Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Engaged in Gratitude

November always brings a heightened sense of gratitude as Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations quickly approach.  I humbly acknowledge that God has given me a bountiful harvest to enjoy and  my cornucopia is spilling over with blessings from on high!  If I were to try to enumerate the many tremendous gifts in my life, this blog would have no end.  But there is strength that comes from actually acknowledging the things we are grateful for; so I will list just a few that touched my life during the month of November, 2014.

In order of events, I mention first that I am grateful to be able to play tennis.  Not only does it strengthen and benefit my physical and emotional well-being, but it provides wonderful friendships and social encounters that I have desired and needed here in Korea.  I've gained many good friends, and opportunities to learn about the world through the eyes of women of differing background and culture. I have grown from their goodness.  This month, we finished our season with a luncheon in honor of two teammates who are leaving Korea.  Anne and Cristina are both headed to England where their association is sure to continue, though they will be missed in Seoul.

The Seoul Women's International Tennis League (SWITL) also hosted their yearly banquet at Seoul Club, and for the first time, I was able to attend.  We were presented with embroidered hats and other goodies and were challenged with a few games and activities.  Each team had to write a team jingle to a Christmas tune and present it to the group.  Had we not already won the "Name the Professional Tennis Players" picture game, we surely would have been proclaimed the "Jingle" champs as well - wouldn't you agree?!

Second, I wish to express my thanks for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Not only does the gospel of Jesus Christ fill my life with purpose and direction, but the organization of His church and it's individual members bless my life immeasurably.  I am grateful for an unpaid ministry that allows individual members to learn, teach, lead, and serve others; and in the process become more like our Father in Heaven.  And I am grateful for the eternal friendships which are born of this service to one another!  When immediate family are separated by distance such as ours, we rely on our "church family" for companionship and love.  Our Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated with  several families from our church this year.  We gathered at a community building on Yongsan Military Base where many of our friends live.   It even had a place to play some "table tennis" - aahhh, just like home!  What a rare treat to feast on so many traditional holiday dishes - expecially turkey!  I guess there are benefits to living in "little America" here in the heart of Seoul. I am thankful for good friends and good food.

Next, I must express my deep gratitude for the awesome wonders of God's creations!  I am grateful for the seasons, and the beauty of each day.  I am thankful that I have been able to see so much of earth's amazing colorful canvas.  I looked out our windows one rainy afternoon to see a vivid double rainbow painted across the sky.  In that moment, it occurred to me that God exists in that fabled pot of gold found at it's end, and from him flows forth all the richest blessings of life.  I am grateful that the rainbow reminds me that His promises are real!  If I am faithful to my covenants, I can dwell in that sacred home on high with Him someday.

Last, but first in importance, I am grateful for our family.  How blessed I am to have a righteous and selfless husband (who is extremely handsome as well)!  Our children follow in his footsteps and have multiplied our family blessings by marrying wonderful spouses and raising beautiful children.  We are especially grateful this month for the engagement of our youngest son, Michael to his darling fiancee, Kristin!  Michael returned from his mission in June with a goal to find a special someone to spend Thanksgiving with this year.  I'm thankful that righteous goals are achieved with the Lord's help!  While organizing bowling leagues at BYU, Michael met Kristin and competed on her team, which was short one player.  She won his heart immediately with her passion for cooking and her interest in bowling!  They spent Thanksgiving together with her father's family in Washington, and became officially engaged (ring and all) at the bowling alley the weekend after Thanksgiving.  They will be married in the LDS Oquirrh Mountain Temple on May 2, 2015.  I am thankful for eternal families!

   Yes, I am engaged in giving thanks with a heart full of gratitude!

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