SaucepanI often listen to inspirational messages from my church leaders (Conference Talks) when I exercise. The other day I listened to Elder Uchtdorf’s talks “Of Regrets and Resolutions.” One line really stood out to me. He said, “Let us resolve to be happy, regardless of our circumstances.” I have really thought about this line and usually my thoughts are along the line of, “I wish it was that easy. I wish I could just make the choice to be happy.” Believe me, I’ve tried and at least so far, it hasn’t worked for me.

So yesterday while I was running I listened to a talk from our prophet, Thomas S. Monson. When he started talking about how we can be happier, my ears perked up. He said, “I have found that, rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness. . . . I would recommend . . . that you take an inventory of your life and look specifically for the blessings, large and small, you have received.”

I wanted to take a moment to review some of the blessings I received just this week.

Blessing #1

In May, my husband lost his job. As I prayerfully considered what I could do to help support my family, I felt impressed to expand what I call my rice bag business. For over a year my chiropractor has been selling my products. I thought that if I could increase my clientele this would be a way for me to help support my family without having to work outside my home. I worked all summer, developing brochures and expanding my product line. My sweet husband went around to a number of chiropractic offices as he looked for work himself. Toward the end of the summer, I became a little discouraged. I had sold a few rice bags, but had not added any regular customers. I couldn’t understand why the Lord would encourage my efforts if they weren’t going to be fruitful.

And then my best friend got sick, and I began to spend a lot of time with her and her family. I can remember thinking more than once, “I am so glad I wasn’t able to find more people to sell my rice bags. I don’t have the time to sew, and even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to focus enough to do a good job.”

My friend passed away three weeks ago. My life has slowed down again, and my chiropractor finally needed more bags. Monday, I was able to start sewing again.  As I did so, I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to build up my business more. My husband did find work, but only for nine months. His contract will end in June.

Tuesday I received a call from a woman who had purchase some bags back months ago. She wanted to order more for her husband’s chiropractic office. She had lost my brochure and was only able to contact me by getting my name off her check register and looking me up in the phone book.

Blessing #2

One of the most important things my father taught me was that children are more important than material possessions. When I dented the fender of the family car, he didn’t even seem irritated. I have tried to follow his example and place my children’s happiness over my desire to keep my belongings in good condition.

I also believe that items are meant to be used, not treasured. So when my four year old asked to wear my grandmother’s necklace to preschool I grudgingly agreed. I have many items of jewelry that belonged to my favorite grandma and I didn’t think this particular necklace was an expensive piece. My daughter had already proven to me that she took care of the jewelry she wore.

When I picked her up from school, I was disappointed to hear that the chain of her necklace had broken while they were playing in a grassy area. Her teachers had not been able to find that quarter sized heart-shaped pendant. For sentimental reasons, I did not want too loose that pendant. I said a prayer in my heart and after an hour of sifting through leaves and grass with my nephew’s metal detector, we did find that heart.

Blessing #3

With four kids and a busy husband, life can get pretty chaotic. Wednesday, I left the house to attend a church activity with two of my daughters. I completely forgot that I had a pan of broth boiling on the stove top. An hour and a half later, I returned to a house filled with smoke and a very charred sauce pan. For some reason the smoke detectors were not working. I feel very blessed that nothing caught fire and I still had a house to return to.

I named my blog smelling smoke, because of the joke my husband always repeats when someone says, “I was thinking” or “I had an idea,” but this week we were all literally smelling smoke for many days. I grateful that a foul order was the only negative consequence to my forgetfulness.