Friday, November 23, 2012


Some of our features
are similar, but I
don't really look like
Christina Ricci.
I noticed on Facebook that a lot of people have had status updates that look sort of like this: “Thankful for my sisters today, and their continuous support to my mom.” Or “Day 5: I am thankful for my wife, who always has my back.” I guess I didn’t get the message, but it’s a thing people are doing – like when it was “Doppelganger Week,” and you were supposed to replace your profile pic with a pic of someone that looks like you. I used Christina Ricci... but even though we have similar, turned-up noses, pouty lips and buggy eyes, I don’t REALLY look like her. In my opinion, no one is quite as strange-looking as me. And I am not just saying that to elicit compliments or because I have low self esteem. I don’t mind how I look… I am just acknowledging that I don’t look quite like anyone else.

Sandra Bernhard... 
I wonder if that lettuce 
is scratching her gums?
Anyway… so this new thing is, if I guess correctly, people telling every day something they are thankful for. A worthy endeavor, to be sure… one I know I should be mindful of, even when it’s NOT Thanksgiving week. But if I am honest, I have to admit that I am more of a complainer than a thanker. I have recently been reading the book of Numbers, and let me tell you, it is full of people like me… grumblers, murmurers… I am reminded of hearing comedienne Sandra Bernhard on a talk show talking about people in Hollywood who were so spoiled and prissy they would say things like, “This bread is scratching my gums!” See, it’s funny because … well, you know why it’s funny. It’s like my mom, who complains at a restaurant, “These portions are too large!” (So what? Just don't eat it all!)

Just ONE of the 549 things
I "Like" on Facebook.
It’s easy to laugh at these prima donnas and not see how they are, actually, me. All day. Every day. If not out loud, then as a boring internal monologue. I am honestly very glad I am not Grace, the friend I spout off to on a regular basis. She’s a saint, I tell you. I’m surprised she hasn’t headed for the hills yet.

On the other hand, on Facebook, if you look at my timeline, you will see that I have officially “liked” 549 things. I am sure some would accuse me of being a “Like” button slut, but I don’t see it that way. I like to think that when I give the old FB thumbs up signal to something, I’m expressing gratitude for it. If you look at it this way, I am thankful for, among other things, comedian Eugene Mirman, Piggly Wiggly grocery stores, Pete Townshend, my friend Jason’s “Will It Baby” column on Jalopnik, and any businesses my friends have asked me to support with a “Like.” Because I am grateful for my friends… and their own support of my Sweet William Design page.

Let's hear it for the boys!
But have I given credit where credit is due? Not often enough, I am sure. But here goes: the credit belongs to God, and God alone. All that I am and have that is any good is strictly from and through Him. (“For from him and through him and to him are all things.” Romans 11) Sure, I work hard, but… only because He gives me the wherewithal to do it. And I am grateful.

Here’s some other stuff I’m grateful for:

1. My boys, Tom and Bill. A good man is, indeed, hard to find, and I am grateful that God saw fit to find me one. Then He grew another one in my belly, despite the abuse my body had previously endured. I love them both.

Chapel Hill Bible Church...
hanging true since 1972!
2. My extended family. My brothers and sisters and their families. No one gets me quite like they do. My in-law family, too, is a gift. The Sneeds and Moores both are a perfect blend of love, honor and silliness that is hard to beat. My mom, my aunts and uncles and cousins, too… love’em. Miss’em.

Our house... in the middle of our street.
3. My Friends. Did I mention that I have some great friends? My friend Grace is always, always there for me… our frequent (and FREE, I might add) babysitter, companion, partner in crime and in prayer… sister in Christ. Other friends I can’t see as often as I would wish to… some I see only on Facebook, or via infrequent emails… But I do love them and miss them like crazy. You know who you are, you beauties.

