Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Positivity" challenge

There have been a lot of posts on Facebook recently, people nominating friends and family, and challenging them to post three positives a day for "X" number of days. I received such a challenge from my sister, Jeannie....about a week ago. Partly because I don't have much time to only glance at FB, let alone post many responses, I did not respond to her challenge right away. But, I also felt a need to spend some time and ponder on the things I was grateful for.
I was reminded of a talk that Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave in the April 2014 conference entitled,  "Grateful in Any Circumstances". He said,
"It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach?
Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be.

When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.

Being grateful in our circumstances is an act of faith in God. It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true. By being grateful, we follow the example of our beloved Savior, who said, “Not my will, but thine, be done.”
True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will."
These "positivity" challenges, and Pres. Uchtdorf's talk have caused me to ask myself, "What am I truly grateful for? When the load I am carrying becomes increasingly difficult, can I see the blessings in my life? What are they?"
It's good to ponder on all the things Heavenly Father has blessed us with, especially during difficult times. What Pres. Uchtdorf said is true. When our hearts are full of gratitude, "we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation." 
So, what am I grateful for? Not just on the good days, but also on those days that sometimes feel like they will never end? 
1. My family coming to see us in Tonga. Getting to see them face to face, hug them, just "be" together. Playing with Brielle. Watching them have fun together.
On the boat heading to Pangaimotu, a small island for a day of snorkeling and playing in the water

Blow holes at  Houma

Joanna at the Ha'amonga - the Tongan Trilathon

No explanation necessary.
My good natured son, Tyler - wearing the flower Brielle gave him :)

Love that face

2. Technology......... that allows Garth and I to "hangout" with our family each week, and allows us to find out what friends and extended family are up to....almost real time!

3. Garth. He is my rock.

4. My family....my parents, grandparents, siblings, in-laws, out-laws....Sometimes we're a little crazy, and we don't always agree. But my family (and Garth's) has always supported me and blessed my life. I cherish the memories I have of spending time with them. 
With the Hamblin's - ages and ages ago

My favorite picture of the Berger's...pretty much sums us up..a little chaotic, but love being together

Elder Napa'a
5. Missionaries. There are some great young men and women in the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission. Their examples, testimonies, and strength encourage me to do better
Elder Sitake

Elders Makasini, Tauvaka, Napa'a

Elders Montgomery and Fifita

Sisters Tavo and Paea

Some great missionaries heading for Vava'u

Elders "Haleki," Reid, Steele and Lotulelei (joined by Jesse) heading home

Sisters 'Akau'ola and Tauelangi - fantastic sister missionaries

Elders helping move boxes from outside, to the conference room

6. Friends. Friends from home....
Christmas in Hawaii with the Willis' and the Huntsman's
Picnicking with the Perkin's and the Huntsman's
....and friends I have made, and am making, here in Tonga.....
Sister Va'enuku
Senior missionaries
Elder Meyers, Dad, Elder Aland
More great senior missionaries
I have met "kindred spirits" here in Tonga...friends I would never have known if we hadn't come on this mission. I am better for having them in my life.

7. Serving a mission alongside my dad. Having lived in Alaska for so long, we didn't get to see our families very often. I LOVE spending this time with my dad. I get to see him every day!

8. Having a temple across the street. I get to go to the temple every week! That's something I've NEVER been able to do. For 26 years about the only times we got to go to the temple was when we were "down south" visiting family......two or three times a year, if we were lucky. 

Tonga Nuku'alofa Temple
9. Temple blessings. I am grateful I am sealed to my Garth, and my children are sealed to me.

We were just babes....
Loved this day - Jon, Joanna and Brielle sealed as a family
10. The ocean. I was born in the middle of southern Idaho....far, far away from any ocean. When I moved to Alaska I knew that the ocean was my home. Whenever I need to release frustrations all I have to do is go to the ocean. It's as if sound of the crashing waves on the rocks drowns out all the negative thoughts, the touch of the gentle waves about my feet wash away my sadness, the breeze through my hair clears the cobwebs from my mind so I can think clearly once again, and the sun on my face reminds me that light always overcomes darkness, that the Savior is my light and is always there for me. Then peace and calm fill my heart.

11. My Savior. Without Jesus Christ I would not live again, and would not see Jon again.
Without Jesus Christ I would not be able to live with my family forever.
Without Jesus Christ my burden would indeed be heavy. His words are true...“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” 
So, Jeannie, although I don't think this is exactly what you were asking me to do, thanks for helping me think about what I am grateful for. For, as Alma said, “Have we not great reason to rejoice?” We do, indeed, have great reason to rejoice.

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