Introduction

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings

  
Introduction

A few months ago, we published Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People, our book on people overcoming adversity. Many of our writers stressed how happy they are now, despite lower incomes, smaller homes, and simpler lifestyles. Many wrote about the new lives they have come to accept and enjoy after chronic illness, accidents, losing loved ones, or other non-economic challenges. Some were victims of a crime, some watched their houses burn down, and some are living with incurable illnesses or disabilities.

Many wrote about finding inner strength, support from friends, marriages strengthening in the face of adversity, and rediscovering the joys of their families. They wrote about the silver linings they found in their troubles and the many blessings in their lives. We had so many fabulous stories about “counting your blessings” that we decided to make this companion volume to Tough Times and to do it with the assistance of Laura Robinson and Elizabeth Bryan, whose amazing sagas you will read in this book.

When we needed a few more stories to finish this book, we sent an e-mail to our past contributors, letting them know what we needed and giving them only two weeks to submit. We received almost 2,000 submissions in those two weeks, a record number of daily submissions for a single book. The tremendous interest in this topic tells us we struck a chord—it seems that we are all reassessing our lives and our needs, thinking about what really matters to us, and realizing how good things really are.

These inspirational stories remind us that each day holds something to be thankful for—whether it is having the sun shine or putting food on the table. Power outages and storms, health scares and illnesses, job woes and financial problems, housing challenges and family worries test us all. But there is always a silver lining, and the pride and self-esteem that come from meeting a challenge are always empowering and invigorating.

In this book you will read stories about how to express gratitude, whether it is by making lists, reaching out to thank people, or just approaching each day with a positive attitude. You’ll read about families who have gone back to basics, and are so much happier with their new focus on what really matters. You’ll read inspirational stories about people who have recovered from horrific injuries or illnesses, and the lessons they have learned. We have some “wow” stories about silver linings, good fortune, and lucky coincidences that happened to people in the middle of their struggles. You will gain a new perspective on life as you read this book, and we are sure that it will put a spring in your step as you reflect on the many blessings in your own life.

I tip my hat to all of you readers. I know that the stories in this book mirror your own experiences, and that our writers reflect the fortitude, resilience, and joy that you all show in your daily lives. Your strength, your good humor, and your generosity in the face of adversity are a great inspiration to all of us.

~Amy Newmark
Publisher, Chicken Soup for the Soul

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