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I'm Thankful

I'm thankful for twenty-four and a half pounds of joy and grace, playfulness and wonder, all wrapped up in a little girl named Hazel.

I'm thankful for Chick-fil-A chocolate milkshakes, for Speedi Pig barbecue sandwiches, and for my beloved's pork chop casserole.

I'm thankful that Michael Pritchett at Ingle's remembers my name and that in five years back in Fayette County, I haven't had a single former teacher or classmate tell me they're shocked I'm a preacher. (They may be keeping it to themselves, but I'm still grateful!)

I'm thankful for beautiful sunrises, for a veterinarian son who took great care of our dog in his twilight season, and for a Mama and Daddy who didn't ask me if I wanted to go to church.

I'm thankful that we had a World Series in Atlanta - and that the Braves won!

I'm thankful for Alecia and Kimberly, two young women who have brought smiles to the faces of our boys, and for Regina, whose green eyes and smile still light up my days.

I'm thankful Bishop Watson sent me to Providence and that Bishop Sue has let me stay here for over five years.

I'm thankful the Pilgrims aren't famous for salmon croquets, kale in any form, or coconut cake.

I'm thankful for Hershey, Fudge, Stryker, and Ferris - four black Lab mutts who allowed us to be their family.

I'm thankful for mornings in a deer stand with our youngest son and for the miracle of FaceTime, especially when I see a little girl with blonde curls peering back at me.

I'm thankful for the folks who've worked hard the last year and a half to keep Providence open and thriving and sharing the light of Christ to our community.

I'm thankful for people who have visited our church during this challenging season and who have joined our congregation, making it their church family.

I'm thankful for ordinary citizens who take seriously the job of sitting on a jury and who do their duty with honor and a deep desire for justice for all.

I'm thankful for my older brother and my younger sister, and for their families, and the lifetime I've shared with them.

I'm thankful that Regina's Daddy still, through the murky haze of Alzheimer's, knows that I married a "good girl" and that he reminds me of it often.

I'm thankful for healthcare angels, for military heroes, for first responder saints, and for the families who love them and share them with the rest of us.

I'm thankful for a great church staff and a wonderful congregation to serve.

I'm thankful that, so far, this has been the Georgia Bulldogs' year, and that my livelihood doesn't depend on the outcome of a ballgame.

I'm thankful for the steadfast care and devotion that Regina, her brother Mickey, and his wife Vicky are expressing for Regina's parents during their current health challenges.

I'm thankful when the temperature dips below freezing and when I get a silly text from our sons or a Hazel video from our daughter-in-law.

I'm thankful for hot chocolate, for county fairs, and for Coach Stowe, way back in 7th and 8th grade.

I'm thankful for air conditioning in August, for heat in February, and for my wife's hand to hold any time.

I'm thankful that I didn't have to worry about posting something dumb or offensive on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook when I was young.

I'm thankful for nieces and nephews, for all the churches I've ever served, and for Roscoe, the little buck with the messed up antler who likes to eat bread in our yard.

I'm thankful for a blood-stained Cross and a still-empty Tomb.

I'm just plain thankful.

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