It was a tad bit chilly, but after a grueling Arizona summer it felt pretty good… of course eating my wife’s homemade red sauce can make any setting a sliver of heaven… I’d eat it in Alaska with no clothes on if I had to… (point made!) We finished eating outside with the propane heaters keeping us toasty while we enjoyed the evening rainstorm a few feet away from us.

Our dog Larry was doing his usual stint with his soccer ball, he’s actually quite talented with the ball and can be the evening’s entertainment all by himself. I didn’t recognize his new ball and assumed my wife had splurged for the holiday season. “Where’d he get that ball? – I don’t recognize it,” she asked me. “I thought you got it for him?” I answered.

The bright lime green ball had a few chunks out of it and we felt bad due to the fact that our next door neighbors have two boys, well actually they’re young men now, who’ve played soccer their entire lives, we’ve been neighbors with them the majority of that time. Michael plays soccer in college and Adam I believe is on his way after this, his senior year. Larry isn’t a good neighbor… He steals the inadvertently kicked balls and uses them for exercise, for growling at and gnawing on like a bone… he believes that possession is 9/10’s of the law.

Over the years, Larry has destroyed more expensive soccer balls than any other being I know. The neighbors never complained, they took it in stride and liked Larry despite his poor manners. “It says ‘to Larry?” my wife said getting a closer look at the ball. I spotted it after she did and our daughter picked it up and looked at the words smeared from dog slobber and teeth marks, “Frooooom…. Adam, – It’s from Adam! From: Adam. To: Larry!”

I can’t imagine being that good a neighbor… especially at the ages those neighbors have been through the years when the next door neighbor canine sunk his into their soccer balls after using them for his selfish purposes.

I don’t think about it often, but I’m grateful to have great neighbors. It also made me think about how doing something gracious has a way of bringing out the best in others. Instead of resenting the person or thing that cost us time, money, and aggravation, maybe we really should give them what it is they desire. Isn’t that exactly what Christ said? “If someone takes your coat don’t withhold your shirt.”

The best kind of thankful is about being able to give knowing you have enough. Lifting up others is the business we’re called to. It can be in the smallest of ways… cause sometimes they make the biggest impact… Just ask Larry…

May God bless you and yours this season as we give thanks and grace in all the ways we’re called to. Happy Thanksgiving to all!