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100 Things I’m Grateful for This Year

1. A job in my field.
2. A damn good education.
3. Really great co-workers.
4. Stable housing with working appliances, electricity and plumbing. After hearing many stories of homelessness, I am challenged not to take these things for granted.
5. The little orange paper lantern from IKEA that I have on my desk. In a world of fluorescent lights, any splash of color is life enriching.
6. Bouldering, particularly with friends.
7. A working bicycle with fancy red grip tape.
8. Being a bicycle commuter. This has pushed me to embrace nature and the elements as well as flirt with the boundary of what I can withstand as far as heat and cold and wet. I feel very fit and alive after four years of cycling.
9. A short commute to work. 2.79 miles, depending on which route I take.
10. The Gran Fondo. 80 miles through vineyards and the Columbia River Gorge with one of my best friends and four other of my good friends and not feeling dead at the end.
11. Salmon Sandwiches. I ate three over the course of the Gran Fondo day and had the profound experience of seeing how the fish died(albeit unwillingly I’m sure) so that I could benefit from their energy. Kinda makes me think in a new way about substitutionary atonement.
12. Rain pants. In Portland, OR, an absolute must.
13. My bike helmet with built in ear muffs.
14. Snowboarding goggles, free from a friend, that I can wear while biking so I don’t arrive at my destination with frozen bleary eyes! And sunrises through polarized lenses are beautiful!
15. All the cycling shops. Almost as many as there are Starbucks!
16. Days when temperatures are above freezing.
17. My hair. Call me vain, but I really have fun with it!
18. Food carts, particularly the ones by my work.
19. Black Tea.
20. Red Wine.
21. Kava.
22. Coffee shops close to my house and my work.
23. Peet’s Coffee, the one I go to where I meet all my friends.
24. A healthy body. By healthy, I mean I don’t wake up every morning in pain and on the mornings I wake up sore, I do a little yoga and feel normal.
25. Being able to maintain a regular yoga practice. Mostly I practice in my living room from pictures I get off the internet. Even so, on the rare occasion I can afford to go to a class, the instructors always tell me I have a good practice.
26. Bringing my yoga ball to work and not being told to take it away.
27. Eating vegan, well mostly vegan, ‘cept for fish(not shellfish) and honey. I’m thankful for how my body feels and for how I’ve developed an awareness of what my food is and, to a lesser extent, from where it comes.
28. Sushi. Like I said, mostly vegan.
29. Culinary competencies, particularly that experience of walking into a strange kitchen and being able to make a savory soup from scratch. I did this a few times at the place I volunteer, throwing in whatever I could find stashed in the cupboards and the result was a big hit!
30. Restaurants and food carts that provide vegan options and in so doing, make a safe space for my eating values.
31. Living in Portland where you see images like this one – At Saturday Market, there was a Marijuana Legalization Activist with a sign bearing the emblem of the marijuana leaf…about ten feet from the Salvation Army bell-ringer with their sign saying “Doing the Most Good.”
Background: One thing the Salvation Army does is drug and and alcohol treatment.
I love that this sort of juxtaposition can exist in my city.
32. The Pentecostal Spanish-speaking church down the road from my house.
33. The Cuban Church.
34. My Spanish-speaking friends. Mis amigos hablantes de Espanol.
35. JetBlue.
36. The Journey of Peace bog experience. This was my crucible in which I learned to put my words out in bold ways then take responsibility for them.
37. My readers who have diligently followed me and supported my journey and offered encouragement in my difficulties. People who like what I have to say.
38. My blog critics, and that they are few, and for how they have challenged me to be more loving in my speech.
39. TED Talks.
40. Brene Brown and all I learned about overcoming shame.
41. Andrew Marin and The Marin Foundation and all I learned about bridge building.
42. Rachel Held Evans and all I learned about pushing through opposition.
43. Justin Lee and all I learned about making something beautiful out of a complex situation.
44. A trip to Chicago.
45. Meeting cousins for the first time.
46. Sharpie fine tip pens.
47. Moleskine.
48. My macbook pro and how it has survived bike crashes with me. Praise Jesus!
49. The story in my head. For more of the story of the story in my head, stay tuned! Ways to follow this novelists journey to completion will be available soon!
50. The seven characters in my story whose voices I get to use, whose narratives I get to explore and in so doing, better understand parts about myself.
51. Dear friends and colleagues who participate in my writing process with me. It’s all about the process and the relationships you make on the way.
52. Food banks and gleaner services.
53. More fun T-shirts than I can wear in a month.
54. Woks.
55. Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Seeing all the episodes my parents wouldn’t let me watch as a kid and feeling grown up now that I can see and enjoy them. Also, sharing the show that was a special part of my childhood with my partner while we waited for the birth of our first child.
56.BIGBANG. Here’s a song.
57. Super Junior and finally acquiring my favorite K-pop song from when I worked at the Sushi bar.
58. Sigur Ros.
59. Jars of Clay.
60. Juanes
61. Gipsy Kings
62. Deeper Well music, produced by a local church.
63. Christian friends.
64. Queer friends.
65. Home-schooled friends.
66. Non-home-schooled friends.
67. Spending Christmas with my extended family in Southern California. Fun people who look like me. Mixed feelings because I don’t really know them so well. Deep joy at being able to get to know one or two of them a bit more and finding them kindred.
68. Out of Ur and my first published article.
69. The Painted Men Ritual. See Article.
70. The Our Whole Lives Panel.
71. SMYRC, the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center. The place I volunteer. One end of my bridge.
72. Lactation consultants.
73. Midwives.
74. My piano.
75. Playing piano at church.
76. Stage crew. Now I know the difference between “main input” and “line out” on the back of a speaker!
77. Elephants!
78. Ender’s Game.
79. East of Eden, on paper, not on kindle.
80. Vitamix and how it made my partner happy.
81. Almond, pecan, honey and coconut oil nut-butter, made in the vitamix, and how it made me happy.
82. A new vehicle.
83. Friends who also have doubts about faith.
84. Friends who also have questions about sexuality.
85. Friends who want to work to make the church better.
86. Friends who want to work to make the world better. Sometimes they’re the same friends who want to make the church better.
87. Guy friends who deeply love Jesus, deeply love their wives and invest endless energy into their faith and into living with integrity. In the company of men such as these, I find a desire to be a better man.
88. My faith community. They’re different than me, but they still want me around.
89. My six elders who have pursued relationship with me and sought to understand me and, even though we don’t agree on some things, still seem to like me.
90. Triad, which is actually four of us. The men whom I allow to invade my life and push me to be a better man.
91. Being gay. Complicated as this is, no other aspect of myself has challenged my perspective more, pushed me more to search out what is true, or evoked empathy and compassion more. If not for being gay, I may have always been content to sit in a circle of people just like me and never care about the struggles of people who are different than me.
92. The uncomplicated birth of my first child who is healthy and beautiful.
93. Holding my child and experiencing true contentment for the first time.
94. Being a father.
95. Being a husband.
96. Kiava wood and blue lapiz. The materials that make up my new wedding ring.
97. Having a family with whom to share a home.
98. My wife and the endless patience with which she loves our child.
99. My wife and the gracious ways she loves me.

100. Being part of the Christian faith tradition. Complicated as this experience is, there is also hope here.
101. Jesus. Someone I respect and don’t understand. Someone beautiful and far away. Someone I want to be like who sometimes makes me uncomfortable. Someone I want to speak to me whose mercy I crave. Someone who pursues me and wins me over with His peculiar love.

Okay so that’s 101. Once you stop being grateful, you just can’t stop!

Happy New Year! May the peace of the Lord Jesus be with you always!