I'm not quite sure I understood the directions, but I think that I was supposed to box up my thankfuls, then share them with you. (Kind of like opening a present!)
I knew just the box to use. My biggest thankfuls are wrapped up in family: family of God, and family here on earth. For John and me, this box contains mementos from our life together, but the physical items are merely symbolic of deeper meaning.
Twenty years ago, The Family: A Proclamation to the World was presented in a General Women's Meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I remember hearing it read for the first time, and every part of it resonated with my soul. For this post, though, I'd like to specifically comment on the following excerpt:
Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
My marriage is a covenant between John, me, and God. Thankful #1 is for Jesus Christ and his Atonement, which made it possible for individuals to return to our Heavenly Father, and for families to be eternal.
Did you notice that second sentence in the quoted paragraph above? There are nine principles listed that contribute to successful marriages and families. The memories in my marriage box include thankfuls for each of those principles. We are not perfect, but the more we apply these principles, the more strength we feel in our life together. My comments will primarily focus on marriage, but all of these principles apply to parents and children, as well.
Thankful #2: Faith. John and I share in our confidence that by following the teachings of Jesus Christ, our marriage will continue beyond the grave, and our children will forever be part of our family. That shared faith gives us purpose and direction.
Thankful #3: Prayer. We pray together as a couple, we pray together as a family, we pray individually. We express thanks for our blessings and opportunities. We pray for our children, individually and collectively. We pray for extended family members. We pray for friends, acquaintances, and those we don't know, but who are in need. We pray we might know what we should do. Prayer is a great source of strength.
Thankful #4: Repentance. This is a constant, because life is a learning experience. Repentance is change, and how wonderful that we can be a little better each day!
Thankful #5: Forgiveness. This goes hand-in-hand with #4 and #2. Because we are not perfect, and because we share common goals, we can be patient with ourselves and each other as we strive to become better people. John's great at recognizing that my intent is usually good, even if I do sometimes cause more work for him--like the time I built a dog house in the basement.
Thankful #6: Respect. John and I see eye-to-eye on practically everything, but we are not clones. We listen to each other, talk things over together, and come to conclusions together. Not only does John show respect in big things, but in little things, too. For example, whenever we go anywhere together, he opens doors (including the car door) for me.
Thankful #7: Love. What more can I say? Ideally, love drives all the other principles.
Thankful #8: Compassion. When one of us is having a hard time, the other is there to support, encourage, and help. Kindness contributes to a strong relationship.
Thankful #9: Work. I love getting projects done together! From planning and decision-making, to actually carrying out the task, working together creates unity and a sense of accomplishment.
Thankful #10: Wholesome recreational activities. I'm so glad that this made the list! I've often heard, "Marriage is hard work." Too often, that implies drudgery. I'm thankful that preventative maintenance in marriage means taking time to have fun together. I'm a firm believer in weekly date nights, family home evenings, and fun family traditions.
What is in your thankful box?
Now, this is the week you will want to write your own thankful post and link up! Our fearless leader, Lizzi, has promised that there will be prizes. The other co-hosts and I have been busy putting together boxes of prizes. That's a total of 10 boxes--one each for 10 lucky winners. Go visit Lizzi's blog for more details, and be sure to link up your post!
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, The Meaning of Me, Thankful Me, Uncharted, The Wakefield Doctrine
Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group