Count Your Blessings, Not Your Problems!

Counting Blessings ThanksgivingYes, Folks, it’s HUMP DAYYY!

I still can’t get over how funny that camel is in the GEICO Insurance commercial! How do you respond when someone else is happy? How about when they are struggling? Where do you go with it? Do you try to lift them up? Or do you try to find something they did to “smush” in their face?

These are the “Holy Days”, if you will, as I include Thanksgiving as one as well as Christmas. Of course there is Chanukah as well! In most places, the weather cools down, fireplaces are lit where they can be, and the “heat is turned up”! I remember those wintry days in the Winbrook Projects with that old time steam heat that clanged and banged as the hot water swelled up into the metal radiators in each room! Me and Hank had one in our bedroom, Barbara and Edna had one in their bedroom, and, mom and dad had one in their bedroom with the space heater and heating blanket available if necessary. Those were the “good ole” days.

I recall a “12 Step” program’s teaching about avoiding “pity parties”. “Oh, I wish I had this!”, or “How come they have all of that?” and not counting our own blessings … My father wasn’t standing for that in his place! Here was a guy who dropped out of junior high school to work the family farm with his two brothers, David and Samuel. Here was a guy who told this woman he wanted to marry her and, when he got to New York with his brother David and set up shop, would come back and get her. My father was my mother’s first real boyfriend, and, my mother was dad’s “ump-teenth” girlfriend! Once they got things moving a bit, found a little brownstone with rooms for rent in Harlem, David and Isaac went back to Florida from New York by train … to pick up their waiting wives. Such is how the Cook Family began, at least, my generation of us, of which I am the youngest sibling, of Ike and Mary.

So many lessons point to gratitude, appreciation and counting blessings … not problems. Some folks actually get stuck in that mode and become critical of everybody and everything while they may already have as much “good” as they can handle! Others struggle and cling to the script of “poor me” instead of getting out and hustling. When I share my story sometimes with people who don’t know me so well, they often say, “Wow! You went to Princeton … and this is all you have?!” I take a step back from them and count more of my blessings, like peace and love, understanding and forgiveness, harmony and understanding. Now I have never really had ” a lot”, whatever that means, but the folks who are “shakers and movers” that I know don’t hang out with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet either! My article Monday was about their (Buffet and Gates) benevolent hearts, in spite of their incredible riches. Do you have to be a nasty person to be “rich”? Do you have to be humble when you’re poor? There are so many options in between, and all are part of the human experiences we see every day.

Well, we were reminded yesterday at our job that we will be off next Thursday and Friday! I was happy to hear this, since many marketing companies like ours follow no ones non-federal holidays! So, I plan to visit my sister and her family in Port St. Lucie, hang out with my buddies in Ft. Lauderdale over the weekend and NOT forget my blessings. Usually, on Thanksgiving (and Christmas/Chanukah), I would sit at the dinner table with one of my best friends, R.I.P., Peter Zachary, and his wonderful family. I was usually the only “chocolate chip in the cookie”! May we continue to count our blessings, and not our problems! Be thankful, be grateful, for the simple things in life. Yet, look onward and upward, balancing humility and pride, hope and prosperity!

Be well!

John I. Cook, Director

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