I am so sad that I can’t be at lunch tomorrow. I never miss a free meal! Well, that and we are interviewing for someone to take my place. Since I won’t be there to give you a card, I thought I’d forward a piece I wrote after I lost one of my jobs. I found that by changing the way I think, I changed my life. Depression and interviews don’t go well together. I would encourage you to make your own list. Just write down three things each day that you’re thankful for…at first it may be “I’m thankful I made it through the day.” or “I’m thankful I didn’t get run over today.” but write down three no matter what. Pretty soon, you’ll see a change too! What are you thankful for today? A free meal? A friend? A group of people who understand how you feel? Write it down.

If I hadn’t lost my job…

· I wouldn’t have a new family of brothers and sisters.

· I wouldn’t have felt the need to answer a small request in the Sunday bulletin for people who have a heart for anyone who has lost a job.

· I wouldn’t have spent time with Frank and figured out what I “really” want to do when I grow up.

· I wouldn’t have taken the time to rest my body and soul after I was fired.

· I wouldn’t have met Gloria and realized how much I will miss her when she moves.

· I wouldn’t have had to examine my prayer life and found it lacking in sincerity and frequency.

· I wouldn’t have understood the many emotions you feel: the fear, our uncertainty, our anger, our depression, or the joy, relief and comfort we find when we all sit down together.

· I wouldn’t have known the necessity to get up at the crack of dawn to attend a seven o’clock meeting with people who tease me and make me laugh (a never before occurrence in the life of a confirmed “I’m not a morning person” person.)

· I wouldn’t have had the time to sit still and really listen to what God was saying to me.

· I wouldn’t have been able to ask Bob Costello or Bill Johnson what to say when I had to tell an interviewer that I had been fired from my last job.

· I wouldn’t have known what to say to my son as he goes into an interview for a promotion within Apple. I told him to tell stories and be memorable!

· I wouldn’t have heard Bill Young say, “Yes, I’m overqualified for this job but how great to know you don’t have to be concerned about whether or not I know how to do it. What a bonus for both of us!”

· I wouldn’t have learned how much I love walking the labyrinth at Hunter Park and how it stills my soul and helps me walk away ready to live fully again.

· I wouldn’t have cleared a corner of my room to quietly listen to what God needs all of us to hear. My writing isn’t just for you, I needed to hear it too.

· I wouldn’t have met Shirley and witnessed the power of corporate and intercessory prayer.

· I wouldn’t have spent time rewriting my resume and painfully acknowledging my strengths and accomplishments. Why is it so hard to pat ourselves on the back?

· I certainly wouldn’t have been as brave as I am required to be or as comfortable in the mighty armor of God.

· I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have received a jar filled with money for Christmas!

· I wouldn’t have been shown that I am one of an amazing group of people whose value and goodness weren’t recognized by an idiot supervisor!

· I wouldn’t have known to introduce you, my new friends, to my old friends: Jerry, Shirley, Laura, Tana, and many, many more.

· I wouldn’t have met a new literacy student who wants to be able to read the Bible because that’s how you know how to get to heaven. Isn’t God amazing to help us find one another?!

· I wouldn’t have looked up as many scriptures and quotes to put on cards to give people who need a little encouragement.

· I wouldn’t have known the depth of my roommate’s compassion. She allows me to live in her home even though I can no longer hold up my end of our bargain by paying the bills. You should all be blessed with such a friend.

· I wouldn’t have been able to use the God-given talent I have found to write and create cards to share what God wants to you know, putting feet to my prayers.

· I wouldn’t have been able to fill my days with anything but anger, remorse and fear.

· I wouldn’t have realized that I could fill the tearful voids in my life with the confidence, and love and trust that are the rewards of adversity.

· I wouldn’t have gone into those interviews so confidently because I knew so many people were praying for me.

· I wouldn’t have realized that all those things I thought I had to have were wants, not needs.

· I wouldn’t have been forced to accept gifts graciously without any way to repay the giver.

· I wouldn’t get to sit in my backyard, on my wonderful swing under the redbud tree, listening to the birds sing, reading a wonderful book and thanking God that I had this wonderful afternoon.

· I wouldn’t have learned that nothing is all bad, not even losing a job I loved (for the most part!).

· I wouldn’t have remembered to count my blessings every day and have to make a long list like this!

· I wouldn’t have realized how good it feels to stand, sit, kneel in the presence of God and know that I am not alone. And…

· I probably wouldn’t have met you, and how much richer my life has been because of that!