For better or worse, I am a girl of a-b-u-n-d-a-n-c-e! One best friend? Why not ten? That pair of jeans I love so much? I buy them in every wash. And I’ve got a party supply closet ready for any party, at any time, in any theme – for twins… just in case. I was taught to love big, give big, think big, and go big or go home. I’m a firm believer that the law of abundance boomerangs goodness right back home. That’s evidenced itself to me a thousand times over, but never more so than when I count my blessings. Whenever I start to count, the list seems to grow longer and deeper and gratitude seems to wrap itself around even the tiniest and most inconsequential of events… things that otherwise would have been glossed over or cast off as ordinary.
The incredible thing about gratitude is it doesn’t require one single ounce of material goods. It’s not tangible, either – it’s a virtue developed straight from the heart. President Monson teaches us that “a grateful heart comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don’t get around to it. Someone has said that ‘feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.’”
It seems easy to show gratitude for the grand gestures, but in the last few months, I’ve made a really conscious effort to express gratitude for the small and simple things as I interact with others. So many times, as I’ve typed out a text message or an email, I’ve found myself hovering over that “send” button and backing away so I can throw in an added line to say thank you.
A few months ago, I was invited to Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas to participate in an event with Chip and Joanna Gaines (for which I’m still doing heel kicks of gratitude!). The logistics of getting myself, my mom, 500 packages of felt balls, and all the fixings for a 10’x10’ booth from Salt Lake City to Waco, Texas was a monster of a task. And when it got down to it – down to those very few hours before the show started and Chip and Jo walked into my booth – everything that could have gone wrong went perfectly wrong. Going in, I had a minute-by-minute plan from the time the plane touched down to the very finish and I crossed my fingers it would all play out according to plan. But I found myself an hour away from go time in a perfectly empty booth and hours of construction and assembly ahead of me.
I was overwhelmed and paralyzed at the sight of everything in front of me when a family of four walked past my booth. They were casual passersby, who for a hundred reasons shouldn’t have been in the space during set-up. In the 100-degree heat, with 100 percent humidity, one of them asked if I was Aubry and reminded me that we had met once before nearly seven years ago. And then he said, “Do you need some help?” It was the simplest offer on his part, but I saw it as the tenderest mercy, the most direct answer to my most desperate prayer, and truthfully – two angels who came straight from heaven to help me in a time of need. He and his wife whipped everything into shape – prioritized tasks, reminded me of the things I was overthinking, and even made me a shopping list for things I could grab at the stores that would still be open by the time our night was through. When we emptied our first box, they put their three-year-old and one year old sons inside with a few toys so they could be all hands on deck. Even their angel babies played nicely during those final few minutes of set up. He was the boss and I was the doer and he GOT IT. He recognized the products that would sell the best and put those front and center, did everything in the orderly and sensible way, climbed high, carried the heavy things, did the man jobs, all while keeping an eye on Chip and Jo’s shopping pace as they came closer and closer to the booth so we could work AND clean up in time for their arrival. And the ultimate cherry on top, he was in charge of the camera when it was my turn to meet the Gaines’. He snapped a million photos, none of them blurry, all of them straight.
In the tornado of set up, I remember asking over and over again, “Where did you come from? How did this happen? Are you an angel?! Why are you being so kind to me?” I could not say thank you in enough ways, enough times, or with tight enough squeezes to adequately express what their help meant to me in that moment. I will be bearing my testimony of that experience for the rest of my life that Heavenly Father is mindful and miraculous in His capacity to tend to us in our moments of need.
I’m reminded of it everyday and I keep an eye out for the opportunity to be that angel person for someone else. It’s the purest way I can show my gratitude to Heavenly Father for all the times He’s poured His love on me.