Posts Tagged ‘Thankfulness’

friendsMy Facebook profile says that I have 353 friends. My LinkedIn profile claims 614 connections. I think we all know the number of true friends among those is barely double digits. I am thankful for many great relationships with colleagues past and present, with so many people from my years growing up in Winchester, Kentucky that I’m still in contact with, and with those other friends from churches and elsewhere gained along the way that are truly special people in my life.

There is a difference between being an acquaintance and being a friend. With acquaintances, you may go long periods of time without contact and be just fine with that. In fact, cold as it sounds, you can take or leave most acquaintances. You’re cordial when together and perhaps enjoy the company, but they really aren’t an ongoing part of your life, so if circumstances change and you never meet or cross paths again, it doesn’t really matter.

Friends, of course, are different. You think about friends and anticipate the next time you’ll be together. Friends build on histories together and have key events that get remembered, shared repeatedly, and woven into the fabric of their combined life story. Friends enjoy being together whether there is a lot of talk and chatter or whether there is mostly quiet. With friends, a good time isn’t defined by what happens as much as it is by who is present. Friends expect you to be yourself even with your oddities and shortcomings. Friends forgive you; they don’t hold grudges. Friends come to your aid of their own accord when you’re down or down on your luck. They give without any expectation of return. They comfort you, challenge you, defend you, encourage you. Friends make you laugh at life and at yourself. The thought of a good friend brings a smile to your face.

I count myself fortunate to have friends that go back to high school days. I may not see them in person very often, but Facebook has been an avenue of keeping those relationships alive. I’m thankful for friends I’ve had since college – relationships formed in that critical period of life that have withstood the test of time. I’m thankful for dear friends I’ve gained through churches where I’ve served on the ministerial staff or been a member. I’m thankful for the added bonus of some work relationships turning into friendships that outlive working together at a company. I’m thankful for those special, closest friends where conversations just seem to pick up wherever we left off regardless of how much time has separated our being together.

We don’t need a lot of friends in our lives, but we do need some. I am thankful for all the special people in my life that I call friend.

Thank you, God, for my friends.

AmericanFlagI’m thankful for my country. Being born and raised in the United States, and having only visited several other countries in a couple of other continents for short periods, it is natural for me to love my own country. It is not perfect by any wild stretch of the imagination, and with each passing year come many trends that give me deep concern for our future. As a conservative Christian, it is obvious that society isn’t adopting beliefs and practices I hold dear. In fact, it seems to be abandoning them consistently year by year in a majority of its citizenship and certainly in its leadership.

Those trends worry me. I fear what society will look like in a generation or two. I ache at what younger generations will face after I’m gone. But that is no reason to stop loving, respecting, appreciating and being the best citizen I can be in a country that is by all measures historically remarkable.

I am deeply appreciative of those who took incalculable risks many generations ago to lay the foundation for what we have in the U.S. today. I’m thankful for men and women past and present who put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom. I’m thankful for the freedom to worship my God without fear of persecution as some of my brothers and sisters in the faith in other countries experience (although I believe the U.S. will one day unfortunately follow suit in the name of political correctness). I’m thankful that the country provides great opportunity for those willing to work hard and earn a comfortable living. I’m thankful to live in a safe neighborhood, city, region and state compared to what so many around the world experience daily just trying to get by in war-torn, poverty-stricken areas. I’m thankful for the ability to protect myself (although I also think this right will gradually be taken away). I’m thankful for the beauty of this land and its 50 states, 46 of which I’ve visited through the years.

We are a nation deeply divided in many ways. We have much to overcome that can only be overcome by willingly working together and caring for one another while working hard as though we expect nothing from anyone else.

I’ve never know a perfect human and I’ve never known a perfect country, but as countries go, I’ll take mine with a grateful heart.

Thank you, God, for my country.

I’m Thankful For My Home

Posted: November 27, 2013 in Attitude
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image from

image from

We’ve lived in our current home for 25 years. It’s a modest Cape Cod home in St. Matthews (Louisville), Kentucky. Our boys were young when we purchased it and have long since moved away. We finished the basement in 2000 to have a nice hangout for our sons’ friends and thoroughly enjoyed the years when it was filled nightly with lots of teenagers and college students. Of course, the basement is my man cave now and where my dog and I spend most of our time. Last year we made other major upgrades to the kitchen and upstairs that will serve us well for a long while to come.

A couple of years ago we made an attempt to move to downtown Louisville closer to our work and church, but we were unable to sell our house at the time (largely due to the kitchen and upstairs needing updates) and finally gave up on that idea in favor of sprucing up our current place. In all likelihood, this is where we will remain for the foreseeable future, and we’re both fine with that.

I could be content in all kinds of different homes, large or small. I could even be content in one of the tiny little micro homes you may have seen in the news lately. I guess that’s why I didn’t mind traveling for work years ago and living in hotel rooms about three weeks per month while doing so. That was enough room for me. I can’t stand clutter, so I’d be happy to give away at least half of everything in our house, probably more. In fact, I’d be pretty content just having my basement of our current house, but it would look a little silly without the main and second floors above it. It’s safe to say that I do not measure success or contentedness by the size of my house or the quantity of its contents.

What makes it a great home, though, is that it’s a haven. It’s peaceful. I can sit in my favorite recliner in my man cave surrounded by things that fill my days and evenings. I can connect to or disconnect from the world as I wish via whatever communications channel I choose. I can throw the Frisbee with my dog, watch the little critters come and go from the back yard, read a book, surf the Web, talk with my wife, soak in the Jacuzzi, sip my favorite beverage or entertain guests. I can walk to a nearby park or places of business. I can sit on the patio or on the front porch and see a street full of younger families with little children and their dogs playing.

