The Tippetts Family
The Stucki Family
The Rhoton Family
The love of my life.
its just madi.
representin' the Wogksch Family
The Gooches, Conner (My MTC Buddy) & Erica
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------its here, its here!!!!
Well people! Only ten more days until I head off to the MTC to begin my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints. How lucky am I??
This weekend just so happened to be my farewell. IT WAS CRAZY. But wonderful. And i loved every second of it. Except the pre-talk part of course. I really dislike that feeling before you stand in front of five hundred million people (exaggeration sorry) and feel like you're going to throw up your so nervous. No? Just me? k cool.
But the feeling you get after you sit down and think
HALLELUJAH I DID IT
is the bomb.
So thanks to all my family and friends who were there to support. I'm sorry if i missed getting a picture with you. But know i appreciate your being there, and i love you SO much. I also realized that there were a couple people i missed talking to at the church...and i have yet to see. So heres a big SHOUT OUT TO YOU. I love you. You are awesome. It was a busy day, but i do recognize and cherish the great friendships we have built and my life is forever changed because of it.
My friends and family are awesome.
With that being said, its been a long day, so here is the jist of my farewell talk, give or take a few ums and random remarks/last words at the pulpit. Happy Holidays, and Enjoy your thanksgiving!
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching here this week. I get to speak to you today on one of what I believe is the most important topics to remember in church… and that is “Recognizing and giving thanks for our blessings from God.” What better subject to speak about right before Thanksgiving and right before I get to leave to share the gospel with the people of Washington DC. We are ALL soooo very blessed.
Now giving thanks seems like an easy enough task to fulfill. But when is the last time you sat down and thanked Heavenly Father for all that you have been given, rather than just asking him for more?
I recently read a quote that said, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?” It made me really stop and think about it. How many things did you thank God for yesterday? And yet…you still have those marvelous blessings today. Do we even realize all that we have been blessed with.
Two years ago I was having some health issues and had to be hospitalized. It was a scary and stressful time. I had never thought to be thankful for my good health. I think that happens far to often that we take for granted many things…until perhaps they are gone or taken away. Then suddenly we realize their importance. In D&C 78:19 The Lord has promised, “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious”
We should be thankful for the wonderful blessings that are ours and for the tremendous opportunities we have. We can be thankful to our parents, family, friends, and teachers. We should express appreciation to everyone who has assisted us in any way. The Lord said, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” All things means just that: good things, difficult things - not just some things. He has commanded us to be grateful because He knows being grateful will make us happy. Gratitude is an uplifting feeling. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean spirited when we are grateful.
I think that really puts things into perspective. I believe it is a personal choice to be grateful. “Nothing comes from luck or coincidence, it is all by the hand of God.” We must recognize the blessings our Heavenly Father gives to us. Most importantly we should strive to remember them. Don’t be quick to forget all that you have been blessed with. Because there really is SO much.
President Henry B. Eyring shares a story when one particular day he had realized how much he had been blessed with. Just as he was about to get into bed from a long day at work he heard a distinct voice, not of his own, say “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself, write them down.” He soon realized he was supposed to record his experiences for his children to someday read in the future. And more specifically how he had seen the hand of God in his life blessing him and his family. So they could remember these experiences. Someday when they would need them.
President Eyring said he wrote down a few lines every day for years. No matter how tired or worn out he was, he would ponder the question “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch me or my family today?” as he wrote down his answers, night after night, something began to happen. He said “I would see evidence of what God had done for us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. More gratitude began to grow in my heart. My testimony began to grow. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.”
Now that his children are all grown, he says they often read and talk about some of the divine experiences their Father had. By first recognizing these blessings and then remembering them they are more aware of, and grateful for their many blessings. Not only did this journal of blessings strengthen the testimony of President Eyring but It has helped his children and posterity come closer to god as well.
