Over at my other blog I describe a new project I am now working on.
For the gifts I will make for my family I will put in 26 index cards, one for each letter of the alphabet to challenge each one of them to make lists of things they consider blessings in their lives.
What I am doing for myself will be a little bit different. Because writing comes naturally to me, I have more words to share for each letter than what would fit on just one card. So I will put together 26 GROUPS of index cards, with each group of 3-5 cards attached with a small ring. Each group is designated a letter. Then on each card within that group I write a word that begins with that letter, followed by a detailed description of WHY I am grateful for that thing. (For example, right now my "A" group has 3 cards, designated "Atonement", "Airplanes" and Autumn". But because I have them connected by an O ring that clips open rather easily I can ADD to those cards with new words any time I like. Over the years I hope to keep pondering my blessings untill I make each of these gatherings of cards fat with gratitude.
Right now I have this:
On the "Atonement" card it says:
"I believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that He personally took on the sins of the world, but more important to me, I have faith in the reality that He took on MY sins, every one of them, so that I might be forgiven and be able to live in the presence of God again. But He did not just atone for the SINS of the word. He also took on every sorrow, every grief, every despairing moment of loneliness, every pain that could possibly be part of this mortal existence. My finite mind does not understand how that was possible. But I know that it was real. This is not just some Sunday School lesson to me. It is a true miracle that makes it possible for me to cope with any struggle I may have. When it feels as if no one in this world understands what I may be going through, I know that my Savior absolutely does understand in a very deep and personal way what it is I am feeling. Because of the atonement, I can go to my Father in Heaven in prayer with every moment of shame, every self doubt, every hurt feeling and be renewed through the Savior's love for me."
On the "Airplane" card it says:
I am so grateful for the chance to see distant places. Through the technology of airplanes I've been able to travel to Fiji, to Costa Rica, to Egypt and all over the United States. I've eaten red beans and rice while listening to great blues tunes in New Orleans. I've gone white water rafting near Denali in the wilderness of Alaska. I've seen volcanoes and been to a luau in Hawaii. I've seen petraglyphs on the walls of Indian ruins in New Mexico and flown a kite on the beach in Key Largo, Florida. I've stood at the top of the arch in St. Louis and eaten Amish pie in Wooster, Ohio. I've seen the laser light show on Freemont Steet in Las Vegas and looked out at the stars during a wonderful meteor shower in Tucson. I've camped out in the woods of Mt. Pilot, North Carolina and gone exploring deep caves in Tennessee. These trips and oh so many more were all made possible to me due to the wonderful blessing of the Airplane. I need to remember that when I am grousing about delays or missed connections. I need to remember that when I feel crowed in coach or anytime I start to complain about the futility of having all passengers take of their shoes going through security. There may be problems and inconveniences along the way, but I am still very, very grateful for airplanes."
My "Autumn" card says this:
"I love the feel of nubby sweaters that keep me warm from Autumn's chill. I love the harvest season when the earth gives up fat pumpkins and apples and and other produce. I love the sound of crunching leaves and the rich colors of the fall. I love the smell of smoke in the air as wood stoves kick in for the first time of the season. I love seeing V's of geese flying south and knowing there is a cycle of seasons to this earth."
Some of the words will be serious and some will be silly. But by giving myself a whole card to explain WHY each thing is a blessing in my life, it takes on deeper meaning. So when I get it all done I will have a "box of blessings" that I can turn to any time I get feeling blue, discouraged or overwhelmed.
I am grateful for all my A blessings, and all the rest of the alphabet - soon to be posted here.