Each year I take some personal time to meditate on thankfulness. There is so much to be grateful for but there’s also the deep sadness. Keeping them both in mind at the same time is a place where I’ve grown. I tend to get lost in the sadness or a bit giddy in the gratitude. Psalm 23 illustrates the balance. It begins with green pastures and still waters but goes on to the oppression of the shadow of death. In both, it’s the presence of the LORD that is the constancy. He restores my soul in the calm and prepares a table of goodness when fearsome enemies surround me. And when His presence is lost, I sing Psalm 13 and express the lostness in the context of trust in for His unfailing love. I’m so thankful for the depth and dimensions of relationship with the LORD.

Thanksgiving 08 007How can I express thankfulness for family? Nicole and Joy brightened my life a lot Tuesday morning (more pictures here), David and I had an excellent talk about life and ministry. Sam’s smiles and love for her family delight me. A little over a year ago, Elizabeth was barely alive in the NICU and we were wondering if she would survive meconium aspiration. She celebrated a totally healthy first birthday, toddling around the yard with contagious giggles. You can get infected here, Donn and Susan are wonderful parents. Cyndee spent two weeks of vacation in Portland, so we had some wonderful Poppa Daughter times remembering our Grand Canyon trip. Sam and the girls will help her with Christmas decorating at the Conference Center next week. All our family gets along well, a huge blessing.

I came home last night from a first post wedding session with Bruce and Annie to a wonderful surprise: Sherry’s aromatic Thanksgiving feast for us to share. As I’ve worked with couples wrestling with serious problems in their marriages, including two extremely painful divorces (my first to supervise), I continue to be astounded at Sherry’s constant love, the openness and deep trust we share.

Small things are good: Sherry asked me to get some cheddar cheese on my way home. I got to Fred Meyer to discover how MANY kinds and sizes there are. I found myself wishing I were in Taiwan where there’s no cheese! Cell phones are wonderful gifts for confused husbands! I’m thankful for Celtic Christian tunes on Live365, Facebook, saved Thanksgiving cards, my mug of coffee, memories of the children praying together, Interestingness on Flickr, squirrels eating the maple twirlees in my trees and not in my attic, crunchy cereal in the morning, quiet walks on Mt. Tabor.

There’s so much. I think it will take a few minutes more.

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