As I count my blessings this Thanksgiving, these are the top ten things I am especially thankful for:
- God and Faith: The One who should come before all others. I am thankful for a merciful, loving, and just God, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As part of this, I'm also thankful for finding a spiritual home in the Eastern Orthodox church. It's quite a jump going from a Methodist church that has over 1,000 members to a little church tucked away in a small corner of the woods south of Hiram, Georgia, whose member ship might be around 40 people. Even so, getting that opportunity has its own blessings. Small or not, it's the message that's important, and additionally, the community itself is like one giant family. And while I'm at it, let me second what Erick has said. The Orthodox church has a wonderful Akathist of Thanksgiving that's worth reading and listening to on this day.
- Family: The easy place to start here would be with my parents, who raised me and still provide me with support as I go through life. Their love is something I can always count on, but it's not just them I can count on. I have aunts, uncles, and cousins to add to that list. I think my great-aunt and great-uncle merit a special mention, since they are the closest things to grandparents I have left. With a cousin in the hospital in ill health, I'm thankful for the times spent with him as well. My little cousins, all around the age of 10-11 also get a mention, since they are like the closest things to sisters I've ever had, and they're also a reminder that it's okay to keep your inner child alive. Can't leave out my pets either. Tux and Sadie are gifts from God and so are my fish.
- America: Regardless of the outcome on November 6th, we still live in the greatest country on Earth, and I thank God for that. To me, this is one of the biggest reasons why I continue to be involved in politics.
- Friends: I'm thankful for both the new friends I've made this year and the old ones I've kept in touch with. They're part of a network that provides the support, the good times, the comfort in the bad times, and even something as simple as a good conversation. Although it's no substitute for real interaction, social media like Facebook and Twitter have played an important part here. I'd especially like to mention my friend in the Marines, who was able to come back home for Thanksgiving. On that note...
- US Military: They're the people who fight to keep us free. They're the ones who ensure that we have this nation to call our own where we can live, worship, make a living, raise a family, make friends, and pursue happiness how we see fit.
- Education: This year, I'm working on the second year of my Master's Degree in history studying American Indians at Georgia Southern University. One thing I'm particularly thankful for here is that my thesis topic--American Indians serving in the military (especially from the Civil War-WWII)--has been very well received. I'm also thankful for good professors who have helped mould me as a historian and even as a person and stand up for me. Go Eagles!
- Job: Closely related to the previous one, since I'm a graduate assistant. I don't make much, but it pays the rent and buys me food. Getting to interact with students and professors on a professional level is a real joy, even when things don't always go as planned.
- A working car: As a college student who doesn't make a lot of money, it's amazing how much of a blessing this is. My beloved beat-up 2003 Ford Taurus continues to work after all I've put it through. It's almost a miracle.
- Good books: They're a great way to learn something and even better my own skills at writing. This year, my top picks are King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild, Theodore Roosevelt and the Six Friends of the Indian by William Hagan, Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger, and a book I still need to finish, Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War by Alan Kramer. Granted, this isn't your usual selection of current bestsellers, but I'm a history major. This is what I like. Also, I'd like to give an honorable mention to Wilfrid Laurier on the Platform, an old and essentially forgotten collection of speeches by a historical figure I began researching this year. Definitely worth a look if you're a conservative or classical liberal, especially this one.
- Becoming a RedState Contributing Editor: I first found this website in January of 2006, and my first post was on December 6th of that year. Hard to believe it's been six years since I first came here. After all of the hard work I've done and fond memories I've created, especially at the RedState Gatherings, I was finally promoted to Contributing Editor here (that's the Front Pagers, of course). It's a real blessing, and I'm thankful to Erick, Neil, Moe, Bill S, Aaron, streiff, the Howes, and everyone else who works for this site in letting me be here in this position. You can read my thoughts on getting to the Front Page here.
These are the major things, but sometimes it's the little things and simple pleasures that help us get by in life. Here's a few for me, in no real order:
- The fact that I can find Mexican Coca-Cola near me.
- Chipper Jones' career with the Atlanta Braves--farewell to a true legend.
- Watching sports with my Dad, especially college football and the Chicago Cubs (even though I'm a Braves fan).
- Good wine, especially Pinot Noir and Merlot.
- The potluck luncheon after Divine Liturgy at my church.
- Psalm 45 (46 by the non-Orthodox numbering system)--It's helped me find peace with political events over the past few weeks, especially verse 10.
- The fact that my Super Nintendo still works after all these years.
- Michigan's Upper Peninsula--beautiful countryup there.
- Venison pie, closely related to the previous.
- Sunset at Cockspur Island, GA.
- Good anime and manga, because I'm one of those guys.
- Good music.
- Good people and random acts of kindness.
What are you thankful for this year?