Thursday, November 26, 2015

THANKSGIVING 2015: The Top 10 Things I'm Most Thankful For This Year

The Top 10 Ten Things I'm
Most Thankful For This Year

Skittles, Cap'n Crunch, Foghat,
glow-in-the-dark nail polish,
my chiseled good-looks 
the list of things for which
am constantly thankful is
endless, indeedHowever,
I'm particularly grateful to
have experienced these 10
super-sized blessings in 2015.


2015 was the landmark year when I discovered that my friendly neighborhood Publix grocer provides sub sandwiches, prepared fresh daily, in its fabulous deli department. But what makes these sandwiches particularly tasty is that they're made exclusively with Boar's Head deli meats. Yes, there is a difference when it comes to sandwich meats, and my quality of lunch has now been enhanced, nine-fold. Although Publix offers a variety of carnivorous options — chicken, ham, Italian, etc., I recommend the roast beef highly to all dedicated fellow Central Florida "sub culture" enthusiasts. DEE-LISH!


These super-crunk codgers wheeled their way out of the Miami seniors' center and into the Florida rock scene late last summer. Their newly-released, self-titled debut album is packed with infectious, high-octane. garage-style pop/punk sing-alongs reminiscent of the Ramones, circa '78. Yep, it's a "Geezer Nation," for sure. (


What's more enticing than an articulate, ticked-off, gun-toting, Froot Loop-eating, leather-clad, pro life rocker chick with a live mic? In my world — nothing! As a faithful Fox News fan, I began developing a "thing" for Dana Loesch earlier this year. And when I discovered recently that I actually possessed the pocket iTechnology to bask in the bold brilliance of her wildly popular radio program, The Dana Show, on a daily basis — well, I was completely over the moon. Simply put, I am a fan!


There I was, walking across the Starbucks parking lot one morning last spring, en route to my car, when I suddenly felt a stabbing sensation in my lower back — a sharp, piercing pain so intense that I was nearly brought to my knees. The only logical split-second conclusion I could come up with was that I'd been hit by sniper fire. I don't seem to be bleeding. Hmm! The moment I returned home and got flat on my back in bed, I called a longtime "faith" friend who was quick to diagnosis me as being under demonic possession. Uh, really? Thanks, but I think I'll seek a second opinion. Upon reaching out to a trained medical professional, it was determined in short order that I had kidney stones. "What should I do?" I asked. "Not much," she replied. "Just drink gallons of water and wait for those suckers to pass. Oh, and one other thing — start drinking Simply Lemonade, and get OFF those darn energy drinks!" I took her advice, and in no time, I was back in action. I'm now 100% Monster AND demon-free!


I've woken up early and had coffee with Amy Sweezey every Monday through Friday since we first were "introduced" last January. Hang on, it's not (quite) as romantic as it sounds. Sweezey is the morning meteorologist on Orlando, Florida's NBC affiliate, WESH. Her forecasts — typically spot on. Her level of professionalism — world-class. And her constant commitment to fashion excellence impeccable. Oh yeah — Sweezey's just-released children's book, It Never, Ever Snows in Florida, is an absolute delight.


Jule Vera is the greatest rock band in the world  bar none. Their music makes me happy to not be dead. And frontchick, Ansley Newman, is an angel sent by God to bring joy to all of mankind.

That is all.


Since just last Thanksgiving, I've read more books written by Dr. Larry Ollison than any other author during my entire life — and that's a VERY long time. Ollison knows the Bible and classic rock better than most. Hence, his ability to breakdown and explain the word of God in an engaging, conversational style is second-to-none. His book, The Practical Handbook for Christian Living, is an amazing must-have — easily the second-most important book I've ever read.


I've never really been much of a "dog person." However, in 2015, four particular canine clowns became my closest confidants. Get the scoop HERE.


I was at a spiritual crossroads in late 2014. Then, one Sunday morning last November, as I was leaving Starbucks, I spotted Central Life Church pastor, Randy Alonso. I would have known Randy anywhere, as I'd been an avid listener of his local radio show for several years. Although I could see in his eyes that he had absolutely no clue who I was as I greeted him and held open the door, he responded immediately with a friendly smile, a firm handshake, and a heartfelt invitation to visit the newly-launched beachside Central Life campus in Indialantic, Florida — just inches (practically) from my house.

Rollin' gangsta-style with Randy Alonso in 2015.
I took Randy up on his invitation, and I attended service that morning — and I've never looked back. I graduated quickly to the holy position of first-string campus coffee delivery boy — as if I really needed another reason to stop by Starbucks on Sunday mornings. Over the last year, I've also been blessed with the opportunity to plug-in with a Central Life Monday night men's Bible study group and a Thursday night "life group," as well as connecting with Central Life teens as an adult youth ministry leader on Tuesday nights. As bona fide believers, our lives should fully reflect our personal relationships with Christ, and with other believers. Central Life inspires, encourages and enhances those relationships. And I'm eternally grateful to be part of the CL fam!


Finally, I'm incredibly thankful this year to the super-savvy marketing cats at Starbucks for proving successfully, once again, that Christmas has NOTHING to do with snowmen or Santa. Kudos, for demonstrating a brave disregard for corporate gain by putting Christ back into Christmas!

There ya go — my personal Top 10 best blessings of 2015. So, what are you thankful for this year?

-Christopher Long
(November 2015)

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