30 Days of Thanks, 2023 Edition

My theme for thankfulness in 2023 was based on the following: “If you have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5% of the world’s wealthy.”*
I began to think about the things I take for granted every day. I thought about Frank, the missionary in Africa, as he works in the slums of Uganda. If the people there saw how this very modest man of means (I have been on government assistance before, and I’m not very far from it even now) lives, they would think I’m a rich man. What do I have that I don’t even think about that would cause them to stare wide-eyed? Here’s my list.

#30daysofthanks day 1. I’m thankful for leftover pizza which made a fine lunch.

#30daysofthanks day two. Although we’ve been flirting with it, today was the first walk below freezing: 26.6°. I’m thankful for a little box called a thermostat. When it’s cold outside, this little device turns my home heater on so I wake up at 4:30am to a toasty warm environment.

#30daysofthanks day three. This little device is an oven igniter. Whenever I want chicken  nuggets or bacon or biscuits or a cake this little device causes my oven to turn on. Sometimes they go bad, and I have to replace it. I can get one for $20 on Amazon, and in 15 to 30 minutes I can have it swapped out and have my oven up and running again without having to call a repair person. I am thankful for these parts and for what an oven allows my family to do.

#30daysofthanks day four. I’m thankful for basic thick white comfy socks.

#30daysofthanks day five. Olive Tree Bible software is a free app that runs on my old iPad. The have lots of free resources and the software is easy to use.

#30daysofthanks day six. I’m thankful for the Brita water pitcher at work. It makes the town water taste much better. I’m not sure who bought it (Amy?),  but I’m thankful it’s a available to me.

#30daysofthanks day seven. A week in. Have you noticed a theme? Today I’m thankful for the Instant Pot. This device is so handy for us. I sautéed some carrots and onions and celery in it, then set it to pressure cook a few minutes just to get the vegetable soft. Then I’m going to set it to slow cook, and when Susan and I finally get home from busy days today we will be enjoying some chicken and rice soup. Sauté, pressure cook, and slow cook off from one device! 

#30daysofthanks day eight. I’m thankful for voting day.

#30daysofthanks installment nine. I’m thankful for all manner of cheap paper products. I almost always have a tissue or a paper towel or a napkin in my pocket. Want to have a little snack but don’t have a plate handy? Need to blow your nose or wipe up something nasty from the ground? Bang your hand on something and you’ve got a little spot of blood? Maybe a loved one starts crying, or you need to discreetly get rid of a piece of gum. Cheap paper product to the rescue! 

#30daysofthanks day ten. For my eyeglasses. It started of as a simple project today. I had a snare drum that needed some adjusting, so I went downstairs to the basement studio. I thought I would like to have a little music, but when I turned on the hifi there was no sound. Three hours and a repair to a speaker crossover later I finally was able to put some music on the turntable and hear it. Without my eyeglasses, my almost 52 year old eyes wouldn’t be able to see the tiny screws and small wires that I needed to manipulate so that I could have music in the basement. 

#30daysofthanks installment 11. Yesterday I was thankful for all manner of cheap paper products. Today I put the last roll of toilet paper on the holder. What to do? Run to Walmart for the second time today! I’m thankful I’m only 15 or so minutes from toilet paper, Columbian coffee, sweet potato puffs, salad mix, and paper plates. I’m thankful for supermarkets and department stores.

#30daysofthanks day 12. Gas stations. On the way to my gig I noticed I needed gas. I had literally seven gas stations along the way which were willing to sell me fuel. The one I chose also offered coffee (to which I obliged myself to a cub of dark roast Columbian), pizza, chips, chocolate, breakfast sammiches, Tylenol, tube meats of all varieties, and beer. (I picked up none of the latter items.)

#30daysofthanks day 13. I was making a recipe this morning when I realized we didn’t have any apples. I sent a text to my neighbor cousin: “Are you awake? Are you home? If the answer to both of these is yes, do you have two apples I can borrow?“ I’m thankful for a neighbor close by with ample fruit stores.

#30daysofthanks day 14. For my sink. It’s not fancy, it’s not new, it doesn’t have “features,” but it gets the job done.

#30daysofthanks day 15. I’m thankful for plenty of clean shirts.

#30daysofthanks day 16. What do I have, close to double digits pairs of shoes? These “Hey Dude” knock offs were $20 or something, and boy howdy aren’t they just the comfiest! (Comfy white socks made the list earlier.)

#30daysofthanks day 17. I was walking this morning when I heard an unusual noise. It was the noise of a single leaf being blown across the road. And I could HEAR it. For those not aware, I had a growth on my eardrum removed a few years ago, and because of a couple surgeries, an eardrum rebuild, and a prosthetic “bone” in my ear, I don’t hear well on my left side. But I CAN still hear. And it’s all because of the medical system we have here in the US. And as messed up as it is, and as much as it gets poo-pooed, I’m thankful for access to that kind of medical care–the kind that lets some average citizen like me have a frickin’ tumor cut out of his ear and his hearing restored with a titanium prosthetic ear bone!

#30daysofthanks day 18. My weather station informs me how much clothing to wear on my winter walks. Is it 54° or 34°? Is it 20° with no wind, or does a 15mph wind make it FEEL like 20°? Depending on conditions I wear different clothes; my weather station helps me decide.

#30daysofthanks day 19. I’m thankful for freezers that allow me to buy food on sale today and enjoy it some time in the future. (Seems like it’s about time to enjoy that corned beef we bought on sale last March.)

#30daysofthanks day 20. I’m thankful for indoor toilets.

#30daysofthanks day 21, three weeks in. Years ago my wife and daughter bought me some flannel lined jeans. It was 19° this morning so I wore them today. They’re a little big on me but that extra room and the warm lining make them the comfiest pants in the world.

#30daysofthanks day 22. I took a paid day off today. Consider that. I did NOT go to wotk today, but my employer paid me anyway. I’m thankful for that and for my coworkers covering for me.

