Things for which I am thankful:
A - Angel Brooke Roth Stanley, our oldest child, who came through our first floundering attempts at parenthood with flying colors.
B - Beloved, which is my pet name for my wife. She has lived through much and loves to encourage others.
C - Christmas may or may not be an attempt to Christianize basically pagan celebrations, but it's the one time of the year it becomes positively stylish to smile at strangers and love your neighbor as yourself.
D - This letter is the beginning of the names of all my siblings, who each had their individual impact on making me the person I am. And when specifically thinking of my older siblings, I'm thankful for the laughter and singing while doing dishes together.
E - Emanuel...yes, that's with just one "m". It's my son Curtis' middle name; taken from his maternal great-grandfather. Curtis is a living example of God's grace being a free gift and good works being a response.
F - Forgiveness...I need it, but could never earn it. And there's a joy that comes from giving it, too.
G - Georgina, my mom, who married young, raised five children, taught us to pray, loves tenderly, laughs easily, and now misses her husband of 67 years.
H - Hobbes, the tiger half of Calvin & Hobbes.
I - It's a Wonderful Life stars Jimmy Stewart and makes me cry every time I hear "To George Bailey, the richest man in town!"
J - Jesus is so much more to me than my words could ever hope to express. I am so thankful for his patient love, his ruthless determination to make me a better man, and his selfless sacrifice on my behalf.
K - Kelly Jo Roth Haug, our youngest child and free-est spirit. She embraces life and love and friendships with an open heart, in spite of having reasons to close herself off.
L - Laparoscopic surgery was an excellent choice when removing my gall bladder.
M - Music has a way to touch our hearts and move our keisters that can't be approached by mere words. It also gives me a language with which to worship.
N - Larry Norman was one of the originators of what is now called Contemporary Christian Music...he made music that expressed a down-to-earth belief in an out-of-this-world love.
O - Oswald Chambers, author of My Utmost for His Highest.
P - Paul, as in the Apostle Paul, wrote an awful lot of the New Testament.
Q - Queen Esther's story not only gave us the great line, "who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this," but also was at least part of the inspiration for a great song by my next object of thankfulness.
R - Rich Mullins, the ragamuffin troubadour who wrote "Awesome God," but more importantly, imperfectly lived out his faith for the benefit of all the rest of us who can't quite seem to get it right either.
S - Shonda Diane Roth Hall is our second daughter and lives the farthest from us. Her hugs are missed by us but her tender heart is demonstrated to the children she works with daily.
T - Thanksgiving is not only a great excuse for temporary gluttony, but offers the opportunity for families to spend some time loving on each other.
U - United States of America...living here has it's negative aspects, to be sure, but my limited amount of time spent on foreign soil has helped me appreciate the abundant blessings that come just from having been born here.
V - Valley Christian Church is a group of loving people that has been our church family for over 20 years.
W - Living water, as in Christ living in me: "Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14 NIV)
X - There was a xylophone (okay, actually a marimba, but I needed an X) in the music room of the house of one of my best friends. Good times.
Y - Yahoo's free email
Z - The zest of life; full of adventure, boredom, thrills, surprises, love, insecurity, laughter, and hope.
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Truth is...I had to really think hard to come up with some of these. It's not a bad thing to put some effort into recognizing one's blessings.