The Gratefulness Challenge Gone Amok…

Things I am grateful for…
Before I start out on this project, I need to point out a thing or two. First and foremost, the top three are in order. The rest, probably not so much. This is not easy to do. It is easy to say that you are a grateful person, but when you have to quantify and qualify, you begin to realize how much you have been blessed with. I believe that the original goal of this of this task was to list 100-things that you are grateful for. I am not sure that I can come up with that many. I do not know whether or not that is a good thing, but it is what it is…The next problem is that you may simply overlook some things. You might forget some things. I guess that happens on occasion, but I believe the point is not so much about accountability, but rather simple awareness. With that said, here we go with the first 50 things that I am grateful for…
1-This is the most important one. I am grateful that God loves me, and that through His Son Jesus Christ, I am saved! I am not saved by works, but by Grace. I am deserving of nothing except eternal damnation. God loves me even though I disappoint Him on a daily basis, and probably multiple times a day. For several years, God and I were not on speaking terms. That is to say that He was talking but I wasn’t listening. In spite of that, it is through His Grace that I am saved, and when my earthly life is over, I know where I am going. Thank You for Your gift of salvation!
2-I am grateful for my beautiful wife. She is a fun, warm, intelligent woman who could have had anybody in the world that she wanted, but she chose me! She is not only my wife and lover, but she is also my friend. Yeah we had our problems, but we worked through them. Because of her, I have become a better person. I cannot imagine spending one moment without her by my side. I am grateful that I have found an amazing woman to love that loves me back.
3-I am grateful that I have an amazing daughter. I have watched her grow up from a little bundle of diapers, stuffed animals and braces into a beautiful, intelligent, responsible, hardworking young woman who has her head screwed on tight and has a bright future ahead of her.
4-I am grateful for my mother. It is said that there is no love like a mothers love, and my mom is no exception. She has nurtured me, raised me, and been incredibly generous to me. I have a deep love of cooking because of her. I always said that I am not sure where my competitiveness comes from, but my toughness and compassion comes from her. My mom is an amazing woman, and I am grateful that I have her as my mother.
5-I am grateful for my father. My dad died in 2006, and that is still a huge hole in my soul. I have never ‘gotten over it’ and I doubt that I ever will. My father taught me about perseverance and humility. My dad was not a loud, prideful lout, but rather a symbol of quiet strength and dignity. He also, through his example, showed me how to be a good husband and father. Even though he left us too soon, I am grateful for the time that I had with him. I am grateful that I will see him again.
6-I am grateful for my 2 brothers. My older brother passed away in 2008. It was because of him that I learned how to be kind to people who were facing challenges. He had many issues, yet he was always kind and generous, basically a gentle soul. He was extremely talented, and made many people smile through his gift of music. I learned to be a musician because of him. My younger brother is a hyper smart dude and because of him, I had to learn how to be a good example. I admit that sometimes I failed, but I am grateful that I had that opportunity.
7-I am grateful for food! To me, food is not just a way to take in nutrients, but it is a beautiful, delicious gift. God gave us taste buds, so why not make the best use of them? I am grateful that I can taste different things, and that I am a pretty good cook. That allows me to share the gift of foods with others. I love talking about it. I love reading about it. Heck, I think of cookbooks and menus as entertaining literature. But most of all, I love eating it!
8-I am grateful for science, or more accurately medical science. Over the years I have had my health issues, but modern medical science has always provided a way to be cured or at least be helped. If it wasn’t for this, I would not be able to write down all the things that I am grateful for.
9-I am grateful for all the amazing animal friends ie: pets that I have had over the years. I could list them all by name, but I might get a little misty, so therefore I won’t. Whether they were dogs or cats, they gave me so much joy, unconditional love and loyality. I am truly grateful for that.
10-I am grateful for our public servants. Why? Because they put their lives on the line every day so that my family and friends can sleep in relative safety and peace. I was a police officer, firefighter and medic, and I know the sacrifices that they make. This includes all the people that keep us healthy and safe that you would never think of. Thanks to all of you.
11-I am grateful for the good friends that I have had in my life. I have had A LOT of fun over the years, and without the friends I have been blessed to have, it might not have been the case. I have had the ‘good friends’, and the ‘bad friends’, but I am grateful for all of them. Thanks guys! It was a blast.
12-I am grateful for my job. I am paid pretty well to do something that I love to do. I had always hoped to be working where I do, but I never thought that it would happen. I was wrong, and I am grateful that I was. In the same vein, I am grateful for my co-workers. We all get along, and without them, I would not have a job.
13-I am grateful that I am a scuba diver. Does that sound silly? I don’t think that it is and here is why. As a diver, I have been able to share in some of God’s most amazing work. If I was not a diver, I would never get to see it firsthand. It is one thing to see a bright green 8-foot Moray Eel on T.V. or in an aquarium. It is quite another thing to come face-to-face with one. I am grateful that Jaques Cousteau invented the technology that has allowed me to participate in this amazing sport. As I get older, I may not be able to do the things that I used to do, but I believe that I will always be able to dive.
