Category Archives: 30 Days of Thanks

30 Days of Thanks #30- God’s Plan

Throughout the month of November I am writing about the first thing for which I am consciously thankful each day. I am doing this simply as a way to be more intentionally grateful. For more on this project, check out the first one or even last year’s 30 Days of Thanks.

Throughout this month of thanks, I have been fairly specific. For the most part I have avoided writing about gratitude for big picture ideas or existential concepts. I have narrowly focused my thoughts toward the here and now, the small things that make life more pleasant, and the day to day blessing that are so abundant.

Truthfully, the first thing for which I was grateful this morning was God’s plan for reconciliation. Several separate thoughts (about afterlife, the severity of sin, and the Old Testament sacrificial system) had, for various reasons,  all been bouncing around in my head for the past few days and finally gelled into an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness to God for His generous, if undeserved, offer of salvation. That’s what I was going to write about whenever my day allotted a few minutes to let those thoughts move from my mind to my fingers.

And then the day got busy.

I finally conceded to the realization that there was no way I was going to be able to do this topic justice until after Gateway’s opening home basketball games tonight. Around 9:15 I was driving home and Jack, completely out of the blue, asked “Dad, why did God make us?” I figured this was something he had talked about in school or church and he was just wanting to show off what he had learned so I threw the question back at him. He said “I don’t know. That’s something that no one has ever told me. Why would God make us?”

And that’s when it hit me. I am thankful for God’s offer of redemption, but more importantly, I am grateful that God desires for me to be redeemed. The whole purpose for my being created is to have a relationship with God–for me to be able to reflect His glory and awesomeness in some small way. I want that too, but God wants to be personally connected with me more than I want His salvation. And there’s the amazing part:

I need a Savior who doesn’t need me, but still wants me more than I want Him.

Today, November 30, I am thankful for a God who has a plan to redeem those incapable of recognizing the magnitude of our need for redemption.

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30 Days of Thanks #29- Hope for the Next Generation

Throughout the month of November I am writing about the first thing for which I am consciously thankful each day. I am doing this simply as a way to be more intentionally grateful. For more on this project, check out the first one or even last year’s 30 Days of Thanks.

Want a metaphorical kick in the proverbial seat of your ego’s hypothetical pants? Play Disney Scene it with an eight-year-old girl.

If you’ve never played one of the Scene It games the rules are really simple: You roll the dice, move your token the correct number of spaces, then answer a question either off of a card or a DVD. If you answer the question correctly, your turn continues and you get to keep repeating the process until you miss. The first one to get around the board and answer a final question wins the game.

If you know all the answers, you can win in one just turn. The makers of the game realized this and put in a few ways to end your turn without missing. If the die says to draw a Buzz card, your turn ends. If you roll an “All Play”, everyone gets to answer the next question and if you don’t answer first, your turn is over. I’m telling you all of this to set up how badly I was humiliated.

Sammie had three separate turns ended by drawing a Buzz card that sent her backward two spaces. She rolled four separate “All Play”s, never rolled a number higher than a four, and still beat me and Jack by over half the board. She answered every “All Play” on the first clue, got all but one of her questions right, won the only tiebreaker of the game (paper, scissors, rock) and still had time to complain that my questions were too easy!

Yep, I got beat like a drum, like I stole something, like a Black Friday shoplifter, like a Cinco de Mayo piñata, like a rented mule, like a dead horse attending a Presidential debate…and I enjoyed every minute of it.

There’s something awesome about realizing your kids are better than you in certain areas. Granted, Disney trivia isn’t all that important, but her mastery of it gives me hope that the generation of kids I raise will rise above my level in more meaningful ways.

Today, November 29, I am thankful for the chance to influence three young lives and hopeful that I can guide them in the correct paths.

30 Days of Thanks #28- Reuniting With Old Friends

Throughout the month of November I am writing about the first thing for which I am consciously thankful each day. I am doing this simply as a way to be more intentionally grateful. For more on this project, check out the first one or even last year’s 30 Days of Thanks.

This time of year is depressing! The days are getting shorter, the temperature getting lower, and the trees getting naked. You don’t think that should affect us bipeds? Here’s anecdotal evidence to the contrary—I was working in my office yesterday and noticed that night had fallen. In true Sherlockian form, I deduced that it must be time for me to get home. Nope! It was 4:27.

