In Gratitude

Last week, I attended Enrichment. The guest speaker did such a great job that her words have stayed with me, and they keep coming to mind every day.
She started her talk off by asking the question, “Do you ever lie down to bed and ask yourself why you’ve been so blessed to live where you do, in the country that you do?”
I nodded my head, yes! Yes! I have! In fact, I’ve lost sleep wondering WHY I’ve been so blessed. Have I ever come up with an answer? No. Maybe she had it! I wriggled to the edge of my seat and waited.

Instead of outright answering the question, she asked us what the answer was. People tossed out answers that didn’t really get to the root of the question: WHY am I so blessed? Of course we ARE blessed to live when/where we do, but WHY?

We finally came to the conclusion that, among other reasons, it is to bless others -the world through, if needs be.

This answer satisfies me to some extent. Does it satisfy you? And are you losing sleep because your life is so good and you can’t, for the life you, figure out why?
Surely I don’t deserve it, so why have I been handed it?

Here’s a brief rundown, I was born in 1985 to two devoted parents. They had been sealed to each other in the Temple before any children came along, making all six of us (children, that is) born in the covenant. I was born sealed to my parents -immediately promised to them for ETERNITY, not just until they or I die. My mother taught me to learn with my hands. My father taught me to work with my hands. I grew on principles of faith. I attended church. My friends were good -they’re still good, and they’re still my friends. The little hospital-less town I was literally born in helped to raise me. Without the boundaries of asphalt and fences, my imagination roamed, grew, and blossomed. I began voraciously reading and voraciously writing. I was given the opportunity to play basketball, volleyball, and softball. My coaches taught me about sacrifice, about the importance of a unified group and the difference between the power of a unified group and the power of an individual. I was able to learn musical instruments, and again was taught the importance of unification.
When a group is not in tune, it’s nothing short of harsh. And no one wants to listen to them.

I ran for class offices. I applied for Societies and Clubs. I typed. I laughed. I cried. And then, I graduated.

At graduation, my devoted parents stood by as I helped deliver our Class History Speech. They were together, as they’d always been. They were healthy, as were my brothers and sister.
And went off to college with everything I had learned burning a hole in the back pocket of my 28″ waist, 36″ long jeans.

I could have done well with just that. But well enough? Not nearly.

Of all the blessings great and small that I was simply BORN into, the greatest of all of these began before I came to earth, and it came to my family line when a young missionary touched (and thereby healed) the wounded leg of my great-great-great grandfather. Jens Hansen accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ. His son settled the area I was raised in. Eventually, my father came along and married my mother.
That’s when I was born into a life of privilege. As I attended church and was taught the basic principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I would start to think -to ponder.
I always was something of a thinker, even as a small child.
One Sunday, as I listened to a speaker testify of Christ, it suddenly stuck my mind that he might be full of absolute bull. I looked in desperation at my mother.
Were we being duped into believing something absolutely ridiculous? Were we? And what was I going to do about it? I became momentarily convinced that I was trapped in a church pew, in a dress, having a fantastical religion shoved on me.
Luckily, I was small when this happened. I was small enough to be able to turn around in the my church pew, sit on my knees, and peak around at the congregation that was being likewise duped.
My eyes landed on Paul Hatch. He lived just down the hill from us, and I knew -without a doubt -that no one could ever dupe Paul Hatch.
I turned back around and thought about it.
I glanced past my mother and looked at my father. My father was the smartest person in the world. Surely, he wouldn’t go to church if there wasn’t something real about it.

And so, for that moment, I was satisfied.
My testimony relied on others, but for the moment, it sufficed. As I grew older, I gained bits of testimony for myself, but the root of my testimony and the countless blessings that have flowed into my life because of it came because of how I was born and the way that I was raised.

My children are healthy (and jumping off of my piano bench).
There is a roof over my head.
There is food in my pantry.
There is money in my account.
There are clothes flowing out of my closet.
I’m free to do as I like.
I’m a voter.
I’m a mother.
I’m a wife.
I’m warm despite the biting cold outside.
I am loved by my Heavenly Father who speaks to me because He loves me and I’m getting to know Him.


What have I done to merit these blessings?
In truth: I don’t know exactly. Do you?

I recently read an article that was meant to be humorous about why skipping Thanksgiving was an all right idea. Thanksgiving wasn’t exciting enough.
Birthdays, the author reasoned, and Christmas had far more to offer by the way of celebration.

I laugh easily. I don’t offend easily.
But this is one instance where I will not lighten up or take a joke where a joke is meant to be taken.

Be thankful. Be less wanting.
Express it how you will, but be sure you do.

You don’t need the audience of 600 facebook friends to express how grateful you are for cell phones, running water, toilets, clothing, food, children, health, sleep, joy, laughter, Netflix…
All you need is the audience of One.



  1. Perfect. I got chills.

  2. so true and amazing. Thank you!

  3. That was SO powerful. What a great reminder. Thank you! (I was starting to feel like less of a person because I hadn’t been posting on facebook what I’m thankful for) ;)

  4. I read that as well and totally agree! Not sure if you read Heavenly Homemaker but she has a weekly post – gratitudesday that you should link this up to.. not that I don’t like the author of the post you referred to… she is so funny, but I am totally in agreement with how you felt reading it.. funny but not quite sitting well with you!?

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