A Thankful Heart by David A. Christensen + Giveaway

Note: I did receive a complimentary copy of this book but all opinions are my own.

A Thankful Heart blog tour

Summary:

This LDS Non-Fiction book is written by a former mission president and retired religion professor at BYU-Idaho. Each of the 31 chapters focuses on different aspect of how to incorporate thankfulness into your life. The chapters begin with a quote from a leader in the church, continue with a personal anecdote with suggestions on how that aspect of thankfulness is important, and close with questions and scripture references to further your study. The short chapters are broken down into 31 easy-to comprehend principles so you can read it over the course of a month, a chapter a day, and get your daily dose of gratitude.

Verdict:

This book gave me answers to questions that I didn’t know I had. My life as a busy mother of two is hectic and stressful and I often end my days feeling like I haven’t done anything worth while. I have gotten into the very bad habit of complaining a lot. This book showed me why it’s important to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and how just slowing down and opening my mind will allow me to notice the Lord’s hand in everything in my life.

My prayers have become more meaningful. My day to day struggles have become a little less difficult. My attitude of complaining is slowly shifting into a more optimistic view of the Lord’s plan for me. I would have never thought that the key to being happier is being more grateful but I am living proof that it is.

My hectic busy schedule taking care of a toddler and an infant doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading. I found that these chapters are short enough that I could easily read one a day. The questions at the end of each chapter are so thought-provoking and have given me great material for my daily journal writing. On days where I didn’t have a lot of time, I would read the chapter and read through the questions but maybe not write my answers in my journal or look up the individual scriptures. On other days where the kids had a longer nap time, I could take my time really pondering how I could improve my life and way of thinking by the principle taught in that chapter. It really is so perfect to be able to incorporate one principle a day; they really build off each other.

I never would have guessed that there were so many different aspects to gratitude but it just goes to show how you can really incorporate it into every little part of your life. I’ve started keeping an ongoing list of my blessings in my phone, it’s a great place to keep it since I can update it anytime. On hard days I’ve been able to take a step back and see all of the Lord’s tender mercies. It’s been humbling to recognize that everything I have and everything I do, I have not done alone. It’s been important for me to realize Heavenly Father’s guiding hand in my life and see that he is setting me on my path and giving me all the tools, I just need to recognize it and follow his plan. And then thank Him for never leaving me comfortless.

I really cannot recommend this book highly enough. I want to buy a copy for everyone I know. It’s so easy to read a little bit everyday and Christensen is a great writer. His personal anecdotes are on point and enjoyable to read. This is not a book to read once and set on a shelf to collect dust. It’s a book full of helpful ideas, questions and quotes to refer to on a regular basis.

So are you ready to change your life by developing an attitude of gratitude? You can win an electronic copy of David A. Christensen’s, A Thankful Heart right here on this very blog (lucky you). The instructions to enter are listed below:

  1. Share this post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest
  2. Comment below what you are most thankful for

You have to do both things to enter (I’ll be checking!) Good luck! You have until this Saturday (9/26) at 11pm MST.

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For more info on how to purchase the book or where to get updates from the author on upcoming books and giveaways:
Check out the authors website :: Follow him on Facebook :: Or Instagram @david.a.christensen

Easter

I think I often overlook the significance of Easter. I usually think of egg hunts, deviled eggs and lots and lots of candy. This year we had the chance to spend Easter weekend listening to council from the leaders of our church and it was a good reminder of why we actually celebrate Easter.

If you need the reminder, watch this short but powerful video put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka LDS or Mormons).

On Friday afternoon, Evelyn and I made some Easter crafts. And by that I mean, I was trying to make cute Easter crafts and she just wanted to play with the mini pom-poms. Maybe still a tad young. She liked her bunny hat though and kept asking, “bunny, hat, wear?”

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General Conference was wonderfully uplifting as always. My sister, Maddie, and Christopher’s sister, Caitlin are both in school at BYU and came over both Saturday and Sunday to watch with us. I have to admit that it’s harder to pay attention when you’re hanging out with people you like and just want to chat with.

We let Evelyn open her basket on Saturday so we could munch on candy during conference. The first thing she saw was the little stuffed Elmo and she hasn’t put him down since. She especially  loves sharing her meals with his wide open mouth and frequently sings, “La la la la” from the intro to Elmo’s World.

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She really got into her Easter basket this year, playing with the toys and opening the eggs to find candy. It’s amazing how much she’s transformed since last year. I think we overwhelmed her with candy though, because she didn’t eat or sleep well the whole weekend.

