Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gratitude List

Things I've been grateful for lately...

journals, sweet friends, little thoughts, cool fall days, service, scriptures, progress, kindness, gentle reminders, patience, answered prayers, reading, working, bike rides

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weaknesses Are Not Tragic

Anxiety has a loud voice and is sometimes painful. He talks to me frequently, drowning out all other thoughts and feelings, making it uncomfortable to live in my own body. I sometimes get to the point that I have anxiety about the anxiety (why won't it go away? why am I experiencing this right now? what is this about?).

Despite this, I am grateful for this weakness. I'm learning to embrace the low times as well as the high times. These are not things to hurry up and get through, but things to learn and grow from. Weaknesses are not tragic because we can change. The atonement of Jesus Christ makes these changes possible. The Savior can lend support and succor as we embrace these challenges because He has already experienced them.

I'm learning to live with anxiety, that anxiety doesn't have to have a reason, and learning what tools quiet the thoughts and feelings (taking my feet out of my shoes and rubbing them on the carpet, humming, running, gratitude).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We the People...

I have to admit I wasn't excited to vote yesterday. It had nothing to do with the candidates or the issues on the ballot; I just didn't want to go. But I knew I had a responsibility to go.

I went right after work, guessing at the roads that I needed to turn on to get to the elementary school hidden in a neighborhood near my home. I parked my car, walked toward the door with a "VOTE HERE" sign, carefully past the people that hand out the example ballots that tell you how to vote if you are a Republican or a Democrat, and presented my ID to the volunteer at the table. We exchanged a few pleasantries and then I was shown to the voting booth.

I cast my votes for U.S. Representative and 4 ballot measures. Now finished, I looked for the person with the "I Voted" sticker. I am a little crazy about wanting that sticker sometimes. I didn't see anyone with the stickers, so I walked sort of slowly so the workers would notice me leaving. They did and I got my sticker.

I put it on as I was walking to my car, knowing few would see it since I was headed home. As I did, I felt the spirit wash over me. I was grateful that I had come to vote and exercise the right I have to. I was grateful to be an American, to remember the founding fathers and all those since who have fought for this country. I was grateful to the women who fought for the right to vote, that I was able to vote because of them. I was grateful to be part of the process and knew it didn't matter if the candidate or issues I voted for won, not because I was apathetic, but because in our system it is the majority vote that prevails, and we all win when that succeeds. I was grateful to realize that I could make a difference.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gratitude: The Start

It's November (what happened to 2010?). There are lots of things about November that I enjoy: leaves changing, chilly weather, days off from work, and Thanksgiving. We all know that Thanksgiving is a time we celebrate the Pilgrims arriving in America and a time to express gratitude. But instead of saving all my gratitude for November 25th, I'm going to practice expressing gratitude more frequently this month (not that I'm not grateful at other times, I just want to be better). President Monson called gratitude the "noblest of virtues...the parent of all others" in his October conference address.

So I'm going to start with a person I've known for almost 27 years, my sister Jenny. I'm grateful for incredible example of patience, love, kindness, and loyalty. She makes me laugh. She's feisty and stubborn. I love late-night chats in our beds and impromptu sister dates (even if it is just to run errands). She's a great travelling companion. We have seen amazing parts of the world together, even if neither of us remember it (we moved to Belgium when I was 5 and she was almost 3 and came back to the States 4 years later). I could go on, but I don't want to embarrass her too much more. I'm grateful to be able to call her my sister and my friend.