I saw a cute, simple cartoon posted on my sister’s Facebook wall this morning. It made me smile. It also took me on a little journey [in my mind] of how to make my day a brighter, sweeter one in a painless way, even when painful things are going on.  This is the cartoon and the caption with it:

Charliebrown

Anytime I’ve felt down on my luck, overwhelmed, stressed out, upset, tearful…. The list could go on for a while…. There is one principle that almost effortlessly has the power to improve my outlook as it eases the pain, or grants me a smile in my heart.

It is the principle of gratitude. That principle spoken of by so many leaders, a quietly powerful and simple way to feel goodness during times of duress, and taught by the Savior himself.

At Christmastime, this principle can increase the magic on a daily basis, and grant us more of that heavenly peace for which mankind seeks.  Here are a few simple ways this principle works for me, by “remembering”:

  1. Remembering Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”  The gift of mortality gives me needed practical experience. Did I really sign up for this? Yes, I did. Keeping the spirit of the matter helps keep me settled.
  2. Remembering to look around me.  As quickly each day as it registers, I find lots of things for which to be grateful.  Today, it was the unexpected snow falling. It’s cleaning out the smog so we can breathe better!
  3. Remembering all gifts that make things easier.  Good medical insurance grants so much calm when the doctor visits and test costs pile up.
  4. Thinking of my family members. Each one is a gift and brings me joy.  Oh, there have been less than stellar times! But, oh the goodness my family members add.  For those I know whose family members are a burden of heartache, the knowledge of being part of our heavenly family brings gratitude.
  5. Remembering Christmases past – with laughter, tender times, beautiful treasures of loved ones no longer with us.  Every day, those memories of my parents, grandparents, and others settle in my heart, offering increased sweetness. This one is a biggie for me.
  6. Noticing the kindnesses of my hubby, children, and neighbors is one thing. To remember them and say “Thank you” makes for a better day.  Not just for me, but for them!
  7. Remember all the things going right.  No one notices their ears til they’re hurting or plugged.  We pay no attention to the pancreas, the kidneys, or the heart until there is an issue impacting us.  Oh, to remember that we have so many systems working right!
  8. Remember the Son of God, whose love – like our Father’s – is perfect, unconditional, and whole. The sacrament prayer blesses us with a renewing of covenants and the clear opportunity to “always remember Him.”  This is a way to joy and “good cheer.”
  9. Remember to be childlike.  The simplest things can be a source of happiness. I suppose we can mentally picture Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

Dancing our way through life, with a smile plastered on our face at all times, is unrealistic.  The Christmas season can be difficult for many good people, as it connects to hard issues, past hurts, and severe trials of faith.  Our Father knows of our hurts. Our Savior understands and will carry us. Our small part can be to find the “attitude of gratitude” of which President Thomas S. Monson has spoken. Remembering good things, and being grateful for every single thing we can think of, will put a spark of light in our hears and a spring in our step. Or at least, grant us the strength to hold on to the dear things worth grasping.  Comfort and joy become relative when we are learning our mortal lessons, don’t they?

God bless us, everyone, to remember the good, to toss the unnecessary bad, and to utilize the lovely principle of – for today- being grateful for everything.

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who had the blessing of joining the LDS Church as a teenager.  She has worked for many years  to share her testimony of Jesus Christ with other folks. Her propensity for being the queen of embarrassing moments notwithstanding, she sums up her journey thus far like this: “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  She  has taught Church youth & family programs for 25 years, and has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. Her latest venture is to create a website to focus on, bring attention to, and grow the goodness in this world. Please visit her newly revised website at www.goodnessmatters.com  It has just been rebuilt and is now ready for sharing!