My family and I enjoyed a visit with my mom, brother and sister and their families in my hometown this Thanksgiving. I was also able to see my uncles and aunts and a few cousins over the week.
I must admit that, while I did count my blessings on Thanksgiving Day, I didn’t feel as grateful as usual. Each one of the kids got croup the week before Thanksgiving. My husband and I had it the week of Thanksgiving. The coughing, stuffiness and body aches didn’t make for a very cheerful holiday. I didn’t feel like talking or eating, two things for which this wonderful holiday is known! My brother got sick the first day he was home, and my sister was also feeling badly due to an infection. To be honest, I wish I could have spent the holiday in bed, but I’m glad I took the effort to see my loved ones. I was able to visit with my nephews from North Carolina, whom I hadn’t seen in over two years! They sure have grown up. Lauren had a good time riding bikes with the middle cousin, Andrew. Leslie and Laci enjoyed playing with the youngest cousin, Stephen. The oldest boy in the family is almost too old to play…in fact, he’ll be driving next year! Wow. I got to see most of my brother’s kids from Texas. It’s amazing how quickly kids change. One year they are kids, the next year they’ve been promoted to the adult table!
We headed up to Batesville to visit my mom’s side of the family for Thanksgiving Day. I enjoyed the two hour drive with my husband, though neither of us felt much like talking. I loved seeing the hills and valleys, sprinkled with fall color. It was very relaxing. My Uncle Gary and Aunt Linda opened up their home to us for the “big meal”. We had turkey, ham, corn, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, cranberry salad, and other delicious sides. Dessert was Dutch apple pie, pecan pie, chocolate pecan pie and chocolate cupcakes. It was scrumptious and I still managed to put away my share despite feeling sickly. 🙂
We usually begin the holiday by stopping by the cemetery and honoring my Dad’s memorial there. Some of the family did go to the grave, but I refrained this year for a couple of reasons. First of all, it was a windy day, and since I wasn’t feeling well to begin with, I didn’t care to be out in the weather. Second, it is a tearful way to begin the holiday season. Dad is doing fine; he’s in heaven. I’m already struggling through some trials, so I didn’t feel it necessary to add to my sorrow. I miss Dad everyday. Every. Single. Day. Almost daily I wish I could get his counsel, or hear his laugh. Some days I wonder what our lives would look like if he had not had to leave eight years ago. I do my best to honor him by living a life for Christ. And, yes, there are some days that quitting sounds like a fine idea. But, then I think of Dad. I can see the glistening of tears in his eyes if he knew I were giving up. I can sometimes see him cheering me on from the battlements of Heaven. I hear him saying, “Hey, partner, I know it’s hard down there in the flesh, but the trials are worth it. Keep going! You can do it! Jesus is more wonderful than any human could ever express. Please don’t quit.” I don’t have to be at the graveside to remember his faithfulness, his joy or his love. Memories of him help me to keep going, just one more day. I don’t dislike visiting the grave, but sometimes I just want to remember his life, not his death. This Thanksgiving was one of those times.
We came home last Friday after a very full week. It’s always hard getting back into the swing of regular life after spending time with loved ones, just having fun. We hit the ground running with laundry, laundry and more laundry! This past Monday, we decorated our Christmas tree, ordered our Christmas cards and took care of some household chores. We got back to school yesterday and it’s been busy ever since, but that’s a good thing. I like being busy! 🙂
Laci made a few Thanksgiving art projects from her K5 materials a few weeks ago. I didn’t have a blog when Lauren made these crafts, but I did photograph them (before digital cameras!). I had just begun blogging when Mitch was doing these and…I think I took pictures! I definitely took Leslie’s pictures, and put them HERE. Then I blinked my eyes, and it was Laci’s turn.
I didn’t participate in a “giving thanks” meme on my blog this year, but I’d like to share a few things for which I’m thankful:
I’m thankful for tears, which cleanse my heart of sorrow and demonstrate genuine joy.
I’m thankful for the word “hello”.
I’m thankful for the quiet moments, which allow me to meditate on lessons, life and love.
I’m thankful for the sunshine, which not only lights each morning, but casts shadows on creation, giving it depth and diversity.
I’m thankful for a certain strong, reticent man in my life, who shows his love for me in personal, pure ways.
I’m thankful for five rowdy, hyper children whose voices reverberate through the house.
I’m thankful for a talkative teenage girl, for a ten year old who writes letters, for a seven year old who straightens my shoes, for a five year old who can quote TV commercials, and for a two year old who holds my hair when I rock him.
I’m thankful for a mother with a tender heart and a strong will.
I’m thankful for a Savior who gave up everything for a girl who had nothing.