The time has come.
The season has ended.
This will be my final blog entry.
God has let me know it's time.
In doing so I want to also acknowledge this holiday season of Thanksgiving.
I want to pay a tribute of thanksgiving to my parents. I am now 59 years old and my life has had a lot, really a lot of "seasons" --- all of which they have stood behind me, walked in front of me and held my hand as they journeyed beside me.
From childhood --- dinner around our kitchen table there on the farm --- we could sit there for a couple of hours. Eating wasn't the most important thing -- it was the laughing and talking and sharing and just being family! Those dinners molded and changed my life.
From discipline --- I know I wasn't the easiest child to rear. Being the oldest of 4 kids and the only girl -- no matter what I always knew I had parents who loved me and a home to come home to. Those constants were God's special blessings to me.
From love --- raising 4 kids on a farmer's income had to be rough --- but I never knew when those rough times were. Christmas always had us opening piles of presents from under the tree and the wrapping paper strewn from one end of the 40 foot long family room to the other was just part of the fun. My parents always loved one another, no matter how tough it must have been at times. I remember seeing them embrace and kiss one another in front of the kitchen sink one night and it is a scene that has stayed with me and sustained me through the years!
From faith --- we weren't given the "choice" of attending church on Sunday mornings! And for that I am thankful. We were all given a Christian education through the 8th grade and that education molded me in ways I don't even know or realize now. What I do know is that insisting we have that foundation to build our lives upon was -- and is -- priceless and life long!
From fun --- vacations to the Smoky Mountains for years on end --- the vacation to Florida that carries stories that will last longer than our lifetime -- always together as a family -- always fun and always filled with love.
From the really tough times; nearly losing my youngest daughter at birth, divorce after nearly 22 years of marriage, moving all over the place, remarriage and continued problems and stumbling blocks and twists and turns of life ---- my parents have always been there for me and with me.
For Monty -- for accepting him (broken parts and all) and giving him the family he always dreamed of -- he calls my mom "mom" and does it with such love!
Even when Monty and I said we were quitting our jobs and leaving our home and going south to help people rebuild their lives and homes following hurricane Katrina --- feeling in their hearts that we wouldn't be able to survive -- but never once putting those thoughts into words --- even when we stayed in the south for 3 years and then headed to the deeper south state of Texas for another 2 years --- they supported us. They even came and visited us a couple of times --- and even though they left in wonder and amazement and not really understanding --- they still supported us.
So as we approach this Thanksgiving season and I look forward to spending that special day with my parents, all 3 of my brothers, 2 of my children, my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews --- our family all together around that kitchen table --- the laughter will be deafening at times, the food will be enough to feed 5 more families, the house filled with so much love it will be leaking out any crack or crevice in that house that was built in 1868 --- I know I am the most blessed woman in this world!
And all because of my parents, the examples they have set for all of us, for their friends, for their church family, for the homeless that my mom fed for over 20 years and for those whose lives have been touched by them -- that we aren't even aware of!
The saying goes that a strand of 2 can be broken pretty easily but a strand of 3 -- with God as the center -- is impossible to break. God has been the center of my parents lives which in turn has been the center of my life --- and for that --- there are NO words to express my thanks!
They may be 80 and 82 years "young" but I look forward to the upcoming years as I know God has amazing plans for both of them --- which means amazing plans for me and my brothers!
WOW! It's going to be a great Thanksgiving!
And WOW --- God is so good!
Thank you Mom and Daddy!
Yes, this is my final blog. This season is over and I look forward to the next!
May God bless all of you and my you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!
For the last time . . . Susan and Monty