Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Year To Count Blessings

Because really, we often don't know how blessed we are, unless we stop and think about it.

It's the tendency of human nature to major on the bad, to remember the awful.

When we had to remember  how to avoid predators and find food that wouldn't poison us, it was useful in keeping us alive.

The tendency is still useful to an extent.  But i know that too often the bad tends to overwhelm, overshadow, and simply blot out the good.  There is a good to most things.

Yesterday, when i walked out the door, i noticed water running down the street.  Tracing it back, a water main had broken in front of the home of our neighbors, where Mike-Next-Door, who mows the lawn, lives.

Bad luck?  Sure, if you think it is.  But it could have been worse.  It wasn't the line to any individual home, meaning that a quick call to the city got someone out there pronto, and it was fixed by noon.  Everything could have been worse, including the fact that we could live where there is no running water in pipes and we'd have to carry it long distances from a not very sanitary well.

Recently, a local oil change place made a mistake, and had to refund my money, and the two transactions back to back flagged my debit card and i couldn't use it until the bank reopened, two days later.  But they gave me an extra $20 off the services for the two cars, and everything worked out, and as i told the nice service manager, this is a first world problem.  In the third world, you aren't worried about your debit card not working, you are worried about having food for your family.

No, i'm not so naive that i think nothing purely bad ever happens.  Newtown would correct me on that, along with a good many other things.  But with the exception of extreme evil, most things that happen have a good side, or something good comes of it, or it really isn't so bad at all in the bigger scheme of things.

We are blessed.  Over the past few months i've been making myself stop and think about just how blessed.  And this year, i want to continue to count blessings, to see the good side, to find the reason why things just aren't so terribly, horribly awful after all.

Even when it's raining and the water is leaking in, or the cars need repair, or...whatever.  People who see how lucky, how blessed, they are, become more lucky, more blessed.  However you want to put it.

So, no real resolutions this year.  Just an awareness of counting blessings.  And i bet there are more than i can count.

Today is:

Apple Gifting Day

Bad Hangover Day -- but only for some (she says, trying not to look too virtuous)

Birth of Moonhopper -- Fairy Calendar

Black Nazarene Fiesta -- Philippines (through the 9th)

Bonza Bottler Day

Constitution Day  -- Italy

Day of the Establishment of the Slovak Republic -- Slovakia

Days of Volos -- Slavic Pagan Calendar (a time to be thankful to the god Volos for pets and farm animals; through the 6th)

Earth at Perihelion -- 11pm Central Time

Eighth Day of Christmas

Feast of the Circumcision of Christ -- Eastern Orthodox Church

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus - Orthodox Christian; Lutheran

First-Foot Day -- make sure an auspicious or good person is the first to set foot in your home for the New Year

Foundation Days -- Taiwan (a/k/a Republic Day, celebrated through tomorrow)

Gantan-sai (New Years) -- Shinto

Get A Life Day -- now even the internet is urging you to use the New Year wisely

Grandfather Frost Day -- Russia; Ukraine (Ded Moroz; an equivalent of Santa Claus who visits on New Year's Day and delivers the gifts in person with his granddaughter, the Snow Maiden, and fighting off Baba Yaga the witch who tries to steal them; in some areas, he comes on "Old Christmas Day", in about a week)

Horan Enya -- Bungo Takada City, Japan (ceremony for safety at sea and large catches)

Independence Day -- Haiti; Sudan

International Get Over It Month -- urging you to let the past go and move forward

Kaapse Klopse -- Cape Town, South Africa (Minstrel Carnival, with parties and parades through February; main parade tomorrow at midday)

Kalends of January -- Ancient Roman Calendar; also
     Agonalia (giving dates, figs, and honey to Janus, and gifts to family members)
     Day Sacred to Janus, Juno, and Jupiter
     Festival for Aesculapius (god of healing)
     Festival for Vedovus (god of the spirits of ancestors)
     Sacrifice to Fortuna Day (Sacrifice something to the goddess of Fortune so she will give you a good year.)

Kwanzaa, Day 7, Imani (faith)

Liberation Day -- Cuba (a/k/a Triumph of the Revolution)

London New Year's Day Parade -- London, England (one of the best New Year parties in the world)

Magal de Touba -- Touba, Senegal (Muslim pilgrimage to honor the memory of Sheikh Amadou Bamba)

Mary, Mother of God -- Catholic Christian (Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Octave Day of Christmas)

Mummer's Parade -- Philadelphia, PA, US

National Bloody Mary Day -- um, didn't you get enough of that last night?!