#30daysofthanks day 23. Today is Thanksgiving, and I’m going to reveal my theme now. I think it makes more sense to do it today than wait for the last day of November. 

“If you have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5% of the world’s wealthy.”*

We frequently say “I have so much to be thankful for, things I take for granted.” Using that, and knowing that I’m in the top 5% of the world, I began to think about those things that 95% of the world may not have. Clothing like thick white socks, plenty of clean shirts, comfy shoes. Not only do I have a house, but I have a thermostat that turns my heat on, clean water from a water filter, and an indoor toilet. I have ample food–abundant even, held in freezers, and leftovers that I get to eat for lunch. I have eyeglasses to help me see and a healthcare plan to help me hear. I have the right to vote. I have tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, and paper plates. These simple things, well, perhaps when compared to the rest of the world, they’re not so simple. May I be thankful for these simple things.

#30daysofthanks day 24. Today I’ve watched Youtube on my iPad, a movie on my Roku, listened to podcasts on my iPhone, and browsed the web on my laptop. I’m thankful all this entertainment is available to me, and that I have leisure time to enjoy it.

#30daysofthanks day 25: I’m thankful for a washing machine and dryer that keep my ample supply of clothing clean.

#30daysofthanks day 26th. I’m thankful for, um, I don’t know, five different kinds of leftover pie. (Chocolate, lemon, maple, raspberry, and pumpkin cheesecake.) And I’m happy to live very close to my mom who made them all.

#30daysofthanks day 27. For our electrical grid. We lost power at the town office this morning. It was out 15 minutes or so. I’m thankful our electricity is rarely unavailable.

#30daysofthanks day 28. I’m thankful for aluminum sheet pans. Nachos, chicken nuggies, tater tots, roasted turkey, drip tray for pies, a carrying tray—a sheet pan can do it all.

#30daysofthanks day 29. I’m thankful for my pillow. Thanks Eben!

#30daysofthanks day 30. “Parise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.”

30 Days of Thanks, Another Unknown Year

30. For Sunday dinner with my family. This month, there won’t be many of them. I’m thankful we could get one in today.

29. Today I have much to be thankful for, but I’ll single out Julia’s successful wisdom teeth extraction.

28. Today I’m thankful for friends that buy lunch.

27. I woke up this morning, not to my alarm clock, but to Susan shaking me awake. My alarm was going off, and I wasn’t hearing it. I was so tired. That’s when Susan said to me “why don’t you go back to sleep, I’ll take the dog for a walk later.” I have a wonderful wife, and I’m thankful for her every day!

26. Today I scheduled a sick day for myself in December. I’m thankful for a job where I can use sick time for doctor visits.

25. Today I’m thankful for the drummer brotherhood and especially for Charles Daniel. I know a young drummer in need of an instrument, and he donated a snare drum to her cause.

24.  My dog Deuteronomy wants very little from me. He is very rarely disappointed with me. He loves me.

23. I’m thankful for my Sunday School class. I have some smart, thoughtful students who hold me accountable and keep me on my toes. No phoning it in with this group!

22. This is literally the first evening I’ve been at home in a week.

21. For forgiveness, grace, love, apologies, friendship, accountability, and reconciliation.

20. Day is gone,

Gone the sun

From the lake, from the hill, from the sky.

Rest in peace, soldier brave.

God is nigh.

19. I’m thankful for hot water heaters, hot showers, a heated towel bar, flannel sheets, and jammies.

18 . For Humpty Dumpty bacon hickory potato chips.

17. Glad to be home after a long night.

16. I’m thankful for two full weekends of back to back gigs. Yes, I’m busy, but it puts food on the table.

15.  In the sermon today, Pastor Jason Pauley said “Some have said ‘Marriage is the perfect example of two kingdoms being at war with one another.'” Although Susan and I sometimes hurt each other, let one another down, or otherwise make the other feel bad, I KNOW she never does it to “get” me. She never tries on purpose to hurt me, nor I her. We’re never at war with the other. We’re always on the same team.

14. Today, my sons joined me at Kiwanis. Julia warmed up my dinner for me. I’ve got some good kids.

13. A student drum set showed up at the local recycling yard. Jason Thompson had me on the horn toot sweet. “It seemed too nice to throw away.” I’ll clean it up this winter, and I think I already have a new home for it.

12. I had a great theological discussion with Julia on the ride to school today. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, can think logically, is not swayed easily, and is full of compassion.

11. Aaron. Laurel and Matthew. Paddy. Dave. These people in my life often don’t agree with me politically or spiritually. And yet, they don’t claim that because I’m a right wing Christian I’m on par with Islamic terrorists (as some info graphics are wont to do). I’m thankful I can be friends with them, disagree with them (often vehemently), but respectfully. I’m glad their friendship with me is more important than any particular disagreement we might have over religion (or lack thereof) or politics.

10. Vacation.

9. The members of the Rockland Kiwanis Club raise money by parking cars at the Owls Head Transportation Museum. The money raised from those events goes to our administration fund to be used to help pay for members to go to conventions. As the president, I am encouraged to go to up to three conventions during my year, and the club pays for my meals and hotel. It’s like a mini vacation for my family!

8. I’m thankful for two sweaters I found at Van Heusen outlet, $12 each. Mrs. Rhythm found the eggplant one, and then found another in cerulean.

7. “You know, having the conference in North Conway means it’ll snow on Sunday. Usually, when the conference is in North Conway, it snows on the drive home.”

~Gordon Page

I’m thankful it held off. Driving home in the rain was bad enough. 

6. Love God, love your wife, and love your kids, in that order. Help your neighbors with your talents. It’s ok to cry, and it’s ok to hug and kiss your dad. Ditch digger or Governor, they’re both people and worthy of respect. Marriage is supposed to be forever, so go into it with that in mind. And for all the other lessons he taught me.

5. Picked up a new drum student. After his first lesson tonight, he gave me a thank you note. Also, his father said “I appreciate you keeping your rate affordable, but you’re worth more than you’re charging.” He then tipped me 33%.

