Here’s my list of things I’m thankful for in 2014 (in no particular order).
Bills – I’m really thankful for bills that are paid off (like that pesky $10,000 one dollar for Crystal’s broken leg and that other $10,000 one for Zaccai’s back). I’m also thankful for recurring bills because they reflect the reality that I have a home, have more than the bare necessities, and have no need to worry about tomorrow.
17 Years of Marriage – This year we celebrated 17 years of marriage. 17 years! I can recall a few people saying we would never make it one year. Eat that! Actually, I’m not as thankful for marriage as I am for being married to Crystal. She’s pretty amazing and always keeps me on my toes.
Farm Life – I’m thankful we had the opportunity to help kid two baby goats, to hold hundreds of kits, then to grow those kits into full-sized meat rabbits for butchering, to eat hard boiled quail eggs, and to collect farm fresh eggs every morning. I’m even more thankful that we only have farm fresh eggs to collect every morning now.
Wesleyan Theology – I began co-teaching this class for our conference with my friend and mentor, Kelly Soifer, and cannot express how much fun it is to me to teach theology, read theology, talk theology and all this our ordinary leaders (real life kind of stuff).
Books – I have really enjoyed reading in the area of Wesleyan theology, Free Methodist history and polity, and all things Dallas Willard.
Judo and BJJ – This is a tough one. In 2006 I began training at Gracie Barra Escondido. I was the second student to sign-up and Prof. Magid’s first black belt. I pretty much developed the kids’ program and helped teach the adults whenever there was need. I spent 15 hours per week training there. I made some friends, broke some knees (okay, only one … and it wasn’t my fault … and I felt really, really bad about it), and got beat up more times than I can remember. However, all good things come to an end. Through a misunderstanding I was given the left hand of fellowship and ventured out on my own. I wish both my old friends, Magid and Little Magid, all the best. The last year has been a good one for Kozoku Judo and BJJ, and for that I am thankful. (I’m also thankful for Bill Caldwell and Kelly Barnes for their encouragement of my journey and participation in Judo.)
Interval Timer – This way I can roll and roll and roll without having to change the stopwatch. I love me some jiu-jitsu!
The Foundry – Quite possibly thebestchurchever.com, the peeps at The Foundry are the most awesome people I have ever known. I’m so excited for what God is doing in their midst and what awaits them in 2015. They also sent us on a three month sabbatical, with so much love and so many gifts, and for that I am thankful.
My Kids – Each one of them is so different. I love their personalities, their senses of humor, their individual interests, and that they still want to snuggle. Not sure that I’m thankful that Zaccai is taller than me, or that Hannah and Kaeli are looking more like women, but I suppose that’s part of life.
Difficulties – This one is hard for me. On the one hand, I think I could really enjoy a life with no difficulties. On the other hand, difficulties remind me of my own limitations, finiteness, dependence on others, and keep me humble. For that I am thankful.
Coffee – I don’t really need to say anything else.
Freedom – I’m thankful fro the freedoms I enjoy. First, the freedoms I have in Christ. Second, the freedoms I have in America. Though, I’m sad about the cost of freedom, the ease with which I take these freedoms for granted, and the fact that so many people are still bound in slavery in one form or another.
Friends – Especially those who listen before they judge. Thank you.
Finally, My Beard – That’s right, sabbatical has been good to me! (Take that Ross!)