Counting our many blessings . . .

Pity Parties

Have you ever had a pity party? defines pity party as “A way of experiencing grief, in which you spend your time feeling sorry for yourself and whining endlessly about how crappy your life is.” offers a slightly different twist: “A pity party is an instance of feeling self-indulgently sorry for yourself.”

You may have your own definition. Regardless, each one of us can experience hardship that elicits complex emotions. Life isn’t, as Mary Engelbreit suggested in 1992, “just a chair full of bowlies.” And pity parties accomplish nothing good.

You may have concerns about thieves breaking into your home and stealing precious things . . . family mementos, safeguarded coins, antiques, heirloom jewelry. Installing dusk-to-dawn, motion-detecting outdoor lighting; deadbolt locks; and security cams may thwart would-be burglars. But thieves come in many forms. Such uninvited pirates may show up at any time of the day or night to rob, bit by bit, our . . . health.   The nerve!   What have I hit on?! ALS ruins nerves! What does that look like for a victim of speech-onset ALS? A few personal glimpses:

Diminished ability to speak
Difficulty chewing
Swallowing—even liquids—can be hazardous
Excessive saliva results in drooling
Weakening diaphragm causes undue fatigue
Ordinary tasks take an unreasonable amount of time

Jon often reminds me to be thankful for what I still have left. Pivotal. Otherwise, it’s tempting to wallow in what I’ve lost.

Please thank God today for your many unearned blessings. And when you take a bite of that In-N-Out burger or turkey thigh or pumpkin pie, chew and swallow it, be grateful. Something as seemingly insignificant as that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

24 Replies to “Counting our many blessings . . .”

  1. Praying for you dear friend❣️
    Having EDS/MS, your symptoms are very familiar to me. Now our daughter Mandy is also on that roller coaster. Jon is correct, we are so very thankful for all the blessings our GOD has given. We are looking forward to eternity, with all those in JESUS❣️

    1. So sorry to read that you and Mandy are having such dire trouble. Each day is a gift. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know Who holds our future. Much love to you❣️

      1. Praying for you dear friend. Finishing the race looks different for each person, and God knows the perfect location for each goal post on any given day. I think that is why daily walking, leaning on Jesus, moment by moment is our only place of rest. That He is enough has come to be my only expectation, and I no longer beat myself up if I have to say no. I pray you give yourself great grace and rest.

  2. Years ago, during a war, I nursed a soldier who had stepped in the wrong place and lost both arms and both legs. He was nineteen years old. It seems that now not a day goes by that I don’t feel a tinge of self-pity about this or that, then think about him and quickly remember that counting my blessings is a real option.

  3. How movingly and precisely expressed. May each of us today and hereafter breathe, swallow, fill our lungs with God’s good air and cherish each gift of His for us. We love your sharing, and hope it gets published even beyond the blog. Jon is so right to focus on what we have, which includes him, your family, your faith, friendships, home and critters, harvest foods, each day in its season, the mighty Pacific in your backyard. Thank you, Leslie and Jon. Much love, Genevieve and Dolfi

    1. Oh, Genevieve and Dolfi, with you providing vital sustained wind for our sail, we have the oomph to keep going. THANK YOU❣️

  4. And don’t forget breathing. Ned can swallow but struggles with each breath. The things we take for granted. We seem to think it’s a right but indeed, it is a gift. Thank you Lord for every breath he breathes.

  5. You and Jon we’re so very helpful to me when I couldn’t swallow much. I’ll never forget your kindness, and all those fresh eggs!!

    1. Thank you, Sharon. So glad you found our website. Thankful the hens provide us with eggs enough to share. Fresh eggs still help sustain us.

  6. Leslie you have always been and remain insightful, so positive, and one of the strongest women of faith in my life! You are such an inspiration to those around you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your wonderful family! THANK YOU my friend, I am thankful for you!

    1. Dear Stephanie . . . Thank you so much for your encouragement. One of the most difficult aspects of ALS is that it is a progressive disease. Just when the patient believes he or she has made good accomodations for their new “normal,” the goalposts are unfairly moved while the patient isn’t watching (analogy borrowed from another ALS patient in England). Frustrating and exhausting! Your prayers are vital in this battle. ❤️

  7. Leslie, thank you for sharing your praises and struggles with us. To say you are inspiring is such an understatement. God is using your gift of writing, faith, and encouragement in so many lives right now. Know that we pray for you so often and hold you and Jon close in our thoughts and hearts.
    Love you sooo much, Dear Sister.❤

    1. Kathrene . . . Such a welcome and invaluable reminder of your ardent prayers and and holding us close in your thoughts. Thank you❣️ This is unlike anything we’ve encountered. Imagine a soldier trained for combat on the battlefield who encounters a never-before-known lethal weapon unleashed by the enemy. Exposed! Shocked! ALS almost always surprises the victim and baffles the local doctors, multiplying stress and frustration.

    1. I just love taking God at His word. He is completely trustworthy. Who else can we rely on like that? In these trying days, it’s a daily choice to either trust Him completely or not. No gray area.

    1. I love reading that you loved reading “Counting our many blessings . . .” Thank you for your effort and patience in making this site possible so I can post some of my reflections. Love you immensely❣️

  8. Mrs. Sands! I miss you. I’m glad you started this blog so I can talk with you. I’m looking forward to your next post!

    1. Jermaine, what a pleasant surprise to hear from you! Please call me Leslie. I miss you, too, and look forward to continuing to share some personal reflections. So glad to know you’ll be here.

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