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The Rev. Ellin M. Dize: Be sure to count your blessings

The superstitious, who think trouble comes in threes, could easily point out the last three celebrities who made tabloid news: Heather Locklear, Demi Moore and Whitney Houston.

Rumors have it that Heather had a violent breakup with her boyfriend, used sleeping pills and alcohol which led to her hospitalization. After Demi and her husband split, she smoked a substance "similar to incense" that caused convulsing. She's currently rehabbing in Utah. Whitney Houston (now at peace in the Lord), was found under water in a luxury hotel bathtub. Per DailyMail, "Houston was on 'brink of bankruptcy' having frittered away pop fortune on cocaine."

Our modern culture doesn't allow us time to suffer or mourn; we want "to fix everything," "to get over it" or "escape from it." Our populace expects to feel good all the time. For a thrill and $40,000+, you can dine on stone crab, caviar and champagne in the sky at a table hoisted 180 feet in the air. To jolt our emotions further (and compete among networks) TV shows continually increase nudity and violence. When is enough is enough? Or, can some never get enough?

Peggy Lee, while watching her house go up in flames, sang: "Is that all there is? ... then let's break out the booze and have a ball." When at a circus, Peggy sang she had the feeling something was missing but doesn't want to end it all because she's in no hurry for that final disappointment. Peggy's glass was totally empty, not a drop of fullness. Just the skill and timing of the circus animals and performers could have made her marvel with wonderment at their abilities. But no, Peggy was empty.

Perhaps we need to return to basics. Notice all the miracles and blessings that occur daily. When Irving Berlin was worried and couldn't sleep, he counted his blessings instead of sheep. Just being alive is a miracle. Our bodies are on automatic pilot fighting to stay balanced and well in spite of our inhospitable, man-made environment and questionable fuel we give them. The fact that we can plant a seed and it grows into food is a miracle. Water and air are a life-sustaining miracle. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and walking are miracles. Giving birth is a miracle. Ask someone who is infertile if they think so. Believers say miracles happen constantly as God works in the world. You ultimately decide what makes a miracle.

The past is history and the future is a mystery but today is a gift, which is why it's called the present. Joy is in the "now." Developing an attitude of gratitude, appreciation and thankfulness is life changing. Recreate your sacred life by being a healing presence to others. Changing your perspective is a miracle. Count your blessings by concentrating on the good things instead of the negative ones. Take time to smell the flowers, listen to the birds sing and experience life with all your senses.

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