Count your many blessings!…

November 22nd, 2012 12:21am

This has been a tumultuous month to be sure. In the wake of a distressing election, struggling economy, and a cataclysmic super storm, we know there are many out there struggling just to cope with seriously significant loss. Our thoughts are with all those who are in such need this season. As we struggle for understanding, the words of Spencer W. Kimball come to mind, “Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery.”

One of my family’s favorite songs gives wise counsel…

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.

"Gulp!...what are YOU thankful for Mr. Bear?"... "Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down." -Eleanor Roosevelt

As we count our blessings, perhaps we can find some way to turn our hearts from our own troubles and heal through service to others this holiday season. We have compiled a list of ways we can all help assist some of those in need by sharing our time, talents, money or even just our thoughts. We hope it can at least serve as a springboard for you and your families to assess your abilities, however large or small, to assist those that may be in dire need…

1. Donate to your local Woman’s Shelter. Don’t know where one is? Check out http://www.womenshelters.org/ which provides a listing of Women’s Shelters throughout the United States, searchable by area code, and find the nearest shelter to you. They are always in need as they struggle to help and accomodate the rising number of women and their children that are escaping truly life threatening domestic situations. Call individual shelters for information on how best to donate.

2. Help out at a local food bank. You can find opportunities at http://unitedfoodbank.org/get-involved/volunteer/

3. Don’t forget our furry friends! Animal shelters, especially “no kill” shelters, are in dire need of blankets, toys, food, special treats…these shelters struggle simply to provide care and living quarters for these often abused, neglected and abandoned pets and being able to provide a few extra comforts goes a long way in helping these animals through their recovery. Find the nearest “no kill” shelter near you at http://www.nokillnetwork.org/

4. Remember our troops! This is a favorite for my kids and an easy one for them to participate in. Help them write letters,  create artwork, or put together care packages for our men and women defending our freedoms. Here are a list of websites recommended to us by a fellow serviceman as very reliable and effective in making sure donations reach their source…
http://www.give2thetroops.org/items.htm

http://www.well-chosen-gift.com/gifts-for-troops-overseas.html

https://usowishbook.uso.org/

http://action.uso.org/action/thank-you-letter

http://www.operationgratitude.com/get-involved/write-letters/

We wish you all many blessings this holiday season and know we will all find great satisfaction and healing as we turn our hearts to others! Happy Thanksgiving!