4. I’m very thankful for the soiree held at Spruce Head House today. For my mom, Marylou Batty, who loves her daughter-in-law Susan Dancer Batty as much as her own daughter. For my mother-in-law Donna Dancer, lover of grandkids and granddog Deuteronomy. And for John C. Dancer, who is a model for me as a Christian. All these people, plus my family and my sister’s family, all here. A blessed day, for sure. 

3. I’m thankful for a lazy day, with not much that needed doin’.

2. Home safe.

1. Rom. 8: 31-32 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 

Bonus: So much to be thankful for that I didn’t get to this month! Susan. My kids. The great Kiwanis meeting tonight at Lynn and Kevin Taylor’s house. The happiness that comes from giving (and receiving) little baked dough balls called biscuits. The members of Harmony Bible Church. Vacation. Coming back from vacation to a good job. So much…

30 Days of Thanks 2019

#30daysofthanks Day 1: I was having a rough day at the shop today. My attitude was poor. Harmony Bible Church member Susan R. stopped by with donuts. My own Susan stopped by to give me a hug. Laurie came and gave me a stamp collection. They helped my day get a little better.

#30daysofthanks Day #2. I had a rehearsal today for the upcoming Medomak production of Bye Bye Birdie. And for the third (I think) year I’m covering the concert bells part. I don’t play concert bells. Or maybe I play them, just very badly. Today I’m thankful for Peter and the Amazing Tauntauns and their willingness to put up with me in the pit.

#30daysofthanks Day #3. I had no paying gigs this weekend. Instead of fretting about things being a little tight, I’ll choose to be thankful for a little savings, two packages of on-sale chicken thighs left, and plenty of food in the freezers. (I can be thankful for not one but TWO freezers downstairs!)

#30daysofthanks Day 4. On Saturday I was a little depressed about my music playing, and specifically how poorly I played mallet percussion at Saturday’s rehearsal. Tonight the drummer wasn’t there, so I sat in on drums. That really helped my attitude; I’m a much better drummer than bell player. I’m thankful for tonight’s rehearsal.

#30daysofthanks Day 5. Today was not my best day. I’m thankful for prayer meeting at Harmony Bible Church and matzah ball soup.

#30daysofthanks Day 6. I thought I was far under my calorie count yesterday. But I stepped on the scale to find I was “overweight.” It’s too bad my attitude can be affected by a silly line on a chart, but it is. Still, I’m thankful for a purchase made almost 10 years ago that has influenced my health and lifestyle for so much good—even if sometimes it makes me angry.

#30daysofthanks Day 7. My son Matthew had a fever and had to come home from school. I’m thankful I had time to go get him and bring him home before I had to leave for class.

#30daysofthanks Day 8. I am impatient. I’m easily angered. I’m selfish and unloving. I’m thankful today for forgiveness and grace!

#30daysofthanks Day 9. Something drives me BATTY, crazy, bonkers, insane: blankets! My family LOVES blankets, but NEVER picks them up. Instead of being irritated, I should be thankful. My family all still live with me, and I pretty much see them every day. They are warm and comfortable. What annoys me could be a sign of thanksgiving—if I pay attention to it.

#30daysofthanks Day 10. A friend came home to Maine to bury his mum. Another friend came home to #downtownspruceheadamerica to check in on his dad who had a stroke. These are not the circumstances I would want for them to come home, but I’m thankful that while they were here we got a chance to see each other.

#30daysofthanks Day 11. Visiting Heather on her birthday was fun. Driving home from Brooks was not! We are home safe. I’m thankful for AWD sure footed Toyota vans.

#30daysofthanks Day 12. We are a family of 5 with ONE bathroom. Sometimes it’s hard to get in there. You have to follow the shower schedule. Sometimes there’s a line. But in that one bathroom you get hot showers daily. An indoor privy so you aren’t running to the outhouse. The electric toothbrush keeps my teeth and gums healthy. Heck, Susan has an electric towel bar that keeps our towels somewhat warm and tries to keep our towels dry. I’m pretty blessed in that little bathroom.

#30daysofthanks Day 13. It was cold this morning. Single digit cold. Tonight I had a nice hot supper and soon, a dish of—what else—ice cream! I’m thankful for cold ice cream on a cold night.

#30daysofthanks Day 14. I spent some of my evening doing dishes. I was reminded of why I started doing this thankfulness exercise years back. It was that little plaque in my grandmother’s kitchen. “God bless these dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell. While others may go hungry, we’ve all been eating well.”

#30daysofthanks Day 15. I had a bunch of stuff I needed to get done today. Susan recognized I had too much stuff and not enough day. She took over one project to buy me some time to work on something else. That really helped me get things finished. Thanks Honey.

#30daysofthanks Day 16. Although Matthew’s robotics team didn’t get into the finals, I was pleased with how hard he and his teammate Daniel kept trying.

#30daysofthanks Day #17. We had a small scheduling mix up. My car which has two available seats (the back is full as it usually is) needed to get three guys home to Spruce Head. I’m thankful for some bonding time with my sons, their good humor, a safe trip home, and no police.

#30daysofthanks Day #18. This morning’s theology study for Thursday’s class was all about the doctrines of human nature, sin, and grace. Today I’m thankful for some reformed friends. We don’t agree about everything, and sometimes have major disagreements. Still, I’m thankful for them, and their positions–even though they’re wrong. 😉

#30daysofthanks Day #19. I’m thankful for an attitude adjustment that comes from praying with fellow believers at a little country church every Tuesday night.

#30daysofthanks Day #20. I had a packed schedule at work today, but came home to a “mac and cheese fest” courtesy of my beloved.

#30daysofthanks Day 21. Yes, going back to school has taken effort on my part. I get up early and study. I write papers on weekends. I have to use up vacation time and drive about two hours each way to class. But my boss has granted me time off from work going on year #3. And generous donors give to the school so students can attend tuition free. How could I not be super thankful for them?!

