By GWEN SISSON
What a fantastic time to count your blessings!
Each Thanksgiving, I am always running around trying to juggle work and cooking and family gatherings (maybe that is every day, not just the holidays?) But what and incredible time to remember that not everyone has all the family and the work and the food that I have the opportunity to share. Not everyone has an amazing husband who makes sure we are never late for an “eating meeting,” and not everyone will have two and three (and maybe four) holiday celebrations to attend this year. Regardless of how this year has shaped up, it is good to stop and reflect on the amazing richness in my life.
A grateful heart is at the core of what Thanksgiving Day is all about and our amazing readers were asked, “What are you thankful for this year?” We are so blessed to have readers who know the value of gratitude. Thank you for sharing and thank you for reading. Happy Thanksgiving!
"I am thankful for my three favorite F’s - faith, family, and friends."
— Paige Watson
"Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays... I’m thankful for family and food heritage that plays such a major role in the holidays. My inspiration to use local food and stay true to my southern roots are highly influenced by traditions passed down through family. Mississippi and it’s food heritage are just as rich as any country and food culture throughout the world. We have so much to be proud of, being part of Mississippi and the South."
— Chef Ty Thames
"A few things I am most thankful for: an angel who has been with me for 58+ years, our chronological giftedness, children and grandchildren, friends and colleagues on campus, at church and in Starkville, MSU and its students and the opportunities to serve."
— Dr. Bob Wolverton
"I am just thankful. I have so many blessings everyday! ‘This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it!’ Give everyday a chance. Happy Thanksgiving!"
— Diana Crabtree
“I am thankful for my loving and supportive family - Armando and Ruth de la Cruz; Stan and Mariya Breaux; Steven, Christopher and Nicholas Breaux; Terry and Bonna Johnson and the newest addition to the family, little Bryn Ruth Johnson.”
— Arma M. de la Cruz
“I am thankful that I have been reconciled with God through the blood of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).”
— Amanda Thornton
“I am thankful for my children who encourage and support me each day, my mother who inspires me with her wisdom, and the faculty, staff, and students of West Oktibbeha County Elementary School where I serve as principal. This holiday season will be great!”
— Andrea Pastchal-Temple
“I am thankful for Jesus, my family, good health, and my wonderful West Oktibbeha County Elementary School 4th grade class.”
— Brenda Staszefski
I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful for a wonderful family, great friends and a super class of Kindergarteners this year but most of all I am thankful for all these blessings my Lord and Savior have provided for me!
— Pam Perry
WOCES Kindergarten Teachers
I thought it would be fun to see what my grandchildren said. These are their responses:
Jack Perry of Starkville – I’m thankful for my stuffed animals.
Banks Perry of Starkville – I’m thankful for my family.
Larkin Perry of Starkville —I’m thankful for my school.
Campbell Perry of Olive Branch – I’m thankful for TV.
— Carol Moss Read
“I’m especially thankful this season that Starkville has a lively arts community. The SAAC is working to make our community an attractive center for a variety of artistic interests. We have a community theater and a symphony orchestra that give us advantages usually found only in cities much larger than ours. I am grateful to people who help make these things possible.”
— Robert Phillips
“I am daily thankful to God for a tight roof and warm bed, safe water, and accessible medical care, but I am most grateful for the reasonable expectation that my children and grandchildren will enjoy these blessings as well when so many in our world have never known the comforts that we so thoughtlessly take for granted.”
— Karen Quarrels
“Wow! What a lot I have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! Our son, Jay and his wife, Jen ,had a healthy second son, Athan, in June. Then our son, David, married Lauren in July. So I am so thankful for our family and especially our new members this year. I am thankful that I live in a country that allows me to worship God and speak of Him freely and without fear. I am thankful for my job at MSU that enables me to interact with college students daily. It has been a beautiful fall, and the Bulldogs are going to a bowl game! Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow...”
— Susan Felker
“The Good Lord, a job, friends, family, and health!”
— Dr. Ann Bailey
“This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the wonderful family that God has given me. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful baby girl. I am so blessed to have the love and support from my immediate and extended family. I am also thankful for my job, my home, my clothes, and the food that I eat each day!”
— Emily Tuck
“Thanksgiving is a day set aside each year for the purpose of giving thanks with prayer and feasting for the many blessings we have received from God. I am thankful for life, health and strength to be given opportunities to serve God and God’s people. God blesses us to be a blessing to others. I am thankful for my wife, Melita, who is the sugar in my coffee and the honey in my tea. I am thankful for our two sons; Larnzy Ill, and Landon. I am thankful for my wonderful parents who reared me in the right way, along with two loving sisters and a brother. I’m thankful for the best church in the world, First Baptist Church of Longview, who has allowed me to pastor them for nearly 10 years. I am thankful for our Country and all the men and women who are diligently serving and protecting our country. I am thankful for a wonderful community, City of Starkville, Oktibbeha County and Mississippi State University. Remember, when you are stripped of everything you have obtained and or possessed; with what you have left will show you the importance and the need for God first and your family. No matter what has transpired in your family, embrace one another, love one another because it could be your last opportunity. Be thankful!”