It’s a good home. It fits us. A quarter of a century ago when we moved here, we were among the youngest families on the block. Now we’re the undisputed oldest couple on the block. That’s OK. It’s nice to be surrounded by the sounds of kids playing.

In a world where so many don’t have a decent place to live, I am truly thankful to have this home as my haven. It is more than enough.

Thank you, God, for my home.

I’m Thankful For My Work

Posted: November 25, 2013 in Attitude
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Choose A Job You Love“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius

I work hard. I work long hours. I can’t remember a year in recent memory where I didn’t average more than 50 hours per week for my job. But I love what I do, and I am happy to voluntarily sit in my favorite recliner at home in the evening  – drink on one side and dog on the other – and churn out some things for work because I love doing it. I don’t mind coming in early or staying late.

Many of us spend more waking hours at work than at home. How awful would it be to not like what you do, to dread being there, or to always be wishing your circumstances were different? Fortunately, that isn’t the case with me. Sure, there are times when I get tired and need a break. There are regular frustrations that come with the territory and the aggravations of large corporate life. But those are thorns on the bouquet and not worthy of my focus.

I am thankful for my work for several reasons:

  • It is enjoyable.
  • It forces me to keep learning.
  • It is cutting edge.
  • It makes a difference to many thousands of individuals and to a Fortune 100 company.
  • I get to share my work days with wonderful colleagues.
  • I work for a company that treats me fairly, that allows me to reinvent myself every few years, and that I believe in.
  • I work for a manager and senior leadership that I respect and trust.
  • My company offers constant, helpful initiatives to improve the well-being of associates in the areas of health, security, purpose and belonging.

How could I not like such a circumstance? I would not have celebrated my 10th anniversary a few months ago if my work was not a very good fit for who I am, what I’m passionate about, good at, and eager to continue for the foreseeable future. I probably have another ten or so years of full-time work ahead of me. I expect to be quite content to continue doing what I’m doing for a long while to come.

Work is an honorable thing. Doing one’s best is what I expect from myself and from others. To be in a situation where doing so is both a challenge and a pleasure is a treat that not everyone is fortunate to experience, so I am grateful for my work situation every day. In a time when so many people are out of work, my appreciation is even greater.

Thank you, God, for my work.

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image from

Many of you have probably seen others posting daily notes on social media this month about things they are thankful for. Perhaps you, too, are sharing your “30 Days of Thankfulness”  messages publicly. The timing of the thankfulness theme is tied to the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

I have not done that, but it would be unfortunate not to reflect in a series of posts here about those people, circumstances, things, etc. for which I am most thankful. So today I begin a daily reflection on the theme of thankfulness. I’m not going for any set number of posts on the topic. I’ll write about those that most readily stand out to me over the next several days and then I’ll stop. Simple as that.

In the long list of that for which I’m thankful, it’s difficult to start with anything besides family.

I was blessed to be born into a family with wonderful parents who still are a source of great joy, pride, and good times together. If I was to start saying “thank you” now to my parents for all that they mean to me, and if I was to repeat it every second for all the years ahead of me that I have life and breath, it would not be enough. There is no way to repay such an example of love.

I am thankful for the memory of my sweet sister who succumbed to cancer many years ago. Her face may be frozen in time in my thoughts at the age of 40, but life with her for nearly four decades still brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face.

Living on the same street growing up as both sets of grandparents was a treat that few enjoy, and a source of countless times together. A childhood of very close extended family connections and frequent get-togethers made family a core part of who I was and am and always will be. Life with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great grandparents and more in the small town of Winchester, Kentucky was a way of life that shapes a person and his/her familial expectations forever. I would not have it any other way. I realize many on this earth did not have it so lucky growing up with a close, extended family. I am thankful to be one who did, and I am especially grateful that many of those relationships continue.

As an adult, the meaning of family expanded. I’ve been married to Linda for over 34 years. I am thankful for a faithful, loving wife and for a marriage that will last til death do us part. We had some skeptics in our college days when I asked her to marry me after we had only dated for two weeks. Of course, she took three months to answer the question and we didn’t get married for over a year later, but I think we’ve proved the skeptics wrong after 34 years.

We have two grown sons – Brian and Jason. Jason extended the family by marrying Lauren and then the two of them gave us our first grandchild, Abby. I am thankful for the family joined to ours through the marriage of Jason and Lauren – good, good people who are a pleasure to be around.

I am thankful for Linda’s parents, Jean and her late husband, Chuck, and Linda’s sister, Jill. I am thankful for memories of Linda’s wonderful grandmother and the times at her house in St. Louis.

With most families, things like jobs, educational pursuits, marriage and wanderlust can eventually limit the frequency of times family members get together. We inevitably end up feeling closer to some than to others for a variety of reasons, but the bonds of family are still lasting. The impact of earlier years together continues. The potential of future endeavors with new family members creates new opportunities and defines what family looks like to the next generation.

Anyone without a family is missing a critical component of life as it is meant to be. Those estranged from their family are missing out on greater possibilities and experiences that only come through those familial ties. With so many around us in such circumstances, consider reaching out this holiday season and inviting them to experience the holidays with your family. You may just redefine “family” for yourself and others by doing so.

I am blessed in many aspects of life. I am truly thankful for family past, present, and future that make up the core, enduring relationships I have on this earth.

Thank you, God, for my family.