“Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.” Og Mandino

….and here goes the list of things and people I consider God‘s blessings:

1.  Values.  I believe that I am blessed with the very values instilled by my parents in me.  I may not be the “good” daughter who does not cause them pain and frustrations but I am proud to say that the very anchor that keeps this ship from sinking is the values my parents have taught me since I was a child.  The values of hard work, contentment with what I have, importance of money, family as top priorities in my life and love of self are just some of the important lessons they have taught me.

2.  Lessons learned.  Every time I stumble and fall, I know this is because I did something wrong.  I made stupid decisions in life.  While other people would blame it to bad luck and “punishment”, I choose to believe these are lessons I HAVE to learn and mistakes I need to avoid.  One of the life story that has impacted my Christian life is the story of Job.  God allowed Satan to test Job with all the bad luck and severe mishaps in his life.  Taking away his hard-earned possessions, his health and his family are just too difficult to bear.  Yet, Job chose to be thankful and never for once blamed God even at his lowest.  I am scared if this happens to me!  How I wish I am like Job–always trusting and faithful to God.  I believe that each lesson in my life should be learned as a “test” and a stepping stone to become a better person that reflects God.

3.  Writing.  All my life, I have found solace in writing.  I have always refer to writing as my way of expressing what I feel.  I remembered when I was a child and my way of letting out childish pain was writing to my mom about it.  The same way when I was a young bride struggling with my troubled relationship with the father of my daughters, I used to write all of what I felt in a piece of paper.  Today, writing is still my “outlet”.  There would be days when everything seems so overwhelming that even words cannot express how I feel; nevertheless, after a day or two, I would end up writing about it and feeling better.

4.  Skills.  Come to think of it, I am truly blessed with so many skills.  Yes, God is so very good to me!  I may not be blessed abundantly in the financial aspects but God has gifted me with so much!  As a child, I have so much exposures in singing and acting.  God used me to sing in the choir and eventually became a soloist in church. I learned to cook at a very young age.  Thanks to my dad who was very patient in teaching me this skill, I was able to use it to feed my family by starting my cooking business.  I did not go to any culinary school but my secret would always lie in cooking heartily and happily for others’ enjoyment.  I enjoyed cooking very much. After its downfall, my writing skill led me to this freelance career.  I started out humbly. (You can refer to this previous post https://lynnesampilo.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/freelance-writing-my-own-experience/) Today I can truly say, I am blessed.  God has never stopped giving me continuous work.  I have three wonderful employers and working for them is a joy!

5.  Tennis.  Back at the age of 24 and with a body like Penguin (Batman’s number one nemesis), I started playing tennis.  Almost 17 years later, I am still playing this sport and loving it!  Tennis is my escape (https://lynnesampilo.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/tennis-my-escape/) from all the pain and problems I am going through in life.  I thrive on the exhilarating sport.  It allows me to focus my mind and heart on what is beyond the challenges I face.  It helps me become a fighter and a survivor in the game of life.

6.  Parents and Siblings.  My parents are my inspiration.  I feel that the reason why I strive to be better in everything I do is because it is always my desire to bring joy and pride to them.  I don’t know if they are aware of my humble achievements but it would be my greatest joy to know that they are also proud of me.  I am nothing without my parents who sacrificed and worked hard for all of us.  Thus, I am always inspired to work harder and be successful in everything to bring them joy.  My sisters and I have a special bond.  Though we live far from each other, I know that whatever I am going through, they are always ready to be there for me. This, I will always be thankful.  I have a wonderful childhood because of the love and happy memories I have with my two brothers. These memories are deeply cherished in my heart.

7.  Motherhood.  Despite everything that happened in my life, I am truly the happiest the very moment I became a mom to each and every child I was blessed with. Every one of them have a special place in my heart.  Through my daughters and son, I know God loves me so much for allowing me to experience the joy of being a mom.

8.  Family.  Imagine having no one to call “family”….it saddens me to think that so many are homeless. My joy will always be my family.  My family will always be the two men in my life; Roy and Josh.  My family will always include Stef, Jamie, Annie, Kat, my son-in-law Jayson and my granddaughter Holly.  My family will always be my parents, my siblings and their families.  My family also includes Bomber and Beauty our Belgian Malinois dogs.  I am part of a family! I am not alone in this world at all.

Finally, above all else I am truly blessed that God loves me.  He has loved me with an everlasting love.  I cannot do this on my own….I don’t have the strength, the courage and the will-power to continue on with life if not because of HIM.  He has continually given me so many “second chances” in life as I know how stubborn and stupid I can be.  Yet, I am truly blessed.

Just like everything in life, pain happens for a reason.  I have good days and I have my shares of bad days too.  I cannot rely on other people to make me get over the pain in my heart but I can always trust God that in time, I will be able to rise above it and come out a better person.  With this list, I am made aware that the joy I have will work wonders in healing the pain in my heart.