Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We started off our day at a Pie Party, where I had five different slivers (not slices, don't worry). 'Twas DELICIOUS! A member's brother had it at his house in Vienna - it was great fun! Then later that day, we had actual dinner at another member's house. He also invited 12 other members of the ward (see picture below). I had so much fun! It was nice to just sit down and get to know people on a more personal level. Sister Anderson and I shared a Thanksgiving message about the importance of being grateful. We encouraged them to write down at least one thing they are grateful for each day - then we plan to follow up! I know they'll see miracles as they apply gratitude more in their lives. A quote/story I shared with them is as follows, from Robert E. Quinn's devotional address to BYU-Hawaii "Let They Confidence Wax Strong in the Presence of God":
I was in a meeting with some professional colleagues. One of them is a highly accomplished woman. She told us that she kept a gratitude journal for 18 months. We were impressed. Then she told us that she stopped. We expressed disappointment. She picked up the implicit message and told us she quit because she no longer needed to keep the journal. We were curious.

She told us that her father was a very critical man and she grew up with the same negative orientation. If she heard a wonderful concert, but the soloist missed a note, she remembered the mistake, not the beautiful music. She related to people in a similar fashion. Rather than celebrating their gifts and the things they did right, she looked for their flaws. She constantly corrected people and they were often angry. She lived in a world of negativity. It was a world she created. Keeping the gratitude journal changed all that. In fact, she felt she no longer needed to write because she said she was now "living in a continuous state of gratitude." 

This woman was proactive. She chose to live in gratitude. By doing so, she actually rewired her brain. Think of it, by proactively cultivating one of the attributes of Christ, she transformed herself and was blessed to live a constant, positive state.

In Alma we read, "Worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you (Alma 34:38).
This scripture suggests that, wherever we are, we can be in the presence of God. It suggests that, if we can live in a constant state of gratitude, we can keep the covenant we make every Sunday. We can "always remember Him."

Isn't that neat? As we choose to be deliberately grateful each day, we are keeping our baptismal covenants - who knew? I didn't! It gives me even MORE cause to have gratitude, knowing that as I do, I'm remembering Him.

We were blessed to have some miracles this week - especially involving those that are less-active in the Church. The first is Brother Garlock, who was raised in the Church, but like many of us, became frustrating that God wasn't giving him the answers he wanted. So he "boycotted" God by giving up on reading, praying, and going to church (BAD IDEA). He moved to the DC area and the Elder's Quorum President found him and sought our help. We've seen a HUGE change in him as we just took the time to teach to his needs. He was at church yesterday - for all 3 hours! AND we met with him for a short lesson after that. It was great! He made friends and you can tell he was feeling the Spirit. I'm so grateful to witness these changes! Just like Brandon Flowers of The Killers said, [paraphrased] "I realized I wasn't done. There was still a fire burnin' in there!" This is the case for all individuals that have felt the Spirit even once in their life - they remember its goodness and blessings and they seek to have it once more. DON'T GIVE UP!

I'm so thankful for this holiday season! So many opportunities to invite people to come closer to Christ through activities and spiritual gatherings. We're trying to use the Temple Visitor Center as much as possible because the spirit felt there is UNBEATABLE. You Northern-Californians, invite your friends! They'll never forget it.

I love you all! Thank you for your examples - I'm always learning from you!

Sister Hansen

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