I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For: 101 and Counting…

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:

  1. Jesus loves me. Don’t understand why. But I’m glad He does.
  2. The smell of leaves burning in autumn.
  3. That smell that always shows up just before a summer rain storm.
  4. Summer rainstorms.
  5. Clothes.
  6. Spontaneous group hugs in the kitchen with six kids when all I’m trying to do is hug my wife. Sheesh.
  7. A back that works even when it hurts.
  8. Good books and those who sacrificed to write them.
  9. Poems and poets.
  10. God’s unfailing love, especially when I fail so often.
  11. Six healthy children.
  12. One beautiful and incredibly supportive wife.
  13. To be married to my best friend.
  14. Clean water. And hot water.
  15. Coca-cola with real sugar.
  16. Chips and homemade salsa.
  17. MacGyver.
  18. James Bond.
  19. Howard Shore — for the LOTR soundtrack, of course.
  20. Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman. The best friends we’ve never met.
  21. Habits.
  22. Truth, and that God shared it with us in writing.
  23. Stuff that makes me feel like I’m in over my head.
  24. A God who loves to save me when I realize I’m in over my head.
  25. A wife who still loves me when I refuse to admit I’m in over my head.
  26. A head.
  27. Six kids who love me no matter what I do — and forgive me often.
  28. Coffee, freshly ground. And a little non-dairy creamer. Just a little.
  29. Ice cream — and the many years I had to love it before becoming averse to all things dairy.
  30. Ice cream — once I discovered Bryer’s lactose-free vanilla.
  31. The elderly couple I saw going into Wal-Mart the other day — still holding hands.
  32. Steven Covey.
  33. John Maxwell.
  34. All mentors who have poured much into my life.
  35. Pastors.
  36. 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.
  37. Faith, a gift of God.
  38. 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.
  39. Friends I haven’t met yet.
  40. Critics.
  41. 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.
  42. Bee stings. Especially when they result in 100-yard dashes with your kids to jump into the pool. Ahh, good memories.
  43. Tylenol.
  44. Walt Disney. For chasing a dream.
  45. Roy Disney. For finding a way to pay for Walt’s dream.
  46. 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.]
  47. Mike. Who read my high school graduation speech for me when allergies rendered me voiceless.
  48. Booker T. Washington. One of my heroes. A great man. A great American.
  49. My dad. Another great man who played catch with me while complaining about his shoulder hurting. Now I know how he felt.
  50. My four sons — with whom I need to play catch more often.
  51. My two daughters — who will always be my little girls — even if they are almost taller than their mom.
  52. Cookouts, barbecue grills, family picnics, burgers, corn-on-the-cob, salmon, anything grilled.
  53. Gin rummy. It’s a long story.
  54. Mistakes. At least the ones I learned from….
  55. All the times God kept my stupidity from destroying me.
  56. A roof. Four walls. And much more. Which puts me way ahead of a lot of people.
  57. Time. Every minute of it. Which is more than millions of people get.
  58. Jimmy Stewart.
  59. It’s A Wonderful Life — in color!
  60. Bing Crosby — greatest entertainer of all time – not even open for debate.
  61. White Christmas
  62. Al Gore, for inventing the Internet.
  63. Electricity and inventors who refuse to let failures stop them.
  64. Dreams.
  65. Courage to follow dreams.
  66. Teachers who care more about kids than a paycheck.
  67. Ideas. Very cool.
  68. Veggie Tales — though the mystery of how Larry plays that tuba with no hands will, it seems, haunt me forever.
  69. Disney World. Every family memory made there likely requires its own list.
  70. Illuminations. At EPCOT. At Disney Wor– oh, never mind.
  71. 400,000 — the number of Americans who died for freedom in World War II alone.
  72. All the brave people who stand guard around the world tonight so my family can sleep in peace.
  73. God, for not always telling me what’s coming next.
  74. George Washington — our nation’s debt to him could never be repaid.
  75. Signers of the Declaration of Independence who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to secure my freedom.
  76. Jesus, who took my place on the cross.
  77. Jesus, who didn’t stay on the cross.
  78. Turkey? I guess so, although I’m not a big fan. Honey-baked ham? Spam, anyone?
  79. Guam.
  80. Sand on beaches. Very convenient that.
  81. The feel of hot sand beneath my feet, at least for a few seconds anyways.
  82. Long walks in the woods. Thinking.
  83. Leaves that change color.
  84. Leaves that never change color.
  85. Dirt. Sorry — soil.
  86. Prayer.
  87. Coca-cola — even with fake sugar. But lots of ice.
  88. Ice.
  89. Popcorn.
  90. Family night.
  91. Goodnight kisses.
  92. Words.
  93. 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….
  94. Children who don’t make it to the bathroom when they’re sick. Well, maybe not that one so much.
  95. Diapers, and not having any in the house anymore.
  96. Friends — the kind who you know have your back.
  97. Friends — the kind who help you without any good reason why.
  98. 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.
  99. Little Debbie Star Crunches and Oatmeal Cremes — speaking of Kindergarten lunches. Oh, you weren’t? Must be almost dinner time.
  100. 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.
  101. 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!

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  • karin

    102. Wifes lifelong friends!!!

    • Yep! You were included in the one about friends you know you can always count on. But if you must have your own number — Hooray! We’re #102!! And friends who survived hurricanes — #103!!! You guys are awesome!

  • Laurel

    Good music and Good books – Good composers/musicians and Good authors (same thing).

