Stop Worrying and Count Each Blessing


count your blessings

By, Crystal S. Kauffman

Are you constantly worrying about everything so much that you are now dealing with anxiety, which has required medications to stay calm? Does the medication make you feel off your game, which makes you doubt yourself in your career? It is easy for others to say stop worrying, because they are not wearing your shoes or living your life. However, I want to give a way to combat the negativity that consumes your mind and body whenever you spend precious energy worrying about stuff you can and cannot control.

I challenge you to join me in counting each blessing throughout the day and let’s see if we can combat this anxiety together. No matter what you believe, you can find blessings all throughout you’re day and night if you think about it. First, just waking up in the morning is a blessing; as well as having food to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  If you have a job, then that is another blessing and having a vehicle is another major blessing. Once you start looking and counting your blessings, you will notice that you have a lot of reasons to smile instead of frown.

No matter what you day holds, just count your blessings and focus on looking for new ones that are happening to you. You may have a job promotion, a raise in pay, or some other positive thing happen to you. Count all of those and you will notice your anxiety disappear and you will be smiling more, while others are dealing with severe anxiety. Then, you can inspire them to count their many blessings and you may even watch them smile again.

Copyrighted 2019

Create a Blessing’s Jar


A blessing’s jar is a neat little way to remind yourself of the many daily blessings that you have received each day. This is a unique way to count your blessings, as you add little pieces of paper to a jar that have your blessing written on it. All you need for this project is a large empty jar, post-it-note paper or small pocket notebook, and a pen. Then, set aside a few moments each night before bed to write down the good things or blessings that you have received each day.  

Sometimes, you will need a little reminder of all the good things that has happened throughout your long day. Especially, when the good things tend to be overshadowed by stressful or bad things we deal within life. We tend to ponder on the bad things quicker than we remember the good things that happen to us like: a visit from an old friend, a boss recognizes your hard work on a project, and/or a surprise date with your partner.

So with that said, take time to write down all of your blessings and place them in your very own blessings jar. You can decorate your jar anyway that you want, as well as choose any jar that you may want to use.  This is a great project for Sunday school classes or a fun project for families to do together during the weekend. I hope you enjoy counting your blessings as much as I do and decorating your jar the way you want it to be.   

(c) 2019, Crystal S. Kauffman

My Mission to Save My Childhood Home


The house, but it has changed more in the last 5 years. Inside and out.

The house, but it has changed more in the last 5 years. Inside and out.

About a year ago, my husband and I began working on an endeavor that would challenge us financially, emotionally, and spiritually in many ways that we had never dreamed were possible. We felt we did the right thing, but every now again we question if it was truly worth it to save the home I grew up in. Personally, I am thankful that we didn’t give upon our mission to save what my grandfather had spent his life creating and building for our entire family. However, I must admit it was not an easy task to complete, yet we accomplished it with the help of many of our true friends who gave up their days to come help us clean up the property. We still have a long way to go before the inside it is completed, but we both have faith that we will accomplish what we have set out to do.

From the Beginning

In 1970, my grandfather bought a small house and began expanding it to fit his family’s needs over the years. Additionally, he had built a huge garage from tin and wood that was almost as big as the house is today. The property he bought is over an acre, so he built a chicken coop and had other livestock, which he raised to feed his family. As his family grew, he began his own business and did odd jobs like fixing cars to make ends meet. Soon, he began building race cars with my uncle, who drove them on a local racetrack. As he got older, he decided to move a mobile home on the back half of the property where he lived for many years with his wife of over 40 years. Later, my grandfather built a washroom behind the mobile home and a small storage room behind the garage, in order to keep the things he treasured or thought he may need in the future.

Growing up Here

My brothers and I grew up here, with my grandparents from the time we were born, until we became adults. Except when my mother married our adopted father, when I was five years old. He was in the Navy, which meant we had to around a lot with his job, but one place remained home for all of us. When my twin brother and I turned eleven, my mom decided to return home while my father traveled overseas and worked on his career. My mom announced she was getting a divorce and our life began changing drastically, because we no longer seen our father and my grandparents became constant parental figures in our life. Several times my mom would move out on her own for a few months, yet we were always welcome to move back home when she needed the extra help. I grew up into a young woman while living in this house and later married myself.

