I know it is only the middle of February, but I am already sick of winter – the cold, snow, snow removal, lack of outdoor activities, cooped up with kids, cloudy days and the list can go on. I find that the older I get the less I like this time of year!


However, I received an email recently that reminded me that the one thing I do have some control over is how I decide to look at things. I normally do not pass these kinds of emails along very often, but this one made me pause and reflect on my current attitude:


A famous writer was in his study.

He picked up his pen and began writing: “Last year, my gallbladder was removed.

I was stuck in bed due to this surgery for a long time.

The same year I reached the age of 60 and had to give up my favorite job.

I had spent 30 years of my life with this publishing company.

The same year I experienced the death of my father.

In the same year my son failed in his medical exam because he had a car accident.

He had to stay in the hospital with a cast on his leg for several days.

And, the destruction of the car was a second loss.”

His concluding statement: “Alas! It was such a bad year!


When the writer’s wife entered the room, she found her husband looking dejected, sad and lost in his thoughts.

She carefully and surreptitiously read what he had written, and silently left the room and came back shortly with another piece of paper

On which she had written her summary of the year’s events and placed it beside her husband’s paper..

When her husband saw that she had written something in response to his account of the year’s events, he read:


“Last year I finally got rid of my gallbladder which had given me many years of pain.

I turned 60 with sound health and retired from my job.

Now I can utilize my time to write better and with more focus and peace.

The same year my father, at the age of 95 without depending on anyone and without any critical conditions, met his Creator.

The same year, God blessed my son with life.

“My car was destroyed, but my son was alive and without permanent disability.”

At the end she wrote: “This year was an immense blessing and it passed well!”



In our daily lives we must see that it’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.
There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.





How I choose to view circumstances in life dictates a lot about my own well-being as well as those around me. Folks tend to like to be around people who have healthy perspectives, and not so much with those who do not. This is not to say that we need to be happy-go-lucky all day long, but we can choose to look for the blessing in life rather than just the problems.


We begin the season of Lent on February 14. This is a time we are called to intentionally reflect upon our lives, leading to healthy repentance and renewal. It is a time that we are called to look at how our lives are going – priorities, health, faith formation, relationships – and truly evaluate the overall health of our lives. We do this not to beat ourselves down, but to help grow in the love and forgiveness of Christ that can transform our lives from the inside out. Our attitude need not be one of guilt and shame, but of the hope and joy that comes from new life in Christ!


As Christ took the path of obedience to the cross to then rise victorious from the grave, so too we can be honest with ourselves and the world around us knowing there is blessing in all circumstances with Christ Jesus. I pray that we will continue to have our hearts and minds transformed in Christ so that we may see life in new and exciting ways each and every day!



Pastor Scott Sessler
Emmanuel Lutheran Church


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