#30dayofthanks Day 22, an early one. I woke up and found a message from a friend. She noticed that last night I was thankful for generous people giving to my school, and she’s also noticed that I have some drums for sale. She sent me a message asking how I was doing, and wondering if I was selling drums to finance school books. I’m thankful for a friend who has that kind of heart. This former teacher has on multiple occasions gifted both me AND Julia with a little something to help pay for school expenses. I hope my heart becomes more and more like hers–loving, generous, kind, and observant.

#30daysofthanks Day #22. When your 88 year old customer says he eats one meal a day with his food stamps benefits, and of his 10 kids only one calls once a week, and he can’t drive because the eye surgery didn’t work and he now sees only out of one eye, well that’s a tough thing to hear (unless you’re totally heartless). I’m thankful for those who volunteered to buy or help pay for a new computer for him. Someone has donated one that I think will serve him just fine. Thanks everyone!

#30daysofthanks Day 23. Due to surgery this is my last gig of the year. Thank you Nikki, Vincent, David, Carl, Bill, Jo Anne, Glen, Wayne, and Peter for throwing work my way this year.

#30daysofthanks Day 24. For the person who blessed us today exactly at the time we needed it. Thank you.

#30daysofthanks Day 25. I’m thankful Susan has held up well physically on our trip to Boston.

#30daysofthanks Day 26. Giving God the praise for was could’ve been bad, but He blessed mightily! Get a pencil and take notes. The anesthesia was different this time, and recovery was much better. Felt so good we skipped the cab to North Station and just walked. Doc didn’t need to cut into my head, but did it all through my ear canal. That means less pain, no stitches, and a less obtrusive dressing. I didn’t lose my taste this time either. Dr Lee’s office admin says not losing my taste last time was very rare; I’ve got taste 2X in a row! The skin graft healed “so good” according to the doctor. He even emphasized that to Susan: “So good.” No abnormal cells found. The prosthetic was installed—titanium even! Susan last time was beat, sick, and had a headache. She’s doing great this time. Answered prayers people! I thank you for them and thank God for His mighty powers. Thanks to nurses Michael and Michelle and Julie too. And Dr. Roediger in Portland and Dr. Daniel Lee at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

#30daysofthanks Day 27. No pain today. Not even tylenol level pain. Took 3 walks with Deuteronomy. Heck if I didn’t have all kinds of vacation time to use up I could’ve gone to work!

#30daysofthanks Day 28, Thanksgiving day. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

#30daysofthanks Day #29. I’m thankful for CLR, which did a great job of getting my toilet clean today.

#30daysofthanks Day #30, the final installment. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thess. 5:18. I had a theme this year. Did you catch it? (Amy did.) I tried to take the worst thing that happened to me during the day, and be thankful for it. Look at it from a different point of view. How might God use something bad for my benefit (Rom. 8:28)? I found it to be a useful exercise.

30 Days of Thanks 2018

Day 1:  “Chesed” (hard CH like “cough,” not soft like “chicken,” and with some roughness from the throat) is the Hebrew word for “faithful love.” According to the Faithlife Bible study note, chesed is “…no ordinary love; it is a stubborn, costly, sacrificial, voluntary love. It is the love God has for his people—the bedrock of their faith.” I’m thankful for chesed today. 

Day 2:   I’m thankful for my work as a musician that supplements my income. I’m thankful for bandleaders that hire me. But today, I’m especially thankful for a weekend off! 

Day 3:  I’m thankful for tacos and a game of Life with my family—an evening at home! 

Day 4:  I’m thankful for family lunch with guests Chris and Heather Quimby. It’ll be the only family lunch I get all month. 

Day 5:  I’m thankful for a good deal on a hotel in MA that offers free parking and shuttle service to Mass. Eye and Ear. 

Day 6:  For small town life. I didn’t have to show ID at the polls: the clerk called me “Billy.” 

Day 7:  I’m thankful for forgiveness and an opportunity to do better tomorrow. 

Day 8:  For a good day at work. I helped 1/2 dozen or so old ladies and their Macs. One I’m pretty sure I kept from crying. The boss thanked me with a little something extra in my wallet. I didn’t get annoyed with my coworkers. That’s finest kind. 

Day 9: That was a good gig, but after that car ride I’m thankful to be home. 

Day 10:  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” I’m thankful for my mom, Marylou. She and dad raised me, and got me house where I started my own family. She maintains the right balance of not doting on me, but she’s always there if I need something. She’s a great mom. Love you Mom! 

Day 11:  I’m thankful for full freezers and leftover lasagna soup. 

Day 12:  I’m glad Susan didn’t find a dead cat today. 

Day 13:  Food related. Thanks to Julia for dropping off to her ol’ man a Dunkin coffee and coffee roll. It’ll make a good lunch! 

Day 14:   Thanks to Jason Philbrook, who allows me time off during the week so I can continue my education. He has agreed to continue the practice next semester. I’m thankful he allows me to take an afternoon off every week. 

Day 15:  Tracy sent me a surprise: some stamps she found in a desk. Thank you Tracy, and Gordon and Suzanne and Lisa and Marylou(Mom) and Amy and Brian-Katie and all of you who save those stamps for me. 

Day 16:  I don’t have my snow tires on yet, and the customer I was supposed to visit had an unplowed driveway on a backroad. Arthur Grierson took the call in his 4WD truck so I might not get stuck. Thanks for coverage AG. 

Day 17:   I’m thankful for my kids coming to hear me play at the musical tonight. Julia Batty gives Shrek a 10 out of 10, and said it’s probably the best musical she’s seen at Medomak. (How’s that Peter Stuart?!) 

Day 18:   I’m thankful to the anonymous donor who has once again (the third time even) made a generous gift to Harmony Bible Church. 

Day 19:  It’s 30°, no wind, snowing lightly with just enough fresh coating for Deuteronomy to make snow angels all over #downtownspruceheadamerica. I’m thankful for my early morning walk today. 

Day 20: I’m thankful for a slow day at the shop. I used it to get caught up! 