Losing our Rock

On June 7, 2007, my grandfather died after a long battle with prostate cancer and lung cancer, which had severely affected all of my family members including me. When he died, there was a lot of stuff he had collected over the years in all areas of the property. He collected things he thought he might need in the future like car parts, cars, wood, metal and PVC pipes, bricks, paint, and tools of all kinds. My brothers were feeding their addictions with the money they earned, so my grandmother went to live with my uncle after she became ill herself. I got very angry and I chose to stay away from the house for over two years, except when I came by to see my mother who was still living here. Additionally, I learned that all of my grandfather’s stuff had been sold without other family member’s consent,  so I chose to walk away from the situation completely.

Taking a Stand

In June 2008, the City of Jacksonville, FL., issued three different types of citations against the property for unsafe structures, residential, and nuisance. Then, the police raided the house and arrested my little brother for his misdeeds, but the house picked up a bad label from the city because of his actions. During the time, he was feeding his addiction to drugs and the three cases against the property were being neglected and my mother had to go to court on this issue. Finally, I took a stand and I spoke with my grandmother, as well as my uncle about saving the property from being demolished by the city. My husband and I sold all we had and moved in on Oct. 31st, of 2009, in order to begin the delicate job of cleaning up the property and fixing the house. Life changed dramatically for us because my grandmother came home and my mom was already living here with us.

The Clean Up

First, we had to clean up all the junk, trash, and debris that we found in the yard in order to comply with one citation. Then, once we got that finished, we learned that we had to tear down three separate buildings that were unsafe or condemned. We tore down the garage, washroom, and mobile home with the help of some friends who helped us clear out the second citation. Next, we began repairing the house, which had an old shed attached that was considered unsafe. We rebuilt the shed and made it into a large master bedroom for us and soon the residential citation was closed as well. However, we still have a lot of work ahead of us like painting and adding flooring, but we accomplished our goal to close all three cases.

Conclusion

Old shed redone

The new room we built from old shed.

Honestly, it wasn’t easy to accomplish the goals we set, but we did it and now the house has become a home and it looks so much better than it did before we started. We never thought we would get the three citations closed, but we did and we were not given any fines by the city. Our neighbors are always complementing us on the way the house looks now and the outstanding job we did of cleaning up the property. We initially set out to save my childhood home, yet along the way I am making new memories with my husband and my children. However, no matter what happens in the future, I will always know I did do the right thing by choosing to take a stand and helping rebuild this house into our home. Therefore, my wish would be that my children and future generations are able to enjoy seeing the home that my grandfather built with his own two hands.

©2009, Crystal S. Kauffman

Previously Published/Associated Content/Yahoo Voices

Update: I am feeling blessed, because now I am buying the house, but it still needs major work. However, I am truly happy to have saved this home from being torn down by the city. I am ecstatic that I now have a chance to own it. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways! 

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!!!!


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This morning was lonely when I woke up, because Bella’s parents come to pick her up Saturday morning. After eight months of being her foster mom, I got used to the way that she talked to me each morning as I head to the bathroom. She would bark or howl to get my attention, but as soon as I said, “Good morning, Bella Girl!”

She would go nuts rubbing her face on my legs and wait for me to love on her. I admit, at first I was against fostering her while her parents got settled. But, with each passing day, week, and month…I began falling in love with her. One day, my girlfriend Laura brought up some temporary hair chalk a few months back and I gave Bella a purple mohawk. However, before I could get the picture, she rubbed up against me and the hairdo didn’t stay up.

Bella, I had no idea how attached I became to you, during the time that I helped my mom care for you. Furthermore, Monkey misses you too, because you became his surrogate mother, once I brought him home at eight weeks old. Now, who is going to protect him from Grumpy Ol’ Gizmo?

