Giving thanks. Gathering together with family. Getting to eat great food. Three of my favorite things. Three reasons why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love, love, love Thanksgiving.
This year, for the first time in as long as I can remember, we were out of school for the whole week of Thanksgiving. So I feel as though we have had a little more time to prepare than we usually do.
Growing up, we always had Thanksgiving and Christmas at home. We may have traveled around those holidays, but we spent those particular days at home.
After going to college and getting married, things have changed my holidays quite a bit. Sometimes we are home, but more often than not, on holidays, we are traveling to visit family.
This Thanksgiving was no exception. I had planned to have Thanksgiving at home. Just our little family of five. And I was happy and looking forward to it. I love getting up early and getting the food prepared for lunch. I love having the kids help as they wake up and come sleepily down the stairs. I love home and family and giving thanks for both. I love playing games after we are all stuffed and sleepy. I want my kids to remember those things when they think of holidays.
This year, My Prince's aunt invited us to come and have Thanksgiving with her and her and her family and a few other family members. We decided that since we were home all week, that we would have our Thanksgiving on Wednesday, and then we would travel to her house on Thursday, and do it all over again. Thanksgiving two days in a row! You can't beat that! So we accepted her invitation.
Wednesday, we had our Thanksgiving here at home, and Thursday morning, we got up early and headed over the river and through the woods to the aunt's house about three hours away.
Last summer, we did a missions/service trip to the town where she lives. The Young Prince had made friends with the homeowner that his group helped as well as her next door neighbor. He came home talking about how sweet they were and how much he loved them both. He really wanted to stop by and see them. He also wanted to take them Thanksgiving Boxes - Our church gives out boxes with all of the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal to those who are in need - And he REALLY wanted to take them each a Thanksgiving Box.
All the church boxes had already been given away, or spoken for, so he came up with a "plan B". He had received some money for his birthday on Tuesday. He wanted to use his money to buy the food and make them each a Thanksgiving box. But since we were driving three hours away, we told him it might be better to just buy them a gift card, and allow them to use it for what they needed the most. He was happy with that idea, so we stopped on our way and picked up two gift cards. He wrote them little notes in cards and added the gift cards and we were on our way. All of us praying that they would be home, because we weren't sure they would be, with it being Thanksgiving.
On the way we stopped once to get everyone a snack. I asked the two attendants working at the gas station what their favorite candy bars were. They both told me, and I ran back and grabbed one of each. The man rang us up, and started to put the candy in our bag, and I told him that they were for them. A little "pick-me-up treat" for having to work on Thanksgiving Day. We told them it was just a little way of sharing God's love with them. They were very surprised. We left them both with smiles on their faces. And smiles on our faces as well.
We made it to The Young Princes's friend's house without having to turn around too many times. And The Young Prince was so excited he was about to explode. Thankfully they were both at home and they both remembered The Young Prince and just glowed with the fact that he had actually come back to visit them. He gave them both their cards and after a picture and a quick visit with each of them, we were on our way to see our family.
The rest of the day was filled with singing, laughter, stories, talk of an upcoming wedding, meeting the fiancé, more laughter, a little bit of silly dancing, piano and guitar playing, joke telling, sharing burdens, struggles and lessons learned, a whole lot of eating, performing by the kids, talk of elves, sharing pictures of milestone birthday parties and new babies, more laughter, texts to and from family and friends far away, Grinch imitations, sharing recipes, and a phone call and a FaceTime call to family in Ecuador and of course more laughter. Before we knew it, it was late, and we had a three hour drive home. So we loaded into the car.
Just to stay awake on the trip home, I broke my "no Christmas music before Thanksgiving" rule. I figured that since we had celebrated Thanksgiving twice already, that a little Christmas music would be okay. So we sang along with Christmas music most of the way home.
God blessed us with a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Filled with friends and family both old and new. We are blessed beyond measure and we were even more blessed to be able to share that with others in small ways. I could not have asked for a better Thanksgiving Day. And if you know me, you know that I think we should celebrate Thanksgiving EVERY day! So be sure to count your blessing today, and tomorrow, and the next day and the next... And remember to give thanks to God, because, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17
My bullet list of SOME of the things I was thankful for yesterday...You should try it today. Keep a running list of the things you are thankful for. I promise you, you won't regret it! Make your list and thank God for the many, many, ways He blesses you each and every day.
-Waking up in a warm bed
-Warm, running water
-My children who bless me daily
-A comfortable car to travel in
-A short nap
-My kindle to read (because I forgot my book)
-A husband willing to stop when I needed a snack
-Snacks to tide us over until lunch
-The blessing of being able to bless others, even if in just small ways
-Texts to and from friends and family far away
-A son with a heart for others
-Running family jokes
- Sign writers with a sense of humor
-A deep truth tucked away in a book that really made me think
-Someone we wanted to visit actually being home
-Seeing our son take joy in being a blessing to someone
-Family who open their home and think to include us even though we live three hours away
-Talents given by God
-People who have similar struggles and really "get" what you are going through
-Promises of prayers
-A heart full of love and memories made
-A warm bed to crawl back into at the end of the day