If you visit our house,
Bob will greet you.
4. My Church. I have been going to the same church since the late 80s – except for my Asheville year. It has grown and changed, and so have I. In fact, when I started going there, I weighed 80 pounds… and now I weigh … well… I weigh a bit more. Just enough, in fact. Anyway, I love every incarnation of this group of lovely folks who are intensely involved in helping one another get more intensely involved with the God of love and grace. Plus the music is awesome! Go Nat Stine!

4. Our house. Sure it’s a mess… but it’s OUR mess. I love the endless supply of entertainment, the squishy, comfy furniture, the folk art and framed concert posters, the cardboard stand-up of Bob Dylan that greets guests at the front door, but mostly the love and family and constant guffawing laughter that makes it our home.

5. My work. I love that I can work at home doing a job I love doing and am reasonably good at. Working at home is the shizzney. Best job EVER. Even in the best job sitches, I always wanted to go home. So, now that I am home AND working – it’s ideal, I tell you. Plus, my desk faces a huge window overlooking our verdant backyard… where I sometimes see deer! And my clients... they're fantastic. Love you guys!

6. I am thankful that I actually have a skill with which to earn a living, despite the fact that I spent more time that I should have watching MTV and drinking beer in college. Sure I worked hard to learn to wield a Mac, but every opportunity that has unfurled before me has been a gift from God.

Reading IS Fundamental!
7. Every good idea I have ever had. My job as a graphic designer – mostly for advertising and marketing – demands a constant stream of creativity that does not come naturally to me. That's why I know it's a gift.

8. My blog. I love it. I love sharing my crazy ideas and my Jesus with you, and I do hope you enjoy it… but I mainly just like writing it. This is also where the ideas that God gives me come in handy. I like saying things like “If a rock star plays a note and no one holds up a lighter, what does it all mean?”

One of the many delicious 
plates of food I've 
consumed recently.
9. I am thankful that I actually get some things done in spite of myself. I forget everything. My brain is full of half baked ideas, weird meanderings, fear and loathing, suspicions and paranoias, yet my family is fed and clothed and my work gets done each and every day without fail. I’ve got those things down to a (pseudo) science, anyway. The other stuff may or may not happen – for instance, Bill may or may not turn important signed papers in on time. I may or may not remember to call the plumber. I may or may not get certain housework done… But mostly, vital sh*t gets done, and it is not thanks to any strength or effort of my own.
Apparently Benjamin
Franklin did NOT say, 
"Beer is proof that 
God loves us and 
wants us to be 
happy." But it's still 
a good quote.

10. Art. This is a broad category that includes music (live and otherwise,) movies, plays, visual art, and most of all… books. I’m pretty sure this quote by Louisa May Alcott was a prophecy about me: “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” Books and art add so much dimension to my life, it would be quite hard to image my world without them. I love finding an author or series of books that keeps me awake at night… Like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, or Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series.

11. Food. I love food. It’s so delicious. Beer is good too. I eat and drink as I please, and I don’t feel guilty. I’m happy in my skin. After my near-death experience with anorexia and my years of obsession with what I put in my mouth, and how much I moved my body, this is a beautiful freedom I never, ever thought I’d have. Yeah, I have cellulite and saddlebags. But I’d rather be free with cellulite and saddlebags than a thin slave.

“No kind of life is
fulfilling if your soul
hasn’t been redeemed.”
Bob Dylan DID
say THAT!
12. Similarly, as Bob Dylan said in his recent Rolling Stone interview, “No kind of life is fulfilling if your soul hasn’t been redeemed.” This is the crux of the matter... the real gift – the grace of God. When Jesus met the woman at the well, she wanted water, she wanted the love of a good man, she wanted people not to point and laugh at her… but you know what Jesus wanted to give her? Eternal life. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4)

That’s what I’m crazy thankful for. The eternal life in me,that is a gift from the Most High God. As the Apostle Paul so eloquently said, “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions … It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2) Amen, and … Thank you, God!

No comments:

Post a Comment