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Thursday, November 26, 2015

BE THANKFUL -- November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  As a child, I remember the smells coming out of my mother's kitchen and my father carving the turkey.   My wife and I prepare the meal now.    I look forward to it every year.    We've begun a tradition of having our family Thanksgiving meal the day after Thanksgiving.   Might sound weird, but this way we don't have to schedule around other family's meals which allows everyone to come here for a large gathering of both family and friends.   
My father carving the Thanksgiving turkey.  I am on the far left.  My younger brother, Jake, is to the right of me.  -- 1978
All that being said....Thanksgiving day is extremely relaxing for me.  I slept in until 7 this morning...had breakfast and coffee with my wife and my son...and then headed to Rocky Ridge for a quick mountain bike ride with my neighbor across the street, Brent.  The rest of the day will be consumed with a 007 marathon on the Syfy channel, a movie with my wife, a good book, and the chance to reflect on all the things I am thankful for....

First and foremost...I am thankful for my amazing wife Robin who is not only the love of my life, but my best friend.    Without her, I am incomplete.   I love her so much.

I am thankful for my children Emma, Alex, and my step daughters, Mia & Blythe.   They bring so much laughter, joy, and pride to our family.

Alex Raymond, Emma Raymond, Robin Raymond, David Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott, Blythe Arnold Scott -- July 21, 2013
I am thankful for my father and my step mother, Mary Jane.   My father has become so much more to me as I've grown older.   He has become one of my best friends.  I love him so much.   We lost my mother almost thirteen years ago.   No one can ever replace her, but Mary Jane is the perfect person to have in our lives and as part of our family.  She is loved dearly by all of us.

Robin, David, Mary Jane, & Dave Raymond -- March 2014
I am thankful for my brother, Jake, his wife, Kristi, my two beautiful nieces, Jackie & Sophie, and my nephew, Isaac.  They are 3,000 miles away in Arizona and we miss them so much.  Especially during the holidays.

I am thankful for my job at Northeastern Middle School.  I am one of those rare people whose job is also my passion and hobby.     I am also thankful that my team mates are also my friends and that my boss is a great guy to work for.   It makes going to "work" everyday so much easier.  

The Green Team of Northeastern Middle School:   Lori Wilson (math), Mike Ritts (science), David Raymond (history), Leah Ilgenfritz (LA), Sarah Dorward (LA), Lisa Schiel (LS), and Heather Knappenberger (IA)  -- GANG GREEN 2015
Now...besides my health and the hope for world peace....I am thankful for...all of my friends, past and present.  In particularly those who have helped me through tough times in my life.   Names come to mind....Mark Lentz, Tim Sindlinger,  Chris Keller, Brent Shirk, Jon Senko, Pat De Garay, Mike Ritts,  Mike Alessandroni, and so many more. 

My 2011 Specialized Stumpjumper -- Rocky Ridge County Park, November 26, 2015
I am thankful for my 2011 Stumpjumper that survived a horrific crash this morning at Rocky Ridge.   I guess, I should be thankful that I survived the crash.  I don't crash often...but when I do, it's pretty epic. I would like to thank Brent for asking if I was OK before he laughed.   The trails this morning were a little slick and covered covered with foliage.   I hit a ditch that was covered up and I ended up going ass-over-handle bars.   No pics are available of the crash...I do need to maintain my pride.  My bike has served me well....but, I think there may be a new one in the near future.   

David Raymond & Brent Shirk -- November 26, 2015
I'm thankful that Brent was able to get out on the trail today.  He's a great family oriented guy and is always busy coaching and/or attending his son's events.    He also has had more recent bad luck than most people.    Surgeries, recoveries, and let's not mention the time, last May, when he nearly sliced his nose off his face in a snow blower accident (yeah...wrap your brain around that one!)  

Looking north from Rocky Ridge County Park -- November 26, 2015
Looking south from Rocky Ridge County Park -- November 26, 2016
I am thankful for the beauty and nature all around us...I am thankful for my health and fitness that allow me to enjoy it...and I am thankful not just for life, but for the ability to live.   
Which is more than I can say for the turkey that is currently sitting in a tub of brine in my kitchen.   

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Last year's bird -- Thanksgiving 2014

Life is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- November 26, 2015

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