Day 21:  I’m thankful for all the preachers willing to come fill in at Harmony Bible Church. 

Day 22:   I’m thankful for my family and the time I got to spend with them today. And for my mom’s chocolate pie and Paula Deen’s banana pudding. 

Day 23:  I’m thankful for my daughter Julia Batty. For her love of musicals, her funny nose, her willingness to run out for feta, and her love for her old man and Jesus. 

Day 24:   I’m thankful for a spare house key, otherwise I’d be sleeping in the car tonight! 

Day 25:  “We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear, and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.” Thank you for your love and prayers Harmony Bible Church. 

Day 26:   I’m thankful for Amtrak expanding all runs to Brunswick, which means Susan won’t have to endure driving in Portland. I’m thankful for a special hotel rate for Mass Eye and Ear patients. I’m thankful for shuttle service. 

Day 27:  SO. MUCH. THANKFULNESS! For the parking officer who is going to issue a refund. For a smooth trip in from the hotel this morning. For a wife who loves me very much. For dear friends who prayed for me. For Dr. Lee who saved my stapes, which means I might get some hearing back. For my sense of taste which I still have! For Jesus who orchestrated the whole thing. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!  A Christian cab driver. Cab fare 1/2 what we budgeted. Was disappointed to find the Dunkin’ in North Station closed, but the other one was still open! Pizza place still open too! Friends, God’s got His hands all over this today. 

Day 28:  Thanks for all you well wishers and those who checked up on me today. Doing great! 

Day 29:   I’m thankful to get the ear bandage off and for a shower and a shave. 

Day 30:  Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…”

30 Days of Thanks, 2017

1A: “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

1B. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” 

2. For my mom and dad, and Susan and her mom and dad, and Julia and Nathaniel and Matthew. “…A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife…” I was part of a family. She was part of a family. We got together and now have our own family. I’m blessed, she’s blessed, the kids are blessed, the grandparents are blessed. There’s a lot to be thankful for in how that all worked.

3. the last of the back to school edition. I’m thankful for the benefactor* who is paying for the salaries of New England Bible College that is allowing all students free tuition. Because of you, I’m going back to school.

4. I’m thankful for Laurie and her hat making skills, and her willingness to come through for me in a pinch. The hat was well received at Kiwanis tonight, and you were remembered warmly.

5. There will be more today, but I thought I’d share this one. Apparently 9 years ago today I joined Facebook. You CAN be thankful for Facebook. Yes, it can be a time sink. Yes, you’ll see religion and politics, and it won’t all be your way. But it’ll allow you to keep track of Heather Garcia, who you haven’t seen since graduation day. Your old neighbors Pat and Jerry Rittersdorf who now live out west with Jon Ferrall and others. You can chat with Rutta Frank, the African guy Julia met on her mission trip. As Sumner Kinney mentioned to me last night, you can get advice on turtle owning from 30 friends you had no idea kept turtles. All because of Facebook. Thanks FB.

6. I’m thankful for getting chores done, a nice family reunion at Gretchen’s, and a successful first time driving a parade float.

7. I’m thankful for a safe trip back and forth to Bangor. For a new gluten free bakery. For a purple gingham pocket square on the markdown rack. New shoes for the boys. A great waiter at lunch. For the guy with jumper cables when the battery went dead. (He was in the space right next to us, and when I said “Well amen, how about that?” to Susan the guy said “Well praise God.”) For a Chick-FIl-A sammich and a gift card from a friend. It was a great day with my family.

8. I had a lot I wanna to say, but I’m going to stay simple. I’m thankful I got to hear John C. Dancer say grace today.

9. I’m thankful for a warm day to walk with Deuteronomy. I’m thankful for a good GWI tech who listened and was efficient. I’m thankful for Wendy who waited for hug-a-drummer day.

10. Part 3 of the “back to school” series. I’m thankful for “good authority.” When I signed up for classes, I started looking around for used books. Someone came to me and said “I have it on ‘good authority’ that your books are going to be coming in on Friday. Don’t order any.” On Friday, brand new textbooks showed up at my house. A little later, this same friend said “‘Good authority’ told me more books are coming.” By the time ‘good authority’ was done, I had ALL my text books, all brand new. The Greek/Hebrew Bible I needed even came with the genuine leather cover? That Bible alone was near $100! Thank you Good Authority, you have blessed me incredibly.

11. Thanks to all you knitters/crocheters who volunteered to help me today, and especially thanks Laurie. Who knew you knitting crocheters were all looking for work! 🙂 Thank you all for being willing.

12. I’m thankful for a generous church family. I’m thankful for a family supper. I’m thankful another year of Peter and and the Amazing Tauntauns. And yellow paisley neckties on the markdown rack.

13. Much to be thankful for today. For Mr Tire and the crew who treat me like family. For two nice walks with Deuteronomy, one with some off leash time. For Susan joining the pit band for supper and a show. A nap. Chocolate chip cookies. It was a super nice day all around.

14.  I’m thankful for my son Matthew who decided to hang out with me in the pit at Peter Pan.

15. Thanks to all of my friends who help me with my stamp collection.

16. I’m thankful for all the “little” things—which end up being big things—Susan does for me. Washing the dishes when I get behind. Walking Deuteronomy so I can get ready for tomorrow. Chocolate chip cookies 🍪 just because. All of those things.

17. The second of the “back to school” entries. I’m thankful for Jason Philbrook, my boss who has allowed me to leave “early” every Tuesday so I can take my classes. (I’m essentially out all day, as I leave at 9:30am.) AND, he’s already agreed to let me take time off every Tuesday next semester, too.

18. An early one. You may even get TWO entries today. But I’m already thankful for a bunch of things. I’m happy I’m caught up with Greek homework, and I could afford to skip my usual study time this morning and get some more sleep. I’m thankful for the book of Philemon; a short book, but so personal and applicable*. And I’m thankful for antacid tablets and moisturizing cream. (TMI?)

19. I’m thankful Julia went to town to pick up milk for the family. She’s been extra helpful since she got her license. (Keep her in mind if you know of a decent but cheap car.)

