Thursday, April 24, 2008

Guest Poster - Mary Fairchild, Guide to Christianity

Welcome guest poster - Mary Fairchild, Guide to Christianity

Mary Fairchild, Christianity Guide for has worked full time in Christian ministry since 1988 serving in several capacities, including Missionary, Assistant to the Pastoral Staff, Administrative Assistant and Office Manager for a large church.

Her website helps people in their Christian walk by offering offer resources for living your faith in today's world. She offers solutions to life's problems through practical tools such as following a daily Bible reading plan and spending time with God.

Enjoy Mary's post and consider signing up for her newsletter.

Wishing you "Blessing's from Above,"

Counting My Blessings and Yours! by Mary Fairchild

Psalm 4:8
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. (NLT)

A recent Guest Poster to this Blessings from Above blog talked about the song with the lyrics, "When you can't sleep, count your blessings, not sheep."

Thankfully, I have been blessed with the ability to fall asleep rather easily at night. There have only been rare times in my life when sleep came with difficulty, and for that I am extremely grateful. But recently, I joined a small group Bible study, and some of the women in the group have been struggling to fall asleep at night. Together they've been learning that counting their blessings is a very effective method for inducing sleep.

One of the women described her self-taught technique. When she puts her head on the pillow at night, she thinks back through the day, and begins to thank God for each blessing, and every good thing he has done for her in the last 24 hours. She does this chronologically going back through the hours, but she rarely makes it past the afternoon before falling fast asleep. Another women practices the same basic method, but she uses the alphabet to name each blessing. She seldom finishes the full alphabet before skipping ahead to "Zzzzzz." The women in my Bible study group are looking more and more rested each week.

This started me wondering, why do you suppose this technique works so well? I don't think it's because as we count our blessings, we get so bored that we simply nod off to sleep. Rather, I suspect that as we count our blessings, our bodies begin to relax in peaceful, trusting rest, knowing that we are being kept safe in the Lord's loving care. The anxiousness from the day begins to melt into thankful, restful worship, and as Psalm 4:8 promises, in peace we lie down and sleep.

Counting Your Blessings

Another way I like to count the Lord's blessings, is by considering how he has blessed those around me. I love to hear and read the testimonies of other Christians. When I realize what God has done for someone else, it reminds me of my own personal reasons to give him thanks! By looking back at my transformed life, I can't help but praise the Lord for all he's done since I gave my life to him 27 years ago.

Each week I highlight a Christian testimony on my website. These are true stories submitted by site visitors, telling about their relationship with God and how it has made a difference in their life. Reading these stories about changed lives has proved to be a great way to quickly turn my focus toward the blessings of God. In fact, if you're looking for a way to encourage your faith and count your blessings, you might want to sign up for eTestimonies, and receive hope and encouragement in the form of a real-life testimony emailed to your inbox each week.

Here are some sample excerpts of the closing words from a few of the testimonies:

"In the eyes of this world I was a total loser, a wreck. But, God chose me and overcame everything, even my own self-destructiveness, to give me his love and a new life. Words are too limited to express accurately God's greatness, compassion and creativity. I am loved. I have a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NASB)."

"It was Jesus Christ who rescued me and who gave me salvation. He set me free from all drug and alcohol addictions. My depression left. The Lord helped me to be strong and to overcome ... I am headed toward heaven. Thank God and Praise the Lord! He was the best thing that ever happen to me."

"When I focus on the Lord, the negative stuff that has happened to me holds less importance. He helps me focus on what I can do, not on what I can't. Robert Schuller says it well, 'Look not at what you've lost, but look at what you have left.' Being thankful and counting our blessings is much more rewarding than mulling over things that we cannot change."

Can you see now, just how encouraging it is to count the blessings of others too?

Mary Fairchild
About Christianity

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Gift of Now

God gave us the blessing of "now." That is, today, right here - the moment we're living. It's something that is often overlooked. We're so busy having the energy zapped out of us, worrying about tomorrow and what will happen. We're consumed by to-do lists with events a mile long that we have to prepare for. It's draining. And if we're not worrying about tomorrow, we're dwelling on what happened yesterday and all the "yesterday's" before. "I can't believe she said that about me." "I wonder if I could have done something different to keep that from happening?"

Does this sound familiar? I know it is for me and it's a real problem - I am quite a planner to the excess. I have things planned out for months and years into the future! I know, I know. I am working on getting better about it. So realize, this post is just as much for me as it is for my audience.

