Count blessings, not sheep


Thanksgiving is a time for thanks — thanks for the blessings we have received and are hopefully grateful for. It’s my belief genuine thanks includes many daily occurrences often taken for granted and these things are honored when they occur with positive thoughts and a warm heart. Oftentimes, we take so many blessings for granted.

An act of kindness, my favorite food, a soft pillow under my tired head, peace of mind, the fresh smell after the rain, an unexpected phone call or text from a loved one, finding forgotten money in the pocket of last season’s clothing, receiving good advice at just the right time, or the smell of brewing coffee. These are just a few examples of the blessings I’m talking about. Can you name more?

We have come to expect the sun to rise each morning, therefore, we tend to take it for granted today; just as we do a beautiful sunset. I say I’m not a winter person, yet I need to remember it’s a blessing to see the snowflakes fall.

Unconditional love is difficult to obtain. We need to appreciate those who give it, and we need to tell them. A card, letter or phone call needs to be acknowledged, not forgotten; and lets’ be thankful for the opportunity to help someone in need.

Good health is definitely something everyone does not possess. Even though I sometimes feel the effects of my aging body, I am still basically in good health. Those who have lost theirs would most likely be grateful for that experience once again.

I notoriously have an endless to-do list. I need to be thankful for what I’ve accomplished and not complain about the time involved to do so. Each of us has been given a purpose in life; we need to realize that purpose and be thankful we have it.

Having a place to call home is truly a blessing and my home is my safe haven. Regardless what cruelty, pain or harshness life may bring, once I shut my front door I’m safe.

Our communities have people on the payroll to keep us safe and answer the call in need. We need to be thankful they are there. Imagine for a moment what it would be like if they weren’t.

Whenever a gentleman holds a door for me, I say thank you. I’ve also heard thank when I hold the door for a gentleman. Receiving a genuine compliment always feels good. Appreciate the fact someone took the time to give it.

Prayer and the freedom to do so is absolutely a blessing worth acknowledging; as is the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions and the freedom to choose them each day.

I believe the challenges I’ve experienced are to help me learn and grow. I need to remember the lessons learned from them instead of complaining. When we can be grateful for where we are and what we have, it has a profound impact on our lives.

Our library is filled with good books. Appreciate the opportunity to get lost in them.

These are just a few of the simple, everyday blessings which come to mind.

Making a difference in someone else’s life each day is a great way to celebrate the gift of life, and it need not be extravagant, expensive or elaborate.

The gift of joy is a beautiful experience. If you’ve ever had a day without joy, remember how you felt that day, and imagine feeling that way each day. To know joy, and to have it is a blessing.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Learning to be truly grateful for what we have can be a life-changing experience.

Happiness is a gift when we realize it can be ours each day. No one can steal it, as only we have the power to give it away. Regardless what happens in life, we have the choice to be happy. Even though we may never understand why some things in life happen, there is always a bigger picture. It’s a blessing to understand happiness is a state of being. Knowing happiness comes from within our hearts and spirit is also a blessing.

Doctors tell us we need seven to nine hours of rest each night to regenerate ourselves mentally and physically. Sometimes we try skimming by on five or six hours, and even find ourselves awake at 3 a.m. trying to figure out why. Getting enough rest can make a huge difference each day in our attitude, performance and sheer pleasure of being alive.

“If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.” Sound familiar? Irving Berlin wrote these lyrics for the 1954 movie, White Christmas. Perhaps he was a bit ahead of his time as recent studies show practicing gratitude can have a positive effect on sleep by reminding us to remember how blessed we are instead of fretting about our worries, most of which, are short-term.

“Gratitude is something that leads to much more sustainable forms of happiness, because it’s not based in that immediate gratification; it’s a frame of mind.” — Emma Seppälä, author and happiness researcher at Stanford and Yale Universities.


Gloria Wall contributes her column to the Journal Review. She can be reached by email at


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