Another Thanksgiving has come and soon will be gone, so it is that I should like to take the waning minutes of the holiday to share my gratitude by creating a top 10 list of things for which I am grateful:
10. MODERN CONVENIENCE--I am grateful for all things modern. I love having a house in which to live, a warm bed in which to sleep, a hot shower, hot food, easy transportation, easy communications, movies, music, and the likes. The list could go on and on, but to live in the age in which we live--what a blessing! There is so much to be grateful for which those who have come before us could not even have imagined that we would be enjoying. To think that I can type these words on a computer and publish them for anyone in the world to read--it is truly unbelievable and wonderful!
9. TRAVELING--I love the opportunity to travel both local and around the world. There is so much to see and do in the world and we have been blessed to live in a time when traveling is so convenient. I have had opportunity to travel throughout California, the state of my birth, throughout the United States, and throughout parts of Europe and Canada. I am constantly amazed by the various cultures that are unique to specific regions, the art work, architecture, history, culture, and of course the natural beauty that exists in each type of climate and location.
8. NATURE--I love the beauties of the earth. There is truly a rejuvenating quality within nature that seems to enlighten the mind and cleanse the soul. I love getting out into fresh air, getting a little exercise, clearing my mind, placing all worries aside, and enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. I love art, and to me nature is the art of God, and he has created several masterpieces for us to enjoy!
7. EDUCATION--I have not always valued education, but with each passing year, the more I discover that I love to learn things and that I truly appreciate the opportunity to have my mind expanded. Education has helped me to develop culturally, to appreciate and understand life a little better, and has provided the means for me to gain meaningful employment wherein I may earn an honest living, providing for my needs and wants, while making a positive difference in the world around me.
6. MY ANCESTORS--I am thankful for ancestors passing back through the generations who have made countless sacrifices so that their children could have a better life. As each generation has sacrificed a little more, my life in the present has been made that much sweeter. I recall many stories of the many ways that my ancestors have lived and sacrificed in order to present better opportunities for the following generation. I hope that I may one day in turn make sacrifices for my own posterity which will benefit them and be worthy of the legacy that my ancestors have created and placed in my own hands.
5. FREEDOM--I am truly blessed to have been born and to have lived my life in the United States of America. It is an awesome blessing to have the freedoms that this country has afforded me. One need but look around the world at the varying conditions of society with poverty, disease, war, famine, restriction, and degradation. I am so thankful for our founding fathers who were inspired enough to recognize that differing opinion is alright and that the voice of the people should determine the laws and leadership of our government, not the elite. I am grateful for countless men and women who have sacrificed their time, energy, money, and lives in order to obtain and maintain the freedoms that we enjoy--the freedoms that I enjoy! God Bless America and Democracy throughout the world, and may we as a people honor it and honor the God who has inspired men to create such governments where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness may be enjoyed.
4. FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES--Throughout my life I have come across hundreds of people who have influenced my life for the good. People who have been good examples for me, people who I have played with, people who have made me laugh, people who have challenged me physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. My friends are few, but they are faithful and good people, and I am ever grateful for them. Life simply would not be enjoyable without them.
3. MY FAMILY--I shall ever be indebted to my family, both immediate and extended. My parents have taught me well and have prepared me for the challenges of life. I have been offered love and support all throughout my life from my parents, siblings, and extended family. I have received great council from family members and have been blessed by the examples of family members that has helped to shape my life and to be happy.
2. THE RESTORED GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST--I am extremely grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. To know that God has spoken to man in times past and that He speaks even today through living prophets is a great comfort to me. To have all of the scriptures that have been revealed to mankind to date, to have the Church of Jesus Christ established on the earth, and to have the priesthood authority governing the affairs of the church is truly a blessing. Through this, I know to what source I may look to in faith in order to have a hope of receiving proper instruction and guidance in my life, and to know what I must do in order to gain eternal life.
1. THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST--I am most grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ as it allows mercy to be extended in my behalf. I am far from perfect, but I know to what source I may turn in order to make positive changes in my life. The atonement does not extend mercy to us so that we may continue in our sins, but offers strength to overcome our sins and to be made clean. There is nothing sweeter that I have experienced in my life than the sweetness that comes from this gift. I can never offer enough thanks for the suffering in Gethsemane, the death upon the cross, and the glorious resurrection wherein the living Christ has taken upon Himself our sins and suffered for them that we may have this hope to one day be perfect, even as he is perfect, and return to live with our Heavenly Parents.