Friday, May 30, 2008

Lucky or Blessed?

Food For Thought 5-30-08

Hi friends, this is Harry Blalock; General Manager for radio stations KZMI & KCNM. It’s that time once again to take a look at the issues of the week, and to offer some Food For Thought.

I’ve been told many times and in many different ways over the years that I’m truly a lucky bum. My co-worker Lewie has commented many times on how lucky he thinks I am, and yet if you asked my daughter, she would tell you I’m one of the unluckiest people she knows. It’s all a matter of perspective, how you look at things and evaluate them.

Some of the reasons Lewie has come to this conclusion are because I've found a nearly new digital camera in an underwater housing while diving in the Grotto before, and yes, it still worked just fine. There have been several times that I was diving the Grotto picking up trash people had thrown in it and I've found $20 bills. Not just once or twice mind you, but several times now. I had someone come out to Saipan a little less than a year ago, who just happened to want something I had. It was something I hadn't spent any money on, but he wanted, and I wound up with a brand new Canon EOS Rebel XTi Digital camera with 5 lenses, a carrying case, tripods and a bunch of other gear in exchange for my item which I didn't really even want any longer. I had a health insurance company trying to tell me recently that I owed them $250 for items that weren't covered when I went to Hong Kong for a heart catheterization a couple years ago. In the end, instead of me having to pay them $250, they wound up sending me a check for nearly $1,000. And then last weekend while diving at Lau Lau, I jumped in the water right where you start your dive, and when I got to the bottom I found an Aladin Pro dive computer, which was still working just fine! So even though I've already got a dive computer, and I just ordered Kelli new dive gear, thanks to the check from that insurance company, now I've got a dive computer for other people I take diving to wear. Very cool! So am I just extraordinarily lucky? I don't think so, I mean when you figure how many hours I spend underwater every week, odds are good that I'm going to find some things that other divers have lost. Some people would still say that I’ve been very lucky.

But then if you asked my daughter about my luck, she would point out my lack of luck when it comes to buying Red Cross Club 200 tickets every year. There have only been a couple years in the last 12 that I have not bought a ticket and gone. I always tell her every year that I’m feeling lucky and I think this will be the one. She always laughs and scoffs at me and says, sure Dad, you say that every year. And it’s true, I do. I have probably gone 10 out of the past 12 years, I’m guessing they have given away well over 400 prizes during that time, and yet I still have never won anything, not even a one night stay at a hotel or a cell phone. Nada, Zip, Nothing! I have to admit, my record for the Club 200 has been perfect, but I’m feeling lucky this year. I can hear my daughter groaning and laughing at me already.

Since I’m a member of the Rotary Club of Saipan, I’m always tasked with selling $400 worth of tickets every time we hold a Las Vegas night. Typically I would sell most of the tickets and buy a few myself, in the hopes that I might strike it lucky and win one of the big prizes. I have won assorted raffle prizes over the years with my Las Vegas Night tickets, but I’ve never won one of the big cash prizes. But for several years I have watched as some of the Rotarians who have just bought their entire $400 allotment of tickets themselves have won vehicles and some of the top cash prizes. So last year I got a brainstorm, I decided I just needed to increase my odds, I decided to go into a pool with 3 other people for my allotment of tickets. We would each kick in $100 and we would equally share any prizes that were won with any of our tickets. I figured this increased my odds of winning something greatly. So somehow I managed to talk my daughter into buying $100 worth of the tickets with me, of course her boyfriend got pulled into the scheme as well, and a guy who happened to be renting a room from me also got in on the action. Except for Sarah, I think we were all kind of excited about our chances. I talked about my grand scheme to hit it big on my talk show the morning before the event. Some employees of another Rotarian who hadn’t sold any of his tickets yet were listening to my idea, and they decided they would do the same thing with their boss. Yup, you can almost guess where this is going, can’t you? We managed to win a few raffle prizes, but the other group who copied my plan hit it big, they won $5,000 I believe. You can just imagine the lecture I got from my daughter over that one.

