Thankful Thoughts (updated)

thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! I am sitting on the couch next to my wife after having dinner and watching the Detroit Lions lose another game on National TV! (LOL – I get suckered in actually thinking they MAY win a game!) The Christmas tree is lit, the lights are low, and we are waiting to have some pumpkin pie.

When I worked on the radio, we would often “recycle” bits. We would take something we had done in the past and “re-run” it, often updating it to be current. This blog is a recycling of an earlier Thanksgiving blog, updated for 2019. I have gained many new followers over the past year, all of this will be new to them. For those who have been with me from the beginning, I hope you don’t think I am being lazy. By recycling this, I am reminded of just how blessed I am!

Updated 2019

The truth is, we should be thankful for everything in our lives. One of my favorite Bible verses is I Thessalonians 5: 18 which reads “In everything give thanks”. That means good things and bad things – and that’s sometimes hard to do! Believe me, I know from experience! Well, here goes…my list, in no particular order:

Things I am thankful for

  1. My parents. Let’s face it, without them, I wouldn’t be here. I was blessed with a mother and father who raised me right. They supported decisions (good and bad) and were always there for me. Even though my mom is no longer here, her presence is ever-present. Dad is always around to talk music, old movies, and more. As with most holidays, he was the first call I received this morning. Laughing with him is always something I am thankful for.
  2. My wife. Without her, I wouldn’t be here either. She saved me and I am forever grateful. She came into my life at a very turbulent time – first as a friend, and then as someone much more than that. She made me smile and laugh during a time where there was little or no happiness. She cried with me and was a great support through very dark days. Thanks to her, I have found an unconditional love. I cannot imagine life without her, nor would I want to. She accepts me with all my faults and quirks. She makes me feel special. She makes me fall in love with her more each day. She completes me and I am thankful to have her in my life each and every second of the day.
  3. My baby. This year, I can add the fact that I am thankful for our baby on the way. I am thankful for each and every kick I feel from Sam’s belly. I am thankful for the amazing sounds of her heartbeat when we go to the doctor. How do you describe how you can love someone you’ve never met – I can’t! But I do!
  4. My sons. They could not be more different from each other. They both have their own talents. They remind me so much of my brother and I when we were growing up! They are creative. They are silly. They are loving. They are smart. They make me laugh and drive me crazy! I miss them when they are not with me and I love when we are together. I love to think back and remember the things they did as babies and I love to think about what they will do in the future. They make me proud of all their accomplishments. In a year, they have matured so much! Dante’ will graduate this year, and Dimitri is in middle school. They will continue to be a source of great joy for me!
  5. My brother. Just like my sons, we couldn’t be more different. Growing up, we tormented each other! He has listened to me complain about life. He has offered advice on more than one occasion. He, in my opinion, is the more successful of the two of us! He has written – and published – books! He has made his way up the ladder at his job and is now a “big wig”. I am envious of him. Over the years, we’ve grown closer and are working separately (and together) on a project that will honor our mother. This project will only bring us closer – which I look forward to very much. Some of the stuff I have written for the project has been posted on this blog. There is still work to do, and it is slowly coming together.
  6. My radio job(s). In over 30 years, the friendships I have made with co-workers, clients, and listeners have been very special to me. While there was a whole lot of instability and changes in the business, it was also more fun than I can put into words! Even though I am only doing it part-time now, I still enjoy prepping for a show and sharing stories on the air. I’ll be doing quite a few shows over the next few weeks because of the holidays.
  7. My sleep job. It’s really an amazing thing to help people. So many patients come in to our lab who are struggling with poor sleep, insomnia, apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep disorders. To be able to offer advice, help them get therapy, and in some cases, save their life, it is pretty satisfying. I am lucky to have some pretty cool co-worker friends, too.
  8. My education. For years, my mother begged me to go to college. She had sadly passed away before I finally enrolled in classes. I am grateful to have had some of the finest instructors and professors to guide me and teach me in my journey. Not only did I gain a degree, but I made many new friendships with classmates and teachers. I wish I could find the time and money to gain further education.
  9. My friends. Napoleon Hill said, “That man is rich indeed who had more friends than enemies…” I am truly a rich man! I am lucky enough to have made many friends throughout my life. Many of them I have known for over 40 years! So many good times! So many good memories! I am thankful for each of them!
  10. My enemies. Yes, my enemies. First of all, they make me more appreciative and thankful for my friends! Second, they actually help me, too. How? Here is a great quote (I wish I knew who said it) “Your enemies evolve you at the core. They force you to defend and endure more than you thought possible.” Yes, my enemies may be full of hatred toward me. They may spread rumors about me. They may discredit me and bash me, but I am stronger because of their ignorance and loathing. Over the last year, I have gained lots of strength!
  11. My faith. It may not be important to you, but it is to me. I am thankful for God, His Word, His Son, and all that He has done for me. I am thankful for His unconditional love for me.
  12. Modern Medicine. We are blessed to live in a time where medical advances are curing diseases and saving lives! While there is a long way to go, and there are still many diseases that need a cure – we continue to make progress. I am thankful for the great minds who strive to find the answers, treatments, and cures. I hope to see cures for things like cancer in my lifetime.
  13. Coffee. I was 12 when my grandpa introduced coffee to me (it was probably more cream and sugar than coffee, but I liked it.) Coffee has helped me through many overnight shifts on the radio, many 12 hour shifts in the sleep lab, and is just perfect to drink on a chilly autumn morning. I am also thankful for some of the wonderful flavors. Michigan Cherry, Vanilla Hazelnut, and Cinnamon Holiday Blend are among my favorites.
