Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Thoughts on Blessings

This post was inspired by Paul, who made a very interesting observation about the difference between “having a sense of gratitude, especially for the simple things” and “blessings.” He made a reference to people in other countries, who are a lot less fortunate than us, and how can they be blessed when they are in a constant state of lack.

Here are my thoughts on “blessings”:

I tend to think that blessings are all relative. What it comes down to is that perhaps the people in third-world countries are not on the same mental realm as we are, and I certainly don't mean that in a cruel way--only a realistic one. Here in America, the land of plenty, we tend to equate “blessings” with “money”, or things that are purchased with money. In other words, the more money you have, the more “blessings” you have…or so it would seem. However, the people in third world countries who are starving every day probably feel "blessed" each minute that they remain alive. They feel "blessed" when they can eat twice in one day. They feel "blessed" when the CARE plane arrives with some much-needed supplies and medications for their children. They feel "blessed" that there are caring people in this world who will make time for them and try to help them.

Unfortunately, people here in America feel "lack" if they can't get to drive a Mercedes—that tends to be the attitude of an awful lot of people around where I live—but for that matter, there are people in every county in every state of the USA who are poor and starving, also, not just in third world countries. Most of these people have the ability to appreciate the little things that they are "blessed" with, like a roof over their heads, even if it's at the local shelter; or a hot meal, even if it’s at the local soup kitchen. In my profession, I see less fortunate people all the time. But when I delivered a Thanksgiving meal to a struggling grandmother and her two little grandchildren, the gratefulness I encountered was humbling! The little girls must have said thank-you at least ten times each, and they couldn’t have been more than four and six years old. It was a blessing from God for me to have the pleasure to meet such appreciative small children…they are truly being raised in the light of God’s Grace. And I imagine the small feast I brought was considered a blessing to them, as well.

I also see elderly people at the senior center we volunteer at who still “hoard” food, even though they are not for want at all. I would imagine some of them experienced the repercussions of living through or right after the Great Depression and were raised to be frugal, even if they came into money later in life. So even though they are “blessed” with money that could make their lives easier, they choose to live meagerly. That’s one of the reasons I personally don’t consider money the only “blessing” one can have. It obviously doesn’t make a difference to some people for many reasons. And when it comes right down to it, the most obvious difference between America and third world countries is that we have plenty of money, and they don't.

Let’s say I won the lottery right now, and came into several million dollars. Would this be a “blessing”? Well, to me, it would be a blessing to be able to pay off my bills. I could be a blessing to someone else by having the money to give to a family in need, or an organization with a good cause! But to me, that’s where the “blessing” ends. All the money would be good for after “fixing” my stressful problem is to basically purchase, in excess, many things that my family and I most likely do not need. That’s when the “blessing” becomes the “curse”, if you know what I mean.

I don't believe that God favors anyone. The world is the way it is, and it has been like this since the beginning of time. If there were no places on earth that were less fortunate than any others, and everyone had everything they ever wanted, we would be a very unappreciative planet indeed. And quite frankly, what would be the lesson? What would be the point of existence?

...Who really feels more "blessed"...the person who just got a meal for the first time in three days, or the person who just left the Mercedes dealership with a new car?

...Do people in poverty-stricken countries actually know what they don't have? Do they even care, or do they just want to make it through another day?

So “blessings” to me are the things in our lives that you just can’t put a price tag on. In my last post, I mentioned blue jays and dog smiles…and I can add to that list my husband's smiling face and the friend who takes time out of her busy day to pick up dishwashing detergent for me. Perhaps it’s the ability to appreciate these small things that’s the actual “blessing”—maybe a blessing is not a “thing” at all.

Perhaps a blessing is really just a moment of appreciation.

I believe that this life--our mere existence, whether "fortunate" or "unfortunate"--is but a drop in the bucket of an endless universal eternity. At the end of our earthly existence, it won't matter one bit what any one person had or didn't have. We may not enter into this life alone, but we certainly leave it with nothing but our souls. I believe that there is a God who will appreciate how much we appreciated what was truly important while we were here. And perhaps for that, He will “bless” us with the gift of eternal life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I have to be honest. I try very hard to present a positive image when I post on this blog. However, what started as a blank canvas for my dreams started to become nothing more than the whipping boy for my gripes.

As I sit here at my computer, this night before Thanksgiving, I think of how I should be reflecting on why my life is blessed in so many ways, but all I can think about are family situations gone awry that the holidays only tend to magnify.

I find that sometimes, I just can't let things go. No, make that a lot of times. I tend to have a "victim" mentality, and I allow myself to feel persecuted, most of the time by the same people, over and over. This way of thinking is so unproductive as far as turning out positive outcomes...but it certainly produces a whole bunch of negative ones. I often wonder why I care so much, but I'm starting to really understand that how I feel doesn't make one bit of a difference to the people I allow to upset me. I only end up chasing my own tail.

