Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Golden List

Recently, I read a book titled "The Ultimate Gift," by Jim Stovall. The book is about the basic life skills we all should have but don't. It's about all of the stuff of life that we know but don't practice.

One chapter is titled "The Gift of Gratitude." The main concept of the chapter is The Golden List, and the premise of the Golden List is simple: "every morning before he got up, he would lie in bed...and visualize a golden tablet on which was written ten things in his life he was especially thankful for" (p. 124).

Today being Father's Day, I would like to take this time to let you all know what I am thankful for. It's been awhile since I've taken stock of my blessings, so I do this as much for myself as I do for all of you.

1) I am thankful for the opportunity to be a daddy. My two boys, ages 7 and 2, each have their unique personalities and troubles, and they are nothing like each other in terms of temperament, but they are amazing to watch as they grow and change both in looks and personality and spirit.

2) (A corollary) I am thankful that a goofy-looking guy like me can have two such good-looking kids. It still baffles me.

3) I am grateful for second chances. My wife Jenn is the second chance I thought I would never get, nor deserve. My neighbor even told her once that I wasn't a very happy guy until I met her. My neighbor was right. Until I met Jenn, I didn't think I would be happy again.

4) I am grateful for maturity and understanding. Jenn and I just hosted a cookout at our home for my best friend from high school (and godfather to my youngest son) Kyle, and my ex-girlfriend from high school, Laura, who I dated for six years. Laura's husband Bill and their three daughters joined us and we all had a fantastic time. Kyle and another friend from high school who joined us, Heather, still don't get it, but Jenn, Laura, Bill and I get along great. There is nothing better than spending quality time with great friends.

5) I am thankful for my brother Lance. I don't talk to him often, but we share a love for 80s arena rock (especially Poison) and an ability to Name That Tune (song, band, album, and sometimes even track number for bonus points) in less than 2 seconds. And when life isn't all Guns 'N Roses, we both know there is a place to turn to vent or confess or seek advice in complete confidence. My brother knows at least 3 of my deepest, darkest secrets and I completely trust him with those and thank him for his firm, frank and loving advice.

6) I am thankful for my best friend since High School, Kyle, who was mentioned before. He took me in when I was out. He picked me up when I was literally down. He talked sane when I wasn't thinking insane. He made phone calls that I should have been making. He minds his own business until he no longer can, but is smart enough to ask questions and not jump to conclusions. Kyle has been my safety net and my best friend. And just this last week, Jenn and I came to fully realize what a wise choice we made in asking him to be our youngest son's godfather.

7) I am thankful for my job. After being laid off for 9 months, I gained a whole new respect for security and the pride that can come from having a job. I LOVE my job (mostly ... but I think everyone who loves their job can find one or two things they wish they could change), and I am so thankful for the trust, openness and honesty that my bosses have shown in me.

8) I am thankful for my old boss who layed me off in Wendy's at 3:15 p.m. with Poison's "Every Rose Has its Thorn" playing on the restaurant radio (not that the details are seared into my mind or anything). At the time he told me that he was probably doing me a favor. It turns out he was doing me a favor for several reasons.But it took me 2 years to realize that.

9) I am thankful for one of my former co-workers who saw me heading in a wrong direction and pulled me into a private room to talk some sense into me. That talk sticks with me today.

9) I am thankful for the kindness of strangers. When I was laid off in February 2009, I called everyone  with whom I had an account. When I called my Internet Service Provider and explained my situation, the woman on the other end of the line said she had been in the same position a few months before, and knew the hardship we were facing. She then waived my Internet bill for the next three months. The Internet was my prime tool for my job hunt. I cried on the phone with her I was so grateful.

10) I am thankful for the network I have and the people that I know. Do you have any idea how good it feels to wake up at midnight in December and the furnace doesn't work, but there is nothing to worry about because the furnace guy knows you and comes out and has it repaired within 20 minutes, sparing you the need to go to the local 24-hour big box store and buy 3 or 4 heaters? It's that kind of feeling that keeps me really warm.

11) I am thankful for finding blogging  as an outlet for this uncontrollable urge to write. All of these pent-up ideas need somewhere to go, and I am excited to share them with you.

12) I am thankful for the relatively good health of myself and my family. I am a horrible eater and I know it. Each night, I find something to snack on. Tonight, I ate 3/4 of a bag of tortilla chips...plain. My lips hurt and my sodium intake is high enough to last for a month. But I'm healthy...and skinny. But as I said, it's all relative. Last week, the 2 year old was in the emergency room with a temperature of 106.8. Also last week, Jenn had a summer cold. But in the big picture, we are healthy people.

13) I am thankful for a trustworthy vehicle. More about that nightmare in a later blog.

14) I am thankful for my parents. While not perfect, they have guided me very well. We have been on some rough seas lately, but I hope we can dock together soon and come to terms of love and mutual respect for the other's ship.

To find out more about what I am reading (should that for some reason interest you) you can follow me on Good Reads. Alternatively, you can find almost everything else about me at

Thanks. For everything. I mean it.

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