a mustard seed

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So, almost a whole month ago, I saw a link on Facebook to a talk by Henry B. Eyring called “O Remember, Remember.” It talked briefly about how he has made a habit over the years to write down instances of when he has seen the hand of the Lord in his daily life and how that has helped open his eyes to more spiritual experiences that he didn’t recognize before. I thought the idea of every day writing down my experiences would be a good exercise. I was originally going to do this by myself but then I felt prompted to include my siblings in this as a way to help train all of us to open our eyes to things around us.
So, I put a paper band on a jar and we keep a selection of markers and pad of paper close by and after scripture study every night, we take a moment for each of us to write something down. Then we fold the papers up and put them in the jar, with the idea that when it was full, we’d open them all up and share them as a group, looking back over all of these wonderful experiences we had and sharing together from all of our perspectives. Tonight was our night and for family home evening, we each took turns reading each other’s papers, discovering what others had felt blessed by and also remembering how we each felt when we wrote our own.
I definitely recommend this activity for anyone else, especially those with young children in the house. It was such a rewarding experience to hear what they each thought about and what happened to them that was special on those days. Everybody was different, with different priorities, but the feelings were there, and as we came back to the present through the list, you could see the responses for all of them becoming more thoughtful and understanding of the task. We have a problem in our house with personal journal keeping, so, this has kind of helped us by doing it as a group and with the simple prompt "Have I seen the hand of God reaching out and touching us in some way today?"
They don’t always have to be spiritual experiences either – or at least, something that we strictly think of as spiritual. A lot of them were listing good things that happened that made them happy. Many more were started with the phrase, “I am thankful for…” and that really encapsulates the whole point of it. A lot of times we pass things by or take things for granted and we don't recognize that Heavenly Father is responsible for a lot of the good things in our lives. When you don’t recognize even the small things you are blessed by, it can be hard to identify when a bigger, more direct spiritual experience is happening/has happened. It starts with recognizing even those small things that happen as coming from the Lord, leading to seeing how involved He is and the impact He has on our lives.
I’ll be keeping these in a box, keeping them organized and together, so that someday, we can have them and the kids can look them over and remember how much the Lord has done for them through their own words and their own eyes recognizing them. I just wanted to share this as a possible family home evening activity or daily activity you can do with your family. It takes less than 5 minutes usually for them to write something down(my older younger brother and I take a bit longer) and having them do it right after scripture study, they're already mindful of the Lord and feeling the Spirit with them, so, it makes it a bit easier to be in that mindset.
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  • 3 months later...

So, I thought I would update this a little bit because there is an upgrade that I thought of for this exercise. So, either you can do the jar with little ones who are small and do the next part when they are a bit older or you can start with it on preteens and, like my family, after a few months, move on to this next part, which is: journals. This was what I wanted all along, and it's kind of a step below writing in a journal with writing prompts, because this one only has one prompt: blessings. Hopefully, though, the next step from this would actually be full-fledged journal entries, being able to write about full days, rather than simply list making.

The bigger story to this is...I will be leaving them. My younger siblings won't have me there anymore to do nightly scripture study and daily hand of the Lord jar. I wanted to leave them with something that wouldn't need to be emptied every month. So, I went to the dollar store and got them each simple, faux leather journals and I wrote explanations in the front part and my testimony in personalized letters to each of them in the back cover. The front part says this:

Daily Hand of the Lord

Have you ever had a bad day? Sometimes, when bad things happen, we classify the whole day as "ruined", even over just one thing. We forget about all of the good things that have happened. Your Heavenly Father loves you and wants the best for you. The truth is, everything He does is to help us grow closer to Him, even when we feel hurt or can't understand why. I know that the more you make note of all the good things that have been given to you, the more you will be able to see the blessings of those "bad days" and hard times.

How to Use This Book

1. Read scriptures for the day

2. While the Spirit is with you, think about your day and write down 5 things that the Lord has done to bless you

3. To help you, think of starting phrases like "I am thankful for..." or "I saw the hand of the Lord today when..."

4. Go into however much depth you want, draw pictures, or just make lists. Write down events and people who have helped you or made you happy, or just small things that have made life easier (lights, food, plumbing, etc.)

This book is for you, like a letter to Heavenly Father and your future self. So that one day, when you need it, you will know how much He loves you and always has and always will.


I know, a little sappy but this is what I put in them for my siblings because I'm going away. I've upgraded the jar format from one thing a day to 5 things, to challenge them to look for more blessings rather than choosing between things to write down. In this way, it doesn't matter if every day all they list is "1. we have lights; 2. We have heat; 3. I had 3 meals and snacks today; 4. I have a mom; 5. I have a dad." because even that is them taking the time to acknowledge blessings that often get overlooked in our daily lives. It sets the bar at the minimum which is definitely something we can be more grateful for and acknowledge. I know I can do more to make note of those things, because often I let that one thing sour a day where I still ate good, had a nice bed to sleep in, and got to experience luxuries that others don't have access to. And that is what this exercise is all about in addition to encouraging journalling, is showing appreciation to Heavenly Father, building testimonies, and building a sense of charity when you stop to think of what others don't have that you enjoy every day.


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6 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

Hi mustard seed!  You just gave me an idea on something I can give to my VT sisters this month!  Thank you thank you thank you.  I made them FHE jars last month  These Daily Hand jars would be a perfect companion to their FHE jars.

I'm so glad! :D It really is a fun exercise to do and makes counting blessings easy. I am so glad that you found this useful and will be able to pass this along. <3 <3 <3

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