Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanks Be

4:30 a.m. and I have been awake for a while already. Coffee is hot, sweet with sugar and pumpkin spice creamer (my only cup today or any day.
A day of giving thanks. 

First I am Thankful for my Lord and the Grace He showed AND shows to me. For the woman I love, Oh My Darlin', our kids, Kelly, Morgan and Mark, who are all grown and gone, but never far away with lives of their own. For their good health, good minds. 

Sometimes raising them was like juggling cats, chuckle. There was and is nothing I loved more than sitting at the supper table as our little family, holding hands and praying.

And our grandsons, Chase and Chandler. I never understood the love and strength of a grandparent till I was one. Blessed with the memory of the 4 minute backyard camp out. I am blessed.

We were both blessed with Christian parents who loved us, took us to Church and showed us how to live a Christian life. I am thankful for their love, their lives, their examples. Mildred and Linc who took care of my Darlin', who raised her to be the woman I love. To my Mom, with all her little flaws, who prayed for two boys and then loved them, AND because she made a promise to God, took them to Church by herself till Daddy became a Christian. My Daddy, quiet, humble and unassuming, my hero. How I miss him, how I was blessed to be his son. I was doubly blessed.

Can't forget my little brother Mike. Neither of us are little anymore, both have passed those birthdays we don't brag about anymore. We were always "Those Hollen boys"... (ornery, into everything and racing through childhood side by side as little boys) And I won't forget his family. I am blessed.

Oh, and for my extended family, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, Great Aunts and Uncles and Cousins, lots and lots of Cousins on both sides as I was growing up, always around, always near, always full of love for me. I am thankful for each of them. I had no idea that not everyone counted even third cousins as "immediate family". So many gone now. How I miss them. As I sit here this morning I see in my mind's eye Thanksgivings past, food heaped high, Uncles and Aunts, Grandparents gathered around tables with heads bowed, giving thanks. I see Aunts with their back to us, cooking and talking, happy to care for those they loved. And I see simple meals, pork neck bones, fried taters, greens, corn bread and work worn hands sharing all they had. I am blessed.

I have been particularly blessed by pretty good health, a sound, creative and inquisitive mind, a Gift of Voice, given by God when He called me to serve Him. Yes, I am blessed daily by Him

I am thankful for a life full of several careers along the way, for those who had faith in me and hired me, yep, even for those who mourned with me as the economy caused them to let me go. I wouldn't be a full time storyteller today if not for that crash a few years ago. "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I Thessalonians 5:18 (I didn't always see the blessings that came from hardships, but am thankful for hindsight and the ability to see God's hands)

Did I mention Oh My Darlin', my Linda Lou, who loves me, puts up with my multiple personalities, takes care of me, who is my best friend, who encourages me, who is THERE. Boy, always being there counts for a lot, doesn't it? I am thankful I am growing old with her by my side.

Thankful for my high school roomie, best friend for life, prayer partner back then and co-conspirator. The only boy I knew who actually had blue suede shoes, who introduced me to Sam and Dave, to Otis Redding, who would sneak to my dresser and snitch my "Goober Jelly" (jelly and peanut butter in the same jar). He who would lay in bed across the room and talk till the early morning hours about girls, life, the future, Jesus, God and pretty much anything else that came to our minds... Bob Clark.

For those along the way who taught me, showed me and illustrated through their voices, their careers, their care and concern how to do what I do; Carolyn Spadafora Cox -High School teacher who introduced me to my voice and the spoken word, Georgetown College professors, Edwina Snyder, Margaret Thornton Greynolds, and especially Joe Ferrell who helped me learn to speak, to feel, to use the instrument of body, emotion, voice and inflection. Frederick Foster who stood on the stage in the old Giddings Hall at Georgetown College in the fall of 1971 (my Freshman year) and spoke the words of a poem (which I no longer remember) into life and made me hope to learn to do the same. And Dr. Hal K Pettegrew, who encouraged me to tell my stories.

For these things, for today, yesterday and my tomorrows, Thank you Lord Jesus. I am blessed.