Tourists take shelter at Marine Park during a heavy rain shower on Aug. 14, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Tourists take shelter at Marine Park during a heavy rain shower on Aug. 14, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Living And Growing: Counting rainy blessings

  • By Donna Leigh Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Wednesday, June 21, 2023 1:30am
  • NeighborsColumnsReligion

As we come out of these wet and cooler months of April, May and June, that are usually our drier sunny months here in Juneau and Southeast Alaska, it might be easy to find ourselves grumbling about the weather and cold. But perhaps we should look on what seems like discouraging times as an opportunity to fine tune our optimism.

This June month seems particularly green to me. As our family hikes the local trails, we notice the birch and willow leaves, mushrooms and dogwood on the ground, salmon berry flowers turning to berries. These items of nature would not be so brilliant green and blossoming if not for the rain we have received. As I anxiously awaited the late arrival of spring, I cheered for every robin and woodpecker I saw. The hummingbirds that finally made an appearance seemed to bring extra joy, because we had waited longer for them to show at our feeder.

One of my favorite hymns has these words: “When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done” (Count Your Many Blessings by Johnson Oatman Jr., 1856–1922).

A favorite children’s song “Smiles,” by Daniel Taylor, has these words: “If you chance to meet a frown, do not let it stay. Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away. No one likes a frowning face. Change it for a smile. Make the world a better place. By smiling all the while.”

We all have long days and discouraging times, but if we try to lift each other up with a smile, and count the blessings we recognize from God, we can help to make our own world and the wider world around us a better place. The New Testament scripture John 14: 27 reads, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” May you find comfort and optimism in the peace God gives, and the peace and smiles you bless yourself and others with as we go about our days.

• Donna Leigh is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.

More in Neighbors

The Pinkas Synagogue, the second-oldest building in Prague. (World Monuments Fund photo)
Living and Growing: Connecting to family ancestors through names of strangers on a wall in Prague

“Prague never lets you go…this dear little mother has sharp claws.” —… Continue reading

Individual eggplant parmesan rounds ready to serve. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Individual eggplant parmesan rounds

These flavorful eggplant parmesans are a great side dish, especially served with… Continue reading

An aspiring knight relies on duct tape for his medieval battle gear during the Master’s Faire on July 16, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Gimme A Smile: Duct tape — an Alaskan’s best friend

Duct tape is an Alaskan tradition. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix… Continue reading

Fred LaPlante is the pastor at the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. (Photo courtesy of Fred LaPlante)
Living and Growing: Be a blessing

Years ago, I learned a great acronym, B.L.E.S.S. “B” stands for “Begin… Continue reading

Salad ingredients ready to assemble. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Mexican corn and bean salad

Several years ago, I ate at a wonderful Mexican restaurant in Los… Continue reading

A new online dictionary features Lingít, X̱aad Kíl, Shm’algyack and English. (Mircea Brown / Courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute)
Neighbors: Sealaska Heritage Institute debuts multilingual online Alaska Native dictionary with audio

Platform includes resources for Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian languages.

Brent Merten is the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Juneau, a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. (Photo courtesy of Brent Merten)
Living and Growing: Your room is waiting

Thursday, May 9, is a very special day. Although most calendars don’t… Continue reading

The interior of the Pipeline Skate Park on Dec. 7, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neighbors briefs

Join interactive design meeting for Jackie Renninger Park on May 21 CBJ… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Living and Growing: Twisting Scripture to suit themselves

Ever wonder why so many different people say so many different things… Continue reading

The Ward Lake Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Neighbors: Public input sought as Tongass begins revising 25-year-old forest plan

Initial phase focuses on listening, informing, and gathering feedback.

Sister Sadria Akina, Elder Tanner Christensen and Elder Bronson Forsberg, all missionaries with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, collect litter on April 22, 2023, in the Lemon Creek area. It was their first time partaking in Juneau’s communitywide cleanup. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neighbors briefs

Annual Litter Free citywide cleanup on Saturday Saturday is set for Litter… Continue reading

Tortilla beef casserole ready to serve. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Tortilla beef casserole for Cinco de Maya

When my kids were growing up their appetites were insatiable. Every night… Continue reading