Count Your Blessings – Cedar Sanderson

Count Your Blessings – Cedar Sanderson

Count your blessings, name them one by one. I was reminded of this hymn earlier, by listening to my husband encourage a friend. It does seem that an awful lot of us have had very rough personal lives this year. And I’m not even going to get into the whole brouhaha of the professional mess many of us waded into, heart and soul. But something we seem to forget is that it’s important to stop, take a deep breath, and count our blessings.

It’s easy to dwell on the stresses that are at the forefront of our mind, sometimes it’s harder to stop and think of what good has happened. It may be that you need somebody outside of yourself to give you that pep talk. After all isn’t this what friends are for? We can reach out and make a difference even when, well, sometimes a friend encouraging another doesn’t sound encouraging from the outside looking in. Listening to two guys exchange insults might not immediately seem calming or soothing but they know what they mean.

It’s important for us to remember the good things. If we lose them in concentrating on the stupidity that surrounds us constantly, we can run the risk of losing all hope. Without hope what is worth living for? It’s being set adrift, left floundering, without an anchor in a stormy world. I found myself thinking about this, I’m in the middle of seeking A college degree, changing careers, and generally turning my world and life upside down. If I didn’t have hope, there is no way I could continue and succeed at what I’m to attempting to do. We all have goals, even if the goal is just to keep living until the year 2016 sees its first dawn. And then just to keep on keepin on.

There’s a reason that the entrance to hell is said to be signed “abandon all hope ye who enter here”. Without hope, we are lost. Feeling hopeless is all too familiar to me, and something that I am very glad to no longer deal with on a daily basis. As long as you’re alive and more or less healthy, then there is a future, all hope is not lost. Sometimes I think we put too much weight on all of the political things, the huge struggles above and beyond a daily life, the collapse of all of Western civilization. It’s more than one person can deal with at any given time, but the little irritant on a daily basis, the hard day at work, the broken car, the burns hot water heater, the sick friend, I could go on and on and on. These are the true backbreakers, the little things that mount up until finally, there is one last straw on the camel.

Fortunately there are ways to lift the little things, and keep the load from ever reaching that critical mass. So much we can do ourselves, we can take the time to take a long walk, create art, sing a song, hold a newborn baby and delight in the smell in the softness and love all wrapped into one tiny bundle that looks at you with bright blue eyes. Other times we can’t do it ourselves, and we need to have others who give us some support until we get through the quicksand our life has become. And we know that in return we will help them when the morass is too deep for them to manage on their own. Life is not all bogs and swamps, there are days of golden light and crisp wine scented air in the autumn, days of brilliant sunshine and the waves lapping at the beach.

One thing we have to learn to never do, is to dwell constantly in bitterness. The only thing worse than that, is to become an inveterate offense seeker looking for the least little excuse to take offense and to lift one’s nose into the air, and pointer finger proclaiming the wrongness of that little thing. Taking joy cannot share space with taking offense. And for me, having a sense of humor is far more important than having a sense of self righteousness. Take some time today to think about what is joyful in your life, what blessings have fallen upon you, and then take some time to talk with a friend and compare joyful remembrances. You never know who is in need of a little hope, a little comfort, and a dollop of joy to season their day into something palatable.

106 responses to “Count Your Blessings – Cedar Sanderson

  1. Kevin Williamson had an article this weekend called “Take a Bow, Species.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/426029/economics-wealth-global-liberal-democracy-free-markets

    I don’t quite agree with everything he wrote, but it was a nice bit of good news. A well-timed reminder that, even as everything seems to be going wrong, the human race is growing wealthier and healthier. As a species, we’re still more than capable of kicking butt and taking names.

    • I’m sorry, but anyone who can say with a straight face, as he does, that there is no inflation is either Leftist ignorant or Leftist dishonest or both.

      We’ve had entire threads here in the last year about how much more expensive food has gotten.

