Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner Postscript

All things considered my first Thanksgiving meal went pretty well for the most part. Nobody complained after it was established by my unilateral decree that ham was replacing the traditional turkey dinner. Although the cranberry/apple stuffing and the mashed potatoes were a bit on the dry side the honey baked ham was succulent...and...delicious.... the corn was just right, and the cranberry sauce which was provided by a friend was excellent. We never got around to eating any pumpkin pie because we stuffed ourself with blueberry, chocolate, and pumpkin pie while watching USC maul Arizona State at a friends house. All in all, the day went pretty well, better than I expected. I don't know if I want to make this a new tradition, that is, me cooking dinner for everyone, but for this year I am grateful that I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my sons and some friends... and...who says a 49 year old bachelor can't pull off doing something that is traditionally excluded to the female species.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

Since 2003 I have spent some time early Thanksgiving morning reflecting and journaling what I am thankful for regarding the past year. Here are a few things I recorded in my journal this year.

1. Relationships. As I have gotten older and have been single now for six years running I have become increasingly sensitive to the need of meaningful interpersonal relationships. I am grateful for all my friends and one particular relationship this past year which has brought me a lot of joy. Relationships and intimacy are gifts from God and I never want to take them for thank God for my friends,my family, my two sons in particular and one special lady friend.

2. My home. Last year I moved into a house by myself for the first time in my life. My living situation prior to last years move was very stressful and I am very thankful that I have my own space where I have can express myself and live in peace.

3. Church. After six years in self exile regarding church I am grateful I have found a church, where I at least feel comfortable. I haven't decided to join the church and have yet to get too heavily involved but I have made a number of friends and it feels good to be a part of a regular community again.

4. Deeper understanding about relationships. I have spent a significant amount of time and energy over the past few years thinking and pondering about the nature of interpersonal relationships and while I am not presently married I do feel I am at a much better place regarding my own understanding about the "nature" of relationships...and...have been told more than once by people close to me than I really know how to do relationships....which....has been very encouraging to me. I intend to write more about this in the weeks and months to come. It has been a long hard road at times but I do feel I am making progress.

5. Growth in the "practice" of spiritual disciplines. For years I read about spiritual disciplines but it never really got much further than between my two ears. This past year I found myself praying, journaling, and meditating more than ever. I didn't set out to do any of this intentionally but have found myself gravitating, naturally towards practicing and creating my own style of what some might call spiritual disciplines and I feel good about it.

6. Gifts from a "special" friend. About six months ago a lady friend of mine celebrated my birthday by showering me with some really cool stuff. She took me to a Moody Blues concert and bought me some clothes for the special occasion. It was the best birthday present I have ever received and I was totally blown away...especially considering it wasn't even my birthday!....She decided to give me a surprise birthday party after learning how I spent my birthday alone last year trying to find a place to live because of my difficult living situation. I was so moved by her sensitivity and graciousness.... I cried...It was one of the highlights of my life...

Breaking New Ground: Gobble, Gobble

It's Thanksgiving morning and I am about to do something I have never done before...I am going to cook a Thanksgiving meal, all by myself. That's right. This year I have decided to stay in town for Thanksgiving and cook dinner for my two sons and an old friend of mine who doesn't have anywhere to go. The meal I am cooking is not extravagant by any stretch of the imagination and will be simple. There will be ham, mashed potatoes, corn, bread, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Thank God for Costco. The ham is pre-cooked, the stuffing and the mash potatoes are pre-packaged, and the pumpkin pie is already cooked and ready to roll out at any time after dinner. This might not sound like I am really cooking but I don't mind confessing and conceding this is the best I could do considering my limited experience in such matters. Originally I was not particularly happy when all of my other plans for Thanksgiving fell through but I am actually kind of excited now and feel much more upbeat about the whole matter. Later we will watch USC, hopefully crush Arizona State and I'll be back with a report on how things went....

Monday, November 05, 2007

You must see this film!

Yesterday I saw a movie that made me laugh and cry...I was inspired…I was reminded of what is important in life…and…I was deeply, deeply, touched…This is a great, great, film…This is a beautiful film. This is a film about life, family, and following one’s passions and dreams...It is simply, the best film I have seen in a long, long time. Into the Wild is based on a true story by best selling author Jon Krakauer who also wrote Into Thin Air. The movie was directed by Sean Penn and, Eddie Vedder, the front man for Pearl Jam, provides the musical scores for the film. Into the Wild is a story about a young man who gives up everything in this world to follow his dream to go to Alaska. His journey begins after graduating from a prestigious college in West Virginia. While telling his parents he is thinking of enrolling in Harvard Law School he instead hits the road and heads west. The rest of the story is about the adventure and the people he meets along the way as he travels from the East Coast to Alaska. While some may sarcastically assert that this film is a moral tale about how foolish it is to follow an idealistic pipe dream I do not share such sentiments. I prefer to see this film as a metaphor about the meaning of life and the critically important lessons one can learn if one follows their passions and dreams. We live in a world where much of what we do is based on the expectations of others, our families, our friends, and society, in general, but this film explores what can happen if one follows their heart....but...This is not a sentimental film and grit and reality are not sacrificed at the altar of romanticism. This is a gut check film. This film cuts to the core for him who has ears to hear...This is a must see film...You won't regret it...and...while you may be haunted by the images, music, and ending for days, in the end, this is a story that celebrates the life of what one young man who decided to follow "his" dream...and...while I would never suggest to anyone that they follow in the footsteps of another, I would recommend that we seriously consider following his example of following the desires of our heart, even if we cannot follow the exact footsteps of his particular journey.....