Gratitude Journal: March 16-31, 2013

I love Spring.  I love tulips and daffodils and the new shoots emerging for my bleeding hearts, that will look incredible for a few months until the super hot weather hits.  The past two weeks have been really busy with conferences and trainings, but today I spent the day with family celebrating Easter.  We got our kids new bikes and played with the dog.  It was a day of renewal for me.  

As I thought about all I am grateful for, I also thought about how none of it is possible without the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  His sacrifice allows me to have these moments with my family - knowing that it can be an eternal family through righteousness and patience.  I saw the black smudges on my daughter's cheeks and smiled at her childlike amazement at everything she sees.  I planted kisses all over my son's freckles and told him that I missed his fuzzy head, but love the boy he has become.  I said a small prayer in my heart - grateful that my children are not part of the 1 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, or the millions of children in Africa whose parents have died of AIDS.  I'm grateful that I will never be desperate and sell my children to child traffickers.  

This week I looked at my blog reader and saw all sorts of titles from friends who were complaining about their budget or their circumstances in life. or conflict in the news.  It made me sad to read, so I stopped.   I thought about how just yesterday I was on a call with Ambassador Mokhtar Lamani, the former Director of the United Nation's IOC (Islamic Organization Conference), listening to him talk about the refugees and his desire to create a Center for Peace.  I thought about my friend, Erin McBride, who spent a month in Cambodia helping with the fight against child trafficking.  I thought about a women who is raising 25 children in a cave in Africa - all of them orphans because of AIDS.

And I wondered at my blessings.   And I realized that they are only blessings if it means I use them to help bring peace, love and strength to the lives of others.