We really have to stop going so far forward and prevent ourselves from going backward. Today is what matters. Today, the here and now, is all we can really be sure of and we really should appreciate it. Stop running in circles and start doing things you enjoy because you never really know how many more "now" moments there are going to be.

When you first log on to this blog, the song "The Moment" by Steven Curtis Chapman plays. He talks about how we should "breath it and breath it out, listen to our heartbeats." It's true. Take enough time to stop and listen to what is going on around you. Don't be so caught up in plans for tomorrow.

Another wonderful blogger, Christine Spencer, Certified Life/Success Coach, and author of Live Passionately, encourages her readers to "Awaken to Consciousness." She warns us that if we're not careful, we'll use today only as a means to getting to the future, rather than fully living a passionate life today. She recommends being patient, becoming aware of your breathing, and giving up waiting as a state of mind and encourages to just "be."

So live in the moment. Listen to Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "The Moment" if you must, read Christine's blog, or create your own way to just be here now and enjoy every moment of it. Get a relaxing cup of coffee, take the dog for a walk, or smell the roses - literally. No more excuses. The present is a blessing from God! Don't miss out on it!

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

Monday, April 21, 2008

My blessings

The previous post on Blessings from Above was with guest poster, Bud Bilanich, who shared with us a very long list of the wonderful blessings in his life. That got me thinking, that although I share my blessings in various posts, I've never really created a list. So here it goes....and I'll try not to make it too long!

I am appreciative to have my health and although I do have some health concerns, they are not fatal or overly disruptive to my life.

I am blessed to be a Christian who can openly go to church without being persecuted.

I am blessed with a kind and caring husband, Nick.

I am blessed with three sweet, furry little bunny rabbits: Tapper, Thumper, and Lily.

We have a beautiful house.

My parents and my husband's are still alive and healthy, most of our grandparents are as well.

I have several close friends.

I live in America where I am free and have some of the best things the world has to offer.

I have an education which includes a Master's degree (an accomplishment I am quite proud of!)

We have several nice cars, all paid for, including a Corvette that we love driving.

I am blessed with enough spending money to go to the mall and get whatever I want (within reason!)

I am blessed to have a love for learning.

I am blessed by so many crafts things to work on that I don't have time for them all!

I am blessed with the ability to write which hopefully others can learn from and be inspired by (including myself as I do the writing!)

I am friends with my in-laws.

We have a beautiful backyard with gorgeous flowers, awesome mature trees, and plenty of land to roam around and enjoy.

I actually like my job and my boss at a local university!

We eat some of the best food - we're so spoiled!

I've been blessed enough to travel to more placee in my 33 years than most people get to do in an entire lifetime. I've been to 11 countries, 6 islands, at least 20 states, and I am still on the move!

I guess this list can go on, but maybe I'll save more for future posts. The list could never end. How about you take the time out today so write out all your blessings or at least your top 5. Seeing them listed on really helps to focus on your blessings and to approach the day in a more positive way. Give it a try!

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Welcome Bud Bilanich Guest Poster

Guest Poster - Bud Bilanich of Success Common Sense

I received a pleasant surprise the other day. Denise Ruggieri asked me to write a guest column. It seems that Denise saw a post I did on my blog in December 2007.

Here is an excerpt of that blog post: “In this post, I’d like to delve into the fourth point of The Optimist Creed: “Promise yourself to look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.”
In other words, think of the glass as half full.

Last Saturday, Cathy and I went to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. We saw a stage production of the Irving Berlin classic film musical, White Christmas.

There is a number in the show where one of the leading men is comforting a small girl who is having trouble sleeping. In a song, he tells her, “When you can’t sleep, count your blessings, not sheep.” On the way home, we were talking about that song. We know that we are blessed. However, sometimes we forget how much we are blessed. We both decided that we would begin counting our blessings when we felt down.

Counting your blessings and not sheep is a great first step to “look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.” Realizing that you are blessed and that there is a sunny side is a good first step. However, don’t forget the second part of the quote – “make your optimism come true.”

I went on to discuss how counting your blessings can make you more optimistic, but that you have take personal responsibility for your own success by working hard.

It made me think of the many blessings in my life which I'd like to share with you:

I’m blessed because I was born a white male in a white male dominated society. I was never the victim of racism or sexism.

I’m blessed because I grew up in a loving family where there was always enough.