I am so glad you are home with your mom and dad, but this house is not the same without you. I miss WP_20140507_001 (1)your special way of talking to me and everyone. I will cherish every memory that we have made together and you will always have a special spot inside my heart. I do hope to see you again soon!

Removing Negative Labels from Your Life


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Removing Negative labels from Your Life

Sometimes during your life, you will hear negative labels that have been placed upon you by teachers and parents. Maybe your parents told you, you will never amount to nothing or teachers have told you that you are not smart enough to pass a grade. Unfortunately, we tend to believe what others say about us, even though we know that they are wrong. Something I learned from Sunday school is that God doesn’t make junk, so how can we amount to nothing or be worthless?

With God as our guide, we will learn by faith that he has a divine plan, which will help us reach our full potential. Never hold onto these labels that others have given you, which is solely based their limited observation of you and your past mistakes or behaviors. You are not worthless or a freak in God’s eyes, because you were made in his image and he has a plan that will lead you to success. However, you must first believe in Jesus Christ and repent of your sins, in order to become a new creature in Christ.

God has a plan for your life that will help you reach your full potential, whether it is to be successful in business, a ministry, or as a witness for God. Start today, remove the negative labels from your life and soon others will see how God has changed your life as well. Furthermore, believe in yourself and take a moment to thank God for bringing you out of past behaviors and mistakes like: addiction, failures, and other labels that may have held you back for so long.

Never let anyone speak a negative label over your life, because God has put many positive labels into your life. The day you became a Christian, your life became new and God spoke blessings over your life. So now, it is up to you to remove these labels and speak positive things into your life, so you will begin to the many blessings that God has in store for you. However, if you continue to believe the negative labels that people spoke about you, then you may be missing out on the many successes God has been preparing for you.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” James 1:12

Random Acts of Kindness….Pass it On!


This picture was taken in 2007., during our Blankets of Hope Projects.

This picture was taken in 2007., during our Blankets of Hope Projects.

About Picture

This year, while gathering up Christmas presents for your family and friends. Try to grab a gift or two for a neighbor that you know has no family or a family that may be under privileged. These little random acts of kindness will bring joy to those, who may be lonely or feel sad during the holiday season.

For example. this picture  taken in 2007, when we first started giving out gifts and blankets to those who have no one during Christmas at cancer centers, nursing, homes, or other places joy is needed. Additionally, this particular year in 2007, my children and I visited the trauma unit at Shands during our give away.

Laugh at Cancer Support Community is so thankful for the many different donations, which have been given to us over the years. Since, these simple presents brought joy into the lives of many others. The idea for the support community and the blankets and small gifts came from examples in my own life.

A Glimpse Into My Blessed Life

Over fifteen years ago, my daughters 4th birthday was coming, but I got sick enough to be admitted into Orange Park Hospital and stayed during her birthday. My lovely roommate surprised me! She had her daughter bring in several presents for my daughter like: Barbie, Barbie’s horse, and clothing for the Barbie doll. I felt so blessed when this happened that I cried as I tried to tell her thank you. She hugged me and said he said just pass it on when you can.

Later, for the next five years, I found myself in the hospital over the holiday season for one reason or another on Thanksgiving, Christmas, (My birthday), New Years Eve, and New Years Day. During Christmas, the nurses would bring in gifts for me and my children, which made me feel blessed and grateful. The nurses from each shift brought me some things to use to write with, since they knew I loved to write short stories. They even loved reading what I wrote, which made me feel honored and set me on the path to writing. I am not perfect, but I know I get better every single day.

This year, I am collecting donations for the Blankets of Hope Project, which can be throw blankets or small gifts for adults or children. However, if you cannot help us out, then take time to help someone near you that needs help this year. If you can help us, contact me for my email laughatcancer@gmail.com for the address to send your donations to. I hope you will take a moment and let us know how we are doing, as well letting us now if you plan to donate. We can also use Christmas cards that are not signed, instead put “Thinking About You” at the bottom of the card.

Please help spread the word by sharing this blog!

Thank you and Happy Holidays!