For weeks at a time, my grandfather and his crew held onto hope that they would be able to pull up the hull of a sunken ship off the coast of Alaska. It was rumored to be heavy with gold. The men sorely missed having a real cook. As the project persisted through the seasons without much success,   they grew tired of the cold salt spray in their faces, the chilly days, and each other.

Their standing rule became whoever complained about the food would be cooking next.

One sailor slurped his first spoon of beef stew, coughed, spit and sputtered, “Gosh, this stuff is salty!” All eyes were riveted on him.
Then he added brightly, “But it’s just the way I like it!”

Contentment and a thankful heart in all circumstances are what God expects of us. Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:11, “I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (NIV)

How often do we wistfully wonder, “If only I had _____, then I would be_____.
“If only I had my youth back, then I would be bungee jumping!”
“If only my young children were grown, I wouldn’t have to be the cookie police. I would be able to sleep in, wear necklaces without my kids doing pull-ups on them, and grow my hair long again.”
“If I only had a new car, I would be headed down the highway to Disney World with grandkids.”

Sometimes on frigid winter holidays when bad weather keeps me off the streets and home in front of a fire, I begin to think, “If I only had more airline points, then I would be flying out to see my sons.” But in pining over flights, I missed looking to be content in all circumstances.

When is a day of thanksgiving? It’s not just an American holiday. Thanksgiving is every day.

Is there food in the house? Are the bills paid? Is the roof keeping out the weather? Have the insects that secretly scuttle around at night left the premises for the winter?

Ask yourself, “What great things has God given me so far?
How can I show him my thankful heart?” Each day that you count your blessings is truly a day of thanks.

And when the stew is salty, smile and give thanks! It’s just the way you like it!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking  her weekly blog on]

About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

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