Yes, I am aware that Sherlock Holmes would have probably just looked at his watch or his cell phone or the systems tray on his PC to tell time rather than relying on the relative amount of light coming through the mini blinds. We all can’t be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The silver lining of this race toward the solstice is that we usually get to reunite with old friends. Last night I was able to reconnect with one in a very meaningful way. I haven’t seen this companion in a very long time but, nevertheless, he was there for me about two hours after my afore-mentioned disappointment over the speed of the earth’s rotation. When the earth is spinning into darkness too quickly, it’s nice to share the light of long-lost friends.

Today, November 28, I am thankful that I was able to reconnect with Burger King’s Angry Whopper.

30 Days of Thanks #27- The Rudolf Theory

This idea was going through my mind all day so I thought I would re-post it. Today, November 27, I am thankful that I can focus on the things that I can and should change about myself rather than the things I can’t control.

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On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

Yesterday’s post reminded me of another story I once heard of a youngster who had a very difficult childhood. He was often left out of the shenanigans of his peers. The fact that he was physically different than the others made it even more difficult to fit in and have a swell life.

Editor’s note: Youngster? Shenanigans? Swell? I’m assuming you picked up those terms when you were growing up next to the Cleaver family.

Of course I’m speaking of Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer.

Editor’s note: Ah, I see what you did there. You used youngster in order to avoid tipping that it was an animal of which you were speaking and not a human—pretty ineffective considering Rudolf’s name is in the title…

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30 Days of Thanks #26- There’s More to Life Than Football

Throughout the month of November I am writing about the first thing for which I am consciously thankful each day. I am doing this simply as a way to be more intentionally grateful. For more on this project, check out the first one or even last year’s 30 Days of Thanks.

I’m convinced that sports fans are defined as much by the teams we hate as the teams we love. Ask any Yankees or Red Sox fans how they feel about the other team. Ask any Redskins fan about the Cowboys or any Steelers fan about the Ravens. Ask anyone with a brain about Troy Aikman. Ask any fan of any team from any other conference about the SEC.

For those of you too dense to figure it out, here’s why the rest of the nation can’t stand you: YOU CLAIM EVERY SEC VICTORY AS YOUR OWN!!! If you’re an Alabama fan, you have a lot to be proud of lately, but I know most of you were were just as intolerably arrogant when Auburn, LSU, and Florida won titles. I’ve heard Tennessee fans claiming superiority. Something just seems wrong about that.

So yes, I’ll keep cheering for every BCS possibility that does not end with an SEC team hoisting the trophy…even if that means selling my soul to the Irish.

My wife knows about my intense dislike of the reigning champs and still chose to dress our youngest like this today:

Today, November 26, I am grateful that there are more important things in life than football. Otherwise, I might have disowned my own daughter for wearing hound’s-tooth.

30 Days of Thanks #25- My Wife

Throughout the month of November I am writing about the first thing for which I am consciously thankful each day. I am doing this simply as a way to be more intentionally grateful. For more on this project, check out the first one or even last year’s 30 Days of Thanks.

My wife set up our Christmas tree on Thursday, November 15. For those of you too lazy to look at a calendar or so disinterested that you won’t even hit your iPhone’s home button twice and ask Siri, I’ll tell you that November 15 is 40 days before Christmas. Although I love Christmas (hear that, AFA? You can stop sending me the annoying emails!), I have been annoyed at how much earlier it gets every year.

When I saw Janet dragging in the tree on that Thursday evening all I did was raise my eyebrows and she started defending herself. I’ve got to admit that her reasoning is sound. Every year she takes a Saturday to decorate her grandma’s house for Christmas. That was last Saturday. Every year she takes a week to decorate the church for Christmas. That will be this week. After she’s done with those two projects, the last thing she wants to do is more Christmas decorating, so she decided to do our house first. Her words- “I want to invest some real energy in my own family’s Christmas this year.”

This morning our 2gether Bible study talked about the Proverbs 31 woman and a few interesting points stood out to me:

  • This passage was not written to women, but to men in order that they might seek out the right kind of woman and appreciate the ones they have found.
  • The ideal woman is described as “virtuous”- seeking excellence and right.
  • She uses what she has for the benefit of her family.
  • She works hard until the job is done.
  • She gives to others as well.
  • Her family, especially her husband, praises (boasts about) her.