  14. My country. I am thankful to live in the United States of America. I am thankful that we live in a country that allows us many freedoms. While I have not visited every state in the union, I can tell you that on a recent road trip, I was in awe of the beauty that I witnessed while driving. I am thankful and proud to be an American!
  15. Cameras/Photographs/Videos. How many precious moments and memories have been captured by cameras? Without cameras how many things would be forgotten? Think about all of the historical pictures that have meant so much over the years. Now think about how looking at old family photos can immediately place you back in that exact moment with loved ones! Think about how awesome it is to watch an old home movie and hear the voices of loved ones who are no longer here. I am SO thankful for the memories that have been preserved for me on film. My dad recently gave me a video camera saying that I will need it with the baby on the way.
  16. Dreams and the ability to dream. This kind of goes with #15. I am thankful that every now and then, I will have a dream where I am once again talking with my mom or my grandparents. In the original blog, I mentioned that in my Facebook Memories for that day I mentioned a dream I had where I was hanging out with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin – only in dreams!! The morning of the baby shower, I dreamed about my mom. Dreams are really interesting things!
  17. My Past. Sometimes looking back at the past can be painful. Hindsight is 20/20, right? It’s always easy to look back and see the mistakes you have made and kick yourself for making them. I look at it another way – I am who I am today because of my past. The things that have happened to me along the way – both good and bad – are a part of who I am and have played a role in who I am today. Yes, I can look back and see people or events that disgust me, but without them – I’d be a very different person.
  18. Air Conditioning/Heat. As someone who loves to go to museums and such, I always wondered how people got along without AC in the summertime or heat in the winter! I can’t imagine having to wake up in the middle of the night to add more wood to the fire or wood stove. I also can’t imagine working 8 hours a day in a place without AC! I am very thankful for those two modern-day conveniences!
  19. Sunrises and Sunsets. One of my guilty pleasures is sitting and watching the sun come up or go down. When I lived on the west side of the state (Michigan), I was lucky enough to live right off the water. I would often go to the beach and just watch the sun set over the lake. It was majestic and beautiful! I am so thankful for these two simple things. Today, with my schedule, I tend to see more sunrises than sunsets.
  20. Laughter/Humor. I love to laugh and I love the sound of laughter! I also love to make people laugh. I am so thankful for things that are funny and things that make me laugh. Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Milton Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Another great quote is “Life is short. Spend it with people who make you laugh and feel loved.” I am looking forward to hearing our baby laugh at the silly faces and silly noises her daddy will be making.
  21. Music. I am thankful for music in SO many ways. Music, is one of those things that can evoke all kinds of emotions. A song, just like an old photograph, can take you back in time. In radio, we used to play what we called “Oh Wow” songs. Those songs that make you say, “Oh wow! I haven’t heard that in forever!” or “Oh wow! That reminds me of my senior prom!” Music is one of life’s great things! It can convey things with or without words. One of my favorite quotes, which is attributed to Hans Christian Anderson, is “Where words fail – music speaks.” SO True! I am thankful for some of the many music blogs I follow. They often remind me of some of those “Oh wow” songs!
  22. The Kindness of Strangers. I have benefited from the kindness of strangers more times than I can count. We saw a brief surge of random acts of kindness when the movie “Pay It Forward” came out, and it is a shame that those acts have fizzled out. The world would be a better place if we took a moment and thought of others. There have been plenty of times where someone in front of me has bought my coffee at the drive-thru window, and I have returned the favor. I remember one time seeing an elderly gentleman eating alone in a restaurant. He never knew who I was, but I saw his World War II Veteran hat. I bought his meal and told the waitress to tell him that I thank him for his service. Random acts of kindness are not just something we can accept – they are something we can do.
  23. Those who have served in the Armed Forces. We live in a free country because of the men and women who have served in the various branches of the military. I am thankful to each and every one of them. I know that our freedom came with a price and so many men and women paid the ultimate price for me – and you. Those that have served, no matter what branch and no matter if you were in battle or not, you are a hero! I am thankful for you and your service! I have friends and family who all served, and I am thankful for these heroes!
  24. The Changing Seasons. Here in Michigan, I get to see them all! Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. The first snowfall is beautiful. Ice storms can be hell! Springtime showers and the grass turning green is a reminder of things becoming new again. Summertime is never long enough, but getting the chance to swim at the pool, golfing, and the smell of fresh-cut grass can always make me smile. Fall is my favorite season! This year we got hit with some early snow, so the joke is that Fall was the best “three days of the year”! The crisp cool air of autumn is perfect for bonfires. The leaves changing colors makes for some spectacular rides on the highway. I wish we had a few more bonfires this year. At any rate, I am thankful to get to experience each one of the seasons.
  25. Spell Checker. Without this, I really don’t know what I would do! I remember all those spelling tests from school! The problem is, as I get older, I seem to have forgotten how to spell. Spell Check is one of those great features that got me through many a research paper in college. It can also be very helpful here in my blog. Of course, sometimes, you can misspell a word that is the correct spelling of another word, so it isn’t foolproof. I’m thankful for it anyway!
