Guest Blogger: Dr. Thomas F. Jones Jr.


I grew up in a home with parents who modeled a spirit of gratitude and taught me that we should never take for granted the special gifts God brings into our lives.

My wife, Debbie, and I determined early in our marriage that our family would likewise be one that expressed thanks.

Thirty-one summers ago, our family drove from our home in Springfield, Ohio and arrived at Lakeside for the first time.

We paid $130 for our cottage rental. There were a few skunks, and Lakeside back then wasn’t in the best condition, but nevertheless we fell in love with this magical village.

It didn’t take us long to recognize that this special community was made up of diverse but like-minded people who, like us, possessed an attitude of gratitude.

Turns out there are many good reasons to thank God for His gift on the lake called Lakeside Chautauqua. We give thanks to God for Lakeside and for…

…driving through the gates for the first time to experience a new season

…lakefront walks with family and friends

…a thousand sunsets that could only be orchestrated by a God who creates beauty 

…Dockside Service Worship and shared communion with other Lakesiders on Sunday mornings

…ice cream (how can you not thank God for ice cream – seriously?)

…the awesome music created by the Lakeside Symphony Orchestra

…nightly programs, like The Spinners, CeCe Winans, Michael W. Smith, the ballet and magic shows

…inspiring Chaplains’ Hours

…learning to sail and the Lakeside Sailing Regatta

…dinner in the Hotel Lakeside Dining Room & Café

…God Squad and Chip Richter (thank God for Chip)

…Marilyn’s 1 and 2 (if you can’t find it at Marilyn’s, then it can’t be found)

…Artists-N-Cahoots (love this place)

…the Lakeside Wooden Boat Show & Plein Air Art Festival weekend (how cool is that?)

…classes for all ages at the Rhein Center (you’ve got to love painted rocks) 

…tennis round robins, where you also get donuts from The Patio Restaurant and tournament trophies are painted rocks

…Lakeside friends are our best friends, we thank God for them every day

…family games in the cottage with four generations sitting around the table

…reading that novel that you’ve waited all year to tackle 

…pizza at Sloopy’s Sports Café, where there is a shrine for Woody Hayes

…coffee at Ooh La La! or Coffee & Cream

…Lakeside T-shirts and sweatshirts in your drawer that you just can’t get rid of because of a special memory

…shuffleboard with grandma, dad and grandchildren who compete in state, national, international and maybe universe tournaments

…the Lakeside United Methodist Church, God’s local expression of the Body of Christ

…multiple generations sharing any number of Lakeside experiences

…a smile on a child’s face after catching their first fish 

…learning to ride a bike

…golf cart and bicycle rides 

…going through cottages dreaming that one day it will be yours

…watching a storm on the lake

…the Lakeside staff, they make it all happen, we should all say “thanks” to them

When I am in Lakeside, I am compelled to give God thanks. How could one do otherwise?

If the Apostle Paul were a Lakesider, he would say it best, “Give thanks for Lakeside in all circumstances for this is God’s will…”

Join The Front Porch conversation! How do you show gratitude to your friends and family? What are you thankful for at Lakeside? Tell us in the comments below.