My Top Five Reasons to Be Thankful

Few things can change an attitude or brighten a day like gratitude.  With Thanksgiving Day dawning in just a few hours I thought I would share what I am most thankful for.

I am thankful for the grace of God.  So many times God has enabled me to get through difficult times, provided for me in lean times, and given me healing when I did not know how to ask for it.  Lord, thank you for the strength and life you have given me.

I am thankful for my dad.  This fall dad had open heart surgery to replace a valve and fix five blockages.  Many people simply find out their father has had a heart attack.  By the grace of God I was spared that tragic news and given instead a dad who is stronger than ever and who has a new lease on life.  He has also not lost his wacky sense of humor and ability to give wise advice.  Dad, I love you.  Thanks for sticking around.

I am thankful for my girlfriend.  Being able to spend Thanksgiving with your best friend and girlfriend is pretty special.  She is gracious, loving, supportive, a thinker, a learner, a good listener, playful, serious when it’s needed, a wonderful speaker, a confident leader, my closest friend, and, most importantly, mine.  Thank you, sweetheart, for blessing me this holiday season with your friendship and your love.

I am thankful for my family.  Whether we are discussing my two boisterous, fabulous boys, or my sweet sister or generous brother, I consider myself blessed.  Thanks, Isaac and Timothy, for making me a better person and for teaching me how to laugh.  Matt and Shelli, thank you for blessing me with the best family I could wish for.

I am thankful for work I love.  I am entering the holidays employed full-time in the work I love most: worship leadership in partnership with quality leaders.  Thank you, Covenant Life, for giving me a place to lead and grow.

Many do not have easy lives this holiday season.  I am thinking in particular of those still struggling in Sandy’s wake.  If you are dreading the holidays, I encourage you to find one thing for which you are grateful.  I may not have been in your place exactly, but I know that in my darkest hours I could always find at least one thing to be thankful for, and I was better for it.

What about you?  What are you grateful for?

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Hurricane Sandy Becomes Election Moderator

Election years are times of posturing, promoting, and promising.  Voters spend lots of time sifting through the verbal deluge for the truth, even from the most honest of candidates.  Attention spans and commercials are short, forcing candidates into sound-bite speeches and witty comebacks.  If you disagree, try fitting a clear foreign policy into 2 minutes.

Right.  Now you get it.

And then there’s Sandy, the “Frankenstorm” as some of my friends on Facebook have dubbed it.

Sandy roughly wrenches us back to reality.  Here is a collection of photos that will give you a small sense of the effect of the Frankenstorm as it hit the New York City area in particular.

My friend Rachel Shipp and her husband, Blake, lived through Katrina, and in their experience the American Red Cross was one of the most effective agencies responding to Katrina.  Here is a comment from her Facebook page regarding the Red Cross’ response.  Consider making a donation to Disaster Relief here.

Sandy has forced President Obama and former Governor Romney to step out of the verbal parade to deal with real life and hurting people.  Leadership is about helping people and making hard decisions, not about whether or not you can come up with a quick comeback to your opponent’s latest zinger.

Sandy has pulled presidential and leadership character out of the candidates better than any debate or roundtable could, and for that, I am grateful.

More importantly, however, let’s pray for and support those affected by Sandy and those who have lost loved ones throughout Sandy’s path.  Let’s also pray for God’s will to be done through the election.