In verse10, Solomon implied that this woman is rare, and when you read that list it is pretty obvious why: The Proverbs 31 woman, along with her husband, must be completely selfless. I have one of those wives who will work for her family as well as others and makes us look better than we actually are. Maybe I have finally located my heart or whatever gland it is that is supposed to make you feel emotion, but like the proverbial husband, I want to praise her for being the wife I need.

Today, November 25,.I am thankful for a selfless wife.

 

30 Days of Thanks #24- The Good in the Bad

Throughout the month of November I am writing about the first thing for which I am consciously thankful each day. I am doing this simply as a way to be more intentionally grateful. For more on this project, check out the first one or even last year’s 30 Days of Thanks.

This Thanksgiving season I’ve heard three different people mention that being thankful in all things is looking for the bright side to your problems. So I’m going to try that today:

  • I have a headache…I’m thankful I have the ability to feel pain and that it is only in my head.
  • I am overweight and have eaten even more in the past few days…I’m thankful that I am not starving and that I have the ability (if not the willpower) to do something about it.
  • I got a double-bogey after a losing a ball on hole #2 today…I am thankful that I was on the golf course and that #2 was my worst hole.
  • My kids can be very annoying…I am grateful that I have three healthy kids who are enjoyable to be around most of the time.
  • My wife insisted on putting up the Christmas tree 40 days before Christmas…I am grateful that she cares enough about our home to make sure it is decorated before the Christmas season becomes overwhelming.

Today, November 24,.I am grateful that my problems really are pretty pitiful when compared with the blessings that go along with them.

30 Days of Thanks #23- Being a Dad

Throughout the month of November I am writing about the first thing for which I am consciously thankful each day. I am doing this simply as a way to be more intentionally grateful. For more on this project, check out the first one or even last year’s 30 Days of Thanks.

My dad and I were going to play golf today, but by the time we had that idea the courses were so crowded that there was no way to finish a round before dark. So we went bowling with Jack and Greg instead.

Here’s what Jack did:

It was a little better, although less entertaining, than the first time he went bowling two years ago:

I’ve got to confess that recently I haven’t been as good of a dad I should be. I haven’t done a lot of special things with Jack and I’ve been too easily annoyed by his being, well, six. I’m glad I got the chance to spend some time with him today and just be his friend.

Today, November 23, I am thankful that I got the chance to spend some time with my son.

30 Days of Thanks #22- A Lack of Hunger

Throughout the month of November I am writing about the first thing for which I am consciously thankful each day. I am doing this simply as a way to be more intentionally grateful. For more on this project, check out the first one or even last year’s 30 Days of Thanks.

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is making yourself miserable all morning by not eating only to make yourself miserable all afternoon by eating too much. That’s what my family always does. We eat the big meal together around 3:00 each year and everyone looks offended if you even imply that you’re going to eat something before then.

Now that I’m an adult and have a drivers license and my own money and the freedom to leave the house whenever I want (or whenever my wife lets me), I usually make a trip to some fast food restaurant for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Today, Sammie and I made a trip to McDonald’s for a breakfast burrito…just like the Indians and Pilgrims ate. And I’m pretty sure that sausage, egg, cheese, potatoes, and salsa wrapped in a tortilla  won’t hurt my enjoyment of the afternoon meal at all. That’s the thing about appetites–there’s always another one a few hours away that is coming to take the place of the one I just ruined.

Sure, I get grouchy if I haven’t eaten in a while. Sure, I used the word “miserable” earlier. Sure, I’ll wish I had worn sweat pants by the time the meal is over this afternoon. But before that I’m going to spend a few minutes thanking God for how good I have it.

Today, November 22, I am thankful that I have never known true hunger.

30 Days of Thanks #21- A Short Week of School

Throughout the month of November I am writing about the first thing for which I am consciously thankful each day. I am doing this simply as a way to be more intentionally grateful. For more on this project, check out the first one or even last year’s 30 Days of Thanks.

My house is a little crazy right now. We have our own three children plus David and Joy’s twins. The three three-year olds are hilarious together, Sammie thinks she’s their mom, and Jack is sick. Despite all of that I am really glad that school ended at noon today so I can spend some time in this nuthouse. However crazy they all are, they come by it honestly. Apples and trees and all that.

Earlier this week someone posted on Facebook “Thank God it’s a short week of school!”

Yep, that’s the point of the short week–so we have time to thank God. I’m not sure that’s how she meant it, but I’m running with it.

Today, November 21, I am thankful that school is out so I can spend the holiday with my family.