Showing posts with label Thanks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thanks. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


I enjoy Thanksgiving because it provides a time for me to reflect upon the blessings that I have received. 

There are so many things that I am thankful for because I am richly blessed, but I want to take note of a few.

As many of you know, the last half of 2018 has been challenging for me personally as I was diagnosed with prostate cancer--but, I am thankful that everything is working out and that my treatments are progressing and are nearly complete. I am also thankful for the support of my family and friends and coworkers who have shown great compassion towards me as I have been being diagnosed and then my daily treatments. 

I am thankful that Mom and Dad dropped in for a short visit and there is the promise of a return visit when they escape the warmth of Houston (why would anyone go north during the winter?).

I am thankful for my family. All of them. My wife, my children, their spouses (or engaged), my grandchildren, my Mom and Dad, sisters and brother and their families. We are dysfunctional at times, but we are still a family.

I am thankful for the fun cruise this summer. 

I have met a lot of people this year and many of them have enriched my life just by knowing them and talking to them. I chatted with a man yesterday while we were both waiting for treatment. He was three days into his second round of treatment and he related that he is an Agent Orange victim and that he will likely be treated for the rest of his life. Yet, his attitude was positive and he was just happy the be alive and able to be treated.

I am thankful that I live in the greatest country in the world. Yes, we have our warts, but we are still the best place to live.

I am thankful for the readers of my blog and I hope each of them has a blessed holiday season.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Give Thanks--"In" is not "For"

Giving thanks in surgery is one of those hard things that the Apostle Paul tells us to do when he writes "Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks." (1 Thess 5:16-18 NET Bible)

This does not mean to give thanks "for" surgery--I mean who really wants to have surgery? That means that there is something seriously (and  mean, seriously) wrong with the body. It is never a good thing o have to cut the body open and start removing stuff or repairing what's on the inside .

But, giving thanks "in" the surgery helps us to focus not on the bad that is unfolding, but the good surrounding the bad. While we are giving thanks in the surgery we are giving thanks for the skilled medical team, families, and friends. We also giving thanks for the prayers and the support and the speedy recovery from a successful surgery. And not to be forgotten, give thanks for the dreams that the surgery may be saving or restoring!

It is a different mindset. Focus on blessings in the middle of adversity and strife.

Sounds easy? No, not really, it is more like doing the impossible sometimes.

Why am I writing this today?

Because this morning (and much of yesterday) I am giving thanks for the prayer warriors who surround my nephew as he faced another surgery in his fight against cancer. I am giving thanks for the friends and the family supporting him. I am giving thanks for a good prognosis.I am giving thanks that Chris could be there with him to help support him and his Mom in person.

I, amazingly, talked to him yesterday afternoon after his surgery--and mind you this was surgery in his chest on one of his lungs. I give thanks for being able to talk to him and to hear his voice and hear the thanks in his voice for being able to talk to me and feel as well as he was feeling despite knowing that there are hard times ahead.

The real blessing of giving thanks "in" something is to be able to see around the circumstances of the now and to appreciate the "for's" that are everywhere shaping the tomorrow.

-- Bob Doan, Eldridge, MD

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Give Thanks--Breaking Dawn

I noticed it yesterday morning as I drove to work for the first time in a week. I am driving to work under the cover of darkness again. For most of November, after we had made the switch back to standard time, I was enjoying the sunlight in my eyes as I made my daily journey. Yesterday it was gone--I was mostly in darkness.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, which I lengthened by taking some additional leave, darkness gained hold on the time during which I make my daily commute. It is sad because I enjoy looking at the land along the way and watching the changing of the seasons--which has been fabulous this Autumn.

Here is the funny part though--and it only shows how desensitized to the seasonal change that I really am, I only noticed the change after I had parked my car and was walking to the building that I work in because there displayed on the glass structure of the buildiing in the reflection was the fire lit sky of the gathering dawn.

Maybe my senses had been dulled by a weekend of turkey.

The dawn was breaking behind me is spectacular fashion, and I only noticed it because of the reflection.

I took a moment to admire God's handiwork. The way He painted the clouds and the sky in colors that I have never been able to recreate in either my mind's eye or with a camera.

The blessing of the dawn is being able to appreciate its beauty and to give thanks to the one who created it. It keeps me grounded. It reminds me of whose I am.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

It has arrived. Arguably my most favorite holiday of the year. A day to pause and give thanks for all that we have--most of which we don't really deserve.

I do enjoy the football and the food. I enjoy the family gathering around a large table to enjoy each other is a somewhat structured kind of way--but as it is a holiday, it is what we expect to do on this day. And that makes it even better.

We know that there will be noise and chaos and cooking going on.

But most importantly, there will be interaction between people--some of whom we don't see often enough. Thanksgiving is a holiday were we gather together with family and friends to celebrate. Some people travel hours or days to be together. Others travel just across town--but no matter, we are together.

The practice of giving thanks as a nation or community is a long one. Although we draw our current tradition from the 1621 Plymouth Pilgrims, Thanksgiving is a very personal holiday that families modify as they need.

