Blessings: What’s On Your List?

campfire-camp fire-california-fires-thanksgiving

My wife, Karen, and I’ve never known anyone whose home burned to the ground.

Until now.

Due to the Camp Fire in northern California last Friday, some family members lost their house in what is now an oxymoron:

Paradise, California. ?

A brand new house just built in 2017 … gone. Our photo above tells the story.

The Rich Family Named Gallagher

Josh and Erin Gallagher—California residents for only 90 days pre-fire—lost “everything” in terms of stuff. The house, a car, furniture, clothing, toys, and treasured trophies from their past.

Yet, because they have their priorities straight and possess accountable QBQ! attitudes, they know they lost nothing—absolutely nothing—of real value.

You see, this thirtysomething couple—a pastor, his wife, and 3 children—are healthy and well. Smartly, they got out in time. Tragically, some Paradise people did not.

And, as we all know, people matter most. It won’t be easy to sift through the ashes—there will be tears, anger, and a “Why us!?” or two—but the Gallaghers will be okay. Mostly because they’re wise folks; they know how blessed they are.

You Are (Most Likely) “Rich”

Do I know how blessed I am? Do you?

According to the Global Rich List website, if you earn the United States median annual income of $59,039, you are here in terms of riches:

Pretty amazing, eh? Isn’t it great to feel rich? To be rich?

Tally Those Blessings

One way to know we’re rich is to count our blessings—especially as we approach Thanksgiving in the U.S.

Since I have the keyboard, I’ll go first. The blessings that make me rich:

  • Karen, my wife since 1980, wise, strong—and still with me. ?
  • Seven kids, ages 20 to 36, all healthy and well.
  • Ten grandkids—6 boys, 4 girls. Round #2 of diapers for us!
  • A 32-year career in speaking/training that’s never felt like “work.”
  • Good health at 60: strong heart, low blood pressure, and terrific cholesterol in spite of 3 eggs/day. Eggs = God’s candy!
  • Colorado sunshine 300+ days/year. The inverse of where Karen and I grew up in Ithaca, NY. AKA, Cloud Central or Seattle East.
  • A Christian faith to sustain me and provide certainty in where I’m going when this healthy body finally gives out.

What’s NOT on the List

Wait … as I re-read my own list, I realize what is not on it:


No iPhone X, La-Z-Boy couches, Pottery Barn dining table, Sony 60″ flatscreen, or Toyota Tacoma. Yes, we have that stuff—and we’re thankful for it—but that stuff doesn’t make the list.

Our list of blessings is sans-stuff, just as the California Gallagher’s list is. At the top of their blessings list are two beautiful daughters and a perfect little boy—and each other. Post-fire, all alive and well.

It’s these blessings that make them “rich.”

What blessings make you rich? Share your list!


12 Responses

  1. Parents who loved me enough to discipline me, and who taught me that value is in people, not things.
    A sister, who tolerated me when we were young, but who has always been a very close friend and a model for me to emulate.
    Grandparents who showed me that people are diverse and that love is expressed in different ways.
    Friends who I love to spend time with.
    Faith, which has carried me through every trial.
    Generally good health, which reminds me to count my blessings.
    Gratitude for every day that the sun rises and sets, because I get to see what wonders the day brings.

  2. Hi John, I absolutely love this post. Yesterday I woke to a broken refrigerator, all of the food had spoiled. I was very frustrated until my 10-year-old son said: “Mom, at least we have a house with a broken fridge some people in California don’t even have a house!” There is always something to be grateful for, even when things aren’t going your way.

  3. Such a simple blog but so powerful in How WE can deal with complicated life.

    I just returned from a Kenyan trip and safari’s were great but had NOTHING on seeing the spirit of the Kenyans and their hope for the future and joy in their hearts for what they had: the ability to attend school, get a job, provide for their families.
    Left me very humbled and changed.

    I am so rich to have a family and faith that always is there to catch my mess-ups – knowing that I will never be perfect and that I’m still on journeying through life regardless of my age.

  4. I have been so blessed in my life to have role models that have come to me at different ages, at different stages and at different moments of openness for me. And what happened was I was able to experience such a wide array of events beyond my dreams.

    In my professional life I’ve had the good fortune in the last few decades of getting to know so many remarkable people worldwide that have had, and still have, a huge influence on my career path. Those who taught me that not only is voicing my opinion correct, but also my duty. Those who could respectfully disagree and sometimes even argue, but still show me that friendship is not dependent on thinking alike, only understanding why you think differently. Those who took the time in their lives and careers to be part of my life and my growth.
    And I was taught you do what is necessary, not what is easy – not by words, but by example. My maternal grandfather survived Polio, but lost most of the use of his legs. But he was great at the gift of gab and was a wonderful salesman who would drive around to where he needed to be to make his sales. Never did he complain, but occasionally wistfully say he sure wished he could play baseball. Three of my four grandparents came from immigrant families and experienced the pressures of not speaking English well and not having much to survive on, but they did.

    I also was influenced by having parents who gave me the freedom to go beyond the expected direction of most women my age. Rather than work in the medical field or education, I was given the support to work in the new mysterious world of the “computer”. What a fascinating adventure that become.

    And I have Gratitude for every day that comes my way because after a year of treatments for cancer I am here and well – you never know what comes next.

  5. Thankful for my heavenly family…God and His Son help me make it through each day. Thankful for my husband (37 years of marriage and he, too is a Christian), my children, my ability to write and create (it helps me through the day) and our farm…yes we have chickens and those magical organic eggs and I agree with you…eggs are good for you. Happy Thanksgiving ♥

  6. perfect timing again.
    My mother, my children, my siblings, my family (that grew by one yesterday), my friends.
    God on my side.

  7. -Wife, Jeanie, of 47 years.
    -Three children all married and local in Pittsburgh. Two daughters and a son.
    -9 Grandchildren with my oldest having 4 with identical twin boys
    -Everyone is healthy and children have good jobs and are self sufficient.
    -I wake up every morning appreciating what I have in life. Thank you God!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *