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Déborah Xavier-Mis ponders how easy it is to focus on what we lack, rather than give thanks for what we have.

My oldest daughter, Maria, turned 3 years old last July, in the middle of the pandemic. In fact, her toddler life had changed quite a bit since pandemic hit: she was pulled out of school, all of her library programs we so enthusiastically participated in were cancelled, no more Sunday church, and most importantly, she became a big sister!

When her birthday came around, we still wanted to make it feel special, even without a gathering with her friends. We found out about an Animal Sanctuary near by and decided that would be a nice treat for her because she loves animals.

We all had a blast! It was a beautiful and hot summer day. We brought a sack lunch and ate under the shade of trees. Then we spend the afternoon walking around and watching all the animals. There were bears, tigers, lions, different species of birds, monkeys, and more. At the end of the afternoon, we drove home feeling energized. The girls were tired and slept all the way on our 50-minute drive home. My husband and I felt good about the decision of making the trip as everyone seen to have enjoyed it.

After getting home our family called to greet Maria for her birthday. She told them about her trip to what she called “zoo.” When asked about what she saw there, her instant answer was: “I did not see an elephant. I did not see a giraffe or a hippopotamus….” And she went on and on, talking only about the animals that she had not seem. We had a good laugh and still do when we remember this episode.


As I strive to keep my focus on the full half of my glass, I wonder about the things that make me move my attention to the empty half. #catholicmom

Months later, sitting at my kitchen table, I as I looked back on this day I thought: am I not like my toddler sometimes? Am I like a child who only talks about what she lacks? After all, I am a child of God. Here I am, surrounded by blessings all around me: a beautiful, loving and healthy family; caring friends; food on my table; a roof over my head -- and I can still sit on my butt all day long and make a never-ending list of things that I do not have. It is so easy to focus on what I lack and lose sight of the blessings in my life.

Clear cup half-filled with water, with blurred sunset background

It is like gazing at a half glass of water. Is it half-full or half-empty? As I strive to keep my focus on the full half of my glass, I wonder about the things that make me move my attention to the empty half. How can I focus more on my blessings and less on what I lack? What makes me lose focus on my blessings?

I pray for God’s help in keeping the focus on my blessings. I have noticed that by focusing on my blessings, my prayers have changed from petition to thanksgiving, and my heart from sorrow to joy.

Copyright 2021 Déborah Xavier-Mis
Image: Canva Pro