My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Ten Things I'm Thankful For

10. Cranberry Sauce. Seriously, this is hands-down the best part of the Thanksgiving Feast, without which the rest is a glorified deli meal. The beauty of the cranberry sauce is its versatility in mixing which makes it welcome on any part of the plate--it goes so well with all the other elements of the meal that, frankly, you could just pour it over the whole plate at the end and treat it like dressing.

9. The Internet. Without which I would be ill-informed, bored, and unable to vent my ire. From the time just a few years ago when I anxiously leafed through the morning paper hoping to get ANY information of use, to today when not only do I know where to go to get useful info, but dozens of others are out there pointing me to things I might not have found, my level of informative-ness about the world around me is strikingly upgraded.

8. The Internet, part II. This second entry because of the way this medium has created a community for me to belong to. Not only do I frequently share thoughts, opinions and debates with others through this medium, but because of it I have met some of the most intelligent, passionate and interesting people anywhere. I genuinely look forward to seeing what some of my friends are writing about, and I am genuinely challenged and moved by many of those writings. This is a very good thing.

7. The Disney Channel. What other channel on TV can you trust to amuse, entertain and inform your children on a consistent basis without ever worrying too much about a huge disconnect from the values you are trying to instill in them? We were lucky to discover this on our trip to Disneyworld five years ago, and to this day, it's the only thing on in the morning (that is, when we allow our kids to "veg" in the morning).

6. The enduring wisdom of the Founding Fathers. That which laid the groundwork for a government of this country which has been the most stable form of government in the world for over two hundred years. I am reading through a history of the Constitutional Convention right now, and I am amazed at the level of prescience imbued on those great men, and how their work has provided for the freedoms I enjoy every day.

5. The Great Baseball Movies. I know, a little out of context, but I think there are a great many lessons unique to American life to be found in the artistic study of our national pasttime. For the record, I put "The Natural", "The Rookie", and "Field of Dreams" atop the list, with nods to "Bull Durham" and "61*". By the way, "For The Love Of The Game" is a really good love story that can only be understood as a great love story if you understand baseball; if you do't get the game, you won't get the movie (my wife, for instance, doesn't care too much for the movie--not a baseball fan, either).

4. The Army, The Air Force, The Navy, The Marines, The Coast Guard, The Police Department, and the Fire Department. These are the men and women who have chosen to put themselves between us and anarchy, and I am grateful every day for their courage, their steadfastness, their loyalty to their ideals, and their heroism. By the way, if you haven't read the NYTimes account of the battle for Fallujah from Sunday, do so.

3. The Passion of the Christ. I was raised Catholic, and have never doubted the Christian underpinnings of my faith. But, after falling in love with a divorced woman, Catholicism was no longer an option, and I was pretty lax about trying to find a place to worship. Until this movie. Within a couple weeks, my wife and I found the Arvada Covenant Church, and it is a wonderful community that really ministers especially well to children, and it is a place where even the traditionalist in me finds a comfortable home. This was, singularly, the best decision I made all year, and it was due in very large part to the effect Mel Gibson's movie had on me.

2. My mother and father. This seems like a no-brainer, but it absolutely has to be said. There are so many lessons from my upbringing that are only now beginning to manifest themselves in my life that it is really hard to bring up specific occurences of my parents' hand in my life. But there is no doubt that the importance of Faith, that acting with integrity and honor, and that loyalty to a core set of values were taught in my home, and they are now the foundation of how I view the world. Not only that, but the fact that I had a stable home, that I understood that working through difficulties was the key to success in every aspect of life, and that giving anything less than your best was just cheap and weak have put me in a position to make many better decisions in my life than I otherwise would.

1. My two children and their mother. I believe that when you fall in love with your mate, you do so with resources already at your disposal. You, in some way, understand what you're getting into and what it will take. So my wife inspired me--and still inspires me--to be a better person, a better man, just to be worthy of her love. When you have children, you have to find/invent/create new resources with which to love them. The mental image I have is of having to build additions on to your heart to make room for the new and different love that a child inspires. My girls rock my world! I understand so much more, and have to be such a better person to be their father, that I almost don't recognize who I have become. I don't know exactly what God was thinking when he made me responsible for them, but they are the most amazing blessings. Actually, not true--I do know what God was thinking. He was thinking "well, I gave him his wife just make sure he couldn't mess things up too badly." Truly, I am blessed by having all of them in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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