Counting Blessings in the New Year!

red ink . . .

Growing up, my dad always reminded us to “count our blessings.” I’m certain that his “half-full” philosophy has kept me afloat on many occasions when life circumstances alone could have sunk me. My slightly more cynical twist on his mantra is that I always remind myself that things “could be worse” whenever facing something difficult, and then go on to count the things that I am grateful for. Now, I must confess that I host the occasional pity party for one where I moan and groan and wonder “why me?” or “why mine?” (Come on, we all have THOSE days, don’t we?) But dad’s mantra (even though he’s been gone for almost 14 years now), somehow, always brings me back. Like the seizure that my oldest son had (after 5 months of being seizure free) on the last full day of school before the Christmas break. While at home wrapping Christmas presents, I once again received that terrifying call from his school telling me that he had a seizure and that the ambulance was on the way. This time though, the call came from an “angel” security guard at his school who was familiar with my son’s history and could talk to the paramedics until I arrived. Naturally, I was devastated that this happened to him again, when we all thought it was under control, but I was so very grateful as I’ve been before that 1) he was ok, 2) that an angel was there for him until I could be, and 3) that he wasn’t out in a street somewhere where nobody knew him.

As we mark the passing of one year into the next, there are so many crazy things going on in our lives, and in the lives of those we love. In addition to Barb and the B-Rileys, every single person I talk to seems to have their own serious life challenge that they’re facing as we begin this new year. I find myself cautiously but hope-fully saying “Happy New Year” because I so want it to be true for all of us.

My family shared the new year with a very close friend of mine and her family, who have endured life challenges that are unimaginable including the loss of a child. Though my best gift was our time together over a cup of tea while our husbands watched the football game and our children hung out and enjoyed each other, she also gave me a simple vintage “blessings bracelet” with four pearls to remind me of the blessings that I have in my life. Immediately, I thought of my husband and three kids, but I also began to think of the long list of other things that I can count as blessings at this moment, right now.

This beautiful reminder – to be grateful for the little things that we so often take for granted, like the use of our limbs or the laughs of our children – was a wonderful way for me to begin this new year.

Despite the challenges and the things that we all wish were not, what are you grateful for? Focusing on those things more will surely make this, at least, a happier 2012!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. JC Ellis
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 23:46:19

    Mich, great wedding photo of you & your dad!! I’m glad Drew has angels watching over him @ Payton! Like you, I too am trying to spend more time in gratitude mode, thanking God daily & remembering that things don’t have to be as good as they are right now! Around Thanksgiving 2011, I read a devotional that read “what if tomorrow you awakened with only the things that you thanked God for today?” hmmm…Even in times of trial, our blessings are vast.


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