Find your blessings—and count them one by one

Got good news lately? Against a backdrop of anxiety over the corona virus and intrigue over brewing social issues, there is hunger for good news to ride high on whirlpools of uncertainties. Anything to brighten our days. Life goes on as we forge through challenges. But no dimmer switch for hope that comes with the realization that blessings abound for us and around us. One of the blessings is getting good news.

So, have you gotten your dose of good news lately? I have.

I had blogged about my younger brother who is half paralyzed from a severe stroke that happened months ago. Recently, my sister-in-law Cecille mentioned that my brother, her husband, has started to be fed through the mouth, no longer through a tube inserted in the nose. A major breakthrough. I was happy to hear that and relieved. My brother loves food. Another amazing change: with his speech challenged due to the stroke, he is trying to pronounce syllables, like names of persons around him whose attention he’d like to call. To help him communicate, the family got him a keyboard and tablet whereby, with his good and functional right hand, he can press letters and produce words on the tablet used as a screen. This is an effort to motivate him to express himself more, especially when he has immediate wants or needs that have to be communicated. These are all encouraging news that help allay concern for my brother. Any improvement in his condition elicits a praise prayer.

Yesterday, my sister Susan called to say she was going to have some cooked gulay (vegetables) dropped off for my meal. Wonderful! Just what I needed, since there’s only a small portion of broccoli in my frig. Not as an exchange but just to spice her and her husband’s meals, I gave her some pieces of fried dried fish (tuyo and danggit). Of course, that delighted her because she chooses not to fry fish in her home due to a sharp fish aroma that tends to linger (very smart, but the aroma doesn’t bother me). Nonetheless, she and her husband love fried tuyo and danggit. Her good news, however, was that a family friend, Laura, is gradually recovering from her cancer surgery of a month ago. The friend, long confined to fluids, can now eat a bit of the solid foods. I’ve always known that friend to be so vibrant and chatty. It’s good news to know that some of her energy is creeping back. A praise prayer.

My nephew Bryant checked out of ICU over the weekend and was released from the hospital to continue recovery at his home. He underwent a successful brain surgery for the removal of a tumor. Notwithstanding some swelling and pain resulting from the operation, he is feeling and doing fine. He just needs to follow a rest regiment for about six weeks. Initially diagnosing the tumor as benign, the doctors are still scheduling a biopsy weeks later. The good news is, the doctors were able to take out all of the growth, and Bryant is doing well, even enjoying regular diet. A praise prayer.

During the weekend, I skyped with my sister Chichi and her family in the Philippines. Immediately, I spotted 7-month-old Zi, son of my sister’s youngest daughter. A very delightful little baby boy, who has gained baby fat especially on his cheeks, arms and legs. I remember how everyone in the house was very concerned about the health of the baby, a month old in January this year. I was on vacation then, and the infant was but a whiff – of course, infants are tiny and fragile. But Zi was unusually thin. There was much concern over his slight physique that didn’t seem to grow enough. The family worried. The baby underwent thorough tests that led to adjustment in his milk intake. Now, Zi is a big, robust and active sweet and bouncy little boy that loves to kick a lot with his cute, chubby baby legs. I just wonder if he’s raring to run on the floor. His skin is smooth, tight and pinkishly healthy – so “pinchable”. He looks like the babies that appear in diaper or milk ads. Very huggable! A prayer of praise for Zi.

Included here are the livestream worship services at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto. Such spiritual nourishment so helpful during these confusing times. I joined zoom meetings for sermon discussion after the services, and gained from listening to Pastor Paul’s and participants’ insights on the sermon series, God’s Kingdom Undivided; not to mention the opportunity to ask my own questions and contribute my thoughts about God’s work in the world, His sovereignty and love. A praise prayer for the gist of the message — hope.

I could go on and on with more good news, but will stash some away for later blogs. Allow me to suggest that you find your own “good news”. Sometimes, you need to look twice, or think twice, in case they pass your notice. And when you do find them, savor them. Delight in them. Even share them. And be thankful for them. They are blessings, so badly needed, especially in these anxious times.

Linda P. Jacob