20. Thank you vets, and especially to Wm. Batty Sr. (Coastie), his brother Thornton Batty, Jr. (Coastie), their father Thornton Batty Sr. (Coastie), his father Fred C. Batty (US Lighthouse Service), and his father-in-law Samuel John Cavanor (US Lighthouse Service). Technically, the Lighthouse Service was under the Dept. of Commerce at the time, not Defense, but it later was folded into the Coast Guard. Still, those two generations served their country on the sea.

21. I’m glad Susan is feeling better, I’m glad Julia went to the play with me, and thankful for some drum practice time today.

22. For Peter Stuart and his Amazing Tauntauns. And for their patience with a rock/funk/blues drummer who is trying to play concert bells. I played my first ever bells gig tonight. I got maybe 1/2 the notes right, but they’re going easy on me.

23. Today I am thankful for Harmony Bible Church deacon Mark Kunz, a big guy with big ideas and a big heart.

24. On Tuesdays this month I’ll focus on the blessings of going back to school. I’m thankful for the 1:40 minute ride one way to school. It gives me great opportunity to pray, listen to podcasts, send encouraging texts, and do some planning and list making. Phone use all done safely and hands free with voice recognition of course.

25. This is how much she loves me. This is how she spent her evening. (Attached was a photo of a strainer full of clean dishes.)

26.  I’m thankful to have a family lunch at my mom’s house today. We won’t be able to have another one until December. And, it was nice to meet my nephew’s girlfriend Ruby.

27. For a gig that gets done “early” (11pm is early for a musician), an extra hour of sleep, and a venue that still gives the musicians a comped meal (thank you Newcastle Publick House).

28. For Cafe Miranda Rockland, Shaw’s Supermarket, Match Game ‘75, and a fun night with my best girl Susan.

29.  After two+ weeks away house/dog sitting, Julia V. is back home tonight! (And that’s where the van has been; Susan and I haven’t been having marital issues.)

30. I’m thankful for the friendship of Kiwanis members, Aktion Club, and Key Club. The Aktion club meeting tonight was a hoot.

30 Days of Thanks 2016

30. I’m thankful for leftovers. Not only did I have enough to eat for one day, but leftovers mean I get lunch the following day. My lunch today was leftovers from last week. My supper tonight was left over from last night. My before bed treat was leftover Halloween candy. It may not be as nice as eating lunch out every day, but I can be thankful for them nontheless.

29. For supper around the table with your family.

28. For the sound of the rain. #30daysofthanks  

27. I’m thankful for a weekend full of gigs; a gig every day, Thursday – Sunday. It’s a second job, one that I love, and helps the budget. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work.

26. For a $25 meal voucher from the P/R director.

25. For ice cream, my sons who picked the flavor, and the wife who thought we should have some in the freezer.

24. For all you volunteers who sit on budget committees. Thank you for your work.

23. I’m thankful for my right to vote, and I’m thankful I don’t have to deal with Tracfone on a regular basis. Shoot, I think I’d take another Clinton if they could just make this phone work!

22. I’m thankful for the lady at Tracfone who took the time to read my trouble ticket. In it, she saw exactly what the problem was, and fixed in 15 minutes what 1/2 dozen other techs couldn’t figure out in over two weeks.

21.  For snuggletime.

20. So much today. Thank you vets for serving, especially Coasties Thornton Batty, Sr., Thornton Batty, Jr., and William Batty, Sr. Thank you Josh Scholz for the care given to Susan at the ER. (#rocklandkiwanis5). Thank you to the Midcoast Community Band for letting me sit in with you, and honoring vets with the concert today. And thanks MCCB for all the kind words regarding my playing.

19. I accepted a gig to play Cinderella at Medomak. Then I got an opportunity to play a really choice gig in in Ellsworth. I’m thankful director Peter Stuart let me skip out of the last show, and thankful Tyler Lee covered for me in the pit.

18. For what is perhaps the greatest verse ever written in a hymn. “My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul.”

17. Thank you Clifford Blastow for making scones for Kiwanis. Thank you Jane Filos Merrill for buying my breakfast tomorrow. #rocklandkiwanis5

16. For coffee and a donut. For a cookie and coffee. For pastries on the markdown rack. For a Facebook cover photo with me in it. For my favorite beef and noodles. And most importantly for the friends and family who show me they love me through these gestures.

15. For a daughter who banged out a 100 on her John exam, and a 95 on the theology exam. Boom! That’s MY daughter right there.

14. In about an hour, I leave to go to my ear doctor specialist down in Portland. I’m thankful for my employer, Jason Philbrook. Not only is he the entrepreneur who has employed me for almost 20 years, but in that time his businesses have provided me with health insurance, not only to me, but to my whole family. That’s no small expense on top of my pay. AND, he give me sick time which he allows me to use for doctor and dentist visits, so he’s paying my regular pay today to visit the doctor which he’s paying for through my insurance. Thank you JP.

13. I’m thankful for the technology that lets me get free drum lessons on Youtube, lets me keep up with friends and family via Facebook, let’s me find yummy oatmeal recipes on Pinterest, lets Susan check our bank balances daily, and all the other great uses of the integrated circuit.

12. For that thick cut bacon that was on sale two weeks ago at Shaws. Bagel sammiches for supper tonight–yum.

11. From Luke 15: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Take me on as one of your hired hands.” So he got up and went to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him.

10. My son Matthew is loving, kind, and tender. He cares more about others than himself. When his brother gets hurt, Matthew ends up crying because he hates to see his brother that way. He still hugs his dad. He’s a good boy.

9. Nathaniel is my oldest boy, the holder of the birthright (by 7 minutes), “son of my right hand.” He’s my “book learning” son. He taught me that Napolean wasn’t really short. He taught me the plural of platypus is platypodes. He’s teaching himself piano by watching videos on Youtube. You could describe him as impish. He’s got the makings of leadership–Matthew would follow him anywhere. I see a lot of me in him.

