The man who ran self supported across the United States, Germany, Alaska, Montana, and the Mojave Desert writes about family, fitness and faith as he keeps reaching for life’s mileposts at age 53. Married to Kelley, he is a blessed father of four adult children as well as a step-dad to four others. Learn more at www.paulstaso.com
Thanksgiving Day is coming up this week in the United States and I have so much to be thankful for. This will be my 52nd Thanksgiving and I've been thinking back over the past 52 years of countless times with family and friends. Yes, there is so much to be thankful for and I want to take a moment to express some of the reasons why I am truly thankful this year.
In the photo accompanying this post is my lovely fiancé, Kelley. We've been together for 2½ years and engaged since November 2016. I am so thankful to have the love of a beautiful Christian woman who has captured every part of my heart. In 2018, Kelley and I will be married and our next Thanksgiving will be as Mr. and Mrs. – which will be a blessing beyond measure. Kelley has four wonderful children, two of whom are adults. Her adult children are pursuing college degrees while working many hours each week at jobs. Her two younger children are straight-A students and are very involved in dance classes. Kelley is an amazing mother and her children are certainly a blessing to her. I am thankful to be in their lives and to see each of them pursuing their interests and goals with such passion and commitment.
I have four fantastic children of my own and my youngest, Brian, is a senior in high school and will be turning 18 years old in just 7 weeks. Once that big event happens, all of my children will be adults. Brian's high school career has included playing soccer and running cross country. He stands at 6 feet tall and will soon be blazing his trail as an adult. Ky is 19 years old and creates the most incredible music, recently finishing an ambient influenced synth-pop project. I never thought that when I bought him his first sound mixer many years ago that he'd develop his talents so well and be creating music that people from around the world listen to on SoundCloud, Google Music, and Apple Music. My daughter Ashlin, who is 23, graduated from the University of Montana this year with a bachelor of science degree in exercise science, health and human performance. She is currently working as a Psychometrist at a neuropsychological practice. My daughter, Jenna, is 24 years of age and in her second year of teaching 3rd grade at a K-12 private school, as well as being a varsity volleyball coach. She'll be spending this Thanksgiving with Kelley's family and I in Indiana. As a father, I couldn't be more proud of my children and all that they have accomplished, and I love each of them more than they'll ever know.
My parents are in their 80's and are doing well. They've been married for 63 years and consistently encourage me and offer advice in so many of life's arenas that I find myself in. Their love and support has meant the world to me over the years and I'm thankful to be their son.
I am the youngest of seven children and unfortunately I rarely see my siblings. As the decades have gone by, we've seen the miles between us grow and our connections decrease. However, I love each of them and am thankful for all of the Thanksgiving moments that we've shared in the past. I have friends that have been in my life for countless years and who have often provided an ear to listen, an encouraging word, and more. I am thankful for each and every one.
My health is very good and my job keeps me busy. Income flows steadily, bills are paid regularly, a house shelters me daily, and food is within reach at any time. I can adjust a thermostat on the wall to instantly have warm or cool air, I have clean water and a comfortable bed, and I possess many of the conveniences of the 21st century. In so many ways, I am far more fortunate than many people in this world. I thank God, my Provider, for watching over me and for guiding my steps on life's path. My salvation through Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift to be thankful for this Thanksgiving... and every day of the year.
To you and your family, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving!