I have a good friend who is really into astrology. He has spent decades studying it and is a disciple of using astrology to help shape his life.
Now let me say up front that I consider this friend to be intellectually well grounded and one of the most financially astute people I've ever met. I respect his opinion so much that I tend to seriously consider what he says.
He was nice enough to do an in-depth astrological chart for me. That includes a reading of the planets at the time I was born and an analysis of how that shapes my personality and preferences.
It made fascinating reading and I'm amazed at how accurate it was. With about 90 percent accuracy, I think it nailed the essence of who I am.
The chart he did for me also included a timeline showing the best times to make financial decisions, warnings of when to avoid major decisions, times when I'll be more accident prone and times when the planets are aligned to bring good things my way.
That's the part I can't take all that seriously. I found it never turned out to be all that accurate and I don't put much stock in it.
But I do joke sometimes about the planets being aligned to create a rough patch.
John Denver had a succinct, poetic way of phrasing it:
"Some days are diamonds,
Some days are stones."
I am by nature a very positive, upbeat person. I get up in the morning expecting it to be a good day and that expectation mostly turns into reality.
But sometimes what John Denver calls "a stone day" creeps up on me. I had one of those this week.
It started first thing in the morning when my iPhone flashed a message saying I needed to improve my phone's security by downloading a security patch.
I checked before I did it and learned this was a valid security update from Apple. But when I did it, it froze my phone and nothing seemed to undo it.
I called Apple and they were helpful, as usual. But I was on the phone for two straight hours, speaking with four different people before we could even partially resolve the problem.
By the time I hung up, I needed some fresh air and relaxation. I headed to one of my favorite places my outdoor lanai to sit and relax. But when I lowered myself in the chair, I felt a sharp sting.
In keeping with my "stone day," I had managed to sit on a wasp that responded by stinging my right hip. What are the chances of sitting on a wasp, I ask you?
My hip blew up like a balloon with all the pain and itching of what the doctor called a full-blown local reaction.
Well, with one hip hurting from the surgery and the other hurting from the wasp, there was no comfortable position.
Eventually, I turned to cooking to forget about the pain. Normally, I'm rather good in the kitchen, but my "stone day" continued with a problematic meal, including slimy vegetables.
Yes, I know. It was all small stuff, except for the wasp sting that kept getting worse. But it was a "stone day."
My normal optimism kicked in and I finally responded by thinking of my many blessings. One secret to happiness, I believe, is thinking about our blessings, not our problems.
My blessing that day was sitting with my husband to watch "Shark Tank." It's the only TV show we can watch together because we are total opposites in our TV viewing habits.
Watching "Shark Tank" with David is fun. We always vote whether or not we would finance each entrepreneur. Hey, when you can be with a guy who is both smart and fun, it's definitely a blessing.
The next day when I got together with a few friends, we talked about counting blessings. What we concluded is there are blessings tucked into many problems.
One friend is the sole caregiver for her 96-year-old mother who suffers from dementia. While her life is often overwhelming, she says she also knows what a blessing it is to have her mother for so many years.
"There will be times when she is gone that I will long once again for one of my overwhelming days," she says.
One friend, who has "husband problems," admitted lately she has been focusing on her husband's perceived shortcoming, forgetting his many sterling qualities.
I'm not quite sure she swallowed my contention she's overlooking the simple blessing of having her husband there for her through thick and thin.
Another friend, who has been besieged with multiple physical problems, says she knows all of her physical ailments are temporary. "When I look around I realize not everyone can say that," she says.
I have to admit this: It's odd to be able to sit with friends and candidly talk about life's blessings. Just having friends like that in my life is another one of my blessings.
Yes, John Denver is right. We do have days that are diamonds and days that are stones.
(I wish he were still here to write his wonderful songs and sing for us. When you listen to the words of his songs, so often they resonate with our own life.)
Sure, we all get a "stone day" every now and then. But one lesson life has taught me is that even "stone days" have blessings, if you look hard enough.