Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Gratitude Journal

by Marsha Ward

Several weeks ago, author Kerry Blair inspired me to start a "Gratitude Journal." Alas, I suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which has a component of short-term memory loss. This means that unless I can embed a task into my schedule so deeply that I cannot forget to do it, the task will go undone.

I do have a few thing in my schedule that almost always get done. I pray when I arise, I take my pills. At night I reverse that sequence. If I am interrupted, I may forget my pills, but that does not happen too often. I have my medications in a weekly container so I know at a glance if I need to catch up on the day's allotment.

Unfortunately, after three days of entries, my Gratitude Journal got buried under a map and a couple of credit card statements, and I stopped writing in it.

Today I listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir before LDS Conference began. Such waves of gratitude to my Heavenly Father swelled over me that I knew I needed to unearth that brightly-covered little book and jot down my feelings. I went to get it, and now I will list a few things that came to me.

1. Gratitude that a young boy sought a private place to pray about which church he should join, thus opening the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.

2. Gratitude for the orderly succession in the Presidency of the Church, and a new Prophet of God.

3. Gratitude for music--another passion of mine. Especially, I am grateful for the clear way music brings me messages from my Heavenly Father: "Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand" (Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, #85, "How Firm a Foundation"). I needed that message of love and uplift when we sang it as brothers and sisters all over the world.

4. Gratitude for the opportunity to listen to prophets of God twice a year in General Conference.

5. Gratitude for the chance to stand during a Solemn Assembly and raise my hand with my Relief Society Sisters--and later, with all the members of the Church,--to sustain a new prophet of God and presidency of the Church, and a new apostle, through the exercise of the principle of common consent that we use in the Church.

6. Gratitude that I am not the person needing the helicopter that is circling overhead.

I am going to put my Gratitude Journal in a new place, and intend to embed writing in it into my rising or bedtime schedule so that I will draw closer to God through my expressions of gratitude.

7 comments:

  1. And amen.

    Wasn't conference wonderful? I've heard President Monson speak 400 times (conservative estimate) but never with such power and authority. Wow. What Elder Holland said was SO true.

    Hurray for gratitude journals! You'll love yours.

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  2. Thanks for stopping by, Anon and Kerry.

    Yes, Conference was powerful! I love having those eight semi-annual hours at the feet of God's servants. Of course, there are also the two stake conferences each year, and the weekly church meetings. It's all pretty awesome, if you ask me!

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  3. A gratitude journal...what a wonderful idea! One I should try harder to cultivate myself. Thanks for sharing, Marsha!

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  4. I wonder if I don't have the same condition. I have always said I don't worry about Alzheimers with my short-term memory, as I've always been that way. My mother hesitated to let me go to Mexico for resident study for fear I'd lose my papers to get back in the country. It's always nice to know a kindred spirit.

    I love you list of gratitudes. Makes me pause to list a few of my own.

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  5. If we want to be happy, just count our blessings. And, perhaps, if we want to stay happy, journalizing them is even more permanent. Great idea. I've tried it -- over and over, with amazing gaps between entries. There's something about writing a thought down that makes it so much a part of us that's often unnecessary to read, but it's there when we need it. Does that make sense?

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  6. It's difficult to type with tears in my eyes. Thanks, Marsha! Conference was wonderful. I have also found that the more I record the things I am grateful for, the more things come my way for which to be grateful. Did that come out right??? Or at least the more I recognize I am grateful for. or something like that...I think you understand what I mean! Thanks for you uplifting and enlightening words.

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