“With a grateful prayer and a thankful heart!”

Golden Gifts    Gifts of all sizes wrapped in penny-saving kraft paper and embellished with ribbon, raffia and rickrack become part of the holiday decor. Vary the red-and-white presentation by including a gala mix of stripes, checks and solid-colored ribbons. Attach dried flowers, felt snowflakes, buttons or berries for extra pizzazz. Perhaps our favorite Christmas tradition is watching the Muppet Christmas Carol.  We’ll all curl up on the couch and turn on the movie, giggling and singing along.

Photo Gallery: Our Favorite Christmas and Holiday Movies/The Muppet Christmas Carol

Everyone knows the story of Scrooge and the three spirits that visit him the night before Christmas.  But my personal belief is that the Muppets and Michael Caine are the only ones who do it justice.  One of the most iconic moments is Christmas morning when Scrooge goes out into the city and becomes, really, the embodiment of Christmas joy — and how that joy should last throughout the year.  There’s the most charming song about having a thankful heart, and my siblings and I have gone around singing it for almost three days now!

Gratitude is happiness.  There was a study done a while ago, and one group of students recorded all the negative things they found in a certain length of time.  Another group recorded all the positive things.  At the end of that period, those that recorded the positive things were shown to be much happier and more content with life.

Sometimes it’s hard to be grateful.  Sometimes you receive something — a gift at Christmas, say — and gripe and complain about it.  How is that fair?  You’re just filling your heart with bitterness, but you’re also hurting the giver.  I encourage you to always look on the bright side and see beyond the here and now.  This moment is the merest speck in the complete range of things, so what cause is there to not be grateful?

President Uchtdorf gave a great talk on gratitude about a year ago.  Here’s a great quote from it:

“We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.

This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.

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.

We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?

Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.

This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.”

(President Uchtdorf is awesome).

Love Uctdorf

(It’s not this weekend, just so you know.  I just thought the pic was cute).

I’ve been through things that have been tough — we all have.  But I have to say that those challenges have built me in ways nothing else could have.  I’m so grateful for the life I have been given, hypermobility and all.  God is my joy, my family — including my dear friends — are my happiness.  I pray that this Christmas season, and even forever, you will find peace and happiness even when trials hunt you down and try to hurt you.  You can win.

Love you, and merry Christmas!



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