One by One

Standing at the window, the old rancher takes a sip from his third cup of coffee. “Finally” comes a silent thought; “it’s light enough.” As dawn breaks each morning, before I don my boots, hat, and jacket, I count. First one pasture, then the next; I count cow-butts each morning. Not a glamorous job, especially when you consider that cattle don’t use toilet paper (good thing these days), but a necessary one.

I tell myself it’s inventory control. If the count is off in a particular pasture, then I need to investigate; especially when it’s the pasture where I place all the expectant mama cows. When birthing is imminent, a mama cow will get away by herself and hide. I think it’s an instinctual thing, just like hiding their newborn calves for the first week of their life.

This morning I count the mamas and babies first; then move to another window and get “eyes on” Mavric the bull and my donkeys. I take a quick glance at the neighboring pasture, just to make sure things look right. About the time I get to 40, I realize I’m humming one of my favorite old hymns. “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done.”

Well, most of y’all know what came next. Yep, the waterworks turned on as I stood there realizing I wasn’t taking inventory, I was counting my blessings. Each animal here at the Cross-Dubya is a blessing. Like my family members, God has entrusted each one’s care to me. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly. Perhaps that’s why I’m up each day before dawn, preparing for my day of taking care of all the blessings God has given me. Maybe it’s why I pray as I stand watch over them each day.

Thinking about this, the words of Philippians 4:8 came to mind.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8, NKJV)

I realized how in those quiet moments, when it’s just me, the cows, and God, it’s easy to count your blessings. As my day progresses, with emails, phone calls, problems to deal with, etc., it becomes more difficult to recognize all the blessings at the moment. Satan takes great delight in disrupting our thoughts and taking our minds off of the good and godly things we should make central in our lives.

With all this pandemic hoo-ha and political posturing going on, he must be having a field day with many of us. All too often, our human lives take precedence over our spiritual lives. Living today, dealing with the current challenges, can and will take our focus off our future. The result? We can set aside our joy and hope in Christ. We don’t count our blessings but focus on our problems. We forget that we are just sojourners, passing through this temporary life.

One way that I combat this is to spend a few minutes before I close my eyes thanking God for each blessing received throughout my day. Most of them are living beings, not material things. My wife, friends, and others I have interacted with during my day. The land and animals God allows me to care for; and, yes, material things like not getting the tractor stuck in the mud hole or the bull not knocking me to the ground when I wasn’t paying attention. I can fall asleep knowing I’ve taken a few minutes to say “Thank You” to the One who is most deserving; from whom all blessings flow. (James 1:17)

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During this challenging time in our lives, I hope each one of us can take a few minutes each day to stand in God’s presence. Spend some time sharing with Him our thanks for all He is, all He gives, and all He does.

God’s blessings,

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62 thoughts on “One by One

    1. Awww… thanks Ms. Stephanie. Know please that I count you and each one of my writing friends and followers on this journey among my endless stream of blessings my friend.

  1. My daughter had a summer internship planned before her final semester of college and a December graduation. But now she is home, sheltering in place with Mom and Dad. I’ve told her more than once what a blessing it is to have this “bonus” time with her before she starts out on her after graduation. Definitely counting that as a blessing!

    1. I think that’s a wonderful blessing. I love hearing of the good things coming out of this mess. More folks focusing on their faith, more neighbors helping neighbors. Wonderful to see indeed ma’am. Thanks so much for commenting.

  2. What a lovely man you are J.D. I have gotten into the habit of saying good morning, Father, good morning Jesus, good morning Holy Spirit the minute my eyes open in the morning and saying good night to each One of them and thanking them for the day and all its blessings. I agree with you – we have to be intentional about where we focus especially at this crazy time.

  3. Counting my blessings today and everyday. This morning, a special blessing came through a video sent by our son. The video shows our two years old grandson singing and dancing. What a sweet child! He was singing about dinosaurs.

  4. Amen, JD! Great truths, God’s constant presence is in all things and in the inner peace He brings through companionship with His Son and Spirit.

    1. What a wonderful prayer Ms. Candyce; one I think we should all offer up ma’am. We can’t always know what someone else is facing, but we can always be willing to lift them up in prayer. God always knows! 🙂 Thank you ma’am.

  5. Really fine thoughts! It’s so easy (and not at all productive) to be grumpy and ungrateful. Yet we are surrounded by blessings. I’m also reminded of what Corrie ten Boom said (and I’m quoting from memory, so may not have it exactly right): I try to hold on to my blessings lightly, because it hurts so much when the Lord has to pry my fingers open to take them away.

    1. I’ve long appreciated that quote Mr. Jim! It always reminds me that if I have clenched fists, then I’m not able to receive anything (especially blessings). Great reminder sir to let go of our frustrations and fears and focus on receiving the good things God wants to give us. Thank you for your comments sir; appreciate your adding your wisdom to our conversation.

