Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thankful overload.....

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Gwen and Tim and the kids (and Chandler, the dog) arrived on Thanksgiving morning.  We visited and played some games and ate our festive "un-Thanksgiving" lunch.  We had lasagna instead of turkey.  We started this tradition when our "black Friday shopping" became "Thanksgiving afternoon/evening" shopping.  I did not want to be cooking/eating/cleaning up from a big meal all before 3:00pm!  Besides, we were having our family REAL Thanksgiving on Friday at Doug and Susie's house.  I know that there are lots of people who have strong opinions about shopping on Thanksgiving, but here is my thoughts about that.  This shopping experience is one of the BEST times that Gwen and I have together.  We laugh, we plan, we celebrate the small victories when we find that certain bargain, we work together to conquer the crowds.  We also meet some wonderful people and simply have so much fun.  I can't think of a better family time.  And honestly shopping now is so much better than when we had to get up at 3:30am!  We didn't get enough sleep before we shopped and dragged around for all of Friday.  Now we get home before 10:00pm on Thursday.  We get a great night's sleep and leave the house at 5:30am on Black Friday.  We shop for a few hours and get home in time for breakfast with the family.  So much better!

So after a very successful time shopping on both Thursday evening and Friday (very early) morning, we were ready to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Doug smoked a turkey, which is so good.  Susie prepared a wonderful spread including some flavorful stuffing.  We all sat around their very large dining room table - all 10 of us!  Before we ate, Gwen asked who wanted to pray.  With very little hesitation, Zeke volunteered.  Our little four year old prayed the most wonderful prayer....  I can't remember exactly what he prayed but it included thanks for the food and for the time together as a family.  It was simply the sweetest, most heartfelt prayer.  There was no doubt that he knew exactly WHO he was talking to.  I have decided that there is nothing better than a little one praying from their heart.

Yes, it is a thankful overload.  Great family time, great shopping, great food, and great prayer.  What an amazing couple of days.  Then came the Christmas set up.  Ken had seen a really interesting laser projector thingy but it was sold out by the time we went to look at it.  So we opted for this large tree instead.
We are used to having some kind of outdoor decoration, so it was fun to have something new and very festive.  It was no easy task putting this tree up, however.  All of the lights were tangled into one big mess on the inside of this tree.  It took us a good two hours to get the lights all freed up and in the correct spots. And Ken was working on a ladder since this is over 8 feet tall.  The lights twinkle very gently. We were very thankful that it looked good once it got dark!   Part of my Thankful overload!

After dinner Ken brought out two foam kits that he had purchased a few weeks ago to add holiday decor to his office.  One was a very large two story gingerbread house and the other was this nativity set. 
This went together really easily and is really quite cute.  I don't know what I think about the one wise man in the front that seems to be wearing a stocking hat....but it is festive!  And then we went to work on the gingerbread house.  Oh my.  What a task.  I was trying to imagine children doing this, since it was a kit designed for kids.  And there were no real instructions...just a series of pictures on the back of the box that showed 5 steps.  It was a trick to figure out which piece was which and then when we tried to put the first walls together, we realized we would need some glue.  So I got out the craft glue.  Well, that didn't work very well.  After lots of time and lots of effort and many, many pieces falling apart, Ken went out to the store for super glue.  The odd thing was that some of the pieces were adhesive and SO sticky that you could hardly deal with it.  But other pieces had no glue at all.  I don't know how they thought this would work since it never says on the package that you need glue.  
It took us over two hours to finish this project.  But it was nice once it was done.  Working together on these two kits was certainly part of my thankful overload.  

So, there you have it.  A recap of my Thanksgiving couple of days.  I have been reflecting on how different this year feels than last year.  Gwen and I talked about how fuzzy and foggy last year seems in our memory.  We did a lot of just going through the motions for the holidays last year.  It was very hard to be thankful in the heaviness of our grief.   We really did just cling together and pull each other along, step by step, through the days, weeks, and months.  As we were sitting at that Thanksgiving table, I was so aware of the missing highchair and felt the loss of Lucas so deeply.  But there were smiles and even laughter this year.  And that perfect prayer of a little boy.  And now we move into Advent.  A time of expectation and planning.  A time filled with hope.  There could not be any better ending to my thankfulness overload than that.  

Jesus, thank you so much for knowing exactly what we need and when we need it.  Thank you for time together and your great peace and love.  Help us all to enter into Advent with a thankful heart and spirit.  Keep our eyes trained on you and the amazing story of season.  Thank you for lights and laughter and the wonder of children.  Amen

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