14-I am grateful for music. I have been singing since I was 4 years old. My mother likes to tell tale of my singing ‘Jeremiah was a bullfrog’ (‘Joy to the World’ by Three Dog Night) when I was still running around in my underwear. I have never stopped, although I took a long vacation (see item #15). I am grateful for jazz, rock, country, and 1980’s New Wave.
15-I am grateful that I can sing and play music. I play 4 instruments, and I am grateful that I can.
16-I am grateful that I can write my own music and lyrics. Let’s face it…sometimes other people’s music kind of stinks. Being able to write my own music and lyrics has not only given me so much joy over the years, it has also given me a way to express the feelings that I had inside that needed a voice.
17-I am grateful that the music and lyrics that I have written has brought joy to others. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to help.
18-I am grateful for the church families that I have been a member of. I have found the pastors and people to be incredibly gracious to me and my family. They are generally wonderful people, and we all share the same belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
19-I am grateful that God has blessed me with the gift of perseverance. I, just like everyone else, have gone through a lot of bad stuff. It would have been easy to simply give up, and there were many times that I was very close to doing just that. But I didn’t. Those times when it is darkest, God reveals himself and we go on. Thank you for this gift. I am still here.
20- I am grateful for good television programs. Talk about being able to put down your problems for a little while and escape into a different world! When I was a little kid, it was Bugs Bunny and Looney Toons. As an adult, it was good sitcoms, dramas, and documentaries. There have been too many to list by name, but I am grateful for all of it.
21-I am grateful for sports. I have been an athlete. I have been a spectator, and I have been a referee and a coach. It has been great to participate in all of it. This isn’t about being grateful for individual teams, but rather the entire construct. I love being able to flip on the television and watch. I love going to games. I used to love to play. I still participate, but it is on a different level now. Just being able to swim, ride a bicycle, or just simply walk a few miles is a blessing that I am grateful for.
22-I am grateful for every sunrise and sunset. Why? Because they are beautiful, that’s why. Every one that I see means that I am still alive for another day.
23-I am grateful for rain storms. I love the rain and the thunder and the lightning. I have had some of my most peaceful moments and some of my greatest moments of clarity during severe weather. Some people dread it, but not me. I love it.
24-I am grateful for beaches. If you were to ask me where is the one place that I would wish to spend the rest of my life, it would be the beach. I love it even more if no one else is on the beach! I can’t even begin to describe the peace and beauty that I find there. There is nothing like walking along the shoreline with the surf hitting the sand, the sun shining, and seeing a school of dolphins playing in the water. That my friends, is a vision of Heaven… I have been blessed by being able to be a part of this on several occasions. Someday, if I am lucky enough to make it that far, I want to retire and live on the beach.
25-I am grateful for the men and women of our armed forces. They can never be given enough credit or appreciation. They put their lives on the line every day, serving in some very unpleasant places, doing a dangerous job so that we may enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that we enjoy in the greatest country in the world.
26-I am grateful for cool, quiet mornings. It is so nice to be able to go out on my porch with a cup of coffee, and just enjoy the early morning. I am talking about that time between 6:00 and 7:00 AM. Temperature nice and cool, perhaps in the ‘50’s…It’s a beautiful thing.
27-I am grateful for rivers, brooks, and streams, especially those that are off the beaten path. I frequently find myself wishing that I had one running through my back yard. The peaceful sound of the running water, the fresh cleanliness of the air…it is hard to beat.
28-I am grateful that while I may have some annoying problems, I do not have any major ones! Okay, I have Type 2 Diabetes. I have high blood pressure. I have arthritis in my hands. I have plantar fasciitis in my feet. My back is generally killing me, and my knees aren’t too hot. But I can see. I can hear. I can walk. I can taste. I can talk. I can feed and bathe myself. I do not need help to do any of life’s little tasks. There are so many people that are somehow compromised, and that is a shame. However, all it takes is to see someone who is not blessed with as good of health as you to realize just how lucky and blessed you are. And I truly am blessed. My issues are comparatively small when everything is taken into account. I am reasonably healthy, and for that I am truly grateful.
29-I am grateful that I live in the freest country in the world. I understand that we have problems…lot’s of them. However, I wouldn’t switch with any other country on earth. How much worse could it be? Turn on the news or pick up a newspaper. Check the internet. It won’t take too long to figure out that no matter what issues we may have now, it is much worse almost everywhere else.
30-I am grateful that no violence or harm has ever touched my family. I pray for God’s protection, but I have taken steps to ensure it. Enough said on this.
31- I am grateful for the teachers that I have had in my life. While I am including some of the classroom teachers, it is not exclusive to them. Some of the best teachers I ever had were certainly not just in the classroom!
32- I am grateful for my smoker. I know that this falls under food, but this is an appliance as opposed to the product. I got my first smoker for my birthday last year, and I have been using it, experimenting with it, creating with it, and absolutely loving it. This was an inexpensive Brinkmann unit and I know that I will upgrade at some point, but for the present time, I love using it and I am grateful that I have it.
33-I am grateful for candy! Why? Because I love candy! Not ALL candy. I certainly have my favorites, but the candies that I like, I like. They make me smile and feel good, and I am grateful for them.
