by Mary Segers
Blessings or Stressors? Most Things Can be Both
Here’s an overview of some common ones I want to target:
Blessing #1: Family
I know a common complaint of women is that their husbands leave the socks on the floor but I’m sure there are many widows who would love to have to pick them up. And she may even leave the toothpaste cap off on purpose.
As of this writing (2015) my youngest child, Harm, is 19. She still has me kiss her boo boo’s. It’s nice to still feel needed as a mom. If I’m in bed reading she’ll come in and lay down beside me or use my hip as a pillow. If I’m sitting cross–legged on my bed she’ll come in and lay down on my legs. She’ll walk up to me and lay her head on my shoulder. She’s just very loving.
I think most everyone would agree that . . . for the most part . . . family is a blessing.
Even while all my own children are grown the grandkids come and stay with me very often. They all have breakfast nicknames (from birth). They are in order: Sugar Pops, Corn Pops, Cheerios, Oatmeal, Waffle, Cinnamon Roll, & Lucky Charms.
Last night I met a friend at Starbucks and we sat and drank coffee and talked for 3 hours. That was such a nice end of the day. I have an old friend from high school who calls me to go out to the movies with her. She also does the best perm of anyone I’ve ever met.
Friends are great when you want to do something but not by yourself. They’re also great if you need to bounce ideas off of someone or when you need the truth about something.
Need I say more here? Anyone who has a home is blessed. If you’re in doubt just go ask a homeless person or someone who’s recently lost theirs due to foreclosure or disaster.
If your home isn’t a blessing you need to find out why and fix it.
We often take our health for granted. Or else we make the few molehill problems we have into mountains. Think of someone with cancer or some other terminal condition. It will make you appreciate your own health.
I, personally, have a seizure disorder; grand mals—the big ones. There is no pulling over, having the seizure, and then continuing to drive like I’ve heard some can do. When I have one I’m out for 18 hours, minimum, and feel like a Mack truck hit me for, literally, weeks. My jaws will ache for months. While some may think that’s really bad, I feel very blessed to only need one little pill a day to solve my problem.
Women often complain during pregnancy. I never did because, while I admit this is not a normal feeling, I loved, loved, loved being pregnant. I did it so well even while getting so big. When I tell people that they grin and tell me I had a lucky pregnancy. Oh no . . . I had four children—3 of them late. Child #3, Jos, was so late they were getting ready to take him the next day because he was 2 weeks late. He ended up being born on Mother’s day.
Speaking of Jos, that brings up another reason to not complain during pregnancy. Jos and his wife, Shannan, lost their baby due to prematurity. He lived about 45 minutes before deciding he’d rather be sitting on Jesus’ knee. (That’s why his nickname is Lucky Charms.)
Ladies, every single day of your pregnancy . . . with all its sore feet, aching backs, and little feet pushing the contents of your stomach back up into your throat . . . should be considered a blessing right to the very end because it could . . . and sometimes does . . . end early with tragic results.
So treasure making it to your due date. I know Jos and Shannan would have loved little Aramis Haytham Segers to have made it to his. As of this writing he would have turned 1 in 4 days.
To me, I’ve always felt really blessed with the beauty of wherever I’ve lived. And, believe me, there is always some beauty to behold.
I lived in the foothills of North Carolina for several years and never tired of the view. Yet, for the past 19 years I’ve lived in a beach town (Panama City, Florida). I love driving on Beach Drive where you drive very close to the water as opposed to down on the beach, beach where condos block the ocean view.
Again, I never tire of the views, especially the sunset or sunrise over the water. It helps that I make it a habit to find beauty literally anywhere I am.
I’ve heard of so many people who were looking for jobs, then they were just hoping and praying they got the job they applied for, then a couple of weeks later they were fussing about that very same job. Is it me or does that make no sense whatsoever?
Any job where you can support yourself and/or your family is a blessing.
Think Outside the Box
To really notice blessings I invite you to think outside of the box . . . literally. Outside of the box of your worries and your problems and see what God has provided for you that you don’t even notice or think about.
Each one of these pictures is a true blessing.
The Set of Dishes and Food-Saver
First I want to tell you about the dishes in the box and the food–saver. It is the most amazing story and it will forever be my go–to memory for whenever I need to be reminded of God’s goodness to me and his all–around awesomeness.
When I was in college and graduate school I was—of course—a poor struggling student. As dishes would break I couldn’t go out and buy a whole new set so my matching dishes slowly dwindled down. At the same time I had bounce–back kids and they came with their miscellaneous dish sets and, well, as the years went by my dishes became more and more a mismatched mess.
One day I was getting a dish down and just muttered beneath my breath, “One of these days I’m going to get a matching set of dishes.”
That’s it . . . that’s all I said and I didn’t think another thing about it.
A few days go by and I pulled something out of the freezer and it was freezer burned. Again, I mumbled to myself, “One of these days I’m going to get another food–saver” and didn’t think anything else of it.
I didn’t say those things to anyone other than myself and God’s listening ears.
A few days later my best friend came in with that box of dishes AND the food–saver . . . complete with 2 boxes of custom bags. A customer had given both to him that day and he gave them to me. As you can see in the picture, the dishes perfectly go with my kitchen (look at the yellows in the counter in the food–saver picture).
Now what would be the “chances” that I would mention (only to myself and God) wanting matching dishes and a food–saver and my best friend being given those very 2 things just a few days later.
Identify something like this as a Blessing not a coincidence because when God’s involved there are no coincidences.
Don’t you ever take glory from God like that.