My purpose in writing tonight is not to convince you, my blogging buddies, how blessed I am. It's for me to remind myself why I need to smooth the hairs down on my back, release my tense, arched body, take a deep breath, then expel the pent-up frustration into the dark, foggy void of this night.

...So here's my "thankful" list for this year:

I am thankful for my health, for without it I wouldn't be able to enjoy the other things in my life that I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for my husband, who is not only kind and understanding, but he's pretty darn cute, too.

I'm thankful that my daughter got on the honor roll for the very first time in her life. Even though she's a senior in high school, we couldn't be more proud.

I'm thankful that my son still tells me he loves me in front of his friends.

I'm thankful that my stepdaughter started telling me she loved me first upon closing a phone conversation.

I'm thankful that my stepson has a wonderful job that will take him in a positive direction.

I'm thankful that I got to see my dog sleeping with a huge smile on his face. Yes, it was a smile.

...No, it was 2:30 in the morning and I didn't get a picture.

I'm thankful that my other dog, despite his 427 lumps, is happy and pain-free.

I'm thankful that I woke to three beautiful blue jays outside my kitchen window this morning.

I'm thankful that no matter how stressful my day is at work, one of my "guys" will inevitably make me crack up--deliberately or not. They are treasures, just the epitome of purity, innocence, and honesty. And gas.

I'm thankful that my house is clean and all I have to do is bake two apple pies tomorrow morning...all while the Macy's parade is on (it's not Thanksgiving until I see Santa Claus...which doesn't really make sense...).

I'm thankful that my cousin is going to cook tomorrow. She's the best chef in the family, and her home is always welcoming and comforting.

I'm thankful for Merlot. Cabernet, too.

And I'm thankful for all of you, dear bloggers. There is not one of you who hasn't made me think, care, and most of all, smile.

Most of all, I'm thankful for God. I rest in the knowledge that even though I tend to try to "fight my own battles" and save up my prayers for a rainy day, He's with me, always....just waiting in the wings for me to ask for His help.

If you'll excuse me, I really think I have to have a chat with Him right about now.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a wonderful, blessed, joyous Thanksgiving. May your plates be full and your hearts be fuller.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Okay, I apologize.

I should've delved a little deeper into my subject matter on my previous post before I made any "wondrous" claims, and I didn't.

My bad.

However, I will say this: I do believe in the general concept that the FDA will not benefit financially from approving herbs for consumer use. I do believe that there are indeed treatments from natural sources that can cure diseases, quite possibly even cancer (there are many groups of people who just don't get cancer; I believe that there are reasons for that. I also believe that there are reasons why my area has the highest concentration of breast cancer in the entire country. I'm just tired of the speculation; let's spend the money and find out why already, instead of wasting it by paying people who sleep at their desks or hold shovels for contractors). Having successfully eliminating high numbers of h. pylori bacteria from my stomach using mastic gum capsules instead of the two antibiotics prescribed to me (that I refused to take for the yeast infection they would inevitably cause), I will most likely always opt for the natural treatment first.

I digress. Let me get back on task here.

Thursday, I retrieved a letter from my mailbox addressed to me. I opened it up and started reading it in front of my husband and stepson. Apparently, because my "profile" (huh?!?) from my order of the Kevin Trudeau book was so special, I was one of a very select few people who would receive this invitation to belong to a private organization that would help me to realize my full potential in every area of life. I was told that I "knew" deep down in my soul that I possessed great talent and skill, and that this secret organization would help me to bring it out and succeed in ways I never dreamed possible.

I'm not quoting here for fear of being sued, but by the time I got to page two, all three of us were laughing our asses off. Apparently, there are major celebrities who I see every single day that belong to this "secret association", some of whom are extremely prominent (okay, I don't know about you, but a certain celebrity with the initials "T.C" started to come to mind). I began to guess the intent of this letter, and tossed it aside for future amusement when I had more time to read it.

Another thing that annoyed me was that I was also signed up to a web site that I can NOT get out of....I don't even know the address...and they take $9.95 a month out of my checking account for this "health care" site. They automatically sign you up for it when you purchase the book, and tell you that your first month is free; you can cancel at any time after that. What they DON'T tell you is that when you call to cancel, you will be on the line for 45 minutes listening to an advertisement for all sorts of natural products and books that repeats itself every ten minutes...and no one will ever pick up the phone.

I should've known something was up when the original operator who I ordered the book from tried to get me to order every other product under the sun, and then told me that just because I called, I won a trip to Las Vegas for two, and she wanted to give me all the details. I told her no thank you, I wasn't interested. She tried relentlessly to guilt me into taking this amazing trip, but I finally cut her off and said "Thanks, but no thanks. Are we done?"

Silly me. It was probably a great opportunity to go hang out with all of those "famous" members of the "secret association".

Well folks, I guess it's true...I've been had. And I'm sorry I promoted my ignorance onto all of you.

Thanks to Matthew for inspiring this post.