  6. Another fine post, J. d. It is really easy to take your blessings for granted, even during times of prayer. I sometimes am so wrapped up in things in my life that I am trying to do or things I think I need that I tend to forget what I already have. But the Lord is gracious and generally reminds me of how selfish I am being with my prayer time. True, it is my prayer time, but it’s not all about me. Thanks for your insight my friend.

  7. Timely post, J.D. Love your thoughts here: “All too often, our human lives take precedence over our spiritual lives. Living today, dealing with the current challenges, can and will take our focus off our future. The result? We can set aside our joy and hope in Christ. We don’t count our blessings but focus on our problems. We forget that we are just sojourners, passing through this temporary life.”

    Yes, it made me think about a verse: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” (Psalm 84:5, NIV)

  8. JD, One of my all-time favorite hymns. My sweet mom who is now at home in Heaven taught me to sing it. And I sing it daily as I count my “many blessings.”

    Love your inventory control.

    1. Thanks Ms. Beckie. My “Ma” used to sing that around the house when she was doing chores sometimes. Thank you for sharing that wonderful memory. Perhaps our mamas are harmonizing together to that tune right this second. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am.

  9. You are a good shepherd & steward over those blessings out there. You couldn’t do a good job with all that if you didn’t love it, and if you didn’t have good shepherding over your life through the years. Most of all, we know The Good Shepherd who supplies all our needs. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow!

    1. Have been very blessed to have some great teachers, mentors, and friends in my life to help show me the way Ms. Dottie. Am so glad I can count you among them ma’am. God’s blessings dear friend.

  10. We should never be too busy to count our blessings, but alas we are. This stay at home order gives us time to contemplate a little more. I’m thankful for my home and that I have family here with me, my church community and friends I stay in touch with, for technology that allows me to continue my Bible discussion groups and seminary classes, for the sunshine the helps lift my mood, for spring greening and blooming flowers in New England, …. So much to be thankful for.

    1. There certainly is Ms. Cathy. So few of us have stopped to consider that this virus has given us an opportunity to enjoy more of the blessings God has brought into our lives for many years. Family is chief among them; even when we can’t visit in person.

    1. Me too Ms. Karisa. Our writer friends seek only the best for us, and often see only the best is us. I often say “I hope to become the man some think I am.” I’m so grateful for all your encouragement, support, and friendship ma’am. I pray each day that God allow me to somehow repay all my writing friends for all they’ve poured into me. God’s blessings ma’am.

  11. Only you, J.D., can make a beautiful spiritual point out of cow butts. It’s a gift, and I’m counting your gift as one of God’s blessings to me today.

    1. Isn’t it amazing how ungratefulness just silently sneaks into our lives? Sometimes I’ll hear myself (actually I think it’s the Holy Spirit playing back) say something snarky, and I’ll think “Where did that come from? You’re better than this!” If I’m honest, I do this more in my own home than I do in the world. That ain’t right; but I think it shows how much we take some of our greatest blessings for granted sometimes. Great thoughts Ms. Sylvia.

  12. This statement is one to remember, J. D.: “We forget that we are just sojourners, passing through this temporary life.” How right you are. As you said, Satan distracts us, but with our focus on God our perspective is correct. Thank you for lessons from the Cross-Dubya.

    1. Thank you Ms. Jeannie. It’s always important to remember that although we may be in this world for just a while, we are not OF this world. Our time here is merely preparation for eternity in God’s kingdom isn’t it ma’am? I have so much more to learn. 🙂

    1. What a kind thing to say Ms. Robin. Perhaps that’s why the painting you and your hubby (James) gifted us is so special. The symbology of virtually every animal God created, including man, in the palm of God’s hand, is a wonderful reminder of how I am supposed to hold dear and care for those He’s entrusted to me. Thank you for this wonderful reminder ma’am. God’s blessings.

  13. Beautiful as always. You had me at the first sip of coffee, right there counting. I too have had a nightly prayer- rewinding my day and thanking God for five things –generally what money can’t buy nor man create.- I’m fast asleep. Blessings JD.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Marilyn. What a blessed peace comes over us when we spend our last waking moments in God’s presence each night. I sometimes wonder how much more God appreciates hearing our thanks instead of our requests.

  14. What a wonderful habit, J.D., to set aside a specific time each day to not just pray, but to concentrate on thanking the Lord for His blessings! That would be a great habit for each of us to form.
    Thanks for blessing me today through this post,
    Gena

    1. I’m so pleased you received a blessing Ms. Gena; as your posts always seem to do for me ma’am. I commented earlier that perhaps we would be better served if we spent more time being grateful for all that God gives rather than being focused on all that we want from God. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  15. I could envision our Heavenly Father standing guard over us as you stand guard over your cattle. Such an inspiring post! Thank you and now I’ll depart with a song in my head, “Count your blessings name them one by one”………

    1. Thank you Ms. Deborah; what a peaceful work picture your words bring. I will need to keep that thought in my mind the next time Mavric the bull breaks the chain on the gate and wants to go visit his girls. 🙂 Have been humming that tune for weeks now as I am doing my chores. I think there’s a reason; God is sowing gratefulness into me. God’s blessings ma’am.

