This last year I feel like I've grown to appreciate certain things in my life more. Being away from my family for a year and a half on my mission has made me appreciate their company more and the rare occasions when we are all together at once, as was the case this Christmas.
My art history class this last semester helped me to grow in appreciation of art because I learned how to understand it better.
I appreciate the difficult experiences that I've had that have helped me to learn and grow.
I appreciate more the good influences around me, those of my family and friends and good people in general.
Helping my sister take care of her two little kids, a very active two-year-old and a sweet two-month-old, has given me a greater appreciation of parents and the fatigue they must experience caring for children. I've also grown to appreciate the special moments that children provide: their sweet smiles and expressions of love in their excitement to see you and their cute little hugs. I went with my mom and little two-year-old Wally to the nursing home today to visit a friend and it was amazing to see the smiles on people's faces there just from seeing cute little Wally. It made me wish that I had a two-year-old of my own that I could take to the nursing home to brighten people's days.
It's moments like this when I come to appreciate or value something more than I did before that make me feel more awake to the world around me. It makes me feel more alive.