For family. Amy, my gentle, strong, loving, faithful help-mate and best friend, life-giving mother to Aiden and our future children, and a hot mama who will always be out of my league. Aiden, my beautiful, charming, innocent, keen, spirited two-year old son who melts me with blue eyes and changes me with hugs, kisses, and a trusting extended "Hand, Daddy" as we walk. Mom and Dad, who love me more than I know and love my wife and son more than I ever imagined. Holly, a giving, adventurous mother-in-law who raised my wife to be the prize that she is and welcomes me like a son. Britt and Will, brothers who are more than brothers – fast friends, defenders, and role models. Beth, Stacy, and Fay – the sisters I never had and never knew I missed until they came along; beautiful women, each in their own way, all vibrant, loving, and room-changing. Tim, a brother-in-law I can talk football with…what else can a guy ask for? Brandon, Emily, and Cade, the bright, fun kids who I don’t see enough and who make me Uncle Thad. Many cousins, uncles, and aunts who have been brothers, sisters, parents, and friends in so many ways. And a 92-year-old grandmother who will endure a miserably painful three hour car ride (each way) just so she can sit in the same chaotic room with her legacy (at least fifty of us) this week. I can only aspire to appreciate family as she does.
For community. Particularly our new spiritual family at Community Church, and especially the folks who have given of themselves so generously in recent weeks as we’ve joined them in this journey. Kings, Stoltzes, Whites, Reeves, Fogles, Oelzes, Gibbs, Anne, Nicole, Joneses, and all the rest. Thankfully our love for you is not contingent on my ability to remember all of your names at 1a.m. Thanks for welcoming us to your lives.
For friends, far and near. McCallums, Brocks, Stinsons, Armstrongs, Moores, Smiths, Scott, Bowers, Brad, Colleen, Jessica, Abby, Manuels, Villanos, Gattornas, Bruce, Todd, Matt, Joe, Dr. Jayhawk, and David, just to name some who have invested in us – time, words, thought, prayer, gifts, interest – and taken care of us in recent months. And, of course, for many more who aren’t named but who continue to love and befriend us through the years.
For provision. A Pathfinder to rid us of the wagon (and borrowed cars to keep us both on the road), a little unimpressive apartment, a comfortable bed, enough food to make me start buying paints with a 32 waist, jobs to keep the lights on, toys and books for Aiden, enough extra to make any complaining utter nonsense, and just enough privation to keep me from loving the world and its stuff any more than I already do.
For simple pleasures. The fan beside my bed, sleeping (and not sleeping) with a hot mama, Aggie football, not having to fly cross-country for the holidays, Seinfeld on DVD, words, a blog and all of you who read it to soak up the excess words, a new U2 cd, large Dr. Peppers from Sonic, Shipley glazed, Texas, Texas food, Fall (even the Texas version), free tickets, wireless internet, shrimp, late night epiphanies, a DVR, weekends, and a never-ending list of moments to remind me that I’m alive.
For grace, freedom, and life that is truly life. For faith that, if it isn’t given to me, doesn’t exist by power of my will, intellect, or imagination. For kinship with the Divine and the human. For frailty and for hope.
I’m thankful. You? Tell us about it.