  26. The often overlooked necessities. I could easily make these each an item on this list. I guess these are often things that are taken for granted. For example, my home. I am thankful to have a roof over my head to protect me from the elements. I am thankful for the clothes that I wear. My wife was just telling me that I probably need to purge some of the stuff that no longer fits and donate them to Goodwill. It’s nice to have enough that I can donate some and still have enough to wear. I am thankful for fresh water and hot showers. Those two go together and, while it is often taken for granted, there are those who do not enjoy those simple things. I am thankful for electricity. While there are times I think it is cool to sit and read a book by candlelight because of a power outage, I’d rather have the light – and everything else that uses it. I am thankful for a good meal. Sometimes that meal may consist of a simple bowl of cereal, but the fact that I have food to eat is something that some people don’t have.
  27. Bad Days. As much as we’d rather not have them, it is important to remember that when we have them, they remind us of just how awesome the good days are! I am thankful for bad days, but even more thankful for the good ones! I am also thankful that in the big picture – I have had more good ones than bad ones.
  28. The Internet. It’s funny how we lived so long without it, yet we can’t really live without it today! I mean, without it, you wouldn’t be reading this! I am thankful for it and the good things associated with it. I am thankful to be able to connect with family and friends across the miles with social media. I am thankful that at any moment, I can open up Google and find an answer to a silly question. I am thankful that my kids and I can use it instead of encyclopedias to do research. So many things are at our fingertips because of the internet.
  29. A good book/movie/TV show. I really enjoy being able to get lost in a good story. I love to read, but sadly don’t really get the time to do it as often as I’d like to. Same with a good movie. With movies, there are very few new movies that appeal to me. As most of you know, I prefer older films (you know, the ones that are so good some jerk in Hollywood decides to remake it and ruin it). I don’t need to see 20 minute sex scenes, car chases that are impossible to believe, blood and gore, or violence. I want a good story – and a good story is something that Hollywood has seemed to run out of. When it comes to TV, I rarely watch new shows. Most of them are “reality” based anyway and just garbage. I guess that’s why I am thankful for TV shows on DVD. Ok, last year, I kinda dissed on reality TV, and I should clarify that I mean talent shows, dance shows, and shows with singers in masks. To me, these are just a waste of my time. A “reality” show I do love is Live PD. It can be funny, sad, scary, and intense. It makes me appreciate what they do each day!
  30. My dumb cat(s). Ok, talk about aggravating! He is forever knocking things over while I am trying to sleep. I am constantly tripping over him as I walk through the house. He will attack and bite my leg for no reason. He is always jumping up on the table when I am trying to eat. He’s a real pain in my behind. However, there are times where he can really be a cool cat. It’s because of those things – I am thankful for him. Updating this a year later, we heard that getting another cat can actually help and it did. Our older can still can get on my nerves, but he is a lot more mellow now! HE must have a feeling Sam is expecting, because he curls up next to her and falls asleep – he is a totally different cat! The kitten is so cute! Her favorite toy is a bullet from a Nerf gun. She plays with those all the time! She doesn’t purr as much as her older brother, but she is still cute as hell!
  31. The five senses. I can’t imagine going through life not being able to see my children or my wife or some of the wonderful things I have already described. I can’t imagine not being able to smell fresh coffee brewing or my spaghetti sauce on the stove. I can’t imagine not hearing the sound of my boys laughing. I can’t imagine not being able to taste a juicy steak. I can’t imagine not being able to feel a hug from my wife. I am SO thankful to have the ability to have all five senses!
  32. Forgiveness. I am thankful for forgiveness. Sadly, it is one of those things that is rare today. It is, however, one of the great things taught in the bible and throughout history. It is also one of the hardest things to do. I have trouble with it too on occasion. I am thankful that there are friends and family who have forgiven me for past transgressions.
  33. Acceptance. I am thankful for those people in my life who accept me for who I am. They don’t try to change me. There may be things about me that they don’t like or agree with, but they love and accept me as I am. I try to do the same for others.
  34. Encouragement. I would not be where am I today without the encouragement and support of others. It may have been the smallest gesture or a simple sentence in conversation, but the encouragement of others helped me to get through some tough stuff and I am thankful for that.
  35. Change. This is hard for me to be thankful for, but I am. I have to be honest, I hate change! I am a creature of habit. When I lost 85 pounds, I did it primarily by eating the same meals every day. I do not like change, but I know it is important. There were many times over the last couple years that I had to step out of my comfort zone and accept it. I am thankful I did. Change is good – most of the time.
  36. My Therapist. She, like many others, helped me to cope as life offered many challenges. She helped me sort out some feelings. She helped me to see things that I was completely unaware of. She helped me deal with the things involved in my divorce. She also is responsible for my blogs. I used to blog all the time, but was basically told that “no one wants to read that stuff”. I stopped writing. My therapist is the one who suggested keeping a journal. When I told her I used to blog, she asked why I stopped. When I told her why, she suggested starting back up. I told her I didn’t know what to write about. She basically said, “Write about whatever you want! It doesn’t matter if you are writing for others or writing for yourself. If you like to write – WRITE!” From the length of this blog – you can see that I like to write.
  37. Facebook memories. This is a two-edged sword. It is a daily reminder or good things from the past, as well as times with people no longer in my life. I am thankful for it just the same. Many times it is a simple one liner I posted as a status, while other times it is my thoughts about my boys school events. Some pictures bring back good memories, while others bring back sad memories. I smile at the good ones and try to forget the bad ones, but again remind myself that I am who I am today because of the past.
  38. Big John’s Steak and Onion. Don’t judge me! I am thankful that when I am craving a really good sub, I can go here and grab a Supreme Cheeseburger with olives! Yummy!!
  39. Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip. Ok, so I finally had dessert while I was writing this. I love a good piece of pumpkin pie topped with Cool Whip.
  40. YOU. Yep. I am thankful for YOU. You are reading this and I appreciate it. I am thankful for my followers and for those who read my stuff. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for following this blog.

