Tag: Tom Petty

A Letter to 15-Year-Old Me

First off, I need to tell you that life gets better.

No, really.

A letter to one’s teen self often starts off with that tried and true sentiment, because it fits.

It’s real.

Me… in 1976

Let me cut to the chase… the incident that took place just a few months ago will become a distant memory.  You will survive and it will not define who will become. I know you think that you’ll never live it down but you will. You will forgive those that wronged you and life will move on. Most people will not even remember.

Writing 4 decades later, I know things improved, but you haven’t discovered that yet. It won’t be better all of the time; there will be both good days and bad days, awful times and great times, and all the shades of experience in between.

You’ll make it through. I’m you, writing to you from more than forty years in the future, so yeah, you survive it all. Not unscathed, scarred for sure and possibly not quite intact, but you make it.

Ah. I’m getting ahead of myself.  

The perils of hindsight.

It’s March 26th, 1976.  A Friday. Exactly 43 years, 10 months, and 24 days from when I am writing this to you. More specifically… 16,035 days ago.

You’re a freshman at Oak Harbor High School, but there’s no school today. You skipped it today. A fake fever and a sore throat complaint made by you got you a pass from school today.

As you look through your window at the active Locust street traffic, you see that the first signs of Spring are making their way after a brutal frigid winteImage result for WIOTr.

On the radio, WIOT-FM is giving away a free Michael Stanley Band LP to the first caller who can identify the U.S. city that was home to the first traffic light; you’ll listen until one caller shares, “CLEVELAND!”  as the correct answer.  You’ll wish you knew the right answer so you could win an album but be patient… something called the “internet” will be coming. You’ll have these things called computers that you’ll have all the information you ever needed to know at the reach of your fingertips. As a matter of fact, you’ll carry a phone in your pocket. It too is a computer.  It will be used to take pictures and will have more technology than what they had when they sent man to the moon a few years ago.

But you’re not ready to hear those details because you won’t believe me until you experience it.

Once again… the perils of hindsight.

It’s a scary time all around you. Jimmy Carter, a former peanut farmer andImage result for Ronald Reagan Governor from Georgia, will be your President. Don’t worry… Ronald Reagan will fix it.

You will be jockeyed around when it comes to politics… you won’t believe who will be your President in 2016. I won’t tell you because I want you to be as surprised as everyone else was.  In 2020, the country is divided, and you’ll discover that all you can do is learn how to love those that you disagree with.  As a heads up… learn to not argue about politics or Christianity… all it has done is cause division. Work on being a better person now… maybe you can change the history that I have laid down. Maybe you can change the footprints of the legacy I have left behind. History has a way of making us realize that we can’t change the past… but I hold on to the dream of it happening. That is the purpose of this letter to you (me).

You’re lonely. You’re 15. You’re supposed to feel alone, in spite of the presence of a family thImage result for 15at loves you, and a smattering of friends with whom you share some good times. Is it teen drama? Is it clinical depression? Is it both, or neither? The vantage point of four decades gone has not clarified the answer in my head. Nor could anything I say now at 58 have any real meaning for you at 15. The twisted, uneven path before you remain only yours to tread. Tread carefully.

Don’t worry… I know you’re only 5′ 5″ tall and only weigh about 85 lbs. By next September you’ll be 6′ 2″… but as far as the weight goes… you’ll not weigh much more. At least not for about 30 years… you won’t believe me now but you’ll top the scales at 378 lbs. before you get serious about losing weight.  Funny for you now but trust me it is as real as gets when it comes to losing weight. You’ll lose over 125 lbs. but the next 50 are the hardest.

You have your music, and it helps you.

The Temptations have etched an indelible mark on you and you will never shake the sounds of CKLW out of your DNA. You will always have a soft spot for Soul music and it starts with David Ruffin and The Temptations.

Your favorite group is The Beatles, and that will never really change. Your current affection for Elton John and Fleetwood Mac will abate somewhat over time, but you’ll remain a steadfast fan of The Monkees.  But as a head’s up, keep that to yourself. Your burgeoning interest in Queen will grow stronger. You’ll still like the Bay City Rollers, though they won’t remain at the very top of your pops for long. And once again… keep the Bay City Roller thing to yourself.

