Meanne M. Mijares
“Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.”
September 1st was the day I turned fifty. That’s right. 5-0. It was indeed, a joyous celebration, I must say. When I woke up on that Sunday morning, I smiled and thanked God for the 50 years of my life He had blessed me with. I pray that He sees me through the next 50 years! I always love counting my blessings. It’s a full time job, I tell you. But I’m so glad to do it because I already have struck gold!
To celebrate and honor the 50 years of my life, these 50 Day Challenges have inspired me to write down 50 things I am thankful for.
My hope is to challenge you, dear FilCatholic readers, to look for the blessings in your very own life.
I know life can be really hard: there are so many challenges we face in this broken world. But, I would challenge you, even among the financial woes, the illness, the loss, the pain, and the struggles of life, to see the blessings that have been given upon us by God.
Counting our blessings changes our stance on life!
I challenge you to write a list of your own 50 blessings. In the meantime, here are mine:
1. Life – the very fact that I woke up today and to celebrate my birthday is a blessing.
2. Faith – I tremble to think of where and who I would be without my faith in Jesus Christ.
3. Family – My eyes fill with tears when I think of the family God has blessed me with. They support us wherever we need to go in life.
4. My Church Community – there is something deep and beautiful about worshipping, serving, and praying with fellow believers.
5. Friends – My friends are some of the most kind, loving, generous, and faithful people I know. You know who you are guys! Friends encouraged us and kept us grounded.
6. Food – While attempting to keep us full of good food has its challenges, we are abundantly blessed to not know hunger. It makes me really happy especially when we find a great new food spot. My family loves eating out and it adds to more good times and happy memories.
7. Water – clean, abundant, hot, cold water
8. Forgiveness – Oh, how great is the forgiveness of our heavenly Father! And of others.
9. Grace, Not Perfection – It is all about grace. We do not really deserve it most of the time, though but it always abounds.
10. Hope – Christ in me, “the hope of glory” ~Colossians 1:27 Remember there’s always hope even in the darkest and critical times.
11. My Home – Home is where I spend my days with my family and dogs, where I learn what it is to care for my family, and where I feel at peace.
12. God’s Gifts – God has gifted each of us with talents so that we may minister to others for our growth, their benefit, and His glory.
13. Love – “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” ~1 Corinthians 13:13 (NJKV) Love of God and neighbor should always be in our hearts, at the very core of our existence.
14. Trials – This is probably something not often found on a gratitude list, but I believe that God uses trials to grow us, and for that I am thankful. (James 1:2-3) Heartbreak, bullying and depression made me stronger and tough but I know how to empathize with others as I lend an ear to them and a shoulder to cry on.
15. Prayer – That the God of the universe only desires continual communion with us amazes me.
16. God’s Word – Much like my faith, I would be lost without the word of God. It truly is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
17. Laughter – I love hearing people laugh, especially my family and my friends. It truly lifts up my mood. Except when they mock other people, of course.
18. Joy – Not just happiness as a result of circumstances, but experiencing the true joy of the Lord.
19. Freedom – to worship, to serve through my writing, events planning and motivational speaking and most importantly, freedom in Christ
20. Pets – Like furry family members, our beloved dogs often bring us great companionship. Their cuddles and licks are so priceless!
21. The Beauty of Creation: fresh air, fall leaves, starry skies, ocean waves. God’s creation is as endless as it is majestic and beautiful.
22. Knowledge & Wisdom– I am so thankful for the things I have learned in this life.
23. Electricity & Internet – both only need be out for a few hours to realize how much we rely on them
24. Modern Conveniences and Technology – As much as I love the simple life, I am thankful for the appliances and gadgets that make my life easier.
25. Giving & Receiving– both are blessings in immeasurable ways
26. Health & Modern Medicine – I know there is much to be desired in this area, but I am thankful nonetheless.
27. Wild Flowers – they are simply beautiful, especially when carried into the house by a loved one or friend
28. Our garden-I feel so refreshed and relaxed as I go to our garden to unwind and smell the fresh air. I also love looking at our greens and colorful flowers most especially our gumamela and birds of paradise.
29. My Local Library – movies, books, music, magazines to learn and to escape. Netflix and KBO too!!!!
30. Dirty Dishes – though I tire of washing them, they are a reminder that I am blessed to have them, a kitchen, hot water, food, and a family to dirty them, hahaha!
31. Walks with Nature-I can’t help but marvel at God’s beautiful creations and it enables me to reflect, pray and helps me reach out to people at the same time. It is so humbling.
32. A good night’s sleep-Don’t we all need this after a long busy day?! It’s a great way to recharge.
33. E-books-most especially the novels by Chinese American author Lisa See, Nicholas Sparks, Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng, and Kevin Kwan I can read without carrying loads of them when I travel.
34. My Mentors. Whether it’s about events planning or writing or more so learning to live a more Christ centered and purpose-driven life, I’ve always had various people who were pouring into my life, and I’m grateful to God for them.
35. Flexible Schedule-I can work double or triple in a week then take the next week off.
36. Notebooks and pads-when my laptop and smart phone isn’t turned on yet, I would love scribbling down my thoughts and feelings down. When I read the papers, I make sure I have them with me. And when I have thought of a great idea, I make sure I write it down immediately so it would be more convenient to get back to it once I make already make use of it.
37. A long, warm bath-It takes out all the stress from work and other outside sources. Feeling refreshed after is precious!
38. Warm milk-It helps me sleep peacefully and feeling nourished the next day.
39. Beauty stuff- My facial scrub and lotions that exfoliates, cleanses and detoxifies. But the best beauty secret for me is a good heart and helpful hands.
40. Flip flops (and other comfortable shoes) where my feet feel so light and free!
41. My perfumes and colognes-They give me that extra lift to feel good and confident. But the best perfume for me is a warm and happy smile that uplifts people who may be going through tough times.
42. Random Acts of Kindness-Practicing it every day can really go a long, long, long way.
43. Change. We can always grow and change. We don’t have to stay where we’re at.
44. Savings. It allows us to follow our dreams and take many more risks
45. Being debt free. It allows us to live more freely and give generously.
46. Manicures and Pedicures. It is so relaxing and a good way to squeeze in girl time.
47. Honest conversations. How truly refreshing it is to just let your guard down and talk.
48. Local Adventures (out of town trips). Learning that there is always something to discover no matter where you are. They say, “It’s more fun in the Philippines!”
49. Lists. Making them and checking things off lists are my favorite.
50. You. Thank you, FilCatholic readers for taking the time to read the words that God has placed upon my heart.
It is very easy to take many wonderful things in our lives for granted. If we can only learn to look at life a little differently, I believe it is possible to find an abundance of things to be thankful for.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of Your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High ~Psalm 9:1-2 (ESV)
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing us abundantly above and beyond all that we can imagine. Please help us to change our eyes that we might see the many gifts that surround us. In Your precious name we pray. Amen.