- Thomas S. Monson
Here are some of my often overlooked blessings that I am so grateful for:
- Grocery stores: I went shopping yesterday and in one store, I was able to buy all the food, toiletries, and household goods we needed. So much of the world has no access to convenient shopping - and/or no means to buy basic necessities let alone the "extras" I'm lucky enough to be able to toss into my cart at the grocery store. When I lived in Bulgaria, the little communist-era grocery stores sold gritty grayish sugar, white flour, pasta, some dried beans, and a few other dry goods plus sometimes bread, yogurt and cheese (two kinds- there are only two kinds of cheese in Bulgaria). Half the shelves always seemed to be empty in those stores. Then there were "mini markets" that had candy, yogurt, cheese and some imported packaged foods and bread. Then there were open-air markets (even in the cold and snow) where you went to buy your fruits and vegetables (sometimes great, sometimes very sparse - only what was in season). One woman visited the United States and was excited to show all the people in our little branch (congregation) all her photos. At least 80% of the photos she was excited to share were photos of the inside of a grocery store. People oohed and ahhed over all the amazing number of choices, all in one place.
- A good car: When I need to go somewhere, my car starts. Every time. It's 7 years old and it's nothing remotely fancy. One of the windows won't roll down. The carpet is stained, the plastic parts are scuffed pretty bad, and I'm always loosing the battle of keeping in somewhat clean inside and out. But it's comfortable and it gets us everywhere we need to be. We don't have to ride buses or walk or bike long distances to get where we need to go like people in most of the world have to do.
- The chance to be a wife and mother. It's hard stuff - this mother and wife stuff - but it's what I always hoped and dreamed of and I wondered for a lot of years whether it was going to happen for me as I saw so many friends and my sister get married and start their families while I was still looking for Mr. Right. Many of my friends are still looking and some have given up. Some friends have been through heartbreaking divorces. Some have struggled mightily with infertility. I am so blessed that these yearned-for blessings of a husband and children did work out for me.
- Beauty: I talk about beauty a lot on this blog and in my life - I probably don't overlook it as much as some do. But I am just so grateful for the beauty of the earth and for the love of our Creator that it demonstrates. God probably could have made a much more utilitarian version of the world. But He went all out. He made so many interesting and exciting and lovely things to warm our hearts and make us smile and make us think.
- A comfortable home: While much of the world lives in self-made huts that are usually too hot or too cold and have little or no conveniences, I live in a nice house with heat and air conditioning and furniture and plumbing and blankets and computers and a TV
- Peace: While so many people in the world live in fear of the next government take-over, in fear of the wandering soldiers who do whatever they like, in fear that they might have to flee their homes, in fear that their young sons may be forced into an army, in fear of the hate that some people have for them because of their religion or ethnicity and the violence they've seen as a result, I live in a peaceful country where elections can mean disappointments but don't mean overthrow or violence or drastic swings in policies.
- Choices and freedom: I have so many choices every day. I can choose what to wear. I can choose what time to get up in the morning (within a window of what works) and what time to go to bed at night. I can choose when to do what needs to be done that day and can choose a lot of what goes on my "to-do" list. I can choose where my children go to school. I can choose what we eat for dinner. I can choose from many great choices of activities for my children. I can choose great friends. I can choose to go running or hiking because my body is healthy and strong. I can choose to be involved in my kids' school. I can choose to run The Power of Moms. I can choose to share my thoughts on this blog. I have so much freedom.
This afternoon, when the kids get home, we'll all be writing thank you notes to people we're grateful for who might not know how much we appreciate them. We'll use up the rest of the 500-pack of thank you notes from my wedding and do some thank-you emails as well. Writing the list above and sending out several emails today to people who enrich my life has made me feel so much joy today. I want my kids to feel this joy too.