This blog will be a little different than ones I usually post. I enjoy writing about inspirational and ordinary people I meet along the way and convey their messages of hope. For me, it’s more than a hobby.
But I want to take a few moments and reflect back on the year I have experienced with gratitude and awe in the spirit of Thanksgiving. I am not boastful — I am thankful.
What a year it has been.
Four book launches — yes four.
Dugout Devotions: Inspirational Hits from MLB’s Best launched in February while First Down Devotions: Inspirations from NFL’s Best followed in August. In September, Bengal Believer: 40 Who Dey Votions for the Cincinnati Fanatic launched and believe me, the Bengals need prayer.
And Monday night, Having Impossible Faith debuted. This book is my emotional look at the faith of my late sister-in-law Dee Dee, and it includes similar inspirational stories about two other individuals, Lois and Billy.
Many more projects are on the horizon, and I am excited for the potential.
My agent, Cyle, tells me all the time: “The favor of God is on you.” I am humbled and never want to take that for granted.
Angie and I have become part of a group called Serious Writer, Inc. which holds writing conferences all over the country. Earlier this month we were involved in the Ohio Christian Writers Conference near Columbus. Angie served as conference manager and I instructed two sessions.
We have had such a blast over the past year.
But on a personal note, we welcomed our new grandson into the family, and that has been the biggest highlight of the year. He has brought more joy into our lives than we could have ever imagined, and we are loving every new milestone in his life. In the past two weeks, he has started cutting a new tooth, began saying “Mom-Mom,” and is now waving.
Our granddaughter, Sophie, is constant entertainment. She is pure joy and puts a smile on our faces all the time.
During all this excitement, I found time to attend five book signing events in the Poconos, New York City, Pittsburgh, Nashville and one in my hometown of Lucasville. I’m not boasting but describing what has happened to me.
On top of that, Buckeye Believer: 40 Days of Devotions for the Ohio State Faithful won second place in the devotional category of the prestigious Selah Awards at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.
These past 12 months have been a blur. I have many things to be thankful for. Here are a few (in no particular order):
I am thankful for the heated seats in my car.
I am thankful for bacon.
I am thankful for publishing contracts.
I am thankful Angie does not like to shop on Black Friday.
I am thankful God saw fit to forgive me.
I am thankful my family saw fit to forgive me.
I am thankful I have been blessed with a writing ministry.
I am thankful my agent and friends believe in me.
I am thankful for all the wonderful people God has allowed me to interview over the past year.
I am thankful for coffee — good coffee.
I am thankful for sunsets.
I am thankful for Bluetooth in our car.
I am thankful for my job.
I am thankful for my health – especially no more kidney stone attacks.
I am thankful for Hickie’s Hamburgers and vegetable soup.
I am thankful for our church.
I am thankful for answered and unanswered prayers.
I am thankful for our fire pit and eating s’mores with family.
I am thankful for all of our friends. They are amazing. I’d love to list them, but I’d forget someone.
I am thankful for our nation and our military.
I am thankful for our law enforcement and first responders.
I am thankful for our flag and our history.
I am thankful for my wife, Angie, and our sons, Gabe and Eli.
I am thankful for both of my daughters-in-law – Kylee and Danielle.
I am thankful for our granddaughter, Sophie, and my grandson Joel.
I am thankful for vacations and time away, yet glad for my home.
I am thankful for the all-you-can-eat buffet for the media at the Cincinnati Bengals games.
I am thankful for Schwann’s popsicle sticks.
I am thankful for God’s grace.
I’m thankful for Friday Night Lights — I had a blast helping to broadcast local football games on the radio.
I am thankful for our friend Denise’s homemade bread and my mother-in-law’s Sunday dinners.
I am just thankful. And I’d still be that way even without all the blessings.
That is what this past year has done for me. I have developed more of a thankful heart over the past several months. God has opened up a new world for Angie and me to spend together.
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Not everything has gone my way, but this is not what I focus on anymore. I look ahead and treasure the blessings the Lord has given me — and the things He has kept me from.
Nothing good will happen when you concentrate on the negative. I have experienced some setbacks in life, but these will not slow me down or hinder me. In fact, the hard times only make me stronger. I learn from challenges and use them as fuel for my fire. I refuse to glance over my shoulder to the past. John Wayne, one of my favorite actors, once said: “Looking back is a bad habit.” No more. The future is ahead and is bright.
Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me. I don’t deserve them, but I will accept and allow them to grow in my life.
What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?
Let me know your thoughts on how God has blessed you. Even if you are going through a difficult time, realize the Lord loves and wants to help you.
Do you depend on Him for happiness? You should. Have a blessed Thanksgiving from Angie and me.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville. You can reach him through his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit.