In this season of Thanksgiving, I reflect on the year. As I write this it is 3:30 am Thanksgiving Day 2021. The house is quiet, dark and secure. When we moved into this house in March 1990 one of the first things I did, was walk the perimeter of the property line with my Bible praying for peace and security for all who cross inside this line.

Recently, I read the following that really spoke to me about God’s protection for us:

I have always thought that Noah was safe inside the Ark because he built it according to God's specifications. I thought that perhaps it was the strength of the gopher wood and the soundness of the architecture that ensured that the waters of the flood would not come into the Ark. But I encountered a verse that shifted this whole paradigm. Gen 7:16 says. "The animals going in were male and female of every living thing as God had commanded Noah. THEN GOD SHUT HIM IN....”  Even after Noah had built the Ark, it was God Himself who shut him in, to shut out the waters of the flood... In other translations this verse says, "The Lord sealed them inside."  It is not the fact that you have locked your house that keeps you safe at night, it is not your good driving skills that keeps you safe on the road, nor is it your healthy eating habits that keeps you healthy - only God can shut you in and shut out the devil that is seeking to devour you.

When I read that, it became clear to me about God’s protections for us who love Him and strive to walk with Him in our daily lives.

The one time I questioned Him about His promise to me was when we had to evacuate our home due to the rising waters of Hurricane Harvey. That was the one time in my life that I was in survival mode and had to get my family to safety. We lost most everything in that flood BUT, His blessings outweighed the loss over time. The house was rebuilt with insurance money and most everything we lost was also covered by insurance. We now have a new house in the same location. For that I am grateful!

Since last Thanksgiving there were also some painful times for me. I lost one of my best friends just after Christmas. We had been friends since the early 1980’s and kept up with each other over time. He was there for me during my kidney cancer adventure and for every visit to MD Anderson for CT scans to confirm the cancer had not returned. Many times, I did not see my friend, but he would check up on me via text to say he was praying for me. This last year when I went for my checkup was the first time, I did not get the text from him to reassure me with his prayers and encouragement. It was sobering for me, I felt like I was now going at it alone. To add to the alone feeling was Jennifer usually went with me but due to the Covid restrictions this year I had to go by myself. I know where my friend is today because I know of his daily walk he had with God. As I look back on our friendship, I am grateful that our paths crossed those many years ago.

I am grateful for my family. Mom and Dad are doing well in their new home. Dad turns 90 years old next week and is clear minded and healthy. I am fortunate to share his birthday, I will be 63 years old. Mom is 88 years old and is clear minded. She gets around a little slower these days, but I am always glad to see her and dad most weeks at what we call ‘Breakfast Club’ on Tuesdays. I am blessed to have Jennifer, Will and Allison as my family. Will is almost finished with his master’s degree and will soon start his career working in museums. Allison is now a full-time teacher working with special needs students. Jennifer also teaches special needs students and like me is looking forward to retiring one day soon.

I am grateful for my dog Axle, cats Jasper, Vlad and Luna.  They keep me smiling. I am grateful for my garage and all the car and minibike projects that are in that garage. I have a lot of things to work on to keep me busy for a lifetime. Breathing new life in a car and driving it for the first time is a feeling like no other.

I am grateful for my job that I look forward to each workday. Every morning as I walk through the doors at work I pray I bring real value to my employers. I think I do.

I don’t know what the next year holds for us but one thing I do know, God is watching over our every breath.