Hi. Ryan, here.

I'm a writer, pastor, creator, husband, and father, living in Kansas City, Missouri. I'm trying to figure out what Francis Shaeffer meant when he said, "An art work can be a doxology in itself.” 

39 Things I’m Grateful For on My Turkey Arms Race Day

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Today is number thirty-nine in my Turkey Arms Race. A race to strong arm my family as I consume more dark meat than white, devour green bean casserole like a last prison meal, and eat pie like zombies have taken over the world, and it’s the last one in the universe. 

Pumpkin I hope

I know for many, holidays are painful reminders the world isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, and relationships are hard. 

But in the tension of joy and sorrow, love and loss, there’s always much to be grateful for. In a world seemingly unraveling at the edge among scandal, abuse, and violence… we still, have much to be grateful for. 

We still have friends, family, neighbors, and communities fighting the good fight. So, I thought I’d rap off thirty-nine things I’m grateful for… on my thirty ninth Turkey Arms Race. 

Maybe it will spur on gratefulness and reflection in your own life:

1. My wife who puts up with my drama and loves me, despite me.

2. Three kid’s (and one on the way) who keep their daddy humble, and full of awe, and wonder.

3. A church family that extends grace to their pastor and embodies the message we preach. 

4. Friends who love to laugh. Who don’t take life too seriously. And are vulnerable and not afraid to cry and share pain. 

5. Bacon, enough said.

6. Okay more, bacon wrapped around other meats.

7. The idea of bacon.

8. An old house full of memories and reminders I’m not handy. 

9. The freedom to write and create. 

10. The joys of creation and work, and having work to do. 

11. Meeting new people each week with stories unlike my own. 

12. Netflix, really? Yes, amazing TV series, documentaries, and film that inspire and challenge. 

13. Books to read anytime and anyplace whether they be print or digital. 

14. A house and office full of books. Give me all the books. 

15. My dad who always makes me laugh. And loves his kid’s and grandkid’s well. 

16. A step mom who goes the extra mile to make sure the kid’s and grandkid’s are fed and spoiled… in no particular order.

17. A stepsister who loves her nephews well. Keeps us all young at heart. 

18. Extended family of mother and father in laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, and brother and sister in laws, who are filled with love and grace. 

19. More bacon and books. 

20. Trips to the park with no agenda but to laugh and play with the kid’s. 

21. Writer friends who challenge and help me become better at the craft. 

22. Artists who inspire me to think and make better art. 

23. Pastor friends and mentors (living and dead) who encourage me to embrace the gospel message of grace, and share it with others. 

24. Friends who embody humility in the midst of opposition. Joy in the midst of trial.

25. A baby girl coming in January. 

26. Hope beyond what the eyes can see. 

27. Thick cut bacon. 

28. New opportunities to serve people in a variety of ways. 

29. Roof over our heads, and a few bucks in the bank. 

30. The privilege of performing marriage ceremonies this year, and next. 

31. The sweet laughter of my boys as we goof around and they dominate me in video games. 

32. A wife who takes care of ALL her boys. 

33. Modern medicine and healthcare. 

34. Technology for connecting with friends and family. Technology that makes life easier in some ways.

35. Bacon for making salads taste better. 

36. The changing seasons. 

37. Thanksgiving and Christmas, my favorite times of year. 

38. Satisfaction of finished projects.

39. Grace for sinners like me…

What are you thankful for?

*Originally published on Medium.com.

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