Happy Thanksgiving to all my loyal readers!
I must confess, after publishing three original short stories during the month of October (plus a neat guest post from a dear friend), I felt a bit burned out and didn't write much of anything here or anywhere else during November. Not that I didn't think of ideas; but none of them panned out into an actual blog entry. So here I sit on Thanksgiving Day, after what has been a bit of a rough month, financially and otherwise. But rather than dwell on the challenges of life, I thought today would be a good time to think about all the things I have to be grateful for.
First and foremost, I am thankful that my faith has seen me through another year! It's not that I never have doubts; I have come to the conclusion as I get older that doubt and faith are going to be constant companions in the heart of any believer. Our doubts make us question our faith, and our faith gives us the strength to see through and overcome our doubts. In the end, I am a believer in Jesus Christ and in the God of the Bible because the narrative that accompanies Christianity makes more sense than any other religion or world view that I have ever encountered. History, archeology, logic, and even science come together to show to any discerning mind that Christianity is TRUE. And that truth gives purpose and meaning to not only my life, but to the life of this world and to the story of mankind.
Secondly, I am grateful for my spouse. Patty and I met in second grade, and as of next month, we will have been married 34 years. We have had our ups and downs, we have had our share of quarrels, but at the end of the day we are always there for each other. She's the other half of my soul, the owner of my heart, and the voice that calls me to the better side of myself every day. She keeps me on my toes, keeps me humble, and is also my strongest supporter. When I made the decision to focus my efforts on becoming a successful writer, she was behind me a hundred per cent, and even when things have not gone as well in that department as I had hoped, she's stood by me. We are in this journey of life together to the end.
I am grateful for my daughters. Rachel and Rebecca have been a huge help to us in the last year, taking care of Patty's Mom while we are at work, and giving us bits of time off together when we need a weekend to regain our sanity. They are funny, generous, kind, and loving young women, and while there is a part of me that is anxious to see them out of the house so that Patty and I can be a couple again, there is also a part that is going to miss them ferociously. So I treasure these last few years they are at home, knowing that time is coming to an end in the next year or two.
I am grateful for my job. So many of my friends grumble and gripe constantly about their work; I look forward to seeing my kids in the classroom every day. We laugh, we kid around, but we also get a LOT of learning done - and I learn as much from them as they do from me. Their love for me is humbling, and I would go to the mat for "my kids" any day. Some people's jobs are a source of stress and frustration; mine is a refuge from that. I have a boss who is purely and simply the best person I have ever worked for, and my co-workers are also my friends. I know that they will pray for me any time that I am going through difficulties, and I will do the same for them.
I am grateful for the success I have enjoyed as a writer. I haven't done as well in terms of sales as I hoped I might, but the fact remains that, since I typed "THE END" to my first novel, THE TESTIMONIUM, six years ago today, I have completed five more novels and published four of them. A few thousand people have read my books now, and I've gotten good reviews from nearly all my readers. I haven't hit the best-seller list yet, but all that means is I still have something to shoot for!
I am, last of all, grateful for my friends. To my dearest friend Ellie, who has been my literary critic and beta reader ever since I started writing as well as my confidant and internet pen-pal for the last twenty years, to my hunting partner Raymond, who is under the weather this Thanksgiving - get well soon, buddy! - to all the others that I interact with both in real life and online every day, thanks for being a part of my journey.
In short, none of the frustrations of life should ever make us forget how blessed we truly are. So wherever you are today, take a moment, take stock, and be grateful!