As I scrolled through my instagram feed yesterday I came across Becky Higgins' latest Cultivate a Good Life message. I love love these short thoughts. So often they re-remind of things that are essential for good/happy/healthy living that either get forgotten or lost in my busy brain.
The message (found HERE) reads: Part of cultivating a good life is appreciating where you live. Sure, there are other places you could be happy, but be happy where you are.
If you followed my blog in 2012 you'll know that Vegas was hard for me. I struggled for a while, but I feel like I am moving closer to loving the place I live. For the most part I have kept frustrations & annoyances out of earshot of the kids. Lately, though, I began to notice that they have been missing Oregon a little more frequently, and vocally. Which is okay - to an extent. They can keep and cherish all the fond memories we have of that place - it was great! I just don't want it to get in the way of appreciating where we live now.
So, I thought this message would be great as part of a Family Home Evening lesson.
First we talked about gratitude. I was reminded of Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk, Grateful in Any Circumstances.
BEING GRATEFUL FOR THINGS
"It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach?
Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I'm suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances -- whatever they may be."
We talked a little about being grateful for the things and blessings we have. Actually, last week's FHE lesson was all about prayer and getting better at expressing the things we are thankful for, so this built upon that.
The next step is to be grateful even when life isn't going perfectly. Have a bad day at school, tough assignments, and teachers you don't get along with? -- you can still be grateful that you have the opportunity to go to school and learn, that you have friends there, that we only have to drive or walk a few minutes to get to school, etc. the list goes on.
BEING GRATEFUL IN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES
"We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.
We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"
We listed examples from the scriptures and church history - Job, Nephi, the Pioneers, Joseph Smith - all people who showed gratitude in the middle of incredibly hard conditions.
And we pointed out examples from our own life -- right now -- where we are working through some hard things but we have chosen to be grateful for the opportunities it has given us.
GRATITUDE AS AN ACT OF FAITH
"Being grateful in our circumstances is an act of faith in God. It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true.
True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will."
Finally, I stressed the importance of developing gratitude because it is the foundation that leads to all other Christlike attributes.
Then I transitioned to the Cultivate a Good Life message I found above. I told them that we were going to sit down and write a list of things that makes our town awesome.
Download OurTownIsAwesome -- add a little washi tape and make your own list
We worked on the list last night, and I left it on the kitchen table to add to when things pop into our minds. The kids had a little bit of a hard time coming up with things on the spot. But I hope that it gets them thinking about and noticing the really great parts of what we get to experience here.
FHE success :: A little lesson in gratitude and finding the awesome in where we live right now.