1) My husband, Craig, and our first five months of marriage. Craig continues to embody for me the Indigo Girls song "Closer to Fine" with the line, "The best thing you ever did for me was to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all." Craig recognizes my strengths and my weaknesses. He respects my call to ministry and supports my role in the church. He makes me laugh. He makes me enjoy life a little bit more. He is my partner and my best friend.
2) My family. I am ever more aware of the gift of family as I spend this week with my mom, sister and niece in Colorado. They are a constant reminder of the gift of God's tangible love here on this earth. As we watched the wedding video again today, I am reminded of how blessed I am to have two parents who love me dearly and an extended family in many different places.
3) My friends. I am so thankful for old friends and new friends - friends from college, seminary, church, Capitol Hill, Duke, and so many other places.
4) My call to ministry. As I reflected last week, I cannot think of any better job than being a pastor. I am so thankful for the gift of being "Pastor Donna" and the remarkable privileges this entails.
5) The Church. I give thanks for the first place where I served as a pastor, First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville, NC. I give thanks for the churches where I served as an intern in seminary. I give thanks for Duke Chapel and the preachers who constantly encouraged me there. And, I give thanks for Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church - the church where I currently pastor. In this place I see God at work in so many ways. I am so thankful for the people who are part of this incredible congregation - those who have been here since 1940 and those who joined our church family just four weeks ago.
6) My education. I give thanks for my time at William Woods as an undergraduate and my time at Duke Divinity School as a seminary student. Without a doubt, I have been shaped and molded to be the best I can be, and I am thankful. I also recognize that this is one thing that I so often take for granted.
7) Our home. While we would love to have more than one bedroom, I realize each time I leave the church and see many of our unhoused neighbors that we are blessed.
8) Life. From Duke Basketball to the Sunday paper, pumpkin pie to the Metro, Aveda shampoo to a rainbow in the sky, coupon shopping to Yankee candles, the final markdown sale at Talbot's to running into old friends on the street - life is good - very, very good.
9) My faith in Jesus Christ. I realize that when we leave Colorado this week, that I might very well be saying good-bye to my stepfather, Red, for the final time. Still, my faith says something more. My faith tells me that one day we will all be reunited. One day, we will all meet again in my Father's House with many, many rooms. I am grateful for the gift of forgiveness, the tangible presence of God in my life, the Kingdom of God inaugurated by Jesus, and the promise of eternal life. What a mighty God we serve.
10) All of you who regularly read this blog. Thanks for reading my attempt to process and share my thoughts on life, faith, the church, and a variety of other things - both helpful and unhelpful.