Happy Thanksgiving! This is the 7th consecutive year in which I have made up a list of the top ten things for which I am most thankful. We began this blog in November, 2008 upon finding out that I had a weird thing in the left frontal lobe of my brain called an AVM. For forty-four years this thing had been there, resting quietly. If you are interested in hearing the back story click here.
Then on the morning of October 23rd, 2008 I had a seizure. I had this peach-sized mass removed from my brain in February, 2009 by a world class neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The day after surgery I awoke unable to speak or move the entire right side of my body. Three days later I developed a life threatening blood infection, which was followed by blood clots…many of them…one big clot in my heart and 22 in my lungs, which caused me to code. I had emergency open heart surgery that same day to remove the clot from my heart and lungs. Forty-six days later I came back home to Earlham, Iowa 50 pounds lighter, still struggling with some aphasia, and right side neurological “slowness.” Oh, and I also managed to lose my job as the pastor of Crossroad Church in July, 2013 after 17-1/2 years. So yes, it’s been a wild ride.
I am currently writing a book about our experiences from the last six years. It is roughly 80,000 words so far and not even close to being done. It will need some serious editing by the time all of my thoughts are put on paper…or my laptop as it were. But on the eve of Thanksgiving 2014 these are the top ten things for which I am most thankful.
10. My heated man-cave which provides me with a great space to read and write and swing
9. Karla’s homemade breadsticks
8. The human brain and all of its intricacies designed by the inscrutable wisdom and craftsmanship of God
7. Kindness fleshed out
6. God’s magnificence displayed in nature and the privilege of going backpacking in the resplendent Grand Tetons (just south of Yellowstone Park in northwestern Wyoming) with a couple of friends in September
5. The ability to move my limbs and speak at will
4. Valley E. Free Church and the tremendous amount of love, encouragement, support, and healing they have provided for my family and me over the past 15 months, largely through our Life Group (adult SS) Integra
3. Our five children ages twenty-two down to nine, who keep us young in some ways and not so young in others
2. My precious wife Karla for whom my love and respect increases at a disproportional rate to the 28 years of marriage we will celebrate in December. By the way I still have weekly date days with the love of my life…my wife.
1. The fact that at the end of all things I, and all who are resting in the finished work of Christ in his death and resurrection, will be receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken…and in the presence of God for all eternity (Hebrews 12:28-29)