Sunday, July 31, 2016


this picture by Greg Olsen hangs by my front door
i miss seeing it everyday
this week as i reflected on what i might say here, the
thought that kept flooding my mind and my heart was
gratitude.  gratitude for my abundance in every aspect
of my life.  i often say 'my cup runneth over' and i feel it
even more these last few months.  i've never kept a gratitude journal per se, but i began to list things the other day and realized the list will never be complete.  to quote a favorite hymn, i stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me.

i am grateful for the atonement.  i can't begin to grasp the depth of His love for us that He would be willing to go through Gethsemane and Calvary so that we could all return to live with Him and the Father one day.  i am grateful for repentance.  i need it every day.  i am grateful for the sabbath day, when i can partake of the sacrament and renew the covenants i made when i was baptized.

i am grateful for my family, who i love more than i ever could have imagined was possible. i am grateful for the blessings of the temple, for the covenants i made there.  i am grateful for family and friends who are such good examples of Christlike love and service, who remind me
every day who i want to be.

one of the missionaries told me a story this week of visiting the home of a woman and her two teenaged children.  the branch members and missionaries had built them a house a few weeks before that consisted of four cinderblock walls, about 15'x15' square, a dirt floor, outdoor 'plumbing' and a tin roof.  they looked around and asked her if they had food to eat.  her daughter began to cry when the mother told them 'yes, we have 2 slices of bread left!  we cut one piece into three pieces each day so we can all eat.'  one third of one slice of bread was all they had eaten for the previous two days.  it took every ounce of strength for the missionaries not to breakdown as they said 'you are starving!'.  and then the mother said the most amazing thing ... 'yes, but we have this wonderful home!  we are so blessed!  when it rains we do not get wet!  we are so grateful!'

this is an extreme example of the poverty we see here, but it is a common example of the humility and graciousness of the people.  we came with 3 loaded suitcases and our pantry is full.  (most days) we have air-conditioning and running water and a toilet that flushes.  indeed, my cup runneth over.

in fifteen short months, i will return to my beloved, modest american home with all it's creature comforts and amenities.  i will return to my life of lunches, movies, and a temple 5 minutes from my front door.  i will return to a schedule that is mostly my own.  i hope i return with the lessons i'm learning here fully planted in my heart and soul and that i never go a day without expressing my gratitude to my Heavenly Father and His Son, my Savior, Redeemer, Brother and Friend, not only in my words but by the way i choose to live.  

know that you are loved and thought of every day!  i am grateful for you!

love, donna