What are YOU thankful for??

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A week of Showers and Lights

It has been very busy week for us! It has been so busy, this is the first chance I have had to sit and blog. I won’t bore you with some of the busy stuff (like work, work meetings, and such). I’ll hit the high lights and try to bring you up to date.

We have a weekend routine. That routine was all jumbled up this week. The things we would normally do at certain times had to be done between things that we normally don’t do. I was all messed up.

Most of the week, we were doing last minute preparations for the baby shower. We had things to do Thursday night (after a call in meeting for work), and then Friday we had tons of running around to do. We had to drive an hour to Sam’s work to pick up new scrubs. After that we had our monthly appointment with the OB/GYN (and got to hear baby Ella’s heartbeat, again!). Then we had to go to the hall to set up for the shower. We were gone literally all day. Saturday, we had early errands to run before heading to the hall for the baby shower.

Baby Shower

What an amazing day for us! We were surrounded by family and friends and they showered our baby with so much love! My mother-in-law and sister-in-law hosted the shower for us. The theme was a “shower”. We had clouds and raindrops. It was perfect.

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Not everyone we invited was able to come. Some live out of state or out of town. Some of our friends/family who RSVP’d weren’t able to make it either, but we understand that sometimes things happen.

Some of the high lights for me:

  • Seeing my beautiful wife. The future mommy of our baby looked simply amazing! Her sister put a little braid in her hair, and she wore a very cute outfit. There were times I’d be chatting with someone and I’d catch her out of the corner of my eye and just smile! I am one lucky man!
  • Seeing my Godmother. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it meant that she was there. I LOVE just sitting and talking with her and she means the world to me.
  • Seeing my cousins. I was so glad to see cousins from my dad’s side of the family and my mom’s side of the family. I don’t get to see them often enough! Every year, my cousins from my dad’s side have a big holiday party, and I cannot wait to go!
  • Watching my dad and Sam’s dad chit chatting away at the “guy” table.
  • Being able to wish Rose a happy birthday a day early.
  • Having my old morning show partner, Steph, and her daughter there. She told me her gifts were so we’d think of Aunt Steph all year round, and she was right! She have us a beautiful Christmas blanket and about 8 Halloween costumes! I expected nothing less from her. She is really one of my truest friends!
  • Meeting some of Sam’s family that I hadn’t met yet.
  • Having Sam’s Grandma there. She had been praying for us to have a baby since we got married! She is so excited for us.

One of my cousins mentioned how much she loves reading this blog. Again, I was told what a good writer I am, not by one, but by a few of my cousins. I am always embarrassed by this. I am also humbled by the fact that people actually read what I write. I’m not sure why.