And by the way, there is another Las Vegas night coming up, and I plan on doing the same thing with my tickets again this year. I’m thinking my daughter will be less than enthusiastic about entering into a partnership with her “unlucky” father, so that means there will be a couple open slots if you’re feeling “lucky”. First come, first serve!

But the reason I bring all this up is because I want to talk about what some people look at as luck, I look at as being blessed. This was kind of brought home to me the other day as I was reading some of the comments from people on Link Referral who have read my blog and looked at the pictures on my Smugmug site. Let me share their comments with you so you know what I mean.

-"Incredible. I'm not usually the the jealous type, but I have to honestly say that I envy you. What an awesome site. I loved watching that curious little turtle come up and bump your camera. You could almost see his mind working as he looked at you in curiosity. I've never went on a dive before but I would love to when I can save up enough. Thank you so much..."

-"Awesome awesome website. The photos are lovely. The map is beuatiful - i love maps. My Picks are great, actually everythng I clicked was stunning! I could lose myself in there for hours. You are one very lucky man! Fantabulous job!.."

Yes, I'll admit, I'm getting the chance to live most people's dream. Most people scrimp and save all year for the chance to go somewhere like this for a week or two on vacation, it's what keeps them going all year until the next vacation. But I'm living the vacation, I get to dive every weekend of the year and combine two of my passions, scuba diving and photography. It just doesn't get much better than that.

But again, getting back to the being "lucky" thing. I truly believe it's not just blind luck, I believe that God has for His own reasons decided to just bless me abundantly, far beyond anything I could have ever imagined or asked for, and certainly far beyond anything I deserve.He has blessed me with the most amazing wife I could have ever asked for. There is no doubt in my mind that Kelli loves me unconditionally and is completely and totally devoted to me. I know that she has spent thousands of hours praying for me and asking for God's blessings on us, I believe those prayers have been, and are continuing to be answered. I have seen the bible promise of "Seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be given to you" answered over and over during our life together.

I will never be a rich man, as far as monetary wealth goes. I have too much fun giving it away to others. When I am blessed, I have fun passing those blessings on to others. When I found the underwater digital camera and housing, I gave it to a friend of mine who had just given her digital camera to her sister in the Philippines. I knew she would get much more use and enjoyment out of it than I possibly could. Yes, I had people offering to buy it from me, but that would have just given me some money which would have disappeared and I'd have forgotten what I bought with it. But this way I have the satisfaction of knowing that she has a camera she will use to capture memories and special moments while she's going to college that she will continue to share with her mother and family back in the Philippines. One option would add toward your monetary wealth, the other is absolutely priceless! I've tried to follow that principle throughout my life, and truly share with others what I have been given. You might say that I'm unbelievably lucky; I say that I am extraordinarily blessed. When my time on this earth is gone and it's time for those left behind to say goodbye, I won't have to worry about them fighting over my riches, there won't be any. But hopefully there will be an interesting assortment of people left behind who will all have their own little story of their brushes with this eccentric old dive bum, and hopefully they will incorporate the principle of sharing the wealth, and passing along what has been given to you to make a difference in someone else's life. It’s called the “Pay It Forward” principle, and there was actually a very cute and moving movie made about it a few years ago. If there was one principle I would impart to you it would be this, get out of the rat race and get into the giving race. It's a decision you'll never regret, and you will truly leave a lasting impression on those whose lives you've touched. Perspective can truly make all the difference in the world, and can turn someone who was feeling sorry for themselves over not striking it rich, to someone who is thankful and rejoicing over the many blessings that they have been given. I know I’m not the only one who has been extraordinarily blessed, have you taken the time to be thankful for your blessings lately? I don’t think you have to wait for Thanksgiving to do it, in fact I would hope that you would take the time to say thanks on a regular basis for the things you’ve been blessed with.

Food For Thought is now available online at and if you want it by e-mail distribution please send me an e-mail at

I’m Harry Blalock, thanking you once again for giving me a generous slice of your valuable time, and allowing me to share my Food For Thought.

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