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FHE: Blessings

Conference Talk:
For more information on this topic read “The Divine Gift of Gratitude,” by President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, Nov 2010, 87

Thought:
When we encounter challenges and problems in our lives, it is often difficult for us to focus on our blessings. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given. (President Thomas S. Monson, “The Divine Gift of Gratitude,” Ensign, Nov 2010, 87.)

Song:
“I Think the World is Glorious,” Children’s Songbook, p. 230.

Scripture:
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. (Mosiah 2:41)

Lesson:
Sing “Count Your Blessings” (Hymns, no. 241) with your family. Ask them how long they think it would take to name all the Lord’s blessings “one by one.”

Take turns reading aloud Helaman 6:7–13. Have each family member identify a way the Lord blessed the Nephites or Lamanites and how it is similar to a blessing the Lord has given that family member.

Read aloud verse 17 and ask:
• What happened when the Lord abundantly blessed the Nephites and Lamanites for a long time?
• Why do you think this happens so often?
• How could they have prevented such attitudes and actions?
• How is our family doing at staying close to the Lord rather than “setting [our] hearts upon [our] riches”?

(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 254.)

Story:
Virginia Driggs Clark
"Blessings in Disguise"

I have had an experience that I think others might like to hear. It was mine to have—but not mine to keep.

Two months before our baby boy was born, the doctors found it necessary for me to have a major operation for cancer. During the time of my convalescence and while we awaited the arrival of the baby, we had frequent prayers. The stake, under the leadership of President Ezra Taft Benson, united in fasting and prayer. I was administered to often; and many, many times the voices of our three children (the baby could not talk) were raised in the petition, "Help Mother to get well soon." The doctors shook their heads. I had one chance in one thousand—it was only a question of time.

What I want others to know is the experience that came because of this illness. The spirit of humility was poured down upon us, and the knowledge that God is all-powerful was made known to us. Through frequent prayers, we were led to trust in his plan and to know that all would be well.

The spirit of repentance permeated our home. We felt that we must live better and do better if we would expect the Lord to bless us and give us what we wanted so very much.

The spirit of our love toward each other and our children, and of the children toward each other, was felt. We showed each other every day the affection and appreciation we had for each other. Days might be numbered, but love would guide us through.

The spirit of appreciation for our blessings came to us, and we felt as if our cup would run over. Our little boy was born and was perfect. The children remained well. My husband, Harold, was blessed with health to carry on his work and church activities. Life took on new meanings. God had been good to us.

And there came to us a display of friendliness. A neighbor across the alley, whose antagonism against anyone who would have so many children in the city had made little unpleasantries on various occasions, sent with the children large bouquets of flowers that she had grown and picked from her own garden; and for the first time in the year we had lived there, she smiled and waved to me.

There came to us gifts of all kinds—flowers, food, and clothes. Money came to us through the mail with the simple greeting, "Merry Christmas." Interested friends who knew we had not been able to can during the summer brought to us over a hundred quarts of fruits and vegetables. A young lady who had never met me knitted a wool sweater for the baby.

Blessings came to us because Harold continued in his calling as a bishop. When asked about financial arrangements, the doctors said, "You're a bishop in your church. We will give you service at a minimum charge."

When I returned to the hospital for the second time for an operation, there was no one to care for the family. A young lady who was visiting her sister volunteered to come into our home. She had never met us, but for two weeks she had complete charge of five children and the house. When she was ready to return to her family we gave her a little gift and hid some money in the package—money that we knew she would not accept outright. The next day she came back with it, and with tears in her eyes she said, "It has been an honor for me to be in the home of the bishop. My husband is in the South Pacific, and I do not want to be deprived of any blessings by taking pay. I know that my reward will come in other ways." She would not accept any remuneration.

People say to me, "Oh, how terrible! What an awful experience your sickness has been. You must try to forget it and start a new life."

It must not be that way! I never want to forget. And so I put these things down in writing that I may remember. I know that the memory of it will make me a happier and better person.

(Leon R. Hartshorn, Remarkable Stories from the Lives of Latter-day Saint Women, vol. 2, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975].)

Activity:
Before FHE, prepare slips of paper with the following blessings (or others you choose). House, Doctor, Food, Shoes, Vision, School, World, Work, Scriptures, Hearing, Friends, Flowers, Clothes. Put the folded slips in a bowl or basket.

Family members take turns .pulling a slip of paper out of the bowl and drawing a picture for the rest of the family to guess the blessing.

Refreshment:
Alice’s Navajo Fry Bread

4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups warm water
Lard or shortening for deep-frying

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add water in small amounts, mixing between each addition. Knead dough till soft but not sticky. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Pull off egg-sized balls and roll each into a round about G inch thick. Prick with fork 3 or 4 times to allow dough to puff up when it is fried. Deep-fry in hot fat in heavy skillet.

Fry bread is good spread with jam, or sprinkled with powdered sugar or salt. Makes 16 to 20 rounds.

(Paula Julander and Joanne Milner, Utah State Fare, [Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 1995], p. 37.)

*For a printable pdf, click here.
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