The hardest part of an event like this, is getting the chance to talk to everyone. Once everyone is there, you are being pulled this way and that way. You try to mingle while people are eating, but you never seem to make it to everyone. Then you are obligated to be up front to open presents. People sometimes leave before you ever get the chance to say hello. It’s not intentional, it just happens.

I guess I acted as the emcee for the gift opening. I was the one reading the cards and announcing who the gift was from. Our nieces were there basically opening them for Sam. It was unorganized chaos – LOL! They were opening things so fast, that we actually went through the gifts at home afterward, so that we could actually see some of the stuff that we missed at the shower.

As someone who talked on the radio for a living, I was given the responsibility of thanking everyone after all the gifts were opened. I was having such a hard time. With all that has transpired over the past three years, and to be there in front of those who love us, to have to come up with words was very difficult. I am sure Steph probably shot video of it. I was certainly fighting back tears! I know I wanted to share a dream I had the night before, but the emotions of everything took over, and I never did – so here it is:

The morning of the baby shower, I shot up out of sleep. Sam was already awake and asked if I was ok. It took me a second to kind of figure out that I had just woke up from a dream. The dream was so real and so vivid. I was dreaming that we were at the baby shower and the baby was already here. I was holding her. She was beautiful (just like her mother). She had dark hair. I was feeding her at one point. There were many people there. At one point I looked up and my mother was smiling. I was in the process of handing the baby to my mom when I woke up. I wish I could remember more about the dream!

After the shower, I stared at the table of gifts. I thought about how much our baby is loved and she has yet to be born. The outpouring of love and well wishes was truly overwhelming. Sam asked if we’d need someone else to bring stuff home. Well, I naturally took this as a challenge and put all those hours of Tetris to the test. It wasn’t easy, but I fit every last gift into the back of the car!

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Thank you Tetris!!!

Speaking of “thank you”, my dad gave me a huge laugh at the end of the shower. One of the things you have the guests do at the shower is address an envelope. This is the envelope that we will send the thank you card in. So my dad comes up to me at the end of the shower says, “Here’s my envelope.”

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This cracked me up so bad!

Wild Lights at the Zoo

Sam and I knew that the baby shower was going to leave us pretty wiped out, so we both took Sunday night off. It was opening weekend of Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo. We decided to get tickets and go. We’d done this once before and loved it! They decorate the zoo with Christmas lights, play Christmas music, and it is something that we have decided will be a tradition for us.

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Every year, they add more lights. There are some areas where the lights are all synchronized to music and there is a light “show”. It is very cool. There are also lights shaped like animals. So we saw elephants, penguins, giraffes, and new this year – foxes.

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As you walk through, they have bonfires where you can stop and warm up. There are also places to buy hot chocolate, coffee, or alcohol if you wish. Some of the houses are open as warming stations – the Otter House was open, but they were busy sleeping and we didn’t get to see them. I love the Otters!

Some of the photo ops are just amazing. They have this huge Christmas ornament that you can stand inside of. While we were there, there was a wedding proposal inside the ornament. I probably drove Sam nuts taking all kinds of selfies while we were there! I always feel weird asking someone to take our picture, but we had someone take one of us by this huge star – it was pretty cool!

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The last time we went, it was very cold! Last night, it was about 39 degrees. It was the perfect night. It took us about an hour to get through, which was perfect, especially since Sam had been on her feet almost the entire day before, and now here we are walking the zoo. As you walk out there is a very cool tunnel of lights –

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There was still snow on the ground yesterday, so it was the perfect event to get you into the holiday spirit.

Christmas is coming …

I woke up today to see that one of the radio stations I work at flipped to all Christmas music. I got text messages from some people asking why we did it, and some from others who were thrilled that we did it. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, this kind of thing is very polarizing – you either love it or you hate it.

Sam loves Christmas and loves to sit in our living room with all the Christmas lights on. The tree is up after the first snowfall. So, yes, ours is up already! There are those who will say we are rushing the season, and they may be right about that. To those people I say, “So what!?”

The holiday season (which includes Thanksgiving and Christmas) is a time for thankfulness and happiness. It is that time of year when we are all a bit kinder to each other. We give a little bit more, we smile a little more, and we love a little more. I have quoted this song before, and I will again. Elvis sings:

“Why can’t every day be like Christmas? Why can’t that feeling go on endlessly? For if every day could be just like Christmas, what a wonderful world this would be!”

Spread the joy! Share a smile! Be kind! Be thankful!

I’m totally ok getting into the holiday spirit a bit early –

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Giving Thanks …

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Right now on Facebook, many of my friends are doing a post every day this month of things they are thankful for.  30 days – 30 things they are thankful for.  I thought about participating in this, but we are already two weeks into the month and I’d have a lot of catching up to do.  Instead, I figured I would take the opportunity to list some things all in one place – right here.  I may have 30, I may have more.

