10. wireless technology -- from wireless internet to my bluetooth headset and even my wireless keyboard and mouse, i love being untethered.
9. generous friends -- this has been true for years, up to and including the present moment. recent example: after our van was totaled earlier this month, v and r lent us their car (which, frankly, is a lot nicer than the one that we lost); and today, a friend is bringing thanksgiving dinner for us, having heard that m is under the weather.
8. the dallas cowboys playing on thanksgiving day -- this has been going on literally for as long as i can remember (i think it started in 1966) and has been a enjoyable part of my thanksgiving celebration whenever i get the chance to include it.
7. facebook -- some people dislike it; one pastor even instructed the married folk in his congregation to quit it. but i love seeing the photos of friends' kids, talking about the issues of the day with thoughtful, articulate friends, reconnecting with old friends, and becoming much better friends with some that i didn't really know that well previously.
6. pizza and spicy chicken wings -- from our first thanksgiving, m and i decided to start a different kind of tradition. instead of the usual, we went for take-and-bake pizza and wings. when the girls joined our family, we added extra days of feasting to allow for thanksgiving meals that were historical (including venison, cranberries, and the three sisters) and traditional (turkey, mashed potatoes, greens, mac-and-cheese, etc.) . but with both girls away for the holiday, we're back to basics in 2011.
5. group video skype -- okay, so it doesn't always work perfectly. but when it does, it's awesome. this year, we hope to have both b and n on the line to celebrate together, even though we're thousands of miles apart from one another.
4. covenant group friends -- i am a part of a group of guys that meets every year to counsel, encourage, discern, and pray for one another. i've known each of these guys for 20+ years, and that is an amazing privilege. i have had pretty good friends wherever we've lived (and we've moved around a bit), but these are the kind of friends that are hard to replace -- the ones who know your history, your shortcomings, your challenges, your victories -- and have walked with you through them all.
3. microwave ovens -- lunch in like two minutes. how did people reheat leftovers before these babies?
2. second chances -- if it weren't for the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of others and God, i'd have been toast long ago.
1. God. yes, this is mostly a whimsical list. but you didn't really think i'd omit the One for whom i am the most thankful, did you?
i will praise the name of God with song
and magnify him with thanksgiving.