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Countdown to Thanksgiving

Next Thursday's menu is decided, assignments made, invitations issued. In my mind, the house will be clean and all the dishes will turn out perfectly. Most of all, I want to be sure the welcome is warm and the atmosphere filled with love. It is one of my favorite days of the year.

The only way I know to respond to God's blessings in my life is with a heart of sincere gratitude. I am deeply thankful for so many aspects of my life. As a reminder to myself and as a testimony to all of you, I'd like to list a few of them.

1) I am so grateful that Steve and I are healthy and able to enjoy this stage of our lives with gusto. Every time we visit a doctor, the list of things we DON'T have seems to amaze the nurses. I know that any day could bring a dire diagnosis, but for now, I want to say thank you God. Apparently, He still has things He wants us to do.

2) I am thankful for the new baby added to our tribe of grandchildren this year. Beatrix Agnes June Rodgers has a formidable name, and we have no doubt that she will live up to every letter of it. Thank you, God, for her health and sweet personality.

3) I am thankful to be back in the choir again. Music ministers to my heart, and singing songs of the faith elevates my praise and worship. Dr. Bob Hatfield is our interim music minister at FBC Hartselle. We were music students at Samford in the same years, and it has been such a pleasure to reconnect, to meet his lovely wife Polly and to sing under his capable direction. Bob served as the Minister of Music at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham for 36 years. He regularly conducted choirs of 150 voices or more. We have far fewer than that in Hartselle, but he expects excellence from us just the same. It is a source of real blessing in my life right now.

4) I am grateful for the ways God is using our children to further His Kingdom -- in their homes, in their churches, preaching, teaching, living godly lives. Thank you, Heavenly Father.

5) I am thankful that our oldest grandchild is enjoying her first year of college and that all of the other 13 are doing well in school (and homeschool), making friends and staying active and healthy. Kayaking, playing soccer, playing flag football, putting Legos together, cooking, attending Book Club, singing in church choirs, playing in the band, performing in plays -- I'm amazed that their parents can keep up with all they do. Such a blessing.

6) I am thankful for this blog -- As you all know, I have a lot of words swirling around in my head. This avenue gives me a way to share lessons God continues to teach me as well as discoveries I make as I travel around the South and beyond.

7) I am grateful for my current job as a travel writer. I have an opportunity to interact with people that I would never have met otherwise. I see those interactions as ways to share my faith. Thank you, God, for each person you put in my path.

8) I am grateful for our home. It is serving us well as a place of solitude and peace but also for sharing with others -- family and friends.

9) I love helping Steve to lead a Life Group of dynamic, impressive, dedicated young couples at our church. They keep us challenged, and we admire them tremendously. Thank you, God, for allowing us to share our life experience with them.

10) I thank you God for allowing us to be back in Hartselle. We love our church. We love knowing where everything is. We love being familiar with the area business owners. We even love our seats in the Hartselle football stadium on Friday nights, surrounded by people we've known for years. It's a blessing. Thank you, God.

11) One more. If all goes as planned, all 22 Pearsons will be together on Thanksgiving, plus 4 invited guests. This is much rarer than you might think, and I am very excited to be able to look 14 grandchildren, 3 children and 3 in-law children in the eyes and give them hugs. Grateful.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 -- "In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Psalm 136:26 - " Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever."

Psalm 106:1 - "Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever."

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