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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) publishes a monthly magazine called the Ensign.  This month’s issue includes a great article by President Henry Eyring of the First Presidency on the importance of gratitude.  At the end of the article there was a little activity called the “Gratitude Challenge“.  I thought it would be fun to take it online and share it with you. 

I’ll take the challenge as an example on the blog.  Copy and paste the challenge into the comment section and leave yours too for others to benefit from.

Take a Gratitude Challenge

By John Hilton III and Anthony Sweat

Let’s not just talk about counting our blessings—let’s do it! Write a list of 100 things you are thankful for. If that sounds like it is too many, try this:

1.

Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.

Sight, strength to run, bike, lift, hike, walk, , hearing, smell, touch, coordination, endurance.

2.

Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.

Home, cars, enough money to support family, computer, internet, exercize equipment, clothing, central heating (this is on my mind because it is cold as I write this), DVD player with movies, GPS in my car, car seats for kids, stuffed animals for the kids, comfortable bed, hot water.

3.

Write 10 living people you are grateful for.

Wife, children (2), parents (father, mother, step-mother), siblings (7), cousins, in-laws, grandparents, friends…..I’m not putting names down here because there are too many to count and just in case I forget someone it will come back and haunt me!

4.

Write 10 deceased people you are grateful for.

Grandma Anderson, Grandma Curlette, Jesus, founding fathers, known and unknown people who lost lives to improve ours today through fighting battles in war and in other ways such as inventions in medicine and other comforts we enjoy

5.

Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.

Smell after it rains, Mt Rainier, Ocean, Puget Sound, the smell of salty ocean water on a sunny day, sound of ground under feet when hiking, sound of river running when camping, wind through trees, warmth of sun on sandy beach, sound of silence when in a forest after it snows, smell of desert air, sunsets, sound of waves lapping on the shore, seasons,

6.

Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.

Chance to spend time with both kids early in the morning while wife caught up on sleep, hot tea to settle an upset stomache, a job that allows me to have flexibility and spend time with family while providing so wife doesn’t have to work, a good wife who supports me and is a good mother to the kids, scripture study, exercising (P90X2!), internet to do my job and also have scripture study in the morning (and write this post!), health, gospel, texting, phones, supportive and friendly family

7.

Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.

Mt Rainier, temples, Puget Sound, Whistler ski resort (ski resorts in general), church buildings, my bedroom, my office, Switzerland (the Alps), Hawaii (Kaui particularly), Taiwan

8.

Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for.

Internet, Computer, TV, toilets, indoor heating, plumbing, roadways, airplanes, phones, books

9.

Write 10 foods you are grateful for.

Health shakes, eggs, turkey sandwiches, mashed potatoes with lots of gravy, grilled salmon, halibut, turkey burgers, banannas, peaches, anything my wife cooks

10.

Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for.

Hope it gives, strength it gives through trial, peace it brings, guidance it gives for all aspects of life, friendships found with other believers, healing it gives through repentance and forgiveness, light it brings to world, transformation it makes within my heart and others’ hearts, places it takes me through following God’s Spirit as I serve

 

I’m sure if I spent more time I could think of more things, but this is off the top of my head.  I’m looking forward to seeing your list in the comment section!

In the New Testament, James defines pure religion as visiting people in their afflictions, and also keeping oneself unspotted from the world.

With that thought in mind, I contacted one of my aging grandparents, whose health is steadily declining.  I received a phone call from my grandparent a few weeks ago, but the excuses I used for not getting back in touch included work, church service, raising kids, spending time with my wife, not being able to reach out because when I finally do get time it’s about 9:00 p.m. and my grandparent is in bed.

So the days turned into weeks and I would say almost daily to my wife “I should call my Grandpa” and finally she told me to quit saying that and just schedule it on my calendar, which I did.

When I called, there was a different voice on the phone than what I was used to hearing and I was confused.  I asked if I had the right number and he told me I did, but my Grandpa was too sick to talk.  However, when my Grandpa heard it was me on the phone, he motioned to the caregiver and he passed the phone over, warning me that there were sores all over my grandpa’s mouth and it was hard to understand him.

The voice I heard on the other end was frail and muffled.  I was humbled that despite his very poor circumstances, he wanted to make time for a conversation with me.  I reflected on all the good things my father taught me, which he had learned from my grandfather.  I was lucky enough to also live in the same town as my grandparents, so I got to know them very well as a young kid and teenager.  They sacrificed a lot for all of us.

The conversation was pretty short as he needed to get some rest, but I reflected on the call.  Why did it take me so long to call?  If I were living in the same town as him, would I be too busy to stop by regularly? 

I then reflected on the scripture on pure religion.

James does NOT say that pure religion is going to church, holding a high calling or position of authority, paying tithing, and a whole list of other things that one could name in association with being “religious”.  Rather, James says a key part of pure religion is visiting those who are afflicted.

It takes extra effort to go above and beyond and schedule time to visit those who are sick and afflicted.  It takes another step to go and visit with a heart filled with pure love as Jesus would have us do.  Many times the elderly seem helpless and have certain quarks or things that are annoying.  It takes the love of Jesus to look past those things and remember that at one point in our lives, whether we were teenagers, young kids, or helpless babies that our parents and/or grandparents took time to selflessly give us love and care.

It’s easy to get caught up in many things in life, but I hope that we all can remember to schedule time to regularly visit, talk with, or serve our aging parents and/or grandparents or other elderly people we may know who are suffering before it’s too late and we have regrets.  This time, I was fortunate enough to have reached out in time, but it took me way to long to do so.  My plan is to schedule time regularly on my calendar so I make it a regular habit.

What are some suggestions and ways that you go about caring for the elderly?

Growing up in a Mormon society and household, modesty was something that was spoken of frequently.  Since the majority of the population and culture I was in was predominately LDS, or Mormon, it was against the social norm to wear tight, or revealing clothing and when going out in the sun, bikinis were nearly unheard of.

When I went to an LDS, or Mormon college I found that although the school had a dress and honor code that reflected a similar dress standard as what I was accustomed to, there were many LDS girls who didn’t adhere to the standard when off-campus and especially at parties.  At first, I was very shocked that an LDS girl would wear a bikini to the pool, or a skimpy dress to a party, but I heard over and over again that where they grew up (in a predominately non-LDS environment) it was o.k. to dress this way.  This was what they felt comfortable in and if someone had a problem with it, so be it. I also heard girls who would dress this way act shocked that guys would be drooling all over them, or treating them disrespectfully.

I found the video below very interesting.  The presentation discusses the things that happen to a man’s brain when he sees a girl in a bikini vs. a girl fully clothed.  Take a few minutes to watch:

So what do you think?  Do you think Christian women should continue to wear revealing swimwear and that it is up to the guys to control themselves, or do you think women should cover up more and help the guys out a little?

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