Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Counting Blessings

I’ve been thinking so much about Thanksgiving and how different this year has been and will be.  My husband and I will be alone, but together, for the first time since we’ve been together, in over 40 years.  I shared last week a blog called, ThanksGrieving, which basically says, it’s all about our focus.  And we need to focus on what we have.  Appreciate what we have and who we have in our lives right now. 

Still chewing on that thought and two blogs that I wrote some time ago, came to mind.  One, The Perspective of Gratitude and the other, Number 759, 760, 761… and Counting, which tells us to count our blessings.  Feeling led to sort of combine the two if I could. 

Right now, especially now, Thanksgiving, even “ThanksGrieving”, if you find yourself grieving the loss of anything this year, but all of it, our mindset is a matter of perspective.  If we take inventory of what we have, we will have a written record of what we have.  God said that is one way of counting our blessings.  Acknowledging what we have gives witness to it.  And although we may not realize it, we are making a mental note of our provision.  Namely, how God has provided for us.

Whereas, if we take note of what we don’t have, it will clearly cause us to overlook the things we do have.  Our focus has to be shifted.  Especially now.  Especially today,  In this season.

The Scripture says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Counting our blessing, focusing on what we have, is giving thanks for everything we have. And that is what God wants us to do. That is the will of God concerning you. Concerning your life. Be thankful for what you have. And most importantly be thankful for what God has done for you.

As we begin to count our blessings, it will lift us up.   When you are discouraged and thinking all is lost, count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.  It may be a song, but it is a song based on Truth.  This makes you take a moment in the midst of your storms of life and realize what God has done, in spite of them.  You are still blessed.  You still have reason to be thankful.

Counting, and numbering  all the things that God has done will show you that things may not be as bad as they seem.  And I am reminded of the Scripture in Lamentations, chapter 3, “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." The words cause you to meditate on the goodness and the faithfulness of God… what He has done for you. This can carry us over.

When we stop to take a moment and breathe and remember that God is yet good, and He is faithful it gives us hope. When we do that, when we remember what He has done for us in the past, we are acknowledging how He has blessed us, we are counting our blessings and it is when we grab hold of what He has done for us in the past, that we are compelled to go on.

Focusing on what we have, gives us hope. 

So count your blessings.   Acknowledge what you have.  When you begin to get down, count your blessings. When you get discouraged, count your blessings. When you get in the complaining mode and don’t feel as though anybody appreciates you or what you do, count your blessings. When your body aches, count your blessings. When it’s raining, count your blessings.   You’ll be filled with hope and realize just how much you really have.

Be blessed and stay thankful and keep counting.

Evelyn Fannell

Copyright ©2020 EvelynFannell


Friday, November 20, 2020


Thanksgiving is upon us… just one week away and most of the country has gone back to lockdown.  Quarantined.  Eight months into the year and COVID-19 still has us out of whack, alone and separated from one another.

This time of the year is already usually hard for so many.  Especially those who are grieving the lost of a loved one, in particular, the anniversary of  a death that happened during this season.  For myself (and my husband) this would be the first year, the first time ever, in the 40 plus years we’ve been together, that we will be spending Thanksgiving alone.

For us, like others I’m sure, this will be a major adjustment, not being able to at the very least spend time with our daughters and our grandson.  And most of all, missing Joseph, yet another holiday, yet another year.  I suppose we should be somewhat used to being alone, after all we’ve been on lockdown for months.  He kept his office closed and I was already home.  So we’ve been here alone together already.  But this time, THIS holiday season, is like no other.

For others, those who’ve lost children,  those who lost loved ones to COVID or anything else, those who are generally alone, and even those who have been struggling to make ends meet, this Thanksgiving certainly presents a whole new and different challenge on so many levels that I could not even and don’t even know where to start to address.  I don’t claim to know everything or even want to know everything.  But I do know that this is an extremely complicated time and season we are in.  Trying to find words to satisfy or comfort someone, even myself is a struggle.

But if I could offer one piece of advice for anyone who might be grieving loss this year, of any kind, financial, job, personal, death, or even activity, I would say as God has been telling me, “Focus on what you have.”

I know this might be hard, for some.  As it was for me.  For a moment.  But as I begin to dwell on those things that I do not have, that I won’t have, that I could have, God simply spoke and said, “But what about the things you have.  Focus on those.”

It might not be much.  You may not be able to visit with people in your life or change  your surroundings, but you can focus on the things that you do have.  The things that you can do.  The people you still have.  Even if it’s only you, I suspect that if you know God, you have at least three more. 

Focus on what you have.  Celebrate and appreciate and give thanks for what you have in your life.  For whom you have in your life. 

When we take the time to appreciate what we have, what we don’t have becomes less important.  It doesn’t mean that a loved one is less important or that their life did not matter, I would never say that.  My Joseph mattered.  All your loved ones matter.  But if we focus on our losses, we will miss the blessing in what we have.  What we have right now. 

When we focus on things we don’t have or don’t like or whatever lack we may be missing… we can cause ourselves to lose hope.  We can become depressed and lonely and sad and dejected and so much more.  But if we focus on what we do have, we’ll see the hope.  We’ll see the promise.  We’ll see the tomorrow.  We’ll see that this too shall pass.

So while I do not have my girls and my grandson, and extended family physically here with me; while I don’t have my Joseph… we will yet have each other.  I’m thankful that we have phones, we can communicate, we can see one another.  We can eat together if we want to.  No, I cannot do that with Joseph, but I can remember him and continue to honor him, by living and appreciating others who are still here.

And right now, in this season, that is reason enough to be thankful.  In spite of my grief.

Once I start there, I can think of plenty of other reasons as well.  I have my life. I have my strength.  I have the ability to move, to speak, to hear.  I have a roof over my head.  I have my health.  I still have my mom.  I have people who love me.  I have my husband.  So we’ll be alone, but at least we’ll be TOGETHER.

In the midst of my grief, in the midst of grieving, for whatever reason it may be, I can and you can get through this season, although it may be difficult, if we focus on what we have.

Focus on what you have.  You will find that you will also have HOPE for tomorrow.

Because God is real, I am thankful, even in the shadow of my grief.

Evelyn Fannell


Copyright ©2020 EvelynFannell