the intentional giving of thanks

What I love about Thanksgiving is the intentional giving of thanks.

What I love about the intentional giving of thanks is the removal of focus on self and the sincere acknowledgement of someone else.

Allow me to thus acknowledge someone else…

Thank you to each of you — for joining us here and participating in the Intramuralist.

Thank you to my family and friends — for your awesome encouragement and consistent support.

And thank you to the great big God of the universe — for making all things possible. I could not do this without you.

Allow me one more brief thought on this day of great purpose, as sweetly and succinctly articulated by Joe Fazio in his poem of “A Thousand Thanks”…

* * * * *

“To He who is all powerful, thanks for the many
blessings you have bestowed on me.

To those I love, thanks for all you do.

To my friends, thanks, for teaching me the
meaning of friendship.

To those I have angered, thanks for your patience
and your understanding.

To those I have disappointed, thanks for your
forgiveness. I’ll try to do better.

Thanks, to the strangers along life’s path, for
their kindness.

Thanks, to those who do for others and remain
without acknowledgement.

Thanks, for the charity of others, extended to
those who are less fortunate.

Thanks, to those of differences, who arrive
at the point of compromise.

Thanks, to all in their journey of life, who
attempt to make this, a better world.”

* * * * *

Many thanks, my friends.

Many blessings, too… this day and always…



When I think about Thanksgiving, I think about what gratitude really means. I look at the world around us, and I see a culture so seemingly lacking in thanksgiving — in generous, consistent thanks… a culture that embraces far too much anger, resentment, and self-righteousness. I’ve yet to discern, my friends, how we can be angry and grateful at the same time. I don’t think we can give thanks and still be resentful. I think there’s no way we can be full of any righteous indignation and still possess the humility to give thanks to someone or something else.

Gratitude is personal. It’s not some aimless offering. The colloquial “thank God” doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you add an “s” and a comma. “Thanks, God”… that means far more… That’s direct. That’s intentional… that takes all focus off of self.

I don’t believe we are called to give thanks for all things, but I do believe we can give thanks in all things — especially when I think of gratitude as being something more… as trusting in the great, big God of the universe. I can’t always thank him for my “thorns,” but I recognize that the rose bush doesn’t exist without the thorns. I trust God. That’s enough for me. That trust makes me thankful.

I pause this day, thinking of my sweet sister, Nicole. She is awesome. Ok, so I’m biased — maybe just a little — but ask any who meet her; she’s awesome! Nicole has always been this vibrant, encouraging, positive young lady who makes the whole room brighter. She rarely focuses on the negative — nor on the anger, resentment, righteousness, or self.

Things have changed this last year for her. Nicole was suddenly and shockingly diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. The disease continues to progress; hence, this 34-year-old, beautiful young woman, now walks a life marked by an incredibly challenging, physical reality. She won’t tell you this, but some of her days are really, really hard. And yet, she continues on… still positive… still not focused on self.

In one of our recent conversations, I found myself uniquely stunned. Nicole remains faithful. She is not paralyzed by any fear nor dismayed by the diagnosis. She is not shaken by the huge “thorn” in her life. In fact, she will quietly but boldly tell you, that she still has much to be thankful for… she has a wonderful family; she is surrounded by people who love her; and her relationships are better. It’s amazing how cancer causes people to let you know how they really feel. People have been generous in the outpouring of their love. She gives thanks for that. Her attitude is absolutely amazing.

On this Thanksgiving, may each of us trust God in all things. May we give him thanks. And may we always see the rose bush… even amidst the thorns. Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I am thankful for you.




Thank God no matter what happens.  No matter what.


Are any of us stuck on that “thank God” part?  I often remember those historical words… that the basic reality of God is plain enough.  We just need to open our eyes and yes, there it is!  By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see:  eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being.  It’s there.  It’s all around us.  It’s real.  And it’s authentic.


What happened, though, was this:  people knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God — refusing to worship him — they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives.  They have pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life.  Many of us have then traded the glory of God for something lesser.


Something lesser.


And what’s lesser gets in the way of us giving thanks…


… in being intentional in our gratitude.


Hence, today I give thanks for _____________________.


And ____________________.


You fill in the blanks.  Pick something.  Pick something to give thanks for.


Today I give thanks with a grateful heart… for an abundance of blessing… both near and far… both big and little… both silly and serious…  so much of which routinely blows me away… by taking that long and thoughtful look.


Blessings to each of you.  Happy Thanksgiving!


May we each be intentional in our thanks.


Respectfully…  always,