38. I am thankful for CHURCH PICNICS

Yes, you were reading it correctly: I am VERY thankful for Church picnics...and especially the ones we have here at The Moody Church in Chicago. Our FIFTH annual picnic was yesterday (after the morning worship service), and it was great.

So many faithful people showed up in Lincoln Park to help with this great feat--and it's over.

Every single person who committed (to me) to show up and help with the grilling--they showed up, and we had a great time. We fed almost 2000 people in less than one hour (going through the lines), and not a single person (at the grills) was burned or injured.

I've done this now for five years...and next year, I'm taking a break. Someone else--maybe my friend Vincent Ramirez--can be in charge of the "grill" neck of this picnic forest....I'm taking a break next August, Lord Willing.

This was a great time of fellowship for our church family, and for those who wanted to come out and enjoy the gorgeous (but too humid) weather.

Whoever requested "veggie burgers" (and yes, we did have some)....is a very, very sick person. I tasted one of the patties, and it was AWFUL---almost an abomination.

But, I am very thankful for Church picnics.

37. I am thankful for HISTORY...

Ten years ago today, I moved from Cleveland, Tennessee to Chicago, Illinois. And what a ride it has been!

Four dwelling places, two churches, six different employers (including my present one), two very minor surgeries and one major surgery, nine years wearing contact lenses--and now back to glasses, a MULTITUDE of people who love me....gaining about 20 lbs, and losing 15 of them, only to gain them back....what a great adventure this has been!

And TGIF: Today, God is Faithful.....He has been faithful to me throughout the last ten years....there have been times of fear and depression and concern....But there has also been many times of great rejoicing, great worship to the LORD, and great fellowship with so many people who dearly love me, and I dearly love them.

Many tears, but triple that amount in laughter....

Yes, I'm thankful for history....

36. I am thankful for DIRECT DEPOSIT....

For the life of me, I can't understand people who still prefer "paper checks" in their grubby little hands on pay day....and YES, those people still do exist. I've worked with them.....and haven't quit trying to understand them.

I started my new job on August 9---my last post (and I really should make more effort to post more regularly)....and I received my very first paycheck today...VIA Direct Deposit.

I became acquainted with Direct Deposit when I entered Active Duty in the United States Air Force 24 years ago (September 23, 1986)....and I've not "turned back" since that time. Actually, I think I've only had one job in that time frame that did not offer Direct Deposit....and Lord willing, I'll NEVER work for that organization again---and NO, it wasn't the MAFIA....

I'm most thankful for Direct Deposit.

35. I am thankful for my NEW JOB

Yep, I've been a slacker in my postings as of late...and I really haven't meant to be---and I have a million excuses, but no good reasons.

But in a few hours, I will report for duty at Rush University Medical Center as one of their newest employees. Last Friday, I accepted an offer to become a full-time employee in the Guest Relations Department.

This HAD to be God. There's no other explanation for it.

After approximately 45 interviews this summer (from early April through last week), it seemed that GOD had just put a "stop" to everything that I was hoping for--and I might have to look elsewhere. My greatest fear was moving from my beloved Chicago to some other place. This was my "Isaac that had to go up the mountain" and see what God was going to do with "my sacrifice."

On Thursday, July 29th I was in my bedroom, talking to the LORD about "my Isaac" and asking HIM what the next steps would be. I was FLAT BROKE (less than $100 in my bank account), and knew that I would have to take immediate action of some sort.

Less than 30 seconds after I finished praying, my cell phone rang. My friend at Human Resources from Rush University Medical Center was calling, asking if I could come in the next day for an interview to a position which I had long sought---but there had also be hiring freeze affecting. Of course, I said "yes" and promptly planned to be there early on Friday.

Friday morning, July 30th I show up at the Rush Human Resources Office, thinking this would be the "run of the mill" interview.

Boy, was I ever so wrong! There would not be one interview, but THREE---and each of the department managers WANTED me, and wanted me as soon as I could start.

The HR employee bid me adieu (after I met with each of the managers individually), telling me that she would be in touch with me very, very soon....more than likely on the following Monday. Before I could get home on the bus, HR called, offering me a position. I was elated.

Absolutely ELATED....marvelously elated! (Of course this had happened before, but this time, it would stick...) I had been scheduled for my employee healthscreen for Monday, August 2. That occurred without incident.

On Thursday, August 5 I received a call from the Human Resources department informing me that a BETTER offer was on the table, and it was mine for the taking or rejecting. This would be a non-union full-time position, instead of the unionized part-time I had accepted previously.

Ain't God good? I'll continue this story later.