I’m thankful for x-rays. I’ve written about broken bones in my novels, and having to set them without x-rays. The Egyptians and Greeks were pretty good at it, just going by feel, but still … I don’t think Mira would be quite the softball player she is if they had set her arm without some radiographic help.
I’m thankful for the color yellow. Yellow is the most cheerful color. I don’t think I look very good in it, so I don’t wear it much, but I love seeing others in it. My two youngest have perfect complexions for it. Yellow is the sun, daffodils, softballs, baby chicks and rubber ducks! You just can’t be sad around yellow.
Z……OK, I could say zebra, but I’d be reaching. I got nothing for z. Do you?
I’ve enjoyed this trip through the ABCs. I hope you did, too. What was your …
I’m thankful for the word undo. We can’t undo everything, but there are many things we can. We can undo something as simple as a mark on paper by erasing it, or a keystroke by hitting delete. We can undo a bad stroke in golf by taking a mulligan. Or we can go farther. We can undo the damage we’ve done to a friendship by apologizing. Or we can undo bitterness we’ve allowed to build up in our own spirit by forgiving one who has hurt us.
I’m thankful for vacations. These wonderful holidays, as the British know them, allow us to get away from the busy-ness of our daily lives and spend time all together as a family, although most of our latest ones don’t include my oldest, since her school breaks do not coincide with the other children’s. We usually try to go someplace we haven’t …
I’ve already said I’m thankful for rain. What can make it better? Thunder! I love thunderstorms even more than rainstorms. The long, deep rumble, followed by the sudden roar loud enough to make you jump, and the sharp crack of lightning. A hard driving rain underneath it all.
(Does it say anything about me that I think crashing waves, rainstorms, and thunder and lightning best represent God to me? I think it does, but I’m not sure what…)
I’m not sure why I like them. Maybe I like the awe it inspires. Maybe I like the power it represents. Maybe I like being safe and warm inside while the storm rages.
I currently have on my computer 3 different hour-long tracks of thunderstorms, some backed my music that I listen to as I write. One is Into the Storm, the soundtrack from a movie about three tornadoes that …
S is for sunsets. Some people like sunrises, some prefer sunsets. I’m sure you could read some great theological meaning into that, but I just think sunsets are prettier. It’s probably because I grew up on the West Coast. The sun only rises over buildings there unless you travel for quite a distance. But I lived a mere two miles from the beach, so it was easy to watch the sun drift into the ocean at day’s end.
Imperial Beach pair at sunset by Job Bilous
As a teenager, in the middle of summer, our youth group would gather on the beach several times a summer and build a fire. We roasted hot dogs and played Frisbee and just hung out. The sun didn’t go down until nearly ten o’clock. As it did, the sky would burst into brilliant reds, oranges and purples. No painter in the history of …
I’m skipping Q, because I can.
R is for rain. The sound of rain, for me, is comforting. It’s too bad we don’t have tin roofs anymore, because I love that patter-patter-patter. The noise of raindrops on a window is close if it’s hard enough. It’s a kind of a hollow bonk. When it hits leaves, it’s a lighter plink. It’s the gentle percussion I find soothing, the repetitive nature. The steadiness.
It’s best of course when you’re inside. I never went for that singing-in-the-rain business, the Notebook/Ryan Gosling-kiss-the-girl-in-the-rain stuff. I want to curl up in a warm house when it rains. But to each his own.
R is also for research. Well, actually for all the many ways I am able to do the research I need to write my books. When I first tried, there were no computers. There was no way to …
P is for peanut clusters. It’s an odd thing to be thankful for, nevertheless I am truly grateful for peanut clusters. I relish the combination of salt and sweet, crunchy and smooth, dark brown and light gold. I am aware one good-sized one has a day’s worth of delectable calories, so I don’t eat them often, but I do love them. When we go to Bethany Beach I always buy some at the Candy Kitchen. And usually eat way too many of them. They are my ultimate comfort food. (If I can manage to ignore the guilt.)
P is for promises. There are hundreds of promises in the Bible. I am not one who believes we can simply “claim” promises of wealth or health, but I do believe Jesus has promised many other things that we can cling to. Promises of His love, His presence, His strength.
There is really only one O: Ocean. I am thankful for the ocean. To me there is no better manifestation of God’s power and majesty than a crashing sea. I could watch waves tumbling over one another for hours. The sea has always inspired fear and awe. Even the psalmist wrote of the terror the ocean could inspire in sailors, from which only God could rescue them:
Some went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their …
N is for naps. They’re delightful, and I don’t know why little kids, who have more energy than sense and no need for naps, get to take them and we don’t.
Well, actually I do. It’s precisely because they have more energy than sense, and we need a break.
When we first brought Mira home, at three months old, they told us she had a three-hour schedule during the day; she ate for half an hour, played for half an hour, and then slept for two.
That was a big, fat lie.
She quickly figured out that the babies no longer outnumbered the caretakers, and she could garner immediate attention by crying, and made quick use of that fact. Those two-hour naps disappeared.
But I love them, and I indulge on weekends sometimes. I love the sense of setting everything on the shelf, checking out for just a …
M is for movies. Specifically chick flicks. I like those sappy, silly, mindless movies where everything works out and the boy gets the girl and people end up happy. Yes, I know very well life isn’t really that way, but I like watching them anyway. My girls will walk in and say, “Oh, mom, you’re not watching those again.” “Well, yes I am, thank you very much.” Rarely do I just sit and just watch TV. I’m usually doing a couple other things at the same time, which is another plus. You don’t have to pay much attention to those shows. I must admit during the Christmas season when they were on literally 24/7 there were a couple channels that showed them, and I would only watch the last hour or even half hour. It doesn’t take much to figure out what happened beforehand!
M is also for …
Emma, my college senior. told me this week I would love one of her professors. “He’s a word nerd, like you.” I laughed. I am a word nerd. I love language. It’s one of God’s best gifts to us. It’s what sets us apart from the animals. Language allows us to communicate with God and with each other. It’s powerful and wonderful and beyond interesting. I love studying the origins of words and dialects and languages. I find it fascinating. In school I even loved diagramming sentences. That was like a cross between words and puzzles, and I love both, so wow—best of both world!
I will use this opportunity to rant yet again against the demise of the word literally. When literally can literally mean “not literally,” to me that signals society’s acknowledgment that we need have no absolutes whatsoever. A bit extreme, perhaps, but I’ve …