      • The reason that food and fuel are left out of the core CPI is because those two areas have large price swings that are independent of the value of the dollar. For example, right now the price of eggs and chicken is going up because of a massive bought of bird flu in commercial poultry facilities. This of course puts upward pressure on the prices of substitutes for chicken like pork, beef, and soybeans.

        The economic situation is profoundly weird. I suspect it’s because of decades of metrics-based political manipulation of the economy, which has sequentially made the metrics less useful. It’s as if we kept widening the black mark on our ruler to make a close measurement fit the requirement, and now half our ruler says 1 inch.

        • The metrics are not to be trusted any more with the obvious fudging of the data by the current administration to make things look better that they really are.

          • The current admin is just worse than previous, not totally unique. They may, however, have broken the usefulness of the metrics as approximations.

            Time to seek other proxies for estimates of economic situation – maybe from private businesses (if you can find one that’s pure business, doesn’t make money from/make itself subject to pressure from govt, it might stay fairly honest), maybe using some completely different numbers (e.g. is gallons of fuel sold for long-distance trucks a proxy for level of interstate commerce? is it available? … etc.)

            • A few years back I had a part time job at a convenience store. The people paying in all coin were generally either little kids getting a bit of candy with whatever they had, or old men (who had scrounged the couch, etc.) desperate for a cigarette and willing to get the cheapest thing.

              This has since changed, as I know as I am still on very good terms with some of me then co-workers. Now, many people are paying in all coin (and not from a surge in dollar coin popularity!), sometimes for more than minimal items. They have clearly raided the change jar. This is no formal economic indicator, but I cannot see it indicating much good.

  2. “But you and all the kind of Christ
    Are ignorant and brave,
    And you have wars you hardly win
    And souls you hardly save.

    “I tell you naught for your comfort,
    Yea, naught for your desire,
    Save that the sky grows darker yet
    And the sea rises higher.

    “Night shall be thrice night over you,
    And heaven an iron cope.
    Do you have joy without a cause,
    Yea, faith without a hope?”

    G.K. Chesterton

    I may not know what I’m doing; I can only trust that God does.

    • Thanks for the link to the whole thing. This section sounds so much like ‘you stupid fools who have no hope and are doomed’ to me. It rings heavy parallels with Lot’s wife telling him to curse God and die, yet every time you post it, you seem to be trying to imply the opposite meaning so… now there will be context! Thank you. 🙂

      • It’s a vision of the Virgin Mary appearing to Alfred and telling him to go fight the Danes. Alfred asks for a sign that he will win. She says — that above.

        Go fight. Even if you lose, it’s your duty.

      • “Come not to me, King Alfred,
        Save always for the ale:
        Why should my harmless hinds be slain
        Because the chiefs cry once again,
        As in all fights, that we shall gain,
        And in all fights we fail?

        “Your scalds still thunder and prophesy
        That crown that never comes;
        Friend, I will watch the certain things,
        Swine, and slow moons like silver rings,
        And the ripening of the plums.”

        And Alfred answered, drinking,
        And gravely, without blame,
        “Nor bear I boast of scald or king,
        The thing I bear is a lesser thing,
        But comes in a better name.

        “Out of the mouth of the Mother of God,
        More than the doors of doom,
        I call the muster of Wessex men
        From grassy hamlet or ditch or den,
        To break and be broken, God knows when,
        But I have seen for whom.

        Out of the mouth of the Mother of God
        Like a little word come I;
        For I go gathering Christian men
        From sunken paving and ford and fen,
        To die in a battle, God knows when,
        By God, but I know why.

        “And this is the word of Mary,
        The word of the world’s desire
        `No more of comfort shall ye get,
        Save that the sky grows darker yet
        And the sea rises higher.’ ”

        Then silence sank. And slowly
        Arose the sea-land lord,
        Like some vast beast for mystery,
        He filled the room and porch and sky,
        And from a cobwebbed nail on high
        Unhooked his heavy sword.

        As long as the sky grows darker, as long as the sea rises, the battle isn’t done.

      • Job’s wife, not Lot’s wife. The latter became a rather salty wench in her later years, or so I’ve heard.

