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As a kid, I remember listening to Arthur Godfrey, a 1950’s TV Star, crooning the song Count Your Blessing. Godfrey’s craggy voice forcefully belted out the refrain, “when I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessing ins

As a kid, I remember listening to Arthur Godfrey, a 1950’s TV Star, crooning the song "Count Your Blessing." Godfrey’s craggy voice forcefully belted out the refrain, “when I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessing instead of sheep and I fall asleep counting my blessing.” When you went to sleep last night, were you counting your blessing or were you tossing and turning, while worrying about your problems?

Do you have friends that complain about the inadequacies of their spouse, or the lack of achievement of their children or the problems on their job or the flaws in their home or shortcomings of their friends or even the failings at their church? Well, they are probably like most Americans that are media conditioned to feel inadequate! According to the media, we all should be skinnier, sexier, healthier, wealthier and wiser. Our kids should be like "Leave it to Beaver" and our home life like Ozzie and Harriet.

We are conflicted when the media’s projection of the “good life” meets the reality of our “real life” and we perceive ourselves coming up short. Even with all of their supposed inadequacies, our spouses, children, jobs, homes, friends and even our churches are in most cases a blessing in our lives, and we are a complimentary blessing to them.

What is a blessing?

A blessing is in the eye of the beholder. To be able to see is a blessing to the blind; to be able to walk is a blessing to the crippled; to have a home and family is a blessing to the homeless; and to live in freedom is a blessing to those under persecution.

What are your blessings? How do you count them? Why is this important, and where do you start?

Start counting your blessing right now. If you are reading this column you are more fortunate than almost two billion people in the world that cannot read.

Get a piece of paper, and start your list. First, look at yourself. Next look at your relationships and finally look at your family’s outlook for the future. Where are your blessings, and how can you be a blessing to others?

How are you blessing your body? What you read, listen to and watch will significantly impact your success or failure. You can think your way into failure or success to a large part depending on what you allow into your mind. Likewise, our bodies will respond to what we eat, drink or otherwise ingest. Like our minds, our bodies, if not exercised regularly, will operate at less than peak efficiency.

Our family and relationships define who we are. Last year, I attended a funeral that had more than a thousand people in attendance. The deceased was not a celebrity or public official. However, he had touched the lives of many through several community roles that he had performed. The program was fairly normal, with the exception of tributes by several of his nieces, nephews and close friends. All expressed their gratitude for his positive attitude, his ability to share and the blessings that he bestowed upon them. Who are you blessing today?

Most of our adult life will be spent on a job. If the job is one that you enjoy and you are good at, it will be a blessing. However, if it is one that you don’t enjoy, you will only go through the motions until the end of each day. Is your job a blessing? If not, how can you change it to be more exciting or do you have to move on to something more in line with your motivations?

Your finances allow you to provide for your family’s security and well-being. Have you established personal financial goals? If so, are you on a track to achieve them? If not, what can you do to provide for your family’s long-term security and well-being?

Life is a journey, not a destination. Live each day as if you will die tomorrow, but plan as if you will live forever. When you go to bed tonight, count your blessing, and when you wake up tomorrow, be a blessing to those around you.

Michael G. Shinn, CFP, is a Registered Representative and Advisory Associate.

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Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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