The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 19, 2014

Are you ... stressed or blessed?

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— Are you stressed or blessed? Think about it.

It seems to me that nearly everyone nowadays is overstressed and in a hurry. We have so many things to do every season to get ready for the next one. No matter how many times we say to ourselves that we will do better next year, the seasons come upon us before we are really ready. Then, we become stressed and cranky and rushed and out of sorts.

We all worry much too much about whether everything is perfect and whether everything gets done right on time. In my many years of living, I’ve found that most things work out the same with stress or without stress. So why be stressed out! Take time to plan ahead and make lists and do what is possible, and let everything else take care of itself. We will live a lot longer and enjoy life much more if life is stress-free.

Isn’t it time we stopped all this stressed business, and began to count our blessings. They are too numerous to mention and different for everyone in every circumstance. We dispensed with our annual Christmas open house several years ago. I was just not able to help host it and keep up with answering the door, greeting and meeting, and taking coats and saying our goodbyes to our friends and family while I was busy in the kitchen. It had just become too much for us.    

These past few years, we have celebrated more often and with less fuss with manageable parties that will be easier on our bodies and  minds and  moods, and we will have more fun actually getting to visit with our guests. We have found it much more fun to celebrate every few weeks all year than to plan and execute that  large open house. We are now more blessed than stressed.

We are so grateful we live in the Bible Belt, where we can discuss Scripture and not be ridiculed. More and more we are seeing that all things work together to those who love the Lord, if we believe they will.  Sickness and other problems have a way of making us appreciate the many, many good things we have.  We appreciate every day with every setback we face.

We were driving down the highway recently when we spied a sign that said,  “GOD  LESS AMERICA.” We had to look twice to realize that gusts of  Oklahoma winds had knocked down the “B.” What a terrible thing to think that our God has not blessed us and this country. We are definitely blessed.  One little omission  like the “B” changed the entire meaning. We certainly are not God-less!

I grew up in a time when no one had anything. We all worked hard during the Great Depression. No one had any money and few possessions.  But we were taught to count our blessings and to not complain of anything. We didn’t know we were so poor. We thought we had all the blessings in the world. We did! We lacked for nothing that was really important like people to love us and protect us and guide us. We never went hungry, although we got a little tired of certain things in abundance. We even got tired of always eating beef steak and wished we had good old bologna sometimes. We always had meat of some kind, and lots of milk and eggs and butter and cream and vegetables in season. We picked wild plums and blackberries, so had great jelly to go on homemade bread. As I look back we were rich — wealthy — affluent.  We had so many blessings we could hardly count them all.

Since childhood, I have a habit of praying every night when I go to sleep. But I use those few moments before I drop off to sleep, to simply count blessings. I never “ask” for anything in those  prayers but just reflect on God’s blessings and gifts. I always go right off to sleep surrounded by blessings and security.

It breaks my heart to hear so many people complain who cannot see the many blessings around them. They are always wanting something more or different. They fail to see the beauty around them or the blessings they enjoy. They see only the dark, down side of everything.  They think they are misunderstood when they are the ones  who fail to understand  and count their many blessings.  

There are blessings in absolutely everything, but sometimes we have to search for them and look beyond ourselves and what we feel is our miserable state.  

We had some dear friends over the other evening, and I tried this simple dessert on them to see if it “passed” the test to be in the paper. They agreed that it did so I share it with you. Count it a blessing that it is so easy to prepare and delicious to eat.  No fuss, no muss and a plus to serve.

Apple/Cranberry Crisp

2 cups raw cranberries (or a can of whole cranberry sauce)

3 cups sliced, peeled apples

1 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar, packed in cup

1⁄2 cup flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

5 tablespoons butter at room temperature

Combine cranberries, apples, white sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Turn into a shallow, buttered 11⁄2 quart dish.  Combine brown sugar, oats and flour, and the cut in butter. Spoon over cranberry/apple mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour, until topping is crispy and fruit is tender. Serve slightly warm with ice cream .You’ll think it is an early holiday feast.

Take time every day to count blessings. As we add them — they multiply. We are much too blessed to be stressed!

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.