, Shep, Chic, Gravy, salt blocks, post holes, wire-cutters, Ross Lake, Rothe's, HorseShoe Bend, St. Mary's, Waterton, hiking, weeding, ragweed, cinders, coal, apples, Creston, Westcastle, the sun and sky and stars and northern lights, fishing, Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle, Aunt, cousin, ...

What are you grateful for?