  3. Nothing annoys a SJW more than pointing out that you can’t run a homeless shelter without amenities (deemed necessary to make it fit for human habitation) that would make kings and queens and emperors of a few centuries gape with amazement at the notion that such things are possible.

    • The Other Sean

      I think I’ve found something that annoys them more. That is when they run afoul of all the regulations and requirements they put into place. Perfect example: the tiny house movement and off-the-grid movements. Though neither movement is by any means an exclusively SJW movement, both frequently encountered problems complying with a wide variety of laws, ordinances, regulations, etc., some dating back to the late 19th century, some more modern, regarding minimum square footage, minimum size, electrical and plumbing connections, etc.

      Some laws were passed to prevent slums, part of the turn-of-the-century effort to improve the situation in the overcrowded tenements. Requirements for sewer connections were typically passed to prevent water contamination. Requirements from water and electrical were often passed by well-meaning people who wanted all new homes to be “modern”. More modern minimum square footage requirements have been passed in an effort to keep some communities upscale and retain property values.

      If you have one of this chic new tiny houses you might run afoul of the minimum square footage laws/regulations, either overall or for specific rooms. If you want a composting toilet and gray water recycling, you might be violating sewer connection requirements. If you only have alternative energy sources, you might be violating electrical connection regulations.

      The libertarians and conservatives (and even some of the liberals) in these movements will grouse about government interference. The SJW’s will go off about corporate oppression, and how all these laws were instigated by the public service corporations to buy their services, or by developers to force construction/sale of only profitable big homes. Many will persist in this “blame the evil corporations” approach even when you point out that the municipality passing the ordinances provides the services in question, or that the local residents were behind the “keep property values up” minimum square footage requirements. Its always the fault of the evil corporations in their minds; government is blameless except insofar as it is doing the bidding of evil corporations.

      This is wider in scope. SJW’s take this approach whenever legislation or regulation has greater negative impact on consumers than companies. When a regulation that results in a company raising the price on its products, the SJW’s blame the “evil corporation” not the government. Admittedly, sometimes companies do take advantage of new regulations to jack the price of something up beyond enough to retain the same ROI on selling a product. But even when they don’t, SJW’s always blame the companies, not the government. It is as if they think prices to consumers should remain the same even as the cost of regulatory compliance rises – which makes me wonder if they simply want to punish companies for being profitable, or drive them out of business altogether.

      Sorry for the long tangential political rant off of a post with a “count your blessings” topic.

      There’s a couple blessings right there:
      1. This great blog exists.
      2. SJW’s don’t currently have the power to keep us from talking.
      3. Y’all are wonderful.

      • In short, as I’ve been observing for awhile: we’ve eliminated the really low-cost housing, so now the really poor people are homeless instead of poorly housed. Unexpectedly!
        (Really? Are we as a society really so poor at extrapolating the likely results of what we do? Or just too lazy to do so in the face of “progress” that feels so right to so many?)

  4. Blessings:
    1) My electronics stuff – I’m still learning how to do things, and I have no end of interesting things to play with, even within the confines of my small apartment.
    2) The health of my family: Everyone is still hanging in there, even after a nasty scare a few years ago.
    3) Triptans – Instead of spending a day unable to think or work because of migraines and intense pain, I can kill them in about half an hour. No side effects, no problems. Bonus: They’ve gone generic.
    4) The skills I’ve amassed so far *should* enable me to support myself whenever I escape academia, whether I do it with a degree or not.

  5. I’m happy to wake up every day. To me that is a blessing for the day, and I’ll take it!

  6. One thing we have to learn to never do, is to dwell constantly in bitterness.

    No, the bitterness should dwell within you. That is the nature of the coffee.

    As an accountant I offer this free bit of professional advice: Don’t hate yourself. It is easier to outsource that task to subcontractors who will do it cheaper and with less damage.

    • Hm, yes. I suppose bathing in coffee is theoretically possible, but it seems likely to be both expensive and unsatisfactory.

