Friday, November 25, 2016

A Thanksgiving recap...

I just love Thanksgiving - for so many more reasons than the food (I love the food but it is the people that make my holiday so great).  What an amazing and fun couple of days I have had.  I actually created the smells of Thanksgiving on Wednesday this year when I cooked a small turkey.  Susie and Doug had asked me to make stuffing and I decided to just cook it the "old fashioned way" inside of the bird!  Just not the bird we would be eating for our Thanksgiving Feast!  So Wednesday was filled with turkey stuffing, roasting, slicing and chopping, and even boiling (when I made broth for some future Turkey Soup).  It was a bit unusual to NOT be having a big dinner after this work, but it certainly was a good choice for me.  The last few years I have not made a big dinner on Thanksgiving since Gwen and I are dedicated "Black Friday" shoppers who DO shop on Thanksgiving.  I know that many of you will now be scowling and even feel really angry that we would take away from our family time by going to stores on this special holiday.  But for us, this is a very real and important part of our Thanksgiving tradition.  We spent the entire day - until about 3:00pm - together as a family.

We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and then the most favorite part of the TV viewing of the day - the Dog Show!  We watch this every year and just love to guess which dog will be the big winner.  The kids just love this tradition!  I know that it might seem odd to some people, but as far as I am concerned, anything that you do together and have so much fun doing, is a great tradition!  This years big winner was the Greyhound!  Not my favorite by any stretch.  The kids had hoped for the Beagle to win (the Chandler breed) but it was not to be.  Maybe next year!   During this time, Gwen and Tim and Ken and I are pouring over the newspaper ads for the best deals.  Gwen and I have developed quite a good "game plan" and know which stores to go to in an exact order.  This shopping day is really quite important for Gwen and Tim's family.  By shopping these great sales, Gwen is able to get most of the Christmas items for her family and all the extended family and friends for gift exchanges.  There are also purchases for next years birthdays.  She also purchases many generic gifts that fill their "Basement store"!  This wonderful stockpile allows the kids to go to the basement and find presents for their friends when those birthday party invites roll in!  With four kids this is really a big savings to find things at rock bottom prices instead of running out at the last minute and paying full price for those gifts.  For Gwen and I this shopping time is really a magical time.  We love the laughter and fun that we have as we follow our carefully laid out track of stores, checking items off our lists as we go.  We  know exactly which stores to shop and where the best deals are found.  We always meet some really nice people while waiting in lines and love to share stories of past years adventures.  We are really pros at this Black Friday shopping thing.  I know that right now some of you are shaking your heads and even feeling angry that we would shop on Thanksgiving.  But for us, this is a very important tradition and we would miss it terribly.  Even the kids love being at Grandma's house with daddy while we are out shopping.  It IS our tradition and we love it!   And our more "traditional" tradition is that we go to Doug and Susie's house on Black Friday and have our "actual" Thanksgiving!  This always includes a turkey, smoked by Doug!  There is always lots of laughter and fun and usually cookie baking.  This year our dinner ended with this really amazing apple pie, baked by Susie!  It was so delicious!
I was thinking about our very "Non Traditional" Traditions.  We don't have our big formal dinner on Thursday - the actual Thanksgiving Day.   We SHOP on the holiday (and on Black Friday in total truth telling!)  I don't cook the turkey.  Well, you get the idea.  But here is the thing.  I firmly believe that whatever is good and right for our family is just fine.   And if your traditions are all of those more "Traditional" Traditions, well GOOD FOR YOU!  I just don't understand why some people get so upset about choices that other people make that really don't impact them at all.  The gathering and the shopping and the laughter and the eating turkey on Friday, and being so thankful work for our family.  So it is good.  

Today as we were eating our very traditional turkey dinner, with all 10 of us around the table.  As so many of you probably did, we each expressed what we are thankful for.  The entire holiday is worth those minutes around the table, hearing just how thankful we are.  

Yes, I am very blessed.   We have jobs and homes and food and family and friends and health. We have a new baby coming soon to our family.  And we have each other.  I am so thankful for each of you that take the time to read my thoughts in these blogs. Your time is valuable and I love knowing that somehow in sharing my life with you, you are blessed.  

Many of the stories of Jesus include times of eating with his friends.  He loved to gather people around the table and just fellowship.  What a gift it is to have these times set aside to think about and remember how thankful we are!  No matter what your traditions are, I am praying that your Thanksgiving is filled with blessings!  Even if you are by yourself today, you are not alone!  Jesus has invited each one of us to HIS table and we can all be thankful there with him.  That is the biggest thanksgiving of all!

Jesus, thank you for preparing a table for us with you.  Holy Spirit help us to stay in this mode of thankfulness as we go on in our day to day activities.  Keep us mindful that what seems right and proper for us may not be what our neighbor prefers.  Give us grace to see from your perspective and steer us away from being judgmental when others do things differently than us.  Thank you Jesus for your love for us that brought you to the cross.  We are forever grateful.  Amen

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