Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

10:00 am - Right now, Father, in the fullness of mid-morning, I thank you for this moment. The turkey is in the oven. Thank you for the anticipation of feast and looking forward to family members piling in the door, full of love and happiness. Right now, I take a moment to pause, praise, and give thanks. I take a moment to breathe. Inhale, exhale... and savor peace in the midst of busy preparations. Thank you, Lord. (And please be with my friend, please work out for her the details of her day after the flood at her house. Please bring her some peace, too.)

11:30 am - Pausing for another breath. and a snack. How is it that while fixing so much food, I can forget to eat!? Half the family is still in bed, sick. One 12 year old daughter and I are getting things done. Got the potatoes cooked, ready to reheat and mash when people come in the door. The house is getting some last minute straightening. Thank you, Father, for help for the flood at my friend's house. I hope she has a good holiday after all. Now, I have to start the bread. An hour to rise, another hour to bake... should come out about right. I love holidays like this. Thank you, God for holidays! Please be with those today who have not enough. May they see the bits of beauty in their own lives, in spite of everything, and may someone help to meet their needs today, please, Father. And Lord, if there is someone who you want me to help out, please show me who that is today. Thank you, Lord. I gotta go start that bread.

1:15 pm - I can't believe how nice the house looks! Even shorthanded, even with all the breaks we've taken, the rooms are all picked up and the food is getting ready. It is time to put the bread in the oven. The tablecloth is being ironed on the table; the house smells wonderful, and people are soon going to be here! I pause right now to slow my mind a minute, and savor it all. Breathe, self, breathe.

7:30 pm - The last people leave. What a great day! Everyone got here around 2 pm, and we ate about 3. Everyone helped. There was way more food than we needed. It was a feast, after all! Family together, laughing, talking, eating, cleaning up. Babies everywhere!

I missed having the bigger girls here, but they are at a friend's wedding this weekend. Oldest son is on a short vacation with his sweet wife. All's well. Everyone is having a good time wherever they are. But here - here at my house - we eat and everyone is full and happy. Tiny cousinlets play together, people make music, we laugh and talk, babies get hugged, toys get strewn. It's a happy time. By the time the last one leaves, the little one is way past time to sleep, but she will fall asleep very soon, and she has learned today a little more of what it means to feel loved and surrounded by family. It's been a good day.

Now... everyone has gone, and I have the whole house to myself. The dishes will wait for another day. I can just relax in the quietness.


So much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 23, 2009

222. I am thankful they are taking a plane rather than negotiating the roads at this unpredictable, blizzards-come-up-out-of-nowhere time of year.

223. I am thankful that God goes wherever they do, and that He lives in Colorado, too.

224. I am thankful that they will have the joy of attending a friend's wedding.

225. I am thankful that other offspring will be here for Thanksgiving Day.

226. I am thankful that somehow, everything will get done that really needs to get done here.

227. I am thankful that whatever does not get done really won't matter anyway.

228. I am thankful for friends who understand.

229. I am thankful that Husband and I are on the same page.

230. I am thankful for prayers.

231. I am thankful that she might come back soon after all. Maybe.

232. I am thankful that the whole bunch of us get to travel to Chicago on Tuesday, to see them off.

233. I am thankful for beauty wherever it is found.

234. I am thankful for other peoples' lists of thankfulnesses, because they jump start my own.

235. I am thankful for color. That the whole world is not made in black, white and grey.

236. I am thankful for sequins.

237. I am thankful for the giggling of ticklish toddlers.

238. I am thankful for baby laughs.

239. I am thankful for parents who are teaching their own children about right and wrong, and that it is better to do right.

240. I am thankful that I am able to be thankful. (no matter what)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Giving Thanks and Dancing in the Kitchen

Here comes another week, ready or not. I am tired and would wish for a little bit more weekend... one more day of rest. But here we go, the new week coming in on a new day. I wake wondering how things will go today, wondering where the energy will come from. I have studying to do, assignments to finish for a class I'm taking, laundry and dishes stacked too high and waiting for attention. The house needs me to get busy, and the children need my help with their schoolwork. Before I even get out of bed, before my eyes even open, I know I need help. Still lying between warm, wrinkled sheets I pray, "Lord, please help me this day to do what You want me to do. Help me, please, to glorify You in all I do." It always surprises me how a prayer submitted to His will turns as the words form in my mind, change from being about what I wanted to being about what He desires. There is nothing I want more than to please Him, after all.

So I get out of bed by faith, trusting that He will direct my day, my strength, and that He will help me accomplish what He wants. I start on the huge kitchen mess alone, with some music to accompany me. The music makes me want to dance, just for fun, and it feels good. When was the last time I danced and felt this joy? When I take a break for Facebook, I find a dear daughter's list of thanks-giving. This is vital, I know, this giving of thanks regardless of how I am feeling. Facts matter more than feelings, and the fact is that I am blessed - we all are blessed - with more gifts than we will ever know.

And today, I am thankful for:

209. Hot water for washing those dishes and laundry.
210. A helpful family.
211. A new day.
212. A God who knows how it is.
213. Furnaces! to keep the house warm and cozy when it is cold outside.
214. Warmer than average days for this time of year.
215. Sunshine! Not typical for November.
216. The fact that I am loved by God whether I feel lovable or not.
217. The fact that He can use me whether I feel usable or not.
218. Comfy clothes to work in.
219. The class I am taking, even though it is hard work sometimes.
220. Music for dancing in the kitchen.
221. The thankfulness lists of others, which remind me to give thanks.

When I choose to give thanks, my perspective invariably changes. Dancing in the kitchen helps, too! Joy grows and displaces the negativity that was settled in.

It could be that hormones, lack of sunshine, stress or other things beyond my immediate control contribute to a gloomy outlook, an anticipation of failure... but dancing in the kitchen to the praise music on the radio, and putting my mind on giving thanks... those things lift my perspective and energize my soul for the day.

May your day, too, be filled with thanks and joy!

Go dance!