What Are You Thankful For?

I watched this video this morning. In it, people in Arlington, VA share what they’re thankful for. The video was created by a young man serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Northern Virginia. Watching the video inspired me to write a post about what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for: My experience as a full-time missionary…

This week I was back where I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Nauvoo, IL). I am so thankful I had the opportunity to serve a mission. I didn’t grow up with a strong desire to serve a mission, but doing so blessed my life in so many ways. The greatest blessing of my mission was learning what it means to truly have faith and trust in God. I learned about faith as I learned the stories of the Mormon pioneers and shared those stories with the visitors who came to tour Nauvoo. The Mormon pioneers passed through tribulation that I can’t fully fathom, yet they trusted in God. I find we often think that if we live as God wants us to, then bad/hard things won’t happen to us, but that’s not true. The pioneers were faithful men and women of God, yet they were driven from their homes multiple times, faced great uncertainty, and suffered the loss of loved ones amidst their journey. Some of these loved ones even died in the service of God as missionaries.

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I am thankful for: Fresh starts…

I struggle frequently with feelings of inadequacy. This is especially the case when I am alone. My husband travels every other week for work, and I find myself getting stuck in my head. I think of ways I could have spent my time better. I think of ways I am more selfish than I want to be. I analyze to the extreme every purchase that I make wondering if the purchase was wise. I then beat myself up for being so critical of myself. It’s annoying and not healthy. Recently, I woke up one morning and the thought occurred to me that “today is a fresh start.” It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. If I dwell on the ways I could have been better yesterday, then I am robbing myself of joy today. I don’t believe God wants us to be overly critical of ourselves. He sent His Son Jesus Christ for us, and He makes up the difference (and all the difference) when we fall short.

I am thankful for: My family…

I love my husband and my family. I love laughing with them, eating with them, talking with them, and being around them. I look forward to having a family of my own in the future, and I am grateful to be able to have this family with John.

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I am thankful for: God the Father and Jesus Christ…

A fews days ago, while saying my daily prayer before bedtime, I felt great gratitude for Heavenly Father and His willingness to listen to my prayer. I am grateful to know that I am a daughter of God. That anytime I need to reach out to Him in prayer, He will listen. I am thankful He sent His Son Jesus Christ to suffer for sin and overcome death so that I could have someone to turn to when I need comfort and so I can return and live with God again and with my family forever.

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

Catching up on Fall 2016 & House Update

I can’t believe on Thursday we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. Fall has flown by. For me, fall seems to officially start the first weekend in October. September is still pretty warm here in Virginia, but October seems to bring the crisp air that I associate with fall. A few years ago, my mom and I began a tradition of walking the mall in Washington D.C. the first Saturday in October each year. This year, my sister and friend Keri joined us. It was a wonderful night.

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Half of October, John and I spent in Taiwan. You can read our trip here, here, and here.

The weekend after John and I got back from Taiwan, John and I went on a scenic helicopter ride out near the Shenandoah Mountains. It was beautiful, and it was fun for me to see how much John enjoyed it. He said it was one of the coolest things he’s done.

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Two weeks ago, we headed back to Iowa for John’s Grandma’s funeral. Grandma June had been sick for a few months. She passed away peacefully. The funeral was wonderful. It was a Catholic Mass funeral. As I sat and sang the hymns and listened to the Priest, I felt such a great sense of gratitude for Jesus Christ and his ability to overcome death. I believe that through Jesus Christ we can return and see God again and we can live with our families forever.

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We helped John’s dad rake leaves that had fallen in the backyard.
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L to R: John’s Uncle Mike, John’s Dad Marty, and John
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A post leaf-raking selfie.
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John and his grandparents’ farm in the background.
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The cemetery where Grandpa Louie and Grandma June are buried.

Progress on the house has continued to plug along. Here are some pictures in the various stages we’ve seen our soon-to-be home. A week ago, when we stopped by for a visit, the cabinets and countertops had been installed. It was so exciting to see. On the drive home, I couldn’t stop staring at the pictures. Last Saturday, we also bought a washer and dryer. This was a much less exciting experience, but it really made us feel like true “adults.” Yesterday we stopped by and the driveway had been poured, the wood floors laid, and the backsplash installed.

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The door will be will be navy blue when the house is done to match the shutters.

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The wood floors are all covered up by cardboard and the countertops are covered with blue plastic.

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