And there is so much to give thanks for--even during these difficult times. I know there is a lot of pain for many people on this holiday--lost health, jobs, family; but there reasons to give thanks and take time to focus on the blessings despite the pain. Most of my blessings are contained in the people I will be sitting around the table with. And yes, I will be sad about those not here, but I am thankful for them, too.

The Apostle Paul reminds us to be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20), and to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

I will enjoy the parades on TV, the football games, and the feasting. But most of all I will enjoy family and friends.

The blessing of Thanksgiving is the ability to pause and step beyond my daily life to see all of the blessings that have been given to me and to take a moment, either in public or private, to thank God for the magnificnent way he has provided for me.

I thought I was done writing--but then I ran across the second verse of the great Hymn of Thanksgiving, Now Thank We All Our God by Martin Rinckart.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.

-- Bob Doan Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks -- Pets

I am sitting here this morning with Makayla trying to fit herself into the chair next to me. We are dog sitting for Ben, Jeremy's Keeshond, and Riordin, the cat that returned is sitting across the room on Chris' lap. Only Louis, the white rag doll cat is missing from the scene this morning hanging out wherever he is.

It is a bit of a circus.

But, I love it. The pets provide comic relief and at the same time are somewhat demanding. It is like I have children again.

Makayla greets me at the door--not unlike the way that Dino used to greet Fred Flintstone in the old cartoon except that I don't get run over by her. I enjoy being greeted at my door when I return. Riordin tries to sit in my lap whenever I am on my laptop or iPad--just to make life difficult. Weekends like the present, when Ben or Patrick's Chewbacca are staying over, provide additional fun like separate walks to ensure bodily functions are complete.

Pets are work--but they are a blessing. Pets provide companionship just in being around. I am reminded of a situation in the bible when Job had just lost everything and his friends arrive and sit with him for seven days without saying a word. (Job 2:13) Now I am not equating Job's three friends with pets, but am illustrating only that sometimes words do not need to be spoken--it is the act of being together that is important.

Pets, well trained house pets like mine, are around and are part of life. Whether laying at my feet, or in my lap, or on the floor a short while away--they are with me and near me.

The blessing of pets is companionship. Walks are not accomplished alone and by caring for pets we practice the skills necessary to sacrifice of ourselves to care for others.

-- Bob Doan Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Give Thanks -- Peace

I was thinking about peace and realized how self-centered I was being. Sure, I can say thanks for peace because I am not deployed to some far off land where people are trying to kill me on a daily basis which is what many of our military and DoD civilians are facing as this holiday season approaches.

I am insulated from the violence and anarchy in those not so far away lands of Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran and anywhere else unrest happens on a near daily basis. I do not have to deal with the death and destruction and chaos that the people living in these places have to do. They, I believe, long for the peace that I experience on a daily basis.

I wake in the morning in a comfortable bed in a warm home with the prospect of fighting nothing more dangerous than Maryland drivers on the parkway. My closest contact with the Taliban is the news.

In my world, there is peace and it is a blessing. Peace is something that I do not think much about because I have it and it is a constant. In other parts of the world, peace is something they wish and pray for.

Because there is peace, I can focus on other aspects of life and living without fear. Peace helps me not to be afraid to live.

The real blessing of peace is in those who are on the frontlines around the world to preserve peace and our way of life. They are a blessing to each of us--and we need to remember them and to pray for them.

And we need to consider the gift that they give us--peace.

--Bob Doan Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Give Thanks -- Health

Wow, health is something I often forget about as a blessing. Why? Because I have health.

Yes, I am afflicted with NDPH, and I have a few other issues which require daily medications, but I am able to live and enjoy life and am not constrained from doing the things I desire because of poor health or long term injury.

You should have seen Chris and me hauling the Snow Village boxes from the attic above the garage to the family room in the basement yesterday as we set up the 2011 version of our collection. And I look forward to getting back onto the racquetball court when my gym reopens this week. I can do whatever I desire to do.

I am blessed with good health. Not perfect health, but good health that allows me to do whatever I want whenever I want.

Health is a blessing. I have friends who are not so fortunate.

The real blessing of health is being able to do what I want to do and to help others while doing that.

Happy Thanksgiving, I am a richly Blessed man living in a land of plenty.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Giving Thanks - Home

Drive around our area and it is easy to notice the homeless sitting on some of the corners asking for assistance.

One of the blessings I realize that I have this season is the blessing of home.

I am sitting here looking outside at the dawning day enjoying the blue sky and rising sun. Most importantly, I am warm. It is 24 degrees outside this morning, but Chris and I are warm inside with a nice fire already crackling in the fireplace.

I am looking forward to being outside today doing work around the house, which is my home, but I woke in a warm bed, not in a group home or a tent. I am blessed and for that I give thanks.

Home, they say is where the heart is--but as well it can be place from which to base life. The safe place to which I return at the end of the day and from which I depart when I launch my day.

I look forward to home when I am not there.

Not in a sappy way--but in a peaceful, purposeful manner.

