Sunday, June 22, 2014

Happy Now--June 22

Pinedale has been in full bloom lately.  The winter was long, but it's this time of year that makes all of the snow seem worth while.  Everything is green and the rivers have started flowing again.  When Darren had a couple of days off this week, we decided to take advantage of living around so much natural beauty and hiked around two local lakes.  The skies weren't as blue as they had been earlier in the week, but our outings sure made me happy.  For my Happy Now this week, I'm sharing ten of my favorite pictures from this weekend.

Friday, Hike 1 (New Fork Lake):

Saturday, Hike 2 (Green Rivers Lake):

Eating lunch lakeside :)

My handsome hiking husband

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Grateful in Any Circumstances

This blog has been an exercise for me in trying to record some of the small moments in my life with Darren that bring joy and help me experience gratitude more fully.  Since my last entry, Darren and I suffered a loss that brought a lot of heartache to our little family.  Darren and I have dealt with this loss through the love and support of our family, friends, and, most importantly, our Father in Heaven.  This support has improved our perspective and has gone a long way toward healing our hearts, but I still found it hard to focus on gratitude on a weekly, not to mention daily, basis.

Today in Sacrament Meeting, however, one of the speakers shared a message from President Uchtdorf's most recent General Conference address entitled "Grateful in Any Circumstances".  I don't know why President Uchtdorf's messages are the ones that prompt my getting on this blog to write (it was his "Forget Me Not" talk that started all of my Happy Now posts two and a half years ago), but they do.  After listening to the Sacrament talk, I went home and reviewed his message for the first time since Conference.  Here are a few of the thoughts that stood out to me:

"Often our grief is caused by what seems to them as an ending ... Everyone's situation is different, and the details of each life are unique.  Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives.  There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious.  We can be grateful!"

"Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation?  In other words, I'm suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances--whatever they may be."

"Being grateful in  our circumstances is an act of faith in God.  It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true."

"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings in life, they seem unacceptable to us?  There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.  Why is this?  Because we are made of the stuff of eternity...Endings are not our destiny."

Darren and I were reminded of the eternal nature of our destinies recently with the beautiful temple marriage of his brother, Steven, to his fiancée Brittany.  And just this evening I had the chance to FaceTime with my brother and his fiancée, Christiane, who are preparing for a temple marriage this August.  Regardless of our current circumstances, our Heavenly Father has an eternal plan in place for each of us.  Even if the eternal blessings we hope for do not come when we expect them, we can have faith and gratitude that they will all come. As President Uchtdorf reminds us, "True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony."

For whatever reason, I feel that finding gratitude in any circumstance is a skill that will continue to be a focus in my life.  I am grateful for the faith and testimony of others that help bolster my own.  I am also grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord as He gently finds ways to remind me that our eternal destinies are so much more than our current circumstances.  I am grateful for His patience with me as I learn this lesson, falter, and strive to learn it again.  Onward!
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