My Wonderfully Decorated Hardhat
My grandkids decorated my hardhat for me. As you can tell 3 of the 4 kids drew Christian pictures while the 4th drew FSU related pictures (since I’m an alumni it’s still a blessing).
It’s a blessing they are so artistic and that they think spiritually like that.
Last . . . but certainly not least . . . is my spiritual training ground. My church is such a blessing to me. I’ve raised my grandchildren in it and I and they have come so far, spiritually speaking, because of the good, sound, doctrine we’ve been taught.
So . . . What Are Some Stressors?
By some strange coincidence they appear to be the same list as the blessings.
Let’s look at how those blessings can turn into stressors.
Those same kids that were a blessing a minute ago can also be the biggest stressors. In many ways Harm . . . while very loving . . . . makes me want to go on the road until she’s around 22. (Did I mention I do speaking engagements all over the U.S.?)
First, since I work at home I’m sure you can appreciate the fact that sometimes I have to shut my door in order to be able to work. Well, if she needs me for just a minute and goes to leave she will not ever shut my door all the way. She’ll go to close it and actually push it to where it’s open just an inch or two. I’ve actually watched her close it more than that and push it back open. She just has this mental block against being on the other side of my closed door (probably from the many years I spent in college and graduate school and had to shut the door to study).
One night last week she was sick and she very pitifully asked me to come help. I asked her what was the matter and she told me she threw up on her hands. I was probably a little harsher than I meant to be when I told her to stand up and wash them off. If she’d been 9 it would have been a different story. But at 19 . . . sorry, she can do it herself and I’ll get her a wet rag for her head.
She has been a member of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club since she was 6 years old (and is a staff member now). One day she came home and told me she forgot to tell me earlier but they were having a bake sale fundraiser tomorrow. Well, I fully support the club so I ended up baking cookies until about 2 in the morning. When picking Harm up the next day I asked the club manager how the bake sale went. Can you guess? Not only was there no official bake sale—Harm and her friend had just decided to do one—but the “friend” decided to keep all the money.
And that’s just one of my 4 kids.
Yeah . . . kids can really be stressful.
Those same friends mentioned before can be somewhat demanding at times. They won’t always understand why you can’t come out and play with them.
Because I work at home and make my own schedule it’s often assumed that I should be able to just drop what I’m doing. And I’ve actually had people get upset with me when I couldn’t/wouldn’t do just that.
Yeah . . . friends can be really stressful.
There is always something needing to be done or cleaned or taken out or cooked or or or. Home is where the heart is but it’s also where a lot of stress comes from.
Sometimes we don’t feel good. It’s a fact of life. There are headaches and backaches.
Our surroundings can cause stress. I was trying to get into the Express Lane one day and was running a little late. There is enough space on the other end of the last pump for a car to pull into the parking lot. Well, this lady was just sitting there blocking the entrance. So I had to drive around the block and enter from a different street. She’s still sitting there. So I go inside and get my drink and the lady in front of me was short on cash so she’s going out to get it and she’s heading—guess where?—yep, to that car. I yelled out to her that I had the money for her and so it just put me in a better mood that I could be a blessing instead of letting it ruin my day.
It’s easy to imagine where some stressors may be in your job. You may not get along with everyone. You have to get out of bed. You probably have to dress in a certain way. And you may not feel like you’re getting paid what you’re worth.
Believe it or not, those same things we just talked about as being such blessings, the dishes and food–saver, the hardhat, and the church, can easily be turned around and considered to be stressors. For instance:
- Dishes have to be washed and a place found for them (bigger set than what I’m used to)
- Need to buy replacement bags for food–saver (costly)
- Had to go to work and deal with subs, unheated/uncooled job sites and engineers who drink and draw
- Have to get dressed to a certain level to go to Church (it’s a personal thing for me, not actually a requirement)
I use these examples because you can easily see how the exact same things can be seen as blessings or stressors. But you may not be able to see both sides so easily when it comes to matters of home time management.
Remember when I said that what you focus on becomes magnified? Well, I used to focus on home time management problems to the point where I created solutions for them. I NEVER had the same problem for long.
When I said you may not be able to distinguish blessings from stressors when it comes to home time management . . . that “Can’t see the trees for the forest” type of thing . . . that’s what we’re going to focus on identifying in this book—Focusing on feeling blessed not stressed when it comes to home time management.
A quick example is that you may know that meal times are a stressor but you may not realize that the solution . . . and therefore being able to see it as a blessing . . . can be as easy as getting more prepared for something you’re going to have to face each and every single day— rain or shine, winter or summer, and whether you’re sick or well.
And I know, without a doubt, that the more prepared you are the more you can focus on feeling blessed (having food, feeding your family) and not stressed (facing hungry people with knives).
Blessings or Stressors? It’s All in Your Mind
I hope you’re beginning to see that it IS in your power to see the positive side about everything that’s going on in your life.
For example, while I was creating the presentation that goes along with this book I took a break and went to the neighborhood store to get a soda and I locked my keys inside the car.
While walking back to the store with my spare set of keys I was so thankful that:
I learned this lesson . . . which will be with me for a LONG time . . . less than half a mile from the house
- It was not raining
- It was not bitterly cold, even though it was 2/28/15 . . . the middle of winter . . . and it HAD been very cold even in the last few days
- I needed the walk even though I was not going to take time for it today
- I had nothing on/in me that hurt . . . back, legs, feet, etc.
- I was not in a big hurry to get somewhere
So I was able to focus on the blessings instead of the stressors.
If you want more excerpts simply go to the main page titled Focus on Feeling Blessed and on that page you’ll find a list of links to more excerpts as I post them or just go ahead and buy my book on Amazon.