8. Julia is home!

7. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Thanks for the inspiration Jason Pauley.

6. Thanks to all the musicians and bandleaders who call me when they need a drummer. It’s very much appreciated.

5. For all the Rockland Kiwanians who helped unload Christmas trees today, and especially for Christmas tree chairs Ev Spear III and Dan Saucier. #rocklandkiwanis5

4. For a successful trip to Canada, a chance to sleep in my bed without the dog (oh the leg room!), a mother-in-law watching the boys and bed hogging dog, for opportunity to sleep late tomorrow, and the day off. Wow, that’s a lot right there!

3. Having lots of legroom last night was grand, and not getting up at 5am for walkies was nice too, but I’m tDeuteronomy is home tonight.


1. God has a sense of humor. “Give thanks in all things.” I’m thankful we have a full staff at the shop today. I’m thankful the sump pump is now working. I’m thankful for two wet dry shop vacs. I’m thankful all the really expensive drums were off the floor.

30 Days of Thanks 2014

Thankfulness, day 1. I’m thankful for chocolate chip cookies and French roast coffee.

Thankfulness, day 2. Used generator? $400. Transfer switch and cables? $150. Electrician friend who hooks it up? $100. Getting the carb rebuilt and finally, after 4 years, putting the whole system to work? Priceless! 

Thankfulness, day 3. For friends who cover for me at work. Friends who rebuild my generator carb. Friends who drive my daughter home. Friends who give my wife rides. I have loyal friends. 

Thankfulness, day 4. I’m thankful for the first snow storm of the 2014-2015 season. Many good lessons have been learned. 

Thankfulness, day 5: for coworkers who are supportive friends. 

Thankfulness, day 6 (forgot to post it yesterday): I’m thankful for toast! 

Thankfulness, day 7: I am thankful to get the last of the Dorman’s mocha chip. 

Thankfulness day 8: for Michael in St. George. He has a chainsaw, and a wood stove. He also now has the maple that came down across my clothesline. I’m thankful he came and cleared it, and glad he can use it. 

Thankfulness, day 9: I’m thankful for Sunday dinners with my Mom and my sister’s family. 

Thankfulness, day 10. I’m thankful I don’t have to work in the morning. I can use the sleep! 

Thankfulness, day 11: For Thornton Batty, Jr, Coastie who served in Viet Nam re-supplying the Brown Water Navy. For William R. Batty, Sr., who served tending buoys off the coast of Maine. And for Thornton Batty, Sr., who served as a Coastie of the Aleutians in WWII. 

Thankfulness day 11, part 2. My Mom’s side of the family has vets too. My grandfather Lewis Yattaw served, and I have his memorial flag that I fly from time to time. His son, Lewis “Rusty” Yattaw served in Africa and Germany. 

Thankfulness, day 12: Two weeks ago, I played a really good gig at The Landings. Sadly, the SD card in my portable recorder died, and I couldn’t get the tracks off of it. Today, though, I tried again, and got most of the data off of it–enough at least so I could hear what I played. 

Thankfulness, day 13: for Mike, Kate, Molly, Max, and the whole Landings crew. They asked me to play there not once, but twice this week. And they treat me better than some customer or hired hand. They treat me like family. 

Thankfulness, day 14. I’m thankful for Grandma and Granddaddy taking the kids for the weekend! 

Thankfulness, day 15: for a day of nothing but spending time with Susan. 

Thankfulness, day 16. Today in Sunday School, we talked about being a good steward with money, and how much is too much, and how much should you store up for yourself. I’m thankful for my boss of 15 years, who treats his employees well, is generous, and doesn’t have a greedy bone in his body. 

Thankfulness, day 17: VACATION! 

Thankfulness, day 18: I’m thankful for Pastor Jason Pauley. 

Thankfulness, day 19: I’m thankful for the great Christmas shopping trip I had today with my family. I’m almost done with my list! 

Thankfulness, day 20. Dad’s been on my mind today. I’m thankful I had many years to hug him, kiss his check, and tell him I loved him. 

Thankfulness, day 21. I’m thankful for emergency personnel–especially those that volunteer. 

Thankfulness, day 22. I’m thankful for my sons, who helped me pick up the debris from the maple we 1/2 lost in the storm. Sadly, I shacked my back in the clean up process, but they really worked hard. 

Thankfulness, day 23. I’m thankful for microwaves and rice socks, freezers and ice packs, ibuprofen and tylenol, helpful kids and a patient wife. 

Thankfulness, day 24. I’m thankful for my inlaws, Donna and John Dancer. Mom is always taking the kids–not because she wants to give Susan and me a break–but because she wants to spend time with her grandkids. All of them. And my father-in-law? Meek, wise, incredibly strong, and a fine example of what I want to be. Patience of Job? Ol’ John Calvin Dancer’s got him beat. 

thankfulness, day 25. I’m thankful for the members of Harmony Bible Church. 

Thankfulness, day 26… Me: “Hello?” Mom: “Oh hi. I guess you know what I want.” Me: “To know if I’m home safe? I am, and I’m in for the night.” Sound familiar Stacy Densmore? 

Thankfulness, day 27, Thanksgiving Day. I’m thankful for Jesus. 

Thankfulness, day 28 (I was tired after my gig last night): I’m thankful for my children. Special thanks to Julia for helping me lug equipment to gigs this week with my sore back. 

Thankfulness, day 29. After two really nice reunions, I’m especially thankful for my family today–both my immediate and extended family. 

Thankfulness, day 30: Last but not least, I’m thankful for Susan.

30 Days of Thanks 2013

Thankfulness, day 1. I’m thankful for the gigs that help me provide for my family. And for French roast.

Thankfulness, day 2. My grandmother had a poem hung in her kitchen, and I am reminded of it today. “Thank you for these dirty dishes, They have a tale to tell. While others may go hungry We’ve all been eating well.” 

Thankfulness, day three. While I’m sad that Julia wasn’t able to come to my gig this afternoon with the rest of the family, I’m glad she understands commitment, and that she stuck to that which she said she would do. 

