service



When I think about serving others, I think about how we should do our best to not make a big deal about it. I think about how we should help without thoughts of reward. But every so often, you have to talk about the good things you are doing, so you can fill the world with good news, also so you don't forget about the service you've done. 

So I'd like to write a little slice about what I saw my son do the other night. 

We attended a Christmas devotional, but I reminded my children of how we always see a great deal of homeless people on the streets as we walk around downtown. Because of this, we decided to be prepared to help. One of my daughters made a mother lode of cookies and one of my sons made a bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The other two children helped package up the cookies and sandwiches, and then we were ready to go! 

After parking the car, we stuffed our coat pockets and a small bag with all of the food, so that each one of us could give food to people. We were ready. But there were hardly any homeless folks. If I didn't know better, it would have seemed that homelessness was eradicated from our downtown. We went to the devotional with only having handed out one sandwich. And when we got out, we only found three more people. My oldest son determined that it was very cold, so they must be somewhere seeking shelter. 

So after looking at Christmas lights, we piled back into our car with pockets still stuffed with food and began handing all the food to the bag holder, almost an adult big kid. My youngest even asked if we didn't find anyone that he could have one of the sandwiches because he was super hungry. We decided that if we didn't find anyone after I drove around a bit, he could, but if he would like, he could have a couple cookies to tide him over. 

But he ended up not even having the two cookies. And I'm so glad he waited. He was glad he waited too.

We drove around a couple of blocks where I'd seen many homeless people in the daytime, but no one was there. And then, I took us past the train depot. So many people. Camping, huddling together, drug deals going down. All on one stretch of road. 

We drove down the length of it to see if there was a "safe" area, and I passed by one that I had a good feeling about it, so I turned us around and went back, gave my oldest son my knife and instructions on how to be safe, and we parked. 

He got out, walked over to the huddled masses, and slowly a few people approached him. Then, I saw my son handing out food to the hungry without fear and looking so grown up. He brought someone back to the car to check for more food because there were so many, and I didn't even realize that we still had a bag of bananas and oranges left in the car from our outing the day before. and it felt like a miracle to have that still there to share. 

In that quick moment, I knew I never wanted to forget the night I saw my son be a leader among men. His heart was so big that night that it shone on his face. The good work he helped to perform for our family, as an emissary for us all, is small, but small things become great when we are serving others. We become great by giving. 

I'm thankful for the opportunity we had to serve a few of the hungry. I'm even more thankful for the way it helped my children see that we can do much for others simply by acting on our intentions. It felt like Christmas. 









priorities



Some people keep them straight while others have them all mixed up, but one thing is for certain, it always feels good when you are someone's priority.

Being put on the back burner so much I am used to it is something I'm sad to admit, but it's true. I don't even know how to explain all the many ways I am disrespected and undervalued; one of them is not being made a priority when I should be. The idea of even trying to list it all feels damaging. So I won't. Instead, I will focus on the blessing of when I am put at the front.

It truly gives me joy when I am thought of. I love the surprise of it and the kindness that is extended. The time people take to give just to me when I need some help or simple, loving human interaction, to feel seen.

Friendship is the most common vehicle I experience for being a priority. Friends give me time with such generosity. They have their own things to do and families to take care of, but I have people reaching out and giving to me despite their other priorities. And I am thankful for every minute spared in my behalf.

There's something I've learned about life, and it's that no one has to love you except your parents—and even then some parents still don't! So I don't expect anyone to ever prioritize me again, but I am very thankful for every single moment that I am valued enough to be treated so kindly.

I am ever thankful for everyone who makes time for me.


my treasure


To think of children as treasure is a good estimation. Sometimes, we see their amazing sparkle in their smiles and laughs and happy ways. There are also times when that sparkle is hidden by bad attitudes and confused decisions, and they are more like buried treasure. All the hard things pile up, so we have to help dig someone out or even wait for them to dig themselves out—because they are treasure—albeit buried.

The process of understanding the inherent value of myself and them has given me strength when I thought I had none left to carry on. What I've learned from my children cannot be written. There is too much. I'd have to spend my entire life writing what I know because of them, yet I will say I am thankful for how I've become more of who I am meant to be because of their influence on my life.

Buried or shining for all to see, I am eternally grateful for the children I have. They bless my life. They remind me that I am rich beyond measure.




light



Without light, life would be a lot more difficult than it is already. As I think about my blessings, I think about the lamp that lights my bedside table and helps me not walk into my footboard at nighttime. That's my first thought anyway.

I also think about the light of day when night is over. Sunshine makes life better. A smile can light up a room, right? That's a wonderful light. Truth is light, understanding is light, the gospel of Christ is another type of light. All light leads us to happiness and safety.

Gratitude fills my heart as I contemplate the many sources of light in my life. I'm thankful for it all. 

scriptures



Ask me twenty years ago if I'd be thankful for the scriptures, and I'd have laughed at you—to your face. Thank goodness that twenty years has a whole lot of changing in it. 

The truth is that I don't read the scriptures as much as I believe would be best, but that does not change the fact that I recognize their worth. I am surrounded daily by the influence of my knowledge gained from studying them. The comfort and guidance that I find within pages of holy writing continues to be incalculable. It's all the more a miracle in that I've read over some scriptures so many times at different times in my life, and the same ones have helped me in different ways. 

It takes faith to open up the word of God and apply it to your life, to give it a chance to change you. I'm thankful that I used that mustard seed of faith I had and let it grow. My life is so different and so much better than it was when I was a young adult. I know who I am and where I want to be. And that's something to be thankful for too.