Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ripple Seven

The seventh ripple surrounds all of the rest of the things I am thankful for.  Family, friends, health, life. Everything I have and everything I am I can thank God for.

My beliefs are my own, and I won't bore you with them here too much. The Lakota called Him Wakan Tanka, or Great Mystery. I find this pretty accurate for how I think of God. I am thankful that God created all of this for me to experience and enjoy.

Nuff said.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ripple Six

Ripple six contains a great many little things that I am thankful for.  The common denominator for all of these things is my curiosity in them. So I guess I am really thankful for an inquisitive and curious mind, slow though it may be.

I'm thankful for my interests... Dragonflies, flight, nature, triathlons and all the various gear, blacksmithing, knives, glass, gardens, ducks and geese, family, friends, dogs, grilling and other foods... the list goes on and on.

I am thankful to have found a Wife who supports me in my learning and curiosity. It really is a wonderful life.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Ripple Five

Today I am thankful to have been born in America. With everything that is challenging about it, we still have amazing potential and every individual has a chance for a better life.

Do some squander that chance? Yes, indeed. Is it easy to succeed? Not always, no. But we do have certain freedoms and liberties that we often take for granted.

I for one am thankful to be able to work, provide a little for my family, have a roof over my head and feel safe and secure in that domicile. I am thankful for the government workers who do their best every day to actually make this country a better place for everyone, and for those that keep in check the officials who have been spoiled by greed or power.

We are far from perfect as a country, but I would still not rather live anywhere else.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ripple Four

I am thankful and grateful about every day for my health. Yep, the fourth ripple is based entirely on my ability to breathe, get out of bed and walk around, do normal day to day things, and in all enjoy living without really thinking about it.

As a medic, I've seen my share of life altering and life ending things. Seldom does a shift go by when I don't drive home thinking, "There but for the grace of God go I."

Thanks to Matt and my very patient and supportive Wife I am training for and doing triathlons, which is leading to adopting a much healthier lifestyle. My children are seeing this, and will actually join me during some workouts, thus hopefully building a solid base of health for them as well.

Speaking of which, I am eternally grateful for the health of my wife and kids. Healthy and happy they are, and I am often reminded of just how lucky we have been to have it that way.

I am thankful for my health and the health of those I love. Long may it be so.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ripple Three

My extended family and friends make up the third circle, almost as close to me as the second. 

There are a great many to list here, so let me tell you why I love them and am very thankful for them first...

Each person on the list has shown me support and love throughout my time knowing them. I have enjoyed my friendships with them and have drawn courage, inspiration and lots of other things from them over the years.

My in-laws, including Nana and Papa Voorhees. My sisters -in- law, Joan and Sarah. My siblings spouses Jenny and Julio.

Old friends like Adriatic and Jane, the Suters and the Muters. Pagel and Trish and all of those I've done shows with and a thousand other things through the years.

Many of my buddies from USMC days are on the list. Wib, Mac, Schutzie, Slick.  Mahood, JD, Walters and Duck. Many more who shared some pretty interesting times with me. I am thankful for their friendship and the brotherhood of the Marines.

New friends like Julie, Anna and Greg, who I would not have met if not for my wife, but who make life fun anyway.

I'm thankful for my medic friends like Sara and others from ZAA, Jen, Josh, Ben, Kelly  and Carrie and others from WMC. I am thankful for their friendship and skills as we've shared some horrific runs and some very funny ones, too.

There are dozens and dozens of people on this list, and I am thankful for them. Too numerous to list, but listed in my heart.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Ripple Two

In my second ripple are the rest of my family. Mom, Dad, my brother and sister, and Matt.

All of them have been huge influences on who I am.

Mom and Dad gave me life, and so I am naturally thankful for that. More than that though, I am thankful that they were parents. They taught me through their actions and words. Showed me how to be a parent to my kids long before I had an inkling of even wanting kids. I am thankful that they are miraculously still alive and able to enjoy their kids and grand kids. And I am thankful that I am their son. I am forever indebted to them for their support of me in everything I've ever done.

My older sister, Steph, has lived a dozen lives. Travelling Chinese Acrobat, Cubicle Worker in the Rat Race, Choreographer, Mother, Day Care Boss. She can do it all, and almost has. I am thankful for our early years, where she taught us to dance and perform... sometimes against our will. But I am a more graceful person today because of it.  The Wife says I have an unusual sense of physical balance and can just go do stuff because of it. Ski, Rollerblade, fly, whatever. I think it's because I danced while I grew up. And I have my sister to thank for that. I am also thankful for her example of putting family first, as she has shown again and again through her actions that her family means more to her than money or even at times her own comforts. I am thankful for her husband and son, and her devotion to them as wife and mother. I am thankful for her continued love and support and friendship.

My younger brother, Jason, is also a Jack of All Trades. I am most thankful that he and I remain close even though miles and time separate us from time to time. We've shared some excellent adventures through the years. At the Island or in Italy and all over Europe. Miles and miles of touring as The Shaffer Brothers. And now he's joining me in doing triathlons, too.  I am thankful for his wife and kiddos, and especially his devotion to them as father and husband. I am thankful for all of the times we've had as brothers, and even though I'm the older one, he is in many ways the more mature and accomplished of the two of us. I am thankful for his love and support and friendship, too.

My brother from another mother Matt has been my friend since eighth grade. Through the years we've had thousands of adventures, and we grew from boys into men together. I'm not sure who the leader of our duo has been. But we have both led each other into some pretty wild things. We were going to join the Marines together, he was only refused for a stupid medical reason. The Marines lost out on that one. We've done shows together and made movies when we were young. Matt is the one that got me interested in doing a triathlon, which has no doubt improved my quality of life - and I'm really thankful for that! He has been as close as family for almost thirty years, and life just wouldn't have been the same without him.

These are the people in my second ring, and I am forever thankful for them and their contributions to my life.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Seven Days of Thankfulness - Ripple One

I had a dream last night that I was standing next to the lake up at the Island, watching my kiddos toss rocks into said lake. Naturally, as they tossed each pebble, they left the tell tale circular ripples spreading away from each ploink.

I started at one and realized at once that each ripple was something I was thankful for, and each ring was exactly in relation to me - the stone.

The closest ring was the Wife and Kids. Then my family, then my friends.  When I awoke, I decided to do a seven days project based on this picture...
The firs and nearest circle is my wife and kids. I am most thankful for my wife. She is patient and kind. She is beautiful and giving. She is strong and brilliant. Without her I'd probably be wandering the wilderness somewhere. She has the ability to challenge my ideals and make me a better person without being overbearing or mean.  In fact, I don't think she has a mean bone in her body.

We make a great team, my wife and I. I love her very much. Without her, of course, the kiddos wouldn't be. But I'm thankful also for the other two in my inner circle. The Boyo and my little Sweet Pea.

The Boyo has unlimited potential, and I am thankful for his health and spirit. Smart as a whip, this kid is. Reading at a fourth grade level in first grade, his math skills are great, he has an inquisitive mind and loves to make new friends and learn new things. He is insightful and funny, too. I thank God often for him. Life just wouldn't be the same without him!

Sweet Pea is a little toughie. She's a smart one, too. Learning her letters and numbers, talking up a storm. She has a sweet singing voice and will often be singing after we've put her down for the night. She has a delightful smile and an infectious laugh. I am so thankful that she is in my life. Truly my favorite little girl in the whole wide world!

So today I am thankful for my inner circle. I love them with all of my being.

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