Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We Are Blessed Beyond Measure

This is what it says on a Thanksgiving plate I bought after my first IVF cycle resulted in a negative result.  I was pretty sad and didn't feel all that blessed.   When I came across this plate I remember picking it up, setting it down, thinking about whether or not I was "blessed beyond measure".  I ultimately decided to buy it because I determined that yes, I was blessed beyond measure.  I had many other wonderful blessings in my life and that was what I focused on.  And as I did so, I felt at peace and the pain of the negative IVF cycle lessened.

Clearly, this Thanksgiving, I feel "blessed beyond measure".  To have my amazing son in my home is one of the greatest blessings I have ever received.  He brings so much joy and happiness into my life.

As I have thought of those of you who might be struggling during this holiday season and who are not feeling very blessed my mind reflected on a church talk I have read recently.  The talk is titled The Divine Gift of Gratitude and was given by my church leader, President Monson.  The following is the part I wanted to share with all of you.  I especially like the story he shared about Gordon Green's family and the experience they had one Thanksgiving when they didn't feel they had much to be grateful for.   

"A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don’t get around to it. Someone has said that “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”12
When we encounter challenges and problems in our lives, it is often difficult for us to focus on our blessings. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given.
I share with you an account of one family which was able to find blessings in the midst of serious challenges. This is an account I read many years ago and have kept because of the message it conveys. It was written by Gordon Green and appeared in an American magazine over 50 years ago.
Gordon tells how he grew up on a farm in Canada, where he and his siblings had to hurry home from school while the other children played ball and went swimming. Their father, however, had the capacity to help them understand that their work amounted to something. This was especially true after harvesttime when the family celebrated Thanksgiving, for on that day their father gave them a great gift. He took an inventory of everything they had.
On Thanksgiving morning he would take them to the cellar with its barrels of apples, bins of beets, carrots packed in sand, and mountains of sacked potatoes as well as peas, corn, string beans, jellies, strawberries, and other preserves which filled their shelves. He had the children count everything carefully. Then they went out to the barn and figured how many tons of hay there were and how many bushels of grain in the granary. They counted the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and geese. Their father said he wanted to see how they stood, but they knew he really wanted them to realize on that feast day how richly God had blessed them and had smiled upon all their hours of work. Finally, when they sat down to the feast their mother had prepared, the blessings were something they felt.
Gordon indicated, however, that the Thanksgiving he remembered most thankfully was the year they seemed to have nothing for which to be grateful.
The year started off well: they had leftover hay, lots of seed, four litters of pigs, and their father had a little money set aside so that someday he could afford to buy a hay loader—a wonderful machine most farmers just dreamed of owning. It was also the year that electricity came to their town—although not to them because they couldn’t afford it.
One night when Gordon’s mother was doing her big wash, his father stepped in and took his turn over the washboard and asked his wife to rest and do her knitting. He said, “You spend more time doing the wash than sleeping. Do you think we should break down and get electricity?” Although elated at the prospect, she shed a tear or two as she thought of the hay loader that wouldn’t be bought.
So the electrical line went up their lane that year. Although it was nothing fancy, they acquired a washing machine that worked all day by itself and brilliant lightbulbs that dangled from each ceiling. There were no more lamps to fill with oil, no more wicks to cut, no more sooty chimneys to wash. The lamps went quietly off to the attic.
The coming of electricity to their farm was almost the last good thing that happened to them that year. Just as their crops were starting to come through the ground, the rains started. When the water finally receded, there wasn’t a plant left anywhere. They planted again, but more rains beat the crops into the earth. Their potatoes rotted in the mud. They sold a couple of cows and all the pigs and other livestock they had intended to keep, getting very low prices for them because everybody else had to do the same thing. All they harvested that year was a patch of turnips which had somehow weathered the storms.
Then it was Thanksgiving again. Their mother said, “Maybe we’d better forget it this year. We haven’t even got a goose left.”
On Thanksgiving morning, however, Gordon’s father showed up with a jackrabbit and asked his wife to cook it. Grudgingly she started the job, indicating it would take a long time to cook that tough old thing. When it was finally on the table with some of the turnips that had survived, the children refused to eat. Gordon’s mother cried, and then his father did a strange thing. He went up to the attic, got an oil lamp, took it back to the table, and lighted it. He told the children to turn out the electric lights. When there was only the lamp again, they could hardly believe that it had been that dark before. They wondered how they had ever seen anything without the bright lights made possible by electricity.
The food was blessed, and everyone ate. When dinner was over, they all sat quietly. Wrote Gordon:
“In the humble dimness of the old lamp we were beginning to see clearly again. . . . 
“It [was] a lovely meal. The jack rabbit tasted like turkey and the turnips were the mildest we could recall. . . . 
“ . . . [Our] home . . . , for all its want, was so rich [to] us.”13
My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."

It is hard to recognize our blessings when times are tough and life is challenging.  That is why I liked the story about Gordon and his family.  They had quite a challenging year, and didn't feel very grateful, but in the end they realized they had been blessed, and what a difference it made not only in their day, but their life.  I am grateful to have joined this blogging community and am grateful we are able to help one another through the highs and lows we face as we try to grow our families one baby at a time.   
Happy Thanksgiving 


  1. Here from ICLW :) Its so important for me to be grateful as I can be at all time. When I practice when things are good then its easier to be grateful when things are tough. Congratulations on your family :) Sending you and your loved ones prayers and best wishes. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. good story...and happy thanksgiving to you and your new little one!

  3. Beautiful post! I've really gained a lot by following your blog... It's a true testament to faithfulness in God & finding joy... You've helped me a lot, and you don't even know.

    I pray that God continues to bless your family threefold!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. LOVE the story. THANKS for sharing! :-D Happy Thanksgiving!