Thankfulness, day 4: I’m thankful for the support of coworkers after dealing with a difficult customer. 

Thankfulness, day 5. Although my votes aren’t usually on the winning side, I’m thankful for my right and responsibility to vote. 

Thankfulness, day 6. Entenmans chocolate covered donuts. Nuff said? 

Thankfulness, day 7. I’m thankful for a workplace where Julia can hang out with me for a couple of hours after school if needed. 

Thankfulness, day 8, an early one. I’m thankful for syncopated drum rhythms, incessant clean guitar lines, and a “bumpy” feeling bass guitar, which when combined together yield a little something we call FUNK! And this funk, when applied to Billy Rhythm, helps pull him out of a potentially foul mood. 

Thankfulness, day 9. For my friends in “the pit” of Charlie Brown. “My Aunt Marion was right. Never discuss marriage with a musician.” 

Thankfulness, day 10. I’m thankful for rainy Sunday afternoons which allow me to take guilt free naps. 

Thankfulness, day 11. Bill Batty, Sr. and his brother Thornton Batty, Jr, both US Coast Guard, with my uncle serving some in Viet Nam. Their father, my grandfather, Thornton Batty, Sr., a Coastie serving in the Aleutian Islands during WWII. His father, my great grandfather, F.C. Batty, US Lighthouse Service. His father-in-law was Sam Cavanor, the first lightkeeper on Ram Island off Boothbay. To those in my family who served on the sea, and to all vets. Thank you. 

Thankfulness, day 12. A lady came up to me tonight and said “My son is really enjoying your class.” I really needed to hear that. Thank you. 

Thankfulness, day 13. I’m thankful for firm pillows and warm Labradors. 

Thankfulness, day 14. I met with the boys’ teacher today. They’re doing pretty well for their first year in “school.” 

Thankfulness, day 15. After having other commitments every evening this week, tonight was family night. 

Thankfulness, day 16. I’m thankful for on the job training. When I started with Midcoast Internet Solutions in 1999, I knew very little about computers. Now my dozen + years of doing it lets me help my family and neighbors. 

Day 17: I’m thankful for Sunday dinners with my family. 

Thankfulness, day 17, part B. For my beloved wife Susan, who bought me dark chocolate Kit Kats to ease my cravings. That’s love, right there. 

Thankfulness, day 18. I’m thankful for friends who share donuts, and neighbors who share cider. 

Thankfulness, day 19. I’m thankful for the kids in my computer class. We had a great day today. 

Thankfulness, day 20. A couple three years ago, during a financial tight spot, I had to sell some drums. The first one to sell was the one I wanted to sell the least: my Tama Stewart Copeland signature snare. I’m thankful I was finally able to score one on ebay, AND at a price lower than I sold the first one for! 

Thankfulness, day 21 (I forgot to post last night). I’m thankful for learning, and those who love learning. 

Thankfulness, day 22. I’m thankful for my moms and their rolls. My Mom makes a light fluffy yeast roll, and she taught Susan how to make them. My mother in law makes a more substantial roll with wheat (or is it oat?) flour and a swirl of cinnamon in the middle. I have some of each in my house right now. 

Thankfulness, day 23. For all the bandleaders who throw gigs my way, thank you. My work as a musician enables my wife to be a full time mom, and we both appreciate that. 

Thankfulness, day 24. I Those who volunteer, or those who are called to serve, will at some point be required to do something they’d rather not. Thank for continuing to help, even though you’re not doing something too glamorous. Thank you for being the treasurer, for scrubbing the toilet, or helping with the dishes. 

Thankfulness, day 24, pt II. It’s 19°. I have a hot tub. Na na na na na na. 

Thankfulness, day 25: I’m thankful for the dedicated crowd of jazz lovers who turn out on Mondays, and especially thankful for whoever keeps putting those twenties in the tip bucket. 

Thankfulness, day 26. I’m thankful for my sons. What a great pair they are. I can’t imagine a more different set of twins, and yet they are so much a part of the other. Built in best friends they are. They go to bed in separate beds, but when I wake them up in the morning, one has joined the other. I love that. 

Thankfulness, day 27. For my daughter Julia, who is even more beautiful on the inside than she is the outside. Smart, caring, the whole package. I’m blessed to have her, and wonder how I could be a part of something so wonderful. (Then I remember she takes after her mother, and it all becomes clear…) 

Thankfulness, day 28. In Job 41, God said “Everything under heaven is mine.” I’m thankful He shares it with me! 

Thankfulness, day 29: For my good bud Deuteronomy. 

Thankfulness, day 30: Susan. 

Give Thanks in All Things

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
~1 Thess. 5:18

On Saturday night, I was about to head out to a gig. My mom was visiting the house, and she asked if she had left a weed trimmer down in the basement. I said she had, that I knew right where it was, and I’d go get it for her. When I turned the corner on the stairwell landing, I could see quite a flood on the floor. I said to Susan who was right behind me “I’m screwed.” You see, I had two vintage drum sets sitting on the floor. I had my most expensive Tama Starclassic kit down there. I had all kinds of speakers, microphones, PA equipment, you name whatever expensive musical thing you can think of, and it was probably on that floor. And, I was due at gig.

But the Lord was gracious to me. Two of the three drumsets were a little moist on the bottom, but nothing major. The expensive Starclassic kit wasn’t wet at all. A cardboard box of records was soaked, but inside, all the good records were at the other end–a dry end! The stuff that got wet was all easily replaceable. A bag of cymbals got wet, and got some green oxidation that could be polished off. Susan was able to dry the wet records, and laid the dust jackets out in our sunroom. So what really was lost? An hour or so of my time spent wet-vac-ing the basement. I was able to get to my gig on time, and still had time to eat supper. (A supper provided by the gig’s management, so thanks for that too!)

So, I’ve decided to start a new category of postings: Give Thanks in All Things. I hope this will help me remember where my focus really needs to be.