Psa 105:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Psa 105:2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
— Larnzy Carpenter
“Thirty eight years ago on Aug. 2 1972, I moved here with my family, to take a new position with Arnold Industries. I’ve lived over half of my life here, grabbed at the ‘Brass Ring’ four times and caught it three times. My children all grew up in a great community, are all MSU alumni, and all of my grandchildren live in the south. I am so thankful for Starkville. Thank You Starkville!!!!”
— Guy Batchelder
“It goes without saying that, I, like the majority of people in this world, am most thankful for mom. The woman who gave me life, gave me love, gave me stability, security, who made sure that a need never went unmet, someone who tried to make sure I was raised in a happy, healthy home and so then tried to maintain a smile and laughter and was joyful in times when I didn’t even realize that life was sometimes hard and not always joyful or fair….but most of all she gave of herself, wholeheartedly and unconditionally. That is my mom. And that is why that this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for my mother, Betty Nabors.
‘My mom has been my rock and my ‘go to’ person all of my life. The one I trusted with my life. She has always been the one I could count on to make whatever situation I was going through seem a little better with her words of wisdom and counsel, and with her perspective on things I could always see things a little clearer and felt a little lighter. She is a very perceptive person and a good judge of character. She’s the one who calmed my fears, taught me what was important in life, helped me get dressed for all those special occasions, and listened to the dreams I had for my life. I counted on her for that when young and even though she had to let me go, to find my own way when I got married at a very young age, she refused to release me completely because by my mother’s standards…I still had a few things to learn…and I have to admit…maybe she was right. She has never steered me wrong. And I still trust her judgment today.
“Mama has always been a fun-loving woman who has always cared about her neighbors, her church family, her friends from work and traveling, but nothing has ever been more important than her own family. Mama put us first no matter what. She and Daddy attended everything my sister and I were ever a part of and never hesitated to show us how proud they were of us or how much they loved us even when we didn’t do so well. We always knew that we were loved and important in our little family. But we were also expected to behave well and act responsibly….and if we didn’t, well, Mama was quick to let us know how to “improve” on that, as well!! And the one thing we were taught above all was respect for others….and to be kind, to treat others as we would want to be treated. Think of others before ourselves. I can’t say that I have always done that. We didn’t have a perfect family, we messed up from time to time…..all of us, but we had the perfect assurance that whatever we did or didn’t do, even if corrective measures had to be taken, it was all done because our parents loved us and wanted us to learn how to be good, respectable people and why that is important. And Mama still holds us accountable…all of us…for that.
“It has been a sad year for her with the passing of my father, Stan Nabors, fifteen months ago, but she has found an inner strength I didn’t believe was possible. I believe it’s called God’s Grace. She is still an example to her children and grandchildren of living a godly life and reminds us daily to never give up because with God all things are possible and we can do anything through Christ who strengthens us. I can’t tell you, Mama, how proud I am of you today, the way you’ve persevered and been strong for yourself and for your children when it was the last thing you felt like doing. I honor you for that and for loving our father the way you did, holding him up to us as the head of our household and spiritual leader of our family. He would be proud of you, too, for the way you’ve carried on and the kept the family together.
“But our mother was a role model in her own rights, as well, because most importantly, Mama made sure we knew about Jesus. She read to us, sang with us, and made sure we were in church learning about Him, learning Scripture and what it meant to be a Child of God. Because of her faith, obedience, and dedication to God, we came to know Him and love Him ourselves. It was because she and our dad cared enough about us to make sure we understood what it meant to serve God and others and how to have that personal knowledge of Christ in our own hearts. Mama knew what was truly important in this life and that’s exactly what she saw to that we had. But Mama, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that other than the Grace of God, the other one constant and important thing in my life has been you. God blessed me incredibly when He made you my mom. I can’t imagine how my life could have turned out had you not been a part of it to guide me, mold me, and love me like you have. You’re my very best friend and always have been. Like a certain song says of two people in love, which I think also applies to family…..”When God made you, He must have been thinking about me.” Mama, you’re the best and I thank God every single day that you are the one I call my wonderful mother. And today, I want you to know that I am most thankful this Thanksgiving for...YOU! May God bless you as much as He has me with the gift and the treasure of you…my beautiful, precious mother. With all my heart, I love you……from your baby girl!”
