Countdown to Thanksgiving Story #3: 30 Million Dollars and Still Lacking for Something Money Can’t Buy

Sorry I missed putting a Thanksgiving story up yesterday. Thursdays are long days around here! We have our homeschool group that day, based on Thomas Jefferson Education. We drive 90 minutes one way to get to it because it is totally worth it! I teach a youth class for that called Quest. Afterwards, my older daughter and I went “thrifting” (thrift store shopping) in honor of our November birthdays that are four days apart. We got a great haul for around $30, including the most darling silver sandals with roses on them, and lightweight sweaters (swoon!). In just the colors I wanted, peach and aqua! I will blog about it soon! The younger kids all got invited to playdates with dinner at different houses after school, so it was just the two of us shopping. I’m so grateful because we had some very meaningful conversation that I will treasure forever. This is her last season at home because she gets married in December. (Insert misty eyes…)


(Ok skip to the story a few paragraphs down if you don’t want to hear all of this backstory.) Between school, shopping with my daughter, meeting her future sister-in-law, giving said future sis in law tips on natural labor induction (she’s due in 4 days) and arranging pick up of kids, I didn’t get home until after 9! Forget about the grocery shopping I had entertained ideas of doing on the way home, I just wanted to get home. Thank goodness I got to eat pizza at girlfriend Kimberly’s home when I went to fetch my youngest from the boy party going on there. (Total chaos with Nerf guns, all manner of wheeled toys, and 12 mini packages of testosterone running around, on top of her 8 kids. She was in all her glory because she loves parties!) Otherwise I wouldn’t have eaten dinner until after 9, because she lives 1 hour and half away from me. I will have to blog about “caving in” to my food plan, because even though I ate her totally delicious, but supposedly “evil” white flour crust pizza with cheese (total crossover in Trim Healthy Mama land) I did not gain weight. I was so hungry!!! But I stopped at 3 pieces, even though I could have easily eaten more. I even lost some weight. There goes my theory that whenever I eat crossovers I gain weight! There are more factors involved that I have to watch out for, which I will muse over and write up soon.

Okay, back to my Thanksgiving story that I wanted to put up yesterday! Today’s story is called “30 Million Dollars and Still Lacking.” This story comes from an article that brings memories of my youth, because it’s written by the prophet of my older teen and college years, Pres. Ezra Taft Benson. What a grand man he was! It’s from this article, “Receive All Things With Thankfulness,” from the November 1976 Ensign when he was President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.

Here is one quote from the first part of the article that I love:

The Prophet Joseph is reported to have said at one time that one of the greatest sins for which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty would be the sin of ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a serious sin. There’s a great tendency for us in our prayers—in our pleadings with the Lord—to ask for additional blessings. Sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. Of course we need the daily blessings of the Lord. But if we sin in the matter of prayer, I think it is in our lack of the expressions of thanksgiving for daily blessings.

This is so true! I am going to start having at least one of my prayers every day be a complete prayer of thanksgiving.

But wait there’s more! In this article, Pres. Benson shared many stories to increase our thanksgiving spirit. Here is one of them, that I call “30 Million Dollars and Still Lacking for Something Money Can’t Buy”:

[A]t the end of World War II, I was seated in my office in Salt Lake and received a telephone call from a man in New York, a multimillionaire who had made 30 million dollars by the time he was 30 years of age. He had a son in a military camp just outside Salt Lake City. This boy had expected to be shipped overseas, as many others had been. Then the war ended and so they were crowded into that camp, like sardines in a can. This boy was discouraged, and his father was worried about him. So he called and said, “Would you please call him on the telephone and see if you can cheer him up a bit?” I said, “Of course, I’d be happy to.” And I called him and said, “Would you like to come into the office for a little visit?” And he said, “I sure would.” He was a bit delayed in coming, and I was just ready to leave for home when he arrived.

I said, “Would you like to go out to the house with me and take potluck with the family? My wife doesn’t know you’re coming, but you’ll be welcome.” So he said, “I can’t imagine anything I’d rather do tonight than that.” So we went out, and we had our dinner, and we had our prayer. We gathered around the piano afterwards and enjoyed ourselves with some singing. Then after we visited for awhile, I drove him down to his bus. In a few days I got a letter from his father, and you know, you’d have thought I’d saved that boy’s life. The father quoted a letter from his son in which the son had said, “Father, I didn’t know there were any people in this world who lived like that.” Yes, we take it all for granted. Here was a man worth millions of dollars—could buy his son anything that dollars could buy and never miss the money—and yet this simple thing of prayer and devotion in the home had passed him by.

I love this!!!! The simple act of giving devotion to God each day is something that this boy, the son of a multimillionaire lacked. We can give this devotion to God through songs, prayer, giving thanks for food before eating, dining together as a family, scripture reading, and sharing spiritual stories with other family members. These things cost nothing. Yet they warm the soul like nothing, I repeat, nothing money can buy. Doing these things over and over with your children gives them a rich life! We can each afford to do this!

As Pres. Benson went on to say in the same article:

We need to be more grateful. I think there’s no true character without gratitude. It’s one of the marks of a real strong character, to have a feeling of thanksgiving and gratitude for blessings that are ours. We need more of that spirit in our homes, in our daily associations, in church, everywhere. It doesn’t cost anything. It’s so easy to cultivate the spirit of appreciation and gratitude. And it’s so easy, also, to be dissatisfied and to be envious of other people.

We can create this feeling of gratitude “in our daily associations, in church,” and “everywhere” by sharing stories that increase our children’s appreciation of culture. I’m talking about sharing stories of people, places, and things that create connections for them. When they feel those connections, they are more likely to feel appreciation. I’ve been working on this for years by sharing stories from the Friend, New Era, and Ensign almost every weekday with my kids, usually over the breakfast table. I used to read them aloud, and still do sometimes, but usually I play the stories using the Gospel Library app on my phone, from the aforementioned church magazines. I always point out to my kids interesting connections to the stories, like if they know someone or someplace relating to the story. Sometimes I ask them what they think about it or how the principles in the story apply to them.

I am so excited to share with you that after years of listening to these stories, and months of work poring over them, I have created the resource I wish I had had for years. It’s a collection of songs, scriptures, poems, and stories in an ebook form, called “The Celestial Guide to Family Devotionals.” Everything is linked to the Internet, so you can just use your device, click on the text, and the scripture or story I’ve linked will pop up for you. I’ve grouped everything by seasonal and holiday themes. You can use these for homeschool morning devotionals. Even if you don’t homeschool, you can use this ebook for FHE, firesides, or simply sharing at dinnertime or anytime you want to share a spiritual story or thought! Watch for it in December when I release it!

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1 Response to Countdown to Thanksgiving Story #3: 30 Million Dollars and Still Lacking for Something Money Can’t Buy

  1. I enjoyed your post! Here is something I am trying to spread around this holiday season. If you like it, please share it. Thanks! Rita


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