The truth is, we should be thankful for everything in our lives.  One of my favorite Bible verses is I Thessalonians 5: 18 which reads “In everything give thanks”.  That means good things and bad things – and that’s sometimes hard to do!  Believe me, I know from experience!  Well, here goes…my list, in no particular order:

Things I am thankful for

  1. My parents.  Let’s face it, without them, I wouldn’t be here.  I was blessed with a mother and father who raised me right.  They supported decisions (good and bad) and were always there for me. Even though my mom is no longer here, her presence is ever-present.  Dad is always around to talk music, old movies, and more.  Laughing with him is always something I am thankful for.
  2. My wife.  Without her, I wouldn’t be here either.  She saved me and I am forever grateful. She came into my life at a very turbulent time – first as a friend, and then as someone much more than that.  She made me smile and laugh during a time where there was little or no happiness.  She cried with me and was a great support through very dark days.  Thanks to her, I have found an unconditional love.  I cannot imagine life without her, nor would I want to.  She accepts me with all my faults and quirks.  She makes me feel special.  She makes me fall in love with her more each day. She completes me and I am thankful to have her in my life each and every second of the day.
  3. My sons.  They could not be more different from each other.  They both have their own talents.  They remind me so much of my brother and I when we were growing up!  They are creative.  They are silly.  They are loving.  They are smart.  They make me laugh and drive me crazy!  I miss them when they are not with me and I love when we are together.  I love to think back and remember the things they did as babies and I love to think about what they will do in the future.  They make me proud of all their accomplishments.
  4. My brother. Just like my sons, we couldn’t be more different.  Growing up, we tormented each other!  He has listened to me complain about life.  He has offered advice on more than one occasion.  He, in my opinion, is the more successful of the two of us!  He has written – and published – books!  He has made his way up the ladder at his job and is now a “big wig”.  I am envious of him.  Over the years, we’ve grown closer and are working separately (and together) on a project that will honor our mother.  This project will only bring us closer – which I look forward to very much.
  5. My radio job(s). In over 30 years, the friendships I have made with co-workers, clients, and listeners have been very special to me.  While there was a whole lot of instability and changes in the business, it was also more fun than I can put into words!  Even though I am only doing it part-time now, I still enjoy prepping for a show and sharing stories on the air.
  6. My sleep job. It’s really an amazing thing to help people.  So many patients come in to our lab who are struggling with poor sleep, insomnia, apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep disorders.  To be able to offer advice, help them get therapy, and in some cases, save their life, it is pretty satisfying.  I am lucky to have some pretty cool co-worker friends, too.
  7. My education. For years, my mother begged me to go to college.  She had sadly passed away before I finally enrolled in classes.  I am grateful to have had some of the finest instructors and professors to guide me and teach me in my journey.  Not only did I gain a degree, but I made many new friendships with classmates and teachers.
  8. My friends. Napoleon Hill said, “That man is rich indeed who had more friends than enemies…”  I am truly a rich man!  I am lucky enough to have made many friends throughout my life.  Many of them I have known for over 40 years!  So many good times!  So many good memories!  I am thankful for each of them!
  9. My enemies. Yes, my enemies.  First of all, they make me more appreciative and thankful for my friends!  Second, they actually help me, too.  How?  Here is a great quote (I wish I knew who said it) “Your enemies evolve you at the core.  They force you to defend and endure more than you thought possible.” Yes, my enemies may be full of hatred toward me.  They may spread rumors about me.  They may discredit me and bash me, but I am stronger because of their ignorance and loathing.
  10. My faith. It may not be important to you, but it is to me.  I am thankful for God, His Word, His Son, and all that He has done for me.  I am thankful for His unconditional love for me.
  11. Modern Medicine. We are blessed to live in a time where medical advances are curing diseases and saving lives!  While there is a long way to go, and there are still many diseases that need a cure – we continue to make progress.  I am thankful for the great minds who strive to find the answers, treatments, and cures.
  12. Coffee. I was 12 when my grandpa introduced coffee to me (it was probably more cream and sugar than coffee, but I liked it.)  Coffee has helped me through many overnight shifts on the radio, many 12 hour shifts in the sleep lab, and is just perfect to drink on a chilly autumn morning.
  13. My country. I am thankful to live in the United States of America.  I am thankful that we live in a country that allows us many freedoms.  While I have not visited every state in the union, I can tell you that on a recent road trip, I was in awe of the beauty that I witnessed while driving.  I am thankful and proud to be an American!
  14. Cameras/Photographs/Videos. How many precious moments and memories have been captured by cameras?  Without cameras how many things would be forgotten?  Think about all of the historical pictures that have meant so much over the years.  Now think about how looking at old family photos can immediately place you back in that exact moment with loved ones!  Think about how awesome it is to watch an old home movie and hear the voices of loved ones who are no longer here.  I am SO thankful for the memories that have been preserved for me on film.
