200 | 10 Things I’m Grateful For

November 17, 2011
Thursday, 1:00 p.m.
Letter #200: 10 Things I’m Grateful For


Dear Family,

Happy Thanksgiving! By the time you receive this, the big day will be upon us, so I thought it would be appropriate to share my bits of thanks with each of you. In the tradition of this country’s very first Thanksgiving dinner, celebrated with five kernels of corn at each place to commemorate the harsh winter’s food rationing, I take up my five kernels of microwave popcorn and sit down to enumerate my blessings this year.

Now, Thanksgiving rules and regulations strictly state that you must use only five kernels, one per each thing you are grateful for, and no more, but those people who create and/or follow such rules typically have: 1) a table 2) a real turkey and 3) lots of friends and family over for dinner. Since none of these apply to my Thanksgiving, I choose to bend the rules a bit and stretch the “five things you’re thankful for” limit. Thus, in no particular order, here are

The 10 Things I’m Grateful for in 2011

  1. My family. I’m blessed to have a family that loves and cares for each other, doesn’t take themselves too seriously, and encourages me.
  2. My Savior. I’m thankful for the blood of Christ that was sufficient for paying all my sins and the sins of the world. I’d rather be receiving God’s mercy than His judgement, His rewards than His punishment in eternity.
  3. The Jews. I’m thankful for their devotion to God, their accurate historical records, and their integral part in God’s plan. (I’m also grateful for the Jewish guy who lives next door to me who gets tons of fruit and veggies as part of his kosher diet and sells me some.
  4. Music. I’m thankful that God allows me the privilege of giving back to Him a gift of praise through music. Entering prison, I was fairly sure I wouldn’t be playing a piano for a while, yet I’ve been asked to play at every prison I’ve been to. To use my voice is an added joy and blessing.
  5. Our Military. I’m thankful for the men and women through the years who died procuring and preserving our freedom, and I’m thankful for our active military today—including my brother, Mark, who protects our borders in the Coast Guard—and our veterans, who all sacrificed on our behalf.
  6. Bright Orange Jacket. Not only is Bright Orange the new black this fall, but its four pockets (!) increase my Total Uniform Pockets by 400%, enabling me to simultaneously carry a wallet, car keys, cellphone, and spork, all while effortlessly disguising myself as a large gourd.
  7. Stainless Steel Toilink. This durable toilet/sink combo device (and who doesn’t appreciate savvy combinations?) is the restroom equivalent of a 1950’s muscle car with running water. Ideal for cramped spaces and anyone who’s thought it would be wonderful to wash their hands while using the commode or to enjoy quality reading material while sitting on the sink.
  8. Plastic Spork. It has been a long time since I have accidentally bitten down on a metal fork or spoon or poked my tongue with tines.
  9. Job. What a peace of mind to not have to be out looking for work in this economy, even if I am slightly under-employed at eight cents per hour. Besides, who knows what future industry this could be preparing me for, as I’m being rehabilitated as a bannister/stair railing wiper technician.
  10. You. Whether you’ve read all 200 of these letters or just a recent few, it means a lot to me that you care enough about me (or at least pretend to care) 🙂 that you read what I write. I know you’re busy—I’m glad you are! I pray for you and trust that you are busy about what matters in the end! I also pray that this Thanksgiving would be a special time of rejoicing in all God has given you, especially in the lives of those you love.

Happy Thanksgiving!