Have you ever had one of those nights were you just can't sleep? You toss and turn for hours but your mind just can't seem to turn off.  Tonight is one of those nights.  It is 2:45am in the middle of finals week and I find myself wide awake.  I have tried everything that I can think, but have decided to just give in to the lack of sleep.  As I lay in my bed frustrated with my body for ruining any hope of productivity tomorrow I have decided to stop feeling sorry for myself.  I have so much to be grateful for.  It has been a while since I really thought about all the blessings in my life.  I try to express my gratitude everyday, but lately it seems to be just out of habit rather than true expression.  Starting today I want to be better in this aspect of my life. President Monson said, "To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven." What a beautiful statement! I believe that as we are more grateful we will become closer to heaven and all the joys that abound there.  I once made a list of things I was grateful for and feel that the time to renew my gratitude has come.

I am grateful for...

  1. My mother.  She is my best friend and greatest fan.  When we talk on the phone we laugh and laugh as we exchange anecdotes of the day.  She always gives me the greatest advice but always allows me to make my own decisions.  If I can be half the mother that she is I will be in good shape.
  2. My father.  He too cheers me on in all that I do.  When I am getting ready for an interview or a presentation he always applauds my desire to grow and achieve new things.  When I think of the legacy that I want to leave behind he comes to mind.  He is known for his generosity and genuine care for others.  My dad is willing to go the extra mile for all he comes into contact with and I find that extremely admirable. 
  3. My siblings. I have the greatest siblings in the world! Each one of them has taught me something different.  From them I have learned to laugh through life and accept whatever challenges come my way. I admire each one for something different.  Each brings me joy and I love them all so very much.
  4. BYU. Having the opportunity to attend college has been one of the greatest blessings of my entire life.  I love to learn and experience new things and BYU has brought a myriad of opportunities for this.  I have been able to travel the world and learn from the greatest minds in academia.  BYU has completely changed my life.  I have come into contact with so many wonderful people who have helped to shape my character for the better.
  5. My job.  Working at Independent Study has provided me with experiences that have taught me some of life's greatest lessons.  I have learned to be patient and try to see a situation from another's point of view.  I have been able to share the joy of students who are finally able to attain their goal of graduation or acceptance into their program.  It is wonderful!
  6. Music.  Music is powerful! It has the ability to bring us out of the deepest of depressions or calm tensions.  I love the hymns.  I often find myself singing them when I am feeling homesick or discouraged.  It is amazing the relief that can come from a simple melody and thoughtful lyrics.  It is one of the great joys of my life. 
  7. My body.  Running is also a source of relaxation and peace for me.  There is something about the rhythmic pounding of the pavement that is soothing to the soul.  I am able to sort out the complexities of my life and find solutions to the most pressing problems.  I am so grateful that my body works like it is supposed to!
  8. Books.  Reading is one of the beauties of life. I love to escape my hectic life for just a little while here and there.  Every page is a new adventure.  I could read for hours and hours and most summer days I do.  Not only does reading bring pleasure, but it also is the best avenue for learning.  I have learned so much by reading the words of others.  I have learned about everything from the Crusades to different personalities, all by reading.
  9. Technology.  Technology is a wonderful thing! It allows us to stay in contact and share our lives with those who are far from us.  While living in Israel I was still able to talk to my family on a regular basis, which was such blessing.  I love that I can receive pictures and recordings from those I love.  I feel like I still get to be a part of their lives even though I am far away.
  10. The Gospel.  The Gospel truly is good news :) It brings such peace, joy, and calm into my life.  When things seem to changing to fast the Gospel is the rock that never changes.  It is the anchor that keeps me grounded.  The Gospel holds all the answers to life's questions.  I know that I am never truly alone, which brings to much comfort in this crazy world.  The Gospel means everything to me!

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