  16. I love your cow stories and I am sure it is a big responsibility to get up each morning and count them but like you said it is also a blessing. Those little things in life can show us how blessed we are and we should not take anything for granted.

    1. Thank you Ms. Barbara. I don’t think it a chore, but a privilege my friend. Oh how I’ve come to love this country life that God has led us to. Who would have ever thought that God would call someone from the suburbs of Chicago, living in a tidy little Del Webb community, to become a farmer/rancher, drive tractors, bale hay, and love on cows. Perhaps this is my reward for following His lead to become a Christian writer. Whatever the cost, it’s worth it! 😀 God’s blessings dear friend.

  17. J. D., thank you for reminding us to count our blessings, as well as to think on those things that are worthy of our cerebral attention. Where our thoughts meander, we tend to follow and counting our blessings will hopefully help us be mindful of Who they come from.
    I suppose your cows, bull, and donkeys don’t realize how blessed they are to have you as their rancher-man. 🙂
    You are one of the blessings I’m thankful for.

    1. You are too kind Ms. Connie. Thank you so much ma’am. What a good point you make; “Where our thoughts meander, we tend to follow… “. Reminded me of Matthew 6:21; what a truism for our lives my friend. So glad you added to our conversation today. Friendship brings such wonderful gifts.

  18. Isn’t it funny that what God knew would be good for us has been proven true by science these last few years? Giving thanks for all God has given us may not change our circumstances, but it changes us. I always learn something from you, J.D.

    Peace and grace,
    Tammy

    1. Gratefulness most certainly changes us my friend. I think it does so by changing our focus from us to Him. Funny. I was just thinking the same thing about you ma’am (always learning from you).

  19. I’ll never sing or hum about counting blessings in the same way again, J.D. Thank you! I’m humming it right now. I’m thinking of my 3 year old granddaughter FaceTiming this morning wanting to play hide and seek. She counts to 8 and I turn the phone away and she runs around until I show myself on the screen. Then I count to ten and she hides until she’s ready to come out. What a blessing to think we can still stay connected. I’m counting that blessing!

    1. That is just too precious Ms. Kathy! What a blessing that must be ma’am. I don’t think I would lose that smile for days and days ma’am. Pretty certain I’d be humming that tune now too after the morning you had my friend. 😀 God’s blessings; and thank you so much for joining in.

  20. I tend to count my blessings late at night when I lay my head on the pillow versus in the pastures early in the morn. I find it’s a great distraction to take my mind off worrisome issues. You tell Mavric to be nice to the hands that feed him!

    1. Night is a great time to spend a little time reflecting on all God has done for, and given, us Ms. Karen. What a great way to end our day ma’am. I’ll be sure to tell Mavric that! 🙂

  21. JD, thank you for the reminder to count our blessings. Sure changes our outlook when we spend time with God and measure our trials against the immeasurable grace of God. Blessed by your words and to count you as my brother in the Lord.

    1. Our perspective can certainly change our mood can’t it Ms. Rachael. I keep praying for “permanent change” by Christ. Learning to focus on my blessings more than my trials is a step in the right direction my friend. God’s blessings

  22. Thank you for sharing another wonderful story of your life with us. So beautiful and caring for all your four legged family

    1. I’m very pleased that you enjoyed the post Ms. Joyce; and am always glad when you and your sister are able to read, comment, and add to our conversation. Much appreciated ma’am. God’s blessings.

  23. No matter what our circumstances, it is important to thank God for our blessings. Even in the trial my family is facing, I can find blessings. In the darkest times, I need to search more. I know He is with me. Thank you for the blessing, my friend.

    1. Ms. Katherine; when I think on and pray for you and your family, know please that I add my thanks for an extra blessing of your and “Farmer Bob’s” perseverance. While you two bless my family with your faith and your friendship, it is watching you exercise your faith in the way you choose to look for blessings each day. The way you CHOOSE to focus on finding the positives that show me how I’m supposed to be living my life. While each family faces challenges, few as great as your current trial. The strength and courage you folks are showing in it is quite a blessing indeed. I pray that one day I can somehow repay you for all you have taught me.

    1. I am with you there Ms. LuAnn. This “slow down”, although it doesn’t seem to be working for me too much, has afforded us more time to reflect upon all the blessings in our lives. They are continuing every day aren’t they ma’am. 🙂 God’s blessings.

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