The real blessing of home is peace. A place to reflect, and plan, and to be safe.

Welcome home.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 18, 2011

Giving Thanks -- Job

The stories in the news are everywhere about rising unemployment and companies closing and laying people off.

The times are tough and real people are facing real job loss which strikes deep into the heart of people who want to take care of and to provide for themselves.

I read a very hurtful email the other day which was from the ultra conservative right which clearly suggested that America should no longer be a land of generosity and where the idea of collectively providing for those less fortunate should no longer be what sets us apart as a people and a society. This email seemed to suggest that we could close our borders and our doors and become and island in the world.

The email was so out far from the attitude that we should have a people of plenty and covered with uncountable blessings. I felt bad for the misguided people who perpetuate that thinking and who sent me the email.

It suspect that it is easy to write such hard ideas when safely tucked into a warm home writing from the comfort of a chair in front of a computer. The email suggested that more people in America are getting free stuff than are paying for the free stuff. I wonder if people receiving Social Security were counted in the percentages of those receiving free stuff, or those receiving retirements. It is harder to write such things when living on the street, homeless, cold and wet. Life has not been good to a lot of people. And they rely on us, the rest of us, for support.

I am thankful for having a job. I am thankful that God had placed me in a position where I believe I am making a difference and am doing something important. I am uniquely suited for the job I have, but at the same time I am able to keep perspective and realize that I work to live and not live to work. I love my free time away from the job to do the things that are there to enjoy outside of work. I have passed up taking positions which would seem to require working 60 or 70 hour weeks, because I enjoy life away from job and I do not want my job to become my identity.

But this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for the blessing of freedom that my job gives me. Freedom to be creative and to write my blog everyday whether anyone reads it or not. Freedom to critically read the email that I receive and not be so hard that I follow every whim that someone would have me follow.

The blessing of having a job is freedom.

Give thanks.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Giving Thanks - Friends

With Thanksgiving upon me in a short week from today, I am continuing my examination, albeit a bit superficial, of the blessings in my life.

Today I am writing a few thoughts about friends. When I began this process I had separated friends from family, but upon further consideration I realize that the true blessing of friends is that unlike family, I choose my friends and they choose me, too. And becuse of this, my friends have become family.

I am very blessed by my friends and I hope that I am likewise a blessing to them as wll. In all of my adult life, I have not had friends like I have now. I was too much of a vagabond gypsy moving around the country/world in the Air Force to take time to haave friends until more recentlys as I have settled in this place called Maryland.

Thnksgiving allows the opportunity to appreciate friends and the unique things we do together which continue to build deeper relationships.

Friends are the spice of life and they are there before I even know I need them for support. I have enoyed the weekend trips and the wine tastings and the dinners, and the just gathering together at the end of a tough week just to relax and be with one another in a non-threatening and even encouraging environment. And as friends, sometimes we realize that the most important part is just being together--whether we talk or not. Just for support of not being alone in tough timees.

At Thanksgiving this year, I am thankful for my friends--and the increase in my family they have become and will always be.

Thanks to each of you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giving Thanks - Family

Thanksgiving is upon us. Next week.

I've been thinking about the blessings that I have received this past year--and for that matter during all of my life in an effort to better grasp how I take blessings for granted and despite my best efforts, I continue to receive blessings that I neither deserve nor have earned.

I have the usual list--family, friends, job, home, health, peace, pets, and love. And as the Apostle Paul would say, not the least of these is love.

But--I thought I might like to dig a bit deeper into each of these areas to discern the real blessings and not just the superficial, pass it off kind of acknowledgement that I usually do when confronted with truly deep issues.

Superficial is easy, and non-threatening. I have been thinking about some of these blessings and I have come to realize that they are not superficial. It is I who am superficial in so many things that I do. I am afraid to engage and to offer the best of myself to the situation.

Family. I have the best family in the world. They put up with me even when I would rather be somewhere else. (Like Key West) I love them. I wonder whether I deserve them. But, Sundays around the TV watching four different football games reminds me that we are a family and we are all better because of it.

But family is more than watching football games together. Family is the way we look out for each other and overlook our shortcomings to find the inner beauty in each of us. It is the unconditional smile of a grandson (since I haven't any granddaughters, it is OK to write it this way) when I arrive or when we communicate via the new Facetime technology. Family is saying, we've got your dog when we head out for a long weekend.

Family supports when one of us is down and thrives when we are all together. And family is larger than just the cluster of people living in Maryland--but it includes far flung brothers and sisters and parents and cousins and nieces and nephews scattered across America.

And I am stronger because of all of them. We get together all too infrequently.

But they are a blessing and I am thankful for them.

What is the real blessing of family?

The real blessing of family is that I never fear being alone in this world. In family, I have others with whom I am walking beside, or leading, or walking behind--but joined arm-in-arm as we make our way through the world. Although we are not all walking the same path, we are walking together, and we are stronger for it.

I am not alone--there are others with whom I can share my joys and sorrows, successes and failures, and just sit together sipping a glass of wine or a beer and enoy being--even if we are not talking, we are.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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