      • I have a friend who makes coffee soap (and lip balm) so yes, you can in a manner of speaking 🙂 and the cookie recipes I posted this weekend contain enough espresso powder to qualify as eating coffee. You can have your bitter and enjoy it, too, in this form!

        • I have long enjoyed drinking Caffè mocha, thus enjoying the bitter with the sweet.

          OTOH, I despise and deplore all flavoured creamers; if the Lord had wanted our coffee to taste of vanilla or hazel-nut it would have said so in the Talmud.

          • I do have a caramel flavored creamer I like, but I don’t add that and sugar – too sweet. I’m with you on the vanilla and hazelnut, though.

          • I used to use the cinnamon-spiked creamer when I was on the broke-student-oatmeal-diet. It was cheaper than brown sugar and added a lot more flavor. Cheap generic cinnamon was/is . . . reddish-brown and looks like cinnamon. Cinnamon creamer tasted like cinnamon.

        • Ha! 😀 Now that you mention it, I think I have heard of coffee soap before, which has to be more practical than soaking in a tub full of actual black coffee.

        • I’ve found Robert’s xmas gift!

        • Reality Observer

          That reminds me, I need to go clip the “rest of the story.”

  7. Cedar,

    Thanks for that. It sparked an idea in my head. Everyone has seen those “Keep Calm” T-shirts by now – with a variety of messages. My wife was bugging me about getting a shirt at ComicCOn and I told her if she found one that said “Keep Calm and Reload” or “Keep Calm and Return Fire” that she could get it for me (she didn’t find one). But it got me to thinking.

    Maybe “Keep Calm and Have Hope” would be the ultimate subversive – or superversive – message? At least in the way that we mean it. What do the Huns and Hoydens (sp?) think?

    -John

    • Husband gave me one that says “Keep Calm and Carry Guns,” in bright pink naturally. However, I do like your “Keep Calm and Have Hope.” Or maybe “Keep Calm and Be Not Afraid,” in homage to the closing benediction of the Evil Space Princess. Either way, I’d buy some long as they come in extra fluffy sized. I’m not a petite dragon.

    • The original version, Keep Calm and Carry On, was intended to be put up in the event of a German invasion of Britain. So the intention was to be a hopeful message: don’t panic, keep doing your job, and we’ll push those Jerries back into the sea.

      • The Other Sean

        It didn’t work. The Anglo-Saxons succeeded in their invasion of Britain. Of course, they only had a few centuries to enjoy it until the Norse came. 🙂

        • In that case the posters would have read something like “Peidiwch â chynhyrfu ac yn parhau.”

        • And the Romans, and the French, and the Danes…

          Start looking back, and “these virgin isles” start looking pretty round-heeled.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            For that matter, the Celts weren’t native to Britain and very likely didn’t “come in peace”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

    • I like it 🙂 I saw one of my classmates (a pretty young woman) wearing a t-shirt that read Keep Calm and Carry a Gun the other day and complimented her on it.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      I like those two.

  8. richardmcenroe

    Keep Calm and BLOODY HELL always worked for me, but Cedar has a point. I’ve largely stopped reading several blogs because a diet of bitter herbs just ain’t good for the soul.

    • I too have this issue.

    • I have very few blogs where I will read the comment section (this is obviously one of them) because some seem to fester like boils, exploding every now and then with all the pent-up pus that has built up.

      • I just read that last sentence as

        “exploding every now and then with all the pent-up puns that have built up”

        Its a good thing we let our puns our regularly so they don’t build up to overload levels.

  9. There’s a reason that the entrance to hell is said to be signed ‘abandon all hope ye who enter here’.

    One reason is that it is a lie, one intended to keep those consigned to the abyss from accepting the lifeline tossed down for any who would accept it.

    He who rules Below does so only because his “oppressor” is merciful, granting a rebellious subject’s wish in order that he may appreciate its futility.

