Good morning brothers and sisters. My name is Cindy. My streak is over, I have avoided somehow of speaking in Sacrament meeting for 5 yrs, it was good while it lasted. First, I want to give you some background about me. I'm a native of Las Vegas. I'm the oldest and youngest in my family-I'm an only child. I was born at Sunrise Hospital and on my birth certificate it says I was born outside of city limits. I have not lived outside of my zipcode. I love to travel and discover new places, yet I haven't been to the Grand Canyon ..or Northern NV. Someday though. I'm an OB Nurse and love talking or teaching my patients one on one yet speaking in front of a large group of people terrifies me! I have such admiration for those that can come up to the pulpit and just talk. Someday when I grow up.. I hope to be like you. With that being said, if our meeting ends early, I'm sorry or your welcome. All kidding aside, I hope that my message may give you some inspirational it has for me as I have prepared it.
I've been asked to talk on The Divine Gift of Gratitude from President Thomas S Monson from the Oct 2010 General Conference. I want to tell you about my Mom and Dad. Helen and Fred. They loved me unconditionally. They were hard working people. My dad was a veteran of the army and navy reserves. I thought that my dad could fix anything, he loved oldies music he could draw ( wish I could). My dad taught me to cook. My Mom always encouraged me. She loved Country music, and Neil Diamond. She loved spur of the moment road trips to St George. She had a quiet strength about her. She was hardworking and always served her church callings. She had many health concerns over the years, but one of the things I learned from her was to be kind, I never heard her complain about how bad her situation was. She just smiled and kept pushing forward. My parents loved me, and as being their only child, very protective parents. I re,ember at 16 yrs old they let me go on a church history trip for 2 1/2 weeks, it was a hard thing for them to do, yet they knew that it would help me grow and learn about Church History and to grow my testimony. I am so grateful for them and their example. I lost my Dad at age nineteen and my mom ten years later.
"A grateful heart.. comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for his blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. "
When problems arise.. I have a hard time asking for help. I respond I'm ok.. I'm fine.. I got this. But, as a friend said to me after losing their son... "Cindy, I need to help you to get through my grief. And then, I realised to myself... haven't I been doing the exact same thing? I find it helpful for me to serve someone else, not to dwell upon my grief, but to remember my gratitude.
In his talk, President Monson recounts of a time he went to visit a widow in a nursing home. He came late at midnight. The receptionist said "I'm sure she's asleep, but she told me to be sure to awaken her, for she said "I know he'll come" He held her hand and she was wide awake and said "I knew you would come".
"Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly and you will be singing as the days go by".
In the book of Luke Chapter 17 we read of our Savior - "And it came to pass as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. "
"And as he entered into a certain village, there he met ten men that were lepers, which stood affar off: And they lifted up their voices and said, Jesus , Master, have mercy on us."
"And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass that, as they went, they were cleansed."
"And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving hi, thanks and He was a Samaritan."
"And Jesus answering said, were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger."
"And he said unto him, Arise , Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole." Through Divine intervention those who were lepers were spared from a cruel lingering death and given a new lease on life. The expressed gratitude by one merited the Masters blessing; the ingratitude shown by the nine , his disappointment . President Monson asks " Do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of Heaven and helps us feel Gods love."
President Hinckley said " When you walk with Gratitude, You do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives."
Richard G Scott a member of the Quorum of 12 Apostles gave a commencement speech to the class of 2008 at BYU. It was called For Success in Life. There's some points I want to share:
Smile- Everyone has problems, but nobody wants to hear yours. Smile. A lot. - it's a beautiful way to let sunshine into your life and to spread it to the joy and benefit of others.
Dont complain- There will be times when life just isn't fair. Some others may make unjust decisions that affect you professionally or otherwise. Don't waste time complaining Life is charged with opportunity, when you seek the help of the Lord to find it. Look for the gold nuggets of opportunity around you, mine them and use them.
Serve Others- Immense happiness comes from serving others selflessly. Always have a church assignment always. Don't request specific callings but ask to be used so that you are constantly connected to the reality of eternal truth. That effort will keep your life in balance.
Express Gratitude- Show Gratitude for the blessings of life, the restoration of truth, the wonder of spiritual guidance and especially the Atonement and the gifts that flow from it. Peace and Happiness are the precious fruits of a righteous life . They are only possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
"There are those among you who, although young, have already suffered a full measure of grief and sorrow. My heart is filled with compassion and love for you.How dear you are to the church. How beloved you are of your Heavenly Father. Though it may seem you are alone, Angels attend you. Though you may feel that no one can u derstandthe depth of your despair, Our Savior, Jesus Christ understands. He suffered more than we can possibly imagine,and He did it for us; He did it for you." -President Dieter F. Uctdorf
We have all experienced times when our focus is on what we lack rather than our blessings. Said the Greek philosopher Epictetus, " he is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has"
From To My Friends by Jeffrey R Holland we find his thoughts on gratitude - "I am grateful for the Church's army of teachers, officers, advisors, and clerks to say nothing of people who are forever setting up tables and taking down chairs. I am grateful for ordained Patriarchs, musicians, family historians, and elderly couples who trundle off to the temple at 5 am with little suitcases now almost bigger than they are. I am grateful for selfless parents who- perhaps for a lifetime care for a challenged child, sometimes with more than one child. I am grateful for children who close ranks later in life to give back to ill or aging parents. And to the near- perfect elderly sister who almost apologetically whispered recently- 'I have never been a leader of anything in the church. I guess I've only been a helper, I say Dear Sister, God bless you and all the 'helpers' in the Kingdom. Some of us who are leaders hope someday to have the standing before God you have already attained."
In the Book of Mormon we are told to " live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which God doth bestow upon you".
Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will buy pause and contemplate our blessings.
Not too long after my Dad had passed I had met new friends at the Institute of Religion Jessi, Lilly and Becky Putman. Jessi and Lilly could always be found at the Institute roaming the halls, attending Institute Women's Association, Friday lunches and dances. Lilly and Jessie both had health issues that delayed them in some ways But, I had always thought I had met some spiritual giants. I personally had always felt that you meet someone for a reason. Their family was the ultimate example in my eyes of the definition of Gratitude. What I learned from them was no matter what life hands me, whether it's adversity or not- I need to be grateful. To just keep smiling, Be Kind, and push forward. Life is hard... But this life is a test. When our plan was presented to us, we knew. The eternal reward will be great. It's the middle that we are unsure of.
"So amid the conflict whether great or small. Do not be discouraged , God is overall. Count your many blessings, Angels will attend. Help and Comfort Give you to your journey's end."
In the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.