Gratitude 2014

Today is Thanksgiving which, naturally enough, helps me remember to show gratitude, to be thankful.

So, what do I want to show gratitude for this year?

Gratitude 2014

I’d like to show gratitude for…

  • …the best spouse I could have ever asked for.  I seriously don’t deserve my wife!  She has literally helped me become a better person.  Literally.
  • …the transformative power of Jesus to change lives, starting with mine.  I’ve had a front-row seat this year as Jesus has flipped my life over and the lives of some people close to me as well.
  • …my families, both my given one and my chosen one.  The level of support that my wife and I have experienced from our parents, siblings, and extended relatives has been indescribable.  And our fictive family, our chosen set of friends, have blessed us beyond belief as well.  It’s been incredibly humbling!
  • …my cousin Wendy, her parents Christy and Wade, and her kids.  As our lives are beginning to dovetail with theirs due to our adoption scenario, we couldn’t be happier at the possibilities for grace and beauty that will flow both ways.  God is good.
  • …how welcoming our neighborhood has been.  We moved to a new neighborhood this March and it’s been great!  We’ve enjoyed sharing Alida’s baking, cooking out, and enjoying hours of enlightening conversation.
  • Lake Avenue Church, our local church home.  We’ve been inspired there, served there, worked there, made and found community there, and have been given opportunities to lead there.  Gratitude doesn’t begin to express our feelings about our spiritual family!
  • …health and comfort.  My wife and I have a great life.  We’re blessed.  But we know that being blessed comes with a responsibility to be a blessing in the lives of others, especially those who don’t have health and comfort.  May we be moved to demonstrated and speak the love of Jesus where Jesus has placed us, where we work, live, and play.
  • …people in my life who are very different than my wife and I.  We’ve been stretched by the diversity and it hasn’t always been fun or easy.  But I know without a shadow of a doubt that we’ve grown.

What in your life causes you to feel gratitude?

Express it in the comments below!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Date

werner22brigitte / Pixabay

The fall is the favorite time of year for my wife (Alida) and I.  The weather is nice, you can get pumpkin-flavored anything, and it’s the month that has Thanksgiving in it.  Oh, and I can’t forget about football!

On top of all of that, Alid and I got married in the fall: October 12, 2002.

In other words, we really love the fall!  And one of our fall traditions is our annual Thanksgiving Date.

Here’s what we do: Every year around Thanksgiving Alida and I have a special date.  We try to plan the date as close to Thanksgiving day itself as our schedules will allow.  Sometimes this means that we have this date the day before Thanksgiving and at other times we’ll do this several days early.

Either way, the purpose of this date is simple — we just want to let one another know how thankful we are for each other and our marriage.  So we take turns sharing something we are thankful for back and forth.

We do this twenty-five times.  It’s usually pretty fast and we can do it while eating a meal together.  But now and again one of the things we are thankful for needs a little discussion or is really funny!  Either way, all we want to do during this time is connect with one another and show real appreciation for each other.

This has got me thinking…how appreciative of Alida am I every single day?  Do I say “thank you” enough?  Do I intentionally go out of my way to show Alida how grateful I am for all that she does for me?  Am I consistent in expressing to Alida that simply by being her she has totally changed my life for the better?

Or do I try to stick all that gratitude into our annual Thanksgiving Date?

I know I’m not perfect.  But I do often make an effort to be grateful.  But could I do more?  Absolutely!

So, here’s the question: Do you let the people in your life who are important (e.g., spouse, kids, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc.) know how much they mean to you?  When’s the last time you looked one of those people in the eye and said “Thank you for being you.”

Here are a few ideas to get started:

  1. Say “thank you” a lot, so much so that it feels like too much.  It would be way, way better to err on this side of things than the other.  Become known and the thank-you guy or woman!
  2. Plan a meeting/date/hangout during which your sole purpose is to show appreciation.  So have a meal with someone and prepare a few things to tell them you are thankful for.  Getting reciprocation is great but even if you don’t get anything back, it’s still worth it to invest in the life of someone else.
  3. Send some of the most important people in your life a handwritten, thank-you note through the mail.  No one gets real snail mail anymore!  Our mailboxes are just stuffed with junk mail, ads, and printed invites.  Your hand-written note will really bless the socks off whoever you send it too!
  4. Thank the people most important to you in public ways too.  A private thank you is paramount.  Nothing can replace that!  But there’s something special about showing appreciation for someone important to you in public (e.g., while speaking in front of a group, on Facebook or Twitter, or even just in conversation with someone else).  I distinctly remember many of the times when I was thanked publicly — each one made my day!

Can you think of some other ways to be thankful?  Let me know in the comments below.