Writing and keeping record of the hand of God in your life is one ingenious tool to remembering, and being forever grateful for your relationship with your Father in Heaven. It isn’t easy to remember every spiritual experience, every warning, thought or protection in our daily lives which we have been blessed with. We are always so busy or in a hurry we don’t recognize or remember to thank our Father in Heaven. If you sit down each day and ponder your day you will be surprised because there are SO MANY reasons to be thankful. Keeping an ongoing list or journal of these experiences provides.. Evidence, so to speak, and a constant reminder of Gods love for you personally, and individually.
It is said, that the challenge to not only recognize but REMEMBER has always been hardest for those who are blessed abundantly. The book of Mormon is proof of this. Throughout the book of Mormon it was easy for the people to feel their blessings were granted not by a loving God on who they were dependent, but by their own powers. In Helaman 12:1-2 we read….
“1 (And) …thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
2 Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.”
We see this in the world today as well…
How quick to be lifted up in pride; how quick to boast; to do all manner of iniquity; and how slow to remember the Lord their God…
Sadly however, prosperity is not the only reason people forget God. It can also be hard to remember him when our lives go badly. When we struggle in life’s tragedies and trials, the enemy of our souls can send his evil message that there is no God and that if there is he does not care about us. Then, it can be hard for the Holy Ghost to help us remember the lifetime of blessings the Lord has given us.
Elder Eyring suggests that there is a simple cure for this terrible ‘malady’ of forgetting God and his blessings.
It just so happens to be the same thing the Savior promised to his disciples, when they were concerned to know how they would possibly endure when he was no longer with them. It is a gift that is extended to all of us.. It is the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is promised that the Holy Ghost will teach all things and bring all things to remembrance.
The key to this is receiving the Holy Ghost as a companion. It is the Holy Ghost who helps us see what God has done for us and it is the Holy Ghost who can help those who we serve see what God has done for them.
God asks us all that we give thanks to him for whatever blessings we receive. We can do this through thoughtful prayer. Thoughtful meaning - don’t become mechanical, repeating the same words every day without the intent to truly talk to him, give thanks, as a gift of the heart to God.
The prophet Joseph Smith said at one time, that one of the greatest sins of which Latter Day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude. I bet nobody here has ever thought of THAT as a ‘great sin.’
We should all try a little bit harder to devote more of our prayers to expressions of Gratitude and Thanksgiving for blessings already received. We enjoy sooo much. We should all put more thought in our prayers and keeping journals as an opportunity to give thanks to be more grateful for all that we have.
To be happy and avoid misery, we must have a grateful heart. We have seen in our lives the connection between gratitude and happiness. You won’t find a truly ‘grateful’ person leading a miserable life. A grateful heart will appreciate what they have been given, because moping around about what you don’t have, is a perfectly good waste of what you do already have. Don’t take good things for granted. We all have a tendency to not recognize a good thing until it is gone. We don’t realize how grateful we should have been when we had them.
Most of all it is sometimes hard for us to be sufficiently grateful for the greatest gifts we receive: the birth of Jesus Christ, his atonement, the promise of the resurrection, the opportunity to enjoy eternal life with our families, the restoration of the gospel and the priesthood keys that have been restored to the earth.
So many people today have not heard our exciting message about the restoration of the gospel. So many people are lost in the sense… they have no sure idea of who they are, what their value is as an individual and where they are going. We are so blessed as members of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints to have this knowledge and guidance in our lives.
Nothing is more important.
I’ve come to notice that as I serve and care about others, I am helping God bless their lives and in turn I see my own blessings more closely.
I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to share this gospel knowledge every day for the next eighteen months. I couldn’t think of a better way to show my gratitude for my religion and my beliefs than sharing it with others. Just in this short time of receiving my mission call, I have felt the impact of the Holy Ghost so much more strongly in my life. The gospel principles I have been taught my whole life are so much more real and meaningful to me now.
The opportunity I have had to go through the temple and the blessings I have received are a gift more valuable than anything I could have ever imagined. We are so blessed to have the beautiful St. George temple right down the street. I can’t wait to share what I know and believe with the people in Washington DC who are willing and ready to hear the message of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I want to leave you all with a challenge to begin writing down what you are grateful for, and look back at It often. Recognize each blessing that comes into your life daily and remember it. You will become even more grateful and happier in your life.