Counting blessings each day can increase your joy, appreciation for life

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Counting blessings each day can increase your joy, appreciation for life

Can you believe the first week of 2024 is almost over? It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming the arrival of 2023! As this leap year begins, I’m reminded of an old nursery rhyme:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting February alone,
And that has twenty-eight days clear,
And twenty-nine in each leap year.

We all can remember that verse — in some variation or another — from our childhood days. Today, I’d like to look at it from a different point of view.

Take a look at that calendar on your wall or on your phone. Each little box on the calendar has a number on it, and each number signifies the start of a new day. Every morning, we wake up and wonder what the day will have in store for us. Will it be good? Will it be bad? Or will it be an exceptional day?

At the end of the year, when we look back over the past 365 days (well, this year it will be 366 days), what stands out about our daily lives? Was it a good year? A bad year? Were we blessed?

Here’s a little trick I’ve learned. At the end of each day, I write a little note on a piece of paper and date it; then I put that note in a jar. The notes aren’t long. I just jot down something about my day — maybe an event or conversation that stands out and made the day better (or worse), or a note about enjoying my favorite treat, or seeing an old friend.

At the end of each month, I put a lid on that jar and place it on a shelf. At the end of the year (usually on New Year’s Eve), I open each jar, one by one, and read the notes from each day.

I’ve had several friends tell me they took this idea and modified it a bit: Instead of putting notes in jars, they simply jot their thoughts in a daily planner and then review each month.

If you try this, you might be surprised at how many good — or really great — days you have during the year, compared to the bad or so-so days. Those exceptional days remind us of the special blessings God has given us.

Each month, week and day brings us something new.

January will have some cold, crisp days, when many of us seek warmth. Have you ever felt the warmth of God’s love for you? Well, his love is there for you every day. All you need to do is think of a way to react to it. He gives you warm food to eat. Thank him for it. He gives you a warm building to be in. Thank him for it. He gives drivers a warm truck to be in. Thank him for it. Even that hot cup of coffee that warms you is a blessing of love given you by God. Thank God daily for all the warm blessings that you receive.

February is another month of cold days, and it’s also time to appreciate those we love. How about finding a way to mark each day with a memory of where you are and where you are heading? March is very unpredictable, and weatherwise, you’ll probably see some good days, some bad days and some just plain ugly days. When you review your daily notes at the end of the year, March could be the most interesting month to look back on!

In April, the weather starts to warm up, so your notes might reflect a more tranquil time. Next, May has everything we look forward to in warmer weather, as summer is soon approaching. June marks the halfway point of the year. June’s balmy days are a warm-up for the hotter summertime. In July, we celebrate with fireworks on the Fourth of July and have picnics with family and friends.

August has many interesting days — our children look forward to the start of a new school year, and we look forward to the cooler days of autumn. In October, we definitely notice the change of seasons, with the bright array of fall colors and the smell of spices in the air.

November is the time to start reflecting on family gatherings and Thanksgiving — and we all start to get in the swing of Christmas. Then comes December, with the holiday hustle and bustle of Christmas and other special days — and just like that, we’re bidding farewell to another year.

I believe you’ll see that every month, every day holds something worth remembering.

Happy New Year to all! Best of the roads, and all gears forward in Jesus.

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