As I began reflecting on the great things God has done in my life in 2011, I was reminded of the hymn, “Count Your Blessings.” The song tells us that when storms come, when we’re feeling burdened down, when we’re tempted to compare our lives to others or midst of conflict that we should count our blessings and name them one by one.

Many of us are tempted to focus on the bad and forget about the good. However, I have chosen in 2012 that I’m going to forget about the bad and focus on the good.

The most important blessing of all is Jesus Christ. Without him in my life, I wouldn’t even be here. I’m not just referring to being in Texas, but alive in general. Before I gave my life over to Christ, I lived a very careless and frivolous lifestyle. My day consisted of drinking, drinking and oh yeah more drinking. Needless to say, all I ever did was party. But there came a day when I realized I couldn’t live that life anymore. And I am extremely thankful I did.

My family members are indeed blessings to me. They have supported and encouraged me in ways that are indescribable. I owe a major debt of gratitude to my grandmother, Rosia Cade of Greenwood, S.C. She took me in when I had no one to depend on. She has been one of my biggest fans and has always taught me to stay committed to whatever I’m doing.

I definitely can’t leave out my Texas family. There are almost as many of them as my Carolina family. I have learned so much from them. They have been very instrumental in the person I’ve become. I have been taught how to be an upstanding Christian example by them. The spiritual instruction and guidance they provide is outstanding.

Last, but certainly not least, is my Waxahachie Daily Light family. I can truly say, without a doubt, this is truly the greatest bunch of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. However, we aren’t just co-workers, but we are a family.

That point was driven home as I struggled a few weeks ago with some health issues. I was told I would need surgery, but I didn’t want anything to affect my job. My boss, Neal White, put my mind at ease as he shared his and my co-workers’ concerns. Around the office, Neal is a man of few words, so when he asked to speak with me, my heart about beat out of my chest. As we entered the conference room, I asked, “Am I in some sort of trouble?” He smiled at me and said, “You’re never in trouble. I just want to put your mind at ease.”

He went on to tell me that their number one concern was my health and that we would get through it no matter what. I did make it through that situation without needing surgery and am feeling better than I have in weeks. But in the midst of all of it, my co-workers showed so much love and concern as I received encouraging phone calls from all of them. There were a few who called to lecture me about being hard-headed, but for the most part, they were uplifting.

As I look back on all of these things, 2011 has been a year of great blessings. Even through the difficult times, there were things to be thankful for. The blessings of God are abounding in my life and I will carry them into 2012.

“Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your blessings, see what God has done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.”

Melissa Cade is a journalist with Waxahachie Newspapers Inc. Contact Melissa at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@wninews.com