— Jenna Nabors Shook
“I’m thankful that my mother has made it another year in her fight against cancer.”
— Richard Corey
“I am thankful that my son is home after 1 1/2 years in Afghanistan and thankful that my daughter-in-law, who is currently there, is halfway through her tour of duty.”
— Georgia Lindley
“I am thankful for many blessings, which include my loving family, many wonderful friends, good health, and my two grandsons; also for the enjoyment of the little things: feeding the birds, watching the seasons change, listening to the wind chimes, hearing the sound of an unexpected rain in the middle of the night, enjoying MSU sporting events, reading the newspaper and drinking a good cup of coffee. Right now, I am dreaming up a magnificent holiday meal to share with my Starkville family on Thanksgiving Day! I am most thankful for my faith, because of the perspective it gives; for the hope, peace and purpose it brings to my life for today, tomorrow, and for eternity.”
— Judy Smith
“I am thankful for the many Trustworthy people that God has brought along my path.
“I am thankful for the Honor of being able to serve the Lord by pastoring two wonderful congregations each Sunday.
“I am thankful for the many answers to the prayers that have been prayed especially for my wife who is now cancer free one year later and God has kept her through what may have been a fatal heart attack.
“I am thankful that God Never gives up on us, even when we fail Him many times and neglect to give Him thanks.
“I am thankful for the fact that Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and is the giver of salvation to all who will come to Him through trusting faith.
“I am thankful for forgiveness from the Lord and He has given me a new start in life and the forgiveness of friends and family who can look beyond the faults and see the intentions of the heart.
“I am so thankful for God’s understanding heart, He understands me completely and loves me unconditionally .
“I am thankful for God’s Love and He teaches us how to lover our neighbors as ourselves.
“May we all have a thankful heart.”
— Pastor Releigh Richter
“I am thankful for a lot, but will name only a few. First, I’m thankful for a loving and forgiving God, who loves me just as I am, and continues to transform me into what he wants me to be. I am also thankful for my wife and daughter who I love very much. I’m thankful that I have an opportunity to work with wonderful people and that truly wants to make a difference in people’s lives. Finally, I am thankful for the luxuries in life that I take for granted on a everyday basis and I am humbled by God’s blessings.”
— Matthew Rye
“My husband, Peter Austin Sr. and I are thankful to God The Father for sending His only begotten Son, Jesus. He is the only way, truth, and life to obtain Salvation. We are also thankful to God for our family, friends, health, food and daily strength He gives to all people!!! Have a GREAT Thanksgiving!!!”
— Debra Austin
“I thank God for Jesus Christ because Jesus left Grace, Mercy, and Forgiveness at the foot of the Cross, and I am in constant need of His protection. I am thankful for life, good health, family, friends, cohorts, and my Calvary Missionary Baptist Church Family.”
—Dr. Velma Hill Jenkins
Barbara and I are thankful that our grand daughter Hailey Skowlund is a healthy, happy baby.
— Ed Clynch
“I am thankful to be a part of such an amazing organization that is growing everyday! Fashion Board has helped me grown as a person and has made my college experience complete and I am so thankful for that opportunity!”
— Sydney Sawyer
“I am thankful to be able to serve as Chief in such a good community and work with a superior group of dedicated young men and women, also that we have had another year with no officers seriously injured in the line of duty.”
Chief of Police
“I am most thankful for God’s Grace— God’s Riches At Christ Expenses— G R A C E!”
“I am so thankful for God’s love, mercy, and grace. Through him, life’s valleys are just springing boards to the next mountaintop.”
— Melissa J. Wilson
“It is a blessing to be alive and knowing that a superior being looks over me daily and keeps me safe. I am thankful for the good health and spirit of my 93-year-old mother who continues to enjoy the fruits of life. I am thankful for the warm memories of those I love that are no longer with me, and the peace that I find within knowing that they have gone home. It is a blessing just to be able to share one more Thanksgiving Day surrounded by friends, family and home cooked food.”
— Dr. Peggy J. Rogers
“I am thankful for the fact that my parents and my wife’s parents are all still with us in good health and all are around 80 years old. They remain an inspiration to us and a terrific example.”
— Michael Brown
“I am thankful that I was born in the United States of America, and more especially, in the State of Mississippi. I am thankful that I can worship God as I see fit. I am thankful for my two children, for my sisters and brother and my wonderful nieces and nephews and great nephews and great niece. I am thankful for my home, my good health, for my friends, and for the fact that I am retired. I am thankful that I have to opportunity to express myself openly without fear of reprisal. I am thankful for this wonderful world that God made. I am truly blessed.”
— Dottie Dewberry