But, within the next year or so, you’re going to hear two groups who will join The Beatles as yImage result for ELOour all-time favorites. You know Aerosmith, that group you’ve been reading about in Circus Magazine? Yeah, that’s right–the scary guys with the leather jackets, and the songs about girls and the challenge to Dream On. They frighten you now, but once you finally hear them, you’re gonna start calling them The American Beatles, the greatest American rock ‘n’ roll band of all time. Oh, don’t roll your eyes at me, young man! I know you… your hidden love for bubble gum pop music will fade but never leave you. Just wait. You’ll see. And then just over a year from now, you and your friend Bryan Blakely are going to see a band called Electric Light Orchestra, and you’re going to feel like you’ve just seen God.

You’re going tImage result for the monkeeso mature, but you’re not going to mature all that much. I wish you would or could in a better way than your future self. The music you’re listening to right now, all that Beatles and British Invasion stuff, plus the Doobie Brothers and Earth, Wind and Fire and about a billion others, are going to dovetail with the disco you’ve been listening to, and it’s all going to come together as your music in this crucible of 1976. Pretty soon, you’re going to hear a band called The Cars, and you’ll think Heaven formed them just for you. You’ll hear Van Halen and think that your notion of what is and isn’t rock ‘n’ roll is due for redefinition. You’re going to forsake The Monkees, briefly, but you’ll come back to them almost immediately.

In later years, you’re going to develop an appreciation for some pop sounds that might not be relevant to you just yet. I know you don’t really care about The Who; you will. I know you like The Beach Boys, the Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and someday, you’ll regard The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds as the greatest Image result for Pet Soundsalbum of all time. Yeah, even more than Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Believe it or not! You’re going to like David Bowie more than you do now. You’re going to like Bob Dylan less. If I recall the timeline, you’re almost ready to start loving The Eagles. You’ll privately sing along with John Denver but publicly dismiss his music. You’re going to discover Styx and The Steve Miller Band; you’re going to discover reggae; you’re going to discover rockabilly. And you’re going to discover that Michael Jackson will become the biggest pop star of all time.  His album “Thriller” will sell more records than any other. Oh, and by the way, you’ll “listen” to Prince, but you won’t “hear” him until years later.

Before this year is done, you’re going to write your first real story about growing up in Oak Harbor. Like you have since you could write… you are going to write many, many, many more after that, over a span of 4 decades.

You’re going to bristle and complain whenever someone calls you a writer. I am going to warn you to reconsider throwing away all of those notebooks that contain all of your thoughts and stories. I know… you are wondering why you would throw them away. I can only say that there are things that you are going to experience, and I can’t play with history. Things will happen that you will not be able to control. Know this, as time passes these stories will fade and be sure that you know that your best writing were contained in those notebooks.Image result for cute linda ronstadt cub scout

You will not marry Linda Ronstadt, nor will you hook up with Stevie Nicks.

Sorry, man.

But you will have girlfriends. In fact, a girl will get your attention, rather eagerly, in the not-too-distant future, and I don’t intend to spoil that surprise. This young woman with whom you’ll want to spend the rest of your life, and she’ll feel the same way about you. Don’t worry… you are going to go through a lot with this woman… but you’ll marry her in the end!!!

You’re going to keep on making mistakes. You’ll say things you regret; you’ll do things you regret, and I wish I could prevent all of that. But I can’t, and I shouldn’t. Because fixing even one of those bad, bad things could divert you from the path that leads to your greatest joy: like your sons. Your sons are something else, man, and just being their father will earn you more pride and fulfillment than anything else you will ever do in this life. You won’t even mind that they become better than you, because all of their accomplishments make you happier than you can even imagine now.

You will raise two girls as your own and will love them more than you can ever imagine. They will produce grandsons that will fill you with more love than a man is ever supposed to have in this life. You will hold them in your hands when they are babies and tears will fill your eyes as you look down on the beauty that is life. You watch them grow and you’ll realize that being called grandpa is the greatest and highest title you will ever attain. Wait and see.

And you will share a love of music with your son. You won’t like the same kinds of music–let’s not get crazy–but music will fill every fiber of his being, just as it fills yours now.

Keep listening to your music. Keep reading about new sounds. Keep faith in the Image result for Footprints in a small townsounds you already know and cherish. Keep writing. You’re gonna get published.  You’ll write a book about the experiences you are having now. You’re never going to make much money at it, but you are going to find people interested in what you say, and in the way you say it. I know you lack confidence in yourself, but I know you believe in your writing. Others are going to believe in it, too.

Very soon now, you’re going to write a short story that reads like a suicide note. It’s just a story; I know. I know. There are people you know right now–at least two of them–who will choose to end their own lives, and will follow through with that fatal decision. You can’t save them. You will look back and wish you could. You will look back very often and wish you could have done…something. But it is within your power to save yourself. You can do it. I’ve already proven that you can do it. It will not be easy, but you will succeed.

