As one enters the week of Thanksgiving, the many blessings of God are called to our memory, especially when you have had seven decades of life in this amazing America, and have walked hand in hand with the Lord blessed each day in those seven decades.
Counting your blessings is like trying to count the stars in the sky, or the sands on the beach. There are just too many to count. Such are the blessings of my life. So rather than attempt to enumerate my many blessings, I will name three major blessings that fertilized the growth of all the many blessings.
The first major blessing in my life was my birth to Lane and Roxie Wise in Columbia, South Carolina. There in that graceful southern town, I grew, surrounded with the love, daily examples of hard work, high moral standards, discipline and expectation that God and Jesus should be the center of my life. I vividly remember walking down the aisle of Kilbourne Park Baptist church on Mother’s Day in 1961 to pledge my life to Christ. For the first eighteen years of my life; the love, high expectations of moral character, and examples of service to my community, my church and my God were daily on display for me by my loving parents.
I learned first hand that you worked in support of the family, neighbors and community if you were to live under the roof of the house of Lane and Roxie. That strong foundation was a springboard for my departure to college and life more on my own. I was free to fly, to explore the freedoms of life and the world, but like a homing pigeon, I knew where home was, and where I could find support, love and a strong Christian belonging.
My second major blessing was ironically the Vietnam War and a low draft number. Bouncing off the foundation provided by my parents, my home, my town, and my church, I made an independent decision to join the Marines and fly helicopters once I graduated from college. In the Marines, I was subject to another foundation building environment. Just like my parents, the Marines continued to develop my moral character, my understanding of service to all, and others first, then you. In the Marines, I flew off Navy ships in the Pacific training for any requirement to carry Marines into battle in support of our country's support of another country. I saw third world lower living standards and grew much more appreciative of our America.
But more than anything, the Marines put me in position to be introduced to my third biggest major blessing of life. After being away from family, and the USA for almost three years, I began praying to my God, for a godly woman to be my wife. I was assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville , North Carolina. There God placed me living in an apartment complex where I met Mary Kathryn Cascioli. Little did I know that she also was praying for a companion for life.
My third blessing is the marriage, and 45 years of joy to Mary Kathryn. Our life together has taken us through ten moves in six different states. MK and I were blessed with the birth of our three loving children; Kathryn(Good), Meagan, and Cas. We have grown as a family and hopefully have built for them a strong foundation of moral character, expectation of hard work, service to family, community, church, and our awesome God through Jesus Christ just like my first blessing.
There is no way to count your blessings, your joys, but perhaps you can think, like me, of three major blessings that were the springboard of your life. To God be the glory.
Psalms 107:1- Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
May you and your family have a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving.