Count Your Blessings

“Name them one by one,”  the song says. So here goes:

1. I’m running, not far or fast, but pain-free for the first time in quite a while. I’ve shifted my foot strike from my heel, which is where it’s been since fourth grade, to my forefoot. “Barefooting” as it’s sometimes called. I don’t exactly run barefoot on asphalt (ouch!), but I do use a “minimalist” training shoe, the Nike Free. This is supposed to be more “natural,” the way you were meant to run back in the day when your survival meant eluding a predator such as a saber-toothed tiger or that annoying herd of mastodons that lived over in the next valley. Another name: “Chi running,” as it’s supposed to evoke the balance and peace of Eastern religions. Ohmmmmm…

2. My two favorite college sports teams, the Crimson Tide in football and Duke in men’s basketball, both won national titles this year. The Tide receded a little this season but can still “make some noise” in Friday’s Iron Bowl versus $cam Newton and his Doo Wap Barner Boys (obligatory anti-Auburn Iron Bowl week taunt). I finally visited “Basketball Mecca”, and my Dookies have reloaded and appear poised to dominate yet again. Coach K just keeps right on cookin’ up championship caliber teams.

3. Speaking of cookin’, we’ve discovered a couple of great places to eat, spiritually speaking that it is: The Christian Scholar Conference and the Tokens Show. The former I’ve written about here, and in 2011 it appears I’ll be heading to Pepperdine University to help convene a friend’s paper session on science and theology. As for the latter, it’s a unique blend of old-time radio, music, comedy, satire and theological ruminations, just my cup o’ tea (and I don’t even like tea). This past Sunday night’s show at the storied Ryman Auditorium–the audience sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” a capella along with the Nashville Chorus–was a sublime “worship” experience.

4. Our house is getting a long overdue makeover. How much of one, you ask? Even our exterminator guy got confused and thought he was at the wrong house.

5. I managed to get out of my “comfort zone” and finally make it to Guatemala this year for a little medical mission work. I dedicated that trip to my deceased parents. I think they would have been pleased.

6. I had the privilege of being in the audience at Harding University as Jerry “Boo” Mitchell and his wife Karen were honored as Alumni of the Year. That was a sight to see for these presbyopic eyes. I think many in the audience that night were unaware of the magnitude of Jerry’s work relative to the American Civil Rights era. You could almost hear an audible gasp when it all finally hit home.

7. I have a new pen pal in a faraway place. He has an amazing story (and some amazing stories to tell), and I feel blessed to have made his acquaintance. The story of how we “met” is an interesting one, and perhaps someday I’ll share it.

8. My sons continue to make me proud that I’m their father. They don’t always do things the way I would, but that’s probably for the best. We’ve taught them to think for themselves, and lo and behold, they’ve gone out and done just that.

9. I danced with my lovely bride at my 30th high school reunion. For those of you who grew up in the Church of Christ, you know that we were all taught that merely tapping your feet in rhythm to instruments could possibly lead to full-scale orgies. I can assure you that did not happen. We all danced with the “ones what brung us,” on up until midnight. It left me wondering what all the fuss was about.

10. I’ve discovered that it really is okay to leave behind the familiar and step out on faith. Life is a mystery and an adventure. I stand amazed.

Those are my blessings for 2010, and not necessarily in that order.

  1. Jeff Slater

    Nice!  You are truly a blessed man!Question:  Do you use the Nike Free as an everyday trainer?  I’ve thought of trying that shoe, since I’ve had a lot of heel trouble.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    I am using it for my every day trainer, but my long run is only averaging 7-8 miles right now. They take a while to get used to, and you have to build up your mileage. I’ve run a couple of 10-milers in them, and my feet were a little sore afterward. I think if one was training for a marathon, a little more padding would probably be advisable for the weekly long runs.

  3. Mike the Eyeguy

    Mine too. With #9 running a very close second.

  4. Kristi

    Right now, #9 is my favorite. Of course, I’m about to get married and so I’m all mushy and stuff. But seriously, at 27 I’ve got a lot of divorced friends, so hearing about couples who have been long married and are still in love makes me really happy. I like knowing that I’m not crazy and it can in fact be accomplished. Now if I could just get some sort of magic recipe to make it work that would satisfy my type A personality.

  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    You’re such a sap… 😉

  6. CarolinaGirl

    Would have to say my favorites are 1, 9 & 10.  God bless you all this holiday season.  I’m thankful to be South instead of North.

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    CG–Blessings to you and all in your unit as you continue to represent our country and project some much-need “soft power” down South. Hooah!

  8. Greg England

    Number 9 reminds me of the old joke as to why church of Christ people never make love in public. Afraid someone will think they’re dancing.Good list. Maybe I’ll make it out to Pepperdine and catch you somewhere on campus.

  9. Mike the Eyeguy

    Greg–Your comment was held up in “moderation” for a few days there and I just now noticed. Sorry ’bout that. Next time, try not to be so risque.

    Would love to see you at Pepperdine. Would you let me drive the hearse?

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