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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Have you ever really sat down and made a list of things you’re thankful for? As I started writing this post, I began to just do a mental checklist of “things” that I am thankful for…that turned into experiences that I am thankful for, people that I am thankful for, and then the simple stuff. The basics. Eyesight, smell, taste, I can walk and run. I can lift things or do things with my hands. The point is that if you started writing everything down….it would floor you what you take for granted.

We’re all guilty of it…taking things for granted that is.

We’ll see another situation in life and we quietly (if not reluctantly) thank goodness for grace that has steered us away from such an experience. That sort of “if not for the grace of God, go I” kind of thing. But sometimes you find yourself right in the middle of one of those circumstances when a seemingly dull life turns upside down for whatever reason. A collapse in judgment, a series of events that led you down a wrong path, a pure accident, a choice gone right….or terribly wrong. Sometimes you end up right where you are supposed to be and just in the nick of time. All things seemingly orchestrated by our personal decisions and God’s influence on our lives. Sometimes we're shaped by wonderful things and then other times we are shaped by fire and pressure.

I’ve been in some of those places this year. The perfection of Reese and the love that Kim and I have for her from the second we saw her…but then the sheer disgrace of bad decisions and poor judgment executed in tandem…The excitement of experiencing new places with Kim and Reese and the creation of new memories for our family…and then the stomach churning challenge that hits you from nowhere and when you least expect it.

These situations prompt responses and reactions from each of us but how should one react to these challenges? I mean sometimes a simple Thank you is in order and then in other situations, an acknowledgment of the situation and a heart felt "I'm sorry" is required. All too often our responses become very much canned and void of emotion. A thankful heart becomes calloused and somewhat expectant and then in other cases our words fall short of what is needed for closure or support. Think of it this way...Do you thank God every day that you wake up and something terrible DIDN’T happen and you can still see clearly or walk to the car? Do you thank God for that traffic light that held you up, causing you to be late to work, but ended up preventing you from having a head on collision? Do you thank goodness for something jarring you into clarity or do you just skip past it and not glean anything from the experience? What about the bad situation where someone forgives you and “I’m sorry” is all that you can muster. Sometimes “I’m sorry” needs to be lived…versus said. I learn lessons the hard way – I’ve moved on to the walking the walk segment of “I’m sorry” because I’ve said it before but now “sorry” needs to be seen.

My point in all of this is that many times we’re truly grateful for a set of circumstances or truly humbled by them as well and we not only need to say it…but live it as well. Sometimes we’ll simply mutter a Thank you or stammer around with an insincere apology or acknowledgment, but my desire moving forward is to say things with my actions.

This Thanksgiving I’m taking time to really reflect. We’ve had so many highs with Reese but we’ve also had some pretty good lows this year as well. I have a terrific little family that I am thankful for and I intend to focus on their joy this holiday season. I have a wife that has seen the very best of me and the very worst….and she still finds a way to love me. She has given me a wonderful little girl and she has given so much of herself in order to keep our relationship intact. We have a wonderful home (it is getting cramped with the little lady’s stuff everywhere) with great neighbors in a safe neighborhood. We have wonderful friends and a tremendous family to lean on. We’re still employed….although ready to pull our hair out. We have a pantry full of food and I’m warm and dry when I sleep. Nothing in my life is perfect. It’s far from perfect and I think striving for perfection is time wasted. I want to strive for just right because I can obtain that goal.

I mess up a bunch. From simple stuff to substantial stuff. I have a knack for mistakes and I’m proficient at their execution. God paired me with a woman that is better than I deserve even though she has every right to hate me and my ways sometimes. I wouldn’t blame her if she wanted to strangle me or worse. She has loved me, helped me, pushed me, and challenged me. She is a true example of unconditional love and this year, more than ever, I am thankful for that. I just want to be a good partner and a good father that shows his heart in his actions.

I love my little family…I have a good life and I’m thankful for it. Most of all, I’m thankful for forgiveness and I want to show that in the way I live my life from here out.

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