The Rockwood Files: An ongoing count

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

When I was growing up, our little church congregation sang a handful of favorite hymns over and over again. And the one that replays in my mind most during November is an instruction as much as it is a song — “Count Your Blessings.” The lyrics say this:

Count your blessings. Name them one by one.

Count your blessings. See what God has done.

Last week, that familiar melody was in my head again and, for the first time in a long time, I thought about the words. We all know we’re blessed. We know there are people around the world who can’t even imagine the life we have here. But most of us know it in a vague, general way.

What we don’t know is just how much we have. It’s hard to quantify it. Saying you’re blessed is kind of like saying you’re rich even though you don’t have a clue how much is in your bank account.

But when you stop and actually count up your blessings – naming them “one by one” as the song says – they suddenly become more concrete and real.

I tried the “one by one” exercise today, and here’s the list of blessings I’ve counted so far:

  • A body healthy enough to rush rush rush around during the holidays to get everything done.
  • A life so peaceful that the hustle and bustle of holiday errands and work are the only things I have to whine about.
  • Kids who still want me to stop and play board games with them.
  • A husband who makes me feel loved.
  • Faith that assures me of what’s waiting on the other side.
  • A fat cat so lazy that she makes me seem wildly productive by comparison. (As I type these words, she is sprawled out on my kitchen table and her back leg has stretched out mid-snooze and knocked over the pilgrim salt shaker.)
  • The belly laughter of my children.
  • Photographs that are so good you turn to butter inside every time you see it.
  • The lack of hunger, illness and pain.
  • Old friends.
  • New opportunities.
  • Having the people you love most in the same zip code.
  • An icy cold Dr. Pepper when you really want one.
  • People who “get you.”
  • Music so good it makes the hair on your arms stand up.
  • Art that makes you marvel at the amazing things the human mind can create.
  • Babies – proof positive that the biggest miracles can arrive in small packages.
  • Incredible food, especially at Thanksgiving.
  • Clean sheets.
  • Having enough of what counts most.
  • And, most importantly, not being able to finish your “name them one by one” project because the blessings are just too many to itemize — which just might be the biggest blessing of all.

See what God has done?

I thank you for coming to this blog each week. Receiving comments and e-mails from readers is one of my many blessings for which I am thankful. From my family to yours, I hope you’re having a blessed Thanksgiving weekend.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.