Survive and advance — January 16, 2019

Survive and advance

A couple years ago I started keeping a weekly blessings jar. As you might expect, that means that very week I wrote down a blessing on a scrap of paper in my serial killer handwriting. Then, I placed said blessing in a popcorn tin decorated with puppies wearing Santa hats.

While most people might include life’s bigger blessings, it’s a given that I appreciate having a place to call home and people who love me. So, I choose to focus on the smaller things. For example, according to my blessings tin, in 2018, I read a lot (week 10), treated myself to a Blizzard on my birthday (week 29), and benefited from the wonders of liquid Mucinex (week 47).

Upon reviewing my blessings for 2017, I realized that salads made several appearances in the tin. So, during 2018, I made a concerted effort to track the other important aspects of my exciting life.

Proving that old habits are hard to break, however, in 2018 I recorded the enjoyment of no less than four delicious salads. (Not in the same week, though.) What’s more, in no fewer than five weeks I felt the need to mention that my head hadn’t hurt all that much. That leads me to wonder how much my head hurt during the other 47 weeks of the year.

What’s more, apparently the first few weeks of 2018 were fraught with dangerous situations and health scares as I shared that I had survived a ride home from work (week three) as well as the flu (week six). Those months weren’t all bad, though. After misbehaving for a couple months, my garage door miraculously started working (week two) and the Eagles won/the Patriots lost the Super Bowl (week five).

Also sprinkled among the blessings were several play dates with my great-niece and great-nephew, holiday celebrations, lunch with a dear friend, and a surprise visit from my bestie.

There were also two weeks missing from the blessings tin. Despite studying on the matter a great deal, I have not solved the mystery of the missing weeks. Even if my head did hurt all that much … even if I didn’t read a lot … even if I sampled no scrumptious salads, I obviously survived weeks 33 and 46. That sounds like a couple blessings to me.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

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Count your blessings — January 7, 2017

Count your blessings

Around this time each year, my Facebook friends share posts about money challenges. Although the details of individual money challenges vary, the gist is similar. You challenge yourself to save money all year so that by the time the ball drops, you’ll be rolling in cash.

A couple years ago, I decided to participate in the 52-week money challenge, which meant I would save one dollar the first week of the year, two dollars the second week, three dollars the third week, etc. According to a chart I found on the Internets, the money challenge would help me put back a whopping $1,378 throughout the year.

Yeah, I felt really good about stepping up to the challenge. That is, I did until I asked myself, “Self, how are you going to get your hands on fifty-two bucks in cash during week 52?”

I couldn’t argue with myself. Indeed, I wasn’t even sure I could come up with twenty bucks in cash. (Or 19, or 18, or 17…) So, I concluded that the money challenge wasn’t for me, and last year I ignored the oodles of money-challenge posts that popped up in my newsfeed.

I’ve been doing the same this year, which is how I almost missed a post about a blessings jar. But the picture of a Mason jar filled with colorful slips of paper caught my eye, so I stopped scrolling long enough to read the post. I learned that the objective is to write down something good that happens to you each week and to place the blessing in a jar. At the end of the year or the beginning of next year or whenever you want, you can empty the jar and read about the “amazing” year you had.

This is a splendid idea. Of course, I think already categorizing the coming year as “amazing” might fall under the category of counting unhatched chickens. And my positive feelings about a blessings jar do not negate my belief that it’s okay to complain. Well, as long as you don’t complain so much that you get on your own nerves or annoy folks so much that they avoid you. As with everything, complaining should be done in moderation.

Anyway, unlike that pesky money challenge, I think I can complete a blessings jar. My jar, however, probably won’t be as colorful as the one that caught my eye. Instead of writing my blessings on a vividly-hued notepad, I’ll jot them on scraps of discarded paper and on the backs of receipts and envelopes.

Recycling paper. There’s my week-one blessing.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.