count your many blessings

Count Your Many Blessings…

When you look around, what do you see? What do you focus on? I can’t think of a time when there was a greater need to focus on our blessings than there is right now. You may recall in general conference a few weeks ago, President Russell M. Nelson warned against near-sightedness. Life is full of challenges and changes. When we focus only on hardships, it is easy to become discouraged. He reminds us that to find peace, we need to keep an eternal perspective and “let God prevail in your lives.”1 Last week Elder Dale G. Renlund cautioned that being far-sighted can be equally troublesome. While near-sightedness blurs the big picture, far-sightedness blurs “important things that are close to us.”2 If we are far-sighted, “we sometimes fail to appreciate that which is closest to us.”2

So, in this crazy year of 2020, how can we make our vision 20/20? I think we can find the answer in the hymn, “Count Your Blessings.” Think about verses 1 and 3. “When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged thinking all is lost, count your many blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. … So amid the conflict, whether great or small, do not be discouraged; God is over all. Count your many blessings; angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.”3 If our near-sightedness makes us only see the tossing tempest, we may not be able to see God’s countless blessings in our lives. If we are too far-sighted, we may not see the angels, both earthly and heavenly, who are near us and help us along our journey.

We really do have so much to be grateful for! And a grateful heart and a positive attitude can certainly help us see better. As we count our many blessings, I am convinced we will see those we love and the world around us with new eyes. We will have greater courage to face our challenges today as we “look to God and live,”4 knowing there is a glorious future ahead.

I hope you will join me in making November a month of gratitude. Every day I am going to choose to see through grateful eyes. To help me do that, I am going to keep a gratitude journal. I will also be posting gratitude quotes on Instagram. Look for a new one every day of November! I truly believe that looking at life through a lens of gratitude can improve our vision, allowing us to clearly see and then count our many blessings.

Imagine if we all choose to be more grateful! And we can always be more grateful!


1.  Let God Prevail – Russell M. Nelson

2.  October 25, 2020 Instagram Post – Dale G. Renlund

3.  Count Your Blessings – Hymn 241

4.  Alma 37:47

Building Patience

Rarely does life go as planned. I am not sure any of us could have anticipated just how drastically different our lives would be this year. In what seemed an instant, everything changed. How we live our everyday lives has changed. Our interactions have changed. For a while, our ability to buy many of the things we use on a regular basis even changed. Although the store shelves have now mostly been restocked, there is one thing that seems to still be in short supply—patience.

At Russell M. Nelson’s recent birthday celebration, he gave his family the following advice, “Build into your character the quality of patience.”1 That really resonated with me! During these past several months as the world has been battling COVID-19, I have found myself feeling more impatient than I care to admit. What has become very clear to me is that, like all Christlike attributes, patience is an ongoing process. It is a journey, with bumps and turns and detours. How many times have we been told to find joy in the journey? Being impatient robs us of the joy and happiness we are meant to have all along our journey. We cannot afford to wait to be happy until this crisis is over!

Quoting from a scripture in Hebrews, Neal A. Maxwell wisely reminded us that “we are to ‘run with patience the race that is set before us,’ and it is a marathon, not a dash.”2

The current race we are running quickly turned from a dash into a marathon. And when this race is over, another one will be “set before us.” I am not a runner, but it would seem to be nearly impossible to run a marathon without checkpoints and aid stations all along the way. I definitely need to be stopping at the aid station to build up my supply of patience more frequently!

As I read the Beatitudes in 3 Nephi 12 during my study this week, I thought about how patience affects our becoming what the Savior asks us to become. Being meek, merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers will be impossible without the Christlike characteristic of patience. Gaining and retaining a testimony, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, definitely takes patience. Without patience we would not be able to endure the persecutions that we know are part of a disciple’s life. Building patience into our character allows us to trust in God and in His timing, no matter what!

I love this quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith.”3  May we continually strive to build the quality patience into our character. We have been promised our lives will be more blessed as we do.


1.  Church News

2.  Endure It Well – Neal A. Maxwell

3.  Continue in Patience – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The Need for Greater Unity

Nothing steals our happiness more than disharmony. This is true for marriages, families, neighbors and nations. Sadly, conflict seems to be everywhere right now! Contention is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. Clearly he and his troops are out in unprecedented numbers waging war wherever they can! So how can we stop this army of animosity?

One of the lessons we learn from the war chapters in the Book of Mormon is that victory only came when there was unity. The same is true today. When we are at odds with each other, there is no chance for unity. And the Lord has made it very clear that if we are not one, we are not His. (See D&C 38:27).

In order to have unity, we must avoid contention. Differences and disagreements will inevitably arise. And while there are many things in life we cannot control, one thing we always have control over is how we speak. We can eliminate gossip, fault-finding and comparisons from our thoughts and our language.  You and I cannot control how someone acts toward us, but we can always choose how we will react to them. We can choose to not be offended. Unity is only possible when we put aside our pride. Challenging as these things may be, the rewards will be well worth it!

Marion G. Romney – “There is but one way that we can be united, and that way is to seek the Lord and His righteousness (see 3 Nephi 13:33). Unity comes by following the light from above. It does not come out of the confusions below.”1

It is undeniable that contention drives away the Spirit. Many years ago, Russell M. Nelson warned that contention “is a corroding canker of the spirit.”2 Many times since becoming the prophet he has reminded us of the need to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Perhaps the most powerful was when he said, “If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation. … In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”3

We cannot afford to let contention rob us of the essential and spiritually life-saving influence of the Holy Ghost. With the help of the Holy Ghost, we can know how to better create harmony and unity in our lives. Each day as we work on being more unified with those around us, we get a little closer to becoming who the Savior has asked us to become.


1.  Unity – Marion G. Romney

2.  The Canker of Contention – Russell M. Nelson

3.  Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives – Russell M. Nelson

Always Look for the Sunshine!

There is a quote hanging in my home that I see every time I go out the front door that says, “Come what may, and love it.”1  It is a gentle reminder to always look for the sunshine, especially on cloudy days. And there will always be cloudy days! Sometimes lots of dark cloudy days! If we are not careful, discouragement and despair can creep in. I think this scripture teaches us how to avoid that, “In the world ye shall have tribulation (sounds like the assurance of cloudy days to me!): but be of good cheer (don’t forget to look for the sunshine); I have overcome the world (always look to the Son!).”2 Because the Son of God overcame the world, when we look to Him, we will find the strength we need to endure our trials, whatever they may be.

Everyone will have trials. That is part of life – an essential part! In order to become who Heavenly Father wants us to become, we need the tutoring that can come in no other way. And because He loves us, He does not intend for us to go through our trying times alone. We can be assured that “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.”3

Russell M. Nelson reminds us, “With celestial sight, trials impossible to change become possible to endure.”4

Keeping an eternal perspective is imperative! With that perspective, we will be able to see the miracles and blessings that come while we are enduring. And the eternal blessings are even more than we can comprehend!

I love this quote by Howard W. Hunter, “Life is wonderful, even in the hard times, and there is happiness, joy, and peace at stops all along the way, and endless portions of them at the end of the road.”5

May we allow our trials to teach us, to stretch us, to refine us and to sanctify us so that one day we will be prepared to live with our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ again.


1.  Come What May, and Love It – Joseph B. Wirthlin

2.  John 16:33

3.  Alma 36:3

4.  With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible – Russell M. Nelson

5.  Fear Not, Little Flock – Howard W. Hunter