I try to take a variety of classes each year--some doctrinal, some practical, some just for fun--and yet it seems that regardless of the diversity of topics, I pick up on the same concepts that are woven throughout the presentations. Not only that, but as I talk to other Education Week participants, I realize that what they have picked up on in their classes is different that what I've learned, even when we've attended some of the same classes.
The basic thought that I had come to me over and over again last week was that our Heavenly Father encourages strong relationships, and Satan wants us to feel isolated, apart, and forever alone. Other concepts weave in and out of that central idea, and give way for further reflection, but that was the core takeaway. As I try to live an intentional, deliberate life, I can think, "Are my actions building relationships?"
1. I'm thankful for Education Week, the thousands of people that work together to make it happen, and the thousand of attendees.
|Photo: An extremely long line of people waits to get into a building at the far left side of the photo. A man holds a sign reading, "de JONG END of LINE."|
3. I'm thankful to observe a scene last week that I saw over and over again during my years as a student at BYU: every morning, the bells would play the national anthem, and every morning, students and faculty would stop in their tracks and reverently listen. When the song ended, everyone would resume their activities.
4. I'm thankful that we had some rain. I know that I still technically live in a desert, and I know that rainfall is lower than normal for here, but it rains so much more than it did in California.
5. I'm thankful and I am amazed that temperatures are cooling down. Highs in the 70s and 80s in August? My impression of summer has improved dramatically since moving to Utah.
6. I'm thankful for perspective. I met some people from Washington state at Education Week, and one of them commented on how she could never live in Utah, because of the dry climate and lack of greenery. When I was a student at BYU years ago, I also desperately missed the green of Oregon. The patches of green on the mountains looked to me like sad patches of lichen on a big rock. How could there be mountains without towering fir and pine trees? However, after spending 15 years in an extremely dry climate and even browner environment, I'm thankful that it is honestly easy for me to find the beauty here.
7. I'm thankful to live closer to John's parents. It's nice to be able to see them frequently, and it's also nice that we can see John's siblings more often now, too. One of his brothers came to town, and it was nice to visit with the relatives that gathered. We spent time at John's parents' house on Saturday, and some of my nieces taught John's dad how to download Pokemon Go on his new smartphone. On Sunday morning before church, we met up at the taping of Music and the Spoken Word.
|Photo: John's dad downloads Pokemon Go to his smartphone, while my niece looks over his shoulder|
8. I'm thankful for friends. In church yesterday someone mentioned how easy it is to make friends when you are a child, and how it gets more difficult as an adult. Later in the day, my neighbor told me, "I think we should be friends!" I agree, and I'm looking forward to getting to know her better.
9. I'm thankful for prayer, and am putting it to the test this week. I somehow pulled or strained a muscle in my leg a week ago. I was hoping that it would heal with a week off from running, but I'm still feeling it. I am signed up to run a half-marathon in less than two weeks. I'd really love to run, but don't want to be stupid and run if I'm not healed. I'm going to rest again this week and pray hard. I figure if I'm supposed to run it, I'll heal, and if I'm not, I won't. If you'd like to join me in this experiment with prayer, I'd appreciate it. I'll keep you posted on what happens.
10. I'm thankful for John. He joined me each evening at Education Week. It was nice to be together on our old stomping grounds.
|Photo: John and I stand in front of a BYU Education Week backdrop. John holds a sign that says, "We met at BYU."|