What fills your heart with gratitude this Thanksgiving? If we have much of anything in common, you’re blessed beyond measure.
My friend Blake, an editor here at FaithVillage, mentioned he encouraged his life group to list 100 things for which they’re thankful. So, although I’m not part of that group, I took him up on that challenge and discovered the hard part was settling on only 100.
Well, now I’m passing that challenge on to you. This week, take time to write your own Thanksgiving list.
And in case you’re wondering, here’s mine. Among many other things, I’m thankful for …
1. A personal relationship with God Almighty—Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
2. Joanna, my wife, best friend, confidant and partner in raising two lovely daughters. Jo rejoices with me, keeps me company, prays for me. And she makes me laugh almost every day.
3. Our daughters, Lindsay and Molly, their husbands, Aaron and David, and our little grandson, Ezra.
4. My mother and father, Margaret and Marvin; Jo’s dad, Jim, and the memory of her mother, Margie; my brother, Martin, and his wife, Valorie, and their kids, Shelby, Jamie, Tanner and Mackenzie; the memory of my sister, Martha; Jo’s sisters, Janis and Julia, and their kids and grandkids; and my centenarian grandmother, Grammar. (OK, if I run short on 100, give me credit for listing 14 names and alluding to a slew of others, all in one slot.)
5. Friends too numerous to count and too precious to forget.
6. Topanga, the world’s friendliest dog, who never has a bad day.
7. The beef enchilada dinner at El Rancho Grande on North Main in Fort Worth.
8. Crisp, fall days.
10. Hot showers on winter mornings; cool showers on summer evenings.
11. Waves crashing on the beach.
12. Lyle Lovett and his Large Band.
13. Peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches.
14. Underwear. Oh, you’re not grateful for underwear? C’mon.
15. Apples. Both the fruit and the amazing digital products.
16. Adversity. How else would we grow strong?
17. Dinosaurs and forests that died millions of years ago so we can benefit from oil and gas today.
18. “Raising Hope,” my current favorite sitcom.
19. Reruns of “M*A*S*H,” my all-time favorite TV show.
21. Breakfast burritos.
22. Coffee, natch.
24. Running. More precisely, the ability, space and opportunity to run, and how it keeps me (semi-)sane.
26. FaithVillage, the website that will gather a vast community of teens and young adults and strengthen Christian faith for generations to come.
27. James Taylor and his acoustic guitar.
28. Grouper and gouda-cheese grits at a little restaurant called The Red Bar in Grayton Beach, Fla.
30. The Bible. How else would I truly know God?
31. The Texas Rangers’ 2011 season—two times only one strike away from destiny.
32. Memories of fishing with Popo, my mother’s father.
33. The Internet. God bless Al Gore’s heart.
34. Cows, chickens and pigs. I’m not a vegetarian.
36. A fire in a fireplace on a winter night.
37. Two questions: “Why?” and “Why not?”
38. Sweet-potato chips at Blue Mesa, one of my Top 5 Mexican joints.
39. Heart-bypass surgery, which saved my dad’s life.
40. Cars. A manifestation of #s 17 and 25.
41. The United States Constitution, particularly the First Amendment.
42. Good-night kisses.
43. Orange. The color. The fruit is great, too.
44. Harry Potter.
45. Clean bathrooms on long road trips.
46. The telephone.
47. Plastic. Oh, I know it has a bad name, but most modern medicine would be all-but-impossible without it.
48. Clean water.
49. Impressionist painters.
50. My wife’s laughter—especially at my jokes.
52. Something to joke about.
54. Indoor plumbing.
56. Rain. I think I remember it.
57. Jo’s shredded-beef burritos.
58. Cowboy boots.
59. High school football.
60. My own bed.
62. Mother’s fried chicken, with mashed potatoes and cream gravy.
63. This American Life.
64. Meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and buttermilk pie. If I’m ever offered a last meal and Jo’s around to cook, that’s it.
66. Barbecued brisket.
67. Crossword puzzles.
68. Hymns. I know they’re out of fashion in most worship services these days, but they still thrill me.
70. Red oak trees.
71. Iced tea.
72. Jo’s chocolate-chip cheesecake.
74. Our fun, loving, fun-loving Bible study class.
75. Salsa and chips.
76. Music. Just about any kind.
77. Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion.
79. Phone calls from Lindsay and Molly.
80. Pictures on Facebook.
81. Road trips with my phone full of podcasts.
82. Dinner with friends.
83. Pancakes on Sunday night.
84. Sitting in my grandfather’s rocking chair, reading on the patio.
86. Long discussions about religion with our friends Marc and Vicki.
87. Talking about books with our friends Bill and Sharon.
88. Cereal, yogurt and bananas. The breakfast of guys my age training for half-marathons.
89. Brilliant sunsets.
90. “Moonlight through the pines.”
91. Red, ripe home-grown tomatoes.
92. Bow ties.
93. Friendly dogs.
96. Old photo albums, brimming with memories.
98. My co-workers, chosen family.
99. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries.
100. You. You’re why we produce this site. Thanks for reading, and thanks for walking alongside us in this journey through life.