  • Jennifer

    Waking up early and enjoying quiet time.
    My husband of twenty years.
    Kaija, Micah, Christopher, Meghan, Gillian, Heather, Ben, Joanna, Sean, Shannon, Garth, Anna, Olivia, Aurora, Nicholas, Eric, Alex, Stephanie, Megan, Ethan, Gary, Morgan, Kaia, Charlie, Claire, Molly, Aiden, and Jeyo. The children who have shared my home and heart for years and who I have had the joy of helping to raise into wonderful people.
    Freezing cold air coming through my bedroom window and giving me an excuse to cuddle close.
    My dog staring holes in my head when he wants a walk.
    Starry nights up north where I can see the milky way.
    Camping trips with my Dad who made us eat cornmeal mush for breakfast.
    Howling for wolves in Algonquin park and having the wolves howl back.
    Having a “gypsy” for a Mother – dreams of magic and living in caravans.
    Having a practical Dad so that we didn’t actually drive off in a caravan.
    Fresh pads of graph paper to design houses with.
    Learning to knit on my 40th birthday – now I can make socks!
    Baby goats.
    Homemade soup.
    Having grown up with a Mom and Dad who loved me enough to let me fall sometimes.
    Watching in awe as my son grows into a person with his own thoughts and ideas.
    Being presented with bouquets of dandelions.
    Sticky fingers in my mouth and snot everywhere (missed more in retrospect!)
    Playing “hospital” and being the sick patient that has to be “dead” on the couch for a very long time.
    Becoming aware of my relationship with God.
    Learning to pray.
    Discovering that the bear growling outside my tent was really a stump with a snoring Dad nearby.
    Sneaking downstairs after my Mom was asleep and listening as my Dad read me autobiographies.
    Also… Dad getting us out of bed after Mom was asleep and taking us to drive-in movies.
    Learning to play the piano.
    Definitely Bond.
    British comedy.
    Realizing I could read – one of the most wonderful moments of my life.
    Flying down hills on a toboggan.
    Crackling fires and marshmallows on sticks.
    Reading the Narnia series for the first time.
    Going to bed early enough to read.
    Stuff that makes me feel in over my head (like this blog).
    People who question my thinking and stop me from operating on autopilot.
    Truth, and the ability to think about it.
    Being Canadian.
    Celebrations with family.
    Definitely real Coke with sugar and lots of ice.
    Being an angel in my kindergarten play and singing “Holy, holy….” – a transformative moment for me.
    ‘Till death do us part. And it’s not always easy. Learning lots.
    Thich Nhat Hanh’s smile.
    Tea. And more tea.
    Going to the dog park on Saturday morning and picking up pancakes from McDonald’s on the way home – truly lazy.
    Still believing in Santa Claus.
    Not breaking my arm when I tried out my son’s new punching bag.
    Mighty machines – particularly Dusty the Streetsweeper.
    Wanting seven children (preferably boys) but feeling blessed with my one.
    Having a five year old come up to tell me “Jen – I farted, I really did, that sound was my fart”. (Just happened – LOL)
    Teenager boy. Talk about a learning curve.
    Real rice pudding = the kind my Grandmother made me.
    My sister. Always there. Always amazing.
    My best friend, Coral, who would come running at 2 AM if I called her.
    Exchanging e-mail love letters with my husband when he is away.
    A clean house (while it lasts).
    Having a niece to make doll clothes for.

    • Superb! What is that now — 200-some combined? I don’t know about that “snow” part though. We’ll have to keep disagreeing on at least one thing apparently. Now if we can only get Jay to toss in a list of his own… Maybe if you offer him a pair of those knit socks. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Jennifer

        Just think of snow as really cool sand…
        Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, too, Bill.

  • We all have much for which to be thankful. But that distracts many in our culture to lose the focus that was once Thanksgiving Day. The proclamations setting that day used to focus attention on the One to Whom we were to be thankful. Today’s culture, especially in public schools, many times does not even give God a wink and a nod, let alone our undivided attention.

    • Do you expect divine consequences for such failure on our part as a culture?

  • Kara

    Did I miss Mr. Bean on that list?!?
    Could we add programs like AWANA & BSF along with Sunday School? They have been such great platforms my parents used to “train up” this child in the study and memorization of God’s Word.
    … And kettle corn, can’t forget that 😀

  • Jay Saldana

    Hey, I am a Mexican from Texas who lives in Pennsylvania. We need to work on your accents! ( A man who can’t recognize tamales said with a southern accent from a Canadian one is in trouble….no wonder you are so confused. {Jen is Canadian}
    Thankful for the love of Jesus who was a good liberal just like me.
    Thankful for My pastor and My Church.
    Thankful for my family and my kids who keep me young.
    Thankful for wife who keeps me in line.
    Thankful for the New translation of the Patristic Fathers which will occupy my time.
    Thankful for great God filled opposition which stimulates and makes me think.
    Thankful for great classes that are almost as tough as the opposition
    Thankful for Atkins diet which is great to be on.
    Thankful for the PA mountains which are a joy to behold this time of year.
    Thankful for my in-law’s farm and the basics it teaches.
    Thankful for the joy that is my children and their faith which always puts me back on my knees.
    Thankful for my life which belongs to God who shares with me every day.
    Thankful for the grace of great belly laughing which makes all the troubles in our world pass.
    Thankful for the turkey to be cooked is not me by God’s grace.
    Thankful for my calling and the chance to serve, may I always be worthy.
    Thankful for forgiveness which makes everything else possible.
    Have a God filled, Joyful, Thanksgiving.

    • Jennifer

      Typing in a Canadian accent is so difficult, eh? 🙂
      A Happy and God filled Thanksgiving to you and your family, Jay.