Image result for sgt pepperYou’ve been listening to Sgt. Pepper. You’ve been singing along; it’s getting better all the time. It will get better. You will have triumphs, perhaps modest ones, but you’ll feel that elation, nonetheless. You will also battle depression. I can’t promise you the paradise you crave, because it ain’t coming. But you’re going to have a good life, marred by disappointments, devastated by tragedies, yet still a life worth savoring, a life that will touch the lives of others in, I hope, mostly positive ways.

Please disregard the lecture you’ll receive in 1979 about you not being good enough or smart enough to go to college.  You’ll go.  As a matter of fact, I know you can’t envision this but by 1982 you will have traveled all over Africa and South America. I shouldn’t tell you this but by 1985 you’ll be a teacher and then a principal.  

Oh. And you’re gonna get to see The Pretenders and Tom Petty. You’ll see Bob Seger Image result for PAul McCartneyand James Taylor, and you’ll cry along with a few thousand other men when Paul McCartney takes the stage. The best concert you’ll ever see will be The Beach Boys in 1980. You’re gonna get to see Jackson Browne, Kansas, and The Who. You’ll see Ringo Starr and you’ll remember where you were when Elvis dies. There’s a lot of music ahead of you. Life will be better because of it.

Finally, I leave you with this. You are going to realize that your faith and belief that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven is the most important aspect of your life. You have spent too much time trying to hide it from your friends and those you hang around with. I am here to tell you that you will regret that. Be more open to share your faith. Your relationship with Jesus Christ is critical to who you are and more importantly who you will become.  

This year is crucial. Everything starts for you in 1976. Keep your head held high. You won’t get the reference just yet, but keep your head held high.

Your life will be better because of your faith in Jesus Christ.


Much Older (Little Wiser) You (David)

PS: That hope to die before you get old? Stupid notion. Discard it now.

The Best Was Yet To Come

A friend tagged me in a post on Facebook and my face stared in disbelief as I read the comments.

“Hi everyone! It’s that time! That’s right: it’s been 40 years since we graduated from Oak Harbor high school!!!  Does anyone know if they are planning a reunion in the summer of 2019?”

First of all, that can’t possibly be correct.

Forty years? (wasn’t it just a few years ago?)

Secondly… I did not graduate from my hometown high school. Why would they ask me?

My guess is there might be some confusion.

Some confusion might be from the fact that it has indeed been 40 years… memories are the first to go.

The other is I wrote about a book about my memories of growing up in my hometown. I tell stories of being a student at Oak Harbor high school. Obviously, Image result for Oak Harbor High Schoolthis friend hasn’t read my book because I document the reasons why I did not graduate with my class.

Either way… I don’t know if they are having a reunion. I am not invited.

But this FACEBOOK post caused me to pause and to start counting on my fingers and toes as to how many years it really had been. I don’t normally keep track of such things.

Has it really been forty years since I received my diploma on that June day? Could I remember a single point of the valedictorian speech that would tell me to chase my dreams with gusto? Had it really been that long since I sat with that mortar board affixed upon my huge head and oversized nose? I weighed all of 130 lbs. at 6’2”.  45 of those pounds were attributed to my large nose.  It took another 15 years for my body to catch up to the size of my nose and now it has far exceeded the proper balance of nose size to body size ratio.

I don’t remember a single thing about my graduation ceremony. Oh… I remember the day, but I was too consumed with heartache.

What I remember about my graduation is the fact that my girlfriend broke up with me 3 days before it took place and I was devastated. It was over for my 3-year relationship with the girl of my dreams. My 17-year-old life was over, and it would never be the same.

At least that was what I thought at the time.

As I sat there trying to squeeze out any memory of that graduation ceremony, I immediately went into shock when I realized that I could no longer count the years Image result for 1979 yearbookI’d been out of school on my fingers and toes. I dug my senior yearbook out of the recesses of my attic. I dusted it off and paged through memories I’d long forgotten: Friday night games spent with my friends on the field and on the court. Long bus rides coming home from a victorious game or the sullen woes of dealing with a loss. All made right when I would spend time with my cheerleader girlfriend. Memories of walking the halls and lunchroom dramas. Tests, quizzes, and term papers. Not to mention the memory of conversations with my favorite teacher.

When I came to my senior portrait, I looked at that skinny young man with the light blue three-piece suit. I so wish he knew what I know now.

