11 December 2014

Prayers of Gratitude

Right around Thanksgiving I read a blog (sorry I don't remember where or which one) with a comment from a reader who said that his family was offering prayers of expressions of gratitude only for the week of Thanksgiving; and what a difference it made in both their prayers and their family. We have occasionally had family prayers of gratitude, where we kneel together and beginning at the oldest express gratitude for whatever we are thankful for, then the next oldest, and so on, until the youngest finishes the prayer. It does bring a special spirit into our home when we do that. But now I wanted to experiment with all my prayers consisting of only thanksgiving or gratitude.

For the past two weeks I've been doing this and can say that it has changed my prayers completely. First, I have to think harder about all that I'm grateful for; second, I have to pause to let the spirit assist me in remembering things; third, I have become more aware of how pervasive the Lord is in my life and feel His love so strongly; and fourth, I have learned to be creative about thanking Him for future blessings, sort of gratitude in advance. I have felt closer to my Heavenly Father through this experiment and want to continue. The other thing I've noticed is that I feel more able to humbly ask for something that I truly need when I know I have expressed gratitude for all that I've already been given.

My prayers are less vain repetition and more heartfelt these days. I recommend giving it a try in your life.

UPDATE: I re-found the blog on gratitude prayers and want to share it for future readers.

09 December 2014

Parental Lessons

Our son JET has begun to attend church again after several years of "vacation". I was wondering, out loud, to my husband about why this change in attitude. What actually came out of my mouth was a profound lesson to me. I said something like "I think that my showing interest in the things that are important to him, like going to the car show and getting excited about cars in general helped him know that I love him for who he is; and when he felt safe in my love he decided that he could return to church." JET has long felt that he didn't measure up to the spiritual stature of his older brother, and that I loved him less because of that. NOT TRUE! But maybe now he really does feel I love him for himself, which is totally true, and therefore he can return to church. Whatever the reason, I'm pleased, but I don't love him more, because I never loved him less.

It gives me a glimpse into the heart of Heavenly Father and the Savior.

02 December 2014

The D Word

Is anyone else tired of the use of the word "depressed" as a way to describe a mental or emotional state? I understand that some people have clinical depression and need treatment for it. But most of us could use another word to describe the way we feel. If I can get up out of bed and get myself or others to school/work and get things done during the day then it's probably safe to say that I don't have clinical depression. I'm offering a list of alternate "D" words (with a couple of others) so you can find one that expresses the specific nuanced feeling of your emotional state.

  1. anxious
  2. dark
  3. dated
  4. dazed
  5. debased
  6. debilitated
  7. deceived
  8. decimated
  9. declining
  10. decrepit
  11. defeated
  12. defective
  13. deficient
  14. dejected
  15. delicate
  16. deluded
  17. demented
  18. demoralized
  19. despairing
  20. despondent
  21. diffident
  22. diluted
  23. diminished
  24. dimwitted
  25. disappointed
  26. discontented
  27. discombobulated
  28. discomforted
  29. discomposed
  30. disconsolate
  31. discouraged
  32. disenchanted
  33. disgruntled
  34. disheartened
  35. disillusioned
  36. disjointed
  37. dismayed
  38. disoriented
  39. dispirited
  40. displeased
  41. disquieted
  42. dissatisfied
  43. distrait
  44. distraught
  45. distressed
  46. disturbed
  47. worried

Next time you're tempted to use that hackneyed term "depressed", I hope you'll stop and be more precise in your description of your mental and emotional state. And be sure to let me know if you can think of some more good "d" words.

I love this quote from Elder Boyd K. Packer:
It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal. Teach our members that if they have a good miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is great purpose in our struggle in life ("That All May Be Edified" [1982], 94).