National Tree Planting Day -- Tanzania

New Year's Day

New Year's Dishonor List Day -- Lake Superior State University announces the misused and overused words from the previous year which should be banished from the Queen's English

Polar Swim Day / Polar Bear Swim / Polar Bear Plunge -- various locations throughout Canada, Netherlands, and US

Restoration Day of the Independent Czech State -- Czech Republic

Sacrifices to the Wind Gods -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate)

Shogatsu -- Japan (New Year, most important holiday of the year)

Shusho-e Matsuri -- Buddists in Japan go to temple on the first day of the year for a special ceremony

Snake Eyes Day -- no, i won't, it's too obvious

Sovereignty Day -- Iraq

St. Basil's Day / Basil the Great -- Eastern Orthodox (Patron of education, exorcisms, hospital administrators, Liturgists, monks, reformers, and of Russia and Cappadocia; bringer of gifts and inspector of livestock in Greece)

St. Clarus' Day  (Patron of tailors)

St. Zedislava Berka's Day  (Patron of difficult marriages, people ridiculed for piety)

Tewa Turtle Dance -- Tewa Native Americans (celebration of life and the first Creation; through the 4th)

Tournament of Roses Parade -- Pasadena, CA, US

Vienna New Year's Concert -- Vienna, Austria

Z Day -- for all the people whose names begin with Z and always have to wait to be last; sponsored by Tom Zager

Birthdays Today:

Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer, 1969
Kathleen Casey, 1946
Don Novello, 1943
J. D. Salinger, 1919
Barry Goldwater, 1909
Xavier Cugat, 1900
J. Edgar Hoover, 1895
EM Forster, 1879
Betsy Ross, 1752
Paul Revere, 1735

Today in History:

The Julian Calendar takes effect for the first time, BC45
Origin of the Christian Era, 1
The last gladiator competition in Rome, 404
Muhammad sets out toward Mecca with his army, 630
Jews of Sicily are no longer required to attend conversionist services, 1430
Portuguese navigators become the first Europeans to see the Guanabara Bay, which they thought was the mouth of a river and first called Rio de Janeiro (River of January), 1502
Scotland begins its numbered year on January 1 instead of March 25, 1600
German astronomer Simon Marius first sees Jupiter's moons (he did not report them, though, Galileo did, on July 10 of the same year), 1610
Samuel Pepys makes his first diary entry, 1660
The first traveler's cheques go on sale in London, for use in 90 European cities, 1772
The Irish Parliament votes to join the Kingdom of Great Britain, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, 1801
The dwarf planet Ceres is discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi, 1801
Emperor Gia Long orders all bronze wares of the Tay San Dynasty to be collected and melted into nine cannons for the Royal Citadel in Hue, Vietnam, 1803
Haiti gains independence from France (National Day), 1804
Import of slaves into the US is banned, 1808
The first homestead under the Homestead Act claimed, near Beatrice, Nebraska, 1863
Japan begins using the Gregorian Calendar, 1873
England's Queen Victoria proclaimed empress of India, 1877
Twenty-five nations adopt Sanford Fleming's proposal for Standard Time and Time Zones, 1885
The first Tournament of Roses is held, 1900
The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia federate as the Commonwealth of Australia, 1901
Vancouver, BC starts driving on the right side of road, 1922
Turkey adopts the Gregorian calendar: December 18, 1926 (Julian), is immediately followed by January 1, 1927 (Gregorian), 1927
Emperor Hirohito of Japan announces he is not a god, 1946
The European Community is established, 1958
United States Navy SEALs established, 1962
The Internet's Domain Name System is created, 1985
The first British mobile phone call is made by Ernie Wise to Vodafone, 1985
A single market within the European Community is introduced, 1993
The North American Free Trade Agreement comes into effect 1994
The World Trade Organization goes into effect, 1995
The European Central Bank is established, 1998
The Euro currency is introduced in 11 countries, 1999
Euro banknotes and coins become legal tender in twelve of the European Union's member states, 2002
Taiwan officially joins the World Trade Organization, as Chinese Taipei, 2002
The Open Skies mutual surveillance treaty officially comes into force, 2002
Sydney, Australia swelters through its hottest New Years Day on record. The thermometer peaked at 45 °C (113 °F), sparking bushfires and power outages, 2006
Bulgaria and Romania officially join the European Union. Also, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Irish become official languages of the European Union, 2007
Malta and Cyprus officially adopt the Euro currency and become the fourteenth and fifteenth Eurozone countries, 2008
Estonia officially adopts the Euro currency and becomes the seventeenth eurozone country, 2011


  1. There's a good side in everything. It can take quite an effort to see it at times, but I am confident it is there.

  2. Leah, for the most part, it is.

    Even when something bad happens, it gives good people a chance to touch it and transform it by their loving response.

  3. Thanks for the Good News reminder MiMi. Happpy New Years & Blessings to you and your family.

  4. It is easy for all of us to slip into pessimism- thanks for always lifting my day with your blog!
    We are truly blessed to live here.
    Have a Great 2013!

  5. I think all of us have more blessings than we can count. Happy New year.

  6. John, there is good news, and then there is Good News, and i want to major on both this year. May the year bring you His peace.

    Kathe, it lifts me to do this, and to read what you post. Happy New Year!

    Stephen, we really do, from running water to paper to write on. Enjoy 2013, and playing with your new site, it's quite good.