As I reminisced, I thought of all of the things I’ve learned along the way that I really wish I’d known ahead of time. Of course, I wouldn’t be where I am today without surviving the disco era phase but, still, there are a few things I would like to have known to make the next 40 years of my life a little easier to sojourn.

As I sat there with my graduation gown on and the graduation cap mashed upon my bulb-ish head I would like to have known these things… (in no particular order).

  1. Travel, while your standards are low. Youth hostels are a lot less glamorous at 57.
  2. Pack up your tiny, barely running PINTO and drive it until it craps out. See as much of the country you can and eat peanut butter and jelly along the way.Image result for john lennon
  3. John Lennon gets murdered, as does Marvin Gaye, so prepare yourself for that. Michael Jackson dies. And so, does Prince. And Tom Petty. So, enjoy them while you can.
  4. Your hair will turn grey, but it will stay where it is, unlike some of your friends, so enjoy it and quit worrying about it. You’re good.
  5. Speaking of hair… it will start growing in the oddest places. It will start to grow out of your ears and you need to keep that stuff under control. They will invent products that will make it easier. Hang on, help is coming.
  6. Enjoy the freedom of being lost on a country road with your best friend as you sing Tom Petty lyrics at the top of your lungs. Technology will make it nearly impossible to be as in the moment as you are right now.
  7. You will not recognize your eyebrows after you turn 40. Seriously, be prepared.
  8. The grunge phase doesn’t last long. I promise.
  9. When your favorite shows end, don’t panic. Turns out, networks “reboot” shows thirty years later and it’s like they’ve never left.
  10. You will discover in the coming years when life settles scores that you will be friends with everyone from your high school class, even the cool kids. And, 20 years later, you’ll talk with the people that ignored you and you’ll all wonder why you weren’t friends in high school.
  11. You will never get over the loss of your first love. But that heartache will lead you the one who will love you forever. As in the fact that she has been your wife now for many years. In the end, it all works out for you because twenty years after she breaks up with you before this graduation day… you will be reunited, and the rest is history.
  12. One day, you will realize you can’t remember the name of the kid who annoyed you in biology class. And you’ll text (yes… you will learn what that is and how to do it) your best friend to ask if he remembers and he’ll have forgotten, too.
  13. High school is good. College is better. Those that you thought were going to be so successful never are.
  14. Wear your faith a little closer to the top. Don’t hide your faith. Own it. Let people see that Christ lives in you. I know you hide it now… but you’ll regret that in the coming years.
  15. You’ll get a VCR but soon no one will use it anymore and this will come as a Image result for vcrshock to you. Also, don’t say “tape a show” to your kids because they will laugh at you.
  16. Cherish the friends you make in high school and do what you can to keep in touch. On the days when life is barely recognizable, they will help you find the guy who wore a light blue leisure suit to the dance. Be prepared, cause your kids they will continue to laugh much when they remind you just how hideous that suit really was.
  17. Be very grateful social media doesn’t exist. Your wild nights with friends won’t come back to haunt you at a job interview.
  18. Two words: Ear hair. Yes, I know, this is the second time I referenced this. It’s devastating. I don’t know what to say, either.
  19. High school football games don’t change. When you attend one in the coming years, you’ll swear you can hear your friends giggling next to you and if you close your eyes, you can see your home team playing on the gridiron. You will come to the realization that at the end of the day… it really didn’t matter whether you played or not. No one made it the NFL.
  20. Relax… you’ll become a teacher, soon after that, you will become a high school principal and you will be exactly what you always wanted to be.
  21. You’ll prove the naysayers wrong. Those that told you that you would not amount to anything will be wrong and you’ll achieve dreams far beyond those encouraged by this valedictorian speech.
  22. Prepare yourself. Read more about the things that excite you, question everything. Learn how to become a better speaker, writer, storyteller, son, friend, leader, boss, and father. Again, be prepared… you’ll discover that you will fail in all of these endeavors, but you can recover it by striving to become better today than yesterday.
  23. Clear communication is a key to personal and professional success. PrPublication2actice writing every day. Write about your day. The show you have seen, your feelings, fears and dreams, love and the perfect world. Make it interesting. One day, you’ll be an author.
  24. Don’t try to be important. It’s not about you. Your ego will demand attention, ignore it. Serve anyone without expecting anything in return. Amazing things will happen once you shift your mindset and start enjoying helping others. You will see how paying it forward comes back in the most beautiful and unexpected ways.
  25. Life is short. And sweet. And it really does go by too fast. As cliché as it sounds, one day, you’ll wake up and realize that 40 years have passed. And you’ll find yourself writing a list like this.

