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…