Thankful Is An Understatement

I’ve been up since just after 4:30 am, drinking coffee, cruising Facebook and Twitter, chasing Sgt. Pepper off of the bookshelf and other furniture, and watching the sun come up. I’m not cooking today. I’m not spending the day surrounded by a crowd of (blood related) family. Instead, I am spending time with friends that are as close as family and who make me feel like family to them. For this I am thankful. I’m thankful I am blessed enough to have another friend-family that wanted me with them today. Work demands (yesterday and tomorrow) keep me from going, but my heart is with them. I sure will miss almost falling over while Black Friday Shopping tomorrow…

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I’m also thankful that while my boys are otherwise occupied today- Sam is in Ohio and Dan is with his girlfriend’s family- I will see them soon. Tomorrow is Dan’s 21st Birthday and I know I’ll see him then. Next weekend I’m driving to Ohio to spend a day with Sam. So I’m sure I will survive today.

I’m thankful my mom doesn’t have to be on her feet all day to cook because my sister and her family are having her and dad for dinner and my niece is having them over for supper and to spend time with some of their great grandchildren.

I’m thankful that all of my sisters in Ohio, California, and Florida are surrounded by their families and grandkids today, and that my brother (in Ohio, too) will be swarmed by his family that includes a herd of beautiful, cheerful grandbabies that idolize him.

I’m thankful I have the day off of work when so many people don’t. I fully intend to go to at least two grocery stores today- in all the hustle this week, turns out I forgot food for Sgt. Pepper- just to smile at people. I’m thankful that I have the ability to just get up and go to a store, any time I want, because despite what some people believe, I still live free in the greatest nation in the world. I’m also thankful I have the right to refuse to shop for Christmas on Thanksgiving Day because, quite frankly, I’m much more into presence than presents. Friskies Savory Shreds are not Christmas presents, so there!

I’m thankful that I’m a Big Orange fan by choice, through good times and bad, and that Jalen Hurd, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Derek Barnett, Jashon Robertson, and Malik Foreman chose to play football for the great University of Tennessee over Vanderbilt. I’m thankful that while Curt Maggitt may be wounded, he will still leave school with a degree and a VFL belt to wear and, if he’s not healthy enough to help us win whatever bowl game we go to this year, will someday be back on the field for homecoming and other alumni events. I’m also thankful to be blessed with a seasonal job as an usher for the Tennessee football program and actually get paid to be their biggest fan.

I’m thankful for players like Brian Randolph, Josh Dobbs, Jalen Hurd, Todd Kelly, Jr., and Malik Foreman who openly express their faith and a strong family-oriented Coach Butch Jones who instills the importance of prayer before and after games because it’s in the spirit of competition with hopes for a healthy outcome regardless of the scoreboard. I love the prayer circle tradition at UT!

I’m thankful I was raised in a generation that wasn’t numbed by video games and social media and who understood without a doubt that all lives matter. All. Lives. Matter.

All of that stuff is great and amazing, but I’m most thankful that I am accepted by a loving God that is still in the process of writing the greatest love story of all time and that I’m one of the main characters in it. Just as YOU are!

I’m thankful that, even in my mess, my confusion, my fears, my running, my complete craziness, He met me right there and showed me how He made the perfect sacrifice in His only son Jesus on the cross, knowing the entire time that I just might not love Him back. Yep. He loved me that much. Didn’t matter what my life would be like, He wanted me to know it’s all going to be ok and that nothing, absolutely nothing can snatch me away from His love.

I’m so thankful that all I’ve ever had to do for it was believe it. That’s it! Just believe that it’s the truth that He is madly in love with me and wants so badly to be the biggest part of my life that He would do whatever it took to prove it. Jesus is the proof and I can’t even begin to express my thankfulness. I’m thankful that there aren’t mandated clothes to wear or mandated prayers to speak in mandated ways, or mandated junk to do to prove to Him that I love Him back. I’m thankful that al I really need to do is just plain old call out His name and He will hear me.

I’m thankful for this blog platform from which I can tell you what He’s done in my life in the last 8 months. I’m thankful I am free of the shame of choices I’ve made because- weirdest thing here- I’m human and prone to being less than perfect and it’s perfectly ok. I’m thankful to really understand that other humans are not my judges and that I am clean and forgiven in my Father’s eyes. I’m thankful I’m learning to forgive, myself included, and I’m thankful there is love in my heart today.

I pray today is nothing short of a miracle in terms of blessings to each person who reads this and that you are overwhelmed with peace and love and pumpkin pie.

Peace and love, y’all.

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