Sometime it’s the simple stuff that means the most. As we prep for Thanksgiving Day celebrations, I’m tempted to focus on everything I could complain about. All the stuff that hasn’t gone my way. There’s no shortage of them, that’s for sure.
But I choose to take a page from Bing — Bing Crosby, that is — and recall this song from Holiday Inn.
I’ve got plenty to be thankful for / I haven’t got A great big yacht
To sail from shore to shore / Still I’ve got plenty to be thankful for
I’ve got plenty to be thankful for / No private car No caviar
No carpet on my floor / Still I’ve got plenty to be thankful for
I’ve got eyes to see with / Ears to hear with Arms to hug with Lips to kiss with
Someone to adore / How could anybody ask for more?
My needs are small I buy them all / At the five and ten cent store
Oh, I’ve got plenty to be thankful for
So here’s my feeble attempt to list some of the plenty I’ve got to be thankful for. Maybe some of them would be on your list. Maybe you can add more and help spread the thankfulness around. Who knows, maybe we can set a record for gratitude.
Just a few of the plenty of things I’m thankful for:
- Jesus loves me. Don’t understand why. But I’m glad He does.
- The smell of leaves burning in autumn.
- That smell that always shows up just before a summer rain storm.
- Summer rainstorms.
- Spontaneous group hugs in the kitchen with six kids when all I’m trying to do is hug my wife. Sheesh.
- A back that works even when it hurts.
- Good books and those who sacrificed to write them.
- Poems and poets.
- God’s unfailing love, especially when I fail so often.
- Six healthy children.
- One beautiful and incredibly supportive wife.
- To be married to my best friend.
- Clean water. And hot water.
- Coca-cola with real sugar.
- Chips and homemade salsa.
- James Bond.
- Howard Shore — for the LOTR soundtrack, of course.
- Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman. The best friends we’ve never met.
- Truth, and that God shared it with us in writing.
- Stuff that makes me feel like I’m in over my head.
- A God who loves to save me when I realize I’m in over my head.
- A wife who still loves me when I refuse to admit I’m in over my head.
- A head.
- Six kids who love me no matter what I do — and forgive me often.
- Coffee, freshly ground. And a little non-dairy creamer. Just a little.
- Ice cream — and the many years I had to love it before becoming averse to all things dairy.
- Ice cream — once I discovered Bryer’s lactose-free vanilla.
- The elderly couple I saw going into Wal-Mart the other day — still holding hands.
- Steven Covey.
- John Maxwell.
- All mentors who have poured much into my life.
- Sunday School teachers who put up with skinny, smart-alecky boys who think they’re cleverer than they really are. Not that I’ve ever known any. I’m just saying.
- Faith, a gift of God.
- Glasses. Ok. I’m saying that by faith, although I was glad to discover at the age of 7 that clouds do, in fact, have edges.
- Friends I haven’t met yet.
- The incredibly sweet, and incredibly old, lady who lived across the street when I was incredibly young. She introduced me to Werther’s originals, if I remember correctly.
- Bee stings. Especially when they result in 100-yard dashes with your kids to jump into the pool. Ahh, good memories.
- Walt Disney. For chasing a dream.
- Roy Disney. For finding a way to pay for Walt’s dream.
- My childhood neighbors who tolerated my impersonation of “The Shadow” in their backyard at night — unless, of course, they never could actually see me — which changes everything. [Maniacal laugh. Maniacal laugh.]
- Mike. Who read my high school graduation speech for me when allergies rendered me voiceless.
- Booker T. Washington. One of my heroes. A great man. A great American.
- My dad. Another great man who played catch with me while complaining about his shoulder hurting. Now I know how he felt.
- My four sons — with whom I need to play catch more often.
- My two daughters — who will always be my little girls — even if they are almost taller than their mom.
- Cookouts, barbecue grills, family picnics, burgers, corn-on-the-cob, salmon, anything grilled.
- Gin rummy. It’s a long story.
- Mistakes. At least the ones I learned from….
- All the times God kept my stupidity from destroying me.
- A roof. Four walls. And much more. Which puts me way ahead of a lot of people.
- Time. Every minute of it. Which is more than millions of people get.
- Jimmy Stewart.
- It’s A Wonderful Life — in color!
- Bing Crosby — greatest entertainer of all time – not even open for debate.
- White Christmas
- Al Gore, for inventing the Internet.
- Electricity and inventors who refuse to let failures stop them.
- Courage to follow dreams.
- Teachers who care more about kids than a paycheck.
- Ideas. Very cool.
- Veggie Tales — though the mystery of how Larry plays that tuba with no hands will, it seems, haunt me forever.
- Disney World. Every family memory made there likely requires its own list.
- Illuminations. At EPCOT. At Disney Wor– oh, never mind.
- 400,000 — the number of Americans who died for freedom in World War II alone.
- All the brave people who stand guard around the world tonight so my family can sleep in peace.
- God, for not always telling me what’s coming next.
- George Washington — our nation’s debt to him could never be repaid.
- Signers of the Declaration of Independence who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to secure my freedom.
- Jesus, who took my place on the cross.
- Jesus, who didn’t stay on the cross.
- Turkey? I guess so, although I’m not a big fan. Honey-baked ham? Spam, anyone?
- Sand on beaches. Very convenient that.
- The feel of hot sand beneath my feet, at least for a few seconds anyways.
- Long walks in the woods. Thinking.
- Leaves that change color.
- Leaves that never change color.
- Dirt. Sorry — soil.
- Coca-cola — even with fake sugar. But lots of ice.
- Family night.
- Goodnight kisses.
- Commentators at Patheos that usually disagree with me — yes, I’m talking to you, Jay. And Jen — though we tend to agree on more than we disagree. And you are Canadian, so….
- Children who don’t make it to the bathroom when they’re sick. Well, maybe not that one so much.
- Diapers, and not having any in the house anymore.
- Friends — the kind who you know have your back.
- Friends — the kind who help you without any good reason why.
- Mrs. Prendergast — my Kindergarten teacher who helped teach me to read and write. For better or worse, the world has never been the same since.
- Little Debbie Star Crunches and Oatmeal Cremes — speaking of Kindergarten lunches. Oh, you weren’t? Must be almost dinner time.
- Football? As a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan, that’s a hard one on Thanksgiving. But if Detroit Lions fans can get excited about it after all those despondent years, it can’t be all that bad.
- My mom. A faithful servant of God who has brought heaven just a little bit closer to earth for so many of us.
I know this list is just a start. I’d love to hear which of these would make it on your list — and what you would add on a list of your own.
Celebrate all we have to be thankful for by leaving a comment to add to the list. And have a very Happy Thanksgiving!