January & February have offered a lot of opportunities to build character– breakups, lost wallets (finally found after a week and a half!), flat tires, seasonal depression, dainty paychecks, running out of gas because the gage broke, quitting smoking (again), hellacious colds, watching Colin Kaepernick make the Packers defense look like devouring a creme puff, our cheap vacuum breaking…
Needless to say, I’ve been thinking about Job a lot lately. But at 22 you don’t have time for pity parties. You’ve got an identity to find, a career doing something you love to make happen, muscles to build at the gym, and a healthy relationship with Christ to maintain.
Luckily I’ve got an amazing sister-in-law who challenges me to rise to the occasion. Thank you Tara for helping me remember the importance of stocking a heart full of thankfulness.
Below is the 101-things-I’m-thankful-for list. Written by a school bus driver living in Portland who bums around coffee shops in between routes trying to write his first book.
1- When parents go out of there way to stop and let me make my turn leaving the school.
2- The names in my “favorites” on my phone.
3- That moment when I drop my kids off and crank up Colin Cowherd.
4- Having a best friendship like Turk & JD.
5- Spotify. Spotify. Spotify.
6- Living four blocks from a cheap seat/indie movie theater (2-for-1 Tuesdays: tickets $2/piece).
7- How I never get sick of bananas or homemade sandwiches.
8- The “Right Away, Great Captain!” Trilogy– where literature meets musical form.
9- The loyalty of the Westerman-brotherhood.
10- Spending twenty hours a week doing what I love.
11- Eavesdropping on conversations in coffee shops.
12- Driving by the Rose City Skyline every morning before the sun comes up. Donald Miller described it as, “the Willamette River wears the skyline like a queen wearing a beautifully jeweled crown” or something to that effect. The imagery is amazing.
14- That moment once a month when all I want is a can of coka-cola.
15- Reading a book that makes you forget to look at the page numbers when you turn them.
16- The first day you wake up and realize your cold is gone.
17- The steam room at my gym… Or as I like to call it, “the think tank.”
18- Gas in the tank.
19- How every time I walk out of a good action movie I can feel my testosterone pumping and my confidence boosted.
20- Daniel Craig: my favorite James Bond.
21- The only piece of clothing I’ve bought since I moved to Portland– my golden-brown corduroy Levi’s.
22- True moments of wit.
23- Flirting with cute baristas.
24- The moment you realize you’re going to be able to pay your bills for the month.
25- How putting on cologne makes your posture better.
26- Old men talking about old music with a youthful gaze.
27- The lack of boring people in Portland.
28- Working to master the perfect School Bus Driver wave.
29- Great art on album-covers.
30- Swanky Christmas sweaters (with elbow pads) from Aunt Katie.
31- When my kids get my jokes.
32- Watching the ways people display their love for each other in a school bus yard.
33- My new friend Manny.
34- My super warm brown hoodie I’ve had since junior year of high school.
35- The comically looking naked fairy-lady riding a bike on a pack of playing cards (I mean… Who came up with that?)
36- Similes and metaphors.
37- Stories in the Bible that involve prostitutes.
38- Deep breaths.
39- My $15 queen sized fleece blanket from Target.
40- When people ask me what my tattoo on my wrist means.
41- My super functional $20 pair of big headphones.
42- Hour-plus phone calls with TJ.
43- People who genuinely want to listen to me play a song I wrote.
44- Capturing your mood with the perfect pizza toppings.
45- New pictures of Beck on Facebook.
46- When old people talk about my generation optimistically.
47- A hot shower in the dark of Winter.
48- When Brendon calls me out for being a lame human being.
49- Sally– our grandmother in Portland. Every time I walk away from an interaction with her I feel better about myself and life. I hope I have that effect on people when I’m old and wise.
50- Tossing the pigskin with Trav and Bren in the big empty parking lot next to our house and mastering the back shoulder throw.
51- The moment in the morning when the heaters finally get warm on my bus.
52- Places where you can see for miles.
53- Ted Talks.
54- Waking up everyday knowing my mom’s already covered me with the blood of Christ.
55- Not having homework.
56- Driving bus in neighborhoods that look like The Shire meets Beverly Hills.
57- That Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow.
58- Breakfast sandwiches.
59- Well-made documentaries.
60- The dictionary app on my phone.
62- Still being able to get a good men’s haircut for $9 (thank you Jenny the super noble/humble Asian lady).
63- Putting on a thermal shirt at 6 a.m. on a winter morning.
64- For reasons that would take too long to explain, my parking stall at the bus garage.
65- Days when my mood is copacetic with the typical gray winter day in Portland.
66- Blowing my nose.
67- Rooms with lots of windows.
68- A good bouncy ball.
69- How Travis can’t help but sing in a country twang.
70- Writing songs with my two best friends and how that’s a healthy way we can bond with each other.
71- Days where it’s clear enough to see Mt. Hood.
72- Moms Valentine’s Day cards with ridiculously long, genuine notes written in them about how much she loves me.
73- Everything you learn at 22.
74- The sound of myself typing.
75- Getting kissed on the neck.
76- The grumpy old man at the bus garage with the glorious, bushy Gandoff-white eyebrows.
77- Being reunited with my Mr. Rodgers cardigan after two years.
78- When they FINALLY call your number at the DMV.
79- Alkai Beach.
80- That “Fun.” won two Grammies this year.
81- Getting to be one of the only people in the world who witnessed Trav eat Indian food for the first time.
82- Extra crispy hash browns.
83- Having a spare tire.
84- Getting together with old friends from college.
85- Having a nice big room to pace around in while I talk on the phone.
86- A well written hit pop song (rare, but beautiful when it happens).
87- Taking the perfect dump.
88- Charles Woodson’s time in a Packers uniform.
89- Lebrons hot streak.
90- Pacific Northwest Architecture.
91- Three day weekends.
92- One on one chats with Max over video games.
93- Taking the Wandering Summer Road Trip and being blessed with the financial resources to make it happen.
94- Lunch meat.
95- Shooting pool.
96- The $25 Chipotle gift card Jonah’s parents gave me for Valentine’s Day.
97- Arthur’s Automotive and their $22 oil change services four blocks from our house.
98- Getting a free donut at Starbucks today
99- The way Brian Regan pronounces the word “volcano”.
100- Crushing an open mike night.
101- Faux blue roses.