As I wrote these down, I realize that I could write a book about these lessons I wish I would have known when I was sitting on that chair on graduation day.

Truth is… some things matter. Most things don’t.

I would like to have responded “Yes” to attending my 40th high school reunion this summer, I remembered the teachers, the friends, and the memories. I smile at the antics on Fall afternoons, driving cars and chasing my girlfriend. I reminisced about dances, classes I loved and even those from hell. But there isn’t a 40th reunion in my future.

Sure… there are things I hated about it. It wasn’t perfect and there are things I know now I wish I would never have learned. Sometimes life experience sucks. Those things are appropriate for another book somewhere down the line.

Every now and then I wish I could go back… not to change a single thing but to feel the freedom of being young again and not know what I know now.

I know that my life is the sum of all my experiences. The same as it is for you.

I remember being that 17-year-old young man and wondered what would happen to him.  

Mostly, though, I remember myself wearing that light blue leisure suit and hoping that the best was yet to come….

And it was.

Image result for 40th reunion

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Few songs have been so much a part of my life than Tom Petty’s song “The Waiting”.   As with most of Petty’s songs, this one is basically the sound track of my life.  I have found that for me, the waiting is indeed the “hardest part”.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Everyday You Get One More Yard

You Take It On Faith, You Take to The Heart

The Waiting…is the Hardest Part. – Tom Petty

The song is clearly demonstrated by events that have happened in my life.  It is one of those songs that was written just for me.   The songs meaning actually became clearer when the movie “Titanic” came out.  I know you’ve seen it, so you remember the plot.  The part I want to focus on occurs on the exploration boat after Rose has shared her story of the final hours of Titanic.  She provides a number of statistics, followed by an interesting commentary…

“Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea, when Titanic sank from under us. There were twenty boats floating nearby… and only one came back. One.  Six were saved from the water, myself included. Six… out of fifteen-hundred. Afterward, the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do but wait… wait to die… wait to live… wait for an absolution… that would never come.”

The statistics are factual, so there’s not much to discuss there.  It’s the waiting that piques my interest.  I can’t (and frankly don’t want to) imagine the thoughts that must’ve gone through the minds of the people sitting on the lifeboats.  Hours earlier, they were in formal attire, dining on the greatest ship ever built.  Now they were sitting in total darkness in a small open boat in the middle of the North Atlantic.  They didn’t know the actual numbers, but they knew all too well the tragic loss of life that had just occurred.  Many of them were in shock, or mourning the deaths of their husbands, fathers, sons, and dear friends.  They also found themselves in uncertain circumstances.  It was likely that rescue ships would come, but when?  Would they freeze, starve, or capsize before help arrived?  On one level, they had to be happy to be alive, but with all they had experienced there could be no manner to express it without guilt, shame, and remorse.

The “Waiting” had to be the hardest part for them.  It is this act of “waiting” that has a way of giving the mind opportunities to fill itself with images.  Images of the fear of the unknown, the images  of the loss of hope.  All of these, Satan uses  to do all that he can to derail you from the things God has put in your life, whether they are designed to bless you or test you.  Think about the moments you have where you are truly alone with your thoughts.  For most people, one of two things will fill those times – fears or prayers.

The same is definitely true for me.  The waiting is the hardest part, because it is in this idle time of “waiting” that my mind gets distracted from the very things I need to focus on.  I usually let the fear of the unknown take over and I defeat myself before I ever truly get started.

I have written about it before, (Click Here) I feel as if I have been on the shelf…”waiting” to be used of God again.  I have the desire to teach a Sunday School class again.  As I wait for God to open doors and allow me to have another opportunity to teach again, I struggle with distractions and fear of the unknown or the fear of never getting another chance.

While I know that the enemy tries all he can to distract and destroy, God gives us a simple instruction to help us to better use these times to glorify Him and strengthen our faith.  Paul speaks of these attacks and our best defense in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5…

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Our minds will work against us, if we allow them to do so.  Over-thinking and analyzing situations create unnecessary tension, unrealistic expectations, and unfortunate outcomes.  However, by taking “every thought captive” we regain a sense of control over our minds.  We keep our perspective, we remain calm, and we  allow the voice of the Lord to speak clearly into ears that can hear and to a mind ready to listen and comprehend the good and will of the Lord in our lives.

If you are like me, you have made this mistake – more than once.  Thankfully God is patient and forgiving.   I know that God wants to use me again one day.  I want to prepare my head and my heart for the day when I am given another chance.

