Since we're actually celebrating the eating part of the holiday tomorrow...that gives me more time and a clearer mind to celebrate the thankfulness part of the holiday today.
I'm thankful to have the perfect wife for me. She is beautiful to my eyes. Although she is shy, once you get to know her you'll find that she is quite funny. Our idea of a perfect night is one spent at home together. I love that we do not argue and fight like so many couples I know. I love that there is no drama with Alice...she keeps things in perspective and rolls with whatever comes her way. I love her cooking and her experimenting. She has been my best friend for 18 years now.
I'm thankful to be allowed to serve with such an amazing group of believers. (Yes, one of these days we'll get our new website going...) Their happiness and authentic joy is contagious. I can't imagine working for a better group of shepherds and co-ministers. The singers and technicians that are a part of our worship ministry are second-to-none. For the size of our church family, we have a disproportionate amount of talent! But far greater than the amount of their ability is the size of their hearts. I love them dearly.
I'm still thankful for the opportunity to go to Oklahoma State for college. I needed that season of my life more than you will ever know. I'm thankful to the Peter Kiewit Foundation for giving me a scholarship, without which I never would have been able to afford to go. I'm thankful for the Church of Christ University Center in Stillwater and the countless friends there who made sure my faith grew rather than whithered during my college years. I'm thankful for both the architecture school where I began and the construction management program where I finished and received my degree. I received instruction and training from excellent professors, and was well prepared to enter the work force.
Which leads me to my next area of thanks... I am thankful for all of my previous employers.
I began by teaching tennis during my first summer of work, and am thankful to Mr. Benzel for keeping it fun even during the dog days, and for taking me out for Icees when we were done for the day.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to have worked layaway at Shopko. I made some great friends and we had a lot of fun playing sand volleyball together.
I'm thankful to have been a draftsman at Design Basics, a home plan service based in Omaha. It was my first experience in the real business world, and they were a great company who even invited me back on my breaks during college.
I am thankful for Marvin Barth and Barth Construction, a home builder in Stillwater. He took a chance on a college freshman to help him with drafting and design. I continued working for Marvin until I graduated. He was an excellent boss.
Of course, I am highly thankful for my 2 summers as youth intern at the Bellevue Church of Christ, especially for the chance to work with my future mother-in-law the second summer. We had a blast! Those teens were an amazing group, and I'll never forget that last youth rally when we have 12 baptisms during the course of the weekend.
I'm thankful to the good folks at the Deer Creek Church of Christ up by Blackwell, Oklahoma. They graciously paid me to come teach class and preach twice a month. On a good day, there were only 12 of us, and they've since closed their doors, but they were a special group of people to me. I'm thankful for the home cooking every Sunday, the opportunity to speak what was on my heart, and the excuse to study and read, and then read and study some more.
My 2 jobs since graduating college have been such a blessing. I'm thankful for Sam Smith and James Pickel taking me on as a new graduate and teaching me the ways of commercial construction. I'm thankful for supervisors like Bill Boyd and Stan Lingo who were patient and challenging. I'm thankful for the financial blessings it provided us, and the advancement opportunities. I "retired" from construction in 2006 as vice president of a company that did about $40 million of volume a year, and did it well. It was a rewarding company to work for.
You guys already know what I think of Memorial Drive...