  10. Wayne Blackburn

    I don’t know if it would count as a blessing, but I guess it would: I got the sweetest coincidental birthday present (as in, it just happened to arrive shortly before my birthday) a couple of days ago. Our pharmacist, who has been out on maternity leave, took the time to hand write a letter to me, telling me that she would not be returning to that store, but was being transferred to another one, and that she wanted me to know that she had appreciated seeing me come in the store (really often – she once offered me a job because I was in there so much), and that my smile had helped brighten up many of her rough days.

  11. Things I’m grateful for:
    my medical quirks are just quirks and not truly serious; this blog and other communities of voracious readers (I will NOT say like-minded individuals, because 1) no two Huns or Hoydens are alike, and 2) if your mind is like mine, you probably need to find a therapist who can help you cure that condition); that I have a job that keeps me on my toes, if only because the classroom shelves are so d&mn high; modern antibiotics; fall.

  12. William R. Scarborough

    I am at the same time filed with gratitude and without faith in anything that cannot be objectively proven (and quite little of the material world – “the innate pervesity of inanimate objects” – and the enormous capacity of living things to deceive, we humans especially, sad to say; what an effort to minimize what Karl Popper said of our inability to write a non-trivial sentence without the chance that someone will misconstrue its meaning and/or intent.)
    In any case, today it is apt to express my gratitude to Cedar for the bounteous enjoyment my godmother and I have experienced from her Pixie Noir series. My thanks to you. This is not to denigrate the similar levels of joy we have drawn from various works of our gracious hostess, nor of many others in our purview, e.g. Dave Freer, Alma Boykin, Jeff Duntemann, our hostess’s husband and her eldest son, and many more.
    I am also grateful for this venue, for from it I receive much-needed encouragement to get through life’s rough spots, for instance the news, day by day. This is through Sarah’s posts, the guest posts, and the general tone of the comments, which seldom fail to leave me smiling by the end. For all this: Thank you each and every one, Thank you!

  13. Once upon a time I had a patient who was a quadriplegic, confined to a power wheelchair and unable to do basic self-care. Like eat. Couldn’t hold a spoon.

    We were sitting in the lobby waiting for his ride. I was there to make sure he didn’t fall out of the chair, and get him into the bus. More minions would get him out at the other end. Probably. He had stories about it.

    There we sat, me pouring a can of coke into him because he couldn’t hold it himself. Out on the sidewalk we saw a woman drive by in a power wheelchair. With a seeing eye dog.

    He looked at me and said,”Every time you think you’re really fucked, you see something like that.”

    I often think of him. It helps me keep perspective when little whinging gnats come around and shriek in their tiny annoying voices.

    • SheSellsSeashells

      I have fond memories of the Most Awesome Paraplegic Ever, back when I lived in South Carolina. He had a powered wheelchair, and a non-seeing eye dog. Who occasionally had to be picked up and ride in Daddy’s lap because he had revamped the damn wheelchair to do 30 mph.

  14. OK.

    Today I count my blessings that I’m stuck in a crappy Chevy Cruze as a rental car, and that seemingly every muscle on my right side occasionally wants to twist up and make me scream in pain.

    My Jetta is in the shop, and after being sandwiched between two cars a few days ago, I’ll be lucky if it’s not totaled.

    And I’m serious. I’m damn happy to be complaining that I may have to hunt down a car to replace the Jetta if it’s totaled, given the alternatives.

    • Go on a rampage against society. Buy a VW Diesel.

    • Ouch 😦 Not happy that you’re hurting, happy to hear you may have to go car shopping. Hope you feel better soon.

    • I’ll preface this by saying that no one ever listens to me about this, despite me having an advanced degree in it, but…

      GET A BIG CAR. Get the biggest, hugest, most enormous behemoth you can park.

      Because it’s not the force of the accident that hurts you. It’s the acceleration. More massive vehicles change speed more slowly. Meaning that if you had been sandwiched in a truck instead of a VW, today you’d be bitching about the cost of autobody repairs and thinking maybe your ribs were a wee bit sore.

      I drive the biggest thing they make these days, a diesel crew cab. Because more mass equals less damage to my tender hide in a crash.

      And remember, the money you saved on gas driving a teensy car will not do you much good when you are in a power wheelchair with your seeing eye dog leading the way.