Until then…I’ll wait.

It’s the hardest part.

There are a Few Things I am Thankful for But Make 2009 Go Away

Maybe it’s just me,  but 2009 was a difficult year.  I am not sad to see it go away and be logged into the history books.   As I have reviewed this past year, I have noticed that so many of my posts have been directly related to the things that I was experiencing or thinking about at the time.  I have never written a post to get or gain attention.  I write to clear my head and it relaxes me. With that in mind, I have attached links to previous posts to the various experiences I have encountered this past year.  Please feel free to click on them and re-read some of my favorite posts of 2009.

It has been a year where I have had to deal with some serious health issues.   A few surgeries later, I am in still in recovery mode, trying to deal with the results of the operations.  Sometimes the cure is worse than the problem.  More importantly, this year was a time when I had to endure the loss of the two of the closest friends I have ever had on this earth.

Within a short span of three months, I lost Bob Emrich and Bryan Blakely.   Bryan was my closest childhood friend growing up in Oak Harbor, Ohio.  There wasn’t much that happened to either of  us from the time we were 6 to 18 that we were not involved in together.  As life happens to all of us, after high school we went our separate ways.  We always stayed in touch but we both lived in different parts of the country and we were on different paths.  However, Bryan was part of a foundation in my life and when we were able to get together over the years, it was just like old times.  Thirty years may have passed but it would only be a few moments and we were just like we were when we were 18.  Good times.  He was taken way too soon.

Bob was my mentor and he was the one person that could always point me in the right direction.  He was an example to me of what it means to live a life that would bring honor to his family and to his God.  He showed me how to truly live as Christian in this world.  He taught me more about God’s grace than any preacher that I have ever heard.  No, he was not perfect but he was a perfect example of what God can do in a person’s life if they allow Him to work in their life.  Bob wasn’t a preacher but a truck driver.  I cannot tell you how many times I would call him and he would be winding his way through the mountains of Tennessee or making his way through the corn fields of Iowa.  He always made time for me and always had a good word to say.  I still cannot bring myself to delete his phone number off my phone.

Performing the eulogy at their funerals was the most difficult thing that I have ever done.   I cannot express to you how much I miss them.

This year was also a time where I had to deal with some major health issues.  Without boring you with the details, I had to have two operations.  The second surgery was much more serious than I  was really prepared for and I am still dealing with the results of the operation.  Those results have hindered my ability to write and to do many of the things I did and enjoyed so easily in 2008.

For example, I have completely lost hearing in my left ear and have a 60% loss in my right.   I am on the fast track in becoming deaf.   Anyone who knows me, knows that I love music.  It is something that I have enjoyed my whole life and it is slowly being taken from me.  I have also lost most of my ability to taste food.  Most of my tongue is numb and I have limited ability to even taste what I am eating or drinking.   Finally, my right hand is still asleep.  This hinders my ability to write and typing is much harder than ever before.  The doctor says that while there is no chance that my hearing will come back, I may experience some improvement with some of the other issues.  So, while I am waiting to recover from this surgery,  I am trying to do what my friend Bob would have done.  He would  have called me to talk about the things we were thankful for in spite of the circumstances that we are in.

In honoring his life, I am trying to put into practice what he would have done.  In that process, I realize that I am extremely thankful for many things in my life, in spite of the difficulty of this past year.    One thing in particular that I am thankful for in 2009 is this blog.  Over the year, I have had over 150,000 visitors.  Now I know not all of them read my blog and some visit my blog just to read what new ridiculous and stupid thing  comes out of my mouth and spills out onto these pages.  Like I always say,  I love to write…I never said I write well.

One post that went viral this year was a post about things I am thankful for  called  “A Few of My Favorite Things… .  This post has by far has been my most popular post with over 20,000 hits and still growing.   I wrote that after my first surgery and just posted a few of my favorite things and things I was I was thankful for.   I would like to update it and add to those things and really be thankful for what God has allowed for me to be a part of in 2009.

So here are a few of my favorite things to be thankful for 2009…

And finally, in no particular order, here are a few of the maybe or maybe not so important things  to be thankful for…

So there you have it… a list of a few of my favorite things I am thankful for in my life.  No, the list is not complete and I am sure that there are more things I am thankful for if I would sit and think for a few minutes.    However,  that is for another time.

In closing, I will not be sad to see 2009 go away.  I am looking forward to what God has in store for me in 2010.   The slate is clean and anything is possible.

I will not be surprised by anything that may happen…but then again, maybe it’s just me.