I’m blessed because my parents valued education. Early on, they put me on a path that led to my love of learning.

I’m blessed because my parents instilled a deep work ethic in me.

I’m blessed because things come easy to me.

I’ve always been able to learn quickly and retain what I’ve learned.

I’m blessed because I had three grandparents until the time is was 28.

I’m blessed because I am 58 years old and my parents are still alive today.

I’m blessed because I had thyroid cancer -- an easily treatable condition from which most people recover – not pancreatic cancer, like Randy Pausch.

I’m blessed because Randy Pausch recorded his last lecture.

I’m blessed because I got to see Lance Armstrong rise from his death bed and become a seven time Tour de France champion. These two men give me hope and inspiration.

I’m blessed because I know JF and Carol Kiernan and Rick and Muriel Newell. They showed me how to bear with unbearable sorrow.

I’m blessed because Bill Rankin showed me how to dress and act like a gentleman. But more importantly, by his behavior, he showed me how to be a gentleman.

I’m blessed because Maggie Watson taught me that doing the wrong thing, even if it’s for the right reason, is still doing the wrong thing – and that’s not acceptable.

I’m blessed because Howard Sohn impressed his mantra, “rewriting is the key to good writing” on me.

I’m blessed because I’ve run a successful coaching, consulting and speaking business for the past 20 years.

I’m blessed because I’ve never been afraid to say what I mean, and I’ve always been willing to take a risk.

I’m blessed to be living in these times. I learn something new everyday.

I’m blessed because I have an ecumenical view of the world. I have learned just as much about how to live a good life from Native American traditions, the Koran and Buddhism as I have from the Bible.

I’m blessed because of the all the people who have helped me become the person I am today.

I’m blessed that Cathy chose me to be her husband.

I’m blessed because Denise’s invitation to write this article made me think about, and not take for granted, all of the wonderful blessings I have in my life.

I’m blessed that you have taken the time to read about why I’m blessed.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my blessings. And yes, I do count them every time I have difficulty falling asleep.

If you count your blessings, not sheep, I guarantee that you’ll sleep better.

Bud Bilanich
Success Common Sense


Purchase a copy of Bud's new book, “Straight Talk for Success," to be launched Tuesday, April 22nd. If you purchase a copy that day, you will receive $1,000 in downloadable bonuses from Bud’s partners. Purchase the book and receive the bonuses, by visiting:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bless It Forward

You know the saying "Pay it Forward" which talks about taking a good deed that has happened to you and turning around and doing something similar for others? Well blessings can work the same way. Take the blessings you receive and use them to bless others.

Everyone was born with a spiritual gift given from God. It can be anything. I consider my writing to my spiritual gift, but everyone has something different. It could be the gift of speaking, the gift of making crafts, or building furniture. Maybe it's the ability to work with young children or the elderly. No matter what it is, God planted it within you and that's the reason you desire to some of the things you do.

The key is recognizing those gifts and doing something with them. A talented singer's beautiful voice that doesn't produce music, whether it be in the shower or on stage, is no more useful than the scrap booking supplies cluttered all over my craft table not getting used. I leave them sitting there because I am not real talented in that area. I desired to be, but I am not. And let me tell you, the scrap booking materials aren't taking care of themselves. There is no completed scrap book or handmade cards to speak of that would brighten someone else's day. That's why I stick to writing. I feel that it is my strength and that I can use it to entertain, motivate, educate, and inspire others.

Not all that long ago I ran into a wonderful woman who I know I'd be good friends with if I saw her more often. We're both very busy and she lives a little bit of a distance away so I don't see her as often as I'd like. I ran into her at a quilt show at Wheaton Arts in New Jersey and she expressed to me how much she loved an article that I wrote for It's called "Lose Weight Doing In-Home Walking with Leslie Sansone." She said once she read the article she went out and bought the DVD's and got really into it. As a result, she' s lost weight and even started a health and wellness program at her job. The women she works with are really into it now and she even motivates them by setting goals and offering Leslie Sanson's DVD as prizes. How great is that? This is all because I wrote an article. Wow. If I didn't do it, none of this may have happened.

So please, if you have a gift lingering inside of you that you are just dying to do but can't seem to find the time or motivation, please get to it! You never know what positive blessings that you may "pay forward" to others with the blessing that God has placed in you.

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Empowerment 101

This Friday I had the privilege of going to a conference at the university where I work. It was sponsored by our Women's Network and was comprised of women from our university and those from other colleges in the state.