34- I am grateful for modern technology, and all the convenience that it provides. Microwave ovens, the internet, television…Or even more simply, how about hot water heaters, gas and/or electric stoves, refrigerators, telephones, air conditioning, and many other items… It is easy to take these things for granted, until they are gone, perhaps in a blackout or other situation. There was a time when none of these things existed. I am grateful that they do.
35-I am grateful for cars. I don’t like cars…I LOVE cars! I have since I was a very little kid. I am a bit of a gear head. While this might fall under the ‘modern technology’ gratefulness, I wanted to give it its very own space. Just think how much different life would be without our four-wheel friends.
36- (or #35 continued…) I am grateful for motorcycles. I love motorcycles. What else can I say? I love motorcycles!
37-I am grateful that God gave me a sense of humor. I have certainly needed it over the years. If I could not find the humor in things, who knows where I might be now? I sometimes think of laughter as a ‘safety valve for the soul’. Even at the worst times in my life, God provided me with some little thing to laugh about, even when it was really hard, and inappropriate to do so. I remember the single worst day of my life. The day was June 13th, 2006, the day that my dad passed away. I was so devastated by his passing that I cried A LOT during the days that followed. But for some reason only known to God, I had a few little moments where I was able to laugh, a little bit, and then I would return to my grief only to repeat the cycle. I have been able to find humor in many things that might have otherwise broken me, but through God’s gift of a sense of humor (among many other things…), I am still here. In general, it is really much better to laugh.
38-I am grateful for the gift of restraint. There have been many times that this gift has been tested to the absolute limit. All I will say is ‘Thank you God, for allowing me to exercise restraint…’
39-I am grateful for fruits and vegetables. I have always said that I believe that fruit is truly ‘nature’s candy’, and I really enjoy it. I love many vegetables too. I am glad that there are things that are delicious AND healthy!
40-I am grateful for really sharp razor blades. I have baby skin, and anything less than the blades being razor sharp gives me a lousy shave and irritated skin, both things not being good.
41-I am grateful for sunscreen/sunblock. See item #40 regarding my baby skin. I am prone to sunburns, and I have had some instances that were so bad that I actually got huge blisters. This is not a good thing.
42-I am grateful for money. Actually I am grateful for money only when I have it. Otherwise, I am grateful that in spite of not having it, I have never had to sleep on a park bench, and I have never missed a meal. God has always provided, although in the earthly realm, having some money does make things easier.
43-I am grateful that there are industrial standards for how things are constructed. I am specifically talking about automobiles. My daughter was involved in a wicked rear-end collision the other day. The rear of her car got folded up, but the impact cage remained intact, and she was able to walk away from her totaled vehicle.
44-I will mention it again because it can never be mentioned enough, but I am thankful to God and His Son Jesus Christ for all things, but particularly #43.
45- I am grateful for coffee, because without it my world would be a much fuzzier and grouchier place. There should be many people that are grateful for the magic, caffeinated elixr that is coffee.
46-I don’t know if this counts exactly, but I am grateful for September, October, and November…autumn. While I am grateful for all the seasons, autumn is my favorite. The temperatures are dropping, the leaves are turning, and the smell of apple pie and turkey is in the air. The tourists have all gone home. The State Fairs are going on. Baseball, football, and hockey are going on from mid-September until the World Series ends in October. Thoughts of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are starting to creep into my consciousness. Everybody has their favorite time of year, but mine is autumn.
47-I am grateful for restaurants, chefs, wait staff, bussers, and everyone else associated with that industry. As I have mentioned earlier, I love to cook, and I was raised around good food. I am a foodie at heart and I love it to this day. However, I cannot make everything. That is the beauty of going to a restaurant and letting to pros do what they do, far better than I can (in most cases…). It is nice to be able to go somewhere nice with my beloved wife, and have a nice meal that we didn’t have to shop for, prepare, and clean up from afterwards.
48-I am grateful for guns. I know, here comes the controversy, but I do not care. I am grateful for guns. I am grateful that the military has them and uses them as a tool for protect our freedoms from tyranny and those who would wish to destroy us. I am grateful that law enforcement has guns so that they may use these tools to ensure the public peace. I am grateful that I have one so that I can protect my family against those who would wish to do us harm. I will not explain this any further…
49-I am grateful for insurance. If I did not have car insurance, home owners insurance, health insurance, and all other kinds of insurance, life would be very different. Insurance is one of those things that people complain about and vilify as a waste of money, that is, until you need it. It can be expensive until you take a look at the alternative. I’ll pay the premiums every time, and I will sleep very well with it.
50-I am grateful for frozen custard. Ice cream too, and let’s not forget frozen yogurt, but frozen custard is far and away the best of the bunch. I had never has frozen custard until I moved to the mid-west, and let me just say that it is a strong recruitment incentive to stay. Once every two weeks or so, my wife and I head on over to ‘Twisters Frozen Custard’ and split a raspberry chocolate truffle sundae. It is heaven in a little plastic bowl, and worth every delicious calorie.

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