I am one blessed beyond measure in life. I don't mean to infer that I was born with a "silver spoon" in my mouth. Being born in the midst of the Great Depression, as the middle of seven children,
to a carpenter Father and a home keeping Mother was not a "silver spoon" experience.
Our family readily used hand-me-downs. We had a large garden, raised two hogs each year for their meat, and had a family cow, for our milk. In fact, when construction work ceased and Dad couldn't find
work during the Depression, we started a family laundry service in our home. This employed up to seven girls at one time. Dad also leased 12 acres of nearby land and we truck farmed to earn a few extra dollars.
I've been blessed with good pastors and a good church to grow up in. I was blessed with good teachers to help in my learning. A special friend encouraged me to give college a try and
showed me how I could afford to go.
Following graduation, I spent two years in the Army, allowing me to see Europe and build on life's experiences. I returned home, got a job in the local bank, married my sweetheart, and thought I was on my way to a
normal lifestyle. But, we never know what life has to give us.
I was called back into the Army when they built the Berlin Wall, just six months after completing my tour of duty in Germany. That too, turned out to be a blessing, as I hadn't worked long enough at the bank to
begin health insurance. So, our oldest son, Ken, was born in an Army hospital. Cost = $8.25.
Following a year at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, I returned home to work at the bank again. I worked my way up through the ranks to become, Chairman, President, and CEO of the bank before retiring at the end of 1997. I was
blessed to have had good employers and employees in my work. I've been blessed to have a devoted wife and wonderful children and grandchildren. I'm truly grateful to all I've met along the way. God bless them all.
Today, I look back on those grand experiences and see they were my possibilities to grow. Within my dreams and aspirations, I found abounding opportunities.
All my family learned to work to survive. We learned to take care of each other. We learned family values and societal views, which I treasure today.
The times taught me to save for a rainy day. It taught me to help those less fortunate than me. It taught me the joy of being a volunteer and of meetings others needs. It taught me that success breeds success;
that you build on your accomplishments. It taught me to put others first, if I wanted to be successful in life. And, it taught me that God does provide a way, if we lean on Him.
Most of all, those experiences taught me that God is the most important authority in all of life's endeavors. He can lift you up when all else fails. He can raise your spirits, when life seems in despair. He gives comfort in
times of desperation. He brings joy to quell your grief. He can carry you on eagle's wings to your greatest highs. He brings love to those who seek Him. He gives wisdom and courage to those who follow Him.
He knows every intimate detail about you and yet, He still loves you.
Stop now and count your blessings. Yes, I know I've been blessed and I hope you have too.
--- Copyright © 2011 Bob Stoess
--- Submitted by Brian G. Jett --- Kentucky
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