Let me stop you before your roll your eyes at the thought of going to one of these conferences. I'll just tell you up front it was quite a blessing for me to be there and I know my boss' invitation to go was no mistake. God wanted me to be there to here the many messages that the two female speakers delivered. Dr. R. Barbara Gienstein, the President of The College of New Jersey and Kirstin Carey, Founder of Orange Tree Consulting, had quite a few things about empowerment that I really needed to hear.

Speaking to the ladies for a minute here, it's a fact that we often operate our lives at a lower standard than we could and I am just as guilty as the rest of us. And there are a lot of reasons why we aren't up to our full potential. I know for one, I am always tired because of a under active thyroid and I am sure so many of you can relate (guys too!) with your own health issues. Add to the equation a job that may keep you stressed, kids whose needs never seem to stop, and just too many darn things in life to accomplish! Of course we are having a tough time succeeding.

Thankfully the two women speakers made several wonderful points to help me and the rest of the audience from drowning in self-pity. Want to know how to empower yourself? Here are a few suggestions (and these apply to you too guys!):

  • Stop talking negative to yourself. If you tell yourself you are going to fail, you are.

  • Give a firm handshake when you shake some one's hand. They'll have more confidence in their dealings with you.

  • Keep the right company for social activities. Associate with people who going to build you up, not bring you down.

  • On a professional level, encircle yourself with others who are like-minded and are willing to help when needed.

  • Continually commit to bettering yourself even if progress takes a long time.

I bet we can name many other things that will help us hold our head high or empower us as they say. We'll probably visit this again in another post. For now, let's just be thankful for these reminders and that God placed these two wonderful women in front of me to encourage me to better myself and to be able to write about it to encourage you to do the same.

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

Keepin' Perky from Packin'

My blog, Blessing from Above, is meant to be a cheerful, up beat blog that you can come to to be inspired. Unfortunately, life throws us some dilemmas along the way and keeping up that perky attitude can be tough. People can be cruel - life can be unfair. I know that for a fact. Ever felt that way?

Recently, I've had my toes stepped on enough to send "perky" packing and on it's way for good. I've had it happen at church with the Secret Sister program that I mentioned not all that long ago. I really enjoy coordinating the program and have been very blessed by it. I know many other women who feel the same. Inevitably though, there are always a few people whose expectations are just not quite being met. That can make things hard on everyone else. One person in particular really sadden me with their view of the program. The bottom line was she just wasn't feeling as remembered as she'd like to be and as a result, may leave the program. As the coordinator, that really got me down. I began to feel like a failure, like it was all my fault. Out of frustration, I even thought about discontinuing the program.

Then I realized, that no one can make me feel this way but me. I have to watch my attitude and actions in life and make sure that I am making the decisions that God wants me me to rather than giving in to human needs. Should I discontinue the program, women in the church will not receive much needed words of kindness from others, friendships will not be formed as easily, an overwhelmed mother much in need of a day out won't get to go to the Secret Sister luncheon for a day of peace. I need to remind myself of these things when I get down about the program.

It's very easy when things go wrong to throw our hands up in their air and give up. I've done it many times in life and I am working on improving myself so that won't happen any more. Here are a few steps that I plan on taking to help me move toward self improvement:

Pray - Abraham Lincoln said, ""I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go." It's so true. When all else fails (and before it fails!) give it to God and pray about it. If he is in it, our steps will be guided and we'll be acting on his behalf. I will pray about the Secret Sister program to make sure that God still wants me to offer the program and to make sure it's being run properly.

Put a lid on defensiveness - It's always my nature to get defensive when someone finds fault with me or something I am doing. This has creeped into my life time and time again, and it doesn't even matter if it's my fault. I may have no control over something, but I get upset as if something took place as a direct result of my actions. From here on out, I am going to work to assess the situation for myself and keep my defenses down, particularly if there is nothing in my power to change the situation.

Do it Anyway - Mother Teresa wrote a poem entitled "Do It Anyway," which talks about being a loving person even though the world can be rough. She wants us to love, forgive, succeed, be kind, and so on, anyway. When I get down, I plan on continuing to chip away at whatever my goal is try not to let people's opinions get me down. I am going to "Do it Anyway."

Can you relate to this in anyway? Do you feel down when people seem to be picking you apart? Keep your chin and remember to keep going. Humans do not have control over us so don't let anyone hinder you from doing what you want to do. God will bless you for it!

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"