Happy Thanksgiving! Count your Blessings!

When you look at others
With their lands and gold
Think that Christ has promised
You His wealth untold
Count your many blessings,
Money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven,
Nor your home on high.
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 has done.
(From the Christian Hymn “Count Your Blessings”)

I just wanted to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all.  I hope you and yours will be safe today and during this holiday season.  God’s blessings to all and be extra careful if you are going to go Black Friday shopping tomorrow.

This year is an unusual one.  I am giving thanks for having less than I did a year ago… Well, at least fewer possessions.  It feels so good to know everything is paid for, there is privacy, I can “clean house” in just a few minutes, and there is no rent to pay when sleeping in the van.  It’s truly freedom and peace of mind that not everyone gets to experience in life.

In the past, it seemed peace of mind was there but it was just an illusion.  I used to have great jobs with awesome benefits and high pay.  It was easy to make lots of money, buy expensive toys, and borrow against a strong credit rating.  Living high on the hog, I went under twice and lost most everything.  One bad boss and I ended up more or less pushed out.  The information technology market weakened and I eventually gave up trying to find a job in that area.  The party was over.

For a number of years, I barely made it from paycheck to paycheck though was fairly happy.  Eating from shelters and food pantries became a way of life.  Having lived for years among many financially challenged folks (and having been one) many poor or homeless people are not as miserable as you might think.  I don’t want to downplay the stress of not having money – it really sucks.  But many are in the same place I was… They lost everything and then realized how little a person really needs in life to be happy!

In this country, we have incredible opportunities for a pleasant life if we think more about the blessings and less about the tangibles.  Americans have more liberty than virtually any place on the planet.  If you want to be a CEO or a vandweller, a pastor or a hippie, it is your choice.  We have life – we live longer and healthier than at any point in history due to better medicine, food, and water.  Also, with our liberty and good health, each has the the right and ability (within reason, of course) to pursue as much or little happiness as we desire.  Though these gifts required much sacrifice, they are free to us.  The only thing that tops these gifts is the biggest one of all:  Salvation!  These gifts are what matter – not what they might be used to buy on Black Friday or any other day.

So what is on the agenda for today?  My buddy Tony invited me to Thanksgiving dinner.  After a night of eating, a bit of blackberry wine, and camping, tomorrow I plan to start my own movement… “Occupy Wal-Mart”…  The idea is to eat a good breakfast, drive back to town, and take a nap in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Who could possibly notice a van camper in the midst of the Black Friday chaos.  And by the way, I’m just going to sleep there – No way will you find me in that crowd! 

Have a great day everyone.  Hopefully there will be some good pics to post tomorrow after the Thanksgiving feast(s)…

Have a great day!


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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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