Just a few quick thoughts on giving thanks as we all prepare (at least in the United States!) for the Thanksgiving holiday. To those elsewhere…well, if you don’t have such a holiday, my condolences, and if you celebrate it at a different time, well, come back and read this then!
   I would first like to thank La Shawn Barber for posting this little graphic which I shameless and openly stole directly off of her blog without the slightest bit of embarrassment or hesitation! La Shawn’s blog is in my RSS feed list, and I appreciate her outlook on the world.
   Next, I would like to thank all the nutty but very special folks in my chat channel, #prosapologian, for the neato sign they put together for me for my ride in the 80 mile El Tour de Tucson last weekend. I did not have time to do any kind of intensive training for the ride, as I have in years past, and was just looking forward to the challenge of completing it (as I had not ridden that far in a single shot since the 2005 Tour). When I got to the point where I met tusconmom and tucsonkid about 14 miles out from the end, I had started to cramp in my legs, which is unusual for me. They had the sign, put together from all sorts of folks, some even outside the US, encouraging me to press on. Well, I will tell everyone honestly, the cramping got so severe over the next five miles or so that had it not been for that sign, and my refusing to disappoint all those folks, I would have called my daughter to come pick me up. But I pressed on, despite the agonizing cramps, which finally let up about six miles from the finish. Despite the cramps, and getting stopped three or four times by traffic close to the finish (which was unusual…the cops normally let us keep going), I beat my 2005 time by 7 minutes.
   Here’s proof I actually finished. I was in the top 1/3 of riders in my event, which isn’t saying much other than “yeah, he rides a bike.” I need to also thank Eddie and Lucy McKee, who also rode the 80 mile portion. They rode their tandem, and when they passed me, I latched onto their rear wheel, and they gave me a great ride for about ten miles, which surely helped me get a better time. Then we hit the hills on the way out to Sun City Vestoso, and I had to say “have a nice ride!” But thankfully, I latched onto a very fast moving group of guys on the way down Tangerine, and that helped a lot as well. And to Summer, who went down to Tucson with me, my thanks as well!
   When you start listing those to whom you owe thanks at Thanksgiving, you get a little taste of what we, as believers, are supposed to be doing all year long. “Be persistent in prayer, staying alert in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). “I will praise (the term used in Hebrew gives us our word “hallelujah”) the name of God with song, and I will magnify Him with todah, thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). How our lives would be different, our prayers God-centered, our worship rich and self-emptying, if we cultivated the Christian character of thanksgiving the way we should! I truly believe that the vast majority of my complaining, of my struggles in my Christian life is due to allowing my mind to move away from the God-centeredness that results from being truly thankful. Discontentment cannot find root in a heart that is giving thanks to God for His manifold blessings.

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