      Big cars are good, big cars are good, big cars are good!

  15. hunh – did I checkbox that?

  16. I count it as a blessing that I got more than 2 hours of sleep before being called into work on my vacation. I count it as a blessing that I spent the weekend amongst authors and that I DIDN’T babble like an idiot all over Kris Rusch. That’s all I can think of right now because I’m high on adrenaline and only got 3 hours of sleep. Perhaps I can think of more once I’ve gotten some sleep.

  17. Cedar Anderson wrote:
    There’s a reason that the entrance to hell is said to be signed “abandon all hope ye who enter here”.
    Dante was a clever and nasty SOB. If you can imagine your own salvation, you are saved.
    Bastard.

    • The trick is not to enter Hell in the first place. (Unless you are on an official Underworld Journey with a guide, you are in your human body, or you have some other get out of jail free card.)

      Once your body is dead and your soul is in Hell, the usual theology is that your situation is the same as that of the evil angels; you cannot change your mind. You have made all your choices and are now set in your evil or non-good ways.

      But I am saying this because the pre-modern concept of hope does not have much or anything to do with imagination. Their concept of imagination or fancy was the power to mentally create images or other sensory representations. Whether or not you did something optimistic with it was your own business. Hope was a recognition or trust that things could still change for the better and come out all right (if one cooperated with God), but Hell was the one place in the cosmos where this was no longer true.

      • Except as you know there are different views, even Medieval Catholic ones. I based Something Worse Thereafter on one of them.

        • Well, just because Augustine and Aquinas are the majority reports, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any minority votes out there. And there is a lot of room for exceptions and weirdness, even in Aquinas.

  18. i only have one blessing, at least it is the only one I count
    been married to her for 32 years

  19. Doing OK – still need to find out if the car is fixable (yayyy!) or totaled… (boo)

  20. I’m grateful for this collection of sharp-witted and occasionally sharp-elbowed and most excellent folks. (Launches into Baggins speech, thinks better of it.) And for family and faith and the rest of it. Even the puns, may G-d have mercy on my soul. Even the puns.

    It’s WAY too easy to slip into super-depressed “Oh my gosh, it’s all coming down” mode and then chug an entire 2-liter of Mountain Dew because why not. You guys help keep that from happening. Well, from happening more often. (gives raised eyebrow to Diet Coke can sitting on desk.)

  21. Jeff Duntemann

    No, no, you’re doing it wrong: Dump the Diet Coke and get yourself a 2 liter of Diet Mountain Dew. Save that raised eyebrow for the sugar!

    I hope you also read MGC. This, and MGC, may be the best antidepressants out there.

    • Oh sure. This and MGC are regular reads, and two places where the comments are a delight and a joy to read.

      Diet Mountain Dew, however, is an abomination against mankind, and were it not liquid, I would say it should die in a fire. (Doesn’t stop me from occasionally drinking it, though I usually do so with an appropriately disdainful look on my face.) And don’t get me started on all the variants that claim the name of Mt. Dew.

      • “Caffeine-Free Diet Mountain Dew”

        What’s the point?

        • My wife’s grandfather drinks Caffeine-Free Diet Coke and I can not for the life of me understand why.

        • Jeff Duntemann

          Good god, that’s actually a Thing! They don’t sell it in Colorado Springs, which is a big point for Colorado Springs. I suspect they sell it in Phoenix, but I’ll walk quickly down the soda aisle once we get there and keep my gaze forward at all times.

      • $HOUSEMATE followed some Houston paper cartoon way back when where the mayoral (?) character was going to be in an ad for “Diet Mountain Goo” and this lead up went on for a while, until she cancelled. Why? She tried it and, “Diet Mountain Goo would choke a goat.”

        Now, $HOUSEMATE and I will on occasion (need for caffeine, and it’s the least-bad option) drink Diet Mt. Dew. But we do refer to it as “goat choke.”

  22. Life been berry, berry good to me, Howard! I been down in holes in de ground, and always got out.