  15. Dreams and the ability to dream. This kind of goes with #14.  I am thankful that every now and then, I will have a dream where I am once again talking with my mom or my grandparents.  Just today in my Facebook Memories I talked about a dream I had where I was hanging out with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin – only in dreams!!
  16. My Past.  Sometimes looking back at the past can be painful.  Hindsight is 20/20, right?  It’s always easy to look back and see the mistakes you have made and kick yourself for making them. I look at it another way – I am who I am today because of my past.  The things that have happened to me along the way – both good and bad – are a part of who I am and have played a role in who I am today.  Yes, I can look back and see people or events that disgust me, but without them – I’d be a very different person.
  17. Air Conditioning/Heat.  As someone who loves to go to museums and such, I always wondered how people got along without AC in the summertime or heat in the winter!  I can’t imagine having to wake up in the middle of the night to add more wood to the fire or wood stove.  I also can’t imagine working 8 hours a day in a place without AC!  I am very thankful for those two modern-day conveniences!
  18. Sunrises and Sunsets.  One of my guilty pleasures is sitting and watching the sun come up or go down.  When I lived on the west side of the state (Michigan), I was lucky enough to live right off the water.  I would often go to the beach and just watch the sun set over the lake.  It was majestic and beautiful!  I am so thankful for these two simple things.
  19. Laughter/Humor. I love to laugh and I love the sound of laughter!  I also love to make people laugh.  I am so thankful for things that are funny and things that make me laugh.  Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”  Milton Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Another great quote is “Life is short.  Spend it with people who make you laugh and feel loved.”
  20. Music.  I am thankful for music in SO many ways.  Music, is one of those things that can evoke all kinds of emotions.  A song, just like an old photograph, can take you back in time.  In radio, we used to play what we called “Oh Wow” songs.  Those songs that make you say, “Oh wow! I haven’t heard that in forever!” or “Oh wow! That reminds me of my senior prom!”  Music is one of life’s great things!  It can convey things with or without words.  One of my favorite quotes, which is attributed to Hans Christian Anderson, is “Where words fail – music speaks.”  SO True!
  21. The Kindness of Strangers.  I have benefited from the kindness of strangers more times than I can count.  We saw a brief surge of random acts of kindness when the movie “Pay It Forward” came out, and it is a shame that those acts have fizzled out.  The world would be a better place if we took a moment and thought of others.  There have been plenty of times where someone in front of me has bought my coffee at the drive-thru window, and I have returned the favor.  I remember one time seeing an elderly gentleman eating alone in a restaurant.  He never knew who I was, but I saw his World War II Veteran hat.  I bought his meal and told the waitress to tell him that I thank him for his service.  Random acts of kindness are not just something we can accept – they are something we can do.
  22. Those who have served in the Armed Forces.  We live in a free country because of the men and women who have served in the various branches of the military.  I am thankful to each and every one of them.  I know that our freedom came with a price and so many men and women paid the ultimate price for me – and you.  Those that have served, no matter what branch and no matter if you were in battle or not, you are a hero!  I am thankful for you and your service!
  23. The Changing Seasons.  Here in Michigan, I get to see them all!  Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.  The first snowfall is beautiful.  Ice storms can be hell!  Springtime showers and the grass turning green is a reminder of things becoming new again.  Summertime is never long enough, but getting  the chance to swim at the pool, golfing, and the smell of fresh-cut grass can always make me smile.  Fall is my favorite season!  The crisp cool air is perfect for bonfires.  The leaves changing colors makes for some spectacular rides on the highway.  I am thankful to get to experience each one of them
  24. Spell Checker. Without this, I really don’t know what I would do!  I remember all those spelling tests from school!  The problem is, as I get older, I seem to have forgotten how to spell.  Spell Check is one of those great features that got me through many a research paper in college.  It can also be very helpful here in my blog.  Of course, sometimes, you can misspell a word that is the correct spelling of another word, so it isn’t foolproof.   I’m thankful for it anyway!
  25. The often overlooked necessities.   I could easily make these each an item on this list.  I guess these are often things that are taken for granted.  For example, my home.  I am thankful to have a roof (a new one after this week) over my head to protect me from the elements.  I am thankful for the clothes that I wear.  My wife was just telling me that I probably need to purge some of the stuff that no longer fits and donate them to Goodwill.  It’s nice to have enough that I can donate some and still have enough to wear.  I am thankful for fresh water and hot showers.  Those two go together and, while it is often taken for granted, there are those who do not enjoy those simple things. I am thankful for electricity.  While there are times I think it is cool to sit and read a book by candlelight because of a power outage, I’d rather have the light – and everything else that uses it. I am thankful for a good meal.  Sometimes that meal may consist of a simple bowl of cereal, but the fact that I have food to eat is something that some people don’t have.
