Living Gratefully

photo of couple holding umbrella while kissing

Do you remember when your parents wanted to teach you an important lesson?

One time my dad sat me down and said, “Danielle, always remember if it seems to be good to be true it is!”

Now this advice has proven to be very helpful and quite wise.

What if I told you I had the secret to unlock a fuller happier healthier life. Brimming with  love, peace and joy! What if I could promise you results in just 21 days!

How much would it be worth? What would you be willing to pay? What would you be willing to do?

How many of you think I am lying?… sounds too good to be true?

Well let me pull out my magic wand… you do have to invest in this wand… but its affordable…

Search for it….*( Pull out pencil.)

 This tool is the first step into a better life. You might need a little paper too…

Did you know  daily recording life’s grateful moments can improve physical, mental social and emotional health.

I truly believe that I am here… (not just speaking to you) but here on earth living, learning and growing and trying to find true joy every day! And yet, often I find myself miserable, lonely, crying… with nothing to be grateful for.

But if we consider gratitude as only a list of things I receive I can miss the all important part of cultivating gratitude in all my circumstances.

An ecclesiastical leader, Dieter Uchtdorf said, “If we could set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of  gratitude.” he promises “a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.”(April, 2014)


Do I believe that promise? Is there gratitude in abuse? Is there gratitude in divorce? Is there gratitude in suicide?  Do I really believe that I can push away a bottle whose bitter taste would destroy me and faithfully lift a goblet of gratitude.

It’s important to note, Uchtdorf states “Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances.” Or do not take efforts to change them… but we admit,  I will steal a line from Sarah McLaughlin  in our ” sweet sadness a glorious madness, that brings me to my knees”  In this place… a quiet reflective meditative state I can find joy.

Sometimes when life’s bitter ironies happen to us, we think gratitude can’t exist. This is exactly what happened to me. When I was old enough to process events in my life, I was bitter. I couldn’t believe in a loving God, a Heavenly Father so absent in my suffering. So one day as a young girl I thought the only option I had left was to end my own life. Before I acted on it,  I knelt down and I asked God, “Can you love me? are you there?” That prayer was answered. I felt the purest love encompass me and I knew I would have the strength to get the healing I needed. It was not a one time healing. This just opened the gate to becoming restored.

  When we are invited to “ see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation, we may discover joy in the journey. We reflect on Uchtdorf’s  question : “How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before being thankful for the rain?” So maybe when our lives feel dark and dreary, when mortality weighs us down, we can remember to give thanks… thanks that this moment won’t last forever. Thanks because our life isn’t full of sunshine and rainbows.  Thanks because we walked in the rain we will understand the beauty of an umbrella… and we can take our fellow sufferers and invite them under, teaching  them how rainbows only come at the end of a storm… reminding them there is hope.

The experiences we hate the most our often the ones that bind us together… that make us look at each other with more sympathy, love, and reach out and assist one another.  That add an element of compassion, perspective and beauty to enrich our lives as we assist others. 

So Toastmasters and guests, in  the next twenty one days, my challenge is to invite you daily to record moments of thankfulness.  Dr Robert Emmons decade of research suggests we will have greater creativity, stronger immune systems, increased resilience and happier fuller lives. That we may live in a spirit of thanksgiving.  I invite you to “lift the goblet of gratitude and “find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.” (Uchtdorf, April, 2014)

But if you don’t think this one small tool can change your life ( hold up the pencil) … and that this offer is just too good to be true… I invite you to try anyways…. I invite you to take 15 minutes for 21 days…That is 5 hours and 25 minutes in the next three weeks. Record your gratitude… just like it takes effort to strengthen and form physical muscles the same is true with cultivating an attitude of gratitude. I promise you that things will change… This offer seems too good to be true… well it is true.

Thoughts and feelings in this speech were prompted by a speech given by President Deider F Uchtdorf in General Conference 2014. For the full article copy and paste the link into your browser.

Photo by Jennifer Murray on






Living Gratefully

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