Last night

we sat around as a family

and took turns sharing what we are grateful for.

Little Jon came up with the idea after having one of his sales leadership team

share a study done on being grateful yesterday.  He told of three groups that were asked to take part in the study.  One group was to write over a period of time, all of the things they were grateful for.  The second was to write of the things that made them mad, sad, and frustrated in their life, and the third wrote of anything they wanted.  

The findings were simple…

The group that focused on being grateful were happier, sick less, and they reported great things happening in their life.  They were focused and moving forward.  The second group were sick much more, down on life…and generally frustrated about daily stresses.  The third group stayed the same.

My friends, I agree wholeheartedly with this study.  I have been in places where I focus on the bad, the great, and been complacent and not thought about much…coasting along.  I know when I focus on the good (which is one reason I love to blog, because it reminds me of good) I am happier.  

Being happy is a choice, it’s a habit just like anything else.  

You have to work the muscle….focus on the good.  It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, and what you have…you can be happy.  I know because I look around.  Mackaroochietold me of darling kids in Ecuador that played soccer with cockroaches that looked leaps and bounds happier than many kids here playing with their video games.  I know because when I lived on food stamps and in a free rental house with clothes from DI, I was happy.  Was it easy? NO…but I remember still finding joy in simple things, things that money can’t buy. 

*The smile on my kids face when they saw snow for the first time* 

The laughter when I tickled them before bed, the look on their face as mud squished through their toes in our back yard for fun, they way they played hide and go seek through our 5 foot weeds that grew there, the way they snuggled up to hear a story *especially the night before Christmas*, the look of content on their face when they ate a hot dog *this was all we could afford…and they were just as happy*, the sound of their squeals as I announced we were “going on a treasure hunt”, and most of all..falling asleep with them when they were scared after a bad dream.

I could go on, but I won’t.  

You get the point, and so do I…again.  I have to always remind myself of simple happiness.  The world would have us get distracted and focus on other things, seemingly “bigger things”.  I am grateful to have had “nothing” and to also have “everything” and know the difference.  

I am grateful for my friends, family, and the time I have with them.  I am grateful for seasons…and the renewal that comes with each, when I let it.  I am grateful for my health and the endless possibilities of the future.  I am grateful for my past, even the hard parts.  *especially the hard parts*.  I am grateful for a Heavenly Father that listens and answers prayers. I am grateful for rain, laughter, sunshine, and wind.  I am grateful for the silence it the mountains when I need it the most.  I am grateful for diversity and the may different people that teach me so much.  I am grateful for a funny and loving dad, and a caring free spirited mother.  I am grateful for the love that they shared in our home as I grew and the continual good example of a marriage that endures the test of time.  I am grateful for siblings that I also call my best friends, and the many memories we share of running through trees and boating on the lake.  I love my new sister’s and brother in law and my growing amount of boys around me in my nephews!  I am also grateful for my nieces that are so darling and my grandparents before me.  I am grateful for my grandpa that I spent only a few years with and another that became my life time hero.  I am grateful for a grandmother that showed me how to work on the ranch and be beautiful at the same time, and another that makes you feel special by remembering every name and birth date known to man.  I am grateful for children that bless my life and teach me to be selfless everyday.  I am grateful for having the gift of a son…that I can’t help but reflect on especially this time of year with all of the beautiful songs of Christ.  I am grateful for my eternal companion and the love, laughing, and tears we have shared together.  I am grateful to be me, with all my imperfections and all.  I am a work in process, and I am grateful for the atonement to make me whole.  

Can you imagine how boring the world would be if we all looked and felt the same?  A bunch of Barbie and Ken’s running around, packaged up because that’s what sells?  


I will be packing some more for the cabin today.  We are leaving after the HUGE storm that is hitting tonight.  My dad forwarded me the forecast last night to warn us to be careful.  It went something like this:

Very seldom do they put our warnings this strong…so be careful and safe, love dad.

It went on to predict high winds, white out conditions, and a blizzard warning…travel would be very hard if not impossible….

So we wait until it passes.  We have a 5 hour drive to our cabin where there will be several feet of snow and temperatures below 0.  I LOVE the sleigh riding, movie watching, game playing times we always have there…so we will be patient…

Until then, I have to share a few pictures of the first snow to stick at our house a few days ago!  Yes, my little kids are so excited to start playing in it, even if you can see the grass sticking through the snow!

What things are you grateful for?  Do you write them down?  

How do you stay positive when life gets rough?  I would love to hear!

Happy Thanksgiving!!