The sun came softly through my bedroom window as I tried to focus on the alarm clock to see the time. Deciding I had a few minutes before I needed to move, I looked out the window and watched a squirrel run back and forth from the fence to the tree. A second squirrel appeared and spiraled the tree chasing the first one. Stretching and yawning, I pulled myself out of bed and into the shower. As hot water sprayed on tired muscles, gratitude filled my soul for indoor plumbing, sunshine, and squirrels. My morning was less than ten minutes old, and I was grateful for three separate miracles.
Twenty minutes later, I sat on the couch in the living room and watched eight mourning doves and three blue jays eat bird seed off the grass as six or eight sparrows spilled seed from the bird feeder in the orange tree. The oranges are ripe now, and some have been picked. Those that are left on the tree look like ornaments among the Christmas lights on the tree. Miracles were everywhere I looked.
The miracle of technology brought my favorite Christmas carols to my kitchen as I ate my breakfast. I thought about the birth of the Savior and wondered what Mary and Joseph might have been thinking as they traveled to Bethlehem. The image of the pregnant Mary riding a donkey entered my head, and I marveled at her strength and courage. The birth of the baby Jesus—a miracle surpassed only by His atonement and resurrection.
My tummy now full, I turned to the miracle of e-mail and social media to keep in touch with family and friends near and far.
In the mood of the morning, I thought about other miracles around me. My husband, my children, my grandchildren—what did I ever do to deserve my miraculous family? I pictured each of their faces in my mind and remembered sweet moments with them.
The trials of life will always be near, but are always dwarfed by the miracles around us. Do we see them? Do we ignore them? Are we grateful? Do we express that gratitude? Life gets busy, but we should never ignore the miracles, and we should always show our gratitude.
I wonder if there has ever been a study done to determine the source of happiness for the happiest among us. They do studies for everything else, right? Maybe happiness is nothing more than being aware of the miracles of life. If you ignore the miracles, what else is left?
Cynicism is everywhere, yet prophets and apostles have been consistent in their message to be happy and content. They encourage us to look for the little miracles in our lives and be at peace. (See the quotes at the bottom of this article.)
Where are the miracles? All around us! Train your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and fingers to recognize the miracles in your life. It takes all the senses. A couple of years ago I accepted an internet challenge to write a “daily gratitude” or “daily blessing” on a slip of paper every day. The papers were placed in a mason jar. At the end of the year, I read them all and was quite surprised at all the miracles I had experienced in just one year. This was quite an eye-opener for me. We so often take for granted the little miracles in our lives. They are right in front of our eyes—all we have to do is look and recognize God’s love in our lives. He blesses us every day with little miracles.
Please don’t ignore the miracles. Life is much more pleasant when we get out of bed every morning looking for the first miracle of the day instead of the first negative headline or depressing status update. Take a moment to smell the roses. Watch a bee flit from blossom to blossom. Listen to the birds singing outside your window. Enjoy a toddler’s first steps. Delight in a teenager’s excitement at receiving a first driver’s license. Observe an infant discovering fingers and toes. Enjoy life! Be joyful! Delight in all God’s miracles—and express gratitude.
QUOTES THAT INSPIRE
My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith. – President Thomas S. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Apr. 2009 General Conference.
Let us be of good cheer as we go about our lives. Although we live in increasingly perilous times, the Lord loves us and is mindful of us. He is always on our side as we do what is right. He will help us in time of need.- President Thomas S. Monson, “God Be with You Till We Meet Again,” Oct. 2012 General Conference
[T]rust in the saving power of Jesus Christ; keep His laws and commandments. In other words—live the gospel joyful. It is my prayer that you will experience a renewed and an expanded measure of the beautiful love of God in your lives; that you will find the faith, determination, and commitment to learn God’s commandments, treasure them in your hearts, and live the gospel joyful.-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “Living the Gospel Joyful,” Oct. 2014 General Conference
The miracles of nature and the gospel combine to remind us that the Lord of Life is a God of miracles. – Elder J. Richard Clarke, “The Lord of Life,” Apr. 1993 General Conference.
We could remember that even with such a solemn mission given to him, the Savior found delight in living; he enjoyed people and told his disciples to be of good cheer. He said we should be as thrilled with the gospel as one who had found a great treasure, a veritable pearl of great price, right on our own doorstep. We could remember that Jesus found special joy and happiness in children and said all of us should be more like them—guileless and pure, quick to laugh and to love and to forgive, slow to remember any offense. -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “This Do in Remembrance of Me,” Oct. 1995 General Conference.
Be cheerful in all that you do. Live joyfully. Live happily. Live enthusiastically, knowing that God does not dwell in gloom and melancholy, but in light and love. – President Ezra Taft Benson, “Your Charge: To Increase in Wisdom and Favor with God and Man,” New Era (Sep. 1979)
What does it mean to be of good cheer? It means having hope, not getting discouraged, not losing faith, and living life joyfully. … It means facing life with confidence. … The gospel of Jesus Christ gives us the strength and the eternal perspective to face what is coming with good cheer. -Elder Adhemar Damiani Of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, “Be of Good Cheer and Faithful in Adversity,” Apr. 2005 General Conference
By listening to the prophets, keeping an eternal perspective, having faith, and being of good cheer, we can face life’s unexpected challenges and “get on with our lives.” – Elder Steven E. Snow, Of the Presidency of the Seventy, “Get On with Our Lives,” Apr. 2009 General Conference.
Jesus calls upon us to have a deliberate trust in God’s unfolding purposes, not only for all humankind but for us individually. And we are to be of good cheer in the unfolding process. … To be cheerful when others are in despair, to keep the faith when others falter, to be true even when we feel forsaken—all of these are deeply desired outcomes during the deliberate, divine tutorials which God gives to us—because He loves us. -Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Be of Good Cheer,” Oct. 1982 General Conference.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.