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Motherhood is Patient

patient 001I always thought that patience in motherhood was in reference to unruly children who got on your last nerve. While that is definitely the case, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany as to the longer term success that being a patient mother can offer.

On the day to day as a mother it can be hard to be patient. Evelyn would rather walk than be carried but her pace is approximately 1/8th of mine. But to prevent the screaming that would likely ensue, I let her walk (usually). She wants to pick out a bow for her hair but changes her mind 15 times before settling on one, and then promptly rips it out. It’s a little frustrating.

And how about sweeping the kitchen floor only to have Evelyn dump her entire plate of food out only minutes later. Or straightening up her toys in the living room only to see that she has been carrying all her toys one by one into my bedroom. Daily tasks have gone from boring and annoying to boring, annoying and nearly impossible to complete. It’s 3 steps forward, 4 steps back.

I’m gonna be honest with you, this whole stay-at-home-mom thing has really been weighing me down. I’ll sit on the couch at the end of the day and look at the disaster of a living room that I tried to clean 10 times before giving up and just feel defeated. Is this what I signed up for?

As a kid chores were the things you got out of the way so you could do the fun stuff. Now, chores are my life. On the bad days I feel like little more than a teenage babysitter who has a never ending list of chores. How did this become my life? When I got over my dreams of being a famous movie star, I knew that I wanted to be a housewife/mom as a profession. Now I find myself living that life and it’s not at all what I expected.

At the end of a particularly rough day that came in the middle of an awful week I finally broke down crying to my husband and admitted all the thoughts I’d been suppressing.

“I’m not a good mom. I don’t want to be a mom. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m just so unhappy. It’s too hard and stressful and I can’t get anything done. Nothing makes me happy anymore. And I drown out the depression in front of the TV and then feel even more guilty about how I spend my time. I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t.

He listened quietly and rubbed my back, no doubt terrified that I was falling apart at the seams.

He calmly suggested, “Let’s talk about this. Let’s figure out what we can do to make this better. If that means you getting a job, we can make that happen.”

I spent the rest of that night alone in my bed trying to figure out what might make me happy.

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Mormons and General Conference

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Hey all you friends who do not happen to share my religion. How are you? During this past week you may have noticed your Mormon friends, me included, talking about General Conference. Or you may have read some inspirational quotes on Pinterest by cool guys like Thomas S. Monson, Gordon B. Hinckley, or Dieter F. Uchtdorf and pinned those suckers before realizing who exactly they were (Prophets and leaders in the LDS church). Maybe you even stumbled upon the hashtag #ldsconf and wondered what that’s all about.

I am here today, to answer that.

So what is General Conference anyway?

In the simplest of terms, it’s where we listen to the Prophet, Apostles, and other leaders of our church give uplifting messages that we need to hear from our Heavenly Father.

Twice a year us Mormons, (AKA members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS) don’t go to our regular church meetings but instead view and/or listen to a broadcast of the Prophet, his counselors, the twelve apostles, and other various church leaders in which they give, what we as Mormons refer to as, talks.

Each of the people who were asked to talk were not given a specific topic. Instead they determine what it is the Lord most wants to tell his children (us) by thoughtful prayer and meditation. General Conference is in April and October and has 5 different sessions, Saturday through Sunday. It is broadcasted internationally.

General Conference messages are not meant only for Mormons, LDS, or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. General Conference messages are directed to everyone in the whole world. They are uplifting, spiritual, instructive messages that are meant to benefit all of us. Every last one.

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Inspiration from General Conference

This past weekend, a really amazing and exciting thing took place: The 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every 6 months we get the opportunity to hear guidance and counsel from the true Prophet of God, President Thomas S. Monson. I feel so blessed and almost giddy at the thought that my Father in Heaven can give me direct council through his prophet here on Earth today.

General Conference was 2 days and 5 sessions full of wonderful loving words about how much we are loved, and great inspiration to live our lives the best we can.

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If there is one big thing I took away from conference, it is that I am never alone. No matter how sad or lonely or down I am feeling, there is one person, one man who knows what I am going through. Because He too went through the same pains and anguish I am dealing with. He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and bled from every pore and suffered not only for the sins of the world, but for every feeling of angst, embarrassment, and fear. He felt every heartache, every sorrow, every feeling of unworthiness. And then He was crucified on the cross so that we, despite our mistakes and imperfections, can return again to live with our Father in Heaven. He is our Savior, Jesus Christ.

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