Growing up I must have watched The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews hundreds of times. She was angelic—and that voice! (If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to host a Zoom Sound of Music sing-along “lunch and learn.”) Because this is November and we’re all thinking about gratitude, I’d like to share a few of my favorite things.

  1. My pink ring. I’m wearing it today. The ring used to belong to my mother, but because my birthday is in October and the stone is pink, she gave the ring to me. The setting was designed by a great aunt, and the stone itself was the original stone with which my parents were engaged. I used to think this ring was gawdy, but now it is beautiful to me as it ties me to my parents and other progenitors.
  2. Aunt Susie. My aunt died this week. She was a red-headed, smiling, physically active, quietly dedicated servant of the Lord. She loved me even though we weren’t biologically related. And she loved others—even those many thought unlovable. 
  3. Prayer. Last week I felt compelled to pray for my son who was going on a mountain bike ride with a friend. Why worry? Why did I feel I needed to specifically pray for his safety during the bike ride? Well, he flipped over his handlebars, ended up with five broken bones, and will need surgery. But he’s in good spirits, and he’s living as proof of the power of prayer.
  4. Berry Bad Doctor. My drink of choice from Fiiz. It contains Dr. Pepper. Need I say more?
  5. You! I didn’t realize how much I would miss seeing all of you. Today I went down our online directory, stopped at each of your names, and pictured your face. As I paused and thought of you, I was able to recall committees we’ve served on together; offices we’ve remodeled; crazy noises you’ve reported coming from the hallway; the fun hats, ties, and glasses you wear; the hugs we’ve shared; the thank you notes you’ve written to me (and probably to dozens of others); the gifts you’ve given; the programs you administer; the professional advice and mentoring; and the babies. I remember the illnesses fought, the disappointments faced, and the thoughtful feedback given. 

The Lord commanded us to “live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you” (Alma 34:38).

May our obedience to this commandment help us process 2020 a little better.

Jeanna Nichols
Assistant to the Dean