  26. Bad Days.  As much as we’d rather not have them, it is important to remember that when we have them, they remind us of just how awesome the good days are!  I am thankful for bad days, but even more thankful for the good ones! I am also thankful that in the big picture – I have had more good ones than bad ones.
  27. The Internet. It’s funny how we lived so long without it, yet we can’t really live without it today!  I mean, without it, you wouldn’t be reading this!  I am thankful for it and the good things associated with it.  I am thankful to be able to connect with family and friends across the miles with social media.  I am thankful that at any moment, I can open up Google and find an answer to a silly question.  I am thankful that my kids and I can use it instead of encyclopedias to do research. So many things are at our fingertips because of the internet.
  28. A good book/movie/TV show.  I really enjoy being able to get lost in a good story.  I love to read, but sadly don’t really get the time to do it as often as I’d like to.  Same with a good movie.  With movies, there are very few new movies that appeal to me.  As most of you know, I prefer older films (you know, the ones that are so good some jerk in Hollywood decides to remake it and ruin it).  I don’t need to see 20 minute sex scenes, car chases that are impossible to believe, blood and gore, or violence.  I want a good story – and a good story is something that Hollywood has seemed to run out of.  When it comes to TV, I rarely watch new shows.  Most of them are “reality” based anyway and just garbage.  I guess that’s why I am thankful for TV shows on DVD.
  29. My dumb cat.  Ok, talk about aggravating!  He is forever knocking things over while I am trying to sleep.  I am constantly tripping over him as I walk through the house.  He will attack and bite my leg for no reason.  He is always jumping up on the table when I am trying to eat.  He’s a real pain in my behind.  However, there are times when he will curl up next to me and fall asleep.  There are times where he can really be a cool cat.  It’s because of those things – I am thankful for him.
  30. The five senses. I can’t imagine going through life not being able to see my children or my wife or some of the wonderful things I have already described.  I can’t imagine not being able to smell fresh coffee brewing or my spaghetti sauce on the stove.  I can’t imagine not hearing the sound of my boys laughing.  I can’t imagine not being able to taste a juicy steak.  I can’t imagine not being able to feel a hug from my wife.  I am SO thankful to have the ability to have all five senses!
  31. Forgiveness.  I am thankful for forgiveness.  Sadly, it is one of those things that is rare today.  It is, however, one of the great things taught in the bible and throughout history.  It is also one of the hardest things to do.  I have trouble with it too on occasion.  I am thankful that there are friends and family who have forgiven me for past transgressions.
  32. Acceptance.  I am thankful for those people in my life who accept me for who I am.  They don’t try to change me.  There may be things about me that they don’t like or agree with, but they love and accept me as I am.  I try to do the same for others.
  33. Encouragement.  I would not be where am I today without the encouragement and support of others.  It may have been the smallest gesture or a simple sentence in conversation, but the encouragement of others helped me to get through some tough stuff and I am thankful for that.
  34. Change.  This is hard for me to be thankful for, but I am.  I have to be honest, I hate change!  I am a creature of habit.  When I lost 85 pounds, I did it primarily by eating the same meals every day.  I do not like change, but I know it is important.  There were many times over the last couple years that I had to step out of my comfort zone and accept it.  I am thankful I did.  Change is good – most of the time.
  35. My Therapist.    She, like many others, helped me to cope as life offered many challenges.  She helped me sort out some feelings.  She helped me to see things that I was completely unaware of.  She helped me deal with the things involved in my divorce.  She also is responsible for my blogs.  I used to blog all the time, but was basically told that “no one wants to read that stuff”.  I stopped writing.  My therapist is the one who suggested keeping a journal.  When I told her I used to blog, she asked why I stopped.  When I told her why, she suggested starting back up.  I told her I didn’t know what to write about.  She basically said, “Write about whatever you want!  It doesn’t matter if you are writing for others or writing for yourself.  If you like to write – WRITE!”  From the length of this blog – you can see that I like to write.
  36. Facebook memories.  This is a two-edged sword.  It is a daily reminder or good things from the past, as well as times with people no longer in my life.  I am thankful for it just the same.  Many times it is a simple one liner I posted as a status, while other times it is my thoughts about my boys school events.  Some pictures bring back good memories, while others bring back sad memories.  I smile at the good ones and try to forget the bad ones, but again remind myself that I am who I am today because of the past.
  37. Big John’s Steak and Onion.  Don’t judge me!  I am thankful that when I am craving a really good sub, I can go here and grab a Supreme Cheeseburger with olives!  Yummy!!
  38. YOU.  Yep.  I am thankful for YOU.  You are reading this and I appreciate it.  I am thankful for those who follow this blog and for those who read my stuff.  Thank you for being my friend.  Thank you for following this blog.

What are YOU thankful for??