Blessed beyond measure

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Every nook and cranny overflowed with things. A lifetime of memories filled our somewhat cramped new home. Although our new place should have been totally large enough for two people, it was stuffed with stuff. Two garage sales later, the house is now decidedly less likely to explode, spewing our marvelous things around the neighborhood.

Funny, but after each sale if you asked me what I missed having around, I could barely remember the treasured items that were carted off by the throng of bargain hunters. This morning after watching one of the early morning shows that never fails to jump start my day on the good foot, I contemplate the absolute wealth of our country compared to other areas of the world. Realizing anew how self centered I can be at times while many people around me need not only material things but also compassion and kindness.

How fortunate we are to live in America where we have clean running water, access to health care, freedom to worship as we please or not to worship at all for that matter. Downsizing, although it has been difficult at times, is helping me to realize how truly blessed I am, how truly blessed we all are.

Heading off to the garden center in the early morning before the heat completely changes my mind is on my agenda for today. I’ve moved plants all around my outdoor area seeking out the perfect combination of shade and sun, and now I’m ready to tackle the front flowerbed.

Mike and I shoveled and leveled the area yesterday using the excess soil to fill up stump holes in the yard. What looked like a small project quickly turned into a larger one as we noticed other outdoor chores that needed attention. The shutters got a fresh coat of paint, and Mike chopped up an old stump that was in our way when we mowed the lawn. Although this wasn’t the most exciting part of the process, today is going to be such fun!

As I envision the cascade of color soon to adorn the painstakingly prepared bed my heart dances within my chest.  Simple things delight and cheer me. The mournful sound of a distant train that really got on my nerves the first couple of weeks rumbles through my consciousness, causing me to smile.

Lord, I ask you to prepare my heart today. Fill me with gratitude for all you have done for me. Make me a person who treasures people and relationships much more than things. Give me a healthy balance of thinking of others and taking care of myself. Fill my heart and mind with your peaceful, kind and beautiful thoughts as I consciously reject negativity. Help me to remember the wonderful gifts you have given and unselfishly give to others today.

“Give to others, and you will receive. You will be given much. It will be poured into your hands — more than you can hold. You will be given so much that it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.” Luke 6:38 (ERV)

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at